|Chapter Number||Second period. First narrative: I|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||The Moonstone|
Author of "The Woman in White," "No Name," etc.
SECOND PERIOD. THE DISCOVERY OF THE TRUTH. (1848-1849.)
The Events Related in Several Narratives.
contributed by Miss Clack, Niece of the late Sir John Verinder.
BY WILKIE COLLINS.
MY diary informs me that I was accidentally passing Aunt Verinder's house in Montagu Square, on Monday, 3rd July, 1848. Seeing the shutters opened, and the blinds
drawn up, I felt that it would be an act of polite attention to knock and make enquiries. The person who answered the door informed me that my aunt and her daughter (I really cannot call her my cousin!) had arrived from the country a week since, and meditated making some stay in London. I sent up a message at once, declin ing to disturb them, and only begging to know whether I could be of any use. The person who answered the door took my message in insolent silence and left me standing in the hall. She is the daughter of a heathen old man named Betteredge—long, too long, tolerated in my aunt's family. I sat down in the hall to wait for my answer—and having always a few tracts in my bag, I selected one which proved to be quite providentially applicable to the per3oa who answered the door. The hall was dirty and the chair was hard j but the blessed conscious ness of returning good for evil raised me quite above any trifling considerations of that kind. The tract was one of a series addressed to young women on the sinfulness of dress. In style it was devoutly familiar. Its title was, " A Word With You On Your Cap-Eibbons." » "My lady is much obliged, and begs you will come and lunch to-morrow at 2." I passed over the manner in which she gave her message, and the dreadful boldness ef her look. I thanked this young castaway; and I ?aid, in a tone of becoming interest, " Will you favor me by accepting a tract ?" 6he looked, at the title. "Is it written by a man or a woman, miss ? If it's written by a woman I had rather not read it on that account. If if a written by a man, I beg to inform him that he knows nothing about it." She handed me back the tract and Opened the door. We must sow the good seed somehow. I waited till the door was shut on me, and slipped the tract into the letter-box. When I had dropped an other tract through the area railings I felt re lieved, in some small degree, of a heavy respon sibility toward others. We had a meeting that evening of the Select Committee of the Mothers-Small-Clothes-Con Version-Society. The object of this excellent charity is—as all serious people know—to res cue unredeemed fathers' trowsers from the pawn broker, and to prevent their resumption, on the part of the irreclaimable parent, by abridging them immediately to suit the proportions of the innocent son. I was a member, at that time, of the select committee; and I mention the society here because my precious and admirable friend, Mr. Godfrey Ablewbite, was associated with our work of moral and material usefulness. I had expected to see him in the board-room on the Monday evening of which I am now writing, and had purposed to tell him when we met of dear Aunt Verinder's arrival in London. To my great disappointment he never appeared. On my ex pressing a feeling of surprise at his abscence my listen of the committee all looked up together from their trowßers (we had a great pressure of business that night) and asked in amazement if I had not heard the news. I acknowledged my ignorance, and was then told for the first time of an event which forms, so to speak, the start ing-point of my narrative. On the previous Fri day two gentlemen—occupying widely different positions in society—had been the victims of an outrage which had startled all London. One of the gentlemen was Mr. Septimus Luker, of Lambeth. The other was Mr. Godfrey Able white. Living in my present isolation, I have no mfians of introducing the newspaper-account of the outrage into my narrative. I was also de prived, at the time, of the inestimable advantage of hearing the events related by the fervid elo quence of Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite. All I can do is to state the facts as they were stated, on that Monday evening, to me; proceeding on the plan which I have been taught from infancy to adopt in folding up my clothes. Everything ?hall be put neatly, and everything shall be put in its place. These lines are written by a poor weak woman. From a poor weak woman, who will be cruel enough to expect more ? The date—thanks to my dear parents, no dic tionary that ever was written can be more par ticular than I am about dates—was Friday, June 30, 1848. Early on that memorable day our gifted Mr. Godfrey happened to be cashing a cheque at a banking-house in Lombard-street. The name of the firm is accidentally blotted in the diary, and my sacred regard for truth forbids me to hazard a guess in a matter of this kind. For tunately, the name of the firm doesn't matter. What does matter is a circumstance that oc curred when Mr. Godfrey had transacted his business. On gaining the door he encountered a gentleman—a perfect stranger to him—who was accidentally leaving the office exactly at the same time as himself. A momentary contest of politeness ensued between them as to whom should be the first to pass through the door of the bank. The stranger insisted on making Mr. Godfrey precede him; Mr. Godfrey said a few civil worde; they bowed, and parted in the street. Thoughtless and superficial people may say, Here is surely a very trumpery little incident related in an absurdly circumstantial manner. Oh, my young friends and fellow-sinners! be ware of presuming to exercise your poor carnal reason. Oh, be morally tidy ! Let your faith be as your stockings, and your stockings as your faith. Both ever spotless, and both ready to put on at a moment's notice! I beg a thousand pardons. I have fallen in sensibly into my moralising style. Most inappropriate in such a record as this. Let me try to be worldly—let me say that trifles, in this case as in many others, led to terrible results. Merely premising that the polite stranger was Mr. Luker, of Lambeth, we will now follow Mr. Godfrey home to his residence at TCilburn. t found waiting for him, in the hall, a poorly c\. . but delicate and interesting-looking little V->'. The boy handed him a letter, merely motioning that he had been intrusted with it by an old lady whom he did not know, and who
