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our. TAW 

L The Days that are No More .... 5 

ii. But then came One the Lovelace of his Day 18 

in. "Tintagel, Half in Sea, and Half on 

Land" 32 

iv. ' Love ! Thou art Leading Me from Wintry 

Cold ' ' 45 

v. 'The Silver Answer Rang, — "Not Death 

but Love"' 65 

vi. In Society .61 

vn. Cupid and Psyche 83 

viii. Le Secret de Polichinelle .... 94 

ix. 'Love is Love for Evermore' .... 113 

x. ' Let Me and My Passionate Love go by' . 122 

xi. 'Alas for Me then, My Good Days are " 

Done' 128 

xu. 'Grief a Fixed Star, and Joy a Vane that 

Veers' 131 

Kin. ' t jOve will have His Day' .... 140 

xiv. '3ut Here is One who Loves You as of 

Old' 155 

xv. ' TnAT Lip and Voice are Mute for Ever ' . 166 

xvi. 'Not the Gods can Shake the Past' . . 172 

xvii. 'I have put My Days and Dreams out of 

Mind' 18C 

iv Contents. 


xviii. 'And Pale from TnE Past we Draw Nigh 

Thee' 185 

xix. ' But it Sufficeth, that the Day will End ' 201 

xx. ' Who Knows Not Circe V . . . . 216 

xxi. 'And Time is Setting Wi 1 Me, O' . .229 

xxii. 'With such Remorseless Speed Still Come 

New Woes' 231 

xxm. 'Yours on Monday, God's to-day' . . 243 

xxiv. Duel or Murder? 250 

xxv. 'Dust to Dust' ....... 255 

xxvi. 'Pain for Thy Girdle, and Sorrow upon 

Thy Head' 265 

xxvii. 'I Will have no Mercy on Him' . . 269 

xxviii. ' Gai Donc, la Voyageuse, au Coup du 

Pelerin ! ' 283 

xxix. 'Time Turns the Old Days to Dertsion' . 288 

xxx. ' Thou shouldst come lik^e a Fury Crowned 

with Snakes' 299 

xxxi. ' His Lady Smiles ; Delight is in Her 

Pace' 305 

xxxii. ' Love bore such Bitter and such Deadly 

Fruit' 318 

xxxiii. 'She Stood up in Bitter Case, with a 

Pale yet Steady Face' .... 330 

xxxiv. We have Djne with Tears and Treasons . 346 




' And he was a widower,' said Christabel. 

She was listening to an oft-told tale, kneeling in the firelight, 
at her aunt's knee, the ruddy glow tenderly touching her fair soft 
hair and fairer forehead, her big blue eyes lifted lovingly to Mrs. 
Tregonell's face. 

' And he was a widower, Aunt Diana,' she repeated, with an 
expression of distaste, as if something had set her teeth on edge. 
' I cannot help wondering that you coidd care for a widower — a 
man who had begun life by caring for somebody else.' 

' Do you suppose any one desperately in love ever thinks of 
the past ] ' asked another voice out of the twilight. ' Those in- 
fatuated creatures called lovers are too happy and contented with 
the rapture of the present.' 

' One would think you had tremendous experience, Jessie, by 
the way you lay down the law,' said Christabel, laughing. ' But 
I want to know what Auntie has to say about falliug in love with 
a widower.' 

' If you had ever seen him and known him, I don't think you 
would wonder at my liking him,' answered Mrs. Tregonell, lying 
back in her armchair, and talking of the story of her life in a 
placid way, as if it were the plot of a novel, so thoroughly does 
time smooth the rough edge of grief. ' When he came to my 
father's house, his young wife had been dead just two years — she 
died three days after the birth of her first child — and Captain 
Hamleigh was very sad and grave, and seemed to take very little 
pleasure in life. It was in the shooting season, aad the other 
men were out upon the hills all day.' 

' Murdering innocent birds,' interjected Christabel. ' How I 
hate them for it ! ' 

'Captain Hamleigh hung about the house, not seeming to 
know very well what to do with himself, so your mother 

6 Mount Royal. 

and I took pity upon him, and tried to amuse him, which 
effort resulted in his amusing us, for he was ever so much 
cleverer than we were. He was so kind and sympathetic. 
"We had just founded a Dorcas Society, and we were muddling 
hopelessly in an endeavour to make good sensible rules, so that 
we should do nothing to lessen the independent feeling of our 
people — and he came to our rescue, and took the whole thing in 
hand, and seemed to understand it all as thoroughly as if he had 
been establishing Dorcas Societies all his life. My father said it 
was because the Captain had been sixth wrangler, and that it 
was the higher mathematics which made him so clever at making 
rules. But Ciara and I said it was his kind heart that made him 
so quick at understanding how to help the poor without humiliat- 
ing them.' 

'It was very nice of him,' said (Jhristabel, who had heard the 
story a hundred times before, but who was never weary of it, 
and had a special reason for being interested this afternoon. 
' And so he stayed a long time at my grandfather's, and you fell 
in love with him ? ' 

'I began by being sorry for him,' replied Mrs. Tregonell. 
' He told us all about his young wife — how happy they had been 
— how their one year of wedded life seemed to him like a lovely 
dream. They had only been engaged three months ; he had 
known her less than a year and a half altogether ; had come 
home from India ; had seen her at a friend's house, fallen in love 
with her, married her, and lost her within those eighteen months. 
' Everything smiled upon us,' he said. ' I ought to have 
remembered Polycrates and his ring.' 

'He must have been rather a doleful person,' said Christ abel, 
who had all the exacting ideas of early youth in relation to love 
and lovers. ' A widower of that kind ought to perform suttee, 
and make an end of the business, rather than go about the world 
prosing to nice girls. I wonder more and more that you could 
have cared for him.' And then, seeing her aunt's eyes shining 
with unshed tears, the girl laid her sunny head upon the matronly 
shoulder, and murmured tenderly, ' Forgive me for teasing you, 
dear, I am only pretending. I love to hear about Captain Hara- 
leigh ; and I am not very much surprised that you ended by 
loving him — or that he soon forgot his brief dream of bliss with 
the other young lady, and fell desperately in love with you.' 

' It was not till after Christinas that we were engaged,' con- 
tinued Mrs. Tregonell, looking dreamily at the fire. ' My fathei 
was delighted — so was my sister Clara — your dear mother. 
Everything went pleasantly ; our lives seemed all sunshine. I 
ought to have remembered Polycrates, for I knew Schiller's 
ballad about him by heart. But I could think of nothing beyond 
that perfect all- sufficing happiness. We were not to be married 

The Days that are No More. 7 

till late in the autumn, when it would be three years since his 
wife's death. It was my father's wisn that I should not be 
iian-ied till after my nineteenth birthday, which would not be 
till September. I was so happy in my engagement, so confident 
in my lover's fidelity, that I was more than content to wait. 
So all that spring he stayed at Penlee. Our mild climate had 
improved his health, which was not at all good when he came to 
as — indeed he had retired from the service before his marriage, 
chiefly on account of weak health. But he spoke so lightly and 
confidently about himself in this matter, that it had never 
entered into my head to feel any serious alarm about him, till 
„-arly in May, when he and Clara and I were caught in a drench- 
ing rainstorm during a mountaineering expedition on Rough Tor, 
and then had to walk four or five miles in the rain before we 
came to the inn where the carriage was to wait for us. Clara and 
I, who were always about in all weathers, were very little 
worse for the wet walk and the long drive home in damp clothes. 
But George was seriously ill for three weeks with cough and low 
fever ; and it was at this time that our family doctor told my 
father that he would not give much for his future son-in-law's 
life. There was a marked tendency to lung complaint, he said ; 
Captain Hamleigh had confessed that several members of his 
family had died of consumption. My father told me this — urged 
me to avoid a marriage which must end in misery to me, and was 
deeply grieved when I declared that no such consideration would 
induce me to break my engagement, and to grieve the man I 
loved. If it were needful that our marriage should be delayed, I 
was contented to submit to any delay ; but nothing could loosen 
the tie between me and my dear love.' 

Aunt and niece were both crying now. However familiar the 
story might he, they always wept a little at this point. 

' George never knew one word of this conversation between 
my father and me — he never suspected our fears — but from that 
horn- my happiness was gone. My life was one perpetual dread 
— one ceaseless strugle to hide all anxieties and fears under a 
smile. George rallied, and seemed to grow strong again— was 
full of energy and high spirits, and I had to pretend to think him 
as thoroughly recovered as he fancied himself. But by this time 
I had grown sadly wise. I had questioned our doctor — had 
looked into medical books — and I knew every sad sign and token 
of decay. I knew what the flushed cheek and the brilliant eye, 
the damp cold hand, and the short cough meant I knew that 
the hand of death was on him whom I loved more than all the 
world besides. There was no need for the postponement of our 
marriage. In the long bright days of August he seemed won- 
derfully well — as well as he had been before the attack in May. 
I was almost happy ; for, in spite of what the •doctor "had told 

8 Mount Boy at. 

me, I begun to hope ! but early in September, while the dres* 
makers were in the house making my wedding clothes, the end 
came suddenly, unexpectedly, with only a few hours' warning. 
Oh, Cbristabei ! I cannot speak of that day !' 

1 No, darling, you shall not, you must not,' cried Christabel, 
showering kisses on her aunt's pale cheek. 

' And yet you always lead her on to talk about Captain Hani- 
leigh,' said the sensible voice out of the shadow. ' Isn't that just 
a little inconsistent of our sweet Belle V 

' Don't call me your ' sweet Belle' — as if I were a baby,' ex- 
claimed the girl. ' I know I am inconsistent — I was born 
foolish, and no one has ever taken the trouble to cure me of my 
folly. And now, Auntie dear, tell me about Captain Hamleigh's 
son — the boy who is coming here to-moiTOW.' 

' I have not seen him since he was at Eton. The Squire 
drove me down on a Fourth of June to see him.' 

1 It was very good of Uncle Tregonell.' 

' The Squire was always good,' replied Mrs. Tregonell, with a 
dignified air. Christabel's only remembrance of her uncle was of 
a large loud man, who blustered and scolded a good deal, and 
frequently contrived, perhaps, without meaning it, to make 
everybody in the house uncomfortable ; so she reflected inwardly 
upon that blessed dispensation which, however poorly wives may 
think of living husbands, provides that every widow should 
consider her departed spouse completely admirable. 

' And was he a nice a boy in those days 1 ' asked Christabel, 
keenly interested. 

' He was a handsome gentleman-like lad — very intellectual 
looking ; but I was grieved to see that he looked delicate, like 
his father ; and his dame told me that he generally had a winter 

' Who took care of him in those days 1 ' 

' His maternal aunt — a baronet's wife, with a handsome house 
in Eaton Square. All his mother's people were well placed in 

' Poor boy ! hard to have neither father nor mother. It was 
twelve years ago when you spent that season in London with the 
Squire,' said Christabel, calculating profoundly with the aid of 
her finger tips ; and Angus Hamleigh was then sixteen, which 
makes him now eight-and-twenty — dreadfully old. And since 
then he has been at Oxford — and he got the Newdigate — what is 
the Newdigate ? — and he did not hunt, or drive tandem, or have 
rats in his rooms, or paint the doors vermillion — like — like the 
general run of young men,' said Christabel, reddening, and hurry- 
ing on confusedly ; ' and he was altogether rather a superior sort 
of person at the university.' 

He had not your cousin Leonard's high spirits and powerful 

The Days that arc No More. 9 

physique,' said Mrs, Tregonell, as if she were ever so slightly 
offended, ' Young men's tastes are so different.' 

1 Yes,' Bighed Christabel, ' if s lucky they are, is it not 1 It 
wouldn't do for them all to keep rats in their rooms, would it 1 
The poor old colleges would smell so dreadful. Well,' with 
another sigh, ' it is just three weeks since Angus Hamleigh 
accepted your invitation to come here to stay, and I have been 
expiring of curiosity ever since. If he keeps me expiring much 
longer I shall be dead before he comes. And I have a dreadful 
foreboding that, when he does appear, I shall detest him.' 

' No fear of that/ said Miss Bridgeman, the owner of the 
voice that issued now and again from the covert of a deep arm- 
chair on the other side of the fireplace. 

' Why not, Mistress Oracle 1 ' asked Christabel. 

'Because, as Mr. Hamleigh is accomplished and good-looking, 
and as you see very few young men of any kind, and none that 
are particularly attractive, the odds are fifty to one that you will 
fall in love with him.' 

' I ara not that kind of person,' protested Christabel, drawing 
up her long full throat, a perfect throat, and one of the girl's 
chief beauties. 

' I hope not,' said Mrs. Tregonell ; ' I trust that Belle has 
better sense than to fall in love with a young man, just because 
he happens to come to stay in the bouse.' 

Christabel was on the point of exclaiming, ' Why, Auntie, you 
did it ;' but caught herself up sharply, and cried out instead, with 
an air of settling the question for ever, 

' My dear Jessie, he is eight-and-twenty. Just ten years 
older than I am/ 

' Of course — he's ever so much too old for her. A blase man 
of the world,' said Mrs. Tregonell. ' I should be deeply sorry to 
see my darling marry a man of that age — and with such ante- 
cedents. I should like her to marry a young man not above two 
or three years her senior.' 

' And fond of rats,' said Jessie Bridgeman to herself, for she 
had a shrewd idea that she knew the young man whose image 
lilled Mrs. Tregonell's mind as she spoke. 

All these words were spoken in a goodly oak panelled room in 
the Manor House known as Mount Royal, on the slope of a bo ky 
hill about a mile and a half from the little town of Boscastle, • i 
the north c ast of Cornwall. It was an easy matter, according to 
the Herald's Office, to show that Mount Royal had belong' 1 i 
the Trcgonells in the days of the Norman kings; for I lie 
Tregonells traced their descent, by a female branch, from the 
ancient baronial family of Botterell or Bottereaux, who oik-j 
held a kind of Court in their castle on Mount Royal, had their 
dungeons and their prisoners, and, in the words of Carew, 

10 Mount Boyal. 

'exercised some large jurisdiction.' Of the ancient castle hardly 
A stone remained ; but the house in which Mrs. Tregonell 
lived was as old as the reign of James the First, and had all 
the rich and quaint beauty of that delightful period in 
architecture. Nor was there any prettier room at Mount 
Royal than this spacious oak-panelled parlour, with curious 
nooks and cupboards, a recessed fireplace, or 'cosy-corner,' 
with a small window on each side of the chimney-breast, 
and one particular alcove placed at an angle of the house, 
overlooking one of the most glorious views in England. It 
might be hyperbore perhaps to call those Cornish hills mountains,, 
yet assuredly it was a mountain landscape over which the eye 
roved as it looked from the windows of Mount Royal ; for those 
wide sweeps oi hill side, those deep clefts and gorges, and 
heathery slopes, ca which the dark red cattle grazed in silent 
peacefulness, an<2 the rocky bed of the narrow river that went 
rushing through the deep valley, had all the grandeur of the 
Scottish Highlands, all the pastoral beauty of Switzer- 
land. And }i vay to the right, beyond the wild and 
indented coast- ji.ue, that horned coast which is said to have 
given its name to Cornwall — Cornu-Wales — stretchecV the Atlantic. 

The room had that quaint charm peculiar to rooms occupied by 
many generations, and ujion which each age as it went by has left 
its mark. It was a room full of anachronisms. There was some of 
the good old Jacobean furniture left in it, while spindle-legged 
Chippendale tables and luxurious nineteenth- century chairs and 
sofas agreeably contrasted with those heavy oak cabinets and 
corner cupboards. Here an old Indian screen or a china monster 
suggested a fashionable auction room, filled with ladies who wore 
patches and played ombre, and squabbled for ideal ugliness in 
Oriental pottery ; there a delicately carved cherry-wood prk-Jii /.:, 
with claw feet, recalled the earlier beauties of the Stuart CJourt. 
Time had faded the stamped velvet curtains to that neutral 
withered -leaf hue which painters love in a background, and 
against which bright yellow chrysanthemums and white asters in 
dark red and blue Japanese bowls, seen dimly in the fitful fire- 
glow, made patches of light and colour. 

The girl kneeling by the matron's chair, looked dreamily into 
the fire, was even fairer than her surroundings. She was 
thoroughly English in her beauty, features not altogether perfect, 
but complexion of that dazzling fairness and wild-iose bloom 
which is in itself enough for loveliness ; a complexion so delicate 
as to betray every feeling of the sensitive mind, and to vary with 
every shade of emotion. Her eyes were blue, clear as summer 
skies, and with an expression of childlike innocence — that look 
which tells of a soul whose purity has never been tarnished by 
the knowledge of evil. That frank clear outlook was natural in 

TJie Days that are No More. 11 

a girl brought up as Christabel Courtenay had been at a. good 
woman's knee, shut in and sheltered from the rough world, reared 
in the love and fear of God, shaping every thought of her life by 
the teaching of the Gospel. 

She had been an orphan at nine years old, and had parted for 
ever from mother and father before her. fifth birthday, Mrs. 
Courtenay leaving her only child in her sister's care, and going 
out to India to join her husband, one of the Sudder Judges. 
Husband and wife died of cholera in the fourth year of 
Mrs. Courtenay's residence at Calcutta, leaving Christabel in her 
aunt's care. 

Mr. Courtenay was a man of ample means, and his wife, 
daughter and co-heiress with Mrs. Tregonell of Ealph Champer- 
nowne, had a handsome dowry, so Christabel might fairly rank 
as an heiress. On her grandfather's death she inherited half of 
the Champernowne estate, which was not entailed. But she had 
hardly ever given a thought to her financial position. She knew 
that she was a ward in Chancery, and that Mrs. Tregonell was 
her guardian and adopted mother, that she had always as much 
money as she wars ted, and never experienced the pain of seeing 
poverty which she coidd not relieve in some measure from her 
well-supplied purse. The general opinion in the neighbourhood of 
Mount Koyal was that the Indian Judge had accumulated an 
immense fortune during his twenty years' labour as a civil 
servant ; but this notion was founded rather upon vague ideas 
about Warren Hastings and the Padoga tree, and the supposed 
inability of any Indian official to refuse a bribe, than on plain facta 
or personal knowledge. 

Mrs. Tregonell had been left a widow at thirty-live years of 
age, a widow with one son, whom she idolized, but who was 
not a source of peace and happiness. He was open-handed, had 
no petty vices, and was supposed to possess a noble heart — a fact 
which Christabel was sometimes inclined to doubt when she saw 
his delight in the slaughter of birds and beasts, not having in 
her own nature that sportsman's instinct which can excuse such 
murder. He was not the kind of lad who would wilfully set his 
foot upon a worm, but he had no thrill of tenderness or re- 
morseful pity as he looked at the glazing eye, or felt against his 
hand the last feeble heart-beats of snipe or woodcock. He was 
a troublesome boy — fond of inferior company, and loving rather 
to be first fiddle in the saddle-room than to mind his manners in 
his mother's pink-and-white panelled saloon— among the best 
people in the neighbourhood. He was lavish to recklessness in 
the use of money, and therefore was always furnished with fol- 
lowers and flatterers. His University career had been altogether 
a failure and a disgrace. He had taken no degree — had icade 
himself notorious for those rough pranks which have not even 

.12 Mount Royal. 

the merit of being original — the traditionary college misde- 
meanours handed down From generation to generation of under- 
graduates, and which by their blatant folly incline the outside 
world to vote for the suppression of Universities and the extinc- 
tion of the undergraduate race. 

His mother had known and suffered all this, yet still loved 
her boy with a fond excusing love — ever ready to pardon— ever 
eager to believe that these faults and follies were but the crop of 
wild oats which must needs precede the ripe and rich harvest of 
manhood. Such wild youths, she told herself, fatuously, gene- 
rally make the best men. Leonard would mend his ways before 
he was five-and-twenty, and would become interested in his 
estate, and develop into a model Squire, like his admirable 

That he had no love for scholarship mattered little — a 
country gentleman, with half a dozen manors to look after, could 
be but little advantaged by a familiar acquaintance with the 
integral calculus, or a nice appreciation of the Greek tragedians. 
"When Leonard Tregonell and the college Dons were mutually 
disgusted with each other to a point that made any further 
residence at Oxford impossible, the young man graciously an- 
nounced his intention of making a tour round the world, for 
the benefit of his health, somewhat impaired by University 
dissipations, and the widening of his experience in the agricul- 
tural line. 

' Farming has been reduced to a science,' he told his mother ; 
' I want to see how it works in our colonies. I mean to make a 
good many reformations in the management of my farms and 
the conduct of my tenants when I come home.' 

At first loth to part with him, very fearful of letting him 
so far out of her ken, Mrs. Tregonell ultimately allowed herself to 
be persuaded that sea voyages and knocking about in strange 
lands would be the making of her sen ; and there was no sacri- 
fice, no loss of comfort and delight, which she would not have 
endured for his benefit. She spent many sad hours in prayer, 
or on her knees before her open Bible ; and at last it seemed to 
her that her friends and neighbours must be right, and that it 
would be for Leonard's good to go. If he stayed in England, she 
could not hope to keep him always in Cornwall He could go to 
London, and, no doubt, London vices would be worse than Oxford 
vices. Yes, it was good for him to go ; she thought of Esau, 
and how, after a foolish and ill-governed youth, the son, who had 
bartered his father's blessing, yet became an estimable member 
of society. Why should not her boy flourish as Esau had 
flourished 1 but nev«.r wil hout the parental blessing. That would 
be his to the end. He .-■•aid not sin beyond her large capacity 
for pardon : he could ;;= t exhaust an inexhaustible love. So 

The Days that are No More. 13 

Leonard, who had suddenly found that wild Cornish const, and 
even the long rollers of the Atlantic contemptibly insignificant 
as compared with the imagined magnitude of Australian downs, 
and the grandeurs of Botany Bay, hurried on the preparations 
for his departure, provided himself with everything expensive in 
gunnery, fishing-tackle, porpoise-hide thigh-boots, and waterproof 
gear of every kind, and departed rejoicing in the most admirably 
appointed Australian steamer. The family doctor, who was one 
of the many friends in favour of this tour, had strongly recom- 
mended the rough-and-tumble life of a sailing-vessel ; but 
Leonard pveferred the luxury and swiftness of a steamer, and, 
suggesting to his mother that a sailing-vessel always took out 
emigrants, from whom it was more than likely he would catch 
scarlet fever or small-pox, instantly brought Mrs. Trcgonell to 
perceive that a steamer which carried no second-class passengers 
was the only fitting conveyance for her son. 

He was gone — and, while the widow grieved in submissive 
silence, telling herself that it was God's will that she and her son 
should be parted, and that whatever was good for him should be 
well for her, Christ abel and the rest of the household inwardly 
rejoiced at his absence. Nobody openly owned to being happier 
without him ; but the knowledge that he was far away brought 
a sense of relief to every one ; even to the old servants, who had 
been so fond of him in his childhood, when the kitchen and ser- 
vants' hall had ever been a happy hunting-ground for him in 
periods of banishment from the drawing-room. 

' It is no good for me to punish him,' Mrs. Tregonell had 
remonstrated, with assumed displeasure ; ' you all make so 
much of him.' 

'Oh, ma'am, he is such a fine, high-spirited boy,' the cook 
would reply on these occasions ; ' 'tesn't possible to be angry 
with him. He has such a spirit.' 

' Such a spirit ' was only a euphuism for such a temper ; 
and, as years went on, Mr. Tregonell's visits to the kitchen and 
servants' hall came to be less apjjreciated by his retainers. Jle 
no longer went there to be petted— to run riot in boyish liveli- 
ness, upsetting the housemaids' work-boxes, or making tofly 
urder the cook's directions. As he became aware of his own 
importance, he speedily developed into a juvenile tyrant ; he 
became haughty and overbearing, hectored and swore, befouled 
the snowy floors and ilags with his muddy shooting-boots, made 
havoc and work wherever he went. The household treated him 
with unfailing respect, as their late master's son, and their own 
master, possibly, in the future ; but their service was no longer 
the service of love. His loud strong voice, shouting in the 
passages and lobbies, scared the maids at their tea. Grooms and 
atable-boys b'ked him ; for with them he was always familiar, 

14 Mount Boyal. 

and often friendly. He and they had tastes and occupations in 
common ; but to the women servants and the grave middle-aged 
butler his presence was a source of discomfort. 

Next to her son in Mrs. Tregonell's affection stood her niece 
ChristabeL That her love for the girl who had never given her 
a moment's pain should be a lesser love than that which she bore 
to the boy who had seldom given her an hour's unalloyed pleasure 
was one of the anomalies common in the lives of good women. 
To love blindly and unreasonably is as natural to a woman as it 
is to love : and happy she whose passionate soul finds its idol in 
husband or child, instead of being lured astray by strange lights 
outside the safe harbour of home. Mrs. Tregonell loved her 
niece _ very dearly ; but it was with that calm, comfortable 
affection which mothers are apt to feel for the child who has 
never given them any trouble. Christabel had been her pupil : 
all that the girl knew had been learned from Mrs. Tregonell ; 
and, though her education fell far short of the requirements of 
Girton or Harley Street, there were few girls whose intellectual 
powers had been more fully awakened, without the taint of 
pedantry. Christabel loved books, but they were the books her 
aunt had chosen for her — old-fasliioned books for the most part. 
She loved music, but was no brilliant pianist, for when Mrs. 
Tregonell, who had taught her carefully up to a certain point, 
suggested a course of lessons from a German professor at Ply- 
mouth, the girl recoiled from the idea of being taught by a 

'If you are satisfied with my playing, Auntie, I am content 
never to play any better,' she said ; so the idea of six months' 
tuition and study at Plymouth, involving residence in that lively 
port, was abandoned. London was a far-away world, of which 
neither aunt nor niece ever thought. That wild northern coast is 
still two days' journey from the metropolis. Only by herculean 
»abour, in the way of posting across the moor in the grey dawn 
of morning, can the thing be done in one day ; and then scarcely 
between sunrise and sunset. So Mrs. Tregonell, who loved a life 
of placid repose, had never been to London since her widowhood, 
and Ciiristabel had never been there at all. There was an old 
house in Mayfair, which had belonged to the Tregonells for the 
last hundred years, and which had cost them a fortune in repairs, 
but it was either shut up and in the occupation of a caretaker, or 
let furnished for the season ; and no Tregonell had crossed its 
threshold since the Squire's death. Mrs. Tregonell talked of 
spending a season in London before Christabel war, much older, 
in order that her niece might be duly presented at Court, 
and qualified for that place in society which a young lady 
yi good family and ample means might fairly be entitled to 

The Days that are No More. 15 

Chrigtabcl had no eager desire for the gaieties of a London 
season. She had spent six weeks in Bath, and had enjoyed an 
occasional fortnight at Plymouth. She had been taken to 
theatres and concerts, had seen some of the best actors and 
actresses, heard a good deal of the finest music, and had been 
duly delighted with all she saw and heard. But she so fondly 
loved Mount Royal and its surroundings, she was so completely 
happy in her home life, that she had no desire to change that 
tranquil existence. She had a vague idea that London balls and 
parties must be something very dazzling and brilliant, but she 
was content to abide her aunt's pleasure and convenience for the 
time in which she was to know more about metropolitan revelries 
than was to be gathered from laudatory paragraphs in fashionable 
newspapers. Youth, with its warm blood and active spirit, is 
rarely so contented as Christabel was : but then youth is not 
often placed amid such harmonious circumstances, so protected 
from the approach of evil. 

Christabel Courtenay may have thought and talked more 
about Mr. Hamleigh during the two or three days that preceded 
his arrival than was absolutely necessary, or strictly in accord- 
ance with that common-sense which characterized most of her 
acts and thoughts. She was interested in him upon two grounds 
— first, because he was the only son of the man her aunt had 
loved and mourned ; secondly, beoause he was the first stranger 
who had ever come as a guest to Mount Royal. 

Her aunt's visitors were mostly people whose faces she had 
kiaown ever since she could remember : there were such wide 
potentialities in the idea of a perfect stranger, who was to be 
domiciled at the Mount for an indefinite period. 

' Suppose we don't like him 1 ' she said, speculatively, to Jessie 
Bridgeman, Mrs. Tregonell's housekeeper, companion, and fac- 
totum, who had lived at Mount Royal for the last six years, 
coming there a girl of twenty, to make herself generally useful in 
small girlish ways, and proving herself such a clever manager, so 
bright, competent, and far-seeing, that she had been gradually 
encrusted with every household care, from the largest to the 
most minute. Miss Bridgeman was neither brilliant nor 
accomplished, but she had a genius for homely things, and she 
was admirable as a companion. 

The two girls were out on the hills in the early autumn 
morning — hills that were golden where the sun touched them, 
purple in the shadow. The heather was fading, the patches of 
tu i zc -blossom were daily growing rarer. Yet the hill-sides were 
alive with light and colour, only less lovely than the translucent 
blues and greens of yonder wide-stretching sea. 

' Suppose we should all dislike him 1 ' repeated Christabel, 
digging the point of her walking-stick into a ferny hillock on the 

16 Mount fioyal. 

topniust cdgq pf a deep clett in the hills, on which commanding 
spot Bhe had just taken her stand, after bounding up the narrow 
] lit h from the little wooden bridge at the bottom of the glen, 
almost as quickly and as lightly as if she had been one of the 
deeply ruddled sheep that spent their lives on those precipitious 
slopes ; 'wouldn't it be too dreadful, Jessie V 

' It would be inconvenient,' answered Miss Bridgeman, 
coolly, resting both hands on the horny crook of her sturdy 
"ml iella, and gazing placidly seaward ; ' but we could cut him. 

1 Not without offending Auntie. She is sure to like him, for 
the sake of Auld Lang Syne. Every look and tone of his will 
recall his father. But we may detest him. And if he should 
like Mount Royal very much, and go on staying there for ever ! 
Auntie asked him for an indefinite period. She showed me her 
letter. I thought it was rather too widely hospitable, but I did 
not like to say so.' 

' I always say what I think,' said Jessie Bridgeman, dog- 

' Of course you do, and go very near being disagreeable in 

Miss Bridgeman's assertion was perfectly correct. A sturdy 
truthfulness was one of her best qualifications. She did not volun- 
teer unfavourable criticism; but if you asked her opinion upon 
any subject you got it, without sophistication. It was her rare 
merit to have lived with Mrs. Tregonell and Christabel Courtonay 
six years, dependent upon their liking or caprice for all the conv 
foi I i of her life, without having degenerated into a flatterer. 

' I haven't the slightest doubt as to your liking him,' said Miss 
Bridgeman, decisively. 'He has spent his life for the most pa»t 
in cities — and in good society. That I gather from your aunt's 
account of him. He is sure to be much more interesting and 
agreeable than the young men who live near here, whose ideas 
are, for the most part, strictly local. But I very much doubt bis 
liking Mount Royal, for more than one week.' 

' Jessie,' cried Christabel, indignantly, ' how can he help liking 
this?' She waved her stick across the autumn landscape, describ- 
ing a circle which included the gold and bronze hills, the shadowy 
is, the bold headlands curving away to Hartland on one side, 
to Tintagel on the other — Lundy Island a dim line of dun coloui 
oa the horizon. 

' Xo doubt he will think it beautiful — in the abstract. He 
will rave about it, compare it with the Scottish Highlands — with 
Wales — with Kerry, declare three Cornish hills the crowning 
glory of Britain. But in three days he will begin to detest a 
place where there is only one post out and in, and where he has 
to wait till next day for his morning paper' 

' What can he want with newspapers, if he is enjoying his life 

The Days that are No More. 17 

Kith us? I am sure there are books enough at Mount "Royal 
He need nut expire for want of something to read.' 

'Do vou Buppose that books— -the best and aoblest that ever 
were written — can make up to a man for the loss of his daily 
paper? If you do, offer a man Shakespeare when he is looking 
for the Daily Telegraph, or Chaucer when he wants his Times, 
and see what he will say to you. Men don't want to read now- 
adays, but to know — to be posted in the very latest movements of 
their fellow-men all over the universe. Reuter's column is all 
anybody really cares for in the paper. The leaders and the 
criticism are only so much padding to fill the sheet. People 
would be better pleased if there were nothing but telegrams.' 

' A man who only reads newspapers must be a most vapid com- 
panion,' said Christabel. 

' Hardly, for he must be brim full of facts.' 

' I abhor facts. Well, if Mr. Hamleigh is that kind of 
pei-son, I hope he may be tired of the Mount in less than a 

She was silent and thoughtful as they went home by the 
monastic churchyard in the hollow, the winding lane and steep 
tillage street. Jessie had a message to carry to one of Mrs. 
Tregonell'a pensioners, who lived in a cottage in the lane ; but 
Christabel, who was generally pleased to show her fair young face 
in such abodes, waited outside on this occasion, and stood in a 
profound reverie, digging the point of her stick into the looso 
earth of the mossy bank in front of her, and seriously damaging 
the landscape. 

' I hate a man who does not care for books, who does not 
love our dear English poets,' she said to herself. ' But I must 
not say that before Auntie. It would be almost like saving that 
I hated my cousin Leonard. I hope Mr Hamleigh .ill be — 
just a little different from Leonard. Of course he will, if his life 
has been spent in cities ; but then he may be languid and super- 
cilious, looking upon Jessie and me as inferior creatures ; and 
that would be worse than Leonard's roughness. For we all know 
what a good heart Leonard has, and how warmly attached he ia 
to us.' 

Somehow the idea of Leonard's excellent heart and affec- 
tionate disposition was not altogether a pleasant one. Christabel 
Bhuddered ever so faintly as she stood in the lane thinking of her 
cousin, who had last been heard of in the Fijis. She banished 
his image with an effort, and returned to her consideration of 
tluit unknown quantity, Angus Hamleigh. 

' 1 am an idiot to Ik- making fancy pictures of him, when at 
Bev n o'clock this evening 1 shall know all about him for good or 
evil,' she said aloud, as Jessie came out of the cottage, which 
nebtled low down in its little garden, with a slate for a doorstep. 

I© Mount Royal. 

and a slate standing on end at each side of the door, for boundary 
line, or ornament. 

' All that is to be known of the outside of him,' said Jessie, 
answering the girl's outspoken thought. ' If he is really worth 
knowing, his mind will need a longer study.' 

' I think I shall know at the first glance if he is likeable,' 
replied Christabel ; and then, with a tremendous effort, she 
contrived to talk about other things as they went down the High 
Street of Boscastle, which, to people accustomed to a level world, 
is rather trying. With Christabel the hills were only an excuse 
for flourishing a Swiss walking-stick. The stick was altogether 
needless for support to that light well-balanced figure. Jessie, 
who was very small and slim and sure-footed, always carried her 
stout little umbrella, winter or summer. It was her vade-mecum 
— good against rain, or sun, or mad bulls, or troublesome dogs. 
She would have scorned the affectation of cane or alpenstock : 
but the sturdy umbrella was vary dear to her. 



A-Lthoitgh Angus Hamleigh came of a good old west country 
family, he had never been in Cornwall, and he approached that 
remote part of the country with a curious feeling that he was 
turning' his back upon England and English civilization, and 
entering a strange wild land where all things would be different. 
He would meet with a half-barbarous people, perhaps, rough, 
unkempt, ignorant, brutal, speaking to him in a strange language 
—such men as inhabited Perthshire and Inverness before civili- 
zation travelled northward. He had accepted Mrs. Tregonell's 
invitation out of kindly feeling for the woman who had loved 
his father, and who, but for that father's untimely death, might 
have been to him as a second mother. There was a strong vein 
of sentiment in his character, which responded to the sentiment 
betrayed unconsciously in every line of Mrs. Tregonell's letter. 
His only knowledge of the father he had lost in infancy had 
come to him from the lips of others, and it pleased him to think 
that here was one whose memory must be fresher than that of 
any other friend in whose mind his father's image must needs be 
as a living thing. He had all his life cherished a regretful 
fondneas for that unknown father, whose shadowy picture ho 
had vainly tried to recall among the first faint recollections of 
babyhood- -the dim dreamland of half -awakened consciousness. 
He had frankly and promptly accepted Mrs. Tregonell's iiyvi- 

But tJien came One, the Lovelace of his Day. 19 

tation ; yet he felt that in going to immure himself in an 
■vld manor house for a fortnight — anything less than a fort- 
night would have been uncivil — he .•was dooming himself to 
ineffable boredom. Beyond that pious pleasure in parental 
reminiscences, there could be no possible gratification for a 
man of the world, who was not an ardent sportsman, in such 
a place as Mount Royal. Mr. Hamleigh's instincts were 
of the town, towny. His pleasures were all of an intellectual 
kind. He had never degraded himself by vulgar profligacy, 
but he liked a life of excitement and variety ; he had always 
lived at high pressure, and among people posted up to the 
last moment of the world's history — people who drank the 
very latest pleasure cup which the Spirt of the Age — a Spirit of 
passing frivolity — had invented, were it only the newest brand 
of champagne ; and who, in their eagerness to gather the roses ol 
life, outotripped old Time himself, and grew old in advance of 
their age. He had been contemplating a fortnight in Paris, as 
the first stage in his journey to Monaco, when Mrs. Tregonell's 
letter altered his plans. This was not the first time she had 
asked him to Mount Royal, but on previous occasions his engage- 
ments had seemed to him too imperative to be foregone, and he had 
regretfully declined her invitations. But now the flavour of life 
had grown somewhat vapid for him, and he was grateful to anyone 
who would turn his thoughts and fancies into a new direction. 

' I shall inevitably be bored there,' he said to himself, when 
he had littered the railway carriage with newspapers accumulated 
on the way, ' but I should be bored anywhere else. When a 
man begins to feel the pressure of the chain upon his leg, it 
cannot much matter where his walks lead him : the very act of 
walking is his punishment.' 

When a man comes to eight-and-twenty years of age — a mar 
who has had very little to do in this life, except take his pleasure 
— a great weariness and sense of exhaustion is apt to close round 
him like a pall. The same man will be ever so much fresher 
in mind, will have ever so much more zest for life, when lie 
comes to be forty — for then he will have entered upon those 
calmer enjoyments of middle age which may last him till he is 
eight)'. But at eight-and-twenty there is a death-like calmness 
of feeling. Youth is gone. He has consumed all the first-fruits 
of life — spring and summer, with their wealth of flowers, are 
over ; only the quiet autumn remains for him, with her warm 
browns and dull greys, and cool, moist breath. The fires upon 
youth's altars have all died out — youth is dead, and the man who 
was young only yesterday fancies that he might as well be dead 
also. What is there left for him 1 Can there be any charm in 
this life when the loeker-on has grey hair and wrinkles 1 

Having nothing in life to do except seek his own pleasure 

20 Mount Royal. 

and spend his ample income, Angus Hamleigh had naturally 
taken the time of life's march prestissimo. 

He had never paused in his rose-gathering to wonder 
whether there might not be a few thorns among the flowers, and 
whether he might not find them — afterwards. And now the 
blossoms were all withered, and he was beginning to discover the 
lasting quality of the thorns. They were such thorns as inter- 
fered somewhat with the serenity of his days, and he was glad 
to turn his face westward, away from everybody he knew, or 
who knew anything about him. 

' My character will present itself to Mrs. Tregonell as a blank 
page,' he said to himself ; ' I wonder what she would think of 
me if one of my club gossips had enjoyed a quiet evening's talk 
with her beforehand. A dear friend's analysis of one's character 
and conduct is always so flattering to both ; and 1 have a plea- 
sant knack of offending my dearest friends ! ' 

Mr. Hamleigh began to look about him a little when the 
train had left Plymouth. The landscape was wild and romantic, 
but had none of that stern ruggedneaa which he expected to 
behold on the Cornish Border. Deep glens, and wooded dells, 
with hill-sides steep and broken, but verdant to their topmost 
crest, and the most wonderful oak coppices that he ever remem- 
bered to have seen. Miles upon miles of oak, as it seemed to 
him, now sinking into the depth of a valley, now mounting to the 
distant sky line, while from that verdant undulating surface of 
young wood there stood f )rth the giants of the grove — wide- 
spreading oak and towering beech, the mighty growth of many 
centuries Between Lidford and Launceston the scenery grew 
tamer. He had fancied those deep ravines and wooded heights 
the prelude to a vast and awful symphony, but Mary Tavy and 
Lifton showed him only a pastoral landscape, with just so much 
wood and water as would have served for a Creswick or a Con- 
stable, and with none of those grand Salvatoresque effects 
which he had admired in the country round Tavistock. At 
launceston he found Mrs. Tregonell : s landau waiting for him, 
with a pair of powerful chestnuts, and a couple of servants, whose 
neat brown liberies had nothing of that unsophisticated semi- 
savagery which Mr. Hamleigh had expected in a place so remote. 

' Do you drive that way ? ' he asked, pointing to the almost 
perpendicular street, 

' Yes, sir,' replied the coachman. 

' Then I think I'll stroll to the top of the hill while you are 
putting in my portmanteaux,' he said, and ascended the rustic 
street at a leisurely pace, looking about him as he went. 

The thoroughface which leads from Launceston Station to tha 
ruined castle at the top of the hill is not an imposing promenade. 
Its architectural features might perhaps be best described like 

But then came One, the Lovelace of his Day. 21 

ihe snakes of Ireland as nil — but here and there an old-fashioned 
lattice with a row of flower-pots, an ancient gable, or a bit of 
cottage garden hints at the picturesque. Any late additions to 
the domestic architecture of Launceston favour the unpretending 
usefulness of Camden Town rather than the aspiring aesthetic! >in 
of Chelsea or Bedford Park ; but to Mr. Hamleigh's eye the 
rugged old castle keep on the top of the hill made amends. He 
was not an ardent archaeologist, and he did not turn out of his 
way to see Launceston Chivrch, which might well have rewarded 
him for his trouble. He was content to have spared those good- 
looking chestnuts the labour of dragging liim up the steep. 
Here they came springing up the hill He took his place in the 
carriage, pulled the fur rug over his knees, and ensconced him- 
self comfortably in the roomy back seat. 

' This is a sybaritish luxury which I was not prepared for,' he 
said to himself. ' I'm afraid I shall be rather more bored than I 
expected. I thought Mrs. Tregonell and her surroundings would 
at least have the merit of originality. But here is a carriage 
that must have been built by Peters, and liveries that suggest 
the sartorial excellence of Conduit Street or Savile Row.' 

He watched the landscape with a critical eye, prepared for 
disappointment and disillusion. First a country road between 
tall ragged hedges and steep banks, a road where every now and 
then the branches of the trees hung low over the carriage, and 
threatened to knock the coachman's hat off. Then they came out 
upon the wide waste of moorland, a thousand feet above the sea 
level, and Mr. Hamleigh, acclimatized to the atmosphere of club- 
houses, buttoned his overcoat, drew the black fur rug closer 
about him, and shivered a little as the keen breath of the 
Atlantic, sweeping over far-reaching tracts of hill and heather, 
blew round him. Far and wide as his gaze could reach, he saw 
uo sign of human habitation. Was the land utterly forsaken ? 
No ; a little farther on they passed a hamlet so insignificant, so 
isolated, that it seemed rather as if half a dozen cottages had 
dropped from the sky than that so lonely a settlement could be 
the result of deliberate human inclination Never in Scotland 
or Ireland had Mr. Hamleigh seen a more barren landscape or a 
poorer soil ; yet those wild wastes of heath, those distant tors 
were passing beautiful, and the air he breathed was more in- 
spiring and exhilarating than the atmosphere of any vaunted 
health-resort which he had ever visited. 

' I think I might live to middle age if I were to pitch my tent 
on Litis Cornish plateau,' he thought ; ' but, then, there are s4 
many things in this life that are worth more than mere length of 

lb- asked the names of the hamlets they passed. This lonely 
church, dedicated to St. David — whence, oh ! whence came the 

-12 Mount Royal. 

congregation — belonged to the parish of Davidstowe ; and here 
there was a holy well ; and here a Vicarage ; and there — oh ! 
crowning evidence of civilization — a post-office ; and there a 
farm-house ; and that was the end of Davidstowe. A little later 
they came to cross roads, and the coachman touched his hat, and 
said, ' This is Victoria,' as if he were naming a town or settlement 
of some kind. Mr. Hamleigh looked about him, and beheld a 
low-roofed cottage, which he assumed to be some kind of public- 
house, possibly capable of supplying beer and tobacco ; but other 
vestige of human habitation there was none. He leant back in 
the carriage, looking across the hills, and saying to himself, 
' Why, Victoria ? ' Was that unpretentious and somewhat 
dilapidated hostelry the Victoria Hotel ? or the Victoria Arms % 
or was Royalty's honoured name given, in an arbitrary manner, 
to the cross roads and the granite finger-post ? He never knew. 
The coachman said shortly, ' Victoria,' and as ' Victoria ' he ever 
after heard that spot described. And now the journey was all 
downhill. They drove downward and downward, intil Mr. 
Hamleigh began to feel as if they were travelling towards the 
centre of the earth — as if they had got altogether below the outer 
crust of this globe, and must be gradually nearing the unknown 
gulfs beneath. Yet, by some geographical mystery, v lien they 
turned out of the high road and went in at a lodge gate, and 
drove gently upward along an avenue of elms, in whose rugged 
tops the rooks were screaming, Mr. Hamleigh found that he was 
rttill high above the undidating edges of the cliffs that overtopped 
the Atlantic, while the great waste of waters lay far below 
golden with the last rays of the setting sun. 

They drove, by a gentle ascent, to the stone porch of Mount 
Royal, and here Mrs. Tregonell stood, facing the sunset, with an 
Indian shawl wrapped round her, waiting for her guest. 

' I heard the carriage, Mr. Hamleigh,' she said, as Angus 
alighted : ' I hope you do not think me too impatient to see 
what change twelve years have made in you ? ' 

4 I'm afraid they have not been particularly advantageous to 
me,' he answered, lightly, as they shook hands. ' How good of 
you to receive me on the threshold ! and what a delightful 
place you have here ! Before I got to Launceston, I began to be 
afraid that Cornwall was commonplace — and now I'm enchanted 
with it. Your moors and hills are like fairy-land to me ! ' 

' It is a world of our own, and we are very fond of it,' said the 
widow ; ' I shall be sorry if ever a railway makes Boscastle open 
to everybody.' 

'And what a noble old house !' exclaimed Angus, as he 
followed his hostess across the oak-panelled hall, with its wide 
shallow staircase, curiously carved balustrades, and lantern root 
' Are you quite alone here 1 ' 

But then came One, the Lovelace of his Day. l 2ii 

' Oh, no ; I have my niece, and a youngslady who is a com- 
panion to both of us.' 

Angus Hamleigh shuddered. 

Three women ! He was to exist for a fortnight in a house with 
three solitary females. A niece and a companion ! The niece 
rustic and gawky ; the companion sour and frumpish. He began, 
hurriedly, to cast about in his mind for a convenient friend, to 
whom he could telegraph to send him a telegram, summoning 
him back to London on urgent business. He was still medi- 
tating this, when the butler opened the door of a spacious room, 
lined from floor to ceiling with books, and he followed Mrs. 
Tregonell in, and found himself in the bosom of the family. The 
simple picture of home-comfort, of restfulness and domestic peace, 
which met his curious gaze as he entered, pleased him better than 
anything he had seen of late. Club life — with its too studious 
indulgence of man's native selfishness and love of ease — fashion- 
able life, with its insatiable craving for that latter-day form of 
display which calls itself Culture, Art, or Beauty — had afforded 
him novisionso enchanting asthewide hearth and high chimnevof 
this sober, book-lined room,with the fair and girlish form kneeling 
in front of the old dogstove, framed in the glaring light of the fire. 

The tea-table had been wheeled near the hearth, and Mrs. 
Bridgeman sat before the bright red tea-tray, and old brass 
kettle, ready to administer to the wants of the traveller, who 
would be hardly human if he did not thirst for a cup of tea after 
driving across the moor. Christabel knelt in front of the fire, 
worshipping, and being worshipped by, a sleek black-and-white 
sheep-dog, native to the soil, and of a rare intelligence — a creature 
by no means approaching the Scotch colley in physical beauty, 
but of a fond and faithful nature, born to be the friend of man. 
As Christabel rose and turned to greet the stranger, Mr. Ham- 
leigh was agreeably reminded of an old picture — a Lely or a 
Kneller, perhaps. This was not in any wise the rustic image 
which had flashed across his mind at the mention of Mrs. 
TregonelFs niece. He had expected to see a bouncing, countryfied 
maiden — rosy, buxom, the picture of commonplace health and 
vigour. The girl he saw was nearer akin to the lily than the 
rose — tall, slender, dazzlingly fair — not fragile or sickly in any- 
wise — for the erect figure was finely moulded, the swan-like throat 
was round and full. He was prepared for the florid beauty of a 
milkmaid, and he found himself face to face with the elegance of an 
ideal duchess, the picturesque loveliness of an old Venetian 

Christabel's dark brown velvet gown and square point lace 
collar, the bright hair falling in shadowy curls over her forehead, 
and rolled into a loose knot at the back of her head, sinned in 
no wise against Mr. Hamleigh's notions of good taste. Then 

24, Mount Boy at,. 

was a picfeuresqueness about the style which indicated that Misa 
Courtenay belonged to that advanced section of womankind 
which takes if.s ideas less from modern fashion-plates than from 
old pictures. So long as her archaism went no further back than 
Vandyke or Moroni he would admire and approve ; but he 
shuddered at the thought that to-morrow she might burst upon 
him in a mediaeval morning-gown, with high-shouldered sleeves, 
a rutf, and a satchel. The picturesque idea was good, within 
limits ; but one never knew how far it might go. 

There was nothing picturesque about the lady sitting before 
the tea-tray, who looked up brightly, and gave him a gracious 
bend of her small neat head, in acknowledgment of Mrs. Tre- 
gonell's introduction — ' Mr. Hamleigh, Miss Bridgeman !' This 
was the companion — and the companion was plain : not un- 
pleasantly plain, not in any matter repulsive, but a lady about 
whose looks there could be hardly any compromise. Her com- 
plexion was of a sallow darkness, unrelieved by any glow of 
colour ; her eyes were grey, acute, honest, friendly, but not 
beautiful ; her nose was sharp and pointed — not at all a bad 
nose ; but there was a hardness about nose and mouth and chin, 
as of features cut out of bone with a very sharp knife. Her 
teeth were good, and in a lovelier mouth might have been the 
object of much admiration. Her hair was of that nondescript 
monotonous brown which has be?n unkindly called bottle-green, 
but it was arranged with admirable neatness, and offended less 
than many a tangled pate, upon whose locks of spurious gold 
the owner has wasted much time and money. There was nothing 
unpardonable in Miss Bridgeman's plainness, as Angus Hamleigh 
said of her later. Her small figure was neatly made, and her 
dark-grey gown fitted to perfection. 

' I hope you like the little bit of Cornwall that you have seen 
this afternoon, Mr. Hamleigh,' said Christabel, seating herself in 
a low chair in the shadow of the tall chimney-piece, fenced in by 
her aunt's larger chair. 

' I am enraptured with it ! I came here with the desire to be 
intensely Cornish. I am prepared to believe in witches — war- 
locks ' 

• We have no warlocks,' said Christabel. ' They belong to the 

' Well, then, wise women — wicked young men who play foot- 
ball on Sunday, and get themselves turned into granite — rocking 
stones — magic wells — Druids — and King Arthur. I believe the 
principal point is to be open to conviction about Arthur. Now, 
1 am prepared to swallow everything — his castle — the river 
where his crown w;is found after the fight — was it his crown, by- 
the-by, or somebody else's ? which lie found — his hair-brushes— 
his boots — anything you please to show me.' 

But then came One, the Lovelace of his Day. 25 

'We will show you his quoit to-morrow, on the road to Tin- 
fcagel,' said Miss Bridgeraan. ' I don't think you would like to 
swallow that actually. He hurled it from Tintagel to Trevalga 
in one of his sportive moods. We shall be able to give you 
plenty of amusement if you are a good walker, and are fond of 

' I adore them in the abstract, contemplated from one'a 
windows, or in a picture ; but there is an incompatibility between 
the human anatomy and a road set on end. like a ladder, which 
I have never yet overcome. Apart from the outside question of 
my legs — which are obvious failures when tested by an angle of 
forty-hve degrees — I'm afraid my internal machinery is not 
quite so tough as it ought to be for a thorough enjoyment of 

Mrs. Tregonell sighed, ever so faintly, in the twilight. She 
was thinking of her hrst lover, and how that fragility, which 
meant early death, had showed itself in his inability to 
enjoy the moorland walks which were the delight of her girl- 

' The natural result of bad habits,' said Miss Bridgeman, 
briskly. ' How can you expect to be strong or active, when I 
dare say you have spent the better part of your life in hansom 
cabs and express trains ! I don't mean to be impertinent, but I 
know that is the general way with gentlemen out of the shooting 
and hunting season.' 

' And as I am no sportsman, I am a somewhat exaggerated 
example of the vice of laziness fostered by congenial circum- 
stances, acting on a lymphatic temperament. If you write books, 
8j? I believe most ladies do now-a-days, you shall put me in one 
of them, as an awful warning.' 

' I don't write books, and, if I did, I would not flatter your 
vanity by making you my model sinner,' retorted Jessie ; ' but 
I'll do something better for you, if Christabel will help me. I'll 
reform you.' 

' A million thanks for the mere thought ! I hope the process 
will be pleasant.' 

' I hope so, too. We shall begin by walking you off your 

' They are so indifferent as a means of locomotion that I could 
very well afford to lose them, if you could hold out any hope 
of my getting a better pair.' 

'A week hence, if you submit to my treatment, you will be 
as active as the chamoise hunger in '' Minified." ' 

'Enchanting — always provided that you and Miss Courtenay 
will follow the chase with me.' 

'Depend upon it, we nhaU not trust yon to take your walks 
alone, unless you have a pedometer which will bear witness to 

26 Mount Boyal. 

the distance you have done, and which you will be content 
to submit to our inspection on your return,' replied Jessie, 

' I am afraid you are a terribly severe high priestess of Oih 
new form of culture,' said Mr. Hamleigh, looking up from his tea- 
cup with a lazy smile, 'almost as bad as the Dweller on the 
Threshold, in Bulwer's " Zanoni." ' 

' There is a dweller on the threshold of every science and every 
admirable mode of life, and his name is Idleness," answered Miss 

' The vis inertice, the force of letting things alone,' said Angus ; 
' yes, that is a tremendous power, nobly exemplified by vestries 
and boards of works — to say nothing of Cabinets, Bishops, and 
the High Court of Chancery ! I delight in that verse of Scripture, 
"Their strength is to sit still.'" 

' There shall be very little sitting still for you if you submit 
yourself to Christabel and me,' replied Miss Bridgeman. 

' I have never tried the water-cure — the descriptions I have 
heard from adepts have been too repellent ; but I have an idea 
that this system of yours must be rather worse than hydropathy, 
said Angus, musingly — evidently very much entertained at the 
way in which Miss Bridgeman had taken him in hand. 

' I was not going to let him pose after Lamartine's poete 
mourant, just because his father died of lung disease,' said Jessie, 
ten minutes afterwards, when the warning gong had sounded, 
and Mr. Hamleigh had gone to his room to dress for dinner, and 
the two young women were whispering together before the fire, 
while Mrs. Tregonell indulged in a placid doze. 

' Do you think he is consumptive, like his father ? ' asked 
Christabel, with a compassionate look ; ' he has a very delicate 

' Hollow-cheeked, and prematurely old, like a man who has 
lived on tobacco and brandy-and-soda, and has spent his nights 
in elub-house card-rooms.' 

' We have no right to suppose that,' said Christabel, ' since 
we know really nothing about him.' 

' Major Bree told me he has lived a racketty life, and that if 
he were not to pull up very soon he would be ruined both in 
health and fortune.' 

' What can the Major know about him 1 ' exclaimed Christ* 
abel, contemptuously. 

This Major Bree was a great friend of Christabel's ; but there 
Are times when one's nearest and dearest are too provoking for 

' Major Bree has been buried alive in Cornwall for the last 
twenty years. He is at least a quarter of a century behind the 
age,' she said, impatiently. 

But then came One, the Lovelace of his Day. 2? 

' He spent a fortnight in London the year before last,' said 
Jessie ; ' it was then that he heard such a bad account of Mr. 

' Did he go about to clubs and places making inquiries, like & 
private detective ? ' said Christabel, still contemptuous ; ' I hate 
such fetching and carrying !' 

1 Here he comes to answer for himself,' replied Jessie, as the 
door opened, and a servant announced Major Bree. 

Mrs. Tregonell started from her slumbers at the opening of 
the door, and rose to greet her guest. He was a very frequent 
visitor, so frequent that he might be said to live at Mount Royal, 
although his nominal abode was a cottage on the outskirts of 
Boscastle — a stone cottage on the crest of a steep hill-side, with 
a delightful little garden, perched, as it were, on the edge of a 
verdant abyss. He was tall, stout, elderly, grey, and florid — 
altogether a comfortable-looking man, clean shaved, save for a 
thin grey moustache with the genuine cavalry droop, iron grey 
eyebrows, which looked like a repetition of the moustache on a 
somewhat smaller scale, keen grey eyes, a pleasant smile, and a 
well set-up tigure. He dressed well, with a sobriety becoming 
his years, and was always the pink of neatness. A man welcome 
everywhere, on account of an inborn pleasantness, which 
prompted him always to say and do the right thing ; but most 
of all welcome at Mount Royal, as a first cousin of the late 
Squire's, and Mrs. Tregonell's guide, philosopher, and friend in 
all matters relating to the outside world, of which, despite his 
twenty years' hybernation at Boscastle, the widow supposed him 
to be an acute observer and an infallible judge. Was he not 
one of the few inhabitants of that western village who took in 
the Times newspaper % 

' Well ! ' exclaimed Major Bree, addressing himself generally 
to the three ladies, ' he has come — what do you think of him?' 

' He is painfully like his poor father,' said Mrs. Tregonell. 

1 He has a most interesting face and winning manner, and 
I'm afraid we shall all get ridiculously fond of him,' said Miss 
Bridgeman, decisively. 

Christabel said nothing. She knelt on the hearth-rug, play- 
ing with Randie, the black-and-white sheep-dog. 

• And what have you to say about him, Christabel % ' asked 
the Major. 

' Nothing. I have not had time to form an opinion,' replied 
tftie girl; and then lifting her clear blue eyes to the Major's 
friendly face, she said, gravely, " but I think, Uncle Oliver, it 
was very unkind and unfair of you to prejudice Jessie against 
him before he came here.' 

' Unkind ! — unfair 1 Here's a shower of abuse 1 I prejudice ! 
Oh 1 I remember. Mm Tregonell asked me what people thought 

28 Mount Boy at. 

of him in London, and I was obliged to acknowledge that his 
reputation was — well— no better than that of the majority of 
young men who have more money than common sense. But 
that was two years ago— Nous avons changS tout cela ! ' 

'If he was wicked then, he must be wicked now,' said 

' Wicked is a monstrously strong word ! ' said the Major. 
' Besides, that does not follow. A man may have a few wild 
oats to sow, and yet become a very estimable person afterwards. 
Miss Bridgeman is tremendously sharp— she'll be able to find out 
all about Mr. Hamleigh from personal observation before he has 
been here a week. I defy him to hide his weak points from 

' What is the use of being plain and insignificant if one has 
not some advantage over one's superior fellow-creatures ? ' asked 

' Miss Bridgeman has too much expression to be plain, and she is 
far too clever to be insignificant,' said Major Bree, with a stately 
bow. He always put on a stately manner when he addressed 
himself to Jessie Bridgeman, and treated her in all things with as 
much respect as if she had been a queen. He explained to 
Christabel that this was the homage which he paid to the royalty 
of intellect ; but Christabel had a shrewd suspicion that the 
Major cherished a secret passion for Miss Bridgeman, as exalted 
and as hopeless as the love that Chastelard bore for Mary Stuart. 
He had only a small pittance besides his half-pay, and he had a 
very poor opinion of his own merits ; so it was but natural that, 
at fifty-five, he should hesitate to offer himself to a young lady 
of six-and-twenty, of whose sharp tongue he had a wholesome 

Mr. Hamleigh came back before much more could be said 
about him, and a few minutes afterwards they all went in to 
dinner, and in the brighter lamplight of the dining-room Major 
Bree and the three ladies had a better opportunity of forming 
their opinion as to the external graces of their guest. 

He was good-looking — that fact even malice could hardly 
dispute. Not so handsome as the absent Leonard, Mrs. Tre- 
gonell told herself complacently ; but she was constrained at 
the same time to acknowledge that her son's broadly moulded 
features and florid complexion lacked the charm and interest 
which a woman's eye found in the delicate chiselling and subdued 
tones of Angus Hamleigh's countenance. His eyes were darkest 
grey, his complexion was fair and somewhat pallid, his hair 
brown, with a natural curl whi< neither fashion nor the barber 
could altogether suppress. Hi cheeks were more sunken than 
they should have been at eight-and-twenty, and the large dark 
eyes were unnaturally bright. Ail this the three ladies and 

But then came One, the Lovelace of his Day. 29 

Major Bree had ample time for observing, during the leisurely 
course of dinner. There was no nagging in the conversation^ 
from the beginning to the end of the repast. Mr. Hamleigb 
was ready to talk about anything and everything, and his 
interest in the most trifling local subjects, whether real or 
assumed, made him a delightful companion. In the drawing- 
room, after dinner, he proved even more admirable ; for he dis- 
covered a taste for, and knowledge of, the best music, which 
delighted Jessie and Christabel, who were both enthusiasts. 
He "had read every book they cared for — and a wide world of 
books besides— and was able to add to their stock of information 
upon all their favourite subjects, without the faintest touch of 

' I don't think you can help liking him, Jessie,' said Christabel, 
as the two girls went upstairs to bed. The younger lingered a 
little in Miss Bridgeman's room for the discussion of their latest 
ideas. There was a cheerful fire burning in the large basket 
grate, for autumn nights were chill upon that wild coast. 
Christabel assumed her favourite attitude in front of the fire, 
with her faithful Bandie winking and blinking at her and the 
fire alternate] v. He was a privileged dog — allowed to sleep on 
a sheepskin mat in the gallery outside his mistress's door, and to 
go into her room every morning, in company with the maid who 
carried her early cup of tea , when, after the exchange of a few 
remarks, in baby language on her part, and expressed on his by 
a series of curious grins and much wagging of his insignificant 
apology for a tail, he would dash out of the room, and out of the 
house/for his morning constitutional among the sheep upon some 
distant hill — coming home with an invigorated appetite, in 
time for the family breakfast at nine o'clock. 

'I don't think you can help liking him — as — as a casual 
acquaintance ! ' repeated Christabel, finding that Jessie stood in 
a dreamy silence, twisting her one diamond ring — a birthday 
gift from Miss Courtenay — round and round upon her slender 

' I don't suppose any of us can help liking him,' Jessie 
answered at last, with her eyes on the fire All I hope is, 
that some of us will notlikehirn too much. He has brought a new 
element into our lives — a new interest — which may end by 
being a painful one. I feel distrustful of him.' 

'Why distrustful ? Why, Jessie, you who are generally the 
~ery essence of flippancy — who make light of almost everything 
in life— except religion — thank God, you have not come to that 
yet ! — you to be so serious about such a trifling matter as a visit 
from a man who will most likely be gone back to London in a 
fortnight — gone out of our lives altogether, perhaps : for I don't 
suppose he will care to repeat hia experiences in a ionely country- 

30 Mount Boyal. 

'• He may be gone, perhaps — yes — and it is quite possible thai 
he may never return — but shall we be quite the same after he 
has left us 1 Will nobody regret him — wish for his return — 
yearn for it — sigh for it — die for it — feeling life worthless — a 
burthen, without him ? ' 

' Why, Jessie, you look like a Pythoness.' 

' Belle, Belle, my darling, my innocent one, you do not know 
what it fei to care — for a bright particular star — and know how 
remote it is from your life— never to be brought any nearer ! 
I felt afraid to-night when I saw you and Mr. Hamleigh at the 
piano — you playing, he leaning over you as you played — both 
seeming so happy, so united by the sympathy of the moment ! 
If he is not a good man — if ' 

' But we have no reason to think ill of him. You remember 
what Uncle Oliver said — he had only been — a — a little racketty, 
like other young men,' said Christabel, eagerly ; and then, with 
a sudden embarrassment, reddening and laughing shyly, she 
added, 'and indeed, Jessie, if it is any idea of danger to me that 
is troubling your wise head, there is no need for alarm. I am 
not made of such inflammable stuff — I am not the kind of girl to 
fall in love with the first comer.' 

' With the first comer, no ! But when the Prince comes in a 
fairy tale, it matters little whether he comes first or last. Fate 
has settled the whole story beforehand.' 

' Fate has had nothing to say about me and Mr. Hamleigh. 
No, Jessie, believe me, there is no danger for me — and I don't 
suppose that you are going to fall in love with him 1 ' 

' Because I am so old ? ' said Miss Bridgeman, still looking at 
the fire ; ' no, it would be rather ridiculous in a person of my 
age, plain and passee, to fall in love with your Alcibiades.' 

' No, Jessie, but because you are too wise ever to be carried 
away by a sentimental fancy. But why do you speak of him so 
contemptuously ? One would think you had taken a dislike to 
him. We ought at least to remember that he is my aunt's 
friend, and the son of some one she once dearly loved.' 

' Once,' repeated Jessie, softly ; ' does not once in that case 
mean always 1 ' 

She was thinking of the Squire's commonplace good looks and 
portly figure, as represented in the big picture in the dining- 
room — the picture of a man in a red coat, leaning against the 
shoulder of a big bay horse, and with a pack of harriers fawning 
round him — and wondering whether the image of that dead 
man, whose son was in the house to-night, had not sometimes 
obtruded itself upon the calm plenitude of Mrs. Tregonell's 
domestic joys. 

' Don't be afraid that I shall forget my duty to your aunt or 
four aunt's guest, dear,' she said suddenly, as if awakened from 

But then came One, the Lovelace of his Day. 81 

1 reverie. ' You and I will do all in our power to make him 
happy, and to shake him out of lazy London ways, and then, 
when we have patched up his health, and the moorland air has 
blown a little colour into his hollow cheeks, we will send him 
back to his clubs and his theatres, and forget all about him. 
And now, good-night, my Christabel,' she said, looking at her 
watch ; see ! it is close upon midnight — dreadful dissipation for 
Mount Royal, where half-past ten is the usual hour.' 

Christabel kissed her and departed, Randie following to the 
door of her chamber — such a pretty room, with old panelled 
walls painted pink and grey, old furniture, old china, snowy 
draperies, and books — a girl's daintily bound books, selected and 
purchased by herself — in every available corner ; a neat cottage 
piano in a recess, a low easy-chair by the fire, with a five o'clock 
tea-table in front of it ; desks, portfolios, work-baskets — all the 
frivolities of a girl's life ; but everything arranged with a womanly 
neatness which indicated industrious habits and a well-ordered 
mind. No scattered sheets of music — no fancy-work pitch-and- 
tossed about the room — no slovenliness claiming to be excused as 
artistic disorder. 

Christabel said her prayers, and read her accustomed portion 
of Scripture, but not without some faint wrestlings with 
Satan, who on this occasion took the shape of Angus Hamleigh. 
Her mind was overcharged with wonder at this new phenomenon 
in daily life, a man so entirely different from any of the men 
she had ever met hitherto — so accomplished, so highly cultured ; 
yet taking his accomplishments and culture as a thing of course, 
as if all men were so. 

She thought of him as she lay awake for the first hour of the 
still night, watching the fire fade and die, and listening to the 
long roll of the waves, hardly audible at Mount Eoyal amidst all 
the common-place noises of day, but heard in the solemn silence 
of night. She let her fancies shape a vision of her aunt's 
vanished youth — that one brief bright dream of happiness, so 
miserably broken ! — and wondered and wondered how it was 
possible for any one to outlive such a grief. Still more incredible 
did it seem that any one who had so loved and so lost could ever 
listen to another lover ; and yet the thing had been done, and 
Mrs. Tregonell's married life had been called happy. She always 
spoke of the Squire as the best of men — was never weary of 
praising him— loved to look up at his portrait on the wall — 

f>reserved every unpicturesque memorial of his unpicturesque 
ife — heavy gold and. silver snuff boxes, clumsy hunting crops, 
spurs, guns, fishing-rods. The relics of his murderous pursuits 
would have filled an arsenal. And how fondly she loved her 
son who resembled that departed father — save in lacking some 
of his best qualittw? How she doated on Leonard, the most 

32 Mount Boyal. 

commonplace and unattractive of young men ! The thought of 
her cousin set Christabel on a new train of speculation. If 
Leonard had been at home when Mr. Hamleigh came to Mount 
Boyal, how would they two have suited each other 1 Like fire 
and water, like oil and vinegar, like the wolf and the lamb, like 
any two creatures most antagonistic by nature. It was a happy 
accident that Leonard was away. She was still thinking when 
she fell asleep, with that uneasy sense of pain and trouble in 
the future which was always suggested to her by Leonard's 
image — a dim unshapen difficulty waiting for her somewhere 
along the untrodden road of her life — a lion in the path. 



TrrEnE was no sense of fear or trouble of any kind in the mind of 
anybody the next morning after breakfast, when Christabel, 
Miss Bvidgeman, and Mr. Hamleigh started, in the young lady's 
own particular pony carriage, for an exploring day, attended by 
Handie, who was intensely excited, and furnished with a pic-nic 
basket which made them independent of the inn at Trevena, and 
afforded the opportunity of taking one's luncheon under 
difficulties upon a windy height, rather than with the common- 
place comforts of an hotel parlour, guarded against wind and 
weather They were going to do an immense deal upon this first 
day. Christabel, in her eagerness, wanted to exhibit all ber 
lions at once. 

' Of course, you must see Tintagel,' she said ; ' everybody 
who comes to this part of the world is in a tremendous hurry to 
see King Arthur's castle. I have known people to set out in the 
middle of tlu night.' 

' And have you ever known any one of them who was not 
just a little disappointed with that stupendous monument of 
traditional royalty '{ ' asked Miss Bridgeman, with her most 
prosaic air. ' They expect so much — halls, and towers, and keep, 
and chapel— and find only ruined walls, and the faint indication 
of a grave-yard. King Arthur is a name to conjure with, and 
Tintagel is like Mont Blanc or the Pryramids. It can never be 
so grand as the vision its very name has evoked.' 

' I blush to say that I have thought very little about Tintagei 
hitherto,' said Mr. Hamleigh ; ' it has not been an integral part 
of my existence ; so my expectations are more reasonable than 
those of the enthusiastic tourist. I promise to be delighted with 
your ruins.' 

' Tintagel, half in Sea, and half on Land.' 33 

' Oh, but you will pretend,' said Christabel, ' and that will be 
hateful ! I would rather have to deal with one of those pro- 
voking people who look about them blankly, and exclaim, -' Is this 
all? " and who stand in the very centre of Arthur's Hall, and ask, 
M And, pray, where is Tintagel ? — when are we to see the cajtle 1 " 
No ! give me the man who can take in the grandeur of that wild 
height at a glance, and whose fancy can build up those ruined 
walls, re-create those vanished towers, fill the halls with knights 
in shining armour, and lovely ladies — see Guinevere herself upon 
her throne — clothed in white samite — mystic, wonderful ! ' 

' And with Lancelot in the background,' said Mr. Hamleigh. 
' I think the less we say about Guinevere the better, and your 
snaky Vivien, and your senile Merlin, your prying Modred. 
What a disreputable set these Round Table people seem to have 
been altogether — they need have been dead thirteen hundred 
years for us to admire them ! ' 

They were driving along the avenue by this time, the stout 
chestnut cob going gaily in the fresh morning air — Mr. Hamleigh 
sitting face to face with Christabel as she drove. What a fair 
face it was in the clea/ light of day 1 How pure and delicate 
every tone, from the whiteness of the lily to the bloom of the 
wild rose 1 How innocent the expression of the large liquid 
eyes, which seemed to smile at him as he talked ! He had known 
so many pretty women — his memory was like a gallery of beau- 
tiful faces ; but he could recall no face so completely innocent, 
so divinely young. ' It is the youthfulness of an unsullied 
mind,' he said to himself; 'I have known plenty of girls as 
young in years, but not one perfectly pure from the taint of 
worldliness and vanity. The trail of the serpent was over 
them all ! ' 

They drove down hill into Boscastle, and then straightway 
began to ascend still steeper hills upon the other side of the 

' You ought to throw a viaduct across the valley,' said Mr. 
Hamleigh — ' something like Brunei's bridge at Saltash ; but 
perhaps you have hardly traffic enough to make it pay.' 

They went winding up the new road to Trevena, avoiding 
the village street, and leaving the Church of the Silent Tower 
j on its windy height on their right hand. The wide Atlantic lay 
far below them on the other side of those green fields which 
bordered the road ; the air they breathed was keen with the 
aoft breath of the sea. But autumn had hardly plucked a leaf 
from the low storm-beaten trees, or a flower from the tall 
hedgerows, where the red blossom of the Ragged Robin mixed 
with the pale gold of the hawk-weed, and the fainter yellow of 
the wild cistus. The ferns had hardly begun to wither, and 
Angus Hamleigh, whose last experiences had been among th« 

34 Mount Royal. 

stone walls of Aberdeenshire, wondered at the luxuriance 0/ 
this western world, where the banks were built-up and fortified 
with boulders of marble-veined spar. 

They drove through the village of Trevalga, in which there 
is never an inn or public-house of any kind — not even a cottage 
licensed for the sale of beer. There was the wheelwright, car- 
penter, builder, Jack-of-all-trades, with his shed and his yard — 
the blacksmith, with his forge going merrily — village school — 
steam threshing-machine at work — church — chapel ; but never 
a drop of beer — and yet the people at Trevalga are healthy, and 
industrious, and decently clad, and altogether comfortable 

'Some day we will take you to call at the Rectory,' said 
Christabel, pointing skywards with her whip. 

'Do you mean that the Rector has gone to Heaven ?' asked 
Angus, looking up into the distant blue; 'or is there any 
earthly habitation higher than the road on which we are driving. 

'Didn't you see the end of the lane, just now?' asked 
Christabel, laughing ; ' it is rather steep — an uphill walk all the 
way ; but the views are lovely.' 

' We will walk to the Rectory to-morrow,' said Miss Bridge- 
man ; ' this lazy mode of transit must not be tolerated after 

Even the drive to Trevena was not all idleness ; for after 
they had passed the entrance to the path leading to the beauti- 
ful waterfall of St. Nectan's Kieve, hard by St. Piran's chapel 
and well — the former degraded to a barn, and the latter, once 
of holy repute, now chiefly useful as a cool repository for butter 
from the neighbouring dairy of Trethevy Farm — they came to 
a hill, which had to be walked down ; to the lowest depth of 
the Rocky Valley, where a stone bridge spans the rapid brawling 
stream that leaps as a waterfall into the gorge at St. Nectan'a 
Kieve, about a mile higher up the valley. And then they came 
to a corresponding hill, which had to be walked up — because in 
either case it was bad for the cob to have a weight behind him. 
Indeed, the cob was so accustomed to consideration in this 
matter, that he made a point of stopping politely for his people 
»o alight at either end of anything exceDtional in the way of a 

' I'm afraid you spoil your pony,' said Mr. Hamleigh, throw- 
ing the reins over his arm, and resigning himself to a duty, 
which made him feel very much like a sea-side flyman earning 
\is day's wages toilsomely, and saving his horse with a view to 
future fares. 

' Better that than to spoil you,' answered Miss Bridgeman, 
as she and Christabel walked briskly beside him. ' But if you 
fasttra the reins to the dashboard, you may trust Felix.' 

* Tintagel, half in Sea, and half on Land.' 35 

' "Won't he run away 1 ' 

' Not he,' answered Christabel. ' He knows that he would 
never be so happy with anybody else as he is with us.' 

' But mightn't he take a fancy for a short run ; just far 
•nough to allow of his reducing that dainty little carriage to 
match-wood ? A well-fed under-worked pony so thoroughly 
enjoys that kind of thing.' 

' Felix has no such diabolical suggestions He is a conscien- 
tious person, and knows his duty. Besides, he is not under- 
worked. There is hardly a day that he does not carry us 

Mr. Hamleigh surrendered the reins, and Felix showed him- 
self worthy of his mistress's confidence, following ■< t her heels 
like a dog, with his honest brown eyes fixed on the slim tall 
figure, as if it had been his guiding star. 

' I want you to admire the landscape,' said Christabel, when 
they were on the crest of the last hill ; ' is not that a lovely 
valley 1 ' 

Mr. Hamleigh willingly admitted the fact. The beauty of 
a pastoral landscape, with just enough of rugged wildness for 
the picturesque, could go no further. 

' Creswick has immortalized yonder valley by his famous 
picture of the mill,' said Miss Bridgeman, ' but the romantic 
old mill of the picture has lately been replaced by that large 
ungainly building, quite out of keeping with its surroundings.' 

' Have you ever been in Switzerland ? ' asked Angus of 
Christabel, when they had stood for some moments in silent 
contemplation of the landscape. 

'' Xever.' 

' Nor in Italy ? ' 

' Xo. I have never been out of England. Since T was fiva 
years old I have hardly spent a year of my life out of Cornwall.' 

'Happy Cornwall, which can show so fair a product of its 
soil ! Weli, Miss Courtenay, I know Italy and Switzerland by 
i irt, and I like this Cornish landscape better than either. It 
is not so beautiful — it would not do as well for a painter or a 
poet; but it comes nearer an Englishman's heart. What can 
one have better than the hills and the sea? Switzerland can 
show you bigger hills, ghostly snow-shrouded pinnacles that rn ick 
the eye, following each other like a line of phantoms, Losing 
themselves in the infinite ; but Switzerland cannot, show you 

I!.- p tinted to the Atlantic : the long undulating Lino of the 
coast, rocky, rugged, yet verdant, with many a crave and pro- 
montory, many a dip and rise. 

' It is the most everlasting kind of beauty, is it not ? ' asked 
Christabel, delighted at this little gush of warm feeling in one 

36 Mount Boy:.}. 

whose usual manner was so equable. 'One could never tire of 
the sea. And I am always proud to remember that our sea is so 
big — stretching away and away to the New .World. I should 
have liked it still better before the days of Columbus, when it 
led to the unknown ! ' 

'Ah! 'sighed Angus, 'youth always yearns for the un« 
discovered. Middle age knows that there is nothing worth dis- 
covering ! ' 

On the top of the hill they paused for a minute or so to con- 
template the ancient Borough of Bossiney, which, until dis- 
franchised in 1832, returned two members to Parliament, with 
a constituency of little more than a dozen, and which once had 
Sir Francis Drake for its representative. Here Mr. Hamleigh 
beheld that modest mound called the Castle Hill, on the top of 
which it was customary to read the writs before the elections. 

An hour later they were eating their luncheon on that windy 
height where once stood the castle of the great king. To 
Christabel the whole story of Arthur and his knights was as real 
as if it had been a part of her own life. She had Tennyson's 
Arthur and Tennyson's Lancelot in her heart of hearts, and 
knew just enough of Sir Thomas Mallory's prose to give sub- 
stance to the Laureate's poetic shadows. Angus amused himself 
a littie at her exppnse, as they ate their chicken and salad on the 
grassy mounds which were supposed to be the graves of heroes 
who died before At helstane drove the Cornish across the Tamar, 
and made his victori us progress through the country, even to the 
Scilly Isles, after defeating Howel, the last King of Cornwall. 

' Do you really think that gentlemanly creature in the Laureate's 
spic — that most polished and perfect and most intensely modern 
English gentleman, self-contained, considerate of others, always 
the right man in the light place — is one whit like that half-naked 
sixih century savage — the real Arthur — whose Court costume 
was a coat of blue paint, and whose war-shriek was the yell of a 
Bed Indian 1 What can be more futile than our setting up any 
one Arthur, and bowing the knee before him, in the face of the 
fact that Great Britain teems with monuments of Arthurs — 
Arthur's Seat in Scotland, Arthur's Castle in Wales, Arthur's 
Bound Table here, there, and everywhere ? Be sure that Arthur 
— Ardheer — the highest chief — was a generic name for the princes 
of those days, and that there were more Arthurs than ever there 
were Caesars.' 

'I don't believe one word y< say,' exclaimed Christabei, 
indignantly ; 'there was only one Lrthur, the son of Uther and 
Ygerne, who was born in the cast] that stood on this very cliff, 
on the first night of the year, ;r irried away in secret by 
Merlin, and reared in secret by Sir An ton's wife — the brave good 
Arthur — the Christian king — who was killed at the battle of 

' Tintagel, half in Sea, and half on Land.'' 37 

Camlan, near Slaughter Bridge, and was buried at Glaston- 

'And embalmed by Tennyson. The Laureate invented 
Arthur — he took out a patent for the Bound Table .snd his 
invention is only a little less popular than that other pa'oduct of 
the age, the sewing-machine. How many among modern tourists 
would care about Tintagel if Tennyson had not revived ihe old 
legend ? ' 

The butler had put up a bottle of champagne *or Mr. 
Eamleigh — the two ladies drinking nothing but ev^kling 
water — and in this beverage he drank hail to the spirit of the 
legendary prince. 

' I am ready to believe anything now you have me up 
here,' he said, ' for I have a shrewd idea that without your help 
I should never be able to get down again. I should live and die 
on the top of this rocky promontory — sweltering in the summer 
sun— buffeted by the winter winds — an unwilling Simeon 

' Do you know that the very finest sheep in Cornwall are said 
to be grown on that island,' said Miss Bridgeman gravely, point- 
ing to the grassy top of the isolated crag in the foreground, wheron 
once stood the donjon deep. ' 1 don't know why it should be 
so, but it is a tradition.' 

' Among butchers ] ' said Angus. ' I suppose even butchers 
have their traditions. And the poor sheep who are condemned 
to exile on that lonely rock-— the St. Helena of their woolly race 
— do they know that they are achieving a posthumous perfection 
— that they are straining towards the ideal in butcher's meat 1 
There is room for much thought in the question.' 

' The tide is out,' said Christabel, look seaward ; ' I think w 9 
ought to do Trebarwith sands to-day.' 

' Is Trebarwith another of your lions 1 ' asked Angu3, 

' Yes.' 

' Then, please save him for to-morrow. Let me drink the cup 
of pleasure to the dregs where we are. This champagne has a 
magical taste, like the philter which Tristan and Iseult were so 
foolish as to drink while they sailed across from Ireland to this 
Cornish shore. Don't be alarmed, Miss Bridgeman, [ am not 
going to empty the bottle. I am not an educated tourist — have 
read neither Black nor Murray, and I am very slow about taking 
in ideas. Even after all you have told me, I am not clear in my 
mind as to which is the castle and which the chapel, and which 
the burial-ground. Let us finish the afternoon dawdling about 
Tintagel. Let us see the sun set from this spot, where Arthur must 
so often have watched it, if the men of thirteen hundred years 
ago ever cared to ^atch the sun setting, which I doubt. They 

38 Mount Boyal. 

belong to the night-time of the world, when civilization was dead 
in Southern Europe, and was yet unborn in the West. Let us 
dawdle about till it is time to drive back to Mount Royal, and 
then I shall carry away an impression. I am very slow at taking 

' I think you want us to believe that you are stupid,' said 
Christabel, laughing at the earnestness with which he pleaded. 

' Believe me, no. I should like you to think me ever so much 
better than I am. Please let us dawdle.' 

They dawdled accordingly. Strolling about upon the short sea- 
beaten grass, so treacherous and slippery a surface in summer 
time, when fierce Sol has been baking it. They stumbled against 
the foundations of lon^-vanished walls, they speculated upon 
fragments of cyclopean masonry, and talked a great deal about 
the traditions of the spot. 

Christabel, who had all the old authorities — Leland, Carew, 
and Norden — at her fingers' ends, was delighted to expound the 
departed glories of this British fortress. She showed where the 
ancient dungeon keep had reared its stony walls upon that ' high 
terrible crag, environed with the sea ; and how there had once 
been a drawbridge uniting yonder cliff with the buildings on the 
mainland ' — how divorced, as Carew says, ' by the downfallen 
steep cliffs, on the farther side, which, though it shut out the sea 
from his wonted recourse, hath yet more strengthened the island ; 
for in passing thither you must first descend witli a dangerous' 
declining, and then make a worse ascent by a path, through his 
Btickleness occasioning, and through his steepness threatening, the 
ruin of your life, with the falling of your foot.' She told Mr. 
Hamleigh hew, after the Conquest, the castle was the occasional 
residence of some of our Princes, and how Richard King of the 
Romans, Earl of Cornwall, son of King John, entertained here 
his nephew David, Prince of Wales, how, in Richard the Second's 
tune, this stronghold was made a State prison, and how a certain 
Lord Mayor of London was, for his unruly mayoralty, con- 
demned thither as a perpetual penitentiary ; which seems very 
hard upon the chief magistrate of the city, who thus did vicarious 
penance for the riot of his brief reign. 

And then they talked of Tristan and Iseult, and the tender 
old love-story, which lends the glamour of old-world fancies to 
those bare ruins of a traditional past. Christabel knew the old 
chronicle through Matthew Arnold's poetical version, which 
fjives only the purer and better side of the character of the 
Knight and Chatelaine, at the expense of some of the strongest 
features of the story. Who, that knew that romantic legend, 
could linger on that spot without thinking of King Marc's faith- 
less queen ! Assuredly not Mr. Hamleigh, who was a staunch 
believer in the inventor of ( sweetness aoid light/ and who knew 
Arnold a vursea by haurt. r 

'Tintagel, half in Sea, and half on Land* 39 

'What have they done with the flowers and the terrace 
walks ? ' he said, — ' the garden where Tristan and his Queen 
basked in the sunshine of their days ; and where they parted for 
ever? — 

• " All the spring time of their love 

Is already gone and past, 

And instead thereof is seen 

Its winter, which endureth still — 

Tyntagel, on its surge-beat hill, 

The pleasaunce walks, the weeping queen, 

The flying leaves, the straining blast, 

And that long wild kiss — their last." 

And where — oh, where — are those graves in the King's chapel in 
which the tyrant Marc, touched with pity, ordered the fated 
lovers to be buried 1 And, behold ! out of the grave of Tristan 
there sprung a plant which went along the walls, and descended 
into the gra^e of the Queen, and though King Marc three several 
times ordered this magical creeper to be cut off root and branch, 
it was always found growing again next morning, as if it were 
the very spirit of the dead knight struggling to get free from the 
grave, and to be with his lady-love again ! Show me those 
tombs, Miss Courtenay.' 

' You can take your choice,' said Jessie Biidgeman, pointing 
to a green mound or two, overgrown with long rank grass, in 
that part of the hill which was said to be the kingly burial-place. 
' But as for your magical tree, there is not so much as a bramble 
to do duty for poor Tristan.' 

' If I were Duke of Cornwall and Lord of Tintagel Castle, 
I would put up a granite cross in memory of the lovers ; though 
J! fear there was very little Christianity in either of them,' said 

' And I would come once a year and hang a garland on it,' 
said Christabel, smiling at him with 

' Eyes of deep, soft, lucent hue — 
Eyes too expressive to be blue, 
Too lovely to be grey.' 

He had recalled those lines more than once when he looked 
into Christabel's eyes. 

Mr. Hamleigh had read so much as to make him an interest- 
ing talker upon any subject ; but Christabel and Jessie noticed 
that of his own life, his ways and amusements, his friends, his 
surroundings, he spoke hardly at all. Tliis fact Christabel 
noticed with wonder, Jessie with suspicion. If a man led a 
good wholesome life, he would surely be more frank and open — 
he would surely have more to say about himself and his 

8 Mount Royal. 

They dawdled, and dawdled, till past four o'clock, and to 
none of the three did the hours so spent seem long ; but they 
found that it would make them too late in their return to Mount 
Royal were they to wait for sundown before they turned their 
faces homewards ; so while the day was still bright, Mr. Ham- 
leigh consented to be guided by steep and perilous paths to the 
base of the rocky citadel, and then they strolled back to the 
Wharncliffe Arms, where Felix had been enjoying himself in 
the stable, and was now desperately anxiousr^to get home, 
rattling up and down hill at an alarming rate, and not hinting 
at anybody's alighting to walk. 

This was only one of many days spent in the same fashion. 
They walked next day to Trebarwith sands, up and down hills, 
which Mr. Hamleigh declared were steeper than anything he had 
ever seen in Switzerland ; but he survived the walk, and his 
spirits seemed to rise with the exertion. This time Major Bree 
went with them — a capital companion for a country ramble, 
beicg just enough of a botanist, archaeologist, and geologist, to 
leaven the lump of other people's ignorance, without being 
obnoxiously scientific. Mr. Hamleigh was delighted with that 
noble stretch of level sand, with the long rollers of the Atlantic 
tumbling in across the low rocks, and the bold headlands behind — 
spot beloved of marine painters — spot where the gulls and the shags 
hold their revels, and where man feels himself but a poor creature 
face to face with the lonely grandeur of sea, and cliff, and sky. 

So rarely is that long stretch of yellow sand vulgarized by 
the feet of earth's multitudes, that one-half expects to see a 
procession of frolicsome sea-nymphs come dancing out of yonder 
cave, and wind in circling measures towards the crested wave- 
lets, gliding in so softly under the calm clear day. 

These were halcyon days — an Indian summer — balmy 
western zephyrs — sunny noontides — splendid sunsets — altogether 
the most beautiful autumn season that Angus Hamleigh had 
known, or at least, so it seemed to him — nay, even more than 
this, surely the most beautiful season of his life. 

As the days went on, and day after day was spent in Chris- 
tabel's company — almost as it were alone with her, for Miss 
Bridgeman and Major Bree were but as figures in the back- 
ground — Angus felt as if he were at the beginning of a new life 
— a life filled with fresh interests, thoughts, hopes, desires, 
unknown and undreamed of in the former stages of his being. 
Never before had he lived a life so uneventful — never before 
had he been so happy. It surprised him to discover how 
simple are the elements of real content — how deep the charm of 
a placid existence among thoroughly loveable people ! Chris- 
tabel Courtenay was not the loveliest woman he had ever 
known, nor the most elegant, nor the most accomplished, 

• Tintagel, half in Sea, and half on Land. 41 

nor the most fascinating ! but she was entirely different from 
all other women with whom his lot had been cast. Her innocence, 
her unsophisticated enjoyment of all earth's purest joys, 
her transparent purity, her perfect trustfulness — these were 
to him as a revelation of a new order of beings. If he had 
been told of such a woman he would have shrugged his 
shoulders misbelievingly, or would have declared that she must 
be an idiot. But Christabel was quite as clever as those 
brilliant creatures whose easy manners had enchanted him in 
days gone by. She was better educated than many a woman he 
knew who passed for a wit of the first order. She had read 
more, thought more, was more sympathetic, more companionable, 
and she was delightfully free from self -consciousness or vanity. 

He found himself talking to Christabel as he had never 
talked to anyone else since those early days at the University, 
the bright dawn of manhood, when he confided freely in that 
second self, the chosen friend of the hour, and believed that all 
men lived and moved according to his own boyish standard of 
honour. He talked to her, not of the actualities of his life, but 
of his thoughts and feelings — his dreamy speculations upon the 
gravest problems which hedge round the secret of man's final 
destiny. He talked freely of his doubts and difficult! s, and the 
half-belief which came so near unbelief— the wide love of all 
creation — the vague yet passionate yearning for immortality 
which fell so far short of the Gospel's sublime certainty. He 
revealed to her all the complexities of a many-sided mind, and 
she never failed him in sympathy and understanding. This 
was in their graver moodi,, when by some accidental turn of the 
conversation they fell into the discussion of those solemn 
questions which are always at the bottom of every man and 
toman's thoughts, like the unknown depths of a dark water- 
pool. For the most part their talk was bright and light as 
those sunny autumn days, varied as the glorious and ever- 
changing hues of sky and sea at sunset. Jessie was a delightful 
companion. She was so thoroughly easy herself that it was 
impossible to feel ill at ease with her. She played her part of 
confidante so pleasantly, seeming to think it the most natural 
thing in the world that those two should be absorbed in each 
other, and should occasionally lapse into complete forgetfulness 
of her existence. Major Bree when he joined in their rambles 
was obviously devoted to Jessie Bridgemin. It was her neatly 
gloved little hand which he was eager to clasp at the crossing 
of a stile, and where the steepness of the hill-side path gave 
him an excuse for assisting her. It was her stout little boot 
which he guided so tenderly, where the ways were ruggedest, 
Never had a plain woman a more respectful admirer — never 
was beauty in her peerhss zenith more devoutly woishipped 1 

42 Mount Royal. 

And so the autumn days sped by, pleasantly for all : with 

deepest joy — joy ever waxing, never waning — for those two who 
had found the secret of perfect sympathy in thought and feeling. 
It was not for Angus Hamleigh the first passion of a spotless 
manhood ; and yet the glamour and the delight were as new 
as if he had never loved before. He had never so purely, sc 
reverently loved. The passion was of a new quality. It 
seemed to him as if he had ascended into a higher sphere in the 
universe, and had given his heart to a creature of a loftier race. 

' Perhaps it is the good old lineage which makes the differ- 
ence,' he said to himself once, while his feelings were still suffi- 
ciently novel and so far under his control as to be subject to 
analysis. ' The women I have cared for in days gone by have 
hardly got over their early affinity with the gutter ; or when I 
have admired a woman of good family she ha9 been steeped to 
the lips in worldliness and vanity.' 

Mr. Hamleigh, who had told himself that he was going to be 
intensely bored at Mount Eoyal, had been Mrs. Tregonell's guest 
for three weeks, and it seemed to him as if the time were brief 
and beautiful as one of those rare dreams of impossible bliss 
which haunt our waking memories, and make actual life dull and 
joyless by contrast with the glory of shadowland. No word had 
yet been spoken — nay, at the very thought of those words which 
most lovers in his position would have been eager to speak, his 
soul sickened and his cheek paled ; for there would be no joyful- 
ness in the revelation of his love — indeed, he doubted whether he 
had the right to reveal it — whether duty and honour did not 
alike constrain him to keep his converse within the strict limits 
of friendship, to bid Christabel good-bye, and turn his back upon 
Mount Royal, without having said one word more than a friend 
might speak. Happy as Christabel had been with him — tenderly 
as she loved him — she was far too innocent to have considered 
herself ill-treated in such a case. She would have blamed herself 
alone for the weakness of mind which had been unable to resist 
the fascination of his society— she would have blushed and wept 
in secret for her folly in having loved unwooed. 

' Has the eventful question been asked 1 ' Jessie inquired one 
night, as Christabel lingered, after her wont, by the fire in Miss 
Bridgeman's bedroom. 'You two were so intensely earnest to- 
day as you walked ahead of the Major and me, that I said to my- 
self, " now is the time — the crisis lias arrived ? " ' 

' There was no crisis,' answered Christabel, crimsoning ; ' he 
has never said one word to me that can imply that I am any more 
to him than the most indifferent acquaintance.' 

' "What need of words when every look and tone cries ' I love 
you ? ' "Why he idolizes you, and he lets all the world see it. I 
hope it may be well for you— both.' 

Tin tag el, half in Sea, and half on Land.' 43 

Christabel was on her knees by the Ore. She laid ! pi 
against Jessie's -waistband, and drew Jessie's arm lound her 
neck, holding her hand lo/ingly. 

1 Do you really think he — cares for me ? ' she faltered, with 
ner face hidden. 

' Do I really tlmik that I have two eyes, and something which 
is at least an apology for a nose!' ejaculated Jessie, contemptu- 
ously. ' Why, it has been patent to eveiybody for the last 
fortnight that you two are over head and ears in love with each 
other. There never was a more obvious case of mutual infatua- 

' Oh, Jessie ! surely I have not betrayed myself. 1 know 
that I have been very weak — but I have tried so hard to hide 

' And have been about as successful as the ostrich. While 
those drooping lashes have been lowered to hide the love-light in 
your eyes, your whole countenance has been an illuminated 
calendar of your folly. Poor Belle! to think that she has not 
betrayed herself, while all Boscastle is on tiptoe to know when 
the wedding is to take place. Why the parson could not see you 
two sitting in the same pew without knowing that he woidd be 
reading your banns before he was many Sundays older.' 

'And you — really — like him l ' faltered Christabel, more 
shyly than before. 

' Yes,' answered Jessie, with a provoking lack of enthusiasm. 
' I really like him. I can't help feeling sorry for Mrs. Tregonell, 
for I know she wanted you to marry Leonard.' 

Christabel gave a little sigh, and a faint shiver. 

' Poor dear Leonard ! I wonder what traveller's hardships he 
is enduring while we are so snug and happy at Mount Loyal I ' 
she said, kindly. ' He has an excellent heart : 

'Troublesome people always have, 1 believe,' interjected 
Jessie. ' It is their redeeming feature, the existence of which no 
one can absolutely disprove.' 

' And I am very much attached to him — as a cousin — or as an 
adopted brother ; but as to our ever being married — that is quite 
out of the question. There never were two people less suited to 
each other.' 

' Those are the people who usually come together,' said 
Jessie ; ' the Divorce Court could hardly be kept going if it w :re 
not so.' 

' Jessie, if you are going to be cynical I shall say good-night. 
I hope there is no foundation for what you said just now. I 
hope that Auntie has no foolish idea about Leonard and me.' 

' She has — or had — one prevailing idea, and I fear it will go 
bard with her when she has to relinquish it,' answered Jessie, 
seriously. ' I know that it has been her dearest hope to see 

44 Mount Eoyai. 

you and Leonard married, and I should be a wretch if I were 
not sorry for her disappointment, when she has been so good to 
me. But she never ought to have invited Mr. Hamleigh to 
Mount Royal. That is one of those mistakes, the consequences 
of which last for a lifetime.' 

' I hope he likes me — just a little,' pursued Christabel, with 
dreamy eyes fixed on the low wood fire ; ' but sometimes I fancy 
there must be some mistake — that he does not really care a 
straw for me. More than once, when he has began to say some- 
thing that sounded ' 

' Business-like,' suggested Jessie, as the girl hesitated. 

' He has drawn back — seeming almost anxious to recall his 
words. Once he told me — quite seriously — that he had made up 
his mind never to marry. Now, that doesn't sound as if he 
meant to marry me.' 

' That is not an uncommon way of breaking ground,' answered 
Jessie, with her matter-of-fact air. ' A man tells a girl that he 
is going to die a bachelor — which makes it seem quite a favour 
on his part when he proposes. All women sigh for the unattain- 
able ; and a man who distinctly states that he is not in the 
market, is likely to make a better bargain when he surrenders.' 

' I should be sorry to think Mr. Hamleigh capable of such 
petty ideas,' said Christabel. ' He told me once that he was like 
Achilles. Why should he be like Achilles ? He is not a 

' Perhaps, it is because he has a Grecian nose,' suggested 
Miss Bridgeman. 

o v 

'How can you imagine him so vain and foolish,' cried 
Christabel, deeply offended. 'I begin to think you detest 

4 No, ! Belle, I think him charming, only too charming, and I had 
rather the man you loved were made of sterner metal — not such a 
man as Leonard, whose loftiest desires are centred in stable and 
gun-room ; but a man of an altogether different type from Mr. 
Hamleigh. He has too much of the artistic temperament, without 
being an artist — he is too versatile, too soft-hearted and im- 
pressionable. I am afraid for you, Christabel, I am afraid ; and 
if it were not too late — if your heart were not wholly given to 
him ' 

' It is,' answered Christabel, tearfully, with her face hidden ; 
1 I hate myself for being so foolish, but I have let myself Jove 
him. I know that I may never be his wife — I do not even 
think that he has any idea of marrying me — but I shall never 
marry any other man. Oh, Jessie ! for pity's sake don't betray 
me ; never let my aunt, or any one else in this world, learn what 
I have told you. I can't help trusting you — you wind yourself 
into my heart somehow, and find out all that is hidden there ! ' 

'Love ! Thou art leading Me from Wintry Gold.' 45 

1 Because I love you truly and honestly, my dear,' answered 
Jessie, tenderly ; ' and now, good-night ; I feel sure that Mr. 
Hamleigh will ask you to be his wife, and I only wish he were a 
better man.' 



After this came two or three dull and showery days, which 
afforded no opportunity for long excursions or ramblings of 
any kind. It was only during such rambles that Mr. Hamleigh 
and Miss Courteuay ever found themselves alone. Mrs. 
Tre^onell's ideas of propriety were of the old-fashioned school, 
and°when her niece was not under her own wing, she expected 
Miss Bridfenian to perform all the duties of a duenna — in no 
wise suspecting how very loosely her instructions upon this point 
were being carried out. At Mount Boyal there was no possibility 
of confidential talk between Angus and Christabel. If they were 
iu the drawing-room or library, Mrs. Tregonell was with them ; 
if they played billiards, Miss Bridgeman was told off to mark for 
them ; if they went for a constitutional walk between the showers, 
or wasted half-an-hour in the stables looking at horses and dogs, 
Miss Bridgeman was bidden to accompany them ; and though 
they had arrived at the point of minding her very little, and 
being sentimental and sympathetic under her very nose, still 
there are limits to the love-making that can be carried on before 
a third person, and a man would hardly care to propose in 
the presence of a witness. So for three days Christabel still 
remained in doubt as to Mr. Hamleigh's real feelings. That 
manner of making tender little speeches, and then, as it were, 
recalling them, was noticeable many times during those three 
days of domesticity. There was a hesitancy— an uncertainty in 
his attentions to Christabel which Jessie interpreted ill. 

' There is some entanglement, I daresay,' she told herself ; ' it 
is the evil of his past life which holds him in the toils. How do we 
know that he has not a wife hidden away somewhere 1 He ought 
to declare himself, or he ought to go away ! If this kind of shilly- 
shallying goes on much longer he will break Christabel's heart.' 

Miss Bridgeman was determined that, if it were in her power 
to hasten the crisis, the crisis should be hastened. The proprie- 
ties, as observed by Mrs. Tregonell, might keep matters in 
abeyance till Christmas. Mr. Hamleigh gave no hint of hi3 
«l<tpartur<4. He might stay at Mount Royal for months scnti- 

46 Mount Royal. 

mentalizing with Christabel, and ride off at tlie last uncom- 

The fourth day was the feast of St. Luke. The weather had 
brightened considerably, but there was a high wind — a south- 
west wind, with occasional showers, 

'Of course, you are going to church this morning,' said Jessie 
to Christabel, as they rose from the breakfast-table. 

' Church this morning ? ' repeated Christabel, vaguely. 

For the first time since she had been old enough to understand 
tlu; services of her church, she had forgotten a Saint's Day. 

' It is St. Lake's Day. 5 

'Yes, I remember. And the service is at Minster. "We can 
walk across the hills.' 

' May I go with you ? ' asked Mr. Hamleigh. 

'Do you like week-day services?' inquired Jessie, with 
rather a mischievous sparkle in her keen grey eyes. 

' I adore them,' answered Angus, who had not been inside a 
church on a week-day since he was best man at a friend's 

' Then we will all go together,' said Jessie. ' May Brook 
bring the pony-carriage to fetch us home, Mrs. Tregonell I I 
have an idea that Mr. Hamleigh won't be equal to the walk 

' More than equal to twenty such walks ! ' answered Angus, 
gaily. 'You under-estimate the severity of the training to 
which I have submitted myself during the last three weeks.' 

' The pony-carriage may as well meet you in any case,' said 
Mrs. Tregonell. And the order was straightway given. 

They started at ten o'clock, giving themselves ample leisure 
for a walk of something over two miles — a walk by lull and 
valley, and rushing stream, and picturesque wooden bridge — 
through a deep gorge where the dark-red cattle were grouped 
against a background of gorse and heather — a walk of which one 
could never grow weary — so lonely, so beautiful, so perfect a 
blending of all that is wildest and all that is most gracious in 
Nature — an Alpine ramble on a small scale. 

Minster Church lies in a hollow of the hill, so shut in by 
the wooded ridge which shelters its grey walls, that the stranger 
comes upon it as an architectural surprise. 

' How is it you have never managed to finish your tower? ' 
asked Mr. Hamleigh, surveying the rustic fane with a critical 
air, as he descended to the churchyard by some rugged stone 
steps on the si;le of the grassy hill. ' You cannot be a particularly 
devout people, or you would hardly have allowed your parish 
church to remain in this stunted and stinted condition.' 

"'There was a tower once,' said Christabel, naively; 'the 
stonsu are still in the churchyard ; but the monks used to bura 

'Love! Thou an leading Me from Wintry Cold.' 47 

a light in the tower window — a light that shone through a cleft 
in the hills, and was seen far out at sea.' 

' I believe that is geographically — or geometrically impossible,' 
said Angus laughing ; ' but. pray go on.' 

' The light was often mistaken for a beacon, and the sliip3 
came ashore and were wrecked on the rocks.' 

'Naturally— and no doubt the monks improved the occasion. 
Why should a Cornish monk be better than his countrymen? 
" One and all " is your motto.' 

' They were not Cornish monks,' answered Christabel, ' but a 
brotherhood of French monks from the monastery of St. Sergius, 
at Angers. They were established in a Priory here by William 
de Bottreaux, in the reign of Richard, Coeur de Lion ; and, 
according to tradition, the townspeople resented their having 
built the church so far from the town. I feel sure the monks could 
have had no evil intention in burning a light ; but ,one night a 
crew of wild sailors attacked the tower, and pulled the greater 
part of it down.' 

'And nobody in Boscastle has had public spirit enough to get 
it set up again. Where is your respect for those early Christian 
martyrs, St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, to whose memory your 
temple, is dedicated ? ' 

4 1 don't suppose it was so much want of respect for the 
martyrs as want of money,' suggested Miss Bridgeinan. ' We 
have too many chapel people in Boscastle for our churches to be 
enriched or beautified. But Minster is not a bad little church 
after all.' 

' It is the dearest, sweetest, most innocent little church I ever 
knelt in,' answered Angus ; and if I could but assist at one 
particular service there ' 

He checked himself with a sigh ; but this unfinished speech 
amounted in Miss Bridgeman's mind to a declaration. She 
stole a look at Christabel, whose fair face crimsoned for a 
moment or so, only to grow more purely pale afterwards. 

