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Well, yes," said Mr. Brownlow, who was cross and out of temper in spite of himself; "I am visible by daylight to everybody on the road between this and Masterton. I don't think I shut myself up.
"That's exactly what I mean," said the Rector; "but you have been overdoing it, Brownlow. You're ill. I always told you you ought to give yourself more leisure. A man at your time of life is not like a young fellow. We can't do it, my dear sir - we can't do it. I am up to as much as most men of my age; but it won't do morning and night-I have found that out."
"It suits me very well," said Mr. Brownlow, "I am not ill, thank you. I had a restless night - rather'
would take his good name as well. He was in | tion; "come and see him." and Mr. Hardcastle the power of his son, who, if he heard of it, was exultant too. "How lucky that I should might simplify matters very summarily, and have come to-day of all others," he said. the chances were would do so; and he was in the never sees you by daylight." power of Sara, who could save him if she would save him not only from the consequences but from the sin- save his conscience and his credit, and her own position. Why should not she do it? Young Powys was poor, and perhaps not highly educated; but he was pleasanter to look at, more worth talking to, than Sir Charles Motherwell. If he gave his daughter to this youth, John Brownlow felt that he would do more than merely make him amends for having taken his inheritance. It would be restoring the inheritance to him, and giving him over and above it something that was worth more than compound interest. When he had come to this point, however, a revulsion occurred in his thoughts. How could he think of marrying his child, his Sara, she of whom he had made a kind of princess, who might marry anybody, as people say how could he give her to a nameless young man in his office? What would the world say? What inquiries, what suspicions would arise, if he gave up his house and all its advantages to a young fellow without a penny? And then Sara herself, so delicate in all her tastes, so daintily brought up, so difficult to please! If she were so little fastidious at the end what would be thought of it? She had refused Sir Charles Motherwell, if not actually yet tacitly and Sir Charles had many advantages, and was very nearly the greatest man in the county refused him, and now was going to take her father's uncultivated clerk. Would she, could she do it? Was it a thing he ought to ask of her? or was it not better that he should take it upon his conscience boldly to deceive and wrong the stranger than to put such a burden on the delicate shoulders of his child!
Thus he passed the morning driven about from one idea to another and feeling little comfort in any, longing for Powys's arrival, that he might read in his eyes how much he knew, and yet fearing it, lest he might know too much. If any one of his clients had come to him in such a state of mind, John Brownlow would have dooked upon that man with a certain pity mingled with contempt, and while advising him to his best would have said to himself, How weak all this shilly-shally is one way or other lét something be decided. But it is a very different matter deciding on one's own affairs and on the affairs of other people. Even at that moment, nothwithstanding his own agitation and mental distress, had he been suddenly called upon for counsel he could have given it clearly and fully the thing was that he could not advise him
And to aggravate matters, while he sat thus thinking it all over and waiting for Powys, and working himself up almost to the point of preparing for a personal contest with him, the Rector chanced to call, and was brought triumphantly into the library. "Papa is so seldom at home," Sara had said, with a certain exulta
Ah, that's just it," said Mr. Hardcastle. "The brain is fatigued that is what it is. And you ought to take warning. It is the beginning of so many things. For instance, last year when my head was so bad"
"Don't speak of it," said Mr. Brownlow. 'My head is not bad; I am all right. I have a -a clerk coming with some papers: that is what I am waiting for. Is Fanny with you today?"
No," said Mr. Hardcastle. "They have be gun to have her up at Ridley more than I care to see her. And there is that young Keppel, you know. Not that.he means anything, I sup pose. Indeed, I thought he was devoted to Sara a short time ago. Ah, my dear Brownlow, it is a difficult matter for us, left as we both are with young girls who have never known maternal
It was not a moment when Mr. Brownlow could enter upon such a subject. But he instinctively changed his expression, and looked solemn and serious, as the occasion demanded. Poor Bessie!- he had probably been a truer lover to her than the Rector had been to the two Mrs. Hardcastles, though she had not been in his mind just then; but he felt bound to put on the necessary melancholy look.
"Yes," he said; "no doubt it is difficult. My clerk is very late. He ought to have been here at twelve. I have a good many pressing mat ters of business just now
"I see, I see; you have no time for private considerations," said the Rector. "Don't overdo it, don't overdo it, that is all I have got to say. Remember what a condition I was in only two years since - took no pleasure in any thing. Man delighted me not, nor women either -not even my little Fanny. If ever there was a miserable state on earth, it is that. I see a fine tall young fellow straying about there among the shrubberies. Is that your clerk?"