had given him no instructions to wait for an answer. Such incidents as these were not un common in Mr. Godfrey's large experience as a promoter of public charities. He let the boy go, and opened the letter. The handwriting was entirely unfamiliar to him. It requested his attendance, within an hour's time, at a house in Northumberland street, Strand, which he had never had occasion to enter before. The object sought was to ob tain from the worthy manager certain details on the subject of the Mothers-Small-Clothes-Conv ersion-Society, and tbe information was wanted by an elderly lady wao proposed adding largely to the resources of the charity, if her questions were met by satisfactory replies. She mentioned her name, and she added that the shortness of her stay in London prevented her from giving any longer notice to tbe eminent philanthropist whom she addressed. Ordinary people might have hesitated before setting aside their own engagements to suit the convenience of a stranger. The philanthropist never hesitates where good is to be done. Mr. Godfrey instantly turned back, and proceeded to the bouse in Northumberland-street. A most respectable though somewhat corpulent man answered the door,and, on hearing Mr. Godfrey's name, immediately conducted him into an empty apartment at the back, on the drawing-room floor. He noticed two unusual things on enter ing the room. One of them was a faint odor of musk and camphor. The other was an ancient Oriental manuscript, richly illuminated with Indian figures and devices, that lay open to in spection on a table. He was looking at the book, the position of which caused him to Btand with his back turned toward the closed folding-doors communicating with the front-room, when, withont the slightest previous noise to warn him, he felt himself sud denly seized round the neck from behind. He had just time to notice that the arm round his neck was naked and of a tawny-brown color, before his eyes were bandaged, his mouth was gagged, and he was thrown helpless on the floor by (as he judged) two men. A third rifled his pockets, and—if, as a lady, I may venture to use such an expression—searched him, without cere mony, through and through to the skin. An interval elapsed, and he heard a sound be low like the rustling sound of a woman's dress. It advanced up the stairs, and stopped. A female scream rent the atmosphere of guilt. A man's voice below exclaimed, "Hullo!" A man's feet ascended the stairs. Mr. Godfrey felt Christian fingers unfastening his bandages, and extracting his gag. He looked in amaze ment at two respectable strangers, and faintly articulated, " What does it mean ?" The two respectable strangers looked back, and said, " Exactly the question we were going to ask you." The inevitable explanation followed. No! Let me be scrupulously particular. Sal vola tile and water followed, to compose dear Mr. Godfrey's nerves. The explanation came next. It appeared, from the statement of the land lord and landlady of the house (persons of good repute in the neighborhood), that their first and second floor apartments had been engaged, on the previous day, for a week certain, by a most re spectable-looking gentleman—the same who has been already described as answering the door to Mr. Godfrey's knock. The gentleman had paid the week's rent and all the week's extras in ad vance, stating that the apartments were wanted for three Oriental noblemen, friends of his, who were visiting England for the first time. Early on the morning of the outrage two of the Orien tal strangers, accompanied by their respectable English friend, took possession of the apart ments. The third was expected to join them shortly; and the luggage (reported as very bulky) ' was announced to follow when it had passed through the Custom-house, late in the afternoon. Not more than ten minutes previous to Mr. God frey's visit the third foreigner had arrived. No thing out of the common had happened, to the knowledge of the landlord and landlady down stairs, until within the last five minutes—when they had seen the three foreigners, accompanied by their respectable English friend, all leave the house together, walking quietly in the direction of the Strand. Bemembering that a visitor had called, and not having seen the visitor also leave the house, the landlady had thought it rather strange that the gentleman should be left by himself up stairs. After a short discussion with her husband she had considered it advisable to ascertain whether anything was wrong. The result had followed, as I have already at tempted to describe it; and there the explana tion of the landlord and the landlady came to an end. An investigation was next made in the room. Dear Mr. Godfrey's property was found scattered in all directions. When the articles were col lected, however, nothing was missing; his watch, chain, purse, keys, pocket-handkerchief, note book, and all his loose papers had been closely examined, and had then been left unharmed to be resumed by the owner. In the same way, not the smallest morsel of property belonging to the proprietors of the bouse had been ab stracted. The Oriental noblemen had removed their own illuminated manuscript, and