Mrs. Henry Wood
Part 10 out of 13
"You will carry on the contest now," she continued, her countenance
flashing. "I was averse to it before, but I now withdraw all my
objection. You will be no brother of mine if you yield the field to
"I do not intend to yield it."
"Good. You bear on upon your course, and let him crawl on upon his.
Take no more heed of him than if he were a viper. Archibald, you must
"No," said Mr. Carlyle, "I shall be elected without canvass. You'll
"There will be plenty canvassing for you, if you don't condescend to
take the trouble, my indifferent brother. I'll give a thousand pounds
myself, for ale, to the electors."
"Take care," laughed Mr. Carlyle. "Keep your thousand pounds in your
pocket, Cornelia. I have no mind to be unseated, on the plea of
'bribery and corruption.' Here's Sir John Dobede galloping in, with a
face as red as the sun in a fog."
"Well, it may be he has heard the news. I can tell you, Archibald,
West Lynne is in a state of excitement that has not been its lot for
many a day."
Miss Carlyle was right. Excitement and indignation had taken
possession of West Lynne. How the people rallied around Mr. Carlyle!
Town and country were alike up in arms. But government interest was
rife at West Lynne, and, whatever the private and public feeling might
be, collectively or individually, many votes should be recorded for
Sir Francis Levison.
One of the first to become cognizant of the affair was Lord Mount
Severn. He was at his club one evening in London, poring over an
evening paper, when the names "Carlyle," "West Lynne," caught his
view. Knowing that Mr. Carlyle had been named as the probable member,
and heartily wishing that he might become such, the earl naturally
read the paragraph.
He read it, and read it again; he rubbed his eyes, he rubbed his
glasses, he pinched himself, to see whether he was awake or dreaming.
For believe what that paper asserted--that Sir Francis Levison had
entered the lists in opposition to Mr. Carlyle, and was at West Lynne,
busily canvassing--he could not.
"Do you know anything of this infamous assertion?" he inquired of an
intimate friend--"infamous, whether true or false."
"It's true, I heard of it an hour ago. Plenty of cheek that Levison
"/Cheek!/" repeated the dismayed earl, feeling as if every part of
him, body and mind, were outraged by the news, "don't speak of it in
that way. The hound deserves to be gibbeted."
He threw aside the paper, quitted the club, returned home for a carpet
bag, and went shrieking and whistling down to West Lynne, taking his
son with him. Or, if he did not whistle and shriek the engine did.
Fully determined was the earl of Mount Severn to show /his/ opinion of
On these fine spring mornings, their breakfast over, Lady Isabel was
in the habit of going into the grounds with the children. They were on
the lawn before the house, when two gentlemen came walking up the
avenue; or, rather, one gentleman, and a handsome young stripling
growing into another. Lady Isabel thought she should have dropped, for
she stood face to face with Lord Mount Severn. The earl stopped to
salute the children, and raised his hat to the strange lady.
"It is my governess, Madame Vine," said Lucy.
A silent courtesy from Madame Vine. She turned away her head and
gasped for breath.
"Is your papa at home, Lucy?" cried the earl.
"Yes; I think he is at breakfast. I'm so glad you are come!"
Lord Mount Severn walked on, holding William by the hand, who had
eagerly offered to "take him" to papa. Lord Vane bent over Lucy to
kiss her. A little while, a very few more years, and my young lady
would not hold up her rosy lips so boldly.
"You have grown a dearer girl than ever, Lucy. Have you forgotten our
"No," laughed she.
"And you will not forget it?"
"Never," said the child, shaking her head. "You shall see if I do."
"Lucy is to be my wife," cried he, turning to Madame Vine. "It is a
bargain, and we have both promised. I mean to wait for her till she is
old enough. I like her better than anybody else in the world."
"And I like him," spoke up Miss Lucy. "And it's all true."
Lucy was a child--it may almost be said an infant--and the viscount
was not of an age to render important such avowed passions.
Nevertheless, the words did thrill through the veins of the hearer.
She spoke, she thought, not as Madame Vine would have spoken and
thought, but as the unhappy mother, the ill-fated Lady Isabel.
"You must not say these things to Lucy. It could never be."
Lord Vane laughed.
"Why?" asked he.
"Your father and mother would not approve."
"My father would--I know he would. He likes Lucy. As to my mother--oh,
well, she can't expect to be master and mistress too. You be off for a
minute, Lucy; I want to say some thing to Madame Vine. Has Carlyle
shot that fellow?" he continued, as Lucy sprung away. "My father is so
stiff, especially when he's put up, that he would not sully his lips
with the name, or make a single inquiry when we arrived; neither would
he let me, and I walked up here with my tongue burning."
She would have responded, what fellow? But she suspected too well, and
the words died away on her unwilling lips.
"That brute, Levison. If Carlyle riddled his body with shots for this
move, and then kicked him till he died, he'd only get his deserts, and
the world would applaud. /He/ oppose Carlyle! I wish I had been a man
a few years ago, he'd have got a shot through his heart then. I say,"
dropping his voice, "did you know Lady Isabel?"
She was at a loss what to say--almost as unconscious what she did say.
"She was Lucy's mother, you know, and I loved her. I think that's why
I love Lucy, for she is the very image of her. Where did you know her?
"I knew her by hearsay," murmured Lady Isabel, arousing to
"Oh, hearsay! /Has/ Carlyle shot the beast, or is he on his legs yet?
By Jove! To think that he should sneak himself up, in this way, at
"You must apply elsewhere for information," she gasped. "I know
nothing of these things."
She turned away with a beating heart, and took Lucy's hand, and
departed. Lord Vane set off on a run toward the house, his heels
flying behind him.
And now the contest began in earnest--that is, the canvass. Sir
Francis Levison, his agent, and a friend from town, who, as it turned
out, instead of being some great gun of the government, was a private
chum of the baronet's by name Drake, sneaked about the town like dogs
with their tails burnt, for they were entirely alive to the color in
which they were held, their only attendants being a few young
gentlemen and ladies in rags, who commonly brought up the rear. The
other party presented a stately crowd--county gentry, magistrates,
Lord Mount Severn. Sometimes Mr. Carlyle would be with them, arm-and-
arm with the latter. If the contesting groups came within view of each
other, and were likely to meet, the brave Sir Francis would disappear
down an entry, behind a hedge, any place convenient; with all his
"face of brass," he could not meet Mr. Carlyle and that condemning
jury around him.
One afternoon it pleased Mrs. Carlyle to summon Lucy and the governess
to accompany her into West Lynne. She was going shopping. Lady Isabel
had a dread and horror of appearing in there while that man was in
town, but she could not help herself. There was no pleading illness,
for she was quite well; there must be no saying, "I will not go," for
she was only a dependant. They started, and had walked as far as Mrs.
Hare's gate, when Miss Carlyle turned out of it.
"Your mamma's not well, Barbara."
"Is she not?" cried Barbara, with quick concern. "I must go and see
"She has had one of those ridiculous dreams again," pursued Miss
Carlyle, ignoring the presence of the governess and Lucy. "I was sure
of it by her very look when I got in, shivering and shaking, and
glancing fearfully around, as if she feared a dozen spectres were
about to burst out of the walls. So I taxed her with it, and she could
make no denial. Richard is in some jeopardy, she protests, or will be.
And there she is, shaking still, although I told her that people who
put faith in dreams were only fit for a lunatic asylum."
Barbara looked distressed. She did not believe in dreams any more than
Miss Carlyle, but she could not forget how strangely peril to Richard
/had/ supervened upon some of these dreams.
"I will go in now and see mamma," she said. "If you are returning
home, Cornelia, Madame Vine can walk with you, and wait for me there."
"Let me go in with you, mamma!" pleaded Lucy.
Barbara mechanically took the child's hand. The gates closed on them,
and Miss Carlyle and Lady Isabel proceeded in the direction of the
town. But not far had they gone when, in turning a corner, the wind,
which was high, blew away with the veil of Lady Isabel, and, in
raising her hand in trepidation to save it before it was finally gone,
she contrived to knock off her blue spectacles. They fell to the
ground, and were broken.
"How did you manage that?" uttered Miss Carlyle.
How, indeed? She bent her face on the ground, looking at the damage.
What should she do? The veil was over the hedge, the spectacles were
broken--how could she dare show her naked face? That face was rosy
just then, as in former days, the eyes were bright, and Miss Carlyle
caught their expression, and stared in very amazement.
"Good heavens above," she uttered, "what an extraordinary likeness!"
And Lady Isabel's heart turned faint and sick within her.
Well it might. And, to make matters worse, bearing down right upon
them, but a few paces distant, came Sir Francis Levison.
Would /he/ recognize her?
Standing blowing in the wind at the turning of the road were Miss
Carlyle and Lady Isabel Vane. The latter, confused and perplexed, was
picking up the remnant of her damaged spectacles; the former, little
less perplexed, gazed at the face which struck upon her memory as
being so familiar. Her attention, however, was called off the face to
the apparition of Sir Francis Levison.
He was close upon them, Mr. Drake and the other comrade being with
him, and some tagrag in attendance, as usual. It was the first time he
and Miss Carlyle had met face to face. She bent her condemning brow,
haughty in its bitter scorn, full upon him, for it was not in the
nature of Miss Carlyle to conceal her sentiments, especially when they
were rather of the strongest. Sir Francis, when he arrived opposite,
raised his hat to her. Whether it was done in courtesy, in confused
unconsciousness, or in mockery, cannot be told. Miss Carlyle assumed
it to have been the latter, and her lips, in their anger grew almost
as pale as those of the unhappy woman who was cowering behind her.
"Did you intend that insult for me, Francis Levison?"
"As you please to take it," returned he, calling up insolence to his
"/You/ dare to lift off your hat to me! Have you forgotten that I am
"It would be difficult for /you/ to be forgotten, once seen."
