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the best this travelling embassy was Burlingame mission until Sir Rutheronly calculated to supersede and stultify ford Alcock had been received in a the functions of our own minister at satisfactory manner at Peking. The Peking, and we therefore could have Chinese envoys and those who sent lost nothing by holding aloof from it. them would of course have sacrificed The suspicion of falsified credentials the success of their mission rather than and other irregularities from which the have bought it at such a price; but character of the mission has only been nevertheless such a decided stand made ambiguously cleared, might have afforded by us would have produced a most additional reasons for caution in dealing wholesome effect on the Chinese authoriwith so singular an embassage. To ties, and at least paved the way to a admit under any circumstances Mr. settlement of the Audience Question. Burlingame and his “co-envoys" to an On the 23rd November last, another audience of the Queen while her Ma- Chinese Embassy was reported to have jesty's representative was being treated been received by the French Governwith contumely at Peking, was clearly ment, also without any conditions as to to condone the latter offence, and to reciprocity having been exacted, whence throw away a means almost providen- it

appears

that the statesmen of France tially provided of protesting with effect are no more intelligently alive to their against a national indignity. What true position in the far East than Lord Lord Clarendon ought to have done Granville or Mr. Hammond. was surely this: to refuse to receive the

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CHAPTER VI.

offer for me? You are not afraid,” said

the Vicar, and his tone was not questionIn the agitations of the preceding day, ing, but affirmative. and Bernard's departure and her own No, I am not afraid,” said Christina: thoughts, Christina had quite forgotten and she threw back her head and laughed the mission with which she had been a little; " but you will not be vexed, I charged to her grandfather, and Mr. hope, if he refuses. I know he will not Warde's offer had passed out of her give in. He would die sooner than give mind. Mr. North was more irritable in.” And then he took his leave, and than usual, and her mother was restless Christina went at once to her grandfather. and uneasy ; but Christina sat over her He sat in his arm-chair, blowing clouds work, and the day seemed long, but she of smoke out of a short thick pipe, and forgot to ask herself the cause of her the occupation had soothed him ; he did mother's uneasiness or her grandfather's not reproach Christina for her entrance, ill-temper.

but even made a sort of majestic wave It was late in the afternoon when with his hand to intimate that she might Mrs. North came into the room, looking seat herself on the low stool opposite a little anxious and excited. Mr. to him. Christina was not afraid, but Warde is in the other room," she said ; neither was she conciliatory. She wished

can you go to him, Christina ? Hé that the offer might be accepted : she says that he spoke to you last night." would have accepted it if the decision

“ Last night? yes, of course,” said had rested with her ; but yet she was Christina. “ It is kind of him. I sup not diplomatic, and had no idea of gainpose he has told you ; but grandfather ing her purpose in any but the most will never consent: I know he will not.” direct and abrupt manner.

“I cannot ask him," said Mrs. North, “Mr. Warde has just been here," she nervously. “I told Mr. Warde it was said. no use begging me to do it. He is so “ Has he ? He is always welcome. I angry when he is contradicted, and I have a great respect for Warde,” said cannot face it. But Mr. Warde said her grandfather, and he said it as if he that you did not mind.”

thought that it was a declaration which “No, I don't mind, certainly,” said would find favour with Christina ; but Christina. It seemed strange to her she was too intent upon her purpose to that anyone should be so excited about notice this. such a commonplace matter; and she “He wished me to tell you," she went did not know what it was to be afraid on, “that he does not care about the of anyone.

Her terrors were all imagi- rent of this house. He hopes that you native, and had nothing to do with won't think about paying it at present; things which she could prove and touch. as he is now, he does not care about the She got up at once and threw down her money.” work, and went to Mr. Warde, who was “What!” said Mr. North, and he waiting in the front room.

took his pipe out of his mouth, and “I have been speaking to Mrs. North,” leant forward in his chair. “What! not he said, “but she is unwilling to go to care for the money! Then, confound your grandfather. Will you make my him, he ought to care for it. Why should

once.

you can

I care for it more than he does ? I will terest in her, how many crooked things live upon no man's charity."

would it make straight! She would be “I can't see what charity has got to provided for, taken out of harm's way; do with it,” said Christina ; "he does and then it would be a different thing not want the

money,

and
you

do." when he was Christina's husband; he “I do! Who told you I do? And if could then do many things which he could I did, do you think I would beg of the not do for them as vicar of the parish; parson? I'd rather go on the parish at and in spite of what he had said about