had re moved nothing else. What did it mean ? Taking the worldly point of view, it appeared to mean that Mr. Godfrey had been the victim of some incomprehensible error, committed by certain unknown men. A dark conspiracy was on foot in the midst of us ; and our beloved and innocent friend had been entangled in its meshes. When the trusting hero of a hundred charitable victories plunges into a pitfall that had been dug for him by mis take, oh, what a warning it is to the rest of us to be unceasingly on our guard ! How soon may our own evil passions prove to be Oriental noblemen who pounce on us unawares! I could write pages of affectionate warning on this one theme, but (alas!) lam not per mitted to improve—l am condemned to narrate. My wealthy relative's check—henceforth the in cubus of my existence—warns me that I have not done with this record of violence yet. We must leave Mr. Godfrey to recover in Northum berland-street, and must follow the proceedings of Mr. Lukor, at a later period of the day. After leaving the bank, Mr. Luker had visited various parts of London on business errands. Returning to his own residence he found a letter waiting for him, which was described as having been left a short time previously by a boy. In this case, as in Mr. Godfrey's case, the hand writing was strange; but the name mentioned was the name of one of Mr. Luker's customers. His correspondent announced (writing in the third person—apparently by the hand of a deputy) that he had been unexpectedly sum moned to London. He had just established himself in lodgings in Alfred Place, Tottenham Court Boad j and he desired to see Mr. Luker immediately, on the subject of a purchase which he contemplated making. The gentleman was
an enthusiastic collector of Oriental antiquities, and had been for many years a liberal patron of the establishment in Lambeth. Oh, when shall we wean ourselves from the worship of Mam mon ! Mr. Luker called a cab, and drove off instantly to his liberal patron. Exactly what had happened to Mr. Godfrey in Northumberland-street now happened to Mr. Luker in Alfred Place. Once more the respect able man answered the door, and showed the visitor up stairs into the back drawing-room. There, again, lay the illuminated manuscript on a table. Mr. Luker's attention was absorbed, as Mr. Godfrey's attention had been absorbed, by this beautiful work of Indian art. He too was aroused from his studies by a tawny naked arm round his throat, by a bandage over his eyes, and by a gag in his mouth. He too. was thrown prostrate, and searched to the skin. A longer interval had then elapsed than had passed in the experience of Mr. Godfrey; but it had ended as before, in the persons of the house suspecting something wrong, and going up stairs to see what had happened. Precisely the same explanation which the landlord in Northumber land-street had given to Mr. Godfrey the land lord in Alfred Place now gave to Mr. Luker. Both had been imposed upon in the same way by the plausible address and the well-filled purse of the respectable stranger, who introduced himself as acting for his foreign friends. The one point of difference between the two cases occurred when the scattered contents of Mr. Luker's pockets were being collected from the floor. His watch and purse were safe, but (less fortunate than Mr. Godfrey) one of the loose papers that he had carried about him had been taken away. The paper in question acknow ledged the receipt of a valuable of great price which Mr. Luker had that day left in the care of his bankers. This document would be useless for purposes of fraud, inasmuch as it provided that the valuable should only be given up on the personal application of the owner. As soon as he recovered himself, Mr. Luker hurried to the bank-, on the chance that the thieves who had robbed him might ignorantly present them selves with the receipt. Nothing had been seen of them when he arrived at the establishment, and nothing was seen of them afterward. Their respectable English friend had (in tbe opinion of the bankers) looked the receipt over before they attempted to make use of it, and had given them the necessary warning in good time. Information of both outrages was communi cated to the police, and the needful investiga tions were pursued, I believe, with great energy. The authorities held that a great robbery had been planned, on insufficient information received by the theives. They had been plainly not sure whether Mr. Luker had, or had not, trusted the transmission of his precious gem to another person, and poor polite Mr. Godfrey had paid the penalty of having been seen accidentally speaking to him. Add to this, that Mr. God frey's absence from our Monday evening meeting had been occasioned by a consultation of the authorities, at which he was requested to assist —and all the explanations required being now given, I may proceed with the simple story of my own little personal experiences in Montagu Square. I was punctual to the luncheon hour on Tues day. Beference to my diary shows this to have been a checkered day—much in it to be devoutly regretted, much in it to be devoutly thankful for. Dear Aunt Verinder received me with her usual grace and kindness. But I noticed after a little while that something was wrong. Cer tain anxious looks escaped my aunt, all of which took the direction of her daughter. I never see Bachel myself without wondering how it can be that so insignificant-looking a person should be the child of such distinguished parents as Sir John and Lady Verinder. On this occasion, however, she not only disappointed, she really shocked me. There was an absence of all lady like restraint in her language and manner most painful to see. She was possessed by some feverish excitement which made her distress ingly loud when she laughed, and sinfully waste ful