They went into the church, and joined devoutly in the brief 
Saint's Day service. The congregation was not numerous. Two 
or three village goodies— the school children — a tourist, who had 
come to see the church, and found himself, as it were, entangled 
in saintly meshes — the lady who played the harmonium, and 
the incumbent who read prayers. These wei'e all, besides the 
party from Mount Royal; There are plenty of people in 
country parishes who will be as pious as you please on Sunday, 
deeming three services not too much for their devotion, but who 
can hardly be persuaded to turn out of the beaten track of 
week-day life to offer homage to the memory of Evangelist or 

The pony-carriage was waiting in the lane when Mr. TTam« 

49 Mount Eoyal. 

h->h and \hd two ladies came out of the porch. Christabel and 
the gentleman looked at the equipage doubtfully. 

c You slandered me, Miss Bridgeman, by your suggestion that 
I should be done up after a mile or so across the hills,' said Mr. 
Hamleigh ; ' I never felt fresher in my life. Have you a hanker- 
ing for the ribbons 1 ' to Christabel ; < or will you send your 
pony back to his stable and walk home ? ' 
' I would ever so much rather walk.' 
* And so would I.' 

1 In that case, if you don't mind, I think I'll go home with 
Felix,' said Jessie Bridgeman, most unexpectedly. 1 1 am not 
feeling quite myself to-day, and the walk has tired me. You 
won't mind going home alone with Mr. Hamleigh, will you, 
Christabel 1 You might show him the seals in Pentargon Bay.' 

What could Christabel do ? If there had been anything in 
the way of an earthquake handy, she would have felt deeply 
grateful for a sudden rift in the surface of the soil, which would 
have allowed her to slip into the bosom of the hills, among the 
inomes and the pixies. That Cornish coast was undermined 
with caverns, yet there was not one for her to drop into. Again, 
Jessie Bridgeman spoke in such an easy off-hand manner, as if 
ifc were the most natural thing in the world for Christabel and 
Mr. Hamleigh to be allowed a lonely ramble. To have refused, 
■ r even hesitated, would have seemed affectation, mock-modesty, 
■lf-consciousness. Yet Christabel almost involuntary made a 
step towards the sarriage. 

' I think I had better drive,' she said ; ' Aunt Diana will be 
wanting me.' 

'No, she won't,' replied Jessie, resolutely. 'And you shall 
not make a martyr of yourself for my sake. I know you love 
that walk over the hill, and Mr. Hamleigh is dying to see 

Pentargon Bay ' 

' Positively expiring by inches ; only it is one of those easy 
deaths that does not hurt one very much,' said Angus, helping 
Miss Bridgeman into her seat, giving her the reins, and arrang- 
ing the rug over her knees with absolute tenderness. 

' Take care of Felix,' pleaded Christabel ; ' and if you trot 
down the hills trot fast.' 

' I shall walk him every inch of the way. The responsibility 
would be too terrible otherwise.' 

But Felix had his own mind in the matter, and had no inten- 
tion of walking when the way he went carried him towards bin 
stable. So he trotted briskly up the lane, between tall, tangled 
blackberry hedges, leaving Christabel and Angus standing at the 
churchyard gate. The rest of the little congregation had dis- 
persed ; the church door had been locked ; there was a grave- 
digger at work in the garden-like churchyard, amidst long 

' Love! Thou art leading Me from Wintry Cold.' 49 

glasses and fallen leaves, and the unchanged ferns and mosses 
of the bygone summer. 

Mr. Hamleigh had scarcely concealed his delight at Miss 
Bridgeman's departure, yet, now that she was gone, he looked 
passing sad. Never a word did he speak, as they two stood idly 
at the gate, listening to the dull thud of the earth which the 
gravedigger threw out of his shovel on to the grass, and the 
shrill sweet song of a robin, piping to himself on a ragged thorn- 
bush near at hand, as if in an ecstasy of gladness about things 
in general. One sound so fraught with melancholy, the other so 
full of joy ! The contrast struck sharply on Christabel's nerves, 
to-day at their utmost tension, and brought sudden tears in her 

They stood for perhaps five minutes in this dreamy silence, 
the robin piping all the while ; and then Mr. Hamleigh roused 
himself, seemingly with an effort. 

' Are you going to show me the seals at Pentargon 1 ' he 
asked, smilingly. 

' I don't know about seals — there is a local idea that seals are to 
be seen playing about in the bay ; but one is not often so lucky as 
to find them there. People have been very cruel in killing them, 
and I'm afraid there are very few seals left on our coast now.' 

'At any rate, you can show me Pentargon, if you are not 

' Tired ! ' cried Christabel, laughing at such a ridiculous idea, 
being a damsel to whom ten miles were less than three to a 
town-bred young lady. Embarrassed though she felt by being 
teft alone with Mr. Hamleigh, she could not even pretend that 
the proposed walk was too much for her. 

' I shall be very glad to take you to Pentargon,' she said, 'it 
is hardly a mile out of our way ; but I fear you'll be dis- 
appointed ; there is really nothing particular to see.' 

' I shall not be disappointed — I shall be deeply grateful.' 
They walked along the narrow hill-side paths, where it was 
almost impossible for two to walk abreast ; yet Angus contrived 
somehow to be at Christabel's side, guiding and guarding her by 
ways which were so much more familiar to her than to him, that 
there was a touch of humour in this pretence of protection. But 
Christabel did not see things in their humorous aspect to-day 
Her little hand trembled as it touched Angus Hamleigh's, when 
he led her across a craggy bit of path, or over a tiny water-pool. 
At the stiles in the valley on the other side of the bridge, which 
are civilized stiles, and by no means difficult, Christabel was too 
quick and light of foot to give any opportunity for that assist- 
ance which her companion was so eager to afford. And now 
they were in the depths of the valley, and had to mount another 
hillj on the road to Bude, till they came to a field-gate 3 abuvo 


; o Mount Royal. 

which appeared a sign-board, and the mystic words, ' To Pen- 

' What is Pentargon, that they put up its name in such big 
letters 1 ' asked Mr. Hamleigh, staring at the board. ' Is it a 
borough town — or a cattle market — or a cathedral city — or what 1 
Them seem tremendously proud of it.' 

' It is nothing — or only a shallow bay, with a waterfall and a 
wonderful cave, which I am always longing to explore. I believe 
it is nearly as beautiful as the cavern in Shelley's " Alastor." But 
you will see what Pentargon is like in less than five minutes.' 

They crossed a ploughed field, and then, by a big five-barred 
gate, entered the magic region which was said to be the paradise 
of seals. A narrow walk cut in & steep and rocky bank, where 
the gorse and heather grew luxuriantly above slate and spar, 
described a shallow semicircle round one of the loveliest bays in 
the world — a spot so exquisitely tranquil in this calm autumn 
weather, so guarded and fenced in by the massive headlands that 
jutted out towards the main — a peaceful haven, seemingly so re- 
mote from that outer world to which belonged yonder white- 
\vinged ship on the verge of the blue — that Angus Hamleigh 
exclaimed involuntarily, — 

' Here is peace ! Surely this must be a bay in that Lotus 
land which Tennyson has painted for us ! ' 

Hitherto their conversation had been desultory — mere frag- 
mentary talk about the landscape and the loveliness of the 
autumn day, with its clear bright sky and soft west wind. They 
had been always in motion, and there had been a certain adven- 
turousness in the way that seemed to give occupation to their 
thoughts. But now Mr. Hamleigh came to a dead stop, and 
stood looking at the rugged amphitheatre, and the low weedy 
rocks washed smooth by the sea. 

1 Would you mind sitting down for a few minutes V he asked ; 
' this Pentargon of yours is a lovely spot, and I don't want to 
leave it instantly. I have a very slow appreciation of Nature. 
It takes me a long time to grasp her beauties.' 

Christabel seated herself on the bank which he had selected 
for her accommodation, and Mr. Hamleigh placed himself a little 
lower, almost at her feet, her face turned seaward, his half 
towards her, as if that lily face, with its wild rose bloom, were 
even lovelier than the sunlit ocean in all its variety of colour. 

' It is a delicious spot,' said Angus, ' I wonder whether Tristan 
and Iseult ever came here ! I can fancy the queen stealing away 
from the Court and Court foolery, and walking across tne sunlit 
hills with her lover. It would be rather a long walk, and there 
might be a difficulty about getting back in time for supper ; but 
ob« can picture them wandering by flowery fields, or by the cliffs 
above that everlasting sea, and coming here to vest and talk of 

' Love ! Thau art leading Me from Wintry Cold.' SX 

their sorrow and their love. Can you not fancy her as Matthew 
Arnold paints her ? — 

1 " Iiet her have her youth again — 
Let her be as she was then ! 
Let her have her proud dark eyes. 
And her petulant, quick replies : 
Let her sweep her dazzling hand, 
With its gesture of command, 
And shake back her raven hair 
With the old imperious air." 

I have an idea that the Hibernian Iseult must have been a tartar, 
though Matthew Arnold glosses over her peccadilloes so pleasantly. 
I wonder whether she had a strong brogue, and a sneakmg 
fondness for usquebaugh.' 

' Please, don't make a joke of her,' pleaded Christabel ; 'she is 
very real to me. I see her as a lovely lady — tall and royal- 
looking, dressed in long robes of flow T ered silk, fringed with gold. 
And Tristan ' 

' What of Tristan 1 Is his image as clear in your mind ? 
Efow T do you depict the doomed knight, born to suffer and to sin, 
destined to sorrow from the time of his forest-birth — motherless, 
beset with enemies, consumed by hopeless passion. I hope you 
feel sorry for Tristan V 

' Who could help being sorry for him V 

' Albeit he was a sinner 1 I assure you, in the old romance 
which you have not read — which you would hardly care to read- 
neither Tristan nor Iseult are spotless.' 

' I have never thought of their wrong-doing. Their fate was so 
sad, and they loved each other so truly.' 

' And, again, you can believe, perhaps — you who are so 
innocent aud confiding — that a man who has sinned may forsake 
the old evil ways and lead a good life, until every stain of that 
bygone sin is purified. You can believe, as the Greeks believed, 
in atonement and purification.' 

' I believe, as I hope all Christians do, that repentance can 
wash away sin.' 

' Even the accusing memory of wrong-doing, and make a 
man's soul white and fair again ? That is a beautiful creed.' 

'I think the Gospel gives us warrant for believing as much— 
not as some of the Dissenters teach, that one effort of faith, an 
hour of prayer and ejaculation, can transform a murderer into a 
saint ; but that earnest, sustained regret for wrong-doing, and a 
steady determination to live a better life ' 

' Yes — that is real repentance,' exclaimed Angus, interrupting 
her. ' Common sense, even without Gospel light, tells one that 
it must be good. Christabel — may I call you Christabel 1 — i»v-4 

52 Mount Royal. 

for this one isolated half-hour of life — here in Pentargon Bay 1 
You shall be Miss Courtenay directly we leave this spot.' 

' Call me what you please. I don't think it matters verj 
much,' faltered Christabel, blushing deeply. 

' But it makes all the difference to me. Christabel, I can't 
tell you how sweet it is to me just to pronounce your name. If — 
if — I could call you by that name always, or by a name still 
nearer and dearer. But you must judge. Give me half-an-hour 
— lialf-an-hour of heartfelt earnest truth on my side, and pitying 
patience on yours. Christabel, my past life has not been 
what a stainless Christian would call a good life. I have 
not been so bad as Tristan. I have violated no sacred charge — 
betrayed no kinsman. I suppose I have been hardly worse than 
the common run of young men, who have the means of leading 
an utterly useless life. I have lived selfishly, unthinkingly- 
caring for my own pleasure — with little thought of anything that 
was to come afterwards, either on earth or in heaven. But all 
that is past and done with. My wild oats are sown ; I have had 
enough of youth and folly. "When I came to Cornwall the other 
day I thought that I was on the threshold of middle age, and 
that middle age could give me nothing but a few years of pain 
and weariness. But — behold a miracle ! — you have given me 
oack my youth — youth and hope, and a desire for length of days, 
and a passionate yearning to lead a new, bright, stainless life. 
You have done all this, Christabel. I love you as I never 
thought it possible to love ! I believe in you as I never before 
believed in woman — and yet — and yet ' 

He paused, with a long heart-broken sigh, clasped the girl's 
hand, which had been straying idly among the faded heather, and 
pressed it to his lips. 

' And yet I dare not ask you to be my wife. Shall I tell you 

'Yes, tell me,' she faltered, her cheeks deadly pale, hei 
lowered eyelids heavy with tears. 

' I told you I was like Achilles, doomed to an early death. You 
remember with what pathetic tendreness Thetis speaks of her son, 

' " Few years are thine, and not a lengthened term ; 
At once to early death and sorrows doomed 
Lcyond the lot of man I " 

The Fates have spoken about me quite as plainly as ever the sea- 
nymph foretold the doom of her son. He was given the choice 
of length of days or glory, and he deemed fame better than long 
life. But my life has been as inglorious as it must be brief. 
Three months ago, one of the wisest of physicians pronounced 
my doom. The hereditary malady which for the Uu t fifty years 
has been the curse of my family shows itself by the clearest iudi- 

• Love ! Thou art leading Me from Wintry Cold* 53 

cations iii my case. I could have told the doctor this just as well 
as he told me ; but it is best to have official information. I may 
die before I am a year older ; I may crawl on for the next teu 
rears — a fragile hot-house plant, sent to winter under southern 

' And you may recover, and be strong and well again! ' cried 
Christabel, in a voice choked with sobs. She made no pretence 
of hiding her pity or her love. ' Who can tell ? God is so good. 
What prayer will He not grant us if we only believe in Him ? 
Faith will remove mountains.' 

' I have never seen it done,' said Angus. ' I'm afraid that no 
effort of faith in this degenerate age will give a man a new lung. 
No, Christabel, there is no chance of long life for me. If hope — 
if love could give length of days, my new hopes, bom of you — 
my new love felt for you, might work that miracle. But I am 
the child of my century : I only believe in the possible. And 
knowing that my years are so few, and that during that poor 
remnant of life I may be a chronic invalid, how can I — how dare 
1 be so selfish as to ask any girl — young, fresh, and bright, with 
all the joys of life untasted — to be the companion of my decline? 
The better she loved me, the sadder would be her life — the 
keener would be the anguish of watching my decay ! ' 

'But it would be a life spent with you, her days would be 
devoted to you ; if she really loved you, she would not hesitate,' 
pursued Christabel, her hands clasped passionately, tears stream- 
ing down her pale cheeks, for this moment to her was the 
supreme crisis of fate. ' She would be unhappy, but there 
would be sweetness even in her sorrow if she could believe that 
she was a comfort to you ! ' 

'Christabel, don't tempt me! Ah, im darling! you don't 
know how selfish a man's love is, how swei; it would be to me to 
snatch such bliss, even on the brink of V e dark gulf — on the 
threshold of the eternal night, the eternal -silence! Consider what 
you would take upon yourself — you who perhaps have never 
known what sickness means — have never seen the horrors of 
mortal disease.' 

' Yes, I have sat with some of our poor people when they 
were dying. I have seen how painful disease is, how cruel 
Nature seems, and how hard it is for a poor creature racked with 

Cain to believe in God's beneficence ; but even then there has 
een comfort in being able to help them and cheer them a little. 
I have thought more of that than of the actual misery of the 

'But to give all your young life — all your days and thoughts and 
hop '£ to a (loomed man ! Think of that, Christabel ! When you 
are happy with him to see Death grinning behind his shoulder — 
to watch that spectacle which is of all Nature's miseries the moist 

64 Mount Royal. 

awful — the slow decay of human life — a man dying by inches— 
not death, but dissolution ] If my malady were heart-disease, and 
you knew that at some moment—undreamt of — unlooked for — 
death would come, swift as an arrov from Hecate's bow, brief, 
with no loathsome or revolting detail — ■ then I might say, " Let 
us spend my remnant of life together." But consumption, you 
cannot tell what a painful ending that is ! Poets and novelists 
havs described it a3 a kind of euthanasia ; but the poetical 
mind is rarely strong in scientific knowledge. I want you to 
understand all the horror of a life spent with a chronic sufferer, 
about whom the cleverest physician in London has made up his 

' Answer me one question,' said Christabel, drying her tears, 
and trying to steady her voice. ' Would your life be any happier 
if we were together— till the end ? ' 

' Happier 'i It would be a life spent in Paradise. Pain and 
sickness could hardly touch me with their stiDg.' 

' Then let me be your wife.' 

' Christabel, are you in earnest ? have you considered ? ' 

' I consider nothing, except that it may be in my power to 
make your life a little happier than it would be without me. I 
want only to be sure of that. If the doom were more dreadful 
than it is — if there were but a few short months of life left for 
you, I would ask you to let me share them ; I would ask to 
nurse you and watch you in sickness. There would be no other 
fate on earth so full of sweetness for me. Yes, even with death 
and everlasting mourning waiting for me at the end.' 

' My Christabel, my beloved ! my angel, my comforter ! 1 
begin to believe in miracles. I almost feel as if you could give 
me length of years, as well as bliss beyond all thought or hope 
of mine. Christabel, Christabel, God forgive me if I am asking 
you to wed sorrow ; but you have made this hour of my life an 
unspeakable ecstasy. Yet I will not take you quite at your 
word, love. You shall have time to consider what you are going 
to do — time to talk to your aunt.' 

' I want no time for consideration. I will be guided by no 
one. I think God meant me to love you — and cure you.' 

' I will believe anything you say ; yes, even if you promise 
me a new lung. God bless you, my beloved ! You belong to 
those whom He does everlastingly bless, who are so angelic upon 
this earth that they teach us to believe in heaven. My Chris- 
tabel, my own ! I promised to call you Miss Courtenay when we 
left Pentargon, but I suppose now you are to be Christabel for 
the rest of my life ! ' 

' Yes, always.' 

' AM all this time we have not seen a single seal ! ' exclaimed 
Ang is ; gaily. 

1 The Silver Answer rang, — " Not Death, but Love" ' 55 

His delicate features were radiant with happiness. Who could 
at such a moment remember death and doom ? All painful 
words which need be said had been spoken. 


'tiie silver answer rang, — "not death, but love."' 

Mrs. Tregonell and her niece were alone together in the 
Library half-an-hour before afternoon tea, when the autumn light 
was just beginning to fade, and the autumn mist to rise ghost- 
like from the narrow Little harbour of Boscastle. Miss Bridge- 
man had contrived that it should be so, just as she had contrived 
the visit to the seals that morning. 

So Cbristabel, kneeling by her aunt's chair in the fire-glow, 
just as she had knelt upon the night before Mr. Hamleigh's 
coming, with faltering lips confessed her secret. 

' My dearest, I have known it for ever so long,' answered 
Mrs. Tregonell, gravely, laying her slender hand, sparkling with 
hereditary rings — never so gorgeous as the gems bought yester- 
day—on the girl's sunny hair, ' I cannot say that I am glad. 
No, Christabel, I am selfish enough to be sorry, for Leonard's 
sake, that this should have happened. It was the dreain of my 
life that you two should marry. 5 

' Dear aunt, we could never have cared for each other — as 
lovers. We had been too much like brother and sister.' 

' Not too much for Leonard to love you, as I know he does. 
He was too confident — too secure of his power to win you. And 
I, his mother, have brought a rival here — a rival who has stolen 
your love from my son.' 

' Don't speak of him bitterly, dearest. Remember he is the 
Bon of the man you loved.' 

1 But e at my son ! Leonard must always be first in my mind. 
I like Angus Hamleigh. He is all that his father was — yes — it 
is almost a painful likeness — painful to me, who loved and I 
mourned his father. But I cannot help being sorry for Leonard.' 

' Leonard shall be my dear brother, always,' said Christabel ; 
yet even while she spoke it occurred to her that Leonard was not 
quite the kind of person to accept the fraternal position 
pleasantly, or, indeed, any secondary character whatever in the 
drama of Life. 

' And when are you to be married ? ' asked Mrs. Tregonell, 
looking at the fire. 

' Oh, Auntie, do you suppose I have begun to think of that 
yet awhile ? ' 

58 Mount Boyal. 

1 Be sure that he has, if you have not ! I hope he is not 
going to be in a hurry. You were only nineteen last birthday. 

' I feel tremendously old,' said Christabel. ' We — we were 
talking a little about the future, this afternoon, in the billiard- 
room, and Angus talked about the wedding being at the 
beginning of the new year. But I told him I was sure you 
would not like that.' 

' No, indeed ! I must have time to get reconciled to my loss,' 
answered the dowager, with her arm drawn caressingly round 
Christabel's head, as the girl leaned against her aunt's chair. 
' What will this house seem to me without my daughter ? 
Leonard far away, putting his life in peril for some foolish sport, 
and you living — Heaven knows where ; for you would have to 
study your husband's taste, not mine, in the matter.' 

' Why shouldn't we live near you 1 Mr. Hamleigh might buy 
a place. There is generally something to be had if one watches 
one's opportunity.' 

' Do you think he would care to sink his fortune, or any part 
of it, in a Cornish estate, or to live amidst these wild hills 1 ' 

1 He says he adores this place.' 

' He is in love, and would swear as much of a worse place. 
No, Belle, I am not foolish enough to sujDpose that you and Mr. 
Hamleigh are to settle for life at the end of the world. This 
house shall be your home whenever you choose to occupy it ; 
and I hope you will come and stay with me sometimes, for I 
shall be very lonely without you.' 

' Dear Auntie, you know how I love you ; you know how 
completely happy I have been with you — how impossible it is 
that anj'thing can ever lessen my love.' 

' I believe that, dear girl ; but it is rarely nowadays that 
Ruth follows Naomi. Our modern Ruths go where their lovers 
go, and worship the same gods. But I don't want to be selfish 
or unjust, dear. I will try to rejoice in your happiness. And if 
Angus Hamleigh will only be a little patient ; if be will give 
me time to grow used to the loss of you, he shall have you with 
your adopted mother's blessing.' 

' He shall not have me without it,' said Christabel, looking 
up at her aunt with steadfast eyes. 

She had said no word of that early doom of which Angus had 
told her. For worlds she could not have revealed that fatal 
truth. She had tried to put away every thought of it while she 
talked with her aunt. Angus had urged her beforehand to be 
perfectly frank, to tell Mrs. Tregonell what a mere wreck of a 
life it was which her lover offered her : but she had refused. 

' Let that be our secret,' she said, in her low, sweet voice. 
1 We want no one's pity. We will bear our sorrow together. 
And, oh, Angus ! my faith is so strong. God, who has made 

1 The Silver Answer rang,—** Not Death, but Love." ' 5? 

me so happy by the gift of your love, will not take you from 
uie. If — if your life is to be brief, mine Mill not be long.' 

' My dearest ! if the gods will it so, we will know no part- 
ing, but be translated into some new kind of life together — a 
modern Baucis and Philemon. I think it would be wiser — 
better, to tell your aunt everything. But if you think other- 

* I will tell her nothing, except that you love me. and that, 
tvith her consent, I am going to be your wife ; ' and with this 
jetermination Christabel had made her confession to her aunt. 

The ice once broken, everybody reconciled herself or himself 
to the new aspect of affairs at Mount Royal. In less than a 
week it seemed the most natural tiling in life that Ansms and 
Christabel should be engaged. There was no marked change in 
their mode of life. They rambled upon the hills, and went 
boating on fine mornings, exploring that wonderful coast where 
the sea-bird. congregate, on rocky isles and fortresses rising sheer 
out of the sea — in mighty caves, the very tradition whereof 
sounds terrible — caves that seem to have no ending, but to burrow 
into unknown, unexplored regions, towards the earth's centre. 

"With Major Bree for their skipper, and a brace of sturdy 
boatmen, Angus, Christabel, and Jessie Bridgeman spent several 
mild October mornings on the sea — now towards Cambeak, anon 
towards Trebarwith. Tintagel from the beach was infinitely 
grander than Tintagel in its landward aspect. ' Here,' as Norden 
says, was ' that rocky and winding way up the steep sea-cliff, 
under which the sea-waves wallow, and so assail the foundation 
of the isle, as may astonish an unstable brain to consider the 
peril, for the least slip of the foot leads the whole body into the 
devouring sea.' 

To climb these perilous paths, to spring from rock to rock 
upon the slippery beach, landing on some long green slimy slab 
over which the sea washes, was Christabel's delight — and Mr. 
Hamleigh showed no lack of agility or daring. His health had 
improved marvellously in that invigorating air. Christabel, 
not^ful of every change of hue in the beloved face, saw how 
much more healthy a tinge cheek and brow had taken since Mr. 
Hamleigh came to Mount Royal. He had no longer the exhausted 
look or the languid air of a man who had untimely squandered 
his stock of life and health. His eye had brightened — with no 
hectic light, but with the clear sunshine of a mind at ease. He 
was altered in every way for the better. 

And now the autumn evenings were putting on a wintry air 
— the lights were twinkling early in the Alpine street of Bos- 
castle. The little harbour was dark at rive o'tlock. Mr. 
Hamleigh had been nearly two months at Mount Royal, and he 
told himself that it was time for leave-taking. Fain would I19 

58 Mount Royal. 

have stayed on — stayed until that blissful morning when 
Christabel and he might kneel, side by side, before the altar in 
Minster Church, and be made one for ever — one in life and death 
—in a union as perfect as that which was symbolized by the plant, 
that grew out of Tristan's tomb and went down into the grave of 
his mistress. 

Unhappily, Mrs. Tregonell had made up her mind that her 
niece should not be married until she was twenty years of age — 
and Christabel's twentieth birthday would not arrive till the 
following Midsummer. To a lover's impatience so long an 
interval seemed an eternity ; but Mrs. Tregonell had been very 
gracious in her ^consent to his betrothal, so he could not 
disobey her. 

' Christabel has seen so little of the world,' said the dowager. 
' I should like to give her one season in London before she 
marries — just to rub off a little of the rusticity.' 

' She is perfect — I would not have her changed for worlds,' 
protested Angus. 

' Nor I. But she ought to know a little more of society 
before she has to enter it as your wife. I don't think a London 
season will spoil her — and it will please me to chaperon her — 
though I have no doubt I shall seem rather an old-fashioned 

' That is just possible,' said Angus, smiling, as he thought 
how closely his divinity was guarded. ' The chaperons of the 
present day are very easy-going people — or, perhaps I ought to 
say, that the young ladies of the present day have a certain 
Yankee go-a-headishness which very much lightens the chaperon's 
responsibility. In point of fact, the London chaperon has 
dwindled into a formula, and no doubt she will soon be improved 
off the face of society.' 

' So much the worse for society,' answered the lady of the 
old school. And then she continued, with a friendly air, — 

' I dare say you know that I have a house in Bolton Row. I 
have not lived in it since my husband's death — but it is mine, 
and I can have it made comfortable between this and the early 
spring. I have been thinking that it would be better for you 
and Christabel to be married in London. The law business 
would be easier sei/tled— and you may have relations and friends 
who would like to be at your wedding, yet who would hardly 
care to come to Boscastle.' 

' It is a long way,' admitted Angus. ' And people are s* 
inconsistent. They think nothing of going to the Engadine, yet 
grumble consumedlyat a journey of a dozen hours in their native 
land — as if England were not worth the exertion.' 

for the 

' Then I think we are agreed that London is the best place 
the wedding,' said Mrs. Tregonell. 

* The Silver Answer rang, — " Not Death, but Love." * 56 

1 1 am perfectly content. But if you suggested Timbuctoo I 
should be just as happy.' 

This being settled, Mrs. Tregonell wrote at once to her agent, 
with instructions to set the old house in Bolton Bow in order for 
the season immediately after Easter, and Christabel and her 
lover had to reconcile then' minds to the idea of a long dreary 
winter of severance. 

Miss Courtenay had grown curiously grave and thoughtful 
since her engagement — a change which Jessie, who watched her 
closely, observed with some surprise. It seemed as if she had 
passed from girlhood into womanhood in the hour in which she 
pledged herself to Angus Hamleigh. She had for ever done with 
the thoughtless gaiety of youth that knows not care. She had 
taken upon herself the burden of an anxious, self-sacrificing 
yove. To no one had she spoken of her lover's precarious hold 
upon life , but the thought of by how frail a tenure she held her 
happiness was ever present with her. ' How can I be good 
enough to him 1 — how can I do enough to make his life happy V 
she thought, ' when it may be for so short a time.' 

With this ever-present consciousness of a fatal future, went 
the desire to make her lover forget his doom, and the ardent 
hope that the sentence might be revoked — that the doom pro- 
nounced by human judgment might yet be reversed. Indeed, 
Angus had himself begun to make light of his malady. Who 
could tell that the famous physician was not a false prophet, 
after all ? The same dire announcement of untimely death had 
been made to Leigh Hunt, who contrived somehow — not always 
in the smoothest waters — to steer his frail bark into the haven 
of old age. Angus spoke of this, hopefully, to Christabel, as 
they loitered within the roofless crumbling walls of the ancient 
oratory above St. Nectan's Kieve, one sunny November morn- 
ing, Miss Bridgeman rambling on the crest of the hill, with the 
blank sheep-dog, Bandie, under the polite fiction of blackberry 
hunting, among hedges which had long been shorn of their last 
berry, though the freshness of the lichens and ferns still lingered 
in this sheltered nook. 

' Yes, I know that cruel doctor was mistaken ! ' said 
Christabel, her lips quivering a little, her eyes wide and grave, 
but tearless, as they gazed at her lover. ' I know it, I know 

' 1 know that I am twice as strong and well as I was when 
he saw me,' answered Angus : ' you have worked as great a 
miracle for me as ever was wrought at the grare of St. 
Mertheriana in Minster Churchyard. You have mad< me happy ; 
and what can cure a man better than perfect bliss ? But, oh, my 
darling ! what is to become of me when I leave you, when 1 
return to the beaten ways of London life, and, looking back at 

60 Mount Royal. 

these delicious days, ask niyself if this sweet life with you is 
act some dream which I have dreamed, and which can neves 
come again ? ' 

' You will not think anything of the kind,' said Christabel, 
with a pretty little air of authority which charmed him— as all 
her looks and ways charmed him. ' You know that I am sober 
reality, and that our lives are to be spent together. And you 
re not going back to London — at least not to stop there. You 
are going to the South of France.' 

' Indeed ? this is the first I have heard of any such intention.' 

' Did not that doctor say you were to winter in the South I ' 

' lie did. But I thought we had agreed to despise that 
doctor 1 ' 

' We will despise him, yet be warned by him Why should 
any one, who has liberty and plenty of money, spend his winter 
in a smoky city, where the fog blinds and stifles him, and the 
frost pinches him, and the damp makes him miserable, when he 
can have blue skies, and sunshine and flowers, and ever so much 
brighter stars, a few hundred miles away ? We are bound to 
obey each other, are we not, Angus ? Is not that among out 
marriage vows ? ' 

' I believe there is something about obedience — on the lady's 
side — but I waive that technicality. I am prepared to become 
an awful example of a henpecked husband. If you say I am to 
go southwards, with the swallows, I will go — yea, verily, to 
Algeria or Tunis, if you insist ; though I would rather be on 
the Riviera, whence a telegram, with the single word ' Come ' 
would bring me to your side in forty-eight hours.' 

' Yes, you will go to that lovely land on the shores of the 
Mediterranean, and there you will be very careful of your 
health, so that when we meet in London, after Easter, your 
every look will gainsay that pitiless doctor. Will you do this, 
for my sake, Angus 1 ' she pleaded, lovingly, nestling at his side, 
as they stood together on a narrow path that wound down to 
the entrance of the Kieve. They could hear the rush of the 
waterfall in the deep green hollow below them, and the faint 
flutter of loosely hanging leaves, stirred lightly by the light 
wind, and far away the joyous bark of a sheep-dog. No human 
voices, save their own, disturbed the autumnal stillness. 

' This, and much more, would I do to please you, love. 
Indeed, if I am not to be here, I might just as well be in the 
South ; nay, much better than in London, or Paris, both of 
which cities I know by heart. But don't you think we could 
make a compromise, and that I might spend the winter at Tor- 
quay, running over to Mount Royal for a few days occasionally?' 

' No ; Torquay will not do, delightful as it would be to have 
you ao near. I have been reading about the climate in the South 

In Society. 61 

of Fiance, and I am sure, if you are careful, a winter there will 
do yon worlds of good. Next year ' 

' Next year we can go there together, and you will take care 
of me. Was that what you were going to say, Belle 1 ' 

1 Something like that.' 

' Yes,' he said, slowly, after a thoughtful pause, ' 1 shall be 
glad to be away from London, and all old associations. My 
past life is a worthless husk that I have done with for ever.' 



The Easter recess was over. Society had returned from its 
brief holiday — its glimpse of budding hedges and primrose- 
dotted banks, blue skies and blue violets, the snowy bloom of 
orchards, the tender green of young cornfields. Society had 
come back again, and was hard at the London treadmill — yawn- 
ing at old operas, and damning new plays — sniggering at 
crowded soirees — laying down the law, each man his particular 
branch thereof, at carefully planned dinner parties — quarrelling 
and making friends again — eating and drinking — spending 
and wasting, and pretending to care very little about anything ; 
for society is as salt that has lost its savour if it is not cynical 
and affected. 

But there was one dehutantc at least that season for whom 
town pleasures had lost none of their freshness, for whom the 
old operas were all melody, and the new plays all wit — who 
admired everything with frankest wonder and enthusiasm, and 
without a thought of Horace, or Pope, or Creech, or anybody, 
except the lover who was alwaj 7 s at her side, and who shed the 
rose-coloured light of happiness upon the commonest thing?!. 
To sit in the Green Park on a mild April morning, to see the 
guard turn out by St. James's Palace after breakfast, to loiter 
away an hour or two at a picture gallery — was to be infinitely 
happy. Neither opera nor play, dinner nor dance, race-course 
doi flower-show, was needed to complete the sum of Chfistabel's 
bliss when Angus Hamleigh was with her. 

He had returned from Hyeres, quietest among the southern 
towns, wonderfully improved in health and strength. Even 
Mrs. Tregouell and Miss Bridgeman perceived the change iu 

' I think you must have been very ill when you came \a 
Mount Royal, Mr. Hamleigh/ said Jessie, one day. ' You look 
ro much better now.' 

C2 Mount Boyal. 

'My Life was empty then — it is full now, he answered 
' It is hope that keeps a man alive, and I had very little to hope 
for when I went westward. How strange the road of life is \ 
and how little a man knows what is waiting for him round 
the corner ! ' 

The house in Bolton Row was charming ; just large enough 
to be convenient, just small enough to be snug. At the back, 
the windows looked into Lord Somebody's garden — not quite 
a tropical paradise — nay, even somewhat flavoured with bricks 
and mortar — but still a garden, where, by sedulous art, the 
gardeners kept alive ferns and flowers, and where trees, 
warranted to resist smoke, put forth young leaves in the spring- 
time, and only languished and sickened in untimely decay when 
the London season was over, and their function as fashionable 
trees had been fulfilled. 

The house was furnished in a Georgian style, pleasant to 
modern taste. The drawing-room was of the spindle-legged 
order — satin-wood card tables ; groups of miniatures in oval 
frames ; Japanese folding screen, behind which Belinda might 
have played Bo-peep ; china jars, at whose fall Narcissa might 
have inly suffered, while outwardly serene. The dining-room 
was sombre and substantial. The bedrooms had been improved 
by modern upholstery , for the sleeping apartments of our 
ancestors leave ^ good deal to be desired. All the windows were 
full of flowers — inside and out there was the perfume and 
colour of many blossoms. The three drawing-rooms, growing 
smaller to a diminishing point, like a practical lesson in perspec- 
tive, were altogether charming. 

Major Bree had escorted the ladies to London, and was their 
constant guest, camping out in a bachelor lodging in Jermyn 
Street, and coming across Piccadilly every day to eat his luncheon 
in Bolton Bow, and to discuss the evening's engagements. 

Long as he had been away from London, he acclimatized 
himself very quickly — found out everything about everybody — 
what singers were best, worth hearing— what plays were best 
worth seeing — what actors should be praised — which pictures 
should be looked at and talked about— what horses were likely to 
win the notable races. He was a walking guide, a living hand- 
book to fashionable London. 

All Mrs. Tregonell's old friends — all the Cornish people who 
came to London— called in Bolton Bow ; and at every house 
where the lady and her niece visited there were new introductions, 
whereby the widow's visiting list widened like a circle in the 
water — and cards for dances and evening parties, afternoons and 
dinners were super-abundant. Christabel wanted to see every- 
thing. She had quite a country girl's taste, and cared much 
for the theatre and the opera than to be dressed in a new gown, 

In Society. 63 

And to be crushed in a crowd of other young women in new 
gowns — or to sit still and be admired at a stately dinner. Nor 
was she particularly interested in the leaders of fashion, their 
.vays and manners — the newest professed or professional beauty — 
the last social scandal. She wanted to see the great city of which 
she had read in history — the Tower, the Savoy, Westminster 
Hall, the Abbey, St. Paul's, the Temple— the London of Elizabeth, 
the still older London of the Edwards and Henries, the house in 
which Milton was born, the organ on which he played, the place 
where Shakespeare's Theatre once stood, the old Inn whence 
Chaucer's Pilgrims started on their journey. Even Dickens : a 
London — the London of Pickwick and Winkle — the Saracen's 
Head at which Mr. Squeers put up — had charms for her. 

' Is everything gone 1 ' ohe asked, piteously, after being told 
how improvement had effaced the brick and mortar background 
of English History. 

Yet there still remained enough to fill her mind with solemn 
thoughts of the past. She spent long hours in the Abbey, with 
Angus and Jessie, looking at the monuments, and recalling the 
lives and deeds of long vanished heroes and statesmen. The 
Tower, and the old Inns of Court, were full of interest. Her 
curiosity about old houses and streets was insatiable. 

1 No one less than Macaulay could satisfy you,' said Angus, 
one day, when his memory was at fault. 'A man of infinite 
reading, and infallible memory.' 

' But you have read so much, and you remember a great deal.' 

They had been prowling about the Whitehall end of the 
town in the bright early morning, before Fashion had begun to 
.stir herself faintly among her down pillows. Christabel loved 
the parks and streets while the freshness of sunrise was still upor 
them — and these early walks were an institution. 

' Where is the Decoy ? ' she asked Angus, one day, in St. 
James's Park ; and on being interrogated, it appeared that she 
meant a certain piece of water, described in ' Peveril of the Peak? 
All this part of London was peopled with Scott's heroes and 
heroines, or with suggestions of Goldsmith. Here Fenelia 
danced before good-natured, loose-living Rowley. Here Nigel 
stood aside, amidst the crowd, to see Charles, Prince of Wales, 
and his ill-fated favourite, Buckingham, go by. Here the Citizen 
of the World met Beau Tibbs and the gentleman in black. Eor 
Christabel the Park was like a scene in a stage play. 

Then, after breakfast, there were long drives into fair 
suburban haunts, where they escaped in some degree from 
London smoke and London restraints of all kinds, where they 
could charter a boat, and row up the river to a still fairer scene, 
and picnic in some rushy creek, out of ken of society, and be 
almost a.s recklessly gay as if they had been at Tintagel. 

64 Mount Royal. 

These were the days Angus loved best. The days upon 
which he and his betrothed turned their backs upon London 
society, and seemed as far away from the outside world as ever 
they had been upc*u the wild western coast. Like most men 
educated at Eton and Oxford, and brought up in the neighbour- 
hood of the metropolis, Angus loved the Thames with a love that 
was almost a passion. 

' It is my native country,' he said ; ' I have no other. All 
the pleasantest associations of my boyhood and youth are inter- 
woven with the river. When I die, my spirit ought to haunt 
these shores, like that ghost of the 'Scholar Gipsy,' which you 
have read about in Arnold's poem.' 

He knew every bend and reach of the river — every tribu- 
tary, creek, and eyot — almost every row of pollard willows, 
standing stunted and grim along the bank, like a line of rugged 
old men. He knew where the lilies grew, and where there 
were chances of trout. The haunts of monster pike were familiar 
to him— indeed, he declared that he knew many of these gentle- 
men personally — that they were as old as the Fontainebleau carp, 
and bore a charmed life. 

' When I was at Eton I knew them all by sight,' he said. 
' There was one which I set my heart upon landing, but he was 
ever so much stronger and cleverer than I. If I had caught him 
I should have worn his skin ever after, in the pride of my 
heart, like Hercules with his lion. But he still inhabits the 
same creek, still sulks among the same rushes, and devours the 
gentler members of the finny race by shoals. We christened 
him Dr. Parr, for we knew he was preternaturally old, and 
we thought he must, from mere force of association, be a pro- 
found scholar.' 

Mr. Hamleigh was always finding reasons for these country 
excursions, which he declared were the one sovereign antidote 
for the poisoned atmosphere of crowded rooms, and the evil 
effects of late hours. 

'You wouldn't like to see C'hristabel fade and languish like 
the flowers in your drawing-room,' he urged, when Mrs. Tre- 
gonell wanted her niece to make a round of London visits, 
instead of going down to Maidenhead on the coach, to lunch 
somewhere up the river. Not at Skindle's, or at any other 
hotel, but in the lazy sultry quiet of some sequestered nook 
below the hanging woods of Clieveden. ' I'm sure you can 
spare her just for to-day — such a perfect spring day. It would 
be a crime to waste such sunlight and such balmy air in town 
drawing-rooms. Could not you strain a point, dear M*s. Tie- 
gonell, and come with us 1 " 

Aunt Diana shook h3r head. No, the fatigue would be too 
*uuch — she had lived such a quiet life at Mount Eoyal, that a 

In Society. G5 

very little exertion tired her. Besides she had some calls to 
make ; and then there was a dinner at Lady Bulteel's, to which 
she must take Christabel, and an evening party afterwards. 

Christabel shrugged her shoulders impatiently. 

' I am beginning to hate parties,' she said. ' They are 
amusing enough when one is in them — but they are all alike — 
and it would be so much nicer for us to live our own lives, and 
go wherever Angus likes. Don't you think you might defer the 
calls, and come with us to-day, Auntie dear 1 ' 

Auntie dear shook her head. 

' Even if I were equal to the fatigue, Belle, I couldn't defer 
my visits. Thursday is Lady Onslow's day — and Mrs. Trevan- 
nion's day — and Mrs. Vansittart's day— and when people have 
been so wonderfully kind to us, it would be uncivil not to 

' And you will sit in stifling drawing-rooms, with the curtains 
lowered to shut out the sunlight — and you will drink ever so 
much more tea than is good for you — and hear a lot of people 
prosing about the same things over and over again — Epsom and 
the Opera — and Mrs. This and Miss That — and Mrs. Somebody's 
new book, which everybody reads and talks about, just as 
if there were not another book in the world, or as if the old 
book counted for nothing,' concluded Christabel, contemptuously, 
having by this time discovered the conventional quality ol 
kettle- drum conversations, wherein people discourse authorita- 
tively about books they have not read, plays they have not seen, 
and people they do not know. 

Mr. Hamleigh had his own way, and carried off Christabel 
and Miss Bridgeman to the White Horse Cellar, with the 
faithful Major in attendance. 

' You will bring Belle home in time to dress for Lady 
Bulteel's dinner,' said Mrs. Tregonell, impressively, as they were 
departing. ' Mind, Major, I hold you responsible for her return. 
You are the only sober person in the party. I believe Jessie 
Bridgeman is as wild as a hawk, when she gets out of my sight.' 

Jessie's shrewd grey eyes twinkled at the reproof. 

' I am not very sorry to get away from Bolton Bow, and 
the fine ladies who come to see you — and who always look at 
me as much as to say, " Who is she 1 — what is she 1 — how did 
she come here 1 " — and who are obviously surprised if I say 
anything intelligent — first, at my audacity in speaking befoi'e 
company, and next that such a thing as I should have any 

' Nonsense, Jessie, how thin-skinned you are ; everybody 
praises you,' said Mrs. Tregonell, while they all waited on tho 
threshold for Christabel to fasten her eight-button gloves — » 
delicate operation, in which she was asaiatttd by Mr. Hamleigh. 

66 Mount Royal. 

'How clever you are at buttoning gloves,' exclaimed 
Christabel ; ' one would think you had served an apprenticeship.' 

'That's not the first pair he iias buttoned, I'll wager,' cried 
the Major, in his loud, hearty voice ; and then, seeing Angus 
redden ever so slightly, and remembering certain rumours which 
he had heard at his club, the kindly bachelor regretted his 

Happily, Christabel was engaged at this moment in kissing 
her aunt, and did not observe Mr. Hamleicrli's heightened colour. 
Ten minutes later they were all seated outside the coach, bowling 
down Piccadilly Hill on their way westward. 

' In the good old days this is how you would have started for 
Cornwall,' said Angus. 

' I wish we were going to Cornwall now.' 

' So do I, if your aunt would let us be married at that dear 
little church in the glen. Christabel, when I die, if you have 
the ordering of my funeral, be sure that I am buried in Minster 

' Angus, don't,' murmured Christabel, piteously. 

' Dearest, " we must all die — 'tis an inevitable chance — the 
first Statute in Magna Charta — it is an everlasting Act of Par- 
liament " — that's what he says of death, dear, who jested at all 
things, and laid his cap and bells down one day in a lodging in 
Bond Street — the end of which we passed just now — sad and 
lonely, and perhaps longing for the kindred whom he had 

' You mean Sterne,' said Christabel. ' Jessie and I hunted 
for that house, yesterday. I think we all feel sorrier for him 
than for many a better man.' 

In the early afternoon they had reached their destination — a 
lovely creek shaded by chestnut and alder — a spot known to few, 
and rarely visited. Here, under green leaves, they moored their 
boat, and lunched on the contents of a basket which had been 
got ready for them at Skindle's — dawdling over the meal — taking 
their ease— full of talk and laughter. Never had Angus 
looked better, or talked more gaily. Jessie, too, was at her 
brightest, and had a great deal to say. 

' It is wonderful how well you two get on,' said Christabel, 
smiling at her friend's prompt capping of some bitter little speech 
from Angus. ' You always seem to understand each other so 
quickly — indeed, Jessie seems to know what Angus is going to 
aay before the words are spoken. I can see it in her face.' 

'Perhaps, that is because we are both cynics,' said Mr. 

' Yes, that is no doubt the reason,' said Jessie, reddening a 
little ; ' the bond of sympathy between us is founded on our very 
poor opinion of our fellow-creatures.' 

In Society. 67 

But after this Miss Bridgeman became more silent, and 
gave way much less than usual to those sudden impulses of sharp 
speech which Christabel had noticed. 

They landed presently, and went wandering away into the 
inland — a strange world to Christabel, albeit very familiar to 
her lover. 

' Not far from here there is a dell which is the most won- 
derful place in the world for bluebells,' said Angus, looking at 
his watch. 'I wonder whether we should have time to walk 

' Let us try, if it is not very, very far,' urged Christabel. ' I 
adore bluebells, and skylarks, and the cuckoo, and all the dear 
country flowers and birds. I have been surfeited with hot-house 
flowers and caged canaries since I came to London.' 

A skylark was singing in the deep blue, far aloft, over the 
little wood in which they were wandering. It was the loneliest, 
loveliest spot ; and Christabel felt as if it would be agony to leave 
it. She and her lover seemed ever so much nearer, dearer, more 
entirely united here than in London drawing-rooms, where she 
hardly dared to be civil to him lest society should be amused or 
contemptuous. Here she coidd cling to his arm — it seemed a 
strong and helpful arm now — and look up at his face with 
love irradiating her own countenance, and feel no more ashamed 
than Eve in the Garden. Here they could talk without fear of 
being heard ; for Jessie and the Major followed at a most respect- 
ful distance — just keeping the lovers in view, and no more. 

Christabel ran back presently to say they were going to look 
for bluebells. 

' You'll c</tne, won't you ? ' she pleaded ; ' Angus says the 
dell is not far off.' 

' I don't believe a bit in his topography,' said the Major ; ' do 
you happen to know that it is three o'clock, and that you are due 
at a State dinner V 

' At eight,' cried Christabel, ' ages away. Angus says the 
train goes at six. We are to have some tea at Skindle's, at five. 
We have two hours in which to do what we like.' 

' There is the row back to Skindle's.' 

' Say half an hour for that, which gives us ninety minutes for 
the bluebells.' 

' Do you count life by minutes, child V asked the Major. 

' Yes, Uncle Oliver, when I am utterly happy ; for then every 
minute is precious.' 

And then she and her lover went rambling on, talking, 
laughing, poetising under the flickering shadows and glancing 
lights ; while the other two followed at a leisurely pace, like the 
dull foot of reality following the winged heel of romance. 
Jessie Bridgeman was only twenty-seven, yet in her own min-d 


68 Mount Royal. 

it seemed as if she were the Major's contemporary — nay, 
indeed, his senior : for he had never known that grinding poverty 
which ages the eldest daughter in a large shabby genteel family. 
Jessie Bridgeman had been old in care before she left off pina- 
fores. Her childish pleasure in the shabbiest of dolls had been 
poisoned by a precocious familiarity with poor-rates and water- 
rates — a sickening dread of the shabby man in pepper-and-salt 
tweed, with the end of an oblong account-book protruding from 
his breast-pocket, who came to collect money that was never 
ready for him, and departed, leaving a printed notice, like the 
trail of the serpent, behind him. The first twenty years of Jessie 
Bridgeman's life had been steeped in poverty, every day, every 
hour flavoured with the bitter taste of deprivation and the 
world's contempt, the want of common comforts, the natural 
longing for fairer surroundings, the ever-present dread of a still 
lower deep in which pinching should become starvation, and even 
the shabby home should be no longer tenable. With a father 
whose mission upon this earth was to docket and file a certain 
class of accounts in Somerset House, for a salary of a hundred- 
and-eighty pounds a year, and a bi-annual rise of five, a harmless 
man. whose only crime was to have married young and made 
himself responsible for an unanticipated family — ' How could a 
young fellow of two-and-twenty know that God was going to 
afflict him with ten children V Mr. Bridgeman used to observe 
plaintively — with a mother whose life was one long domestic 
drudgery, who spent more of her days in a back kitchen than ia 
consistent with the maintenance of personal dignity, and whose 
only chance of an airing was that stern necessity which impelled 
her to go and interview the tax-gatherer, in the hope of obtaining 
' time ' — Jessie's opportunities of tasting the pleasures of youth 
had been of the rarest. Once in six months or so, perhaps, 3 
shabby-genteel fn v nd gave her father an order for some theatre, 
which was in that palpable stage of ruin when orders are freely 
given to the tavern loafer and the stage-door hanger-on — and 
then, oh, what rapture to trudge from Shepherd's Bush to the 
West End, and to spend a long hot evening in the gassy paradise 
of the Upper Boxes ! Once in a year or so Mr. Bridgeman gave 
his wife and eldest girl a dinner at an Italian Restaurant near 
Leicester Square — a cheap little pinchy dinner, in which the 
meagre modicum of meat and poultry was eked out by much 
sauce, redolent of garlic, by delicious foreign bread, and too- 
cdorous foreign cheese. It was a tradition in the family that 
Mr. Bridgeman had been a great dinner-giver in his bachelor 
lays, and knew every restaurant in London. 

' They don't forget me here, you see,' he said, when the sleek 
Italian waiter brought him extra knives and forks for the dual 
portion which was to serve for three. 

In Society. 69 

Such had been the utmost limit of Jessie's pleasures before 
she answered an advertisement in the Times, which stated that 
a lady, living in a retired part of Cornwall, required the services 
of a young lady who could write a good hand, keep accounts, and 
had some knowledge of housekeeping — who was willing, active, 
theerful, and good-tempered. Salary, thirty pounds per annum. 

It was not the first advertisement by many that Jessie had 
answered. Indeed, she seemed, to her own mind, to have been 
doing nothing but answering advertisements, and hoping against 
hope for a favourable reply, since her eighteenth birthday, when 
it had been borne in upon her, as the Evangelicals say, that she 
ought to go out into the world, and do something for her living, 
making one mouth less to be filled from the family bread-pan. 

' There's no use talking, mother,' she said, when Mrs. Bridgeman 
tried to prove that the bright useful eldest daughter cost nothing ; 
' I eat, and food costs money. I have a dreadfully healthy appetite, 
and if I could get a decent situation I should cost you nothing, 
and should be able to send you half my salary. And now that 
Milly is getting a big girl ' 

' She hasn't an idea of making herself useful,' sighed the 
mother ; ' only yesterday she let the milkman ring three times 
and then march away without leaving us a drop of milk, because 
she was too proud or to lazy to open the door, while Sarah and I 
were up to our eyes in the wash.' 

' Perhaps she didn't hear him,' suggested Jessie, charitably. 

' She must have heard his pails if she didn't hear him,' said 
Mrs. Bridgeman ; ' besides he " yooped," for I heard him, and 
relied upon that idle child for taking in the milk. But put not 
your trust in princes,' concluded the overworked matron, rather 

' Salary, thirty pounds per annum,' repeated Jessie, reading 
the Cornish lady's advertisement over and over again, as if it 
had been a charm ; ' why that would be a perfect fortune ! think 
what you coidd do with an extra fifteen pounds a year ! ' 

' My dear, it would make my life heaven. But you would 
want all the money for your dress : you would have to be always 
nice. There would be dinner parties, no doubt, and you would 
be asked to come into the drawing-room of an evening,' said Mrs. 
Bridgeman, whose ideas of the governess's social status were 
derived solely from ' Jane Eyre.' 

Jessie's reply to the advertisement was straightforward and 
succinct, and she wrote a fine bold hand. These two facts 
favourably impressed Mrs. Tregonell, and of the three or four 
dozen answers which her advertisement brought forth, Jessie's 

f)leased her the most. The young lady's references to her father's 
andlord and the incumbent of the nearest church, were satis- 
factory. So one bleak wintry morning Miss Bridgeman left 

70 Mount Royal. 

Paddington in one of the Great "Western's almost luxurious 
third-class carriages, and travelled straight to Launceston, whence 
a carnage — the very first private carriage she had ever sat in, 
and every detail of which was a wonder and a delight to her — 
conveyed her to Mount Royal. 

That line old Tudor manor-house, after the shabby ten-roemed 
villa at Shepherd's Bush — badly built, badly drained, badly 
situated, badly furnished, always smelling of yesterday's dinner, 
always damp and oozy with yesterday's rain — was almost too 
Deautiful to be real. For days after her arrival Jessie felt as if 
she must be walking about in a dream. The elegancies and 
luxuries of life were all new to her. The perfect quiet and order 
of this country home ; the beauty in every detail — from the old 
silver urn and Worcester china which greeted her eyes on the 
breakfast-table, to the quaint little Queen Anne candlestick which 
she carried up to her bedroom at night — seemed like a revelation 
of a hitherto unknown world. The face of Nature — the hills 
and the moors — the sea and the cliffs — was as new to her as 
all that indoor luxury. An occasional week at Eamsgate or 
Southend had been all her previous experience of this world's 
loveliness. Happily, she was not a shy or awkward young 
parson. She accommodated herself with wonderful ease to her 
altered surroundings — was not tempted to drink out of a finger- 
glass, and did not waver for a moment as to the proper use 
of her fish-knife and fork — took no wine — and ate moderately 
of that luxurious and plentiful fare which was as new and 
wonderful to her as if she had been transported from the 
barren larder of Shepherd's Bush to that fabulous land where 
the roasted piglings ran about with knives and forks in their 
backs, squeaking, in pig language, 'Come, eat me ; come eat me.' 

Often in this paradise of pasties and clotted cream, mountain 
mutton and barn-door fowls, she thought with a bitter pang of 
the hungry circle at home, with whom dinner was the exception 
rather than the rule, and who made believe to think tea and 
bloaters an ever so much cosier meal than a formal repast of 
roast and boiled. 

On the very day she drew her first quarter's salary — not 
for worlds would she have anticipated it by an hour — Jessie 
ran off to a farm she knew of, and ordered a monster hamper 
to be sent to Rosslyn Villa, Shepherd's Bush — a hamper full 
of chickens, and goose, and cream, and butter, with a big 
saffron-flavoured eake for its crowning glory — such rv cake as 
would delight the younger members of the household ! 

Nor did she forget her promise to send the over-tasked 
house-mother half her earnings. ' You needn't mind taking 
the money, dearest,' she wrote in the letter which enclosed the 
Fost-OUice order. ' Mrs. Tregouell has given me a lovely grey 

In Society. 71 

silk gown ; and I have bought a brown merino at Launceston, 

and a new hat and jacket. You would stare to see how splen- 
didly your homely little Jessie is dressed ! Christabel found 
out the date of my birthday, and gave me a dozen of the 
loveliest gloves, my favourite grey, with four buttons. A whole 
dozen ! Did you ever see a dozen of gloves all at once, mother 1 
You have no idea how lovely they look. I quite shrink from 
breaking into the packet ; but I must wear a pair at church 
next Sunday, in compliment to the dear little giver. If it 
were not for thoughts of you and the brood, dearest, I should 
be intensely happy here ! The house is an ideal house — the 
people are ideal people ; and they treat me ever so much better 
than I deserve. I think I have the knack of being useful to 
them, which is a great comfort ; and I am able to get on with 
the servants — old servants who had a great deal too much of 
their own way before I came — which is also a comfort. It is 
not easy to introduce reform without making oneself detested. 
Christabel, who has been steeping herself in French history 
lately, calls me Turgot in petticoats — by which you will see 
she has a high opinion of my ministerial talents — if you can 
remember Turgot, poor dear ! amidst all your worries,' added 
Jessie, bethinking herself that her mother's book-learning had 
gone to seed in an atmosphere of petty domestic cares — mending 
— washing — pinching — contriving. 

This and much more had Jessie Bridgeman written seven 
years ago, while Mount Royal was still new to her. The 
place and the people — at least those two whom she first knew 
there — had grown dearer as time went on. When Leonard 
came home from the University, he and his mother's factotum 
did not get on quite so well as Mrs. Tregonell had hoped. 
Jessie was ready to be kind and obliging to the heir of^ 
the house ; but Leonard did not like her — in the language of 
the servants' hall, he 'put his back up at her.' He looked 
upon her as an interloper and a spy, especially suspecting her 
in the latter capacity, perhaps from a linking consciousness that 
some of his actions would not bear the fierce light of un- 
friendly observation. In vain did his mother plead for her 

' You have no idea how good she is ! ' said Mrs. TregonelL 
' You're perfectly right there, mother ; I have not,' retorted 

' And so useful t© me! I should be lost without her ! ' 

'Of course; that's exactly what she wants: creeping and 

crawling — and pinching and saving — docking your tradesmen's 

mis — grinding your servants— lingering your income — till, 

by-aud-by, she will contrive to ringer a good deal of it into 

her own pocket I That's the way they all begin — that's the 

72 Mount Royal. 

way the man in the play, Sir Giles Overreach's man, began, you 
may be sure — till by-and-by he got Sir Giles under his thumb. 
And that's the way Miss Bridgeman will serve you. I wonder 
you are so short-sighted.' 

"Weak as Mrs. Tregonell was in her love for her son, she was 
too staunch to be set against a person she liked by any such 
assertions as these. She was quite able to form her own opinion 
about Miss Bridgeman's character, and she found the girl 
straight as an arrow — candid almost to insolence, yet pleasant 
withal ; industrious, clever — sharp as a needle in all domestic 
details — able to manage pounds as carefully as she had managed 
pence and sixpences. 

' Mother used to give me the housekeeping purse,' she said, 
' and I did what I liked. I was always Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. It was a very small exchequer ; but I learnt the habit 
ef spending and managing, and keeping accounts.' 

While active and busy about domestic affairs, verifying 
accounts, settling supplies and expenditures with the cook- 
housekeeper, making herself a veritable clerk of the kitchen, 
and overlooking the housemaids in the finer details of their 
work, Miss Bridgeman still found ample leisure for the improve- 
ment of her mind. In a quiet country house, where family 
prayers are read at eight o'clock every morning, the days are 
long enough for all things. Jessie had no active share in 
Christabel's education, which was Mrs. Tregonell's delight and 
care ; but she contrived to learn what Christabel learnt — tc 
sti«Jy with her and read with her, and often to outrun her in 
the pursuit of a favourite subject. They learnt German 
together, they read good French books together, and were com- 
panions in the best sense of the word. It was a happy life — 
monotonous, uneventful, but a placid, busy, all-satisfying life, 
which Jessie Bridgeman led during those six years and a half 
which went before the advent of Angus Hamleigh at Mount 
Royal. The companion's salary had long ago been doubled, and 
Jessie, who had no caprices, and whose wants were modest, was 
able to send forty pounds a year to Shepherd's Bush, and found 
a rich reward in the increased cheerfulness of the letters from 

Just so much for Jessie Bridgeman's history as she walks by 
Major Bree's side in the sunlight, with a sharply cut face, 
impressed with a gravity beyond her years, and marked with 
precocious lines that were drawn there by the iron hand of 
poverty before she had emerged from girlhood. Of late, even 
amidst the elegant luxuries of May Fair, in a life given over to 
amusement, among flowers and bright scenery, and music and 
pictures, those lines had been growing deeper — lines that hinted 
•it a secret care. 

In Society. 73 

' Isn't it delightful to see them together ! ' said the Major, 
looking af tor those happy lovers with a benevolent smile. 

' Yes ; I suppose it is very beautiful to see such perfect 
happiness, like Juan and Haidee before Larnbro swooped down 
upon them,' returned Miss Bridgeman, who was too outspoken 
to be ashamed of having read Byron's epic. 

Major Bree had old-fashioned notions about the books women 
should and should not read, and Byron, except for elegant 
extracts, was in his Index expurgatorius. If a woman was 
allowed to read the ' Giaour,' she would inevitably read ' Don 
Juan,' he argued ; there would be no restraining her, after she 
had tasted blood — no use in offering her another poet, and 
saying, Now you can read ' Thalaba,' or ' Peter Bell.' 

'They were so happy!' said Jessie, dreamily,' so young, 
and one so innocent ; and then came fear, severance, despair, and 
death for the innocent sinner. It is a terrible story ! ' 

'Fortunately, there is no tyrannical father in this case,' 
replied the cheerful Major. ' Everybody is pleased with the 
engagement — everything smiles upon the lovers.' 

' No, it is all sunshine,' said Jessie ; ' there is no shadow, if 
Mr. Hamleigh is as worthy of her as we all think him. Yet 
there was a time when you spoke rather disparagingly of him.' 

' My gossiping old tongue shall be cut out for repeating club 
scandals ! Hamleigh is a generous-hearted, noble-natured 
fellow, and I am not afraid to trust him with the fate of a girl 
whom I love almost as well as if she were my own daughter. 
I don't know whether all men love their daughters, by the bye. 
There are daughters and daughters — I have seen some that it 
would be tough work to love. But for Christabel my affection 
is really pn rental. I have seen her bud and blossom, a beautiful 
living flower, a rose in the garden of life.' 

' And you think Mr. Hamleigh is worthy of her 1 ' said Miss 
Bridgeman, looking at him searchingly with her shrewd grey 
eyes, ' in spite of what you heard at the clubs 1 ' 

' A fico for what I heard at the clubs ! ' exclaimed the 
Major, blowing the slander away from the tips of his fingers as 
if it had been thistledown. 'Every man has a past, and every 
man outlives it. The present and the future are what we have 
to consider. It is not a man's history, but the man himself, 
that concerns us ; and I say that Angus Hamleigh is a good 
man, a right-meaning man. a brave and generous man. If a 
man is to be judged by his history, where would David be, I 
should like to know 1 and yet David was the chosen of the 
Lord ! ' added the Major, conclusively. 

' I hope,' said Jessie, earnestly, with vague visions of intrigue 
and murder conjured up in her mind, ' that Mr. Hamleigh was 
never as bad as David.' 

74 Mount Boyal. 

'No, no,' murmured the Major, ' the circumstances of modem 
times are so different, don't you see ?— an advanced civilization— 
a greater respect for human life. Napoleon the First did a 
good many queer things ; but you would not get a monarch and 
a commander-in-chief to act as David and Joab acted now-a- 
days. Public opinion would be too strong for them. They 
would be afraid of the newspapers.' 

' Was it anything very dreadful that you heard at the clubs 
three years ago ? ' asked Jessie, still hovering about a forbidden 
theme, with a morbid curiosity strange in one whose acta and 
thoughts were for the most part ruled by common sense. 

The Major, who would not allow a woman to r°ad ' Don 
Juan,' had his own ideas of what ought and ought not to be told 
to a woman. 

' My dear Miss Bridgeman,' he said, ' T would not for worlds 
pollute your ears with the ribald trash men talk in a club 
smoking-room. Let it suffice for you to know that I believe in 
Angus Ilamleigh, although I have taken the trouble to make 
myself acquainted with the follies of his youth.' 

They walked on in silence for a little while after this, and 
then the Major said, in a voice full of kindness : 

' I think you went to see your own people yesterday, did you 

' Yes ; Mrs. Tregonell was kind enough to give me a morn- 
ing, and I spent it with my mother and sisters.' 

The Major had questioned her more than once about her 
home in a way which indicated so kindly an interest that it could 
not possibly be mistaken for idle curiosity. And she had told 
him, with perfect frankness, what manner of people her family 
were — in no wise hesitating to admit their narrow means, and 
the necessity that she should earn her own living. 

' I hope you found them well and happy.' 

' I thought my mother looked thin and weary. The girls 
were wonderfully well — great, hearty, overgrown creatures ! I 
felt myself a wretched little shrimp among them. As for happi- 
ness — well, they are as happy as people can expect to be who 
are very poor ! ' 

' Do you really think poverty is incompatible with happiness? ' 
asked the Major, with a philosophical air ; 'I have had a parti- 
cularly happy life, and I have never been rich.' 

'Ah, that makes all the difference!' exclaimed Jessie. 
' You have never been rich, but they have always been poor. 
You can't conceive what a gulf lies between those two positions. 
You have been obliged to deny yourself a great many of th« 
mere idle luxuries of life, I dare say — hunters, the latest 
improvements in guns, valuable dogs, continental travelling; 
but you have had enough for all the needful things — for neat- 

In Society. 75 

nests, cleanliness, an orderly household ; a well-kept flower- 
garden, everything spotless and bright about you ; no slipshod 
niaid-of-all-work printing her greasy thumb upon your dishes — - 
nothing out at elbows. Your house is small, but of its kind it 
is perfection ; and your garden — well, if I had such a garden in 
such a situation I would not envy Eve the Eden she lost.' 

' Is that really your opinion?' cried the enraptured soldier; 
'or are you saying this just to please me — to reconcile me to my 
jog-trot life, my modest surroundings '? ' 

' I mean every word I say.' 

' Then it is in your power to make me richer in happiness 
than Rothschild or Baring. Dearest Miss Bridgeman, dearest 
Jessie, I think you must know how devotedly I love you ! Till 
to-day I have not dared to speak, for my limited means would 
not have allowed me to maintain a wife as the woman I love 
ought to be maintained ; but this morning's post brought me 
the news of the death of an old Admiral of the Blue, who was 
my father's first cousin. He was a bachelor like myself — left 
the Navy soon after the signing of Sir Henry Pottinger's treaty 
at Nankin in '42 — never considered himself well enough off to 
marry, but lived in a lodging at Devonport, and hoarded and 
hoarded and hoarded for the mere abstract pleasure of ac- 
cumulating his surplus income ; and the result of his hoarding 
— combined with a little dodging of his investments in stocks and 
shares — is, that he leaves me a solid four hundred a year in Great 
Westerns. It is not much from some people's point of view, 
but, added to my existing income, it makes me very comfortable. 
I could afford to indulge all your simple wishes, my dearest ! I 
could afford to help your family ! ' 

He took her hand. She did not draw it away, but pressed 
his gently, with the grasp of friendship. 

' Don't say one word more — you are too good — you are the 
best and kindest man I have ever known ! ' she said, ' and I shall 
love and honour you all my life ; but I shall never marry ! 1 
made up my mind about that, oh ! ever so long ago. Indeed, I 
never expected to be asked, if the truth must be told.' 

' I understand,' said the Major terribly dashed. ' I am too 
old. Don't suppose that I have not thought about that. I have. 
But I fancied the difficulty might be got over. You are s« 
different from the common run of girls — so staid, so sensible, of 
such a contented disposition. But I was a fool to suppose that 
any girl of ' 

' Seven-and-twenty,' interrupted Jessie ; ' it is a long way up 
the hill of girlhood. I shall soon be going down on the other side. : 

' At any rate, you are more than twenty years my junior. I 
was a fool to forget that.' 

' Dear Major Bree,' said Jessie, very earnestly, ' believe me, 

76 Mount Royal. 

it is not for that reason, I say No. If you were as young — as 
young as Mr. Hamleigh — the answer would be just the same. 
I shall never marry. There is no one, prince or peasant, whom 
I care to marry. You are much too good a man to be married 
for thesake of a happy home, for status in the world, kindly 
companionship — all of which you could give me. If I loved you 
as you ought to be loved I would an.-sver proudly, Yes; but I 
honour you too much to give you half love.' 

' Perhaps you do not know with how little I could be satis- 
fied,' urged the Major, opposing what he imagined to be a 
romantic scruple with the shrewd common-sense of his fifty years' 
experience. ' I want a friend, a companion, a helpmate, and I 
am sure you could be all those to me. If I could only make you 
happy ! ' 

' You could not ! ' interrupted Jessie, with cruel decisiveness. 
•Pray, never speak of this again, dear Major Bree. Your 
friendship has been very pleasant to me ; it has been one of the 
many charms of my life at Mount Eoyal. I would not lose it 
for the world. And we can always be friends, if you will only 
remember that I have made up my mind — irrevocably — never to 

' I must needs obey you,' said the Major, deeply disappointed 
out too unselfish to be angry. ' I will not be importunate. Yet, 
jne word I must say. Your future — if you do not marry — what 
is that to be 1 Of course, so long as Mrs. Tregonell lives, your 
home will be at Mount Eoyal— but I fear that does not settle 
the question for long. My dear friend does not appear to me a 
long-lived woman. I have seen traces of premature decay. 
When Christabel is married, and Mrs. Tregonell is dead, where 
is your home to be ' 

' Providence will find me one,' answered Jessie, cheerfully. 
Providence is wonderfully kind to plain little spinsters with a 
knack of making themselves useful. I have been doing my best 
to educate myself ever since I have been at Mount Royal. It is 
so easy to improve one's mind when there are no daily worries 
about the tax-gatherer and the milkman— and when I am called 
upon to seek a new home, I can go out as a governess — and 
drink the cup of life as it is mixed for governesses— as Charlotte 
Bronte says. Perhaps I shall write a novel, as she did, although 
I have not her genius.' 

' I would not be sure of that,' said the Major. ' I believe 
there is some kind of internal fire burning you up, although you 
are outwardly so quiet, I think it would have been your salvation 
to accept the jog-trot life and peaceful home I have offered you.' 

'Very likely,' replied Jessie, with a shrug and a sigh. 'But 
how many people reject salvation. They would rather be 
miserable in their own way than happy in anybody else's way.' 

In Society. 77 

The Major answered never a word. For him all the glory of 
the day had faded. He walked slowly on by Jessie's side, 
meditating upon her words — wondering why she had so reso- 
lutely refused him. There had been not the least wavering- 
she had not even seemed to be taken by surprise — her mind had 
been made up long ago — not him, nor any other man, would 
she wed. 

' Some early disappointment, perhaps,' mused the Major — ' a 
curate at Shepherd's Bush — those young men have a great deal 
to answer for.' 

They came to the hyacinth dell — an earthly paradise to the 
two happy lovers, who were sitting on a mossy bank, in a sheet 
of azure bloom, which, seen from the distance, athwart young 
trees, looked like blue, bright water. 

To the Major the hazel copse and the bluebells — the young 
oak plantation — and all the lovely details of mosses and flowering 
grasses, and starry anemones — were odious. He felt in a hurry 
to get back to his club, and steep himself in London pleasures. 
All the benevolence seemed to have been crashed out of him. 

Christabel saw that her old friend was out of spirits, and con- 
trived to be by his side on their way back to the boat, trying to 
cheer him with sweetest words and loveliest smiles. 

' Have we tired you 1 ' she asked. ' The afternoon is very 

' Tired me ! You forget how I ramble over the hills at home. 
No ; I am just a trifle put out — but it is nothing. I had news 
of a death this morning — a death that makes me richer by four 
hundred a year. If it were not for respect for my dead cousin 
who so kindly made me his heir, I think I should go to-night to 
the most rowdy theatre in London, just to put myself in spirits 

1 Which are the rowdy theatres, Uncle Oliver 1 ' 

1 Well, perhaps I ought not to use such a word. The theatres 
'are all good in their way — but there are theatres and theatres. 
I should choose one of those to which the young men go night 
after night to see the same piece — a burlesque, or an opera bouffe 
— plenty of smart jokes and pretty girls.' 

' Why have you not taken me to those theatres ? ' 

' We have not come to them yet. You have se-m Shakespeare 
and modern comedy — which is rather a weak material as com- 
pared with Sheridan — or even with Colman and Morton, v hose 
plays were our staple entertainment when I was a boy. You 
have heard all the opera singers 1 ' 

' Yes, you have been very good. "But I want to f^e " Cupid 
and Psyche" — two of my partners last night talked to me of 
" Cupid and Psyche," and were astounded that I had not seen 
it. I felt quite ashamed of my ignorance. I asked one of my 
partners, who was particularly enthusiastic, to tell me all about 

78 Mount Royal. 

the play — and he did— to tlie best of his ability, which was 
not great— and he said that a Miss Mayne — Stella Mayue — 
iv 1,0 plays Psyche, is simply adorable. She is the loveliest 
woman in London, he says — and was greatly surprised that she 
Iiad not been pointed out to me in the Park. Now really, 
Uncle Oliver, this is very remiss in you — you who are so clever 
in showing me famous people when we are driving in the Park.' 

'My dear, we have not happened to see her — that is all,' 
replied the Major, without any responsive smile at the bright 
young face smiling up at him. 

' You have seen her, I suppose ? ' 

' Yes, I saw her when I was last in London.' 

•Not this time?' 

* Not this time.' 

'You most unenthusiastic person. But, I understand your 
motive. You have been waiting an opportunity to take Jessie 
and me to see this divine Psyche. Is she absolutely lovely?' 

' Loveliness is a matter of opinion. She is generally accepted 
as a particularly pretty woman.' 

' When will you take me to see her ?' 

' I have no idea. You have so many engagements — your 
aunt is always making new ones. I can do nothing without 
her permission. Surely you like dancing better than sitting 
in a theatre ? ' 

' No, I do not. Dancing is delightful enough — but to be in 
a theatre is to be in fairy-land. It is like going into a new 
world. I leave myself, and my own life, at the doors — and go 
to live and love and suffer and be glad with the people in the 
play. To see a powerful play — really well acted — such acting 
as we have seen — is to live a new life from end to end in a few 
hours. It is like getting the essence of a lifetime without any 
of the actual pain— for when the situation is too terrible, one 
can pinch oneself and say — it is only a dream — an acted dream.' 

' If you like powerful plays— plays that make you tremble 
and cry — you would not care twopence for " Cupid and Psyche," ' 
said Major Bree. ' It is something between a burlesque and i^ 
fairy comedy— a most frivolous kind of entertainment, I believe.' 

' I don't care how frivolous it is. I have set my heart upon 
seeing it. I don't want to be out of the fashion. If you won't 
get me a box at the — where is it I' 

'The Kaleidoscope Theatre.' 

' At the Kaleidoscope ! I shall ask Angus.' 

' Please don't. I — I shall be seriously offended if you do. 
Let me arrange the business with your aunt. If you really want 
to see the piece, I suppose you must see it — but not unless your 
aunt likes.' 

' Dear, dearest, kindest uncle Oliver 1 ' cried Ckriatabel, 

In Society. 79 

squeezing his arm. 'From my childhood upwards you have 
always fostered my self-will by the blindest indulgence. I was 
afraid that, all at once, you were going to be unkind and 
thwart me.' 

Major Bree was thoughtful and silent for the rest of the 
afternoon, and although Jessie tried to be as sharp-spoken and 
vivacious as usual, the effort would have been obvious to any 
two people properly qualified to observe the actions and expressions 
of others. But Angus and Christabel, being completely absorbed 
in each other, saw nothing amiss in their companions. 

The river and the landscape were divine — a river for gods — 
a wood for nymphs — altogether too lovely for mortals. Tea, 
served on a little round table in the hotel garden, was perfect. 

' How much nicer than the dinner to-night ! ' exclaimed 
Christabel. 'I wish we were not going. And yet, it will be 
very pleasant, I daresay — a table decorated with the loveliest 
flowers — well-dressed women, clever men, all talking as if there 
was not a care in life — and perhaps we shall be next each 
other,' added the happy girl, looking at Angus. 

' What a comfort for me that I am out of it,' said Jessie. 
'How nice to be an insignificant young woman whom nobody 
ever dreams of asking to dinner. A powdered old dowager 
did actually hint at my going to her musical evening the other 
day when she called in Bolton Bow. " Be sure you come early," 
she said gushingly, to Mrs. Tregonell and Christabel ; and then, 
in quite another key, glancing at me, she added, and " if 
Miss — er — er would like to hear my singers, I should be — er 
— delighted," do doubt mentally adding, " I hope she won't have 
the impertinence to take me at my word."' 

'Jessie, you are the most evil-thinking person T ever knew,' 
cried Christabel. 'I'm sure Lady Millamont meant to be civil.' 

' Yes, but she did not mean me to go to her party,' retorted 

The happy days — the society evenings — slipped by — dining 
— music — dancing. And now came the brief bright season of 
rustic entertainments — more dancing — more music — lawn-tennis 
— archery — water parties — every device by which the summer 
hours may chime in tune with pleasure. It was July — Christabel's 
birthday had come and gone, bring a necklace of single diamonds 
and a ba-sket of June roses from Angus, and the most perfect 
thing in Park hacks from Mrs. Tregonell — but Christabel's 
wedding-day — more fateful than any birthday except the first — 
had not yet been fixed — albeit Mr. Hamleigh pressed for a decision 
upon this vital point. 

' It was to have been at Midsummer,' he said, one day, when 
he had been discussing the question tete-atcte with Mm 

80 Mount Boyal. 

1 Indeed, Angus, I never said that. I told you that Chnstabel 
would be twenty at Midsummer, and that I would not consent 
to the marriage until after then.' 

' Precisely, but surely that meant soon after ? I thought we 
should be married early in July— in time to start for the Tyrol 
in golden weather.' 

' I never had any fixed date in my mind,' answered Mrs. 
Tregonell, with a pained look. Struggle with herself as she 
might, this engagement of Christabel's was a disappointment and 
a grief to her. ' I thought- my son would have returned before 
now. I should not like the wedding to take place in his absence.' 
' And I should like him to be at the wedding,' said Angus ; 
'but I think it will be rather hard if we have to wait foi the ca- 
price of a,' traveller who, from what Belle tells me of his letters ' 

'Has Belle shown you any of his letters?' asked Mrs. 
Tregonell, with a vexed look. 

' No, I don't think he has written to her, has he 1 ' 
' No, of course not ; his letters are always addressed to me. 
He is a wretched correspondent.' 

' I was going to say, that, from what Belle tells me, your son's 
movements appear most uncertain, and it really does not seem 
worth while to wait.' 

' "When the wedding-day is fixed, I will send him a message 
by the Atlantic cable. "We must have him at the wedding.' 

Mr. Haraleigh did not see the necessity ; but he was too kind 
to say so. He pressed for a settlement as to the day— or week— 
or at least the month in which his marriage was to take place — 
and at last Mrs. Tregonell consented to the beginning of September. 
They were all agreed now that the fittest marriage temple for 
this particular bride and bridegroom was the little old church in 
the heart of the hills— the church in which Christabel had 
worshipped every Sunday, morning or afternoon, ever since she 
could remember. It was Christabel's own desire to kneel before 
that familiar altar on her wedding-day— in the solemn peacefulness 
of that loved hill-side, with friendly honest country faces round 
her—rather than in the midst of a fashionable crowd, attended 
by bridesmaids after Gainsborough, and page-boys after Vandyke, 
in an atmosphere heavy with the scent of Ess Bouquet. 

Mr. Hamleigh had no near relations— and albeit a whole 
bevy of cousins and a herd of men from the clubs would have 
gladly attended to witness his excision from the ranks of gilded 
youth, and to bid him God-speed on his voyage to the domestic 
haven— their presence at the sacrifice would have given him no 
pleasure— while, on the other hand, there was one person resi- 
dent in London whose presence would have caused him acuta 
pain. Thus, each of the lovers pleading for the same favour. 
Mrs. Tregonell had forgone her idea of a London wedding, and 

In Society. 81 

had come to see mat it would be very hard upon all the kindly 
inhabitants of Forrabury and Minster — Boscastle — Trevalga — ■ 
Bossiney and Trevena — to deprive them of the pleasurablo 
excitement to be derived from C'hristabel's wedding. 

Early in September, in the golden light of that lovely time, 
they were to be quietly married in the dear old church, and then 
away to Tyrolean woods and hills — scenes which, for Christabel, 
seemed to be the chosen background of poetry, legend, and 
romance, rather than[an actual country, provided with hotels, and 
accessible by tourists. Once having consented to the naming of 
an exact time, Mi's. Tregonell felt there could be no withdrawal 
of her word. She telegraphed to Leonard, who was somewhere 
in the Bocky Mountains, with a chosen friend, a' couple of 
English servants and three or four Canadians, — and who, were 
he so minded, could be home in a month — and having despatched 
this message she felt the last wrench had been endured. No- 
thing that could ever come afterwards — save death itself — could 
give her sharper pain. 

' Poor Leonard,' she replied ; ' it will break his heart.' 

In the years that were gone she had so identified herself with 
her son's hopes and schemes, had so projected her thoughts into 
his future — seeing him in her waking dreams as he would be in 
the days to come, a model squire, possessed of all his father's old- 
fashioned virtues, with a great deal of modern cleverness 
superadded, a proud and happy husband, the father of a noble 
race — she had kept this vision of the future in her mind so long, 
had dwelt upon it so fondly, had coloured it so brightly, that to 
forego it now, to say to herself ' This thing was but a dream 
which I dreamed, and it can never be realized,' was like relin- 
quishing a part of her own life. She was a deeply religious 
woman, and if called upon to bear physical pain — to suffer the 
agonies of a slow, incurable illness — she would have suffered 
with the patience of a Christian martyr, saying to herself, as 
brave Dr. Arnold said in the agony of his sudden fatal malady, 
' Whom He loveth He chasteneth,' — but she could not surrender 
the day-dream of her life without bitterest repining. In all her 
love of Christabel, in all her careful education and moral 
training of the niece to whom she had been as a mother, there 
had been this leven of selfishness. She had been rearing a wife 
for her son— such a wife as would be a man's better angel — a 
guiding, restraining, elevating principle, so interwoven with his 
life that he should never know himself in leading-strings — an 
influence so gently exercised that he should never suspect that he 
was influenced. 

' Leonard has a noble heart and a fine manly character,' the 
mother had often told herself ; 'but he wants the association 
of a milder nature than his own. He is just the kind of man to 

82 Mount Moyai. 

be guided and governed by a good wife! — a wife who would 
obey his lightest wish, and yet rule him always for good.' 

She had seen how, when Leonard had been disposed to act 
unkindly or illiberally by a tenant, Christ-o,bel had been able to 
persuade him to kindness or generosity — how, when he had set 
his face against going to church, being minded to devote Sunday 
morning to the agreeable duty of cleaning a favourite gun, or 
physicking a favourite spaniel, or greasing a cherished pair of 
fishing-boots, Christabel had taken him there — how she had 
softened and toned down his small social discourtesies, checked 
his tendency to strong language — and, as it/WGff!^ expurgated, 
edited, and amended him. 

And having seen and rejoiced in this state of things, it was 
very hard to be told that another had won the wife she had 
moulded, after her own fashion, to be the gladness and glory of 
her son's life ; all the harder because it was her own short-sighted 
folly which had brought Angus Hamleigh to Mount Royal. 

All through that gay London season — for Christabel a time of 
unclouded gladness — carking care had been at Mrs. TregonelPs 
heart. She tried to be just to the niece whom she dearly loved, 
and who had so tenderly and fully repaid her affection. Yet she 
could not help feeling as if Christabel's choice was a personal 
injiuy — nay, almost treachery and ingratitude. ' She must have 
known that I meant her to be my son's wife,' she said to herself ; 
' yet she takes advantage of my poor boy's absence, and gives 
herself to the first comer.' 

' Surely September is soon enough,' she said, pettishly, when 
Angus pleaded for an earlier date. ' You will not have known 
Christabel for a year, even then. Some men love a girl for half 
a life-time before they win her. 5 

'But it was not my privilege to know Christabel at the 
beginning of my life,' replied Angus. ' I made the most of my 
opportunities by loving her the moment I saw her.' 

' It is impossible to be angry with you,' sighed Mrs. Tregonell. 
' You are so like your father.' 

That was one of the worst hardships of the case. Mrs. 
rregonell could not help liking the man who had thwarted the 
dearest desire of her heart. She cculd not help admiring him, 
and making comparisons between him and Leonard — not to the 
advantage of her son. Had not her first love been given to his 
father— the girl's romantic love, ever so much more fervid and 
intense than any later passion -the love that sees ideal perfection 
in a lover ? 

Cupid and Psyche. 83 



*N Jill the bright June weather, Christabel had been too busy 
and too happy to remember her caprice about Cupid and Psyche. 
But just after the Henley week — which to some thousands, and 
to these two lovers, had been as a dream of bliss — a magical 
mixture of sunlight and balmy airs and flowery meads, fine 
gowns and fine luncheons, nigger singers, stone-breaking athletes, 
gipsy sorceresses, eager to read high fortunes on any hsnd for 
half-a-crown, rowing men, racing men, artists, actors, poets, 
critics, swells — just after the wild excitement of that watery 
saturnalia, Mr. Hamleigh had occasion to go to the North of 
Scotland to see an ancient kinswoman of his father — an eccentric 
maiden aunt — who had stood for him, by proxy, at the baptismaJ 
font, and at the same time announced her intention of leaving 
him her comfortable fortune, together with all those snuff-mulls, 
quaighs, knives and forks, spoons, and other curiosities of Cale- 
donia, which had been in the family for centuries — provided 
always that he grew up with a high opinion of Mary Stuart, and 
religiously believed the casket letters to be the vile forgeries of 
George Buchanan. The old lady, who was a kindly soul, with a 
broad Scotch tongue, had an inconvenient habit of sending for 
her nephew at odd times and seasons, when she imagined her- 
self on the point of death — and he was too kind to turn a deaf 
ear to this oft-repeated cry of ' wolf '—lest, after making light of 
her summons, he should hear that the real wolf had come and 
devoured the harmless, affectionate old lady. 

So now, just when London life was at its gayest and brightest, 
when the moonlit city after midnight looked like fairy -land, and 
the Thames Embankment, with its long chain of glittering 
lamps, gleaming golden above the sapphire river, was a scene un- 
dream about, Mr. Hamleigh had to order his portmanteau and 
a hansom, and drive from the Albany to one of the great railway 
stations in the Euston Road, and to curl himsef up in his corner 
of the limited mail, scarcely to budge till he was landed at Inver- 
ness. It was hard to leave Christabel, though it were only for 
a week. He swore to her that his absence should not outlast a 
week, unless the grisly wolf called Death did indeed claim hia 

' T know I shall find the dear old soul up and hearty/ he said, 
lightly, 'devouring Scotch collops, or haggis, or cock-a-leeky, or 
Bomething equally loathsome, and offering me some of that t 
oriinary soup which she always talks of in the pluraL "Do 

84 Mount Royal. 

have a few more broth, Angus ; they're very good the day." Bat 
she is a sweet old woman, despite her barbarities, and one of the 
happiest days of my life will be that on which I take you to see her.' 

' And if — if she is not very ill, you will come back soon, 
won't you, Angus,' pleaded Christabel. 

' As soon as ever I can tear myself away from the collops and 
the. few broth. If I find the dear old impostor in rude health, 
as I quite expect, I will hob and nob with her over one glass of 
toddy, sleep one night under her roof, and then across the Border 
as fast as the express will carry me.' 

So they parted ; and Angus had scarcely left Bolton Bow an 
hour, when Major Bree came in, and, by some random flight 
of fancy, Christabel remembered ' Cupid and Psyche.' 

The three ladies had just come upstairs after dinner. Mrs. 
Tregonell was enjoying forty winks in a low capacious chair, 
near an open window, in the first drawing-room, softly lit by 
shaded Carcel lamps, scented with tea-roses and stephanotis. 
Christabel and Jessie were in the tiny third room, where 
there was only the faint light of a pair of wax candles on 
the mantelpiece. Here the Major found them, when he 
came creeping in from the front room, where he had refrained 
from disturbing Mrs. Tregonell. 

' Auntie is asleep,' said Christabel. ' "We must talk in 
subdued murmurs. She looked sadly tired after Mrs. Dulcimer's 
garden party.' 

I ought not to have come so early,' apologized the Major. 

' Yes you ought ; we are very glad to have you. It is 
dreadfully dull without Angus.' 

' What ! you begin to miss him already 1 ' 

' Already ! ' echoed Christabel. ' I missed him before the 
sound of his cab wheels was out of the street. I have been 
missing him ever since.' 

' Poor little Belle ! ' 

' And he is not half-way to Scotland yet,' she sighed. 
* How long and slow the hours will be ! You must do all 
you c«n to amuse me. I shall want distractions— dissipation 
even. If we were at home I should go and wander up by 
Willapark, and talk to the gulls. Here there is nothing to 
do. Another stupid garden party at Twickenham to-morrow, 
exactly opposite the one to-day at Richmond — the only variety 
being that we shall be on the north bank of the river instead 
of the south bank— a prosy dinner in Regent's Park the 
day after. Let me see,' said Christabel, suddenly animated. 
' We are quite free for to-morrow evening. We can go and see 
'Cupid and Psyche,' and I can tell Angus all about it when he 
somes back. Please get us a nice see-able box, like a dear 
■>li!igiug Uncle Oliver, aa you are.' 

Cupid and Psyche- 85 

'Of course I am obliging,' groaned tho Major, 'but the most 
obliging person that ever was can't perform impossibilities. If 
you want a box at the Kaleidoscope you must engage one for 
to-morrow month — or to-morrow six weeks. It is a mere 
bandbox of a theatre, and everybody in London wants to see 
this farrago of nonsense illustrated by pretty women.' 

' You have seen it, I suppose 1 ' 

1 Yes, I dropped in one night with an old naval friend 
who had taken a stall for his wife, which she was not able to 

' Major Bree, you are a very selfish person,' said Christabel, 
straightening her slim waist, and drawing herself up with mock 
dignity. ' You have seen this play yourself, and you are artful 
enough to tell us it is not worth seeing, just to save yourself 
the trouble of hunting for a box. Uncle Oliver, that is not 
chivalry. I used to think you were a chivalrous person.' 

'Is there anything improper in the play?' asked Jessie, 
striking in with her usual bluntness — never afraid to put her 
thoughts into speech. ' Is that your reason for not wishing 
L'liri.-4abel to see it 1 ' 

' No, the piece is perfectly correct,' stammered the Major. 
: there is not a word ' 

' Then I think Belle's whim ought to be indulged,' said Jessie, 
'especially as Mr. Hamleigh's absence makes her feel out of 

The Major murmured something vague about the difficulty 
of getting places with less than six weeks' notice, whereupon 
Christabel told him, with a dignified air, that he need not 
trouble himself any further. 

But a young lady who has plenty of money, and who has been 
accustomed, while dutiful and obedient to her elders, to have 
her own way in all essentials, is not so easily satisfied as the 
guileless Major supposed As soon as the West-end shops were 
open next morning, before the jewellers had set out their 
dazzling wares — those diamond parures and rivieres, which are 
always inviting the casual lounger to step in and buy them — 
those goodly chased claret jugs, and Queen Anne tea-kettles, 
and mighty venison dishes, which seemed to say, this is an 
age of luxury, and we are indispensable to a gentleman's table 
— before those still more attractive shops;which deal in hundred- 
guinea dressing-cases, jasper inkstands, ormolu paper-weights, 
lapis lazuli blotting-books, and coral powder-boxes — had laid 
themselves out for the tempter's work— Miss Courtenay and 
Miss Bridgman, in their neat morning attire, were tripping from 
library to library, in quest of a box at the Kaleidoscope for that 
very evening. 

They found what they wanted in Bond Street. Lady Some* 

80 Mount lloynL 

body had sent back her box by a footman, just ten mimite< 
ago, on account of Lord Somebody's attack of gout. The 
librarian could have sold it were it fifty boxes, and at a fabulous 
price, but he virtuously accepted four guineas, which gave him 
a premium of only one guinea for his trouble — and Christabel 
■vent home rejoicing. 

'It will be such fun to show the Major that we are cleverer 
than he,' she said to Jessie. 

Miss Bridgeman was thoughtful, and made no reply to this 
remark. She was pondering the Major's conduct in this small 
matter, and it seemed to her that he must have some hidden 
reason for wishing Christabel not to see 'Cupid and Psyche.' 
That he, who had so faithfully waited upon all their fancies, 
taking infinite trouble to give them pleasure, could in this matter 
be disobliging or indifferent seemed hardly possible. There 
must be a reason ; and yet what reason could there be to taboo 
a piece which the Major distinctly declared to be correct, and 
which all the fashionable world went to see ? ' Perhaps there- 
is something wrong with the drainage of the theatre,' Jessie 
thought, speculating vaguely — a suspicion of typhoid fever, which 
the Major had shrunk from mentioning, out of respect for 
feminine nerves. 

' Did you ever tell Mr. Hamleigh you wanted to see ' Cupid 
and Psyche ' 1 asked Miss Bridgeman at last, sorely exercised 
in spirit — fearful lest Christabel was incurring some kind of 
peril by her persistence. 

' Yes, I told him ; but it was at a time when we had a good 
many engagements, and I think he forgot all about it. Hardly 
like Angus, was it, to forget one's wishes, when he is generally 
so eager to anticipate them 1 1 

' A strange coincidence ! ' thought Jessie. Mr. Hamleigh 
and the Major had been unanimous in their neglect of this 
particular fancy of Christabel's. 

At luncheon Miss Courtenay told her aunt the whole story — 
how Major Bree had been most disobliging, and how she had 
circumvented him. 

' And my revenge will be to make him sit out ' Cupid and 
Psyche ' for the second time,' she said, lightly, ' for he must be 
our escort. You will go, of course, dearest, to please me ? ' 

' My pet, you know how the heat of a theatre always exhausts 
me ! ' pleaded Mrs. Tregonell, whose health, long delicate, had 
been considerably damaged by her duties as chaperon. ' When 
you are going anywhere with Angus, I like to be seen with you ; 
but to-night, with the Major and Jessie, I shall not be wanted. 
1 can enjoy an evening's rest.' 

' But do you enjoy that long, blank evening, Auntie V asked 
Christabel, looking anxiously at her aunt's somewhat careworn 

Cupid and Psyche. 87 

face. People who have one solitary care make so much of it , 
nurse and fondle it, as if it were an only child. ' Once or twice 
when we ha\e let you have your own way and stay at home 
you have looked so pale and melancholy when we came back, as 
if you had been brooding upon sad thoughts all the evening.' 

' Sad thoughts will come, Belle.' 

' They ought not to come to you, Auntie. What cause have 
you for sadness ? ' 

' I have a dear son far away, Belle — don't you think that is 
cause enough 1 ' 

' A son who enjoys the wild sports of the "West ever so much 
better than he enjoys his home ; but who will settle down 
by-and-by into a model country Squire.' 

' I doubt that, Christabel. I don't think he will ever settle 
down — now.' 

There was an emphasis — an almost angry emphasis — upon the 
last word which told Christabel only too plainly what her aunt 
meant. She could guess what disappointment it was that her 
aunt sighed over in the long, lonely evenings ; and, albeit the 
latent resentfulness in Mrs. Tregonell's mind was an injustice, 
her niece could not help being sorry for her. 

' Yes, dearest, he will — he will,' she said, resolutely. ' He 
will have his fill of shooting bisons, and all manner of big and 
small game, out younder ; and he will come home, and marry 
some good sweet girl, who will love you only just a little less 
than I do, and he will be the last grand example of the old- 
fashioned country Squire— a race fast dying out ; and he will be 
as much respected as if the power of the Norman Botterels still 
ruled in the land, and he had the right of dealing out high-handed 
justice, and immuring his fellow-creatures in a dungeon under his 

' I would rather you would not talk about him,' answered the 
widow, gloomily ; ' you turn everything into a joke. You forget 
that in my uncertainty about his fate, every thought of him is 
fraught with pain.' 

Belle hung her head, and the meal ended in silence. After 
luncheon came dressing, and then the drive to Twickenham, with 
Major Bree in attendance. Christabel told him of her success as 
they drove through the Park to Kensington. 

' I have the pleasure to invite you to a seat in my box at the 
Kaleidoscope this evening,' she said. 
'What box?' 

'A box which Jessie and I secured this morning, before yoa 
had finished your breakfast.' 
' A box for this evening ? ' 
' For this evenuig.' 
' I wonder you care to go to a theatre without Hamleigh.* 

88 Mount Boyal. 

' It 1*3 very cruel of you to say that!' exclaimed Christabel, 
her eyes brightening with girlish tears, which her pride checked 
before they could fall. ' You ought to know that I am wretched 
without him — and that I want to lose the sense of my misery in 
dreamland. The theatre for me is what opium was for Coleridge 
and De Quincey.' 

fc,* I understand,' said Major Bree ; ' "you are not merry, but 
you do beguile the thing you are by seeming otherwise." ' 

' You will go with us ? ' 

' Of course, if Mrs. Tregonell does not object.' 

' I shall be very grateful to you for taking care of them,' 
answered the dowager languidly, as she leant back in her carriage 
— a fine example of handsome middle-age ; gracious, elegant, 
bearing every murk of good birth, yet with a worn look, as of one 
for whom fading beauty and decline of strength would come too 
swiftly. I know [ shall be tired to death when we get back to town.' 

' I don't think London Society suits you so well as the 
monotony of Mi. ait Royal,' said Major Bree. 

' No ; but I am glad Christabel has had her first season. 
People have been extremely kind. I never thought we should 
have so many invitations.' 

' You did not know that beauty is the ace of trumps in the 
game of society.' 

The garden party was as other parties of the same genus : 
strawberry ices and iced coffee in a tent under a spreading 
Spanish chestnut — music and recitations in a drawing-room, with 
many windows looking upon the bright swift river — and the 
picturesque x*oofs of Old Richmond — just that one little 
picturesque group of bridge and old tiled-gables which still 
remains — fine gowns, fine talk ; a dash of the aesthetic element ; 
strange colours, strange forms and fashions ; pretty gilds in 
grandmother bonnets ; elderly women in limp Ophelia gowns, 
with tumbled frills and lank hair. Christabel and the Major 
walked about the pretty garden, and criticized all the eccen- 
tricities, she glad to keep aloof from her many admirers — safe 
under the wing of a familiar friend. 

' Five o'clock,' she said ; ' that makes twenty-four hours. Do 
you think he will be back to-morrow ] ' 

' He 1 Might I ask whom you mean by that pronoun ? ' 

' Angus. His telegram this morning said that his aunt was 
really ill — not in any danger — but still quite an invalid, and that 
lie would be obliged to stay a little longer than he had hoped 
might b j needful, in order to cheer her. Do you think he will 
be able to come back to-morrow ? ' 

' Hardly, I fear. Twenty -four hours would be a very short 
time for the cheering process. I think you ought to allow him 
a week. Did you answer his telegram 1 ' 

Cupid and Psyche. 89 

'Why, of coarse ! I told him how mite: able I was without 
him ; but that he must do whatever was right and kind for his 
aunt. I wrote him a long letter before luncheon to the same 
effect. But, oh, I hope the dear old lady will get well very 
quickly ! ' 

' If usquebaugh can mend her, no doubt the recovery will be 
rapid,' answered the Major, laughing. 'I daresay that is why 
you are so anxious for Hamleigh's return. You think if he 
stays in the North he may become a confirmed toddy-drinker. 
By the bye, when his return is so uncertain, do you think it is 
quite safe for you to go to the theatre to-night ? He might come 
to Bolton Bow during your absence.' 

' That is hardly possible,' said Christabel. ' But even if such 
a happy thing should occur, he would come and join us at the 

This was the Major's last feeble and futile effort to prevent a 
wilful woman having her own way. They rejoined Mrs. 
Tregonell, and went back to their carriage almost immediately 
— were in Bolton Bow in time for a seven o'clock dinner, and 
were seated in the box at the Kaleidoscope a few minutes after 
eight. The Kaleidoscope was one of the new theatres which 
have been added to the attractions of London during the Lo,st 
twenty years. It was a small house, and of exceeding elegance ; 
the inspiration of the architect thereof seemingly derived rather 
from the bonbonnieres of Siraudin and Boissier than from the 
severer exemplars of high art Somebody said it was a theatre 
which looked as if it ought to be filled with glace chestnuts, or 
crystallized violets, rather than with substantial flesh and blood. 
The draperies thereof were of palest dove-coloured poplin and 
cream-white satin , the fauteuils were upholstered in velvet of 
the same dove colour, with a monogram in dead gold ; the 
pilasters and mouldings were of the slenderest and most delicate 
order — no heavy masses of gold or colour — all airy, light, grace- 
ful ; the sweeping curve of the auditorium was in itself a thing 
of beauty ; every fold of the voluminous dove-coloured curtain, 
lined with crimson satin — which flashed among the dove tints 
here and there, like a gleam of vivid colour in the breast of a 
tropical bird — was a study. The front of the house was lighted 
with old-fashioned wax candles, a recurrence to obsolete fashion 
which reminded the few survivors of the D'Orsay period of Her 
Majesty's in the splendid days of Pasta and Malibran, ami which 
delighted the Court and Livery of the Tallow Chandlers' 

' What a lovely theatre ! ' cried Christabel, looking round the 
house, which was crowded with a brilliant audience ; ' and how 
cruel of you not to bring us here ! It is the prettiest theatre 
we have scea yet.' 

90 Mount BoyaL 

1 Yes ; it's a nice little place,' said the Major, feebly ; ' but, 
you see, they've been playing the same piece all the season — no 

' What did that matter, when we had not seen the piece ? 
Besides, a young man I danced with told me he had been to see 
it fifteen times.' 

' That young man was an ass ! ' grumbled the Major. 

' "Well, I can't help thinking so too,' assented Christabel. 
And then the overture began — a dreamy, classical compound, 
made up of reminiscences of Mozart, Beethoven, and Weber — 
a melodious patchwork, dignified by scientific orchestration. 
Christabel listened dreamily to the dreamy music, thinking of 
Angus all the while — wondering what he was doing in the far- 
away Scottish land, which she knew only from Sir Walter's 

The dove-coloured curtains were drawn apart to a strain of 
plaintive sweetness, and the play — half poem, half satire — began. 
The scene was a palace garden, in some ' unsuspected isle in far-off 
seas.' The personages were Psyche, her sisters, and the jealous 
goddess, whose rest had been disturbed by rumours of an 
earthly beauty which surpassed her own divine charms, and 
who approached the palace disguised as a crone, dealing in 
philters and simples, ribbons and perfumes, a kind of female 

First came a dialogue between Yenus and the elder sisters 
— handsome women both, but of a coarse type of beauty, looking 
too large for the frame in which they appeared. Christabel and 
Jessie enjoyed the smartness of the dialogue, which sparkled with 
A ristophanian hits at the follies of the hour, and yet had a 
poetical grace which seemed the very flavour of the old Greek 

At last, after the interest of the fable had fairly begun, 
there rose the faint melodious breathings of a strange music 
within the palace — the quaint and primitive harmonies of a 
three -stringed lyre — and Psyche came slowly down the marble 
steps, a slen£or, gracious figure in classic drapery — Canova's 
statue incarnate. 

'Yery pretty face,' muttered the Major, looking at her 
through his opera-glass ; ' but no figure.' 

The slim, willowy form, delicately and lightly moulded as a 
young fawn's, was assuredly of a type widely different from 
the two young women of the fleshly school who represented 
Psyche's jealous sisters. In their case there seemed just enough 
mind to keep those sleek, well-favoured bodies in motion. In 
Stella Mayne the soul, or, at any rate, an ethereal essence, a 
vivid beauty of expression, an electric brightness, which passes 
for the soul, so predominated over the sensual, that it would 

Cujnd and Psyche. 91 

have scarcely surprised one if this fragile butterfly-creature 
had verily spread a pair of filmy wings and floated away into 
space. The dark liquid eyes, the small chiselled features, 
exquisitely Greek, were in most perfect harmony with the 
character. Amongst the substantial sensuous forms of her 
companions this Psyche moved like a being from the spirit 

' Oh ! ' cried Christabel, almost with a gasp, ' how perfectly 
lovely ! ' 

'Yes; she's very pretty, isn't she?' muttered the Major, 
tugging at his grey moustache, and glaring at the unconscious 
Psyche from his lurking place at the back of the box. 

' Pretty is not the word. She is the realization of a poem.' 

Jessie Bridgeman said nothing. She had looked straight 
from Psyche to the Major, as he grunted out his acqui- 
escence, and the troubled expression of his face troubled her. 
It was plain to her all in a moment that his objection to 
the Kaleidoscope Theatre was really an objection to Psyche. 
Yet what harm could that lovely being on the stage, even 
were she the worst and vilest of her sex, do to any one so 
remote from her orbit as Christabel Courtenay 1 

The play went on. Psyche snoke her graceful lines with a 
perfect intonation. Nature had in this case not been guilty of 
cruel inconsistency. The actress's voice was as sweet as her 
face ; every movement was harmonious ; every look lovely. She 
was not a startling actress ; nor was there any need of great 
acting in the part that had been written for her. She was 
Psyche — the loved, the loving, pursued by jealousy, persecuted 
by women's unwomanly hatred, afflicted, despairing — yet loving 
always ; beautiful in every phase of her gentle life. 

' Do you like the play 1 ' asked the Major, grimly, when the 
turtain had fallen on the first act. 

' I never enjoyed anything so much ! It is so different 
from all other plays we have seen,' said Christabel ; ' and Psyche 
— Miss Stella Mayne, is she not ? — is the loveliest creature I 
ever saw in my life.' 

' You must allow a wide margin for stage make-up, paint 
and powder, and darkened lashes,' grumbled the Major. 

' But I have been studying her face through my glass. It 
is hardly at all made up. Just compare it with th& faces of 
the two sisters, which are like china plates, badly fired. Jessie, 
what are you dreaming about ] You haven't a particle of 
enthusiasm ! Why don't you say something 1 ' 

' I don't want to be an echo,' said Miss Bridgeman, curtly. 
' I could only repeat what you are saying. I can't be original 
enough to say that Miss Mayne is ugly.' 