Now this answer /was/ given in mockery; his tone and manner were
redolent of it, insolently so. The two gentlemen looked on in
discomfort, wondering what it meant; Lady Isabel hid her face as best
she could, terrified to death lest his eyes should fall on it: while
the spectators, several of whom had collected now, listened with
interest, especially some farm laborers of Squire Pinner's who had
happened to be passing.
"You contemptible worm!" cried Miss Carlyle, "do you think you can
outrage me with impunity as you, by your presence in it, are outraging
West Lynne? Out upon you for a bold, bad man!"
Now Miss Corny, in so speaking, had certainly no thought of present
and immediate punishment for the gentleman; but it appeared that the
mob around had. The motion was commented by those stout-shouldered
laborers. Whether excited thereto by the words of Miss Carlyle--who,
whatever may have been her faults of manner, held the respect of the
neighborhood, and was looked up to only in a less degree than her
brother; whether Squire Pinner, their master, had let drop, in their
hearing, a word of the ducking he had hinted at, when at East Lynne,
or whether their own feelings alone spurred them on, was best known to
the men themselves. Certain it is, that the ominous sound of "Duck
him," was breathed forth by a voice, and it was caught up and echoed
"Duck him! Duck him! The pond be close at hand. Let's give him a taste
of his deservings! What do he the scum, turn himself up at West Lynne
for, bearding Mr. Carlyle? What have he done with Lady Isabel? /Him/
put up for others at West Lynne! West Lynne's respectable, it don't
want him; it have got a better man; it won't have a villain. Now,
His face turned white, and he trembled in his shoes--worthless men are
frequently cowards. Lady Isabel trembled in hers; and well she might,
hearing that one allusion. They set upon him, twenty pairs of hands at
least, strong, rough, determined hands; not to speak of the tagrag's
help, who went in with cuffs, and kicks, and pokes, and taunts, and
cheers, and a demoniac dance.
They dragged him through a gap in the hedge, a gap that no baby could
have got through in a cool moment; but most of us know the difference
between coolness and excitement. The hedge was extensively damaged,
but Justice Hare, to whom it belonged, would forgive that. Mr. Drake
and the lawyer--for the other was a lawyer--were utterly powerless to
stop the catastrophe. "If they didn't mind their own business, and
keep themselves clear, they'd get served the same," was the promise
held out in reply to their remonstrances; and the lawyer, who was
short and fat, and could not have knocked a man down, had it been to
save his life, backed out of the /melee/, and contented himself with
issuing forth confused threatenings of the terrors of the law. Miss
Carlyle stood her ground majestically, and looked on with a grim
countenance. Had she interfered for his protection, she could not have
been heard; and if she could have been, there's no knowing whether she
would have done it.
On, to the brink of the pond--a green, dank, dark, slimy sour,
stinking pond. His coat-tails were gone by this time, and sundry rents
and damages appeared in--in another useful garment. One pulled him,
another pushed him, a third shook him by the collar, half a dozen
buffeted him, and all abused him.
"In with him, boys!"
"Mercy! Mercy!" shrieked the victim, his knees bending and his teeth
chattering--"a little mercy for the love of Heaven!"
"Heaven! Much he knows of Heaven!"
A souse, a splash, a wild cry, a gurgle, and Sir Francis Levison was
floundering in the water, its green poison, not to mention its adders
and thads and frogs, going down his throat by bucketfuls. A hoarse,
derisive laugh, and a hip, hip, hurrah! broke from the actors; while
the juvenile ragtag, in wild delight, joined their hands round the
pool, and danced the demon's dance, like so many red Indians. They had
never had such a play acted for them before.
Out of the pea-soup before he was quite dead, quite senseless. Of all
drowned rats, he looked the worst, as he stood there with his white,
rueful face, his shivery limbs, and his dilapidated garments, shaking
the wet off him. The laborers, their duty done, walked coolly away;
the tagrag withdrew to a safe distance, waiting for what might come
next; and Miss Carlyle moved away also. Not more shivery was that
wretched man than Lady Isabel, as she walked by her side. A sorry
figure to cut, that, for her once chosen cavalier. What did she think
of his beauty now? I know what she thought of her past folly.
Miss Carlyle never spoke a word. She sailed on, with her head up,
though it was turned occasionally to look at the face of Madame Vine,
at the deep distressing blush which this gaze called into her cheeks.
"It's very odd," thought Miss Corny. "The likeness, especially in the
eyes, is-- Where are you going, madame?"
They were passing a spectacle shop, and Madame Vine had halted at the
door, one foot on its step. "I must have my glasses to be mended, if
Miss Carlyle followed her in. She pointed out what she wanted done to
the old glasses, and said she would buy a pair of new ones to wear
while the job was about. The man had no blue ones, no green; plenty of
white. One ugly, old pair of green things he had, with tortoise-shell
rims, left by some stranger, ages and ages ago, to be mended, and
never called for again. This very pair of ugly old green things was
chosen by Lady Isabel. She put them on, there and then, Miss Carlyle's
eyes searching her face inquisitively all the time.
"Why do you wear glasses?" began Miss Corny, abruptly as soon as they
Another deep flush, and an imperceptible hesitation.
"My eyes are not strong."
"They look as strong as eyes can look. But why wear colored glasses?
White ones would answer every purpose, I should suppose."
"I am accustomed to colored ones. I should not like white ones now."
Miss Corny paused.
"What is your Christian name, madame?" began she, again.
"Jane," replied madame, popping out an unflinching story in her alarm.
"Here! Here! What's up? What's this?"
It was a crowd in the street, and rather a noisy one. Miss Corny flew
to the window, Lady Isabel in her wake. Two crowds, it may almost be
said; for, from the opposite way, the scarlet-and-purple party--as Mr.
Carlyle's was called, in allusion to his colors--came in view. Quite a
collection of gentlemen--Mr. Carlyle and Lord Mount Severn heading
What could it mean, the mob they were encountering? The yellow party,
doubtless, but in a disreputable condition. Who or what /was/ that
object in advance of it, supported between Drake and the lawyer, and
looking like a drowned rat, hair hanging, legs tottering, cheeks
shaking, and clothes in tatters, while the mob, behind, had swollen to
the length of the street, and was keeping up a perpetual fire of
derisive shouts, groans, and hisses. The scarlet-and-purple halted in
consternation, and Lord Mount Severn, whose sight was not as good as
it had been twenty years back, stuck his pendent eye glasses astride
on the bridge of his nose.
/Sir Francis Levison?/ Could it be? Yes, it actually was! What on
earth had put him into that state? Mr. Carlyle's lip curled; he
continued his way and drew the peer with him.
"What the deuce is a-gate now?" called out the followers of Mr.
Carlyle. "That's Levison! Has he been in a railway smash, and got
drenched by the engine?"
"He has been /ducked/!" grinned the yellows, in answer. "They have
been and ducked him in the rush pool on Mr. Justice Hare's land."
The soaked and miserable man increased his speed as much as his cold
and trembling legs would allow him; he would have borne on without
legs at all, rather than remain under the enemy's gaze. The enemy
loftily continued their way, their heads in the air, and scorning
further notice, all, save young Lord Vane. He hovered round the ranks
of the unwashed, and looked vastly inclined to enter upon an Indian
jig, on his own account.
"What a thundering ass I was to try it on at West Lynne!" was the
enraged comment of the sufferer.
Miss Carlyle laid her hand upon the shrinking arm of her pale
"You see him--my brother Archibald?"
"I see him," faltered Lady Isabel.
"And you see /him/, that pitiful outcast, who is too contemptible to
live? Look at the two, and contrast them. Look well."
"Yes!" was the gaping answer.
"The woman who called him, that noble man, husband, quitted him for
the other! Did she come to repentance, think you?"
You may wonder that the submerged gentleman should be /walking/
through the streets, on his way to his quarters, the Raven Inn--for he
had been ejected from the Buck's Head--but he could not help himself.
As he was dripping and swearing on the brink of the pond, wondering
how he should get to the Raven, an empty fly drove past, and Mr. Drake
immediately stopped it; but when the driver saw that he was expected
to convey not only a passenger, but a tolerable quantity of water as
well, and that the passenger, moreover, was Sir Francis Levison, he
refused the job. His fly was fresh lined with red velvet, and he
"weren't a going to have it spoilt," he called out, as he whipped his
horse and drove away, leaving the three in wrathful despair. Sir
Francis wanted another conveyance procured; his friends urged that if
he waited for that he might catch his death, and that the shortest way
would be to hasten to the inn on foot. He objected. But his jaws were
chattering, his limbs were quaking, so they seized him between them,
and made off, but never bargained for the meeting of Mr. Carlyle and
his party. Francis Levison would have stopped in the pond, of his own
accord, head downward, rather than faced /them/.
Miss Carlyle went that day to dine at East Lynne, walking back with
Mrs. Carlyle, Madame Vine and Lucy. Lord Vane found them out, and
returned at the same time; of course East Lynne was the headquarters
of himself and his father. He was in the seventh heaven, and had been
ever since the encounter with the yellows.
"You'd have gone into laughing convulsions, Lucy had you seen the
drowned cur. I'd give all my tin for six months to come to have a
photograph of him as he looked then!"
Lucy laughed in glee; she was unconscious, poor child, how deeply the
"drowned cur" had injured her.
When Miss Carlyle was in her dressing-room taking her things off--the
room where once had slept Richard Hare--she rang for Joyce. These two
rooms were still kept for Miss Carlyle--for she did sometimes visit
them for a few days--and were distinguished by her name--"Miss
"A fine row we have had in the town, Joyce, this afternoon."
"I have heard of it, ma'am. Served him right, if they had let him
drown! Bill White, Squire Pinner's plowman, called in here and told us
the news. He'd have burst with it, if he hadn't, I expect; I never saw
a chap so excited. Peter cried."