and capricious in what she ate and drank at lunch. I felt deeply for her poor mother, even before the true state of the case had been con* fidentially made known to me. " The doctor recommends plenty of exercise and amusement for Bachel, and strongly urges me to keep her mind as much as possible from dwelling on the past," said Lady Verinder. "Oh, what heathen advice!" I thought to myself. "In this Christian country, what hea then advice!" My aunt went on: "I do my best to carry out the doctor's instructions. But this strange adventure of Godfrey's happens at a most un fortunate time. Bachel has been incessantly restless and excited since she first heard of it. She left me no peace till I had written and asked my nephew Ablewhite to come here She even feels an interest in the other person who was roughly used—Mr. Luker, or some such name—though the man is, of course, a total stranger to her." " Your knowledge of the world, dear aunt, is superior to mine," I suggested, diffidently. " But there must be a reason surely for this ex traordinary conduct on Bachel's part. She is keeping a sinful secret from you and from every body. May there not be something in these recent events which threatens her secret with discovery ?" "Discovery?" repeated my aunt. "What can you possibly mean ? Discovery through Mr. Luker ? Discovery through my nephew ?" As the word passed her lips a special provi dence occurred. The servant opened the door, and announced Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite. Chapter 11. Mr. Godfrey followed the announcement of his name—as Mr. Godfrey does everything else —exactly at the right time. He was not so close on the servant's heels as to startle us. He was not so far behind as to cause us the double inconvenience of a pause and an open door. It is in the completeness of his daily life that the true hero appears. This dear mam was very complete. "Go to Miss Verinder," said my aunt, addressing the servant, " and tell her Mr. Able white is here." We both enquired after his health. We both asked him together whether he felt like himself again, after his terrible adventure of the past week. With perfect tact he contrived to answer us at the same moment. Lady Verinder had his reply in words. I had his charming smile. " What," he cried, with infinite tenderness, "have I done to deserve all this sympathy? Illy dear aunt! my dear Miss Clack! I have merely been mistaken for somebody else. I have only been blindfolded; I have only been strangled; I have only been thrown flat on my back, on a very thin carpet covering a particu larly hard floor. Just think how much worse it might have been! I might have been
murdered; I might have been robbed. What have I lost? Nothing but nervous force— which the law doesn't recognize as property ; so chat, strictly speaking, I have lost nothing at all. If I could have had my own way I would have kept my adventure to myself—l shrink from all this fuss and publicity. But Mr. Luker made his injuries public, and my injurie 8 as the necessary consequence, have been pro claimed in their turn. I have become the property of the newspapers until the gentle reader gets sick of the subject. lam very sick indeed of it myself. May the gentle reader soon bo like me! And how is dear Rachel ? Still enjoying the gaieties of London ? So glad to hear it! Miss Clack, I need all your indul gence. I am sadly behind-hand with my com mittee work and my dear ladies. But I really do hope to look in at the Mothers-Small-Clothes next week. Did you make cheering progress at Monday's Committee ? Was the Board hopeful about future prospects? And are we nicely off for trousers ?" The balmy gentleness of his smile made his apologies irresistible. The richness of bis deep voice aided its own indescribable charm to the interesting business question which he had just addressed to me. In truth, we were almost too nicely off for trousers ; we were quite overwhelmed by them. I was just about to say bo, when the door opened again, and an element of wordly disturbance entered the room in the person of Miss Yerind*er. She approached dear Mr. Godfrey at a most unlady-like rate of speed, with her hair shock ingly untidy, and her face, what I should call, unbecomingly flushed. " I am charmed to see you, Godfrey," she said, addressing him, I grieve to add, in the off hand manner of one young man talking to another. " I wish you had brought Mr. Luker with you. You and he (as long as our present excitement lasts) are the two most interesting men in all London.' It's morbid to say this; it's unhealthy; it's all that a well-regulated mind like Miss Clack's most instinctively shud ders at. Never mind that. Tell me the whole of the Northumberland-street story directly. I know the newspapers hare left some of it out.' Even dear Mr. Godfrey partakes of the fallen nature which we all inherit from Adam—it is a very small share of our human legacy, but, alas! he has it. I confess it grieved me to see him take Rachel's hand in both of his own hands, and lay it softly on the left side of his | waistcoat. It was a direct encouragement to her wreckless way of talking, and her insolent reference to me. " Dearest Rachel," he said, in the same voice which had thrilled me when he spoke of our prospects and our trousers, " the newspapers have told you everything—and they have told it much better than I can." "Godfrey thinks we all make too much of the matter," my aunt remarked. "He has just been saying that he doesn't care to speak of it." 11 Why ?" She put the 'question with a sudden flash in her eyes, and a sudden look up into Mr. God frey's face. On his side, he looked down at her with an indulgence so injudicious and so ill deserved that I really felt called on to interfere. "Rachel, darting!" I remonstrated, gently, "true greatness and true courage are ever modest." "You are a very good fellow in your way, Godfrey," she said—not taking the smallest notice, observe, of me, and still speaking to her cousin as if she was one young man addressing another. " Bat I am quite sure you are not great; I don't believe you possess any extra ordinary courage; and lam firmly persuaded— if you ever had any modesty—that your lady worshippers relieved you of that virtue a food many years since. You have some private reason for not talking of your adventure in Northumberland-street; and I mean to know it." " My reason is the simplest imaginable and the most easily acknowledged," he answered, still bearing with her. "I am tired of the sub ject." " You are tired of the subject ? My dear Godfrey, I am going to make a remark." 