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   Chapter 4 No.4

The Hallam Succession By Amelia E. Barr Characters: 40439

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


"Stir the deep wells of life that flow within you,

Touched by God's genial hand;

And let the chastened sure ambition win you

To serve his high command.

"And mighty love embracing all things human

In one all-fathering name,

Stamping God's seal on trivial things and common,

With consecrated aim."

As the weeks went on the squire's confidence insensibly grew. He met Lord Eltham one day when he was out riding, and they did not quarrel. On the contrary, Eltham was so conciliating, so patient, and so confidently hopeful, that it was almost impossible for Hallam not to be in some measure influenced by him.

"I'm quite sure t' young fellows will succeed," he said, "and if there's more 'an one son i' a family thou may take my word for it it's a varry comfortable thing to hev more 'an one living for 'em."

"And if they spoil t' horn instead o' making t' spoon, what then,

Eltham?"

"They'll hev hed t' experience, and they'll be more ready to settle down to what is made for 'em, and to be content wi' it."

"That's varry fine i' thy case, for t' experience'll cost thee nothing. Thou is giving thy younger son a chance out o' t' Digby's and Hallam's money."

Eltham only laughed. "Ivery experiment comes out o' somebody's pocket,

Hallam-it'll be my turn next happen. Will ta come t' hunt dinner at

Eltham on Thursday?"

"Nay, I wont. I'll not bite nor sup at thy table again till we see what we shall see. If I want to say what I think about thee, I'm none going to tie my tongue aforehand."

"We'll be fast friends yet. See, if we bean't! Good-bye to thee,

Hallam. Thou'lt be going through t' park, I expect?"

"Ay; I'll like enough find company there."

It was about three o'clock, gray and chill. There had been a good deal of snow, and, except where it was brushed away from the foot-path, it lay white and unbroken, the black trunks of the trees among it looking like pillars of ebony in the ivory-paved courts of a temple. Up in the sky winter was passing with all his somber train, the clouds flying rapidly in great grotesque masses, and seeming to touch the tops of the trees like a gloomy, floating veil.

Phyllis and Elizabeth, wrapped in woolens and furs, walked cheerily on, Phyllis leaning upon the arm of Elizabeth. They were very happy, and their low laughter and snatches of Christmas carols made a distinct sound in the silent park, for the birds were all quiet and preoccupied, and flitted about the hawthorns with anxious little ways that were almost human in their care and melancholy. The girls had some crumbs of bread and ears of wheat in a basket, and they scattered them here and there in sheltered nooks.

"I'm so glad you remembered it, Phyllis. I shall never forgive myself for not having thought of it before."

"It is only bare justice to our winged sisters. God made the berries for their winter store, and we have taken them to adorn our houses and churches. Unless we provide a good substitute there is an odor of cruel sacrifice about our festal decorations. And if the poor little robins and wrens die of hunger, do you think He, who sees them fall, will hold us innocent?"

"Look how with bright black eyes they watch us scattering the food!

I hope it will not snow until all of them have had a good supper."

Elizabeth was unusually gay. She had had a delightful letter from Richard, and he was to return to Hallam about the New-Year. There had also been one from Antony, beginning "Honored Sir," and ending with the "affectionate duty" of Antony Hallam; and, though the squire had handed it over to Elizabeth without a word, she understood well the brighter light in his face and the cheerful ring in his voice.

They went into Martha's laughing, and found her standing upon a table hanging up Christmas boughs. The little tea-pot was in a bower of holly leaves, and held a posy of the scarlet hawthorn berries mixed with the white, waxy ones of the mistletoe.

"You wont forget the birds, Martha? You have been stealing from their larder, I see."

"I'm none o' that sort, Miss Phyllis. Look 'ee there;" and she pointed to the broad lintel of her window, which had been scattered over with crumbs; where, busily picking them up, were two robin redbreasts, who chirruped thankfully, and watched Martha with bright curious eyes.

"Mary Clough's coming to dinner to-morrow, and her and Ben are going to t' chapel together. Ben's getten himsen a new suit o' broadcloth, and my word! they'll be a handsome couple!"

"You'll have a happy Christmas, Martha."

"Nobody in a' England hes more reason to keep a joyful Christmas, Miss

Hallam."

"No two Christmases are exactly alike; are they, Martha? Last year your daughter was with you. Now she is married and gone far away. Last Christmas my brother was at home. He is not coming this year."

