|Chapter Number||First Period: VII - VIII|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||The Moonstone|
BY WILKIE COLLINS. Author of "The Woman in White," "No Name," etc.
HAVING brought matters to this pleasant and comforting issue, Mr. Franklin appeared to think that he had completed all that was required of him. He laid down flat on his back
on the Band, and asked what waß to be done next. He had been so clever and clear-headed (be fore he began to talk the foreign gibberish), and had so completely taken the lead in the business up to the present time, that I was quite unpre pared for such a sudden change as he now ex hibited in this helpless leaning upon me. It was not till later that I learned—by assistance of Miss Rachel, who was the first to make the discovery—that these puzzling shifts and trans formations in Mr. Franklin were due to the effect on him of his foreign training. At the •age when we are all of ub most apt to take our coloring, in the form of a reflection from the coloring of other people, he had been sent abroad, and had been passed on, from one na tion to another, before there was time for any one coloring more than another to settle itself on him firmly. As a consequence of this, he had come back with so many different sides to his character, all more or less unfinished, and all more or less jarring with each other, that he seemed to pass his life in a state of perpetual contradiction with himself. He could be a busy man, and a lazy man; cloudy in the head, and clear in the head; a model of determination, and a spectacle of helplessness, all together. He had his French side, and his German side, and his Italian side—the original English foun dation showing through, every now and then, as much as fco say, " Here I am, sorely trans mogrified, as you see, but there's something of me left at the bottom of me still." Misb Rachel used to remark that the Italian side of him was uppermost on those occasions when he unexpectedly gave in and asked you, in his nice, sweet-tempered way, to take his own responsibilities on your shoulders. You will do him no injustice, I think, if you conclude that the Italian side of him was uppermost now. " Isn't it your business, sir," I asked, "t 0 know what to do next? Surely it can't be mine!" Mr. Franklin did not appear to see the force of my question—not being in a position at the time to see anything but the sky over his head. " I don't want to alarm my aunt without rea son," he said. " And I don't want to leave her without what may be a needful warning. If you were in my place, Betteredge, tell me, in one word, what would you do ?" In one word I told him: " Wait." "With all my heart," says Mr. Franklin. "How long?" I proceeded to explain myself. " As I understand it, sir," I said, " somebody is bound to put this plaguy diamond into Miss Eachel's hands on her birthday—and you may as well do it as another. Very good. This is the twenty-fifth of May, and the birthday is on the twenty-first of June. We have got close on four weeks before us. Let's wait and see what happens in that time ; and let'B warn my lady or not, as the circumstances direct us." " Perfect, Betteredge, as far as it goes!" says Mr. Franklin. "But, between this and the birthday, what's to be done with the diamond ?" "What your father did with it, to be sure, bit!" I answered. "Your father put it in the safe-keeping of a bank in London. You put it in the safe-keeping of the bank at Friringhall." (Frizinghall was our nearest town, and the Bank of England wasn't safer than the bank there). "If I were you, sir," I added, "I would ride straight away with it to Frizinghall before the ladies come back." The prospect of doing something—and, what is more, of doing that something on a horse brought Mr. Franklin up like lightning from the flat of his back. He pprang to his feet, and pulled me up, without ceremony, on to mine. "Betteredge, you are worth your weight in gold/ he said. "Conre along, and saddle the best horse in the stables directly!" Here (God bless it!) was the original English foundation of him showing through all the foreign varnish at last! Here was the Master Franklin I remembered, coming out again in the good old way at the prospect of a ride, and re minding me of the good old times! Saddle a horse for him? I would have saddled a dozen horses if he could only have ridden them all! We went back to the house in a hurry ; we had the fleetest horse in the stables saddled in a hurry j and Mr. Franklin rattled off in a hurry, to lodge the cursed diamond once more in the strong-room of a bant When I heard the last of his horse's hoofs on the drive, and when I turned about id the yard and found I was alone again, I felt half inclined to ask myself if I hadn't woke up from a dream. While I was in this bewildered frame of mind, aorely needing a little quiet time by myself to put me right again, my daughter Penelope got in my way (just as her late mother used to get in my way on the stairs), and instantly sum moned