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From Good Words.
A MODERN ROMANCE.
literature appeal to a discerning public, | King Lud that he must leave them and and not to individual patrons and patron- start by the night train. He had not esses, for support. Even if such a revival heard from the Admiralty, but there were were possible, a leader like Mrs. Montágu letters: from the rectory, where he ought could hardly be found. It was Johnson to have been weeks before. The mother himself who said of her,
had been ill; and even without that obliShe exerts more mind in conversation than gation his last days on shore were due to any person I ever met with ; she displays such those at home. They were too kind to powers of ratiocination, such radiations of in- complain, but he should not have failed tellectual excellence, as are amazing.
No, of course not. Good little boys This is strong praise, and it agrees with the opinions of others hardly less cele. time, Marianne told him scornfully, while
could not play truant for any leogth of brated. There are few, it would seem, at she crumbled down the bit of oat.cake the present day, of whom the same could, with which she had provided herself but with truth, be said.
could not eat. But how any one could leave his friends in the lurch she could not understand, she went on tartly. It would have been bad enough to have deserted them before they had reached their destination, but it was mean to go in such weather.
He brightened up a little, and said BY SARAH TYTLER, AUTHOR OF "CITOYENNE earnestly, “ You must be aware I have po JACQUELINE,” ,” “LADY BELL," ETC.
choice, Miss Dugdale.” And then the CHAPTER XXXVI.
big, sandy-haired, full-faced lieutenant,
the diver among sharks and the defier of A RAINY DAY.
polar bears, positively blushed like a girl The next morning rose with such a when he went on : " But I may comfort raw, white Scotch mist or drizzling rain myself — may I not?— with the selfish as to catch everybody in the throat worse hope that I shall be missed a little ?” than her cold had caught Lady Fermor, “Not unless by Iris or Lady Fermor or and to forbid preliminary strolls and seats Sir William," Marianne assured bin coolon the border moors. The two young ly. “I never flatter a man's vanity. We men tried them on several occasions, only can really get on very well without you to return thoroughly soaked, to be sent to can we not, Sir William ?” the lower regions, where, as Marianne “If you like to put it so, Miss Dug. Dugdale declared, the pedestrians were dale,” said Sir William a little awkwardly, turned before a slow fire. Even in fine and so deliberately that Marianne could weather these moors.are bleak in August, have shaken him, to have roused the man for the bloom of the broom is past, and into greater alacrity. the first purple of the heather is growing Ludovic Acton had deferred his deparbrown, before the burst of September red ture till he should have to encounter the ling which lends the final glow to the wil. chill and darkness of midnight in such derness. It was hard to be assailed by weather, in order – infatuated fellow – the Scotch weather-fiend before the party that he might have ten or twelve hours had done more than set foot in Scotland. more to sun and scorch himself in the
Marianne Dugdale was crusty when flame that was consuming him. Marianne she came down to breakfast in the inn proposed to repay him by rendering these parlor, where Lady Fermor sent Soames hours one prolonged period of bitterness, to pour out tea and play propriety at the till it was just possible the cruel cautertable with the young people. • Nobody ization of his wound might be complete shall say that I have not looked after you. and prove effectual, and the last boon be After what I've seen and known, I trust granted to him of departing limp and spirnobody," the old lady told her nieces in. itless, but cured, if he were capable of sultingly.
cure, of a misplaced attachment to an Quite right, granny. We've all heard unfeeling, ungrateful girl. evil doers are evil dreaders,” retorted It was a blank, disconsolate day for Marianne recklessly, while Iris crimsoned belated travellers at a country inn; a day and hurried out of hearing.
