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many, as they read, will recal what they then felt, and how the bleeding wounds seemed made in their hearts too.
The song must have been very difficult indeed to read at first sight, for Miss Hope had been trying it over under Mr. Sutton's tuition for an unconscionably long time, and, to judge from appearances, the attempt had been abandoned in despair; for though Miss Hope still sat at the piano (in the morning room where we first became acquainted with her), its keys were mute, and it was a recitative entirely of their own composition which she and Philip were carrying on in a low tone of conversation. A pause ensued, after which Mr. Sutton, who was sitting beside the piano, stated that he feared he should not have another such pleasant morning, as he had already taxed Mrs. Stamford's hospitality too far, and thought he really must leave Stamford House to-morrow, or the day after.
- Must you ?” Emily exclaimed, in a startled tone of voice, and as if the possibility of such a thing had never occurred to her, while she looked up at Philip with her large blue eyes, and a very dismayed little face indeed.
Mr. Sutton experienced a strange sensation, and a fit of temporary insanity, we think it must have been, impelled and compelled him to fix his own eyes on those blue orbs of Miss Hope's, and thus to remain for some time without speaking.
In which occupation there seemed to be some extraordinary fascination, for Mr. Sutton, looking very pale and agitated for a man who supposed himself to be made entirely out of parchment, continued it longer than strict politeness warranted, and till gradually Miss Hope's eyelashes rested on her cheek, and she slightly bent her head. Then Mr. Sutton walked, still without speaking, to the window, where he remained for a few moments, lost apparently in a dream-a very happy one, to judge from the softened expression of his face. But suddenly starting from it, he approached the piano quickly, and said confusedly to Emily, who made a convulsive attempt at a common-place remark, “ Thank
you; I am going out. Pray tell him, if he asks, that I have gone down to-to the river for a walk. I am going to take a sketch of — Jack Stamford, I mean ! 'And almost before Emily could hear, he had left the room.
Now you will allow that for a man who had arrived at the mature age of two-and-thirty, and was gravely practising at the Bar after having overstepped the time for youthful absurdities, this conduct was foolish in the extreme.
And still more so seemed the excessive rapidity with which, on this warm August day, Mr. Sutton strode along the path leading to the river, which flowed about a mile from the house ; walking hard, and thinking hard the while. By the time he had reached the river's bank, and thrown himself down on its thick short turf, Mr. Sutton discoveredthat he had made a discovery.
Impossible! when he had very nearly proposed to Helen Stamford, who suited him so perfectly, and for whom he thought he entertained quite enough affection to allow him to marry her? Impossible ! he, Philip Sutton, the invulnerable, who had so long been proof against all attacks of the enemy, to be taken captive by the unforeseen foe just as he thought himself victorious ?
Mr. Sutton, like any mere boy of twenty, had, while paying his addresses to Miss Stamford in the most prudent manner, fallen in love-actually—with “ that little flirt, Miss Hope," as imprudently as could be well conceived. Fallen in love with a girl who had not a penny! —with a dependent! And to such an extent had this folly proceeded, that poor Philip Sutton, though a good deal startled, was not dismayed at it to the extent a man who had come down expressly to marry an heiress ought to have been. Nay, with humility must we confess to you that, lying on the grass, with the silvery river flowing dreamily by at his feet, Philip actually indulged in a reverie more befitting a Corydon with a flower-wreathed crook and a flock of Arcadian sheep, than such a "parchment man” as Mr. Sutton supposed himself to be. But this reverie could not last, and the question now was, What was the result to be ?
To marry her, of course, and at once, if she would have him, and let the morrow care for itself. She was poor? Well, he would work for her; Emily could never be a burden to him. And off went Mr. Sutton on a tangent. But Prudence and Custom put in their word now. How would it answer in reality, and had he not often contemplated in his mind's eye a love-match on the prospect of work? Was he then to give up all his ambitious schemes long cherished, his dreams of public life and distinction, whose realisation a rich wife was to have brought him? And Helen! had he not gone too far with her to recede, for was not her heart perhaps already his ? After all, Emily might refuse him; he had no doubt she cared for Sir Henry Clayton ! though, as the thought crossed his mind, Mr. Sutton hated Sir Henry Clayton with all his soul. Bah! he had passed the age for a grande passion; this was merely a foolish fancy, and would soon pass away. As soon as Helen had accepted him, and he had left Stamford, he would forget Miss Hope, as he had forgotten Kate O'Brien.
