Chapter 162025527

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1883-12-22
Page Number1161
Word Count7163
Last Corrected2018-03-09
Newspaper TitleThe Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912)
Trove TitleSubstantive or Adjective
article text


By C. H. Spence.

Chapter I.

'Marry a clever woman who writes books ! Not I, mother. All your praises of Miss Grant work the wrong way. Only fancy being known to the world as Mrs. Frankland's husband!' 'Well, Harry, when l am with Ellice Grant I forget

that she is a literary woman ; I only feel that I can rest upon her. There are many things that she can do for me that I cannot do for myself ; she takes the place of yonr dear Bister, Nora, as far as she can, and in some respects she does toore for me than Nora could do. With you in New South Wales and Tom wandering all ote r tbe world, nn old Woman often feels the need of some one more active in mind and body than herself.' 1 Tom never was much to rest on, even when he was at notae,' said Harry Frankland. ?' n-£m Hmy verT dear boy,' said the mother, llw dearest boy is always the one who gives

most trouble and anxiety,' said Frankland with a laugh. *' Not altogether so, and he ie not really the dearest ; but then, as Tom never saw his father, I have always felt that I must be the more to him. There should be no room for comparisons and jealousies between a widow's two sons, of whom she sees all too little, more's the pity. All that winter when my eyes were so weak, Ellice wrote my letters for me, both to you and to Tom.' ' ' And a cramp hand it was,' said Harry. ' If I had not linown your style. I conld scarcely have made it out. f ortunately, her literary proclivities did not interfere with I the composition ; there was the dear old mother's own words j

I put down' verbatim and Harry kissed the handsome old lady in acknowledgment. j 'I am sorry you have taken up such a prejudice against my best friend,*' said the mother. ' No prejudice whatever, mother. Only I object to your j ulterior views. You sent me her photograph, and I cannot, by the utmost stretch of imagination, consider her hand some ; you tell me she is thirty years old, and that is at least seven years older than I should choose my wife to be, and you overpower me by speaking of her literary reputation and her social talents. What I want is a loving, clinging girl, who will adapt herself tome, and will not in my bush home waste herself in regrets for past social successes and for literary society abandoned for my sake.'

' I suppose you want the adjectival woman, and not the substantive.' ' Exactly so. I mean to be the substantive my self.' ' 'But if a woman happens to have a strong character, a firm will, and tastes which have been developed into pur suits ? ? ' ' Let her remain single,' said Harry. ' It may be quite logical that women should develop themselves to the utmost limits of their capacities, and compete with men in all walks ot industrial and professional life ; but domestic hapoiness is not founded on logic. The nameless charm that 'attracts i man to woman does not depend on the strength of her in- j

tellect or the brilliancy of her wit. I go in for a restful woman, and not for one who will keep me for ever on the strain. I am quite prepared to admire your middle-aged friend's mind ; and I have good reason to be grateful to her for her kindness to you ; but you are only wasting your breath and preparing for disap pointment if you try to make me fall in love with her. I am far more likely to make a fool of myself with my little cousin, Phoebe Bose, who has no ideas beyond the last dance and the new novel, and whose eyes danced in her head at my proposal to take her with you to London for sight-seeing and frivolities.' '' Yea- Phoebe is adjective enough,' said Mrs. Frankland. Before she was in her teens she showed a turn for flirta

tion ; and the idea^ of an independent career ? is not only distasteful to her, it is appalling. She must have some male creature, good or bad, hanging about her.' 'Ihen she is the substantive, and they the accidental adjectives 'r' said Harry. 'Ao, not so; for except as she modifies and influences man, she has no object in esis'ence.' 'Is not that the mission, as old as creation, which woman ought to carry out ''I U6ed to think so. No one was more content to 6ee with her husband's eyes and rely on his judgment than But when I was left alone, and had to be mother and father both to you and Tom and the two girls whom I

