Mrs. Henry Wood
Part 4 out of 13
inquest, and nothing has been known since of either of them. I was
taken ill, after all these shocks, with nervous fever, and Miss
Carlyle took care of me, and I have remained with her ever since. This
was what I had to tell you, my lady, before you decided to take me
into service; it is not every lady who would like to engage one whose
sister has turned out so badly."
Lady Isabel did not see that it could make any difference, or that it
ought to. She said so; and then leaned back in her chair and mused.
"What dress, my lady?"
"Joyce, what was that I heard you and Susan gossiping over at the
door?" Lady Isabel suddenly asked. "About Miss Hare giving me a bowl
of poison. Something in the dramatic line that would be. You should
tell Susan not to make her whispers so loud."
"It was only a bit of nonsense, my lady. These ignorant servants will
talk; and every one at West Lynne knew Miss Barbara was in love with
Mr. Carlyle. But I don't fancy she would have been the one to make him
happy with all her love."
A hot flush passed over the brow of Lady Isabel; a sensation very like
jealousy flew to her heart. No woman likes to hear of another's being,
or having been attached to her husband: a doubt always arises whether
the feeling may not have been reciprocated.
Lady Isabel descended. She wore a costly black lace dress, its low
body and sleeves trimmed with as costly white; and ornaments of jet.
She looked inexpressibly beautiful, and Barbara turned from her with a
feeling of sinking jealousy, from her beauty, from her attire, even
from the fine, soft handkerchief, which displayed the badge of her
rank--the coronet of an earl's daughter. Barbara looked well, too; she
was in a light blue silk robe, and her pretty cheeks were damask with
her mind's excitement. On her neck she wore the gold chain given her
by Mr. Carlyle--strange that she had not discarded that.
They stood together at the window, looking at Mr. Carlyle as he came
up the avenue. He saw them, and nodded. Lady Isabel watched the damask
cheeks turn to crimson at sight of him.
"How do you do, Barbara?" he cried, as he shook hands. "Come to pay us
a visit at last? You have been rather tardy over it. And how are you,
my darling?" he whispered over his wife; but she missed his kiss of
greeting. Well, would she have had him give it her in public? No; but
she was in the mood to notice the omission.
Dinner over, Miss Carlyle beguiled Barbara out of doors. Barbara would
far rather have remained in /his/ presence. Of course they discussed
"How do you like her?" abruptly asked Barbara, alluding to Lady
"Better than I thought I should," acknowledged Miss Carlyle. "I had
expected airs and graces and pretence, and I must say she is free from
them. She seems quite wrapped up in Archibald and watches for his
coming home like a cat watches for a mouse. She is dull without him."
Barbara compelled her manner to indifference. "I suppose it is
"I suppose it is absurd," was the retort of Miss Carlyle. "I give them
little of my company, especially in an evening. They go strolling out
together, or she sings to him, he hanging over her as if she were of
gold: to judge by appearances, she is more precious to him than any
gold that was ever coined into money. I'll tell you what I saw last
night. Archibald had what he is not often subject to, a severe
headache, and he went into the next room after dinner, and lay on the
sofa. She carried a cup of tea to him, and never came back, leaving
her own on the table till it was perfectly cold. I pushed open the
door to tell her so. There was my lady's cambric handkerchief, soaked
in eau-de-Cologne, lying on his forehead; and there was my lady
herself, kneeling down and looking at him, he with his arm thrown
around her there. Now I just ask you, Barbara, whether there's any
sense in fadding with a man like that? If ever he did have a headache
before he was married, I used to mix him up a good dose of salts and
senna, and tell him to go to bed early and sleep the pain off."
Barbara made no reply, but she turned her face from Miss Carlyle.
On Barbara's return to the house, she found that Mr. Carlyle and Lady
Isabel were in the adjoining room, at the piano, and Barbara had an
opportunity of hearing that sweet voice. She did, as Miss Carlyle
confessed to have done, pushed open the door between the two rooms,
and looked in. It was the twilight hour, almost too dusk to see; but
she could distinguish Isabel seated at the piano, and Mr. Carlyle
standing behind her. She was singing one of the ballads from the opera
of the "Bohemian Girl," "When other Lips."
"Why do you like that song so much, Archibald?" she asked when she had
"I don't know. I never liked it so much until I heard it from you."
"I wonder if they are come in. Shall we go into the next room?"
"Just this one first--this translation from the German--' 'Twere vain
to tell thee all I feel.' There's real music in that song."
"Yes, there is. Do you know, Archibald, your taste is just like
papa's. He liked all these quiet, imaginative songs, and so do you.
And so do I," she laughingly added, "if I must speak the truth."
She ceased and began the song, singing it exquisitely, in a low,
sweet, earnest tone, the chords of the accompaniment, at its
conclusion, dying off gradually into silence.
"There, Archibald, I am sure I have sung you ten songs at least," she
said, leaning her head back against him, and looking at him from her
upturned face. "You ought to pay me."
He did pay her: holding the dear face to him, and taking from it some
impassioned kisses. Barbara turned to the window, a low moan of pain
escaping her, as she pressed her forehead on one of its panes, and
looked forth at the dusky night. Isabel came in on her husband's arm.
"Are you here alone, Miss Hare? I really beg your pardon. I supposed
you were with Miss Carlyle."
"Where is Cornelia, Barbara?"
"I have just come in," was Barbara's reply. "I dare say she is
So she was, for she entered a moment after, her voice raised in anger
at the gardener, who had disobeyed her orders, and obeyed the wishes
of Lady Isabel.
The evening wore on to ten, and as the time-piece struck the hour,
Barbara rose from her chair in amazement.
"I did not think it was so late. Surely some one must have come for
"I will inquire," was Lady Isabel's answer, and Mr. Carlyle touched
the bell. No one had come for Miss Hare.
"Then I fear I must trouble Peter," cried Barbara. "Mamma may be gone
to rest, tired, and papa must have forgotten me. It would never do for
me to get locked out," she gaily added.
"As you were one night before," said Mr. Carlyle, significantly.
He alluded to the night when Barbara was in the grove of trees with
her unfortunate brother, and Mr. Hare was on the point, unconsciously,
of locking her out. She had given Mr. Carlyle the history, but its
recollection now called up a smart pain, and a change passed over her
"Oh! Don't, Archibald," she uttered, in the impulse of the moment;
"don't recall it."
"Can Peter take me?" continued Barbara.
"I had better take you," said Mr. Carlyle. "It is late."
Barbara's heart beat at the words; beat as she put her things on--as
she said good-night to Lady Isabel and Miss Carlyle; it beat to
throbbing as she went out with him, and took his arm. All just as it
used to be--only now that he was the husband of another. Only!
It was a warm, lovely June night, not moonlight, but bright with its
summer twilight. They went down the park into the road, which they
crossed, and soon came to a stile. From that stile there led a path
through the fields which would pass the back of Justice Hare's.
Barbara stopped at it.
"Would you choose the field way to-night, Barbara? The grass will be
damp, and this is the longest way."
"But we shall escape the dust of the road."
"Oh, very well, if you prefer it. It will not make three minutes'
"He is very anxious to get home to /her/!" mentally exclaimed Barbara.
"I shall fly out upon him, presently, or my heart will burst."
Mr. Carlyle crossed the stile, helped over Barbara, and then gave her
his arm again. He had taken her parasol, as he had taken it the last
night they had walked together--an elegant little parasol, this, of
blue silk and white lace, and he did not switch the hedges with it.
That night was present to Barbara now, with all its words and its
delusive hopes; terribly present to her was their bitter ending.
There are women of warm, impulsive temperaments who can scarcely help,
in certain moments of highly wrought excitement, over-stepping the
bounds of nature and decorum, and giving the reins to temper, tongue,
and imagination--making a scene, in short. Barbara had been working
herself into this state during the whole evening. The affection of
Isabel for her husband, her voice, his caresses--seen through the half
open doors--had maddened her. She felt it impossible to restrain her
Mr. Carlyle walked on, utterly unconscious that a storm was brewing.
More than that, he was unconscious of having given cause for one, and
dashed into an indifferent, common place topic in the most provoking
"When does the justice begin haymaking, Barbara?"
There was no reply. Barbara was swelling and panting, and trying to
keep her emotion down. Mr. Carlyle tried again,--
"Barbara, I asked you which day your papa cut his hay."
Still no reply. Barbara was literally incapable of making one. The
steam of excitement was on, nearly to its highest pitch. Her throat
was working, the muscles of her mouth began to twitch, and a
convulsive sob, or what sounded like it, broke from her. Mr. Carlyle
turned his head hastily.
"Barbara! are you ill? What is it?"
On it came, passion, temper, wrongs, and nervousness, all boiling over
together. She shrieked, she sobbed, she was in strong hysterics. Mr.
Carlyle half-carried, half-dragged her to the second stile, and placed
her against it, his arm supporting her; and an old cow and two calves,
wondering what the disturbance could mean at that sober time of night,
walked up and stared at them.
Barbara struggled with her emotion--struggled manfully--and the sobs
and shrieks subsided; not the excitement or the passion. She put away
his arm, and stood with her back to the stile, leaning against it. Mr.
Carlyle felt inclined to fly to the pond for water, but he had nothing
but his hat to get it in.
"Are you better, Barbara? What can have caused it?"
"What can have caused it?" she burst forth, giving full swing to the
reins, and forgetting everything. "/You/ can ask me that?"
Mr. Carlyle was struck dumb; but by some inexplicable laws of
sympathy, a dim and very unpleasant consciousness of the truth began
to steal over him.
"I don't understand you, Barbara. If I have offended you in any way, I
am truly sorry."
"Truly sorry, no doubt!" was the retort, the sobs and the shrieks
alarmingly near. "What do you care for me? If I go under the sod
to-morrow," stamping it with her foot, "you have your wife to care
for; what am I?"
