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If you

Too late! too late, now !” sobbed of young country gentlemen. He did Densil.

exactly what every one else about him “Not at all, my dear fellow," said did. He was not naturally a profligate Saltire, taking a pinch of snuff; "the or vicious man; but there was a wild partridges will be a little wild, of course devil of animal passion in him, which --that you must expect; but you ought had broken out in London, and which to get some very pretty pheasant and was now quieted by dread of consecock-shooting. Come, say yes. Have quences, but which he felt and knew your debts paid, and get out of this was there, and might break out again. infernal hole. A week of this would He was a changed man. There was a tame the devil, I should think.”

gulf between him and the life he had think you could do anything led before he went to London. He had for me, Saltire.”

tasted of liberty (or rather, not to proSaltire immediately retired, and re- fane that Divine word, of licentiousness), appeared leading in a lady by her hand. and yet not drunk long enough to make She raised the veil from her head, and him weary of the draught. He had he saw his mother. In a moment she was heard the dogmas he was brought up to crying on his neck; and, as he looked believe infallible turned to unutterable over her shoulder, he saw a blue coat ridicule by men like Saltire and Wrekin; passing out of the door, and that was men who, as he had the wit to see, were the last of Lord Saltire for the present. a thousand times cleverer and better in

It was no part of the game of the formed than Father Clifford or Father priests to give Densil a cold welcome Dennis. In short, he had found out, as home. Twenty smiling faces were a great many others have, that Popery grouped in the porch to welcome him won't hold water, and so, as a pis aller, back; and among them all none smiled he adopted Saltire's creed, that religion more brightly than the old priest and was necessary for the government of his father. The dogs went wild with States, that one religion was as good joy, and his favourite peregrine scolded as another, and that, cæteris paribus, the on the falconer's wrist, and struggled best religion was the one which secured with her jesses, shrilly reminding him the possessor 10,0001. a year; and thereof the merry old days by the dreary salt fore Densil was a devout Catholic. marsh, or the lonely lake.

It was thought by the allied powers The past was never once alluded to that he ought to marry. He had no obin any way by any one in the house. jection, and so he married a young lady, Only Squire Petre shook hands with a Miss Winkleigh-Catholic, of coursefaithful James, and gave him a watch, about whom I can get no information ordering him to ride a certain colt next whatever. Lady Ascot says that she was day, and see how well forward he could a pale girl, with about as much air as a get him. So next day they drew the milkmaid ; on which two facts I can build home covers, and the fox, brave fellow, no theory as to her personal character. ran out to Parkside, making for the She died in 1816, childless; and in 1820 granite walls of Hessitor. And, when Densil lost both his father and mother, Densil felt his nostrils filled once more and found himself, at the age of thirtyby the free rushing mountain air, he seven, master of Ravenshoe, and master shouted aloud for joy, and James's voice of himself alongside of him said

He felt the loss of the old folks most “ This is better than the Fleet, sir.” keenly, more keenly than that of his

And so Densil played a single wicket- wife. He seemed without a stay or holdmatch with the Holy Church, and, like a fast in the world, for he was a poorlygreat many other people, got bowled out educated man, without resources; and so in the first innings. He returned to his he went on moping and brooding until allegiance in the most exemplary manner, good old Father Clifford, who loved him and settled down into the most humdrum dearly, got alarmed, and recommended


his arm.

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travels. He recommended Rome, the too, liked the handsome, gentlemanly cradle of the faith, and to Rome he old man, and made herself agreeable to went.

him, as a woman of the world knows so He stayed in Rome a year; at the well how to do. Father Mackworth, end of which time he appeared suddenly

on the other hand, his young coadjutor at home with a beautiful young wife on

since Father Dennis's death, an imporAs Father Clifford, trembling tation of Lady Alicia's from Rome, very and astonished, advanced to lay his hand soon fell under her displeasure. The upon her head, she drew up, laughed, first Sunday after her arrival she drove and said, “Spare yourself the trouble, to Church, and occupied the great old my dear sir; I am a Protestant." family pew, to the immense astonish

