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THE MAIDENS' LODGE; 



OR, 



NONE OF SELF AND ALL OF THEE. 



% (faty of t\\\ Jqip flf <f ui$tt %m\. 



BY 



EMILY SARAH HOLT, 

AUTHOR OF "MISTRESS MARGERY," u SISTER ROSE," ETC. 



•* Ah, my friends J— when God's great Aug-el 

i. ries aloud the deeds of night, 
At the day when hearts are opened 

In the holy Fat* er's fright, — 
Then the great deeds and the nohlest 

Shall be those unheard of now, 
Hidden under patient heart-beats, 

And an uncomplaining brow/' 



NEW EDITION. 



ionium : 

JOHN F. SHAW AND Co., 

48, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C. 



All Bights Reserved. 



PREFACE. 




'HERE are many points in which the reign of 
Queen Anne bore a striking resemblance to 



that of Queen Victoria. Most of all, per- 
haps, is this discernible in the fact that both were 
what the latter has been keenly termed, "An age of 
veneer." There was great form of godliness, with 
general denial of its power; hot party spirit, with few 
men remarkable for genuine political convictions ; a 
religious world engaged in violent polemics, but little 
honest desire to walk humbly with God. Is there 
none of all this now? And can we learn no lessons 
from that past age, so like our own, which has 
merged into eternity, as this age must do and is 
doing, — from those men and women, made like our- 
selves of poor humanity, who have gone before that 
tribunal where we ourselves must soon stand to be 
judged? "Teach us to number our days," is no unfit 
prayer for any of us. "Teach us to do Thy will," is 
yet a better one. And happy are those among us 
who can echo that sweet old Huguenot hymn, 

" Mon sort n'est pas a plaindre, 
II est a ddslrer ; 
Je n'ai plus rien h craindre, 
Car Dieu est mon Berger." 



CHAPTER 



CONTENTS. 



I. Phcebe Arrives at White-Ladies 



PAGE 



II. Making Acquaintances 



III. Little Mrs. Dorothy. 



IV. Through Thorny Paths 



V. Gatty's Troubles. 



VI. Traps Laid for Khoba 



VII. Delawarr Court. 



VIII. Rhoda is Taken in the Trap 



22 



42 



65 



90 



117 



136 



157 



IX. Something alters Everything 



178 



X. Mr. Welles does it Beautifully 



193 



XI. Phcebe in a New Character . 



211 



XII. Ends in the Maidens' Lodge . 



229 



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THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



CHAPTER I. 



PHCEBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 




"The sailing of a cloud hath Providence to its pilot." 

Martin Farqiihar Tupper* 

N the handsome parlour of Cressingham Abbey, 
commonly called White-Ladies, on a dull 
afternoon in January, 17 12, sat Madam and 
her granddaughter, Rhoda, sipping tea. 

Madam — and nothing else, tier dependants would 
have thought it an impertinence to call her Mrs. Fur- 
nival. Never was Empress of all the Russias more 
despotic in her wide domain than Madam in her 
narrow one. 

As to Mr. Furnival — for there had been such a 
person, though it was a good while since — he was a 
mere appendage to Madam's greatness — useful in the 
way of collecting rents and seeing to repairs, and 
capable of being put away when done with. He was a 



2 THE M 'A WENS' LODGE. 



little, meek, unobtrusive man, fully (and happily) con- 
vinced of his own insignificance, and ready to sink him- 
self in his superb wife as he might receive orders. He 
had been required to change his name as a condition of 
alliance with the heiress of Cressingham, and had done 
so with as mugh readiness as he would in similar 
circumstances have changed his coat. It was about 
fourteen years since this humble individual had ceased 
to be the head servant of Madam ; and it was Madam's 
wont to hint, when she condescended to refer to him at 
all, that her marriage with him had been the one occa- 
sion in her life wherein she had failed to act with her 
usual infallibility. 

It had been a supreme disappointment to Madam 
that both her children wxre of the inferior sex. Mrs. 
Catherine to some extent resembled her father, having 

no thoughts nor opinions of her own, but being capable 
of moulding like wax ; and like wax her mother moulded 
her. She married, under Madam's orders, at the age 
of twenty, the heir of the neighbouring estate — a young 
gentleman of blood and fortune, with few brains and 
fewer principles — and died two years thereafter, leaving 
behind her a baby daughter only a week old, whom her 
careless father was glad enough to resign to Madam, in 
order to get her out of his way. 

The younger of Madam's daughters, despite her 
sister's passive obedience, had been the mother's 
favourite. Her obedience was by no means passive. 
She inherited all her mother's self-will, and more than 
her mother's impulsiveness. Much the handsomer of 
the two, she was dressed up, flattered, indulged, and 
petted in every way. Nothing was too good for Anne, 



PIKE BE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. % 



until one winter day, shortly after Catherine's marriage, 
iv hen the family assembled round the breakfast table, 
and Anne was found missing. A note was brought to 



. ~.~ — , „. „„ 



Madam that evening by one of Mr. PeveriFs under- 
gardeners, in which Anne gaily confessed that she had 
taken her destiny into her own hands, and had that 
morning been married to the Reverend Charles Latrobe, 
family chaplain to her brother-in-law, Mr. Peveril. She 
hoped that her mother would not be annoyed, and 
would receive her and her bridegroom wirh the usual 
cordiality exhibited at weddings. 

Madam's . face was a study for a painter. Had 
Anne Furnival searched through her whole acquaint- 
ance, and selected that one man who would be least 
acceptable at Crcssingham, she could not have suc- 
ceeded better. 

A chaplain! the son of a French Huguenot refugee, 
concerned in trade ! — every item, in Madam's eyes, was 
a lower deep beyond the previous one. It was con* 
sidcred in those days that the natural wife for a famil) 
chaplain was the lady's maid. That so mean a creatun 
should presume to lift his eyes to the sister of rm 
patroness, was monstrous beyond endurance. And a 
Frenchman ! — when Madam looked upon all foreigners 

as nuisances whose removal served for practice to the 
British fleet, and boasted that she could net speak a 
word of French, with as much complacency as would 
have answered for laying claim to a perfect knowledge 
of all the European tongues- And a tradesman's son ! 
A tradesman, and a gentleman, in her eyes, were terms 
as incompatible as a blue rose or a vermilion cat. For 
a man to soil his fingers with sale, barter,, or manufao 



4 THE MAIDENS > LODGE. 



ture, was destructive of all pretension not only to birth, 
but to manners. 

On the head of her innocent spouse Madam's fury 
had been outpoured in no measured terms. Receive 
the hussy, she vehemently declared, she would not ! 
She should never set foot in that house again. From 
this moment she had but one daughter. 

Two years afterwards, on the evening of Catherine's 
funeral, and of the transference of baby Rhoda to the 
care of her grandmother, a young woman, shabbily 
dressed, carrying an infant, and looking tired and care- 
worn, made her way to the back door of the Abbey. 
She asked for an interview with Madam. 

" I cannot disturb Madam," said the grey-haired 
servant, not unkindly; u her daughter was buried this 
morning. You must come again, my good woman." 

"Must I so, Baxter? " replied the applicant. "Tell 
her she has one daughter left. Surely, if ever she will 
see me, it were to-night. 

"Eh, Mrs. Anne!" exclaimed the man, who re- 
membered her as a baby in arms. " Your pardon, 
Madam, that I knew you not sooner. Well, I cannot 
tell ! but come what will, it shall never be said that I 
turned my young mistress from her mother's door. If 
I lose my place by it, I'll take in your name to 
Madam." 

The answer he received was short and stern. 

" My daughter was buried this morning. I will not 
see the woman." 

Baxter softened it a little in repeating it to Mrs. 
Latrobe. But he could not soften the hard fact that 
her mother refused to see her. She was turning away, 



» 



PIKEBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 5 



ff 



vvhen suddenly she lifted her head and held out he- 
child to him. 

" Take it to her ! 'Tis a boy.** 

Mrs. Latrobc knew Madam. If a grandchild of 
the nobler sex produced no effect upon her, no more 
could be hoped. Baxter carried the child in, but he 
shook his grey head when he brought it back. He did 
not repeat the message this time. 

I'll have nought to do with that beggar trades- 
fellow's brats ! " said Madam, in a fury. 

"Mrs. Anne, there's one bit of comfort/' said old 
Baxter, in a whisper. " Master slipped out as soon as I 
told of you, and I saw him cross the field towards the 
church. Go you that way, and meet him/' 

She did not speak another word, but she clasped the 
child tight to her bosom, and hurried away. As she 

passed a narrow outlet at the end of the Abbey Church, 

close to the road, Mr, Furnival shambled out and met 

her. 

" Eh, Nancy, poor soul, God bless thee ! " faltered 
the poor father, who was nearly as much to be pitied as 
his child. " She'll not see thee, my girl. And she'll 
blow me up for coming. But that's nothing — it comes 
every day for something. Look here, child," and Mr. 
Furnival emptied all his pockets, and poured gold and 
silver into Anne's thin hand. " 1 can do no more. 
Poor child! poor child ! But if thou art in trouble, my 
girl, send to me at any time, and I'll pawn my coat for 
thee if I can do no better/'' 

"Father," said Mrs. Latrobe, in an unsteady voice, 
I am sorry I was ever an undutiful child to you. 



n 



}) 



The emphasis was terribly significant. 



6 T1{E MAIDENS' LODGE. 



So they parted, with much admiration of the grand- 
son, and Mr. Furnival trotted back to his penance; for 
Madam kept him very short of money, and required 
from him an account of every shilling. The storm 
which he anticipated broke even a little more severely 
than he expected ; but he bore it quietly, and went to 
bed when it was over. 

Since that night nothing whatever had been heard 
of Mrs. Latrobe until four months before the storv 
opens. When Mr. Furnival was on his death-bed, he 
braved his wife's anget by naming the disowned 
daughter. His last words were, (t Perpetua. seek out 
Anne!" 

Madam sat listening to him with lips firmly set, and 
without words. It was not till he was past speech that 
she gave him any answer. 

"Jack/' she said at last, to the pleading eyes which 
were more eloquent than the hushed voice had been, 
"look you here. I will not seek the girl out. She has 
made her bed, and let her lie on it ! But I will do this 
for you — and I should never have done that without 
your asking and praying me now. If she comes or 
sends to me, I will not refuse her some help. I shall 
please myself what sort. But I won't turn her quite 
awny, for your sake." 

The pleading eyes turned to grateful ones. An hour 
later, and Madam was a widow. 

Fourteen years passed, during which Rhoda grew 
up into a maiden of nineteen years, always in the 
custody of her grandmother. Her father had fallen in 
one of the Duke of Marlborough's battles, and before 
his death had been compelled to sell Peveril Manor to 



PIKE BE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 7 



liquidate his gambling debts. He left nothing for 
Rhoda beyond his exquisite wardrobe and jewellery, a 

service of gold plate, and a number of unpaid bills, 
which Madam flatly refused to take upon herself, and 
defied the unhappy tradesmen to impose upon Rhoda.' 
She did, however, keep the plate and jewels; and by 
way of a sop to Cerberus, allowed the tf beggarly 
craftsmen/' whom she so heartily despised, to sell and 
divide the proceeds of the wardrobe. 

When the fourteen years were at an end, on an 
afternoon in September, a letter was brought to the 
Abbey for Madam. Its bearer was a respectable- 
looking middle-aged woman. Madam ordered her to 

have some refreshment, while she read the letter. 
Rhoda noticed that her hand shook as she held it, and 
wondered what it could be about. Letters were unusual 

and important documents in those davs. But it was 
the signature that had startled Madam — "Anne- La. 

trobe." 

Mrs. Latrobe wrote in a strain of suffering, peni- 
tence, and entreaty. She was in sore trouble. Her 
husband was dead; of her five children only one was 
living. She herself was capable of taking a situation 
as lady's maid — a higher position then than now — and 
she knew of one Iadv who was willing to engage her. if 
she could provide otherwise for Phoebe. Phoebe was 
the second of her children, and was now seventeen. 
She expressed her sorrow for the undutiful behaviour of 
which she had been guilty towards both parents ; and 
she besought in all ignorance the father who had been 
dead for fourteen years, to plead with Madam, to help 
her, in any way she pleased ; to put Phcebe into some 



8 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



respectable place where she could earn her own living. 
Mrs. Latrobe described her as a "quiet, meek, good 
girl, — far better than ever I was," — and said that she 
would be satisfied with any arrangement which would 

effect the end proposed. 

For some minutes Madam sat gazing out of the 
window, yet seeing nothing, with the letter lying open 
before her. Her promise to her dead husband bound 
her to answer favourably. What should she do with 
Phoebe? After some time of absolute silence, she 
startled Rhoda with the question, 

" Child, how old are you ? " 

" Nineteen, Madam/' answered Rhoda, in much 
surprise. 

"Two years!" responded Madam, — which words 

were an enigma to her granddaughter. 

But as Rhoda was of a romantic temperament, 
and the central luminary of her sphere was Rhoda 
Peveril, visions besran to dance before her of some 
eligible suitor, whom Madam was going to put off foi 
two years. She was more perplexed than ever with the 

next question. 

" Would you like a companion, child ? " 

"Very much, Madam." Anything which was 3 

change was welcome to Rhoda. 

""i think T will," said Madam. " Ring the bell." 
I have already stated that Madam was impulsive. 

"When her old butler came in — a man who looked the 

embodiment of awful respectability — she said, "Send 

that woman here." 

The woman appeared accordingly, and stood courte- 

syingjust within the door. 



PHCEBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 9 



tc 



Your name, my good woman ? " asked Madam, 



condescendingly. 



" An't please you, Molly Bell, Madam." 
" Whence come you, Molly ? " 
"An't please you, from Bristol, Madam, 
How came you ? " 



3» 



(( 



(( 



(( 



it 



An't please you, on foot, Madam ; b«t I got a lift 
in a carrier's cart for a matter of ten miles/ 5 

Do you know the gentlewoman that writ the 

letter you brought ? 

" Oh, aye, Mistress Latrobe ! The Lord be thanked, 
Madam, that ever I did know her, and her good master, 
the Reverend, that's gone to the good place." 

<€ You are sure of that ? " demanded Madam ; but 
the covert satire was lost on Molly Bell. 

" Sure ! " exclaimed she ; adding, very innocently, 
i{ You can never have known Mr. Latrobe, Madam, to 
ask that ; not of late years, leastwise." 

" I never did," said Madam, rather grimly. "And 
do you know Mrs. Phoebe ?" 

" Dear heart, Madam ! " said Molly, laughing 
softly, "but how queer it do sound, for sure, to hear 
you say Mrs. Phoebe ! She's always been Miss Phcebt 
with us all these years; and we hadn't begun like tc 
think she was growing up. Oh, dear, yes, Madam, 
I knew them all — Master Charles, and Miss Phoebe, 
and Master Jack, and Miss Perry, and Miss Kitty." 

<e Miss Perry ? " said Madam, in an interrogative 
tone. 

a Miss Perpetua, Madam — we always called her 

Miss Perry for short. A dear little blessed child she 
was I " 



io • THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Rhoda saw the hand which held the letter tremble 
a^ain. 

"And they are all dead but Miss Phoebe? " 

i( It's a mercy Miss Phoebe wasn't taken too/' said 
Molly, shaking her head. u They died of the fever, in 
one fortnight's time — Miss Perry went the first; and 
then Master Jack, and then Master Charles, and the 
Reverend himself, and Miss Kitty last of all. Miss 
Phoebe was down like all of 'cm. and the doctor did sav 
he couldn't ha* pulled her through but for her dear good 
mother. She never had her gown off, Madam, night 
nor day, just a-going from one sick bed to another; 
and they all died in her arms. I wonder she didn't lie 
down and die herself at last. I do think it was Miss 
Phoebe beginning to get better as kept her in life," 

« Poor Anne ! " 

If anything could have startled Rhoda, it was those 
two words. She recognized her aunt's name, and knew 
now of whom they were speaking. 

Had Molly been retained as counsel for Mrs. La- 
trobe, she could hardly have spoken more judiciously 
than she did. She went on now, 

" And, O Madam ! when all was done, and the five 
coffins carried out, she says to me, Mrs. Latrobe savs, 
'Molly/ she says, 'I'd ought to be very thankful. I 
haven't been a good child,' she says, ' to my father and 
mother. But tha/W never pay me back my bitter ways/ 
she says. And I'm right sure, Madam, as Miss Phoebe 
never will, for she's that sweet and good, she is I So 

you sec, Madam, Mrs. Latrobe, she's had her troubles, 
and if so be she's sent to you for comfort, Madam, I 
take the liberty to hope as you'!! give her a bit." 



PHCEB'E ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. u 



" You can go back to the kitchen, Molly/' said 
Madam, in what was for her a very gracious tone. " I 
A'ill order you a night's lodging here, and to-morrow 
one of my carters, who is going to Gloucester, shall 
tike you so far on your way. I will give you a letter 
to carry. 3> 

" Thank you kindly, Madam ! " 

And with half a dozen courtesies, one for Rhoda, 
and the rest for Madam, Molly retreated, well pleased. 
Madam sat down and wrote her letter. This was 
Madam's letter, written in an amiable frame of mind: 

"Daughter, — I have yowr leter. Your father is ded thise 
foreteen yeres. I promissed him as he lay a dyeing y* I wou'd 
doe some thing for you. You have nott desarv'd itt, but I am 
sory to here of your troble. If you will sende youre childe to 
mee, I will doe so mutch for yow as too brede her upp with my 
granedo 7 Roda, yowr sistar Catterin's child. I wou'd not have 
yow mistak my meancing, w ch is nott that shee shou'd be plac'd 
on a levell w* her cosin, for Roada is a jantlewoman, and yt is 
moar than she can say. But to be Rodes wating mayd, and 
serve her in her chamber, and bere her cumpany when she hath 
need. I will give the girle too sutes of close by the yere, and 
some tims a shillinge in her pockit, and good lodgeing and enow 
of victle. And if shee be obediant and humbel, and order her 
jelf as I wou'd she may, I will besyde al this give her if shee 
mary her weding close and her weddying diner, — y* is, if she 
mary to my minde, — and if noe, thenn shee may go whissel for 
anie thing I will doe for her. It is moar than she cou'd look for 
anie whear els. You will bee a foole to say Noe. 

"P. FURNIVAL 

•' Lett the girle come when you goe to your place. There is a 
carrer goes from Bristoll to Teukesburry, and a mann with an 
horse shal mete her at the Bell." 

Be not horrified, accomplished modern reader, at 



12 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



Madam's orthography. She spelt fairly well — for a lady 

in 1712. 

An interval of about two months followed, and then 
came another letter from Mrs. Latrobe. She wrote in 
a most grateful strain ; she was evidently even more 
surprised than pleased with the offer for Phoebe. There 
was a reference of penitent love to her father; a pro- 
mise that Phoebe should be at Cressinsham on or as 
near as possible to the twenty-ninth of January ; and 
warm thanks for her mother's undeserved kindness, more 
especially for the consideration which had prompted the 
promise that Phoebe should be met at Tewkesbury, in- 
stead of being left to find her way alone in the dark 
through the two miles which lay between that town and 
Cressingham. 

So, on the afternoon of that twenty-ninth of 
January, an hour after the man and horses had started, 
Madam and Rhoda sat in the Abbey parlour, sipping 
their tea, and both meditating 011 the subject of Phoebe. 

Madam, as became a widow, was attired in black. 
A stiff black bombazine petticoat was surmounted by a 
black silk gown adorned with flowers in raised embroi- 
dery, and the train of the gown was pulled through the 
pocket-hole of the petticoat. At that time, ladies of 
all ages wore their dresses low and square at the neck, 
edged with a tucker of netfc or lace; the sleeves ended 
at the elbows with a little white ruffle of similar material 

to the tucker. In London, the low head-dress was 
coming into fashion ; but country ladies still wore the 

high commode, a superb erection of lace and muslin, 
from one to three feet in height. Long black silk 
mittens were drawn up to meet the sleeves. The shoes 



PHCEBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 13 



reached nearly to the ankles, and were finished with 

large silver buckles. 

Rhoda was much smarter. She wore a cotton gown 
for when all cotton gowns were imported from India, 
they were rare and costly articles — of an involved shawl- 
like pattern, in which the prevailing colour was red. 

Underneath was a petticoat of dark blue quilted silk. 
Her commode was brightened by blue ribbons; she 
wore no mittens; and her shoe buckles rivalled those of 
her grandmother. Rhoda's figure was good, but her 
face was commonplace. She was neither pretty nor 
ugly, neither intellectual nor stupid-looking. Of course 
she wore powder (as also did Madam) ; but if her hair 
had been released from its influence, it would have been 
perceived that there was about it a slight, very slight, 
tinge of red. 

The coming of her cousin was an event of the 
deepest interest to Rhoda, for she had been ever since 
her birth absolutely without any society of her own age. 
Never having had an opportunity of measuring herself 
by other girls, Rhoda imagined herself a most learned 
and accomplished young person. It would be such a 
triumph to see Phcebe find it out, and such a pleasure 
to receive — with a becoming deprecation which meant 
nothing — the admiration of one so far her inferior. 
Rhoda had dipped into a score or two of her grand- 
fathers books, had picked up sundry fine words and 
technical phrases, with a smattering of knowledge, or 
what would pass for it ; and she sat radiant in the con- 
templation of the delightful future which was to exalt 
herself and overawe Phcebe. 

So lost was she in her own imaginations, that she 



£4 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



neither heard Madam ring her little hand-bell, nor war 
conscious that the horses had trotted past the window, 
until Sukey, one of Madam's maids, came in answer to 
the bell, and courtesying, said, 

\ "An it please you, Madam, Mrs. Phoebe Latrobe." 
Rhoda lifted her eyes eagerly, and saw her cousin. 
The first item which she noticed was that Phoebe's 
figure was by no means so good as her own, her 
shoulders being so high as almost to reach deformity; 
the next point was that the expression of Phoebe's face 
was remarkably sweet; the third was that Phoebe's 
dress was particularly shabby. It was a brown stuff, 
worn threadbare, too short for the fashion, and without 
any of the flounces and furbelows then common. Over 
it was tied a plain white linen apron — aprons were then 
worn both in and out of doors — and Phoebe's walking 
costume consisted of a worn black mantua or pelisse, 
and a hood, brown like the dress, which was the shab- 
biest of all. The manner of the wearer, however, while 
extremely modest and void of self-assertion, was not at 
all awkward nor disconcerted. She courtesied, first to 
her grandmother, then to her cousin, and stood waiting 

within the door till she was called forward. 

" Come hither, child ! " said Madam. 
Phcebe walked forward to her, and dropped another 
courtesy. Madam put two fingers under Phoebe's chin, 

and lifting up the young face, studied it intently. What 
she saw there seemed to please her. 

" You'll do, child," she said, letting Phcebe go. 
" Be a good maid, and obedient, and you shall find me 
your friend. Sit down, and loose your hood. Rhode, 
pour her a dish of tea." 



PHGLBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 15 



tt 



a 



And this was Madam's welcome to her grand- 
daughter. 

Phoebe obeyed her instructions with no words but 
Thank you, Madam." Her voice was gentle and 
low. If the tears burned under her eyelids, no one 
knew it but herself. 

" Take Phcebe upstairs, Rhoda, to your chamber, 
said Madam, when the new-comer had finished her tea. 
u I see, child, your new clothes had better not be long 
a-coming." 

" I have a better gown than this, Madam, in my 
trunk/' she answered. 

"Well, I am glad of it/ 5 said Madam shortly. 

Rhoda led her cousin up the wide stone staircase, 
and into a pretty room, low but comfortable, fitted with 
a large bed, a washstand, a wardrobe, and a dressing- 
table. The two girls were to occupy it together. And 
here Rhoda's tongue, always restrained in her grand- 
mother's presence, felt itself at liberty, and behaved 
accordingly. A new cousin to catechise was a happiness 
that did not occur every day. 

" Have you no black gown ? ' was the first thing 
which Rhoda demanded of Phcebe. 

"Oh, yes," said Phcebe, "I wear black for my 
father, and all of them/' 

Heedless of what she might have noticed — the tremor 
of Phcebe's voice — Rhoda went on with her catechism. 

" How long has your father been dead ? w 

" Ei^ht months." 

"Did you like him ? " 

fC Like him ! " Phcebe seemed to have no words to 

answer. 



16 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



<( 



I never knew anything about mine/' went on 
Rhoda. " He lived till I was thirteen; and I never saw 
him. Only think ! " 

Phoebe gave a little shake of her head, as if her 
thoughts were too much for her. 

"And my mother died when I was a week old; and 
I never had any brother or sister/' pursued Rhoda. 

"Then you never had any one to love} Poor 
Cousin!" said Phcebe, looking at Rhoda with deep 
compassion. 

" Love ! Oh, I don't know that I want it/' said 
Rhoda lightly. " How is Aunt Anne, and where is 
she ? " 

"Mother?" Phoebe's voice shook a^aiii. "She 
is going to live with a gentlewoman at the Bath. She 
stayed till I was gone/' 

Well, you know/' was the next remark of Rhoda, 
Ariose ideas were not at all neatly put in order, "you'll 
have to wear a black gown to-morrow. It is King 

Charles." 

" Yes, I know 7 /' said Phcebe. 

"Was your father a Dissenter ? " queried Rhoda. 

"No," said Phcebe, looking rather surprised. 

"Because I can tell you, Madam hates Dissenters/' 
said Rhoda. " She would as soon have a crocodile to 
dinner. Why didn't you come in your black gown ? " 

" It is my best," answered Phcebe. " I cannot afford 
to spoil it." 

" What do you think of Madam ? " 

Phcebe shrank from this question. " I can hardly 
think anything yet." 

" Oh dear, I wish to-morrow were over ! " said 



a 



PHCEBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 17 



Rhocla with an artificial shiver. " I do hate the thirtieth 
of January. I wish it never came. We have to go to 
church, and there is only tea and bread and butter for 
dinner, and we must not divert ourselves with any- 
thing. I'll show you the ruins, and read you some of 



my poetry. Did you not know I writ poetry ? " 

"No," replied Phcebe. "But will that not be 
diverting ourselves ? " 

"Oh, but we can't always be miserable!" said 
Rhoda. "Besides, what good does it do? It is none 
to King Charles : and Pm sure it never does me good. 
Oh, and we will go and see the Maidens' Lodge, and 
make acquaintance with the old gentlewomen. " 

"The Maidens' Lodge, what is that?" 

"Why, about ten years ago Madam built sijc little 
houses, and called it the Maidens* Lodge; a sort of 
bettermost kind of alms-houses, you know, for six old 
gentlewomen — at least, I dare say they are not all old, 
but some of them are. (Mrs. Vane does not think she 
is, at any rate.) You can't see them from this window; 
they are on the other side of the church." 

"And are they all filled?" 

"All but one, just now. I protest I don't know 
why Madam built them. I guess she thought it was 
good works. I should have thought it would have been 
better works to have sent for Aunt Anne, as well as 
you; but don't you tell her I said so ! " 

" Don't be afraid," said Phcebe, smiling. "I trust 
I am not a pickthank.* But don't you think, when 
you would not have a thing said again, it were better 
not to say it at the first ? " 

* A meddlesome mischief-maker. 



18 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



" Oh, stuff ! I can't always be such a prig as that !" 
Phoebe was unpacking a trunk of very modest 

dimensions, and Rhoda, perched on a corner of the bed, 

sat and watched her. 



(S 



it 



it 



<( 



" Is that your best gown ? " 
Yes," said Phcebe, lifting it carefully out. 

"How many have you ? " 

"This and that." 

" Only two ? How poor Aunt Anne must be ! " 

" We have always been poor." 
Have you always lived in Bristol ? " 

" No. We used to live at the Bath when I was a 
child. Father was curate at the Abbey Church/' 
How much did he get ? i} 
Twenty-five pounds a year." 

"That wasn't much for seven of you." 

" It was not," returned Phcebe, significantly. 

" What can you do ? " asked Rhoda, suddenly. 
" Can you write poetry ? " 

" I never tried, so I cannot tell," said Phoebe. 

" Can you sing ? " 

"Yes." 

"And play on anything ? " 

" No. I cannot do much. I can sew pretty well, 
and knit in four different ways ; I don't cook much — I 
mean, I don't know how to make many things, but I 
always try to be nice in all I can do. I can read and 
write, and keep accounts." 

" Can you dance a jig ? — and embroider, and work 

tapestry ? 

" No, I don't know anything of that." 
" Can't work tapestry 1 Why, Phcebe J " 



)> 



PHCEBE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 19 



"You see, there never was any time/' said Phcebe, 
apologetically. " Of course, I helped mother with the 
cooking and sewing ; and then there were the children 
to see to, and I learned Perry and Kitty to read aud 
sew. Then there were all the salves and physic for the 
poor folk. We could not afford much in that way, but 
we did what we could. " 

"Well, I wouldn't marry a parson; that's flat!" 
said Rhoda. " Fancy spending all your days a-making 
salves and boluses ! Fiddle-faddle ! " 

Phcebe gave a little laugh. " I was not always 
making salves," she said. 

" Had you any pets ? We have a parrot; I believe 
she's near as old as Midam. I want a monkey, but 
Madam won't hear of it." 

" We never had but one/' said Phcebe, the quiver 
coming again into her voice, " and — it died." 

"What was it?" 

"A little dog." 

" I don't much care for dogs," said Rhoda. "Mrs. 
Vane is the one for pets; that is, whenever they are 
modish. She carries dormice in her pocket, and keeps 
a lapdog and a squirrel. When the mode goes out, she 
gives the thing away, and gets something newer 



y> 



" Oh, dear ! " said Phcebe. "I could never give my 



friends away." 

" Oh, it is not always to friends," said Rhoda, mis- 
understanding her. " She gave one of her cats to a 
tailor at Tewkesbury." 

"But the creatures are your friends," said Phcebe. 
" How can you bear to give them away ? " 

" Cats, and dogs, and squirrels — friends ! " an- 



2o THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



s we red Rhoda, laughing. " Why, Phoebe, what a droll 
creature you are ! " 

" They would be my friends/' responded Phoebe. 

" I vow, I'd like to see you make a friend of Mrs. 
Vane's Cupid! " exclaimed Rhoda, laughing. "He is 
the most spiteful little brute I ever set eyes on. He 
thinks his teeth were made to bite everybody, and his 
tail wasn't made to wag." 

"Poor little thing! I don't wonder, if he has a 
mistress who would give him away because it was not 
the mode to keep him." 

" I never saw a maid so droll ! " said Rhoda, still 
laughing; " 'twill never serve to be so mighty nice, that 
I can tell you. Why, you talk as if those creatures had 
feelings, like we have ! " 






>3 



And so they have," said Phoebe, warming up a little. 

"You are mightily mistaken/ 5 returned Rhoda. 

"Why do they bark, and bite, and wag their tails, 
then ? " said Phoebe, unanswerably. " It means some- 
thing. 

" Why, what does it signify if they have ? " de- 
manded Rhoda, not very consistently. " I say, Phceb' 1 , 
is that your best hood ? How shabby you go ! " 

Yes," answered Phcebe, quietly. 

How much pin-money do you mean to stand for? ;5 
was Rhoda' s next startling question. 

"How much what?" said astonished Phcebe, drop- 
ping the gloves she was taking out of her trunk. 

How much pin-money will you make your hus- 



C( 



ct 



e< 



band give you ? " 



te 



I've not got one 1 " was Phoebe's very innocent 



response, 



PHCF.BE ARRIVES AT WHITE-LADIES. 21 



a 



Well, you'll have one some clay* of course/' said 



Rhoda. " I mean to have five hundred, at least/' 

{i Pounds ? " gasped Phabe. 

tc Of course \ ,y laughed Rhoda. "I tell vou, I 
mean to be a modish gentlewoman, as good as ever 
Mrs. Vane; and I'll have a knight at least. Oh, you'll 
see, one of these days. I can manage Madam, when I 
determine on it. Phoebe, there's the supper bell. Come 

on." 

And quite regardless of the treasonable language in 
which she had just been indulging, Rhoda danced down 
into the parlour, becoming suddenly sober as she crossed 
the threshold. 

Phoebe followed, and unless her face much belied 
her thoughts, she was a good deal puzzled by her new 
cousin. 




CHAPTER II. 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 




"Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast 
Far from the flock, and in a distant waste : 
No shepherds' tents within thy view appear, 
Yet the Chief Shepherd is for ever near." 

C oiu per, 

HE Abbey Church of White-Ladies, to which 
allusion has already been made, was not in 
any condition for Divine Service, being only 
a beautiful ruin. When Madam went to church, there- 
fore, she drove two miles to Tewkesbury. 

At nine o'clock punctually, the great lumbeiing 
coach was drawn to the door by the two heavy Flanders 
mares, with long black tails which almost touched the 
ground. Madam, in a superb costume of black satin, 
trimmed with dark fur and white lace, took her seat in 
the place of honour. Rhoda, in a satin gown and hood, 
with a silk petticoat, all black, as became the day, sat 
on the small seat at one side of the door. But Rhoda 
sat with her face to the horses, while the vet lower 
place opposite was reserved for Phcebc, in her unpre- 
tending mourning. The great coach rumbled off, out 
of the grand gates, always opened when Madam was 



MAKING A CQ UAINTANCES. 23 



present, past the ruins of the Abbey Church, and drew 
up before a row of six little houses, fronted by six little 
gardens. They were built on a very minute scale, 
exactly alike, each containing four small rooms- 
kitchen, parlour, and two bedrooms over, with a little 
lean-to scullery at the back. On the midmost coping- 
stone appeared a lofty inscription to the effect that- 

"The Maidens' Lodge was built to the 
Praise and Glory of God, by the pious care 
of Mistress Perpetua Furnival, Widow, for 
the lodging of six decayed gentlewomen, 
Spinsters, of Good Birth and Quality, 

A.D. ijc2." 

It occurred to Phcebe, as she sat reading the inscrip- 
tion, that it might have been pleasanter to the decayed 
gentlewomen in question not to have their indigence 
quite so openly proclaimed to the world, even though 
coupled with good birth and quality, and redounding to 
the fame of Mistress Perpetua Furnival. But Phcebe 
had not much time to meditate ; for the door of the 
first little house opened, and down the gravel walk, 
towards the carriage, came the neatest and nicest of 
little old ladies, attired, like everybody that day, in 
black, and carrying a silver-headed cane, on which she 
leaned"as if it really were needed to support her. She 
was one of those rare persons, a pretty old woman. 
Her complexion was still as fair and delicate as a paint- 
ing on china, her blue eyes clear and expressive. Of 
course, in days when everyone wore powder, hair was 
of one colour — white. 

"This is Mrs. Dolly Jennings," whispered Rhoda 
to Phcebe ; " she is the eldest of the maidens, and she 



24 THE MAIDENS" LODGE. 



is about seventy. I believe she is some manner of 
cousin to the Duke — not very near, you know/'' 

The Duke, in 1712, of course, meant the Duke of 
Marlborough. 

" Good morning. Madam," said Mrs. Jennings, in 
a cheerful yet gentle voice, when she reached the car- 
riage. 

" Good morning, Mrs. Dorothy. Tarn glad I see 

you well enough to accompany me to church." 

" You are very good, Madam/' was the reply, as 

Mrs. Dorothy clambered up into the lumbering vehicle; 

" I thank God my rheumatic pains are as few and easy 

to-day as an old woman of threescore and ten need 

look for." 

" You are a great age, Mrs. Dorothy/ 5 observed 

Madam. 

" Yes, Madam, I thank God/' returned Mrs. 
Dorothy, as cheerfully as before. 

While Phoebe was meditating on this last answer, 
the second Maiden appeared from Number Two. She 
was an entire contrast* to the first, being tall, sharp- 
featured, florid, high-nosed, and generally angular. 

" Mrs. Jane Talbot/' whispered Rhoda. 

Mrs. Jane, having offered her civilities to Madam, 
climbed also into the coach, and placed herself beside 
Mrs. Dorothy. 

" Marcella begs you will allow her excuses, Madam, 
for she is indisposed this morning/' said Mrs. Jane, in 
a quick, sharp voice, which made Phcebe doubt if all 
her angularity were outside. 

While Madam was expressing her regret at this 
news* the doors of Numbers Five and Six opened 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 25 

simultaneously, and two ladies emerged, who were, in 
their way, as much "a contrast as Mrs. Jane and Mrs. 
Dorothy. Number Six reached the carnage first. She 
was a pleasant, comfortable looking woman of about 
fifty years of age, with a round face and healthy com- 
plexion, and a manner which, while kindly, was digni- 
fied and self-possessed. 

" Good morning, my Lady Betty ! " said the three 
voices. 

Phcebe then perceived that the seat of honour, beside 
Madam, had been reserved for Lady Betty. But Num- 
ber Five followed, and she was so singular a figure that 
Phoebe's attention was at once diverted to her. 

She looked about the age of Lady Betty, but having 
evidently been a beauty in her younger days she was 
greatly indisposed to resign that character. Though it 
was a sharp January morning, her neck was unpro- 
tected by the warm tippet which all the other ladies 
wore. There was nothing to keep her warm in that 

quarter except a necklace. Large ear-rings depended 
from her ears, half a dozen rino;s were worn outside her 
gloves, a long chatelaine hung from her neck to her 
waist, to which were attached a bunch of trinkets of all 
shapes and sizes. She was laced very tight, and her 
poor nose was conscious of it, as it showed by blushing 
at the enormity. Under her left arm was a very small, 
very fat, very blunt-nosed Dutch pug. Phcebe at once 
guessed that the lady was Mrs. Vane, and that the pug 
was Cupid. 

"Well, Clarissa!" said Mrs. Jane, as the new- 
comer took her seat at the door opposite Rhoda ; ie pity 

you hadn't a nose-ring ! v 



26 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



a 



Mrs. Vane made no answer beyond an affected 
smile, but Cupid growled at Mrs. Jane, whom he did 
not seem to hold in high esteem. The coach, with a 
good effort on the part of the horses, got under way, 
and rumbled off towards Tewkesbury. 

" And how does Sir Richard, my Lady Betty ? " in- 
quired Madam, with much cordiality. 

" Oh, extremely well, I thank you," answered Lady 
Betty. "So well, indeed, now, that he talks of a 
journey to London, and a month at the Bath on his 
way thence. 

"What takes him to London ? " asked Mrs. Jane, 

"'Tis for the maids he thinks to go. He would 
have Betty and Gatty have a season's polishing ; and 
for Molly — poor little soul ! — he is wishful to have her 
touched." 

" Is she as ill for the evil as ever, poor child ? " 

"Oh, indeed, yes! 'Tis a thousand pities; and 
such sprightly parts as she discovers ! " * 

" 'Tis a mercy for such as she that the Queen doth 
touch," said Mrs. Jane. " King William never did." 

" Is that no mistake ? " gently suggested Lady- 
Betty. 

"Never dared/ 3 came rather grimly from Madam. 

"Well, maybe," said Mrs. Jane. "But I protest I 
cannot see why Queen Mary should not have done it, 
as well as her sister." 

" I own I cannot but very much doubt," returned 
'■• Madam, severely, " that any good consequence should 
follow." 



* So clever as she is. 



MA KING A CQ UA I NT A NCES. 2 7 



By which it will be perceived that Madam was an 
uncompromising Jacobite. Mrs. Jane had no particular 
convictions, but she liked to talk Whig, because all 
around were Tories. Lady Betty was a Hanoverian 
Tory — that is, what would be termed an extreme Tory 
in the present day, but attached to the Protestant suc- 
cession. Mrs. Clarissa was whatever she found it the 
fashion to be. As to Mrs. Dorothy, she held private 
opinions, but she never allowed them to appear, well 
knowing that they would be far from acceptable to 
Madam. And since Mrs. Dorothy was sometimes con- 
strained unwillingly to differ from Madam on points 
which she deemed essential, she was careful not to vex 
her on subjects which she considered indifferent. 

Rhoda was rather disappointed to find that Phoebe 
showed no astonished admiration of Tewkesbury Abbey. 
She forgot that the Abbey Church at Bath, and St. 
Mary Redcliffe at Bristol, had been familiar to Phcebe 
from her infancy. The porch was lined with beggars, 
who showered blessings upon Madam, in grateful anti- 
cipation of shillings to come. But Madam passed 
grandly on, and paid no attention to them. 

The church and the service were about equally chilly. 
Being a fast day, the organ was silent ; but all the re- 
sponding was left to the choir, the congregation seem- 
ingly supposing it as little their concern as Cupid 
thought it his — who curled himself up comfortably, and 

went to sleep. The gentlemen appeared to be amusing 
themselves by staring at the ladies ; the ladies either 
returned the compliment slily behind their fans, or ex- 
changed courtesies with each other. There was a long, 
long bidding prayer, and a sermon which might have 



28 THE MA WENS' LODGE. 



been fitly prefaced by the announcement, "Let us talk 

to the praise and glory of Charles the First ! " It was 

over at last. The gentlemen put down their eye-glasses, 
the ladies yawned and furled their fans; there was a 

great deal of bowing, and courtesying, and compliment- 
ing — Mr. William informing Mrs. Betty that the sun 
had come out solely to do her honour, and Mrs. Betty 
retorting with a delicate blow from her fan, and, "What 
a mad fellow are you ! " At last these also were over; 
and the ladies from Cressingham remounted the family 
coach, nearly in the same order as they came — the 
variation being that Phoebe found herself seated opposite 
Mrs. Clarissa Vane. 

"Might I pat him ? " said Phcebe, diffidently. 

"If you want to be bit, do ! " snapped Mrs. Jane. 

"Oh deah, yes!" languishingly responded Mrs. 

Clarissa. "He neveh bites, does 'e, the pwetty deah! " 

" Heyday ! Doesn't 'e, the pwetty deah ! " ob- 
served Mrs. Jane, in such exact imitation of her friend's 
affected tones as sorely to try Phoebe's gravity. 

Lady Betty laughed openly, but added, "Mind what 
you are about, child/' 

"Poor doggie ! " softly said Phcebe. 

Cupid's response was the slightest oscillation of the 
extreme point of his tail. But when Phcebe attempted 
to stroke him, to the surprise of all parties, instead of 
snapping at her, as he was expected to do, Cupid only 
wagged rather more decidedly; and when Phcebe pro- 
ceeded to rub his head and ears, he actually gave her, 
not a bite of resentment, but a lick of friendliness. 

" Deah ! the sweet little deah ! 'E's vewy good I 
said his mistress. 



MAKING A CQ UAINTANCES. 29 



The gentle reader is requested not to suppose that 
the elision of Mrs. Clarissa's poor letter H, as well as 
R, proceeded either from ignorance or vulgarity — except 
so far as vulgarity lies in blindly following fashion. 
Mrs. Clarissa's only mistake was that, Jike most 
country ladies, she was rather behind the age. The 
dropping of H and other letters had been fashionable in 
the metropolis some eight years before. 

" Clarissa, what a goose are you ! " said Mrs. Jane. 

"Come, Jenny, don't you bite!" put in Lady Betty. 
' Cupid has set you a better example than so." 

" FII not bite Clarissa, I thank you/' was Mrs. 
Jane's rather spiteful answer. " It would want more 
than one fast day to bring me to that. Couldn't fancy 
the paint. And don't think I could digest the patches." 

Lady Betty appeared to enjoy Mrs. Jane's very 
uncivil speeches ; while Cupid's mistress remained un- 
touched by them, being one of those persons who affect 
not to hear anything to which they do not choose to 

respond. 

"Well, Rhoda, child," said Lady Betty, as the coach 
ncaved home, " 'tis no good, I guess, to bid you drink 
tea on a fast day? " 

"Oh, but I am coming, my Lady Betty," answered 
Rhoda, briskly. " I mean to drink a dish with every 
one of you." 

" I shan't give you anything to eat," interpolated 
Mrs. Jane. " Never do to be guzzling on a fast day. 
You won't get any sugar from me, neither." 

"Never mind, Mrs. Jane," said Rhoda. "Mrs. 
Dolly will give me something, I know. And I shall 
visit her first." 



30 THE MAIDENS 9 LODGE. 



Mrs. Dorothy assented by a benevolent smile. 

a I hope, child, you will not forget it is a fast day/' 

said Madam, gravely, "and not go about to divert your- 
self in an improper manner/' 

"Oh no, Madam!" said Rhoda, drawing in her horns. 

No sooner was dinner over — and as Rhoda had pre- 
dicted, there was nothing except boiled potatoes and 
bread and butter — than Rhoda pounced on Phcebe, and 

omewhat authoritatively bade her come upstairs. 
Madam had composed herself in her easy chair, with 
the "Eikon Basilike" in her hand. 

Will Madam not be lonely ? " asked Phcebe, 
timidly, as she followed Rhoda. 

Lonely ? Oh, no ! She'll be asleep in a minute/' 
said Rhoda. 



s 



a 



a 



" I thought she was going to read," suggested 
Phcebe. 

fC She fancies so," said Rhoda, laughing. rf I never 
knew her try yet but she went to sleep directly." 

Unlocking; a closet door which stood in their bed* 
room, and climbing on a chair to reach the top shelf, 
Rhoda produced a small volume bound in red sheepskin, 
which she introduced to Phoebe's notice with a rather 
grandiloquent air. 

Now, Phoebe ! There's my Book of Poems ! " 

Phoebe opened the book, and her eye fell on a few 
lines of faint, delicate writing, on the fly leaf. 

"To Rhoda Peveril, with her Aunt Margaret's love." 

i( Oh, you have an aunt ! " said Phoebe. 

(< I have two somewhere," said Rhoda. " They are 



a 



good for nothing. They never give me anything. 

Phcebe looked up with a rather surprised air. "They 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 31 



>) 



)y 



seem to do, sometimes," she observed, pointing to the 

book. 

" Well, that one did," answered Rhoda ; " one or 

two little things like that; but she is dead. The others 
are just a pair of spiteful old cats. 

Phoebe's look of astonishment deepened. 

"They must be very different from my aunt, then. 
I have only one, but I would not call her names for the 
world. She loves me, and I love her. 

" Why, what are aunts good for but to be called 
names? " was the amiable response. "But now listen, 
Phoebe. I am going to read you a piece of my poetry. 
You see, our old church is dedicated to Saint Ursula; 
and there is an image in the church, which they say is 
Saint Ursula — it has such a charming face ! Madam 
doesn't think 'tis charming, but I do. So you see, this 
poem is to that image/' 

Phoebe looked rather puzzled, but did not answer. 

" Now, I would have you criticise, Phoebe/' said 
Rhoda, condescendingly, using a word she had picked 
up from one of her grandfather's books. 

"1 don't know what that is/' said Phoebe. 
Well, it means, if you hear anything you don't 
like, say so. 



(C 



Jf 



" Very well," replied Phcebe, quietly. 
And Rhoda began to read, with the style of a 
rhetorician — as she supposed 

u Step softly, nearer as ye tread 
To this shrine of the royal dead I 
This Abbey's hallowed unto one, 
Daughter of Britain's ancient throne,- 
History names her one sole thing, 
The daughter of a British King." 



^2 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Rhoda paused, and looked at her cousin — ostensibly 
for criticism, really for admiration. If Phoebe had said 
exactly what she thought, it would have been that her 
ear was cruelly outraged : but Phoebe was not accus- 
tomed to the sharp speeches which passed for wit with 
Rhoda. She fell back on a matter of fact. 

"Does history say nothing more about her?" 

" Of course it does ! It says the Vandals mar- 
tyred her. Phoebe, you can't criticise poetry as if it 
were prose." 

It struck Phoebe that Rhoda's poetry was very like 
prose; but she said meekly, "Please go on. I ask 
your pardon." 

So Rhoda went on — 

*' Her glorious line has passed away— 
The wild dream of a by-gone day ! 
We know not from what throne she sprang, 
Britain is silent in her song — 

"What's the matter?" asked Rhoda, interrupting 

herself. 

"I ask your pardon," said Phoebe again. "But 
will song do with sprang ? And if Ursula was a real 
person, as I thought she had been, she wasn't a wild 
dream, was she ? " 

" Phoebe, I do believe you haven't a bit of taste ! " 
said Rhoda. " I'll try you with one more verse, and 
then- 

" O wake her not ! Ages have passed 
Since her fair eyelids closed at last." 

" I should think, then, you would find it difficult to 
wake her," remarked Phcebe : but Rhoda went on as if 
she had not heard it, 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES, 33 



tf For twice six hundred years, 'tis said, 
Hath rested 'neath yon tomb her head,- 
That head which soft reposed of old 
On couch of satin and of gold." 

"Dear ! " was Phoebe's comment. ""I didn't know 
they had satin sofas twelve hundred years ago." 

" 'Tis no earthly use reading poetry to you ! " 
exclaimed Rhoda, throwing down the book. " You 
haven't one bit of feeling for it, no more than if it were 
a sermon I was reading ! Tie your hood on, and make 
haste, and we'll go and see the Maidens." 

Phcebe seemed rather troubled to have annoyed her 
cousin, though she evidently did not perceive how it 
had been effected. The girls tied on their hoods, and 
Rhoda, who was not really ill-natured, soon recovered 
herself when she got into the fresh air. 

