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ble alternative. This he had done in a let “ Tell me then, to whom I can apply— ter, to which Miss Letitia had replied ; not what course I can take, so that he may not accepting his proposal certainly, but declin- be utterly friendless when his trial comes ing it with so much gratitude and friendli-on,” she said, earnestly. 6. What is to beness that it was generally supposed the pub- come of his wife and children? If you could licity of the affair was owing to Mr. Parkins see their distress I am sure you would have having been discovered opening Miss Letitia's pity on him.” letter on the top of a tea-canister, and sob “Mr. Colley of Braxelford will transact bing “ God bless her kind heart !” when he any business for you, I have no doubt, Miss had finished reading it. She little knew how Nevil,” replied Mr. Wortleby, coldly.
• Did much this offer of marriage had lowered her you lay something down on the table ? ” in Mr. Wortleby's estimation.
She looked in his face, and saw that farBut breakfast, however lengthened out by ther entreaty would be in vain. She went human caprice or ingenuity, will not last for- out hopelessly. Mr. Colley of Braxelford ever, and after Miss Letitia had waited was a practitioner of evil report: to him it patiently for the greater part of an hour, Mr. was impossible for her to apply. She had Wortleby descended to his room.
The clerk not gone
in the direction of Beauchamp had placed a chair for her opposite to the when she met Tom Morland, who was struck one invariably occupied by Mr. Wortleby, by the unusually anxious look in her face. which stood with its back towards the win “ You cannot help me,” she said, when, in dow. Why does the light always fall on the answer to his inquiries, she had detailed the client's face, and never on his counsellor's ? case. “ In your position, it would be almost No matter what the standing of a solicitor an encouragement to crime to attempt to is, the characteristics of his private room screen a poacher from the justice of the laws, never materially rary. The man who makes and you do not know, as I do, what his ten or twelve thousand a year is not more temptation has been.” daintily lodged during his business hours than “ You have helped me too often to make the small attorney who makes five hundred; me hesitate on such a point,” replied Tom. the wooden boxes may have titled names “I will see that he is properly defended. At painted on them instead of plebeian ones, all events, we may be able to save him from but the difference goes no further. Mr. a long sentence.' Wortleby did not shake hands with Miss “Oh! thank you, thank you, Mr. MorNevil; it would have been an unnecessary land,” she said, eagerly.
But it is my familiarity. IIe sat down, and waited stifly work—a part of my mission here—and I can for her to state her business. She did so in well afford the expense,” she added, trying brief words.
to smile as Tom looked disquieted at the sug“ Reuben Bates was taken before the mag- gestion. In his heart he doubted the fact. istrates yesterday for poaching, Mr. Wor He had been nearly a year in Beauchamp. tleby, and he has been sent to be tried at Every month had served to concentrate his the assizes. I understand they begin next interest moro completely on his parish, which, week. I have come to beg you to let some like most agricultural districts, was devoid one from
your office to watch his case, and of any striking feature. His life was not to ask
you is the expense of engaging coun- likely to provoke any man to write a biographsel will be beyond my means.”
ical account of it-surely the meanest injury She laid two sovereigns down on the table that one human being can inflict on another, as she spoke, and seemed to wait for his an- when the grave can give 'forth no denial, no swer with some anxiety. Mr. Wortleby justification, no contempt even for ill-deserved looked at her suspiciously.
or wrongly-placed praise. He had labored " It is not the first time,” he said, “ that hard, and had effected much. By dint of you have appealed to me in behalf of this urgent representations to the landlords, drains
Of course I am not aware what claim had been made where mud was once ramhe can have upon you. As regards myself, pant; by force of carnest counsel at least a I am bound to prosecute him, as the repre- third of the swaggering hunters of the leersentative of the owner of the land on which houses were adopting habits of semi-sobriety. the offence was committed."
