« ZurückWeiter »
I think that any one who has followed the story so far must have realized that all the doings of any of us in Barton were very quickly and completely known to all the rest. Probably Barton is not at all peculiar in this, for no doubt it is the same in all little country places of its kind. There was one person, however, of whom it would perhaps not be right to speak as belonging to Barton (the more correct mode, it may be, would be to say that Barton belonged to him)--Lord Riverslade-who was an entire exception to this rule. His whole position, of · course, was quite exceptional. When we spoke of Barton people we meant the villagers, the Vicar and the doctor, and the few people living in the better houses in its immediate neighborhood. The county people were quite apart, and Lord Riverslade was not only one of the county people, but perhaps the inost important of them all. At the same time his position as lord of the manor, and actual proprietor of the greater part of the village, naturally brought him into a peculiarly close relation with it.
When Miss Sophy was at the Castle we heard a good deal of what went on there, but during the greater part of each year she was away in London or in Paris, and at such times the Castle life went on behind blank walls, so far as we were concerned, except for an annual garden party, at which divers
sorts and conditions were gathered in a communion that was singularly uncongenial to all who shared in it. And if the whole life of the Castle was thus shut off from us by a blank wall, the owner of the Castle himself was mon inscrutable still on account of the equally dense wall of reserve-a sec ond line of fortifications, as it were with which it pleased him to surround himself. His outward person and de meanor were, of course, perfectly familiar to us. His dress always ap peared the perfection of quiet taste. We never saw him in the rough shooting clothes that men generally wear in the country, and the colors that be affected were either of a hue so sombre that they looked almost black or of a delicate gray.
He wore his beard. which was become nearly white trimmed most neatly to a point His complexion was pale, but so clear and healthful that a young girl might bave envied it. The shape of his face was a fine oval, and an aquiline nose, with the skin seeming to be drawn 80 tightly over the bridge as to appear in a state of constant tension, added to bis singularly aristocratic and courtly aspect. It was supposed that he was peculiarly proud of the smallness of his hands and feet, and certainly be was most particular and careful in the matter of his gloves and boots. No one could remember seeing him with out gloves in the open air, and when he took them off, within doors, the delicacy and whiteness of his hands. the fine taper fingers and beautifully kept nails, seemed to justify him in all his precautions.
His whole appear ance had an air of studied perfection. and his manner, cold but scrupulously courteous, was in absolute accord with it. Dr. Charlton, who knew him far better than most of us, affirmed that he was entirely lacking in a sense of humor, and though it never was said of him, even after his son's loss, as it!
was of the poor King Henry, that he grounds for deeming himself rather was never seen to smile again, still hardly used by fate and by the family there was no one who could say that of Fraser, seeing that his only son they had ever heard him laugh. He had ruined his life, and probably had could smile, although in rather a dis- found his death, by running away with tant manner, as if he felt that even the mother, and that his nephew, who this measure of unbending from his had become his heir, was now threatusual impassivity was hardly con- ening, as it appeared, to disgrace the sistent with the dignified repose which family further by a dalliance with the be cultivated, but so vulgar a sound as daughter of this unhappy and unaulaughter it was almost impossible, it thorized union. The case was hard. seemed almost wrong, to imagine that Precisely what words Lord Rivershe could utter. Dr. Charlton had a lade used we never did know, but in a particular and unconcealed dislike for general way we heard, either at first him, and in answer to a stranger who hand from Mr. Jack or from Miss had asked what Lord Riverslade was Sophy at secondhand, who had it from like, he is said to have replied tersely, Mr. Jack himself in much more detail and rather profanely, as we thought, than he told it to any one else in Bar
"He-he's a piece of polished ungod- ton, that he had said "horrible things”; liness."