"Now, while we are going across the Park/' she 
said, " I will tell you something about the old gentle- 
women. I couldn't this morning, you know, more 
than their names, because there was Madam listening. 
But now, hark ! Mrs. Dolly Jennings — the one who 
came in first, you know, and sat over against Lady 
Betty — I don't know what kin she is, but there is some 
kin between her and the Duchess of Marlborough. 
She is the oldest of the Maidens, and the best one to 
tell a story — except she falls to preaching, and then 'tis 
tiresome. Do you like sermons, Phcebe ? " 

"It all depends who preaches them," said Phcebe. 

" Well, of course it docs," said Rhoda. " I don't 
like anyone but Dr. Harris — he has such white hands !" 

"He does not preach about them, does he?" said 
Phcebe, apparently puzzled as to the connection. 



34 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



(( 



Oh, he flourishes them about, and discovers so 



many elegancies !" answered Rhoda. 

" But how does that make him preach better? " 



€( 



Why, Phoebe, how stupid you are ! But you 
must not interrupt me in that way, or I shall never be 
done. Mrs. Dolly, you see, is seventy or more ; and in 
her youth she was in the great world. So she has all 
manner of stories, and she'll always tell them when you 
ask her. I only wish she did not preach ! Well, then, 
Mrs. Jane Talbot — that one with the high nose, that 
sat next Mrs. Dolly in the coach — she has lively parts 
enough, and that turn makes her very agreeable. I 
don't care for her sister, Mrs. Marcella, that lives next 
her — she's always having some distemper, and I don't 
like sick people. Mrs. Clarissa Vane is the least well- 
born of all of them ; but she's been a toast, you see, 
and she fancies herself charming, poor old thing ! As 
for Lady Betty — weren't you surprised ? I believe 
Madam pays her a good lot to live there ; it gives the 
place an air, you know. She is Sir Richard Delawarr's 
aunt, and he is the great man all about here — all the 
land that way belongs to him, as far as you can see. 
He is of very good family — an old Norman house. 
They are thought a great deal of, you know/' 

But isn't that strange?"" said Phoebe, meditatively. 
"If Sir Richard is thought more of because his fore- 
fathers came from France six hundred years ago, why is 
my grandfather thought less of because he came from 
France thirty years ago ? " 

" O Phoebe ! It is not the same thing at all ! " 
f< But why is it not the same thing ? " gently per* 
listed Phoebe. 



a 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 35 



c< 



Oh, nonsense ! " said Rhoda, cutting the knot 



« 



a 



peremptorily. " Phcebe, can you speak French ? 

"Yes." 

"Have a care you don't let Madam hear you! 
Who taught you ? — your father ? " 

" Yes. He said it was our own language." 

" Why, you don't mean to say he was proud of 
being a Frenchman ? " cried Rhoda, in amazement. 

" I think he was, if he was proud of anything, 
answered Phcebe. " He loved France very dearly. He 
thought it the grandest country in the world." 

And Phoebe's voice trembled a little. Evidently her 
father was in her eves a hero, and all that he had loved 

was sacred. 

"But, Phcebe! not greater than England? He 
couldn't ! " cried Rhoda, to whom such an idea seemed 
an impossibility. 

" He was fond of England, too," said Phcebe. 
" He said she had sheltered us when our own country 
cast us off, and we should love her and be very thankful 
to her. But he loved France the best." 

Rhoda tried to accept this incredible proposition. 

"Well ! 'tis queer!" she said at last. " Proud of 
being a Frenchman ! What would Madam say ? " 

" 'Tis only like Sir Richard Delawarr, is it ? " 

u Phcebe, you've no sense ! " 

" Well, perhaps I haven't," said Phcebe meekly, as 
they turned in at the gate of Number One. 

Mrs. Dolly Jennings was ready for her guests, in 
her little parlour, with the most delicate and transparent 
china set out upon the little tea table, and the smallest 
and brightest of copper kettles singing on the hob. 



36 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



tc 



tc 



}} 



" Well, you thought I meant it, Mrs. Dolly ! " ex- 
daimed Rhoda laughingly, as the girls entered. 

I always think people mean what they say, child, 
antil I find they don't/' said Mrs. Dorothy. " Wel- 
come, Miss Phoebe, my dear ! " 

Oh, would you please to call me Phoebe?" said 
the owner of that name, blushing. 

" So I will, my dear," replied Mrs. Dorothy, who 
was busy now pouring out the tea. "Mrs. Rhoda, take 
a chair, child, and help yourself to bread and butter. 

Rhoda obeyed, and did not pass the plate to Phcebe. 

"Mrs. Dolly," she said, interspersing her words 
with occasional bites, " I am really concerned about 
Phcebe. She hasn't the least bit of sense." 

" Indeed, child," quietly responded Mrs. Dorothy, 
while Phcebe coloured painfully. "How doth she 
show it ? " 

" Why, she doesn't care a straw for poetry ? " 

''.7*? it poetry you engaged her with ?" 

w Wnat do you mean?" said Rhoda, rather pet- 



}} 



tf.shly. " It was my poetry. 

" Eh, dear ! " said Mrs. Dorothy, but there was a 
little indication of fun about her mouth. "Perhaps, 
my dear, you write lyrics, and your cousin hath more 
fancy for epical poetry." 

" She doesn't care for any sort, I'm sure," said 
Rhoda. 

" What say you to this heavy charge, Phoebe ? " 
inquired little Mrs. Dorothy, with a cheery smile. 



it 



I like some poetry," replied Phcebe, bashfully. 



" What kind ? " blurted out Rhoda, apparently 
rather affronted. 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 37 



Phoebe coloured, and hesitated. " I like the old 
hymns the Huguenots used to sing/' she said, "such 
us dear father taught me." 

Hymns aren't poetry ! 3} said Rhoda, contemp- 



tt 



tuously. 

" That is true enough of some hymns, child/' 
answered Mrs. Dorothy. "But, Phcebe, my dear, will 
you let us hear one of your hymns ? yy 

"They are in French/* whispered Phcebe. 

"They will do for me in French, my dear/' replied 
Mrs. Dorothy. 

Rhoda stared in manifest astonishment. Phcebe 
struggled for a moment with her natural shyness, and 
then she began : 

"'Moil sort n'est pas a plaindre, 
II est a ddsirer ; 
Je n'ai plus rien a craindre, 
Car Dieu est mon Berger." * 

But the familiar words evidently brought with them 
% rush of associations which was too much for Phcebe. 
She burst in^ tears, and covered her face with her 
hands. 



(t 



What on earth are you crying for }" asked Rhoda. 

Thank you, my dear/' said Mrs. Dorothy. "The 

verse is enough for a day, and the truth which is in it 

is enough for a life. 

I ask your pardon ! " sobbed Phcebe, when she 



}) 



a 



* " My lot asks no complaining, 
But joy and confidence ; 
I have no fear remaining, 
Fov God is my Defence." 



38 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



could speak at all. "But I used to sing it — to dear 
father, and when he was gone I said it to poor mother. 
And they are all gone now ! " 

"Oh, don't bother!" said Rhoda. "My papa's 
dead, and my mamma too ; but you'll not see me crying 
over it." 



u 



Rhoda pronounced the words " Pappa, " and 
Mamma/' as is done in America to this day. 



" You never knew your parents, Mrs. Rhoda," said 
the little old lady, ever ready to cast oil on the troubled 
waters. " Phoebe, dear child, wouldst thou wish them 
all back again ? " 

"No; oh, no! I could not be so unkind," said 
Phoebe, wiping her eyes. " But only a year ago, there 
were seven of us. It seems so hard ! " 

" I say, Phoebe, if you mean to cry and take on/' 
said Rhoda, springing up and drinking off her tea, 
" you'll give me the spleen. I hate to be hipped. I 
shall be off to Mrs. Jane. Come along ! " 

"Go yourself, Mrs. Rhoda, my dear, and leave your 
cousin to recover, if tears be your aversion." 

" Why, aren't they all our aversions ? " said Rhoda, 
outraging grammar. " You don't need to pretend, 
Mrs. Dolly ! I never saw you cry in my life." 

"Ah, child !" said Mrs. Dorothy, as if she meant 

to indicate that there had been more of her life than 
could be seen from Rhoda' s standing-point. "But 
you'll do well to take an old woman's counsel, my dear. 
Run off to Mrs. Jane, and divert yourself half an hour; 
and when you return, your cousin will have passed her 
trouble, and I will have a story to tell you both. I 
know you like stories." 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 39 



« 



(C 



" Come, I'll go, for a story when I come back," said 
Rhoda; " but I meant to take Phoebe. Can't she wipe 
her eyes and come ? " 

Then I shall not tell you a story/' responded Mrs. 
Dorothy. 

Rhoda laughed, and ran off. Mrs. Dorothy let 
Phcebe have her cry out for a short time. She moved 
softly about, putting things in order, and then came and 
sat down by Phoebe on the settle. 

The world is too great for thee, poor child ! " she 
said, tenderly, taking Phoebe's hands in hers. " It is a 
long way from thy father's grave ; but, bethink thee, 
'tis no long way from himself, if he is gone to Him 

that is our Father/' 

"I know he is," whispered Phcebe. 

" And is the Lord thy Shepherd, dear child ? " 

(c I know He is/' said Phcebe, again. 

fe c Mon sort n'est pas a plaindre/ " softly repeated 
Mrs. Dorothy. 

"Oh, it is wrong of me ! " sobbed Phoebe. "But it 
does seem so hard. Nobody cares for me any more." 

" Nay, my child, f He careth for thee.' " 

" Oh, I know it is so!" was the answer; "but I 
can't feel it. It all looks so dark and cold. I can't 
feel it ! " 

" Poor little child, lost in the dark ! " said Mrs. 
Dorothy, gently. "Dear, the Lord must know how 
very much easier it would be to see. But His especial 
blessing is spoken on them that have not seen, and yet 
have believed. 'Tis an honour to thy Father, little 
Phcebe, to put thine hand in His, and let Him lead 
thee where He will. Thine earthly father would have 



40 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



» 



liked thee to trust him. Canst thou not trust the 
heavenly Father?" 

Phoebe's tears were falling more softly now. 

"Phoebe, little maiden, shall I love thee? " 

"Thank you, Mrs. Dorothy, but people don't love 
me," said Phoebe, as if it were a fact, sad, indeed, but 
incontrovertible. " Only dear father and Perry." 

" And thy mother," suggested Mrs. Dorothy, in n, 

soothing tone. 

"Well — yes — I suppose so," doubtfully admitted 
Phoebe. "But, you see, poor mother — I had better not 
talk about it, Mrs. Dorothy, if you please. 

Mrs. Dorothy let the point pass, making a note of 
it in her own mind. She noticed, too, that Phoebe said, 
"Dear father" and "poor mother"; yet it was the 
father who was dead, and the mother was living. The 

terms, thought Mrs. Dorothy, must have some reference 
to character. 

" Little Phoebe," she said, " if it should comfort 
thee betimes to pour out thine heart to some human 
creature, come across the Park, and tel! thy troubles to 
me. Thou art but a young traveller; and such mostly 
long for some company. Yet, bethink thee, my dear, I 
can but be sorry for thee, while the Lord can help thee. 
He is the best to trust, child." 

Yes, I know," whispered Phoebe. "You are so 
good, Mrs. Dorothy ! " 

"Now for the story !" said Rhoda, dancing into the 
little parlour. "You've had oceans of time to dry your 
eyes. I have been to Mrs. Jane, and Mrs. Clarissa, 
and my Lady Betty ; and I've had a dish of tea with 
each one. I shall turn into a tea-plant presently. Now 
I'm ready, Mrs. Dorothy ; go on ! " 



a 



MAKING ACQUAINTANCES. 41 



" What fashion of tale should you like, Mrs, 
Rhoda ? " 

Oh, yon had better begin at the beginning/' 



C( 



33 



(t 



it 



said Rhoda. " I don't think I ever heard you tell 
about when you were a child; yon always begin with 
the Revolution. Go back a little earlier, and let us 
have your whole history. 

Mrs. Dorothy paused thoughtfully. 
It won't do me any harm/' added Rhoda; "and 
I can't see why you should care. You're nearly 
seventy, aren't you ? " 

Phoebe's shy glance at her cousin might have been 
interpreted to mean that she did not think her very 
civil ; but Mrs. Dorothy did not resent the question. 

Yes, my dear, I am over seventy/' she said, 
quietly. " And I don't know that it would do you any 
harm. You have to face the world, too, one of these 
days. Please God, you may have a more guarded 
entrance into it than I had ! Here is a cushion for 
your back, Mrs. Rhoda ; and, Phoebe, my dear, here i? 
one for you. Let me reach my knitting, and then yor 
shall hear my story. But it will be a long one." 

" So much the better, if 'tis agreeable," answered 
Rhoda. " I don't care for stories that are over in a 

minute." 

"This will not be over in a day," said Mrs. 
Dorothy. 



"All right," responded Rhoda, settling herself as 
comfortably as she could. {t I say, Phcebe, change 
cushions with me; I'm sure you've got the softer." 

And Phoebe obeyed in an instant. 



CHAPTER III. 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 

"And the thousands come and go 

All along the crowded street j 
But they give no ear to the things we know, 

And they pass with careless feet. 
For some hearts are hard with gold, 

And some are crushed in the throng, 
And some with the pleasures of life are cold — 

How long, O Lord, how long ! " 

F I am to begin at the beginning, my dears," 
said little Mrs. Dorothy, " I must tell you 
that I was born in a farmhouse, about a mile 
from St. Albans, on the last day of the year of our 
Lord 1641 ; that my father was the Reverend William 
Jennings, brother to Sir Edward ; and that my mother 
was Mrs. Frances, daughter to Sir Jeremy Charlton." 

" Whatever made your father take up with a parson's 
life ? " said Rhoda. " I wouldn't be one for an apron- 
full of money ! Surely he was married first, wasn't 

lie?" 

u He was married first," answered Mrs. Dorothy ; 
te and both his father and my mother's kindred took it 
extreme ill that he should propose such views to him- 




LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 43 



self, — the rather because he was of an easy fortune, his 
grandmother having left him some money." 



<( Would I have been a parson ! " exclaimed Rhoda. 
•* Pm too fond of jellies and conserves — nobody better." 

" Well, my dear Mrs. Rhoda, if you will have me 
say what I think,'* resumed Mrs. Dorothy. 

"You can if you like," interjected Rhoda. 

"It does seem to me, and hath ever done so, that 
the common custom amongst us, which will have the 
chaplain to rise and withdraw when dessert is served, 

must be a relique of barbarous times." 

Dessert at that time included pies, puddings, and 

jellies. 

" O Mrs. Dorothy 1 you have the drollest notions !" 

And Rhoda went off in a long peal of laughter. 
The idea of any other arrangement struck her as very 
comical indeed. 

" Well, my dear/ 3 said Mrs. Dorothy, " I hope 
some day to see it otherwise." 

"Oh, how droll it would be! " said Rhoda. "But 
go on, please, Mrs. Dolly." 

"Through those troublous times that followed on 
my birth," resumed the old lady, "I was left for better 
safety with the fanner at whose house I was born ; for 
my father had shortly after been made parson of a 
church in London, and 'twas not thought well that so 



young a child as I then was should be bred up in all 
the city tumults. My foster-father's name was Law- 
rence Ingham; and he and his good wife were as 
father and mother to me." 

" But what fashion of breeding could you get at a 
farmhouse ? " demanded Rhoda, with a scornful pout. 



44 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



(t 



Why, 'twas not there I learned French, child/ 3 
answered Mrs. Dorothy, smiling; "but I learned to 
read, write, and cast accounts ; to cook and distil, to 
conserve and pickle; with all manner of handiworks 
sewing, knitting, broidery, and such like. And I 
can tell you, my dear, that in all the great world 
whereunto I afterwards entered I never saw better 
manners than in that farmhouse. I saw more cere- 
monies, sure; but not more courtesy and kindly thought 
for others." 

" Why, I thought folks like that had no manners 
at all ! " said Rhoda. 

" Then you were mightily mistaken, my dear. 
Farmer Ingham had two daughters, who were like 
sisters to me; but they were both older than I. Their 
names were Grace and Faith. 'Twas a very quiet, 
peaceful household. We rose with the sun in summer, 
and before it in winter — " 

" Catch me ! " interpolated Rhoda. 

" And before any other thing might be done, there 
r/as reading and prayer in the farmhouse kitchen. All 
the farm servants trooped in, and took their places in 
order, the men on the right hand of the master, and 
the women on the left of the mistress. Then the 
farmer read a chapter, and afterwards prayed, all joining 

in ' Our Father ' at the end. 

"But — he wasn't a parson?" demanded Rhoda, 



a 



with a perplexed look. 
" Oh no, my dear. 



>» 



"Then how could he pray?" said Rhoda. "He'd 
no business to read the Prayer Book; and of course he 
couldn't pray without it." 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 45 



(( 



c< 



iC Ah, then he made a mistake," replied Mrs. 
Dorothy very quietly. " He fancied he could." 

(< But who ever heard of such a thing ? " said Rhoda. 

"We heard a good deal of it in those days, my 
dear. Why, child, the Common Prayer was forbid, 
even in the churches. Nobody used it, save a few here 
and there, that chose to run the risk of being found 

out and punished." 

i( How queer ! " cried Rhoda. u Well, go on, Mrs. 
Dolly. I hope the prayers weren't long. I should 
have wanted my breakfast." 

They were usually about three parts of an hour." 
Ugh ! " with a manufactured shudder, came from 
Rhoda. 

" After prayers, for an hour, each went to her call- 
ing. Commonly we took it turn about, the girls and 
I — one with the mistress in the kitchen, one with the 
maids in the chambers, and the third, if the weather was 
fine, a-weeding the posies in the garden, or, if wet, at 
her sewing in the parlour. Then the great bell was 
rung for breakfast, and we all gathered again in the 
kitchen. For breakfast were furmety, eggs, and butter, 
and milk, for the women; cold bakemeats and ale for 
the men." 

"No tea?" asked Rhoda. 

" I was near ten years old, child, ere coffee came 
into England ; and tea was some years later. The 
first coffee-house that ever was in this realm was set up 
at Oxford, of one Jacobs, a Jew ; and about two years 
after was the first in London. For tea, 'twas said 
Queen Catherine brought it hither from Portingale; but 
in truth, I believe 'twas known among us somewhat 



46 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



sooner. But when it came in, for a long time none 
knew how to use it, except at the coffee-houses. T 
could tell you a droll tale of a neighbour of Farmer 
Ingham's, that had a parcel of tea sent her as a great 
present from London, with a letter that said 'twas al 
the mode with the quality. And what did she, think 
you, but boiled it like cabbage, and bade all her neigh- 
bours come taste the new greens." 

"Did they like them?" asked Rhoda, as well as 
she could speak for laughing. 

<c I heard they all thought with their hostess, who 
said, c If those were quality greens, the quality were 
welcome to keep 'em ; country folk would rather have 
cabbage and spinach any day.' " 

" Well ! " said Rhoda, bridling a little, when her 
amusement had subsided; " ; tis very silly for mean 
people to ape the quality." 

" It is so, my dear/' replied Mrs. Dorothy, with 

that extreme quietness which was the nearest her gentle 
spirit could come to irony. u 'Tis silly for any to ape 
another, be he less or more." 

" Why, there can be no communication between 
them," observed Rhoda, with a toss of her head. 

" ' Communication/ my dear," said Mrs. Dolly, 
fc Yonder's a new word. Where did you pick it 
up ? " 

tl O Mrs. Dollv ! you can't be in the mode if you 
don't pick up all the new words," answered Rhoda 
more affectedly than ever. She was showing off now, 
and was entirely in her element. 

"And pray what are the other new words, my 
dear ? " inquired Mrs. Dorothy good-naturedly, and 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 47 

not without a little amusement. "That one sounds 
very much like the old-fashioned 'commerce/" 

" Well, I don't know them all ! " said Rhoda, with 
an assumption of humility j "but now-o'-days, when 
you speak of any one's direction, you must say adresse, 
from the French ; and if one is out of spirits, you say 
he is hipped— that's from hypochondriacal; and a crowd 
of people is a mob — that's short for mobile ; and when 
a man goes about, and doesn't want to be known, you 
say he is incog. — that means incognito, which is the 
Spanish for unknown. Then you say Mr. Such-an- 
one spends to the tune of five hundred a year; and there 
are a lot of men of his kidney ; and I bantered them well 
about it. Oh, there are lots of new words, Mrs. 
Dolly. 

" So it seems, my dear. But are you sure incog- 
nito is Spanish ? " 

" Oh, yes ! William Knight told me so/' said 
Rhoda, with another toss of her head. 

" I imagined it was Latin/' observed Mrs. Dorothy. 
"But 'tis true, I know nought of either tongue." 

" Oh, William Knight knows everything," said 

Rhoda, hyperbolically. 

" He must be a very ingenious young man," quietly 

observed Mrs. Dorothy. 

Well, he is," said Rhoda, scarcely perceiving the 



» 



a 



satire latent in Mrs. Dorothy's calm tones. 



(( 



I am glad to hear it, my dear," returned the old 

lady. 

" But he's very uppish, — that's pos./' resumed the 
young one. 

" Really, my dear, you are full of new words," said 



48 THE MAIDENS * L ODGE. 



>) 



Mrs. Dorothy, good-naturedly. " What means e pos./ 
pray you ? " 

" Why, ' positive/ " said Rhoda, laughing. "And 
rep. means reputation, and Jire means spirit, and smart 
means sharp, and a concert means a lot of people sing- 
ing and playing on instruments of music, and an opera- 
tion means anything you do, and a speculation means 
well, it means — it means a speculation, you know. 

"Dear, dear!" cried little Mrs. Dorothy, holding 
up her hands. " I protest, my dear, I shall be drove to 
learn the English tongue anew if this mode go on. 

" Well, Mrs. Dolly, suppose your tale should go 
on ? " suggested Rhoda. " Heyday ! do you know 
what everybody is saying ? — everybody that is anybody, 
you understand." 

"I thought that everybody was somebody," remarked 
Mrs. Dorothy, with a comical set of the lips. 

" Oh dear, no ! " said Rhoda. " There are ever so 



)j 



many people who are nobody. 



" Indeed ! " said Mrs. Dorothy. " Well, child, 
what is everybody saying ? >} 

a Why, they say the Duke is not so well with the 
Queen as he has been. 'Tis thought, I assure you, by 
many above people." 

"Is that one of the new words?" inquired Mrs. 
Dorothy, with a little laugh. "Dear child, what mean 
you ? — the angels ? " 

" Oh, Mrs. Dorothy, you are the oddest creature ! " 
cried Rhoda. "Why, you know very well what I 
mean. Should you be sorry, Mrs. Dolly, if the Duke 
became inconsiderable ? " 



tt 



No, my dear. Why should I ? " 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY, m 



y> 



"Well, I thought — " but RhooVs thought went 
no further. 

" You thought/* quietly continued the old lady, 
" that I had not had enow of town vanities, and would 
fain climb a few rungs up the ladder, holding on to 
folks' skirts. Was that it, child ? 

"Well, I don't know/' said Rhoda uneasily, for 
Mrs. Dorothy had translated her thought into rather 
too plain language. 

" Ah, my dear, that is because you would love to 
climb a little yourself/' said Mrs. Dorothy, smilingly, 
"and you apprehend no inconveniency from it. But, 
child, 'tis the weariest work in all the world — except it 
be climbing from earth to heaven. To climb on men's 
ladders is mostly as a squirrel climbs in its cagey 
round and round ; you think yourself going vastly 

higher, but those that stand on the firm ground and 
watch you see that you do but go round. But to climb 
up Jacob's ladder, whereof the Lord stands at the top, 
it will be other eyes that behold you climbing up, when 
in your own eyes you have not bettered yourself by a 
step. Climb as high as you will there, dear maids ! — but 
never mind the ladders that go round. They are in- 
finitely disappointing. I know it, for I have climbed 

them." 

"Well, Mrs. Dolly, do go on, now, and tell us all 
about it, there's a good soul ! " said Rhoda. 

Little Mrs. Dorothy was executing some elaborate 
knitting. She went on with it for a few seconds in silence. 

"I was but sixteen," she said, quietly, "when my 
mother came to visit me. I could not remember seeing 
her before: and very frighted was 1 of the grand 



50 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



gentlewoman, for so she seemed to me, that rustled 
into the farmhouse kitchen in silken brocade, and a 
velvet tippet on her neck. She was evenly disappointed 
with me. She thought me stiff and gloomy; and I 
thought her strange and full of vanities. ( In three 
years' time, Dolly/ quoth she, ' thou wilt be nineteen, 
and 1 will then have thee up to Town, and thou shalt 

see somewhat of the world. Thou art not ill-favoured/ 
quoth she, — ' 'twas my mother that said this, my 
dears,' modestly interpolated Mrs. Dorothy, — 'and I 
dare say thou wilt be the Town talk in a week. 'Tis 
pity there is no better world to have thee into ! — and 
thy father as sour and Puritanical as any till of late, 
save the mark ! — but there, we must swim with the 
tide/ saith she. f 'Tis a long lane that has no turning/ 
Ah me ! but the lane had turned ere I was nineteen." 

" Why, Mrs. Dolly, the Restoration must have 
been that very year/' observed Rhoda. 

"That very year," repeated Mrs. Dorothy. t( ; Twas 
in April I quitted Farmer Ingham's house, and was 
fetched up to London ; and in May came the King in, 
and was shortly thereafter crowned." 

If it please you," asked Phoebe, speaking for the 
first time of her own accord, " were you glad to go, 
Madam ? " 

"Well, my dear, I was partly glad and partly sorry. 
I was sorrowful to take leave of mine old friends, little 
knowing if I should ever see them again or no ; yet, 
like an untried maid, I was mightily set up with the 
thought of seeing London, and the lions, and White- 
hall, and the like. Silly maid that I was ! I had 
better have shed tears for the last than for the first." 



ce 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 51 



" What thought you the finest thing in London ? * 
said Rhoda. t( But tell us, what thought you of 
London altogether ? " 

(i Why, the first thing I thought of was the size and 
the noise," answered Mrs. Dorothy. " It seemed to 
me such a great overgrown town, so different from St. 
Albans; and so many carts and wheelbarrows always 
rattling over the stones ; and so many folks in the 
streets; and all the strange cries of a morning. I 
thought my father a very strange, cold man, of whom 
I was no little afraid ; and my mother was sadly 
disappointed that I did not roll my eyes, and had not 
been taught to dance." 

u Why did they ever leave you at a farmhouse }'* 
inquired Rhoda, rather scornfully. 

<{ I cannot entirely say, my dear; but I think that 
was mainly my father's doing. My poor father ! 3} 

And Mrs. Dorothy's handkerchief was hastily 
passed across her eyes. 

"The first night I came," she said, " my mother 
had a large assembly in her withdra wing-chamber. 
There were smart-dressed ladies fluttering of their fans, 
and gentlemen in all the colours of the rainbow; and 
I, foolish maid ! right well pleased when one and another 
commended my country complexion, or told me some- 
thing about my fine eyes : when all at once came a 
heavv hand on my shoulder, and my father saith, 
' Dorothy, I would speak with you/ I followed him 
forth, not a little trembling lest he should be about to 
chide me; but he led me into his own closet, and shut 
the door. He bade me sit, and leaning over the fire 
himself, he said nought for a moment. Then saith he, 



52 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



'Dorothy, you heard Mr. Debenham speak to you?' 
f Yes, Sir/ quoth I. ( And what said he, child ? ' goes 
on my father, gently. I was something loth to repeat 
what he had said; for it was what I, in my foolish 
heart, thought a very fine speech about Mrs. Doll's 
fine eyes, that glistered like stars, Howbeit, my father 
waited quiet enough ; and having been well bred to 
obey by Farmer Ingham, I brought it out at last. f Did 
you believe it, Dorothy ? * saith my father. ' Did you 
think he meant it ? ' I did but whisper, ' Yes, Sir/ for 
I could not but feel very much ashamed. 'Then, 
Dorothy/ saith he, ' the first lesson you will do well to 
learn in London is that men and women do not always 
mean it when they flatter you. And he does not. Ah ! y 
saith my father, fetching a great sigh, i J tis easy 
work for fathers to say such things, but not so for 
maidens to believe them. There is one other thing I 
would have you learn, Dorothy/ s Yes, Sir/ quoth I, 

when he stayed. He turned him around, and looked 
in my face with his dark eyes, that seemed to burn into 
me, and he saith, f Learn this, Dorothy, — that 'tis the 
easiest thing in all the world for a man to drift away 
from God. Aye, or a woman either. You may do it, 
and never know that you have done it, — for a while, at 

least. David was two full years ere he found it out. 
Oh Dorothy, take warning ! I was once as innocent 
as you are. I have drifted from God, oh my child, how 
far ! The Lord keep you from a like fate. 3 I was 
fairly affrighted, for his face was terrible. An hour 
after, I saw him dealing the cards at ombre, with a 
look as bright and mirthful as though he knew not 
grief but by name. 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. $3 



Phoebe looked up with eyes full of meaning. " Did 
he never come back ? >} 

"Dear child," said Mrs. Dorothy, turning to her, 
"hast thou forgot that the Good Shepherd goeth after 
that which was lost, until He find it ? He came back, 
my dear. But it was through the Great Plague and the 
Great Fire. J ' 

It was evident for a few minutes that Mrs. Dorothy 
was wrestling with painful memories. 

{t Wei], and what then ? " said Rhoda, who wanted 
the story to go on, and was afraid of what she called 
preaching. 

" Well ! " resumed the old lady, more lightly, " then, 
for three days in the week I had a dancing-master come 
to teach me; and twice in the week a music-master; 
and all manner of new gowns, and my hair dressed in 
a multitude of curls ; and my mother's maid to teach 
me French, and see that I carried myself well. And 
when, this had gone on a while, my mother began to 
carry me a-visiting when she went to see her friends* 
For above a year she used a hackney coach ; but then 
my father was made Doctor, and had a great church 
given him that was then all the mode ; and my Lady 
Jennings came up to Town, and finding he had parts, 
she began to take note of him, and would carry him in 
her coach to the Court; and my mother would then 
set up her own coach, the which she did. And at 
length, the summer before I was one-and-twenty, my 
Lady Jennings, without the privity of my father, offered 
my mother to have me a maid to one of the Ladies in 
Waiting on the Queen. From this place, said she, 
if I played my cards well, and was liked of then* 



U THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



above me, I might come in time to be a Maid of 

Honour." 

" rare ! " exclaimed Rhoda. " And did you, 

Mrs. Dolly?" 

" Yes, child/' slowly answered Mrs. Dorothy. "I 
did so." 

Rhoda" s face was sparkling with interest and plea- 
sure. Phoebe's was shadowed with forebodings, of a 
sad end to come. 

"The night ere I left home for the Court," pursued 
the old lady, "my mother held long converse with me, 
i Thou art mightily improved, Dolly/ saith she, i since 
thy coming to London ; but there is yet a stiff* sober- 
ness about thee, that thuu wilt do well to be rid of. 
Thou shouldst have more ease, child. Do but look at 
thy cousin Jenny, that is three years younger than thou, 
and yet how will she rattle to every man that hath a 
word of compliment to pay her!" But after she had 
made an end, my father called me into his closet, 
'Poor Dorothy !' he said. ' The bloom is not all off 
the peach yet. But 'tis going, child — 'tis fast going, 
I feared this. Poor Dorothy ! '" 

" Oh, dear ! " said Rhoda. " You were not going 
to a funeral, Mrs. Dolly ! v 

" Ah, child ! maybe, if I had, it had been the better 
for me. The wise man saith, ' It is better to go to the 
house of mourning than to the house of feasting/ " 

"But pray, what harm came to you, Mrs. Do* 
rothy ? " 

"No outward bodily harm at all, my dear. Yet 
even that was no thanks to me. It was f of the Lord's 
compassion/ seeing He had a purpose of mercy toward 



<c 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 55 

*^M1-B f~ ■ ■ _ _ __ _ ~ !__■__ ■~_^___B_M__ 

me. But, ah me! what inward and spiritual harm! 
Mrs. Rhoda, my dear, I saw sights and heard sayings 
those two vears I dwelt in the Court which I would 
give the world, so to speak, only to forget them now." 
What were they, Mrs. Dorothy? " asked Rhoda, 
eagerly sitting up. 

" Think you I am likely to tell you, child ? No, 
indeed ! " 

"But what sort of harm did they to you, Mrs. 
Dolly ? " 

"Child, I learned to think lightly of sin. People 
did not talk of sin there at all; the words they used 
were crime and vice. Every wrong doing was looked 
on as it affected other men : if it touched your neigh- 
bour's purse cr person, it was ill; if it only grieved his 
heart, then 'twas a little matter. But how it touched 
God was never so much as thought on. There might 
have been no God in Heaven, so little account was 
taken of Him there.*' 

" Now do tell us. Mrs. Dollv, what the Oueen was 
like, and the King," said Rhoda, yawning. " And 
how many Maids of Honour were there? Just tell us 
all about it." 

"There were six," replied the old lady, taking up 
her knitting, which she had dropped in her earnestness 
a minute before. " And Mrs. Sanderson was their 
mother. I reckon you will scarce know that always a 
married gentlewoman goeth about with these young 
damsels, called the Mother of the Maids, whose work 
it is to see after them." 

" And keep them from everything jolly ! " exclaimed 
Rhoda. " Now, that's a shame ! Wouldn't it be fun 



56 THE MAIDENS > LODGE. 

to bamboozle that creature ? I protest I should enjoy 

it ! » 

" O Mrs. Rhoda ! Mrs. Rhoda ! " 

" I should, of all things, Mrs. Dolly ! But now, 
what were the King and Queen * like? Was she very 
beautiful?" 



" No," said Mrs. Dorothy, " she was riot. She 
had pretty feet, fine eyes, and very lovely hair. 'Twas 
rich brown on the top of her head, and descending 
downward it grew into jet black. For the rest, she was 
but tolerable. In truth, her teeth wronged her by 
sticking too far out of her mouth ; but for that she 
would have been lovelier by much." 

"Horrid!" said Rhoda. "I forget where she 
came from, Mrs. Dolly ? " 

€s She came from Portingale, my dear, being daugh- 
ter to the King of that country, and her name was 
Catherine." 

"And what was the King like ? " 

" When he was little, my dear, his mother, Queen 
Mary,f used to say he was so ugly a baby that she was 
quite ashamed of him. He was better-favoured when 
he grew a man ; he had good eyes, but a large mouth. '' 

€t He was a black man, was he not ? " 

By which term Rhoda meant what we now call a 
dark man. 

" Yes, very black and swarthy." 
" Where did he commonly live ? " 



* Charles II. and Catherine of Braganza. 

f Henrietta Maria, always termed Queen Mary during her 
own reign. 



/ 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. $7 



"Mostly at Whitehall or Saint James's. At times 
be went to Hampton Court, and often, for a change of 
lir, to Newmarket; now and then to Tunbridge Wells. 
He was but little at Windsor/' 

"Did you like him, Mrs. Dorothy ? " 

Phcebe looked up, when no answer came. The 

expression of Mrs. Dorothy's face was a curious mix- 
ture of fear, repulsion, and yet amusement. 

"No ! " she said at length, 

"Why not? " demanded Rhoda. 

"Well, there were some that did/' was the reply, 
in a rather constrained tone; "and the one that he 
behaved the worst to loved him the best of all." 

" How droll ! " said Rhoda. "And who were your 
friends, then, Mrs. Dorothy ? " 

" That depends, my dear, on what you mean by 
friends. If you mean them that flattered me, and joked 
with me, and the like, — why, I had very many ; or if 
you mean them that would take some trouble to push 
me in the world, — well, there were several of those ; 
but if you mean such as are only true friends, that 
would have cast one thought to my real welfare, whether 
I should go to Heaven or Hell, — I had but one of that 
sort. 



3} 



it 



" And who was your one friend, Mrs. Dolly ? " 
ftsked Rhoda, pursing up her lips a little. 

The King's Scots cook, my dear," quietly replied 
Mrs. Dorothy. 

" The what ? " shrieked Rhoda, going into convul- 
sions of laughter. 

"Ah, you may laugh, Mrs. Rhoda. You know 
there's an old saying, ' Let them laugh that win.' If 



58 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



ever an old sinner like me enters the gates of Heaven, 
so far as the human means are concerned, I shall owe 
it, first of all, to old David Armstrong." 

" Will you please to tell us about him, Madam ? " 
rather timidly asked Phoebe. 

"With all my heart, my dear. Dear old Davie! 
Methinks I see him now. Picture to yourselves, my 
dears, a short man, something stooping in the shoul- 
ders, with sharp features and iron-grey hair; always 
dressed in his white cooking garb, and a white cap over 
his frizzled locks. But before I tell you what I knew 
of old Davie, methinks I had better tell you a tale of 
him that will give you some diversion, without I mis- 
take." 

"Oh do, Mrs. Dolly?" cried Rhoda, who feared 
nothing so much as too great seriousness in her friend's 
stones. 

"Well," said Mrs. Dorothy, "then you must know, 
my dears, that once upon a time the King and Queen 
were at dinner, and with them, amongst others, my 
Lord Rochester, who was at that time a very wild 
gallant. He died, indeed, very penitent, and, I trust, 
a saved man ; but let that be. They were sat after 
dinner, and my Lord Rochester passes the bottle about 
to his next neighbour. c Come, man ! 9 saith the King, 
in his rollicksome way, e take a glass of that which 
cheereth God and man, as Scripture saith/ My Lord 
Rochester at once bets the King forty pound that there 
was no such saying in Scripture. The King referreth 
all to the Queen's chaplain, that happened to be the 
only parson then present; but saith again, that though 
he could not name the place, yet he was as contain to 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 59 



have read it in Scripture as that his name was Charles, 
' What thinks your Majesty ? ' quoth my Lord Roches- 
ter, turning to the Queen. She, very modestly 



a 



But, Mrs. Dolly, was not the Queen a Papist? 
What would she know about the Bible? " 

" So she was, my dear. But they have a Bible of 
their own, that they allow the reading of to certain 
persons. And 1 dare say she was one. However, my 
Lord Rochester asked her, for I heard him; and she 
said, very womanly, that she was unfit to decide such 
matters, but she could not think there to be any such 
passage in the Bible." 

" Why, there isn't ! " rashly interpolated Rhoda. 

Mrs. Dorothv smiled, but did not contradict her. 

"Then up spoke the Queen's chaplain, and gave his 
voice like his mistress, that there was no such passage; 
and several others of them at the table said they 
thought the like. So the King, swearing his wonted 
oath, cried out for some to bring a Bible, that he might 
search and see." 

"0 Mrs. Dolly ! what was his favourite oath ? " 

"I do not see, my dear, that it would do you any 
good to know it. Well, the Bible, as matters went, 
was not to be had. King, Queen, chaplain, and cour- 
tiers, there was not a man nor woman at the table that 
owned to possessing a Bible/' 

"How shocking!'' said Phcebe, under her breath. 

"Very shocking, my dear," assented Mrs. Dorothy. 
"But all at once my Lord Rochester cries out, t Please 
your Majesty, I'll lay you forty shillings there's one 
man in this palace that has a Bible ! He cut me short 
for swearing in the yard a month since. That's old 



6o THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



David, your Majesty's Scots cook. If you'll send for 

him ' 'Done! ' says the King. 'Killigrew, root 

out old Davie, and tell him to come here, and bring his 
Bible with him.' So away went Mr. Killigrew, the 
King's favourite page; and ere long back he comes, and 
old Davie with him, and under Davie's arm a great 
brown book. ' Here he is, Sire, Bible and all ! ' says 
Mr. Killigrew. € Come forward, Davie, and be hanged ! ' 
says the King. ' I'll come forward, Sire, at your Ma- 
jesty's bidding/ says Davie, 'and gin ye order it, and 
I ha'e deservit it, I can be hangit/ saith he, mighty dry; 
'but under your Majesty's pleasure I'll just tak' the 
liberty to ask, Sire, what are ye wan tin' wi' the 

Buik?"' 

" Oh, how queer you talk, Mrs. Dolly ! " 
" As David talked, my dear. He was a Scot, you 
know. Well, the King gave a hearty laugh ; and says 
he, ' Oh, come forward, Davie, and fear nothing. We'll 
not hang you, and we want no hurt to your darling 
book.' /Atweel, Sire/ says Davie, 'and I'd ha'e been 
gey sorry gin ye had meant to hurt my buik, seein' it 
was my mither's, and I set store by it for her sake } 
but trust me, Sire, I'd ha'e been a hantle sorrier gin ye 
had meant onie disrespect to the Lord's Buik. I'll no 
stand by, wi' a' honour to your Majesty, an' see i* 
lichtlied.' " 

" What does that mean, Mrs. Dolly ? " 
"Set light by, my dear. Well, the King laughed 
again, but I think Davie's words a little sobered him, 
for he spoke kindly enough, that no harm should be 
done, nor was any disrespect intended ; ' but/ saith he, 
'my Lord Rochester and I fell a-disputing if certain 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 6l 



words were in the Bible or no ; and as you are the only 
man here like to have one, I sent for you/ Davie 
looks, quiet enough, round all the table; and he says, 
under his breath, e The only man here like to have a 
Bible! Aye, your Majesty, I ken weel eneuch that I 
ha'e my habitation among the tents o* Kedar. At- 
vveel, Sire, an* I'll be pleasit to answer onie sic question, 
gin ye please to tell me the words/ My Lord Roches- 
ter saith, fa Wine, which cheereth God and man/' 
Are such words as those in the Bible, David ? ' Neither 
yea nor nay said old Davie ; but he turned over the 
leaves of his Bible for a moment, and then, clearing his 
voice, and first doffing his cook's cap (which he had but 
lifted a minute for the King), he read from the Book of 
Judges, Jotham's parable of the trees. 'Twas a little 
while ere any spoke : then said the Queen's chaplain, 
swearing a great oath, that he could not but be infinitely 
surprised to find there to be such words in the Bible/* 
u O Mrs. Dolly I a parson to swear ! " 
(S There are different sorts of parsons, my dear. 
But old David thought it shocking, for he turns round 
to the chaplain, and saith he, ( Your pardon, Mr. 
Howard, but gin ye'd give me leave, I'd be pleasit to 
swear the ncist oath for ye. It would sound rather 
better, ye ken, for a cook than a chaplain/ ' Hurrah I ' 
says the King, swearing himself, f the sprightliest 
humour I heard of a long time ! Pray you, silence, and 
hear old Davie swear ! ' c I see nothing to swear anent 
the now, an* it please your Majesty/ says Davie, 
mighty dry again: 'when I do, your Majesty '11 be 
sure to hear it/ The King laughed heartily, for he took 
Davie right enough, though I saw some look puzzled. 



62 THE MAIDENS » LODGE. 



Of course he never would see reason to do a sinful 
thing. But a new thought had come into the King's 
head, and he turns quick to Mr. Howard, and desires 
that he would give exposition of the words that Davie 
had read. f You ought to know what they mean, if we 
don't, poor sinners,* saith the King. ( I protest, Sire,' 
saith the chaplain, f that I cannot so much as guess 
what they mean/ { Now then, David the divine,' cries 
my Lord Rochester, c your exposition, if you please/ 
And some of the courtiers, that by this time were not 
too sober, drummed on the table with glasses, and 
shouted for David's sermon." 

" I think, Mrs. Dolly, that was scarce proper, in the 
King's and Queen's presence/' 

" So I think, my dear. But King Charles's Court 
was Liberty Hall, and every man did that which was 
right in his own eyes. But Davie stood very quiet, 
with the Bible yet open in his hands. He waited his 
master's bidding, if they did not. e Oh aye, go on, 
Davie/ saith the King, leaning back in his chair and 
laughing. ' Silence for Mr. David Armstrong's ser- 
mon ! ' cries my Lord Rochester, in a voice of a master 
of ceremonies. But Davie took no note of any voice 
but the King's, though 'twas to my Lord Rochester he 
addressed him when he spoke. 'That wine cheereth 
man, your Lordship very well knows,' quoth Davie, in 
his dry way : and seeing his Lordship had drank a 
bottle and a half since he sat down, I should think he 
did, my dears. ' But this, that wine cheereth God, is 
referable to the drink-offering commanded by God of 
the Jews, wherein the wine doth seem to typify the 

precious blood of Christ, and the thankfulness of him 



LITTLE MRS. DOROTHY. 63 



that hath his iniquity thereby purged away. For in the 
fifteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers you shall find 
this drink-offering termed "a sweet savour unto the 
Lord." And since nothing but Christ is a sweet 
savour unto God, therefore we judge that the wine 
of the drink-offering, like to that of the Sacrament, did 
denote the blood of Christ whereby we are redeemed ; 
the one prefiguring that whereto it looked forward, as 
the other doth likewise figure that whereunto it looketh 
back. This, therefore, that wine cheereth God, is to be 
understood by an emblem, of the blood of Christ, our 
Mediator; for through this means God is well pleased 
in the way of salvation that He hath appointed, whereby 
His justice is satisfied. His law fulfilled, His mercy 
reigneth, His grace doth triumph, all His perfections 
do agree together, the sinner is saved, and God in 
Christ glorified. Now, Sire, I have done your bidding, 
and I humbly ask your Majesty's leave to withdraw/ 
The King said naught, but cast him a nod of consent. 
My dears, you never saw such a change as had come 
over that table. Every man seemed sobered and awed. 
The Queen was weeping, the King silent and thought- 
ful. My Lord Rochester, whom at that time nothing 
could sober long, was the only one to speak, and rising 
with make-believe gravity, as though in his place in the 
House of Lords, he offered a motion that the King 
should please to send Mr. Howard into the kitchen to 
make kail, and raise the Reverend Mr. David Arm- 
strong to the place of chaplain." 

"What is kail, Mrs. Dolly?" asked Rhoda, laugh- 
ing. 

" 'Tis Scots broth, my dear, whereof King Charles 



64 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



was very fond, and old David had been fetched from 
Scotland on purpose to make it for him/''* 

"What a droll old man ! >} exclaimed Rhoda. 

" Ah, he was one of the best men ever I knew," 
said Mrs. Dorothy, "But, my dear, look at the 

clock ! " 

" I declare ! " cried Rhoda. " Phoebe, we have but 

just time to run home ere supper, if so much as that. 
Good evening, Mrs. Dolly, and thank you. What will 

Madam say ? " 



* David Armstrong is a historical person, and this anecdote 
is true. The surname given to him only is fictitious, as history 
does not record any name but " David." 




CHAPTER IV. 



THROUGH THORNY PATHS. 




"I do repent me now too late of each impatient thought, 
That would not let me tarry out God's leisure as I ought." 

Caroline Bowles. 

it long since Madam woke, Baxter ? " cried 
Rhoda in a breathless whisper, as she came 
in at the side door. 

u But this minute, Mrs. Rhoda," answered he. 

" That's good ! " said Rhoda aside to Phoebe, and 
slipping off her shoes, she ran lightly and silently up- 
stairs, beckoning her cousin to follow* 

Phoebe, having no idea of the course of Rhoda's 
thoughts, obeyed, and followed her example in doffing 
her hood and smoothing her hair. 

"Be quick!" said Rhoda, her own rapid move- 
ments over, and putting on her shoes again. 

They found Madam looking barely awake, and 
staring hard at her book, as if wishful to persuade her- 
self that she had been reading. 



" I hope, child, you were not out all this time," 
said she to Rhoda. 

" Oh no, Madam ! " glibly answered that trust- 
worthy young lady. " We only had a dish of tea with 



65 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Mrs. Dolly, and I made my compliments to the other 



a 



gentlewomen. 

"And where were you since, child ? " 

ce We have been upstairs, Madam/' said Rhoda, 
unblushingly. 

Not diverting yourselves, I hope ? " was Madam's 



cc 



a 



u 



next question. 

" Oh no, not at all, Madam. We were not doing 
anything particular." 

"Talking, I suppose, as maids will/' responded 
Madam. " Phcebe, to-morrow after breakfast biing all 
your clothes to my chamber. I must have you new 
apparelled. 

Oh, Madam, give me leave to come also ! " 
exclaimed Rhoda, with as much eagerness as she ever 
dared to show in her grandmother's presence. " I 
would so dearlv like to hear what Phcebe is to have ! 
Only, please, not a musk-coloured damask — you pro- 
mised me that." 

" My dear/* answered Madam, " you forget your- 
self. I cannot talk of such things to-day. You may 
come if you like." 

Supper was finished in silence. After supper, a 
pale-faced, tired-looking young man, who had been pre- 
viously invisible, came into the parlour, and made a low 
reverence to Madam, which she returned with a queenly 
bend of her head. His black cassock and scarf showed 
him to be in holy orders. Madam rang the hand-bell, 
the servants filed in, and evening prayers were read by 
the young chaplain, in a thin, monotonous voice, with 
a manner which indicated that he was not interested 
himself, and did not expect interest in any one else. 



THRO UGH THORNY PA THS. 67 



Then the servants filed out again ; the chaplain kissed 
Madam's hand, and wished her good-night, bowed dis- 
tantly to Rhoda, half bowed to Phoebe, instantly drew 
himself up as if he thought he was making a mistake, 
and finally disappeared. 