to order a smoky fire to be lit, draw the Marianne's temper was not improved by scanty curtains, and aim at the severe disa somewhat agitated announcement from charge of duty, and the acquisition of a
rampant sense of self-righteousness, by by Iris's offer of eau-de-cologne for her writing off a dozen letters - long due ; to headache, the more so, perhaps, that Iris collapse into calling for refreshments, to had been conversing for the last three. yawn and dawdle and tell idle stories, and quarters of an hour, in the most natural, finally to sour and ferment into quarrel- unaffected manner certainly, but still on ling with might and main, and get a little confidential terms, with Ludovic Acton, heat and vigor into life in that way. on scraps of rectory news and on his
Marianne tried none of these plans, for probable destination when he should get she did not deign to quarrel with King a ship. Iris had no right to such inforLud; it was not her cue to dispute with mation as Marianne had not cared to seek. Sir William, except in spurts of uocon. To sum up the sufferings of Marianne's trollable exasperation ; she had a notion dog.in-the-manger mood, she began to that Iris would not wrangle with her, and grow frightened at Sir William, whom she Lady Fermor was not visible all the morn- bad only looked upon as a temporary ser: ing
vant to suit her purpose. She had raised Marianne lugged Sir William into the up a spirit with which she could not cope, passage to play battledore and shuttlecock and that she did not understand. His by means of ancient implements for the looks and tones had changed to rueful, game, which she had discovered in some unbounded forbearance and repressed tencorner; but found that he had to be taught, derness, as she had known em change and though he insisted that he was good on the morning at the Academy. Marifor rackets, he made no progress in catch-anne could not comprehend it, and her ing and returning the mounted bunch of ignorance abashed her for the moment in feathers. She sat down to backgammon her perversity. Iris believed that bis with him, and found, to her disgust, that heart was melting and thrilling because he could not only beat her to sticks, but he was thinking of his dead wife, poor, did it without ceremony, with a wooden- wild Honor, to whom, in the person of headed adherence to the rules of the game, this capricious, captious, yet withal generand a quiet grin of masculine superiority, ous and warm-hearted girl, he might be which were beyond bearing. She rum. called on in some sort to atone for his maged out of her trunk silks and worsteds, errors. and set him to wind them for her, as Lady And all the time Iris was as sure as she Thwaite had once done before. But either could be of the result of any human act, Sir William was now a more adroit master that if Sir William Thwaite were led on of the situation, or Marianne was not such and suffered, by the contrivance of Lady an adept in taking amusement out of her Fermor and the folly of Marianne Duý. neighbor's blunders. Marianne asked her dale, to accomplish the reparation which victim to read a guidebook aloud while had more than once flashed across his she worked; but he read, according to his mind, it would not only be a repetition of custom, in a stentorian voice, so that his former grievous blunder, it would be everybody in the room had the benefit of the consummation of the misfortunes of the performance. It ceased to be private, bis chequered life. as she bad intended, and the publicity did Luncheon was welcome by way of vari. not suit ber, since she had a little weak. ety, and still more dinner, with Lady Ferness for monopolizing men's notice – a mor declaring herself recruited in spite of weakness which this day had become an the weather. Appearances brightened still urgent necessity to her. In the end, be- more with coffee. Lady Fermor was at tween worry and the noise her squire her best, chatty, with a rasping good. made in obeying her last behest, her head humor, inclined to encourage the young began to ache violently. Then it became people in any form of diversion, though evident that Marianne was in a state of she still declared herself unfit for her usual nervous weariness and crossness, which, game of cards. “ But you boys and girls to her extreme mortification, caused her may set a-going games for yourselves. to be viewed as an object of pity, rather What games we had long ago, when we than of reprehension.
were not too wise or grand or goody-goody There was more sorrow than anger in to play games! Old-fashioned, homely King Lud's kind eyes, and the sorrow riddles and forfeits, when I was a very smote Marianne Dugdale, so that she was small child, charades, tableaux, not to barely able to persist in the line of be: speak of private theatricals for our own havior she had adopted towards him and benefit, without any shoddy pretence of other people. She was extremely offended helping charities or entertaining paupers.
