CHAPTERI. "Philosophy triumphs easily over past and over future evils, but presentevilstriumphoverphilosophy."
"A letter from my father," says Mr. Monkton, flinging the letter in question acrossthebreakfast-tabletohiswife. "AletterfromSirGeorge!"Herdark,prettyfaceflushescrimson. "Andsuchaletteraftereightyearsofobstinatesilence.There!readit,"saysher husband,contemptuously.Thecontemptisallforthewriteroftheletter. Mrs. Monkton taking it up, with a most honest curiosity, that might almost be termedanxiety,readsitthrough,andinturnflingsitfromherasthoughithad beenascorpion. "Nevermind,Jack!"saysshewithagreatassumptionofindifferencethatdoes nothidefromherhusbandthefactthathereyesarefulloftears."Butterthatbit oftoastformebeforeitisquitecold,andgiveJoycesomeham.Ham,darling? oranegg?"toJoyce,withaforcedsmilethatmakeshercharmingfacequitesad. "Haveyoutwobeenmarriedeightwholeyears?"asksJoycelayingherelbows on the table, and staring at her sister with an astonished gaze. "It seems like yesterday! What a swindler old Time is. To look at Barbara, one would not believeshecouldhavebeenborneightyearsago." "Nonsense!" says Mrs. Monkton laughing, and looking as pleased as married women—eventhehappiest—alwaysdo,whentheyaretoldtheylookunmarried. "WhyTommyissevenyearsold." "Oh!That'snothing!"saysJoyceairily,turningherdarkeyes,thatarelovelier,if possible,thanhersister's,uponthesturdychildwhoissittingathisfather'sright hand. "Tommy, we all know, is much older than his mother. Much more advanced;morelearnedinthewisdomofthisworld;aren'tyou,Tommy?"
But Tommy,atthis presentmoment,is deaf to thecharms ofconversation,his youngmindbeingnoblybentonprovingtohissister(apricelesstreasureofsix) that the salt-cellar planted between them belongs not to her, but to him! This sounds reasonable, but the difficulty lies in making Mabel believe it. There comesthepauseeloquentatlast,andthen,Iregrettosay,thefreefight! It might perhaps have been even freer, but for the swift intervention of the paternal relative, who, swooping down upon the two belligerents with a promptitude worthy of all praise, seizes upon his daughter, and in spite of her kicks,whicharenoble,removeshertotheseatonhislefthand. Thusseparatedhopespringswithinthebreastsofthelookers-onthatpeacemay soonberestored;andindeed,afterasobortwofromMabel,andafewpassesof the most reprehensible sort from Tommy (entirely of the facial order), a great calmfallsuponthebreakfast-room. "When I was your age, Tommy," says Mr. Monkton addressing his son, and striving to be all that the orthodox parent ought to be, "I should have been soundlywhippedifIhadbehavedtomysisterasyouhavejustnowbehavedto yours!" "Youhaven'tasister,"saysTommy,afterwhichtheargumentfallsflat.Itistrue, Mr.Monktonisinnocentofasister,buthowdidthelittledemonrememberthat soapropos. "Nevertheless," said Mr. Monkton, "if I had had a sister, I know I should not havebeenunkindtoher." "Thenshe'dhavebeenunkindtoyou,"saysTommy,whoisevidentlynotafraid toenteruponadiscussionoftherightsandwrongsofmankindwithhispaternal relative. "Look at Mabel! And I don't care what she says," with a vindictive glance at the angelic featured Mabel, who glares back at him with infinite promise of a future settlement of all their disputes in her ethereal eyes. "'Twas mysalt-cellar,nothers!" "Ladiesfirst—pleasureafterwards,"sayshisfathersomewhatidly. "OhFreddy!"sayshiswife. "SeditiouslanguageIcallit,"saysJocelynewithalaugh. "Eh?"saysMr.Monkton."WhywhatonearthhaveIbeensayingnow.Iquite
believed I was doing the heavy father to perfection and teaching Tommy his duty." "Nice duty," says Jocelyne, with a pretence of indignation, that makes her charmingfaceaperfectpicture."Teachinghimtoregardusassecondbest!Ilike that." "Good heavens! did I give that impression? I must have swooned," says Mr. Monkton penitently. "When last in my senses I thought I had been telling Tommythathedeservedagoodwhipping;andthatifgoodoldTimecouldso manageastomakememyownfather,hewouldassuredlyhavegotit." "Oh!yourfather!"saysMrs.Monktoninalowtone;thereisenoughexpression in it, however, to convey the idea to everyone present that in her opinion her husband'sfatherwouldbeguiltyofanyatrocityatamoment'snotice. "Well, 'twas my salt-cellar," says Tommy again stoutly, and as if totally undismayedbythevisionofthegrand-fatherlyscourgeheldouttohim.Afterall wenoneofusfeelthingsmuch,unlesstheycomepersonallyhometous. "Wasit?"saysMr.Monktonmildly."Doyouknow,Ireallyquitefancieditwas mine." "What?"saysTommy,cockinghisear.He,likehissister,isinacertainsensea fraud.ForTommyhasthefaceofaseraphwiththeheartofahardyNorseman. ThereisnothingindeedthatTommywouldnotdare. "Mine,youknow,"sayshisfather,evenmoremildlystill. "No,itwasn't,"saysTommywithdecision,"itwasatmysideofthetable.Yours isoverthere." "Thomas!" says his father, with a rueful shake of the head that signifies his resignationoftheargument;"itisindeedapitythatIamnotlikemyfather!" "Like him! Oh no," says Mrs. Monkton emphatically, impulsively; the latent disliketothefamilywhohadrefusedtorecognizeheronhermarriagewiththeir sontakingfireatthisspeech. Hervoicesoundsalmosthard—thegentlevoice,thatintruthwasonlymeantby MotherNaturetogiveexpressiontoallthingskindandloving. Shehasleantalittleforwardandaswiftflushisdyeinghercheek.Sheisofall
