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   Chapter 3 No.3

The Hallam Succession By Amelia E. Barr Characters: 40862

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


"He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him

in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him." Psa. xci, 15.

"Alas for hourly change! Alas for all

The loves that from his hand proud Youth lets fall,

Even as the beads of a told rosary!"

That very day Richard received a letter from Bishop Elliott. He was going to the Holy Land and wished Richard to join him in Rome, and then accompany him to Palestine. Richard preferred to remain at Hallam, but both Elizabeth and Phyllis thought he ought to respond to the Bishop's desire. He was an aged man among strangers, and, apart from inclination, it seemed to be a duty to accede to his request. So rather reluctantly Richard left Hallam, half-inclined to complain that Elizabeth was not sorry enough to part with him. In truth she was conscious of feeling that it would be pleasant to be a little while alone with the great joy that had come to her; to consider it quietly, to brood over it, and to ask some questions of her soul which it must answer very truthfully.

People of self-contained natures weary even of happiness, if happiness makes a constant demand upon them. She loved Richard with the first love of her heart, she loved him very truly and fondly, but she was also very happy through the long summer days sitting alone, or with Phyllis, and sewing pure, loving thoughts into wonderful pieces of fine linen and cambric and embroidery. Sometimes Phyllis helped her, and they talked together in a sweet confidence of the lovers so dear to them, and made little plans for the future full of true unselfishness.

In the cool of the day they walked through the garden and the park to see Martha; though every day it became a more perplexing and painful duty. The poor woman, as time went by, grew silent and even stern. She heeded not any words of pity, she kept apart from the world, and from all her neighbors, and with heart unwaveringly fixed upon God, waited with a grand and pathetic patience the answer to her prayers. For some reason which her soul approved she remained in the little chapel with her petition, and the preacher going in one day, unexpectedly, found her prostrate before the communion table, pleading as mothers only can plead. He knelt down beside her, and took her hand, and prayed with her and for her.

Quite exhausted, she sat down beside him afterward and said, amid heart-breaking sobs, "It isn't Ben's life I'm asking, sir. God gave him, and he's a fair right to tak' him, when and how he will. I hev given up asking for t' dear lad's life. But O if he'd nobbut clear his good name o' the shameful deed! I know he's innocent, and God knows it; but even if they hang Ben first, I'll give my Maker no peace till he brings the guilty to justice, and sets t' innocent in t' leet o' his countenance."

"'The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,' Martha, 'and the violent take it by force.' Don't get weary. Christ had a mother, and he loved her. Does he not love her still?"

"Thank you, sir, for that word. I'll be sure and remind him o' her. I'd forget that there was iver any mother but me; or any son but my son." "Say a word for all other weeping mothers. Think of them, Martha, all over the world, rich and poor, Christian and heathen. How many mothers' hearts are breaking to-day. You are not alone, Martha. A great company are waiting and weeping with you. Don't be afraid to ask for them, too. There is no limit to God's love and power."

"I'll pray for ivery one o' them, sir."

"Do, Martha, and you'll get under a higher sky. It's a good thing to pray for ourselves; it's a far grander thing to pray for others. God bless you, sister, and give you an answer of peace."

Very shortly after this conversation one of those singular changes in public opinion, which cannot be accounted for, began to manifest itself. After Clough's positive dying declaration, it was hardly to be expected that his daughter Mary could show any kindness to her old lover, Ben Craven. But week after week went by, and people saw that she positively refused to speak to Bill Laycock, and that she shrank even from his passing shadow, and they began to look queerly at the man. It amounted at first to nothing more than that; but as a mist creeps over the landscape, and gradually possesses it altogether, so this chill, adverse atmosphere enfolded him. He noticed that old acquaintances dropped away from him; men went three miles farther off to get a shoe put on a horse. No one could have given a clear reason for doing so, and one man did not ask another man "why?" but the fact needed no reasoning about. It was there. At the harvest festivals the men drew away from him, and the girls would not have him for a partner in any rural game. He was asked to resign his place in the knur club, and if he joined any cricket eleven, the match fell to the ground.

One September evening Elizabeth and Phyllis went to the village to leave a little basket of dainties in Martha's cottage. They now seldom saw her, she was usually in the chapel; but they knew she was grateful for the food, and it had become all they could do for her in the hard struggle she was having. The trees were growing bare; the flowers were few and without scent; the birds did not sing any more, but were shy, and twittered and complained, while the swallows were restless, like those going a long journey. Singing time was over, life burning down, it was natural to be silent and to sigh a little.

