MR. TABOR'S TROUBLES.
TABOR had been more becoming and more convinced that there was a
background of unpleasant fact behind that unpleasant rumour
concerning his junior partner, and the consciousness of that
conviction—a conviction on which he was not prepared to act—cost him
a great deal of anxiety and unhappiness.
Mr. Tabor was a cautious man, but no means a suspicious one.
Suspicion is a vague thing, and he hated vagueness; he could not
rest in it; he had never in his life rested in it; he had never
suspected any one without a good and sufficient cause, and then he
had used the utmost promptness and directness in either verifying or
dispelling his doubts. He could as easily have borne to leave
his letters about loose and undocketed, as to leave his opinion
about people in suspense. On this therefore, as well as on
higher grounds, it was a daily trouble, which soon grew to a daily
torture, to meet his partner. He could not put away his
suspicion, simply docketing it a mistake, and thrusting it into the
furthest mental pigeon-hole, as he would have done if Philip's
language and manner had not confirmed instead of dispelling it, and
he could not make up his mind to resolve it in one way or other, by
simply asking for an explanation. He felt that this was what
he ought to do, and that he could not do what he ought to do, was a
fresh and quite a new source of pain to him. All his habitual
caution, all his habitual delicacy, the very strength of his
suspicion itself withheld him. More than once he tried to
approach the subject with Philip, and felt that he was foiled;
Philip remained impenetrable: Mr. Tabor remembered that he and his
brother had parted on bad terms, the circumstances of which Philip
had but slightly alluded to at the time, and had ever since
manifested the utmost distaste to enter upon. The more Mr.
Tabor pondered upon this, the more it told against Philip in his
mind; his brother Francis had been a frank, amiable fellow, the
universal favourite—too much given to pleasing everybody to please
Mr. Tabor, who had liked Philip's more uncompromising temper the
best; still he was the least likely of the two to make, or to
maintain, a quarrel. He would not have quarrelled without some
strenuous cause. If he, Mr. Tabor, could get to the bottom of
that, it might throw light on the other matter. He resolved to
make another effort. Therefore one day he asked Philip if he
had ever heard from his brother yet?
Philip simply answered, "No."
"It is very strange," resumed Mr. Tabor, "you used to be so
fond of each other as boys."
Philip's face worked in a way it had of quivering when he was
hurt. Mr. Tabor knew he was probing a wound, but he went on:
"You must have had a very serious quarrel, for resentment to have
lasted all this time; he was the least resentful of the two, I
should imagine," he added, with a meaning smile, and the old gentle
way in which he had tried to correct Philip's faults when he was a
much younger man.
Philip felt it, and answered gently and sadly, "We had a very
serious quarrel, Mr. Tabor."
"May I ask what it was about—particularly, I mean?" said Mr.
Tabor. "I have known you both all your lives," he added in a
voice of emotion, "and I do not like to have this great gap in my
knowledge of you."
"It was about our father's affairs," said Philip; "I am very
sorry that further than this I cannot answer you."
"One question I may ask," said Mr. Tabor; "I may ask who made
the breach, you or he?"
"As far as that is concerned," said Philip, "I may safely
answer that it was I who made it."
"Then you can mend it, perhaps," said Mr. Tabor.
"I think not," was Philip's answer.
Mr. Tabor was thus no wiser, but a good deal more unhappy,
than he was before, being more than ever convinced that Philip had
done something blameworthy. "Do you know where Francis is at
present?" he asked.
"I do not," said Philip; "I have never heard from him since
"At your father's grave," said Mr. Tabor, with more than
usual sternness in his voice.
Philip did not speak, and there was an end of the
conversation. But not of Mr. Tabor's hard thoughts; they were
busier and harder than ever. He reflected that Philip, not
Francis, had had the management of their father's affairs during the
illness of the latter. If, therefore, there had been
mismanagement, it was his; if there had been malversation, it was
his. Francis had had nothing to do with them, then nor since.
Had Philip for something of this kind incurred the displeasure of
his elder brother, and resented it as the transgressor is apt to
resent? This would account for a great deal—for his brother's
estrangement, for the condition of his father's affairs, so
unexpectedly insolvent, and for Philip's efforts to retrieve the
past by rigid retrenchment.
But all such surmises only left the necessity for a fuller
investigation where it was before—nay, made the necessity a great
deal clearer to Mr. Tabor's mind, and he tormented himself with the
conviction that he ought to take the initiative in clearing up the
mystery. And what would be the consequences of doing so?
One immediate consequence Mr. Tabor foresaw, and that was the
dissolution of the partnership, which meant the giving up of the
business into other hands. Mr. Tabor felt that he was too old
to organise it afresh, and so confident had he been of Philip's
ability to succeed him that he had made no provision by retaining
the services of his articled clerks for any failure on his part.
Whether Philip was guilty or not, the result would be the same;
guilty, his services could not be retained in the firm; not guilty,
a man so proud and sensitive could not be expected to remain.
The grounds on which he had been suspected of making away with money
which was not his own, would be certain to seem insufficient to him.
And in the meantime this anxiety was making Mr. Tabor ill. He
came home jaded and worn. He lost his appetite. He could
not sleep. Mrs. Tabor became anxious in turn; she thought his
health was failing, that he was breaking up prematurely. A
cloud seemed to settle on the little household, and to deepen
instead of dispersing when the cause of the anxiety oozed out.
Of course, Mrs. Tabor had known all along, but Lucy had
remained in ignorance. "Don't say anything to Lucy," Mr. Tabor
had said; and nothing was said to her, till some words of his own
led to the revelation. "May I tell?" Mrs. Tabor's face had
said, and Mr. Tabor's had answered, by a species of telegraphy, "You
may," and Mrs. Tabor gladly availed herself of the first opportunity
to do so, which took place a day or two before Arthur Wildish had
brought to Lucy the report of his conversation with Ada, which had
so distressed the former. Lucy had always been her mother's
confidant, and indeed there existed between them a beautiful
friendship. "I am very anxious about your papa," Mrs. Tabor
had said; "he is worrying himself to death."
"What is it about, mamma?" asked Lucy; "I can see he is vexed
"He is very unhappy about something he has heard concerning
Mr. Tenterden," said Mrs. Tabor.
"What has he heard, mamma?" asked Lucy, turning pale.
"That there has been something wrong—something dishonest in
fact—in his management of Fanny's affairs. Your father thinks
he ought to have handed them over to the firm when his father died;
instead of which he has kept them in his own hands, and refuses to
give an account of them."
"I cannot, I do not, believe he has done anything wrong,"
said Lucy, in a tone which wrung her mother's heart. "It must
be some dreadful mistake. He cannot be capable of dishonesty."
She brought out the word with a shudder of disgust. "We could
not all have loved him as we did," she added.
"People may be lovable without being good Lucy," said Mrs.
Tabor, sadly. "We did love him; but you know we see very
little of him now. He may have stayed away because he felt
unworthy," she added, speaking the thought that came into her mind
at the moment.
It was a new idea to Lucy, and a terrible one. It gave
her the first pang of the torture of doubt. Her mother sat
watching her transparent face. "My darling, do you care for
him?" she said at length in a choking whisper.
(Drawn by ROBERT
"Do you care for him?"
Lucy burst into tears and hid her face on her mother's bosom,
who, as she bent over her, could hear the murmured words, "Oh,
mamma! so much!—so much!"
"But, my darling, you could not love him if he had done this
wrong," said Mrs. Tabor; "I mean, you would cease to love him," she
added, in sorrowful perplexity.
"I cannot tell, I do not know," said Lucy. She was
silent for a little, and then she spoke again out of the very depths
of her heart. "I would still care for him, mamma," she said;
"I cannot help it," she continued, as if deprecating blame. "I
know what papa thinks of money dishonour, and I think the same.
It is inexpressibly mean, and wicked; but he is not mean and wicked.
If he has done anything dishonourable, it must have been under some
great temptation, and oh, mamma! it must have made him so unhappy."
"My darling," said her mother, anxiously, "we cannot
distinguish in that way between people and their actions; you will
only perplex your mind, and confuse your notions of right and
"What will happen?" said Lucy, after a pause; "what will
happen to him, I mean? Will it ruin him? will he be put in
"It will ruin his prospects in life if he has away with
Fanny's money," said Mrs. Tabor; "but I do not think, whatever is
amiss, either your father or Fanny will bring it to a public trial.
Philip has been more like a brother to Fanny, and for that matter,
more like a son to your father than anything else."
Lucy was weeping unrestrainedly, and her mother's slower
tears fell upon her head. All their love and care had not been
able to shield the cherished daughter from the hard fate of loving
hopelessIy, and unworthily, for that Philip was unworthy was beyond
doubt in Mrs. Tabor's mind. Her husband had unwittingly
conveyed to her a stronger assurance of his guilt than that which
rested in his own mind, an assurance which she in her turn conveyed
still more strongly to Lucy. It hardly needed Arthur's report
of his conversation with Ada to confirm the latter in her belief
that it was already a thing proven and accepted by others, however
she herself might hold out against it.
But till then she did hold out; till then she had felt like
the settler who hears that somewhere behind his clearing the woods
are on fire, and thinks truly enough the fire is there, but it may
take another direction, or it may die out. But soon he
breathes the conflagration in the air; he sees the smoke of its
advance, and knows that it is coming on, spreading in a fatal
circle, scorching and scathing all before it, and that if he escapes
with life it will be well.
Lucy at once imparted to her mother the confirmation which
she had received, and she in her turn communicated the substance of
what Lucy had heard to her husband. The other and more
personal confidence she retained, and because of it, still
maintained a reticence on the whole subject. But when Mr.
Tabor, after a struggle with himself, went to Fanny and forced from
her a very confused account of Philip's interview with her, and the
admissions he had made, that reticence came to an end.
Suspicion had become certainty, and it only remained for Mr. Tabor
to act upon it, and he freely consulted his wife and daughter as to
the steps to be taken.
After one of these consultations, when they were left alone
together, "Lucy," said her mother, "would you rather your father did
not know what you told me the other day?"
"No, mamma; I do not seem to care," she answered. "I
think I could tell papa myself. Do you know I have been
thinking I would like to tell him."
"Yes, mamma; I think it might help him to know; help him to
save him—help to keep him from going from bad to worse, as papa said
such men do."
"My darling," said her mother, sitting down beside her, "I
think it might, for love is the true salvation; but you could not do
this. We say and do in our hearts such things, but we fail to
translate them into deeds."
"I would not seek to see him again," said Lucy, showing how
her thoughts had dwelt upon her sacrifice. "I would not meet
him perhaps till the best of our days were over. After that I
might, when other people only knew him as a man who had ruined
himself long ago, I might know that he had redeemed himself."
SECOND TIME OF ASKING.
IT was a serious
addition to Mr. Tabor's troubles just then, to be told of Lucy's
attachment to Philip, and to see for himself, in the change which
had come upon her, how much she suffered. It was not that she
drooped, she bore herself, on the contrary, more bravely, but her
careless gaiety was gone; and to see this did not tend to soften Mr.
Tabor towards his partner. But his first thought, with his
characteristic fear of doing the slightest injustice, was of Arthur
Wildish. "He must not be allowed to come about in this way any
longer," he said to his wife.
"I do not see that Lucy can help it, since she refused him
distinctly," said Mrs. Tabor. She could not bear the shadow of
blame to rest on Lucy now.
"No, my dear, I do not blame her in the least," returned her
husband; "but you can see how it is, he is counting upon a second
time of asking. He thinks he will win her yet; and so he
might, but for this unhappy attachment, which will spoil our little
"Don't say that, papa; our lives are never spoilt for us,
though we may spoil them for ourselves, by taking things in the
wrong way," said Mrs. Tabor.
"Our Lucy is so lonely too. We would have been glad to
see her with a husband and children of her own. We will leave
her almost solitary," Mr. Tabor sighed.
"We're not going to leave her yet a while, please God," said
Mrs. Tabor, putting on a cheery smile. "It will never do," she
said to herself, "for all three to be melancholy together.
Perhaps you had better speak to Mr. Wildish," she added to her
"What shall I say to him?"
"Tell him in the best way you can that he need not come for
Lucy, nor yet stay away for her; that is, that if he is coming for
her, perhaps he had better stay away, and if he is not, why then he
may come and welcome."
Mr. Tabor laughed.
"Make him understand quite clearly that he is only to
consider his own feelings in the matter, for I am sure Lucy's will
not be in the least affected," Mrs. Tabor, continued; "now don't
suspect me of managing, papa, for I hate it mortally."