" 'Tis time you were abed, maids/' said Madam. 

Rhoda somewhat slowly rose, knelt before her 
grandmother, and kissed her hand. 

(< Good-night, my dear. God bless thee, and make 
thee a good maid ! " was Madam's response. 

Phoebe had risen, and stood, rather hesitatingly, 
behind her cousin. She was doubtful whether Madam 
would be pleased or displeased if she followed Rhoda's 
example. In her new life it seemed probable that she 
would not be short of opportunities for the exercise of 
meekness, forbearance, and humility. Madam's quick 
eyes detected Phoebe's difficulty in an instant. 

" Good-night, Phoebe," she said, rising. 

"Good-night, Madam/' replied Phcebe in a low 
voice, as she followed Rhoda. It was evident that no 
relationship was to be recognized. 

" Here, you carry the candle,'' said Rhoda, nodding 
towards the hall table on which the candlesticks stood. 
"That's what you are here for, I suppose, — to save 
me trouble. Dear, I forgot my cloak,— ^see where 
it is ! Bring it with you, Phcebe." 

Demurely enough Rhoda preceded Phcebe upstairs. 
But no sooner was the bedroom door closed behinV 
them, than Rhoda threw herself into the large invalic 
chair, and laughed with heartv amusement. 

"Oh, didn't I take her in ? Wasn't it neatly done, 
now ? Didn't you admire me, Phcebe ? " 



68 THE MAIDENS" LODGE. 



"You told her a lie ! " retorted Phoebe, indignantly. 

" 'Sh ! — that's not a pretty word/' said Rhoda, purs- 
ing her lips. " Say a fib, next time. — Nonsense ! Not a 
bit of it, Phoebe. We had been upstairs since we came in." 

"Only a minute/' answered Phoebe. "You made 
her think what was not true. Father called that a lie, 
I don't know what you call it." 

"Now, Phoebe," said Rhoda severely, "don't you 
be a little Puritan. If you set up for a saint at White- 
Ladies, I can just tell you, you'll pull your own nest 
about your ears. You are mightily mistaken if you 
think Madam has any turn for saints. She reckons 
them designing persons — every soul of 'em. You'll 
just get into a scrape if you don't have a care." 

Phoebe made no reply. She was standing by the 
window, looking up into the darkened sky. There were 
no blinds at White-Ladies. 

It was well for Rhoda — or was it well ? — that she 
could not just then see into Phoebe's heart. The cry 
that " shivered to the tingling stars" was unheard by 
her. "Q Father, Father," said the cry. "Why did 
you die and leave your poor little Phoebe, whom 
nobody loves, whose love nobody wants, with whom 
nobody here has one feeling in common ? " And 
then all at once came as it were a vision before her 
eyes, of a scene whereof she had heard very frequently 
from her father, — a midnight meeting of the Desert 
Church, in a hollow of the Cevennes mountains, 
guarded by sentinels posted on the summit, — a meeting 
which to attend was to brave the gallows or the galleys, 
—and Phoebe fancied she could hear the words of the 
opening hymn, as the familiar tune floated past her : 



THRO UGH THORNY PA THS. 69 



" Mori sort n'est pas a plaindre, 
II est a desirer; 
Je n'ai plus rien a craindre, 
Car Dieu est mon Berger." 

It was a quiet, peaceful face which was turned back 
to Rhoda. 

"Did you hear ? ^ rather sharply demanded that 
young lady. 



a 



Yes, I heard what you said/* calmly replied 



Phoebe. (( But I have been a good way since." 
tc A good way ! — where ? " rejoined her cousin. 
"To France and back/' said Phcebe, with a smile. 
"What are you talking about? " staved Rhoda. " I 

said nothing about France ; I was telling you not to 
be a prig and a saint, and make Madam angry." 

" I won't vex her if I can help it," answered Phoebe. 

" Well, but you will, if you set up to be better than 
your neighbours, — that's pos. ! Take the pins out of 
my commode/' 

" Why should not I be better than my neighbours?" 
asked Phoebe, as she pulled out the pins. 

" Because they'll all hate you — that's why. I must 
have clean ruffles — they are in that top drawer." 

<{ Aren't you better than your neighbours ? " inno- 
cently suggested Phoebe, coming back with the clean 
ruffles. 

Rhoda paused to consider how she should deal with 
the subject. The question was not an easy one to 
answer. She believed herself very much better, in 
every respect: to say No, therefore, would belie her 
wishes and convictions; yet to say Yes, would spoil 
the effect of her lecture. There was moreover, a dim 



7 o THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



impression on her mind that Phrebe was incapable of 
perceiving the delicate distinction between them, which 
made it inevitable that Rhoda should be better than 
Phoebe, and highly indecorous that Phcebe should at- 
tempt to be better than Rhoda. On the whole, it 
seemed desirable to turn the conversation. 

" Oh, not these ruffles, Phcebe ! These are some of 
my best. Bring a pair of common ones — those with the 
box plaits. — What were you thinking about France ? " 



" Oh, nothing particular. I was only " 

"Never mind, if you don't want to tell/* said 

Rhoda, graciously, now that her object was attained. 

" I wonder what new clothes Madam will give you. A 

camlet for best, I dare say, and duffel for every day. 

Don't you want to know ? " 



a 



a 



No, not very much." 

u I should, if I were you. I like u> go fine. Not 
that she'll give you fine things, you know — not likely. 
There ! put my shoes out to clean, and tuck me up 
nicely, and then if you like you can go to bed. T shan't 
want anything more. 

Phcebe did as she was requested, and then knelt 
down. 

" I vow ! " exclaimed her cousin, when she rose. 
"Do you say your prayers on Sunday nights ? I never 
do. Why, we've only just been at it downstairs. And 
what a time you are ! I'm never more than five minutes 
with mine ! " 

" I couldn't say all I want in five minutes," replied 
Phcebe. 

Want! why, what do you want?" said Rhoda. 
u I want nothing. I've got to do it — that's all." 



C( 



THRO UGH THORNY PA THS. 7 1 



"Well, I dare say five minutes is enough for that/' 
was the quiet reply from Phoebe. "But when people 
get into trouble, then they do want things/' 

"Trouble! Oh, you don't know!" said Rhoda, 

loftily. " I've had heaps of trouble." 

"Have you?" innocently demanded Phcebe, in an 
interested tone. 

"Well, I should think so! More than ever you 
had." 

"What were they?" said Phcebe, in the same 
manner. 

"Why, first, my mother died when I was only a 
week old," explained Rhoda. " I suppose you call that 
a trouble ? " 

Not when you were a week old," said Phcebe ; " it 
would be afterwards — with some people. But I should 
not think it was, much, with you. You have had 
Madam." 

" Well, then my father went off to London, and 
spent all his estate, that I should have had, and there 
was nothing left for me. That was a trouble, I sup- 
pose ? " 

" If you had plenty beside, I should not think it was." 



a 



a 



' Plenty beside ! ' Phcebe, you are the silliest 



creature ! Why 



Wh 



Ladies ? I should have set my cap at a lord, I can tell 
you. Only think, Phcebe, I should have had sixty 
thousand pounds. What do you say to that ? Sixty 
thousand pounds ! " 

" I should think it is more than you could evei 
spend." 



■%■ 



72 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"Oh, I don't know about that," said Rhoda. 
" When White- Ladies is mine, I shall have a riding- 
horse and a glass coach ; and I will have a splendid set 
of diamonds, and pearls too. They cost something, I 
can tell you. Oh, 'tis easy spending money. You'll 
see, when it comes to me." 



c< 



(( 



Are you sure it will come to you ? " 
Why, of course it will ! " exclaimed 



up, and leaning on her elbow. i( To whom else .would 
Madam leave it, I should like to know ! Why, you 
never expect her to give it to you, poor little white-faced 
thing ? I vow, but that is a good jest ! " 

Rhoda's laugh had more bitterness than mirth in it. 
Phoebe's smile was one of more unmixed amusement. 
Pray make yourself easy," said Phoebe. " I never 



cc 



expect anything, and then I am not disappointed." 

" Well, I'll just tell you what ! >} rejoined her cousin. 
"If I catch you making up to Madam, trying to please 
all her whims, and chime in with her vapours, and that 
fancying she'll leave you White-Ladies — I tell you, 
Phoebe Latrobe, I'll never forgive you as long as I live ! 
There ! " 

Rhoda was very nearly, if not quite, in a passion. 
Phcebe turned and looked at her. 

a Cousin," she said, gently, "you will see me try to 
please Madam, since 'tis my duty : but if you suppose 
'tis with any further object, such as what she might give 
me, you very ill know Phoebe Latrobe." 

" Well, mind your business ! " said Rhoda, rather 
fiercely. 

A few minutes later she was asleep. But sleep did 
not visit Phcebe's eyes that night. 



THROUGH THORNY PATHS, 73 



When the morning came, Rhoda seemed quite to 
have forgotten her vexation. She chattered away while 
she was dressing, on various topics, but chiefly respect- 
ing the new clothes which Madam had promised to 
Phoebe. If words might be considered a criterion, 
Rhoda appeared to take far more interest in these than 
Phcebe herself. 

Breakfast was a solemn and silent ceremony. 
When it was over. Madam desired Phcebe to attend 
her in her own chamber, and to bring her wardrobe 
with her. Rhoda followed, unasked, and sat down on 
the form at the foot of the bed to await her cousin. 
Phcebe came in with her arms full of dresses and cloaks. 
She was haunted by a secret apprehension which she 
would not on any account have put into words — that 
she might no longer be allowed to wear mourning for 
her dead father. But Phcebe's fears were superfluous. 
Madam thought far too much of the proprieties of life 
to commit such an indecorum. However little she had 
liked or respected the Rev. Charles Latrobe, she would 
never have thought of requiring his child to lay aside 
her mourning until the conventional two years had 
elapsed from the period of his decease. 

Phoebe's common attire was very quickly discarded, 
as past further wear; and she was desired to wear her 

best clothes every day, until new ones were ready for 
her. This decided, Rhoda was ordered to ring for 
Betty, Madam's own maid, and Betty was in her turn 
required to fetch those stuffs which she had been bidden 
to lay aside till needed. Betty accordingly brought a 
piece of black camlet, another of black bombazine, and 
a third of black satin, with various trimmings. The 



74 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



two girls alike watched in silence, while Betty measured 
lengths and cut off pieces of camlet and bombazine, 
from which it appeared that Phcebe was to have two 
new dresses, and a mantua and hood of the camlet: but 
when Rhoda heard Betty desired to cut off satin for 
another mantua, her hitherto concealed chagrin broke 
forth. 

" Why, Madam ! — she'll be as fine as me ! " 
"My dear, she will be as I choose," answered 
Madam, in a tone which would have silenced any one 

39 



but Rhoda. " And now, satin for a hood, Betty- 



" 'Tis a shame ! " said Rhoda, under her breath, 
which was as much as she dared venture ; but Madam 
took no notice. 

" You will line the hoods and mantuas warm, 
Betty," pursued Madam, in her most amiable tone. 
" Guard the satin with fur, and the camlet with that 
strong gimp. And a muff she must have, Betty." 

"A muff! " came in a vexed whisper from Rhoda. 

"And when the time comes, one of the broidered 
India scarves that were had of Staveley, for summer 
wear; but that anon. Then " 

"But, Madam ! " put in Rhoda, in a troubled voice, 
"you have never given me one of those scarves yet ! I 
asked you for one a year ago." To judge from her 

tone, Rhoda was very near tears. 

"My dear!" replied Madam, " 'tis becoming in 
maids to wait till they are spoken to. Had you listened 
with proper respect, you would have heard me bid Betty 
lay out one also for you. You cannot use them at this 

season." 

Rhoda subsided, somewhat discontentedly. 



THROUGH THORNY PATHS. 7$ 



"Two pairs of black Spanish gloves, Betty; and a 
black fan, and black velvet stays. (When the year is 
out she must have a silver lace.) And bid Dobbins 
send up shoes to fit on, with black buckles — two pairs; 
and lay out black stockings — two pairs of silk, and two 
of worsted ; and plain cambric aprons — they may be 
laced when the year is out. I think that is all. Oh ! 
a fur tippet, Betty." 

And with this last order Madam marched away. 

"Oh, shocking!" cried Rhoda, the instant she 
thought her grandmother out of hearing. " I vow, but 
she's going to have you as fine as me. Every bit of it. 
Betty, isn't it a shame ? ". 

"Well, no, Mrs. Rhoda, I don't see as how 'tis/' 
returned Betty, bluntly. "Mrs. Phcebe, she's just the 
same to Madam as you are." 

"But she isn't!" exclaimed Rhoda, blazing up. 
" I'm her eldest daughter's child, and she's only the 
youngest. And she hasn't done it before, neither. 
Last night she didn't let her kiss her hand. I say, 
Betty, 'tis a crying shame ! " 

" Maybe Madam thought better of it this morning/' 
suggested Betty, speaking with a pin in her mouth. 

"Well, 'tis a burning shame ! " growled Rhoda. 

" Perhaps, Mrs. Betty," said Phoebe's low voice, 
"you could leave the satin things for a little while ? " 

"Mrs. Phcebe, I durstn't, my dear!" rejoined 
Betty ; " nay, not if 'twas ever so ! Madam, she's 
used to have folk do as she bids 'em ; and she'll make 
'em, too! Never you lay Mrs. Rhoda's black looks to 
heart, my dear; she'll have forgot all about it by this 



time to-morrow." 



76 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 

Rhoda had walked away, 

"But I shall not ! " answered Phcebe, softlv. 

"Deary me, child! " said Betty, turning to look at 
Jier, " don't you go for to fret over that. Why, if a bit 
©f a thing like that'll trouble you, you'll have plenty to 
Fret about at White- Ladies. Mrs. Rhoda., she's on and 
Oaf with you twenty times a day ; and you'd best take 
250 notice. She don't mean anything ill, my dear ; 'tis 
only her phantasies." 



" Oh, Mrs. Betty ! I wish " 

" Phcebe ! " came up from below. " Fetch my cloak 
and hood, and bring your own — quick, now ! We are 
about to drive out with Madam." 

"Come, dry your eyes, child, and I'll fetch the 
things," said Betty, soothingly. " You'll be the better 
of a drive." 

Rhoda' s annoyance seemed to have vanished from 
her mind as well as from her countenance ; and Madam 
took no notice of Phcebe's disturbed looks. The 
Maidens' Lodge was first visited, and a messenger sent 
in to ask Lady Betty if she were inclined to take the 
air. Lady Betty accepted the offer, and was so con- 
siderate as not to keep Madam waiting more than ten 
minutes. No further invitation was offered, and the 
coach rumbled away in the direction of Gloucester. 

For a time Phcebe heard little of the conversation 
between the elder ladies, and Rhoda, as usual in her 
grandmother's presence, was almost silent. At length 
she woke up to a remark made by Lady Betty. 

"Then you think, Madam, to send for Gatty and 
Molly?" 

"That is my design, my Lady Betty. 'Twill be a 



THROUGH THORN* PATHS. 77 



diversion for Rhoda ; and Sir Richard was so good as 
to sav thev should come if I would." 

"Indeed, I think he would be easy to have them 
from home, Madam, till they may see if Betty's disorder 
be the small-pox or no." 



a 



When did Betty return home, my Lady ? " 

"But last Tuesday. 'Tis not possible that her 
sisters have taken aught of her, for she had been ailing 
some days ere she set forth, and they have bidden at 
home all the time. You will be quite safe, Madam." 

"So I think, my Lady Betty," replied Madam. 
" Rhoda, have you been listening? " 

a No, Madam," answered Rhoda, demurely. 

"Then 'tis time you should, my dear," said Madam, 
graciously. t( I will acquaint you of the affair. I think 
to write to Lady D el a war r, and ask the favour of Mrs. 
Gatty and Mrs. Molly to visit me. Their sister Mrs. 
Betty, as I hear, is come home from the Bath, extreme 
distempered; and 'tis therefore wise to send away Mrs. 
Gatty and little Mrs. Molly until Mrs. Betty be recovered 
of her disorder. I would have you be very nice toward 
them, that they shall find their visit agreeable. 

" How long will they stay, Madam ? " inquired 
Rhoda. 

" Why, child, that must hang somewhat on Mrs. 
Betty's recovering. I take it, it shall be about a month ; 
but should her distemper be tardy of disappearing, it 
shall then be something longer." 

" Jolly ! " was the sound which seemed to Phoebe 
to issue in an undertone from the lips of Rhoda. But 
the answer which reached her grandmother's ears was 
merely a sedate u Yes, Madam." 



y* 



78 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"I take it, my Lady Betty/ 7 observed Madam, turn- 
ing to her companion, " that the sooner the youn<? 
gentlewomen are away, the better shall it be." 



(£ 



CC 



Oh, surely, Madam ! " answered Lady Betty. 
'Tis truly very good of you to ask it ; but you are 
always a general undertaker for your friends." 

"We were sent into this world to do good, my Lady 
Betty," returned Madam, sententiously. 

Unless Phoebe's ears were deceived, a whisper verv 
like " Fudge ! " came from Rhoda. 

The somewhat solemn drive was finished at last; 
Lady Betty was set down at the Maidens' Lodge; in- 
quiries were made as to the health of Mrs. Marcella, 
who returned a reply intimating that she was a suffering 
martyr; and Rhoda and Phoebe at last found themselves 
free from snperveillance, and safe in their bedroom. 

"Now that's just jolly !" was Rhoda's first remark, 
with nothing in particular to precede it. "Molly Dela- 
warr's a darling! I don't much care for Gatty, and 
Betty I just hate. She's a prig and a fid-fad both. But 
Molly — oh, Phoebe, she's as smart as can be. Such 
parts she has ! You know, she's really — not quite 
you understand — but really she's almost as clever as I 
am!" 

Phoebe did not seem overwhelmed by this informa- 
tion ; she only said, " Is she ? " 

"Well, nearly," said Rhoda. " She knows fourteen 
Latin words, Molly does; and she always brings them 



in." 



(C 



Into what ? " asked Phoebe, with the little amused 



jaugh which was very rare with her. 



tc 



Into her discourse, to be sure, child!" said Rhoda, 



THRO UGH THORNY PA THS. 79 



ec 



73 



loftily, "You don't know fourteen Latin words; how 
should you ? " 

fC How should T, indeed/* rejoined Phcebe, meekly, 
" if father had not taught me ? " 

(< Taught you — taught you Latin ? " gasped Rhoda. 

"Just a little Latin and Greek; there wasn't time 
for much/' humbly responded Phoebe. 

"Greek ! " shrieked Rhoda. 

"Verv little, please," deprecated Phoebe. 
Phcebe, you dear sweet darling love of a Phcebe ! 
cried Rhoda, kissing her cousin, to the intense astonish- 
ment of the latter ; " now won't you, like a dear as you 
are, just tell me one or two Greek words? I would 
give anything to outshine Molly and make her look 
foolish, I would! She doesn't know one word of Greek 
only Latin. Do, for pity's sake, tell me, if 'tis only 
one Greek word ! and I won't say another syllable, not 
if Madam gives you a diamond necklace ! " 

Phcebe was laughing more than she had yet ever 
done at White-Ladies. She was far too innocent and 
amiable to think of playing Rhoda the trick of which 

MeJanie's father was guilty, in Conies a ma Fille, when, 

under the impression that she was saying in Latin, 
Knowledge gives the right to laugh at everything/' he 
cruelly caused her to remark in public, " I am a very 
ridiculous donkey." Phoebe bore no malice. She only 
said, still smiling, 

"I don't know what words to tell you." 



a 



t( Oh, any ! " answered Rhoda, accommodatingly. 
" What's the Greek for ugly ? '' 

"I don't know," said Phcebe, dubiously. " Kakos 
means lad." • 



80 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



te And what is good and pretty ? " 
" Agathos is good/' replied Phoebe, laughing; ""and 
leantifid is kallios." 

« That'll do!" said Rhoda, triumphantly. "Tis 
plenty, — I couldn't remember more. Let me see, 
kaks, and agathos, and kallius — is that right ? " 

Phoebe laughingly offered the necessary corrections. 
u All right ! " said Rhoda. te I've no more to wish 
for. I'll take the shine out of Molly ! " 

At supper that evening, Madam announced that 
she had sent her note to Lady Delawarr by a mounted 
messenger, and had received an answer, according to 
which Gatty and Molly might be expected to arrive at 
White-Ladies on Wednesday evening. Madam ap- 
peared to be in one of her most gracious moods, for she 
even condescended to inform Phcebe that Mrs. Gatty 
was two months older than Rhoda, and Mrs. Molly 
four years her junior, — " two years younger than you, 
my dear/' said Madam, very affably. 

"Now, Phcebe, Pll tell you what we'll do," asserted 
Rhoda, as she sat down before the glass that night to 
have her hair undressed by her cousin. " I'm not 
going to have Molly teasing about the old gentlewomen 
down yonder. Pll soon shut her mouth if she begins ; 
and if Gatty wants to go down there, well, she can go 
by herself. So Pll tell you what : you and I will drink 
a dish of tea with Mrs. Dolly to-morrow, and we'll 
make her finish her story. I only do wish the dear old 
tiresome thing wouldn't preach ! Then Pll take you 
in to see Mrs. Marcella, and we'll get that done. Then 
in the morning, you must just set out all my gowns on 
the bed. and Pll have both you and Betty to sew awhile 



THROUGH THORNY PATHS. ' El 



I must have some lace on that blue. I'll make Madam 
give me a pair of new silver buckles, too. I can't do 
unless I cut out those creatures somehow. And the 
only way to cut out Gatty is by dress, because she 
hasn't anything in her, — 'tis all on her. I cut out 
Molly in brains. But my Lady Delawarr likes to dress 
Gatty up, because she fancies the awkward thing's 
pretty. She isn't, you know, — not a speck ; but she 
thinks so." 

Whether the last pronoun referred to Lady Dela- 
warr or to GaUy, Rhoda was not sufficiently perspicu- 
ous to indicate. Phcebe went on disentangling her 
hair in silence, and Rhoda likewise fell into a brown 
study. 

Of the nature of her thoughts that young lady gave 
but two intimations : the first, as she tied up her hair 
in the loose bag which then served for a night-cap,' 

"I cannot abide that Bettv ! " 

The second came a long while afterwards, just as 
Phcebe was dropping to sleep. 

" I say, Phcebe ! » 

" Yes ? » 

" Did you say f kakios ? ' " 

Phcebe had to collect her thoughts. u Kakos," she 
said. 

(f Oh, all right; they won't know. But won't I 
take the shine out of that Molly ! " 

Phoebe's arrested sleep came back to her as she was 
reflecting on the curious idea which her cousin seemed 
to have of friendship. 



" Come along, Phcebe ! This is the shortest way." 



82 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



)> 



(C 



" Oh, couldn't we go by the road ? " asked Phcebe, 
drawing back apprehensively, as Rhoda sprang lightly 
from the top of the stile which led into the meadow. 

<c Of course we could, but 'tis ever so much further 

round, and not half so pleasant. Why? 

" There are — cows ! " said Phoebe, under her breath. 
Rhoda laughed more decidedly than civilly. 

Cows! Did you never see cows before? I say, 
Phcebe, come along ! Don't be so silly 1 " 

Phoebe obeyed, but in evident trepidation, and cast- 
ing many nervous glances at the dreaded cows, until 
the girls had passed the next stile. 

(i Cows don't bite, silly Phoebe ! " said Rhoda, rather 
patronisingly, from the height of her two years' supe- 
riority in age. 

"But they toss sometimes, don't they?' 3 tremb- 
lingly demanded Phcebe. 



"What nonsense!' 3 said Rhoda, as they rounded 
the Maidens' Lodge. 

Little Mrs. Dorothy sat sewing at her window, and 
she nodded cheerily to her young guests as they came 
in. 

"What do you think, Mrs. Dolly? — good evening!" 
said Rhoda, parenthetically. u If this foolish Phcebe 
isn't frighted of a cow ! " 

" Sure, my dear, that is no wonder, for one bred in 
in the town/' gently deprecated Mrs. Dorothy. 

" So stupid and nonsensical ! " said Rhoda u I 
say, Mrs. Dolly, are you afraid of anything?" 

" Yes, my dear," was the quiet answer. 

" Oh ! " said Rhoda. « Cows ? " 



U 



No, not cows," returned Mrs, Dorothy, smiling 



THRO UGH THORNY PA THS. 83 



1 
u 



" Frogs ? Beetles ? " suggested Rhoda. 

" I do not think I am afraid of anv animal, at least 

in this country, without it be vipers/' said Mrs. Dorothy. 

But — well, I dare say I am but a foolish old woman 

in many regards. I oft fear things which I note 

Dthers not to fear at all." 

"But what sort of things, Mrs. Dolly?" inquired 
Rhoda, who had made herself extremely comfortable 
with a large chair and sundry cushions. 

"I will tell you of three things, my dear, of which 
I have always felt afraid, at the least since I came to 
years of discretion. And most folks are not afraid of 
any of them. I am afraid of getting rich. I am afraid 
of being married. And I am afraid of judging my neigh- 
bours." 

" Oh ! " cried Rhoda, in genuine amazement, 

"Why, Mrs. Dolly, what do you mean? As to 
judging one's neighbours, — well, I suppose the Bible 
says something against that; but we all do it, you 
know." 

" We do, my dear ; more's the pity." 

"But getting rich, and being married ! Oh, Mrs. 
Dolly! Everybody wants those." 

"No, my dear, asking your pardon," replied the 
old ladv, in a tone of decision unusual with her. " I 
trust every Christian does not want to be rich, when 
the Lord hath given him so many warnings against it. 
And every man does not want to marry, nor every 
woman neither. 



i> 



u Well, not every man, perhaps," admitted Rhoda; 



"but every woman does, Mrs. Dolly. 



}} 



" My dear, I am sorry to hear a woman say it, 



>i 



84 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



yy 



answered Mrs. Dorothy, with as much warmth as was 
consonant with her nature. " I hoped that was a 
man's delusion." 

"Why, Mrs. Dolly! I do/' said Rhoda, with 
great candour. 

"Then I wish you more wisdom, child. 

"Well, upon my word ! " exclaimed Rhoda. 
"Didn't you, when you were young, Mrs. Dolly ?" 

" No, I thank God, nor when I was old neither," 
replied Mrs. Dorothy, in the same tone. 

"But, Mrs. Dolly! A maid has no station in 
society ! " said Rhoda, using a phrase which she had 
picked up from one of her grandfather's books. 

"My dear, your station is where God puts you. A 
maid has just as good a station as a wife; and a much 
pleasanter, to my thinking." 

" Pleasanter ! " exclaimed Rhoda. "Why, Mrs. 
Dolly, nobody thinks anything of an old maid,, except 
to pity her." 

"They may keep their pitv to themselves," said 
Mrs. Dorothy, with a little laugh. " We old maids can 
pity them back again, and with more reason." 

" Mrs. Dolly, would you have all the world hermits ? J ' 

""No, my dear; nor do I at all see why people 
should always leap to the conclusion that an old maid 
must be an ill-tempered, lonely, disappointed creature. 
Sure, there are other relatives in this world beside hus- 
bands and children; and if she choose her own lot, 
what cause hath she for disappointment? 'Tis but a 
few day since Mr. Leighton said, in my hearing, { Of 
course we know, when a gentlewoman is unwed, 'tis 
her misfortune rather than her fault* — and I do believe 



THROUGH THORNY PATHS. 85 



the poor man thought he paid us women a compliment 
in so speaking. For me, I felt it an insult." 



a 



Why so, Mrs. Dolly ? » 



" Why, think what it meant, my dear. { Of course, 
a woman cannot be so insensible to the virtues and 
attractions of men that she should wish to remain 
unwed; therefore, if this calamity overtake her, it 
shows that she hath 110 virtues nor attractions her- 
self/ " 

" You don't think Mr. Leighton meant that, Mrs. 
Dolly ? " asked Rhoda, laughing. 

s< No, my dear \ I think he did not see the meaning 
of his own words. But tell me, if it is not a piece of 
great vanity on the part of men, that while they never 
think to condole with a man who is unmarried, but take 
it undoubted that he prefers that life, they take it as 
equally undoubted that a woman doth not prefer it, and 
lament over her being left at ease and liberty as though 
she had suffered some great misfortune ? " 

"I never did see such queer notions as you have^ 
Mrs. Dolly ! I can't think where you get them," said 
Rhoda. " However, you may say what you will ; J" 
mean to marry, and I am going to be rich too. And I 
expect I shall like both of them." 

u Mv dear!" and Mrs. Dorothy laid down her 
work, and looked earnestly at Rhoda. "How do you 
know you are going to be rich ? " 

"Why. 1 shall have White- Ladies," answered 
Rhoda. " And of course Aunt Harriet will leave me 

everything." 

"Have Madam and Mrs. Harriet told you so, my 

dear ? " 



86 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



" No," said Rhoda, rather impatiently. " But who 
else should they leave it to ? " 

Mrs. Dorothy let that part of the matter drop 
quietly. 

" ' They that will be rich fall into temptation and a 
snare/ " she said, taking up her work again. 

" What snare ? 3i said Rhoda, bluntly. 

"They get their hearts choked up," said the old 
lady. 



ct 



"With what, Mrs. Dolly?" 
f Cares, and riches, and pleasures of this life/ O 
my dear, may the Lord make your heart soft ! Yet I 
am afraid — I am very sore afraid, that the only way of 
making some hearts soft is — to break them." 

"Well, I don't want my heart breaking, thank you," 
laughed Rhoda ; " and I don't think anything would 
break it, unless I lost all my money, and was left an 
old maid. O Mrs. Dolly, I can't think how you bear 
it ! To come down, now, and live in one of these little 
houses, and have people looking down on you, instead 
of looking up to you — if anything of the sort would kill 
\ne, I think that would. 

" Well, it hasn't killed me, child," said Mrs. Dorothy, 
calmly ; " but then, you see, I chose it. That makes a 

difference." 

" But you didn't choose to be poor, Mrs. Dolly ? " 

"Well, yes, in one sense, I did," answered the old 
lady, a little tinge of colour rising in her pale cheek. 

"How so?" demanded Rhoda, who was not de- 
terred from gaining information by any delicacy in 
asking questions. 

"There was a time once, my dear, that I might 



a 



THRO UGH THORN Y PA THS. 87 



have married a gentleman of title, with a rent-roll of 
six thousand a year." 

<{ Mrs. Dolly ! you don't mean that ? " cried Rhoda. 
" And why on earth didn't you ? " 



Ci Well, my dear, I had two reasons/' answered Mrs. 
Dorothy. i{ One was " — with a little laugh — (C that as 
you see, I preferred to be one of these same ill-con- 
ditioned, lonely, disappointed old maids. And the 
other was " — and Mrs. Dorothy's voice sank to a softer 
and graver tone — cf I could not have taken my Master 
with me into that house. I saw no track of His foot- 
steps along that road. And His sheep follow Him." 

"But God means us to be happy, Mrs. Dolly ? " 

u Surely, my dear. But He knows better than we 
how empty and fleeting is all happiness other than is 
found in Him. 'Tis only because the Lord is our 
Shepherd that we shall not want." 

"Mrs. DolJy, that is what good people say; but 
it always sounds so gloomy and melancholy." 

" What sounds melancholy, my dear ? " inquired 
Mrs. Dorothy, with slight surprise in her tone. 

"Why, that one must find all one's happiness in 
reading sermons, and chanting Psalms, and thinking 
how soon one is going to die," said Rhoda, with an 
uncomfortable shrug. 

u My dear ! " exclaimed Mrs. Dorothy, u when did 
you ever hear me say anything of the kind ? " 

" Why, that was what you meant, wasn't it," 
answered Rhoda, (C when you talked about finding 
happiness in piety ?" 

"And when did I do that?" 

" Just now, this minute back," said Rhoda in surprise. 



SZ THE MAIDENS 1 LODGE. 



te My dear child, you strangely misapprehend me. 
I never spoke a word of finding happiness in piety ; I 
spoke of finding it in God. And God is not sermons, 
nor chanting, nor death. He is life, and light, and 
love. I never think how soon I shall die. I often 
think how soon the Lord may come; but there is a vast 
difference between looking for the coming of a thing 
that you dread, and looking for the coming of a person 
whom you long to see." 

" But you will die, Mrs. Dolly ? " 

te Perhaps, my dear. The Lord may come first ; I 
hope so." 

"Oh dear!" said Rhoda. "But that means the 
world may come to an end." 

Yes. The sooner the better," replied the old lady. 
But you don't want the world to end, Mrs. Dolly ?" 
I do, my clear. I want the new heavens and the 
:iew earth, wherein dwellcth righteousness." 

"Oh dear!" cried Rhoda again. "Why, Mrs. 
Dolly, I can't bear to think of it. It would be an end 
of everything I care about." 

" My dear," said the old lady, gravely and yet ten- 
derly, " if the Lord's coming will put an end to every- 
thing you care about, that must be because you don't 
care much for Him." 

"I don't knov anything about Him, except what 
we hear in church, answered Rhoda uneasily. 

"And don't care for that?" softly responded her 
old friend. 

Rhoda fidgeted for a moment, and then let the 
truth out. 

Well. no. Mrs. Dollv. I don't. I know it sounds 



<t 



(t 



a 



THROUGH THORNY PATHS. 8g 



very wicked and shocking; but how can I, when 'tis all 
so far off? It doesn't feel real, as you do, and Madam, 
and all the other people I know. [ can't tell how you 
make it real." 

" He makes it real, my child. Tis faith which sees 
God. How can you see Him without it? But I am 
not e hocked, my dear. You have only told me what I 
knew before. 5 ' 

" I don't see how you knew," said Rhoda uncom- 
fortably ; "and I don't know how people get faith." 

"By asking the Lord for it," said Mrs. Dolly. 
" Phoebe, my child, is it a sorrowful thing to thee to 
think on Christ and His coming again ? " 

" Oh no ! " was Phoebe's warm answer. " You 
see, Madam, I haven't anything else." 

"Dear child, thank God for it!" replied Mrs. 
Dorothy softly. Ui Ton sort n'est pas a plaindre/" 

" I declare, if 'tis not four o'clock ! " cried Rhoda, 
springing up, and perhaps not sorry for the diversion. 
"There, now! I meant you to finish your story, and 
we haven't time left. Come along, Phcebe ! We are 
going to look in a minute on Mrs. Marcella, and then 
we must hurry home." 




CHAPTER V. 



GATTYS TROUBLES. 



"And I come down no more to chilling praise, 
To sneers, to wearing out of empty days, 
But rest, rejoicing in the power I've won, 
To go on learning, though my crying's done." 

Isabella Fyvie Mayo, 




j» 



S the two girls turned into the little garden of 
Number Three, the latch of the door was 
lifted, and Mrs. Jane came out. 
"Good evening!' 5 said she. a Come to see my 
sister, are you ? I and my Deb are doing for her to- 
day, for her Nell has got a holiday — gone to see her 
mother — lazy slut ! 

"Which is the lazy slut, Mrs. Jane?" asked Rhoda, 
laughing. 

"" Heyday ! they're all a parcel together/' answered 
Mrs. Jane. "Nell and her mother, and her grand- 
mother before them. And Marcella, too, she's no 
better. Go in, if you want a string of complaints. You 
can come out when you've had plenty.'" 



me. 



(C 



cc 



» 



How many complaints are plenty, Airs. Jane? " 
One/' said Mrs. Jane, marching off. " Plenty for 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. 9* 



Rhoda lifted the latch, and walked in, Phoebe follow- 
ing her. She tapped at the inner door. 

" Oh, come in, whoever it is/' said a querulous, 
plaintive voice. i( Well, Mrs. Rhoda, I thought you 
would have been to see me before. A poor lonely crea- 
ture, that nobody cares for, and never has any comfort 
nor pleasure ! And who have you with you ? I'm 
sure she's in a deep consumption from the looks of her. 
Coltsfoot, my dear, and horehound, with plenty of sugar, 
boiled together; and a little mallow won't hurt. But 
they'll not do you much good, I should say ; you're too 
far gone : still, 'tis a duty to do all one can, and some 
strange things do happen : like Betty Collins — the 
doctors all gave her up, and there she is, walking about, 
as'well as anybody. And so may you, my dear, though 
you don't look like it. Still, you are young — there's no 
telling: and coltsfoot is a very good thing, and makes 
wonderful cures. Oh, that careless Jane, to leave me 
all alone, just when I wanted my pillows shaking! And 
so inconsiderate of Nell to go home just to-day, of all 
days, when she knew I was sure to be worse; I always 
am after a fast-day. Fast-days don't suit ma at all; 
they are very bad for sick people. They make one's 
spirits so low, and are sure to. give me the vapours. 
Oh dear, that Jane ! " 

"What's the matter with that Jane?" demanded 
the bearer of the name, stalking in, as Phcebe was try- 
ing to brace up her courage to the point of offering to 
shake the pillows. "Want another dose of castor oil ? 
I've got it." 

A faint shriek of deprecation was the answer. 

" Oh dear I And you know how I hate it ! Jane, 



92 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



j> 



(c 



t( 



do shake up my pillows. They feel as if there were 

stones instead of flocks in them, or 

"Nutmegs, no doubt/' suggested Mrs. Jane. 
" Shake them up ? Oh yes, and you too — do you both 

ood." 

" Oh, don't, Jane ! Have you an orange for me?" 

Sit down, my dears/' said Mrs. Jane, parentheti- 
cally. " Can't afford them, Marcella. Plenty of black 
currant tea. Better for you-" 

u I don't like it ! " said Mrs. Marcella, plaintively. 
Oranges are eightpence a-piece, and currants may 
be had for the gathering/' observed Mrs. Jane, senten- 
tiously. 

" They give me a pain in my side ! " moaned the 

invalid. 

" Well, the oranges would give you a pain in your 

purse. I'd rather have one in my side, if I were you/' 

You don't know what it is to be ill ! " said Mrs. 

Marcella, closing her eyes. 

" Don't I ? I've had both small-pox and spotted 
fever." 

cc So long ago ! " 

u Bless you, child ! I'm not Methuselah ! " said 
Mrs. Jane. 

cc Well, I think you might be, Jane, for really, the 
way in which you can sit up all night, and look as fresh 
as a daisy in the morning, when you have not had a 
wink of sleep, and I am perfectly worn-out with suffer- 
ing — just skin and bone, and no more " 

"There's a little tongue left, I reckon ! " said Mrs. 
Jane. 

" The way she will get up and go to market, my 



cc 



GATTY'S TROUBLES. 93 



t( 



)> 



dears, after such a night as that/' pursued Mrs. Mar- 
cella, who always ran on her own line of rails, and never 
shunted to avoid collision; "you never saw anything 
like her — the amount she can bear ! She's as tough as 
a rhinoceros, and as strong as an elephant, and as 

wanting in feeling as— as " 

"A sensitive plant/' popped in Mrs. Jane. "Now, 
Marcella, open your mouth and shut your eyes, and 

take this." 

"Is it castor oil?" faintly screamed the invalid, 
endeavouring to protect herself. 

"Stuff! Tis good Tent wine. Take it and be 
thankful." 

"Where did you get it, Jane? ' 
Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies, 
said Mrs. Jane. " It was honestly come by." . 

"Well, I think we must be going, Mrs. Marcella/' 
said Rhoda, rising. 

" Oh, my dear ! Must you, really ? And so seldom 
as you come to see a poor thing like me, who hasn't a 
living creature to care for her — except Jane, of course, 
and she doesn't, not one bit ! Dear ! And to think 
that I was once a pretty young maid, with a little for- 
tune of my own ; and there was many a young gentle- 
man, my dear, that would have given his right hand for 
no more than a smile from me " 

" Heyday ! how this world is given to lying ! " 
interpolated Mrs. Jane. 

"And we were a large family then — eight of us, my 
dear; and now they are all dead, and I am left quite 
alone, except Jane, you know. Oh dear, dear, but to 
think of it ! But there is no thankfulness in the world, 



94 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



nor kiudness neither. The people I have been good to! 
and now that I have come down a little, to see how 
they treat me ! Jane doesn't mind it; she has no tender 
feelings at all ; she can stand all things, and never say 
a word, I am sure I don't know how she does it. I 
am all feeling ! These things touch me so keenly. But 
Jane's just like a stone. Well, good evening, my dear, 
if you must go. I think you might have come a little 
sooner, and you might come oftencr, if you would. But 
that is always my lot, to be neglected and despised— a 
poor, lonely, ugly old maid, that nobody cares for. And 
it wasn't my fault, I am sure j I never chose such a 
fate. I cannot think why such afflictions have been 
sent me. I am sure I am no worse than other people. 
Clarissa is a great deal vainer than I am; and Jane is 
ever so much harder ; and as to Dorothy, why, 'tis 
misery to see her — she is so cheerful and full of mirth, 
and she has not a thing to be content with — it quite 
hurts me to see anyone like that. But people are so 
wanting in feeling ! I am sure " 

"Go, if you want," said Mrs. Jane, shortly, holding 
the door open. 

" Oh, yes, go ! Of course you want to go ! " 
lamented Mrs. Marcella. "What pleasure can there 
be to a bright young maid like you, to sit with a poor, 
sick, miserable creature like nie ? Dear, dear ! And 
only to think " 



Rhoda escaped. Phcebe followed, more slowly. 
Mrs. Jane came out after them, and shut the door 
' behind them. 

({ She's in pain, this evening," said the last-named 
person in her usual blunt style. "Some folks can bear 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. 95 



pain, and some can't. And those that can must bear 
with those that can ; t. She'll be better of letting it out 
a bit. Good evening." 

" Oh, isn't it dreadful ! " said Rhoda, when they 
were out of the gate. " I just hate going to see Mrs. 
Marcella, especially when she takes one of her com- 
plaining fits. If I were Mrs. Jane, I should let her 
have it out by herself. But she is hard, rather — she 
doesn't care as I should." 

But Phoebe thought that a mistake. She had 
noticed the drawn brow of the silent sister, while the 
sufferer was detailing her string of troubles, and the 
sudden quiver of the under lip, when allusion was made 
to the eight of whom the family had once consisted : 
and Phoebe's deduction was, not that Jane Talbot bore 
no burden, but that she kept it out of sight. Perhaps 
that very characteristic bluntnessof her manner denoted 
a tight curb kept upon her spirit. 

Rhoda had noticed nothing of all this. Herself a 
surface character, she could not see below the surface in 
another. 

The Wednesday evening came, and with it Sir 
Richard Dclawarr's coach, conveying his two younger 
daughters. They were extremely unlike in person, 
Gatty was tall, calm, and deliberate ; Molly was rather 
diminutive for her years, and exceedingly lively. While 
Gatty came forward in a stately, courteous manner, 
courtesying to Madam, and kindly answering her 

inquiries after Betty, Molly linked her arm in Rhoda's, 
with — 

(C How goes it, old jade ? " 

And when Mr, Onslow, who happened to be cross- 



96 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



ing the hall, stopped and inquired in a rather timid 
manner if Mrs. Betty's health were improving, Molly at 
once favoured him with a slap on the back, and the 

counter query, — 

"What's that to you, you old thief?" 

Phoebe was horrified. If these were aristocratic 
manners, she preferred those of inferior quality. But 
noticing that Gatty's manners were quiet and correct, 
Phcebe concluded that Molly must be an exceptional 
eccentricity. She contemplated the prospect of a month 
in that young lady's company with unmitigated repug- 
nance. 

" Well, Mrs. Molly, my dear, — as smart as ever ! " 
remarked Madam, turning to Molly with a smile. 

"All right, old witch !" said Molly. 

And to Phoebe's astonishment, Madam smiled on, 
and did not resent the impertinence. 

"Well! — how do you like Gatty and Molly?" 
said Rhoda to Phcebe, when they were safe in their own 
room. 

" Pretty well, Mrs. Gatty," replied Phoebe, leaving 
the question of Molly undecided. 

" Don't you like Molly ? " demanded Rhoda, laugh- 
ing. " Ah ! I see. She's rather too clever to please 
you." 

" I ask your pardon, but I don't see any cleverness 
in downright rudeness," timidly suggested Phcebe. 

" Oh, nobody cares what Molly says," answered 

Rhoda. "They put up with all that, — she's so smart. 
You see, she's very, very ingenious, and everybody 
thinks so, and she knows people think so. She's a 
rep., you see, and she has to keep it up. 



>) 



GATTY'S TROUBLES. 97 



" I ask your pardon/' said Phoebe again ; " a what, 
if you please? " 

" A rep., child/' answered Rhoda, in her patronising 

style. "A reputation, — a character for smartness, you 
know. Don't you see ? " 

" Well, I would rather have a character for some- 
thing better/' said Phcebe. 

"You may make yourself easy; you'll never get a 
character for smartness," responded her cousin with an 
unpleasant laugh. "Well, I say, Phcebe, while they 
are here I shall have Molly in my room, and you must 
sleep with Gatty. You can come in and dress me of 
a morning, you know, and help me into bed at night; 
but we can't do with three in one room." 

Phoebe was inwardly thankful for it. What little 
she had seen of Gatty was rather negative than posi- 
tive \ but at least it had not, as in the case of Molly 
revealed anything actively disagreeable. Rhoda was 
heartily welcome to Molly's society so far as Phcebe was 
concerned. But it surprised and rather perplexed 
Phcebe to find that Rhoda actually liked this very objec- 
tionable maiden. 

" Panem ? " asked Molly, the next morning at break- 
fast. Her Latin, such as it was, was entirely un- 
burdened with cases and declensions. 

"Thank you, I will take kakos." 

" Fiddle-de-dee ! what's that ? " said Molly. 

Rhoda had completely forgotten what the word 
meant. 

"Oh, 'tis th^ Greek for biscuit," said she, 



daringly. 



Phcebe contrived to hide a portion of her face in her 



98 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



teacup, but Gatty saw her eyes, and read their 
meaning. 

" The Greek ! " cried Molly. " Who has taught 
you Greek, Ne'er-do-well ? " 

" A very learned person/' said Rhoda, to whom it 
was delight to mystify Molly. 

"Old Onslow?" demanded irreverent Molly, quite 
undeterred by the consideration that the chaplain sat at 
the table with her. 

"You can ask him/ 5 said Rhoda. 

et Did you, old cassock ? " inquired Molly, who 

appeared to apply that adjective in a most impartial 
manner. 

" Indeed, Mrs. Molly, I did not — I never knew — " 
stammered the startled chaplain, quite shaken out of 
his propriety. 

" Never knew any Greek? I thought so/' responded 
audacious Molly, thereby evoking laughter all round the 
table, in which even Madam joined. 

Phcebe, who had recovered herself, sat lost in wonder 
where the cleverness of all this was to be found. It 
simply disgusted her. Rhoda was not always pleasant 
to put up with, but Rhoda was sweetness and grace, 
compared with Molly. Gatty sat quietly, neithei 
rebuking her sister's sallies, nor apparently amused by 
them. And Rhoda liked this girl ! It was a mystery 
to Phcebe. 

When night came Phcebe found her belongings 
transferred to Gatty's room. She assisted Rhoda to 
undress, herself silent, but a perpetual chatter being 
kept up between Rhoda and Molly on subjects not by 
any means interesting to Phcebe. 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. 99 

The latter was at length dismissed, and, with a 
sense of relief, she went slowly along the passage to the 
room in which she and Gatty were to sleep. 

Though it was getting very late, the clock being on 
the stroke of ten, yet Gatty was not in bed. She 
seemed to have half undressed herself, and then to have 
thrown a scarf over her shoulders and sat down bv the 
window. It was a beautiful night, and a flood of silvery 
moonlight threw the trees into deep shadow and lit up 
the open spaces almost like day. Phoebe came and 
stood at the window beside Gatty. Perhaps each was 
a little shy of the other ; for some seconds passed in 
silence, and Phoebe was the first to speak. 

" You like it," she said timidly. 

" Oh, yes. ; Tis so quiet/' was Gatty' s answer. 

Phcebe was thinking what she should say next, when 
Gatty rose, took off her scarf, which she folded neatly 
and put away hi the wardrobe, finished her undressing, 
and got into bed, without another word beyond " Good 
night/' 

For three weeks of the month which the visit was to 
last this proved to be the usual state of matters. 
Gatty and Phcebe regularly exchanged greetings, night 
and morning ; but beyond this their conversation was 
limited to remarks upon the weather, and an occasional 
request that Phcebe would inspect the neat and proper 
condition of some part of Gatty's dress which she could 
not conveniently see. And Phcebe began to come to 
the conclusion that Rhoda had judged rightly, — Gatty 
had nothing in her. 

But one evening, when Molly had been surpassingly 
"clever, 3 ' keeping Rhoda in peals of laughter, and 



ioo THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Phoebe in a state of annoyed disgust, — on reaching 

thejr bedroom, Phcebe found Catty, still dressed, and 

sitting by the bed, with her face bowed upon her hands. 

" I ask your pardon, but are you not well ? " said 



Phcebe, in a sympathising tone. 

