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   Chapter 3 THE RUINED HEIR.

The Lost Lady of Lone By Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Sout Characters: 15721

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:02


Where, meanwhile, was the "mad" duke with his loyal son?

Various reports had been circulated concerning them, so long as they had been remembered. Some had said that they had emigrated to Australia; others that they had gone to Canada; others again that they were living on the Continent. All agreed that wherever they were, they must be in great destitution.

But now, three years had passed since the fall of Lone and the disappearance of the ruined ducal family, and they were very nearly forgotten.

Meanwhile where were they then?

They were hidden in the great wilderness of London.

On leaving Lone, the stricken duke, crushed equally under domestic affliction and financial ruin, and failing both in mind and body, started for London, tenderly escorted by his son.

It was the last extravagance of the young marquis to engage a whole compartment in a first-class carriage on the Great Northern Railway train, that the fallen and humbled duke might travel comfortably and privately without being subjected to annoyance by the gaze of the curious, or comments of the thoughtless.

On reaching London they went first to an obscure but respectable inn in a borough, where they remained unknown for a few days, while the marquis sought for lodgings which should combine privacy, decency and cheapness, in some densely-populated, unfashionable quarter of the city, where their identity would be lost in the crowd, and where they would never by any chance meet any one whom they had ever met before.

They found such a refuge at length, in a lodging-house kept by the widow of a curate in Catharine street, Strand.

Here the ruined duke and marquis dropped their titles, and lived only under their baptismal name and family names.

Here Archibald-Alexander-John Scott, Duke of Hereward and Marquis of Arondelle in the Peerage of England, and Baron Lone, of Lone, in the Peerage of Scotland, was known only as old Mr. Scott.

And his son Archibald-Alexander-John Scott, by courtesy Marquis of Arondelle, was known only as young Mr. John Scott.

Now as there were probably some thousands of "Scotts," and among them, some hundreds of "John Scotts," in all ranks of life, from the old landed proprietor with his town-house in Belgravia, to the poor coster-monger with his donkey-cart in Covent Garden, in this great city of London, there was little danger that the real rank of these ruined noblemen should be suspected, and no possibility that they should be recognized and identified. They were as completely lost to their old world as though they had been hidden in the Australian bush or New Zealand forests.

Here as Mr. Scott and Mr. John Scott, they lived three years.

The old duke, overwhelmed by his family calamity, gradually sank deeper and deeper into mental and bodily imbecility.

Here the young marquis picked up a scanty living for himself and father by contributing short articles to the columns of the National Liberator, the great organ of the Reform Party.

He wrote under the name of "Justus." After a few months his articles began to attract attention for their originality of thought, boldness of utterance, and brilliancy of style.

Much speculation was on foot in political and journalistic circles as to the author of the articles signed "Justus." But his incognito was respected.

At length on a notable occasion, the gifted young journalist was requested by the publisher of the National Liberator, to write a leader on a certain Reform Bill then up before the House of Commons.

This work was so congenial to the principles and sentiments of the author, that it became a labor of love, and was performed, as all such labors should be, with all the strength of his intellect and affections.

This leader made the anonymous writer famous in a day. He at once became the theme of all the political and newspaper clubs.

And now a grand honor came to him.

The Premier-no less a person-sent his private secretary to the office of the National Liberator to inquire the name and address of the author of the articles by "Justus," with a request to be informed of them if there should be no objection on the part of author or publisher.

The private secretary was told, with the consent of the author, what the name and address was.

"Mr. John Scott, office of the National Liberator."

Upon receiving this information, the Premier addressed a note to the young journalist, speaking in high terms of his leader on the Reform Bill, predicting for him a brilliant career, and requesting the writer to call on the minister at noon the following day.

The young marquis was quite as much pleased at this distinguished recognition of his genius as any other aspiring young journalist might have been.

He wrote and accepted the invitation.

And at the appointed hour the next day he presented himself at Elmhurst House, the Premier's residence at Kensington.

He sent up his card, bearing the plain name:

"Mr. John Scott."

He was promptly shown up stairs to a handsome library, where he found the great statesman among his books and papers.

His lordship arose and received his visitor with much cordiality, and invited him to be seated.