They left the basket on Martha's table and went quietly up the street. In a few minutes they met the preacher, but he also seemed strangely solemn, and very little inclined to talk. At the chapel gates there were five or six people standing. "We are going to have a prayer-meeting," he said, "will you come in?"

"It will soon be dark," answered Elizabeth, "we must reach home as quickly as possible."

Just then Martha Craven came out of the chapel. A sorrow nobly borne confers a kind of moral rank. Her neighbors, with respect and pity, stood aside silently. She appeared to be quite unconscious of them. At Phyllis and Elizabeth she looked with great sad eyes, and shook her head mournfully. To the preacher she said, "It's t' eleventh hour, sir, and no answer yet!"

"Go thy ways, Martha Craven. It will come! It is impossible thy prayers should fail! As the Lord liveth no harm shall come to thee or to thine!"

The plain little man was transfigured. No ancient prophet at the height of his vision ever spoke with more authority. Martha bowed her head and went her way without a word; and Elizabeth and Phyllis, full of a solemn awe, stood gazing at the man whose rapt soul and clear, prophetic eyes looked into the unseen and received its assurance. He seemed to have forgotten their presence, and walked with uplifted face into the chapel.

Elizabeth was the first to speak. "What did he mean?"

"He has had some assurance from God. He knows."

"Do you mean to say, Phyllis, that God speaks to men?"

"Most surely God speaks to those who will hear. Why should you doubt it? He changeth not. When God talked with Enoch, and Abraham spoke with God, no one was astonished. When Hagar wandered in the desert, and saw an angel descend from heaven with succor, she was not surprised. In those days, Elizabeth, men whose feet were in the dust breathed the air of eternity. They spoke to God, and he answered them."

"Does Methodism believe that this intercourse is still possible?"

"Methodism knows it is possible. The doctrine of assurance is either a direct divine interposition or it is a self-deception. It is out of the province of all human reason and philosophy. But it is impossible that it can be self-deception. Millions of good men and women of every shade of mental and physical temperament have witnessed to its truth."

"And you, Phyllis?"

"I know it."

How wonderfully certain moods of nature seem to frame certain states of mind. Elizabeth never forgot the still serenity of that September evening; the rustling of the falling leaves under their feet, the gleaming of the blue and white asters through the misty haze gathering over the fields and park. They had expected to meet the squire at the gates, but they were nearly at home ere they saw him. He was evidently in deep trouble; even Fanny divined it, and, with singular canine delicacy, walked a little behind him, and forebore all her usual demonstrations.

Antony was sitting at the hall fire. His handsome person was faultlessly dressed, and, with a newspaper laid over his knee, he was apparently lost in the contemplation of the singular effects made by the firelight among the antlers and armor that adorned the wall. He roused himself when the girls entered, and apologized for not having come to meet them; but there was an evident constraint and unhappiness in the home atmosphere. Even the "bit o' good eating," which was the squire's panacea, failed in his own case. Antony, indeed, sat and laughed and chatted with an easy indifference, which finally appeared to be unbearable to his father, for he left the table before the meal was finished.

Then a shadow settled over the party. Elizabeth had a troubled look. She was sure there had been some very unusual difference between Antony and his father. They soon separated for the night, Elizabeth going with Phyllis to her for room a final chat. There was a little fire there, and its blaze gave a pleasant air of cozy comfort to the room, and deepened all its pretty rose tints. This was to the girls their time of sweetest confidence. They might be together all the day, but they grew closest of all at this good-night hour.

They spoke of the squire's evident distress, but all Elizabeth's suppositions as to the cause fell distant from the truth. In fact, the squire had received one of those blows which none but a living hand can deal, for there are worse things between the cradle and the grave than death-the blow, too, had fallen without the slightest warning. It was not the thing that he had feared which had happened to him, but the thing which he had never dreamed of as possible. He had been walking up and down the terrace with Fanny, smoking his pipe, and admiring the great beds of many-colored asters, when he saw Antony coming toward him. He waited for his son's approach, and met him with a smile. Antony did not notice his remark about the growing shortness of the days, but plunged at once into the subject filling his whole heart.

"Father, George Eltham and I are thinking of going into business together."

"Whatever is ta saying? Business? What business?"

"Banking."

"Now, then, be quiet, will ta? Such nonsense!"

