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287 have fancied her inculpated in such a Angelina made no answer. She had mystery as Zaidee's escape.
much ado to keep herself from a weak A sleepless night was this for An. passion of tears. gelina. If Zaidee did come back-if “I hear ye all say it was wrong of Žaidee was found in Mrs Disbrowe's, Zaidee," continued the Vicaress. recommended by Mrs Green, what "Ne'er a one of you all but blames her; would Mrs Green's husband-what but I'll never cast a stone at you, would all the world say? And if Zaidee Zaidee dear-never an evil word will never came back, what a secret was I say. Blessings on them was so this lying night and day on Angelina's good to the motherless child, and heart! Would it be better to make up blessings on the orphan that had her mind boldly; and confess the truth it in her heart to lose herself for them. at once? Perhaps so ; but the Curate I'd give half of Briarford," said Mrs looked so severe, so determined in the Wyburgh with animation, “to hear pale morning light, that his wife only the child was safe ; but I'd not thank shrank into a corner and cried. What any one to tell me where she was could sbe do?
--ay, dear heart, for all I like her She took the usual expedient of well." cowardice, in the first place. She waited “Oh, Mrs Wyburgh, will you tell
-waited day after day, in nervous ex. me why? " cried Angelina, anxiously. pectation of hearing that Zaidee had “My dear, I'd be bound to tell," said been found—or, with still darker terthe Vicaress, “ to let Philip and the ror, dreading that Zaidee, being found, lady know, and betray the innocent had sought for herself some other lamb. 'Tis God takes care of such. means of conclusion than the pool She'll never come to harm in the world; under Briarford Hill. Living thus, but do you tbink I'd be the one to from day to day, in a state of nervous balk her goodwill and the love in her expectation and suspense, the poor heart? So that's why I wouldn't listen foolish wife of the Curate fell ill at to hear where she was.” last. Angelina was rather glad than “Mrs Wyburgh,” said Angelina, otherwise of the excuse thus given her with great humility, “I want to tell you for fairly taking her bed and shutting something. I have kept it a secret, herself up; but lying all day long because of what she said. I have thinking of this oppressive secret, never told Mr Green; and I am afraid brought her not a whit nearer a -I cannot help it-I am so much settlement of it. And day passed after afraid to tell him now." day, but Zaidee Vivian was not found. Mrs Wyburgh interrupted the con
Mrs Green's illness continued so long fession by a motion of her band. “Tell that it procured her the yousual it to him before you tell it to me. My honour of a call from Mrs Wyburgh. dear, you are young; you must make The Vicaress came in to Angelina's a good beginning; and sure, of every dim bed-chamber, a very mass of shawls one in the world, there's none has the and wrappings. Angelina's bed-cham- same right as he.” ber was not only cloudy with drawn “But I am afraid ; oh, Mrs Wy. curtains and closed blinds, but was burgh, I am afraid," said the helpsomewhat chill besides, and by no less Angelina. means comfortable. Something of the “Five-and-twenty years," said the effect which a bright fire might have Vicaress, reckoning upon her dimpled produced, the vision of Mrs Wyburgh fingers, “ I've been the nearest friend gave; but Angelina scarcely ventured to Richard, and he to me. Do you to turn her pale face from the wall to think one of us was ever afraid to tell answer the inquiries of the Vicaress. a thing to the other? My dear, if we
“No, not a word can one hear of bad, we'd never have been here. I that poor darling yet," said kind Mrs could not do a thing myself did not Wyburgh ; "and my blessing on her know; no more could I with Richard, this day, wherever she may be. What though he's a man as well deserves to should make her wise at her age? I'll be feared as any in this world ; but never say it was wise of Zaidee to I'd as soon have thought of fearing run away ; but well I know it was all daylight as fearing Richard. Take the love at her heart."
thougbt of it, you poor child-you've
got no one to look to you. What “I'll tell you what, Lina," said the should you be afraid of? The man's Carate, somewhat sternly, "if I knew your own-didn't you make choice of any one that was in the secret, I'd not him? And I wouldn't build up secrets, only compel them to tell, but shut if I were you, between him and me." them out for ever from any kind offices
"Indeed, I am sure I cannot tell of mine. I could never forgive any what to do," said Mrs Green, half one in his right senses for aiding, in weeping between offence and real dis- such a fatal project, this wild foolish tress.