11 What is it ?" " You live a great deal too much in the society of women. And you have contracted two very bad habits in consequence. You have learned to talk nonsense seriously, and you have got into a way of telling fibs for the pleasure of telling them. You can't go straight with your lady-worshippers. I mean to make you go straight with me. Come, and sit down. lam brimful of downright questions ; and I expect you to be brimful of downright answers." She actually dragged him across the room to a chair by the window, where the light would fall on his face. I deeply feel being obliged to report such language and to describe such con duct. But, hemmed in as I am, between Mr. Franklin Blake's cheque on one side and my own sacred regard for truth on the other, what am I to do ? I looked at my aunt. Bhe sat unmoved; apparently in no way disposed to interfere. I had never noticed this kind of torpor in her before. It was, perhaps, the reaction after the trying time she had had in the country. Not a pleasant symptom to remark, be it what it might, at dear Lady Verinder's age, and with dear Lady Verinder's autumnal exuberance of figure. In the mean time Rachel had settled herself at the window with our amiable and forbearing —our too forbearing— Mr. Godfrey. She began the string of questions with which she had threatened him, taking no more notice of her mother or of myself than if we had not been in the room. " Have the police done anything, Godfrey ?" " Nothing whatever." "It Is certain, I suppose, that the three men who laid the trap for you were the same three men who afterward laid the trap for Mr. Luker?" " Humanly speaking, my dear Rachel, there can be no doubt of it." "And not a trace of them has been dis covered ?" " Not a trace." "It is thought—is it not?—that these three men are the three Indians who came to our house in the country." " Some people think so." " Do you think so." " My dear Rachel, they blindfolded me before I could Bee their faces. I know nothing what ever of the matter. How can I offer any opin ion on it ?" Even the angelic gentleness of Mr. Godfrey was, you see, beginning to give way at last un der the persecution inflicted on him. Whether unbridled curiosity, or ungovernable dread, dic tated Miss Verinder's questions I do not pre sume to enquire. I only report that, on Mr. Godfrey's attempting to rise, after giving her the answer just described, she actually took him
by the two shoolders, and pushed him back into his chair.—Oh, don't say this was immodest! don't even hint that the recklessness of guilty terror could alone account for such conduct a I have described! We must not judge others. My Christian friends, indeed, indeed, indeed, we must not judge others! She went on with her questions, unabashed. Earnest Biblical, students will perhaps be re minded—as I was reminded—of the blinded children of the devil, who went on with their orgies, unabashed, in the time before the flood. " I want to know something about Mr. Luker, Godfrey." "I am again unfortunate, Eachel. No man knows lees of Mr. Luker than I do." " You never saw him before you and he met accidentally at the bank ?" " Never." " You have seen him since ?" " Yes. We have been examined together, as well as separately, to assist the police." " Mr. Luker was robbed of a recipt which he had got from his banker's—was he not ? What was the receipt for ?" " For a valuable gem which he had placed in the safe-keeping of the bank." "That's what the newspapers say. It may be enough for the general reader; but it is not enough for me. The banker's receipt must have mentioned what the gem was ?" "The banker's receipt, Eachel—as I have heard it described—mentioned nothing of the kind. A valuable gem, belonging to Mr. Luker; deposited by Mr. Luker; sealed with Mr. Luker's seal; and only to be given up on Mr. Luker's personal application. That was the form, and that is all I know about it." She waited a moment after he had said that. She looked at her mother and sighed. She looked back again at Mr. Godfrey, and went on. 11 Some of our private affairs, at home," she said, " seem to have got into the newspapers ?" .- " I grieve to say, it is so." " And some idle people, perfect strangers to us, are trying to trace a connection between what happened at our house in Yorkshire, and what has happened Bince here in London ?" " The public curiosity, in certain quarters, ist I fear, taking that turn." " The people who say that the three unknown men who ill-used, you and Mr. Luker are the three Indians, also say that the valuable gem—?" There she stopped. She had become gradu ally, within the last few moments, whiter and whiter in the face. The extraordinary blackness of her hair made this paleness, by contrast, so ghastly to look at that we all thought she would faint at that moment when she checked herself in the middle of her question. Dear Mr. God frey made a second attempt to leave his chair. My aunt entreated her to say no more. I followed my aunt with a modest medicinal peace-offering in the shape of a bottle of salts. We none of us produced the slightest