lost, 1 found I must think and act for myself, and even eo against (he advice of mv brothers sometimes.' ' Well, Phoebe icay develop into this, if opportunity should arise, though I cannot wish her such sad schooW. She is wonderfully pretty, and her manner is very taking. ! Ver y taking,' said the mother. « Even in this quiet neighbourhood, where eligible men nre scarce, sbo mono polises their attention in a remarkable way. She is now engaged in turning over tbe new curate, after leading him a very unclencal dance, in favour of Mr. Richard Oliver, who has come here for a sbort time on a visit to his uncle. Poor Mr. Matthews is disconsolate, for he fancied she gave him encouragement. She took up parish work under his inllaence, just as she takes an intense interest in volun

leering ana rifle practice with Mr. Oliver, and as she will appear to be engrossed with your accounts of your Aus tralian bub life.' ' She is like the chameleon then, which tikes its hu* from its surroundings ; that shows a sympathetic nature eurely.'* ' Yes, it does in a measure ; but you would prefer your own particular adjective to s'iek to yon* own substantive self, and not be so ready to attach itself do others,' sail the eld lady, shrewdly. ' You are bo prejudiced in favour of your substantive friend that you do not do justice to a charming and lively girl who is only taking tentative flights. How many fancies {.ass through the mind and do not reach the heart of the young man and woman before the real lifelong attachment comes. 1 can quite understand a girl liking attention, and apparently returning regard, but starting back when a serious proposal is made; for marriage is a serious thing — to a woman a tremendous risk. I often wonder they have courage to venture oait. Don't be too haid on a young creature liko Phoebe when she is only playing at love.' ' I am not unjust to Phoebe, I hope. His mother was my dear cousin, and I am as fond of her as she will let me be, bat the sympathetic nature you imagine for her is like thit of a magnet with its positive and its negative pole. She is not receptive towards women as ehe is towards men, and thev do rot take to her.' '?'Now, mother, you are unreasonable. Because Phceba is naturally a little jealous of your love for oae who is no relative and no ward of yours, and cannot go with her in her higher flights, jou accuse her of want of sympathy.' ' No, Harry ; it is not Miss Grant whom she avoids. I believe *he gels on better with her than with any woman in the v oild ; it is a general distaste which she has for female society.' ' It is reciprocated, no doubt. Women are proverbially jealous of those who eclipse them in beauty and grace.' ' No one has more genuine admiration of these qualities th«n Miss Grant, and there is' another reason why she likes Fhoele. Wrhile Mr. Grant lived, Phoebe went often to see him, and he was as much carried away with her as other people. She used to like his green-room talk, and his reminiscences of old actors and actresses.' 'That showed a wider range of sympathy than you give Phce'je credit for in the conquest of an old invalid actor.' «? Yes, and Ellice felt most grateful to her for brightening her father's life. It is only sixice Phoebe left school, ho v ever, that ehe has been here tor any permanence. Before that time ehe spent her holidays with her Aunt Russell, now dead ; and even now ehe goes away for such long visits that 1 feel her very much of a visitor at Truscott. 1 believe I am a little unreasonable, but the original grievance was that she got on eo badly with your sister Nora. Now, from tbe time the Grants came to this neighbourhood till the day of Nora's death, she and Ellice bad never a single difference.' ?' But Phoebe was a mere child at the time. I think as you eay, ihat you are unreasonable. But here comes some one, probably unknown. After ten years' absence from the old country* I want re-introductions to some old friends as well at fie/fc introductions to new ones.' CHAPTER II. Ellice Grant was the visitor, and before his mother bud i amcd her Frankland knew who it was, though cer titiulv the resembled her portrait so little that he did not re - fri.i-o hnr by means of that. But a substantive woman «i.i' iii coubtedly was— the step, the gait, the mode of ex It ii herself all showed an independence and perfect li:-l:-n- o, w hich were to his notions unattractive in woman. l!i:i he felt that he must modify his opinions as to her She appeared younger than her thirty years, and vbtn 6he spoke to his mother and expressed sympathy with Ler pleasure in this viBit from her long far absent son, inr face lighted up to