« ПредишнаНапред »
The gentlemen of the old yeomanry who had not servants to do it for them did their own pipe-claying, and might generally be seen doing it very indifferently to the accompaniment of private whistling, or social bawling to each other over adjacent walls, in the back courts and greens of Priorton. Bourhope was one day doing his rather gloomily in the back court, and succeeding very ill, when Chrissy, who saw him from a window, could endure it no longer. Chrissy was not what most intellectual women are described as being, — an abstracted, scared being, with two left hands. The exigency of her situation as eldest daughter at BlackfauTds had rendered her as handy as other girls, and only unlike them in bting a great deal more fertile in resource. How could such a woman stand and see Bourhope destroying his accoutrements, and in danger of smearing himself from head to foot with pipe-clay? She therefore came tripping out, and addressed him with some sharpness: "That is not right, Mr. Spottiswoode; you will never whiten your belt in that way; von will only soil the rest of your clothes. I watched the old sergeant doing it next door for Major Christison. Look here," — and she took the article out of his hands, and proceeded smartly to clean it Poor Bourhope bowed to her empire, though he would much rather their positions had been reversed; he would rather a thousand times have brushed Chrissy's shoes than that she should clean his belts. She was gone again the moment she had directed him. A portion of his belt was now as white as snow; but nothing would have induced her to stay.
Bourhope was new to the humiliation, as well as the triumphs of love, that extreme ordeal through which even tolerably wise and sincere spirits must pass before they can unite in a strictness of union deserving the name. He was not exactly grateful for the good suggestion; indeed, he had a little fight against Chrissy in his own breast just then. He told himself it was all a whim; he did not really care for the girl, one of a large family in embarrassed circumstances. No, it would be absurd to fall in love with a little coffee-colored girl, one of whose shoulders was a fraction of an inch farther out than the other. He was not compelled to marry either Corrie or Chrissy, not he. Pooh! he was not get half through with his bachelor days. He would We about a little longer, enjoy himself a little more. At the word enjoyment Bourhope Mopped •hort, as if he had caught himself tripping. If Chrissy Hunter was ugly, she was an ugly fairy. She was his fate indeed; he would never see her like again, and he would be a lost and wrecked man without her.
The review and the ball were still in store. Bourhope would not be beaten with that double shot in ^■scrve. It would go hard with the brown, curly, independent laird if he were beaten, for already he "fas shaken more in his pride and confidence than he had ever thought to be.
The review for which all the drilling had been undertaken went off without serious effect on the contesting parties. The only thing was, that Bourhope was so disturbed and so distracted in his mind that he could not attend to orders, and thus lost his character as a yeoman, and all chance of being fitare fugleman to his corps. And this, although the major had said, when the drills began, that there
was not a finer man or a more promising dragoon in the regiment than Bourhope.
Chrissy's bright, tranquil satisfaction in contemplating from the box of Mrs. Spottiswoode's phaeton the stand of county ladies, with their gorgeousness and grace, was decidedly impaired. The review, with its tramping and halting, its squares and files, its shouting leaders, galloping aides-de-camp, flashing swords, and wavingplumes, was certainly very fine. All the rest of Priorton said so, and proved so, for they stood or sat for a whole day witnessing it, under a scorching sun, on foot and in every description of vehicle from a corn-cart to a coronetted carriage. Yes, the review was very fine to the mass, but it was but a confused, hollow, agitating play to Chrissy as to Bourhope. Still she lost sight of the grand, general rank and file by concentrating her regard on one little scarlet dot. It was to her a play with its heart searing, and yet the whirl and movement were welcome for a moment as substitutes for that heart.