"Cried?" echoed Miss Carlyle.
"Well, ma'am, you know he was very fond of Lady Isabel, was Peter, and
somehow his feelings overcame him. He said he had not heard anything
to please him so much for many a day; and with that he burst out
crying, and gave Bill White half a crown out of his pocket. Bill White
said it was he who held one leg when they soused him in. Afy saw it--
if you'll excuse me mentioning her name to you, ma'am, for I know you
don't think well of her--and when she got in here, she fell into
"How did she see it?" snapped Miss Carlyle, her equanimity upset by
the sound of the name. "I didn't see her, and I was present."
"She was coming here with a message from Mrs. Latimer to the
"What did she go into hysterics for?" again snapped Miss Carlyle.
"It upset her so, she said," returned Joyce.
"It wouldn't have done her harm had they ducked her too," was the
Joyce was silent. To contradict Miss Corny brought triumph to nobody.
And she was conscious, in her innermost heart, that Afy merited a
little wholesome correction, not perhaps to the extent of a ducking.
"Joyce," resumed Miss Carlyle, abruptly changing the subject, "who
does the governess put you in mind of?"
"Ma'am?" repeated Joyce, in some surprise, as it appeared. "The
governess? Do you mean Madame Vine?"
"Do I mean you, or do I mean me? Are we governesses?" irascibly cried
Miss Corny. "Who should I mean, but Madame Vine?"
She turned herself round from the looking-glass, and gazed full in
Joyce's face, waiting for the answer. Joyce lowered her voice as she
"There are times when she puts me in mind of my late lady both in her
face and manner. But I have never said so, ma'am; for you know Lady
Isabel's name must be an interdicted one in this house."
"Have you seen her without her glasses?"
"No; never," said Joyce.
"I did to-day," returned Miss Carlyle. "And I can tell you, Joyce,
that I was confounded at the likeness. It is an extraordinary
likeness. One would think it was a ghost of Lady Isabel Vane come into
the world again."
That evening after dinner, Miss Carlyle and Lord Mount Severn sat side
by side on the same sofa, coffee cups in hand. Miss Carlyle turned to
"Was it a positively ascertained fact that Lady Isabel died?"
The earl stared with all his might; he thought it the strangest
question that ever was asked him. "I scarcely understand you, Miss
Carlyle. Died? Certainly she died."
"When the result of the accident was communicated to you, you made
inquiry yourself into its truth, its details, I believe?"
"It was my duty to do so. There was no one else to undertake it."
"Did you ascertain positively, beyond all doubt, that she did die?"
"Of a surety I did. She died in the course of the same night. Terribly
injured she was."
A pause. Miss Carlyle was ruminating. But she returned to the charge,
as if difficult to be convinced.
"You deem that there could be no possibility of an error? You are sure
that she is dead?"
"I am as sure that she is dead as that we are living," decisively
replied the earl: and he spoke but according to his belief. "Wherefore
should you be inquiring this?"
"A thought came over me--only to-day--to wonder whether she was really
"Had any error occurred at that time, any false report of her death, I
should soon have found it out by her drawing the annuity I settled
upon her. It has never been drawn since. Besides, she would have
written to me, as agreed upon. No, poor thing, she is gone beyond all
doubt, and has taken her sins with her."
Convincing proofs; and Miss Carlyle lent her ear to them.
The following morning while Madame Vine was at breakfast, Mr. Carlyle
"Do you admit intruders here Madame Vine?" cried he, with his sweet
smile, and attractive manner.
She arose; her face burning, her heart throbbing.
"Keep your seat, pray; I have but a moment to stay," said Mr. Carlyle.
"I have come to ask you how William seems?"
"There was no difference," she murmured, and then she took courage and
spoke more openly. "I understood you to say the other night, sir, that
he should have further advice."
"Ay; I wish him to go over to Lynneborough, to Dr. Martin; the drive,
I think, will do him good," replied Mr. Carlyle. "And I would like you
to accompany him, if you do not mind the trouble. You can have the
pony carriage, it will be better to go in that than boxed up in the
railway carriage. You can remind Dr. Martin that the child's
constitution is precisely what his mother's was," continued Mr.
Carlyle, a tinge lightening his face. "It may be a guide to his
treatment; he said himself it was, when he attended him for an illness
a year or two ago."
He crossed the hall on his entrance to the breakfast-room. She tore
upstairs to her chamber, and sank down in an agony of tears and
despair. Oh, to love him as she did now! To yearn after his affection
with this passionate, jealous longing, and to know that they were
separated for ever and ever; that she was worse to him than nothing!
Softly, my lady. This is not bearing your cross.
APPEARANCE OF A RUSSIAN BEAR AT WEST LYNNE.
Mr. Carlyle harangued the populace from the balcony of the Buck's
Head, a substantial old House, renowned in the days of posting, now
past and gone. Its balcony was an old-fashioned, roomy balcony,
painted green, where there was plenty of space for his friends to
congregate. He was a persuasive orator, winning his way to ears and
hearts; but had he spoken with plums in his mouth, and a stammer on
his tongue, and a break-down at every sentence, the uproarious
applause and shouts would be equally rife. Mr. Carlyle was intensely
popular in West Lynne, setting aside his candidateship and his
oratory; and West Lynne made common cause against Sir Francis Levison.
Sir Francis Levison harangued the mob from the Raven, but in a more
ignoble manner. For the Raven possessed no balcony, and he was fain to
let himself down with a stride and a jump from the first floor window
on the top of the bow-window of the parlor, and stand there. The
Raven, though a comfortable, old established, and respectable inn,
could boast only of casements for its upper windows, and they are not
convenient to deliver speeches from. He was wont, therefore to take
his seat on the bow-window, and, that was not altogether convenient
either, for it was but narrow, and he hardly dared move an arm or a
leg for fear of pitching over on the upturned faces. Mr. Drake let
himself down also, to support him on one side, and the first day, the
lawyer supported him on the other. For the first day only; for that
worthy, being not as high as Sir Francis Levison's or Mr. Drake's
shoulder, and about five times their breadth, had those two been
rolled into one, experienced a slight difficulty in getting back
again. It was accomplished at last, Sir Francis pulling him up, and
Mr. Drake hoisting him from behind, just as a ladder was being brought
out to the rescue amidst shouts of laughter. The stout man wiped the
perspiration from his face when he was landed in safety, and recorded
a mental vow never to descend from a window again. After that the
candidate and his friend shared the shelf between them. The lawyer's
name was Rubiny, ill-naturedly supposed to be a corruption of Reuben.
They stood there one afternoon, Sir Francis' eloquence in full play,
but he was a shocking speaker, and the crowd, laughing, hissing,
groaning and applauding, blocking up the road. Sir Francis could not
complain of one thing--that he got no audience; for it was the
pleasure of West Lynne extensively to support him in that respect--a
few to cheer, a great many to jeer and hiss. Remarkably dense was the
mob on this afternoon, for Mr. Carlyle had just concluded his address
from the Buck's Head, and the crowd who had been listening to him came
rushing up to swell the ranks of the other crowd. They were elbowing,
and pushing, and treading on each other's heels, when an open barouche
drove suddenly up to scatter them. Its horses wore scarlet and purple
rosettes; and one lady, a very pretty one, sat inside of it--Mrs.
But the crowd could not be so easily scattered; it was too thick; the
carriage could advance but at a snail's pace, and now and then came to
a standstill also, till the confusion should be subsided; for where
was the use of wasting words? He did not bow to Barbara; he remembered
the result of his having done so to Miss Carlyle, and the little
interlude of the pond had washed most of his impudence out of him. He
remained at his post, not looking at Barbara, not looking at anything
in particular, waiting till the interruption should have passed.
Barbara, under cover of her dainty lace parasol, turned her eyes upon
him. At that very moment he raised his right hand, slightly shook his
head back, and tossed his hair off his brow. His hand, ungloved, was
white and delicate as a lady's, and his rich diamond ring gleamed in
the sun. The pink flush on Barbara's cheek deepened to a crimson
damask, and her brow contracted with a remembrance of pain.
"The very action Richard described! The action he was always using at
East Lynne! I believe from my heart that the man is Thorn; that
Richard was laboring under some mistake when he said he knew Sir
She let her hands fall upon her knee as she spoke, heedless of the
candidate, heedless of the crowd, heedless of all save her own
troubled thoughts. A hundred respected salutations were offered her;
she answered them mechanically; a shout was raised, "Long live
Carlyle! Carlyle forever!" Barbara bowed her pretty head on either
side, and the carriage at length got on.
The parting of the crowd brought Mr. Dill, who had come to listen for
once to the speech of the second man, and Mr. Ebenezer James close to
each other. Mr. Ebenezer James was one who, for the last twelve or
fifteen years, had been trying his hand at many trades. And had not
come out particularly well at any. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
First, he had been clerk to Mr. Carlyle; next, he had been seduced
into joining the corps of the Theatre Royal at Lynneborough; then he
turned auctioneer; then travelling in the oil and color line; then a
parson, the urgent pastor of some new sect; then omnibus driver; then
collector of the water rate; and now he was clerk again, not in Mr.
Carlyle's office, but in that of Ball & Treadman, other solicitors of
West Lynne. A good-humored, good-natured, free-of-mannered, idle chap
was Mr. Ebenezer James, and that was the worst that could be urged
against him, save that he was sometimes out at pocket and out at
elbows. His father was a respectable man, and had made money in trade,
but he had married a second wife, had a second family, and his eldest
son did not come in for much of the paternal money, though he did for
a large share of the paternal anger.
"Well, Ebenezer, and how goes the world with you?" cried Mr. Dill by
way of salutation.
"Jogging on. It never gets to a trot."
"Didn't I see you turning into your father's house yesterday?"