And during the interview that followed it would have been difficult to decide who was the best pleased-the great minister with this young disciple of his school, or the new journalist with this illustrious head of his party.

This agreeable meeting was succeeded by others.

At length the young journalist was invited to a sort of semi-political dinner at Elmhurst House, to meet certain eminent members of the reform party.

This invitation pleased the marquis. It would give him the opportunity of meeting men whom he really wished to know. He thought he might accept it and go to the dinner as plain Mr. John Scott, of the National Liberator, without danger of being recognized as the Marquis of Arondelle.

For in the days of his family's prosperity he had been too young to enter London society.

And in these days of his adversity he was known to but a limited number of individuals in the city, and only by his common family name.

On the appointed evening, therefore, he put on his well-brushed dress-suit, spotless linen, and fresh gloves, and presented himself at Elmhurst House as well dressed as any West End noble or city nabob there.

He was shown up to the drawing-room by the attentive footman, who opened the door, and announced:

"Mr. John Scott."

And the young Marquis of Arondelle entered the room, where a brilliant little company of about half a dozen gentlemen and as many ladies were assembled.

The noble host came forward to welcome the new guest. His lordship met him with much cordiality, and immediately presented him to Lady --, who received him with the graceful and gracious courtesy for which she was so well known.

Finally the minister took the young journalist across the room toward a very tall, thin, fair-skinned, gray-haired old gentleman, who stood with a pale, dark-eyed, richly-dressed young girl by his side.

They were standing for the moment, with their backs to the company, and were critically examining a picture on the wall-a master-piece of one of the old Italian painters.

"Sir Lemuel," said the host, lightly touching the art-critic on the shoulder.

The old gentleman turned around.

"Sir Lemuel, permit me to present to you Mr. John Jones-I beg pardon-Mr. John Scott, of the National Liberator-Mr. Scott, Sir Lemuel Levison, our member for Lone," said the minister.

Sir Lemuel Levison saw before him the young Marquis of Arondelle, whom he had know as a boy and young man for years in the Highlands, and of whom, indeed, he had purchased his life interest in Lone. But he gave no sign of this recognition.

The young marquis, on his part, had e

very reason to know the man who had succeeded, not to say supplanted, his father at Lone Castle. But by no sign did he betray this knowledge.

The recognition was mutual, instantaneous and complete. Yet both were gravely self-possessed, and addressed each other as if they had never met before.

Then the banker called the attention of the young lady by his side:

"My daughter."

She raised her eyes and saw before her the idol of her secret worship, knowing him by his portrait at Lone. She paled and flushed, while her father, with old-fashioned formality, was saying:

"My daughter, let me introduce to your acquaintance, Mr. John Scott of the National Liberator. You have read and admired his articles under the signature of Justus, you know!-Mr. Scott, my daughter, Miss Levison."

Both bowed gravely, and as they looked up their eyes met in one swift and swiftly withdrawn glance.

And before a word could be exchanged between them the doors were thrown open and the butler announced:

"My lady is served."

"Sir Lemuel, will you give your arm to Lady --, and allow me to take Miss Levison in to dinner?" said the noble host, drawing the young lady's hand within his arm.

"Mr. John Scott" took in Lady Belgrave.

At dinner Miss Levison found herself seated nearly opposite to the young marquis. She could not watch him, she could not even lift her eyes to his face, but she could not chose but listen to every syllable that fell from his lips. It was the cue of some of the leading politicians present to draw out this young apostle of the reform cause. And of course they proceeded to do it.

The young journalist, modest and reserved at first, as became a disciple in the presence of the leaders of the great cause, gradually grew more communicative, then animated, then eloquent.

Among his hearers, none listened with a deeper interest than Salome Levison. Although he did not address one syllable of his conversation to her, nor cast one glance of his eyes upon her, yet she hung upon his words as though they had been the oracles of a prophet.

If the high ideal honor and reverence in which she held him, could have been increased by any circumstance, it must have been from the sentiments expressed, the principles declared in his discourse.

She saw before her, not only the loyal son, who had sacrificed himself to save his father, but she saw also in him the reformer, enlightener, educator and benefactor of his race and age.

Of all the men she had met in the great world of society, during the three years that she had been "out," she had not found his equal, either in manly beauty and dignity, or in moral and intellectual excellence.

