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CHAP. V.

At Mrs. Candy's school, I had a favourite pupil, a little girl, who displayed traces of strong natural talent, and a gifted sensibility. Mrs. Candy, indeed, once thought herself bound to apologise for the admission of Mary Thornmead into a seminary which she was most desirous should emulate Mnemosyne House in the gentility of its connexions.

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"A manufacturer's daughter only," she said, deprecatingly ; very wealthy people, but of low origin-but I had high references; and just in the beginning, you know it won't do quite to refuse connexion. Mary is a very ladylike child, I must say, to come from such a stock. I believe her grandfather was a rag dealer, or something equally horrid. Ah! I wish I could afford to be as select as I desire; ah! dear me!"

I said I thought Miss Thornmead had more talent than all the other girls put together. "Yes, my dear, and, as a teacher, perhaps I might prefer talent to birth; but as the principal of a ladies' school, I own I prefer family and genteel connexion to all beside.”

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DAUGHTER.

for to-day. See! you are the last on the list. Must I report you the worst?" The tears filled the child's eyes. sorry."

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"But we are all careless at times, dear childgrown-up people as well as little ones. So, Mary, we must omit your name this time from the black list; and if this great brother of yours desires to hear you play, I hope he will find you improved."

She was so delighted to find anybody to sympathise with her gladness, that with a sudden impulse she threw her arms round my neck and kissed me.

"Russell loves music so much," she said. "Oh, if he could only hear you play and sing!"

"There is no chance of that," I said, smiling. "So good-bye, little Mary; be a good child next lesson."

I went away; but Fate, designing that I should become acquainted with Mr. Russell Thornmead, put forth one of those stratagems which mortals call accident.

Mr. Candy, having had his house recently attempted by thieves, had purchased-not a respectable-looking creature, such as should only have been on duty at a young ladies' school, but an ill-conditioned brute of a bull-dog, who chose to consider every one not of the family who entered or issued from the house,

as thieves and burglars, without respect to sex or appearance. Since the advent of this amiable animal, I usually had to enter and depart, under convoy of one of the teachers, or a servant; and now, forgetting the

grim Cerberus, I went out alone, and before I had proceeded two yards down the gravel approach, he bolted out of some unseen lair, and seizing my dress by the skirts in his vicious jaws, he pinned me to the ground. I was always a terrible coward at the sight of ferocious dogs; I feminine resource of a scream, which only therefore put in practice directly the usual increased my tormentor's fury. He quitted my dress, and flew at my throat-protected, luckily, by a fur tippet, which the brute seized instead of my neck. At that minute, a young man who had just appeared at the gate dashed it open, and in a minute had hold of Cerberus by the skin of

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his neck, tearing him off with only the loss of my tippet, which the dog clenched fiercely between his teeth, glaring meanwhile at his assailant, with evident intentions of doing great deeds when he could get his head at liberty.

"Hollo! some one come here," shouted my champion, lustily: and Mr. Candy, armed with a whip and followed by a train of teachers, pupils, and servants, came to the rescue. Nothing but the sight of his master could have restrained the dog's fury. Mr. Candy muzzled him, and led him howling to his kennel.

As for me, assuredly I had not betrayed a single symptom of a heroine. I was very pale, extremely sick, and my limbs trembled so much, that, but for the sustaining power of shame, I should have fallen down. My champion had no sooner got rid of the dog, than he was again fettered. This time it was by the arms of little Mary Thornmead, who, coming along with the rest, had recognized and as suddenly embraced

her brother.

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So, gently, little Poll," he said. "Is this the kind of cattle they keep at boarding-school? Surely you are not taught dog-fighting!"

Mrs. Candy, who was standing by, greatly shocked at this speech, began in some excitement to attempt an explanation; and Mary, blushing, yet unable to resist laughing at her brother's uncouth ways, begged Mrs. Candy to excuse him.

"Tut, Poll! never excuse me. But this young lady, she is terribly frightened; no wonder, she's but a tender morsel for a brute like that. Are you compelled, madam, to keep such a wolf to guard your lambs ?"

