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extreme beauty of the old sylvan-shadowed read prayers in my room every morning at hall. The moonlight lies upon the marisheight o'clock. At nine I breakfast, at which pools, and stretches in silvery pathways to you will assist; after that I walk on the the doors, worthy of the feet which bring in southern terrace, and then return to reading love and peace !
and needlework. Now, as I daresay you are Tidd at once seeks my lady, who has not tired, you may retire-good night." retired. In a little while she returns, and, Janet has a question to ask her; and she bidding Miss Gordon follow her, leads her thinks that it will be best to do so at once. through a noble hall into a nobler room, “I am an early riser, madam. You will where a thin, withered lady of about sixty not object, I presume, to my employing my sits reading what seems to be a small manual time before eight o'clock in exercise or other of devotion. The two candles which give her light, give little to the room itself, though it By no means. You look pale and delineeds it not, for it is flooded by the light of cate; and, as this is summer weather, get all the moon, through two noble oriel windows, the air you can. The park and grounds are which look far away across the park.
considered to be amongst the loveliest in Tidd prepares to remain through this first Hertfordshire. The gardener shall have my interview, but is dismissed, though falteringly, personal order to give you every privilege.' by my lady.
Janet now retires. She likes her new For some minutes this austere, proud-look- mistress much better than she expected she ing woman sits regarding the young stranger should; under a cold, proud exterior, with without a word. Then she says abruptly- many perverted, bigoted, and selfish notions, without preface of any kind
she perceives that there is much which is “ There are two things to which I some- sterling, and she resolves to bear and forbear. what object with respect to you—your youth, The tug of war will, as she perceives, be and the religious opinions in which you have with Tidd; and she determines to let silence been reared. What is the former? I forget be an effective weapon in the contest. exactly.
It begins without loss of time. Lady “I was sixteen last month, madam.” Chauncy having received Janet so kindly,
You look older ; but that is well. You Tidd, to make the counter-balance, orders in will not object, I hope, to attend the village the driest scraps of meat from the kitchen, church.”
says she is too tired herself to eat, and, when “No, madam. I have already said so. I this
supper is over, bids the young girl go to have been reared to care for the spirit and bed with the air of a slavedriver. Janet finds duties of religion rather than particular the room-little more than a closet-as such formulas.”
it has hitherto been used—with a sloping roof, - Very well ; here you will be a church- and small window, looking dismally forth on woman. Do you read well ? "
to the leads of a gable. A stump bedstead, a “Your ladyship must judge. I have been dark counterpane, a cracked looking-glass, a much accustomed during the long illness of minute chest of drawers of remote age, and
one chair, constitute the decorations of this “Ring the bell.”
dog-hole ; for such it really is, compared to She is obeyed, and the old butler appears. any other sleeping-chamber in Chauncy Hall. “As the chaplain is from home, you or Tip- Yet, with all her extreme quietude of character, pins can read prayers in the servants' hall. and her youth, Janet is quick of perception Miss Gordon reads to me to-night.”
and judgment, and reads things aright-the The books are brought, and Janet reads act is Tidd's, and not one arising from “my prayers in a low, sweetly modulated voice. lady's" orders; and she prays that night for For months previously they have been drawled strength to endure. out by Tidd, in the vicious nasal twang of a She is up betimes in the morning; for, parish school boy, and have fallen unfruitfully though Tidd has had the ability to shut out on the ears that heard them; to-night, the the sight of the grand old woods and glistenpeace, the charity, the forgiveness asked for, ing pools which lie around, it has not been seem couched in other words, and have a sig- hers to shut out the sweet air of the summer nificance they never had before.
morning, or the cawing of the young rooks When she has risen, Janet awaits her lady- in the rookery near: she goes down stairs, and ship’s commands.