"I am in dead earnest, father. I cannot waste my life any longer."

"Who asks thee to waste thy life? Hev I iver grudged thee any thing to make it happy? Thou hes hed t' best o' educations. If ta wants to travel, there's letters o' credit waiting for thee. If ta wants work, I've told thee there's acres and acres o' wheat on the Hallam marshes, if they were only drained. I'll find ta money, if ta wants work."

"Father, I could not put gold in a marsh, and then sit down and wait for the wheat to grow; and all the wheat on Hallam, unless it bore golden ears, would not satisfy me. George and I are going into Sir Thomas Harrington's for a few months. Lord Eltham has spoken to him. Then George is to marry Selina Digby. She has fifty thousand pounds; and we are going to begin business."

"Wi' fifty thousand pounds o' Miss Digby's money! It's t' meanest scheme I iver heard tell on! I'm fair shamed o' thee!"

"I must put into the firm fifty thousand pounds also; and I want to speak to you about it."

"For sure! How does ta think to get it out o' me now?"

"I could get Jews to advance it on my inheritance, but I would do nothing so mean and foolish as that. I thought it would be better to break the entail. You give me fifty thousand pounds as my share of Hallam, and you can have the reversion and leave the estate to whom you wish."

The squire fairly staggered. Break the entail! Sell Hallam! The young man was either mad, or he was the most wicked of sons.

"Does ta know what thou is talking about! Hallam has been ours for a thousand years. O Antony! Antony!"

"We have had it so long, father, that we have grown to it like vegetables."

"Has ta no love for t' old place? Look at it. Is there a bonnier spot in t' wide world? Why-a! There's an old saying,

"'When a' t' world is up aloft,

God's share will be fair Hallam-Croft.'

"Look at ta dear old home, and t' sweet old gardens, and t' great park full o' oaks that hev sheltered Saxons, Danes, Normans-ivery race that has gone to make up t' Englishman o' to-day."

"There are plenty of fairer spots than Hallam. I will build a house far larger and more splendid than this. There shall be a Lord Hallam, an Earl Hallam, perhaps. Gold will buy any thing that is in the market."

"Get thee out o' my sight! And I'll tell Lord Eltham varry plainly what I think o' his meddling in my affairs. In order to set up his youngest son I must give up t' bond on t' home that was my fathers when his fathers were driving swine, the born thralls of the Kerdics of Kerdic Forest. Thou art no Hallam. No son o' mine. Get out o' my sight wi' thee!"

Antony went without anger and without hurry. He had expected even a worse scene. He sat down by the hall fire to think, and he was by no means hopeless as to his demand. But the squire had received a shock from which he never recovered himself. It was as if some evil thing had taken all the sweetest and dearest props of love, and struck him across the heart with them. He had a real well-defined heart-ache, for the mental shock had had bodily sympathies which would have prostrated a man of less finely balanced physique.

All night long he sat in his chair, or walked up and down his room. The anger which comes from wronged love and slighted advantages and false friendship alternately possessed him. The rooms he occupied in the east wing had been for generations the private rooms of the masters of Hallam, and its walls were covered with their pictures-fair, large men, who had for the most part lived simple, kindly lives, doing their duty faithfully in the station to which it had pleased God to call them. He found some comfort in their pictured presence. He stood long before his father, and tried to understand what he would have done in his position. Toward daylight he fell into a chill, uneasy sleep, and dreamed wearily and sadly of the old home. It was only a dream, but dreams are the hieroglyphics of the other world if we had the key to them; and at any rate the influences they leave behind are real enough. "Poor Martha!" was the squire's first thought on rousing himself. "I know now what t' heart-ache she spoke of is like. I'm feared I heven't been as sorry as I might hev been for her."

Yet that very night, while the squire was suffering from the first shock of wounded, indignant amazement, God had taken Martha's case in his own hand. The turn in Ben's trouble began just when the preacher spoke to Martha. At that hour Bill Laycock entered the village ale-house and called for a pot of porter. Three men, whom he knew well, were sitting at a table, drinking and talking. To one of them Bill said, "It's a fine night," and after a sulky pause the man answered, "It ails nowt." Then he looked at his mates, put down his pot, and walked out. In a few minutes the others followed.

