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Bessies fortune

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Title:Bessie'sFortune
ANovel
Author:MaryJ.Holmes
ReleaseDate:March7,2005[EBook#15275]
Language:English

***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKBESSIE'SFORTUNE***

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BESSIE'SFORTUNE.



ANovel.
MRS.MARYJ.HOLMES,
AUTHOROF
TEMPEST AND SUNSHINE. — DARKNESS AND DAYLIGHT. —
MILBANK. — ENGLISH ORPHANS. — LENA RIVERS. — ETHELYN'S
MISTAKE. — HUGH WORTHINGTON. — MADELINE. — WEST LAWN.
—MARIANGREY—EDNABROWNING,ETC.
NEWYORK:
G.W.Dillingham,Publisher,
SUCCESSORTOG.W.CARLETON&CO.
LONDON:S.LOW,SON&CO.
MDCCCLXXXVIII.

TOMYNEPHEW,
WALTERH.TWICHELL
(OFWORCESTER.MASS.)
IDEDICATETHISSTORYOFBESSIE,
WHICHWILLREMINDHIMOFAHAPPYYEARIN
EUROPE.


CONTENTS
CONTENTS
BESSIE'SFORTUNE.
PARTI.
I.TheJerroldsofBoston
II.GreyJerrold
III.Lucy
IV.ThanksgivingDayatGrey'sPark
V.TheOldManandtheBoy
VI.MissBetseyMcPherson
VII.TheDinneratWhichBessieisIntroduced
VIII.AfterTheDinner
IX.TheHorrorattheFarm-House
X.TheInterview
XI.AttheOldMan'sBedside
XII.TheStory
XIII.Facingit
XIV.TheEffectoftheStory
XV.GreyandtheSecret


XVI.ExpectingBessie
PARTII.
I.Stoneleigh
II.TheMcPhersons
III.AtMonteCarlo
IV.LittleBessie
V.AtPenrhynPark
VI.SevenYearsLater
VII.Neil'sDiscomforture
VIII.JackandBessie
IX.ChristmasatStoneleigh
X.Grey
XI.ChristmasDay
XII.TheContract.
XIII.TheNewGrey
XIV.MissMcPhersonandtheLetter


XV.FromJanuarytoMarch
XVI.FromMarchtoJune
XVII.Mrs.Rossiter-Browne
XVIII.TheBirdswhichsang,andtheshadowswhichFell
XIX.WhatGreyandJackDid
XX.WhatTheMcPhersonsDid
XXI.WhatDaisyDid
PARTIII.
I.InRome
II.Farewell.
III.Dead
IV.PoorDaisy
V.Bessie'sDecision
VI.InLiverpool.
VII.OntheShip
VIII.GreyandhisAunt
IX.BessieisPromoted
X.BessiemeetsherAunt
XI.MissMcPherson'sHousemaid
XII.Bessie'sSuccessor
XIII.BessiegoestoGrey'sPark
XIV.TellingBessie
XV.WeddingBells
XVI.Bessie'sFortune
XVII.OldFriends
XVIII.Homeagain
XIX.JoelRogers'Monument
XX.AfterFiveYears


BESSIE'SFORTUNE.


PARTI.


CHAPTERI.


THEJERROLDSOFBOSTON.
Mrs. Geraldine Jerrold, of Boston, had in her girlhood been Miss Geraldine
Grey,ofAllington,oneofthosequiet,prettylittletownswhichsothicklydotthe
hillsandvalleysOfNewEngland.Herfather,whodiedbeforehermarriage,had
beenasea-captain,andamanofgreatwealth,andwaslookeduponasakindof
autocrat,whoseopinionwasalawandwhosefriendshipwasanhonor.Whena
young lady, Miss Geraldine had chafed at the stupid town and the stupider
people, as she designated the citizens of Allington, and had only been happy
when the house at Grey's Park was full of guests after the manner of English
houses, where hospitality is dispensed on a larger scale than is common in
America.Shehadbeenabroad,andhadspentsomeweeksinDerbyshireatthe
PeacockInn,closetotheparkofChatsworth,whichsheadmiredsomuchthat
on her return to Allington she never rested until the five acres of land, in the
midstofwhichherfather'shousestood,wereimprovedandfittedupasnearlyas
possiblelikethebeautifulgroundsacrossthesea.Withgoodtasteandplentyof
money,shesucceededbeyondhermostsanguinehopes,andGrey'sParkwasthe
prideofthetown,andthewonderoftheentirecounty.Akindofshowplaceit
became,andMissGeraldinewasneverhappierorprouderthanwhenstrangers
were going over the grounds or through the house, which was filled with rare
pictures and choice statuary gathered from all parts of the world, for Captain
Grey had brought something curious and costly from every port at which his
vessel touched, so that the house was like a museum, or, as Miss Geraldine
fancied,likethepalacesandcastlesinEurope,whichareshowntostrangersin
theabsenceofthefamily.
Attheageoftwenty-two,MissGeraldinehadmarriedBurtonJerrold,ayoung
manfromoneoftheleadingbanksinBoston,andwhosefather,PeterJerrold,
had,foryears,livedonasmallfarmamileormorefromthetownofAllington.
SofarasGeraldineknew,theJerroldbloodwasasgoodastheGrey's,evenif
oldPeterdidliveahermitlifeandwearadrabovercoatwhichmusthavedated
backmoreyearsthanshecouldremember.Noonehadeverbreathedawordof
censure against the peculiar man, who was never known to smile, and who
seldomspokeexcepthewasspokento,andwho,withhislongwhitehairfalling
aroundhisthinface,lookedlikesomeoldpictureofasaint,whenonSundayhe
satinhisaccustomedpewbythedoor,andlikethepublican,seemedalmostto