"I pretty soon turned out of it again. I'm like the monkey when I
venture there--get more kicks than halfpence. Hush, old gentleman! We
interrupt the eloquence."
Of course "the eloquence" applied to Sir Francis Levison, and they set
themselves to listen--Mr. Dill with a serious face, Mr. Ebenezer with
a grinning one. But soon a jostle and movement carried them to the
outside of the crowd, out of sight of the speaker, though not entirely
out of hearing. By these means they had a view of the street, and
discerned something advancing to them, which they took for a Russian
bear on its hind legs.
"I'll--be--blest," uttered Mr. Ebenezer James, after a prolonged pause
of staring consternation, "if I don't believe its Bethel!"
"Bethel!" repeated Mr. Dill, gazing at the approaching figure. "What
has he been doing to himself?"
Mr. Otway Bethel it was, just arrived from foreign parts in his
travelling costume--something shaggy, terminating all over with tails.
A wild object he looked; and Mr. Dill rather backed as he drew near,
as if fearing he was a real animal which might bite him.
"What's your name?" cried he.
"It used to be Bethel," replied the wild man, holding out his hand to
Mr. Dill. "So you are in the world, James, and kicking yet?"
"And hope to kick in it for some time to come," replied Mr. James.
"Where did you hail from last? A settlement at the North Pole?"
"Didn't get quite as far. What's the row here?"
"When did you arrive, Mr. Otway?" inquired old Dill.
"Now. Four o'clock train. I say, what's up?"
"An election; that's all," said Mr. Ebenezer. "Attley went and kicked
"I don't ask about the election; I heard all that at the railway
station," returned Otway Bethel, impatiently. "What's /this/?" waving
his hand at the crowd.
"One of the candidates wasting breath and words--Levison."
"I say," repeated Otway Bethel, looking at Mr. Dill, "wasn't it rather
--rather of the ratherest, for /him/ to oppose Carlyle?"
"Infamous! Contemptible!" was the old gentleman's excited answer. "But
he'll get his deserts yet, Mr. Otway; they have already begun. He was
treated to a ducking yesterday in Justice Hare's green pond."
"And he did look a miserable devil when he came out, trailing through
the streets," added Mr. Ebenezer, while Otway Bethel burst into a
laugh. "He was smothered into some hot blankets at the Raven, and a
pint of burnt brandy put into him. He seems all right to-day."
"Will he go in and win?"
"Chut! Win against Carlyle! He has not the ghost of a chance; and
government--if it is the government who put him on--must be a pack of
fools; they can't know the influence of Carlyle. Bethel, is that style
of costume the fashion where you come from?"
"For slender pockets. I'll sell 'em to you now, James, at half price.
Let's get a look at this Levison, though. I have never seen the
Another interruption of the crowd, even as he spoke, caused by the
railway van bringing up some luggage. They contrived, in the
confusion, to push themselves to the front, not far from Sir Francis.
Otway Bethel stared at him in unqualified amazement.
"Why, what brings /him/ here? What is he doing?"
He pointed his finger. "The one with the white handkerchief in his
"That is Sir Francis."
"No!" uttered Bethel, a whole world of astounded meaning in his tone.
"By Jove! /He/ Sir Francis Levison?"
At that moment their eyes met, Francis Levison's and Otway Bethel's.
Otway Bethel raised his shaggy hat in salutation, and Sir Francis
appeared completely scared. Only for an instant did he lose his
presence of mind. The next, his eyeglass was stuck in his eye and
turned on Mr. Bethel, with a hard, haughty stare; as much as to say,
who are you, fellow, that you should take such a liberty? But his
cheeks and lips were growing as white as marble.
"Do you know Levison, Mr. Otway?" inquired old Dill.
"A little. Once."
"When he was not Levison, but somebody else," laughed Mr. Ebenezer
James. "Eh, Bethel?"
Bethel turned as reproving a stare on Mr. Ebenezer as the baronet had
just turned on him. "What do you mean, pray? Mind your own business."
A nod to old Dill, and he turned off and disappeared, taking no further
notice of James. The old gentleman questioned the latter.
"What was that little bit of by-play, Mr. Ebenezer?"
"Nothing much," laughed Mr. Ebenezer. "Only he," nodding towards Sir
Francis, "was not always the great man he is now."
"I have held my tongue about it, for it's no affair of mine, but I
don't mind letting you into the secret. Would you believe that that
grand baronet there, would-be member for West Lynne, used, years ago,
to dodge about Abbey Wood, mad after Afy Hallijohn? He didn't call
himself Levison then."
Mr. Dill felt as if a hundred pins and needles were pricking at his
memory, for there rose up in it certain doubts and troubles touching
Richard Hare and one Thorn. He laid his eager hand upon the other's
arm. "Ebenezer James, what did he call himself?"
"Thorn. A dandy, then, as he is now. He used to come galloping down
the Swainson road at dusk, tie his horse in the woods, and monopolize
"How do you know this?"
"Because I've seen it a dozen times. I was spooney after Afy myself in
those days, and went down there a good deal in an evening. If it
hadn't been for him, and--perhaps that murdering villain, Dick Hare,
Afy would have listened to me. Not that she cared for Dick; but, you
see, they were gentlemen. I am thankful to the stars, now, for my luck
in escaping her. With her for a wife, I should have been in a pickle
always; as it is, I do get out of it once in a while."
"Did you know then that he was Francis Levison?"
"Not I. He called himself Thorn, I tell you. When he came down to
offer himself for member, and oppose Carlyle, I was thunderstruck--
like Bethel was a minute ago. Ho ho, said I, so Thorn's defunct, and
Levison has risen."
"What had Otway Bethel to do with him?"
"Nothing--that I know of. Only Bethel was fond of the woods also--
after other game than Afy, though--and may have seen Thorn often. You
saw that he recognized him."
"Thorn--Levison, I mean--did not appear to like the recognition," said
"Who would, in his position?" laughed Ebenezer James. "I don't like to
be reminded of many a wild scrape of my past life, in my poor station;
and what would it be for Levison, were it to come out that he once
called himself Thorn, and came running after Miss Afy Hallijohn?"
"Why did he call himself Thorn? Why disguise his own name?"
"Not knowing, can't say. /Is/ his name Levison, or is it Thorn?"
"Nonsense, Mr. Ebenezer!"
Mr. Dill, bursting with the strange news he had heard, endeavored to
force his way through the crowd, that he might communicate it to Mr.
Carlyle. The crowd was, however, too dense for him, and he had to wait
the opportunity of escaping with what patience he might. When it came
he made his way to the office, and entered Mr. Carlyle's private room.
That gentleman was seated at his desk, signing letters.
"Why, Dill, you are out of breath!"
"Well I may be! Mr. Archibald, I have been listening to the most
extraordinary statement. I have found out about Thorn. Who do you
think he is?"
Mr. Carlyle put down his pen and looked full in the old man's face; he
had never seen him so excited.
"It's that man, Levison."
"I do not understand you," said Mr. Carlyle. He did not. It was as
good as Hebrew to him. "The Levison of to-day, your opponent, is the
Thorn who went after Afy Hallijohn. It is so, Mr. Archibald."
"It cannot be!" slowly uttered Mr. Carlyle, thought upon thought
working havoc with his brain. "Where did you hear this?"
Mr. Dill told his tale. Otway Bethel's recognition of him; Sir Francis
Levison's scared paleness, for he had noticed that; Mr. Ebenezer's
revelation. The point in it all, that finally settled most upon Mr.
Carlyle, was the thought that if Levison were indeed the man, /he/
could not be instrumental in bringing him to justice.
"Bethel has denied to me more than once that he knew Thorn, or was
aware of such a man being in existence," observed Mr. Carlyle.
"He must have had a purpose in it, then," returned Mr. Dill. "They
knew each other to-day. Levison recognized him for certain, although
he carried it off with a high hand, pretending not."
"And it was not as Levison, but as Thorn, that Bethel recognized him?"
"There's little doubt of that. He did not mention the name, Thorn; but
he was evidently struck with astonishment at hearing that it was
Levison. If they have not some secret between them, Mr. Archibald,
I'll never believe my own eyes again."
"Mrs. Hare's opinion is that Bethel had to do with the murder," said
Mr. Carlyle, in a low tone.
"If that is their secret, Bethel knows the murderer, rely upon it,"
was the answer. "Mr. Archibald, it seems to me that now or never is
the time to clear up Richard."
"Aye; but how set about it?" responded Mr. Carlyle.
Meanwhile Barbara had proceeded home in her carriage, her brain as
busy as Mr. Carlyle's, perhaps more troubled. Her springing lightly
and hastily out the moment it stopped, disdaining the footman's arm,
her compressed lips and absent countenance, proved that her resolution
was set upon some plan of action. William and Madame Vine met her in
"We have seen Dr. Martin, Mrs. Carlyle."
"And he says--"
"I cannot stay to hear now, William. I will see you later, madame."
She ran upstairs to her dressing-room, Madame Vine following her with
her reproachful eyes. "Why should she care?" thought madame. "It is
not her child."
Throwing her parasol on one chair, her gloves on another, down sat
Barbara to her writing-table. "I will write to him; I will have him
here, if it be but for an hour!" she passionately exclaimed. "This
shall be, so far, cleared up. I am as sure as sure can be that it is
that man. The very action Richard described! And there was the diamond
ring! For better, for worse, I will send for him; but it will not be
for worse if God is with us."
She dashed off a letter, getting up ere she had well begun it, to
order her carriage round again. She would trust none but herself to
put it in the post.
"MY DEAR MR. SMITH--We want you here. Something has arisen that it
is necessary to see you upon. You can get here by Saturday. Be in
/these/ grounds, near the covered walk, that evening at dusk. Ever
And the letter was addressed to Mr. Smith, of some street in
Liverpool, the address furnished by Richard. Very cautions to see, was
Barbara. She even put "Mr. Smith," inside the letter.