something more nearly approaching beauty than he could have supposed possible, and although ber sentences were somewhat too accurately grammatical and well-turned for familiar conversation, her voice had a sweetness and a perfect modulation that redeemed this from pedantry, ' 1 need not be rude, though I must be indifferent,' he thought, and he turned to thank warmly the friend who L,:d been so much to his mother for many years back. ' You were not living in this neighbourhood when I left £- r New South Wales, now more than twelve years ago ' No, we came here the following summer, on account of my father's health. It prolonged his life, I am certain, fiut though I like the place, where I have made some very dear friends, I must leave it and return to London. The lease of my house is just out, and 1 shall not renew it.' ' I shall miss you eadly,' said Mrs. Frankland, 'as well aB many others in the village, old and young.' 'My work can be much better carried on in London, however, and though trains are convenient, travelling costs time and money. But I shall come to you for a rest every now and then, and at all times when you want me I could be summoned and be here in a few hours.' ' Ah ! but that is different from living close by, and com ing to see me every day.' ' Cne must make choice sometimes,' said Ellice calmly. ' On the whole, I think London is where I can work to most advantage.' Frankland saw that Bhe was logical. Her speciality was history and biography, and access to public libraries, and to the British Museum, was important to her. But, though in tbe case of a man, it would have been quite proper and natural, and even praiseworthy for him to go without hesi ation to the place where his avocation could be carried on with least fatigue and with most success, he felt unreason ablj displeased that his mother should lose the daily com panionship she prized eo much, on account of a woman's carcei . ' Your poor people will miss your visits and your help,' said Mrs. Frankland. ' Perhaps they will do better without me. I mean to make you my substitute in many cases. Nothing would be taken as so great a compliment as a visit from Mrs. Frankland.' ' I get so lazy,' said the old lady, ' so disinclined to go out at all. I like my friends to come to see me.' ' You must rouse your mother a little, Mr. Frankland,' said Ellice with a smile. ' Why, she is not sixty, and puts on the old woman because she now and then has a twinge of rheumatism, and wears spectacles. She ought to go out more than she does, for the suke of your young cousin, Miss Phoebe lioee. And if I were gone, I think that young lady might help with such work as you speak of, Mrs. Frank land. She showB far more turn for it than I fancied she had.' ' The fii is over,' raid the old lady. ' But the capacity has been shown. Did you know Miss Rose again, Mr. Frankland ? I suppose not ; she was a mere child when you left England.' ' No, 1 had no recollection of her, but I knew her from the photographs sent.' ' Ihey did not do her justice,' eaid Ellice, warmly. ' No photo can quite give the effect of such a triumphant com plexion as hers, or tbe infantine grace of the expression. A painter might catch it, but could be tempted to exaggerate and to spoil it,' ' A triumphant complexion! What do vou mean by that P ' ' I mean one which defies daylight or candlelight to spoil its effect, and which can wear any colour, or all colours together, without suffering. They talk of beauty being only skin deep, but it appears that the charm of complexion is bb lasting as any. You see it in your mother, it is a family characteristic. Your sister Nora had it, too. Now Miss Grant had not this triumphant complexion her self. She was somewhat colourless, and was very much japroyed by as much excitement as called up a stronger tinge in her cheeks, but her admiration of beauty not her own was genuine and discriminating. ' By-the-by, where is Fhoebef' 6he asked. 'Playing at lawntecnis at Mrs. Oliver's,' said Mrs. Frankland. 'She wished Harry to go with ber, but he preferred to stay and have a quiet talk with me; and be sides he thought it likely some old friends might call. I knew you would come in after your morning's work was over.' 'And I cannot play lawn tennis,' said Frankland. ' You must learn,' said Miss Grant. ' People at Trus cott will be much disappointed if you do not play it and play it well. For tne credit of New South Wales you sre expee'ed to eclipse Mr. Richard Oliver, who has a new. 6wift style that strikes terror into my heart.' *' Do you play, or are you above such frivolities ? ' *' By no means above it, but I am not in such constant

