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only annoy her: but I shoud like to know how far he could trust to see more of her,” he said
her. And then his eyebrows and “Of Joyce ? Colonel Hayward his mouth worked.
• Of some 1 am afraid you are a dangerous one-a lady—who has been long person. I can't have you turning dead,” he replied, “ and her name the head of the best girl in the her name !" world."
“You are very serious, Colonel ; He looked round again, linger- it is not only a passing interest? ing, unable to quit the spot. The It is really something-something ! little procession was marshalled Oh, forgive me. I cannot have her and ready to set out. But on the disturbed. She is all quivering spot where she had stood prompt- with imagination and wonder." ing and directing her pupils the “ Mrs. Bellendean, there is some young schoolmistress still mystery about this girl. Why standing, lingering like himself. should she wonder, why should she She was looking after him with be disturbed ? Me, yes. I am much wistful eyes, with a look of wonder- disturbed. It is something—of ing disappointment, as if she had which I have not spoken for years. expected something more. That Oh, if Elizabeth were only here!” look awakened all the old excite- « Then come with me to my ment, which had partially calmed room,” Mrs. Bellendean said ; “ if down in the Colonel's heart. The we stay here we shall be interattitude, the raised head, the wist- rupted every moment. I am beful look in the eyes, all moved him ginning to get excited myself. again as at the first, with an over- Come this way. The window is powering sense of likeness, almost always open, and nobody will identity. “What does it mean?” know we are there." he said; “I feel as if I could not She turned for a moment and tear myself away. Who is she? 'vaved her hand to Joyce, who had There must be something in a re- just taken her place at the head of semblance like that.”
the band. Then turning up a side “Whom does she resemble, path, led Colonel Hayward round Colonel Hayward ?"
an angle of the house to the open The Colonel turned round again window of a little morning-room. and gave his questioner a look. “ Here,” she said, “ we can talk in He looked at her as if he wanted quiet here."
It was a little business-room, whom she sent for to be reproved but the business in it was chiefly or counselled. Her own chair feminine. There were baskets of stood in front of a formidablework, shelves full of books in looking writing - table, and one homely covers, a parish or Sunday- other stood close by, awaiting the school library, and all the para- respondent or defendant, whoever phernalia of a country lady who he or she might be. The windows "takes an interest” in her poorer looked into a closely surrounding neighbours. It was the room in shrubbery, which shut out the view which Mrs Bellendean interviewed -as if landscapes and such vanities those of her dependants or retainers had nothing to do with the sternwho came to ask her advice, or ness of the business transacted
here. Over the mantelpiece hung humble room or two sometimes to a large engraving of Dr. Chalmers let in summer. She arrived there —the presiding divinity. Colonel quite unexpectedly. She had been Hayward came in after her, some- going by Queensferry to Fife and what tremulous, with a sense that the North, and was too tired to go some revelation was about to be on. And they had no room for made to him. The excitement her at the Ferry hotel. She had which he had tried to put off, no maid or any one with her, but which he had tried to represent she seemed a lady to the people to himself as without foundation, here. They were all quite sure as proceeding from merely acci- she was a lady-very like what dental resemblances, had once Joyce is now, pale, with that little more gained command of him, movement of her lips which I tell and with more power than ever. Joyce — Colonel Hayward, you He felt certain now that some look as if you knew, as if you had discovery deeply concerning him known— ,Oh, do you think you was about to be made.
can throw any light“Joyce,” Mrs Bellendean began, "For God's sake go on-go "is
“I beg your pardon. Joyce “ To spare you the details," said what? Tell me her other name. Mrs Bellendean, “the poor thing
“ My dear Colonel Hayward, if was about to have a baby, but you will only listen to me! Joyce showed her condition very little-has no other name. Oh yes, she so little that there was no alarm, takes the name of the good old nor any idea of a-of a cataspeople who have brought her up, trophe. She walked about a little who love her like their own child. in the evening, and perhaps overShe is a foundling, Colonel Hay- tired herself. Anyhow, in the ward."
middle of the night she was taken “A foundling!” The word did ill. The people made a great fuss not discompose him as she had ex- when they knew what it was, and pected, but evidently took him by wanted her to tell them who her surprise. A look of profound per- friends were, and her husband, and plexity came upon his face. He all that, which probably made
. shook his head slightly, and gazed everything worse, though they had at her, as if he did not know what no unkind meaning. And so when to think.
