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   Chapter 6 No.6

The Hallam Succession By Amelia E. Barr Characters: 34458

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


"Who redeemeth thy life from destruction."

"Strike-for your altars and your fires;

Strike-for the green graves of your sires;

God, and your native land!"

The hours that followed were full of suffering to the heart. John came back with the doctors he summoned, and during their investigation he walked restlessly up and down the room in which the tragedy had occurred. Richard never noticed him. He sat in a chair by the open window, with his head in his hands, quite overcome by grief and remorse. It was in John's strong arms Phyllis had been carried to her own room, and no one now disputed his right to watch and to wait for the doctors' verdict. He was very white; white through all the tan of wind and sun; and, as he paced the room, he wrung his hands in an agony beyond speech. Terrible, indeed, to both men was the silent house, with the faint noises of hurried footsteps and closing doors up stairs! What a mockery seemed the cool, clear sunshine outside! What a strange sadness there was in the call of the crickets, and the faint blooms of the last few flowers! There are scenes and sounds which, as backgrounds to great events in life, photograph themselves in their smallest details upon the mind. In the midst of his distress John could not help noticing the pattern of the wall-paper, and the rustling of the dropping leaves and nuts in the garden.

He pitied Richard; for, even in the depth of his own sorrow, he perceived a grief he could not touch-the anguish of a remorse which might have no end in this life. As the doctors came down stairs John went to meet them, for even a minute's reprieve from his torturing anxiety was worth going for. The foremost made a slight movement, a motion of the lips and eyes which somehow conveyed a hope, and when he heard the words, "She may recover," he hastened back to Richard, and said, "There is a hope for her, and for us. God forgive us!"

Richard never answered a word, and John wandered for hours upon the beach, gazing at the gray melancholy sea, and trying to understand how far he had been to blame. Perhaps it is in the want of pity that the real infernal of Satan consists; for whenever he sees us overwhelmed with sorrow, then he casts into our throbbing heart his fiercest weapons. Doubt, anguish, and prostration of hope, worse than death, assailed him. He tried to pray, but felt as if his cries were uttered to an inexorable silence.

As for Richard, he was so mentally stunned that it was not until he had been taken to Phyllis, and she had whispered, "I shall be better soon, Richard," that a saving reaction could be induced. Then the abandon of his grief was terrible; then he felt something of that remorse for sin which needs no material fiery adjunct to make a hell for the soul. The Bishop watched him with infinite pity, but for several days offered him no consolation. He thought it well he should sorrow; he wished him to know fully that humiliation which Jesus exalts, that wretchedness which he consoles, that darkness which he lightens.

So, when he heard him one night, muttering as he walked gloomily up and down, "O that I could forget! O that I could forget!" he answered, "Not so, son Richard. Can you escape eternity by forgetting it? And even for this life to forget is a kind of moral forfeiture, a treason against your own soul. Forget nothing, carry every thing about yourself to God-your weakness, your regrets, and your desires."

"How can the infinite God heed my pitiful regrets and desires?"

"Because he loves men individually; he deals with them soul by soul. You, Richard Fontaine, you, your very self, must go to him. You are not only a sinner in the general mass, but a particular sinner under your own name and in your special person. So, then, for you he has a special pardon. He has the special help you need; the very word of grace, that your soul, and yours only, may be able to understand."

"O that God would pity me!"

"You belong to the God of compassions. He resists the proud, but he comes to abide with the broken in spirit."

"If I was only sure Phyllis would recover!"

"And if not?"

"Then I have no hope for this life or the other."

"God will do what seemeth good to him."

"I do not understand-God seems so indifferent to my cries."

"My son, God's indifference does not exist; and if to comprehend the cross of Christ, you must suffer to extremity, I would not spare you, Richard; though I love you. There are four words that you can say, which will shake the gates of heaven; which will make the Father meet you, and the elder Brother welcome you, and the angels sing for joy. Desolate souls, full of anguish, and yet full of hope, have comprehended them: Have mercy upon me!"