The ball remained, and Bourhope was resolute it should settle the question for him. It was the commendable fashion at Priorton that no young lady should refuse to dance with an acquaintance without the excuse of a previous engagement, under the penalty of having to sit during the rest of the night. Bourhope would get Chrissy to himself that night (balls were of some use, after all, he thought), and have an opportunity of hearing a terribly decisive word, and of getting a reason for that word too, should it prove unfavorable. In short, he would storm the fortress and beat down its faltering guard then or never;
Others besides Bourhope had determined on making the ball a theatre of explanations. Mrs. Spottiswoode was not pleased with the aspect of things as between Bourhope and Corrie. Their affair made no advance, and the ball was the conclusion of the yeomanry weeks. The yeomen were already, to all intents and purposes, disbanded, and about to return, like Cincinnatus, to their reaping-hooks. Corrie was evidently not contented. She was listless and a little peevish, unless when in the company of other yeomen than Bourhope, a rare thing with Corrie, who was really a very harmless girl. But she looked elegant in her balMress, and had always a train of admirers on such occasions. And then, of course, many men needed the spur of jealousy to induce them to take the bold leap of matrimony.
Chrissy, too, had her own fears and doubts about this ball. Bourhope hitherto had only pursued her, if he had pursued her, in rather a secret manner. She would now see how he would treat her on a public occasion. His conduct would then be marked and conspicuous, and even Mrs. Spottiswoode's and Corrie's eyes would be opened to it. Then, again, he would have an opportunity of contrasting her personally with all the girls about Priorton. Chrissy gazed wistfully into the glass, as she fastened her yellowed scrimp old white frock and sighed. But she did not look so much amiss as she supposed; she was young, slight, and full of subtle character. And with her scarlet coral beeds twisted among her dark little turret curls and bows, there was piquancy and attraction in her. But her first purely disinterested and unbounded pleasure in the gayety was grievously checkered, and it was to be feared the account she would carry home of her first ball to expectant Blackfaulds would be disappointing.
There were only two chaises in repair in Priorton,
to convey the whole towns-people in rotation to the ball. It was thus unavoidable that some should be very early as well as some very late. Mr. Spottiswoode, as provost, was of course among the first after the Colonel and his lady, — old country people, who stood arm-in-arm, bluff and bland, under the evergreens over the door, and shook hands with everybody, great and small, — a family of pretty girls, meanwhile, laughing behind them.
Mrs. Spottiswoode wore a splendid bunch of white feathers tipped with straw color in her blue gauze turban. Even Chrissy's dazed eyes noticed that, as well as the white ribbon in Provost Spottiswoode's bottle-green coat, which pointed him out an honorary steward. But how handsome brown curly Bourhope looked in his red coat!
A strange thought came over Chrissy. She did not wish Corrie, in her white crape and French ribbons, and so tall and straight and fair, to be blighted in her beauty. No, not for a moment. But Chrissy was cruel enough to cherish a passing wish that, by some instantaneous transformation, Bourhope might be pitted with small-pox, or scarred with gunpowder, or have premature age brought upon him as with the wave of a wand, — the soul within being left unchanged, however.
Mrs. Spottiswoode, unlike Chrissy, was quite alive to the practical. She remarked everything with keen eyes, and determined now to be at the bottom of the business. She should either go in and win triumphantly, or take a sudden tack and sail away with flying colors, as if she had never entertained the most distant intention of coming to close quarters, and thus give the impression that she never had any intention of promoting a match between Bourhope and Corrie.
Mrs. Spottiswoode thought Bourhope looked as if he were going to do something desperate. His first blunder had been to hand, or rather lift, Chrissy into the chaise, instead of Corrie, at starting from their own door. He repeated the unaccountable blunder at the County Rooms, which compelled him to take Chrissy into the ball-room ; and while Chrissy was still gazing in bewilderment and admiration at the evergreens, and chalked floors, and laughing couples, Mrs. Spottiswoode could scarcely believe her ears when she distinctly heard Bourhope ask Chrissy's hand for the first dance, saying that he would have engaged it before if he had got the opportunity.
Now Mrs. Spottiswoode had no doubt that Bourhope would solicit her sister Corrie for this dance, and therefore she had peremptorily forbidden Corrie to engage herself in any other quarter, even when Corrie had demurred at the certainty of the arrangement. It was very odd of Bourhope, unless nc thought Chrissy would have no chance of any other partner and wanted to spare a plain little girl's mortification at the very commencement of the evening. "That must be it," Mrs. Spottiswoode said to herself, and was consoled by Corrie's hand being immediately requested for the Colonel's nephew.
