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W I LK I E CO LL I NS S

N O V E LS .

C r ow n 8 vo . c l ot h ex t r a , ea c h p ost 8 vo b o a r ds, . 2s
. eac h:
c l ot h l l mp, 2 3. 6d . eac h .

AN T O N I NA . T HE F R OZ E N D EE P .

B AS I L
. T H E LAW N T H E LADY A D
H I D E AND S EE K T H E T W O D E ST I N I E S
.

A F TE R DA R K
.

. T H E H AU N T E D H OTE L
T H E F A LL E N L E AV E S
.

T H E D E AD S E C R E T . .

TH E U EE N O F H E A R TS JE Z E B E L S DA U G H T E R

. .

T H E O MAN I N W H I T E . T H E B LA CK R O B E .

N O NAM E . H E ART AN D S C I E N C E .

M Y M I S C E LL AN I E S
I S AY N O
. .

A R MAD A L E . A R OG U E S L I F E
.

T H E M OO N ST O N E . TH E EV I L G EN I U S
MAN AN D W I F E
.

. L I TT L E N O V E L S
P O O R M I SS F I N C H
.

. T H E L E G ACY O F C A I N .

M I SS O R M R S ? . BLI ND L O V E .

T H E N EW MAC DA L E N .

E D IT IO NS M di m 8 o 647 ea c h
P OPU LA R . e u v . . .

T HE W O MAN I N W H I T E T H E M O O N ST O N E . .

A N TO N I NA . T H E D EAD S E C R E T .

T H E N E W MAG DA L E N MAN AND WI F E . .

A R MADA L E .

C H ATTO WI ND U S S t M arti n Lan e, W C



Lo ndon : , I n . s . .
W ILK IE CO LLI NS

TH E

L A W A N D T H E LA D Y

LI B RARY E D I TI O N

L O ND O N

CHATTO W I ND U S
I 9 O3
PRHQ Q%

\ 03
4
MA I N ,

I ng m ar t a

R E G NI ER

THE TH EAT E F RANQA IS, PA IS


R R ),

IN OF AD M I RATI ON F OR THE G REAT AC TOR

AN D OF

A FFE CTI ON F OR TH E TRU E F RI END .


N 0 TE:

A DD RE SS E D TO THE REA D E R .

IN o ff eri n g this book to you I have no Pre face t o wri t e


,
.

I have only to request that you will bear in mind certain


-

establi shed truths w hich oc c asmn al l y escape your memory


,

when you are reading a work of ction Be pleased then to


.
, ,

r emember (First ) : that the actions of human beings are not

invariably governed by the laws of pure reaso n (S econdly) :


.

that we are by no means alway s in the habit (especially when


w e happen t o be women ) of bestowi n g ou r love on the objects
which are the mo s t deserving of it in the O pinions of ou r
,

fr i en ds (Thi rdly and Lastly) : that Cha racters whi ch may


.

not have appeared and E vents w hich may n ot have taken


,

place Withi n th e limits of ou r ow n individual experience


, ,

may nevertheless b e perfectly natural Characters and perfectly


prob able E vents for all that H aving said thes e few words
, .
,

I have sai di all that seems to be n ece ssary at the present time ;
and I b i d y ou c ordially far e w el l .

W
. 0
.

LONDON, Februa r y 1 , 1 8 7 5 .
CONTENTS .

A
CH R PAG E
THE B RI D E S M ISTA K E
'

I .

THE B R I D E S TH OU G H TS

II . o

III . RAMS G ATE S AND S 0 16


IV . ON THE WA Y H OME o 25
"
THE L A ND L ADY S D I sc ov ERY

V . 32
VI . M Y OWN D IS C OV E RY
VII . ON THE WAY To THE M A J OR 45
VI I I . THE FR I E N D OR THE W OME N 54
IX . THE D E F E A T or THE M A J OR 61
X . THE S EA R C H
XI . THE R E TU R N To L I F E 92
XI I . THE S C OTC H VE RD I C T 1 01
X I II THE M A N S D E C ISI ON

.
1 07
XIV THE W OM A N S A N SWE R
'

. 112
XV . THE STORY OF THE TR I A L . THE P R E L IM I NA R I E S 1 23
XV I . F I R ST QU E STI OND I D THE W OM A N D I E P OI S ONED I 1 26
X V II . S E C ON D Q U E STI ONW H O P OIS ONE D HE R 1 42
XV III . TH I R D Q U E S TI ONW H AT WA S H IS M OTIV E I I 54
X IX . THE EVI D E NC E F OR THE D EFE NC E 1 69
XX . THE END OF THE TR I A L 174
XX I . I S EE M Y WAY 1 85
XX II . THE M AJ OR M A K E DI FF I CU L TI E S 1 92
XXI II . M Y M OTHE R I N L AW S U RPR IS E S ME
- -
1 98
XXI V M I SERRI MUS D E XTE RF I R ST V I E W 205
M I SEB B I MU S DE XTE R
.

XX V . SE C OND V I EW 21 2
X XV I . M OR E or II Y OB STI NAOY 225
Vi i CON TE N TS .

C HA R PAG E

XX V I I . M R DE XTE R
. AT H OME 231
X X V II I. IN THE D A RK 242
XX IX . IN THE LI G HT 249
XXX . THE I NDI C TME NT OF M RS B E A U L Y
. 25 7
XXX I . THE D E F E NC E 0F M RS B E A U L Y
. 268
XXX II . A S PE C I MEN OEM Y W IS D OM 27 6
XXX III . A S P E CI ME N OF M Y F OLL Y 27 9
XXX I V . G LENI NCH 29 3
XXX V . M R P LAYMORE S P R OP HE C Y
.

300
XXX V I . A RI E L 309
XXX V II . A T wa s B E D S I D E 31 5
XXX V III . ON THE J OU RNE Y B A C K 327
XX X I X . ON WAY To D E XTE R
TH E 330
XL NEME SIS AT LA ST !
. 336
XLI M R P LAYMORE I N A NEW C H A R A CTE R
. . 361
X LI I M ORE S U RPRIS E S
. 37 1
X LIII AT LA ST !
. 37 7
X LI V OUR NEW H ONE Y M OON
. 381
XLV THE D U ST R E AP D ISTU R B ED
.
-
388
X LV I THE C R ISIS D E FE RR E D
. 39 7
X LV II THE WIP E S C ONF E SSI ON
.

401
X LV II I WH AT E L S E C OU L D I DO I
. 41 0
X LI X P A ST A ND F U TU R E
. 41 5
L THE L A ST or THE STORY
.
THE LAW AND THE LADY .

C H A P TE R I .

THE B R I D E

S M I STAK E .

FOR a fter this manner in the ol d time the holy w omen also ,

who trusted in G od adorned themselves being in subj ectio n


, ,

unto their ow n husbands ; even as S arah obeyed Abraham ,

c alling h i m lord
; Whose daughters y e are as lo n g as ye do ,

well a n d are not a fraid with any am az ement


, .

Concluding the Marriage S ervice of the Church o f E ngland


In those well known words my U ncl e S tarkweather shut u p
-

hi s book and looked at me across the altar rails with a hearty


,

expression of interest on his broad red face A t the same .

time my aunt Mrs S tarkweather standing by my side tapped


, .
, ,

me smartly on the shoulder and sai d , ,

Valeria you are married


,

Where were my thoughts ? What had become of my at ten


tion ? I was t oo bewildered to kno w I started and looked .

at my new husband H e seemed to be almost as much b e


.

wildered as I was The same thought had as I believe


.
, ,

occurred t o us both at the same moment Was it real l y .

possible i n spite of hi s mother s O pposition to ou r mar


r i ag e that we were Man and Wi fe ? My A unt S tarkwe ather


settled the question by a second tap on my shoulder .

T ak e his arm sh e Whispered in t h e ton e of a w oman who


had l ost all patienc e w ith me .

I took his arm ,


TH E LA IV AND TH E LAD Y .



Fo l low
your un cle .

Holding fast by my husband s arm I followed my uncle


,

an d the curate who had assisted hi m at the marriage .

The two clergymen led us into the vestry The church was .

in on e of the drear y quarters o f London situated between the ,

City and the West E nd ; the day was dull ; the atmosphere
w as heavy and damp We were a melancholy little weddin g
.
'

party worthy of the dreary neighbourhood and the dull day


, .

No relatives or friends of my husband s were present ; h i s


family as I have already hinted disapproved of his marriage


, , .

E xcept my uncle and my aunt no other relations appeared on ,

my side I had lost both my parents and I had but f ew


.
,

friends My dear f ather s faithful ol d cl er k Benjamin at


.

, ,

tended the wedding to give me away as the phrase is He



,

.

h a d k nown me fro m a child and in my forlorn position h e , , ,

was as good as a father to me .

The last ceremony le ft to be per formed was as usual t h e


.

, ,

signing o f the marriage register In the con fusion of the


-
.

moment (and in the absence of any in formation to guide me )


I committed a mistakeominous in my A unt S tarkweather s ,

opinion of evil to com e I signed my married instead of my


, .

maiden name .

What cried my uncle in his loudest and cheeriest tones , ,

you have forgotten your ow n name already ? \ Vell ! well !


l et us hope you will never repent parting with it so readil y .

Try again V aleri a t ry again


, .

With trembling n gers I struck the pen throu gh my rst e ff ort


and wrote my maiden nam e, v e ry badly indeed as follows ,

When it came to my husband s turn


I notic ed, w t ih an:
TH E B R I D E 5 III I S TAXE.
'

rise that h i s h and trembled too and t h at e produced a very


p , ,

poor speci me n of his customary signature

My aunt, on being requested to sign , complied under pro ~

test
A bad beginni ng ! she said, pointing to my rst

un fortunate signature wi t h the feather end of her pen I say -


.

with my husbandI hope you may n ot l i ve to regret it




.

E ven then in the days of my ignorance an d m y innocence


, ,

that curious outbreak of my aunt s superstition produced a

certain une asy sensation in my mind It was a consolation .

to me to feel the reassuring pre ssure of my husb and s han d


.

It w as an indescribabl e reli e f to hear my uncle s hearty voice

wishi ng me a happy li fe at parting The good man had le ft .

his north country Vicarage (my home since the death of m y


-

parents ) e xpressly to read the service at my marriage and he


a n d my aunt had arranged to return by the mid day tr ain -

H e folded me in his great strong arms and he g ave m e a k i ss ,

which must certainly have been heard by t h e idlers waiting for


the bride and b ridegroom outside the church door .


I wish you heal th and happin ess my love with all my , ,

hear t Y ou are Ol d enou gh t o choose for yo u rsel f and n o


.
,

o ffence Mr Woodville you and I ar e n ew friends and I


,
.
,

pray G od V aleria it may turn out that you have chosen w ell
, , .

O ur h ouse will be dreary enoug h without you 5 but I don t

c ompla in my dear O n the contrary if this change in your


,
.
,

li fe make s you happier I rej oice Come ! come ! don t cry


, .

,

or you will set your aunt off and it s no j oke at her time of

li f e. Besid es, cry ing wil l spoil y our beauty D ry your eyes .
TH E LA W AN D TH E LAD Y .

and look in the glass there an d you wil l see that 1 am right
,
.

G ood bye ch i ld and G od bless you


-

H e tucked my aunt under his arm and hurried out My ,


.

heart s ank a little dearly as I loved my husband when I had


, ,

seen the last of the true friend and protector of my maiden


days.

Th e parting with ol d Benjamin came next I w ish y ou .


Well my dear ; don t forget me was al l he said


,

But the ol d ,

.

days at home came b ack on me at those few words Benjamin .

al w ays dined with us on S undays in my father s time and


,

always brought some littl epresent with him for his master s

child I was very near to spoili n g my beauty (as my uncle


.

h ad put it) when I Off ered the Ol d man my cheek to kiss and ,

heard him sigh to himself as i f he too w a s not quite hopeful


,

about my f uture life .

My husb and s voice roused me and turned my mind to



,

Happi er thoughts .

Shall we go Val er i a l he asked


,

.

I stopped him on ou r way out to take advantage of my ,

uncle s advice In other words t o see how I looked in t he



.
,

glass over the vestry repl ace .

What does the glass show me ?


The glass shows a tall and slender young woman of three
and twenty years of age S he is not at all the sort o f person
.

who attracts attention in t h e street seeing that she fails to ,

exhibit the popul ar yellow hair and the popular painted


ch eeks He r hair is black 3 dressed in these later days (as it
.
,

w as dressed years since to please her father ) in broad ripples ,

drawn back from the forehead an d gathered into a simple ,

knot behind (like the hair o f the Venus de M edici ) so as to


,

show the ne ck beneath H er complexion is pale : exce p t in


.

moments o f violent agitation there is no colour to be seen in


her face H er eyes are of so dark a blue that they are
.

generally mistaken for black Her eyebrows are well enough .


TH E B R I D E S M I S TAK E

.
s

in fo rm but they are t oo dark and t oo strongly marked


, , .

H er nose j ust inclines towards the aquiline bend and is con ,


.

si der ed a little too large by persons d i fcult to please i n the


.

matter of noses The mouth her best feature is ve ry deli


.
, ,

c at el y shaped and is capable of presenting great varietie s of


,

expression A s to the face in general i t is too narro w and


.
,

too long at the lo w er part 3 too broad and too l ow in the


hi gher regions of the eyes and the he ad The whole picture .
,

as reected in the glass represents a woman of some eleganc e


, ,

rather too pale and rather too sedate and serious in her mo
,

ments of sil ence and repose i n short a person who fails t o ,

strike the ordinary Observer at rst sight 3 but Wh o gains in


general estimation on a second and sometimes even on a
, ,

third view A s for her dress it studiously conceals instead


, .
, ,

of proclaiming th at she has been married tha t morning


,
She .

wears a grey Cashmere tun i c trimmed with grey silk and ,

having a skirt of the sa m e material and colour beneath it .

O n her head is a bonnet to match relieved by a quilling o f ,

Whi te muslin wi t h on e deep red rose as a morsel o f posi t ive


, ,

colour to complete the eff ect o f the Whole dress


, .

H ave I succeeded or failed in describing the picture of mysel f


whi c h I see in the glass ? It is not for me to say I have .

done my best to keep clear o f the two vanities the van it y o f


depreciati n g and the vanity of prai sing my ow n person al
, ,

appearance For the rest well written or badly written ,


.
,

t h ank H eaven it is done


An d w h o m do I see in the glass standing by my S ide ? ,

I see a man who is n ot quite so tall as I am and who has ,

t h e mis fortune of looking older than his years H is forehead .

is prematurel y bald H is big chestnut coloure d beard and


.
-

h i s lon g overhanging moustache are already streaked with


grey H e has t h e colour in his face which my face wa nts
.
,

and the rmness in his g ure which m y gure wan t s H e .

looks at me wi t h the tenderest an d gentlest eyes (o f a light


bro wn) that I e ver saw in th e c ountenance o f a ma n H i s .
6 TH E LA W AN D TH E LAD Y;

s m il e i s rare and sweet ; his manner perfectl y quiet an d


retiring has yet a latent persuasiven e ss in it which i s (to
, ,

women ) irresistibly w inni n g H e j ust halts a little in h i s .

walk from the effect of a n i njury received in p ast y ears when


, ,

he was a soldier serving in India and he c arries a thi ck ,

bamboo cane w ith a curious crutch handle (an old favourite)


, ,

to help himself along whenever he g ets on his feet indoors or ,

ou t. With this on e little drawback (i f it i s a drawback) ,

there is nothi n g inrm or Ol d or awkwar d about h i m ; his


slight limp when he walks h as (perhaps to my partial eyes) a
certain quaint grace of i t s ow n which is pleasanter t o see ,

than the unrestrained activity of other men A nd last and .


,

best Of all I love h i m ! I love him ! I love him ! And


,

there is an end of my portrait of my husband on ou r wed


din g day
-
.

T he glass has told me all I want to kno w We leave the .

V estry at last .

T he sky cloudy since the morni n g has darkened whil e we


, ,

have been in the church and the rain is beginni n g to fall ,

heavily T he idlers outside stare a t us grimly under their


.

umbrellas as we pass through their ranks and hasten into


, ,

ou r carriage No cheering ; no sunshine 3 n o owers st r ewn


.

in ou r path 3 no grand breakf ast 3 no genial speeche s 3 no



bridesmaids 3 no father s or mother s blessing A dreary wed
.

ding there is no denyi n g i t and A unt S tark w eather is


right) a bad beginning as w ell !
A c oup h as been reserved for us at the railway station .

T he attentive porter on t h e look out for his fee pulls down


,
-

the blinds over the s ide windows of t he carriage and shuts ,

ou t al l prying eyes in tha t way A ft er v h at seems to be an .


r
,

interminable delay the train st arts My husband win ds h i s .

arm round me A t last 1 he whispers with love in his eyes


.

,

that no words can utter and pres ses m e to him gentl y My , .

arm steal s round his neck 3 my eyes answer his eyes Om .

l i ps m ee t in the rst long lingeri n g kiss of our married li fe .


TH E B R I D E s TH O U GH TS
'
.
7

Oh wh at recollections of that j ourney rise in me as I


,

write ! Let me dry my eyes and s hut up my paper for the ,

day .

CH A P TE R I I ;

TH E RRI DE S

T H OU G HTS .

WE had bee n travelling for a little more than an hour ,


w h en
a change passed insensibly over us both .

S till sitting close together wi t h my hand in his with m y


, ,

head on his shoulder li ttle by little we fell insensibly into


,

silence H ad we already exhausted the narrow yet eloquent


.

vocabulary of love ? O r had we determined by unexpressed


consent a fter enjoying the luxury of pa ssion that speaks to
, ,

try the deeper and ner rapt ure of passion that thinks ? I
can hardl y determine 3 I only know that a time came when
under som e stran ge inuence ou r lips were closed towards each
other We travelled alo n g each o f us absorbed in ou r o w n
.
,

reverie Was he thinki n g exclusively of me as I was


.

thinking ex clusively of him ? B ef w e the j ourney s end I had r


my doubts A t a little later time I knew for certain that his


.
,

thou ghts wande r ing far away from his young Wife were all
, ,

turned inward on hi s ow n unhappy sel f .

For me the secret pleasur e of lli ng my mind with him


,

w hil I felt him by my side was a luxury in itsel f


e
, .

I pictured in my thou ghts our rst meeting in th e neigh


b ou r h ood of my uncle s house

.

O ur famous north country trout stream wound its ashing


- -

and foaming way thro u gh a ravine i n the rocky moorland .