"I found that out long ago, Miss Hallam. First we missed father, then mother; then it was a brother or a sister, or a child more or less; then my husband went, and last year, Sarah Ann."

"Will you and Ben come to the hall to-night?"

"Why-mebbe we will."

"Ben has quite got over his trouble?"

"Ah, Mary helped him a deal."

"Mary will get a good husband."

"She will that. Ben Craven is good at home. You may measure a man by his home conduct, it's t' right place to draw t' line, you may depend upon it. Tak' a bit o' Christmas loaf, and go your ways back now, dearies, for we'll be heving a storm varry soon."

They went merrily out, and about fifty yards away met Mr. North. He also looked very happy, and his lips were moving, as if he was silently singing. In fact, he was very happy; he had been giving gifts to the poor, and the blessing of many "ready to perish" was upon him. He thanked Phyllis and Elizabeth for the Christmas offerings sent to his chapel; and told them of a special service that was to be held on the first Sunday of the new year. "I should like you to be there, Miss Fontaine," he said, "for I think this peculiar service of Methodism is not held in America."

His happiness had conquered his timidity. He looked almost handsome, as he gave them at parting "God's blessing," and the wish for a "Merry Christmas."

"I wish you would ask him to dinner, Elizabeth?"

"Certainly, I will. I should like to do it."

They hurried after him, and overtook him, with his hand upon a cottage gate.

"Will you come and dine with us, Mr. North? It is a gala night at the hall, and many of your people will be there. They will like to see you, and you will add to our pleasure also."

"Thank you, Miss Hallam. It will be very pleasant to me. My duty will be finished in half an hour, then I will follow you."

His face was as happy and as candid as a child's, as he lifted his hat, and entered the cottage garden. Elizabeth involuntarily watched him. "He seems to tread upon air. I don't believe he remembers he is still in the body. He looks like a gentleman to-day."

"He is always a gentleman, Elizabeth. I am told he has about L70 a year. Who but a gentleman could live upon that and look as he does? Ben Craven has double it, but who would call Ben a gentleman?"

"There is a singular thing about the appearance of Methodist preachers, Phyllis; they all look alike. If you see a dozen of them together, the monotony is tiresome. The best of them are only larger specimens of the same type-are related to the others as a crown piece is related to a shilling. You know a Methodist minister as soon as you see him."

"That is just as it ought to be. They are the Methodist coin, and they bear its image and its superscription. The disciples had evidently the same kind of 'monotony.' People who were not Nazarenes 'took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.' But if this is a fault, surely the English clergy have it in a remarkable degree. I know an Episcopal clergyman just as soon and just as far as I can see him."

"Their cloth-"

"O, it is not only their 'cloth.' That long surtout, and nicely adjusted white tie, and general smoothness and trimness, is all very distinctive and proper; but I refer quite as much to that peculiar self-containedness of aspect and that air of propriety and polish which surrounds them like an atmosphere."

"Now we are quits, Phyllis, and I think we had better walk faster.

See what large flakes of snow are beginning to fall!"

The squire had reached home first, and was standing at the door to meet them, his large rosy face all smiles. There was a roaring, leaping fire in the hall, and its trophies of chase and war were wreathed and crowned with fir and box and holly. Branches of mistletoe hung above the doors and the hearth-stone; and all the rooms were equally bright. The servants tripped about in their best clothes, the men with bits of hawthorn berries and box on their breast, the women with sprigs of mistletoe. There was the happiest sense of good humor and good-will, the far-away echo of laughter, the tinkling of glass and china and silver, the faint delicious aroma, through opening doors, of plentiful good cheer.

"Whativer kept you so long, dearies? Run away and don yourselves, and make yourselves gay and fine. Christmas comes but once a year. And don't keep dinner waiting; mind that now! T' rector's here, and if there's any thing that puts him about, it's waiting for his dinner."

"We asked Mr. North, father; he will be here soon."

"I'm uncommon glad you asked him. Go your ways and get your best frocks on. I'll go to t' door to meet him."