The Colonel's wife opened the ball with the most popular and oldest private for partner, and of course Chrissy and Bourhope stood below Corrie and the Colonel's nephew. But Bourhope and Chrissy did not mind Corrie's precedence, and were talking to each other quite intimately. Bourhope was forgetting the figure and bending across to Chrissy, though he was saying nothing particular and speaking out quite loud. But he looked engrossed and excited. If it had been any other girl than Chrissy, Mrs. Spot
tiswoode would have called it a flirtation, and more than a flirtation. Chrissy looked well in her shabby dress, almost pretty indeed in the new atmosphere. Mrs. Spottiswoode was aggrieved, disgusted in the first instance, but she would not just yet believe such an incredible contradiction to her well-kid scheme. Match-making involves many parties, there are such numerous wheels within wheels of calculation and resource. She glanced at Corrie, who was dancing very complacently with the Colonel's nephew, and exchanging passing words with yeomen who tried to get speech with her. In her white crape and teeth as white, and her dimples, she was safe, heart-whole and prosperous, a beauty who might pick and choose a suitable husband, even though infatuated Bourhope should throw himself away.
Mrs. Spottiswoode gave a sigh of relief. Failure now would only be comparative.
The dance being over, Bourhope sat down beside Chrissy. No, she turned her head the other way, and he rose up and strolled through the room. But he was soon back in his old place.
He wanted to dance with Chrissy again. She hesitated, grew nervous, and cast her eyes on Mrs. Spottiswoode. He went straight across to their hostess, and said, " Mrs. Spottiswoode, you have no objection that I dance this dance again with Miss Chrissy Hunter?"
"None in the world, Bourhope," said Mrs. Spottiswoode, with it spasmodic smile; "why should I?"
"Why, indeed," he returned, "or every dance? May I tell her so?"
"That is as she and you may agree. You are aware that would appear something serious," she said, trying to laugh.
"I will take the consequences," he significantly assured her, and went back and told Chrissy so; and then he drove her to her inmost citadel, and beat her there.
Other eyes than Mrs. Spottiswoode's were attracted to the pair. Half a dozen matrons' heads went wagging significantly; girls whispered and tittered; gentlemen opened their eyes, shaped their mouths, as if about to whistle, strolled up and took their observations of the preoccupied, unconscious couple quite coolly, and then speculated and gossiped.
. Mrs. Spottiswoode read these comments as well as what had gone before, and was ready with her magnanimity. It was this which constituted her a truly able tactician. She shifted her tack before the shout of malicious exultation and ridicule could have been raised at her discomfiture. By a dexterous sleight of hand she shuffled her cards, and altered her suit. In a moment, Mrs. Spottiswoode was winking and nodding with the matrons interested in the news of the night.. She arrested a goodhumored yeoman, and crossed the room on his arm, to express and receive congratulations. "You have found out the secret? 1 oolish fellow, Bourhope; he cannot conceal his feelings, though their display is premature. I must scold him for exposing himself and her. Poor dear! She is not accustomed to this sort of thing. But I am so delighted, — so nice, ••■"'•' cousin ( a fortunate 1
often* say the first marriage makes or mars a family of girls. It is so lucky that I invited Chrissy for the yeomanry weeks this summer. It is a great deal better than if it had been Corrie, because Corrie
can wait," with a careless wave of her hand in the direction in which Corrie moved, deliberately followed by her train. "Corrie has too many admirers to make np her mind speedily, yet she takes it all very quietly. But this is so appropriate, Mr. Spottiswoode's cousin and my cousin, — nobody could have planned it better.