smiteuponhisbreastasheconfessedhimselftobeamiserablesinner.
HadBurtonJerroldremainedathomeandbeencontenttotillthebarrensoilof
hisfather'srockyfarm,nothishandsomeface,orpolishedmanners,oradoration
of herself as the queen of queens, could have won a second thought from
Geraldine, for she hated farmers, who smelled of the barn and wore cowhide
boots, and would sooner have died than been a farmer's wife. But Burton had
nevertilledthesoil,norworncowhidebootsnorsmelledofthebarn,forwhen
hewasamereboy,hismotherdied,andanoldaunt,wholivedinBoston,took
him for her own, and gave him all the advantages of a city education until he
wasoldenoughtoenteroneoftheprincipalbanksasaclerk;thenshediedand
left him all her fortune, except a thousand dollars which she gave to his sister
Hannah, who still lived at home upon the farm, and was almost as silent and
peculiarasthefatherhimself.
"MarryoneoftheGreygirlsifyoucan,"theaunthadsaidtohernephewupon
herdeathbed."Itisagoodfamily,andbloodisworthmorethanmoney;itgoes
furthertowardsecuringyouagoodpositioninBostonsociety.TheJerroldblood
isgood,foraughtIknow,thoughnotequaltothatoftheGreys.Yourfatheris
greatly respected in Allington, where he is known, but he is a codger of the
strictesttype,andclingstoeverythingold-fashionedandoutre.Hehasresisted
allmyeffortstohavehimchangethehouseintosomethingmoremodern,even
when, for the sake of your mother, I offered to do it at my own expense.
Especially was I anxious to tear down that projection which he calls a lean-to,
but when I suggested it to him, and said I would bring a carpenter at once, he
flew into such a passion as fairly frightened me. 'The lean-to should not be
touchedforamillionofdollars;hepreferreditasitwas,'hesaid;soIlethim
alone. He is a strange man, and—and—Burton, I may be mistaken, but I have
thoughttherewassomethinghewashiding.Else,whydoesheneversmile,or
talk,orlookyoustraightintheface?Andwhyishealwaysbrooding,withhis
head bent down and his hands clenched together? Yes, there is something
hidden,andHannahknowsit,andthisitiswhichturnedherhairgreysoearly,
andhasmadeherasqueerandreticentasyourfather.Thereisasecretbetween
them,butdonottrytodiscoverit.Theremaybedisgraceofsomekindwhich
wouldaffectyourwholelife,soletitalone.MakegooduseofwhatIleaveyou,
and marry one of the Greys. Lucy is the sweeter and the more amiable, but
Geraldineismoreambitiousandwillhelpyoutoreachthetop."
ThiswasthelastconversationMrs.Wetherbyeverheldwithhernephew,forin
two days more she was dead, and Burton buried her in Mt. Auburn, and went