effect on her. " Godfrey, stay where you- are. Mam ma, there is not the least reason to be alarmed about me. Clack, you're dying to hear the end of it—l won't faint, expressly to oblige you." Those were the exact words she used—taken down1 in my diary the moment I got home. But oh, don't let us judge! My dear friends, don't let us judge! She turned once more to Mr. Godfrey. With an obstinacy dreadful to see she went back again to the place where she had checked herself, and completed her question in these words : "I spoke to you a minute since about what people were saying in certain quarters. Te\\ me plainly, Godfrey, do they any of them say that Mr. Luker's valuable gem is—The Moon stone?" As the name of the Indian Diamond passed her lips I saw a change come over my admirable friend. His complexion deepened. He lost the genial suavity of manner which is one of his greatest charms. A noble indignation inspired his reply. " They do say it," he answered. " There are people who don't hesitate' to accuse Mr. Luker of telling a falsehood to serve some private in terests of his own. He has over and over again solemnly declared that, until this scandal assailed him, he had never even heard of The Moonstone. And these vile people reply, without a shadow of proof to justify them. He has his reasons for concealment; we decline to believe him on his oath. Shameful! shame ful!" Bachel looked at him very strangely—l can't well describe how—while he waß speaking. When he had done, she said: " Considering that Mr. Luker is only a chance acquaintance of yours, you take up his cause, Godfrey, rather warmly." My gifted friend made her one of the most truly evangelical answers I ever heard in my life. " I hope, Bachel, I take up the cause of all oppressed people rather warmly," he said. The tone in which those words were spoken might have melted a stone. But, oh dear, what is the hardness of stone. Nothing compared to the hardness of the unregenerate human heart! She sneered. I blush to record it—she sneered at him to his face. " Keep your beautiful language for your la dies' committees, Godfrey. lam certain that the scandal which has assailed Mr. Luker has not spared you." Even my aunt's torpor was aroused by those words. "My dear Rachel," she remonstrated, " you have really no right to say that!" " I mean no harm, mamma—l mean good. Have a moment's patience with me, and you will see." She looked back at Mr. Godfrey with what appeared to be a sudden pity for him. She went the length —the very unladylike length—of tak ing him by the hand. " I em certain," she said, " that I have found out the true reason of your unwillingness to speak of this matter before my mother and before me. An unlucky accident has associated you in people's minds with Mr. Luker. You have told me what scandal says of him. What does scandal say of you ?" Even at the eleventh hour, dear Mr. Godfrey —always ready to return good for evil—tried to spare her. '• Don't ask me!" he said. " It's better for gotten, Rachel—it is indeed." " I will hear it!" she cried out, fiercely, at the top of hw voice. "Tell her, Godfrey!" entreated my aunt. " Nothing can do her such harm as your silence is doing now!" Mr. Godfrey's fine eyeß filled with tears. He cast one last appealing look at her—and then he spoke the fatal words : "If you will have it, Bachel—scandal says that the Moonstone is in pledge to Mr. Luker, and that I am the man who has pawned it." She started to her feet with a scream. She
looked bac Wft i and forward from Mr. God- ' frey to my aunt, and from my aunt to Mr. God frey, in such a frantic manner that I really thought she had gone mad. " Don't speak to me! Don't touch me!" she exclaimed, shrinking back from all of us (I de clare like some hunted animal!) into a corner of the room. " This is my fault! I must set it right. I have sacrificed myself—l had a right to do that if I liked, fcut to let an innocent man be ruined ; to keep a secret which destroys his character for life-Oh, good God, it's too horrible! I can't bear it!" My aunt half rose from her chair, then suddenly sat down again. She called to me faintly, and pointed to a little vial in her work box. "Quick!" she whispered. "Six drops, in water. Don't let Rachel see." Under other circumstances I should have thought this strange. There was no time now to think—there was only time to give the medi cine. Dear Mr. Godfrey unconsciously assisted me in concealing what I was about from Eachel by speaking composing words to her at the other end of the room. " Indeed—indeed you exaggerate," I heard him say. "My reputation stands too high to be destroyed by a miserable passing scandal like this. It will be all forgotten in another week. Let us never speak of it again." She was perfectly inaccessible even to such generosity as this. She went on from bad to worse. " I must and will stop it," she said. " Mam ma! hear what I say. Miss Clack! hear what I say. I know the hand that took the Moon stone. I know "—she laid a strong emphasis on the words; she stamped her foot in the rage that possessed her—" I know that Godfrey Ablewhite is innocent! Take me to the magis trate, Godfrey! Take me to the magistrate, and I will swear it!" My aunt caught me by the hand and whis pered, " Stand between us for a minute or two. Don't let Rachel see me." I noticed a bluish tinge in her face which alarmed me. She saw I was startled. " The drops will put me right in a minute or two," she said, and so closed her eyes and waited a little. While this was going on I heard dear Mr. Godfrey still gently remonstrating. "You must not appear publicly in such a thing as this," he said. "Your reputation, dearest Eachel, is something too pure and too sacred to be trifled with." "My reputation!" She burst out laughing. " Why, I am accused, Godfrey, as well as you. The best detective officer in England declares that I have stolen my own diamond. Ask him what he thinks, and he will tell you that I have pledged the Moonstone to pay my private debte!" She stopped—ran across the room— and fell on her knees at her mother's feet. Oh, mamma! mamma! mamma! I must be mad—musn't I ?