"Now stop," cried Barbara to herself, as she was folding it. "I ought
to send him a five pound note, for he may not have the means to come;
and I don't think I have one of that amount in the house."
She looked in her secretaire. Not a single five-pound note. Out of the
room she ran, meeting Joyce, who was coming along the corridor.
"Do you happen to have a five-pound note, Joyce?"
"No, ma'am, not by me."
"I dare say Madame Vine has. I paid her last week, and there were two
five-pound notes amongst it." And away went Barbara to the gray
"Could you lend me a five-pound note, Madame Vine? I have occasion to
enclose one in a letter, and find I do not possess one."
Madame Vine went to her room to get it. Barbara waited. She asked
William what Dr. Martin said.
"He tried my chest with--oh, I forget what they call it--and he said I
must be a brave boy and take my cod-liver oil well, and port wine, and
everything I liked that was good. And he said he should be at West
Lynne next Wednesday afternoon; and I am to go there, and he would
call in and see me."
"Where are you to meet him?"
"He said, either at papa's office or at Aunt Cornelia's, as we might
decide. Madame fixed it for papa's office, for she thought he might
like to see Dr. Martin. I say, mamma."
"What?" asked Barbara.
"Madame Vine has been crying ever since. Why should she?"
"I'm sure I don't know. Crying!"
"Yes but she wipes her eyes under her spectacles, and thinks I don't
see her. I know I am very ill, but why should she cry for that?"
"Nonsense, William. Who told you you were very ill?"
"Nobody. I suppose I am," he thoughtfully added. "If Joyce or Lucy
cried, now, there'd be some sense in it, for they have known me all my
"You are so apt to fancy things! You are always doing it. It is not
likely that madame would be crying because you are ill."
Madame came in with the bank-note. Barbara thanked her, ran upstairs,
and in another minute or two was in her carriage.
She was back again, and dressing when the gentlemen returned to
dinner. Mr. Carlyle came upstairs. Barbara, like most persons who do
things without reflection, having had time to cool down from her
ardor, was doubting whether she had acted wisely in sending so
precipitately for Richard. She carried her doubt and care to her
husband, her sure refuge in perplexity.
"Archibald, I fear I have done a foolish thing."
He laughed. "I fear we all do that at times, Barbara. What is it?"
He had seated himself in one of Barbara's favorite low chairs, and she
stood before him, leaning on his shoulder, her face a little behind,
so that he could not see it. In her delicacy she would not look at him
while she spoke what she was going to speak.
"It is something that I have had upon my mind for years, and I did not
like to tell it to you."
"You remember that night, years ago, when Richard was at the Grove in
"Which night, Barbara? He came more than once."
"The night--the night that Lady Isabel quitted East Lynne," she
answered, not knowing how better to bring it to his recollection and
she stole her hand lovingly into his, as she said it. "Richard came
back after his departure, saying he had met Thorn in Bean lane. He
described the peculiar motion of the hand as he threw back his hair
from his brow; he spoke of the white hand and the diamond ring--how it
glittered in the moonlight. Do you remember?"
"The motion appeared perfectly familiar to me, for I had seen it
repeatedly used by one then staying at East Lynne. I wondered you did
not recognize it. From that night I had little doubt as to the
identity of Thorn. I believed that he and Captain Levison were one."
A pause. "Why did you not tell me so, Barbara?"
"How could I speak of that man to you, at that time? Afterwards, when
Richard was here, that snowy winter's day, he asserted that he knew
Sir Frances Levison; that he had seen him and Thorn together; and that
put me off the scent. But to-day, as I was passing the Raven, in the
carriage--going very slow, on account of the crowd--he was perched out
there, addressing the people, and I saw the very same action--the old
action that I had used to see."
Barbara paused. Mr. Carlyle did not interrupt her.
"I feel a conviction that they are the same--that Richard must have
been under some unaccountable mistake in saying that he knew Francis
Levison. Besides, who but he, in evening dress, would have been likely
to go through Bean lane that night? It leads to no houses, but one
wishing to avoid the high road could get into it from these grounds,
and so on to West Lynne. He must have gone back directly on foot to
West Lynne, to get the post carriage, as was proved, and he would
naturally go through Bean lane. Forgive me, Archibald, for recalling
these things to you, but I feel so sure that Levison and Thorn are
"I know they are," he quietly said.
Barbara, in her astonishment drew back and stared him in the face--a
face of severe dignity it was just then.
"Oh, Archibald! Did you know it at that time?"
"I did not know it until this afternoon. I never suspected it."
"I wonder you did not. I have wondered often."
"So do I now. Dill, Ebenezer James, and Otway Bethel--who came home
to-day--were standing before the Raven, listening to his speech, when
Bethel recognized him; not as Levison--he was infinitely astonished to
find he was Levison. Levison, they say, was scared at the recognition,
and changed color. Bethel would give no explanation, and moved away;
but James told Dill that Levison was the man Thorn who used to be
after Afy Hallijohn."
"How did you know?" breathlessly asked Barbara.
"Because Mr. Ebenezer was after Afy himself, and repeatedly saw Thorn
in the wood. Barbara, I believe now that it was Levison who killed
Hallijohn, but I should like to know what Bethel had to do with it."
Barbara clasped her hands. "How strange it is!" she exclaimed, in some
excitement. "Mamma told me, yesterday, that she was convinced
something or other was going to turn up relative to the murder. She
had had the most distressing dream, she said, connected with Richard
and Bethel, and somebody else, whom she appeared to know in the dream,
but could not recognize or remember when she was awake. She was as ill
as could be--she does put such faith in these wretched dreams."
"One would think you did also, Barbara, by your vehemence."
"No, no; you know better. But it is strange--you must acknowledge that
it is--that, so sure as anything fresh happens touching the subject of
the murder, so sure is a troubled dream the forerunner of it. Mamma
does not have them at other times. Bethel denied to you that he knew
"I know he did."
"And now it turns out that he does know him, and he is always in
mamma's dreams--none more prominent in them than Bethel. But,
Archibald, I am not telling you--I have sent for Richard."
"I felt sure that Levison was Thorn. I did not expect that others
would recognize him, and I acted on the impulse of the moment and
wrote to Richard, telling him to be here on Saturday evening. The
letter is gone."
"Well, we must shelter him as best we can."
"Archibald--dear Archibald, what can be done to clear him?" she asked,
the tears rising to her eyes.
"Being Levison, I cannot act."
"What!" she uttered. "Not act--not act for Richard!"
He bent his clear, truthful eyes upon her.
"My dearest, how can I?"
She looked a little rebellious, and the tears fell.
"You have not considered, Barbara. Any one in the world but Levison;
it would look like my own revenge."
"Forgive me!" she softly whispered. "You are always right. I did not
think of it in that light. But, what steps do you imagine can be
"It is a case encompassed with difficulties," mused Mr. Carlyle. "Let
us wait until Richard comes."
"Do you happen to have a five-pound note in your pocket, Archibald? I
had not one to send to him, and borrowed it from Madame Vine."
He took out his pocket book and gave it to her.
In the gray parlor, in the dark twilight of the April evening--or it
was getting far into the night--were William Carlyle and Lady Isabel.
It had been a warm day, but the spring evenings were still chilly, and
a fire burned in the grate. There was no blaze, the red embers were
smoldering and half dead, but Madame Vine did not bestir herself to
heed the fire. William lay on the sofa, and she sat by, looking at
him. Her glasses were off, for the tears wetted them continually; and
it was not the recognition of the children she feared. He was tired
with the drive to Lynneborough and back, and lay with eyes shut; she
thought asleep. Presently he opened them.
"How long will it be before I die?"
The words took her utterly by surprise, and her heart went round in a
whirl. "What do you mean, William? Who said anything about dying?"
"Oh, I know. I know by the fuss there is over me. You heard what
Hannah said the other night."
"When she brought in the tea, and I was lying on the rug. I was not
asleep, though you thought I was. You told her she ought to be more
cautious, for that I might not have been asleep."
"I don't remember much about it," said Lady Isabel, at her wits' ends
how to remove the impression Hannah's words must have created, had he
indeed heard them. "Hannah talks great nonsense sometimes."
"She said I was going on fast to the grave."
"Did she? Nobody attends to Hannah. She is only a foolish girl. We
shall soon have you well, when the warm weather comes."
"Well, my darling?"
"Where's the use of your trying to deceive me? Do you think I don't
see that you are doing it? I'm not a baby; you might if it were
Archibald. What is it that's the matter with me?"
"Nothing. Only you are not strong. When you get strong again, you will
be as well as ever."
William shook his head in disbelief. He was precisely that sort of
child from whom it is next to impossible to disguise facts; quick,
thoughtful, observant, and advanced beyond his years. Had no words
been dropped in his hearing, he would have suspected the evil, by the
care evinced for him, but plenty of words had been dropped; hints, by
which he had gathered suspicion; broad assertions, like Hannah's,
which had too fully supplied it; and the boy in his inmost heart, knew
as well that death was coming for him as that death itself did.
"Then, if there's nothing the matter with me, why could not Dr. Martin
speak to you before me to-day? Why did he send me into the other room
while he told you what he thought? Ah, Madame Vine, I am as wise as
"A wise little boy, but mistaken sometimes," she said from her aching
"It's nothing to die, when God loves us. Lord Vane says so. He had a
little brother who died."
"A sickly child, who was never likely to live, he had been pale and
ailing from a baby," spoke Lady Isabel.
"Why! Did you know him?"
"I--I heard so," she replied, turning off her thoughtless avowal in
the best manner she could.
"Don't /you/ know that I am going to die?"
"Then why have you been grieving since we left Dr. Martin's? And why
do you grieve at all for me? I am not your child."