back to the house which was now his, conscious of three distinct ideas which
even during the funeral had recurred to him constantly. First, that he was the
ownerofalargehouseandtwentythousanddollars;second,thathemustmarry
oneoftheGreys,ifpossible;andthird,thattherewassomesecretbetweenhis
fatherandhissisterHannah;somethingwhichhadmadethemwhattheywere;
somethingwhichhadgivenhisfatherthenameofthehalf-crazyhermit,andto
hissisterthatoftherecluse;somethingwhichhemustnevertrytounearth,lestit
bringdisquietanddisgrace.
That last word had an ugly sound to Burton Jerrold, who was more ambitious
eventhanhisaunt,moreanxiousthatpeopleinhighpositionsshouldthinkwell
of him, and he shivered as he repeated it to himself, while all sorts of fancies
flittedthoughhisbrain.
"Nonsense!" he exclaimed at last, as he arose, and, walking to the window,
lookedoutuponthecommon,wheregroupsofchildrenwereplaying."Thereis
nothinghidden.Whyshouldtherebe?Myfatherhasneverstolen,orforged,or
embezzled,orsetanyone'shouseonfire.TheyesteemhimasaintinAllington,
andIknowhereadshisBibleallthetimewhenheisnotpraying,andoncehe
wasonhiskneesinhisbedroomawholehour,forItimedhim,andthoughthe
mustbecrazy.Ofcoursesogoodamancanhavenothingconcealed,andyet—"
HereBurtonshiveredagain,andcontinued:"Andyet,Ialwaysseemtobeina
nightmarewhenIamattheoldhut,andonceItoldHannahIbelievedthehouse
washaunted,forIheardstrangesoundsatnight,softfootsteps,andmoans,and
whisperings,andtheolddogRoverhowledsodismally,thathekeptmeawake,
andmademenervousandwretched,Idon'trememberwhatHannahsaid,except
thatshemadelightofmyfears,andtoldmethatshewouldkeepRoverinher
room at night on the floor by her bed, which she did ever after when I was at
home.No,thereisnothing,butImayaswellsoundHannahalittle,andwillgo
toheratonce."
WhenMrs. Wetherby died,hernephewsentamessagetohis fatherandsister,
announcing her death, and the time of the funeral. He felt it his duty to do so
much,buthedidnotsaytothem,"Come,Iexpectyou."Infact,awaydownin
hisheart,therewasahopethattheywouldnotcome.Hisfatherwaswellenough
inAllington,wherehewasknown;but,whatafigurehewouldcutinBoston,in
his old drab surtout and white hat, which he had worn since Burton could
remember. Hannah was different, and must have been pretty in her early
girlhood.Indeed,shewasprettynow,andnoonecouldlookintoherpale,sad


face,andsoftdarkeyes,orlistentoherlow,sweetvoice,withoutbeingattracted
toherandknowinginstinctivelythat,inspiteofherplainQuakerishdress,she
wasaladyinthetruesenseoftheword.So,whenshecamealonetopaythelast
tokenofrespecttotheauntwhohadneverbeenverygracioustoher,Burtonfelt
relieved, though he wished that her bonnet was a little more fashionable, and
suggestedherbuyinganewone,whichhewouldpayfor.ButHannahsaid"no,"
very quietly and firmly, and that was the end of it. The old style bonnet was
worn as well as the old style cloak, and Burton felt keenly the difference
betweenherpersonalappearanceandhisown.He,theBostondandy,withevery
article of dress as faultless as the best tailor could make it, and she, the plain
countrywoman, with no attempt at style or fashion, with nothing but her own
sterling worth to commend her, and this was far more priceless than all the
wealthoftheIndies.HannahJerroldhadbeentriedinthefire,andhadcomeout
purified and almost Christlike in her sweet gentleness and purity of soul. She
knew her brother was ashamed of her—whether designedly or not, he always
madeherfeelit—butshehadfeltitherdutyto attendheraunt'sfuneral, even
thoughitstirredanewallthebitternessofherjoylesslife.
Andnowthefuneralwasover,andshewasgoinghomethatveryafternoon—to
thegloomyhouseamongtherocks,whereshehadgrownold,andherhairgray
longbeforehertime—goingbacktotheburdenwhichpressedsoheavilyupon
her, and from which she shrank as she had never done before. Not that she
wishedtostayinthatgrandhouse,whereshewassosadlyoutofplace,butshe
wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, so that she escaped from the one spot so
horrible to her. She was thinking of all this and standing with her face to the
window,whenherbrotherenteredtheroomandbegan,abruptly:
"I say, Hannah, I want to ask you something. Just before Aunt Wetherby died,
shehadalongtalkwithmeonvariousmatters,andamongotherthingsshesaid
shebelievedtherewassomethingtroublingyouandfather,somesecretyouwere
hidingfrommeandtheworld.Isitso?DoyouknowanythingwhichIdonot?"
"Yes,manythings."
ThevoicewhichgavethisreplywasnotlikeHannah'svoice,butwashardand
sharp,andsoundedasifagreatwaysoff,andBurtoncouldseehowviolentlyhis
sister was agitated, even though she stood with her back to him. Suddenly he
remembered that his aunt had also said: "If there is a secret, never seek to
discoverit,lestitshouldbringdisgrace."Andherehewas,tryingtofinditout
almostbeforeshewascold.AgreatfeartookpossessionofBurtonthen,forhe


