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It will. That is a fact beyond dis- their eyes were not so open to her depute. But they never wait for me, and fects. She alertly answered, “ Yes, to I shall have the pleasure of mystifying be sure," and ran back into the parlor, them and seeing their curiosity run riot. while Judith toiled slowly up the stairs, That is what I enjoy. D-don't distress and along the bare, hollow-sounding yourself.”
She entered her own bedThey were passing the market cross room, placed the candle upon the dressin Yoresett. Judith was opposite her ing-table, and paused. She pulled off mother's door. She shook hands with her gloves, threw them down, and then Randulf, thanked him for his escortstood still, looking lonely and desolate, and wished him well home before the till a light, flying foot sounded along the storm broke.
passage ; even at that gentle rush her “ Thank you, and if I may presume face did not lighten. Then Delphine's to offer you a little advice, Miss Conis- lovely face and willowy form came floatbrough, don't bother yourself about ing in, graceful, even in her haste. your wicked uncle.
* Judith ?" There was inquiry, susShe smiled faintly, bowed her head; pense in her tone. he waved his hand, sprang upon his "Oh, Delphine !" Bursting into a fit horse, and they parted.
of passionate weeping, she fell upon her sister's neck and cried as if her heart
would break. With her heart low again, she knocked " Was it of no use ?'' asked the at the door. Insensibly to her percep- younger girl at last, softly caressing her tions—for she had been so absorbed, as she spoke. first in her own emotion, and afterward Worse than no use! He not only in her conversation with Mr. Danesdale, refused, he insulted me ; he spoke that she had noticed nothing else—the abusively, talked about plots' and storm had increased. The wind was 'schemes' and things I could not underalternately wailing a dirge and booming stand. And at last he got into a fury, threats across the fells to the town. and he -oh, Delphine, Delphine-he There would be floods of rain to-night, bade me begone. He turned me outand to-morrow Swale and Yore would from Scar Foot-from my dear old place be thundering in flood through their that I loved so ! Oh, I think my heart valleys, fed by a hundred swollen becks will break !" from the hillsides. As the door was He must be mad--the horrid old opened to her, the first cold splash of monster !" cried Delphine, distinctly, rain fell upon her face. The storm was her figure springing erect, even under from the northwest. It was well that the burden of her sister's form, and her all who had homes to go to should seek tones ringing through the room. “ He them while the tempest lasted.
has not the right to treat you, or any of It was Rhoda who had opened the us, in that way. Let him do without door.
Let him try how he likes living Judith !" she exclaimed. “Mamma alone in his den, and getting more and and Í both said you would be kept all more ill-tempered every day, till he night at Scar Foot. It was only that frightens the whole country-side away bird of ill omen—that croaker, Del- from him. I will never go near him phine, who said you would not. Are again, of my own free will, but if ever I
meet him, I will tell him what I think of A little, I believe," replied Judith, him ; oh, I will ! Cheer up, Judith ! anxious for an excuse not to go into the Keep a good heart. We will not be parlor immediately. “Oh, there's my beaten by a tyrant like him. Depend candle, I see. I'll go straight up-stairs. upon it, it was the idea of our wanting I wish you'd tell Del to come and help to be free, and wanting him to set us me a minute.”
free, of all people, that made him so Mrs. Conisbrough always resented wild. Don't cry more, now. We must the tendency to “ talk secrets. Rhoda go down to tea. Mother seems a little had rather a respect for it--besides, when out of sorts just now, too. We will her elders were engaged in that pastime, talk it over to-night. Come, my poor
you wet ?''
dear! Let us take off your things. working, some of them reading. Their How tired she must be !” she added, store of books was small, but they were caressingly. “After walking alone, all occasionally able to borrow a few from along that dreadful road, and in such a certain Mrs. Malleson, their one and weather. It wasn't fit to turn out a only intimate friend, whose husband dog. Why, it must have been dark be- was rector of the great parish of Stannifore you got to Counterside, Ju! You forth, which comprised Yoresett and would wish for old Abel and his fog- many other places. The doctor of the horn. How did you grope your way district, who also lived some distance along the road ?"
away, and who was a kindly.natured “That reminds me," said Judith sud- man, would occasionally remember denly, while a deep blush spread over " those poor Miss Conisbroughs," and her face and neck. “I wasn't alone, would put a volume or two in his greatexcept for about half a mile from Scar coat pocket for their benefit. Judith
was making a pretence of reading one of "Not alone ? Did Toby from the these volumes now. Delphine sat at the farm bring you with his lantern ?"' old piano, and touched a chord now and
“I never saw Toby. It was Mr. then, and sang a phrase once and again. Danesdale"
Rhoda was embroidering. Mrs. Conis “ Mr. Danesdale !!!