me to tell her all that had passed at the conference between Mr. Franklin and me. Under present circumstances, the one thing to be done was to clap the extinguisher upon Penelope's curiosity on the spot. I accordingly replied that Mr. Franklin and I had both talked of foreign politics till we could talk no longer, and had then mutually fallen asleep in the heat of the sun. Try that sort of answer when your wife or your daughter next worries you with an awkward question at an awkward time, and depend on the natural sweetness of women for kissing and making it up again at the next opportunity. The afternoon wore on, and my lady and Miss Rachel came back. Needless to say how astonished they were when they heard that Mr. Franklin Blake had arrived, and had gone off again on horseback. Needless also to say, that they asked awkward questions directly, and that the " foreign poli tics " and the " falling asleep in the sun" wouldn't serve a second time over with them. Being at the end of my invention, I said Mr. Franklin's arrival by the early train was entirely attributable to one of Mr. Franklin's freaks. Being asked, upon that, whether his galloping off again on horseback was another of Mr. Franklin's freaks, I said, " Yes, it was;" and slipped out of it—I think, very cleverly—in hat way. Having got over my difficulties with the ladies, I found more difficulties waiting for me when I went back to my own room. In came Penelope—with the natural sweetness of wo-
men—to kiss and make it up again ; and —with the natural curiosity of women—to ask another question. This time, she only wanted me to tell her what was the matter with our second house-maid, Rosanna Spearman. After leaving Mr. Frankiin and me at the Shivering Sand, Rosanna, it appeared, had re turned to the houec in a very unaccountable state of mind. She had turned (if Penelope was to be believed) all the colors of the rain bow. She had been merry without reason, and sad without reason. In one breath she had asked hundreds of questions about Mr. Franklin Blake, and in another breath she had been angry with Penelope for presuming to suppose that a Btrange gentleman could posßess any inter.est for her. She had been surprised smil *ng and scribbling Mr. Franklin's name inside her work-box. She had been surprised again crying, and looking at her deformed shoulder in the glass. Had she and Mr. Franklin known anything of each other before to-day ? Quite impossible! Had they heard anything of each other? Impossible again! I could speak to Mr. Franklin's astonishment as genuine, when he saw how the girl stared at him. Penelope could speaV to the girl's inquisitiveness as genuine, when she asked questions about Mr. Franklin. The conference between us, con ducted in this way, was tiresome enough, until my daughter suddenly ended it by bursting out with what I thought the most monstrous sup position I had ever heard in my life. "Father!" Bays Penelope, quite seriously, " there's only one explanation of it. Rosanna has fallen in love with Mr. Franklin Blake at first sight!" You have heard of beautiful young ladies falling in love at first sight, and have thought it natural enough. But a house-maid out of a re formatory, with a plain face and a deformed shoulder, falling in love, at first sight, with a gentleman who comes on a visit to her mistress' house, match me that, in the way of an ab surdity, out of any story-book in Christendom, if you can! I laughed till the tears rolled down my cheeks. Penelope resented my merriment, in rather a strange way. " I never knew you cruel before, father," she said, very gently, and went out. My girl's words fell on me like a splash of cold water. I was savage with myself, for feel ing uneasy in myself the moment she had spoken them—but so it was. We will change the subject, if you please. lam sorry I drifted into writing about it, and not without reason as you will see when we have gone on together a little longer. The evening came, and the dressing-bell for dinner rang, before Mr. Franklin returned from Frizinghall. I took his hot water up to his room myself, expecting to hear, after this extra ordinary delay, that something had happened. To my great disappointment (and no doubt to yours aho), nothing had happened. He had not met with the Indians, either going or re turning. He had deposited the Moonstone in the bank—describing it merely as a valuable of great price—and he had got the receipt for it safe in his pocket. I went down stairs, feeling that this was rather a flat ending, after all our excitement about the diamond earlier in the day. How the meeting between Mr. Franklin and his aunt and cousin went off is more than I can tell you. I would have given something to have waited at table that day. But in my position in the household, waiting at dinner (except on high family festivals) was letting down my dignity in the eyes of the other servants—a thing which my lady considered me quite prone enough to do already without seeking occasions for it. The news brought to me from the upper regions that evening came from Penelopa and the foot man. Penelope mentioned that she had never known Miss Rachel so particular about the dressing of her hair, and had never seen her look so bright and pretty as she did when she went down to meet Mr. Franklin in the draw ing-room. The footman's report was, that the preservation of a respectful composure in the presence of his betters, and the waiting on Mr. Franklin Blake at dinner, were two of the' hardest things to reconcile with each other that had ever tried his training in service. Later in the evening we heard them singing and playing duets, Mr. Franklin piping high, Miss Rachel piping higher, and my lady, on the piano, fol lowing them, as it were, over hedge and ditch, and seeing them safe through it in a manner most wonderful and pleasant to hear through the open windows, on the terrace at night? Later still, I went to Mr. Franklin in the smok ing-room, with the eodawater and brandy, and found that Miss Rachel had put the diamond clean out of his head. " She's the most charm ing girl I have seen since I came back to Eng land !" was all I could extract from him, when I endeavored to lead the conversation to more serious things. Toward midnight I went round the house to lock up, accompanied by my second in command (Samuel, the footman), as usual. When all doors were made fast, except the side-door that opened on the terrace, I sent Samuel to bed and stepped out for a breath of fresh air before I too went to bed in my turn. The night was still and cloße, and the moon was at the full in the heavens. It was so silent out of doors, that I heard from time to time, very faint and low, the fall of the sea, as the ground-swell heaved it on the same bank near the mouth of our little bay. As the house stood, the terrace side was the dark side ; but the broad moonlight showed fair on the gravel walk that ran along the next side of the terrace. Looking this way, after looking up at the sky, I saw the shadow of a person in the moonlight thrown forward from behind the corner of the house. Being old and sly, I forbore to call out; but, being also, unfortunately, old and heavy, my feet betrayed me on the gravel. Before I could steal suddenly round the corner, as I had pro posed, I heard lighter feet than mine—and more than one pair of them, as I thought—retreating in a hurry. By the time I had got to the corner, the trespassers, whoever they were, had run into the shrubbery at the off side of the walk, and were hidden from sight among the thick trees and bushes in that part of the grounds. From the shrubbery they could easily make their way over our fence into the road. If I had been forty years younger I might have had a chance of catching them be fore they got clear of our premises. As it was, I went back to set agoing a younger pair of legs than mine. Without disturbing anybody. Samuel and I got a couple of guns and went all round the house and through the shrubbery. Having made sure that no persons were lurking about anywhere in our grounds, we turned back. Passing over the walk where I had seen the shadow, I now noticed, for the first time, a little bright object, lying on the clean gravel, under the light of the moon. Picking the ob-
ject up, I discovered that it was a small bottle, containing a thick, sweet smelling liquor, as black as ink. I said nothing to Samuel. But, remembering what Penelope had told me about the jugglers, and the pouring of the little pool of ink into the palm of the boy's hand, I instantly suspected that I had disturbed the three Indians, lurking about the house, and bent, in their heathenish | way, on discovering the whereabouts of the ! diamond that night. j Chapter VIII. Hebe, for one moment, I find it necessary to call a halt. On summoning up my own recollections—and on getting Penelope to help me, by consulting her journal—l find that we may pass pretty rapidly over the interval between Mr. Franklin Blake's arrival and Miss Rachel's birthday. For the greater part of that time the days passed, and brought nothing with them worth recording. With your good leave, then, and with Penelope'B help, I shall notice certain dates only in this place, reserving to myself to tell the story day by day, once more, as Boon as we get to the time when the business of the Moonstone became the chief business of everybody in our house. This Baid, we may now go on again—begin ning, of course, with the bottle of sweet-smell ing ink which I found on the gravel-walk at night.- On the next morning (the morning of the twenty-sixth) I Bhowed Mr. Franklin this article of jugglery, and told him what I have al ready told you. His opinion was, not only that the Indians had been lurking about after the diamond, but also that they were actually foolish enough to believe in their own magic— meaning thereby the making of signs on a boy's head, and the pouring of ink into a boy's hand, and then expecting him to see persons and things beyond the reach of human vision. In our country, as well as in the east, Mr. Frank lin informed me, there are people who practise this curious hocus-pocus (without the ink, how ever), and who call it by a French name, signi fying something like brightness of sight. " De pend upon it," says Mr. Franklin, " the In dians took it for granted that we should keep the diamond here; and they brought their clairvoyant boy to show them the way to it, if they succeeded in getting into the house last night." "Do you think they'll try again, sir ?" I asked. " It depends," Bays Mr. Franklin, "on what the boy can really do. If he can see the dia mond through the iron safe of the bank at Friz inghall, we shall be troubled with no more visits from the Indians for the present. If he can't, we shall have another chance of catching them in the shrubbery before many more nights are over our heads. I waited pretty confidently for that latter chance; but, strange to relate, it never came. Whether the jugglers heard, in the town, of Mr. Franklin having been seen at the bank, and drew their conclusions accordingly; or whether the boy really did see the diamond where the diamond was now lodged (which I, for one flatly disbelieve) ; or whether, after all, it was a mere effect of chance, this, at any rate, is the plain truth—not the ghost of an Indian came near the house again, through the weeks that passed before Miss Rachel's birthday. The jugglerB remained in and about the town plying their trade; and Mr. Franklin and I re mained waiting to see what might happen, and resolute not to put the rogues on their guard by showing our suspicions of them too soon. With thiß report of the proceedings on either side, endß all that I have to say about the In dians for the present. ' On the twenty-ninth of the month, Miss Rachel and Mr. Franklin hit on a new method of working their way together through the time which might otherwise have hung heavy on their hands. There are reasons for taking par ticular notice here of the occupation that amused them. You will find it has a bearing on some thing that is still to come. Gentlefolks in general have a very awkward rock ahead in life—the rock ahead of their own idleness. Their lives being, for the most part, passed in looking about them for something to do, it is curious to see—especially when their tastes are of what is called the intellectual sort —how often they drift blindfold into some nasty pursuit. Nine times out of ten they take to torturing something, or to spoiling something; and they firmly believe they are improving their mindf, when the plain truth is, they are only making a mess in the house. I have seen them (ladies, I am sorry to say, as well as gentlemen) go out, day after day, for example, with empty pill-boxes, and catch newts, and beetles, and spiders, and frogs, and come home and stick pins through the miserable wretches, or cut them up, without a pang of remorse, into little pieces. You see my young master, or my young mistress, poring over one of .their spiders' insides with a magnifying-glass; or you meet one of their frogs walking down stairs without his head; and when you wonder what this cruel ' nastiness means, you are told that it means a taste in my young master or my young mistress for natural history. Sometimes, again, you see them occupied for hours together in spoiling a pretty flower with pointed Instruments, out of a stupid curiosity to know what the flower is made of. Is its color any prettier, or its scent any sweeter, when you do know ? But there! the poor souls must get through the time, you see —th«y must get through the time. You dab bled in nasty mud, and made pies, when you were a child; and you dabble in nasty science, and dissect spiders, and spoil flowers, when you grow up. In the one case and in the other the secret of it i« that you have got nothing to think of in your poor empty head, and nothing to do with your poor idle hands. And so it ends in your spoiling canvas with paints, and making a smell in the house; or in keeping tadpoles in a glass box full of dirty water, and turning every body's stomach in the house; or in chipping off bits of stone here, there, and everywhere, and dropping grit into all the victuals in the house; or in staining your fingers in the pursuit of photography, and doing justice without mercy on everybody's face in the house. It often falls heavy enough, no doubt, on people who are really obliged to get their living, to be j forced to work for the clothes that cover them, I the roof that shelters them, and the food that ' keeps them going. But compare the hardest j day's work you ever did with the idleness that i splits flowers and pokes its way into spiders stomachs, and thank your stars that your head has got something it must think of, and your hands something that they must do. As for Mr. Franklin and Miss Rachel, they tortured nothing, I am glad to say. They simply confined themselves to making a mess ; and all they spoilt, to do them justice, was the paneliag of a door.
Mr. Franklin's universal genius, dabbling in everything, dabbled in what he called " decora tive painting." He had invented, he informed us, a new mixture to moisten paint with, which he described as a " vehicle." What it was made of I don't know. What it did I can tell you in two words—it stank. Miss Rachel being wild to try her hand at the new process, Mr. Franklin ! sent to London for the materials; mixed them up, with accompaniment of a smell which made the very dogs sneeze when they came into the room; put an apron and a bib over Miss : Rachel's gown, and set her to work decorating j her own little sitting-room—called, for want of ' English to name it in, her " boudoir." They began with the inside of the door. Mr. Franklin scraped off all the nice varnish with pumice stone, and made what he described as a surface to work on. Miss Rachel then covered the sur face, under his directions and with hi 3 help, with patterns and devices—griffins, birds, flowers, cupids, and such like—copied from de signs made by a famous Italian painter, whose name escapes me—the one, I mean, who stocked the world with Virgin Marys and had a sweet-heart at the baker's. Viewed as work, this decoration was slow to do and dirty to deal with. But our young lady and gentleman nerer seemed to tire of it. When they were not riding, or see ing company, or taking their meals, or piping their songs, there they were with their heads together, as busy as bees, spoiling the door. Who was the poet who said that Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do ? If he had occupied my place in the family, and had seen Miss Rachel with her brush, and Mr. Franklin with his vehicle, he could have written nothing truer of either of them than that. The next date worthy of rotice is Sunday, the fourth of June. On that evening we, in the servants' hall, de bated a domestic question for the first time, which, like the [decoration of the door, has its bearing on something that is still to come. Seeing the pleasure which Mr. Franklin and Miss Rachel took in each other's society, and noting what a pretty match they were in all per sonal respects, we naturally speculated on the chance of their putting their heads together with other objects in view besides the orna menting of a door. Borne of us said there would be a wedding in the house before the summer was over. Others (led by me) ad mitted it was likely enough Miss Rachel might be married; but we doubted (for reasons which will presently appear) whether her bridegroom would be Mr. Franklin Blake. That Mr. Franklin was in love, on his side, no body who saw and heard him could doubt. The difficulty was to fathom Miss Rachel. Let me do myself the honor of making you acquainted with her; after which I will leave you to fathom her yourself—if you can. My young lady's eighteenth birthday was the birthday now coming, on the twenty-first of June. If you happen to like dark women (who, I am informed, have gone out of fashion latterly in the gay world), and if you have no particular prejudice in favor of Bize, I answer for Miss Rachel as one of the prettiest girls your eyes ever looked on. She was small and slim, but all in fine proportion from top to toe. To see her sit down, to see her get up, and specially to see her walk, was enough to satisfy any man in his senses that the graces of her figure (if you will pardon me the expression) were in her flesh, and not in her clothes. Her hair was the blackest I ever saw. Her eyes matched her hair. Her nose was not quite large enough, I admit. Her mouth and chin were (to quote Mr. Franklin) morsela for the gods; and her complexion (on the same undeniable authority) was as warm as the sun itself, with this great advantage over the sun, that it was always in nice order to look at. Add to the foregoing that she carried her head as upright as a dart, in a dashing, spirited, "jhorough-bred way—that she had a clear voice, with a ring of the right metal in it, and a smile that began very prettily in her eyes before it got to her lips—and there behold the portrait of her, to the best of my painting, as large as life! And what about her disposition next? Had this charming creature no faults ? She had just as many faults as you have, ma'am— neither more nor less. To put it seriously, my dear pretty Miasßachel, possessing a host of graces and attractions, had one defect, which strict impartiality compels me to acknowledge. She was unlike most other girls of her age, in this—that she had ideas of her own, and was stiff-necked enough to set the fashions themselves at defiance, if the fashions didn't suit her views. In trifles, this independ ence of hers was all well enough; but in matters of importance it carried her (as my lady thought, and as I thought) too far. She judged for her self, as few women of twice her age judge in general; never asked your advice ; never told you beforehand what she way going to do; never came with secrets and confidences to anybody, from her mother downward. In little things and great, with people she loved, and people she hated (and she did both with equal heartiness), Miss Rachel always went on a way of her own, sufficient for herself in the joys and the sorrows of her life. Over and over again I have heard my lacy say, " Rachel's best friend and Rachel's worst eneuy nre, one and the other—Rachel her self." Add one thing more to this, and I have done. With all her eecrecy, and all her self-will, there was not so much as the shadow of anything false in her. I never remember her breaking her word; I never remember her saying No, and meaning Yes. I can call to mind, in her child hood, more than one occasion when the good little soul took the blame, and suffered the punishment, for Borne fault committed by a play fellow whom she loved. Nobody ever knew her to confess to it when the thing was found, out, and she was charged with it afterward. But nobody ever knew her to lie about it, either. She looked you straight in the face and shook her little saucy head, and said plainly, "I won't tell you!" Punished again for this, she would own to being sorry for saying " won't;" but, bread and water notwithstanding, she never told you. Self-willed—devilish self-willed some times—l grant; but the finest creature, never theless, that ever walked the ways of this lower world. Perhaps you think you see a certain contradiction here ? In that case, a word in I your ear. Study your wife closely for the next j four-and-twenty hours. If your good lady ' doesn't exhibit something.in the shape of a con- ; tradiction in that time, Heaven help you!—you , have married a monster. I have now brought you acquainted with Miss Rachel, which you will find puts us face to face, next, with the question of that young lady's matrimonial views. On June the twelfth, an invitation from my mistress was sent to a gentleman in London, to come and help to keep Miss Rachel's birthday. This was- the fortunate individual on whom I be lieved her heart to be privately set! Like Mr
Franklin, he was a cousin of hers. His name was Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite. My lady's second sister (don't be alarmed j we are not going very deep into family matters this time) —my lady's second sister, I say, had a dis appointment in love; and taking a husband after ward, on the neck or nothing principle, made what they called a misalliance. There was ter rible work in the family when the honorable Caroline insisted on marrying plain Mr. Able white, the banker at Frizinghall. He was very ! rich and very good-tempered, and he begot a ! prodigious large family—all in his favor, so far. But he had presumed to raise himself from a low Btation in the world—and that was against him. However, time and the progress of modern enlightenment put things right; and the mis alliance passed muster very well. We are all get ting liberal now ; and (provided you can scratch me, if I scratch you) what do I care, in or out of Parliament, whether you are a Dustman or a Duke ? That's the modern way of looking at it —and I keep up witk the modern way. The ! Ablewhites lived in a fine house and grounds, a ? little out of Frizinghall. Very worthy people, and greatly respected in the neighborhood. We shall not be much troubled with them in these pages—excepting [Mr. Godfrey, who was Mr. Ablewbite's second son, and who must take his proper place here, if you please, for Miss Eachel's sake. With all hi 3 brightness and cleverness and j general good qualities, Mr. Franklin's chance of i topping Mr. Godfrey in our young lady's esti mation was, in my opinion, a very poor chance indeed. In the first place, Mr. Godfrey was, in point of size, the finest man by far of the two. He stood over six feet high; he had a beautiful red and white color; a smooth round face, shaved as bare as your hand ; and a head of lovely long flaxen hair, falling negligently over the poll of his neck. But why do I try to give you this per sonal description of him ? If you ever subscribed to a Ladies' Charity in London, you know Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite as well as I do. He was a barrister by profession ; a ladies' man by tem perament ; and a good Samaritan by choice. Fe male benevolence and female destitution could do nothing without him. Maternal societies for confining poor women; Magdalen societies for rescuing poor women; strong-minded societies for putting poor women into poor men's places, and leaving the men to shift for themselves—he was vice-preßident, manager, referee to them all. Wherever there was a table with a committee of ladies sitting round it in council, there was Mr. Godfrey at the bottom of the board, keeping the temper of the committee, and leading the dear creatures along the thorny ways of business, hat in hand. I do suppose this was the most accom plished philanthropist (on a small independence) that England ever produced. As a sp.akerat charitable meetings the like of him for drawing your tears and your money was not easy to find. He was quite a public character. The last time I was in London my mistress gave me two treat. She sent me to the theatre to see a dancing wo man who was all the rage; and she sent me to Exeter Hall to hear Mr. Godfrey. The lady did it with a band of music. The gentleman did it with a handkerchief and a glass of water. Crowds at the performance with the legs. Ditto at the performance with the tongue. And with all this the sweetest-tempered person (I allude to Mr. Godfrey)—the simplest and pleasantest and easiest to please—you ever met with. He loved everybody. And everybody loved him. What chance had Mr. Franklin—what chance had any body of average reputation and capacities— against such a man as this ? On the fourteenth came Mr. Godfrey's an swer. He accepted my mistress's invitation, from the Wednesday of the birthday to the evening of Friday—when his duties to the Ladies' Cha rities would oblige him to return to town. He also enclosed a copy of verses on what he ele gantly called his cousin's " natal day." Miss Rachel, I was informed, joined Mr. Franklin in making fuu of the verses at dinner ; and Pene lope, who was all on Mr. Franklin's side, asked me, in great taiumph, what I thought of that. " Miss Rachel has led you off on a false scent, my dear, I replied; " but my nose is not so easily mystified. Wait till Mr. Ablewhite's verses are followed by Mr. Ablewhite himself." My daughter replied, that Mr. Franklin might strike in and try his luck, before the verses were followed by the poet. In favor of this view, I must acknowledge that Mr. Franklin left no chance untried of winning' Mis 9 Rachel's [good graces. Though one of the most inveterate smokers I ever met with, he gave up his cigar because she said, one day, she hated the stale smell of it in his clothes. He slept so badly, after this effort of self-denial, for want of the composing effect ot the tobacco to which he was ÜBed, and came down morning after morning looking so haggard and worn, that Miss Rachel herself begged him to take to his cigars again. No! he would take to nothing again that would cause her a moment's annoyance, he would fight it out resolutely, and get back his sleep, sooner or later, by main force of patience in waiting for it. Such devotion as this, you may say (as some of them said down stairs), could never fail of producing the l'igbt effect on Miss Rachel —backed up, too, as it was, by the decorating work every day on the door. All very well—but she had a photograph of Mr. Godfrey in her bedroom ; represented speaking at a public meeting, with all his hair blown out by the breath of his own eloquence, and his eyes, most lovely, charming- the money out of your pockets! What do you say to that ? Every morning—as Penelope herself owned to me—there was the man whom the women couldn't do without, looking on, in effigy, while Miss Rachel was having her hair combed. He would be looking on, in reality, before long —that was my opinion of it. June the sixteenth brought an event which made Mr. Franklin's chance look, to my mi- d, a worse chance than ever. A strange gentleman, speaking English with a foreign accent, came that morning to the house and asked to see Mr. Franklin Blake on busi ness. The business could not possibly have been connected v ith the diamond, for these two reasons—first, that Mr. Franklin told me no thing about it; secondly, that he communicated it (after the strange gentleman had gone away again) to my lady. She probably hinted some thing about it next to her daughter. At any rate, Miss Rachel was reported to have said some severe things to Mr. Franklin, at the piano that evening, about- the people he had lived among, and the principles he had adopted in foreign parts. The next day, for the first time, nothing was done toward the decoration of the door. I suspect come imprudence of Mr. Franklin's on the Continent—with a woman or a debt at the bottom of it —had followed him to England. But that is all guess-work. In this case, not only Mr. Franklin, but my lady too, for a won der, left me in the dark.
On the seventeenth, to all appearance, the cloud passed away again. They returned to their decorating work on the door, and seemed to be as good friends as ever. If Penelope was to be believed, Mr. Franklin had seized the op portunity of the reconciliation to make an offer to Miss Kachel, and had neither been accepted nor refused. My girl was sure (from signs and tokens which I need not trouble you with) that her young mistress had fought Mr. Franklin off by declining to believe that he was in earnest, aud had then secretly regretted treating him in that way afterward. Though Penelope was ad mitted to more familiarity with her young mis tless than maids generally are—for the two had I been almost brought up together as children— i still I knew Miss Rachel's reserved character too i well to believe that she would show her mind to • anybody in this way. What my daughter told me on the present occasion, was, as I suspected, more what she wished than what she really knew. On the nineteenth another event happened, We had the doctor in the house professionally. He was summoned to prescribe for a person whom I have had occasion to present to you in these pages—our second housemaid, Roeanna Spearman. This poor girl—who had puzzled me, as you know already, at the Shivering Sand—puzzled me more than once again in the interval time of which I am now writing. Penelope's notion that her fellow-servant was in love with Mr. Franklin (which ray daughter, by my orders, kept strictly secret) seemed to me just as absurd as ever. But I must own that what I myself saw, and what my daughter 6aw also, of our becond house maid's conduct began to look mysterious, to say the least of it. For example, the girl constantly put herself in Mr. Franklin's way—very slyly and quietly, but she did it. He took about as much notice of her as he took of the cat: it never seemed to occur to him to waste a look on Rusanna's plain face. The poor thing's appetite, never much, fell away dreadfully ; and her eyes in the morn ing showed plain signs of waking and crying at night. One day Penelope made an awkward dis covery, which we hushed up on the spot. She caught Rosanna at Mr. Franklin's dressing-table