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THE GREEK BRIDE TO HER DEAD LOVER.
BY MARY C. F. MONCK.
I knew it when no joyful voice with triumph linked thy name,
and glorious things their quiet slumbers break,
shall see, no ear shall hear, my hopeless misery-
A NIGHT OF TUMULT.
BY THE AUTHOR OF TOO MUCH TO WEAR.”
I. Things were almost coming to a revolt: never were poor tenantfarmers so ground down and oppressed as those on the estate of MoatGrange. Rents were raised, fines imposed, expenses, properly falling on landlords, refused to be paid or allowed for. Mr. Dalrymple, the present owner, was ruling with a hand of iron, hard and cruel.
As to the Grange itself, the dwelling mansion, it was the dreariest of the dreary. When Oscar Dalrymple, through the extravagance of his wife, had been rendered liable for heavy debts, he had sold off the better portion of the furniture, retained two or three of the rooms as habitable for himself, wife, and one servant, and closed the shutters of the rest. There they lived, a life of penuriousness; and Selina, Mrs. Dalrymple, would sometimes unlock the doors of the once familiar rooms, and pace alone about their dusty floors, in anger and remorse almost uncontrollable. Anger against her husband, who need not have proceeded to this extreme pass, and remorse for her own folly, which had led to it.
Three years went by, and things grew worse : more wretched in-doors, more oppression out. One day Mr. Lee came up to the Grange, á respectable farmer, who had rented all his life, and his father before him, under the Dalrymples.
Sir,” began Farmer Lee, without any circumlocution, when he was admitted to the presence of his landlord, “I am come up about that paper which has been sent to me from Jones, your lawyer. It's a notice that next Michaelmas, when my lease will expire, the rent is to be raised.”
« Well ?” said Mr. Dalrymple.
“ A pound an acre," repeated Farmer Lee, with increased emphasis, as if he thought he was not heard. “Jones must have made a mistake: you never could have told him that, sir. My daughters think he wrote it when he was drunk; for everybody knows that he has fits of drinking.”
“ They are the instructions I gave him, Mr. Lee."
“ To raise my rent a pound a acre!" echoed the farmer, forgetting his grammar in his excitement.
“Exactly. The farm will bear it.”
it.” "I am sorry for that, Mr. Lee, because it leaves only one alternative."
66 And what's that ?" asked Mr. Lee.
“ To quit! to quit the farm ! for me to quit my farm !" reiterated Mr. Lee, in his astonishment. “Why, it has been my home all my life, sir, and it was my father's afore me. I was born in that farm, Mr. Dal
rymple, years and years before you ever came into the world, and I mean to die in it."
Mr. Dalrymple did not acquiesce or object in words. He only looked at him with his impassive face, and cold, colourless eye.
“It's my labour, sir, that has made it what it is," continued the farmer. “When my poor old father died, it was not half the farm it is now. Early and late have I been at my post, working, myself, and seeing that my men worked. I have spared neither labour nor money to bring it to its present fine condition: you can't deny, Mr. Dalrymple, that it's the best worked and most flourishing land on the estate."
“My good sir, I do not deny it. I say as you do: that it is too flourishing to remain at its present low rent.”
“The rent is not low, sir ; the rent's a fair rent, fair for master and fair for tenant. Ask any impartial person, ask Mr. Cleveland, or ask Jones, and they'll say as I do. You don't seem to take into account, sir, that my money has brought it to what it is, and that I have not yet had a return for my money spent. If you raise the rent twenty shillings an acre, the money may just as well have been chucked into the dirt.
“I can make no alteration in my decision," said Mr. Dalrymple. “I have these complaints from day to day; nothing else but complaint. The land on my estate has considerably increased in value, yet those who reap the benefit object to pay a higher rent. I had two of you here yesterday, Watkins and Bumford.'
“ They have spent money upon their farms too, they have, and the land hasn't answered to it bad. Good farmers are Watkins and Bumford,” nodded the speaker, approvingly, “but they have not spent half what I have. You see, sir, we never looked for Mr. Dalrymple’s dying
“ Are you speaking of Charles Dalrymple ?" interrupted the owner of Moat-Grange.
“No, poor fellow, I don't mean Mr. Charles, I mean his father. Squire Dalrymple did die young, sir, so to say; you can't call a man under fifty old. Well, he was a good landlord, and we were not afraid to lavish money on our farms, because we knew we should be allowed to reap its fruits ourselves. That's how it was, sir.”
• Mr. Dalrymple's rule is past and gone: he was always indifferent to his own interests. Had he been more alive to them, his death would not have left his family in the helpless condition that it did."
“ You mean Mr. Charles's death and your succession, sir,” boldly returned the farmer, though his tone lost none of its respect.
" When Squire Dalrymple died and Mr. Charles succeeded, the family still lived on in comfort at the Grange here, as they had done before. And as they would have done after, had he lived, generous young fellow.”
“A squandering young profligate!" scornfully retorted Oscar Dalrymple.
“Well, he's gone, poor soul, and it will answer no end to speak for or against him, but he was a favourite on every road throughout the estate. And his death brought you to rule over us, and I am sorry to have to say, sir, that your rule's a very hard one."