I have had to tell you all this, in ment of the rustics, and, after afternoon order to show you how it came about service, caught up the old vicar in her that Densil, though a Papist, be- imperious off-hand way, and, will he thought of marrying a Protestant wife nill he, carried him off to dinner-at to keep up a balance of power in his which meal he was horrified to find house. For, if he had not married this himself sitting with two shaven priests, lady, the hero of this book would never who talked Latin and crossed themhave been born ; and this greater pro

selves. His embarrassment was greatly position contains the less, “ that, if he increased by the behaviour of Mrs. had never been born, his history would Ravenshoe, who admired his sermon,

never have been written, and so this and spoke on doctrinal points with him “ book would have had no existence." as though there were not a priest within

a mile. Father Mackworth was im

prudent enough to begin talking at him, CHAPTER II.

and at last said something unmistakeably impertinent; upon which Mrs. Raven

shoe put her glass in her eye, and The second Mrs. Ravenshoe was the favoured him with such a glance of handsome dowerless daughter of a Wor- haughty astonishment as silenced him cester squire of good standing, who, being blessed with an extravagant son, This was the beginning of hostilities and six handsome daughters, had lived between them, if one can give the for several years abroad, finding society name of hostilities to a series of infinimore accessible, and consequently the tesimal annoyances on the one side, and matrimonial chances of the “Petersham to unmeasurable and barely concealed girls” proportionately greater than in contempt on the other. Mackworth, on England. She was a handsome, proud the one hand, knew that she understood woman, not particularly clever, or par- and despised him, and he hated her. ticularly agreeable, or particularly any- She, on the other hand, knew that he thing, except particularly self possessed. knew it, but thought him too much She had been long enough looking after below her to notice, save now and then an establishment to know thoroughly that she might put down with a high the value of one, and had seen quite hand any, even the most distant, apenough of good houses to know that a proach to a tangible impertinence. But house without a mistress was no house she was no match for him in the arts of at all. Accordingly, in a very few days petty, delicate, galling annoyances. There the house felt her presence, submitted he was her master; he had been brought with the best grace to her not unkindly up in a good school for that, and had rule, and in a week they all felt as if learnt his lesson kindly. He found out she had been there for years.

that she disliked his

and Father Clifford, who longed only for shrunk from his smooth, lean face with peace, and was getting very old, got very unutterable dislike. From that moment



at once.


her with oily politeness, rushing across “He has been very devout ever since,” the room to pick up anything she had said Clifford. I fear nothing.” dropped, or to open the door, till it “Humph! Well, I am glad to hear required the greatest restraint to avoid it,” said Mackworth. “I shall go to breaking through all forms of politeness Rome. I'd sooner be gossiping with and bidding him begone. But why Alphonse and Pierre in the cloisters should we go on detailing trifles like than vegetating here. My talents are these, which in themselves are nothing,

thrown away.” but accumulated are unbearable ?

He departed down the winding steps So it went on till, one morning, about of the priests' turret, which led to the two years after the marriage, Mackworth flower garden. The day was fine, and appeared in Clifford's room, and, yawn- a pleasant seat a short distance off ining, threw himself into a chair.

vited him to sit. He could get a book “ Benedicite," said Father Clifford, he knew from the drawing-room and sit who never neglected religious etiquette there. So, with habitually noiseless tread, on any occasion.

he passed along the dark corridor, and Mackworth stretched out his legs and opened the drawing-room door. yawned, rather rudely, and then relapsed Nobody was there. The book he into silence. Father Clifford went on wanted was in the little drawing-room reading. At last Mackworth spoke. beyond, separated from the room he was

“I'll tell you what, my good friend, I in by a partly-drawn curtain. The priest am getting sick of this; I shall go back advanced silently over the deep piled to Rome.”

carpet and looked in. “To Rome ?

The summer sunlight, struggling Yes, back to Rome,” repeated the through a waving bower of climbing other impertinently, for he always treated plants and the small panes of a deeply the good old priest with contemptuous

mullioned window, fell upon two persons, insolence when they were alone. “What at the sight of whom he paused, and, is the use of staying here, fighting that holding his breath, stood, like a black woman? There is no more chance of statue in the gloomy room, wrapped in turning her than a rock, and there is astonishment. going to be no family.”

