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"I fear they are in such a state that they are not fit for the gentleman to see," said Lee.
“Oh, they will do to explain what I mean,” replied Madge, hurrying into the garden, followed by Cheveley. “I think we had better turn down the lane, sir,” said she; “for we may be observed here.” As soon as they had reached the lane, she gave him Lord de Clifford's letters in rotation, and watched his countenance narrowly as he read them. When he came to the one signed “ William Dale,” Cheveley's indignation rose to such a pitch, that he crushed the letter in his clinched hand as he exclaimed, “Cold blooded wretch! he would be capable of anything. Poor girl!”
“Oh, I don't wonder at your being angry, sir,” said Madge; “but here is more of it.” And she placed the letter from Lord de Clifford to Stokes in his hand.
“And who is this Richard Brindal, that he says was to marry Mary Lee ?" asked Cheveley.
" Why, my brother,” said Madge, looking down; " and I fear that is the best which can be said for him."
“ And she would not marry him, eh?"
“ Marry him! no, sir, she is too broken-hearted to marry any one; and if Dick had been an angel instead of being the rough, ungainly creature he is, she would scarcely have gratified that wicked lord so much as to help on his plot against herself.”.
"Hardly, indeed,” said Cheveley; “but look here,” and he put five pounds into her hand as he returned the letters. “You seem a good girl, and anxious to serve your friend; so say nothing of having shown me these letters. If ever I can do any good by acknowledging that I have seen them, you may depend upon it I shall not deny it.”
Madge thanked him, and promised to be silent.
As they returned to the cottage Cheveley was buried in thought. Bad as his opinion had always been of Lord de Clifford, reality had for once outstripped imagination; and if he had before pited Julia for being married to such a man, he now actually shuddered at .it; for what could not such total want of feeling, and want of principle combined, be capable of ? He knew that persons of strong passions seldom have much feeling, and therefore he had never suspected him of any; but the facts that had just come to his knowledge painted him in blacker colours than his most vivid fancy
could have done. It was the cold blooded, businesslike calculation of his villany that so revolted him, compared to which the sins of impulse become virtues, however deep their dye..
As they neared the cottage, the pale, blighted, but still beautiful form of Mary Lee, the silver hair and careworn look of her father, joined to the proud beauty and suppressed sorrow of Lady de Clifford in Cheve. ley's imagination, formed a group which made it well for him that Lord de Clifford was not near him at that moment. When he re-entered the cottage he was glad to find that Mary had gone away; for to have seen her again would only have distressed him still more.
“If you will have the goodness," said he to the old man," to give me a pen and ink and a bit of paper, I'll write down the address where you are to call to-morrow; and as I understand your work is at a stand-still for want of timber, this may help to purchase some,” added he, placing a fifty-pound note in Lee's hand.
“No, no, sir,” said the old man, his eyes filling with tears, “I cannot take your money till I have earned it.”
“I mean that you should earn more than this,” said Cheveley, “ so I must insist upon paying you in the way and at the time most convenient to myself."
With that good-breeding which good feeling inspires even in the humblest, he made no further objection, but bowing, merely said,
“As you please, sir. May God bless you ;” and he placed the pen, ink, and paper before Cheveley, who wrote,
“Marshall, employ the bearer about every carpenter's work that is wanted, till farther orders.
« CHEVELEY. “ March 22, 18—,"
And having placed it in the old man's hand, left the cottage, amid the blessings of Lee and Madge, and the reiterated courtesies of Mrs. Stokes. As soon as he was gone, the former put on his spectacles to read the address of the place he was to go to the next day.
“I declare, it is the young Marquis of Cheveley !" said the old man.
“The Marcus of Cheveley !” screamed Mrs. Stokes. " Lor! to think as I should have been so free with a marcus!” The bare idea was so overpowering, that
Mrs. Stokes sank back in her chair: but she was not a woman long to be awed by any man, so, soon rallying, she added, “but you all saw how haffable he was, and you heerd him promise to paternise the De Clifford Harms. Well, to be sure, a marcus! Who'd have thought it? I am surprised."
"I can't say that I am," said Madge, “except that he's not a prince, for he looks like one."