"Hush!" he interposed, glancing round, more mindful for her than she
was for herself.
"Hush, yes! You would like me to hush; what is my misery to you? I
would rather be in my grave, Archibald Carlyle, than endure the life I
have led since you married her. My pain is greater than I well know
how to bear."
"I cannot affect to misunderstand you," he said, feeling more at a
nonplus than he had felt for many a day, and heartily wishing the
whole female creation, save Isabel, somewhere. "But my dear Barbara. I
never gave you cause to think I--that I--cared for you more than I
"Never gave me cause!" she gasped. "When you have been coming to our
house constantly, almost like my shadow; when you gave me this"
dashing open her mantle, and holding up the locket to his view; "when
you have been more intimate with me than a brother."
"Stay, Barbara. There it is--a brother. I have been nothing else; it
never occurred to me to be anything else," he added, in his
"Ay, as a brother, nothing else!" and her voice rose once more with
her excitement; it seemed that she would not long control it. "What
cared you for my feelings? What recked you that you gained my love?"
"Barbara, hush!" he implored: "do be calm and reasonable. If I ever
gave you cause to think I regarded you with deeper feelings, I can
only express to you my deep regret, my repentance, and assure you it
was done unconsciously."
She was growing calmer. The passion was fading, leaving her face still
and white. She lifted it toward Mr. Carlyle.
"You treated me ill in showing signs of love, if you felt it not. Why
did you kiss me?"
"I kissed you as I might kiss a sister. Or perhaps as a pretty girl;
man likes to do so. The close terms on which our families have lived,
excused, if it did not justify, a degree of familiarity that might
have been unseemly in--"
"You need not tell me that," hotly interrupted Barbara. "Had it been a
stranger who had won my love and then thrown me from him, do you
suppose I would have reproached him as I am now reproaching you? No; I
would have died, rather than that he should have suspected it. If
/she/ had not come between us, should you have loved me?"
"Do not pursue this unthankful topic," he besought, almost wishing the
staring cow would run away with her.
"I ask you, should you have loved me?" persisted Barbara, passing her
handkerchief over her ashy lips.
"I don't know. How can I know? Do I not say to you, Barbara, that I
only thought of you as a friend, a sister? I cannot tell what might
"I could bear it better, but that it was known," she murmured. "All
West Lynne had coupled us together in their prying gossip, and they
have only pity to cast on me now. I would far rather you have killed
"I can but express to you my deep regret," he repeated. "I can only
hope you will soon forget it all. Let the remembrance of this
conversation pass away with to-night; let us still be to each other as
friends--as brother and sister. Believe me," he concluded, in a deeper
tone, "the confession has not lessened you in my estimation."
He made a movement as though he would get over the stile, but Barbara
did not stir; the tears were silently coursing down her pallid face.
At that moment there was an interruption.
"Is that you, Miss Barbara?"
Barbara started as if she had been shot. On the other side of the
stile stood Wilson, their upper maid. How long might she have been
there? She began to explain that Mr. Hare had sent Jasper out, and
Mrs. Hare had thought it better to wait no longer for the man's
return, so had dispatched her, Wilson, for Miss Barbara. Mr. Carlyle
got over the stile, and handed over Miss Barbara.
"You need not come any further now," she said to him in a low tone.
"I should see you home," was his reply, and he held out his arm.
Barbara took it.
They walked in silence. Arrived at the back gate of the grove, which
gave entrance to the kitchen garden, Wilson went forward. Mr. Carlyle
took both Barbara's hands in his.
"Good-night, Barbara. God bless you."
She had had time for reflection, and the excitement gone, she saw her
outbreak in all its shame and folly. Mr. Carlyle noticed how subdued
and white she looked.
"I think I have been mad," she groaned. "I must have been mad to say
what I did. Forget that it was uttered."
"I told you I would."
"You will not betray me to--to--your wife?" she panted.
"Thank you. Good-night."
But he still retained her hands. "In a short time, Barbara, I trust
you will find one more worthy to receive your love than I have been."
"Never!" she impulsively answered. "I do not love and forget so
lightly. In the years to come, in my old age, I shall still be nothing
but Barbara Hare."
Mr. Carlyle walked away in a fit of musing. The revelation had given
him pain, and possibly a little bit of flattery into the bargain, for
he was fond of pretty Barbara. Fond in his way--not hers--not with the
sort of fondness he felt for his wife. He asked his conscience whether
his manner to her in the past days had been a tinge warmer than we
bestow upon a sister, and he decided that it might have been, but he
most certainly never cast a suspicion to the mischief it was doing.
"I heartily hope she'll soon find somebody to her liking and forget
me," was his concluding thought. "As to living and dying Barbara Hare,
that's all moonshine, and sentimental rubbish that girls like to--"
He was passing the very last tree in the park, the nearest to his
house, and the interruption came from a dark form standing under it.
"Is it you, my dearest?"
"I came out to meet you. Have you not been very long?"
"I think I have," he answered, as he drew his wife to his side, and
walked on with her.
"We met one of the servants at the second stile, but I went on all the
"You have been intimate with the Hares?"
"Quite so. Cornelia is related to them."
"Do you think Barbara pretty?"
"Then--intimate as you were--I wonder you never fell in love with
Mr. Carlyle laughed; a very conscious laugh, considering the recent
"Did you, Archibald?"
The words were spoken in a low tone, almost, or he fancied it, a tone
of emotion, and he looked at her in amazement. "Did I what, Isabel?"
"You never loved Barbara Hare?"
"Loved /her/! What is your head running on, Isabel? I never loved but
one; and that one I made my own, my cherished wife."
MISS CARLYLE--ISABEL UNHAPPY.
Another year came in. Isabel would have been altogether happy but for
Miss Carlyle; that lady still inflicted her presence upon East Lynne,
and made it the bane of its household. She deferred outwardly to Lady
Isabel as the mistress; but the real mistress was herself. Isabel was
little more than an automaton. Her impulses were checked, her wishes
frustrated, her actions tacitly condemned by the imperiously-willed
Miss Carlyle. Poor Isabel, with her refined manners and her timid and
sensitive temperament, had no chance against the strong-minded woman,
and she was in a state of galling subjection in her own house.
Not a day passed but Miss Carlyle, by dint of hints and innuendoes,
contrived to impress upon Lady Isabel the unfortunate blow to his own
interests that Mr. Carlyle's marriage had been, the ruinous expense
she had entailed upon the family. It struck a complete chill to
Isabel's heart, and she became painfully impressed with the incubus
she must be to Mr. Carlyle--so far as his pocket was concerned. Lord
Mount Severn, with his little son, had paid them a short visit at
Christmas and Isabel had asked him, apparently with unconcern, whether
Mr. Carlyle had put himself very much out to the way to marry her;
whether it had entailed on him an expense and a style of living he
would not otherwise have deemed himself justified in affording. Lord
Mount Severn's reply was an unfortunate one: his opinion was, that it
had, he said; and that Isabel ought to feel grateful to him for his
generosity. She sighed as she listened, and from thenceforth
determined to put up with Miss Carlyle.
More timid and sensitive by nature than many would believe or can
imagine, reared in seclusion more simply and quietly than falls to the
general lot of peers' daughters, completely inexperienced, Isabel was
unfit to battle with the world--totally unfit to battle with Miss
Carlyle. The penniless state in which she was left at her father's
death, the want of a home save that accorded her at Castle Marling,
even the hundred-pound note left in her hand by Mr. Carlyle, all had
imbued her with a deep consciousness of humiliation, and, far from
rebelling at or despising the small establishment, comparatively
speaking, provided for her by Mr. Carlyle, she felt thankful to him
for it. But to be told continuously that this was more than he could
afford, that she was in fact a blight upon his prospects, was enough
to turn her heart to bitterness. Oh, that she had had the courage to
speak out openly to her husband, that he might, by a single word of
earnest love and assurance, have taken the weight from her heart, and
rejoiced it with the truth--that all these miserable complaints were
but the phantoms of his narrow-minded sister! But Isabel never did;
when Miss Corny lapsed into her grumbling mood, she would hear in
silence, or gently bend her aching forehead in her hands, never
Never before Mr. Carlyle was the lady's temper vented upon her; plenty
fell to his own share, when he and his sister were alone; and he had
become so accustomed to the sort of thing all his life--had got used
to it, like the eels do to skinning--that it went, as the saying runs,
in at one ear and out at the other, making no impression. He never
dreamt that Isabel also received her portion.
It was a morning early in April. Joyce sat, in its gray dawn, over a
large fire in the dressing-room of Lady Isabel Carlyle, her hands
clasped to pain, and the tears coursing down her cheeks. Joyce was
frightened; she had had some experience in illness; but illness of
this nature she had never witnessed, and she was fervently hoping
never to witness it again. In the adjoining room lay Lady Isabel, sick
nearly unto death.
The door from the corridor slowly opened, and Miss Carlyle slowly
entered. She had probably never walked with so gentle a step in all
her life, and she had got a thick-wadded mantle over her head and
ears. Down she sat in a chair quite meekly, and Joyce saw that her
face looked as gray as the early dawn.
"Joyce," whispered she, "is there any danger?"
"Oh, ma'am, I trust not! But it's hard to witness, and it must be
awful to bear."
"It is our common curse, Joyce. You and I may congratulate ourselves
that we have not chose to encounter it. Joyce," she added, after a
pause, "I trust there's no danger; I should not like her to die."
Miss Carlyle spoke in a low, dread tone. Was she fearing that, if her
poor young sister-in-law did die, a weight would rest on her own
conscience for all time--a heavy, ever-present weight, whispering that
she might have rendered her short year of marriage more happy, had she
chosen; and that she had not so chosen, but had deliberately steeled
every crevice of her heart against her? Very probably; she looked
anxious and apprehensive in the morning's twilight.
