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Aprils lady

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Title:April'sLady
ANovel
Author:MargaretWolfeHungerford
ReleaseDate:May29,2007[EBook#21641]
Language:English

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APRIL'SLADY.
ANOVEL.


BY"THEDUCHESS"
Authorof"MollyBawn,""Phyllis,""LadyBranksmere,"
"Beauty'sDaughters,"etc.,etc.
MONTREAL:
JOHNLOVELL&SON,
23ST.NICHOLASSTREET.
EnteredaccordingtoActofParliamentintheyear1890,byJohnLovell&
Son,intheofficeoftheMinisterofAgricultureandStatisticsatOttawa.


CONTENTS
CHAPTERI.
CHAPTERII.
CHAPTERIII.
CHAPTERIV.
CHAPTERV.
CHAPTERVI.
CHAPTERVII.
CHAPTERVIII.
CHAPTERIX.
CHAPTERX.
CHAPTERXI.
CHAPTERXII.
CHAPTERXIII.
CHAPTERXIV.
CHAPTERXV.
CHAPTERXVI.
CHAPTERXVII.
CHAPTERXVIII.
CHAPTERXIX.
CHAPTERXX.
CHAPTERXXI.
CHAPTERXXII.
CHAPTERXXIII.
CHAPTERXXIV.
CHAPTERXXV.


CHAPTERXXVI.
CHAPTERXXVII.
CHAPTERXXVIII.
CHAPTERXXIX.
CHAPTERXXX.
CHAPTERXXXI.
CHAPTERXXXII.
CHAPTERXXXIII.
CHAPTERXXXIV.


CHAPTERXXXV.
CHAPTERXXXVI.
CHAPTERXXXVII.
CHAPTERXXXVIII.
CHAPTERXXXIX.
CHAPTERXL.
CHAPTERXLI.
CHAPTERXLII.
CHAPTERXLIII.
CHAPTERXLIV.
CHAPTERXLV.
CHAPTERXLVI.
CHAPTERXLVII.
CHAPTERXLVIII.
CHAPTERXLIX.
CHAPTERL.
CHAPTERLI.
CHAPTERLII.
CHAPTERLIII.
CHAPTERLIV.
CHAPTERLV.
CHAPTERLVI.
CHAPTERLVII.
CHAPTERLVIII.
CHAPTERLIX.


APRIL'SLADY.
"Mustwepart?ormayIlinger?
Waxtheshadows,wanestheday."
Then,withvoiceofsweetestsinger,
Thathathallbutdiedaway,
"Go,"shesaid,buttightenedfinger
Saidarticulately,"Stay!"


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.


CHAPTERII.
"Nolovelostbetweenus."

"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."


CHAPTERIII.
"Itwasaloverandhislass
Withaheyandaho,andahey-nonino!
Thato'erthegreencornfielddidpass
IntheSpring-time,theonlyprettyring-time,
Whenbirdsdosinghey-ding-a-ding,
SweetloverslovetheSpring."

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


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