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crimes, and perhaps to be more dis- it was in this frame of mind that posed to petty vengeances than a man he had come here. He meant to believe who is placed in the position of an nobody save when they warned him example to others ought to be ; and of plots against himself : to trust whereas he had always been disposed nothing save that all the world was to consider himself a sacred person, in a league to work him harm. But above the ordinary slights of fortune, for this determined pre-conclusion, he this tendency had grown and strength- might perhaps have been less certain ened so, that every petty pin-prick of his sister's enmity to himself, and was like a poisoned arrow to him. of the baseness of the deception she By natural laws of reverberation he was practising ; but he had no doubt heard more evil of himself, had more whatever on this matter now. And mishaps in the way of gossip, of re- he meant to expose her remorselessly. ceiving letters not intended for him, Why should he mince matters? His and otherwise surprising the senti

father was

an old man and might ments of his neighbours than almost die at any moment, and this villainy any one else ever had—which had ought to be exposed at once. made him suspicious of his neighbours With these thoughts in his mind he in the highest degree and ready to went round to the great door. How believe every small offence a pre- different was the grey north-country meditated insult. This perhaps made house from anything he was used to ! him all the more ready to believe that The thought of his snug parsonage his sister had conceived a villanous embosomed in greenery, roses climbing plan against him and his. He would to the chimney-stacks, clustering about not have done such a thing himself ; all the windows, soft velvet lawns but was not his life full of such and strict inclosures keeping all attempts made upon him by others ? sacred-made him shiver at sight of the everybody almost whom he encoun- irregular building, the masses of ivy, tered having one time or other con- fostering damp, the open approach, a spired against his hopes or bappiness. common road free to everybody. If it But he had always found out the plots ever was his, or rather when it was in time. It was true that this villainy his--for these supposititious children might be John's, of whom he would would soon be done away with, and have believed anything; and Mary her- John, a man under the ban of the law, self might be the dupe; but most likely how could he ever appear to claim his it was Mary, who did not like him nor inheritance ?- when it was his, he his wife, and who would no doubt be would soon make a difference. He capable of anything to banish him would bring forward the boundaries of finally from Penninghame, and set the Chase so as to inclose the Castle. up there

creature of her He would make the road into a stately This was the idea which had

avenue as it once was and ought to be. come into his mind, when he heard What did it matter who objected ? He accidentally of the arrival which had would do it; let the village burst with made so much commotion in the north rage. The very idea of exasperating country. He had talked it over with the village and making 't own his his wife till they both saw gunpowder power, made the idea all the more deplots, and conspiracies incalculable lightful. He would soon change all this; in it. “ You had better go and see let it but get into his hands. In the into it yourself,” Mrs. Randolph said. midst of these thoughts, however, “I will,” was the Rector's energetic Randolph met a somewhat ludicrous reply. “And believe nobody, believe rebuff from Eastwood, who opened the nothing but what you see with your door suddenly and softly as was his own eyes.” “Never! I will put faith fashion, as if he hoped to find the in nobody,” Randolph had said. And visitorout in something improper.




“Who shall I say, sir ?” said East- The Squire thought this was the fruit wood, deferentially. This gave Ran- of his own self-denial, and it gave him dolph a sense of the most ludicrous dis- that glow of conscious virtue which comfiture; for to be asked what name was once supposed to be the appropriis to be announced when you knock at ate and unfailing reward of good the door of your father's house is a actions, till conscious virtue went out curious sensation. It was nobody's of fashion. This was sweet; and it fault unless it might have been was sweet to go and look at the new Randolph's own, but the feeling was fields which restored the old boundary disagreeable. He stood for a moment of Penninghame estate in that direcdumb, staring at the questioner—then tion; but such gratifications cease to striding inside the door, pushed East- be sustaining to life after a time. wood out of his way.

When he was And Mr. Musgrave was dull sitting within, however, somewhat conciliated among his books; the sounds by the alarmed aspect of the butler, in his

ears which he was always hearing who did not know whether to resist or -the far-off ring of voices that what to say, he changed his mind. made him sensible of those inmates

“ I don't want to startle my father," in his house whom he never noticed, he said ; “say Mr. Randolph Mus

who were

to him

as if they did grave has arrived."

not exist. When the mind is not “I beg your pardon humbly, sir,” very closely occupied, sounds thus cried Eastwood.

heard in the house come strangely “ No, no, it was not your fault," across the quiescent spirit of the soliRandolph replied. It was not the tary. Voices beloved are as music, are servant's fault ; but it was their fault as sunshine, conveying a sense of hapwho had made his home a place of dis- piness and soft exhilaration. Heargrace, and no longer a fit home for ing them far off, though beyond the him.