Mr. Brownlow got up hastily and came to the window, and there beyond all question was Powys, who had lost his way, and had got in
volved in the maze of paths which divided the evergreens. It was a curious way for him to approach the house, and he was not the man to seek a back entrance, however humble his circumstances had been. But anyhow it was.he, and he had got confused, and stood under one of the great laurels, looking at the way to the stables, and the way to the kitchen, feeling that neither way was his way, and not knowing where to turn. Mr. Brownlow opened the window and called to him. Many a day after he thought of it, with that vague wonder which such symbolical circumstances naturally excite. It did not seem important enough to be part of the symbolism of Providence at the moment. Yet it was strange to remember that it was thus the young man was brought into the house. Mr. Brownlow set the window open, and watched him as he came forward, undeniably a fine tall young fellow, as Mr. Hardcastle said. Soniehow a kind of pride in his good looks, such as a father might have felt, came into John Brownlow's mind. Sir Charles with his black respirator, was not to be named in the same day with young Powys, so far as appearance went. He was looking as he did when he first came to the office, fresh, and frank, and openhearted. Those appearances which had so troubled the mind of Mr. Wrinkell and alarmed Mr. Brownlow himself, were not visible in his open countenance. He came forward with his firm and rapid step, not the step of a dweller in streets. And Mr. Hardcastle, who had a slight infusion of muscular Christianity in his creed, could not refrain from admiration.
"That is not much like what one looks for in a lawyer's clerk," said the Rector. What a chest that young fellow has got! "Who is he, not a Masterton man, I should think."
'He is a Canadian," said Mr. Brownlow, << not very long in the office, but very promising. He has brought me some papers that I must attend to
Yes, yes, I understand," said Mr. Hardcastle always business; but I shall stay to Huncheon as you are at home. I suppose you mean to allow yourself some lunch ?"
Surely," said Mr. Brownlow; but it was impossible to reply otherwise than coldly. He had wanted no spy upon his actions, nobody to speclate on what he meant in the strange step he vas about to take. He could not send his neighDour away; but at the same time he could not De cordial to him, as if he desired his company. And then he turned to speak to his clerk, leavng the Rector, who went away in a puzzled tate of mind, wondering whether Mr. Brownow meant to be rude to him. As for young Powys, he came in by the window, taking off is hat, and looking at his employer with an onest mixture of amusement and embarrassnent. "I beg your pardon, sir," he said; ad lost my way; I don't know where I was oing
found something much more amusing than with
"He did not say anything about it," said Powys, "but I liked the walk. Mr. Wrinkell told me to bring you these, sir. They are the papers in the Wardell case; and he gave me some explanations which I was to repeat to you some new facts that have just come out"
"Sit down," said Mr. Brownlow. He gave the young man a seat at his table, and resumed his own, and drew. the papers to him. But he was not thinking of the papers or of the Wardell case. His attention was fixed upon his young companion. Perhaps it was the walk, perhaps some new discovery, perhaps because he began to see his way to the recovery of that which John Brownlow was determined not to give up, but certainly his eye was as bright and his colour as fresh as when he had first come to the office innocent and unsuspecting. He sat down with none of the affectation either of humility or of equality which a Masterton youth of his position would have shown. He was not afraid of his employer, who had been kind to him, and his transatlantic ideas made him feel the difference between them, though great in the mean time, to be rather a difference of time than of class. Such at least was the unconscious feeling in his mind. It is true that he had begun to learn that more things than time, or even industry and brains, are necessary in an old and long-constituted social system, but his new and hardly purchased knowledge had not affected his instincts. He was respectful, but he did not feel himself out of place in Mr. Brownlow's library. He took his seat, and looked round him with the interest of a man free to observe or even comment, which, considering that even Mr. Wrinkell was rather disposed at Brownlows to sit on the edge of his chair, was a pleasant variety. Mr. Brownlow drew the papers to him, and bent over them, leaning his head on both his hands; but the fact was, he was looking at Powys from under that cover, fixing his anxious gaze upon him, reading what was in the unsuspicious face what was in it, and most likely a great deal which was not in it. When he had done this for some minutes he suddenly raised his head, removed his hands from his forehead to his chin, and looked steadily at his young companion.
"I will attend to these by-and-by," he said, abruptly; "in the mean time, my young friend, I have something to say to you.'
