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   Chapter 16 AN APPARITION.

The Clever Woman of the Family By Charlotte M. Yonge Characters: 31892

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


"And there will be auld Geordie Tanner,

Who coft a young wife wi' his gowd."

JOANNA BAILLIE.

"Mamma," quoth Leoline, "I thought a woman must not marry her grandfather. And she called him the patriarch of her clan."

"He is a cross old man," added Hubert. "He said children ought not to be allowed on the esplanade, because he got into the way as I was pushing the perambulator."

"This was the reason," said Francis, gravely, "that she stopped me from braying at him. I shall know what people are at, when they talk of disrespect another time."

"Don't talk of her," cried Conrade, flinging himself round; "women have no truth in them."

"Except the dear, darling, delightful mammy!" And the larger proportion of boys precipitated themselves headlong upon her, so that any one but a mother would have been buffeted out of breath in their struggles for embracing ground; and even Lady Temple found it a relief when Hubert, having been squeezed out, bethought himself of extending the honourable exception to Miss Williams, and thus effected a diversion. What would have been the young gentlemen's reception of his lordship's previous proposal!

Yet in the fulness of her gladness the inconsistent widow, who had thought Lord Keith so much too old for herself, gave her younger friend heartfelt congratulations upon the blessing of being under fatherly direction and guidance. She was entrusted with the announcement to Rachel, who received it with a simple "Indeed!" and left her cousin unmolested in her satisfaction, having long relegated Fanny to the class of women who think having a friend about to be married the next best thing to being married themselves, no matter to whom.

"Aspirations in women are mere delusions," was her compensating sigh to Grace. "There is no truer saying, than that a woman will receive every man."

"I have always been glad that is aprocryphal," said Grace, "and Eastern women have no choice."

"Nor are Western women better than Eastern," said Rachel. "It is all circumstances. No mental power or acuteness has in any instance that I have yet seen, been able to balance the propensity to bondage. The utmost flight is, that the attachment should not be unworthy."

"I own that I am very much surprised," said Grace.

"I am not at all," said Rachel. "I have given up hoping better things. I was beginning to have a high opinion of Bessie Keith's capabilities, but womanhood was at the root all the time; and, as her brother says, she has had great disadvantages, and I can make excuses for her. She had not her heart filled with one definite scheme of work and usefulness, such as deters the trifling and designing."

"Like the F. U. E. E.?"

"Yes, the more I see of the fate of other women, the more thankful I am that my vocation has taken a formed and developed shape."

And thus Rachel could afford to speak without severity of the match, though she abstained from congratulation. She did not see Captain Keith for the next few days, but at last the two sisters met him at the Cathedral door as they were getting into the carriage after a day's shopping at Avoncester; and Grace offered her congratulations, in accordance with her mother's old fashioned code.

"Thank you," he said; then turning to Rachel, "Did she write to you?"

"No."

"I thought not."

There was something marked in his tone, but his sister's silence was not of long duration, for a letter arrived containing orders for lace, entreating that a high pressure might be put on Mrs. Kelland, and containing beauteous devices for the veil, which was to be completed in a fearfully short time, since the wedding was to be immediate, in order that Lord Keith might spend Christmas and the ensuing cold months abroad. It was to take place at Bath, and was to be as quiet as possible; "or else," wrote Miss Keith, "I should have been enchanted to have overcome your reluctance to witness the base surrender of female rights. I am afraid you are only too glad to be let off, only don't thank me, but circumstances."

Rachel's principles revolted at the quantity of work demanded of the victims to lace, and Grace could hardly obtain leave to consult Mrs. Kelland. But she snapped at the order, for the honour and glory of the thing, and undertook through the ramifications of her connexion to obtain the whole bridal array complete. "For such a pleasant-spoken lady as Miss Keith, she would sit up all night rather than disappoint her."

