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Professor Seeley has lately called attention, in a series of able articles, to the English Revolution of the eighteenth century, but he has forgotten to trace it to its source. When celebrating the centenary of George Whitefield it is right its originators should be acknowledged and receive their rightful honour.
T. C. TURBERVILLE.
CHAPTER XXIX.—PHEBE RESOLVES TO BE A LADY. CAPTAIN HYDE left me next day; he was naturally anxious to reach home, lest any tidings of the loss of the Coromandel should penetrate to the remote region of North Wales, where he expected to find his daughter. He was returning almost immediately to Dovercourt, in order to claim such salvage as from the nature of the cargo might be effected. As soon as he was gone, I began to bestir myself, and to consider whether I should actually return to Paris for the Jour de l'An, or betake myself to Cravenshaugh, where I knew I should be heartily welcomed by Charles, and by his mother. Of course I wished to please the Marchioness, and my life in Paris was a very pleasant one; but I was not at all sure that such a life was good for me. Indeed I was pretty certain that in many ways it was positively injurious; it was a life of temptation, and I had not found myself proof against much that without being actually immoral was yet detrimental to habits of personal religion, as well as to manliness of character. Also I felt that I was getting into a false position. My rank in life was that of Captain Vassall's son, and as such I could not claim the nobility of birth which society alone recognises. On my rights as the unacknowledged son of the Marchioness of Dovercourt I could not presume, if indeed any such rights really existed. I owed much, very much, to the liberal education which had been provided for me, and I had acquired a certain style and air, from having associated so long with people who belonged naturally to the “upper ten thousand;” but I wanted to stand on my own basis. I wanted to be myself, Hugh Vassall; and I determined that the time must soon come when I should cease to be known as Hugh Travis only. There was an intensity of truth in my nature, which I suppose I inherited from my father, and I felt something like a scorn of myself when I reflected upon the position which I had taken, or rather, in justice to myself, I should say, the position into which circumstances had drifted me during my sojourn in Paris.
Then, again, what were my relations with Lady Olive? They were utterly incomprehensible! The more I thought about them, the more puzzling they became. The terms on which Lady Olive and I now stood were far more unnatural than those which had subsisted in the days of her outspoken contempt and enmity. She seemed candid enough ; candour indeed had been almost a vice in her, so far she had pushed it in earlier years !-and yet I could not always trust her. I could not believe that she liked me, and accepted me as a friend and equal, to the extent of her professions. And now and then, without much vanity on my part, I could have fancied—it could be only fancy—that she more than liked me!that she “cared for me," as people say, when they know there is something far beyond mere liking, and are yet too shy to speak of loving! As for myself, my heart was a boy's heart. I had precocity enough in many ways, but not in that way. And though I read novels with the true gusto of a novel-reader, it had never occurred to me to “fall in love” and get up a little romance on my own account. There is of course much to be said in favour of early attachments, and there is something also to be said in their disfavour. I can only say, as far as my own experience goes, that I do not believe in boy and girl love at all. I never knew a man-it may be different with women, whose peculiar virtue it is to adapt themselves to those they love—but I never knew a man, taken “into captivity," as David Copperfield aptly describes it, at eighteen, who was not désillusioné long before he was eight-and-thirty. However, I am not going to write a treatise on first love, or first fancies, which are such a pretty and plausible imitation of the genuine article that young people may well be pardoned if too often they are deceived, and led into mistakes which it is difficult if not impossible to retrieve. I only wish to state as regards myself, that I was at this eventful period of my life free from any entanglements of the kind.
I had written to the Marchioness, and so had Mrs. Miller, for we did not exactly know what was to be done with Phæbe. As Margery had said, she had “some gear," but not sufficient to support her in idleness. That she should never know such adversity as I could prevent I was fully resolved. Affairs at the Gate-House were very quickly wound up, for most of the furniture belonged to the house itself; and the little bit of money that had been put away for Phæbe was already invested in her name. Rebecca, with many tears she took leave of the home which had been hers for more than six years, and went to live with Mrs. Drew, the house-steward's wife, who was only too glad to secure a domestic
so trustworthy, and so competent; for Rebecca was one of those happy persons who are by nature gifted with plenty of commonsense and ready wit, and who have a knack of doing well whatever they may turn their hands to. She was eminently a woman of faculty;" also, like Mrs. Gilpin, “ she had a frugal mind,” and it grieved her very soul to see the merest crumb, or scrap, or shred absolutely wasted. Her talent for cookery was nothing short of genius; I think she must have been descended from the chef who served up fifteen entrées from a couple of horse-shoes ; and from the accomplished cordon-bleu, who in the hour of extremity, improvised three courses out of a tallow-candle. Before we parted she confided to me that she was engaged to Jem Flower, but that they did not intend to marry till they had saved enough money to furnish a house, nor till Jem should have a rise in wages. I promised to speak to the Marchioness on Jem's behalf, and told Rebecca to let me know when she did marry that I might send her a wedding-present. The sneezy clock Martin and Margery had jointly bequeathed to her, in acknowledgment of her faithful services.
The Marchioness answered both letters almost by return of post; it was real grief to her that her humble friends were dead, for she had truly held the Wrays, as well she might, in most affectionate esteem. “We have both lost two of the best friends we had in the world, Hugh,” she wrote; “ but I can scarcely regret their departure, for God gave them length of days, and took them so that in their deaths they were not divided. Of all the blessings vouchsafed to them, this, I think, was the greatest ; one was not left to mourn the other's loss. I am glad, too, that their last years were spent in rest and comfort; I am thankful that I was able to give to them all their declining age required, and that no mischance arose to trouble their tranquillity. Oh, Hugh, my dear boy, I almost envy them in their peaceful rest: the world is so full of pains and cares, and cross-purposes, and it is so hollow, so unsatisfactory, and the older one gets the more one proves its vanity.