the child was born—" “ The story has been told to me The Colonel got up from his seat. so often that I feel as if I had He went to the window and looked known all about it throughout, out, turning his back upon her; though this happened long before then returned to his chair like a I came here. It is a little more man distracted. Mrs Bellendean than twenty years ago. A lady paused in her narrative, startled arrived one evening at the inn in by the sudden movement, and sat the village. It is a very poor lit- silent watching him. He said, in tle place. The sort of place where a sort of hoarse whisper, “She people coming out from Edinburgh died?" on Sundays"
"Not immediately. What hapHe made her a little silent yet pened was almost worse than dying; impatient sign of assent.
she went out of her mind. Women You know? Yes, a little bit have many things to bear that noof a place, where they had a body thinks of. They are subject
to attacks of that kind at such excitement and expectation. But times. The doctor thought she all that was audible were the words would get better of it; but she that had been going through his did not live to get better, poor mind all day, "Oh, if Elizabeth thing! My sister-in-law, who was were only here!” here then, heard of her, and was " Elizabeth, who is Elizabeth ?" very much interested and did all Mrs Bellendean cried. she could. But the poor girl died He did not make any reply, nor in about three weeks, without ever did he seem to hear, but began to being able to tell them where she walk up and down, passing and recame from or who she was. They passing between her and the winmade out that her name was Joyce, dow. He seemed to be arguing, from her own wanderings and from talking to himself, comparing what the letters."
he had heard with something else. Colonel Hayward said with his “But I never suspected that-never. lips, “The letters ?" scarcely mak- She said nothing. There might be ing any sound.
another-another. It might be all "There was a letter, without the while, it might be all the while any envelope or address, which ap- --some one else. How can I tell? peared to be from her husband. Only a name, a name! and so And on the night she arrived, be- long ago. Oh, if I only had Elizafore she was taken ill, she had beth here! Elizabeth would know.” begun to write, to him, apparently, Mrs Bellendean here rose up too about something that had come and touched him on the arm. She between them, something that had was trembling with the excitement driven her nearly mad. Colonel of this encounter, which suddenly Hayward ! Yes, they were read made the story of the poor young by the people who took charge of mother, which had been a tradition the poor little baby and who man and a tale, into something real. aged everything I understand "Colonel," she said, "you know
“ what you mean; it was like prying something; you can tell us someinto the secrets of the foor dead thing? For God's sake, if there is lady. But what could they do? any clue, don't let it go. Tell me, What do you say? Name? No, for that poor girl's sake." there is no name. The husband's Her touch seemed to restore letter is signed only H— Ah! him to himself. He looked round you know! I am sure you know!” vaguely, and seeing that she was
The Ah! which came from Mrs on her feet, drew forward her chair Bellendean's lips was very nearly with old-fashioned politeness. “A a scream. The Colonel had risen boorish fellow,” he cried, "a boorish to his feet, with a pallor upon his fellow you must think me, not to face and a gasp for breath which perceive that you were standing. frightened her. He stood as if How can I beg your pardon? The any touch would have knocked fact is, that without Elizabethhim down, as if scarcely conscious without Elizabeth—there is what he was about. His faculties good to be got out of me.” seemed to fail him for the moment. Mrs Bellendean was a woman He put up his hand with a sort of full of energy and promptitude. dumb appeal, as if to stop what “If that be so, then let us send for she was saying. Then he himself her at once,” she said. with an effort broke the silence. The Colonel made a hasty moveShe leaned forward with the greatestment of satisfaction. “But I am
scarcely known to you myself,” he kind,” she said peremptorily, with cried. “How could I take such a decision that was balm to him. a liberty? Only your son's old "Let us not lose a moment, Colonel colonel; and he is not even your Hayward. Here is a telegraph son."
paper ; will you write it yourself, “ He is a great deal more—he or shall I?" is the master of this house. Who He took it from her, and lifted should be so welcome as his own a pen from the table, but his hand friends ? And if I count for any- shook. “I am very nervous," he thing, and any light can be thrown said. " It is absurd, but I can't on this mystery-oh, Colonel !” help it. If you will write, . Come
"I don't know," he said; “I at once; I am in great need of don't know. My mind is all in a you.' That will do." whirl. There are some things that • Come at once. I am in great make me think—and then there are need of you,” repeated Mrs. Belother things. It is more than I lendean ; “ had not you better add can make head or tail of_alone. that you will meet her by the And then it's a serious thing—oh, early train? Will she be likely to a very serious thing. If I were travel by night?" to do anything hasty, and then it “She will come by the first were to turn out a mistake
train, whenever that may be." He said this with such an air of " That will be the night extrouble, and at the same time of press. I shall add, “Will meet you confidence, that his listener met at Edinburgh.'