"If there's any danger, Joyce--"
"Why, do you think there's danger, ma'am?" interrupted Joyce. "Are
other people not as ill as this?"
"It is to be hoped they are not," rejoined Miss Carlyle. "And why is
the express gone to Lynneborough for Dr. Martin?"
Up started Joyce, awe struck. "An express for Dr. Martin! Oh, ma'am!
Who sent it? When did it go?"
"All I know is, that's its gone. Mr. Wainwright went to your master,
and he came out of his room and sent John galloping to the telegraph
office at West Lynne; where could your ears have been, not to hear the
horse tearing off? /I/ heard it, I know that, and a nice fright it put
me in. I went to Mr. Carlyle's room to ask what was amiss, and he said
he did not know himself--nothing, he hoped. And then he shut his door
again in my face, instead of stopping to speak to me as any other
Joyce did not answer; she was faint with apprehension; and there was a
silence, broken only by the sounds from the next room. Miss Carlyle
rose, and a fanciful person might have thought she was shivering.
"I can't stand this, Joyce; I shall go. If they want coffee, or
anything of that, it can be sent here. Ask."
"I will presently, in a few minutes," answered Joyce, with a real
shiver. "You are not going in, are you, ma'am?" she uttered, in
apprehension, as Miss Carlyle began to steal on tip-toe to the inner-
door, and Joyce had a lively consciousness that her sight would not be
an agreeable one to Lady Isabel. "They want the room free; they sent
"Not I," answered Miss Corny. "I could do no good; and those who
cannot, are better away."
"Just what Mr. Wainwright said when he dismissed me," murmured Joyce.
And Miss Carlyle finally passed into the corridor and withdrew.
Joyce sat on; it seemed to her an interminable time. And then she
heard the arrival of Dr. Martin; heard him go into the next room. By
and by Mr. Wainwright came out of it, into the room where Joyce was
sitting. Her tongue clove to the roof of her mouth, and before she
could bring out the ominous words, "Is there any danger?" he had
passed through it.
Mr. Wainwright was on his way to the apartment where he expected to
find Mr. Carlyle. The latter was pacing it; he had so paced it all the
night. His pale face flushed as the surgeon entered.
"You have little mercy on my suspense, Wainwright. Dr. Martin has been
here this twenty minutes. What does he say?"
"Well, he cannot say any more than I did. The symptoms are critical,
but he hopes she will do well. There's nothing for it but patience."
Mr. Carlyle resumed his weary walk.
"I come now to suggest that you should send for Little. In these
The speech was interrupted by a cry from Mr. Carlyle, half horror,
half despair. For the Rev. Mr. Little was the incumbent of St. Jude's,
and his apprehensions had flown--he hardly knew to what they had
"Not for your wife," hastily rejoined the surgeon--"what good should a
clergyman do to her? I spoke on the score of the child. Should it not
live, it may be satisfactory to you and Lady Isabel to know that it
"I thank you--I thank you," said Mr. Carlyle grasping his hand, in his
inexpressible relief. "Little shall be sent for."
"You jumped to the conclusion that your wife's soul was flitting.
Please God, she may yet live to bear you other children, if this one
"Please God!" was the inward aspiration of Mr. Carlyle.
"Carlyle," added the surgeon, in a musing sort of tone, as he laid his
hand on Mr. Carlyle's shoulder, which his own head scarcely reached,
"I am sometimes at death-beds where the clergyman is sent for in this
desperate need to the fleeting spirit, and I am tempted to ask myself
what good another man, priest though he be, can do at the twelfth
hour, where accounts have not been made up previously?"
It was hard upon midday. The Rev. Mr. Little, Mr. Carlyle, and Miss
Carlyle were gathered in the dressing-room, round a table, on which
stood a rich china bowl, containing water for the baptism. Joyce, her
pale face working with emotion, came into the room, carrying what
looked like a bundle of flannel. Little cared Mr. Carlyle for the
bundle, in comparison with his care for his wife.
"Joyce," he whispered, "is it well still?"
"I believe so, sir."
The services commenced. The clergyman took the child. "What name?" he
Mr. Carlyle had never thought about the name. But he replied, pretty
"William;" for he knew it was a name revered and loved by Lady Isabel.
The minister dipped his fingers in the water. Joyce interrupted in
much confusion, looking at her master.
"It is a little girl, sir. I beg your pardon, I'm sure I thought I had
said so; but I'm so flurried as I never was before."
There was a pause, and then the minister spoke again. "Name the
"Isabel Lucy," said Mr. Carlyle. Upon which a strange sort of
resentful sniff was heard from Miss Corny. She had probably thought to
hear him mention her own; but he had named it after his wife and his
Mr. Carlyle was not allowed to see his wife until evening. His
eyelashes glistened, as he looked down at her. She detected his
emotion, and a faint smile parted her lips.
"I fear I bore it badly, Archibald; but let us be thankful that it is
over. How thankful, none can know, save those who have gone through
"I think they can," he murmured. "I never knew what thankfulness was
until this day."
"That the baby is safe?"
"That /you/ are safe, my darling; safe and spared to me, Isabel," he
whispered, hiding his face upon hers. "I never, until to-day, knew
what prayer was--the prayer of a heart in its sore need."
"Have you written to Lord Mount Severn?" she asked after a while.
"This afternoon," he replied.
"Why did you give baby my name--Isabel?"
"Do you think I could have given it a prettier one? I don't."
"Why do you not bring a chair, and sit down by me?"
He smiled and shook his head. "I wish I might. But they limited my
stay with you to four minutes, and Wainwright has posted himself
outside the door, with his watch in his hand."
Quite true. There stood the careful surgeon, and the short interview
was over almost as soon as it had begun.
The baby lived, and appeared likely to live, and of course the next
thing was to look out for a maid for it. Isabel did not get strong
very quickly. Fever and weakness had a struggle with each other and
with her. One day, when she was dressing and sitting in her easy
chair, Miss Carlyle entered.
"Of all the servants in the neighborhood, who should you suppose is
come up after the place of nurse?"
"Indeed, I cannot guess."
"Why, Wilson, Mrs. Hare's maid. Three years and five months she has
been with them, and now leaves in consequence of a fall out with
Barbara. Will you see her?"
"Is she likely to suit? Is she a good servant?"
"She's not a bad servant, as servants go," responded Miss Carlyle.
"She's steady and respectable; but she has got a tongue as long as
from here to Lynneborough."
"That won't hurt baby," said Lady Isabel. "But if she has lived as
lady's maid, she probably does not understand the care of infants."
"Yes she does. She was upper servant at Squire Pinner's before going
to Mrs. Hare's. Five years she lived there."
"I will see her," said Lady Isabel.
Miss Carlyle left the room to send the servant in, but came back first
"Mind, Lady Isabel, don't you engage her. If she is likely to suit
you, let her come again for the answer, and meanwhile I will go down
to Mrs. Hare's and learn the ins and outs of her leaving. It is all
very plausible for her to put upon Barbara, but that is only one side
of the question. Before engaging her, it may be well to hear the
Of course this was but right. Isabel acquiesced, and the servant was
introduced; a tall, pleasant-looking woman, with black eyes. Lady
Isabel inquired why she was leaving Mrs. Hare's.
"My lady, it is through Miss Barbara's temper. Latterly--oh, for this
year past, nothing has pleased her; she had grown nearly as imperious
as the justice himself. I have threatened many times to leave, and
last evening we came to another outbreak, and I left this morning."
"Yes, my lady. Miss Barbara provoked me so, that I said last night I
would leave as soon as breakfast was over. And I did so. I should be
very glad to take your situation, my lady, if you would please to try
"You have been the upper maid at Mrs. Hare's?"
"Oh, yes, my lady."
"Then possibly this situation might not suit you so well as you
imagine. Joyce is the upper servant here, and you would, in a manner,
be under her. I have great confidence in Joyce; and in case of my
illness or absence, Joyce would superintend the nursery."
"I should not mind that," was the applicant's answer. "We all like
Joyce, my lady."
A few more questions, and then the girl was told to come again in the
evening for her answer. Miss Carlyle went to the Grove for the "ins
and outs" of the affair, where Mrs. Hare frankly stated that she had
nothing to urge against Wilson, save her hasty manner of leaving, and
believed the chief blame to be due to Barbara. Wilson, therefore, was
engaged, and was to enter upon her new service the following morning.
In the afternoon succeeding to it, Isabel was lying on the sofa in her
bedroom, asleep, as was supposed. In point of fact, she was in that
state, half asleep, half wakeful delirium, which those who suffer from
weakness and fever know only too well. Suddenly she was aroused from
it by hearing her own name mentioned in the adjoining room, where sat
Joyce and Wilson, the latter holding the sleeping infant on her knee,
the former sewing, the door between the rooms being ajar.
"How ill she does look," observed Wilson.
"Who?" asked Joyce.
"Her ladyship. She looks just as if she'd never get over it."
"She is getting over it quickly, now," returned Joyce. "If you had
seen her but a week ago, you would not say she was looking ill now,
speaking in comparison."
"My goodness! Would not somebody's hopes be up again if anything
"Nonsense!" crossly rejoined Joyce.
"You may cry out 'nonsense' forever, Joyce, but they would," went on
Wilson. "And she would snap him up to a dead certainty; she'd never
let him escape her a second time. She is as much in love with him as
she ever was!"
"It was all talk and fancy," said Joyce. "West Lynne must be busy. Mr.
Carlyle never cared for her."
"That's more than you know. I have seen a little, Joyce; I have seen
him kiss her."
"A pack of rubbish!" remarked Joyce. "That tells nothing."
"I don't say it does. There's not a young man living but what's fond
of a sly kiss in the dark, if he can get it. He gave her that locket
and chain she wears."