But the soul is a great mystery. How often is it called, and will not answer. Richard for many weeks could neither believe, nor yet ardently desire. The hour in which he heard that Phyllis was out of danger was the hour of his spiritual deliverance. Then a speechless, overwhelming gratitude took possession of him. He went into his room, and, amid tears and broken prayers of thankfulness, his heart melted. A wondrous revelation came to him, the revelation of a love greater than his sin. He was lost in its rapture, and arose with the sacred, secret sign of the eternal Father in his soul.

Phyllis saw the change as soon as he knelt down by her side, for his whole countenance was altered. She drew near to him, and kissed him. It was after Christmas, and the days bleak and cold; but a great fire of cedar logs burned in the grate, and Phyllis had been lifted to a lounge near it. She was whiter than the pillow on which she lay, white with that pallor of death which the shadowy valley leaves. But O, what a joy it was to see her there once more, to feel that she was coming back, though as one from the grave, to life again!

After half an hour's happy talk he walked to the window and looked out. It faced the garden and the beach. The trees were now bare, and through their interlacing branches he could see the waters of the gulf. As he stood watching them, a figure came in sight. He knew well the tall erect form, the rapid walk, the pause at the gate, the eager look toward the house. He had seen it day after day for weeks, and he knew that, however cold the wind or heavy the rain, it would keep its watch, until Harriet went to the gate with a word of comfort.

Suddenly a thought came into Richard's heart. He left Phyllis, put on his hat, and walked rapidly down to the gate. John was about fifty yards away, and he went to meet him. John saw him coming and walked steadily forward. He expected unkind words, and was therefore amazed when Richard put out his hand, and said, "John, forgive me."

"With all my heart, Richard." The tears were in his eyes, his brown face flushed scarlet with emotion. He held Richard's hand firmly, and said, "I beg your pardon also, Richard."

"Will you come in and see Phyllis?"

"Do you really mean such a kindness?"

"I do, indeed; if Phyllis is able to see you. Let us go and ask."

Harriet was idling about the parlor, dusting the already dusted furniture as they entered. The face was as impassive as a bronze statue. "Go and ask Miss Phillis, Harriet, if she is able to see Mr. Millard."

In a minute she was by Phyllis's side. "Miss Phill, honey, Miss Phill,

dar's a miracle down stairs, nothin' at all less. Mass'r Richard and

Mass'r John sittin' together like two lambs, and Mass'r Richard says,

'Can you see Mass'r John a few minutes?'"

The poetic Greek said, "Destiny loves surprises," and our Christian forefathers called all unexpected pleasures and profits, "Godsends." I think such "Godsends" come often to those who ask them. At any rate, Phyllis was asking this very favor, and even while the supplication was on her lips it was granted her. It was Richard, too, who brought John to her side; and he clasped their hands in his, and then went away and left them together. The solemn tenderness of such a meeting needed but few words. John thought life could hardly give him again moments so holy and so sweet. O, how precious are these sudden unfoldings of loving-kindness! These Godsends of infinite love! He had not dared to expect any thing for himself; he had only asked for the life of Phyllis, and it had been given him with that royal compassion that adds, "grace unto favor."

The happy come back to life easily; and when the snow-drops were beginning to peep above the ground, Phyllis, leaning upon John and Richard, stood once more under the blue of heaven, and after that her recovery was rapid and certain. The months of January and February were peculiarly happy ones, full of delightful intercourse and hopeful dreams. Of course they talked of the future; they knew all its uncertainties, and faced, with happy hearts, the struggle they might have together.

At the termination of John's last service he had possessed about two thousand dollars, but this sum had been already much encroached upon, and he was anxious to find a career which would enable him to make a home for Phyllis. There seemed, however, but two possible ways for John: he must have military service, or he must take up land upon the frontier, stock it, and then defend it until he had won it. He had lived so long the free life of the prairie and the woods, that the crowds of cities and their occupations almost frightened him. For theology he had no vocation and no "call." Medicine he had a most decided repugnance to. Law seemed to him but a meddling in other people's business and predicaments. He felt that he would rather face a band of savages than a constant invasion of shoppers; rather stand behind a breastwork than behind a desk and ledger. The planter's life was too indolent, too full of small cares and anxieties; his whole crop might be ruined by an army of worms that he could not fight. But on the frontier, if there was loss or danger, he could defy it or punish it.