' She is simply the loveliest creature we have seen on the 

92 Mount Royal. 

stage or off it,' exclaimed Christabel, who was .,00 rustic to want 
to know who Miss Mayne was, and where the manager had 
discovered such a pearl, as a London playgoer might have done. 

' Hark ! ' said Jessie ; ' there's a knock at the door.' 

Christabel 's heart began to beat violently. Could it be 
Angus ? No, it was more likely to be some officious person, 
offering ices. 

It was neither ; but a young man of the languid-elegant 
type — one of Christabel's devoted admirers, the very youth who 
had told her of his having seen ' Cupid and Psyche/ fifteen 

' Why this makes the sixteenth time,' she said, smiling at 
him as they sl>ook hands. 

'I think it is nearer the twentieth,' he replied ; 'it is quite 
the jolliest piece in London ? Don't you agree with me 1 ' 

1 1 think it is — remarkably — jolly ! ' answered Christabel, 
laughing. ' What odd words you have in London for the 
expression of your ideas — and so few of them ! ' 

' A kind of short-hand,' said the Major, ' arbitrary characters. 
Jolly means anything you like — awful means anything you like. 
That kind of language gives the widest scope for the exercise of 
the imagination.' 

' How is Mrs. Tregonell V asked the youth, not being given to 
the discussion of abstract questions, frivolous or solemn. He had 
a mind which could only grasp life in the concrete — an intellect 
that required to deal with actualities — people, coats, hats, boots, 
dinner, park hack — just as little children require actual counters 
to calculate with. 

He subsided into a chair behind Miss Courtenay, and the 
box being a large one, remained there for the rest of the play — ■ 
to the despair of a companion youth in the stalls, who looked up 
ever and anon, vacuous and wondering, and who resembled his 
fi-knd as closely as a well-matched carriage-horse resembles his 
fellow — grooming and action precisely similar. 

' What brilliant diamonds! ' said Christabel, noticing a collet 
necklace which Psyche wore in the second act, and which was a 
good deal out of harmony with her Greek drapery — not by any 
means resembling those simple golden ornaments which patient 
Dr. Schliemann and his wife dug out of the hill at Hissarlik. 
' But, of course, they are only stage jewels,' continued Christabel ; 
' yet they sparkle as brilliantly as diamonds of the first water.' 

' Very odd, but so they do,' muttered young FitzPelham, 
behind her shoulder ; and then, sotto voce to the Major, he said 
— ' that's the worst of giving these women jewels, they will wear 

' And that emerald butterfly on her shoulder/ pursued 
Christabel ; ' one would suppose it were real.' 

Cupid and Psych.6. ^3 

« A real butterfly ? ' 

1 jSTo, real emeralds.' 

' It belonged to the Empress of the French, and was sold for 
three hundred and eighty guineas at Christie's,' said Fitz- 
Pelham ; whereupon Major Bree's substantial boot came down 
heavily on the youth's Queen Anne shoe. 'At least, the 
Empress had one like it,' stammered FitzPelham, saying to him- 
self, in his own vernacular, that he had ' hoofed it.' 

' How do you like Stella Mayne ?' he asked by-and-by, when 
the act was over. 

' I am charmed with her. She is the sweetest actress I ever 
paw ; not the greatest — there are two or three who far surpass 
her in genius ; but there is a sweetness — a fascination. I don't 
wonder she is the rage. I only wonder Major Bree could have 
deprived me of the pleasure of seeing her all this time.' 

' You could stand the piece a second time, couldn't you ? ' 

' Certainly— or a third time. It is so poetical— it carries one 
into a new world !' 

'Pretty foot and ankle, hasn't she?' murmured FitzPelham— 
to which frivolous comment Miss Courtenay made no reply. 

Her soid was rapt in the scene before her — the mystic wood 
whither Psyche had now wandered with her divine lover. The 
darkness of a summer night in the Greek Archipelago — fire-flies 
flitting athwart ilex and olive Lushes — a glimpse of the distant 
starlit sea. 

Here — goaded by her jealous sisters to a fatal curiosity — 
Psyche stole with her lamp to the couch of her sleeping lover, 
gazing spell-bound upon that godlike countenance — represented 
in actual flesh by a chubby round face and round brown eyes — 
and in her glad s\irprise letting fall a drop of oil from her lamp 
on Cupid's winged shoulder — whereon the god leaves her, 
wounded by her want of faith. Had he not told her they 
must meet only in the darkness, and that she must never seek 
to 1 now his name? So ends the second act of the fairy drama. 
In the third, poor Psyche is in ignoble bondage — a slave to 
Venus, in the goddess's Palace at Cythera — a fashionable, fine- 
lady Venus, who leads her gentle handmaiden a sorry life, till 
the god of love comes to her rescue. And here, in the tiring 
chamber of the goddess, the playwright makes sport of all the 
arts by which modern beauty is manufactured. Here poor 
Psyche — tearful, despairing — has to toil at the creation of the 
Queen of Beauty, whose charms of face and figure are discover! d 
to be all falsehood, from the topmost curl of her toupet to the 
p under her jewelled buskin. Throughout this scene 
Psyche i is between smiles and tears; and then at the 

last Cupid appears — claims his mistress, defies his mother, and 
the happy lovers, linked in q-m-}\ other's arms, float sky-ward on 

f)4 Mount Royal. 

a shaft of lime-light. Arid so the graceful mythic drama ends — 
fanciful from the first line to the last, gay and lightly touched aa 
burlesque, yet with an element of poetry which burlesque for the 
most part lacks. 

Christabel's interest had been maintained throughout the 

' How extraordinarily silent you have been all the evening, 
Jessie ! ' she said, as they were putting on their cloaks ; ' surely, 
you like the play ! ' 

' I like it pretty well. It is rather thin, I think ; but then 
perhaps, that is because I have ' Twelfth Night ' still in my 
memory, as we heard Mr. Brandram recite it last week at 
Willis's Rooms.' 

' Nobody expects modern comedy to be as good as Shake- 
speare,' retorted Christabel ; ' you might as well rind fault with 
the electric light for not being quite equal to the moon. Don't 
you admire that exquisite creature 1 ' 

' Which of them 1 ' asked Jessie, stolidly, buttoning her cloak. 

' Which of them ! Oh, Jessie, you have generally such good 
taste. VVhy, Miss Mayne, of course. It is almost painful to 
look at the others. They are such common earthy creatures, 
compared with her ! ' 

' I have no doubt she is very wonderful — and she is the 
fashion, which goes for a great deal,' answered Miss Bridgeman ; 
but never a word in praise of Stella Mayne could Christabel 
extort from her. She — who, educated by Shepherd's Bush and 
poverty, was much more advanced in knowledge of evil than the 
maiden from beyond Tamar — suspected that some sinister in- 
fluence was to be feared in Stella Mayne. Why else had the 
Major so doggedly opposed their visit to this particular theatre ? 
Why else did he look so glum when Stella Mayne was spoken 
about ? 



f he next day but one was Thursday — an afternoon upon which 
Mrs. Tregonell was in the habit of staying at home to receive 
callers, and a day on which her small drawing-rooms were 
generally filled with more or less pleasant people — chiefly of the 
fairer sex — from four to six. The three rooms — small by degrees 
and beautifully less — the old-fashioned furniture and profusion 
of choicest flower's — lent themselves admirably to gossip and 
afternoon tea, and were even conducive to mild flirtation, for 
there was generally a sprinkling of young men of the PitzPolhare 

he Secret de Polichinelle. 95 

type— having nothing particular to say, but always faultless in 
their dress, and well-meaning as to their manners. 

On this afternoon — which to Christabel seemed a day of 
duller hue and colder atmosphere than all previous Thursdays, 
on account of Angus Hamleigh's absence— there were rather 
more callers than usual. The season was ripening towards its 
close. Some few came to pay their last visit, and to inform Mrs. 
Tregonell and her niece about their holiday movements- 
general] v towards the Engadine or some German Spa— the one 
spot of earth to which their constitution could accommodate 
itself at this time of year. 

' I am obliged to go to Pontresina before the end of July, 1 
said a ponderous middle-aged matron to Miss Courtenay. ' I 
can't breathe anywhere else in August and September.' 

' I think you would find plenty of air at Boscastle,' said 
Christabel, smiling at her earnestness ; ' but I dare say the 
Engadine is very nice ! ' 

' Five thousand feet above the level of the sea,' said the 
matron, proudly. 

' I like to be a little nearer the sea — to see it — and smell 
it — and feel its spray upon my face,' answered Christabel. 
' Do you take your children with you ? ' 

' Oh, no, they all go to Eamsgate with the governess and a maid.' 

' Poor little things ! And how sad for you to know that 
there are all those mountain passes — a three days' journey — 
between you and your children!' 

' Yes, it is very trying ! ' sighed the mother ; ' but they 
are so fond of Eamsgate ; and the Engadine is the only place 
that suits me.' 

' You have never been to Chagford ? ' 

' Chagford ! No ; what is Chagford ? ' 

' A village upon the edge of Dartmoor — all among the 
Devonshire hills. People go there for the fine bracing air. I 
can't help thinking it must do them almost as much good as 
the Engadine.' 

' Indeed ! I have heard that Devonshire is quite tco 
lovely,' said the matron, who would have despised herself had 

• been familiar with her native land. 'But what have you 

ie with Mr. Ilamleigh ? I am quite disappointed at not 
him this afternoon.' 

'He is in Scotland,' said Christabel, and then went onto tell as 
much as wasnecessary about her lover's journey to the North. 

'How [fully dull you must be without him !' said the 

lady, betically, and several other ladies — notably a 

baronefa widow, who had been a friend of Mrs. Tregonell's 
girlhood — a woman who never said a kind word of anybody, 
yet was invited everywhere, and who had the reputation of 

OG Sfount Royal. 

giving a belter dinner, on a small scale, than any other lonely 
women in Loudon. The rest were young women, mostly of the 
gushing type, who were prepared to worship Christabel because she 
was pretty, an heiress, and engaged to a man of some distinction 
in their particular world. They had all clustered round Mrs. 
Tregonell and her niece, in the airy front drawing-room, while 
Miss Bridgeman poured out tea at a Japanese table in the middle 
room, waited upon sedulously by Major Bree, Mr. FitzPelham 
and another youth, a Somerset House young man, who wrote 
for the Society papers — or believed that he did, on the strength 
of* having had an essay on ' Tame Cats ' accepted in the big 
gooseberry season— and gave himself to the world as a person 
familiar with the undercurrents of literary and dramatic life. 
The ladies made a circle round Mrs. Tregonell, and these three 
gentlemen, circulaiing with tea-cups, sugar-basins, and cream- 
pots, joined spasmodically in the conversation. 

Christabel owned to finding a certain emptiness in life 
without her lover. She did not parade her devotion to him, 
but was much too unaffected to pretend indifference. 

' We went to the theatre on Tuesday night,' she said. 

' Oh, how could you ! ' cried the oldest and most gushing 
of the three young ladies. ' Without Mr. Hamleigh ? ' 

' That was our chief reason for going. We knew we should 
be dull without him. We went to the Kaleidoscope, and were 
delighted with Psyche.' 

All three young ladies gushed in chorus. Stella* Mayne was 
quite too lovely — a poem, a revelation, and so on, and so on 
Lady Cumberbridge, the baronet's widow, pursed her lips and 
elevated her eyebrows, w T hich, on a somewhat modified form, 
resembled Lord Thin-low's, but said nothing. The Somerset 
House young man stole a glance at Fitz-Pelham, and smiled 
meaningly ; but the amiable Fitz-Pelham was oidy vacuous. 

' Of course you have seen this play,' said Mrs. Tregonell 
turning to Lady Cumberbridge. ' You see everything, I know r < ' 

' Yes ; I make it my business to see everything — good, bad, 
and indifferent,' answered the strong-minded dowager, in a 
voice which would hardly have shamed the Lord Chancellor's 
wig, which those Thurlow-like eyebrows so curiously suggested. 
' It is the sole condition upon which London life is worth living. 
If one only saw the good things, one would spend most of 
one's evening at home, and we don't leave our country 
places for that. I see a good deal that bores me, an immensa 
deal that disgusts me, and a little — a very little — that I can 
honestly admire.' 

'Then I am sure you must admire " Cupid and Psyche," ' 
said Christabel. 

' My dear, that piece, which I am told has brought a 

Le Secret de Policlrinelle, 97 

fortune to the management, is just one of the things that I 
don't care to talk ahout before young people. I look upon it 
as the triumph of vice : and I wonder — yes, very much wonder 
— that you were allowed to see it.' 

There was an awfulness about the dowager's tone as she 
uttered these final sentences, which out-Thurlowed Thurlow. 
Christabel shivered, hardly knowing why, but heartily wishing 
there had been no such person as Lady Cumberbridge among 
her aunt's London acquaintance. 

' But, surely there is nothing improper in the play, dear 
Lady Cumberbridge,' exclaimed the eldest gusher, too long in 
society to shrink from sifting any question of that kind. 

1 There is a great deal that is improper,' replied the 
dowager, sternly. 

' Surely not in the language : that is too lovely ? ' urged the 
gusher. ' I must be very dense, I'm afraid, for I really did noi 
6ee anything objectionable.' 

' You must be very blind as well as dense, if you didn't 
Bee Stella Mayne's diamonds,' retorted the dowager. 

' Oh, of course I saw the diamonds. One could not help 
seeing them.' 

'And do you think there is nothing improper in those 
diamonds, or their history?' demanded Lady Cumberbridge, 
glaring at the damsel from under those terrific eyebrows. 
' If so, you must be less experienced in the ways of the world 
than I gave you credit for being. But I think I said before 
that this is a question which I do not care to discuss before 
young people — even advanced as young people are in their 
ways and opinions now-a-days.' 

The maiden blushed at this reproof ; and the conversation, 
steered judiciously by Mrs. Tregonell, glided on to safer topics. 
Yet calmly as that lady bore herself, and carefully as she 
managed to keep the talk among pleasant ways for the next 
half-hour, her mind was troubled not a little by the things that 
had been said about Stella Mayne. There had been a curious 
significance in the dowager's tone when she expressed surprise 
at Christabel having been allowed to see this play. That 
significant tone, in conjunction with Major Bree's marked 
opposition to Belle's wish upon this one matter, argued that 
there was some special reason why Belle should not see this 
actress. Mrs. Tregonell, like all quiet people, very observant, 
had seen the Somerset House young man's meaning smile as the 
play was mentioned. What was this peculiar something which 
all these people had in their minds, and of which she, Christabel'a 
aunt, to whom the girl's welfare and happiness were vital, kn«-a 
nothing ? 

She determined to take the most immediate and dir<J<A 


98 Mount Royal. 

way of knowing all that was to be known, by questioning that 
peripatetic ehronicle of fashionable scandal, Lady Cumberbridge. 
This popular personage knew a great deal more than the Society 
papers, and was not constrained like those prints to disguise her 
knowledge in Delphic hints and dark sayings. Lady Cumber- 
bridge, like John Knox, never feared the face of man, and could 
be as plain-spoken and as coarse as she pleased. 

' I should so like to have a few words with you by-and-by, 
if you don't mind waiting till these girls are gone,' murmured 
Mrs. Tregonell. 

' Very well, my dear ; get rid of them as soon as you can, for 
I've some people coming to dinner, and I want an hour's sleep 
before I put on my gown.' 

The little assembly dispersed within the next quarter of an 
hour, and Christabel joined Jessie in the smaller drawing- 

1 Yon can shut the folding-doors, Belle,' said Mrs. Tregonell, 
carelessly. 'You and Jessie are sure to be chattering; and I 
want a quiet talk with Lady Cumberbridge.' 

Christabel obeyed, wondering a little what the quiet talk 
would be about, and whether by any chance it would touch 
upon the play last night. She, too, had been struck by the 
significance of the dowager's tone ; and then it was so rarely 
that she found herself excluded from any conversation in which 
her aunt had part. 

' Now,' said Mrs. Tregonell, directly the doors were shut, ' I 
want to know why Christabel should not have been allowed to 
«ee that play the other night '? ' 

' What ! ' cried Lady Cumberbridge, ' don't you know why '? ' 

' Indeed, no. I did not go with them, so I had no oppor- 
tunity of judging as to the play.' 

'My dear soul,' exclaimed the deep voice of the dowager, 
• it is not the play — the play is well enough — it is the woman 1 
And do you really mean to tell me that you don't know 1 ' 

' That I don't know what 1 ' 

' Stella Mayne's history '? ' 

' What should I know of her more than of any other actress ) 
They are all the same to me, like pictures, which I admire or 
not, from the outside. I am told that some are women of 
fashion who go everywhere, r and that it is a privilege to know 
them ; and that some one ought hardly to speak about, though 
one may go to see them , while there are others ' 

'Who hover like stars between two worlds,' said Lady 
Cumberbridge. ' Yes, that's all true. And nobody has told 
you anything about Stella Mayne ? ' 

' No one ! ' 

'Then I'm very sorry I mentioned her to you. I dare 

Lb Secret de Polichinelle. 00 

say you will hate rue if I tell you the truth : people .always do ; 
use, in point of fact, truth is generally hateful. "We can't 
afford to live up to it.' 

' I shall he grateful to you if you will tell me all that there 
is to be told about this actress, who seems in some way to be 
concerned ' 

' In your' niece's happiness ? "Well, no, my dear, we will 
hope not. It is all a thing of the past. Your friends have been 
remarkably discreet. It is really extraordinary that you should 
have heard nothing about it ; but, on reflection, I think it is 
really better you should know the fact. Stella Mayne is the 
young woman for whom Mr. Hamleigh nearly ruined himself 
three years ago.' 

Mrs. Tregonell turned white as death. 

Her mind had not been educated to the acceptance of sin 
and folly as a natural element in a young man's life. In her 
view of mankind the good men were all Bayards — fearless, 
stainless ; the bad were a race apart, to be shunned by all good 
women. To be told that her niece's future husband — the man 
for whose sake her whole scheme of life had been set aside, the 
man whom (Jhristabel and she had so implicitly trusted — was a 
fashionable libertine— the lover of an actress — the talk of the 
town — was a revelation that changed the whole colour of life. 

' Are you sure that this is true ? ' she asked falteringly. 

' My dear creature, do I ever say anything that isn't true 1 
There is no need to invent things. God knows the things people 
do are bad enough, and wild enough, to supply conversation 
for everybody. But this about Hamleigh and Stella Mayne is 
as well known as the Albert Memorial. He was positively 
infatuated about her ; took her off the stage : she was in the 
back row of the ballet at Draty Lane, salary seventeen and 
sixpence a week. He lived with her in Italy for a year ; 
then they came back to England, and he gave her a house in 
St. John's Wood ; squandered his money upon her ; had her 
educated ; worshipped her, in fact ; and, I am told, would have 
married her. if she had only behaved herself. Fortunately, these 
women never do behave themselves : they show the cloven-foot 
too soon ; our people only go wrong after marriage. But I hope, 
my dear, you will not allow yourself to be worried by this 
business. It is all a thing of the past, and Hamleigh will make 
just as good a husband as if it had never happened ; better, 
perhaps, for he will be all the more able to appreciate a pure- 
minded girl like your niece.' 

Mrs. Tregonell listened with a stony visage. She was 
thinking of Leonard — Leonard who had never done wrong, in 
this way, within his mother's knowledge — who had been cheated 
out of his future wife by a flashy trickster— a man who talked 

100 Mount Boy at 

like a poet, and who yet had given his first passionate love, and 
the best and brightest years of his lif e to a stage-dancer. 

' How long is it since Mr. Hamleigh has ceased to be devoted 
to Miss Mayne 1 ' she asked, in a cold, dull voice. 

' I cannot say exactly : one hears so many different stories ; 
there were paragraphs in the Society papers last season : ' A 
certain voting sprig of fashion, a general favourite, whose infatua- 
tion foi a well-known actress has been a matter of regret among 
the haute vole'e, is said to have broken his bonds. The lady keeps 
her diamonds, and threatens to publish his letters,' and so on, 
and so forth. You know the kind of thing?' 

' I do not,' said Mrs. Tregonell. ' I have never taken any 
interest in such paragraphs.' 

' Ah ! that is the consequence of vegetating at the fag-end of 
England : all the pungency is taken out of life for you.' 

Mrs. Tregonell asked no further questions. She had made 
up her mind that anymore detailed information, which she might 
require, must be obtained from another channel. She did not 
want this battered woman of the world to know how hard sho 
was hit. Yes — albeit there was a far-off gleam of light amidst 
this darkness — she was profoundly hurt by the knowledge of 
Angus Hamleigh's wrong-doing. He had made himself very 
dear to her — dear from the tender association of the past — dear 
for his own sake. She had believed him a man of scrupulous 
honour, of pure and spotless life. Perhaps she had taken all this 
for granted, in her rustic simplicity, seeing that all his ideas and 
instincts were those of a gentleman. She had made no allowance 
for the fact that the will-o'-the-wisp, passionate love, may lure 
even a gentleman into swampy ground ; and that his sole 
superiority over profligates of coarser clay will be to behave 
himself like a gentleman in those morasses whither an errant 
fancy has beguiled him. 

' I hope you will not let this influence your feelings towards 
Mr. Hamleigh,' said Lady Cumberbridge ; ' if you did so, I should 
really feel sorry for having told you. But you must inevitably 
have heard the story from somebody else before long.' 

' No doubt. I suppose everybody knows it.' 

' Why yes, it was tolerably notorious. They used to be seen 
everywhere together. Mr. Hamleigh seemed proud of his in- 
fatuation, and there were plenty of men in his own set to 
moon rage him. Modern society has adopted Danton's motto, 
don't you know 1 — de Vaudace, encore de Vaudace et toujours de 
V and ace! And now I must go and get my siesta, or I shall be 
as stupid as an owl all the evening. Good-bye.' 

Mrs. Tregonell sat like a statue, absorbed in thought, for a 
considerable time after Lady Cumberbridge's departure. What 
was she to do 1 This horrid story was true, no doubt. Major 

Le Secret de PolicJiinelh. 101 

Bree would be able to confirm it presently, when he came back 
to dinner, as he had promised to come. What was she to do 1 
Allow the engagement to go on ?— allow an innocent and pure- 
minded girl to inarry a man whose infatuation for an actress had 
been town talk ; who had come to Mount Royal fresh from that 
evd association — wounded to the core, perhaps, by the base 
creature's infidelity — and seeking consolation wherever it might 
offer ; bringing his second-hand feelings, with all the bloom worn 
off them, to the shrine of innocent young beauty ! — dedicating 
the mere ashes of burned-out fires to the woman who was to be 
his wife ; perhaps even making scornful comparisons between 
her simple rustic charme and the educated fascinations of the 
actress ; bringing her the leavings of a life — the mere dregs of 
youth's wine-cup ! "Was Christabel to be permitted to continue 
under this shameful delusion— to believe that she was receiving 
all when she was getting nothing ? No !— ten thousand times, 
no ! It was womanhood's stern duty to come to the rescue of 
guileless, too-trusting girlhood. Bitter as the ordeal must needs 
be for both, Christabel must be told the whole cruel truth. Then 
it would be for her own heart to decide. She would still be a 
free agent. But surely her own pvnity of feeling would teach 
her to decide rightly — to renounce the lover who had so fooled 
and cheated her — and, perhaps, later to reward the devotion of 
that other adorer who had loved her from boyhood upwards with 
a steady unwavering affection — chiefly demonstrated by the calm 
self-assured manner in which he had written of Christabel — in 
his letters to his mother— as his future wife, the possibility of 
her rejection of that honour never having occurred to his rustic 

Christabel peeped in through the half-opened door. 

' Well, A unt Di, is your conference over ? Has her ladyship 
gone ? ' 

' Yes, dear ; I am trying to coax myself to sleep,' answered 
Mrs. Tregonell from the depths of her arm-chair. 

' Then I'll go and dress for dinner. Ah, how I only wish 
there were a chance of Angus coming back to-night ! ' sighed 
Christabel, softly closing the door. 

Major Bree came in ten minutes afterwards. 

' Come here, and sit by my side,' said Mrs. Tregonell. ' I 
want to talk to you seriously.' 

The Major complied, feeling far from easy in his mind. 

' How pale you look ! ' he said ; ' is there anything wrong ? ' 

' Yes — everything is wrong ! You have treated me very 
badly. You have been false to me and to Christabel ! ' 

' That is rather a wide accusation,' said the Major, calmlj 
He knew perfectly well what was coming, and that he should 
require all his patience — all that sweetness of temper which ha</ 

102 Mount Boyal. 

been Lis distinction through life — in order to leaven the widow's 
wrath against the absent. ' Perhaps, you won't think it too 
much trouble to explain the exact nature of my offence?' 

Mrs. Tregonell told hirn Lady Cumberbridge's story. 

' Did you, or did you not, know this last October 1 ' she 

' I had heard something about it when I was in London two 
years before.' 

' And you did not consider it your duty to tell me 1 ' 

' Certainly not. I told you at the time, when I came back 
from town, that your young protegees life had been a trine wild. 
Miss Bridgeman remembered the fact, and spoke of it the night 
Ifamleigh came to Mount Royal. When I saw how matters 
were going with Belle and Hamleigh, I made it my business to 
question him, considering myself Belle's next friend ; and he 
assured me, as between man and man, that the affair with Stella 
Mayne was over — that he had broken with her formally and 
iinally. From first to last I believe he acted wonderfully well 
in the business.' 

' Acted well ? — acted well, to be the avowed lover of such a 
woman ! — to advertise his devotion to hex 1 — associate his name 
with hers irrevocably — for you know that the world never for- 
gets these alliances — and then to come to Mount Boyal, and 
practise upon our provincial ignorance, and offer his battered 
life to my niece ? Was that well 1 ' 

You could hardly wish him to have told your niece the 
whole story. Besides, it is a thing of the past. No man can go 
through life with the burden of his youtliful follies hanging 
round his neck, and strangling him.' 

' The past is as much a part of a man's life as the present. I 
want my niece's husband to be a man of an unstained past.' 

' Then you will have to wait a long time for him. My dear 
Mrs. Tregonell, pray be reasonable, just commonly reasonable \ 
There is not a family in England into which Angus Hamleigh 
would not be received with open arms, if he offered himself as 
a suitor. Why should you draw a hard-and-fast line, sacrifice 
Belle's happiness to a chimerical idea of manly virtue 1 You 
cantf have King Arthur for your niece's husband, and if you 
could, perhaps you wouldn't care about him. Why not be 
content with Lancelot, who has sinned, and is sorry for his sin ; 
and of whom may be spoken praise almost as noble as those 
famous words Sir Bohort spoke over his friend's dead body.' 

' I shall not sacrifice Belle's happiness. If she were my 
daughter I should take upon myself to judge for her, and while 
I lived she should never see Angus Hamleigh's face again. But 
she is my sister's child, and I shall give her the liberty of 

Le Secret de PolichineUe. 103 

'You don't mean that you will tell her this story f ' 
Most decidedly.' 

' For God's sake, don't ! — you will spoil her happiness for 
ever. To you and me, who must have some knowledge of 
the world, it ought to be a small thing that a man has made 
a fool of himself about an actress. We ought to know for 
how little that kind of folly counts in a lifetime. But for a girl 
brought up like Christabel it will mean disenchantment — doubt 
— perhaps a lifetime of jealousy and self-torment. For mer 
sake, be reasonable in this matter ! I am talking to you as it I 
were ChristabePs father, remember. I suppose that old harridan, 
Lady Cumberbridge, told you this precious story. Such women 
ought to be put down by Act of Parliament. Yes, there should 
be a law restricting every unattached female over five-and-forty 
to a twenty-mile radius of her country-house. After that age 
their tongues are dangerous.' 

'My friend Lady Cumberbridge told me facts which seem 
to be within everybody's knowledge ; and she told them at 
my particular request. Your rudeness about her does not make 
the case any better for Mr. Hamleigh, or for you.' 

' I think I had better go and dine at my club,' said the Major, 
perfectly placid. 

' No, stay, please. You have proved yourself a broken 
reed to lean upon ; but still you are a reed.' 

' If I stay it will be to persuade you to spare Belle the 
knowledge of this wretched story.' 

'I suppose he has almost ruined himself for the creature,' 
said Mrs. Tregonell, glancing at the subject for the first time 
from a practical point of view. 

' He spent a good many thousands, but as he had no 
other vices — did not race or gamble— his fortune survived the 
shock. His long majority allowed for considerable accumulations, 
you see. He began life with a handsome capital in hand. I 
dare say Miss Mayne sweated that down for him ! ' 

' I don't want to go into details — I only want to know 
how far he deceived us ?' 

' There was no deception as to his means — which are ample — 
nor as to the fact that he is entirely free from the entanglement we 
have been talking about. Every one in London knows that the 
affair was over and done with more than a year ago.' 

The two girls came down to the drawing-room, and dinner 
was announced. It was a very dismal dinner — the dreariest that 
had ever been eaten in that house, Christabel thought. Mrs. 
Tregonell was absorbed in her own thoughts, absent, automatic 
in all she said and did. The Major maintained a forced hilarity, 
which was more painful than silence. Jessie looked anxious. 

' I'll tell you what, girln,' said Major Bree, as the mournful 

104 Mount Royal. 

meal languished towards its melancholy close, ( we seem all very 
doleful without Harnleigh. I'll run round to Bond Street directly 
after dinner, and see if I can get three stalls for " Lohengrin." 
They are often to be had at the last moment.' 

' Please don't,' said Christabel, earnestly ; ' I would not go to 
a theatre again without Angus. I am sorry I went the other 
night. It was obstinate and foolish of me to insist upon seeing 
that play, and I was punished for it by that horrid old woman 
this afternoon.' 

' But you liked the play 1 ' 

' Yes — while I was seeing it ; but now I have taken a dislike 
to Miss Mayne. I feel as if I had seen a snake — all grace and 
lovely colour — and had caught hold of it, only to find that it was 
a snake.' 

The Major stared and looked alarmed. "Was this an example 
of instinct superior to reason ? 

' Let me try for the opera,' he said. ' I'm sure it would do 
you good to go. You will sit in the front dra wing-room listening 
for hansoms all the evening, fancying that every pair of wheels 
you hear is bringing Angus back to you.' 

' I would rather be doing that than be sitting at the opera, 
thinking of him. But I'm afraid there's no chance of his coming 
to-night. His letter to-day told me that his aunt insists upon 
his staying two or three days longer, and that she is ill enough to 
make him anxious to oblige her. 

The evening passed in placid dreariness. Mrs. Tregonell sat 
brooding in her arm-chair — pondering whether she should or 
should not tell Christabel everything — knowing but too well how 
the girl's happiness was dependent upon her undisturbed belief 
in her lover, yet repeating to herself again and again that it was 
right and fair that Christabel should know the truth — nay, ever 
so much better that she should be told it now, when she was still 
free to shape her own future, than that she should make the dis- 
covery later, when she was Angus Hamleigh's wife. This last 
consideration — the thought, that a secret which was everybody's 
secret must inevitably, sooner or later, become known to 
Christabel — weighed heavily with Mrs. Tregonell ; and through 
all her meditations there was interwoven the thought of her 
absent son, and how his future welfare might depend upon the 
course to be taken now. 

Christabel played and sang, while the Major and Jessie 
Bridgeman sat at bezique. The friendship of these two had 
been in no wise disturbed by the Major's offer, and the lady's 
rejection. It was the habit of both to take life pleasantly. 
Jessie took pains to show the Major how sincerely she valued 
his esteem — how completely she appreciated the fine points of 
his character ; and he was too much a gentleman to remind her 

Le Secret de Polichinelle. 105 

by one word or tone of his disappointment that day in the wood 
above Maidenhead. 

The evening came to its quiet end at last. Christabel had 
scarcely left her piano in the dim little third room— she had sat 
there in the faint light, playing slow sleepy nocturnes and lieder, 
and musing, musing sadly, with a faint sick dread of coming 
sorrow. She had seen it in her aunt's face. When the old buhl 
elock chimed the half-hour after ten the Major got up and took 
his leave, bending over Mrs. Tregonell as he pressed her hand at 
I Girting to murmur : ' Remember,' with an accent as solemn as 
Charles the Martyr's when he spoke to Juxon. 

Mis. Tregonell answered never a word. She had been pon- 
dering and wavering all the evening, but had come to no fixed 

She bade the two girls good-night directly the Major was 
gone. She told herself that she had the long tranquil night 
before her for the resolution of her doubts. She would sleep 
upon this vexed question. But before she had been ten minutes 
in her room there came a gentle knock at the door, and Christabel 
stole softly to her side. 

1 Auntie, dear, I want to talk to you before you go to bed, if 
you are not very tired. May Dormer go for a little while ? ' 

Dormer, gravest and most discreet of handmaids, whose 
name seemed to have been made on purpose for her, looked at 
her mistress, and receiving a little nod, took up her work and crept 
away. Donner was never seen without her needlework. She 
complained that there was so little to do for Mrs. Tregonell that 
uidess she had plenty of plain sewing she must expire for want 
i»f Occupation, having long outlived such frivolity as sweethearts 
and afternoons out. 

When Dormer was gone, Christabel came to her aunt's chair, 
and knelt down beside it, just as she had done at Mount Royal, 
when she told her of Angus Hamleigh's offer. 

' Aunt Diana, what has happened, what is wrong ? ' she 
asked, coming at the heart of the question at once. There was 
no shadow of doubt in her mind that something was sorely 

' How do you know that there is anything wrong ] ' 

' I have known it ever since that horrible old woman — 
Medusa in a bonnet all over flowers — pansies instead of snakes 
— talked about Cupid and Psyche. And you knew it, and made 
her stop to tell you all about it. There is some cruel mystery— 
something that involves my fate with that of the actress I saw 
the other night.' 

Mrs. Tregonell sat with her hands tightly clasped, her brow* 
bent. She felt herself taken by storm, as it were, surprised intt 
decision before she had time to make up her mind. 

106 Mount Royal. 

' Since you know so much, perhaps you had better know all,' 
she said, gloomily ; and then she told the story, shaping it aa 
delicately as she could for a girl's ear. 

Christabel covered her face with her clasped hands, and 
listened without a sigh or a tear. The pain she felt was too 
dull and vague as yet for the relief of tears. The horrible 
surprise, the sudden darkening of the dream of her young life, the 
clouding over of every hope, these were shapeless horrors which 
she could hardly realize at first. Little by little this serpent 
would unfold its coils ; drop by drop this poison would steal 
through her veins, until its venom filled her heart. He, whom 
she had supposed all her own, with whose every thought she 
had fancied herself familiar, he, of whose heart she had believed 
herself the sole and sovereign mistress, had been one little year 
ago the slave of another — loving with so passionate a love that 
he had not shrunk from letting all the world know his idolatry. 
Yes, all those people who had smiled at her, and said sw-eet 
things to her, and congratulated her on her engagement, had 
known all the while that this lover, of whom she was so proud, 
was only the cast-off idolator of an actress ; had come to her 
only when life's master-passion was worn threadbare, and had 
become a stale and common thing for him. At the first, 
womanly pride felt the blow as keenly as womanly love. To 
be made a mock of by the man she had so loved ! 

Kneeling there in dumb misery at her aunt's feet, answering 
never a word to that wretched record of her lover's folly, 
Christabel's thoughts flew back to that still grey autumn noontide 
at Pentargon Bay, and the words then spoken. Words, which 
then had only vaguest meaning, now rose out of the dim:i sss 
of the past, and stood up in her mind as if they had been living 
creatures. He had compared himself to Tristran — to one who 
had sinned and repented — he had spoken of himself as a man 
whose life had been more than half-lived already. He had 
offered himself to her with no fervid passion— with no assured 
belief in her power to make liim happy. Nay, he had rather 
forced from her the confession of her love by his piteous repre- 
sentation of himself as a man doomed to early death. He had 
wrung from her the offer of a life's devotion. She had given 
herself to him almost unwooed. Never before had her 
betrothal appeared to her in this humiliating aspect ; but now, 
enlightened by the knowledge of that former love, a love 
so reckless and self-sacrificing, it seemed to her that the homage 
offered her had been of the coldest — that her affection had been 
placidly accepted, rather than passionately demanded of her. 

' Fool, fool, fool,' she said within herself, bowed to the dust 
by this deep humiliation. 

' My darling, why don't you speak tome?' said Mrs. Tregonell, 

Le Secret de Polichinelle. 107 

tenderly, with her arm round the girl's neck, her face leaning 
down to touch *hat drooping head. 

' What can L say ? I feel as if my life had suddenly come to 
an end, and there were nothing left for me to do, except just to sit 
still and remember what has been.' 

' You mean to break with him ? ' 

'Break with him ! Why he has never been mine. There is 
nothing to be broken. It was all a delusion and a dream. I 
thought he loved me — loved me exactly as I loved him — with 
the one great and perfect love of a lifetime — and now I know 
that he never loved me — how coidd he after having only just 
left off loving this other woman 1 — if he had left off loving 
her. And how could he when she is so perfectly lovely I Why 
should he have ever ceased to care for her 1 She had been like 
his wife, you say — his wife in all but the name — and all the world 
knew it. What must people have thought of me for stealing 
away another woman's husband ? ' 

' My dear, the world does not see it in that light. She never 
was really his wife.' 

' She ought to have been,' answered Christabel, resolutely, 
yet with quivering lips. ' If he cared for her so much as to 
make himself the world's wonder for her sake he should have 
married her : a man should not play fast and loose with love.' 

' It is difficult for us to judge,' said Mrs. Tregonell, believing 
herself moved by the very spirit of justice, 'we are not women 
of the world — we cannot see this matter as the world sees it.' 

' God forbid that I should judge as the world judges ! ' 
exclaimed Christabel, lifting her head for the first time since 
that story had been told her. ' That would be a sorry end of your 
teaching. What ought I to do 1 ' 

' Your own heart must be the arbiter, Christabel. I made 
up my mind this afternoon that I would not seek to influence you 
one way or the other. Your own heart must decide.' 

' My own heart ? No ; my heart is too entirely his — too 
weakly, fondly, foolishly, devoted to him. No, I must think oi 
something beyond my foolish love for him. His honour and 
mine are at stake. We must be true to ourselves, he and I. But 
I want to know what you think, Auntie. I want to know what 
you would have done in such a case. If, when you were engaged 
to his father, you had discovered that he had been within only a 
little while ' — these last words were spoken with inexpressible 
pathos, as if here the heart-wound were deepest — ' the lover of 
another woman — bound to her by ties which a man of honour 
should hold sacred — what would you have done I Would you 
have shut your eyes resolutely upon that past history ? Would 
you have made up your mind to forget everything, and to try to 
be happy with him 1 ' 

108 Mount Boyal. 

i I don't know, Belle,' Mrs. Tregonell answered, helplessly,' 
very anxious to be true and conscientious, and if she must needs 
be guide, to guide the girl aright through this perilous passage 
in Tier life. 'It is so difficult at my age to know what one 
would have done in one's girlhood. The flres are all burnt out ; 
the springs that moved one then are all broken. Judging now, 
with the dull deliberation of middle age, I should say it would 
be a dangerous thing for any girl to marry a man who had beeb 
notoriously devoted to another woman — that woman still living, 
still having power to charm him. How can you ever be secure 
of his love 1 how be sure that he would not be lured back to the 
old madness 1 These women are so full of craft — it is theii 
profession to tempt men to destruction. You remember what 
the Bible saysjof such 1 " They are more bitter than death : their 
feet go down to death : their steps take hold on hell." ' 

' Don't, Auntie,' faltered Christabel. ' Yes, I understand. 
Yes, he would tire of me, and go back to her very likely. I am 
not half so lovely, nor half so fascinating. Or, if he were true 
to honour and duty, he would regret her all his life. He 
would be always repenting that he had not broken down all 
barriers and married her. He would see her sometimes on the 
stage, or in the Park, and just the sight of her face flashing past 
him would spoil his happiness. Happiness,' she repeated, 
bitterly, ' what happiness 1 what peace could there be for either 
of us, knowing of that fatal love. I have decided, Auntie, I shall 
love Angus all the days of my life, but I will never marry him.' 

Mrs. Tregonell clasped the girl in her arms, and they wept 
together, one with the slow silent tears of life that was well- 
nigh worn out, the other with youth's passionate sobs — sobs that 
shook the slender frame. 

' My beloved, you have chosen wisely, and well,' said the 
widow, her heart throbbing with new hopes — it was not of 
Angus Hamleigh's certain loss she thought, but of her son 
Leonard's probable gain — 'you have chosen wisely. I do not 
believe that you could ever have been really happy with him. 
Your heart woiud have been consumed with jealous fears — > 
suspicion would have haunted your life — that evil woman't 
influence would have darkened all your days.' 

' Don't say another word,' pleaded Christabel, in low hoarse 
tones ; ' I have quite made up my mind. Nothing can change it. 

She did not want to be encouraged or praised ; she did 
not want comfort or consolation. Even her aunt's sympathy 
jarred upon her fretted nerves. She felt that she must stand 
alone in her misery, aloof from all human succour. 

'Good-night,' she said, bending down to touch her aunt'a 
forehead, with tremulous lips. 

Won't you stay, dear ? Sleep with me to-night' 


Le Secret de Polichinelle. 10fl 

' Sleep V eclioed the girL ' No, Auntie dear ; I would rathei 
le in my own room !' 

She went away without another word, and went slowly back 
to her own room, the pretty little London bedchamber, bright 
with new satin-wood furniture and pale blue cretonne hangings, 
tlouded with creamy Indian muslin, a bower-like room, with 
flowers and books, and a miniature piano in a convenient 
recess by the fire-place. Here she sat gravely down before 
her davenport and unlocked one particular drawer, a so-called 
secret drawer, but as obvious as a secret panel in a melodrama — 
and took out Angus Hamleigh's letters. The long animated 
letters written on thin paper, letters which were a journal of 
his thoughts and feelings, almost as fully recorded as in those 
•.-ulunmious epistles which Werther despatched to his friend — 
letters which had bridged over the distance between Cornwall and 
Southern France, and had been the chief delight of Christabel's 
life through the long slow winter, making her lover her daily 

Slowly, slowly, with tears dropping unnoticed every now and 
then, she turned over the letters, one by one — now pausing to 
read a few lines — now a whole letter. There is no loving folly of 
which she had not been guilty with regard to these cherished 
letters : she had slept with them under her pillow, she had read 
them over and over again, had garnered them in a perfumed 
desk, and gone back to them after the lapse of time, had com- 
pared them in her own mind with all the cleverest letters 
that ever were given to the world — with Walpole, with Beckford, 
with Byron, with Deffand, and Espinasse, Sevigne, Carter — 
and found in them a grace and a charm that surpassed all these. 
She had read elegant extracts to her aunt, who confessed 
that Mr. Hamleigh wrote cleverly, wittily, picturesquely, 
poetically, but did not perceive that immeasurable superiority to 
all previous letter-writers. Then came briefer letters, dated from 
the Albany — notes dashed off hastily in those happy days when 
^.heir lives were spent for the most part together. Notes con- 
taining suggestions for some new 7 pleasure— appointments- sweet 
nothings, hardly worth setting down except as an excuse 
for writing — with here and there a longer letter, written after 
midnight ; a letter in which the writer poured out his soul to his 
beloved, enlarging on their conversation of the day — that happy 
tall: about themselves and love. 

' Who would think, reading these, that he never really cared 
for me, that I was only an after-thought in his life,' she said 
to herself, bitterly. 

' Did he write just such letters to Stella Mayne, I wonder ? 
No ; there was no need for writing — they were always together.' 

The candles on her desk had burnt low by the time her tasJs 

110 Mourn lioyal. 

was done. Faint gleams of morning stole through the striped 
blinds, as she sealed the packet in which she had folded thai 
lengthy history of Angus Hamleigh's courtship— a large squarfl 
packet, tied with stout red tape, and sealed in several places 
Her hand hardly faltered as she set her seal upon the wax ; her 
purpose was so strong. 

' Yes,' she said to herself, ' I will do what is best and safest 
for his honour and for mine.' And then she knelt by her bed 
and prayed long and fervently ; and remained upon her knees 
reading* the Gospel as the night melted away and the morning 
sun Hooded her room with light. 

She did not even attempt to sleep, trusting to her cold bath 
for strength against the day's ordeal. She thought all the time 
she was dressing of the task that lay before her — the calm 
deliberate cancehnent of her engagement, with the least possible 
pain for the man she l®ved, and for his ultimate gain in this 
world and the next. Was it not for the welfare of a man's soul 
that he should do his duty and repair the wrong that he had 
done ; rather than that he should conform to the world's idea of 
the fitness of things and make an eminently respectable 
marriage ? 

Christabel contemplated herself critically in the glass as she 
brushed her hair. Her eyelids were swollen with weeping— her 
cheeks pallid, her eyes lustreless, and at this disadvantage she 
compared herself with that vivid and sylph-like beauty she had 
seen at the Kaleidoscope. 

' How could he ever forget her for my sake 1 ' she thought, 
looking at that sad colourless face, and falling into the common 
error that only the most beautiful women are loved with perfect 
love, that perfection of feeling answers to perfection of form- 
forgetting how the history of life shows that upon the unlovely 
also there have been poured treasures of deepest, purest love- 
that, while beauty charms and wins all, there is often one, best 
worth the winning, who is to be vanquished by some subtler 
charm, held by some less obvious chai-n than Aphrodite's rosy 
garlands. Perhaps, if Miss Courtenay nad been a plain woman, 
skilled in the art of making the most of small advantages, she 
would have had more faith in her own power ; but being a 
lovely woman who had been so trained and taught as to think 
very little of her own beauty, she was all the more ready ta 
i knowledge the superior loveliness of a rival. 

' Having worshipped that other fairer face, how could he 
care for me ? ' she asked herself ; and then, brooding upon every 
detail of their betrothal, she came to the bitter conclusion that 
Angus had offered himself to her out of pity— touched by her 
too Obvious affection for him— love which she ha I hardly tried 
to hide from him, when once he had told her of his early doom. 

Le Secret de Polichinelle. Ill 

That storm of pity and regret which had swept over her heart 
had annihilated her womanly pride : she forgot all that was due 
to her own dignity, and was only too eager to offer herself as the 
companion and consoler of his brief days. She looked back and 
remembered her folly — thinking of herself as a creature caught 
in a trap. 

No, assuredly, there was but one remedy. 

One doubt — one frail straw of hope to which she might cling 
— yet remained. That tried, all was decided. Was this story 
true— completely and positively a fact ? She had heard so much 
in society about baseless scandals— she had been told so many 
versions of the same story — as unlike as black to white or false 
to true— and she was not going to take this one bitter fact for 
granted upon the strength of any fashionable Medusa who might 
try to turn her warm beating heart to stone. Before she accepted 
Medusa's sentence she would discover for herself how far this 
etory was true. 

' I will give no one any trouble,' she thought : ' I will act for 
myself, and judge for myself. It will be the making or marring 
of three lives.' 

In her wide charity, in that power to think and feel for 
others, which was the highest gift of her rich sweet soul, Stella 
Mayne seemed to Christabel as important a factor in this life- 
problem as herself or Angus. She thought of her tenderly, 
picturing her as a modern Gretchen, tempted by an early and 
intense love, much more than by the devil's lure of splendour 
and jewels — a poor little Gretchen at seventeen and sixpence a 
week, living in a London garret, with no mother to watch and 
warn, and with wicked old Marthas in plenty to whisper bad advice. 

Clnistabel went down to breakfast as usual. Her quiet face 
and manner astonished Mrs. Tregonell, who had slept very little 
better than her niece ; but when the servant came in to ask if 
she would ride she refused. 

' Do, dear,' pleaded her aunt ; ' a nice long country ride by 
Finchley and Hendon would do you good.' 

' No, Aunt Di — I would rather be at home this morning,' 
answered Christabel ; so the man departed, with an order for 
the carriage at the usual hour in the afternoon. 

There was a letter from Angus — Christabel only glanced at 
the opening lines, which told her that he was to stay at Hillside 
a few days longer, and then put the letter in her pocket. Jessie 
Bridgeman looked at her curiously — knowing very well tha* 
there was something sorely amiss — but waiting to be told what 
sudden cloud of sorr-ow meant. » 

CI I went back to her own room directly after break- 

t B - mat fi reb< re any attempt at consolation, knowing it 

wnd beat to let tLe girl bi ar her grief in her own wav 

112 Mount Royal. 

1 You will go with me for a drive after luncheon, dear 1 ' she 

' Yes, Auntie — but I would rather we went a little way in 
the co«ntry, if you don't mind, instead of to the Park ? ' 

' With all my heart : I have had quite enough of the Park.' 

' The " booing, and booing, and booing," ' said Jessie, ' and the 
Btiaining one's every nerve to see the Princess drive by — only to 
discover the humiliating fact that she is one of the very few 
re?pectable-looking women in the Park — perhaps the only one 
who can look absolutely respectable without being a dowdy.' 

' Shall I go to her room and try if I can be of any comfort 
to her 1 ' mused Jessie, as she went up to her own snug little den 
on the third floor. ' Better not, perhaps. I like to hug my sor- 
rows. I should hate any one who thought their prattle could 
lessen my pain. She will bear hers best alone, I dare say. But 
what can it be? Not any quarrel with him. They could 
hardly quarrel by telegraph or post— they who are all honey 
when they are together. It is some scandal — something that 
old demon with the eyebrows said yesterday. I am sure of it 
— a talk between two elderly women with closed doors always 
means Satan's own mischief.' 

All three ladies went out in the carriage after luncheon — a 
dreary, dusty drive, towards Edgware — past everlasting bricks 
and mortar, as it seemed to Christabel's tired eyes, which gazed 
at the houses as if they had been phantoms, so little human 
meaning had they for her — so little did she realize that in each 
of those brick and plaster packing-cases human beings lived, and. 
in their turn, suffered some such heart-agony as this which she 
was enduring to-day. 

' That is St. John's Wood up yonder, isn't it 1 ' she asked, 
as they passed Carlton Hill, speaking for almost the first time 
since they left Mayfair. 


' Isn't it somewhere about there Miss Stella Mayne lives, the 
actress we saw the other night 1 ' asked Christabel, carelessly. 

iler aunt looked at her with intense surprise, — how could 
6he pronounce that name, and to ask a frivolous question 1 

' Yes ; she has a lovely house called the Bosary. Mr. Fitz- 
Pelham told me about it,' answered Jessie. 

Christabel said never a word more as the carriage rolled on 
by Cricklewood and the two Welsh Harps, and turned into the 
quiet lanes about Hendon, and so home by the Finchley Boad. 
She had found out what she wanted to know. 

When afternoon tea was served in the little third drawing- 
room, where Mrs. Tregonell sat resting herself after the dust 
and weariness of the drive, Christabel was missing. Dormei 
brought a little note for her mistress. 

'Love is Love for Evermore.> 113 

' Miss Courtenay gave me this just before she went out, 

' Out ! ITas Miss Courtenay gone out ? ' 
' Yes, ma'am ; Daniel got her a cab five minutes ago.' 
1 To her dressmaker, I suppose,' said Mrs. Tregonell, trying to 
look indifferent. 

' Don't be uneasy about me, Auntie,' wrote Christabel : ' I 
am going on an errand about winch I made up my mind last 
night. I may be a little late for dinner, but as I shall go and 
return in the same cab, you may feel sure that I shall be quite 
safe. Don't wait dinner for me.' 


'love is love for evermore.' 

The Rosary, St. John's Wood : that was the address which 
Christabel had given the cabman. Had any less distinguished 
person than Stella Mayne lived at the Rosary it might have 
taken the cabman all the evening to find that particular house, 
with no more detailed address as to road and number. But a 
brother whip on a rank near Hamilton Terrace was able to tell 
Christabel's cabman the way to the Rosary. It was a house at 
which hansoms were often wanted at unholy hours between mid- 
night and sunrise — a house whose chief hospitality took the form 
of chablis and oysters after the play — a house which seldom 
questioned poor cabby's claim or went closely into mileage — a 
house which deserved and commanded respectful mention on 
the rank. 

1 The Rosary — yes, that's where Miss Mayne lives. Beech 
Tree Road— a low 'ouse with veranders all round — yer can't 
miss it.' 

The cabman rattled away to Grove End Road, and thence to 
the superior quietude and seclusion of Beech Tree Road, where 
he drew up at a house with a glazed entrance. He rang the bell, 
and Christabel alighted before the summons was answered. 

' Is Miss Mayne at home 1 ' she asked a servant in plain 
olothcs — a servant of unquestionable respectability. 

' Yes, ma'am,' he replied, and preceded her along a corridor 
glass-roofed, richly carpeted, and with a bank of hothouse flowers 
on either side. 

Only at this ultimate moment did Christabel's courage begir. 
to falter. She felt as if she were perhaps entering a den of vice. 
Innocent, guileless as she was, she had her own vague ideas about 
vice — exaggerated as all ignorant ideas are apt to be. She began 


Hi Mount Bcyal. 

to shiver as she walked over the dark subdued velvet pile of that 
shadowy corridor. If she had found Miss Mayne engaged in 
giving a masked ball — or last night's sapper party only just 
finishing — or a party of young men playing blind hookey, she 
would hardly have been surprised — not that she knew anything 
about masked balls — or late suppers — or gambling — but that all 
these would have come within her vague notions of an evil life. 

' He loved her,' she said to herself, arguing against this new 
terror, ' and he could not love a thoroughly wicked woman.' 

No, the Gretchen idea — purity fallen, simplicity led asti'ay — 
was more natural — but one could hardly imagine Gretchen in a 
house of this kind — this subdued splendour — this all-pervading 
air of wealth and luxury. 

Miss Courtenay was shown into a small morning-room — a 
room which on one side was all window — opening on to a garden, 
where some fine old trees gave an idea of space — and where the 
foreground showed a mass of flowers — roses — roses — roses every- 
where — trailing over arches — clustering round tall iron rods — 
bush roses — standard roses — dwarf roses — all shining in the 
golden light of a westering sun. 

The room was elegantly simple — an escritoire in the Sherraton 
style — two or three book-tables crowded with small volumes in 
exquisite binding, vellum, creamy calf, brown Russia, red edges, 
gold edges, painted edges, all the prettinesses of bookbinding — 
half a dozen low chairs — downy nests covered with soft tawny 
Indian silk, with here and there a brighter patch of colour in the 
shape of a plush pillow or an old brocade antimacassar — 
voluminous curtains of the same soft tawny silk, embroidered 
with poppies and cornflowers — a few choice flowers in old 
Venetian vases — a large peacock-foather fan thrown beside an 
open book, upon a low pillow-shaped ottoman. 

Christabel gazed round the room in blank surprise — nothing 
gaudy — nothing vulgar — nothing that indicated sudden promo- 
tion from the garret to the drawing-room — an air of elegant 
luxury, of supreme fashion in all things — but no glare of gilding, 
no discords in form or colour. 

' Your name, if you please, madam 1 ' said the servant, a 
model of decorum in well-brushed black. 

' Perhaps you had better take my card. I am not personally 
known to Miss Mayne,' answered Christabel, opening her card- 
case. ' Oh ! ' she exclaimed suddenly, as with a cry of pain. 

' I beg your pardon,' said the servant, alarmed. 

'It's nothing. A picture startled me — that was all. Be 
good enough to tell Miss Mayne that I shall be very much 
obliged to her if she will see me.' 

' Certainly, madam ! said the man, as he retired with the 
card, wondering how a young lady of such distinguished appear. 

'Love is Love for Evermore.' 115 

ftnee happened to call upon his mistress, whose feminine visitors 
were usually of a more marked type. 

'I dare say she's collectin' funds for one of their evcrlastin' 
churches,' thought the butler, "igh, low, or Jack, as I call 
Vm — 'igh church, low church, or John Wesley — ever so many 
predominations, and all of 'em equally keen after money, But 
why did she almost s'riek when she clapt her eyes on Mr. 
'Amleigh's portrait, 1 wonder, just as if she had seen a scorpiont.' 

Christabel stood motionless where the man left her, looking 
at a photograph on a brass easel upon an old ebony table in the 
middle of the room. A cluster of stephanotis in a low Venetian 
vase stood in front of that portrait, like flowers before a shrine. 
It was an exquisitely painted photograph of Ansjus Hamleigh — ■ 
Angus at his best and brightest, before the flush and glory of 
youth had faded from eyes and brow- — Angus with a vivacity 
of expression which she had never seen in his face — she who had 
known him only since the fatal hereditary disease had set its 
mark upon him. 

1 Ah ! ' she sighed, ' he was happier when he loved her than 
he ever was with me.' 

She stood gazing at that pictured face, her hands clasped, her 
heart beating heavily. Everything confirmed her inher despair — 
in her iron resolve. At last with a long-drawn sigh, she with- 
drew her eyes from the picture, and began to explore the room. 
No, there was no trace of vulgarity — no ugly indication of 
a vicious mind. Christabel glanced at the open book on 
the ottoman, half expecting to find the trail of the serpent 
there — in some shameful French novel, the very name of which 
she had not been allowed to hear. But the book was only the 
last Contemporary Review, open at an article of Gladstone's. 
Then, with faintly tremulous hand, she took one of the vellum- 
bound duodecimos from a shelf of the revolving book-tabh — ■ 
'Selections from Shelley' — and on the title-page, 'Angus to 
Stella, Rome,' and the date, just three years old, in the hand she 
knew so well. She looked in other books — all choicest flowers 
of literature — and in each there was the same familiar penman- 
ship, sometimes with a brief sentence that made the book a 
souvenir — sometimes with a passionate line from Shakespeare or 
Dante, Heine or De Musset. Christabel remembered, with a 
(sharp pang cf jealousy, that her lover had never so written in 
any book he had given her. She ignored the change which a 
year or two may make in a man's character, when he has reached 
one of the turning points of life ; and how a graver deeper 
phase of feeling, less eager to express itself in other people's 
Bowery language, succeeds youth's fervid sentiment. Had 
Werther lived and loved a second Charlotte, assuredly lie wi i [-.] 
have loved her after a wiser and graver fashion. But Christabel 

110 Mount Royav. 

had believed herself her lover's first and only love, and finding 
that she was but the second volume in his life, abandoned 
herself at once to despair. 

She sank into one of the low luxurious chairs, just as the 
door opened, and Miss Mayne came into the room. 

If she had looked lovely as Psyche, in her classic drapery, 
with the emerald butterfly on her shoulder, she looked no less 
beautiful in the costly-simplicity of her home toilet. She wore 
a sacque-shaped tea-gown of soft French-grey silk, lined with 
palest pink satin, over a petticoat that seemed a mass of cream- 
coloured lace. Her only ornaments were three half-hoop rings- 
rubies, diamonds, and sapphires — too large for the slender third 
finger of her left hand, and half concealing a thin wedding-ring — 
and a star-shaped broach — one large cat's-eye with diamond 
rays, which fastened the lace handkerchief at her throat. 

Christabol, quick to observe the woman whose existence had 
ruined her life, noted everything, from the small perfectly-shaped 
head — shaped for beauty rather than mental power — to the 
little arched foot in its pearl-coloured .silk stocking, and grey 
satin slipper. For the fust time in her life she beheld a woman 
whose chief business in this world was to look her loveliest, at 
all times and seasons, for friend or foe — for whom the perfection 
of costume was the study and delight of life — who lived and 
reigned by the divine right of beauty. 

' Pray sit down !' said Miss Mayne, with a careless wave of 
her hand — so small — so delicate and fragile-looking under the 
lace ruffle ; ' I am quite at a loss to guess to what I am indebted 
for the honour of this visit.' 

She looked at her visitor scrutinizingly with those dark, too 
lustrous eyes. Alicct^ flush burned in her hollow cheeks. She 
had heard a good deal about this Miss Courtenay, of Mount 
Poyal and Mayfair, and she came prepared to do battle. 

For some moments Christabel was dumb. It was one thing 
to have come into this young lioness's den, and another thing to 
know what to say to the lioness. But the stiaightness and 
purity of the girl's puipose upheld her — and her courage hardly 

' I have come to yon. Miss Mayne, because I will not consent 
to be governed by common report. I want to know the truth — 
the whole truth — however bitter it may be forme — in order that 
X may know how to act.' 

Miss Mayne had expected a much sharper mode of attack. 
She had been prepared to hear herself called scorpion — or viper 
— the pest of society — a form of address to which she would 
have been able to reply with a startling sharpness. But to be 
spoken to thus — gravely, gently, pleadingly, and with that sweet 
girlish face looking at her in unspeakable sorrow^ — was something 
for which she had uoi prepared herself. 

1 Love is Love for Evermore: 117 

'You speak to me like a lady — like a good woman,' she said, 
falteringly. ' What is it you want to know 1 ' 

' I have been told that Mr. Hamleigh — Angus Hamleigh — 
was once your lover. Is that true 1 ' 

'True as the stars in heaven — the stars by which we swore 
to love each other to the end of our lives — looking up at them, 
with our hands clasped, as we stood on the deck of the steamer 
between Dover and Calais. That was our marriage. I used to 
think that God saw it, and accepted it — just as if we had been 
in church : only it did not hold water, you see,' she added, with 
a cynical laugh, which ended in a hard little cough. 

; lie loved you dearly. I can see that by the lines that he 
wrote in your books. I ventured to look at them while I waited 
fi »r you. "Why did he not marry you ? ' 

Stella Mayne shrugged her shoulders, and played with thg 
soft lace of her fi 

' It is not the fashion to marry a girl who dances in short 
petticoat?, and lives in an attic," she answered. 'Perhaps such 
a girl might make a good wife, if a man had the courage to try 
the experiment. Such things have been done, I believe; but 
men prefer the safer course. If I had been clever, I dare- 
say Mr. Hamleigh would have married me ; but I was an 
ignorant little fool — and when lie came across my path he 
seemed like an angel of light. I simply worshipped him. 
You've no idea how innocent I was in those days. Not a care- 
fully educated, lady-like innocence, like yours, don't you know, 
but absolute ignorance. I didn't know any wrong ; but then 1 
didn't know any right. You see I am quite candid with you.' 

' I thank you with all my heart for your truthfulness. Every- 
thing — for you, for me, for Angus — depends upon our perfect 
truthfulness. I want to do what is best — what is wisest — what 
is right — not for myself only, but for Angus, for you.' 

Tho^e love'y liquid eyes looked at her incredulously. 

' What,' cried Stella Mayne, with her mocking little laugh 
— a musical little laugh trained for comedy, and unconsciously 
artificial — 'do you mean to tell me that you care a straw what 
becomes of me — that it matters to you whether I die in the 
gutter wdiere I was born, or pitch myself imo the Regent's 
Canal some night wdien I have a fit of the blue devils 1 ' 

' I care very much what becomes of you. I should not be 
here if I did not wisn io do what is best for you.' 

' Then you come as my friend, and not as my enemy ? ' said 

'Yes, I am here as your friend,' answered Christabel, with 
an effort. 

The actress — a creature all impulse and emotion — fell on hor 
knees at Miss Courtenay'a feet, and pressed her lips upon the 
lady's gloved hand. 

118 Mount Royal. 

' How good you are,' she exclaimed — ' bow good — how gooa 
I have read of such women — they swarm in the novels I gei 
from Mudie— they and fiends. There's no middle distance. 
But I never believed in them. "When the man brought me your 
card I thought you had come to blackguard me.' 

Christabel shuddered at the coarse word, so out of harmon. 
<*dth that vellum-bound Shelley, and all the graciousness Ox 
Miss Mayne's surroundings. 

' Forgive me,' said Stella, seeing her disgust. ' I am horribly 
vulgar. I never was like that while— while Angus cared for 

' Why did he leave off caring for you 1 ?' asked Christabel, 
looking gravely down at the lovely upturned face, so exquisite 
in its fragile sensitive beauty. 

Now Stella Mayne was one of those complex creatures, quite 
out of the range of a truthful woman's understanding — a crea- 
ture who could be candour itself— could gush and prattle with 
the innocent expansiveness of a child, so long as there was 
nothing she particularly desired to conceal — yet who could lie 
with the same sweet air of child-like simplicity when it served 
her purpose —lie with the calm stolidity, the invincible assurance, 
of an untruthful child. She did not answer Christabel's question 
immediately, but looked at her thoughfully for a few seconds, 
wondering how much of her history this young lady knew, and 
to what extent lying might serve. She had slipped from her 
knees to a sitting position on the Persian hearthrug, her thin, 
semi-transparent hands clasped upon her knee, the triple circlet 
of gems flashing in the low sunlight. 

' Why did we part ? ' she asked, shrugging her shoulders. 
'I hardly know. Temper, I suppose. He has not too good a 
temper, and I— well, I am a demon when I am ill— and I am 
often ill.' 

' You keep his portrait on your table,' said Christabel. 

' K>ep it ? Yes — and round my neck,' answered Stella, 
jerking a gold locket out of her loose gown, and opening it to 
show the miniature inside. ' I have worn his picture against 
my heart ever since he gave it me — during our first Italian tour. 
I shall wear it so when I am dead. Yes— when he is married, 
and happy with you, and I am lying in my grave in Hendon 
Churchyard. Do you know I have bought and paid for my 
grave V 

' Why did you do that 1 ' 

1 Because I wanted to make sure of not being buried in a 
cemetery — a city of the dead — streets and squares and alleys of 
gravestones. I have chosen a spot under a great spreading 
cedar, in a churchyard that might be a hundred miles from 
London —and yet it is quite near here, and handy for those who 

* Love in Love for Evermore' HE 

will have to take rue. I shall not give any one too much trouble. 
Perhaps, if you will let him, Angus may come to my funeral, 
and drop a bunch of violets on my coffin.' 

' Why do you talk like that 1 ' 

1 Because the end cannot be very far off. Do you think I 
look as if I should live to be a grandmother ! ' 

The hectic bloom, the unnatural light in those lovely eyes, 
the transparent bauds, and purple-tinted nails, did not, indeed, 
point to such a conclusion. 

'If you are really ill why do you go on acting?' asked 
Christabel, gently. ' Surely the fatigue and excitement must be 
very bad for you.' 

' I hardly know. The fatigue may be killing me, but the 
excitement is the only thing that keeps me alive. Besides, I 
must live — thirty pounds a week is a consideration.' 

' But — you are not in want of money 1 ' exclaimed Christabel. 
' Mr. Hamleigh would never ' 

' Leave me to starve,' interrupted Stella, hurriedly ; ' no I 
have plenty of money. While — while we were happy — Mr. 
Hamleigh lavished his money upon me — he was always absurdly 
generous — and if I wanted money now I should have but to 
hold out my hand. I have never known the want of money 
since I left my attic — four and sixpence a week, with the use of 
the kitchen fire, to boil a kettle, or cook a chop — when my 
resources rose to a chop — it was oftener a bloater. Do you 
kuow, the other day, when I was dreadfully ill and they had 
been worrying me with invalid turtle, jellies, oysters, caviare, 
all kinds of loathsome daintinesses — and the doctor said I should 
die if I didn't eat — I thought perhaps I might get back the old 
appetite for bloater and bread and butter— I used to enjoy a 
bloater tea so in those old days — but it was no use— the very 
smell of the thing almost killed me— the whole house wae 
poisoned with it.' 

She prattled on, looking up at Christabel with a confiding 
srrrile. The visit had taken quite a pleasant turn. She had no 
idea that anything serious was to come of it. Her quondam 
lover's affianced wife had taken it into her head to come and see 
what kind of stuff Mr. Hamleigh's former idol was made of — 
that was all — and the lady's amiability was making the interview 
altogether agreeable. 

Yet, in another moment, the pain and sorrow in Christabel's 
face showed her that there was something stronger than frivolous 
curiosity in the lady's mind. 

' Pray be serious with me,' said Christabel. ' Remember that 
the welfare of three people depends upon my resolution in this 
matter. It would be easy for me to say — I will shut my eyes to 
the past : he has told me that he loves roe — and I will believe 

120 Mount Royal. 

him. Bat I will not do that. I will not live a life of suspicion 
ami unrest, just for the sweet privilege of bearing him company, 
and being called by his name — dear as that thought is to me. 
No, it shall be all or nothing. If I cannot have his whole heart 
I will have none of it. You confess that you wear his picture 
next your heart. Do you still love him V 

'Yes — always — always — always,' answered the actress, fer- 
vently. This at least was no bold-faced lie — there was truth's 
divine accent here. 'There is no man like him on this earth. 
And then in low impassioned tones she quoted those passionate 
lines of Mrs. Browning's : — 

' There is no one beside theo, and no one above thee ; 
Tbou standest alone as tbe nightingale sings ; 
And my words, tbat would praise thee, are impotent things.' 

' And do you believe that he has quite left off loving you ] ' 

' No,' answered the actress, looking up at her with flashing 
eyes. ' I don't believe it. I don't believe he could after all we 
have been to each other. It isn't in human nature Lo forget such 
love as ours.' 

'And you believe — if he were free — if he had not engaged 
himself to me — perhaps hardly intending it — he would come 
back to you V 

'Yes, if he knew how ill I am — if he knew what the doctor 
says about me — I believe he would come back.' 

' And marry you ] ' asked Christabel, deadly pale. 

' That's as may be,' retorted the other, with her Parisian shrug. 

Christabel stood up, and laid her clenched hand on the low 
draperied mantelpiece, almost as if she were laying it on an altar 
to give emphasis to an oath. ' Then he shall come back — then he 
shall marry you,' she said in a grave, earnest voice. ' I will rob 
no woman of her husband. I will doom no fellow- creature to 
life-long shame !' 

'What,' cried Stella Mayne, with almost a shriek, 'you will 
give him up — for me !' 

' Yes. He has never belonged to me as he has belonged to 
you — it is no shame for me to renounce him — grief and pain 
— yes, grief and pain unspeakable — but no disgrace. He has 
sinned, and he must atone for his sin. I will not be the impedi- 
ment to your marriage.' 

' But if you were to give him up he might not marry me : 
men are so difficult to manage,' faltered the actress, aghast at 
Hie idea of such a sacrifice, seeing the whole business in the 
light of circumstances unknown to Miss Courtenay. 

' Not men with conscience and honour,' answered Christabel, 
with unshaken firmness. ' I feel very sure that if Mr. Hamleigh 
were free he would do what is right. It is only his engagement 

juove is Love for Evermore.' 121 

to me tha«i hinders his making atonement to you lie has lived 
among worldly people who have never reminded him of his duty 
—who have blunted his finer feelings with their hideous word- 
linens- oh, I know how worldly women talk — as if there were 
neither hell nor heaven, only Belgravia and Mayfair — and no 
doubt worldly men sre still worse. But he — he whom I have so 
loved and honoured — cannot be without honour and cg <. science 
He shall do what is just and right.' 

She looked almost inspired as she stood there with pale 
cheeks and kindling eyes, thinking far more of that broad prin- 
ciple of justice than of the fragile emotional creature tremblmg 
before her. This comes of feeding a girl's mind with Shake- 
speare and Bacon, CVtrlyle and Plato, to say nothing of that 
still broader and safer guide, the Gospel. 

Just then there was the sound of footsteps approaching the 
door — a measured masculine footfall. The emotional creature 
fiew to the door, opened it, murmured a few words to some 
person without, and closed it, but not before a whiff" of Latakia 
had been wafted into the flower-scented room. The footsteps 
moved away in another direction, and Christabel was much too 
absorbed to notice that faint breath of tobacco. 

'There's not the least use in your giving him up,' said Stella, 
resolutely : 'he would never many me. You don't know him aa 
well as 1 do.' 

' Do I not ? I have lived only to study his character for the 
best part of a year. I know he will do what is just.' 

Stella Mayne suddenly clasped her hands before her face and 
sobbed aloud. 

' Oh, if I were only good and innocent like you ! ' she cried, 

Eiteously ; ' how I detest myself as I stand here before you ! — 
ow loathsome — how hateful I am !' 

' No, no,' murmured Christabel, soothingly, ' you are not 
hateful : it is oidy impenitent sin that is hateful. You were led 
into wrong-doing because you were ignorant of right — there was 
no one to teach you — no one to uphold you. And he who 
tempted you is in duty bound to make amends. Trust me — 
trust me — it is better for my peace as well as for yours that he 
should do his duty. And now good-bye — I have stayed too long 

Again Stella Mayne fell on her knees and clasped this divine 
visitant's hand. It seemed to this weak yet fervid soul almost 
as if some angel guest had crossed her threshold. Christabel 
stooped and would have kissed the actress's forehead. 

' No,' slie cried, historically, 'don't kiss me — don't — you don't 
know. I should feel like Judas.' 

1 Good-bye, then. Trust me.' And so they parted. 

A tall man, with an iron-grey moustache and a soldier-lika 

122 Mount Eoyal. 

bearing, caine out of a little study, cigarette in hand, as the 
outer door closed on Christabel. ' Who the deuce is that 
thoroughbred-looking girl ? ' asked this gentleman. ' Have you 
got some of the neighbouring swells to call upon you, at last 1 
Why, what's the row, Fishky, you've been ci> 'ng 1 ' 

Fishky was the stage-carpenters', dressers', and super- 
numeraries' pronunciation of the character which Miss Mayne 
acted nightly, and had been sportively adopted by her inti- 
mates as a pet name for herself. 

' That lady is Miss Courtenay.' 

' The lady Hamleigh is going to marry ? What the devil is 
she doing in this galere ? I hope she hasn't been making herself 
unpleasant 1 ' 

1 She is an angel.' 

' With all my heart. Hamleigh is very welcome to her, so 
long as he leaves me my dear little demon,' answered the soldier, 
smiling down from his altitude of six feet two at the sylph-like 
form in the Watteau gown. 

' Oh, how I wish I had never seen your face,' said Stella : ' I 
should be almost a good woman, if there were no such person as 
you in the world.' 



That second week of July was not altogether peerless 
weather. It contained within the brief span of its seven days one 
of those sudden and withering changes which try humanity more 
than the hardest winter, with which every Transatlantic weather- 
prophet threatened our island. The sultry heat of a tropical 
Tuesday was followed by the blighting east wind of a chilly 
Wednesday ; and in the teeth of that keen east wind, blowing 
across the German Ocean, and gathering force among the Pent- 
lands, Angus Hamleigh set forth from the cosy shelter of Hillside, 
upon a long day's salmon fishing. 

His old kinswoman's health had considerably improved since 
his arrival ; but she was not yet so entirely restored to her normal 
condition as to be willing that he should go back to London. Sho 
pleaded with him for a few days more, and in order that the days 
should not hang heavily on his hands, she urged him to make the 
most of his Scottish holiday by enjoying a day or two's salmon 
fishing. The first floods, which did not usually begin till August, 
had already swollen the river, and the grilse and early autumn 
salmon were running up ; according to Donald, the handy man 
who helped in the gardens, and who was a first-rate fisherman. 

' Let Me and my Passionate Love go by.' 123 

'There's all yourain tackle upstairs in one o' the presses,' said 
the old lady ; 'ye'll just find it ready to your hand.' 

The offer was tempting — Angus had found the long summer 
days pass but slowly in house and garden — albeit there was a 
library of good old classics. He so longed to be hastening back 
to Christabel — found the hours so empty and joyless without her. 
He was an ardent fisherman — loving that leisurely face-to-face 
contemplation of Nature which goes with rod and line. The 
huntsman sees the landscape flash past him like a dream of grey 
wintry beauty — it is no more to him than a picture in a gallery — 
he has rarely time to feel Nature's tranquil charms. Even when 
he must needs stand still for a while, he is devoured by impatience 
to be scampering off again, and to see the world in motion. But 
the angler has leisure to steep himself in the atmosphere of hill 
and streamlet — to take Nature's colours into his soul. Every 
angler ought to blossom into a landscape painter. But this 
salmon fishing was not altogether a dreamy and contemplative 
business. Quickness, presence of mind, and energetic action 
were needed at some stages of the sport. The moment came 
when Angus found his rod bending under the weight of a mag- 
nificent salmon, and when it seemed a toss up between landing 
his fish and being dragged under water by him. 

' J ump in,' cried Donald, excitedly, when the angler's line was 
nearly expended, ' it's only up to your neck.' So Angus jumped 
in, and followed the lightning-swift rush of the salmon down 
stream, and then, turning him after some difficulty, had to follow 
his prey up stream again, back to the original pool, where ho 
captured him, and broke the top of his eighteen-foot rod. 

Angus clad himself thiidy, because the almanack told him 
it was summer — he walked far and fast — overheated himself — 
waded for hours knee-deep in the river — his fishing-boots of 
three seasons ago far from watertight — ate nothing all day — and 
went back to Hillside at dusk, carrying the seeds of pneumonia 
under his oilskin jacket Next day he contrived to crawl about 
the gardens, reading 'Burton' in an idle desultory way that 
suited so desultory a book, longing for a letter from Christabel, 
and sorely tired of his Scottish seclusion. On the day after he 
was laid up with a sharp attack of inflammation of the lungs, 
attended by his aunt's experienced old doctor — a shrewd hard- 
headed Scotchman, contemporary with Simpson, Sibson, Fergusson 
■ — all the brightest lights in the Caledonian galaxy — and nurs6d 
by one of his aunt's old servants. 

While he was in this condition there came a letter from 
Christabel, a long letter, which he unfolded with eager trembling 
hands, looking for joy and comfort in its pages. But, as he read, 
his pallid cheek flushed with angry feverish carmine, and his 
ehort hard breathing grew shorter and harder 

124 Mount Royal. 

Yet the ietter expressed only tenderness. In tenderest words 
his betrothed reminded him of past wrong-doing, and urged upon 
him the duty of atonement. If this girl whom he had so 
passionately loved a little while ago was from society's standpoint 
■Juworthy to be his wife — it was he who had made her unworthi- 
ji ess — he w ho alone could redeem her from absolute shame and 
disgrace. ' All the world knows that you wronged her, let all the 
world know that you are glad to make such poor amends as may be 
made for that wrong,' wrote Christabel. ' I forgive you all the 
sorrow you have brought upon me : it was in a great measure my 
own fault. I was too eager to link my life with yours. I almost 
thrust myself upon you. I will revere and honour you all the 
days of my life, if you will do right in this hard crisis of our fate. 
Knowing -what I know I could never be happy as your wife : my 
soul would be wrung with jealous fears ; I should never feel 
secure of your love ; my life would be one long self -torment. It 
is with this conviction that I tell you our engagement is ended, 
Angus, loving you with all my heart. I have not come hurriedly 
to this resolution. It is not of anybody's prompting. I have 
prayed to my God for guidance. I have questioned my own 
heart, and I believe that 1 have decided wisely and well. And 
so farewell, dear love. May God and your conscience inspire 
you to do right. 

'Your ever constant friend, 

' Christabel Courtenay.' 
. Angus Hamleigh's first impulse was anger. Then came a 
softer feeling, and he saw all the nobleness of the womanly instinct 
that had prompted this letter: a good woman's profound pity for 
a fallen sister ; an innocent woman's readiness to see only the 
poetical aspect of a guilty love ; an unselfish woman's desire that 
right should be done, at any cost to herself. 

'God bless her!' he murmured, and kissed the letter before 
he laid it under his pillow. 

His next thought was to telegraph immediately to Christabel. 
He asked his nurse to bring him a telegraph form and a pencil, 
and with a shaking hand began to write : — 

' No ! a thousand times no. I owe no allegiance to any one 
but to you. There can be no question of broken faith with the 
person of whom you write. I hold you to your promise.' 

Scarcely had his feeble fingers scrawled the lines than he 
tore up the paper. 

' I will see the doctor first,' he thought. ' Am I a man to 
claim the fulfilment of a bright girl's promise of marriage 1 No, 
I'll f^et the doctor's verdict before I send her a word.' 

When the old family practitioner had finishe '. his soundings 
and questionings, Angus asked him to stop for a few minutes 

• Lid Me and my Passionate Love go by.' 125 

' Yon say I'm better this afternoon, and that you'll get me 
tfver this bout,' he said, ' and I believe you. But I want you tf 
«o a little further and tell me what you think of my case from a 
icneral point of view.' 

'Humph,' muttered the doctor, 'it isn't easy to say wind 
proportion of your seemptoms may" be temporary, and wnat 
paircnenent ; but ye've a vairy shabby pair of lungs at this 
praisent writing. "What's your family heestory V 

' My father died of consumption at thirty.' 

' Humph ! ainy other relative?' 

' My aunt, a girl of nineteen ; my father's mother, at seven- 

' Dear, dear, that's no vairy lively retrospaict. Is this your 
fairst attack of heernorrage ? ' 

1 Not by three or four.' 

The good old doctor shook his head. 

'Ye'll need to take extreme care of yourself,' he said: 'and 
ye'll no be for spending much of your life in thees country. Ye 
might do vairy weel in September and October at Rothsay or in 
the' Isle of Arran, but I'd recommaind ye to winter in the South.' 

' Do you think I shall be a long-lived man V 

' My dear sir, that'll depend on care and circumstances beyond 
human foresight. I couldn't conscientiously recommaind your 
life to an Insurance Office.' 

'Do you think that a man in my condition is justified in 

' Do ye want a plain answer 1 ' 

' The" plainest that you can give me.' 

' Then I tell you frankly that I think the marriage of a man 
with a marked consumptive tendency, like yours, is a crime — a 
crying sin, which is inexcusable in the face of modern science 
and modern enlightenment, and our advanced knowledge of the 
mainsprings of life and death. "What, sir, can it be less than a 
crime to bring into this world children burdened with an 
/ieredi.ary curse, destined to a heritage of weakness and pain- 
bright young minds fettered by diseased bodies — born to perish 
untimely? Mr. Hamleigh, did ye ever read a book called 
"EcceHomo? 5 " 

' Yes, it is a book of books. I know it by heart.' 

1 Then ye'll may be remaimber the writer's summing up of 
practical Chreestianity as a seestem of ethics which in its ultimate 
perfection will result in the happiness of the human race— even 
that la<t enemy, Death, if not subdued, may be made to keep his 
di.-tance, seemply by a due observance of natural laws — by an 
unselfish forethought and regard in each number of the human 
9pecies for the welfare of the multitude. The man who 1 econiea 
the father of a race of puny children, can be no friend to 

! _G Mount Royal. 

humanity. ITe prcdcoms future suffering to the innocent by .1 
reckless indulgence of his own inclination in the present.' 

' Yes, I believe you are right,' said Angus, with a despairing 
(Sigh. ' It seems a hard thing for a man who loves, and is be- 
loved by, the sweetest among women, to forego even for a few 
brief years of perfect bliss, and go down lonely to the grave — to 
accept this doctrine of renunciation, and count himself as one dead 
in life. Yet a year ago I told myself pretty much what you have 
told me to-day. I was tempted from my resolve by a woman's 
loving devotion — and now — a crucial point has come — and I must 
decide whether to marry or not.' 

' If you love humanity better than you love yourself, ye'll die 
a bachelor,' said the Scotchman, gravely, but with infinite pity 
in his shrewd old face ; ' ye've asked me for the truth, and I've 
geeven it ye. Truth is often hard.' 

Angus gave his thin hot hand to the doctor in token of friendly 
feeling, and then silently turned hii face to the wall, whereupon 
the doctor gently patted him upon the shoulder and left him. 

Yes, it was hard. In the bright spring time, his health won- 
drously restored by that quiet restful winter on the shores of the 
Mediterranean, Angus had almost believed that he had given his 
enemy the slip — that Death's dominion over him was henceforth 
to be no more than over the common ruck of humanity, who, 
knowing not when or how the fatal lot may fall from the urn, 
drop into a habit of considering themselves immortal, and death 
a calamity of which one reads in the newspapers with only 
a kindly interest in other people's mortality. All through the 
gay London season he had been so utterly happy, so wonderfully 
well, that the insidious disease, which had declared itself in the 
past by so many unmistakable symptoms, seemed to have relaxed 
its grip upon him. He began to have faith in an advanced 
medical science — the power to cure maladies hitherto considered 
incurable. That long interval of languid empty days and nights 
of placid sleep — the heavy sweetness of southern air breathing 
over the fields of orange flowers and violets, February roses and 
carnations, had brought strength and healing. The foe had been 
baffled by the new care which his victim had taken of an exist- 
ence that had suddenly become precious. 

This was the hope that had buoyed up Angus Hamleigh's 
spirits all through the happy spring-time and summer which he 
Lad spent in the company of his betrothed. He had seen the 
physician who less than a year before had pronounced his sentence 
of doom, and the famous physician, taking the thing in the light- 
hearted way of a man for whom humanity is a collection of 
1 cases,' was jocose and congratulatory, full of wonder at his 
patient's restoration, and taking credit to himself for having 
recommended Hyeres. And now the esern^ had him by the 

' Let Me and my Passionate Love go by.' 127 

Ihroat The foe, no longer insidiously hinting at his deadly 
meaning, held him in the tierce grip of pain and fever. Such an 
attack as this, following upon one summer day's imprudence, 
showed but too plainly by how frail a tie he clung to life — how 
brief and how prone to malady must be the remnant of his days. 
Before the post went out he re-read Christabel's letter, 
smiling mournfully as he read. 

' Poor child ! ' he murmured to himself, ' God bless her for 
her innocence — God bless her for her unselfish desire to do right. 
Jf she only knew the truth — but, better that she should be spared 
the knowledge of evil. What good end would it serve if I were 
to enter upon painful explanations V 

He had himself propped up with pillows, and wrote, in a 
hand which he strove to keep from shaking, the following 
lines : — 

' Dearest ! I accept your decree : not for the reasons which you 
allege, which are no reasons ; but for other motives which it 
would pain me too much to explain. I have loved you, I do love 
you, better than my own joy or comfort, better than my own 
life : and it is simply and wholly on that account I can resign 
myself to say, let us in the future be friends — and friends only. 
' Your ever affectionate 

'Angus Hamleigh.' 
He was so much better next day as to be able to sit up for an 
hour or two in the afternoon ; and during that time he wrote at 
length to Mrs. Tregonell, telling her of his illness, and of his 
conversation with the Scotch doctor, and the decision at which 
he had arrived on the strength of that medical opinion, and 
leaving her at liberty to tell Christabel as much, or as little of 
this, as she thought fit. 

' I know you will do what is best for my darling's happiness,' 
he said. 'If I did not believe this renunciation a sacred duty, 
and the only means of saving her from infinite pain in the future, 
nothing that she or even you could say about my past frolic? 
would induce me to renounce her. I would fight that question 
to the uttermost. But the other fatal fact is not to be faced, 
except by a blind and cowardly selfishness which I dare not 

After this day, the invalid mended slowly, and old Miss 
MacPherson, his aunt, being soon quite restored, Mr. Hamleigh 
telegraphed to his valet to bring books and other necessaries from 
his chambers in the Albany, and to meet him in the Isle of Arran, 
uhere he meant to vegetate for the next month or two, chartering 
a yacht of some kind, and living half on land and half on sea. 

128 Mount Royal. 



Angcts Hamleigh's letter came upon Christabel like a torrent 
of cold water, as if that bright silvery arc which pierces the rock 
at St. Nectan's Kieve had struck upon her heart with its icj 
stream, and chilled it into stone. All through that long summer 
day upon which her letter must arrive at Hillside, she had lived 
in nervous expectation of a telegram expressing indignation, 
remonstrance, pleading, anger — a savage denial of her right to 
renounce her lover — to break her engagement. She had made 
up her mind in all good faith. She meant to go on to the bitter 
end, in the teeth of her lover's opposition, to complete her renun- 
ciation in favour of that frail creature who had so solemn a 
claim upon Angus Hamleigh's honour. She meant to fight this 
good fight — but she expected that the struggle would be hard 
Oh, how long and dismal those summer hours seemed, which she 
spent in her own room, trying to read, trying to comfort herself 
with the saddest strains of classic melody, and always and through 
all listening for the telegraph boy's knock at the hall door, or for 
the sudden stopping of a hansom against the kerb, bringing home 
her lover to remonstrate in person, in defiance of all calculations 
of time and space. 

There was no telegram. She had to wait nearly twenty-four 
hours for the slow transit of the mails from the high latitude of 
Inverness. And when she read Angus Hamleigh's letter — those 
few placid words which so quietly left her free to take her own 
way — her heart sank with a dull despair that was infinitely 
worse than the keen agonies of the last few days. The finality 
of that brief letter — the willingness to surrender her — the cold 
indifference, as it seemed, to her future fate — was the hardest 
blow of all. Too surely it confirmed all those humiliating 
doubts which had tortured her since her discovery of that 
wretched past. He had never really cared for her. It was she 
who had forced him into an avowal of affection by her uncon- 
scious revelation of love — she who, unmaidenly in her ignorance 
of life and mankind, had been the wooer rather than the wooed. 

'Thank God that my pride and my duty helped me to decide,' 
she said to herself : ' what should I have done if I had married 
him and found out afterwards how weak a hold I had upon his 
heart — if he had told me one day that he had married me out of 

Christabel told Mrs. Tregonell she had written to Mr. 
Hamleigh— she spoke of him only as Mr. Hamleigh now— and 
had received his reply,, and that all was now over between them. 

'Alas for Me then, my Good Days are Done.' 129 

•I want you to return his presents for me, Auntie,' she said. 
1 They are too valuable to be sent to his chambers while he fc 
away— the diamond necklace -which he gave me on my birthday 
— just like that one I saw on the stage — I suppose he thinks all 
vvomen have exactly the same ideas and fancies — the books 
too—I w ill put them all together for you to return.' 

' He has given you a small library,' said Mrs. Tregonell. ' I 
will take the things in the carriage, and see that they are 
properly delivered. Don't be afraid, darling. You shall have 
no trouble about them. My own dear girl— how brave and good 
vou are— how wise too. Yes, Belle, I am convinced that you 
Lave chosen wisely,' said the widow, with the glow of honest 
conviction, for the woof of self-interest is so cunningly inter- 
woven with the warp of righteous feeling that very few of us 
can tell where the threads cross. 

She drew her niece to her heart, and kissed her, and cried 
with her a little ; and then said cheeringly, ' And now tell me, 
darling, what you would like to do 1 We have ever so many 
engagements for this week and the next fortnight— but you 
know that they have been made only for your sake, and if you 
don't care about them ' 

' Care about them ! Oh, Auntie, do you think I could go into 
society wiih this dull aching pain at my heart ; I feel as if I 
should never care to see my fellow-creatures again— except vou 
and Jessie.' 

And Leonard,' said the mother. ' Poor Leonard, who 
could go through fire and water for you.' 

Christabel winced, feeling fretfully that she did not want an j 
one to go through fire and water ; a kind of acrobatic perform- 
ance continually being volunteered by people who would hesitate 
at the loan of five pounds. 

' Were shall we go, dear ? Would you not like to go abroad 
for the Autumn— Switzerland, or Italy, for instance V suggested 
Mr3. Tregonell, with an idea that three months on the Continent 
was a specific in such cases. 

' No,' said Christabel, shudderingly, remembering how Angus 
and his frail first love had been happy together in Italy— oh, 
those books, those books, with their passionate record of past 
joys, those burning lines from Byron and Heine, which expressed 
such a world of feeling in ten syllables— ' No, I would ever so 
much rather go back to Mount Boyal.' 

1 My poor child, the place is so associated with Mr. Hamleigh. 
Vou would be thinking of him every hour of the day.' 

' I shall do that anywhere.' 

' Change of scene would be so much better for you — travelling 

' Au?>tie, you are not strong enough to travel with comfort to 


130 Mount Boyal. 

yourself. I am not going to drag you about for a fanciful allev ia- 
tion of my sorrow. The landscape may change but not the 
m ind — I should think of — the past — just as much on Mont Blanc 
as on Willapark. No, dearest, let us go home ; let me go back 
to the old, old life, as it was before I saw Mr. Haiuleigh. Oh, 
what a child I was in those dear days, how happy, how happy.' 
She burst into tears, melted by the memory of those placid 
days, the first tears she had shed since she received her lover's 

' And you will be happy again, dear. Don't you remember 
that passage I read to you in " The Caxtons " a few days ago, 
in which the wise tender-hearted father teli- his son how small a 
space one great sorrow takes in a life, and how triumphantly the 
life soars on beyond it 1 ?' 

' Yes, I remember ; but I didn't believe him then, and I be- 
lieve him still less now,' answered Christabel, doggedly. 

Major Bree called that afternoon, and found Mrs. Tregonell 
alone in the drawing-room. 

' Where is Belle ? ' he asked. 

' She has gone for a long country ride — I insisted upon it.' 

'You were quite right. She was looking as white as 
a ghost yesterday when I just caught a glimpse of her in the 
next room. She ran away like a guilty thing when she saw me. 
Well, has this cloud blown over ? Is Hamleigh back 1 ' 

' No ; Christabel's engagement is broken oft'. It has been a 
great blow, a severe trial ; but now it is over I am glad ; she 
never could have been happy with him.' 

' How do you know that 1 ' asked the Major, sharply. 

' I judge him by his antecedents. What could be expected 
from a man who had led that kind of life — a man who so grossly 
deceived her 1 ' 

1 Deceived her ? Did she ask him if he had ever been in love 
with an actress 1 Did she or you ever interrogate him as to his 
past life 1 Why you did not even question me, or I should have 
been obliged to tell you all I knew of his relations with Miss 

' You ought to have told me of your own accord. You should 
not have waited to be questioned,' said Mrs. Tregonell, indig- 

' Why should I stir dirty water 1 Do you suppose that every 
jnan who makes a good husband and lives happily with his wife 
has been spotless up to the hour of his marriage ? There is a 
Sturm und Bra/iig period in every man's life, depend upon it 
Far better that the tempest should rage before marriage than 

' I can't accept your philosophy, nor could Christabel. She 
took the business into her own hands, bravely, nobly. She has 

• Grief a fixed Star, and Joy a Vane that veers. 131 

cancelled her engagement, and left Mr. Hamleigh free to make 
some kind of reparation to this actress person.' 

' Separation !— to Stella Mayne ? Why don't you know 
that she is the mistress of Colonel Luscomb, who has ruined his 
social and professional prospects for her sake. Do you mean to 
say that old harpy who gave you your information about Angus 
did not give you the epilogue to the play ? ' 

' Not a word,' said Mrs. Tregonell, considerably dashed by 
this intelligence. ' But I don't see that this fact alters the case- 
much. Christabel could never have been happy or at peace with 
a man who had once been devoted to a creature of that class.' 

' Would you be surprised to hear that creatures of that class 
are flesh and blood ; and that they love us and leave us, and 
cleave to us and forsake us, just like the women in society ? ' 
asked the Major, surveying her with mild scorn. 

She was a good woman, no doubt, and acted honestly accord- 
ing to her lights ; yet he was angry with her, believing that she 
had spoiled two lives by her incapacity to take a wide and 
liberal view of the human comedy. 


'grief a fixed star, and jot a vane that veers.' 

They went back to the Cornish moors, and the good old manor- 
house on the hill above the sea ; went back to the old life, just 
the same, in all outward seeming, as it had been before that 
fatal visit which had brought love and sorrow to Christabel. 
How lovely the hills looked in the soft summer light ; how un- 
speakably fair the sea in all its glory of sapphire and emerald, 
and those deep garnet-coloured patches which show where the 
red sea- weed lurks below, with its pinnacles of rock and colonies 
of wild living creatures, gull and cormorant, basking in the sun. 
Little Boscastle, too, gay with the coming and going of many 
tourists, the merry music of the guard's horn, as the omnibus 
came jolting down the hill from Bodmin, or the coach wound up 
the hilt to Bude ; busy with the bustle of tremendous experi- 
ments with rockets and life-saving apparatus in the soft July 
darkness ; noisy with the lowing of cattle and plaintive tremolo 
of sheep in the market-place, and all the rude pleasures of a 
rural fair; alive with all manner of sound and movement, and 
having a general air of making money too fast for the capability 
of investment. The whole place was gorged with visitors — not 
the inn only, but every available bed-chamber at post-office, shop, 
and cottage was filled with humanity ; and the half-dozen or so 

132 Mount Royal. 

available pony-carriages were making the journey to Tintagel 
and back three times a day ; while the patient investigators who 
tramped to St. Nectan's Kieve, without the faintest idea of who 
St. Nectan was, or what a kieve was, or what manner of local 
curiosity they were going to see, were legion ; all coming back 
ravenous to the same cozy inn to elbow one another in friendly 
contiguity at the homely table d'hote, in the yellow light of many 

Chris tabel avoided the village as much as possible during this 
gay season. She would have avoided it just as much had it been 
the dull season : the people she shrank from meeting were not 
the strange tourists, but the old gaffers and goodies who had 
known her all their lives — the 'uncles' and 'aunts' — (in 
Cornwall uncle and aunt are a kind of patriarchal title given to 
honoured age) — and who might consider themselves privileged 
to ask why her wedding was deferred, and when it was to be. 

She went with Jessie on long lonely expeditions by sea and 
land. She had half a dozen old sailors who were her slaves, 
always ready to take her out in good weather, deeming it their 
highest privilege to obey so fair a captain, and one who always 
paid them handsomely for their labour. They went often to 
Trebarwith Sands, and sat there in some sheltered nook, working 
and reading at peace, resigned to a life that had lost all its 
brightness and colour. 

' Do you know, Jessie, that I feel like an old maid of fifty?' 
said Belle on one of those rare occasions when she spoke of her 
own feelings. ' It seems to me as if it were ages since I made 
up my mind to live and die unmarried, and to make life, some- 
how or other, self-sufficing — as if Randie and I were both 
getting old and grey together. For he is ever so much greyer, 
the dear thing,' she said, laying her hand lovingly on the honest 
black head and grey muzzle. ' What a pity that dogs should 
grow old so soon, when we are so dependent on their love. Why 
are they not like elephants, in whose lives a decade hardly 
counts 1 ' 

1 Oh, Belle, Belle, as if a beautiful woman of twenty could be 
dependent on a sheep-dog's affection — when she has all her life 
before her and all the world to choose from.' 

' Perhaps you think 1 could change my lover as some people 
change their dogs,' said Belle, bitterly, ' be deeply attached to a 
colley this year and next year be just as devoted to a spaniel. 
My affections are not so easily transferable.' 

Mrs. Tregonell had told her niece nothing of Angus 
Hamleigh's final letter to herself. He had given her freedom to 
communicate as much or as little of that letter as she liked to 
Christabel— and she had taken the utmost license, and had been 
altogether silent about it What good could it do fo;" Christabel 

1 Grief a Fixed Star, and Joy a Vane that veers.' 133 

to hear of Ms illness. The knowledge might inspire her to some 
wild quixotic act ; she might insist upon devoting herself to him 
— to be his wife in order that she might be his nurse — and surely 
this would be to ruin her life without helping him to prolong hi*:. 
The blow had fallen — the sharpest pain of this sudden sorrow had 
been suffered. Time and youth, and Leonard's faithful love would 
bring swift healing. 'How I loved and grieved for his father,' 
thought Mrs. Tregonell, ' Yet I survived his loss, and had a 
peaceful happy life with the best and kindest of men.' 

A peaceful happy life, yes — the English matron's calm content 
in a handsome house and a well organized household— a good 
stable — velvet gowns — family diamonds — the world's respect. 
But that first passionate love of youth — the love that is eager for 
self-sacrifice, that would welcome beggary — the love which sees 
a lover independent of all surrounding circumstances, worship- 
ping and deifying the man himself — that sacred flame had been 
for ever extinguished in Diana Champernowne's heart before she 
met burly broad-shouldered Squire Tregonell at the county ball. 

She wrote to Leonard telling him what had happened, and 
that he might now count on the fulfilment of that hope which 
they both had cherished years ago. She asked him to come 
home at once, but to be careful that he approached Christabel 
only in a friendly and cousinly character, until there had been 
ample time for these new wounds to heal. 

' She bears her trouble beautifully, and is all goodness and 
devotion to me — for I have been weak and ailing ever since I 
came from London — but I know the trial is very hard for her. 
The house would be more cheerful if you were at home. You 
might ask one or two of your Oxford friends. No one goes into 
the billiard-room now. Mount Eoyal is as quiet as a prison. 
If you do not come soon, dear boy, I think we shall die of 

Mr. Tregonell did not put himself out of the way to comply 
with his loving mother's request. By the time the widow's letter 
reached him he had made his jjlans for the winter, and was not 
disposed to set them aside in order to oblige a lady who was 
only a necessary detail in his life. A man must needs have a 
mother ; and, as mothers go, Mrs. Tregonell had been harmless 
and inoffensive ; but she was not the kind of person for whom 
Leonard would throw over elaborate sporting arrangements, 
hired guides, horses, carts, and all the paraphernalia needful for 
Red River explorations. As for Christabel, Mr. Tregonell had 
not forgiven her for having set another man in the place which 
he, her cousin and boyish loyish lover in a rough tryannica) way, 
had long made up his mind to occupy. The fact that she had 
broken with the man was a redeeming feature in the case ; but 
Ije was not goincj into raptures about it ; nor was he disposed tq 

134 Mount Royal. 

return to Mount Royal while she was still moping and regretting 
the discarded lover. 

' Let her get over the doldrums, and then she and I may be 
friends again,' said Leonard to his boon companion, Jack 
Vandeleur, not a friend of his University days, but an acquain- 
tance picked up on board a Cunard steamer — son of a half-pay 
naval captain, a man who had begun life in a line regiment, 
fought in Afghanistan, sold out, and lived by his wits and upon 
his friends for the last five years. He had made himself so use- 
ful to Mr. Tregonell by his superior experience as a traveller, his 
pluck and knowledge of all kinds of sport, that he had been able 
to live at free quarters with that gentleman from an early stage 
of their acquaintance. 

Thus it was that Christabel was allowed to end the year in 
quietness and peace. Every one was tender and gentle with her, 
knowing how keenly she must have suffered. There was much 
disappointment among her country friends at the sorry ending 
of her engagement ; more especially among those who had been 
in London during the season, and had seen the lovely Cornish 
debutante in her brief day of gladness. No one hinted a question 
to Christabel herself. The subject of marrying and giving in 
marriage was judiciously avoided in her presence. But Mrs. 
Tregonell had been questioned, and had explained briefly that 
certain painful revelations concerning Mr. Hamleigh's antecedents 
had constrained Christabel to give him up. Every one said it 
was a pity. Poor Miss Courtenay looked ill and unhappy. 
Surely it would have been wiser to waive all question of ante- 
cedents, and to trust to that sweet girl's influence for keeping 
Mr. Hamleigh straight in the future. ' Antecedents, indeed,' 
exclaimed a strong-minded matron, with live marriageable 
daughters. ' It is all very well for a young woman like Miss 
Courtenay — an only child, with fifteen hundred a year in her own 
light — to make a fuss about a youug man's antecedents. But 
what would become of my five girls if I were to look at things 
so closely.' Christabel looked at the first column of the Times 
supplement daily to see if there were the advertisement of Angus 
Hamleigh's marriage with Stella Mayne. She was quite prepared 
to read such an announcement. Surely, now that she had set 
him free, he would make this act of atonement, he, in all whose 
sentiments she had perceived so nice a sense of honour. But no 
such advertisement appeared. It was possible, however, that the 
marriage had taken place without any public notification. Mr. 
Hamleigh might not care to call the world to witness his repara- 
tion. She prayed for him daily and nightly, praying that he 
might be led to do that which was best for his soul's welfare 
— for his peace here and hereafter — praying that his days, whether 
few or many, should be made happy. 

' Grief a Fixed Star, and Joy a Vane that veers.' 13-b 

There were times when that delicate reticence which made 
Angus Hamleigh's name a forbidden sound upon the lips of her 
friends, was a source of keenest pain to Christabel. It woidd 
have been painful to her to hear that name lightly spoken, no 
doubt ; but this dull dead silence was worse. One day it Hashed 
upon her that if he were to die nobody would tell her of his 
death. Kindred and friends would conspire to keep her un- 
informed. After this she read the list of deaths in the Times 
as eagerly as she read the marriages, but with an agony of 
fear lest that name, if written in fire, should leap out upon the 

At last this painful sense of uncertainty as to the fate of 
one who , a few months ago, had been a part of her lif e, became 
unend arable. Pride withheld her from questioning her aunt 
or Jessie. She shrank from seeming small and mean in the sight 
of her own sex. She had made her sacrifice of her own accord, 
and there was a poverty of character in not being able to 
maintain the same Spartan courage to the end. But from Major 
Bree, the friend and playfellow of her childhood, the indulgent 
companion of her youth, she could better bear to accept pity — 
so, one mild afternoon in the beginning of October, when the 
Major dropped in at his usual hour for tea and gossip, she took 
him to see the chrysanthemums, in a house on the further side 
of the lawn ; and here, having assured herself there was no 
gardener within hearing, she took courage to question him. 

' Uncle Oliver,' she began, falteringly, trifling with the 
fringed petals of a snowy blossom, ' I want to ask you some- 

' My dear, I think you must know that there is nothing in 
the world I would not do for you.' 

' I am sure of that ; but this is not very difficult. It is only 
to answer one or two questions. Every one here is very good to 
me — but they make one mistake : they think becaused have broken 
for ever — with — Mr. Hamleigh, that it can do me no good to know 
anything about him — that I can go on living and being happy, 
while I am as ignorant of his fate as if we were inhabitants of 
different planets. But they forget that after having been all 
the work! to me he cannot all at once become nothing. I have 
still some faint interest in his fate. It hurts me like an actual 
pain not to know whether he is alive or dead,' she said, with a 
sudden sol). 

' My poor pet !' murmured the Major, taking her hand in 
both liia own. 'Have you heard nothing about him since you 
left London?' 

'Not one word. People make believe that there was nevei 
any such person in this world.' 

' They think it wiser to do so, in the hope you will forcfef him.' 

136 Mount Boyal. 

1 They might as well hope that I shall become a blackamoor, 1 
said Christabel, scornfully. ' You have more knowledge of the 
human heart, Uncle Oliver — and you must know that I shall 
always remember him. Tell me the truth about him just 
this once, and I will not mention his name again for a long, 
long time. He is not dead, is he 1 ' 

' Dead ! no, Belle. What put such a notion into your head 1 ' 

1 Silence always seems like death ; and every one has kept 
silence about him.' 

' He was ill while he was in Scotland — a touch of the old 
complaint. I heard of him at Plymouth the other day, from a 
yachting man who met him in the Isle of Arran, after his 
illness — he was all right then, I believe.' 

' 111 — and I never knew of it — dangerously ill, perhaps.' 

' I don't suppose it was anything very bad. He had been 
yachting when my Plymouth acquaintance met him.' 

' He has not married — that person,' faltered ChristabeL 

' What person 1 ' 

'Miss Mayne.' 

