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“ You have a house to live in, clothes open their mouths before their eldersto cover you, and food to eat.'
the fact being that her own daughters “So has a well-to-do farmer's cow in had never been brought up at all. She winter. If I felt like a cow, I should always allowed things to drift as far and consider myself well off, I dare say." as long as she could. The girls had
“Who said anything about cows ? grown up, struggled up, scrambled upYou always wander so far from the anything that the reader likes. They point. Not only that, but you have had never been brought up by a hand your uncle's money to look to. When firm and tender at once ; and this fact he dies, you will, every one, be well off, accounted for some of their defects as and I shall perhaps have a little rest, if well as for some of their virtues. Then I'm not killed with trouble before ever again, though their lives were even more he goes-poor, dear old man !"
secluded, their opportunities fewer, their The last words came hastily, as an means narrower than hers had been at afterthought." It is best to bow at the their age ; though they lived at the end name of the devil-he can do so much of the world, in a dale without a railharm.” Mrs. Conisbrough had become way, their souls had received a sprinksuddenly desirous of counteracting the ling from the spray of that huge breaker impression which her first remarks might of the nineteenth century spirit which we have produced, that she cherished hopes call progress. How it had reached them of Mr. Aglionby's speedy demise, or that it would have been hard to say, but pershe considered him a stingy curmudgeon. haps the very silence and monotony of If any such speech ever penetrated to his their existence had enabled them to hear ears, the service of all these years would its thunder as it rolled onward, assuredly go for nought.
“ In lapses huge, and solemn roar, “I would far rather that uncle would
Ever on, without a shore." help me to make myself well off," said Certain it was that they had heard it, Judith. “I mean as soon as I get the had been baptized with some drops of its chance to write to some of the women's potent brine, and that thoughts and rights ladies, and ask them to help me ; speculations disturbed
disturbed their minds, only they will very naturally inquire, which would never have entered hers; • What can you do?' and I must per- that things which to her formed the sumforce answer, ‘Nothing, madam.' mum bonum of existence, caused them
“If ever you do so disgrace yourself, no pang by their absence. While she you-you will break my heart," said was always lamenting their want of Mrs. Conisbrough, who at the words money, their absence of " chances," “women's rights” beheld in her mind's they cried out that they had no work ; eye a woman on a platform, dressed in nothing to do. She wanted them to be men's clothes, and shouting at the top married; they wished to have employof her voice. She herself was one of ment. The difference of aim and those women who never look at a news- opinion was a deep and radical one ; it paper, and viewed them in the light of marked a profound dissimilarity in the useful protectors to white-painted pantry mental constitutions of mother and shelves, when not ruined for that exalted daughter; it was a constant jar, and a purpose by the stupid persons who would breach which threatened to grow wider. cut them, instead of leaving them in the She knew that this morning Judith original broadsheet.
and Delphine would have a weighty conBut Judith had left the room, far more fabulation upon certain points which deeply moved and agitated than her would not be submitted to her ; that mother, though the latter bore every out- aspects of the Irkford visit would be deward appearance of chagrin. Mrs. scribed and dwelt upon, of which she Conisbrough was left to fume over her would never hear anything.
She actroubles. She accused her girls of being cused her girls in her own mind of reobstinate, self-opinionated, and uncon- serve and secretiveness, oblivious of the ventional; she did not know where they fact that she never gave an opinion upon got that restless spirit from ; in her days their aspirations in the matter of work, young people were much more strictly save to condemn them. brought up, and scarcely ventured to Mrs. Conisbrough watched them as they left the house, and went up the your ever-generous hospitality," said the street toward the hill in whose recesses old man, and his smile, as he spoke, was High Gill was hidden-three as lovely, a sinister one, bearing a great resemlissom figures as a mother's heart could blance to Bernard's most malevolent wish to see. She heaved a deep sigh. grimace. His rugged evebrows came Her comely countenance looked clouded down in a kind of penthouse over his and downcast, and she shook her head. eyes, effectually concealing their expres"God forgive me !" she thought within sion, save when they caught the light, and herself ; sometimes I really wish he then there was that in them which was was dead, and all safe! Once in pos- not the lambent glow of benevolence. session we should be right, I know. It The old squire, as Aglionby was called is all absolutely his, and he can leave it in those parts, was not famed for the as absolutely to us. No one could set sweetness of his temper, nor for its ceraside any will that he chose to make. tainty. Mrs. Conisbrough had experiBesides, anything else, after all this enced, ere now, specimens of the defectime, and after all that he has promised, tiveness of this temper ; but though the would be so hideously unnatural.” men of the Aglionby race were not famed
She went to her seat by the fire, and for the ingratiating amiability of their to a great basket of household linen, manners, she thought she had never seen every article of which required repair, her uncle look so uncompromisingly vinfor all the things at Yoresett House had dictive as he did now. She misliked, been in use for many years, and nobody too, the suave and mellifluous accents in in the establishment had much money which he spoke, and which belied, the wherewith to buy new ones.