He talked to Phyllis of the healthy, happy life of the prairies; of the joy of encamping in forests, and seeing the sun rise between the leaves; of wandering without hinderance; of being satisfied with little. It was these sweet, unplanted places of earth, these grand wastes of green, unpartitioned off into squares of mine and thine, that attracted John and charmed Phyllis: for her heart was with his. She thought of the little home that was to have a look southward and eastward, and which she was to make beautiful; and no grand dame, with the prospect of royal favor and court splendor, was ever half so glad in her future as Phyllis in her dream of a simple and busy Arcadia. It cannot be said that Richard shared her enthusiasm. In his heart he thought Phyllis "too good" for such a life, and to the Bishop he once permitted himself a little lament on the subject.

"But, son Richard," was the answer, "what kind of men build up new States and lead the van of the onward march? Are they not the heroes of the republic? brave men of large souls and large views, that go naturally to the front because they are too big for the ranks?"

"I suppose so."

"And, depend upon it, the noblest women in the country will love them and go with them. Blessings upon those women who go into the untrampled lands, and serve God and suckle heroes! We forget them too often. The Pilgrim Mothers are as grand as the Pilgrim Fathers, every whit. The men, rifle in hand, take possession of the wilderness; the women make it blossom like the rose. No woman is too fair, or bright, or clever, or good to be a pioneer's wife. If John Millard had been willing to measure out dry goods, or collect debts, I should have had serious doubts about marrying Phyllis to him. If Phyllis had been unwilling to follow John to the frontier, I should have known that she was not worthy of John."

Three days after this conversation John went to New Orleans with the Bishop. The Bishop was upon Church business. John had heard of the colony which had gone with Stephen Austin to Texas, and wished to make further inquiries; for at this time there were three words upon every lip-Santa Anna, Texas, and Houston. At the beginning of John's visit there had been present in his mind an intention of going from New Orleans to Texas at its close. He was by no means certain that he would stay there, for he mistrusted a Mexican, and was neither disposed to fight under their orders, nor to hold land upon their title. But he had heard of the wonderful beauty of the country, of its enchanting atmosphere, and of the plenty which had given it its happy name; and there had been roused in him a vague curiosity, which he was not averse to gratify, especially as the sail was short and pleasant.

He left the Bishop on Canal Street, and went to the St. Charles Hotel. As he approached it he saw a crowd of men upon the wide steps and the piazza. They were talking in an excited manner, and were evidently under strong emotion. One of them was standing upon a chair, reading aloud a paper. It was the noble appeal of Sam Houston, "in the holy names of Humanity and Liberty," for help. Travis and his brave little band had fallen, like heroes, every soul of them at his post, in the Alamo. Fannin and his five hundred had just been massacred in cold blood, and in defiance of every law of warfare and humanity; and between the Anglo-Americans and a brutal, slaughtering army there was only Houston and a few hundred desperate men. The New Orleans Greys and a company of young Southern gentlemen from Mobile had just sailed. Every man's heart was on fire for this young republic of Texas. Her shield was scarcely one month old, and yet it had been bathed in the blood of a thousand martyrs for freedom, and riddled with the bullets of an alien foe.

John caught fire as spirit catches fire. His blood boiled as he listened, his fingers were handling his weapons. He must see Phyllis and go. That little band of eight hundred Americans gathered round Sam Houston, and defying Santa Anna to enslave them, filled his mind. He could see them retreating across the country, always interposing themselves between their families and the foe; hasting toward the settlements on the Trinity River, carrying their wounded and children as best they could. Every man, women, and child called him; and he cast his lot in with theirs, never caring what woe or weal it might bring him.

