Chapter 3045274

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Chapter NumberPART IV. IV.
Chapter TitleTHE COUNTRY BEAUTY IN TOWN.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3045274
Full Date1893-02-15
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count3238
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
article text

Il OUE NOVEL.

if" -.>

Ik " TNOW FD2ST PUBLISHED J

INDER THE GREAT SEAL,

A NOVEL,

C' JOSEPH HATTON,

.Author of "CLTTIE," "BY OBDEB OF THE \&f,CzAB," "JOHN NEEDHAM'S DOUBLE,"

** CBUEL LONDON," AC

rç PART IV.

.¿ CHAPTER IV.

^/~THE COUNTBY BEAUTY IN TOWN.

I

.-;.< Elmira Webb had not over-estimated

«*tHer personal attractions. Unsophisticated ¿"as she was in regard to London life, with I no practice in coquetry, except upon suck Vgallanta as came in her way down in ^liorfolk, she had nevertheless pictured ^herself leader in some such set of r||jondon belles and beaux as Harry ¡^Barkstead had described to her. 4 She expressed no surprise at the v {london streets, the gay equipages,

tfae liveried servants, the wonderfal sfbops, the aristocratic bearing of the .^Wost End crowds. Anyone might

I' have thought she had been accustomecLtb r" inch sights and such society, all heffife.

Bhe «hopped and discussed millinery with

the most fashionable modistes and with

.^perfect sang froid. f ' l

c OB," her first night at the opera/she «rented a sensation among the set in which youbg Barkstead was a pëfionà ^ ft ata. Harry was both Drouà.and

^jealotuT of the admiration she excised. Elmira was apparently innocent of the i'lact that she divided with the prima "~ ionna the attention of a large proportion

pf.the boxes.

% ".The town was quite taken with the new , beauty, so fresh, and young, and striking, i,Elmira surveyed the house with well k" gcted indifference, but her heart beat fast

and furiously with a sense of triumph. The old house at Caistor, and Zaccheus, her father, were for the time beings for- gotten. . She never once remembered ¿ pavid Keith. Harry Barkstead little '},. thonght wbat a handful of tronble he had ^undertaken in bringing the country

/beauty to London.

r She received every visitor with a t, gracious ease and interested geniality that " eaptivated both men and women. Her ^ one object in life seemed to be tojjive * pleasure to all who came within the range % of her personal magnetism. : Every man ^ thought he had made a deep «impression

on her ; every woman confessed that the country girl was at any rate modest ,, and unaffected. Lord Grennox was' t, smitten to the very thing he called his ^heart. He was twice Barksteads age, ,c and had ten times his wealth. He was a ,; married man, but his wife was-very com fi plaisant, and " received " in a very mis t cjdllaneous way.

^\,Lord Grennox visited Elmira*s box1 - twice during the evening, and insisted ^ujk>rV* Barkstead bringing Mademoiselle t'm Beulah House, which Harry did on the ^ very next day, not that he was anxious to I do so, bnt Elmira would not let him rest ¿r«ntil he had responded to his lordship's I invitation. Lord Grennox was notorious ç for his amours. He was, nevertheless, a

leader in the fashionable world, even a ,¡ favourite at Court. Lady Grennox was rone of the most charitable women oí her

./tínie, foremost in every benevolent work, * Grennox himself was popular at White's '' and Boodles, and he had been known to l'give a voluntary advantage to a bad loser ( when play ran high at Crockford'^. On E the whole, he wa* what men called a

good fellow, and women, avery dangerous ^man, my dear; he knew as little about

t virtue and cared less than most men of

| bli class in the fashionable world of his ¿time, not that the age in whieh we live is ;.over scrupulous in condoning social I breaches of the moral laws that ate sup V posed to govern society. As there was " half a century ago, and before then, and -as there will be no doubt in the centuries to' come, there is a good deal of bowing to, virtue and passing it by.

¿There were no half measures about the ' pecadilloes of Lord Grennox.

