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hearts. I have called them back care. I felt that I had hitherto nethe next hour, and welcomed them glected these duties. I entered with fitful, passionate tenderness, upon them zealously now, as if I which I could not restrain.
thought that even a mountain of Violet was but an infant at the good works could cover one sin. It time of which I am writing ; but is a feeling common to almost all Lionel was a child of quick, deep who are suffering from the pangs of feelings, feelings that seemed to go remorse. They think-how vainly !beyond his understanding; and when to escape the penalty of their fault a storm had been raging in my by some fancied atonement or effort bosom, and I had striven to still it of their own. I did not really share in caressing my children, I have this error. I visited schools—I reseen his lip quiver, and though not lieved the poor--and when I knew a word had been uttered of sorrow that many voices were raised to bless and suffering, of which at his age he my name, what did I do then? could know nothing, he has cast I buried myself in my chamber, himself on my bosom and wept away and bowed down my head in shame the excitement which something that and agony, feeling as if I had added he did not understand had roused hypocrisy to my sin. in his feelings. Then I would re- Again and again, during the proach myself, then I would feel childhood of Lionel and Violet would again my unfitness, my unworthiness that same shame and agony come to train my children. I would deny upon me when I had with anxious myself their presence, until the soli- energy devoted myself to them, intude to which their absence con- dulging visions of keeping their pure demned me became peopled with minds pure by my careful watching torturing thoughts, and again I would of every thought and action ; resummon them to my side, too often solving to strengthen them in good; to have the same scene repeated, to shut out, as far as might be, all and soothe ny boy with fond mur- evil from their knowledge. And even mured words of love, which he re- whilst I might be speaking to them, ceived with a clinging, anxious ten- dwelling on the beauty of truthfulderness that seemed beyond his ness, the deep happiness of an open trusting, childish years.
heart-even then has the cloud fallen Many wearisome days and nights on my spirit, and alone-alone-I were appointed unto me during these would again writhe under the weight months of Hubert's absence. There which made the mother's glance were times, however, when with sink before that of her own chilsomething of the elasticity of youth- dren. for I was still young !-I would Such were among the feelings endeavour not quite in vain to which were wont to torture me, even escape from the crushing weight of when Violet, an unconscious baby, my sorrow by entering energetically smiled in my face. Such were some into some pursuits which would of the feelings that tortured me still, occupy my time and claim my years afterwards, when the spring attention. I interested myself in showers were falling lightly on the the poor around me. I established grave which covered Violet's broken systems for giving relief during the heart. severe weather to the many around And Lionel-my first-born - my Earlscourt who had claims on my pride—what of Lionel ?
DURING the greater part of Hu- course of study usually considered bert's absence from Earlscourt, necessary for girls, her mind was too Maud Courtenaye had been away active to have allowed her to remain from home, or doubtless my solitude idle or ignorant, and in ways of her would have been frequently cheered own she had managed to convince by her presence.
her brother satisfactorily that in inIt was only about a month be- dulging her wish to be without a fore my husband's return that the governess, he ran no risk of being Priory was again inhabited, and when ashamed of his sister. Lord Effingthe family returned there, they ham was satisfied, and only made brought with them a new inmate, a a point of Edith taking some lessons younger sister of Lady Anne Cour- from the best masters in various tenaye's, who was henceforth to re- accomplishments during their short side with them. These two sisters stay in London each spring. Edith were orphans, and had resided toge- did not object to this. She sang ther under the care of their elder well, and she was very willing to brother until the period of Lady cultivate that talent with some care, Anne's marriage. Their brother had not only in London, but when she now married, and Lady Edith having had returned to her more constant been offered a home both by Mr. home and unfettered life at EffingCourtenaye and her brother, chose ham Park. the Priory, partly, perhaps, to be A more complete contrast could with her sister, but more especially, scarcely be imagined than that preas I thought, when I came to know sented by Lady Edith Howard to her well, because of the enthusiastic Maud Courtenaye. I have already and boundless affection with which attempted to describe Maud. WhereMaud had inspired her.
ever she was, everything around her Lady Edith Howard was unlike seemed to be softened and purified any one else whom I had ever known. by her silent influence, even as the She was wayward and petulant as moonlight softens the scene which a spoilt child, but very warm- sleeps in its silvery radiance. Lady hearted and affectionate. She had Edith brought with her the brightbeen brought up entirely without ness of a spring morning. It seemed control, unless her gentle sister's as if where she was there should alinfluence might have been so-called; ways be life and sunshine. Her careand as Edith was not seventeen less joy, her restless movements, for when she came to the Priory, two Edith could not bear to be still or important years of her life had passed thoughtful,—all was so different from since Lady Anne's marriage, years Maud's quiet dignity, that it seemed during which she had been left to a strange thing to me at first how her own guidance by her indulgent such a bright little being as Edith brother, who thought that since Edith could have been attracted by anyone disliked the idea of a governess, it so almost mournful as Maud seemed would be very useless to insist upon beside her. She had, however, been her having one.
