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Somers therefore determined to proceed at once to Cologne by railway, and take the Rhine Bteamer from that city of smells, fragrant and otherwise, up the river. Greyson had taken leave of the party at Brussels, or, rather, the party had taken leave of him. His accident proved to be so serious as to detain him in bed for several days, so he declared. Horace thought that his proboscis had sufficiently recovered itself to allow the owner of it to appear in public. Greyson said all he could to induce Mrs. Somers to delay her departure. She agreed to all his arguments for so doing in the evening, and gave Horace orders to be ready to leave the next day. This latter was well pleased. Accident, so far, had prevented any recognition between the junior Dean and Horace. But separation was better than accident. He therefore proceeded with alacrity to execute his mistress's orders for continuing the journey.
Three in party then, they set forth from Brussels, and in due time arrived at Station Centrale, at Cologne.
Now Constance Shirley had a dog—a pretty dog too, which heretofore had travelled, by force of francs, in the same carriage with its mistress. It was found, however, at Brussels, that this luxury could be no longer permitted to the little black-and-tan terrier. It was therefore duly ticketed, and deposited in its own proper place. At Cologne, Dr. Everard, ticket in hand, went to claim the creature. To his amazement he found it in possession of another individual, who was endeavouring to carry the dog off with him.
"That is my dog, sir," growled the doctor, in English, to the despoiler: "perhaps you will have the goodness to let it alone."
The man addressed took no notice, but continued to tug at the dog's collar.
"That dog is mine," vociferated the doctor, crescendo.
Still no effect appeared to be produced on the man. The black-and-tan yelped most mournfully.
"Are you stone deaf, sir? That dog is mine," roared its legitimate owner, fortissimo. And he seized Rose by the string by which it was tied. The man pushed him away. In the meantime the Test of the party came up. Horace explained in German that the dog was theirs; the man swore in German, or, rather, in Kolnish, that it was his. Dr. Everard stormed in English, Miss Shirley added her contribution to the Babel in French. Horace appealed to the authorities; they answered that the regular ticket had been presented by the man. The doctor produced his; that seemed also in order. Where then was the ticket that had been tendered by the German? It could not be found. "Well!" cried the man, at last, with a brutal laugh, "since we cannot agree about the animal we had better each take half." And, suiting the action to the word, he caught up the dog, and was actually on the point of tearing the little creature in pieces before them all, when a well
directed blow sent him reeling backwards. The dealer thereof was Horace. The man dropped Rose, which flew to her mistress. As she did so, a yellow ticket flew from the collar. It was the ticket which claimed the animal, and proved to be the identical number with that of Dr. Everard, but for another month. In the midst of the surprise which ensued on the discovery the man took himself off unperceived. It was a clever subterfuge, and nearly a successful one.
Constance thanked Horace heartily for the service which he had rendered her little dog, and looked even more grateful than she expressed herself.
Mrs. Somers took up her abode at the Hotel du Nord, declaring her intention of remaining there for several days, should it prove comfortable. It did not much matter to Horace certainly whether the lady halted there or elsewhere, but he should have preferred putting a few more miles space between himself and the Dean of his college.
About six o'clock that same evening the disguised courier was walking in the garden of the hotel. He was in a brown study, if that study can be called brown which has a lady for its subject. The agitated question in the young man's mind was, where had he seen that face before? The face was that of Constance Shirley of course. The oftener he went over the names of young ladies whom he had known, the further he seemed to get from any certainty. Yet one thing appeared certain in his mind, viz.: that at some time and some place he had before seen the owner of those blue eyes. And yet where could it have been? "Stay, I have it," he ruminated; "was there not a party staying one winter at my uncle's? Yes, I recollect; and there was a friend of the old gentleman— "Mr. Fisher!"
Horace turned, and saw before him the subject of his reverie.
"Oh, Mr. Fisher," began the young lady, "I am so glad to have found you alone, that I might tell you how much indebted I am to you for your gallant defence of my little dog. That barbarian would have made an end of poor Rose in another minute, I feel certain, if you had not interfered."
Horace bowed his acknowledgments, and murmured something about the pleasure it was to him to have been able to be of any use. She was more like than ever to that certain unnaineable someone, as she stood there with a light summer-hat and scarf in her hand, looking brightly into the face of her guardian's servant.
"What do you think of our proposed plan?" she asked, after a pause.
"The plan, Miss Shirley?"
"Yes, the route—the tour that we are to make on the Rhine."
"I—I have not heard what it is to be."
