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Over the Hills to the Races: By John Churchill
Paris (Our) Correspondent: 44, 100, 157, 211,
Revelations, New, of an Old Country: 150
Scandinavia, Sketches in: By M. C.: 40
What Black Monday brought me: By Elizabeth
A Drop of Ink : By Mrs. Abdy: 25
Meeting and Parting: By Ada Trevanion: 314
My Lost Sailor: By Elizabeth Townbridge: 97
My Young Love (An , Imitation of the Irish): By
Prayse of Goode Wymen: By Roberte of Glouces-
"Sabbata Pango ": By H. J. S.: 1
Scene, 'A, from English History: By Eliz.leth
Stormy Night: By Ada Trevanion: 14
The Beautiful: By Ada Trevanion: 140
Printed by Rogeraon and Ttuford, 24C, Strand, Loudon,
BORN TO SORROW.
"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?"
Has not the reader often shuddered at the receipt of a telegraphic message? They always seem ill-boding, these notes enclosed in their yellow envelope. "Something sudden has occurred, and there is not time to write," is the first thought, as the receipt is being signed, and then "omne ignotum pro horrifico." With men of business, the case of course is different. Jones, on 'Change, opens his telegram with the calmest air; for he expects to find nothing of greater importance in it than that consols have fallen, or that Smith is coming to dine, or something of that kind. I must confess that I can never behold one of those smart, sharp little officials approach my door without secret misgiving, and ara heartily well pleased when he passes my roof-tree and leaves his fateful message further on.
Ella Grantley had been making up her mind for the worst these few last days; not that she had any great inkling of the Derby project, but she could not in reason close her eyes to the fact that Grantley had been what he would call *' dropping his money pretty freely" of late times, and that if things kept on long in this way ultimate ruin must be the result. She was getting almost resigned to trouble now (one gets accustomed to this kind of thing in time), and the wife who the first time her husband got drunk since marriage nearly broke her heart with shame and grief, as the years roll on and habit begets indifference, picks her husband out of the gutter or puts him to bed with the utmost coolness, and never troubles her mind with any further thought, except the hope that the graceless one has not spent all the week's wages at the " Blue Elephant." So true it is that
"As the husband is, the wife is: thon art mated with a clown, And the grossnesa of bis nature will have weight to drag thee down."
And she bad no one but herself to thank for it, that was the embittering thought.
"She would have him I" is the cold comfort applied to wounds of this sort. True enough the husband is a perfect brute to his
wife, ill-treats her, insults her by his known and open preference for other women, wounds her feelings by the associates he tries to make her own. But then "she would have him—she has herself to thank for it!" Yes, but then she would have him when love was young, and the happy spring-tide of life blooming, for a pair of careless foolish lovers, when the deceit and black nature of the man lay slumbering for a while, lulled into repose by the magic enchantment of love. It suited the man to conceal all the darker traits of his character, and appear all smiles and amiability. So it is. "He is a perfect brute to her; but she would have him!" is the moral appended to many a fable of married misery. "Despite the warnings of her friends, the tears of her family, the reasonings of prudence itself, she would have him." And having made the great, irretrievable mistake—having clouded over a whole lifetime by the error of a few hours—she must needs be content and shape herself to her lot, and live it out till merciful Providence take the bane of her existence from her, and she be free to choose once more.
Ella has at last summoned courage to open the telegram, and the contents verify all her forebodings. The ruin of a life summed up in a few short words:
"Seas Ella,—Peep o' Day lost the Derby. Am done for. Mast leave England."
It had come at last, then, what she had been expecting through all the weary months—ruin and disgrace, flight from all that was near and dear in England, and a lawless, suspicious existence at some foreign watering-place—kindly refuge for those, such as had beaten the Constable in the proverbial race! A life to be spent amongst the black-leg rvai friends of her busband—the wife of a gambler, probably obliged to exert all her attractions to lure young men with money to their house; so that they might become an easy prey to Grantley and the hawks. It was a horrible future to look to; yet she could hope for no other, unless merciful Death released her.
"Tell Mr. Dalton he may come up," she said, faintly, to the footman, who still waited: and she quite astonished herself by the coolness with which she said it, and the careless disregard
she felt at the visit of a man who might fairly be railed her victim.
Charley entered the drawing-room, and found her still holding the telegram in her hand, but looking very very faint, and, great Goodness! the change that had taken place in her face Bince he last saw her, in all the proud beauty of youth and happiness 1 It was as if Time had devoted all his energies to stamping deep indelible footprints of his onward march on the furrowed brow, and as though grief and care had done their best towards dimming the lustre of her eye and paling the damask of her cheek. He scarcely recognized in the stricken woman before him the beautiful creature he had seen last in that interview at Oaklands Hall. It was not the time for indulging his surprise, though) for society imperatively demanded, as much alone as though a thousand pairs of eyes were bent in scrutiny on them, that this interview must be quite in accordance with propriety.