The Bishop had promised to call at the hotel for him about four o'clock. John went no farther. He sat there all day talking over the circumstances of Texas. Nor could the Bishop resist the enthusiasm. In fact, the condition of the Texans touched him on its religious side very keenly. For the fight was quite as much a fight for religious as for political freedom. Never in old Spain itself had priestcraft wielded a greater power than the Roman priesthood in Texas. They hated and feared an emigration of Americans, for they knew them to be men opposed to tyranny of all kinds, men who thought for themselves, and who would not be dictated to by monks and priests. It was, without doubt, the clerical element which had urged on the military element to the massacre at the Alamo and at Goliad. The Bishop was with his countrymen, heart and soul. No man's eye flashed with a nobler anger than his. "God defend the brave fellows!" he said, fervently.

"I shall start for Texas to-morrow," said John.

"I don't see how you can help it, John. I wish I could go with you."

"If you hadn't been a preacher, you would have made a grand soldier, father."

"John, every good preacher would make a good soldier. I have been fighting under a grand Captain for forty years. And I do acknowledge that the spirit of my forefathers is in me. They fought with Balfour at Drumelog, and with Cromwell at Dunbar. I would reason with the Lord's enemies, surely, John, I would reason with them; but if they would not listen to reason, and took advantage of mercy and forbearance, I would give them the sword of Gideon and of Cromwell, and the rifles of such men as are with Houston-men born under a free government, and baptized in a free faith."

Richard and Phyllis were standing at the garden gate, watching for their arrival; and before either of them spoke, Phyllis divined that something unusual was occupying their minds. "What is the matter?" she asked; "you two look as if you had been in a fight, and won a victory."

"We will take the words as a good prophecy," answered the Bishop. "John is going to a noble warfare, and, I am sure, to a victorious one. Give us a cup of tea, Phyllis, and we will tell you all about it."

John did not need to say a word. He sat at Phyllis's side, and the Bishop painted the struggling little republic in words that melted and thrilled every heart.

"When do you go, John?" asked Phyllis.

"To-morrow."

And she leaned toward him, and kissed him-a kiss of consecration, of love and approval and sympathy.

Richard's pale face was also flushed and eager, his black eyes glowing like live coals. "I will go with John," he said; "Texas is my neighbor. It is a fight for Protestant freedom, at my own door. I am not g

oing to be denied."

"Your duty is at home, Richard. You can help with your prayers and purse. You could not leave your plantation now without serious loss, and you have many to think for besides yourself."

Of the final success of the Texans no one doubted. Their cry for help had been answered from the New England hills and all down the valley of the Mississippi, and along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the coasts of Florida. In fact, the first settlers of Texas had been young men from the oldest northern colonies. Mexico had cast longing looks toward those six vigorous States which had grown into power on the cold, barren hills of New England. She believed that if she could induce some of their population to settle within Mexican limits, she could win from them the secret of their success. So a band of hardy, working youths, trained in the district schools of New England and New York, accepted the pledges of gain and protection she offered them, and, with Stephen F. Austin at their head, went to the beautiful land of Western Texas. They had no thought of empire; they were cultivators of the soil; but they carried with them that intelligent love of freedom and that hatred of priestly tyranny which the Spanish nature has never understood, and has always feared.

Very soon the rapidly-increasing number of American colonists frightened the natives, who soon began to oppress the new-comers. The Roman Catholic priesthood were also bitterly opposed to this new Protestant element; and, by their advice, oppressive taxation of every kind was practiced, especially, the extortion of money for titles to land which had been guaranteed to the colonists by the Mexican government. Austin went to Mexico to remonstrate. He was thrown into a filthy dungeon, where for many a month he never saw a ray of light, nor even the hand that fed him.

In the meantime Santa Anna had made himself Dictator of Mexico, and one of his first acts regarding Texas was to demand the surrender of all the private arms of the settlers. The order was resisted as soon as uttered. Obedience to it meant certain death in one form or other. For the Americans were among an alien people, in a country overrun by fourteen different tribes of Indians; some of them, as the Comanches, Apaches, and Lipans, peculiarly fierce and cruel. Besides, many families were dependent upon the game and birds which they shot for daily food. To be without their rifles meant starvation. They refused to surrender them.