" Oh, yes. Quite well/' was Gatty's reply, in a 
constrained voice; but as she rose and moved her 
hands from her face, Phcebe saw that she had been 
crying. 

u You are in trouble," said Phcebe, gently. " Don't 
tell me anything, unless you like; but I know what 
trouble is ; and if I could help you " 



Ci You can't," said Gatty, shortly. 

Phoebe was silent. Her sympathy had been re- 
pulsed — it was not wanted. The undressing was, as 
usual, without a word. 

But when the girls had lain down in bed, Phcebe 
was a little surprised to hear Gatty say suddenly,' 

"Phoebe Latrobe ! — does anybody love you? " 

"God loves me/' said Phcebe, simply. " I am not 
sure that any one else does." 

" I like you/' said Gatty. " You let me be. That's 

what nobody ever does." 

" I am not sure that I understand you," responded 
Phcebe. 

" I'Jl tell you/' replied Gatty, " for I think you can 
hold your tongue, and not be always chatter, chatter, 
chatter, like — like some people. You think there's only 
one Gatty Delawarr ; and I'll be bound you think her a 
very dull, stupid creature. Well, you're about right 
there. But there are two : there's me, and there's the 
thing people want to make me. Now, you haven't 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. loi 



seen me, — you've only seen the woman into whom I 
am being pinched and pulled. This is me that talks to 
you to-night, and perhaps you'll never see me again, 
only that other girl, — so you had better make the 
most of me now that you have me. I'm sure, if you 

dislike her as much as I do ! You see, Phoebe, 

there are three of us — Betty* and me, and Molly : a J 
Mother's set her heart on our all makinsr a noise in the 
world. Well, perhaps we could have managed better if 
we might have made our own noise; but we have to 
make it to order, and we don't do it well at all. Betty's 
the best off, because Mother hit on something that 
went with her nature, — she's the notable housewife. 
So she plays her play well. But when she set up 
Molly for a wit, and me for a beauty, she made a great 
blunder. Molly hasn't a bit of wit, so she falls back 
on rude speeches, and they go through me just as if she 
ran a knife into me. You did not think so, did you ? " 

" No," said Phoebe, wonderingly ; " I thought you 
did not seem to care." 

" That's the other Gatty. She does not care. 
She's been told, — -oh, a hundred times over ! — to com- 
pose herself and keep her features calm, and not let her 
voice be ruffled; and move slowly, so that her elbows 
are not square, and all on in that way; and she has 
about learned it by this time. I know how to sit still 
and look unconcerned, if my heart be breaking* Ana 
it is breaking, Phoebe." 

"Dear Mrs. Gatty, what can I do for you ? " 

" You can't do anything but listen to me. Let me 
pour it out this once, and don't scold me. I don't 
mean anything wrong, Phoebe. I don't wish to com- 



102 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



plain of Mother, or Molly, or any one. I only want to 
tell somebody what I have to bear, and then I'll com- 
pose myself again to my part in the world's big theatre, 
and go away and bear it, like other girls do. And you 
are the only person I have acquaintance with, that I feel 
as if I could tell." 

" Pray go on, Mrs. Gatty ; I can feel sorry, if I can 
do nothing else." 

" Well, — at home somebody is at me from morning 
to night. There's a posture-master comes once a 
week; and Mother's maid looks to my carriage at ail 
times. 'Tis an endless round of — f Gatty, hold your 
head up/ — f Gatty, put that plate down, and take it up 
with your arm rounded/ — f Gatty, you must not laugh/ 
' Gatty, you must not sneeze/ — ' Gatty, walk slower/ 
come, that's enough. Then there's Molly on the 
top of it. And there's Betty on the top of Molly, — who 
can't conceive why anybody should ruffle her mind 
about anything. And there's Mother above all, for 
ever telling me she looks to have me cut a dash, and 
make a good match ; and if I had played my cards 
rightly I ought to have caught a husband ere I was 
seventeen. — 'tis disgraceful that I should thus throw 
away my advantages. And, Phoebe, / want nothing 
but to creep into some little, far-away corner, and heme, 
and throw away my patches and love-locks, and pow- 
der and pomatum, and never see that other Gatty any 
more. That's how it was up to last month." 

Gatty paused a moment, and drew a long sigh. 
"" And then, there came another on the scene, and 
I suppose the play grew more entertaining to Mother, 
and Betty, and Molly, in the boxes. People don't think, 



GATTY'S TROUBLES. 103 



you know, when they look down at the prima donna, 
painted, and smiling, and decked with flowers, — they 
don't think if she has a husband who ill-uses her, or a 
child dying at home. She has come there to make 
them sport. Well, there came an old lord, — a man of 
sixty or seventy, — who has led a wild rakish life all 
these years, and now he thinks 'tis time to settle down, 

and he wants me to help him to make people think he's 
become respectable. And they say I shall marry him. 
Phcebe, they say I must, — there is to be no help for it. 
And I can't bear him to look at me. If he touches my 
glove, I want to fling it into the fire when it comes off. 
And this one month, here, at White-Ladies, is my last 
quiet time. When I go home — if Ectty be recovered 
of her distemper — I am to be married to this old man 
in a week's time. I am tied hand and foot, like a cap- 
tive or a slave ; and I have not even the poor relief of 
tears. They make my eyes nrd •- and I must not make 
my eyes red, if it would save my life. But nothing 
will save me. The lambs that used to be led to the 
altar are not more helpless than I. The rope is round 
my neck ; and I must trot on beside the executioner, 
and find what comfort I can in the garland of roses on 

mv head. 

There was a silence of a few seconds after Gatty 
finished her miserable tale. And then Phcebe's voice 

asked softly, 

" Dear Mrs. Gatty, have you asked God to save 

you ? " 

" What's the use ? " answered Gatty, in a hopeless 

tone. 

" Because He would do it/' said Phcebe. Ci I don't 



104 * THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 

know how. It might be by changing my Lady Dela- 
warr's mind, or the old lord's, or yours; or many 
another way; I don't know how. But I do know that 
He has promised to bring no temptation on those that 
fear Him, beyond what they shall be able to bear." 

" Oh, I don't know ! n said Gatty, in that tone 
which makes the word sound like a cry of pain. 

" Have you tried entreating my Lady Delawarr ? " 
"Tried! I should think so. And what do you 
think I get by it i t € Gatty, my dear, 'tis so unmodish 
to be thus warm over anything ! Compose yourself, 
and control your feelings. Love ! — no, of course vou 
do not love my Lord Polesworth, while you are yet a 
maid ; 'twould be highly indecorous for you to do any 
such thing. But when you are bis wife, you'll be per- 
fectly content; and that is all you can expect. My 
dear, do compose yourself, or your face will be quite 
wrinkled ; and let me hear no more of this nonsense, I 
beg of you. Maids cannot look to choose for them- 
selves, 'tis not reasonable.' That is what I get, 

Phoebe." 

"And your father, Mrs. Gatty ? " 

"My father? Oh! ' Really, Gatty, I can't inter- 
fere, — 'tis your mother's affair ; you must make up 
your mind to it. We can't have always what we like/ 

-and then he whistles to his hounds, and goes out a- 
hunting. 9} 

" Well, Mrs. Gatty, suppose you try God ? " 

"Suppose I have done, Phcebe, and got no answer 
at all ? " 

" Forgive me, I cannot suppose it. w 
" Is He so good to you, Phcebe ? " 



GATTY 'S TROUBLES. 105 



The question was asked in a very, very mournful 



tone. 



Mrs. Gatty," said Phoebe, softly, "He has given 
me Himself. I do not think He has given me anything 
else of what my heart longs for. But that is enough. 
In Him I have all things." 

"What do you mean?" came in accents of per- 
plexity from the bed in the opposite corner. 

" I am afraid," said Phoebe, " I cannot tell you. I 
mean, T could not make you understand it." 

" e Given you Himself ! " repeated Gatty. " I can 
fancy how He could reward you or make you happy; 
but, f give you Himself 7 ! " 

"Well, I cannot explain it," said Phoebe. "Yes, it 
means giving happiness; but it means a great deal 
more. I can feel it, but I cannot put it in words." 

" I don't understand you the least bit ! " 

"Will you talk awhile with Mrs. Dolly Jennings, 
and see if she can explain it to you ? I do not think. 
any one can, in words ; but I guess she would come 
nearer to it than I could." 

"I like Mrs. Dolly," said Gatty, thoughtfully; "she 
is very kind." 

" Very," assented Phcebe. 

"I think I should not mind talking to her," said 
Gatty. "We will walk down there to-morrow, if we 
can get leave." 

" And now, had we not better go to sleep ? " sug- 
gested Phcebe. 

" Well, we can try," sighed Gatty. " But, Phoebe, 
'tis no good telling me to pray, because I have done it. 
I said over every collect in the Prayer-book — ten a 



lo6 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



day; and the very morning after I had finished them, 
that horrid man came, and Mother made — I had to go 
down and sit half an hoar listening to him. Praying 



>> 



t< 



>f 



does no good. 

I am not sure that you have tried it," said Phcebe. 
""Didn't I tell you, this minute, I said every 
tc I ask your pardon for interrupting you, but saying 

not praying. Did you really pray them ? " 

C( Phcebe, I do not understand youl How could I 
pray them and not say them ? " 

"Well, I did not quite mean that," said Phcebe; 
'''but please, Mrs. Gatty, did you feel them? Did you 
really ask God all the collects say, or did you only 
repeat the words over ? You see, if I felt cold in bed, 
I might ask Mrs. Betty to give me leave to have another 
blanket; but if I only kept saying that I was cold, to 
myself, over and over, and did not tell Mrs. Betty, I 
should be long enough before I got the blanket. Did 
you say the collects to yourself, Mrs. Gatty, or did you 
say them to the Lord ? " 

There was a pause before Gatty said, in rather 
an awed voice, " Phcebe, when you pray, is God 
there ? " 

" Yes," said Phcebe, readily. 
He is not, with me," replied Gatty. "He feels a 
long, long way off; and I feel as if my collects might 
drop and be lost before they can get up to Him. Don't 
you ? " 

" Never," answered Phcebe. " But I don't send 
my prayers up by themselves ; I give them to Jesus 
Christ to carry. He never drops one, Mrs. Gatty." 

"'Tis all something; I don't understand one bit." 



ic 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. jcf 



t( 



said Gatty, wearily. "Go to sleep, Phoebe; I won't 
keep you awake. But we'll go and see Mrs. Dolly." 

The next afternoon, when Rhoda and Molly had 
disappeared on their private affairs, Gatty dropped a 
courtesy to Madam, and requested her permission to 
visit Mrs. Dolly Jennings. 

By all means, my dear/' answered Madam, affably. 
"If Rhoda has no occasion for her, let Phoebe wait on 
you/' 

The second request which had been on Gatty's lips 
being thus forestalled, the girls set forth — without con- 
sulting Rhoda, which Gatty was disinclined to do, and 
which Phoebe fancied that she had done — and reached 
the Maidens' Lodge without falling in with any dis- 
turbing element, such as either Rhoda or Molly would 
unquestionably have been. Mrs. Dorothy received 
them in her usual kindly manner, and gave them tea 
before they entered on the subject of which both the 
young minds were full. Then Gatty told her story, iy 
very much the same terms as she had given it tt 
Phoebe. 

" And I can't understand Phoebe, Mrs. Dolly/' she 
ended. "She says God has given her Himself; and I 
cannot make it out. And she says she gives her prayers 
to Jesus Christ to carry. I don't know what she 
means. It sounds good. But I don't understand it- 
not one bit." 

Mrs. Dorothy came up to where Gatty was sitting, 
and took the girl's head between her small, thin hands. 
It was not a beautiful face ; but it was pleasant enough 
to look on, and would have been more so, but for the 
discipline which had crushed out of it all natural interest 



io8 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



and youthful anticipation, and had left that strange, 
strained look of care and forced calm upon the white 
brow. 

"Dear child," she said, gently, "you want rest, 
don't you ? " 

Gatty's grey eyes filled with tears. 



(C 



)) 



That is just what I do want, Mrs. Dolly/' she 
said; "somewhere where I could be quiet, and be let 
alone, and just be myself and not somebody else. 

"Ah, my dear!" said Mrs. Dorothy, shaking her 
head, "you never get let alone in this world. Satan 
won't let you alone, if men do. But to be yourself- 
that is what God wants of you. At least 'tis one half 
of what He would have; the other half is that you 
should give yourself to Him." 

" ; Tis no good praying," said Gatty, as before. 

" Did the Lord tell you that, my dear ? " 



But 



"No ! " said Gatty, looking up in surprise. 

"Well, I would not say it till He does, child. 
what did you pray for ? " 

" I said all the collects over/' 

"Very good things, my dear; but were they what 
you wanted ? I thought you had a special trouble at 
this time." 

"But what could I do ?" asked Gatty, apparently 

rather bewildered. 

" Dear child, thou couldst sure ask thy Father to 

help thee, without more ado. But ''bide a wee,' as my 
old friend, Scots Davie, was wont to say. There is a 
great deal about prayer in the Word of God. Let us 
look at a little of it." Little Mrs. Dorothy trotted to 
her small work-table, which generally stood at her side, 



GATTY 'S TROUBLES. log 



jy 



and came back with a well-worn brown Bible. Gatty 
watched her with a rather frightened look, as if she 
thought that something was going to be done to her, 
and was not sure whether it might hurt her. 

"Now hearken: { Be careful for nothing; but in 
everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanks- 
giving, let your requests be made known unto God,' 
Again: ' Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that 
will I do/ These are grand words, my dear. 

"But they can't mean that Mrs. Dorothy! Why, 
only think — if I were to ask for a fortune, should I 
get it ? " 

" I must have two questions answered, my dear, ere 
I can tell that. Who are the you in these verses ? " 

" I thought it meant everybody/' 

" Not so. Listen again : { If ye abide in Me, and 
My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and 
it shall be done unto you.' 'Tis not everybody doth 
that. 

u But I don't know what that means, Mrs. 
Dorothy/' 

Then, my dear, you have answered my second 
question — Are you one of these ? For if you know not 
even what the thing is, 'tis but reasonable to conclude 
you have never known it in your own person/' 

" I suppose not," said Gatty, sorrowfully. 

"You see, my dear, 'tis to certain persons these 
words are said. If you are not one of these persons, 
then they are not said to you/' 

" I am not." And Gatty shook her head sadly. 
i( But, Mrs. Dorothy, what does it mean ? " 

" Dear," said the old lady, " when we do truly abide 



a 



ti 



no THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



in Christ, we desire first of all that His will be done. 
We wish for this or that; but we wish more than all 
that He choose all things for us — that He have His 
own way. Our wills are become His will. It follows 
as a certainty, that they shall be done. We must have 
what we wish, when it is what He wishes who rules all 
things. e Ye shall ask what ye will/ He guides us 
what to ask, if we beg Him to do so." 

" Is any one thus much perfect ? " inquired Gatty, 

doubtfully. 

"Many are trying for it," said Mrs. Dolly. "There 

may be but few that have fully reached it." 

"But that makes us like machines, Mrs, Dolly, 

moved about at another's will." 

"What, my dear! Love makes us machines? 

Never ! The very last thing that could be, child." 

"I don't know much about love," said Gatty, 

drearily. 

"About love, or about being loved?" responded 
Mrs. Dolly. 



« 



Both," answered the girl, in the same tone. 



"Will you try it, my dear ? J Tis the sweetener of 
all human life." 

Gatty looked up with a surprised expression, 

"I can't make people love me," she said. 

" Nor can you make yourself love others," added 
Mrs. Dorothy. "But you can ask the Lord for that 
fairest of all His gifts, saving Jesus Christ." 

" Ask God for a beau ! O Mrs. Dorothy ! " 
exclaimed Gatty in a shocked tone. 

"My dear, I never so much as named one/ y 

responded Mrs. Dorothy, with a little laugh. "Sure, 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. in 



you are not one of those foolish maids that think they 
must be loveless and forlorn without they have a 
husband ? " 

Gatty had always been taught to think so; and 
she looked bewildered and mystified. A more 
eligible husband than old Lord Polesworth was the 
only idea that associated itself in her mind with the 

word love. 

"But what else did you mean ? " she asked. 

" Aye me ! " said Mrs. Dorothy, as if to herself. 
"How do men misunderstand God ! Child, wert thou 
never taught the first and great commandment ? ' Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and 
with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy strength ? ' 3y 

"Oh, of course," said Gatty, as if she were listen- 
ing to some scientific formula about a matter wherein 
she was not at all concerned. 

u Have you done that, my dear ? " 

"Done what? " demanded Gatty in a startled tone. 

" Have you loved God with all your heart ? " 

Gatty looked as if she had been suddenly roused 
from sleep, and was unable to take in the circumstances, 

" I don't know J I — I suppose so." 

"You suppose so! Dear child, how can you love 
any, and not know it ? 



» 



' f But that is quite another sort of love!" cried 
Gatty. 

" There is no sort but one, my dear. Love is 
love." 

" Oh, but we can't love God ! " said Gatty, as if 
the idea quite shocked her. "That means — it means 



XM THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



tt 



73 



reverence, you know, and duty, and so on. It can't 
mean anything else, Mrs. Dorothy." 

Mrs. Dorothy knitted very fast for a moment. 
Phoebe saw that her eyes were filled with tears. 

"Poor lost sheep!" she said, in a grieved voice. 
Poor straying Iamb, whom the wolf hath taught to be 
frightened of the Shepherd ! You did not find that in 
the Bible, my dear." 

" Oh, but words don't mean the same in the 
Bible ! " urged Gatty. " Surely, Mrs. Dorothy, 'twould 
be quite unreverent to think so. 

" Surely, my dear, it were more unreverent to think 
that God does not mean what He saith. When He 
saith, 1 1 will punish you seven times for your sins/ 
He means it, Mrs. Gatty. And when He saith, c I 
will be a Father unto you/ shall we say He doth not 
mean it? O my dear, don't do Him such an injury as 
that ! " 

"Do God an injury!" said Gatty in an awed 
whisper. 

" Aye, a cruel injury!" was the answer. "Men 
are always injuring God. Either they try to persuade 
themselves that He means not what He says when He 
threatens : or else they shut their hearts up close, and 
then fancy that His heart is shut up too. My dear, He 
did not tarry to offer to be your Father, until you came 
and asked Him for it. i He first loved you.' Child, 
what dost thou know of the Lord Jesus Christ? " 

Ah, what did she know? For Gatty lived in a 
dreary time, when religion was at one of its lowest ebb- 
tides, and had sunk almost to the level of heathen 
morality. If Gatty had been required to give defi- 



CATTY'S TROUBLES. 113 



nitions of the greatest words in the language, and had 
really done it from the bottom of her heart, according 
to her own honest belief, the list would have run much 
in this way : 



God. — The Great First Cause of all things, who 
has nothing to do with anything now, but will, at some 
remote period, punish murderers, thieves, and very 

wicked people. 

Ci Christ. — A supernaturally good man, who was 
crucified seventeen hundred years ago. 

" Heaven. — A delightful place, where everybody is 
happy, to which all respectable people will go, when 
they can't help it any longer. 

"Bible. — A good book read in church; intensely 
dry, as good books always are ; no concern of mine. 

(C Salvation, peace, holiness, and the like. — Words 
in the Prayer Book. 

"Faith, hope, love, etc. — Duties, which of course 
we all perform, and therefore don't need to trouble our- 
selves about them. 

" Prayer.-*- Au incantation, to be repeated morning 
and evening, if you wish to avert ill luck during: the 
day." 

These were Gatty's views — if she could be said to 
have any. How different from those of Mrs. Dorothy 
Jennings ! To her, God was the Creator, from whom, 
and by whom, and to whom, were all things : the Foun- 
tain of Mercy, who had so loved the world as to give 
His only-begotten Son for its salvation: the Father 
who, having loved her before the world was, cared for 
everything, however insignificant, whic concerned her 
welfare. Christ was the Friend who sticketh closer 



114 THE MAIDENS" LODGE. 



*m * fr 



than a brother — the Lamb who had been slain for her, 
the High Priest who was touched with every feeling of 
human infirmity. Heaven was the home which her 
Father had prepared for her. The Bible was the means 
whereby her Father talked with her; and prayer the 
means whereby she talked with Him. Salvation was 
her condition; holiness, her aim; faith, love, peace, 
the very breath she drew. While, in Gatty's eyes, all 
this was unknown and unreal, to Mrs. Dorothy it was 
the most real thing in all the world. 

Gatty answered her friend's query by a puzzled 
look. 

" It comes in church • " she said. " He is in the 
Creed, and at the end of the prayers. I don't know ! " 

"Child," replied M*s. Dorothy, " you don't know 
Him. And, Mrs. Gatty, my dear, you must know 
Him, if you are ever to be a happy woman. poor 
child, poor child ! Tc think that the Man who loved 
you and gave His life for you is no more to you than 
one of a row of figures, a name set to the end of a 
prayer ! " 

Gatty was taken by surprise. She looked up with 
both unwonted emotion and astonishment in her eyes. 

"Mrs. Dolly/' she said, with feeling, " I cannot 
tell, but I think 'twould be pleasant to feel like you. 
It sounds all real, as if you had a live friend.'" 

"That is just what it is, my dear Mrs. Gatty. A 
Friend that loves nv? enough to count the very hairs of 
my head, — to whom nothing is a little matter that can 
concern me. And He is just as ready to be your 
Friend too." 



"What makes you thiuk so, Mv» Dolh 



. t» » 



CA TT V'S TRO UBLES. 1 1 5 



"My dear, He died on purpose to save you." 

"The world, not me ! " said Gatty. 

" If there had been no world but you/' was the 
answer, " He would have thought it worth while." 

Gatty's answer was not immediate. When it came, 
it was — 

" What does He want me to do ? " 

"He wants you to give Him your heart," said the 
old lady. " Do that first, and you will very soon find 



out how to give Him your hands and your head. 



>> 



t( 



And will He keep away my Lord Polesworth ? " 



asked the girl, earnestly. 



(( 



)> 



He will keep away everything that can hurt you. 
Not, maybe, everything you don't like. Sometimes 'tis 
just the contrary. The sweet cake that you like might 
harm you, and the physic you hate might heal you. If 
so, Pie will give you the physic. But, child, if you are 
His own, He will put the cup into your ha^d with a 
smite which will make it easy to take. 

"1 should like that," said Gatty, wistfully. "But 
could it be right to wed with my Lord Polesworth, 
when I could not love nor honour him in my heart at 

all ? " 

" It can never be right to lie. Ask God to make 
you a way of escape, if so it be." 

"What way?" 

"Leave that to Him." 

Mrs. Dorothy's little clock struck four. 

"I think, if you please, Mrs. Gatty," said Phoebe's 
hitherto silent voice, "that Madam will be looking for 



us," 



" Yes, I guess she will," answered Gatty, rising 



n6 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



and courtesying. " [ thank you, Mrs. Dolly. You 
have given me a ray of hope — if 'twill not die away" 

Mrs. Dorothy drew the girl to her, and kissed her 
cheek. 

" Christ cannot die, my child," she replied. "And 
Christ's love is deathless as Himself. ' Death hath no 
more dominion over Him/ And He saith to His own, 



'Because I live, ye shall live also/ 



}} 



i( It should be a better life than this," said Gatty, 



with a sigh. 



Ci This is not the Christian's life, my dear. { His 
life is hid with Christ in God.' 'Tis not left in his own 
hands to keep ; he would soon lose it, if it were. Fare- 
well, dear child; and may the Lord keep thee ! " 

Gatty looked up suddenly. " Tell me what to say 
to Him." 

Mrs. Dorothy scarcely hesitated a moment. 

u l Teach me to do Thy will/ " she answered. 
" That holds everything. You cannot do His will 
unless you are one of His redeemed. He must save 
you, and hold you up, and guide you to glory, if you do 
His will — not because you do it, for the salvation 
-,'ometh first; but without the one, there cannot be the 
other. And he that doeth the will of God soon learns 
to love it, better than any mortal thing. { Oh, how love 
I Thy law ! ' saith David. ( There is nothing on earth 
that 1 desire in comparison of Thee/ " 

She kissed both the girls again, and they went away. 



CHAPTER VI. 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 



" La souveraine habilitd consiste a bien connoitre le prix 



des choses." 



La Rochefoucauld. 




HERE was an earnest, wistful, far-away look in 
Gatty's eyes, as though some treasure-house 
had been opened to her, the existence of which 
she had never previously suspected ; but neither she nor 
Phcebe said a word to each other as they crossed the 
Park, and went up the wide white steps of the Abbey. 



)* 



e( Where on earth have you been, you gadabouts? 
came in Rhoda's voice from the interior of the hall. 
"Oh, but I've such a jolly piece of news for you! 
Molly and me heard it from Madam. Guess what it is." 

Rhoda's grammar was more free and easy than cor- 
rect at all times; and Phcebe could not help thinking 
that in that respect, as in others, she had perceptibly 
deteriorated by contact with Molly. 

"I don't care to hear it, thank you," said Gatty, 
rather hastily, walking straight upstairs. 

i{ Oh, don't you, Mrs. Prim ? " demanded Rhoda. 
"Well, it doesn't concern you much. Now, Phcebe, 

guess ! " 



n8 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Phcebe felt very little in tune for the sort of amuse- 
ment usually patronized by Rhoda. But she set herself 
to gratify that rather exacting young lady, 

"I don't guess things well/' she said. " Is one of 
your aunts coming \ " 

" My aunts ! " repeated Rhoda, in supreme scorn. 



"Not if I know it, thank you. I said it was jolly. 
Why, Phoebe ! to guess such a thing as that ! " 

"Well, I should be pleased enough if mine were 
coming to see me/ 7 said Phoebe, good-temperedly. "I 
don't know what else to guess. Has some one given 
you a present ? " 



cc 



Wish they had ! " ejaculated Rhoda. " No, I'm 
sorry to say nobody's had so much good sense. But 
there's somebody — I shall have to tell you sooner or 
later, you stupid goose, so I may as well do it now 
somebody's coming to Number Four. Mrs. Eleanor 
Darcy, a cousin of my Lord Polesworth — only think! 
and (that's best of all) she's got a nephew." 
"How is that best of all?" asked Phoebe, 
" Mr. Marcus Welles — isn't it a pretty name ? 
and he will come with her, to settle her in her new 
house. 'I'VIuj?* Oh, what a silly Phcebe you arc! 
He has three thousand a year." 

"Then I should think he might take better care of 
his aunt than let her be an indigent gentlewoman," 
said Phcebe, rather warmly. 

" As if he would want to be pothered with an old 
aunt ! " cried Rhoda. " But I'll tell you what (you are 
so silly, you want telling everything!) — I mean to set 
my cap at him," 

" Won't you have some cleaner lace on it first?" 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 119 



Suggested Phoebe, with the exceedingly quiet, dry fun 
which was one of her characteristics. 

" You stupid, literal thing ! " said Rhoda. "I might 

as well talk to the cat. Oh, here you come, Molly ! 
Now for tea, if 'tis ready, and then " 



Madam was already at the tea-table, and Baxter was 
just bringing in the kettle, 

" I trust you have had a pleasant walk, my dears/' 
said she, kindly, as the four girls filed in — Molly first, 
Phoebe last. 

"Middling/' said Molly, taking the initiative as 
usual. "Robbed seventeen birds' nests, climbed twenty- 
four trees, and jumped over a dozen five-barred gates." 

Oh, did you ! " murmured Phcebe, in a shocked 
tone, too horrified for silence. 

Rhoda went into convulsions behind her handker- 
chief. 

" Innocent little darling ! " exclaimed Molly ; " she 
thinks we did ! " 

(C 



(( 



C( 



You said so/' answered Phoebe, reproachfully. 
You are so smart, my dear Mrs. Molly/' said 
Madam, smilingly. "Did you all walk together ? " 

" No, I thank you ! " responded Molly. " Gatty 
and the innocent little dear went to a Ouakers' meet- 
ing. 

Had Madam taken the assertion literally, she would 
have been alarmed and horrified indeed; for at that time 
all Dissenters were considered dangerous characters. 
and Ouakers the worst of all. But, recognizing it as 
one of Molly's flights of intellect, she smiled placidly, 
and said no more. 

"My dear, I think you will be acquainted with Mrs. 



120 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



ts 



a 



Eleanor Darcy ? " asked Madam, addressing herself to 
Gatty. 

She has visited my mother, but only once/' an- 
swered Gatty. 

" Oh, the pootsy-bootsy ! " broke in Molly. " Isn't 
she a sweet, charming, handsome creature ? — the pre- 
cious dear ! " 

" I fear she doth not please you, Mrs, Molly ? " 
asked Madam, interpreting Molly's exclamation by the 

rule of contrary. 

"She's the ugliest old baboon that ever grinned ! " 
was Molly's complimentary reply. 

" What say you, Mrs. Gatty ? " 
She is certainly not handsome," answered Gatty, 
apparently with some reluctance ; <c but I have heard 
her well spoken of, as very kind and good." 

"Have you met with Mr. Welles, her nephew, my 
dear ? " 

Molly had clasped her hands, leaned back, 1 ff ted her 
eyes with an expression of sentimental rapture, and was 
executing an effective tableau vivant. 

"Yes, I have seen him two or three times," said 
Gatty. 

"Is he a young man of an agreeable turn?" in- 
quired Madam. 

" He is very handsome," replied Gatty, rather 
doubtfully, as if she hardly knew what to say. 

"Pleasant as a companion?" pursued Madam. 

" People generally think so, I believe/' answered 

Gatty, with studied vagueness. 

" You dear old concatenation, you'll get nothing 

out of my wretch of a sistc," impetuously cried Molly. 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA, 121 



€( 



I'll tell you all about Marcus. He's the brightest 
eyes that ever shone, and the sweetest voice that praised 
your fine eyes, and the most delightful manners ! 
White hands, and a capital leg, and never treads on 
your corns. Oh, there's nobody like him. I mean to 
marry him. 

" Molly ! " said Gatty. It was the first time she 
had offered anything like a reproof to her sister. 



)) 



tc 



» 



Now, you hold your tongue, Mrs. Prude ! " re- 
sponded Molly. " You're not a bit better than I am. 

Gatty made no reply. 

''Don't you set up to be either a prig or a saint ! " 
continued Molly, angrily. " Betty's enough. She isn't 

a saint; but she's a prig. If ever you're either, I'll lead 
you a life ! i} 

And there could be little doubt of Molly's fulfilling 
her threat. 

The next day, Gatty and Molly Delawarr went home. 
Betty had quite recovered, and was gone to stay with a 
friend near Bristol; the house had been thoroughly dis- 
infected, and was pronounced free from all danger; and 
Lady Delawarr thought there was no longer need fot 
the girls to remain away. 

I wonder what will become of me without you, 
Molly ! " said Rhoda, dolefully. 

" Oh, you'll have plenty to do, old Gatepost," ob- 
served Molly, apparently in allusion to Rhoda's un- 
eventful life. "You've got to fall in love with Marcus. 
I'll cut you into slices if you do, and make buttered 
toast of you/' 

"Good-bye ! " said Rhoda laughing. 

" Vale ! " responded Molly. 

9 



(( 



122 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



" Good-bye, dear little Phoebe! " was Gatty's fare- 
well. <e I wonder what would have become of me if I 
had not met you and Mrs. Dorothy. For I have asked 
Him to be my Friend, —you know, — and I think, I 
think He will:" 

" I am sure of it. Good-bye." 

And so Gatty and Molly passed out of the life at 
White-Ladies. 

On returning to the old order of things, Phoebe 
found Rhoda, as she expected, considerably changed 
for the worse. What had been a sort of good- 
humoured condescension was altered into absolute 
snappishness, and Phoebe was sorely tried. But the 
influence of Molly, bad as it had been, proved tempo- 
rary. Rhoda sank by degrees — or shall I say rose ? 
into her old self, and Phoebe presently had no more 
to bear than before the visit from Delawarr Court. 

About a fortnight after the departure of Gatty and 
Molly, as Phoebe was sitting at the parlour window 
with her work, she perceived Mrs. Jane Talbot, hooded, 
cloaked, and pattened, — for the afternoon was damp, — 
marching up to the side door. The fact was communi- 
cated to Madam, who rose and glanced at herself in the 
chimney-glass, and ringing her little handbell,, desired 
Baxter to show Mrs. Jane into the parlour. 

" Good afternoon, Mrs. Jane ; 'tis a pleasure I did 
not look for/' said Madam, as she rose. 

"Your servant, Madam," returned Mrs. Jane, who 
had divested herself of cloak and pattens in the hall. 

"Pray be seated, Mrs. Jane. And what brings you 
hither ? — for methinks some matter of import will have 
called you out on so rainy a day as this/' 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. iai 



(( 



» 



Easy to guess/' answered Mrs. Jane, taking a 
seat as requested, and delivering her communication in 
short, blunt sentences, like small shot. " A whim of 
Marcella's. Got a fancy for Port Port. Sent me to 
beg a sup of you, Madam. Fancies it will cure her. 
Fiftieth time she has thought so, of something. All 
nonsense. Can't help it. 

iC Indeed, my dear Mrs. Jane, I am happy to be 
capable of helping Mrs. Marcella to her fancy, and 
trust it may be of the advantage she thinks. — Phoebe! 
tell Betty to bid Baxter bring hither a bottle of the best 
Port O Port — that from the little ark in the further 
cellar. — And how does Mrs. Marcella this afternoon ? " 

" As cross as two sticks/ 3 said Mrs. Jane. 

" She is a great sufferer/' observed Madam, in her 
kindest manner. 

Mrs. Jane made no reply, unless her next remark 
could properly be called one. 

"Mrs. Darcy came last merit/' 

"Last night!" answered Madam, in accents of 
surprise. " Dear ! I quite understood she was not to 
arrive before this evening. You have seen her, Mrs. 
Jane ? " 

"Seen her! Oh dear, yes; Fve seen her. We 
were schoolfellows." 

" Were you, indeed ? That I did not know. 'Twill 
be a pleasure to you, Mrs. Jane, to have an old school- 
fellow so near." 

"Depends/' said Mrs, Jane sententious ly. 
"No doubt/' answered Madam. "Were you and 
Mrs. Eleanor friends at school, Mrs. Jane ? 
"No, Madam." 



» 



124 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"Not? Perhaps you were not near enough of an age." 

" Only six months between. No; that wasn't it. 
I was a silly scapegrace, and she was a decent, good 
maid. Too good for me. I haven't got any better. 
And she hasn't got any handsomer." 

" Pray forgive me/' replied Madam, with a smile, 
"but I cannot think that name applies to you now, 
Mrs. Jane. And was her nephew with Mrs. Eleanor ; 
as he engaged ? " 

" Large as life," said Mrs. Jane. 

"And how large is that, in his case?" inquired 
Madam. 

"Asking him or me?" retorted Mrs. Jane. "I 
should say, about as big as a field mouse. He thinks 
himself big enough to overtop all the elephants in crea- 
tion. Marcus Welles ! Oh, yes, I'll mark him well, 
you trust me." 

It was tolerably evident that Mr. Welles had not 
succeeded in fascinating Mrs. Jane, whatever he might 
do to other people. 

" I was told he was extreme handsome ? " remarked 
Madam, in a tone of inquiry. 

Mrs. Jane's exclamation in response sounded very 
like—" Pish ! " 

" You think not, Mrs. Jane ? " 

" Folks' eyes are so different, Madam," answered 
Mrs. Jane. " Chinamen's beauties wouldn't go for 
much in England, I guess. He's a silly, whimsical, 
finnicking piece — that's what he is ! Pink velvet coat, 
laced with silver. Buff breeches. White silk stockings 
with silver clocks. No cloak. And raining cats and 
dogs and pitchforks. Reckon Eleanor got all the sense 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 125 



that was going in that family. None left for Mr. Mark- 
me-well. Missed it, anyhow/ 5 

From that day forward, behind his back, Mark-me< 
well was the only name bestowed by Mrs. Jane on the 
young man in question. To his face she gave him 
none, — an uncivil proceeding in 1714; but Mrs. Jane 
being allowedly an eccentric character, no one expected 
her to conform to conventional rules on all occasions. 

It would seem that Mr. Welles wished to lose no 
time in paying his court to Madam; for that very even- 
ing, as soon as calling-hours began, he put in an 
appearance at White- Ladies. 

Calling-hours and visiting-days were as common 
then as now; but the hours were not the same. From 
five to eight o'clock in the evening was the proper time 
for a visit of ceremony; candles were always lighted, 
there was a special form of knock, and the guests sat 
round the room in a prim circle. 

Perhaps the " cats, dogs, and pitchforks " alluded 
to before had spoiled the pink and buff suit which had 
roused the scorn of Mrs. Jane. The colours in which 
Mr. Welles chose to make his debut at White-Ladies 
were violet and white. A violet velvet coat, trimmed 
with silver lace, was fastened with little silver hasps; 

white satin breeches led downwards to violet silk stock- 
ings with silver clocks, girt below the knee with silver 
garters. A three-cornered hat, of violet silk and silver 
lace, was heavily adorned with white plumes, and but- 
toned up at one side with a diamond. He wore shoes 
with silver buckles and very high red heels, white-silver 
fringed gloves, a small muff of violet velvet; and carried 
in his hand a slender amber-headed cane. Being a 



126 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Lcndon beau of fashion, he was afflicted with a slight 
limp, and also with intense short-sightedness, which 
caused him to wear a gold eye-glass, constantly in use 
except when alone, on which occasions Mr. Welles 
became suddenly restored to the full use of his facul- 
ties. 

He certainly was very handsome, and his taste was 
good. His wig was always suited to his complexion, 
and he rarely wore more than two colours, of which one 
was frequently black or white. Mr. Welles was highly 
accomplished and highly fashionable; he played ombre 
and basset, the spinnet and the violin ; he sang and 
danced well, composed anagrams and acrostics, was a 
good rider, hunted fearlessly and gamed high, inter- 
larded his conversation with puns, and was a thorough 
adept at small talk. He was personally acquainted 
with every actor on the London stage, and by sight 
with every politician in the Cabinet. His manners 
were of the new school then just rising — which means, 
that they were very free and easy, removed from all the 
minute and often cumbersome ceremonies which had 
distinguished the old school. He generally rose about 
noon, dined at three p.m., spent the evening at the opera 
or theatre, and went to bed towards morning. Add to 
this, that he collected old china, took much snuff, 
combed his wig in public, and was unable to write 
legibly or spell correctly — and a finished portrait is 
presented of Mr. Marcus Welles, and through him of a 
fashionable London gentleman of his day. 

The impression made bv Mr. Welles on the ladies 
at the Abbey was of varied character. Madam com- 
mended him, but with that faint praise which is nearly 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 127 



akin to censure. He was well favoured, she allowed, 
and seemed to be a man of parts ; but in her young 
days it was considered courteous to lead a lady to a 
chair before a gentleman seated himself; and it was not 
considered courteous to omit the Madam in addressing 
her. Rhoda said very little in her grandmother's pre- 
sence, reserving her opinion for Phoebe's private ear. 
But as soon as they were alone, the girls stated their 
ideas explicitly. 

"Isn't he a love of a dear?" cried Rhoda, in ecstasy. 

" No, I don't think he is," responded Phoebe, in a 
tone of unmistakable disgust. 

"Why, Phoebe 1 Are you not sensible of the merit 
of such a man as that ? " 

"No, I am sure I did not see any," said Phoebe, as 
before. 

"Oh, Phoebe! Such taste as he has! And his 
discourse ! I never saw so quick a wit. I am sure he 
is a man of great reach, and a man of figure too. I 
shall think the time long till I see him again." 

"Dear me! I shan't!" exclaimed Phoebe. "Taste? 
Well, I suppose you may dress a doll with taste. His 
clothes are well enough, only they are too fine for any- 
thing but visiting." 

" Well, wasn't he visiting, you silly Phoebe ? " 
" And he may be a man of figure — I don't know; 
but a ; to reach ! I wonder what you saw in his dis- 
course to admire; it seemed to me all about nothing. 



jy 



" Why, that's just his parts ! " said Rhoda. "Any 
man can talk about something ; but to be able to talk 
in a clever, sprightly way about nothing — that takes a 
man of reach." 



128 THE MAIDENS * LODGE, 



"Well! he may take his reach out of my reach/' 
answered Phoebe, in a disgusted tone. ce I shall think 
the time uncommonly short, I can promise you, till I 
see him again ; for I never wish to do it." 

" Phcebe, I do believe you haven't one bit of dis- 
cernment ! " 

r 

But Phcebe held her peace. 

Madam called in due form on her new guest at the 
Maidens' Lodge, and Mrs. Darcy returned the visit 
next day. She proved to be a short, stout, little woman, 
with a face which, while undeniably and excessively 
plain, was so beaming with good humour that it was 
difficult to remember her uncomcliness after the first 
coup (Tceil. Mr. Welles accompanied her on the return 
visit. What had induced him to take up his quarters 
at the Bear, at Tewkesbury, was an enigma to the inha- 
bitants of White-Ladies. Of course he could not live 
at the Maidens' Lodge, Madam being rigidly particular 
with respect to the intrusion of what Betty called a he- 
crccturs^ into that enchanted valley, and not tolerating 
the habitual presence even of a servant of the obnoxious 
sex. According to the representations of Mr. Welles 
himself, he was fascinated by the converse and cha- 
racter of Madam, and was also completely devoted to 
his dear Aunt Eleanor. But Mr. Welles .had not 
favoured the Bear with very much of his attention before 
it dawned upon one person at least that neither Mad.-ur 
nor Mrs. Eleanor had much to do with his frequent 
visits to Cressingham. Mrs. Dorothy Jennings quickly 
noticed that Mr. Welles was quite clever enough to dis- 
cover what pleased different persons, and to adapt him- 
self accordingly with surprising facility; and she soon 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 129 



perceived that the attraction was Rhoda, or rather 
Rhoda's prospects as the understood heiress of White- 
Ladies. Mr. Welles accommodated himself skilfully to 
the prejudices of Madam; his manners assumed a 
graver and more courtly air, his conversation a calm and 
sensible tone ; and Madam at length remarked to her 
granddaughters, how very much that young man had 
improved since his first arrival at Cressingham. 

With Rhoda, in the absence of her grandmother, 
he was an entirely different being. A great deal of 
apparent interest in herself, and deference to her 
opinions; a very little skilful flattery, too delicately ad- 
ministered for its hollowness to be perceived ; a quick 
apprehension of what pleased and amused her, and a 
ready adaptation to her mood of the moment — these 
were Mr. Welles' tactics with the heiress for whom he 
was angling. As to Phoebe, he simply let her alone. 
He soon saw thut she was of no account in Rhoda's 
eyes, and was not her chosen confidante, but simply the 
person to whom she talked for want of any other 
listener. There was not, therefore, in his opinion, any 
reason why he should trouble himself to propitiate 

Phoebe. 

Ever since the visit of the Delawarrs, Rhoda had 
seemed disinclined for another call on Mrs. Dorothy 
Jennings. Now and then she went to see Mrs. Clarissa, 
when the conversation usually turned on the fashions 
and cognate topics; sometimes she drank tea with 
Lady Betty, whose discourse was of rather a more 
sensible character. Rarely, she looked in on Mrs. 
Marcella. Mrs. Jane had thoroughly estranged her by 
persisting in her sarcastic nickname for Rhoda's chosen 



I3G THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



hero, and letting off little shafts against him, more 
smart than flattering. On Mrs. Darcy she called per- 
petually, perhaps with a view to meet him at her house; 
but all Mr. Welles' alleged devotion to his dear Aunt 
Eleanor scarcely ever seemed to result in his going to see 
her at the Maidens' Lodge. When Rhoda met him, 
which she very often did, it was either by his calling at 

the Abbey, or by an accidental rencontre — if accidental 
it were — in some secluded glade of the Park. 

At length, one day, without any warning, a horse 
cantered up to the side door, and Molly Delawarr's 
voice in its loudest tones (and very loud they were) 
demanded where all those stupid creatures were who 
ought to be there to take her horse. Then Miss Molly, 
having been helped off, came marching in, and greeted 
her friends with a recitative — 

i( Lucy Locket lost her pocket ; 



'Kitty Fisher found it! '" 



a 



My dear Mrs. Molly, I am quite rejoiced to see 
you ! " 

u No ! you aren't, are you ? * 9 facetiously responded 
Molly. " Rhoda — I vow, child, you're uglier than ever! 
mother wants you for a while. There's that jade 
Betty going to come of age, and she means to make the 
biggest fuss over it ever was heard. She said she 
would send Wilson over, but I jumped on my tit, and 
came to tell you myself. You'll come, won't you, old 
hag ? » 

Rhoda looked at her grandmother. 

" My dear, of course you will go ! " responded 
Madam, "since my Lady Delawarr is so good. 'Tis so 
kind in Mrs. Mollv to take thus much trouble on herself." 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 131 



"Fiddle-de-dee!" ejaculated Molly. " I'm no more 
kind than she's good. She wants a fuss, and a lot of 
folks to make it ; and I wanted a ride, and some fun 
with Rhoda. Where's the goodness, eh ? " 

"Shall I take Phcebe?" asked Rhoda, doubtfully. 

"You'd better/' returned Molly, before Madam 
could speak. " You'll want somebody to curl your 
love-locks and stitch your fal-lals; and I'm not going 
to do it — don't you fancy so. Oh, I say, Rhoda ! you 
may have Marcus Welles, if you want him. There's 
another fellow turned up, with a thousand a year more, 
that will suit me better." 

" Indeed ! I thank you ! " said Rhoda, with a little 
toss of her head. 

"My dear Mrs. Molly, you are so diverting," smiled 
Madam. 

" You don't say so ! " rejoined that fascinating 
young person. "You'll put on your Sunday bomba- 
zine, Rhoda. We're all going to be as fine as fiddlers. 
As for you " — and Molly's bold eyes surveyed Phcebe, 
seeming to take in the whole at a glance — ff it won't 
matter. You aren't an heiress, so you can come in 



rags." 



Phcebe said nothing. 



"I don't think," went on Molly, in a reflective tone, 
" that you can make a catch ; but you can try. There 
is the chaplain — horrid old centipede ! And there's old 
Walford " — Molly never favoured any man with a Mr. 
to his name — " an ugly, spiteful old bear that ncbody'Il 
have: he's rich enough; and he might look your way if 
you play your cards well. Any way, you'll not have 
much chance else; so you'd better keep your eyes pretty 



I 3 2 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



well open. Now, Rhoda, come along, and we'll have 

some fun." 

And away went Molly and Rhoda, with a smiling 
assent from Madam. 

What a very repulsive, vulgar disagreeable girl this 
Molly Delawarr is ! True, my gentle reader. And yet 
does she do much more than say, in plain language, 
what a great number of Mollys are not ashamed to 
think ? 

Phoebe's sensations, in view of the coming visit to 
the Court, were far removed from pleasure. Must she 
go ? She braced up her courage, and ventured to ask. 

" If you please, Madam — " 

"Well, child?" was the answer, in a sufficiently 
gracious tone to encourage Phoebe to proceed. 

Must I go with Mrs. Rhoda to Delawarr Court, 



a 



if you please, Madam ? " 



"Why, of course, child. ,} Madam's tone expressed 
surprise, though not displeasure. 

Phoebe swallowed her regret with a sigh, and tried 
to comfort herself with the thought of meeting Gatty, 
which was the only bright spot in the darkness. But 
would Gatty be there ? 

Rhoda and Molly came in to tea arm-in-arm. 

" And how has my Lady Delawarr her health, Mrs. 
Molly ? 3i inquired Madam, as she poured out the 
refreshing fluid. 

Molly had allowed no time for inquiries on her first 
appearance. 

" Oh, she's well enough," said Molly, carelessly. 
" And Mrs. Betty is now fully recovered of her dis- 
temper i " 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA. 133 



<( She's come out of the small-pox, and tumbled 

into the vapours/ 5 said Molly. 

" The vapours/' was a most convenient term of 
that day. It covered everything which had no other 

name, from a pain in the toe to a pain in the temper, 
and was very frequently descriptive of the latter ailment. 
Betty's condition, therefore, as subject to this malady, 
excited little regret. 

" And how goes it with Mrs. Gatty ? Is she now 
my Lady Polesworth ? " 

" My Lady Fiddlestrings ! " responded Molly. 
" Not she — never will. Old Polesworth wanted a 
pretty face, and after Gatty's small-pox, why, you 
couldn't — " 

"Small-pox ! " cried Madam and Rhoda in concert, 

" What, didn't you know ? " answered Molly. 
"To be sure — took it the minute she got home. But 
that wasn't all, neither. Old Polesworth told Mum " 
which meant Lady Delawarr — "that he might have 
stood small-pox, but he couldn't saintship ; so Saint 
Gatty lost her chance, and much* she'll ever see of such 
another. Dad and Mum were as mad as hornets. 
Dad said he'd have horsewhipped her if she'd been out 
of bed. Couldn't, in bed, you see — wouldn't have 
looked well." 

" But, my dear, she could not help taking the small- 
pox ? " 

ct Maybe not, but she might have helped taking the 
saint-pox/' said Molly. " I believe she caught it from 
you," nodding at Phoebe, "But what vexed Mum 
most was that the grey goose actually made believe to 
be pleased when she lost her chance of the. tinsel. 