women the youngest looking, for her years; as a matron indeed she seems absurd. The delicate bloom of girlhood seems never to have left her, but—as thoughinloveofherbeauty—hasclungtoherdaybyday.Sothatnow,when she has known eight years of married life (and some of them deeply tinctured withcare—thecruelcarethatwantofmoneybrings),shestilllooksasthough themorningofwomanhoodwasasyetbutdawningforher. Andthisisbecauselovethebeautifierwentwithheralltheway!Handinhand he has traveled with her on the stony paths that those who marry must undoubtedly pursue. Never once had he let go his hold, and so it is, that her lovelyfacehasdefiedTime(thoughafterallthatobnoxiousAncienthasnothad yetmuchopportunitygivenhimtospoilit),andattwenty-fiveshelooksbuta littleolderthanhersister,whoisjusteighteen,andsevenyearsyoungerthanshe is. HerprettysoftgreyIrisheyes,thatareasnearlynotblackasitispossiblefor themtobe,arestillfilledwiththedewsofyouth.Hermouthisredandhappy. Herhair—sodistinctlychestnutastobealmostguiltyofashadeofredinithere and there—covers her dainty head in rippling masses, that fall lightly forward, andrestuponabrow,snow-white,andlowandbroadasanyGreek'smightbe. She had spoken a little hurriedly, with some touch of anger. But quick as the angerwasborn,soquicklydoesitdie. "Ishouldn'thavesaidthat,perhaps,"saysshe,sendingalittletremulousglance atherhusbandfrombehindtheurn."ButIcouldn'thelpit.Ican'tbeartohear yousayyouwouldliketobelikehim." She smiles (a little, gentle, "don't-be-angry-with-me" smile, scarcely to be resisted by any man, and certainly not by her husband, who adores her). It is scarcely necessary to record this last fact, as all who run may read it for themselves,butitsavestimetoputitinblackandwhite. "Butwhynot,mydear?"saysMr.Monkton,magisterially."Surely,considering allthings,youhavereasontobedeeplygratefultoSirGeorge.Why,then,abuse him?" "Grateful!ToSirGeorge!Toyourfather!"crieshiswife,hotlyandquick,and —— "Freddy!"fromhissister-in-lawbringshimtoafullstopforamoment.
"Doyoumeantotellme,"sayshe,thusbroughttobay,"thatyouhavenothingto thankSirGeorgefor?"Heisaddressinghiswife. "Nothing,nothing!"declaresshe,vehemently,theremembranceofthatlastletter from her husband's father, that still lies within reach of her view, lending a suspicionofpassiontohervoice. "Oh, my dear girl, consider!" says Mr. Monkton, lively reproach in his tone. "Hashenotgivenyoume,thebesthusbandinEurope?" "Ah,whatitistobemodest,"saysJoyce,withherlittlequickbrilliantlaugh. "Well,it'snottrue,"saysMrs.Monkton,whohaslaughedalso,inspiteofherself andthesorenessatherheart."Hedidnotgiveyoutome.Youmademethatgift ofyourownfreewill.Ihave,asIsaidbefore,nothingtothankhimfor." "Ialwaysthinkhe mustbeasillyoldman,"saysJoyce,whichseemstoputa fittingterminationtotheconversation. The silence that ensues annoys Tommy, who dearly loves to hear the human voice divine. As expressed by himself first, but if that be impracticable, well, thenbysomebodyelse.Anythingisbetterthandullsilence. "Ishethat?"askshe,eagerly,ofhisaunt. Though I speak of her as his aunt, I hope it will not be misunderstood for a moment that Tommy totally declines to regard her in any reverential light whatsoever.Aplaymate,aclosefriend,aconfidante,ausefulsortofperson,if youwill,butcertainlynotanaunt,inthegeneralacceptationofthatterm.From the very first year that speech fell on them, both Mabel and he had refused to regardMissKavanaghasanythingbutaconfederateinalltheirscrapes,afriend torejoicewithinalltheirtriumphs;shehadneverbeenaunt,never,indeed,even so much as the milder "auntie" to them; she had been "Joyce," only, from the verycommencementoftheiracquaintance.Theunitedcommandsofbothfather and mother (feebly enforced) had been insufficient to compel them to address this most charming specimen of girlhood by any grown up title. To them their auntwasjustsuchanoneasthemselves—only,perhaps,alittlemoreso. A lovely creature, at all events, and lovable as lovely. A little inconsequent, perhapsattimes,butalwaysamenabletoreason,whenputintoacorner,andfull oftheglad,laughterofyouth.