To influence a man so far as to induce him to
give up getting drunk more than two or three relative, he had never cared for any human times a year was to go far towards saving soul being as he cared for Miss Letitia. It was and body also. All this Tom had done : but months before he owned it to himself; before a woman had done more. “Miss Letitia,” he felt something like disappointment when as she was called, -and Tom had acquired he watched her face, and saw no change in the habit of addressing her in the same fash- its expression when he came or went. A ion,—had passed nearly sixteen years in acts friendly greeting, frank confidence, ready of mercy and charity. She had kept many sympathy : all these he found, but not love. a poor family together : she had saved hus- Sometimes he tried to persuade himself that band and wife, mother and young children, he ought to be happy in being able to see her from the separation entailed by the Union, as often as he did ; that posssibly she might hy help given liberally, given regularly, and never marry,-it was certain, he thought, how hardly earned ! as Tom used to think, that he never should ; they would grow old with something like anguish, as he learnt in this monotonous life, half dream-like, half from time to time what she had done before real; the ties that hound her to the objects he came to the parish. She had watched by which were to be all in all to him to the end of siek beds : she had taught in the schools. It his days, would strengthen her friendship for wa. her influence alone that had prevented him, and the end of all things would come. Beauchamp from sinking irremediably into And then he would start up, feeling as if he vice at the period when the culpable inactiv- could never live out the time till his heart ity of Mr. Nugent had left his flock uncared should cease to be stirred at the sound of her for. To all who had been connected with his voice. But there were moments of reaction family she devoted herself unceasingly. The when he deliberated ; should he speak to her man who had been charged with poaching in such a way that she need not withdraw had been groom to Mr. Nugent's son; his her friendship from him, even if she could companion, it was said, in many wild frolics. give him nothing more ; should he tell her It was not the first time he had been in that he had found out a void in his life which trouble ; on each occasion Miss Letitia had she only could fill up; that a thirst had come held out a helping hand to him when he came upon him for that sense of home which he back with a sullen face and a lagging step could never realize without her. A clever from his six weeks' imprisonment. How did writer has declared that there is an out-ofshe find the means to do so much? Some-the-way corner in every man's mind where times Tom, on going to the cottage of the old Superstition, like a slovenly housemaid, widow with whom he lived, observed books sweeps up all sorts of bits and scraps; and of German fairy tales, a dictionary, and a there is, undoubtedly, a little green sward in heap of manuscripts by the side of them. He every man's heart, to the last day of his exhad seen packets at the post-office directed in istence, sometimes parched up for lack of Miss Letitia’s handwriting to a publisher of moisture, sometimes scorched by the breath children's books in London. From these cir- of passion, but always ready to spring up in cumstances he concluded that she helped to brightness and freshness, give it but some eke out her livelihood by the work of trans- revivifying influence. Though we may not lation. Did he care how she earned bread care to acknowledge the fact, romance is for herself and others? In his long, solitary never wholly at an end. walk across the common, and by tle side of One evening, in a bright spring sunset, the little river that mirrored the hard wintry Tom returned home after several hours' abboughs which overhung it; in the evenings sence, and seating himself at his trellised when, pile the logs on as he might, and draw window, spread out his writing materials the curtains across his windows as closely as before him. But he must have found his he would, he yet felt himself a homeless man task either a difficult or a painful one, for be for want of a face that should turn to his. Tom's sat for some time with his head in his hands thoughts ran ever on what Miss Letitia did, before he applied himself to it. He requested what Miss Letitia thought, what Miss Letitia the person he addressed to furnish him with said. Since his boyhood, when he had loved information respecting George Nugent, son his sister with an enthusiastic affection which of the late Rev. George Nugent, rector of a beautiful woman often inspires in a younger Beauchamp, who had sailed from England for
Australia on the 17th of August, 1843, in vices of the village band, and invited the the merchant vessel Ariadne, and who had presence of the “ Green,” which verdant but written to his family on his arrival at Sydney, unwieldy emblem of the day was to be decoannouncing his intention of going into the rated with flowers from his own garden. bush to seek employment. He had been Several customs which had fallen into desueheard of last in 1849, when a settler return- tude were scarcely worth revival. The erecing to England had stated that George Nu- tion of a greasy pole, with a leg of mutton on gent had some time previously been occupied the top; the sale of a flabby kind of cheeseas a shepherd in the interior of the country. cake, called a Beauchamp custard, for the The letter went on to state that the writer making of which every third person in the would send a check for whatever amount village became temporarily a confectioner : might be necessary for securing the informa- these were doings of doubtful pleasure and tion he required. The envelope was addressed profit. Tom depended rather upon the judito a late inspector of police, who had opened cious commingling of rich and poor, the exa Private Inquiry Office in London. When cellence of his home-brewed, and the strong the letter was sent to the post, Tom began to animal spirits of the children, whose enjoythink how and why he had written it. He ment was to be his first consideration. He had
gone to Miss Letitia’s cottage on some had invited several of his neighbors, and fine small matter of parochial business. Some weather alone was needful to make his little thing, he could not remember what, had fête-day go off pleasantly. brought the words to his lips that he had On this 30th of April, therefore, Tom's been hesitating over so long; he could not hands were full of business. It is not to be recall half he had said, or how she had re- supposed that a bachelor expecting on the plied. He only know that she had told him morrow thirty or forty private guests, in adthat for fourteen years she had been George dition to a large public assemblage, can be Nugent’s promised wife, and that though she without various hospitable cares ; and he had never heard from him, could learn no tidings been so absorbed in considering whether the of him by any means, she lived on in faith round of beef and the sirloin, and the two and hope, waiting for the day when he should hams and the pigeon-pies, would be enough come back and claim her. Then he had said for the cold dinner that was to be laid in his and his voice was broken and his eyes were dining-room, that the circumstances which blinded as he spoke-could he help her? had weighed down his spirits a few weeks could he do anything for her that a hrother back, were almost driven from his recollecmight do? and he had promised-oh, poor tion. All the morning his attention had been Tom !-that if George Nugent were alive, no to detail, and that of a very matter-of-fact matter where he was, he would bring him character : how many teaspoons he was posback to Miss Letitia.