She turned round, and heard a blunt booby of a fanner speaking out his mind. She at once took him up: "You would not have thought it? You cannot comprehend what has come over Bourhope, or what he sees in that thin yellow mite, Miss Hunter of Blackfaulds, even though she were as good as a saint, and as wise as the Queen of Sheba? O, com«, Balquin, you do not allow sufficient latitude to goodness and cleverness. I tell you, Bourhope has neither eyes nor ears for anybody but that mite; he counts his colorless daisy far before the gayest painted face. He knows that we are remarking on them now, and he b holding his head as high as if he had sought and won a queen. He is right; she will prove a sensible, cheerful wife to him. Bourhope will have the cleverest, best wife in the county, for all your swaggering. And that is something when a man comes to be old, and has an old wife, like me. Not old! Balquin? away with you. I wish the Provost heard you. Do you think to flatter me because I am in spirits about my cousin's match? No, it is not lost a friend gets, Balquin."
The public of Priorton did not know whether most to admire Mrs. Spottiswoode's diplomacy, or this rare instance of poetic justice.
"Who is the first orator in England?" an egregiously stupid person once asked Lord Brougham. "Lord Derby is the second" was the self-conscious reply. The querist had, no doubt, forgotten the Henry Brougham who (chiefly heard in later days at Social Science Congresses) had once, as the defender of Queen Caroline and the champion of Parliamentary Reform and Negro Emancipation, made all England ring with his fame. Now, however, though Lord Derby certainly does not stand second as an orator even to Lord Brougham, in the general opinion of Englishmen, it is not at all so clear that the leader of the Tories is the first orator in the country. The "Rupert of debate," whose headlong charges in the Commons sometimes threw the Liberal ranks into confusion, suffers in the Lords not only from the influences of time, which has taken from the timbre of his once so ringing tones, but has also been gradually allowing some of his most remarkable powers to rust from disuse, partly because the atmosphere of the House of Lords is too cool for his native fire, and partly because he never finds in it a foeman worthy' of his steel. To extinguish a pretentions Duke of Argyle by a felicitous anecdote, or to banter an amiable Lord Granville, whom the most venomous of opponents could scarcely wish to wound, or to tease Lord Russell by such happy epigrams as "meddle and muddle," is only to bring into plav some of the minor qualities of that eloquence, limited, perhaps, in its range, but startling and exciting in its power, for which the Lord Stanley of a former day was so distinguished. But it is m the more popular branch of the legislature that the gift of oratory can be exercised with most facility and freedom, as it is there also that it is most frequently called forth. Thither, therefore, must
we live in oftenest stir the heart of the country to its lowest deptlis, and whose words, faithfully recorded and carried to every corner of their own land and of the world, keep alive in the hearts of our people a traditional pride in their great representative assembly, and make its proceedings an object of unfailing interest and emulous imitation amongst all civilized races of " articulate-speaking men."
Mr. Gladstone possesses the copia dicendi in an eminent degree. His wealth of words is marvellous, and the unfaltering fluency with which they are poured forth. His ideas are also remarkable for clearness, order, and cohesion, and his general treatment of subjects may justly be called exhaustive. His divisions are sometimes a little too mechanical, and one cannot now hear of the regular "three courses" without a smile. A great element of his power as an orator is his intense subjectivity. He so identifies himself with his subject, he so makes of it, as it were, a cause to be contended for tanquam pro aris etfocis, that the depth of his convictions for the time being gives to his matter a force, and to his manner an earnestness, that never fail to make an impression. But this subjectivity is also a source of weakness when it leads him to propound what seem to him political or economical truths with a dogmatical authority that will not brook correction or dissent. He seems to convey in so defiant a manner his settled and imperturbable assurance that any one who presumes to differ from him must be wrong, and wrong with so hopeless an imbecility in error that further argument would be wasted upon him, that he often fails to convert to his way of thinking men whom a more persuasive and condescending style of reasoning would easilv gain over. It is unnecessary to say how successful has been his management of the public resources, or how frequently he has taken a Parliamentary majority almost by storm, and gained from all quarters the support of measures which had previously been regarded by many with disfavor. But, nevertheless, we do not consider his Budget speeches, as a rule, the best of his oratorical efforts; and the " City men " who sit them out, in order to have the first and fullest exposition of his intended policy, generally complain of weariness at the close. They were more satisfied, on the whole, with Sir George Lewis, wretched speaker as he was; but Mr. Gbschen, whenever in the fulness of time he becomes Mr. Gladstone's Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be just the man for them. Mr. Gladstone may be called, we think, the Tennyson of finance; for he brings to hiB public expositions of it not only the powers of his reason, but also the resources of his imagination, and clothes them with a beauty of diction and richness of illustration which men delight to hear. Still it is not the less true that a simpler treatment would generally be more effective, that the subordinate parts of the subject are sometimes developed.with too much diffuseness, and that the artist often prevails over the statesman in these elaborate efforts. Mr. Gladstone's delivery is very good. His voice, if not powerful, is clear and judiciously, modulated, his enunciation distinct, though natural and unaffected, and his gesture, though sparingly used and not remarkably graceful, easy and appropriate.