"Ishewhat?"saysshe,nowreturningTommy'seagergaze. "The best husband in Europe. He says he's that," with a doubtful stare at his father. "Why, the very best, of course," says Joyce, nodding emphatically. "Always rememberthat,Tommy.It'sagoodthingtobe,youknow.You'llwanttobethat, won'tyou?" But if she has hoped to make a successful appeal to Tommy's noble qualities (hitherto,itmustbeconfessed,carefullykepthidden),shefindsherselfgreatly mistaken. "No, I won't," says that truculent person distinctly. "I want to be a big general withacockedhat,andtokillpeople.Idon'twanttobeahusbandatall.What's thegoodofthat?" "Topursuetheobjectwouldbetocourtdefeat,"saysMr.Monktonmeekly.He risesfromthetable,and,seeinghimmove,hiswiferisestoo. "You are going to your study?" asks she, a little anxiously. He is about to say "no"tothis,butaglanceatherfacecheckshim. "Yes,comewithme,"saysheinstead,answeringthelovelysilentappealinher eyes.Thatletterhasnodoubtdistressedher.Shewillbehappierwhenshehas talkeditoverwithhim—theytwoalone."Asforyou,Thomas,"sayshisfather, "I'mquiteawarethatyououghttobeconsignedtotheDonjonkeepafteryour latebehavior,butaswedon'tkeeponeonthepremises,Iletyouoffthistime. Meanwhile I haste to my study to pen, with the assistance of your enraged mother,alettertoourlandlordthatwillinducehimtoaddoneonatoncetothis building.Afterwhichweshallbeabletoincarcerateyouatourpleasure(butnot atyours)onanyandeveryhouroftheday." "Who's Don John?" asks Tommy, totally unimpressed, but filled with lively memoriesofthoseSpaniardsandotherforeignpowerswhohaveunkindlymade moredifficulthishatefullessonsoffandon.
"Well,"saysMr.Monkton,turningtohiswifeasthestudy(arathernondescript place) is reached. He has closed the door, and is now looking at her with a distinctlyquizzicallightinhiseyesandinthesmilethatpartshislips."Nowfor it.Havenoqualms.I'vebeenpreparingmyselfallthroughbreakfastandIthinkI shallsurviveit.Youaregoingtohaveitoutwithme,aren'tyou?" "Not with you," says she, returning his smile indeed, but faintly, and without heart,"thathorridletter!IfeltImusttalkofittosomeone,and——" "I was that mythical person. I quite understand. I take it as a special compliment." "Iknowitishardonyou,butwhenIamreallyvexedaboutanything,youknow, Ialwayswanttotellyouaboutit." "Ishouldfeelitagreatdealharderifyoudidn'twanttotellmeaboutit,"says he. He has come nearer to her and has pressed her into a chair—a dilapidated affairthatifeverithadabestdayhasforgottenitbynow—andyetforallthatis fullofcomfort."Iamonlysorry"—movingawayagainandleaningagainstthe chimney piece—"that you should be so foolish as to let my father's absurd prejudicesannoyyouatthistimeofday." "He will always have it in his power to annoy me," says she quickly. "That perhaps," with a little burst of feeling, "is why I can't forgive him. If I could forget, or grow indifferent to it all, I should not have this hurt feeling in my heart.Butheisyourfather,andthoughheisthemostunjust,thecruellestman onearth,Istillhatetothinkheshouldregardmeashedoes." "Thereisonething,however,youdoforget,"saysMr.Monktongravely."Idon't wanttoapologizeforhim,butIwouldremindyouthathehasneverseenyou." "That'sonlyanaggravationofhisoffence,"hercolorheightening;"theveryfact