Why, Marianne, are you so down in the “Oh, we are too demure to go through mouth with one day's rain that you cannot with a marriage even in a play,” said Lady even get up a sham penny reading ?” Fermor, with suppressed rage because her
There had been a reaction from Mari- opinion was disregarded. * Or is it sour anne's exhaustion before this speech, a grapes, because the chief rôles are approreturn to the restless excitement of the priated ?” morning, deepened, as in the case of all " And the smallest and silliest of us relapses. But it was Lady Fermor's goad can nod easily enough,” maintained Ma. which sent the girl beyond all bounds of riadne, so that Iris was silenced. discretion and delicacy.
Sir William glanced at her with a quick, “Thank you, granny, for the sugges. disturbed inquiry; but he could not read tion, which i'll take leave to improve her face or her heart. upon," cried Marianne with flaming “ Acton" – Lady Fermor turned ruthcheeks and flashing eyes. “ Ladies and lessly to the lieutenant-"you are glum gentlemen, we shall act one of the run- enough to play the owl or the parson ; away marriages, for which this place was you'll dig the grave – no, I did not mean once famous. It will be a play in a single that — you'll perform the ceremony.” scene, and the words are so few that no. “Thanks, Lady Fermor" he choked body need pretend not to be equal to down his feelings " but I am not qualilearning his or her part."
fied to take my father's place." “ Bravo !” exclaimed Lady Fermor, " I'll teach you,” insisted Marianne with the baleful fires in her súpken eyes filippantly; "you have only to utter three leaping up for an instant; “if you are able simple sentences. You ask whether the to carry out the idea. But who will bell man will take the woman and the woman the cat? Who will assume the principal the man for husband and wife; you bid parts, and play bride and bridegroom?" them join hands, and then declare no
“), said the sparrow," quoted Mari- power in heaven or on earth is ever to anne, with an assumption of sparrow-like part them. Surely you can remember pertness, “I will play the bride, and I lihat." choose Sir William for my bridegroom." “Don't spoil sport, Acton," enjoined
It was a bold speech, and seemed to Lady Fermor in her deep gutturals. take the person most concerned by storm. “We have no substitute, unless we call in “How am I to thank you for your conde. the innkeeper — honest man! as they say scension, Miss Dugdále?” he said with in his country - and he may not be able an agitation and seriousness which were to see a joke. You know you have to startling, and caused even Marianne to punch a hole in a Scotchman's head belook put out and to pause for a moment in fore you can get a joke into it. Never her recklessness.
shirk what you've got to do, however Oh, by acting as well as you can," she much against the grain. I thought that said hastily. “ I ask nothing further. I was part of a sailor's creed.” can coach you; I can coach everybody. “So it is,” said the badgered man, raisI heard all about it from the maid. Some-ing his head and pulling himself together. body has to ask the bride and bridegroom “I'll do what you want. Don't fear that if Barkis is willin',' and then we have I shall spoil sport, Miss Duydale — Lady only to say yes or boo,' which seems Fermor." to be letting us off by an easier method “ Are you all mad?” implored Iris; but than speaking – even in a monosyllable. she spoke in a low tone, and nobody, unBut what can boo' mean? I understand, less Sir William, heard ber. and am able to say, 'bo’ to a goose “Be off, Marianne," urged Lady Ferwith a Aeeting, impatient glance at King mor, entering into the spirit of the un. Lud, sitting back in a corner, with a sud- seemly frolic, as she had entered into den lividness of cheek and lip, yet with the many another of the same description. self-control of a gentleman and an officer. It won't be hard for you to dress in “ But I confess .boo'beats me.”
character, since there are no white silks “It means nod, Marianne. Couldn't or satins, or veils or orange-blossoms, re. you guess it by the corresponding word quired here. Your travelling.dress will ó curtshey'?” said Iris, speaking with an do, and Thwaite need not change his coat. effort, as if she were forcing herself to Your cousin Iris will not object to bring join in the conversation. “ But if I were you in, and stay as a spectator, unless she you I would not bow to such a bad jest. holds that the bride's 'shoes are hers by I think you might find a better game." prior right — is she so many months the
senior or the junior of the two? I forget ing kindness for Sir William, or rather which – and ought not to be filled by for his place and title, I dare say.
