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anxious, and tremulous as she had never beginning, he thought, to feel half a been before. Her interest in him, instead woman, to understand that she musi not of being checked, was doubled. This say and do everything that came into her was what his unkindness had done. head, with the freedom permitted to him
When he came into the room first he self, for instance. “I was going to speak took no notice of her. He went and to you very seriously,” he went on, but poked the fire, and then he examined the as you are trying to make friends with table, and rang the bell for his hot coffee. the others, and to do better, I will not Then only he said, “ Good morning, In- worry you. What I said is for your good, nocent." He did not hold out his hand. Innocent - which is not to be obtained Sometimes he would stroke her hair, or by your usual way of doing what pleases pat her head, or give her some token of yourself, but by yielding to others and affectionateness. To-day he did noi even trying to be content with what is thought hold out his hand. “What are you do- good for you. This may be hard — (N. B. ing?” was his next question, for it was Frederick certainly had never tried) ocid to see her doing anything. She but it is the only way for a girl to get on. made haste to answer, heaping up the You must manage somehow to make moss with such tremulous fingers that it friends of your own sex.” fell down again in a mass.
Frederick dwelt upon this aphorism • I am doing this for Nelly."
with some pride. He felt that it was " That is right,” he said, more cheer- original, and did him credit, and its wisfully. “ Never mind what nonsense you dom gratified him. On the whole he was do so long as you make it up with them. pleased with himself while he delivered I told you the other day you would never his little address. Instead of taking adget on till you learned to make friends of vantage of the girl's fondness for him, as your own sex.”
some men might have done, he was doInnocent made no answer. What could ing his utmost to lead her in the paths of she say? A general observation like this virtue. Whether she or any one else apwas like Latin and Greek to her. She preciated it, he at least did. He was so looked at him, and that was all. By this far softened by the sense of his own time Brownlow had brought in the coffee, goodness, that when he had finished and he had begun to eat his breakfast. breakfast, he put his hand kindly upon It is a comfortable sort of thing to do on a her shoulder while he said “Good mornchilly spring morning, with a pleasant fire ing,” and finding her face near his and on one side of you, and sunshine and cro- turned towards him, kissed her for the cuses on the other, looking in through first time with much benevolence of feelthe window. This. mollified Frederick in ing. Innocent's face grew suddenly red spite of himself.
under this salute. She was not angry, “ That was a very foolish business of she was not pleased — she did not know yours last night,” he said, but in a softer how to receive it; but a sudden flush of tone; you must not do such things. I colour answered to the light and somedaresay it is dull for you here. You don't what c?reless touch. Frederick himself enter into their life, and there is nothing i went off half laughing, half confused. of your own to interest you. But still He said to himself that the girl was growyou know girls have to put up with that. ing into a woman, that she had developed It
may be hard, but still they have to do very quickly since he had brought her it. I suppose when you are married it is home. “I must mind what I am about,” expected that you should have it made he said to himself. Perhaps, on the whole, up to you. At least this is the ordinary i in giving this kiss, he had gone just a very state of affairs ; girls have to put up with little too far. And Frederick felt that there it. I cannot take you to my club, you was a deep responsibility upon him. He know, or to the — other places — where I must not "delude his cousin with hopes
that never could be realized. “ I did not want you to take me," said: With this feeling in his mind he went off Innocent, surprised.
to the office, a little wondering and alarmed “I am glad to hear it,” said Frederick. lest the story of his wonderful encounter He did not believe her any more than the last night in the street should have already maids did. He smiled a little within him- reached it. But nobody showed any self at the idea that she was yielding to a signs of knowing this curious incident, conviction of the necessity for pretence. and though Frederick was slightly deHe was half amused by this, and rather fiant and ready to stand on his defence more flattered than before. She must be'at the slightest provocation, no such
provocation was offered him. I do not harm than was involved in the sight of know how it is that when something dis- him. Then he did what he could io preagreeable is about to happen to us, we pare himself for the meeting. He butso often have this preparation of looking toned his coat, and took his hat and cane for something else, perhaps equally dis- by way of showing that he was about to agreeable, which does not come. Fred- leave the office, and had little time for erick was quite prepared to be assailed colloquy. He tried to make up his mind about the mysterious female figure which in desperate haste what to say about the he had rescued from the midst of the money, and he tried at the same time, crowd, and which he had driven off with, the one attempt mingling with the other, without a word of explanation, under the and confusing it, to make up some story very eyes of his astonished friend. He for home, to elicit a few more of those looked out a little nervously for every most necessary banknotes. It is cread. new-comer who entered the place, fancy- ful to think how many well-looking, faulting that his last night's companion would lessly-dressed young gentlemen in the appear. No one came, however, until public service like Frederick Eastwood, about three o'clock, just before the hour looking self-possessed enough for any for leaving, on the verge as it were of secu- emergency, and superior enough to crush rity. He was just beginning to tell him- into insignificance the greater part of self that all was safe, that his perils were their fellow-creatures, should be secretly over for the day, and that a joke of this occupied in making up hasty and clumsy kind could not survive twenty-four hours, inventions like this, to stave off the para when the porter brought him the card of ing of money, or to coax it out of wella visitor, who awaited him downstairs. guarded pockets. Frederick walked along Frederick took it unsuspicious, for at that the passage as slowly as he could towaris moment he feared only Egerton, his Jones's room. Wretched little Innocent! friend of last night. For a moment he It was all her fault that he had been segazed in wonder, which rapidly turned duced into this expenditure, and put in into consternation, at the card. This this man's power. Frederick rememwas the inscription upon it :
bered vividly how objectionable the
man's loud voice and coarse geniality had Mr. R. R. R. Batty, been to him when, with a bad headache
and a sinking heart, he sat and studied The Villa, Sterborne.