—not to own the truth now!" She was too vehement to notice her mother's condition—she was on her feet again and back with Mr. Godfrey in an instant. " I won't let you —I won't let any innocent man—be accused and disgraced through my fault. If you won't take me before the magistrate, draw out a decla ration of your innocence on paper, and I will sign it. Do as I tell you, Godfrey, or I'll write it to the newspapers—l'll go out and cry it in the streets!" We will not say this was the language of re morse—we will say it was the language of hysterics. Indulgent Mr. Godfrey pacified her by taking a sheet of paper and drawing out the declaration. She signed it in a feverish hurry. "Show it everywhere—don't think of me," she said, as she gave it to him. "I am afraid, God frey, I have not done you justice hitherto in my thoughts. You are more unselfish—you are a better man than I believed you to be. Come here when you can, and I will try and repair the wrong I have done you!" She gave. him her hand. Alas for our fallen nature! Alas for Mr. Godfrey! He not only forgot himself so far as to kiss her hand—he adopted a gentleness of tone in answering her which, in such a case, was little better than a compromise with sin. "I will come, dearest," he said, "on condition that we don't speak of this hateful subject again." Never had I seen and heard our Hero to less advantage than on this occasion. Before another word could be said by anybody a thundering knock at the street-door startled us all. I looked through the window and saw the World, the Flesh, and the Devil waiting before the house—as typified in a carriage and horses, a powdered footman, and three of the most audaciously-dressed women I ever beheld in my life. Eaohel Btarted and composed herself. She crossed the room to her mother. " They have come to take me to the flower show," she said. " One word, mamma, before I go. I have not distressed you, have I?" (Is the bluntness of moral feeling which could ask such a question as that, after what had just happened, to be pitied or condemned ? I like to lean toward mercy. Let us pity it.) The drops had produced their effect. My poor aunt's complexion was like itself again. "No, no, my dear," she said. "Go with our friends and enjoy yourself." Her daughter stooped and kissed her. I had left the window and was near the door when Rachel approached to go out. Another change had come over her—she was in tears. I looked with interest at the momentary softening of that obdurate heart. I felt inclined to say a few earnest words. Alas! my well-meant sympathy only gave offence. " What do you mean by pitying me ? she asked, in a bitter whisper, as she passed to the door. " Don't you see how ! happy lam ? I'm going to the flower-show, Clack; and I've got the prettiest bonnet in Lon don." She completed the hollow mockery of that address by blowing me a kiss—and so left the room. I wish I could describe in words the compas sion that I felt for this miserable and misguided girl. But lam almost as poorly provided with words as with money. Permit me to say—my heart bled for her. Returning to my aunt's chair I observed dear Mr. Godfrey searching for something softly here and there in different parts of the room. Before I could offer to assist him he had found what he wanted. He came back to my aunt and me, with his declaration of innocence in one hand and with a box of matches in the other. "Dear aunt, a little conspiracy!" he said. " Dear Miss Clack, a petty fraud which even 1 your high moral rectitude will excuse ? Will you leave Eachel to suppose that I accept the generous self-sacrifice whioh has signed this paper ? And will you kindly bear witness that I destroy it in your presence before I leave the house ?" He kindled a match, and lighting the paper laid it to burn in a plate on the table. " Any trifling inconvenience that I may suffer is as nothing," he remarked, " compared with
the importance of preserving that pure name from the contaminating contact of the world. There! We hare reduced it to a little harmless heap of ashes, and our dear impulsive Eachel will never know what we have done I How do you feel ?—my precious friends, how do you feel P For my poor part, I am as light-hearted as a boy!" • He beamed on us with his beautiful smile j he held out a hand to my aunt and a hand to me. I was too deeply affected by his noble conduct to speak. I closed my eyes; I put his hand, in a kind of spiritual self-forgetfulness, to my lips. He murmured a soft remonltrance. Oh, the ecstacy, the pure, unearthly ecstacy of that mo ment! I sat —I hardly know on what—quite lost in my own exalted feelings. When I opened my eyes again it was like descending from heaven to earth. There was nobody but my aunt in the room. He had gone. I should like to stop here—l should like to close my narrative with the record of Mr. God frey's noble conduct. Unhappily there is more much more, which the unrelenting pecuniary pressure of Mr. Blake's cheque obliges me to telL The painful disclosures which were to re veal themselves in my presence during that Tues day's visit to Montagu Square were not at an end yet. Finding myself alone with Lady Verinder I turned naturally to the subject of her health, touching delicately on the strange aniiety which, she had shown to conceal her indisposition, and the remedy applied to it, from the observation of her daughter. My aunt's reply greatly surprised me. " Drusilla," she said (if I have not already mentioned that my Christian name is Drusilla, permit me to mention it now), you are