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CHAPTER III.

on the following Sunday. He made a was the tallest of the three : she had a very happy speech in the capacity of ama- certain commanding air that went well teur cabman, magnified the difficulty and with her impetuous speech and noble responsibility of the profession, alluded stature ; her eyes were bright, her face to the frequent newspaper reports of wife sparkled with intellect, and there was a beating, condemned the practice as un singular charm in her manner which the manly as well as cruel, and declared that cabinan was unable to resist. Maisie cabmen never appeared to answer such was smaller, younger, and less intellectual charges ; upon which one or two looked than her sisters, while in her lips the out of the corner of their eyes in a sheep- sweet voice common to all three became ish way, not unmarked by their reverend superlatively sweet. It would have been friend.

evident to a less acute perception than “ Alan," he observed, when the two Mr. Forrester's, that the three were ladies were returning in the private lansom, whose breeding was equal to any occa

you are a Radical and a philanthropist, sion. and a liberty and fraternity man, and He sat on the extreme edge of a chair everything you ought not to be, in short as near the door as possible, and deliberWhat would you say if a man in my posi: ately got into difficulties with his hat in a tion were to marry a clever, well educated sufficiently comic manner, which evoked daughter of a - small tradesman ?". no smile from the bright lips of the sisters,

“Ï should say, Mark,” returned the although their eyes were not unexpresHonorable and Reverend leveller quickly, sive of mirth. Geraldine, however, sug. " that you were an unmitigated ass.” gested a place of repose for the hat upon

And you would say right,” mused the a chair: he felt that her manner in doing other. For blood is thicker than water. so would have put the clumsiest real cab.

man at his ease in a moment.

“ You will have some tea, won't you, When the evening dusk was gathering Forster ?” Geraldine asked, pouring out on the following Sunday, Mr. Forrester, the perfumed drink. “ Greek is dreadarrayed from head to foot in such attire fully dry to begin upon, whatever my sisas he had observed upon the persons of ter may say, especially when one is grown younger cabmen, stood on the steps of up. Have you a father? And is he a Normandy Villa and knocked three slow, cabman too? Perhaps he is old, and you loud knocks on the door, feeling at the support him, or help to do so ?same time a succession of more aristo- * We want to hear all about your peocratic raps from within upon his own ple,” added Olivia, with her usual earnesto ribs.

ness, “and then we will tell you all about The door was opened by a servant, who ourselves.” directed him to the second floor, upon the Thus the cabman was led to confess a landing of which stood bis hostess, all father, whose profession was that of smiles to welcome him, though he ob- gamekeeper, though he bad now retired served that she did not offer her hand. from active business, and was fairly well He went through a good deal of puffing, off. On being pressed as io his present and blowing, and scraping upon the mat occupation, he said that he kept pigs, and in the narrow passage, and then entered a a cow or two on a bit of land of his own, pretty little room, plainly furnished, but all of which was literally true. abounding in photographs, prints, and “I wonder, Forster, that you didn't fol. other objects of art, and having some low your father's calling, which is a very tastefully arranged fresh flowers here and pleasant one,” said the innocent Olivia, there. An easel and a piano stood in dif- with the earnestness which made him ferent parts of the room ; it was full of long to speak to her as one with equal books, and tea was laid upon the table. pretensions to culture with herself might

It was the first time that he had seen have done. the three sisters indoors and in a full My eldest brother, he had the first light, and he was struck by their grace, chance, and took to the gamekeeping,” and the easy manner in which they did he explained ; upon which Olivia made the honors of their simple home. Neither some reflectious on the far-reaching inof them was exactly pretty. Geraldine justice of primogeniture, which thus poi. was a slim, graceful girl, with large, clear soned the happiness even of young gameeyes, a bright manner, and a ready turn of keepers. speech; she was dressed in the high-art Has be a sister, has he a brother?” style, and looked like a picture. Olivia sang Maisie softly, while Geraldine gave

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her a merry look, during the temporary | not earn our living at all. We each have submergence of the cabman's comely face a tiny fortune of our own, though far too in the saucer of tea, which he held in the small for the station in which we were style affected at his brother's big tea, born. We have run away from our carefully drawing the back of his hand friends in order to lead a rational life.” across' his lips afterwards.