134 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



>> 



Trust me, but Mum blew her up — a little ! All leather 
and prunella, you know, of course. Pleased to be an 
old maid ! — just think, what nonsense. She will be an 
old maid now, sure as eggs are eggs, unless she marries 
some conventicle preacher. That would be the best 
end of her, I should think. 

Phcebe sat wondering whv Molly paid so poor a 
compliment to her own denomination as to suppose that 
the natural gravitation of piety was towards Dissent. 
But Molly's volatile nature passed to a different subject 

the next moment. 

" I say, old Roadside, bring a white gown. The 

Queen's coming to the Bath, and a lot of folks are try- 
ing to make her come on to Berkeley; and if she do, a 
whole parcel of young gentlewomen are to be there to 
courtesy to her, and give her a posv, and all that sort of 
flummery. And Mum says she'll send us down, if 

they do it 

" Who's to give the posy ? " eagerly asked 
Rhoda. 

" Don't know. Not you. You won't have a 
chance, old Fid-fad. No more shan't I. It'll be some 
thing of quality. I'll tread on her tail, though, — see if 
I don't/' 

" Whose ? " whispered Rhoda ; for Molly's last 
remark had been confidential. ff You don't mean the 
Oueen ? " 

"Of course I do, — who better? Her grandmother 
was a baronet's daughter; what else am 1 ? I'll have a 
snip of her gown, if I can." 

O Molly ! " exclaimed Rhoda in unfeigned horror. 
Why not ? I've scissors in my pocket." 



. jy 



<< 



a 



TRAPS LAID FOR RHODA, 133 



a 



a 



Molly, you never could ! " 

Don't you lay much on those odds, my red currant 
hush. I can do pretty near anything Fve a mind 
when I have a mind/' 

Rhoda was not pleased by Molly's last vocative, 
which she took as an uncomplimentary allusion to the 
faint shade of red in her hair, — a subject on which she 
was peculiarly sensitive. This bit of confidence had 
been exchanged out of the hearing of Madam, who had 
gone to a cabinet at the other end of the long room, 
but within that of Phoebe, who grew more uncomfort- 
able every moment. 

Well, 'tis getting time to say ta-ta/' said Molly, 
rising shortly after tea was over. <( Where's that tit of 
mine ) " 

" My dear, I will send to fetch your horse round," 
said Madam, " Pray, make my compliments to my 
Lady Delawarr, and tell her that I cannot but be very 
sensible of her kindness in offering Rhoda so con- 
siderable a pleasure." 

Madam was about to add more, but Molly broke in. 

" Come now ! Can't carry all that flummery. My 
horse would fall lame under the weight. I'll say you 
did the pretty thing. Ta-ta ! See you on Monday, old 
gentlewoman." She turned to Rhoda ; threw a nod, 
without words, to Phoebe, and five minutes afterwards 
was trotting across the Park on her way home to 
Delawarr Court. 



SO 



CHAPTER VII. 




2LAWARR COURT. 

"Le coeur humain a beaucoup de plis et de replis." 

Madame de Motteville* 

ND how goes it, my dear, with Madam and 
Mrs. Rhoda ? " inquired little Mrs, Dorothy 
as she handed a cup to Phoebe. 
" They are well, I thank you. Mrs. Dolly, I have 
come to ask your counsel." 

a Surely, dear child. Thou shalt have the best I 
can give. What is thy trouble ? " 

et I have two or three troubles/' said Phoebe, sigh- 
ing. " You know Rhoda is going to-morrow to Dela- 
warr Court ; and I am to go with her. I wish I need 

not ! " 

"Why, dear child?" 

" Well, I am afraid it must sound silly," answered 
Phcebe, with a little laugh at herself ; u but really, I can 
scarce tell why. Do you never feel thus unwilling to 

do a thing, Mrs. Dorothy, almost without reason ? " 

" Ah, there is a reason," said the old lady : u and it 
comes cither from your body or your mind, Phoebe. If 
'tis from your body, let your mind govern it in any 



DELAWARR COURT 137 



y> 



ce 



(t 



» 



<c 



matter you must do. If it come from your mind, either 
you see a clear cause for it, or you do not. 

I do not, Mrs. Dolly, I reckon 'tis but the 

spleen." 

Everything we call nervous then fell under the head 
of spleen. 

There is an older name for that, Phcebe, without 
it arise from some disorder of the body." 

"What, Mrs. Dorothy ? " 

"Discontent, my child. 

"But that is sin! " said Phoebe, looking up, as if 
startled. 

" Aye. ' Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.' " 
Then should I be willing to go, Mrs. Dolly ? " 

"What hast thou asked, my dear? Should God's 
child be willing to do her Father's will ? " 

Phoebe's face became grave. 
Dear Phcebe, { when the people murmured, it dis- 
pleased the Lord,' Have a care ! — Well, what is your 
next trouble ? " 

" I have had a letter from mother," said Phoebe, 
colouring and looking uncomfortable. 
" Is that a trouble, child ?" 
" No,— not that. Oh no ! But — " 
"But a trouble sticks to it. Well, — what? » 
"She says I ought to — to get married, Mrs. 
Dorothy: and she looks for me to do it while I tarrv at 

White-Ladies, for she reckons that will be the best 
chance." 

Mrs. Dorothy was silent. If her thoughts were not 
complimentary to Mrs. Latrobe, she gave no hint of it 
to Phcebe. 



tf 



133 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"I don't think I should like it, please, Mrs. 
Dorothy/' said Phoebe uneasily. " And ought I ? " 



a 



i> 



I suppose somebody had better ask you first/ 
was Mrs. Dorothy's dry answer. 

u I would rather li^e with Mother/' continued 
Phoebe. And suddenly a cry broke out which had been 
repressed till then. " I wish — oh, I wish Mother loved 
me ! She never seemed to do it but once, when [ was 
ill of the fever. I do so wish Mother could love me ! ; ' 

Mrs. Dorothy busied herself for a moment in putting 
the cups together on her little tea-tray. Then she came 

over to Phoebe. 

" Little maid ! " she said, lovingly, " there are some 
of us women for whom no love is safe, saving the love of 
Him that died for us. If we have it otherwise, we go 
wrong and set up idols in our hearts. Art thou one of 
those, Phoebe ? 

" I don't know ! ; ' sobbed Phoebe, ft How can I 
know ? " 

"Dear child, He knows. Canst thou not trust 
Him? 'Dieu est ton Ecrger.' The Shepherd takes 
more care of the sheep, Phoebe, than the sheep take 
care of themselves. Poor, blundering creatures that we 
are ! always apt to think, in the depth of our hearts, 
that God would nather not save us, and that we shall 
have to take a great deal of trouble to persuade Him to 
do it. Nay ! it is the Shepherd that longs to have the 
lamb safe folded, and the poor silly lamb that is always 
straying away. Phoebe, ' the Father Himself loveth 
tJiee. 

"Oh, I know! But I can't sec Him, Mrs, 



o 

} >> 



Durothy," 



DELAWARE COURT. 139 



ff 



c( 



" I suppose He knows that, too/' answered her old 
friend, softly. "He knows how much easier it would 
be to believe if we could see and feel. Maybe 'tis there- 
fore He hath pronounced so special a blessing upon 
such as have not seen, and yet have believed." 

" Mrs. Dorothy," — and Phoebe looked up earnestly, 
don't you think living is hard work ? " 
I did once, my maid. But I am beyond the 
burden and the heat of the day now. My tools arc 
gathered together and put away, and I am waiting for 
the Master to call me in home to my rest. Thou too 
wilt come to that, child, if thy life be long enough. 
And to somejCven here, — to all, afterward, — it is given to 
sec where the turns were taken in the path, and whereto 
the road should have led that we took not. Ah, child, 
one day thy heaviest cause of thankfulness may be that 

in this or that matter — perchance in the matter that 
most closely engaged thee in this life — thy Father did 
not give thee the desire of thine heart." 

li Yet that is promised as a blessing ? " said Phoebe, 
interrogatively, looking up. 

"As a blessing, dear child, when thy will is God's 
will. Can it be any blessing, when thy will and His 
run contrary the one to the other ? " 

Then you think I should not wish to be loved ! " 
said Phoebe, with a heavy sigh. 

"I think God's child will do well to leave the choice 
of all things to her Father." 

i! I must leave it. He will have it." 

" He will have it," repeated Mrs. Dorothy solemnly; 
"but, Phoebe, you can leave it in loving submission, or 

you can have it wrenched from you in judgment. Though 



a 



140 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



a 



it may be that you must loose your hold on a gem, yet 
you please yourself whether you yield it as a gift, or 
wait to have it torn away. 

" I see," said Phoebe. 

" Was there any further trouble, my dear ? " 



ec 



Only that/' replied Phoebe. " Life seems hard. 
I get so tired ! " 

"Thou art young to know that, child," said Mrs. 
Dorothy, with a rather sad smile. 

"Well, I don't know," answered Phoebe, doubtfully. 
" I think I have always been tired. And don't you 
know some people rest you, and some people don't? 

When there is nobody that rests one -Father used 

but— " 

Mrs. Dorothy thought there was not much diffi- 
culty in reading the story hidden behind Phoebe's 
broken sentences. 

"So life is hard?" she echoed. "Poor child! 
Dear, it was harder to Him that sat on the well at 
Sychar, wearied with His journey. He has not for- 
gotten it, Phoebe. Couldst thou not go and remind 
Him of it, and ask Him to bless and rest thee ? " 

" Mrs. Dolly, do you feel tired like that ? " 

A little amused laugh was Mrs. Dolly's answer. 

" Thou hast not all the sorrows of life in thine 
own portion, little Phoebe. I have felt it. I do not 
often now. The journey is too near at an end to fret 
much over the hard fare or the rough road. When 
there be only a few days to pass ere you leave school, 
your mind is more set on the coming holidays than 
on the length or hardness of the lessons that lie 
betwixt." 



DELAWARR COURT. HI 



" I wish I hadn't to go to Delawarr Court!" sighed 
Phoebe. " There will be a great parcel of people, and 
not one I know but Rhoda, and Mrs. Gatty, and Mrs. 
Molly; and Rhoda always snubs me when Mrs. Molly's 
there." 

"Molly is trying/' admitted the old lady. "But I 
think, dear child, you might make a friend of Gatty." 

u Perhaps," said Phoebe. 

"And, Phoebe, strive against discontent," said Mrs. 
Dorothy ; adding, with a smile, " and call it discontent, 
and not vapours. There is a great deal in giving names 
to things. So long as you call your pride self-respect 
and high spirit, you will reckon yourself much better 
than you are; and so long as you call your discontent 
low spirits or vapours, you will reckon yourself worse 
used than you are. Don't split on that rock, Phoebe. 
The worst thing you can do with wounds is to keep 
pulling off the bandage to see how they are getting on; 
and the worst thing you can do with griefs and wrongs 
is to nurse them and brood over them. Carry them tc 
the Lord and show them to Him, and ask His help to 
bear them or right them, as He chooses ; and then for- 
get all about them as fast as you can. Dear old Scots 
Davie gave me that counsel, and through fifty years I 
have proved how good it was." 

" You never finished your story, Mrs. Dolly," sug- 
gested Phoebe. 

" I did not, my dear. Yet there was little to finish. 
I did but tarry at Court till the great plague-time, when 
all was broke up, and I went home to nurse my mother, 
who took the plague and died of it. After that I con- 
tinued to dwell with my father. For a while after my 



f42 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Mother's death, he was very low and melancholieal, 
saying that God had now met with him and was visit- 
ing his old sins upon him. And then, the very next 
year, came the fire, and we were burned out and left 
homeless. Then he was worse than ever. Twas like 
the curse pronounced on David, said he, that the sword 
should never depart from his house : he could never 
look to know rest nor peace any more; God hated him, 
and pursued him to the death. No word of mine, 
though I strove to find many from the Word of God, 
seemed to bring him any comfort at all. They were 
not for him, he said, but for them toward whom God 
had purposes of mercy, and there was none for him. 
He had sinned against light and knowledge; and God 
would none of him any more. 

u One morning, about a week after the fire, as I was 
coming back from my marketing to the little mean 
lodging where we had took shelter, and was just going 
in at the door, I was sorely started to feel a great warm 
hand on my shoulder, and a loud, cheery voice saith, 
c Dolly Jennings, whither away so fast thou canst not 
see an old friend ? ' I looked up, and there was dear 
old Farmer Ingham, in his thick boots and country 
homespun; but I declare to you, child, that -in my 
trouble his face was to me as that of an angel of God. 
I brake down, and sobbed aloud. 'Come, come, now!' 
saith he, comfortably ; ' not so bad as that, is it ? I've 
been seeking thee these four days, Dolly, child. I knew 
I could find thee if I came myself, though the Missis 
said I never should ; and I've asked at one, and asked 
at another, and looked up streets and down streets, till 
this morning I saw a young maid, with her back to me, 



DELAWARE. COURT. U3 



a-going down an alley; and says I, right out loud, 
(i That's Dolly's back, or else I'm a Dutchman!" So 
I ran after thee, and only just catched thee up. I'm 
not so lissome as thou ; nay, nor so lissome as I was 
at thy years. However, here I am, and here thou art ; 
so that's all right. And there's a good bed and a warm 
welcome for everyone of you at Ingle Nook' — that was 
the name of his farm, my dear — 'and I've brought up 
a cart and the old tit to drag it, and we'll see if we can't 
make thee laugh and be rosy again.' Dear old man ! 
no nay would he take, nor suffer so much as a word 
from father about our being any cost and trouble to 
him. ' Stuff and nonsense! ' said he; ' I've got money 
saved, and the farm's doing well, and only my two bits 
of maids to leave it to ; and who should I desire to 
help in this big trouble, if not my own foster-child, and 
hers ?' So father yielded, and we went down to Ingle 
Nook. 

"Farmer Ingham very soon found what was wrong 
with father. ' Eh, poor soul ! ' said he to me, 'he's the 
hundredth sheep that's got lost -out on the moor, anc T 
he reckons ihe Shepherd'Il bide warm in the fold with 
the ninety and nine, and never give a thought to him, 
poor, starved, straying thing ! Dear, dear ! — and as if 

I'd do such a thing, sinner that I am ! — as if I could 
eat a crust in peace till I'd been after my sheep, poor 
wretch! — and to think the good Lord'd do it !— and the 
poor thing a-bleating out there, and wanting to get 
home ! Dear, dear ! how we poor sinners do wrong 
the good Lord ! ' I said, { Won't you say a word to 
him, daddy ? ' That was what I had always called him, 
my dear, since I was a little child. 'Eh, child! ' says 



144 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



he, 'what canst thou be thinking on? The like of me 
to preach to a parson, all regular done up, bands and 
cassock and shovel hat and all ! But Fll tell thee what 
there's Dr. Bates a-coming to bide with me a night 
this next week, on his way from the North into Sussex, 
and I'll ask him to edge in a word. He's a grand man, 
Dolly ! " Silver-tongued Bates/' Thou'It hear/ 

"Well, I knew, for I had heard talk of it at the 

time, that Dr. Bates was one of them that gave up their 

livings when the Act of Uniformity came in, so that he 

was regarded as no better than a conventiclcr; and I 

wondered how father should like to be spoke to by Dr. 

Bates any more than by Farmer Ingham, because U 

him they would both be laymen alike. But at that tiiitf 

I was learning to tarry the Lord's leisure — ah ! that's 3 

grand word, Phoebe ! For His leisure runs side by side 

with our profit, and He'll be at leisure to. attend to you 

the minute that you really need attending to. So I 

waited quietly to see what would come. Dr. Bates 

came, and he proved to be no common hedge-preacher, 

but a learned man that had been to the University, and 

had Greek and Hebrew pat at his tongue's end. I 

could see that it was pleasant to father to talk with 

such a man \ and maybe he took to him the rather 

because he had the look of one that had known sorrow. 

When a man is suffering, he will converse more readily 

with a fellow-sufferer than with a hale man. So thev 

talked away of their young days, when they were at 

school and college, and father was much pleased, as I 

could see, to find that Dv. Bates and he were of the 

same college, though not there at the same time : and 

a deal they had to say about this and that man, that 



DELAWARE COURT. 145 



a > 



both knew, but of course all strangers to me. I thought 
I had never seen Father seem to talk with the like inte- 
rest and pleasure since my mother's death. 

"But time went on, and their talk, and not a word 
from Dr. Bates of the fashion I desired. I went to bed 
somewhat heavy. The next morning, however, as I was 
sat at my sewing by the parlour window — which was 
open, the weather being very sultry — came Dr. Bates 
and father, and stood just beyond the window. The 
horse was then saddling for Dr. Bates to be gone. All 
at once, they standing silent a moment, he laid his hand 
on father's shoulder, and saith very softly, i i( I will 
hearken what the Lord God will say concerning me. 
Father turns and stares at him, as started. But he 
goes on, and saith, f " For the iniquity of his covetous- 
ness was I wroth, and smote him : I hid Me and was 
wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. 
I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead 
him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his 
mourners. I create the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace 
to him that is far ofp-" — he said it twice — ta peace to 
him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the 
Lord, and I will heal him." ' He did not add one 
word, but went and mounted his horse^ and when he 
had bid farewell to all else, just as he was turning away 
from the door, he calls out, in a cheerful voice, c Good 
morning, Brother Jennings/ Then, as it were, Father 
seemed to awake, and he runs after, and puts his hand 
in Dr. Bates's, who drew bridle, and for a minute they 
were busy in earnest discourse. Then they clasped 
hands aerain, and father saith, 'God bless vou ! ' and 
away rode Dr. Bates. But after that Father was differ- 



14^ THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



j) 



ent. He said to me — it was some weeks later — 'Dolly, 
if it please God, I shall never speak another word 
against the men that turned out in Sixty-Two. They 
may have made blunders, but some at least of them 
were holy men of God, for all that/ 

" I was always sorry for them/' said Phoebe. "And 
Father said so too." 

"True, my dear. Yet 'tis not well we should for- 
get that the parsons were turned out the first, and the 
conventiclers afterward. There were faults on both sides." 

"But, Mrs. Dolly, why can't good men agree? " 

ft Ah, child ! 'They shall see eye to eye, when the 
Lord shall brino; asrain Zion.' No sooner. Thank God 
that He looketh on the heart. I believe there may be 
two men in arms against each other, bitter opposers of 
each other, and yet each of them acting with a single 
eye to the honour of their Lord. He knows it, and 

He only, now. But how sorry they will be for their 
hard thoughts and speeches when they come to under- 
stand each other in the clear light of Heaven ! " 

" It always seems to me," said Phoebe, diffidently, 
" that there arc a great many things wc shall be sorry 
for then. But can anybody be sorry in Heaven? " 

Mrs. Dorothy smiled. "We know very little about 
Heaven, my dear. Less than Madam's parrot or Mrs. 
Clarissa's dog understands about anyone writing a letter." 

"Dogs do understand a great deal," remarked 
Phoebe. " Our Flossie did." 

*"'My dear, I have learned no end of lessons from 
aogs, I only wish we Christians minded the word of 
our Master half as well as they do theirs. I wish men 
would take pattern from them, instead of starving and 



DELAWARE COURT, 147 



kicking them, or tormenting them with a view to win 
knowledge. We may be the higher creatures, but we 
are far from being the better. You may take note, too, 
that your dog will often resist an unpleasant thing — a 
dose of medicine, say — just because he does net under- 
stand why you want to give it to him, and does not 
know the worse thing that would otherwise befal him. 
Didst thou never serve thy Master like that, dear? n 

" I am afraid so," said Phoebe, softly. 

"We don't trust Him enough, Phcebe. It docs 
seem as if the hardest thinjr, in all the world was for 
man to trust God. You would not think I paid you 
much of a compliment if you heard me say, ' I'll trust 
Pjoebe Latrobe as far as I can see her/ Yet that is 
what we are always doing to God. The minute we lose 
sight of His footsteps, we begin to murmur and ques- 
tion where He is taking us. But, my dear, I must not 
let you tarry longer; 'tis nigh sundown." 

"Oh, dear!" and Phcebe looked up and rose hur- 
riedly. "I trust Madam will not be angry. 'Tis much 



later than I thought." 

She found Madam too busy to notice what time she 
returned. Rhoda's wardrobe was being packed for her 
visit, under the supervision of her grandmother, by the 
careful hands of Betty. The musk-coloured damask, 
which she had coveted, was the first article provided, 
and a cherry-coloured velvet mantle, lined with squirrel- 
skins, was to be worn with it. A blue satin hood com- 
pleted this rather showy costume. A wadded calico 
wrapper, for morning wear; a hoop petticoat wider than 
Rhoda had ever worn before; the white dress stipulated 
by Molly; small lace head-dresses, instead of the old- 



U8 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



fashioned commode; aprons of various colours, silk and 
satin ; muslin and lace ruffles ; a blue camlet riding- 
habit, laced with silver (ladies rode at this time dressed 
exactly like gentlemen, with the addition of a long 
skirt) ; and an evening dress of cinnamon-colour, bro- 
caded with large green leaves and silver stems, with a 
white and gold petticoat under it — were the chief items 
of Rhoda's wardrobe, A new set of body-linen was 
also added, made of striped muslin. Since our fair 
ancestresses made their night-dresses of a muslin," it 
would appear that they extended the term to some 
stouter material than the thin and flimsy manufacture to 
which we restrict it. Rhoda's boots were of white kid, 
goloshed with black velvet. There were also "jcssamy" 
gloves — namely, kid gloves perfumed with jessamine; 
a black velvet mask; a superb painted fan; a box of 
patches, another of violet powder, another of rouge, and 
a fourth of pomatum ; one of the India scarves before 
alluded to; a stomacher set with garnet, a pearl neck- 
lace, and a silver box full of cachou and carrawav com- 
fits, to be taken to church for amusement during long 
sermons. The enamelled picture on the lid Rhoda 
would have done well to lay to heart, as it represented 
Cupid fishing for human beings, with a golden guinea 
on his hook. Rhoda was determined to be the finest 
d essed girl at Delawarr Couit, and Madam had allowed 
her to order very much what she pleased. Phoebe's 
quiet mourning, new though it was, looked very mean 

in comparison — in her cousin's eyes. 

No definite time was fixed for Rhoda's return 
home. She was to stay as long as Lady Delawarr 
wished to keep her. 



DELAWARE. COURT. 149 



u Pbcebe, my dear ! " said Madam. 

"Madam ) " responded Phoebe, with a courtesy. 

" Come into my chamber ; I would have a few 



words with you." 

Phoebe followed, her heart feeling as if it would 
jump into her mouth. Madam shut the door, and took 
her seat on the cushioned settle which stretched along 
the foot of her bed. 

" Child," she said to Phcebe, who stood modestly 
before her, tf I think myself obliged to tell you that I 
expect Rhoda to settle in life on the occasion of this 
visit. I apprehend that she will meet with divers young 
gentlemen, with any of whom she might make a good 
match ; and she can then make selection of him that 

will be most agreeable to her.'' 

Phoebe privately wondered how the gentleman whom 
Rhoda selected was to be induced to select Rhoda. 

" Then," pursued Madam, "when she returns, she 
will tell me her design; and if on seeing the young man, 
and making inquiries of such as are acquainted with 
him, I approve of the match myself, I shall endeavour 
the favour of his friends, and doubt not to obtain it. 
Rhoda will have an excellent fortune, and she is of an 
agreeable turn enough. Now, my dear, at the same 
time, I wish you to look round you, and see if you can 
light on some decent man, fit for your station, that 
would not be disagreeable to you. I have apprised 
myself that Sir Richard's chaplain hath entered into 
no engagements, and if he were to your taste, I 
would do my best to settle you in that quarter, t 
cannot think he would prove uneasy to me, should I 
do him the honour; at the same time, if you find 



1 



150 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



him unpleasant to you, I do not press the affair. But 
'tis high time you should look out, for you have no 
fortune but yourself, and what I may choose to give 
with you : and if you order yourself after my wish, I 
engage myself to undertake for you — in reason, my 
dear, of course. The chaplain is very well paid, for Sir 
Richard finds him in board and a horse, and gives him 
beside thirty-five pound by the year, which is more than 
many have. He is, I learn, a good, easy man, that 
would not be likely to give his wife any trouble. Not 
very smart, but that can well be got over; and of good 
family, but indigent — otherwise it may well be reckoned 
he would not be a chaplain. So I bid you consider him 
well, my dear, and let me know your thoughts when 
you return hither." 

Phoebe' s thoughts just then were chasing each other 
in wild confusion : the principal one being that she was 
a victim led to the sacrifice with a rope round her 
neck. 

"I ask your pardon, Madam; but — " 
Well, my dear, if you have something you wish to 
say, I am ready to listen to it," said Madam, with an 
air of extreme benignity. 

Phcebe felt her position the more difficult because of 
her grandmother's graciousness. She so evidently 
thought herself conferring a favour on a portionless and 
unattractive girl, that it became hard to say an oppos- 
ing word. 

"If you please, Madam, and asking your pardon, 
must I be married ? ;; 

"Must you be married, child ! " repeated Madam 

hi astonished tones. " Why, of course you must. 



(C 



DELAWARE COURT. J St 



The woman is created for the man. You would not 
die a maid ? " 

" I would rather, if you would allow me. Madam/' 
faltered Phoehc. 

"But, my dear, I cannot allow it. I should not he 
doing my duty by you if I did. The woman is made 
for the man/' repeated Madam, scntentiously. 

"But — was every woman made for some man, if 
you please, Madam ? " asked poor Phoebe, struggling 
against destiny in the person of her grandmother. 



ff 



Of course, child — no doubt of it," said Madam. 



"Then, if you please, Madam, might I not wait till 
I find the man I was made for?" entreated Phoebe 
with unconscious humour. 

"When you marry a man, my dear, he is the man 
you were made for/' oracularly replied Madam. 

Phoebe was silenced, but not at all convinced, which 
is a very different thing. She could remember a good 
many husbands and wives with whom she had met who 
so far as she could judge, did not appear to have been 

created for the benefit of one another. 

" And I trust you will find him at Dclawarr Court. 
At all events, you will look out. As to waiting, my 
dear, at your age, and in your station, you cannot afford 
to wait. One or two years is no matter for Rhoda; 
but 'twill not serve for you. I was married before I 
was your age, Phoebe." 

Phoebe sighed, but did not venture to speak. She 
felt more than ever as if she were being led to the 
slaughter. There was just this uncomfortable difference, 
that the sacrificed sheep or goat did not feel anything 
when once it was over, and the parallel would not hold 



ii 



T52 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



good there. She felt utterly helpless. Phcebe knew 
her mother too well to venture on any appeal to her, 
even had she fondly imagined that representations from 
Mrs. Latrobe would have weight with Madam. Mrs. 
Latrobe would have been totally unable to comprehend 
her. So Phcebe did what was better,— earried her trial 
and perplexity to her Father in Heaven, and asked 
Him to undertake for her. Naturally shy and timid, it 
was a terrible idea to Phcebe that she was to be handed 
over bodily in this style to some stranger. Rhoda 
would not have cared ; a change was always welcome 
to her, and she thought a great deal about the superior 
position of a matron. But in Phoebe's eyes the posi- 
tion presented superior responsibility, a thing she 
dreaded j and superior notoriety, a thing she detested. 
She was a violet, born to blush unseen, yet believing 
that perfume shed upon the desert air is not necessarily 
wasted. 



u Here you are, old Rattle-trap ! }i cried Molly, 
from the head of the stairs, as Rhoda and Phcebe were 
mounting them. "Brought that white rag? We're 

O O ZD 

going. Mum says so. Turn your toes out, — here's 

Betty." 

Rhoda's hand was clasped, and her cheek kissed, by 
a pleasant-spoken, rather good-looking girl, very little 
scarred from her recent illness. 

"Phcebe Latrobe?" said Betty, turning kindlv to 
her. " I know your name, you see. I trust you will 
be happy here. Your chamber is this way, Rhoda." 

It was a long, narrow room, with a low white- 
washed ceiling, across which ran two beams. A pot- 



DELAWARE. COURT. 153 



pourri stood 011 the little table in the centre, and there 
were two beds, one single and one doable. 

"Who's to be here beside me? " inquired Rhoda. 

" Oh, Mother would have given you and Phoebe a 
chamber to yourselves," replied Betty, "but we are so 
full of company, she felt herself obliged to put in some 
one, so Gatty is coming to you." 

" Can't it be Molly ? " rather uncivilly suggested 
Rhoda. 

Phcebe privately hoped it could not. 

"Will, I think not," answered Betty, smiling. 
"Lady Diana Middleham wants Molly. She's in 
great request." 

"Who is, — me?" demanded Molly, appearing as 
if by magic in the doorway. " Of course. I'm not 
going to sleep with you, Pug-nose. Not going to sleep 
at all. Spend the night in tickling the people I like, 
and running pins into those I don't. Fair warning !" 

" I wonder whether it is better to be one vou 
like, Molly, or one you don't like," said Rhoda, laugh- 

ing ' 

" I hope you don't like me in that regard," said 

Betty, laughing too. 

"Well, I don't particularly," was Molly's frank 
answer, " so you'll get the pins. Right about face ! 
Stand — at — ease! Here comes Mum." 

A very gorgeously dressed woman, all flounces and 
feathers as it seemed 'to Phcebe, sailed into the room, 
kissed Rhoda, told her that she was welcome, in a 
languishing voice, desired Betty to see her made com- 
fortable, informed Molly that her hair was out of curl, 
took no notice of Phcebe, and sailed away a^ain. 



j 54 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



u Vm off! " Molly announced to the world. 
"There's Mr. What-do-you-call-him downstairs. Go 
and have some fun with him." And Molly vanished 
accordingly. 

Then Rhoda's unpacking had to be seen to by her- 
self and Phoebe; that is to say, Phcebe did it., and 
Rhoda sat and watched her. Betty flitted about, talk- 
ing to Rhoda, and helping Phoebe, till her name was 
called from below, and away she went to respond to it. 
Phoebe, at least, missed her, and thought her pleasant 
company. Whatever else she might be, she was good- 
natured. When the unpacking was finished to her 
satisfaction, Rhoda declared that she was perishing for 
hunger, and must have something before she could 
dress. Before she could make up her mind what to do, 
a rap came on the door, and a neat maid-servant 
entered with a tray. 

An't please you, Madam, Mrs. Betty bade me 
bring you a dish of tea," said she; "for she said 'twas 
yet two good hours ere supper, and you should be the 
better of a snack after your journey. Here is both tea 
and chocolate, bread and butter, and shortcake. ,J And 
setting down the tray, she left them to enjoy its con- 
tents. 

" Long life to Betty ! " said Rhoda. " Here, Phoebe ! 
pour me a dish of chocolate. I never get any at home. 
Madam has a notion it makes people fat." 

"But does she not like vou to take it?" asked 
Phoebe, pausing, with the silver chocolatiere in her 
hand. 

" Oh, pother ! go on ! " exclaimed Rhoda. " Give 
it me, if your tender conscience won't let you. I sav, 



(€ 



DELAWARE COURT. t$5 



44^ 



Phoebe, you'll be a regular prig and prude, if you don't 
mind." 

f( I don't know what those are/' replied Phoebe, 
furtively engaged in rubbing her hand where Rhoda had 
pinched it as she seized the handle of the chocolate pot. 

f( Oh, don't you ? " answered Rhoda. " I do, for 
I've got you to look at. A prig is a stuck-up silly 
creature, and a prude is always thinking everything 
wicked. And that's what you are." 

Phoebe wisely made no reply. Tea finished, Rhoda 
condescended to be dressed and have her hair curled 
and powdered, gave Phoebe very few minutes for chang- 
ing her own dress, and then, followed by her cousin and 

handmaid, she descended to the drawing-room. To 
Phoebe's consternation, it seemed full of young ladies 
and gentlemen, in fashionable array; and the conster- 
nation was not relieved by a glimpse of Mr. Marcus 
Welles, radiant in blue and gold, through a vista of 
plumes, lace lappets, and fans. Betty was there, mak- 
ing herself generally useful and agreeable ; and Molly, 
making herself the reverse of both. Phcebe scanned 
the brilliant crowd earnestly for Gatty. But Gatty was 
nowhere to be seen. 

Rhoda went forward, and plunged into the crowd, 
kissing and courtcsying to all the girls she recognized. 
She was soon the gayest of the gay among them. 
No one noticed Phcebe but Betty, and she gave her a 
kindly nod in passing, and said, "Pray divert your- 
self." Phoebe's diversion was to retire into a corner, 
and from her <c loop-hole of retreat, to peep at such a 
world.'' 

A very young world it was, whose oldest inhabi* 



1 56 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



tant at that moment was under twenty-five. But the 
boys and girls — for they were little more — put on the 
most courtier-like and grown-up airs. The ladies sat 
round the room, fluttering their fans, or laughing 
behind them : in some cases gliding about with long 
trains sweeping the waxed oak floor. The gentle- 
men stood before them, paying compliments, cracking 
jokes, and uttering airy nothings. Both parties took 
occasional pinches of snuff. For a few minutes the 
scene struck Phoebe as pretty and amusing; but this 
impression was quickly followed by a sensation of 
sadness. A number of rational and immortal beings 
were gathered together, and all they could find to 
do was to look pretty and be amusing. Why, a 
bird, a dog, or a monkey, could have done as much, 
and more. 

And a few words came into Phoebe's mind, practi- 
cally denied by the mass of mankind then as now, 
"Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure 
they are/' 

How apt man is to think that every creature 
and thing around him was created for his pleasure ! 
or, at least, for his use and benefit. The natural 
result is, that he considers himself at liberty to use 
them just as he pleases, quite regardless of their feel- 
ings, especially when any particular advantage may be 
expected to accrue to himself. 

But "the Lord hath made all things for Himself," 
and u He comcth to judge the earth." 



CHAPTER VIII. 



RUODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 



" That busy hive, the world, 



And all its thousand stings." 



jTw^'HCEBE sat still for a while iu her corner, 

watching the various members of the party as 



S&fe&ii 




they flitted in and out: for the scene was now 
becoming diversified by the addition of elder persons. 
Ere long, two gentlemen in evening costume, engaged 
in conversation, came and stood close by her. One 
of them, as she soon discovered, was Sir Richard 
Del a war r. 

" J Tis really true, then/' demanded the other — a 
round-faced man, with brilliant eyes, who was attired as 
a dignitary of the Church — u 'tis really true. Sir, that 
the Queen did forbid the visit of the Elector ? " 

I had it from an excellent hand, I assure you/'' re- 
turned Sir Richard. "Nor only that, but the Princess 
Sophia so laid it to heart, that 'twas the main cause of 
her sudden death." 

" It really was so ? ** 

a Upon honour, my Lord ; my Lady Delawarr had 

it from Mrs. Rosamond Harley." 






15$ THE MAIDENS* LODGE. 



a 



t( Ha ! then J t!s like to be true. You heard, I doubt 
not, Sir, of D'Urfey's jest on the Princess Sophia? 
ha, ha, ha ! " and the Bishop laughed, as if the recol- 
lection amused him exceedingly. 

" No, I scarce think I did, my Lord." 
Net ? Ah, then, give me leave to tell it you. I 
hear it gave the Ouccn extreme diversion. 

" ' The crown is too weighty 

For shoulders of eighty — 
She could not sustain such a trophy : 

Her hand, too, already 

Has grown so unsteady, 

She can't hold a sceptre : 

So Providence kept her 
Away — poor old dowager Sophy ! ' * 

Sir Richard threw his head back, and indulged in 
unfeigned merriment. Pbcebe, in her corner, felt 
rather indignant. Why should the Princess Sophia, 
or any other woman, be laughed at solely for growing 
old ? 

" Capita] good jest 1" said the Baronet, his amuse- 
ment over. ff I heard from a friend that I met at the 
Bath, that the Queen is looking vastly well this summer 
quite rid of her gout/' 

" So do I hear," returned the Bishop. <{ What 
think you of the price set on the Pretender's head ? " 

Sir Richard whistled. 

u The Oueen's own sole act, without anv concur- 
rence of her Ministers/' continued the Bishop. 

"Dear, dear!" exclaimed Sir Richard. "Five 
thousand, I was told ? " 

" Five thousand. An excellent notion, I take it." 



RHODA IS TAKEN IM THE TRAP. \%$ 



"Well — I — don't — know ! " slowly answered Sir 
Richard. " I cannot but feel very doubtful of the mis- 
chievous consequence that may ensue. A price on the 
head of the Prince of Wales ! Sounds bad, my Lord 
sounds bad ! Though, indeed, he be not truly the 
Queen's brother, yet 'tis unnatural for his sister to set 
a price on his head/' 

By which remark it will be seen that Sir Richard's 
intellect was not of the first order. The intellect of 
Bishop Atterbury was : and a slightly contemptuous 
smile played on his lips for a moment. 

" ' The Prince of Wales ! ' " repeated he. "Surely, 
Sir, you have more wit than to credit that baseless tale? 
Why not set a price on the Pretender? " 

Be it known to the reader, though it was not to Sir 
Richard, that on that very morning Bishop Atterbury 

had forwarded a long letter to the Palace of St. Ger- 
main, in which he addressed the aforesaid Pretender as 
"your Majesty/' and assured him of his entire devotion 
to his interests. 

t( Oh, come, I leave the whys and wherefores to you 
gentlemen of the black robe ! " answered Sir Richard, 
laughing. " By the way, talking of prices, have you 
heard the prodigious price Sir Nathaniel Fowler hath 
given for his seat in the Commons ? Six thousand 
pounds, 'pon my honour 1 " 

" Surely, Sir, you have been misinformed. Six 

thousand ! Tis amazing." 

" Your Lordship may well say so. Why, I gave 
but eiuht hundred for mine. By the wav, there is 
another point I intended to acquaint you of, my Lord. 

Did you hear, ever, that there should be a little ill- 



i6o THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



humour with my Lord Oxford, on account of you 

know ? " 

" On account ? Oh! " and the Bishop's right hand 
was elevated to his lips, in the attitude of a person 
drinking. "Yes, yes. Well, I cannot say I am en- 
tirely ignorant of that affair. Sir Jeremy's lady assured 
me she knew, beyond contradiction, that my Lord 
Oxford once waited on her, somewhat foxed." 

Of course, "she " was the Oueen. But why a fox. 
usually as sober a beast as others, should have been 
compelled to lend its name to the vocabulary of intoxi- 
cation, is not so apparent. 

fi Absolutely drunk, I heard," responded Sir 
Richnrd ; "and she was prodigiously angered. Said to 
my Lady Masham, that if it v/ere ever repeated, she 
would take his stick from him that moment. Odd, if 
the ministry were to fall for such a nothing as that." 

" Well, 'twas not altogether reverential to the sovc- 
reign/' said the Bishop; "and the Queen is extreme 
nice, you know." 

The threat of taking the stick from a minister was 
less figurative in Queen Anne's days than now. The 

white wand of office was carried before everv Cabiiut 
Minister, not only in his public life, but even in private. 

At this point a third gentleman joined the others, 
and they moved away, leaving Phcebe in her corner. 

Phoebe sat meditating, for nobody had spoken to 
her, when she felt a soft gloved hand laid upon her arm. 
She turned, suddenly, to look up into a face which she 
thought at first was the face of a stranger. Then, in a 
moment, she knew Gatty Delawarr. 

The small-pox had changed her terribly — far more 



RHODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 161 



than her sister. No one could think of setting her up 

for a beauty now. The soft, peach-like complexion, 

which had been Gatty's best point, was replaced by a 

sickly white, pitifully seamed with the scars of the 

dread disease. 

"You did not know me at first," said Gatty, quietly, 

as if stating a fact, not making an- inquiry. 

(( I do now/' answered Phoebe, returning Gatty's 
smile. 

<{ Well, you see the Lord made a way for me. But 
it is rather a rouo-h one. Phoebe." 

if I am afraid you must have suffered vtry much, 
Mrs. Gattv." 

a Won't you drop the Mistress? T would rather. 
Well, yes, I suffered, Phcebe; but it was worse since 
than just then." 

Phoebe's face, not her tongue, said, " In what 

manner ? " 

"Tis not v( ry pleasant, Phcebe, to have everybody 
bewailing you, and telling all their neighbours how 
cruelly you are changed, but I could have stood that. 
Nor is it delightful to have Molly for ever at one's 
elbow, calling one Mrs. Baboon, and my Lady Venus, 
and such like; but I could have stood that, though I 
don't like it. But 'tis hard to be told I have dis- 
appointed my mother's dearest hopes, and that she wil/ 
never take any more pleasure in me ; that she would to 
Heaven I had died in mv cradle. That stints some- 
times. Then, to know that if one makes the least slip, 
it will be directly, c Oh, your saints are no better than 
other folks ! ' Phcebe, I wish sometimes that I had not 
recovered. " 



162 THE MAIDENS* LODGE. 



c< 



J} 



Oh, but you must not do that, Mrs. Gatty! — well, 
Gatty, then, as you are so kind. The Lord wanted you 
for something, I suppose. 

"1 wonder for what ! " said Gatty. 

"Well, we can't tell yet, you see/' replied Phcebe, 
simply. u I suppose you will find out by and bye." 

"I wish I could find out/' said Gatty, sighing. 

" I think He will show you, when He is ready/' said 

Phoebe. " Father used to say that it took a good deal 
longer to make a fine microscope than it did to make a 
common chisel or hammer; and he thought it was the 
same with us. I mean, you know, that if the Lord 
intends us to do very nice work, He will be nice in get- 
ting us ready for it, and it may take a good while. And 
father used to sav that we seldom know what God is 
doing with us while He docs it, but only when He has 
finished." 

(< Nice," at that time, had not the sense of pleasant, 
but only that of delicately particular. 

"I am glad you have told me that, Phoebe. I wish 
your father had been living now." 

u Oh ! " very deep-drawn, from Phcebe, echoed the 
wish. 

" Phcebe, I want you to tell mc where you get youi 
patience I " 

" My patience ! " repeated astonished Phcebe. 

"Yes; I think you are the most patientmaid I know." 

" I can't tell you, I am sure ! " answered Phcebe, in 
a rather puzzled tone. u I didn't know I was patient. 
I don't think I have often asked for that, specially. 
Very often, I ask God to give me what He sees I need; 
and if that be as you say, I suppose He saw I wanted 
it, and gave it me." 

The admiring look ia Gatty's eyes was happily un- 
intelligible to Phcebe, 



RIIODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 163 



"Now then!" said Molly's not particularly welcome 
voice, close by them. " Here's old Edmundson. Clasp 
your hands in ecstasy, Phoebe. Mum says you and he 
have got to fall in love and marry one another; so make 
haste about it. He's not an ill piece, only you'll find 
he won't get up before noon unless you squirt water in 
his face. Now then, fall to, and say some pretty things 
to one another ! " 

Of course Molly had taken the most effectual way 
possible to prevent any such occurrence. Phcebe did 
not dare to lift her eyes ; and the chaplain was, if pos- 
sible, the shyer of the two, and had been dragged there 
against his will by invincible Mollv. Neither would 
have known what to do, if Gatty had not kindly come 
to the rescue. 



a 



Pray sit down, Mr. Edmundson," she said, in a 
quiet, natural way, as if nothing had happened. " I 
thought I had seen you riding forth, half an hour ago ; 
I suppose it must have been some one else." 



{i I — ah — yes — no, I have not been riding to-day, 
stammered the perturbed divine. 

"'Twas a very pleasant morning for a ride," said 
mediating Gatty. 



Very pleasant, Madam," answered the chaplain. 
Have you quite lost your catarrh, Mr. Edmundson ? " 
Quite, I thank you, Madam." 
"I believe my mother wishes to talk with you of 






>i 



Jr.ck Flint, Mr. Edmundson. 

"Yes, Madam?" 

" The lad hath been well spoken of to her for the 
nndcr-gardener's boy's place. I think she wished to 
have vour opinion of him." 

"Yes, Madam." 

<c Is the boy of a choleric disposition ? w 

"Possible, Madam." 



1 64 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"But what think you, Mr. Edmundson ? " 
"Madam, I — ah — I cannot say, Madam." 
" I think I see Mr. Lamb beckoning to you," ob- 
served Gatty, wishful to relieve the poor gauche chaplain 
from his uncomfortable position. . 

" Madam, I thank you — ah — very much, Madam." 
And Mr. Edmundson made a dive into the throne, 

and disappeared behind a quantity of silk brocade and 
Brussels lace. Phoebe ventured to steal a glance at him 
as he departed. She found that the person to whom 
she had been so unceremoniously handed over, alike by 
Madam, Lady Delawarr, and Molly, was a thickset 
man of fifty years, partially bald, with small, expression- 
less features. He was not more fascinating to look at 
than to talk to, and Phoebe could only entertain a faint 
hope that. his preaching might be an improvement upon 
both looks and conversation. 

A little later in the evening, as Phoebe sat alone in 
her corner, looking on, "I say ! " came from behind 
her. Her heart fluttered, for the voice was Molly's. 

" T say ! " repeated Molly. " You look here. I'm 
not all bad, you know. I didn't want old Edmundson 
to have you. And I knew the way to keep him from it 
was to tell him he must. I think 'tis a burning shame 
to treat a maid like that. They were all set on it — the 
old woman, and Mum, and everybody. He's an old 
block of firewood. You're fit for something better. I 
tease folks, but I'm not quite a black witch. Ta-ta. 
He'W not tease you now." 

And Molly disappeared as suddenly as she had 
appeared. There was no opportunity for Phoebe to edge 
in a word. But, for once in her life, she felt obliged to 
Molly. 

The next invader of Phoebe's peace was Ladv Dela- 
warr herself. She sat down on an ottoman, fanned 



RHODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 165 



herself languidly, and hoped dear Mrs. Rhoda was 
enjoying herself. 

Phcebe innocently replied that she hoped so too. 

"'Twill be a pretty sight, all the young maids in 
white, to meet the Queen at Berkeley/' resumed Lady 
Delawarr. "There are fourteen c^oins; from this house. 
My three daughters, of course, and Lady Diana — she is 
to hand the nosegay — and Mrs. Rhoda, and Mrs. Kitty 
Mainwaring, and Mrs. Sophia Rich, and several more. 
Those that do not go must have some little pleasure to 
engage them whilst the others are away. I thought 
they might drink a dish of chocolate in yon little ivy- 
covered tower in the park, and have the young gentle- 
men to wait on them and divert them. The four 
gentlemen of the best families and fortunes will wait on 
the gentlewomen to Berkeley : that is, Mr. Otwav, Mr. 
Seymour, my nephew Mr. George Merton, and Mr. 
Welles. I shall charge Mr. Derwent yonder to wait 
specially on you, Mrs. Phcebe, while Mrs. Rhoda is 

away." 

Phcebe perceived that she was not one of the four- 
teen favoured ones. A little nutter of anxiety disturbed 
her anticipations. What would go on with Rhoda and 

Mr. Welles ? 

Lady Delawarr sat for a few minutes, talking of 
nothing in particular, and then rose and sailed away. 
It was evident that the main object of her coming had 
been to give Phcebe a hint that she must not expect to 
join the expedition to Berkeley. 

As Phcebe went upstairs that evening, feeling rather 
heavy-hearted, she saw something gleam and fall, and 
discovered, on investigation, that a tassel had dropped 
from Rhoda's purse, which that young lady had desired 
her to carry up for her. She set to work to hunt for it, 
but for some seconds in vain. She had almost given uj 



166 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



the search in despair, when a strange voice said behind 

her, " Le voici, Mademoiselle," 

Phoebe turned and faced her countrywoman — for so 
she considered her — with an exclamation of delight. 

"Ah! yon speak French, Mademoiselle ? ;J said the 

r 

girl. " It is a pleasure, a pleasure, to hear it ! " 

" I am French," responded Phoebe, warmly. " My 
father was a Frenchman. My name is Phoebe Latrobe : 
what is yours ? " 

"Louise Dupret. I am Lady Dclawarr's woman. 
I have been here two long, long years ; and nobody 
speaks French but Madame and Mesdcmoisellcs her 
daughters. And Mademoiselle Marie will not. though 
she can. She will talk to me in English, and laughs at 
me when I understand her not. Ah, it is dreadful I " 
" From what part of France do you come ? 3} 
" From the mountains of the Ccvcnncs. And 



ou ? " 



}} 



a 



n 



y 

"The same. Then you are of the religion ? 

This was the Huguenot form of inquiry whether a 
stranger belonged to them. Louise's eyes lighted up. 
We are daughters of the Church of the Desert, 
she said. "And we arc sisters in Jesus Christ." 

From that hour Phoebe was not quite friendless at 
Dclawarr Court. It was well for her: since the pre- 
parations for Berkeley absorbed Gatty, and of Rhoda 
she saw nothing except during the processes of dressing 
and undressing. Very elaborate processes they became, 
for Lady Dclawarr kept a private hair-dresser, who 
came round every morning to curl, friz, puff, and 
powder each young lady in turn; and the unfortunate 
maiden who kept him waiting an instant was relegated 
to the last, and certain to be late for breakfast. Fol- 
lowing in the footsteps of his superiors, he did not 
notice Phcebe. nor count her as one of the group; but 



RHODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 167 



after the meeting on the stairs, as soon as Lady 
Delawarr released her, Louise was at hand with a 
beaming face, entreating permission to arrange Made- 
moiselle, and she sent her downstairs looking very fresh 

and stylish, almost enough to provoke the envy of 
Rhoda. 