Before Elmira had been in town a month she had taken leave of Harry Barkstead i and sailed away to those continental cities fhe'had told her of, under the protection ^tf Lord Grennox. Why should she con f eider Harry Barkstead P He had not ^married her, nor did he intend ever so te do. She had not bound her life to his in «any way. He had no claim upon her. He h|d nofhonoured her with his society for hei pleasure but for his own. LordGeá liox had consented to settle upon her such afincóme for life as would make her in- dependent of both his lordship and Harry Barkstead. ^

,- rSlmira had accepted his lordship's pro* pdsals, and had obtained proper legal as aiftance to ensure the deed ef endowment bejng properly executed and with bona ßä& trustees. She was a woman of busi- ness in the town who had given her good advice, and men of business too, one of them having relations with Norfolk, and all of them possessed the full knowledge of; the immense wealth of Lork Gennox. S&e was a born adventuress, this Elmira oC the East coast, a Pompadour, a De- forme, a Castlemaine ; and she held her Mgnf when the young Queen Yictoria was among the most delighted of the audien Bies at Covent Garden and Drury Lane.

'Though duelling was beginning to de- sune even among army men as a mode of Satisfying wounded honour, it was suffici întly the mode to justify Harry Bark itçad in sending a friend full speed after

bord Grennox with the demand of an im- ! mediate meeting. Society and -certain journals that reflected the worst phases li its life and character found the disap

»intment of Barkstead a matter for much gossip and amusement ; and of course it vasT taken for granted that the young norfolk gentleman would not sit down amely under the injury which he had luffered at the hands of the gayest and deyerest Lothario of his time. Nor did larry intend to do so; but meanwhile fate had other business in store for the also friend who had matriculated for a eputation quite as scandalous as that of

¿ord Grennox.

Harry received a message from his »thor to go down immediately to Ormesby lall on pain of disinheritance and other

punishments. So while his ambassador of i w**i\«pBd on his way to France and ItaJy,JßiriT BarkáteaÜ took the coach to Yarmouth, a prey to the varied passions of pride, hate, unrequited love (he still called his passion for Elmira love) and

fears orbankruptcy. He had of late not

only far exceeded in his expenses the liberal allowance of his father, but he bad contracted* financial responsibilities that he could not meet withont a special {pant, and his bills had begun to accnmu ate in hands the least reputable among money lenders. What he most feared, however, was Sir Anthony's anger over the affair of Elmira Webb. His father was rich enough to meet the financial claims that pressed upon him, and had rescued him from the accommodating Jews before ; bnt he had a personal regard for the smacksman of Gaistor, and might bitterly resent the seduction of old Webb's daughter. Harry's forecast of the agenda paper of his sins which his father-Justice Barkstead, as the common people called him-had prepared against

him was beside the mark.

CHAPTER Y.

"Sl&, YOU ABE A BLAOK-HEAKTBD

SCOTJNDBEL.

It was winter at Ormesby Hall when Harry, Barkstead arrived. He had half a mind,to callron Mrs. Longford Weet before lacing, his father. A, passing thought of the girl-Je8siei-hoire7err"iie tatned him; He did not know what might have happened at the Lodge since his in- terview with Mrs. Cooper. He had a sneakinga feeling of regard for -Jurs. Langford-West* badly as ho had treated' her, and felt no' doubt that when he bad got through with Hid father ho1 would be able to^obtain this widow's forgivoness for his litest fr%ak\ He called it a freak» now, his running off with DavioVs sweetheart, counting in his reckless way the heart-break of Zaccheus as «ithihg more than the¿miéery he1 had brongutftpon David his friend. As for his father-well Sir Anthony liad been a young man once,-and that-must be his answer ; at all events he had not disgraced the name'of Barkstead by marrying some loose woman, he bad made no mes alliance^' his name was still clear from Social dis- grace. He was seriously ia debt; and had raised money at a ruinous interest, | but every young fellow of means, preten ' sions and prospects had doúe that.

" I am glad you saw the propriety of an immediate response to my summons," said Sir Anthony on receiving Harry in the library at Ormesby Hall. 4 *

' Sir ^Anthony speke with his judicial manner. He lookecTupon his son for the time being as a culprit. ^ Sir Anthony bad dressed himself for the<occasion, - He wore his tightest brown coat» bis most severe stock, and his bunch of seals rattled on his thigh as he stood before the blazing fire and contémplate! his handsome bat dissipated son.