It was a windy shadowy evenin g A heavily clouded sunset


, .

l ay l ow and r e d in t h e west A solitary angler stood casti n g


.

his y at a turn in the stream, whe re th e ba ckwat e r lay sti l


,
'
8 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD Y .

an d d e ep und er an overhanging bank A gi rl (mys el f) stand .

ing on the bank invisible to the sh erman beneath, w aited


,

e agerly to see the trout ris e .

Th e moment came 3 the sh took th e y .

S ometimes on the little level strip of sand at the foot OI


the bank 3 sometimes (when the stream turned again ) i n the
shall ower water rushing over its rocky bed the angler followed ,

the captured trout now letting th e line ru n out and n o w


, ,
'

w inding it in again in the di fcult and delicate process o f


,

playing the sh A lo n g the bank I followed to watch the



.
,

contest of ski ll and cunning between the m an and the trout .

I h ad lived long enough with my uncle S tarkweather to catch


some of his enthusiasm for eld sports and to learn some ,

thing especially of the a n gler s art


, ,
S till following the
.

stranger with my eyes intently xed on every movement of


,

his rod an d line and with not so much as a chance fragment


,

o f my attention to S pare for the rough path along which I


was walking I stepped by chance on the loos e overhangi ng
,

earth at the e dge of the bank and fell into the stream in an ,

instant .

T he distance w as triing ; the w ater was shallow 3 th e bed


of the r iver w as
(fortunately for me ) o f sand Beyond the .

fright and the wetting I had noth ing to complain o f In a .

few moments I w as out of the water and up agai n very much ,

ashame d of mysel f on th e rm ground Short as the interval


, .

w as it proved lo n g enough to favour th e escape of the sh


,
The .

angler had heard my rst instinctive cry of alarm had turned .


,

and had thrown asi de h i s rod to help me We con fronted .

e ach other for the rst time I on the bank and he in the ,

sh allow water below O ur eyes encountered and I verily


.
,

believ e ou r hearts encountered at the same moment This I .

know for certain we forgot ou r breeding as lady and gentle


,

man 3 we looked at each other in barbarous silence .

I was the rst to recover mys el f Wh at did I say to him I .

I said so mething about my not b e ing hu rt and th en som e ,


TH E B R I D E S TH OU GH TS

.
9

thing m ore urging hi m t o ru n back and try i f h e might not


, ,

yet recover the sh .

H e went back unwill in gly H e retu r ned to m eLof course .


,

without the sh K nowi n g how bitterly disappointed my


.

uncle wo u ld have been in his place I apologiz ed very ear ,

n est l.
y In my eagerness to make atonement I even o ff ered
to show him a spot where he might try again lower down ,

the stream .

H e would not hear of it 3 he entreate d me to go home


and change my wet dress I cared nothing for the wettin g .
,

but I obeyed h i m without knowing Wh y .

H e walked with me My way back t o the Vicarage was.

hi s way back to the inn H e had come to our parts he told


.
,

me f or the quiet and retirement as much as for the shin g


, .

H e had noticed me once or t w ice from the window of


hi s room at the inn H e asked i f I was n ot the Vicar s
.

daughter .

I set hi m right I told him that the Vicar had married


.

my mother s sister and that the two h ad been father and



,

moth er to me since the death of my parents H e asked i f .

he might venture to call on D octor S tarkweather the next


day : mentioning the name of a friend of his w ith whom ,

he bel ieved the Vicar to b e acquainted I I nvited him t o .

visit us as if it had been my house ; I was spell bound


,
-

under his eyes and under his voice I had f ancie d honestly .
,

fancied myself to have been in love oft en and Often be fore


, ,

this time Never in any other man s co m pany had I felt a s


.
,

,

I now felt in the presence of th i s man Night seemed to .

fall suddenly over the evening landscape when he le ft me .

I leaned against the V icarage gate I could not breathe 3 I .

could not thi nk 3 my hear t uttered as if it would y out of


my bosom and al l this f or a stranger ! I burned with
shame 3 but c h in spite o f it al l I was so happy
, ,

And now when little more than a few week s had passed
,

si n ce that r st m e eting I ha d him by my side he was min e


,
to TH E LA W AN D TH E LA D Y!

for li fe ! I lifted m y head from his bosom to look at h i m .

I was like a child with a n ew toy I wanted to make sure


th at he was really m y own .

H e n e v e r moved in h i s corner o f the carriage Was h e .

d eep in h i s ow n tho ughts ? and were they thoughts or


Me ?
I laid down my h ead ag ain so ftly, so as not to disturb
him My mind wander ed backward once more , and showed
.

me another picture in the golden gallery of the past .

The g arden of the Vicarage formed the new scene The .

time was night We had met together in secret We were


. .

wal k ing slowly to and fro ou t of sight of the house ; n ow


,

in the shadowy paths of the shrubbery now in the lovely ,

moonlight on the open lawn .

We had lo n g since owned our love and devoted ou r lives ,

to each other Already ou r i n terests were on e ; already we


.

shar ed the pleasures and the pains o f li f e I h ad gone ou t .

to meet him that night with a heavy heart to seek com fort ,

in h i s presence and to nd enco u ragement in his voice H e


, .

noticed that I sighed when he r st too k me in his arms and ,

he gentl y turned my head towar ds the moonlight to read ,

m y trouble in my face H ow o ft en he had read my happiness


.

there in the earlier days of our l ove


You bring bad news my a ng el he said li fti n g my hair
, ,

,

tenderly from m y forehead as he spo k e I see the lines .


here w hich tell me o f anxiety an d distress I almost wish I .

lo ved y ou less dearly Val eria ,


.

Why 2

I might give you back y our freedom



I have only t o .

leave t his place and your uncl e would be sati sed and you
, ,

would be relieved from all the c ares that are pressin g on y ou



no w .


D on t speak of it Eusta c e ! I f you wan t me to forget

,

my c ares say you love me m ore dearl y t h an ever


, .

TH E BRID E S THO UGHTS

. II

H e said i t in a kiss We had a moment of exquisite .

f orgetfulness of the hard ways of li fe a moment of delicious


absorption in each other I came back to realities forti fi ed .
,

and composed re w arded for al l that I h ad gone throug h


, ,

read y to go th r o u gh it all over agam for another kis s O nl y .

give a woman love an d there is nothing she will n ot venture


, ,

suff er and do
, .


H ave they been raising fresh objections to our marriage ?
he ask ed as we slowly walked on again
, .

N0 ; they have done with objectin g They have t e .

membered at last that I am of age and that I can choose ,

f or mysel f T he y have been pleading with me Eustace t c


.
, ,

give you up My aunt whom I tho u ght rather a hard


.
,

woman has been cry ing for the rst time in my experience
,

of her My uncle always kind and good to me has been


.
, ,

k inder and better th an ever H e has told me that i f I .

persist in becomin g y our wi f e I shall n ot be deserted on my


wedding day Wherever we m ay marry he will be there t o
-
.

read the service and my aunt will go to the c h urch with me


, .

But he entreats me to consider seriously what I am doi n g


to consent to a separation from you f or a time to consult
other people on my position towards you i f I am not satised ,

with his Opinion O h my darling they are as anxious to


.
, ,

part u s, as i f you were the worst instead of the best of , ,



men !
H as an ythi ng happened since yesterday t o increase thei r
distrust of me ? he asked .



Yes .

What is it 2

You remember re ferring my uncle to a friend of y ours
an d o f

Y es T o Maj or Fit z D avid


.
-
.

My uncle has written to Major Fit z David -


Wh y ?

H e pronounced that on e word in a tone so utterly unl i ke


I: TH E LA LV AN D TH E LAD Y .

his natur al tone that his voice sounded quite stra nge to
me .


Y ou won t be angry Eustace i f I tell you ? I said

, ,

.

My uncle as I understood him had several motives f or


, ,

w riting to the Major


'

O ne of them was to inquire if he


.


knew your mother s ad dress
.

Eustace suddenly stood still .

I paused at the same moment feel ing that I could venture ,

no further without the risk of o ff ending him .

T o speak the truth his conduct when he rst mentioned


, ,

our engagement to my uncle had been (so far as appear ,

a n c es went ) a little i g h t y and strange The Vicar had .

naturally questioned hi m about his fam ily H e had an .

sw er ed that his father was dead ; and he had consented ,

though not very readily to announce his contemplated m ar ,

r i ag e to hi s mother In forming us that she too l ived in t h e


.

country he had gone to see her without more particularly


,

mentioning her address In two days he had returned t o .

the Vicarage w i th a very startling mess ag e H is mother .

intended no disrespect to me or my relatives ; but she dis

approved so absolutely of her son s marriage that she (and

the members of her family who all agreed w ith her) would ,

re fuse to be present at the ceremon y i f M r Woodville per , .


sisted in keeping his eng agement with Doctor S tarkweather s

niece Being asked to explain this extraordinary c om mu


.

n i c at i on Eustace had told us that his mother and his sisters


,

were bent on his marrying another lady and that they were ,

bitterly morti ed and disappointed b y his choosing a stra n ger


to the family This explana t ion was enough for me it
.

i mplied so f ar as I w as concerne d a com pliment to my


, ,
.

superior in uence over Eustace w hich a woman al w ays r e ,


v

c ei ve s w ith pleasur e But it failed to s atis fy my uncle and


.

my aunt The Vicar expr essed to Mr Woodville a wish to


. .

write to his moth er or to see her on the subj ect of her


, ,

stran ge messa e E ustace obsti ately declined to mention hi s


g . n
TH E BRID E S THO UGHTS
'
. l 3

mo ther s ddress on the ground that the Vicar s interf erence


'
a ,

would be utterly useless My uncle at once drew the con


.

c l usi on that the m ystery about the address indicated some

t h i ng wron g H e re fused to favour Mr Woodvil le s renewed


. .

propo sal for my hand ; and he wrote the same day to make
inquiries of Mr Woodville s re ference and of his ow n friend
.

Maj or Fit z D avid -


.

U nder such circumstances as these to speak of my u ncle s ,


motives was to venture on very delicate ground Eustace .

relieved me from further embarrassment by asking a question


to which I could easily reply .


H as your uncle received any answer from Maj or Fitz
D avid 1 he inquired

.

Y es .


Were you allo w ed to read it 3 H is voice sank as he said
those words ; his fac e betrayed a sudden anxiety which i t
p ained me to see .

I have got the answer wi th me to show you I said ,



.

H e almost snatched the letter out of my hand ; he turned


hi s back on me to read it by the light of the moon T he .

letter w as short enough to be soon read I could have r e .

p e a t ed it at the time I can repeat it n ow


. .

D EAR VI CAR Mr Eustace Woodville is quite correct i n


, .

stati n g to you that he is a gentl eman by birth and position ,

an d that he inherits (under his deceased father s will ) an i n


dependent fortune of two thousand a year .

Al w ays yours ,

LAW RENCE FI TZ D AV I D -
.

Can any on e wish for a plainer ans w er than that l Eustac e '

as k ed handing the letter back to me


,
.


I f I had written for i n formation about you I answ ere d, ,

it would have been plain enough for me .

Is it not plain enough for your uncle


:4 TH E L A W AN D TH E LAD Y .

No .


What does he say i

Why need you care to know my darling I ,



I want to know Valeria There must be no secret be
,
.

tween us in this matter D id your uncle say anything when .

he showed you the Maj or s letter ?



Yes .


What was it 2

My uncle told me that his letter of inquiry lled three
pages and he bade me observe that the Maj or s answer con
,
.

~


t a i n ed on e sentence onl y H e said I volunteered to go t o .
,

Major Fit z D avid and talk the matter over


-
Y ou see he .
,

takes no notice of m y proposal I asked him for the address .

o f Mr Woodville s mother H e passes over my request as



. .
,

he h as passed over my pro posal h e studiously connes him s

sel f to the shortest possible statement of bare facts U se .

you r ow n common sense Valeria Isn t this rudeness rath er , .


remarkable on the part of a man who is a gentleman by bir t h


and breeding and who is also a friend of mine 2
,

Eustace stopped me there .

D id you answer your uncle s question ? he asked



.


No I replied
,

I only said that I did not under stan d


.

th e Maj or s conduct

.


An d what did your uncle say n ext ? I f you love me,
Valeria tell me the truth
, .

H e used very stro n g langu age Eustace H e is an ol d ,


.


man you must not be o ffended with hi m .

I am not o ffended What did he say 1 .


'


H e said Mark my words ! Th ere is something under
,

the sur face in connexion with Mr Woodville or with h i s .


,

f ami l y to which M ajor Fit z D avid is not at liberty to allu de


,
-
.

Properly interprete d V aleria that letter is a warning S h o w


, ,
.

it to Mr Woodville and tell him (if you like) what I h av e


.
,

j ust told you


Eustace stopped m e again .
TH E B R 1 0 3 5 TH O U GH TS . .5

Youare sure your uncle said those words 2 he aske d ,

scanni n g my face atte n tively i n t h e moonligh t .

Quite sure But I don t say what my uncle says Pray



. .

don t think that


H e suddenly pressed m e to his bosom a n d xed his eyes ,

on mine H is look frightened me


. .


G ood bye Valeria ! he said
-

,
Try and thin k kindl y of

.

m e my darlin g when vo u a r e married to some happier man



. , .

H e attemp t ed to lea ve me I c lun g to him in an agony of .

t er r o r that sho ok me from head to f oot .

What do you m ean i I ask ed as soon as I could speak


,
.

I am yours and yours only What have I said what have I .


,

done to deserve those dread f ul words i


We must part m y angel he ans w ered sadly,


The fault ,

, .

is none o f yours 3 the misf or tune is all mine My Valeria ! h o w .

can you marr y a m a n who is an obj ect of suspicion to your


nearest and dearest friends ? I have led a dreary l i fe I .

h a ve never found in any other woman the s y mpathy with


me the s w eet comf ort and companionshi p that I nd in
, ,

you O h it is hard to lose you it is hard to go back


.
,

again to my un friended li fe I must make the sacrice love , ,

f or y our sake I k now no more why that letter is what it is


.

than y ou do Will your uncl e believe me ? Will your friends


.

believe me 1 O ne last kiss Valeria ! Forgive m e for havi n g



,

loved you passionately devotedly loved you Forg ive me , .

and let me go
I held hi m desperately recklessly H is ey es put me beside , .

myself ; his words ll ed me with a fren z y of despair .

G o where y ou may I said I go with you ! Frien ds



, ,

reputation I care nothing w h o I lose or what I lose O h , .


,

Eustace I am only a woman don t madden me I can t


,

l ive without you I must and will be your wi f e ! Those


.

wild words were all I could say be fore the misery and mad
ness i n me forced their way outward in a burst o f sobs and
te ars .
59 TH E LA W AN D TH E LA D Y .

H e yielded H e soothed me with his charming voice ; h e


.

brought me back to mysel f with h i s tender caresses H e .

called the bright heaven above us to witness that he devoted


hi s whole life t o me H e vowed oh in such solemn
.
, ,

s u ch eloquent words that his one thought night and ,

day sh ould be to prove himself worthy of such love as


,

mine A nd had he not nobly redeemed the pledge ? H ad


.

not the betrothal o f that memorable night been foll owed by


t h e betroth al at the altar by the vows be fore G od ? A h
, ,

what a li fe was be fore me What more than mortal happi


ness was mine !

A gain I l i fted my head fro m hi s bosom to taste the dear


,

delight of seei ng him by my sidemy lif e my love my hus , ,

band, my own
H ardly awakened yet from the absorbing memor i es of the
p ast t o the sweet realities o f the present I let my cheek touch ,

his cheek I whispered to h i m so ftly O h how I love you


, , ,

how I love you


The next instant I started back from hi m My heart stood .

still I put my hand up to my face What did I feel on my


. .

cheek ! (I had not been weeping I was too happy ) Wh at



.

did I feel on my cheek ? A tear


H is face was still averted from me I turned it towards .

me with my ow n hands by main force


, . .

I looked at him and saw my hus band on our wed di ng ,

da v, w i th his e yes full of tea m .

0HA P T ER I I I .

RAM S G ATE S ANDS .

EUS IACE
succeeded in q uieting my alarm But I can hardly .

say that h e succeeded in satisfying my min d as w elL


RAM S GA TE SAND S . 17

He h ad been thinking, he told me, of the contrast bet w een


hi s past and his present li fe Bitter remembrances of the
.

years that had gone had risen in his memory and had l led ,

hi m with melancholy misgivings of his capacity to make my


li fe with h i m a happy on e H e had asked himsel f i f he had
.

not met me too late ? i f he was n ot already a man soured


and broken by the disappointments and disenchantments of
the past ? D oubts such as these weighing more an d ,

more heavily on his mind had lled his eyes with the ,

tears which I had discoveredtears whi ch he now entreated


me, by my love for him t o dismiss from my memory f or
,

ever .

I forgave h i m com forted him revived himbut there were


, ,

moments when the remembrance o f what I had seen troubled


me in secret and when I ask ed mysel f i f I really possessed
,

my husband s ful l condence as he possessed mine .

We left the train at Ramsgate .

T he favourite watering place w as empt y ; the season was


-

just over Our arrangements for the wedding tour included a


.
-

cruise to the M editerranean in a yacht lent to Eustace by a


friend We were both fond of the sea and we were equall y
.
,

desirous considering the circumstances under which we had


,

m arried of escaping the notice of friends and acquain tances


,
.

With th is obj ect in view having celebrated our marriage


,

privately in London we had decided on instructing the sail


,

ing master of the yacht to join us at Ramsgate At thi s


-
.

port (w hen the season for visitors was at an end) we could


embark far more privately than at the popular yachting
stati ons situated in the Isle of Wight .

Three days passed days of delicious sol itu de of exquisite ,

happiness never to be forgotten never t o b e lived over again,


, ,

to the end of our lives .

Early on the morning o f the fourth day just be fore sun ,


.

r ise a tri ing incident happened which was noticeable n ev eb


, , ,

t h el ess, as bein g stran g e t o me in my experience of myself .

0
r8
'

7l LA FV AN D

TH E L AD Y .

I awoke suddenly and unaccountably from a deep and


, ,

dreamless sleep w ith an all pervading sensation o f nervous


,
-

u neasiness which I had never felt be fore


,
In the ol d days .

at the Vicarage my capacity as a sound sleeper had been the


,

subj ect of many a little harmless j ok e From the moment .

when my head w as on the pillo w I had never know n what it


w as to wake until the maid knocked at my door At all .

seasons and times the long and uni n t errupted repose of a child
was the repose that I e njoyed .

An d n ow I had awakened without any assignable cause , ,

hours be fore my usual time I tried to compose mysel f to .

sleep again The eff ort was useless S uch a restlessness


. .

possessed me that I was not even able to lie still in the


bed M y husband was sleeping soundly by my side I n t h e
. .

fear of dist urbing him I rose and put on my dressing gown ,


-

and slippers .