Mrs. Candy, disdaining to answer, was glad of an excuse to bustle about; and I was conducted to the house, where several restoratives were offered all at once. I accepted only a glass of water from Mary, and then declared I was well enough to start home. Mrs. Candy was distressed. "How was I to go home alone? Mr. Candy had visitors, parish people; or he would escort me it was the girls' tea-time."

"You need not be uneasy,' ," said my preserver, who seemed very blunt and plainspoken; "I shall see the young lady home: shall I procure a carriage for you ?"

I smiled. "No, thank you; fortunately I have preserved the use of my limbs; but very sincerely I thank you. The consequences, unromantic as was the attack, might have been distressing."

"I know little about romance," said Mr. Thornmead; "but I do know that a bite from that brute might have scared a strong man, let alone a piece of ginger-bread like you!"

"Russell, for shame!" from his sister-"how

rude!"

"My little Poll, has boarding-school taught thee to despise thy homely brother? The young lady will forgive me: I am but a boor, I

believe."

And, notwithstanding my gratitude, I believe I coincided in this opinion; yet this Cymon, spite of a countrified look, had somewhat of a

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Mrs. Candy's house was not more than half a mile from Mr. Benvolere's modest little mansion. During our walk Mr. Thornmead, spite of his rusticity, did not betray any awkward bashfulness. He changed the homely dialect in which he addressed his sister for a better accent, and language which, certainly devoid of all superfluities, was yet straightforward and sensible. His sister, of whom he seemed both proud and fond, was of course the mutual theme of discourse. Two strangers, meeting for the first time, perfectly ignorant of each other's circumstances or connexions, could not otherwise have conversed save on the usual English topic, the weather.

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I hope little Polly has not been spoiled by a London boarding-school?" was his remark after he had inquired about her musical progress; for the little girl, it seemed, had contrived to tell him in what capacity I visited the establishment." You see, Miss-I beg your pardon I scarcely heard my sister when she told me your name."

"Montafauconi," I replied.

A shade passed over the young man's face. "A foreigner!" he said, in a disappointed tone. "I should have hardly thought so."

"No, not a foreigner: I"-I became slightly embarrassed-" only a foreign name."

"Indeed! I am glad to hear it. I should be sorry not to think you an Englishwoman."

I bowed somewhat haughtily. At that mo ment I was Miss De Trevor Castlebrook, and this young man was an insolent plebeian taking the liberty to form an opi nion about my illustrious self! He went on, scarcely heeding my scornful manner: "I was about to observe, we ourselves are very plain folks; very plain-sprung from the people; I am not ashamed to own, from the very dregs of the people; and Polly, I think, would have been best brought up at home, with some good gentlewoman for a governess: but mother got some grand notions in her head, as women will do when they are set on a lofty hill, forgetting sometimes to look back on the valley they climbed up from. 'No,' said mother, when we talked the matter over-us four, for you see Polly is an only daughter, and I an only son-our girl may rise higher in the world than ourselves; let her have a good education to fit her for any condition in life.' Women," he said, "are always thinking of rich husbands I beg your pardon, but even our good, wise housemother speculates on such matters; so,

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though father and I shook our heads, mother got her own way, as wives and mothers mostly do, if (they are prudent women : but she hurt herself the most, for Polly is the darling of her heart and the very apple of her eye. After all, mother,' said I, at the end of a long discussion, I have my doubts about boarding-school education being good for much-or education (as it goes now as least) at all. What is your opinion, Miss Montafauconi ?"

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"If Polly resembles the young lady who teaches her music," said my escort, with some hesitation, "I shall be only too glad.”

"Sir," I answered gravely, "you can only judge of me externally; and I must observe, I never receive the compliments of a stranger!" I was again Miss Castlebrook. He was not much abashed.