expression in his eyes. The inorning droned on, and she sat Well, at least sit down and rest," undisturbed in the breakfast parlor, she urged him. “The girls have all whose windows looked, not upon the gone out for a walk.”' market-place, but to the back, over a “Oh, have they? I hope Judith's delightful garden in which stood the big safe return satisfied your maternal apple-tree beneath which Mr. Danesdale's anxiety." dog had sat and watched Mrs. Conis- “I was not anxious about her, so long brough's cat ; and beyond that, to de- as I knew she was with you. She looked licious-looking, rounded, green hills, like wonderfully brightened up by the little those which form the background of change. It was so kind of you to take some of Mr. Burne Jones's pictures. her !" There were autumn woods, too, to be “Humph! If it doesn't make her seen-a blaze of scarlet and gold, from discontented with the home-coming." which the mist had now completely "Oh, well-regulated minds--" cleared away. Deep in one of these “ Like yours, Marion. I know how woods was High Gill, the favorite resort admirably you were brought up. And of the girls. They loved to pass a I am sure you have brought up your summer afternoon or an autumn morn- girls as well as ever you were brought ing there, listening to the lulling roar of up yourself. They are truthful, I the water, and watching the rainbows think. They ought to be, with a parmade by the spray.
son for their father, and such a good Profound silence throughout the old woman as you for their mother. I am house, till at last there came the sound sure you have taught them the sinfulof horses' hoofs along the street outside ness of telling lies, haven't you, now?" -hoofs which paused before her door. Lies"
“ It must be Uncle John, I suppose, Yes, lies. I always call them what she thought, and very soon afterward they are. Falsehoods,' 'untruths'- he walked into the room, saluting her such rubbish ; lies is the word for them, with the words,
and lies I call them." “Well, Marion, good-day !"
"Really, uncle," she said, with a Good-morning, uncle! How good nervous laugh, one would think you of you to come and see me so soon ! were accusing me of telling untruths.” Sit down, and have a glass of wine." Mrs. Conisbrough's tongue seemed to
“No, thank you. I won't trouble refuse to form the rougher word.
“ The last thing in the world, my nervously placed her own within it, dear, that I should think of. I was clutched it in; a grip of iron, so that her just saying that you were so well taught rings cut into her flesh, and staring into the wickedness of telling lies that you her face, with intent eyes, which seemed would be sure to bring up your daughters to flame with anger, said, in a rough with a great respect for the truth. And harsh voice, then, having yourself been a parson's “Last Saturday afternoon I saw my wife-you look surprised, my dear,'' he grandson. Last Saturday evening I saw added blandly. "It was your remark my grandson again. Yesterday morning about well-regulated minds, and a hum- I found him, and had a long conversadrunı life, which sent my thoughts upon tion with him, and told him who I was.' this task.. I'm sure you have taught “Oh-oh !" she cried faintly, and your daughters the necessity and beauty nerveless, pale, trembling, she would of truthfulness."
have sunk backward into her chair, but “I hope I have indeed, uncle John. that the grip with which he held her The world would be in a bad way with- hand, sustained her. out truthfulness, the most indispensable “He is not at all what I should have of moral virtues, I should call it." expected. He is very poor, and work
“ Ha, ha !”, he burst out, and there ing hard at a warehouse, where he has was something so absolutely malignant to slave for a lot of d-d upstart tradesin the tone of his laugh, that Mrs. Con- men, who would kick him out of doors isbrough looked at him, vaguely alarmed. if he uttered a murmur. That's what “ You never spoke a truer word, my he's been doing for years, ever since his dear. A bad way, indeed-a very bad mother died, and before that too. He way. All sorts of relations would be may have wanted a sovereign, many a getting wrong with one another, and all time, while I have been living in plenty ! sorts of injustice would reign rampant. Ah! it's enough to turn one's brain. Did you read the Tichborne case, when “ Ah ! Loose my hand !