Laycock went back to his house and sat down to think. There was no use fighting popular ill-will any longer. Mary would not walk on the same side of the street with him. It was the evident intention of the whole village to drive him away. He remembered that Swale had told him there was "a feeling against him," and advised him to leave. But Swale had offered to buy his house and forge for half their value, and he imagined there was a selfish motive in the advice. "And it's Swale's doing, I know," he muttered; "he's been a-fighting for it iver since. Well, I'll tak t' L300 he offers, wi' t' L80 I hev in t' house, I can make shift to reach t' other side o' t' world, and one side is happen as good as t' other side. I'll go and see Swale this varry hour."

He was arrested by a peculiar sound in the cellar beneath his feet, a sound that made him turn pale to the very lips. In a few moments the door opened, and Tim Bingley stepped into the room.

"Thou scoundrel! What does ta want here?"

"Thou get me summat to eat and drink, and then I'll tell thee what

I want."

His tone was not to be disputed. He was a desperate man, and Laycock obeyed him.

"Thou told me thou would go abroad."

"I meant to go abroad, but I didn't. I got drunk and lost my brass.

Thou'll hev to give me some more. I'll go clean off this time."

"I've got none to give thee."

"Varry well, then I'll hev to be took up; and if I'm sent to York Castle, thou'lt hev lodgings varry close to me. Mak' up thy mind to that, Bill Laycock."

"I didn't kill Clough, and thou can't say I did."

Bingley did not answer. He sat munching his bread and casting evil glances every now and then at his wretched entertainer.

"What does ta want?"

"Thou hed better give me a fresh suit o' clothes; these are fair worn out-and L20. I'll be i' Hull early to-morrow, and I'll tak' t' varry first ship I can get."

"How do I know thou will?"

"Thou'lt hev to trust my word-it's about as good as thine, I reckon."

O but the way of the transgressor is hard! There was nothing else to be done. Hatefully, scornfully, he tossed him a suit of his own clothes, and gave him L20 of his savings. Then he opened the door and looked carefully all around. It was near midnight, and all was so still that a bird moving in the branches could have been heard. But Laycock was singularly uneasy. He put on his hat and walked one hundred yards or more each way.

"Don't be a fool," said Bingley, angrily; "when did ta iver know any body about at this time o' night, save and it might be at Hallam or Crossley feasts?"

"But where was ta a' day, Bingley? Is ta sure nobody saw thee? And when did ta come into my cellar?"

"I'll tell thee, if ta is bad off to know. I got into Hallam at three o'clock this morning, and I hid mysen in Clough's shut-up mill a' day. Thou knows nobody cares to go nigh it, since-"

"Thou shot him."

"Shut up! Thou'd better let that subject drop. I knew I were safe there. When it was dark and quiet, I came to thee. Now, if ta'll let me pass thee, I'll tak' Hull road."

"Thou is sure nobody has seen thee?"

"Ay, I'm sure o' that. Let be now. I hevn't any time to waste."

Laycock watched him up the Hull road till he slipped away like a shadow into shade. Then he sat down to wait for morning. He would not stay in Hallam another day. He blamed himself for staying so long. He would take any offer Swale made him in the morning. There would be neither peace nor safety for him, if Tim Bingley took it into his will to return to Hallam whenever he wanted money.

At daylight Dolly Ives, an old woman who cleaned his house and cooked his meals, came. She had left the evening before at six o'clock, and if any thing was known of Bingley's visit to Hallam, she would likely have heard of it. She wasn't a pleasant old woman, and she had not a very good reputation, but her husband had worked with Laycock's father, and he had been kind to her on several occasions when she had been in trouble. So she had "stuck up for Bill Laycock," and her partisanship had become warmer from opposition.

It was at best a rude kind of liking, for she never failed to tell any unkind thing she heard about him. She had, however, nothing fresh to say, and Bill felt relieved. He ate his breakfast and went to his forge until ten o'clock. Then he called at Swale's. He fancied the lawyer was "a bit offish," but he promised him the money that night, and with this promise Bill had to be content. Business had long been slack; his forge was cold when he got back, and he had no heart to rekindle it. Frightened and miserable, he was standing in the door tying on his leather apron, when he saw Dolly coming as fast as she could toward him.

He did not wait, but went to meet her. "Whativer is ta coming here for?"

"Thou knows. Get away as fast as

ta can. There hev been men searching t' house, and they hev takken away t' varry suit Bingley wore at Ben Craven's trial. Now, will ta go? Here's a shilling, it's a' I hev."