"Who wears?" retorted Joyce, determined not graciously to countenance
the subject. "I don't want to hear anything about it."
" 'Who,' now! Why, Miss Barbara. She has hardly had it off her neck
since, my belief is she wears it in her sleep."
"More simpleton she," returned Joyce.
"The night before he left West Lynne to marry Lady Isabel--and didn't
the news come upon us like a thunderclap!--Miss Barbara had been at
Miss Carlyle's and he brought her home. A lovely night it was, the
moon rising, and nearly as light as day. He somehow broke her parasol
in coming home, and when they got to our gate there was a love scene."
"Were you a third in it?" sarcastically demanded Joyce.
"Yes--without meaning to be. It was a regular love scene; I could hear
enough for that. If ever anybody thought to be Mrs. Carlyle, Barbara
did that night."
"Why, you great baby! You have just said it was the night before he
went to get married!"
"I don't care, she did. After he was gone, I saw her lift up her hands
and her face in ecstacy, and say he would never know how much she
loved him until she was his wife. Be you very sure, Joyce, many a
love-passage had passed between them two; but I suppose when my lady
was thrown in his way he couldn't resist her rank and her beauty, and
the old love was cast over. It is in the nature of man to be fickle,
specially those that can boast of their own good looks, like Mr.
"Mr. Carlyle's not fickle."
"I can tell you more yet. Two or three days after that, Miss Corny
came up to our house with the news of his marriage. I was in
mistress's bedroom, and they were in the room underneath, the windows
open, and I heard Miss Corny tell the tale, for I was leaning out. Up
came Miss Barbara upon an excuse and flew into her room, and I went
into the corridor. A few moments and I heard a noise--it was a sort of
wail, or groan--and I opened the door softly, fearing she might be
fainting. Joyce, if my heart never ached for anybody before, it ached
then. She was lying upon the floor, her hands writhed together, and
her poor face all white, like one in mortal agony. I'd have given a
quarter's wages to be able to say a word of comfort to her; but I
didn't dare interfere with such sorrow as that. I came out again and
shut the door without her seeing me."
"How thoroughly stupid she must have been!" uttered Joyce, "to go
caring for one who did not care for her."
"I tell you, Joyce, you don't know that he did not care. You are as
obstinate as the justice, and I wish to goodness you wouldn't
interrupt me. They came up here to pay the wedding visit--master,
mistress, and she, came in state in the grand chariot, with the
coachman and Jasper. If you have got any memory at all, you can't fail
to recollect it. Miss Barbara remained behind at East Lynne to spend
the rest of the day."
"I remember it."
"I was sent to fetch her home in the evening, Jasper being out. I came
the field way; for the dust by the road was enough to smother one, and
by the last stile but one, what do you think I came upon?"
Joyce lifted her eyes. "A snake perhaps."
"I came upon Miss Barbara and Mr. Carlyle. What had passed, nobody
knows but themselves. She was leaning back against the stile, crying;
low, soft sobs breaking from her, like one might expect to hear from a
breaking heart. It seemed as if she had been reproaching him, as if
some explanation had passed, and I heard him say that from henceforth
they could only be brother and sister. I spoke soon, for fear they
should see me, and Mr. Carlyle got over the stile. Miss Barbara said
to him that he need not come any further, but he held out his arm, and
came with her to our back gate. I went on then to open the door, and I
saw him with his head bent down to her, and her two hands held in his.
We don't know how it is between them, I tell you."
"At any rate, she is a downright fool to suffer herself to love him
still!" uttered Joyce, indignantly.
"So she is, but she does do it. She'll often steal out to the gate
about the time she knows he'll be passing, and watch him by, not
letting him see her. It is nothing but her unhappiness, her jealousy
of Lady Isabel, that makes her cross. I assure you, Joyce, in this
past year she had so changed that she's not like the same person. If
Mr. Carlyle should ever get tired of my lady, and--"
"Wilson," harshly interrupted Joyce, "have the goodness to recollect
"What have I said not? Nothing but truth. Men are shamefully fickle,
husbands worse than sweethearts, and I'm sure I'm not thinking of
anything wrong. But to go back to the argument that we began with--I
say that if anything happened to my lady, Miss Barbara, as sure as
fate, would step into her shoes."
"Nothing is going to happen to her," continued Joyce, with composure.
"I hope it is not, now or later--for the sake of this dear little
innocent thing upon my lap," went on the undaunted Wilson. "She would
not make a very kind stepmother, for it is certain that where the
first wife had been hated, her children won't be loved. She would turn
Mr. Carlyle against them--"
"I tell you what it is, Wilson," interrupted Joyce, in a firm,
unmistakable tone, "if you think to pursue those sort of topics at
East Lynne, I shall inform my lady that you are unsuitable for the
"I dare say!"
"And you know that when I make up my mind to a thing I do it,"
continued Joyce. "Miss Carlyle may well say you have the longest
tongue in West Lynne; but you might have the grace to know that this
subject is one more unsuitable to it than another, whether you are
eating Mr. Hare's bread, or whether you are eating Mr. Carlyle's.
Another word, Wilson; it appears to me that you have been carrying on
a prying system in Mrs. Hare's house--do not attempt such a thing in
"You were always one of the straight-laced sort, Joyce," cried Wilson,
laughing good-humoredly. "But now that I have had my say out, I shall
stop; and you need not fear I shall be such a simpleton as to go
prattling of this kind of thing to the servants."
Now just fancy this conversation penetrating to Lady Isabel! She heard
every word. It is all very well to oppose the argument, "Who attends
to the gossip of the servants?" Let me tell you it depends upon what
the subject may be, whether the gossip is attended to or not. It might
not, and indeed would not, have made so great an impression upon her
had she been in strong health, but she was weak, feverish, and in a
state of partial delirium; and she hastily took up the idea that
Archibald Carlyle had never loved her, that he had admired her and
made her his wife in his ambition, but that his heart had been given
to Barbara Hare.
A pretty state of excitement she worked herself into as she lay there,
jealousy and fever, ay, and love too, playing pranks with her brain.
It was near the dinner hour, and when Mr. Carlyle entered, he was
startled to see her; her pallid cheeks were burning with a red hectic
glow, and her eyes glistened with fever.
"Isabel, you are worse!" he uttered, as he approached her with a quick
She partially rose from the sofa, and clasped hold of him in her
emotion. "Oh, Archibald! Archibald!" she uttered, "don't marry her! I
could not rest in my grave."
Mr. Carlyle, in his puzzled astonishment, believed her to be laboring
under some temporary hallucination, the result of weakness. He set
himself to soothe her, but it seemed that she could not be soothed.
She burst into a storm of tears and began again--wild words.
"She would ill-treat my child; she would draw your love from it, and
from my memory. Archibald, you must not marry her!"
"You must be speaking from the influence of a dream, Isabel," he
soothingly said; "you have been asleep and are not yet awake. Be
still, and recollection will return to you. There, love; rest upon
"To think of her as your wife brings pain enough to kill me," she
continued to reiterate. "Promise me that you will not marry her;
Archibald, promise it!"
"I will promise you anything in reason," he replied, bewildered with
her words, "but I do not know what you mean. There is no possibility
of my marrying any one, Isabel; you are my wife."
"But if I die? I may--you know I may; and many think I shall--do not
let her usurp my place."
"Indeed she shall not--whoever you may be talking of. What have you
been dreaming? Who is it that has been troubling your mind?"
"Archibald, do you need to ask? Did you love no one before you married
me? Perhaps you have loved her since--perhaps you love her still?"
Mr. Carlyle began to discern "method in her madness." He changed his
cheering tone to one of grave earnestness. "Of whom to you speak,
"Of Barbara Hare."
He knitted his brow; he was both annoyed and vexed. Whatever had put
this bygone nonsense into his wife's head? He quitted the sofa where
he had been supporting her, and stood upright before her, calm,
dignified, almost solemn in his seriousness.
"Isabel, what notion can you possibly have picked up about myself and
Barbara Hare; I never entertained the faintest shadow of love for her,
either before my marriage or since. You must tell me what has given
rise to this idea in your mind."
"But she loved you."
A moment's hesitation; for, of course, Mr. Carlyle was conscious that
she had; but, taking all the circumstances into consideration, more
especially how he learnt the fact, he could not, in honor, acknowledge
it to his wife. "If it was so, Isabel, she was more reprehensibly
foolish than I should have given Barbara's good sense could be; for a
woman may almost as well lose herself as to suffer herself to love
unsought. If she did give her love to me, I can only say, I was
entirely unconscious of it. Believe me, you have as much cause to be
jealous of Cornelia as you have of Barbara Hare."
An impulse rose within her that she would tell him all; the few words
dropped by Susan and Joyce, twelve months before, the conversation she
had just overheard; but in that moment of renewed confidence, it did
appear to her that she must have been very foolish to attach
importance to it--that a sort of humiliation, in listening to the
converse of servants, was reflected on her, and she remained silent.
There never was a passion in this world--there never will be one--so
fantastic, so delusive, so powerful as jealousy. Mr. Carlyle dismissed
the episode from his thoughts; he believed his wife's emotion to have
been simply from a feverish dream, and never supposed but that, with
the dream, its recollection would pass away from her. Not so.
Implicitly relying upon her husband's words at the moment, feeling
quite ashamed at her own suspicion, Lady Isabel afterward suffered the
unhappy fear to regain its influence; the ill-starred revelations of
Wilson reasserted their power, overmastering the denial of Mr.
Carlyle. Shakspeare calls jealousy yellow and green; I think it may be
called black and white for it most assuredly views white as black, and
black as white. The most fanciful surmises wear the aspect of truth,
the greatest improbabilities appear as consistent realities. Not
another word said Isabel to her husband; and the feeling--you will
understand this if you have ever been foolish enough to sun yourself
in its delights--only caused her to grow more attached to him, to be
more eager for his love. But certain it is that Barbara Hare dwelt on
her heart like an incubus.