wastheveriestmoralcowardintheworld,andbeforeHannahcouldsayanother
word,hecontinued:
"Yes, Aunt Wetherby was right. There is something; there has always been
something;butdon'ttellme,please,I'drathernotknow."
He spoke very gently for him, for somehow, there had been awakened within
him a great pity for his sister, and by some sudden intuition he seemed to
understandallherlonelinessandpain.Iftherehadbeenawrongdoingitwasnot
herfault;andasshestillstoodwithherbacktohim,anddidnotspeak,hewent
uptoher,andlayinghishanduponhershoulder,saidtoher:
"IregretthatIaskedaquestionwhichhassoagitatedyou,and,believeme,Iam
sorryforyou,forwhateveritis,youareinnocent."
Thensheturnedtowardhimwithafaceaswhiteasashesandalookofterrorin
herlargeblackeyes,beforewhichhequailed.Neverinhislife,sincehewasa
littlechild,hadheseenhercry,butnow,afterregardinghimfixedlyamoment,
shebrokeintosuchawildfitofsobbingthathebecamealarmed,andpassinghis
armaroundher,leadhertoaseatandmadeherleanherheaduponhim,whilehe
smoothedherheavyhair,whichwasmorethanhalfgray,andshewasonlythree
yearshissenior.
Atlastshegrewcalm,andrisingup,saidtohim:
"Excuseme,Iamnotoftensoupset—Ihavenotcriedinyears—notsinceRover
died,"herehervoicetrembledagain,butshewentonquitesteadily."Hewasall
the companion I had, you know, and he was so faithful, so true. Oh, it almost
brokemyheartwhenhediedandleftmetherealone!"
There was a world of pathos in her voice, as she uttered the last two words,
"Therealone,"anditflasheduponBurtonthattherewasmoremeaninginthem
thanwasatfirstindicated;thattolivetherealonewassomethingfromwhichhis
sister recoiled. Standing before her, with his hand still upon her head, he
remembered, that she had not always been as she was now, so quiet and
impassive,withnosmileuponherface,nojoyinherdarkeyes.Asayounggirl,
inthedayswhenhe,too,livedathome,andsleptundertheraftersinthelowroofed house, she had been full of life and frolic, and played with him all day
long.Shewasveryprettythen,andherchecks,nowsocolorless,wereredasthe
damaskroseswhichgrewbythekitchendoor,whileherwavyhairwasbrown,
likethechestnutstheyusedtogatherfromthetrees,intherockypastureland.It


waswavystill,andsoftandluxurient,butitwasirongrey,andsheworeitplain,
inaknotatthebackofherhead,andonlyafewshorthairs,whichwouldcurl
aboutherforeheadinspiteofher,softenedtheseverityofherface.Justwhenthe
changebeganinhissister.Burtoncouldnotremember,for,ontherareoccasions
whenhevisitedhishomehehadnotbeenacloseobserver,andhadonlybeen
consciousofadesiretoshortenhisstayasmuchaspossible,andreturntohis
aunt'shouse,whichwasmuchmoretohistaste.Heshoulddieifhehadtolive
inthatlonelyspot,hethought,andinhisnewlyawakenedpityforhissister,he
saidtoher,impulsively:
"Don'tgobacktheretostay.Livewithme.Iamallalone,andmusthavesome
onetokeepmyhouse.VonandIcangetonnicelytogether."
Hemadenomentionofhisfather,andhedidnothalfmeanwhathesaidtohis
sister, and had she accepted his offer he would have regretted that it had ever
beenmade.Butshedidnotacceptit,andsheansweredhimatonce:
"No, Burton, so long as father lives I must stay with him, and you will be
happierwithoutthanwithme.Wearenotatallalike.ButIthankyouforasking
meallthesame,andnowitistimeformetogo,ifItakethefouro'clocktrain.
Fatherwillbeexpectingme."
Burton went with her to the train, and saw her into the car, and bought her
Harper'sMonthly,andbadehergood-by,andthen,inpassingout,metandlifted
hishattotheMissesGrey,LucyandGeraldine,whohadbeenvisitinginBoston,
andwerereturningtoAllington.
Thisencounterdrovehissisterfromhismind,andmadehimthinkofhisaunt's
injunction to marry one of the Greys. Lacy was the prettier and gentler of the
two,theonewhomeverybodyloved,andwhowouldmakehimthebetterwife.
Probably,too,shewouldbe moreeasilywonthanthehaughtyGeraldine,who
hadnotmanyfriends.Andso,beforehereachedhishouseonBeaconstreet,he
had planned a matrimonial campaign and carried it to a successful issue, and
madesweetLucyGreythemistressofhishome.
ItisnotourpurposetoenterintothedetailsofBurton'swooing.Sufficeittosay,
thatitwasunsuccessful,forLucysaid"No,"verypromptly,andthenhetriedthe
proudGeraldine,wholistenedtohissuit,and,afteralittle,acceptedhim,quite
asmuchtohissurpriseastothatofheracquaintances,whoknewherambitious
nature.