Sir Henry Clayton! But no-no; with the thought came before him two wistful up-raised blue eyes, and Emily's startled “ Must you ?” rang in his ears. Ah, she loved him ! this one really loved him! And a strong voice in his heart told Philip that he would not forget her—that, however unaccountable, he deeply and truly loved Emily Hope. Loving her, could he leave her, dependent orphan leave her merely because she was such ?
“ Perish all else besides,” the true voice cried," so I win but and treasure this pearl of price. Worthless were all else beside-wealth, power, dominion-so unloved and alone I bore the burden. Live they not all - dominion, power, wealth-in the fathomless mine of a deep, true love ?”
And Helen, too? For the first time the question crossed his mind of how far allowable it was, even treating her with all kindness, to cheat a woman, who gave you the whole of her woman's heart, into the belief that she possessed yours, when that lay chiefly, though not entirely, enveloped in the balance-sheet of her banker's account?
And so Philip cast into the river at his feet all the dry, prudent maxims of his thirty-two years of life, and while the current carried them swiftly away, and silvery Wye laughed a jubilee over them, Philip felt that he would not have given an hour of his new experience for the wisest maxims in the world.
But his first impulse was too wild; he must work first-marry after. He had plenty of energy and talent, he was already a rising man; and in the mean time he would not tie Emily down to a long engagement--that would take so much of the bloom from her wondrous youth and gaiety. She should not share the anxieties of his upward toil. He would leave Stamford the next day, and not tell her he loved her. Thus Love the Magician was teaching Mr. Sutton already to be unselfish ; but he had yet to learn, that if poor little Emily loved him, the bloom would fade far sooner if he left her without asking her to be his wife, than if she could share even his anxieties, knowing she loved, not unbeloved.
The following day was spent very quietly; the spirits of most of the party seemed subdued. Philip Sutton had announced his departure for the next day. Helen was very quiet and anxious, though she strove not to let others feel the influence of her gravity. Sir Henry Clayton was still with them, and though smarting sorely under the mortification Emily had inflicted, never for a moment betrayed it, nor alluded to leaving Stamford till the original limit of his visit had arrived, for fear abrupt departure might occasion suspicion. He really cared for Emily; but he had all his life been accustomed to care more for another individual than for all the world beside, and that happy personage was himself ; so that he felt more even for the unexpected mortification to this best-beloved self than for the actual loss of her whom he had intended to honour with his hand.
There were two drawing-rooms at Stamford, and by some accident it so happened that, after dinner that evening, Miss Hope and Philip Sutton found themselves aloue by the window which opened down to the ground, and, the day having been sultry, was still wide open. Helen had been standing with Emily when Philip joined them, but had suddenly found occupation in the next room, where the lamp had just been lighted. It was a beautiful still evening, with the red light just fading away, where the sun had set, and the full harvest-moon looking down placidly from above, casting a silver sheen over the smooth lawn in front of the windows, and paling the bright flower-beds of Helen's special territory. Far away, and now echoed from the copse at the farther end of the lawn, sounded the owl's low mellow hoot, sad and yet soothing in its monotony, no other sound abroad upon the August night. Emily, in her white dress, leant against the side of the window, looking prettier that evening with the spray or two of jessamine Helen had twisted in her brown hair, than Philip had ever seen her. He stood beside her-neither of them speaking-very full of his resolve to leave her the next day without telling her he loved her-leaving her still unshackled. But poor Philip did not dare look at her, notwithstanding his resolutions.
Emily broke the charm of the night and the silence by inquiring indifferently at what o'clock Mr. Sutton left next morning ? She had been the gayest of the party during dinner, and Philip's heart had sunk more than once as it occurred to him that perhaps she did not love him after all.
“I wonder if we shall ever meet again, Mr. Sutton ?" she said, cheerfully, after Philip had answered her.
“I wonder indeed !” he said, as sadly. You would have thought he was going to Australia at least. “ Do you live all the year round in Cornwall, Miss Hope ?”
“No ; but I don't go much to London. I don't like it much, and my old aunt hates London. You never leave it except at this season, I think?" she continued, as if it was the pleasantest reflection possible.
“No, alas! Excepting during this long vacation, and a few days at Christmas, I live the remainder of the year a mere parchment-moth. I go through the “season,” to be sure, as a habit that has grown upon me, but with very small enjoyment and immense over-fatigue ; for I must work all the same.”
“ It must be very disagreeable, and dreadfully dull,” Miss Hope said, politely. A pause.