I went to the windo w The sun w as j ust risin g over the


.

cal m grey sea For a while the maj estic spectacle be f ore me
.
,

exercised a tranquillising in uence on the irritable condition


of my nerves B ut ere lo n g the ol d restlessne ss returned
.
, ,

upon me I w alked slowly to and fro in the room until I


.
,

was weary of the monotony of the exercise I took up a .

book and laid it aside again My attention wandered ; the .

author was powerless to recall it I got on my feet once .

more and looked at Eustace and admired him and loved


, ,

h i m in his tranquil sleep I went bac k to the window and


.
,

wearied of t h e beautiful morning I sat down be fore the .

glass and look ed at my sel f H ow haggard and worn I was


, .

already, through waking before my usual time ! I ro se


again not knowi n g what to do next
,
The connement to .

the four walls of t he room began to be intolerable to me I .

Opened the door that led into my husband s dressin g room,



-

and entered i t to try i f the change would relieve me


,
.

The rst obj ect that I noticed was his dressing case open -

o n t h e toilette tal e .
RAM S GA TE SA NDS . : 9

I took out the bottles and pots and brush es and combs t h e ,

knives and scissors in one compartmen t the writing materials ,

in another I smelt the perf umes and pomatums ; I bu sily


.

cleaned and dusted the bottles with my handkerchie f as I


took them ou t Little b y little I completely emptied the
.

dressing case It w as lined with blue velvet In on e corner


-
. .

I noticed a tiny strip o f loose blue silk T aking it between .

my nger and my thumb and drawing it upward I dis , , ,

covered that there was a f alse bottom to the case forming a , .

secret compartment for letters and papers In my strange .

conditioncapricious idle in quisitivei t was an amusem ent , ,

to me to t ake ou t the papers j ust as I had tak en out every ,

thing else .

I found some receipted bills which failed to interest me 3 ,

some letters which it is needless to say I laid aside af ter only


, ,

look ing at the addresses 3 and under all a photogra ph face , , ,

downwards with writing on the back o f i t I look ed at the


,
.

writing and saw these words


,

To my dear son Eustace



.
,

H is mother ! the woman w h o had so obstinately and so


mercilessly opposed her self to ou r marriage !
I eagerly turned the photograph expecting to see a woman ,

with a stern ill tempered f orbid di ng countenance T o my


,
-

, . .

surpri se the face showed the remains of great beauty 3 t h e


,

expression though remarkably rm was yet wi nning tender,


, , ,

a n d kind The grey hair was arranged in rows of little qu ain t


.

old fashi oned curls on either side of the head under a plai n
-

lace cap At on e corner of the m on t h there was a mark,


.

apparentl y a mole whi ch added to the characteristic pe ou,

l i a r i t y of the f ace I looked and looked xing the portrait


.
,

thoroughly in my mind This woman who had almos t .


,

insulted me and my relatives was beyond all doubt or dis , ,

pute so far as appearances went a person possessing u nusual


, ,

a ttractions person whom it would b e a pleasur e and a


privilege t o know .
20 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD Y .

I fell into deep thought discovery of the phot ograph


. Th e
quieted me as nothi ng had quieted me yet .

The striking of a clock downstairs in the hall warned me of


the ight of time I care fully put back all the obj ects in the
.

dressing ease (beginning with the photograph) exactly as I had


-

found them and returned to the bedroo m As I looked at


, .

my husband still sleeping peacefully the question forced itsel f


,

into my mind What had made that genial gentle mother of


, ,

his so sternly bent on parting us ? so harsh ly and pitilessly


resolute in asserting her disapproval of ou r marriage 1 '

Could I put my question openly to Eustace when he woke ?


No 3 I was afraid to venture that length It had been tacitly
.

understood between us that we were not t o speak of h i s


mother and besides he might be angry i f he kne w that I
, ,

h a d opened the private compartment in hi s dressi ng case -


.

After breakfast that morning we had news at l ast of the


yacht The vessel was safely moored i n the inner harbour
.
,

and the sailing master was waiting to receive my husband s


-

orders on board .

Eustace hesitated at asking me to acco m pany him to t h e


yacht I t would be necessary for h i m to examine the i nv en
.

tory of the vessel and to deci de questions not very interesting


, ,

t o a woman relati n g to charts and barometers provisions and


, ,

water H e as k ed me i f I would wait for his return The


. .

day was enticingl y beautiful and the tide was on the ebb
, .

I pleaded for a walk on the sands 3 and the landlady at our


lodgings who happened to be in the room at the time v ol un
, ,

teered to accompan y me and tak e care of m e It was agreed .

that we should walk as far as we felt inclined in the direction ,

of Broadstairs and that Eustace should follow and meet us on


,

t h e sands a fter having completed his arrangements on board


,

t he yacht .

I n h al f an hour more, the landlady and I were out on th e


be ach .
RAMS GA TE SANDS . 2K

Th e scen e on that ne autumn morning was othing less n

than enchanting The brisk bree z e the brilliant sky the


.
, ,

ashing blue sea the sun bright cli ff s and the tawny sands at
,
-

their feet the gliding procession o f ships on the great marine


,

hi ghway o f the English Channel i t was all so exhilarating ,

it was all so delightful that I really believe i f I had been by


,

mysel f I coul d have danced for j oy like a child The on e .

drawback to my happiness was the lan dlady s untiring tongue


.

S he was a forward good natured empty headed woman who


,
-
,
-

persisted in talking whether I listened or not 3 and who had


,

M rs Woodville

a habit of perpetually addressing me as

.
,

which I thought a l ittle over familiar as an assertion o f -

e quality from a person in her position to a person in mine .

We had been out I sh oul d t hink more than hal f an hour


,

,
- -

when we overtook a lady walking be fore us on the beach .

Just as we were about to pass the stran ger she took her
handkerchie f from her pocket and accidentally drew ou t ,

with it a letter which fell unnoticed by her on the sand I , ,


.

was nearest to the letter and I pick ed it up and off ered it to


,

the lady .

The instant she turned to thank me I stood rooted to the ,

spot T here was the original of the photographic portrait in


.

the dressing case ! there was my husban d s mother standing


-

face to face with me ! I recognised the quaint little grey


curls the gentle genial expression the mole a t the corner
, ,

of the mouth N o mistake was po ssible


. H is mother .

hersel f !
The old lady naturally enough mistook my con fusion f or
, ,

shyne ss With perfect tact and kindness she entered int o


.

conversation with me In another minute I was walking.

side by side with the woman w h o had sternly repudiated

me as a member of her family 3 feeling I own terribly di s , ,

c omposed and not knowing in the l east whether I ought


,
or ,

o ught not to assume the responsibility, i n my husb an ds


,

ab sen z e of tellin g her who I w as


, .
23 TH E LA W AN D TH E L AD Y

In another minute my familiar landlady walking on the ,

other side of m y mother i n law decided the question for me


- -

,
.

I happened to say that I supposed we must by t hat time be


near the end of our walk the little watering place called -

Broadstairs . O h no M rs Woodville I cried the i r r epr es



, , .

sible woman calling me by my name as usual 3 nothing lik e


,

,

so near as you think !


I looked with a beating heart at the old lady .

T o my unutterable ama z ement not the faintest gleam of ,

recognition app eared in her face O ld Mr s Woodvill e . .

went on tal k ing to young Mr s Wood ville just as com .

posedl y as i f she had never heard her ow n name bef ore in


her life
My face an d m anner must have betrayed something of the
agitation that l was su ffering H appening to look at me at .

t he end of her next sentence the ol d lady started an d said in


, ,

h er kindly way ,

I am a fraid y ou have over exerted yourself You are very -


.

pale you are looking quite exhausted Come and sit down .

here ; let me lend you m y smelling bottle -


.

I f ollowed her quite helplessly to the base of the cliff


, ,
.

S ome fallen fragm ents of chalk o ff ered us a seat I vaguely .

heard the voluble landlady s expressions of sympathy and r e


gret 3 I mechanically took the smelling bottle which my hus -


band s mother o ff ered to me af ter hea r i ng my n a me as an act
, ,

of kindness to a stranger .

I f I had only had myself to think o f I believe I should ,

h ave provoked an explanation on the spot But I had Eustace .

t o think of . I was entirely i gnorant of the relations hostile ,

or friendly which existed between hi s mother an d himsel f


,

What could I do ?
In the mean time the ol d lady was still speaking to m
,

w ith the most c onsiderate sympathy S he too was fatigued . ,

sh e said. S he had passed a weary night at th e bedside of a


near r elative, staying at Ramsgate O nly the day be fore sh e .
,
R A/l I S GA TE SA NDS . 2;

had received a telegram announci n g that on e of her sisters


was seriously ill S he was hersel f thank G od still active and
.
, ,

strong ; and she had tho ugh t it her duty to start at once for

Ramsgate . T o w ards the morning the state of the patient


had i m proved . T he doctor assures me ma am that there

,

,

is n o immediate danger ; and I tho ught it mi ght revive me ,

a fter my long night at the bedside i f I took a little wal k on ,

the beach .

I heard the words I understood what they meant but I


was stil l too bewildered an d too intimidated by my extra
ordinary position to be able to continue the conversation .

The landlady had a sensible suggestion to mak e 3the landlady


w as the next person who spoke .

H ere is a gentleman coming sh e said to me pointing in ,



,

the direction o f Ramsgate Y ou can never walk back S hall


. .

we ask him to send a chaise fro m Broadstairs t o the gap in


the cliff 2

The gentleman advanced a little nearer .

The landlady and I recognised him at the same moment .

It was Eustace coming to meet us as we had arranged The , .

irrepressible landlady gave the f reest expression to her feelings .

O h Mrs Woodville ain t it lucky ? here is Mr Woodville


,
.
,

.

himself !
O nce more I looked at my mother i n l aw O nce more the - -
.

name failed to produce the slightes t e ff ect on her H er sight .

was not so keen as ours ; she had not recognised her son y et .

H e had young eyes like us and he recognised his mother , .

For a moment he stopped like a man thunderstruck Then .

he came on his face white with suppressed emotion his eyes ,

xed on his mother .

You here 1 he said to her



.


H ow do you do Eu st a ce l she qui etly rejoined
,

H ave

.

you h ea rd of your aunt s illness t oo ? Did you know sh e w as


stayi n g at Ramsgate 3

H e m ade no an sw er The landl ady drawing the inevitabl e


.
,
24 TH E LA W AND TH E LA D Y .

in ference from the words she had j ust heard look ed from me ,

t o my mother i n law in a state of ama z ement


- -
which ,

paralysed even h er tongue I waited with my eyes on my .


,

husband to see what he would do


, I f he had delayed .

a cknowledging me another moment the whole future ,

c ourse of my li fe might have been altered I should have

despi sed hi m .

He did n ot delay H e came t o my side and t ook my


.

hand .

D o you know w h o this is 1 he said to hi s moth er


.

S he answered looking at me with a courteous bend of h er


,

head ,

A lady I met on the beach Eustace w h o kin dl y restored , ,

to me a letter that I dropped I think I heard the .

name (she turned to the landlady) : Mr s Woodvill e, was .

it not 2
M y husband s ngers unconsciously closed on my han d

with a grasp that hurt me H e set his mother right, .

it is only just t o say without one cowardly moment of ,

hesitation .

M other, he s aid t o her very quietly,



this lady i s ,

my w i fe.

S he had hitherto kept her seat S he n ow rose slowly an d .

faced her son in silence T he rst expression of surprise


.

passed from her face It was succeeded by the most terrible


.

look o f mingled indignation an d contempt that I ever saw in


a woman s eyes

.

I pity your wi fe sh e said


, .

With those words and n o m ore l ifting her hand she waved
, ,

h i m back from her and went o n h er way ag ain, as w e had


,

rst f oun d her, al on e .


ON TH E WA r H OM E . 35

CH APT ER I V .

ON THE WAY H OME .

LEFT by urselves there was a moment of silence amongst us


o ,
.

Eustace spoke rst .



Are you able t o walk back ? he said t o me O r shall .

we go on to Broadstairs and return to Ramsgate by the ,



railway ?
H e put those questions as composedly so far as his manner ,

w as concerned as i f nothing remarkable had happened


,
But .

his eyes and his lips betrayed him They told me that he was .

su ff ering k eenly in secret The extraordinary scene that had


.

just passed far from depriving me of the last remains of my


,

c ou rage had strung up my nerves and restored m y sel f


,

possession I must have been more or less than woman i f


.

my self respect had not been wounded, i f my curiosity had


-

n ot been wrought to the highest pitch by the extraordi nary ,

conduct of my husb and s mother when Eustace presented me


to her What w as the secret of her despising him and pityi ng


. .

me ? Where was the explanation of her incomprehensibl e


apathy when my name was twice pronounced in her hearing ?
Why had she le ft us as i f the bare idea of remaining in our
,

c ompany was abhorrent to her l T he foremost interest of my

lif e was n ow the interest of penetrati n g these mysteries .

Walk ? I was in such a fever of expectation that I felt


as if I could have walked to the world s en d i f I could

,

onl y keep my husband by my side and question hi m on ,

the way !

I am quit e recovered I said
Let us go back as w e
,

.
,

c ame on foot

.
,

Eustac e glanced at the landlady Th e landlady un dersto od .

hi m .
26 TH E L A IV AN D 7 7 1 E LAD Y .

I won t intrude my company on you si r she said sharply



, ,

, .

I have some business to do at Broad stairs and now I am ,

so near I may as well go on G ood morni n g Mrs Woo d


, .
, .

ville .

S he l aid a m ark ed emphasis on my name and sh e added


on e signicant look at parting which (in the preoccupied ,

state o f my mind at that moment ) I entirely failed to c om

prehend There was n either time nor opportunity to ask her


.

w h at she meant With a sti ff little bow addressed to Eustace


.
, ,

sh e le ft us as hi s mother had le ft us ; taki n g the way to

Broadstairs and w al k in g rapidly


, .

At last we were alone ,


.

I lost no time in beginni n g my inquiries ; I wasted n o


words in prefatory phrases In the plainest terms I put t h e .

q uestion to him ,

What does your mother s cond u ct

Instead o f answeri n g he burst into a fi t of laughterlo u d


, ,

coarse hard laughter so utterly unli k e any sound I had ever


, ,

yet heard issue from his li ps so strangely and shockin g ly ,

foreign to his character as I understood it that I stood still ,

on the sands and openly remonstrated with him


, .

Eustace you are not like yoursel f I said You almost


.
,

fr ighten me .

H e took no notice H e seemed to be pursuing s om e


.

pleasant train of thought j ust started in his mind .

S o like my mother he exclaimed with the air o f a man ,

who felt irresistibly diverted by some humorous idea of hi s


own T ell me all about it Valeria !
.
,

T ell y ou I repeated A fter w hat h as happened surely


.
,

i t is y our duty to enl i ghten me



.

Y ou don t see the j o k e 1 h e said



.


I not only fail to see the j o k e I r ej oined I see som e ,

,

t hi n g in your mother s la n guage and your mother s beh aviour


w h ich justi fi es me in ask i n g you f or a serious explanati on .


My de ar V aleria ! i f yo u u n derstood m y mother as well


ON TH E WA Y'

H OZII E . 27

as I do a serious explanation of her conduct w ould be t h e


,

last thing in the world that you would expect from me The .

idea of tak ing my mother seriousl y H e burst out laugh i ng


again . My darling you don t kno w how you amuse me
.

It was all forced ; it was all unnatural H e the most .


,

delicate the most rened of men a gentleman in the highest


,

sense of the word was coarse and loud and vulgar ! My


heart sank under a sudden sense of misgiving which with ,

all my love for him it was impossible to resist In unutter


,
.

abl e distress and alarm I as k ed mysel f : 1 8 my husban d


,

beginning t o deceive m e ? is he acting a part and acting it ,

badly be fore we h ave been married a week ?


,

I set mysel f to win his con dence in a n ew way He was .

evidently determined to force his ow n point of view on me .

I determined on my side to accept his point of vie w


, ,
.

Y ou tel l me I don t u n derstand your mother I said


,

,

gently Will you help me t o understand her 2


.


It is not easy to help you to understand a woman w h o
doesn t understand hersel f he answered

But I will t ry
,

.

.

The key to my poor dear mother s character is , in on e word

Eccentricity

.

If he had picked ou t the most i n appr Opr i at e word in the -

whole Dictionary to describe the lady whom I had met on


the beach Eccentricity wo uld have been that word A
,
.

child w ho had seen what I sa w who had heard what I heard , ,

would have discovered that he was t r i i ng grossly reck ,

lessly t r i i n g with the truth .


Bear in mind what I h av e said he proceeded ; and i f ,

,

you want to understand my m other do what I asked you t o ,

do a minute since tell me all about it Ho w came you t o .

speak to her to begin with 2


'

,

Y our mother told you Eustace I was wal king jus t .

behind her when she dropp e d a letter by accident


,

No a ccident he interp osed The letter was dropped on


,

u rpose

p .
28 TH E LA W A ND THE LAD Y .

Impossible ! I exclaimed

Why should y our mother

.

drop the letter on purpose 1 '

Use the key to her character my dear Eccentricity ! , .

My mother s odd way of making acquaintance with you



.

Making acquaintance with me ? I have j ust told you that


I was wal ki ng behind her S he could not have known of .

the existence of such a person as myself until I spoke to her


r st .

So
you suppose Valeria , .

I am certain of it


Pardon me you don t k n ow my mother as I do

.

I began to lose all patience with him .

Do you mean to tell m e I said that your mother was ,



,

out on the sands t o day for the express purpose of making

a cquaintance w ith

I have n ot the slightest doubt of it he answered coolly ,



, .

Why sh e didn t even recognise my name ! I burst o ut



.

T w ice over the landlady called me Mr s Woodville in your


, .

mother s hearing and twice over I declare to you on my


, ,

word of honour it failed to produce the slightest impression


,

on her S he looked and acted as if sh e had never heard her


.
, ,

ow n name bef ore in her li f e



.


A cted is the right word he said just as composedly

,

,

as be fore The women on the stage are not the only women
.

who c an act My mother s obj ect was to m ake hersel f



.

thoroughly acqu ainted with you and to thro w you off y our ,

guard by speakin g in the character of a stranger It i s .

so like her to take that roundabout way of satis fying her

curiosity about a daughter i n law whom she disapproves of ! - -

I f I had not j oined you when I di d you would have been ,

examined and cross examined about yoursel f and about me 3


-

and you would innocently have answered under the impres


sion that you were speaking to a chance acquaintance .