Then Powys, whose eyes had been fixed upon a dark picture over and beyond, at some distance, Mr Brownlow's head, came to himself suddenly, and met the look fixed The elder man thought there was a little defihim. upon "Iance in the glance which the younger cast upon him; but this is one of the things in which one sees always what one is prepared to sce. Powys, for his part, was not in the least defiant; he was a little surprised, a little curious, eager
"You were going to the stables," said Mr. Brownlow, "where I daresay you would have
to hear and reply, but he was utterly unconscious of the sentiments which the other read in his eyes.
"I thought a little while ago," said Mr. Brownlow, in his excitement going further than he meant to go, "that I had found in you one
of the best clerks that ever I had."
Here he stopped for a moment, and Powys regarded him open-mouthed, waiting for more. His frank face clouded over a little when he saw that Mr. Brownlow made a pause. "I was going to say Thank you, sir," said the young man; "and indeed I do say Thank you; but am I to understand that you don't think so now?"
not imaginative, put a thousand meanings into the smile. "I will be more attentive to my work," he said; "perhaps I have suffered my own thoughts to interfere with me. Thank you, sir, for your kindness. I am very glad that you have given me this warning."
'But it does not tempt you to open your heart," said Mr. Brownlow, smiling too, though not with very pleasurable feelings.
"There is nothing in my heart that is worth opening," said Powys; "nothing but my own small affairs-thank you heartily all the same."
This is how Mr. Brownlow was baffled notwithstanding his superior age and prudence "I don't know what to think," said Mr. and skill. He sat silent for a time with that Brownlow. "I take more interest in you than curious feeling of humiliation and displeasure than I am in the habit of taking in a in a which attends a defeat even when nobody is to stranger: but they tell me at the office there is he blamed for it. Then by way of saving his a change, and I see there is a change. It has dignity he drew once more towards him the been suggested to me that you were going to Wardell papers and studied them in silence. the bad, which I don't believe; and it has been As for the young man, he resumed, but with suggested to me that you had something on a troubled mind, his examination of the dark your mind " old picture. Perhaps his refusal to open his The young man had changed colour, as in- heart arose as much from the fact that he had deed he could scarcely help doing; his amour next to nothing to tell as from any other reapropre was still as lively and as easily excited son, and the moment that the conversation as is natural to his age. "If you are speaking ceased his heart misgave him. Young Powys of my duties in the office, sir,' he said, "you was not one of the people possessed by a blesshave a perfect right to speak; but I don't sup-ed certainty that the course they themselves pose they could be influenced one way or another by the fact that I had something on my mind"
"I am not speaking to you so much as your employer as as your friend," said Mr. Brownlow. "You know the change has been visible. People have spoken about it to me not perhaps the people you would imagine to have interfered. And I want to speak to you as an old man may speak to a young man as I should wish, if the circumstances make it needful, any one would speak to my son. Why do you smile?"
I beg your pardon, sir; but I could not but smile at the thought of Mr. John "
"Never mind Mr. John," said Mr. Brownlow, discomfited. "He has his way, and we have ours. I don't set up my son as an example. The thing is, that I should be glad if you would take me into your confidence. If any thing is wrong I might be able to help you; and if you have something on your mind
"Mr. Brownlow," said young Powys, with a deep blush, "I am very sorry to seem ungrateful, but a man, if he is good for anything, must have something he keeps to himself. If it is about my work, I will hear whatever you please to say to me, and make whatever explanations you require. I am not going to the bad; but for anything else I think I have a right to my own mind."
"I don't deny it - I don't deny it," said Mr. Brownlow, anxiously. "Don't think I want to thrust myself into your affairs; but if either advice or help
"Thank you," said the young man. He smiled, and once more Mr. Brownlow, though
take is the best, As soon as he had closed his mouth a revulsion of feeling came upon him. He seemed to himself hard-hearted, ungrateful, odious, and sat thinking over all Mr. Brownlow's kindness to him, and his detestable requital of that kindness, and asking himself how he could recommence the interrupted talk. What could he say to show that he was very grateful, and a devoted servant, notwithstanding that there was a corner of his heart which he could not open up? or must he continue to lie under this sense of having disappointed and refused to confide in so kind a friend? A spectator would have supposed the circumstances unchanged had he seen the lawyer seated calmly at the table looking over his papers, and his clerk at a little distance respectfully waiting his employer's pleasure; but in the breast of the young man, who was much too young to be sure of himself, there was a wonderful change. He seemed to himself to have made a friend into an enemy; to have lost his vantage-ground in Mr. Brownlow's good opinion, and above all to have been ungrateful and unkind. Thus they sat in dead silence till the bell for luncheon
the great bell which amused Pamela, bringing a lively picture before her of all that was going on at the great house-began to sound into the stillness. Then Mr. Brownlow stirred, gathered his papers together, and rose from his chair. Powys sat still, not knowing what to do; and it may be imagined what his feelings were when his employer spoke.
"Come along, Powys," said Mr. Brownlow you have had a long walk, and you must be hungry- come and have some lunch."
CHAPTER XV.- LUNCHEON.
It was like a dream to the young Canadian when he followed the master of the house into the dining-room; -not that that, or any other social privilege, would have struck the youth with astonishment or exultation as it would have done a young man from Masterton; but because he had just behaved so ungratefully and ungraciously, and had no right to any such recompense. He had heard enough in the office about Brownlows to know that it was an unprecedented honour that was being paid him; but it was the coals of fire thus heaped upon his head which he principally felt. Sara was already at the head of the table in all that perfection of dainty apparel which dazzles the eyes of people unused to it. Naturally the stranger knew nothing about any one particular of her dress, but he felt, without knowing how, the difference between that costly simplicity and all the finery of the women he was accustomed to see. It was a different sphere and atmosphere altogether from any he had ever entered; and the only advantage he had over any of his fellow-clerks who might have been introduced in the same way was, that he had mastered the first grand rule of good breeding, and had forgotten himself. He had no time to think how he ought to behave in his own person. His mind was too much occupied by the novel ty of the sphere into which he was thus suddenly brought. Sara inclined her head graciously as he was brought in, and was not surprised; but as for Mr. Hardcastle, whose seat was just opposite that of young Powys, words could not express his consternation. One of the clerks! Mr. Brownlow the solicitor was not such a great man himself that he should feel justified in introducing his clerks at his table; and after that, what next? A rapid calculation passed through Mr. Hardcastle's mind as he stared at the new-comer. If this sort of thing was to go on, it would have to be looked to. If Mr. Brownlow thought it right for Sara, he certainly should not think it right for his Fanny. Jack Brownlow himself, with Brownlows perhaps, and at least a large share of his father's fortune, was not to be despised; but the clerks! The Rector even felt himself injured-though, to be sure, young Powys or any other clerk could not have dreamed of paying addresses to him. And it must be admitted that the conversation was not lively at table. Mr. Brownlow was embarrassed as knowing his own intentions, which, of course, nobody else did. Mr. Hardcastle was astonished and partially affronted. And Powys kept silence. Thus there was only Sara to keep up a little appearance of animation at the table. It is at such moments that the true superiority of wom inkind really shows itself. She was not embarrassed the social difference which, as she thought, existed between her and her father's clerk was so great and complete that Sara felt herself as fully at liberty to be gracious to him, as if he had been his own mother or sister.
"If Mr. Powys walked all the way he must want his luncheon, papa," she said. "Don't you think it is a pretty road? Of course it is not grand like your scenery in Canada. We don't have any Niagaras in England; but it is pleasant, don't you think?
"It is very pleasant," said young Powys; "but there are more things in Canada than Niagara."
"I suppose so," said Sara, who was rather of opinion that he ought to have been much flattered by her allusion to Canada; and there are prettier places in England than Dewsbury but still people who belong to it are fond of it all the same. Mr. Hardcastle, this is the dish you are so fond of are you ill, like papa, that you don't eat to-day?"
"Not ill, my dear," said the Rector, with meaning "only like your papa a little out of sorts."
"I don't know why people should be out of sorts who have everything they can possibly want," said Sara. "I think it is wicked both of papa and you. If you were poor men in the village, with not enough for your children to eat, you would know better than to be out of sorts. I am sure it would do us all a great deal of good if we were suddenly ruined," the young woman continued, looking her father, as it happened, full in the face. Of course she did not mean anything. It came into her head all at once to say this, and she said it; but equally of course it fell with a very different significance on her father's ears. He changed colour in spite of himself-he dropped on his plate a morsel he was carrying to his mouth. A sick sensation came over him. Sara did not know very much about the foundation of his fortune, but still she knew something; and she was just as likely as not to let fall some word which would throw final illumination upon the mind of the young stranger. Mr. Brownlow smiled a sickly sort of smile at her from the other end of the table.
So you must make up your mind to do without the cottage. The roses you can have, as many as you like."
"Sara means by ruin, that is to say," said the Rector, "something rather better than the best that I have been able to struggle into, and nothing to do for it. I should accept her rain with all my heart."
"You are laughing at me," said Sara, "both of you. Fanny would know if she were here. You understand, don't you, Mr Powys? What do I care for cottages or roses? but if one were suddenly brought face to face with the realities of life"
"You have got that out of a book, Sara," said the Rector.