“We hated idleness,” said Maisie. “ Yes, Miss Geraldine,” he said, “ I've “We hated conventionality,” added got another brother. His name's Alan. Geraldine. He's a preacher. And a sister, name of “And we hated shams," continued Jane. No, she ain't married. She lives Olivia, with a flushing cheek. ’long with father and mother.”

parents are dead, Forster, and we ran And milks the cows, and helps feed away from our brother and the trustees the pigs?” asked Olivia.

of our property, who wished to dictate Mark nodded his head. He knew that our way of life to us. So we just wrote a Lady Jane had a pet dairy, and had once note saying that we were off to Berlin boasted to him of having mastered the under assumed names to teach English, art of milking, so that things were very and that they need trouble themselves no pleasant with his conscience.

more about us. We did go to Berlin, 6. Do have some more cake. It does but soon came back, convinced that Lonone good to see an honest working man don is the only place big enough to hide eat,” said Olivia. We are sorry not to in - and here we are. Our name is De be able to keep you in countenance; but Wynter, spelt with a y, and our brother you see our work is sedentary, and after is Lord Northwynd. Our father was a all, we are only women."

baron, so we put honorable before our The cabman shuddered; but he remem- names. Northwynd tried to force Gerbered the performances of his profes- aldine into a marriage, and he entered sional brethren at the tea, and manfully into negotiations with a certain Lord attacked a fourth huge slice of cake. Grandveneur a much greater lord than

“How nice it must be for you to have my brother, Forster to marry ine me this sweet country home to think of !” indeed ! - to a son of his, the Hon. continued Olivia. And your brother, what was his name, Gerry ? — something the preacher - I should like to hear him: Forrester. That is our story, Forster.” such peasant preachers are truly apos- “ Thank 'ee, miss. I won't let it out. tolic, whatever you may say to the con- I'm game. I suppose this here Forrester trary, Gerry dear. And George the wasn't much in the way

of husband ?" gamekeeper, and Jane milking her cows. “ He was not, Forster. But that was We shall soon know them all for friends, not the point. It was the indignity of And now about ourselves.”

being offered to him, and the deeper “ I am a painter,” said Geraldine ; "I indignity of being told to accept his admake my living chiefly by designs. My vances. He was coming to stay at Northsisters call me a designing woman. These court when we fied. He would have cups and saucers are my work. Maisie's trotted me out, Forster, and looked at my calling you know."

points and my paces; and then, perhaps, “And I," said Olivia, with the frank he would have trotted me back again. I! sinile that was rapidly turning her guests who never mean to marry at all who head, as yet little better than a will subject myself to no man's tutelage !" drone. I am studying for a London uni- “ Seems to me it was rough on this versity degree, and bringing a little grist here lord's son," observed Mark, who now to the mill in the mean time by giving distinctly recalled the invitation to Northlessons and writing.”

court, and Lord Grandveneur's mystic dis. “O Lord !” exclaimed the cabman, " to course upon the duties of matrimony and think now of fine-bred ladies doing that! the charms of Olivia De Wynter. Excuse me, miss, but you wasn't brought “ Not in the least. He was better up to work. A cabman sees a good many without a wife. A poor creature, Forsladies, and gets to know the real grit.” ter, with no profession, no duties, ever so

The sisters looked at each other, and much money, and devoted solely to his burst into a merry laugh.

own amusement. A wife, forsooth, was “ Don't betray us, Forster,” cried to steady him, and keep him out of misOlivia ; "I knew you would find us out. chief, his father and Northwynd thought." But will you promise on your honor as a Here Mark Forrester, little as he was true

to keep our secret? given to admire his own moral rectitude, Well, then, the fun of it is, that we need I could not help thinking that the idea of

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Lord Northwynd seeking to keep him out | English blood boils at the thought of reof mischief was rather good. “When a straint. Besides,” she added, with a bit. man needs a wife to keep him steady, he terness that recalled certain episodes in is good for nothing."