T here is my mother all over ! S he is your enemy remember


not your friend sh e is not in search of your merits but of
,
ON TH E WA Y H OM E . 29

your faults And you wonder why no impression w as pr o


.

duc ed on her w hen she heard you addressed by your name !


Poor i nnocent ! I can tell you thisy ou only discovere d
my mother in her ow n character when I put an end to the ,

myst i c ati on by presenting you to each other You saw h o w .


a n gry she was 3 and n ow you know why .

I let him go on without sayi n g a word I listened oh .


,

with such a heavy heart ! with such a crushing sense of dis


e nchantment and despair ! The idol o f my worship 3 the
companion guide protector of my li fe had he fallen so low ?
, ,

could he stoop to such shameless prevarication as this 9


Was there one word of truth in all that he had said to me !

Yes ! I f I had not discovered his mother s portrait it was

certainly tru e that I should not have known not even vaguely ,

suspected who she really was A part from this the rest was
, .
,

ly ing 3 clumsy l ying which said one thing at least for hi m ,

that he was not accustomed to falsehood and deceit G ood .

H eavensi f my husband was to be believe d his mother ,

must have track ed us to London 3 tracked us to the church 3


tracked us to the rai l w ay station ; tracked us to Ramsgate !
T o assert that she kne w me by sight as the wif e of Eustace ,

and that she had waited on the sands and dropped her letter ,

for the express purpose of making acquaintance with me was ,

also to assert every on e of these monstrous improbabilities t o


b e facts that had actually happened !
I could say no more I walked b y his side in silenc e
.

feeling the miserable conviction that there was an abyss i n


the shape of a family secret between my husband and me .

In the spirit i f not in the body we were separated a fter a


, ,

married li fe of barely four days




Valeria he asked have you nothing to say to me 3
,

,

Nothing .


A re you not satis ed with my explanation l
I detected a slight tremor in his voice as he put that
q uestion
. T he tone was ,
for the rst time since we had
30 TH E LA W AN D TH E LAD Y .

spoken together a tone that my experience associated with


,

hi m in certain moods of his w hi ch I had already learnt t o -

kn o w well Among the hundred thousand mysterious i n


.

uen c es which a man exercises over the woman who loves


him I doubt i f there is any more irresistible to her than the
,

i n uence of hi s voice I am n ot on e of those women who


.

shed tears on the smallest provocation : it i s not i n m y


temperament I suppose But when I heard that little natural
, .

change in his tone m y mind went back (I can t say why) to


,

the happy day when I rst owned that I loved h i m I burst .

o u t crying .

H e suddenly stood still , an d took me by the hand He .

tried to look at me .

I k ept my head down and my eyes on t h e ground I w as .

ashamed of my weakness and my want of spirit I w as .

determined n ot to look at him .

In the silence that fol lowe d he suddenly dropped on hi s ,

knees at my feet with a cry of despair that cut through m e


,

like a knife
I am vileI am f alseI am unworthy o f you
.

V aleria .

Don t beli eve a word of what I have been saying lies lies

, ,

cowardly contemptible lies ! You don t kno w what I hav e

gone through ; you don t know how I have been tortured


.

O h my darling try not to despise me ! I m u st have bee n


, ,

beside mysel f when I spoke to you as I did Y ou looked .

hurt 3 you looked o ff ended 3 I didn t know wha t to do I


.

wanted to spare you even a moment s pain I wanted to hush

it up and have done with it For G od s sake don t ask m e


, .

to tell you an y more ! M y love ! my angel ! it s something

b etween m y mother and me ; it s nothing that need disturb


you i t s nothing to anybody now I love you I adore you 3



.
, ,

my whole h eart and soul are yours Be satised with that . .

Forget what has happened Y ou shall never see my mothe r .

again We will leave thi s place to m orro w We w i ll g o


. .

away in the yacht Does it matter where we li ve so lon g as


.
,
ON TH E WA Y
H OM E .
3!

we live for each other ? Forgive and f orget ! O h Valer i a .


,

Valeria forgive and f orget


,

U nutterable misery w a s in his f ace ; unutterable misery


was in his voice R emember this And remember that ]
. .

loved him .


It is e asy to f orgive I said sadl y ,
For your sake

.

,

Eu stace I will t r y to f orget
,
.

I raised him gently as I spo k e He kissed my hands with .


,

the air of a man who was t oo humble to venture on any more


f amiliar expression of his gra t itude than that Th e sense of .

embarrassment between us as we slowly walked on again , ,

was so unendurable th a t I actually cast about in my min d f or


a subj ect of convers ation a s i f I had been in the company of

a strang er ! In mercy to h i m I asked him to tell me about ,

the yacht .

He sei z ed on the subject as a drown i ng man sei z es on .

the hand that rescues him .

O n that one poor little topi c of the yacht he talked talked , , ,

talked as i f hi s li f e depended upon his not being silent for


,

an instant on the rest of his way back To me it was dread .


,

f ul to hear hi m I could es t im ate wh at he was su ff ering by


.
,

the violence w hich h e ordin a rily a silent a n d thought ful


manwas now doing to his true nature an d to the prej udices
and h abit s of hi s life With the greatest di fc ulty I pre
.

served my self control until we reached the door of our


-

lo dgings There I was obliged to ple ad f atigue an d ask


.
, ,

hi m to let me rest for a little while in t h e solitude o f m y


o w n room .

S hall we sail to m orrow 2 he called af ter me suddenly as


I a s cended the stairs .

S ail wi t h h i m to the Mediterranean the next day ? Pa ss


wee k s and weeks absolutely alone with him i n the narro w ,

limi t s of a vessel with his horrible secret parting us i n


,

sympathy further and f urther from each Ot ll f da by day ? I


y u

sh uddered at the thoug ht of it .


32 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD Y .


To m o rrow i s rather a short n otice I s aid Will you , .

'
g ive me a little longer time to prepare f or the voyage 1
O h yestake any time you li k e he answer ed n ot (as I
, ,

,

thought) very wil lingly While you are resting there ar e


.

still on e or two little things to be settled I think I will go

back to the yacht I s there anyt hing I can do for you,


.

Valeria bef ore I g o f



,

Not hi ng t h an k you Eustace


- w
, .

He hastened away to the harbour Was he afraid of his .

o w n thoughts i f he were le f t by himsel f in the house ?


, Was
the compa ny of the sai l i ng ma ster and the s te w ard b et ter than
-

n o company at all ?
I t was useless to a sk What did I kn ow about him or hi s
.

t houghts ? I locked myself into my r oom .

C HAP TER V .

THE LA ND LAD Y S DI S C O V ER Y.

I SAT D O WN, and tried to compo s e my spirits Now or n ever .


, ,

w as the time to decide what wa s my duty to my husba n d and

my duty to mysel f to do next .

Th e e ff ort was beyond me Worn out in mind and body .

a like , I was perf ectly incapable of pursuing any regular


t rain of thought I vaguely felt i f I left things a s they
.

w erethat I could never h ope to remove the shadow which


n ow rested on the m arr i el li fe that had begun so brightly .

We might live together so as to save appearances But to


, .

forget what had happened or to f eel satised w ith my position


, ,

was beyond the power of my will My tranquillity as a .

woman perhaps my dearest interest s as a wif edepended


absolutely on penetrating the mystery o f my mother i n la w a - -

co nduct and on discovering the true meaning of the w ild


,

w ords of penitence and self reproach which my husban d h ad


-

addressed to me on our way h ome .


TH E LAND LAD Y S

DI S C O VER Y .
33

So far as I could advance towards reali sing my pos itio n


an d no farther When I asked myself what was to be done
.

next hopeless conf usion maddening doubt lled my mind


, , , ,

and trans formed me into the most li stles s and helple ss of


l ivi ng women .

I gave up the struggle I n d ull stupid ob sti n ate despair


.
, , ,

I threw myself on my bed and fell, from sheer fatigue, into


,

a broken uneasy sleep


,
.

I was awakened by a knock at the door of my r oom .

Was it my husband ? I started to my feet a s the idea


occurred to me Was some new trial o f my patience and my
.

fortitude at hand ? Hal f nervou sly, h al f irri tably, I as ked


w h o w as there .


Th e landlady s voice an swered me .

Can I speak to you for a moment i f y ou please ?


,

I opened the door There is no disguising i t though I


.

l oved him s o dearly though I had left home and friends f or


his sakei t was a relief to me at that miserable time t o , ,

know that Eustace had not returned t o the house .

Th e landlady came in and took a seat without waiting to


, ,

be invited close by my side S h e was no longer s atised


, .

with merely asser ting hersel f as m y equal Ascending .

another step on the social ladder she took her stand on the ,

platf orm of patron age, and charitably looked dow n on me as


an obj ect of pity .


I have j ust returned from Broad s tairs she began
I ,

.

hope you will do me the j ustice to believe that I s incerely



regret what has happened ?
I bowed and said nothing

, .

As a gentlewoman myself proceede d the landlady ,



v

reduced by f amily misf ortunes to let lodgings but still a ,

gentlewoman I f eel sincere sympathy with y ou I will .

even go f urther than that I will take it on mysel f to say


.

tha t I don t blame you No no I noticed that you were



.
,
.

as much shocked and su r ri sed at you r mother i a l aw s con



p
- -s

9
.
34 TH E LA W AN D TH E L AD Y.

duc t as I was an d that is s aying a great de al a great de al ,

in dee d However I have a duty to perf orm I t is disagre e


.
,
.

a ble but i t is not t h e less a duty on that account


,
I am a .

si n gle wom an ; not f rom wan t of opport unities o f changing


my condition I beg you will underst an d that but f rom
choice Si t u ated as I am I receive only the most respectable
.
,

persons into my house There must be no mystery about the.

posi t ions of my lodgers Mystery in the position o f a l edg er


.

c arries w ith i t what shall I say ? I don t wish to o ff end

ou I will say a cert ain Taint V ery well N ow I put it


y , . .

to your own common Sense Can a person in my posi tion be .

expecte d to expose hersel f to Taint ? I make these remarks


in a sisterly and Christian spirit As a lady yoursel f (I will .

even go the length of sayi n g a cruelly used lady) you will I -

a m sure understand ,

I could endure it no longer I st epped h er there . .


I understand I s aid th at you wish to give u s notice to
, ,

quit your lo dgings When do you want us to go 1


.
'

Th e landlady held u p a long lean red hand in sorrow ful , , ,

and sisterly protest .

No she said ,

Not that tone ! not those looks ! It s
.

natural you sh ould be annoy ed 3 it s n atural you should be

angry But donow do please try and control y ourself I


. .

put it to your own common sense (we will say a week f or the
notice to qui t ) why not tre at me like a friend ? You don t

k now what a sacrice w h at a cruel sacrice I have made


,

entirely f or your sake .


You I exclaimed What sacri fi ce .


Wh at sa cri ce repeated the landl ady I have degraded .

mysel f as a gentlewoman I have f orf eite d my ow n sel f.

respect S h e pause d f or a moment a n d sudden l y sei z ed me



.
,

b y t h e h and in a per f ect f re n z y of f riendship


,
Oh my poor .
,

de ar crie d this in t ol erable person


,

I have discovered every ,

th i ng ! A vill ain has dec eived you You are no mo r e .

m a rrie d than I am
TH E LAN D LAD Y S D I S CO VE ICY

.
35

I snatched my h and out o f hers and rose an grily from my ,

c h air .

Are you mad l I a sked '


.

The landl ady ra ised her eyes to the ceiling with the a i r ,

o f a person who had deserved m ar ty rdom and who submitted ,

to it cheerf ully .


Yes she said ,

I begin to think I a m ma d mad to
.

have devoted mysel f to an u n g r ate f ul woman to a person ,

w h o doesn t appreci ate a sisterly and Christi an s a crice of


self Well ! I won t do i t again Heaven f orgive me


.

I .

won t do it again


Do what again ? I a sked .



Follow y our mot her i n l aw crie d the landlady suddenly - -

, ,

dropping the ch a r a c t er of a martyr a n d a ssuming the ch aracter ,

of a vixen in its pl a ce I blush when I think o f it I .



.

f ollowed that m ost respectable person every step of the way



to her own door .

Thu s f ar my pride h a d h eld me u p


,
It sustained me no .

longer I droppe d back ag ain into my ch air in undisguised


.
,

dre ad o f w h a t w a s coming next .

I g ave you a look when I lef t you on the beach pursued ,


the l andl ady 3 growi n g lou der an d louder and re dder and ,

redder a s she went on A grate f ul wom a n would h ave .


u n derstood t h a t look Never mind ! I won t do it again.



.

I ov ertook your mother i n l aw at the gap i n the cli ff I - -


.

f o l l owe d her oh how I f eel the disg ra ce of it n ow l I


,

f o l lowed her to the st at ion a t Broadst airs Sh e went back .

b y trai n to Ra m sg ate I went b a ck by train to Ra msga te


. .

S h e wal ke d to her l o dg i n gs I w alked to her lo dgings Behind . .

her Li k e a dog
. Oh t h e disgr a ce of it ! Provi dentiall y
.
, ,

as I then thou g ht I don t know w h at to think of it now

the l a n dlor d of t h e h ous e happened to be a f riend of mine ,

a n d h app ened to be at home We have no secrets from each .

ot her w here lo dg ers are concerned I am in a position to


, .

t ell you m ad am wha t your mother i nlaw s name really is


, ,
-

.
.
36 TH E LA W AN D TH E LAD Y .

Sh e knows nothin g about any such person a s Mrs Woodvill e .


,

f or an excellent reason Her name i s n ot Woodville H er . .

name (and consequently her son s name) is Mac all an M rs


. .

Ma c al l an widow of the late General Mac all an Yes ! your


,
.

husband is n ot your husb and You are neither maid wi f e .


, ,

n or w ido w You are worse than nothing madam and you


.
,

leave my house .

I st epped her as she opened the door to go ou t Sh e h ad .

roused my temper by this time Th e doubt th at she had cast on .

my marriage was mo r e than mortal resignation could endure .

Give me Mrs Macall an s a ddress I said.



,

.

Th e landlady s anger receded into the background and t h e



,

landlady s astonishment appeared in its place



.

You don t mean to tell me you are going to the ol d lady


y oursel f ? she s aid



.

'
Nobody but the old la dy can tell me wh at I want to
know I answered Your discovery (as you c all it) may be

.
,

enou gh f or you it is not enou gh f or m e How do we know .

that Mrs Mac all an may not have been twice married 3 and
.

th a t her rst husband s name m ay n ot have been Woo dville 2


'


Th e landlady s astonishment subsided i n its tur n and ,

the landlady s curiosity succeeded as the ruli ng inuence of


the moment Substantially as I have already sai d of her


.
, ,

she was a good natured wom an Her ts of t emper (as is


-
.

usual with good natured people) were of th e hot and the


-

short lived sort 3 easily roused and easily appea se d


-
.

Stop a bit ! she stipula ted I f I give you the address .


,

will you promise to tell me everything your mother i h law - -


says to you when you come back ?

I gave the required promise and received t h e addres s i n ,

r eturn .

No malice, said the landlady suddenly resuming all h er



,

ol d familiarity with me .

No malice, I an sw ered, w ith all pos si bl e cordiality on my



M Y O WN D I S CO VE R Y .
37

In ten mi nute s more my mother i a la w s


I w as at - -

lodgings .

C HAP TER VI .

M Y OW N DI S C O V ERY .

FO R TUNATELY f or me the landlo rd did n ot open the door ,

when I rang A stupid maid of all work, who never thought


.
- - -

of asking me for m y name let me in Mrs Mac all an was , . .

at home and had no visitors with her Giving me this


,
.

in formation the maid led the w ay upstairs and showed me


, ,

int o the drawing roo m w ithout a word of announcement


-
.

My mother i n l aw w as sitting alone near a work table,


- -

,
-

knitti n g Th e moment I appeared in the door way she laid


.
-

aside her work 3 and rising signed to me with a commanding , ,

gesture o f her hand to let her speak rst .

I kno w what you have c om e f or she s aid You have



.
,

come here to ask questions Spare yourself and spare me .


,
.

I warn you bef orehand that I will not answer any questions
relating to my son .

I t was rmly but not harsh l y said ,


I s poke rmly in , .

my turn .


I have not come here madam to ask questions about your , ,

son ,

I answered I have come i f you will excuse me to
.

ask you a question about yoursel f .


Sh e started and looked at me keenly over her spectacles I


, .

had evidently taken her by surprise .

What is the question ? she inquired


.


I now kno w f or the fi rst time madam t hat your n ame i s , ,

Macallan I said , Your son has married me under the
.

n a me of Woodville Th e only honourable explan ation of this


.

circumstance so f ar a s I know is that my husband is y our


, ,

s on by a rst marriage Th e h appines s of my lif e is at stak e . .

Will you k i n dly consider my position ? Wi ll you let me ask


38 7 11 E LA IV AND T11 5 LAD Y;

if you h ave been twice married, and i f the nam e of your rs t


husband was Woodville
Sh e considered a little be f ore she replied .

Th e question is a perf ectly n a tur a l on e in your po s ition , ,


she said But I think I had better not ans w er it


. .

May I a sk why ?

Certai nly I f I answered you I should only lead to other


.
,

questions 3 and I should be obli ged to decline repl ying t o


them I am sorry to disappoint you I repeat what I said
. .

on th e beach I have no other f eel ing than a f eeling of

sympa thy toward s you I f you had consulted me bef ore your .

marri age I should willingly have a dmitted you to my f ullest


,

condence It is now t oo late You are m a rried I r ec om


. . .

mend you to make the best of your posi t ion, and to re s t


satised with things as they are .


Pa rdon me madam I remonst rated , As things are I ,

.

,

don t know that I a m m arried AJ I kno w unless you



.
,

enlighten me is that your son has m arried me under a name


,

that is not his ow n How can I be sure whether I am or am .


,

not h i s lawf ul wi f e ?
,

I believe there c an be no doubt that y ou are lawf ully m y


son s wif e Mrs Mac al l an a nswered

,

At any rate it is e a sy
. .

to take a leg al opinion on the subj ect I f the opinion is that .

you are n ot law f ull y m a rried my son (whatever his fa ul t s a n d ,

f ailin g s m a y be) is a gentleman He is inc apable of wilf ully .

deceiving a woman who loves and trusts h i m 3 he wi l l do you


justic e O n m y side I will do you j ustice too I f the leg al
.
, .

opinion is adverse to your righ t f ul claims I will p romise t o ,

answer any questions which you m ay choose to put to me .