so forth by a little postern-door on to one of read well, I shall expect you to the fine old terraces. Early as it is, most of
the servants and laborers are about; the her manner softening as she speaks ; “it is a scent of hay-making in the park comes upon great accomplishment in one so young, and the wind; and the woodmen can be heard at an acquisition to me. Now go to breakfast work in the copses. From terrace to terrace with the housekeeper, and at nine o'clock she wanders, goes down the grassy slopes that attend mine.” lie between, and wonders at the beauty and The breakfast in the housekeeper's room is abundance of the flowers. She so loves nature a particularly excellent one—for Tidd and and its beauties, that the place seems fairy- Tippins themselves partake of it; but the land. About the middle of a sequestered housekeeper's humor is a very bad one. terrace, which leads into the woodland, is This increases in viciousness when her quesa rustic seat—it seems, by the moss and tions and counter-questions as to what my lichens that cover it, to be but little fre- lady said and did, elicit so little in way of quented—and, as it has such a quaint old- | reply; and the fact is set down to cunning fashioned look, is overhung by trees, and and duplicity. shrouded in by brushwood, it pleases her ex- Lady Chauncy's morning meal is, as we tremely; and here she resolves to bring her have said, served with much formality and books and work, whenever her leisure per- state. Enough is set forth to feast twentymit. It will be as a room to her, formed and two footmen and the butler attend it. by nature's hand. From this sweet old place, Learning from the latter my lady's habits, which lies above the park, she wanders down and—finding that, most punctual in all her into the park itself; it is full of fine old trees, proceedings, Lady Chauncy likes to find the and exquisitely shaded pools of deep and smallest item of her breakfast ready-Janet crystal water, fringed with sedges and waving carves and chops a modicum of meat, dresses rushes. Near at hand the hay-makers are at an egg, denudes the bread and butter of work, and where the sward has been left un- crust, and slices it into slips; and then, there touched, and cattle graze, the last cowslips being a minute or so to spare ere the clock of the season give forth their scented breath. strikes nine, it suddenly occurs to her to As she returns through the gardens, she meets fetch some of the bounteous roses she has Mr. Mellow, a kindly looking old man, who deposited in the water-jug up stairs, and put is too politic and circumspect to wage open them on the table near my lady's cup. This war with Tidd and Tippins; but he likes them is done—just to the moment she arrives. She not. He is glad of this opportunity of speak- seems to take a purposed note of everything, ing to and making his judgment on the though she says but little ; receiving, as it new spirit which may, or may not, reign at would seem, these attentions as a matter of Chauncy Manor; he tells her of my lady's
But her pleasure that her breakfastcommands on the previous night, and then table has been beautified and perfumed, is shows her his green-houses and hot-houses presently notified, by her sayingwith great pride. He gathers her some flowers “I shall like to see flowers each morning -some magnificent roses amongst the rest- at my breakfast-table; and in my sitting-room and then she takes her leave, as it is time she
as well.” should return. The old man likes her bright After a slow walk up and down the terrace, grey eyes and kindly voice, God blesses her Janet and her new mistress return, and go in his heart, wishes her patience to endure, together into a noble sitting-room, in which a and finds, soon after, an opportunity for pro- very large frame of worsted-work is a conceeding to the village, to announce to the spicuous object. For twenty years, Lady landlord and others his opinion, “ that better Chauncy has been wasting her days over this days are coming to the old place.”
fabrication of a carpet, which is now to be Precisely as the belfry clock strikes eight, handed over for the larger part of each mornJanet enters Lady Chauncy's room, adjacent ing to Janet, who will have to form bud and to her bed-chamber. The old gentlewoman's flower under her mistress's supervision. But, demi toilette is complete ; but her manner is previously to beginning, letters have to be even more frigid and haughty than the night read and written. The old butler at this juncbefore. Without appearing to heed it, Janet ture bringing in the letter-bag, Lady Chauncy inquires after her health, and then reads takes her seat in a high-backed chair behind prayers better than even on the previous night, the frame, and, with a small table before her, for her timidity is less.
covered with work and papers, awaits Janet's “I like your reading vastly,” says Lady duty of reading the letters. Chauncy, when prayers are at an end—and Look first for a letter from my nephew,
Sir Walter Chauncy. It will be sealed, and upon the terrace; then she is elaborately beits crest a raven.