"Ah, Mademoiselle! — if you were but a rich, rich 

lady* and I might be your maid ! " sighed Louise. 
"This is a dreary world ; and a dreary country, this 
England ; and a dreary house, this Cour de la War re ! 
Madame is— is — ah, well, she is my mistress, and it is 
not right to chatter all one thinks. Still one cannot 
help thinking. Mademoiselle Betti — if she were in my 
country, we should call her Elise, which is pretty — it is 
ugly, Betti ! — well, Mademoiselle Betti is very good- 
natured — very, indeed; and Mademoiselle Henriette 
ah, this droll country ! her name is Henriette, and they 
call her Gatti ! — she is very good, very good and plea- 
sant Mademoiselle Henriette. And since she had the 
small -pox she is nicer than before. It had spoiled 
her face to beautify her heart. Ah, that poor 
demoiselle, how she suffers ! Perhaps, Mademoiselle, 
it is not right that I should tell you, even you; 
but she suffers so much, this good demoiselle, and 
she is so patient! But for Mademoiselle Maiie 
ah, there again the droll name, Molli ! — does not 
Mademoiselle think this a strange, very strange, 
country ? " 

The great expedition was ready to set out at last. 
All the girls were dressed exactly alike, in white, and all 
the gentlemen in blue turned up with white. They 
were to travel in two coaches to Bristol, where all were 
to sleep at the house of Mrs. Merton, sister-in-law to 
Lady Delawarr; the next day the bouquet was to be 
presented at licrkcley, and on the third day they were 

iz 



:6S THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



to return. By way of chaperone, the housekeeper at 
the Court was to travel with them to and from Bristol, 
out Mrs. Merton herself undertook to conduct them to 

Berkeley. 

Rhoda was in the highest spirits, and Phoebe saw 
her assisted into the coach by Mr. Marcus WelJes with 
no little misgiving. Molly, as she brushed past 
Phoebe, allowed the point of a steel scissors-sheath to 
peep from her pocket for an instant, accompanying it 
w ith the mysterious intimation — Cf You'll see ! " 

"What will she see, Molly ? " asked Lady Diana, 
who was close beside her. 

" How to use a pair of scissors," said Molly. 

" What's to be cut, Molly ? " Sophia Rich wished 
to know. 

F 

"A dash!" said Molly, significantly. 

And away rolled the coaches towards Bristol. 

Phcebe turned back into the house with a rather 
desolate feeling. For three days everybody would be 
gone. Those who were left behind were all strangers 
to her except Mr. Edmundson, and she wanted to get 
as far from him as she could. True, there was Louise; 
but Louise could hardly be a companion for her, even 
had her work for Lady Delawarr allowed it, for she was 
not her equal in education. The ether girls were en- 
gaged, as usual, in idle chatter, and fluttering of fans. 
Lady Delawarr, passing through the room, saw Phcebe 
sitting rather disconsolately in a corner. 

" Mrs. Phoebe, my dear, come and help me to make 
things ready for to-morrow/' she said, good-naturedly; 
and Phcebe followed her very willingly. 

The picnic was a success. The weather was beauti- 
ful, and the young people in good temper — two import- 
ant points. Lady Delawarr herself, in the absence of 
her housekeeper, superintended the packing **f the 



RHODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 169 



light van which carried the provisions to the old tower. 
There was to be a gipsy fire to boil the kettle, with three 
poles tied together over it, from which the kettle was 
slung in the orthodox manner. Phoebe, who was try- 
inn- to make herself useful, stretched out her hand for 
the kettle, when Lady Delawarr' s voice said behind her, 
"My dear Mrs. Phoebe, you may be relieved of that 

task. Mr. Osmund Derwent — Mrs. Phoebe Latrobe. 
Mrs. Latrobe — Mr. Derwent." 

There was one advantage, now lost, in this double 
introduction : if the name were not distinctly heard in 
the first instance, it miaht be caught in the second. 

Phoebe looked up, and saw a rather good-looking 
young man, whose good looks, however, lay more in a 
pleasant expression than in any special beauty of fea- 
ture. A little shy, yet without being awkward; and a 
little grave and silent, but not at all morose, he was one 
with whom Phcebe felt readily at home. His shyness, 
which arose from diffidence, not pride, wore off when 
the first strangeness was over. It was evident that 
Lady Delawarr had given him, as she had said, a hint 
to wait on Phcebe. 

The peculiarity of Lady Delawarr's conduct rather 

puzzled Phcebe. At times she was particularly gracious, 
whilst at others she utterly neglected her. Simple, 

unworldly Phcebe did not guess that while Rhoda 
Peveril and Phoebe Latrobe were of no consequence in 
the eyes of her hostess, the future possessor of White- 
Ladies was of very much. Lady Delawarr never felt 
quite certain who that was to be. She expected it to 
be Rhoda ; yet at times the conviction smote her that, 
after all, there was no certainty that it might not be 
Phoebe. Madam was impulsive; she had already sur- 
prised people by taking up with Phoebe at all ; and 
Rhoda might displease her. In consequence of these 



V rf* 



176 THE MAIDENS' LODGE, 



reflections, though Phoebe was generally left unnoticed, 
yet occasionally Lady Delawarr warmed into affability, 
and cultivated the girl who might, after all, come to be 
the heiress of Madam's untold wealth. For Lady 
Delavvarr's mind was essentially of the earth, earthy ; 
gold had for her a value far beyond goodness, and plea- 
santness of disposition or purity of mind were not for 
a moment to be set in comparison with a suite of 

pearls. 

Mr. Derwcnt took upon himself the responsibility of 
the kettle, and chatted pleasantly enough with Phoebe, 
to whom the other damsels were only too glad to leave 
all trouble. He walked home with her, insisting with 
playful persistence upon carrying her scarf and the little 
basket which she had brought for wild flowers; talked 
to her about his mother and sisters, his own future 
prospects as a younger son who must make his way in 
the world for himself, and took pains to make himself 
generally agreeable and interesting. Under his kindly 

notice Phcebe opened like a flower to the sun. It was 
something new to her to find a sensible, grown-up person 
who really seemed to take pleasure in talking with her 
except Mrs. Dorothy Jennings, and she and Phcebe 
were not on a level. In conversation with Mrs. 
Dorothy she felt herself being taught and counselled; 
in conversation with Mr. Derwcnt she was entertained 
and gratified. 

Judging from his conduct, Mr. Derwcnt was as much 
pleased with Phcebe as she was with him. During the 
whole time she remained at Delawarr Court, he con« 
^•stituted himself her cavalier. He was always at hand 
when she wanted anything, at times supplying the need 
even before she had discovered its existence. Phcebe 
tasted, for the first time in her life, the flattering ease 
of being waited on, instead of waiting on others ; 



RRODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 171 



the delicate pleasure of being listened to, instead of 
snubbed and disregarded; the intellectual treat of find- 
ing one who was willing; to exchange ideas with her. 
rather than only to impart ideas to her. Was it any 
wonder if Osmund Derwcnt bc<ran to form a nucleus in 
her thoughts, round which gathered a floating island of 
fair fancies and golden visions, all the more beautiful 
because they were vague ? 

And all the while, Phoebe never realized what was 
happening to her. She let herself drift onwards in a 
pleasant dream, and never thought of pausing to analyze 
her sensations. 

The absentees returned home in the afternoon of 
the third day. And beyond the roll of the coaches, and 
the noise and bustle inseparable from the arrival of 
eighteen persons, the first intimation of it which was 
given in the drawing-room was caused bv the entrance 
of Molly, who swept into the room with tragi-comic 
dignity, and mounting a chair, cleared her voice, and 
held forth, as if it had been a sceptre^ a minute bow of 
black gauze ribbon. 

" Ladies and gentlewomen ! 3i said Molly with 
solemnity. " (The gentlemen don't count.) Ladies 
and gentlewomen ! I engaged myself, before leaving 
the Court, to bring back to you in triumph a snip from 
the Queen's gown. Behold it! (Never mind how I 
p^ot it, — here it is.) Upon honour, as sure as my name 
is Mary — ('ttsn't, — I was christened Maria) — but, as 
sure as there is one rent and two spots of mud on this 
white gown which decorates my charming person,' 
the places whereof are best known to myself, — this 
bow of gauze, on which all your eyes are fixed, — now 
there's a shame! Sophy Rich isn't looking a bit 
this bow was on the gown of Her Majesty Queen Anne 
yesterday morning ! Plaudite vol is ! " 



172 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



a 



jj 



y> 



And down came Miss Molly. 

"" If I might be excused, Mrs. Maria/' hesitatingly 
began Mr. Edmundson, who seemed almost afraid or. 
the sound of his own voice, " vobis is, as I cannot 
but be sensible, not precisely the — ah — not quite the 

word — ah " 

You shut up, old Bandbox," said Molly, dropping 
her heroics, " None of your business. Can't you but 
be sensible ? First time you ever were ! 

" I ask your pardon, Mrs. Maria. I trust, indeed, 
•ah — I am not — ah — insensible, to the many — ah 
many things which 

The youthful company were convulsed with laughter. 
They were all aware that Molly was intentionally talk- 
ing at cross purposes with her pastor ; and that while 
he clung to the old signification of sensible, namely, to 
be aware of, or sensitive to, a thing, she was using it in 
the new, now universally accepted, sense of sagacious. 
The fun, of course, was enhanced by the fact that poor 
Mr. Edmundson was totally unacquainted with the 
change of meaning. 

"I don't believe she cut it off a bit!" whispered 
Kitty Mainwaring. " She gave a guinea to some 
orange-girl who was cousin to some other maid in the 
Queen's laundry, — some stuff of that sort. Cut it off! 
how could she ? Just tell me that." 

Before the last word was well out of Kitty's lips, 
Molly's small, bright scissors were snapped within an 
inch of Kitty's nose. 

" Perhaps you would have the goodness to say that 
again, Mrs. Catherine Mainwaring ! " observed that 
young person, in decidedly menacing tones, 

"Thank you, no, I don't care to do," replied 

Kitty, laughing, but shrinking back from the 
scissors. 



RHODA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 173 



« 



u When I say I will do a thing, I will do it, 
Madam ! " retorted Molly. 

If you can, I suppose/' said Kitty, defending her- 
self from another threatening snap* 

" Say I can't, at your peril ! 3> 

And Molly and her scissors marched away in 
dudgeon. 

"You are very tired, I fear, Mrs. Gatty," said 
Phoebe, when Gatty came up to the room they shared, 
for the night. 

" Rather/' answered Gatty, with a sad smile on her 
white face. 

But she did not tell Phoebe what had tired her. It 
was not the journey, nor the ceremony, but her mother's 
greeting. 

"Why, Betty, you are quite blooming!" Lady 
Delawarr had said. " It hath done you good, child. 

And Molly, too, as sprightly as ever ! Child, did you 
get touched ? " 

" I did, Madam/' answered Molly, with an extra- 
vagant co irtesy. 

" Ah ! " said her mother, in a tone of great satisfac- 
tion. " Then we need apprehend no further trouble from 
the evil. 1 am extreme glad. O Gatty ! you poor, 

scarred, wretched creature ! Really, had it not been 
that the absence of one of my daughters would be 
remarked on, I vow I wish you had not gone ! 'Tis 
such a sight to show, that dreadful face of yours. 
You will never give me any more comfort — that is 
certain." 

u Pos. ! " echoed Molly, exactly in the same tone. 

"I would not mind, Gatty! " was Betty's kindly 
remark. 

{< Thank you/' said Gatty, meekly. " I wish I did 

not ! » 



174 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Gatty did not repeat this to Phoebe. But Phcebe 
saw there was something wrong. 

Rhoda came rustlinsr in before much more could be 
said. She was full of details of the journey. What 
the Queen looked like, — a tall, stout woman, with such 
blooming cheeks that Rhoda felt absolutely certain she 
wore rouge, — how she was dressed, — all in black, with 
a black calash, or high, loose hood, and adorned with 
diamonds — how she had been received, — with ringing 
cheers from the Tory part of the population, but 
ominous silence, or very faint applause, from such as 
were known to be Whigs : how Sophia Rich had told 
Rhoda that all the Whig ladies of mark had made up 
their minds to attend no drawing-rooms the next 
season : how it was beginning to be dimly suspected 
that Lord Mar was coquetting with the exiled members 
of the royal family, and more than suspected that the 
Duke and Duchess of Marlborough were no longer all 
powerful with Queen Anne, as they had once been: 
how the Queen always dined at three p.m., never drank 
French wine, held drawing-rooms on Sundays after ser- 
vice, would not allow any gentleman to enter her pre- 
sence without a full-bottomed periwig : all these bits of 
information Rhoda dilated on, passing from one to 
another with little regard to method, and wound up with 
an account of the presentation of the bouquet, and how 
the Queen had received it from Lady Diana with a 
smile, and, "I thank you all, young gentlewomen/' ii? 
that silver voice which was Anne's pre-eminent charm. 

But half an hour later, when Gatty was asleep, 
Rhoda said to Phcebe, 

" I have made up my mind, Phoebe." 
Have you ? " responded Phcebe. " What about }" 

" I mean to marry Marcus Welles/* 

<c Has he asked you ? }> said Phcebe, rather drily. 



(C 



EI 10 DA IS TAKEN IN THE TRAP. 175 



" Yes/' was Rhcda's short answer. 
Phoebe lay silent. 

" Well ? " said Rhoda, rather sharply. 
" I think, Cousin, I had better be quiet/* answered 
Phoebe ; " for I am afraid I can't say what you want 



me." 



" What I want you ! " echoed Rhoda, more sharply 
than ever. " What do I want you to say, Mrs. Prude, 
if you please ? " 

" Well, I suppose you would like me to say I was 
glad : and I am not : so I can't." 

"I don't suppose it signifies to us whether you are 
glad or sorry/' snapped Rhoda. "But why aren't 
you glad ? — you never thought he'd marry you, 



surely ? " 

Phcebe said "No" with a little laugh, as she 
thought how very far she was from any such expecta- 
tion, and how very much farther from any wish for it. 
But Rhoda was not satisfied. 

" Well, then, what's the matter ? " said she. 

"Do you want me to say, Cousin ? " 

"Of course I do ! Should I have asked you if I 
didn't ? " 

" I am afraid he does not love you." 

Rhoda sat up on her elbow, with an ejaculation of 
amazement. 

"If I ever heard such nonsense? What do you 
know about it, you poor little white-faced thing ? " 

"I dare say I don't know much about it," said 
Phcebe, calmly ; " but I know that if a man really loves 
one woman with all his heart, he won't laugh and 
whisper and play with the fan of another, or else he is 
not worth anybody's love. And I am afraid what Mr. 
Welles wants is just your money and not you. I beg 
your pardon, Cousin Rhoda. ^ 



176 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



It was time. Rhoda was in a towering passion. 
What could Phoebe mean, she demanded with terrible 
emphasis, by telling such lies as those? Did she sup- 
pose that Rhoda was going to believe them? Did 
Phcebe know what the Bible said about speaking ill of 
your neighbour? Wasn't she completely ashamed of 
herself? 

"And Pll tell you what, Phoebe Latrobe," concluded 
Rhoda, " I don't believe it, and I won't ! I'm not 
going to believe it, — not if you go down on your knees 
and swear it ! 'Tis all silly, wicked, abominable non- 
sense !— and you know it ! " 



a 



» 



Well, if you won't believe it, there's an end," 
said Phcebe, quietly. "And I think, if you please, 
Cousin, we had better go to sleep. 

" Pugh ! Sleep if you can, you false-hearted croco- 
dile ! " said Rhoda, poetically, in distant imitation ot 
the flowers of rhetoric of her friend Molly. "I shan't 
sleep to-night. Not likely ! " 

Yet Rhoda was asleep the first. 




CHAPTER IX. 




SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. 

ft To-night we sit together here, 
To-morrow night shall come — ah, where ? " 

Robert Lord Lyiton, 

HERE! Didn't I tell you, now?" ejaculated 
Mrs. Jane Talbot. 

" I am sure T don't know, Jane/' responded 

her sister, in querulous tones. " You are always talk- 
ing about something. I never can tell how you manage 
to keep continually talking, in the way you do. I could 
not bear it. I never was a talker; I haven't breath for 
it, with my poor chest, — such a perpetual rattle, — I don't 
know how you stand it, I'm sure. And to think what 
a beautiful singer I was once ! Young Sir Samuel 
Dennis once said I entranced him, when he had heard 
my singing to Mrs. Lucy's spinnet — positively entranced 
him ! And Lord James Morehurst " 

(C An unmitigated donkey ! " slid in Mrs. Jane. 

" Jane, how you do talk ! One can't get in a word 
for you. What was I saying, Clarissa? " 

"You were speaking of Lord James Morehurst, 
dear Marcella. 'Tis all very well for Jane to run him 
down," said Mrs. Vane in a languishing style, fanning 

herself as she spoke, "but I am sure he was the most 



173 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



charming black man I ever saw. He once paid me 
such a compliment on my fine eyes ! ** 

" More jackanapes he ! " came from Mrs. Jane. 

" Well, I don't believe he ever paid you such an 
one/' said Mrs. Clarissa, pettishly. 

"He'd have got his cars boxed if he had/' returned 
Mrs. Jane. " The impudence of some of those fellows ! w 

" Poor dear Jane ! she never had any taste/' sighed 
Mrs. Marcella. " I protest, Clarissa, I am quite pleased 
to hear this news. As much pleased, you know, as a 
poor suffering creature like me can be. But I think 
Mrs. Rhoda has done extreme well. Mr. Welles is of 
a good stock and an easy fortune, and lie has the 
sweetest taste in dress." 

" Birds of a feather ! w muttered Mrs. Jane. " Aye, 
I knew what Mark-Me-Well was after. Told you so 
from the first. I marked him, be sure." 

" I suppose he has three thousand a year ? " in- 
quired Mrs. Clarissa. 

" Guineas — very like. Not brains — trust me ! " 
said Mrs. Jane. 

"And an estate? 3 ' pursued Mrs. Clarissa, with 
languid interest. 

"Oh dear, yes ! " chimed in the invalid; " I would 
have told you about it, if Jane could ever hold her 

tongue. Such a " 

"I've done," observed Mrs. Jane, inarching off. 

" Oh, my dear Clarissa, you can have no concep- 
tion of what I suffer ! " resumed Mrs. Marcella, 
sinking down to a confidential tone. " I love quiet 
above all things, and Jane's tongue is never still. Ah ! 
if I could go to the wedding, as I used to do I I was 
at all the grand weddings in the county when I was a 
young maid, I couldn't tell you how many times I was 
bridesmaid. When Sir Samuel was married — and 



SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. 179 



really, after all the fine things he had said, and the way 
he used to ogle me through his glass,, I did think ! 
but, however, that's neither here nor there. The crea- 
ture he married had plenty of money, but absolutely no 
complexion, and she painted — oh, how she did paint! 
and a turn-up nose, — the ugliest thing you ever saw. 
And with ail that, the airs she used to give herself! It 
really was disgusting/' 

" O, my dear ! I can't bear people that give them- 
selves airs," observed Mrs, Clarissa, with a toss of her 
head, and "grounding" her fan. 

" No, nor I/ J echoed Mrs. Marcclla, quite as un- 
conscious as her friend of the covert satire in her 
words. "I wonder what Mrs. Rhoda will be married 
in. I always used to say I would be married in white 
and silver. And really, if my wretched health had not 
stood in the way, I might have been, my dear, ever so 
many times. I am sure it would have come to some- 
thing, that evening when Lord James and I were 
sitting in the balcony, after I had been singing,— and 
there, that stupid Jane must needs come in the way ! 
I always liked a pretty wedding. I should think it 
would be white and silver. And what do you suppose 
Madam will give her ? " 

" Oh, a set of pearls, I should say, if not diamonds/' 
answered Mrs. Clarissa. 

" She will do something handsome, of course/' 

''Suppose you do something handsome, and swallow 
your medicine without a lozenge/' suggested Mrs. Jan<?J 
walking in and presenting a glass to her sister. "'Tis 
time/' 

u I am sure it can't be, Jane ! You are always 
making me swallow some nasty stuff. And as to 
taking it without a lozenge, I couldn't do such a 

thins; ! " 



iSo THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



4- >h| 



iC 



t( 



99 



(( 



Stuff! You could, if you did," said Mrs. Jaue. 
" Come, then, — here it is. I shouldn't want one." 

Oh, you ! — you have not my fine feelings ! 
responded Mrs. Marcella, sitting with the glass in her 
hand, and looking askance at its reddish-brown con- 
tents. 

" Come, sup it up, and get it over," said her sister. 

O Jane ! — you unfeeling creature ! " 
"'Twill be no better five minutes hence, Pm sure. 
"You see what I suffer, Clarissa ! " wailed Mrs. 
Marcella, gulping down the medicine, and pulling a 
terrible face. "Jane has no feeling for me. She never 
had. I am a poor despised creature whom nobody 
cares for. Well, I suppose I must bear it. 'Tis my 
fate. But what I ever did to be afflicted in this way — ! 
Oh, the world's a hard place, and life's a very, very 
dreary thing. Oh dear, dear ! " 

Phoebe Latrobe, who had been sent by Madam to 
tell the news at the Maidens' Lodge, sat quietly listening 
in a corner. But when Mrs. Marcella began thus to 
play her favourite tune, Phoebe rose and took her leave. 
She called on Lady Betty, who expressed her gratifica- 
tion in the style of measured propriety which charac- 
terised her. Lastly, with a slow and rather tired step, 
she entered the gate of Number One. She had left her 
friend Mrs. Dorothy to the last. 

"Just in time for a dish of tea, child!" said little 
Mrs. Dorothy, with a beaming smile. " Sit you down, 
my dear, and take off your hood, and I will have the 
kettle boiling in another minute. Well, and how have 
you enjoyed your visit? You look tired, child." 

"Yes, I feel tired," answered Phoebe. "I scarce 
know how I enjoyed the visit, Mrs. Dorothy — there 
were things I liked, and there were things I didn't 
like" 



SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. i8r 



"That is generally the case, my dear." 

"Yes," said Phoebe, abstractedly. " Mrs. Dorothy, 

did you know Mrs. Marcella Talbot when she was 

young ? 

A little, my dear. Not so well as I know her 



>> 






now. 

" Was she always as discontented as she is now ? " 

" That is a spirit that grows on us, Phoebe/' said 
Mrs. Dorothy, gravely. 

Phoebe blushed. "I know you think I have it/* 
she replied. "But I should not wish to be like Mrs, 
Marcella." 

" I think thy temptation lies that way, dear child. 
But thy disposition is not so light and frivolous as hers. 
However, we will not talk of our neighbours without 
we praise them/' 

"Mrs. Dorothy, Rhoda has engaged herself to Mr. 
Marcus Welles. Madam sent me down to tell all of 
you." 

" She has, has she ? " responded Mrs. Dorothy, as 
if it were quite what she expected. "Well, I trust it 
may be for her good. 

"Aren't you sorry, Mrs. Dorothy ?" 

" Scarce, my dear. We hardly know what are the 
ri<rht things to grieve over. You and I might have 
thought it a very mournful thing when the prodigal son 
was sent into the field to feed swine : yet — speaking 
after the manner of men — if that had not happened, he 
would not have arisen and have gone to his father." 

" Do you think Rhoda will have to go through 
trouble before she can End peace, Mrs. Dorothy ? " 

" f Before she can ' I don't know, my dear. Be- 
fore she will — I am afraid, yes." 

" I am so sorry," said Phcebe. 

" Dear child, the last thing the prodigal will do is 



}) 



182 THE MAIDENS* LODGE. 



to arise and go to the Father. He will try every sort of 
swine's husks first. He doth not value the delicates of 
the Father's house — he hath no taste for them. The 
husks arc better, to his palate. What wonder, then, 
if he tarry yet in the far country ? " 

"But how are you to get him to change his taste, 
Mrs. Dorothy ? " 

"Neither you nor he can do that, my dear. Most 
times, either the husks run short, or he gets cloyed with 
them. That is, if he ever go back to the Father. For 
some never do, Phcebe — they stay on in the far country, 
and find the husks sweet to the end." 

"That must be saddest of all," said Phcebe, sorrow* 
fully. 

" It is saddest of all. Ah, child ! — thank thy 
Father, if He have made thy husks taste bitter. 

" But all things are not husks, Mrs. Dorothy I " 

" Certainly not, my dear. Delight in the Lord'9 
works in nature, or in the pleasures of the intellect 
such things as these are right enough in their place, 
Phcebe. The danger is of putting them into God's 
place." 

"Mrs, Dolly/' asked Phcebe, gravely, "do you 
think that when we care very much for a person or a 
thing, we put it into God's place ? " 



» 



to 



If you care more for it than you do for Him. 
Not otherwise." 

€i How is one to know that ? " 

"Ask your own heart how you would feel if God 
demanded it from you." v 

" How ought I to feel ? ,J 

"Sorry, perhaps; but not resentful. Not as though 
the Lord had no right to ask this at your hands. 
Grief is allowed; 'tis murmuring that displeases Him." 

"When Mrs. Dorothy said this, Phoebe felt conscious 



— * 



SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. 183 



of a dim conviction, buried somewhere very deep down, 
that there was something which she hoped God would 
not demand from her. She did not know herself what 
it was. It was not exactly that she would refuse to give 
it up; but rather that she hoped she would never be 
called upon to do it — that if she were it would be a very 

hard tiling to do. 

Phcebe left the Maidens' Lodge, and walked slowly 
across the Park to White- Ladies. She was feeling for 
the unknown cause of this sentiment of vague soreness 
at her heart. She had not found it, when a voice broke 
in upon her meditations. 

"Mrs. Latrobe?" 

Phoebe came to a sudden stop, and with her heart 
heating wildly, looked up into the face of Osmund 
Derwcnt. 

" I am too happy to have met with you/' said he. 
" I was on my way to White-Ladies. May I presume 
to ask your good offices, Mrs. Phcebe, to favour me so 
far as to present me to Madam Furnival 1 

Phoebe courtesicd her assent. 

"Mrs. Rhoda, I trust, is well?" 

"She is very well, I thank you." 

"I am rejoiced to hear it. You will not, I appre- 
hend, Mrs. Phcebe, suffer any surprise, if I tell you of 
my hopes with regard to Mrs. Rhoda. You must, 
surely, have seen, when at Delawarr Court, what was my 
ambition. Think you there is any chance for me with 
Madam Furnival ? " 

It was well for Osmund Derwent that he had not 
the faintest idea of what was going on beneath the still, 
white face of the girl who walked beside him so quietly. 
She understood now. She knew, revealed as by a flash 
of lightning, what it was which it would be hard work 
to resign at God's call. 

13 



>> 



184 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



It was Rhotla for whom he cared — not Phoebe. 
Phoebe was interesting to him, simply as being in his 
mind associated with Rhoda. And Rhoda did not want 
him : and Phoebe had to tell him so. 

So she told him. " I am sure Madam would receive 
you with a welcome/' she said. "But as for Mrs. 
Rhoda, 'tis best you should know she stands promised 
already." 

Mr. Derwent thought Phoebe particularly unsympa- 
thising. People often do think so of those whose 
"hands are clasped above a hidden pain/' and who have 
to speak with forced calmness, as the only way in which 
they dare speak at all. He felt a little hurt; he had 
thought Phoebe so friendlv at Delawarr Court. 

"To whom ?" he asked, almost angrily. 

"Mr. Marcus Welles. 3 ' 

"That painted fop ! " cried Derwent. 

Phoebe was silent. 

"You really mean that ? She is positively promised 
to him ? » 

" She is promised to him." 

Phcebe spoke in a dull, low, dreamy tone. She felt 
as though she were in a dream: all these events which 
were passing around her never could be real. She heard 
Osmund Derwent* s bitter comments, as though she 
heard them not. She was conscious of only one wish 
for the future — to be left alone with God. 

Osmund Derwent was extremely disappointed in 
Phcebe. He had expected much more sympathy and 
consideration from her. He said to himself, in the 
moments which he could spare from the main subject, 
that Phoebe did not understand him, and did not feel for 
him in the least. She had never loved any body — that 

was plain ! 

And meantime, simply to bear and wait, until he 



SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. 1S5 



chose to leave her, taxed all Phoebe's powers to her 
uttermost. 

She was left alone at last. But instead of going 
back to the house, where she had no certainty of 
privacy, Phcebe plunged into the shade of a clump of 
cedars and cypresses, and sat down at the foot of one 
of them. 

It was a lovely, cloudless day. Through the bright 
feathery green of a Syrian cypress she looked up into 
the clear blue sky above. Her love for Osmund Derwent 
for she gave it the right name now — was a hopeless 
thing. His heart was gone from her beyond recall. 

"But Thou remainest ! " 

The words flashed on her, accompanied by the well- 
remembered tones of her father's voice. She recollected 
that they had formed the text of the last sermon he had 
preached. She heard him say again, as he had said to 
her on his death-bed, "Dear little Phcebe, remember 
always, there is no way out of any sin or sorrow except 
Christ." The tears came now. There was relief and 
healing in them. 

" But Thou remainest ! " 

" Can I suffice for Heaven, and not for earth ? " 

Phoebe's face showed no sign, when she reached 
home, of the tempest which had swept over her heart. 

"Phoebe, I desire you would wait a moment," said 
Madam that evening after prayers, when Phcebe, candle 
in hand, was about to follow Rhoda. 

" Yes, Madam." Phcebe put down the candle, and 
stood waiting. 

Madam did not continue till the last of the servants 
had left the room. Then she said, 

" Child, I have writ a letter to your mother/' 

" I thank you, Madam," replied Phoebe. 



i26 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"And I have sent her ten guineas." 

" I thank you very much, Madam/' 

" I will not disguise from you, my dear, that T can- 
not but be sensible of the propriety and discretion of 
your conduct since you came. I think myself obliged 
to tell you, child, that 'tis on your account I have done 
so much as this." 

" I am sure, Madam, I am infinitely grateful to 
you." 

"And now for another matter. Child, I wish to 
know vour opinion of Air. Edmundson." 

" If you please, Madam, I did not like him," said 

Phoebe, honestly ; " nor I think he did not me." 

" That would not much matter, my dear," observed 
Madam, referring to the last clause. "But 'tis a pity 
vou do not like him, for while I would be sorry to force 
your inclinations, yet vou cannot hope to do better." 

" If you would allow me to say so, Madam," an- 
swered Phoebe, modestly, yet decidedly, " I cannot but 
think I should do better to be as I am." 

Madam shook her head, but did not answer in 
words. She occupied herself for a little while in settling 
her mittens to her satisfaction, though she was just 
going to pull them off. Then she said, 

"'Tis pity. Well ! go to bed, child ; we must talk 
more of it to-morrow. Bid Betty come to me at once, 
as you pass ; I am drowsy to-night. 



Ji 



"I say, Fib," said Rhoda, who had adopted (from 
Molly) this not very complimentary diminutive for her 
cousin's name, but only used it when she was in a good 
humour — " I say, Fib, what did Madam want of you ? " 

"To know what I thought of Mr. Edmundson." 

" What fun ! Well, what did you ? " 

"Why, I hoped his sermons would be better than 
himself; and thev weren't/* 



SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. 1S7 



a 



Did you tell Madam that ? " inquired Rhoda, con- 

vulsed with laughter. 

" No, not exactly that ; I said " 

" O Fib, I wish you had ! She thinks it tip-top 
impertinence in any woman to presume to have an 
opinion about a sermon. My word ! wouldn't you have 

caught it ! " 

"Well, I simply told her the truth," replied Phoebe; 
"that I didn't like him, and I didn't think he liked 

me." 

Rhoda went off into another convulsion. 

" O Fib, you are good — nobody better ! What 
did she say to that ? 

" She said his not fancying me wouldn't signify. 
But I think it would signify a good deal to me, if I had 
to be his wife." 

"Well, she wouldn't think so, not a bit," said 
Rhoda, still laughing. "She'd just be thunderstruck if 
Mr. Edmundson, or anybody else in his place, refused 
the honour of marrying anybody related to her. 
Shouldn't I like to see him do it ! It would take her 
down a peg, I reckon." 

This last elegant expression was caught from Molly. 

" Well, I am sure I would rather be refused than 



» 



j} 



taken unwillingly. 

" Where did you get your notions, Fib ? They are 
not the mode at all. You were born on the wrong side 
of fifty, I do think." 

" Which is the wrong side of fifty ? " suggestively 
asked Phoebe. 

"I wish you wouldn't murder me with laughing," 
said Rhoda. "Look here now: what shall I be 
married in ? " 

"White and silver, Mrs, Marcclla said, this morn- 
ing." 



1 88 THE MAIDENS 1 LODGE. 



("This morning I " Phoebe's words came back no 
her. Was it only this morning ?) 

"Thank you! nothing so insipid forme. I think 



HI have pink and dove-colour. What do you say ? " 

" I don't think I would have pink," said Phoebe, 
mentally comparing that colour with Rhoda's red and 
white complexion. "Blue would suit you better." 

" Well, blue does become me," answered Rhoda, 
contemplating herself in the glass. "But then, would 
blue and dove-colour do ? I think it should be blue and 
eold. Or blue and silver? What do you think, Phoebe? 
I say ! " — and suddenly Rhoda turned round and faced 
Phoebe — " what does Madam mean by having Mr. 
Dawson here? Betty says he was here twice while we 
were visiting, and he is coming again to-morrow. 
What can it mean ? Is she altering her will, do you 
suppose ? " 

" I am sure I don't know, Cousin/' said Phoebe. 

u I shouldn't wonder if she is. I dare say she'll 
leave you one or two hundred pounds," said Rhoda, 
with extreme benignity. "Really, I wish she would. 
You're a good little thing, Fib, for all your whims. 

"Thank you, Cousin/' said Phoebe, meekly. 

And the cousins went to sleep with amiable feelings 
towards each other. 

The dawn was just creeping over the earth when 
something awoke Phoebe. Something like the faint 
tingle of a bell seemed to linger in her ears. 

" Rhoda ! — did you hear that ? " she asked. 

" Hear what ? " demanded Rhoda, in a very sleepy 
voice. 

" I fancied I heard a bell," said Phoebe, trying to 
listen. 

" Oh, nonsense ! " answered Rhoda, rather more 
awake. "Go to sleep. You've been dreaming." 



» 



SOME THING A L TERS E VER YTHING. 1 89 



And Phoebe, accepting the solution, took the advice. 
She was scarcely asleep again, as it seemed to her, 
when the door was softly opened, and Betty came in. 



a 



» 



Mrs. Rhoda, my dear, you'd better get up. 

" What time is it ?" sleepily murmured Rhoda. 

" You'd better get up," repeated Betty, " Never 
mind the time/' 

" Betty, is there something the matter ? " 

Betty ignored Phoebe's question. 

" Come, my dear, jump up ! " she said, still address- 
ing Rhoda. " You'll be wanted by-and-bye." 

" Who wants me ? " inquired Rhoda, making no 
effort to rise. 

" Well, Mr. Dawson, the lawyer, 's coming pre- 
sently, and you'll have to see him." 

I!" Rhoda's eyes opened pretty wide. "Why 
should I see him ? 'Tis Madam wants him, not me." 

To the astonishment of both the girls, Betty burst 
out crying. 

" Betty, I am sure something has happened/' said 



a 



Phoebe, springing up. " What is the matter ? " 

" O, my dear, MadanVs gone !" sobbed Betty. 
K Poor dear gentlewoman! She'll never see anybody 
again. Mrs. Rhoda, she's died in the night/' 

There was a moment of silent horror, as the eyes 
of the cousins met- Then Phcebe said under her 
breath 

"That bell!" 

"Yes, poor dear Madam, she rang her bell," said 
Betty; "but she could not speak when I got to hei. I 
don't think she was above ten minutes after. I've sent 
off sharp for Dr. Saunders, and Mr. Dawson tooj but 
■'tis too late — eh, poor dear gentlewoman ! " 

Did you send for Mr. Leighton ? " asked Rhoda, in 

an awe-struck voice. 



1 90 THE MA I DENS » L 0D GE. 



(( 



Oh dear, yes, I sent for him too; but la ! what can 
he do ? " answered Betty, wiping her eyes. 

They a!l came in due order: Dr. Saunders to pro- 
nounce that Madam had been dead three hours — " of a 
cardial malady,' 1 said he, in a professionally mysterious 
manner ; Mr. Leighton, the Vicar of Tewkesbury, to 
murmur a few platitudes about the virtues and charity 
to the poor which had distinguished the deceased lady, 
and to express his firm conviction that so exalted a 
character would be at once enrolled among the angelic 
host, even though she had not been so happy as to 
receive the Holy Sacrament. Mr. Dawson came last, 
and his concern appeared to be awakened rather for the 
living than the dead. 

" Sad business this ! " said he, as he entered the 
parlour, where the cousins sat, close together, drawn to 
one another by the fellowship of suffering, in a man- 
ner they had never been before. " Sad business ! 
Was to have seen me to-day — important matter. 
Humph ! " 

The girls looked at him, but neither spoke. 
Do you know," he pursued, apparently addressing 
himself to both, " how your grandmother had arranged 
tier affairs ? " 

" No," said Rhoda and Phoebe together, 

" Humph ! Pity ! Been a good deal better for you, 
my dear young gentlewoman, if she had lived another 
four-and-twenty hours." 

Neither said "Which?" for both thought thev 
knew. 

"Poor Phcebe ! " said Rhoda, pressing her hand. 
"But never mind, dear; I'll give it you, just right, 
what she meant you to have. We'll see about it before 
Fin married. Oh dear ! — that will have to be put off, 
I suppose/' 



a 



SOMETHING ALTERS EVERYTHING. 101 



" You arc going to be married ? " asked the 
lawyer. 

"Yes/* said Rhoda, bridling. 

" Humph ! — good thing for you." 

Mr. Dawson marched to the window, with his 
hands in his pockets, and stood there softly whistling 
for some seconds. 

" Got any money ? " he abruptly inquired, 

"I? No," said Rhoda. 

"No, no; your intended." 

" Oh ! Yes — three thousand a year." 

"Humph!" Mr. Dawson whistled again. Then, 
making as if he meant to leave the room, he suddenly 
brought up before Phoebe. 

" Are you going to be married ? " 

"No, Sir," said Phoebe, blushing. 

" Humph ! " ejaculated the lawyer, once again. 

Silence followed for a few seconds. 

" Funeral on Sunday, I suppose ? Read the will on 
Monday morning — eh ? " 

Yes, if you please, said Rhoda, who was very 
much subdued. 

"Good, Well! — good morning! Poor girl!" 
The last words were in an undertone. 

" I am so sorry for it, Phoebe, dear," said Rhoda, 
who was always at her best under the pressure of trial. 
" But never you mind — you shall have it. I'll make it 
up to you." 

Rhoda now naturally assumed the responsibility of 
mistress, and gave orders that no visitor should be 
admitted excepting the Vicar and Mr. Welles. The 
evening brought the latter gentleman, who had appa- 
rently spent the interval in arraying himself in faultless 
mourning. 

V I am so grieved, my charmer ! " exclaimed Mr 



a 



IQ2 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Marcus Welles, dropping on one knee, and lifting 
Rhoda's hand to his lips. " Words cannot paint my 
distress on hearing of your sorrow. Had I been a bird, 
I would have flown to offer you consolation. Pray do 
not dim your bright eyes, my fair. 'Tis but what hap- 
pens to all, and specially in old age. Old folks must 
die, you know, dearest Madam ; and, after all, did they 
not, voung folks would find them very often trouble- 
some. But you have now no one over you, and you see 
your slave at your feet." 

And with a most unexceptionable bow, Mr. Marcus 
gently possessed himself of Rhoda's fan, wherewith he 
began fanning her in the most approved manner. It 
occurred to Phcebe that if the gentleman's grief had 
been really genuine, it was doubtful whether his periods 
would have been quite so polished. Rhoda's sorrow, 
while it might prove evanescent, was honest while it 
lasted : and had been much increased by the extreme 
suddenness of the calamity. 

" I thank you, Sir/' she said quietly. "And I am 
sure you will be grieved to hear that my grandmother 
died just too soon to make that provision she intended 
for my cousin. So the lawyer has told us this morn- 
ing. You will not, I cannot but think, oppose my 
wish to give her what it was meant that she should 

have." 

" Dearest Madam ! " and Mr. Welles* hand went 
to his heart, "you cannot have so little confidence in 
me as to account it possible that I could oppose any 

wish of yours ! " 

Engaged persons did not, at that time, call each 
other by the Christian name. It would have been con- 
sidered indecorous. 

"I was sure, Sir, you would say no iess," answered 
Rhoda. 



CHAPTER X. 




Not 



MR. -WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY. 

" Thy virtues lost, thou would'st not look 
Me in thy chains to hold ? 
Know, friend, thou verily hast lost 
Thy chiefest virtue— gold." 

INE o'clock on the Monday morning was the 
hour appointed for reading Madam's will. 
When Rhoda and Phoebe, in their deep 
mourning, entered the parlour, they were startled to 
find the number of persons already assembled. 
only all the household and outdoor servants, but all the 
inmates of the Maidens' Lodge, excepting Mrs. Mar- 
cella, and several others, stood up to receive the young 
ladies as they passed on to the place reserved for them. 

Mr. Dawson handed the girls to their places, and 
then seated himself at the table, and proceeded to un- 
fold a large parchment. 

te It will be well that I should remark," said he, 
looking up over his spectacles, u that the late Madam 
Furnival had intended, at the time of her death, to 
execute a fresh will. I am sorry to say it was not 

This, therefore, is her last will, as duly 
executed. It bears date the fourteenth of November, 
in the year 1691 

An ejaculation of dismay, though under her breath, 
came from Rhoda, the lawyer went on : 

—When Mrs. Catherine Peveril, mother of Mrs. 
Rhoda here, was just married, and before the marriage 
of Mrs. Anne Furnival, mother to Mrs. Phcebe Latrobe, 



signed. 



3) 



c( 



194 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



who is also present. The intended will would have 
made provision for both of these young gentlewomen, 
grand-daughters to Madam Furnival. By the provi- 
sions of the present one, one of them is worsened, and 
the other bettered." 

Rhoda's alarm was over. The last sentence re- 
assured her. 

Mr. Dawson cleared his voice, and becan to read. 
The will commenced with the preamble then usual, in 
which the testatrix declared her religious views as a 
member of the Church of England; and went on to 
state that she wished to be buried with her ancestors, 
in the family vault, in the nave of Tewkesbury Abbey. 
One hundred pounds was bequeathed to the Vicar of 
Tewkesbury, for the time being; twenty pounds and a 
suit of mourning to every servant who should have been 
in her employ for five, years at the date of her death; 
six months' wages to those who should have been with 
her for a shorter time; a piece of black satin sufficient 
to make a gown, mantua, and hood, and forty pounds 
in money, to each inmate of the Maidens' Lodge. 
Mourning rings were left to the Maidens, the Vicar, 
Dr. Saunders, Mr. Dawson, and several friends men- 
tioned by name, of whom Sir Richard Delawarr was 
one. Then the testatrix gave, devised, and bequeathed 
to her "dear daughter Catherine, wife of Francis 
Peveril, Esquire, with remainder to the heirs of her 
body, the sum of two thousand pounds of lawful money.'' 

Rhoda's face grew eager, as she listened for the 
next sentence. 

"Lastly, T give, devise, and bequeath the Abbey of 
Cressingham, commonly called White-Ladies, and al' 
other my real and personal estate whatsoever, not here- 
inbefore excepted^ to my dear daughter Anne Furnival, 
her heirs, assigns, administrators, and executors.for ever. 



39 



MR. WELLES DUES IT BEAUUEULLY . 195 



The effect was crushing. That one sentence had 
changed everything. Not Rhoda, but Phoebe, was the 
heiress of White-Ladies. 

Mr. Dawson calmly finished reading the. signatures 
and attestation clause, and then folded up the will, and 
once more looked over his spectacles. 

"Mrs. Phoebe, as your mother's representative, give 
me leave to wish you joy. Shall you wish to write to 
her ? I must, of course. The letters could go together/' 

Phoebe looked up, half-bewildered. 

" I scarcely understand," she said. " There is 
something left to Mother, is there not ? " 

" My dear young gentlewoman, there is everything 
left to her. She is the ladv of the manor." 

"But what is there for Rhoda ? " gasped Phoebe, 
apparently not at all elated by her change of position. 

"A poor, beggarly two thousand pounds!" burst 
out Rhoda. "'Tis a shame ! And I always thought I 
was to have White-Ladies! I shall just be nobody 
now ! Nobody will respect me, and I can never cut 
any figure. Well ! I'm glad I am engaged to be 
married. That's safe, at anyrate." 

The elevation of Mr. Dawson's eyebrows, and the 
pursing of his lips, might have implied a query on that 
score. 

u Pm so sorry, dear ! " said Phoebe, gently. " For 
"pu, of course, I mean. I could not be sorry that there 
ivas something for Mother, because she is not well off; 
but I am very sorry you are disappointed/' 

" You can't help it! " was Rhoda's rather repelling 
answer. Still, through all her anger, she remembered 

to be just. 

"Certainly not, my dear Mrs. Phoebe," said the 
lawyer. " 'Tis nobody's fault — not even Madam Fur- 
nival's, for the new will would have given White-Ladies 



ig6 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



to Mrs. Rhoda, and five thousand pounds to Mrs. 
Anne Latrobe. Undoubtedly she intended, Mrs. 
Rhoda. vou should have it." 

"Then why can't I ? " demanded Rhoda, fiercely. 

Mr. Dawson shook his head, with a pitying smile. 
u The law knows nothing of intentions/' said he : " only 
of deeds fully performed. Still, it may be a comfort in 
your disappointment, to remember that this was meant 
for you." 

" Thank you for your comfort ! " said Rhoda, 
bitterly. "Why, it makes it all the worse." 

"I wish " but Phoebe stopped short. 

" Oh, I don't blame you," said Rhoda, impetuously. 
"'Tis no fault of yours. If she'd done it now, lately, 
I might have thought so. But a will that was made 

before either you or me was born " Rhoda's 

grammar always suffered from her excitement — "can't 
be your fault, nor anybody else's. But 'tis a shame, 
for all that. She'd no business to let me go on all 
these years, expecting to have everything, and knew all 
the while her will wasn't right made. 'Tis too bad I 
My Lady Betty ! — Mrs. Dorothy 1— don't you think so?" 

" My dear/' said Lady Betty, " I am indeed grieved 
for your disappointment. But there is decorum, my 
dear Mrs. Rhoda — there is decorum ! " 

"No, my dear," was Mrs. Dorothy's answer. "I 
dare not call anything bad that the Lord doth. Had it 
been His will you should have White- Ladies, be sure you 
would have had it." 

" Well, you know/' said Rhoda, in a subdued tone, 
and folding one of her black gauze ribbons into minute 
plaits, "of course, one can't complain of God." 

"Ah, child!" sighed Mrs. Dorothy, " I wish one 
could not ! " 

" O my dear Mrs. Rhoda, I feel for you so dread- 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY. 197 



fully ! " accompanied the tragically clasped hands of 
Mrs. Clarissa. " My feelings are so keen, and run 
away with me so " 



(t Then let 'em ! " said Mrs. Jane Talbot's voice 

behind. u Mine won't. My dears, I'm sorry you've 
lost Madam. But as to the money and that, Flkwait 
ten years, and then I'll tell you which I'm sorry for." 

"Well, I'm sorry for both of you," added Mrs. 
Eleanor Darcy. " I don't think, Mrs. Phcebe, my dear, 



>> 



you'll lie on roses. 

Noonewas more certain of that than Phcebe herself. 

She wrote a few lines to her mother, which went 
inside Mr. Dawson's letter. Mrs. Latrobe was in 
service near Reading. Her daughter felt sure that she 
would lose no time in taking possession. The event 
proved that she was right. The special messenger whom 
Mr. Dawson sent with the letters returned with an 
answer to each. Phoebe's mother wrote to her 
thus : 

"Child, — Mr. Dawson hath advertized me of the deth of 
Mad" 1 Furnivall, my mother. I would have you, on rect of this, 
to lett your cousen know that shee need not lieve the house afore 
I come, wich will be as soon as euer I can winde all upp and 
bee w th you. I would like to make aquaintance wth her ere any 
thing be setled. I here from the layer [by which Mrs. Latrobe 
meant lawyer] that she is to bemaried, and it will be soe much 
ye better for you. I trust you may now make a good match 
y r self. Bot I shal see to all yt when I com. 

" Yr mother, 

" A. Latroue." 

- Phcebe studied every word of this letter, and the 
more she studied it, the less she liked it. First, it 
looked as if Mrs. Latrobe did mean Rhoda to leave the 
house, though she graciously intimated her intention of 
making acquaintance with her before she did so. 
Secondly, she was evidently in a hurry to come. Thirdly, 




THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



she congratulated herself on Rhoda's approaching 
marriage, because it would get rid of her, and leave the 
way open for Phoebe. And lastly, she threatened Phoebe 
with "a good match/' Phcebe thought, with a sigh, 
that "the time was out of joint," and heartily wished 
that the stars would go back into their courses. 