Northwynd's career to her listener, “we • What could the poor chap have done, have no vices to repress

we neither miss? I often pity them rich lords' sons, drink, bet, nor spend what we don't pos. brought up with nothing to do and their sess." victuals found.”

Mark smiled to himself. He was ac. Nothing to do! Why, Forster, half quainted with Lord Northwynd, and had the best work in England is done by rich a shrewd suspicion that such failings in men for nothing. But we have chatted himself would appear to the young nobletoo long. Now for Greek. Geraldine is man as virtues in comparison with his going to evensong, and Maisie has her sisters' heinous wickedness in having a book. I hope you won't be discouraged cabman to tea with them. No one knew by the queer forms of Greek letters. One better than he that men may commit every soon gets used to them.

iniquity short of invading each other's Of all tongues Mark Forrester loved purses, and be blameless, while women Greek, and of all tongues he knew it best. may not infract the most arbitrary conLike De Quincey, he could have ha- vention without ruin. rangued an Athenian mob better than “ Livy and I are twins,” said Geraldine, many men can speak to an English one. who had now come in from service. “We Thus, with a little care, he was able to con- are twenty-four. Maisie is twenty-two. ceal his perfect knowledge, and yet to shine Don't you think we are old enough to reas a pupil. He had fallen in love with fuse to marry unless we please, and to Olivia during the first cup of tea, and quite decline to countenance any husband-hunt. irretrievably, as he acknowledged with ing on our account?” sorrow, before the revelation of her par. Here the chivalrous cabman ventured entage. But everybody who has experi- to observe, with some diffidence, that he enced a precipitation into this sort of should have thought the ladies would have madness, well knows that it has no bot been called upon to enact the part of artom; so that the victim, once plumped dently chased prey rather than of hunters. into it, may go on falling forever and “Ah, Forster, how little you know of ever, unless drawn back or suspended by the miseries of the upper classes ! In some opposing force. Every time Mr. your fortunate circles a man looks to a Forrester looked at his teacher's earnest, wife as to a prize. But these men of rank sparkling eyes, or met her sweet, patient and fortune walk into a crowded drawingsmile, he received a fresh downward im- room like sultans, and know that they can pulse which lowered him at least a fath- pick where they like. However, we have om, so that by the time the lesson was renounced class distinctions now, and are ended, he was in very deep, indeed; and going to do our best to bring the moul. what with this affliction, and the amount dering old social fabric crashing to the of sweet solid cake he had consumed, he ground.” was strung to a high pitch of misery. " Lord! what a dust it will make, Miss

Olivia heaved a deep sigh of weariness Geraldine !” observed the cabman tran. as she shut the book. “I never had such quilly. a pupil before,” she said, smiling him a When he was gone, Olivia threw her couple of fathoms deeper down. “ How arms round Geraldine's neck and kissed I long to introduce you to Homer and her. “Only think !” she exclaimed, with Æschylus! You may perhaps have heard rapture, “we have a real live cabman, a of Helen and Troy, and the wanderings mere son of the people, for our friend.” of Ulysses ?

“It's delicious," added Maisie, “and “ I've been taking the liberty of think. so comfortable. We can be as friendly ing about that there brother of yours, as ever we like, because no one could pos. miss,” replied Mark, evading this ques- sibly fall in love with a cabman.” tion as dangerous. “ Now if I had the “'And the cabman ?” asked Geraldine, cliarge of three young women under age, with a pensive air. and they sloped, I should be in Queer “Oh, my dear!” laughed the Radical Street, sisters or not.”

and Socialist Olivia, with a look that be“ My dear Forster, we are all over age,” trayed all the blue blood of all the proud laughed Olivia ; “and why should we be De Wynters," he would never dare aspire in anybody's charge? We are free wom- to that height. Besides, we have the aden, the citizens of a free country, and our / vantage of not being pretty;"

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CHAPTER IV.