The words, the scene altogether, overcame her. She knelt down by the
sofa, and her tears burst forth freely. "There! You see!" cried
"Oh, William, I--I had a little boy of my own, and when I look at you,
I think of him, and that is why I cry."
"I know. You have told us of him before. His name was William, too."
She leaned over him, her breath mingling with his; she took his little
hand in hers; "William, do you know that those whom God loves best He
takes first? Were you to die, you would go to Heaven, leaving all the
cares and sorrows of the world behind you. It would have been happier
for many of us had we died in infancy."
"Would it have been happier for you?"
"Yes," she faintly said. "I have had more than my share of sorrow.
Sometimes I think that I cannot support it."
"Is it not past, then? Do you have sorrow now?"
"I have it always. I shall have it till I die. Had I died a child,
William, I should have escaped it. Oh! The world is full of it! full
"What sort of sorrow?"
"All sorts. Pain, sickness, care, trouble, sin, remorse, weariness,"
she wailed out. "I cannot enumerate the half that the world brings
upon us. When you are very, very tired, William, does it not seem a
luxury, a sweet happiness, to lie down at night in your little bed,
waiting for the bliss of sleep?"
"Yes. And I am often tired; so tired as that."
"Then just so do we, who are tired of the world's cares, long for the
grave in which we shall lie down to rest. We /covet/ it, William; long
for it; but you cannot understand that."
"/We/ don't lie in the grave, Madame Vine."
"No, no, child. Our bodies lie there, to be raised again in beauty at
the last day. We go into a blessed place of rest, where sorrow and
pain cannot come. I wish--I wish," she uttered, with a bursting heart,
"that you and I were both there!"
"Who says the world's so sorrowful, Madame Vine? I think it is lovely,
especially when the sun's shining on a hot day, and the butterflies
come out. You should see East Lynne on a summer's morning, when you
are running up and down the slopes, and the trees are waving overhead,
and the sky's blue, and the roses and flowers are all out. You would
not call it a sad world."
"A pleasant world one might regret to leave if we were not wearied by
pain and care. But, what is this world, take it at its best, in
comparison with that other world, Heaven? I have heard of some people
who are afraid of death; they fear they shall not go to it; but when
God takes a little child there it is because He loves him. It is a
land, as Mrs. Barbauld says, where the roses are without thorns, where
the flowers are not mixed with brambles--"
"I have seen the flowers," interrupted William, rising in his
earnestness. "They are ten times brighter than our flowers here."
"Seen the flowers! The flowers we shall see in Heaven?" she echoed.
"I have seen a picture of them. We went to Lynneborough to see
Martin's picture of the Last Judgment--I don't mean Dr. Martin," said
William interrupting himself.
"There were three pictures. One was called the 'Plains of Heaven,' and
I liked that best; and so we all did. Oh, you should have seen it! Did
you ever see them, Madame Vine?"
"No. I have heard of them."
"There was a river, you know, and boats, beautiful gondolas they
looked, taking the redeemed to the shores of Heaven. They were shadowy
figures in white robes, myriads of them, for they reached all up in
the air to the holy city; it seemed to be in the clouds coming down
from God. The flowers grew on the banks of the river, pink, and blue,
and violet, all colors they were, but so bright and beautiful;
brighter than our flowers are."
"Who took you to see the pictures?"
"Papa. He took me and Lucy; and Mrs. Hare went with us, and Barbara--
she was not our mamma then. But, madame"--dropping his voice--"what
stupid thing do you think Lucy asked papa?"
"What did she ask him?"
"She asked whether mamma was amongst that crowd in the white robes;
whether she was gone up to Heaven? Our mamma that was, you know, and
lots of people could hear what she said."
Lady Isabel dropped her face upon her hands.
"What did your papa answer?" she breathed.
"I don't know. Nothing, I think; he was talking to Barbara. But it was
very stupid of Lucy, because Wilson has told her over and over again
that she must never talk of Lady Isabel to papa. Miss Manning told her
so too. When we got home, and Wilson heard of it, she said Lucy
deserved a good shaking."
"Why must not Lady Isabel be talked of to him?"
A moment after the question had left her lips, she wondered what
possessed her to give utterance to it.
"I'll tell you," said William in a whisper. "She ran away from papa.
Lucy talks nonsense about her having been kidnapped, but she knows
nothing. I do, though they don't think it, perhaps."
"She may be among the redeemed, some time, William, and you with her."
He fell back on the sofa-pillow with a weary sigh, and lay in silence.
Lady Isabel shaded her face, and remained in silence also. Soon she
was aroused from it; William was in a fit of loud, sobbing tears.
"Oh, I don't want to die! I don't want to die! Why should I go and
leave papa and Lucy?"
She hung over him; she clasped her arms around him; her tears, her
sobs, mingling with his. She whispered to him sweet and soothing
words; she placed him so that he might sob out his grief upon her
bosom; and in a little while the paroxysm had passed.
"Hark!" exclaimed William. "What's that?"
A sound of talking and laughter in the hall. Mr. Carlyle, Lord Mount
Severn, and his son were leaving the dining-room. They had some
committee appointed that evening at West Lynne and were departing to
keep it. As the hall-door closed upon them, Barbara came into the gray
parlor. Up rose Madame Vine, scuffled on her spectacles, and took her
seat soberly upon a chair.
"All in the dark, and your fire going out!" exclaimed Barbara, as she
hastened to stir the latter and send it into a blaze. "Who's on the
sofa? William, you ought to be to bed!"
"Not yet, mamma. I don't want to go yet."
"But it is quite time that you should," she returned, ringing the
bell. "To sit up at night is not the way to make you strong."
William was dismissed. And then she returned to Madame Vine, and
inquired what Dr. Martin had said.
"He said the lungs were undoubtedly affected; but, like all doctors,
he would give no decisive opinion. I could see that he had formed
Mrs. Carlyle looked at her. The firelight played especially upon the
spectacles, and she moved her chair into the shade.
"Dr. Martin will see him again next week; he is coming to West Lynne.
I am sure, by the tone of his voice, by his evasive manner, that he
anticipates the worst, although he would not say so in words."
"I will take William into West Lynne myself," observed Barbara. "The
doctor will, of course, tell me. I came in to pay my debts," she
added, dismissing the subject of the child, and holding out a five-
Lady Isabel mechanically stretched out her hand for it.
"Whilst we are, as may be said, upon the money topic," resumed
Barbara, in a gay tone, "will you allow me to intimate that both
myself and Mr. Carlyle very much disapprove of your making presents to
the children. I was calculating, at a rough guess the cost of the toys
and things you have bought for them, and I think it must amount to a
very large portion of the salary you have received. Pray do not
continue this, Madame Vine."
"I have no one else to spend my money on; I love the children," was
madame's answer, somewhat sharply given, as if she were jealous of the
interference between her and the children, and would resent it.
"Nay, you have yourself. And if you do not require much outlay, you
have, I should suppose, a reserve fund to which to put your money. Be
so kind as to take the hint, madame, otherwise I shall be compelled
more peremptorily to forbid your generosity. It is very good of you,
very kind; but if you do not think yourself, we must for you."
"I will buy them less," was the murmured answer. "I must give them a
little token of love now and then."
"That you are welcome to do--a 'little token,' once in a way, but not
the costly toys you have been purchasing. Have you ever had an
acquaintance with Sir Francis Levison?" continued Mrs. Carlyle,
passing with abruptness from one point to another.
An inward shiver, a burning cheek, a heartpang of wild remorse, and a
faint answer. "No."
"I fancied from your manner when I was speaking of him the other day,
that you knew him or had known him. No compliment, you will say, to
assume an acquaintance with such a man. He is a stranger to you,
Another faint reply. "Yes."
"Do you believe in fatality, Madame Vine?"
"Yes, I do," was the steady answer.
"I don't," and yet the very question proved that she did not wholly
disbelieve it. "No, I don't," added Barbara, stoutly, as she
approached the sofa vacated by William, and sat down upon it, thus
bringing herself opposite and near to Madame Vine. "Are you aware that
it was Francis Levison who brought the evil to this house?"
"The evil----" stammered Madame Vine.
"Yes, it was he," she resumed, taking the hesitating answer for an
admission that the governess knew nothing, or but little, of past
events. "It was he who took Lady Isabel from her home--though perhaps
she was as willing to go as he was to take her; I do know--"
"Oh, no, no!" broke from the unguarded lips of Madame Vine. "At least
--I mean--I should think not," she added, in confusion.
"We shall never know; and of what consequence is it? One thing is
certain, /she went/; another thing, almost equally certain, is, she
did not go against her will. Did you ever hear the details?"
"N--o." Her answer would have been "Yes," but possibly the next
question might have been, "From whom did you hear them?"
"He was staying at East Lynne. The man had been abroad; outlawed;
dared not show his face in England; and Mr. Carlyle, in his
generosity, invited him to East Lynne as a place of shelter, where he
would be safe from his creditors while something was arranged. He was
a connection in some way of Lady Isabel's, and they repaid Mr.
Carlyle, he and she, by quitting East Lynne together."
"Why did Mr. Carlyle give that invitation?" The words were uttered in
a spirit of remorseful wailing. Mrs. Carlyle believed they were a
question put, and she rose up haughtily against it.
"Why did he give the invitation? Did I hear you aright, Madame Vine?
Did Mr. Carlyle know he was a reprobate? And, if he had known it, was
not Isabel his wife? Could he dream of danger for her? If it pleased
Mr. Carlyle to fill East Lynne with bad men to-morrow, what would that
be to me--to my safety, to my well-being, to my love and allegiance to
my husband? What were you thinking of, madame?"
"Thinking of?" She leaned her troubled head upon her hand. Mrs.
"Sitting alone in the drawing-room just now, and thinking matters
over, it did seem to me very like what people call a fatality. That
man, I say, was the one who wrought the disgrace, the trouble to Mr.