He had never in his life heard these “ You think so?” said Clifford. twain use any words beyond those of

“Good heaven, does it look like it. Two common courtesy towards one another; years, and not a sign; besides, should I he had thought them the most indiffertalk of going, if I thought so ? Then there ent, the coldest pair, he had ever seen. would be a career worthy of me; then But now! now, the haughty beauty was I should have a chance of deserving bending from her chair over her husband, well of the Church, by keeping a waver- who sat on a stool at her feet; her arm ing family in her bosom. And I could was round his neck, and her hand was do it too: every child would be a fresh in his, and; as he looked, she parted the weapon in my hands against that woman. clustering black curls from his forehead Clifford, do you think that Ravenshoe and kissed him. is safe ?

He bent forward and listened more He said this so abruptly that Clifford eagerly. He could hear the surf on the coloured and started. Mackworth at shore, the sea-birds on the cliffs, the the same time turned suddenly upon nightingale in the wood; they fell upon him, and scrutinized his face keenly. his ear, but he could not distinguish « Safe !" said the old man,

“ What

them; he waited only for one of the two makes you fear otherwise ?

figures before him to speak. “Nothing special," said Mackworth; At last Mrs. Ravenshoe broke silence, "only I have never been easy since you but in so low a voice that even he, whose told me of that London escapade years attention was strained to the uttermost,

could barely catch what she said.




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Half way

“I yield, my love," said she; "I give

CHAPTER III. you this one, but mind the rest are mine.

IN WHICH OUR HERO'S TROUBLES BEGIN. I have your solemn promise for that ?”

“My solemn promise,” said Densil, IF you were a lazy yachtsman, sliding on and kissed her again.

a summer's day, before a gentle easterly “My dear,” she resumed, “I wish breeze, over the long swell from the Atyou could get rid of that priest, that lantic, past the south-westerly shores of Mackworth. He is irksome to me.” the British channel, you would find, after “He was recommended to my es

sailing all day beneath shoreless headpecial care by my mother," was Densils lands of black slate, that the land sudreply. “ If you could let him stay I denly fell away and sunk down, leaving, should much rather.”

instead of beetling cliffs, a lovely amphi“Oh, let him stay !" said she, “he is theatre of hanging wood and lawn, too contemptible for me to annoy my

fronted by a beach of yellow sand-a self about. But I distrust him, Densil. pleasing contrast to the white surf and He has a lowering look sometimes.” dark crag to which your eye had got

“He is talented and agreeable,” said accustomed. Densil; “but I never liked him.”

This beautiful semicircular basin is The listener turned to go, having about two miles in diameter, surrounded heard enough, but was arrested by her by hills on all sides, save that which is continuing,

open to the sea. East and west the "By the bye, my love, do you know

headlands stretch out a mile or more, that that impudent girl Norah has been forming a fine bay open to the north ; secretly married this three months." while behind, landward, the downs roll The priest listened more intently than up above the woodlands, a bare expanse

of grass and grey stone. “Who to ?” asked Densil.

along the sandy beach, a trout-stream “ To James, your keeper.”

comes foaming out of a dark wood, and “I am glad of that. That lad James finds its way across the shore in fifty stuck to me in prison, Susan, when they sparkling channels ; and the eye, caught all left me.

She is a fine faithful by the silver thread of water, is snatched creature, too. Mind you give her a good away above and beyond it, along a wooded scolding."

glen, the cradle of the stream, which Mackworth had heard enough appar- pierces the country landward for a mile ently, for he stole gently away through or two, till the misty vista is abruptly the gloomy room, and walked musingly barred by a steep blue hill, which crosses up stairs to Father Clifford.

the valley at right angles. A pretty That excellent old man took up the little village stands at the mouth of the conversation just where it had left off. stream, and straggles with charming ir

“And when,” said he, “my brother, regularity along the shore for a considerdo you propose returning to Rome?" able distance westward ; while behind,

“I shall not go to Rome at all,” was some little distance up the glen, a handthe satisfactory reply, followed by a deep some church tower rises from among the silence.