Mrs. Latrobe managed to wind all up in a surprisingly 
short time. She reached her earlv home in the cool of 
a summer evening, Rhoda having sent the family coach 
to meet her at Tewkesbury. Phcebe had said nothing 
to her cousin of any approaching change, which she 
thought it best to leave to her mother; so she contented 
herself by saying that Mrs. Latrobe. wished to make the 
acquaintance of her niece. Lady Betty kindly came up 
to help the inexperienced girls in making due prepara- 
tion for the arrival of the lady of the manor. When the 
coach rolled up to the front door, Phcp.bc was standing 
on the steps, Lady Betty and Rhoda further back in the 
hall. 

Mrs. Latrobe was attired in new and stvlish 

mourning. 

" Ah, child, here you are ! v was her first greeting to 
Phcebe. "The old place is grown greyer. Those trees 
come too near the windows ; I shall cut some of them 
down. Where is your cousin ? }y 

Rhoda heard the inquiry, and she stepped forward. 

"Let us look at you, child/'' said Mrs. Latrobe, 
turning to her. " Ah, you are like Kitty — not so good- 
looking, though." 

"Mother," said Phcebe, gently, " this is my Lady 
Betty Morehurst. She was so kind as to help us in 
getting ready for you." 

Mrs. Latrobe appraised Lady Betty by means of one 
rapid glance. Then she thanked her with an amount of 
effulgence which betrayed either subservience or con- 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY. 199 



tempt. Lady Betty received her thanks with a quiet 
dignity which refused to be ruffled, kissed Rhoda and 
Phoebe, and took her leave, declining to remain even 
for the customary dish of tea. Mrs. Latrobe drew off 

her gloves, sat down in Madam's cushioned chair, and 
desired Phcebe to give her some tea. 

" Let me see, child ! " she said, looking at Rhoda. 
" You are near one-and-twenty, I suppose? " 

Rhoda admitted the fact. 

"And what do you think of doing ? " 

Rhoda looked blankly first at her aunt, then at her 
cousin. Phcebe came hastily to the rescue. 

She is shortly to be married, Mother 5 did you 



« 



forget ? 9> 

" Ah ! " said Mrs. Latrobe, still contemplating 
Rhoda. "Well — if it hold — you may as well be 
married from hence, I suppose. Is the day fixed ? u 



tc No, Aunt Anne." 

" I think, my dear/' remarked Mrs. Latrobe, 
sipping her tea, " J t would be better if you said Madam* 
Why, Phcebe, what old-fashioned china! Sure it 
cannot have been new these forty years. I shall sweep 
away all that rubbish.— -Whom are you going to marry? 

Is he well off? — Phcebe, those shoe-buckles of yours 
are quite shabby. I cannot have you wear such 
trumpery. You must remember what is due to you. 
Well, my dear ? " 

Rhoda had much less practice in the school of 
patience than Phcebe, and she found the virtue difficult 
just then. Eut she restrained herself as well as she 
could. 

" I arri engaged in marriage with Ml\ Marcus 
Welles \ and he has an estate, and spends three thousand 
pounds by the year/' 

" Welles ! A Welles of Buckinghamshire? Ji 



2oo THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



" His estate is in this shire," said Rhoda. 

"Three thousand ! That's not much. Could you 
have done no better? He expected you would have 
White-Ladies, I suppose ? " 

"I suppose so. I did/' said Rhoda, shortly. 

"My dear, you have some bad habits," said Mrs. 
Latrobe, "which Phcebe should have broken you of 
before I came. 'Tis very rude to answer without giv- 



ing a name." 



a 



)> 



" You told me not to give you one, Auat Anne." 
You are slow at catching meanings, my dear, 
replied Mrs. Latrobe, with that calm nonchalance so 
provoking to an angry person. " I desired you to call 
me Madam, as 'tis proper you should." 

" Phcebe doesn't/' burst from Rhoda. 

"Then she ought," answered Mrs. Latrobe, coolly 
examining the crest on a tea-spoon. 

" Oh, I will, Rhoda, if Mother wishes it," put in 
Phcebe, anxious above all things to keep the peace. 

Rhoda vouchsafed no reply to either. 

" Well ! " said the lady of the manor, rising, "you 
will carry me to my chamber, child," addressing Rhoda. 
You can stay here, Phcebe. Your cousin will wait on 
me." 

It was something new for Rhoda to wait on anyone. 
She swallowed her pride with the best grace she could, 
and turned to open the door. 

I suppose you have had the best room made ready 



<( 



cc 



for me ? " inquired Mrs. Latrobe, as she passed out. 



» 



"Madam's chamber," replied Rhoda. 
" Oh, but — not the one in which she died ? 
" Yes," answered Rhoda ; adding, after a moment- 
ary struggle with herself, " Madam." 

" Oh, but that will never do ! " said Mrs Latrobe, 
hastily. "I couldn't sleep there! A room in which 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY. 201 



someone died scarce a month ago! Where is my 
woman? Call her. I must have that changed." 

Rhoda summoned Betty, who came, courtesying. 
Her mistress was too much preoccupied in mind to 
notice the civility. 

Why, what could you all be thinking of, to put mc 
in this chamber? I must have another. This is the 
best, I know ; but I cannot think of sleeping here. 
Show me the next best — that long one in the south wing." 



€( 



H 



I 



That is the young gentlewomen's chamber, 
Madam/* objected Betty. 

" Well, what does that matter ? " demanded Mrs. 
Latrobe, sharply. " Can't they have another ? I sup- 
pose I come first ! " 

"Yes, of course, Madam," said subdued Betty. 

Rhoda looked dismayed, but kept silence. She was 
learning her lesson. Mrs. Latrobe looked into the girls' 
room, rapidly decided on it, and ordered it to be got 
*eady for her. 

"Then which must the young gentlewomen have, 
Madam ? " inquired Betty. 

"Oh, any/' said Mrs. Latrobe, carelessly. "There 
are enough/' 

Which would you like, Mrs. Rhoda?" incautiously 
asked Bettv. 

j 

Before Rhoda could reply, her aunt said quickly, 

" Ask Mrs. Phoebe, if you please/' 

And Betty remembered that the cousins had changed 
places. It was a very bitter pill to Rhoda \ and it was 
not like Rhoda to say — yet she said it, as soon as she 
had the opportunity' 

u Phoebe, Aunt Anne means you to choose our 
room : please don't have a little stuffy one." 

" Dear Rhoda, which would you like ? " responded 
Phoebe at once. 



a 



202 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



A little sob escaped Rhoda. 

" Oh, Phoebe, you are going to be the only one who 
is good to me ! I should like that other long one in the 
north wing, that matches ours; but don't choose it if 
vou don't like it." 

" We will have that/' said Phcebe, reassuringly ; 
" at least, if Mother leaves it to me." 

Thus early it was made evident that the old nature 
in Anne Latrobe was scotched, not killed. Sorrow 
seemed to have laid merely a repressive hand upon her 
bad qualities, and to have uprooted none but good ones. 
The brilliance and playfulness of her early days were 
gone. The cccur leger had turned to careless self-lave, 
the impetuosity had become peevish obstinacy. 

" Old Madam never spoke to me in that way ! " 
said Betty. " She liked to have her way, poor dear 
gentlewoman, as well as anybody; and she wouldn't 
take a bit of impudence like so much barley-sugar, I'll 
not say she would; but she was a gentlewoman, every 
inch of her, that she was. And that's more than you 
can say for some folks ! " 

The next morning, all the Maidens — the invalid, as 
usual, excepted — came trooping up one after another, to 
pay their respects to the new lady of the manor. 

Lady Betty came first; then Mrs. Dorothy and Mrs. 
Eleanor, together ; after a little while, Mrs. Clarissa ; 
and lastly, Mrs. Jane. 

"My dear Mrs. Anne, T remember you well, though 
perhaps you can scarce recollect me," said Mrs. 
Dorothy, " for you were but nine years old the last time 
that I saw you. May the Lord bless you, my dear, and 

make vou a blessing ! " 

"Oh, I don't doubt I shall do my duty," was the 
response of Mrs. Latrobe, which very much satisfied 
herself and greatly dissatisfied Mrs. Dorothy. 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY. 203 



•• Tis delightful to see you back, dear Madam 
Latrobe ! " said Mrs. Clarissa, gushingly. "How 
touching must it be to return to the home of your 
youth, after so many years of banishment ! " 

Mrs. Latrobe had not felt in the least touched, and 
hardly knew how to reply. <c Oh, to be sure!" she said. 



ft 



a 



Glad to see you/' said Mrs. Jane. "Great loss 
we've had in Madam. Hope you'll be as good as she 
was. My sister desired me to make her compliments. 
Can't stir off the sofa. Fine morning! 

When the Maidens left the Abbey — which they did 
together — they compared notes on the new reign. 

Lady Betty's sense of decorum was very much 
shocked. Mrs. Latrobe had not spoken a word of her 
late mother, and had hinted at changes in matters 
which had existed at White-Ladies from time imme- 
morial. 

Mrs. Clarissa was charmed with the new lady's 
manners and mourning, both which she thought fault- 
less. 

Mrs. Eleanor thought ff she was a bit shy, poor 
thing ! We must make allowances, my dear friends 
we must make allowances ! " 

Make fiddlestrings ! " growled Mrs. Jane. " She's 
Anne Furnival still, and she'll be Anne Furnival to the 
end of the chapter. As if I didn't know Nancy ! 
Ever drive a jibbing horse ? " 

Mrs. Clarissa, who was thus suddenly appealed to, 
declared in a shocked tone that she never drove a horse 
of any description since she was born. 

iC Ah, well ! I have/' resumed Mrs. Jane, ignoring 
the scandalised tone of her sister Maiden : " and that's 
just Nancy Furnival. She's as sleek in the coat as 
ever a Barbary mare. But you'll not get her along the 
road to Tewkesbury, without you make her think you 



t( 



204 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



>) 



want to drive her to Gloucester. I heard plenty of folks 
pitying Madam when she bolted. My word ! — but I 
pitied somebody else a vast deal more, and that was 
Charles Latrobe. I wouldn't have married her, if she'd 
been stuck all over with diamonds." 

r 

" I fancy she drove him," said Mrs. Eleanor with a 
smile. 

" Like enough, poor soul ! " responded Mrs. Jane. 
." Only chance he had of any peace. He was a decent 
fellow enough, too, — if only he had kept clear of 
Nan cy . 

" What made him marry her? " thoughtfully asked 
Mrs. Eleanor. 

" Deary me ! " exclaimed Mrs. Jane. te When did 
you ever see a man that could fathom a woman ? Good, 
simple soul that he was ! — she made him think black 
was white with holding up a finger. She glistened 
bravely, and he thought she was gold. Well ! — we 
shan't have much peace now, — take my word for it. 
Eh, this world ! — 'tis a queer place as ever I saw." 

"True, my dear," replied Mrs. Dorothy: "let us 
therefore be thankful there is a better." 

But her opinion of Mrs. Latrobe was not given. 

The same evening; as Phoebe sat in the parlour with 
her mother, Betty came in with a courtesy. 

" Mr. Marcus Welles, to speak with Madam." 

"With Mrs. Rhoda?" asked Phoebe, rising. "I 
will go seek her." 

No, if you please, Mrs. Phoebe : Mr. Welles said, 



a 



Madam or yourself." 

"Phcebe, my dear, do not be such a fid-fad ! " 
entreated Mrs. Latrobe. " If Rhoda is wanted, she 
can be sought. — Good evening, Sir ! I am truly 
delighted to have the pleasure of seeing you, and I 
trust we shall be better acquainted." 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY. 20; 



Mr. Welles bowed low over Mrs. Latrobe's extended 

hand. 

" Madam, the delight is mine, and the honour. Mrs, 

Phoebe, your servant, — your most humble servant/ 1 

It was the first time that Mr. Welles had ever ad- 
dressed Phoebe with more than a careless "good evening." 

"Ready to serve you, Sir," said she, courtesying. 
" Shall I seek my cousin ? She has wanted your com- 
pany, I think." 

This was a very audacious speech for Phoebe : but 
she thought it so extraordinary that Mr. Welles had not 
paid one visit to his betrothed since the funeral, that she 
took the liberty of reminding him of it. 

" Madam," said Mr. Welles, with a complacent 
smile, toying with his gold chatelaine, " I really could 
not have visited you sooner, under the circumstances in 
which I found myself." 

" Phoebe ! have you lost your senses ? " inquired 
Mrs. Latrobe, sharply. 

"I am sure," resumed Mr. Marcus Welles, with an 
extremely graceful wave of his hand towards Mrs. 
Latrobe, "that Madam will fully enter into my much 
lacerated feelings, and see how very distressing 'twould 
have been both to myself and her, had I forced my com- 
pany on Mrs. Rhoda, as matters stand at present." 

Phoebe sat listening with a face of utter bewilder- 
ment. By what means had Mr. Welles' feelings been 
lacerated ? — and why should it be more distressing for 
him to meet Rhoda now than before? — But she kept 
silence, and Mrs. Latrobe said, — 

" I think, Sir, I have the honour to understand you." 

"Madam!" replied Mr. Marcus Welles, with his 
courtliest bow, " I am sure that a gentlewoman of your 
parts and discretion can do no less, I cannot but be 
infinitely sensible of the severe and cruel loss I am 



205 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



a 



bout to sustain : still, to my small estate, any other 
dealing would be of such mischievous consequence, that 
I think myself obliged to resign the views I proposed to 

myself." 

Phoebe tried to understand him, and found it im- 
possible. 

"This being the case, continued he, "you will un- 
derstand, dear Madam, that T thought myself encased 
to wait until I nwht be honoured by some discourse 
frith vou : and meanwhile to abstain from any commerce 
of discourse in other quarters, till 1 had permission to 
acquaint you of the aftkir. I have indeed been in pain 
until I was able to wait upon you. I shall now he 
something eased. You, I am certain, dearest Madam, 
will contrive the business far better than my disordered 
mind would allow me ; and I doubt not 'twould be more 
agreeable to all parties to communicate by that canal." 

" If you wish it, Sir, it shall certainly be so, 
answered Mrs. Latrobe, who seemed to be under no 
doubt concerning Mr. Welles' meaning. " I am yours 
to serve you in the matter." 

"Dearest Madam, you are an angel of mercy! The 
sooner I retire, then, the better." 

He kissed Mrs. Latrobe's hand, and came round to 
Phcfbc. 

"Mr. Welles, you have not seen Rhoda yet. I do 

not understand ! " said Phcebe blankly, as he bowed 
iver her hand. 



}j 



" Madam, I have but just now cn^a^ed my- 

self » 

" Phcebe, don't be a goose ! " burst from her mother. 
u You must be a baby if you do not understand. 
Cannot you see that Mr. Welles, in a most honourable 
maimer, which does him infinite credit, withdraws all 
pretensions to your cousin's hand, leaving her free to 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BEAUTIFULLY, 207 



jj 



engage herself elsewhere? Really, I should have 
thought you had sense enough for that. 

For a moment Phoebe looked, with a bewildered air, 
from her mother to Mr. Welles. Then shyness, fear 

and reserve gave way before indignation. She did 
understand now. 

" You mean to desert Rhoda, because she has lost 
the paltry money that you expected she would have ? " 

For once in his life, Air. Marcus Welles seemed 
startled and taken at a disadvantage. 

{< I was afraid you wanted her chiefly for her money, 
but I did not believe you capable of this ! So you do not 
care for her at all ? And you run away, afraid to face 
the pangs you have created, and to meet the eyes of the 
maid you have so foully wronged. Shame on you ! " 

" Phcebe, you must be mad ! iy exclaimed Mrs. 
Latrobe, rising. {e Don't listen to her, dear Mr. Welles ; 
'tis a most distressing scene for you to bear. I am 
infinitely concerned my daughter should have so far for- 
gotten herself as to address you with such vulgar abuse. 
I can only excuse her on the ground " 

" Dearest Madam, there is every excuse," said Mr. 
Welles, with the sweetest magnanimity. " Sweet Mrs. 
Phcebe is a woodland bird, untrammelled as yet by those 
fetters which we men and women of the world must 
needs bear. 'Tis truly delightful to see the charming 
generosity and the admirable fire with which she plays 
the knight-errant. Indeed, Madam, such disinterested 
warmth and fervour of heart are seen but too seldom in 
this worn old world. Suffer me to entreat you not to chide 
Mrs. Phcebe for her charming simplicity and high spirit." 

" Since Mr. Welles condescends to intercede fo 
you, Phcebe, notwithstanding your shocking behaviour, 
I am willing to overlook it this time; but I warn you I 
oall not prove thus easy another time." 



2o3 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



u I am sure I hope there will never be another 
time! " cried Phcebe, her eyes flashing. 

" Phcebe, go to your chamber, and don't let me hear 
one word more," said Mrs. Latrobe, severely. 

And Phoebe obeyed, rushing upstairs with feet that 
seemed to keep pace with the whirlwind in her heart. 

i{ Phoebe, I wonder whether of these ribbons, the silk 

or the gauze, would go best with Why, whatever in 

the world is the matter ? " said Rhoda, breaking off*. 

<{ You may well ask, my dear/' answered the voice 
of Mrs. Larrobe, behind Phoebe. " Your cousin has 
been conducting herself in a most improper manner- 



offering gross insults to my guests in my house." 

u Phoebe ! " cried Rhoda, as if she could not believe 
her ears. 

"Yes, Phoebe. She really has. I can only fear- 
indeed, I had almost said hope — that her wits are some- 
thing impaired. What think you of her telling a gentle- 
man who had acted in a most noble and honourable 
manner — exactly as a gentleman should do — that she 
could not have believed him capable of such baseness ? 
and she cried shame on him ! " 

" Not Phcebe ! " exclaimed Rhoda again, looking 
from one to the other very much as Phcebe had done 
'* Why, Phoebe, what does all this mean ? " 

f< Oh, Rhoda, I can't tell you ! " said Phoebe, sob- 
bing, for the reaction had come. " Mother, you will 
have to tell her. I can't." 

" Of course I shall tell her," calmly answered Mrs. 
Latrobe. u I came for that very thing. Rhoda, my 
dear, I am sure you are a maid of sense and discretion." 

" I hope so, Madam." 

" So do I, child : and therefore you will hear me 

calmly, and not fly into passions like that silly maid 
yonder. My dear, you must have remembered, I am 



MR. WELLES DOES IT BE A UTIFULL V. 209 



certain, that when you promised yourself to Mr. Welles, 
you were in a very different situation from now." 

Rhoda only bowed. Perhaps, on that subject, she 
was afraid to trust her voice. 

"And, of course, it has also occurred to you, my 
dear, that this being the case, you could not in honour 
hold Air. Welles bound to you any longer, if he wished 
to be free ? " 

" But we don't wish to be free," said Rhoda, in a 
puzzled tone. 

" You are mistaken, my dear, so far as one of yon is 
concerned. Perhaps it had been yet more graceful had 
you been the one to loose the bond : yet Mr. Welles 
has done it with so infinite a grace and spirit that I can 
scarce regret your omission. My dear, you are now 
entirely free. He sets you completely at liberty, and 
has retired from all pretension to you." 

"But what, Aunt Anne — I do not understand 

w 

you ! " exclaimed Rhoda, in accents of bewildered 
amazement, which had a ring of agony beneath, as 
though she was struggling against the comprehension of 



a grief she was reluctant to face. 

"Surely, my dear, you must have understood me," 
said Mrs. Latrobe. " Mr. Welles resigns his suit to you." 

" He lias given me up ? " bursts from Rhoda' s lips. 

" He has entirely given you up. You cannot have 
really expected anything else ? " 

" I thought he was true ! " said Rhoda through her 
set teeth. "Are you. sure you understood him ? Phoebe, 
you tell me, — did he mean that ? " 

"O Rhoda! poor Rhoda! I am afraid he did!" 
said Phoebe, as distinctly as tears would let her. 

" But, my dear," interposed Mrs. Latrobe, remon- 
stratingly, "surely you cannot be surprised? When 
Mr. Welles engaged himself to you, it was (as he 



2 1 o THE MA I DENS > L 01) G£. 



thought) to the heiress of a large estate. You could 
not expect him to cucumber himself with a wife who 
brought him less than one year's income of his own. 
*Tis not reasonable, child. No man in his senses 
would do such a thing. We live in the world, my dear, 
■not in Utopia/' 

"We live in a hard, cold, wicked, miserable world, 
and the sooner we are out of it the better ! " came in a 
constrained voice from Rhoda. 

"I beg, my dear/' answered Mrs. Latrobe, "you 
will not make extravagant speeches. There mio-ht be 
not another man in the world, that you should go into 
such a frenzy. We shall yet find you a husband, never 
fear." 

"Not one like him, I hope!" murmured Phoebe. 
"And I don't think Rhoda wants anybody else." 

" Phoebe," said her mother, " I am extreme con- 
cerned at the coarseness of your speeches. I had hoped 
you were a gentlewoman. 

"Well, Mother," said Phoebe, firing up again, "if 
Mr. Welles be a gentleman, I almost hope not ! " 

"My dear," said Mrs. Latrobe, "Mr. Welles is a 
gentleman. The style in which he announced his 
desire to withdraw from his suit to your cousin, was 
perfect. A prince could not have done it better. 

I should hope a prince would not have done it at 
all ! " was the blunt response from Phccbc. 

" You are not a woman of the world, my dear, but 
a very foolish, ignorant child, that does not know 
properly what she is saying. 'Tis so near bed-time you 
need not descend again. You will get over your di 
appointment, Rhoda, when you have slept, and I shall 
talk with you presently. Good-night, my dears. 

And Mrs. Latrobe closed the door, and left the 
cousins together* 



a 



}i 



(< 



S* 



yj 



CHAPTER XL 

PHCEBE IN A NEW CHARACTER. 

"We mend broken china, torn lace we repair ; 
But we sell broken hearts cheap in Vanity Fair." 

she ever love anybody ? " came in a low 
voice from Rhoda, when Mrs. Latrobe had 
withdrawn. 

" Oh, I don't know ! " sobbed Phoebe, who was 
crying violently, and might have seemed to a surface 

observer the more unhappy of the two. 

" Don't weep so/' said Rhoda. u Pm sure you 
don't need. Aunt Anne will never be angry long — she 
does not care enough about anything to keep it up." 




tt 



Oh, it is not for myself, Rhoda — poor Rhoda ! " 

(< For me ? Surely not, Phcebe. I have never been 
so good to you as to warrant that." 

"I don't know whether you have been good to me 
Or you have not, Cousin ; but I am so sorry for you ! J> 

Phcebe was kneeling beside the bed. Rhoda came 
over to her, and kissed her forehead, and said — what 
was very much for Rhoda to say — " I scarce think I 
deserve you should weep for me, Phcebe." 

"But I can't help it ! " said Phcebe. 

"Well! I reckon I should have known it/' said 
Rhoda, in a rather hard tone. " I suppose that is what 
all men are like. But I did think he was true — I did ! ;> 



<( 



I never did/' responded Phcebe. 



212 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



"Well !" sighed Rhoda again. " Let it pass. Per* 
haps Mrs, Dorothy is right — 'tis best to trust none of 
then)." 

" I don't think Mrs. Dorothy said that/' replied 
Phoebe, heaving a long sigh, as she sat up and pushed 
back her ruffled hair. " I do hope I wasn't rude to 

Mother." 

" Nothing she'll care about/' said Rhoda. " I won- 
dered he did not come, Phcebe." 

" So did I, and I told him as much. But — Rhoda, 
I think perhaps we shall forgive him sooner if we don't 

talk about it." 

"Ah! I have not come to forgiving yet," was 
Rhoda's answer. " Perhaps I shall some time. 
Well ! I shall be an old maid now, Phoebe, like Mrs. 
Dorothy* I suppose you'll be the one to marry." 

" Thank you, I'd rather not ! " said Phoebe, quickly. 
"I am not sure 1 should like it at all; and I am quite 
sure I don't want to be married for my money, or for 
what people expect me to have." 

" Oh, there's nothing else in this world ! " answered 
Rhoda, with an air of immense experience. "Don't 
you expect it. Every man you come across is an avari- 
cious, designing creature. Ob dear ! 'tis a weary 
weary world, and 'tis no good living ! " 

" Yes, Rhoda dear, there is one good in living, and 
■'tis always left to us, whatever we may lose/' said 
Phoebe, earnestly. "Don't you remember what the 
Lord Jesus said to His disciples — e My meat is to do 
the will of Him that sent Me ? ' There is always that, 
Rhoda." 

" Ah, that is something I don't know anything 
about/' said Rhoda, wearily, " And I always think 'tis 
right down shabby of people to turn religious, just 
because they have lost the world, and are disappointed 



PHGlBE IN A JMK I V til A KA LT&K. 2 1 3 



and tired. And I was never cut out for a saint, Phoebe 

J tis no use ! " 
f{ Rhoda, dear, when people give all their days to 

Satan, and then turn religious, as you say, just at last, 

when they are going to die, or think they are — don't 

you think that right down shabby? The longer you 

keep away from God, the less you have to give Him 

when you come. And as " 

"I thought you Puritans always said we hadn't any- 
thing to give to God, but He gave everything to us/* 
objected Rhoda, pettishly. 

Phoebe passed the tone by, and answered the words, 

"I think there arc two things we can give to God, 
Cousin : our sins, that He may cast them into the 
depths of the sea; and ourselves, that He may save and 
train us. And the longer you stay away, the more sin 
you will have to bring; and the less time there will be 
for loving and serving Him. You will be sorry, when 
you do come, that you were not sooner." 

" How do you know I shall ? I tell you, I wasn't 
cut out for a saint/ 7 

if I think you will, Cousin, because I have asked 
Him to bring you," said Phoebe, simply; "and it must 
be His will to hear that; because He willeth not the 
death of a sinner." 

" So vou count me a sinner ! I am sure I'm very 
much obliged to you ! " said Rhoda, more in her old 
style than before. 

Yes, dear Cousin, I count vou a sinner ; and so 



j 



do I myself, and every body else," said Phoebe, gently. 

" Oh, well, I suppose we are all sinners/' admitted 
Rhoda. " Don't I keep telling you I am not made for 
a saint? " 

"But you were, Rhoda; God made you for Him- 
self," said Phoebe. 

15 



214 THE MA WENS' LODGE. 



" Oh, well 'tis no use talking ! 3} and Rhoda got up, 
and began to pull down her elaborately-dressed hair, 
with hasty, uncareful fingers. " We'd better go to bed." 

" Perhaps it isn't much use talking/' said Phoebe, 
as she rose to help her. "But it is sure to be some 
praying, so I shall go on." 

Tt was a few days later, and Phcebc was crossing 
the Park on her way to the Maidens' Lodge, carrying a 
basket of fruit sent by Mrs. Latrobe to Lady Betty. 
From all the Maidens, except Lady Betty, Mrs. Latrobe. 
held aloof. Mrs. Jane was too sharp for her, Mrs. 
Marcella too querulous, and Mrs. Dorothy too dull. 
Mrs. Clarissa she denounced as "poor vain flirt that 
could not see her time was passed," and Mrs. Eleanor, 
she declared, gave her the horrors only to look at. But 
Lady Betty she diligently cultivated. How much of her 
*egard was due to her Ladyship's title, Mrs. Latrobe did 
not explain. 

Phoebe was nearing the Maidens' Lodge, and had 
just entered the last glade on her way thither, when 
very much to her disapprobation and dismay — from a 
belt of trees on her left hand, Mr. Marcus Welles 
stepped out and stood before her. 

"Your most humble servant, Mrs. Phcebc ! I was 
very desirous to have the honour of waiting on you this 
fine morning; and thinking that I saw you at a little 
distance, I took the great liberty of accosting you. 

If Phoebe had said just what she thought, she would 
have informed Mr. Welles that he had taken a wholly 
unwarrantable liberty in so doing; for while she sagely 
counselled Rhoda to forgive the offender, she had by no 
means forgiven him herself. But being mindful of 
conventionalities, Phoebe courtesied stiffly, and left Mr. 
Welles to explain himself at his leisure. Now, Mr* 



] 



)> 



PI ICE BE IN A NEW CHARACTER, SK 



Welles had come to that glade in the Park for the 
special purpose of making a communication, which he 
felt rather an awkward one to make with that amount 
of grace which hescemed him : nevertheless, being a 
very adroit young man, and much given to turning 
corners in a rapid and elegant manner, he determined to 
go through with the matter. If it had only been anyone 
but Phoebe ! 

"Mrs. Phoebe," he began, "I cannot but flatter 
myself that you are not wholly ignorant of the high 
esteem I have long had for your deep merit. 

" Cannot you, Sir?" responded Phoebe, by no 
means in a promising manner. 

Mr. Welles felt the manner. He thought his web 
was scarcely fine-spun enough. He must begin again. 

ff I trust that Madam is in good health, Mrs, 
Phcebe ? " 

fc My mother is very well, I thank you, Sir." 
You arc yourself in good health, I venture to hope, 



)> 



(( 



Madam ? " 

"I am, Sir, I thank you." 

The task which Mr. Welles had set himself, as he 
perceived with chagrin, was proving harder than he had 
anticipated. Phcebe evidently intended to waste no 
more time on him than she could help. 

"The state of affairs at White- Ladies is of infinite 
concern to me, Madam." 

" Is it, Sir ? " 

rr Undoubtedly, Madam. Your health and happi- 
ness — all of you — a.re extreme dear to me." 

"Really, Sir!" 

u Especially yours, Madam." 

Phcebe made no answer to this. Her silence encou- 
raged Mr. Welles to proceed. He thought his tactics 
had succeeded, and the creature was coming round by 



)} 



2i 6 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 

degrees. The only point now requiring care was not to 
startle her away again. 

" Allow me to assure you, Madam, that your welfare 
is in my eyes a matter of infinite concern." 

" So you said, Sir/' was Phoebe's cool reply, 

Mr. Welles was very uncomfortable. Had he made 
any mistake ? Was it possible that, after all, the crea- 
ture was not coming round in an orthodox manner ? 

"Madam, give me leave to assure you, moreover, 
that I am infinitely attached to you, and desire no higher 
happiness than to be permitted to offer you my service. 

It was an instant before Phoebe recognized that 
Mr. Marcus Welles was actually making her an offer. 
When she did, her answer was immediate and unmis- 
takable. 

" Don't you, Mr. Welles ? " said Phoebe. "Then 
I do i " 

"Madam, have you misapprehended me?" demanded 
her suitor, to whom the idea of any woman refusing him 
was an impossibility not to be entertained for a moment. 

" I should be glad if I had/' said Phcebc. 

"You must be labouring under some mistake, 
Madam. I have an estate which brings me in three 
thousand a year, and I am my own master. 'Tis nof 
an opportunity a maid can look to meet with every day, 
nor is it every gentlewoman that I would ask to be my 
wife." 

" No — only a golden one ! " said Phoebe. 

" Madam ! " 

Phoebe turned, and their eyes met. 

"Mr. Welles, give me leave to tell you the truth : 
you do not hear it often. You do not wish to marry 
me. You wish to obtain White-Ladies. 'Tis of no 
consequence to you whether the woman that must needs 
come with it be Phcebe Latrobe or Rhoda PcvcriL My 



PHCEBE IN A NEW CHARACTER. 217 



cousin would please you better than I; but you rcallv 
care not a straw for either of us. You only want the 
estate. Allow me in my turn to assure you that, so far 
as I am concerned, you will not get it. The man who 
could use my cousin as you have done may keep awav 
from endeavouring my favour. I wish you a very good 
morning, Mr. Welles/' 

" I beg, Madam, that you will permit me to ex- 
plain " stammered Mr. Welles, whose grace and 

tactics alike forsook him under the treatment to which 
he was subjected by Phoebe. 

"Sir, there is nothing to explain." 

And with a courtesy which could be construed into 
nothing but final dismissal, Phcebe left her astonished 
suitor to stand and look after her with the air of a beaten 
general, while she turned the corner of the Maidens' 
Lodge, and made her way to Lady Betty's door. 

Lady Betty was at that moment giving an "at 
home" on the very minute scale permitted by the dimi- 
nutive appointments of the Maidens' Lodge. Mrs. 
Jane Talbot and Mrs. Dorothy Jennings were seated at 
her little tea-table. 

" Why, my dear Mrs. Phcebe ! what an unlooked- 
for pleasure ! ,; exclaimed Lady Betty, coming forward 
cordially. 

If her cordiality had been a shade more distinct 
since Phcebe became heiress of Cressingham — well, she 
was only human. The other ladies present had sus- 
tained no such change. 

" The Lord bless thee, dear child ! " was the warm 
greeting of Mrs. Dolly ; but it had been quite as warm 
lone: before. 

"Evening! " said Mrs. Jane, with a sarcastic grin. 
tf Got it over, has he ? Saw you through the side 
window. Bless you, child, I know all about it — I ex 



21S THE AfAWEXS 9 LODGE. 



tc 



pected that all along. Mope you let him catch it — the 

jackanapes! " 

" I did not let him catch me, Mrs. Jane/' answered 

Phcebe, with some dignity. 

"That's right! " said Mrs. Jane, decidedly. "That 
bundle of velvet and braid would never have made any 
way with me, when I was your age, my dear. Why, 

any mantua-maker could cut him out of snips, and have 
some stuff left over." 

"He is of very good family, my dear Mrs. Jane," 
observed Lady Betty; "at least, if I take you rightly in 
supposing you allude to Mr. Welles." 

More pity for the family! " answered Mrs. Jane. 
"Glad I'm not his mother. Ruin me to keep him in 
order. Cost a fortune in whip-Icathcr. How's Mrs. 
Rhoda ? " 

" She is very well, I thank you, Madam." 

"Is she crying out her eves over that piece of fiddle- 
faddle ? " 

"I think she has finished for the present," replied 
Phcebe, rather drily. 

"Just you tell her he's been making up to you. Best 
thing you can do. Cure her sooner than anything else." 

"Mrs. Phoebe, mv dear, may I beg of you to do me 
the favour to let Madam know that my niece, my Lady 
Delawarr, is much disordered in her health ? 



» 



" Certainly, my Lady Betty; lam grieved to hear it. 

"Very much so, as 'tis feared; and Sir Richard 
hath asked me thither to visit her, and see after matters 
a little while she is laid by. I purpose to go thither this 
next week, but I would not do so without paying my 
rerpects to Madam, for which honour I trust to wait on 
her to-morrow. Indeed, my dear — and if you will 
mention it to Madam, you will do me a service — Sir 
Richard's letter is not without some importunity that 



r IKE BE IN A AEW CHARACTER. 219 



(( 



should my niece be laid aside for any time, as her phy- 
sician fears, I would remove altogether, and make my 
home with them." 

"Indeed, Madam, I will tell my mother all about it." 

" I thank vou, mv dear; 't will be a kindness. Of 
course, I would not like to leave without Madam's con- 
currence." 

"That you will have," quietly said Mrs. Dorothy. 

" Indeed, so I hope," returned Lady Betty. <f I 
dare sav Mrs. Phcebe here at least does not know that 
when my nephew Sir Richard was young, after his 
mother died — my poor sister Penelope — he was bred up 
wholly in my care, so that he looks on me rather as his 
mother than his aunt, and 'tis but natural that his 
thoughts should turn to me in this trouble." 

You must have been a young aunt, my Lady 
Bettv," remarked Mrs. Dorothy. 

"Truly, but twelve years elder than my nephew," 
said Lady Betty, with a smile. 

" Clarissa would have told us that, without waiting 
to be asked," laughed Mrs. Jane. "How are the girls, 
my Lady Betty ? " 

"Very well, as I hear. You know, I guess, that 
Betty is engaged in marriage ? " 

"So we heard. To Sir Charles Rich, is it not? " 

"The same. But maybe you have not heard of 
Molly's conquest ? " asked Lady Betty, with an amused 
little laugh. 

"What, is Mrs. Molly in any body's chains?" 

"Indeed, I guess not, Mrs. Jane," replied Lady 
Betty, still laughing. " I expect my friend Mr. Thomas 
Maimvaring is in Molly's chains, if chains there be. 



33 



"Eh, she'll lead him a weary life ! " said Mrs. Jane. 

"Let us hope she will sober down," answered Lady 

Betty. " 1 am not unwilling to allow there hath of late 



22o THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



been room for improvement. Yet is there some good 
in Molly, as I think." 

Phoebe remembered Molly's assistance in the matter 
of Mr. Edmundson, and thought it might he so. 



>> 



a 



" Well, and what of Mrs. Gatty ? 
Ah, poor maid ! She, at least, can scarce hope to 
be happy, her disfigurement is so unfortunate." 

" I must needs ask your pardon, my Ladv Betty, 
but I trust that is not the case," said Mrs. Dorothy, 
with a gentle smile. "Sure, happiness doth not depend 
on face nor figure ? " 

The world mostly reckons so, T believe," an- 
swered Lady Betty, with a responsive smile. " Maybe, 
we pick up such words, and use them, in something too 
heedless a manner." 

" I am mightily mistaken if Mrs, Gatty do not prove 
the happiest of the three," was Mrs. Dorothy's reply. 

Mrs. Dorothy rose to go home, and Phoebe took leave 
at the same time. She felt tired and harassed, and longed 



a 



for the rest of a little quiet talk with her old friend. 

"And how doth Mrs. Rhoda take this, mv dear?" 
was the old lady's first question, when Phoebe had 
poured out her story. 

"She seemed very much troubled at first, and angry; 
but I fancy she is getting over it now." 

"Which most? — troubled or angry ? 

" I think — after a few minutes, at least — more 
angry." 

"Then she will quickly recover. I do not think she 
loved him, Phcebe. She liked him, I have no doubt : 
and she flattered herself that he loved her ; but if she 
be more angry than hurt, that shows that her pride 
suffers rather than her love. At least," said Mrs. 
Dorothy, correcting herself, "I mean it looks so. Who 
am I, that I should judge her ?" 



PHCF.BE IN A NEW CHARACTER. 221 



" I wanted it to do her some good, Mrs. DoJly. It 
seems hard to have the suffering, and not get the 
good. 

"'Tis not easv for men to tell what does jrood, and 
when. We cannot as concerns ourselves; how then 



y> 



)> 



<( 



ohall we judge for others ? 

"I wonder what Rhoda will do now}" sugTcstcd 
Phoebe, after a minute's silence. 

She looked up, and saw an expression, which war; 
the mixture of pity and amusement, on Mrs. Dorothy's 
lips. The amusement died away, but the pity remained 
and grew deeper. 

" Can you guess, Mrs. Dolly ?" 

'Lord, and what shall this man do ?* You know 
the answer, Pheebe." 

" Yes, I know : but Mrs. Dorothy, would you 

not like to know the future ? " 

" Certainly not, dear child. I am very thankful for 
the mist which my Father hath cast as a veil over mv 
eyes." 

" But if you could see what would come, is it not 
very likelv that there would not he some things which 
you would be glad and relieved to find absent? " 

" Very likely. The things of which we stand 
especially in fear often fail to come at all. But there 
would be other things, which T should be very sorry to 
find, and much astonished too." 

" I wonder sometimes, what will be in my life/' said 
Pheebe, dreamily. 

"That which thou needest," was the quiet answer. 

"What do I need ? " asked Pheebe. 

"To have thy will moulded after God's will." 

"Do you think I don't wish God's will to be done, 

Mrs. Dorothy? " 

Mrs. Dorothy smiled. "I quite believe, dear child. 



222 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



thou art willing He should have His way with respect 
to all the things thou dost not care about/' 

"Mrs. Dorothv!" 

"My dear, that is what most folks call being re- 
signed to the will of God." 

"Mrs. Dolly, why do people always talk as though 
God's will must be something dread Ail ? If somebody 
die, or if some accident happen, they say, 'Ah, J tis 
God's will, and we must submit/ But when something 
pleasant comes, they never say it then. Don't you 
think the pleasant things are God's will, as well as the 
disagreeable ones ? u 

" More so, Phoebe. ' In all our affliction, He is 
afflicted/ ' He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve 
the children of men/ Pleasant things are what He 
loves to give us ; bitter things, what He needs must/' 

"Then why do people talk so ? " repeated Phoebe. 

"Ah, why do they ? " said Mrs. Dorothy. " Man 
is always "wronging God. Not one of us all is so 
cruelly misunderstood of his fellows as all of us mis- 
understand Him/' 

"Yet He forgives," said Phoebe softly: "and some- 
times we don't." 

" He is always forgiving, Phoebe. The inscription 
is graven not less over the throne in Heaven than over 
the cross on earth, — 'This Man rcccivcth sinners/" 

There was a pause of some minutes; and as Phoebe 
rose to go,, Mrs. Dorothy said, 

" I wil'i tell vou one thing I have noted, child, as I 
have gone through life. Very often there has been some- 
thing looming, as it were, before me that I had to do, 
or thought I should have to bear,— and in the distance 
and the darkness it took a dread shape, and I looked 
forward to it with terror. And when it has come at 
last, it has often — I say not always, but often — proved 



Pli C3D ~ IN A NIL I V CI I A RA C TER. 1 2 3 



to be at times a light and easy cross, even at times an 
absolute pleasure. Again, there hath often been some- 
thing in the future that I have looked forward to as a 
great good and delight, which on its coming hath 
turned out a positive pain and evil. 'Tis better we 
should not know the future, dear Phccbe. Our Father 
knows every step of the way: is not that enough? Our 
Elder Brother hath trodden every step, and will go with 
us through the wilderness. Perfect wisdom and perfect 
love have prepared all things. Ah, child, thy fathers 
were wise men to sinir as thev sans:— 

( III on sort n'est pas a plaindre, 
II est a desirer; 
Je n'ai plus rien a craindre, 
Car Dieu est mon Berger. ,0 

"Cut, Mrs. Dolly 1 suppose it can't be so, yet 

it docs seem as if there were some things in life 
which the Lord Jesus did not go through/' 



o 
1 >) 



11 What things, my dear ? 

(i Well, we never read of His having any kind ot 
sickness for one thine;." 

"Are you sure of that? 'Himself took our 
infirmities, and bare our sicknesses/ looks very Jike the 
opposite. You and I have no idea, Phcebe, how He 
spent thirty out of thirty-three years of His mortal 
life. He may — mind, I don't say it was so, for I don't 
know — but He may have spent much of them in a sick 
chamber. He was ' in all points tempted Jike as we 
arc.' My father used to tell me that the word there 
rendered i tempted' signifies not only temptations of 
Satan, but trials sent of God." 



i< 



But — He was never a woman, Mrs. Dolly." 



" And therefore cannot feel for a woman as though 
He had been, — is that thy meaning, dear ? Nay, 
Phcebej I believe He was the only creature that ever 



224 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



dwelt on earth in whom were the essential elements 
both of man and woman. lie took 13 is flesh of thi? 
woman only. The best part of each was in Him, 
the strength and intelligence of the man, the love and 
tenderness of the woman. 'Tis modish to say women 
are tender, Phoebe; more modish than true. Many are 
soft, but few are tender. But He was tenderness itself/' 
" I don't think women alwavs are tender/' said 
Phoebe. 

u Mv dear," said Mrs. Dorothv, tc you may Iamh 
at me, but I am very much out of conceit with my own 
sex. A good woman is a very precious thing, Phoebe; 
the rather since 'tis so rare. But an empty, foolish, 
frivolous woman is a sad, sad sight to see. Methinks 
I could scarce bear with such, but for four words that 
I see, as it were, graven on their brows, — f For whom 
Christ died!'" 



u Very good ! yy said Mrs. Latrobe. " I will not 
conceal from you, Phoebe, that I am extreme gratified 
with this decision of Lady Betty. I trust she will 
carry it out." 

Phcebe felt a good deal surprised. Lady Betty had 
been the only inmate of the Lodge whose society her 
mother had apparently cared to cultivate, and yet she 
expressed herself much pleased to hear of her probable 
departure. She remembered, too, that Mrs. Dorothy 
had expected Mrs. Latrobe's assent. To herself it was 
a mystery. 

Mrs. Latrobe gave no explanation at the time. She 
went at once to another part of the subject, informing 
Phcebe that she had asked Betty and Molly Delawarr 
on a visit. Gatty had been invited also, but had de- 
clined to leave her mother in her present condition. 
Phcebe received this news with some trepidation. 



PIKE BE IN A NE W CtIA PA C TEP. 2 2 5 



Had it been Betty alone, she would not have minded ; 
for she thought her very good-natured, and could not 
understand Rhoda's expressed dislike to her. But 
Molly ! — Phoebe tried to remember that Molly had done 
one kind action, and hoped she would be on her best 
behaviour at White-Ladies. Mrs. Latrobe went on to 
sav that she wished Phcebe to share her room with 
Betty, and would put Rhodaand Molly in another. But 
when Phcebe ventured to ask if Rhoda might not retain 
the room which she knew her to prefer, and Phoebe her- 
self be the one to change, Airs. Latrobe refused to 
entertain the proposition. 

"No, my dear, certainly not. You forget your sta- 
tion, Phoebe. You are the daughter of this house, not" 
your cousin. You must not be thinking of how things 
were. They have changed. I could not think of 
allowing Rhoda to have the best chamber. Besides, 
she has got to come down, and she had best know it at 
once." 



a 



What do you mean, Madam, if vou please ? " 



"What do I mean ? Why, surely you have some 
sense of what is proper. You don't fancy she could 
continue to live here, do you ? If she had married 
Mr. Welles, I should have said nothing against her 
staying here till her marriage — of course, if it were a 
reasonable time ; but now that is all over. She must 



go-" 



"Go! }} gasped Phcebe. "Go whither, Madam ? 



>> 



"I shall offer her the choice of two things, my 
dear. She can either go to service, in which case I 
will not refuse to take the trouble to look out a service 
for her— I am wishful to let her down srcntlv, and be 
very good to her; or, if she prefer that, she may have 
my Lady Betty's house as soon as she is gone. Have 
you any idea which she will choose ? " 



223 The maidens* lodge. 



cc 



)) 



« Service ! The Maidens' Lodge ! Rhoda ! " 

"My dear Phoebe, how very absurd you are. What 
do you mean by such foolish ejaculations ? Rhoda 
will be uncommonly well off. You forget she has the 
interest of her money, and she has some good jewellery; 
she mav make a decent match yet, if she is wise. But 
in the meantime, she must live somehow. Of course 
I could not keep her here — it would spoil your pros- 
pects, simpleton! She has a better figure than you, and 
she has more to say for herself. You must not expect 
any body to look at you while she is here." 

Oh, never mind that ! " came from the depth of 
Phoebe's heart. 

"But, my dear, I do mind it. I must mind it. You 
do not understand these things, Phoebe. Why, I do 
believe, with a very little encouragement — which I mean 
him to have — Mr. Welles himself would ofler for you. 

" That is over, Madam." 

t( What is over ? Phoebe ! what do you mean ? Has 
Mr. Welles really spoken to you ? n 

" Yes, Madam/' 

When, my dear? " asked Mrs. Latrobe, in a tone 
of deep interest. 

f, This afternoon, Madam/* 

"That is right! I am so pleased. I was afraid he 
would want a good deal of management. And you've 
no more notion how to manage a man than that 
parrot. I should have to do it all myself. 

I beg your pardon, Madam/' said Phoebe, with 
some dignity ; " 1 gave him an answer/' 

" Of course, you did, my dear. I am only afraid— 
sometimes, my dear Phoebe, you let your shyness ti"et 
the better of you till you seem quite silly — I am afraid> 
I say, that you would hardly speak with becoming 
warmth. Still " 



a 



j> 



a 



P IKE BE IN A NEW CHARACTER. in? 



"I think, Madam, I was as warm as you would 
have wished me," said Phoebe, drily. 

" Oh, of course, there is a limit, my dear," said Mrs. 
Latrobc, bridling. "Well, I am so glad that it is 
settled. 'Tis just what I was wishing for you." 

" I fear, Madam, you misconceive me/' said Phoebe, 
looking up, "and ; tis settled the other way from what 
you wished." 

" Child, what can you mean ?" asked Mrs. Latrobe, 
with sudden sharpness. " You never can have refused 
such an excellent oiler ? What did you say to Mr. 
Welles ? " 

"I sent him awav, and told him never to come near 
me again." Phoebe spoke with warmth enough now. 

"Phoebe, you must be a lunatic ! " burst from her 
mother. " I could not have believed you would be guilty 
of such supreme, unpardonable folly ! " 

" Sure," said Phoebe, looking up, " you would never 
have had mc marry a man whom I despised in my 
heart ) " 

"Dcsoiscd! I protest, Phoebe, you are worse and 
worse* What do you mean by saying you despise Mr. 
Welles? A man of excellent manners and faultless 
taste, of good family, with an estate of three thousand 
a year, and admirable prospects when his old uncle 
dies, who is nearly seventy now — why, Phoebe, you 
must be a perfect fool 1 I am amazed at you beyond 
words." 