Open it—and if it be dizened; and at seven dines. After that a nap marked "private," hand it to me.
again—at nine, tea, which Janet makes and read .on.
This will be your duty with all assists her with. letters; and with respect to which I shall ex- “Can you play or sing?" she asks abruptly. pect entire silence.'
“Either is an accomplishment I did not ask The letter is found—and, not being so for; but if they are yours, I shall be glad.” marked, is read. It simply states that its The young girl confesses that she both writer, Sir Walter, will be at Chauncy Manor plays and sings a little. Going to the piano, in a few days, where he will remain till the she sings some simple ballads-quaint old end of June; and in the first week in July things——that she fancies my lady will love; sail on his return to Bombay. Little as these and when ended she comes back softly to her words convey to a stranger's ear, they seem seat. It is then time for prayers; they are to perplex my lady much. She becomes again read, and she prepares to assist iny lady absent and irritable; and the carpet-work to her chamber. following, in which Janet shows herself but As yet, Lady Chauncy has said nothing a poor proficient, she says some querulous about Janet's songs; but now, as the young and unkind things—arraigns her friend Miss girl would assist her from her chair, she lays Atkinson's judgment—and hints, that "a her hand tenderly on her head—her first companion to suit ” must be a skilful needle- familiarity—and says, "Go on thus, my child, With incredible patience and sweet
!, you will be an inexpressible comfort to ness, Janet hears this, and replies not, beyond assuring her mistress that a few days' practice These are golden words to Janet. She will add to her proficiency, and that not kneels down, and, girl-like, bursts into tears. through want of diligence or care she will fail. 'I am very lonely, madam ; but your counThus the weary morning passes by behind the tenance will make me forget it.” dull screen, and amidst the intricacies of rose- Lady Chauncy makes no reply, other than leaves unlike those of nature.
by another pressure of her hand; but the At noon my lady lunches; and after assist- feeling in her heart is a richer one than Janet ing her Janet adjourns to dinner, and to a suspects. second dose of the Tidd and Tippins' in- In a few days Sir Walter comes. The evenquiries. Between two and four my lady has ing he arrives, Janet spends in her chamber, a siesta, and after that receives such visitors and employs it in writing to Archie and as may call—and these hours are happily Susan. Next morning my lady comes late Janet's. She takes some books and repairs into the sitting-room-indeed, long after Janet to the terrace-seat she has fixed upon as her had commenced her daily duty to the gracefavorite one; but this afternoon she cannot less rosebuds. read, her heart is sore oppressed, and finds its “If Sir Walter come whilst you are in the vent in tears. Her life is so new and strange room, by no means leave the frame,” says my —those around her are either so cold and lady, “but continue at your work, unless told haughty, or so coarse and familiar—that she by me to retire ; in which case pass out by thinks of Archie and Susan with greater love this door;" and my lady points to one at the than she ever thought before ; but by-and-by back of her chair. this very strength of her love for them con- Sir Walter does come in ; day by day Janet soles her; for their sakes she must endure and hears a haughty masculine voice, but never strive; and presently she is struck with the sees either face or figure; nor can Sir Walter idea of how much good there is in the path see her—though he must see her feet beneath before her—how happy is her lot in thus the frame, and her little hands as they glide being cast amidst these sweet country scenes, to and fro with the needle. But she might be compared to what it would have been in a block of stone for any apparent interest those some dull city street, and shut up with noisy present take in her. Their talk is usually of children. This growth towards patience and monetary affairs, and this not always amicable self-content is wound up by the appearance in kind. It appears from what they say, that of Mr. Mellow, bearing a small basket of hot- Sir Walter, after some years' absence in India, house strawberries, which he presents, when returned within the last year to assume his he has looked carefully up and down the title to the baronetcy of Chauncy, which beterrace.