Let me every one was interested in it?”
go !" she almost panted, as with labor"Now I never read newspapers.' ing breath and disturbed visage she
“ That's a pity. There are so many tried to get her hand free. “Uncle, interesting little scraps in them, such as you hurt me !" she at last cried petuladies like. In the first place, of course, lantly, as if petulance would relieve the there are the births, marriages, and agony of her overstrained nerves. He deaths, and then, for us men, the politi- laughed roughly, as he flung away, cal news, and the leading articles-you rather than loosed her hand, and conwomen don't care about such things, of tinued in the same grimly jocular strain course. But there are all kinds of bits to banter her concerning her skeleton in of gossip that women do care for—such the cupboard. She felt in her heart as long-lost sons turning up again, and sickening qualms of fear, as he thus all that kind of thing. That Tichborne burst open the door as it were, took the case was the case of a man who called spectre out, and dangled it relentlessly himself the rightful heir, you know." before her eyes, aghast as they were at
“Yes, I think-of course I heard a the unexpected revelation. great deal about it, though I didn't read Fancy what lies those relations of it. But, you see, we only have a news- his must have told-that mother, you paper once a week,” she faltered, turn- know,” he went on. “I always said ing pale, and pressing her hands against she was a graceless baggage, and she has her heart.
deceived the lad himself to such an exHe was remorseless.
tent that he won't even hear a word in “ It is just in the weekly papers that her dispraise. Some people are fools, they cull together the choicest morsels Marion, and some are liars. That's of that kind,” he said, smiling unpleas- just the difference in this world. What antly. "You consult your paper next a fool you must have been, once upon a Saturday, and I'll warrant you'll find lit- time, to be duped as you were, for a liar tle bits that will interest you.
you couldn't have been. He ose, and grasped his hat as if to He turned toward the door, when she, go; held out his hand, and when she suddenly springing up, ran after him,
seized his hand, and exclaimed, agony sity for dwelling on the matter in hand, and apprehension, pleading and urgency, persistently reverted to its grief and in her voice,
woes). "This life is a hard, dreary “Uncle John, be pitiful, I pray, business ; and what brutes men are. Remember my poor girls! What are Hard, grasping wretches ! They keep they to do? What will become of us us in slavery. They hate to see us free, all ? Oh, miserable woman that I am, lest they should lose our blind submiswhy was I ever born ?"
sion to them ; I know they do. If we "Ah, why?" he retorted, almost try to make ourselves free, they grind brutally. “ Being a parson's wife, you us to powder. Judith and Delphine are ought to know more about that than I right, yes, they are perfectly right in do. As for me, I'm an old pagan, like their principles, but they do not know, a lot of those I knew in this dale when as I do, what will become of them if we were all young together, and if we they carry those principles out. They had no Christian meekness, we were talk about selling themselves, and the free from some Christian vices too-lying degradation of trying to please men that among them. Good-day, my dear.' they may fall in love with them ; but
He did not turn again, but went when they are as old as I am, and have away, leaving her alone with her fears, lived through what I have, they will her misery, and her humiliation.
know that it is the only way for a woman “What does he mean?" she kept re- to find a little ease and comfort in this peating, beating her hands together as world. It is the only thing to do, unshe paced about the room. What less they want to be crushed to death for does he mean, and what does he intend defying the universal law." to do? Why does he not speak out? This was the form of reflection into It is enough to kill one to be kept in which Mrs. Conisbrough's emotions this agony of suspense. After all these usually crystallized after they had been years after all his promises, and all my deeply stirred, as this morning. She servitude--no it cannot, cannot be ! no, spoke as she felt. She loved ease, and it cannot,” she reiterated, catching her hated discomfort, and nothing moved breath. What could I tell him ? Why her so profoundly as the loss of the first, did he not wait, instead of speaking to and as having to endure the second. me in that manner, as if he wanted to Presently she somewhat calmed down, tear the very heart out of my breast. and when the girls came in from their How can any one speak, or explain— stroll, she looked not very different from how can a nervous woman collect her usual, though she was pale and silent. self, with a man glaring at her more like She gathered that they had been at the a devil than a human being-mad with waterfall all the morning, and (implied, unreasoning rage ! And then they talk though not expressed) occupied, Judith about women having no self-command! and Delphine, in what Rhoda called Oh, if I dared, what a tale I could tell talking secrets. Immediately after about men, and their boasted generosity dinner Mrs. Conisbrough retired to her to those who are weaker than them- own room, saying she felt tired, and selves. I believe if I said what I wanted a rest. She did not mention thought, that I could make even a man their uncle's visit to the girls, who were blush-if that is possible. But I must thus left for the afternoon as well as for not lose my self-command in this way,' the morning to follow their own devices. she added, suddenly collecting and composing herself, and seating herself in
CHAPTER IX. her rocking-chair she swayed slightly to and fro, with clasped hands, and eyes fixed on the ground, lost in a painful, RHODA had put on an ancient straw terrified calculation of chances.
