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ties of society or the inequalities of rank. said Gabrielle, when her confession was In the mountains they did not exist, at finished-turning to Vera with streaming Mon Repos they were either ignored or de- eyes—"and that you can never, never fornounced. At the same time, there was no- give me; but I was sorely tried, my darling, ching about her either ungirlish or pedantic. and your money is safe; my father will pay She would discuss a question of social ethics it all back.” or a point in history with M. Senarclens one “Never forgive you?" said Vera tenderly, moment, and be running round the garden putting her arms round Gabrielle's neck and with Georgette the next. Painting and read- kissing her. “Never forgive you! Why, ing were her favourite occupations; but she you are my benefactor. You have been to made her own dresses, was a good cook and me a mother. My grandfather died a keen hand at small bargains, and could have almost at the same time as my father. If earned her living as a dairy-maid. As M. you had taken me to London I should have Senarclens said, Vera was å well-instructed been brought up by strangers, my life would girl ; he might have added that in some have been wretched, whereas here, in this things she was as ignorant as an infant. mountain land, I have been very happy." In the afternoon Gabrielle came, and was But
father has been so cross, Vera, shown into the salon, where, in a few minutes, he has used you very ill." she was joined by Vera, whose kindly greet- “Only since your mother died, and I have ing reassured her, and she began to think been so much with my dear friends here that her fears were premature. Then the that it was not much, after all. Do not let door opened a second time and M. Senarclens, that trouble you, Gabrielle.” followed by Balmaine and Martino, entered “It is like you, Vera, to make little of the room.
your bonne's fault,” said M. Senarclens gravely, “I think there is somebody here you and I am quite of your opinion that her ought to know,” observed Vera, pointing to bringing you to Canton Vaud has been for Martino.
your good; but it might have been just the “Don't you know me, Mademoiselle Ga- reverse, and Gabrielle did very wrong, and brielle ?" said the Italian, coming forward exposed you to serious risk, by forgetting her with outstretched hand.
promise to your father. I do not think the “Signor Martino !” exclaimed the bonne, end in this cases justifies the means. But in a low intense voice, her face turning it is not for me to sit in judgment on you, deadly pale. “I did not expect to see you Gabrielle, for after all you are more sinned here."
against than sinning. If there were no such “I dare say not; but why did you not institution as property your father would write to me as you promised ”
not have got into trouble, and you would “Because-because—" (desperately). “It have been under no temptation to lend him is no use trying to deceive you. I will tell M. Hardy's money.” the truth, I will tell everything.” (Here “In that case," observed Balmaine, with she sank into a chair and wiped the perspira- a covert smile, “it is just possible that there tion from her face.) “Yes, I will tell the would have been none of Mr. Hardy's money truth.”
to lend.” “By all means," put in M. Senarclens The historian made as if he was going to soothingly, “as well for Vera's sake as for reply, but seeing that Vera had something your own peace of mind. We guess much, to say he refrained. but we want to know all."
“Can I dispose of this money?" she So the bonne made a clean breast of it; asked. “I shall not want it, and I should and though she did not try to justify herself like to give it-not to Père Courbet, who she laid great stress on the temptation to has enough already and is very avariciouswhich she had been exposed, and pleaded but to Gabrielle, who, although she has done further in extenuation of her offence that so much for me, has taken nothing for hershe feared M. Hardy père might deprive her self.” of the care of Vera, "who was dearer to her “At present I do not think you can, than her life.” One thing only she kept Vera,” said M. Senarclens. back-that she had received a packet of “And I would not take it from you if papere from her master and given it to Corfe. you could,” said Gabrielle. "I shall never She had persuaded herself that it was of no feel happy until it is repaid. And we have importance and she feared Corfe's vengeance. plenty without it; there is only my father
a. I know I have done you a great wrong," and me.”
“We will see,” returned Vera with a smile, here. For all that time I have never once and (whispering) " keep up your courage ; been out of sight of the lake and these mounif I go to England you shall go with me. tains, and a country without mountains I can
The bonne went back to La Boissière hardly imagine. To meet in London somehappier than she had been for many a day, body whom I have known here would be so happy that she forgot for a while the bad like a gleam of sunshine during a black quarter of an hour she would have to pass bise.” with her father, and the packet which she “Don't compare London to a black bise, if had so unfortunately given to Corfe. you please, Miss Hardy. It is not quite so
bad as that. And there are other places in CHAPTER XLVI.—BALMAINE'S DEFEAT.