"That is the last thing I will suspect you of," returned Mr.
Tabor, smiling, in spite of himself.
Lucy had kept faithfully to her part of the compact of
everlasting friendship, and she honestly returned her lover's
attachment in that sterling coin. Having no feeling of her own
corresponding to his, she believed that this had settled the matter,
and she treated Arthur very much as a girl treats a favourite
brother; and it did not mislead either of the parties principally
concerned, though it had misled the people about them, who gradually
began to look upon them as engaged persons, though nothing of the
kind had been formally announced. It did not mislead Arthur;
nay, more, it was quite effectual in restraining him, from any
lover-like demonstrations. Her perfect cordiality and frank
kindness raised no vain hopes, rather, as time went by, dispelled
those he had entertained. Reserve or faltering would have been
a welcome sign to him, a sign that she was yielding to him something
more than friendship. But no such sign appeared, and he was
beginning to be rather restive under the restraints of his position,
when Mr. Tabor took him in hand.
A party had been got up to take Ada Lovejoy to one of the
evening concerts at St. James's Hall, and Arthur had brought a roomy
hired carriage, and was waiting with a bouquet in each hand for
Lucy, who was up-stairs dressing, and for Ada, who was coming in to
go with them. Mrs. Tabor was also upstairs, as she too was
going to chaperon the girls. It occurred to Mr. Tabor to seize
the opportunity. "Wildish," he said, laying his hand kindly on
the young man's shoulder, and speaking in as light a tone as he
could command, "I hope you don't go on thinking of that ungrateful
little girl of mine."
Mr. Wildish could not deny it; he smiled, and said frankly,
"I'm afraid I think of her as much as ever I did."
"Then, my dear fellow, you should give it up," said Mr.
Tabor, seriously; "you are wasting your time and your affections."
"Is it so hopeless, do you think?"
"Quite hopeless," said Mr. Tabor.
"I would like to give it one more trial," said the young man,
"The sooner the better then," returned Mr. Tabor, and Lucy
and her mother came in.
Ada followed speedily, dressed in silvery grey and green.
She and Geraldine had made the dress between them, Geraldine
directing from her bed, and Ada executing her directions. The
result was very pretty, and made Ada look more like a tall lily then
ever. Arthur held out one of the bouquets to her with a mock
heroic bow. It was very pretty, and Lucy held one to match it
in her hand. "Let me run in and leave it," said Ada, quite
forgetting to thank the giver.
"It is to take with you, child," said Lucy.
"Oh, but it would be such a pity to waste it, and Jerry so
fond of flowers," said Ada, and she whisked away to Arthur's intense
amusement, returning in a few minutes without the flowers, which she
had left in a glass on the little table beside her sister's bed.
Ada was a great source of interest and pleasure to Arthur
Wildish, and ever since she had taken him into her confidence about
her plans, he had assumed the right of helping and directing her.
Ada had lost no time in putting her musical plan into execution.
She had dragged Fanny out with her to see the inevitable "Professor
of Music," three doors off, and to engage him to give her lessons.
Day after day she continued to work with unabated energy. Even
when she sat up-stairs with Geraldine it was with a music-book on
her knee, accustoming her eyes to the reading and humming low
snatches of song, which, instead of disliking, Geraldine found
Anything like Ada's intense enjoyment of that concert Arthur
Wildish had never seen. He sat next her, and saw and felt the
slight figure sway and thrill and quiver to the music. Flashes
of passion crossed her white face, in which Arthur noticed for the
first time the promise of splendid beauty, the great grey eyes
dilated, the delicate nostrils quivered. All the way home she
never uttered a word, and when Arthur handed her out at her own
door, he could see the tears on her eyelashes.
It was a mild, breezy, moonlit night, and letting Mrs. Tabor
pass into the house, Arthur detained Lucy with a whispered, "Come
into the garden." She went with him, gathering her short white
cloak about her, and pulling the hood over her head she held it with
one hand under her chin. The promenade before them was not a
long one, and they were soon at the bottom of the garden, neither
having uttered a word. Then they stopped. Lucy stood under the
white blossoming boughs of a cherry-tree that had a weird beauty in
the moonlight. She had a feeling of what was coming, and
strove to deprecate it; she stretched out her disengaged hand and
laid it on her companion's arm, saying, "Don't, Arthur."
"I must," he answered, adding abruptly, "Lucy, can't you love
"Oh, Arthur! do not ask me," said Lucy. Then she added
suddenly, for the same thought which had occurred to her father came
into her mind, "You must go away and try to forget me. You
must not go on giving me all who have nothing to give you in return.
Yes, Arthur, you must go away; it was selfish of me not to think of
"You selfish!" he repeated indignantly; "I do not care how
long it goes on, only, Lucy, give me some hope at the end."
"I cannot—cannot," she answered wistfully.
"No hope at all?"
"None at all."
"No, never," she repeated. The wind shook the tree, and
snowed its blossoms over her as she echoed the words.
Then they walked up to the house together, as silent as
before. Lucy gave him her hand, which he wrung as if for
parting, and then she ran up-stairs and he went into the house to
find her father.
"Well?" was Mr. Tabor's greeting, for he had seen his wife
for a moment, and knew that he and Lucy had been together and alone.
Arthur shook his head.
"I was sure of it," said Mr. Tabor; "I am sorry,
Wildish—sorry on more accounts than one, but you had better take my
"And never see her again?" he asked dolefully.
"I did not say that, but as seldom as possible," was the
"I had rather waste my life, as you call it, in seeing her,
than save it for any other purpose," said Arthur, warmly; then he
said good night, and was gone.
MARRIAGE IN HASTE.
the night on which mother had interrupted her parting with her
lover, Beatrice Lovejoy's relations with that gentleman had
undergone a change. He was freer and bolder in his bearing,
though he professed to be as much in love with her as ever, and was
after a fashion, in which selfishness and vanity were the chief
characteristics. He was a young man of the very lowest type,
except that he had a degree of physical vigour, in which that type
is generally deficient, and which was apparent in a tall and
tolerably handsome figure, on which was set the small low-browed
head of an English negro—a negro without the negro's affectionate
nature, or power of idealisation. Between these two it had
been a game at cheat the cheater. He had given out that he was
a gentleman, and she, that she was a lady whose adverse
circumstances had obliged her to work for bread, and they had
carried on this deception throughout their courtship. Both had
a slight substratum of truth in their stories, he because of his
birth, for he was the disinherited son of a landed proprietor, and
she in that she could remember a time when her family were better
housed and clothed and fed, and in her relationship to Fanny, past
whose villa she had once walked her lover, while he pointed out to
her the house where he dwelt with his mother and sisters, the people
whom he passed off as these relations being not in any way connected
with their lodger.
The world had not used John Baselow over well—had not taught
him much, we will admit, of love or reverence, and there was a time
when Beatrice might have taught him both. If she had been a
good unselfish girl she might have redeemed him, for the poorest
soil may grow grain instead of nettles. He had wandered about
with her in those city roads, looking down on her softened face and
listening to her softened voice till he really loved her, and in
this he was better than he had intended to be, for he had only
intended to amuse himself. He loved her, and he longed to tell
her the truth, and to ask her to marry him, a clerk with two pounds
a week; and if she had married him there and then, it would have
lifted their whole lives into another plane. But the sight of
that poor, ill-clad, careworn mother had given him a shock. He
felt that she had been deceiving him. He did not resent it as
a more upright man would have resented it, and he did not cease to
care for her; but what had been best and purest in his attachment
perished at a blow. Evil may and does harm the good, but its
influence on the evil for evil is incalculable.
Shortly after Geraldine's removal to her cousin's, Beatrice
had begun to suffer from the great disadvantage under which the bulk
of London workers suffer, the excessive fluctuation of employment.
The more exclusively they minister to the enjoyments, the luxuries,
the adornments of the rich, the more liable they are to be thrown
out of work on the shortest notice. Those who provide for the
necessities of the poor are comparatively secure.
Beatrice worked half-time for a week or two, and at length
she was dismissed to take a holiday for an indefinite period.
She was to be recalled, in short, only when business became brisk.
Such a holiday was to her simply hunger and despair. She had
refused to share her prosperity with those at home, and how was she
to come upon them in her adversity? At first she would not
condescend to this, and bore privation with Spartan firmness.
It was not till she had lived on bread and water for days that she
yielded so far as to share the poor enough meals of her parents.
She had defended herself for her former hardness—that is, in her own
opinion, for she cared little for the opinions of others—by her
resolution to help her sisters as soon as she herself was secure.
She had the true spirit of an adventuress, and despised her father
and mother for plodding on as they did, sinking into the mire of
poverty deeper and deeper at every step. Beatrice knew she had
beauty; knew all her good points—that she carried herself well and
proudly, that she spoke well, and had none of the vulgarities which
she saw and heard every day. Therefore she determined to marry
well, and set about doing so with inflexible purpose. She
believed in John Baselow, for he was well dressed and well educated,
boastful and energetic, and she had resolved to marry him; but in
her desperation she had ventured to push matters to this issue, and
had found herself foiled; felt, too, that it was her poverty and the
poverty of her home that had foiled her; and was very bitter against
both. And this bitterness extended to her lover; she made up
her mind to throw him over and try again.
Full of her purpose, she met him one evening, and as she came
up to him refused his outstretched band. The girl was pale
with suppressed passion, and did not notice that he, too, was
labouring under great excitement, only that it seemed of an entirely
pleasurable kind. She told him she had come to say good-bye,
and as disguise was no longer necessary, explained her circumstances
frankly. She would have left him then and there, but he
detained her. He had such to tell, and no one to tell it to.
Besides, her truth had been much more effective than her fiction,
and her thin, pale face under the moonlight looked lovelier than he
had ever beheld it. He detained her, and forced her to listen.
He, too, told the truth this time, and discarded the mythical
mother and sisters. His story was a strange one. His
father, after having cast him off for years, had left him his heir.
He had been written for; he had hurried down to the funeral, and had
taken possession of his inheritance. He had a handsome
dwelling-house; he had some hundreds of acres. He had a bank
balance, on which he had drawn; and yet none of these did he offer
But Beatrice was dazzled. She laid aside her humour;
she rose to the occasion, and arrayed herself in every false
enchantment. He could not part with her; he was enslaved by
her, as the songs of all nations have sung of men enslaved by false
And she held her own: supped with him for the first time,
and, regardless of everything else but the stake she was playing,
walked with him again, until she was nigh to fainting with
exhaustion. And he would have had her not to go home at all,
but to stay under the protection of his landlady till the morrow,
when he should make her his wife.
On the first point Beatrice held her ground; on the second
she yielded, promising that on the morrow she would leave her
father's house, and cut herself off from her kindred for ever.
They were to be married before a registrar, and to take their
departure at once for the house of which John Baselow had come into
possession. At parting he gave her a sum of money—not a large
sum, but sufficient, in her hands, to make her presentable.
She was to be ready at ten o'clock.
When she came home that night, even she was touched by the
look of haggard misery on her father's face, as he said, or rather
wailed, "Oh, Beatrice—Beatrice! I was coming out to look for
"I'm all right," she said carelessly. "I wish you wouldn't be so
anxious about me." But she kissed him, which she had not done for a
long time, and came in and sat down by the fire, pretending to warm
She could not bear to see him sitting there, with the tears
chasing each other down his wan cheeks, and she went over and knelt
by his side on the hearth.
"I've not done any harm staying out so late," she said, "and
I am sorry it has vexed you. There, I have a sweetheart, and
I'm going to be married soon, that's all. Do believe me, and
be sure that I can take care of myself." She comforted him,
and coaxed him to drink a little tea, and then to go to bed, which
he did, and she stole in and saw him sleeping like a child.
But she could not sleep. Her faintness had given place
to excitement. She went to her room and looked out her best
things, that she might put them on in the morning. She had
little save the one set that was worth taking, so that she need not
encumber herself, and had nothing to regret leaving behind.
She made up the fire, however, and sat, altering and trimming, till
morning. At last she became sleepy and chill, and crept off to
Mr. Lovejoy was up first, and had lighted the fire and made
the breakfast, and Albert was gone also. She was glad that he
was, for he would have treated her savagely enough for staying out
so late the evening before. She had nothing to fear in the way
of reproach from her father. He had drawn the little table in
front of the fire, with a pathetic desire to make her comfortable.