Terrified and hurried, he did the worst possible thing for his own case-he fled, as Dolly advised, and was almost immediately followed and taken prisoner. In fact, he had been under surveillance, even before Bingley left his house at midnight. Suspicion had been aroused by a very simple incident. Mary Clough had noticed that a stone jar, which had stood in one of the windows of the mill ever since it had been closed, was removed. In that listless way which apparently trivial things have of arresting the attention, this jar had attracted Mary until it had become a part of the closed mill to her. It was in its usual place when she looked out in the morning; at noon it had disappeared.

Some one, then, was in the mill. A strong conviction took possession of her. She watched as the sparrow-hawk watches its prey. Just at dusk she saw Bingley leave the mill and steal away among the alders that lined the stream. She suspected where he was going, and, by a shorter route, reached a field opposite Laycock's house, and, from behind the hedge, saw Bingley push aside the cellar window and crawl in. He had tried the door first, but it was just at this hour Laycock was in the ale-house. The rector was a magistrate; and she went to him with her tale, and he saw at once the importance of her information. He posted the men who watched Laycock's house; they saw Bingley leave it, and when he was about a mile from Hallam they arrested him, and took him to Leeds. Laycock's arrest had followed as early as a warrant could be obtained. He sent at once for Mr. North, and frankly confessed to him his share in the tragedy.

"It was a moment's temptation, sir," he said, with bitter sorrow, "and I hev been as miserable as any devil out o' hell could be iver since. T' night as Clough were shot, I had passed his house, and seen Mary Clough at t' garden gate, and she hed been varry scornful, and told me she'd marry Ben Craven, or stay unmarried; and I were feeling bad about it. I thought I'd walk across t' moor and meet Clough, and tell him what Mary said, and as I went along I heard a shot, and saw a man running. As he came near I knew it was Bingley i' Ben Craven's working clothes. He looked i' my face, and said, 'Clough thinks Ben Craven fired t' shot. If ta helps me away, thou'lt get Mary. Can I go to thy cottage?' And I said, 'There's a cellar underneath.' That was all. He had stole Ben's overworker's brat and cap from t' room while Ben was drinking his tea, and Ben nivver missed it till Jerry Oddy asked where it was. At night I let him burn them i' my forge. I hev wanted to tell t' truth often; and I were sick as could be wi' swearing away Ben's life; indeed I were!"

Before noon the village was in an uproar of excitement. Laycock followed Bingley to Leeds, and both were committed for trial to York Castle. Both also received the reward of their evil deed: Bingley forfeited his life, and Laycock went to Norfolk Island to serve out a life sentence.

The day of Ben's release was a great holiday. Troubled as the squire was, he flung open the large barn at Hallam, and set a feast for the whole village. After it there was a meeting at the chapel, and Ben told how God had strengthened and comforted him, and made his prison cell a very gate of heaven. And Martha, who had so little to say to any human being for weeks, spoke wondrously. Her heart was burning with love and gratitude; the happy tears streamed down her face; she stood with clasped hands, telling how God had dealt with her, and trying in vain to express her love and praise until she broke into a happy song, and friends and neighbors lifted it with her, and the rafters rang to

"Hallelujah to the Lamb,

Who has purchased our pardon!

We will praise him again

When we pass over Jordan."

If we talk of heaven on earth, surely they talk of earth in heaven; and if the angels are glad when a sinner repents, they must also feel joy in the joy and justification of the righteous. And though Martha and Ben's friends and neighbors were rough and illiterate, they sang the songs of Zion, and spoke the language of the redeemed, and they gathered round the happy son and mother with the unselfish sympathy of the sons and daughters of God. Truly, as the rector said, when speaking of the meeting, "There is something very humanizing in Methodism."

"And something varry civilizing, too, parson," answered the squire; "if they hedn't been in t' Methodist chapel, singing and praising God, they 'ud hev been in t' ale-house, drinking and dancing, and varry like quarreling. There's no need to send t' constable to a Methodist rejoicing. I reckon Mary Clough'll hev to marry Ben Craven in t' long run, now."

"I think so. Ben is to open the mill again, and to have charge of it for Mary. It seems a likely match."

"Yes. I'm varry glad. Things looked black for Ben at one time."

"Only we don't know what is bad and what good."

"It's a great pity we don't. It 'ud be a varry comfortable thing when affairs seemed a' wrong if some angel would give us a call, and tell us we were a bit mistaken. There's no sense i' letting folks be unhappy, when they might be taking life wi' a bit o' comfort."