'Good heavens, no, my dear — nor ever will,' 

'But he ought — it is his duty.' 

' My dear child, that is a question which I can hardly discuss 
with you. But I may tell you, at least, that there is an all- 
sufficient reason why Angus Hamleigh would never make such 
an idiot of himself.' 

'Do you mean that she could never be worthy of him — that 
she is irredeemably wicked ?' asked Christabel. , 

' She is not good enough to be any honest man's wife.' 

'And yet she did not seem wicked ; she spoke of him with 
such intense feeling.' 

' She seemed — she spoke ! ' repeated the Major aghast. ' Do 
you mean to tell me that you have seen — that you have conversed 
with her ? ' 

' Yes : when my aunt told me the story which she heard 
from Lady Cumberbridge I could not bring myself to believe it 
until it was confirmed by Miss Mayne's own lips. I made up 
my mind that I would go and see her — and I went. Was that 
wrong 1 ' 

' Very wrong. You ought not to have gone near her. If 
you wanted to know more than common rumour could tell you, 
you should have sent me — your friend. It was a most unwise 

'I thought I was doing my duty. I think so still,' said 
Christabel, looking at him with frank steadfast eyes. ' We are 
both women. If we stand far apart it is because Providence 
has given me many blessings which were withheld from her. 
It is Mr. Hamleigh's duty to repair the wrong he has done. If 

1 Grief a Fixed Star, and Joy a Vane that veers.- 137 

he does not he must be answerable to his Maker for the 
eternal ruin of a soul.' 

'I teR you again, my dear, that you do not understand 
the circumstances, and cannot fairly judge the case. You 
would have done better to take an old soldier's advice before 
you let the venomous gossip of that malevolent harridan spoil 
two lives.' 

'I did not allow myself to be governed by Lady Cumbsr- 
bridge's gossip, Uncle Oliver. I took nothing for granted. It 
was not till I had heard the truth from Miss Mayne's lips that 
I took any decisive step. Mr. Hamleigh accepted my resolve so 
readily that I can but think it was a welcome release.' 

' My dear, you went to a queer shop for truth. If you had 
only known your way about town a little better you would have 
thought twice before you sacrificed your own happiness in the 
hope of making Miss Mayne a respectable member of society. 
But what's done cannot be undone. There's no use in crying 
over spilt milk. I daresay you and Mr. Hamleigh will meet ag tin 
and make up your quarrel before we are a year older. In the 
meantime don't fret, Belle — and don't be afraid that he will ever 
marry any one but you. I'll be answerable for his constancy.' 

The anniversary of Christabel's betrothal came round, St. 
Luke's Day — a grey October day — with a drizzling West-country 
rain. She went to church alone, for her aunt was far from well, 
and Miss Bridgeman stayed at home to keep the invalid com- 
pany — to read to her and cheer her through the long dull 
morning. Perhaps they both felt that Christabel would rather 
be alone on this day. She put on her waterproof coat, took 
her dog with her, and started upon that wild lonely walk to 
the church in the hollow of the hills. Bandie was a beast of 
perfect manners, and would lie quietly in the porch all through 
the service, waiting for his mistress. 

She knelt alone just where they two had knelt together. 
Thare was the humble altar before which they were to have 
been married ; the rustic shrine of which they had so often 
spoken as the fittest place for a loving union — fuller of tender 
meaning than splendid St. 'George's, with its fine oaken panel- 
ling, painted windows, and Hogarthian architecture. Never at 
that altar nor at any other were they two to kneel. A little 
year had held all — her hopes and fears — her triumphant love — 
joy beyond expression — and sadness too deep for tears. She 
went over the record as she knelt in the familiar pew — her 
lips moving automatically, repeating the responses — her eyes 
fixed and tearless. 

Then when the service was over she went slowly wandering 
in and out among the graves, looking at the grey slate tablets, 
with the names of those whom she had known in life, all at 

138 Mount Royal. 

rest now — old people who li;ul sulFered long and patiently before 
they died — a fair young girl who had died of consumption, and 
whose sufferings had been sharper than those of age — a sailor 
who had gone out to a ship with a rope one desperate night, 
and had given his life to save others — all at rest now. 

There was no grave being dug to-day. She remembered 
how, as &he and Angus lingered at the gate, the dull sound of 
the earth thrown from the grave; ligger's spade had mixed with 
the joyous song of the robin perched on the gate. To-day there 
ivas neither gravedigger nor robin — only the soft drip, drip of 
the rain on dock and thistle, fern and briony. She had the 
churchyard all to herself, the dog following her about meekly, 
crawling over grassy mounds, winding in and out among the 
long wet grass. 

' When I die, if you have the ordering of my funeral, be 
sure I am buried in Minster Churchyard.' 

That is what Angus had said to her one summer morning, 
when they were sitting on the Maidenhead coach ; and even 
West-End London, and a London Park, looked lovely in the 
clear June light. Little chance now that she would be called 
upon to choose his resting-place — that her 1 sands would fold his 
in their last meek attitude of submission to the universal 

' Perhaps he will spend his life in Italy, where no one will 
know his wife's history,' thought Christabel, always believing, 
in spite of Major Bree's protest, that her old lover would sooner 
or later make the one possible atonement for an old sin 
Nobody except the Major had told her how little the lady 
deserved that such atonement should be made. It was Mrs. 
Tregonell's theory that a well-brought up young woman should 
be left in darkest ignorance of the darker problems of life. 

Christabel walked across the hill, and down by narrow 
winding ways into the valley, where the river, swollen and 
turbid after the late rains, tumbled noisily over rock and root 
and bent the long reeds upon its margin. She crossed the 
narrow footbridge, and went slowly through the level fields 
between two long lines of hills — a gorge through which, in bleak 
weather, the winds blew fiercely. There was another hill to 
ascend before she reached the field that led to Pentargon Bay 
— half a mile or so of high road between steep banks and tall 
unkempt hedges. How short and easy to climb that hill had 
seemed to her in Angus Hamleigh's company ! Now she 
walked wearily and slowly under the softly falling rain, won- 
dering where he was, and whether he remembered this day. 

She could recall every word that he had spoken, and the 
memory was full of pain ; for in the light of her new knowledge 
it seemed to her that all he had said about his early doom had 

• Grief a Fixed Star, and Joy a Vane that veers.' 139 

been an argument intended to demonstrate to her why he dared 
not ami must not ask her to be his wife — an ipologv and an 
explanation as it were — and this apology, this explanation had 
been made necessary by her own foolishness — by that fatal for- 
getfulness of self-respect which had allowed her love to reveal 
itself. And yet, surely that look of rapture which had shone in 
his eyes as he clasped her to his heart, as he accepted the dedica- 
tion of her young life, those tender tones, and all the love that 
had come afterwards could not have been entirely falsehood. 

• I cannot believe that he was a hypocrite,' she said, standing 
where they two had sat side by side in the sunlight of that 
lovely day, gazing at the grey sea, smooth as a lake under the 
low grey sky. ' I think he must have loved me — unwillingly, 
perhaps — but it was true love while it lasted. He gave his first 
and best love to that other — but he loved me too. If I had 
dared to believe him — to trust in my power to keep him. But 
no ; that would have been to confirm him in wrong-doing. H 
was his duty to marry the girl he wronged.' 

The thought that her sacrifice had been made to principle 
rather than to feeling sustained her in this hour as nothing elso 
could have done. If she could only know where he was, and 
how he fared, and wdiat he meant to do with his future life, she 
could be happier, she thought. 

Luncheon was over when Christabel went back to Mount 
Royal ; but as Mrs. Tregonell was too ill to take anything 
beyond a cup of beef tea in her own room, this fact was of no 
consequence. The mistress of Mount Royal had been declining 
visibly since her return to Cornwall ; Mr, Treherne, the family 
doctor, told Christabel there was no cause for alarm, but he 
hinted also that her aunt was not likely to be a long-lived woman 

' I'm afraid she worries herself,' he said ; c she is too anxious 
about that scapegrace son of hers.' 

'Leonard is very cruel,' answered Christabel ; ' he lets weeks 
and even months go by without writing, and that makes his poor 
mother miserable. She is perpetually worrying herself about 
imaginary evils — storm and shipwreck, runaway horses, ex- 
plosions on steamboats.' 

'If she would but remember a vulgar adage, that "Nought 
is never in danger," muttered the doctor, with whom Leonard had 
been no favourite. 

'And then she has frightful dreams about him,' said 

' My dear Miss Courtenay, I know all about it,' answered Mr. 
Treherne; 'your dear aunt is Justin that comfortable position 
of life in which a woman must woiry herself about something or 
other. " Man was born to trouble," don't you know, my dear ( 
The people who haven't real cares are constrained to invent sham 

140 Mount Boyal. 

ones. Look at King Solomon — did you ever read any book that 
breathes such intense melancholy in every lino as that little 
work of his called Ecclesiastes 1 Solomon was living in the lap of 
luxury when he wrote that little book, and very likely hadn't a 
trouble in this world. However, imaginary cares can kill as 
well a3 the hardest realities, so you must try to keep up your 
aunt's spirits, and at the same time be sure that she doesn't over- 
exert herself. She has a weak heart — what we call a tired heart.' 

' Does that mean heart-disease ?' faltered Christabel, with a 
despairing look 

' Well, my dear, it doesn't mean a healthy heart. It is not 
organic disease — nothing wrong with the valves — no fear of 
excruciating pains — but it's a rather risky condition of life, and 
needs care.' 

' I will be careful,' murmured the girl, with white lips, as the 
awful shadow of a grief, hardly thought of till this moment, 
fell darkly across her joyless horizon. 

Her aunt, her adopted mother — mother in all sweetest care 
and love and thoughtful culture — might too soon be taken from 
her. Then indeed, and then only, could she kuow what it was 
to be alone. Keenly, bitterly, she thought how little during the 
last dismal months she had valued that love — almost as old as 
her life — and how the loss of a newer love had made the world 
desolate for her, life without meaning or purpose. She re- 
membered how little more than a year ago — before the coming 
of Angus Hamleigh — her aunt and she had been all the world 
to each other, that tender mother-love all sufficing to fill her life 
with interest and delight. 

In the face of this new fear that sacred love resumed its old 
place in her mind. Not for an hour, not for a moment of the 
days to come, should her care or her affection slacken. Not for 
a moment should the image of him whom she had loved and 
renounced come between her and her duty to her aunt. 


'love will have nis day.' 

From this time Christabel brightened and grew more like 
her old self. Mrs. Tregonell told herself that the sharp 
sorrow was gradually wearing itself out. No girl with 
euch happy surroundings as Christabel's could go on being 
unhappy for ever. Her own spirits improved with Christabel's 
increasing brightness, and the old house began to lose its dismal 
air. Until now the widow's conscience had been ill at ease — 
she had been perpetually arguing with herself that she had done 
right — trying to stifle doubts that continually renewed them- 

% Love will have his day.' 141 

vives. But now she told herself that the time of sorrow wag 

East, and that her wisdom would be justified by its fruits. She 
ad no suspicion that her niece was striving of set purpose to be 
cheerful — that these smiles and this bright girlish talk were the 
result of painful effort, duty triumphing over sorrow. 

Mount Royal that winter seemed one of the brightest, most 
hospitable houses in the neighbourhood. There'were no parties ; 
Mrs. Tregonell'a delicate health was a reason against that. But 
there was generally some one staying in the house — some nice 
girl, whose vivacious talk and whose new music helped to beguile 
the mother from sad thoughts about her absent son — from 
wearying doubts as to the fulfilment of her plans for the future. 
There were people coming and going ; old friends driving 
twenty miles to luncheon, and sometimes persuaded to stay to 
dinner ; nearer neighbours walking three miles or so to afternoon 
tea. The cheery rector of Trevalga and his family, friends of 
twenty years' standing, were frequent guests. Mis. Tregonell was 
not allowed to excite herself, but she was never allowed to be 
dull. Christabel and Jessie watched her with unwavering 
attention — anticipating every wish, preventing every fatigue. A 
weak and tired heart might hold out for a long time under such 
tender treatment. 

But early in March there came an unexpected trial, in the 
Bhap<i of a sudden and great joy. Leonard, who had never 
learnt the rudiments of forethought and consideration for others, 
drove up to the house one afternoon in an hired chaise from 
Launceston, just as twilight was creeping over the hills, and 
dashed unannounced into the room where his mother and the 
two girls were sitting at tea. 

' Who is this 1 ' gasped Mrs. Tregonell, starting up from 
her low easy *.hair, as the tall broad-shouldered man. bearded, 
bronzed, clad in a thick grey coat and big white muffler, stood 
before her ; and then with a shriek she cried, ' My son ! My 
son ! ' and fell upon his breast. 

When he placed her in a chair a minute later she was almost 
fainting, and it was some moments before she recovered speech, 
(..'hiistabel and Jessie thought the shock would have killed her. 

'Oh, Leonard! how could you?' murmured Christabel, 

' How could I do what ? ' 

' Come home without one word of notice, knowing your 
mother's delicate health.' 

' I thought it would be a pleasant surprise for her. Besides 
I hadn't made up my mind to come straight home till two 
o'clock to day. I had half a mind to take a week in town first, 
before I came to this God-forsaken hole. You stare at me as if 
1 had no right to be here at all. Belle.' 

142 Mount Royal. 

' Leonard, my boy, my boy,' faltered the mother, with pale lips, 
looking up adoringly at the bearded face, so weather-beaten, so 
1 1 mlened and altered from the fresh lines of youth. 'If you 
knew how I have longed for this hour. I have had such fears. You 
have been in such perilous places — among savages — in all kinda 
of danger. Often and often I have dreamt that I saw you dead. 

' Upon my soul, this is a lively welcome,' said Leonard. 

' My dearest, I don't want to be dismal,' said Mrs. Tregonell, 
with a faint hysterical laugh. Her heart was beating tumul- 
luously, the hands that clasped her son's were cold and damp. 
' My soul is full of joy. How changed you are dear ! You 
look as if you had gone through great hardships.' 

' Life in the Rockies isn't all child's play, mother, but we've 
had a jolly time of it, on the whole. America is a magnificent 
country. I feel deuced sorry to come home — except for the 
pleasure of seeing you and Belle. Let's have a look at you 
Belle, and see if you are as much changed as I am. Step into 
•die light, young lady.' 

He drew her into the full broad light of a heaped-up wood 
and coal fire. There was very little daylight in the room. The 
tapestry curtains fell low over the heavily mullioned Tudor win- 
dows, and inside the tapestry there was a screen of soft muslin. 

'I have not been shooting moose and skunk, or living in a 
tent,' said Christabel, with a forced laugh. She wanted to be 
amiable to her cousin — wished even to like him, but it went 
against the grain. She wondered if he had always been as 
hateful as this. ' You can't expect to find much difference in 
me after three years' vegetation in Cornwall.' 

'But you've not been vegetating all the time, said Leonard, 
looking her over as coolly as if she had been a horse. ' You 
have had a season in London. I saw your name in some of the 
gossiping journals, when I was last at Montreal. You wore a 
pink gown at Sandown. You were one of the prettiest girls at 
the Royal Fancy fair. You wore white and tea roses at the 
Marlborough House garden party. You have been shining in 
high places, Mistress Belle. I hope it has not spoiled you for a 
country life.' 

' I love the country better than ever. I can vouch for that.' 

' And you have grown ever so much handsomer since I sa<r 
you last. I can vouch for that,' answered her cousin with hi* 
free and easy air. ' How d'ye do, Miss Bridgeman ? ' he said, 
holding out two fingers to his mother's companion, whoso 
presence he had until this moment ignored. 

Jessie remembered Thackeray's advice, and gave the squire 
one finger in return for his two. 

1 You're not altered,' he said, looking at her with a steady 
stare. ' You're the hard-wearing sort, warranted fast colour,' 

' Love will have Ms clay* 14$ 

'Give Leonard some tea, Jessie,' said Mrs. Tregonell. ' I'm 
sure you would like some tea? 5 looking lovingly at the tall 
figure, the hard handsome face. 

'I'd rather have a brandy-and-soda,' answered Leonard, 
carelessly, ' but I don't mind a cup of tea presently, when I've 
been and had a look round the stables and kennels.' 

' Oh, Leonard ! surely not yet ?' said Mrs. Tregonell. 

' Not yet ! "Why, I've been in the house ten minutes, and 

you may suppose I want to know how my hunters have been 

•getting on in the last three years, and whether the colt Nicholls 

bred is good for anything. I'll just take a hurried look round 

and be back again slick.' 

Mrs. Tregonell sighed and submitted. What could she do 
but submit to a son who had had his own way and followed his 
own pleasure ever since he could run alone ; nay, had roared 
and protested loudly at every attack upon his liberty when he 
was still in the invertebrate jelly-fish stage of existence, carried 
at full length in his nurse's arms, with his face turned to the 
ceiling, perpetually contemplating that flat white view of indoor 
existence which must needs have a depressing influence upon 
the meditations of infancy. The mothers of spirited youths 
have to fulfil their mission, which is for the most part submission. 

' How well he looks ! ' she said, fondly, when the squire 
had hurried out of the room ; ' and how he has broadened and 
filled out.' 

Jessie Bridgeman thought within herself that he was quite 
broad enough before he went to America, and that this filling- 
out process had hardly improved him, but she held her peace. 

' He looks very strong,' said Christabel. ' I could fancy 
Hercules just such a man. I wonder whether he has brought 
home any lions' hides, and if he will have one made into a 
shooting jacket. Dear, dearest Auntie,' she went on, kneeling 
by the widow's chair, ' I hope you &re quite happy now. I 
hope your cup of bliss is full.' 

'I am very happy, sweet one ; but the cup is not full yet. 
I hope it may be before I die — full to overflowing, and that I 
shall be able to say, " Lord, let me depart in peace," with a 
glad and grateful heart.' 

Leonard came back from the stables in a rather gloomy 
mood. His hunters did not look as well as he expected, and 
the new colt was weak and weedy. ' Nicholls ought to have 
known better than to breed such a thing, but I suppose he'd 
say, like the man in Tristram Shandy, that it wasn't his fault,' 
grumbled Mr. Tregonell, as he seated himself in front of the 
fire, with his feet on the brass fender. He wore clump-soled 
boots and a rough heather-mixture shooting suit, with knicker- 
bockers and coarse stockings, and his whole aspect was ' sport- 

144 Mount Royal. 

ing.' Christabel thought of some one else who had sat before 
the same hearth in the peaceful twilight hour, and wondered 
if the spiritual differences between these two men were as wide 
as those of manner and outward seeming. She recalled the 
exquisite refinement of that other man, the refinement of the man 
who is a born dandy, who, under the most adverse circumstances, 
compelled to wear old clothes and to defy fashion, would yet be 
always elegant and refined of aspect. She remembered that 
outward grace which seemed the natural indication of a poetical 
mind — a grace which never degenerated into effeminacy, a 
refinement which never approached the feeble or the lacka- 

Mr. Tregonell stretched his large limbs before the blaze, 
and made himself comfortable in the spacious plush-covered 
chair, throwing back his dark head upon a crewel anti-macassar, 
which was a work of art almost as worthy of notice as a water- 
colour painting, so exquisitely had the flowers been copied from 
Nature by the patient needlewoman. 

' This is rather more comfortable than the Rockies,' he said, 
as he stirred his tea, with big broad hands, scratched and scarred 
with hard service. ' Mount Boyal isn't half a bad place for two 
or three months in the year. But I suppose you mean to go to 
London after Easter 1 Now Belle has tasted blood she'll be all 
agog for a second plunge. Sandown will be uncommonly jolly 
this year.' 

' No, we are not going to town this season.' 

' Why not 1 Hard up — spent all the dollars 1 ' 

' No, but I don't think Belle would care about it.' 

' That's bosh. Come, now, Belle, you want to go of course, 
said Mr. Tregonell, turning to his cousin. 

'No, Leonard, that kind of thing is all very well for once in 
a lifetime. I suppose every woman wants to know what the 
great world is like — but one season must resemble another, I 
should think : just like Boscastle Fair, which I used to fancy so 
lovely when I was a child, till I began to understand that it was 
exactly the same every year, and that it was just possible for 
one to outgrow the idea of its delightf ulness.' 

'That isn't true about London though. There is always 
something new — new clubs, new theatres, new actors, new race- 
meetings, new horses, new people. I vote for May and June in 
Bolton Bow.' 

' I don't think your dear mother's health would be equal to 
London, this year, Leonard,' said Christabel, gravely. 

She was angry with this beloved and only son for not having 
seen the change in his mother's appearance — for talking so loudly 
and so lightly, as if there were nothing to be thought of in lifo 
expect his own pleasure. 

' Love will have his day.' [45 

•What, old lady, are you under the weather?' he asked, 
turning to survey his mother with a critical air. 

This was his American manner of inquiring after her health. 
Mrs. Tregonell, when the meaning of the phrase had been 
explained to her, confessed herself an invalid, for whom the 
placid monotony of rural life was much safer than the dissipation 
of a London season. 

' Oh, very well/ said Leonard with a shrug ; then you and 
Belle must stop at home and take care of each other — and I can 
[ weeks in London en gargon. It won't be worth while 
to open the house in Bolton Row — I'd rather stop at an hotel.' 

' i-iit you won't leave me directly after yourVe turn, Leonard?' 

' No, no, of course not. Not till after Easter. Easter's three 
weeks ahead of us. You'll be tired enough of me by that time.' 

' Tired of you ! After three years' absence ? " 

1 Well, you must have got accustomed to doing without me, 
don't you know,' said Leonard with charming frankness. 
' When a man has been three years away he can't hurt his friends' 
feelings much if he dies abroad. They've learnt how easy it is 
to get along without him.' 

' Leonard ! how can you say such cruel things ? ' expostulated 
his mother, with tears in her eyes. The very mention of death, 
as among the possibilities of existence, scared her. 

' There's nothing cruel in it, ma'am ; it's only common sense.' 
answered Leonard. ' Three years. Well, it's a jolly long time, 
isn't it ? and I dare say to you, in this sleepy hollow of a place, 
it seemed precious long. But for fellows who are knocking 
about the world — as Poker Vandeleur and I were — time spina 
by pretty fast, I can tell you. I'll hoist in some more sup — 
another cup of tea, if you please, Miss Bridgeman,' added 
Leonard, handing in his empty cup. ' It's uncommonly good 
stuff. Oh ! here's old Randie — come here, Randie.' 

Randie, clutched unceremoniously by the tail, and drawn ovet 
the earthrug, like any inanimate chattel, remonstrated with a 
growl and a snap. He had never been ever-fond of the ma3ter 
of Mount Royal, and absence had not made his heart grow 

' His temper hasn't improved,' muttered Leonard, pushing 
the doe away with his foot. 

' His temper is always lovely when he's kindly treated,' said 
Christabel, making room for the dog in her low armchair, where- 
upon Randie insinuated himself into that soft silken nest, and 
looht d fondly up at his mistress with his honest brown eyes. 

' Foil should let me give you a Pomeranian instead of that 
ungainly beast,' said Leonard. 

' No, thanks. Never any other dog while Randie lives. 
H ie is a person, and he and I have a. hundred ideas in 

146 Mount Boy dl. 

common. I don't want a toy dog — a dog that is only meant for 

' Pomeranians are clever enough for anybody, and they are 
worth looking at. I wouldn't waste my affection upon an ugty 
dog any more than I would on an ugly woman.' 

' Eandie is handsome in my eyes,' said Christabel, caressing 
the sheep-dog's grey muzzle. 

' I'm through,' said Mr. Tregonell, putting down his cup. 

He affected Yankee phrases, and spoke with a Yankee twang. 
America and the Americans had suited him, 'down to the 
ground,' as he called it. Their decisive rapidity, that go-a-head 
spirit which charged life with a kind of mental electricity — made 
life ever so much better worth living than in the dull sleepy old 
world where every one was content with the existing condition 
of things, and only desired to retain present advantages. 
Leonard loved sport and adventure, action, variety. He was a 
tyrant, and yet a democrat. He was quite willing to live on 
familiar term with grooms and gamekeepers — but not on equal 
terms. He must always be master. As much good fellowship 
as they pleased — but they must all knuckle under to him. He 
had been the noisy young autocrat of the stable-yard and the 
saddle-room when he was still in Eton jackets. He lived on the 
easiest terms with the guides and assistants of his American 
travels, but he took care to make them feel that he was their 
employer, and, in his own language, ' the biggest boss they were 
ever likely to have to deal with.' He paid them lavishly, and 
gave himself the airs of a Prince — Prince Henry in the wild 
Falstaffian days, before the charge of a kingdom taught him to 
be grave, yet with but too little of Henry's gallant spirit and 
generous instincts. 

Three years' travel, in Australia and America, had not 
exercised a refining influence upon Leonard Tregonell's character 
or manners. Blind as the mother's love might be, she had 
insight enough to perceive this, and she acknowledged the fact 
to herself sadly. There are travellers and travellers : some in 
whom a wild free life awakens the very spirit of poetry itself— 
whom unrestrained intercourse with Nature elevates to Nature's 
grander level — some whose mental power deepens and widens is 
the solitude of forest or mountain, whose noblest instincts are 
awakened by loneliness that seems to bring them nearer Goi 
But Leonard Tregonell was not a traveller of this type. Away 
from the restraints of civilization — the conventional refinements 
fcnd smoothings down of a rough character — his nature coarsened 
and hardened. His love of killing wild and beautiful things 
grew into a passion. He lived chiefly to hunt and to slay, and 
had no touch of pity for those gracious creatures which looked at 
their slaughterer reproachfully, with dim pathetic eyes — wide 

* Love will have his day. 1 147 

with a wild surprise at man's cruelty. Constant intercourse with 
men coarser and more ignorant than himself dragged him down 
little by little to a lower grade than he had been born to occupy, 
[n all the time that he had been away he had hardly ever opened 
a book. Great books had been written. Poets, historians, 
) ihilosophers, theologians had given the fruits of their medita- 
tions and their researches to the world, but never an hour had 
Mr. Tregonell devoted to the study of human progress, to the 
onwai-d march of human thought. When he was within reach 
of newspapers he read them industriously, and learnt from a 
stray paragraph how some great scientific discovery in science, 
some brilliant success in art, hail been the talk of the hour ; but 
neither art nor science interested him. The only papers which 
he cared about were the sporting papers. 

His travels for the most part had been in wild lonely regions, 
hut even in the short intervals that he had spent in cities he had 
shunned all intellectual amusements. He had heard neither 
concerts nor lectm'es, and had only affected the lowest forms of 
dramatic art. Most of his nights had been spent in bar-roon.a 
or groceries, playing faro, monte, poker, euchre, and falling in 
pleasantly with whatever might be the most popular form of 
gambling in that particular city. 

And now he had come back to Mount Eoyal, having sown 
his wild oats, and improved himself mentally and physically, as 
it was supposed by the outside world, by extensive travel ; and 
he was henceforward to reign in his father's place, a popular 
country gentleman, honourable and honoured, useful in his 
generation, a friend to rich and poor. 

Nobody had any cause for complaint against him during the 
first few weeks after his return. If his manners were rough and 
coarse, his language larded with American slang, his conduct was 
unobjectionable. He was affectionate to his mother, attentive n 
his free and easy way to Christabel, civil to the old servants, and 
friendly to old friends. He made considerable alterations in the 
stables, bought and sold and swopped horses, engaged new under- 
lings, acted in all out-of-door arrangements as if the place were 
entirely his own, albeit his mother's life-interest in the estate 
gave her the custody of everything. But his mother was too full 
of gladness at his return to object to anything that he did. She 
opened her purse-strings freely, although his tour had been a 
costly business. Her income had accumulated in the less ex- 

Eens'ive period of his boyhood, and she could afford to indulge 
is fancies. 
He went about with Major Bree, looking up old acquaintances, 
riding over every acre of the estate — lands which stretche I fai 
awa • towards Launceston on one side, towards Bodmin on the 
Other. He held forth largely to the Major on the pettiness and 

148 Mntnt Royal. 

narrowness of an English landscape as compared with that vnst 
continent in which the rivers are as seas and the forests rank 
and gloomy wildernesses reaching to the trackless and unknown. 
Sometimes Christabel was their companion in these long rides, 
mounted on the thoroughbred which Mrs. Tregonell gave her on 
that last too-happy birthday. The long rides in the sweet soft 
April air brought health and brightness back to her pale cheeks. 
She was so anxious to look well and happy for her aunt's sake, 
to cheer the widow's fading life ; but, oh ! the unutterable sad- 
ness of that ever-present" thought of the aftertime, that un- 
answerable question as to what was to become of her own empty 
days when this dear friend was gone. 

Happy as Leonard seemed at Mount Royal in the society of 
his mother and his cousin, he did not forego his idea of a month 
or so in London. He went up to town soon after Easter, took 
rooms at an hotel near the Hay market, and gave himself up to 
a round of metropolitan pleasures under the guidance of Captain 
Vandeleur, who had made the initiation of provincial and inex- 
perienced youth a kind of profession. He had a neat way of 
finding out exactly how much money a young man had to dispose 
of, present or contingent, and put him through it in the quickest 
possible time and at the pleasantest pace ; but he knew by ex- 
perience that Leonard had his own ideas about money, and was 
as keen as experience itself. He would pay the current rate for 
his pleasures, and no more ; and he had a prudential horror of 
Jews, post-obits, and all engagements likely to damage his future 
enjoyment of his estate. He was fond of play, but he did not go 
in the way of losing large sums — ' ponies' not ' monkies' were his 
favourite animals — and he did not care about playing against his 
chosen friend. 

' I like to have you on my side, Poker,' he said amiably, when 
the captain proposed a devilled bone and a hand at ecarte after 
the play. ' You're a good deal too clever for a comfortal le 
■antagonist. You play ecarte with your other young friends, 
Poker, and I'll be your partner at whist.' 

Captain Vandeleur, who by this time was tolerably familiar 
with the workings of his f need's mind, never again suggested 
those quiet encounters of skill which must inevitably have 
resulted to his advantage, had Leonard been weak enough to 
accept the challenge. To have pressed the question would have 
been to avow himself a sharper. He had won money from his 
friend at blind hookey ; but then at blind hookey all men are 
equal — and Leonard had accepted the decree of fate ; but he was 
not the kind of man to let another man get the better of him in 
a series of transactions. He was not brilliant, but he was sl>rewd 
and keen, and had long ago made up his mind to get fair value 
for his money. If he allowed Jack Vandeleur to travel at Ma 

' Love will have his day.' 149 

expense, 01 dine and drink daily at his hotel, it was not because 
Leonard was weakly generous, but because Jack's company was 
worth the money. He would not have paid for a pint of wine 
for a man who was dull, or a bore. At Mount Royal, of course, 
he was obliged now and then to entertain bores. It was an 
incident in his position as a leading man in the county — but 
here in London he was free to please himself, and to give the 
cold shoulder to uncongenial acquaintance. 

Gay as town was, Mr. Tregonell soon tired of it upon this 
particular occasion. After Epsom and Ascot his enjoyment 
began to wane. He had made a round of the theatres — he had 
dined and supped, and played a good many nights at those clubs 
which he and his friends most affected. He had spent three 
evenings watching a great billiard match, and he found that his 
thoughts went back to Mount Royal, and to those he had left 
there — to Christabel, who had been very kind and sweet to him 
since his home-coming; who had done much to make heme 
delightful to him — riding with him, playing and singing to him, 
playing billiards with him, listening to his stories of travel — 
interested or seeming interested, in every detail of that wild 
free life. Leonard did not know that Christabel had done all 
this for her aunt's sake, in the endeavour to keep the prodigal at 
home, knowing how the mother's peace and gladness depended 
on the conduct of her son. 

And now, in the midst of London dissipations, Leonard 
yearned for that girlish companionship. It was dull enough, no 
doubt, that calm and domestic life under the old roof-tree ; but 
it had been pleasant to him, and he had not wearied of it half so 
quickly as of this fret and fume, and wear and tear of London 
amusements. Leonard began to think that his natural bent was 
towards domesticity, and that, as Belle's husband — there could 
be no doubt that she would accept him when the time came for 
asking her — he woidd shine as a very estimable character, just 
as his father had shone before him. He had questioned his 
mother searchingly as to Belle's engagement to Mr. Angus 
Hamleigh, and was inclined to be retrospectively jealous, and to 
hate that unknown rival with a fierce hatred ; nor did he fail to 
blame his mother for her folly in bringing such a man to Mount 

' How could I suppose that Belle would fall in love with 
him 1 ' asked Mrs. Tregonell, meekly. ' I knew how attached 
she was to you.' 

' Attached 1 yes ; but that kind of attachment means so little. 
She had known me all her life. I was nobody in her estimation 
— no more than the chairs and tables — and this man was a 
novelty ; and again, what has a girl to do in such an out-of-the- 
wai place as this but fall in love with the first comer ; it is 

L50 Mount Royal. 

almost the oniy amusement open to her. You ought to have 
known better than to have invited that fellow here, mother ; 
you knew Jiat I meant to marry Belle. You ought to have 
guarded her for me — kept off dangerous rivals. Instead of that 
you must needs go out of your way to get that fellow here.' 

' You ought to have come home sooner, Leonard.' 

' That's nonsense. I was enjoying my life where I was. How 
could I suppose you would be such a fool 1 ' 

1 Don't say such hard things, Leonard. Think how lonely my 
life was. The invitation to Mr. Hamleigh was not a new idea ; 
I had asked him half a dozen times before. I wanted to see 
him and know him for his father's sake.' 

'His father's sake ! — a man whom you loved better than ever 
you loved my father, I dare say.' 

' No, Leonard, that is not true.' 

' You think not, perhaps, now my father is dead ; but I dare 
say while he was alive you were always regretting that other 
mam Nothing exalts a man so much in a woman's mind as 
his dying. Look at the affection of widows as compared with 
that of wives.' 

Mrs. Tregonell strove her hardest to convince her son that 
his cousin's affections were now free — that it was his business to 
win her heart ; but Leonard complained that his mother had 
spoiled his chances— that all the freshness of Christabel's feelings 
must have been worn off in an engagement that had lasted 
nearly a year. 

'She'll have me fast enough, I daresay,' he said, with his 
easy, confident air — that calm masculine consciousness of 
superiority, as of one who talks of an altogether inferior 
creature ; ' all the faster, perhaps, on account of having made 
a fiasco of her first engagement. A girl doesn't like to be pointed 
at as jilt or jilted. But I shall always feel uncomfortable about 
this fellow, Hamleigh. I shall never be able quite to believe in 
my wife.' 

' Leonard, how can you talk like that, you who know 
Christabel's high principles.' 

' Yes, but I wanted to be sure that she had never cared for 
any one but me ; and you have spoiled my chances of that' 

He stayed little more than a month in London, going back to 
Mount Royal soon after Ascot, and while the June roses were 
still in their glory. Brief as his absence had been, even hi* 
careless eye could see that his mother had changed for the worse 
since their parting. The hollow cheek had grown hollo wer, the 
languid eye more languid, the hand that clung so fondly to hia 
broad, brown palm, was thinner, and more waxen of hue. 

His mother welcomed him with warmest love. 

'My dearest one,' she said, tenderly, 'this is an unexpected 

'Love will have his day.' 151 

delight. It is so good of you to come back to me so soon. I 
want to have you with me, dear, as much as possible — now.' 

' Why, mother ] ' he asked, kindly, for a dull pain in his 
breast seemed to answer to these words of hers. 

' Because I do not think it will be for long. I am very weak, 
deai". Life seems to be slipping away from me ; but there is no 
pain, no terror. I feel as if I were being gently carried along a 
slow gliding stream to some sheltered haven, which I can picture 
to myself, although I have never seen it. I have only one care, 
Leonard, one anxiety, and that is for your future happiness. I 
want your life to be full of joy, dearest, and I want it to be a 
good life, like your father's.' 

' Yes, he was a good old buffer, wasn't he 1 ' said Leonard. 
' Everybody about here speaks well of him ; but, then, I daresay 
that's because he had plenty of money, and wasn't afraid to spend 
it, and was an easy master, and all that sort of thing, don't you 
know. That's a kind of goodness which isn't very difficult for a 
man to practise.' 

' Your father was a Christian, Leonard — a sound, practical, 
Christian, and he did his duty in every phase of life,' answered 
the widow, half proudly, half reproachfully. 

' No doubt. All I say is, that's it's uncommonly easy to be a 
Christian under such circumstances.' 

' Your circumstances will be as easy, I trust, Leonard, and 
your surroundings no less happy, if you win your cousin for 
your wife. And I feel sure you will win her. Ask her soon, 
dear — ask her very soon — that I may see you married to her 
before I die.' 

' You think she'll say yes, if I do ? I don't want to precipitate 
matters, and get snubbed for my pains.' 

' I think she will say yes. She must know how my heart is 
set upon this marriage. It has been the dream of my life.' 

Despite his self-assurance — his fixed opinion as to his own 
personal and social value — Leonard Tregonell hesitated a little at 
asking that question which must certainly be one of the most 
rolemn inquiries of a man's life. His cousin had been all kind- 
H. jss and sweetness to him since his return ; yet in his inmost 
heart he knew that her regard for him was at best of a calm, 
cousinly quality. He knew this, but he told himself that if she 
were only willing to accept him as her husband, the rest must 
follow. It would be his business to see that she was a good wife, 
and in time she would grow fonder of him, no doubt. He meant 
to be an indulgent husband. He would be very proud of her 
beauty, grace, accomplishments. There was no man among his 
acquaintance who could boast of such a charming wife. She 
should have her own way in everything : of oourse, so long aa 
her way did not run counter to his. She would be mistress of 

152 Mount Royal. 

one of the finest places in Cornwall, the house in which she had 
been reared, and which she loved with that foolish affection 
which cats, women, and other inferior animals feel for familiar 
habitations. Altogether, as Mr. Tregonell told himself, in his 
simple and expressive language, she would have a very good 
time, and it would be hard lines if she were not grateful, and 
did not take kindly to him. Yet he hesitated considerably before 
putting the crucial question ; and at last took the leap hurriedly, 
and not too judiciously, one lovely June morning, when he and 
Christabel had gone for a long ride alone. They were not in the 
habit of riding alone, and Major Bree was to have been their 
companion upon this particular morning, but he had sent at the 
last moment to excuse himself, on account of a touch of sciatica. 
They rode early, leaving Mount Royal soon after eight, so as to 
escape the meridian sun. The world was still fresh and dewy as 
they rode slowly up the hill, and then down again into the lanes 
leading towards Camelford ; and there was that exquisite feeling 
of purity in the atmosphere which wears off as the day grows 

' My mother is looking rather seedy, Belle, don't you think,' 
he began. 

' She is looking very ill, Leonard. She has been ill for a long 
time. God grant we may keep her with us a few years yet, but 
I am full of fear about her. I go to her room every morning 
with an aching heart, dreading what the night may have brought. 
Thank God, you came home when you did. It would have been 
cruel to stay away longer.' 

1 That's very good in you, Belle — uncommonly good — to talk 
fbout cruelty, when you must know that it was your faidt I 
stayed away so long.' 

' My fault % What had I do do with it ? ' 

' Everything. I should have been home a year and a half 
ago — home last Christmas twelvemonth. I had made all my 
plans with that intention, for I was slightly home-sick in those 
days — didn't relish the idea of three thousand miles of ever- 
lasting wet between me and those I loved— and I was coming 
across the Big Drink as fast as a Cunard could bring me, when 
I got mother's letter telling me of your engagement. Then I 
coiled up, and made up my mind to stay in America till I'd done 
some big licks in the sporting line.' 

'Why should that have influenced you?' Christabel asked, 

' Why ? Confound it ! Belle, you know that without asking. 
You must know that it wouldn't be over-pleasant for me to be 
living at Mount Royal while you and your lover were spooning 
about the place. You don't suppose I could quite have stomached 
thai, do you — to see another man making love to the gir 1 T 

*Love will have Jiis day.' 153 

always meant to marry? For you know, Belle, I always did 
mean it. When you were in pinafores I made up my mind that 
fou were the future Mrs. Tregonell.' 

' You did me a great honour,' said Belle, with an icy smile, 
and I suppose I ought to be very proud to hear it — now. Per- 
il-"-*, if you had told me your intentions while I w^s in pinafores 
I might have gx-own up with a due appreciation of your goodness. 
But you see, as you never said anything about it, my life took 
another bent.' 

' Don't chaff, Belle,' exclaimed Leonard. ' I'm in earnest. I 
was hideously savage when I heard that you had got yourself 
engaged to a man whom you'd only known a week or two — a 
man who had led a racketty life in London and Paris ' 

'Stop, cried Christabel, turning upon him with Hashing eye;-, 
' I forbid you to speak of him. What right have you to mention 
his name to me ? I have suffered enough, but that is an im- 
pertinence I will not endure. If you are going to say another 
word about him I'll ride back to Mount Royal as fast as my 
horse can carry me.' 

'And get spilt on the way. Why, what a spitfire you are 
Belle. I had no idea there was such a spice of the devil in you,' 
said Leonard, somewhat abashed by this rebuff. Well, I'll hold 
my tongue about him in future. I'd much rather talk about 
you and me, and our prospects. What is to become of you, 
Belle, when the poor mother goes ? You and the doctor have 
both made up your minds that she's not long for this world. 
For my own part, I'm not such a croaker, and I've known 
many a creaking door hanging a precious long time on its 
binges. Still, it's well to be prepared for the worst. Where is 
your life to be spent, Belle, when the mater has sent in her 
checks ? ' 

4 Heaven knows ! ' answered Christabel, tears welling up in 
her eyes, as she turned her head from the questioner. ' My life 
will be little worth living when she is gone — but I daresay I 
shall go on living all the same. Sorrow takes such along tims 
to kill any one. I suppose Jessie and I will go on the Continent, 
and travel from place to place, trying to forget the old dear 
life among new scenes and new people.' 

' And nicely you will get yourselves talked about, - ' said 
Leonard, with that unhesitating brutality which his friends 
called frankness — ' a young and handsome woman without any 
male relative, wandering about the Continent.' 

' I shall have Jessie.' 

' A paid companion — a vast protection she would be to you 
— about as much as a Pomeranian dog, or a poll parrot.' 

' Then I can stay in England,' answered Christabel, iudif- 
fereiitly. ' It will matter very little where J. live.' 

154 Mount Boyal. 

'Come, Belle,' said Leonai'd, in a friendly, comfortable tone, 
laying his broad strong hand on her horse's neck, as they rode 
slowly side by side up the narrow road, between hedges filled 
with honeysuckle and eglantine, ' this is flying in the face of 
Providence, which has made you young and handsome, and an 
heiress, in order that you might get the most out of life. Is a 
young woman's life to come to an end all at once because an 
elderly woman dias ? That's rank nonsense. That's the kind of 
way widows talk in their first edition of crape and caps. But 
they don't mean it, my dear ; or, say they think they mean it, 
they never hold by it. That kind of widow is always a wife 
again before the second year of her widowhood is over. A.nd 
to hear you — not quite one-and-twenty, and as fit as a fid — in 
the very zenith of your beauty,' said Leonard, hastily correcting 
the horsey turn of his compliment, — 'to hear you talk in that 
despairing way is too provoking. Came, Belle, be rational. Why 
should you go wandering about Switzerland and Italy with 
a shrewish little old maid like Jessie Bridgeman — when — 
when you can stay at Mount Royal and be its mistress. I 
always meant, you to be my wife, Belle, and I still mean it — in 
spite of bygones.' 

You are very good — very forgiving,' said Christabel, with 
most irritating placidity, ' but unfortunately I never meant to 
be your wife then — and I don't mean it now.' 

' In plain words, you reject me 1 ' 

' If you intend this for an offer, most decidedly,' answered 
Christabel, as firm as a rock. ' Come, Leonard, don't look so 
angry ; let us be friends and cousins — almost brother and sister 
— as we have been in all the years that are gone. Let us unite 
in the endeavour to make your dear mother's life happy — so 
happy, that she may grow strong and well again — restored by 
perfect freedom from care. If you and I were to quarrel she 
would be miserable. We must be good friends always — if it 
were only for her sake.' 

' That's all very well, Christabel, but a man's feelings are 
not so entirely within his control as you seem to suppose. Do 
you think I shall ever forget how you threw me over for a 
fellow you had only known a week or so — and now, when I tell 
you how, from my boyhood, I have relied upon your being my 
wife — always kept you in my mind as the one only woman 
who was to bear my name, and sit at the head of my table, 
you coolly inform me that it can never be 1 You would 
rather go wandering about the world with a hired com- 
panion ' 

' Jessie is not a hired companion — she is my very deal 

' Y' u choose to call her so — but she came to Mount Boyal 

• But here is One who Loves you as of Old.' 155 

in answer to an advertisement, and my mother pays her wages, 
just like the housemaids. You would rather roam about with 
Jessie Bridgeman, getting yourself talked about at every table 
d'hote in Europe — a prey for every Captain Deuceace, or 
Loosetish, on the Continent — than you would be my wife, and 
mistress of Mount Royal.' 

1 Because nearly a year ago I made up my mind never to be 
any man's wife, Leonard,' answered Christabel, gravely. ' I 
should hate myself if I were to depart from that resolve.' 

1 You mean that when you broke with Mr. Ilamleigh you 
did not think there was any one in the world good enough to 
stand in his shoes,' said Leonard, savagely. ' And for the sake 
of a man who turned out so badly that you were obliged to chuck 
him up, you refuse a fellow who has loved you all his life.' 

Christabel turned her horse's head, and went homewards at 
a sharp trot, leaving Leonard, discomfited, in the middle of the 
lane. He had nothing to do but to trot meekly after her, afraid 
to go too fast, lest he should urge her horse to a bolt, and 
managing at last to overtake her at the bottom of a hill. 

' Do hud some grass somewhere, so that we may get a canter,' 
Bhe said ; and her cousin knew that there was to be no more 
conversation that morning. 


•but here is one who loves you as of old.' 

After this Leonard sulked, and the aspect of home life at 
Mount Royal became cloudy and troubled. He was not abso- 
lutely uncivil to his cousin, but he was deeply resentful, and he 
showed his resentment in various petty ways — descending so 
low as to give an occasional sly kick to Randie. He was grumpy 
in his intercourse with his mother ; he took every opportunity 
of being rude to Miss Bridgeman ; he sneered at all their 
womanly occupations, their charities, their church-going. That 
domestic sunshine which had so gladdened the widow's heart, 
was gone for ever, as it seemed. Her son now snatched at every 
occasion for getting away from home. He dined at Bodmin one 
night — at Launceston, another. He had friends to meet at 
Plymouth, and dined and slept at the ' Duke of Cornwall.' He 
came home bringing worse devils — in the way of ill-temper and 
rudeness — than those which he had taken away with him. I le m 
longer pretended the faintest interest in Christabel's playing — 
confessing frankly that all classical compositions, especially those 
of Beethoven, suggested to him that fax-famed melody which was 

I5t> Mount Royal. 

fatal to the traditional cow. He no longer offered to make her 
a fine billiard player. 'No woman ever could play billiards,' 
he said, contemptuously 'they have neither eye nor wrist; 
they know nothing about strengths ; and always handle their 
cue as if it was Moses's rod, and was going to turn into a snake 
and bite 'em.' 

Mrs. Tregonell was not slow to guess the cause of her son's 
changed humour. She was too intensely anxious for the fulfil- 
ment of this chief desire of her soul not to be painfully conscious 
of failure. She had urged Leonard to speak soon — and he Lad 
spoken — with disastrous result. She had seen the angry cloud 
upon her son's brow when he came home from that tete-a-tete 
ride with Christabel. She feared to question him, for it waa 
her rash counsel, perhaps, which had brought this evil result to 
pass. Yet she could not hold her peace for ever. So one 
evening, when Jessie and Christabel were dining at Trevalga 
Ite-tory, and Mrs. Tregonell was enjoying the sole privilege of 
her son's company, she ventured to approach the subject. 

4 How altered you have been lately' — lately, meaning for at 
/east a month — 'in your manner to your cousin, Leonard,' she 
said, witli a feeble attempt to speak lightly, her voice tremulous 
with suppressed emotion. ' Has she offended you in any way 1 
You and she used to be so very sweet to each other.' 

' Yes, she was all honey when I first came home, wasn't she, 
mother 1 ' returned Leonard, nursing his boot, and frowning at 
the lamp on the low table by Mrs. Tregonell's chair. ' All hypo- 
crisy—rank humbug— that's what it was. She is still bewailing 
that fellow whom you brought here— and, mark my words, she'll 
marry him sooner or later. She threw him over in a fit of 
temper, and pride, and jealousy ; and when she finds she can't 
live without him she'll take some means of bringing him back to 
her. It was all your doing mother. You spoiled my chances 
when you brought your old sweetheart's son into this house. I 
don't think you could have had much respect for my dead father 
when you invited that man to Mount Royal.' 

Mrs. Tregonell's mild look of reproach might have touched 
the hardest heart ; but it was lost on Leonard, who sat scowling 
at the lamp, and did not once meet his mother's eyes. 

' It is not kind of you to say that Leonard,' she said, geutly ; 
' you ought to know that I was a true and loving wife to your 
father, and that I have always honoured his memory, as a true 
wife should He knew that I was interested in Angus 
Hamleigh's career, and he never resented that feeling. I am 
sorry your cousin has rejected you— more sorry than even you 
yourself can be, I believe, for your marriage has been the 
dream of my life. But we cannot control fate. Are you really 
fond vi her, deal 1 

• But here is One ivho Loves you as of Old.' 157 

Fond of her ? A great deal too fond — foolishly — igno- 
miniously fond of her — so fond that I am beginning to detest 

' Don't despair then, Leonard. Let this first refusal count 
for nothing. Only be patient, and gentle with her — not cold and 
rude, as you have been lately.' 

' It's easy to talk,' said Leonard, contemptuously, ' But do 
vou suppose I can feel very kindly towards a girl who refused 
rue as coolly as if I had been asking her to dance, and who let 
me see at the same time that she is still passionately in love 
with Angus Hamleigh. You should have seen how she blazed 
cut at me when I mentioned his name — her eyes flaming — her 
cheeks first crimson and then deadly pale. That's what love 
means. And, even if she were willing to be my wife to-morrow, 
she would never give me such love as that. Curse her,' 
muttered the lover between his clenched teeth ; ' I didn't know 
how fond I was of her till she refused me ; and now, I could 
crawl at her feet, and sue to her as a palavering Irish beggar 
sues for alms, cringing and fawning, and flattering and lying — 
and yet in my heart of hearts I should be savage with her all the 
time, knowing that she will never care for me as she cared for 
that other fellow.' 

' Leonard, if you knew how it pains me to hear you talk like 
that,' said Mrs. Tregonell. ' It makes me fearful of your 
impetuous, self-willed nature.' 

'Self-will be ! somethinged ! ' growled Leonard. ' Did 

vou ever know a man who cultivated anybody else's will j 
Would you have me pretend to be better than 1 am — tell you 
that I can feel all affection for the girl who preferred the. first 
stranger who came in her way to the playfellow and companion 
of her childhood I ' 

' If you had been a little less tormenting, a little less exacting 
with her in those days, Leonard, I think she would have remem- 
bered you more tenderly,' said Mrs. Tregonell. 

' If you are going to lecture me about what I was as a boy 
we'd better cut the conversation,' retorted Leonard. ' I'll go and 
practice the spot-stroke for half an hour, while you take your 
after-dinner nap.' 

' Xo, dear, don't go away. I don't feel in the least inclined 
for sleep. I had no idea of lecturing you, Leonard, believe me ; 
only I cannot help regretting, as you do, that Christabel should 
not be more attached to you. But I feel very sure that, if you 
are patient, she will come to think differently bv-and-by.' 

' Didn't you tell me to ask her — and quickly I ' 

' Yes, that was because I was impatient. Life seemed 
•flipping away from me — and I. was so eager to be secure of my 
deaj- b(!y : « happiness Let us try different tactics, Leo. Take 

158 Mount Boyav. 

things quietly for a little — behave to your cousin just as if there 
had been nothing of this kind between you, and who knows* 
what may happen.' 

' I know of one thing that may and will happen next 
October, unless the lady changes her tune,' answered Leonard, 

' What is that 1 ' 

' I shall go to South America — do a little mountaineering in 
the Equatorial Andes — enjoy a little life in Valparaiso, Truxillo 
— Lord knows where ! I've done North America, from Canada 
to Frisco, and now I shall do the South.' 

' Leonard, you would not be so cruel as to leave me to die in 
my loneliness ; for 1 think, dear, you must know that I have 
oot long to live.' 

' Come, mother, I believe you fancy yourself ever so much 
worse than you really are. This jog-trot, monotonous life of 
yours would breed vapours in the liveliest person. Besides, if 
you should be ill while I am away, you'll have your niece, whom 
you love as a daughter — and perhaps your niece's husband, this 
danr Angus of yours — to take care of you.' 

' You are very hard upon me, Leonard — and yet, I went 
against my conscience for your sake. I let Christabel break 
with her lover. I said never one word in his favour, although 
I must have known in my heart that they would both be 
miserable. I had your interest at heart more than theirs — I 
thought, " here is a chance for my boy." ' 

' You were very considerate — a day after the fair. Don't 
you think it would have been better to be wise befoi-e the event, 
and not to have invited that coxcomb to Mount Royal V 

He came again and again to the charge, always with fresh 
bitterness. He could not forgive his mother for this involuntary 
wrong which she had done to him. 

After this he went oft' to the solitude of the billiard-room, 
and a leisurely series of experiments upon the spot-stroke. It 
was his only idta of a contemplative evening. 

He was no less sullen and gloomy in his manner to Christabel 
next morning at breakfast, for all his mother had said to him 
overnight. He answered his cousin in monosyllables, and was 
rude to Randie — wondered that his mother should allow doers in 
her dining-room — albeit Randie's manners were far superior to 
his own. 

Later in the morning, when Christabel and her aunt were 
alone, the girl crept to her favourite place beside Mrs. Tregonell's 
chair, and with her folded arms resting on the cushioned elbenr, 
looked up lovingly at the widow's grave, sad face. 

' Auntie, dearest, you know so well how fondly I love you, 
that I am sure you won't tlii«k me any less loving and true, if I 

' But here is One wlw Loves you as of Old.* 359 

^ yon to let me leave you for a little while. Let me go away 
somewhere with Jessie, to some quiet German town, where I 
can improve myself in music, and where she and 1 can lead a 
bard-working, studious life, just like a couple of Girton girls. 
You remember, last year you suggested that we should travel, 
and I refused your offer, thinking that I should be happier at 
home ; but now I feel the need of a change.' 

1 And you would leave me, now that my health is broken, 
and that I am so dependent on your love V said Mrs. Tregonell, 
with mild reproachfulness. 

Christabel bent down to kiss the thin, white hand that lay 
on the cushion near her — anxious to hide the tears that sprang 
quickly to her eyes. 

' You have Leonard,' she faltered. ' You are happy, are you 
not, dearest, now Leonard is at home again.' 

'At home — yes, I thank God that my son is under my roof 
once more. But how long may he stay at home? How much 
do I have of his company — in and out all day — anywhere but at 
my side — making every possible excuse for leaving me ? He 
has begun, already, to talk of going to South America in the 
autumn. Poor boy, he is restless and unhappy ; and I know the 
reason. You must know it too, Belle. It is your fault. You 
liave spoiled the dream of my life.' 

' Auntie, is this generous, is this fair ? ' pleaded Christabel, 
with her head sti«4 bent over the pale wasted hand. 

1 It is natural at least,' answered the widow, impetuously. 
' Why cannot you care for my boy, why cannot you understand 
and value his devotion ? It is not an idle fancy — born of a few 
weeks' acquaintance — not the last new caprice of a battered roue, 
who offers his worn-out heart to you when other w r omen have done 
with it. Leonard's is the love of long years — the love of a fresh 
unspoiled nature. I know that he has not Angus Hamleigh's 
refinement of manner — he is not so clever — so imaginative — but 
of what value is such surface refinement when the man's inner 
nature is coarse and profligate. A man who has lived among 
impure women must have become coarse ; there must be deteri- 
oration, ruin, for a man's nature in such a life as that,' continued 
Mrs. Tregonell, passionately, her resentment against Angus 
Hamleigh kindling as she thought how he had ousted her son. 
'Why should you not value my boy's love?' she asked again. 
'What is there wanting in him that you should treat him so 
contemptuously 1 He is young, handsome, brave — owner of this 
place of which you are so fond. Your marriage with him would 
bring the Champernowne estate together again. Everybody 
was sorry to see it divided. It would bring together two of the 
t and best names in the county. You might call your 
eldest son Champernowne Tregonell.' 

160 Mount Royal. 

'Don't, Auntie, don't go on like that,' entreated Christabel, 
piteously : if you only knew how little such arguments influence 
me : ' the glories of our rank and state are shadows, not substan- 
tial things.' What difierence do names and lands make in the 
happiness of a life ? If Angus Hamleigh had been a ploughman's 
son, like Burns — nameless — penniless — only just himself, I 
should have loved him exactly the same. Dearest, these are the 
things in which we cannot be governed by other people's wisdom. 
Our hearts choose for us ; in spite of ua. I have been obliged to 
think seriously of life since Leonard and I had that unlucky con- 
versation the other day. He told you about it, perhaps ?' 
' He told me that you refused him.' 

' As I would have refused any other man, Auntie. I have 
made up my mind to live and die unmarried. It is the only 
tribute I can offer to one I loved so well.' 

'And who proved so unworthy of your love,' said Mrs. 
Tregonell, moodily. 

' Do not speak of him, if you cannot speak kindly. You once 
loved his father, but you seem to have forgotten that. Let me 
go away for a little while, Auntie — a few months only, if you 
like. My presence in this house only does harm. Leonard is 
angry with me — and you are angry for his sake. We are all 
unhappy now — nobody talks freely — or laughs — or takes life 
pleasantly. We all feel constrained and miserable. Let me go, 
dear. When I am gone you and Leonard can be happy 

' No, Belle, we cannot. You have spoiled his life. You 
have broken his heart.' 

Christabel smiled a little contemptuously at the mother's 
wailing. ' Hearts are not so easily broken,' she said, ' Leonard's 
least of all. He is angry because for the first time in his life 
he finds himself thwarted. He wants to marry me, and I don't 
want to marry him. Do you remember how angry he was when 
he wanted to go out shooting, at eleven years of age, and you 
refused him a gun. He moped and fretted for a week, and 
\i>u were quite as unhappy as he was. It is almost the first 
tiling I remember about him. When he found you were quite 
Brm in your refusal, he left off sulking, and reconciled him- 
self to the inevitable. He will do just the same about this 
refusal of mine — when I am out of his sight. But my pre- 
sence here irritates him.' 

'Christabel, if you leave me I shall know that you have 
never loved me,' said Mrs. Tregonell, with sudden vehemence.' 
' You must know that I am dying — very slowly, perhaps — 
a wearisome decay for these who can only watch and wait, 
and bear with me till I am dead. But I know and feel 
that I am dying. This trouble wil\ hasten rny end, and 

'But here is One who Loves you as of Old.' 161 

instead of dying in peace, with the assurance of my boy's 
happy future — with the knowledge that he will have a virtuous 
and loving wife, a wife of my own training, to guide him 
and influence him for good — I shall die miserable, fearing 
that he may fall into evil hands, and that evil days may 
come upon him. I know how impetuous, how impulsive he 
is ; how easily governed through his feelings, how little able 
to rule himself by hard common-sense. And you, who have 
known him all your life — who know the best and worst of him 
— you can be so indifferent to his happiness, Christabel. How 
can I believe, in the face of this, that you ever loved me, hig 
mother ? 

1 1 have loved you as my mother,' replied the girl, with her 
arms round her aunt's neck, her lips pressed against that pale 
thin cheek. ' I love you better than any one in this world. If 
God would spare you for years to come, and we could live 
always together, and be all and all to each other as we have 
been, I think I could be quite happy. Yes, I could feel as if 
there were nothing wanting in this life. But I cannot marry a 
man I do not love, whom I never can love.' 

'He would take you on trust, Belle,' murmured the mother, 
imploringly ; ' he would be content with duty and good faith. 
I know how true and loyal you are, dearest, and that you would 
be a perfect wife. Love would come afterwards.' 

' Will it make you happier if I don't go away, Auntie 1 ' 
asked Christabel, gently. 
' Much happier.' 

' Then I will stay ; and Leonard may be as rude to me as he 
likes : he may do anything disagreeable, except kick Randie ; 
and I will not murmur. But you and I must never talk of 
him as we have talked to-day : it can do no good.' 

After this came much kissing and hugging, and a few tears ; 
and it was agreed that Christabel should forego her idea of six 
months' study of classical music at the famous conservatoire at 

She and Jessie had made all their plans before she spoke to 
her aunt ; and when she informed Miss Bridgeman that she 
had given way to Mrs. Tregonell's wish, and had abandoned all 
idea of Germany, that strong-minded young woman expressed 
herself most unreservedly. 

' You are a tool ! ' she exclaimed. ' No doubt that's an 
outrageous remark from a person in my position to an heiress 
like you ; but I can't help it. You are a fool- a yielding, self- 
abnegating fool ! If you stay here you will marry that man. 
There is no escape possible for you. Your aunt has made up her 
mind about it. She will worry you till you give your consent, 
ind then ycu will be miserable ever afterwards.' 


162 Mount Royal, 

' 1 shall do nothing of the kind. I wonder that you can 
think me so weak.' 

' If you are weak enough to stay, you will be weak enough 
to do the other thing,' retorted Jessie. 

' How can I go when my aunt looks at me with those sad 
eyes, dying eyes— they are so changed since last year— and 
implores me to stop 1 I thought you loved her, Jessie 1 ' 

'I do love her, with a fond and grateful affection. She was 
my first friend outside my own hume ; she is my benefactress. 
But I have to think of your welfare, Christabel— your welfare 
ju this world and the world to come. Both will be in danger 
if you stay here and marry Leonard Tregonell.' 

' I am going to stay here ; and I am not going to marry 
Leonard. Will that assurance satisfy you? One would think 
I had no will of my own.' 

' Yon have not the will to withstand your aunt. She parted 
you and Mr. Hamleigh ; and she will marry you to her son.' 

' The parting was my act, ' said Christabel. 

' It was your aunt who brought it about. Had she been 
true and loyal there would have been no such parting. If you 
had only trusted to me in that crisis, I think I might have 
saved you some sorrow ; but what's done cannot be undone.' 

' There are some cases in which a woman must judge for 
herself,' Christabel replied, coldly. 

'A woman, yes — a woman who has had some experience of 
life ; but not a girl, who knows nothing of the hard real 
world and its temptations, difficulties, struggles. Don't let us 
talk of it any more. I cannot trust myself to speak when I 
remember how shamefully he was treated.' 

Christabel stared in amazement. The calm, practical Miss 
Bridgeman spoke with a passionate vehemence which took the 
girl's breath away; and yet, in her heart of h earts, Christabel 
was grateful to her for this sudden flash of anger. 

' I did not know you liked him so much — that you were so 
sorry for him,' she faltered. 

' Then you ought to have known, if you ever took the trouble 

to remember how good he always was to me, how sympathetic, 

how tolerant of my company when it was forced upon him day 

After day, how seemingly unconscious of my plainness and dow- 

•iiness. Why there was net a present he gave me which did not 

show the most thoughtful study of my tastes and fancies. I 

never look at one of his gifts— I was not obliged to fling Iris 

offerings back in his face as you were— without wondering that 

a line gentleman could be so full of small charities and delicate 

courtesy. He was like one of those wits and courtiers one reads 

of in Burnet— not spotless, like Tennyson's Arthur— but the very 

issence of refinement and good feeling. God bless him ! Where- 
ver ] lQ j g> > 

l But here is One who Loves you as of Old.' 163 

'You are very odd sometimes, Jessie,' said Christabel, kissing 
her friend, 'but you have a noble heart.' 

There was a marked change in Leonard's conduct when he 
and his cousin met in the drawing-room before dinner. He had 
been absent at luncheon, on a trout-fishing expedition ; but 
there had been time since his return for a long conversation 
between him and his mother. She had told him how his sullen 
temper had almost driven Christabel from the house, and how 
she had been only induced to stay by an appeal to her affection. 
This evening he was all amiability, and tried to make his peace 
with Randie, who received his caresses with a stolid forbearance 
rather than with gratification. It was easier to make friends 
with Christabel than with the dcg, for she wished to be kind to 
her cousin on his mother's account. 

That evening the reign of domestic peace seemed to btf 
renewed. There were no thunder-clouds in the atmosphere 
Leonard strolled about the lawn with his mother and Christabel, 
ing at the roses, and planning where a few more choice trees 
might yet be added to the collection. Mrs. Tregonell's walks 
now rarely went beyond this broad velvet lawn, or the shrubberies 
that bordered it. She drove to church on Sundays, but she had 
left off visiting that involved long drives, though she professed 
herself delighted to see her friends. She did not want the house 
to become dull and gloomy for Leonard. She even insisted that 
there should be a garden party on Christabel's twenty-first birth- 
day ; and she was delighted when some of the old friends who 
came to Mount Royal that day insinuated their congratulations, 
in a tentative manner, upon Miss Courtenay's impending engage- 
ment to her cousin. 

' There is nothing definitely settled,' she told Mrs. St. Aubyn, 
'but I have every hope that it will be so. Leonard adores her ' 

' And it would be a much more suitable match for her than 
the other,' said Mrs. St. Aubyn, a commonplace matron of irre- 
proachable lineage : ' it would be so nice for you to have her 
settled near you. "Would they live at Mount Royal 1 ? ' 

' Of course. Where else should my son live but in his father's 
house ] ' 

1 But it is your house.' 

' Do you think I should allow my life-interest in the place to 
' ind in the way of Leonard's enjoyment of it?' -yclaimed Mrs. 
Tregonell. ' I should be proud to take the second place in his 
house — proud to see his young wife at the head of his table.' 

'That i.-; all very well in theory, but I have never seen it 
work out well in fact,' said the Rector of Trcvalga, who made a 
third in the little g roup seated on the edge of the wide lawn, 
where sportive youth was playing tennis, in half a dozen courts, 
to the enlivening strains of a military band from Bodrnrn 

164 Blount Eoyal. 

' How thoroughly happy Christabel looks,' observed another 
friendlj matron to Mrs. Tregonell, a little later in the afternoon : 
' she seems to have quite got over her trouble about Mr 

'Yes, I hope that is forgotten,' answered Mrs. Tregonell 

This garden party was an occasion of unspeakable pain to 
Christabel. Her aunt had insisted upon sending out the in- 
vitations. There must be some kind of festival upon her 
adopted daughter's coming of age. The inheritor of lands and 
money was a person whose twenty-first birthday could not be 
permitted to slip by unmarked, like any other day in the 

" If we were to have no garden party this summer people 
would say you were broken-hearted at the sad end of last year's 
engagement, darling,' said Mrs. Tregonell, when Christabel had 
pleaded against the contemplated assembly, 'and I know your 
pride would revolt at that.' 

' Dear Auntie, my pride has been levelled to the dust, if I 
ever had any ; it will not raise its head on account of a garden 

Mrs. Tregonell insisted, albeit even her small share of the 
preparations, the mere revision of the list of guests — the dis- 
cussion and acceptance of Jessie Bridgeman's an'angements— 
was a fatigue to the jaded mind and enfeebled body. When 
the day came the mistress of Mount Boyal carried herself with 
the old air of quiet dignity which her friends knew so well. 
People saw that she was aged, that she had grown pale and thin 
and wan ; and they ascribed this change in her to anxiety about 
her niece's engagement. There were vague ideas as to the 
cause of Mr. Hamleigh's dismissal — dim notions of terrible 
iniquities, startling revelations, occurring on the very brink of 
marriage. That section of county society which did not go to 
London knew a great deal more about the details of the story 
than the people who had been in town at the time and had seen 
Miss Courtenay and her lover almost daily. For those daughters 
of the soil who but rarely crossed the Tamar the story of Miss 
Courtenay's engagement was a social mystery of so dark a com- 
plexion that it afforded inexhaustible material for tea-table 
gossip. A story, of which no one seemed to know the exact 
details, gave wide ground for speculation, and could always be 
looked at from new points of view. 

' And now here was the same Miss Courtenay smiling upon 
her friends, fair and radiant, showing no traces of last year's 
tragedy in her looks or manners; being, indeed, one of those 
women who do not wear their hearts upon their sleeves fcr daws 
to peek at. The local mind, therefore, arrived at the conclusion 
that Miss Courtenay had consoled herself for the loss of one 

*But here is One who Tioves you as of Old.' 165 

lover by the gain of another, and was now engaged to her 

Clara St. Aubyn ventured to congratulate her upon this 
happy issue out of bygone griefs. 

' I am so glad,' she said, squeezing Christabel's hand, during 
an inspection of the hot-houses. ' I like him so much.' 

' I don't quite understand,' replied Christabel, with a freezing 
look : ' who is it whom you like ? The new Curate ? ' 

' No, deal', don't pretend to misunderstand me. I am so 
pleased to think that you and your cousin are going to make a 
match of it. He is so handsome — such a fine, frank, open- 
hearted maimer — so altogether nice.' 

' I am pleased to hear you praise hhn, ! said Christabel, still 
supremely cold ; ' but my cousin is my cousin, and will never 
be anything more.' 

' You don't mean that V 

' I do — without the smallest reservation.' 

Clara became thoughtful. Leonard Tregonell was one of the 
best matches in the county, and he had always been civil to 
her. They had tastes in common, were both horsey and doggy, 
and plain-spoken to brusqueness. Why should not she be 
mistress of Mount Eoyal, by-and-bye, if Christabel despised hei 
opportunities ? 

At half -past seven, the last carriage had driven away from 
the porch ; and Mrs. Tregonell, thoroughly exhausted by the 
exertions of the afternoon, reclined languidly in her favourite 
chair, moved from its winter-place by the hearth, to a deep 
embayed window looking on to the rose-garden. Christabel sat 
on a stool at her aunt's feet, her fair head resting against the 
cushioned elbow of Mrs. TregonelTs chair. 

'Well, Auntie, the people are gone and the birthday is over. 
Isn't that a blessing ? ' she said, lightly. 

' Yes, dear, it is over, and you are of age — your own mistress 
My guardianship expires to-day. I wonder whether I shall find 
any difference in my darling now she is out of leading-strings.' 

' I don't think you will, Auntie. I have not much inclina- 
tion for desperate flights of any kind. What can freedom or 
the unrestricted use of my fortune give me, which your indulge 
ence has not already given? What whim or fancy of mine have 
you ever thwarted ? No, aunt Di, I don't think there is any 
scope for rebellion on my part.' 

' And you will not leave me, dear, till the end V pleaded tfio 
widow. ' Your bondage cannot be for very long.' 

' Auntie ! how can you speak like that, when you know — 
when you must know that I have no one in the world but you 
now — no one, dearest,' said Christabel, on her knees at her aunt's 
feet, clasping and kissing the pale transparent hands. ' I have 

166 Mount Royal. 

not the knack of loving many people. Jessie is very good to me, 
and I am fond of her as my friend and companion. Uncle 
Oliver is all goodness, and I am fond of him in just the same 
way. But I never loved any one but you and Angus. Angus is 
gone from me, and if God takes you, Auntie, my prayer is that I 
may speedily follow you.' 

' My love, that is a blasphemous prayer : it implies doubt in 
God's goodness. lie means the young and innocent to be happy 
in this world — happy and a source of happiness to others. You 
will form new ties ; a husband and children will console you for 
all you have lost in the past.' 

' No, aunt, I shall never marry. Put that idea out of your 
mind. You will think less badly of me for refusing Leonard if 
you understand that I have made up my mind to live and die 

' But I cannot and will not believe that, Belle : whatever you 
may think now, a year hence your ideas will have entirely 
altered. Remember my own history. When George Hamleigh 
died I thought the world — so far as it concerned me — had come 
to an end, that I had only to wait for death. My fondest hope 
was that I should die within the year, and be buried in a grave 
near his — yet five years afterwards I was a happy wife and 

1 Cod was good to you,' said Christabel, quietly, thinking all 
the while that her aunt must have been made of a different clay 
from herself. There was a degradation in being able to forget : 
it implied a lower kind of organism than that finely strung nature 
v% inch loves once and once only. 



Having pledged herself to remain with her aunt to the end, 
Christabel was fain to make the best of her life at Mount Royal, 
and iii order to do this she must needs keep on good terms with 
her cousin. Leonard's conduct of late had been irreproachable : 
he was attentive to his mother, all amiability to Christabel, and 
almost civil to Miss Bridgeman. He contrived to make his peace 
with Randie, and he made such a good impressi#n upon Major 
Bree that he won the warm praises of that gentleman. 

The cross country rides were resumed, the Major always in 
attendance ; and Leonard and his cousin were seen so often 
together, riding, driving, or walking, that the idea of an engage- 
ment between them became a fixture in the local mind, which 

1 That Lip and Voice are Mute for Ever.' 167 

held that when one was off with the old love it was well to be on 
with the new. 

And so the summer ripened and waned. Mrs. Tregoi. 
health seemed to improve in the calm happiness of a domeotic 
life in which there was no indication of disunion. She had never 
surrendered her hope of Christabel's relenting. Leonard's frank 
and generous character — his good looks — his local popularity — 
■must ultimately prevail over the memory of another — that other 
having so completely given up his chances. Mrs. Tregonell was 
half inclined to recognize the nobleness of that renunciation ; 
half disposed to accept it as a proof that Angus Hamleigh'a 
heart still hankered after the actress who had been his iirst 
infatuation. In either case no one could doubt that it was well 
for Christabel to be released from such an engagement. To wed 
Angus would have been to tie herself to sickness and death — ts 
take upon herself the burden of early widowhood, to put on sack- 
cloth and ashes as a wedding garment. 

It was winter, and there were patches of snow upon the hills, 
and sea and sky were of one chill slatey hue, before Leonard 
ventured to repeat that question which he had asked with such 
ill effect in the sweet summer morning, between hedgerows 
flushed with roses. But through all the changes of the waning 
year there had been one purpose in his mind, and every acfe of 
his life had tended to one result. He had sworn to himself that 
his cousin shoidd be Ids wife. Whatever barriers of disinclina- 
tion, direct antagonism even, there might be on her side must be 
broken down by dogged patience, unyielding determination on 
his side. He had the spirit of the hunter, to whom that prey is 
most precious which costs the longest chase. He loved his cousin 
more passionately to-day, after keeping his feelings in check for 
six months, than he had loved her when he asked her to be his 
wife. Every day of delay had increased his ardour and strength- 
ened his resolve. 

It was New Year's day. Christabel and Miss Bridgeman 
had been to church in the morning, and had taken a long walk 
•rith Leonard, who contrived to waylay them at the church door 
ifter church. Then had come a rather late luncheon, after which 
Christabel spent an hour in her aunt's room reading to her, and 
talking a little in a subdued way. It was one of Mrs. Tregonell's 
bad days, a day upon which she could hardly leave her sofa, and 
Christabel came away from the invalid's room full of sadness. 

She was sitting by the fire in the library, alone in the dusk, 
save for Randie's company, when her cousin came in and found 

her. i o t i 

' Why, Belle, what are you doing all alone in the dark If ue 

exclaimed. 'I almost thought the room vraa^empty.' 
• I have been thinking,' she said, with a sigh. 

1G8 Mount Royal. 

' Your thoughts could not have been over-pleasant, I should 
ihink, by that sigh,' said Leonard, ;oming over to the hearth 
and drawing the logs together. ' TI jre'a a cheerful blaze for you 
Don't give way to sad thoughts on the first day of the yeai 
Belle : it's a bad beginning.' 

' I have been thinking of your dear mother, Leonard : my 
mother, for she has been more to me than one mother in a 
hundred is to her daughter. She is with us to-day — a part of 
our lives — very frail and feeble, but still our own. Where will 
she be next New Year's day 1 ' 

' Ah, Belle, that's a bad look out for both of us,' answered 
Leonard, seating himself in his mother's empty chair. ' I'm 
afraid she won't last out the year that begins to-day. But she 
has seemed brighter and happier lately, hasn't she ? ' 

' Yes, I think she has been happier,' said Christabel. 

' Do you know why 1 ' 

His cousin did not answer him. She sat with her face bent 
over her dog, hiding her tears on Bandie's sleek black head. 

' I think I know why the mother has been so tranquil in 
her mind lately, Belle,' said Leonard, with unusual earnestness, 
'and I think you know just as well as I do. She 'hasj^gji, 
you and me more friendly together — more cousinly — and she 
has looked forward to the fulfilment of an old wish and dream of 
hers. She has looked for the speedy realization of that wish, 
Belle, although six months ago it seemed hopeless. She wants 
to see the two people she loves best on earth united, before she 
is taken away. It would make the close of her life happy, if she 
could see my happiness secure. I believe you know that. 

' Yes, I know that it is so. But that can never be.' 

' That is a hard saying, ChristabeL Half a year ago I asked 
you a question, and you said no. Many a man in my position 
would have been too proud to run the risk of a second refusal. 
He would have gone away in a huff, and found comfort some- 
where else. But I knew that there was only one woman in the 
the world who could make me happy, and I waited for her. 
You must own that I have been patient, have I not, Belle ? ' 

' You have been very devoted to your dear mother — very good 
to me. I cannot deny that, Leonard,' Christabel answered; 

She had dried her tears, and lifted her head from the dog's 
neck, and sat looking straight at the fire, self-possessed and 
sad. It seemed to her as if all possibility of happiness had gone 
out of her lif e. 

' Am I to have no reward 1 ' asked Leonard. s You know 
with what hope I have waited — you know that our marriage 
would make my mother happy, that it would make the end of 

'That Lip and Voice are Mute for Ever. 169 

ht:r life a festival. You owe me nothing, but you owe her some* 
thing. That is sueing in formd pauperis, isn't it, Belle I But 1 
have no pride where you are concerned.' 

' You ask me to be your wife ; you don't even ask if I love 
you,' said Christabel, bitterly. ' What if I were to say yes, and 
then tell you afterwards that my heart still belongs to Angus 

' You had better tell me "that now, if it is so,' said Leonard, 
liis face darkening in the firelight. 

' Then I will tell you that it is so. I gave him up because I 
thought it my duty to give him up. I believed that in honour 
he belonged to another woman. I believe so still. But I have 
never left off loving him. That is why I have made up my 
mind never to marry.' 

' You are wise,' retorted Leonard, ' such a confession as that 
would settle for most men. But it does not settle for me, 
Belle. I am too far gone. If you are a fool about Hamleigh, 
I am a fool about you. Only say you will marry me, and I will 
take my chance of all the rest. I. .know you will be a good 
wife ; and I will be a good husband to you. And I suppose 
in the end you will get to care for me a little. One thing is 
Ciirtain, that I can't be happy without you ; so I would gladly 
run the risk of an occasional taste of misery with you. Come, 
Belle, is it a bargain,' he pleaded, taking her unresisting hands. 
'• Say that it is, dearest. Let me kiss the future mistress of 
Mount Royal.' 

He bent over her and kissed her — kissed those lips which 
had once been sacred to Angus Hamleigh, which she had sworn 
in her heart should be kissed by no other man upon earth. She 
recoiled from him with a shiver of disgust — no good omen for 
their wedded bliss. 

' This will make our mother very happy,' said Leonard. 
Come to her now, Belle, and let us tell her.' 

Christabel went with slow, reluctant steps, ashamed of the 
weakness which had yielded to persuasion and not to duty. But 
when Mrs. Tregonell heard the news from the triumphant 
lover, the light of happiness that shone upon the wan face was 
almost an all-sufficing reward for this last sacrifice. 

' My love, my love,' cried the widow, clasping her niece to 
her breast. 'You have made my last earthly days happy. I 
have thought you cold and hard. I feared that I should die 
before you relented ; but now you have made me glad and 
grateful. I reared you for this, I taught you for this, I have 
prayed for this ever since you were a child. I have prayed that 
my son might have a pure and perfect wife, and God had 
granted my prayer.' 

After this came a period of such perfect content and tran- 

170 Mount Boyal. 

quility for the invalid, that Christabel forgot her own sorrows, 
bhe lived in an atmosphere of gladness ; congratulations, gifts- 
were pouring in upon her every day ; her aunt petted and 
cherished her, was never weary of praising and caressing her. 
Leonard was all submission as a lover. Major Bree was 
delighted at the security which this engagement promised for 
the carrying on of the line of Champernownes and Tregonells — 
the union of two fine estates. He had looked forward to a 
dismal period when the widow would be laid in her grave, her 
son a wanderer, and Christabel a resident at Plymouth or Bath ; 
while spiders wove their webs in shadowy corners of the good 
old Manor house, and mice, to all appearance self-sustaining, 
scampered and scurried behind the panelling. 

Jessie Bridgeman was the only member of Christabel's 
circle who refrained from any expression of approval. 

' Did I not tell you that you must end by marrying him 1 ' 
she exclaimed. 'Did I not say that if you stayed here the thing 
was inevitable 1 Continual dropping will wear away a stone ; 
the stone is a fixture and can't help being dropped upon ; but 
if you had stuck to your colours and gone to Leipsic to stud; 
the piano, you would have escaped the dropping.' 

As there was no possible reason for delay, while there was 
a powerful motive for a speedy marriage, in the fact of Mrs. 
Tregonell's precarious health, and her ardent desire to see her 
son and her niece united before her fading eyes closed for ever 
upon earth and earthly cares, Christabel was fain to consent 
to the early date which her aunt and her lover proposed, and to 
allow all arrangements to be hurried on with that view. 

So in the dawning of the year, when Proserpine's returning 
footsteps were only faintly indicated by pale snowdrops and 
early violets lurking in sheltered hedges, and by the gold and 
purple of crocuses in all the cottage gardens, Christabel put on 
her wedding gown, and whiter than the pale ivory tint of the 
soft sheeny satin, took her seat in the carriage beside her adopted 
mother, to be driven down into the valley, and up the hilly 
street, where all the inhabitants of Boscastle — save those who 
bad gone on before to congregate by the lich-gate — were on the 
alert to see the bride go by. 

Mrs. Tregonell was paler than her niece, the fine regular 
features blanched with that awful pallor which tells of disease 
— but her eyes were shining with the light of gladness. 

'My darling,' she murmured, as they drove down to the 
harbour bridge, ' I have loved you all your life, but never as I love 
you to-day. My dearest, you have filled my soul with content' 

' I thank God that it shoixld be so,' faltered Christabel. 

' If I could only see you smile, dear,' said her aunt. ' Your 
expression is too sad for a bride.' 

*That Lip and Voice are Mute for Ever.' 17l 

' Is it, Auntie ? But marriage is a serious thing, dear. It 
means the dedication of a life to duty.' 

' Duty which affection will make very light, I hop?,' said Mrs. 
Tregonell, chilled by the cold statuesque face, wrapped in its 
cloudy veil. ' Christabel, my love, tell me that you are not 
unhappy — that this marriage is not against your inclination. 
It is of your own free will that you give yourself to my boy 1 ' 

'Yes, of my own free will,' answered Christabel, firmly. 

As she spoke, it flashed upon her that Iphigenia would have 
given the same answer before they led her k> the altar of offended 
Artemis. There are sacrifices offered with the victim's free con- 
sent, which are not the less sacrifices. 

'Look, dear,' cried her aunt, as the children, clustering at the 
school-house gate — dismissed from school an hour before their 
time— waved their sturdy arms, and broke into a shrill trebiu 
cheer, ' everybody is pleased at this marriage.' 

* If you are glad, dearest, I am content,' murmured her niecf-. 

It was a very quiet wedding — or a wedding which ranks 
among quiet weddings now-a-days, when nuptial ceremonies are 
for the most part splendid. No train of bridesmaids in aesthetic 
colours, Duchess of Devonshire hats, and long mittens — no page- 
boys, staggering under gigantic baskets of flowers — no fuss or 
fashion, to make that solemn ceremony a raree-show for the 
gaping crowd. The Rector of Trevalga's two little girls were 
the only bridesmaids — dressed after Sir Joshua, in short-waisted 
dove-coloured frocks and pink sashes, mob caps and mittens, 
with big bunches of primroses and violets in their chubby 

Mrs. Tregonell looked superb in a dark ruby velvet gown, 
and long mantle of the same rich stuff, bordered with darkest 
sable. It was she who gave her niece away, while Major Bree 
acted as best man for Leonard. There were no guests at this 
winter wedding. Mrs. Tregonell's frail health was a sufficient 
reason for the avoidance of all pomp and show ; and Christabel 
had pleaded earnestly for a very quiet wedding. 

So before that altar where she had hoped to pledge herself 
for life and till death to Angus Hamleigh, Christabel gave her 
submissive hand to Leonard Tregonell, while the fatal words 
were spoken which have changed and blighted some few lives, 
to set against the many they have blessed and glorified. Still 
deadly pale, the bride went with the bridegroom to the vesl ry, 
to sign that book of fate, the register, Mrs. Tregonell following 
on Major Bree's arm, Miss Bridgeman — a neat little figure in 
silver grey poplin — and the child bride-maids crowding in after 
them, until the small vc.-try was filled with a gracious group, all 
glow of colour and sheen of sdk and satin, in the glad spring 

172 Mount Boy at. 

k Now, Mrs. Tregonell,' said the Major, cheerily, when the 
bride and bridegroom had signed, ' let us have your name next, 
if you please ; for I don't think there is any of us who mora 
rejoices in this union than you do.' 

The widow took the pen, and wrote her name below that of 
Cliristabel, with a hand that never faltered. The incumbent of 
Minster used to say afterwards that this autograph was the 
grandest in the register. But the pen dropped suddenly from 
the hand that had guided it so firmly. Mrs. Tregonell looked 
round at the circle of faces with a strange wild look in her own. 
She gave a faint half-stifled cry, and fell upon her son's breast, 
her arms groping about his shoulders feebly, as if they would 
fain have wound themselves round his neck, but coidd not, 
encumbered by the heavy mantle. 

Leonard put his arm round her, and held her firmly to his 

'Dear mother, are you ill?' he asked, alanned by that 
strange look in the haggard face. 

' It is the end,' she faltered. ' Don't be sorry, dear. I am so 

And thus, with a shivering sigh, the weary heart throbbed 
its last dull beat, the faded eyes grew dim, the limbs were dumb 
for ever. 

The Eector tried to get Christabel out of the vestry before 
she could know what had happened — but the bride was clinging 
to her aunt's lifeless figure, half sustained in Leonard's arms, 
half resting on the chair which had been pushed forward to 
support her as she sank upon her son's breast. Vain to seek to 
delay the knowledge of sorrow. All was known to Christabel 
already, as she bent over that marble face which was scarcely 
whiter than her own. 


'not the gods can shake the past. 

There was a sad silent week of waiting before the bride set 
forth upon her bridal tour, robed in deepest mourning. For six 
days the windows of Mount Eoyal were darkened, and Leonard 
and his newly wedded wife kept within the shadow of that house 
of death, almost as strictly as if they had been Jewish mourners, 
bound by ancient ceremonial laws, whereof the close observance 
is a kind of patriotism among a people who have no fatherland. 
All the hot-houses at Mount Eoyal gave out their treasures — 
white hyacinths, and rose-flushed cyclamen, gardenia, waxen 

Not the Gods can shake I lie Past.' 173 

camellias, faint Dijon roses — for the adornment of the death 
chamber. The corridor outside that darkened room had an 
odour of hot-house flowers. The house, folded in silence and 
darkness, felt like some splendid sepulchre. Leonard was deeply 
depressed by his mother's death ; more shocked by its sudden- 
ness, by this discordant note in his triumphant marriage song, 
than by the actual fact ; this loss having been long discounted in 
his own mind among the evds of the future. 

Christabel's grief was terrible, albeit she had lived for the 
last year in constant fear of this affliction. Its bitterness was in 
no wise lessened because it had been long expected. Never even 
in her saddest moments had she realized the agony of that parting, 
the cold dull sense of loneliness, of dismal abandonment, in a 
loveless, joyless world, when that one beloved friend was taken 
from her. Leonard tried his best to console her, putting aside 
his own sorrow, in the endeavour to comfort his bride ; but his 
efforts at consolation were not happy, for the most part taking 
the form of philosophical truisms which may be very good in an 
almanack, or as padding for a country newspaper, but which 
sound dull and meaningless to the ear of the mourner who says 
in his heart there was never any sorrow like unto my sorrow. 

In the low sunlight of the March afternoon they laid Mrs. 
Tregonell's coffin in the family vault, beside the niche whei'e her 
faithful husband of ten years' wedded life took his last long rest. 
There, in the darkness, the perfume of many flowers mixing with 
the cold earthly odours of the tomb, they left her who had for so 
long been the despotic mistress of Mount Royal ; and then they 
drove back to the empty house, where the afternoon light that 
streamed in through newly opened windows had a garish look, as 
if it had no right to be there. 

The widow's will was of the simplest. She left legacies to the 
old servants ; her wardrobe, with the exception of laces and furs, to 
Dormer ; mementoes to a few old friends ; two thousand pounds 
in trust for certain small local charities ; to Chiistabel all her 
jewels and books ; and to her son everything else of which she 
died possessed. He was now by inheritance from his mother, 
and in right of his wife, mas' er of the Champernowne estate, 
which, united to the Tregonell property, made him one of the 
largest landowners in the West of England. Christabel's 
fortune had been strictly settled on herself before her marriage, 
with reversion to Leonard in the failure of children ; but the 
faet of this settlement, to which he had readily agreed, did not 
lessen Leonard's sense of importance as representative of the 
Tregonells and Champernownes. 

Christabel and her husband started for the Continent on 
the day after the funeral, Leonard fervently hoping that change 
of scene ami constant movement would help his wife to forget 

174 Mount Royal. 

her grief. It was a dreary departure for a honeymoon tour — 
the sombre dress of bride and bridegroom, the doleful visage of 
Dormer, the late Mrs. Tregonell's faithful maid, whom the 
present Mrs. Tregonell retained for her own service, glad to 
have a person about her who had so dearly loved the dead. 
They travelled to "Weymouth, crossed to Cherbourg, and thence 
to Paris, and on without stopping to Bordeaux . then, following 
the line southward, they visited all the most interesting towns 
of southern France — Albi, Montauban, Toulouse, Carcassonne, 
Narbonne, Montpellier, Nismes, and so to the fairy-like shores 
of the Mediterranean, lingering on their way to look at mediaeval 
cathedrals, Roman baths and amphitheatres, citadels, prisons, 
palaces, aqueducts, all somewhat dry as dust and tiresome to 
Leonard, but full of interest to Christabel, who forgot her own 
griefs as she pored over these relics of pagan and Christian history. 

Nice was in all its glory of late spring when, after a lingerin',' 
progress, they arrived at that Brighton of the south. It wis 
nearly six weeks since that March sunset which had lighted the 
funeral procession in Minster Churchyard, and Christabel \. as 
beginning to grow accustomed to the idea of her aunt's death — 
nay, had begun to look back with a dim sense of wonder at the 
happy time in which they two had been together, their love 
unclouded by any fear of doom and parting. That last year of 
Mrs. Tregonell's life had been Christabel's apprenticeship to 
grief. All the gladness and thoughtlessness of youth had been 
blighted by the knowledge of an inevitable parting — a farewell 
that most soon be spoken — a dear hand clasped fondly to-day, 
but which must be let go to-morrow. 

Under that soft southern sky a faint bloom came back to 
Christabel's cheeks, which had not until now lost the wan 
whiteness they had worn on her wedding-day. She grew mors 
cheerful, talked brightly and pleasantly to her husband, and put 
off the aspect of gloom with the heavy crape- shrouded gown 
which marked the first period of her mourning. She came 
down to dinner one evening in a gown of rich lustreless black 
silk, with a cluster of Cape jasmine among the folds of her 
white crape fichu, whereat Leonard rejoiced exceedingly, his 
being one of those philosophic minds which believe that the tco 
brief days of the living should never be frittered away upon 
lamentations for the dead. 

' You're looking uncommonly jolly, Belle,' said Leonard, aa 
his wife took her seat at the little table in front of an open 
window overlooking the blue water and the amphitheatre of 
hills, glorified by the sunset. They were dining at a private 
table in the public room of the hotel, Leonard having a fancy 
for the life and bustle of the table d'hote rather than the 
seclusion of his own apartments. Christabel hated sitting dowa 

Not tlie Gods can shake the PisV 

with a herd of strangers ; so, by way of compromise, they dined 
at their own particular table, and looked on at the public 
banquet, as at a stage-play enacted for their amusement. 

There were others who preferred the exclusiveness of a 
separate table ; among these two middle-aged men — one military. 
i both new arrivals — who sat within earshot of Mr. and Mrs. 

' That's a fascinating get-up, Belle,' pursued Leonard, proud 
of his wife's beauty, and not displeased at a few respectful 
glances from the men at the neighbouring table which that 
beauty had elicited. 'By-the-by, why shouldn't we go to the 
opera to-night ? They do " Traviata ;" none of your Wagner 
stuff, but one of the few operas a fellow can understand. It will 
cheer you up a bit.' 

' Thank you, Leonard. You are very good to think of it ; 
but I had rather not go to any place of amusement — this year.' 

' That's rank rubbish, Belle. What can it matter — here, 
where nobody knows us 1 And do you suppose it can make any 
difference to my poor mother ? Her sleep will be none the less 

' I know that ; but it pleases me to honour her memory. I 
will go to the opera as often as you like next year, Leonard.' 

' You may go or stay away, so far as I'm concerned,' answered 
Leonard, with a sulky air. ' I only suggested the thing on your 
account. 1 hate their squalling.' 

This was not the first time that Mr. Tregonell had shown the 
cloven foot during that prolonged honeymoon. He was not 
actually unkind to his wife. He indulged her fancies for the 
most part, even when they went counter to his ; he would have 
loaded her with gifts, had she been willing to accept them ; he 
was the kind of spouse who, in the estimation of the outside 
world, passes as a perfect husband — proud, fond, indulgent, 
lavish — just the kind of husband whom a sensuous, selfish woman 
would consider absolutely adorable from a practical standpoint ; 
supplementing him, perhaps, with the ideal, in the person of a 

So far, Christabel's wedded life had gone smoothly ; for in 
the measure of her sacrifice she had included obedience and duty 
after marriage. Yet there was not an hour in which she did not 
feel the utter want of sympathy between her and the man she 
had married — not a day in which she did not discover his 
inability to understand her, to think as she thought, to see as she 
saw. Religion, conscience, honour — for all these husband and 
wife had a different standard. That which was right to one was 
wrong to the oth r. Th ir sense of the beautiful, their estimation 
of art, \ i rt as earth and heaven. How could any 

union prove happy — how could there be even that smooth peaeo. 

170 Mount Boyal. 

fulness which blesses some passionless unions — when the husband 
and wife were of so different a clay ? Long as Leonard had 
known and loved his cousin, he was no more at home with her 
than he would have been with Undine, or with that ivory image 
which Aphrodite warmed into life at the prayer of Pygmalion 
the sculptor. 

More than once during these six weeks of matrimony Leonard 
had betrayed a jealous temper, which threatened evil in the 
future. His courtship had been one long struggle at self- 
repression. Marriage gave him back his liberty, and he used it 
on more than one occasion to sneer at his wife's former lover, or 
at her fidelity to a cancelled vow. Christabel had understood 
his meaning only too well ; but she had heard him in a scornful 
silence which was more humiliating than any other form of 

After that offer of the opera, Mr. Tregonell lapsed into 
silence. His subjects for conversation were not widely varied, 
and his present position, aloof from all spotting pursuits, and 
poorly provided with the London papers, reduced him almost to 
dumbness. Just now he was silent from temper, and went on 
sulkily with his dinner, pretending to be absorbed by consider- 
ation of the wines and dishes, most of which he pronounced 

When he had finished his dinner, he took out his cigarette 
case, and went out on the balcony to smoke, leaving Christabel 
sitting alone at her little table. 

The two Englishmen at the table in che next window were 
talking in a comfortable, genial kind of way, and in voices quite 
loud enough to be overheard by their immediate neighbours. 
The soldier-like man sat back to back with Christabel, and she 
could not avoid hearing the greater part of his conversation. 

She heard with listless ears, neither understanding nor 
interested in understanding the drift of his talk — her mind far 
o,way in the home she had left, a desolate and ruined home, as it 
seemed to her, now that her aunt was dead. But by-and-by the 
sound of a too familiar name rivetted her attention. 

' Angus Hamleigh, yes ! I saw his name in the visitor's 
book. He was here last month — gone on to Italy,' said the 

1 You knew him ? ' asked the other. 

1 Dans le temps. I saw a good deal of him when he waa 
about town.' 

' Went a mucker, didn't he ? ' 

'I believe he spent a good deal of money — but he never 
belonged to an out-and-out fast lot. Went in for art and 
A\ul literature, and that kind of thing, don't you know 1 Garrick 
Club, behind the scenes at the swell theatres — Eichmond and 

'Not the Gods can shake the Past.' 177 

Greenwich dinners — Maidenhead — Henley — lived in a house- 
boat one summer, men used to go down by the last train to 
moonlit suppers after the play. He had some very good ideas, 
ami carried them out on a large scale — but he never dropped 
money on cards, or racing — rather looked down upon the 
amusements of the million. By-the-by, I was at a rather curious 
wedding just before I left London.' 

' Whose ? ' 

'Little Fishky's. The Colonel came up to time at last.' 

'Fishky,' interrogated the civilian, vaguely. 

' Don't you know Fishky, alias Psyche, the name by which 
Stella Mayne condescended to be known by her intimate friends 
during the run of " Cupid and Psyche.' Colonel Luscomb 
married her last week at St. George's, and I was at the 

' 11 ither feeble of him, wasn't it ?' asked the civilian. 

' Well, you see, he could hardly sink himself lower than he 
had done already by his infatuation for the lady. He knew 
that all his chances at the Horse Guards were gone ; so if a plain 
gold ring could gratify a young person who had been surfeited 
with diamonds, why should our friend withhold that simple and 
inexpensive ornament 1 Whether the lady and gentleman will 
be any the happier for this rehabilitation of their domestic 
circumstances, is a question that can only be answered in the 
future. The wedding was decidedly queer.' 

' In what way 1 ' 

' It was a case of vaulting ambition which o'er-leaps itself. 
The Colonel wanted a quiet wedding. I think he would have 
preferred the registrar's office — no church-going, or fuss of any 
kind — but the lady, to whom matrimony was a new idea, 
willed otherwise. So she decided that the nest in St. John's 
Wood was not spacious enough to accommodate the wedding 
guests. She sent her invitations far and wide, and ordered a 
recherche breakfast at an hotel in Brook Street. Of the sixty 
people she expected about fifteen appeared, and there was a 
rowdy air about those select few, male and female, which was 
by no means congenial to the broad glare of day. Night 
birds, every one — painted cheeks — dyed moustachios — tremulous, 
hands — a foreshadowing of del. trem. in the very way some 
of them swallowed their champagne. I was sorry for Fishky, 
who looked lovely ia her white satin frock and orange-blossoms, 
but who had a piteous droop about the corners of her lips, 
like a child whose birthday feast has gone wrong. I felt 
still sorrier for the Colonel — a proud man debased by low 

' He will take Iher off the stage, I suppose,' suggested th* 


1^8 Mount Boyal. 

' Naturally, he will try to do so. He'll make a good fight 
for it, I dare say ; but whether he can keep Fishky from the 
footlights is an open question. I know he's in debt, and I 
don't very clearly see how they are to live.' 

' She is very fond of him, isn't she 1 ' 

( Yes, I believe so. She jilted Hamleigh, a man who wor- 
shipped her, to take up with Luscomb, so I suppose it was a 
case of real affection.' 

' I was told that she was in very bad health — consumptive 1 ' 

'That sort of little person is always dying,' answered the 
other carelessly. It is a part of the metier — the Marguerite 
Gauthier, drooping lily kind of young woman. But I believe 
this one is sickly.' 

' Christabel heard every word of this conversation, heard 
&nd understood for the first time that her renunciation of 
her lover had been useless — that the reparation she had deemed 
it his duty to make, was past making — that the woman to 
whose wounded character she had sacrificed her own happiness 
was false and unworthy. She had been fooled — betrayed by 
her own generous instincts — her own emotional impulses. It 
would have been better for her and for Angus if she had been 
more worldly-minded — less innocent of the knowledge of evil. 
She had blighted her own life, and perhaps his, for an imaginary 
good. Nothing had been gained to any one living by her 

' I thought I was doing my duty,' she told herself helplessly, 
as she sat looking out at the dark water, above which the moon 
was rising in the cloudless purple of a southern night. ' Oh ! 
how wicked that woman was to hide the truth from me — to let 
me sacrifice my love and my lover — knowing her own falsehood 
all the time. And now she is the wife of another man ! How 
she must have laughed at my folly ! I thought it was Angu3 
who had deserted her, and that if I gave him up, hi3 own 
honourable feeling would lead him to atone for that past wrong. 
And now I know that no good has been done — only infinite 

She thought of Angus, a lonely wanderer on the face of the 
earth ; jilted by the first woman he had loved, renounced by 
the second, with no close ties of kindred — uncared for and 
alone. It was hard for her to think of this, whose dearest hope 
had once been to devote her life to caring for him and cherishing 
him — prolonging that frail existence by the tender ministrations 
of a boundless love. She pictured him in his loneliness, careless 
of his health, wasting his brief remnant of life — reckless, hope- 
less, indifferent. 

' God grant he may fall in love with some good woman, who 
•sill cherish him as I would have done,' was her unselfish prayer • 


'Not the Gods can shake the Past.' 179 

for she knew that domestic affection is the only spell that can 
prolong a fragile life. 

It was a weak thing no doubt next morning, when she was 
passing through the hall of the hotel, to stop at the desk on 
which the visitors' book was kept, and to look back through the 
signatures of the last three weeks for that one familiar auto- 
graph which she had such faint chance of ever seeing again in 
the future. How boldly that one name seemed to stand out 
from the page ; and even coming upon it after a deliberate 
search, what a thrill it sent through her veins ! The signature 
was as firm as of old. She tried to think that this was an indi- 
cation of health and strength — but later in the same day, when 
she was alone in her sitting-room, and her tea was brought to 
her by a German waiter — one of those superior men whom 
it is hard to think of as a menial — she ventured to ask a 

' There was an English gentleman staying here about three 
weeks ago : a Mr. Hamleigh. Do you remember him 1 ' she 

The waiter interrogated himself silently for half a minute, 
and then replied in the affirmative. 

' Was he an invalid ? ' 

' Not quite an invalid, Madame. He went out a little — but 
he did not seem robust. He never went to the opera — or to any 
public entertainment. He rode a little — and drove a little — and 
read a great deal. He was much fonder of books than most 
English gentlemen.' 

' Do you know where he went when he left here 1 ' 

* He was going to the Italian lakes.' 

Christabel asked no further question. It seemed to her a 
great privilege to have heard even so much as this. There was 
very little hope that in her road of life she would often come 
bo nearly on her lost lover's footsteps. She was too wise to 
desire that they should ever meet face to face — that she, 
Leonard's wife, should ever again be moved by the magic of 
that voice, thrilled by the pathos of those dreamy eyes ; but 
it was a privilege to hear something about him she had lost, 
to know what spot of earth held him, what skies looked down 
upon him. 

180 Mount Royal. 



It was the end of May, when Christabel and her husband weDt 
back to England and to Mount Royal. Leonard wanted to stay 
in London for the season, and to participate in the amusements 
and dissipation of that golden time ; but this his wife most 
steadfastly refused. She would be guilty of no act which coidd 
imply want of respect for her beloved dead. She would 
not make her curtsey to her sovereign in her new character of a 
matron, or go into society, within the year of her aunts death. 

'You will be horribly moped in Cornwall,' remonstrated 
Leonard ' Evervthiner &bout the place, will remind w *fi. ■ ■ 
poor mother. We shall be in the dolefuls all the year.' 

' I would rather grieve for her than forget ber,' answered 
Christabel. 'It is too easy to forget.' 

'"Well, you must have your own way, I suppose. You 
generally do,' retorted Leonard, churlishly ; ' and, af cer having 
dragged me about a lot of mouldy old French towns, and made 
me look at churches, and Roman baths, and the sites of ancient 
circuses, until I hated the very name of antiquity, you will expect 
me to vegetate at Mount Royal for the next six months.' 

'I don't see any reason why a quiet life should be mere 
vegetation,' said Christabel ; ' but if you would prefer to spend 
part of the year in London I can stay at Mount Royal.' 

'And get on uncommonly well without me,' cried Leonard. 
'I perfectly comprehend your meaning. But I am not going in 
for that kind of thing. You and 1 must not offer the world 
another example of the semi-attached couple ; or else people 
might begin to say you had married a man you did not care for.' 

■I will try and make your life as agreeable as I can at the 
Manor, Leonard,' Christabel answered, with supreme equanimity 
—it was an aggravation to her husband that she so rarely lost 
her - temper — 'so long as you do not ask me to till the house with 
visitors, or to do anything that might look like want of reverence 
for your mother's memory. 1 

Look!' ejaculated Leonard. What does it matter how 
things look 1 We both know that we are sorry .fur having loit 
her — that we shall miss her more or less every day of our lives 
— visitors or no visitors. However, you needn't invite any 
people. I can rub on with a little fishin' and boatin'.' 

They went back to Mount Royal, where all things had goix 
as if by clockwork during their absence, under Miss Lridgeman'a 
sage administration. To relieve her loneliness, Christabel had 

l I have Put my Days and Dreams out of Mind.' 181 

invited two of the younger sisters from Shepherd's Bush to spend 
the spring months at the Manor House — and these damsels — 
tall, vigorous, active — had revelled exceedingly in all the luxuries 
and pleasures of a rural life under the most advantageous cir- 
cumstances. They had scoured the hills — had rifled the hedge* 
of their abundant wild flowers — had made friends with aft 
Christabel's chosen families in the surrounding cottages — had 
fallen in love with the curate who was doing duty at Minster and 
Forrabury — had been buffeted by the winds and tossed by the 
waves in many a delightful boating excursion — had climbed the 
rocky steeps of Tintagel so often that they seemed to know every 
stone of that ruined citadel — and now had gone home to Shepherd's 
Bush, their cheeks bright with country bloom, and their meagre 
trunks overshadowed by a gigantic hamper of country produce. 