"How d 'ye do, Mr. Dalton? Have you been abroad? How well you are looking!"
Merely that, and the answer—
"Very well indeed, thanks, Mrs. Grantley! [How very odd that sounded!] Yaas, I have been abroad—spent last winter in Rome. You weren't abroad I believe, and the spring in Calabria, very jolly time of it. Haw—Town very hot, and—a—very empty!"
The shocking hypocrite actually put on a careless drawl, as though effectually to conceal the emotion he was labouring under; but I do not think he succeeded very admirably. It Is impossible to deceive a woman in anything of this. They have made the tones of the voice and the expression of the face so long their study, that they can see through a sham with decent accuracy. But this was the meeting thought of for such a long time, half longed for, half dreaded by Charley. Nothing more romantic than a common-place "How d'ye do?" If it had been in France, I think the case would have been different; Jules would have approached the perfidious, but still adored Stephanie (that is, of course, if the gudeman were not at home) with the anguish of despair in his countenance; and would probably have dropped on his knees or hidden his face, Agamemnon-like, in his hands, or hissed out "Ab, Stephanie, c'est vraiment to!!" and then launched out into a most pathetic description of his misery in exile, his longing for this meeting; and, very probably, before the lapse of many hours, ce cher mart, when he returned, would be introduced, "Jules, mon cousin," much to the good man's wrath and chagrin. And after that, Jules would be kind enough to accompany Madame to the Bois de Boulogne, and so on— see " Don Giovanni."
We cannot afford these little stage-emotions In " perfidious Albion." Stagnant Is our blood, and laughably rigid our notions of morality. Thackeray says that when two Englishmen meet, the one of whom hat saved the other's life a short time before, all the salutation.!* i
"How do, old fellow i" "Quite well, thanks!" and they pass on. Whereas Alphonse and Frederic, meeting after a month's estrangement, rush into one another's arms, with: "Ah I ce bon coeur!" "Mon cher Alphonse!" and weep plentifully over each other's shoulders. That is the way of them, Luigi and Karl and Henri: they do not mean half as much, with all their embraces and tears, as Tom, Jack, and Harry do with their plain rough "How do, old fellow r"
Ella looked at the young fellow before her. How well he was looking—and that beard made him quite handsome! Was he happy i and had he forgotten all about the old time; and, above all, had any inkling reached bis ears of the disgraceful career Harry was running? He had only landed yesterday, and consequently could not be expected to know much about it.—Conflicting thoughts like these surged through Ella's mind as she sat regretfully surveying the healthy happy man before her.
"And how have you been, Mrs. Grantley? And how is the Captain? Gone to the Derby, I suppose, with all the swells. I should like to have been home time enough to have seen it. You went, of course r Splendid race between Peep o* Day and Athleta."
"I didn't go," said Ella, wearily, "and I don't understand anything about horse-racing, except that there is not much good in it."
Now was Charley's opportunity. Should he say a few bitter things—they would come in very apropos—of the turf, and he might make a very good stroke indeed. The temptation was not allowed to remain.
"What a villain I must be to think of such a thing," was his inward comment on this plan; then aloud: "And how are they getting ou at the dear old hall (wrong, master Charlie, that epithet)—the squire, and your mamma and Katie, and the curate—quite well, I suppose? Happy time of it I used to have there."
Ella favoured him with a sharp glance, just to warn him that he was treading somewhere near forbidden ground, and had better "make tracks" back, as the American have it; but the infatuated young man went on:
"I don't think I ever have been half so happy since, as I was when at Oaklands; I used to look forward to coming up from town like an emancipated schoolboy for a half-holiday. Don't you think those were jolly times r"
"I mustn't think, you know, Mr. Dalton," said Ella, with almost tears in her eyes.—She was one of those women who possess the rare art of keeping tears in their eyes without shedding them, and these women are very sirens in their way. No man can stand a glance from those eyes to which the gathered tear-pearls only afford a more witching brightness.—" I really have scarcely any time for thinking, nowa-ilnys. My husband is all in all to me, and tbit London life don't leave one too much time for indulging In dreams of childhood, pleasant though it might have been."
All this time she had been bearing up bravely tieninst all the complicated woes of her posiiion; but she felt that she could not keep up much longer before the gate of the man.
A pleading look in her face—" Oh do go and leave me to my misery."
But the blind, infatuated youth would not take it.