"AnythingtogetawayfromstupidAllington,"shesaidtohersisterLucy,who
sheneversuspectedhadbeenBurton'sfirstchoice."Ihatethecountry,andIlike
Boston, and like Mr. Jerrold well enough. He is good-looking, and wellmannered,andhasahouseandtwentythousanddollars,agoodpositioninthe
bank,andnobadhabits.Ofcourse,Iwouldratherthathisfatherandsisterwere
notsuchoddities:butIamnotmarryingthem,andshalltakegoodcaretokeep
themintheirplaces,whichplacesarenotinBoston."
Andsothetwoweremarried,BurtonJerroldandGeraldineGrey,andtherewas
agrandwedding,atGrey'sPark,andthesupperwasservedonthelawn,where
therewasadance,andmusic,andfireworksintheevening;andSamLawton,a
half-wittedfellow,wentupinaballoon,andcamedownonapileofrocksonthe
Jerrold farm, and broke his leg; and people were there from Boston, and
Worcester,andSpringfield,andNewYork,butveryfewfromAllington,forthe
reasonthatveryfewwerebidden.CouldLucyhavehadherway,thewholetown
wouldhavebeeninvited;butGeraldineoverruledher,andmadeherselflife-long
enemiesofthepeoplewhohadknownherfromchildhood.PeterJerroldstaidat
home, just as Burton hoped he would, but Hannah was present, in a new gray
silk, with some old lace, and a bit of scarlet ribbon at her throat, and her hair
arranged somewhat after the fashion of the times. This was the suggestion of
LucyGrey,whohadmoreinfluenceoverHannahJerroldthananyoneelseinthe
world, and when she advised the new silk, and the old lace, and the scarlet
ribbon, Hannah assented readily, and looked so youthful and pretty, in spite of
her thirty years, that the Rev. Mr. Sanford, who was a bachelor, and had
preachedinAllingtonforseveralyears,paidhermarkedattention,helpingherto
ices,andwalkingwithherforhalfanhouronthelongterraceinacornerofthe
park.
TherewasatriptoSaratoga,andNewport,andtheCatskills,andthen,earlyin
September, Burton brought his bride to the house on Beacon street, which
Geraldineatonceremodeledandfittedupinastyleworthyofhermeans,andof
thepositionshemeantherhusbandtooccupy.Hewasagrowingman,andfrom
beingclerkinabank,sooncametobecashier,andthenpresident,andmoney
andfriendspouredinuponhim,andGeraldine'sdrawing-roomswerefilledwith
theeliteofthecity.Thefashionables,thescholars,theartists,andmusicians,and
whoever was in any degree famous, met with favor from Mrs. Geraldine, who
likednothingbetterthantofillherhousewithsuchpeople,andfancyherselfa
secondMadameDeStael,inhercharacterashostess.Allthiswasverypleasing
to Burton, who, having recovered from any sentimental feeling he might have


entertained for Lucy, blessed the good fortune which gave him Geraldine
instead.Heneveraskedhimselfifhelovedher;heonlyknewthatheadmired,
and revered, and worshiped her as a woman of genius and tact; that what she
thought,hethought;whatshewished,hewished;andwhatshedidhewasbound
tosaywasright,andmakeothersthinksotoo.Therehadbeenacondescension
onherpartwhenshemarriedhim,andsheneverlethimforgetit;whilehe,too,
mentally acknowledged it, and felt that, for it, he owed her perfect allegiance,
fromwhichheneverswerved.


CHAPTERII.


GREYJERROLD.
JustayearafterthegrandweddingatGrey'sPark,therewasborntoBurtonand
Geraldine a little boy, so small and frail and puny, that much solicitude would
havebeenfeltforhimhadtherenotbeenagreateranxietyfortheyoungmother,
whowentsofardowntowardtheriverofdeaththateveryotherthoughtwaslost
inthegreatfearforher.Thenthetwosisters,HannahandLucy,came,thelatter
giving all her time to Geraldine, and the former devoting herself to the feeble
littlechild,whoseconstantwailsodisturbedthemotherthatshebeggedthemto
takeitawaywhereshecouldnothearitcry,itmadehersonervous.
Geraldinedidnotlikechildren,andsheseemedtocaresolittleforherbabythat
Hannah, who had loved it with her whole soul the moment she took it in her
armsandfeltitssoftcheekagainstherown,saidtoherbrotheroneday:
"Imustgohometo-morrow,butletmetakebabywithme.Hiscryingdisturbs
yourwife,whohearshimhoweverfarhemaybefromherroom.Heisaweak
littlething,butIwilltakethebestofcareofhim,andbringhimbackahealthy
boy."
Burtonsawnoobjectiontotheplan,andreadilygavehisconsent,providedhis
wifewaswilling.
Althoughoutofdanger,Geraldinewasstilltoosicktocareforherbaby,andso
itwentwithHannahtotheoldhomeamongtherocks,whereitgrewroundand
plump, and pretty, and filled the house with the music of its cooing and its
laughter, and learned to stretch its fat hands toward the old grandfather, who
never tookitin his arms,or laidhishandsuponit.ButHannahoncesawhim
kneeling by the cradle where the child was sleeping, and heard him whisper
throughhistears:
"Godblessyou,mydarlingboy,andmayyouneverknowwhatitistosinasI
havesinned,untilIamnotworthytotouchyouwithmyfinger.Oh,Godforgive
andmakemecleanasthislittlechild."
ThenHannahknewwhyherfatherkeptalooffromhisgrandson,andpitiedhim
morethanshehaddonebefore.