"No? I thought it had been settled long ago between you and Mrs. Somers," answered Constance, gaily, with a smile. "Well then, I will tell you. We stay here and see Cologne, and then go on to Coblentz, where we are to meet some friends." The young lady blushed in the very faintest manner as she said this—so at least Horace thought. "Do you know Coblentz well, Mr. Fisher? Have you travelled a great deal i"
"Why, yes, Miss Shirley, I have of course been much abroad, and know most of the places on the continent."
"I suppose you are fond of travelling i"
It was on the tip of the courier's tongue to have said, "For the pleasure of your society who would not be fond of it?" but he was prudent, and merely answered, demurely, "It is my occupation to do so, therefore I must of necessity be fond of it. But you, perhaps, have not been out of England before?"
"Yes, indeed, I have. I lived for some years in France, and spent most of my holidays with a friend of my school-mistress in Paris. Then papa once took me to Dresden, and we made expeditions into Saxon Switzerland. But the Rhine, and Switzerland Proper, I have not Been yet. So, as I was going to tell you, we stay a little time in Coblentz, then explore the Rhine as far as Schaffhausen."
** My dear Constance," interrupted a meek voice from behind, "you will catch your death of cold, standing there with nothing on. It is quite late: you had better go in. Oh, it is you, Fisher j I wanted to see you."
Mrs. Somers, accompanied by Horace's old enemy, had come unheard upon the Ule-a-tHe of the two young people. She looked not quite so meek as usual when she 6aw who it was that her charge was talking to. "Yes, Constance," she continued, as that young lady appeared in no hurry to obey her wishes, "you had better go in; Mr. Greyson will see you safe into the house."
The Dean (his nose much patched, and considerably turned to one side) came forward and offered the young lady his arm. Constance ignored the offer, but walked quietly by the side of her jailer back to the house.
Mrs. Somers trotted Horace for quite halfan-hour up and down the gravel-walk belonging to the hotel-garden, talking over routes and plans, and proposing halting-places. She was very meek in all that she said; but her companion soon discovered that her future movements had all, as Constance told him, been decided upon before. He had only to listen and acquiesce: but, after all, it was no affair of his; why, then, should he feel annoyed by it? Perhaps the truth was, he was not so much vexed at the lead the good lady took in arranging her tour, as he was angry at the interruption which it caused to his ttte-h-tfte.
But the was not drowned t the alarm had been immediately given: servants, gondoliers, ar«d link-bearers plunged into the canal,
which at this part was fortunately shallow, and brought the young lady safe to land. Luckily for her the water broke the fall—let ua never eny, then, that the absence of pavement was without its use; for, had Ida Cellini fallen on hard stones, the chances are that Bhe would have suffered more seriously than was the case.
Questions came quickly from all sides, but not many answers. "How did it happen? Who saw her fall? Which was the balcony?" were demanded by the indifferent. "Was ike alone? Did she not do it on purpose, for the sake of creating a sensation?" asked the illnatured. But no one seemed able to give the required information ; so the matter rested.
Ida was duly cared for, and conveyed to her father's house; she persisted, however, in dressing again, and returning to the ball, where she immediately became an object of special interest and remark. There were found plenty o( tongues to pronounce it bold and unfeminine to make such a further exhibition of herself; hut no one ventured to question her as to how the accident had happened. She said nothing, snd so curiosity for once was check-mated. Though the lady reappeared the youth did not. It did not much matter, for few missed him; still he was nowhere to be seen ; and later in the evening his absence was remarked upon, and one or two asked if he, too, had fallen into the canal. Where was he?
But, first, who was he? A vine must have tendrils, or it would hardly climb so gracefully over its artificial support!: not that the tendrils are particular objects of interest to anyone but a painter, as they don't bear grapes, or in any way give substantial proof of their usefulness. A story, too, must have off-shoots, or tendrils, that it may climb satisfactorily and gracefully; therefore, reader, pardon a digression. Our tale must be supported, and it would be dangerous to deprive it of its tendrils.
Who was he?
In the Guardian, of April 18—, appeared the following advertisement:
WANTED, a Thavellinq Tutor, to take char?* of a young man, and read with him dorm*» "j" on the continent. None bat University men need apW' A Clergyman preferred. Apply, &c., &c.