It was covered with a brown stuff imitating polished mahogany, and
on it were set two cups and saucers, a half-consumed loaf, and a
basin of brown sugar. It was to be her last meal at home, and
these things were photographed on the memory of Beatrice Lovejoy,
along with the feelings of the hour, as she and her father sat
opposite to each other during the silent meal. They were so
photographed that through all her future life she was never
secure—however differently surrounded, however far off the thought
of such things might be—against having them flash before her mental
sight, with more or less of insufferable vividness.
After breakfast she went up to her own room, and her father
went out. Her mother had not returned. Should she wait
for her? She was later than usual. Perhaps Geraldine was
worse. Beatrice made up her mind to wait as long as she could.
Her sister-in-law and the children were moving about; but she
avoided them, as indeed she usually did. She dressed herself
deliberately; but Mrs. Lovejoy did not return. Then she took
an envelope—she happened to have one and a scrap of paper—and wrote:
"I am gone to be married, and must bid you good-bye;" and addressing
the envelope to her father, she enclosed in it one of the sovereigns
her lover had given her, and hid it in a little tin tea-box which
stood on a shelf in the cupboard; then turning the key in the
parlour door she left the house, and never once looked behind her.
MRS. LOVEJOY had
combined on that morning a visit to the warehouse for which she
usually worked with her journey home, and she was not surprised when
she came in to learn that Beatrice had already gone out. She
did not ascertain the fact for herself, for she went straight into
the little back kitchen, where Emily was washing out her children's
socks and pinafores, and learnt from her that nothing had
happened—"nothing particular," peace-loving Emily said, making no
mention whatever of her sister-in-law remaining out till past
Mr. Lovejoy had gone forth on one of his weary rounds in an
outlying district, and would not be home till evening. Mrs.
Lovejoy had brought some work with her, and as there was a fire in
the kitchen she established herself there, and commenced sewing with
her usual industry. When it drew near dinnertime she began to
think of preparing a meal for herself, and as, like many poor women,
she lived on tea and bread, she must have found that little note in
the tea-caddy immediately. But Emily came to the rescue.
She had prepared a meal for herself and the children, and called her
mother-in-law to share it, which she did.
After dinner, followed by a cup of tea, the children were set
upon the floor to play, and both women began upon the dresses Mrs.
Lovejoy had brought from the warehouse.
The afternoon passed swiftly, and at length Albert came home.
Then Mrs. Lovejoy went down-stairs to her own room, lighted the
fire, and sat down to await her husband, working on with might and
main, for every stitch told, but the sum of a hard day's stitching
would only bring her a single shilling.
About six o'clock in the evening Mr. Lovejoy came home,
looking weary and dispirited. Mrs. Lovejoy only looked up from
her work for a moment.
"No luck to-day," he said, in answer to her look. It
was the usual formula; and her needle flew faster and with a firmer
He sat down in a chair by the fire, sighing wearily, and
looked at her busy hands; there seemed reproach in their rapid
movement. She did not rise to prepare a meal for him, as she
had done in long-past times. The kettle was simmering on the
hob, and he could make tea for himself. It was his usual
custom now to prepare his own. But he did not seem in a hurry
to do so now. He was too tired to be hungry, and he sat and
Mrs. Lovejoy glanced up again, and seeing that he looked
unusually weary offered to do it for him.
The offer was enough to revive him. "Never mind, my
dear," he answered brightly; "I'll be right in a minute or two;" and
presently he rose and went about the task. It came into his
head to ask for Beatrice as he reached down the tea-caddy, from its
shelf. "Has she come home?" he said.
"No," answered her mother, sharply.
He had got the teapot, and opened the little box to take out
a spoonful of tea, when looking in he saw the folded paper placed
there by Beatrice, stopped to take it out. He felt the coin in
it, and asked simply, "What is this?"
"How can I tell?" replied his wife.
He unfolded the paper in silence, and the sovereign rolled
out and dropped unheeded on the floor, causing Mrs. Lovejoy to start
and come to a standstill, for she had caught the gleam of the gold.
But no word came from her husband. He stood like one stunned
and bewildered. At last he smiled faintly, and said, "Beatrice
(Drawn by ROBERT
"He stood like one stunned and bewildered."
Mrs. Lovejoy did not reply. She came over to husband
and snatched the paper from his hands and read.
"I couldn't have believed it," she cried. The piece of
gold was lying on the hearth in the firelight. "A clandestine
marriage," she repeated, pointing to it. "Look at that!"
They both stood and looked at it a for moment with horror in their
eyes; neither advanced to lift it up. Starvation itself would
not have tempted them to touch that gold.
Then poor Mr. Lovejoy's limbs gave way and he sank into a
chair, sobbing, "Merciful Father! what have I done to deserve such
It was not what he had done that was rising up against him,
it was what he had left undone. It was what he had left undone
that spoke in the hard sentence which seemed to come from a
distance, though it was spoken close to him. "You've not
provided for me and my children as I'd a right to expect."
Having said this, Mrs. Lovejoy sat down and did nothing—a
sign in her of suffering too great to admit of mitigation or relief.
She was an unimaginative irreligious woman, with a sense of the
value of work which was almost a religion to her; but she was
thinking, "Oh! if Beatrice had only died; had only been lying
up-stairs in the little bare room still and cold, as the others who
were gone had lain, she could have thanked God as she had never
thanked Him in all her life."
Something might be done before the night closed in, but what?
Somebody might be sent forth to seek her, but where? They did
not even know the name of the man she had married. Her father
did not even know him by sight; her mother did—she would know him
anywhere, she felt sure, though she had seen him only once.
But how would this help them? Beatrice would not return with
them if found that very hour. They knew this too well.
From a child her power of resistance—her hard, unyielding obstinacy,
even to her own hurt—had been wonderful. No, there was nothing
to be done, Mrs. Lovejoy made up her mind, and yet the idea that
nothing was being done was unbearable.
She was the first to arouse herself, and she set to work to
make the tea, in the midst of the preparation of which her husband
had stopped. She made it, and set it before him, and bade him
eat and drink. It reminded both of more than one meal after
death had been in the house, and one lay in it with lips closed for
ever. And they both ate just as they had eaten on those
occasions, with neither relish nor desire, but from the mere habit
and necessity of eating.
Nor did they mention her name between them again.
Albert was up-stairs; but they did not go to him. They tacitly
agreed not to proclaim their loss. They shrank from telling it
as they would have shrunk from telling their most secret shame.
But at length the father rose and said, "I am going now;" and
his wife knew as well as if he had said it out what he meant.
He was going out into the city, upon which the darkness had already
come down, to wander up and down in search of a clue to her
whereabouts. Then he went out quietly, and Mrs. Lovejoy began
to prepare to go to Geraldine. The hour had nearly come when
she usually set out. She hesitated whether she would go
up-stairs first. The children were being put to bed.
They were poor little things, to be quiet as mice when their father
was at home. She listened, and heard not a sound. Then
she too went out without a sign; and when she reached Geraldine's
bedside there was not a trace of emotion visible on her hard
Geraldine had been very much better than usual that day.
Her cough had ceased, and her spirits had risen. She was quite
light and gay when Fanny and Ada said good night and left her alone
with her mother. She was full of Ada's plans.
Mrs. Lovejoy was far from approving; but she said very
little. What could she say, when Geraldine spoke of a time
which her mother knew would never come?
"I feel so much better," she said. "I think I shall get
well yet, mother; and perhaps I could sing too. Ada says the
singers at concerts make a great deal of money—sometimes five pounds
in a single night. She has found out all about it; she asked
the professor to-day. And Beatrice might help too," she added
speaking with pauses between the sentences. "Ada's voice and
hers go together better than mine. It is a wonder we never
thought of it before."
Her mother told her she must not speak so much. "Try to
sleep, Jerry," she said. Mrs. Lovejoy was busy working by the
light of the shaded lamp. She always brought her work with her
when she had any.
"I seem to have so much to say to-night," she answered.
"I think I see Ada. How pretty she looked the other night.
Ada looks well in slight things. But Beta would look best in
silk. I wish you would tell her to come and see me, mother."
Mrs. Lovejoy suppressed a groan. "Jerry dear," she said
again, "try and go to sleep. Could you try if I put out the
"Not just yet, please," said Geraldine; "I am not sleepy.
I do want to see Beta, mamma."
"Why should you wish to see Beatrice?" said Mrs. Lovejoy
sharply; "I'm sure she has not been very kind to you."
"That's why, mother. You blamed her about me," answered
Geraldine, "and I want to tell her that I don't feel it any more,
that I love her all the same."
Mrs. Lovejoy actually groaned this time, and in her heart
felt something very like hatred for her eldest daughter.
"Do you know," continued Geraldine, "that lying here thinking
things, I seem to know people so much better—to know what goes on in
their minds, I mean. I think hard things have made Beta hard,
mamma, and that if she was happy, and everybody was very good to
her, she would be kind. I mean to try and be good to her.
Tell her she is to come."
"Jerry, Jerry, don't talk that way!" cried her mother:
"Beatrice has gone."
"Where has she gone?" said Geraldine.
"She has left us," answered her mother.
"Left home!—how?" asked Geraldine, raising herself on her
elbow. "Mother, what do you mean?" she added faintly, for her
mother's hands were wrung in her lap, and two tears, that looked
quite hard and crystalline, the first the girl had ever seen her
shed, had fallen upon them.
It was too late for reserve now, and Jerry, young and
innocent as she was, was too sadly wise.
"She is gone to be married," said Mrs. Lovejoy; "but we know
nothing more. She has been cruel to the last."
"Where is father?" asked Geraldine with a sob, and sinking
"Gone to try and find out about it. Hush! hush!"
Geraldine closed her eyes, and there was silence in the room
for a long time—at least, so it seemed. The little timepiece
ticked loudly. Mrs. Lovejoy sat with her hands in her lap, and
Geraldine lay with her closed eyes, and looked like one already
At length her voice, grown thinner and fainter, broke the
silence. "Mother, I don't want to live any more. It has
come to me just now, what they've all been wishing and praying for
me to have, the desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far
She paused after the solemn words, sounding tenfold more
solemn because this mother and child had never spoken of such
things. The one had never taught, the other never learned
them. And hearing them spoken then, not only awe, but fear and
pain oppressed Mrs. Lovejoy. They seemed at once to carry her
favourite child out of her reach for ever—to remove her to a
distance greater than even the distance of death.
"Mother," sounded the sweet, faint voice once more, "I
couldn't at first pray for myself as they told me; but it comes all
right with me praying for you and father and the rest. I
wonder if father will find her. I wonder if I could help him
to find her if I went now."
Her mother rose and drew near her. "Oh, hush! —hush!
Jerry, my child." She thought she was beginning to wander in
Geraldine's eyes closed, her lips moved, and then gradually,
with her mother standing by her, she fell into a peaceful sleep.
Mr. Lovejoy wandered up and down, far and near, coming home
again and again to see if by any possibility Beatrice might be
there, and still returning to his fruitless quest. He loitered
in roads where the gas glared on the pavement, and fell on the faces
of the crowd, trying to scrutinise each till his brain was in a
whirl, and all mingled in one hurrying, fantastic stream; then he
walked into quiet bye-roads, where he met people mostly two and two.
But no Beatrice. He had come out of one of these quiet dark
roads out of the light of a corner public-house, facing into the
principal thoroughfare, when suddenly he felt the pavement slipping
from beneath his feet. He clutched at the wall, which seemed
receding also, and then he knew no more of what had happened till he
woke bruised and shivering with cold, on the hard pavement. It
was as well, perhaps, that no one had seen him fall; that no police
functionary was at hand, or he might have wakened on the hard bench
of a police cell, imprisoned for the night as drunk a disorderly.
IN SEARCH OF EVIDENCE.
had come into the office of Messrs. Tabor and Tenterden the case of
a disputed will, and it was found necessary, on consultation, that
some one should proceed immediately to the locality in which the
testator had lived and died, in order to ascertain what substantial
ground there was, for the assertion of the plaintiff, that the will
had been made when the said testator was in a condition of
incapacity, and that in that condition undue influence had been
exercised over him. It was therefore settled that Philip
should go into Essex for the purpose, and the day fixed was that on
which Beatrice Lovejoy had left her home. It was twelve
o'clock noon before he started on his journey, having been detained
at the office a couple of hours beyond the time which he had fixed.