"But, then, our faith would not be exercised."

"I don't much mind about that. I'd far rather hev things settled. I don't like being worritted and unsettled i' my mind."

The squire spoke with a touching irritability, and every one looked sadly at him. The day after Antony's frank statement of his plans, the squire rode early into Bradford and went straight to the house of old Simon Whaley. For three generations the Whaleys had been the legal advisers of the Hallams, and Simon had touched the lives or memory of all three. He was a very old man, with a thin, cute face, and many wrinkles on his brow; and though he seldom left his house, age had not dimmed his intellect, or dulled his good-will toward the family with whom he had been so frequently associated.

"Why-a! Hallam! Come in, squire; come in, and welcome. Sit thee down, old friend. I'm fain and glad to see thee. What cheer? And whativer brings thee to Bradford so early?"

"I'm in real trouble, Whaley."

"About some wedding, I'll be bound."

"No; neither love nor women folk hev owt to do wi' it. Antony Hallam wants me to break t' entail and give him L50,000."

"Save us a'! Is t' lad gone by his senses?"

Then the squire repeated, as nearly as possible, all that Antony had said to him; after which both men sat quite still; the lawyer thinking, the squire watching the lawyer.

"I'll tell thee what, Hallam, thou hed better give him what he asks. If thou doesn't, he'll get Hallam into bad hands. He has thought o' them, or he would nivver hev spoke o' them; and he'll go to them, rather than not hev his own way. Even if he didn't, just as soon as he was squire, he'd manage it. The Norfolk Hallams, who are next to him, are a poor shiftless crowd, that he'd buy for a song. Now dost thou want to keep Hallam i' thy own flesh and blood? If ta does, I'll tell thee what to do."

"That is the dearest, strongest wish I hev; and thou knows it, Whaley."

"Then go thy ways home and tell Antony Hallam he can hev L50,000, if he gives up to thee every possible claim on Hallam, and every possible assistance in putting it free in thy hands to sell, or to leave as thou wishes."

"He'll do that fast enough."

"Then thou choose a proper husband for thy daughter and settle it upon her. Her husband must take the name o' Hallam; and thy grandchildren by Elizabeth will be as near to thee as they would be by Antony."

"Elizabeth has chosen her husband. He is a son of my aunt, Martha

Hallam; the daughter of Sibbald Hallam."

"What does ta want better? That's famous!"

"But he's an American."

"Then we must mak' an Englishman o' him. T' Hallams must be kept up.

What's his name?"

"Fontaine."

"It's a varry Frenchified name. I should think he'd be glad to get rid o' it. Where is he now? At Hallam?"

"He is in t' Holy Land somewhere."

"Is he a parson?"

"No, he's a planter; and a bit o' a lawyer, too."

"Whativer does he want in t' Holy Land, then?"

"He's wi' a Bishop."

"Ay? Then he's pious?"

"For sure; he's a Methodist."

"That's not bad. Squire Gregory was a Methodist. He saved more 'an a bit o' money, and he bought all o' t' low meadows, and built main part o' t' stables, and laid out best half o' t' gardens. There nivver was a better or thriftier holder o' Hallam. Ay, ay, there's a kind o' fellowship between Methodism and money. This Mr. Fontaine will do uncommon well for Hallam, squire, I should think."

"If I got Antony to come to thee, Whaley, could ta do owt wi' him, thinks ta?"

"I wouldn't try it, squire. It would be breath thrown away. Soon or later thy son Antony will take his own way, no matter where it leads him. Thou hes t' reins i' thy hand now, tak' my advice, and settle this thing while thou hes. It's a deep wound, but it's a clean wound yet; cut off t' limb afore it begins to fester and poison t' whole body. And don't thee quarrel wi' him. He's a man now, and there hes to be a' mak's o' men to do t' world's work. Let Antony be; he'll mebbe be a credit to thee yet."

"I don't believe, Whaley, thou understands what a sorrow this is to me."

"Don't I? I've got a heart yet, Hallam, though thou'd happen think I've varry little use for it at eighty-nine years old; but I'll tell thee what, instead o' looking at t' troubles thou hes, just tak' a look at them thou hesn't. I nivver gave thee a bit o' advice better worth seven-and-sixpence than that is."

"What does ta mean?"