reach of hearing, so to speak, does The Squire was seated among his not the very distant sound, the tone books, feeling the drowsy influence of of love in them, make work sweet the afternoon. He had no Monograph and the air warm, softening everyto support his soul, and no better occu- thing round the recluse? But these pation than to rummage dully through were not voices beloved. The old the records of antiquity, cheered up man listened to them-or rather not and enlivened if he found something permitting himself to listen, heard to reply to in Notes and Queries, but them acutely through the mist of a otherwise living a heavy kind of half- separation which he did not choose animate life. When the critiques and to overcome. They were like somethe letters about that Monograph had thing from another world, voices. ended, what a blank there was ! and no in the air, inarticulate, mysterious, other work was at band to make up, or known, yet unknown. He turned the to tempt him to further exertions. leaves idly when these strange sugThe corner of land that he desired to gestions came to him in his solitude ; attain had been bought, and had given he had nothing to do with them, and him pleasure ; but after a while the yet so much. This was how he was eyes are satisfied with the contempla- sitting, dully wistful, in that stillness tion, and the mind almost satisfied of age which when it is not glad must with the calculation, of so many

addi- be sad, and hearing almost as if he tional acres added to the property. were already a ghost out of his grave, The sweetness of it lay in the thought the strange yet familiar stir in the that the property was growing, that unseen stairs and passages, the movethere was sufficient elasticity in the ments of the kindly housefamily income to make the acquisition “Mr. Randolph Musgrave." The of even a little bit of land possible. Squire was very much startled by the


our own course.

He rose hastily and stood be told that you look well for your leaning upon his writing-table to see time of life - unless indeed you are who it was that followed Eastwood ninety, and the time of life is itself into the room after a minute's interval. a matter of pride. The Squire knew It seemed scarcely possible to him that he was old, and that soon he must it could be his son. “Randolph !” he resign his place to others; but he did said. The children's voices had made not care for such a distinct intimation him think, in spite of himself, of the that others thought so too. time—was it centuries ago ?—when “I am very well," he said, curtly. there were two small things running “You are so completely a stranger, about those old passages continually Randolph, that I cannot make the and a beautiful young mother smil- usual remarks on your personal aping upon them-and him. This

pearance. You deny me the opporhad softened his heart, though by tunity of judging if you look ill or means which he would not have ac

well." knowledged. He looked out eagerly “Ah,” said Randolph, “that is with a sensation of pleasure and relief just what I said. We must all run for his son. He would (perhaps) take

My duties are at the Randolph's advice, perhaps get some other end of England, and I cannot be enlightenment from him. But the always running back and forward ; but shock set his nerves off, and made him I hope to stay a few days now if you tremulous, though it was a shock of will have me. Relations should see pleasure ; and it hurt his pride so to each other now and then. I have just be seen trembling, that he held him- had a glimpse of Mary in the old hall self up strained and rigid against his as usual. She did not know me at table.«

Randolph ! you are a stranger, first, nor, I daresay, if I had not seen indeed,” he said, and his countenance her there, should I have known her”. lighted up with a cloudy and tremulous “Mary is little changed," said the smile.

Squire. (“Strange that he never was seen So

you think, sir, seeing her every here before in my time,” said East- day; but there is a great change from wood as he withdrew. “I've seen a what she was ten years ago. She was many queer things in families, but

still a young woman then, and handnever nothing more queer than this

I am afraid even family partwo sons as never have been seen in tiality cannot call her anything but an the house, and children as the Squire old maid now.” won't give in he owns them. I thought Mr. Musgrave did not make any he'd have walked right straight over reply. He was not a particularly little master Saturday last as if no one affectionate father, but Mary was part was there. But I don't like the looks of himself, and it did not please him of 'im. When he's master here I to hear her spoken of so. march, and that I can tell you-pretty And, by the by,” said Randolph, fast, Missis Cook.”

“how did such a thing happen I “Master Randolph? He'll never wonder { for she was handsome ;be master here, thank God for it,” said handsome and well-born, and with a Cook with pious fervour, (6 or more little money. It is

odd she never than you will

has married. Was there anything Yes," said Randolph, walking in, to account for it? or is it mere ill“I have been a stranger, but how can luck?" we help that? It is life that separates “ Ill-luck to whom?said the

We must all run our own course. Squire. “Do you think perhaps your I hope you are well, sir. You look sister never had the chance, as people well, for your time of life.”

say? You may dismiss that idea from It is not a pleasant thing to your mind. She has had enough of







chances. I don't know any reason; fectly right. I am an old man, and but there must have been one I sup- nobody can tell what an hour may pose. Either that nobody came whom bring forth." she cared for, or- - I really cannot form “That is true at every age,” said any other idea,” he concluded sharply. Randolph, with professional seriousIt was certain that he would not have

“The idea ought to be familiar Mary discussed.

to the youngest among us.

In the “ I meant no harm,” said Randolph. midst of life we are in death. I re“She has got the old hall very nicely commend everybody over whom I have done up. It is not a place I would the least influence to settle their affairs, myself care to keep up, if the Castle so that they may not leave a nest of were in my hands ; but she has made domestic contentions behind them. It it very nice. I found her there with- is only less important than needful among her favourite studies,” he spiritual preparation, which of course added, after a momentary pause.

