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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


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, ago.”

could barely catch what she said.


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 Densil's 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 be 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


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 lady 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,

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 full speed out of the yard, and then till Densil passed through the weeping he saw him disappear like a speck along women, and went straight to his own the mountain road far aloft; then he study. There he sat down, tearless, went into the house, and, getting as musing much about her who was gone. near to the sick room as he dared, How he had grown to love that waited quietly on the stairs.

woman, he thought-her that he had It was a house of woe, indeed! Two married for her beauty and her pride, hours before, one feeble, wailing little and had thought so cold and hard ! creature had taken up his burthen, and He remembered how the love of her had begun his weary pilgrimage across the grown stronger, year by year, since their unknown desolate land that lay between first child was born. How he had rehim and the grave—for a part of which spected her for her firmness and conyou and I are to accompany him ; while sistency; and how often, he thought, his mother even now was preparing for her had he sheltered his weakness behind rest, yet striving for the child's sake to her strength! His right hand was gone, lengthen the last few weary steps of her and he was left alone to do battle by journey, that they two might walk, were himself! it never so short a distance, together. One thing was certain. Happen what

The room was very still. Faintly the would, his promise should be respected, pure scents and sounds stole into the and this last boy, just born, should be chamber of death from the blessed sum- brought up a Protestant as his mother mer air without ; gently came the had wished. He knew the opposition murmur of the surf upon the sands; he would have from Father Mackworth, fainter and still fainter came the breath and determined to brave it. And, as the of the dying mother. The babe lay name of that man came into his mind, beside her, and her arm

was round

some of his old fierce, savage nature its body. The old vicar knelt by the broke out again, and he almost cursed bed, and Densil stood with folded arms him aloud. and bowed head, watching the face “I hate that fellow! I should like to which had grown so dear to him, till the defy him, and let him do his worst. I'd light should die out from it for ever. do it, now she's gone, if it wasn't for the Only those four in the chamber of boys. No, hang it, it wouldn't do. If death!

I'd told him under seal of confession, The sighing grew louder, and the eye instead of letting him grub it out, he grew once more animated. She reached couldn't have hung it over me like this. out her hand, and, taking one of the I wish he was—' vicar's, laid it upon the baby's head. If Father Mackworth had had the Then she looked at Densil, who was slightest inkling of the state of mind of now leaning over her, and with a great his worthy patron towards him, it is effort spoke.

very certain that he would not have “ Densil, dear, you will remember chosen that very moment to rap at the your promise ?

door. The most acute of us make a “I will swear it, my love."

mistake sometimes; and he, haunted A few more laboured sighs, and a ' with vague suspicions since the congreater effort : “Swear it to me, love." versation he had overheard in the

He swore that he would respect the drawing-room before the birth of promise he had made, so help him God! Cuthbert, grew impatient, and deter

The eyes were fixed now, and all was mined to solve his doubts at once, still. Then there was a long sigh ; then and, as we have seen, selected the sinthere was

a long silence ; then the gularly happy moment when poor pasvicar rose from his knees and looked at sionate Densil was cursing him to his Densil. There were but three in the heart's content. chamber now.

“ Brother, I am come to comfort you,"

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had time, either to finish the sentence James. For one instant, you might written above, or to say 'Come in.” “This have seen a smile of intense amusement is a heavy affliction, and the heavier pass over his merry face ; but in an inbecause

stant it was gone again, and he gravely “Go away,” said Densil, pointing to addressed Densil. the door.

“My dear Mr. Ravenshoe, I must “Nay, nay," said the priest, “hear use my authority as doctor, to request

that your son's spiritual welfare should Go away !” said Densil, in a louder for the present yield to his temporal tone. “Do you hear me? I want to necessities. You must have a wet nurse, be alone, and I mean to be. Go!”

my good sir.” How recklessly defiant weak men Densil's brow had grown placid in a get when they are once fairly in a rage ! moment, beneath the Doctor's kindly Densil, who was in general civilly afraid glance. “God bless me,” he said, “I of this man, would have defied fifty such never thought of it. Poor little lad ! as he now.

poor little lad!” “There is one thing, Mr. Ravenshoe,” “I hope, sir,” said James, “that you said the priest, in a very different tone, will let Norah have the young master. “about which I feel it my duty to speak She has set her heart upon it." to you, in spite of the somewhat un- “I have seen Mrs. Horton,” said the reasonable form your grief has assumed. Doctor, "and I quite approve of the I wish to know what you mean to call proposal.

proposal. I think it indeed a most your son.

special providence that she should be “ Why ?

able to undertake it. Had it been other“Because he is ailing” (this was false), wise, we might have been undone.” " and I wish to baptise him.”

“Let us go at once," said the impetuous “ You will do nothing of the kind, Densil. “Where is the nurse { where is sir,” said Densil, as red as a turkey-cock. the boy ?" And, so saying, he hurried "He will be baptised in proper time in out of the room, followed by the Doctor the parish church. He is to be brought and James. up a protestant."

Mackworth stood alone, looking out The priest looked steadily at Densil, of the window, silent. He stood so who, now brought fairly to bay, was bent long that one who watched him peered on behaving like a valiant man, and from his hiding place more than once said slowly,—

to see if he were gone. At length he So my suspicions are confirmed then, raised his arm and struck his clenched and you have determined to hand over hand against the rough granite windowyour son to eternal perdition" (he didn't sill so hard that he brought blood. say perdition, he used a stronger word, Then he moodily left the room. which we will dispense with, if you As soon as the room was quiet, a have no objection).

child about five years old crept stealthiPerdition, sir !" bawled Densil. ly from a dark corner where he had laid “How dare you talk of a son of mine hidden, and, with a look of mingled in that free and easy sort of way? Why, shyness and curiosity on his face, dewhat my family has done for the Church parted quietly by another door. ought to keep a dozen generations of Meanwhile, Densil, James, and the Ravenshoes from a possibility of perdi- Doctor, accompanied by the nurse and tion, sir. Don't tell me.”

baby, were holding their way across the This new and astounding theory of court-yard towards a cottage which lay justification by works, which poor Densil in the wood beyond the stables. James had broached in his wrath, was over- opened the door, and they passed into heard by a round-faced bright-eyed the inner room. curly-headed man about fifty, who en- A beautiful woman was sitting proptered the room suddenly, followed by ped up by pillows, nursing a week-old

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