practice as your cousin, and not eo agile naturally. I can . ev?r5r afternoon to it, though it is splendid exer ote for sedentary workers. It develops all the muscles more evenly than say other exercise which girls indulge ' 1 have lived in the bush and have scarcely seen the £ame.' _ ' Yonr cousin will be glad to teach you, no one is more capable than Bhe is.' ' In my youth there were none of those violent games,' said Mie. Framkland. 'Girls were rather ashamed of physical strength. I recollect in a book of advice to TOUDg women which belonged to my mother, written by an eminent physician, too— -Dr. Gregorv's ' Lcgacy to his Daughter '-—he seemed to think delicate health interesting, at least up to a certain point ; and warned young women if they were eo unfortunate as to have rude health to keep it in the background, as nothing was so unattractive to men.' ' W hat an old fool he must have been !' said Frankland. ' In old novels,' Eaid Miss Grant, ' the heroines were always fainting and going into fits — both the first and the secondary heroines ; and you recollect Macaulay's account of the novel he and his sisters read, in which the chief heroine faints eleven times, and her mother four ? and even the heroes faint twice or thrice, and their parents at least once. I think there were nine fainting characters in the book. You may now read a dozen of novels without a single faint or fit cf hysteric t being introduced at a great or small crit-is. This shows that these things have gone oat of fashion.' ''lhi-n there ib a fashion in health as well as in other things V' said Frankland. ' In tbe novels written by my favourite, Jane Austin, there is very moderate walking exercise allowed,' said Mrs. Frankland. ' Not only is it Sir Walter Elliot who hesitates to give his married daughter a new hat and pelisse, for fear it should tempt her to go outside in cold weather and get ber nose reddened and her complexion made coarse ; but a walk beyond a mile or two, or going about the garden pull ing flo we rs, is too much for her country-bred heroines. The old novelists would have been horrified at ladies as Alpine climbers and as pedestrian tourists, with knapsacks, doing twenty miles a day.'* ' English women, then, took to authorship before they took to physical development i' said Frankland. 'And even that under protest. Dr. Samuel J ohnson used to SAy of a woman who wrote that Bhe should be judged Uke a dog that walked on its hind legs. The wonder was that she could do it at all— the manner of doing it well or badly was unimportant,' said Miss Grant. 'Nowadays,' eaid Frankland, gravely, 'a very large proportion of light literature is written by women.' ' In England and America,' Baid Miss Grant ; ' but in France the novelists are men. It is carious to me that, while the novel is so much written by women, they do so little in tbe drama ; and while most middle-class women learn to play, there are so few composers of music. This appears to Bhow special limitations.' This was an admission Frankland had scarcely expected ; he was more interested than he thought he could have been, and was about to say that, as women had in many ways improved the English novel, bo they might do something for the drama, when visitors were announced. They were old acquaintances who came in relays, with whom conversation was carried on about old times and various changes by death, by removals, and by altered circum stances. Frankland was surprised to find how ignorant his old townsmen and townswomen appeared to be, not only as to things in Australia— for which ignorance he was disposed to make allowances— but about other things abroad and at home. It had not occurred to him before that his mother was eo very superior in intelligence to her ordinary associates. It would have fared badly with her as to mental condition if she, chameleon-like, had adopted the prevailing line in Truscott, but Bhe had always been a reader, and ia her husband's lifetime had travelled a good deal. And with one son in Australia, end another who had been in India and in America, with such a daughter as Nora, and such a friend aB Ellice Grant, her ideas and her sympathies baB gone on enlarging instead of contracting after die had reached middle age. Frankland himself, though he set himself down as a plain, practical man, had not been so cut off from the etir and hum of humanity, from