The most implacable person of all was the old housekeeper, Tibbie. She had been warmly attached to Lady Keith, and resented her having a successor, and one younger than her daughters; and above all, ever since the son and heir had died, she had reckoned on her own Master Colin coming to the honours of the family, and regarded this new marriage as a crossing of Providence. She vainly endeavoured to stir up Master Colin to remonstrate on his brother's "makin' siccan a fule's bargain wi' yon glaikit lass. My certie, but he'll hae the warst o't, honest man; rinnin' after her, wi' a' her whigmaleries an' cantrips. He'll rue the day that e'er he bowed his noble head to the likes o' her, I'm jalousin."

It was to no purpose to remind her that the bride was a Keith in blood; her great grandfather a son of the house of Gowanbrae; all the subsequent descendants brave soldiers.

"A Keith ca' ye her! It's a queer kin' o' Keiths she's comed o', nae better nor Englishers that haena sae muckle's set fit in our bonny Scotland; an' sic scriechin', skirlin' tongues as they hae, a body wad need to be gleg i' the uptak to understan' a word they say. Tak' my word for't, Maister Colin, it's no a'thegither luve for his lordship's grey hairs that gars yon gilpy lassock seek to become my Leddy Keith."

"Nay, Tibbie, if you find fault with such a sweet, winning young creature, I shall think it is all because you will not endure a mistress at Gowanbrae over you."

"His lordship'll please himsel' wi' a leddy to be mistress o' Gowanbrae, but auld Tibbie'll never cross the doorstane mair."

"Indeed you will, Tibbie; here are my brother's orders that you should go down, as soon as you can conveniently make ready, and see about the new plenishing."

"They may see to the plenishing that's to guide it after han, an' that'll no be me. My lord'll behove to tak' his orders aff his young leddy ance he's married on her, may be a whilie afore, but that's no to bind ither folk, an' it's no to be thought that at my years I'm to be puttin' up wi' a' ther new fangled English fykes an' nonsense maggots. Na, na, Maister Colin, his lordship'll fend weel aneugh wantin' Tibbie; an' what for suld I leave yerself, an' you settin' up wi' a house o' yer ain? Deed an' my mind's made up, I'll e'en bide wi' ye, an' nae mair about it."

"Stay, stay," cried Colin, a glow coming into his cheeks, "don't reckon without your host, Tibbie. Do you think Gowanbrae the second is never to have any mistress but yourself?"

"Haud awa' wi' ye, laddie, I ken fine what ye'ra ettlin' at, but yon's a braw leddy, no like thae English folk, but a woman o' understandin', an' mair by token I'm thinkin' she'll be gleg aneugh to ken a body that'll serve her weel, an' see to the guidin' o' thae feckless queens o' servant lasses, for bad's the best o' them ye'll fin' hereawa'. Nae fear but her an' me'll put it up weel thegither, an' a' gude be wi' ye baith."

After this Colin resigned himself and his household to Tibbie's somewhat despotic government, at least for the present. To Ermine's suggestion that her appellation hardly suited the dignity of her station, he replied that Isabel was too romantic for southern ears, and that her surname being the same as his own, he was hardly prepared to have the title of Mrs. Keith pre-occupied. So after Mrs. Curtis's example, the world for the most part knew the colonel's housekeeper as Mrs. Tibbs.

She might be a tyrant, but liberties were taken with her territory; for almost the first use that the colonel made of his house was to ask a rheumatic sergeant, who had lately been invalided, to come and benefit by the Avonmouth climate. Scottish hospitality softened Tibbie's heart, and when she learnt that Sergeant O'Brien had helped to carry Master Colin into camp after his wound, she thought nothing too good for him. The Colonel then ventured to add to the party an exemplary consumptive tailor from Mr. Mitchell's parish, who might yet be saved by good living and good air. Some growls were elicited, but he proved to be so deplorably the ninetieth rather than the ninth part of a man, that Tibbie made it her point of honour to fatten him; and the sergeant found him such an intelligent auditor of the Indian exploits of the -th Highlanders that mutual respect was fully established, and high politeness reigned supreme, even though the tailor could never be induced to delight in the porridge, on which the sergeant daily complimented the housekeeper in original and magnificent metaphors.