· Bradshaw," and counted out his last The name of a second-rate hotel in francs in the Paris hotel. What must he London was written in pencil across the seem now, when he no longer had it in card. Frederick hield it in his hand and his power to be of use, and appeared gazed at it, feeling his features stiffen as only in the guise of a creditor, always an if it had been the Gorgon herself whose odious character to appear in ? Fredcountenance he was contemplating. Ierick walked into the room at last with am afraid, that having heard nothing of something of the feelings which must Mr. Batty for some weeks, he had forgot-move the poor wretch who marches to ten the benevolent stranger who had in- his execution. Could he have followed terposed to save him when he was almost his own will, ropes would not have suiin extremity. Mrs. Eastwood had pre-ficed to drag him whither his reluctant sented her son with a bank-note or two feet now paced with that appearance of by way of paying the expenses of that voluntary motion which is often such a illness of his, which had detained him miserable pretence. To how many places compulsorily in Parts, and put him, no do we go thus, pretending to do it of our doubt, to a great deal of extra expense ; own free will — to balls and dinner parbut as there was not sufficient to pay ties, and other festive meetings, to our Batty, and Batty did not ask for pay-jown marriage sometimes, to every kind ment, Frederick' had disposed of these of act in which we are — heaven help us ! very comfortably in other ways.
free agents, as the jargon goes. FredShall I show the gentleman up?"|erick's feelings were doubtless exaggersaid the porter, while the young man ated, for, after all, he owed this man not gazed horror-stricken at the card. much over fifty pounds. But then the
Show him into Mr. Jones's room,” man could tell things of him which he said Frederick, with an effort. Jones fondly hoped were known to no one in was absent on leave, and his room was a his own sphere - as if there was anything safe place, where a disagreeable visitor in any man's life of a disagreeable or dismiglit be encountered without any more 'graceful kind which was not known !
Batty met him with the greatest cor-| he was engaged, or should he keep the diality, with a large red dirty hand out monster in good-humour by enduring a stretched, and smiles of genial welcome. dinner in his company? Was it worth
“ Delighted to see you looking so well, his while, since the monster appeired so sir,” he said: “ quite picked up again, eh, amiable by nature, to take all this trouble after your little spree abroad? Glad of to keep him in good-humour ? These, that.
You young men have no modera- and various other branches of the same tion. A steady old stager like me knows question, went through his mind, retardjust how far to go. But you're always on ing his reply. He did not personally ahead, you young ’uns. I came up to know his cousin the baronet, though town Saturday, Mr. Eastwood, to look Frederick was fully aware of the importabout me a bit, and see how the world ance to a young man in society of such a was going on, and I've lost no time in relative, and if the man really knew the looking you up."
Eastwoods, his power of telling a disa“Much obliged, I'm sure,” said poor greeable story was infinitely enhanced. Frederick, shivering. “I ought to have On the whole, it seemed to Frederick written to you about that money," and he that it was better to humour him, to acwent up to the smouldering fire and cept his invitation, and trust to the suppoked it violently. “ How cold the weath- port of Providence to get through the er keeps for this time of the year.” evening. After all, it was seeing "life"
" It do, to be sure," said Batty. “But as much at least as many other ways Mr. Frederick, if you'll give me the privi- which he had taken in his day for that lege of calling you so — - which comes nat- purpose, and which his friends were conural, seeing I have been among East- stantly employing. When he had got rid woods all my life — I ain't come here of Batty he made up, in case of any prying about the money. I'm above such chance discovery, an explanation of what mean tricks. When I can be of service he was about to do. “I am going to dine to a gentleman I'm proud, and so long as with an old fellow whom I picked up in I'm used honourable, and treated like a Paris the other day,” he said to the peofriend, hang me if I'd dun any man. It ple in the office. “A genuine John Bull, ain't the money, sir, but feeling that has ready for anything, but not knowing a brought me here.”