He drove to the station in a hansom, and jumped into the train
already in motion, with a black bag in one hand and a small
portmanteau in the other. He had a carriage all to himself,
and presently devoted himself to the contents of his bag, refreshing
his mind concerning the case before him. The information was
not of a very encouraging nature. It had been furnished by the
next of kin, the nephew of a Mr. Jacob Baselow, who had left the
whole of his property to a disinherited son. Old Mr. Baselow
had died at the age of eighty-five, and was, his nephew was well
assured, in his dotage. Also, as proof that undue influence
had been used, it was alleged that the will was only framed a year
and a half previous to his decease—in fact, when the testator had
very few wits left about him. It was also urged that Mr. John
Baselow had induced—and, indeed, bribed—certain friends to make
false representations to his father concerning his (John's) former
conduct, attaching the blame thereof to other and innocent persons.
The only fact stated in support of old Baselow's mental incapacity
was towards the close of his life, for the last half dozen years or
so, he had pretended to be stone deaf, while there was evidence to
prove that he heard perfectly well. This was said to be the
cunning of madness; but Philip saw in it only the natural outcome of
such a character. When he could no longer take active means to
verify the suspicions engendered by his own vile nature, and by the
characters those by whom he had surrounded himself, he resorted to
this mode of lying in wait to condemn them out of their own mouths.
Past the outposts of the great city, where ranks upon ranks
of houses are stretching out to take possession of the green
country, like so many columns on the march, and on through the
pastures of the marshes the train swept on. Philip had arrived
at his destination before he was aware. The train was stopping
at the station at which he had to get out, when, from a carriage in
advance of his own, a young man sprang eagerly, while the train was
still in motion, and was dashed upon the platform. Philip's
carriage stopped exactly opposite the spot where he fell, and Philip
was jumping out to help him when the porter and guard ran forward
and lifted him up, and seeing that little damage was done,
immediately began to take him to task for a contravention of the
bye-laws, in leaving the carriage while the train was in motion.
Philip by this time had got out bag and baggage. He heard the
guard demand the young man's name, and the young man answer sulkily,
while dusting his knees, "My name is Baselow;" and Philip started at
the name, for, by a curious coincidence, if nothing more, it was the
name of the defendant in the case;—nay, he felt sure it was the
defendant himself, still in happy ignorance of his position as such.
Guard and porter grinned as they heard the name, and seemed inclined
to let him pass.
A lady had joined the group, at which Philip could not help
glancing with curiosity and interest. She was the young man's
companion—his wife or his sister. Where had Philip seen that
face? for it was quite familiar to him, though at the moment
blanched with fear—a handsome, unlovable face, he thought it was.
And why did it bring before him Fanny Lovejoy and her troubles, and,
by implication, his own, so persistently?
The young man limped off to the waiting-room, with the lady
by his side, the train puffed out of the station, and Philip, coming
behind the porter who was carrying his portmanteau across the road
to the little inn, called to mind where he had seen the face.
It was at Fanny's, after all, and she was one of those Lovejoy
girls. But, having settled that, he could not dismiss her from
his mind. What was she doing here, and with this young
Baselow, of whom he had formed a most unfavourable opinion at first
sight? To these questions he could by no means return
But having secured his bed and ordered his lunch, he returned
to the common room, and found there the object of his mental
inquiries, evidently waiting and alone. She had off her
left-hand glove, and on it appeared a wedding-ring. Philip
advanced boldly, and gravely begged her pardon; but he felt sure
that he ought to know her. Was she not, or had she not been, a
Beatrice, for it was she, bowed with creditable dignity, and
answered that it was so.
"But you claim that name no longer?"
"No; I am married."
"Is the gentleman with you your husband?"
Beatrice bowed again, and said, "Yes."
"Mr. Baselow?" said Philip.
Philip hoped he was not hurt, and was turning away, when she
looked round for a moment to see that she was unobserved, and,
opening a purse which she held in her left hand, hurriedly took out
and unfolded a piece of paper, and thrust it before him. It
was a marriage certificate, of that morning's date. He had
only had time to glance at it, and she to return it to her purse,
when Mr. Baselow re-entered, loud and bustling, and calling to her
that the chaise was waiting. Without taking further notice of
Philip, she walked from the room.
Having established himself at the little inn, Philip set to
work to sift his evidence, and look up his witnesses; but the
conclusion at which he arrived was decidedly unfavourable to his
client—viz. the old man had died possessed of all the senses he had
ever had—a horrible mixture of craft and animalism, of shrewdness
and the kind of short-sightedness which would come upon a soul never
raised eyes from out the dust.
With more than usual aversion Philip traced the footsteps of
Jacob Baselow to the grave, and it was afternoon of the day
following before he returned to town. He went straight to the
office, and found there a note from Fanny awaiting him. Mr.
Tabor was already gone.
A GOOD NIGHT.
sleep that night was disturbed by no pain, yet it could scarcely be
called sleep, so thinly veiled were the senses. Her mother lay
down on the couch beside her and slept also, so slightly that the
girl's faintest movement woke her.
"What o'clock is it, mamma?" Geraldine asked again and again,
as the night wore on, and after one of her brief intervals of
slumber, Mrs. Lovejoy found with terror, that the timepiece had
stopped. To her it was an evil omen, not merely a sign that in
the state of mind into which approaching death throws every
household any habitual mechanical act, like the winding up of a
watch or clock, is apt to be forgotten.
She slept no more. Geraldine, who had longing for the
morning, roused as soon as it was light, and almost hurried her away
that she might learn something of Beatrice. Ada had been up
with the dawn, and at her music, which, happily, did not disturb her
sister, though it could be heard plainly through the rest of the
house. It had been settled that no one was ever to enter
Geraldine's room in the morning until Mrs. Lovejoy came out, as the
invalid was apt to gain her last and most refreshing sleep when
others were rising for the day. But, as soon as her mother
opened the door, Ada would come in, and she heard the slight sound
in the midst of her playing that morning and hastened up-stairs at
once. In the few minutes during which her mother was absent,
getting something for Geraldine, Ada was put in possession of the
fact of Beatrice's runaway marriage. Trembling with
excitement, she hastened to communicate it to Fanny; but Fanny could
only stand aghast, and murmur, "Oh what a shame!"
Fanny was not famous for resource in trouble, and her one
idea under this fresh one was to send for Philip. In all her
perplexities Fanny had been accustomed to rely on him, and she could
not break the habit. "He is a lawyer, my dear," she said, when
Ada objected, "and he always knows what is best to be done.
Don't you remember how soon he settled that affair of your
brother's? He is sure to find Beatrice, and have it explained.
You have no idea how clever he is."
Ada submitted to this argument, with its kernel of fact, and
Fanny, by a great effort at combination, sent in a note to Mr.
Tabor, enclosing one to Philip, urging the latter to see her
immediately. Only the servant brought back a message to the
effect that Mr. Tenterden was out of town, and might not be home
till quite late in the evening, if then.
Mrs. Lovejoy's fears, superstitious and natural, were
somewhat dissipated in the morning light. It soothed her
especially to learn that the servant had forgotten to wind up the
timepiece, and that it had not, as she expressed it, "stopped of
itself." Fanny took Mrs. Lovejoy's place from nine till
eleven, while Ada had her music lesson, and the morning seemed
passing like other mornings for poor Jerry, quiet and slow.
They had moved her bed lately, so that she could see a corner of the
garden, and the cherry-tree over the wall, and the field beyond,
with its fringe of greening elms. It had been a great pleasure
to her to look out at the pretty little picture, but to-day she
turned her face away from it and shut her eyes.
When Ada came in she seemed more than usually glad, and more
than usually reluctant to lose sight of her for a moment, though
whenever by some word or sign she had expressed this, she would
hasten to condemn herself as selfish, and beg her sister to go.
Ada was glad she did not go that day. She had her lunch
brought up to her there, along with Jerry's chicken broth and jelly,
and ate it beside her; but Jerry could not eat at all. "Try
it," said Ada, tasting it to tempt her; "it is so nice."
"I wanted nice things to eat when I couldn't get them, and
now that I have them I can't eat," said Jerry, smiling, always
struck by the incongruities of things. Then she took a little
book from under her pillow and tried to read, as she had often done
lately, but it soon dropped on the coverlet, as if it was too heavy
for her to hold. She asked Ada presently to read to her, and
Ada read her to sleep.
Mrs. Austin came to the door, but did not go up-stairs when
she found she was sleeping. A little later Mr. Huntingdon and
Clara came, and found her awake. She roused herself on their
entrance, and seemed to to join meekly, as she always did, in the
brief act of devotion. Mr. Huntingdon was bending over her to
say good-bye, when she said something in a tone so low that neither
Ada, nor Clara heard her, but he answered, saying, "I am so glad."
A few more whispered words, and then he bade her good-bye, passing
quickly out of the room to hide his emotion. "She has learnt
her hard lesson at last," he said to his sister, when they had gone
on together for a little way in silence: "she is willing to go."
"I am so glad," said Clara, echoing his own words.
"Well I know the peace it brings, for I have known the struggle."
"Yes, you know some things better than I do," he answered, as
if half wondering.
"Because all life is a lesson," she answered, "and I have had
a longer one than you—three years longer, Charles: measured by years
and by pain," she continued, looking up at him with a pathetic
smile, "far, far longer."
"Then we are drawing nearer, Clara," said her brother, "if
pain counts more than years."
"Love counts more than pain," said Clara, smiling again.
"And costs more," he answered. "Clara, that poor child
asked me to say good-bye for ever. Do you think it is so near
"There was a change for the worse, I thought," said Clara.
"And do you know instead of saying 'Good-bye,' she said 'Good
It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when Lucy Tabor
paid her daily visit to Geraldine. Fanny was sitting in the
drawing-room, half asleep. She had got into the custom of
drowsing through the hours between lunch and tea. Lucy did not
rouse her, but went up-stairs at once; and, as she went, she could
hear Ada singing very softly and sweetly. She went in, and
found her, with her books upon her knee, sitting on a low seat in
the window, where she could not see her sister's face.
As Lucy went up to Geraldine, she was shocked at the great
change which she saw in her. She stooped to kiss her, and the
touch of her forehead made her shiver with dread.
"How are you to-day, dear?" she asked; and Geraldine only
turned upon her appealing eyes, but did not speak. She was
evidently unable to answer. "Ada," cried Lucy, with a tone and
look of reproach, "Geraldine is very ill."
Ada started up, and threw her book down on the floor.
"What is it, Jerry darling?" she said, putting Lucy aside
unceremoniously, and bending over her sister; "oh, Jerry! what is
There was no doubting what it was, even by eyes that had
never seen it. It was death. Lucy ran for Fanny, who
came up-stairs, and proclaimed herself worse than useless by
beginning at once to cry. It was evident that Geraldine
noticed her and looked distressed. Ada was standing by her,
supporting her a little, with her left arm under the pillow, strange
and white, but with a tender calm. The terror was there for
her, too, for it flashed across her face as she turned it away from
Geraldine for a moment; but she was determined that her sister
should not see it—as a mother turns smiling on her child, to keep it
calm in some deadly strait of peril, which is stopping her own
pulses with dread.
"Be quiet, Cousin Fanny," she said; "and you, Lucy, run for
They did as they were bidden, both; and it was not long
before Lucy returned with the doctor, who could only confirm their
fears. There was nothing to be done but to let her depart in
peace. The doctor was a kind-hearted man, and he pressed her
hand in farewell, with tears in his eyes. But, after he was
gone, it was evident that she wanted something, for her eyes turned
to the door, and then appealingly to her sister's face.
"She wants mamma and papa," said Ada. "Yes—she knows
what I am saying; let some one go for them."
"Let me go," said Lucy; and Ada gave her the address, without
taking her eyes from off her sister's face. She had evidently
heard and understood, for she faintly smiled.
Lucy flew to execute her errand, and just as she reached the
door some one knocked. She opened it herself, and found Arthur
Lucy's face was enough. "Can I do anything to help?" he
asked, in a subdued tone.
"Oh yes," said Lucy, and told him her errand. "You will
go faster than I could;" and she repeated the address which Ada had
Arthur sprang off to do her bidding, and Lucy returned to the
sick-room, to see if she could be of use there, telling them that
Arthur had gone.
The time seemed to pass with strange rapidity. Fanny
began crying again and again. It reached Geraldine's ear, and
seemed to distress her. By a look—half reproach, half
command—Ada succeeded in banishing her from the room; and she went
into the next, where she could indulge freely.
(Drawn by ROBERT
"Fanny began crying again and again. It reached
and seemed to distress her."
Lucy remained a spectator of the scene, for Ada seemed to
forget her presence. But she could not leave her. Out of
sight she knelt in silence.