Nor had the Colonel any anxieties in leaving the representatives of the three nations together while he went to attend his brother's wedding. He proposed that Tibbie should conduct Rose for the daily walk of which he had made a great point, thinking that the child did not get exercise enough, since she was so averse to going alone upon the esplanade that her aunt forbore to press it. She manifested the same reluctance to going out with Tibbie, and this the Colonel ascribed to her fancying herself too old to be under the charge of a nurse. It was trying to laugh her out of her dignity, but without eliciting an answer, when, one afternoon just as they were entering together upon the esplanade, he felt her hand tighten upon his own with a nervous frightened clutch, as she pressed tremulously to his side.

"What is it, my dear? That dog is not barking at you. He only wants to have a stick thrown into the sea for him."

"Oh not the dog! It was-"

"Was, what?"

"HIM!" gasped Rose.

"Who?" inquired the Colonel, far from prepared for the reply, in a terrified whisper,-

"Mr. Maddox."

"My dear child! Which, where?"

"He is gone! he is past. Oh, don't turn back! Don't let me see him again."

"You don't suppose he could hurt you, my dear."

"No," hesitated Rose, "not with you."

"Nor with any one."

"I suppose not," said Rose, common sense reviving, though her grasp was not relaxed.

"Would it distress you very much to try to point him out to me?" said the Colonel, in his irresistibly sweet tone.

"I will. Only keep hold of my hand, pray," and the little hand trembled so much that he felt himself committing a cruel action in leading her along the esplanade, but there was no fresh start of recognition, and when they had gone the whole length, she breathed more freely, and said, "No, he was not there."

Recollecting how young she had been at the time of Maddox's treason, the Colonel began to doubt if her imagination had not raised a bugbear, and he questioned her, "My dear, why are you so much afraid, of this person? What do you know about him?"

"He told wicked stories of my papa," said Rose, very low.

"True, but he could not hurt you. You don't think he goes about like Red Ridinghood's wolf?"

"No, I am not so silly now."

"Are you sure you know him? Did you often see him in your papa's house?"

"No, he was always in the laboratory, and I might not go there."

"Then you see, Rose, it must be mere fancy that you saw him, for you could not even know him by sight."

"It was not fancy," said Rose, gentle and timid as ever, but still obviously injured at the tone of reproof.

"My dear child," said Colonel Keith, with some exertion of patience, "you must try to be reasonable. How can you possibly recognise a man that you tell me you never saw?"

"I said I never saw him in the house," said Rose with a shudder; "but they said if ever I told they would give me to the lions in the Zoological Gardens."

"Who said so?"

"He, Mr. Maddox and Maria," she answered, in such trepidation that he could scarcely hear her.

"But you are old and wise enough now to know what a foolish and wicked threat that was, my dear."

"Yes, I was a little girl then, and knew no better, and once I did tell a lie when mamma asked me, and now she is dead, and I can never tell her the truth."

Colin dreaded a public outbreak of the sobs that heaved in the poor child's throat, but she had self-control enough to restrain them till he had led her into his own library, where he let her weep out her repentance for the untruth, which, wrested from her by terror, had weighed so long on her conscience. He felt that he was sparing Ermine something by receiving the first tempest of tears, in the absolute terror and anguish of revealing the secret that had preyed on her with mysterious horror.

"Now tell me all about it, my dear little girl. Who was this Maria?"

"Maria was my nurse when I lived at home. She used to take me out walking," said Rose, pressing closer to his protecting breast, and pausing as though still afraid of her own words.

"Well," he said, beginning to perceive, "and was it than that you saw this Maddox?"