Then Ella blundered: "I suppose you are very happy now, Mr. Dalton, taking things easily and pleasantly? Brought over a bride from the south to astonish the people this season? Wa have nothing in England, this time, except Lady Trefusis, and some people call her hair red."
"I ahall never roarrv, Mrs. Grantley, and that you know very well (She know? why on earth should ahe know?). "I haveonly loved once, and made a very great mistake, and it has cured me effectually. No, I shall manage to jog on comfortably by myself."
"Forgive me, Mr. Dalton, I was wrong to mention anything of the kind. Let ua talk of something else."
That is the way of the women: they do the injury, and then they look piteous, and say they are very sorry. Very easy to say "Talk of something else." She had introduced the fatal subject, and all the time the fatal message was crunched in her hand and burning into her heart, and she was wasting the time in the sentimental talk of Jeannette and Jeannot in a French play. Then there came a great rush of tears, ahe could 'not conceal it: ahe was being humiliated in the eyes of the old lover, and her face wia evidently getting overshadowed; for Charley aaid, gently and kindly, "You will pardon my saying what I am going to say for old friendship's sake, won't you Mrs. Grantley? I am afraid that you are not happy; something in your face, so changed—in your voice, so altered : tell me what it is, for old friendship's sake. There can be no harm in your confiding in me j I am lure that things have gone badly with you."
Simple young casuist 1 But there certainly could not be much harm; better he should learn It than a careless, callous stranger.
"I am not happy, Mr. Dalton (and it was with a great gulp of anguish that the woman who had rejected him said this), I am not happy- If I were to reveal to you all the misery which I have gone through the last year, you would not bring yourself to believe it, and you would consider yourself amply revenged if you did—amply revenged for the momentary heartburn I caused you not a very long time ago. I feel ashamed to tell you, but you will not think any the harder of me, will yon, Charley—that is, Mr. Dalton—to tell you that, after the first few months, I had scarce a * moment'* happiness with my husband—a gambler, a betting man, wholly swallowed up In the pursuit of gain; a man with a dark cloud of suspicion hanging over him, which I feel certain will break into a etorm ere long. I ought not to tell yon this. Still, you are not a ftWHf^, «l4 £»WW( Iwf.fjrW beieechiugly]
you must not think that I don't love my husband: I love him, spite of all my misery, more than all the world beside: I simply tell you this, that you may see if 1 have at all ill-treated you how immeasurably better your lot is than mine."
Hot tears were in the honest young fellow's blue eyes, and it was in a choking voice that he answered: "I dare not say all that I feel, I should be certain to transgress some of the proprieties. I have been living a wild foreign life lately, where the people don't put so much stress on the convenances. Any man could say that he pitied you, and that is all that I may say. I heard from a friend of mine that the Captain had dropped a great deal of money on the Derby. In common fairness I must say that had "Peep-o'-day" won, Grantley would have been quite right with the betting men; but I suppose the favourite's being beaten has entirely finished him. If I could help him in the least, I should be happy indeed to do anything in my power. To Grantley himself I can say nothing, I know the man does not and never did like me; and though he beat me in the aim of my life, I dont' think he feels very merciful to me."
Ella showed him the telegram.
"This confirms the idea altogether that the Captain is done for: 1 really do not know in what way to help him. It might seem to him, you know, that I was coming home to insult him in bis bad luck, and to twit him with the misery that his marriage has brought you both. But, however, dou't look so miserable, Mrs. Grantley: it cuts me to the heart to Bee you wretched, though I can be nothing more to you, I'll see if matters cannot be made right. Will I call in again) That I will, and happy, and let people say what they will. I am like Sir Galahad, you know; 'my strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is as pure,' pure at least from the sin of envying another man his success. Bye-bye, Mrs. Grantley; come and see you soon again," and the sound of his cheery voice died away. And the great Jeamet showed him the donr.