brough held a book in her hands, which “Yes. And the worst is he found she was not reading any more than Jume sitting in a hedge, like a tramp who dith was reading hers. can walk no farther, groaning, with my Meantime, without, the storm had face in my hands."
increased. Judith had heard the first “Oh, Judith! How terrible !" threatenings of the wind, which was
He got off his horse and walked now one continuous roar. The rain, in with me to Yoresett. He is probably spasms, lashed the panes furiously. now riding for dear life, to be as nearly Yoresett House could stand a good deal in time for dinner as he can."
of that kind of thing. No tempest even “Well, we must go down now,” said shook it, though it might, as it did toDelphine, very quietly. “You must tell night, make wild work with the nerves me about that afterward. There's of some of those who dwelt there. Rhoda calling out that tea is ready." Suddenly Rhoda raised her dusky
Arm in arm they went down-stairs into head ; her glowing brunette face was all the warm, lighted parlor, which, despite listening; she held up a warning finger its shabby furniture, looked very com- to Delphine to pause in her playing. fortable and homelike, with the tea-table “Don't you hear wheels ?” she said spread, and the urn singing, and the in a low voice, such as befitted the old-fashioned crystal glass full of grace- solemnity of the occasion. fully arranged yellow-berried holly and They all listened ; yes, wheels were glossy ivy-leaves.
distinctly audible, quickly moving, and Mrs. Conisbrough did not inquire a horse's hoofs, as it came down the anything respecting the reception her street. Quick as thought Rhoda had eldest daughter had met with from her bounded to the window, lifted the white uncle. She cast a wavering, suspicious linen blind, and pulled it over her head, glance toward Judith, as the girls came in a frenzy of aroused curiosity. in, which glance presently grew more Just opposite the house stood the only reassured, but neither cheerful nor in- public illumination possessed by Yorequiring. In her own mind she was sett- :-a lantern, which threw out melanthinking, “What has he said to her ? choly rays and cast a flickering light How far has he gone ?” Judith met upon the objects around. It burned in her mother's look in her usual manner, a wavering, uncanny manner, in the and spoke to her with her usual cordi- furious gusts to-night, but Rhoda's eyes ality. Mrs. Conisbrough heaved a sigh were keen. Emerging presently from of relief, but dared not proceed to ques- her retirement, she found three pairs of tions of any kind.
eyes gazing inquiringly at her. When the meal was over they all sat Would you ever believe it," she still in the same room, some of them cried. “It's old Mr. Whaley's dogcart, with the white mare, and he is in inquired of a solemn-looking butler it.
whom he met as he passed through the "Old Mr. Whaley" was the family hall. lawyer of the Aglionby clan, and had “They are dining, sir,” was the rebeen so for forty years.
spectful reply, and Randulf's visage “Nonsense, my dear child !" protest- wore an expression of woe and gravity ed her sisters. It is some belated trav- impossible to describe ; yet an impartial eller, and the flickering light has de- observer must have come to the concluceived you."
sion that Thompson and his young mas“I tell you it was old Mr. Whaley. ter were enjoying an excellent joke toDon't I know his mare Lucy as well as gether. I know my own name? He was sitting “ If Sir Gabriel should ask, say I am muffled up and crouching together, and in, and will join them in five minutes,' his man was driving. Will you tell me said Randulf, going up-stairs. During I don't know Peter Metcalfe and his his dressing he again gave vent to the red beard ? and they were driving to- exclamation, “Inc-credible,” and this ward the road to Bainbeck.”
time it may reasonably be supposed to “ It is strange !” said Delphine. have referred to the extreme celerity
Rhoda, going back toward her place, with which he made his toilette. looked at her mother.