In about an hour the girls came down together, Phyllis in a pale gray satin, with delicate edgings of fine lace. It fitted her small form to perfection, close to the throat, close to the wrists, and it had about it a slight but charming touch of puritanism. There was a white japonica in her hair, and a flame-colored one at her throat, and these were her only ornaments. Elizabeth wore a plain robe of dark blue velvet, cut, as was the fashion in those days, to show the stately throat and shoulders. Splendid bracelets were on her arms, and one row of large white pearls encircled her throat. She looked like a queen, and Phyllis wished Richard could have seen her.

"She'll be a varry proper mistress o' Hallam-Croft," thought the squire, with a passing sigh. But-his eyes dwelt with delight upon Phyllis. "Eh!" he said, "but thou art a bonny lass! T' flowers that bloom for thee to wear are t' happiest flowers that blow, I'll warrant thee."

After dinner the squire and his daughter went to the servants' hall to drink "loving cup" at their table, and to give their Christmas gifts. The rector, in the big chair he loved, sat smoking his long pipe. Mr. North, with a face full of the sweetest serenity and pleasure, sat opposite, his thin white hands touching each other at all their finger tips, and his clear eyes sometimes resting on the blazing fire, and sometimes drifting away to the face of Phyllis, or to that of the rector.

"You have been making people happy all day, Mr. North?"

"Yes; it has been a good day to me. I had twelve pounds to give away.

They made twelve homes very happy. I don't often have such a pleasure."

"I have noticed, Mr. North," said the rector, "that you do very little pastoral visiting."

"That is not my duty."

"I think it a very important part of my duty."

"You are right. It is. You are a pastor."

"And you?"

"I am a preacher. My duty is to preach Christ and him crucified. To save souls. There are others whose work it is to serve tables, and comfort and advise in trouble and perplexity."

"But you must lose all the personal and social influence of a pastor."

"If I had desired personal and social influence, I should hardly have chosen the office of a Methodist preacher. 'Out of breath pursuing souls,' was said of John Wesley and his pretorian band of helpers. I follow, as best I can, in their footsteps. But though I have no time for visiting, it is not neglected."

"Yes?" said the rector, inquiringly.

"Our class-leaders do that. John Dawson and Jacob Hargraves and Hannah

Sarum are the class-leaders in Hallam and West Croft. You know them?"

"Yes."

"They are well read in the Scriptures. They have sorrowed and suffered. They understand the people. They have their local prejudices and feelings. They have been in the same straits. They speak the same tongue. It is their duty to give counsel and comfort, and material help if it is needed; to watch over young converts; to seek those that are backsliding; to use their influence in every way for such of the flock as are under their charge. John Dawson has twenty-two men and Jacob Hargraves nineteen men under their care. Hannah Sarum has a very large class. No one pastor could do as regards meat and money matters what these three can do. Besides, the wealthy, the educated, and the prosperous cannot so perfectly enter into the joys and sorrows of the poor. If a woman has a drunken husband, or a disobedient child, she will more readily go to Hannah for comfort and advice than to me; and when James Baker was out of work, it was John Dawson who loaned him five pounds, and who finally got him a job in Bowling's mill. I could have done neither of these things for him, however willing I might have been."

"I have never understood the office, then. It is a wonderful arrangement for mutual help."

"It gives to all our societies a family feeling. We are what we call ourselves-brothers and sisters;" and, with a smile, he stretched out his hand to take the one which Phyllis, by some sympathetic understanding, offered him.

"There was something like it in the apostolic Church?"

"Yes; our class-leader is the apostolic diaconate. The apostles were preachers, evangelists, hasting here and there to save souls. The deacons were the pastors of the infant churches. I preach seven times a week. I walk to all the places I preach at. It is of more importance to me that men are going to eternal destruction, than that they are needing a dinner or a coat."

"But if you settled down in one place you would soon become familiar with the people's needs; you would only have to preach two sermons a week, and you could do your own pastoral duty."

"True; but then I would not be any longer a Methodist preacher. A Methodist pastor is a solecism; Methodism is a moving evangelism. When it settles down for a life pastorate it will need a new name."

"However, Mr. North, it seems to me, that a preacher should bring every possible adjunct to aid him. The advantages of a reputation for piety, wisdom, and social sympathy are quite denied to a man who is only a preacher."

"He has the cross of Christ. It needs no aid of wealth, or wisdom, or social sympathy. It is enough for salvation. The banner of the Methodist preacher is that mighty angel flying over land and sea, and having the everlasting Gospel to preach!"

His enthusiasm had carried him away. He sighed, and continued, "But I judge no man. There must be pastors as well as preachers. I was sent to preach."

