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“ Nor a
Walter held up his hand to stay this are no longer just the old Walter whom torrent. He colored high with a curi- we have known all our lives.” ous sentiment of proprietorship and the There was another girl with her whom shrinking of pride from hearing that Walter knew but slightly, but who justiwhich was his discussed by strangers. fied the plural pronoun. He scarcely knew the names of them, and “On the contrary, I was going to say, their histories not at all. He put up his when you interrupted me — hand: “I would rather find out the inys- “I am so sorry I interrupted you." teries for myself," he said.
“That though I did not know who I “Oh,” cried Underwood, " if
was in the face of the world, I was always standing on your dignity, my lord, as you the old Walter, etc. A man, I believe, like, for that matter. I am not one to can never lose his Christian naine." thrust my company upon any man if he
either,” said July. doesn't like it. I have stood your friend, “That is the only thing that cannot be and I would again; but as for forcing my- taken from us. We are supposed, you self upon you now. that you've come to know, rather to like the loss of the other your kingdom
one." “ Underwood,” cried the other, touched " I have heard so," said Walter, who in the tenderest point, “ if you dare to in. was not unaccustomed to this sort of sinuate that this has changed me, I desire fencing. “But I suppose it is not true.” never to speak to you again. But it is “Oh,” said July, “if it were for the same only, I suppose, one of the figures of reason that makes you change your name, speech that people use when they are an. I should not mind. But there is no peergry. I am not such a cad as you make age in our family that I know of, and I me out. Whether my name is Methven should not have any chance if there were, or Erradeen – I don't seem to know very alas! Good-bye, Lord Erradeen. It is a well which it is
lovely name! And may I always speak “It is both," the other cried with a to you when I meet you, though you are great laugh, and they shook hands, en such a grand personage? We do not gaging to dine together at the hotel that hope to see you at the cottage now, but evening. Underwood, who was knowing mamma will like to know that you still in such matters, was to order the dinner, recognize an old friend.” and two or three of the old set " were to “I shall come and ask Mrs. Herbert be invited. It would be a farewell to his what she thinks of it all," Walter said. former comrades, as Walter intended; July's brown eyes flashed out with triand with a curious recurrence of his first umph as she laughed and waved her band elation be charged his representative to to him. She said, spare no expense. There was something “It will be too great an honor,” and intoxicating and strange in the very curtseyed; then laughed again as she phrase.
went on, casting a glance at him over her As he left Underwood and proceeded shoulder. along the High Street, where, if he had He laughed too; he was young, and he not waved his hand to thein in passing was gratified even by this undisguised with an air of haste and preoccupation, at provocation, though he could not help least every second person he met would saying to himself, with a slight beat of have stopped him to wish him joy, he his heart, how near he was to falling in suddenly encountered July Herbert. She love with that girl! What a good thing was going liome from the vicarage, out of it was that he did not
- 110W!!" which his mother had politely driven her; As for July she looked at him with a and it seemed the most wonderful luck certain ferocity, as if she would have deto July to get bim to herself, thus wholly voured him. To think of all that boy unprotected, and with nobody even to see had it in his power to give if he pleased, what she was after. She went up to him, and to think how little a poor girl could pot with Underwood's eagerness, but with do! a pretty, frank pleasure in her face. "I have heard a fairy-tale,” she said,
CHAPTER VI. "and is it true
MRS. METHVEN was conscious of a “I suppose you mean about me,” said new revival of the old displeasure when Walier. · Yes, I am afraid it is true. 1 Walter informed her of the engagement don't exactly know who I am at present.” he had formed for the evening. She was
“ Afraid !” cried July. “Ah, you know utterly disappointed. She bad thought you don't mean that. At all events, you that the great and beneficial shock of this
new life would turn his character alto- | felt afterwards that it would have been in gether, and convert him into that domes. better taste had he postponed this for a tic sovereign, that object of constant night. But he was very impatient and reference, criticism, and devotion which eager to shake himself free of them, and every woman would have every man be. enter upon his new career. It was a wonderful mortification and en- Something of the same disappointed lightenment to find that without even the and disapproving sentiment filled Mrs. interval of a single evening devoted to Methven's mind when she heard of his the consideration of his new and marvel. visit to the cottage. She knew no reason lous prospects, and that talking over why he should take a special leave of July which is one of the sweetest parts of a Herbert; if he knew himself a reason, great and happy event, he should return which he did not disclose, that was an
to what? - to wallowing in the mire, other matter. Thoughts like this embitas the Scripture says, to his old billiard- tered the preparations for his departure, room acquaintances, the idlers and unde- which otherwise would have been sirable persons with whom he had formed agreeable. She had to see after many associations. Could there be anything things which a young man of more wealth, more unsuitable than Lord Erradeen in the or more independent habits, would have midst of such a party, with Underwood, done for himself - his linen, his portmanand perhaps worse than Underwood? Itteau, most of the things he wanted, except wounded her pride and roused ber tem- the tailor part of the business; but it was per, and, in spite of all her efforts, it was not until the last evening that there was with a lowering brow that she saw him any of the confidential consultation, for go away. Afterwards, indeed, when she which her heart had longed. Even on thought of it, as she did for hours to that last day Walter had been very little gether, while Cousin Sophia talked, and indoors. He had been busy with a bunshe languidly replied, maintaining a con- dred trifles, and she had begun to make versation from the lips outward, so poor a up her mind to his going away without a substitute for the evening's talking over word said as to their future relations, as and happy consultation she had dreamed to whether he meant his mother to share of - M Methven was more just to her any of the advantages of his new position,