As for Phæbe, let her return to school for the present; I will be answerable for her expenses, and I am writing to Miller to desire her to take charge of her, and supply her with all she needs. She can have no legal guardian; and I suppose she is virtually her own mistress : still, if she has any sense, she will understand that the best thing she can do is to return to Southchester. Perhaps, after next quarter, the Misses Primrose might be inclined to receive her as pupil-teacher ; but that may be left with all future arrangements. I have told Miller to talk to her, and find out what her views may be before she leaves the Castle ; for if she chooses to be apprenticed to the millinery or dressmaking, or to learn any business, it would be as well for her not to waste time in the acquirement of unnecessary accomplishments. She is very pretty, and we shall have to take care of her: no harm, no unhappiness, must come to her if we can help it, for she is the beloved grandchild of the dear, faithful Wrays. But I do not think we should consult her happi. ness by putting her out of her station. She is a nice, taking, genteel little creature, and with her bonnie face, and her little dot, will be likely to marry early and well in her own rank of life! Nothing that we could do would ever transform her into a real lady. God bless you, my dearest child; we all want you back again. Olive and Maude as well as myself look for you on the 31st at latest; Felixstowe says you promised for the Jour de l'An.-Ever yours, faithfully-HELENA DOVERCOURT."
Nevertheless, I decided to go at once to Cravenshaugh, returning to Paris only shortly before I was due at Heidelberg, whither both Charlie and I meant to stay a few more months in order, as he said, “ to get a good grip at the German." And Mrs. Craven herself had no objection to take up again her residence the while at Schloss Wanterfels. Our terms at Heidelburg completed, we were to commence as undergraduates at Cambridge.
The afternoon before I left Dovercourt, I went up to the Castle to see. Phæbe and Mrs. Miller. The housekeeper was alone, for Phoebe had gone into the village to drink tea with one of her friends. “That is a pity," I remarked, "for I should not like to go away without saying good-bye, and I wanted too to have a little talk with her. The Marchioness wrote to me about her.”
“And to me too, Mr. Travis; and I am sure I have done my best to fulfil my lady's wishes concerning Phoebe Milner, but she really puts me out of all patience. She will and she will not, and she likes this and detests that, and doesn't know, I beliete, what she really would be after."
“She need not decide anything at present, Mrs. Miller; of course she goes back to school, when the holidays are over. Of course the poor child is dreadfully upset, and cannot be expected to make up her mind to anything."
“Yes, yes, Mr. Travis, just, of course, as you say. She is quite willing to go back to Miss Primrose's, and she has had enough to make her nervous and irritable, and she were twice as old and three times as sensible. But that is not where the shoe pinches. After she had cried herself pretty well to death, and almost frightened my own senses out of me with her hysterics, she got calm and comfortable, all in a moment, as one may say. It seemed to me as if she had cried her fill, like a baby, and then forgotten all about it. Not but what she talks about poor grandpa' and 'poor dear grandma,' but she is swallowed up in herself and in her prospects! All day long she talks about her prospects, though what they are, I am sure I do not know.”
“Does she not describe them in any way? She must have some definite anticipations of her own, and she would scarcely keep them to herself. Reticence was never one of Phæbe's characteristics."
“Oh, she talks freely enough! And after my lady's letter, I encouraged her to talk; but all her cry is that she is going to be a lady! Says I, quite kindly, 'My dear, that you cannot be, any more than I can. At least, you can never be a real lady, and what's the good of make-believes ? There is nothing in the world more to be despised than shams. And she answered, tossing her head, and her cheeks as pink as summer roses, ' And why can't I be a lady, Mrs. Miller ? Have I not been to boarding-school, and can't I play the piano, and draw, and dance? Why, our dancing master says he hasn't such another foot and ankle as mine among all his pupils, and he's got the best connection in Southchester, and in Southam too. And don't I speak like a lady, and look like a lady? And I'll take good care to dress like a lady.' I could only say, • The piano and dancing, and the neatest foot and ankle in Europe won't make you a lady, my dear. I've seen ladies, real born ladies, all my life, for my mother was waiting woman to the Duchess of Milnthorpe, and I know what's what, though I make no pretensions to being a lady myself.' Says she, “Dear Mrs. Miller, of course I don't mean a lady of rank, and yet I might come to that, you know.' “No, I don't know,' I answered her; 'you can't turn out to be anybody but Phoebe Milner, for your birth is no mystery. Your father, John Milner, was a respectable, God-fearing, hard-working man, brought up to field-work, I've heard your grandmother say many a time, and your mother was Alice Wray, and lived under her parents' roof till she was married. You are as respectably born as a girl could wish to be, Phæbe, but rank you can never aspire to.' She was silent for a few minutes, but I could see her colour coming and going and her eyes shining, and at last she threw down her bit of fancy-work, and exclaimed, 'Why, Mrs. Miller! one would think you bad lived all your life out of the great world rather than in it; you seein so innocent of things that happen. I didn't like the flighty way she spoke, and I didn't think her tone quite as respectful as should have been considering my age and experience, and the position I hold here; but I made no remark, and she went on—But, Mrs. Miller, I might marry to rank! Many a girl marries above the station she is born in, and I'm not to call ugly, I know,' and she drew herself up, and looked in the glass yonder, and nodded and smiled, as if she were well satisfied with her looks. But I said, * Phæbe Milner, you are not ugly; you are what some people would call very pretty, and you'll not want for admirers to turn your head,