It should be our first care.” was too early to begin direct


the “Just so,” said Mr. Musgrave. “I chapter of the children he felt. The

presume you don't mean to bring me Squire did not show any sign of special to book on that point ? ” understanding. He nodded his head Certainly not, sir—unless there is in assent.

any special point upon which I could “She was always fond of the hall,” be of use; but you are as well able to he said. “I used to think she suited judge as I am, and have access to all it. And now that she is—past her the authorities,” said Randolph with youth, as you say

dignity. “Besides, there is your own “ Well into middle age I say, sir,

say, sir, clergyman at hand, who is, no doubt, like other people ; which is a more quite equal to the duties of his posiserious affair for a woman than for a tion. It is old Pennithorne, is it man ; but I suppose all hopes are not ?” he added, with a momentary over now. She is not likely to marry lapse into a more familiar tone. “But at her time of life." This was the there is no question of that. In such second time he had mentioned the matters a man of your experience, sir, time of life. And the Squire did not ought to be able to instruct the best like it ; he answered curtly

of us.” “No, I don't think it likely that “The bench of bishops even,” said Mary will marry. But yourself, Ran

the Squire, “sometimes I think I dolph, how are things going with you? could-at my time of my life. But You have not come so far merely to that is not the question, as you say.” calculate your sister's chances. Your “No, indeed not to

say that

my wife is well, I hope ; and your best advice in every way is at your

service, sir; but I thought very likely “Quite well. You are right in that it would be an ease to your mind thinking, sir, that I did not come to see me, to give me any instructions without an object. We are all getting or directions-in short, to feel that on in life. I thought it only proper your nealest representative understood that there should be some under- your wishes, whatever might happen." standing among us to family Now Randolph was evidently his affairs something decided in case father's representative, John being out of any emergency.

We all of the question ; and that John was mortal

absolutely out of the question, not “And I the most mortal of all, only from external circumstances, but you will'say at my time of life, from the strong prejudice and preposRandolph," said the Squire with a session against him in his father's mind, smile, which was far from genial. was certain. Yet the Squire resented “I daresay you are quite right, per- this assumption as much as if John

boy ?”





had been his dearly-beloved son and “Then, am I to understand," said apparent heir.

Randolph, sharply; rising, yet holdThanks,” he said, “I feel your ing back, “ that your mind is changing care for my comfort-but after ali

you as old age gains upon you, that you are not my direct representative.” are going to accept the disgrace of the

“Sir !" cried Randolph, reddening; family? and that it is with your “need I remind you of the disabilities, sanction that Mary is receiving, adoptthe nullity of all natural rights

ing" "You need not remind me of any- He stopped overawed in spite of thing," said Mr. Musgrave, getting himself, by the old man's look, who up hurriedly. “I don't care to dis- stood with his face fixed looking cuss that question—or anything else towards him, restraining with all his of the kind. Suppose we go and join

force the tremor of his nerves. The Mary, who must be in the drawing- Squire had been subject all his life to room, I suppose? It is she after all sudden fits of passion, and had got the who is really my representative, habit of subduing, by ignoring them, knowing everything about my affairs.” as all his family well knew. He made

“She-is a woman,” said Randolph, no reply, but the restrained fire in his with a tone of contempt.

eyes impressed even the dull imagina« That is undeniable-but women tion of his son, who was pertinacious are not considered exactly as they used rather than daring, and had no force to be in such matters.'

in him to stand against passion. Mr. “I hope, sir," said the clergyman, Musgrave turned round quickly, and with dignity ; “that neither my sister took

up his book which lay on a table nor you add your influence to the foolish movement about women's Mary sent you a copy of the rights.”

Monograph ?” he said, “but I don't Do you mean that Mary does not

remember that you gave me your want a vote?” said the squire. "No, opinion of it. It has had a very flatI don't suppose it has occurred to her. tering reception generally. I could We add our influence to very few not have expected so much interest in public movements, Randolph, bad or the public mind on a question of such good. The Musgraves are not what exclusive family interest.

But so it they once were in the county; the has been. I have kept all the notices, leading part we once took is taken by and the letters I have received on the others who are richer than we are. subject. You shall see them by and Progress is not the thing for old by; and I think


will families, for progress means money."

me, that a more flattering reception “ There are other reasons why the could scarcely have been. All sorts Musgraves do not take their proper of people have written to me. place. I have hopes, sir," said Ran- appears," said the Squire, with modest dolph, “that under more favourable pride,“ that I have really been able to circumstances-if we, perhaps, were throw some light upon a difficulty. to draw more together

After dinner, Randolph, if you are “What do you mean, sir?” said the interested, you shall see my collection." Squire, “it was you who separated • My time is short,” said Randolph, yourself from us, not us from you. “and with so many more serious You were too good, being a clergyman, matters to discussas you said, to stand the odium of our “I know few things more serious position. That's enough, Randolph. It than the history of the family honours," is not an agreeable subject. Let us said the Squire, “especially as you dismiss it as it has been dismissed these have a boy to inherit the old family fifteen years; and come- to Mary's blazon; but we'll go into all that this part of the house.”

evening, as your stay is to be short.

agree with


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