They were in strong contrast the tiro men. l/f

Harryu was pale, his eyes, sunken, His V {manner servons. He had suffered ment* I lally fit late as well as physically. ,

> ,! His father was short in stature, thin, » j wiry, his complexion brown and a trifle > ¡ruddy, his hair iron grey, his manner b alert, though firm, and his resolutions i 'whatever they might be-'fixed and

> settled,

i >, Harry gave back to him his defiant

'gaze, but Sir Anthony's eye was the most steadfast of the two. He spoke in a hard set way.

" Harry Barkstead," he said.," you are on the road to perdition ; yon hfve resisted: .very check that good advice and parental ; affection have offered to you." " i »

"I am sorry, sir, to have so gravely offended you," said Harry.

! "It is a hard thing to say. but it is just, as it is trne. Your ill-conduct shortened the days of your mother."

"Yes, that is a hard thing to say," Harry replied.

" Bat it is a harder thing to have justi- fied it/ You have since then made a con- venience of my.aff action. -You ha versed me. You have disregarded my views for iyou ; you have made light of my opinions ; you have looked npon me as you might upon some cheap money-lender ; and when you could trade npon my weakness no longer without a truce, yon have come down here and pretended a filial duty you have never felt and submitted to a com panionship you have not cared for.

" My dear father you wrong me ; I am a bad lot, no doubt, but I have always had a deep ancLintense regard for yon, and a true respect and gratitude for your kind-

ness."

] " There was a time when words such as those wonld have: weighed with mo; they do so no longer ; words are all very well ; but deeds, they_are the test of affection, they are the tokens1 ef filial love,* deeds my son, deeds! And^what.are your deeds F, There are profligates and profli- gates, spendthrifts and spendthrifts. In your profligacy I find no redeeming feature; yon are a common seducer and

aliar!"

I " Father !" exclaimed the son, pale with suppressed emotion.

1 "xoh have practiced your villainies with a systematic guile and with a vicious disregard of every manly sentiment." ; 1 fBy heaven, Sir Anthony, I cannot listen to such language, even from you," said Harry.

f " Bat by heaven, yon shall listen," said Sir Antony; "whatsortoflanguagedidyou use to entice Jessie Barnes from honour, {teace, and happiness P Or were you con ent with mere promise and flattery P I am told that these were not alone the. artifices yon used against the pooror-' phaned and sweet child. Sir, yon are a black-hearted scoundrel. And by the heaven yon have the audacity to appeal to, yon shall make restitution.

While Harry winced at the strength of his father's invective, he felt a certain amount of relief in the faet that the storm was likely to break npon the unimportant head of Jessie Barnes. It was evident that his father had as yet heard nothing of the affair of Elm ka Webb. Nor had he ; for truth to tell, no one cared to mention it to him. Most people in Yarmouth and all about Caistor knew of it. Mrs. Long- ford-West had heard of it ; bnt Sir Ant- hony was perfectly ignorant of what had taken place. It was nobodvs business in particular to tell him, and noboby had ventured to; even Zaccheus Webb had heldhii peace; to him the shock of his girl's base ingratitude had come with a dull thud that had left him more or less stupefied. He had gone about his work with a lack-lustre eye, had returned the " good days " of his friends and acquaint

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anees with a nod and a melancholy smile, but had said nothing, except to Mm Charity Dene,^and tojterenryá-fewwords which he repeated with little or no vari- ation-"She'll come hum,'Mira will, but where's Master David Keith ?"

" What restitution P" asked Harry.

Jessie Barnes," went on Sir Anthony, without heeding him, " was the daughter of a soldier who died for his country in the first American War; though only a private, he came of a good family ; his en- listment was a piece of folly, not vicious profligacy, and he left a widow and one child. The widow was your mother's care until the poor woman's death ; the child was brought up by her aunt, Mrs. Cooper, at Ormesby, where I gave her a cottage. Two years ago Mrs. Cooper let her cottage and went to live at Filby Lodge, Jessie having grown into a pretty, gentle and lovable girl. Yesterday a child was born at the Lodge-you have done me the honour to make me a grandfather ; you will add to that the further honour of giving me an honest woman for my daughter-in-law

"I don't understand yon," said Harry.