the politics and from the progress of the world, in his bush home as his old neighbours in their provincial village or town. He had bad books and newspapers, and had observed and reflected for himself, though the rarity of congenial society hod made him a little rusty as to conversational powers. He fell behind the modern world in art talk, scientific talk, and light literature talk; but he never had felt more stranded in a low-water of intellectual shallowness than now, and yet he somehow resented the manner in which Miss Grant kept out of the conversation, probably a silent contempt for the poor figure he himself made. She sat the visitors out, however, for she had a request to make to Mrs, Frankland. When they had all taken leave, she said to the Aus tralian : 'And how do you like the atmosphere of Philistia, now I you return to it r' ' How do you know that I do not enjoy it of all things P' i ' Do you think I could net see your real feelings in spite j of your politeness ? Provincialism is always oppressive to people who have lived lone: abroad— whether in foreign countries or in the colonies.' ' She is altogether too sharp,' thought Frankland, though, at the same time, he was pleased that she perceived his superiority to the Truscottites. ' The atmosphere of PhiliEtia, as you call it, is rather hazy, I must confess,' said he aloud. ' I did not think that personal talk about people I knew could have been so uninte resting.' ' 1 suppose it is because in such talk the true personality is never taken hold of,' said Miss Grant. ' Such a one has made money, such another has lost it, such a one has built a handsome house, such another has made a rich marriage, suoh children have been born ; such old people, and alas ! too, such young people, have died and been buried. But there is not a point in all this bald chat to tell of character, of struggle, of suffering, of conquest. 'Real life of real men and women is very interesting in j your opinion, then,' eaid Frankland, ' while these straws and husks of life are dull and worthless ?' ' Yes, real life is always interesting.' ' Always worth living?' asked Frankland. ' As I see it, always worth living.' ' But, joking apart, you know that depends upon the liver.' ' Not exclusively,' said Miss Grant, ' it depends very much on the observer. You need to watch closely and sym pathetically to see the many compensations that are given to some of the saddest lives ; the many good traits in some ot the most faulty.' ' Then you do not follow the prevailing fashion ; you are an optimist,' said Frankland. ' 1 don't know whether I am or not. Life is good for me, I cannot speak for others, * 'tis only for myself I know,' as Browning eays somewhere.' ' Well,' thought Frankland, 'here is a woman alone in the world, fatherless, motherless, sisterlesB, brotherless, with no means except as she earns them, saying that life is good.' It might have been more attractive if she had posed as a deeolate orphan, who wanted pity and protection, at least if she had been younger. But after ell, when a woman comes to the age of thirty, there is some propriety in her being able to stand up for herself, and sufficient for her own life, ltmightnothavebeenalwaysso. There must have been a time in which her best faculties both for work and for leisure bad been claimed by her father, who doubtless would have resented her forming any ties for herself. Perhaps in these years ehe would have been more open to thoughts of love and marriage, and dependence on a man's strong arms and strong will. What Miss Grant had stayed to a6k for was this : Mrs. Frankland had a very curious old-fashioned dress com plete, which hsd been her grandmother's, worn at a wedding in the last century, and as there was to be an attempt to get up ' The Rivals ' for a local charity, a dress of this kind was needed in which to play Mrs. Malaprop. Mrs. Frank- j land asked Ellice to try at on to 'see as to the fit, and after a j brief delay she came downstairs disguised. With her walk ! sobered and a little tremulous, leaning on a gold-headed ! staff, with her hair thickly powdered, and a tew crows feet put in round the month end eyes, she walked into tbe drawing-room, the loveliest old lady ever eveB beheld. ' My dear,' said Mrs. Frankland, ' you need not be afraid of growing old.' ' Noram I,' said Ellice, ' I^want to taste the whole of