It was the first of October before Geraldine came up to Allington to claim her
boy,ofwhomshereallyknewnothing.
Onlyoncesincehermarriagehadshebeentothefarm-house,andthenshehad
driventothedoorinherhandsomecarriagewiththehigh-steppingbays,andhad
heldupherrichsilkdressasshepassedthroughthekitchenintothe"bestroom,"
aroundwhichsheglancedalittlecontemptuously.
"Not as well furnished as my cook's room," she thought, but she tried to be
gracious,andsaidhowcleaneverythingwas,andaskedHannahifshedidnot
getverytireddoingherownwork,andpraisedthedahliasgrowingbythesouth
door, and ate a few plums, and drank some water, which she said was so cold
that it made her think of the famous well at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of
Wight.
"Yourwellmustbeverydeep.Whereisit?"sheasked,notbecauseshecared,
butbecauseshemustsaysomething.
Onbeingtolditwasinthewoodshedshestartedforit,andmistakingthedoor,
waswalkingintoabedroom,whenshewasseizedroughlybyherfather-in-law,
whosefacewaswhiteasashes,andwhosevoiceshook,ashesaid:
"Notinthere;thisistheway."
ForaninstantGeraldinelookedathiminsurpriseheseemedsoagitated;then,
thinkingtoherselfthatprobablyhisroomwasindisorder,andthebedunmade,
she dismissed it from her mind, and went to investigate the well, whose water
tastedlikethatatCarisbrookeCastle.
Halfanhourinallsheremainedatthefarm-house,andthatwastheonlytime
shehadhonoreditwithherpresenceuntilthedaywhenshecametotakeherboy
away.
Notyetfullyrecoveredfromherdangerousillness,sheassumedalltheairsofan
invalid,andkeptherwrapsaroundher,andshrankalittlewhenherhusbandput
herboyinherlap,andaskedherifhewasnotabeauty,anddidnotdojusticeto
Hannah'scare,andthebrindlecowwhosemilkhehadfedupon.Andintruthhe
wasahealthy,beautifulchild,witheyesasblueastheskiesofJune,andlight
chestnut hair, which lay in thick curls upon his head. But he was strange to
Geraldine, and she was strange to him, and after regarding her a moment with
hisgreatblueeyes,heturnedtowardHannah,andwithaquiveringlipbeganto


cryforher.AndHannahtookhiminherarmsandhugginghimtoherbosom,
feltthatherheartwasbreaking.Shelovedhimsomuch,hehadbeensomuch
companyforher,andhadhelpedtodriveawayinpart,thehorrorwithwhichher
lifewasinvested,andnowhewasgoingfromher;allshehadtoloveinthewide
world,andsofarassheknew,theonlylivingbeingthatlovedherwithapure,
unselfishlove.
"Oh,brother!oh,sister!"shecried,asshecoveredthebaby'sdimpledhandswith
kisses,"don'ttakehimfromme;letmehavehim;lethimstayawhilelonger.I
shalldieherealonewithbabygone."
But Mrs. Geraldine said "No," very decidedly, for though as yet she cared but
littleforherchild,shecaredagreatdealfortheproprieties,andherfriendswere
beginningtowonderattheprotractedabsenceoftheboy;soshemusttakehim
from poor Hannah, who tied on his scarlet cloak and cap of costly lace, and
carriedhimtothecarriageandputhimintothearmsofthered-hairedGerman
womanwhowashereaftertobehisnurseandwinhislovefromher.
Then the carriage drove off, but, as long as it was in sight, Hannah stood just
whereithad lefther,watchingitwithafeelingofsuchutterdesolationasshe
hadneverfeltbefore.
"Oh, baby, baby! come back to me!" she moaned piteously. "What shall I do
withoutyou?"
"Godwillcomfortyou,mydaughter.Hecanbemoretoyouthanbabywas,"the
oldfathersaidtoher,andshereplied:
"Iknowthat.Yes,butjustnowIcannotpray,andIamsodesolate."
Theburdenwaspressingmoreheavilythanever,andHannah'sfacegrewwhiter,
andhereyeslarger,andsadder,andbrighterasthedayswentby,andtherewas
nothingleftofbabybutarattle-boxwithwhichhehadplayed,andthecradlein
whichhehad slept.Thislastshecarriedto herroomupstairsandmadeitthe
shrineover whichherprayersweresaid,not twiceorthrice, butmanytimesa
day, for Hannah had early learned to take every care, great and small, to God,
knowingthatpeacewouldcomeatlast,thoughitmighttarrylong.
Geraldinesentherablacksilkdress,andawhitePaisleyshawlintokenofher
gratitudeforallshehaddoneforthebaby.Shealsowroteheralettertellingof
thegrandchristeningtheyhadhad,andofthehandsomerobefromPariswhich