I am other feet. I'll arrange where the men going to sell myself for a little rank and shall stand.”
wealth, as thousands of girls have done Marianne went out of the room, with before me. That is the way of it - is it? Iris following her, sure enough; but Iris Will you tell me just one thing, Iris? did not overtake her cousin as she ran What business has Mr. Acton to go away up-stairs before she had passed Jeannie, in such detestable weather, as if to face the chambermaid, smilingly making room the elements - in the rhetorical phrase, for her. The young lady had a roguish at their very dismalest - is a great deal whisper for her humble ally. • Jeannie, better than a comfortable enough inn with I'm coming down again to be married. Our company? He has no The house has not lost its spell.” from the Admiralty compelling him to
"Eh! Megsty me!” cried Jeannie, start on the instant; he has to get up a instinctively setting down the jug of hot story of his mother's being ill and want. water she was carrying for some gentle. ing him, and it can't refuse its mamsie's man's toddy, that she might not scald lightest whim, pretty dear!” herself or any other person in the height • Oh, Marianne ! how can you be so of her excitement. But Miss Dugdale horribly unreasonable and unkind ?” Iris had already gone into her room, followed said again with fresh wonder and wrath. by the other young lady, looking "that "It is not why should Ludovic go, but taken up” that she did not notice Jeannie. why should he have stayed so long, in
In reality Iris was moved to the depths consideration of the little he has got for of her soul. The moment she was alone all he has given. He is a good son and with her cousin Iris went up to the little brother, however little you may be capaactress and poured forth, for her benefit, ble of valuing such a character, and Mrs. such a torrent of passionate upbraiding as Acton is a good mother, who would not the gentlest lips will utter when the heart grudge her boy his happiness, or make an is stirred with poignant sympathy, and outcry about her health for the purpose of the honorable spirit outraged by what is recalling himn. You cannot imagine how unfair and ungenerous. “How could you, much he is thought of, how he is waited Marianne Dugdale – how could you have and wearied for at the rectory. And he the heart? You may not care for him ais going to sea and may never come back. bit; but you see how he cares for you, Before he knew you he had a happy and and if you had any pity, any womanly honorable life before him, and he loves feeling, you would spare him. It is only his people, which you seem to think acting, of course, and there might be no rather a flaw in his character. To-day great harm in that; but it is brutal - may be the last time we shall see him in yes, brutal, to get up such a farce, know. this world dear old King Lud! whom I ing' what he is suffering. I cannot tell have liked and respected, boy and man. whether you are making a fool of Sir Wil. How I should mourn for him! But how liam also; but you have no right to do will you look, and what will you say, if you that either,” said Iris, holding up her are told next winter or next summer that head and flushing rosy red. “ He is a bis ship has gone down to the bottom of man who, though he is not much older the sea, like the • Captain and the • • Eurydthan ourselves, has had great troubles and dice' and the · Atalanta,' and that he has
The knowledge of that alone gone down to the depths with it, or that should keep the most thoughtless girl he has died far from home in some for. from harming him — perhaps in a way eign hospital?” she cannot guess.