life eie I make acquaintance with another condition. Is it i not a proof that life ia good, Mr. Frankland, that the love of life grows with our longer acquaintance with it ?' 'Not quite so,' said Frankland, 'perhaps the true theory is that the nearer we are to death tbe more we fear it.' ' I think it is qnite possible to love life much and yet not to fear death at all the reverse is true, as you know. The greatest pessimists, who recommend suicide to others, do not try it for themMgses, even when they profess to believe that nothing worse cWres after; in fact that this is the wont of all possible worlds, and that there is no other for us.' ' Is that really so r' said Frankland 't ' It seems very illogical. 'We are oil illogical, more or less,' said Miss Grant. 'I could not give you any reason for my contentment with my lot, with work which I do not fane; is immortal, which indeed I know to be ephemeral. Nor could Leopardi, the peesimist I tslian poet, for instance, give any reason for his horrible alarm lest he should die of cholera when he was a helpless invalid dependent on the care and good offices of strangers — a brother and sister, who if this was the worst ot all possible worlds would have left him to perish, but who devoted themselves to him for several years, and altered all their own domestic arrangements to suit him. They even removed him from the neighbourhood of the cholera, which they did not fear for themselves, to satisfy him, and nursed him tenderly till his own old disease wore him out.' ' It is very hard indeed when the distaste for life is com bined with a fear of death,' said Frankland. 'Of course fear of death to a reasonable extent is a most useful thing for The preservation both of individuals and of the race, and I suppose religion prevents it from becoming excessive.' ' Religion ought to do eo ; but visiting among the poor, the sick, and tbe dying one, sees many strange contradic tions. Even when the life seems a burden to himself and to others man appears all the more unwilling to part with it. 1 think it iB habitual healthy activity of mind and body tint makes life cheerful and death not terrible. Those who are most missed appear to me to be the most resigned to leave the world.' 41 This is serious talk tor Mr s. Malaprop,' said Mrs. Frankland. ' I dare say, foolish woman as she was, she had her serious moments,' faid Ellice. ' And now, 1 need not waste another thought on my raiment for the 24th, thanks to you, my dear Mrs. Frankland.' ' But your part must be learned,' said Frankland. ' That is nothing,' eaid his mother. ' Ellice knows it by heart ; but as stage manager and coach she has to dpll all her recruits.' ' And I hope to enlist Mr. Frankland in (he corps dra malique ' Any insignificant part I shall be glad to do.' ' Can you bluster as Sir Anthony Absolute or tremble as Bob Acres ? If we had your brother here, he would have taken either indifferently. Anything but the walking gen tlemen he could do well. Miss Rose is Lydia, Mr, Oliver Captain Absolute ; but we kept a vacancy to offer to you, as with these mail steamers one can reckon almoBton the day of sn Australian arrival.' ' I'll take Sir Anthony Absolute, then. ' First rehearsal to-morrow evening at my house. They are all to be there till the final trial at the Assembly Room in proper costume. I have a few stage properties,' and there wes something like a sigh. ' My father has always been stage director hitherto. Of course the Falkland and Julia parts are cut out, bad enough for professionals but absolutely absurd for amateurs, and the play is long enough without.' ' There is a copy of ' The Rivals ' in the house with the omitted scenes marked for Phoebe,' eaid Mrs. Frank lend. ' I hope you are what is called a ' quick study,' but for first rehearsal you can read your part,' said Miss Grant, as she went to change her dress and remove her disguises. While sbe was absent Frankland turned over the leaves ot Sheridan's plays to see how much there was for him to do, while Mrs. Frankland went with her friend, perhaps anxious to know what ehe thought of Tom's brother, her eldest son. Miss Grant soon reappeared in her own dress, the most unconspicuous in colour, material, and cut con sistent with moderate fashion that could he choBen, and said good-bye to her friend and the new comer. 