babyhadwornattheceremony.
"We have called him Grey," Geraldine wrote, "and perhaps, he will visit you
againnextsummer,"butitwasnotuntilGreywastwoyearsold,thathewent
oncemoretothefarm-houseandstaidforseveralmonths,whilehisparentswere
inEurope.
WhatasummerthatwasforHannah,andhowswiftlythedayswentby,while
theburdenpressedsolightlythatsometimessheforgotitforhoursatatime,and
only remembered it when she saw how persistently her father shrank from the
advances of the little boy, who, utterly ignoring his apparent indifference,
pursued him constantly, plying him with questions, and sometimes regarding
himcuriously,asifwonderingathissilence.
Oneday,whentheoldmanwassittinginhisarm-chairundertheappletreesin
the yard, Grey came up to him, with his straw hat hanging down his back, his
blueeyesshininglikestars,andalloverhisfacethatsweetsmilewhichmade
him so beautiful. Folding his little white hands together upon his grandfather's
knee,hestoodamomentgazingfixedlyintothesadface,whichneverrelaxeda
muscle,thougheverynerveofthewretchedmanwasstrungtoitsutmosttension
andquiveringwithpain.Thesearchingblueeyesoftheboytroubledhim,forit
seemedasiftheypiercedtothedepthsofhissoulandsawwhatwasthere.
"Da-da,"Greysaidatlast."Takeme,peese;I'setired."
Oh,howtheoldmanlongedtosnatchthechildtohisbosomandcoverhisface
withthekisseshehadsohungeredtogivehim,butinhismorbidstateofmind
he dared not, lest he should contaminate him, so he restrained himself with a
mightyeffort,andreplied:
"No,Grey,no;Icannottakeyou.Iamtired,too."
"Isyousick?"wasGrey'snextquestion,towhichhisgrandfatherreplied:
"No,Iamnotsick,"whileheclaspedbothhishandstightlyoverhisheadoutof
reachofthebabyfingers,whichsometimestriedtotouchthem.
"Isyousorry,then?"Greycontinued,andthegrandfatherreplied:
"Yes,child,very,verysorry."
There was the sound of a sob in the old man's voice, and Grey's blue eyes


openedwiderastheylookedwistfullyatthelipstremblingwithemotion.
"Hasyoubeenanaughtyboy?"hesaid;and,withasoundlikeamoan,Grandpa
Jerroldreplied:
"Yes,yes,very,verynaughty.Godgrantyoumayneverknowhownaughty."
"Thenwhydon'tAuntieHannahsutooupin'ebed'oom?"Greyasked,withthe
utmost gravity, for, in his mind, naughtiness and being shut up in his aunt's
bedroom,theonlypunishmenteverinflicteduponhim,werecloselyconnected
witheachother.
Almostanyonewouldhavesmiledatthisremark,butGrandpaJerrolddidnot.
Onthecontrarytherecameintohiseyesalookofhorrorasheexclaimed:
"Shutmeinthebedroom!Thatwouldbedreadfulindeed."
Then, springing up, he hurried away into the field and disappeared behind a
ledgeofrocks,where,unseenbyanyeyesavethatofGod,heweptmorebitterly
thanhehadeverdonebefore.
"Why, oh, why," he cried, "must this innocent baby's questions torture me so?
andwhycanInevertakehiminmyarmsorlaymyhandsuponhimlestthey
shouldleaveastain?"
Thenholdingupbeforehimhishard,toil-wornhands,hetriedtorecallwhatit
washehadheardorreadofanotherthanhimselfwhotriedtoridhishandsof
thefoulspotandcouldnot.
"OnlythebloodofJesusChristcleansethfromallsin,"hewhisperedtohimself,
whilehislipsmovedspasmodicallywiththeprayerhabitualtothem;fourwords
only,"Forgiveme,Lord,forgive."
IthadalwaysbeenastrongdesirewithGreytobeledaroundthepremisesbyhis
grandfather, who had steadily resisted all advances of that kind, until with a
child's quick intuition, Grey seemed to understand that his grandfather's hands
weresomethinghemustnottouch.
Thatafternoon,however,asMr.Jerroldwaswalkingonthegreenswardbythe
kitchendoor,withhisheadbentdownandhishandsclaspedbehindhim,Grey
stolenoiselesslyuptohim,andgraspingtherighthandinbothhisown,heldit
fast, while he jumped up and down as he called out to Hannah, who was