For a moment there was silence, then the fine instinct of Phyllis perceived that the conversation had reached exactly that point when it demanded relief in order to effect its best ends. She went to the piano and began to sing softly some tender little romance of home and home joys. In the midst of it the squire and Elizabeth entered, and the conversation turned upon Christmas observances. So, it fell out naturally enough that Phyllis should speak of her southern home, and describe the long rows of white cabins among the live oaks, and the kind-hearted dusky dwellers in them; and, finally, as she became almost tearful over her memories, she began to sing one of the "spirituals," then so totally unknown beyond plantation life, singing it sotto voce, swaying her body gently to the melody, and softly clapping her small hands as an accompaniment:

"My soul! Massa Jesus! My soul!

My soul!

Dar's a little thing lays in my heart,

An' de more I dig him, de better he spring:

My soul!

Dar's a little thing lays in my heart,

An' he set my soul on fire:

My soul!

Massa Jesus! My soul! My soul!"

Then changing the time and tune, she continued:

"De water deep, de water cold,

Nobody here to help me!

O de water rise! De water roll!

Nobody here to help me!

Dear Lord,

Nobody here to help me!"

She had to sing them and many others over and over. Mr. North's eyes were full of tears, and the rector hid his face in his hands. As for the squire, he sat looking at her with wonder and delight.

"Why did ta nivver sing them songs afore, Phyllis? I nivver heard such music."

"It never has been written down, uncle."

"Who made it up for 'em?"

"It was never made. It sprung from their sorrows and their captivity.

The slave's heart was the slave's lyre."

They talked until a deputation came from the servant's hall and asked for Mr. North. They belonged to the Christmas waits, and if he was going back to the village they wished to accompany him home; an offer he readily accepted.

"I have had a happy evening, squire;" and his smile included every one in the blessing he left behind. They all followed him to the door, and watched the little crowd take their way through the white park. The snow had quite ceased, the moon rode full and clear in mid-heaven, and near by her there was one bright, bold, steady star.

In a short time Elizabeth went with Phyllis to her room, and they laid aside their dresses and ornaments, and, sitting down before the fire, began to talk of Richard and Antony, of Rome and America, and of those innocent, happy hopes which are the joy of youth. How bright their faces were! How prettily the fire-light glinted in their white robes and loosened hair! How sweetly their low voices and rippling laughter broke the drowsy silence of the large, handsome room! Suddenly the great clock in the tower struck twelve. They counted off the strokes on their white fingers, looking into each other's faces with a bright expectancy; and after a moment's pause, out clashed the Christmas bells, answering each other from hill to hill through the moonlit midnight. Phyllis was in an ecstasy of delight. She threw open her window and stood listening, "O, I know what they say, Elizabeth. Glory be to God on high! And hark! There is singing!"

"It is the waits, Phyllis."

A company of about fifty men and women were coming through the park, filling the air as they came with music, till all the hills and valleys re-echoed the "In Excelsis Gloria" of the sweet old carol:

"When Christ was born of Mary free,

In Bethlehem that fair citie,

The angels sang in holy glee,

'In excelsis gloria!'"

They finished the last verses under the Hall windows, and then, after a greeting from the rector and the squire, they turned happily back to the village, singing Herrick's most perfect star song:

"Tell us, thou clear and heavenly tongue,

Where is the Babe that lately sprung?

Lies He the lily-banks among?"

Phyllis was weeping unrestrainedly; Elizabeth, more calm and self-contained, held her against her breast, and smiled down at the happy tears. Blessed are they who have wept for joy! They have known a rapture far beyond the power of laughter to express.

The next week was full of visiting and visitors. The squire kept open house. The butler stood at the sideboard all day long, and there was besides one large party which included all the families within a few miles of Hallam that had any acquaintance with the squire. It was, perhaps, a little trial at this time for Phyllis to explain to Elizabeth that she could not dance.

"But father is expecting to open the ball with you. He will be very much disappointed."

"I am sorry to disappoint him; but, indeed, I cannot."

"I will teach you the step and figure in half an hour."

"I do not wish to learn. I have both conscientious and womanly scruples against dancing."

"I forgot. The Methodists do not sanction dancing, I suppose; but you must admit, Phyllis, that very good people are mentioned in the Bible as dancing."