The Rev. Jeffry Jacobson answered the advertisement. He had been particularly anxious for some time to go abroad, in order to pursue some investigations regarding the genus "gnat; but means were wanting. By return of P0" came a letter to the reverend gentleman, stating that H. Hogarth, Esq., of Wbatsey Lodge, Sussex, would have much pleasure in entering into arrangements on behalf of his son Arthur, with the Rev. J. Jacobson, if references provw satisfactory. The references had proved satisfactory, and in consequence Arthur Ho«r«r" wa« committed to the care of his travellingtutor, while the latter gentleman (all expense8 paid, and £200 a-year into the bargain) °btain* his long-desired opportunity of pursuing •" rese&rcbee among the musquitoes, w ?n' mised himself much renown in publishing the result for the benefit of the worldArthur Hogarth was, as we have seen, fair and good-looking, in addition to which he had the recommendation (a much greater one in many mammas' eyes) of being heir to £10,000 a-year, and a large estate in Sussex. The young man's mother, judging other young men's mothers by herself, had one great dread, viz., that some designing lady should get hold of her amiable son, and marry him, irrespective of her wishes, to some penniless daughter. To avoid such a catastrophe Mrs. Hogarth effected that her son should be betrothed to a niece of her own: and she took care that the future mistress of Whatsey Lodge should possess money as well as good looks. Her name was Constance Shirley. She was an only daughter, as Arthur Hogarth was an only son. What better arrangement could there be, therefore? Besides, the estates joined, Cedar Court (the abode of Mr. and Mrs. Shirley) and Whatsey Lodge being properties neighbouring one to the other, of about the same extent, and together commanded the principal influence of the county in which they were situated. There was something noble, therefore, as well as prudent, in the idea of making these two possessions one: and what should hinder the bringing this about by the union of Arthur Hogarth and Constance Shirley? They were children together; why should they not grow up in the knowledge that they must be man and wife? So argued Mrs. Hogarth, and, calling her carriage, she drove over to Cedar Court, and propounded the idea. It was received with favour, and eventually carried into effect, so far as the seniors were concerned. Of the junior parties to the contract we shall have more to say anon.
The engagement, then, such as it was, was made when the two principally concerned in the event were much too young to know their own minds, or to understand the nature of the promise which they were making. However, the contract was made.
At the time of the opening of our story it was thought to be high time that matters should be brought to a crisis; and therefore Mrs. Hogarth and Mrs. Shirley (the latter lady was quite as great a schemer as her neighbour) planned that the young couple should meet abroad, and be thrown as much together as possible in order to give a little more natural colouring to the proceeding. The wedding was intended to take place in the following winter. Therefore Mrs. Hogarth despatched her son with a confidential tutor to travel, and meet his fiancee in Germany; while Mrs. Shirley committed Constance to the meek Mrs. Somers with the same intention.
The young people in the meanwhile, never having thought seriously of the matter, had started on their respective journeys. One of them (the gentleman) had, however, been so undutiful and unfortunate as to fall in love with a dark-haired, dark-eyed Italian; while the
lady—well, the l»dyhad notfallen inloveperhaps, but if she had examined herself carefully on the subject, it would have been found that dangerous ground had been trodden on. But to examine herself on the subject was not a thing which Constance particularly cared to do just then. She was engaged, she knew, to a most respectable eligible young man: of course she could fall in love with no one else. The courier had been very obliging and very useful (had he not saved her dog.'); but then he was a courier; so that matter need cause no anxiety. She was travelling on gaily, to meet the man to whom she was betrothed, and had given the future but little thought; but now as the time drew near, and the probability of meeting had become certain, it was another affair. Coblentz was the rendezvous agreed upon by the mammas, and Coblentz was now within a day's journey of the fair "promesa." I should not like to say decidedly, but I have a very great idea that Miss Constance was wishing now that Coblentz had been rather farther off, or at any rate that the "friends" whom she had told Horace that she would meet there had arranged to remain away.
Tn the mean time, young Hogarth and his tutor had travelled post-haste across the Alps, to be in time at the rendezvous, the pupil being by no means a pleasant companion during the forced march. Perhaps this was hardly to be wondered at. His hopes, thoughts, and heart were at Venice; his future bride in Germany. His wishes remained on one side the Alps, his body was being transported to the other. It was scarcely surprising therefore that Master Arthur expressed little sympathy at the discovery of a new species of gnat by the indefatigable Jacobson, and that the rev. gentleman's delight was a good deal damped by his companion's crossness on the occasion. Of course the bridegroom-elect was very miserable; yet so strongly had he been imbued with the spirit of obedience, that he did not break out into open rebellion, but allowed himself to be conducted to the altar of sacrifice, as though under a decree of fate.