and it was well to be believed that this On the whole it was not altogether statement was not exaggerated. That surprising, though it was very vesa- he said them in the most courteous tious, that we never succeeded in dis- manner possible was also to be becovering by what means Lord Rivers- lieved, and did not seem to make them lade came to know of the frequent less “horrible.” What Mr. Jack said meetings of his heir and nephew, Jack to him in answer was even less exRivers, with Miss Vera, his unacknowl- actly known, for if there was one thing edged grandchild. Whether some evil- that was clear at all about the interminded little bird carried the news, or view it was that the young man lost whether Lord Riverslade himself ob- his temper completely, and when a served the young people and certain ten- young man has lost his temper he does der passages between them, or whether not remember all the things that he the base and hackneyed device of the says, and perhaps it is quite as well unsigned letter was employed by some that some of them should be forgotten. naker of mischief we never knew, but of course this put him more than ever on the very day following that on at his uncle's mercy. On one point, which Miss Vera had bravely told her however, it seemed that he did conlover that by the force of circum- trive to turn the tables, for when Lord stances it was necessary they should Riverslade remarked that the girl nat. part, Lord Riverslade sent for his urally would think that she was doing nephew into his study and treated the a good thing for herself, she being what young soldier to some of his most cruel she was and he the heir to a barony and refined observations. For such and broad acres, then he was able to account of the interview as reached us tell his uncle that as soon as ever the eventually we were indebted to Mr. girl discovered that she had no proper Jack Rivers himself-Lord Riverslade claim to the name she bore, she renever, as far as was known, spoke of fused absolutely to consider the idea of it to a soul-and therefore we heard letting him marry her in the future or one side of it only. It has to be con- continue her lover in the present. It fessed that his lordship had
was part of the code by which Lord
Riverslade regulated his life that he was failing, and the doctor's report a should show no surprise, but it ap- the state of his heart had suggested the peared that he really was taken more possibility that at any moment death than a little aback by this intelligence. might overtake him. It was death in He affected to disbelieve it, although the most peaceful and beautiful manner the candor of Mr. Jack Rivers's nature that can be imagined. His servant was so apparent that no one seeing him coming in the evening to pull down the even for the first moment could ques- blinds and light the lamp, found him tion the truth of anything that he leaning back in bis arınchair quite should say; and being forced at last to dead. His face bad a most happy eraccept even so surprising a statement pression, freed from the anxious lines as this as a true one, Lord Riverslade that had been so distressing during the then affected to receive it as evidence later months of his life. His Bible of the rusé character of his unfortunate lay open on the table before him, and grandchild. It was difficult for him, he had evidently been reading it when no doubt, to believe good of any one, death came to bim. Dr. Charlton, who and it was in speaking of him that was summoned immediately, said that Dr. Charlton bad first enunciated one he had probably been dead about an of his favorite masims, that the lowest hour by the time that he arrived. It opinions of human nature are generally appeared as if the Colonel bimself had the result of introspection. Perhaps had a presentiment that he might die It was introspection that prevented at short notice, although be never alLord Riverslade from believing that luded to bis health or called in the Miss Vera could have been genuine doctor's services; for all bis affaint wben she forbade Mr. Jack Rivers to were found in perfect order, his will make love to her as soon as she under- was signed, leaving all the very little stood her position in society.
that he had to leave, after his impruI think it was this refusal on the part dent speculations, to his grandchild. of his uncle to believe anything but and a lawyer in Y- was appointed what was ill of the innocent young as his sole executor. girl he loved, that drove Mr. Rivers to Miss Vera bore her great loss with a say things that he certainly had better wonderful fortitude, considering how not have said. The conclusion of the young she was, but we felt that sbe matter was that he left the Castle bad had so much. experience of sorrow abruptly on the following morning, and and trouble in her short life that she the months passed into years before was really far older than her years, alwe saw him again in Barton.
though her life since she came to Bar It was not till long afterwards that ton bad of course been a very quiet we heard all about poor
Vera's one. It seemed grievous to think of troubles at this time, but a few weeks her left alone, or only with servants, in later a sorrow wbich was known to all that silent house with the Colonel's of us, and in wbich we all could give body a waiting burial, and on the very her our fullest sympathy, came to over- day of his death Miss Cares proposed cloud her young life still more heavily. to Vera that she should come and stay This was the death of Colonel Fraser, with her until things were settled; but her grandfather. The intelligence that she could not induce Vera to consent he was dead came to us as a shock, She thanked Miss Carey very much, but it could hardly be said that it but said that it would be dreadful to came as a surprise. The old soldier leave him (meaning the dead body) had looked for many months as if he alone: she would much rather stay. Of course Miss Carey could not press her had been settled in this way. It seemed to come against her wish, but after the in every respect the best possible arsimple funeral, when the old soldier's rangement, both for Miss Carey and body had been laid in Barton church- for Vera, who otherwise would have yard, Vera consented then, with grati- been left very much to herself on the tude, to come to Miss Carey. At first, world, and very poorly off financially; for a week or two, she came as a for her grandfather at the Castle guest, but when the simple money mat- showed no disposition to offer her a ters bad been settled it was arranged home, though we observed with apthat she should stay on with Miss proval that he had attended the ColoCarey permanently, contributing some nel's funeral, and had sent a wreath very small sum to the weekly books by from the Castle green-bouses to place way of payment of her bourd; and we on bis old friend's coffin. all were very glad to hear that things
Horace G. Hutchinson. (To be continued.)
AN OLD PARSON'S DAY-BOOK.