“And acts like one too,” said Lee; "and this I owe to you, Madge; but you are always doing kind things by us."
“ As you must thank some one, thank chance, or, rather, Providence,” said Madge, “for I have nothing to do in the matter farther than being heartily glad of it.”
“ You are a good girl, Madge, and have a kind, honest heart,” cried the old man, placing his hand upon her shoulder, “and would that many who are called better were half so good.”
“Amen!" laughed Madge.
“A marcus !” soliloquized Mrs. Stokes, as she pinned on her shawl. “Well, it's a pity some people don't know when they have got a good wife : now there's that great lazy oaf, John Stokes, I spose he'd walk from one hend of the world to the hother afore he'd fall hin with a marcus, and get him to promise his custom to the De Clifford Harms."
“Are you going straight home, Mrs. Stokes ?" asked Madge.
“Let me see,” said Mrs. Stokes, abstractedly counting on her fingers, “ turbot and lobster sauce, gravy soup; removed with haunch of venison (can always get that from the Park), chickens in white sauce, Scotch collops, mentinang cutlets; remove with jelly, blanc mange, Charlotte of happle, and custards. The plated dishes; must send 'em to Lunnun to be cleaned, though; and Lord Cramwell's claret. Yes, that's the dinner for a marcus,” said Mrs. Stokes, triumphantly, as she concluded this imaginary culinary“ chef d'œuvre."
Madge reiterated her question.
“Eh-yes-no-why, my dear ?" said Mrs. Stokes, gradually descending into the present from Lord Cheveley's dinner up stairs, in No. 22, at the De Clifford Arms.
“ Because I wanted you to take this little parcel, to go by the London coach.”
“Oh! well, that I'll do," said Mrs. Stokes, walking out of the cottage, with her head a great deal higher than when she had entered it. “So, good-by."
“I wish, Madge," said Lee, as soon as Mrs. Stokes was gone, “ that you would leave a letter up at Cheveley Place for me this evening, for I shall feel quite oppressed till I have triedato thank his lordship for all his goodness.”
“I think you had better not,” said Madge, slightly colouring ; "at least, I mean that you had better not send it by me; he might not like the idea of gipsies coming about his house, or he might think that I was encroaching upon his kindness of this morning; not that he would be likely to know it, but I feel that I ought to keep away; and-and-my going might prejudice the servants against you, and you know what great people they are in a great house.”
“Madge," said the old man, pressing her hand, while a tear rolled down his withered cheek, “you ought to be a queen; you have more sense, judgment, and good feeling than half the rest of the world put together.”
Cheveley, after leaving Lee's cottage, wandered home so abstractedly,
“Chewing the cud of sweet and bitter thoughts,” that he was in his own grounds without being aware of it till a servant met him, and told him that Mr. Spoonbill was in the library.
“ The night came on alone,
The little stars sat one by one,
* R. M. Milnes.
Two Gentlemen of Verona. “There are diversities of operations; but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”-1 Cor. xii., 6.
Two hours after the sound of the chariot-wheels that conveyed Fanny to Latimer's had died away, the carriage that was to take Lady de Clifford down to Grimstone came to the door. Lord de Clifford had engagements which took him out immediately after the wedding, and therefore prevented his being in the way to see his wife off; but Mr. Frederic Feedwell had kindly remained for that purpose. After having passed a week in telling Lord de Clifford that it was weak good-nature in him to allow Lady de Clifford to remain in town for her sister's marriage, he now spent the short time that intervened between Julia's departure in shrugging his shoulders, and whispering her that really it was
“De-de-dreadfully tyrannical in De Clifford sending her down alone to that gloomy, desolate place, Grimstone, just at the beginning of the season, too; and that, though no one admired obedience in a wife more than he did, yet there were things that no wife ought to submit to, and it was qu-qu-quite evident to him that De Clifford was getting her out of the way for his own purposes; and though he did not pretend to be ve-ve-very moral, yet really such things were too bad in a married man; a married man, you know, Lady de Clifford !” and up went his two fingers.
“Having turned in silent contempt from the serpent-like consolation of Mr. Frederic Feedwell, poor Julia had