word of any language but his own. He "I ar. sure you are very good,” said turned out to be some sort of rural hangFrederick, stiffly, “ but however that may er-on of my cousin Sir Geoffrey, and out be on your part
, Mr. Batty, I am aware of gratitude he is going to give me a dinthat I ought to have written to you about ner. I expect some fun." what is really a debt of honour
* I wonder what that elaborate explan“ Hush, hush !” said Batty, “you ation means ?” one of his audience said make me feel like a shopman, I declare to another. “Eastwood is always up to you do. I've taken the liberty to write some mischief when he's explanatory, where we're staying, Mr. Eastwood, on This time I wonder what it can be. "I my card, and if you'll eat a bit of dinner won't believe he knows his cousin Sir with us at seven, sharp, you'll do us hon- Geoffrey from Adam." our, sir. I've got my daughter with me. “ If he did, he's a poor wretch in the It ain't often I can get her up to town, hands of the Jews, and not much good to and when I do I like to show her a bit any one,” said the other ; but perhaps of the world. If you'd ever been down this was because neither of the two had a our way with your cousin, the baronet, cousin in the baronetage, which makes a you'd lave heard of my girl. She's difference in a man's feelings. known as the Flower of Sterborne, down Innocent was in her usual place in the
I don't say but what you've little window by the door when Frederick great beauties about London, greater went home that evening. The sight of beauties than our country lasses; but I'm her recalled to him all the wise determinproud of my 'Manda. I'm not in the way ations of the morning, and he was anof asking my friends when she's with me, noyed to see how little fruit they had but an Eastwood ain't like any one else, borne. Really, he felt, this must be put at least not to her and me."
a stop to. He made a sign to her to “ I am sure you are very good,” said come out to him, and went round the side Frederick, using the same words again, of the house into the garden. It was a and stiffening more and more. A rapid cold and unfavourable spring, scarcely calculation had run though his mind warmer now, though it was the end of while Batty was speaking. Should he say March, than it had been in February, but
the days had grown longer, and Freder-| large tears dropped down her cheeks, as ick's return was now generally in day- she went silently along the walk by luis light.
side. She put up her hand furtively to " I wanted to say to you, Innocent, that dash them away. She turned her head you must give up this habit of watching from him that he might not see them. for me,” he said. “No doubt it is very Was it the same Frederick who had kind of you.
I did not mind it so much kissed her before he went out, who had when you were quite a stranger, and of always been good to her, except last course knew me best - and when the night? But she could not say anything nights were darker you were not so much either in defence or submission. She noticed at the window. But now you was too deeply and cruelly disappointed must recollect it is quite light, and a to have any power of speech leit. great girl like you is remarked. People “ You won't give in?” said Frederick will
say unkind things about you. They “You are just like all women. You will will say, for instance, that you are fond never allow you are in the wrong. When
I come home, fretted and vexed from ite “I am fond of you,” she said, with the world,” continued the young man, taking tears in her eyes.
a high tone, “and hoping to have a little “ That is all very well,” said Frederick, repose and comfort at home, you begin “but we must not go too far. Don't let to worry me from the first moment you me see you there again. Girls ought to catch sight of me. I declare it is hard; know these things without being told. a man who has always tried to do his You are a great girl, almost grown up : duty at home - and instead of finding it and you know the others now almost as a refuge from the troubles of life well as you know me. I should have told This speech was perfectly unintelligiyou this in the morning, but I forgot. Al- ble to Innocent. She looked up at bina together, Innocent, there must be a with vague surprise, being quite unaware, change. I had thought your own sense poor child, of the troubles of life from would teach you - and I thought that which Frederick escaped with the hope what I said this morning But you of finding comfort at home. He had talcompel me to speak plainly,” said Fred- len without thinking into the ordinary erick, seeing the face of his mother look- and conventional manner in which maning out from the drawing-room, and feel hood indignant addresses its womankind. ing inspired by the thought that he would He pulled himself up suddenly with a himself be called to question for this in-Pshaw!” of disgust, which could only terview with Innocent. He was deter- be addressed to himself. mined, however, at whatever risk to “put “I mean you must put a stop to all this a stop to this sort of thing.” And the nonsense,” he said, abruptly. “Make annoyance to which he had himself been yourself happy somehow.' Do as other subjected gave him strength and courage. people do. Don't sit and mope in a corIt seems only right that we should have ner and gaze at me, and don't watch for me compensation, and afflict others when any more at that window. If you do, I trouble has come to ourselves.