Carlyle's family; and it is he, I have every reason now to believe,
who brought a nearly equal disgrace and trouble upon mine. Did you
know--" Mrs. Carlyle lowered her voice--"that I have a brother in evil
Lady Isabel did not dare to answer that she did know it. Who had there
been likely to inform her, the strange governess of the tale of
"So the world calls it--shame," pursued Barbara, growing excited. "And
it is shame, but not as the world thinks it. The shame lies with
another, who had thrust the suffering and shame upon Richard; and that
other is Francis Levison. I will tell you the tale. It is worth the
She could only dispose herself to listen; but she wondered what
Francis Levison had to do with Richard Hare.
"In the days long gone by, when I was little more than a child,
Richard took to going after Afy Hallijohn. You have seen the cottage
in the wood; she lived there with her father and Joyce. It was very
foolish for him; but young men will be foolish. As many more went
after her, or wanted to go after her, as she could count upon her ten
fingers. Among them, chief of them, more favored even than Richard,
was one called Thorn, by social position a gentleman. He was a
stranger, and used to ride over in secret. The night of the murder
came--the dreadful murder, when Hallijohn was shot down dead. Richard
ran away; testimony was strong against him, and the coroner's jury
brought in a verdict of 'Wilful Murder against Richard Hare the
younger.' We never supposed but what he was guilty--of the act, mind
you, not of the intention; even mamma, who so loved him, believed he
had done it; but she believed it was the result of accident, not
design. Oh, the trouble that has been the lot of my poor mamma!" cried
Barbara, clasping her hands. "And she had no one to sympathize with
her--no one, no one! I, as I tell you, was little more than a child;
and papa, who might have done it, took part against Richard. It went
on for three or four years, the sorrow, and there was no mitigation.
At the end of that period Richard came for a few hours to West Lynne--
came in secret--and we learnt for the first time that he was /not/
guilty. The man who did the deed was Thorn; Richard was not even
present. The next question was, how to find Thorn. Nobody knew
anything about him--who he was, what he was, where he came from, where
he went to; and thus more years passed on. Another Thorn came to West
Lynne--an officer in her majesty's service; and his appearance tallied
with the description Richard had given. I assumed it to be the one;
Mr. Carlyle assumed it; but, before anything could be done or even
thought of Captain Thorn was gone again."
Barbara paused to take breath, Madame Vine sat listless enough. What
was this tale to her?
"Again years went on. The period came of Francis Levison's sojourn at
East Lynne. Whilst I was there, Captain Thorn arrived once more, on a
visit to the Herberts. We then strove to find out points of his
antecedents, Mr. Carlyle and I, and we became nearly convinced that he
was the man. I had to come here often to see Mr. Carlyle, for mamma
did not dare to stir in the affair, papa was so violent against
Richard. Thus I often saw Francis Levison; but he was visible to
scarcely any other visitor, being at East Lynne /en cachette/. He
intimated that he was afraid of encountering creditors. I now begin to
doubt whether that was not a false plea; and I remember Mr. Carlyle
said, at the time, that he had no creditors in or near West Lynne."
"Then what was his motive for shunning society--for never going out?"
interrupted Lady Isabel. Too well she remembered that bygone time;
Francis Levison had told that the fear of his creditors kept him up so
closely; though he had once said to her they were not in the immediate
neighborhood of East Lynne.
"He had a worse fear upon him than that of creditors," returned Mrs.
Carlyle. "Singular to say, during this visit of Captain Thorn to the
Herberts, we received an intimation from my brother that he was once
more about to venture for a few hours to West Lynne. I brought the
news to Mr. Carlyle. I had to see him and consult with him more
frequently than ever; mamma was painfully restless and anxious, and
Mr. Carlyle as eager as we were for the establishment of Richard's
innocence; for Miss Carlyle and papa are related, consequently the
disgrace may be said to reflect on the Carlyle name."
Back went Lady Isabel's memory and her bitter repentance. She
remembered how jealously she had attributed these meetings between Mr.
Carlyle and Barbara to another source. Oh! Why had she suffered her
mind to be so falsely and fatally perverted?
"Richard came. It was hastily arranged that he should go privately to
Mr. Carlyle's office, after the clerks had left for the night, be
concealed there, and have an opportunity given him of seeing Captain
Thorn. There was no difficulty, for Mr. Carlyle was transacting some
matter of business for the captain, and appointed him to be at the
office at eight o'clock. A memorable night, that, to Mr. Carlyle, for
it was the one of his wife's elopement."
Lady Isabel looked up with a start.
"It was, indeed. She--Lady Isabel--and Mr. Carlyle were engaged to a
dinner party; and Mr. Carlyle had to give it up, otherwise he could
not have served Richard. He is always considerate and kind, thinking
of others' welfare--never of his own gratification. Oh, it was an
anxious night. Papa was out. I waited at home with mamma, doing what I
could to sooth her restless suspense, for there was hazard to Richard
in his night walk through West Lynne to keep the appointment; and,
when it was over, he was to come home for a short interview with
mamma, who had not seen him for several years."
Barbara stopped, lost in thought. Not a word spoke Madame Vine. She
still wondered what this affair touching Richard Hare and Thorn could
have to do with Francis Levison.
"I watched from the window and saw them come in at the garden gate--
Mr. Carlyle and Richard--between nine and ten o'clock, I think it must
have been then. The first words they said to me were that it was not
the Captain Thorn spoken of by Richard. I felt a shock of
disappointment, which was wicked enough of me, but I had been so sure
he was the man; and to hear that he was not, seemed to throw us
further back than ever. Mr. Carlyle, on the contrary, was glad for he
had taken a liking to Captain Thorn. Well, Richard went in to mamma,
and Mr. Carlyle was so kind as to accede to her request that he would
remain and pace the garden with me. We were so afraid of papa's coming
home; he was bitter against Richard, and would inevitably have
delivered him up at once to justice. Had he come in, Mr. Carlyle was
to keep him in the garden by the gate whilst I ran in to give notice
and conceal Richard in the hall. Richard lingered; papa did not come;
and I cannot tell how long we paced there; but I had my shawl on, and
it was a lovely moonlight night."
That unhappy listener clasped her hands to pain. The matter-of-fact
tone, the unconscious mention of commonplace trifles, proved that they
had not been pacing about in disloyalty to her, or for their own
gratification. /Why/ had she not trusted her noble husband? Why had
she listened to that false man, as he pointed them out to her walking
there in the moonlight? Why had she given vent, in the chariot, to
that burst of passionate tears, of angry reproach? Why, oh! why had
she hastened to be revenged? But for seeing them together, she might
not have done as she did.
"Richard came forth at last, and departed, to be again an exile. Mr.
Carlyle also departed; and I remained at the gate, watching for papa.
By and by Mr. Carlyle came back again; he had got nearly home when he
remembered that he had left a parchment at our house. It seemed to be
nothing but coming back; for just after he had gone a second time,
Richard returned in a state of excitement, stating that he had seen
Thorn--Thorn the murderer, I mean--in Bean lane. For a moment I
doubted him, but not for long, and we ran after Mr. Carlyle. Richard
described Thorn's appearance; his evening dress, his white hands and
diamond ring; more particularly he described a peculiar motion of his
hand as he threw back his hair. In that moment it flashed across me
that Thorn must be Captain Levison; the description was exact. Many
and many a time since have I wondered that the thought did not strike
Lady Isabel sat with her mouth open, as if she could not take in the
sense of the words; and when it did become clear to her, she utterly
"Francis Levison a murderer! Oh, no! bad man as he is, he is not
"Wait," said Mrs. Carlyle. "I did not speak of this doubt--nay, this
conviction--which had come; how could I mention to Mr. Carlyle the
name of the man who did him that foul wrong? And Richard has remained
so long in exile, with the ban of guilt upon him. To-day as my
carriage passed through West Lynne, Francis Levison was haranguing the
people. I saw that very same action--the throwing back of the hair
with his white hand. I saw the selfsame diamond ring; and my
conviction that he was the same man became more firmly seated than
"It is impossible!" murmured Lady Isabel.
"Wait, I say," said Barbara. "When Mr. Carlyle came home to dinner, I,
for the first time, mentioned this to him. It was no news--the fact
was not. This afternoon during that same harangue, Francis Levison was
recognized by two witnesses to be the man Thorn--the man who went
after Afy Hallijohn. It is horrible."
Lady Isabel sat and looked at Mrs. Carlyle. Not yet did she believe
"Yes, it does appear to me as being perfectly horrible," continued
Mrs. Carlyle. "He murdered Hallijohn--he, that bad man; and my poor
brother has suffered the odium. When Richard met him that night in
Bean lane, he was sneaking to West Lynne in search of the chaise that
afterward bore away him and his companion. Papa saw them drive away.
Papa stayed out late; and, in returning home, a chaise and four tore
past, just as he was turning in at the gate. If that miserable Lady
Isabel had but known with whom she was flying! A murderer! In addition
to his other achievements. It is a mercy for her that she is no longer
alive. What would her feelings be?"
What were they, then, as she sat there? A /murderer/? And she had----
In spite of her caution, of her strife for self-command, she turned of
a deadly whiteness, and a low, sharp cry of horror and despair burst
from her lips.
Mrs. Carlyle was astonished. Why should her communication have
produced this effect upon Madame Vine? A renewed suspicion that she
knew more of Francis Levison than she would acknowledge, stole over
"Madame Vine, what is he to you?" she asked, bending forward.
Madame Vine, doing fierce battle with herself, recovered her outward
equanimity. "I beg your pardon, Mrs. Carlyle," she said, shivering; "I
am apt to picture things too vividly. It is, as you say, so very
"Is he nothing to you? Don't you know him?"
"He is nothing to me--less than nothing. As to knowing him--I saw him
yesterday, when they put him into the pond. A man like that! I should
shudder to meet him!"