"And if I have, Mr. Hardcastle?" said Sara,
"I hope some books are true. I know what I mean, whether you know it or not. And so does Mr. Powys," she added, suddenly meeting the stranger's eye.
grandson, Sara, if he happened to have a grandson."
"On the contrary, I like old gentlemen," said Sara. "I never see anything else, for one thing. There is yourself, Mr. Hardcastle, and papa
This appeal was unlucky, for it neutralised the amusement of the two elder gentlemen, and brought them back to their starting-point. It Well, I suppose I am an old gentleman," was a mistake in every way, for Powys, though said the Rector, ruefully; "at least to babies he was looking on with interest and wonder, like you. That is how things go in this world did not understand what Sara meant. He one shifts the burden on to one's neighbour. looked at her when she spoke, and reddened, Probably Sir Joseph is of my mind, and thinks and faltered something, and then betook him- somebody else old. And then, in revenge, we self to his plate with great assiduity, to hide his have nothing to do but to call you young crea perplexity. He had never known anything but tures babies, though you have the world in your the realities of life. He had known them in hands," Mr. Hardcastle added, with a sigh; for their most primitive shape, and he was beginning he was a vigourous man, and a widower, and to become acquainted with them still more bit- had been already twice married, and saw no terly in the shape they take in the midst of civ-reason why he should not take that step again. ilisation, when poverty has to contend with more than the primitive necessities. And to think of this dainty creature, whose very air that she breathed seemed different from that of his world, desiring to be brought face to face with such realities! He had been looking at her with great revorence, but now there min-indignantly-"even I, though papa is awfully gled with his reverence just that shade of conscious superiority which a man likes to feel. He was not good, sweet, delightsome, celestial, as she was, but he knew better-precious distinction between the woman and the man.
But Sara, always thinking of him as so different from herself that she could use freedom with him, was not satisfied. "You understand me?" she said, repeating her appeal.
"No," said young Powys; "at least if it is real poverty she speaks of, I don't think Miss Brownlow can know what it means.' He turned to her father as he spoke with the instinct of natural good-breeding. And thereupon there occurred a curious change. The two gentlemen began to approve of the stranger. Sara, who up to this moment had been so gra. cious, approved of him no more.
"You are quite right," said the Rector; "what Miss Brownlow is thinking of is an imaginary poverty which exists no longer if it ever existed. If your father had ever been a poor curate, my dear Sara, like myself, for in
'Oh, if you are all going to turn against me " said Sara, with a little shrug of her shoulders. And she turned away as much as she could do it without rudeness from the side of the table at which young Powys sat, and began in revenge to talk society. "So Fanny is at Ridley," she said; "what does she mean by always being at Ridley? The Keppels are very well, but they are not so charming as that comos to. Is there any one nice staying there just now
Perhaps you and I should not agree about niceness," said the Rector. "There are several people down for Easter. There is Sir Joseph Scrape, for instance, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer once, before you were born. I am very fond of him, but you would prefer his
And it was hard upon him to be called an old gentleman in this unabashed and open way.
"Well, they have the world before them," said Mr. Brownlow; "but I am not so sure that they have it in their hands."
"We have nothing in our hands," said Sara,
good to me. I don't mean to speak slang, but he is awfully good, you know; and what does it matter? I daren't go anywhere by myself, or do anything that everybody else doesn't do. And as for Fanny, she would not so much as take a walk if she thought you did not like it." "Fanny is a very good girl," said Mr. Hardcastle, with a certain melting in his voice.
"We are all very good girls!" said Sara; but what is the use of it? We have to do everything we are told just the same; and have old Lady Motherwell, for example, sitting upon one, whenever she has a chance. And then you say we have the world in our hands! If you were to let us do a little as we pleased, and be happy our own way
"Then you have changed your mind," said Mr. Brownlow. He was smiling, but yet underneath that he was very serious, not able to refrain from giving in his mind a thousand times more weight than they deserved to his daughter's light and random words, though he knew well enough they were random and light. "I thought you were a dutiful child, who would do what I asked you, even in the most important transaction of your life-so you said once, at least."
"Anything you asked me, papa?" cried Sara, with a sudden change of countenance. 'Yes, to be sure! anything! Not because I am dutiful, but because you are surely all very stupid to-day -because- Don't you know what I mean?
"Yes," said young Powrs, who all this time had not spoken a word. Perhaps in her impatience her eye had fallen upon him; perhaps it was because he could not help it; but however that might be, the monosyllable sent a little electric shock round the table. As for the speaker himself, he had no sooner uttered t than he reddened like a girl up to his very hair.