Horsted Keynes, the name of whose its great chimney-stacks, lies remote Junction is familiar to those who travel among low woods, rising over barns by the Newhaven express, is a charm- and byres, with a chain of old fishIng, well-wooded parish in the centre ponds, where the water murmurs of the Weald of Sussex. The place it. through sluices, among the grass-grown self lies at some little distance from terraces of its ancient garden, and the station, perched astride of one of straggling clumps of immemorial yewthe bigh wooded ridges that sweep trees. Tremans, belonging to the Danesouth from the bare moorland of Ash- hurst estate, lies to the south of the down Forest. The whole of the coun- village, with an avenue of old Scotch tryside looks as if it had been ploughed firs, and an enormous yew hedge shieldby a gigantic plough. Ridge after ing it from the road-an almost incredridge lie roughly parallel, the ground ibly picturesque house, with a Georgian falling steeply, by sequestered woods front of red brick, many weather-tiled and copse-ends, to streams that run gables and shapely chimneys, crowned swiftly, hidden among hazels and al- with a pretty cupola. The village itders. These beautiful valleys, where self is more modern, but contains some the sunlight seems caught and held beautiful old stone-tiled Sussex houses. captive on still sunner afternoons, are The church is an interesting cruciform a paradise of willflowers and birds. building, with a slender spire, but it They are intersected by many field- has unfortunately lost the old chantry paths, winding among pastures and of the Lightmaker family, to whom woods, where one can walk for hours Broadhurst belonged, where the re without meeting a wayfarer. There mains of the great Archbishop Leighare two ancient and beautiful manor- ton repose, who, after his deprivation, houses in the parish. One of these is lived long in the secluded manor-house. Broadlıurst, the fragment of a larger Hard by the church is the Rectory, house, belonging to the Brands of with its pretty globe and lake; and Glynde. This stately building, with here is preserved the curious document
•The particulars here given are mostly ical Collections" (1853), in which the greater taken from Vol. i. of the “Sussex Archæolog- part of the Day-book was printed.
of which we would more particularly among others, of Mr. Fry-Babe, Mr. speak. It is a long, stout, parchment Damman, Mr. Narrow Grace, Dr. Dubi bound ledger, in which an old Rector ous, Mr. Know Little, and Mr. Imperti of Horsted Keynes kept, with remark- nent are set down. able fidelity, an account of his ex- "The parsonage,” says Mr. Moore, penses, the books and groceries he "was left to mee in so ruinous a state bought, the offerings he received, the that it cost me £210 before I could journeys he took. There can be but make it fit to dwell in. Should few volumes in England which give so I leave a widow behind mee, let him, minute an account of the life of a whoever my successor may bee, deal country parson in the seventeenth cen- alike kindly by her as I have done by tury. The book well deserves to be Mistresse Pell, and shee will have no printed entire, for the sake of students complainte for the present, nor will of economic history, and as a very full hee himselfe bee a loser for the furecord of the current prices of the ture.” He goes on to say that he paid time. It is absolutely perfect and Mrs. Pell, the widow of the late incumlegible. The rector must have been a bent, all the tithes up to Lady Day, man of wonderful precision, anxious 1656. to know to a penny how he stood. He begins the book in a moralizing Moreover, the book is an interesting mood, with some very bad Latin commentary on the conditions of social verses, adding: "Wee reckon up our life then prevailing.
expenses, but not our sins; wee acThe Rev. Giles (or Ægidius) Moore count what wee expend, but not wee was rector of the parish from 1656 to offend." And having made this conces1080. He says that he had formerly sion to religious feeling, he plunges been taken prisoner by Essex's Horse, into what was evidently a more conso that he had either been a soldier, or genial task than reflections upon his perhaps a chaplain in the royal army. corrupt heart and fallen nature. He was obviously a convinced Royal- He engaged a maid for £3 a year, ist, though, like the Vicar of Bray, he and a gardener for £5, and he paid his subordinated his principles to his live. day-laborers, to get the garden straight, lihood. He was certainly a man of a shilling a day. He adds: "I gave my peace, as we see him in his day-book, wife 15 shillings to lay out at St a considerable student, and interested James faire at Lindfield, all which sheo in agricultural operations. He was spent except 28. 6d., which she never admitted, as he says, on February 1, returned mee." He made his house 1656, by the “Commissioners for the comfortable, paying as much as £2 104. approbation of Publique Preachers, sit- for "a fine large coverlett with birds ting at Whiteball." These were the and bucks." He went to London to so-called “Triers” appointed, under an shop, and bought cloth for a suit, addOrder in Council, by the Protector, in ing a “Levitical girdle” of silk, and 1653, to supply the vacant livings into two "worsted canonical girdles." His wbich, as the preamble of the Act new hat and band cost him £1 4s. runs, "many weak, scandalous, Popish, He records that in the same year an and ill-affected persons had intruded assessment was made to raise £60,000 themselves." This Commission is "by the moneth, for the use of his parodied in a curious tract given in Highnesse the Protector.” He paid his Nicholl's Calvinism and Arminianism share, which was 198., out of the £33 Compared, in which, under the presi- charged on the parish, and then exdency of Dr. Absolute, the names, plodes in some treasonous Latin verses: