|Chapter Title||CHOPPER AND BURGESS.|
|Newspaper Title||The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)|
|Trove Title||He Knew He Was Right|
CHOPPER AND BURGESS.
We must now go back to Exeter and look after Mr. Brooke Burgess and Miss Dorothy Stanbury. It is rather hard upon readers that they should be tons hurried from the
completion of hymeneals at Florence to the preparations for othfer hymeneals in Devon shire; but it is the nature of a complex story to be entangled "with many weddings towards its dose. In this little history there are, we fear, three or four more to come. We will not anticipate by alluding prematurely to Hugh Stanbury's treachery, or death,—or the possibility that he, after all, may torn oat to be the real descendant of the true Lord Peter borough and the actual inheritor of the title and estate of Monkhams, nor will we speak of Nora's certain fortitude under either of these emergencies. But the instructed reader must be aware that Camilla French ought to have a hasband found for her. That Colonel Osborne should be caught in some matri monial trap,—as, how otherwise should he be fitly punished ?—and that something should be at least attempted for Prisdlla Stanbury, who from the first has been intended to be the real heroine of these pages. That Martha should marry Giles Hickbody and Barty Burgess ran away with Mrs. MacHugh is of /course evident to the meanest novel-expound ing capacity; but the fate of Brooke Burgess and of Dorothy will require to be evolved with some delicacy and much detail
There was considerable difficulty in fixing the day. In the first-place, Miss Stanbury was not very well,—ana then she was very fidgetty. She must see Brooke again before the day was fixed, and after seeing Brooke she must see her lawyer. " To have a lot of money to look after is more plague than profit, my dear," she said to Dorothy one day; "particularly when you don't quite know what yon ought to do with it." Dorothy had always' avoided any conversation with-her about money since the first moment in which she had thought of accepting Brooke Burgess as her hasband. She knew that her aunt had some feeling which made her averse to the idea that any portion of the property which she had inherited should be enjoyed by a Stanbury after her death, and Dorothy, guided by this knowledge, had almost convinced her self that her love for Brooke was treason either against him or against her aunt If, by engaging herself to him, she should rob him of his inheritance, how bitter a burden to him would her love have been! If, on the other hand, she should reward her aunt for all that had been done for her by forcing her self, a Stanbory. intoa position' not intended for hep, how base would be her ingratitude! These thoughts "had troubled her much, and had always prevented hprfrom answering any of her aunt's chance allusions to the property. For her, things had at last gone very right She did' not quite know how it had come about but she was engaged to many the man she loved. .And her~«uut was, at any rate, reconciled tp the marriage. But when Miss Stinbury declared that she did not know what to do about the property, Dorothy could only. hold, her tongue. . She had had plenty to say when it had been suggested to her that the marriage should be put off yet for a short while, and that, in the meantime, Brooke should come again to Exeter.. She swore that die did not care for how long it was put off,—only that ehe hoped it might not be put off altogether. Ana as for Brooke's coming, that, lor the present, would be very much nicer than being married out of hand at once., Dorothy,^in truth, wasnotataliin a hurry to be married, but die would have liked to have had her lover always coming and going. Since the courtship had become a thing permitted, she had had the privilege of welcoming him twice at the house in the
Close; and that running down to meet him I in the little front parlour, and getting up to make his breakfast for him as he started in
the morning, were among the happiest epochs of her life. And then, as soon as ever the breakfast was eaten—and be was gone, she would sit down to write him a letter. Oh, those letters, bo beautifully created, more than one of which was oopied from beginning < to end becausesome word in it was not thought to be sweet enough i-Mvhat a beaten of happiness they were to her! The writing of the first had disturbed her greatly, and ehe had almost repented of the privilege before it was ended: but with the first and seoond the difficulties had disappeared: and, had sire not felt somewhat, ashamed of the occupation, sheoould have sat at her.desk an4 written, him letters att day, Brooke would answer them, with fair regularity, but in a most cursory maimer,—sending seven or eight Unas in return for two sheets fully crossed; but this did not dittompore her in tire lewt. Hie
was worked hard at bis offioe, and bl hundreds of other 'things to do. He, t6e, could say,—so thought Dorothy,—more is eight lines than she could pot into asifcany
She was quite happy when she was told that the marriage could not take place t&l August, but that Brooke must come again in July. Brooke did come in the first week ofJuly, and somewhat horrified Dorothy, he declaring to her that Miss Stanboxy was unreasonable. " If I insist upon leaving London
so often for a day or two," said he, "how am I to get anything like leave of absence when the time comes? In answer to this Dorothy tried to make him understand that business should not be neglected, and that, as far as she was concerned, she could do very well without that trip abroad which he had proposed for her. " I'm not going to be done in that way," said Brooke. " Ana now that I am here she has nothing to say to me. I've told her a doeen times that I donlt want to know anything about her will, and that I'll take it all for granted. There is something to be settled on you that she calls her own."
" She is so generous, Brooke."
She is generous enough, but she is very whimsical. She is going to make her whole will over again now. And nowshe wants to send some message to Uncle Barty. I don't know what it is yet, but I am to take it As far as I can understand, she has sent all the way to London for me in order that I may take a message across the Close."
" You talk as though it were very disagree* able coming to £xeter," said Dorothy, with a little pout.
" So it is, very disagreeable." "Oh, Brooke!"
"Very disagreeable if our marriage is to be put off by it. I think it will be so mods nicer making love somewhere on the Rhine than having Bnatches of it here, and talking all the time about wills and tenements ana settlements." As he said this, with bis arm round her waist and his face quite dose to hers,—showing thereby that he was-not alto* gether averse even to his present privileges,— she forgave him.
On that same afternoon, just before the banking hours were over, Brooke went across to the house of Cropper and Burgess, having first been closeted for nearly an hoar with bis aunt,—and, as he went, his step was sedate and his air was serious. He round his uncle Barty, and was not long in deliver ing his message. It was to this effect,—that Miss Stanbury particularly wished to see Mr. Bartholomew Burgess on business, at some hour on that afternoon or that evening.
Brooke himself had been made acquainted with
the subject in regard to which this singular in
terview was desired; but it was not a past of his duty to communicate any information respecting it It had been necessary that his consent to certain arrangements should be asked before the invitation to Baity Burgess could be given; bat his present mission was confined to an authority to give the invitation.
Old Mr. Burgess was modi' surprised, and was at first disposed to decline the proposition madeby the " old harridan," aahe caned her.
in talking of Siss Stonbuiy with his nephew,
and was not disposed to ao so now, because she had taken a new vagary into her head. But there was something in his nephew's man ner which at last induced him to discuss the matter rationally.
" And you don't know what it's all about," said Undo Barty.
" I can't quite say that. I suppose I do know pretty welL At any rate, L know enough to think that you ought to come. Boh 1 must not say what it is."
" Will it do me or anybody else any good?* " It can't do you any harm. She won't eat yon."
" But she can abuse me like a pickpocket, and I should return it, and then there would be a scolding match. I always have kept oat of her way, and 1 think I had- better do eo
Nevertheless, Brooke prevailed—or rather the feeling of curiosity which was naturally engendered prevailed. For very, very many years Barty Burgess had never entered or left his own house of business without seeing the door of that in which Miss Stanbury lived,— and he had never seen that door without a feeling of detestation for the owner of it. It would, perhaps, have been a more rational feeling on hispart had he confined his hatred to the memory of his brother, by whose will Miss Stanbury had been enriched, and he had
been, as he thought, impoverished. Bat there
had been a contest, ana litigation, mid dis putes, and contradictions, and a long course of those incidents in life which lead to ran cour and ill-blood, after the death of the former Brooke Burgess; and, as the result of all this, Miss Stanbury held the property and Barty Burgess held-his hatred. He had never been ashamed of it, and had spoken his-mind oat to all who would heat him. Arid, to give Miss Stanbury her dae, it mast be adaiittad that she had hardly been behind faioi in the warmth of her expression,—of which oML Barty was well aware. Hie hated, and knew that he was bated in return. And he knew, or thought that he-knew, that his enemy was not a woman to relent because old age and weakness and the fear of death we re-cOming on -her. Sis enemy, with allher faolte, was no coward. It could not be the& ndaybt the eleven thhour, the should desire to reconcile him by any act of tardy justice,-—nor did he wish to be reconciled at this, the eleventh hour. His hatred was a pleasant excitement to him. His abuse of Miss Stanbury was a chosen recreation. His unuttered daily curse, as he looked over to her door, was a relief to him. Nevertheless, be would go. < As Brooke had said,—no harm could come of his going. He would go, and at least listen to her pro position.
About 7 in the evening bis knock was heard at the door. Miss Stanbury was sitting in the small np-staim parlour, dressed in her second best gown, and was prepared with considerable stiffness and state for the occasion. Dorothy was with her, but was de sired in a quickvoice to harry away the moment the knock was heard, as though old Barty would have jumped from nie hall door into the xoqm at a bound, Dorothy collected herself with- a little start, ana went without a word. She had heard much of Barty Burgess, but had never spoken to him, and was subject to a feeling of groat awe when she would remember that the grim old man of whom she had heard so much evil would soon be her uncle. According to ar rangement, Mr. Burgess was shown. up-Btairs
in this ve^hous^bnt hadTnot been "inside
the walls of lt for more than Sfe years. He also was tomeWhat awed by the occasion, sm followed his nephew without a word. Brooke was to «emai& at band, so that he inf * summoned should herfce wauled ; bat
been decided by Miss Stanbssffihat he
stately way, and eu
with one hand Oh wi
She looked him ft& : ? and curtseying a ssjinfl ?isriHiiM liiiw.V.
pared forhitn ,
fftm&y *4 surmised _
toe -little scene, perhaps more than once, when nobody was looking at her. He bowed, jmdi walked. round to the chair and seated himself; bat finding that he was so placed that he conld not see his neighbour's face, he moved his chair. He was not going to fight sbdh a dad as this with the disadvantage of the stm in his eyes.
Hitherto there had hardly been a word
spoken. Miss Stanbory had mattered some thing as she was curtseying, and Barty Bur gess hod made some return. Then she began: "Mr. Burgess,"she said, "lam indebted to you for your complaisance in coming here at my request" To this he bowed again. " I should not have ventured thus to trouble you were it not that years are dealing more hardly with me than they are with you, and that I eould not have ventured to discuss a matter of deeD interest otherwise than in my own , room." It was her own room now, certainly,
by law; but Barty Burgess remembered it when it was his mother's room, and when she used to give them all their meals there,—now so many, many years ago! He bowed again and said not a word. He knew well that she could sooner be brought to her point by his silence than by his speech.
She was a long time coming to her point Before she conld do so she was forced to allude to times long past and to subjects which she found it very difficult to touch without saying that which would either belie herself, or seem to be severe upon him. Though she had pre pared herself, she could hardly get the words spoken, and she was greatly impeded by the obstinacy of his silence. But at last her pro position was made to him. She told him that his nephew, Brooke, was about to be married to her niece, Dorothy; and that it was her intention to make Brooke her heir in the bulk of the property which she had received under the will of the late Mr. Brooke Bnrgess. "Indeed," she said. "all that I re : eeived at your brother's hands shall go bade to your brother's family unimpaired." He only bowed, mid would not say a word. Then -die went on to say that it had at first been a matter to her of deep regret that Brooke should have set his affections upon her niece, as there had been in her mind a strong desire that none of her own people should enjoy the reversion of the wealth, which she had always regarded as being hers only for the term of Bar life; bat that she had found that the .young peoplebad been so much in earnest, and that her own feeling had been so near akin to a prejudice; that die had yielded. When this was said Barty smiled instead of Bowin& and Miss Stanbuiy felt that there ?ught be something worse even than his silence. His smile told her that he believed Bar to belying. Nevertheless she went on. She was not fool enough to suppose that the whole nature of die man was to be changed By a few words from her; So she went on. The marriage was a thing fixed, ami she was ?thinking of settlements, and talking to lawyers about a new wBL
" I do not know that I can help you," said -Baity, finding that a longer pause than usual made some word from him absolutely neces
" I am going on to that, and I regret that my story should detain you so long, Mr. Bur gess." And she did goon. She had, she said. made some saving oat of her income. She was not going to coaple Mr. Bnrgess with this matter;—only that what she would at once (ire to the young couple, and whatshe would settle on Dorothy after her own death, would all come from soch savings, and that such «tfts and bequestewould juot diminish the family property. .Baity again smiled as he Beard this, and
Miss Stanbory in har heart likened him to the devil in person. But still she went on. She was very desirous that Brooke Burgess should come and live at Exeter. His property would be in the town
mid occupy th
Bis grandfather and his great-grandfather; mm the neighbourhood. It would be
atemhr thing,—such were her words,—that he should occupy the house that had belonged to
Her proposition at last was uttered. ; simply this, that Baity Bnrgess should i his nephew, Brooke, his share in the and then, moreover,—she acknowledged that die spoke selfishly,—she dreaded the idea of Being left alone for the remainder of her own years. Her proposition at last was uttered. It was i give tol janlt.
"I am damned if I do," said Barty Burgess, rising up from Ins chair.
Bntbefbrebehad lefttheroom he had agreed to consider the proposition. Miss Stanbory Bad of couree known that an sach suggestion
oomingfrom her without any adequate reason ; awipinrt would have been mere idle wind. Bbe was prepared with such adequate reason. If Mr. Burgess conld see his way to make the
~ transfer of his share of the bank
she; BQbb Stanbuiy. would hand wear tohim, for bis life, a certain proportion
in the city, of the Burgess property which lay in i
the income of which would exceed that
. too; as far went,—and it
' M»oa Stan Bury <m toe bank aide of the Cloee,—it would
'I! will simply be this," Mr. „
Brooke ^will be your heir,—as would be
know that it would be at all maturel," said he. "I ahouldpreferto choose my own heir."
"No doubt, Mr. Bnrgess,—in respect to your ownproperty " said Miss Stanbuiy.
At last he said that he would think of.it, and-oonsulthia partner; and then, he got up to take his leave. "For myself" said Miss Stanbory, " I would wish that all animosities lyht Be buried."
**We can say that they are buried," "aid the grim old man;—but nobody will believe pp."
. ^Whot matters,—if we could believe it
*J"But suppose we didn't I don't Wieve
IBot much good can oome from talking of mpphthings, Miss Stanbory. You and: I/have
grown too old to swear a friendship, I will;? Sink iff this tiring, and if I find that it can be made to suit without much difficulty. I
prill perhaps entertain it" Then the inter- j mew was over, and old Barty made his way down-stairs, and out of the house. He looked over to the tenements in the Close which were offered to him, every circatn ptalhce of each one of which he knew, and felt
that he might dp. worse,. Were he to leave 5 top bapk, he cpjaldnot take his entire income
ana it Bad been long said of him
that ho ought to leave it, .TheCroppers, who wpre his partners,—and whom he had. never loved,—would be glad to welcome in his place jopfrg the old family who would have money; up# j|en the name^yould be perpetuated m
eter, whK& .fWla to Barty Burgess, was
«xnt iPonly bfleafipg toraiint Ifonly
.AbegrrtBged! .WhenBrooke' t toorplhg of returning at once
9 to any of them, when matter:
of such importance were conoemed"! Bat I Brooke would not be talked out of hie prudence. He was very williug to be made si banker at Exeter, and to go to school again and learn banking business; but be would not throw np his occupation in London till he knew that there was another ready for him in the country. One day longer he spent in Exeter, and daring that day he was more than once with his ancle. He saw also the Messrs. Cropper, and was considerably chilled by the manner in which they at first seemed
to entertain the proposition. Indeed, for a j
couple of hoars he thought that the scheme most be abandoned. It was pointed out to him that Mr. Barty Burgess's life would probably be short, and that he (Barty) had but a small part of the business at his dis poeaL Bat gradually a way to terms was seen,--not quite so simple as that which Miss Stanbury had suggested; and Brooke, when he left Exeter, md believe it possible that j he, after all, might become the family representative in the old banking-house of the Burgesses.
"And how long will it take, Aunt Stan bury ? " Dorothy asked.
" Don't you be impatient, my dear."
"I am not the least impatient; but of course I want to tell mamma and Priscilia. It will be so nice to live here and not go up to London. Are we to stay here,—in this very house f'
"Have you not found out yet that Brooke will be likely to have an opinion of his own on such things ?"
"But would you wish us to live here,
" I hardly know, dear. I am a foolish old woman, and cannot say what I would wish, j
I cannot bear to be alone."
" Of coarse we will stay with you."
" And yet I should be jealous if I were not mistress of my own house."
" Of course you frill be mistress." -
"I believe, Dolly, that it would be better that I should die. I have come to feel that I can do more good by going out of the world than by remaining in it" Dorothy hardly answered this in words, but sat close by her aunt holding the old woman's hand and caressing it and administering that love of which Miss Stanbury had enjoyed so little during her life, and which had become so necessary to her. J
The news about the hank arrangements, though kept of course as a great secret soon became common inExeter. It was known to be
a good thing for the firm in general that Barty j Burgess should be removed from his share of the management He was old-fashioned, unpopular, and very stubborn; and he and a certain Mr. Julius Cropper, who was the lead ing man among the Croppers, had not always been comfortable together. It was at first hinted that old Miss Stanbury had been softened by sodden twinges of conscience, and that she had confossedto some terrible crime
in the way of forgery, perjury, or perhaps worse, and had relieved herself at last by mnfe-ing full restitution. But such a rumour as this did not last long or receive wide cre dence. When it was hinted to such old friends as Sir Peter Mancrndy mid Mrs. MacHugh, they laughed it to scorn,—and it did not exist even in the vague form of an ondivnlged mystery for above three days. Then it was asserted that old Barty had been found to have no real claim to any share in tire bank, 1 and that he was to be turned out at Miss Staribary's instance that he was to be turned out and that Brooke had been ac
knowledged to be the owner of the Bargees share of the business. Then came the fact
that old Barty had been bought out, and that I the future husband of Mia Stanhory's niece was to be the junior partner. A general feel
i^rewih^rtlMtthrt toere had beenan^ old Bartyf and tint the old maid haST pre
vailed now as ahe had done in former days.
Before the end of July the papers wbtb in j the lawyer's hands, and all the terms had I been fixed. Brooke came down again and again, to Dorothy's great delight, and dis played considerable firmness in the. manage ment of his own interest If Fate intended to make him a banker inExeter instead of a clerk in the Ecclesiastical Commission Office, he would be a banker after a respectable fashion. There was more than one little straggle between him and Mr. Julins Cropper, which ended in accession of respect on the part of Mr. Cropper for his new partner. Mr. Cropper had thought that the establish ment might beet be known to the oommerctal woridpf the Weatof England as "Cropper's Bank/* bat Brooke had been very firm in asserting that if he was to hare anything to do with it the okl name should be main tained."
"Its to be 'Cropper and Bargees,'"he mid to Dorothy one afternoon.' They fought hard for 'Cromer, Cropper, and Burgess— but I wouldn't stand more than one
: course not;" s^id Dorothy, with some thing almost of scorn in her voice, By this time Dorothy had gone very deeply into .booking business.