When he had ridden into the court“Mamma's ill!" she cried, springing yard ten minutes ago, he had looked to her side.
animated, interested, and interesting, as “No, no! It's nothing. I have not he perfectly sat his perfect horse. There felt very well all day. Leave me alone, had been vigor and alertness in his children, it will pass off. Old Mr. movements, and a look of purpose and Whaley, on the road to Bainbeck, did life in his eyes. That look had been you say, Rhoda ? Then he must be go- upon his face from the moment in which ing to see your uncle."
he had reined up his horse by the road
side, and seen Judith Conisbrough's CHAPTER XII.
eyes looking up at him. When he came DANESDALE CASTLE.
into the dining-room, and the assembled
company turned their eyes upon him RANDULF DANESDALE, after taking with a full stare of surprise, or inspecleave of Miss Conisbrough, sprang upon tion, or both, and his father pretended his horse again, pulled his collar up about to look displeased, and his sister looked his ears, rammed his cap well on to his so in stern reality, he looked tired, lanhead, called to his dog, and rode on in guid, indifferent-more than indifferent, the teeth of the wind, toward his bored to death. home. Soon the storm burst over him in Sir Gabriel looked as if he would have full fury, and he was properly drenched spoken to him, but Randulf's place was before arriving at Danesdale Castle. at the other end of the table, nearer his During his ride thither, he constantly sister, Miss Philippa Danesdale. He gave vent to the exclamation, “Inc- dropped into the vacant chair left for credible !" which might have reference him by the side of a lady who looked to the weather, he being as yet some- out of temper ; a lady with considerable what inexperienced in the matter of claims to good looks, in the confident, storms as they'rage in Yorkshire dales. unabashed style of beauty ; a lady, More probably was caused by some finally, whose toilette bore evidence of train of thought. Be that as it may, the having cost a great deal of money. She exclamation was oft reiterated. At last, was Miss Anna Dunlop, Miss Danesafter a long, rough ride along country dale's dearest friend, and Randulf had roads uncheered by lamps, he ascended had to take her in to dinner every day the hill going to Danesdale Castle, and since his return home. rode into the courtyard where the stables Glancing around, he uttered a kind of and kennels were, delivered his horse general apology, including Miss Dunlop over to his groom, and sauntered toward in it with a slight bow, and then he the house.
looked wistfully round the table. “ Are they dining, Thompson ?'' he You appear to be looking for some
thing, Mr. Danesdale," observed Miss nor did she stoop it, even in the act of Dunlop, her corrugated brow becoming eating and drinking. She always spoke more placid.
in an exceedingly low voice, which only Only for the s-soup. I am abso- a great emergency or extreme irritation lutely starving," was the reply, in a tone ever caused her to raise ; indeed it is of weariness which hardly rose above a useless to deny the fact, Miss Daneswhisper.
dale, from what cause soever, muttered, “ If you will be so late, Randulf,' with what results, on the tempers of hersaid his sister in the low voice she self and of those who had to interpret always used, “ you must expect to have her mutters or be asking for a repetition to wait, a minute or two at any rate, for of them, may be more easily imagined your dinner. The servants are not om- than described. Her brother, who had nipotent.
seen little of her until this last final " I hope not, indeed !" he said. “If home-coming, considered the habit to they were, where would you be? Where be one of the most trying and exasperatshould I be? Where should we all ing weapons in the armory of a trying be ?"
and exasperating woman. Miss DanesYou snap up people's remarks in dale had every intention of behaving the most unkind manner," expostulated very well to her brother, and of making Miss Dunlop on Philippa's behalf. him welcome, and being very kind to “ Your sister only meant to calm your him ; but the manner in which she disimpatience, and you misconstrue her re- played her goodwill took a didactic, mark, and call up a number of the most even a dictatorial form, which failed to dreadful images to one's mind."
recommend itself to the young man. “ Dreadful images! Isn't there a If it were not sure to be taken for femisong ? Oh, no, engines ; that's it-not nine illwill toward the nobler and images. See the dreadful engines of larger-minded sex, the present writer eternal war.' Do you know it?" would feel obliged to hint that Randulf “I never heard it.
I believe you are Danesdale felt spiteful toward his esmaking it up," said Miss Dunlop re- teemed sister, and that occasionally he proachfully.
acted as he felt. In any case, he ap. “Ah ; it's old. It used to be sung peared on the present occasion not to long before your time--when I was a hear her, and in exactly the same voice boy, in fact,'' he returned, with a grav- and words she repeated her question, ity so profound as to be almost oppres- looking at him as he gazed wearily at sive.
the pattern of his now empty soup-plate. Miss Dunlop paused a moment, and Did the Sparthwaites keep you so then decided to laugh, which she did in late, Randulf ?" a somewhat falsetto tone, eliciting no He looked up with a vague, dreaming responsive smile from him. A dismal expression. idea that Randulf was a sarcastic young A-! Did some one speak to me?". man began to distil its baneful poison Extreme irritation now came into through her mind. What did he mean play. Miss Danesdale raised her voice, by so pointedly saying, “ It used to be and in a far from pleasant tone, cried : sung when I was a boy?”