I warmly responded to his view of his sister's disposition, and told him how fondly Mary had spoken of him. His face glowed with gratified affection. "After all," he said, "the child has had the good seed sown which always bears fruit. She has learned at home to love her God, and to try to do His will on earth. And other lessons Polly has had, her good mother's teaching she can make a pudding or a basin of broth as well as mother herself; and the very We were now nearly arrived at my home, and, linen I wear is of Polly's sewing. So I think before turning down the avenue of trees which led she may bear a little polishing-I won't say but to Mr. Benvolere's house, I stopped, and making I might have been the better for a little more a formal curtsey, declined Mr. Thornmead's myself; but you see Manchester folk are a further attendance. "I am now," I said, rough kind, and can't away with much fettle-"close by my home; my friends would not be ing." pleased to see me with a stranger. Once more, sir, I thank you for my preservation from that fierce dog, and for this attention. I shall be happy always to hear of your welfare from my sweet friend and pupil, Mary, for whom I assure you I have the greatest affection."

I stared, and he laughed outright. Perhaps he thought to elicit a compliment; and, had he known all that passed in my heart at that minute, he would have found no bad one. I thought that I had never heard Colonel Tarragon utter such good thoughts, homely though the language was, in which the speaker clothed them. I thought this, and I was sorrowful at the thought.

Mr. Thornmead, I fancy, was hardly prepared for so stately a dismissal; but he took it in excellent part, and, adopting a more ceremonious manner than he had hitherto assumed, he hoped that no ill effects would proceed from my accident, and that at some future time he might have the pleasure of meeting me again. Then he lifted his hat, and, turning back in the direction of Mrs. Candy's house, he left me. Not greatly prepossessed in his favour-an avowed champion of the people, one, moreover, who took the liberty of regarding me as a mere young lady, incompetent to judge of his opinions-he was not likely to enlist either my feelings or my prejudices. My thoughts, though, scarcely rested on him a moment after his departure. The comparison which had mentally arisen between his religious feeling and the total want of such principles, which I feared was only too apparent in Colonel Tarragon, caused me to pursue a vein of thought into which I had lately fallen oftener than was good for me. I had been away, now, seven months from my father's roof-how was it all to end? Should I live all my days a hireling, teaching, grinding into dull ears, the mere primer of the art I loved so well?

"I ask your pardon; but you look like a gentlewoman; and some people say that is a distinction born with one, and not to be acquired. Now, naturally, as we are of plebeian race, we desire to seem of better blood than we are. My father is now a rich man, his cotton mills are like a small town, so extensive are the premises and so many the hands we employ but my grandfather was only a rag-picker, and made his money by collecting what we should call in these times rubbish: but John Thornmead was an honest man; and his son, my father" (he took off his hat), "is one of God's own gentlemen, and no patent of nobility can

make a man that! As for me, Miss Montafauconi, I am one who holds that the people have their rights as well as the lords and princes of this land; and I hope, one day, to have the power of preaching such a doctrine to more purpose than before a young lady."

I had not the smallest sympathy with such views. I had taken but feeble interest in such politics as I heard discussed at my father's dinner parties, and knew little more than that Mr. Castlebrook advocated liberalism, and practised in his own family absolute despotism; neither had I given the matter one thought, except that I had a general idea that the working classes were, as a rule, ruffianly, imposing, ignorant to a lamentable degree, but yet to be kept uneducated for the general safety of society. When, therefore, I heard this young man deliver opinions so opposite to what I deemed right, I confounded him with those I had uniformly heard vituperated by all classes of politicians, viz., Cobbett, Hunt, and men of that stamp, who were then universally denounced by most persons of intelligence and knowledge. Mr. Benvolere himself, enlightened and liberal, was a strong tory in his politics. I somewhat shrank, then, from Mr. Thornmead, who, on his part, was not slow to perceive that he had given a bad impression of himself.

Then came the thought of the dear old man, the lover of my lost mother's own youth; and then rose, ever and again, above all things, that one engrossing image which, alas, too often came between my God and me- -Vincent, dear, beloved of my soul ! As I thought and wondered, the distant sound of a horse galloping aroused me, and, turning into the main road, I had to step hastily back, so closely upon me came the steed and his rider. My veil was up; it was but twilight. With an exclamation strangely like an oath, the horseman pulled up his steed suddenly, and, dismounting, with one hand he held the animal's bridle, with the other he❘ seized my arm. Our eyes met-it was Vincent Tarragon!