"You will marry this girl and settle down here as'a gentleman."

"And be the laughing stock ofi the whole county ? why, you might as well marry your own cook !"

" Had I behaved to, my< cook as you have to this girl I would marry her, sir. And you shall marry the mother of your child or you are no longer a son of mine.

* Mv^dear-fataer," said Harry, "that sortof speechmightdo very well for an affiliation case at the Sessions, but it won't do for rae. * !

"Won't ft, indeed! And in what, res- pectée ypd'differént from,.the men who come, before me as a magistrate in affilia- tion cases P They are brutes of the field ; ignorant, lustful, poor, 'Uninformed wretches with no control of .their passions, no sense of the proprieties oflife.. Your crime against, this girl-coming of quite as honourable a family as your own, re- member that-I sayyourerime Is Infinitely worse' than theirs ; but, fortunately, your position enables1 you t¥ eondone it, ,to bring light out of darkness, to make honourable restitution; kdA w6 will Set an example tp these popr,people ; are will show.them that "we do not preach one thingandaetanother; wa will--"

"Oh, look here, sir," exclaimed Harry, seeing at a glance^ ,the effect of this humbie conclusion to his career, and hav- ing no feeling whatever for Jessie or.her child, " look heref mr^ihis thing is im- possible ! I am -ready to confess that my condnefhas^been wicked, and I am truly sorry that yon haye not a worthier son { But, marry the lodgekeeper's niece !-my dear sir, that ia simply nonsense !"

" Indoedl" said Sir Anthony. " She is beneath your station, ëh P It I consider 'her equal to mine I flatter myself that my ¡record is an honourable one, and I might ¡be forgiven if I felt proud of it. But jyours ! Why, you are not even honour-

able in your money affairs, let alone what 'you call ' affairs of the heart.' "

1 "Oh, curse it ailr-sir, I have heard ¡enough ; I am in no mood to be preached 'at as if I were a' sulprit about to be sen- tenced to be hanged.-I know what I 'done ÎLI have said that I am sorry, and I am sorry ; but I am not going to let my father in his dotage make a-fool of lae !"

"Oh, I am in my dotage, eh?" said Sir ¡Anthony, "because I chalk out an honour- able course "for you, -because I am ready to forgive you on fair human conditions, 'because I have the audacity to tell the son who, having broken his mother's heart, that he shall not drag his father's jname in the gutterwithout protest, I am in my dotage ! We shall see. Do you deny the charge made against you at

íilby LodgeP", '

; " I deny nothing, I say I am sorry."

[ "Do you deny the paternity of Jessie

Barnes's child?**

> " No, and I say I am sorry."

* " I will not remind you ho w you brought about the girl's nain; it is a wicked story, and I repeat that there,is only one jway for you, and that is, to make the

restitution I desire, and which no honour hole gentleman, at the intercession of his lather, would resist."

\ "And I say that I will not do it," Harry exclaimed, with angry defiance.

< " And I say you shall," was the quick reply.

! "And I say-"

j " Don't dare to speak again," said Sir Anthony, stepping towards him.

1 " I will not be bullied, and I will not be bounced," said Harry, beginning to pace the room.

i " I neither desire to bounce yon nor to bully you," said Sir Anthony, stepping back to his former position by the fire, and standing stiffly, "I will give you time io consider-say till ^morrow."

! "I require no-time to consider," said Harry, " if I have not ,my dead mother's tenderness, at least I have her pride, ando by heavens, I will not marry into.the families of the Goopeiaand the Barnes's."

] " Then yon leave this house, now and

for ever; I disown-you. You are no longer my son. Go, air !"

1 " Very well," said Harry, striding,out of the room, and leaving his father still standing firmly on the spot where he had delivered his uncompromising sentence.

[To be continued on Saturday.']