trees. There are some fishing boats at In a few months, much to Father Clif- anchor, there are some small boats on ford's joy and surprise, Mrs. Ravenshoe the beach, there is a coasting schooner bore a noble boy, which was named beached and discharging coal, there are Cuthbert. Cuthbert was brought up in the some fishermen lounging, there are some Romish faith, and at five years old had nets drying, there are some boys bathing, just begun to learn his prayers of Father there are two grooms exercising four Clifford, when an event occurred equally handsome horses; but it is not upon unexpected by all parties. Mrs. Raven- horses, men, boats, ship, village, church, shoe was again found to be in a condi- or stream that you will find your eye porched, grey-stone mansion, that stands gardens; but a noble gravel terrace, dion the opposite side of the stream, about vided from the park only by a deep rama hundred feet above the village. part, runs along beneath the windows;

On the east bank of the little river, and to the east the deer-park stretches just where it joins the sea, abrupt lawns away till lawn and glade are swallowed of grass and fern, beautifully broken by up in the encroaching woodland. groups of birch and oak, rise above the Such is Ravenshoe Hall at the present dark woodlands, at the culminating point day, and such it was on the tenth of of which, on a buttress which runs down June, 1831 (I like to be particular), as from the higher hills behind, stands the regards the still life of the place; but, if house I speak of, the north front looking one had then regarded the living inhaon the sea, and the west on the wooded bitants, one would have seen signs of an glen before mentioned—the house on a unusual agitation. Round the kitchen ridge dividing the two. Immediately door stood a group of female servants behind again the dark woodlands begin talking eagerly together; and, at the once more, and above them is the moor. other side of the court, some half-dozen

The house itself is of grey stone, built grooms and helpers were evidently busy in the time of Henry VIII. The façade on the same theme, till the appearance of is exceedingly noble, though irregular; the stud groom entering the yard- sudthe most striking feature in the north or denly dispersed them right and left to sea front being a large dark porch, open do nothing with superabundant energy. on three sides, forming the basement of a To them also entered a lean, quiet high stone tower, which occupies the looking man, about forty. We have centre of the building. At the north- seen him before. He was our old friend west corner (that towards the village) Jim, who had attended Densil in rises another tower of equal height; and the Fleet-prison in old times. He had behind, above the irregular groups of some time before this married a beautiful chimneys, the more modern cupola of Irish Catholic waiting-maid of Lady the stables shows itself as the highest Alicia's, by whom he had a daughter, point of all, and gives, combined with now five years old, and a son aged one the other towers, a charming air of ir- week. He walked across the yard to regularity to the whole. The windows where the women

were talking, and are mostly long, low, and heavily mul- addressed them. lioned, and the walls are battlemented. “How is my ladly to-night?" said he.

On approaching the house you find that “ Holy Mother of God!” said a weepit is built very much after the fashion of a ing Irish housemaid, "she's worse." ” college, with a quadrangle in the centre. “How's the young master ?” Two sides of this, the north and west, “Hearty, a darling ; crying his little are occupied by the house, the south by eyes out, he is, a-bless him.” the stables, and the east by a long and “He'll be bigger than Master Cuthsomewhat handsome chapel, of greater bert, I'll warrant ye," said a portly antiquity than the rest of the house. The cook. centre of this quad, in place of the trim " When was he born ?" asked James. grass-plat, is occupied by a tan lunging “Nigh on two hours,” said the other ring, in the centre of which stands a speaker. granite basin filled with crystal water At this conjuncture a groom came from the hills. In front of the west running through the passage, putting wing a terraced flower-garden goes step a note in his hat as he went ; he came by step towards the stream, till the to the stud-groom, and said hurriedly, smooth-shaven lawns almost mingle with “A note for Dr. Marcy, at Lanceston, the wild ferny heather turf of the park, sir. What horse am I to take?” where the dappled deer browse, and “Trumpeter. How is my lady?" the rabbit runs to and fro busily. On “Going, as far as I can gather, sir.” the north, towards the sea, there are no James waited until he heard him dash

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