quences. He even consoled himself for

the sublime misery of which Olivia was The amateur cabman rushed home, the innocent cause, by the opinion of the tore off his disguise, and puffed fiercely great Goethe, that to be in love with at a cigar to assist his meditations. The a woman is the only successful way only solace for such a misfortune as fall. of studying female character; though ing in love is a similar mischance to the Goethe's affliction was always temporary, cause of such dolor. The question now and though he usually contrived that that arose how to entangle poor Olivia in the of the woman should be permanent, thus meshes of such a bewilderment. He securing himself noble opportunities for thought of Miss Hardcastle, and decided | human vivisection. that a neat waiting.maid is a far more Now Lady M.Whymper was a distant fascinating object than a Sunday cahman kinswoman of Mr. Forrester's, and she disguised in pomatum and false English. frequently reproached him for visiting her He remembered Zeus — the various dis- so rarely, and had given him a general guises in which he had won the hearts of invitation to dine with her on any night. feminine mortals ; but he doubted if even She was an eccentric old woman, and had, Zeus, in the guise of a cabinan, would as he knew, rebellious notions upon the have made much impression upon the subjection of her sex; and he sometimes delicate female fancy: As for carrying reproached himself for caring so little for on a regular siege in his proper person one who thought in some degree with his to Miss Olivia, that was quite out of the Olivia. Therefore one day he sent a note question after her expressed opinion to say that he would dine with her, if upon his character. Besides, he had quite convenient, and requested her to learned a good deal more than the Greek telegraph to his club in case his presence alphabet that evening: to see himself in should be superfluous. Having been out other people's eyes (a thing that rarely shopping all day, Lady M'Whymper did ministers to vanity); to understand some not receive the missive till late in the thing of the position of women from their afternoon, when it was too late to write ; own point of view; and finally, to arrive and nothing short of life-and-death urgenat some solution of the dark mystery of cy, or the prospect of losing large moneys, husband-hunting, that last degradation of would have induced her to commit the civilized humanity. How he envied Olivia extravagance of a telegram. She there. her decided convictions! What would fore ordered an extra cover to be laid, and he give to share them! He would then shrugging her shoulders at the thought of no longer be a drone. Olivia in his po- her previously invited guest's objection to sition! What a world of good or of mis meet people, made herself happy in an chief she would do !

armchair, and waited for her visitors. He had some thoughts of taking Lady The late Sir Dugald had been a firm Jane into his confidence; but unfortu- upholder of marital authority, as well as nately, Lady Jane, though one of the a strict Calvinist; and though his lady sweetest of human beings, had never yet had been twenty years a widow, she still thought for herself, and was governed by sometimes shudderingly recalled the termaxims and prejudices the most anti. rible joy with which she had seen Sir quated. She would certainly condemn the Dugald's eyes close and her own chains rebellious De Wynters. Meanwhile the snap. Nevertheless she had been good cab-driving and Greek lessons went mer- to him in his life, and mourned himn with rily on, and Mr. Forrester loved Sunday pity after death. In her the De Wynters as dearly as the hero of “Sally in our had confided, and to her alone was their Alley." Like most persons afflicted with incognito known; and further, as fate love, his principal solace was to aggra- would have it, Olivia had promised to vate his malady, and he took a melan. dine with her on this very evening, and choly satisfaction in feeling much worse arrived, all unsuspecting, five minutes every Sunday. But every affliction has before the appointed hour. its consolation; and however deeply one “And now, dear cousin,” said Olivia, may be in love, it is a comfort to think with her little imperial air, as she sank that it can only be with one person at a upon an ottoman by the old lady's side, time: thus the blow having once descend- I must tell you all about our cabman. ed, there is nothing more to fear. He He is the most charming creature in the was able, therefore, to study human na. world, intelligent, but with a mind which ture, as revealed in Geraldine and Maisie, is yet virgin soil; and I am teaching him without dreading any pernicious conse- Oh dear!”