touoh ing—quite innocently, I know—on a very dis tressing subject." I rose immediately. Delicacy left me but one alternative—the alternative, after first making my apologies, of taking my leave. Lady Verin der stopped me and insisted on my sitting down again. " You have surprised a secret," she said, " which I had confided to my sister, Mrs. Able white, and to my lawyer, Mr. Bruff, and to no one else. I can trust in their discretion j and I am sure, when I tell you the circumstances, I can trust in yours. Have you any pressing en gagement, Drusilla t or is your time your own this afternoon?" * . It is needless to say that my time was entirely at mj aunt's disposal. " Keep me company, then," she said " for another hour. I have something to tell you which I believe you will be sorry to hear. And I shall have a service to ask of you afterward, if you don't objeot to assist me." It is again needless to say tbat, so far from objecting, I was all eagerness to assist her. "You can wait here," she went on, "till Mr. Bruff comes at 5. And you can be one of the witnesses, Drusilla, when I sign my Will." Her Will! I thought of the drops which I had seen in her work-box. I thought of the bluish tinge which I had noticed in her com* plexion. A light which was not of this world —a light shining prophetically from an unmade graye —dawned solemnly on my mind. My aunt's secret was a secret no longer. [to be continued.]
We must go out of ourselves to be ourselves in any lofty sense. No man can truly call that his own which he has not himself made his own; none are really happy who have not earned their happiness by self-sacrifice. Wbite your name by kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of the thousands jou come in contact with, and you will never be forgotten. Your name, your deedo, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind as the stars on the brow of evening. The best thing to give to your enemy it for* giveness; to your opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity. All real and wholesome enjoyments, possible to man, have been just as possible to him since first he was made of the earth as they are now } and they are possible to him chiefly in peace. To watch the corn grow and the blossom set; to draw hard breath over ploughshare and spade; to read, to think, to hope, to pray ; these are the things to make men happy ; they have al ways had the power of doing these; they never will have power to do more.—Buskin. The man who considers that the home duties of a woman are inferior to the political work of a man, must be either a bachelor or blind. The very highest qualities of the heart and intellect may be exercised by a mother, a sister, or an elder daughter, in watching over the physical, mental, and moral growth of the children in her care. Heroic patience, a vigilance that never tires, an adaptation of means to the end, a careful study of individual traits, a keen psychological insight, may all find ample room for exercise within the four walls of even an humble home. Proper Instbuotion.—The right instruction of girls is much neglected. Even in some of the best schools, showy acquirements are pre ferred to real knowledge. A lady who has written upon this subject makes some sensible observations upon the varieties of character and the different modes of treatment they require. After remarking that in striving to destroy a fault we should be careful not to overlook the virtue that may accompany it, she says :—" An impulsive, rash, self-confident character is also active and energetic. A selfish, over-careful disposition, contains the germs of prudence. An indolent character is usually gentle, and un willing to accept provocation. A jealoua temper is an affectionate one. An irritable temper it sensitive, quick in perception. Vanity is the exaggeration of an amiable desire to please. And the reason why so much good advice, or advice which is meant to be good, is received so badly by those to whom it is offered, very often is, that in touching the fault, the virtue it touched also; and then the natural instinct of self-defence exhibits itself in the form of an excuse. Now, if we wish to give advice which will be palatable as well as true, we must show sympathy with whatever is natural and innocent in the feeling which has been aroused, before we give a caution against exaggeration." There should be a preception and encouragement of the good that may exist, whilst the evil in con demned which accompanies it. Windfalls.—" It is an ill wind that blows nobody good." However loudly it may roar, however fiercely it may hurl its unseen bolts, however wildly it may sweep on in its mad course, it will cast windfalls—in the common metaphorical sense of the word—at the feet of some one. 'I his we know to be the case with the literal storm. Though it may shipwreck the voyager, and blow' down the house, it is effecting also great purifying atmospheric changes upon which the health of nations de pends. And even in respect of those evils and calamities which follow in the track of storms, ! we cannot resist the conviction, that, though unseen by us, ends are served by them, directly or indirectly, which are not wholly unworthy of the Divine wisdom and goodness. And if we look at human afflictions generally, we can see in them sufficient of beneficent purpose, in stances numerous enough of good resulting from evil, of effects following from causes ap parently unlikely to produce them, of the con nection of suffering in one aspect with the pro motion of happiness in another, to induce us to believe that where we do not observe this there is nevertheless a real good being effected that would, if perceived, be more than sufficient to vindicate this world from the charge of being left to the freaks of chance, or a prey-^o the savage malignity of a demon.