thatheshouldcondemnmeunseen,unheard,addstothewronghehasdoneme insteadoftakingfromit."Sherisesabruptlyandbeginstopaceupanddownthe room,thehotIrishbloodinherveinsafire."No"—withalittleimpatientgesture ofhersmallhand—"Ican'tsitstill.Everypulseseemsthrobbing.Hehasopened up all the old wounds, and——" She pauses and then turns upon her husband twolovelyflashingeyes."Why,whyshouldhesupposethatIamvulgar,lowly born,unfittobeyourwife?" "Mydarlinggirl,whatcanitmatterwhathethinks?Aridiculousheadstrongold maninonescale,and——" "Butitdoesmatter.IwanttoconvincehimthatIamnot—not—whathebelieves metobe." "ThencomeovertoEnglandandseehim." "No—never!IshallnevergotoEngland.IshallstayinIrelandalways.Myown land;thelandwhosepeoplehedetestsbecauseheknowsnothingaboutthem.It was one of his chief objections to your marriage with me, that I was an Irish girl!" Shestopsshort,asthoughherwrathandindignationandcontemptistoomuch forher. "Barbara,"saysMonkton,verygently,butwithacertainreproach,"doyouknow youalmostmakemethinkthatyouregretourmarriage." "No,Idon't,"quickly."IfItalkedforeverIshouldn'tbeabletomakeyouthink that.But——"Sheturnstohimsuddenly,andgazesathimthroughlargeeyes thatareheavywithtears."Ishallalwaysbesorryforonething,andthatis—that youfirstmetmewhereyoudid." "Atyouraunt's?Mrs.Burke's?" "Sheisnotmyaunt,"withalittlefrownofdistaste;"sheisnothingtomesofar as blood is concerned. Oh! Freddy." She stops close to him, and gives him a grief-strickenglance."Iwishmypoorfatherhadbeenalivewhenfirstyousaw me.Thatwecouldhavemetforthefirsttimeintheoldhome.Itwasshabby— faded"—herfacepalingnowwithintenseemotion."Butyouwouldhaveknown atoncethatithadbeenafineoldplace,andthattheownerofit——"Shebreaks down, very slightly, almost imperceptibly, but Monkton understands that even onemorewordisbeyondher.
"Thattheownerofit,likeSt.Patrick,cameofdecentpeople,"quoteshewithan assumptionofgaietyheisfarfromfeeling."Mygoodchild,Idon'twanttosee anyone to know that of you. You carry the sign manual. It is written in large charactersalloveryou." "YetIwishyouhadknownmebeforemyfatherdied,"saysshe,hergriefand pride still unassuaged. "He was so unlike anybody else. His manners were so lovely. He was offered a baronetcy at the end of that Whiteboy business on accountofhisloyalty—thatnearlycosthimhislife—butherefusedit,thinking theoldnamegoodenoughwithoutahandletoit." "Kavanagh,weallknow,isagoodname." "Ifhehadacceptedthattitlehewouldhavebeenas—thesame—asyourfather!" Thereisdefianceinthissentence. "Quitethesame!" "No,no,hewouldnot,"herdefiancenowchangesinto,sorrowfulhonesty."Your father has been a baronet for centuries, my father would have only been a baronetforafewyears." "Forcenturies!"repeatsMr.Monktonwithanalarmedair.Thereisalatentsense ofhumor(orratheranappreciationofhumor)abouthimthathardlyendearshim to the opposite sex. His wife, being Irish, condones it, because she happens to understandit,buttherearemoments,weallknow,wheneventheverybestand most appreciative women refuse to understand anything. This is one of them. "Condemn my father if you will," says Mr. Monkton, "accuse him of all the crimesinthecalendar,butformysakegiveupthebeliefthatheistherealand original Wandering Jew. Debrett—Burke—either of those immaculate people willprovetoyouthatmyfatherascendedhisthronein——" "You can laugh at me if you like, Freddy," says Mrs. Monkton with severity tempered with dignity; "but if you laughed until this day month you couldn't makemeforgetthethingsthatmakemeunhappy." "Idon'twantto,"saysMr.Monkton,stilldisgracefullyfrivolous."I'moneofthe things,andyet——" "Don't!" says his wife, so abruptly, and with such an evident determination to givewaytomirth,coupledwithanequallystrongdeterminationtogivewayto tears,thatheatoncelaysdownhisarms.