"Yes, he used to come and walk with us, and sit under the trees in Kensington Gardens with her. And sometimes he gave me lemon-drops, but they said if ever I told, the lions should have me. I used to think I might be saved like Daniel; but after I told the lie, I knew I should not. Mamma asked me why my fingers were sticky, and I did say it was from a lemon-drop, but there were Maria's eyes looking at me; oh, so dreadful, and when mamma asked who gave it to me, and Maria said, 'I did, did not I, Miss Rose?' Oh, I did not seem able to help saying 'yes.'"

"Poor child! And you never dared to speak of it again?"

"Oh, no! I did long to tell; but, oh, one night it was written up in letters of fire, 'Beware of the Lions.'"

"Terror must have set you dreaming, my dear."

"No," said Rose, earnestly. "I was quite awake. Papa and mamma were gone out to dine and sleep, and Maria would put me to bed half an hour too soon. She read me to sleep, but by-and-by I woke up, as I always did at mamma's bed time, and the candle was gone, and there were those dreadful letters in light over the door."

She spoke with such conviction that he became persuaded that all was not delusion, and asked what she did.

"I jumped up, and screamed, and opened the door; but there they were growling in papa's dressing-room."

"They, the lions? Oh, Rose, you must know that was impossible."

"No, I did not see any lions, but I heard the growl, and Mr. Maddox coughed, and said, 'Here they come,' and growled again."

"And you-?"

"I tumbled into bed again, and rolled up my head in the clothes, and prayed that it might be day, and it was at last!"

"Poor child! Indeed, Rose, I do not wonder at your terror, I never heard of a more barbarous trick."

"Was it a trick?" said Rose, raising a wonderfully relieved and hopeful face.

"Did you never hear of writing in phosphorus, a substance that shines at night as the sea sometimes does?"

"Aunt Ailie has a book with a story about writing in fiery letters, but it frightened me so much that I never read to the end."

"Bring it to me, and we will read it together, and then you will see that such a cruel use can be made of phosphorus."

"It was unkind of them," said Rose, sadly, "I wonder if they did it for fun?"

"Where did you sleep?"

"I had a little room that opened into mamma's."

"And where was all this growling?"

"In papa's room. The door was just opposite to mine, and was open. All the light was there, you know. Mamma's room was dark, but there was a candle in the dressing-room."

"Did you see anything?"

"Only the light. It was such a moment. I don't think I saw Mr. Maddox, but I am quite certain I heard him,

for he had an odd little cough."

"Then, Rose, I have little doubt that all this cruelty to you, poor inoffensive little being, was to hide some plots against your father."

She caught his meaning with the quickness of a mind precocious on some points though childish on others. "Then if I had been brave and told the truth, he might never have hurt papa."

"Mind, I do not know, and I never thought of blaming you, the chief sufferer! No, don't begin to cry again."

"Ah! but I did tell a lie. And I never can confess it to mamma," she said, recurring to the sad lament so long suppressed.

She found a kind comforter, who led her to the higher sources of consolation, feeling all the time the deep self-accusation with which the sight of sweet childish penitence must always inspire a grown person.

"And now you will not fear to tell your aunt," he added, "only it should be when you can mention it without such sad crying."

"Telling you is almost as good as telling her," said Rose, "and I feel safe with you," she added, caressingly drawing his arm round her. "Please tell Aunt Ermine, for my crying does give her such a headache."

"I will, then, and I think when we all know it, the terrors will leave you."

"Not when I see Mr. Maddox. Oh, please now you know why, don't make me walk without you. I do know now that he could not do anything to me, but I can't help feeling the fright. And, oh! if he was to speak to me!"

"You have not seen him here before?"

"Yes I have, at least I think so. Once when Aunt Ermine sent me to the post-office, and another time on the esplanade. That is why I can't bear going out without you or Aunt Ailie. Indeed, it is not disliking Tibbie."