Horace's party set out from Cologne, as had been arranged, and duly arrived at their destination. Our hero had succeeded in making great friends with the Doctor, who, despite his gruffness, was a good-natured man in the main, and took an especial fancy to the courier. Greyson accompanied them, though it can hardly be said that his society was desired, as everyone avoided him. But he appeared perfectly callous to the hints which the Doctor threw out in abundance, that hi* society could be dispensed with, without any hearts being broken j and so he remained itwdily by Mrs, Somers, Th? truth was, the Dean had a motive. He, as well as some one else, was attracted by the smiles of the fair Constance Shirley, and, being a man of determination, he intended to give himself the opportunity of seeing more of the lady, and then, should further acquaintance confirm his present opinion, to make a proposal in due form. He knew nothing, of course, of the engagement existing between Arthur Hogarth and Constance. How should he? And the Dean considered himself quite as eligible a "parti" as any that her friends could desire for her. Was there not the prospect of early possession of a good living? Ola Humphrey, rector of Castleton, could not last long, for he was upwards of eighty years old already. Castleton was a college living, and, excellent as it was, Greyson knew for a certainty that it would be refused by the Senior Fellow, and so fall to his lot. Under these circumstances, he felt himself quite justified in contemplating matrimony; and though he was not young, he argued that be was not very old, and was quite the person (in his own estimation) to make Constance Shirley a good husband.
Therefore the Rev. Jacob Greyson remained with the party, stopping at the same hotels, securing a place amongst them at table d'hotes, and causing his luggage to be placed under Horace's care with that of the others. Mrs. Somers seemed the only one who did not repel his advances. The Doctor, Constance, and the Courier were undisguised in their disapprobation of these proceedings; but the Dean's skin was thick, and his feelings not easily hurt, so they travelled to Coblentz together.
"Zum Riesen" bears with it a joyful sound to the hungry pleasure-seeker, for the reason that it is one of the best hotels on the Rhine, and can furnish the best dinner on demand. It had been determined therefore between Mrs. Somers and Horace that the party should betake themselves to it, on their arrival at Coblentz. Master Hogarth had, as well, been directed to establish himself in the same house, and await there the arrival of his fiancee Mrs. Somers and the gnat-collecting tutor had corresponded before now, but never met. As each knew the intention with regard to their individual charges, they were naturally desirous of making one another's acquaintance, and conferring together on the subject of future operations.
As, therefore, the party stepped on to the wharf at Coblentz, Mr. Jacobson pushed forward from among the crowd at the landingplace, and.approachingMrs. Somers, introduced himself with a low bow. He was received cordially, and immediately made acquainted with Miss Shirley and Dr. Everard.
"Have you been long here?" asked Mrs. Somers, as soon as the first salutations were over.
"No," was the answer; " we only arrived by the mail yesterday from Mayence."
"Oh 1 then we have not tarried too long on the road. But where is Mr. Hogarth? I do not see him."
"He—he is not very well this afternoon." And then Mr. Jacobson led his ally aside, and talked long and earnestly to her.
"So," said Mrs. Somers, "you believe the young man's affections are pre-occupied; in fact, that he has left his heart in Venice?"
"Well," answered the tutor, humbly, "I tell you my fears: I cannot be certain, of course; but I fancy—I suspect that it is the case. Still we must hope for the best. Young men are impressionable. The old adage,' Out of sight out of mind,' may hold good in this case as in others. He may forget the charms he has left behind him, when he becomes better acquainted with your charge."
"He ought not to have committed himself in this way," was the lady's rather tart rejoinder. "He ought never to have had the chance. But, as you say, the present may change the past, we must hope the best, and trust to Providence, Mr. Jacobson."
So they reached the hotel.
At the table d'hote dinner Arthur and Constance met for the first time for five years. Each knew the state of the case, and each felt uncomfortable. With the young man we know how matters stood: with the lady every second seemed to raise some fresh doubts and be productive of a new obstacle to the accomplishment of the wishes of her parents. Arthur Hogarth, her cousin, did not appear to have improved with time. He was awkward and absent; still his manner was deferential, but all the chivalry of feeling which had once existed between them seemed to have come utterly to an end. What could it all mean? Was it her fault! Was it his fault?
After dinner Constance, flushed and heated, withdrew to her own room to think and arrange her ideas. The truth was she had never realized her position sufficiently. She knew that she was to meet this young man, and she had always been taught, from the time that she was a child, that they were to become man and wife. But now that the hour was approaching she did not feel that she could bring herself to the required act of filial obedience. The matter had always been looked upon as a settled thing, and her cousin she had ever pictured to herself, from recollection and from description, as delightful and deserving; but now that the crisis in her fate drew near she felt an invincible repugnance to the "arrangement" which grew minute by minute stronger. If he had been different in his manner when they met, and had only appeared pleased to see her again, Constance argued with herself, she might have made an effort. But he was dull and silent and miserable, and Beemed only too happy when any excuse justified him in leaving her side. "What does it all mean?" murmured the girl to herself, as she threw open the window and leaned out into the fresh evening air. "Rather, why does he walk there? '»' there on the quay, fronting the hotel, in earnest conversation with a lady and gentleman, walkea Horace.