At Gonzales the people of Dewitt's Colony had a little four-pounder, which they used to protect themselves from the Indians. Colonel Ugartchea, a Mexican, was sent to take it away from them. Every colonist hastened to its rescue. It was retaken, and the Mexicans pursued to Bexar. Just at this time Austin returned from his Mexican dungeon. No hearing had been granted him. Every man was now well aware that Mexico intended to enslave them, and they rose for their rights and freedom. The land they were on they had bought with their labor or with their gold; and how could they be expected to lay down their rifles, surrounded by an armed hostile race, by a bitter and powerful priesthood, and by tribes of Indians, some of whom were cannibals? They would hardly have been the sons of the men who defied King John, Charles I., and George III., if they had.

Then came an invading army with the order "to lay waste the American colonies, and slaughter all their inhabitants." And the cry from these Texan colonists touched every State in the Union. There were cords of household love binding them to a thousand homes in older colonies; and there was, also, in the cry that passionate protestation against injustice and slavery which noble hearts can never hear unmoved, and which makes all men brothers.

This was how matters stood when John Millard heard and answered the call of Texas. And that night Phyllis learned one of love's hardest lessons; she saw, with a pang of fear and amazement, that in a man's heart love is not the passion which swallows up all the rest. Humanity, liberty, that strange sympathy which one brave man has for another, ruled John absolutely. She mingled with all these feelings, and doubtless he loved her the better for them; but she felt it, at first, a trifle hard to share her empire. Of course, when she thought of the position, she acknowledged the beauty and fitness of it; but, in spite of "beauty and fitness," women suffer a little. Their victory is, that they hide the suffering under smiles and brave words, that they resolutely put away all small and selfish feelings, and believe that they would not be loved so well, if honor and virtue and valor were not loved more.

Still it was a very happy evening. Richard and John were at their best; the Bishop full of a sublime enthusiasm; and they lifted Phyllis with them. And O, it is good to sometimes get above our own high-water mark! to live for an hour with our best ideas! to make little of facts, to take possession of ourselves, and walk as conquerors! Thus, in some blessed intervals we have been poets and philosophers. We have spread liberty, and broken the chains of sin, and seen family life elevated, and the world regenerated. Thank God for such hours! for though they were spent among ideals, they belong to us henceforth, and are golden threads between this life and a higher one.

"When a flash of truth hath found thee,

Where thy foot in darkness trod,

When thick clouds dispart around thee,

And them standest near to God.

When a noble soul comes near thee,

In whom kindred virtues dwell,

That from faithless doubts can clear thee,

And with strengthening love compel;

O these are moments, rare fair moments;

Sing and shout, and use them well!"

-PROF. BLACKIE.

Richard was the first to remember how many little matters of importance were to be attended to. The Bishop sighed, and looked at the three young faces around him. Perhaps the same thought was in every heart, though no one liked to utter it. A kind of chill, the natural reaction of extreme enthusiasm was about to fall upon them. Phyllis rose. "Let us say 'good-night,' now," she said; "it is so easy to put it off until we are too tired to say it bravely."

"Go to the piano, Phyllis. We will say it in song;" and the Bishop lifted a hymn book, opened it, and pointed out the hymn to Richard and John.

"Come, we will have a soldier's hymn, two of as grand verses as Charles

Wesley ever wrote:

"Captain of Israel's host, and Guide

Of all who seek the land above,

Beneath thy shadow we abide,

The cloud of thy protecting love:

Our strength thy grace, our rule thy word,

Our end the glory of the Lord.

"By thy unerring Spirit led,

We shall not in the desert stray;

We shall not full direction need;

Nor miss our providential way;

As far from danger as from fear,

While love, almighty love, is near."

The Bishop and Richard went with John to New Orleans in the morning. Phyllis was glad to be alone. She had tried to send her lover away cheerfully; but there is always the afterward. The "afterward" to Phyllis was an extreme sadness that was almost lethargy. Many crushed souls have these fits of somnolent depression; and it does no good either to reproach them, or to point out that physical infirmity is the cause. They know what the sorrowful sleep of the apostles in the garden of Olivet was, and pity them. Phyllis wept slow, heavy tears until she fell into a deep slumber, and she did not awaken until Harriet was spreading the cloth upon a small table for her lunch.

"Dar, Miss Phill! I'se gwine to bring you some fried chicken and some almond puddin', and a cup of de strongest coffee I kin make. Hungry sorrow is mighty bad to bear, honey!"