She tried always to be just, poor or to drop her at Sloebury as something lady. She placed before herself all the done with, which he did not care to burden reasons for his conduct. That he should himself with, any more than the other entertain the men who, much against her circumstances of bis past career. She wish and his own good, yet in their way did so little justice to the real generosity had been kind to, and entertained him, of her son's temper in the closeness of was natural. But to do it this first even. ber contest with him, and the lieat of pering was hard, and she could not easily sonal feeling, that she had begun to make accept her disappointment. Afterwards up her mind to this, with what pain and she reminded herself with a certain stern bitterness it is unnecessary to say. philosophy that because Walter had owned She had even begun to make excuses a touch of natural emotion, and had drawn for her own desertion in the tumult of near to her and confessed himself in the endless thought upon this one subject wrong, that was no reason why his char- which possessed her. She would be just; acter should be changed in a moment. after all, was it not better perhaps that There were numbers of men who on oc- she should be left in the little house casion felt and lamented their misdoing, which was her independent home, for yet went on again in the same way. He which she owed nothing to any one? If had been no doubt startled, as some are any unnecessary sense of gratitude made by calamity, by the more extraordinary him offer her reluctantly a share in his shock of this good fortune; but why new life, that would be humiliation inshould be for that abandon all the tastes deed. If, as was apparent, her society, and occupations of his former life? It her advice, her love were nothing to him, was she, she said to herself, with some was it not far better that both should rec. bitterness, who was a fool. The fact was ognize the situation, and view things in that Walter meant no harm at all, and that their true light? This the proud woman it was merely the first impulse of a half had made up her mind to, with what depth scornful liberality, impatience of the old of wounded tenderness and embittered associations, which he had tacitly ac. affection who could say? She had packed knowledged were not fit for him, that led for him with her own hands, for all his him back to his former companions. He I permanent arrangeinents were to be made after he had left Sloebury, and to change thought it was beautiful to hear his lordher lousehold in consequence of an alter- ship speaking like that, quite natural to ation of fortune which, according to all his mother ; but that missus
was that appearances, would not concern ber, was, hard it was no wonder if they didn't get she had proudly decided, quite out of the on; and Cousin Sophia from her virgin question. She packed for bim as in the retirement, where she sat in her dressingdays when he was going to school, when gown reading a French povel, and very he was a boy, and liked everything better much ali to every sound, commented in that had been done by his mother. A her own mind, closing her book, in the woman may be pardoned for feeling such same sense. “Now she will just go and a difference with a passionate soreness hold him at arm's length while the boy's and sense of downfall. In those days how heart is melting, and then break her she had thought of the time wlien he own," Miss Merivale said to herself. would be grown up, when he would under-Thus everybody was against her and in stand all her difficulties and share all her favor of the fortunate young fellow who cares, and in his own advancement make had been supping on homage and flather triumphant and happy! God forgive tery, and now came in easy and careless me, she said to herself, now he has got to make everything straight at the last advancement far above my hopes, and I moment. Mrs. Methven on her side was am making myself wretched thinking of very tired, and tremulous with the exermyself. She stopped and cried a little tion of packing. It would have been imover his new linen. No, he was right; if possible for her to banish that tone out of it must be allowed that they did not “get her voice. She stood in the subdued on," it was indeed far better in the long light upon the stairs looking down upon run that there should be no false senti- bim, leaning on the banister to support ment, no keeping up of an untenable posi-herself; while he, with all the light from tion. Thank God she required nothing; below upon his face, ruddy with the she had enough; she wanted neither night air, and the applauses, and his own luxury nor grandeur, and her home, her high well-being, looked up gaily at her. natural place was here, where she had He had shaken off all his old irritability lived so many years, where she could dis in the confidence of happiness and good arm all comment upon Walter's neglect of fortune that had taken possession of her, by saying that she preferred the place him. After a moment he came springing where she had lived so long, and where up the stairs three at a time. she had so many friends. Why, indeed, “ You look tired, mother, while I have should she change her home at her time been wasting my time. Come down, and of life? No doubt he would come back let us have our talk. I'll do all the rest some time and see her; but after all why to-morrow," he said, throwing his arm should her life be unsettled because his round her and leading her down-stairs. was changed ? It was he who showed He brought her some wine first of all and true sense in his way of judging the mat- a footstool, and threw himself into the ter, she said to berself with a smile, easy task of making her comfortable. through the hastily dried and momentary “ Now," he said, “ let's talk it all over,” tears.
