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VOLUMES I. II. III. IV. AND V., COMPRISING NUMBERS 1-30, HAND
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BY HENRY KINGSLEY, AUTHOR OF “GEOFFRY HAMLYN."
of whom Welter, by a happy combi.
nation of obstinacy and recklessness, LORD WELTER'S MÉNAGE. managed to vanquish three, in as many
months. It was hopeless. Lord Ascot THERE was a time, a time we have seen, would not hear of his going to school. when Lord Welter was a merry, hu. He was his only boy, his darling. He morous, thoughtless boy. A boy, one could not part with him; and, when would have said, with as little real Lady Ascot pressed the matter, he grew mischief in him as might be. He might obstinate, as he could at times, and said have made a decent member of society, he would not. The boy would do well who knows? But, to do him justice, he enough; he had been just like him at his had had everything against him from his age, and look at him now! earliest childhood. He had never known Lord Ascot was mistaken. He had what a mother was, or a sister. His not been quite like Lord Welter at his earliest companions were grooms and age. He had been a very quiet sort of gamekeepers ; and his religious instruc- boy indeed. Lord Ascot was a great tion was got mostly from his grand- stickler for blood in horses, and under: mother, whose old-fashioned Sunday- stood such things. I wonder he could morning lectures and collect learnings, not have seen the difference between the 80 rigidly pursued that he dreaded sweet, loving face of his mother, capable Sunday of all days in the week, were of violent, furious passion though it was, succeeded by cock-fighting in the Croft and that of his coarse, stupid, handsome, with his father in the afternoon, and gipsy-looking wife, and judged accordlounging away the evening among the ingly. He had engrafted a new strain stable-boys. As Lord Saltire once said, of blood on the old Staunton stock, and in a former part of this story, “Ranford was to reap the consequences. was what the young men of the day What was to become of Lord Welter called an uncommon fast house."
was a great problem, still unsolved ; Fast enough, in truth. “All down when, one night, shortly before Charles hill and no drag on.” Welter soon paid his first visit to Ranford, vice defied his grandmother. For his father Cuthbert, disapproved of, Lord Ascot he cared nothing. Lord Ascot was so came up, as his custom was, into his foolishly.fond of the boy that he never mother's dressing-room, to have half an contradicted him in anything, and used hour's chat with her before she went to even to laugh when he was impudent to bed. his grandmother, whom, to do Lord “I wonder, mother dear," he said, Ascot justice, he respected more than "whether Iought to ask old Saltire again, any living woman. Tutors were tried, or not? He wouldn't come last time,
you know. If I thought he wouldn't come, I'd ask him."
“ You must ask him," said Lady Ascot, brushing her grey hair, “and he will come."
“Very well,” said Lord Ascot. “It's a bore; but you must have some one to flirt with, I suppose."
Lady Ascot laughed. In fact, she had written before, and told him that he must come, for she wanted him; and come he did.
“Now, Maria," said Lord Saltire, on the first night, as soon as he and Lady Ascot were seated together on a quiet sofa, “what is it? Why have you brought me down to meet this mob of jockeys and gamekeepers ? A fortnight here, and not a soul to speak to, but Mainwaring and yourself! After I was here last time, dear old Lady Hainault croaked out in a large crowd that some one smelt of the stable."
“Dear old soul,” said Lady Ascot. “What a charming, delicate wit she has. You will have to come here again, though, Every year, mind."
“Kismet,” said Lord Saltire. “But what is the matter ?”
" What do you think of Ascot's boy ?"
"Oh, Lord !” said Lord Saltire. “So I have been brought all this way to be consulted about a schoolboy. Well, I think he looks an atrocious young cub, as like his dear mamma as he can be. I always used to expect to hear her call me a pretty gentleman, and want to tell my fortune."
Lady Ascot smiled: she knew her man. She knew he would have died for her and hers.
"He is getting very troublesome,” said Lady Ascot. “What would you reco-"
“Send him to Eton," said Lord Saltire.
"But he is very high-spirited, James, and "
.“Send him to Eton. Do you hear, Maria ?"
" But Ascot won't let him go," said Lady Ascot.
Saltire. “Now, let us hear no more of the cub, but have our picquet in peace.”
The next morning Lord Saltire had an interview with Lord Ascot, and two hours afterwards it was known that Lord Welter was to go to Eton at once.
And so, when Welter met Charles at Twyford, he told him of it.