England besides London; and some very AFTER Gabrielle was gone—and her visit beautiful places. And you will very soon did not last more than half an hour—M. make friends-troops of them.” Senarclens went, as usual, into his study, “But you have not answered my question.” and Balmaine and Martino betook themselves “ About England ?" to the garden, where they smoked, contemplated the scenery and talked with the ladies. “I am afraid there is very little chance of As before, Alfred fell into conversation with my being in England for a long time, Miss Vera. He told her that he should be obliged Hardy. to leave for Geneva by the next morning's He was afraid; yet three days before he steamer ; but Martino liked the neighbour would have regarded return to England as hood so well that he proposed to stay there little less than a calamity! a few days longer, returning to Geneva on “I suppose you will stay here for the prehis way to Italy.
sent ?" asked Balmaine, by way of changing “I am sorry you are obliged to return so the subject. soon,” said Vera, " for though I have known “I do not know what else I can do. After you so short a time you have taken so kind the last scene with Père Courbet, it would be an interest in me and my affairs that I look too painful to return to La Boissière.” upon you rather as an old friend than a “The old ragamuffin! He was very rude, new acquaintance."
then." “I am glad to hear you say so," answered “Very," said the girl, reddening at the Alfred gaily, “and you may be sure that I recollection of the old man's threats of what shall do my best to prove myself as true a he would do if she persisted in her refusal friend as if I were really an old one. And I of Corfe. “But never mind that now; it is do not suppose it will be long before we past. Let us talk about something more meet again. I shall be hearing from Artful agreeable—the Senarclens, for instance. M. and Higginbottom in the course of a post Senarclens is a noble character, and he has or too.
the courage of his principles. He would “The lawyers ?"
than do anything which he deems “Yes."
incompatible with his dignity and his honour. “Does my destiny depend upon them ?”. The Emperor has made him the most splen
“In a great measure. The trustees will did offers. If he would only go to Paris and doubtless be a good deal guided by their accept the empire, he might be a senator, advice.”
member of the Academy-anything he liked “Shall I have to go to England very soon, -have both honours and money. But he do you think ?"
treats them all with disdain and lives here in "Probably. Yes; I dare say they will voluntary exile. As you see, the family live want you to go to England. Why, don't very simply and he gives much-chiefly, I you want to go ?”
think, to brother exiles who are less for“I should like to see England very much, tunate than himself.” but I think I would rather first go to Italy. “Yes, as you say, M. Senarclens is a man Will you be there?”
of noble nature. But though I admire his “In Italy or England ?”
courage, his constancy, and his learning, I "In England."
cannot say as much for his opinions. Some “Why do you ask ?”
of them are awfully wild." “Because I know nobody there. I shall “ If you mean by wild that they are not be a stranger in a strange land, and I am so well thought out, you are wrong. For every ignorant of the world and its ways. My life, one of his opinions M. Senarclens can give since I was seven years old, has been spent very excellent reasons. I have heard several
people try to confute him, but they always sions—he and I and Georgette-generally on retire discomfited.”
some subject suggested by what we have “You are a partial judge, I fear, Miss been reading. We take whichever side we Hardy. But did you notice the singular prefer, and he takes the other.” remark he made a little while ago in refer- “And always beats you, I suppose ?” ence to Madame Gabrielle—that it was not “Nearly; but once or twice the cause we one of those cases in which the end justifies have espoused has been too strong for him, the means ?”
and victory has declared for us." « Well."
“I should like to be present at one of - Can there be such a case ?”
your discussions." Vera smiled. “Of course there can."
Well, when you come again, you perhaps “You really think there are circumstances may. We are reading Herbert Spencer's in which we are justified in doing evil that Sociology, and that promises to be very good may come.
suggestive of topics. But” (here her coun“I did not say so, M. Balmaine, and I tenance fell) “if I go away we can have no might retort by asking you to define good more discussions, no more sails by moonand evil. I do not think you would find it light to La Meillerie, no more pleasant exvery easy. But I will meet you on your own cursions to Les Avants and the Rochers de ground and use the words in their ordinary Naye. Ah, M. Balmaine, I almost wish you acceptation. I presume you would consider had not discovered me!” war an evil ?"
"I am sorry to hear you say that, Miss “Certainly,” said the unsophisticated Hardy youth, falling headlong into the trap which “But” (eagerly) "perhaps they will let this ingenious maiden had set for him. me come back. Do you think they will ?”.
“I was not aware you were a Quaker, “I have not a doubt of it; and nobody M. Balmaine," returned Vera with an will be more pleased to see you back than I, amused smile.
for in all probability I shall remain in Swit“I am not a Quaker, Miss Hardy. How zerland several years. could you conceive so absurd an idea ?” said “I beg pardon for interrupting you, M. Balmaine, with some warmth.