CAPTAIN THORN AT WEST LYNNE.
"Barbara, how fine the day seems!"
"It is a beautiful day mamma."
"I do think I should be all the better for going out."
"I am sure you would, mamma," was Barbara's answer. "If you went out
more, you would find the benefit. Every fine day you ought to do so. I
will go and ask papa if he can spare Benjamin and the carriage." She
waltzed gaily out of the room, but returned in a moment.
"Mamma, it is all right. Benjamin is gone to get the carriage ready.
You would like a bit of luncheon before you go--I will order the
"Anything you please, dear," said the sweet-tempered gentlewoman. "I
don't know why, but I feel glad to go out to-day; perhaps because it
Benjamin made ready his carriage and himself, and drove out of the
yard at the back, and brought the carriage round to the front gate.
The carriage--or phaeton as it was often called--was a somewhat old
fashioned concern, as many country things are apt to be. A small box
in front for the driver, and a wide seat with a head behind,
accommodating Barbara well between them when Mr. and Mrs. Hare both
Benjamin drew the rug carefully over his mistress's knees--the
servants did not like Mr. Hare, but would have laid down their lives
for her--ascended to his box, and drove them to their destination, the
linen draper's. It was an excellent shop, situated a little beyond the
office of Mr. Carlyle, and Mrs. Hare and Barbara were soon engaged in
that occupation said to possess for all women a fascination. They had
been in about an hour, when Mrs. Hare discovered that her bag was
"I must have left it in the carriage, Barbara. Go and bring it, will
you, my dear? The pattern of that silk is in it."
Barbara went out. The carriage and Benjamin and the sleek old horse
were all waiting drowsily together. Barbara could not see the bag, and
she appealed to the servant.
"Find mamma's bag, Benjamin. It must be somewhere in the carriage."
Benjamin got off his box and began to search. Barbara waited, gazing
listlessly down the street. The sun was shining brilliantly, and its
rays fell upon the large cable chain of a gentleman who was sauntering
idly up the pavement, making its gold links and its drooping seal and
key glitter, as they crossed his waistcoat. It shone also upon the
enameled gold studs of his shirt front, making /them/ glitter; and as
he suddenly raised his ungloved hand to stroke his moustache--by which
action you know a vain man--a diamond ring he wore gleamed with a
light that was positively dazzling. Involuntarily Barbara thought of
the description her brother Richard had given of certain dazzling
jewels worn by another.
She watched him advance! He was a handsome man of, perhaps, seven or
eight and twenty, tall, slender and well made, his eyes and hair
black. A very pleasant expression sat upon his countenance; and on the
left hand he wore a light buff kid glove, and was swinging its fellow
by the fingers. But for the light cast at that moment by the sun,
Barbara might not have noticed the jewellery, or connected it in her
mind with the other jewellery in that unhappy secret.
"Hallo, Thorn, is that you? Just step over here."
The speaker was Otway Bethel, who was on the opposite side of the
street; the spoken to, the gentleman with the jewellery. But the
latter was in a brown study, and did not hear. Bethel called out
That was heard. Captain Thorn nodded, and turned short off across the
street. Barbara stood like one in a dream, her brain, her mind, her
fancy all in a confused mass together.
"Here's the bag, Miss Barbara. It had got among the folds of the rug."
Benjamin held it out to her, but she took no notice; she was
unconscious of all external things save one. That she beheld the real
murderer of Hallijohn, she entertained no manner of doubt. In every
particular he tallied with the description given by Richard; tall,
dark, vain, handsome, delicate hands, jewellery, and--Captain Thorn!
Barbara's cheeks grew white and her heart turned sick.
"The bag, Miss Barbara."
Away tore Barbara, leaving Benjamin and the bag in wonder. She had
caught sight of Mr. Wainwright, the surgeon, at a little distance, and
sped toward him.
"Mr. Wainwright," began she, forgetting ceremony in her agitation,
"you see that gentleman talking to Otway Bethel--who is he?"
Mr. Wainwright had to put his glasses across the bridge of his nose
before he could answer, for he was short-sighted. "That? Oh, it is a
Captain Thorn. He is visiting the Herberts, I believe."
"Where does he come from? Where does he live?" reiterated Barbara in
"I don't know anything about him. I saw him this morning with young
Smith, and he told me he was a friend of the Herberts. You are not
looking well, Miss Barbara."
She made no answer. Captain Thorn and Mr. Bethel came walking down the
street, and the latter saluted her, but she was too much confused to
respond to it. Mr. Wainwright then wished her good day, and Barbara
walked slowly back. Mrs. Hare was appearing at the shop door.
"My dear, how long you are! Cannot the bag be found?"
"I went to speak to Mr. Wainwright," answered Barbara, mechanically
taking the bag from Benjamin and giving it to her mother, her whole
heart and eyes still absorbed with that one object moving away in the
"You look pale, child. Are you well?"
"Oh, yes, quite. Let us get our shopping over, mamma."
She moved on to their places at the counter as she spoke, eager to
"get it over" and be at home, that she might have time for thought.
Mrs. Hare wondered what had come to her; the pleased interest
displayed in their purchases previously was now gone, and she sat
inattentive and absorbed.
"Now, my dear, it is only waiting for you to choose. Which of the two
silks will you have?"
"Either--any. Take which you like, mamma."
"Barbara, what /has/ come to you?"
"I believe I am tired," said Barbara, with a forced laugh, as she
compelled herself to pay some sort of attention. "I don't like the
green; I will take the other."
They arrived at home. Barbara got just five minutes alone in her
chamber before the dinner was on the table. All the conclusion she
could come to was, /she/ could do nothing save tell the facts to
How could she contrive to see him? The business might admit of no
delay. She supposed she must go to East Lynne that evening; but where
would be her excuse for it at home? Puzzling over it, she went down to
dinner. During the meal, Mrs. Hare began talking of some silk she had
purchased for a mantle. She should have it made like Miss Carlyle's
new one. When Miss Carlyle was at the grove, the other day, about
Wilson's character, she offered her the pattern, and she, Mrs. Hare,
would send one of the servants up for it after dinner.
"Oh, mamma, let me go!" burst forth Barbara, and so vehemently spoke
she, that the justice paused in carving, and demanded what ailed her.
Barbara made some timid excuse.
"Her eagerness is natural, Richard," smiled Mrs. Hare. "Barbara thinks
she shall get a peep at the baby, I expect. All young folks are fond
Barbara's face flushed crimson, but she did not contradict the
opinion. She could not eat her dinner--she was too full of poor
Richard; she played with it, and then sent away her plate nearly
"That's through the finery she's been buying," pronounced Justice
Hare. "Her head is stuffed up with it."
No opposition was offered to Barbara's going to East Lynne. She
reached it just as their dinner was over. It was for Miss Carlyle she
"Miss Carlyle is not at home, miss. She is spending the day out; and
my lady does not receive visitors yet."
It was a sort of checkmate. Barbara was compelled to say she would see
Mr. Carlyle. Peter ushered her into the drawing-room, and Mr. Carlyle
came to her.
"I am so very sorry to disturb you--to have asked for you," began
Barbara, with a burning face, for, somehow, a certain evening
interview of hers with him, twelve months before, was disagreeably
present to her. Never, since that evening of agitation, had Barbara
suffered herself to betray emotion to Mr. Carlyle; her manner to him
had been calm, courteous, and indifferent. And she now more frequently
called him "Mr. Carlyle" than "Archibald."
"Take a seat--take a seat, Barbara."
"I asked for Miss Carlyle," she continued, "for mamma is in want of a
pattern that she promised to lend her. You remember the Lieutenant
Thorn whom Richard spoke of as being the real criminal?"
"I think he is at West Lynne."
Mr. Carlyle was aroused to eager interest.
"He! The same Thorn?"
"It can be no other. Mamma and I were shopping to-day, and I went out
for her bag, which she left in the carriage. While Benjamin was
getting it, I saw a stranger coming up the street--a tall, good-
looking, dark-haired man, with a conspicuous gold chain and studs. The
sun was full upon him, causing the ornaments to shine, especially a
diamond ring which he wore, for he had one hand raised to his face.
The thought flashed over me, 'That is just like the description
Richard gave of the man Thorn.' Why the idea should have occurred to
me in that strange manner, I do not know, but it most assuredly did
occur, though I did not really suppose him to be the same. Just then I
heard him spoken to by some one on the other side of the street; it
was Otway Bethel, and he called him /Captain Thorn/."
"This is curious, indeed, Barbara. I did not know any stranger was at
"I saw Mr. Wainwright, and asked him who it was. He said a Captain
Thorn, a friend of the Herberts. A Lieutenant Thorn four or five years
ago would probably be Captain Thorn now."
Mr. Carlyle nodded, and there was a pause.
"What can be done?" asked Barbara.
Mr. Carlyle was passing one hand over his brow; it was a habit of his
when in deep thought.
"It is hard to say what is to be done, Barbara. The description you
gave of this man certainly tallies with that given by Richard. Did he
look like a gentleman?"
"Very much so. A remarkably aristocratic looking man, as it struck me.
Mr. Carlyle again nodded assentingly. He remembered Richard's words,
when describing the other: "an out-and-out aristocrat." "Of course,
Barbara, the first thing must be to try and ascertain whether it is
the same," he observed. "If we find it is, then we must deliberate
upon future measures. I will see what I can pick up and let you know."
Barbara rose. Mr. Carlyle escorted her across the hall, and then
strolled down the park by her side, deep in the subject, and quite
unconscious that Lady Isabel's jealous eyes were watching them from
her dressing-room window.
'You say he seemed intimate with Otway Bethel?"