Christabel felt a bitter pang as the carnage drew up to the 
porch, and she saw the neat little figure in a black gown waiting 
to receive her — thinking of that tall and noble form which should 
have stood there — the welcoming arms which should have received 
her, rewarding and blessing her for her self-sacrifice. The sacrifice 
had been made, but death had swallowed up the blessing and 
reward ; and in that intermediate land of slumber where the 
widow lay there could be no knowledge of gain — no satisfaction 
in the thought of her son's happiness : even granting that Leonard 
was supremely happy in his marriage, a fact which Christabel 
deemed open to doubt. No, there had been nothing gained, 
except that Diana Tregonell's last days had been full of peace — 
her one cherished hope realized on the very threshold of the 
tomb. Christabel tried to take comfort from this knowledge. 

' If I had denied her to the Lost, if she had died with her 
wish ungratified, I think I should be still more sorry for her loss,' 
she told herself. 

There was bitter pain in the return to a home where that one 
familiar figure had been the central point, the very axi* of life. 
Jessie led the new Mrs. Tregonell into the panelled parlour, 
where every object was arranged just as in the old days ; the 
tea-table on the left of the wide fireplace, the large low arm-chair 
and the book-table on the right. The room was bright with 
white and crimson may, azaleas, tea-roses. 

1 1 thought it was best for you to get accustomed to the 
rooms without her,' said Jessie, in a low voice, as she placed 
Christabel in the widow's old chair, and helped to take off her 
hat and mantle, ' and I thought you would not like anything 

' Not for worlds. The house is a part of her, in my mind. 
It was she who planned everything as it now is — just adding 
as many new things as were needful to binghten the old. I will 
never alter a detail unless I am absolutely obliged.' 

182 Mount Royal. 

' I am so thankful to hear you say that. Major Bree ia 
coming to dinner. He wanted to be among the first to welcome 
you. I hope you don't mind my having told him he might 

' I shall be very glad to see him : he is a part of my old life 
here. 1 hope he is very well.' > 

' Splendid— the soul of activity and good temper. I can t 
tell you how good he was to my sisters — taking them about 
everywhere. I believe they both went away deeply in love with 
him ; or at least, with their affections divided between him and 
Mr. Ponsonby. 

Mr. Ponsonby was the curate, a bachelor, and of pleasing 

Leonard had submitted reluctantly to the continued resi- 
dence of Miss Bridgeman at Mount Koyal. _ He had been for 
dismissing her, as a natural consequence of his mother's death ; 
but here again Christabel had been firm. 

'Jessie is my only intimate friend,' she said, 'and she ia 
associated with every year of my girlhood. She will be no 
trouble to you, Leonard, and she will help me to save your 

This last argument had a softening effect. Mr. Tregonell 
knew that Jessie Bridgeman was a good manager. He had 
affected to despise her economies while it was his mother's purse 
which was spared ; but now that the supplies were drawn from 
his own resources he was less disposed to he contemptuous of 
care in the administrator of his household. 

Major Bree was in the drawing-room when Christabel came 
down dressed for dinner, looking delicately lovely in her flowing 
gown of soft dull black, with white flowers and white crape 
about her neck. The Major's cheerful presence did much to 
help Mr. Tregonell and his wife through that first dinner at 
Mount Royal. He had so many small local events to tell them 
about, news too insignificant to be recorded in Jessie's letters, 
but not without interest for Christabel, who loved place and 
people. Then after dinner he begged his hostess to play, 
declaring that he had not heard any good music during her 
absence, and Christabel, who had cultivated her musical talents 
assiduously in every interval of loneliness and leisure which had 
occurred in the course of her bridal tour, was delighted to play 
to a listener who could understand and appreciate the loftiest 
flights in harmony. 

The Major was struck with the improvement in her style. 
She had always played sweetly, but not with this breadth and 


' You must have worked very hard in these last few months, 

he said. 

•7 have Put my Days and Dreams out of Mma.' 183 

' Yes, I made the best of every opportunity. I had some 
lessons from a very clever German professor at Nice. Music 
kept me from brooding on my loss,' she added, in a low voice. 

' I hope you will not grow less industrious now you have 
come home,' said the Major. ' Most woman give Mozart and 
Beethoven to the winds when they marry, shut up their piano 
altogether, or at most aspire to play a waltz for their children's 

' I shall not be one of those. Music will be my chief pur- 
suit — now.' 

The Major felt that although this was a very proper state 
of things from an artistic point of view, it argued hardly so 
well for the chances of matrimonial bliss. That need of a 
pursuit after marriage indicated a certain emptiness in the 
existence of the wife. A life closed and rounded in the narrow 
circle of a wedding ring hardly leaves room for the assiduous 
study of art. 

And now began for Christabel a life which seemed to her to 
be in some wise a piece of mechanism, an automatic performance 
of daily recurring duties, an hourly submission to society which 
had no" charm for her — a life which would have hung as heavily 
upon her spirit as the joyless monotony of a convict prison, had 
it not been for the richness of her own mental resources, and 
her love of the country in which she lived. She could not be 
altogether unhappy roaming with her old friend Jessie over 
those wild romantic hills, or facing the might of that tremendous 
ocean, grand and somewhat awful even in its calmest aspect. 
Nor was she unhappy, seated in her own snug morning-room 
among the books she loved — books which wero always opening 
new worlds of thought and wonder, books of such inexhaustible 
interest that she was often inclined to give way to absolute 
despair at the idea of how much of this world's wisdom must 
remain unexplored even at the end of a long life. De Quincey 
has shown by figures that not the hardest reader can read half 
the good old books that are worth reading ; to say nothing of 
those new books daily claiming to be read. 

No, for a thoroughly intellectual woman, loving music, loving 
the country, tender and benevolent to the poor, such a life an 
Christabel was called upon to lead in this first year of marriage 
could not be altogether unhappy. Here were two people joined 
by the strongest of all human ties, and yet utterly unsym- 
pathetic ; but they were not always in each other's company, 
and when they were together the wife did her best to appeal 
contented with her lot, and to make life agreeable to her hus- 
band. She was more punctilious in the performance of eveiy 
duty she owed him than she would have been had she loved 
him better. She never forgot that his welfare was a charge 

184 Mount Royal. 

which she had taken upon herself to please the kinswoman to 
whom she owed so much. The debt was all the more sacred 
since she to whom it was due had passed away to the land 
where there is no knowledge of earthly conduct. 

The glory of summer grew and faded, the everlasting hill) 
changed with all the varying lights and shadows of autuinj 
and winter ; and in the tender early spring, when all the tree 
were budding, and the hawthorn hedges were unfolding crinkr* 
green leaves among the brown, Christabel's heart melted with 
the new strange emotion of maternal love. A son was born to 
the lord of the manor ; and while all Boscastle rejoiced at this 
important addition to the population, Christabel's pale face 
shone with a new radiance, as the baby-face looked up at her 
from the pillow by her side — eyes clear and star-like, with a 
dreamy, far-away gaze, which was almost more lovely than the 
recognizing looks of older eyes — a being hardly sentient of the 
things of earth, but bright with memories of the spirit world. 

The advent of this baby-boy gave a new impulse to Chris- 
tabel's life. She gave herself up to these new cares and duties 
with intense devotion ; and for the next six months of her life 
was so entirely engrossed by her child that Leonard considered 
himself neglected. She deferred her presentation at Court till 
the next season, and Leonard was compelled to be satisfied with 
an occasional brief holiday in London, during which he naturally 
relapsed into the habits of his bachelor days — dined and gamed 
at the old clubs, and went about everywhere with his friend and 
ally, Jack Vandeleur. 

Christabel had been married two years, and her boy was a 
year old, when she went back to the old house in Bolton Bow 
with her husband, to enjoy her second season of fashionable 
pleasures. How hard it was to return, under such altered 
circumstances, to the rooms in which she had been so happy — to 
see everything unchanged except her own life. The very chairs 
and tables seemed to be associated with old joys, old griefs. 
All the sharp agony of that bitter day on which she had made 
up her mind to renounce Angus Hamleigh came back to her as 
she looked round the room in which the pain had been suffered. 
The flavour of old memories was mixed with all the enjoyments 
of the present. The music she heard this year was the same 
music they two had heard together. And here was this smiling 
Bark, all green leaves and sunlight, filled with this seeming 
frivolous crowd ; in almost every detail the scene they two had 
contemplated, amused and philosophical, four years ago. 

The friends who called on her and invited her now, were the 
same people among whom she had visited during her first season. 
Beople who had been enraptured at her engagement to Mi". 
Hamleigh were equally delighted at her marriage with her 

'And Pale from the Past we draw nigh Thee.' 185 

cousin, or at least said so ; albeit, more than one astute matron 
drove away from Bolton Row sighing over the folly of marriage 
between lirst cousins, and marvelling that Christabel's baby was 
not deaf, blind, or idiotic. 

Among other old acquaintances, young Mrs. Tregonell met the 
Dowager Lady Cuniberbridge, at a great dinner, more Medusa- 
like than ever, hi a curly auburn wig after Madame de Mon- 
tespan, and a diamond coronet. Christabel shrank from the too- 
well -remembered figure with a faint shudder ; but Lady Cum- 
ber! nidge swooped upon lier like an elderly hawk, when the 
ladies were on their way back to the drawing-room, and insisted 
upon being friendly. 

' My dear child, where have you been hiding yourself all 
these years ]' she exclaimed, in her fine baritone. ' I saw your 
marriage in the papers, and your poor aunt's death ; and I was 
expecting to meet you and your husband in society last season. 
You didn't come to town ? A baby, I suppose ? Just so ! Those 
horrid babies ! In the coming century there will be some better 
arrangement for carrying on the species. How well you are 
looking, and your husband is positively charming. He sat next 
me at dinner, and we were friends in a moment. How proud he 
is of you ! It is quite touching to see a man so devoted to his 
wife ; and now' — they were in the subdued light of the drawing- 
room by this time, light judiciously tempered by ruby-coloured 
Venetian glass — 'now tell me all about my poor friend. Was 
she Ions; ill V 

And, with a ghoulish interest in horrors, the dowager pre- 
pared herself for a detailed narration of Mrs. Tregonell's last 
illness ; but Christabel could only falter out a few brief sentences. 
Even now she could hardly speak of her aunt without tears ; and 
it ^as painful to talk of her to this worldly dowager, with keen 
nye3 glittering under penthouse brows, and a hard, eager inouth. 

In all that London season, Christabel only once heard her old 
lover's name, carelessly mentioned at a dinner party. He was 
talked of as a guest at some diplomatic dinner at St. Petersburg, 
"Jarly in the year. 


•and pale from the past we draw xioh thee.' 

It was October, and the chestnut leaves were falling slowly and 
heavily in the park at Mount Royal, the oaks upon the hill side 
were faintly tinged with bronze and gold, while the purpla bloom 

186 Mount Royal. 

of the heather and the yellow flower of the gorze were seen n 
rarer patches amidst the sober tints of autumn. It was the title 
at which to some eyes this Cornish coast was most lovely, with a 
?ubdued poetic loveliness — a dreamy beauty touched with tender 

Mount Eoyal was delightful at this season. Liberal fires in 
all the rooms filled the old oak -panelled house with a glow of 
colour, and a sense of ever-present warmth that was very com-? 
fortable after the sharpness of October breezes. Those green- 
houses and hothouses, which had been for so many years Mrs. 
Tregonell's perpetual care, how disgorged their choicest contents. 
Fragile white and yellow asters, fairy-like ferns, Dijon roses, 
lilies of the valley, stephanotis, mignonette, and Cape jasmine 
filled the rooms with perfume. Modern blinds of diapered 
crimson and grey subdued the light of those heavily mullioned 
windows which had been originally designed with a view to 
strength and architectual effect, rather than to the admission of 
the greatest possible amount of daylight. The house at this 
season of the year seemed made for warmth, so thick the walls, 
so heavily curtained the windows ; just as in the height of 
summer it seemed made for coolness. Christabel had respected 
all her aunt's ideas and prejudices : nothing had been changed 
since Mrs. Tregonell's death — save for that one sad fact that she 
was gone. The noble matronly figure, the handsome face, the 
kindly smile were missing from the house where the widow had 
so long reigned, an imperious but a beneficent mistress — having 
her own way in all things, but always considerate of other 
people's happiness and comfort. 

Mr. Tregonell was inclined to be angry with his wife some- 
times for her religious adherence to her aunt's principles and 
opinions in things great and small. 

' You are given over body and soul to my poor mother's fads, 
he said. ' Jf it had not been for you I should have turned the 
bouse out of windows when she was gone — got rid of all the 
worm-eaten furniture, broken out new windows, and let in more 
light. One feels half asleep in a house where there is nothing 
but shadow and the scent of hothouse flowers. I should have 
given carte blanche to some London man — the fellow who writes 
verses and who invented the storks and sunflower style of 
decoration — and have let him refurnish the saloon and music- 
room, pitch out a library which nobody reads, and substitute 
half a dozen dwarf book-cases in gold and ebony, filled with 
brightly bound books, and with Japanese jars and bottles on the 
top of them to give life and colour to the oak panelling. I hate 
a gloomy house.' 

' Oh, Leonard, you surely would not call Mount Eoyal 

'And Pale from the Past we draw nigh Thee.' 187 

' But I do : I hate a house that smells of one's ancestors.' 

'Just now you objected to the scent of th« flowers.' 

'You are always catching me up — there was never such a 
woman to argue — but I mean what I say. The smell is a com- 
bination of stephanotis and old bones. I wish you would let me 
build you a villa at Torquay or Dartmouth. I think I should 
prefer Dartmouth : it's a better place for yachting.' 

1 You are very kind, but I would rather live at Mount Royal 
than anywhere else. Remember I was brought up here.' 

' A reason for your being heartily sick of the house — as I am. 
But I suppose in your case there are associations — sentimental 

' The house is filled with memories of my second mother ! ' 

' Yes— and there are other memories — associations which you 
love to nurse and brood upon. I think I know all about it — can 
read up your feelings to a nicety.' 

' You can think and say what you please, Leonard,' she 
answered, looking at him with unaltered calmness, 'but you 
will never make me disown my love of this place and its sur- 
roundings. You will never make me ashamed of being fond of 
the home in which I have spent my life.' 

' 1 begin to think there is very little shame in you,' Leonard 
muttered to himself, as he walked away. 

He had said many bitter words to his wife — had aimed many 
a venomed arrow at her breast — but he had never made her 
blush, and he had never made her cry. There were times when 
dull hopeless anger consumed him — anger against her — against 
nature — against Fate — and wb"u his only relief was to be found 
in harsh and bitter speech, in dark and sullen looks. It would 
have been a greater relief to him if his shots had gone home — if 
his brutality had elicited any sign of distress. But in this 
respect Christabel was hercic. She who had never harboured 
an ungenerous thought was moved only to a cold calm scorn by 
the unjust and ungenerous conduct of her husband. Her con- 
tempt was too thorough for the possibility of resentment. 
Once, and once only, she attempted to reason with a fool in his folly. 

' Why do you make these unkind speeches, Leonard 1 ' she 
asked, looking at him with those calm eyes before which his 
were apt to waver and look downward, hardly able to endure 
that steady gaze. ' Why are you always harping upon the past 
— as if it were an offence against you. Is there anything that 
you have to complain of in my conduct — have I given you any 
cause for anger ? ' 

' Oh, no, none. You are simply perfect as a wife — everybody 
says so — and in the multitude of counsellors, you know. But ft 
is just possible for perfection to be a trifle cold and unapproach- 
able — to keep a man at arm's length — and to have an ever- 

188 Mount Royal. 

present air of living in. the past which is galling to a husband 
who would like — well — a little less amiability, and a little mow 
election. By Heaven, I would n't mind my wife being a devil, 
V I knew she was fond of me. A spitOre, who would kiss me 
one minute and claw me the next, would be better than the 
calm superiority which is always looking over my head.' 

' Leonard, I don't think I have been wanting in affection. 
You have done a great deal to repel my liking — yes — since you 
force me to speak plainly — you have made my duty as a wife 
more difficult than it need have been. But, have I ever for- 
gotten that you are my husband, and the father of my child ? 
Is there any act of my life which has denied or made light of 
your authority 1 "When you asked me to marry you I kept no 
secrets from you : I was perfectly frank.' 

' Devilish frank,' muttered Leonard. 

' You knew that I could not feel for you as I had felt for 
another. These things can come only once in a lifetime. You 
were content to accept my affection — my obedience — knowing 
this. Why do you make what I told you then a reproach 
against me now ! ' 

He could not dispute the justice of this reproof. 

' Well, Christabel, I was wrong, I suppose. It would have 
been more gentlemanlike to hold my tongue. I ought to know 
that your first girlish fancy is a thing of the past — altogether 
gone and done with. It was idiotic to harp upon that worn-out 
string, wasn't it?' he asked, laughing awkwardly: but when 
a man feels savage he must hit out at some one.' 

This was the only occasion on which husband and wife had 
ever spoken plainly of the past ; but Leonard let fly those venomed 
arrows of his on the smallest provocation. He could not forget 
that his wife had loved another man better than she had ever 
loved or even pretended to love him. It was her candour which 
iie felt most keenly. Had she been willing to play the hypocrite, 
to pretend a little, he would have been ever so much better 
pleased. To the outside world, even to that narrow world which 
encircles an old family seat in the depths of the country, Mr. 
and Mrs. Tregonell appeared a happy couple, whose union was 
the most natural thing in the world, yet not without a touch of 
that romance which elevates and idealizes a marriage. 

Were they not brought up under the same roof, boy and girl 
together, like, and yet not like, brother and sister. How inevit- 
able that they must become devotedly attached. That little 
episode of Christabel's engagement to another man counted for 
nothing. She was so young — had never questioned her own 
heart. Her true love was away — and she was nattered by the 
attention of a man of the world like Angus Hamleigh — and so, and 
so — almost unawares, perhaps, she allowed herself to be engaged 

- And Pale from the Past we draw nigh Thee.' ISO 

to him, little knowing the real bent of Lis character and the 
gulf into which she was about to plunge : for in the neighbour- 
hood of Mount Royal it was believed that a man who had once 
Lived as Mr. Hamleigh had lived was a soul lost for ever, a 
creature given over to ruin in this world and the next. There 
was no hopef ulness in the local mind for the aftei career of such 
in offend or. 

At this autumn season, when Mount Royal was filled with 
visitors, all intent upon taking life pleasantly, it would have been 
impossible "or a life to seem more prosperous and happy to the 
outward eye than that of Christabel Tregonell. The centre of 
a. friendly circle, the ornament of a picturesque and perfectly 
appointed house, the mother of a lovely boy whom she worship- 
ped, with the overweening love of a young mother for her firstW *. 
admired, beloved by all her little world, with a husband who 
was proud of her and indulgent to her — who could deny that 
Mrs. Tregonell was a person to be envied. 

Mrs. Fairfax Torringtou, a widow, with a troublesome son, 
pjnd a mnited income — an income whose narrow boundary sii» 
was continually overstepping — told her hostess as much one 
morniug when the men were all out on the hills in the rain, and 
the women made a wide circle round the library fire, some of 
them intent upon crewel work, others not even pretending to be 
industrious, the faithful Randie lying at his mistress's feet, as she 
sat in her favourite chair by the old carved chimney-piece — the 
chair which had been her aunt Diana's for so many peaceful years. 

'There is a calmness — an assured tranquility about your life 
which makes me hideously envious,' said Mrs. Fail fax Torrington, 
waving the Society paper which she had been using as a screen 
against the fire, after having read the raciest of its paragraphs 
aloud, and pretended to be sorry for the dear friends at whom 
the censor's airy shafts were aimed. 'I have stayed with 
duchesses and with millionaires — but I never envied either. 
The duchess is always dragged to death by the innumerable 
claims upon her time, her money, and her atttention. Her life 
is very little better than the fate of that unfortunate person 
who stabbed one of the French Kings — forty wild horses pulling 
forty different ways. It doesn't make it much better because 
the horses are called by pretty names, don't you know. Conn. 
friends, flower-shows, balls, church, opera, Ascot, fancy fairs, 
seat in Scotland, place in Yorkshire, Baden, Monaco. It 
is the pull that wears one out, the dreadful longing to be allowed 
to sit in one's own room by one's own fire, and rest. I know 
what it is in my small way, so I have always rather pitied 
duchesses. At a millionaire's house one is inevitably bored. 
There is an insufferable glare and glitter of money in evt. ia thing, 
unpleasantly accentuated by an occasional blot of absolute uieap- 

tOO Mount Boyal. 

uess. No, Mrs. Tregonell,' pursued the agreeable rattle, I don't 
envy duchesses or millionaires' wives : but your existence seems 
to me utterly enviable, so tranquil and easy a life, in such a per- 
fect hoxse, with the ability to take a plunge into the London 
vortex whenever you like, or to stay at home if you prefer it, a 
charming husband, and an ideal baby, and above all that sweet 
equable temperament of yours, which would make life easy under 
much harder circumstances. Don't you agree with me, now, 
Miss Bridgeman?' 

' I always agree with clever people,' answered Jessie, calmly. 

Christabel went on with her work, a quiet smile upon her 
beautiful lips. 

Mrs. Torrington was one of those gushing persons to whom 
there was no higher bliss, after eating and drinking, than the 
indulgence in that lively monologue which she called conver- 
sation, and a happy facility for which rendered her, in her own 
opinion, an acquisition in any country-house. 

' The general rur* a t people are so dull,' she would remark in 
ner confidential moments ; ' there are so few who can talk, 
without being disgustingly egotistical. Most people's idea of 
conversation is autobiography in instalments. I have always 
been liked for my high spirits and flow of conversation.' 

High spirits at forty-five are apt to pall, unless accompanied 
by the rare gift of wit. Mrs. Torrington was not witty, but 
she had read a good deal of light literature, kept a common- 
place book, and had gone through life believing herself a 
Sheridan or a Sidney Smith, in petticoats. 

'A woman's wit is like dancing in fetters,' she complained 
sometimes : ' there are so many things one must not say ! ' 

Christabel was more than content that her acquaintance 
should envy her. She wished to be thought happy. She had 
never for a moment posed as victim or martyr. In good faith, 
and with steady purpose of well-doing, she had taken upon 
herself the duties of a wife, and she meant to fulfil them to the 

'There shall be no shortcoming on my side,' she said to 
herself. ' If we cannot live peaceably and happily together it 
shall not be my fault. If Leonard will not let me respect him 
as a husband, I can still honour him as my boy's father.' 

In these days of fashionable agnosticism and hysterical devo- 
tion — when there is hardly any middle path between life spent 
in church and church-work and the open avowal of unbelief 
— something must be said in favour of that old-fashioned sober 
religious feeling which enabled Christabel Tregonell to walk 
steadfastly along the difficult way, her mind possessed with the 
ever-present belief in a Righteous Judge who saw all her acta 
and knew all her thoughts. 

' And Pale from the Past we draw nigh Thee. 1 191 

She studied her husband's pleasure in all things — yielding to 
him unon every point in which principle was not at stake. The 
house 'was full of friends of his choosing — not one among 
those guests, in spite of their surface pleasantness, being 
congenial to a mind so simple and unworldly, so straight and 
thorough, as that of Christabel Tregonell. Without Jessie 
Bridgeman, Mrs. Tregonell would have been companionless in a 
house full of people. The vivacious widow, the slangy young 
ladies, with a marked taste for billiards and shooting parties, and 
an undisguised preference for masculine society, thought their 
hostess behind the age. It was obvious that she was better 
informed than they, had been more carefully educated, played 
better, sang better, was more elegant and refined in every 
tlu night, and look, and gesture ; but in spite of [all these advau- 
s, or perhaps on account of them, she was ' slow : ' not 
an easy person to get on with. Her gowns were simply perfect 
— but she had no chic. Kous autres, with ever so much less 
money to spend on our toilettes, look more striking — stand out 
better from the ruck. An artificial rose here — a rag of old 
lace — a fan — a vivid ribbon in the maze of our hair — and the 
effect catches every eye — while poor Mrs. Tregonell, with her 
lovely complexion, and a gown that is obviously Parisian, is 
comparatively nowhere. 

This is what the Miss Vandeleurs — old campaigners — 
told each other as they dressed for dinner, on the 
second day after their arrival at Mount Boyal. Captain 
Vandeleur — otherwise Poker Vandeleur, from a supposed 
natural genius for that intellectual game — was Mr. Tregonell's 
old friend and travelling companion. They had shared _ a 
good deal of sport, and not a little hardship in the Eockics 
— had fished, and shot, and tobogganed in Canada — had played 
euchre in San Francisco, and monte in Mexico — and, in a 
word, were bound together by memories and tastes in common. 
Captain Vandeleur, like Byron's Corsair, had one virtue amidst 
many shortcomings. He was an affectionate brother, always 
glad to do a good turn to his sisters — who lived with a shabby 
i-ld half-pay father, in one of the shabbiest streets in the debat- 
able land between Pimlico and Chelsea— by courtesy, South 
Eelgravia. Captain Vandeleur rarely had it in his power to do 
much for his sisters himself— a five-pound note at Christmas or a 
bonnet at Midsummer was perhaps the furthest stretch of his 
personal benevolence — but he was piously fraternal in his readi- 
ness to victimize his dearest friend for the benefit of Popsy and 
Mopsy— these being the poetic pet names devised to mitigate 
the dignity of the baptismal Adolphine and Margaret. When 
Jack Vandeleur had a pigeon to pluck, he always contrived thai 
1 k>psy and Mopsy should get a few of <&r feathers. He did not 

192 Mount Boyal. 

take his friends home to the shabby little ten-roonied house in 
South Belgravia — such a nest would have too obviously indicated 
his affinity to the hawk tribe — but he devised some means of 
bringing Mopsy and Dopsy and his married friends together. 
A box at the Opera— stalls for the last burlesque — a drag foi 
Epsom or Ascot — or even afternoon tea at Hurlingham— and the 
thing was done. The Miss Vandeleurs never failed to improve 
the occasion. They had a genius for making their little wants 
known, and getting them supplied. The number of their gloves— 
the only shop in London at which wearable gloves could be 
bought— how naively these favourite themes for girlisli inverse 
dropped from their cherry Upe. Sunshades, fans, lace, flowers, 
perfumery — all these luxuries of the toilet were for the most part 
supplied to Dopsy and Mopsy from this fortuitous source. 

Some pigeons lent themselves more kindly to the plucking 
than others ; and the Miss Vandeleurs had long ago discovered 
that it was not the wealthiest men who were most lavish. Given 
a gentleman with a settled estate of fourteen thousand a year, 
and the probabilities were that he would not rise above a dozen 
gloves or a couple of bouquets. It was the simple youth who had 
just come into five or ten thousand, and had nothing but the 
workhouse ahead of him when that was gone, who spent his 
money most freely. It is only the man who is steadfastly iiitoira 
upon ruining himself, who ever quite comes up to the feirinios 
idea of generosity. The spendthrift, during his brief season of 
fortune, leads a charmed life. For him it is hardly a question 
whether gloves cost five or ten shillings a pair — whether stepha- 
notis is in or out of season. He offers his tribute to beauty 
without any base scruples of economy. What does it matter to 
him whether ruin comes a few months earlier by reason of this 
lavish liberality, seeing that the ultimate result is inevitable. 

With the Miss Vandeleurs Leonard Tregonell ranked as an 
old friend. They had met him at theatres and races ; they had 
been invited to little dinners at which he was host. Jack Van- 
deleur had a special genius for ordering a dinner, and for acting 
as guide to a man who liked dining in the highways and byways 
of London ; it being an understood thing that Captain Vande- 
leur's professional position as counsellor exempted him for any 
share in the reckoning. Under his fraternal protection, Dopsy 
and Mopsy had dined snugly in all manner of foreign restaurants, 
and had eaten and drunk their fill at Mr. TregonelPs expense. 
They were both gourmands, and they were not ashamed ot 
enjoying the pleasures of the table. It seemed to them that the 
class of men who could not endure to see a woman eat had de- 
parted with Byron, and Bulwer, and D'Orsay, and De Musset. A 
new race had arisen, which likes a ' jolly ' gill who can appreciate a 
recherchd dinner, and knows th» 'Worence between good and bad 

'And Pale from the Past we draw nigh Thee.' 103 

Mir. Tregonell did not yield himself up a victim to the fasci- 
nations of either Dopsy or Mopsy. He had seen too much of 
that class of beauty during his London experiences, to be caught 
by the auricomous tangles of one or the flaxen fringe of the 
other. He talked of them to their brother as nice girls, with no 
nonsense about them ; he gave them gloves, and dinners, and 
stalls for ' Madame Angot ; ' but his appreciation took no higher 

' It would have been a fine thing for one of you if you could 
Lave hooked him,' said their brother, as he smoked a final pipe, 
between midnight and morning, in the untidy little drawing* 

in in South Belgravia, after an evening with Chaumont. 
He's a heavy swell in Cornwall, I can tell you. Plenty of 
money — fine old place. But there's a girl down there he's sweet 
upon — a cousin. He's very close ; but I caught him kissing and 
crying over her photograph one night in the Rockies — when our 
rations had run short, and two of our horses gone dead, and our 
best guide was down with ague, and there was an idea that we'd 
lost our track, and should never see England again. That's the 
only time I ever saw Tregonell sentimental. " I'm not afraid of 
death,'"' he said, " but I should like to live to see home again, for 
her sake ; " and he showed me the photo — a sweet, fresh, young 
face, smiling at us with a look of home and home-afl'ection, and 
we poor beggars not knowing if we she should ever see a woman's 
face again. 

' If you knew he was in love with his cousin, what's the use of 
talking about his marryingus?' asked Mopsy petulantly, speaking 
of herself and her sister as if they were a firm. 

1 Oh, there's no knowing, answered Jack, coolly as he puffed 
at his meerschaum. ' A man may change his mind. Girls with 
your experience ought to be able to twist a fellow round your 
Little finger. But tnough you're deuced keen at getting things 
out of men, you're uncommonly slow at bringing down your bird.' 

' Look at our surroundings,' said Dopsy bitterly. ' Could we 
ever dare to bring a man here ; and it is in her own home that a 
man gets fond of a girL' 

' Well, a fellow would have to be very far gone to stand this,' 
( laptain Yandeleur admitted, with a shrug of his shoulders, as he 
glanced round the room, with its blotchy paper, and smoky 
ceiling, its tawdry chandelier, and dilapidated furniture, flabby 
faded covers to chairs and sofa, side-table piled with shabby books 
and accumulated newspapers, the half-pay father's canes and 
umbrellas in the corner, his ancient slippers by the fender, his 
easy-chair, with its morocco cove indented with the greasy 
imprint of his venerable shoulders, and over all the rank odour* 
of yesterday's dinner and stale tobacco-smoke 

• A man in the last stage of spooninesa will stand anything — 


194 Mount Boyal. 

you remember the opening chapter of " "Wilhelm Meister ? " said 
Captain Jack, meditatively — ' but he'd need be very far gone to 
stand this,' he repeated, with conviction- 
Six months after this conversation, Mopsy read to Dopsy the 
announcement of Mr. Tregonell's marriage with the Cornish cousin. 

' We shall never see any more of him, you may depend,' said 
Dopsy, with the air of pronouncing an elegy on the ingratitude 
of man. But she was wrong, for two years later Leonard 
Tregonell was knocking about town again, in the height of the 
season, with Poker Vandeleur, and the course of his diversions 
included a little dinner given to Dopsy and Mopsy at a choice 
Italian restaurateur's not very far from South Belgravia. 

They both made themselves as agreeable as in them lay. He 
was married. All matrimonial hopes in that quarter were 
blighted. But marriage need not prevent his giving them dinners 
and stalls for the play, or being a serviceable friend to their 

' Poor Jack's friends are his only reliable income/ said Mopsy. 
' He had need hold them fast.' 

Mopsy put on her lively Madame Chaumont manner, and 
tried to amuse the Benedict. Dopsy was graver, and talked to 
him about his wife. 

' She must be very sweet,' she said, 'from Jack's account of her.' 

' Why, he's never seen her,' exclaimed Mr. Tregonell, looking 

' No ; but you showed him her photograph once in the 
Rockies. Jack never forgot it.' 

Leonard was pleased at this tribute to his good taste. 

' She's the loveliest woman I ever saw, though she is my wife, 
he said ; 'and I'm not ashamed to say I think so.' 

' How I should like to know her,' sighed Dopsy ; ' but I'm 
afraid she seldom comes to London.' 

' That makes no difference,' answered Leonard, warmed into 
exceptional good humour by the soft influences of Italian cookery 
and Italian wines. ' Why should not you both come to Mount 
Royal ? I want Jack to come for the shooting. He can bring 
you, and you'll be able to amuse my wife, while he and I are 
out on the hi Us.' 

' It would be quite too lovely, and we should like it of all 
things ; but do you think Mrs. Tregonell would be to get on 
with us 1 ' asked Dopsy, diffidently. 

It was not often she and her sister were asked t j country 
houses. They were both fluttered at the idea, and turned their 
thoughts hxward for a mental review of their wardrobe 

'We could do it,' decided Mopsy, 'with a little help from 

Nothing more was snid about the visit that nitrht, but o 

• And Pale from tlie Past ive draw nigh Thee.' 195 

month later, when Leonard bad gone back to Mount Royal, a 
courteous letter from Mrs. Tregouell to Miss Vandeleur con- 
firmed the Squire's invitation, and the two set out for the West 
of England under their brother's wing, rejoicing at this stroke 
of good luck. Christabel had been told that they were nice girls, 
just the kind of girls to be useful in a country-house — girls who 
Lad very few opportunities of enjoying life, and to whom any 
kindness would be charity — and she bad done her husband's 
bidding without an objection of any kind. But when the two 
damsels appeared at Mount Royal tightly sheathed in sage-green 
merino, with limp little capes on their shoulders, and picturesque 
hats upon picturesque heads of hah, Mrs. TregonelTs heart 
failed her at the idea of a month spent in such company. With- 
out caring a straw for art, without knowing more of modern 
poetry than the names of the poets and the covers of their books, 
Mopsy and Dopsy had been shrewd enough to discover that for 
young women with narrow means the aesthetic style of dress was 
by far the safest fashion. Stuff might do duty for silk — a *"•"- 
flower, if it were only big enough, might make as starting an 
eii'eet as a blaze of diamonds — a rag of limp tulle or muslin serve 
instead of costly lace— hair worn after the ideal suffice instead 
>f expensive headgear, aud home dressmaking pass curreut for 
originality. Christabel speedily found, however, that these 
damsels were not exacting in the matter of attention from her- 
self. So long as they were allowed to be with the men they 
were happy. In the billiard-room, or the tennis-court, in the 
old Tudor hall, which was Leonard's favourite tabagie, in the 
saddle-room, or the stable-yard, on the hills, or on the sea, wher- 
ever the men woidd sufl'er their presence, Dopsy and Mopsy 
were charmed to be. On those rare occasions when the out-of- 
door party was made up without them they sat about the drawing- 
room in hopeless, helpless idleness — turning over yesterday's 
London papers, or stumbling through German waltzes on the 
iron-framed Kirkman grand, which had been Leonard's birthday 
gift to his wife. At their worst the Miss Vandeleurs gave 
Christabel very little trouble, for they felt curiously shy in her 
society. She was not of their world. They had not one thought 
or one taste in common. Mrs. Torrington, who insisted upon 
taking her hostess under her whiff, was a much more troublesome 

Iieraon. The Vandeleur girls helped to amuse Leonard, who 
aughed at their slang and their mannishness, and who liked the 
sound of girlish voices in the house — albeit those voices were 
loud and vulgar. They made themselves particular] <f agreeable 
to Jessie Bridgenian, who declared that she took the keenest 
interest in them — as natural curiosities. 

1 Why should we pore over moths and zoophytes, and puzzle 
our brains with long Greek and Latin names, demanded Jessie, 

196 Mount Boyal, 

1 wheit our own species affords an inexhaustible variety of crea- 
tures, all infinitely interesting 1 These Vandeleur girls are as 
new to me as if they had dropped from Mars or Saturn.' 

Life, therefore, to ah outward seeming, went very pleasantly 
at Mount Royal. A perfectly appointed house in which money 
is spent lavishly can hardly fail to be agreeable to those casual 
inmates who have nothing to do with its maintenance. To Dopsy 
and Mopsy Moimt Royal was a terrestrial paradise. They had 
never imagined an existence so entirely blissful. This perfumed 
atmosphere — this unfailing procession of luxurious meals — no 
cold mutton to hang on hand — no beggarly mutation from bacon 
to bloater and bloater to bacon at breakfast-time — no wolf at the 

' To think that money can make all this difference,' exclaimed 
Mopsy, as she sat with Dopsy on a heather-covered knoll waiting 
for the shooters to join them at luncheon, while the servants 
grouped themselves respectfully a little way oft* with the break 
and horses. 'Won't it be too dreadful to have to go home 
again % ' 

' Loathsome ! ' said Dopsy, whose conversational strength con- 
sisted in the liberal use of about half-a-dozen vigorous epithets. 

' I wish there were some rich young men staying here, that 
one might get a chance of promotion.' 

'Rich men never marry poor girls,' answered Mopsy, de- 
jectedly, ' unless the girl is a famous beauty or a favourite 
actress. You and I are nothing. Heaven only knows what is tc 
become of us when the pater dies. Jack will never be able to 
give us free quarters. We shall have to go out as shop girls. 
We're a great deal too ignorant for governesses.' 

' I shall go on the stage,' said Dopsy, with decision. ' I may 
not be handsome — but I can sing in tune, and my feet and ankles 
have always been my strong point. All the rest is leather and 
prunella, as Shakespeare says.' 

' I shall engage myself to Spiers and Pond,' said Mopsy. ' It 
must be a more lively life, and doesn't require either voice or 
ankles — which I '■ — rather vindictively — ' do not possess. Of 
course Jack won't like it — but I can't help that.' 

Thus, in the face of all that is loveliest and most poetical in 
Nature — the dreamy moorland — the distant sea — the Lion-rock 
with the afternoon sunshine on it — the blue boundless sky — and 
one far-away sail, silvered with light, standing out against the 
low dark line of Lundy Island — debated Mopsy and Dopsy, 
waiting with keen appetites for the game pasty, and the welcome 
bottle or two of Moet, which they were to share with the sports- 

While these damsels thus beguiled the autumn afternoon, 
Christabel and d'essie had sallied out alone for one of their oW 

* And Pale from the Past we draw nigh TJicc* 197 

rambles ; such a solitary walk as had been their delight in t lie 
careless long ago, before ever passionate love, and sorrow, his 
handmaiden, came to Mount Royal. 

Mrs. Torrington and three other guests had left that morning ; 
the Vandeleurs, and Reginald Montagu, a free and easy little 
War-office clerk, were now the only visitors at Mount Royal, 
and Mrs. Tregonell was free to lead her own life — so with Jessie 
and Rindie for company, she started at noontide for Tintagel. 
She could never weary of the walk by the cliffs — or even of the 
quiet country road with its blossoming hedgerows and boundless 
outlook. Every step of the way, every tint on field or meadow, 
every change in sky and sea was familiar to her, but she loved 
them all. 

They had loitered in their ramble by the cliffs, talking a good 
deal of the past, for Jessie was now the only listener to whom 
Christabel could freely open her heart, and she loved to talk with 
her of the days that were gone, and of her first lover. Of their 
love and of their parting she never spoke — to talk of those things 
might have seemed treason in the wetlded wife — but she loved to 
talk of the man himself — of his opinions, his ideas, the stories 
he had told them in their many rambles — his creed, his dreams 
— speaking of him always as ' Mr. Hamleigh,' and just as she 
might have spoken of any clever and intimate friend, lost to 
her, through adverse circumstance, for ever. It is hardly likely, 
dince they talked of him so often when they were alone ; that 
they spoke of him more on this day than usual : but it seemed 
bo them afterwards as if they had done so — and as if their con- 
versation in somewise forecast that which was to happen before 
yonder sun had dipped behind the wave. 

They climbed the castle hill, and seated themselves on a low 
fragment of wall with their faces seaward. There was a lovely 
light on the sea, scarcely a breath of wind to curl the edges of 
the long waves which rolled slowly in and slid over the dark 
rocks in shining slabs of emerald-tinted water. Here and there 
d2ep purple patches showed where the sea-weed grew thickest, 
and here and there the dark outline of a convocation of shags 
stood out sharply above the crest of a rock. 

' It was on just such a day that we first brought Mr. 
□araleigh to this place,' said Christabel. 

' Yes, our Cornish autumns are almost always lovely, and this 
year the weather is particularly mild,' answered Jessie, in her 
matter-of-fact way. She always put on this air when she saw 
Chr'stabel drifting into dangerous feeling. 'I shouldn't wonder 
if we were to have a second crop of strawberries this year.' 

' IX /o*u remember how we talked of Tristan and Iseulfc— » 
poor Iseult V 

' To or Marc, I think.' 

198 Mount Boyal. 

1 Marc ? One can't pity him. He was an ingrate and a 


' He was a man and a husband,' retorted Jessie ; ' and he 
seems to have been badly treated all round.' 

' Whither does he wander now ? ' said Christabel, softly 
repeating lines learnt long ago. 

' Haply in his dreams the wind 
Wafts him here and lets him find 
The lovely orphan child again, 

In her castle by the coast ; 
The youngest fairest chatelaine, 

That this realm of Franco can boast, 
Our snowdrop by the Atlantic sea, 
Iseult of Brittany.' 

' Poor Iseult of the White Hand,' said a voice at Christabel'a 
shoulder, ' after all was not her lot the saddest— had not she the 
best claim to our pity 1 ' 

Christabel started, turned, and she and Angus Hamleigh 
looked in each other's faces in the clear bright light. It was 
over four years since they had parted, tenderly, fondly, as 
plighted husband and wife, locked in each other's arms, promising 
each other speedy reunion, ineffably happy in their assurance of 
a future to be spent together : and now they met with pale 
cheeks, and lips dressed in a society smile — eyes — to which tears 
would have been a glad relief — assuming a careless astonishment. 

' You here, Mr. Hamleigh ! ' cried Jessie, seeing Christabel'g 
lips quiver dumbly, as if in the vain attempt at words, and 
rushing to the rescue. ' We were told you were in Russia.' 

' I have been in Russia. I spent last winter at Petersburg 
— the only place where caviare and Adelina Patti are to be 
enjoyed in perfection — and I spent a good deal of this summer 
that is just gone in the Caucasus.' 

' How nice ! ' exclaimed Jessie, as 'if he had been talking of 
Buxton or Malvern. ' And did you really enjoy it ? ' 

' Immensely. All I ever saw in Switzerland is as nothing 
compared with the gloomy grandeur of that mighty semicircle 
of mountain peaks, of which Elburz, the shining mountain, tie 
throne of Ormuzd, occupies the centre.' 

' And how do you happen to be here — on this insignificant 
mound ? ' asked Jessie. 

1 Tintagel's surge-beat hill can never seem insignificant to 
me. National poetry has peopled it — while the Caucasus is only 
a desert.' 

'Are you touring 1 ' 

' No, I am stavvjg witr the Vicar of Trevena, He is an old 
friend of my fatl.b.-d : they were college chums : and Mr. Carlyon 
'g always kind to me.' 

1 And Pale from the Past we draw nigh Thee.' 199 

Mr. Carlyon was a new vicar, who had come to Trevena 
within the last two years. 

' Shall you stay long ? ' asked Christabel, in tones which had 
?. curiously flat sound, as of a voice produced by mechanism. 

' I think not. It is a delicious place to stay at, but ' 

' A little of it goes a long way,' said Jessie. 

' You have not quite anticipated my sentiments, Miss Bridge- 
man. I was going to say that unfortunately for me I hav ■ 
engagements in London which will prevent my staying here 
much longer.' 

' You are not looking over robust,' said Jessie, touched with 
pity by the sad forecast which she saw in his faded eyes, his 
hollow cheeks, faintly tinged with hectic bloom. ' I'm afraid 
the Caucasus was rather too severe a training for you.' 

' A little harder than the ordeal to which you submitted my 
locomotive powers some years ago,' answered Angus, smiling ; 
' but how can a man spend the strength of his manhood better 
than in beholding the wonders of creation ? It is the best pre- 
paration for those still grander scenes which one faintly hopes 
to see by-and-by among the stars. According to the Platonic 
theory a man must train himself for immortality. He who goes 
straight from earthly feasts and junkettings will get a bad time 
in the under world, or may have to work out his purgation in 
some debased brute form.' 

' Poor fellow,' thought Jessie, with a sigh, ' I suppose that 
kind of feeling is his nearest approach to religion.' 

Christabel sat very still, looking steadily towards Lundy, as 
if the only desire in her mind were to identify yonder vague 
stri ak of purplish brown or brownish purple with the level strip 
of land chiefly given over to rabbits. Yet her hevrt was achiii ; 
and throbbing passionately all the while ; and the face at which 
she dared scarce look was vividly before her mental sight — 
sorely altered from the day she had last seen it smile upon her in 
love and confidence. But mixed with the heartache there was 
joy. To see him again, to hear his voice again — what could that 
be but happiness 1 

She knew that there was delight in being with him, and she 
told herself that she had no right to linger. She rose with an 
automatic air. ' Come, Jessie,' she said : and then she turned 
with an effort to the man whose love she had renounced, whose 

rt she had broken. 

'Good-bye !' she said, holding outlier hand, and looking at 
him with calm, grave eyes. ' I am very glad to have seen you 
n. 1 hope you always think of me as your friend V 

'Yes, Mrs. Tregonell, I can afford now to think of you as a 
friend,' he answered, gravely, gently, holding her hand with a 
lingering grasp, and looking solemnly into the sweet pale face. V 

200 * Mount Royal. 

He shook hands cordially with Jessie Bridgeman, and they 
'eft him standing amidst the Tow grass-hidden graves of the 
Unknown dead — a lonely figure looking seaward. 

' Oh ! Jessie, do you remember the day we first came here 
with him V cried Christabel, as they went slowly down the steep 
winding path. The exclamation sounded almost like a cry of pain. 
' Am I ever likely to forget it— or anything connected with 
him? You have given me no chance of that,' retorted Miss 
Bridgeman, sharply. 

' How bitterly you say that !' 

' Can I help being bitter when I see you nursing morbid 
feelings? Am I to encourage you to dwell upon dangerous 
thoughts V 

1 They are not dangerous. I have taught myself to think of 
Angus as a friend— and a friend only. If I could see him now 
and then — even as briefly as we saw him to-day — I think it 
would make me quite happy.' 

' You don't know what you are talking about ! ' said Jessie, 
a ngrily. ' Certainly, you are not much like other women. You 
ire a piece of icy propriety — your love is a kind of milk-and- 
vatery sentiment, which would never lead you very far astray. 
I can fancy you behaving somewhat in the style of Werther's 
Charlotte— who is, to my mind, one of the most detestable 
women in fiction. Yes ! Goethe has created two women who 
are the opposite poles of feeling — Gretchen and Lottie— and I 
would stake my faith that Gretchen the fallen has a higher place 
in heaven than Lottie the impeccable. I hate such dull purity, 
which is always lined with selfishness. The lover may slay 
himself in his anguish— but she — yes — Thackeray has said it — 
she goes on cutting bread and butter ! ' 

Jessie gave a little hysterical laugh, which she accentuated by 
a leap from the narrow path where she had been walking to a 
I >oulder four or five feet below. 

•How madly you talk, Jessie. You remind me «f Scott's 
Fenella — and I believe you are almost as wild a creature,' said 
( 'hristabel. 

' Yes ! I suspect there is a spice of gipsy blood in my veins. 
I am subject to these occasional outbreaks — these revolts against 
Philistinism. Life is so steeped in respectability — the dull level 
morality which prompts every man to do what his neighbour 
thinks he ought to do, rather than to be set in motion by the fire 
that burn, 1 - within him. This dread of one's neighbour — this 
slavish respect for public opinion — reduces life to mer® mechanism 
— society to a stage play.' 

9 But it Sufliceth, that the Day will End.' 201 


Citristabel said no word to her husband about that unexpected 
meeting with Angus Hamleigh. She knew that the name was 
obnoxious to Leonard, and she shrank from a statement which 
might provoke unpleasant speech on his part. Mr. Hamleigh 
would doubtless have left Trevena in a few days — there was no 
likelihood of any further meeting. 

The next day was a blank day for the Miss Vandeleurs, who 
found themselves reduced to the joyless society of their own sex. 

The harriers met at Trevena at ten o'clock, and thither, after 
an early breakfast, rode Mr. Tregonell, Captain Vandeleur, and 
three or four other kindred spirits. The morning was .showery 
and blustery, and it was in vain that Dopsy and Mopsy hinted 
their desire to be driven to the meet. They were not horse- 
women — from no want of pluck or ardour for the chase — but 
simply from the lack of that material part of the business, horses. 
Many and many a weary summer day had they paced the path 
beside Rotten Row, wistfully regarding the riders, and thinking 
what a seat and what hands they would have had, if Providence 
had only given them a mount. The people who do not ride are 
the keenest critics of horsemanship. 

Compelled to find their amusements within doors, Dopsy and 
Mopsy sat in the morning-room for half an hour, as a sacrifice to 
good manners, paid a duty visit to the nurseries to admire Chris- 
tabel's baby- boy, and then straggled off to the billiard-room, to 
play each other, and improve their skill at that delightfully 
masculine game. Then came luncheon — at which meal, the 
gentlemen being all away, and the party reduced to four, the 
baby-boy was allowed to sit on his mother's lap, and make 
occasional raids upon the table furniture, while the Miss Vande- 
leurs made believe to worship him. He was a lovely boy, with 
big blue eyes, wide with wonder at a world which was still full 
of delight and novelty. 

After luncheon, Mopsy and Dopsy retired to their chamber, 
to concoct, by an ingenious process of re-organization of the same 
atoms, a new costume for the evening ; and as they sat at their 
work, twisting and undoing bows and lace, and straightening the 
leaves of artificial flowers, they again discoursed somewhat 
dejectedly of their return to South Belgravia, which could hardly 
be staved off much longer. 

' We have had a quite too delicious time,' sighed Mopsy, 
adjusting the stalk of a sunflower ; ' but its rather a pity that all 

202 Mount Royal. 

the men staying here have been detrimentals — not one woith 

' What does it matter ! ' ejaculated Dopsy. ' If there had 
been one worth catching, he wouldn't have consented to bo 
caught. He would have behaved like that big jack Mr. Tregonell 
was trying for the other morning ; eaten up all our bait and gone 
and sulked among the weeds.' 

'AVell, I'd have had a try for him, anyhow,' said Mopsy, 
defiantly, leaning her elbow on the dressing-table, and contem- 
plating herself deliberately in the glass. ' Oh, Dop, how old I'm 
getting. I almost hate the daylight : it makes one look so 

Yet neither Dopsy nor Mopsy thought herself hideous at 
afternoon tea-time, when, with complexions improved by the 
powder puff, eyebrows piquantly accentuated with Indian ink, 
and loose flowing tea-gowns of old gold sateen, and older black 
silk, they descended to the library, eager to do execution even on 
detrimentals. The men's voices sounded loud in the hall, as the 
two girls came downstairs. 

' Hope you have had a good time 1 ' cried Mopsy, in cheerful 
soprano tones. 

' Splendid. I'm afraid Tregonell has lamed a couple of his 
horses,' said Captain Vandeleur. 

' And I've a shrewd suspicion that you've lamed a third,' 
interjected Leonard in his strident tones. ' You galloped Betsy 
Baker at a murderous rate.' 

'Nothing like taking them fast down hill,' retorted Jack. 
' B. B. is as sound as a roach — and quite as ugly.' 

'Never saw such break-neck work in my life,' said Mr. 
Montagu, a small dandified person who was always called ' little 
Monty.' ' I'd rather ride a horse with the Quorn for a week than 
in this country for a day.' 

' Onr country is as God made it,' answered Leonard. 

' I think Satan must have split it about a bit afterwards,' said 
Mr. Montagu. 

' Well, Mop,' asked Leonard, ' how did you and Dop get rid 
of yonr day without us ? ' 

' Oh, we were very happy. It was quite a relief to have a 
nice homey day with dear Mrs. Tregonell,' answered Mopsy, 
nothing offended by the free and easy curtailment of her pet 
name. Leonard was her benefactor, and a privileged person. 

' I've got some glorious news for you two girls,' said Mr. 
Tregonell, as they all swarmed into the library, where Christabel 
was silting in the widow's old place, while Jessie Bridgeman 
filled her accustomed position before the tea-table, the red glow 
of a liberal wood fire contending with the pale light of one low 
moderator lamp, under a dark velvet shade. 

'But it Sufliccth, that the Day will End.' 203 

' What is it ? Please, please tell.' 

' 1 give it you in ten — a thousand — a million ! ' cried Leonard, 
flinging himself into the chair next his wife, and with his eyes 
upon her face. ' You'll never guess. I have found you an 
eligible bachelor — a swell of the first water. He's a gentleman 
whom a good many girls have tried for in their time, I've no 
doubt. Handsome, accomplished, plenty of coin. He has had 
what the French call a stormy youth, I believe ; but that 
doesn't matter. He's getting on in years, and no doubt he's 
ready to sober down, and take to domesticity. I've asked him 
here for fortnight to shoot woodcock, and to offer his own uncon- 
scious breast as a mark for the arrows of Cupid ; and I shall 
have a very poor opinion of you two girls if you can't bring him 
to your feet in half the time.' 

'At any rate I'll try my hand at it,' said Mopsy. 'Not that 
I care a straw for the gentleman, but just to show you what I 
can do,' she added, by way of maintaining her maidenly dignity. 

'Of course you'll go in for the conquest as high art, without 
any ai-ricre pens/e,' said Jack Vandeleur. ' There never were 
such audacious flirts as my sisters ; but there's no malice in 

' You haven't told us your friend's name,' said Dopsy. 

' Mr. Hamleigh,' answered Leonard, with his eyes still on his 
wife's face. 

Christabel gave a little start, and looked at him in undisguised 

' Surely you have not asked him — here 1 ' she exclaimed. 

' Why not ? He was out with us to-day. He is a jolly 
fellow ; rides uncommonly straight, though he dosen't look as if 
there were much life in him. He tailed off early in the afternoon ; 
but while he did go, he went dooced well. He rode a dooced 
fine horse, too.' 

' I thought you were prejudiced against him,' said Christabel, 
very slowly. 

' Why, so I was, till I saw him,' answered Leonard, with the 
friendliest air. ' I fancied he was one cf your sickly, sentimental 
twaddlers, with long hair, and a taste for poetry ; but I find he 
is a fine, manly fellow, with no nonsense about him. So I asked 
him here, and insisted upon his saying yes. He didn't seem to 
want to come, which is odd, for he made himself very much at 
home here in my mother's time, I've heard. However, he gave in 
when I pressed him; and he'll be here by dinner-time to-morrow.' 

1 By dinner-time,' thought Mopsy, delighted. 'Then he'll see 
us first by candlelight, and first impressions may do so much.' 

' Isn't it almost like a fairy tale?' said Dopsy, as they were 
di e ing for dinner, with a vague recollection of ha ring cultivated 
her imagination in childhood. She had never done so since that 

204) Mount Boyal 

juvenile .age. ' Just as we were sighing for the prince he comes.' 
' True,' said Mopsy ; 'and he will go, just as all the other fairy 
princes have gone, leaving us alone upon the dreary high road, 
and riding off to the fairy princesses who have good homes, and 
good clothes, and plenty of money.' 

The high-art toilets were postponed for the following evening, 
so that the panoply of woman's war might be fresh ; and on that 
evening Mopsy and Dopsy, their long limbs sheathed in sea-green 
velveteen, Toby-frills round their necks, and sunflowers on their 
shoulders, were gracefully grouped near the fireplace in the pink 
and white panelled drawing-room, waiting for Mr. Hamleigh's 

' I wonder why all the girls make themselves walking adver- 
tisements of the Sun Fire Office,' speculated Mr. Montagu, taking 
a prosaic view of the Vandeleur sunflowers, as he sat by Miss 
Bridgeman's work-basket. 

'Don't you know that sunflowers are so beautifully Greek V 
asked Jessie. ' They have been the only flower in fashion since 
Alma Tadema took to painting them — fountains, and marble 
balustrades, and Italian skies, and beautiful women, and 

' Yes ; but we get only the sunflowers.' 

' Mr. Hamleigh !' said the butler at the open door, and Angus 
came in, and went straight to Christabel, who was sitting opposite 
the group of sea-green Vandeleurs, slowly fanning herself with a 
big black fan. 

Nothing could be calmer than their meeting. This trae there 
was no surprise, no sudden shock, no dear familiar scene, no 
Bolemn grandeur of Nature to make all effort at simulation 
unnatural. The atmosphere to-night was as conventional as the 
men's swallowed-tailed coats and white ties. Yet in Angus 
Hamleigh's mind there was the picture of his first arrival at 
Mount Eoyal — the firelitroom, Christabel's girlish figure kneeling 
on the hearth. The figure was a shade more matronly now, the 
carriage and manner were more dignified ; but the face had lost 
none of its beauty, or of its divine candour. 

'I am very glad my husband persuaded you to alter your 
plans, and to stay a little longer in the West,' she said, with an 
unfaltering voice ; and then, seeing Mopsy and Dopsy looking at 
Mr. Hamleigh with admiring expectant eyes, she added, ' Let me 
introduce you to these young ladies who are staying with us — Mr. 
Hamleigh, Miss Vandeleur, Miss Margaret Vandeleur.' 

Dopsy and Mopsy smiled their sweetest smiles, and gave just 
the most aesthetic inclination of each towzled head. 

' I suppose you have not long come from London V murmured 
Dopsy, determined not to lose a moment. ' Have you seen all 
the new things at the theatres ? I hope you are an Irvingite V 

'But it Sitfficcth, that the Day will End.' 205 

* I regret to say that my religious opinions have not y«t taken 
that bent. It is a spiritual height which 1 feel myself too weak 
to climb. I have never been able to believe in the unknown 

' Ah, now you are going to criticize his pronunciation, instead 
of admiring his genius,' said Dopsy, who had never heard of Edward 
Irving and the Latter Day Saints. 

1 If you mean Henry Irving the tragedian, I admire him 
immensely,' said Mr. Hamleigh. 

' Then we are sure to get on. I felt that you must be simpatica,' 
replied Dopsy, not particular as to a gender in a language which 
she only knew by sight, as Bannister knew Greek. 

Dinner was announced at this moment, and Mrs. Tregoncll 
won Dopsy's gratitude by asking Mr. Hamleigh to take her 
into dinner. Mr. Montague gave his arm to Miss Bridgema',i, 
Leonard took Mopsy, and Christabel followed with Majoi 
Bree, who felt for her keenly, wondering how she managed to 
bear herself so bravely, reproaching the dead woman in his mind 
for having parted two faithful hearts. 

He was shocked by the change in Angus, obvious even to- 
night, albeit the soft lamplight and evening dress werefla ttering 
to his appearance ; but he said no word of that change to 

' I have been having a romp with my godson,' he said when 
they were seated, knowing that this was the one tojjic likely 
to cheer and interest his hostess. 

' I am so glad,' she answered, lighting up at once, and uncon- 
scious that Angus was trying to see her face under the low lamp- 
light, which made it necessary to bend one's head a little to see 
one's opposite neighbour. ' And do you think he is grown ? It is 
nearly ten days since you saw him, and he grows so fast' 

' He is a young Hercules. If there were any snakes in 
Cornwall he would be capable of strangling a brace of them. I 
suppose Leonard is tremendously proud of him.' 

' Yes,' she answered with a faint sigh. ' I think Leonard is 
proud of him.' 

'But not quite so fond of him as you are,' replied Major 
Bree, interpreting her emphasis. ' That is only natural. Infant- 
olatry is a feminine attribute. Wait till the boy is old enough to 
go out fishin' and shootin' — ' the Major was too much a gentle- 
man to pronounce a final g — 'and then see if his father don't 
dot? upon him.' 

' I dare say he will be very fond of him then. Eut I shall be 
miserable every hour he is out.' 

' Of course. Women ought to have only girls for children. 
There should be a race of man-mothers to rear the boys. I 
wonder Plato didn't suggest that in his Republic.' 

206 Mount Eoyal. 

Mr. Hamleigh, with his head gently bent ovei his soup-plate, 
had contrived to watch Christabel's face while politely replying 
to a good deal of gush on the part of the fair Dopsy. He saw 
that expressive face light up with smiles, and then grow earnest. 
She was full of interest and animation, and her candid loot 
showed that the conversation was one which all the world might 
have heard. 

' She has forgotten me. She is happy in her married life,' 
he said to himself, and then he looked to the other end of the 
table where Leonard sat, burly, florid, black-haired, mutton-chop 
whiskered, the very essence of Philistinism — ' happy — with him.' 

'And I am sure you must adore Ellen Terry,' said Dopsy, 
whose society-conversation was not a many-stringed instrument. 

' Who could live and not worship her 1 ' ejaculated Mr 

' Irving as Shylock ! ' sighed Dopsy. 

'Miss Terry as Portia,' retorted Angus. 

* Unutterably sweet, was she not 1 ' 

'Her movements were like a sonata by Beethoven — her 
gowns were the essence of all that Rubens and Vandyck ever 

'I knew you would agree with me,' exclaimed Dopsy. 'And 
do you think her pretty V 

' Pretty is not the word. She is simply divine. Greuze might 
have piinted her — there is no living painter whose palette holds 
the tint of those blue eyes.' 

Uopsy began to giggle softly to herself, and to flutter her fan 
with maiden modesty. 

' I hardly like to mention it after what you have said,' she 
murmured, ' but — — -' 

' Pray be explicit.' 

' I have been told that I am rather ' — another faint giggle 
and another flutter — 'like Miss Terry.' 

' I never met a fair-haired girl yet who had not been told a3 
much,' answered Mr. Hamleigh, coolly. 

Dopsy turned crimson, and felt that this particular arrow had 
missed the gold. Mr. Hamleigh was not quite so easy to get on 
with as her hopeful fancy had painted him. 

After dinner there was some music, in which art neither of 
the Miss Vandeleurs excelled. Indeed, their time had been too 
closely absorbed by the ever pressing necessity for cutting and 
contriving to allow of the study of art and literature. They 
knew the names of writers, and the outsides of books, and they 
adored the opera, and enjoyed a ballad concert, if the singers 
were popular, and the audience well dressed ; and this was the 
limit of their artistic proclivities. They sat stifling their yawns, 
and longing for an adjournment to the billiard-room — whither 

* But it Sufficcth, that tlie Day will End.' 207 

Jack Vandeleur and Mr. Montagu had departed — while Christ- 
abel played a capriccio by Mendelssohn. Mr. Hainleigh sat by 
the piano listening to every note. Leonard and Major Bree 
lounged by the fireplace, Jessie Bridgeman sitting near them, 
absorbed in her crewel work. 

It was what Mopsy and Dopsy called a very ' .slow evening, 
despite the new interest afforded by Mr. Hamleigh's presence. 
He was very handsome, very elegant, with an inexpressible 
something in his style and air which Mopsy thought poetical. 
But it was weary work to sit and gaze at him as if he were a 
statue, and that long capriccio, with a little Beethoven to follow, 
and a good deal of Mozart after that, occupied the best part of 
the evening. To the ears of Mop and Dop it was all tweeledum 
and tweedledee. They would have been refreshed by one of 
those lively melodies in which Miss Farren so excels ; they 
would have welcomed a familiar strain from Chilperic or Mai lame 
Angot. Yet they gushed and said, ' too delicious — quite too 
utterly lovely,' when Mrs. TregoneU rose from the piano. 

' I only hope I have not wearied everybody,' she said. 

Leonard and Major Bree had been talking local politics all 
the time, and both expressed themselves much gratified by the 
music. Mr. Hamleigh murmured his thanks. 

Christabel went to her room wondering that the evening bad 
passed so calmly — that her heart — though it had ached at the 
change in Angu3 Hamleigh's looks, had been in no wise tumul- 
tuously stirred by his presence. There had been a peaceful 
feeling in her mind rather than agitation. She had been soothed. 
and made happy by his society. If love still lingered in her 
breast it was love purified of every earthly thought anu nope. 
She told herself sorrowfully that for him the sand ran low in the 
glass of earthly time, and it was sweet to have him near her for 
a little while towards the end ; to be able to talk to him of 
serious things — to inspire hope in a soul whose natural bent was 
•ndency. It would be sadly, unutterably sweet to talk to 
him of that spiritual world whose unearthly light already shone 
in the too brilliant eye, and coloured the hollow cheek. She had 
found Mr. Hamleigh despondent and sceptical, but never in- 
different to religion. He was not one of that eminenlly practical 
ol which, in the words of Matthew Arnold, thinks it more 
rtaut to learn how buttons and papier-m&che are made than 
to search the depths of conscience, or fathom the mysteries of a 
Divine Providence. 

Christabel's first sentiment when Leonard announced Mr. 
Hamleigh's intended visit had been horror. How could they two 
who had loved so deeply, parted so sadly, live together under the 
Banie roof as if they were every-day friends { The I eimd 

fraught with danger, impossible for peace. But when sho 

208 Mount Royal. 

remembered that calm, almost solemn look "with which he had 
shaken hands with her among the graves at Tintagel, it seemed 
to her that friendship — calmest, purest, most unseltish attachment 
— was still possible between them. She thought so even more 
hopefully on the morning after Mr. Hamleigh's arrival, when he 
took her boy in his arms, and pressed his lips lovingly upon the 
oright baby brow. 

' You are fond of children,' exclaimed Mopsy, prepared to gush. 

' Very fond of some children,' he answered gravely. ' I shall 
be very fond of this boy, if he will let me.' 

'Leo is such a darling — and he takes to you already,' said 
Mopsy, seeing that the child graciously accepted Mr. Hamleigh's 
attentions, and even murmured an approving ' gur ' — followed by 
a simple one-part melody of gurgling noises — but whether in 
approval of the gentleman himself or of his watch-chain, about 
which the pink flexible fingers had wound themselves, was an 
open question. 

This was in the hall after breakfast, on a bright sunshiny 
morning — doors and windows open, and the gardens outside all 
abloom with clirysanthemums and scarlet geraniums ; the gentle- 
men of the party standing about with their guns ready to start. 
Mopsy and Dopsy were dressed in home-made gowns of dark 
brown serge which simulated the masculine simplicity of tailor- 
made garments. They wore coquettish little toques of the same 
dark brown stuff, also home-made — and surely, if a virtuous man 
contending with calamity is a spectacle meet for the gods to 
admire a needy young woman making her own raiment is at least 
worthy of human approval. 

' You are coming with us, aren't you, Hamleigh 1 ' asked 
Leonard, seeing Angus still occupied with the child. 

' No, thanks ; I don't feel in good form for woodcock shooting. 
My cough was rather troublesome last night.' 

Mopsy and Dopsy looked at each other despairingly. Hero 
«va8 a golden opportunity lost. If it were only possible to sprain 
an ankle on the instant. 

Jack Vandeleur was a good brother — so long as fraternal 
Rindness did not cost money — and he saw that look of blank 
despair in poor Dopsy's eyes and lips. 

' I think Mr. Hamleigh is wise,' he said. ' This bright 
morning will end in broken weather. Hadn't you two girb 
better stay at home 1 The rain will spoil your gowns.' 

' Our gowns won't hurt,' said Mopsy brightening. ' But do 
you really think there will be rain 1 We had so set our hearts on 
going with you ; but it is rather miserable to be out on those 
hills in a blinding rain. One might walk over the edge of a cliff.' 

' Keep on the safe side and stay at home,' said Leonard, with 
that air of rough good nature which is such an excellent excuse 

'But it Svffcetk, that the Day will End' 209 

f,.i bad manners. 'Come Ponto, come Juno, hi Delia,' this to 
the lovely lemon and white spaniels, fawning upon him with 
mil! m. 

' I think we may as well give it up,' said Dopsy, 'we shall be 
a nuisance to the shooters if it rains.' 

So they stayed, and beguiled Mr. Hamleigh to the billiard- 
room, where they both played against him, and were beaten — 
after which Mopsy entreated him to give her a lesson in tha 
art, declaring that he played divinely — in such a quiet style — so 
'•rv superior to Jack's or Mr. Tregonell's, though both those 
j i ntlemen were good players. Angus consented, kindly enough, 
and gave both ladies the most careful instruction in the art of 
making pockets and cannons ; but he was wondering all tha 
while how Christabel was spending her morning, and thinking 
bow sweet it would have been to have strolled with her across 
the hills to the quiet little church in the dingle where he had 
once dreamed they two might be married. 

' I was a fool to submit to delay,' he thought, remembering 
all the pain and madness of the past. ' If I had insisted on being 
married here — and at once — how happy — oh God !— how happy 
we might have been. Well, it matters little, now that the road 
is so near the end. I suppose the dismal close would have come 
just as soon if my way of Life had been strewed with flowers.' 

It was luncheon-time before the Miss Vandeleurs consented to 
release him. Once having got him in their clutch he was aa 
irmly held as if he had been caught by an octopus. Christabel 
wondered a little that Angus Hamleigh should find amusement 
for his morning in the billiard-room, and in such society. 

' Perhaps, after all, the Miss Vandeleurs are the kind of girls 
whom all gentlemen admire,' she said to Jessie. ' I know I 
thought it odd that Leonard should admire them ; but you see 
Mr. Hamleigh is equally pleased with them.' 

' Mr. Hamleigh is nothing of the kind,' answered Jessie, in 
her usual decided way. 'But Dop is setting her cap at him in a 
positively disgraceful manuer — even for Dop.' 

'Pray don't call her by that horrid name.' 

' Why not ; it is what her brother and sister call her, and 
it expresses her so exactly.' 

Mr. Hamleigh and the two damsels now appeared, summoned 
by the gong, and they all went into the dining-room. It was 
quite a merry luncheon party. Care seemed to have no part in 
i hat cheery circle. Angus had made up his mind to be happy, 
and Christabel was as much at ease with him as she had been 
in those innocent unconscious days when he first came to Mount 
Royal. Dopsy was in high spirits, thinking that she was fast 
advancing towards victory. Mr. Hamleigh had been so kind, 
tentive, had done exactly what she had asked him to do, 


210 Mount Royal. 

and how could she doubt that he had consulted his own pleasure 
in so doing. Poor Dopsy was accustomed to be treated with 
scant ceremony by her brothei-'s acquaintance, and it did not 
enter into her mind that a man might be bored by her society, 
and not betray his weariness. 

After luncheon Jessie, who was always energetic, suggested a 

The threatened bad weather had not come : it was a greyish 
afternoon, sunless but mild. 

' If we walk towards St. Nectan's Kieve, we may meet the 
shooters,' said'Christabel. ' That is a great place for woodcock.' 

' That will be delicious ! ' exclaimed Dopsy. ' I worship St. 
Nectan's Kieve. Such a lovely ferny, rocky, wild, watery spot.' 
And away she and her sister skipped, to put on the brown 
toques, and to refresh themselves with a powder puff. 

They started for their ramble with Eandie, and a favourite 
Clumber spaniel, degraded from his proud position as a sporting 
dog, to the ignoble luxury of a house pet, on account of an 
incorrigible desultoriness in his conduct with birds. 

These affectionate creatures frisked round Christabel, while 
Miss Vandeleur and her sister seemed almost as friskily to 
surround Mr. Hamleigh with their South Belgravian blandish- 

' You look as if you were not very strong,' hazarded Dopsy, 
sympathetically. 'Are you not afraid of a long walk ?' 

' Not at all ; I never feel better than when walking on these 
hills,' answered Angus. ' It is almost my native air, you see. 
I came here to get a stock of rude health before I go to winter 
in the South.' 

' And you are really going to be abroad all the winter ? ' 
sighed Dopsy, as if she would have said, ' How shall I bear 
my life in your absence.' 

' Yes, it is five years since I spent a winter in England. I 
hold my life on that condition. I am never to know the luxury 
of a London fog, or see a Drury Lane Pantomime, or skate upon 
the Serpentine. A case of real distress, is it not % ' 

'Very sad — for your friends,' said Dopsy; 'but I can quite 
imagine that you love the sunny south. How I long to see the 
Mediterranean — the mountains — the pine-trees — the border- 
land of Italy.' 

' No doubt you will go there some day — and be disappointed. 
People generally are when they indulge in day-dreams about a 

' My dreams will always be dreams,' answered Dopsy, with 
a profound sigh : 'we are not rich enough to travel.' 

Christabel walked on in front witu. Jessie and the dogs. Mr. 
HnmVeigh was longing to be by her side — to talk as they kad 

• But it Sujficeth, that the Day will End.' 211 

talked of old — of a thousand things which could be safely dis- 
cussed without any personal feeling. They had so many 
sympathies, so many ideas in common. All the world of sense 
and sentiment was theirs wherein to range at will.. But Dopsy 
and Mopsy stuck to him like burs ; plying him w'th idle ques- 
tions, and stereotyped remarks, looking at him withlanguishing 

He was too much a gentleman, had too much good feeling to 
be rude to them — but he was bored excessively. 

They went by the cliffs — a wild grand walk. The wide 
Atlantic spread its dull leaden-coloured waves before them 
under the grey sky — touched with none of those translucent 
azures and carmines which so often beautify that western sea. 
They crossed a bit of hillocky common, and then went down to 
look at a slate quarry under the cliff — a scene of uncanny 
grandeur — grey and wild and desolate. 

Dopsy and Mopsy gushed and laughed, and declared that it 
was just the scene for a murder, or a duel, or something dreadful 
and dramatic. The dogs ran into all manner of perilous places, 
and had to be called away from the verge of instant death. 

1 Are you fond of aristocratic society, Miss Vandeleur ? ' 
asked Angus. 

Mopsy pleaded guilty to a prejudice in favour of the Upper 

' Then allow me to tell you that you were never in the company 
of so many duchesses and countesses in your life as you are at 
this moment.' 

Mopsy looked mystified, until Miss Bridgeman explained that 
these were the names given to slates of particular sizes, great 
Btacks of which stood on either side of them ready for shipment. 

' How absurd ! ' exclaimed Mopsy. 

' Everything must have a name, even the slate that roofs your 

From the quarry they strolled across the fields to the high 
road, and the gate uf the farm which contains wiihinits boundary 
the wonderful waterfall called St. Nectan's Kieve. 

They met the sportsmen coming out of the hollow with well- 
filled game-bags. 

Leonard was in high spirits. 

; So you've all come to meet us,' he said, looking at his wifa, 
and from his wife to Angus Hamleigh, with a keen, quick glance, 
too swift to be remarkable. ' Uncommonly good of you Wa 
are going to have a grand year for woodcock, I believe — like the 
season of 1855, when a farmer of St. Bury an shot firty-fourinoue 

'Poor dear little birds!' sighed Mopsy; 'I feel so sorry for 

212 Mount Royal. 

'But that doesn't prevent your eating them, with breadcrumbs 
and gravy,' said Leonard, laughing. 

' When they are once roasted, it can make no difference who 
cats them,' replied Mopsy ; ' but I am intensely sorry for them 
all the same.' 

They all went home together, a cheery procession, with the 
dogs at their heels. Mr. Hamleigh's efforts to escape from the 
two damsels who had marked him for their own, were futile : 
nothing less than sheer brutality would have set him free. They 
trudged along gaily, one on each side of him ! they flattered him, 
they made much of him — a man must have been stony-hearted 
to remain untouched by such attentions. Angus was marble, 
but he could not be uncivil. It was his nature to be gentle to 
women. Mop and Dop were the kind of girls he most detested 
— indeed, it seemed to him that no other form of girlhood could 
be so detestable. They had all the pertness of Bohemia without 
any of its wit — they had all the audacity of the demi-monde, with 
far inferior attractions. Everything about them was spurious 
and second-hand — every air and look and tone was put on, like a 
ribbon or a flower, to attract attention. ADd could it be that 
one of these meretricious creatures was angling for him — for 
him, the Lauzun, the d'Eckmiihl, the Prince de Belgioso, of his 
day — the born dandy, with whum fastidiousness was a sixth 
sense 1 Intolerable as the idea of being so pursued was to him, 
Angus Hamleigh could not bring himself to be rude to a woman 

It happened, therefore, that from the beginning to the end of 
that long ramble, he was never in Mrs. Tregonell's society. She 
and Jessie walked steadily ahead with their dogs, while the 
sportsmen tramped slowly behind Mr. Hamleighaud the two girls 

' Our friend seems to be very much taken by your sisters,' said 
Leonard to Captain Vandeleur. 

'My sisters are deuced taking girls,' answered Jack, puffing 
at his seventeenth cigarette ; ' though I suppose it isn't my 
business to say so. There's nothing of the professional beauty 
about either of 'em.' 

' Distinctly not ! ' said Leonard. 

' But they've plenty of chic — plenty of go — savoir faire — and 
all that kind of thing, don't you know. They're the most com- 
panionable girls I ever met with ! ' 

'They're uncommonly jolly little buffers!' said Leonard, 
kindly meaning it for the highest praise. 

' They've no fool's flesh about them,' said Jack ; ' and they 
can make a fiver go further than any one I know. A man might 
do worse than marry ore of them.' 

'Hardly !' thought Leonard, 'unless he married both.' 

' It would be a tine thing for Dop if Mr. Hamleigh were to 
ome to the scratch/ mused Jack. 

'But it Sufficeth, that the Day will End.' 213 

' I wonder what was Leonard's motive in asking Mr. Ham- 
leigh to stay at Mount Royal ?' said Christabel, suddenly, after 
she and Jessie had been talking of different subjects. 

' I hope he had not any motive, but that the invitation was 
the impulse of the moment, without rhyme or reason,' answered 
Mi^s Bridgeman. 

' WhyV 

' Because if he had a motive, I don't think it could be a good 

' Might he not think it just possible that he was finding a 
husband for one of his friend's sisters ? ' speculated Christabel. 

' Nonsense, my dear ! Leonard is not quite a fool. If he had 
a motive, it was something very different from any concern for 
the interests of Dop or Mop — I will call them Dop and Mop : 
they are so like it.' 

In spite of Mopsy and Dopsy, there were hours in which 
Angus Hamleigh was able to enjoy the society which had once 
been so sweet to him, almost as freely as in the happy days that 
were gone. Brazen as the two damsels were the feeling of self- 
respect was not altogether extinct in their natures. Their minds 
were like grass-plots which had been trodden into mere clay, 
but where a lingering green blade here and there shows that the 
soil had once been verdant. Before Mr. Hamleigh came to 
Mount Royal, it had been their habit to spend their evenings in 
the billiard-room with the gentlemen, albeit Mrs. Tregonell very 
rarely left the drawing-room after dinner, preferring the perfect 
tranquillity of that almost deserted apartment, the inexhaustible 
delight of her piano or her books, with Jessie for her sole com- 
panion — nay, sometimes, quite alone, while Jessie joined the 
revellers at pool or shell-out. Dopsy and Mopsy could not al- 
together alter their habits because Mr. Hamleigh spent his 
evenings in the drawing-room : the motive for such a change 
would have been too obvious. The boldest huntress would 
scarce thus openly pursue her prey. So the Miss Vandeleurs 
went regretfully with their brother and his host, and marked, or 
played an occasional four-game, and made themselves conver- 
sationally agreeable all the evening ; while Angus Hamleigh sat 
by the piano, and gave himself up to dreamy thought, soothed 
by the music of the great composers, played with a level per- 
fection which only years of careful study can achieve. Jessie 
Bridgeman never left the drawing-room now of an evening. 
Faithful and devoted to her duty of companion and friend, she 
seemed almost Christabel's second self. There was no restraint, 
no embarrassment, caused by her presence. What she had been 
to these two in their day of joy, she was to them in their day of 
sorrow, wholly and completely one of themselves. She was no 
stony guardian of the proprieties ; no bar between their souls 

214 Mount Royal. 

and dangerous memories or allusions. She was their friend, 
reading and understanding the minds of both. 

It has been finely said by Matthew Arnold that there are 
times when a man feels, in this life, the sense of immortality ; 
and that feeling must surely be strongest with him who knows 
that his race is nearly run — who feels the rosy light of life's sun- 
set warm upon his face — who knows himself near the lifting of 
the veil — the awful, fateful experiment called death. Angus 
Hamlei<jh knew that for him the end was not far off — it might 
be less than a year — more than a year — but he felt very sure 
that this time there would be no reprieve. Not again would the 
physician's sentence be reversed — the physician's theories gain- 
sayed by facts. For the last four years he had lived as a man 
lives who has ceased to value his life. He has exposed himself 
to the hardships of mountain climbing — he had sat late in 
gaming saloons — not gambling himself, but interested in a 
cynical way, as Balzac might have been, in the hopes and fears 
of others — seeking amusement wherever and however it was to 
be found. At his worst he had never been a man utterly with- 
out religion ; not a man who could willingly forego the hope in 
a future life — but that hope, until of late, had been clouded and 
dim, Rabelais' great perhaps, rather than the Christian's assured 
belief. As the cold shade of death drew nearer, the horizon 
cleared, and he was able to rest his hopes in a fair future beyond 
the grave — an existence in which a man's happiness should not 
be dependent on the condition of his lungs, nor his career marred 
by an hereditary taint in the blood — an existence in which spirit 
should be divorced from clay, yet not become so entirely abstract 
as to be incapable of such pleasures as are sweetest and purest 
among the joys of humanity — a life in which friendship and love 
might still be known in fullest measure. And now, with the 
knowledge that for him there remained but a brief remnant of 
this earthly existence, that were the circumstances of his life 
ever so full of joy, that life itself could not be lengthened, it was 
very sweet to him to spend a few quiet hours with her who, for 
the last five years, had been the pole-star of his thoughts. For 
him there could be no arriere pense'e — no tending towards for- 
bidden hopes, forbidden dreams. Death had purified life. It 
was almost as if he were an immortal spirit, already belonging to 
another world, yet permitted to revisit the old dead-and-gone 
love below. For such a man, and perhaps for such a man only , 
was such a super-mundane love as poets and idealists have 
imagined, all satisfying and all sweet. He was not even jealous 
of his happier rival ; his only regret was the too evident un- 
worthiness of that rival. 

' If I had seen her married to a man I could respect ; if I 
could know that she was completely happy ; that the life before 

'But it Sufficeth, that the Day will End.' 21 j 

her were secure from all pain and evil, I should have nothing to 
regret,' he told himself ; but the thought of Leonard's coarse 
nature was a perpetual grief. ' When I am lying in the long 
peaceful sleep, she will be miserable with that man,' he thought. 

One day when Jessie and he were alone together, he spoke 
freely of Leonard. 

' I don't want to malign a man who has treated me with 
exceptional kindness and cordiality,' he said, '"above all a man 
whose mother I once loved, and always respected — yes, although 
she was hard and cruel to me — but I cannot help wishing that 
Christabel's husband had a more sympathetic nature. Now that 
my own future is reduced to a very short span I find myself 

given to forecasting the future of those I love — and it 

grieves me to think of Cbristabel in the years to come — linked 
with a man who has no power to appreciate or understand her 
— tied to the mill-wheel of domestic duty.' 

' Yes, it is a hard case,' answered Jessie, bitterly, ' one of 
those hard cases that so often come out of people acting for the 
best, as they call it. No doubt Mrs. Tregonell thought she 
acted for the best with regard to you and Christabel. She 
did not know how much selfishness — a selfish idolatry of her 
own cub — was at the bottom of her over-righteousness. She 
was a good woman — generous, benevolent — a true friend to me 
— yet there are times when I feel angry with her — even in her 
grave — for her treatment of you and Christabel. Yet she died 
happy in the belief in her own wisdom. She thought Christabel's 
marriage with Leonard ought to mean bliss for both. Because 
she adored her Cornish gladiator, forsooth, she must needs think 
everybody else ought to dote upon him.' 

' You don't seem warmly attached to Mr. Tregonell,' said 

' I am not — and he knows that I am not. I never liked him, 
and he never liked me, and neither of us have ever pretended to 
like each other. We are quits, I assure you. Perhaps you think 
it rather horrid of me to live in a man's house — eat his bread 
and drink his wine — one glass of claret eveiy day at dinner — 
and dislike him openly all the time. But I am here because 
Christabel is here — just as I would be with her in the dominions 
of Orcus. She is — well — almost the only creature I love in this 
world, and it would take a good deal more than my dislike of 
her husband to part us. If she had married a galley-slave I 
would have taken my turn at the oar.' 

' You are as true as steel,' said Angus : ' and I am glad to 
think Christabel has such a friend.' 

To all the rest of the world he spoke of her as Mrs. Tregonell, 
nor did he ever address her by any other name. But to Jessie 
Bridgeman, who had been with them in the halcyon days of 

216 Mount Eoyal. 

their loveinaking, she was still Christabel. To Jessie, and to 
none other, could he speak of her with perfect freedom. 



The autumn days crept by, sometimes grey and sad of aspect^ 
sometimes radiant and sunny, as if summer had risen from her 
grave amidst fallen leaves and faded heather. It was altogether 
a lovely autumn, like that beauteous season of five years ago, 
and Christabel and Angus wandered about the hills, and lingered 
by the trout stream in the warm green valley, almost as freely 
as they had done in the past. They were never alone — Jessie 
Bridgeman was al ways with them — veiy often Dopsy and Mopsy 
— and sometimes Mr. Tregonell with Captain Vandeleur and half 
a dozen dogs. One day they all went up the hill, and crossed 
the ploughed field to the path among the gorse and heather 
above Pentargon Bay — and Dopsy and Mopsy climbed crags and 
knolls, and screamed aifrightedly, and made a large display of 
boots, and were generally fascinating after their manner. 

' If any place could tempt me to smoke it would be this,' 
said Dopsy, gazing seaward. All the men except Angus were 
smoking. ' I think it must be utterly lovely to sit dreaming 
over a cigarette in such a place as this.' 

' What would you dream about,' asked Angus. ' A new 
bonnet ? ' 

' Don't be cynical. You think I am awfully shallow, because 
I am not a perambulating book-shelf like Mrs. Tregonell, who 
seems to have read all the books that ever were printed.' 

' There you are wrong. She has read a few — non multa sed 
multum — but they are the very best, and she has read them well 
enough to remember them,' answered Angus, quietly. 

' And Mop and I often read three volumes in a day, and 
seldom remember a line of what we read,' sighed Dopsy. 
' Indeed, we are awfully ignorant. Of course we learnt things 
at school — French and German — Italian — natural history — • 
physical geography — geology — and all the onomies. Indeed, I 
shudder when I remember what a lot of learning was poured 
into our poor little heads, and how soon it all ran out again.' 

Dopsy gave her most fascinating giggle, and sat in an 
sesthetic attitude idly plucking up faded heather blossoms with 
a tightly gloved hand, and wondering whether Mr. E&mlejgh 
no iced how small the hard %vas. She thought she was going 

Wlio knows not Circe ? y 217 

straight to hi9 heart with these naive confessions ; she had 
always heard that men hated learned women, and no doubt Mr. 
Hamleigh's habit of prosing f.bout books with Mrs. Tregonell 
was merely the homage he payed to his hostess. 

' You and Mrs. Tregonell are so dreadfully grave when you 
get together,' pursued Dopsy, seeing that her companion 1 i Id 
his peace. She had contrived to be by Mr. Hamleighs side 
when he crossed the field, and had in a manner got possessed of 
him for the rest of the afternoon, barring some violent struggle 
for emancipation on his part. ' I always wonder what you can 
find to say to each other.' 

1 1 don't think there is much cause for wonder. We have 
many tastes in common. We are both fond of music — of Nature 
— and of books. There is a wide field for conversation.' 

' Why won't you talk with me of books. There are some 
books I adore. Let us talk about Dickens.' 

' With all my heart. I admire every line he wrote — I think 
him the greatest genius of this age. We have had great writers 
■ — great thinkers — great masters of style — but Scott and Dickens 
were the Creators — they made new worlds and peopled them. I 
am quite ready to talk about Dickens.' 

' I don't think I could say a single word after that outburst 
of yours,' said Dopsy ; ' you go too fast for me.' 

LTe had talked eagerly, willing to talk just now even to Miss 
Vandeleur, trying not too vividly to remember that other day — 
that unforgotten hour — in which, on this spot, face to face with 
that ever changing, ever changeless sea, he had submitted his 
fate to Christabel, not daring to ask for her love, warning her 
rather against the misery that might come to her from loving 
him. And misery had come, but not as he presaged. It Lad 
come from his youthful sin, that one fatal turn upon the road of 
life which he had taken so lightly, tripping with joyous com- 
panions along a path strewn with roses. He, like so many, had 
gathered his roses while he might, and had found that he had to 
bear the sting of their thorns when he must. 

Leonard came up behind them as they talked, Mr. Hamleigh 
standing by Miss Vandeleur's side, digging his stick into the. 
heather and staring idly at the sea. 

' What are you two talking about so earnestly?' lie asked ; 
*you are always together. I begin to understand why HaQileigh 
is so indifferent to sport.' 

The remark struck Angus as strange, as well as underbred. 
Dopsy had contrived to inflict a good deal of her society upon 
him at odd times ; but he had taken particular care that nothing 
in hid bearing or discourse should compromise either himself or 
lh^ '*oung lad \ 

A^V-0 g'oo' te ^ faintly, and looked mudeslly at the heather. 

218 Mount Boyal. 

It was still early in the afternoon, and the western light shone 
full upon a face which might have been pretty if Nature's bloom 
had not long given place to the poetic pallor of the powder-puff. 

' We were talking about Dickens,' said Dopsy, with an elabo- 
rate air of struggling with the tumult of her feelings. ' Don't 
you adore him I ' 

' If you mean the man who wrote books, I never read 'em,' 
answered Leonard ; ' life isn't long enough for books that don't 
teach you anything. I've read pretty nearly every book that 
was ever written upon horses and dogs and guns, and a good 
many on mechanics ; that's enough for me. I don't care for 
books that only titillate one's imagination. Why should one 
read books to make oneself cry and to make oneself laugh. It's 
as idiotic a habit as taking snuff to make oneself sneeze.' 

' That's rather a severe way of looking at the subject,' said 

' It's a practical way, that's alL My wife surfeits herself with 
poetry. She is stuffed with Tenn) r son and Browning, loaded to 
the very muzzle with Byron and Shelley. She reads Shakespeare 
as devoutly as she reads her Bible. But I don't see that it helps 
to make her pleasant company for her husband or her friends. 
She is never so happy as when she has her nose in a book ; give 
her a bundle of books and a candle and she would be happy in 
the little house on the top of Willapark.' 

' Not without you and her boy,' said Dopsy, gushingly. 
' She could never exist without you two.' 

Mr. Tregonell lit himself another cigar, and strolled off with- 
out a word. 

' He has not lovable manners has he ? ' inquired Dopsy, with 
her childish air ; ' but he is so good-hearted.' 

1 No doubt. You have known him some time, haven't you 1 ' 
inquired Angus, who had been struggling with an uncomfortable 
yearning to kick the Squire into the Bay. 

The scene offered such temptations. They were standing on 
the edge of the amphitheatre, the ground shelving steeply down- 
ward in front of them, rocks and water below. And to think 
that she — his dearest, she, all gentleness and refinement, w;u 
mated to this coarse clay ! Was King Marc such an one as this 
he wondered, and if he were, who could be angry with Tristan — 
Tristan who died longing to see his lost love — struck to death 
by his wife's cruel lie — Tristan whose passionate soul passed by 
metempsychosis into briar and leaf, and crept across the arid 
rock to meet and mingle with the beloved dead. Oh, how sweet 
and sad the old legend seemed to Angus to-day, standing above 
the melancholy sea, where he and she had stood folded in each 
other's arms in the sweet triumphant moment of love's first 

• H'Au knows not Circe V 210 

Dopsy did not allow him much leisure for mournful medita- 
tion. She prattled on in that sweetly girlish manner which was 
meant to be all spirit and sparkle — glancing from theme to theme, 
like the butterfly among the flowers, and showing a level 
ignorance on all. Mr. Hamleigh listened with Christian resigna- 
tion, and even allowed himself to be her escort home — and to 
seem especially attentive to her at afternoon tea : for although 
it may take two to make a quarrel, assuredly one, if she be but 
brazen enough, may make a flirtation. Dopsy felt that time 
was short, and that strong measures were necessary. Mr. 
Hamleigh had been very polite — attentive even. Dopsy, accus- 
tomed to the free and easy manners of her brother's friends, 
mistook Mr. Hamleigh's natural courtsey to the sex for particu- 
lar homage to the individual. But he had ' said nothing,' and 
she was no nearer the assurance of becoming Mrs. Hamleigh 
than she had been on the evening of his arrival. Dopsy had 
been fain to confess this to Mopsy in the confidence of sisterly 

1 It seems as if I might just as well have had a try for him 
myself, instead of standing out to give you a better chance,' 
retorted Mopsy, somewhat scornfully. 

' Go in and win, if you can,' said Dopsy. ' It won't be the 
first time you've tried to cut me out.' 

Dopsy, embittered by the sense of failure, determined on new 
tactics. Hitherto she had been all sparkle — now she melted into 
a touching sadness. 

' What a delicious old room this is,' she murmured, glancing 
round at the bookshelves and dark panelling, the high wide 
chimney-piece with its coat-of-arms, in heraldic colours, flash- 
ing and gleaming against a background of brown oak. ' I 
cannot help feeling wretched at the idea that next week I 
shall be far away from this dear place — in dingy dreary 
London. Oh, Mr. Hamleigh,' — detaining him while she se 
lected one particular piece of sugar from the basin he was 
handing her — 'don't you detest London?' 

'Not absolutely. I have sometimes found it endurable.' 

'Ah, you have your clubs — just the one pleasant street in 
all the great overgrown city — and that street lined with 
palaces, whose doors are always standing open for you. Libraries, 
smoking rooms, billiard-tables, perfect dinners, and all that is 
freshest and brightest in the way of society. I don't wonder 
men like London. But for women it has only two attraction* 
— Mudie, and the shop-windows!' 

' And the park — the theatres — the churches — the delight 
of looking at other women's gowns and bonnets. I thought 
that could never pall ? ' 

•It does though. There comes a time when one feela 

?2(j Muant Royal. 

weary of everything,' said Dopsy, pensively stirring her tea, 
and so fixing Mr. Hamleigh with her conversation that he 
was obliged to linger — yea, even to set down his own tea-cup 
on an adjacent table, and to seat himself by the charmer's side. 

' I thought you so delighted in the theatres,' he said. ' You 
were full of enthusiasm about the drama the night I first 
dined here.' 

' Was I ? ' demanded Dopsy, naively. ' And now I feel as if I 
did not care a straw about all the plays that were ever acted 
— all the actoi's who ever lived. Strange, is it not, that one 
can change so, in one little fortnight 1 ' 

' The change is an hallucination. You are fascinated by 
the charms of a rural life, which you have not known long 
enough for satiety. You will be just as fond of plays and players 
when you get back to London.' 

' Never,' exclaimed Dopsy. ' It is not only my taste that i3 
changed. It is myself. I feel as if I were a new creature.' 

■ ' What a blessing for yourself and society if the change were 
radical, 3 said Mr. Hamleigh, within himself ; and then he 
answered, lightly, 

' Perhaps you have been attending the little chapel at Bos- 
castle, secretly imbibing the doctrines of advanced Methodism, 
and this is a spiritual awakening.' 

' No,' sighed Dopsy, shaking her head, pensively, as she 
gazed at her teacup. ' It is an utter change. I cannot make it 
out. I don't think I shall ever care for gaiety — parties — theatres 
— dress — again.' 

' Oh, this must be the influence of the Methodists.' 

' I hate Methodists ! I never spoke to one in my life. I 
should like to go into a convent. I should like to belong to a 
Protestant sisterhood, and to nurse the poor in their own houses. 
It would be nasty ; I should catch some dreadful comprint, and 
die, I daresay ; but it would be better than what I feel now.' 

And Dopsy, taking advantage of the twilight, and the fact 
that she and Angus were at some distance from the rest of the 
party, burst into tears. They were very real tears — tears of 
vexation, disappointment, despair ; and they made Angus very 

'My dear Miss Vandeleur, I am so sorry to see you dis- 
tressed. Is there anything on your mind 1 Is there anything 
that I can do \ Shall I fetch your sister 1 ' 

' No, no,' gasped Dopsy, in a choked voice. ' Please don't 
go away. I like you to be near me.' 

She pat out her hand — a chilly, tremulous hand, with no 
passion in it save the passionate pain of despair, and touched his 
timidly, entreatingly, as if she were calling upon him for pity 
and hehi She was, Indeed, in her inmost heart, asking him to 

l Wlio knows not Circe?' 221 

rescue her from the groat dismal swamp of poverty and ili* 
repute ; to take her to himself, and give her a place and status 
among well-bred people, and make her life worth living. 

This was dreadful. Angus Hamleigh, in all the variety of 
his experience of womankind, had never before found himself 
face to face with this kind of difficulty. He had not been blind 
to Miss Vandeleur's strenuous endeavours to charm him. 1 1 e 
bad parried those light arrows lightly ; but he was painfully 
embarrassed by this appeal to his compassion. It was a i:ew 
thing for him to sit beside a weeping woman, whom he could 
neither love nor admire, but from whom he could not withhold 
his pity. 

' I daresay her life is dismal enough,' he thought, ' with sucV 
a brother as Poker Vandeleur — and a father to match.' 

While he sat in silent embarrassment, and while Dopsj 
slowly dried her tears with a gaudy little coloured handkerchief, 
taken from a smart little breast-pocket in the tailor-gown, Mr. 
Tregonell sauntered across the room to the window where they 
sat — a Tudor window, with a deep embraaure. 

'What are you two talking about in the dark?' he asked, 
as Dopsy confusedly shuttled the handkerchief back into the 
breast-pocket. 'Something very sentimental, I should think, 
from the look of you. Poetry, I suppose.' 

Dopsy said not a word. She believed that Leonard meant 
well by her — that, if his influence could bring Mr. Hamleigh'a 
nose to the grindstone, to the grindstone that nose would be 
brought. So she looked up at her brother's friend with a watery 
smile, and remained mute. 

' We were talking about London and the theatres,' answered 
Angus. 'Not a very sentimental topic;' and then he got up 
and walked away with his teacup, to the table near which 
Christabel was sitting, iE the flickering tire-light, and seated 
himself by her side, and began to talk to her about a box of 
books that had arrived from London that day — books that 
were familiar to him and new to her. Leonard looked after 
him with a scowl, safe in the shadow ; while Dopsy, feeling 
that she had made a fool of herself, lapsed ag t an into tears. 

'I am afraid lie is behaving very badly to you,' said Leonard. 

'Oh, no, no. But he has such strange ways. He blows hot 
and cold.' 

'In plain words, he's a heartless flirt,' answered Leonard, 
impatiently. 'He has been fooled by a pack of women— pre- 

ids to be <lying of consumption — gives himself no end of airs, 
lie has flirted outrageously with you. Has he proposed ? ' 

' No not exactly,' faltered Dopsy. 

' Some one ought to bring him to the scratch. Your brothel 
must tackle him.' 

222 Mount Boyal. 

' Don't you think if — if — Jack were to say anything — were 
just to hint that I was being made very unhappy — that such 
marked attentions before all the world put me in a false position 
— don't you think it might do harm 1 ' 

'Quite the contrary. It would do good. No man ought to 
trifle with a girl's feelings in that way. No man shall be allowed 
to do it in my house. If Jack won't speak to him, I will.' 

' Oh, Mr. Tregonell, what a noble heart you have — what a 
true friend you have always been to us 1 ' 

' You are my friend's sister — my wife's guest. I won't see 
you trifled with.' 

' And you really think his attentions have been marked 1 ' 

' Very much marked. He shall not be permitted to amuse 
himself at your expense. There he sits, talking sentiment to 
my wife — just as he has talked sentiment to you. Why doesn't 
he keep on the safe side, and confine his attentions to married 
women 1 ' 

' You are not jealous of him V asked Dopsy, with some alarm. 

'Jealous ! I ! It would take a very extraordinary kind of 
wife, and a very extraordinary kind of admirer of that wife, to 
make me jealous.' 

Dopsy felt her hopes in somewise revived by Mr. Tregonell's 
manner of looking at things. Up to this point she had mis- 
trusted exceedingly that the flirting was all on her side : but 
now Leonard most distinctly averred that Angus Hamleigh had 
flirted, and in a manner obvious to every one. And if Mr. 
Hamleigh really admired her — if he were really blowing hot and 
cold — inclining one day to make her his wife, and on another 
day disposed to let her languish and fade in South Belgravia — 
might not a word or two from a judicious friend turn the scale, 
and make her happy for life. 

She went up to her room to dress in a flutter of hope and 
fear ; so agitated, that she could scarcely manage the more 
delicate details of her toilet — the drapery of her skirt, the adjust- 
ment of the sunflower on her shoulder. 

'How flushed and sha,-y you are,' exclaimed Mopsy, pausing 
in the pencilling of an eyebrow to look at her sister. ' Is the 
deed done ? Has he popped 1 ' 

' No, he has not popped. But I think he will.' 

'I wish I wert, ">f your opinion. I should like a rich sister. 
It would be the next best thing to being well off oneself.' 

' You only think of his money,' said Dopsy, who had really 
fallen in love — for only about the fifteenth time, so there was 
still freshness in the feeling — 'I should care for him just as much 
if he were a pauper.' 

' No, you would not,' said Mopsy. ' I daresay you think you 
would, but you wouldn't There is a glamour about monej 

*Wlw knotos not Circe? 1 223 

which nobody in our circumstances can resist. A man who 
dresses perfectly — who has never been hard up — who has always 
lived among elegant people — there is a style about him that goes 
straight to one's heart. Don't you remember how in " Peter 
(Vilkins" there are different orders of beings — a superior class — 
born so, bred so — always apart and above the others ? Mr. 
Hamleigh belongs to that higher order. If he were poor and 
shabby he would be a different person. You wouldn't care two- 
pence for him.' 

The Eector of Trevalga and his wife dined at Mount Royal 
that evening, so Dopsy fell to the lot of Mr. Hamleigh, and had 
plenty of opportunity of carrying on the siege during dinner, 
while Mrs. Tregonell and the Rector, who was an enthusiastic 
antiquarian, talked of the latest discoveries in Druid ic remains. 

After dinner came the usual adjournment to billiards. The 
Rector and his wife stayed in the drawing-room with Christabel 
and Jessie. Mr. Hamleigh would have remained with them, 
but Leonard specially invited him to the billiard-room. 

' You must have had enough Mendelssohn and Beethoven to 
last you for the next six months,' he said. ' You had better come 
and have a smoke with us.' 

' I could never have too much good music,' answered Angus. 

' Well, I don't suppose you'd get much to-night. The Rector 
and my wife will talk about pots and pans all the evening, now 
they've once started. You may as well be sociable, for once-in-a- 
way, and come with us.' 

Such an invitation, given in heartiest tones, and with seeming 
frankness, could hardly be refused. So Angus went across the 
hall with the rest of the billiard players, to the tine old room, 
once a chapel, in which there was pace enough for settees, and 
easy chairs, tea-tables, books, flowers, and dogs, without thft 
slightest inconvenience to the players. 

' You'll play, Hamleigh ? ' said Leonard. 

1 No thanks ; I'd rather sit and smoke and watch you.' 

'Really! Then Monty and I will play Jack and one of the 
girls. Billiards is the only game at which one can afford to play 
against relations — they can't cheat Mopsy, will you play 1 
Dopsy can mark.' 

' What a thorough good fellow he is,' thought Dopsy, charmed 
with an arrangement which left her comparatively free for 
flirtation with Mr. Hamleigh, who had taken possession of 
Christabel's favourite seat — a low capacious basket-chair — by the 
wide wood fire, and had Cliri tabel's table near him, loaded with 
hei books, and work-basket -those books which were all his 
favourites as well as hers, and which made an indissoluble link 
between them. What is mere blood relationship compared with 
the puttier tie of mutual likings and dislikings 1 

224 Mmnt Royal. 

The men all lighted their cigarettes, and the £ame progressed 
with tolerably equal fortunes. Jack Vandeleur playing well 
enough to make amends for any lack of skill on the part of 
Mopsy, whose want of the scientific purpose and certainty which 
come from long experience, was as striking as her dashing and 
self-assured method of handling her cue, and her free use of all 
slang terms peculiar to the game. Dopsy oscillated between the 
marking-board and the fireplace — sometimes kneeling on the 
Persian rug to play with Eandie and the other dogs, sometimes 
standing in a pensive attitude by the chimney-piece, talking to 
Angus. All traces of tears were gone. Her cheeks were flushed, 
her eyes brightened by an artfid touch of Indian ink under the 
lashes, her eyebrows accentual d by the same artistic treatment, 
her huge fan held with the true Grosvenor Gallery air. 

'Do you believe that peacocks' feathers are unlucky?' she 
asked, looking pensively at the fringe of green and azure plumage 
on her fan. 

1 I am not altogether free from superstition, but my idea of 
the Fates has never taken that particular form. Why should the 
peacock be a bird of evil omen ? I can believe anything bad of 
the screech-owl or the raven — but the harmless ornamental 
poacock — surely he is innocent of our woes.' 

' I have known the most direful calamities follow the intro- 
duction of peacocks' feathers into a drawing-room — yet they are 
so tempting, one can hardly live without them.' 

' Really ! Do you know that I have found existence endurable 
without so much as a tuft of down from that unmelodious bird 1 ' 

' Have you never longed for its plumage to give life and colour 
to your rooms ? — such exquisite colour — such delicious harmony 
— I wonder that you, who have such artistic taste, can resist the 

' I hope you have not found that pretty fan the cause of many 
woes ? ' said Mr. Hamleigh, smilingly, as the damsel posed herself 
in the early Italian manner, and slowly waved the bright-hued 

' I cannot say that I have been altogether happy since I pos 
sessed it,' answered Dopsy, with a shy downward glance, and a 
smothered sigh ; 'and yet I don't know— I have been only too 
happy sometimes, perhaps, and at other times deeply wretched.' 

' Is not that kind of variableness common to our poor human 
nature — independent of peacocks' feathers V 

' Not to me. I used to be the most thoughtless happy-go- 
lucky creature.' 

' Until when V 

' Till I came to Cornwall,' with a faint sigh, and a sudden 
upward glance of a pair of blue eyes which would have been 
pretty, had they been only innocent of all scheming. 

' JVhn knows not Circe ? ' 225 

1 Then I'm afraid this mixture of sea and mountain air does 
not agree with you. Too exciting for your nerves perhaps.' 

' I don't think it is that,' with a still fainter sigh. 

1 Then the peacocks' feathers must be to blame. Why don't 
you throw your fan into the fire V 

' Not for worlds,' said Dopsy. 