And now you his look with one of involuntary must put the address.”' sympathy, and murmured an as- He paused a little without resent.
plying “ You would think that “She will say I am hasty. I alarming, perhaps, if you got it all am always hasty; but then, in at once without any warning ?" the circumstances- And it is “Yes,” she said, with a smile, not a case for half measures. If "I fear I should ; but then no this should be !" A shiver of one thinks my help so important strong feeling seemed to pass over as you evidently feel your—this him." It would make a revolu- lady's to be." tion in our lives," he went on; “it “My wife," he said gravely; would change everything. There “my wife. Yes, she is very immust be no half measures. If ever portant. Perhaps you will put at there was a case in which she had the last, Nothing that is alarma right to be consulted- And ing—rather good. I think that then she'll understand in a mo- will do. To Mrs Hayward, the ment-she'll see through it. If Dell, Richmond Surrey. How it's credible: it sounds incredible; can I ever thank you enough!" but on the other hand—” He He stooped over her hand, which gave her once more that appealing held out the paper, and kissed it look, as if the dilemma in which with old-fashioned gratitude—" to he found himself must be evident let me send for her when I am but to her, then added hastily, “Will a stranger myself." you really be so very good, notwith- “I hope she will be able to help standing the little you know of us? you, Colonel Hayward ; and I hope But I might go and get rooms at my poor Joyce will get the benefit." the Ferry, and not trouble you." "Ah!" he cried. He had come
“ You shall do nothing of the to himself by means of the ready
intervention of the practical in the summoning her to aid him in a person of Mrs Bellendean, but desperate crisis. She would be faltered again at this as if she had spared all unpleasant knowledge : struck him a blow.
what everybody would say would be “ Perhaps,” she added hastily, Don't say anything to her; why “you would like to see—the letters, should we disturb her ?
Perhaps and the other relics ? perhaps- " the Elizabeth of Colonel Hayward's
He rose up from his seat. “I thoughts would have been glad to must go and send this,” he said, be so exempted from the troubles and hurried from the room. He of life. But Mrs Bellendean was came back again, however, a mo- not glad. She envied the other ment after, looking in through the woman, upon whom it appeared half-opened door. “When Eliza- that, habitually, all that was troubeth comes,” he said, and disap- blesome was thrown. What kind peared again.
of a woman must she be-an old Mrs Bellendean had been greatly campaigner, a strong-minded perexcited by the idea of thus touching son—who kept the good old Coloupon a real romance of life—a story nel in subjection? That was the such as comes to light rarely in most probable explanation. She the commonplace world. The old sat a little thinking this over, and Colonel's emotion, the excitement then she went back to her duties, with which he had listened to the to see after her guests. The school narrative, the evident stirring up treat had been happily the end of all of old recollections in his mind, the public performances; but with and attempt to piece it out from so large a party in the house, every his own knowledge of something dinner was a dinner-party. When which had passed long ago—had she went out again upon the terrace, wound her up to a pitch of sus- the children were just disappearing pense and eagerness almost as great in a many-coloured line through the as his own. But a certain comic avenue of limes, watched by the element came in with the sudden ladies who had been made to form summons of Elizabeth, and the Queen Margaret's Court under the evident determination to put the great ash-tree. The younger ladies whole matter, whatever it might of the party gathered about her as be, on his wife's shoulders, and to she reappeared. There was one of put off the inquiry until she should them who was her special favourite appear. Poor Elizabeth !-prob- —the only daughter of one of her ably a comfortable mother, sud- dearest friends, a distant relation denly shaken out of domestic peace, –a little Margaret, to whom she and sent for in hot haste to unravel had given her name, and in whom, a mystery with which most likely accordingly, every element of prefshe had nothing to do. Mrs Bel- erence centred. Mrs Bellendean lendean laughed softly to herself: had said to herself that if Greta but then changed her expression, (which was her pet name, to disand sighed. She was herself of tinguish her from Maggies and no such importance to any one. Margarets without number) and She reflected that, if any diffi- Norman should by any chance take culty should happen in the life of to each other—why then! But it her own husband, she would be must be understood that no matchthe person from whom, above all making was thought of, no scheme, others, it would be concealed. No no trap laid-only if they should one in the world would think of happen to take to each other!