sessed of; where the fat ponies that drew the various little four-wheeled carriages which he
expected, could be put up; even the recipe All Beauchamp was in a state of excite- for syllabub in his housekeeper's cookeryment on the 30th of April. In former days book, the excellence of which he somehow a fair had been held there on May-day, but it doubted. had gradually degenerated with the fortunes But all these questions were settled at last, of the village, and for several years past had and Tom's mind grew casy towards evening served only as an excuse for certain disorderly on the score of his next day's responsibilities. revels which the rural police of the district In the midst of his last injunctions to his were powerless in attempting to put down. household, he heard with some surprise the Tom had devised a plan which he thought voice of the village post-mistress asking to would neutralize much of its evil effect. He see him. She was a hard-working woman, gave notice some time previously that he who kept a shop in which every necessary of should give a feast to the school-children in life was to be sold, with the exception of the the rectory meadow on May-day, on which few articles she was perpetually “out of.”' occasion he offered a prize to the cricket club, “ I've got a letter for you, Mr. Morland,” and arranged an unusually good match with she said, “ which ought by rights to have the Chanleigh players. He engaged the ser- been delivered this morning. When I was
a-sorting of the letters and a-putting of them Tom led the way in, feeling more as if he into the different bags, Mrs. Carter's Susan were moving in a dream than in actual life. comes into the shop with the youngest child He rang for lights while his guest looked in her arms, which she sits down on the coun-round the room, into which darkness was ter, and she asks for half a pound of treacle : falling fast, and his eye seemed to note some of course I got the jar down, and just as I trifling changes. take the lid off, she changes her mind. Mrs. 6. Don't mention my name before your peoCarter's Susan is always a-changing of her ple,” he said, hurriedly, and for several minmind, and she says, “ No, Mrs. Barnet, I'll utes both men were too busy with their own have half-a-pound of golden syrup instead,' thoughts to speak farther. and I go to the last shelf next my back-parlor When the lights came, an irrepressible door to get it, and while I'm gone I suppose feeling of curiosity prompted Tom to look at Mrs. Carter's youngest child—which is a boy, George Nugent. He sat opposite to Tom at Mr. Morland—takes up one of the letters I've the table, moody and dejected looking. He been a-sorting of, and lets it fall into the jar had a tanned weather-beaten face, overgrown of treacle, for there I found it not half an with a long bushy beard. There was some
thing in the expression of his features which Mrs. Barnet unfolded a clean blue and said, “' Fate has done her worst with me, but white handkerchief as she spoke, and dis- she has not beaten me yet." He looked like played a letter of doubtful hue, which had an Esau in modern clothes-clothes which evidently been subjected to many ablutions seemed less his, than the dummy's upon before it had become even thus far presenta- which they had hung at an outfitter's a few ble.
hours previously. He wore a large, looseTom laughed good-naturedly at the post-fitting, light-colored coat, a striped blue shirt, mistress's explanation as he opened it. It and a red-spotted silk handkerchief round his was from the late Inspector of Police. It throat. He had laid down his hat and a informed him that George Nugent was on leathern bag on the table, but he rested a board an Australian vessel, which would dark knotty stick of formidable dimensions land its passengers either that evening or the between his knees. He was the first to following morning, and that full information speak. of his further proceedings would be forwarded “I got off by the express train after I landed by the next day's post. Was not this the this morning,” he said. 6. The nearer I came news he had peen wishing to be able to take to shore the more I thought I should like to see Miss Letitia ? If he went to her with the the old place and the poor old fellow again. letter, he should see her face light up; he He's gone. He'll never know that I have should hear her thank him over and over got over my difficulties after all, and have again for the tidings. He felt he did not re- come back to England a rich man. I meant joice at her happiness, and he hated himself to have paid his debts, and to have set him for it; but unwilling to lose a moment more, on his feet again. Poor old father!” he snatched up his hat and hastened across “ How was it he had no tidings of you for the garden. As he laid his hand upon the so many years ?” asked Tom. gate, it was opened from the outside, and a Ay, how was it,” repeated Nugent, bittall gaunt-looking man, the outline of whose terly. " At first everything went wrong with features he saw in the dusky twilight, said : me; I could not write then; I could not ask
Perhaps you can tell me if Mr. Nugent to be taken back like the prodigal, knowing is at home?"