"I see it is not, my dear, and we will say no more about it till you have conquered your alarm; but remember, that he is not likely to know you again. You must be more changed in these three years than he is."

This consideration seemed to reassure Rose greatly, and her next inquiry was, "Please, are my eyes very red for going home?"

"Somewhat mottled-something of the York and Lancaster rose. Shall I leave you under Tibbie's care till the maiden blush complexion returns, and come back and fetch you when you have had a grand exhibition of my Indian curiosities?"

"Have you Indian curiosities! I thought they were only for ladies?"

"Perhaps they are. Is Tibbie guard enough? You know there's an Irish sergeant in the house taller than I am, if you want a garrison?"

"Oh, I am not afraid, only these eyes."

"I will tell her you have been frightened, and she shall take no notice."

Tibbie was an admirer of Rose and gladly made her welcome, while the Colonel repaired to Ermine, and greatly startled her by the disclosure of the miseries that had been inflicted on the sensitive child.

It had indeed been known that there had been tyranny in the nursery, and to this cause the aunts imputed the startled wistful expression in Rose's eyes; but they had never questioned her, thinking that silence would best wear out the recollection. The only wonder was that her senses had not been permanently injured by that night of terror, which accounted for her unconquerable dread of sleeping in the dark; and a still more inexplicable horror of the Zoological Gardens, together with many a nervous misery that Ermine had found it vain to combat. The Colonel asked if the nurse's cruelty had been the cause of her dismissal?

"No, it was not discovered till after her departure. Her fate has always been a great grief to us, though we little thought her capable of using Rose in this way. She was one of the Hathertons. You must remember the name, and the pretty picturesque hovel on the Heath."

"The squatters that were such a grievance to my uncle. Always suspected of poaching, and never caught."

"Exactly. Most of the girls turned out ill, but this one, the youngest, was remarkably intelligent and attractive at school. I remember making an excuse for calling her into the garden for you to see and confess that English beauty exceeded Scottish, and you called her a gipsy and said we had no right to her."

"So it was those big black eyes that had that fiendish malice in them!"

"Ah! if she fell into Maddox's hands, I wonder the less. She showed an amount of feeling about my illness that won Ailie's heart, and we had her for a little handmaid to help my nurse. Then, when we broke up from home, we still kept her, and every one used to be struck with her looks and manner. She went on as well as possible, and Lucy set her heart on having her in the nursery. And when the upper nurse went away, she had the whole care of Rose. We heard only of her praises till, to our horror, we found she had been sent away in disgrace at a moment's warning. Poor Lucy was young, and so much shocked as only to think of getting her out of the house, not of what was to become of her, and all we could learn was that she never went home."

"How long was this before the crash?"

"It was only a few weeks before the going abroad, but they had been absent nearly a year. No doubt Maddox must have made her aid in his schemes. You say Rose saw him?"

"So she declares, and there is an accuracy of memory about her that I should trust to. Should you or Alison know him?"

"No, we used to think it a bad sign that Edward never showed him to us. I remember Alison being disappointed that he was not at the factory the only time she saw it."

"I do not like going away while he may be lurking about. I could send a note to-night, explaining my absence."

"No, no," exclaimed Ermine, "that would be making me as bad as poor little Rose. If he be here ever so much he has done his worst, and Edward is out of his reach. What could he do to us? The affairs were wound up long ago, and we have literally nothing to be bullied out of. No, I don't think he could make me believe in lions in any shape."

"You strong-minded woman! You want to emulate the Rachel."

"You have brought her," laughed Ermine at the sound of the well-known knock, and Rachel entered bag in hand.

"I was in hopes of meeting you," she said to the Colonel. "I wanted to ask you to take charge of some of these;" and she produced a packet of prospectuses of a "Journal of Female Industry," an illustrated monthly magazine, destined to contain essays, correspondence, reviews, history, tales, etc., to be printed and illustrated in the F. U. E. E.