“Poor soul, doesn't he see through Angelina sbrank, terror-stricken ; you, out and out?" sighed Mrs Wy- her lips grew pale, her breast heaved, burgh, under her breath, impatient but fear gave her a power of selfwith the weakling before her. " But, restraint quite unusual to her. She my dear, you had best tell him," had not strength to tell her secret; she said, with much self-restraint, but she had strength, by a most heexpressing herself aloud.
roical effort, to keep in her tears and And Angelina courageously made subdue every expression of her true op her mind to try. When her hus- state of mind. Good Mr Green went band came to her disconsolate bedside off immediately to bis study, frowning that same evening, the invalid began at the very possibility of Zaidee's seby telling him of Mrs Wyburgh's visit. cret being known to any one and " It is hard to understand her some- remaining unrevealed. Meanwhile times,” said Angelina, with a great Zaidee's secret remained heavy like a palpitation at the heart. “She said stone on his wife's apprehensive heart. to-day she wonld be glad to hear that Human creatures know so little of Zaidee was safe, but not where she each other-he never for an instant was-if, indeed, any one could know." suspected her.
CHAPTER XXXV.-CHANGED DAYS.
The spring comes chill, with its handsome as Mr Powis. An unmislengthening pale days, upon the takable ardour and glow of temperaGrange-young bads are struggling ment are in his deep dark eyes and into life on the wind-tossed trees-and sunburnt face; but it is ardour rethe sunsets soften out of their wintry strained and kept in subjection by a red into a tracery of gold-but the will and character stronger than ittime of crocuses and primroses is not self. His young brothers-in-law and yet. The white-checked Christmas sisters-in-law do not quite understand rose, and the melancholy little vestal Captain Bernard; he is a little too snowdrop-impersonation of this pal. mature and full-grown a man for their lid season-are all the flowers which youthful comprehension ; and Percy, even Mrs Vivian's sheltered flower. irritable and wayward, who admires garden can produce in honour of Eli- and adores his beautiful sister with zabeth's wedding - day. Postponed the fervour of a poet, and the affecfrom week to week, and from month tionate tenderness of a younger broto month, the time has at last arrived ther, chafes at Captain Bernard's for this great family event. To-mor- good sense, and vows he is not worrow, if it be the windiest March morn- thy of Elizabeth. Elizabeth herself ing that ever blew in Cheshire, can- only smiles, as Bernard would smile not delay any longer this interrupted if he heard these words. These two, bridal. We are on the eve, too, of who are by no means like, do yet perother goings away, and there is little fectly understand each other, and there rejoicing among us to-night.
is no cloud upon the confidence with Captain Bernard bas the place of which they look forward to their new honour beside Mrs Vivian in this great life. bright drawing-room, which cannot Except in the extreme simplicity of look anything but cheerful and home- her dress, there is no change upon like. Bernard Morton is past his Elizabeth. Only one ornament breaks first youth, and has never been so the undecorated plainness of the bride's costume, and that is Zaidee's little sacrifices in acknowledgment of their gold chain, which Elizabeth says she relative's eye. Mrs Blundell's forces will never lay aside till Zaidee is are in no wise abated by “what she found. There is something admirably has come through.” She still finds it harmonious and in keeping in these possible to bear her sister Vivian's plain garments of Elizabeth's. She is misfortunes with exemplary resignano longer a girl, to shrink with shy tion, and to set a good example to the confusion from the kind glances round young people. Sitting with a basket her-but a woman, simple, humble, before her, full of snowy ribbons, Mrs esteeming every other better than Blundell is making wedding-favours ; herself, Elizabeth sits composed and and the rustle of her dress each time silent behind her mother, ready to she moves her arm, the demonstration enter with sweet gravity and thought- with which she threads her needle, fulness into her altered lot.