“Did the Sparthwaites keep you so "Did the Sparthwaites keep you so late?". late, Randulf ?" asked his sister ; but “I have come straight here from the he did not hear her, or appeared not to Sparthwaites," he replied, mournfully
Miss Danesdale was a plump, accepting the fish which was offered to red-haired woman, no longer young. It him. was said by some of those friends of her 'Whom did you meet there ?" she youth whom she, like others, found asked. somewhat inconvenient when that youth Any one who could have performed had fled, that she was forty. This, the feat of looking under Randulf's however, was supposed by those who wearily-drooped eyelids into his eyes knew her to be a slight exaggeration. would have been rewarded with the visShe sat very upright, always held her ion of a most uncanny-looking sprite, shoulders back, and her head elevated, which suddenly came floating and whirl
ing up from some dark well of wicked- “Roast mutton ? oh, joy !” he exness deep down in a perverted mascu- claimed, with a look of sudden hungry line nature. When he raised his eye- animation, which greatly puzzled some lids, the sprite had discreetly drawn a of the company, who saw him that night veil between itself and the audience. for the first time, and who said afterNone the less did it prompt the reply : ward that really that young Danesdale
“Oh, a l-lot of people. I sat next was very odd. He came in so late to an awfully good-looking woman, whom dinner, and sat looking as if he were I admired. One of those big, black going to faint, and told a very ill-nawomen, like a rocking-horse. C- tured story about Mrs Prancington. champed the bit just like a rocking- (though Mrs. Prancington is a ridicuhorse too, and pranced like one. She lous woman, you know), and then he said,"
suddenly fell upon the roast mutton with There were accents in Randulf's voice an ogreish fury, and could hardly be got which called a smile to the faces of some to speak another word throughout the of the company, who had begun to lis- meal. They were sure he had astonten to his tale. Miss Danesdale ex- ished poor Anna Dunlop beyond claimed almost vivaciously :
bounds, for she did not speak to him “ Why, you must mean Mrs. Pr~" again.
“Don't tell me before I've finished. Perhaps Mr. Danesdale had desired I don't know her name. Her husband this consummation, perhaps not. At had been ill it seemed, and she had been least, he did not murmur at it, but atnursing him, and they pitied her because tacked the viands before him in such a of it ; and she said, 'Oh, I have nursed manner as soon to make up for lost him before now. I held him in my time. arms when he was a b-baby.”
Presently the ladies went to the draw“ Randulf !”
ing-room, and the men were left to their “ I was h-horror-struck; and I sup- wine. All the rooms at Danesdale Cas. pose I showed it, for she suddenly gave tle were agreeable, because they could a wild prance, and champed the bit not help being so. They were quaint more than ever, and then she said : 'Of and beautiful in themselves, and formed course I don't remember it, but they tell parts of a quaint and beautiful old me I did. My dear husband is a year house ; and of course Miss Danesdale or two younger than I am, but so did not wish to have vulgar rooms, and
had not, unless a certain frigid stiffness Mr. Danesdale sank again into a re- be vulgarity, which, in a “ withdrawingflective silence. Sir Gabriel and the room, meant to be a centre of sociaelder portion of the company went off bility and ease, I am inclined to think into a storm of laughter, which did not in it is. the least mitigate the deep gloom of the Miss Dunlop was staying in the heir. Miss Dunlop's high color had in- house. The other ladies were neighbors creased to an alarmingly feverish hue. from houses not too far away. All beMiss Danesdale looked unutterable longed to “the dale." They were not things. Sir Gabriel, who loved a joke, of a very lively type, being nearly all adpresently wiped the tears from his eyes, vanced in middle life, stout, and inand said, trying to look rebuking : clined to discuss the vexed topics of
* My dear boy, if you let that sarcas- domestics, children, the state of their tic tongue of yours run on in that way, greenhouses, their schools, and their you'll be getting into mischief."
clergy, all of which subjects they “I sarcastic ?" he ejaculated, with a seemed to sweep together into one catelook of the deepest injury. “My dear gory, or, as Randulf had been known sir !"
irreverently to say,
These women “Will you have roast mutton, Ran- lump together infant-schools, bedding dulf ?” asked Miss Danesdale, behind out plants, parsons and housemaids in a her mittened hand, as if she were putting way that makes it impossible for any igsome very disgraceful question, and norant fellow like me to follow the condreaded lest the servants should hear it. versation." “ Because if-"
These dowagers, with Miss Dunlop