As it is I believe you to b e la w f ul l y my son s wi f e 3



,

and I s ay again make the best of your position ,


Be .

satised with your husband s aff ectiona t e devotion to you


.

I f you value your peace of mind and the h appines s o f your ,

lif e to come ab s tain from attempti n g to know more than you


,

kn o w no w .

M Y O WN D I S CO VE R Y .
39

S he sat do w n again w ith the air of a woma n who had sai d


her last word .

Further remonstrance would be useless I could see it in -

her f ace ; I could hear it in her voice I turned roun d to .

O pen the dra w ing room door -


.


You are hard on me mad am I said at parting
,

I am ,

,
.


at your mercy an d I must submit
,
.

S h e sud denly looked up and answered me with a ush on


,

her kind an d handsome Old f a ce .

As God is my witness child I pity you from the bottom


, ,

of my heart "

Af t er that ext raordi nary outburst Of feeling she t ook up ,

her work with on e hand and signed to me wi t h the other to


,

leave her .

I bowed to her in silence and went out , .

I had entered the house f ar f rom f eeling sure of the course


,

I ought to take in the f uture I lef t the house positively .


,

resolved come what might of it to discover the secr et which


, ,

the mother and son were hiding fro m me As to the .

question of the n ame I saw it n ew in the light i n which


,

I ought to have seen it fro m the rst I f Mrs Macall an . .

h a d been twice married (as I h ad rashly chosen to suppose )


sh e would certainly h a ve shown m e signs Of recognition s o
,

when she heard me addressed by her rst husband s n ame


.

Where all else was mystery there was n o mystery here , .

Whatever hi s reasons might be Eustace had a s suredly married


. ,

m e under an assumed name .

Approaching the door o f our lodgings I saw my husband ,

walking b a ckwards an d f orwards bef ore it evidently waiting ,

f or my return I f he asked me the question I decided to tell


.
,

him f rankly where I h ad been and what had passed bet w een ,

h i s mother and mysel f .

He hurried to meet me with s ign s of di sturbance in hi s


f ace and manner .


I h ave a favour to ask of you, Valeria, he sai d
.
40 TH E LA IV AND TH E L AD Y

Do you min d returning w ith me t o L ondon b y the


nex t train ?

I looked at him I n the popular phrase, I c ould hardly


.

believe my ow n ears .



It s a matter of business he went on of no interest to

,

,

any on e but mysel f ; and it requires my presence in L ondon .

Y ou don t wish to sail j ust yet as I understand ? I can t


leave you here by yoursel f Have you any obj ection to goi ng
.

to Lon dOn for a day or two ?


I made no obj ection I t oo was eager to go back
. .

I n L ondon I could obtain the legal O pinion which would


,

tell me whether I was law fully married to Eustace or not .

In L ondon I should be within reach of the help and


,

advice of my father s faithful ol d clerk I c ould con de in



.

Benjamin as I coul d conde in no one else D early as I .

loved my uncle S tarkweather I shrank from communicating ,

with h i m in my present need Hi s wi fe had told me that I .


'

had made a bad beginning when I signed the wrong nam e ,

in the marriage register S hall I ow n it ? My pride shrank


.

from acknowledging before the honeymoon was over that hi s


, ,

wi fe was right .

In two hours more we were on the railway again Ah, .

what a contrast that second j ourney presented to the rst !


O n ou r way to R amsgate everybody could see that we were
,

a newly wedded couple


-
O n our way t o L ondon nobody
.
,

noticed us ; nobody would have doubted that we had been


married for years .

We w en t to a private hotel in the neighbourhood of P ortland


Place .

After break fast the next morning Eustace announced that


, ,

he must leave me to attend to his business I had pre .

vi ou sl y m entioned to him that I had some purchases to

make in L ondon He was quite willing to let me go ou t


.

alone on the condition that I s ho uld take a carriag e pr o


vi ded by the hotel .
M Y O WN D I S C O VER Y .
4:

My heart w as heavy that morni n g : I felt t h e u nackn c w ~

l odg ed estra n gement that had grown u p between us very


keenly My husband opened t h e door to go out and cam e
.

back to kiss me be fore he left me by mysel f That little .

aft erthought of tenderness touched me Acting on the i m .

pulse of the moment I put my arm round his neck a nd held


, ,

hi m to me gently .


My darling I said
give me all your c ondence

, ,
.

I kno w that you love me S how that you c an trust .


me too .

He i s ghed bitterl y and drew back from me ,


i n sorrow not ,

i n anger .


I tho ught we had agreed V aleria not t o return t o that , ,

subject again he said Y ou only distress yoursel f and di s


,

.


tress me .

He left the room ab ruptly as i f he dare not trust h imsel f ,

t o say more It is b et t er not to dwell on what I felt after


.

this last repulse I ordered the carriage at once I was eager


. .

to n d a re fuge from my ow n thou ghts in movement and


chan ge .

I drove to the shops rst and made the purchases which I ,

had mentioned to Eustace by way of givin g a reas on for goi n g


ou t
. Then I devoted my sel f to the obj ect which I really had

at heart I went to old Benjamin s little villa in the by
.
,

ways of S t J ohn s Wood .



.

As soon as he had got over the rst surprise of seein g me ,

he noticed that I looked pale and careworn I con fessed at .

once that I was in trouble We sat down together by t h e .

bright reside in his littl e library (Benjamin as far as h i s.

means would allow was a great collector of books) and ther e


, ,

I told my ol d friend frankly and truly all that I have told


, ,

here .

H e was too distressed to say much He fervently pressed .

my hand he ferventl y thanked God that my father had not


lived to hear what he had heard Then a fter a pau se h e .
, ,
42 TH E LA W AN D TH E LA D Y .

repeated my mother i n law s na me to hi msel f in a doubting - -



, ,

qu estioning tone .

Mac all an ? he said Mac all an ? Wher e have I heard



.


that name ? Why does i t sound as i f it wasn t strange
to me 1 '

He gave up pursuing the lost reco l lection and asked very , ,

earnestly what he could do for me I answered that he


, .

could help me in the rst place to put an end to the doubt


eu unendurable doubt to m e whether I was law fully married

or not Hi s energy of the ol d days when he had conducte d


.
,

my father s business showed itself again the moment I said



, ,

those words .



Y our carriage is at the door my dear he answered , , .

Come with me to my ow n lawyer, without wasting another



moment .

We drove to L incoln s Inn Fields


.

At my request Benjamin put my case t o the lawy er as the


, ,

case of a friend in who m I was interested The answer was .

given without hesitation I had married honestly believing .


,

my husband s name to be the name under which I had known
hi m . The witnesses to my marriage my uncle my aunt , ,

and Be njamin had acted as I had acted in perfect good , ,

faith Under those circumstances th ere was no doubt about


.
,

the l a w I was legally married Mac all an or Woodville, I


. .

was his wi fe .

This decisive answer relieved me o f a heavy anxiety I . .

accepted my ol d friend s invitation to return with hi m to S t


.

J ohn s Wood and to make my luncheon at his early dinner


,
.

O n our way back I reverted to the one oth er subj ect which
was n ow uppermost in my mind I reiterated my resolution .

to discover why Eustace had not married me under the name


th at w as really his ow n .

My companion shook his head and entreated me to con ,

sider wel l be forehand what I proposed doing Hi s advice to .

r u e so strangely do e x tremes meet was m y mother i n law a



- -
MY O WN D I S C O VE R Y .
43

a dvice repeated almo st word for word


, L eave things as .

they are my dear In the interest of your ow n peace o f


,
. .

mind be satised with your husband s a ff ection You kno w


,

.

that you are his wi fe and you kno w that he loves you , .

S urely that is enou gh 2


I had but on e an s w er to this L ife on such conditions as .
,

my good friend had just stated would be simply unendurable ,

to me N othing could alter my resolution for this plain


.

reason that nothing could reconcile me to living with my


,

husband on the terms on whi ch we were living n ow I t only .

rested with Be njamin to say whether he would give a helping


hand to his master s daughter or not
.

The old man s answer was thoroughly characteristic of him



.

Mention w ha t you want o f me my dear was all he , ,


said .

We were then passing a street in the neighbourhood of


Portman S quare I was on the point of speaking again
.
,

when the words were suspended on my lips I saw my .

husband .

He was j ust descending the steps o f a house as i f leaving


It a fter a visit Hi s eyes were on the ground : he did not
.

look up when the carri age passed As the servant closed the .

door behind him I noticed that the number of the house was
,

sixte en At t h e next corner I saw the name of the stree t


. .

It was V ivian Place .


D o you happen t o kno w who li ves at number sixteen ,
V ivian Place 3 I inquired of my companion
'
.

Benj amin started My question was certainly a strange .

on e a fter what he had j u st said to me


, .

N o he replied .

Why do you ask 2 .


I have just se en Eustace leaving that house .

Well my dear and what of that ?


, ,


My mi n d is in a bad way Benjam i n Everyt hing my , .

husband does that I do n t understand rouses my suspicion


,

now .
44 TH E LA W AND TH E L AD Y .

B enjami n li fted hi s withered old hands and let them drop ,

on his knees again in mute lamentation over me .


I tell y ou again I went on my li fe is unendurable t o
,

,

me I won t answer for what I may do i f I am left much


.

,

longer to l ive in doubt o f the on e man on earth whom I love .

You have had expe r ience of the world S uppose you were .

shut ou t from Eustace s condence as I am ? S uppose you

were as fond of him as I am and felt your position as bitterly ,

as I feel i t what would you do 2


-

The question was plain Be njami n met it w ith a pl ain .

answer .

I think I should nd my way my dear to some intimate , ,

fr iend of your husband s he said and make a few discreet


,

,

inquiries in that quarter rst .

S ome intimate friend of my husband s ? I c onsidered with

mysel f T here was but one friend of hi s whom I knew of


.

my uncle s correspondent Major Fit z David



My heart ,
-
.

beat fast as the name recurred t o my memory S uppose I .

followed Benjamin s advice ? S uppose I applied to M aj or


F it z David ? Even i f he t oo re fused t o answer my questions


-
,

my position would not be more helpless than it was n ow I .

determined to make the attempt The only difculty in the .

way so far was to discover the Maj or s address I had given


, ,

.


back his letter to D octor S tarkweather at my u ncle s ow n ,

request 3 I reme mbered that the address from which the


Maj or wrote was somewhere in L ondon ; and I remembered
n o mor e .

Thank you ol d friend 3 you have given me an idea


,

already I said to Benj amin


,

Have you got a Dire ctory in .


y our house .


N o my de ar he rej oined looking very mu ch pu zzled
, ,

,
.


But I can easily send ou t and borrow one .

We returned to the V illa T he servant was sent at on c e t o .

t h e nearest stationer s to borrow a Directory S he returned



.

w ith the book j ust as we sat down to dinner


,
S earchi ng f or .
TH E WA y 7 0 TH E M Aj OR .
45


the Maj or s name, u nder the letter F, I was startled b y a n ew
dis covery .


Be njamin ! I said Thi s i s a strange c oincidence LOo k . . .

here
He looked where I pointed Major Fitz David s address .
-

w as Number S ixteen V ivian Place the very house which I ,

had seen my h usband leavi ng as w e pass ed i n the c ar riage 1

C HAPT ER VI I .

ON THE WAY TO THE MAJOR .

YEs,

said B enj amin .



It a c oinciden c e c ertainly .

S till
He stopped and looked at me seemed a little doubt ful . He
h ow I might re c eive what he had it in his min d to s ay to m e
n e xt .


Go on I said , .

S till my dear I see nothing suspicious in what h as


, ,

happened he resumed ,

T o my mind it is quite natural .

,

that your husband being in L ondon should pay a visit t o , ,

o n e of his friends An d it s equall y natural that we should


.

pass through Vivian Place on ou r way back here T his seems ,


.

to be the reasonable vie w What do you say ? .


I have told you already that my mind is in a b ad wa y
about Eustace I answered I say there is some motive at
,

.

the botto m of his visit to Maj or Fit z David It is not an -


.

ordinary call I a m rmly convinced it is not an ordinary


.

c all !

S uppose we g et on with ou r di nn er l said Be nj amin
,

resignedly H ere is a lom of mutton m y dear an ordi


.

,

nary loin o f mutton I s there anythi ng suspicious in t h at 2


.

Very well, then S ho w m e you have c on den ce in t he


.
46 TH E LA W A ND TH E LA D Y .

mutton 3 please eat There s the wine again N0 mystery .



, .
,

Valeria in that claret I ll take my oath it s nothing but


,

innocent juice o f the grape I f we can t believe in anything .


else let s believe in j uice o f the g r ape Y our good health


,

.
,

my dear

.

I adapted myself to the old man s genial humour as readily

as I could We ate and we dra n k a n d we t alked of bygone


.
,

days For a little wh ile I was almost happy in the company


.

of my fatherly old friend Why was I not ol d too ? Why .

had I not done with love with its certain miseries 3 its
tran sient delights 3 its cruel losses 3 its bitterly doubt ful
gains ? The last autumn owers in the windo w basked
brightl y in the last o f the autumn sunlight Benj amin s little .

dog digested his dinner in per fect com f ort on the hearth Th e .

parrot in the next house screeched his vocal accomplishments


cheerfully I don t doubt that it is a great privilege to be a
.

human being But m ay it not be the happier destiny t o be


.

an animal or a pl ant ?
The brie f respite was soon over 3 all my anxieties came
back I was once more a doub t ing discontente d depressed
.
, ,

creature when I rose to say good bye


,
-
.

Promise my dear you will do nothing rash said Benj a


, , ,

min as he opened the door for me


,
.

I s it rash to go to M aj or Fit z I a sked .

Yes

if you go by yo u rsel f Y ou don t kno w w h at sort
.


o f man he is 3 you don t know how he m ay receive you Let .

me try rst and pave the way as the s ay i ng is T ru st m y


, , .

experience my dear In m atters o f this sort th ere is nothi n g


,
.

like pavi ng the way .


I considered a moment It was due to my go od fr i en d to .

consider before I said N0 .

R eection decid ed me on taki n g the re spons ib i lity w ha t ,

ever i t might be u pon m y o w n shoulders


, G o d or b a d . o
,

co m passionate or cruel t h e M aj or was a m a n A w o m a n s , .


in u ence was the s a fest inuence to trust with h l l n


ON TH E WA Y TO TH E I A j OR . 47

the end to be gained was su ch an end as I h ad i i view I t . .

was not easy to say th is to Be nj amin without the da nger o f ,

morti fyi n g him I made an appointment with t h e old m an


.

to call on me the n ext morning at the hotel and tal k the ,

m atter over again I s it very disgraceful to me to add that


.
,

I privately determined (i f the thi n g could be acco m plished) to


see Maj or Fit z David in the interval ?
-


D o nothing rash my dear I n y our ow n interests do
, .
,

nothing rash

T hose were Be nj amin s last words when we parted for the ,

I found Eustace waiting for me in ou r sitting room at the -

hotel Hi s spirits seemed to have revived since I had seen


.

hi m last He advanced to meet me cheerfully with an O pen


.
,

sheet of paper in his hand .

My business is settled Valeria sooner than I had ex , ,

pected he beg an gaily


,

Ar e your purchases all completed
, .
,

fair lady A r e y ou free too I


'

I had learnt already (G od h elp me I) to distrust his t s of


gaiety I asked cautiously
.
,


Do you mean free for to day l -


Free for t o day and t o mo r ro w and n ext week an d next
, ,

monthand next year too for all I know to the contrary



, , ,

h e answered putting his arm boisterously round my waist


, .

L ook here !
H e lifted the open sheet of p aper w hich I had noticed in
hi s hand an d held it for me to read
, It was a telegram to .

t h e sailing master of the yacht in formi n g him that w e h ad ,

arranged to return to R amsgate that e ening and that we v


,

should b e r ea dy to sail for t h e Me diterran ean with the n ext tide .

I only waited for your return said Eustace to send the ,



,

telegram to the o th ee .

He crossed the room as he spoke to ring the h ell , I , .

( topped h i m .
48 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD r:

I am af raid I can t go t o R amsgate to day I sai d



-

,

.

Why not 1 he asked suddenly changing hi s ton e and


speaking sharply .

I dare say it will seem ridiculous t o some people but it i s ,

really true th at he shook my resolution to go to Maj or Fit z


David when he put his arm round me Even a mere passing
,
.

caress from hi m stole away my heart and softly tempted me


, , ,

to yield But the ominous alteration i n his tone made another


.

woman of me I felt once more and felt more strongly than


.
,

ever that in my critical position it was useless to stand still ,


, , ,

an d worse th a n useless to dra w back .


I am sorry to disappoint you I ans w ered
It is i m ,

.

p ossible f ( )
or me as I told y ou at R a msgate to b e ready t o

sail at a moment s notice I want time



. .

What for ?
N ot only his tone but hi s look when he put that se cond
, ,

question, j arred on every nerve i n me He roused in my mind .

I can t tell how or whyan angry sense of the indignity


that he had put upon his wife in marryi ng her under a false
name Fearing that I should answer rashl y that I should say
.
,

something which my better sense might regret i f I spoke at ,

that moment I said nothing Women alone can estimate


,
.

wha t it cost me to be silent An d men alone can understand .

how irritating my silence must have been to my husband .

You want time 2 he repeated I ask you againwhat



.

for 2

My sel f control pushed to its extrem est li m its failed me


-

, ,
.

The rash reply ew ou t of m y lips like a bird set free from ,

a c age .


I want time, I said to ac custom mysel f t o my right

,


n ame .

He suddenly stepped up to me with a dark look .



What do you mean by your right nam e 1
Su rely you kno w I answered I once thought I was M i s

.
,

Woodvill e I have n ow dis c o vered that I am Mrs Mac all an


.
. .
ON TH E WA v To TH E M A y er .
as
;

He started back at the sound o f his own name as i f I had ,

struck him h e started back and turned so deadly pal e that


I feared he was goin g to drop at my feet in a swoon Oh .
,

my tongu e ! m y to ngue ! Why had I not controlled my


miserable mischievous woman s tongue ?
,

I didn t mean t o alar m you Eustace I said I spoke at



.
, ,

ra ndom Pray forgive me
. .

He waved his hand i mpatiently as if my p enitent word s ,

were tangible things ru f i n g worrying things like i es i n ,

summer which he was putting away from him .


t at else have you discovered ? he asked, in low stern ,

t ones .

N othing Eusta c e , .


Nothin g ? He paused as he repeated the word and

,

passed his hand over his forehead in a weary way N othing .


,

of c ourse he resumed speaking t o himsel f or sh e would



, , ,

n ot be here

.

He paused once more and looked at me searchi ngly , .