the sigh with which she adds every Much different is Margaret, working completed ribbon to the heap, keep with nervous haste at the table, not every one informed of her proceedonly grieved, but wounded to the ings. Mrs Blundell sits with great heart. Margaret's eye swims with state in a great chair, the easiest in unshed tears, and a heat of petulant the room ; but it is hard to calculate and passionate feeling is over all her how much the presence of Mrs Blunface. She cannot work fast enough, dell sits heavy upon the minds of the or move about with sufficient rapidity, assembled family here. to cheat the pain at her heart; and Philip bas a book before him, but is her heart is not softened, but irritated not reading; and no one, save Aunt by her grief. A certain acrimony, Blundell, has a word to say. Philip's even, has stolen into poor Margaret's hand, supporting his head, glimmers tones. She is bitterly ashamed of out of the mass of hair which droops herself, and overpowered with morti- over it-Philip's eye looks far into fication and self-reproach ; but she space, as the eye of youth is wont to cannot subdue the strength of pas- do; but meditation has ceased to be sion, which assumes this character- a favourite exercise with Philip. These she cannot keep down the heat and few months have carried the youth flush of injury, of shame and dis- entirely out of the region of dreams. appointment, which burns at her heart The actual world, wherein, as into night and day.
a desert, his poor little cousin has Sophy sits apart unoccupied, patting plunged and lost herself for him the with her foot upon the carpet, beating real toils and hardships by which he upon the palm of one hand with the must seek his fortune-are present to fingers of the other. Sophy is going Philip's eyes. He might have lived over, in anticipation, all the events of and died a very good Squire of Briarto-morrow--realising how Elizabeth ford-might have deliberated over the will look in her bride's dress-won- commonplace changes of his peaceful dering how she herself will become life—and been slow, and sure, and her costume as bridesmaid. Sophy steady, as ever country gentleman cannot keep herself from being inter- was. But necessity has stirred tbe ested, from being a little excited, and young man out of the calm routine of from no small share of pleasurable living, and plunged him into life : and expectation; yet Sophy sighs for Zaidee bas helped to form the charZaidee, and puts her hand upon her acter which was her own childish ideal heart, where there is a pain and a of man. Prompt to do, and quick to vacancy, as she thinks, since ever discern-strong against fatigue, and her companion went away. Poor patient in the very front of hopelessZay | where is she now ?- where can ness—the search which he pursued so she be to-night? And it will be well earnestly has made Philip Vivian. for Sophy if her meditations do not He has been at school while he has end in a fit of tears.
been following the track of the lost But Sophy is conscious of the pre- child; and now that the search seems sence of Aunt Blundell Margaret is hopeless, Philip is about to make his angrily conscious of it — and even start in life. Philip and Percy make some small Last of all the family group-save Percy, who sits yonder in a corner, your thoughts to commerce? That in the dark, observing them all-is is what your mother tells me, Philip." Mrs Vivian, who, much unlike her With an effort Philip roused himself wont, sits idle in her great chair, hold- to answer. “If I can rise in the sering in her hand a white bandkerchief, vice of the Company, I will ; but if I which she occasionally presses upon cannot, annt, or the progress is too her eyes, perhaps to keep tears from slow, Sir Francis introduces me to his falling, perhaps only to relieve some friends, and to that Prince among pain in them. Elizabeth is to be them who helped himself to his formarried and go away to-morrow; tune, and bids me hesitate at nothing and throughout this whole great house which comes to my hand. I do not there is a want of Zaidee—a visible see, indeed," said Philip, colouring void and empty place; and a perpe. slightly, “why I should hesitate to tual aching in Mrs Vivian's kind do what Sir Francis Vivian did.” heart brings the orphan before her - "Sir Francis Vivian represents the brings before her her own ill-advised younger branch," said Mrs Vivian; and hasty words. If Zaidee had been but you, Philip, are the head of the here, in this room and at home as of house." old, the chances are ten to one that, “I have heard my sister Vivian bestowed in some out-of-the-way say this a hundred times. What does corner, you never would have ob- it matter, when there is nothing but served Zaidee; yet it is strange how the empty honour-the title and no vividly everyone who enters here more?" said Mrs Blundell; “but you, feels she is gone.