very strongly attracted. She seemed Edith accordingly learnt what she to look up to Maud with a kind of chose, and that had truly been very adoration; and Lady Anne, who had little in the way of regular study. been greatly vexed at the indepenBut she was naturally quick, and dent life that it had pleased Edith although she had not pursued the to lead since she had left her, told me that she hoped much from Maud's light be the same which was so he: influence over her somewhat self- in my bosom now? Could t willed, but very dear sister,
Hubert whom I only met in When Hubert returned home, he crowd-to whom I could only spe brought friends with him from Lon- as I might speak to the veri don. It seemed that he dreaded stranger at our board-could that one day of solitude with me, whilst the same Hubert who had oi I felt as if I could almost for the shared my every thought, hope, a moment have forgotten our black se- feeling ? Had that happy time go cret, in the instinctive joy with which for ever? Had the father of i I saw him return after so long an children hopelessly estranged hi absence. It only wanted his greet- self from me? ing to me, his embarrassed manner, Such were the questions wru his averted eye, to banish my but from my anguish; and not always momentary gleam of light to recal no, not always at that time could the spectre that had risen between endure the true answer which re us, at once binding us together and from my aching heart. I have son forcing us apart, -the spectre of our times thought that I would strugg mutual crime.
I would make such efforts that I sometimes thought that he must win back his love. What h dreaded reproaches or entreaties I done--I would ask myself-wł from me. When any chance threw had I done that I should lose i us together and alone at that time, Did he think with displeasure that there was something so forbidding was brooding over the recollecti in his manner, so unlike himself, of that night? Did it anger him and he would seize the first oppor- remember my vain entreaties ? D tunity of leaving me; whereas, he think that I was despising hi amongst the numerous guests whom for his crime? Did he think th he speedily gathered together, he I was watching for an opportuni would treat me with invariable at even now to renew my entreatie: tention and respect ; but, alas ! in Did he think that my love had pale my lonely misery my heart called and withered under the trial, for his love, and it called in vain. flowers pale and wither under t1
There is no more miserable feel- blasts of autumn ? Were these 1 ing than that of pitying oneself. I thoughts ? Was this his dreac pitied myself at that time. I saw Then I thought that I would hasta myself as I had been during the to him, I would cast myself at k first happy days of my married life. feet, and tell him that never in tl I saw myself the object of Hubert's first bliss of our married life had constant care and devotion. I saw loved him more intensely than nou the very looks of love that were never had I so yearned for his lov wont to rest upon me. I seemed never had I felt it to be so necessa to feel again the glad emotion which to my existence. I would tell hi responded to them. I recalled the that our crime made me unwort! joyous sensations of that bright inno- of all other love. I would tell hi cent time--the free, frank intercourse that the love of my children wi which we held together-our glances bitter anguish to me, from a horrib at the past-our visions of the future sense of my unworthiness. I wou -our ecstasy in the present. I saw tell him that he-he alone must lov all this. I recalled our boy's birth me. He shared the crime--I coul
-our pride in him-our joy and still claim his love. He could n happiness. I thought of all these cast me off. Outcasts from all oth things, and thought was agony. hearts, were we not doubly drive Could the heart which was once so into cach other's? I would tell hii that he should hear no word of distant, manner, and the word son suffering, of remorse, if only his love my lip would die away, the pulses were restored to ine. I would tell that had beat so wildly as I dreamed him that the affection, the respect, my frenzied dream of hope, would the attention which he might receive be stilled ; and with an icy chill at from all those around him was a my heart, I would return to my solimockery. They loved, they respect- tude to wring my hands in the hopeed, they paid attention to the hos lessness of my sorrow, to compaspitable host, to the kind friend, to sionate myself, the unloved wife. the pleasant companion, to the good Then at such a moment would the landlord, to the man he seemed to be. haunting memory of the Italian girl's But I-I alone could know and love picture return to me, ever bringing him as he really was. I alone had with it the shuddering sensation of the power of truly loving the man terror with which I had first gazed whose soul must be dark as night upon it. It still hung in that little whilst his life was smiling. only secret chamber. It seemed to be saw that darkness. I only knew the tacitly understood between us that despairing remorse which he had it should never be brought to light. resolutely buried under the false I had sometimes stolen to these feverish excitement of the life that closed chambers, and drawing back he led. I would tell him now that the panel in the wall, I had gazed I loved him still in his sin; that for some minutes on the picture. I deep in my heart rose the fountain had done this when my suffering of love for him that could never be seemed greatest, as if in desperation. dried up; and that pity, passionate, I could not myself account for the overwhelming pity, for him—for my- feeling which led me there. It self-was all that I could ever feel seemed as if I wished to know how now on the forbidden subject. much I could endure, and still re
And as such struggles, such efforts tain my reason. It was a very filled my imagination, I would meet wretched life. my husband, I would mark his cold,
CHAPTER XIX. EARLSCOURT became again the however, there were two of Hubert's centre of gaiety. The house was new acquaintances, whose presence crowded by a succession of guests. speedily became painfully unpleaHubert had made many new ac- sant to me. He had met them on quaintances during his absence from the Continent. One was a Frenchhome, and consequently many guests man, M. de Beaulieu ; the other a hitherto unknown to me visited us. young Englishman, Mr. Trevor.