"As to being intimate, I cannot say. Otway Bethel spoke as though he
"This must have caused excitement to Mrs. Hare."
"You forget, Archibald, that mamma was not told anything about Thorn,"
was the answer of Barbara. "The uncertainty would have worried her to
death. All Richard said to her was, that he was innocent, that it was
a stranger who did the deed, and she asked for no particulars; she had
implicit faith in Richard's truth."
"True; I did forget," replied Mr. Carlyle. "I wish we could find out
some one who knew the other Thorn; to ascertain that they were the
same would be a great point gained."
He went as far as the park gates with Barbara, shook hands and wished
her good evening. Scarcely had she departed when Mr. Carlyle saw two
gentlemen advancing from the opposite direction, in one of whom he
recognized Tom Herbert, and the other--instinct told him--was Captain
Thorn. He waited till they came up.
"If this isn't lucky, seeing you," cried Mr. Tom Herbert, who was a
free-and-easy sort of a gentleman, the second son of a brother justice
of Mr. Hare. "I wish to goodness you'd give us a draught of your
cider, Carlyle. We went up to Beauchamp's for a stroll, but found them
all out, and I'm awful thirsty. Captain Thorn, Carlyle."
Mr. Carlyle invited them to his house and ordered in refreshments.
Young Herbert coolly threw himself into an arm-chair and lit a cigar.
"Come, Thorn," cried he, "here's a weed for you."
Captain Thorn glanced toward Mr. Carlyle; he appeared of a far more
gentlemanly nature than Tom Herbert.
"You'll have one too, Carlyle," said Herbert, holding out his cigar-
case. "Oh, I forgot--you are a muff; don't smoke one twice a year. I
say how's Lady Isabel?"
"Very ill still."
"By Jove! Is she, though? Tell her I am sorry to hear it, will you,
Carlyle? But--I say! Will she smell the smoke?" asked he, with a
mixture of alarm and concern in his face.
Mr. Carlyle reassured him upon the point, and turned to Captain Thorn.
"Are you acquainted with this neighborhood?"
Captain Thorn smiled. "I only reached West Lynne yesterday."
"You were never here before then?" continued Mr. Carlyle, setting down
the last as a probably evasive answer.
"He and my brother Jack, you know, are in the same regiment," put in
Tom, with scanty ceremony. "Jack had invited him down for some fishing
and that, and Thorn arrives. But he never sent word he was coming, you
see; Jack had given him up, and is off on some Irish expedition, the
deuce knows where. Precious unlucky that it should have happened so.
Thorn says he shall cut short his stay, and go again."
The conversation turned upon fishing, and in the heat of the argument,
the stranger mentioned a certain pond and its famous eels--the "Low
Pond." Mr. Carlyle looked at him, speaking, however in a careless
"Which do you mean? We have two ponds not far apart, each called the
'Low Pond' "
"I mean the one on an estate about three miles form here--Squire
Thorpe's, unless I am mistaken."
Mr. Carlyle smiled. "I think you must have been in the neighborhood
before, Captain Thorn. Squire Thorpe is dead and the property has
passed to his daughter's husband, and that Low Pond was filled up
three years ago."
"I have heard a friend mention it," was Captain Thorn's reply, spoken
in an indifferent tone, though he evidently wished not to pursue the
Mr. Carlyle, by easy degrees, turned the conversation upon Swainson,
the place where Richard Hare's Captain Thorn was suspected to have
come. The present Captain Thorn said he knew it "a little," he had
once been "staying there a short time." Mr. Carlyle became nearly
convinced that Barbara's suspicions were correct. The description
certainly agreed, so far as he could judge, in the most minute
particulars. The man before him wore two rings, a diamond--and a very
beautiful diamond too--on the one hand; a seal ring on the other; his
hands were delicate to a degree, and his handkerchief, a cambric one
of unusually fine texture, was not entirely guiltless of scent. Mr.
Carlyle quitted the room for a moment and summoned Joyce to him.
"My lady has been asking for you," said Joyce.
"Tell her I will be up the moment these gentlemen leave, Joyce," he
added, "find an excuse to come into the room presently; you can bring
something or other in; I want you to look at this stranger who is with
young Mr. Herbert. Notice him well; I fancy you may have seen him
Mr. Carlyle returned to the room, leaving Joyce surprised. However,
she presently followed, taking in some water, and lingered a few
minutes, apparently placing the things on the table in better order.
When the two departed Mr. Carlyle called Joyce, before proceeding to
his wife's room. "Well," he questioned, "did you recognize him?"
"Not at all, sir. He seemed quite strange to me."
"Cast your thoughts back, Joyce. Did you never see him in days gone
Joyce looked puzzled, and she replied in the negative.
"Is he the man, think you, who used to ride from Swainson to see Afy?"
Joyce's face flushed crimson. "Oh, sir!" was all she uttered.
"The name is the same--Thorn; I thought it possible the men might be,"
observed Mr. Carlyle.
"Sir, I cannot say. I never saw that Captain Thorn but once, and I
don't know, I don't know--" Joyce spoke slowly and with consideration
--"that I should at all know him again. I did not think of him when I
looked at this gentleman; but, at any rate, no appearance in this one
struck upon my memory as being familiar."
So from Joyce Mr. Carlyle obtained no clue, one way or the other. The
following day he sought out Otway Bethel.
"Are you intimate with that Captain Thorn who is staying with the
Herberts?" asked he.
"Yes," answered Bethel, decisively, "if passing a couple of hours in
his company can constitute intimacy. That's all I have seen of Thorn."
"Are you sure," pursued Mr. Carlyle.
"Sure!" returned Bethel; "why, what are you driving at now? I called
in at Herbert's the night before last, and Tom asked me to stay the
evening. Thorn had just come. A jolly bout we had; cigars and cold
"Bethel," said Mr. Carlyle, dashing to the point, "is it the Thorn who
used to go after Afy Hallijohn? Come, you can tell if you like."
Bethel remained dumb for a moment, apparently with amazement. "What a
confounded lie!" uttered he at length. "Why it's no more that than--
What Thorn?" he broke off abruptly.
"You are equivocating, Bethel. The Thorn who is mixed up--or said to
be--in the Hallijohn affair. Is this the same man?"
"You are a fool, Carlyle, which is what I never took you to be yet,"
was Mr. Bethel's rejoinder, spoken in a savage tone. "I have told you
that I never knew there was any Thorn mixed up with Afy, and I should
like to know why my word is not to be believed? I never saw Thorn in
my life till I saw him the other night at the Herberts', and that I
would take my oath to, if put to it."
Bethel quitted Mr. Carlyle with the last word, and the latter gazed
after him, revolving points in his brain. The mention of Thorn's name,
the one spoken of by Richard Hare, appeared to excite some feeling in
Bethel's mind, arousing it to irritation. Mr. Carlyle remembered that
it had done so previously and now it had done so again, and yet Bethel
was an easy-natured man in general, far better tempered than
principled. That there was something hidden, some mystery connected
with the affair, Mr. Carlyle felt sure; but he could not attempt so
much as a guess at what it might be. And this interview with Bethel
brought him no nearer the point he wished to find out--whether this
Thorn was the same man. In walking back to his office he met Mr. Tom
"Does Captain Thorn purpose making a long stay with you?" he stopped
him to inquire.
"He's gone; I have just seen him off by the train," was the reply of
Tom Herbert. "It seemed rather slow with him without Jack, so he
docked his visit, and says he'll pay us one when Jack's to the fore."
As Mr. Carlyle went home to dinner that evening, he entered the grove,
ostensibly to make a short call on Mrs. Hare. Barbara, on the
tenterhooks of impatience, accompanied him outside when he departed,
and walked down the path.
"What have you learnt?" she eagerly asked.
"Nothing satisfactory," was the reply of Mr. Carlyle. "And the man has
"Left?" uttered Barbara.
Mr. Carlyle explained. He told her how they had come to his house the
previous evening after Barbara's departure, and his encounter with Tom
Herbert that day; he mentioned, also, his interview with Bethel.
"Can he have gone on purpose, fearing consequences?" wondered Barbara.
"Scarcely; or why should he have come?"
"You did not suffer any word to escape you last night causing him to
suspect for a moment that he was hounded?"
"Not any. You would make a bad lawyer, Barbara."
"Who or what is he?"
"An officer in her majesty's service, in John Herbert's regiment. I
ascertained no more. Tom said he was of good family. But I cannot help
suspecting it is the same man."
"Can nothing more be done?"
"Nothing in the present stage of the affair," continued Mr. Carlyle,
as he passed through the gate to continue his way. "We can only wait
on again with what patience we may, hoping that time will bring about
its own elucidation."
Barbara pressed her forehead down on the cold iron of the gate as his
footsteps died away. "Aye, to wait on," she murmured, "to wait on in
dreary pain; to wait on, perhaps, for years, perhaps forever! And poor
Richard--wearing out his days in poverty and exile!"
GOING FROM HOME.
"I should recommend a complete change of scene altogether, Mr.
Carlyle. Say some place on the French or Belgian coast. Sea bathing
might do wonders."
"Should you think it well for her to go so far from home?"
"I should. In these cases of protracted weakness, where you can do
nothing but try to coax the strength back again, change of air and
scene are of immense benefit."
"I will propose it to her," said Mr. Carlyle.
"I have just done so," replied Dr. Martin, who was the other speaker.
"She met it with objection, which I expected, for invalids naturally
feel a disinclination to move from home. But it is necessary that she
The object of their conversation was Lady Isabel. Years had gone on,
and there were three children now at East Lynne--Isabel, William, and
Archibald--the latter twelve months old. Lady Isabel had, a month or
two back, been attacked with illness; she recovered from the disorder;
but it had left her in an alarming state of weakness; she seemed to
get worse instead of better, and Dr. Martin was summoned from
Lynneborough. The best thing he could recommend--as you save seen--was
change of air.