"I'll tell thee. Thou's fretting because Antony wants to go into business, and to get hold o' as much gold and honor as iver he can put his hands on. Now suppose he wanted to spend a' t' money he could get hold of, and to drag thy old name through t' mire o' jockey fields and gambling houses, and t' filth that lies at t' month o' hell. Wouldn't that be worse?"

"Ay, it would."

"And they who hanker after an earldom'll be varry like to pick up some good things on t' road to it. When ta can't mak' t' wind suit thee, turn round and sail wi' t' wind."

"Thou sees, Whaley, I hev saved a good bit o' money, and I gave Antony t' best education Oxford could hand over for it; and I reckoned on him getting into Parliament, and makkin' a bit o' a stir there, and building up t' old name wi' a deal o' honor."

"Varry good; but strike t' nail that'll go! What is t' use o' hitting them that will only bend and break i' thy hand, and get mebbe t' weight o' t' blow on thy own finger-ends. Go thee home and talk reasonably to thy son. He's gotten a will o' his own-that's a way wi' t' Hallams-and he'll tak' it. Mak' up thy mind to that."

"But children ought to obey their fathers."

"Ought hesn't been t' fashion since iver I remember; and t' young people o' these days hev crossed out Fifth Commandment-happen that's t' reason there is so few men blessed wi' the green old age that I asked for wi' the keeping o' it."

The squire pondered this advice all day, keeping apart from his family, and really suffering very keenly. But toward evening he sent for his son. As Antony entered his room he looked at him with a more conscious and critical regard than he had ever done before. He was forced to admit that he was different from his ancestors, though inheriting their physical peculiarities. They were mostly splendid animals, with faces radiant with courage and high spirits and high health. Antony's face was clearer and more refined, more complex, more suggestive. His form, equally tall, was slighter, not hampered with superfluous flesh, not so aggressively erect. One felt that the older Hallams would have walked straight up to the object of their ambition and demanded it, or, if necessary, fought for it. One was equally sure that Antony had the ability to stoop, to bow, to slide past obstacles, to attain his object by the pleasantest road possible.

He met his father with marked respect and a conciliating manner; standing, with one hand leaning on the central table, until told to sit down.

"Thou can hev what ta wants on thy own terms, son Antony."

"Thank you, sir."

"Nay, I want no thanks. I hev only made t' best o' a bad job."

"I hope you may live to see that it is not a bad job, sir. I intend no dishonor to our name. I am as proud of it as you are. I only desire to make it a power and an influence, and to give it the honor it deserves."

"Ay, ay; thou's going to light thy torch at t' sun, no doubt. I hev heard young men talk afore thee. There is Squire Cawthorpe-he was at college wi' me-what a grand poem he was going to write! He's master o' Bagley fox hounds now, and he nivver wrote a line as I heard tell o'. There's Parson Leveret! He was going to hand in t' millennium, and now he cares for nowt i' t' world but his tithes and a bottle o' good port. Howiver, there's no use talking. Whaley will manage t' business, and when thou art needed he'll go up to London to see thee. As long as thou art young Squire Hallam I shall continue thy allowance; when thou hest signed away thy birthright thou wilt hev L50,000, and nivver another penny-piece from Hallam."

"That is just and right."

"And sooner thou leaves Hallam, and better it will be for both o' us, I'm sure. It hurts me to my heart to see thee; that it does,"-and he got up suddenly, and walked to the window to hide the tears that forced themselves into his eyes.

"Shake hands with me, father."

"Nay, I'd rather not."

He had his hands under his coat, behind his back, and he kept them there, staring the while resolutely into the garden, though his large blue eyes were too full to see any thing clearly. Antony watched him a moment, and then approached him.

"Forget, sir, what I am going to do. Before I leave Hallam give me your hand, father, as you would give it to your son Antony."

The squire was not able to resist this appeal. He sunk into his chair and covered his face, saying mournfully: "O, Antony! Antony! Thou hes broken my heart."

But when Antony knelt down by his side, and kissed the hand that lay so pathetically suggestive upon the broad knee, he made no movement of dissent. In another minute the door closed softly, and he was alone-as really a bereaved father as if he stood at an open grave.