"I hoped," said Rachel, "to have begun with the year, but we are not forward enough, and indeed some of the expenses require a subscription in advance. A subscriber in advance will have the year's numbers for ten shillings, instead of twelve; and I should be much obliged if you would distribute a few of these at Bath, and ask Bessie to do the same. I shall set her name down at the head of the list, as soon as she has qualified it for a decoy."

"Are these printed at the F. U. E. E.?"

"No, we have not funds as yet. Mr. Mauleverer had them done at Bristol, where he has a large connexion as a lecturer, and expects to get many subscribers. I brought these down as soon as he had left them with me, in hopes that you would kindly distribute them at the wedding. And I wished," added she to Ermine, "to ask you to contribute to our first number."

"Thank you," and the doubtful tone induced Rachel to encourage her diffidence.

"I know you write a great deal, and I am sure you must produce something worthy to see the light. I have no scruple in making the request, as I know Colonel Keith agrees with me that womanhood need not be an extinguisher for talent."

"I am not afraid of him," Ermine managed to say without more smile than Rachel took for gratification.

"Then if you would only entrust me with some of your fugitive reflections, I have no doubt that something might be made of them. A practised hand," she added with a certain editorial dignity, "can always polish away any little roughnesses from inexperience."

Ermine was choking with laughter at the savage pulls that Colin was inflicting on his moustache, and feeling silence no longer honest, she answered in an odd under tone, "I can't plead inexperience."

"No!" cried Rachel. "You have written; you have not published!"

"I was forced to do whatever brought grist to the mill," said Ermine. "Indeed," she added, with a look as if to ask pardon; "our secrets have been hardly fair towards you, but we made it a rule not to spoil our breadwinner's trade by confessing my enormities."

"I assure you," said the Colonel, touched by Rachel's appalled look, "I don't know how long this cautious person would have kept me in the dark if she had not betrayed herself in the paper we discussed the first day I met you."

"The 'Traveller,'" said Rachel, her eyes widening like those of a child. "She is the 'Invalid'!"

"There, I am glad to have made a clean breast of it," said Ermine.

"The 'Invalid'!" repeated Rachel. "It is as bad as the Victoria Cross."

"There is a compliment, Ermine, for which you should make your bow," said Colin.

"Oh, I did not mean that," said Rachel; "but that it was as great a mistake as I made about Captain Keith, when I told him his own story, and denied his being the hero, till I actually saw his cross," and she spoke with a genuine simplicity that almost looked like humour, ending with, "I wonder why I am fated to make such mistakes!"

"Preconceived notions," said Ermine, smiling; "your theory suffices you, and you don't see small indications."

"There may be something in that," said Rachel, thoughtfully, "it accounts for Grace always seeing things faster than I did."

"Did Mr.-, your philanthropist, bring you this today?" said the Colonel, taking up the paper again, as if to point a practical moral to her confession of misjudgments.

"Mr. Mauleverer? Yes; I came down as soon as he had left me, only calling first upon Fanny. I am very anxious for contributions. If you would only give me a paper signed by the 'Invalid,' it would be a fortune to the institution."

Ermine made a vague answer that she doubted whether the 'Invalid' was separable from the 'Traveller,' and Rachel presently departed with her prospectus, but without having elicited a promise.

"Intolerable!" exclaimed the Colonel. "She was improving under Bessie's influence, but she has broken out worse than ever. 'Journal of Female Industry!' 'Journal of a Knight of Industry,' might be a better title. You will have nothing to do with it, Ermine?"

"Certainly not as the 'Invalid,' but I owe her something for having let her run into this scrape before you."

"As if you could have hindered her! Come, don't waste time and brains on a companion for Curatocult."

"You make me so idle and frivolous that I shall be expelled from the 'Traveller,' and obliged to take refuge in the 'Female Industry Journal.' Shall you distribute the prospectuses?"

"I shall give one to Bessie! That is if I go at all."