Don t say again what you said just now he went on For ,

.

your ow n sake Valeria as well as for mine


, He dropped
, .

into the nearest chair and said no more ,


.

I certainly heard the warning ; but the only words which


really produ c ed an impression on my mind were the words

preceding it which he h ad spoken to himself He had said :


, .

N othing of c ourse or she w ou l d n ot be h er e I f I h ad


, , .

found ou t some other truth besi des the truth about the name ,

would it have prevented me from ever returning to my



h usband ! Was th a t what he meant ! Did the sort of dis
covery that he contemplated mean something so dread ful ,

t hat it would have parted us at once and for ever ! I stood


by his chair in s i lence 3 and tried to nd the answer to those
t errible questions in his face It used to speak to me so .

eloquently when it spoke of hi s love It told m e nothi ng .

now .

He sat for some time without lookin g at me lost in h i s , t

B
SO TH E LA W AN D TIYE L AD Y .

own thoughts . T hen he rose on a sudden and took his ,

ha t .


The friend who lent me the yacht is in town he sai d ,

.

I suppose I had better see him and say ou r plans are ,

cha n ged H e tore up the tel egra m with an air of sull e n


.

resignation as he spoke Y ou a r e evidently determined not


.


to go to sea with me he resumed We had better give it
, .

up I don t see what else is to be done D o you ?


.

.

Hi s tone was al most a tone of contempt I was too. .

depressed about mysel f too alarmed about hi m to resent it


, , .

D ecide as you thi nk best Eustace I said sadly Every , ,



, .

way the prospect seems a hopeless on e As long as I am


,
.

shut out from your con dence i t matters l ittle whether we ,

live on land or at sea w e cannot live happily .


I f you could control your curiosity he answered sternly ,



, ,

we might live happily enough I thought I had m arried a .

woman who was su perior to the vulgar failings of her sex .


.

A good wife should know better than to pry into a ffairs of her
husband s with which she has no concern

.

S urely it was hard to bear this ? H owever I bore it , .


Is it n o concern o f mine I asked gently when I nd ,

, ,

that my husband has not married me under his family name !


Is it no concern of mine when I hear your mother say in so ,

many words that she pities your wi fe ? It is hard Eustace


, , ,

to accuse me of curiosity because I cannot accept the unen ,

durable position in which you have placed me Your cruel .

silence is a blight on my happiness and a threat to my ,

future Y our cruel silence is estranging us from each other


.
,

at the beginning of our married life A n d you blame me .

for feeling this ? Y ou tell me I am prying into a ff airs whi ch


a r e yours only ? They are n ot yours on l y I have my interest
in th em too O h my darling why do you trie with our
.
, ,

l ove and ou r condence in each oth er ? Wh y do you keep


me in the dark ?

He answ ered with a stern and pitiless brevity ,


ON TH E WA Y T O TH E M A 7 0A

.
5!


your own good
For .

I turned away from him in silence He was treati n g me .

like a chi ld .

He followed me Putting one hand heavily on my shoulder


.
,

he forced me to face him once more .


L isten to this h e said What I am now going to say
,

.

t o you I say for the rst and last time


,
Valeria ! i f you , , .

ever discover w hat I am now keeping fro m your knowledge


- from that moment you live a li fe o f torture ; your tran
quillity is gone Y our days will be days of terror ; your
.

nights will be full of horrid dreamsthrough no fault of


mine mind ! t hrough no faul t o f mine ! Every day o f your
,

life you will feel some new distrust some growing fear of
, ,

me and you w ill be doing me the vilest inj ustice all the
time O n my faith as a Christian on my honour as a man
.
, ,

i f you stir a step further in this m atter there is an end of


your happiness for the rest of your life ! Think seriously of
what I have said to you ; you w il have time to reect I
.

am going to tell my friend that our plans for the Medi t er


r an ean are given up I shall not be b ac k before the evening
. .

He sighed and looked at me with unutterable sadness


,
I .

love y ou Valeria he s a id
,
In spite of all that has passed
,

.
,

a s G od is my witness I love you more dearly than ever



, .

S o he spoke S o he left me . .

I must write the tr u th about mysel f ho w ever stran ge it ,

may appear I don t pretend to be able to analyse my ow n


.

mo tives ; I don t pretend even to guess how other wome r


might have acted in my place It is true of m e that my .


,

hu sband s terri ble warning all the more terrible in i t s


m y stery and its vagueness produced no det errent eff ect on


my mind it only stimulated my resolution to discover what
he was hiding from me He had not been gone two mi nutes .

before I rang the bell and ordered the carri age to take me to ,

Maj or Fitz David s house in Vivian Place


-

.

Walking to and fro while I was waitin g I was i n s u ch a


52 TH E LA W AND M E LAD Y .

fe ver o f excitement that it w as impossible for me to sit still


I accidentally caught sight of mysel f in the glass .

My ow n face startled me : it was so haggard and so wild .

Cou ld I present mysel f to a stran ger could I hope to produce ,

the necessary impression in my favour looking as I looked at ,

that moment ? For all I kne w to the contrary my whole ,

future m ight depend upon the e ffect which I produced on


Maj or Fit z David at rst s i ght I rang the bell again and
-
.
,

sent a message to on e of the chambermaids to follow me to


my room .

I had no maid of my ow n with me the stewardess of the


yacht would have acted as my attendant if we had held to ,

o u r rst arran gement It mattered little so long as I h ad.


,

a woman to help me The chambermaid appeared I can . .

give no better idea of the disordered and desperate condition


o f my mind at that time than by owning that I actually ,

consulted this perfect stranger on the question of my person al


appearance Sh e was a mi d dl e aged woman with a large
.
-

experience of the world and its wickedness written legibly on


her manner and on her face I put money into the woman s .

hand enough of it to surprise her S he thanked me with a


,
.

cynical smil e evidently placi n g her ow n evil interpretation on


,

my motive for bribing her .


What can I do for you ma am ? she asked in a con ,

,

fi den t i al whisper Don t speak loud ! T here is somebody


.

in the next room .



I want to look my best I said 3 and I have sent for you

,

to help me .


I understand ma am ,

.

What do you understand


S he nodd ed her head signicantly and whispered to me


,
,

agai n .

L ord bless you I m used to this sh e s ai d ,


There is a
.

g entleman i n t h e case Don t mind me ma am It s a way .



,

.

I h a ve I mean no harm
. S he stopped and look ed at m e .

OH Tf l E IVA Y TO TH E M A30R
/
'
.
53
.

c ritically I wouldn t cha nge my dress if I w er e you she


.

, ,

went on Th e c ol ou r becomes you


. .

It was too late to resent the woman s impertinence There


.

was no help for it but to make use of her Besides she was .
,

r ight about the dress It was of a delicate mai z e colour


.
,

prettily trimmed with lace I could wear nothin g which .

suited me better My hair however stood in need of some


.
, ,

ski lled attention The chambermaid rearran ged it with a


.
,

ready hand w hich showed that she was no begin n er in the


art of dressi n g hair S he laid down the combs and brushes
.
,

an d looked at me then looked at the toilette table searching ,

for something which she apparently failed to nd .

Where do you keep it ? she a sked


.

What do you mean ?


L ook at your co m plexion ma am You will fri ghten h i m ,

.

i f he sees you like that A touch of colour you mu st have .


.

Where do you keep it ? What ! you haven t got it ? you

never u se it ? Dear dear dear me ! , ,


For a moment surprise f airly deprived her of her sel f


,

possession ! R ecovering herself, she begged permission to


leave me for a minute I let her go knowing what her .
,

errand was S he came back with a box of paints and


powders ; and I said nothing to check her I saw in the .


,

gl ass my skin take a false fairness my cheeks a false colour


, , ,

my eyes a false brightnessand I never shrank from it N I .

let the odious deceit go on 3 I even admired the extraordinary


delicacy and dexterity with w hich it was all done Any .

t hing (I thou ght to mysel f in the madness o f that miserable



,

t ime) , so long as it helps me to Wi n the Major s condence !

Anything so long as I discover what those last words of my



hu sband s really mean
The trans formation of my face was accomplished Th e .

ch ambermaid p ainted with her wicked forenger in t h e


direction of the glass .

B ear in mind, ma am, what you looked li ke whe n you


54 TH E LA U/ AN D TH E LA D Y:

An d j ust see for yourself h ow you



sent for me she said
, .

look now You r e the prettiest woman (of your style ) in


.

London . Ah what a th ing pear l po w der is when one knows


, ,

h ow to u s e it

CHAPTER VIII .

TH E F R I END OF THE W O M EN .

I h ND it impos s ible to describe m y sensations while the car


r i ag e was taking me t o M ajor Fi t z David s house I doubt
-
.
,

in deed i f I really f elt or thought at all in the true sense of


, ,

tho se words .

From the moment when I h ad resigned mysel f into the


hands of the chamberm a i d I seemed in some strange w ay t o
,

have lost m y ordinary i dentity to have stepped ou t of my


own character At other ti mes my temperament was of t he
.
,

n er vous and a nxious sor t and my tendency w a s to ex aggerate


,

any di fculties that might place themselves i n my w ay At .

other times having bef ore me the prospect of a critical in t er


,

view with a stranger I shoul d have considered wi t h m y sel f


.
,

what it might be wise to pass over and what it m i ght be ,

wise to say Now I n ever gave my coming interview wi t h


.
,

the Major a thought I f elt an unreasoning condence in


mysel f and a blind f aith in h i m N ow neither the past nor
, .
,

the f uture troubled me I lived u nr eec t i ng l y i n the present .

I look ed at the shops as we drove by them a n d at the other ,

carri ages as th ey passed mine I noticed yes and enj oy ed


the gl ances of admiration which chance f oot passengers on
.

the pavement cast at me I said to my sel f This looks w ell


.
,

f or my prospect of maki n g a f riend of the Major ! When

we drew u p at the door in Vivian Place it is no exaggeratio n ,

t o say that I had but one anxiety anxiety to nd the M aj or


a t home .

Th e door was opened by a s ervant out of livery, an old m an


T E

FRIEND OF TH E W OM E N
'
.
55

wh o looked as i f he m i ght hav e b ee a soldier i n his earlier n

d ays He eyed me wi t h a grave attention whic h relaxe d


.
,

l i t t le by little i nto s ly approval I asked f or M ajor Fi t z .


~

D a vi d Th e answer was not altogether encouraging ; the


.

m a n was not sure whether his master was at home or not .

I gave h i m m y c ard My c ards being part of my wed ding .


,

ou t t necessaril y had the f a lse name printed on them


,

I r s E usta ce Woodvi l l e
. Th e servant showed m e into a .

f ront room on the ground oor and disappeared wit h m y ,

c a rd in his h an d .

Loo k ing about me I noticed a door in the wall Opposi t e ,

t h e win dow communicating w i th some inner room


, Th e .

door was not of the or dinary k in d It tte d into the thickness .

o f the partition wall an d w orked in grooves Look ing a, .

li t t le ne a rer I saw th at it h a d not been pulled out so as com


,

pl et ely to close the door w ay O nly the merest chink w as .

lef t but it was enou gh t o convey to my e ars all that passe d


in the next room .

What di d you say O liver when she aske d f or me 2


'

, ,

inquired a man s voice pitched cautiousl y in a l ow key



,
.

I said I was not sure you were a t home sir answered the .
, ,

voice of the servant who had let me in .

There was a pause Th e rst speak er w a s evi dently Maj or


.

Fit z David himsel f I waited to hear more


-
. .


I think I h ad better not see her O liver the M aj or s , ,

voice resumed .

Very good sir ,


.

S ay I have gone out and you don t know when I sh a l l b e


back again Beg the lady to write i f she has a ny busines s


.
,

w ith me .

Yes sir
.
,

S top O liver ,

O liver st epped There was another and longer paus e .

Then the master resume d the examination of the man .

Is she young Ol i ver 2


' '
,
56 TH E L AW AND TH E LAD Y.


Yes,s ir .

And pretty l '


Better than pretty sir to my thinking , ,
.


Aye ? aye ? What you call a ne woma n eh, Oliver ?

Certainly s ir , .

Ta ll ?

Nearly a s tall as I am Maj or


, .


Aye ? aye ? aye ? A good gure ?


As slim a s a sapli n g si r and as upright a s a dart , , .

O n second thoughts I am at home O liver S how h er , , .


in ! show her in !
S o f ar on e thing at least s eemed to be clear
,
I had done .

well in sen di n g for the chambermaid What would Oliver s .


report of me have been i f I had presented myself to him ,

with my colourless cheeks and my ill dressed hair ? -

Th e servant reappeared and conducted me (by way of the ,

hall) to the inn er room M aj or Fit z David advanced to .


-

welcome me Wh at was the Major li ke ?


.

Well he w as like a n el y preserved gentleman of (say) -

si xty years ol d l ittle and le an and chiey remarkab le by ,

t h e extraordinary le n gth of his nose Af ter this f eature I .


,

n oticed next his beauti f ul brown W i g ; his sparkling little


, ,

g rey ey e s; h i s rosy complexion 3 h i s short military whiskers ,

dyed to match his w i g ; his white teeth and his winning


sm ile 3his sm art b lu ef rock coat with a c amellia in the button -
,

hole ; and his splendid ring a ruby ashing on hi s littl e ,

n ger as h e courteously signed to me to take a ch air .


Dear Mrs Woodvill e how very kind of you this is ! 1
'

.
,

have been l ong i ng to have th e happiness of knowing you


' '

Eustace i s an ol d friend o f mine I congratulated him when .

I h eard of his marriage May I make a con f ession I envy .

him now I have seen his wi f e .


Th e f uture of my li f e w as perh aps i n this man s hands




.
, ,

I studied him attentively ; I tried to read hi s character i t


'

his f ace .
TH E FRIEND OF TH E WOM EN .
57

Th e Major s sparkling little grey eyes s oftened as they


l ooked at me 3 the M aj or s stro ng and sturdy voice dropped


to it s lowest and te nderest tones when he spoke to me 3 the



Major s manner expressed f rom the moment when I entered ,

the room a happy mixture of admiration and respect He


, .

drew his chair close to mine as i f it was a privilege t o be ,

near me He took my hand and lif t e d my glove t o his


.
,

lips as i f that glove w as the most delicious luxury the world


,

coul d produce Dear Mrs Woodville he s ai d as he sof tly


.

.
,

,

laid my hand back on my l ap bear wi t h an ol d f ell ow who ,

worships your enchanti n g sex You re ally brighten this dull .


house It is su ch a pleasure to see you 1
.

There was no nee d for the ol d gentleman to make hi s little


con fession Women children and dogs proverbially know
.
, ,

by instinct who the people are who really like t hem Th e .

women had a warm friendperhaps at on e time a d an ger , ,

ou sl y warm f rien d i n Maj or Fi t s a vi d I knew as much .

of him as that be f ore I had settled m y sel f in my chair a n d

opened my l i ps to answer him .


Thank you M aj or f or your kind reception an d your
, ,

pretty complim ent I said 3 matchi n g my hos t s e asy tone a s


,

z l osel y as the necessary restrain t s on m y side would per

mit You have made your con f ession M ay I make mine l


.

.
'

M ajor Fi t c avi d lif ted my h and again f ro m my lap and ,

dre w his ch air as close as possible to mine I look e d at .

him gravely and tried to release my hand


,
Major Fit z .

D avi d decl ined to let go of i t an d proceeded to t ell ,

me why .


I have j ust heard you speak f or the rst time he said ,

.

I am under the char m of your voice Dear M r s Wood . .

ville bear with an ol d f ello w who is under the cha rm !


,

Don t gru dge me my innocent little ple a sures Lend me



.

I wish I could say g i ve me this pretty h a nd I am such .

an admi r er of pretty hands ; I can listen so much bett er

w i th a pretty hand i n mi n e Th e ladies indul ge my weak .


58 TH E LA W AN D TH E LA D Y .

ne ss Please indulge me t oo Yes ? And what were you


. .

going to say ?

I was going to say Maj or that I felt particularly sensible


, ,

of your kin d welcome because as it happens I h ave a f a vour


, , ,

a sk of

to y ou .

I w a s conscious while I spoke that I was approaching


, ,

the object of my vi sit a little too abruptly But Maj or Fita .


David s admiration rose f ro m on e cli max to another w ith
such alarming rapi dity that I f elt the importa nce of admi n i s
,

teri n g a practic a l check t o it I trusted to those ominous .

words a f avour to ask of you to administer the check


,

,

and I did not trust in vain My age d admirer gently .

dropped my han d and (with all possible politeness) changed


,

the subj ect .

Th e f a vour is granted of course 1 he said And now


.
,

tell me h ow is our de a r Eustace ?


Anxious and ou t of spirits I a nswered ,

.


Anxious and ou t of Spirits repeate d the Major Th e .

e nvi able m an who is married to You anxious and ou t of ,

spirits ? Monstro us ! Eustace f airly disgusts me I shall .

tak e h i m off the lis t of my f riends .


I n t hat case t a ke me o ff the list with him Maj or


,
I am ,
.

in w ret ched spiri t s too You are m y husband s old friend.



.

I m ay a cknowle dge to you that our m a rr ied lif e isjust


now not quite a happy one .

Maj or Fitz David li f ted his eyebrows (dyed t o match his


-

whisk ers) in polite surprise .

A l ready he excl aime d Wh at c an Eustace be made of 9 .

Has he no appreciation of beauty and grace ? Is he the most


in s ensible o f livi n g beings

He is the best an d dearest of men I an s wered But ,

.

there is some drea df ul myst ery in his past li f e


I could get no f urther Maj or Fit z David del iberately -

st eppe d me He did i t with the smoothest politeness on the


.
,

surface But I saw a look in his bright l ittle eyes, w hich said
.
TH E FR I END OF TH E WOM E N .
50

plainly , I f you w i ll venture on delicate ground madam don t , ,


ask me to accompany you .



My charming f riend 1 he exclaimed May I c all you
.

my ch arming frien d ? You have amo n g a thousand other


delight f ul qualities whi ch I can see alre a dy a vivi d i m ag i n a v

tion Don t let it get the upper h an d 1 Take an ol d fellow s


.

advice 3 don t let it get the upper hand ! What can I o ff er



you dear Mrs Woodville ? A cup of tea ?
, .


Cal l me by my right name sir I answered boldly I , ,

.

have m ade a discovery . I kno w as well as you do that my .


, ,

name is Mac all an .


Th e Major st arted and looke d at me very attentively ,


His .

manner became grave his tone changed completely when he , ,

Spoke next .


May I ask he said
i f you have communicated t o
,

,

y our h usband the di scovery which you have just mentioned



t o me ?