"True, Elizabeth;

but the religious dances of Judea were triumphant adoration. You will hardly claim so much for the polka or waltz. All ancient dances were symbolical, and meant something. Every motion was a thought, every attitude a sentiment. If the daughter of Herodias had danced a modern cotillion, do you think that John the Baptist's head would have fallen at her feet?"

"Don't associate modern dancing with such unpleasant things. We do not want it to mean any thing but pleasure."

"But how can you find rational pleasure in spinning round like a teetotum in a room of eighty degrees temperature?"

"All people do not waltz; I do not myself."

"The square dances, then? What are they but slouching mathematical dawdling, and 'promiscuous' bobbing around?"

"But people must do something to pass the time."

"I do not see that, Elizabeth. We are told not 'to pass the time,' but to 'redeem' it. I think dancing a foolish thing, and folly and sin are very close kin."

"You said 'unwomanly' also?"

"Yes; I think dancing is unwomanly in public. If you waltz with Lord Francis Eltham, you permit him to take a liberty with you in public you would not allow under any other circumstances. And then just look at dancers! How heated, flushed, damp, and untidy they look after the exercise! Did you ever watch a lot of men and women dancing when you could not hear the music, but could only see them bobbing up and down the room? I assure you they look just like a party of lunatics."

Elizabeth laughed; but Phyllis kept her resolution. And after the ball was over, Elizabeth said, frankly, "You had the best of it, Phyllis, every way. You looked so cool and sweet and calm in the midst of the confusion and heat. I declare every one was glad to sit down beside you, and look at you. And how cheerfully you sang and played! You did not dance, but, nevertheless, you were the belle of the ball."

On the first Sabbath of the new year Phyllis was left at the little Methodist chapel. Her profession had always been free from that obtrusive demonstration of religious opinion which is seldom united with true piety. While she dwelt under her uncle's roof it had seemed generally the wisest and kindest thing to worship with his family. It involved nothing that hurt her conscience, and it prevented many disputes which would probably have begun in some small household disarrangement, and bred only dislike and religious offense. Her Methodism had neither been cowardly nor demonstrative, but had been made most conscious to all by her sweet complaisance and charitable concessions.

So, when she said to the squire, "Uncle, Mr. North tells me there is to be a very solemn Methodist service to-morrow, and one which I never saw in America; I should like you to leave me at the chapel," he answered: "To be sure, Phyllis. We would go with thee, but there's none but members admitted. I know what service thou means well enough."

She found in the chapel about two hundred men and women, for they had come to Hallam from the smaller societies around. They were mostly from what is often called "the lower orders," men and women whose hands were hard with toil, and whose forms were bowed with labor. But what a still solemnity there was in the place! No organ, no dim religious light, no vergers, or beadles, or robed choristers, or priest in sacred vestments. The winter light fell pale and cold through the plain windows on bare white-washed walls, on a raised wooden pulpit, and on pews unpainted and uncushioned. Some of the congregation were very old; some, just in the flush of manhood and womanhood. All were in the immediate presence of God, and were intensely conscious of it. There was a solemn hymn sung and a short prayer; then Mr. North's gaze wandered over the congregation until it rested upon a man in the center-a very old man-with hair as white as wool.

"Stephen Langside, can you stand up before God and man to-day?"

The old man rose, and, supported by two young farmers, lifted-up a face full of light and confidence.

"They tell me that you are ninety-eight years old, and that this is the seventy-first time that you will renew your covenant with the eternal Father. Bear witness this day of him."

"His word is sure as t' everlasting hills! I hev been young, and now I'm old, and I hev hed a deal to do wi' him, and he hes hed a deal to do for me; and he nivver hes deceived me, and he hes nivver failed me, and he has nivver turned t' cold shoulder to me; ay, and he hes stuck up to his promises, when I was none ready to keep mine. There's many good masters, but he is t' best Master of a'! There's many true friends, but he is the truest of a'! Many a kind father, but no father so kind as him! I know whom I hev believed, and I can trust him even unto death!"

"Brothers and sisters, this is the Master, the Friend, the Father, whom I ask you to enter into covenant with to-day-a holy solemn covenant, which you shall kneel down and make upon your knees, and stand up and ratify in the sight of angels and of men."