'Well?' said Mrs. Frankland, interrogatively. ' Well, mother,' said Harry, smiling. -? What do you think of her now you have seen her ?' 'Very much as I did before, a truly excellent and ad mirable person. Indeed, I think more highly of her than I had expected, but I am sure she iB most unsuited for a squatter's wife in the wilds of Australia. It would be doing her a positive injustice to stop her career, of which she speaks so modestly. Let her carry on hpr own work in London— that is quite* sufficient for her. It is a different sort of woman that I should be tempted to seek out to cheer me on tbe Darling Downs.' . CHAPTER III. i It was not because Harry Frankland was young that he thought Ellice Grant's thirty years so portentous. He was, indeed, five years older, but he fancied that any woman who bad reached that point which, in Lord Lytton's opinion, separates for ever between youth and .middle age, would be much too set in her ways to adapt herself to new surroundings, or to give up her own will naturally and gracefully. jBut be felt, in spite of himself, that Miss Grant was a very restful woman, much more so than the pretty ycung cousin, whose kittenish playfulness and careless blunders and astonishing ignorances he was every day startled and amused by. Phoebe Rose appreciated the consequence she derived from the attentions of the rich liberal cousin who was ready to gratify every wish she ex pressed. It was true he was awfully old, and sunburned as to face neck and hands to an appalling extent, but he was another Eomebody, and to the half- cured Mr. Matthews and the half-in-love Mr. RichardOliver it looked like a settled thing that Frankland should go in and win. But, by a glance now and then, by a little biu6h here, and by a casual observation there, she kept them both as it were at call, and for many things they were better than Frankland. They danced better, they bad far more coterie talk, they dressed better, and they played lawn tennis with more skill. It is not tbe eleverest woman who is most exacting, as Frankland was forced to confess to himself ; but then a man at home on a visit of this kind rather enjoys beiDg made use of, and asked even to do unreasonable things. It was very pretty to see her in ' Lydia Languish,' but rather tiresome to have to prompt her so much and to find that at each rehearsal she made exactly the same blunders at the same points, and to see that she regarded her own shortcomings as quite unimportant. Miss Grant continued to find fault and Phoebe continued never to mind. Even at the last rehearsal no one was letter-perfect but Sir Anthony and Mrs. Malaprop, and tbe two lovers Miss Rose'and Mr. Richard Oliver were the most unsatisfactory of all. ' It will go all right to-morrow,' said Phoebe. ' It always does, you know. My memory comes when it is needed.' 'And so does mine,' said Mr. Oliver. ' I suppose we must risk it,' said Miss Grant. ' As this is the lest piece I am likely to assist in, I should have liked it to go better as a whole. Perhaps you would not mind rehearsing your part with Mr. Frankland in the morn ing ?' ' I should not mind at all,' said Phoebe. ' Or re-rehearung f' eaid Miss Grant, turning to Frank land, ' if the first docs not satisfy you.' 'Oh, it is sure to satisfy him. He is not so 'hard to pleafe es you are.' 'Mr. Fiankland is not responsible as I am,' said Miss Grant. 'JIt is such nonsense, Ellice Grant being so very particular and giving herself such airs,' said Phcebe, as she walked home with her cousin from rehearsal. 'And what is the reason of it all ? Why, because her father was an old actor who ruined himself with buying a theatre, and he had set his heart on her becoming an actress, and she got a lot of training. If he had not fallen into bad health and been ordered into the country, she would have been on the stage now. It was very much against their getting into societv here. It was a runaway match, I believe ; and Mrs. Grant was thrown off by her relations ; but auntieknew something about her being of a good family in Cornwall, and she was the first to call. She thinks no end of MiBS Grant; she actually thinks her good- looking. She would have needed a lot of make-up for the parts her father thought she was cut out for. Mrs. Malaprop, you know, is all very well—