the name I had left behind me in Chanleigh. “Mr. Nugent!” said Tom in some sur- After a time I began to prosper, and what I prise. “ He has been dead for more than a had earned with so much hardship and diffitwelve-month."
culty was very dear to me. If I had written 66 Dead !” exclaimed the new comer; home I should have been pressed for money,
poor old fellow! Is he dead? Who are and to give money to my father was like you ?” he suddenly asked.
throwing it into the sea. I will wait, I used “His successor in the living,” replied Tom. to say to myself, till I can go back with a
16 And I am his son,” he said. “Let me provision for us both; and this is the end of go įn and see the old place once more.” it."
There was a pause again, which was inter- | with a woman like Letitia Nevil in his house. rupted by his asking Tom's name.
Her voice would be like a church bell, say“I left England under a cloud, Mr. Mor- ing come and be at peace and rest, and all land,” he resumed; " it don't much signify, that sort of thing; and my soul would be now that I can make restitution. Every fretted to death by it. One can't stand a farthing I have ever owed shall be paid ; reproachful face always by one; besides, she Wortleby's debt first of all. Wortleby is must be turned thirty.” living, I suppose? Those sort of men never Ob, Tom Morland, be thankful for the selfdie. Wortleby might have laid the finger of command that long training has given you, the law upon me, but he didn't, and why? and that you answer this man's speech with Because I was the grandson of a peer, and outward com posure. his aristocratic tendencies made him merci “ Miss Nevil's is a very beautiful face; it ful. Poor Wortleby! he wouldn't touch my is not in her nature to speak or look rebank-notes now, if he knew all the trades I proaches. . She is loved and looked up to in have driven to earn them.'
Beauchamp above every other creature. If, Tom sat listening with a sinking heart. as I believe, she still considers her promise to To this man, who spoke as if he were making you as binding, surely you will not draw a hard bargain with a harder man than him- back, if there exists no impediment to your self, Letitia Nevil had given up the best years marriage.” of her life. How soon was he going to her? 6. There is this impediment,” replied NuThe delay was irritating.
gent, so that I don't wish to marry, and if I " Is Reuben Bates in the village, now?” did, I should not marry her. I don't believe he asked presently. “ He was going to the in broken hearts. Men, and women too, live bad when I left, I am afraid.”
through more trouble than is ever heaped up Tom gave some account of the poacher's in novels, and are not worse company aftercircumstances, to which Nugent listened at- wards.” tentively.
“ For fourteen years,” said Tom; “ you
do “ I shall send him out to Sidney," he said not deny that Miss Nevil has waited for your at length, 6 his wife and his children with return in the expectation that you
would him. A poor man's family there are worth marry her. For thirteen years she has, detheir weight in gold; here they are like lead voted herself to acts of mercy and charity, hanging round his neck."
chiefly that the errors of your youth might "I do not know," said Tom, speaking be in some measure atoned for. I look back with an effort, “ what Reuben would have at this moment, and I see that all she has done for many years past, if it had not been done has had more or less reference to you for Miss Letitia Nevil.”
and your family. I ask you if this is the " What!” said Nugent, “ isn't she mar- reward due to her fidelity.” ried yet?”
16 Women find the own reward in paTom's eyes were riveted on his face. tience and suffering,” said Nugent, his eyes
Nugent looked surprised for a moment, fixed on the wall opposite. 6. The truestand then said, “I suppose you have heard hearted woman I ever knew died with a smile some idle gossip about Letitia Nevil and my- on her face, though she had greater cause for self. When she was a young girl and I was tears. I had had sickness all the winter at a boy, I used to think it would be a pleasant my station. She kept about as long as her thing to have Letitia for my wife. She was strength would last. It was a low aguish a pretty-looking girl, affectionate and credu- kind of sever, and the quinine was all gone. lous. She used to believe every word I said to There was but one chance for her life. The her. I wonder she was not married long ago.” next station was one hundred and seventy
“I don't think she will ever marry,” said miles off. 1 left her and went to seek for Tom, gravely. “She may still consider her- assistance. When I came back she was dead, self bound to you."
with her face turned towards the door, as “She wrote to me several times after I left if she was watching for me still.” England," said Nugent. "Long, tiresome If George Nugent is alive I will bring him letters, full of good advice; but a man who back to you.” Tom was haunted by his own has roughed it as I have done, can't sit down words, as he felt the chances of fulfilling his