“ It will not be made easier," curtly rejoined Mr. Dalrymple. “I
told Bumford and Watkins so yesterday. The terms proposed to you by Jones
you must accept, or leave the farm.” The farmer took out his pocket-book: a huge leather affair which could never be got in or got out without damage to the pocket's entrance.
“Then I have got a bit of a document here, sir, which I needn't have shown, if you would have listened to reason without it. Somewhat better than six years ago, sir,” he proceeded to explain, “when I was hesitating about laying out so much money upon the farm, knowing that my lease had entered on its last seven years, I put the question, right off-hand, to the squire : If I continued to lay out money on my land, and to build stables and else, as I wished to do, should I have the lease renewed on the same terms ?. And that's what he wrote me in reply. His end followed soon upon it."
Oscar Dalrymple took the note, yellow with lying by, from the farmer, and cast his eyes over it:
“DEAR LEE, -Put what money you like upon the farm, for I hereby pass you my word that at the expiration of the present lease, a fresh one shall be granted you on the same terms.
“ He thought of me and of this promise on his death-bed, the squire did," resumed the farmer, “and charged his son to fulfil it. Mr. Charles told me so himself, and that it should be all right.”
“ Charles and his father are gone,” repeated Oscar Dalrymple, tossing back the letter with a gesture of contempt at Farmer Lee's simplicity. “ That paper is not worth a farthing."
“ Not in law ; I am aware of that, sir: but I thought you'd need only look at it to act upon it. The squire was almost like a father to you, Mr. Dalrymple, and I never supposed but you would wish to carry out his wishes. I have felt as secure, having that document by me, as if it was a fresh lease.”
Mr. Dalrymple rose. “I will not detain you longer, Mr. Lee, your time is valuable.”
“ And what's my answer, sir ?" “That you pay the additional rent demanded, or give up the farm.” in
Farmer Lee was a quiet man, little given to bursts of anger, but he could not control some harsh epithets, directed to Oscar Dalrymple, as he walked towards his own land. In turning sharply out of a field, he came upon two ladies, one young and very nice-looking, the other getting in years, of thin, white features and
hair. Law, ma'am,” cried he, touching his hat to the elder, “I'm glad to see you out again."
“Ay,” she said, “I have had a long bout of it, the longest illness I ever had in my life. I am getting better, but slowly; and this fine spring day tempted me forth.” “And what is it that has been the matter ?" asked the farmer.
6. We never could learn the rights of it. Old Reuben told my daughter Judith that it was as much weakness as anything."
“ Well, to see you
“Reuben was right,” said Mrs. Dalrymple. “Weakness and grief, , that has been chiefly the matter with me. Try as I will, Mr. Lee, I cannot overget my poor son's dreadful death. I have been ailing ever since, though it never told seriously upon my health till this last winter. And I have a great deal of trouble in many ways.”
“ Trouble, ma'am, there's nothing but trouble for all of us,” spoke the farmer. “ You don't remember me, Mr. Lee," cried the young lady.
yes I do, miss : I remember your face. I think I had used
Master Charles and the “I am Isabel Lynn ; you remember now," she said, holding out her hand.
“Ay, I do," answered he, heartily shaking it." And if what we used to think was true, we should have had you amongst us for good, had Master Charles lived."
She turned away her face, blushing deeply, almost to tears, with her unhappy remembrances.
"And a lucky thing if it had been you and Master Charles to reign at the Grange, instead of what is now. I don't mean any disrespect to Miss Selina, ma'am,” he added to Mrs. Dalrymple, "you are not afraid I do; but her husband is a hard master.”
“ You need not tell me he is,” returned Mrs. Dalrymple, her eye kindling. “I know it too well.”
“A good many of our leases are out this year, and he is raising us all-raising us shamefully. Mine a pound an acre."
“A pound an acre !" echoed Mrs. Dalrymple.
“ Not a shilling less, ma'am. Jones sent me the notice yesterday, so I just put on my Sunday coat this morning and have been up to the Grange, and all the answer I have got is, that I may pay it or leave the farm. I showed him that letter of your husband's, ma'am, promising to renew the lease to me on the same ternis to justify my laying out money on the land and homesteads. It was just as if I had shown him a bit of waste paper."
“Unjust!" murmured Mrs. Dalrymple.
“It's worse than unjust, ma'am, it's robbery. I laid out my hard savings under that specific promise, and I might just as well have chucked the money naked into the earth. There's nothing but oppression going on from one end of the farm to the other.”
“And I fear that nothing else must be looked for from him," sighed Mrs. Dalrymple. “ I wish he had never become my son-in-law. Selina is his wife, and the disgrace of these doings seems to reflect on us.” “ It was a hard day that took Mr. Charles from us.
I hope you won't forget to come and see us, while you are here; my daughters would feel hurt."
“Oh, I shall often come," she replied. “I am going to stay all the summer with Mrs. Dalrymple, if she will have me. Remember me to them.”
They parted. At a distance, having stopped when his mistress stopped, whom he had been following, stood old Reuben, a most attached servant, who had served three generations of the family. When Charles Dalrymple died—or, to designate events correctly, when Charles Dal