secreily removing a rose which Miss Rachel had given him to wear in his button-hole, and putting another rose like it, of her own picking, in its place. She was, after that, once or twice impu dent to me, when I gave her a well-meant gene , ral hint to be careful in her conduct; and, worse still, she was not over-respectful now on the few , occasions when Miss Rachel accidently spoke to her. My lady noticed the change, and asked me what I thought about it. I tried to screen the | girl by answering that I thought she was out of health ; and it ended in the doctor being sent I for, as already mentioned, on the nineteenth. He said it was her nerves, and doubted if she was fit for service. My lady offered to remove her for change of air to one of our farms inland. She begged and prayed, with the tears in her eyes, to be let to stop ; and in an evil hour I advised my lady to try her for a little longer. As the event proved, and as you will soon see, this was the worst advise I could have given. If I could only have looked a little way into the future, I would have taken Rosanna Spearman out of the bouse, then and there, with my own hand. On the twentieth, there came a note from Mr. Godfrey. He had arranged to stop at Frizing hall that night, having occasion to consult his father on business. On the afternoon of the next day he and his two eldest sisters would ride over to us on horseback, in good time be fore dinier. An elegant little casket in china accompanied the note, presented to Miss Rachel, with her cousin's love and best wishes. Mr. Franklin had only given her a plain locket not worth half the money. My daughter Penelope, nevertheless—such is the obstinacy of women— still backed him to win. Thanks be to Heaven, we have arrived at the eve of the birthday at last! You will own, I think, that I have got you over the ground, this time, without much loitering by the way. Cheer up! I'll ease you with another new chapter here—and, what is more, that chapter shall take you straight into the thick of the story. [TO Bt COXTINOED.I
Egotism.—Egotism is the great canker of humanity; and its blight is more fatal to the blossom than the fruit, because it nips so many human characters in the bud that never come to any fruit worth mentioning at all. If you master this great incubus of self early in life, you will walk through life like an unburdened free man, with a straight back and uuembarrassed j hands, among trcops of bondsmen bent double i under heavy packs. I am not preaching ! Christianity, but worldly wisdom. You will j win love wholesale from man, woman, and child, I by lending a willing hand's turn, when occasion offers, to help them with their bundles, which they will confide to you all the more readily when they find you are not in the habit of troubling them with yours in return. Romance in a Palacb.—There is a curious story in connection with the present Landgrave of Hesse Homburg. The Landgravine Louise had in her early youth inspired so violent an attachment in the present Landgrave that, when it was announced to the latter that the princess was betrothed to hiß brother, he was seized with brain fever and delirium, from which he only recovered to take arms, in the hope of meeting death in one of the many fierce battles then raging throughout Europe. For years and years did the unhappy lover wander from court to court, accepting the most arduous service from all, with the hope, inspired by despair, of re ceiving his death-wound amid the strife, until, in 1848, the death of his brother Gustavua, husband of the princess, compelled him to as sume the ducal crown as Landgrave of Hesse Homburg. The Landgravine inhabited at that time the secluded castle of Hombourges-Monts. Here, then, did Prince Ferdinand, way-worn, war-battered, and wjary-hearted, find himself once more face to face with her to whom he had sacrificed his life. The very day on which they met again was the anniversary of his 67th year. The Princess was scarcely fifty. He at once took the heroic resolution of maintaining the distance which circumstances had placed be tween them, and to treat her as a stranger in blood and affection. The state apartments of the palace were all left at the disposal of the princess, while he retired to the obscurest part of the building. Once a week only did he per mit his weary eyes to rest upon the countenance he had seen for so many years in fancy and in dreams. Each Sunday, after service, a page was despatched from the wing of the castle where he resided to that occupied by the princess, to inquire whether she would consent to receive the homage of the humblest of her slaves. Upon the conveyance of the lady's con sent, the Landgrave would traverse the state apartments of the palace, and, attired in full court costume and followed by a numerous retiuue, would present himself at the door of her apartment, and enter only at her express command. After the ceremonious and customary obeisances usual at courtly presentation, he would withdraw to the solitude he had chosen, until the succeeding Sunday would bring the sole ray of light which had power to penetrate his faithful soul. Since the death of the Land gravine, the prince has secluded himself entirely. Sometimes he is met in the woods and upon the hills which surround the gay little town of Homburg, but always alone—kind, courteous, and generous to all, but seeking companionship with no one.