There was a light in Phoebe' s eyes which was be- 
yond Mrs* Latrobe's comprehension. 

"Mother !" came from the girl's lips, with a soft 
intonation— "Father would not have asked me to do 

that ! " 

" Really, my dear, if you expect that I am to rulg 
rnvself by your father's notions, you expect a great 



228 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



deal too much. He was not a man of the world at 

all " 

" He was not ! " 

" Not in the least! — and he had not the faintest 

idea what would be required of you when you came to 
your present position. Don't quote him, I beg of you ! 
Well, real I v, Phoebe — I don't know what to do now. 
I wish I had known of it ! Still I don't see, if he were 
determined to speak to you, how I could have prevented 
you from making such a goose of yourself. I do wish 
he had asked me ! I should have accepted him at once 
for you, and not given you the chance to refuse. What 

did you say to him? Is it quite hopeless to try and win 
him back ?" 

"Quite," said Phoebe, shortly. 

"i3ut I want to know exactly what you said." 

" I told him I believed he wanted the estate, and 
not me; and that after behaving to my cousin as he 
did, he did not need to expect to get either it or me." 

" Phoebe ! what preposterous folly ! " said Mrs. 
Latrobe. "Well, child, you are a fool — that's as plain 
as a pikestaff} but " 

" You're a fool ! " came in a screech from the 
parrot's cage, followed by a burst of laughter. 

<f But 'tis no use crying over spilt milk. If we 
have lost Mr. Welles, we have lost him; and we must 
try for some one else. Oh dear, how hot it is! Phoebe, 
I wonder when you will have any sense. I do beseech 
you, my dear, never to play the same game with anyone 
else." 

u I hope, Mother," said Phcebe, gravely, t( that I 
shall never have occasion." 

" What a lot of geese ! " said the parrot. 



CHAPTER XII. 

ENDS IN THE MAIDENS* LODGE. 

* ( Mother, Mother, up in Heaven, 
Stand up on the jasper sea, 
And be witness I have given 
All the gifts required of me." 



Elisabeth Barrett Browning. 



^^EFORE these young gentlewomen come, 

Rhoda, I want a word with you." 
"Yes, Madam/' 




" I am sure, my dear, that you have too much wit 

to object to what I am about to say." 

Rhoda had learned to dread this beginning, as it 
was generally (he prelude to something disagreeable. 
But she was ]eai\iin<jr, also, to submit to disagreeable 
things. She only said, meekly, "Yes, Madam/' 

"J suppose, my dear, you will have felt, like a maid 
of some parts and spirit as you are, that your dwelling 
any longer with me and Phcebe in this house would 
not be proper." 

<f Not be proper ! " Rhoda's cheek blanched. She 
had never recognized anything of the kind. Was she 
not only to lose her fortune, but to be turned out of her 
home ? When would her calamities come to an end ? 
" Not proper, Aunt Anne ! — why not?" 

This was not altogether an easy question to answer 
with any reason but the real one, which last must not 
be told to Rhoda. Mrs. Latrobe put on an air of 
injured astonishment. 



1* 



230 THE MAIDENS 9 LODGE. 



Cl My dear ! — sure, you would not have me tell you 
that ? No, no ! — your own good parts, T am certain, 
must have assured you. Now, Rhoda, I wish, so far 
as is possible, to spare you all mortification. If you 
consider that it would be easier to you to support your 
altered fortunes elsewhere, I am very willing to put my- 
self to some trouble to obtain for you a suitable service; 
or if, on the other hand, you have not this sensibility, 
then my Lady Betty's cottage is at your disposal when 
she leaves it. The time that these young gentlewomen 
are here will be enough to think over the matter. When 
they go, I shall expect your answer/' 

Had Phoebe wished to tell out to Rhoda a recom- 
pencc of distress equivalent to every annoyance which 
she had ever received from her, she could have wished 
for no revenge superior to that of this moment. For 
her, who had all her life, until lately, looked forward to 
dispensing her favours as the Queen of Cressingham, 
to be offered apartments in the Maidens' Lodge as an 
indigent gentlewoman, was in her eyes about the last 
insult and degradation which could be inflicted on her. 
She went white and red by turns ; she took up the hem 
of her apron, and began to plait it in folds, with as 
much diligence as though it had been a matter of seriou 
importance that there should be a given number of 
plaits to an inch, and all of the same width to a thread. 
Still she did not speak. 

Mrs. Latrobe required no words to inform her of 
what was passing in Rhoda's mind. But she fore- 
stalled any words which might have come, by an affec- 
tation of misunderstanding her. 

"You see, my dear Rhoda," she said, in a would-be 
affectionate tone, "I am bound to do all I can for mv 
only sister's only child. I would not do you so much 
injury as to suppose yon insensible to the kindness I 



s 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 2*1 



have shown you. Indeed, if you had been something 
younger, and had wished to learn any trade, I would 
willingly have paid the premium with you. And 'tis no 
slight matter, I can assure you. Eighty pounds would 
have been the least for which I could have put you with 
a milliner or mantua-makcr, to learn her trade. But, 
however, 'tis no good talking of that, for you are a good 
nine years too old. So there is nothing before you but 
service, without you marry, or to take my Lady Betty's 
house. Now, my dear, you may go and divert your- 
self; we will not talk of this matter again till the young 
gentlewomen have ended their visit." 

And with a nod of dismissal, Mrs. Latrobe rose 
and passed out of the room, evidently considering her 
duties exceeded by her merits, and leaving Rhoda too 
stunned for words. 

Trade, indeed 1 If there could be a deeper depth 
than the Maidens' Lodge, it was trade, in Rhoda's eyes. 
Domestic service was incomparably more respectable 
and honourable. As to matrimony, which her aunt 
had, as it were, flung into the scales as she passed, 
Rhoda's heart was still too sore to think of it. 

An hour later brought Betty and Molly. 

<c How do you, Rhoda, dear? " inquired the former, 
kindly. 

<( Well ! — got over it, Red Currants ? " interrogated 
Molly. 

" Over what, I beg? " said Rhoda, rather haughtily. 

Molly sang her answer : 

" ' I lost my looks, I lost my health, 
I lost my wit — my love kept true ; 
But one fine day I lost my wealth, 
And, presto ! off my lover flew/ 

"Isn't that about it, old Tadpole ? " 



252 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



" Your's hasn't," retorted Rhoda, carrying the 



attack into the enemy's country. 



(£ 



No; I haven't lost my wealth yet," said Molly, 
gravely for her. 

" Who told you ? " whispered Phoebe. 

"O Gemini! isn't that a good jest?" responded 
Molly, not at all in a whisper. "'Who told me?' 
just as if three hundred and sixty-five people hadn't 
told me. Told me more jokes than one, too, Mrs. 
Phcebe Latrobe ; told me how you sent off Master 
Marcus with all the starch washed out of him. Got- 
up Marcus in the rough dry — O Gemini ! " and Molly 
almost shrieked with laughter. " Poor wretch ! Hasn't 
had the heart to powder himself since. And she told 
him to his face he wanted the guineas. — Oh how jolly ! 
Wouldn't I have given a pretty penny to sec his face ! 
Phoebe, you're tiptop." 

"What on earth are you talking about?" asked 
Rhoda, with something of her old sharp maimer. 

"Talking about your true and constant lover, my 
charmer," said Molly. " His heart was broken to bits 
by losing — your money ; so he picked up the pieces, 
and pasted them together, and offered the pretty little 
thing to your cousin, as the nearest person to you. 
But she, O cruel creature ! instead of giving him an 
etiquet of admission to her heart, what does she but 
come down on the wretch's corns with a blunderbuss, 
and crush his poor pasted heart into dust. Really " 

"Molly, my dear!" said Betty, laughing. "Does 
a man's heart lie in his corns? " 

" If you wish to know, Mrs. Betty Delawarr, the 
conclusions to which I have come on that subject, 
replied Molly, in her gravest mock manner, " they are 
these. Most men haven't any hearts. They have 
pretty little ornaments, made of French paste, which 



» 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS 1 LODGE. 233 



(C 



a 



» 



y> 



do instead. They get smashed about once in six 
months, then they are pasted up, and nobody ever 
knows the difference. There isn't much, when 'tis 

nicelv done." 

" Pray, Molly, how many women have hearts ? " 
Not one among 'em, present company excepted. 
Oh, Molly, Molly!" said Betty, still laughing. 

" I thank you, in the name of present company, 
added Rhoda ; but there was a glitter in her eyes which 
was not mirth. 

"Now, Red Gooseberries (rather sour just now), 
you listen to me," said Molly. " If you have got a 
heart (leave that to you !), don't you let it waste away 
for that piece of flummery. There's Osmund Derwent 
breaking his for you, and I believe he has one. Take 
him — you'll never do better ; and if I tell you lies for 
the rest of my life, I've spoken truth this time. — Now, 

Fib, aren't you going to show such distinguished 
visitors into the parlour ? " 

"Oh, I beg your pardon!" exclaimed Phoebe; "I 
was listening to you." 

"Madam, I thank you for the compliment," and, 
with a low courtesy, Molly gave her sister a push 
before her into the presence of Mrs. Latrobe. 

" Phoebe, come here ! " cried Rhoda, in a hoarse 

whisper, drawing her cousin aside into one of the deep 

recessed windows of the old hall, once the refectory of 

the Abbey. "Tell me, did Marcus Welles offer to 
you ? " 

" Yes," said Phoebe, and said no more. 



€( 



And you refused him ? " 



"Why, Rhoda, dear! Yes, of course." 

"Not for my sake, T hope. Phoebe, I would not 

marry him now, if he came with his hat full of 

diamonds" 



23+ THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



({ Make your mind easy, clear. I never would have 
done." 

tc Do you know, Phoebe, Aunt Anne has offered to 
put me in the Maidens' Lodge ? " 

"She talked of it," said Phoebe, pitifully. 

c< I am not going there," responded Rhoda, in a 
decisive tone. " I'll go to service first. Perhaps, I can 
come. down so much, away from here; but to do it 
here, where I thought to be mistress ! — no, I could not 
stand that, Phoebe." 



a 



tc 



)> 



I am sorry you have to stand any of it, dear 
Rhoda." 

You are a good little thing, Fib ; I could not bear 
you to pity me if you were not. If Aunt Anne had but 
half your- 

" Phcebe, where are you ? Really, my dear, I am 
quite shocked at your negligence ! Carry the young 
gentlewomen up to their chambers, and let Rhoda wait 
on them. I take it extreme ill you should have left 

them so long. Do, my dear, remember your position ! " 
Remember her position! Phcebe was beginning to 

wish heartily that she might now and then be permitted 

to forget it. 

The four girls went upstairs together. 

a I sav, Fib, did you ever shoot a waterfall in a 
coble ? " inquired Molly. 

Phcebe felt safe in a negative. 

"Because I've heard folks say who have, that 'tis 
infinitely pleasant, when you come alive out of it; but 
then, you see, there's a little doubt about that." 

" I don't understand you, Mrs. Molly." 

"No, my dear, very like yon don't. Well, youT 
find out when you've shot 'em. You're only a passen- 
ger; no blame to you if you don't come out alive." 



« 



Who's rowing, Molly i " asked Rhoda. 



ENDS IX THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 23$ 



5 



" Somebody that isn't used to handling the oars/' 
said Molly. " And if she don't get a hole stove in 
Glad 'tis no concern of mine ! " 

"How does Gatty now? " asked Rhoda. 

"O she is very well, I thank you," replied Betty. 

" Is she promised yet ? " 

"Dear, no," said Betty, in a pitying tone. 

" Rank cruelty, only to think on it," said Molly. 
"She'll just come in, as pat as vinegar to lettuce, to 
keep you company in the Maidens' Lodge, my beloved 
Rhoda." 

Rhoda' 3 lip trembled slightly, but she asked, quietly 
enough — 



" Which is the vinegar ? " 

Molly stood for a moment with her head on one 
side, contemplating Rhoda. 

"Been putting sugar to it, Fib, haven't you ? Well, 
'tis mighty good stuff to cure a cough." 

" Phoebe," said her mother that evening, when 
prayers were over, " I wish to speak with you in my 
chamber before you go to yours." 

Phoebe obeyed the order with a mixture of wonder 
and trepidation. 

"My dear, I have good news for you. I have 
chosen your husband." 

" Mother ! " 

" Pray, why not, my dear? *Tis an ingenious young 
man, reasonable handsome, and very suitable for age 
and conditions. 1 have not vet broke the matter to 
him, but I cannot doubt of a favourable answer, for he 
hath no fortune to speak of, and is like to be the more 
manageable, seeing all the money will come from you. 
You met with him, T believe, at Delawarr Court. His 
name is Derwent. I shall not write to him while these 
young gentlewomen are here, but directly they are gone: 



236 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



yet I wish to give you time to become used to it, and I 

name it thus early/' 

Phcebe felt any reply impossible. 

" Good night, my dear. I am sure you will like 
Mr. Dement/' 

Phcebe went back along the gallery like one walking 
in a dream. How was this tangled skein ever to be 
unravelled ? Had she any right to speak ? had she any 
to keep silence ? And a cry of "Teach me to do Thy 
will !" went up beyond the stars. "I don't know what 
is right/' said Phcebe, plaintively, to her own heart. 
"Lord, Thou knowest ! Make Thy way plain before 
my face/' It seemed to her that, knowing what she 
did, there would be one thing more terrible than a 
refusal from Mr. Derwent, and that would be accept- 
ance. It seemed impossible to pray for either. She 
could only put the case into God's hands, with the 
entreaty of Hezekiah : " O Lord, I am oppressed : 
undertake for me/' 

It did not make the matter any easier that, a few 
days later, Rhoda said suddenly, when she and Phcebe 
were alone, 

"Do you remember that Mr. Derwent who was at 
Delawarr Court ? " 

" Yes/' said Phcebe, and said no more. 

"Betty tells me she thought he had a liking for 
me/' 

Phcebe was silent. Would the actual question 
come ? 

" I wonder if it was true," said Rhoda. 

Still Phcebe went on knitting in silence, with down- 
cast eyes. 

"I almost begin, Phcebe, to wish it had been, do 
you know? I liked him very well. And — I want some- 
body to care for me/' 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 237 



iC Yes, poor dear/' said Phoebe, rising hurriedly, 
" Excuse me, I must fetch more wool." 

And she did not seem to hear Rhoda call afte* 

her 

" Why, Phoebe, here's your wool — a whole ball ! *' 



a 



Pretty kettle of fish 1 " screamed the parrot. 



Betty and Molly had gone home. Mr. Onslow had 
read prayers, the servants were filing out of the room, 
and Rhoda was lisrhtine; the candles. 

u Well, my dear/' asked Mrs. Latrobe, looking up 
rather suddenly, "is your decision taken ? " 

" It is, Madam," readily answered her niece. 

" So much the better. What is it, my dear ? " 

iC I should prefer to go to service, if you please, 
Madam/' 

tf You would ! " Mrs. Latrobe's tone showed 
surprise. u Very well : I promised you your choice. 
As lady's woman, I suppose ? " 

" If you please, Madam." 

" Certainly, my dear. It shall be as you wish. 
Then to-morrow I will begin to look out for you. I 
should think I shall hear of a place in a week or two." 

Rhoda made no answer, but took up her candle, and 
departed with merely, "Good-night, Madam. " 

But as Phoebe went upstairs behind her, she noted 
Rhoda's bowed head, her hand tightly grasping the 
banisters, her drowning, farewell look at the family 
portraits, as she passed them on her way up the 
corridor. At length she paused before three which 

hunff together. 

In the midst stood their grandmother, a handsome, 

haughty figure, taken at about the age of thirty ; and on 
either side a daughter, at about eighteen years of age. 
Rhoda lifted her light first to Madam's face. She said 



fi^S THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



j 



nothing to indicate her thoughts there, but passed on, 
and paused for another minute before the pretty, spark- 
ling face of Anne Latrobe. Then she came back, 
and raised the light, for a longer time than either, 
to the pale, regular, unexpressive features of Catherine 
Peveril. Phoebe waited for her to speak. It came at 
last. 

ct I never knew her/' said Rhoda, in a choked voice. 
"I wonder if they know what is happening on earth/* 

" I should not think so/' answered Phcebe, softly. 

« Well,— I hope not 1 " 

The hand which held the lifted light came down, and 
Rhoda passed into her own room, and at once knelt 
down to her prayers. Phcebe stood irresolute, her heart 
beatinor ]ike a hammer. An idea had occurred to her 
which, if it could be carried into effect, would help 
Rhoda out of all her trouble. But in order to be so, it 
was necessary that she herself must commit — in her 
own eyes — an act of unparalleled audacity. Could she 
do it ? The minute seemed an hour. Phcebe heard her 
mother go upstairs, and shut her door. A rapid prayer 
went to God for wisdom. Her resolution grew stronger. 
She took up her candle, stole softly downstairs, found 
the silver inkstand and the box of perfumed letter-paper. 
There were only a few words written when Phcebe had 
done. 

" Sir, — If you were now to come hither. I ttunke you wou'd 
win my cosen. A verie few dayes may be too late. Forgive 
the liberty I take. 

" Yours to serve you, 

"Phcebe Latrobe." 

The letter was folded and directed to "Mr. Osmund 
Derwent, Esq." And then, for one minute, human 
nature had its way, and Phcebc's head was bowed over 
the folded note. There was no one to see her, and she 



£XDS IN THE MAIDENS* LODGE. 2tf 



let her heart relieve itself in tears. Aye, there was One, 
ivho took note of the self-abnegation which had been 
learned from Him. Phcebe knew that Osmund Denvent 
did not love her. Yet was it the less hard on that 
account to resign him to Rhoda ? For time and circum- 
stances might have shown him the comparatively alloyed 
metal of the one, and the pure gold of the other. He 
might have loved Phcebe, even yet, as matters stood 
now. But Phoebe's love was true. She was ready to 
secure his happiness at the cost of her own. It was not 
of that false, selfish kind which seeks merely its own 
happiness in the beloved one, and will give him leave to 
be happy only in its own way. Yet, after all, Phoebe 
v/as human; and some very sorrowful tears were shed, 
for a few minutes, over thatgift laid on the altar. Though 
the drops were salt, they would not tarnish the gold. 

It was but for a few minutes that Phcebe dared to 
remain there. She wiped her eyes and forced back her 
tears. Then she went upstairs and tapped at Betty's 
door. 

" There's that worriting Sue," she heard Betty say 
inside; and then the door was opened. "Mrs. Phcebe, 
my dear, I ask twenty pardons; I thought 'twas that 
Sukcy, — she always comes a-worriting. What can I do 
for you, my dear? 

" I want you to get that letter ofF first thing in the 
morning, Betty." 

Betty turned the letter all ways, scanned the address, 
and inspected the seal. 

" Mrs. Phcebe, you'll not bear me malice, I hope. 
You know you're only young, my dear. Are you quite 



)> 



certain you'll never be sorry for this here letter ? " 

" 'Tis not what you think, Betty," said Phoebe with 
a smile on her pale lips which had a good deal of 
sadness'in it. " You are sorry for my cousin, I know. 



240 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



'Twill be a kind act towards her, Eetty, if you wilj 
send that letter/' 

Betty looked into Phoebe's face so earnestly that 
she dropped her eyes. 

(< I see/' said Mrs. Latrobe's maid. "I'm not 
quiet a blind bat, Mrs. Phoebe. The letter shall go, my 
dear. Make your mind easy." 

Yet Betty did not see all there was to be seen. 

" Why, Phoebe!" exclaimed Rhoda, when she got 
back to the bed-room, "where have you been?" 

" Downstairs." 

" What had you to go down for ? You forgot 
something, I suppose. But what is the matter with 
your eyes ? " 

"They burn a little to-night, dear," said Phoebe, 

quietly. 

The days went on, and there was no reply to 
Phoebe's audacious note, and there was a reply to Mrs. 
Latrobe's situation-hunting. She announced to Rhoda 
on the ninth morning at breakfast that she had heard 
of an excellent place for her. Lady Kittv Mainwaring, 
the mother of Molly Delawarr's future husband, was on 
the look-out for a " woman." She had three daughters, 
the eldest of whom was the Kitty who had been at 
Delawarr Court. Rhoda would have to wait on these 
young ladies, as well as their mother. It was a most 
eligible situation. Mrs. Latrobe, on Rhoda's behalf, 
had accepted it at once, 

Rhoda sat playing with her teaspoon, and making 
careful efforts to balance it on the edge of her cup. 



"Do they know who wants it?" she asked, in a 
husky voice. 

"Of course, my dear! You did not look 1 should 
make, any secret of it, sure ? " 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 241 



Rhoda's colour grew deeper. It was evident that 
she was engaged in a most severe struggle with herself. 
She looked up at last. 

" Very good, Aunt Anne. I will go to Lady Kitty/' 
she said. 

"My dear, I accepted the place. Of course you 
will go," returned Mrs. Latrobe, in a voice of some 
astonishment. 

Rhoda got out of the room at the earliest oppor- 
tunity, and Phcebe followed her as soon as she could. 
But she found her kneeling by her bed, and stole away 
again. Was chastening working the peaceable fruit of 
righteousness in Rhoda Peveril ? 

Phoebe wandered out into the park, and bent her 
steps towards the ruins of the old church. She sat 
down at the foot of St. Ursula's image, and tried to 
disentangle her bewildered thoughts. Had she made a 
mistake in sending that letter, and did the Lord intend 
Rhoda to go to Lady Kitty Mainwaring? Phcebe had 
been trying to lift her cousin out of trouble. Was it 
God's plan to plunge Rhoda more deeply into it, in 
order that she might learn her lesson the more tho- 
roughly, and be the more truly happy afterwards ? If 
so, Phcebe had made a stupid blunder. When would 
she learn that God did not need her bungling 
help? Yet, poor Rhoda! Uow miserable she was 
likely to be ! Phcebe buried her face in her hands, 
and did not see that some one had come in by a 
ruined window, and was standing close beside her on 
the grass. 

" Mrs. Phcebe, I owe you thanks unutterable," said 
a voice that Phcebe knew only too well. 

Phcebe sprang up. " Have you seen her, Mr. Der» 
went ? " 

" I have seen no one but you," said he, gravely. 



24» THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



They walked up to the house together, but there 
Phoebe left him and sought refuge in her bed-chambcr. 

<: Phoebe, my dear, are you here?" said Mrs. La- 
trobc, entering the room half an hour later. "Child, 
did you not hear me call ? I could not think where you 
were, and I wished to have you come down. Why, 
only think ! — all is changed about Rhoda, and she will 
not go to Lady Kitty. I am a little chagrined, I con- 
fess, on your account, my dear; however, it may be' all 
for the best. 'Tis that same Mr. Derwcnt I had heard 
of, and thought to obtain for you. Well ! I am very 
pleased for Rhoda; 'tis quite as good, or better, than 
any thing she could expect; and I shall easily meet with 
something else for you. So now, my dear Phoebe, 
when she is married, and all settled — for of course, 
now, I shall let her stay till she marries — then, child, 
the coast will be clear for yon. By the way, you did 
not care any thing for him, I suppose ? — and if you had, 
you would soon have got over it — all good girls do. 
Fetch me my knotting, Phoebe — 'tis above in my cham- 
ber; or, if you meet Rhoda, send her." 

It was a subject of congratulation to Phoebe that 
one of Mrs. Latrobe's peculiarities was to ask questions, 
and assume, without waiting for it, that the answer was 
according to her wishes. So she escaped a reply. 

But there was one thing yet for Phoebe to bear, even 
worse than this. 

" Phoebe, dear, dear Phoebe ! I am so happy ! '' 
and Rhoda twined her arms round her cousin, and hid 
her bright face on Phoebe's shoulder. " He says he 
has loved me ever since we were at Delawarr. And I 
think I must have loved him, just a little bit, without 
knowing it, or I could not love him so much all at once 
now. I was trying very hard to make up my mind to 

Lady Kitty's service — that seemed to be what God had 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 243 



ordered for mc ; and I did ask Him, Phoebe, to give 
\ne patience, and make me willing to do His will. And 
only think — all the while He was preparing this for me ! 
And I don't think, Phoebe, I should have cared for that 
you know what I mean — but for you — the patient, 
loving way you bore with me ; and I haven't been 
kind to you, Fib — you know I haven't. Then I dare 
say the troubles I've had helped a little. And Mr. Der- 
went says he should not have dared to come but for a 
little letter that you writ him. I owe you all my hap- 
piness — my dear, good little Fib ! " 

Was it all pain she had to bear ? Phoebe gave 
thanks that night. 

Ten years had passed since Madam Furnival's death, 
and over White-Ladies was a cloudless summer day. 
In the park, under the care of a governess and nurse, 
half a dozen children were playing; and under a spread- 
ing tree on the lawn, with a book in her hand, sat a 
Lidy, whose likeness to the children indicated her as 
their mother. In two of the cottages of the Maidens' 
Lodge that evening, tea-parties were the order of the 
day. In Number Four, Mrs. Eleanor Darcv was enter- 

J y J 

taining Mrs. Marcella Talbot and Mrs, Clarissa Vare. 

Mrs. Marcella's health had somewhat improved of 
late, but her disposition had not sustained a corre- 
sponding change. She was holding forth now to her 
two listeners on matters public and private, to the great 
satisfaction of Mrs. Clarissa, but not altogether to that 
of Mrs. Eleanor. 

" Well, so far as such a poor creature as I am can 
take any pleasure in any thing, I am glad to sec Mrs. 
Denvent back at White Ladies. Mrs. Phcebe would 
never have kept up the place properly. She hasn't her 
poor mother's spirit and working power — not a bit. The 



244 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



place would just have gone to wreck if she had remained 
mistress there ; and I cannot but think she was sensible 
of it." 

" Well, for my part/' put in Mrs. Clarissa, " I feel 
absolutely certain something must have come to light- 
about Madam's will, you know — which positively 
obliged Mrs. Phoebe to give up everything to Madam 
Derwent. 'Tis monstrous to suppose that she would 
have done any such thing without being obliged. I 
feel as sure as if I had seen it." 

"O my dear ! " came in a gently deprecating tone 
from Mrs. Eleanor. 

" Oh, I am positive ! " repeated Mrs. Clarissa, 
whose mind possessed the odd power of forcing con- 
viction on itself by simple familiarity with an idea. 



t( 



j) 



Everything discovers so many symptoms of it. I 
cannot but be infinitely certain. Down, Pug, down ! 

as Cupid's successor, which was not a dog, but a 

very small monkey, endeavoured to jump into her 

lap. 

" Well, till I know the truth is otherwise, I shall 
give Mrs. Phoebe credit for all/' observed Mrs. Eleanor. 

" Indeed, I apprehend Clarissa has guessed rightly," 
said Mrs. Marcella, fanning herself. " 'Tis so un- 
likely, you know, for any one to do such a thing as 
this, without it were either an obligation or a trick to 
win praise. And I can't think that, — 'tis too 

much." 

"Nay, but surely there is some love and generosity 
left in the world," urged Mrs. Eleanor. 

" Oh, if you had had my experience, my dear/' 
returned Mrs. Marcella, working her fan more 
vigorously, " you would know there were no such 

things to be looked tor in this world. I've looked for 
gratitude, I can assure you, till I am tired." 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS 1 LODGE. 245 



" Gratitude for what ? " inquired Mrs. Darcy, rather 
pertinently. 

" Oh, for all the things one does for people, you 
know. They are never thankful for them — not one 
bit." 

Mrs. Darcv felt and looked rather puzzled. During 
the fifty years of their acquaintance, she never could 
remember to have seen Marcella Talbot do one dis- 
interested kindness to any mortal being. 

"They take all you give them/' pursued the last- 
named lady, "and then they just go and slander you 
behind your back. Oh, 'tis a miserable world, this! 
full of malice, envy, hatred, and all uncharitableness, as 
the Prayer-Book says/' 

"The Prayer-Book does not exactly say that, I 
think/' suggested Mrs. Eleanor; "it asks that we our- 
selves may be preserved from such evil passions. 



>> 



" I am sure I wish people were preserved from 
them ! " ejaculated Mrs. Clarissa. " The uncharitable- 
ness, and misunderstanding, and unkind words that 
people will allow themselves to use ! 'Tis perfectly 
heartrending to hear/' 

" Especially when one hears it of one's self/' 

responded Mrs. Eleanor a little drily; adding, for she 

wished to give a turn to the conversation, " Did you 

hear the news Dr. Saunders was telling yesterday ? 

The Czar of Muscovy offers to treat with King George, 
but as Elector of Hanover only." 

"What, he has come thus far, has he?" replied 
Mrs. Marcella. "Why, 'tis but five or six years since 
he was ready to marry his daughter to the Pretender, 
could they but have come to terms. Sure, King George 
will never accept of such a thing as that ? " 

"I should think not, indeed ! " added Mrs. 
Clarissa. " Well, did he want a bit of sugar, then ? " 

17 



246 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Pug held out his paw, and very decidedly intimated 

that he did. 

" Mrs. Leighton wants Pug ; I shall give him to 
her/' observed his mistress. " 'Tis not quite so 
modish to keep monkeys as it was : I shall have a 

squirrel. 

" A bit more suscar ? " asked Mrs. Eleanor, address- 
ing the monkey. " Poor Pug ! " 

Next door but one, in the cottage formerly occupied 
by Lady Betty Morehurst, were also seated three 
ladies at tea. Presiding at the table, in mourning dress, 
sat our old friend Phoebe. There was an expression of 
placid content upon her lips, and a peaceful light in her 
eyes, which showed that whatever else she might be, 
she was not unhappy. On her left sat Mrs. Jane 
Talbot, a little older looking, a little more sharp and 
angular ; and on the right, apparently unchanged 
beyond a slight increase of infirmity, little Mrs. Dorothy 

Jennings. 

" What a pure* snug room have you here ! " said 

Mrs. Jane, looking round. 

"'Tis very pleasant, 1 " said Phoebe, "and just what f 

like." 

" Now, my dear, do you really mean to say you 

like this — better than White-Ladies ? " 

"Indeed I do, Airs. Jane. It may seem a strange 

thing t d you, but I could never feel at home at the 

Abbey. It all seemed too big and grand for a little 

thing like me." 

"Well! I don't know/' responded Mrs. Jane, in 
that tone which people use when they make that asser- 
tion as the prelude to the declaration of a very decisive 

* Nice. 



ENDS IN THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 247 



■opinion, — " I don't know, but I reckon there's a pretty 
■deal about you that's big and grand, my dear ; and I'm 
mightily mistaken if Mr. Derwent and Mrs. Rhoda 
don't think the same." 

"My dear Jane!" said Mrs. Dorothy, with a twinkle 
of fun in her eves. "Mr. and Madam Derwent- 
Furnival, if you please/' 

" Oh, deary me ! " ejaculated Mrs. Jane. " Leave 
that stuff to vou. She can call herself Madam Peveril- 
Plantagenet, if she likes. Make no difference to me. 
Mrs. Rhoda she was, and Mrs. Rhoda I shall call her 
to the end of the chapter. Don't mean any disrespect, 
you know — quite the contrary. Well, I'm sure I'm 
very glad to see her at White-Ladies; but, Mrs. Phcebe, 
if it could have been managed, I should have liked you 
too." 



" Thank you, Mrs. Jane, but you see it couldn't.' - ' 

"Well, I don't know. There was no need for you 
to come down to the Maidens' Lodge, without you 
liked. Couldn't you have kept rooms in the Abbey for 
yourself, and still have given all to your cousin ? " 

" I'd rather have this/' said Phoebe, with a smile. 
€i I am more independent, you see ; and I have kept 
what my grandmother meant me to have, so that, please 
God, I trust I shall never want, and can still help my 
friends when they need it. I can walk in the park, and 
enjoy the gardens, just as well as ever; and Rhoda will 
be glad to see me, I know, any time when I want a 
chat with her." 

"I should think so, indeed!" cried Mrs. Jane. 
"Most thankless woman in the world if she wasn't." 

"Oh, don't say that ! You know I could not have 
done anything else, knowing what Madam intended, 
when things came to me." 

' c You did the right" thiny, dear child," said Mrs. 



248 THE MAIDENS' LODGE. 



Dorothy, quietly, "as God's children should. He knew 
when to put the power in your hands. If Madam 
Derwent had come to White-Ladies ten years ago, she 
wouldn't have made as good use of it as she will now. 
She was not ready for it. And Pm mistaken if you are 
not happier, Phoebe, in the Maidens' Lodge, than you 
ever would have been if you had kept White-Ladies." 



"I am sure of that," said Phoebe. 
"Well, but she didn't need have come down thus 
far ! " reiterated Mrs. Jane. 

" She is the servant of One who came down very 
far, dear Jane," gently answered Mrs. Dorothy, " that 
we through His poverty might be rich." 

"Well, it looks like it," replied Mrs. Jane, with a 
little tell-tale huskiness in her voice. "Mrs. Phoebe, 
my dear, do you remember my saying, when Madam 
died, to you and Mrs. Rhoda, that I'd tell you ten years 
after, which I was sorry for ? " 
Phcebe smiled an affirmative. 
■ "Well, Pm not over sorry for either of you ; but, at 
any rate, not for you?* 

"The light has come back to thine eyes, dear child, 
and the peace," said old Mrs. Dorothy. "Ah, folks 
don't always know what is the hardest to give up." 

And Phcebe, looking up with startled eyes, saw that 
Mrs. Dorothy had guessed her secret. She went to the 
fire for fresh water from the kettle. Her face was as 
calm as usual when she returned. Softly she said, 

" ' Mon sort n'est pas a plaindre, 
II est a desirer ; 
Jc n'ai plus rien a, craindre, 
Car Dieu est mon Berger."' 



THE END. 












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"In our excavations among heaps of tales we have not come upon a brighter 
jewel than this." — Rev. C. H. Spukgeon in Sword and Trowel. 

THE GABLED FARM ; or, Young Workers for the King. 

Crown 8vo, cloth extra. 

"A charming story, wherein the children are described naturally." 

Evangelical Magazine* 



London : JOHN F. SHAW & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, E.G. 
6 



John F. Shaw & Go.'s New Juuenile Publications. 





3&$>3 



By M. L. RIDLEY. 




Price Three Shillings and Sixpence each, cloth extra, 

with Illustrations. 

GOLDENGATES; or, Rex Mortimer's Friend. Large Crown 8vo. 

" An excellent story of boyish love." — Sunday School Chronicle, 

"A first-rate story for boys. The hero is a fine specimen of a manly youn^ 
Christian." — Congregational Review. 

OUR SOLDIER HERO. The Story of My Brothers. 

Large Crown 8vo, cloth extra- 

14 Contains the healthiest of matter presented in the most entertaining of ways." 

Schoolmaster. 
il An autobiography very simply and pleasantly written," — Times* 

SENT TO COVENTRY; or, The Boys of Highbeech. 

Illustrated. Large Crown 8vo, cloth extra. 

"A really good story of boys' school-life." — Pall Mall Gazette. 
*' Eminently interesting from start to finish," — Pictorial World. 

KING'S SCHOLARS; or, Work and Play at Easthaven. 

Illustrated. Large Crown Svo, cloth extra. 

u Full of all those stirring incidents which go to make up the approved life of 
schoolboys. Both adventure and sentiment find a place in it/' — Pall Mall Gazette 

,( A schoolboy tale of very good tone and spirit. 1 ' — Guardian. 

OUR CAPTAIN. The Heroes of Barton School, 

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth extra. 

"A first-class book for^boys." — Daily Review* 
*'A regular boy's book." — Christian World. 

4 

THE THREE CHUMS. A Story of School Life. 

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth extra. 

"A book after a boy's heart. How can we better commend it than by saying- 
it is both manly and godly?" — Rev, C. H, Spurgeon in Sword and Trowel. 

"Ingeniously worked out and spiritedly told — deserves to be a favourite." 

Guardian, 

WALTER ALISON: His Friends and Foes. 

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth extra. 

" Schoolboys are sure to like it/'— Churchman. 

"A book boys will be sure to read if they get the chance." — Sword and Trowels 



HILLSIDE FARM; or, Marjorie's Magic. 

Crown 8vOj 2/6. Illustrated. 



<* 



A very well-written story which all girls will thoroughly enjoy." — Guardians 



London: JOHN F. SHAW & Co,, 48, Paternoster Row, E.C* 

7 



John F. Shaw & Co.'s New Juuenile Publications. 





mmm$ 



BY EMILY BRODIE. 



■OLD CHRISTIE'S CABIN. Crown 8vo, 2/6. Illustrated. 

COUSIN DORA; or, Serving; the King. Large Crown 8vo, 3/6. 

"An admirable tale for elder girls." — Nonconformist. 

HIS GUARDIAN ANGEL. Large Crown 8vo, 3/6. 

" Should find its way into school libraries as well as into homes." 

Sunday Scfwol Chronicle. 

FIVE MINUTES TOO LATE; or, Leslie Harcourt's Resolve. 

Large Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3/6. 

NORMAN AND ELSIE; or, Two Little Prisoners. 

Large Crown Svo, extra cloth, 3/6. 

*' So i true and delightful a picture that we can hardly believe we have only read 
about it ; it all seems so real, and has done us so much good.' 1 — The Christian. 

NORA CLINTON; or, Did I Do Right? Crown Svo, 3/6. 

* * Will be read with pleasure and profit." — Christian Age. 

LONELY JACK and His Friends at Sunnyside. 

Crown Svo, cloth extra, 3/6. 

''Its chapters will be eagerly devoured by the reader. 11 — Christian World. 

THE HAMILTONS; or, Dora's Choice. Crown 8vo, 3/e. 

"Miss Brodie's stories have that savour of religious influence and teaching 
which makes them valuable as companions of the home." — Congregationalism 

UNCLE FRED'S SHILLING: Its Travels and Adventures. 

Crown 8vo s cloth extra, 3/6. 

"Children will follow it with as eager interest as the little people who listened 
to it in the book itself." — Christian World* 

"ELSIE GORDON; or, Through Thorny Paths. 

Crown Svo, cloth extra, 3/6. 

41 The characters have been well thought out. We are sure the volume will 
be welcome at many a fireside." — Daily Express. 

JEAN LINDSAY, the Vicar's Daughter. Crown svo, 3/6. 

"The tale is admirably told, and some capital engravings interpret its principal 
incidents, ' * — Bookseller* 

ROUGH THE TERRIER. His Life and Adventures. 

Illustrated by T. Pvm. Square, cloth extra, 2/6 ; or boards, 1/6. 

" A clever autobiography, cleverly illustrated." — TJie Christian. ( 

SYBIL'S MESSAGE. Small 8vo, cloth extra, 1/6. 

EAST AND WEST; or, The Strolling Artist. 1/6. 
THE SEA GULL'S NEST; or, Charlie's Revenge, i/g. 
TRUTH'S RESCUE; or, The Light of Ned's Home, i/- 



London: JOHN F. SHAW & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, E.G 



John F. Shaw & Go. 's New Juvenile Publications. 






OVER THE HILLS and Far Away. 

Large Crown 8vo, 3/6. 

,( Mrs. Leathes* capital and brightly -written story." — Ladies* Pictorial* 

"Thoroughly wholesome and lively." — Saturday Review* 

TO-MORROW. A Story. 

Large Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3/6. 

"Cleverly written, and the author gives many effective touches of character 
and scenery," — Academy. 

"We turn with pleasant anticipations to 'To-morrow/ by Mrs. Leathes, and 
are by no means disappointed." — Times. 

AFLOAT. 

With Illustrations, Large Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3/6. 

"Would be listened to at Mothers' Meetings with breathless interest, and we 
can assure the ladies who read aloud that they will be quite as much carried along, 
as their audience." — Guardian. 

THE CAGED LINNET ; or, Love's Labour Not Lost. Cr. 8vo, 3/8, 

"A delightful story for girls." — Nonconformist. 

"OTHER LIVES THAN OURS." 

With numerous Illustrations by M. Irwin. Square, Cloth extra, 3/6. 

"An excellent set of fables in prose in the style of Parables from Nature.'" 

Manchester Guardian* 

ALL AMONG THE DAISIES. 

Small 8vo, cloth extra, 2/6. 

"Young readers, and many readers who can scarcely call themselves youngs 
will be delighted with the work." — The Scotsman. 

JACK AND JILL. A Story of To-day. 

Small 8vo f cloth extra, 2/6. 

"Some of the incidents are extremely moving," — Times. 

INGLE-NOOK STORIES. 

With numerous Illustrations by M. Irwin. Square. Cloth extra, 2/6. 

"One of the prettiest children's books, enriched with exceptionally fine illua* 

trations." — Scotsman. 

ON THE DOORSTEPS; or, Crispin's Story. 

Small 8vo, 1/6. 

"Will greatly interest and, we believe, profit our young readers. 1 ' 

Our Own Gazette. 



Ipuguetiat Stories "by Miss Jilcuck. 

Author of the "Spanish Brothers/' "Under the Southern Cross." 

IN THE DESERT. A Story of the Church under the Cross. 

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3/6, 

IN THE CITY. A Story of Old Paris. 

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3/6. 

11 Well worthy of a place in all Sunday School and other libraries for the young.* 

Watchman. 

London-. JOHN F, SHAW & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, E.C. 

9 



John F. Shaw & Oo.'s New Juvenile Publications. 



STORIES BY GRACE STUBBING. 



IN ALL OUR DOINGS ; or, The Golden Links of the Collects. 

A Story for Boys. Large Crown 8vo t 3/6, 

"A story for boys, in which the lessons of the daily Collects are brightly 
brought home to them," — Times. 

CRAHAM McCALL'S VICTORY. A Tale of the Covenanters. 

Large Crown 8vo. Illustrated- Cloth extra, 5/- 

"Stirring, and ably written," — Guardian. 

"We heartily commend it to English boys and girls." — Sunday School Chronicle. 

WINNING AN EMPIRE. 

Crown 8vg. Illustrated. Cloth extra, 5/- 

*'Miss Stebbing is one of the few ladies that can write really good boys' stories. 
She has caught, not only the phraseology, but the spirit of boys." — Standard, 

A REAL HERO— Gold or Glory? 

With Illustrations, Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 5/- 

"We can cordially recommend this to all youthful lovers of adventure and 
enterprise." — Academy, 

ONLY A TRAMP. 

Crown 8vo. Illustrated. Cloth extra, 3/6. 

"Miss Stebbing holds the attention and extorts the admiration of the reader 
from first to last. Many a weighty lesson may be learnt from her pages," 

The Christian* 

SILVERDALE RECTORY; or, The Golden Links. 

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, 3/6. 

"We can heartily recommend this story." 

Church of England Sunday School Magazine. 

BRAVE GEORDIE. The Story of an English Boy. 

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3/6. 

"It is refreshing to meet with such a spirited and thoroughly good story," 

The Christian, 

FUN AND FAIRIES. 

Fully Illustrated by T. Pym. 4to, cloth extra, 3/6. 
"With ks dear little pictures, is quite charming." — Atheneenm. 



IN WYCLIFFE'S DAYS ; or, A Safe Hiding Place. 

Small 8vo. With Illustrations. Cloth extra, 2/6. 
"A delightful invigorating story." — Daily Review. 

LOST HER SHOE AND OTHER THREADS. 

Small 8vo. Illustrated. Cloth extra, 1/6. 

"Five short stories sure to be devoured by young people." — Sword and TrcnveL 



London: JOHN F. SHAW & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, E.G. 

JO 



John F. Shaw & Co.'s New Juvenile Publications. 



STORIES BY L. T. MIA 





Author of "Scamp and I," &q. 



CREAT ST. BENEDICT'S; or, Dorothy's Story. 

New and Cheaper Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 5/- 

**The description of Dorothy's life is excellent/' — Spectator* 

"At once a noble book, and a most interesting story/' — Court Circular, 

A KNIGHT OF TO-DAY. A Tale. 

New and Cheaper Edition- With Illustrations. Crown Svo, cloth extra, 5/- 

"A finely-imagined story of a good man. It is a book well worth reading/' 

The Guardian* 

BEL-MARJORY. A Tale, 

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 6/- 

"Most interesting; we give it our hearty commendation/' — English Independent* 

SCAMP AND I. A Story of City Byeways. 

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 3/6. 

u All as true to life and as touchingly set forth as any heart could desire/' 

A thenceum. 

THE CHILDREN'S KINGDOM; 

Or, The Story of a Great Endeavour. Crown Svo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 5/- 

*'A really well-written stor y , with many touching passages. Boys and girls 
will read it with eagerness and profit/'— The Churchman. 

WATER GIPSIES. A Tale. 

Crown Svo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 3/6. 

u It is full of incident from beginning to end, and we do not know the person 
who will not be, interested in it." — Christian World. 

DAVID'S LITTLE LAD. 

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 3/6. 

14 A finely-imagined story, bringing out in grand relief the contrast between quiet, 
steady self-sacrifice, and brilliant, flashy qualities/'— Guardian. 

DOT AND HER TREASURES. 

With Illustrations. Small Svo, cloth extra, 2/6, 

"One of the tales of poor children in London, of which we have had many 
examples; but none finer, more pathetic, or more original than this/ 1 

Nonconformist* 

OUTCAST ROBIN; or, Your Brother and Mine. 

Illustrated- Small Svo, cloth extra, 2/6. 
"A story of intense power and pathos/ 1 

WHITE LILIES, AND OTHER TALES. 

With Illustrations. Small Svo, cloth extra, 1/6, 

"Stories of a singularly touching and beautiful character/ 1 — AV<:£. 

LETTIE'S LAST HOME, Small Svo, cloth extra, 1/3. 
"Very touchingly told/ 1 — Aunt Judys Magazine. 

THOSE BOYS. A Story for all Little Fellows. Small 8vo, 1/- 



London: JOHN F. SHAW & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, K.C. 

11 



f 



HOME SERIES. 

Qd. each.] With Coloured Wrapper and many Illustrations. [Q&. each. 




i. FROGGY'S LITTLE BROTHER. By Brenda. 
a, SCAMP AND I. ByL. T.Meade, 

3. MISTRESS MARGERY. By Emily S. Holt. 

4. SISTER ROSE. The Eve of St. Bartholomew. By Emily S. Holt. 

5. THE BOY'S WATCHWORD. By J. Harrison. 

6. ONLY A TRAMP. By Grace Stebbing. 

7. WATER GYPSIES. By L. X. Meade. 

8. JOHN BE WYCLIFFE. By Emily S. Holt. 

g, IN THE DESERT. By the Author of "The Spanish Brothers." 

10. NOTHING TO NOBODY. By Brenda. 

11. WINIFRED; or, An English Maiden. By L. E. Guernsey. 

12. THE THREE CHUMS. By M. L. Ridley. 

13. MARCELLA OF ROME. By F. Eastwood. 

14. OUTCAST ROBIN. By L. T. Meade. 

15. LOST JEWEL. By A. L. O. E. 

16. CRIPPLE JESS, the Hop Picker's Daughter. ByL. Marston. 

17. JACK AND JILL. By Mrs. Stanley Leathes. 

18. THE WELL IN THE DESERT. By Emily S. Holt. 

19. ALICK'S HERO. By Catharine Shaw. 

20. HIS MOTHER'S BOOK. By E. Everett-Green. 

21. JEAN LINDSAY, the Vicar's Daughter. By Emily Brodib. 

22. THE WITCH OF THE ROCKS. By M. E. Winchester. 

23. MADGE HARDWICKE. By Agnes Giberne. 

24. THE SLAVE GIRL OF POMPEII. By Emily S. Holt. 

25. ROB AND MAG. By L. Marston. 

26. SILVERDALE RECTORY. By Grace Stebbing. 

27. MINNIE GREY; or, For Conscience' Sake. 

28. DOT AND HER TREASURES. By L. T. Meade. 

29. THE EMPEROR'S BOYS. By Ismay Thorn. 

30. MARJORIE'S PROBATION. Chapters from a Life Story. 

31. IN THE CITY. A Tale of Old Paris. By D. Alcock. 

32. BRITAIN'S QUEEN. By Pearl Fisher. 

33. LITTLE FREDDIE. By E. Everett-Green. 

34. AUNT HESTER AND WHY WE LOVED HER. 

35. NOBODY'S LAD. By Leslie Keith. 

36. FRANK USHER; or, Soldiers of the Cross. 

37. MARJORIE AND MURIEL. By E. Everett-Green. 

38. DAVID'S LITTLE LAD. By L. T. Meade. 

39. FAIRY PHCEBE ; or, Facing the Footlights. By C. Parlor. 

40. JONAS HAGGERLEY. By Rev. Jackson Wray. 

41. WILL FOSTER OF THE FERRY. By Agnes Giberne. 

42. CLIMBING HIGHER. By J. Armstrong. 

43. YOUNG ISHMAEL CONWAY. By the Author of "Us Three." 

44. WALTER ALISON: His Friends and Foes. By M. L. Ridley. 

45 . AT THE GRENE GRIFFIN. By Emily S. Holt. 

46. JOYCE TREGARTHEN; or, Obedience Better than Sacrifice. 

47. THE CAGED LINNET. By Mrs. Stanley Leathes. 

48. GIPSY MIKE ; or, Firm as a Rock. 



London: JOHN F. SHAW & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, E.C, 
16