standingnear:
"I'sedotit,I'sedotit—dada'shan',an'Isalkeepit,too,andtissithard,likedat,"
and the baby's lips were pressed upon the rough hand, which lay helpless and
subduedinthetwosmallpalmsholdingitsotight.
It was like the casting out of an evil spirit, and Granpa Jerrold felt half his
burdenrollingawaybeneaththatcaress.Therewasahealingpowerinthetouch
of Grey's lips, and the stain, if stain there were upon the wrinkled hand, was
kissedaway,andthepainandremorsewerenotsogreatafterthat.
Greyhadconqueredandwasfreetodowhathepleasedwiththeoldman,who
becamehisveryslave,goingwhereverGreyliked,whetherupthesteephill-side
intherearofthehouseordownuponthepondnearby,wherethewhitelilies
grewandwheretherewasalittleboatinwhichtheoldmanandthechildspent
hourstogether,duringthelongsummerafternoons.
In the large woodshed opposite the well, and very near the window of Granpa
Jerrold's bedroom, a rude bench had been placed for the use of pails and
washbasins, but Grey had early appropriated this to himself and persisted in
keepinghisplaythingsthere,inspiteofallhisgrandfather'sremonstrancestothe
contrary. If his toys were removed twenty times a day to some other locality,
twentytimesadayhebroughtthemback,andarrangingthemuponthebenchsat
down by them defiantly, kicking vigorously against the side of the house in
token of his victory, and wholly unconscious that every thud of his little heels
sentastabtohisgrandfather'sheart.
Whatifheshouldkickthroughtheclapboards?Whatifthefloorshouldcavein?
Such were the questions which tortured the half crazed man, as he wiped the
perspirationfromhisfaceandwonderedattheperversityoftheboyinselecting
that spot of all others, where he must play and sit and kick as only a healthy,
activechildcando.
But after the day when Grey succeeded in capturing his hands, Granpa Jerrold
ceasedtointerferewiththeplay-house,andtheboywasleftinpeaceuponthe
bench, though his grandfather often sat near and watched him anxiously, and
alwaysseemedrelievedwhenthechildtiredofthatparticularspotandwandered
elsewhereinquestofamusement.
There was, however, one place in the house which Grey never sought to
penetrate, and that was his grandfather's bedroom. It is true he had never been


allowedtoenterit,foroneofHannah'sfirstlessonswasthatherfatherdidnot
like children in his room. Ordinarily this would have made no difference with
Grey,whohadawayofgoingwherehepleased;butthegloomyappearanceof
theroomwherethecurtainswerealwaysdowndidnotattracthim,andhewould
onlygoasfarasthedoorandlookin,sayingtohisaunt:
"Bearsinthere!Greynotgo."
And Hannah let him believe in the bears, and breathed more freely when he
cameawayfromthedoor,thoughshefrequentlywhisperedtoherself.
"SometimeGreywillknow,forImusttellhim,andhewillhelpme."
This fancy that Grey was to lift the cloud which overshadowed her, was a
consolation to Hannah, and helped to make life endurable, when at last his
parents returned from Europe, and he went to his home in Boston. After that
Greyspentsomeportionofeverysummeratthefarm-housegrowingmoreand
morefondofhisAuntHannah,notwithstandingherquietmannerandthesevere
plainnessofherpersonalappearancesodifferentfromhismotherandhisAunt
LucyGrey.HisAuntHannahalwaysworeacalicodress,orsomethingequally
asplainandinexpensive,andherhandswereroughandhardwithtoil,forshe
never had any one to help her. She could not afford it, she said, and that was
alwaysherexcusefortheself-denialsshepracticed.AndstillGreyknewthatshe
sometimeshadmoney,forhehadseenhisfathergivehergoldinexchangefor
bills,andheonceaskedherwhyshedidnotuseitforhercomfort.Therewasa
look of deep pain in her eyes, and her voice was sadder than its wont, as she
replied:
"Icannottouchthatmoney.Itisnotmine;itwouldbestealing,totakeapenny
ofit."
GreysawthequestiontroubledhisAuntHannah,andsohesaidnomoreonthe
subject, but thought that when he was a man, and had means of his own, he
would improve and beautify the old farm-house, which, though scrupulously
neat and clean, was in its furnishing plain in the extreme. Not a superfluous
article,exceptwhathadbeensentfromBoston,hadbeenboughtsincehecould
remember, and the carpet, and chairs, and curtains in the best room had been
thereeversincehisfatherwasaboy.AndstillGreylovedtheplacebetterthan
Grey's Park, where he was always a welcome guest, and where his Aunt Lucy
pettedhim,ifpossible,morethandidhisAuntHannah.


AndsweetLucyGrey,inhertrailingdressofrich,blacksilk,withrufflesofsoft
laceatherthroatandwrists,andcostlydiamondsonherwhitefingers,madea
picture perfectly harmonious with Grey's natural taste and ideas of a lady. She
waslovelyasarethepicturesofMurillo'sMadonnas,andGrey,whoknewher
story, reverenced her as something saintly and pure above any woman he had
everknown.Andhere,perhaps,aswellaselsewhere,wemayverybrieflytell
herstory,inorderthatthereadermaybetterunderstandhercharacter.


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