Lady Isabel was unwilling to take the advice; more especially to go so
far as the "French coast." And but for a circumstance that seemed to
have happened purposely to induce her to decide, would probably never
have gone. Mrs. Ducie--the reader may not have forgotten her name--
had, in conjunction with her husband, the honorable Augustus, somewhat
run out at the elbows, and found it convenient to enter for a time on
the less expensive life of the Continent. For eighteen months she had
been staying in Paris, the education of her younger daughters being
the plea put forth, and a very convenient plea it is, and serves
hundreds. Isabel had two or three letters from her during her absence,
and she now received another, saying they were going to spend a month
or two at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Mr. Carlyle, Mr. Wainwright, and Dr.
Martin--in short, everybody--declared this must remove all Lady
Isabel's unwillingness to go from home, for Mrs. Ducie's society would
do away with the loneliness she had anticipated, which had been the
ostensible score of her objection.
"Boulogne-sur-Mer, of all places, in the world!" remonstrated Lady
Isabel. "It is spoken of as being crowded and vulgar."
"The more amusing for you, my lady," cried Dr. Martin, while Mr.
Carlyle laughed at her. And finding she had no chance against them
all, she consented to go, and plans were hastily decided upon.
"Joyce," said Lady Isabel to her waiting maid, "I shall leave you at
home; I must take Wilson instead."
"Oh, my lady! What have I done?"
"You have done all that you ought, Joyce, but you must stay with the
children. If I may not take them, the next best thing will be to leave
them in your charge, not Miss Carlyle's," she said, shaking her voice;
"if it were Wilson who remained, I could not do that."
"My lady, I must do whatever you think best. I wish I could attend you
and stay with them, but of course I cannot do both."
"I am sent away to get health and strength, but it may be that I shall
die, Joyce. If I never come back, will you promise to remain with my
Joyce felt a creeping sensation in her veins, the sobs rose in her
throat, but she swallowed them down and constrained her voice to
calmness. "My lady, I hope you will come back to us as well as you
used to be. I trust you will hope so too, my lady, and not give way to
"I sincerely hope and trust I shall," answered Lady Isabel, fervently.
"Still, there's no telling, for I am very ill. Joyce, give me your
promise. In case of the worst, you will remain with the children."
"I will, my lady--as long as I am permitted."
"And be kind to them and love them, and shield them from--from--any
unkindness that may be put upon them," she added, her head full of
Miss Carlyle, "and talk to them sometimes of their poor mother, who is
"I will, I will--oh my lady, I will!" And Joyce sat down in the
rocking-chair as Lady Isabel quitted her, and burst into tears.
Mr. Carlyle and Lady Isabel, with Wilson and Peter in attendance,
arrived at Boulogne, and proceeded to the Hotel des Bains. It may be
as well to mention that Peter had been transferred from Miss Carlyle's
service to theirs, when the establishment was first formed at East
Lynne. Upon entering the hotel they inquired for Mrs. Ducie, and then
a disappointment awaited them. A letter was handed them which had
arrived that morning from Mrs. Ducie, expressing her regret that
certain family arrangements prevented her visiting Boulogne; she was
proceeding to some of the baths in Germany instead.
"I might almost have known it," remarked Isabel. "She was always the
most changeable of women."
Mr. Carlyle went out in search of lodgings, Isabel objecting to remain
in the bustling hotel. He succeeded in finding some very desirable
ones, situated in the Rue de l'Ecu, near the port, and they moved into
them. He thought the journey had done her good, for she looked better,
and said she already felt stronger. Mr. Carlyle remained with her
three days; he had promised only one, but he was pleased with
everything around him, pleased with Isabel's returning glimpses of
health, and amused with the scenes of the busy town.
The tide served at eight o'clock the following morning, and Mr.
Carlyle left by the Folkestone boat. Wilson made his breakfast, and
after swallowing it in haste, he returned to his wife's room to say
"Good-bye, my love," he said, stooping to kiss her, "take care of
"Give my dear love to the darlings, Archibald. And--and----"
"And what?" he asked. "I have not a moment to lose."
"Do not get making love to Barbara Hare while I am away."
She spoke in a tone half jest, half serious--could he but have seen
how her heart was breaking! Mr. Carlyle took it wholly as a jest, and
went away laughing. Had he believed she was serious, he could have
been little more surprised had she charged him not to go about the
country on a dromedary.
Isabel rose later, and lingered over her breakfast, listless enough.
She was wondering how she would make the next few weeks pass; what she
should do with her time. She had taken two sea baths since her
arrival, but they had appeared not to agree with her, leaving her low
and shivering afterwards, so it was not deemed advisable that she
should attempt more. It was a lovely morning, and she determined to
venture on to the pier, to where they had sat on the previous evening.
She had not Mr. Carlyle's arm, but it was not far, and she could take
a good rest at the end of it.
She went, attended by Peter, took her seat, and told him to come for
her in an hour. She watched the strollers on the pier as they had done
the previous evening; not in crowds now, but stragglers, coming on at
intervals. There came a gouty man, in a list shoe, there came three
young ladies and their governess, there came two fast puppies in
shooting jackets and eye-glasses, which they turned with a broad stare
on Lady Isabel; but there was something about her which caused them to
drop their glasses and their ill manners together. After an interval,
there appeared another, a tall, handsome, gentlemanly man. Her eyes
fell upon him; and--what was it that caused every nerve in her frame
to vibrate, every pulse to quicken? /Whose/ form was it that was thus
advancing and changing the monotony of her mind into tumult? It was
that of one whom she was soon to find had never been entirely
Captain Levison came slowly on, approaching the pier where she sat. He
glanced at her; not with the hardihood displayed by the two young men,
but with quite sufficiently evident admiration.
"What a lovely girl!" thought he to himself. "Who can she be, sitting
All at once a recollection flashed into his mind; he raised his hat
and extended his hand, his fascinating smile in full play.
"I certainly cannot be mistaken. Have I the honor of once more meeting
Lady Isabel Vane?"
She rose from the seat, and allowed him to take her hand, answering a
few words at random, for her wits seemed wool-gathering.
"I beg your pardon--I should have said Lady Isabel Carlyle. Time has
elapsed since we parted, and in the pleasure of seeing you again so
unexpectedly, I thought of you as you were then."
She sat down again, the brilliant flush of emotion dying away upon her
cheeks. It was the loveliest face Francis Levison had seen since he
saw hers, and he thought so as he gazed at it.
"What can have brought you to this place?" he inquired, taking a seat
"I have been ill," she explained, "and am ordered to the sea-side. We
should not have come here but for Mrs. Ducie; we expected to meet her.
Mr. Carlyle only left me this morning."
"Mrs. Ducie is off to Ems. I see them occasionally. They have been
fixtures in Paris for some time. You do indeed look ill," he abruptly
added, in a tone of sympathy, "alarmingly ill. Is there anything I can
do for you?"
She was aware that she looked unusually ill at that moment, for the
agitation and surprise of meeting him were fading away, leaving her
face an ashy whiteness. Exceedingly vexed and angry with herself did
she feel that the meeting should have power to call forth emotion.
Until that moment she was unconscious that she retained any sort of
feeling for Captain Levison.
"Perhaps I have ventured out too early," she said, in a tone that
would seem to apologize for her looks: "I think I will return. I shall
meet my servant, no doubt. Good-morning, Captain Levison."
"But indeed you do not appear fit to walk alone," he remonstrated.
"You must allow me to see you safely home."
Drawing her hand within his own quite as a matter of course, as he had
done many a time in days gone by, he proceeded to assist her down the
pier. Lady Isabel, conscious of her own feelings, felt that it was not
quite the thing to walk thus familiarly with him, but he was a sort of
relation of the family--a connection, at any rate--and she could find
no ready excuse for declining.
"Have you seen Lady Mount Severn lately?" he inquired.
"I saw her when I was in London this spring with Mr. Carlyle. The
first time we have met since my marriage; and we do not correspond.
Lord Mount Severn had paid us two or three visits at East Lynne. They
are in town yet, I believe."
"For all I know; I have not seen them, or England either, for ten
months. I have been staying in Paris, and got here yesterday."
"A long leave of absence," she observed.
"Oh, I have left the army. I sold out. The truth is, Lady Isabel--for
I don't mind telling you--things are rather down with me at present.
My old uncle has behaved shamefully; he has married again."
"I heard that Sir Peter had married."
"He is seventy-three--the old simpleton! Of course this materially
alters my prospects, for it is just possible he may have a son of his
own now; and my creditors all came down upon me. They allowed me to
run into debt with complacency when I was heir to the title and
estates, but as soon as Sir Peter's marriage appeared in the papers,
myself and my consequence dropped a hundred per cent; credit was
stopped, and I dunned for payment. So I thought I'd cut it altogether,
and I sold out and came abroad."
"Leaving your creditors?"
"What else could I do? My uncle would not pay them, or increase my
"What are your prospects then?" resumed Lady Isabel.
"Prospects! Do you see that little ragged boy throwing stones into the
harbor?--it is well the police don't drop upon him,--ask him what his
prospects are, and he will stare you in the face, and say, 'None.'
Mine are on a like par."
"You may succeed Sir Peter yet."
"I may, but I may not. When those old idiots get a young wife--"
"Have you quarreled with Sir Peter?" interrupted Lady Isabel.
"I should quarrel with him as he deserves, if it would do any good,
but I might get my allowance stopped. Self interest, you see, Lady
Isabel, is the order of the day with most of us."
"Do you propose staying in Boulogne long?"
"I don't know. As I may find amusement. Paris is a fast capital, with
its heated rooms and its late hours, and I came down for the
refreshment of a few sea dips. Am I walking too fast for you?"