Mr. Disraeli has few, if any points of contact, and many of contrast, with his great antagonist His great defect as an orator is the want of that subjectivity of which Mr. Gladstone has rather too much. That
and absurd to think, and that there are many prin ciples of public policy which he advocates from con viction is very probable. But the appearance o hesitation and effort with which he often speaks gives a disinterested and impartial auditor the impression that his words are not so much the signs of his inward ideas, as attempts, sometimes painful and not quite successful, to give expression to opinions that are struggling for utterance in the minds 01 others; that he is speaking not exactly what he thinks, but rather what others may like to hear, or he may wish them to believe. We have no doubt, however, that this hesitation is often affected, and we have remarked it at times when it seemed carefully designed to give more effect to keen invective or biting sarcasm. On comparatively rare occasions, when there is some great personal interest in the debate, or when the peculiar characteristics of an opponent have led him upon some happy vein of humor, it is very pleasant to hear him. His manner, so often languid and listless, becomes warm and animated, his face is lit up with a glow of comic enjoyment, his words come out freely and with a brisker emphasis; and the unhappy wight upon whom he is giving for the time, as it were, an anatomical demonstration, wriggled uncomfortably in his seat, and adds, by his evident sensibility under the operation, to the general amusement. Not long ago, the Times reminded us of the confusion caused in Lord Aberdeen's cabinet by the sort of moral psoriasis with which Lord Russell became afflicted in consequence of one of Mr. Disraeli's sallies. The incident illustrates what we have just been saying, and is worth recalling. When Lord Aberdeen formed his Coalition Ministry, Lord John of course could not be left out, and yet was not able to make up his mine I for the acceptance of any subordinate office. It was arranged, then, that for a time at least he should have a seat in the cabinet without office. But a man of so active a mind, and who was besides the leader of the Lower House, was sure to have a great deal of not merely private correspondence, and, after a while, an office was taken for him in Lancaster Place, near Somerset House. This was an opportunity for Mr. Disraeli, who very soon took occasion to deplore most feelingly in the House the equivocal and incongruous position which a statesman of the noble lord's great eminence and services occupied in the new administration. He really could not imagine what the noble lord's duties were. He had heard of an office being taken for him in Lancaster Place. Perhaps the noble lord had been appointed toll-keeper of Waterloo Bridge. The House was convulsed with merriment; but Lord John took the matter so seriously that a new distribution of government offices had to be made at once, with great indifference to the convenience of the parties displaced, and the Presidency of the Council was the salve with which the wounded dignity of the Great Unemployed was healed.