Left to herself Ella fell into a very painful reverie, leaning her beautiful chin Upon her hand and gazing gloomily out on the dying day. I know not what regrets entered into her mind then; we are none of us so perfect, at any rate, that we can afford to find fault with her, if now, in her hour of darkest need, she let her thoughts go with the good-hearted, affectionate man, whom she had rejected. She could not help contrasting the life which she was leading with that she would have lived as the wife of Charley Dalton. He at least would have loved her, and no other woman would have come between them, and he would have been her slave, obedient to her every wish and whim. But then it was no use sighing for what might have been i it was her duty, since she had chosen, to abide steadfastly by the choice. She was too highminded, with all her weakness, to spend time in, idle, vain regrets. She roust cleave to h«jr husband, and, if needs be, sink with hinr down to the lowest depths that his ill-fortune might bring him to. She remembered having read in some novel that they had brought ber from Mudie's, how that when men had lost their all and been forced to live on their own wits, or the absence of wit in others, which is about the same thing, their wives bad been compelled to become their accomplices in cleaning out the pigeons and youthful gulls that Buttered within reach of the hawk, and had, moreover, to dress their best, talk, look, play their best, to keep up the attraction. Ella shuddered at the bare notion—the daughter of an old family to descend to such depths as these; to parade her misery before hard, unfeeling men; to become the accomplice of desperate gamblers, who, with their dupes, would crowd round with their coarse manners and rough bonhommie; for nothing, she could say from experience, blunts the finer virtues of courtesy and chivalrous conduct towards women, more than excessive gambling. And then there would be the sickening uncertainty of a life like this, when the ill-luck of any day might destroy the gains of weeks, and the end of which would be wrapped in obscurity and gloom, if not a wicked criminal one. She would go home: she could not consent, however great her love, to lower herself to such lowest depths as these. At home she would at least find a sacred bosom whereon to sob out all her great misery; and the loving arms of a sister—yet unchanged, whilst she had been so much changed — to encircle her, and keep her safe from the fate she was picturing now. Oh, sacred quiet and rest of home! what would she now give, not to have left it, for the cold mercies and charity of the world—false, unreal spectacles as all its pleasures were, in comparison with the dear home-joys, and occupations, which, sweet and fresh as the primroses that starred the banks about Oaklands in the spring-tide, were pure from the smoke of the world's hardening, blackening contagion! Oh, to hear the words of kindness and love ringing the changes in her ears—the tender pity of her mother, the rugged kindness of the old man her father, and the staunch loyalty of Katie! It was too painful, this longing for a rest and quiet, that might come never more till the rest that is in heaven came to ease the weary heart—this Tantaluslike striving after the happy vision, a glimpse of which was vouchsafed her. Visions soon fade before hard, cruel reality, in the world of realities; and, dream as she would, she could not escape from the dread present. There lay the cold, true fact before her—her husband a ruined gambler; the house in Portman-sqnare — in which she had known scarce a moment's right happiness, and ah, how much heart-scaring pain ar.d anguish !—and her own future. Was she to become a kind of modern Becky Sharp, without that lady's errors? was she, all innocent and guileless as she was, to enrol herself ainanirther&nks of tbp i'tyro's pf prey," tp
play the part of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," till the victims which haply fell into ber toils could bleed no more? She seemed to be standing, as it were, on the other shore, away from home-ties and happiness and love: on the farther shore, where yet the grass was green and bejewelled with flowrets, she saw her dear friends stand with reproachful longing in their eyes, and their arms stretched out to clasp her; while she, on the bleak, desolate strand, was fain to turn her face from the bright vision, and commence her weary pilgrimage into the future, with the sharp stones wounding her feet, the gaunt moorland stretching before her, and the mountains of Despair, on which no verdure grew and no sunlight glistened, seemed forever shutting out the comely form of Hope! There had been very little sunlight on" her married life, and the close was to be gloom and misery! A longing, intense wish that her husband would come and be with her, now took possession of her soul. She would feel easier in her mind, were the ruined, lost man with her. She might be able to console him, to concert some plans for the future, to inform him of Dalton'8 kindness, which he could not possibly misconstrue—kindness so unaffected, so generous—if he would only come and be with her, to comfort and cheer in all this dreadful load of misery! And the tears trickled through her fingers as she sat there, alone and friendless; while, just turn the slide, and probably at Oaklands Hall the friends she longed for were happy and genial in their blissful ignorance.
"One-half the world knows not"—I am almost afraid to go on with this quotation, so often misquoted in such a variety of forms, that it would be puzzling to declare its original import: I think, though, it implies that one-half of the world do not know how the other half live: so here the good people at the Hall might possibly have been making merry, the squire cracking his harmless jokes, the remaining daughter teasing her father and the Curate alternately with her mischievous wit, and Mrs. Stewart calm and urbanely placid, the while that Ella, the lost darling, was sighing that the world was weary, and that she was aweary, aweary, and wished that she were dead!
And Charley Dalton—well, 'twas no use for him to break his heart about a thing that could not be helped. It would look too officious for him to offer more than his hearty sympathy, under the circumstances: so, instead of pining and moping, and writing a long series of verses to Alethea in misery, or on seeing Clorinda in tears, this modern young philosopher, having dined very comfortably, and knocked off his pint of sherry in the most scientific manner, in company with little Tom Tit of the Incometax, who knew everybody and everything, and, as he expressed it, who was posted up on who was doing what, and that sort of thing, and who chatted and grinned in the most contented manner, till the coffee and cigars were discussed, and Charley proposed looking into the play, l&nd. after fhp play a aujet pyster at Eyans's,