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"What?"

"That my brother is dead: I possess his title, poor fellow."

"Is it possible? apparently so full of health! You then are 6 my lord; but are you still to me, Vincent, only Vincent Tarragon?" He caught me in his arms. "Can you ask so cruel a question ?"

"I have lost sight of you so long." "Was that my fault? Did I run away from you?" (I coloured). "But, Isabella, why do I meet you thus alone, at an hour when no woman of fashion or birth, is abroad unattended ?"

"I am no woman of fashion, but one who works for her living; and till this minute I have not been unattended, Lord Tarragon."

"You will certainly drive me mad. What on earth can you mean?" Suddenly-"Isabella, how beautiful you have grown! far more so than

ever."

"I dislike even your flattery. If I look well, it is, perhaps, because I am happier than when I lived at home."

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Why did you not answer the advertisements which your family, and I myself, since my return to England, have inserted in the papers?"

"I am not in the way of seeing newspapers; and, besides, I did not wish to see them. It would have been unavailing. I did not desire to go back."

"But how on earth do you exist? and-" "I have told you-by work. But now, Vincent, let me at least congratulate you on being your

own master: your means, I presume, are in. creased by your brother's death. Am I to understand that now no obstacle prevents your fulfilling the engagement to which I at least have remained faithful, and for the sake of which I have, for a time, renounced my station and home?"

He was evasive. I knew and felt he was though, an instant before, I would have staked my life on his sincerity.

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My love! you do not doubt my eagerness; but my poor brother's death has done little for me, beyond giving me expensive rank to keep up. However, the Regent has promised to do something for me, and—”

"The Regent! you, who spurned his very

name!"

Lord Tarragon, as now I must call him, colour. ed. "Oh I of course," he replied. "But on my brother's death, a friend presented me to the Prince, who paid me so much attention that it was impossible-in short-he will be of use to me in my future career. He has really a noble, forgiving inind. He is, indeed, the finest gentleman of his day."

"And the wickedest, I believe," said I, curtly. "But, Isabella. This is not satisfaction. Where do you reside ?"

I regarded him fixedly. him fixedly. "Vincent, I answered, "your sister aided in driving me from my father's roof. If you are still faithful to the professions you once made, I know not. I believe now that I erred in clandestinely accepting them; but I am still very young, and have had little experience in the world's ways. If you repent our engagement, tell me so plainly, and go your way, while I pursue mine; if not, I confide in you, but I must receive your word of honour not to betray my residence to my family, till, at least, I give you the permission."

He was as eloquent, in professions, as ever. Was I not his promised bride? It was but waiting a little longer. The confidence I honoured him with, should be as sacred as his own soul. He freely tendered his word of honour. How was I to know that honour was already a thing so blurred and blotted, that a falsehood more or less, signified nothing to the man who had sold his sole possession, for the hope of

titles and rewards?

I told him all-his sister's ill usage, my despair, my flight, and finally demanded that this should be our last interview till he could freely and honourably claim me as his wife. If I had expected any opposition to this last clause of mine, I was mistaken: he acquiesced at once in my desire. Was I weak enough to grieve that it seemed so easy to obey me?

We parted at last, not before I had pointed out the poor dwelling, which in my hour of need had been a holy refuge. His kiss was still on my lips when I entered Benvolere's house, with an aching head, and a heart still more pained.

I related my adventure with the dog, and Mr. Thornmead's escort; but I was silent about my meeting with Lord Tarragon. I felt I could

not discuss the matter. Love had already, not very well know what to say-a woman's taught me one thing foreign to my very nature dissimulation.

I made my fatigue an excuse for retiring at once to rest; but I was long before I could sleep; and then fearful dreams oppressed me. Lady Laura hung over me with threats; her brother repudiated me. My father again taunted me. I woke the next morning unrefreshed, and ill with the agitation of my nervous system; and my pale face and heavy eyes attracted notice, even from the unobservant Madame Theresa.