"Ay, indeed!" said Barbara, reassured. "You will understand, Madame
Vine, that this history has been given to you in confidence. I look
upon you as one of ourselves."
There was no answer. Madame Vine sat on, with her white face. She and
it wore altogether a ghastly look.
"It tells like a fable out of a romance," resumed Mrs. Carlyle. "Well
for him if the romance be not ended in the gibbet. Fancy what it would
be for him--Sir Francis Levison--to be hung for murder!"
"Barbara, my dearest!"
The voice was Mr. Carlyle's, and she flew off on the wings of love. It
appeared that the gentlemen had not yet departed, and now thought they
would take coffee first.
She flew off to her idolized husband, leaving her who had once been
idolized to her loneliness. She sank down on the sofa; she threw her
arms up in her heart-sickness; she thought she would faint; she prayed
to die. It /was/ horrible, as Barbara had called it. For that man with
the red stain upon his hand and soul she had flung away Archibald
If ever retribution came home to woman, it came home in that hour to
MR. CARLYLE INVITED TO SOME PATE DE FOIE GRAS.
A sighing morning wind swept round the domains of East Lynne, bending
the tall poplar trees in the distance, swaying the oak and elms
nearer, rustling the fine old chestnuts in the park, a melancholy,
sweeping, fitful wind. The weather had changed from brightness and
warmth, and heavy, gathering clouds seemed to be threatening rain; so,
at least, deemed one wayfarer, who was journeying on a solitary road
that Saturday night.
He was on foot. A man attired in the garb of a sailor, with black,
curling ringlets of hair, and black, curling whiskers; a prodigious
pair of whiskers, hiding his neck above his blue, turned collar,
hiding partially his face. The glazed hat, brought low upon his brows,
concealed it still more; and he wore a loose, rough pea-jacket and
wide rough trousers hitched up with a belt. Bearing steadily on, he
struck into Bean lane, a by-way already mentioned in this history, and
from thence, passing through a small, unfrequented gate, he found
himself in the grounds of East Lynne.
"Let me see," mused he as he closed the gate behind him, and slipped
the bolt. "The covered walk? That must be near the acacia trees. Then
I must wind round to the right. I wonder if either of them will be
there, waiting for me?"
Yes. Pacing the covered walk in her bonnet and mantle, as if taking an
evening stroll--had any one encountered her, which was very unlikely,
seeing that it was the most retired spot in the grounds--was Mrs.
"Oh, Richard! My poor brother!"
Locked in a yearning embrace, emotion overpowered both. Barbara sobbed
like a child. A little while, and then he put her from him, to look at
"So Barbara, you are a wife now?"
"Oh, the happiest wife! Richard, sometimes I ask myself what I have
done that God should have showered down blessings so great upon me.
But for the sad trouble when I think of you, my life would be as one
long summer's day. I have the sweetest baby--nearly a year old he is
now; I shall have another soon, God willing. And Archibald--oh, I am
She broke suddenly off with the name "Archibald;" not even to Richard
could she speak of her intense love for, and happiness in her husband.
"How is it at the Grove?" he asked.
"Quite well; quite as usual. Mamma has been in better health lately.
She does not know of this visit, but--"
"I must see her," interrupted Richard. "I did not see her the last
time, you remember."
"All in good time to talk of that. How are you getting on in
Liverpool? What are you doing?"
"Don't inquire too closely, Barbara. I have no regular work, but I get
a job at the docks, now and then, and rub on. It is seasonable help,
that, which comes to me occasionally from you. Is it from you or
Barbara laughed. "How are we to distinguish? His money is mine now,
and mine is his. We don't have separate purses, Richard; we send it to
"Sometimes I have fancied it came from my mother."
Barbara shook her head. "We have never allowed mamma to know that you
left London, or that we hold an address where we can write to you. It
would not have done."
"Why have you summoned me here, Barbara? What has turned up?"
"Thorn has--I think. You would know him again Richard?"
"Know him!" passionately echoed Richard Hare.
"Were you aware that a contest for the membership is going on at West
"I saw it in the newspapers. Carlyle against Sir Francis Levison. I
say, Barbara, how could he think of coming here to oppose Carlyle
after his doing with Lady Isabel?"
"I don't know," said Barbara. "I wonder that he should come here for
other reasons also. First of all, Richard, tell me how you came to
know Sir Francis Levison. You say you did know him, and that you had
seen him with Thorn."
"So I do know him," answered Richard. "And I saw him with Thorn
"Know him by sight only, I presume. Let me hear how you came to know
"He was pointed out to me. I saw him walk arm-in-arm with a gentleman,
and I showed them to the waterman at the cab-stand hard by. 'Do you
know that fellow?' I asked him, indicating Thorn, for I wanted to come
at who he really is--which I didn't do. 'I don't know that one,' the
old chap answered, 'but the one with him is Levison the baronet. They
are often together--a couple of swells they looked.' "
"And that's how you got to know Levison?"
"That was it," said Richard Hare.
"Then, Richard, you and the waterman made a mess of it between you. He
pointed out the wrong one, or you did not look at the right. Thorn is
Sir Francis Levison."
Richard stared at her with all his eyes.
"He is, I have never doubted it since the night you saw him in Bean
lane. The action you described, of his pushing back his hair, his
white hands, his sparkling diamond ring, could only apply in my mind
to one person--Francis Levison. On Thursday I drove by the Raven, when
he was speechifying to the people, and I noticed the selfsame action.
In the impulse of the moment I wrote off for you, that you might come
and set the doubt at rest. I need not have done it, it seems, for when
Mr. Carlyle returned home that evening, and I acquainted him with what
I had done, he told me that Thorn and Francis Levison are one and the
same. Otway Bethel recognized him that same afternoon, and so did
"They'd both know him," eagerly cried Richard. "James I am positive
would, for he was skulking down to Hallijohn's often then, and saw
Thorn a dozen times. Otway Bethel must have seen him also, though he
protested he had not. Barbara!"
The name was uttered in affright, and Richard plunged amidst the
trees, for somebody was in sight--a tall, dark form advancing from the
end of the walk. Barbara smiled. It was only Mr. Carlyle, and Richard
"Fears still, Richard," Mr. Carlyle exclaimed, as he shook Richard
cordially by the hand. "So you have changed your travelling toggery."
"I couldn't venture here again in the old suit; it had been seen, you
said," returned Richard. "I bought this rig-out yesterday, second-
hand. Two pounds for the lot--I think they shaved me."
"Ringlets and all?" laughed Mr. Carlyle.
"It's the old hair oiled and curled," cried Dick. "The barber charged
a shilling for doing it, and cut my hair into the bargain. I told him
not to spare grease, for I liked the curls to shine--sailors always
do. Mr. Carlyle, Barbara says that Levison and that brute Thorn--the
one's as much of a brute as the other, though--have turned out to be
"They have, Richard, as it appears. Nevertheless, it may be as well
for you to take a private view of Levison before anything is done--as
you once did by the other Thorn. It would not do to make a stir, and
then discover that there was a mistake--that he was not Thorn."
"When can I see him?" asked Richard, eagerly.
"It must be contrived somehow. Were you to hang about the doors of the
Raven--this evening, even--you'd be sure to get the opportunity, for
he is always passing in and out. No one will know you, or think of
you, either: their heads are turned with the election."
"I shall look odd to people's eyes. You don't get many sailors in West
"Not odd at all. We have a Russian bear here at present, and you'll be
nobody beside him."
"A Russian bear!" repeated Richard, while Barbara laughed.
"Mr. Otway Bethel has returned in what is popularly supposed to be a
bear's hide; hence the new name he is greeted with. Will it turn out,
Richard that he had anything to do with the murder?"
Richard shook his head.
"He couldn't have, Mr. Carlyle; I have said so all along. But about
Levison. If I find him to be the man Thorn, what steps can then be
"That's the difficulty," said Mr. Carlyle.
"Who will set it agoing. Who will move in it?"
"You must, Richard."
"I!" uttered Richard Hare, in consternation. "I move in it!"
"You, yourself. Who else is there? I have been thinking it well over,
and can hit upon no one."
"Why, won't you take it upon yourself, Mr. Carlyle?"
"No. Being Levison," was the answer.
"Curse him!" impetuously retorted Richard. "Curse him doubly if he be
the double villain. But why should you scruple Mr. Carlyle? Most men,
wronged as you have been, would leap at the opportunity for revenge."
"For the crime perpetrated upon Hallijohn I would pursue him to the
scaffold. For my own wrong, no. But the remaining negative has cost me
something. Many a time, since this appearance of his at West Lynne,
have I been obliged to lay violent control upon myself, or I should
have horsewhipped him within an ace of his life."
"If you horsewhipped him to death he would only meet his deserts."
"I leave him to a higher retribution--to One who says, 'Vengeance is
mine.' I believe him to be guilty of the murder but if the uplifting
of my finger would send him to his disgraceful death, I would tie down
my hand rather than lift it, for I could not, in my own mind, separate
the man from the injury. Though I might ostensibly pursue him as the
destroyer of Hallijohn, to me he would appear ever as the destroyer of
another, and the world, always charitable, would congratulate Mr.
Carlyle upon gratifying his revenge. I stir in it not, Richard."
"Couldn't Barbara?" pleaded Richard.
Barbara was standing with her arm entwined within her husband's, and
Mr. Carlyle looked down as he answered,--
"Barbara is my wife."
It was a sufficient answer.
"Then the thing's again at an end," said Richard, gloomily, "and I
must give up hope of ever being cleared."
"By no means," said Mr. Carlyle. "The one who ought to act in this is
your father, Richard; but we know he will not. Your mother cannot. She
has neither health nor energy for it; and if she had a full supply of
both, she would not dare to brave her husband and use them in the
cause. My hands are tied; Barbara's equally so, as part of me. There
only remains yourself."
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