"Go on then," says he, seating himself beside her. She is not in the arm-chair now, but on an ancient and respectable sofa that gives ample room for the accommodationoftwo;aluxurydeniedbythatoldcurmudgeonthearm-chair. "Well,itisthis,Freddy.WhenIthinkofthatdreadfuloldwoman,Mrs.Burke,I feelasthoughyouthoughtshewasafairsampleoftherestofmyfamily.But she is not a sample, she has nothing to do with us. An uncle of my mother married her because she was rich, and there her relationship to us began and ended." "Still——" "Yes,Iknow,youneedn'tremindme,itseemsburntintomybrain,Iknowshe tookusinaftermyfather'sdeath,andcoveredmeandJoycewithbenefitswhen we hadn't a penny in the world we could call our own. I quite understand, indeed,thatweshouldhavestarvedbutforher,andyet—yet—"passionately,"I cannotforgiveherforperpetuallyremindingusthatwehadnotthatpenny!" "It must have been a bad time," says Monkton slowly. He takes her hand and smoothesitlovinglybetweenbothofhis. "Shewasvulgar.Thatwasnotherfault;Iforgiveherthat.WhatIcan'tforgive her,isthefactthatyoushouldhavemetmeinherhouse." "Alittleunfair,isn'tit?" "Isit?Youwillalwaysnowassociatemewithher!" "I shan't indeed. Do you think I have up to this? Nonsense! A more absurd amalgamationIcouldn'tfancy." "She was not one of us," feverishly. "I have never spoken to you about this, Freddy,sincethatfirstletteryourfatherwrotetoyoujustafterourmarriage.You remember it? And then, I couldn't explain somehow—but now—this last letter hasupsetmedreadfully;Ifeelasifitwasalldifferent,andthatitwasmydutyto makeyouawareoftherealtruth.SirGeorgethinksofmeasonebeneathhim; thatisnottrue.HemayhaveheardthatIlivedwithMrs.Burke,andthatshewas my aunt; but if my mother's brother chose to marry a woman of no family becauseshehadmoney,"—contemptuously,"thatmightdisgracehim,butwould notmakeherkintous.Yousawher,you—"liftingdistressedeyestohis—"you thoughtherdreadful,didn'tyou?"
"I have only had one thought about her. That she was good to you in your trouble,andthatbutforherIshouldneverhavemetyou." "That is like you," says she gratefully, yet impatiently. "But it isn't enough. I wantyoutounderstandthatsheisquiteunlikemyownrealpeople—myfather, whowaslikeaprince,"throwingupherhead,"andmyuncle,hisbrother." "Youhaveanuncle,then?"withsomesurprise. "Ohno,had,"sadly. "Heisdeadthen?" "Yes. I suppose so. You are wondering," says she quickly, "that I have never spokentoyouofhimormyfatherbefore.ButIcouldnot.Thethoughtthatyour familyobjectedtome,despisedme,seemedtocompelmetosilence.Andyou— youaskedmeverylittle." "HowcouldI,Barbara?AnyattemptImadewasrepulsed.Ithoughtitkinderto ——" "Yes—Iwaswrong.Iseeitnow.ButIcouldn'tbeartoexplainmyself.Itoldyou what I could about my father, and that seemed to me sufficient. Your people's determinationtoregardmeasimpossibletiedmytongue." "Idon'tbelieveitwasthat,"sayshelaughing."Ibelieveweweresohappythat we didn't care to discuss anything but each other. Delightful subjects full of infinite variety! We have sat so lightly to the world all these years, that if my father'sletterhadnotcomethismorningIhonestlythinkweshouldneverhave thoughtabouthimagain." Thisisscarcelytrue,butheisbentongivinghermindahappierturnifpossible. "What's the good of talking to me like that, Freddy," says she reproachfully. "You know one never forgets anything of that sort. A slight I mean; and from one'sownfamily.Youarealwaysthinkingofit;youknowyouare." "Well,notalways,mydear,certainly—"saysMr.Monktontemporizing."Andif evenIdogivewaytoretrospection,itistofeelindignantwithbothmyparents." "Yes;andIdon'twantyoutofeellikethat.Itmustbedreadful,anditismyfault. WhenIthinkhowIfelttowardsmydearolddad,andmyuncle—I——"