Balmaine, but don't you think it is time we “Then you are of opinion that war in set out on our proposed walk to Chillon?” certain eventualities may be justifiable ?" The speaker was Martino, he had been "Decidedly."
describing Algeria to Madame Senarclens and “So war is a justifiable evil. The end Georgette. -say of a people struggling to be free- Quite time,” said Alfred with feigned sanctifies the means. I do not think you alacrity, and looking at his watch; “I had could confute M. Senarclens, M. Balmaine,” no idea how late it was. I am sure these said Vera, bursting into a merry laugh. ladies must be getting tired of us."
“I acknowledge my defeat," answered “Quite the contrary," said Madame SeAlfred good-humouredly, though he felt very narclens graciously. "M. Martino has intermuch sold. “I am thoroughly beaten; I made ested us very much with his account of an initial mistake. I should have said that Algeria, and Vera does not look as if she war is not always an evil.”
were tired of your conversation, M. Balmaine. “But it always is an evil. It must be bad We generally take a walk about this time for men to kill and maim each other, and the ourselves, and if you have no objection, we doing so can only be defended on the ground will accompany you to Chillon. I daresay, that still greater evils are thereby avoided. too, that my husband would be glad to make When nations go to war they do evil that one of the party." good may come; but very often, unfortu- Balmaine and Martino declared that nonately, the expectation is not fulfilled. thing would please them better, and they Slavery is an evil, but society enslaves its had a most enjoyable walk to the old castle. malefactors for their greater good. If the On the way thither, M. Senarclens entertained principle that the end does not justify the them with an account of its history, and told means were insisted upon there would be an some legends about the castle which are not end not alone to government but to every found in ordinary chronicles. sort of authority." “Who taught you to argue, may I ask,
CHAPTER XLVII.—MAYO'S PROPOSAL. Miss Hardy?"
On arriving at Geneva Balmaine went “M. Senarclens. We often have discus- straight to the office of the Helvetic News. He had written the greater part of his leader secret, even if it could, and it was better that at the Rousseau, and it required only a few they should have the facts from him than retouches and rounding off with a sentence a garbled version of them from somebody or two in conclusion to be ready for the else. printer.
“You see, I was right,” observed MilnHe found the two subs at their post. They thorpe ; “I knew Corfe was after money. hoped he had enjoyed his journey, and he Catch him marrying a portionless girl!" asked if anything particular had happened “I hope he did not chuck his wife down during his absence.
that hole in order to qualify himself for tak“Rather,” said Delane, “something very ing another,” said Delane lightly. particular. Mayo sent us each fifty francs "I should not be at all surprised if he yesterday, and said there would be a hundred did," returned Milnthorpe seriously; " many for you on Monday. But as I have not things more unlikely have happened. much confidence in that safe, big as it is, I “What a suspicious fellow you are, Milnsaid I was sure it would be a great conveni- thorpe !” said Balmaine. ence for you to have the money to-day, and “So I am, of people I don't like, and I don't that if he would give it to me I would hand like Corfe a bit.” it to you. Here it is; a nice crisp hundred Alfred made no reply, but when he recalled franc note.”
his conversation with Corfe on their way to “Thank you very much, old fellow. What the Rousseau fête, and remembered how posdo you suppose has happened, where has the sible it was, despite his disclaimer, for him money come from ?”
to have heard something of the Hardys in “He has opened a new banking account,” Italy, or from some of his Italian friends in said Milnthorpe, "and drawn bills against Geneva, he had his thoughts. And then the orders Bevis brought the other day. It there occurred to him—strange that it had seems that you can discount unaccepted not occurred to him before—the remarkable drafts in this country, and it is not the cus- discussion about murder just before the jourtom to present them for acceptance before ney to Chamouni, and he asked himself if it they fall due, a mighty convenience for was possible that Delane's jest expressed a financial dodgers like Mr. Mayo. And he truth, and that Corfe had killed his wife in will let these bankers—I don't know who order that he might marry Vera Hardy. He they are-have as many as they can digest, could hardly think so--it would be really I'll warrant."
too atrocious. Yet the circumstances, look “There's a private letter and a telegram at them as he might, were undeniably for you at the pension, Balmaine," put in suspicious, and true or false they were an Delane. “I thought you would be calling additional reason for watching over Vera's there before you came here, so I did not safety and standing between her and harm. bring them.”
Dangers might threaten her he knew A telegram! When did it come ?” not of.
Yesterday. I would have sent it on to Delane and Milnthorpe were going to sup you, but I was not quite sure whether you at the Café du Roi ; but Alfred, curious about meant to leave the Rousseau last night or this his telegram, went straight home. It was morning."
from Cora, and as follows: “Curious,” said Alfred. “I cannot think who in this country is likely to send me a “ Your mother grew suddenly worse this mornprivate telegram. It must be about the ing and died at four this afternoon. Shall bury paper.