Of course Constance ought to have closed the window, gone down-stairs, and made herself agreeable to her cousin. Of course she ought to have thought of her mamma's wishes, and have remembered how much easier it would be for her to make the exertion than for her cousin, for she knew quite well that Arthur was shy and reserved. But of course she did nothing of the kind. What she did do was this: she brought a chair to the window, and sitting herself down thereon, with a book open (for appearance sake) before her, watched the three figures promenading the quay until daylight became twilight, and twilight gave place to night.
While Miss Shirley is thus engaged let us see who those new friends of Horace's were. Their names were Edward and Celine Courcy—Mr. and Mrs. Courcy. As they are old acquaintances a very few words will suffice to introduce them. Edward Courcy had now been for nearly two years director [of the Bank at Sairmouth. The world bad gone well with him, and he had become a well-to-do personage in his native town. He was now taking a short rest from his bank duties, and making a tour with his wife in the Rhenish Provinces. Horace had nearly tumbled over them as he was extricating the luggage of his party on their arrival at Coblenti. Here no deception could be practised. Edward Courcy had known our hero for many a long year—from the time, indeed, that he first remembered to have come down to Sairmouth Castle, on a visit to his uncle; and, in truth, Horace had spent as much of his time in the director's housc'as he did at the caBtle itself. He was considerably more at home at the former than at the latter; therefore he was recognized directly.
"Why, Horace, what in the world brings you here, and what kind of a costume have you adopted for travelling this time?" asked Mrs. Courcy, as she held out her hand to the courier.
Horace begged them, hurriedly, to take no further notice of him then, but promised to meet them on the quay later, and explain everything; accordingly, after the table d'hote hour was past he had met them by the Rhine, and had put them in possession of his rather eccentric story.
"But what would your uncle say?" asked the lady, "if he heard of the future lord of the manor doing the dirty work for a set of queer English people abroad? for really, Horace, your patrons are strange, and I should say objectionable, except that the party is redeemed by that sweet-looking girl they have with them. Who is she ?—one of them i"
"My uncle," said Horace, disregarding the question last put—"My uncle must not know. You are aware of his strange and strong ideas on some subjects—ideas which amount to monomania with him. He would cut me off with a penny if he heard of this freak."
Mr. Courcy looked grave. "But Horace," he said, "you should have written to us. It
was surely not necessary to have adopted such a course as this."
"I know I might. You have always been so good and kind to me, I know full well I might have confided my difficulties to you; but it was not altogether for that, it was partly for the fun of the thing."
"And for devotion to a pair of blue eyes partly," added Mrs. Courcy.
Horace winced a very little. "You will keep my secret?"
"What? about the blue eyes i"
"No, no j about my identity. I am in danger enough as it is, as the Junior Dean of St. Bride's has chosen to tack himself on to the party."
"Well, we will try, won't we, Edward t" answered the lady with a smile; but you must be careful of yourself, and don't get into any further scrapes; above all, "gare aux yeux."
"Yes, I'll be careful; but tell me about Sairmouth. I never got down there after term ended. Is my uncle much the same as ever?"
"Yes: in excellent spirits, and trots about the grounds on the white pony, as eagerly as ever. He was at the magistrate's meeting once or twice, and had the pleasure of sending a poacher to the county sessions. You know how that would delight them."
"That do I. Was it an old offender that he sent to gaol r"
"Yes; a well-known character. Did you hear of Lord Leven being in London?"
"My uncle in London? No, indeed I had not."
"Yes, he went up for a fortnight. How much further he went I cannot say. He posted the whole way, of course. There was a carriageand-four and outriders, creating a sensation on the road, as you may imagine."
'* Have you any idea why he went?" asked Horace, earnestly.
"Not the slightest. You think he may have been up to look after you, perhaps."
"I don't think that. Still the old gentleman is wide awake, as we have lately had proof in some business transactions."
"Well," returned Horace, " I must go now. Do you stay long at Coblentz?"
"It is quite uncertain: we must be guided by circumstances; but when you can, do come up and see us; we shall be so glad."
"Yes, do," added Mrs. Courcy to her husband's request; "I am so curious to hear about the contents of your party; they seem oddly mixed. But we must not keep you now. I daresay you will have to put that old gentleman to bed: do be careful of him.
Horace laughed, and went.
How Very Tbue.—When a woman has ceased to be attractive by her simple symmetry of form, she may be fascinating by her sweet womanliness. Has not everyone experienced this?