"Well,nevermindthat.I've gotyou,andwithoutmeaninganygrossflattery,I consideryouworthadozendads.Tellmeaboutyouruncle.Hedied?" "We don't know. He went abroad fifteen years ago. He must be dead I think, becauseifhewerealivehewouldcertainlyhavewrittentous.Hewasveryfond of Joyce and me; but no letter from him has reached us for years. He was charming.Iwishyoucouldhaveknownhim." "SodoI—ifyouwishit.But—"comingoverandsittingdownbesideher,"don't youthinkitisalittleabsurd,Barbara,afteralltheseyears,tothinkitnecessary totellmethatyouhavegoodbloodinyourveins?Isitnotaself-evidentfact; and—onemoreworddearest—surelyyoumightdomethecredittounderstand that I could never have fallen in love with anyone who hadn't an ancestor or two." "Andyetyourfather——" "I know," rising to his feet, his brow darkening. "Do you think I don't suffer doublyonyouraccount?ThatIdon'tfeeltheinsolenceofhisbehaviortoward youfour-fold?Thereisbutoneexcuseforhimandmymother,andthatliesin theirterribledisappointmentaboutmybrother—theireldestson." "Iknow;youhavetoldme,"beginsshequickly,butheinterruptsher. "Yes,Ihavebeenmoreopenwithyouthanyouwithme.Ifeelnopridewhere you are concerned. Of course my brother's conduct towards them is no excuse for their conduct towards you, but when one has a sore heart one is apt to be unjust,andmanyotherthings.Youknowwhataheart-breakhehasbeentothe oldpeople,andis!Agambler,adishonorablegambler!"Heturnsawayfromher, andhisnostrilsdilatealittle;hisrighthandgrowsclenched."Everysparepenny theypossesshasbeenpaidovertohimofhiscreditors,andtheyarenotoverburdenedwithriches.Theyhadsettheirheartsonhim,andalltheirhopes,and whenhefailedthemtheyfellbackonme.Thenameisanoldone;moneywas wanted. They had arranged a marriage for me, that would have been worldly wise.Itoodisappointedthem!" "Oh!" she has sprung to her feet, and is staring at him with horrified eyes. "A marriage!Therewassomeoneelse!Youaccusemeofwantofcandor,andnow, you—didyouevermentionthisbefore?" "Now,Barbara,don'tbethebabyyournameimplies,"sayshe,placingherfirmly
backinherseat."Ididn'tmarrythatheiress,youknow,whichisproofpositive thatIlovedyou,nother." "But she—she—" she stammers and ceases suddenly, looking at him with a glance full of question. Womanlike, everything has given way to the awful thought, that this unknown had not been unknown to him, and that perhaps he hadadmired—loved—— "Couldn't hold a candle to you," says he, laughing in spite of himself at her expressionwhich,indeed,isnearlytragic."Youneedn'tsuffocateyourselfwith charcoal because of her. She had made her pile, or rather her father had, at Birmingham or elsewhere, I never took the trouble to inquire, and she was undoubtedlysolidineveryway,butIdon'tcareforthefemalegiant,andsoI— youknowtherest,Imetyou;Itellyouthisonlytosoftenyourheart,ifpossible, towardstheselonely,embitteredoldpeopleofmine." "Do you mean that when your brother disappointed them that they——" she pauses. "No.Theycouldn'tmakemetheirheir.Thepropertyisstrictlyentailed(whatis leftofit); youneednotmakeyourselfmiserableimaginingyouhavedoneme outofanythingmorethantheirgood-will.Georgewillinheritwhateverhehas leftthemtoleave." "Itissad,"saysshe,withdowncasteyes. "Yes. He has been a constant source of annoyance to them ever since he left Eton." "Whereishenow?" "Abroad,Ibelieve.InItaly,somewhere,orFrance—notfarfromagamingtable, you may be sure. But I know nothing very exactly, as he does not correspond with me, and that letter of this morning is the first I have received from my fatherforfouryears." "He must, indeed, hate me," says she, in a low tone. "His elder son such a failure,andyou—heconsidersyouafailure,too." "Well,Idon'tconsidermyselfso,"sayshe,gaily. "Theywereinwantofmoney,andyou—youmarriedagirlwithoutapenny."
"Imarriedagirlwhowasinherselfamineofgold,"returnshe,layinghishands on her shoulders and giving her a little shake. "Come, never mind that letter, darling;whatdoesitmatterwhenallissaidanddone?" "Thefirstafteralltheseyears;andthe,last—yourememberit?Itwasterrible. AmIunreasonableifIrememberit?" "Itwasacruelletter,"saysheslowly;"toforgetitwouldbeimpossible,either foryouorme.But,asIsaidjustnow,howdoesitaffectus?Youhaveme,andI haveyou;andthey,thosefoolisholdpeople,theyhave——"Hepausesabruptly, andthengoesoninachangedtone,"theirmemories." "Oh!andsadones!"criesshe,sharply,asifhurt."Itisaterriblepictureyouhave conjuredup.YouandIsohappy,andthey—Oh!pooroldpeople!" "They have wronged you—slighted you—ill-treated you," says he, looking at her. "Buttheyareunhappy;theymustbewretchedalwaysaboutyourbrother,their firstchild.Oh!whatagriefistheirs!" "Whataheartisyours!"sayshe,drawinghertohim."Barbara!surelyIshallnot dieuntiltheyhavemetyou,andlearnedwhyIloveyou."