As to the rent, it is not due yet; marriage, he would still, under those and if we do run a little sbort, I suppose circumstances, spare the rent, as Mr. your aunt could lend me a few pounds. North knew well. “As to Christina, It is poor work being proud when your she would give away her last crust if it parson comes to offer you money." was to do anyone any good,” the old man

“You are very queer, grand papa," said to himself, not without a certain said Christina, who got on with him pride in a generosity which had dwelt better than most people, just because she in him too before he had been cramped took no pains to be respectful : “if it by his misfortunes. He was even somewas me, I shouldn't mind.”

what softened by his own interpretation “No, I dare say that you would not; of the course things were taking; and but look here, Christina, I'm not going when the next evening Mr. Warde came to have any more of this nonsense. to receive his answer, and he watched Warde has spoken to you, and you can him pacing up and down the level bit of give him his answer. So long as you

heath behind the house with Christina, say what I mean, you can say it as you he called his daughter-in-law's attention like. The fellow has no more tact than to it with a pleased pride which had an ox, and I don't

suppose
that

taken all the irritation and bitterness out hurt his feelings."

of his voice. “I shall certainly not try,” said Look, Mary!” he said: and Mrs. Christina, indignantly; "I wonder that North stood up and looked. It was a you can feel like this, grandpapa. At stormy evening : the heath was wet with any rate, I am very grateful, and I shall rain, and red lights glowed under the tell him so."

heavy clouds which lay along the hori"Well, tell him what you like on zon; and though it was summer, the your own account," said Mr. North : wind was blowing in chilly gusts from and after Christina was gone, he sat the north. But Christina did not seem there still, blowing out his clouds of to know it; she was pacing up and down, smoke; and though he had been angry bareheaded, talking with grave interest, and allowed himself to fly into a passion, if not with animation ; and the clergyit was not of his passion nor of his man, in his broad wide-awake, with his injuries that he was thinking, but of hands crossed behind his back, was something which had never yet disturbed evidently deep in some discussion. him, to which he had hardly ever given “Yes, I see,” said Mrs. North drearily, a serious thought. Why was it that this and took up her work again without offer of Mr. Warde's, joined to Chris- another word. tina's words, had awakened speculations He may not always know what he as to his granddaughter's future? He ought to do," said Mr. North, leniently; wondered, as he said this, what had been

* but he is a good fellow. Christina the motive of the Vicar's proposal, what might do worse." had roused Christina's indignation, and Yes; it was true enough Christina what she would say to him on her own might do worse ; but her grandfather account. It was not the kind of thought was wrong in his conjectures, and her to which he was generally addicted, but thoughts were very far from his. To he was proud of his granddaughter; and her Mr. Warde was a kind friend and if it might be that Warde took an in- counsellor, and a liberal, honest-minded

No. 147.-VOL. XXV.

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a

man, qualified by his age and experi or lying upon the heather with his ence to help her in her practical difficul book, or driving into Overton as if he ties. And his experience had not led had not a minute to spare or was racing him to distrust and doubt and fear, as for a wager; but after all it was of no her mother feared. He had seen

consequence, and, as she often told great deal of life during his work as a Christina, they had nothing to do with parish priest, but he was still ready to him or he with them. Perhaps it might believe in the existence and the strength have been otherwise if Mr. Warde had of goodness, and its final triumph over not been there to make it all safe ; but evil; and this spirit was congenial to thinking, as she did, that he and ChrisChristina.