In the same high rank with Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, as a public speaker, Mr. Bright has undoubtedly a right to be placed. He does not speak nearly so often in Parliament as either, but his style of oratory, either there or at public meetings, abstracted from the subject-matter of his speeches, is as worthy of admiration and imitation as almost any model in our language. As distinguished from Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Bright's best efforts, have more of Demosthenic power and concentration than of Ciceronian copiousness and finish. His English is pure, terse, nervous, and masculine, clothing earnest thoughts
in vigorous and telling words. He does not always or often carry the House with him, because he too frequently shocks the strongest prejudices and most deeply-rooted convictions of the majority; but if his hearers could divest themselves of personal antipathies, they would be forced to own that no one among them better deserves the palm of eloquence. Separating the three great men we have named into a class of themselves, there are perhaps a dozen members, such as Sir Roundell Palmer, Sir Hugh Cairns, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Whiteside, Mr. Horsman, Mr. Lowe, and others, whom we would place in the second 'rank. Lord Stanley, though a firstclass statesman, can scarcely be considered an orator at all, not merely from his physical defects (which we may observe in passing he would better overcome by cultivating the lower notes of his voice), but also from the too philosophical and didactic tone of hit speeches. After all these there comes "a mob of gentlemen who speak with ease," but our subject does not, for the present, admit of further illustrations.
SUPPOSED TO BE HAUNTED.
Everybody said that Mr. and Mrs. Langwortl, in marrying each other, had done the most foolish of all the foolish things which fate had put within their power. Their united ages were little over forty, and their united incomes nothing over four hundred; and everybody said that they might have been rich asunder, had they not been so anxious to be happy together. He, a gentleman in the civil service, might have married into a family who could have made his promotion rapid and easy; she, a decided beauty, might have won a husband who could have lodged her in Belgravia.
Everybody said that they would be ruined. But they lived on; by no means rich, but not entirely poor. As years went by, Mr. Langworth's position and income improved; though their upward progress was very, very slow. Little legacies, too, came in from several quarters; and friends, who had frowned coldly, waxed warm -and cordial again. For the world, at least in this one point, copies the example of Heaven, in its preference for helping those who help themselves.
The Langworths had been married over twenty years, when, lo and behold! a great-aunt of Mr. Langworth's, who had railed against his marriage more bitterly than any one else, left him (at her death) a fortune little under fifty thousand pounds.
Of course it brought them much joy; but aba some anxiety. For one thing: should they live in own, as hitherto? or, aa they had very often said ;hey would do, in the improbable event of their becoming rich, retire into the country? Much w o be said on either side. They had grown accustomed to London, and in London were their most cherished friends. And Mr. Langwortb's official ncome, now five hundred a year, was worth keepng, even with their newly-acquired wealth. On the other hand, the young people (there were four or five, I forget which) were all anxious for the country; and in the country the parents had passed their early days. Knowing how many retired rich men have rued the day when they quitted London and iu toils, Mr. Langworth determined on giving the country a fair trial, still leaving open the chance of returning to his occupation in town. He obtained three months' leave of absence from his office.
From his narrow means he had hitherto had few holidays, and had much claim to indulgence.
Then he set about inquiring for a remote country house, in which, with his family, he might pass the vacant time, and put to the test the (possibly) exaggerated attractions of a rural life.
The solicitor whom he consulted said he supposed Mr. Langworth would wish the house he took to be within easy distance of the metropolis.
"No, not by any means," said the client. "Ohserve ! — I want — we all want — to give the country a fair trial. To do that, we had better take a rather out*>f-the-way place: seven miles from a market-town would be just as well."
"Are you particular about rent?"
"Why — yes — I am. People have been ruined, ere now, by inheriting a fortune, and got to fancy that they had Aladdin's lamp! That, I am resolved, shall never be our case. I want — not a mansion, but such a house as, if we do decide for the country, we shall buy or build for ourselves."
"Well, I do know of a house, in which you might live for three months, and longer, I dare say, if you choose, for nothing."
"Hem! How much is 'nothing'}"
"I mean, literally, nothing. When I tell you the name of the house you 'll not think it quite so surprising. It's Garrow Hall."
"What! the Garrow Hall?"