Joyceisrunningthroughthegarden,allthesweetwildwindsofheavenplaying round her. They are a little wild still. It is the end of lovely May, but though languid Summer is almost with us, a suspicion of her more sparkling sister Springfillsalltheair. Miss Kavanagh hascaught up thetailofhergown,andisflyingasiffor dear life. Behind her come the foe, fast and furious. Tommy, indeed, is now dangerouslycloseatherheels,armedwithaferocious-lookinggardenfork,his facecrimson,hiseyesglowingwiththeardorofthechase;Mabel,muchinthe background,ismakingabadthird. MissKavanaghisgrowingdistinctlyoutofbreath.InanothermomentTommy willhaveher.Bythistimehehasfullyworkedhimselfintothebeliefthatheisa RedIndian,andshehislawfulprey,andispreparedtomakeatomahawkofhis fork,andhavingfelledher,toscalphersomehow,whenProvidenceshowshera cornerroundarhododendronbushthatmaysaveherforthemoment.Shemakes forit,gainsit,turnsit,dashesroundit,andallbutprecipitatesherselfinto the armsofayoungmanwhohasbeenwalkingleisurelytowardsher. He is a tall young man, not strictly handsome, but decidedly good to look at, withhonesthazeleyes,andashapelyhead,andaltogetherverywellsetup.Asa ruleheisoneofthemostcheerfulpeoplealive,andatremendousfavoriteinhis regiment, the —— Hussars, though just now it might suggest itself to the intelligentobserverthatheconsidershehasbeenhardlyused.Averylittlemore haste,andthatprecipitationmusthavetakenplace.Hehadmadeaninstinctive
movementtowardsherwithprotectivearmsoutstretched;butthoughalittlecry hadescapedher,shehadmaintainedherbalance,andnowstandslookingathim withlaughingeyes,andpantingbreath,andtwoprettyhandspressedagainsther bosom. Mr.Dysartletshisdisappointedarmsfalltohissides,andassumestheaggrieved airofonewhohasbeendoneoutofagoodthing. "You!"saysshe,whenatlastshecanspeak. "I suppose so," returns he discontentedly. He might just as well have been anyoneelse,oranywhereelse—suchachance—andgone! "Neverwereyousowelcome!"criesshe,dodgingbehindhimasTommy,fully armed,andallalive,comestearingroundthecorner."Ah,ha,Tommy,sold!I've got a champion now. I'm no longer shivering in my shoes. Mr. Dysart will protectme—won'tyou,Mr.Dysart?"totheyoungman,whosays"yes"without stirring a muscle. The heaviest bribe would not have induced him to move, because, standingbehindhim,shehas laidher daintyfingersonhisshoulders, fromwhichsafepositionshemocksatTommywithsecurity.Weretheownersof the shoulders to stir, the owners of the fingers might remove the delightful members.Needitbesaidthat,withthisawfulpossibilitybeforehim,Mr.Dysart ispreparedtodieathispostratherthanbudgeaninch. And,indeed,deathseemsimminent.Tommychargingroundtherhododendron, findinghimselfrobbedofhisexpectedscalp,growsfrantic,andmakesdesperate passesatMr.Dysart'slegs,whichthathero,beingdetermined,asIhavesaid,not tostirunderanyprovocation,circumventswithaconsiderabledisplayofpolicy, suchas: "Isay,Tommy,oldboy,isthatyou?Howd'yedo?Gladtoseeme,aren'tyou?" Thislastveryartfullywithaviewtosofteningtheattacks."Youdon'tknowwhat I've brought you!" This is more artful still, and distinctly a swindle, as he has broughthimnothing,butonthespothedeterminestoredeemhimselfwiththe helpofthesmalltoy-shopsandsweetyshopsdowninthevillage."Putdownthat forklikeagoodboy,andletmetellyouhow——" "Oh, bother you!" says Tommy, indignantly. "I'd have had her only for you! Whatbroughtyouherenow?Couldn'tyouhavewaitedabit?" "Yes!whatbroughtyou?"saysMissKavanagh,mostdisgracefullygoingoverto
the other side, now that danger is at an end, and Tommy has planted his impromptutomahawkinabedcloseby. "Doyouwanttoknow?"sayshequickly. Thefingershavebeenremovedfromhisshoulders,andheisnowatlibertyto turnroundandlookatthecharmingfacebesidehim. "No,no!"saysshe,shakingherhead."I'vebeenrude,Isuppose.Butitissucha wonderfulthingtoseeyouheresosoonagain." "WhyshouldInotbehere?" "Of course! That is the one unanswerable question. But you must confess it is puzzlingtothosewhothoughtofyouasbeingelsewhere." "Ifyouareoneof'those'youfillmewithgratitude.Thatyoushouldthinkofme evenforamoment——" "Well, I haven't been thinking much," says she, frankly, and with the most delightful ifscarcelysatisfactorylittle smile:"Idon'tbelieveIwasthinkingof youatall,untilIturnedthecornerjustnow,andthen,Iconfess,Iwasstartled, becauseIbelievedyouattheAntipodes." "Perhapsyourbeliefwasmothertoyourthought." "Oh,no.Don'tmakemeoutsonasty.Well,butwereyouthere?" "Perhapsso.Wherearethey?"askshegloomily."Onehearsagooddealabout them, but they comprise so many places that now-a-days one is hardly sure wheretheyexactlylie.Atalleventsnoonehasmadethemcleartome." "Doesitrestwithmetoenlightenyou?"asksshe,withalittleaggravatinghalf glance from under her long lashes; "well—the North Pole, Kamtschatka, Smyrna,Timbuctoo,Maoriland,Margate——" "We'llstopthere,Ithink,"sayshe,withafaintgrimace. "There!AtMargate?No,thanks.Youcan,ifyoulike,butasforme——" "Idon'tsupposeyouwouldstopanywherewithme,"sayshe."Ihaveoccasional glimmerings that I hope mean common sense. No, I have not been so adventurousastowandertowardsMargate.Ihaveonlybeentotownandback again."