"No, no, there is no valid reason for staying away. Even if we were sure that Rose was right, nothing could well come of it, and your absence would be most invidious."

"I believe I am wanted to keep Master Alick in order, but if you have the least feeling that you would be more at ease with me at home-"

"That is not a fair question," said Ermine, smiling. "You know very well that you ought to go."

"And I shall try to bring back Harry Beauchamp," added the Colonel. "He would be able to identify the fellow."

"I do not know what would be gained by that."

"I should know whom to watch."

Ermine had seen so much of Rose's nervous timidity, and had known so many phantoms raised by it, that she attached little importance to the recognition, and when she went over the matter with her little niece, it was with far more thought of the effect of the terror, and of the long suppressed secret, upon the child's moral and physical nature, than with any curiosity as to the subject of her last alarm. She was surprised to observe that Alison was evidently in a state of much more restlessness and suspense than she was conscious of in herself, during Colin's absence, and attributed this to her sister's fear of Maddox's making some inroad upon her in her long solitary hours, in which case she tried to reassure her by promises to send at once for Mr. Mitchell or for Coombe.

Alison let these assurances be given to her, and felt hypocritical for receiving them in silence. Her grave set features had tutored themselves to conceal for ever one page in the life that Ermine thought was entirely revealed to her. Never had Ermine known that brotherly companionship had once suddenly assumed the unwelcome aspect of an affection against which Alison's heart had been steeled by devotion to the sister whose life she had blighted. Her resolution had been unswerving, but its full cost had been unknown to her, till her adherence to it had slackened the old tie of hereditary friendship towards others of her family; and even when marriage should have obliterated the past, she still traced resentment in the hard judgment of her brother's conduct, and even in the one act of consideration that it galled her to accept.

There had been no meeting since the one decisive interview just before she had left her original home, and there were many more bitter feelings than could be easily assuaged in looking forward to a renewal of intercourse, when all too late, she knew that she should soon be no longer needed by her sister. She tried to feel it all just retribution, she tried to rejoice in Ermine's coming happiness; she tried to believe that the sight of Harry Beauchamp, as a married man, would be the best cure for her; she blamed and struggled with herself: and after all, her distress was wasted, Harry Beauchamp had not chosen to come home with his cousin, who took his unwillingness to miss a hunting-day rather angrily and scornfully. Alison put her private interpretation on the refusal, and held aloof, while Colin owned to Ermine his vexation and surprise at the displeasure that Harry Beauchamp maintained against his old schoolfellow, and his absolute refusal to listen to any arguments as to his innocence.

This seemed to have been Colin's prominent interest in his expedition to Bath; the particulars of the wedding were less easily drawn from him. The bride had indeed been perfection, all was charming wherever she brought her ready grace and sweetness, and she had gratified the Colonel by her affectionate messages to Ermine, and her evident intention to make all straight between Lord Keith and his daughter Mary. But the Clare relations had not made a favourable impression; the favourite blind uncle had not been present, in spite of Bessie's boast, and it was suspected that Alick had not chosen to forward his coming. Alick had devolved the office of giving his sister away upon the Colonel, as her guardian, and had altogether comported himself with more than his usual lazy irony, especially towards the Clare cousinhood, who constantly buzzed round him, and received his rebuffs as delightful jests and compliments, making the Colonel wonder all the more at the perfect good taste and good breeding of his new sister-in-law, who had spent among them all the most critical years of her life.

She had been much amused with the prospectus of the "Journal of Female Industry," but she sent word to Rachel that she advised her not to publish any list of subscribers-the vague was far more impressive than the certain. The first number must be sent to her at Paris, and trust her for spreading its fame!

The Colonel did not add to his message her recommendation that the frontispiece should represent the Spinster's Needles, with the rescue of Don as the type of female heroism. Nor did he tell how carefully he had questioned both her and Rachel as to the date of that interesting adventure.

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