His brow needs no ducal coronet to ennoble it! His name needs no title to illustrate it. The "princely Hereward!" "If all the men of his race resembled him, they well deserved this popular soubriquet. And whether this gentleman calls himself Mr. Scott or Lord Arondelle, I shall think of him only as the 'princely Hereward.'" mused Salome, as she sat and listened to the music of his voice, and the wisdom of his words.

She was sorry when their hostess gave the signal for the ladies to rise from the table and leave the gentlemen to their wine.

They went into the drawing-room, where the conversation turned upon the subject of the brilliant young journalist. No one knew who he was. Scott, though a very good name, was such a common one! But the noble host's endorsement was certainly enough to pass this gifted young gentleman in any society. The ladies talked of nothing but Mr. Scott, and his perfection of person, manner and conversation, until the entrance of the gentlemen from the dining-room.

The host and the member for Lone came in arm in arm, and a little in the rear of the other guests, and lingered behind them.

"This most extraordinary young man, this Mr. Scott-you have known him some time, my lord?" said Sir Lemuel Levison, in a low tone.

"Ay, probably as long as you have, Sir Lemuel," replied the Premier, with a peculiarly intelligent smile.

"Ah, yes! I see! Your lordship has possibly detected my recognition of this young gentleman," said Sir Lemuel.

"Of course. And I, on my part, knew him when I first saw him again after some years."

"His name was common enough to escape detection."

"Yes, but his face was not, my dear sir. The profile of the 'princely Hereward' could never be mistaken. Our first meeting was purely accidental. He was pointed out to me one evening at a public meeting, as the 'Justus' of the 'National Liberator.' I looked and recognized the Marquis of Arondelle. Nothing surprises or should surprise a middle-aged man. Therefore, I was not in the least degree moved by what I had discovered. I sent, however, to the office of the Liberator to inquire the address, not of the Marquis of Arondelle, but of the writer, under the signature of 'Justus.' Received for answer that it was Mr. John Scott, office of the Liberator. I wrote to Mr. John Scott, and invited him to call on me. That was the beginning of my more recent acquaintance with this gifted young gentleman. Why he has chosen to drop his title I cannot know. He has every right to be called by his family name, only, if he so pleases. And, Sir Lemuel, we must regard his pleasure in this matter. Not even to my wife have I betrayed him," said the Premier, as they passed into the drawing-room.

"Umph, umph, umph," grunted the banker, who, surfeited with wealth though he was, could think of but one cause to every evil in the world, and that the want of money, and of but one remedy for that evil, and that was-plenty of money. "Umph, umph, umph! It is his poverty has made him drop the title that he cannot support. If he would only marry my girl now, it would all come right."

The entrance of the tea-service occupied the guests for the next half hour, at the end of which the little company broke up and took leave.

Salome Levison went home more thoughtful and dreamy than ever before-more out of favor with herself, more in love with her "paladin," more resolved never to marry any man except he should be John Scott, Marquis of Arondelle.

She almost loathed the hollow world of fashion in which she lived. Yet she went more into society than ever, though she enjoyed it so much less. She had a powerful motive for doing so. She attended all the balls, parties, dinners, concerts, plays, and operas to which she was invited, only with the hope of meeting again with him whose image had never left her heart since it first met her vision.

But she never was gratified. She never saw him again in society. John Scott was unknown to the world of fashion.

The season drew to its close. Constant going out, day after day, and night after night, would have weakened much stronger health than that possessed by Salome Levison. And, when added to this was constant longing expectation, and constant sickening disappointment, we cannot wonder that our pale heroine grew paler still.

Her chaperone declared herself "worn out" and unable to continue her arduous duties much longer.

Sir Lemuel Levison was puzzled and anxious.

"I cannot see what has come to my girl! She goes out all the time; she accepts every invitation; gives herself no rest; yet never seems to enjoy herself anywhere. She grows paler and thinner every day, and there is a hectic spot on her cheeks and a feverish brightness in her eyes that I do not like at all. I have seen them before, and I have too much reason to know them! I do believe she is fretting herself into a decline for her convent. I do believe she only goes out as a sort of penance for her imaginary sins! Poor child! I must really have a talk and come to an understanding with her!" said the anxious father to himself, as he mused on the condition of his daughter.

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