"Whattown?" "Eh?Whattown?"saysheastonished."London,youknow." "No, I don't know," says Miss Kavanagh, a little petulantly. "One would think there was only one town in the world, and that all you English people had the monopoly of it. There are other towns, I suppose. Even we poor Irish insignificantshaveatownortwo.Dublincomesunderthathead,Isuppose?" "Undoubtedly. Of course," making great haste to abase himself. "It is mere snobberyourmakingsomuchofLondon.Akindofdespicablecant,youknow." "Well,afterall,Iexpectitisabigplaceineveryway,"saysMissKavanagh,so farmollifiedbyhissubmissionastobeabletoallowhimsomething. "It's a desert," says Tommy, turning to his aunt, with all the air of one who is about to impart to her useful information. "It's raging with wild beasts. They roam to and fro and are at their wits' ends——" here Tommy, who is great on Biblehistory,butwhooccasionallygetsmixed,stopsshort."Fathersaysthey're there,"hewindsupdefiantly. "Wild beasts!" echoes Mr. Dysart, bewildered. "Is this the teaching about their SaxonneighborsthattheIrishchildrenreceiveatthehandsoftheirparentsand guardians.Oh,well,comenow,Tommy,really,youknow——" "Yes;theyarethere,"saysTommy,rebelliously."Frightfulbeasts!Bears!They'd tear you in bits if they could get at you. They have no reason in them, father says.Andtheyclimbupposts,androaratpeople." "Oh, nonsense!" says Mr. Dysart. "One would think we were having a French Revolution all over again in England. Don't you think," glancing severely at Joyce, who is giving way to unrestrained mirth, "that it is not only wrong, but dangerous, to implant such ideas about the English in the breasts of Irish children?Thereisn'tawordoftruthinit,Tommy." "There is!" says Monkton, junior, wagging his head indignantly. "Father told me." "Fathertoldus,"repeatsthesmallMabel,whohasjustcomeup. "And father says, too, that the reason that they are so wicked is because they wanttheirfreedom!"saysTommy,asthoughthisisanunanswerableargument.
"Oh,Isee!Thesocialists!"saysMr.Dysart."Yes;atroublesomepack!Butstill, tocallthemwildbeasts——" "Theyarewildbeasts,"saysTommy,preparedtodefendhispositiontothelast. "They'vegotmanes,andhorns,andtails!" "He'sromancing,"saysMr.DysartlookingatJoyce. "He's not," says she demurely. "He is only trying to describe to you the Zoological Gardens. His father gives him a graphic description of them every evening,and—theresultyousee." Herebothsheandhe,afteraglanceateachother,burstoutlaughing. "Nowonderyouwereamused,"sayshe,"butyoumighthavegivenmeahint. Youwereunkindtome—asusual." "NowthatyouhavebeentoLondon,"saysshe,alittlehurriedly,asiftocover hislastwordsandpretendshehasn'theardthem,"youwillfindourpoorIreland dullerthanever.AtChristmasitisnotsobad,butjustnow,andintheheightof yourseason,too,——" "Doyoucallthisplacedull?"interruptshe."Thenletmetellyouyoumisjudge yournativeland;thislittlebitofit,atallevents.Ithinkitnotonlytheloveliest, buttheliveliestplaceonearth." "Youareeasilypleased,"saysshe,witharatherembarrassedsmile. "He isn't!" says Tommy, breaking into the conversation with great aplomb. He has been holding on vigorously to Mr. Dysart's right hand for the last five minutes,afterabriefbutbrilliantskirmishwithMabelastothepossessionofit —askirmishbroughttoabloodlessconclusionbythesurrender,onMr.Dysart's part,ofhislefthandtotheweakerbelligerent."HehatesMissMaliphant,nurse says,thoughLadyBaltimorewantshimtomarryher,andshe'safinegirl,nurse says,an'raalsmart,andwiththegifto'thegab,an'lotso'tin——" "Tommy!"sayshisauntfrantically.ItisindeedplaintoeverybodythatTommyis nowquotingnurse,aunaturel,andthatheisbetrayingconfidencesinaperfectly recklessmanner. "Don't stop him," says Mr. Dysart, glancing at Joyce's crimson cheeks with something of disfavor. "'What's Hecuba to me, or I to Hecuba?' I defy you," a