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Lady M'Whymper had listened but in The dinner was not a success. Din. differently – her thoughts being preoccu- ners of three seldom are; particularly pied with the hope that any accident short when one of the three assumes the office of a broken limb might keep her other of a refrigerator, and makes the ice-pail a relative from his engagement - when the superfluitý. Poor Lady M'Whymper, in dreadful sound of a carriage stopping at her efforts to conciliate Olivia and put the the door, followed by the yet more dread- young people on a pleasant footing, only ful announcement of Mr. Forrester, re. I made things worse. All her little artiduced her to a state of temporary idiocy, fices for drawing them into conversation in which she did not observe the horror merely served to confirm Olivia in her and amazement of her guests, and in impression that the whole thing was a which she sought some comfort in the conspiracy, in which her hostess was reflection that she had saved the telegram arch-plotter, for effecting matrimony bemoney. In her confusion the miserable tween herself and the unworthy Forresold woman introduced Olivia by her proper ter, whose pleading glances and pathetic

* But surely, Livy, you remember humility were yet further evidence of the Mark Forrester?” she added, by way of crime. making things pleasanter. "You must When the dreary festivity came to an have met at Northcourt. Or was it Lord end, and the unfortunate Mark found Woodman? Northwynd and he were at himself alone with his reflections, Olivia, Oxford together.”

after some minutes' indignant silence, Olivia stood at her full height, looking charged her hostess with her treachery, like a princess in her black velvet, dia- to the amazement of the innocent old lady, monds, and rich old lace; her nostrils who was completely bewildered by her quivered, and there was a dangerous fash young friend's references to cabmen with

Having first levelled a direct, matrimonial designs, and who stoutly steady; and indignant glance of three maintained that she had quite forgotten seconds' duration at the unfortunate Mark, the proposed alliance with Mark Forresshe made him a ceremonious salutation, ter.' They were still playing wildly at and then turned and walked up to a table, cross-purposes, though Olivia had satis. where she began examining some prints. fied herself that Lady M•Whymper was The whole thing seemed to flash through not guilty of complicity with her ns. her mind at once, — her cousin's treach- man's designs, when Mark, instead of ery, the plot concocted between North. seizing, as his hostess devoutly hoped be wynd and Forrester, carried on for weeks, would, this opportunity for evanishing, and now brought to a crisis in the house reappeared in the drawing.room. of the traitress. Though it was at least It was an unlucky moment; for Olivia's five seconds before she recognized her indignation was then at its hottest, and pet cabman — with his clumsy gestures, she was seeking some object upon which bad English, and pomatumed hair plas- to pour out the vials of her wrath. “ Coustered down over his forehead in the in,” she exclaimed, with a wave of her gentleman before her, severely spotless hand in the culprit's direction, “ beware and neat, with sable coat and snowy shirt, of that man! He is a falsehood! He is with short, crisp, waved hair innocent of a cabman! He creeps into people's houses grease, and nicely pointed moustache, on false pretences! He gets people to with feet in slim, shining boots, so differ- teach him Greek. Does he look as if he ent from the clumsy high-lows in which needed to learn Greek? His father is a he was wont to stump heavily up the retired gamekeeper, and keeps a few pigs stairs at Normandy Villa; but the eyes, and poultry on a little bit of land of his the square brow, and, above all, the voice, own. His brother George is a game. were unmistakable.

keeper. His brother Alan is a MethoThe hostess attributed these tokens of dist preacher. His sister Jane milks the indignation on Olivia's part to her anger cows. Does he look like a inilkmaid's at meeting a guest, but Mark's apparent brother and a retired gamekeeper's son? dismay she was quite unable to account Does he look as if he earned his living by for. Macbeth's discomfiture at the sight cab-driving? Oh, he is a consummate of Banquo's ghost in his own chair was actor! You should see him drinking tea nothing to this. The only parallel Mark out of a saucer, and hear him talking bad could think of was the tender anguish of English)! Beware of him, for there is no Tancred when Clorinda's helmet fell off, knowing what disguise be may assume and he found himself in mortal combat next!' with the lady of his affections.

So saying, the indignant Olivia van.

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