"Has Master Richard come back?"

"Not he, Miss Phill. He's not a-gwine to come back till de black night drive him, ef there's any thing strange 'gwine on in de city; dat's de way wid all men-aint none of dem worth frettin' 'bout."

"Don't say that, Harriet."

"Aint, Miss Phill; I'se bound to say it. Look at Mass'r John! gwine off all in a moment like; mighty cur'ous perceeding-mighty cur'ous!"

"He has gone to fight in a grand cause."

"Dat's jist what dey all say. Let any one beat a drum a thousand miles off, and dey's all on de rampage to follow it."

"The Bishop thought Master John right to go."

"Bless your heart, Miss Phill! De Bishop! De Bishop! He don't know no more 'an a baby 'bout dis world! You should ha' seen de way he take up and put down Mass'r John's rifle. Mighty onwillin' he was to put it down-kind ob slow like. I wouldn't trust de Bishop wid no rifle ef dar was any fightin' gwine on 'bout whar he was. De Bishop! He's jist de same as all de rest, Miss Phill. Dar, honey! here's de chicken and de coffee; don't you spile your appetite frettin' 'bout any of dem."

"I wish Master Richard was home."

"No wonder; for dar isn't a mite ob certainty 'bout his 'tentions. He jist as like to go off wid a lot ob soldiers as any of de boys, only he's so mighty keerful ob you, Miss Phill; and den he's 'spectin' a letter; for de last words he say to me was, 'Take care ob de mail, Harriet.' De letter come, too. Moke didn't want to gib it up, but I 'sisted upon it. Moke is kind ob plottin' in his temper. He thought Mass'r Richard would gib him a quarter, mebbe a half-dollar."

"Did you think so, also, Harriet?"

"Dem's de house perquisites, Miss Phill. Moke has nothin' 't all to do wid de house perquisites."

"Moke has been sick, has he not?"

"Had de fever, he says."

"Is he not one of your classmates? I think I have heard you say he was 'a powerful member' of Uncle Isaac's class."

"'Clar to gracious, Miss Phill, I forgot dat. Brudder Moke kin hab de letter and de perquisite."

"I was sure you would feel that way, Harriet."

"I'd rather hab you look at me dat shinin' kind ob way dan hab a dollar; dat I would, Miss Phill."

Moke got the perquisite and Richard got his letter, but it did not seem to give him much pleasure. Phyllis noticed that after reading it he was unhappy and troubled. He took an hour's promenade on the piazza, and then sat down beside her. "Phyllis," he said, "we have both been unfortunate in our love. You stooped too low, and I looked too high. John has not money enough; Elizabeth has too much."

"You are wronging both Elizabeth and John. What has Elizabeth done or said?"

"There is a change in her, though I cannot define it. Her letters are less frequent; they are shorter; they are full of Antony and his wild, ambitious schemes. They keep the form, but they lack the spirit, of her first letters."

"It is nearly two years since you parted."

"Yes."

"Go and see her. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. If it did, we should never forget the dead. Those who touch us move us. Go and see Elizabeth again. Women worth loving want wooing."

"Will you go with me?"

"Do not ask me. I doubt whether I could bear the tossing to and fro for so many days, and I want to stay where I can hear from John."

There was much further talk upon the subject, but the end of it was that Richard sailed for England in the early summer. He hardly expected to renew the enthusiasm of his first visit, and he was prepared for changes; and, perhaps, he felt the changes more because those to whom they had come slowly and separately were hardly conscious of them. Elizabeth was a different woman, although she would have denied it. Her character had matured, and was, perhaps, less winning. She had fully accepted the position of heiress of Hallam, and Richard could feel that it was a controlling influence in her life. Physically she was much handsomer, stately as a queen, fair and radiant, and "most divinely tall."

She drove into Leeds to meet the stage which brought Richard, and was quite as demonstrative as he had any right to expect; but he felt abashed slightly by her air of calm authority. He forgot that when he had seen her first she was in a comparatively dependent position, and that she was now prospective lady of the manor. It was quite natural that she should have taken on a little dignity, and it was not natural that she should all at once discard it for her lover.