Not ignorantly did Phyllis enter into this covenant with her Maker. She had read it carefully over, and considered well its awful solemnity. Slowly the grand abnegation, the solemn engagement, was formed; every sentence recited without haste, and with full consciousness of all its obligations. Then Mr. North, after a short pause for mental examination, said:

"Remember now that you are in the actual presence of the Almighty God. He is nearer to you than breathing, closer than hands and feet. He besets you before and behind. He lays his hand upon you. Therefore let all who, by standing up, give their soul's assent to this consecration, remember well to whom they promise."

Slowly, one by one, the congregation arose; and so they remained standing, until every face was lifted. Then the silence was broken by the joyful singing of Doddridge's fine hymn,

"O happy day that fixed my choice,"

and the service closed with the administration of the Holy Communion.

"Thou looks very happy, Phyllis," said the squire to her, as they both sat by the fire that night.

"I am very happy, uncle."

"Thou beats me! I told t' rector where ta had gone to-day, and he said it were a varry singular thing that thou should take such an obligation on thee. He said t' terms of it would do for t' varry strictest o' Roman Catholic orders."

"Do you not think, uncle, that Protestants should be as strict regarding personal holiness as Catholics?"

"Nay, I know nowt about it, dearie. I wish women were a' like thee, though. They'd be a deal better to live wi'. I like religion in a woman, it's a varry reliable thing. I wish Antony hed hed his senses about him, and got thee to wed him. Eh! but I would have been a happy father!"

"Uncle, dear-you see-I love somebody else."

"Well I nivver! Thee! Why thou's too young! When did ta begin to think o' loving any body?"

"When I was a little girl John Millard and I loved each other. I don't know when I began to love him, I always loved him."

"What is ta talking about? Such nonsense!"

"Love is not nonsense, uncle. You remember the old English song you like so much:

"'O 'tis love, 'tis love, 'tis love

That makes the world go round'"

"Now be quiet wi' thee. It's nowt o' t' sort. Songs and real life are varry different things. If ta comes o real life, it's money, and not love; t' world would varry soon stick without a bit o' money."

About the middle of January Richard returned to Hallam. The Bishop was with friends in Liverpool, but he wished to sail immediately, and Richard thought it best to sail with him. Phyllis was willing to go. She had had a charming visit, but she had many duties and friends on the other side, and her heart, also, was there. As for danger or discomfort in a winter passage, she did not think it worth consideration. Some discomfort there must be; and if storm, or even death came, she was as near to heaven by sea as by land.

The squire had not written to Richard about his plans for the succession of Hallam. He had felt more uncertainty on the subject than he would admit even to his own heart. He thought he would prefer to explain matters to him in person. So, one morning, as they were together, he said "Look 'ee here, Richard!" and he led him to the portrait of Colonel Alfred Hallam. "Thou can see where ta comes from. Thou is t' varry marrow o' that Hallam!"

Richard was much pleased at the incident, and he traced with pleasure the resemblances between them.

"Richard, I am going to leave Hallam to thee."

It was not in the squire's nature to "introduce" a subject. He could never half say a thing. His bald statement made Richard look curiously at him. He never for a moment believed him to mean what the words implied. So he only smiled and bowed.

"Nay, thou needn't laugh! It's no laughing matter. I'll tell thee all about it."

In the squire's way of telling, the tale was a very short one. The facts were stated in a few sentences, without comment. They amazed Richard, and left him for a moment speechless.

"Well, what does ta say?"

"I will be as frank as you have been, uncle. I cannot possibly accept your offer."

"Thou'lt hev a reason?"

"More than one. First, I would not change my name. I should feel as if I had slandered the Fontaines. My father was a brave soldier; my grandfather was a missionary, whose praise is in all our churches. I need go no farther back. If I had been born 'Hallam' I would have stood by the name just as firmly."

"Then, thou wilt hev to give up Elizabeth. Succession must go in her children and in her name."

"Miss Hallam and you accepted me as Richard Fontaine. Have I not the right to expect that both she and you will keep your word with me?"

"Thou forgets, Richard. Her duty to her father and to her ancestors stands before thee. If thy duty to thine will not let thee give up thy name, hers may well be due to home and lands that hold her by a tenure o' a thousand years. But neither Miss Hallam nor Hallam Hall need go a-begging, lad. I ask thy pardon for offering thee owt so worthless."

"Dear uncle, do not be angry with me."