"You increased your pace alarmingly when you spoke of Sir Peter's
marriage. And I am not sorry for it," she added, good-naturedly, "for
it has proved to me how strong I am getting. A week ago I could not
have walked half so fast."
He interrupted with eager apologies, and soon they reached her home.
Captain Levison entered with her--uninvited. He probably deemed
between connections great ceremonies might be dispensed with, and he
sat a quarter of an hour, chatting to amuse her. When he rose, he
inquired what she meant to do with herself in the afternoon.
"To lie down," replied Isabel. "I am not strong enough to sit up all
"Should you be going out afterwards, you must allow me to take care of
you," he observed. "I am glad that I happened to be here, for I am
sure you are not fit to wander out without an arm, and only followed
by a servant. When Mr. Carlyle comes, he will thank me for my pains."
What was she to urge in objection? Simply nothing. He spoke, let us
not doubt, from a genuine wish to serve her, in a plain, easy tone, as
any acquaintance might speak. Lady Isabel schooled herself severely.
If those old feelings were not quite dead within her, why, she must
smother them down again as effectually as if they were; the very fact
of recognizing such to her own heart, brought a glow of shame to her
brow. She would meet Captain Levison, and suffer his companionship, as
she would that of the most indifferent stranger.
It was just the wrong way for her to go to work, though.
As the days passed on, Lady Isabel improved wonderfully. She was soon
able to go to the sands in the morning and sit there to enjoy the sea
air, watching the waves come up to recede with the tide. She made no
acquaintance whatever in the place, and when she had a companion it
was Captain Levison. He would frequently join her there, sometimes
take her, almost always give her his arm home. Of all things, she
disliked the having to take his arm, would a thousand times over
rather have taken good old Peter's. A secret prick of the conscience
whispered it might be better if she did not. One day she said, in a
joking sort of manner--she would not say it in any other--that now she
was strong, she had no need of his arm and his escort. He demanded, in
evident astonishment, what had arisen that he might not still afford
it, seeing her husband was not with her to give her his. She had no
answer in reply to this, no excuse to urge, and, in default of one,
took his arm, as usual. In the evening he would be ready to take her
to the pier, but they sat apart, mixing not with the bustling crowd--
he lending to his manner, as he conversed with her, all that he would
call up of fascination--and fascination, such as Francis Levison's,
might be dangerous to any ear, in the sweet evening twilight. The walk
over, he left her at her own door; she never asked him in in the
evening, and he did not intrude without, as he sometimes would of a
Now, where was the help for this? You may say that she should have
remained indoors, and not have subjected herself to his companionship.
But the remaining indoors would not have brought her health, and it
was health that she was staying in Boulogne to acquire, and the sooner
it came the better pleased she would be, for she wanted to be at home
with her husband and children.
In a fortnight from the period of his departure, Mr. Carlyle was
expected in Boulogne. But what a marvellous change had this fortnight
wrought in Lady Isabel! She did not dare to analyze her feelings, but
she was conscious that all the fresh emotions of her youth had come
again. The blue sky seemed as of the sweetest sapphire, the green
fields and waving trees were of an emerald brightness, the perfume of
the flowers was more fragrant than any perfume had yet seemed. She
knew that the sky, that the grassy plains, the leafy trees, the
brilliant flowers, were but as they ever had been; she knew that the
sunny atmosphere possessed no more of loveliness or power of imparting
delight than of old; and she knew that the change, the sensation of
ecstacy, was in her own heart. No wonder that she shrank from self-
The change from listless languor to her present feeling brought the
hue and contour of health to her face far sooner than anything else
could have done. She went down with Captain Levison to meet Mr.
Carlyle, the evening he came in, and when Mr. Carlyle saw her behind
the cords, as he was going to the custom-house, he scarcely knew her.
Her features had lost their sharpness, her cheeks wore a rosy flush,
and the light of pleasure at meeting him again shone in her eyes.
"What can you have been doing to yourself, my darling?" he uttered in
delight as he emerged from the custom-house and took her hands in his.
"You look almost well."
"Yes, I am much better, Archibald, but I am warm now and flushed. We
have waited here some time, and the setting sun was full upon us. How
long the boat was in coming in!"
"The wind was against us," replied Mr. Carlyle, wondering who the
exquisite was at his wife's side. He thought he remembered his face.
"Captain Levison," said Lady Isabel. "I wrote you word in one of my
letters that he was here. Have you forgotten it?" Yes, it had slipped
from his memory.
"And I am happy that it happened so," said that gentleman,
interposing, "for it has enabled me to attend Lady Isabel in some of
her walks. She is stronger now, but at first she was unfit to venture
"I feel much indebted to you," said Mr. Carlyle, warmly.
The following day was Sunday, and Francis Levison was asked to dine
with them--the first meal he had been invited to in the house. After
dinner, when Lady Isabel left them, he grew confidential over his
claret to Mr. Carlyle, laying open all his intricate affairs and his
cargo of troubles.
"This compulsory exile abroad is becoming intolerable," he concluded;
"and a Paris life plays the very deuce with one. Do you see any chance
of my getting back to England?"
"Not the least," was the candid answer, "unless you can manage to
satisfy or partially satisfy those claims you have been telling me of.
Will not Sir Peter assist you?"
"I believe he would, were the case fairly represented to him; but how
am I to get over to do it? I have written several letters to him
lately, and for some time I got no reply. Then came an epistle from
Lady Levison; not short and sweet, but short and sour. It was to the
effect that Sir Peter was ill, and could not at present be troubled
with business matters."
"He cannot be very ill," remarked Mr. Carlyle; "he passed through West
Lynne, in his open carriage, a week ago."
"He ought to help me," grumbled Captain Levison. "I am his heir, so
long as Lady Levison does not give him one. I do not hear that she has
"You should contrive to see him."
"I know I should; but it is not possible under present circumstances.
With these thunder-clouds hanging over me, I dare not set foot in
England, and run the risk to be dropped upon. I can stand a few
things, but I shudder at the bare idea of a prison. Something peculiar
in my idiosyncrasy, I take it, for those who have tried it, say that
it's nothing when you're used to it."
"Some one might see him for you."
"Some one--who? I have quarreled with my lawyers, Sharp & Steel, of
"Keen practitioners," put in Mr. Carlyle.
"Too keen for me. I'd send them over the herring-pond if I could. They
have used me shamefully since my uncle's marriage. If ever I do come
into the Levison estates they'll be ready to eat their ears off; they
would like a finger in a pie with such property as that."
"Shall I see Sir Peter Levison for you?"
"/Will/ you?" returned Captain Levison, his dark eyes lighting up.
"If you like as your friend, you understand; not as your solicitor;
that I decline. I have a slight knowledge of Sir Peter; my father was
well acquainted with him; and if I can render you any little service,
I shall be happy, in return for your kind attention to my wife. I
cannot promise to see him for those two or three weeks, though,"
resumed Mr. Carlyle, "for we are terribly busy. I never was so driven;
but for being so I should stay here with my wife."
Francis Levison expressed his gratitude, and the prospect, however
remote, of being enabled to return to England increased his spirits to
exultation. Whilst they continued to converse, Lady Isabel sat at the
window in the adjoining room, listlessly looking out on the crowds of
French who were crowding to and from the port in their Sunday holiday
attire. Looking at them with her eyes, not with her senses--her senses
were holding commune with herself, and it was not altogether
satisfactory--she was aware that a sensation all too warm, a feeling
of attraction toward Francis Levison, was working within her. Not a
voluntary one; she could no more repress it than she could repress her
own sense of being; and, mixed with it, was the stern voice of
conscience, overwhelming her with the most lively terror. She would
have given all she possessed to be able to overcome it. She would have
given half the years of her future life to separate herself at once
and forever from the man.
But do not mistake the word terror, or suppose that Lady Isabel
Carlyle applied it here in the vulgar acceptation of the term. She did
not fear for herself; none could be more conscious of self-rectitude
of principle and conduct; and she would have believed it as impossible
for her ever to forsake her duty as a wife, a gentlewoman, and a
Christian, as for the sun to turn round from west to east. That was
not the fear which possessed her; it had never presented itself to her
mind; what she did fear was, that further companionship with Francis
Levison might augment the sentiments she entertained for him to a
height that her life, for perhaps years to come, would be one of
unhappiness, a sort of concealment; and, more than all, she shrank
form the consciousness of the bitter wrong that these sentiments cast
upon her husband.
"Archibald, I have a favor to ask you," she said, after Captain
Levison's departure. "Take me back with you."
"Impossible, my love. The change is doing you so much good; and I took
the apartments for six weeks. You must at least remain that time."
The color flowed painfully into her cheek. "I cannot stay without you,
"Tell me why."
"I am so dull without you," was all she could say. He felt that this
was not reason enough for altering an arrangement that was so
beneficial to her; so he left her the following morning, commending
her to the continued care of Captain Levison.
QUITTING THE DANGER.
Lady Isabel was seated on one of the benches of the Petit Camp, as it
is called, underneath the ramparts of the upper tower. A week or ten
days had passed away since the departure of Mr. Carlyle, and in her
health there was a further visible improvement.
It was still evening, cool for July; no sound was heard save the hum
of the summer insects, and Lady Isabel sat in silence with her
companion, her rebellious heart beating with a sense of its own
happiness. But for the voice of conscience, strong within her; but for
the sense of right and wrong; but for the existing things; in short,
but that she was a wife, she might have been content to sit by his
side forever, never to wish to move or to break the silence. Did he
read her feelings? He told her, months afterward, that he did; but it
may have been a vain boast, an excuse.
"Do you remember the evening, Lady Isabel, just such a one as this,
that we all passed at Richmond?" he suddenly asked. "Your father, Mrs.
Vane, you, I and others?"
"Yes, I remember it. We had spent a pleasant day; the two Miss
Challoners were with us. You drove Mrs. Vane home, and I went with
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