shall be horribly vexed. There now, run Innocent made no answer. She walked in and think no more of it. I don't mean silently by his side, overcome by the bit- to be cross; but you must remember, Interness of this sudden onslaught when nocent," he concluded with great emphashe had expected quite the reverse. sis, “you must remember that what you Poor child, her earliest training was all have got to do is to please, not yourself, emotional; the severest kind of mental but me.” discipline. When he made her a sign to Innocent received this first lesson in come out to him, she had thought he the female necessity of self-renunciation meant to be kinder, more affectionate in silence, taking it in with her eyes as than usual, more like what he used to be well as her ears. She kept looking at when he travelled with her, and cared for him, in the dulness of her perception, her in everything. How quickly, how wondering if there was something more gladly she had rushed out, leaving the to follow; but nothing followed. Thea door open behind her, as Brownlow re- she said “Yes” vaguely, and they went membered long afterwards. And to find in together, he to the drawing-roon, that all her pleasant expectations were to where he had his mother to encounter, end in a new and utterly unprovoked ai- she to the schoolroom, high up in the cés of scolding! She tried' hard not to roof, which she had taken possession of cry, her pride being hurt at last, but the Ito sit and dream in. Girls seldom have
their lesson so very plainly put forth to more pretentious and less expensive, but them in words, but perhaps Innocent's yet dear enough to frighten any moderate undeveloped mind required it. “What soul out of London. Frederick was you have to do is to please, not yourself, shown into a small dining-room, prebut me!”. She pondered the words, and pared for a small party. He saw with got to the length of mastering their mean-some relief that there were but three ing without any criticism. Such plain- places, and took his seat very easily speaking has in it a certain sublimity, and without ceremony in front of the fire, surmounting all secondary shades of with the Times, which was lying on a meaning, and penetrating into the sim- table. He scarcely noticed the door plest soul. She got it by heart, seated on open ; when it did open it would no her window-ledge, looking out upon the doubt be Batty, who was not shy, and little chapel, which once more had caught would soon make his presence known. something of the aspect of the church of Frederick read on, without looking bethe Spina. “Not yourself, but me; not hind him, until he became suddenly aware yourself, but me!” Thus Innocent got of a rustling and subdued movement, and her first great lesson by heart.
a slight air moved his paper as if some one had passed behind him. Startled by this, and somewhat ashamed of his own
easy indifference, he started sudddenly THE FLOWER OF STERBORNE.
to his feet, and turned round. He never I do not know if any prevision of the forgot all his life the sight that met his fate which was about to befall him was eyes. Standing behind his chair was (he in Frederick's mind on that eventful thought) the most beautiful woman be night. He had a few words with his bad ever
The archo look with mother, which were not altogether friend which she had been contemplating his ly, ere he went to dress, for Mrs. East- unconcern was still in her face. She was wood objected to the private walk and tall, almost as tall as himself, and ample, talk with Innocent, which seemed to her a fully-developed and splendid piece of to be done in defiance of her warning flesh and blood, not so warm or so fulland request.
blown as Rubens, but something ap“ Ask her what I said to her, if you proaching that school of art. She was of don't trust me,” Frederick had said in the class of beauty which has come to be high dudgeon, before he went to prepare distinctive of the present period, though himself for Mr. Batty's entertainment; I cannot tell why. Her hair, I need not and this encounter excited him, and gave say, was golden; her complexion dazhim a perverse inclination to enjoy him- zling. She was like the sun, almost as self with the host whom he felt would be brilliant, in her mingling of tints, her so highly disapproved of by his family: snow-white, and rose-red, and glittering I don't think he let his imagination dwell glory of hair. The sight of her was too at all on the fact that there was a third much for weak vision. It dazzled and person to be present, or that this was a brought water to the eyes of the rash and woman and a “beauty.” The greatest feeble beholder.
you could have beauty in the world being Mr. Batty's calmly examine her features, without redaughter could be of little importance to gard to that soft glow and glory of colour, an Eastwood. He went his way to and texture, and roundness, and life, it is Batty's hotel with his head full of many possible that you might have found them thoughts, but totally indifferent to this to be not at all perfect; but this not one
He thought it was immensely im- spectator in a hundred had coolness pudent of the fellow to ask him, that it enough to do. Her eyes were hazel; was rather hard upon himself to be they ought to have been blue, according obliged to go, that it would be amusing to all rules ; but it seemed part of her to see how fellows of that sort dined and character, and the wilfulness which was conducted themselves generally, along its chief point, that she should have eyes, with a variety of other reflections equally which, beautiful as they were, did 'not superficial; but he never thought of the quite go with ” her face. There are Flower of Sterborne, nor of the special many kinds of hazel eyes; it is the most effect she might be likely to produce on changeful, the most capricious of colours. a young man suddenly pre-ented to her. I have seen it turn to gold in a certain The hotel was not one of those seeming pair of orbs I wot of, showing like light humble and quiet establishments, where itself in the light. I have seen it melt princes and millionaires abound; it was into the softest liquid grey ; but there is