I was generally indifferent enough I have said that my husband as to who went or came. I filled sought eagerly after excitement, and my place as mistress of the house. I there was one species of excitement joined most of the expeditions that which I greatly dreaded for him, the filled the days so replete with plea- love of play. Little as I knew of sure for many amongst us. I was the world, I knew something of the always pleased to see Maud, and I utter wretchedness of a gambler's had also learnt to welcome Lady life, and what I knew, I had mostly Edith Howard's bright face, as she learnt from Hubert himself in the constantly accompanied Maud in earliest days of our marriage. He her visits to us; but otherwise I had had told me a tale of a young brothercared little who came or went. Now, officer of his own, which had made
a deep impression on my mind. I that he was utterly, hopelessly ruin know now that such tales are too Maddened by his losses, distract common, but it was the first time by the thought of his parents' misi that I had heard of such misery in if the life that he had led duri real life, and the particulars have these months were brought bef remained impressed on my memory them, he had that night ventured even to this day. This was the sad on a last chance, and he had lo story.
Nothing now could be conceal Hubert had described to me a from his parents. He had long be young boy, full of life and hope, anticipating and borrowing mon joining his regiment. He was an on the property which it was kno only son, and heir to a large fortune. must some day come into his poss Life had never offered a brighter sion, in desperate efforts to retrie future to any one than to young his position. All was lost now. I Harry Godolphin. He very soon was ruined. became popular in the regiment. Hubert said that the unhap He bought the best horses, spent youth proceeded to speak with gre the most money, and was ready and excitement to him. He asked h willing to help any one, with all the to give him his promise that if ar unsuspecting generosity of youth. thing happened to him, Hube
I need not here tell how by slow would go himself to his father-wi but sure degrees the brightness of whom he had some slight acquaii his youth was darkened - how the ance-and tell him of his fate. H nature which he had brought from bert detected the hidden purpo his childhood's home, pure and open, through the poor boy's excitemei was sullied. He was the idol of his He gave the desired promise, ar parents, and Hubert, who knew him then, endeavouring to soothe hi well, said that his love and reverence as well as he could, he proceeds for them was more like the love and to dress himself, resolving not reverence of an innocent child than lose sight of him for a moment. M a young man of the world. Bad husband described that scene to m companions led him astray, and play and I shall never forget it. was the temptation to which he Godolphin stood leaning again yielded. Night after night he re- the closed door, when Hubert i paired to the gambling-tables, for sisted on his remaining with hi some time unsuspected by Hubert, until he was ready to accompar who had been at first his greatest him to his own room. The dawn friend in the regiment. When Hu- a spring morning was slowly cree bert discovered it, it was too late to ing into daylight. Hubert spoke 1 save him. The thirst for play had him of arrangements that might 1 become a fever, a delirium; and if by made ; he assured him that muc close watching and earnest entrea- might be done to put his affairs i ties, Hubert knew how to draw him order; and he pledged himself to g from it for a few nights, the fever to his father, and tell what must L would return with renewed violence, told. Hubert told me that Godo and again he would seek him and phin groaned heavily whilst he spok find him given up to its influence that he never answered him, bu
A few months sufficed to work the that once he called aloud on h ruin of that boy. Hubert told me . mother's name in a tone of suc that he was roused one morning at heart-rending agony that Hubei early dawn from his sleep, and or was awed into silence. It was du looking up, he saw young Harrying that momentary silence tha Godolphin standing by his side, pale Hubert heard the sharp click of as death. He told him in few words pistol. It was the work of a momer