At Eton, he had rapidly found other boys brought up with the same tastes as himself, and with these he consorted. A rapid interchange of experiences went on among these young gentlemen; which ended in Lord Welter, at all events, being irreclaimably vicious.
Welter had fallen in love with Charles, as boys do, and their friendship had lasted on, waning as it went, till they permanently met again at Oxford. There, though their intimacy was as close as ever, the old love died out amidst riot and debauchery. Charles had some sort of a creed about women; Welter had none. Charles drew a line at a certain point, low down it might be, which he never passed ; Welter set no bounds anywhere. What Lord Hainault said of him at Tattersall's was true. One day, when they had been arguing on this point rather sharply, Charles said,
“If you mean what you say, you are not fit to come into a gentleman's house. But you don't mean it, old cock ; so don't be an ass."
He did mean it, and Charles was right. Alas! that ever he should have come to Ravenshoe!
He had lived so long in the house with Adelaide that he never thought of making love to her. They used to quarrel, like Benedictand Beatrice. What happened was her fault. She was worthless. Worthless! Let us have done with it. I can expand over Lord Saltire and Lady Ascot, and such good people, but I cannot over her more than is necessary.
Two things Lord Welter was very fond of-brawling and dicing. He was an arrant bully; very strong, and perfect in the use of his fists, and of such courage and tenacity that, having once begun a brawl, no one had ever made
victor. This was getting weli known honour. Alas for Welter's honour, and now. Since he had left Oxford and William's folly in believing him! had been living in London, he had Poor Ellen! Lord Welter had thought been engaged in two or three personal that she would have left the house, and encounters in the terribly fast society to had good reason for thinking so. But, which he had betaken himself, and men when he got home, there she was. All were getting afraid of him. Another her finery cast away, dressed plainly and thing was, that, drink as he would, he quietly! And there she stayed, waiting 'never played the worse for it. He was on Adelaide, demure and quiet as a a lucky player. Sometimes, after win waiting-woman should be. Adelaide ning money of a man, he would ask him had never been at Ravenshoe, and did home to have his revenge. That man not know her. Lord Welter had calcugenerally went again and again to Lord lated on her going ; but she stayed on. Welter's house, in St. John's Wood, and Why? . . did not find himself any the richer. You must bear with me, indeed you It was the most beautiful little gambling must, at such times as these. I touch den in London, and it was presided over as lightly as I can; but I have underby one of the most beautiful, witty, taken to tell a story, and I must tell it. fascinating women ever seen. A woman These things are going on about us, and with whom all the men fell in love; so we try to ignore them, till they are staid, so respectable, and charmingly thrust rudely upon us, as they are behaved. Lord Welter always used to twenty times a year. No English story call her Lady Welter : so they all called about young men could be complete her Lady Welter too, and treated her as without bringing in subjects which though she were. .
some may think best left alone. Let us But this Lady Welter was soon to be comfort ourselves with one great, un dethroned to make room for Adelaide. deniable fact, the immense improveA day or two before they went off ment in morals, which has taken place together, this poor woman got a note in the last ten years. The very outery from Welter to tell her to prepare for a which is now raised against such relanew mistress. It was no blow to her. tions shows plainly one thing at least He had prepared her for it for some that undeniable facts are being winked time. There might have been tears, at no longer, and that some reform is wild tears, in private; but what cared coming. Every younger son who can he for the tears of such an one? When command 2001. a year, ought to be Welter and Adelaide came home, and allowed to marry in his own rank in Adelaide came with Welter into the life, whatever that may be. They will hall, she advanced towards her, dressed be uncomfortable, and have to save and as a waiting-woman, and said quietly, push; and a very good thing for them! . “You are welcome home, madame." They won't lose caste. There are some
It was Ellen, and Lord Welter was the things worse than mere discomfort. Let delinquent, as you have guessed already. us look at bare facts, which no one dare When she fled from Ravenshoe, she was deny. There is in the great world, and flying from the anger of her supposed the upper middle-class world too, a brother William; for he knew, or crowd of young men, younger sons, guessed, all about it; and, when Charles clerks, officers in the army, and so on; and Marston saw her passing round the non-marrying men, as the slang goes, cliff, she was making her weary way on who are asked out to dine and dance foot towards Exeter to join him in with girls who are their equals in rank, London. After she was missed, William and who have every opportunity of fallhad written to Lord Welter, earnestlying in love with them. And yet if one begging him to tell him if he had heard of this numerous crowd were to dare to of her. And Welter had written back fall in love with, and to propose to, one to him that he knew nothing, on his of these girls, he would be denied the