tina were of one mind, and that all She saw a great deal of him at this would be as she desired, she saw no time, for he came often to the house, and danger for her daughter in occasional he lightened the gloom of the house- meetings with an idle young man, who hold, silencing Mrs. North’s complaints, was to her thinking as far out of her and rousing the old man from his fits reach as the "bright particular star" of sullen abstraction; and Christina was out of the reach of Helena. She was frankly grateful to him, and never did not think that Christina might be guessed why his visits were so welcome in her heart a radical, and that this guilf to her grandfather and her mother : and might be a mere streamlet to her. Yet all this time an undercurrent of un all this time Christina had kept true to certain happiness and excitement lay her word ; she had not been to Captain beneath this every-day exterior of Cleasby's house, nor had she seen his monotonous routine and commonplace sister. This was not his fault, but she difficulties. Christina did not ask her had stood firm, and had had an unknown self why they did not press upon her ally in Miss Cleasby. as heretofore ; she did not ask herself “Why should I make an exception why they had sunk into insignificance ; in their favour ?" she had said, when perhaps she did not dare to ask herself he urged her going to visit the Norths. . questions. She did not tell herself that “You know I am going nowhere. I Captain Cleasby's visits made epochs in shall offend the whole neighbourhood. her life; she did not acknowledge to her If I call upon the Norths, I shall be self that the turns in the road, the spots expected to call upon everyone.” on the heath where she chanced to meet That is nonsense, Augusta ; they him, were to be associated with those are your nearest neighbours. Why, they casual meetings for ever after in her live at our door. If you had not been mind. And she even wondered why it ill and kept to the house, you must have was an effort to speak of these meetings met them long ago. And it is not like a to her mother. Her grandfather, though conventional civility; here the opporhe tolerated his visits and behaved to tunity is given you of doing a real kindhim with courtesy, never cared to hear If you had seen the old man and his name ; but her mother could not the mother, you would be glad to be feel it in the same way, and though it friendly to the girl. I never entered a was an effort, Christina would speak of more dismal house; and, besides, she is him and sometimes quote his words. the only creature one cares to speak to They were words which all the world in this lively, intellectual neighbourhood might have listened to for that matter; -and charming to look at." but nevertheless it was with a reluctance "And in that final clause lies the for which she could give no account to germ of all your Christian charity," said herself that she brought herself to repeat his sister. She smiled a languid, halfthem. As for Mrs. North, she paid unwilling smile, and looked at her little heed. She thought Captain Cleasby brother, who was sitting on the end of might find something better to do with her sofa, impatiently hitting his boot his time than strolling about the lanes, with his riding-whip.

ness.

They were in the drawing-room, a rest of her face, but with lovely lines large handsomely-furnished room, with about the finely chiselled lips, and with narrow French windows looking on to a firm, kindly expression when in a terrace. The curtains were of crimson repose. velvet, and so was the low couch on If, taking her as a whole, you said which she was half reclining; and the there was not beauty, you must still chairs were gilded, and so were the have confessed that there was son

omething legs of the little tables; and there was more striking than mere physical beauty. a beautiful old clock on the high white Her voice was sweet and rich, and her marble chimney-piece, with the row of placid eyes clear, and the whole expresfamily miniatures hung above it; there sion of her face as simple as that of were cabinets in ormolu, with old china a healthy, generous-minded child. She cups and saucers inside, and all kinds was, as has been said before, half lying of foreign curiosities were lying about. back on the sofa at the present moment,

Everything was much more splendid with one arm thrown carelessly behind and luxurious than when Geoffrey North her head, regarding her brother with had lived there, for if the Cleasbys were languid amusement. not very rich, at least they were not “ Have it as you like,” he said a little afraid of spending their money. Yet, as angrily; "if you have set yourself against in Mrs. Oswestry's tiny drawing-room, it, I suppose it is no use arguing the there was an air of comfortable disorder. point. I should have thought you The pianoforte was open, and the music would have been glad to be kind to her, strewn about, and the writing-table was and certainly it need be no penance drawn up close to the sofa for Miss to anyone ; but if you don't like to Cleasby's convenience, without any re do it, there's an end of it. Certainly, I gard to the housemaid's feelings; and a like people better for being pretty to great black retriever lay stretched out look at, but I am sorry for her too." on the bit of India matting in the sun “ I have no doubt you are, my dear shine which streamed in at the window, Walter ; of course it is natural, and as if he were an established and lawful under other circumstances you know I inmate of the drawing-room.

should say nothing against it; but here At first his presence might have sur I do think your kindness misplaced.” prised a stranger, but not when they “ What kindness? It is not for me, had looked carefully at his mistress. but for you, to show the kindness. I Miss Cleasby was two years older than have nothing to do with it.” her brother; and though there was But

you have everything to do with some refinement and an approach to it. Look here, Walter, let your whip beauty her face, you yet felt, on look alone, and listen to me seriously for a ing at her, that although she was in little. Just forget for a minute that harmony with the room, she was yet you are that cautious, impartial, and more in harmony with her shaggy black disinterested young man that

you

know follower, and that the first connection yourself to be. Suppose that you are was more the result of circumstances

somebody else—Algy Fielder, for inthan the last. She was not slight, like stance.” her brother; her features, though re “I wish I was; he is twice as goodgular, were wanting in delicacy of out looking." line, and the modelling of the lower “Yes, and three times as conceited; part of her face was massive. Her com but that does not matter just now. plexion was pale, but clear and somewhat Very well ; you—that is to say, Algy dark, though her hair was of a pale Fielder, or any other young man-come brown, and her eyes were light grey. to settle down on your place in the Her mouth was her only really good country, where you have no society, no feature ; but it was beautiful; not small, friends, nothing but a little fishing and so as to be out of proportion with the shooting, and a few county meetings to

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