Certainly ! I answered
I consider that my husband .

o wes me an expl a n ation I have a sked him to tell me what .

his extraordin ary conduct means and he has ref used in


langu age th at f ri ghtens me I have a ppe aled to his mother .

and siz e h as re f used to expl ain in lan gu age that humili ates ,

me De a r M ajor Fit z D avi d I have no f riends to take my


.
-

part ; I have nobo dy to come t o but you D o me the gr ea t est


of all f avours tell me why your f riend Eust ace has m arri ed

me under a f a lse name 1


Do m e the greatest of all favours an s w ered t h e Maj o r ,

.


Don t ask me to say a word about it .

He look ed in spite of hi s unsa tis f acto ry reply a s i f he


, ,

really f elt f or me I determine d to try my utmost powers of


.

persua sion 3 I resolved not to be beaten at the rst repu l se .

I must ask you I s aid Thin k of m y positio n How



. .
,

c an I live knowing what I knowand knowi n g no more ?


,
I
would rather hear the most horrible thing you c an t ell m e
th an be condemned (as I am now) t o perpetual mi sg i vi n g an d
60 TH E LA W AND TH E LA D Y .

'

perpetual s uspense I l ov e my husband with all my hear t 3


.

but I cannot li ve with him on these ter ms : the mi sery of it


would drive me mad I am only a woman Maj or I c an
.
, .

only throw myself on your kindne ss Don t pray pray .



,

don t keep me in the dark


I could say no more In the reckles s impulse of t h e


.

momen t I s natched up his hand and raised it to my lips


, .

Th e g allant old gentleman started as i f I had given him an


electric shock .


My dear dear l a dy he exclaimed I can t tell you h ow
, ,

I feel f or you ! You charm me you overwhelm me you , ,

touch me to the h eart What can I say ? What can I do ?


.

I can only imitate your admirable frankness your fearless ,

candour You have told m e what your position is Let me


. .

tell you in my turn :how I am placed Compose yoursel f


, , .

pray c ompos e yoursel f ! I have a smelling bottle here at the -

s ervice of the ladies Permit me to o ff er it


. .

He brought me the smelling bottle 3 he put a little stool -

u nder my f eet 3 he entreated me to take time enough to com

pose myself In fernal f ool ! I heard h i m say to himself as


.

,

he consideratel y turned away f rom me for a f ew moments .

I f I had been her husbandcome what might of it I would ,

have told her the truth


Was he ref erring to Eustace ? And was he going to do
what he would have done in my husband s place was h e
-

really going to tell me the truth ?


Th e idea had barely crossed my mind when I was s tartle d ,

by a loud and peremptory knocking at the street door Th e -


.

Major stopped and listened attentively In a few moment s


,
.


the door was opened and the rustli n g of a woman s dress w as
,

plainly audible in the hall Th e M aj or hurried to the door .

of the room with the activity of a young man


,
He was t oo .

late Th e door w as violently opened f rom the outer side


. ,

ust a s he got to i Th e lady of the ru s tling dre ss burst int o


j t .

t h e r oom .
TH E DE FEA T OF THE OI

C HAP TER I X .

TH E DEFEAT OF THE M AJ OR .

M AJO R Fi r z DAV ID S visito r prove d to be a plump round


.
-

,

eyed ove r dressed girl wi t h a orid complexion an d straw


, ,

coloured h air . Af t er rst xing on me a broad stare of


astonishment she pointedly a ddressed her apologi es f or i n
,
.

t r u di n g on us to the Major alone Th e creature evidently.

believed me to be the last new obj ect of the ol d gentleman s

i dolatry 3 an d she took no pains to disguise her j ealous resent


ment on discovering us together M aj or Fi t z David set
.

ma t t ers right i n his ow n irresistible way He kissed the .

h a n d of the over dressed girl as devotedly as he h a d k issed


-

mine 3 he t old her she was looking charmingly Then he l e d .

her with his happy mixture of ad miration and r espect back


, ,

to the door by which sh e had entereda second door com


mu n i c at i ng directly with the hall .

No apology is n ecessary my dear he said


, This lady is ,

.

with me on a matter of busines s You w ill nd your singing


.

m a ster waiting f or you upstairs Begin your lesson 3 and I


.

w ill join you in a few minute s Au r evoi r my charmi ng


.
,

pupil a2 r evoi r
. .

Th e young lady answered thi s polite little speech in a


whisper wit h her roun d eyes xed distrustf ully on me while
sh e spoke . Th e door closed on her Major Fitz David was .
-

at li berty to set matters right with me in my turn , .


I call that young person on e of my happy discoverie s ,

s aid the old gentleman complacently , Sh e posses s es I .


,

don t hesitate to say the nest soprano voice in Europe



, .

Would you believe it I met with her at a railway station ?


,

Sh e w as behind the c ounter in a r ef r esh ment r oom, po or


62 7 71 E LA W AN D TH E

innocent rinsing wine glasses and singing over her work


,
-

, .

Good heavens such singing ! Her upper notes ele ct rie d


,

me . I said to mys el f
Here is a born prima donna I
,


will bring her ou t ! S h e is the third I have brought ou t in
m y ti m e
. I shall tak e her to I t aly when her e ducation i s
su fcien t ly a dvanced and per f ect her at Mil an I n th at u n
, .
<

sophisticated girl my dear l ady you see on e of the future


, ,

Q u eens o f S ong Listen ! she is beginning her sc ale s What


. .

a voice ! Bra va ! Brava ! Bravissima !

Th e high sopr a no notes o f the f uture Q u een of S ong rang


through the house as he spoke Of the loudness of the .


young lady s voice there coul d be no sort of doubt Th e .

sweetness and t h e purity o f it admi t ted in my opinion of , ,

considerable dispute .

Having said the pol ite words which the occasion rendered
necessary I ventured to recall Maj or Fit z David to the sub
,
-

j cet in discussion between us when his visitor had entered


the room Th e M aj or w as very unwilling to return to the
.

perilous topic on which he had j ust touched when the inter


ruption occurred He beat time with his f orenger to the
.

singing upstairs ; he a ske d m e about my voice and whether ,

I sang ; he rem arked that li f e w ould be intolerable to him


without Love and Art A m an in my place would h ave lost
.

al l p atience and woul d have given up the struggl e in di sgust


, .

B eing a woman an d h avi n g my end in vie w m y resolu t ion


, ,

w as invincible I fairly wore ou t the M aj or s resistance and


.

,

c ompelled him t o surrender a t discretion It is only justice .

t o a dd tha t when he did make up his mind to speak t o me


,

a gain of Eus t a ce he spoke f rank l y and spoke to the point


, ,
.

I have k nown your husban d he beg a n since t h e tim e



,

,

when he w as a boy At a certain perio d of his p ast li fe a


.
,

t errible mis fortune f ell u pon hi m Th e secret of tha t mis .

f ortune is kno w n to his f riends and is reli g iously kep t by ,

his f riends It is the secret that he is keeping f ro m You


. .

He will never tell it to you as long as he lives And he h as .


TH E D E FEA T OF TH E MA 7 0R . e3

bound me not to tell it under a promise given on my word o f


,

honour You wished de a r M r s Woodville to be made


.
,
.
,

acquainted wi t h my position t owa rds Eustace There it is ! .


You persist in calli n g me M r s Woodvil l e I sai d



. .
,

Your husband wishes me to persist the M aj or answered



.
,

He a ssumed the n ame of Woodvi lle f earing to give hi s ow n ,

name when he rst c alled at your uncle s house He will now


,

.

acknowle dge no other R emons t rance is useless You must


. .

do w h at we do you must give w ay to an unreason able man


,
.

Th e best f ello w in t h e world in other respects : in this one


m atter as obsti n a t e and self wil l ed as he can be I f you ask
,
-
.

me my opinion I tell you honestly t h a t I think he was wrong


,

in courting and marryi n g you un der his f alse n ame He .

trusted his hon our and his happiness to your k eeping in ,

m aki n g you his wif e Wh y should he not tru st the s t o ry of


.

his troubles to you a s well ? His mother qui t e shares my


opinion in this matter You must not bla me her f or ref using
.

t o a dmit you into her condence a f ter your m arri age


.
it was ,

then t oo late Bef ore your m a rriage she di d all she could
.
,

do without betray i n g secrets which as a good mother she , ,

was bound to respec t to in duce her son to act j ustly to w ards


you I commit no indiscretion when I tell you that she
.

r e f use d to sanction your marriage m ainly f or the reason th a t ,

Eustace declined to f ollow her a dvice an d to tell you what hi s ,

position really was O n my p a rt I did all I coul d to support


.
,

Mrs M ac al l an in the course t hat she took Whe n Eustace


. .

wrote to tell me that he h a d eng aged himself to marry a


niece o f my goo d f riend Dr S t ark we ather and that he h ad.
,

mentioned me as his ref erence I wrote b a ck to warn him th at ,

I would have nothing to do with the affair unless he reve al ed ,

the whole truth a bout himself to his f uture wi f e He re f use d .

t o listen to me as he had re f use d to listen to his mother 3 and


,

he hel d me at the same time t o m y promise t o keep hi s secre t


, , .

When Stark weather wrote to me I h a d no choice b u t to i n ,

volve mysel f in a deception of whi ch I thoroughl y disa pproved


64 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD Y .

or to answer in a tone s o guarded and so brie f as to s top


the correspondence at the out set I chose the last alternative 3 .

and I f e ar I have off en ded my goo d ol d f riend You n ow see .

the pain f ul position in which I am placed To add to the .

di i c ul t i es of t hat situation Eustace came here this v ery day


, , ,

to warn me to be on m y guard in case of your a ddressing to ,

me the very request which you have just made He told me


that you had met with his mother by an unlucky accident , ,

and that you had discovered the f amily name He declared .

that he had travel l e d to London for the express purpose o f


spe ak i n g to me personally on this serious subj ect I know .


your weakness he said ,
where women are concerne d
, .

Valeri a is aware that you are my ol d f riend Sh e w i ll cer .

t ai n l y write to you ; she may even be bold eno u gh to make


her way into your house R ene w your promise to keep the
.

gre at calamity of my li f e a secret on your honour and on , ,



y our oa t h T
. hose were his words as nearly as I c a n remem ,

ber them I tried to treat the thing lightly 3 I ridicule d the


.


absurdly the atrical notion of renewing my promise and all ,

the rest of it Quite useless ! H e ref used to leave m e h e


.

r eminded me of his unmerited suff erings poor f ellow in the , ,

pa st time It ended in his bursting into tears You love


. .

hi m and so do I
,
Can you wonder that I let h i m have his
.

way ? Th e result is that I am doubly boun d to tell you


nothing by the most sacred promise that a man can give
,
.

My dear la dy I cordially side with you in this matter 3 I


,

l ong to relieve your anxieties But what c an I do 1 .

He stopped and waited gravely waited to hear my


,

reply .

I had listened f rom beginning to end without interrupting ,

him Th e ex t raor dinary change in his manner and in h i s


.
,

way of expressing himsel f while he was speaking of Eustace


, ,

alarmed me as nothing had alarmed me y et How terrible (I .

thought to mysel f ) mu st thi s untold story be i f the mere act ,

of re f erring t o it m akes light heart ed Maj or Fit z David s peak


-
TII E D E FEA T OF TH E M 1 1 7 01? 65

seriously and sadly never smili ng 3 never paying me a com


-

pli m en t 3 n ever even noticing the singing upstairs My heart


sank i n me as I drew that startling conclusion For the rst .

time since I h ad entered the house I was at the end of my ,

resources 3 I kn ew neither what to say nor what to do next .

An d yet I kept my se at Never h ad the resolution to di s


,
.

cover what my husb and was hiding f ro m me been m ore rm l y


rooted in my mind than it was at th at moment ! I canno t
account for the extra ordinary inconsistency in m y c ha racter
which this con fession implies I can only describe the fac t s
.

as they really were .

Th e singing w ent on upstairs Maj or Fi t s avi d stil l .

waited impenetrably to hear what I had to say to know


what I resolved on doing next .

Bef ore I had decided what to say or what to d o another ,

domestic incident happened In pl ain words another k nock.


,

ing announced a n ew visitor at the house door O n this .

occasi on there was n o rustling of a woman s dress in the


,

hall O n this occasion only the old serva nt entered the


.
,

room carrying a m agnicent noseg ay in his hand With .


Lady Clarind a s kind reg ards To remind Major Fit z David



-
.


of his appointment Another lady
. Thi s time a lady with ,

a title A great lady who sent her owers and her mess age s
.

without condescending to concealment Th e M aj or r st .

a pologisi n g to me wrote a f e w lines of acknowle dgment,

and sent them ou t to the m essenger When the door w as .

closed again he care fully selecte d on e o f the choicest owers


,

in the nosegay May I ask he said presenting the ower
.
, ,

to me with his best gr a ce whether you n o w underst and the


,

delicate position in which I am placed bet w een your husband



and yourself ?
Th e little interruption caused by the appearance of the
nosegay had given a n ew impulse to my thoughts and had ,

thus helped in some degree to restore me to mys elf I w as


, , .

abl e at la s t to s ati sf y Maj o r Fitz David that hi s c o n siderat e


66 TH E LA W AN D TH E LA D Y .

and cour teou s explan ation ha d not been thro w n away upo n
me .



I thank you most sincerely M ajor I said
,
You have , , .

convinced me that I must not ask you to forget on my ,

a ccount the promise which you h a ve given to my h u band


,
s
.

It is a sacred promise whi ch I too am bound to respect I , ,



quite un dersta nd that .

Th e Maj or drew a long breath o f relie f and patted me on ,

the shoulder in high approval of what I had said to hi m .


Ad mirably expressed ! he rejoined r ec ove r ing his lig ht

,

hearted looks and his lover like ways all i n a moment -


My .

dear lady you have the gi ft of sympathy ; you see exactl y


,

how I am situated Do you know you remind me of my


.
,

c harming Lady Clarinda ? S he has the gif t of sympathy a nd ,

see s exactly how I am situated I should so enjoy intro .


duc i n g you to each other s a id the M aj or plu n ging his long
, ,

n ose ecstatically in t o Lady Clarinda s owers



.

I had my end still to gain 3 and bei n g (as you w ill have
discovered by this time ) the most obstinate o f living women ,

I still kept that end in view .


I shall be delighted to meet Lady Clarinda I replied ,

.

In the mean time



I will get up a little dinner proceeded the Major w ith a , ,

burst of enthusias m You and I and Lady Clarinda


.

O ur .

youn g prima donna shall come i n the evening and sing to us


-

, .

S u ppose we dra w ou t the menu 3 My sweet friend what is



,

y our f avourite autumn soup ?


In the mea time I persisted to r eturn to what we
n

, ,

w ere speaking of just n ow


Th e Maj or s smile vanished the Major s hand dropped the

,

pen destined to immort alise the name of my favourite


,

autumn soup .


M u st we return to that ? he asked piteous ly
, .



O nly f or a moment I said , .


You r emind me p ur s ued Majo r Fit z David s h aking h is
.

-

,
TH E D EFEA T OF TH E M A 7 0R . 67

head sadly of another charming friend of minea French


~

friendMadame Mi rli or e You are a person of prod i gious


,

tenacity of purpose M adame Mi r li or e is a person of pro


.

di g i ou s tenacity of purpose Sh e h a ppens to be in L n don


.
i .

S hall w e have her at our little dinner ? Th e Major brigh tened


at the ide a and took u p the pen ag ain


,
Do tell me he said .
,

,

what i s your f avourite autumn soup



Pardon me I began 3 we were speakin g j ust n ow
,

O h dear me
, cried Major Fit z David Is this the -
.

other subj ect ?

Yes

this is the other subj ect .

Th e Major put down his pen f or the second time and ,

r egretf ully dismissed from his mind Madame Mi r li or e and

the autumn soup .

Yes 2 he said with a patient b ow and a submissive smile


, .

You were goin g to say


I was going to say I rej oined that your promise on l y
,

,

pledges you not to tell the secret which m y husband is keep


i ng f rom me You have given n o prom ise not to answer me
.
,

i f I venture to a sk you on e or two questions



.

M aj or Fit z David held u p his hand warningly and cast a


-

sl y l ook a t me ou t of his bright little grey eyes


'

S top he said My s w eet frien d st ep there


. I know ,

w here your question s will lead me an d what the result will ,

be if I once begin to answer them When your husband w a s .

h ere t o day he took occasion to remin d me that I was as


,

weak as w ater in the hands of a pretty wom an He i s quite .

r i ght. I a m as weak as water ; I can ref use nothing to a


pretty wom a n Dear and a dmirable la dy don t abuse your i n
.
,

u en c e don t make an old soldier f alse to his word of honour


I tried to say somethi n g here in de f ence of my motives .

Th e Major clasped his hands entreatingly and looked at m e ,

w ith a pleadi ng simplicity wonderful to see .


Why p r e ss it ? he asked I o ff er no r esi sta nce I am
a l ambwh
. .

sac r i c e me ? I ackn o wle dg e yo ur o w r I


y p e ;
TI I E LA W AND TH E LA D Y
'
68 .

throw myself on your mercy All the mis fortun es of my .

youth and my m anhood have come to me through w omen I .

am not a bit better in my a g eI am j ust as fond of the


women an d j ust as ready to be misled by them as ever with
, ,

on e f oot in the grave Shocking isn t it ? B ut h o w tr ue !



.
,

Look at this m ark He lif ted a curl of his beauti f ul brown


.

wig and showed me a terrible sc a r at the side of his head


,
.

Th at woun d (suppose d to be mortal at the time) was made


by a pistol bullet he proceeded Not received in the ser vice
,

.

o f my country oh dear n o ! R eceived in the ser vice of a


,

much inj ured la dy at the hands of her scoundrel of a h u sban d


-

, ,

in a duel abroad Well she was worth it 1 He kissed hi s


.
,

h a nd a ec t i onat el y to the memo r y of the dead or absent ,


la dy an d pointe d to a water colour drawing of a pretty


,
.
-

country house h angi n g on the opposite wall


,
That ne .

estate he procee de d once belo n ged to me It was sol d


,

,

.

years and ye ars since And w h o had the money ? Th e .

w om en God bless them all the women I don t regret


r
.


it I I h ad another est ate I have no doubt it would go the
. .
,

same way Your adorable sex has m ade its pretty playthings
.

o f my li f e my time and my money and welcome


, Th e one
,

thing I have kept to mysel f is my honour And now tha t , .