"Ay, ay; it's 'dear uncle,' and 'dear father,' but it's also, 'I'll tak' my own way', wi' both Antony and thee. I'm a varry unhappy old man. I am that!"

He walked angrily off, leaving Richard standing before the picture which so much resembled him. He turned quickly, and went in search of Elizabeth. She was sitting with Phyllis in the breakfast parlor. Phyllis, who was often inclined to a dreamy thoughtfulness, was so inclined at that hour, and she was answering Elizabeth's remarks, far more curious of some mental vision than of the calm-browed woman, sitting opposite to her, sewing so industriously. Richard came in like a small tempest, and for once Elizabeth's quiet, inquiring regard seemed to irritate him.

"Elizabeth;" and he took her work from her hand, and laid it on the table. "My dear love! does Phyllis know?"

"What, Richard?"

"About Antony and the Hallam estate?"

"No; I thought it best to let you tell her."

"Because you were sure I would refuse it?-Phyllis!"

"Yes, Richard."

"Your uncle is going to disinherit Antony; and he wishes me to become his heir and take his name."

"But that is impossible. You could not take Antony's place. You could not give up your name-not for a kingdom."

"Then," said Elizabeth, a little proudly, "he must give me up. I cannot disobey my father."

Phyllis quietly rose and went out. She could not interfere with the lovers, but she felt sorry enough for them. Richard's compliance was forbidden by every sentiment of honor. Elizabeth was little likely to give way. Richard held her to her promise, and pleaded for its fulfillment. He wanted no fortune. He was quite content that her fortune should go to free Hallam. But he did not see that her life and happiness, and his, also, should be sacrificed to Antony's insane ambition. "He will marry, doubtless," he urged. "He may have a large family; cannot one of them, in such case, be selected as heir?"

This was the only hope Elizabeth would admit. In her way she was as immovable as Richard. She had made up her mind as to what was her duty in the premises, and her lover could not move her from this position. And, as the unhappy can seldom persuade themselves that "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," each heart was heavy with the probable sorrows that were to flow from this complication of affairs.

Phyllis, musing thoughtfully at her own room window, saw the squire walking on the terrace. Her first impulse was to go to him, but she sat down to consider the inclination. Her class-leader, a shrewd, pious old Scotchman, had once said to her-"Nine impulses oot o' ten, Sister Phyllis, come fra the de'il. Just put an impulse through its catechism before ye go the gate it sends ye." So she sat down to think. "What right have I to interfere? Ought I to solicit a confidence? Can I do good? Might I not do harm? A good word spoken out of season is often a bad word; and I am not sure what is the good word in this case. I had better be still and wait."

Her patience had in some measure its reward. Toward afternoon Elizabeth came to her room. Her eyes were red with weeping, but she said, "Father and Richard have shaken hands, Phyllis; there is to be no ill-will about the disappointment."

"I am very glad. But is it to be a disappointment-to you, I mean,

Elizabeth?"

"I fear so; I must stand by father's side as regards Hallam. I can wait and love on. But I will not bind Richard. He is free."

"I am quite sure he is not free. Richard will never be free while there remains a hope of eventually winning you."

"He says that nothing but my marriage to some other person shall make him lose hope; but men say these things and forget."

"Richard means what he says. He will not forget; and time gives with both hands to the patient and the truthful. Is the squire satisfied?"

"I don't think he blames Richard. The shadow I felt on the night of our betrothal has begun to creep toward me, Phyllis. I am in its chill and gloom. It will darken all our remaining hours together, and they are few now."

"Make the most of them, dear. Get all the sunshine you can; stay with

Richard. I am going to the village to bid Martha good-bye."

"Richard says you are to sail Wednesday?"

"Yes; what is the use of drawing out a parting? We have had a happy holiday. Let us go ere its spirit is over. There must be times and seasons, Elizabeth; it is the part of love and wisdom never to force them. Besides, uncle has a very sore place in his heart, and Richard can hardly avoid rubbing against it. It is best for us to go."

Martha was a little dull, and Phyllis was struck with her explanation: "I'm a bit selfish to-day; and t' heart that isn't loving isn't cheerful. Ben and me hev been so much to each other, that it comes a bit hard to hev to step aside for a lass as one doesn't care much for." She put her checked apron to her eyes, and wiped away a few tears.

"But Ben can never forget what you did for him."