"The same, and no other. Ever since the murder no one has lived there. It belongs to the sister of the former owner, and the supposed murderer. You remember the case, of course? Many people would have paid a hundred a year for it; for it's a very good house, in a very pretty country, and not seven miles from a town; but there's no getting servants to live there. And poor Miss Durham would be only too grateful to any one who, by living there for a time, would dissipate all the superstition attaching to it. You can't wonder that she does n't . like to live in it herself. All the village people say it 's haunted; and have, of course, twenty thousand stories of what has been seen and heard about it at night, — and such stuff. You, of course, could bring your servants from London. You 'll find the house in very good order; for, with such prejudices against it, of course it was necessary to give it the benefit of all possible attractions. But even the old people who take care of it in the daytime would n t stay during the night; not, I do believe, if by so doing they might make it their own."
After a little more talk, Mr. Langworth agreed that application should be made for a three months' tenancy of the house. Not to lose time, he would himself travel down at once into Somersetshire (Garrow Hall was in that county), and arrange for the reception of his family.
"You 'll find a comfortable bedroom all ready, I know," said the lawyer. "The only hardship is having to sleep in the house alone; but you 're not nervous, I am aware. Only, my dear sir, be sure and get there a few hours before dark; for should it be night when you get there, why, you might offer all your aunt's money to induce somebody to go to the Hall with you, and I don't think you 'd get any one to do it. I don't, upon my word and honor, I don't."
Garrow Hall was known by name to many Englishmen who had never so much as heard the names of Windsor Castle or St. James's Palace. The horrible tragedy which had given it such a reputation was, at that time, fresh in the memory of every
one. But even crimes are forgotten at last; and, for those who read the singular adventures to be shortly recorded, it may be needful to recall the events which had given Garrow its dark and fearful celebrity.
Some three or four years before Mr. Langworth's accession to fortune, Garrow Hall had been tenanted, as well as owned, by a Mr. Nicholas Durham, brother of the lady mentioned above. Attached to the house was an estate, yielding some sixteen or eighteen hundred a year, which came to Mr. Durham through his mother, the heiress of the Garrow family, a family of great antiquity, but now no longer so wealthy or so important as they had once been. Nicholas and his sister had been born in India, in which country their mother had also died, Nicholas had married well. Fortunately, as was then thought, he possessed an estate independently of his father, who was generally believed to be partly, if not wholly, dependant on him for a maintenance.
At the date of his marriage he was just nine-andtwenty years of age. His maternal grandfather, who had in great measure brought him up, and from whom he inherited Garrow, had died only a year or two before. His sister Emily, left with a small annuity, lived mostly with her father on the Continent.
Nicholas and his wife had been united some six or seven months, and as far as was afterwards ascertained by strictest inquiry, had lived on most affectionate terms. It wanted a week to Christmas day. A party of friends were to keep Christmas at Garrow, but as yet the husband and wife were entirely alone. On the fatal day, the 18th of December, Mr. Durham dined with his wife at six o'clock, their ordinary hour, and behaved as usual at dinner.
When without company, it was their habit to occupy the dining-room for the whole evening; and they did so on this occasion.
These, and other particulars, to which the coming event imparted a fearful interest, were all given in evidence by the servant who waited on them at table.
The same servant deposed, that by his nearest guess, the hour was half past seven ,when a ring summoned him to the front door.
He opened it to admit a tall gentleman, with black whiskers and moustaches, and whose age, to all appearance, was between forty and fifty. The gentleman asked to see Mr. Durham, and was about to put a card into his hand (so he thought), when his master came out from the dining-room in person. The man thought Mr. Durham's face expressed some annoyance at the visit; he, however, invited the stranger to enter the library, which they did both together. About ten minutes later—(the pantry in which he was at work was close to the nail) — he heard his master cross back from the library to the dining-room, and return, accompanied by his wife, to the former apartment
He thought it could not be more than five minutes after that ere the bell summoned him into the library. He answered it at once, but found his master and mistress, with the stranger, already in the hall. That there was some dispute going on between Mr. Durham and his wife a glance made clear to him. To all appearance, her husband was trying to persuade Mrs. Durham to something which she firmly, almost angrily, refused. As the witness entered the hall he heard her say, " I owe the duty to another, and I will not consent to it," or words