"Dear! dear!" she said, "I am sure, my love, you work too hard; even the holidays bring no rest to you, because of the private teaching. My sweet Isabella, my brother and I often deplore that you are wasting the flower of your days on two old useless people; and now your health gives way. Holy Mary! what is to be done?"

I assured the good lady that I was well, only rather tired. I was glad to escape Madame Theresa's scrutiny, for I wished to reflect, though reflection brought no pleasure to me. Something would whisper that in spite of Vincent's protestations he was changed. I could hardly point out to myself how he could have acted differently; and yet I felt that he ought. In short, I was bewildered with a chaos of doubt, mingled with distracted suspicious love.

glance, summing up the personnel at least quickly enough, chiefly too by comparison; I noticed Mr. Thornmead to be but of middle height, broad in the shoulders, and of a figure rather square than elegant. Squareness might have been his characteristic, indeed, both physically and morally. The form of the massive brow convinced you that the man and the conscience must be straight and even, or no peace could exist. Yes, beneath the forehead all was tranquil; serenity dwelt in the placid eyes. There was no attempt at fashion in the dress, but the plainness of the attire was not in the least remarkable; it seemed a part of the individual and his character. Such, in short, was the judgment I formed-full of error in many points, as women's judgments of men generally are. I deemed Mr. Thornmead a simple unlearned person, who had never known temptation, and who had therefore little right to the esteem we yield to those who have been tempted and have resisted. I concluded that hitherto his affections had been his mother's and sister's exclusively. Few women fail to perceive admiration betrayed for themselves. I might have a lurking suspicion that my pupil's brother threw himself purposely in my way; but the idea simply produced a kind of disdain that Miss Castlebrook should be the object of admiration to a Manchester cotton-spinner. Kept in subjection as I had been in childhood and youth, it was perhaps strange that I should experience this sudden outbreak of family pride. I never saw the least incongruity in my mother's attachment to my dear old master; full of benevolence and kindly philanthropy as was the dear old man's age I never connected a thought of degradation, with such a union; but for myself I should have believed death preferable to a mésalliance. I suppose these thoughts naturally produced abstraction; for I was presently aroused by hearing my self-constituted escort hum, very audibly,

"Fie," I said, at last, to myself. "You desired neither more nor less than that he should have proposed an immediate union; and pray what would have become of your fine selfsacrifice to Benvolere, that in your heart of hearts you think so much of? Lord Tarragon, it seems, is not rich enough to keep a wife could he give support to these aged friends of yours? moreover, would he?" I could not answer that last question; and I was angry because I could not, to my own satisfaction, do 80. Again the thought of the future flashed across me, and the feeling which of late had occurred to distress me, that I had sunk from my proper station, came again to irritate and annoy I was not, I fear, in a very placable mood; few of us are, when we fancy we cannot distinguish between right and wrong. I went in the afternoon to Fulham, where I had some pupils, and after I had walked a short time, I became conscious some one was walking by my side. I looked up nervously, and beheld Russell Thornmead.

me.

"You are in what people call a brown study, Mademoiselle Montafauconi," he said, with a smile. I never felt so strongly inclined to be rude, in all my life.

Yet there was something in those large clear grey eyes and the open intelligent face, that one was forced to respect, and very possibly might come to like, on intimate acquaintance. That, however, was the last thing in my thoughts. I side-glance at my companion as he started some trivial subject about the weather, or the topics usually selected when people do

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"A prince can mak' a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;

But an honest man's aboon his might,
Good faith, he maunna fa' that."

"Is that your creed?" said I, smiling, yet wistfully, for I thought of scenes that had passed away, and in those lines I recognized the earnest truth of an earnest soul. "It is. Oh! if you knew—" He stopped.

"I know that your opinions, Mr. Thornmead, are what I have heard called radical: indeed, I know very little of political opinions; but such reflections as I have made on the subject, have brought me to the conclusion that no good man would desire to produce anarchy and confusion in his country instead of order and government. Such, I have always heard, are the tendencies of English radicals."

"I am glad," he said, eagerly, "that you have even thought of the subject at all. It confirms my opinion of your character, which, if I can

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