drawing a chair to her side. Walter came in when the packing was All this was quite new upon Walter's just about concluded. He came half-way part or rather quite old, belonging to up the stairs and called," Mother, where an age which had long ago gone. are you?” as he had often done when he “ Isn't it råther late for that?" she was a boy and wanted her at every turn, said, with a faint smile. but as he never did now. This touched “ Yes, and I am ashamed of myself ; and weakened her again in her steady but, unfortunately, you are so used to resolution to let him see no repining in that. We must settle, however, mother. her. " Are you packing for me?" he I am to go first of all to Kinloch-houran, called out again ; "what a shame while I which Milnathort says is not a place have been idling! But come down, for you. Indeed, I hear” – here be mother, please, and leave that. You for: paused a little as if he would have get we have everything to settle yet.” named his authority, and continued
"What is there to settle ? ” she said, " that it is a ruinous sort of place; and with a certain sharpness of tone which why I should go there, I don't know.” she could not quite suppress, coming out " Where did you hear ? ” she said, with upon the landing. The maids who were quick suspicion. going to bed, and who heard all this, “Well, mother, I would rather not have
mentioned his name; but if you wish to comfort to have me with you at all? know, from Underwood. I know you are Wouldn't you rather be free, and make prejudiced against him. Yes, it is preju- your own arrangements, and leave me dice, though I don't wonder at it. I care as I am?" nothing for the fellow; but still it comes “ MOTHER ?" the young man cried. out, which is rather strange, that he knows He got up suddenly from where he was these places, and a good deal about the sitting beside her, and pushed away his Erradeens."
chair, and stood facing her, with a sudden “Is that, then,” cried the mother quick- paleness and fiery eyes that seemed to ly, “the reason of his being here?” dazzle her. He had almost kicked her
“He never said so, nor have I asked footstool out of his way in his excitement him," answered Walter, with something and wounded feeling. “Do you inean to of his old sullenness; but then be added, say you want to have nothing to do with “ The same thought has crossed my own me?” he said. mind, mother, and I shouldn't wonder if “Oh! my boy, you could not think so. it were so."
I thought that was what
- you meant.
I “Walter,” she said, “a man like that wish only what is for your good.” can have but one motive — the desire to 6 Would it be for my good to be an unaggrandize himself. For heaven's sake, natural cad?” said the young man, with don't have anything to do with him; don't rising indignation — “a heartless, ill.conlet him get an influence over you." ditioned whelp, with no sense and no feel
“ You must have a very poor opinion of ing? Oh, mother! mother! what a poor me, mother,” he said, in an aggrieved opinion you must have of me!” he cried; tone.
and so stung was he with this blow that She looked at him with a curious gaze, sudden tears sprang to his eyes.. “All silenced, as it seemed. She loved him because I'm a fool and put everything off more than anything in the world, and to the last moment,” he added, in a sort thought of him above everything; and yet of undertone, as if explaining it to himperhaps in that wrath with those we love self. “But I'm not a beast for all that,” which works like madness in the brain, it he said fiercely. was true what he said - that she had a She made him no reply, but sat and poor opinion of him. Extremes meet, as gazed at him with a remorse and comthe proverb says. However, this was a punction, which, painful sentiments as mystery too deep for Walter to enter into. they are, were to her sweet as the dews
" Don't let us waste words about Un from heaven. Yes, it appeared that derwood,” he said. "I care nothing for through all her passionate and absorbing the fellow; he is vulgar and presuming - tenderness she had had a poor opinion of as you always said.”