The squire, too, was changed, sadly changed; for he had had a fall in the hunting field, and had never recovered from its effects. He limped to the door to meet Richard, and spoke in his old hearty way, but Richard was pained to see him, so pale and broken.

"Thou's welcome beyond ivery thing, Richard," he said, warmly. "If ta hed brought Phyllis, I'd hev given thee a double welcome. I'd hev liked to hev seen her bonny face again afore I go t' way I'll nivver come back."

"She was not strong enough to bear the journey."

"Yonder shooting was a bad bit o' work. I've nowt against a gun, but dash pistols! They're blackguardly weapons for a gentleman to carry about; 'specially where women are around."

"You are quite right, uncle. That pistol-shot cost me many a day's heart-ache."

"And t' poor little lass hed to suffer, too! Well, well, we thought about her above a bit."

Elizabeth had spoken, of company, but in the joy and excitement of meeting her again, Richard had asked no questions about it. It proved to be Antony's intended wife, Lady Evelyn Darragh, daughter of an Irish nobleman. Richard, without admiring her, watched her with interest. She was tall and pale, with a transparent aquiline nose and preternaturally large eyes. Her moods were alternations of immoderate mirth and immoderate depression. "She expects too much of life," thought Richard, "and if she is disappointed, she will proudly turn away and silently die." She had no fortune, but Antony was ambitious for something more than mere money. For the carrying out of his financial schemes he wanted influence, rank, and the prestige of a name. The Earl of Darragh had a large family, and little to give them, and Lady Evelyn having been selected by the promising young financier, she was not permitted to decline the hand he offered her.

So it happened she was stopping at Hallam, and she brought a change into the atmosphere of the place. The squire was anxious, fearful of his son's undertakings, and yet partly proud of his commercial and social recognition. But the good-natured evenness of his happy temperament was quite gone. Elizabeth, too, had little cares and hospitable duties; she was often busy and often pre-occupied. It was necessary to have a great deal of company, and Richard perceived that among the usual visitors at Hallam he had more than one rival. But in this respect he had no fault to find with Elizabeth. She treated all with equal regard and to Richard alone unbent the proud sufficiency of her manner. And yet he was unhappy and dissatisfied. It was not the Elizabeth he had wooed and dreamed about. And he did not find that he reached any more satisfactory results than he had done by letter. Elizabeth could not "see her way clear to leave her father."

"If Antony married?" he asked.

"That would not alter affairs much. Antony could not live at Hallam.

His business binds him to the vicinity of London."

There was but one new hope, and that was but a far probability. Antony had requested permission to repay, as soon as he was able, the L50,000, and resume his right as heir of Hallam. When he was able to do this Elizabeth would be freed from the duties which specially pertained to the property. As to her father's claim upon her, that could only end with his or her own life. Not even if Antony's wife was mistress of Hallam would she leave the squire, if he wished or needed her love.

And Elizabeth was rather hurt that Richard could not see the conditions as reasonable a service as she did. "You may trust me," she said, "for ten, for twenty years; is not that enough?"

"No, it is not enough," he answered, warmly. "I want you now. If you loved me, you would leave all and come with me. That is how Phyllis loves John Millard."

"I think you are mistaken. If you were sick, and needed Phyllis for your comfort, or for your business, she would not leave you. Men may leave father and mother for their wives, that is their duty; but women have a higher commandment given them. It may be an unwritten Scripture, but it is in every good daughter's heart, Richard."

The squire did not again name to him the succession to Hallam. Antony's proposal had become the dearest hope of the old man's heart. He wished to live that he might see the estate honorably restored to his son. He had fully determined that it should go to Elizabeth, unless Antony paid the uttermost farthing of its redemption; but if he did this, then he believed that it might be safely entrusted to him. For a man may be reckless with money or land which he acquires by inheritance, but he usually prizes what he buys with money which he himself earns.

Therefore Richard's and Elizabeth's hopes hung upon Antony's success; and with such consolation as he could gather from this probability, and from Elizabeth's assurance of fidelity to him, he was obliged to content himself.

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