Ada asked, "Do you like to hear me speak, Jerry?" and she
must have received an answer in the affirmative, for she went on
speaking; and she spoke only what she felt—her own strong, yearning
love. In broken, frequent sentences she murmured "I'm here,
darling—don't be afraid. I'm loving you, Jerry." The
girl had no words to express higher or deeper things. But as
the struggle grew harder, her words failed, and with lips grown
white she whispered, "Shall I sing to you?"
Geraldine again assented, and Ada sang. She remembered
the simple hymns she knew thus, when she could not say them;
childish things they were, such as are sung in Sunday-schools, but
they seemed full of sweetness and power then.
At length Arthur Wildish returned, bringing with him Mr. and
Mrs. Lovejoy. They found Philip outside the door, having just
arrived, and all four entered the house together. In the hall
they all stood still, and listened for a moment to the sweet voice
thrilling through the silent house; for the door Geraldine's room
had been set open. Arthur shook hands with Philip, who went
into the drawing-room and then followed Mr. and Mrs. Lovejoy
up-stairs, but only to remain on the landing till Lucy came to him.
It was not long before she came to him, no longer able to control
her sobs, and they stood there listening together.
At length they knew by the silence, broken by Ada's crying,
that all was over, and Lucy began to tremble so violently that
Arthur had to support her in his arms, and, half carrying her
down-stairs, he laid her on one of the sofas.
A DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP.
turned away his face, looked out of the window, while Lucy strove to
recover her self-possession. He neither moved nor spoke, and she
remained unconscious of his presence, knowing that some one was
standing there, but not caring to look up through her tears.
"I am going now," she said at last; "papa and mamma will be
getting anxious;" and she rose and left the room.
Arthur, who had already spoken to Philip, absorbed in his
care for Lucy, followed into the hall, where he stood waiting the
opportunity to conduct her home.
No one came near Philip. He saw Lucy go out, ,and
Arthur with her, opening the garden gate and offering her his arm,
which she frankly accepted. He was still standing there when
Fanny entered, with Mr. Lovejoy. Fanny had even forgotten that
she had sent for him, and encountered him with secret dread.
He turned toward her a face too strongly controlled for Fanny to
perceive anything but the sternness, and she immediately broke down
"What is it you want me to do?" said Philip, gently.
"You sent for me this morning, and I came here as soon as I got your
letter on my return to town."
"Oh, I forgot," said Fanny; "now I remember; it was about
Beatrice—my Cousin Beatrice. We're in trouble—about her too."
"She has gone," Mr. Lovejoy put in, looking the very picture
"Gone!" said Philip, bewildered. "I saw one of your
daughters yesterday down in Essex. She was newly married."
"That is Beatrice! that must be Beatrice!" broke in Mr.
"She was with her husband, and was safe well," continued
"Then you know whom she has married?" cried Mr. Lovejoy,
light breaking out on his thin face.
"As it happens, I do; and I am glad to be able to tell you.
Her husband's name is Baselow—a man whom I know something about
already, am likely to know still more of." He then explained
who this Mr. Baselow was, and how he had come across the pair by a
happy accident, and expressed his satisfaction that he had been able
so speedily to allay their anxiety, lest she had made a
Mr. Lovejoy wrung his hand, with tears of thankful emotion
shining in his eyes, and the faint colour coming back to his face.
Then he hastened away to communicate the tidings to his wife; and
Philip took leave of Fanny, after setting her mind completely at
rest by offering her whatever sum she required, without putting her
to the trouble of asking for it.
When Philip once more reached his cheerless lodging, he found
another letter awaiting him. It was from Mr. Tabor, and,
unlike any letter he ever received from his partner, it was several
pages long. It was evidently worded with the most anxious
care. Mr. Tabor began by reminding him of the trust he had
reposed in him, and the expectation he had formed, that when he
himself was no longer able to take an active part in the business,
he would have left the burden to him, as to a son. He went on
to say that he had been as sure of his rectitude as of his own; and
that, therefore it was no ordinary pain to have a doubt cast upon
that rectitude. He implored Philip to clear up the
misunderstanding about Fanny's fortune. He had taken upon
himself to see Fanny concerning it, and had found her very reluctant
to speak, and utterly ignorant on every point concerning her own
investments, which was not a state of things to be approved.
He had also drawn from her, with the utmost difficulty, that there
was insecurity concerning her money, if it was not already lost.
It was impossible in such circumstances, he concluded, for him to go
any longer without an explanation. Whatever affected the
credit of one member of the firm affected the credit of the firm
itself. Lastly, if Philip, through any error of judgment, had
lost any portion of the money entrusted to him, he (Mr. Tabor)
claimed on the ground of business, as well as on the ground of
friendship, to be consulted in the matter. It might be in his
power, either as a man of business, or as a friend, to help him out
of difficulty, or even to save him from the consequences of still
more serious fault, although in that event it would be necessary for
their business connections to come to an end.
It was a kind, a thoughtful, a delicate letter, from Mr.
Tabor's point of view; but as that point of view was certainly not
Philip's, these were not the qualities apparent to him. It was
the fact that he was suspected which took and held possession of his
mind; the fact that years of the closest intercourse, the most
perfect integrity, had not sufficed to create a trust in him which
nothing could shake—such a trust as was necessary to him if he
trusted at all. He turned with despair from the life before
him. His restless mood came upon him, but he was conscious of
fatigue, and sat still enduring. If he had been a smoker, he
would have stupefied himself with the weed; if he had been a
drinker, he would have taken to wine—but he was neither. He
had a feeling of pity, not unmixed with disgust, for those who were
the slaves of either habit. His apartment boasted a couch
which certainly did not tempt its occupant into habits of ease, for
it forbade reclining on pain of absolute distortion; but, by the
help of a chair, he managed to fling himself down to ruminate on his
letter, while Mary brought him the never-failing tea and chop.
An hour after, the girl came in uncalled. He had not
rang to have the things removed, or else she had not heard. He
was lying in the same position, and his meal lay untasted on the
"Oh, sir! ye haven't eaten nothink!"cried Mary, a fine Irish
mixture of Cork and cockney, and Philip woke with a start.
"Never mind, Mary," he said, getting up and shaking himself.
"I'll make ye a fresh cup of tay in a minute," said Mary,
looking woefully at the chop, which could not be re-cooked, and was,
in Mary's opinion, good for nothing.
"Never mind," he persisted, sitting down to the cold and
comfortless meal, and dismissing the girl with a smile, which made
Mary turn up her hands and eyes outside the door, and utter an
ejaculation to the effect that Philip was certainly a candidate for
canonisation. And Philip was wondering whether enough of "this
sort of thing" would drive a man mad, and coming to the conclusion
that it was extremely likely.
The result of his subsequent meditations was that he sat down
and wrote a brief note to Mr. Tabor, saying that, under the
circumstances, he thought it was better that their connection should
come to an end, as the close of that connection might give him an
opportunity of explaining his circumstances, or, at least, do away
with the necessity for any such explanation. He added, that he
trusted to Mr. Tabor's sense of justice to propose a sufficient
compensation for the prospects he was renouncing.
(Drawn by ROBERT
"He thought it was better that their connection
should come to an end."
It had just occurred to him that he knew of an opening into a
fresh life, which be might begin on new terms, on the other side of
the globe. It was an opening about which he and his partner
had been consulted. A firm in Melbourne wanted a managing
partner, and offered excellent terms. The more he thought of
it, the more he became fixed in the idea that this was what he ought
to do. What had he to keep him in this country? he asked
himself, bitterly. Who would miss him if he went away?
He was a man without a single tie. His work might miss him.
He was inconsistently glad to think the interests he had fought for
and guarded might languish in other hands. He was sorry to
believe they would, and yet satisfied that it should be so.
And he formed his resolution and acted upon it, with a profound
conviction at the bottom of his soul that life was not worth living
anywhere out of England.
When he had written his answer to Mr. Tabor, it was too late
to post it to that gentleman's house. Mr. Tabor would find it
laid on his table when he entered his office in the morning, and Mr.
Tabor would doubtless receive it as he received other business
communications—with deliberate mind, and take it, as he took them,
into the calmest consideration.
But Philip was wrong. Mr. Tabor did receive it in the
morning when he entered his office, and took possession of it in
anything but a deliberate way; and was, moreover, quite incapable of
taking it into calm consideration. He was, on the contrary, as
completely "upset" by it—to use a favourite feminine phrase—as any
woman might be, say, whose husband proposes a deed of separation on
the ground of incompatibility of temper. His hand shook, his
calm blue eyes clouded with a suspicious mist, and as these symptoms
abated, his mind became full of indignation and anger.
Philip's conduct appeared to him the basest ingratitude. It
could only be accounted for on the ground that he was guilty of the
worst that could be brought against him, and even in that case his
conduct did but aggravate his guilt.
And while this was going on in Mr. Tabor's mind, the feelings
of the culprit were by no means enviable. Philip wished now
that he had been less abrupt, that he had expressed gratitude for
former kindness, and regret—a regret which he only too keenly
felt—at the prospect of separation.
Under the influence of these softened feelings, he at length
entered his partner's room, intending to supplement the note which
Mr. Tabor must have read long ago, intending to say much that was
conciliatory and regretful, and to be as gracious and winning as
Philip knew how to be.
But Mr. Tabor, without intending at all, rose as he entered
the room, and looked at him steadily and sternly, without offering
any greeting whatever.
Philip paused in the advance he was about to make, and for a
moment neither of them spoke.
"Is this all?" asked Mr. Tabor, at length, pointing to the
"It is all I feel at liberty to say," answered Philip,
"Is this what I had a right to expect from one whom I have
treated as a son?" broke in the sorely exasperated man.
"I was about to supplement it by thanking you for all your
kindness," said Philip, the calmer of the two.
"Your ingratitude is only equal to your effrontery," said Mr.
"You have listened to malicious and foolish charges made
against me," retorted Philip.
"Which you have not been at the pains even to deny the truth
of," said Mr. Tabor.
"I do deny them emphatically," was the answer.
"Why not explain them then?" returned Mr. Tabor; "they must
be capable of explanation."
"They are; but if you do not believe my assertion, neither
would you accept my explanation."
"What am I to think of this?"
"You must think as you please," said Philip, firmly. "I
can only repeat my great regret that this rupture should have taken
place, and my hope that it may be conducted as quietly as may be to
its only possible termination."
"You are aware that we can force you to come to terms?" said
"Miss Lovejoy can force me to give an account of my
stewardship," said Philip, with a smile which was only bitter, but
which appeared to Mr. Tabor perfectly sardonic; "but I hope she will
"You have already threatened her with the consequences, I
think," said Mr. Tabor; "but that will not deter me from punishing,
if necessary, the perpetrator of so cruel a wrong."
Philip's eyes flashed fire, but he answered quietly, "The
consequence will simply be, that I shall probably be rendered unable
to replace that which has been lost."
"Then you acknowledge that it has been lost."
"I am driven to acknowledge it," said Philip.
"How much of it?"
"The whole," he answered; adding, "and through no fault of
"How am I to believe this, if you refuse to tell me how it
has been lost?"
"I distinctly refuse, unless I am forced to disclose it; and,
Mr. Tabor, if you had only consented to trust me, I intended to
replace it at any cost to myself—sacrifice my whole life to the
replacing of it, if necessary, and for these two years I have
strictly carried out this intention."
Mr. Tabor's angry agitation had had the effect of completely
calming Philip. He paused for a little, and then said, "If on
a further review of this painful business you will to a certain
extent given me your confidence, a confidence to which I feel that I
am entitled, I will lay before you my plan of repayment."
Mr. Tabor raised his eyebrows, and looked at his partner as
if he had assuredly gone out of his scenes. "What?" he said,
"ask me to become an—"
"Accomplice," said Philip, bitterly.
"You ask compensation for giving up your partnership in this
business," said Mr. Tabor, turning his thoughts upon the unfortunate
Fanny. "If you are desirous of making reparation, whatever is
due to you in that respect ought to go to her."
"I intend it to do so," said Philip; "together with what I
have already saved and invested on her account."
"How much is that?" asked Mr. Tabor. If Fanny was his
client in the case, he was bound to see that her interests did not
suffer, and the professional spirit coming thus to his aid, greatly
conduced to calm him.
"It is over a thousand pounds," replied Philip.
"Have you accumulated this, besides paying her income out of
your own, or is it part of her capital?"
"It has all come out of my own income," said Philip.
"I must at least give you credit for a desire to retrieve
this unfortunate affair," said Mr. Tabor.
Now as Mr. Tabor began to grow a little cool, to think that
perhaps he might get to the bottom the mystery after all, Philip
began to get hot, and at this last speech he exploded. "I have
said much more than I intended," he said, "and I will say more.