Philip, are a mere Quixote. The In the mean time, when all are Grange is yours by nature, in the first 80 silent, Mrs Blundell, the chorus of place; and even if it was not, what the family drama, runs on in an ex- is to be done with it, now that Zaidee planatory monologue - a recitative, is gone? Why should the estate be familiarly revealing the history of the lost and yourself banished, while there time.
is no claimant of the lands? Don't "I wonder, for my part, if I had speak to me. I would let the child not come yesterday, who would have have all when she came to claim it. thought of providing these?" said Mrs Poor little foolish thing, I would look Blundell, as she deposited another for her too; but I would not throw wedding-favour upon the heap. “No up everything, and leave the country, doubt every one is very much occu- as you intend to do." pied, but it is always my principle to “I leave the country to make my neglect nothing—especially to preserve fortune," said Philip with a momentall the ordinary decorums at such a ary smile; "and banished or not, time as this ; for nothing can look aunt Blundell, the Grange is no longer worse, I assure you, than excessive feel- mine. If I could have accepted it in ing. Pbilip, when do you go away?” any case, I should have taken it from
* Next month, aunt," answered Zaidee-poor Zaidee, who has lost Philip, starting to hear himself ad. herself for love of us; and I would dressed.
gladly stay to find my dear little “I never object to India," said cousin," continued the young man, Mrs Blundell. “Everything has such with a slight faltering; “but I have a tinge of wealth, I suppose, that done all I can do, and I leave comes from the east; and it does not the matter in Bernard's hands. My matter very much what one does mother will stay here at home till there, so long as one grows rich. Of Zaidee is found—and after Zaidee is course," continued Aunt Blundell, in found, to take care of her, I hope. As her character of example-“ of course for Percy and I, we are travelling you understand me that I could never paladins-we must go forth to the mean any one to do anything impro. wars." per, or unbecoming a gentleman, even Sophy, from her seat apart, echoed so far away ; but business loses its this last word with an audible sob. vulgarity: an Indian merchant is not There was a dead silence after it ; a trader, but a nabob. And Sir and even Mrs Blundell put ber handFrancis really advises you to turn kerchief to her eyes.
"Percy too !" said the worldly but wars ;” and then, alas for the dead not unfeeling aunt. “I cannot say and solitary life which would remain that you are not right, but I am sorry to the dwellers in the Grange! These with all my heart. Ah, Elizabeth, youths could fight open-handed with my love! I congratulate you; but I their evil fortune, and Zaidee-poor am sure, for all the rest—those who Zaidee—had fled from hers; but Margo away and those who stay-I have garet, in the martyrdom of her womanno choice but to grieve for them.” hood, could neither fight nor fly.
Though this was not very consola- She went away drearily to her own tory, no one made any response to it. room. Sermo was lying in the vacant Mrs Vivian shed some tears secretly passage, so much like one who no bebind her handkerchief; Sophy sob- longer cared where he threw himself bed at intervals, restraining herself to rest, that Margaret's heart was with all her might; while Margaret touched. "Poor Sermo, the day is sat fiercely working by the table, changed even for you!" she said, as heated and angry and miserable, de- she stooped to caress him, and softenfying herself and all the world. All ing tears fell upon Sermo's face. Then the world seemed to Margaret per- her door was closed ; the door was sonified in aunt Blundell, and she closed in Mrs Vivian's room; darkness chafed under the intolerable scrutiny and silence and sleep reigned in the of these observing eyes.
Grange, where there was much sadThey were glad all of them to partness, much anxiety, much trouble, for the night; but when Elizabeth but still a home. passed into her mother's dressing. But out of doors those solitary room for one last hour of tenderest roads stretched away into the misty intercourse, full of tears and pain, yet sky-out of doors the moonlight, lying not unhappy, and Sophy stole softly wbite upon the country, made a deep after her, to sit at Mrs Vivian's feet mystery of shadow on every hand, and share the interview, Margaret, and a wistful wind crept to and fro, forlorn and miserable, stood in the and a whisper ran among the trees. dark alone, and looked out upon those Alas for the wayfarer, forlorn and dreary, melancholy roads, whence no solitary, in this world of silence! The passenger ever came. They stretched red cross hangs afloat in the silvery away before her into the misty hori. air which streams into Zaidee's vacant zon, so vacant and bare of life-paths room, and the room is solemnly undiswhich no one ever seemed to tread; turbed and sacred to her memory; there and Margaret softened out of her re- is not a piece of furniture displaced, and sentful mood, thinking of herself for everything silently suggests and calls saken and of Zaidee lost. To-morrow for the wanderer. But Zaidee is Elizabeth must go away a bride ; by- gone away no one can tell where-a and-by another to-morrow must carry lonely traveller on the highways of Pbilip and Percy forth “into the the world.