' Why not V 

' First, because it cost a guinea,' naively, ' and then because 
it is associated with quite the happiest period of my life.' 

' You said just now you had been unhappy since you owned it.' 

' Only by fits and starts. Two utterly happy at other times.' 

' If I say another word she will dissolve into tears again,' 
thought Angus.; ' I shall have to leave Mount Royal : a man in 
weak health is no match for a young woman of this type. She 
will get me into a corner and declare I have proposed to her.' 

He got up and went over to the table, wh«re Mr. Montagu 
was just finishing the game, with a break which had left Dopsy 
free for flirtation during the last ten minutes. 

Mr. Hamleigh played in the next game, but this hardly 
bettered his condition, for Dopsy now took her sister's place with 
the cue, and required to be instructed as to every stroke, and 
even to have her fingers placed in position, now and then by 
Aliens, when the ball was under the cushion, and the stroke in 
any° way difficult. This lengthened the game, and bored Angus 
exceedingly, besides making him ridiculous in the eyes of the 
other three men. 

' I hate playing with lovers,' muttered Leonard, under his 
breath, when Dopsy was especially worrying about the exact point 
at which she w;is to hit the ball for a pari;;?ular cannon. 

'Decidedly I must get away to-morrow,' reflected Angus. 

The game went on"merrily enough, and was only just over 
when the stable clock struck eleven, at which hour the servants 
brought in a tray with a tankard of mulled claret for vice, and a 
siphon for virtue. The Miss Vandeleurs, after pretending to say 
good-night, were persuaded to sip a little of the hot spiced wine, 
and were half inclined to accept the cigarettes persuasively 
oiTered by Mr. Montagu ; till, warned by a wink from Jack, they 
drew up suddenly, declared they had been quite too awfully 
dissipated, that they should be too kte to wish Mrs. Tregonell 
good-night, and skipped away. 

1 Awfully jolly girls, those sisters of yours,' said Montagu, as 
he closed the door which he had opened for the damsels' exit, and 
stroll, d back to the hearth, where Angus was sitting dreamily 
caressing Randie— her dog ! How many a happy dog has 
i ed caresses charged with the love of his mistress, such 
i . rnful kisses as Dido lavished on the young Aaainiaa in t.h* 
dead watches of the weary night 


226 Mount Royal. 

Jack Vandeleur and his host had begun another gains, 
delighted at having the table to themselves. 

' Yes, they're nice girls,' answered Mr. Vandeleur, without 
looking off the table ; ' just the right kind of girls for a country- 
house : no starch, no prudishness, but as innocent as babies, and 
as true-hearted — well, they are all heart I should be sorry to 
see anybody trifle with either of them. Tt would be a very 
serious thing for her — and it should be my business to make 
it serious for him.' 

' Great advantage for a girl to have a brother who enjoys the 
reputation of being a dead shot,' said Mr. Montagu, ' or it would 
be if duelling wer» not an exploded institution — like trial for 
witchcraft, and hanging for petty larceny.' 

' Duelling is never out of fashion, among gentlemen,' answered 
Jack, making a cannon and going in off the red. ' That makes 
seventeen, Monty. There are injuries which nothing but the 
pistol can redress, and I'm not sorry that my Eed River ex- 
perience has made me a pretty good shot. But I'm not half ae 
good as Leonard. He could give me fifty in a hundred any 

1 When a man has to keep his party in butcher's meat by the 
use of his rifle, he'i need be a decent marksman,' answered Mr. 
Tregonell, carelessly. ' I never knew the right use of a gun till 
I crossed the Rockies. By-the-way, who is for woodcock shooting 
to-morrow ? You'll come, I suppose, Jack 1 ' 

* Not to-morrow, thanks. Monty and I are going over to 
Bodmin to see a man hanged. We've got an order to view, aa 
the house-agents call it. Monty is supposed to be on the Times. 
I go for the Western Daily Mercury.'' 

'What a horrid ghoulish thing to do,' said Leonard. 

' It's seeing life,' answered Jack, shrugging his shoulders. 

' I should call it the other thing. However, as crime is very 
rare in Cornwall, you may as well make the most of your 
opportunity. But it's a pity to neglect the birds. This is one 
of the best seasons we've had since 1860, when there wa.s a 
remarkable flight of birds in the second week in October. But 
even that year wasn't as good as '55, when]a farmer at St. Buryan 
killed close upon sixty birds in a week. You'll go to-morrow, 
I hope, Mr. Hamlcigh ? There's some very good ground about 
St. Nectan's Kieve, and it's a picturesque sort of place, that will 
just hit your fancy.' 

' I have been to the Kieve, often — yes, it is a lovely spot,' 
answered Angus, remembering his first visit to Mount Royal, 
and the golden afternoons which he had spent with Christabel 
among tiio rocks and the ferns, then- low voices half drowned by 
the noire of the waterfall. ' But I shan't be able to shoot to- 
morrow. I have just been making up my mind to tear myself 

• Wlw knows not Circe V 227 

away from Mount Royal, and I was going to ask you to let one 
of your grooms drive me over to Launceston in time for the 
mit! -day train. I can get up from Plymouth by the Limited 

' Why are you in such a hurry V asked Leonard. ' I thought 
you were rather enjoying yourself with us.' 

' So much so that as far as my own inclination goes there is 
no reason why I should not stay here for the rest of my life — 
only you would get tired of me — and I have promised my doctor 
to go southward before the frosty weather begins.' 

' A day or two can't make much difference.' 

' Not much — only when there is a disagreeable effort to be 
made the sooner one gets it over the better.' 

' 1 am sorry you are off so suddenly,' said Leonard, going on 
with the game, and looking rather oddly across the table at 
Captain Vandeleur. 

' I am more than sorry,' said that gentleman, ' I am surprised. 
But perhaps I am not altogether in the secret of your move- 

' There is no secret,' said Angus. 

' Isn't there ? Then I'm considerably mistaken. It has 
looked very much lately as if there were a particular understand- 
ing between you and my elder sister ; and I think, as her 
brother, I have some right to be let into the secret before you 
leave Mount Royal.' 

'I am sorry that either my manner, or Miss Vandeleur'a, 
should have so far misled you,' answered Angus, with freezing: 
gravity He pitied the sister, but felt only cold contempt for the 
brother. 'The young lady and I have never interchanged a 
word which might not have been heard by everybody at Mount 

' And you have had no serious intentions — you have never 
pretended to any serious feeling about her'?' 

' Never. Charming as the young lady may be, I have been, 
and am, adamant against all such fascinations. A man who has 
been told that he may not live a year is hardly in a position to 
make an offer of marriage. Good-night, Tregonell. I shall rely 
on your letting one of your men drive me to the station.' 

He nodded good-night to the other two men, and left the room. 
Lie, who loved him for the sake of old times, followed at his 

'There goes a cur who deserves a dose cf cold lead,' said 
lookh » vindictivi ly towards the door. 

'What, Randie, my wife's favour;! 

'No, the two-legged cur. Come, you two men know how 
outrageously that puppy has flirted with my sister.' 

' I know there has been — some kind of flirtation,' answered 

228 Mount Boy at. 

Mr. Montagu, luxuriously buried in a large arm-chair, with hia 
legs hanging over the arm, ' and I suppose it's the man who's to 
blame. Of course it always is the man.' 

'Did you ever hear such a sneaking evasion V demandej) 
Jack, ' Not a year to live forsooth. Why if he can't make her 
his wife he is bound as a gentleman to make her his widow.' 

' He has plenty of coin, hasn't he V asked Montagu. ' Your 
sister 1.;..- never gone for me — and I'm dreadfully soft under such 
treatment. When I think of the number of girls I've proposed 
to, and how gracefully I've always backed out of it afterwards, I 
really wonder at my own audacity. I never refuse to marry the 
lady — -pas si bete : " I adore you, and we'll be married to-morrow 
if you like," I say. " But you'll have to live with your papa and 
mamma for the first ten years. Perhaps by that time I might 
be able to take second-floor lodgings in Bloomsbury, and we 
could begin housekeeping." ' 

' You're a privileged pauper,' said Captain Yandeleur ; 'Mr. 
Hamleigh is quite another kind of individual — and I say that 
he has behaved in a dastardly manner to my elder sister. 
Everybody in this house thought that he was in love with her.' 

' You have told us so several times.' answered Montagu, 
coolly, 'and we're bound to believe you, don't you know,' 

' I should have thought you'd have had too much spunk 
to see an old friend's sister jilted in such a barefaced way, 
Tregonell,' said Jack Yandeleur, who had drunk just enough 
to make him quarrelsome. 

'You don't mean to say that i am accountable for his 
actions, do you]' retorted Leonard. 'That's rather a large 

' I mean to say that you asked him here — and you puffed 
him oil' as a great catch — and half turned poor little Dop'a 
head by your talk about him. If you knew what an arrant 
flirt he was you oughtn't to have brought him inside yoiu 

' Perhaps I didn't know anything about it,' answered Leonard, 
wit! i Ins most exasperating air. 

' Then I can only say that if half I've heard is true you 
ought to have known all about it.' 

' As how 1 ' 

'Because it is common club-talk that he flirted with your 
wife — was engaged to her — and was thrown off by her on 
account of his extremely disreputable antecedents. Your mother 
has the sole credit of the throwing off, by-the-by.' 

' You had better leave my mother's name and my wife's 
name out of your conversation. That's twenty-eight to me, 
Monty. Poker has spoiled a capital break by hia d — — <j 

'And Time is Setting tvi' Me, 0.' 229 

' I beg your pardon — Mrs. Tregonell is simply perfect, and 
there is no woman I more deeply Jionour. But still you must 
allow me to wonder that you ever let that man cross your 

' You are welcome to go on wondering. It's a wholesome 
exercise for a sluggish brain.' 

' Game,' exclaimed Mr. Montague ; and Leonard put his 
cue in the rack, and walked away, without another word to 
either of his guests. 

'lie's a dreadful bear,' said little Monty, emptying the 
tankard ; ' but you oughtn't to have talked about the wife, 
Poker — that was bad form.' 

' Does he ever study good form when he talks of my 
people ? He had no business to bring that fine gentleman here 
to flirt with my sister.' 

1 But really now, don't you think your sister did her share 
of the flitting, and that she's rather an old hand at that kind 
of thing? I adore Dop and Mop, as I'm sure you know, and 
I only wish I were rich enough to back my opinion by 
marrying one of them — but I don't think our dear little Dopsy 
is the kind of girl to break her heart about any man — more 
especially a sentimental duffer with hollow cheeks and a hollow 


'and time is setting wi' me, o.' 

Angus Hamleigii left the billiard players with the intention of 
going straight to his own room ; but in the hall he encounten d 
the Bector of Trevalga, who was just going away, very 
apologetic at having stayed so late, beguiled by the fascination 
of antiquarian talk. Christabel and Jessie had come out to 
the hall, to bid their old friends good-night, and thus it 
happened that Mr. Hamleigh went back to the drawing-room, 
and sat there talking till nearly midnight. They sat in front 
of the dying fire, talking as they had talked in days gone by — 
and their conversation grew sad and solemn as the hour wore 
on. Angus announced his intended departure, and Christabel 
nad no word to say against his decision. 

' We shall be very sorry to lose you,' she said, sheltering 
her personality behind the plural pronoun, 'but I think it 
is wise of you to waste no more time.' 

' I have not wasted an hour. It has been unspeakable 
happiness for me to be here — and I am more grateful than I 

230 Mount Eoyal. 

can say to jour husband for having brought me here — for having 
treated me with such frank cordiality. The time has come when 
I may speak very freely — yes — a man whose race is so nearly 
run need have no reserves of thought or feeling. I think, Mrs. 
Tregonell, that you and Miss Bridgeman, who knows me almost 
as well as you do ' 

'Better, perhaps,' miumured Jessie, in a scarcely audible 

'Must both know that my life for the past four years has 
been one long regret — that all my days and hours have been 
steeped in the bitterness of remorse. I am not going now to 
dispute the justice of the sentence which spoiled my life and broke 
my heart. I submitted without question, because I knew that 
the decree was wise. I had no right to offer you the ruin of a 
life ' 

' Do not speak of that,' cried Christabel, with a stifled sob, 
' for pity's sake don't speak of the past : I cannot bear it.' 

' Then I will not say another word, except to tell you that your 
goodness to me in these latter days — your friendship, so frankly, so 
freely given — has steeped my soul in peace — has filled my mind 
with sweet memories which will soothe my hours of decline, when 
I am far from this dear house where I was once so happy. I 
wish I could leave some pleasant memory here when I am gone 
— I wish your boy had been old enough to remember me in the 
days to come, as one who loved him better than any one on earth 
could love him, after his father and mother.' 

Christabel answered no word. She sat with her hand before 
her eyes — tears streaming slowly down her cheeks — tears that 
were happily invisible in the faint light of the shaded lamps and 
the fading fire. 

And then they went on to talk of life in the abstract — it? 
difficulties — its problems — its consolations — and of death — and 
the dim world beyond — the unknown land of universal recom- 
pense, where the deep joys striven after here, and never attained, 
are to be ours in a purer and more spiritual form — where love 
shall no longer walk hand in hand with pain and sorrow, dogged 
by the dark spectre Death. 

Illness and solitude had done much to exalt and spiritualize 
Angus Hamleigh's mind. The religion of dogma, the strict 
hard-and-fast creed which was the breath of life to Leonard's 
mother, had never been grappled with or accepted by him — but 
it was in his nature to be religious. Never at his woi-st had he 
sheltered his errors under the bi'azen front of paganism — never 
had he denied the beauty of a pure and perfect life, a simple 
childlike faith, heroic self-abnegating love of God and man. He 
had admired and honoured such virtue in others, and had been 
sorry that Nature had cast him in a lower mould. Then had 

1 And Time is Setting wi' Me, 0.' 2'dl 

come the sentence which told him that his days were to be of 
the fewest, and, without conscious effort, his thoughts had taken 
a more serious cast. The great problem had come nearer home 
to him — and he had found its oidy solution to be hope — hope 
more or less vague and dim — more or less secure and steadfast — 
according to the temperament of the thinker. All metaphysical 
argument for or against — all theological teaching could push the 
thing no further. It seemed to him that it was the universal 
instinct of mankind to desire and hope for an imperishable life, 
purer, better, fairer than the life we know here — and that innate 
in eveiy human breast there dwells capacity for immortality, and 
disbelief in extinction — and to this universal instinct he sur- 
rendered himself unreservedly, content to demand no stronger 
argument than that grand chapter of Corinthians which has 
consoled so many generations of mourners. 

So now, speaking with these two women of the life to come 
— the fair, sweet, all-satisfying life after death — he breathed no 
word which the most orthodox churchman might not have 
approved. He spoke in the fulness of a faith which, based on 
instinct, and not on dogma, had ripened with the decline of all 
delight and interest in this lower life. He spoke as a man for 
whom earth's last moorings had been loosened, whose only hopes 
pointed skyward. 

It was while he was talking thus, with an almost passionate 
earnestness, and yet wholly free from all earthly passion, that 
Mr. Tregonell entered the room and stood by the door, contem- 
plating the group by the hearth. The spectacle was not pleasant 
to a man of intensely jealous temperament, a man who had been 
testing and proving the wife whom he could not completely 
trust, whom he loved grudgingly, with a savage half-angry love. 

Christabel's face, dimly lighted by the lamp on the low table 
near her, was turned towards the speaker, the lips parted, the 
large blue eyes bright with emotion. Her hands w r ere clasped 
upon the elbow of the chair, and her attitude was of one who 
listens to words of deepest, dearest meaning ; while Angus 
Ibrnleigh sat a little way olF with his eyes upon her face, hia 
whole air and expression charged with feeling. To Leonard's 
mind all such earnestness, all sentiment of any kind, came under 
one category : it all meant love-making, more or less audacious, 
more or less hypocritical, dressed in modern phraseology, sophis- 
ticated, disguised, super-refined, fantastical, called one day 
astheticism and peacocks' feathers, another day positivism, 
agnosticism, Swinburne-cum-Burno-Jones-ism, but always the 
same thing au fond, and meaning war to domestic peace. There 
sat Jessie Bridgeman, the dragon of prudery placed within call, 
but was any woman safer for the presence of a duenna? was it 
uot in the nature of such people to look on simpeiingly while 

232 Mount Royal. 

the poison cup was being quaffed, and to declare afterwards that 
they had supposed the mixture perfectly harmless ] No doubt, 
Tristan and Iseult had somebody standing by to play propriety 
when they drank from the fatal goblet, and bound themselves 
for life in the meshes of an unhappy love. No, the mere fact of 
Miss Bridgeman's presence was no pledge of safety. 

There was no guilt in Mrs. Tregonell's countenance, assuredly, 
when she looked up and saw her husband standing near the 
door, watchful, silent, with a pre-occupied air that was strange 
to him. 

'What is the matter, Leonard?' she asked, for his manner 
U? 1 plied that something was amiss. 

* Nothing — I — I was wondering to find you up so late — that's 

' The Eector and his wife stayed till eleven, and we have 
been sitting here talking. Mr. Hamleigh means to leave us to- 

• Yes, I know,' answered Leonard, curtly. ' Oh, by the way,' 
turning to Angus, 'there is something I want to say to you 
before you go to bed ; something about your journey to-morrow.' 

' I am quite at your service.' 

Instead of approaching the group by the fireplace, Leonard 
turned and left the room, leaving Mr. Hamleigh under the 
necessity of following him. 

' Good-night,' he said, shaking hands with Christabel. ' I 
shall not say good-bye till to-morrow. I suppose I shall not 
have to leave Mount Eoyal till eleven o'clock.' 

' I think not.' 

' Good-night, Miss Bridgeman. I shall never forget how kind 
you have been to me.' 

She looked at him earnestly, but made no reply, and in the 
next instant he was gone. 

' What can have happened ? ' asked Christabel, anxiously. ' I 
am sure there is something wrong. Leonard's manner was so 

'Perhaps he and his dear friends have been quarrelling,' 
Jessie answered, carelessly. ' I believe Captain Vandeleur 
breaks out into vindictive language, sometimes, after he has 
taken a little too much wine : Mop told me as much in her 
amiable candour. And I know the Captain's glass was filled 
very often at dinner, for I had the honour of sitting next him.' 

' I hope there is nothing really wrong,' said Christabel ; but 
che could not get rid of the sense of uneasiness to which Leonard's 
strange manner had given rise. 

She went to her boy's nursery, as she did every night, before 
going to bed, and said her prayers beside his pillow. She had 
begun this one night when the child was ill, and had never 

•And Time is Setting wi' Me, 0.' 233 

ruined a night since. That quiet recess in which the little one's 
cot stood wad her oratory. Here, in the silence, broken only by 
the ticking of the clock or the fall of a cinder on the hearth, 
while the nurse slept near at hand, the mother prayed ; and her 
prayers seemed to her sweeter and more efficacious hei*e than in 
any other place. So soon as those childish lips could speak it 
would be her delight to teach her son to pray ; and, in the mean- 
time, her supplications w r ent up to Heaven for him, from a heart 
*jhat overflowed with motherly love. There had been one dismal 
interval of her life when she had loved no one — having really 
no one to love — secretly loathing her husband — not daring even 
to remember that other, once so fondly loved — and then, when 
her desolate heart seemed w 7 alled round with an icy barrier that 
Jivided it from all human feeling, God had given her this child, 
ind lo ! the ice had melted, and her re-awakened soul had 
kindled and glowed with warmth and gladness. It was not iu 
Christabel's nature to love many things, or many people : rather 
was it natural to her to love one person intensely, as she had 
loved her adopted mother in her girlhood, as she had loved 
Angus Hamleigh in the bloom of her womanhood, as she loved 
her boy now. 

She was leaving the child's room, after prayers and medi- 
tations that had been somewhat longer than usual, when she 
heard voices, and saw Mr. Tregonell and Mr. Hamleigh by the 
door of the room occupied by the latter, which was at the further 
end of the gallery. 

' You understand my plan V said Leonard. 

« Perfectly.' 

' It prevents all trouble, don't you see.' 

' Yes, I believe it may,' answered Angus, and without any 
word of good-night he opened his door and went into his room, 
while Leonard turned on his heel and strolled to his own 
quarters . 

' Was there anything amiss between you and Mr. Hamleigh, 
that you parted so coldly just now V asked Christabel, presently, 
when her husband came from his dressing-room into the bed- 
room where she sat musing by the fire. 

' What, aren't you gone to bed yet ! ' he exclaimed. ' You 
seem to be possessed by a wakeful demon to-night.' 

' I have been in the boy's room. Was there anything amiss, 
Leonard? ' 

' You are monstrously anxious about it. No. What should 
there be amiss '] You didn't expect to see us hugging each other 
like a couple of Frenchmen, did you ? ' 

234 Mount Royal. 


'with such remorseless speed still come NEW WOES.' 

The next morning was damp, and grey, and mild, no autumn 
wind stiring the long sweeping branches of the cedars on the 
lawn, the dead leaves falling silently, the world all sad and 
solemn, clad in universal greyness. Christabel was up early, 
with her boy, in the nursery — watching him as he splashed about 
Lis bath, and emerged rosy and joyous, like an infant river- 
god sporting among the rashes ; early at family prayers in the 
dining-room, a ceremony at which Mr. Tregonell rarely assisted, 
and to which Dopsy and Mopsy came flushed and breathless 
with hurry, anxious to pay all due respect to a hostess whom they 
Imped to visit again, but inwardly revolting against the unreason- 
ableness of eight-o'clock prayers. 

Angus, who was generally about the gardens before eight, did 
net aj) pear at all this morning. The other' men were habitually 
late — breakfasting together in a free-and-easy manner when the 
ladies had left the dining-room— so Christabel, Miss Bridgeman, 
and the Miss Vandeleurs sat down to breakfast alone, Dopsy 
giving little furtive glances at the door every now and then, 
expectant of Mr. Hamleigh's entrance. 

That expectancy became too painful for the damsel's patience, 
by-and-by, as the meal advanced. 

' ; wonder what has become of Mr. Hamleigh,' she said. 
1 This is the first time he has been late at breakfast.' 

' Perhaps he is seeing to the packing of his portmanteau,' said 
Miss Bridgeman. ' Some valets are bad packers, and want 

' Packing !' cried Dopsy, aghast. 'Packing! What for?' 
' He is going to London this afternoon. Didn't you know 1 ' 
Dopsy grew°pale as ashes. The shock was evidently terrible, 
and even Jessie pitied her. 

' Poor silly Dop,' she thought. ' Could she actually suppose 
that she stood the faintest chance of bringing down her bird 1 ' 

' Going aw&y ? For good 1 ' niumiured Miss Vandeleur, 
faintly— all the flavour gone out of the dried salmon, the Comish 
butter, the sweet home-baked bread. 

'I hope so. He is going to the South of France for the 
winter. Of course, you kuow that he is consumptive, and hai 
not many years to live,' answered Miss Bridgeman. 

' Poor fellow !' sighed Dopsy, with tears glittering upon hei 
.lowered eyelids. 

She had begun the chase moved chiefly by sordid instincts ; 

• With such Remorseless Sjjcecl still come New Woes.* 235 

her tendercst emotions had been hacked and vulgarized by long 
experience in flirtation — but at this moment she believed that 
never in her life had she loved before, and that never in her lif e 
could she love again. 

' And if he dies unmarried what will become of his property V 
inquired Mopsy, whose feelings were not engaged. 

' I haven't the faintest idea,' answered Miss Bridgeman. 
• He has no near relations. I hope he will leave his money to 
Borne charitable institution.' 

'What time does he go?' faltered Dopsy, swallowing her 

' Mr. Hamleigh left an hour ago, Madam,' said the butler, 
who had been carving at the side-board during this conversation. 
'He has gone shooting. The dog-cart is to pick him up at the 
gate leading to St. Nectan's Kieve at eleven o'clock.' 

' Gone shooting on his last morning at Mount Royal ! ' ex- 
claimed Jessie. ' That's a new development of Mr. Hamleigh's 
character. I never knew he had a passion for sport.' 

1 1 believe there is a note for you, ma'am,' said the butler to 
his mistress. 

He went out into the hall, and returned in a minute or two 
carrying a letter upon his official salver, and handing it with 
official solemnity to Mrs. Tregonell. 

The letter was brief and commonplace enough — 

'Dear Mrs. Tregonell, — 
' After all I am deprived of the opportunity of wishing you 
good-bye this morning, by the temptation of two or three hours' 
woodcock shooting about St. Nectan's Kieve. I shall drive 
straight from there to Launceston in Mr. TregonelTs dog-cart, for 
the use of which I beg to thank him in advance. I have already 
thanked you and Miss Bridgeman for your goodness to me 
during my late visit to Mount Royal, and can only say that my 
gratitude lies much deeper, and means a great deal more, than 
such expressions of thankfulness are generally intended to convey. 
' Ever sincerely yours, 

' Angus Hamleigh.' 

' Then this was what Leonard and he were settling last night, 
thought Christabel. ' Your master went out with Mr. Hamleigh, 
I suppose,' she said to the servant. 

1 No, ma'am, my master is in his study. I took him his 
breakfast an hour ago. He is writing letters, I believe.' 

' And the other two gentlemen 1 ' 

'Started for Bodmin in the wagonette at six o'clock this 

'They are going to see that unhappy man hanged,' said Miss 
Bridgeman. ' Congenial occupation. Mr. Montagu told me all 
about it at dinner yesterday, and asked me if I wasn't son y that 

23G Mount Royal. 

my sex prevented my joining the party. " It would be a new 
sensation," he said, u and to a woman of your intelligence that 
must be an immense attraction." I told him I had no hankering 
after new sensations of that kind.' 

' And he is really gone — without saying good-bye to any of us,' 
said Dopsy, still harping on the departed guest. 

' Yes, he is really gone,' echoed Jessie, with a sigh. 

Christabel had been silent and absent-minded throughout the 
meal. Her mind was troubled — she scarcely knew why ; dis- 
turbed by the memory of her husband's manner as he parted 
with Angus in the corridor ; disturbed by the sti*angeness of this ( 
lonely expedition after woodcock, in a man who had always 
shown himself indifferent to sport. As usual with her when she 
was out of spirits, she went straight to the nursery for comfort, 
and tried to forget everything in life except that Heaven had 
given her a son whom she adored. 

Her boy upon this particular morning was a little more fasci- 
nating and a shade more exacting than usual ; the rain, soft and 
gentle as it was — rather an all-pervading moisture than a positive 
rainfall — forbade any open-air exercise for this tenderly reared 
young person — so he had to be amused indoors. He was just of 
an age to be played with, and to understand certain games wliich 
tailed upon the exercise of a dawning imagination ; so it was his 
mother's delight to ramble with him in an imaginary wood, and 
to fly from imaginary wolves, lurking in dark caverns, repre- 
sented by the obscure regions underneath a table-cover — or to 
repose with him on imaginary mountain-tops on the sofa — or be 
engulfed with him in sofa pillows, which stood for whelming 
waves. Then there were pictures to be looked at, and little Leo 
had to be lovingly instructed in the art of turning over a leaf 
without tearing it from end to end — and the necessity for re- 
straining an inclination to thrust all his fingers into his mouth 
between whiles, and sprawl them admiringly on the page after- 

Time so beguiled, even on the dullest morning, and with a 
lurking, indefinite sense of trouble in her mind all the while, 
went rapidly with Christabel. She looked up with surprise when 
the stable clock struck eleven. 

'So late? Do you know if the dog-cart has started yet, 
Carson 1 ' 

' Yes, ma'am, I heard it drive out of the yard half-an-hour 
ago,' answered the nurse, looking up from her needle-work. 

' Well, I must go. Good-bye, Baby. I think, if you are very 
good, you might have your dinner with mamma. Din-din — with 
— mum — mum — mum ' — a kiss between every nonsense syllable. 
' You can bring him down, nurse. I shall have only the ladies 
wl:Ai ine at luncheon.' There were still further leave-takings, 

• With such Kemorseless Speed still come Neio Woes.' 237 

and then Christabel went downstairs. Qn her way past hei 
husband's study she saw the door standing ajar. 

' Are you there, Leonard, and alone 1 ' 


She went in. He was sitting at his desk — his cheque-book 
open, tradesmen's account", spread out before him— all the signs 
and tokens of business-lf, e occupation. It was not often that 
Mr. Tregonell spent a mrtrning in his study. When he did, it 
meant a general settlement of accounts, and usually resulted in a 
surly frame of mind, which lasted, more or less, for the rest of 
the day. 

'Did you know that Mr. Hamleigh had gone woodcock 
Shooting I' 

'Naturally, since it was I who suggested that he should have 
a shy at the birds before he left,' answered Leonard, without 
looking up. 

He was filling in a cheque, with his head bent over the table. 

' How strange for him to go alone, in his weak health, and 
with a fatiguing journey before him.' 

' What's the fatigue of lolling in a railway carriage 1 
Confound it, you've made me spoil the cheque ! ' muttered 
Leonard, tearing the oblong slip of coloured paper across and 
aero s, impatiently. 

'How your hand shakes! Have you been writing all the 

' Yes — all the morning,' absently, turning over the leaves 
of his cheque-book. 

' But you have been out — your boots are all over mud.' 

'Yes, I meant to have an hour or so at the birds. I got 
as far as WiUapark, and then remembered that Clayton wanted 
he money for the tradesmen to-day. One must stick to one's 
pay-day, don't you know, when one has made a rule.' 

' Of course" Oh, there are the new Quarterlies ! ' said 
Christabel, seeing a package on the table. ' Do you mind my 
opening them here V 

' No ; as long as you hold your tongue, and don't disturb me 
when I'm at figures.' 

This was not a very gracious permission to remain, but 
Christabel seated herself quietly by the fire, and began to explore 
t he two treasuries of wisdom which the day's post had brought. 
Leonard's study looked into the stable-yard, a spacious quad- 
rangle, with long ranges of doors and windows, saddle rooms, 
harness rooms, loose boxes, coachmen's and groom's quarters — a 
little colony complete in itself. From his open window the 
Squire could give his orders, interrogate his coachman as to his 
consumption of forage, have an ailing horse paraded before 
trim, bully an underling, and bestow praise or blame all round, is 

23S Mount Royal. 

it suited his humour. Here, too, were the kennels of tlie dogs, 
whose company Mr. Tregonell liked a little better than that of 
his fellow-men. 

Leonard sat with his head bent over the table, writing, 
Christabel in her chair by the fire turning the leaves of her 
book in the rapture of a first skimming. They sat thus for about 
an hour, and then both looked up with a startled air, at the 
sound of wheels. 

It was the dog-cart that was being driven into the yard, Mr. 
Hamleigh's servant sitting behind, walled in by a portmanteau 
and a Gladstone bag. Leonard opened the window, and looked 

' What's up V he asked. ' Has your master changed his mind ? ' 

The valet alighted, and came across the yard to the window. 

' We haven't seen Mr. Hamleigh, sir. There must have been 
some mistake, I think. We waited at the gate for nearly an 
hour, and then Baker said we'd better come back, as we must 
have missed Mr. Hamleigh, somehow, and he might be here 
waiting for us to take him to Launceston.' 

' Baker's a fool. How could you miss him if he went to the 
Kieve 1 There's only one way out of that place — or only one 
wav that Mr. Hamleigh could find. Did you inquire if he went 
to the Kieve V 

' Yes, sir. Baker went into the farmhouse, and they told 
him that a gentleman had come with his gun and a dog, and had 
asked for the key, and had gone to the Kieve alone. They were 
not certain as to whether he'd come back or not, but he hadn't 
taken the key back to the house. He might have put it into his 
pocket, and forgotten all about it, don't you see, sir, after he'd 
let himself out of the gate. That's what Baker said ; and he 
might have come back here.' 

' Perhaps he has come back,' answered Leonard, carelessly. 
' You'd better inquire.' 

' I don't think he can have returned,' said Christabel, 
standing near the window, very pale. 

'How do you know 1 ?' asked Leonard, savagely. 'You've 
been sitting here for the last hour poring .over that book.' 

' I think I should have heard — I think I should have known,' 
faltered Christabel, with her heart beating strangely. 

There was a mystery in the return of the carriage which 
seemed like the beginning of woe and horror — like the ripening 
of that strange vague sense of trouble which had oppressed her 
for the last few hours. 

' You would have heard — you would have known,' echoed her 
husband, with brutal mockery — ' by instinct, by second Bight, 
by animal magnetism, I suppose. You are just the sort of 
woman to believe in that kind of rot.' 

' With such Remorseless Speed still come Nav Woes' 2DD 

The valet had gone across the yard on his way round to the 
offices of the house. Christabel made no reply to her husband's 
sneering speech, but went straight to the hall, and rang for the 

'Have you — has any one seen Mr. Hamleigh come back to 
the house ? ' she asked. 

'No, ma'am.' 

'Inquire, if you please, of every one. Make quite sure that 
he has not returned, and then let three or four men, with Nicholls 
at their head, go down to St. Nectan's Kieve and look for him. 
I'm afraid there has been an accident.' 

' I hope not. ma'am,' answered the butler, who had known 
Christabel from her babyhood, who had looked on, a pleased 
spectator, at Mr. Hamleigh 's wooing, and whose heart was melted 
with tenderest compassion to-day at the sight of her pallid face, 
and eyes made large with terror. ' It's a dangerous kind of place 
for a stranger to go clambering about with a gun, but not for 
one that knows every stone of it, as Mr. Hamleigh do.' 

'Send, and at once, please. I do not think Mr. Hamleigh, 
having arranged for the dog-cart to meet him, would forget his 

' There's no knowing, ma'am. Some gentlemen are so wrapt 
up in their sport.' 

Christabel sat down in the hall, and waited while Daniel, the 
butler, made his inquiries. No one had seen Mr. Hamleigh come 
in, and everybody was ready to aver on oath if necessary that he 
had not returned. So Nicholls, the chief coachman, a man of 
gumption and of much renown in the household, as a person 
whose natural sharpness had been improved by the large respon- 
sibilities involved in a well-filled stable, was brought to receive 
his orders from Mrs. Tregonell. Daniel admired the calm gravity 
with which she gave the man his instructions, despite her colour- 
less cheek and the look of pain in every feature of her face. 

' Vou will take two or three of the stablemen with you, and 
go as fast as you can to the Kieve. You had better go in the 
light cart, and it would be as well to take a mattress, and some 
pillows. If — if there should have been an accident those mig!;t 
be useful. Mr. Hamleigh left the house early this morning with 
iris gun to go to the Kieve, and he was to have met the dog-cart 
at eleven. Baker waited at the gate till twelve — but perhaps 
you have heard.' 

' Yes, ma'am, Baker told me. It's strange — but Mr. Ham- 
leigh) ked the time if be bad good sport. Do 
v !i of the he took with him ! ; 
'Bi it was Sambo. Si ml Iways 
o f a of Mr. Jlaraleigh's, though h ling rather too old 

210 Mount Enyal. 

for his work now. If it was Sambo the dog must have run away 
and left him, for he was back about the yard before ten o'clock. 
He'd been hurt somehow, for there was blood upon one of his 
feet. Master had the red setter with him this morning, when he 
went for his stroll, but I believe it must have been Sambo that 
Mr. Hamleigh took. There was only one of the lads about the 
yard when he left, for it was breakfast time, and the little guffin 
didn't notice.' 

' But if all the other dogs are in their kennels — ' 

' They aren't, ma'am, don't you see. The two gentlemen 
took a couple of 'em to Bodmin in the break — and I don't know 
which. Sambo may have been with them — and may have got 
tired of it and come home. He's not a dog to appreciate that 
kind of thing.' 

' Go at once, if you please, Nicholls. You know what to do.' 

' Yes, ma'am.' 

Nicholls went his way, and the gong began to sound for 
luncheon. Mr. Tregonell, who rarely honoured the family with 
his presence at the mid-day meal, came out of his den to-day in 
answer to the summons, and found his wife in the hall. 

' I suppose you are coming in to luncheon,' he said to her, in 
an angry aside. ' You need not look so scared. Your old lover 
is safe enough, I daresay.' 

' I am not coming to luncheon,' she answered, looking at him 
with pale contempt. ' If you are not a little more careful of your 
words I may never break bread with you again.' 

The gong went on with its discordant clamour, and Jessie 
Bridgeman came out of the drawing-room with the younger Miss 
Vandeleur. Poor Dopsy was shut in her own room, with ahead- 
ache. She had been indulging herself with the feminine luxury 
of a good cry. Disappointment, wounded vanity, humiliation, 
and a very real penchant for the man who had despised her 
attractions were the mingled elements in her cup of woe. 

The nurse came down the broad oak staircase, baby Leonard 
toddling by her side, and making two laborious jumps at each 
shallow step) — one on — one off. Christabel met him, picked him 
up in her arms, and carried him back to the nursery, where she 
oidered his dinner to be brought. He was a little inclined to 
resist this change of plan at the first, but was soon kissed into 
pleasantness, and then the nurse was despatched to the servants' 
hall, and Christabel had her boy to herself, and ministered to him 
and amused him for the space of an hour, despite an aching heart. 
Then, when the nurse came back, Mrs. Tregonell went to her own 
room, and sat at the window watching the avenue by which the 
men must drive back to the house. . 

They did not come back till just when the gloom of the sunless 
clay was deepening iuto starless night. Christabel ran down to 

' With such Bemorseless Speed still come New Woes.'' 241 

the lobby that opened into the stable yard, and stood in the door- 
way waiting for Nicholls to come to her ; but if he saw her, he 
pretended not to see her, and went straight to the house by 
another way, and asked to speak to Mr. Tregonell. 

Christabel saw him hurry across the yard to that other door, 
and knew that her fears were realized. Evil of some kind had 
befallen. She went straight to her husband's study, certain that 
she would meet Nicholls there. 

Leonard was standing by the fireplace, listening, while 
Nicholls stood a little way from the door, relating the result 
of his search, in a low agitated voice. 

1 Was he quite dead when you found him ? ' asked Leonard, 
when the man paused in his narration. 

Christabel stood just within the doorway, half hidden in the 
obscurity of the room, where there was no light but that of the 
low tire. The door bad been left ajar by Nicholls, and neither he 
nor his master was aware of her presence. 

' Yes, Sir. Dr. Blake said he must have been dead some 

' Had the gun burst ? ' 

' No, sir. It must have gone off somehow. Perhaps the trigger 
caught in the hand-rail when he was crossing the wooden bridge 
— and yet that seemed hardly possible — for he was lying on tli6 
big stone at the other side of the bridge, with his face downwards 
close to the water.' 

' A horrible accident,' said Leonard. 'There'll be an inquest, 
of coarse. Will Blake give the Coroner notioe — or must I % ' 

' Dr. Blake said he'd see to that, sir.' 

' And he is lying at the farm — ' 

' Yes, sir. We thought it was best to take the body there — 
rather than to bring it home. It would have been such a shock 
for my mistress — and the other ladies. Dr. Blake said the inquest 
would be held at the inn at Trevena.' 

1 Well,' said Leonard, with a shrug and a sigh, ' it's an awful 
business, that's all that can be said about it. Lucky he has no 
wife or children — no near relations to feel the blow. All we can 
do is to show our respect for him, now he is gone. The body 
had better be brought home here, after the inquest. It will look 
more respectful for him to be buried from this house. Mrs. 
Tregonell's mind can be prepared by that time. 

' It is prepared already,' said a low voice out of the shadow. 
' I have heard all.' 

1 Very sad, isn't it 1 ' replied Leonard ; ' one of those unlucky 
accidents which occur every shooting season. He was always a 
little awkward with a gun —never handled one like a thorough- 
bred sportsman.' 

• Why did he go out shooting on the last morning of hi* 


242 Mount Boyal. 

visit % ' asked Christabel. ' It was you who urged him to do it 
— you who planned the whole thing.' 

' I ! What nonsense you are talking. I told him there were 
plenty of birds about the Kieve — just as I told the other fellows. 
That will do, Nicholls. You did all that could be done. Go 
and get your dinner, but first send a mounted groom to Trevena 
to ask Blake to come over here.' 

Nicholls bowed and retired, shutting the door behind him. 

'He is dead, then,' said Christabel, coming over to the hearth 
where her husband was standing. ' He has been killed.' 

'He has had the bad luck to kill himself, as many a better 
Bportsman than he has done before now,' answered Leonard, 

' If I could be sure of that Leonard, if I could be sure that 
his death was the work of accident — I should hardly grieve for 
him — knowing that he was reconciled to the idea of death — and 
that if God had spared him this sudden end, the close of his life 
must have been full of pain and weariness.' 

Tears were streaming down her cheeks — tears which she 
made no effort to restrain — such tears as friendship and affection 

five to the dead — tears that had no taint of guilt. But 
,eonard's jealous soul was stung to fury by those innocent tears. 

'Why do you stand there snivelling about him,' he 
exclaimed ; 'do you want to remind me how fond you were of 
him — and how little you ever cared for me. Do you suppose 
I am stone blind — do you suppose I don't know you to the core 
of your heart ? ' 

i If you know my heart you must know that it is as guiltless 
of sin against you, and as true to my duty as a wife, as you, my 
husband, can desire. But you must know that, or you would 
not have brought Angus Hamleigh to this house.' 

'Perhaps I wanted to try you — to watch you and him 
together — to see if the old fire was quite burnt out.' 

' You could not be so base — so contemptible.' 

' There is no knowing what a man may be when he is used 
as I have been by you — looked down upon from the height of 
a superior intellect, a loftier nature — told to keep his distance, 
as a piece of vulgar clay — hardly fit to exist beside that fine 
porcelain vase, his wife. Do you think it was a pleasant spec- 
tacle for me to see you and Angus Hamleigh sympathizing and 
twaddling about Browning's last poem — or sighing over a sonata 
of Beethoven's — I who was outside all that kind of thing 1 — a 
boor — a dolt — to whom your fine sentiments and your flummery 
were an unknown language. But I was only putting a case just 
now. I liked Hamleigh well enough — in his way — and I asked 
him here because I thought it waa giving a chance to th# 
Vandeleur girls. That was my motive — and my only motive.' 

1 Tours on Monday, God's to-day.' 213 

' And he came — and he is dead,' answered Christabel, in icy 
tones. 'He went to that lonely place this morning — at your 
instigation — and he met his death there — no one knows how — 
no one ever will know.' 

' At my instigation ? — confound it, Christabel — you have no 
right to say such things. I told him it was a good place for 
woodcock — and it pleased his fancy to try his luck there before 
he left. Lonely place, be hanged. It is a place to which every 
tourist goes — it is as well known as the road to this house.' 

' Yet he was lying there for hours and no one knew. If 
Nicholls had not gone he might be lying there still. He may 
have lain there wounded — his life-blood ebbing away — dying by 
inches — without help — with a creature to succour or comfort him. 
It was a cruel place — a place where no help could come.' 

' Fortune of war,' answered Leonard, with a careless shrug. 
' A sportsman must die where his shot finds him. There's many 
a day I might have fallen in the Rockies, and lain there for tha 
lynxes and the polecats to pick my bones ; and I have walked 
shoulder to shoulder with death on mountain passes, when every 
step on the crumbling track might send me sliding down to the 
bottomless pit. below. As for poor Hamleigh ; well, as you say 
yourself, he was a doomed man — a little sooner or later could 
not make much difference.' 

' Perhaps not,' said Christabel gloomily, going slowly to the 
door ; ' but I want to know how he died.' 

'Let us hope that the coroner's inquest will make your mind 
easy oh that point,' retorted her husband as she left the room. 



The warning gong sounded at half-past seven as usual, and at 
eight the butler announced dinner. Captain Vandeleur and 
Mr. Montagu had returned from Bodmin, and they were 
grouped in front of the fire talking in undertones with Mr. 
Tregonell, while Christabel and the younger Miss Vandeleur sat 
on a sofa, silent, after a few murmured expressions of grief oo 
on the part of the latter lady. 

'It is like a dream,' sighed Mopsy, this being the one 
remark which a young person of her calibre inevitably makes 
upon such an occasion. 'It is like a dreadful dream — playing 
billiards last night, and now — dead ! It is too awful.' 

' Yes, it is awful ; Death is always awful,' answered Christ- 
abel, mechanically. 

244 Mount Royal. 

She had told herself that it was her duty to appear at thf 
dinner-table — to fulfil all her responsibilities as wife and hostess 
— not to give any one the right to say that she was bemoaning 
him who had once been her lover ; and she was here to do her 
duty. She wanted all the inhabitants of her little world to see 
that she mourned for him only as a friend grieves for the loss of 
a friend — soberly, with pious submission to the Divine Will 
that had taken him away. For two hours she had remained on 
her knees beside her bed, drowned in tears, numbed by despair, 
feeling as if life could not go on without him, as if this heavily 
beating heart of hers must be slowly throbbing to extinction : 
and then the light of reason had begun to glimmer through the 
thick gloom of grief, and her lips had moved in prayer, and, as if 
in answer to her prayers, came the image of her child, to comfort 
and sustain her. 

' Let me not dishonour my darling,' she prayed. ' Let me 
remember that I am a mother as well as a wife. If I owe my 
husband very little, I owe my son everything.' 

Inspired by that sweet thought of her boy, unwilling, for his 
sake, to give occasion for even the feeblest scandal, she had 
washed the tears from her pale cheeks, and put on a dinner 
gown, and had gone down to the drawing-room just ten minutes 
before the announcement of dinner. 

She remembered how David, when his beloved was dead, 
had risen and washed and gone back to the business of life. 
' What use are ray tears to him, now he is gone V she said to her- 
self, as she \*ent downstairs. 

Miss Bridgeman was not in the drawing-room ; but Mopsy 
was there, dressed in black, and looking very miserable. 

' I could not get poor Dop to come down,' she said, apolo- 
getically. ' She has been lying on her bed crying ever since she 
heard the dreadful news. She is so sensitive, poor girl ; and she 
liked him so much ; and he had been so attentive to her. I hope 
you'll excuse her 1 ' 

' Please don't apologize. I can quite imagine that this shock 
has been dreadful for her — for every one in the house. Perhaps 
you would rather dine upstairs, so as to be with your sister 1 ' 

1 No!' answered Mopsy, taking Christabel's hand, with a touch 
of real feeling. • I had rather be with you. You must feel hia 
loss more than we can — you had known him so much longer.' 

' Yes, it is just five years since he came to Mount RoyaL 
Five years is not much in the lives of some people ; but it seems 
the greater part of my life.' 

' We will go away to-morrow,' said Mopsy. ' I am sure you 
will be glad to get rid of us : it will be a relief, I mean. Per- 
haps at some future time you will let us come again for a little 
while. We have been so intensely happy here.' 

'Yours on Monday, God's to-day* 245 

' Then I shall be happy for you to come again — next summer, 
if we axe here,' answered Christabel, kindly, moved by Mopsy's 
naivete, ' one can never tell. Next year seems so far off in the 
hour of trouble.' 

Dinner was announced, and they all went in, and made believe 
to dine, in a gloomy silence, broken now and then by dismal 
attempts at general conversation on the part of the men. Once 
Mopsy took heart of grace and addressed her brother : 

' Did you like the hanging, Jack?' she asked, as if it were a 

1 No, it was hideous, detestable. I will never put myself in 
the way of being so tortured again. The guillotine is swifter 
and more merciful. I saw a man blown from a gun in India 
— there were bits of him on my boots when I got home — but it 
was not so bad as the hanging to-day : the limp, helpless figure, 
swaying and trembling in the hangman's grip while they put 
the noose on, the cap dragged roughly over the ghastly face, the 
monotonous croak of the parson reading on like a machine, 
while the poor wretch was being made ready for his doom. It 
was all horrible to the last degree. Why can't we poison our 
criminals; let them die comfortably, as Socrates died, of a dose 
of some strong narcotic. The parson might have some chance — 
sitting by the dying man's bed, in the quiet of his cell.' 

' It would be much nicer,' said Mopsy. 

' "Where's Miss Bridgeman ] ' Leonard asked, suddenly, looking 
round the table, as if only that moment perceiving her absence. 

' She is not in her room, Sir. Mary thinks she has gone out,' 
answered the butler. 

' Gone out — after dark. What can have been her motive for 
going out at such an hour '? ' asked Leonard of his wife, angrily. 

' I have no idea. She may have been sent for by some sick 
person. You know how good she is.' 

' I know what a humbug she is,' retorted Leonard. ' Daniel, 
go and find out if any messenger came for Miss Bridgeman — or 
if she left any message for your mistress.' 

Daniel went out and came back again in five minutes. No 
one had seen any messenger — no one had seen Miss Bridgeman 
go out. 

'That's always the case here when I want to ascertain a 
fact,' growled Leonard : ' no one sees or knows anything. There 
are twice too many servants for one to be decently served. Well, 
it doesn't matter much. Miss Bridgeman is old enough to take 
care of herself — and if she walks off a cliff — it will be her loss 
and nobody else's. 1 

' I don't think you ought to speak like that of a person whom 
your mother loved — and who is my most intimate friend,' said 
Christabel, with grave reproach. 

24G Mount Boyal 

Leonard had drunk a good deal at dinner ; and indeed there 
had been an inclination on the part of all three men to drown 
their gloomy ideas in wine, while even Mopsy, who generally 
took her fair share of champagne, allowed the butler to fill her 
glass rather oftener than usual — sighing as she sipped the spark- 
ling bright-coloured wine, and remembering, even in the midst 
of her regret for the newly dead, that she would very soon have 
returned to a domicile where Moet was not the daily beverage, 
nay, where, at times, the very beer-barrel ran dry. 

After dinner Christabel went to the nursery. It flashed 
upon her with acutest pain as she entered the room, that when 
last she had been there she had not known of Angus Ham- 
leigh's death. He had been lying yonder by the waterfall, 
dead, and she had not known. And now the fact of his death 
was an old thing — part of the history of her life. 

The time when he was alive and with her full of bright 
thoughts and poetic fancies, seemed ever so long ago. Yet it 
was only yesterday — yesterday, and gone from her life as utterly 
as if it were an episode in the records of dead and gone ages — as 
old as the story of Tristan and Iseult. She sat with her boy till 
he fell asleep, and sat beside him as he slept, in the dim light of 
the night-lamp, thinking of him who lay dead in the lonely 
farmhouse among those green hills they two had loved so well 
— hushed by the voice of the distant sea, sounding far inland 
in the silence of night. 

She remembered how he had talked last night of the undis- 
covered country, and how, as he talked, with flushed cheeks, and 
too brilliant eyes, she had seen the stamp of death on his face. 
They had talked of ' The Gates Ajar,' a book which they had 
read together in the days gone by, and which Christabel had 
often returned to since that time — a book in which the secrets of 
the future are touched lightly by a daring but a delicate hand 
— a book which accepts every promise of the Gospel in its most 
literal sense, and overflows with an exultant belief in just such a 
Heaven as poor humanity wants. In this author's creed 
transition from death to life is instant — death is the Lucina of 
life. There is no long lethargy of the grave, there is no time of 
darkness. Straight from the bed of death the spirit rushes to 
the arms of the beloved ones who have gone before. Death, so 
glorified, becomes only the reunion of love. 

He had talked of Socrates, and the faithful few who waited 
at the prison doors in the early morning, when the sacred ship 
had returned, and the end was near ; and of that farewell 
discourse in the upper chamber of the house at Jerusalem 
which seems dimly foreshadowed by the philosopher's converse 
with his disciples — at Athens, the struggle towards light — at 
Jerusalem the light itself in fullest glory. 

* Yours on Monday, God's to-day.' 247 

Christabel felt herself bound by no social duty to return to 
the drawing-room, more especially as Miss Vandeleur had gone 
upstairs to sit with the afflicted Dopsy — who was bewailing the 
dead very sincerely in her own fashion, with little bursts of 
hysterical tears and fragmentary remarks. 

1 1 know ke didn't care a straw for me ' — she gasped, dabbing 
her temples with a handkerchief soaked in eau-de-Cologne — ' yet 
it seemed sometimes almost as if he did : he was so attentive — 
but then he had such lovely manners — no doubt he was just as 
attentive to all girls. Oh, Mop, if he had cared for me, and if I 
had married him — what a paradise this earth would have been. 
Mr. Tregonell told me tliat he had quite four thousand a year/ 

And thus — and thus, with numerous variations on the same 
theme — poor Dopsy mourned for the dead man ; while the low 
murmur of the distant sea, beating for ever and for ever against 
the horned cliffs, and dashing silvery white about the base of 
that Mechard Rock which looks like a couchant lion keeping 
guard over the shore, sounded like a funeral chorus in the pauses 
of her talk. 

It was half-past ten when Christabel left her boy's bed-side, 
and, on her way to her own room, suddenly remembered Jessie's 
unexplained absence. 

She knocked at Miss Bridgeman's door twice, but there was 
no answer, and then she opened the door and looked in, expecting 
to find the room empty. 

Jessie was sitting in front of the fire in her hat and jacket, 
staring at the burning coals. There was no light in the room, 
except the glow and name of the fire, but even in that cheerful 
light Jessie looked deadly pale. ' Jessie,' exclaimed Christabel, 
going up to her and putting a gentle hand upon her shoulder, for 
she took no notice of the opening of the door, ' where in heaven's 
name have you been 1 ' 

* Where should I have been ? Surely you can guess 1 I have 
been to see him.' 

1 To the farm — alone — at night 1 ' 

1 Alone — at night — yes ? I would have walked through storm 

and fire — I would have walked through ' she set her lips like 

iron, and muttered through her clenched teeth, ' Hell.' 

'Jessie, Jessie, how foolish ! What good could it do? ' 

' None to him, I know, but perhaps a little to me. I think if 
I had stayed here I should have gone stark, staring mad. I felt 
my brain reeling as I sat and thought of him in the twilight, and 
then it seemed to me as if the only comfort possible was in look- 
ing at his dead face— holding his dead hand — and I have done it, 
and am comforted — a little,' she said, with a laugh, which ended 
in a convulsive sob. 

4 2<iy good warm-hearted Jessie ! ' murmured Christabel, 

24S Mount Royal 


bending over her lovingly, tears raining down her cheeks ; *I 
know you always liked him.' 

' Always liked him ! ' echoed the other, staring at the fire, in 
blank tearless grief ; ' liked him 1 yes, always.' 

'But you must not take his death so despairingly, de:vr. 
You know that, under the fairest cii eumstances, he had not 
very long to live. We both knew that.' 

'Yes! we knew it. I knew — thought that I had realized 
the fact — told myself every day that in a few months he would 
be hidden from us under ground — gone to a life where we 
cannot follow him even with our thoughts, though we pretend 
to be so sure about it, as those women do in " The Gates Ajar." 
I told myself this every day. And yet, now that he is snatched 
away suddenly — cruelly — mysteriously — it is as hard to bear 
as if I had believed that he would live a hundred years. I 
am not like you, a piece of statuesque perfection. I cannot 
say " Thy will be done,'' when my dearest—the only man I ever 
loved upon this wide earth is snatched from me. Does that 
shock your chilly propriety, you who only half loved him, and 
who broke his heart at another woman's bidding ? Yes ! 1 loved 
him from the first — loved him all the while he was your lover, 
and found it enough for happiness to be in his company — to 
see and hear him, and answer every thought of his with sympa- 
thetic thoughts of mine — understanding him quicker and better 
than you could, bright as you are — happy to go about with you 
two — to be the shadow in the sunshine of your glad young 
lives, just as a dog who loved him would have been happy 
following at his heels. Yes, Belle, I loved him — I think almost 
from the hour he came here, in the sweet autumn twilight, 
when I saw that poetic face, half in fire-glow and half in 
darkness — loved him always, always, always, and admired him 
as the most perfect among men ! ' 

' Jessie, my dearest, my bravest ! And you were so true 
and loyal. You never by word or look defrayed ' 

' What do you think of me ] ' cried Jessie, indignantly. ' Do 
you suppose that I would not rather have cut out my tongue — 
thrown myself off the nearest cliff — than give him one lightest 
occasion to suspect what a paltry-souled creature I was — so 
weak that I could not cure myself of loving another woman's 
lover. While he lived I hated myself for my folly ; now he 
is dead, I glory in the thought of how I loved him — how I 
gave him the most precious treasures of my soul — my reverence — 
my regard — ray tears and hopes and prayers. Those are the 
only gold and frankincense and r myrrk which the poor of thia 
earth can offer, and I gave them freely to my divinity 1 ' 

Christabel laid her hand upon the passionate lips ; and 
kneeling by her friend's side, comforted her with gentle caresses. 

1 Yours on Monday, GocTs to-day* 210 

'Do yon suppose I am nut sorry for him, Jessie?' she said 
reproachfully, after a long pause. 

' Yes, no doubt you are, in your way ; but it is such an 
icy way.' 

' Would you have me go raving about the house — I, Leonard's 
wife, Leo's mother? I try to resign myself to God's will : but 
I shall remember him till the end of my days, with unspeakable 
sorrow. He wa/° like sunshine in my life ; so that life without him 
seemed all one dull grey, till the baby came, and brought me 
back to the sunlight, and gave me new duties, new cares ! ' 

' Yes ! you can find comfort in a baby's arms — that is a 
blessing. My comfort was to see my beloved in his bloody 
shroud — shot through the heart — shot'through the heart ! Well, 
the inquest will find out something to-morrow, I hope ; but I 
want you to go with me to-morrow morning, as soon as it is 
light to the Kieve.' 

1 What for ? ' 

'To see the spot where he died.' 

'W' at will be the good, Jessie ? I know the place too well ; 
it hi'.- leeu in my mind all this evening.' 

" I'here will be some good, perhaps. At any rate, I want 
you to go with me ; and if there ever was any reality in your 
love, if you are not merely a beautiful piece of mechanism, with 
a heart that beats by clockwork, you will go.' 

' If you wish it I will go.' 

' As soon as it is light — pay at seven o'clock.' 

' I will not go till after breakfast. I want the business of 
the house to go on just as calmly as if this calamity had never 
happened. I don't want any one to be able to say, " Mrs. 
Tregonell is in despair at the loss of her old lover." ' 

'In fact you want people to suppose that you never cared 
for him! ' 

' They cannot suppose that, when I was once so proud of my 
love. All I want is that no one should think I loved him too well 
after I was a wife and mother. I will give no occasion for scandal.' 

' Didn't I say that you were a handsome automaton ? ' 

' I do not want any one to say hard things of me when I am 
dead — hard things that my son may hear.' 

'When you are dead ! You talk as if you thought you 
were to die soon. You are of the stuff that wears to threescore- 
and-ten, and even beyond the Psalmist's limit. There is no 
friction for natures of your calibre. When Werther had shot 
himself, Charlotte went on cutting bread and butter, don't you 
know? It was her nature to be proper, and good, and useful, 
and never to give offence — her nature to cut bread and butter/ 
concluded Jessie, laughing bitterly. 

Christabel stayed with her for an hour, talking to her. 

250 Mount BoyaL 

t'onsoling her, speaking hopefully of that unknown world, so 
fondly longed for, so piously believed in by the woman who had 
learnt her creed at Mrs. Tregonell't knees. Many tears were 
shed by Christabel during that hour of mournful talk ; but not 
one by Jessie Bridgeman. Hers was a dry-eyed grief. 

'After breakfast then we will walk to the Kieve,' said 
Jessie, as Christabel left her. 'Would it be too much to ask 
you to make it as early as you can 1 ' 

' I will go the moment I am free. Good-night, dear.' 



All the household appeared at breakfast next morning ; even 
poor Dopsy, who felt that she could not nurse her grief in soli- 
tude any longer. ' It's behaving too much as if you were his 
widow,' Mopsy had told her, somewhat harshly ; and then there 
was the task of packing, since they were to leave Mount Royal 
at eleven, in order to be at Launceston in time for the one 
o'clock train. This morning's breakfast was less silent than the 
dinner of yesterday. Everybody felt as if Mr. Hamleigh had 
been dead at least a week. 

Captain Vandeleur and Mr. Montagu discussed the sad 
event openly, as if the time for reticence were past ; speculated 
and argued as to how the accident could have happened ; talked 
learnedly about guns ; wondered whether the country surgeon 
was equal to the difficulties of the case. 

' I can't understand,' said Mr. Montagu, ' if he was found 
lying in the hollow by the waterfall, how his gun came to go off. 
If he had been going through a hedge, or among the brushwood 
on the slope of the hill, it would be easy enough to see how the 
thing might have happened ; but as it is, I'm all in the dark.' 

' You had better go and watch the inquest, and make yourself 
useful to the coroner,' sneered Leonard , who had been drinking 
his coffee in moody silence until now. ' You seem to think 
yourself so uncommonly clever and far seeing.' 

' Well, I flatter myself I know as much about sport as most 
men ; and I've handled a gun before to-day, and know that the 
worst gun that was ever made won't go off and shoot a fellow 
through the heart without provocation of some kind.' 

' Who said he was shot through the heart ? ' 

' Somebody did — one of your people, I think. 

Mrs. Tregonell sat at the other end of the table, half hidden 
by the large old-fashioned silver urn, and next her sat Jessie 
Bridgeman, a spare small figure in a close-fitting black gown, 

Duel or Murder ? 251 

a pale drawn face with a look of burnt-out fires — pa2e as the 
crater when the volcanic forces have exhausted themselves. At 
a look from Christabel she rose, and they two left the room 
ton-ether. Five minutes later they had left the house, and were 
walking towards the cliif, by following which they could reach 
the Kieve without going down into Boscastle. It was a wild 
walk for a windy autumn day ; but these two loved its wildness 
— had walked here in many a happy hour, with souls full of 
careless glee. Now they walked silently, swiftly, looking neither 
to the s?a nor the land, though both were at their loveliest in 
the shifting lights and shadows of an exquisite October morning 
— sunshine enough to make one believe it was summer — breezes 
enough to blow about the fleecy clouds in the blue, clear sky, to 
ripple the soft dun-coloured heather on the hillocky common, 
and to give life and variety to the sea. 

It was a long walk ; but the length of the way seemed of 
little account to these two. Christabel had only the sense of 
a dreary monotony of grief. Time and space had lost their 
meaning. This dull aching sorrow was to last for ever — till the 
grave — broken only by brief intervals of gladness and forget- 
fulness with her boy. 

To-day she could hardly keep this one source of consolation 
in her mind. All her thoughts were centered upon him who lay 
yonder dead. 

' Jessie,' she said, suddenly laying her hand on her com- 
panion's wrist, as they crossed the common above the slate- 
quarry, seaward of Trevalga village, with its little old church 
and low square tower. ' Jessie, I am not going to see him.' 

1 What weak stuff you are made of,' muttered Jessie, con- 
temptuously, turning to look into the white frightened face. 
'No, you are not going to look upon the dead. You would be 
afraid, and it might cause scandal. No, you are only going to 
see the place where he died ; and then perhaps you, or I will see 
a little further into the darkness that hides his fate. You heard 
how those men were puzzling their dull brains about it at break- 
fast. Even they can see that there is a mystery.' 

' What do you mean 1 ' 

* Only as much as I say. I know nothing — yet.' 

' But you suspect ? ' 

' Yes. My mind is full of suspicion ; but it is all guess- worl 
— no shred of evidence to go upon.' 

They came out of a meadow into the high road presently— 
the pleasant rustic road which so many happy holiday-making 
people tread in the sweet summer time — the way to that wild 
spot where England's first hero was born ; the Englishman'! 
Troy, cradle of that fair tradition out of which grew the English- 
man's Jliad. 

252 Mount Boyal. 

Beside the gate through which they came lay that mighty 
slab of spar which has been christened King Arthur's Quoit, but 
tvhich the Rector of Trevalga declared to be the covering stone 
of a Cromlech. Christabel remembered how facetious they had 
all been about Arthur and his game of quoits, five years ago, in 
the bright autumn weather, when the leaves were blown about 
so lightly in the warm west wind. And now the leaves fell 
with a mournful heaviness, and every falling leaf seemed an 
emblem of death. 

They went to the door of the farm-house to get the key of 
the gate which leads to the Kieve. Christabel stood in the 
little quadrangular garden, looking up at the house, while Jessie 
rang and asked for what she wanted. 

' Did no one except Mr. Hamleigh go to the Kieve yesterday 
until the men went to look for him 1 ' she asked of the young 
woman who brought her the key. 

' No one else, Miss. No one but him had the key. They 
found it in the pocket of his shooting jacket when he was brought 


Involuntarily, Jessie put the key to her lips. His hand was 
almost the last that had touched it. 

Just as they were leaving the garden, where the last of the 
yellow dahlias were fading, Christabel took Jessie by the arm, 
and stopped her. 

' In which room is he lying ? ' she asked. ' Can we see the 
window from here 1 ' 

' Yes, it is that one.' 

Jessie pointed to a low, latticed window in the old grey 
house— a casement round which myrtle and honeysuckle clung 
lovingly. The lattice stood open. The soft sweet air was ' 
blowing into the room, just faintly stirring the white dimity 
curtain. And he was lying there in that last ineffable repose. 

They went up the steep lane, between tall tangled hedges, 
where the ragged robin still showed his pinky blossoms, and 
many a pale yellow hawksweed enlivened the faded foliage, 
while the ferns upon the banks, wet from yesterday's rain, still 
grew rankly green. 

On the crest of the hill the breeze grew keener, and the dead 
leaves were being ripped from the hedgerows, and whirled down, 
into the hollow, where the autumn wind seemed to follow 
Christabel and Jessie as they descended, with a long plaintive 
minor cry, like the lament at an Irish funeral. All was dark 
and desolate in the green valley, as Jessie unlocked the gate, and 
they went slowly down the steep slippery path, among moss-grown 
rock and drooping fern— down and down, by sharply winding 
ways, so narrow that they could only go one by one, till they 
came within the sound of the rushing water, and then down into 

Duel or Murder t 253 

the narrow cleft, whore the waterfall tumbles into abroad shallow 
bed, and dribbles away among green sliniy rocks. 

Here there is a tiny bridge — a mere plank — that spans the 
water, with a hand-rail on one side. They crossed this, and stood 
on the broad flat stone on the other side. This is the very heart 
of St. Nectan's mystery. Here, high in air, the water pierces 
the rock, and falls, a slender silvery column, into the rocky bed 

' Look ! ' said Jessie Bridgeman, pointing down at the stone. 

There were marks of blood upon it — the traces of stains 
which had been roughly wiped away by the men who found the 

' This is where he stood,' said Jessie, looking round, and then 
she ran suddenly across to the narrow path on the other side. 
' And some one else stood here — here — just at the end of the 
bridge. There are marks of other feet here.' 

' Those of the men who came to look for him,' said 

' Yes ; that makes it difficult to tell. There are the traces of 
many feet. Yet I know,' she muttered, with clenched teeth, 
'that some one stood here — just here — and shot him. They 
were standing face to face. See ! ' — she stepped the bridge with 
light swift feet — ' so ! at ten paces. Don't you see 1 ' 

Christabel looked at her with a white scared face, remembering 
her husband's strange manner the night before last, and those 
parting words at Mr. Hamleigh's bed-room door. ' You under- 
stand my plan ? ' ' Perfectly.' ' It saves all trouble, don't you 
see.' Those few words had impressed themselves upon her memory 
— insignificant as they were — because of something in the tone in 
which they were spoken — something in the manner of the two 

'You mean,' she said slowly, with her hand clenching the 
rail of the bridge, seeking unconsciously for support ; ' you mean 
that Angus and my husband met here by appointment, and 
fought a duel ?' 

' That is my reading of the mystery.' 

1 Here in this lonely place — without witnesses — my husband 
murdered him ! ' 

' They would not count it murder. Fate might have been the 
other way. Your husband might have been killed.' 

'No!' cried Christabel, passionately; 'Angus would not 
have killed him. That would have been too deep a dishonour !' 
She stood silent for a few moments, white as death, looking 
round her with wide, despairing eyes. 

' He has been murdered ! ' she said, in hoarse, faint tones. 
'That suspicion has been in my mind dark — shapeless — horrible 
—from the fust. He has been murdered ! And I am to spend 

2j4 Mount Royal. 

the rest of m) life with his murderer ! ' Then, with a sudden 
hysterical cry, she turned angrily upon Jessie. 

'How dare you tell lies about my husband V she exclaimed. 
Don't you know that nobody came here yesterday except Angu s ; 
no one else had the key. The girl at the farm told us so.' 

• The key ! ' echoed Jessie, contemptuously. ' Do you think 
a gale, breast high, would keep out an athlete 'like your husband i 
Besides, there is another way of getting here, without going 
near the gate, where he might be seen, perhaps, by some farm 
labourer in the field. The men were ploughing there yesterday, 
and heard a shot. They told me that last night at the farm. 
Wait ! wait ! ' cried Jessie, excitedly. 

She rushed away, light as a lapwing, flying across the 
narrow bridge bounding from stone to stone — vanishing amidst 
dark autumn foliage. Christabel heard her steps dying away 
in the distance. Then there was an interval of some minutes, 
during which Christabel, hardly caring to wonder what had 
become of her companion, stood clinging to the handrail, and 
staring down at stones and shingle, feathery ferns, soddened logs, 
logs, the water rippling and lapping round all things, crystal clear. 
Then startled by a voice above her head, she looked up and 
saw Jessie's light figure just as she dropped herself over the 
sharp arch of rock, and scrambled through the cleft, hanging on 
by her hands, finding a foothold in the most perilous places— in 
danger of instant death. 

'My God!' murmured Christabel, with clasped hands, not 
daring to cry aloud lest she should increase Jessie's peril. ' She 
will be killed.' 

With a nervous grip, and a muscular strength which no one 
could have supposed possible in so slender a frame, Jessie 
Bridgeman made good her descent, and stood on the shelf of 
slippery rock, below the waterfall, unhurt save for a good many 
scratches and cuts upon the hands that had clung so fiercely tC 
root and bramble, crag and boulder. 

' What I could do your husband could do,' she said. * He 
did it often when he was a boy — you must remember his 
boasting of it. He did it yesterday. Look at this.' 

_ ' This ' was a ragged narrow shread of heather cloth, with a 
brick-dust red tinge in its dark warp, which Leonard had much 
affected this year—' Mr. Tregonell's colour, is it not 1 ' asked 

' Yes — it is like his coat.' 

' Like ? It is a part of his coat. I found it hanging on a 
bramble, at the top of the cleft. Try if you can find the coat 
when you get home, and «ee if it is not torn. But most likely 
he will have hidden the clothes he wore yesterday. Murderers 
generally do.' 

Bud or Murder ? 255 

'How dare you call him a murderer ? ' said Christabel, 

trembling, and cold to the heart. It seemed to her as if the mild 
autumnal air— here in this sheltered nook which was always 
wanner than the rest of the world — had suddenly become an 
icy blast that blew straight from far away arctic seas. ' How 
dare you call my husband a murderer 1 ' 

' Oh, I forgot. It was a duel I suppose : a fair fight, planned 
so skilfully that the result should seem like an accident, and the 
survivor should run no risk. Still to my mind, it was murder 
all the same — for I know who provoked the quarrel — yes — 
and you know — you, who are his wife — and who for respecta- 
bility's sake, will try to shield him — you know — for you must 
have seen hatred and murder in his face that night when he 
came into the drawing-room— and asked Mr. Hamleigh for a 
few words in private. It was then he planned this work,' 
pointing to the broad level stone against which the clear water 
was rippling with such a pretty playful sound, while those two 
women stood looking at each other with pale intent faces, fixed 
eyes, and tremulous lips; 'and Angus Hamleigh, who valued 
his brief remnant of earthly life so lightly, consented — reluctantly 
perhaps — but too proud to refuse. And he hied in the air — yes, 
I know he would not have injured your husband by so much as 
a hair of his head — I know him well enough to be sure of that. 
He came here like a victim to the altar. Leonard Tregonell must 
have known that. And I say that though he, with his Mexican 
freebooter's morality, may have called it a fair fight, it was 
murder, deliberate, diabolical murder.' 

' If this is true,' said Christabel in a low voice, ' I will have 
no mercy upon him.' ■ 

' Oh, yes, you will. You will sacrifice feeling to propriety, 
you will' put a good face upon things, for the sake of your son. 
You were born and swaddled in the purple of respectability. 
You will not stir a finger to avenge the dead.' 

' I will have no mercy upon him,' repeated Christabel, with a 
strange look in her eyes. 



The inquest at the Wharncliffe Arms was conducted in a 
thoroughly respectable, unsuspicious manner. No searching 
questions were asked, no inferences drawn. To the farmers and 
tradespeople who constituted that rustic jury, the case seemed too 
simple to need any sever© interrogation. A gentleman staying 

256 Movnt Royal. 

in a country house goes out shooting, and is so unlucky ,13 to 
skoot himself instead of the birds whereof he went in search. 
He is found with an empty bag, and a charge of swan-shot 
through his heart. 

'Hard hues,' as Jack Vandeleur observed, sotto voce, to a 
neighbouring squire, while the inquest was pursuing its sleepy 
course, ' and about the queerest fluke I ever saw on any table.' 

' Was it a fluke ] ' muttered little Montagu, lifting himself on 
tiptoe to watch the proceedings. He and his companions were 
standing among a little crowd at the door of the justice-room. 
' It looks to me uncommonly as if Mr. Hamleigh had shot him- 
self. We all know he was deadly sweet on Mrs. T., although 
both of them behaved beautifully.' 

' Men have died — and worms have eaten them — but not for 
love,' quoted Captain Vandeleur, who had a hearsay knowledge 
of Shakespeare, though he had never read a Shakespearian play in 
his life. ' If Hamleigh was so dead tired of ife that he wanted 
to kill himself he could have done it comfortably in his own 

' He might wish to avoid the imputation of suicide.' 

' Pshaw, how can any man care what comes afterwards ? 
Bury me where four roads meet, with a stake through my body, 
or in Westminster Abbey under a marble monument, and the 
residt is just the same to me.' 

'That's because you are an out-and-out Bohemian. But 
Hamleigh was a dandy in all things. He would be nice about 
the details of his death.' 

Mr. Hamleigh's valet was now being questioned as to his 
master's conduct and manner on the morning he left Mount 
Royal. The man replied that his master's manner had been 
exactly the same as usual. He was always very quiet — said no 
more than was necessary to be said. He was a kind master but 
never familiar. ' He never made a companion of me,' said the 
man, 'though I'd been with him at home and abroad twelve 
years ; but a better master never lived. He was always an 
early riser — there was nothing out of the way in his getting up 
at six, and going out at seven. There was only one thing at all 
out of the common, and that was his attending to his gun him- 
self, instead of telling me to get it ready for him.' 

' Had he many guns with him ? ' 

' Only two. The one he took was an old gun — a favourite.' 

'Do you know why he took swan-shot to shoot woodcocks?' 

' No — unless he made a mistake in the charge. He took the 
cartridges out of the case himself, and put them into his pocket. 
He was an experienced sportsman, though he was never as fond 
of sport as the generality of gentlemen.' 

' Do you know if he had been troubled in mind of late ? ' 

*Dust to Dust' 257 

• No ', I don't think he had any trouble on hia mind. He 
was in very bad health, and knew that he had not long to live ; 
but he seemed quite happy and contented. Indeed, judging by 
what I saw of him, I should say that he was in a more easy, 
contented frame of mind during the last few months than he had 
ever been for the last four years.' 

This closed the examination. There had been very few 
witnesses called — only the medical man, the men who had found 
the body, the girl at the farm, who declared that she had given 
the key to Mr. Hamleigh a little before eight that mornine, that 
nc one else had asked for the key till the men came from Mount 
lloyal— that to her knowledge, no one but the men at work on 
the farm had gone up the lane that morning. A couple of farm 
labourers gavi the same testimony — they had been at work in 
the topmost field all the morning, and no one had gone to the 
Kieve that way except the gentleman that was killed. They 
had heard a shot — or two shots — they were not certain which, 
tired between eight and nine. They were not very clear as to 
the hour, and they could not say for certain whether they heard 
one or two shots ; but they knew that the report was a very 
loud one — unusually loud for a sportsman's shot. 

Mr. Tregonell, although he was in the room ready to answer 
any questions, was not interrogated. The jury went in a 
wagonette to see the body, which was still lying at the farm, 
and returned after a brief inspection of that peaceful clay — the 
countenance wearing that beautiful calm which is said to be 
characteristic of death from a gun-shot wound — to give th sir 

' Death by misadventure.' 

The body was carried to Mount Royal after dark, and thr*a 
days later there was a stately funeral, to which first cousins and 
second cousins of the dead came as from the four corners of the 
earjth ; for Angus Hamleigh, dying a bachelor, and leaving a hand- 
some estate behind him, was a person to be treated with all those 
last honours which affectionate kindred can offer to poor humanity. 

He was buried in the little churchyard in the hollow, where 
Christabel and he had heard the robin singing and the dull thud 
r«f the earth thrown out of an open grave in the calm autumn 
sunlight. Now in the autumn his own grave was dug in the 
same peaceful spot — in accordance with a note which his valet, 
who knew his habits, found in a diary. 

'Oct. 11. — If I should die in Cornwall — and there are times 
when I feel as if death were nearer than my doctor told mo at 
BUT last interview — I should like to be buried in Minster 
Churchyard. I have outlived all family associations, and I 
should like to lie in a spot which is dear to me for its own sake.' 

A will Vad been found in Mr. Hamleigh's despatch box, 

258 Mount Royal 

which receptacle was opened by his lawyer, who came from 
London on purpose to take charge of any papers which his client 
might have in his possession at the time of his death. The bulk 
of his papers were no doubt in his chambers in the Albany ; 
chambers which he had taken on coming of age ; aud which he 
had occupied at intervals ever since. 

.Mr. Tregonell showed himself keenly anxious that every- 
thing should be done in a strictly legal manner, and it was by 
his own hand that the lawyer was informed of his client's death, 
and invited to Mount Koyal. Mr. Biyanstone, the solicitor, a 
thorough man of the world, and an altogether agreeable per- 
son, appeared at the Manor House two days before the funeral, 
and, being empowered by Mr. Tregonell to act as he pleased, 
sent telegrams far and wide to the dead man's kindred, who 
came trooping like carrion crows to the funeral feast. 

Angus Hamleigh was buried in the afternoon ; a mild, 
peaceful afternoon at the end of October, with a yellow light in 
the western sky, which deepened and brightened as the funeral 
train wound across the valley, climbed the steep street of Bos- 
castle, and then wound slowly downwards into the green heart 
of the hill, to the little rustic burial place. That orb of molten 
gold was sinking behind the edge of the moor just when the 
Vicar read the last words of the funeral service. Golden and 
crimson gleams touched the landscape here aud there, golden 
lights still lingered on the sea, as the mourners, so thoroughly 
formal and conventional for the most part — Jack Vandeleur and 
little Monty amidst the train with carefully-composed features 
— went back to their carriages. And theu the shades of evening 
came slowly down, and spread a dark pall over hill-side, and 
hedgerow, and; churchyard, where there was no sound but 
the monotonous fall of the earth, which the grave-digger waa 
shovelling into that new grave. 

There had been no women at the funeral. Those two who 
each after her own peculiar fashion, had loved the dead man, 
were shut in their own rooms, thinking of him, picturing, with 
too vivid imagery, the lowering of the coffin in the new-made 
grave — hearing the solemn monotony of the clergyman's voice, 
sounding clear in the clear air— the first shovelful of heart 
on the coffin-lid— dust to dust ; dust to dust. 

Lamps were lighted in the drawing-room, where the will 
was to be read. A large wood fire burned brightly — pleasant 
after the lowered atmosphere of evening. Wines aud other 
refreshments stood on a table near the hearth ; another table 
stood ready for the lawyer. So far as there could be, or ought 
to be, comfort and cheeriness on so sad an occasion, comfort and 
cheeriness were here. The cousins— first and second— warmed 
themselves before the fire, and discoursed in low murmurs of 

'Dust to Dust: 259 

the time and the trouble it had cost them to reach this out-of' 
the-way hole, and discussed the means of getting away from 
it. Mr. Tregonell stood on one side of the hearth, leaning his 
broad back heavily against the sculptured chimney-piece, and 
listening moodily to Captain Vandeleur's muttered discourse. 
lie had insisted upon keeping his henchman with him during 
this gloomy period ; sending an old servant as far as Plymouth 
to see the Miss Vandeleurs into the London train, rather than 
part with his familiar friend. Even Mr. Montagu, who had 
delicately hinted at departure, was roughly bidden to remain. 

' I shall be going away myself in a week or so,' said Mr. 
Tregonell. 'I don't mean to spend the winter at this fag- 
end of creation. It will be time enough for you to go when 

The friends, enjoying free quarters which were excellent in 
their way, and having no better berths in view, freely forgave 
the bluntness of the invitation, and stayed. But they com- 
mented between themselves in the seclusion of the smoking 
room upon the Squire's disinclination to be left without cheerful 

1 He's infernally nervous, that's what it all means,' said 
little Monty, who had all that cock-sparrowish pluck which 
small men are wont to possess — the calm security of insignifi- 
cance. ' You wouldn't suppose a great burly fellow like 
Tregonell, who has travelled all over the world, would be scared 
by a death in his house, would you ? ' 

' Death is awful, let it come when it will,' answered Jack 
Vandeleur, dubiously. ' I've seen plenty of hard-hitting in the 
hill-country, but I'd go a long way to avoid seeing a strange dog 
die, let alone a dog I was fond of.' 

' Tregonell couldn't have been very fond of Hamleigh, that's 
certain,' said Monty. 

' They seemed good friends.' 

' Seemed ; yes. But do you suppose Tregonell ever forgot 
that Mr. Hamleigh and his wife had once been engaged to be 
married ? It isn't in human nature to forget that kind of thing, 
and he made believe that he asked Hamleigh here to give one 
of your sisters a chance of getting a rich husband,' said Monty, 
rolling up a cigarette, as he sat adroitly balanced on the arm of 
a large chair, and shaking his head gently, with lowered eyelids, 
and a cynical smile curling his thin lips. 'That was a little too 
thin. He asked Hamleigh here because he was savagely jealous, 
and suspected his motive for turning up in this part of the 
country, and wanted to see how he and Mrs. Tregonell would 
carry on.' 

' Whatever he wanted, I'm sure he saw no harm in either of 
them,' said Captain Vandeleur. ' I'm as quick as any man at 

200 Mount Royal. 

twigging that kind of thing, and I'll swear that it was all fail 
and above board with those two ; they behaved beautifully. 

' So they did, poor things,' answered Monty, in his little 
purring way. ' And yet Tregonell wasn't happy.' 

' He'd have been better pleased if Hamleigh had proposed to 
my sister, as he ought to have done,' said Vandeleur, trying to 
look indignant at the memory of Dopsy's wrongs. 

'Now drop that, old Van,' said Monty, laughing softly and 
p'easantly, as he lit his cigarette, and began to smoke, dreamily, 
daintily, like a man to whom smoking is a fine art. ' Sink your 
sister. As I said before, that's too thin. Dopsy is a dear 
little girl — one of the five or six and twenty nice girls whom I 
passionately adore ; but she was never anywhere within range of 
Hamleigh. First and foremost she isn't his style, and secondly 
he has never got over the loss of Mrs. Tregonell. lie be Laved 
beautifully while he was here ; but he was just as much in love 
with her as he was four years ago, when I used to meet them at 
dances — a regular pair of Arcadian lovers ; Daphne and Chloe, 
and that kind of thing. She only wanted a crook to make the 
picture perfect.' 

And now Mr. Bryanstone had hummed and hawed a little, 
and had put on a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles, and cousins 
near and distant ceased their conversational undertones, and 
seated themselves conveniently to listen. 

The will was brief. ' To Percy Ritherdon, Commander in 
ITer Majesty's Navy, my first cousin and old schoolfellow, in 
memory of his dear mother's kindness to one who had no mother, 
I bequeath ten thousand pounds, and my sapphire ring, which 
has been an heirloom, and which I hope he will leave to any son 
of his whom he may call after me. 

' To my servant, John Danby, five hundred pounds in consols. 

' To my housekeeper in the Albany, two hundred and fifty. 

' To James Bryanstone, my very kind friend and solicitor of 
Lincoln's Inn, my collection of gold and silver snuff-boxes, and 
Roman intaglios. 

'All the rest of my estate, real and personal, to be vested in 
trustees, of whom the above-mentioned James Bryanstone shall 
be one, and the Rev. John Carlyon, of Tievena, Cornwall, the 
other, for the sole use and benefit of Leonard George Tregonell, 
now an infant, who shall, with his father and mother's consent, 
assume the name of Hamleigh after that of Tregonell upon 
coming of age, and I hope that his father and mother will 
accept this legacy for their son in the spirit of pure friendship 
for them, and attachment to the boy by which it is dictated, 
and that they will sutler their son so to perpetuate the name of 
one who will die childless.' 

'Dust to Dust.' 261 

There was an awful silence — perfect collapse on the pari of 
the cousins, the one kinsman selected for benefaction being now 
with his ship in the Mediterranean. 

And then Leonard Tregonell rose from his seat by the fire, and 
came close up to the table at which Mr. Bryanstone was sitting. 

1 Am I at liberty to reject that legacy on my son's part 1 ' 
he asked. 

* Certainly not. The money is left in trust. Your son can 
do what he iikes when he comes of age. But why should you 
wish to decline such a legacy — left in such friendly terms 1 Mr. 
Uamleigh was your friend.' 

' He was my mother's friend — for me only a recent acquain- 
tance. It seems to me that there is a sort of indirect insult in 
such a bequest, as if I were unable to provide for my boy— as if 
I were likely to run through everything, and make him a pauper 
before he comes of age.' 

'Believe me there is no such implication,' said the lawyer, 
smiling blandly at the look of trouble and anger in the other 
man's face. ' Did you never hear before of money being left to 
a man who already has plenty 1 That is the general bent of all 
legacies. In this world it is the poor who are sent empty away, 
murmured Mr. Bryanstone, with a sly glance under his spectacles 
at the seven blank faces of the seven cousins. ' I consider that 
Mr. Hamleigh — who was my very dear friend — has paid you the 
highest compliment in his power, and that you have every reason 
to honour his memory.' 

' And legally I have no power to refuse his property ? ' 

' Certainly not. The estate is not left to you — you have no 
power to touch a sixpence of it.' 

' And the will is dated 1 ' 

' Just three weeks ago.' 

'Within the first week of this visit here. He must have 
taken an inordinate fancy to my boy.' 

Mr. Bryanstone smiled to himself softly with lowered eyelids, 
.uj he folded up the will — a holograph will upon a single sheet of 
Bath post — witnessed by two of the Mount Royal servants. The 
family solicitor knew all about Angus Hamleigh's engagement to 
Miss Courtenay — had even received instructions for drawing the 
marriage settlement — but he was too much a man of the world 
to refer to that fact. 

' Was not Mr. Hamleigh's father engaged to your mother ? ' 
he asked. 


1 Then don't you think that respect for your mother may hsyve 
had some influence with Mr. Hamleigh when he made your son 
his heir ? ' 

' I am not going to speculate about his motives. I only wish 

262 Mount Royal. 

he had left his money to an asylum for idiots — or to his cousins ' 
— with a glance at the somewhat vacuous countenances of the 
dead man's kindred, 'or that I were at liberty to decline his gift 
— which I should do, flatly.' 

' This sounds as if you were prejudiced against my lamented 
friend. I thought you liked him.' 

'So I did,' stammered Leonard, 'but not well enough to give 
him the right to patronise me with his d — d legacy.' 

' Mr. Tregonell,' said the lawyer, frowning, ' I have to remind 
you that my late client has left you, individually, nothing — and 
I must and that your language and manner are most unbefiting 
this melancholy occasion.' 

Leonard grumbled an inaudible reply, and walked back to the 
fire-place. The whole of this conversation had been carried on 
in undertones — so that the cousins who had gathered in a group 
upon the hearth-rug, and who were for the most part absorbed 
in pensive reflections upon the futility of earthly hopes, heard 
very little of it. They belonged to that species of well-dressed 
nonentities, more or less impecunious, which sometimes constitute 
the outer fringe upon a good old family. To each of them it 
seemed a hard thing that Angus Hamleigh had not remembered 
him individually, choosing him out of the ruck of cousinship as a 
meet object for bounty. 

' He ought to have left me an odd thousand,' murmured a 
beardless subaltern ; ' he knew how badly I wanted it, for I 
borrowed a pony of him the last time he asked me to breakfast ; 
and a man of good family must be very hard up when he comes 
to borrowing ponies.' 

' I dare say you would not have demurred to making it a 
monkey, if Mr. Hamleigh had proposed it,' said his interlocutor. 

' Of course not : and if he had been generous he would have 
given me something handsome, instead of being so confoundedly 
literal as to write his check for exactly the amount I asked for. 
A man of his means and age ought to have had more feeling for 
a young fellow in his first season. And now I am out* of pocket 
for my expenses to this infernal hole.' 

Thus, and with other waitings of an approximate character, 
did Angus Hamleigh's kindred make their lamentation : and then 
they all began to arrange amoung themselves for getting away aa 
early as possible next morning— and for travelling together, with 
a dista it idea of a little ' Nap' to beguile the weariness of the 
way between Plymouth and Paddington. There was room enough 
for them all at Mount Royal, and Mr. Tregonell was not a man 
to permit any guests, however assembled, to leave his house for 
the shelter of an inn ; so the cousins stayed, dined heavily, 
smoked as furiously as those furnace chimneys which are supposed 
not to smoke, all the evening, and thought they were passing 

' Dust to Dust. 263 

virtuous for refraining from the relaxation of pool, or shell-out — 
opining that the click of the balls might have an unholy sound so 
soon after a funeral. Debarred from this amusement, they 
discussed the career and character of the dead man, and were all 
agreed, in the friendliest spirit, that there had been very little in 
him, and that he had made a poor thing of his life, and obtained 
a most inadequate amount of pleasure out of his money. 

Mount Eoyal was clear of them all by eleven o'clock next 
morning. Mr. Montagu went away with them, and only Captain 
Vandeleur remained to bear Leonard company in a house which 
new seemed given over to gloom. Christabel kept her room, 
with Jessie Bridgeman in constant attendance upon her. She 
had not seen her husband since her return from the Kieve, and 
Jessie had told him in a few resolute words that it would not be 
well for them to meet. 

' She is very ill,' said Jessie, standing on the threshold of the 
room, while Leonard remained in the corridor outside. 'Dr. 
Hayle has seen her, and he says that she must have perfect quiet 
— no one is to worry her — no one is to talk to her — the shock she 
has suffered in this dreadful business has shattered her nerves.' 

' Why can't you say in plain words that she is grieving for the 
only man she ever loved,' asked Leonard. 

'I am not going to say that which is not true ; and which you 
better than any one else, know is not true. It is not Angus 
Hamleigh's death, but the manner of his death, which she feels. 
Take that to your heart, Mr. Tregonell.' 

' You are a viper ! ' said Leonard, ' and you always were a 
viper. Tell my wife — when she is well enough to hear reason — 
that I am not going to be sat upon by her, or her toady ; and 
that as she is going to spend her winter dissolved in tears for 
Mr. Hamleigh's death, I shall spend mine in South America, with 
Jack Vandeleur.' 

Three days later his arrangements were all made for leaving 
Cornwall. Captain Vandeleur was very glad to go with him, 
upon what he, Jack, pleasantly called 'reciprocal terms/ Mr. 
Tregonell paying all expenses as a set-off against his friend's 
cheerful society. There was no false pride about Poker Van- 
deleur ; no narrow-minded dislike to being paid for. He was 
so thoroughly assured as to the perfect equitableness of the 

On the morning he left Mount Eoyal, Mr. Tregonell went 
into the nursery to bid his son good-bye. He contrived, by some 
mild artifice, to send the nurse on an errand ; and while she was 

ay, strained the child to his breast, and hugged and kissed 
him with a rough fervour which he had never before shown. 
The boy quaveredja little, and his lip drooped under that rough. 
caress — and then the clear blue eyes looked up and saw that this 

264 Mount Royal. 

vehemence meant love, and the chubby anas clung closely round 
the father's neck. 

' Poor little beggar ! ' muttered Leonard, his eyes clouded 
frith tears. ' I wonder whether I shall ever see him again. He 
might die — or I — there is no telling. Hard lines to leave him 
for six months on end — but' — with a suppressed shudder — 'I 
should go mad if I stayed here.' 

The nurse came back, and Leonard put the child on his 
rocking-horse, which he had left reluctantly at the father's 
entrance, and left the nursery without another word. In the 
corridor he lingered for some minutes — now staring absently at 
the family portraits — now looking at the door of his wife's room. 
He had been occupying a bachelor room at the other end of the 
house since her illness. 

Should he force an entrance to that closed chamber — defy 
Jessie Bridgeman, and take leave of his wife 1 — the wife whom, 
after the bent of his own nature, he had passionately loved. 
What could he say to her 1 Very little, in his present mood. 
What would she say to him ] There was the rub. From that 
pale face — from those uplifted eyes — almost as innocent as the 
eyes that had looked at him just now — he shrank in absolute 

At the last moment, after he had put on his overcoat, and 
when the dogcart stood waiting for him at the door, he sat down 
and scribbled a few hasty lines of farewell. 

' I am told you are too ill to see me, but cannot go without 
one word of good-bye. If I thought you cared a rap for me, I 
should stay ; but I believe you have set yourself against me 
because of this man's death, and that you will get well all the 
sooner for my being far away. Perhaps six months hence, when 
I come back again — if I don't get killed out yonder, which is 
always on the cards — you may have learnt to feel more kindly 
towards me. God knows I have loved you as well as ever man 
loved woman — too well for my own happiness. Good-bye. Take 
care of the boy ; and don't let that little viper, Jessie Bridgeman, 
poison your mind against me.' 

' Leonard ! are you coming to-day or to-morrow V cried Jack 
Vandeleur's stentorian voice from the hall, ' We shall lose the 
train at Launceston, if you don't look sharp.' 

Thus summoned, Leonard thrust his letter into an envelope, 
directed it to hi3 wife, and gave it to Daniel, who was hovering 
about to do due honour to his master's departure — the master 
for whose infantine sports he had made his middle-aged back as 
the back of a horse, and perambulated the passages on all-fours, 
twenty years ago — the master who seemed but too likely to bring 
his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, judging by the pace at 
which he now appeared to be travelling along the road to ruin. 

* Pain for thy Girdle, and Sorrow upon thy II cad/ 2(5o 


Now came a period of gloom and solitude at Mount Royal. Mrs. 
Tregonell lived secluded in her own rooms, rarely leaving them 
save to visit her boy in his nursery, or to go for long lone I v 
rambles with Miss Bridgeman. The lower part of the house \v;ua 
given over to silence and emptiness. It was winter, and the 
roads were not inviting for visitors ; so, after a few calls hail 
been made by neighbours who lived within ten miles or so, and 
those callers had been politely informed by Daniel that his. 
mistress was confined to her room by a severe cough, and was nut 
well enough to see any one, no more carriages drove up the long 
avenue, and the lodge-keeper's place became a sinecure, save for 
opening the gate in the morning, and shutting it at dusk. 

Mrs. Tregonell neither rode nor drove, and the horses were 
only taken out of their stables to be exercised by grooms and 
underlings. The servants fell into the way of living their own 
lives, almost as if they had been on board wages in the absence 
of the family. The good old doctor, who had attended Christabel 
in all her childish illnesses, came twice a week, and stayed an 
hour or so in the morning-room upstairs, closeted with his patient 
and her companion, and then looked at little Leo in his nursery, 
that young creature growing and thriving exceedingly amidst the 
gloom and silence of the house, and awakening the echoes 
occasionally with bursts of baby mirth. 

None of the servants knew exactly what was amiss with Mrs. 
Tregonell. Jessie guarded and fenced her in with such jealous 
care, hardly letting any other member of the household spend 
five minutes in her company. They only knew that she was 
very white, very sad-looking ; that it was with the utmost 
difficulty she was persuaded to take sufficient nourishment to 
sustain life ; and that her only recreation consisted in those long 
walks with Jessie — walks which they took in all weathers, and 
sometimes at the strangest hours. The people about Boscastle 
grew accustomed to the sight of those two solitary women, clad 
in dark cloth ulsters, with close-fitting felt hats, that defied wind 
and weather, armed with sturdy umbrellas, tramping over fields 
and commons, by hilly paths, through the winding valley where 
the stream ran loud and deep after the autumn rains, on the cliffs 
above the wild grey sea — always avoiding as much as possible all 
beaten tracks, and the haunts of mankind. Those who did meet 
the two reported that there was something strange in the looks 
and ways of both. They did not talk to each other as most Ladies 
talked, to beguile the way : they marched on in silence -the 

266 Mount Royal. 

younger, fairer face pale as death and inexpressibly sad, and with 
a look as of one who walks in her sleep, with wide-open, unseen)" 

' She looks just like a person who might walk over the cliff, 
if there was no one by to take care of her,' said Mrs. Penny, the 
butcher's wife, who had met thorn one day on her way home 
from Caiuelford Market ; ' but Miss Bridgeman, she do take such 
care, and she do watch every step of young Mrs. Tregonell's' — 
Christabel was always spoken of as young Mrs. Tregonell by 
those people who had known her aunt. ' I'm afraid the poor 
dear lady has gone a little wrong in her head since M r 
Hamleigh shot himself ; and there are some as do think he shot 
himself for her sake, never having got over her marrying our 

On many a winter evening, when the ?ea ran high and wild 
at the foot of the rocky promontory, and overhead a wilder sky 
seemed like another tempestuous sea inverted, those two women 
paced the grass-grown hill at Tintagel, above the nameless graves, 
among the ruins of prehistorical splendour. 

They were not always silent, as they walked slowly to and fro 
among the rank grass, or stood looking at those wild waves which 
came rolling in like solid w r alls of shining black water, to burst 
into ruin with a thunderous roar against the everlasting rocks 
They talked long and earnestly in this solitude, and in other 
solitary spots along that wild and varied coast ; but none but 
themselves ever knew what they talked about, or what was the 
delight and relief which they found in the dark grandeur of that 
winter sky and sea. And so the months crept by, in a dreary 
monotony, and it was spring once more ; all the orchards full of 
bloom — those lovely little orchards of Alpine Boscastle, here 
nestling in the deep gorge, there hanging on the edge of the hill. 
The gardens were golden with daffodils, tulips, narcissus, 
jonquil — that rich variety of yellow blossoms which come in early 
spring, like a floral sunrise — and the waves ran gentty into the 
narrow inlet between the tall cliffs. But those two lonely women 
were no longer seen roaming over the hills, or sitting down to 
rest in some sheltered corner of Pentargon Bay. They had gone 
to Switzerland, taking the nurse and baby with them, and were 
not expected to return to Mount Royal till the autumn. 

Mr. Tregonell's South American wanderings had lasted longer 
than he had originally contemplated. His latest letters — brief 
scrawls, written at rough resting-places — announced a consider* 
able extension of his travels. He and his friend were following 
in the footsteps of Mr. "Whymper, on the Equatorial Andes, the 
backbone of South America. Dopsy and Mopsy were moping 
in the dusty South Belgravian lodging-house, nursing their invalid 
father, squabbling with their landlady, cutting, contriving, 

'Pain for thy Girdle, and Sorroiv upon thy Head. 1 207 

Btralning every nerve to make sixpences go as far as shillings, 
and only getting outside glimpses of the world of pleasure and 
gaiety, art and fashion, in their weary trampings up and down 
the dusty pathways of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. 

They had written three or four times to Mrs. Tregonell, 
letters running over with affection, fondly hoping for an invita- 
tion to Mount Royal ; but the answers had been in Jessie 
Bridgeman's hand, and the last had come from Zurich, which 
seemed altogether hopeless. They had sent Christmas cards and 
New Year's cards, and had made every effort, compatible with 
their limited means, to maintain the links of friendship. 

' I wish we could afford to send her a New Years gift, or a 
toy for that baby,' said Mopsy, who was not fond of infants. 
' But what could we send her that she would care for, when she 
has everything in this world that is worth having. And we 
could not get a toy, which that pampered child would think 
worth looking at, under a sovereign,' concluded Mop, with a 
profound sigh. 

And so the year wore on, dry, and dreary, and dusty for the 
two girls, whose only friends were the chosen few whom their 
brother made known to them — friends who naturally dropped 
out of their horizon in Captain Vandeleurs absence. 

' What a miserable summer it has been,' said Dopsy, yawning 
and stretching in her tawdry morning gown — one of last years 
high-art tea gowns — and surveying with despondent eye the 
barren breakfast-table, where two London eggs, and the re- 
mains of yesterday's loaf, flanked by a nearly empty marma- 
lade pot, comprised all the temptations of the flesh. ' What a 
wretched summer — hot, and sultry, and thundery, and dusty — 
the cholera raging in Chelsea, and measles only divided from us 
by Lambeth Bridge ! And we have not been to a single 

' Or tasted a single French dinner.' 

' Or been given a single pair of gloves.' 

' Hark ! ' cried Mopsy, ' it's the postman,' and she rushed into 
the passage, too eager to await the maid-of -all-work's slipshod 

' What's the good of exciting oneself 1 ' murmured Dopsy, 
with another stretch of long thin arms above a towzled head. 
' Of course it's only a bill, or a lawyer's letter for pa.' 

Happily it was neither of these unpleasantnesses which the 
morning messenger had brought, but a large vellum envelope, 
with the address, Mount Royal, in Old English letters above the 
"mail neat seal ; and the hand which had directed the envelope Uhi Lstabel Tregonell's. 

1 At last she has condescended to write to me with her own 
hand,' said Dopsy, to whom, as Miss VandeU>ur, the letter wa> 

268 Mount Boyal. 

addressed. 'But I dare say it's only a humbugging note. 1 
know she didn't really like us : we are not her style.' 

'How should we be V exclaimed Mopsy, whom the languid 
influences of a sultry August had made ill-humoured and cynical. 
' She was not brought up in the gutter.' 

' Mopsy,' cried her sister, with a gasp of surprise and delight, 
* it's an invitation ! ' 

« What 1 ' 

1 Listen — 

» "Dear Miss Vandeleur, — 

' " "We have just received a telegram from Buenos Ayres. 
Mr. Tregonell and Captain Vandeleur leave that port for Plymouth 
this afternoon, and will come straight from Plymouth here. I 
think you would both wish to meet your brother on his arrival ; 
and I know Mr. Tregonell is likely to want to keep him here for 
some time. Will you, therefore, come to us early next week, so 
as to be here to welcome the travellers 1 

' " Very sincerely yours, 

' "Ciiristabel Tregonell." ' 

' This is too delicious,' exclaimed Dopsy. ' But however are 
we to find the money for the journey ? And our clothes— what 
a lot we shall have to do to our clothes. If we only had credit 
at a good draper's.' 

' Suppose we were to try our landlady's plan, for once in a 
way,' suggested Mopsy, faintly, ' and get a few things from that 
man near Drury Lane who takes weekly instalments.' 

' What, the Tallyman 1 ' screamed Dopsy. ^ ' No, I would 
rather be dressed like a South Sea Islander. It's not only the 
utter lowness of the thing ; but the man's goods are never like 
anybody else's. The colours and materials seem invented on 
purpose for him.' 

' That might pass for high art.' 

' "Well, they're ugly enough even for that ; but it's not the 
right kind of ugliness.' 

' After all,' answered Mopsy, * we have no more chance of 
paying weekly than we have of paying monthly or quarterly. 
Nothing under three years' credit would be any use to us. Some- 
thing might happen — Fortune's wheel might turn in three 

' Whenever it does turn it will be the wrong way, and we 
lhall be under it,' said Dopsy, still giving over to gloom. 

It was very delightful to be invited to a fine old country 
house ; but it was bitter to know that one must go there but half 
provided with those things which civilization have made a 

D 6CGSSltY« 

' How happy those South Sea Islanders must be,' sighed 

' I will have no Mercy on Him.' 269 

biopsy, pensively meditating upon the difference between weai iug 
nothing, and having nothing to wear. 



The Buenos Ayres steamer was within sight of land — English 
land. Those shining lights yonder were the twin lanterns of the 
Lizard. Leonard and his friend paced the bridge smoking their 
cigars, and looking towards that double star which shone out as 
one light in the distance, and thinking that they were going back 
to civilization — conventional habits — a world which must serin 
cramped and narrow — not much better than the squirrel's cage 
seems to the squirrel — after the vast width and margin of that 
wilder, freer world they had just left — where men and women 
were not much more civilized than the unbroken horses that 
were brought out struggling, and roped in among a team of older 
stagers, to be dragged along anyhow for the first mile or so, 
rebellious, and wondering, and to fall in with the necessities of 
the case somehow before the stage was done. 

There was no thrill of patriotic rapture in the breast of either 
traveller as he watched yonder well-known light brightening on 
the dark horizon. Leonard had left his country too often to feel 
any deep emotion at returning to it. He had none of those 
strong feelings which mark a man as the son of the soil, and 
make it seem to him that he belongs to one spot of earth, and 
can neither live nor die happily anywhere else. The entire globe 
was his country, a world created for him to roam about in. 
climbing all its hills, shooting in all its forests, fishing in all its 
rivers, exhausting all the sport and amusement that was to be 
Had out of i v , — and with no anchor to chain him down to any 
given spot. Yet, though he had none of the deep feeling of the 
exile returning to the country of his birth, he was not without 
emotion as he saw the Lizard light broadening and yellowing 
under the pale beams of a young moon. He was thinking of his 
wife — the wife whose face he had not seen since that gloomy 
morning at Mount Royal, when she sat pale and calm in her 
place at the head of his table — maintaining her dignity as the 
mistress of his house, albeit he knew her heart was breaking. 
From the hour of her return from the Kieve, they had been 
yarted. She had kept her room, guarded by Jessie ; and he had 
been told, significantly, that it was not well they should meet. 

How would she receive him now ? What were her thoughts 
and feelings about that dead man ? The man whom she had 

270 Mount Boyal. 

loved and lie had hated : not only because his wife loved him — 
though that reason was strong enough for hatred — but because 
the man was in every attribute so much his own superior. Never 
had Leonard Tregonell felt such keen anxiety as he felt now, 
when he speculated upon his wife's greeting — when he tried to 
imagine how they two would feel and act standing face to face 
after nearly a year of severance. 

The correspondence between them had been of the slightest 
For the first six months his only home-letters had been from 
Miss Bridgeman — curt, business-like communications — telling 
him of his boy's health and general progress, and of any details 
about the estate which it was his place to be told. Of Christabel 
she wrote as briefly as possible. ' Mrs. Tregonell is a little 
better.' 'Mrs. Tregonell is gradually regaining strength.' 'The 
doctor considers Mrs. Tregonell much improved,' and so on. 