came his upon the death of an uncle, brother Visitors gone, Lady Chauncy walks again to Lady Chauncy's deceased husband, and to
the young man's deceased father. Having been at Chauncy Manor three weeks. Sir led a dissipated life in India, he has come Walter goes on the morrow; and my lady is home needy, and will return so but for Lady closeted with Mr. Millway, the old chaplain, Chauncy's aid; for though large estates are who, though no lover of the Tidd and Tiptied up with the baronetcy, their last possessor pins' sway, is too somnolent and easy to take greatly neglected them, and a large sum is need- part for or against, but dozes all the week in ed for their improvement. Young Sir Walter the library, and preaches a sleepy sermon on wants this to proceed during his forthcoming the Sunday. It is a balıny summer's night; absence, and the tug of war between him and and Janet, being at liberty, goes out on to the his aunt seems not only to be on account of terrace to her favorite seat. She has not long money-but that the mulberry-nose steward sat there, when the whiff of the cigar is again may have nothing to do with such manage- evident, and she rises to go; but this time ment. Lady Chauncy has, it would further Sir Walter is close beside her, and, making her seem, a great fortune in her own right; and again seat herself, stands haughtily before her. is much wedded to belief in the high morality “I shall not hurt
“ therefore of Tidd and Tippins, though latterly it has remain ; I have something to say to you— been a little shaken by various matters which and this is my only time for saying it, as have reached her eye
to-morrow I shall be far away.' Thus things proceed for some days. Janet here, and fixes on her a gaze she cannot face. is daily in Sir Walter's presence, and yet has “ Hold up your head !” he says, as though never seen him.
She might, were she co- bidding a child: she tries, but lets it drop quette enough ; but my lady's wish is duti- again. “I have something to thank you for, fully obeyed. At length, one day Sir Walter he continues, " which but for you would never goes a ride across the country, and his hour of have been, and for which I must be eternally return will be uncertain. My lady, therefore, grateful.” falls back into her usual habits; and naps, “I do not know in what way, Sir Walter, and dines, and takes tea, and has music as I can have obliged you. I am but a stranger usual. Janet is singing when Sir Walter here, and my situation a very humble one.” comes in ; she rises to retire, but my lady But
influence has been a blessed one bids her, a little crossly, “ go on,” which she already, and will be more so, if you have but does. When she ends, she withdraws, with patience and faith. Lady Chauncy came herlittle more than a hurried glance at the tall self last night to me, and confessed that it dark haughty-looking man who stands re- was you who had advised her to act by the garding her. A day or two after she sees promptings of conscience---and those prompthim again. My lady is having her siesta- ings were towards me and to my needsand Janet is sitting on her favorite terrace, instead of to the advice of those who have so reading, when, smelling the whiff of a cigar, long ruled. As you must already be aware, she looks up, and sees the same dark stranger the housekeeper and steward sit like an inas before. He seems inclined to come and cubus on all pertaining to Chauncy Manor. take a seat besi:le her; but, remembering But that day is near its end, and so be my lady's injunction, she rises, bends to hirt, patient. Lady Chauncy promises to watch and returns to the house.
and listen, and if she find that, others' conLady Chauncy's perplexity and irritability victions with respect to this man and woman increase. Sir Walter goes the day after the be truthful, they shall be at once dismissed.” morrow, and yet the debated monetary affairs Janet makes no reply; but her looks plainly are still unsettled. That night, when Janet has show that her opinions coincide with those of read prayers, my lady bids her kneel beside her. Sir Walter.
“My child,” she says, “I want you to “Under much which is cold and haughty, advise me—for if you do so, it must be dis- and sometimes irritable and exacting, Lady interestedly-for you know not particulars. Chauncy hides a really noble nature ; which I have to choose between conscience and will be certain to do you justice, if you be persuasions—which will be best?”
but truthful to her, for already she more than “Conscience, I think, madam,” replies likes you." Janet; “for the dictates of the last are usually “I, too, regard her ladyship, Sir Walter ; truthful, and bring no remorse.
and I will be truthful to her--even as I “You are right, child—and so I will de- to my own father.” cide."