If you and Miss Lovejoy desire to force me to a fuller explanation,
it is probable that I may throw up everything, especially as I have
made up my mind to quit the country; whereas if you will only trust
me sufficiently, she will be perfectly secure. In the event of
my death," he added, "she is secure already: my life is insured to
the full amount."
He was turning away, but Mr. Tabor detained him, saying,
"After what has taken place it be impossible for us to meet and
maintain the friendly relations necessary here. May I ask if
you will consent to an immediate withdrawal?"
"I would gladly," said Philip, "but have you considered how
such a withdrawal is likely to damage me?"
"It would hardly be fair to you, I admit," said Mr. Tabor.
"And there is work in my hands which I should like to see
wound up. It shall be as little disagreeable to you as it can
be made, my stay here," said Philip; "and," he added, "as
brief as possible."
And so the interview came to an end, with the understanding
that the dissolution of the partnership had been agreed upon, and
that it remained only to settle the details of the separation.
AGITATION of any
kind had an unusually injurious effect on Mr. Tabor, who was the
calmest of men by habit, if not by nature. He found it
necessary to leave his office early and return home, labouring under
symptoms which Mrs. Tabor had not seen for many a day, and which,
noticed in the early days of their married life, when his struggle
with circumstances was hardly over, had impressed upon her mind a
feeling of insecurity, which deepened the tenderness of their union.
Philip had been absent all day, in attendance upon an important case
in court, and had not returned when Mr. Tabor left. He came
home, with a flush upon his face almost like the flush of fever, an
unnatural lightness in his eyes, and a slight but perceptible
breathlessness, which at once awoke all his wife's anxieties.
But she hid them in her own heart. He came home for peace, and
he should find peace there if nowhere else in the world. "You
are very tired I can see, dear," she said cheerfully; "and you must
tell us nothing till after dinner."
He was in the habit of telling them the incidents of the day,
as far as they concerned himself; and both Mrs. Tabor and Lucy were
anxious to know what the incidents of that particular day had been.
They knew of the letter to Philip, and would have given much to hear
the answer. But Mrs. Tabor knew that if her husband had
anything pleasant to communicate, he would do so in spite of her
charge, if he had not, the news could wait. His silence was a
proof to her that she had anticipated truly, and saved him from
feeling his silence an embarrassment. She had no need to warn
Lucy to follow her example; in that home atmosphere of unselfishness
self was repressed without an effort.
As soon as dinner was over, Mr. Tabor came into the
drawing-room and lay down on one of the sofas, saying, "Let us have
some music, Lucy, something that will do me good;" and Lucy went
straight to the piano and began playing and singing, knowing exactly
what he wanted when he spoke thus—some strain of lowly confidence or
lofty hope; notes not only of human genius but of heavenly faith.
In the midst of her playing there was a peal at the bell, and
in a few minutes a servant entered, and announced "Mr. Tenterden."
Mr. Tabor started from his easy attitude, which in former
days he would have maintained, and assumed one in which he would
await the greeting of a stranger. Lucy and her mother looked
one to the other in a kind of excited dismay; they were wishing,
both of them, that they had known a little of what had taken place;
but they were speedily relieved from their embarrassment. A
stranger entered room—a stranger, and yet not a stranger; a man
bearing a distinct resemblance to Philip, but stouter and of coarser
build, and bronzed and weather-beaten and bearded, as Philip was
It was a respite. "Francis!" exclaimed Mr. Tabor,
eagerly advancing, "I am glad to see you," and he wrung the young
man's hand with fartherly warmth. Mrs. Tabor and Lucy followed
suit, and in few minutes, Mrs. Tabor having ascertained that he had
dined, he was seated in the centre of the friendly circle, and plied
with question upon question.
For a while these questions played about the outer circle of
interests. Where had he been? What had he been doing?
When had he returned? He returned only a day or two ago from
the island of Ceylon, where he had been working for the last two
years, and one of the principal things he had been doing was getting
"And is your wife with you?" asked Mrs. Tabor, woman like.
"It is for her sake chiefly that I am in England," he
answered. "She was anxious to place children at school."
"They have come up very rapidly," said Mr. Tabor,
perpetrating the mildest of jokes. "How many are there?"
"Only two. They are girls," he added; "their father
died in the island shortly before I went out."
And still no mention of Philip, who was the person uppermost
in the thoughts of all present.
"I must go in and see Fanny to-night," said Francis
Tenterden. "I hope she is going on all right!" he added a
They told him of the changes in Fanny's household, and of the
last change of all; the fair young girl who lay dead so near to
them. They told him with tenderer voices and shadowed faces,
which, somehow changed the whole tone of their conversation.
It seemed easier to speak of Philip now, in the presence of the
power which says, "The injurer and the injured are mine."
"She still lives in the old house?" said Francis.
It was Mr. Tabor who answered. "Yes, your brother gave
it up to her after you left."
"And how is the old fellow?" asked Francis, ending the
sentence with a husky voice, which begun with ill-assumed
"He is well, I believe," replied Mr. Tabor; "but he and I are
about to part."
Mrs. Tabor and Lucy felt the shock, but they were able to
conceal their agitation; while Francis Tenterden betrayed the
greatest surprise. "You surely do not mean that he is leaving
the firm!" he said.
"I do," replied Mr. Tabor.
"Have you quarrelled?" asked Francis, blankly.
"Yes, we have quarrelled," replied Mr. Tabor.
"So seriously? I am astonished beyond measure."
"Why, you yourself have done the same," said Mr. Tabor; "and
probably for the same cause."
"Impossible!" ejaculated Francis. "Has he told you what
we split upon?" he added, looking on the hearthrug at his feet with
an embarrassed expression.
"He has not. He has this very day refused to tell me
anything," and he added hastily, "I would rather not hear it from
you, Francis. Perhaps you may have sufficient influence over
him to make him confess a great wrong."
"A great wrong?" said Francis, fairly puzzled; "but I have no
influence with him whatever. It is just possible that I may
have to leave England again without seeing him. Pretty strange
my wife will think that," he added again, contemplating the
hearthrug. "She has set her mind on seeing him, from reading a
bundle of old letters of his."
"It would be better, perhaps, to make your wife aware of the
true state of the case—I mean of the grounds of the alienation
between you. It is always a mistake to have mysteries.
Take my advice, and tell her," said Mr. Tabor.
"I can't," replied Francis Tenterden, looking embarrassed,
and speaking more huskily than ever.
"I can sympathise with you," said Mr. Tabor, warmly; at which
Mr. Francis Tenterden looked up and then down, turned red-hot, and
hastily rose to his feet and bade everybody good-bye abruptly.
"Poor fellow, I am very sorry for him," said Mr. Tabor after
he was gone. "It is easy to see that he knows all about this
business, and is very unwilling to betray his brother. And all
this time I have been unjust to Francis. If I had been told
that one of these boys would go wrong, I would certainly have fixed
upon him. In my mind Philip has always been first and best.
It's no use judging men by what they were when they were boys."
Mrs. Tabor did not say, as some wives would have done, "I
told you so," but she thought something very like it. She had
found an opportunity, however, for asking what had taken place
between her husband and Philip.
Mr. Tabor gave them an account of their interview of that
morning, which Lucy and her mother received with a silent sympathy
which was particularly soothing. There is nothing, perhaps, so
deeply irritating to a man as, when he has had ample reason to be
angry, to give him greater reason still, and, when he has been angry
or disappointed, to add to it by reflecting it. Not one word
of condemnation did one of them utter.
"I think I shall give it up altogether," said Mr. Tabor, "and
retire into private life; I have enough for our modest wants.
There will be enough for Lucy too when we are gone."
Lucy went and sat on a low seat beside him. "Do give up
business, papa, and let us go away and live in your native county.
We might get a house near the place, where you were born, and you
and I would ride about together among the hills."
"And what would mamma do, who can't ride, and who cares more
for Primrose Hill than for HeIvelyn, Lucy?" said her father.
"Mamma would have a pretty garden, and a paddock for the
ponies, and a cow, and a flock of chickens—"
"Geese, goosey, or sheep, you mean," said her father.
"What do you say, mamma?" he added.
"You know I don't want to be rich, dear—have never wanted
it," she answered; "but I think it would be a mistake to give up all
that ever interested and occupied you; I think, you know, it is far
wiser to go on with our occupations and interests moderately.
I confess I should not care to live up among the hills, and never
see a face I knew."
And so they discussed the question of retirement in all its
bearings, as they had often done before; and, as they had often done
before, came to no conclusion, except that each desired what was
most for the happiness of the others.
They had wandered away purposely from the trial of the day,
and Mr. Tabor only came back to it for a moment, before they parted
for the night, by saying that Mrs. Austin must now be consulted
concerning Philip's retirement. It was not till Lucy was alone
in her room that she gave way to the grief which oppressed her.
further could be determined on till after the funeral of Geraldine.
It was necessary to consult Fanny concerning her own affairs, and to
get her, if necessary, to force Philip to submit to a complete
investigation. Some men might have rested content if the money
had been restored, without caring to inquire too closely beneath the
surface; but not Mr. Tabor. He would go back, and go on
unravelling till he held the clue to the whole transaction. He
could withhold his judgment, and hold the most lenient and generous
one which the circumstances would admit of; but he first must be
clear about these circumstances. There was, therefore, no
escape for Philip. He must make up his mind one way or other:
and he evidently had done so. Everything that he did had some
pointed reference to the close of his connection with Mr. Tabor.
In calling attention to the conclusion of each matter that admitted
of a speedy settlement, it was as if he said, "This will not require
doing again—this has been done by me for the last time."
Philip had also dispatched a letter to Melbourne, offering
himself for the vacant position, and also Mr. Tabor knew that
Francis had written to Philip, and Philip had written to Francis;
and he hoped that some negotiation was already on foot between the
Francis had written requesting a meeting with his brother—a
very friendly letter—asking Philip to be introduced to his wife, and
offering to help him out of the scrape he had got himself into.
And Philip had written to Francis a very impatient letter, telling
him that there was only one way of helping him, which he had already
rejected, and that if he had anything to propose, he (Francis) had
better come to him, and not bring a stranger into the matter.
And Francis did come to him. Things were in a great
deal too awkward a position for both of them for Francis to stand
upon ceremony, or to give way to proud resentment; besides, to these
vices he was not much inclined. Those he had a mind to were of
quite a different stamp. He arrived at Philip's lodgings
before Philip himself, and had an opportunity of inspecting them at
his leisure. They evidently filled him with contempt and
disgust. How could Philip bear to live "in such a beastly
place?" he thought, as he looked at the threadbare carpet, the dingy
paper, the mean furniture. Francis prided himself on having
nothing mean, or dingy, or threadbare about him. He had never
had, and never would have had, let his means have been never so
slender. Now that he could afford it he had everything, he
flattered himself, in first-rate style, and he was strongly inclined
to despise men who had not. All his appointments were
perfect—his gloves, his boots, his clothes, his linen, the diamond
on his little finger. But on his face, as he stood puffing out
his cheeks with contempt at his brother's chosen surroundings, there
was marked—there was branded the deterioration of the man—the
obliteration of the soul, caused by the vice of self-indulgence.
Francis Tenterden had been a very good-natured youth, and he
was a good-natured man—facile and easily led, but dominated above
all by an ambition—(or is it not too low for the name?)—by a desire
for worldly success. If he had fallen into a fast set, he
would have been a fast man, never going too far with his fastness to
do injury to his comfort or his credit. But he had fallen into
a good set, and his object was to stand well with them. His
wife had been one of them, a good and very narrow woman, but narrow
rather by training than by nature. She was rich herself, as
well as her children, and scrupulously upright, given to taking
account of every detail—but with a fixed idea that management on a
large scale was not a woman's province. There was nothing to
have hindered her from managing her money, herself, and her
children, but she chose to give all up into the hands of Francis
Tenterden, after what she considered a sufficient examination into
his character, which, as she was not exactly in love with him, she
had conducted quite fairly. Francis had used his power to all
appearance well, and stood there, a thoroughly successful and
But he could not help thinking on the meeting with his
brother with some disquietude, while going over in his mind every
incident connected with their parting. Far from approving of
his brother's conduct at that time, it had only become more and more
inexplicable. Far from attempting to justify his own, he did
not think it could possibly stand in need of justification.