Later there had been letters from Christabel — letters written 
in Switzerland — in which the writer confined herself almost 
entirely to news of the boy's growth and improvement, and to the 
particulars of their movements from one place to another — letters 
which gave not the faintest indication of the writer's frame of 
mind : as devoid of sentiment as an official communication from 
one legation to another. 

He was going back to Mount Royal therefore in profound 
ignorance of his wife's feelings — whether he would be received 
with smiles or frowns, with tears or sullen gloom. Albeit not of 
a sensitive nature, this uncertainty made him uncomfortable, 
and he looked at yonder faint grey shore — the peaks and pinnacles 
of that wild western ' coast — without any of those blissful 
emotions which the returning wanderer always experiences — in 

Plymouth, however, where they went ashore next morning, 
seemed a very enjoyable place after the cities of South America. 
It was not so picturesque a town, nor had it that rowdy air and 
dissipated flavour which Mr. Tregonell appreciated in the cities 
of the South : but it had a teeming life and perpetual movement, 
which were unknown on the shores of the Pacific ; the press and 
hurry of many industries — the steady fervour of a town where 
wealth is made by honest labour — the intensity of a place which 
is in somewise the cradle of naval warfare. Mr. Tregonell break- 
fasted and lunched at the Duke of Cornwall, strolled on the Hoe, 
played two or three games on the first English billiard-table'he had 
seen for a year, and found a novel delight in winner* and losers. 

An afternoon train took the travellers on to Launceston, 
where the Mount Royal wagonette, and a cart for the luggage, 
were waiting for them at the station. 

' Everything right at th? Mount 1 ' asked Leonard, as Nicholls 
touched his hat. 

•I wilt Tiave no Mercy on Him.' 271 

Yes, sir.' 

He asked for no details, but took the reins from Nfcholla 
without another word. Captain Vandeleur jumped up by his 
side, Nicholls got in at the back, with a lot of the smaller luggage 
—gun-cases, dressing-bags, despatch-boxes — and away they went 
up the castle hill, and then sharp round to the right, and off at a 
dashing pace along the road to the moor. It was a two horn's' 
drive even for the best goers ; but Mr. Tregonell spoke hardly a 
dozen times during the journey, smoking all the way, and with 
his eyes always on his horses. 

At last they wound up the hill to Mount Royal, and passed 
the lodge, and saw all the lights of the old wide-spreading Tudor 
front shining upon them through the thickening gi*ey of early 

' A good old place, isn't it 1 ' said Leonard, just a little moved 
at sight of the house in which he had been born. ' A man might 
come home to a worse shelter.' 

'This man might come home to lodgings in Chelsea,' said 
Jack Vandeleur, touching himself lightly on the breast, with a 
gi-im laugh. ' It's a glorious old place, and you needn't apologize 
for being proud of it. And now we've come back, 1 hope you 
are going to be jolly, for you've been uncommonly glum while 
we've been away. The house looks cheerful, doesn't it ? I should 
think it must be full of company.' 

'Not likely,' answered Leonard. 'Christabel never cared 
about having people. "We should have lived like hermits if she 
had had her way.' 

' Then if the house isn't full of people, all I can say is there's 
a good deal of candle-light going to waste,' said Captain Vande- 

They were driving up to the porch by this time ; the door 
stood wide open ; servants were on the watch for them. The 
hall was all aglow with light and fire ; people were moving about 
near the hearth. It was a relief to Leonard to see this life and 
brightness. He had feared to find a dark and silent house — a 
melancholy welcome — ail things still in mourning for the 
untimely dead. 

A ripple of laughter floated from the hall as Leonard drew 
up his horses, and two tall slim figures with fluffy heads, short- 
waisted gowns, and big sashes, came skipping down the broad 
shallow steps. 

'My sisters, by Jove,' cried Jack, delighted. 'How awfully 
jolly of Mrs. Tregonell to invite them.' 

Leonard's only salutation to the damsels was a friendly nod. 
I£e brushed by them as they grouped themselves about their 
brother — like a new edition of Laocoon without the, or 
■the three Graces without the grace — and hurried into the hall, 

272 Mount Royal. 

eager to be face to face with his wife. She came forward tc 
meet him, looking her loveliest, dressed as he had never seen hei 
dressed before, with a style, a chic, and a daring more appro- 
priate to the Theatre Francais than to a Cornish squire's house. 
She who, even in the height of the London season, had been 
simplicity itself, recalling to those who most admired her, the 
picture of that chaste and unworldly maiden who dwelt beside 
the Dove, now wore an elaborate costume of brown velvet and 
satin, in which a Louis Quinze velvet coat, •with large cut-steel 
buttons and Mechlin jabot, was the most striking feature. Her 
fair, soft hair was now fluffy, and stood up in an infinity of 
frizzy curls from the broad white forehead. Diamond solitaires 
flashed in her ears, her hands glittered with the rainbow light of 
old family rings, which in days gone by she had been wont ta 
leave in the repose of an iron safe. The whole woman was 
changed. She came to meet her husband with a Society smile ; 
shook hands with him as if he had been a commonplace visitor- 
he was too startled to note the death-like coldness of that slender 
hand — and welcomed him with a conventional inquiry about his 
passage from Buenos Ayres. 

He stood transfixed — overwhelmed by surprise. The room was 
full of people. There was Mrs. Fairfax Torrington, liveliest and 
most essentially modern of well-preserved widows, always dans le 
mouvement, as she said of herself ; and there, lolling against the 
high oak chimney-piece, with an air of fatuous delight in his own 
attractiveness, was that Baron de Cazalet — pseudo artist, poet, 
and litterateur, who, five seasons ago, had been an object of 
undisguised detestation with Christabel. He, too, was essentially 
in the movement — aesthetic, cynical, agnostic, thought-reading, 
spiritualistic — always blowing the last fashionable bubble, and 
making, his bubbles bigger and brighter than other people's — a 
man who prided himself upon his 'intensity' in every pursuit — 
from love-making to gourmandize. There, again, marked out 
from the rest by a thoroughly prosaic air, which, in these days of 
artistic sensationalism is in itself a distinction — pale, placid, 
taking his ease in a low basket chair, with his languid hand on 
Randie's black muzzle— sat Mr. FitzJesse, the journalist, pro- 
prietor and editor of The Sling, a fashionable weekly— the man 
who was always smiting the Goliahs of pretence and dishonesty 
with a pen that was sharper than any stone that ever David slung 
against the foe. He was such an amiable-looking man — had such 
a°power of obliterating every token of intellectual force and fire 
from the calm surface of his countenance, that people, seeing him 
for the first time, were apt to stare at him in blank wonder at his 
innocent aspect, Was this the wielder of that scathing pen — 
was this the man who wrote not with ink but with aqua tortis ? 
Even his placid matter-of-fact speech was, at first, a little dis- 

/ will have no Mercy on Him. 273 

appointing. It was only h\ gentlest degrees that the iron hand 
of satire made itself felt under the velvet glove of conventional 
good manners. Leonard had met Mr. FitzJesse in London, at 
the clubs and elsewhere, and had felt that vague awe which the 
provincial feels for the embodied spirit of metropolitan intellect 
in the shape of a famous journalist. It was needful to be civil 
to such men, in order to be let down gently in their papers. 
One never knew when some rash unpremeditated act might 
furnish matter for a paragraph which would mean social annihi- 

There were other guests grouped about the tire-place — little 
Monty, the useful and good-humoured country-house hack ; 
Colonel Elathwayt, of the Kildare Cavalry, a noted amateur 
actor, reciter, waltzer, spirit-rapper, invaluable in a house full of 
people — a tall, slim-waisted man, who rode nine stone, and 
at forty contrived to look seven-and-twenty ; the Rev. St. 
Bernard Faddie, an Anglican curate, who carried Ritualism to 
the extremest limit consistent with the retention of his stipend 
as a minister of the Church of England, and who was always at 
loggerheads with some of his parishioners. There were Mr. 
and Mr<5- St. Aubyn and their two daughters — county people, 
with loud voices, horsey, and doggy, and horticultural — always 
talking garden, when they were not talking stable or kennel. 
These were neighbours for who Christabel had cared very little 
in the past. Leonard was considerably astonished at finding 
them domiciled at Mount RoyaL 

< And you had a nice passage,' said his wife, smiling at hei 
lord. ' Will you have some tea ? ' 

It seemed' a curious kind of welcome to a husband after a 
year's absence ; but Leonard answered feebly that he would 
take a cup of tea. One of the numerous tea-tables had been 
established in a corner near the fire, and Miss Bridgeman, in 
neat grey silk and linen collar, as of old, was officiating, with 
Mr. Faddie in attendance to distribute the cups. 

' No tea, thanks,' said Jack Vandeleur, coming in with his 
si.-ters still entwined about him, still faintly suggestive of that 
poor man and the sea-serpents. * Would it be too dreadful if I 
we:e to suggest S. and B. ? ' 

Jessie Bridgeman touched a spring bell on the tea-table, and 
gave the required order. There was a joviality, laissez-aller in 
the air of the place, with which soda and brandy seemed quite 
in harmony. Everything in the house seemed changed to 
Leonard's eye ; and yet the furniture, the armour, the family 
pori brown and indistinguishable in this doubtful light, 

were all the same. There were no flowers about in tubs or ow 
tables. That subtle grace— as of a thoughtful woman's hand 
ruling and arranging everything, artistic even where seeming 
m < -was missing. Papers, books were thrown 

anyhow up©n the tables ; whips, carriage-raps, wraps, hate, 

274 Mount Royal. 

mcumbeied the chairs near the door. Half-a-dozen docw— 
pointers, setters, cc Hie — sprawled or prowled about the room, 
fn nowise did his house now resemble the orderly mansion 
which his mother had ruled so long, and which his wife had 
maintained upon exactly the same lines after her aunt's death. 
He had grumbled at what he called a silly observance of his 
mother's fads. The air of the house was now much more in 
accordance with his own view of life, and yet the change 
angered him as ruach as it perplexed him. 

'Where's the boyT he asked, -exploring the hall and its 
occupants, with a blank stare. 

' In his nursery. Where should he be ? ' exclaimed Chris- 
tabel, lightly. 

' I thought he would have been with you. I thought he 
might have been here to bid me welcome home.' 

He had made a picture in his mind, almost involuntarily, of 
the mother and child — she, calm and lovely as one of Murillo's 
Madomias, with the little one on her knee. There was no vein 
of poetry in his nature, yet unconsciously the memory of such 
pictures had associated itself with his wife's image. And 
instead of that holy embodiment of maternal love, there flashed 
and sparkled before him this brilliant woman, with fair fluffy 
hair, and Louis Quinze coat, all a glitter with cut-steel. 

' Home ! ' echoed Christabel, mockingly ; ' how sentimental 
you have grown. I've no doubt the boy will be charmed to see 
you, especially if you have brought him some South American 
toys ; but I thought it would bore you to see him before you 
had dined. He shall be on view in the drawing-room before 
dinner, if you would really like to see him so soon.' 

' Don't trouble,' said Leonard, curtly : ' I can find my way to 
the nursery.' 

He went upstairs without another word, leaving his friend 
Jack seated in the midst of the cheerful circle, drinking soda 
water and brandy, and talking of their adventures upon the 
backbone of South America. 

' Delicious country ! ' said de Cazalet, who talked remarkably 
good English, with just the faintest Hibernian accent. 'I have 
ridden over every inch of it. Ah, Mrs. Tregonell, that is the 
soil for poetry and adventure ; a land of extinct volcanoes. If 
Byron had known the shores of the Amazon, he would have 
struck a deeper note of passion than any that was ever inspired 
by the Dardanelles or the Bosphorus. Sad that so grand a spirit 
should have pined in the prison-house of a worn-out world.' 

'I have always understood that Byron got some rather 
strong poetry out of Switzerland and Italy,' murmured Mr. 
MtzJesse, meekly. 

' Weak and thin to what he might have written had he 
known the Pampas,' said the Baron. 

' You have done the Pampas 1 ' said Mr. FitzJesae. 

«Z will have no Mercy on Him.' 275 

' I have lived amongst wild horses, and wilder humanity, for 
months at a stretch.' 

' And you have published a volume of — verses 1 ' 

1 Another of my youthful follies. But I do not place myself 
upou a level with Byron.' 

' I should if I were you,' said Mr. FitzJesse. ' It would be 
an original idea — and in an age marked by a total exhaustion oi 
brain-power, an origiual idea is a pearl of price.' 

' What kind of dogs did you sec in your travels 1 ' asked 
Emily St. Aubyn, a well-grown upstandiug young woman, in a 
severe tailor-gown of undyed homespun. 

'Two or three very fine breeds of mongrels.' 

' I adore mongrels ! ' exclaimed Mopsy. ' I think that kind 
of dog, which belongs to no particular breed, which has been 
ill-used by London boys, and which follows one to one's doorstep, 
is the most faithful and intelligent of the whole canine race. 
Huxley may exalt Blenheim spaniels as the nearest thing to human 
nature ; but my dog Tim, which is something between a lurcher, 
a collie, and a bull, is ever so much better than human nature.' 

' The Blenheim is greedy, luxurious, and lazy, and generally 
dies in middle life from the consequences of over-feeding,' 
'\yawled Mr. FitzJesse. ' I don't think Huxley is very far out.' 

' I would back a Cornish sheep-dog against any animal in 
creation,' said Christabel, patting Randie, who was standing 
amiably on end, with his fore-paws on the cushioned elbow of 
her chair. ' Do you know that these dogs smile when they are 
pleased, and cry when they are grieved — and they will mourn 
for a master with a fidelity unknown in humanity.' 

' Which as a rule does not mourn,' said FitzJesse. ' It only 
goes into mourning.' 

And so the talk went on, always running upon trivialities — 
glancing from theme to theme — a mere battledore and shuttle- 
cock conversation — making a mock of most things and most 
people, t 'nistabel joined in it all ; and some of the bitterest 
speech that was spoken in that hour before the sounding of the 
seven o'clock gong, fell from her perfect lips. 

' Did you ever see such a change in any one as in Mrs, 
Tregonell I ' asked Dopsy of Mopsy, as they elbowed each other 
before the looking-glass, the first armed with a powder puff, the 
second with a little box containing the implements required for 
the production of piquant eyebrows. 

4 A wonderful improvement,' answered Mopsy. ' She's ever 
so much easier to get on with. I didn't think it was in her 
to be so thoroughly chic.' 

* Do you know, I really liked her better last year, when sh? 
w i frumpy and dowdy,' faltered Dopsy. 'I wasn't able to get 
on with Ear, but I couldn't help looking up to her, and feeling 
that, after all, she was the- right kind of woman. And now -' 

' And now she condescends to be human — to be one of us— 

276 Mount Royal. 

and the consequence is that her house is three times as nice as it 
was last year,' said Mopsy, turning the corner of an eyebrow 
with a bold but careful hand, and sending a sharp elbow into 
Dopsy's face during the operation. 

' I wish you'd be a little more careful,' ejaculated Dopsy. 

' I wish you'd contrive not to want the glass exactly when I 
do,' retorted Mopsy. 

1 How do you like the French Baron 1 ' asked Dopsy, when a 
brief silence had restored her equanimity. 

' French, indeed ! He is no more French than I am. Mr. 
FitzJesse told me that he was born and brought up in Jersey — 
that his father was an Irish Major on half-pay, and his mother a 
circus rider.' 

' But how does he come by his title — if it is a real title V 

' FitzJesse says the title is right enough. One of his father's 
ancestors came to the South of Ireland after the revocation of 
something — a treaty at Nancy — I think he said. He belonged 
to an old Huguenot family — those people who were massacred in 
the opera, don't you know — and the title had been allowed to go 
dead — till this man married a tremendously rich Sheffield cutler's 
daughter, and bought the old estate in Provence, and got himself 
enrolled in the French peerage. Romantic, isn't it?' 

' Very. What became of the Sheffield cutler's daughter? ' 

'She drank herself to death two years after her marriage. 
FitzJessie says they both lived upon brandy, but she hadn't been 
educated up to it, and it killed her.' 

'A curious kind of man for Mrs. Tregonell to invite here. 
Not quite good style.' 

'Perhaps not— but he's very amusing.' 

Leonard spent half an hour with his son. The child had 
escaped from babyhood in the year that had gone. He was now 
a bright sentient creature, eager to express his thoughts — to 
gather knowledge — an active, vivacious being, full of health and 
energy. Whatever duties Christabel had neglected during her 
husband's absence, the boy had, at least, suffered no neglect. 
Never had childhood developed under happier conditions. The 
father could find no fault in the nursery, though there was a 
vague feeling in his mind that everything was wrong at Mount 

' Why the deuce did she fill the house with people while I 
was away,' he muttered to himself, in the solitude of his dressing- 
room, where his clothes had been put ready for him, and candles 
lighted by his Swiss valet. The dressing-room was at that end 
of the coi'ridor most remote from Christabel's apartments. It 
communicated with the room Leonard had slept in during hia 
boyhood and that opened again into his gun-room. 

The fact that these rooms had been prepared for him told 
him plainly enough that he and his wife wero henceforth to lead 
divided liveq T'>e event of last October, his year of absence, 

'1 wi'Cl have no Mercy on Him.' 277 

had built up a wall between them which he, for the time being 
at least, felt himself powerless to knock down. 

'Can she suspect — can she know'— he asked hkiself, pausing 
in his dressing to stand staring at the fire, with moody brow and 
troubled eyes. ' No, that's hardly possible. And yet, her whole 
manner is changed. She holds me at a distance. Every look, 
every tone just now was a defiance. Of course I know that she 
loved that man — loved him first — last — always ; never caring a 
straw for me. She was too careful of herself — had been brought 
up too well to go wrong, like other women — but she loved him. 
I would never have brought him inside these doors if I had not 
known that she could take care of herself. I tested and tided 
her to the uttermost — and — well — I took my change out cf him.' 

Mr. Tregonell dressed himself a little more carefully than he was 
wont to dress — thinking for the most part that anything which 
suited him was good enough for his friends — and went down to 
the drawing-room, feeling like a visitor in a strange house, half 
inclined to wonder how he would be received by his wife and 
his wife's guests. He who had always ruled supreme in that 
house, choosing his visitors for his own pleasure — subjugating 
all tastes and habits of other people to his own convenience, now 
felt as if he were only there on sufferance. 

It was early when he entered the drawing-room, and the 
Baron de Cazalet was the only occupant of that apartment. He 
was standing in a lounging attitude, with his back against the 
mantelpiece, and his handsome person set off by evening dress. 
That regulation costume does not afford much scope to the latent^ 
love of finery which still lurks in the civilized man, as if to prove 
his near relationship to the bead and feather-wearing savage — 
but de Cazalet had made himself as gorgeous as he could with 
jewelled studs, embroidered shirt, satin under-waistcoat, amber 
>ilk stockings, and Queen Anne shoes. He was assuredly hand- 
some — but he had just that style of beauty which to the fasti- 
dious mind is more revolting than positive ugliness. Dark- 
brown eyes, strongly arched eyebrows, an aquiline nose, a sensual 
mouth, a heavy jaw, a faultless complexion of the French plum- 
box order, large regular teeth of glittering whiteness, a small 
delicately trained moustache with waxed ends, and hair of oily 
Bheen, odorous of pommade divine, made up the catalogue of his 
charms. Leonard stood looking at him doubtfully, as if he were 
ft hitherto unknown animal. 

' "Where did my wife pick him up, and why V he asked him- 
self. ' I should have thought he was just the kind of man sha 
would detest.' 

' How glad you must be to get back to your Lares and 
Penates,' said the Baron, smiling blandly. 

' I'm uncommonly glad to get back to my horses and dogs,' an- 
swered Leonard, flinging himself into a large arm-chair by the Ihe, 
and taking up a newspaper. ' Have you been long in the West ' ? 

278 Mount Royal. 

1 ALont a fortnight, but I have been only three days at 
Mount Royal. I had the honour to renew my acquaintance 
with Mrs. Tregonell last August at Zermatt, and she was good 
enough to say that if I ever found myself in this part of the 
country she would be pleased to receive me in her house. I 
needn't tell you that with such a temptation in view I was very 
glad to bend my steps westward. I spent ten days on board a 
friend's yacht, between Dartmouth and the Lizard, landed at 
Penzance last Tuesday, and posted here, where I received a more 
than hospitable welcome.' 

' You are a great traveller, I understand ? ' 

' I doubt if I have done as much as you have in that way. I 
have seldom travelled for the sake of travelling. T have lived 
in the tents of the Arabs. I have bivouacked on the Pampas — ■ 
and enjoyed life in all the cities of the South, from Valparaiso 
to Carthagena ; but I can boast no mountaineering exploits or 
scientific discoveries — and I never read a paper at the 

' You look a little too fond of yourself for mountaineering,' 
said Leonard, smiling grimly at the Baron's portly figure, and 
all-pervading sleekness. 

' Well — yes — I like a wild life — but I have no relish foT 
absolute hardship — the thermometer below zero, a doubtful 
supply of provisions, pemmican, roasted skunk for supper, with- 
out any currant jelly — no, I love mine ease at mine Inn.' 

He threw out his fine expanse of padded chest and shoulders, 
and surveyed the spacious lamp-lit room with an approving 
smile. This no doubt was the kind of Inn at which he loved to 
take his ease — a house full of silly women, ready to be subju- 
gated by his florid good looks and shallow accomplishments. 

The ladies now came straggling in — first Emily St. Aubyn, 
and then Dopsy, whose attempts at conversation were coldly 
received by the county maiden. Dopsy's and Mopsy's home- 
made gowns, cheap laces and frillings, and easy flippancy were 
not agreeable to the St. Aubyn sisters. It was not that the 
St. Aubyn manners, which always savoured of the stable and 
farmyard, were more refined or elegant ; but the St. Aubyns 
arrogated to themselves the right to be vulgar, and resented 
free-and-easy manners in two young persons who were obviously 
poor and obviously obscure as to their surroundings. If their 
gowns had been made by a West End tailor, and they had been 
able to boast of intimate acquaintance with a duchess and two 
or three countessses, their flippancy might have been tolerable, 
nay, even amusing, to the two Miss St. Aubyns ; but girls who 
Went nowhere and knew nobody, had no right to attempt smart- 
ness of speech, and deserved to be sat upon. 

To Dopsy succeeded Mopsy, then some men, then Mrs. St. 
Aubyn and her younger daughter Clara, then Mrs. Tregonell in 
a red gown draped with old Spanish lace, and with diamon d 

'I will have no Mercy on Him.'' 27^ 

itars in her hair, a style curiously different from those quit-' 
dinner dresses she had been wont to wear a year ago. Leonard 
looked at her in blank amazement — just as he had looked at 
their first meeting. She, who had been like the violet, shelter- 
ing itself among its leaves, now obviously dressed for effect, 
and as obviously courted admiration. 

The dinner was cheerful to riotousness. Everybody had 
something to say ; anecdotes were told, and laughter was frequent 
and loud. The St. Aubyn girls, who had deliberately snubbed 
the sisters Vandeleur, were not above conversing with the 
brother, and, finding him a kindred spirit in horseyness and 
vness, took him at once into their confidence, and were on 
the friendliest terms before dinner was finished. De Cazalet sat 
next his hostess, and talked exclusively to her. Mr. FitzJesse 
had Miss Bridgeman on his left hand, and conversed with her in 
gentle murmurs, save when in his quiet voice, and with his 
seeming-innocent smile, he told some irresistibly funny story — 
some touch of character seen with a philosophic eye — for the 
general joy of the whole table. Very different was the banquet 
of to-day from that quiet dinner on the first night of Mr. Ilam- 
leigh's visit to Mount Royal, that dinner at which Leonard 
watched his wife so intensely, eager to discover to what degree 
she was affected by the presence of her first lover. He watched 
her to-night, at the head of her brilliantly lighted dinner-table 
— no longer the old subdued light of low shaded lamps, but the 
radiance of innumerable candles in lofty silver candelabra, 
shining over a striking decoration of vivid crimson asters and 
spreading palm-leaves — he watched her helplessly, hopelessly, 
knowing that he and she were ever so much farther apart than 
they had been in the days before he brought Angus Hamleigh 
to Mount Royal, those miserable discontented days when he had 
fretted himself into a fever of jealousy and vague suspicion, and 
had thought to find a cure by bringing the man he feared and 
hated into his home, so that he might know for certain how deep 
the wrong was which this man's very existence seemed to inflict 
upon him. To bring those two who had loved and parted face 
to face, to watch and listen, to fathom the thoughts of each — 
that had been the process natural and congenial to his jealous 
temper ; but the result had been an uncomfortable one. And 
now he saw his wife, whose heart he had tried to break — hating 
her because he had failed to make her love him — just ae remote 
and unapproachable as of old. 

' What a fool I was to marry her,' he thought, after replying 
somewhat at random to Mrs. St. Aubyn's last remark upon the 
superiority of Dorkings to Spaniards from a culinary point of 
view. ' It was my determination to have my own way that 
wrecked me. I couldn't submit to be conquered by a girl — to 
Tiave tho wife I had set my heart upon when I was a boy, stolen 
from me by the first effeminate fopling my silly mother invited 

280 tlount Royal. 

to Mount Royal. I had never imagined myself with any othe? 
woman for my wife — never really cared for any other woman.' 

This was the bent of Mr. Tregonell's reflections as he sat in 
his place at that animated assembly, adding nothing to its mirth, 
or even to its noise ; albeit in the past his voice had ever been 
loudest, his laugh most resonant. He felt more at his ease after 
dinner, when the women had left — the brilliant de Cazalet 
slipping away soon after them, although not until he had finished 
his host's La Rose — and when Mr. St. Aubyn expanded himself 
in county talk, enlightening the wanderer as to the progress of 
events during his absence — while Mr. FitzJesse sat blandly 
puffing his cigarette, a silent observer of the speech and gestures 
of the county magnate, speculating, from a scientific point of 
view, as to how much of this talk were purely automatic — an 
inane drivel which would go on just the same if half the Squire's 
brain had been scooped out. Jack Vandeleur smoked and drank 
brandy and w; ter, while little Monty discoursed to him, in 
confidential tonus, upon the racing year which was now expiring 
at Newmarket — the men who had made pots of money, and the 
men who had been beggared for life. There seemed to be no 
medium between those extremes. 

When the host rose, Captain Vandeleur was for an imme- 
diate adjournment to billiards, but, to his surprise, Leonard 
walked off to the drawing-room. 

' Aren't you coming 1 ' asked Jack, dejectedly. 

' Not to-night. I have been too long away from feminine 
society not to appreciate the novelty of an evening with ladies. 
You and Monty can have the table to yourselves, unless Mr. 
FitzJesse ' 

' I never play,' replied the gentle journalist ; ' but I rather 
like sitting in a billiard-room and listening to the conversation 
of the players. It is always so full of ideas.' 

Captain Vandeleur and Mr. Montagu went their way, and 
the other men repaired to the drawing-room, whence came the 
sound of the piano, and the music of a rich baritone, trolling out 
a popular air from the most fashionable opera-bouffe — that one 
piece which all Paris was bent upon hearing at the same moment, 
whereby seats in the little Boulevard theatre were selling at a 
ridiculous premium. 

De Cazalet was singing to Mrs. Tregonell's accompaniment — 
a patois song, with a refrain which would have been distinctly 
indecent, if the tails of all the words had not been clipped off, 
so as to reduce the language to mild idiocy. 

' The ki ad of song one could fancy being fashionable in the 
decline of the Roman Empire,' said FitzJesse, ' when Apuleius 
was writing his " Golden Ass," don't you know.' 

After the song came a duet from ' Traviata,' in which 
Christabel sang with a dramatic power which Leonard never 
renienibeioi t>o have heard from her before. The two voices 

i will have no Mercy on Him. 281 

harmonized admirably, and there were warm expressions ot 
delight from the listeners. 

1 Very accomplished man, de Cazalet,' said Colonel Blathwayt; 
1 uncommonly useful in a country house — sings, and plays, and 
recites, and acts — rather puify and short-winded in his elocution 
— if he were a horse one would call him a roarer — but always 
ready to amuse. Quite an acquisition.' 

' Who is he 1 ' asked Leonard, looking glum. ' My wife 
picked him up in Switzerland, I hear — that is to say, he seems 
to have made himself agreeable — or useful — to Mrs. Tregonell 
and Miss Bridgeman ; and in a moment of ill-advised hospitality, 
my wife asked him here. Is he received anywhere ? Does any- 
body know anything about him ] ' 

' He is received in a few houses — rich houses where the 
hostess goes in for amateur acting and tableaux vivants, don't 
you know ; and people know a good deal about him — nothing 
actually to his detriment. The man was a full-blown adventurer 
when he had the good luck to get hold of a rich wife. lie pays 
his way now, I believe ; but the air of the adventurer hangs 
round him still. A man of Irish parentage — brought up in 
Jersey. What can you expect of him V 

' Does he drink ! ' 

' Like a fish — but his capacity to drink is only to be estimated 
by cubic space — the amount he can hold. His brain and con- 
stitution have been educated up to alcohol. Nothing can touch 
him further.' 

' Colonel Blathwayt, we want you to give us the " Wonderful 
One-Horse Shay," and after that, the Baron is going to recite 
"James Lee's Wife," said Mrs. Tregonell, while her guests 
ranged themselves into an irregular semicircle, and the useful 
Miss Bridgeman placed a prie-dieu chair in a commanding 
position for the reciter to lean upon gracefully, or hug con- 
vulsively in the more energetic passages of his recitation. 

' Everybody seems to have gone mad,' thought Mr. Tregonell, 
as he seated himself and surveyed the assembly, all intent and 

His wife sat near the piano with de Cazalet bending over her, 
talking in just that slightly lowered voice which gives an idea of 
confidential relation, yet may mean no more than a vain man's 
desire to appear the accepted worshipper of a beautiful woman. 
Never had Leonard seen Angus Hamleigh's manner so dis- 
tinctively attentive as was the air of this Hibernian adventurer. 

' Just the last man whose attentions I should have supposed 
she would tolerate,' thought Leonard ; ' but any garbage is food 
for a woman's vanity.' 

The ' Wonderful One-Horse Shay ' was received with laughter 
and delight. Dopsy and Mopsy were in raptures. 'How could 
a Lorrid American have written anything so clever ? _ But then 
it was Colonel Blathwayt's inimitable elocution which g ave a 

282 Mount Royal. 

charm to the whole thing. The poem was poor enough, no doubt 
if one read it to oneself. Colonel Blathwayt was adorably funny.' 

' It's a tremendous joke, as you do it,' said Mopsy, twirling 
her sunflower fan — a great yellow flower, like the sign of the 
Sun Inn, on a black satin ground. ' How delightful to be so 

'Now,for "James Lee's Wife,"' said the Colonel, who accepted 
the damsel's compliments for what they were worth. ' You'll 
have to be very attentive if you want to find out what the poem 
means ; for the Baron's delivery is a trifle spasmodic' 

And now de Cazalet stepped forward with a vellum-bound 
volume in his hand, dashed back his long sleek hair with a large 
white hand, glanced at the page, coughed faintly, and then 
began in thick hurried accents, which kept getting thicker and 
more hurried as the poem advanced. It was given, not in lines, 
but is spasms, panted out, till at the close the Baron sank 
exhausted, breathless, like the hunted deer when the hounds 
close round him. 

' Beautiful ! exquisite ! too pathetic ! ' exclaimed a chorus of 
feminine voices. 

' I only wish the Browning Society could hear that : they 
would be delighted,' said Mr. Faddie, who piqued himself upon 
being in the literary world. 

' It makes Browning so much easier to understand,' remarked 
Mr. FitzJesse, with his habitual placidity. 

' Brings the whole thing home to you — makes it ever so 
much more real, don't you know,' said Mrs. Torrington. 

' Poor James Lee ! ' sighed Mopsy. 

'Poor Mrs. Lee !' ejaculated Dopsy. 

' Did he die ? ' asked Miss St. Aubyn. 

' Did she run away from him 1 ' inquired her sister, the 
railroad pace at which the Baron fired off the verses having left 
all those among his hearers who did not know the text in a state 
of agreeable uncertainty. 

So the night wore on, with more songs and duets from opera 
and opera-bouffe. No more of Beethoven's grand bursts of 
melody — now touched with the solemnity of religious feeling — 
now melting in human pathos — now light and airy, changeful 
and capricious as the skylark's song— a very fountain of joyous 
fancies. Mr. Tregonell had never appreciated Beethoven, being 
indeed, as unmusical a soul as God ever created ; but he thought 
it a more respectable thing that his wife should sit at her pianc 
playing an order of music which only the privileged few could 
understand, than that she should delight the common herd by 
singing which savoured of music-hall and burlesque. 

' Is she not absolutely delicious 1 ' said Mrs. Torrington, 
beating time with her fan. ' How proud I should be of myself 
if I coidd sing like that. How proud you must be of your wife 
>— such verve — such Han — sc thoroughly in the spirit of tha 

*I icill have no Mp* m cy arc Him* 2S3 

thing. Tint is the only kind «i singing anybody really cares 
for now. Oue goes to the opera to hear them scream through 
" Loheni'rin " — oi "Tannhauser " — and then one goes into society 
and talks about Wagner — but it is music like this one enjoys.' 

1 Yes, it's rather jolly,' said Leonard, staring moodily at his 
wife, in the act of singing a refrain of Be-b6-be, which was 
supposed to represent the bleating of an innocent lamb. 

And the Baron's voice goes so admirably with Mrs 

1 Yes, his voice goes— admirably,' said Leonard, sorely 
tempted to blaspheme. 

' Weren't you charmed to find us all so gay and bright here — 
nothing to suggest the sad break-up you had last year. I felt so 
intensely sorry for you all — yet I was selfish enough to be glad 
I had left before it happened. Did they — don't think me morbid 
for asking — did they bring him home here ? ' 

' Yes, they brought him home.' 

'And in which room did they put him? One always wants 
to know these things, though it can do one no good.' 

' In the Blue Room.' 

'The second from the end of the corridor, next but one t< > 
mine ; that's rather awfully near. Do you believe in spiritual 
influences? Have you ever had a revelation? Good gracious? 
is it really so late ? Everybody seems to be going.' 

' Let me get your candle,' said Leonard, eagerly, making a 
dash for the hall. And so ended his first evening at home with 
that imbecile refrain — B e-be-be, repeating itself in his ears. 



When Mr. Tregonell came to the breakfast room next morning 
he found everybody alert with the stir and expectation of an 
agreeable day. The Trevena harriers were to meet for the first 
time this season, and everybody was full of that event. Chris- 
tabel, Mrs. Torrington, and the St. Aubyu girls were breakfasting 
in their habits and hats : whips and gloves were lying about on 
chairs and side-tables — everybody was talking, and everybody 
seemed in a hurry. De Cazalet looked gorgeous in olive corduroy 
and Newmarket boots. Mr. St. Aubyn looked business-like in 
a well-worn red coat and mahogany tops, while the other men 
inclined to dark shooting jackets, buckskins, and Napoleons 
Mr. FitzJesse, in a morning suit that savoured of the studv 
ratht-r than the hunting field, contemplated these Nimrods with 
an amuscii entile ; but the Reverend St. Bernard beheld them 
not without pangs of envy. He, too, had been ir. Arcadia ; he, 

34 Mount Roy at. 

<o, had followed the hounds in his green Oxford days, before 
i joined that band of young Anglicans who he doubted not 
ould by-and-by be aa widely renowned as the heroes of the 
ractarian movement. 

' You are going to the meet ? ' inquired Leonard, as his wife 
aided him his coflee. 

' Do you think I would take the trouble to put on my habit 
i order to ride from here to Trevena 1 ' exclaimed Christabel. 
[ am going with the rest of them, of course. Emily St. Aubyn 
ill show me the way.' 

' But you have never hunted.' 

' Because your dear mother was too nervous to allow me. 
' ut I have ridden over every inch of the ground. I know my 
irse, and my horse knows me. You needn't be afraid.' 

' Mrs. Tregonell is one of the finest horsewomen I ever saw,' 
id de Cazalet. 'It is a delight to ride by her side. Are not 
>u coming with us ? ' he asked. 

' Yes, I'll ride after you,' said Leonard. ' I forgot all about 
e harriers. Nobody told me they were to begin work thia 

The horses were brought round to the porch, the ladies put 
t their gloves, and adjusted themselves in those skimpy lop- 
led petticoats which have replaced the flowing drapery of the 
.rk ages when a horsewoman's legs and boots were in some- 
ise a mystery to the outside world. 

Leonard went out to look at the horses. A strange horse 
ould have interested him even on his death bed, while one ray 
consciousness yet remained to recognize the degrees of equine 
rength and quality. He overhauled the mare which Major 
•ee had chosen for Christabel a month ago — a magnilicent 
ree-quarter bred hunter, full of power. 

' Do you think she can carry me ? ' asked Christabel. 

' She could carry a house. Yes ; you ought to be safe upon 
:r. Is that big black brute the Baron's horse 1 ' 


' I thought^ so — a coarse clumsy beast, all show,' muttered 
eonard : ' like master, like man.' 

He turned away to examine Colonel Blathwayt's hunter, a 
>od looking chestnut, and in that moment the Baron had taken 
p his ground by Christabel's mare, and was ready to lift her 
.to the saddle. She went up as lightly as a shuttlecock from 

battledore, scarcely touching the corduroy shoulder — but 
eonard felt angry with the Baron for usurping a function 
hich should have been left for the husband. 

' Is Betsy Baker in condition 1 ' he asked the head groom, ai 
ie party rode away, de Cazalet on Mrs. Tregonell's right hand. 

< Splendid, sir. She only wants work.' 

'Gtet her ready as quick as you can I'll take it out of her.' 

Mr. Tregonell kept his word. Wherever de Cazalet and 

' Gai Done, La Voyageuse, Au Coup Du Pelerin ! ' 2S~ 

Christahel rode that day, ChiTstabel's husband wont with th*nj 
The Baron was a bold, bad rider — reckless of himself, brutal U 
his horse. Christabel rode superbly, and was superbly mounted. 
Those hills which seemed murderous to the stranger, were as 
nothing to her, -who had galloped up and down them on her 
Shetland pony, and had seldom ridden over better ground from 
the time when Major Bree first took her out with a leadingrein. 
The day was long, and there was plenty of fast going — but these 
three were always in the front. Yet even the husband's 
immediate neighbourhood in no wise lessened the Baron's 
marked attention to the wife, and Leonard rode homeward pt 
dusk sorely troubled in spirit. "What did it mean 1 Could it 
be that she, whose conduct last year had seemed without 
reproach ; who had borne herself with matronly dignity, with 
virginal purity towards the lover of her girlhood— the refined 
and accomplished Angus Hamleigh — could it be that she had 
allowed herself to be involved in a flirtation with such a tinsel 
dandy as this de Cazalet ? 

' It would be sheer lunacy,' he said to himself. 'Perhaps she 
is carrying on like this to annoy me — punishing me for ' 

He rode home a little way behind those other two, full of 
vexation and bewilderment. Nothing had happened of which 
he could reasonably complain. He could scarcely kick this man 
out of his house 1 lecause he inclined his head at a certain angle — 01 
because be dropped his voice to a lower key when he spoke to 
( hristabel. Yet his very attitude in the saddle as he rode on 
ahead — his hand on his horse's flank, his figure turned towards 
Christabel — wfte a provocation. 

Opera bouffe duets — recitations — acting charades — bouts rimes 
— all the catalogue of grown-up playfulness — began again after 
dinner ; but this evening Leonard did not stay in the drawing- 
room. He felt that he could not trust himself. His disgust 
must needs explode into some rudeness of speech if he remained 
to witness these vagaries. 

' I like the society of barmaids, and I can tolerate the com- 
pany of ladies,' he said to his bosom friend Jack ; but a mixture 
of the two is unendurable : so we'll have a good smoke and half- 
crown pool, shilling lives.' 

This was as much as to say, that Leonard and his other 
fm nds were about to render their half-crowns and shillings 
as tribute to Captain Vandeleur's superior play ; that gentleman 
having made pool his profession since he left the army. 

They played till midnight, in an atmosphere which grew 
thick with tobacco smoke before the night was done. They 
played till Jack Vandeleur's pockets were full of loose silver, and 
till the other men had come to the conclusion that pool was a 
slow game, with an element of childishness in it, at, the best- -no 
real skiii, only a mere mechanical knack, acquired by incessant 
pi t ice in fusty puUH-i rooms, reeking vrU u alcohol. 

286 Moun* Boyav. 

'Show me a man who plays like th;rt, and I'll show yon & 
scamp,' muttered little Monty in a friendly aside to Leonard* at 
Jack Vandeleur swept up the last pool. 

*• I know he's a scamp,' answered Leonard, 'but he's a pleasant 
reamp, and a capital fellow to trave.l with — never ill — never out 
»f temper — always ready for the day's work, whatever it is, and 
always able to make the best of things. Why dou't you marry 
one of his sisters 1 — they're both jolly good fellows.' 

' No coin,' said Monty, shaking his neat little flaxen head. 
' I can just contrive to keep myself — "still to be neat, still to be 
drest." What in mercy's name should I do with a wife who 
would want food and gowns, and stalls at the theatres ? I have 
been thinking that if those St. Aubyn girls have money — on the 
nail, you know, uot in the form of expectations from that pain- 
fully healthy father — I might think seriously of one of them. 
They are horridly rustic — smell of clover and beans, and would 
be likely to disgrace one in London society — but they are not 

' I don't think there's much ready money in that quarter, 
Monty,' answered Leonard. ' St. Aubyn has a good deal of land.' 

'Land,' screamed Monty. ' I wouldn't touch it with a pair 
of tongs ! The workhouses of the next century will be peopled 
by the offspring of the landed gentry. I shudder when I think 
of the country squire and his prospects.' 

'Hard lines,' said Jack, who had made that remark two or 
three times before in the course of the evening. 

They were silting round the fire by this time — smoking and 
drinking mulled Burgundy, and the conversation had become 

This night was as many other nights. Sometimes Mr. 
Tregonell tried to live through the evening in the drawing-room 
— enduring the society games — the Boulevard music — the reci- 
tations and tableaux and general frivolity — but he found these 
amusements hang upon his spirits like a nightmare. He watched 
his wife, but could discover nothing actually reprehensible in her 
conduct — nothing upon which he could take his stand as an 
outraged husband and say ' This shall not be.' If the Baron's 
devotion to her was marked enough for every one to see, and if 
her acceptance of his attentions was gracioi*? in the ext enie, his 
devotion and her graciousness were no more than he had seen 
everywhere accepted as the small change of society, meaning 
nothing, tending towards nothing but gradual satiety ; except in 
those few exceptional cases which ended in open scandal and 
took society by surprise. That which impressed Leonard was 
the utter change in his wife's character. It seemed as if her 
very nature were altered. Womanly tenderness, a gentle and 
subdued manner, had given place to a hard brilliancy. It was, 
as if he had lost a pearl, and found a diamond in its place — one 
all softness and purity, the other all sparkle and light. 

* Gai Done, La Voyageuse, Au Coup Du Pelerinf 287 

He was too proud to sue to her for any renewal of old confi- 
dences — to claim from her any of the duties of a wife. If she 
could live and be happy -without him — and he knew but too 
surely tlrat his presence, his affection, had never contributed to 
her happiness — he would let her see that he could live without 
her — that he was content to accept the position she had chosen — 
union which was no union — marriage that had ceased to bo 
marriage — a chain drawn out to its furthest length, yet held 6<j 
lightly that neither need feel the bondage. 

Everybody at Mount Royal was loud in praise of Christabel. 
She was so brilliant, so versatile, she made her house so utterly 
charming. This was the verdict of her new friends — but her 
old friends were less enthusiastic. Major Bree came to the 
Manor House very seldom now, and frankly owned himself a 
fish out of water in Mrs. Tregonell's new circle. 

' Everybody is so laboriously lively,' he said ; ' there is an 
air of forced hilarity. I sigh for the house as it was in your 
mother's time, Leonard. " A haunt of ancient peace." ' 

'There's not much peace about it now, by Jove,' said 
Leonard. ' Why did you put it into my wife's head to ride to 
hounds 1 ' 

' I had nothing to do with it. She asked me to choose her a 
hunter, and I chose her something good and safe, that's all 
But I don't think you ought to object to her hunting, Leonard, 
or to her doing anything else that may help to keep her in good 
spirits. She was in a very bad way all the winter.' 

' Do you mean that she was seriously ill ? Their letters to 

me were so d d short. I hardly know anything that went on 

while I was away.' 

' Yes. She was very ill — given over to melancholy. It was 
only natural that she should be affected by Angus Hamleigh'a 
death, when you remember what they had been to each other 
before you came home. A woman may break an engagement of 
that kind, and may be very happy in her union with another 
man, but she can't forget her first lover, if it were only because 
he is the first. It was an unlucky thing your bringing him to 
Mount Royal. One of your impulsive follies.' 

' Yes, one of my follies. So you say that Christabel was out 
of health and spirits all the winter.' 

' Yes, she would see no one — not even me — or the Rector. 
N'> one but the doctor ever crossed the threshold. But suiely 
Miss Bridgeman has told you all about it. Miss Bridgeman was 
de ■■ i ted to her.' 

' M iss Bridgeman is as close as the grave ; and I am not going 
to i! i elf by questioning her.' 

1 Well, there is no need to be unhappy about the past, 
herself again, thank God bi 
That Swiss tour with Miss Bridgeman and the boy did 
1 w< rlda of good. 1 thought you made a mistake in leaving 

288 Mount Boy at. 

her at Mount Royal after that melancholy event. Yon should 
have taken her with you.' 

' Perhaps I ought to have done so,' assented Leonard, think- 
ing bitterly how very improbable it was that she would have 
consented to go with him. 

He tried to make the best of his position, painful as it was. 
He blustered and hectored as of old — gave his days to field 
sports — his evenings for the most part to billiards and tobacco. 
He drank more than he had been accustomed to drink, sat np late 
of nights. His nerves were not benefited by these latter habits. 

' "Sour hand is as shaky as an old woman's,' exclaimed Jack, 
upon his opponent missing an easy cannon. 'Why, you might 
have done that with a boot jack. If you're not careful you'll be 
in for an attack of del. trem., and that will chaw you up in a 
very short time. A man of your stamina is the worst kind of 
subject for nervous diseases. We shall have you catching flies, 
and seeing imaginary snow-storms before long.' 

Leonard received this friendly warning with a scornful laugh. 

'De Cazalet drinks more, brandy in a day than I do in a 
week,' he said. 

'Ah, but look at his advantages — brought up in Jersey, 
where cognac is duty-free. None of us have had his fine training. 
Wonderful constitution he must have — hand as steady as a rock. 
You saw him this morning knock off a particular acorn from the 
oak in the stable yard with a bullet.' 

' Yes, the fellow can shoot ; he's less of an impostor than I 

' Wonderful eye and hand. He must have spent years of his 
life in a shooting gallery. You're a dooced good shot, Tregonell ; 
but, compared with him, you're not -in it.' 

' That's very likely, though I have had to live by my gun in 
the Rockies. FitzJesse told me that in South America de Cazalet 
was known as a professed duellist.' 

' And you have only shot four-footed beasts — never gone for 
a fellow creature,' answered Jack, lightly. 



If Leonard Tregonell was troubled and perplexed by the change 
in his wife's character, there was one other person at Moun 
Royal, Christabel's nearest and dearest friend, to whom that 
change was even a greater mystification. Jessie Bridgeman, 
who had been with her in the dark hours of her grief— who had 
Been her sunk in the apathy of despair — who had comforted and 
watched her, and sympathized and wept with her, looked on 
now in blank wonderment at a phase cf character which was 
altogeth er enigmatical. She ^h<* been with Mrs. Tregonell *.t 

'Time Turns the Old Days to Derision.' 280 

Zermatt, when de Cazalet had obtruded himself on their notice 
bv his officious attentions during a pilgrimage to the Eiffel, and 
Bhe had been bewildered at Christabel's civility to a man of such 
obvious bad style. He had stayed at the same hotel with them 
for three or four days, and had given them as much of his society 
as he could without being absolutely intrusive, taking advantage 
of having met Christabel five seasons ago, at two or three quasi 
literary assemblies ; and at parting Christabel had invited him 
to Mount Royal. 'Mr. Tregonell will be at home in the autumn,' 
she said, ' and if you should find yourself in Cornwall ' — he had 
talked of exploring the "West of England — ' I know he would be 
glad to see you at Mount EoyaL' 

When Jessie hinted at the unwisdom of an invitation to a 
maD of whom they knew so little, Christabel answered carelessly 
that ' Leonard liked to have his house full of lively people, and 
would no doubt be pleased with the Baron de Cazalet.' 
1 You used to leave him to choose his own visitors.' 
' I know ; but I mean to take a more active part in Lie 
arrangement of things in future. I am tired of being a cipher.' 
' Did you hear those people talking of the Baron at table d'hote 
yesterday ? ' 

' I heard a little — I was not particularly attentive.' 
'Then perhaps you did not hear that he is a thorough 
Bohemian — that he led a very wild life in South America, and 
was a notorious duellist.' 

' What can that matter to us, even if it is true V 
It seemed to Jessie that Christabel's whole nature underwent 
a change, and that the transformation dated from her acquaint- 
ance with this man. They were at the end of their tour at the 
time of this meeting, and they came straight through to Paris, 
where Mrs. Tregonell abandoned herself to frivolity — going to 
all the theatres — buying all the newest and lightest music — 
spending long mornings with milliners and dressmakers — 
equandering money upon fine rlothes, which a year ago she 
would have scorned to wear. Hitherto her taste had tended to 
simplicity of attire — not without richness — for she was too much 
of an artist not to value the artistic effects of costly fabrics, he 
beauty of warm colouring. But she now pursued that Will o' the 
Wisp fashion from Worth to Pingat, and bought any number of 
gowns, some of which, to Miss Bridgeman's severe taste, seemed 
simply odious. 

' Do you intend spending next season in May Fair, and do 
you expect to be asked to a good many fancy balls V asked 
", as Mrs. Tregonell's maid exhibited the gowns in the 
spacious bed-room at the Bristol. 

ressie. These are all dinner gowns. Them 1 ' 
variety of modern fashion is its chief merit. The style of to-day 
embraces three centuries of the past, from Catherine de Med>'-'- 
to Madame Rccamier.' 

290 Mount Royal. 

At one of the Boulevard theatres Mrs. Tregoncll and Mis. 
Bridgeman met Mr. FitzJesse, who was also returning from a 
summer holiday. He was Angus Hamleigh's friend, and had 
known Christabel during the happy days of her first London 
season. It seemed hardly strange that she should be glad to 
meet him, and that she should ask him to Mount Eoyal. 

And now I must have some women to meet these men,' she 
said, when she and Jessie were at home again, and the travelled 
infant had gone back to his nursery, and had inquired why the 
hills he saw from his windows were no longer white, and why 
the sea was so much bigger than the lakes he had seen lately. 
' I mean to make the house as pleasant as possible for Leonard 
when he comes home.' 

She and Jessie were alone in the oak-panelled parlour — the 
room with the alcove overlooking the hills and the sea. They 
were seated at a little table in this recess — Christabel's desk open 
before her — Jessie knitting. 

1 How gaily you speak. Have you ' 

She was going to say, ' Have you forgiven him lor what was 
done at St. Nectan's Kieve?' but she checked herself when the 
words were on her lips. What if Leonard's crime was not for- 
given, but forgetten ? In that long dreary winter they had 
never spoken of the manner of Angus Hamleigh's death. Chris - 
tabel's despair had been silent. Jessie had comforted her with 
vague words which never touched upon the cruel details of her 
grief. How if the mind had been affected by that long interval 
of sorrow and the memory of Leonard's 'deed blotted out? 
Christabel's new delight in frivolous things— her sudden fancy 
for filling her house with lively people— might be the awakening 
of new life and vigour in a mind that had trembled on the con^ 
fines of madness. Was it for her to recall bitter facts — to reopen the 
fountain of tears 1 She gave one little sigh for the untimely dead 
»—and then addressed herself to the duty of pleasing Christabel, 
just as in days gone by her every effort had been devoted to 
making the elder Mrs. Tregonell happy. 

' I suppose you had better ask Mrs. Fairfax Torrington,' she 

' Yes, Leonard and she are great chums. We must have 
Mrs. Torrington. And there are the St. Aubyns, nice lively 
girls, and an inoffensive father and mother. I believe Leonard 
rather likes them. And then it will be a charity to have Dopsy 
and Mopsy.' 

' I thought you detested them.' 

' No, poor foolish things — I was once sorry for Dopsy.' The 
tears rushed to her eyes. She rose suddenly from her chair, and 
went to the window. 

' Then she has not forgotten,' thought Jessie. 

So it was that the autumn party was planned. Mr. Faddie 
^as doing duty at the little church in the glen, and thus 

' Tone Turns the Old Days to Derision. 29 1 

happened to be in the way of an invitation. Mr. Montagu was 
asked as a person of general usefulness. The St. Aubyn party 
brought horses, and men and maids, and contributed much to 
the liveliness of the establishment, so far as noise means gaiety. 
They were all assembled when Baron de Cazalet telegraphed from 
a yacht off the.Lizard to ask if he might come, and, receivingafavour- 
able reply, lauded at Penzance, and posted over with his valet ; his 
horse and gun cases were brought from London by another servant. 

Leonard had been home nearly a fortnight, and had begun 
to accept this new mode of life without further wonder, and to 
fall into his old ways, and find some degree of pleasure in his old 
occupations — hunting, shooting. 

The Vandeleur girls were draining the cup of pleasure to 
the dregs. Dopsy forgot her failure and grief of last year. One 
cannot waste all one's life in mourning for a lover who waa 
never in love with one. 

' I wore bugles for him all last winter, and if I had been able 
to buy a new black gown I would have kept in mourning for 
six months,' she told her sister apologetically, as if ashamed of 
her good spirits, 'but I can't help enjoying myself in such a 
house as this. Is not Mr° Tregonell changed for the better V 

' Everything is change for the better,' assented Mopsy. 
' If we had only horses and could hunt, like those stuck up St. 
Aubyn girls, life would be perfect.' 

' They ride well, I suppose,' said Dopsy, ' but they are dread- 
fully arricrces. They haven't an aesthetic idea. When I told 
them we had thoughts of belonging to the Browning Society, that 
eldest one asked me if it was like the Birkbeek, and if we should 
be able to buya house rentfree by monthly instalments. And the 
youngest said that sunflowers were only fit for cottage gardens.' 

'And the narrow-minded mother declared she could se3 no 
beauty in single dahlias,' added Dopsy, with ineffable disgust. 

The day was hopelessly wet, and the visitors at Mount Royal 
were spending the morning in that somewhat straggling manner 
common to people who are in somebody else's house — impressed 
with a feeling that it is useless to settle oneself even to the 
interesting labour of art needlework when one is not by one's 
own fireside. The sportsmen were all out ; but de Cazalet, the 
Rev. St. Bernard, and Mr. FitzJesse preferred the shelter of a 
well-wanned Jacobean mansion to the wild sweep of the wind 
across the moor, or the dash of the billows. 

' I have had plenty of wild life on the shores of the Pacific,' 
Baid de Cazalet, luxuriating in a large green plush arm-chair, our, 
of the anachroni ra i of the grave old binary. ' At home I revel 
in civilization — I cannot have too much of warmth i.nd 
comfort — velvety nests like this to lounge in, downy cushions to 
lean against, ho1 house flowers, and French cookery. Delicious 1 1 
bearlhe rain beating against the glass, and the wind howling in the 
chimney. Put another log on Faddie. like the best of fellows.' 

392 Mount Royal. 

The Reverend St. Bernard, not much appreciating this 
familiarity, daintily picked a log from the big brazen basket 
and dropped it in a gingerly manner upon the hearth, carefully 
dusting his fingers afterwards with a cambric handkerchief 
tvhich sent forth odours of Marechale. 

Mr. FitzJesse was sitting at a distant table, with a large 
despatch box and a pile of open letters before him, writing at 
railway speed, in order to be in time for the one o'clock post. 

'He is making up his paper,' said de Cazalet, lazily contem- 
plating the worker's bowed shoulders. ' I wonder if he is saying 
anything about us.' 

' 1 am happy to say that he does not often discuss church 
tiatteis,' said Mr. Faddie. ' He shows his good sense by a 
eareful avoidance of opinion upon our difficulties and our 

' Perhaps he doesn't think them worth discussing-^of no more 
consequence than the shades of difference between tweedledum 
and twedledee,' yawned de Cazalet, whereupon Mr. Faddie gave 
him a look of contemptuous anger, and left the room. 

Mr. FitzJesse went away soon afterwards with his batch of 
letters for the post-bag in the hall, and the Baron was left alone 
in listless contemplation of the fire. He had been in the drawing 
room, but had found that apartment uninteresting by reason of 
Mrs. Tregonell's absence. He did not care to sit and watch 
the two Miss St. Aubyns playing chess — nor to hear Mrs. Fairfax 
Torrington dribbling out stray paragraphs from the 'society 
journals ' for the benefit of nobody in particular — nor to listen 
to Mrs. St. Aubyn's disquisitions upon the merits of Alderney 
cows, with which Jessie Bridgeman made believe to be 
interested, while deep in the intricacies of a crewel-work dafibdiL 
For him the spacious pink and white panelled room without one 
particular person was more desolate than the wild expanse of 
the Pampas, with its low undlations, growing rougher towards 
the base of the mountains. He had come to the library — an 
apartment chiefly used by the men — to bask in the light of the 
fire, and to brood upon agreeable thoughts. The meditations of 
a man who has a very high opinion of his own merits are 
generally pleasant, and just now Oliver de Cazalet's idea about 
himself were unusually exalted, for had he not obviously made 
\he conquest of one of the most charming women he had 
ever met. 

'A pity she has a husband,' he thought. 'It would have 
suited me remarkably well to drop into such a luxurious nest as 
this. The boy is not three years old — by the time he came of 
age — well — I should have lived my life, I suppose, and could 
afford to subside into comfortable obscurity,' sighed de Cazalet; 
conscious of his forty years. ' The husband looks uncommonly 
tough ; but even Hercules was mortal. One never knows how 
or when a man of that stamp may go off the hooks,' 

Time Turns the. Old Bays to Derision.' 293 

Itit-^e pleasing reflections were disturbed by the entrance of 
Mopsy, who, after prowling all over the hous* in quest of mas- 
culine society, came yawning into the library in search of any- 
thing readable in the way of a newspaper — a readable paper 
with Mopsy meaning theatres, fashions, or scandal. 

She gave a little start at sight of de Cazalet, whose stalwart 
form and florid good looks were by no means obnoxious to her 
taste. If he had not been so evidently devoted to Mrs. Tregonell, 
Mopsy would have perchance essayed his subjugation ; but, re- 
membering Dopsy's bitter experience of last year, the saddor and 
wiser Miss Vandeleur had made up her mind not to 'go for' any 
marriageable man in too distinct a manner. She would play 
that fluking game which she most affected at billiards — sending 
her ball spinning all over the table with the hope that some 
successfnl result must come of a vigorous stroke. 

She fluttered about the room, then stopped in a Fra Angelico 
pose over a table strewed with papers. 

'Baron, have you seen the Queen?' she asked presently. 

'Often. I had the honour of making my bow to her last 
April. She is one of the dearest women I know, and she was 
good enough to feel interested in my somewhat romantic career.' 

' How nice ! But I mean the Queen newspaper. I am dying 
to know if it really is coming in. Now it has been seen in Paris, 
I'm afraid it's inevitable.' 

' May I ask what it is 1 ' 

1 Perhaps I oughtn't to mention it — crinoline. There is a talk 
about something called a crinolette.' 

' And Crinolette, I suppose, is own sister to Crinoline ! ' 

' I'm afraid so — don't you hate them ? I do ; I love the early 
Italian style — clinging cashmeres, soft flowing draperies.' 

' And accentuated angles — well, yes. If one has to ride in 
a hansom or a single brougham with a woman the hoop and 
powder style is rather a burthen. But women are such lovely 
beings — they are adorable in any costume. Madame Tallien 
with bare feet, and no petticoats to speak of — Pompadour in 
patches and wide-spreading brocade — Margaret of Orleans in a 
peaked head dress and puffed sleeves — Mary Stuart in a black 
velvet coif, and a ruff — each and all adorable — on a pretty 

' On a pretty woman — yes. The pretty women set the fashions 
and the ugly women have to wear them — that's the difficulty.' 

' Ah, me,' sighed the Baron, ' did any one ever see an ugly 
woman ? There are so many degrees of beauty that it takes a 
long time to get from Venus to her opposite. A smile — a sparkle 
— a kindly look — a fresh complexion — a neat bonnet — vivacious 
conversation — such trifles will pass for beauty with a man who 
worships the sex. For him every flower in the garden of woman- 
hood, from the imperial rose to the lowly buttercup, has its own 
Decuiiar charm.' 

294 Mount Boyah 

' And yet I should have thought you were awfully fastidious, 
said Mopsy, trilling with the newspapers, *<*nd that nothing 
short of absolute perfection would please you.' 

' Absolute perfection is generally a bore. I have met famous 
beauties who had no more attraction than if they had beeu 
famous statues.' 

' Yes ; I know there is a cold kind of beauty — but there are 
women who are as fascinating as they are lovely. Our hostess, 
for instance — don't you think her utterly sweet? ' 

' She is very lovely. Do come and sit by the fire. It is such 
a creepy morning. I'll hunt for any newspapers you like 
presently ; but in the meanwhile let us chat. I was getting 
horribly tired of my own thoughts when you came in.' 

Mopsy simpered, and sat down in the easy chair opposite the 
Baron's. She began to think that this delightful person admired 
her more than she had hitherto supposed. His desire for her 
company looked promising. What if, after all, she, who had 
striven so much less eagerly than poor Dopsy strove last year, 
should be on the high road to a conquest. Here was the 
handsomest man she had ever met, a man with title and money, 
courting her society in a house full of people. 

' Yes, she is altogether charming,' said the Baron lazily, as if 
he were talking merely for the sake of conversation. ' Very 
sweety as you say, but not quite my style — there is a something 
— an intangible something wanting. ' She has chic — she has 
savoir-faire, but she has not — no, she has not that electrical wit 
which — I have admired in others less conventionally beautiful.' 

The Baron's half-veiled smile, a smile glancing from under 
lowered eyelids, hinted that this vital spark which was wanting 
in Christabel might be found in Mopsy. 

The damsel blushed, and looked down conscious of eyelashes 
artistically treated. 

' I don't think Mrs. Tregonell has been quite happy in her 
married life,' said Mopsy. ' My brother and Mr. Tregonell are 
very old friends, don't you know ; like brothers, in fact ; and 
Mr. Tregonell tells Jack everything. I know his cousin didn't 
want to marry him — she was engaged to somebody else, don't 
ou know, and that engagement was broken off, but he had set 
is heart upon marrying her — and his mother had set her heart 
upon the match — and between them they talked her into it. 
She never really wanted to marry him — Leonard has owned 
that to Jack in his savage moods. But I ought not to run ou so 
— I am doing very wrong' — said Mopsy, hastily. 

' You may say anything you please to me. I am like tha 
grave. I never give up a secret,' said the Baron, who had 
settled himself comfortably in his chair, assured that Mopsy 
once set going, would tell him all she could tell. 

1 No, I don't believe — from what Jack says hp savs in hia 
tempers— I don't believe she ever liked him,' pursued Mops.y. 


' Time Turns tlie Old Days to Derision.' % /i)o 

'And she was desperately in love with the other one. But she 
s;ave him up at her aunt's instigation, because of some early 
intrigue of his — which was absurd, as she would have known, 
poor thing, if she had not been brought up in this out-of-the-way 
corner of the world.' 

' The other one. Who was the other one ? ' asked the Baron. 

'The man who was shot at St. Nectan's Kieve last year. 
You must have heard the story.' 

' Yes ; Mr. St. Aubyn told me about it. And this Mr. 
Hamleigh had been engaged to Mrs. Tregonell 1 Odd that he 
should be staying in this house ! ' 

' Wasn't it ? One of those odd things that Leonard Tregonell 
is fond of doing. He was always eccentric. 

' And during this visit was there anything — the best of women 
are mortal — was there anything in the way of a flirtation going 
on between Mrs. Tregonell and her former sweetheart 1 ' 

' Not a shadow of impropriety,' answered Mopsy heartily. 
1 She behaved perf ectly. I knew the story from my brother, and 
couldn't help watching them — there was nothing underhand — not 
the faintest indication of a secret understanding between them.' 

' xind Mr. Tregonell was not jealous ? ' 

' I cannot say ; but I am sure he had no cause.' 

1 1 suppose Mrs. Tregonell was deeply affected by Mr. Ham- 
leigh's death ? ' 

' I hardly know. She seemed wonderfully calm ; but as we 
left almost immediately after the accident I had not much 
opportunity of judging.' 

' A sad business. A lovely woman married to a man she 
does not care for — and really if I were not a visitor under his 
roof I should be tempted to say that in my opinion no woman 
in her senses could care for Mr. Tregonell. But I suppose after 
all practical considerations had something to do with the match. 
Tregouell is lord of half-a-dozen manors — and the lady hadn't 
a sixpence. Was that it ? ' 

'Not at alL Mrs. Tregonell has money in her own right 
She was the only child of an Indian judge, and her mother was 
co-heiress with the late Mrs. Tregonell, who was a Miss Cham- 
peruowne — I believe she has at least fifteen hundred a year, 
upon which a single woman might live very comfortably, don't 
you know,' concluded Miss Vandeleur, with a grand air. 

' No doubt,' said the Baron. ' And the fortune was settled 
on herself, I conclude 1 ' 

' Every shilling. Mr. Tregonell's mother insisted upon that. 
No doubt she felt it her duty to protect her niece's interest. 
Mr. Tregonell has complained to Jack of his wife being so 
independent. It lessens his hold upon her, don't you see.' 

' Naturally. She is not under any obligation to him for her 
milliner's bills.' 

'No. And her bills must be awfully heavy this year. I 

29b Mount Royal. 

never saw such a change in any one. Last autumn she dressed 
so simply. A tailor-gown in the morning — black velvet or sal iu 
in the evening. And now there is no end to the variety of her 
gowns. It makes one feel awfully shabby.' 

' Such artistic toilets as yours can never be shabby,' said the 
Baron. ' In looking at a picture by Greuze one does not think 
how much a yard the pale indefinite drapery cost, one only sees 
the grace and beauty of the draping.' 

' True ; taste will go a long way,' assented Mopsy, who had 

been trying for the last ten years to make taste — that is to say 

a careful study of the West-end shop windows — do duty for cash 

' Then you find Mrs. Tregonell changed since your last visit 1 

inquired de Cazalet, bent upon learning all he could. 

' Remarkably. She is so much livelier — she seems so much 
more anxious to please. It is a change altogether for the better. 
She seems gayer — brighter — happier.' 

' Yes,' thought the Baron, ' she is in love. Only one 
magician works such wonders, and he is the oldest of the gods 
— the motive power of the universe.' 

The gong sounded, and they went off to lunch. At the foot 
of the stairs they met Christabel bringing down her boy. She 
was not so devoted to him as she had been last year, but there 
were occasions — like this wet morning, for instance — when she 
gave herself up to his society. 

' Leo is going to eat his dinner with us,' she said, smiling at 
the Baron, ' if you will not think him a nuisance.' 

' On the contrary, I shall be charmed to improve his acquaint- 
ance. I hope he will let me sit next him.' 

' Thant,' lisped Leo,' decisively. ' Don't like oo.' 
' Oh, Leo, how rude.' 

' Don't reprove him,' said the Baron. ' It is a comfort to be 
reminded that for the first three or four years of our lives we all 
tell the truth. But I mean you to like me, Leo, all the same.' 

' I hate 'oo,' said Leo, frankly — he always expressed himself 
in strong Saxon English — ' but 'oo love my mamma.' 

This, in a shrill childish treble, was awkward for the rest of 
the party. Mrs. Fairfax Torrington gave an arch glance at Mr. 
Fitz Jesse. Dopsy reddened, and exploded in a little spluttering 
laugh behind her napkin. Christabel looked divinely uncon- 
scious, smiling down at her boy, whose chair had been placed at 
the corner of the table close to his mother. 

4 St is a poet's privilege to worship the beautiful, Leo,' said 
the Baron, with a self-satisfied smirk. ' The old troubadour's 
right of allegiance to the loveliest — as old as chivalry.'' 

'And as disreputable,' said Fitz Jesse. 'If I had been one 
of the knights of old, and had found a troubadour sneaking 
about my premises, that troubadour's head should have been 
through his guitar before he knew where he was — or he should 
have discovered that my idea of a common chord was a halter. 

' Tims Tarns the Old Days to Derision.' 297 

But in our present age of ultra-refinement the social troubadour 
is a gentleman, and the worship of beauty one of the higher 
forms of culture.' 

The Baron looked at the journalist suspiciously. Bold as he 
was of speech and bearing, he never ventured to cross swords 
with Mr. FitzJesse. He was too much afraid of seeing an 
article upon his Jersey antecedents or his married life in leaded 
type in the Sling. 

Happily Mr. Tregonell was not at luncheon upon this par- 
ticular occasion. He had gone out shooting with Jack Vandeleur 
and little Monty. It was supposed to be a great year for wood- 
cock, and the Squire and his friends had been after the birds in 
every direction, except St. Neetan's Kieve. He had refused to go 
there, although it was a tradition that the place was a favourite 
resort of the birds. 

' Why don't you shoot, Mrs. Tregonell ? ' asked Mrs. Tor- 
rington ; 'it is just the one thing that makes life worth living in 
a country like this, where there is no great scope for hunting.' 

' I should like roaming about the hills, but I could never 
bring myself to hit a bird,' answered Christabel. 'I am too 
fond of the feathered race. I don't know why or what it is, but 
there is something in a bird which appeals intensely to one's 
pity. I have been more sorry than I can say for a dying 
sparrow ; and I can never teach myself to remember that birds 
are such wretchedly cruel and unprincipled creatures in their 
dealings with one another that they really deserve very little 
compassion from man.' 

' Except that man has the responsibility of knowing better, 
said Mr, FitzJesse. ' That infernal cruelty of the animal crea- 
tion is one of the problems that must perplex the gentle optimist 
who sums up his religion in a phrase of Pope's, and avows that 
whatever is, is right. Who, looking at the meek meditative 
countenance of a Jersey cow, those large stag-like eyes — Juno'a 
eyes — would believe that Mrs. Cow is capable of trampling a 
sick sister to death — nay, would look upon the op^i-wiion as a 
matter of course — a thing to be done for the good of society.' 

' Is there not a little moral trampling done by stag-eyed 
creatures of a higher grade,' asked Mrs. Torringtou. ' Let a 
woman once fall down in the mud, and there are plenty of her 
own sex ready to grind her into the mire. Cows have a coarser, 
more practical way of treating their fallen sisters, but the prin- 
ciple is the same, don't you know.' 

'I have always found man the more malignant animal,' said 
FitzJesse. ' At her worst a woman generally has a motive for 
the evil she does — some wrong to avenge — some petty slight to 
retaliate. A man stabs for the mere pleasure of stabbing. 
With him slander is one of the tine arts. Depend upon it your 
Crabtree i .; a more malevolent creature than Mrs. Candour — and 
the Candours wj aid not kill reputations if the Crabtrees did not 

298 Mount Royal. 

admire ana applaud the slaughter. For my own pare I believe 
that if there were no men in the world, women would be almost 
kind to each other.' 

The Baron did not enter into this discussion. He had no 
taste for any subject out of his own line, which was art and 
beauty. With character or morals he had nothing to do. He 
did not even pretend to listen to the discourse of the others, but 
amused himself with petting Leo, who sturdily repulsed his 
endearments. When he spoke it was to reply to Christabel's last 

' If you are fonder of roaming on the hills than of shooting. 
Mrs. Tregonell, why should we not organize a _ rambling party \ 
It is not too late for a picnic. Let us hold ourselves ready for 
the first bright day — perhaps, after this deluge, we shall have 
fine weather to-morrow — and organize a pilgrimage to Tintagel, 
with all the freedom of pedestrians, who can choose their own 
company, and are not obliged to sit opposite the person they 
least care about in the imprisonment of a barouche or a wagonette. 
Walking picnics are the only picnics worth having. You are a 
good walker, I know, Mrs. Tregonell ; and you, Mrs. Torrington, 
you can walk, I have no doubt.' 

The widow smiled and nodded. ' Oh, yes I am good for 
half-a-dozen miles, or so,' she said, wondering whether she 
possessed a pair of boots in which she could walk, most of her 
boots being made rather with a view to exhibition on a fender- 
stool or on the step of a carriage than to locomotion. ' But I 
think as I am not quite so young as I was twenty years ago, I 
had better follow you in the pony-carriage.' 

' Pony-carriage, me no pony-carriages,' exclaimed de Cazalet. 
' Ours is to be a walking picnic and nothing else. If you like to 
meet us as we come home you can do so — but none but pedes- 
trians shall drink our champagne or eat our salad — that salad 
which I shall have the honour to make for you with my own 
hands. Mrs. Tregonell.' 

Jessie Bridgeman looked at Christabel to see if any painful 
memory — any thought of that other picnic at Tintagel when 
Angus Hamleigh was still a stranger, and the world seemed made 
for gladness and laughter, would disturb her smiling serenity. 
But there was no trace of mournful recollection in that bright 
beaming face which was turned in all graciousness towards 
the Baron, who sat caressing Leo's curls, while the boy wriggled 
his plump shoiuders half out of his black velvet frock in palpable 
disgust at the caress. 

' Oh ! it will be too lovely — too utterly ouftish,' exclaimed 
Dopsy, who had lately acquired this last flower of speech — a 
word which might be made to mean almost anything, from the 
motive power which impels a billiard cue to the money that pays 
the player's losses at pcol — a word which is % substantive 02 
adjective according to the sDeaker's pleasure 

4 Thou shouldst come like a Fury.' 299 

'I suppose we shall be allowed to join you,' said Mopsy, ' we 
are splendid walkers.' 

'Of course — entry open to all weights and ages, with Mrs. 
Tregoneil's permission.' 

* Let it be your picnic, Baron, since it is your idea,' said 
Christabel ; ' my housekeeper shall take your orders about the 
luncheon, and we will all consider ourselves your guests.' 

' I shall expire if 1 am left out in the cold,' said Mis. 
Torrington. * You really must allow age the privilege of a pony- 
carriage. That delightful cob of Mrs. Tregoneil's understands 
me perfectly.' 

' Well, on second thoughts, you shall have the carriage,' said 
de Cazalet, graciously. ' The provisions can't walk. It shall be 
your privilege to bring them. We will have no servants. M r. 
Faddie, Mr. FitzJesse, and I will do all the fetching and carry- 
ing, cork-drawing, and salad-making.' 



When the shooting party came home to afternoon tea, Dopsy 
and Mopsy were both full of the picnic. The sun was sinking 
in lurid splendour ; there was every chance of a fine day to- 
morrow. De Cazalet had interviewed the housekeeper, and 
ordered luncheon. Mopsy went about among the men like a 
recruiting sergeant, telling them of the picnic, and begging them 
to join in that festivity. 

' It will be wretched for Dopsy and I ' — her grammar was 
weak, and she had a fixed idea that ' I' was a genteeler pronoun 
than ' me,' — ' if you don't all come,' she said to Colonel Blathwayt. 
' Of course the Baron will devote himself exclusively to Mrs. 
Tregonell. FitzJesse will go in the pony trap with Mrs. 
Torrington, and they'll have vivisected everybody they know 
before they get there. And I can't get on a little bit with Mr. 
Faddie, though he is awfully nice. I feel that if I were to let 
him talk to me an hour at a stretch I should be obliged to go 
and join some Protestant sisterhood and wear thick boots and 
too fearful bonnets for the rest of my days.' 

' And what would society do without Mopsy Vandeleur 1 ' 
asked the Colonel, smiling at her. ' I should enjoy a ramble 
with you above all things, but a picnic is such a confoundedly 
infantine business. I always feel a hundred years old when I 
attempt to be gay and frisky before dusk — feel as if I had been 
dead and come back to life again, as 3ome of the savage 1 ribea 
believe. However, if it will really please you, I'll give up the 
birds to-morrow, and join your sports.' 

' How sweet of you,' exclaimed Mopsy, with a thrilling look 
from under her painted lashes. ' The whole thing would be 
ghastly without you.' 


SUO Mount Boyau. 

'What's the rtw?' asked Leonard, turning his head upon 
the cushion of the easy chair in which he lolled at full length, 
to look up at the speakers as they stood a little way behind him. 

The master of Mount Eoyal was sitting by one fireplace, 
with a table and tea-tray all to himself ; while Mrs. Tregonell 
and her circle were grouped about the hearth at the opposite end 
of the hall. Jack Vandeleur and little Monty stood in front of 
the fire near their host, faithful adherents to the friend who fed 
them ; but all the rest of the party clustered round Christabel. 

Mopsy told Mr. Tregonell all about the intended picnic. 

■ It is to be the Baron's affair,' she said, gaily. ' He organized 
it, and he is to play the host. There are to be no carriages — 
except the pony-trap for Mrs. Torrington, who pinches her feet 
and her waist to a degree that makes locomotion impossible. 
We are all to walk except her. And I believe we are to have tea at 
the farm by St. Piran's well — a simple farmhouse tea in some dear 
old whitewashed room with a huge fireplace, hams and onions 
and things hanging from the rafters. Isn't it a lovely idea 1 ' 

' Very,' grumbled Leonard ; ' but I should say you could 
have your tea a great deal more comfortable here without being 
under an obligation to the farm people.' 

' Oh, but we have our tea here every afternoon,' said Mopsy. 
' Think of the novelty of the thing.' 

■ No doubt. And this picnic is the Baron's idea ! ' 

• His and Mrs. Tregonell's, they planned it all between them. 
And they are going to get up private theatricals for your birth- 

■ How kind,' growled Leonard, scowling at his teacup. 

' Isn't it sweet of them 1 They are going to play " Delicate 
Ground." He is to be Citizen Sangfroid and she Pauline — the 
husband and wife who quarrel and pretend to separate and are 
desperately fond of each other all the time, don't you know 1 It's 
a powder piece.' 

'A what?' 

' A play in which the people wear powdered wigs and patches, 
and all that kind of thing. How dense you are.' 

' I was born so, I believe. And in this powder piece Mrs. 
Tregonell and Baron de Cazalet are to be husband and wife, and 
quarrel and make friends again — eh ? ' 

' Yes. The reconciliation is awfully fetching. But you are 
not jealous, are you ?' 

' Jealous ? Not the least bit.' 

' That's so nice of you ; and you will come to our picnic to- 
morrow 1 ' 

1 1 think not.' 

' Why not 1 ' 

' Because the woodcock season is a short one, and I want to 
make the best use of my time.' 

• What a barbarian, to prefer any sport to our society , : ex* 

' Thoit sfwuldst come like a Fury. 301 

claimed Mopsy, coquettishly. 'For my part I Late (he very 
name of woodcock.' 

' Why ?' asked Leonard, looking at her keenly, with his dark, 
bright eyes ; eyes which had that hard, glassy brightness that 
Has always a cruel look. 

' Because it reminds me of that dreadful day last year when 
poor Mr. Hamleigh was killed. If he had not gone out wood- 
cock shooting he would not have been killed.' 

' No ; a man's death generally hinges upon something, 
answered Leonard, with a chilling sneer; 'no effect without a 
cause. But I don't think you need waste your lamentations 
upon Mr. Hamleigh ; he did not treat your sister particularly 

Mopsy sighed, and was thoughtful for a moment or two. 
Captain Vandeleur and Mr. Montague had strolled off to change 
their clothes. The master of the house and Miss Vandeleur 
were alone at their end of the old hall. Ripples of silvery 
laughter, and the souud of mirthful voices came from the group 
about the other fireplace, where the blaze of piled-up logs went 
roaring up the wide windy chimney, making the most magical 
changeful light in which beauty or its opposite can be seen. 

'Xo, he hardly acted fairly to poor Dopsy : he led her on, 
don't you know, and we both thought he meant to propose. It 
would have been such a splendid match for her — and I could 
have stayed with them sometimes.' 

' Of course you could. Sometimes in your case would have 
meant all the year round.' 

' And he was so fascinating, so handsome, ill as he looked, 
poor darling,' sighed Mopsy. ' 1 know Dop hadn't one mercenary 
feeling about him. It was a genuine case of spoons — she would 
have died for him.' 

'If he had wished it ; but men have not yet gone in for 
collecting corpses,' sneered Leonard. ' However poor the speci- 
men of your sex may be, they prefer the living subject — even 
the surgeons are all coming round to that.' 

' Don't be nasty,' protested Mopsy. ' I only meant to say 
that Dopsy really adored Angus Hamleigh for his own sake. I 
know how kindly you felt upon the subject — and that you 
wanted it to be a match.' 

'Yes, I did my best,' answered Leonard. 'I brought him 
nere, and gave you both your chance.' 

' And Jack said that you spoke very sharply to Mr. Hamleigh 
that last night.' 

' Yes, I gave him a piece of my mind. I toll him that ho 
had no right to come into my house and play fast and loose with 
my friend s siati 

'How did he take it?' 

'Pretty quietly.' 

' You did not Quarrel with him J ' 

302 Mount Royal. 

'No, it could hardly be called a quarrel. We were both too 
reasonable — understood each other too thoroughly,' answered 
Leonard, as he got up and we-nt off to his dressing-room, leaving 
Mopsy sorely perplexed bj an indescribable something in hi° 
tone and manner. Surely there must be some fatal meaning in 
that dark evil smile, which changed to so black a frown, and that 
deep sigh which seemed wrung from the very heart of the man : 
a man whom Mopsy had hitherto believed to be somewhat poorly 
furnished with that organ, taken in its poetical significance as a 
thing that throbs with love and pity. 

Alone in his dressing-room the lord of the Manor sat down 
in front of the fire with his boots on the hob, to muse upon the 
incongruity of his present position in his own house. A year 
ago he had ruled supreme, sovereign master of the domestic 
circle, obeyed and ministered to in all humility by a lovely and 
pure-minded wife. Now he was a cipher in his own house, the 
husband of a woman who was almost as strange to him as if he 
had seen her face for the first time on his return from South 
America. This beautiful brilliant creature, who held him at 
arm's length, defied him openly with looks and tones in which 
his guilty soul recognized a terrible meaning — looks and tones 
which he dare not challenge — this woman who lived only for 
pleasure, fine dress, frivolity, who had given his house the free- 
and-easv air of a mess-room, or a club — could this be indeed the 
woman he had loved in her girlhood, the fair and simple-minded 
wife whom his mother had trained for him, teaching her all good 
things, withholding all knowledge of evil. 

' I'm not going to stand it much longer,' he said to himself, 
with an oath, as he kicked the logs about upon his fire, and then 
got up to dross for the feast at which he always felt himself just 
the one guest who was not wanted. 

He had been at home three weeks — it seemed an age — an age 
of disillusion and discontent — and he had not yet sought any 
explanation with ChristabeL Nor yet had he dared to claim hi? 
right to be obeyed as a husband, to be treated as a friend 
and adviser. "With a strange reluctance he pat off the explana- 
tion from day to day, and in the meanwhile the aspect of life at 
Mount Eoyal was growing daily less agreeable to him. Could 
it be that this wife of his, whose purity and faith he had tried by 
the hardest test — the test of daily companionship with her first 
and only lover — was inclined to waver now — to play him false 
for so shallow a coxcomb, so tawdry a fine gentleman as Oliver 
de Cazalet. Not once, but many times within the past week lie 
had asked himself that question. Could it be 1 lie had heard 
strange stories — had known of queer cases of the falling away of 
good women from the path of virtue. He had heard of sober 
matrons — mothers of fair children, wivea of many years — the 
Cornelias of their circle, staking home, husband, children, 
honour, good iwme ; and troops of friends against the wild 

' Thai shouldst come like a Fury.' 803 

delirium of some new-born fancy, sudden, demoniac a3 the dance 
of death. The women who go wrong are not always the most 
likely women. It is not the trampled slave, the neglected and 
forlorn wife of a bad husband — but the pearl and treasure of a 
happy circle who takes the fatal plunge into the mire. The 
forlorn slave-wife stays in the dreary home and nurses her 
children, battles with her husband's creditors, consoles herself 
with church going and many praj'ers, fondly hoping for a future 
day in which Tom will find out that she is fairer and clearer than 
any of his false godesses, and come home repentant to the 
domestic hearth : while the good husband's idol, sated with 
legitimate worship, gives herself up all at once to the intoxication 
of unholy incense, and topples off her shrine. Leonard Tregonell 
knew that the world was full of such psychological mysteries ; 
and vet he could hardly bring himself to believe that Ciiristabel 
was one of the stuff that makes false wives, or that she could be 
won by such a third-rate Don Juan as the Baron de Cazalet. 

The dinner was a little noisier and gayer than usual to-night. 
Everyone talked, laughed, told anecdotes, let off puns, more or 
] - atrocious — except the host, who sat in his place an image of 
gloom. Happily Mrs. St. Aubyn was one of those stout, healthy, 
contented people who enjoy their dinner, and only talk about as 
much as is required for the assistance of digestion. She told 
prosy stories about her pigs and poultry — which were altogether 
superior, intellectually and physically, to other people's pigs and 
poultry — and only paused once or twice to exclaim, ' You are 
looking awfully tired, Mr. Tregonell. You must have overdone 
it to-day. Don't you take curacoa? I always do after ice 
pudding. It's so comforting. Do you know at the last dinner 
I was at before I came here the curagoa was ginger-brandy. 
Wasn't that horrid I People ought not to do such things.' 

Leonard suggested in a bored voice that this might have 
been the butler's' mistake. 

' I don't think so. I believe it was actual meanness — but I 
shall never take liqueur at that house again,' said Mrs. St. Aubyn, 
in an injured tone. 

1 Are you going to this picnic to-morrow 1 ' 

' I think not. I'm afraid the walk would be too much for me — 

and I am not fond enough of Mrs. Torrington to enjoy two hours' 

i-tete in a pony-carriage. My girls will go, of course. And I 

suppose you will be there,' added Mrs. St. Aubyn, with intention. 

' Xo, Vandeleur, Monty and I are going shooting.' 

'Well, if I were in your shoes and had such a pretty wife, I 
should not leave iier to go picnicing about the world with such 
an attractive, man as the Baron.' 

Leonard gave an uneasy little laugh, meant to convey the 
idea of supreme security. 

'I'm not je of de Cazalet,' he said. ' Surely you don't 

call him an attractive man.' 

,",04 Mount Royal. 

' Dangerously attractive,' replied Mrs. St. Aubyn, gazing at 
the distant Baron, whose florid good looks were asserting them- 
selves at the further end of the table, on Christabel's left hand 
— she had Mr. St. Aubyn's grey, contented face, glistening with 
dinner, on her right. ' He is just the kind of man I should 
have fallen in love with when I was your wife's age.' 

' Really,' exclaimed Leonard, incredulously. ' But I suppose 
after you married St. Aubyn, you left off falling in love.' 

' Of course. I did not put myself in the way of temptation. 
I should never have encouraged such a man — handsome, 
accomplished, unscrupulous — as Baron de Cazalet.' 

' I don't think his good looks or his unscrupulousness will 
make any difference to my wife,' said Leonard. ' She knows 
how to take care of herself.' 

' No doubt. But that does not release you from the duty 
of taking care. You had better go to the picnic' 

' My dear Mrs. St. Aubyn, if I were to go now, after what 
you have just said to me, you might suppose I was jealous of de 
Cazalet ; and that is just the one supposition I could not stand,' 
answered Leonard. ' It would take a dozen such fascinating 
men to shake my confidence in my wife : she is not an acquaint- 
ance of yesterday, remember : I have known her all my life.' 

' Mrs. St. Aubyn sighed and shook her head. She was one 
of those stupid well-meaning women whose mission in life is to 
make other people uncomfortable — with the best intentions. 
She kept a steady look-out for the approaching misfortunes of 
her friends. She was the first to tell an anxious mother that her 
youngest boy was sickening for scarlet fever, or that her eldest 
girl looked consumptive. She prophesied rheumatics and 
bronchitis to incautious people who went out in wet weather — 
she held it as a fixed belief that all her friends' houses were 
damp. It was in vain that vexed householders protested against 
such a suspicion, and held forth upon the superiority of their 
drainage, the felt under their tiles, their air bricks, and ven- 
tilators. 'My dear, your house is damp,' she would reply 
conclusively. ' What it would be if you had not taken those 
precautions I shudder to imagine— but I only know that I get 
the shivers every time I sit in your drawing-room, 

To-night she was somewhat offended with Mr. Tregonell that 
he refused to take alarm at her friendly warning, She had 
made up her mind that it was her duty to speak. She had told 
the girls so in the course of their afternoon constitutional, a 
private family walk. 

' If things get any worse I shall take you away,' she said, as 
they trudged along the lane in their waterproofs, caring very 
little for a soft drizzling rain, which was supposed to be good 
for their complexions. 

' Don't, mother,' said Emily. ' Clara and I are br.ving such & 
jolly time. Mrs. Tregonell is straight enough, I'm sure. She 

' His Lady Smiles : Delight is in her Face.' 305 

does flirt outrageously with the Baron, I admit ; but au open 
flirtation of that kind seldom means mischief ; and Mr. Tre- 
gonell is such a heavy clod-hopping fellow: his wife maybe forgiven 
for flirting a little.' 

1 Mrs. .Tregonell flirts more than a little,' replied Mrs. St. 
Aubyn. All I can say is, I don't like it, and I don' think it's a 
proper spectacle for girls.' 

' Then you'd better send us back to the nursery, mother, or 
shut us up in a convent,' retorted the younger of the damsels. 
' If you don't want us to see young married women flirt, you 
must keep us very close indeed.' 

'If you feel uneasy about your Cochin Chinas, mother, you 
can go home, and lea™* us to follow with the pater,' said Emily. 
' I've set my heart &j*m stopping till after Mr. Tregonell's birth- 
day, the 14th of November, for the theatricals will be fine fun, 
They talk of " High Life Below Stairs " for us girls, aftel 
"Delicate Ground ;" and I think we shall be able to persuade 
Mrs. Tregonell to wind up with a dance. What is the use of 
people having fine rooms if they don't know how to use them 1 ' 

' Mrs. Tregonell seems ready for anything,' sighed the matron, 
1 1 never saw such a change in any one. Do j'ou remember how 
quiet she was the summer before last, when we were here for a 

few days 1 ' 



That benevolent advice of Mrs. St. Aubyn's was not without its 
influence upon Leonard, lightly as he seemed to put aside the 
insinuation of evil. The matron's speech helped to strengthen 
his own doubts and fears. Other eyes than his had noted Chris- 
label's manner of receiving the Baron's attentions — other people 
had been impressed by the change in her. The thing was not 
an evil of his own imagining. She was making herself the 
talk of his friends and acquaintance. There was scandal — foul 
suspicion in the very atmosphere she breathed. That mutual 
understanding, that face to face arraignment, which he felt must 
come sooner or later, could not be staved oft* much longer. The 
wife who defied him thus openly, making light of him under his 
own roof, must be brought to book. 

' To-morrow she and I must come to terms,' Leonard said to 

No one had much leisure for thought that evening. The 
drawing-room was a scene of babble and laughter, music, flirta- 
tion, frivolity, everybody seeming to be blest with that happy- 
go-lucky temperament which can extract mirth from the merest 
trifles. Jessie Bridgeman and Mr. Tregonell were the only 
lookers-on — the only two people who in Jack Vandeleur's 
favourite] phrase were not ' in it.' Every one else was full of 
the private theatricals. The idea had only been mooted aftei 
luncheon, and now it seemed as if life could hardly have been 


306 Mount Boyaz. 

bearable yesterday without this thrilling prospect. Colonel 
Blathwayt, who had been out shooting all the afternoon, entered 
vigorously into the discussion. He was an experienced amateur 
actor, had helped to swell the funds of half the charitable insti- 
tutions of London and the provinces ; so he at once assumed the 
function of stage manager. 

' De Cazalet can act,' he said. ' I have seen him at South 
Kensington ; but I don't think he knows the ropes as well as I 
do. You must let me manage the whole business for you ; write 
to the London people for stage and scenery, lamps, costumes, 
wigs. And of course you will want me for Alphonse.' 

Little Monty had been suggested for Alphonse. He was fair- 
haired and effeminate, and had just that small namby-pamby air 
which would suit Pauline's faint-hearted lover ; but nobody dared 
to say anything about him when Colonel Blathwayt made this 
generous offer, 

' Will you really play Alphonse !' exclaimed Christabel, look- 
ing up from a volume of engravings, illustrating the costumes of 
the Directory and Empire, over which the young ladies of the 
party, notably Dopsy and Mopsy, had been giggling and ejacu- 
lating. ' We should not have ventured tooffer you a secondary part.' 

' You'll find it won't be a secondary character as I shall play 
it,' answered the Colonel, calmly. ' Alphonse will go better than 
any part in the piece. And now as to the costumes. Do you 
want to be picturesque, or do you want to be correct 1 ' 

1 Picturesque by ail means,' cried Mopsy. ' Dear Mrs. Tre- 
gonell would look too lovely in powder and patches.' 

' Like Boucher's Pompadour,' said the Colonel ' Do you 
know I think, now fancy balls are the rage, the Louis Quinze 
costume is rather played out. Every ponderous matron fancies 
herself in powder and brocade. The powder is hired for the 
evening, and the brocade is easily convertible into a dinner 
gown,' added the Colonel, who spent the greater part of his life 
among women, and prided himself upon knowing their ways. 
' For my part, I should like to see Mrs. Tregonell dressed like 
Madame Tallien.' 

' Undressed like Madame Tallien, you mean,' said Captain 
Vandelaur ; and thereupon followed a hvely discussion as to the 
costume of the close of the last century as compared with the 
costume of to-day, which ended in somebody's assertion that the 
last years of a century are apt to expire in social and political 
convulsions, and that there was every promise of revolution as a 
wmd-up for the present age. 

' My idea of the close of the nineteenth century is that it will 
be a period of dire poverty,' said the proprietor of the Sling ; ' an 
age of pauperism already heralded bythe sale of noble old mansions, 
the breaking-up of great estates, the destruction cf famous col- 
lections, galleries, libraries, the pious hoards of generations of 
connoisseurs and book-worms, scattered to the four winds by a 

'Sis Lady Smiles ; Delight is in her Face.' 307 

rtroke of the auctioneer's hammer. The landed interest and the 
commercial classes are going down the hill together. Suez has 
ruined our shipping interests ; an unreciprocated free trade is 
uuining our commerce. Coffee, tea, cotton — our markets are 
narrowing for alL After a period of lavish expenditure, reckless 
extravagance, or at any rate the affectation of reckless extrava- 
gance, there will come an era of dearth. Those are wisest who 
will foresee and anticipate the change, simplify their habits, 
reduce their luxuries, put on a Quakerish sobriety in dress and 
entertainments, which, if carried out nicely, may pass for high 
art — train themselves to a kind of holy poverty outside the 
cloister — and thus break their fall. Depend upon it, there will 
be a fall, for every one of those men and women who at this 
present day are living up to their incomes.' 

' The voice is the voice of FitzJesse, but the words are the 
words of Cassandra/ said Colonel Blathwayt. ' For my part, I 
am like the Greeks, and never listen to such gloomy vaticina- 
tions. I dare say the deluge will come — a deluge now and again 
is inevitable ; but I think the dry land will last our time. And 
in the meanwhile was there ever a pleasanter world than that 
we live in — an entirely rebuilt and revivified London — clubs, 
theatres, restaurants, without number — gaiety and brightness 
everywhere ? If our amusements are frivolous, at least they are 
hearty. If our friendships are transient, they are very pleasant 
while they last. "We know people to-day and cut them to- 
morrow ; that is one of the first conditions of good society. The 
people who are cut understand the force of circumstances, and 
are just as ready to take up the running a year or two hence, 
when we can afford to know them.' 

' Blessed are the poor in spirit,' quoted little Monty, in a 
meek voice. 

' Our women are getting every day more like the women of 
the Directory ami the Consulate,' continued the Colonel. ' Wo 
have come to short petticoats and gold anklets. All in good time 
we shall cometo bare feet. We have abolished sleeves, and we have 
brought bodices to a reductio ad absurdum ; but, although prudes 
and puritans may disapprove our present form, I must say that 
women were never so intelligent or so delightful. We have 
c >me back to the days of the salon and the petit souper. Our 
daughters are sirens and our wives are wits.' 

' Charming for Colonel Blathwayt, whose only experience is of 
other people's wives and daughters,' said little Monty. ' But 1 
don't feel sure that the owners are quite so happy.' 

' When a man marries a pretty woman, he puts himself be- 
yond the pale,' said Mr. FitzJesse; 'nobody sympathizes with 
him. I daresay there was not a member of the Grecian League 
who did not long to kick Menelaus.' 

'There should be stringent laws for die repression of nice 
girls' fathers,' said little Monty. ' Co aid there not bo some kin J 

80S Mount Royal. 

of institution like the Irish Land Court, to force parents to cash 
up, and hand over daughter and dowry to any spirited young 
man who made a bid? Here am I, a conspicuous martyr to 
parental despotism. I might have married half a dozen heiresses, 
but for the intervention of stony-hearted fathers. I have gons 
for them at all ages, from pinafores to false fronts ; but I have 
never been so lucky as to rise an orphan.' 

' Poor little Monty ! Bui what a happy escape for the lady.' 

'Ah, I should have been vtry kind to her, even if her youth 
and beauty dated before the Reform Bill,' said Mr. Montagu. 
' I should not have gone into society with her — one must draw 
the line somewhere. But I should have been forbearing.' 

' Dear Mrs. Tregonell,' said Mopsy, gushingly, ' have you 
made up your mind what to wear? ' 

Christabel had been turning the leaves of a folio abstractedly 
for the last ten minutes. 

1 To wear ? Oh, for the play ! Well, I suppose I must be as 
true to the period as I can, without imitating Madame Tallien. 
Baron, you draw beautifully. Will you make a sketch for my 
costume ? I know a little woman in George Street, Hanover 
Square, who will carry out your idea charmingly.' 

' I should have thought that you could have imagined a short- 
waisted gown and a pair of long mittens without the help of an 
artist,' said Jessie, with some acidity. She had been sitting close 
to the lamp, poring over a piece of point-lace work, a quiet and 
observant listener. It was a fixed idea among the servants at 
Mount Royal that Miss Bridgeman's eyes were constructed on 
the same principle as those of a horse, and that she could see 
behind her. ' There is nothing so very elaborate in the dress of 
that period, is there 1 ' 

' I will try to realize the poetry of the costume.' 

' Oh, but the poetry means the bare feet and ankles, doesn't 
it ! ' asked Miss Bridgeman. ' When you talk about poetry in 
costume, you generally mean something that sets a whole roomful 
of people staring and tittering.' 

' My Pauline will look a sylph ! ' said the Baron, with a 
languishing glance at his hostess. 

And thus, in the pursuit of the infinitely little, the evening 
wore away. Songs and laughter, music of the lightest and most 
evanescent character, games which touched the confines of idiocy, 
and set Leonard wondering whether the evening amusements of 
Colney Hatch and Hanwell could possibly savour of wilder 
lunacy than these sports which his wife and her circle cultivated 
in the grave old reception-room, where a council of Cavaliers, 
with George Trevelyan of Nettlecombe, Royalist Colonel, at their 
head, had met and sworn fealty to Charles Stuart's cause, at 
hazard of fortune and life. 

Leonard stood with his back to the wide old fire-place, 
watching these revellers, and speculating, in a troubled spirit, 

*Bis Lady Smiles ; Delight is in her Face.' 309 

as to how much of this juvenile friskiness was real ; contem- 
plating, with a cynical spirit, that nice sense of class distinction 
which enabled the two St. Aubyn girls to keep Mopsy and Dopsy 
at an impassable distance, even while engaged with them in these 
familiar sports. Vain that in the Post Office game, Dopsy as 
Montreal exchanged places with Emily St. Aubyn as New- 
market. Montreal and Newmarket themselves are not farther 
apart geographically than the two damsels were morally as they 
skipped into each other's chairs. Vain that in the Spelling game, 
the South Belgravians caught up the landowner's daughters with 
a surpassing sharpness, and sometimes turned the laugh against 
those tender scions of the landed aristocracy. The very attitude 
of Clara St. Aubyn's chin — the way she talked apart with Mrs. 
Tregonell, seemingly unconscious of the Vandeleur presence, 
marked her inward sense of the gulf between them. 

It was midnight before any one thought of going to bed, yet 
there was unwonted animation at nine o'clock next morning 
in the dining-room, where every one was talking of the day's 
expedition : always excepting the master of the house, wdio sat 
at one end of the table, with Termagant, his favourite Irish 
setter, crouched at his feet, and his game-bag lying on a chair 
uear at hand. 

' Are you really going to desert us ] ' asked Mopsy, with her 
sweetest smile. 

' I am not going to desert you, for I never had the faintest 
intention of joining you,' answered Leonard bluntly ; ' whether 
my wife and her friends made idiots of themselves by playing 
nursery games in her drawing-room, or by skipping about a 
windy height on the edge of the sea, is their own affair. I can 
take my pleasure elsewhere.' 

'Yes; but you take your pleasure very sadly, as somebody 
said of English people generally,' urged Mopsy, whose only 
knowledge of polite literature was derived from the classical 
quotations and allusions in the Daily Telegraph ; ' you will be all 
alone, for Jack and little Monty have promised to come with us.' 

' I gave them pei-fcct freedom of choice. They may like that 
kind of thing. I don't.' 

Against so firm a resolve argument would have been vain. 
Mopsy gave a little sigh, and went on with her breakfast. She 
was really sorry /or Leonard, who had been a kind and useful 
friend to Jack for the last six years — who had been indeed the 
backbone of Jack's resources, without which that gentleman's 
pecuniary position would have collapsed into hopeless limpness, 
She was <|uite sharp-sighted enough to see that the present 
of affairs was obnoxious to Mr. Tregonell — that he wa4 
savagely jealous, yet dared not remonstrate with his wife. 

' I should have thought he was just the last man to poV up 
with anything of that kind,' she said to Dopsy, in then be 1- 
chamber confidences ; ' I mean her carrying on with the Baron.' 

810 Movmt Royal. 

1 You needn't explain yourself,' retorted Dopsy, it's visible to 
the naked eye. If you or I were to carry on like that in another 
woman's house we should get turned out ; but Mrs. Tregonell is 
in her own house, and so long as her husband doesn't see fit 
to complain ' 

' But when will he see fit ? He stands by and watches his 

life's open flirtation with the Baron, and lets her go on from 

bad to worse. He must see that her very nature is changed since 

last year, and yet he makes no attempt to alter her conduct. He 

is an absolute worm.' 

' Even the worm will turn at last. You may depend he will,' 
said Dopsy sententiously. 

This was last night's conversation, and now in the bright 
fresh October morning, with a delicious coolness in the clear air, 
a balmy warmth in the sunshine, Dopsy and Mopsy were 
smiling at their hostess, for whose kindness they could not help 
feeling deeply grateful, whatever they might think of her con- 
duct. They recognized a divided duty — loyalty to Leonard, as 
their brother's patron, and the friend who had first introduced 
them to this land of Beulah — gratitude to Mrs. Tregonell, without 
whose good graces they could not long have made their abode here. 

' You are not going with us 1 ' asked Christabel, carelessly 
scanning Leonard's shooting gear, as she rose from the table and 
drew on her long moiisquetaire gloves. 

' No — I'm going to shoot.' 

' Shall you go to the Kieve ? That's a good place for wood- 
cock, don't you know?' Jessie Bridgeman stared aghast at the 
speaker. ' If you go that way in the afternoon you may fall in 
with us : we are to drink tea at the farm.' 

' Perhaps I may go that way.' 

' And now, if every one is ready, we had better start,' said 
Christabel, looking round at her party. 

She wore a tight-fitting jacket, dark olive velvet, and a cloth 
skirt, both heavily trimmed with sable, a beaver hat, with an 
ostrich feather, which made a sweeping curve round the brim, 
and caressed the coil of golden-brown hair at the back of the 
small head. The costume, which was faintly suggestive of a 
hunting party at Fontainebleau or St. Germains, became the tall, 
finely-moulded figure to admiration. Nobody could doubt for 
an instant that Mrs. Tregonell was dressed for effect, and was 
determined to get full Vi.-ue out of her beauty. The neat 
tailor gown and simple little cloth toque of the past, had given 
way to a costly and elaborate costume, in which every detail 
marked the careful study of the coquette who lives only to bfc 
admired. Dopsy and Mopsy felt a natural pang of envy as thej 
scrutinized the quality of the cloth and calculated the cost of the 
fur ; but they consoled themselves with the conviction that there 
was a bewitching Kate Greenaway quaintness in tlieir own 
llimsy garments which made up for the poverty of the stuff, and 

' His Lad-/ Smiles ; Delight is in her Face.' 311 

the doubtful finish of home dressmaking. A bunch of crimson 
poppies on Mopsy's shoulder, a cornflower in Dopsy's hat, made 
vivid gleams of colour upon their brown merino frocks, while the 
freshness of their saffron-tinted Toby frills was undeniable. 
Sleeves shoit and tight, and ten-buttoned Swedish gloves, made 
up a toilet whioh Dopsy and Mopsy had believed to be aestheti- 
cally perfect, until they compared it with ChristabePs rich and 
picturesqxte attire. The St. Aubyn girls were not less conscious 
of the superiority of Mrs. Tregonell's appearance, but they were 
resigned to the inevitable. How could a meagre quarterly 
allowance, doled out by an unwilling father, stand against a 
wife's unlimited power of running up bills. And here was a 
woman who had a fortune of her own to squander as she pleased, 
without anybody's leave or license. Secure in the severity of slate- 
coloured serges made by a West-end tailor, with hats to match, and 
the best boots and gloves that money could buy the St. Aubyn's 
girls affected to despise Christabel's olive velvet and sable tails. 

' It's the worst possible form to dress like that for a country 
ramble,' murmured Emily to Clara. 

'Of course. But the country's about the only place where 
she could venture to wear such clothes,' replied Clara : ' she'd be 
laughed at in London.' 

' Well, I don't know : there were some rather loud get-ups in 
the Park last season,' said Emily. ' It's really absurd the way 
married women out-dress girls.' 