Antony's adieu to Phyllis was easily made, but his parting with his sister hurt him in his deepest affections. Whatever of unselfish love he felt belonged to Elizabeth, and she returned to her brother the very strongest care and tenderness of her nature. They had a long conference, from which Antony came away pale and sick with emotion, leaving his sister sobbing on her couch. It is always a painful thing to witness grief from which we are shut out, and Phyllis was unhappy without being able to weep with her uncle and cousins. But it is one blessing of a refined household that sorrow must be put aside for the duties and courtesies of life. The dinner table was set, and the squire washed his face, and put on his evening suit, his long white vest and lace kerchief, and, without being conscious of it, was relieved by the change. And Elizabeth had to rouse herself and take thought for her household duties, and dress even more carefully than usual, in order to make her white cheeks and sorrowful eyes less noticeable. And the courtesies of eating together made a current in the tide of unhappy thought; so that before the meal was over there had been some smiles; and hope, the apprehender of joy, the sister of faith, had whispered to both father and sister, "Keep a good heart! Things may be better than they appear to be."

As the squire rose from the table, he said: "Now, Elizabeth, I hev something varry particular to say to thee. Phyllis will bide by herself an hour, and then we'll hev no more secrets, and we'll try to be as happy as things will let us be."

Elizabeth was in some measure prepared for what her father had to say; but she was placed in a very unhappy position. She did what was kindest and wisest under the circumstances, accepted without remonstrance the part assigned her. The young are usually romantic, and their first impulses are generously impracticable ones. Elizabeth was not wiser than her years by nature, but she was wiser by her will. For the first few minutes it had seemed to her the most honorable and womanly thing to refuse to stand in her brother's place. But her good heart and good sense soon told her that it would be the kindest course to submit. Yet she was quite aware that her succession would be regarded by the tenants and neighbors with extreme dislike. They would look upon Richard and herself as supplanters; Richard's foreign birth would be a constant offense; her clear mind took in all the consequences, and she felt hurt at Antony for forcing them upon her.

She sat pale and silent, listening to all the squire said, and vainly trying to find some honorable and kind way out of the position.

"Thou must know what thou art doing, Elizabeth," he said, "and must take the charge wi' thy eyes open to a' it asks of thee."

Then he showed her the books of the estate, made her understand the value of every field and meadow, of every house and farm and young plantation of wood. "It's a grand property, and Antony was a born fool to part wi' such a bird in t' hand for any number o' finer ones in t' bush. Does ta understand its value?"

"I am sure I do."

"And thou is proud o' being the daughter o' such land?"

"I love every rood of it."

"Then listen to me. Thy mother gave thee L5,000. It was put out at interest on thy first birthday, and I hev added a L100 now and then, as I could see my way clear to do so. Thou hes now L22,000 o' thy own-a varry tidy fortune. If ta takes Hallam thou must pay down a' of this to Antony. I'll hev to find t' other L28,000 by a mortgage. Then I shall sell all t' young timber that's wise to sell, and some o' Hallam marsh, to pay off t' mortgage. That will take time to do wisely, and it will be work enough for me for t' balance or my life. But I'll leave thee Hallam clear if God spare me five years longer, and then there'll be few women i' England thou need envy."

"Whatever I have is yours, father. Do as you think best. I will try to learn all about the estate, and I promise you most faithfully to hold it in a good stewardship for those who shall come after me."

"Give me a kiss, my lass, on that promise. I don't say as a lass can iver be to Hallam what Antony should hev been; but thou'rt bound to do thy best."

"And, father, Antony is very clever. Who can tell what he may do? If a man wants to go up, the door is open to wit and skill and industry. Antony has all these."

"Fair words! Fair words, Elizabeth! But we wont sell t' wheat till we have reaped t' field; and Antony's wheat isn't sown yet. He's gotten more projects in his mind than there's places on t' map. I don't like such ways!"

"If Antony is any thing, father, he is clear-sighted for his own interest. He knows the road he is going to take, you may be very sure."

"Nay, then, I'm not sure. I'll always suspect that a dark road is a bad road until I'm safe off it."

"We may as well hope for the best. Antony appeared to understand what he was doing."

"Antony has got t' gold sickness varry bad, and they'd be fools indeed who'd consult a man wi' a fever on his own case. But we're nobbut talking for talking's sake. Let us go to Phyllis. She'll hev been more 'an a bit lonely, I'm feared."

A servant with candles opened the parlor door for them. The rector was sitting in the fire-light, and Phyllis softly playing and singing at the piano. She looked up with a smile in her eyes, and finished her hymn. The four lines seemed like a voice from heaven to the anxious father and sister:

"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face."

"Sing them words again, Phyllis, dearie," said the squire, and as she did so he let them sink into his heart and fill all its restless chambers with confidence and peace.

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