"It was Mary after a' that saved him. I nobbut prayed night and day. She brought the magistrate and t' constable. Men don't count much on prayer."

"Dear Martha, God sends by whom he will send. If he had thought it best, you would have got the order. God looks afar off-for the years that are to come-when you may be where all tears are wiped away."

"I know, I know."

"Don't let Ben think you grudge him the fullest measure of his happiness and deliverance. Mothers must have a deal to bear. The best of children are blind, I think."

Martha was crying quietly. "He was t' last left me. I hev carried him i' my heart for months, till my heart is fair empty without him. I wanted him a little bit to mysen. She's a good girl, is Mary, and I'm trying hard to love her; but I've got a weight on me that's bad to bide."

"If it's a bitter cup, drink it, Martha."

"My lass, I'll do that. There'll be a blessing in t' bottom o' it, never fear. I'm nobbut standing as a bairn does wi' a cup o' medicine; and when a thing is hard to take, its nobbut human nature to say it's none nice."

"I am come to say 'good-bye' Martha; I don't want to leave you in tears."

"Nay then is ta! Surely to goodness thou isn't going in t' dead o' winter?"

"Yes. We leave Hallam to-morrow."

"Then bide a bit. I'll mak' a cup o' tea in t' little Wesley tea-pot; and I'll toast thee a Yorkshire cake, and we'll eat a mouthful together in this world before we part. We'll be none like to meet again."

She wiped away every trace of tears, and drew the little table to the hearth-stone, and set out her humble service. And she quite put away her own trouble and spoke cheerfully, and served Phyllis with busy hospitality.

"For, you see," she said, as she knelt before the fire toasting the cake, "I feel as if you were a pilgrim, Sister Phyllis, that had come across my little cottage on your way to the kingdom. And if I didn't mak' you welcome, and say a hearty, loving 'Godspeed' to you, I'd happen miss a bit o' my own welcome when I enter the gates o' the kingdom. So, eat and drink, dearie; and may the bread strengthen you, and the cup be full o' blessing."

"I shall never forget you, Martha. I think we shall know each other when we meet again."

"For sure we will. It will be in 'Jerusalem the golden' I don't doubt. Farewell, sister!" and she took the sweet young face between her large hands and kissed it.

Her smile was bright, her words cheerful, but Phyllis went down the street with a heavy heart. She stopped at the house where Mr. North lodged and asked to see him. He came down to her with a smile; but when she said, "It is a good-bye, Mr. North," his face grew pale, his eyes full of trouble; he was unable to answer her. The silence became painful, and Phyllis rose.

"Let me walk a little way with you. Pardon me, I was not prepared for this-blow."

Then Phyllis knew that he loved her. Then he knew it himself. A great pity was in her heart. She was silent and constrained, and they walked together as two who are walking toward a grave.

"It is very hard for me to say 'good-bye,' Miss Fontaine. I shall never, never forget you."

"There are many hard things in life, Mr. North; we can but bear them."

"Is that all?"

"That is all."

"God help me!" He lifted her gloved hand and touched it with his lips. No knight could have expressed in the act more respect, more hopeless tenderness. Then he turned silently away. Phyllis's lips parted, but no words would come. She was full of sorrow for the noble, suffering, humble heart. She longed to say a kind word, and yet felt that it would be unkind; and she stood still watching him as he went farther and farther away. At a bend in the road he turned and saw her standing. The level rays of the sun set her in a clear amber light. He gazed at her steadily for a moment, raised his hand slowly, and passed forever from her sight.

There was something so pathetic and yet so lofty in the slight, vanishing figure, with the hand lifted heavenward, that she felt strangely affected, and could scarcely restrain her tears.

When people come to the end of a pleasure, so many little things show it. The first enthusiasms are gone, there is a little weariness in joy, the heart begins to turn to those fundamental affections and those homely ties which are the main reliance of life. It seemed to Phyllis that, for the first time, she was homesick. The low, white, rambling wooden house, spreading itself under moss-covered trees, began to grow very fair in her memory. The mocking-birds were calling her across the sea. She remembered the tangles of the yellow jasmine, the merry darkies chatting and singing and laughing, and her soul turned westward with an indescribable longing.

And she thought to herself, as she stood upon the terrace and looked over the fair land she was leaving with so little regret, "When the time comes for me to go to my heavenly home, I shall be just as willing to leave the earthly one."

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