I believe you : now I have another favor It is the last night of June; and Janet has to ask.” He takes her hand, which she would
withdraw-but it is retained by a grasp of little. She has long ceased to take her meals iron.
in the housekeeper's room, and Tidd's tales “ You must write to me. Though for years fall on deaf ears. Two years go by, and to all what you say, may be little more tha what outward appearances things are the same. Lady Chauncy dictates, still you can so Letters come regularly from Sir Walter, and mould it, or add parentheses, as will enable are replied to by Janet, under Lady Chauncy's me to gather much. If this power to dictate dictation. At length there comes one, inquiceases—which with age it may–write me your ring for £500, which Tippins, in the course of own free natural letters, as to what goes on. business, ought to have transmitted. Without They will be much to me, so far away. Re- saying a word, or hinting a suspicion, Lady collect, I ask of you nothing which is surrep-Chauncy has her lawyer called in, and he as titious or dishonorable; only it will be of mo- quietly sets to to trace the matter. This is ment to me, to know if matters be carried done; and the sum is found snugly invested on wisely and with effect.”
in the Three per cent. consuls, in the joint “I will try to oblige you, sir, as far as may name of “Tidd and Tippins.” But there is be consistent with my duty and your station." yet a little more to do.
Again there is a pause; and again the little One day Janet is desired to write to certain hand is grasped still more firmly.
upholsterers in town, to send men forthwith “What is your Christian name? Lady to decorate and furnish a sitting-room and Chauncy told me--but I forget."
bed-room at Chauncy Manor. Janet, sir.”
Bless me,” says Tidd to her mistress, as “What night is this?"
soon as she hears this, “why is your ladyship “ The last of June, sir.”
going to have such a needless and expensive Well, on the anniversary of this night, in job done?” long years to come—if heaven spare both of “For a purpose too long neglected, Mrs. us—I will show you that I can remember a Tidd.” promise, and be grateful. Till then, keep this “You are short enough," grumbles Tidd, —though secretly from others. You have “now-a-days.” heard of the romances of human life; this will This decorative point effected, Lady Chauncy be one." As he speaks, he places a ring in bids Janet write two further letters ; one to her hand-presses it within her fingers a certain Berlin-wool warehouse in town, inshakes the ashes from his cigar-rises, and quiring for some poor women who would have
time to finish a carpet of needlework. “For
I have grown sick of it, my dear,” she says, As months go on, it is plain to see that my “since I saw how it wearied you, and since lady is keeping observant watch upon the you have entertained me by reading such very housekeeper and steward. She does this her- charming books. And now, how long have self; for she is too honorable to make Janet you been here? and how many times have you -whom she now loves so well—either a spy seen Susan and your brother ? or tale-bearer. But she often asks questions, I have been here just two years; and in and makes strange requests. One day, when this time, I have, through your kindness, maTidd is gone to St. Alban's, she desires to see dam, been three times to see Archie and Janet's bedchamber, and will be led thither ; Susan.” she seems amazed, but says little. On an- “ Write and ask leave for Archie for a week, other occasion, she asks Janet why her young and bid him be here next Saturday morning, brother, or the old servant, never come to see Bid Susan likewise give up her room, pack her? she is informed, that her “ladyship al- up the books and picture you have told me lowed no followers. To this, too, she says of, and, bringing them with her, come with but little. Now and then she asks strange your brother here ; for I daresay I shall find questions of her tenants and laborers; and their a place for one who has been so good to you. result is the same. From these and other Now give me no thanks, and be silent on this things, it begins to be whispered that the point." Tidd and Tippins' reign is near its end. On the night previous to Archie and Susan's Nevertheless, confident in their own position, arrival, the servants are, much to their surthe pair go blindly onward; purloining here-- prise, bidden to assemble after prayers in the pinching there—and drawing round, as they chaplain's room; going whither, they see think, their spider's web for the Chauncy | Lady Chauncy, her confidential lawyer, several Arms. With Miss Gordon they interfere but of the tenants, and Miss Gordon.