Before the funeral of Mr. Tenterden his sons had made the
discovery, not only that their father was a ruined man who had lost
everything of his own, but that every penny of Fanny's fortune was
gone also. Her clear six thousand in the funds was represented
by shares not worth the paper they were written on, in more than one
company which had made ruinous calls upon its shareholders before
becoming happily defunct. If Fanny had given her consent to
these transactions, which was not apparent, it had clearly been
given in utter ignorance—in blinded confidence.
"She must not be allowed to suffer in this way," Philip had
said at once, on making the discovery.
And Francis had answered as promptly, "I do not see how we
can help it."
The answer was ready: "We can share the loss between us,"
Philip had said.
"But we have nothing to lose," Francis had replied.
And Philip had answered, "We can charge ourselves with it as
"And ruin our prospects in life," his brother had cried.
"Retrieve them, you mean," Philip had said scornfully,
adding, "it is what our father wished when he was dying. It
was what he wanted to say to us, I feel sure." And he did feel
sure, remembering his father's hopeless hint of his wish to mate him
with poor fortuneless Fanny."
"Of course, I would never see Fanny want," Francis had urged,
"but that is a different thing from sacrificing our lives to her."
"Not to her, to our own sense of justice—to our father's
honour and our own," Philip had answered hotly. "I will not
consent to the robbery of a weakling, an orphan, our father's ward,
nor will I ever believe he meant it."
"It is no robbery," Francis had answered, "it is a great
misfortune. I can't look at things in that high-flown way.
I will have nothing to do with it if you go much further."
"I will see that Fanny is paid to the uttermost farthing,"
Philip had replied obstinately.
"Then I wash my hands of the whole affair," said Francis.
"And I wash my hands of you," was the angry retort.
And Philip had stood firm in his determination, and before
the coffin was closed on the day of the funeral, he had gone into
the room where it lay and stood before it, with bent bead and an
exceedingly bitter spirit; and at length he had lifted the shroud,
and looking on the face of the dead, had vowed to wipe away the
reproach and hide the shame. And as he had stood gazing on the
wasted face the bitterness had gone away. "I will do as you
wished me to do," he had said aloud, as if he made a promise to the
living. It was still more sacred, for it could never be
remitted—it was a promise to the dead.
From that day to this the brothers had held no communication
whatever on the subject. Philip had taken the burden entirely
on his own shoulders, never thinking that, like other burdens, it
would get heavier the longer it was borne.
The thing be had taken upon himself was no easy task.
It was nothing less than the mortgage of the best years of his life.
Philip was then twenty-seven, no mere youth, but a man, with all the
hopes of an honourable and ambitious manhood. He had but just
tasted of independence, in the shape of a considerable income which
had been postponed to the prospect of a partnership in the firm he
had entered as an articled clerk ten years before. During
those years he had stood very high in the estimation of his
employers, who had lately depended much upon his zeal and ability.
His income would be about nine hundred a year, and he lost no
time in making his arrangements. Three hundred had he paid to
Fanny yearly, an insurance on his life had to be effected, that she
might not suffer in the event of his death, and whatever he could
save from the remainder must be set aside as the purchase of his
freedom. Unless he could accumulate sufficient capital to
repay the money which had produced Fanny's income, there was nothing
before him but a lifetime of bondage.
He had arranged everything before he allowed himself time to
think particularly of the consequences to himself; but when he did
look at them, and realise them, there was no harking back in his
mind. To him it was the one course possible, and he did not
credit himself with any special virtue in pursuing it. He
could imagine what it could be to despise himself, and go about for
the rest of his life under a burden which could never be lifted—the
burden of disgrace; he had imagination enough to realise that in the
end even the actual money loss might be the greater.
For two years Philip had rigidly carried out his plan,
therefore the dingy lodging, the strict self-denial, the apparent
stinginess, of which a nice little mystery had been made.
Sometimes he had felt the bondage well-nigh intolerable; at other
times he went on hopefully, especially when his exertions in filling
the place of Mr. Austin, laid aside by illness, and in the next
place Mr. Austin's death, brought him more of the money for which he
craved. Money! it meant—what did it not mean for him?—freedom,
love, a home, a life redeemed from bondage.
The appearance of Mr. Lovejoy, and a whole race of Lovejoys
behind him, Philip had, not unnaturally under the circumstances,
hailed with anything but pleasure; but he had hardly foreseen the
consequences of their advent. But for them, Philip might have
been left to pursue his plan in peace, to lay up from his steadily
increasing income a sum sufficient in the course of years to repay
the little fortune entrusted to his father, and set him free to live
for himself. And now the purpose of his life was frustrated,
at least in part—unless, indeed, Francis had relented and was
prepared to do his part, when it might still be possible for him to
save his father's memory. He clung to this tenaciously, and
was resolved to cling to it to the last. If it damaged his own
reputation, he was free to assert his integrity, and to prove it in
At length Philip arrived, and found his brother awaiting him,
having had time to refresh his memory of the past, and to review his
present position, and to lose his easy good-nature in the process.
The first note which Francis struck was a false one, and made a
discord. He held out his hand, saying, "Why do you live in
such a beastly place? I had the greatest trouble in the world
to find you?"
"I am very sorry," returned Philip, dryly, "but I cannot
afford a better."
Francis saw his mistake, and retreated from it.
"Won't you come and see my wife, Phil?" he said
affectionately; "she is very anxious to see you."
"You are married then?"
"You might have seen it in the Times, a year and a
half ago," said Francis.
"I must have missed it. I hope you are happy, Frank,"
and Philip forgetting for a moment that they were at feud, grasped
his brother's hand with the old cordial clasp.
It made Francis feel that it was worth some sacrifice to
restore that former brotherly cordiality. "I am very happy,"
he answered; "Rachel is as good as gold, and she brought me plenty
of cash, on which I have been flourishing. My only trouble has
been the misunderstanding with you."
"And you have come to set it right, I hope," said Philip,
"I'll do my best," said Francis. His best and Philip's
by no means corresponded, however.
"If the money can be replaced," said Philip, "I shall be
content. The rest must go. I have made mind to leave
England. Tabor would never rest satisfied till he got to the
bottom of it, and I am determined that be shall know nothing
whatever, unless I am forced to disclose the whole. I shall
invest for Fanny every hundred I can get together, and if she will
trust me for the rest, all will yet go well."
"I was in hopes you had had enough of such a Quixotic
enterprise," exclaimed Francis. "It's like a man trying to
swim with a millstone tied round his neck."
Philip retreated coldly. "How far are you prepared to
help me?" he asked. "I will accept your help, and leave the
discussion of the question."
"Well it depends," said Francis. "We might offer Fanny
a fair compensation."
"I have determined that Fanny shall be paid every farthing,"
replied Philip; "and I am prepared to carry out that determination."
"How much have you done towards it?" asked his
"I have got together the first thousand," he replied.
"The first thousand!" ejaculated Francis. "At that rate
you will have paid up the amount by the time you are about fifty."
"I know it," said Philip, bitterly.
"Come, do be reasonable, and get Fanny to accept a
compromise, which she ought to be precious thankful for."
(Drawn by ROBERT
"Come, do be reasonable."
"I hate compromises," said Philip; "a debt is a debt, and no
amount of whitewashing can blot out the figures against one."
"My money is my wife's, you know," said Francis, casting
about in his mind for reasons wherewith to support his
recommendation; "and of course I have no right to spend it
"You have no right to spend it at all, I should say," replied
Philip; "and after all, Francis, you are poorer than I am."
"Oh, but I have made some of my own besides," he hastened to
say; "only, you know, three thousand is a large sum."
"What can you afford then?" said Philip. "I would give
much that the story should not come out."
It struck Francis just then that so would he. He would
suffer more in the estimation of some who knew him than Philip
would. He might not have felt this, but for the contrast
between Philip's conduct and his own, which was being forced upon
him. What would his wife think, if she knew? She was
just like Philip. She had such exaggerated notions. Yes,
certainly if Philip was willing to sacrifice himself, it was better
that the story should not come out.
"I can give you a thousand," said Francis, moodily. "It
seems a large sum to throw away in this fashion."
"And will you lend me as much more as I may require?" asked
Philip. "You have only my personal security, but in case of my
death you will be repaid in full, and I will pay you any interest
Francis hesitated for a moment, and then said, "Well, I will
risk it; but I don't think there ever was such a piece of business
as this transacted. And now you will come and see Rachel?"
"Come now," urged Francis.
And Philip went.
It was not pleasant to Francis Tenterden to throw away his
money, as he had said, but it was pleasant to walk once more with
Philip in the old brotherly fashion. He had never been quite
happy since their quarrel, and he was happy now in spite of those
twinges of regret at the price he was paying for it.
TRUTH WILL OUT.
next step was to see Fanny, and to overwhelm that unfortunate person
with regret and shame.
"I am about to dissolve the partnership with Mr. Tabor, and
after that to leave England," he began, with the fewest possible
"Dear me!" exclaimed Fanny, astonished and perplexed beyond
measure; "you would never do such a thing!" (She did not say which
thing.) "I feel as if the world was coming to an end, with one
trouble or another."
"Mr. Tabor and I have quarrelled, and I have little choice in
the matter," continued Philip. "But what I want to explain to
you is, simply, that before I go, your fortune, exactly as your
father left it, in Government securities, will be placed in Mr.
Tabor's hands. You will then be able to manage it exactly as
you please; to take it into your own hands, or to leave it in his;
to spend, or to keep it, or to lose it," he ended, grimly. "Do
"Yes," murmured Fanny, dolefully, feeling as if she stood
"You wished for this," said Philip, "did you not?"
"I don't know. I'm sure I never wished you to go away,"
said Fanny, crying. Her prospects had never seemed so dreary
before. It was not such freedom as this she had wished for.
"You haven't quarrelled about me, have you? It's not my money
that has done it?" she cried.
"Don't trouble yourself about it," he answered coldly; "I
don't blame you;" and he did not—he felt her almost beneath blame."
"But, tell me if it is," she urged.
"It is, then," he replied.
"Oh, dear! I would rather have lost it!" she cried, all
the kindness of the home of which she had been a member coming back
upon her: and Fanny began to sob.
"Nonsense," said Philip; "what is done cannot be undone.
But I want you to be firm," he added. "You may do me still
greater injury by your distrust of me now. What I want to fix
in your mind is that your money is safe, and that you must resist
any attempt to force on an inquiry concerning it. You must be
content to wait, and you must say so. Surely, Fanny, you have
not known me all my life without being able to believe my word!
You will not have to wait long. It rests with Mr. Tabor to
offer me terms on which I can go out; and with this matter, in the
meantime, he must not be allowed to interfere."
"But, can't you give up going away?" sobbed Fanny.
"I have no wish to give it up," he replied, impatient of her
interference; and then proceeded to explain to her some details of
her income and expenditure, which he had at length to say he would
put on paper for her guidance, being perfectly hopeless of her
coming to a clear understanding on the subject.
And, indeed, after Philip left her, Fanny's state of haze
might well have been felt by a person of far less hazy intellect.
She believed Philip because she could not help believing him, and
her belief was the natural result of his character on one who knew
him so well; but how had she ever come to distrust him? Her
distrust had done him serious injury. She wanted to undo what
she had done; but, then, what had she done? She could not make
it out at all. Her head ached with the effort to get out of
the labyrinth in which her thoughts were entangled. She would
go to Mr. Tabor that very night, and tell him that, in some
inexplicable way, she had done Philip wrong. Perhaps he would
be able to set it right.
Philip's next step was to write to Mr. Tabor—they were
reduced to writing now—and to beg him to be as speedy as possible in
settling the terms of their separation. He also stated that he
would be ready to give up to him the control of Fanny's fortune,
which he had been enabled to recover.
That same day he wrote to Mrs. Austin, saying that he would
be glad to finish the task of looking over her husband's papers, but
conveying not the slightest hint of anything being wrong with his
Now Mrs. Torrance had congratulated herself exceedingly on
the clever way in which she had put a stop to the attentions of Mr.
Huntingdon. He had never once called since the evening on
which Mrs. Torrance had communicated to him that little piece of
information concerning her daughter's fortune, nor, though she knew
that Ellen had met him at Fanny's, had there been the slightest of
those attentions. Nay, for some reason or perhaps because of
his drawing back so suddenly, Ellen had of late manifestly avoided
him. There remained only Philip to be dealt with—by far the
most dangerous of the two. Not only had she a conviction that
Ellen cared more for him than for Mr. Mr. Huntingdon, but she felt
that Philip was more strenuous in anything he undertook, and might
not readily take a negative answer, unless it was a much stronger
one than Ellen was likely to give. Then loss of income on her
marriage was but a partial loss to him—what she lost, he and Mr.