" It must be harder drudgery yet, for two years,” then Philip said, half to himself, and setting his teeth close. “I'must work like a galleyslave, if"
“ Must you?” Emily asked, turning round suddenly from her outward gaze, and in a tone of greater interest. (Those two magic words!) “ You mustn't overwork yourself.”
“What does it matter if I only succeed,” he answered, eagerly; and then, with a strange quiver in his voice, added, reaching out his hand, “ Will wish that I may succeed, Miss Hope ? I think if you would once wish me success, I--I should get on better after I go back to town.”
Strange to say, notwithstanding the polite indifference she had hitherto manifested, Miss Hope, involuntarily as it seemed, put her little hand into Philip's, and said, very earnestly, “ Indeed I wish you success in all you undertake, and I pray you may have it. And-and-I hope we may meet again some day!" Poor little Emily's voice trembled a good deal by the time she came to the end of her speech, and Philip, who was looking at her very intently, saw two large tears, revealed by the treacherous moonlight, rolling slowly down her cheeks. This was too much ; far more than Philip had compacted for in his arrangements with bis own conscience. It wasn't to be endured a moment longer.
“ Emily!" he exclaimed, taking the little hand in both his own, “I can't help it! Do forgive me for telling you so two years sooner than I intended.” And what it was, we leave Mr. Sutton to explain.
A long ottoman stood near the window, and Mr. Sutton, being anxious to prolong the conversation, drew it forward, and sat down beside Emily, to whom he then proceeded to confess, and, to his credit be it spoken, made no reservation. He told her precisely what his views on the subject of marrying for money had been ; the reason of his coming to Stamford ; the exact amount of his affection for Helen ; his intention of proposing to her, and his hope that she really did not care for him. He expressed this so compassionately and regretfully, that Emily hastened to reassure him; and to his surprise he heard of Helen's engagement to Colonel Marlowe.
He told her, too, of the resolve he had made not to fetter her with an
engagement till he was able to marry, which, by his own exertions, he hoped to be in two years. “And now you see you have made me break my resolution, Emily; but still you shall not engage yourself to me; you shall only remember sometimes that I love you, and that to me you are worth all the heiresses in England and in all the world put together" (Mr. Sutton's conversation, as you will observe, was becoming foolish), and that undowered as you are, when you do become my wife, you bring me in yourself the only heritage I should ever prize. Poor as we both are, we shall bring each other a treasure that,” &c. &c. &c.
ó But indeed I think I had better be engaged to you now, please," Emily said, laughing again for the first time, “ for you don't know how very odd I am. By to-morrow I mightn't care for you one bit more than I do for my big dog Pilot !”
But Helen had judged rightly; there was not much danger.
That night, to Mrs. Stamford's astonishment, Philip, who had been so determined to go, petitioned to be allowed to remain a few days longer at Stamford ; completing her astonishment by the reason he gave,
for Mrs. Stamford was fully convinced that Philip was attached to her daughter. Mr. Stamford, to whom she considered it necessary to communicate the information, would have willingly constituted Emily his daughter on the occasion, in order that he might show how utterly imprudent such a marriage was; but he had no voice in the matter. Helen alone was not surprised ; she had seen through Emily's assumed indifference, and though not through the motive of Philip's attentions to herself, still she knew all along that he did not love her, and had foreseen how matters would end.
Sir Henry Clayton left the next day, and then somehow the position of affairs transpired to Jack Stamford, for, bursting with the news, and a bad attack of stammering brought on by his eagerness to speak, he met Philip as the latter meditatively smoked a cigar in front of the house, and accosted him with
“You're a pretty f-f-fellow, and this is a n-nice business! And you expect me to congratulate you? Didn't I tell you my father and mother were very anxious for me to fall in love with Miss Hope ?"
Philip smiled quietly.
“ You certainly intimated the fear of such a calamity on Mr. and Mrs. Stamford's part, and I have endeavoured to save you from its consequences."
“I like your sacrifice to friendship! Do you know the prize you have drawn ?"
Perfectly,” Philip answered. “ And I admire your cool self-possession. Didn't I tell you she was the richest heiress in the south of England, you highway robber and Dick-Turpin-in-sheep's-clothing t-t-t-traitor ?"
“ Come, come, Stamford,” Philip said, “I can stand more nonsense from you than I can from most people, but don't make Miss Hope the subject of conversation. The step may be an imprudent one on both her part and mine, penniless as we are, but, nevertheless, I have drawn a prize.”
" Penniless !” Jack exclaimed, raising his hands despairingly. “Win you n-never believe what I say? I tell you again —