Once clear of the avenue, Mrs.Tregonell and her guests arranged 
themselves upon the Darwinian principle of natural selection. 

That brilliant bird the Baron, whose velvet coat and knicker- 
bockers were the astonishment of Boscastle, instinctively drew 
near to Christabel, whose velvet and sable, plumed hat, and 
point-lace necktie pointed her out as his proper mate — Little 
Monty, Bohemian and dfcousu, attached himself as naturally to 
one of the Vandeleur birds, shunning the iron-grey respectability 
of the St. Aubyn breed. 

Mrs. St. Aubyn, who had made up her mind at the last to 
join the party, fastened herself upon St. Bernard Faddie, in the 
fond hope that he would be able to talk of parish matters, and 
advise her about her duties as Lady Bountiful ; while he, on his 
part, only cared for rubric and ritual, and looked upon parish 
visitation as an inferior branch of duty, to be performed by 
newly-fledged curates. Mr. FitzJesse took up with Dopsy, who 
amused him as a marked specimen of nineteenth-century girl- 
hood — a rare and wonderful bird of its kind, like a heavily wattled 
barb pigeon not beautiful, but infinitely curious. The two St. 
Aubyn girls, in a paucity of the male sex, had to put up with 
the escort of Captain Vandeleur, to whom they were extremely 
civil, although they studiously ignored his sisters. And so, by 
lane and field-path, by hill and vale, they went up to the broad, 
open heights above the sea — a sea that was very fair to look 

812 Mount Royal. 

upon on this sunshiny autumn day, luminous with those trans- 
lucent hues of amethyst and emerald, sapphire and garnet 
which make the ever changeful glory of that Cornish strand. 

Miss Bridgeman walked half the way with the St. Aubyn 
girls and Captain Vandeleur. The St. Aubyns had always been 
civd to her, not without a certain tone of patronage which 
would have wounded a more self-conscious person, but which 
Jessie endured with perfect good temper. 

' What does it matter if they have the air of bending down 
from a higher social level every time they talk to me,' she said ta 
Major Bree, lightly, when he made some rude remark about these 
young ladies. ' If it pleases them to fancy themselves on a 
pinnacle, the fancy is a harmless one, and can't hurt me. I 
shouldn't care to occupy that kind of imaginary height myself. 
There must be a disagreeable sense of chilliness and remoteness ; 
and then there is always the fear of a sudden drop ; like that 
fall through infinite space which startles one sometimes on the 
edge of sleep.' 

Armed with that calm philosophy which takes all small 
things lightly, Jessie was quite content that the Miss St. 
Aubyns should converse with her as if she were a creature of an 
inferior race — born with lesser hopes and narrower needs than 
theirs, and with no rights worth mention. She was content 
that they should be sometimes familiar and sometimes distant — 
that they should talk to her freely when there was no one else 
with whom they could talk — and that they should ignore her 
presence when the room was full. 

To-day, Emily St. Aubyn was complaisant even to friendli- 
ness. Her sister had completely appropriated Captain Vandeleur, 
so Emily gave herself up to feminine gossip. There were some 
subjects which she really wanted to discuss with Miss Bridgeman, 
and this seemed a golden opportunity. 

' Are we really going to have tea at the farmhouse near St 
Nectan's Kieve ?' she asked. 

' Didn't you hear Mrs. Tregonell say so V inquired Jessie, dryly. 

' I did ; but I could not help wondering a little. Was it not 
at the Kieve that poor Mr. Hamleigh was killed 1 ' 

' Yes.' 

'Don't you think it just a little heartless of Mrs. Tregonell 
to choose that spot for a pleasure party 1 ' 

' The farmhouse is not the Kieve: they are at least a mile apart. 1 

' That's a mere quibble, Miss Bridgeman : the association is 
just the same, and she ought to feel it.' 

'Mis. Tregonell is my very dear friend,' answered Jessie. 
' She and her aunt are the only friends T have made in this world. 
You can't suppose that I shall find fault with her conduct 1 ' 

' No, I suppose not. You would stand by her through thick 
and thin ? ' 

' Through thick and thin.' 

* His Lady Smiles ; Delight is in her Face.' 313 

'Even at the sacrifice of principle?' 

'I should consider gratitude and friendship the governing 
principles of my life where she is concerned.' 

' If she were to go ever so wrong, you would stand by her 1 ' 

* Stand by her, and cleave to her — walk by her side till death, 
wherever the path might lead. I should not encourage her in 
wrong-doing. I should lift up my voice when there was need : 
but I should never forsake her.' 

' That is your idea of friendship V 

' Unquestionably. To my mind, friendship which implies 
anything less than that is meaningless. However, there is no need 
for heroics : Mrs. Tregonell is not going to put me to the test.' 

' I hope not She is very sweet. I should be deeply pained 
if she were to go wrong. But do you know that my mother 
does not at all like her manner with the Baron. My sister and 
1 are much more liberal-minded, don't you know ; and we can 
understand that all she says and does is mere frivolity — high 
spirits which must find some outlet. Bat what surprises me 
is that she should be so gay and light-hearted after the dreadful 
events of her life. If such things had happened to me, I should 
inevitably have gone over to Rome, and buried myself in the 
severest conventual order that I could find.' 

' Yes, there have been sad events in hei life : but I think she 
chose the wiser course in doing her duty by the aunt who 
brought her up, than in self-immolation of that kind, answered 
Jessie, with her thin lips drawn to the firmest line they were 
capable of assuming. 

' But think what she must have suffered last year when that 
poor man was killed. I remember meeting him at dinner when 
they were first engaged. Such an interesting face — the counte- 
nance of a poet. I could fancy Shelley or Keats exactly like him.' 

' We have their portraits,' said Jessie, intolerant of gush. 
1 There is no scope for fancy.' 

'But I think he really was a little like Keats — consumptive 
looking, too, which carried out the idea. How utterly dreadful 
it must have been for Mrs. Tregonell when he met his death, so 
suddenly, so awfully, while he wa3 a guest under her roof. 
How did she beai it ( ' 

• Very quietly. She had borne the pain of breaking her engage- 
ment for a principle, a mistaken one, as I think. His death 
could hardly have given her worse pain.' 

'But it was such an awful death.' 

' Awful in its suddenness, that is all — not more awful than 
the death of any one of our English soldiers who fell in Zulu- 
land the other day. After all, the mode and manner of death is 
only a detail, and, so long as the physical pain is not severe, an 
i detail. The one stupendous fact for the survivor 

ins always the same. We had a friend and he is gone — for 
ever, for all we know.' 

314 Mount Royal. 

There wa- ♦*«> Faint sound of a sob in her voice as she finished 

' Well all I can say is that if I were Mrs. Tregonell, I could 
never have been happy again,' persisted Miss St. Aubyn. 

They came to Trevena soon after this, and went down the 
hill to the base of that lofty crag on which King Arthur's Castle 
stood. They found Mrs. Fairfax and the pony-carriage in the 
Valley. The provisions had all been carried up the ascent. 
Everything was ready for luncheon. 

A quarter of an hour later they were all seated on the long 
grass and the crumbling stones, on which Christabel and her 
lover had sat so often in that happy season of her life when love 
was a new thought, and faith in the beloved one as boundless as 
that far-reaching ocean, on which they gazed in dreamy content. 
Now, instead of low talk about Arthur and Guinevere, Tristan 
and Iseult, and all the legends of the dim poetic past, there 
were loud voices and laughter, execrable puns, much conversa- 
tion of the order generally known as chaff, a great deal of mild 
personality of that kind which, in the age of Miss Burney and 
Miss Austin was described as quizzing and roasting, and an all- 
pervading flavour of lunacy. The Baron de Cazalet tried to 
take advantage of the position, and to rise to poetry ; but he 
was laughed down by the majority, especially by Mr. FitzJesse, 
who hadn't a good word for Arthur and his Court. 

' Marc was a coward, and Tristan was a traitor and a knave,' 
he said. ' While as for Iseult, the less said of her the better. 
The legends of Arthur's birth are cleverly contrived to rehabili- 
tate his mother's character, but the lady's reputation still is open 
to doubt. Jack the Giant Killer and Tom Thumb are quite the 
most respectable heroes connected with this western world. You 
have no occasion to be proud of the associations of the soil, Mrs. 

' But I am proud of my country, and of its legends,' answered 


' And you believe in Tristan and Iseult, and the constancy 
which was personified by a bramble, as in the famous ballad of 
Lord Level.' 

' The constancy which proved itself by marrying somebody 
else, and remaining true to the old love all the same,' said Mrs. 
Fairfax Torrington, in her society voice, trained to detonate 
sharp sentences across the subdued buzz of a dinner-table. 

' Poor Tristan,' sighed Dopsy. 

'Poor Iseult,' murmured Mopsy. 

They had never heard of either personage until this morning. 

1 Nothing in the life of either became them so well as the 
leaving it,' said Mr. FitzJesse. ' The crowning touch of poetry 
in Iseult's death redeems her errors. You remember how she 
was led half senseless to Tristan's death-chamber— tors Vcm- 

' His Lady Smiles ; Delight is in her Fate.' 31fi 

brasse de ses bras, taut comme elle peut, et gette ung sourpir, ct se 
pasme sur le corps, et le cueur lui part, et I'dme s'en va? 

1 If every woman who loses her lover could die like that,' said 
Jessie, with a curious glance at Christabel, who sat listening smil- 
ingly to the conversation, with the Baron prostrate at her feet. 

' Instead of making good her loss at the earliest opportunity, 
what a dreary place this world would be,' murmured little 
Monty. ' I tbink somebody in the poetic line has observed that 
nothing in Nature is constant, so it would be hard lines upon 
women if they were to be fettered for life by some early attach- 
ment that came to a bad end.' 

'Look at Juliet's constancy,' said Miss St. Aubyn. 

' Juliet was never put to the test,' answered FitzJesse. ' The 
whole course of her love affair was something less than a week. 
If that potion of hers had failed, and she had awakened safe 
and sound in her own bedchamber next morning, who knows 
that she would not have submitted to the force of circumstances, 
married County Paris, and lived happily with him ever after. 
There is only one perfect example of constancy in the whole 
realm of poetry, and that is the love of Paolo and Francesca, the 
love which even the pains of hell could not dissever.' 

' They weren't married, don't you know,' lisped Monty. 
' They hadn't had the opportunity of getting tired of each other. 
And then, in the under- world, a lady would be glad to take up 
with somebody she had known on earth : just as in Australia 
one is delighted to fall in with a fellow one would'nt caie two- 
pence for in Bond Street.' 

' I believe you are right,' said Mr. FitzJesse, ' and that con- 
stancy is only another name for convenience. Married people 
are constant to each other, as a rule, because there is such an in- 
fernal row when they fall out.' 

Lightly flew the moments in the balmy air, freshened by the 
salt sea, warmed by the glory of a meridian sun — lightly and 
happily for that wise majority of the revellers, whose philosophy 
is to get the most out of to-day's fair summer-time, and to leave 
future winters and possible calamities to Jove's discretion. Jessie 
watched the girl who had grown up by her side, whose every 
thought she had once known, and wondered if this beautiful 
artificial impersonation of society tones and society graces could 
be verily the same flesh and blood. What had made this 
wondrous transformation? Had Christabel's very soul under- 
gone a change during that dismal period of apathy last winter 1 
bhe had awakened from that catalepsy of despair a new woman 
— eager for frivolous pleasures — courting admiration — studious 
of effect : the very opposite of that high-souled and pure-minded 
girl whom Jessie had known and loved. 

' It is the most awful moral wreck that was ever seen, j 
thought .Jessie; 'but if my love can save her from deeper 
degradation she shall be saved.' 

316 Mount Royal. 

Could she care for that showy impostor posed at her feet, 
gazing up at her with passionate eyes — hanging on her accents— 
openly worshipping her 1 She seemed to accept his idolatry, ttj 
sanction his insolence ; and all her friends looked on, half scorn- 
ful, half amused. 

' What can Tregonell be thinking about not to be here to- 
day 1 " said Jack Vandeleur, close to Jessie's elbow. 

' "Why should he be here 1 ' she asked. 

' Because he's wanted. lie's neglecting that silly woman 

'It is only his way,' answered Jessie, scornfully. ' Last year 
he invited Mr. Hamleigh to Mount Royal, who had been engaged 
to his wife a few years before. He is not given to jealousy.' 

' Evidently not,' said Captain Vandeleur, waxing thoughtful, 
as he lighted a cigarette, and strolled slowly off to stare at the 
sea, the rocky pinnacles, and yonder cormorant skimming away 
from a sharp point, to dip and vanish in the green water. 

The pilgrimage from Trevena to Trevitliy farm was some- 
what less straggling than the long walk by the cliffs. The way 
was along a high road, which necessitated less meandering, but 
the party still divided itself into twos and threes, and Christabel 
still allowed de Cazalet the privilege of a tcte-a-tcte. She was a 
better walker than any of her friends, and the Baron was a 
practised pedestrian ; so those two kept well ahead, leaving the 
rest of the party to follow as they pleased. 

' I wonder they are not tired of each other by this time,' said 
Mopsy, whose Wurtemburg heels were beginning to tell upon 
her temper. ' It has been such a long day — and such a long 
walk. What can the Baron find to talk about all this time % ' 

' Himself,' answered Fitz.Jesse, ' an inexhaustible subject 
Men can always talk. Listening is the art in which they fail. 
Are you a good listener, Miss Vandeleur 1 ' 

' I'm afraid not. If any one is prosy I begin to think of my 

' Very bad. As a young woman, with the conquest of society 
before you, I most earnestly recommend yju to cultivate the 
listener's art. Talk just enough to develop your companion's 
powers. If he has a hobby, let him ride it. Be interested, be 
sympathetic. Do not always agree, but differ only to be con- 
vinced, argue only to be converted. Never answer at random, 
or stifle a yawn. Be a perfect listener, and society is open to 
you. P iople will talk of you as the most intelligent girl they know.' 

Wopsy smiled a sickly smile. The ?gony of those ready-made 
boots, just a quarter of a size too smal 1 though they had seemed 
so comfortable in the shoemaker's shop, was increasing momen- 
tarily. Here was a hill like the side of a house to be descended. 
Poor Mopsy felt as if she were balancing herself on the points of 
her toes. She leant feebly on her umbrella, while the editor of 
the Sling trudged sturdily by her side, admiring the landscarje^- 

' I2is Lady Smiles; Delight is in lier Face.' 317 

stopping half-way clown the hill to point out the grander features 
of the scene with his bamboo. Stopping was ever so much worse 
than going on. It was as if the fires consuming the martyr at 
the stake had suddenly gone out, and left him with an acuter 
consciousness of his pain. 

' Too, too lovely,' murmured Mopsy, heartily wishing herself 
in the King's Road, Chelsea, within hail of an omnibus. 

She hobbled on somehow, pretending to listen to Mr. Fitz- 
Jesse's conversation, but feeling that she was momentarily de- 
nonstrating her incompetence as a listener, till they came to the 
farm, where she was just able to totter into the sitting-room, 
and sink into the nearest chair. 

' I'm afraid you're tired,' said the journalist, a sturdv block 
of a man, who hardly knew the meaning of fatigue. 

'I am just a little tired,' she faltered hypocritically, 'but it 
fas been a lovely walk.' 

They were the last to arrive. The tea things were ready upon 
a table covered with snowy damask — a substantial tea, including 
home-made loaves, saffron-coloured cakes, jam, marmalade, and 
cream. But there was no one in the room except Mrs. Fait fax 
Torrington, who had enthroned herself in the most comfortable 
chair, by the side of the cheerful fire. 

' All the re&t of our people have gone straggling off to look at 
things,' she said, ' some to the Kieve — and as that is a mile off we 
shall have ever so long to wait for our tea.' 

' Do you think we need wait very long V asked Mopsy, whose 
head was aching from the effects of mid-day champagne ; 'would 
it be so very bad if we were to ask for a cup of tea.' 

' I am positively longing for tea,' said Mrs. Torrington to 
FiteJesse, ignoring Mopsy. 

' Then I'll ask the farm people to brew a special pot for you 
two,' answered the journalist, ringing the bell. ' Here comes 
Mr. Tregonell, game-bag, dogs, and all. This is more friendly 
than I expected.' 

Leonard strolled across the little quadrangular garden, and 
came in at the low door, as Mr. FitzJesse spoke. 

' I thought I should find some of you here,' he said ; ' where 
are the others ? ' 

Gone to the Kieve, most of them,' answered Mrs. Torrington, 
briskly. Her freshness contrasted cruelly with Mopsy 's limp and 
exhausted condition. ' At least I know your wife and de Cazalet 
were bent on goingthere. She had promised how the waterfall. 
We were just debating whether we ought to wait tea for them.' 

'I wouldn't, if I were you,' said Leonard. ' Ko doubt they'll 
take their time.' 

He flung down his game-bag, took up his hat, whistled to I. is 
dogs, and went towards the door. 

1 Won't you stop and have some tea -just to keej> as in 
countenance 1 ' asked Mrs. Torrington. 

818 Mount Boijal. 

' No, thanks. I'd rather have it later. I'll go and m cut lie 

'If he ever intended to look after her it was certainly time 
he should begin,' said the widow, when the door was shut u}>on 
her host. ' Please ring again, Mr. Fit?; Jesse. How slow these 
farm people are ! Do they suppose we have come here to stare 
at cups and saucers 1 ' 



Leonard Tregonell went slowly up the steep narrow lane wic| 
his dogs at his heels. It was a year since he had been this way. 
Good as the cover round about the waterfall was said to be for 
woodcock, he had carefully avoided the spot this season, and his 
friends had been constrained to defer to his superior wisdom as a 
son of the soil. He had gone farther afield for his sport, and, as 
there had been no lack of birds, his guests had no reason for 
complaint. Yet Jack Vandeleur had said more than once, ' I 
wonder you don't toy the ELieve. We shot a lot of birds there 
last year.' 

Now for the first time since that departed autumn he went 
up the hill to one of the happy hunting-grounds of his boyhood. 
The place where he had fished, and shot, and trapped birds, and 
hunted water-rats, and climbed and torn his clothes in the care- 
less schoolboy days, when his conception of a perfectly blissful 
existence came as near as possible to the life of a North American- 
Indian. He had always detested polite society and book-learning ; 
but he had been shrewd enough and quick enough at learning 
the arts he loved : — gunnery — angling — veterinary surgery. 

He met a group of people near the top of the hill — all the 
party except Christabel and the Baron. One glance showed him 
that these two were missing from the cluster of men and women 
crowding through the gate that opened into the lane. 

' The waterfall is quite a shabby affair,' said Miss St. Aubyn; 
' there has been so little rain lately, I felt ashamed to show Mr. 
Faddie such a poor little dribble.' 

' We are all going back to tea,' explained her mother. ' 1 
don't know what has become of Mrs. Tregonell and the Baron, 
but I suppose they are loitering about somewhere. Perhaps 
you'll tell them we have all gone on to the farm.' 

' Yes, I'll send them after you. I told my wife I'd meet her 
at the Kieve, if I could.' 

lie passed them and ran across the ploughed field, while the 
others went down the hill, talking and laughing. He heard the 
6ound of their voices and that light laughter dying away on the 

'Love bore such Bitter and such Deadly Fruit? 319 

still air as the distance widened between him and them ; and he 
wondered if they were talking of his wife, and of his seeming 
indifference to her folly. The crisis had come. He had watched 
her in blank amazement, hardly able to believe his own senses, 
to realize the possibility of guilt on the part of one whose very 
perfection had. galled him ; and now he told himself there was 
no doubt of her folly, no doubt that this tinselly pretender 
had fascinated her, and that she was on the verge of destruction. 
No woman could outrage propriety as she had been doing of late, 
and yet escape danger. The business must be stopped somehow, 
even if he were forced to kick the Baron out of doors, in order 
to make an end of the entanglement. And then, what if she 
were to lift up her voice, and accuse him — if she were to turn 
that knowledge which he suspected her of possessing, against 
him ? What then 1 He must face the situation, and pay the 
penalty of what he had done. That was all. 

' It can't much matter what becomes of me/ he said to himself 
'I have never had an hour's real happiness since I married her. 
She warned me that it would be so — warned me against my own 
jealous temper — but I wouldn't listen to her. I had nryown way. 
Could she care for that man ? Could she 1 In spite of the 
coarseness of his own nature, there was in Leonard's mind a 
deep-rooted conviction of his wife's purity, which was stronger 
even than the evidence of actual facts. Even now, although the 
time had come when he must act, he had a strange confused 
feeh'ng, like a man whose brain is under the influence of some 
narcotic, which makes him see things that are not. He felt as in 
some hideous dream — long-involved — a maze of delusion and 
bedevilment, from which there was no escape. 

He went down into the hollow. The high wooden gate stood 
wide open — evidence that there was some one lingering below. 
The leaves were still on the trees, the broad feathery ferns were 
still green. There was a low yellow light gleaming behind the 
ridge of rock and the steep earthy slope above. The rush of the 
water sounded loud and clear in the silence. 

Leonard crept cautiously down the winding moss-grown 
track, holding his dogs behind him in a leash, and constraining 
those well-mannered brutes to perfect quiet. He looked down 
into the deep hollow, through which the water runs, and over 
which there is that narrow foot bridge, whence the waterfall is 
seen in all its beauty — an arc of silvery light cleaving the dark 
rock above, and flashing down to the dark rock below. 

Christabel was standing on the bridge, with de Cazalet at her 
side. They were not looking up at the waterfall. Their faces 
were turned the other way, to the rocky river bed, fringed with 
fern and wild rank growth of briar and weed. The Baron was 
talking ear nestly, his head bent over Christabel, till it seemed to 
those fin iou 8 eyes staring between the leafage, as if his lips must be 
touching her face. Hi? hand clasped hers. That was plain enough. 

320 Mount Royal. 

Just then the spaniel stirred, and rustled the dank dead 
leaves — Christabel started, and looked up towards the trees that 
screened her husband's figure. A guilty start, a guilty look, 
Leonard thought. But those eyes of hers could not pierce the 
leafy screen, and they drooped again, looking downward at the 
water beneath her feet. She stood in a listening attitude, as if 
her whole being hung upon de Cazalet's words. 

What was he pleading so intensely ? What was that honeyed 
speech, to which the false wife listened, unresistingly, motionless 
as the bird spell- bound by the snake. ' So might Eve have 
listened to the first tempter. In just such an attitude, with just 
such an expression, every muscle relaxed, the head gently 
drooping, the eyelids lowered, a tender smile curving the lips — 
the first tempted wife might have hearkened to the silver-sweet 
tones of her seducer. 

'Devil ! ' muttered Leonard between his clenched teeth. 

Even in the agony of his rage — rage at finding that this open 
folly which he had pretended not to see, had been but the light and 
airy prelude to the dark theme of secret guilt — that wrong 
which he felt most deeply was his wife's falsehood to herself — her 
wilful debasement of her own noble character. He had known 
her, and believed in her as perfect and pure among women, and 
now he saw her deliberately renouncing all claim to man's 
respect, lowering herself to the level of the women who can be 
tempted. He had believed her invulnerable. It was as if 
Diana herself had gone astray — as if the very ideal and arche- 
type of purity among women had become perver>od. 

He stood, breathless almost, holding back his dogs, gazing, 
listening with as much intensity as if only the senses of hearing 
and sight lived in him — and all the rest were extinct. He saw 
the Baron draw nearer and nearer as he urged his prayer — who 
could doubt the nature of that prayer — until the two figures 
were posed in one perfect harmonious whole, and then his arm 
stole gently round the slender waist. 

Christabel sprang away from him with a coy laugh. 

' Not now,' she said, in a clear voice, so distinct as to reach 
that listener's ears. ' I can answer nothing now. To-mono w.' 

' But, my soul, why delay 1 ' 

' To-morrow,' she repeated ; and then she cried suddenly, 
' hark ! there is some one close by. Did you not hear ? ' 

There had been no sound but the waterfall—not even the 
faintest rustle of a leaf. The two dogs crouched submissively at 
their master's feet, while that master himself stood motionless 
as a stone figure. 

'I must go,' cried Christabel. 'Think how long _ we have 
stayed behind the others. We shall set people wondering.' 

She sprang lightly from the bridge to the bank, and came 
quickly up the rocky path, a narrow winding track, which closely 
skirted the spot where Leonard stood concealed by the broad 

• Love bore such Bitter and such Deadly FruiV 321 

loaves of a chestnut. She might almost have heard his hurried 
breathing, she might almost have seen the lurid eyes of his dogs, 
gleaming athwart the rank under-growth ; but she stepped 
tightly past, and vanished from the watcher's sight. 

De Cazalet followed. 

' Christabel, stop,' he exclaimed ; ' I must have your answer 
now. My fate hangs upon your words. You cannot mean to 
throw me over. I have planned everything. In three days we 
ahall be at Pesth — secure from all pursuit.' 

He was following in Christabel's track, but he was not 
swift enough to overtake her, being at some disadvantage 
upon that slippery way, where the moss-grown slabs of rock 
tillered a very insecure footing. As he spoke the last words 
Christabel's figure disappeared among the trees upon the higher 
ground above him, and a broad herculean hand shot out of the 
leafy background, and pinioned him. 

' Scoundrel — profligate — impostor ! ' hissed a voice in his ear, 
and Leonard Tregonell stood before him — white, panting, with 
flecks of foam upoa his livid lips. ' Devil ! you have corrupted 
and seduced the purest woman that ever lived. You shall 
answer to me — her husband — for your infamy.' 

' Oh ! is that your tune ? ' exclaimed the Baron, wrenching 
his arm from that iron grip. They were both powerful men — 
fairly matched in physical force, cool, hardened by rough living. 
' Is that your game ? I thought you didn't mind.' 

' You dastardly villain, what did you take me for 1 ' 

' A common product of nineteenth-century civilization, 1 
answered the other, coolly. 'One of those liberal-minded 
husbands who allow their wives as wide a bcense as they claim 
for themselves.' 

' Liar,' cried Leonard, rushing at him with his clenched fist 
raised to strike. 

The Baron caught him by the wrist — held him with fingers 
of iron. 

'Take care,' he said. 'Two can play at that game. If it 
comes to knocking a man's front teeth down his throat I may as 
well tell you that I have given the 'Frisco dentists a good bit of 
work in my time. You forget that there's no experience of a 
rough-and-ready life that you have had which I have not gone 
through tw T ice over. If I had you in Colorado we'd soon wipe 
off this little score with a brace of revolvers.' 

' Let Cornwall be Colorado for the nonce. We could meet 
here as easily as we could meet in any quiet nook across the 
Channel, or in the wilds of America. No time like the present 
—no spot better than this.' 

' If we had only the barkers,' said do Cazalet, ' but 
unluckily we haven't.' 

- ' I'll meet you here to-morrow at daybreak — pay, sharp 
csveti. We can arrange about the pistols to-night. Vandeleur 


322 Mount Royal 

will come with me — he'd run any risk to serve me— and I dare 
lay you could get little Monty to do as much for you. He's a 
good plucked one.' 

' Do you mean it?' 

' Unquestionably.' 

4 Very well. Tell Vandeleur what you mean, and let him 
settle the details. In the meantime we can take things quietly 
before the ladies. There is no need to scare any of them.' 

' I am not going to scare them. Down, Termagant,' said 
Leonard to the Irish setter, as the low light blanches of a 
neighbouring tree were suddenly stirred, and a few withered 
leaves drifted down from the rugged bank above the spot where 
the two men were standing. 

' Well, I suppose you're a pretty good shot,' said the B.iron, 
coolly, taking out his cigar-case, ' so there'll be no disparity. 
By-the-by there was a man killed here last year, I heard — a 
former rival of yours.' 

'Yes, there was a man killed here,' answered Leonard, 
walking slowly on. 

' Perhaps you killed him ? ' 

' I did,' answered Leonard, turning upon him suddenly. ' I 
killed him : as I hope to kill you : as I would kill any man 
who tried to come between me and the woman I loved. He was 
a gentleman, and I am sorry for him. He fired in the air, and 
made me feel like a murderer. He knew how to make that last 
score. I have never had a peaceful moment since I saw him 
fall, face downward, on that broad slab of rock on the other side 
of the bridge. You see I am not afraid of you, or I shouldn't 
tell you this.' 

' I suspected as much from the time I heard the story,' said 
de Cazalet. ' I rarely believe in those convenient accidents 
which so often dispose of inconvenient people. But don't you 
think it might be better for you if we were to choose a different spot 
for to-morrow's meeting ? Two of your rivals settled in the same 
Sully might look suspicious — for I daresay you intend to kill me.' 

' I shall try,' answered Leonard. 

' Then suppose we were to meet on those sands — Trebarwith 
sands, I think you call the place. Not much fear of interrup- 
tion there, I should think, at seven o'clock in the morning.' 

' You can settle that and everything else with Vandeleur.' 
said Leonard, striding off with his dogs, and leaving the Baix>n 
to follow at his leisure.' 

De Cazalet walked slowly back to the farm, meditating deeply. 

' It's devilish unlucky that this should have happened,' he 
Raid to himself. An hour ago everything was going on velvet. 
We might have got quietly away to-morrow — for I know she 
meant to go, cleverly as she fenced with me just now — and left 
my gentlemen to his legal remedy, which would have secured 
the lady and her fortune to me, as soon as the Divorce Court 

' Love bore such Bitter and audi Deadly Fruit/ 323 

business was over. He would have followed us with the idea 
if fighting, no doubt, but I should have known how to give 
him the slip. And then we should have started in life with a 
clean slate. Now there must be no end of a row. If I kill him 
it will be difficult to get away — and if I bolt, how am I to be 
sure of the lady ? Will she come to my lure when I call her ? 
Will she go away with me, to-morrow? Yes, that will be my 
only chance. I must get her to promise to meet me at Bodmin 
Road Station in time for the Plymouth train — there's one starts 
at eleven. I can drive from Trebarwith to Bodmin with a good 
horse, take her straight through to London, and from London by 
the first available express to Edinburgh. She shall know nothing 
of what has happened till we are in Scotland, and then I can tell 
her that she is a free woman, and my wife by the Scottish law, 
— a bond which she can make as secure as she likes by legal and 
religious ceremonies.' 

The Baron had enough insight into the feminine character to 
know that a woman who has leisure for deliberation upon the 
verge of ruin is not very likely to make the fatal plunge. The 
boldly, deliberately bad are the rare exceptions among woman- 
kind. The women who err are for the most part hustled and 
hurried into wrong-doing — hemmed round and beset by con- 
flicting interests — bewildered and confused by false reasoning — 
whirled in the Maelstrom of passion, helpless as the hunted hare. 

The Baron had pleaded his cause eloquently, as he thought — 
had won Christabel almost to consent to elope with him — but not 
quite. She had seemed so near yielding, yet had not yielded. 
She had asked for time — time to reflect upon the fatal step — and 
reflection was just that one privilege which must not be allowed 
to her. Strange, he thought, that not once had she spoken of her 
son, the wrong she must inflict upon him, her agony at having 
to part with him. Beautiful, fascinating although he deemed 
her — proud as he felt at having subjugated so lovely a victim, it 
seemed to de Cazalet that there was something hard and 
desperate about her — as of a woman who went wrong deliberately 
and of set purpose. Yet on the brink of ruin she drew back, 
and was not to be moved by any special pleading of his to consent 
to an immediate elopement. Vainly had he argued that the time 
had come — that people were beginning to look askance — that 
her husband's suspicions might be aroused at any moment. She 
had been rock in her resistance of these arguments. But her 
consent to an early flight must now be extorted from her. 
Delay or hesitation now might be fatal. If he killed his man — 
ind he had little doubt in his own mind that he should kill him 
— it was essential that his flight should be instant. The days 
were pasl when juries were disposed to look leniently upon 
gentlemanly homicide. If he were caught red-handed, the 
penalty of his crime would be no light one. 

1 1 was a fool to consent to such a wild plan,' he told himself, 

324 Mount Royal. 

' I ought to have insisted upon meeting him on the other side of 
the Channel. But to draw back now might look bad, and would 
lessen my chance with her. No ; there is no alternative course. I 
must dispose of him, and get her away, without the loss of an hour.' 

The whole business had to be thought out carefully. Hi9 
intent was deadly, and he planned this duel with as much 
wicked deliberation as if he had been planning a murder. He 
had lived among men who held all human life, except their own, 
lightly, and to whom duelling and assassination were among the 
possibilities of every-day existence. He thought how if he and 
the three other men could reach that lonely bend of the coast 
unobserved, they might leave the man who should fall lying on 
the sand, with never an indication to point how he fell. 

De Cazalet felt that in Vandeleur there was a man to be 
trusted. He would not betray, even though his friend were 
left there, dead upon the low level sand-waste, for the tide to 
roll over him and hide him, and wrap the secret of his doom in 
eternal silence. There was something of the freebooter in Jack 
Vandeleur — an honour-among-thieves kind of spirit — which the 
soul of that other freebooter recnr/nized and understood. 

' We don't want little Montagu, thought de Cazalet. • One 
man will be second enough to see fair-play. The fuss and 
formality of the thing can be dispensed with. That little 
beggar's ideas are too insular — he might round upon me.' 

So meditating upon the details of to-morrow, the Baron went 
down the hill to the farm, where he found the Mount Royal 
party just setting out on their howeward journey under the 
shades of evening, stars shining faintly in the blue infinite above 
them. Leonard was not among his wife's guests — nor had he 
been seen by any of them since they met him at the field-gate, 
an hour ago. 

'He has made tracks for home, no doubt,' said Jack Vandeleur. 

They went across the fields, and by the common beyond 
Trevalga — walking briskly, talking merrily, in the cool evening 
air ; all except Mopsy, from whose high-heeled boots there was 
no surcease of pain. Alas ! those Wurtemburg heels, and the 
boots j ust half a size too small for the wearer, for how many a 
bitter hour of a woman's life have they to answer ! 

De Cazalet tried in vain during that homeward walk to get 
confidential speech with Christabel — he was eager to urge his 
new plan — the departure from Bodmin Boad Station — but she 
was always surrounded. He fancied even that she made it her 
business to avoid him. 

' Coquette,' he muttered to himself savagely. ' They are all 
alike. I thought she was a little better than lite rest ; but they 
are all ground in the same mill.' 

He could scarcely get a glimpse of her face in the twilight. 
She was always a little way ahead, or a little way behind him — • 
now with Jessie Bridgeman now with Emily St. Aubyn-^ 

Love bore stick Bitter and such Deadly Fruit.' 325 

skimming over the rough heathy ground, flitting from group to 
group. When they entered the house she disappeared almost 
instantly, leaving her guests lingering in the hall, too tired to 
repair at once to their own rooms, content to loiter in the glow 
and warmth of the wood fires. It was seven o'clock. They had 
been out nearly nine hours. 

' What a dreadfully long day it has been 1' exclaimed Emily 
St. Aubyn, with a stifled yawn. 

' Isn't that the usual remark after a pleasure party?' de- 
manded Mr. FitzJesse. ' I have found the unfailing result of 
any elaborate arrangement for human felicity to be an abnormal 
lengthening of the hours ; just as every strenuous endeavour to 
accomplish some good work for one's fellow-men infallibly 
provokes the enmity of the class to be benefited.' 

' Oh, it has all been awfully enjoyable, don't you know,' said 
Miss St. Aubyn ; ' and it was very sweet of Mrs. Tregoncll to 
give us such a delightful day ; but I can't help feeling as if we 
had been out a week. And now we have to dress for dinner, 
which is rather a trial.' 

' Why not sit down as you are 1 Let us have a tailor-gown 
and shooting-jacket dinner, as a variety upon a calico ball,' 
suggested little Monty. 

' Impossible ! We should feel dirty and horrid,' said Miss St. 
Aubyn. ' The freshness and purity of the dinner-table would 
make us ashamed of our grubbiness. Besides, however could 
we face the servants'? No, the effort must be made. Come, 
mother, you really look as if you wanted to be carried upstairs.' 

' By voluntary contributions,' murmured FitzJesse, aside to 
Miss Bridgeman. ' Briareus himself could not do it single- 
handed, as one of our vivacious Home Bulers might say.' 

The Baron de Cazalet did not appear in the drawing-room an 
hour later when the house-party assembled for dinner. He sent 
his hostess a little note apologizing for his absence, on the ground 
of important business letters, which must be answered that 
night ; though why a man should sit down at eight o'clock in 
ths evening to write letters for a post which would not leave 
Boscastle till the following afternoon, was rather difficult for any 
one to understand. 

• All humbug about those letters, you may depend,' said little 
Monty, who looked as fresh as a daisy in his smooth expanse of 
shirt-front, with a single diamond stud in the middle of it, like a 
iighthouse in a calm sea. ' The Baron was fairly done— athlete 
as he pretends to be — hadn't a leg to stand upon — came in limp- 
ing. I wouldn't mind giving long odds that he won't show till 
txwnorrow afternoon. It's a case of gruel and bandages for the 
next twent) -four hours.' 

Leonard uame into the drawing-room just in time to give his 
arm to Mrs. St, Aubyn. He made himself more agreeable than 
usual at dinner, as it seemed to that worthy matron — talked 

32G Mount Royal. 

more — laughed louder — and certainly drank more than his wont. 
The dinner was remarkably lively, in spite of the Baron'-; 
absence ; indeed, the conversation took a new and livelier turn 
upon that account, for everybody had something more or les.< 
amusing to say about the absent one, stimulated and egged on 
with quiet malice by Mr. FitzJesse. Anecdotes were told of his 
self-assurance, his vanity, his pretentiousness. His pedigree was 
discussed, and settled for — his antecedents — his married life, 
were all submitted to the process of conversational vivisection. 

'Bather rough on Mrs. Tregonell, isn't it?' murmured little 
Monty to the fair Dopsy. 

' Do you think she really cares V Dopsy asked, incredulously. 

'Don't you?' 

' Not a straw. She could not care for such a man as that, 
after being engaged to Mr. Hamleigh.' 

' Hamleigh was better form, I admit — and I used to think 
Mrs. T. as straight as an arrow. But I confess I've been 
staggered lately.' 

' Did you see what a calm queenly look she had all the time 
people were laughing at de Cazalet ? ' asked Dopsy. ' A woman 
whocared onelittle bit for a man could not have taken itsoquietly.' 

' You think she must have flamed out — said something in 
defence of her admirer. You forget your Tennyson, and how 
Guinevere " marred her friend's point with pale tranquility.'' 
Women are so deuced deep.' 

' Dear Tennyson ! ' murmured Dopsy,' whose knowledge of 
the Laureate's works had not gone very far beyond ' The May 
Queen,' and ' The Charge of the Six Hundred.' 

It was growing late in the evening when de Cazalet showed 
himself. The drawing-room party had been in very fair spirits 
without him, but it was a smaller and a quieter party than 
usual ; for Leonard had taken Captain Vandeleur off to his own 
den after dinner, and Mr. Montagu had offered to play a fifty 
game, left-handed, against the combined strength of Dopsy and 
Mopsy. ChiAstabcl had been at the piano almost all the evening, 
playing with a breadth and grandeur which seemed to rise 
above her usual style. The ladies made a circle in front of the 
fire, with Mr. Faddie and Mr. FitzJesse, talking and laughing 
in a subdued tone, wdiile those grand harmonies of Beethoven's 
rose and fell upon their indifferent, half admiring ears. 

Christabel played the closing chords of the Funeral March of 
a Hero as de Cazalet entered the room. He went straight to 
the piano, and seated himself in the empty chair by her side. 
She glided into the melancholy arpeggios of the Moonlight 
Sonata, without looking up from the keys. They were a long 
way from the group at the lire — all the length of the room lay in 
deep shadow between the lamps on the mantelpiece and neigh • 
1 'inning tables, and the candles upon the piano. Pianissin^o 
music seemed to invite conversation. 

1 Love bore such Bitter and such Deadly Fruit.' 327 

' You have written your letters 1 ' she asked, lightly. 
1 My letters were a fiction — I did not want to sit face to face 
with your husband at dinner, after our conversation this after- 
noon at the waterfall ; you can understand that, can't you, 
Christabel. Don't— don't do that.' 

' What V she asked, still looking down at the keys. 

' Don't shudder when I call you by your Christian name — as 
you did just now. Christabel, I want your answer to my ques- 
tion of to-day. I told you then that the crisis of our fate had 
come. I tell you so again to-night — more earnestly, if it is pos- 
sible to be more in earnest than I was to-day. I am obliged to 
speak to you here — almost within earshot of those people — 
because time is short, and I must take the first chance that 
offers. It has been my accursed luck never to be with you 
alone — I think this afternoon was the first time that you and 
I have been together alone since I came here. You don't 
know how hard it has been for me to keep every word and look 
within check — always to remember that we were before an 

' Yes, there has been a good deal of acting,' she answered, quietly. 

' But there must be no more acting — no more falsehood. We 
have both made up our minds, have we not, my beloved ? I 
think you love me — yes, Christabel, I feel secure of your love. 
You did not deny it to-day, when I asked that thrilling question 
— those hidden eyes, the conscious droop of that proud head, 
were more eloquent than words. And for my love, Christabel — 
no words can speak that. It shall be told by-and-by in language 
that all the world can understand — told by my deeds. The time 
has come for decision ; I have had news to-day that renders 
instant action necessary. If you and I do not leave Cornwall 
together to-morrow, we may be parted for ever. Have you made 
up your mind ? ' 

' Hardly,' she answered, her fingers still slowly moving over 
the keys in those plaintive arpeggios. 

' What is your difficulty, dearest 1 Do you fear to face the 
future with me 1 ' 

' I have not thought of the future.' 

' Is it the idea of leaving your child that distresses you i ' 

' I have not thought of him.' 

1 Then it is my truth — my devotion which you doubt t ' 

' Give me a little more time for thought,' she said, still play- 
ing the same sotto voce accompaniment to their speech. 

' I dare not ; everything must be planned to-night. I must 
leave this house early to-morrow morning. There are imperative 
reasons which oblige me to do so. You must meet me at Bodmin 
Road Station at eleven — you must, Christabel, if our lives are to 
be free and happy and spent together. Vacillation on your part 
will ruin all my plans. Trust yourself to me, dearest — trust my 
powei to .secure a bright and happy future. If you do not want 

32«5 Mount Royal. 

to be parted from your boy take him with you, He shall be my 
son. I will hold him for you against all the world.' 

' You must leave this house early to-morrow morning,' she 
said, looking up at him for the first time. ' Why ? ' 

' For a reason which I cannot tell you. It is a business in 
which some one else is involved, and I am not free to disclose 
it yet. You shall know all later.' 

' You will tell me, when we meet at Bodmin Road.' 

' Yes. Ah, then you have made up your mind — you will be 
there. My best and dearest, Heaven bless you for that sweet 

' Had we not better leave Heaven out of the question 1 ' she 
said with a mocking smile; and then slowly, gravely, deliberately, 
she said, ' Yes, I will meet you at eleven o'clock to-morrow, at 
Bodmin Road Station — and you will tell me all that has happened.' 

' What secret can I withhold from you, love — my second self 
— the fairer half of my soul 1 ' 

Urgently as he had pleaded his cause, certain as he had been 
of ultimate success, he was almost overcome by her yielding. 
It seemed as if a fortress which a moment before had stood up 
between him and the sky — massive — invincible — the very type 
of the impregnable and everlasting, had suddenly crumbled into 
ruin at his feet. His belief in woman's pride and purity had 
never been very strong : yet he had believed that here and there, 
in this sinful world, invincible purity was to be found. But 
now he could never believe in any woman again. He had 
believed in this one to the last, although he had set himself to 
win her. Even when he had been breathing the poison of his 
florid eloquence into her ear — even when she had smiled at him, 
a willing listener — there had been something in her look, some 
sublime inexpressible air of stainless womanhood whicli had 
made an impassable distance between them. And now she had 
consented to run away with him : she had sunk in one moment 
to the level of all disloyal wives. His breast thrilled with pride 
and triumph at the thought of his conquest : and yet there was 
a touch of shame, shame that she could so fall. 

Emily St. Aubyn came over to the piano, and made an end 
of all confidential talk. 

' Now you are both here, do give us that delicious little duet 
of Lecocq's,' she said : ' we want something cheerful before we 
disperse. Good gracious Mrs. Tregonell, how bad you look,' 
cried the young lady, suddenly, ' as white as a ghost.' 

' I am tired to death,' answered Christabel, ' I could not sing 
a note for the world.' 

' Really, then we mustn't worry you. Thanks so much for 
that lovely Beethoven music — the " Andante " — or the " Pastorale " 
— or the " Pathetique," was it not ? So sweet.' 

' Good night,' said ChristabeL ' You won't think me rude 
if I am the first to go ? ' 

'Love bore such Bitter and such Deadly F, ;:.'/.' u20 

' Not at all. We are all going. Pack up your woo!s, mother. 
I know you have only been pretending to knit. We are all luJf 
asleep. I believe we have hardly strength to crawl upstairs. 1 

Candles were lighted, and Mrs. Tregonell and her guests dis- 
persed, the party from the billiard-room meeting them in the hall. 

These lighter-minded people, the drama of whose existence 
was just now in the comedy stage, went noisily up to their rooms ; 
but the Baron, who was usually the most loquacious, retired 
almost in sdence. Nor did Christabel do more than bid her 
guests a brief good-night. Neither Leonard nor his friend Jack 
Vandeleur had shown themselves since dinner. Whether they 
were still in the Squire's den, or whether they had retired to 
their own rooms, no one knew. 

The Baron's servant was waiting to attend his master. He 
was a man who had been with de Cazalet in California, Mexico, 
and South America — who had lived with him in his bachelorhood 
and in his married life— knew all the details of las domestic 
career, and had been faithful to him in wealth and in poverty, 
knew all that there was to be known about him — the best and 
the worst — and had made up his mind to hold by an employment 
which had been adventurous, profitable, and tolerably easy, not 
entirely free from danger, or from the prospect of adversity — 
yet always hopeful. So thorough a scamp as the Baron must 
always find some chance open to him — thus, at least, argued 
Henri le Mescam, Ids unscrupulous ally. The man was quick, 
clever — able to turn his hand to anything — valet, groom, cook, 
courier — as necessity demanded. 

' Is Salathiel pretty fresh I ' asked the Baron. 

' Fit as a fiddle : he hasn't been out since you hunted him 
four days ago.' 

' That's lucky. He will be able to go the pace to-morrow 
morning. Have him harnessed to that American buggy of Mr. 
Tregonell's at six o'clock.' 

' I suppose you know that it's hardly light at six.' 

' There will be quite enough light for me. Pack my smallest 
portmanteau with linen for a week, and a second suit — no dress- 
clothes— and have the trap ready in the stable-yard when the 
clock strikes six. I have to catch a train at Launceston at 7.45. 
You will follow in the afternoon with the luggage.' 
To your London rooms, Sir ? ' 

' Yes. If you don't find me there you will wait for further 
instructions. You may have to join me on the other side of the 

' I hope so, Sir.' 

1 Sick of England, already V 

'Never cared much for it, Sir. I began to think I should 
die of the dulness of this place.' 

'Rather more luxurious than our old quarters at St. Heliers 
ten ; >, when you were marker at Jewson's, while I was 

330 Mount Royal. 

leaching drawing and lYench at the fashionable academies of the 

'That was bad, Sir ; tout luxury isn't everything in life. A 
man's mind goes to rust in a place of this kind.' 

' Well, there will not be much rust for you in future, I 
believe. How would you like it if I were to take you back to 
the shores of the Pacific ? ' 

' That's just what I should like, Sir. You were a king there, 
and I was your prime minister.' 

' And I may be a king again — perhaps this time with a queen 
— a proud and beautiful queen.' 

' Le Mescam smiled, and shrugged his shoulders: 

' The queenly element was not quite wanting in the past, Sir,' 
he said . 

• Pshaw, Henri, the ephemeral fancy of the hour. Such 
chance entanglements as those do not rule a man's life.' 

' Perhaps not, Sir ; but I know one of those chance entangle- 
ments made Lima unpleasantly warm for us ; and if, after you 
winged Don Silvio, there hadn't been a pair of good horses 
waiting for us, you might never have seen the outside of Peru.' 

' And if a duel was dangerous in Lima, it would be ten times 
more dangerous in Cornwall, would it not, Henri 1 ' 

' Of course it would, Sir. But you are not thinking of any- 
thing like a duel here — you can't be so mad as to think of it.' 

' Certainly not . A nd now you can pack that small port- 
manteau, while I take a stretch. I sha'n't take off my clothes : 
a man who has to be up before six should never trifle with his 
feelings by making believe to go to bed.' 


'she stood up in bitter case, with a pale yet 
steady face.' 

The silence of night and slumber came down upon the world, 
shadow and darkness were folded round and about it. The 
ticking of the old eight-day clock in the hall, of the bracket 
clock in the corridor, and of half a dozen other time-pieces, con- 
scientiously performing in empty rooms, took that solemn and 
sepulchral sound which all clocks, down to the humblest Dutch- 
man, assume after midnight. Sleep, peace, and silence seemed to 
brood over all human and brute life at Mount Royal. Yet there 
were some who had no thought of sleep that night. 

In Mr. Tregonell's dressing-room there was the light of lamp 
and fire, deep into the small hours. The master of the house 
lolled, half-dressed, in an arm-chair by the hearth ; while his 
friend, Captain Vandeleur, in smoking-jacket and slippers 
\ounge-i with his back to the chimney-piece, and a cigarette 
between his lips. A whisky little and a couple of siphons stood 

* She stood up in Bitter Case.'' 331 

on a tray on the Squire's writing-table, an open pistol-case neai 
at hand. 

' You'd better lie down for a few hours,' said Captain 
Vandeleur. ' I'll call you at half-past five.' 

' I'd rather sit here. I may get a nap by-and-by perhaps. 
You can go to bed if you are tired : I shan't oversleep myself.' 

' I wish you'd give up this business, Tregonell,' said his friend 
with unaccustomed seriousness. ' This man is a dead shot. We 
heard of him in Bolivia, don't you remember ? A man who has 
spent half his life in shooting-galleries, and who has lived where 
life counts for very little. Why should you stake your life 
against his? It isn't even betting: you're good enough at big 
game, but you've had very little pistol practice. Even if you 
were to kill him, which isn't on the cards, you'd be tried foi 
murder ; and where's the advantage of that 1 ' 

'I'll risk it,' answered Leonard, doggedly, 'I saw him with 
my wife's hand clasped in his — saw him with his lips close to he; 
face — close enough for kisses — heard her promise him an answer 
— to-morrow. By Heaven there shall be no such to-morrow for 
him and for me. For one of us there shall be an end of all things.' 

' I don't believe Mrs. Tregonell is capable ' — began Jack, 
thoughtfully mumbling his cigarette. 

' You've said that once before, and you needn't say it again 
Capable ! Why, man alive, I saw them together. Nothing less 
than the evidence of my own eyes would have convinced me. I 
have been slow enough to believe. There is not a man or woman 
in this house, yourself included, who has not, in his secret soul, 
despised me for my slowness. And j'et, now, because there is a ques- 
tion of a pistol-shot or two you fence round, and try to persuade 
me that my wife's good name is immaculate, that all which you 
have seen and wondered at for the last three weeks means nothing' 

' Those open flirtations seldom do mean anything,' said Jack, 

A man may belong to the hawk tribe and yet not be without 
certain latent instincts of compassion and good feeling. 

' Perhaps not — but secret meetings do : what I saw at the 
Kieve to-day was conclusive. Besides, the affair is all settled — 
you and de Cazalet have arranged it between you. He is willing 
that there should be no witness but you. The whole business 
will rest a secret between us three ; and if we get quietly down 
to the sands before any one is astir to see us no one else need 
ever know what happened there.' 

' If there is bloodshed the thing must be known.' 

' It will seem like accident V 

'True,' answered Vandeleur, looking at him searcningly ; 
' like that accident last year at the Kieve — poor Hamkigh'a 
death. Isn't to-morrow the anniversary, by-the-by?' 

' Yes — the date has come round again.' 

' Dates have an awkward knack of doing that There is % 

332 Mount Royal. 

cursed mechanical regularity in life which makes a man wish 
himself in some savage island where there is no such thing as an 
almanack,' said Vandeleur, taking out another cigarette. • If I 
had been Crusoe, I should never have stuck up that post. I 
should have been to glad to get rid of quarter-day.' 

In Christabel's room at the other end of the long corridor 
there was only the dim light of the night-lamp, nor was there 
any sound, save the ticking of the clock and the crackling of the 
cinders in the dying fire. Yet here there was no more sleep nor 
peace than in the chamber of the man who was to wager his life 
against the life of his fellow-man in the pure light of the dawn- 
ing day. Christabel stood at her window, dressed just as she 
had left the drawing-room, looking out at the sky and the sea, 
and thinking of him who, at this hour last year, was still a part 
of her life — perchance a watcher then as she was watching now, 
gazing with vaguely questioning eyes into the illimitable pano- 
rama of the heavens, worlds beyond worlds, suns and planetary 
systems, scattered like grains of sand over the awful desert of 
infinite space, innumerable, immeasurable, the infinitesimals of 
the astronomer, the despair of faith. Yes, a year ago and he was 
beneath that roof, her friend, her counsellor, if need were ; for 
she had never trusted him so completely, never so understood and 
realized all the nobler qualities of his nature, as in those last days, 
after she had set an eternal barrier between herself and him. 

She stood at the open lattice, the cold night air blowing upon 
her fever-heated face ; her whole being absorbed not in deliberate 
thought, but in a kind of waking trance. Strange pictures came 
out of the darkness, and spread themselves before her eyes. She 
saw her first lover lying on the broad flat rock at St. Nectan's 
Kieve, face downward, shot through the heart, the water stained 
with the life-blood slowly oozing from his breast. And then, 
when that picture faded into the blackness of night, she saw her 
husband and Oliver de Cazalet standing opposite to each other 
on the broad level sands at Trebarwith, the long waves rising up 
behind them like a low wall of translucent green, crested with 
silvery whiteness. So they would stand face to face a few hours 
hence. From her lurking-place behind the trees and brushwood 
at the entrance to the Kieve she had heard the appointment 
made — and she knew that at seven o'clock those two were to 
meet, with deadliest intent. She had so planned it — a life for a life. 

She had no shadow of doubt as to which of these two would 
fall. Three months ago on the Eiffel she had seen the Baron's 
skill as a marksman tested — she had seen him the wonder of the 
crowd at those rustic sports — seen him perform feats which onlj 
a man who has reduced pistol -shooting to a science would 
attempt. Against this man Leonard Tregonell — good all-round 
sportsman as he was — could have very little chance. Leonard 
h;td always been satisfied with that moderate sk'lfulness which 

'She stood up in Bitter Case.* 333 

comes easily and unconsciously. He had never given time and 
labour to any of the arts he pursued — content to be able to hold 
his own among parasites and flatterers. 

' A life for a life,' repeated Christabel, her lips moving dumbly, 
her heart throbbing heavily, as if it were beating out those awful 
words. ' A life for a life — the old law — the law of justice — G< id's 
own sentence against murder. The law could not touch this 
murderer — but there was one way by which that cruel deed 
might be punished, and I found it.' 

The slow silont hours wore on. Christabel left the window 
shivering with cold, though cheeks, brow, and lips were burning. 
She walked up and down the ruom for a long while, till the very 
atmosphere of the room, nay, of the house itself, seemed unen- 
durable. She felt as if she were being suffocated, and this sense 
of oppression became so strong that she was sorely tempted -to 
shriek aloud, to call upon some one for rescue from that stilling 
vault. The feeling grew to such intensity that she flung on her 
hat and cloak, and went quickly down stairs to a lobby-door 
that opened into the garden, a little door which she had unbolted 
many a night after the servants had locked up the house, in order 
to steal out in the moonlight and among the dewy flowers, and 
across the dewy turf to those shrubbery walks which had such a 
mysterious look — half in light and half in shadow. 

She closed the door behind her, and stood with the night 
wind blowing round her, looking up at the sky ; clouds were 
drifting across the starry dome, and the moon, like a storm- 
beaten boat, seemed to be hurrying through them. The cold 
wind revived her, and she began to breathe more freely. 

' I think I was going mad just now,' she said to herself. 

And then she thought she would go out upon the hills, and 
down to the churchyard in the valley. On this night, of all 
nights, she would visit Angus Hamleigh's grave. It was lonsr 
since she had seen the spot where he lay — since her return from 
Switzerland she had not once entered a church. Jessie had re- 
monstrated with her gravely and urgently — but without eliciting 
any explanation of this falling off in one who had been hitherto 
so steadfastly devout. 

' I don't feel inclined to go to church, Jessie,' she said, 
coolly ; ' there is no use in discussing my feelings. I don't feel fit 
for church ; and I am not going in order to gratify your idea of 
what is conventional and correct.' 

4 1 am not thinking of this in its conventional aspect — I have 
always made light of conventionalities — but things must be in a 
bad way with you, Christabel, when you do not feel fit for church.' 

'Things are in a bad way with me,' answered Christabel, with 
a dogged moodiness which was insurmountable. ' I never said 
they were good.' 

Thie surrender of old pious habits had given Jessie more 
.uiiiasinesa than any other fact in Ohristabel's life. Her flirtation 

834 Mount Boya». 

with the Baron must needs be meaningless frivolity, Jessie had 
thought ; since it seemed hardly within the limits of possibility 
that a refined and pure-minded woman could have any real pen- 
chant for that showy adventurer ; but this persistent avoidance 
of church meant mischief. 

And now, in the deep dead-of -night silence, Christabel went 
on her lonely pilgrimage to her first lover's grave. Oh, happy 
summer day when, sitting by her side outside the Maidenhead 
coach, all her own through life, as it seemed, he told her how, if 
she had the ordering of his grave, she was to bury him in that 
romantic churchyard, hidden in a cleft of the hill. She had not 
forgotten this even amidst the horror of his fate, and had told 
the vicar that Mr. Hamleigh's grave must be at Minster and no 
otherwhere. Then had come his relations, suggesting burial- 
places with family associations — vaults, mausoleums, the pomp 
and circumstance of sepulture. But Christabel had been firm ; 
and while the others hesitated a paper was found in the dead 
man's desk requesting that he might be buried at Minster. 

How lonely the world seemed in this solemn pause between 
ni"ht and morning. Never before had Christabel been out alone 
at°such an hour. She had travelled in the dead of the night, and 
had seen the vague dim night- world from the window of a rail- 
way carriage — but never until now had she walked across these 
solitary hills after midnight. It seemed as if for the first time 
in her life she were alone with the stars. 

How difficult it was in her present state of mind to realize 
that those lights, tremulous in the deep blue vault, were worlds, 
and combinations of worlds— almost all of them immeasurably 
greater than this earth on which she trod. To her they seemed 
living watchers of the night— solemn, mysterious beings, looking 
down at her with all-understanding eyes. She had an awful 
feeling of their companionship as she looked up at them— a 
mystic sense that all her thoughts— the worst and the best of 
them — were being read by that galaxy of eyes. 

Strangely beautiful did the hills and the sky— the indefinite 
shapes of the trees against the edge of the horizon, the mysteri- 
ous expanse of the dark sea— seem to her in the night silence. 
She had no fear of any human presence, but there was an awful 
feeling in being, as it were, for the first time in her life alone 
with the immensities. Those hills and gorges, so familiar in all 
phases of daylight, from sunrise to after set of sun, assumed 
Titanic proportions in this depth of night, and were as strange to 
her as if she had never trodden this path before. What was the 
wind saying, as it came moaning and sobbing along the deep 
gorge through which the river ran 1 — what did the wind say as 
she crossed the narrow bridge which trembled under her light 
footfall 1 Surely there was some human meaning in that long 
minor wail, which burst suddenly into a wild unearthly shriek, 
and then died away in a low sobbing tone, as of Borrow and paiu 

'She stood up in Bitter Case.' 335 

that grew dumb from sheer exhaustion, and not because there 
.vas any reniissisn of pain or sorrow. 

With that unearthly sound still following her, she went up 
the winding hill-side path, and then slowly descended to the 
darkness of the churchyard — so sunk and sheltered that it seemed 
like going down into a vault. 

Just then the moon leapt from behind an inky cloud, and, in 
that ghostly light, Christabel saw the pale grey granite cross 
which had been erected in memory of Angus Hamleigh. It 
stood up in the midst of nameless mounds, and humble slate 
tablets, pale and glittering — an unmistakable sign of the spot 
where her first lover lay. Once only before to-night had she 
seen that monument, Absorbed in the pursuit of a Pagan scheme 
of vengeance she had not dared to come within the precincts oi 
the church, where she had knelt and prayed through all the. 
sinless years of her girlhood. To-night some wild impulse had 
brought her here — to-night, when that crime which she called 
retribution was on the point of achievement. 

She went with stumbling footsteps through the long grass, 
across the low mounds, till she came to that beneath which 
Angus Hamleigh lay. She fell like a lifeless thing at the foot of 
the cross. Some loving hand had covered the mound of earth 
with primroses and violets, and there were low clambering roses 
all round the grave. The scent of sweetbriar was mixed with 
the smell of earth and grass. Some one had cared for that grave 
although she, who so loved the dead, had never tended it. 

' Oh, my love ! my love ! ' she sobbed, with her face upon 
the grass and the primrose leaves, and her arms clasping the 
granite ; ' my murdered love —my first, last, only lover — before 
to-morrow's sun is down your death will be revenged, and my 
life will be over ! I have lived only for that — only for that 
Angus, my love, my love ! ' She kissed the cold wet grass more 
passionately than she had ever kissed the dead face mouldering 
underneath it. Only to the dead — to the utterly lost and gone — 
is given this supreme passion — love sublimated to despair. From 
the living there is always something kept back — something saved 
and garnered for an after-gift — some reserve in the mind or the 
heart of the giver ; but to the dead love gives all — with a wile, 
self-abandonment which knows "ot restraint or measure. The 
wife who, while this man yet lived, had been so rigorously true to 
honour and duty, now poured into the deaf dead ears a reckless 
avowal of love — love that had never faltered, never changed — love 
that had renounced the lover,and had yet gone on lovingtothe end. 

The wind came moaning out of the valley again with that 
sharp human cry, as of lamentation for the dead. 

'Angus!' murmured Christabel, piteously, 'Angus, can you 
hear me 1 — do you know 1 ? Oh, my God ! is there memory or 
understanding in the world where he has gone, or is it all a 
dead blank ? Help me, my God t I have lost all the old sweet 

336 Mount Boijae. 

illusions of faith — I have left off praying, hoping, believing — 1 
have only thought of my dead — thought of death and of him till 
all the living world grew unreal to me — and God and Heaven 
were only like old half-forgotten dreams. Angus ! ' 

For a long time she lay motionless, her cold hands clasping 
the cold stone, her lips pressed upon the soft dewy turf, her face 
buried in primrose leaves — then slowly, and with an effort, she 
raised herself upon her knee3, and knelt with her arms encircling 
the cross — that sacred emblem which had once meant so much for 
her : but which, since that long blank interval last winter, seemed 
to have lost all meaning. One great overwhelming grief had made 
her a Pagan — thirsting for revenge — vindictive — crafty — stealthy 
as an American Indian on the trail of his deadly foe — subtle as 
Greek or Oriental to plan and to achieve a horrible retribution. 

She looked at the inscription on the cross, legible in the 
moonlight, deeply cut in large Gothic letters upon the grey stone, 
filled in with dark crimson. 

' Vengeance is mine : I will repay, saith the Lord.' 
Who had put that inscription upon the cross 1 It was not there 
when the monument was first put up. Christabel remembered 
going with Jessie to see the grave in that dim half-blank time 
before she went to Switzerland. Then there was nothing but a 
name and a date. And now, in awful distinctness, there appeared 
those terrible words — God's own promise of retribution — the 
claim of the Almighty to be the sole avenger of human wrongs. 

And she, reared by a religious woman, brought up in the 
love and fear of God, had ignored that sublime and awful 
attribute of the Supreme. She had not been content to leave 
her lover's death to the Great Avenger. She had brooded on 
his dark fate, until out of the gloom of despair there had arisen 
the image of a crafty and bloody retribution. 'Whoso sheddetk 
man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.' So runs the 
dreadful sentence of an older law. The new, lovelier law, which 
began in the after-glow of Philosophy, the dawn of Christianity, 
bids man leave revenge to God. And she, who had once called 
herself a Christian, had planned and plotted, making herself the 
secret avenger of a criminal who had escaped the grip of the law. 

' Must he lie in his grave, unavenged, until the Day of 
Judgment 1 ' she asked herself. ' God's vengeance is slow.' 

An hour later, and Christabel, pale and exhausted, her gar- 
ments heavy with dew, was kneeling by her boy's bed in the 
faint light of the night-Lamp ; kneeling by him as she had knelt 
a year ago, but never since her return from Switzerland- 
praying as she had not prayed since Angus Hamleigh's death 
After those long, passionate prayers, she rose and looked at tins 
alumberer's face — her husband's face in little — but oh ! how pure 
and fresh and radiant. God keep him from boyhood's sins of 
ssli-iove and soJ^aidulgenco — from manhood's evil passions. 

* She stood up in Bitter Case." V-17 

hatred Arid jealousy. All her life to come seemed too little to 
be devoted to watching and guarding this beloved from the 
encircling snares and dangers of life. Pure and innocent now 
in this fair dawn of infancy, he n< stled in her arms— he chu 
tier and believed in her. Whatbusim 3 had she with anv o 
ires, or hopes — God having given her the sacred du 
of maternity — the master-passion of motherly love 1 

' I have been mad ! ' she said to herself ; ' I have been living in a 
ghastlydream:butGodhasawakenedme — God's word has cured me.' 

God's word had come to her at the crisis of her life. A month 
aero, while her scheme of vengeance seemed still far from fulfil- 
ment, that awful sentence would hardly have struck so deeply. It 
was on the very verge of the abyss that those familiar words caught 
her; just when the naturalfaltering of her womanhood, upon the eve 
of a terrible crime, made her most sensitive toasublimeinipression; 

The first faint streak of day glimmered in the east, a pale 
cold light, livid and ghostly upon the edge of the sea yondejr, 
white and wan upon the eastward points of rock and headland, 
when Jessie Bridgeman was startled from her light slumbers 
by a voice at her bedside. She was always an early riser, and 
it cost her no effort to sit up in bed, with her eyes wide open, 
and all her senses or, the alert. 

' Christabel, what is the matter 1 Is Leo ill 1 ' 

1 No, Leo is well enough. Get up and dress yourself quickly, 
Jessie. I want you to come with me — on a strange errand ; but 
it is something that must be done, and at once.' 

' Christabel, you are mad.' 

1 No. I have been mad. I think you must know it — this is 
the awakening. Come, Jessie.' 

Jessie had sprung out of bed, and put on slippers and dressing 
gown, without taking her eyes off Christabel. Presently she 
felt her cloak and gown. 

' Why, you are wet through. Where have you been V 

I To Angus Hamleigh's grave. Who put that inscription on 
the cross 1 ' 

'I did. Nobody seemed to care about his grave — no one 
attended to it. I got to think the grave my own property, and 
I might do as I liked with it.' 
' But those awful words ! What made you put them there V 

I I wanted the man who killed him to be reminded that there 
U an Avenger.' 

' Wash your face and put on your clothes as fast as you can. 

ry momi at is of con lequence,' said Christabel. 

She would explain nothing. Jessie urged her to take off 
her wet cloak, to go and change her gown and shoes ; bu1 Bhe 
refused with angry impatience. . 

•There will be trhie enough for that aft< rward .' she - id ; 
'what I have bo do will not take long, but it must be done at 
once. Pray be quick.' 


83*5 Mount Royal. 

Jessie struggled through her hurried toilet, and followed 
Christabel along the corridor, without question or exclamation. 
They went to the door of Baron de Cazalet's room. A light 
shone under the bottom of the door, and there was the sound 
of someone stirring within. Christabel knocked, and the door 
was opened almost instantly by the Baron himself. 
4 Is it the trap ? ' he asked. ' It's an hour too soon.' 
'No, it is I, Monsieur de Cazalet. May I come in for a few 
minutes ? I have something to tell you.' 

' Christabel— my ' He stopped in the midst of that eager 

exclamation, at sight of the other figure in the back -ground. 

He was dressed for the day — carefully dressed, like a man 
who in a crisis of his life wishes 'to appear at no disadvantage. 
His pistol-case stood ready on the table. A pair of candles, 
burnt low in the sockets of the old silver candlesticks, and a 
heap of charred and torn paper in the fender showed that the 
Baron had been getting rid of superfluous documents. Christabel 
went into the room, followed by Jessie, the Baron staring at 
them both, in blank amazement. He drew an arm-chair near 
the expiring fire, and Christabel sank into it, exhausted and 
half fainting. 

' What does it all mean ? ' asked de Cazalet, looking at 
Jessie, ' and why are you here with her ? ' 

' Why is she here ? ' asked Jessie. ' There can be no reason 
except — - — ' 

She touched her forehead lightly with the tips of her fingers. 
Chi'istabel saw the action. 

' No, I am not mad, now,' she said ; ' I believe I have been 
mad, but that is all over. Monsieur de Cazalet, you and my 
husband are to fight a duel this morning, on Trebarwith sands.' 
' My dear Mrs. Tregonell, what a strange notion ! ' 
' Don't take the trouble to deny anything. I overheard your 
conversation yesterday afternoon. I know everything.' 

' Would it not have been better to keep the knowledge to 
yourself, and to remember your promise to me, last night ? ' 

' Yes, I remember that promise. I said I would meet you at 
Bodmin Road, after you had shot my husband.' 

'There was not a word about shooting your husband.' 
' No ; but the fact was in our minds, all the same — in yours 
as well as in mine. Only there was one difference between us. 
You thought that when you had killed Leonard I would run 
away with you. That was to be your recompense for murder. I 
mo uit that you should kill him, but that you should never see 
lay face again. You would have served my purpose — you would 
have been the instrument of my revenge !' 
' Christabel ! ' 

' Do not call me by that name — I am nothing to you — I never 
coukl, under any possible phase of circumstances, be any nearer 
lo yen than I am at this moment. From f> »-at to last I have been 

• She stood up in Bitter Case.' 3-39 

acting a part When I saw you at that shooting match, on the 
Riffel, I said to myself, " Here is a man, who in any encounter 
with my husband, must be fatal." My husband killed the only 
man I ever loved, in a duel, without witnesses — a duel forced 
upon him by insane and causeless jealousy. Whether that meet- 
ing was fair or unfair in its actual details, I cannot tell ; but at 
the best it was more bke a murder than a duel. When, through 
Miss Bridgeman's acuteness, I came to understand what that 
meeting had been, I made up my mind to avenge Mr. Hamleigh'a 
death. For a long time my brain was under a cloud — I could 
think of nothing, plan nothing. Then came clearer thoughts, 
and then I met you ; and the scheme of myrevenge flashed upon me 
like a suggestion direct from Satan. I knew my husband's jealous 
temper, and how easy it would be to fire a train tho-e, and I made my 
plans with that view. You lent yourself very easily xo my scheme.' 

'Lent myself V cried the Baron, indignantly ; and then with 
a savage oath he said : ' I loved you, Mrs. Tregonell, and you 
made me believe that you loved me.' 

I let you make fine speeches, and I pretended to be pleased 
at them,' answered Christabel, with supreme scorn. 'I think 
that was all.' 

' No, madam, it was not all. You fooled me to the top of my 
bent. What, those lovely looks,those lowered accents — all meant 
nothing?Itwasalladelusion — an acted lie? You never cared for me V 

' No,' answered Christabel. • My heart was buried with the 
dead. I never loved but one man, and he was murdered, as I 
believed — and I made up my mind to avenge his murder. 
" Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." 
That sentence was in my mind always, when I thought of 
Leonard Tregonell. I meant you to be the executioner. And 
now — now — God knows how the light has come — but the God 
I worshipped when I was a happy sinless girl, has called me out 
of the deep pit of sin — called me to remorse and atonement. You 
must not fight this duel. You must save me from this horrible 
crime that I planned — save me and yourself from blood-guilti- 
ness. You must not meet Leonard at Trebarwith.' 

' And stamp myself as a cur, to obbige you : after having 
lent myself so simply to your scheme of vengeance, lend myself 
as complacently to your repentance. No, Mrs. Tregonell, that is 
too much to ask. I will be your bravo, if you like, since I took 
the part unconsciously — but I will not brand myself with the 
charge of cowardice — even for you.' 

' You fought a duel in South America, and killed your 
adversary. Mr. FitzJesse told me so. Everybody knows that 
you are a dead shot. Who can call you a coward for refusing to 
shoot the man whose roof has sheltered you — who never injured 
you — against whom you can have no ill-will.' 

' Don't be to-> sure of that. He is your husband. When I 
camo to Mount lloyal, I camo resolved to win you.' 

840 Mtunt Boyal. ~"~ — 

• Only because I had deceived you. The woman you admired 
was a living lie. Oh, if you could have looked into my heart only 
yesterday, you must have shrunk from me with loathing. When 
I led you on to play the seducer's part, I was plotting murder — 
murder which I called justice. I knew that Leonard waa 
listening — 1 had so planned that he should follow us to the 
Kieve. I heard his stealthy footsteps, and the rustle of the 
boughs — you were too much engrossed to listen ; but all my 
senses were strained, and I knew the very moment of his coming. 

' It was a pity you did not let your drama come to its natural 
denouement,' sneered de Cazalet, furious with the first woman 
who had ever completely fooled him. ' When your husband waa 
dead — for there is not much doubt as to my killing him — you 
and I could have come to an understanding. You must have 
had some gratitude. However, I am not bloodthirsty, and since 
Mrs. Tregonell has cheated me out of my devotion, fooled me 
with day-dreams of an impossible future, I don't see that I 
should gain much by shooting Mr. Tregonell.' 

' No, there would be no good to you in that profitless blood- 
shed. It is I who have wronged you — I who wilfully deceived 
you — degrading myself in order to lure my husband into a fatal 
quarrel — tempting you to kill him. Forgive me, if you can — and 
forget this wild wicked dream. Conscience and reason came 
back to me beside that quiet grave to-night. What good could 
it do him who lies there that blood should be spilt for his sake 1 
Monsieur de Cazalet, if you will give up all idea of this duel I 
will be grateful to you for the rest of my life.' 

' You have treated me very cruelly,' said the Baron, taking 
both her hands, and looking into her eyes, half in despairing love, 
half in bitterest anger ; ' you have fooled me as never man was 
fooled before, I think — tricked me — and trifled with me — and I 
owe you very little allegiance. If you and I were in South 
America I would show you very little mercy. No, my sweet one, 
I would make you play out the game — you should finish the 
drama you began — finish it in my fashion. But in this world of 
yours, hemmed round with conventionalities, I am obliged to let 
you off easily. As for your husband — well, I have exposed my 
life too often to the aim of a six-shooter to be called coward if I 
let this one opportunity slip. He is nothing to me — or I to him — 
since you are nothing to me. He may go — and I may go. I 
will leave a line to tell him that we have both been the dupes of 
a pretty little acted charade, devised by his wife and her friends — 
and instead of going to meet him at Trebarwith, I'll drive 
straight to Launceston, and catch the early train. Will that 
satisfy you, Mrs. Tregonell 1 ' 

' I thank you with all my heart and soul — you have saved me 
from myself.' 

'You are a much better man than I thought you, Baron,' 
laid Jessie, speaking for the first timo. 

* Srx stood up in Bitter Case.' 311 

She had stood by, a quiet spectator of the scene, listening 
intently, ready at any moment to come to Christabel's rescue, if 
need were — understanding, for the first time, the moving springs 
of conduct which had been so long a mystery to her. 

' Thank you, Miss Bridgeman. I suppose you were in the 
plot— looked on and laughed in your sleeve, as you saw how a 
man of the world may be fooled by sweet words and lovely looks.' 

1 1 knew nothing. I thought Mrs. Tregonell was possessed 
by the devil. If she had let you go on — if you had shot her 
husband — I should not have been sorry for him — for I know he 
killed a much better man than himself, and I am hard enough to 
hug the stern old law — a life for a life. But I should have been 
sorry for her. She is not made for such revenges.' 

1 And now you will be reconciled with your husband, I sup- 
pose, Mrs. Tregonell. You two will agree to forget the past, and 
to live happily everwards ? ' sneered de Cazalet, looking up from 
the letter which he was writing. 

' No ! there can be no f orgetf ulness for either of us. I have 
to do my duty to my son. I have to win God's pardon for the 
guilty thoughts and plans which have filled my mind so long. 
But I owe no duty to Mr. Tregonell. He has forfeited every 
claim. May I see your letter when it is finished ? ' 

De Cazalet handed it to her without a word — a brief epistle, 
written in the airiest tone, ascribing all that had happened at the 
Kieve to a sportive plot of Mrs. Tregonell's, and taking a polite 
leave of the master of the house. 

' When he reads that, I shall be half-way to Launceston,' he 
said, as Christabel gave him back the letter. 

' I am deeply grateful to you, and now good-bye,' she said, 
gravely, offering him her hand. He pressed the cold slim hand 
in his, and gently raised it to his lips. 

' You have used me very badly, but I shall love and honour 
you to the end of my days,' he said, as Christabel left him. 

Jessie was following, but de Cazalet stopped her on the 
threshold. 'Come,' he said, 'you must give me the clue to this 
mystery. Surely you were in it — you, who know her so well, 
must have known something of this ? ' 

' I knew nothing. I watched her with fear and wonder. 
After — after Mr. Hamleigh's death — she was very ill — mentallj 
ill ; she sank into a kind of apathy — not madness — but terribly 
lear the confiness of madness. Then, suddenly, her spirits 
fcemed to revive — she became eager for movement, amusement 
— an utterly different creature from her former self. She and 
I, who had been like sisters, seemed ever so far apart. I could 
not understand this new phase of her character. For a whole 
year she has been unlike herself — a terrible year. Thank God 
this morning I have seen the old Christabel again.' 

Half an hour afterwards the Baron's dogcart drove out of 
the yard, and half an hour after his departure the Baron'* 

342 Mount Royal. 

letter was delivered to Leonard Tregonell, who muttered an oal li as 
he finished reading it, and then handed it to his faithful Jack. 
' What do you say to that 1 ' he asked. 

' By Jove, I knew Mrs. T was straight,' answered the 

Captain, in his unsophisticated phraseology. 'But it was a 
shabby trick to play you all the same. I daresay Mop and Dop 
were in it. Those girls are always ready for larks.' 

Leonard muttered something the reverse of polite about Dop 
and Mop, and went straight to the stable-yard, where he cancelled 
hisorderfor the trap which was tohave conveyed him to Trebarwith 
Bands,and where he heard of the Baron's departure for Launceston. 

Mystified and angry, he went straight upstairs to his wife's 
room. All barriers were broken down now. All reticence was 
at an end. Plainest words, straightest measures, befitted the pre- 
sent state of things. 

Christabel was on her knees in a recess near her bed — a recesa 
which held a little table, with her devotional books and a prie- 
dieu chair. A beautiful head of the Salvator Mundi, painted on 
china at Munich, gave beauty and sanctity to this little oratory. 
She was kneeling on the prie-dieu, her arms folded on the purple 
velvet cushion, her head leaning forward on the folded arms, in 
an attitude of prostration and self-abandonment, her hair falling 
loosely over her white dressing-gown. She rose at Leonard's 
entrance, and confronted him, a ghost-like figure, deadly pale. 

' Your lover has given me the slip,' he said, roughly ; ' why 
didn't you go with him 1 You mean to go, I ha*— no doubt 
You have both made your plans to that end — but you want to 
sneak away — to get clear of this country, perhaps, before people 
have found out what you are. Women of your stamp don't 
mind what scandal they create, but they like to be out of the row.' 

' You are mistaken,' his wife answered, coldly, unmoved by 
his anger, as she had ever been untouched by his love. ' The 
man who left here this morning was never my lover— never 
could have been, had he and I lived under the same roof for years. 
But I intended him for the avenger of that one man whom I did 
love, with all my heart and soul — the man you killed.' 

' What do you mean 1 ' faltered Leonard, with a dull grey 
shade creeping over his face. 

It had been in his mind for a long time that his secret was 
suspected by his wife— but this straight, sudden avowal of the 
fact was not the less a shock to him. 

'You know what I mean. Did you not know when you 
came back to this house that I had fathomed your mystery— that 
I knew whose hand killed Angus Hamleigh. You did know it, 
Leonard : you must have known : for you knew that I was not 
a woman to fling a wife's duty to the winds, without some all- 
sufficient reason. You knew what kind of wife I had been for 
four dull, peaceful years— how honestly I had endeavoured to 
perform the duty which I took upon myself in loving gratitude 

1 She stood up in Bitter Case.' 313 

to your dear mother. Did you believe that I could change all 
at once — become a heartless, empty-headed lover of pleasuie — 
hold you, my husband, at arm's length — outrage propriety — c!efy 
opinion — without a motive so powerful, a purpose so deadly and 
so dear, that self-abasement, loss of good name, counted for 
nothing with me.' 

' You are afool,' said Leonard, doggedly. ' No one at the inquest 
so much as hinted at foul play. Why should you suspect any one ? ' 
' For more than one good reason. First, your manner on the 
night before Angus Hamleigh's death — the words you and he 
spoke to each other at the door of his room. I asked you then 
if there were any quarrel between you, and you said no : but 
even then I did not believe you.' 

' There was not much love between us. You did not expect 
that, did you % ' asked her husband, savagely. 

' You invited him to you house ; you treated him as your 
friend. You had no cause to distrust him or me. You must 
have known that.' 

' I knew that you loved him.' 
1 1 had been your faithful and obedient wife.' 
' Faithful and obedient ; yes — a man might buy faith and 
obedience in any market. I knew that other man was master of 
your heart. Great Heaven, can I forget how I saw you that 
night, hanging upon his words, all your soul in your eyes.' 

• We were talking of life and death. It was not his words 
that thrilled me ; but the deep thoughts they stirred within me 
— thoughts of the great mystery— the life beyond the veil. Do 
you know what it is to speculate upon the life beyond this life, 
when you are talking to a man who bears the stamp of death 
upon his brow, who is as surely devoted to the grave as Socrates 
was when he talked to his friends in the prison. But why do I 

talk to you of these things ? You cannot understand ' 

'No! I am outside the pale, am I not?' sneered Leonard; 
'made of a different clay from that sickly sentimental worshipper 
of yours, who turned to you when he had worn himself out i\ 
the worship of balit* -girls. I was not half fine enough for you, 
could not talk of Shakespeare and the musical glasses. Was it a 
pleasant sensation for me, do you think, to see you two sentimen- 
talizing and poetizing, day after day — Beethoven here and Byron 
there, and all the train of maudlin modern versifiers who have 
made it their chief business to sap the foundations of domestic life. 
' Why did you bring him into your house ?' 
' Why ? Can't you guess ? Because I wanted to know 'he 
utmost and the worst ; to watch you two together ; to see what 
venom was left in the old poison ; to make sure, if I could, that 
you were staunch ; to put you to the test.' 

'God knows I never faltered throughout that ordeal,' sail 
Christabel, solemnly. 'And yet you murdered him. You ask 
nr- howl know of ihat murder. Shall I tell you? You were 

;;j4 Mount Royal. 

; ' the Kieve that day ; you did not go by the beaten stack 
where the ploughmen must have seen you. No ! you crept in 
by stealth the other way — clambered over the rocks— ah ! you 
start. You wonder how I know that. You tore your coat in 
the scramble across the arch, and a fragment of the cloth was 
caught upon a bramble. I have that scrap of cloth, and I have 
the shooting jacket from which it was torn, under lock and key 
in yonder wardrobe. Now, will you deny that you were at the 
Kieve that day ? 

' No. I was there. Hamleigh met me there by appointment. 
You were right in your suspicion that night. "We did quarrel- 
not about you — but about his treatment of that Vandeleur girl. 

I thought he had led her on — flirted with her— fooled her ' 

' You thought,' ejaculated Christabel, with ineffable scorn. 
' Well, I told him so, at any rate ; told him that he would 
not have dared to treat any woman so scurvily, with her brother 
and her brother's friend standing by, if the good old wholesome 
code 'of honour had not gone out of fashion. I told him that 
forty' years ago, in the duelling age, men had been shot for a 
smaller offence against good feeling ; and then he rounded on 
me, and asked me if I wanted to shoot him ; if I was trying to 
provoke a quarrel ; and then — I hardly know how the thing 
came about — it was agreed that we should meet at the Kieve at 
nine o'clock next morning, both equipped as if for woodcock 
shooting— game bags, dogs, and all, our guns loaded with swan- 
shot, and that we should settle our differences face to face, in 
that quiet hollow, without witnesses. If either of us dropped, 
the thing would seem an accident, and would entail no evil 
consequences upon the survivor. If one of us were only 
wounded, why — — ' 

' But you did not mean that,' interrupted Christabel, with 
flashing eyes,' ' you meant your shot to be fatal.' 

' It was fatal,' muttered Leonard. ' Never mind what I 
meant. God knows how I felt when it was over, and that man 
was lying dead on the other side of the bridge. I had seen 
many a noble beast, with something almost human in the look 
of him, go down before my gun; but I had never shot a man 
before. Who could have thought there would have been so 
much difference V 

Christabel clasped her hands over her face, and drew back 
with an involuntary recoil, as if all. the horror of that dreadful 
scene were being at this moment enacted before her eyes. 
Never had the thought of Angus Hamleigh's fate been out of 
her mind in all the year that was ended to-day — this day — the 
anniversary of his death. The image of that deed had been 
ever before her mental vision, beckoning her and guiding her 
along the pathway of revenge — a lurid light. 

' You murdered him,' she said, in low, steadfast tones. ' You 
brought him to this house with evil intent — yes, with your mind 

'She stood up in Bitter Case 345 

full of hatred and malice towards him. You acted the traitor's 
base, hypocritical part, smiling at him and pretending friendship, 
while in your soul you meant murder. And then, under this 
pitiful mockery of a duel — a duel with a man who had never 
injured you, who had no resentment against you — a duel upon 
the shallowest, most preposterous pretence — you kill your friend 
and your guest — you kill him in a lonely place, with none of the 
guards of ordinary duelling ; and you have not the manhood 
to stand up before your fellow-men, and say, " I did it.'" 

' Shall I go and tell them now 1 ' asked Leonard, his white 
lips tremulous with impotent rage. ' They would hang me, most 
likely. Perhaps (hat is what you want.' 

'No, I never wanted that,' answered Christabel. 'For our 
boy's sake, for the honour of your dead mother's name, I would 
have saved you from a shameful death. But I wanted your life 
— a life for a life. That is why I tried to provoke your jealousy 
— why I planned that scene with the Baron yesterday. I knew 
that in a duel between you and him the chances wi re all in his 
favour. I had seen and heard of his skill. You fell easily into 
the trap I laid for you. I was behind the bushes when you 
challenged de Cazalet.' 

' It was a plot, then. You had been plotting my death all 
that time. Your songs and dances, your games and folly, all 
meant the same thing.' 

' Yes, I plotted your death as you did Angus Hamleigh's,' 
answered Christabel, slowly, deliberately, with steady eyes fixed 
on her husband's face; 'only I relented at the eleventh hour. 
You did not.' 

Leonard stared at her in dumb amazement. This new aspect 
of his wife's character paralyzed his thinking powers, which had 
never been vigorous. He felt as if, in the midst of a smooth 
summer sea, he had found himself suddenly face to face with 
that huge wave known on this wild northern coast, which, 
generated by some mysterious power in the wide Atlantic, rolls on 
its deadly course in overwhelmingmight;engulphing many a craft 
which but a minute before was riding gaily on a summer sea. 

' Yes, you have cause to look at me with horror in your eyes,' 
said Christabel. ' I have steeped my soul in sin ; I have plotted 
your death. In the purpose and pursuit of my life I have been a 
murderer. It is God's mercy that held me back from that 
black gulf. What gain would your death have been to your 
victim .' Would ho have slept more peacefully in his grave, or 
have awakened happier on the Judgment Day 1 ? If he had 
consciousness and knowledge in that dim mysterious world, he 
would have been sorry for the ruin of my soul — sorry for Satan's 
I i- over the woman he once loved. Last night, kneeling on 
liis grave, these thoughts came into my mind for the first time. 
1 think it was the fact of being near him — almost as if there was 
some sympathy between the living and the dead. Leonard, J 

346 Mount Royal 

know how wicked I have been. God pity and pardon me, and 
make me a worthy mother for my boy. For you and me there 
can be nothing but life-long parting.' 

'Well, yes, I suppose there would not be much chance of 
comfort or union for us after what has happened, ' said Leonard, 
moodily ; ' ours is scarcely a case in which to kiss again with tears, 
as your song says. I must be content to go my way, and 
let you go yours. It is a pity we ever marriod ; but that was 
my fault, I suppose. Have you any particular views as to your 
future? I shall not molest you j but I should be glad to know 
that the lady who bears my name is leading a reputable life.' 

' I shall live with my son — for my son. You need have no 
fear that I shall make myself a conspicuous person iu the world. 
I have done with life, except for him. I care very little where 
I live: if you want Mount Royal for yourself, I can have the 
old house at Penlee made comfortable for Jessie Bridgeman and 
me. I dare say I can be as happy at Penlee as here.' 

' I don't want this house. 1 detest it. Do you suppose I am 
going to waste my life in England — or in Europe ] Jack and I 
can start on our travels again. The world is wide enough ; there 
are two continents on which I have never set foot. I shall sta-t 
for Calcutta to-morrow, if I can, and explore the whole of India 
before I turn my face westwards again. I think we understand 
each other fully now. Stay, there is one thing : I am to see my 
son when, and as often as I please, I suppose.' 

' I will not interfere with your rights as a father.' 

' I am glad of that. And now I suppose there is no more to 
be said. I leave your life, my honour, in your own keeping.' 

' God be with you,' she answered, solemnly, giving that part- 
ing salutation its fullest meaning. 

And so, without touch of lip or hand, they parted for a lifetime. 



' I wonder if there is any ancient crime in the Tregonell 
family that makes the twenty-fifth of October a fatal date ; 
Mopsy speculated, with a lachrymose air, on the afternoon 
which followed the Baron's hasty departure. 'This very day 
last year Mr. Hamleigh shot himself, and spoiled all our 
pleasure ; and to-day, the Baron de Cazalet rushes away as 
if the house was infected, Mrs. Tregonell keeps her own room 
with a nervous headache, and Mr. Tregonell is going to carry 
off Jack to be broiled alive in some sandy waste among 
prowling tigers, or to catch his death of cold upon more of 
those horrid mountains. One might just as well have no brother.' 
' If he ever sent us anything from abroad we shouldn't 
feel his loss so keenly,' said Dopsy, in a plaintive voice, ' but he 
doesn't. If he were to traverse the whole of Africa we shouldn't be 
the richer by a single ostrich feather— and those uudyed natural 

We have clone with Tears and Treasons. ?47 

ostriches are such good style. South America teems with gold 
ami jewels ; Peru is a proverb ; but what are tee the better off 1 ' 

' it is rather bad form for the master of a house to start on 
his travels before his guests have cleared out,' remarked Mopsy. 

' And an uncommonly broad hint for the guests to hasten the 
clearing out process,' retorted Dopsy. ' I thought we were good 
here for another month — till Christmas, perhaps. Christmas at 
an old Cornish manor-house woidd have been too lovely — like 
one of the shilling annuals.' 

' A great deal nicer,' said Mopsy, ' for you never met with a 
country house in a Christmas book that was not peopled with 
ghosts and all kind of ghastliness. 

Luncheon was lively enough, albeit de Cazalet was gone, and 
Mrs. Tregonell was absent, and Mr. Tregonell painfully silent. 
The chorus of the passionless, the people for whom life means only 
dressing and sleeping and four meals a day, found plenty to talk about. 

Jack Vandeleur was in high spirits. He rejoiced heartily at 
the turn which affairs had taken that morning, having from the 
first moment looked upon the projected meeting on Trebarwith 
sands as likely to be fatal to his friend, and full of peril for all 
concerned in the business. 

He was too thorough a free-lance, prided himself too much on 
his personal courage and his recklessness of consequences, to offer 
strenuous opposition to any scheme of the kind ; but he had not 
faced the situation without being fully aware of its danger, and 
he was very glad the thing had blown over without bloodshed or 
law-breaking. He was glad also on Mrs. Tregonell's account, 
very glad to now that this one woman in whose purity and 
honesty of purpose he had believed, had not proved herself a 
simulacrum, a mere phantasmagoric image of goodness and 
virtue. Still more did he exult at the idea of re-visiting the 
happy hunting-grounds of his youth, that ancient romantic world 
in which the youngest and most blameless years of his life had been 
spent. Pleasant to go back under such easy circumstances, with 
Leonard's purse to draw upon, to be the rich man's guide, philo- 
sopher, and friend, in a country which he knew thoroughly. 

' Pray what is the cause of this abrupt departure of da 
Cazalet, and this sudden freak of our host's 1 ?' inquired Mrs. 
Torrington of her next neighbour, Mr. FitzJesse, who wa i 
calmly discussing a cutlet d la Maintenon, unmoved by the shrill 
chatter of the adjacent Dopsy. ' I hope it is nothing wrong 
with the drains.' 

'No I am told the drainage is simply perfect.' 

'People a mu h, til! typhoid fever brc ' i 

out; and then it red that there is an aban 

pool in direct communication with one of the spare bed-roo 
or a forgotten drain-pipe under the drawn > floor. 1 never 

; they tell me their houses are wholesome. 
It 1 smell an unpleasant smell I go,' Raid Mrs. Torrington. 

348 Mount Boyat. 

' There is often wisdom in flight/ replied the journalist ; 'but 
I do not think this is a case of bad drainage.' 

1 No more do I,' returned Mrs. Torrington, dropping her voice 
and becoming confidential ; ' of course we both perfectly understand 
what it all means. There has been a row between Mr. and Mrs. 
Tregonell, and de Cazalet has got his congi from the husband. 

' I should have introduced him to the outside of my house 
three weeks ago, had I been the Squire,' said FitzJesse. ' But 
I.believe the flirtation was harmless enough, and I have a shrewd 
idea it was what the thieves call a " put up " thing — done on 
purpose to provoke the husband.' 

' Why should she want to provoke him % ' 

'Ah, why? That is the mystery. You know her better than 
I do, and must be better able to understand her motives.' 

' But I don't understand her in the least,' protested Mrs. 
Torf ington. ' She is quite a different person this year from the 
woman I knew last year. I thought her the most devoted wife 
and mother. The house was not half so nice to stay at ; but it 
was ever so much more respectable. I had arranged with my 
next people — Lodway Court, near Bristol — to be with them at 
the end of the week ; but I suppose the best thing we can all do 
is to go at once. There is an air of general break-up in Mr. 
Tregonell's hasty arrangements for an Indian tour.' 

' Bather like the supper- party in Macbeth, is it not ? ' said 
FitzJesse, ' except that her ladyship is not to the fore.' 

' I call it altogether uncomfortable,' exclaimed Mrs. Torring- 
ton, pettishly. "How do I know that the Lodway Court people 
will be able to receive me. I may be obliged to go to an hotel.' 

' Heaven avert such a catastrophe.' 

' It would be very inconvenient — with a maid, and no end of 
luggage. One is not prepared for that kind of thing when one 
starts on a. round of visits.' 

For l)opsy and Mopsy there was no such agreeable prospect 
as a change of scene from one ' well-found ' country-house to 
another. To be tumbled out of this lap of luxury meant a fall 
into the dreariness of South Belgravia and the King's Boad — 
long, monotonous, arid streets, with all the dust that had been 
gixmnd under the feet of happy people in the London season 
blown about in dense clouds, for the discomforture of the out- 
casts who must stay in town when the season is over ; sparse 
dinners, coals measured by the scuttle, smoky fires, worn 
carpets, flat beer, and the whole gamut of existence equally flat, 
stale and unprofitable. 

Dopsy and Mopsy listened with doleful countenances to 
Jack's talk about the big things he and his friend were going to 
do in Bengal, the tigers, the wild pigs, and wild peacocks they 
were going to slay. Why had not Destiny made them young 
men, that they too might prey upon their species, and enjoy life 
at somebody else's expense ? 

We have done with Tears and, Treasons. 349 

1 I'll tell you what,' said their brother, in the most cheerful 
manner. 'Of course you won't be staying here after I leave. 
Mrs. Tregonell will want to be alone when her husband goes. 
You had better go with the Squire and me as far as Southamp- 
ton. He'll frank you. We can all stop at the " Duke uf 
Cornwall" to-morrow night, and start for Southampton by an 
early train next morning. You can lunch with us at the 
" Dolphin," see us off by steamer, and go on to London afterwards.' 

' That will be a ray of jollity to gild the last hour of our 
happiness,' said Mopsy. 'Oh how I loathe the idea of going 
back to those lodgings — and pa ! ' 

' The governor is a trial, I must admit,' said Jack. ' But 
you see the European idea is that an ancient parent can't hang 
on hand too long. There's no wheeling him down to the Ganges, 
and leaving him to settle his account with the birds and .the 
fishes ; and even in India that kind of thing is getting out of date.' 

' I wouldn't so much mind him,' said Dopsy, plaintively, 
' if his habits were more human ; but there are so many trails 
in his character — especially his winter cough — which remind 
one of the lower animals.' 

' Poor old Pater,' sighed Jack, with a touch of feeling. 
He was not often at home. ' Would you believe it, that he 
was once almost a gentleman 1 Yes, I remember, an early 
period in my life when I was not ashamed to own him. But 
when a fellow has been travelling steadily down hill for 
fifteen years, his ultimate level must be uncommonly low.' 

' True,' sighed Mopsy, ' we have always tried to rise superior 
to our surroundings ; but it has been a terrible struggle.' 

"There have been summer evenings, when that wretched 
slavey has been out with her young man, that I have been sorely 
tempted to fetch the beer with my own hands — there is a jug 
and bottle entrance at the place where we deal — but I have 
suffered agonies of thirst rather than so lower myself,' said Dopsy, 
with the complacence of conscious heroism. 

' Right you are,' said Jack, who would sooner have fetched 
beer in the very eye of society than gone without it ; ' one must 
draw the line somewhere.' 

' And to go from a paradise likethistosuchadenasthat,' exclaim- 
ed Dopsy, still harping on the unloveliness of the Pimlico lodging. 

' Cheer up, old girl. I daresay Mrs. T. will ask you again. 
She's very good-natured.' 

' She has behaved like an angel to us,' answered Dopsy, ' but 
I can't make her out. There's a mystery somewhere.' 

' There's always a skeleton in the cupboard. Don't you try 
to haul old Bony out,' said the philosophical Captain. 

This was after luncheon, when Jack and his sisters had th« 
billiard-room to themselves. Mr. Tregonell was in his study, 
making things straight with his bailiff, coachman, butler, in his 
usual business-like and decisive manner. Mr. FitzJesee was 

350 Mount Boyal. 

packing his portmanteau, meaning to sleep that night at Pen- 
zance, lie was quite shrewd enough to be conscious of the 
tempest in the air, and was not disposed to inflict himself upon 
his friends in the hour of trouble, or to be bored by having to 
Km I utilize with them in their affliction. 

lie had studied Mrs. Tregonell closely, and he had made up 
his mind that conduct which was out of harmony with her 
character must needs be inspired by some powerful motive. He 
had heard the account of her first engagement — knew all about 
little Fishky — and he had been told the parti cnlars of her first 
lover's death. It was not difficult for so astute an observer of 
human nature to make out the rest of the story. 

Little Monty had been invited to go as far as Southampton 
with the travellers. The St. Aubyns declared that home-duties 
had long been demanding their attention, and that they must 
positively leave next day. 

Mr. Faddie accepted an invitation to accompany them, and 

spend a week at their fine old place on the other side of the 

county — thus, without any trouble on Christabel's part, her house 

was cleared for her. "When she came down to luncheon next 

day, two or three hours after the departure of Leonard and his 

party, who were to spend that night at Plymouth, with some idea 

of an evening at the theatre on the part of Mop and Dop, she 

had only the St. Aubyns and Mr. Faddie to entertain. Even 

they were on the wing, as the carriage which was to convey them to 

Bodmin Road Station was ordered for threeo'clock in the afternoon. 

Christabel's pale calm face showed no sign of the mental strain 

of the last twenty-four hours. There was such a relief in having 

done with the false life which she had been leading in the past 

month ; such an infinite comfort in being able to fall back on her 

old self ; such an unspeakable relief, too, in the sense of having 

Baved herself on the very brink of the biack gulf of sin, that it 

was almost as if peace and gladness had returned to her soul. 

Once again she had sought for comfort at the one Divine source 

of consolation ; once more she had dared to pray ; and this 

tardy resumption of the old sweet habit of girlhood seemed like 

a return to some dear home from which she has been long 

banished. Even those who knew so little of her real character 

were able to see the change in her countenance. 

' What a lovely expression Mrs. Tregonell has to-day ! ' mur- 
mured Mr. Faddie to his neighbour, Mrs. St. Aubyn, tenderly 
replenishing her hock glass, as a polite preliminary to filling his 
own. ' So soft ; so Madonna-like ! ' 

' I suppose she is rather sorry for having driven away her 
husband,' said Mrs. St. Aubyn, severely. ' That has sobered her.' 
' There are depths in the human soul which only the con- 
fessor can sound,' answered Mr. Faddie, who would not be 
betrayed into saying anything uncivil about his hostess, 

We have Jone with Tears and Treasons. 351 

1 "Would that she mi.vhi be led to pour her griefs into an car 
attuned to every note i:; the diapason of sorrow.' 

' I don't approve of confession, and I never shall bring myself 
to like it,' said Mrs. St. Aubyn, sturdily. ' It is un-English ! ' 
' But your Rubric, dear lady. Surely you stand by your Rubric?' 
' If you mean the email print paragraphs in my prayer book, I 
never read 'em, ! answered the Squire's wife, bluntly. 'I hope I know 
my way through the Church Service without any help of t hat kind. 
Mr. Faddie sighed •»* this Boeotian ignorance, and went on 
with his luncheon. It might be long before he partook of so 
gracious a meal. A woman whose Church views were so barbar- 
ous as those of Mrs. St. Aubyn, might keep a table of primitive 
coarseness. A Squire "Westernish kind of fare might await him 
in the St. Aubyn mansion. 

An hour later, he pressed Christabel's hand tenderly as he 
bade her good-bye. 'A thousand thanks for your sweet hospi- 
tality, 1 he murmured , gently. 'This visit has been most precious 
to me. It has been a privilege to be brought nearer the lives of 
those blessed martyrs, Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus ; toi'enew 
my acquaintance with dear Saint Mertheriana, whose life I only 
dimly remembered ; to kneel at the rustic shrines of Saint 
Ulette and Saint Piran. It has been a period of mental growth, 
the memory of which I shall ever value.' 

And then, with a grave uplifting of two fingers, and a bless- 
ing on the house, Mr. Faddie went off to his place beside Clara 
St. Aubyn, on the back seat of the landau which was to convey 
the departing guests to the Bodmin Road Station, a two hours' 
drive through the brisk autumn air. 

And thus, like the shadowy figures in a dissolving view, 
Christabel's guests melted away, and she and Jessie Bridgeman 
stood alone in the grand old hall which had been of late so 
perverted from its old sober air and quiet domestic uses. Her 
first act as the carriage drove away was to fling one of the case- 
ments wide open. 

' Open the other windows, Jessie,' she said, impetuously ; ' all 
of them.' 

' Do you know that the wind is in the east ? ' 
'I know that it is pure and sweet, the breath of heaven blow- 
ing over hill and sea, and that it is sweeping away the tainted 
atmosphere of the last month, the poison of scandal, and slang, 
and cigarettes, and billiard-marker talk, and all that is most un- 
lovely in life. Oh, Jessie, thank God you and I are alone together, 
and the play is played out.' 

1 Did you see your husband to-day before he left? ' 
'No Why should we meet anymore? What can we two 
have to tay to each other?' 

' Th< n he kft his home without a word frcru you,' said Jessie, 
with a shade of wonder. 

552 Mount Royal. 

' His home,' repeated Christabel ; ' the Lome in which his pool 
mother thought it would be my lot to make his life good and 
happy. If she could know— hut no— thank God the dead are at 
peace. No, Jessie, he did not go without one word from me. I 
wrote a few lines of farewell. I told him I had prayed to my 
God for power to pity and forgive him, and that pity and pardon 
had come to me. I implored him to mal- his future life one 
long atonement for that fatal act last year. I who had sinned 
so deeply had no right to take a high tone. I spoke to him as a 
sinner to a sinner.' 

' I hope lie does repent — that he will atone,' said Miss Bridge- 
man, gloomily. _ ' His life is in his own keeping. Thank God that 
you and I are rid of him, and can live the rest of our days in peace. 

Very quietly flows the stream of life at Mount Eoyal now that 
these feverish scenes have passed into the shadow of the days 
that are no more. Christabel devotes herself to the rearing of 
her boy, lives for him, thinks for him, finds joy in his boyish 
pleasures, grieves for his boyish griefs, teaches him, walks with 
him, rides with him, watches and nurses him in every childish 
illness, and wonders that her life is so full of peace and sunshine. 
The memory of a sorrowful past can never cease to be a part of 
her life. All those scenes she loves best in this world, the familiar 
places amidst which her quiet days are spent, are haunted by one 
mournful shadow ; but she loves the hills and sea-shore only 
the dearer for that spiritual presence, which follows her in 
the noontide and the gloaming, for ever reminding her, amidst 
the simple joys of the life she knows, of that unknown life 
where the veil shall be lifted, and the lost shall be found. 

Major Bree is her devoted friend and adviser, idolizes the 
boy, and just manages to prevent his manliness deteriorating 
under the pressure of womanly indulgence and womanly fears. 
Jessie has refused that faithful admirer a second time, but 
Christabel has an idea that he means to tempt his fate again, 
and in the end must prevail, by sheer force of goodness and fidelity. 

Kneeling by Angus Hamleigh's grave, little Leo hears froin 
his mother's lips how the dead man loved him, and be- 
queathed his fortune to him. The mother endeavours to 
explain in simplest, clearest words how the wealth so entrusted 
to him should be a sacred charge, never to be turned to evil 
uses or squandered in self-indulgence.' 

' You will try to do good when you are a man won't you, 
Leo ? ' she asks smiling down at the bright young face, which 
shines like a sunbeam inits childish gladness. 

'Ye3,' he answers, confidently. 'I'll give Uncle Jakes tobacco .' 

This is his widest idea of benevolence at the present stage ©f