Tabor gained; besides, she also thought that the argument would have
very little weight with him. So she sat, knotting and
scheming, and scheming and knotting, through those evenings during
which Philip's visits had been postponed, but coming to no
conclusion on the matter. Perhaps, when the were disposed of,
they would meet but seldom after all. Philip was not the only
young man, however; the Tabors were constantly having them about. It
was very strange, she reflected, how scarce young men were when they
were wanted. When her daughters were growing up, she knew
none. All the families she knew had been daughters—not an
eligible young man among them, so that she had had no choice in the
matter of sons-in-law. But when they weren't wanted, as in the
case of a wealthy young widow, they were sure to come as thick as
Mrs. Torrance and her daughter sat a good deal in the library
now, and being left there alone her knitting and reflections, while
Mrs. Austin was at Fanny's, on the day when Philip was once more
expected, she got rather weary of both, and began to look over the
papers in the box. Her dutiful daughter had left her keys with
her in case she want anything, and the key of the box was among
them. The box lay quite handy at her feet, between the
hearthrug and the table, having been placed there by Mrs. Austin's
orders, and she got down on her knees and opened it. She might
find another packet of love-letters perhaps. But, whatever she
might find, it was not her intention to conceal her movements from
Ellen. She would tell her all about it when she came in.
Perhaps there was nothing that her daughter could not dispose of
without Philip's aid. There were the usual bundles of
legal-looking papers, of not the slightest interest. Putting
these aside, she directed her attention to the letters and very soon
lighted upon one marked "private" which she seized, of course, with
interest. There was something quite familiar in the
handwriting, which was explained when she glanced at the
signature—"Philip Tenterden." She had seen Philip's
handwriting. The letter was his. She began to read, and
to read with eagerness. She rose to her feet, and became more
and more agitated as she went on. Why, the letter was a
confession of fraud and of impending ruin! It was dated nearly
three years ago—no doubt he had gone on all this time undetected.
It was horrible! What a mercy it was that she had thought of
looking in that box! If he had found this, he would most
certainly have destroyed it. She had been the salvation of
Ellen, and she would tell her so. As for poor Fanny, was it
not shameful? She had not a penny; and what was to become of
her, now that the fellow was found out, it was impossible to say.
Having finished the letter, she put it in her pocket, and with these
new subjects of thought sat down to await her daughter's return.
In less than an hour Ellen returned, coming straight into the
"My dear, what a mercy that I thought of looking over those
papers!" burst out Mrs. Torrance.
"What papers, mamma?—what is a mercy?" asked Ellen calmly,
accustomed to her mother's fashion of breaking intelligence.
"Read that!" replied Mrs. Torrance, producing the letter.
Ellen took it. She, too, recognised the handwriting,
but not as Philip's, only as having a great likeness to his—a
likeness which often runs in families. She, too, looked at the
signature, and read the letter, light breaking on her face, like the
clearing of a morning mist, as she read.
(Drawn by ROBERT
"She, too, recognised the handwriting."
Mrs. Torrance would not suffer her to conclude it in peace.
"Now, my dear!" she exclaimed, "you see what that man is. If
he had laid his hands on that letter, he would have destroyed it—and
I can't think what made me open the box; but as I sat looking at it,
I seemed to have a feeling that I ought to look inside it.
It's always the way with me; I seem to know by instinct when people
are not what they seem to be. Now, my dear, that man must be
exposed. Leave it to me; I will expose him."
"Expose him, mamma! he is cleared. This is a letter
from Mr. Tenterden's father, and explains a great many things."
Mrs. Torrance's countenance fell; but she did not give up her
point. "Nobody has known anything about it all this time," she
said. "He must have known, and kept it to himself, and acted under
false pretences; so he is just as bad."
"This money was lost years ago, mamma. Can't you see
that Mr. Tenterden has taken the loss upon himself? it has not
affected Fanny's income, and Mr. Tenterden, no doubt, intends that
it never should."
"My dear, what nonsense you do talk! as if anybody would do
that," said Mrs. Torrance. "You must take the letter at once
to Mr. Tabor."
"I cannot act so suddenly, mamma. I must have time to
think what is best to be done. Besides, I cannot see Mr. Tabor
until the evening now." Ellen held the letter in her hand, and
went up to her own room, leaving Mrs. Torrance in a state of extreme
When she had shut herself in, she threw herself into a chair,
and was conscious of a reflection of herself in a full-length mirror
opposite; but it was to her the reflection of another self, so great
was the difference between the thoughts of the present the thoughts
of the past—even the past hour. She pitied that old, pale
self, as she smiled at it with a curious kind of pity,—that self
that seemed to have hardly any reality in it,—whose generous
impulses had all been quenched,—who had known no nobleness except
what lived in books—this self, which had awakened at the contact
with true, living nobleness was so much keener and sweeter.
She sat, with the letter in her hand, and one glove, with the shape
of her hand within it, fallen at her feet, catching glimpses of
Philip's character and purpose, which gave her a happiness such as
she had never tasted before. This was the clue to his
self-denial; for this, perhaps, he had given up Lucy Tabor, loving
her all the while: he had been sacrificing himself that Fanny might
It was her own smiling face and eyes suffused with glad
emotion which recalled her to herself, and to the question, what was
to be done with the letter? Should she take it to Mr. Tabor?
That, for some reason or other, was the very course the writer
"Oh, Austin! I shall go mad," it began; and went on in short,
disjointed sentences. "I have come here"—it was dated from
Brighton—"to escape for a day or two from the people about
me—especially my son. Fanny's money is gone; I used it in
speculation, when I was on the brink of ruin, and but for the
failure of Smith and Co., might have won everything back. I
cannot face Philip, and do not speak to Tabor—at least not yet.
If I could only live to work it up again, she should be paid back
every penny. The lads are provided for; they might even help
me—at least Francis would—Philip too; but I dare not tell him.
He is not so lenient as Francis. I gave you a hint of this;
and now you know all. Be merciful, Austin, and help me to
begin again, and keep my secret, especially from Philip."
She read the wild appeal again and again before she made up
her mind. Her mother fond sitting there an hour after, when
she came to beg her to come down to dinner. She found her
there, and did not venture to approach the subject with which she
was consumed, for Ellen was in a mood she could not understand.
AUSTIN and her mother
had finished dining, but were still lingering in the dining-room,
when the former said, in a tone as unconcerned as she could command,
"Mamma, if Mr. Tenterden comes this evening, I want to speak with
Mrs Torrance took alarm. "My dear," she replied, in a
tone of mild remonstrance, "had I not better see him instead?
I think I ought, certainly."
Ellen thought—certainly not. "I will see him myself,
mamma," she answered.
"Now, do be firm, Ellen," Mrs. Torrance ventured to urge;
"you know you're not firm, dear; that is the reason I have for
wishing to see him myself."
"I do not see what firmness has to do with it, mamma," said
Ellen; "Mr. Tenterden deserves the greatest sympathy."
"Sympathy!" exclaimed her mother, thrown completely off her
guard. "Really, Ellen, you are too absurd. Who but you
could have any sympathy with a set of swindlers?"
"It is quite clear to me," said Ellen, "that Mr. Tenterden
has had nothing to do with the loss of fortune."
"But his father had, and that is all the same. He know
all about it too; because his father has been dead two or three
years, and he has never acknowledged it. Depend upon it he is
no better than his father. It's my opinion sons are generally
worse than their fathers: very likely he is."
"Mamma," said Ellen quietly, but firmly, "it is not for us to
condemn faults and misfortunes in the same breath."
Mrs. Torrance understood the allusion, and was silent.
Some of Mr. Torrance's transactions had not been quite clearly
defined between these two. She was obliged to acquiesce, too,
in her daughter's wish. In her new character of independence
she might not be meddled with.
The knocker sounded. Ellen started perceptibly.
"That is Mr. Tenterden," she said. "Stay here a little time,
it may save him unnecessary pain;" and she stooped and kissed her
mother's forehead, in deprecation of her displeasure.
Mrs. Torrance consented sulkily, and determined to stay there
till she was sent for. Ellen could never offend her without
compunction, whereas to her compunction was unknown.
Philip, for it was he, had entered, and was waiting for Mrs.
Austin in the library. "Are you at leisure?" he asked, after
the customary greeting.
"I am quite at leisure," she answered. "I was about to
write to you, when I received your note."
"Were you?" he answered, somewhat absently; "I am glad I
came: most things are better said than written."
Something of unusual excitement of a grave kind had shown
itself in Ellen's manner, and prepared him to some extent for what
was to come.
"I do not know," she answered; "I have become acquainted with
a private matter which deeply concerns you, and it is of that I wish
"Mr. Tabor has been consulting you, I presume," he rejoined,
"on the subject of our dissolution of partnership."
"No," she replied, quickly; "I have heard nothing of it.
I hope it has no connection with this."
"With what?" he asked, abruptly.
"The matter of which I speak is contained in this letter.
It was found among my husband's papers, and, unfortunately, not by
"She handed him the letter as she spoke, which he took and
glanced at, with only too sure an intuition of its contents.
He read it, however, before looking up. When he did so, it was
to ask, half curiously, half bitterly, "What do you mean to do with
this?" and he offered it again to her.
"That is for you to decide," she answered, putting it back,
and a little hurt by his manner, which took for granted on her part
an utter want of sympathy.
"I should like to know the worst," he said. "Has any
one else seen it?"
"My mother," answered Ellen, with a slight flush.
"Everything is against me," he said. "And now, Mrs.
Austin, I will explain my share in this miserable business."
"I feel sure," she hastened to say in a voice of deep
emotion, "I feel sure that you have no blame in it whatever; and
that you have done, and are doing, all in your power to remedy the
wrong that has been done."
"I have," he replied, "and it has been made impossible for me
to do it in my own way, which was to make up the loss without saying
one word about it. You can understand why."
"Yes, indeed," she answered.
"I have done something toward it," he continued; "one
thousand pounds I have already invested in Government securities in
Fanny's name. But so large a sum cannot be replaced in a
moment by a penniless man."
"And her income?" said Ellen.
"That, of course, I paid out of my own. I thought I had
met every contingency," he added, making a clean breast of it; "for
my life was insured to the full amount in case of my death."
Ellen uttered not a single word, but any one would have
thought she was listening, not to a story of defeat, but of
victory—a victory, too, in which she triumphed.
"My plan has exploded," he went on; "but my brother has come
forward to help me, and I mean to sell my interest in the business
for as large a sum as I can, place it to Fanny's account, and
Ellen's countenance fell. "Why should you do this?" she
asked. "Why not go on as you have been doing? A few
years would suffice to pay the debt, and trusted as you are—"
"Am I?" he interrupted, "It has taken me nearly three years
to do what I have done, at the same rate it would take me other ten,
and already I believe all sorts of rumours are current against me; I
can feel them in the air. Even those who have known me all my
life have learnt to distrust me. It was bad enough going on
with this millstone hung round my neck in secret, but to carry it
openly is too much for my philosophy."
"Only your friends would know anything about it," she said.
"Consider what Fanny is," he answered; "and then these new
relations of hers, who would have led to this disclosure sooner or
later, even if this letter had not been found."
"But your prospects," she said faintly, "you are giving them
"They are not brilliant, I think," was his reply.
"And your friends?"—she faltered.
"Will be quite content to do without me."
"They would stand by you in this matter, I am sure," she
rejoined. "There is Mr. Tabor,"—and she hesitated and blushed
crimson—"Mr. Tabor and I would do so to any extent."
"You are very kind. I believe you would," and he gave a
wistful look at her which seemed to speak regret and tenderness.
With a sudden impulse she held out her hands to him, no
longer looking at him, but standing before him with veiled eyes and
downcast face. He under- stood the action. She had taken
her life into it her hands, and offered it to him to make up for the
world's wrongs. There was no need of words; there was perfect
consciousness between them. He understood her, and she knew
that he did.
Philip felt the thrill of an emotion very like love. He
hesitated in his turn. Neither of them might ever meet their
equals again in generosity of spirit. They felt how near they
were to each other, how perfect a friendship theirs might be.
And Philip hesitated, but it was only for a moment.
Then he took one of the outstretched hands; he took it in both of
his caressingly. "What would you think of me," he said, "if
you knew that I have been tempted to secure your friendship and your
help—to offer you a heart nearly as empty as my purse? Forgive
me for a thought so unworthy of you, and believe me, that I shall
carry into my banishment the memory of your sweet kindness as my
greatest solace; but I can never love you as you deserve to be
loved—as I have loved from boyhood."