I could never have However she might look then, there believed it of you, Marianne.” Iris ended, could be no question as to how she looked exhausted by her vehement defence of now; she looked white as a sheet and her friends and protest against wrong. trembled like an aspen, and what she said
Marianne stared with big brown eyes, was the strange outbreak : " Yet he will tried to laugh, turned away her head, to give his mother the last word, the last hide her changing color and drooping look, which ought to be mine." eyelids, and cried out ironically,
Then she put up her little hand to her “ Well, this is a tirade from a quiet. | face, and going young lady!” At last she sat down,
Like summer tempest came her tears. crossed her arms, and faced her flushed,
“ So I don't care a | The storm was as short-lived as it was straw for King Lud, and I have a sneak. | violent, and even while Iris looked on in
dismay at the effect of her words, the big faction. It was a game in the begioning, drops ceased to rattle down, the chest left though it has ended in earnest. Ob dear! off heaving with sobs, while Marianne be. I liked it so much while it lasted – to gan to accuse herself piteously, passion. feel my power, and know I could make ately, laughingly, for extremes are always everything bright or dark to him by a meeting. “I am a wretch of a girl, and word, a look. It was dreadfully inconsidhe's the dearest, best of fellows, as gallant erate and selfish to him, no doubt, and I a man as ever stepped, as true as steel, as shall be punished as I deserve.” tender as only the best men can be. And Iris was altogether taken aback, though what did you take me for, that you could she had not been without her suspicions. think I preferred Sir William Thwaite, She protested that Marianne would pun. who has risen in the world, and been wild, ish at least one other person as well as and is reformed, and is well enough in herself, the innocent with the guilty. And his way? But what drowning women did Iris pleaded, “Won't you say, or let me he save? What shipwrecked crew did he say, that you have thought better of it, rescue? What torpedoes did he help to and cannot carry out this absurd, unbelaunch at the peril of his precious life — coming mimicry of a marriage ? That like -like Jove scattering thunderbolts ?” will be some compensation to Ludovic
Iris looked up in sheer bewilderment at before he goes, and he may understand this extravagant laudation.
· may suspect. tempted to put in the reservation : “Where “No, no," cried Marianne, starting up had be the opportunity, though he, too, in a fresh access of wilfulness and wayfought and bled for his country? And wardness, “ I am not going to crave mercy are there not spiritual conflicts and con- from any man, or seek to call him back. quests harder and nobler by far than any Besides, I am certain that granny would physical warfare and victory?” But she begin to jeer and taunt me till I became had not the chance, for it was Marianne's possessed, and then my last error would turn to speak, and she was making abun- be worse than my first. Let us act the dant use of the privilege.
marriage and have done with the whole “ There is one good deed I have done thing. I believe he has renounced me him, I have saved him from the conse already in his heart; let him have the quences of an unworthy choice," she said, comfort — the sop to his pride, poor fel. her voice, which had sounded shrilly eager low, of doing it in so many words. After and exultant an instant before, suddenly I have treated him as I have done, and sinking in despair.
gone so far, I owe hiin his revenge, and “No, Marianne. He does not think do you think I'll stint him in it?” so; he never will. I have known him Marianne in perfect sincerity doubled since we were children. I know how hard in the argument, and twisted it round to it is to offend Ludovic Acton, how lenient make herself and everybody miserable in he is to offenders, how sure to forgive,” an ingenious fashion of her own, which is represented Iris earnestly.
yet not altogether uncommon. “Yes, he will think he has made a for- In any imminent danger in which Iris tunate escape, after to-day," persisted had ever seen a fellow.creature, her imMarianne dolefully. “No man could bear inediate instinct had always been to save what he has had to bear and forget it.” the threatened victim - to save at Iris's
“But you mean to make it up with him expense if need were — as when she conbefore he goes? You won't go on now trolled her natural recoil and held close with this stupid, coarse play, surely, sure the severed artery in ber servant's wrist, ly, Marianne?” besought Iris.
as when she walked back to Whitehills Marianne shook her head in wilful de- with Lady Thwaite dressed in a groom's termination to suffer the worst penalty clothes and faced a man whom she had she had brought upon herself, and with a reason to know she had deeply offended, perverse doggedness which was charac- and whom all her friends and neighbors teristic of the girl: “I cannot; it is too were then denouncing as a drunken ruflate. It would make no difference now. fian. The instinct did not fail to assert Besides, we are not on terms to admit of itself at this juncture. “Let me act the an explanation, and I dare say be will be bride,” she said with quiet determination. thankful in years to come that there never “ It will be all the same who takes the has been a ghost of an engagement, or part in a piece of child's play that neither even of a mutual understanding between Sir William nor I need mind, and it will us,” she said sadly. “I would not let save you and Ludovic Acton from a last him speak, or grant him the least satis. , misunderstanding, which, though it is only