nobody expects her to be anything but a fright ; bat fancy her as Juliet or Pauline !' ' And as she did not go on the stage she took to writing instead.' ' Yes, you find her all the morning up to the eyes in papers end books, the very driest and stiffast you can imagine. She had to do it to keep her father, you know, and now she goeson to keep herself. At first they lived in a very poor way in a cottage at the end of Hill's-lane, bift lately ehe gets more money for her books, and things. I wonder ehe did not take to writing novels.' ' Too frivolous for her, 1 suppose,' said Frankland. ' o no, Ehe does not say that. She told me once, when I asked her about it, that Bhe could not make a plot. Why if it was worth the trouble anybody could make a plot. I'm sure 1 have twenty stories in my head as good as those I read.' *' Original stories P ' asked Frankland. ' Quite original, I assure you ; but Ellice Grant picks to pieces all the novels ehe reads. She always says this is impossible, and that is improbable, end the other thing is inconsistent. Her plots would be humdrum enough, I'm sure, if ehe went by what she says about other people's.' ?« I wonder if she was disappointed not to goon the stage,' said Frankland, half speaking to himself. ' Of course she was, at least I suppose so. I shsuld have liked it of all tilings ; at any rate, I should have liked it if i t had not been itijra dig. One does not like to act ia public for money. For a charitable object like ours, it is quite different you know; but of course that would not trouble Ellice. She has to work for money, and it is of little con i tequence whether it is by writing or by acting.' ' If one acts for money, one must act well ; for a chari table purpoee the motive covers a multitude of slips,' eaid Frankland in jest, but Phoebe took it up in earnest, and said ehe would do better with him, and better still at the performance, for she always enjoyed putting Miss Grant out ; Ehe was so terribly in earnest in her part of stage manager it was quite funny to see her excitement; and, 'really, often one woid is as good as another, and if it ia your own it is really more naturaL' Phoebe was as good as her word. She made Frankland feel bb if he was a better director than Miss Grant, for this bright particular star at any rate. She was perfectly charming over tbe rehearsal and the re-rehearsal. The final performance went off better than Miss Grant had ex pected, though Phoebe accepted praise for her acting that wss really due to her prettiness. There was for the place a large and fashionable audience, and the receipts were satisfactory. Frankland took his mother home first. She had enjoyed all about the entertainment except the idea that it would probably be the last which would be got up. Frankland then returned for Phoebe, but even then she was not prepared to go, and kept him hanging about for ten minutes while sbe talked to other cavaliers. On their way home they passed Mies Grant's house, and saw her in cIobs talk with a stranger in an ulster, to whom she opened the dOor. Then she entered with him and thut it again. ' Who can it be ?' eaid Phoebe. ' None of our actors, I know. She went by herself before you came back for me, and might have been home a quarter of an hour ago. She always goes about by herself to show her independence. That is a stranger in Truscott. I dare say he is oue of thote queer characters who UBed to go to see Mr. Grant when he was alive — brokendown actors and singers. Suc cessful people never took the trouble to find him out, but the other sort did when they wanted help.' 'And did they get it?' asked Frankland ' Oh, I fancy so,' eaid Phoebe carelessly. ' The unBuciceBBful man felt tor his companions in mis fortune,' said Frankland. ' Of course it all came out of Ellice' a pocket, and they knew that as well as 1 did ; and as she has as much money as she ever had, and he is no longer to be kept, she is all the fairer game,' said Phoebe. *' But, after all, I dare say it is only the carpenter whom she took up so warmly and calls a genius. She has the queerest tastes, to be sure. She lends books to Jackson, and talks over them just as she might do to you.' ' I em glad her tastes led her to show so much kindness to my mother. I cannot be too grateful.' ' She cannot do too much for auntie, considering how much ehe owes to ber. You, however, may be as grateful as yon please. You will never get leave to show it in any practical sensible way. She never needs any help— never cares for any little attention. Really, Bhe is more like a man than a woman. Don't you think eo ?' ' Perhaps. _ Yes,' said Frankland, doubtfully, and the tone of hiB voice afforded Phoebe much amusement. She could not in the least understand his regret at not being able to pay his debt of gratitude to Miss Grant. . With ample means and goodwill, he conld in no way ease her laborious life ; he could not even be sure that she saw or noticed his appreciation of her strong character. There was nothing for him to do but to look on — to accept her kindly offices fo his mother without repayment — to admire her as he would admire a strong capable man, without any consciousnes that his good opinion gave her any pleasure. Phoebe was much more accessible; her very coquetry showed that his attentions were valued; and if he turned to speak to another — were it to Miss Grant, to Miss Oliver, or even to Mrs. Hunt— her eyes sought to recall him. She would manoeuvre for him to sit by her side, and ap peared to prefer bis society to that of others whom she had known longer. And if he was played off against her other admirers he was not aware of it. He was drifting, day by day, half-willingly, half-nnconsciously, into that frame of mind when any chance circumstance might lead to a pro posal. And taking, as was her custom, her line from tho substantive male creature whom she modified, Phoebe ap peared at this portion of her life more reasonable and less selfish than ever before. Mrs. Frankland could not help noticing an improvement ; and aB she had always felt that Phoebe's character and her destiny depended. altogether on the kind of man she married, she was resigning herself to the idea that, as Harry could not admire MiBS Grant in the proper way, he might be the saving substantive for her pretty kinswoman, and certainly a much better mate for her than a weak curate like Mr. Matthew, or an empty-headed fop like Richard Oliver. Miss Rose's little fortune of three thousand pounds was somewhat of an attraction to the curate, who had no private fortune and not much patron age. With regard to young Oliver, the old lady scarce knew enough about his circumstances to guess whether the money was of importance or not. Harry would, at all events, be quite dimnterested.