bim. She had done him injustice. The Partly, no doubt this avowal was made conviction was like a new birth. That he with the intention of pleasing his mother; should be Lord Erradeen was nothing in at the same time it proved the great moral comparison of being as he thus proved effect of promotion in rank. Lord Erra. himself, good and true, open to the influ. deen saw with the utmost distinctness ences of affection and nature. She could what Walter Methven had only glimpsed not speak, but her eyes were full of a by intervals. And it is impossible to thousand things; they asked him mutely describe how this speech pleased Mrs. to forgive her. They repented, and were Methven. Her tired eyes began to shine, abashed and rejoiced all in one glance. her heart to return to its brighter hopes. The young man who had not been nearly
“The thing is, what arrangements you so heartless as she feared, was now not wish me to inake," said Walter. " What nearly so noble as she thought; but he are you going to do? I hear Mulmorrel was greatly touched by the crisis, and by is a handsome house, but it's November, the suggestion of many a miserable hour and naturally it is colder in the north. which was in her involuntary sin against Do you think you would care to go there him and in her penitence. He came back now, or wait till the weather is better? again and sat close by her, and kissed her It may want furnishing, for anything I tremulously. know; and it appears we've got a little “I have been a cad,” he said. « I house in town."
don't wonder you lost all faith in me, " Walter," she said, in a voice which mother.” was husky and tremulous, “ before you “Not that, not that,” she said faintly; enter upon all this — you must first think, and then there was a moment of exquisite my dear. Are you sure it will be for your silence, in which without a word, every.
thing was atoned for, and pardon asked | air of easy indifference as if it were the and given.
most natural thing in the world : while his And then began perhaps the happiest mother on her side could have cried for hour of Mrs. Methven's life, in which pleasure and tenderness. they talked over everything and decided “ You must not mind me, Walter; we what was to be done. Not to give up the must think what is best for yourself,” she house in Sloebury at present, nor indeed said, as proud and pleased as if she had to do anything at present, save wait till he twenty carriages. had made his expedition into Scotland "Nothing of the sort," he said.
" We and seen his new property, and brought are going to be comfortable, and you must her full particulars. After he had inves. have everything that is right first of all." tigated everything and knew exactly the What an hour it was! now and then capabilities of the house, and the condi- there will be given to one individual out tion in which it was, and all the necessi. of a class full measure of recompense ties and expediencies, they would then heaped and overflowing, out of which the decide as to the best thing to be done ; j rest may get a sympathetic pleasure whether to go there, though at the worst though they do not enjoy it in their own time of the year, or to go to London, persons. Mrs. Methven had never imag. which was an idea that pleased Walter ined that this would come to her, but lo! but alarmed his mother. “Mrs. Methven in a moment it was pouring upon her in did her best to remember what were the floods of consolation. So absorbing was duties of a great landed proprietor and to this happy consultation that it was only bring them home to her son.
when her eyes suddenly caught the clock "You ought to spend Christmas at on the mantelpiece, and saw that the your own place,” she said. “There will hands were marking a quarter to two, be charities and hospitalities and the poor that Mrs. Methven startled awoke out of people to look after.,
her bliss. She did not know Scotland, nor did she “My poor boy! that I should keep you know very well what it was to be a great up to this hour talking, and a long journey country magnate. She had been but a before you to morrow!” she cried. poor officer's daughter herself, and had She hustled him up to his room after married another officer, and been beaten this, talking and resisting gaily to the about from place to place before she set. very door. He was happy too with that tled down on her small income at Sloe- sense of happiness conferred, which is bury. She had not much more expe- always sweet, and especially to youth in rience than Walter himself had in this the delightful, easy sense of power and respect; indeed it the truth must be told beneficence. When he thought of it be both of them drew their chief information was a little remorseful, to think that he from novels, those much-abused sources had possessed the power so long and of information, in which the life of rural never exercised it, for Walter was generpotentates is a favorite subject and not ous enough to be aware that the house in always described with much knowledge. Park Lane and the carriage were not the Walter gravely consented to all this, with occasions of his mother's blessedness. a conscientious desire to do what was “Poor mother," he said to himself softly. right; but he thought the place would He might have made her a great deal most likely be gloomy for his mother in more happy if he had chosen before these winter, and that hospitalities would nat. fine things were dreamt of. But Mrs. urally be uncalled for so soon after the Methven remembered that no more. She death of the old lord.
begged pardon of God on her knees for “What I would advise would be Park misjudging her boy, and for once in her Lane," he said, with a judicial tone. life was profoundly, undoubtingly happy, "Milnathort said that it was quite a small with a perfection and fulness of content house."
which perhaps could only come after long “What is a small house in Park Lane experience of the reverse. After such a would look a palace at Sloebury,” Mrs. moment a human creature, if possible, Methven said; "and you must not begin should die, so as to taste nothing less on an extravagant footing, my dear.” sweet: for the less sweet, to be sure,
“ You will let us begin comfortably, I must come back if life goes on, and at hope,” he said; "and I must look for a that moment there was not a cloud or a pice carriage for you, mother.”
suggestion of darkness upon the firmaWalter ielt disposed to laugh as he said ment. She grudged falling asleep, though the words, but carried them off with an she was very tired, and so losing this