hat and a pair of leather gloves, and “I must think, think, think about gone to“ do a little gardening." Judith it," she thought within herself. “ It is and Delphine were alone in the parlor. that thinking and calculating which “ Then you'll go ?" said the latter. wears me out more than anything else. "I shall go this very afternoon. We Oh!" (as her mind, despite the neces- have quite decided that it is the best,
and there is no use in delaying it. He around on every side ; with the white was in a very good temper, and, for sinuous roads traced over them ; roads him, quite gentle all the time we were at which led over wild passes and lonely Irkford. Yes, I shall go.”
commons” to other valleys and dales, “The sky has turned gray, and it remoter even than this one. Lovely in looks as if there might be a storm.” spring, in summer ; lovely, in a way,
“I'll put on my old things. I cannot at every season, but, on this gray Ocwait.”
tober afternoon, invested with a cer. “Well, God speed you, I say. I tain savage melancholy, a bleak desolashall be trembling all the time until you tion unnoticed, probably, by most of return.
those who lived amid it, but which had Judith ran up-stairs, and soon its undoubted influence upon their habits tuined, equipped evidently for a long and their characters, and which must walk over a rough road, in strong boots, have stirred an artist's heart, and set a her skirt kilted conveniently high, and poet's brain working in lines which he her soft rough hat on her head. Del- might have made as rough and abrupt phine came with her to the door, looking as he chose, but which, to fully express wistfully at her.
the poetry of the scene, must have had “Let me go, Judith !” she said sud- in them something both of grandeur and denly. “ It is always you who have the of grace. disagreeable things to do.'
It was a strange, forsaken courtry, "You, child don't talk nonsense, full of antique gray villages, which made and never fear. I am all right. Good
no progress, and most of which ap
peared gradually falling into decay, inDelphine kissed her hand after her, habited by persons many of whom had and watched her down the sloping mar- never been even into ihe neighboring ket-place, till she turned a bend in the Swaledale. All this district, in the early road, and was lost to view. Judith days of English religious dissent, was a stepped forward at a pace which carried stronghold of the people called Quakers. her quickly over the ground. There Here and there, in unexpected places, was nothing of what is popularly known in archaic-looking little towns, in tiny, as “masculine” in her movements, but half-forsaken hamlets, will be found they were free, graceful, and untram- some little square stone meeting-house, melled : she did not hobble on high often incapable of holding more than heels, nor were her garments tied back from a dozen to twenty persons. There in such a manner as to impede her every was such a meeting-house, though one motion. Her gown followed the ld raiher more considerable in size, in the Danesdale rule for what a gown should brown village through which Judith had be-it was not long enough to catch the passed, and in its dreary little yard were dirt, and it was walking width and mouldering the bones of some of these striding sidth, as a gown should be. stern old “Friends," unindicated even The walk she had before her was one by a name, with nothing to show them which required such a gown and such a save the grass-covered mound beneath chaussure as she wore--along a good which they lay. Sturdy spirits, Spartan country road, which kept pretty much souls they had been-spirits of the kind on the level until she arrived at a brown, known in their day as God-fearing,” a bleak-looking village, which had a kind one seldom meets with and seldom weather-bealen appearance, a green in hears of now. Looking round on the the centre, with five old horses grazing present race, one feels indeed that they upon it. Then the road became a rough would be hard set to comprehend those one.
Beautiful, no doubt, in its vary. “God-fearing" men, or any of their ing charm of uphill and downhill, in the works or ways, or to understand the grand views of the high hills, and the spirit that breathed into and animated long, bare-backed fells which spread them. Emasculate orthodoxy faints * That is, for walking, wide enough, and to
away on the one hand in incense and spare, with space enough to stride in, if nec
altar bouquets of hothouse flowers ; on essary, without being pulled short at each the other, dilutes its intellect in the pace.
steam of tea-meetings," in the reek of