You should have opened it, De- her on Tuesday. lane.” “It was marked personnel.”
He read the fateful words a second and “Ah, that makes it more curious still. a third time, to make sure that he had However, I shall see what it is when I get gathered their purport aright, and then, sinkhome, and that won't be long. Whistle for ing into a chair, covered his face with his the boy, Delane, and tell Jan to let me have hands. His poor mother! He thought of a pull of the leader as soon as possible. Here her, not as the querulous invalid which she is the first part of it.”
had lately become, but as the genial, easyWhen the work on hand was finished, tempered woman she had been in the happy Balmaine told his friends what had taken him days at their old home ; how indulgently she to the other end of the lake. He did not see had treated him in his boyhood, how tenderly any reason why Vera's story should be kept nursed him in his long illness ! Days gone
beyond recall, the home broken up, the for better luck another time. And perhaps members of the household dispersed and she should esteem herself fortunate in getting dead. His father and mother dead, George the story accepted on any terms. The sale in India, Cora in Calder, himself in Ge- of the furniture and other effects might
All this had come to pass in little bring in some two hundred pounds-quite more than two years, and as Alfred men- enough to keep her, especially as her board tally rehearsed these incidents of a painful for the present would cost her nothingpast his heart was heavy within him. It until she could earn her living by her pen. seemed as if his misfortunes would never Anticipating an offer of help from Alfred,
And this last stroke was so sudden. she told him that she was resolved to be inIn a letter received from Cora only the week dependent of everybody—even of him. “I before, she said that his mother, though still consider myself,” she wrote, “quite as able ailing, was no worse than usual.
to earn my own living as you are to earn Then he opened his letters.
yours. At any rate I mean to try. If I from his cousin, written the Thursday before. fail I will ask you for help with as little It told him that his mother's illness had hesitation as I am sure in similar circumbegun to assume a graver character; that stances you would ask me.” they had called in a doctor, who did not Balmaine sorrowed for his mother, but he think there was any immediate danger, and had too many occupations and distractions that if Mrs. Balmaine's symptoms became to brood over his sorrow. Two days after serious (which Cora did not apprehend) she his return from Territet he received a letter would telegraph to him at once.
from Artful and Higginbottom, thanking It was evident that the symptoms had him warmly, on behalf of the trustees, for become so much more serious that his mother his exertions in seeking Miss Hardy, and had died within the following twenty-four congratulating him on his success. Mr. Arthours. What should he do? That was the ful would leave London for Switzerland question. To receive his mother's blessing, towards the end of the week, for the double or to see her laid in the ground, he would purpose of escorting Vera to England and have gone to Calder, cost what it might, putting into proper shape the evidence of even his situation. But now it was too late Martino and Gabrielle Courbet, with a view for either. If he were to leave the following to establishing the young lady's identity. afternoon—and he could not leave before – Mr. Artful proposed to travel by way of he would not be able to reach Calder until Geneva, and, being ignorant of the French Wednesday night or Thursday morning. language, said that he should esteem it a But he might perhaps be of use to Cora. favour if Mr. Balmaine could accompany He would telegraph and ask the question, him to Territet. and act accordingly. It was satisfactory to Alfred had nothing to say against this think that at his instance his mother had proposal. He would only be too glad to made a will, leaving the furniture at the make another visit to Territet; but he cottage, and anything else she might have, thought it might be as well to mention the to her niece.
matter to Mayo, and obtain leave of absence So the telegram was dispatched, and in beforehand. So he went down-stairs, dethe course of the following day came the manded an interview with the manager, and answer : “ You must not think of coming ; it told his story. It raised him, as he could is not at all necessary. I write.”
easily perceive, immensely in Mayo's estiCora's letter (which followed the tele- mation. gram), besides giving full particulars of his "By Jove !” exclaimed the latter, “I mother's last illness, informed him that, so never knew anything like it. Highly romansoon as she had administered the will and tic, isn't it? And how close you have kept disposed of the furniture, his cousin would it all this time! I had no idea, when you leave Calder for good. An old friend of went to Italy there, what you were after. And her father's living in London had invited the fortune is a large one, you say. How her to stay with him and his wife for an much do you suppose she will have ?” indefinite time, and she meant for the future "I don't know exactly; but it is said to make London her home, and literature about two millions.” her profession. She had received an offer “Whew! By the Lord Harry! two for the serial copyright of her novel, and millions ! Now look here, Balmaine, don't though it was very disappointing, being a you think you could turn Miss Hardy mere trifle, she should accept it, and hope to account for the paper somehow? We