,

is in d anger ! Yes ; i f you put your clever little questions,


w ith those lovely eyes and w ith th at gentle voice I know ,

w hat will happen You will deprive me of the last and best
of all my possessions H ave I deserved to be treated in that .

way and by you my ch arming friend ? by you of all people ,

in the world ? O h e e ! ,

He paused and looked at me as before the picture of


,

artless entreaty with his head a lit t le on on e side I m ade


, .

another attempt to speak of the matter in dispute between u s ,

from my own point of view M aj or Fit z David instantly thre w .


-

himsel f pro s trate on my mercy more innocently than ever .


Ask of me an ything else in the wide world he said but ,

don t ask me t o be fal s e t o my friend Spare me tha t and



-
.
TH E DEFEA T OF TH E M A yOR
'

. 69

there i s nothing I will not do to satis fy you I mea n what .


I say mind ! he went on bending closer to m e and speak
, , ,

ing more seriously than he had spoken yet


I think y ou .

are very hardly used It is monstrous to xpect that a


.
e .

woman placed in your situat ion will consent to be lef t f or


the rest o f her li f e in the dark No ! no ! i f I saw you at .
,

this moment on the point of nding ou t for yourself what


,

Eustace persists in hiding from you I should remember that ,

my promise like all other promises has its limits and reserves
, , .

I s hould consider myself bound in honour not to help you


but I would not l i f t a nger to prevent you from discovering

the truth f or yourself .

At last he was s peaking in good earnest he laid a s trong


emphas i s on his closing words I laid a stro n ger emphasi s .

o n the m still by s uddenly le a ving my ch a ir


, Th e impulse to .

spring t o my f eet w as irresistible Major Fit z David had .


-

started a new idea in my head .

Now w e understand each other ! I s ai d


I will accept
.

your ow n terms Major I wil l ask nothing of you but what


, .

you have j ust o ff ered to m e of your ow n accord .


What have I o ff ered ? he inquired looking a little
,

alarmed .

"

Nothing that yo u need r epent of I answered ; nothing ,

which it is not easy for you to grant May I ask a bold .

''
question ? S uppose this house were mine instead o f yours l
Consider it yours cried the gallant ol d gentleman Fro m
,

.

the garrets to the kitchen consider it yours ,



A thousand thanks Maj or ; I will consider it mine f or
, ,

the moment You know everybody knows that on e of a


. .

woman s many weaknes s es is curiosity S uppose my curiosity



.


led me to examine everythi ng in my new house 1
Yes 2

S uppose
I went from room to room and searched every ,

t hing and peeped in every w here ? D o you th i nk there w oul d


b e any chance4
,

70 TH E L A W AND TH E LAD Y .

Th e quick witted Maj or anticipated the nature of my qr es


- ~

tion He foll owed my example he too, s tarted to hi s f eet


.
, ,

w i t h a new ide a in hi s mind .


Would there be any chance I went on, of my nding my ,

o w n way to m y husban d s secret in this house ? O ne wo r d


of reply Maj or Fit z David !


, O nly on e word Yes or N o ,

Don t excite yoursel f cried the Maj or



.


Yes or No ,
I repeated more vehemently than ever ,
.

Yes said the M aj or a fter a moment s consideration



, .

It was the reply I h ad asked for ; but it was not explicit


enou gh now I h a d g o t i t to satisf y me I felt the necessity .

of leading him (if possible) into details .



Does Yes mean that there i s some sort o f clue to the

my stery ? I asked
S omething f or instance which my
.
, ,

eyes might see and my hands might touch i f I could onl y


, ,

nd it ?

He considered ag ain I saw that I had succeeded in .

interesting him in some way unknown to mysel f ; and I


,

waited p atiently until he was prep ared to a n swer me .

Th e thing you m ention he said ; the clue (as you call



,

it) might be s een and might be touchedsupposing you could



nd it .

In this h ouse ? I asked


.

Th e M aj or advanc ed a step n eare r t o me, and answered,



In this room .

My head beg an to swim my heart throbbed violently I .

tried to speak ; it was in vain ; the e ff ort almost choked me .

In the silence I coul d he a r the music lesson still going on in


,

the room above The f uture prim a donna had done practising
.
-

her scales and was trying her voice n ow in selections f rom


,

Itali a n opera s At the moment when I rst heard her she


.
,

was sing ing the lovely air f rom the S on n a m bu l a Come per ,

me sereno I never hear that delicious melody to this day



.
, ,

without being inst antly transported in imagination to the f at al


back room in Vivian Place
TH E DEFEA T OF TH E M A ? OR .
71

Th e M aj orstro n gly aff ected himself by this t i me w as ,

the rst to br eak the silence .

S i t down ag ai n he s ai d ; and pray take the easy chair


,

.

You are very much agitated you want rest



.

He was right I coul d stan d no lo n ger ; I dropped into


.

the chair M ajor Fitz David ra n g the bell and spoke a f ew


.
-

words to the servant at the door .

I ha ve been here a long time I said faintly Tell me ,



, .

if I am in the w ay .

In the w ay ? he repeated with hi s irresistible s mil e



,
.

You forget that you are in your ow n house !

Th e servant returned to us bringing with hi m a tiny bottl e ,

of champagne and a plate full of delicate little sugar ed


,
-

biscuits .

I have had this wine bottled expressly f or the ladie s


s aid the Maj or Th e biscuits come to me direct f rom P ar i s
.
.

As a f avour to m e you must take some re f reshment An d .

t hen he stopped a nd looked at me very attentively


,
.

And then he resumed shall I go to my young prima


, ,
donn a
upstairs and leave you here alon e ?
,

It was impossible to hint more delicately at the one requ est


which I now had it in my mind to m ake to him I took his .

hand and pressed it grate f ully .

Th e tranquilli ty of my whole lif e to come is at stake I



,

said . When I am lef t here by myself does your generous ,



sympathy permit me to ex amine everythi ng in the room ?

He signed to me to drink the champagne and to eat a ,

biscuit bef ore he gave hi s answer


, .

Thi s is serious he said




I wish you to be in per fect
, .

possession of your s el f R estore your strength and then I


.

w ill speak to you



.

I di d as he bade me In a minute f rom the time when I .

drank it, the deli cious sparkling wine had begun to revive me .

Is it your express w ish, he resumed that I should leave


,

you here by y ours elf, to s ear ch the r oom ?



~
u

72 TH E LA IV AND TH E LAD Y .
v
l

It is my express wish I an swered ,



.


I take a heavy responsibility on mysel f In g ranting your
r equest But I grant it f or all that beca use I sincerely
.
,

believe as you believe that the tranquill ity of your li f e to



come depends on your discoveri n g the truth Saying those .

w ords he took two keys f rom his pocket


,
You will n aturally ,

f eel a suspicion he went on of any locked doors that you



, ,

may nd here Th e o nly locked places in the room are the


.

doors of the c u pboards un der the l ong bookcase and the door ,

of the Itali an cabinet in th a t corner Th e small key opens .

the bookcase cupboards the lon g key open s the cabinet



door .

With that explanation he laid the key s before me on the ,

table .

Thus far he s ai d I have rigidly respected the promise



, ,

which I made to your husband I shall continue to b e .


f ai t h f ul to my promise whatever may be the result of your ,

examination of the room I am bound in honour not to .

assist you by w ord or deed I am not even at liberty to


,
.

o ff er you the slightest hint Is that understood ? .




Certainly !

V ery good I have now a l a st word of w arni n g to give
.

you and then I h ave done I f you do by an y ch ance su c .

c eed in laying yo u r han d on the clue remember this t he ,

di sc over y w hi ch f ol l ow s w i l l be a ter r i bl e on e I f you have .

any doubt about your capacity to sustain a shock w hich will


strike you to the soul f or God s sake give u p the idea of n d
,


ing ou t your husband s secret at once an d f or ever ,


I thank you for your war n ing M ajor I must f ac e , .

the consequence s of making the discovery wh atever they ,

may be .

You are po s itively re s olved !


Positively .


V ery well Take any time you plea se
. Th e house and .
,

every pe rs on i n it, is at your disposal Ring the bell once, .


TH E SEA R CH .
73

if you want the man servant R i n g t wice if you wish the .


,

housemai d to wait on you From time to time I shal l jus t .


,

look in myself to see how you are goi n g on I a m responsible .

for your com f ort an d securi t y you know whi le you honour , ,

me by rem aini n g un der my roof .

He l i f ted my hand t o his lips and xed a l a st attentive ,

l ook on me . .
i

I hope I am not run ni ng too great a risk he said more ,


to himself than to me Th e women have led me into m an y


.

a rash action in my time Have you led me I wonder in t o


.
, ,

the rashest action of all ?
With those ominous last word s he bo w ed gravely an d ,

me alone in the room .

CHAP TER X .

THE SEAR C H.

TH E re burning in the grate was not a very l a rge on e an d


,

the outer air (as I had noticed on my w ay to the house ) had


somethi n g o f a wintry sharpness in it that day .

S till my rst f eeling when M aj or Fitz D a vid lef t me was


,
-

a f eeli ng of he at and oppression with its n atural result a ,

di fculty of bre athi ng f reely Th e n er vous agitation of the


.

time was I suppose answerable f or these sens a t ions I took


, , .

off my bonnet and m a ntle and gloves and opened the win do w ,

f or a little while Nothi n g was to be seen outside but a


.

paved courtyard (with a skylight in the middle ) closed at ,

the farther end by the wall of the Maj or s stables A f e w


.

minutes at the window cooled an d ref reshed me I shut it .

down again and took my rst step on the w ay to discovery


, .

In other words I began my rst examination of the four wall s


,

r oun d me and of all that they enclose d


,
.
TH E LA W Az VD TH E L AD Y
'

74 .

I was am az ed at my own calmness My i nterview w ith .

M ajor Fit z D avi d h ad perh aps exhausted my capacity for


-

, ,

feeling any strong emotionf or the time at le a st It was .

a relief to me to be alone it was a relief to me to begin t h e


search Those were my only sensations so f ar
.
, .

Th e sh ape of the room was oblong Of the two sh orter .

walls on e contained the door in grooves which I have alre ady


,

mentioned as communicating wi t h the front room the other


was al most entirely occupied by the broad window w hi ch
looked ou t on the courtyard .

Tak i n g the door w ay wall rst what was there in the , ,

shape of furniture on either side of it ? There was a


,

c ard t able on either side


-
Above each c ard table stood .
-

a m agnicent china bowl placed on a gilt and ca rved bracke t


,

xed to the wall .

I O pene d the c ar d t abl es Th e drawers beneath contained


~
.

n othing but cards an d the usu al counters an d m a rkers


, With .

the exception o f on e p a ck the c a rds in bo t h tables were still


,

wrapped in their paper covers ex actly as they h ad come f ro m


the shop I examined the loose pack c ard by c ard No
.
, .

writing no m ark of any kin d was visible on any on e of


th em Assisted by a library l a d der which stoo d ag ainst the
.

bookc ase I looked next into the two china bowls Both
,
.

were per fectly empty Was there an ythin g more to examine


.

o n th a t si de of t h e room ? I n the two corners there were


t w o little chairs of inlaid wood with red silk cushi ons I ,
.

turne d them up and looked under the cushions ; and still I


,

m ade n o discoveries When I h ad put the ch a irs back in


.

their places my search on on e si de o f the room was complete


,
.

S o f a r I h a d f oun d nothing
,
.

I crossed to the opposite wall the wall which contained


the windo w .

Th e window (occupying as I have said almost the entire , ,

length an d height of the wall) was divided into three com


par t ment s and was adorned at eithe r ext remity by hand s om e
,
TH E SEA R CH .
75

curt ain s of dark red velvet Th e ample heavy f olds of t h e


.
,

velvet le f t just room at the two corners of the wall f or two


, ,

antique upright cabinets in buh l containing rows of drawers,


and su pporti n g two ne bron z e reproduction s (reduced in
si z e) of the Venus Milo and the Venus Callipyge I h ad .

Major Fitz David s permission to do just w hat I pleased I


-

.

opened the six drawers in each cabinet and examined their ,

conten t s w ithout hesitation .

Beginning with the cabinet i n the right h and corn er my ,

investi g ations were soon completed All the six dra w ers were .

alike occupied by a col lection of fossil s whi ch (j udging by ,

the curious paper inscriptions xed on some of them ) were


associated wi t h a past period of the Major s li fe when h e

had speculated not very success f ull y in mines Af ter satis fy


, , .

ing mysel f that the drawers contained nothing but the fossils
an d their inscriptions I turned to the cabinet i n the le f t hand
,

c orner next .

Here a variety of obj ects was revealed to view ; and the


,

examination a ccor dingly occupied a much longer time .

Th e top drawer contained a complete collection of car



p e n t er s tools in miniature
; relics probably of the far distant
, ,

time when the M aj or was a boy and when parents or friend s ,

had made him a present of a set of toy to ols Th e second -


.

drawer was lled w ith toys of another sor t presents ma de


to M aj or Fi t z David by his f air f riends Embroidered braces
-

.
,

smart smoking caps quaint pincushions gorgeous slippers


-

, , ,

gli t teri n g purses all bore wi t ness to the popularity o f the


,

f riend of the women Th e contents of the third dra wer were


.

of a less interesting so rt the entire sp a ce w as lled with old


account book s ran gi n g over a period of many y ears A f t er
,
.

looking into e a ch boo k and opening and sh aki ng it usel essly


, ,

in search of any loose papers which might be hi dden between


the lea ves, I came to the f ourth drawer an d f ound more relics ,

of past pecuniary transactions in the sh ape of receipted bill s ,

n eatly tied together, and each in s cribed at the back Among .


76 TH E LA IV AND TH E L AD Y .

the bills I fou n d nearly a do z en loose papers all equally


, ,

unimportant Th e f th drawer was in sad con fusion I took


. .

out rst a loose bundle of orn amental cards each containin g ,

the list of dishes a t past b anquets given or attended by the , ,

Maj or in London and Paris n ext a box f ull of delicately


, ,

tinted quill pens (eviden t ly a lady s gi f t) next a qu antity


,

of ol d invitation cards n ext some dog s eared French plays



-

and books of the O pera ne x t a pocket corkscrew, a bundle ,


-

of c i garettes and a bunch of rusty keys lastly a passport


, , ,

a set of l u gg age labels a broken si lver s nuff box two cigar ,


-

cases and a torn map of R ome


, Nothing anywhere to .


interest m e I thought as I closed the fth, and opened the
, ,

sixth and last drawer


, , .

Th e sixth drawer was at once a surprise and a d i s appoin t


ment It literally contained nothi ng but the fragments of a
.

broken vase .

I was sitting at the time opposite to the cabinet in a low


, , ,

chair In the momentary irr itation caused by my discove ry


.

o f the e m p t iness of the last drawer I had just li f ted my ,

f oot to push it back into its place when the door com
mu n i ca t i ng with the hall opened ; and Maj or Fit z David -

stood be f ore me .

His eyes after rst meeti n g mine travelled downwards t o


, ,

m y foot Th e instant he noticed the open drawer I sa w a


.
,

change in his face It was only for a moment ; but in that.


,

moment he look ed at m e with a sudden suspicion and sur


,

prise looked as i f he h ad caught me with my han d on the clue .


Pray don t let me disturb you he sai d

I have only ,

.


looked in f or a moment to ask you a question .

What is it Maj or ? ,

Have you met with any letters of mine in the course of ,

your investigations ?

1 have f ound none yet I answered I f I do discover



.
,

an y lette rs, I shall o f cours e not take the liberty of examining

t hem

.
TH }; SEA R Cl }! 77



I want ed t o s peak to you about that he rejoined It only ,
.

s tr uck me a moment since upstairs that my letters might


, ,

e mbarrass you In your pl ace I should f eel some distrust of


.
,

anything whi ch I was not a t l iberty t o examine I think .

I can set this matter right however wi th very little trouble


, ,

to either of us It is no violation of any promises or


.

pledges on my part i f I simply tell you that my letters will


,

not assist the discovery which you are trying to make You .

can saf ely pass them over as objects that are not worth
.

examining from your point of vie w You under s tand me I .


,

am sure ?
I am much ob liged to you Major I quite unders tand
, .

Are you f eeli ng any f at igue ?


None w hatever th ank you
.


And you still hope to succeed ? You are n ot beginning to

be discouraged already ?

I am not in the least discourag ed With your kind leave,
I mean to persevere for s ome time yet

.

I had not close d the drawer o f the cabin et w hile we were ,

talking ; and I glanced carelessly as I answered him at t h e , ,

fragments of the broken vase By this time he h ad got h i s


.

f eelings under perf ect command He t oo glanced at t h e .


, ,

fragments of the vase with an ap pearance of perf ect i a


,

di ff erence I remembered the look of suspicion and surprise


.

that had escaped hi m on entering the room ; and I tho ught


his in diff erence a l ittle over acted -
.

Tha t doesn t look very encouraging, he said w ith a


smile ,pointing to the shattered pieces of china in t h e


drawer .


Appearance s are not alway s t o be trusted I replied ,

.


Th e wisest thing I can do in my present s ituation i s t o
, ,

su spect everythingeven do w n to a broken vase



.

I l ooked hard at him as I s poke He changed the s ubj ect . .

D oes the music upstair s annoy you he asked .


N01; i n t h e leas t, Maj or .

78 TH E LA W AND TH E LA D Y .

It will s oon be over now The sin gi n g maste r is g oing ; .

and the Italian master has just arrived I am sparing no .

pains to make my young prima donna a most accompli shed -

person I n learni n g to si n g she must also learn the lan guage


.
,

w hich is especially the language of music I sh all perfect .

her in t h e accent when I tak e her to Italy It is the height .

of my ambition t o have her mistaken f or an It alian when she

sings in public Is there anythi ng I can do be f ore I leav e


'

y ou again ? May I send you some more champagne ? Please


s ay yes 1
A thousand thanks Maj or No more champ agne for the

, .

present .

He turned at the door to kis s his hand to me at parting .

At the same moment I sa w his eyes wan der slily towards the
bookcase It was only f or an instant I had barely detected
. .

hi m be f ore he was ou t of t h e room .

Le f t by m ysel f again I looked at the bookcas e ,


looked at
5t atten t ively for the rst time .

It was a handsome piece of f urniture in ancient carved


oak and it stood ag ainst the wall which ran p a rallel with the
hall of the house Excepting the space occupie d in the
.
,

upper corner of the room by the second door which O pene d ,

into the hall the bookcase ll ed the w hole length of the wall
,

down to the window Th e top was ornamented by vases


.
,

candelabra and s tatuettes in pairs placed in a row Look


, , ,
.

ing along the row I noticed a va cant space on the top of the
,

bookcase at the extremity of it which was nearest to the


,

w indow Th e oppo s ite extremity nearest to the door w a s


.
, ,

occupied by a handsome painted vase of a very pecul iar


pattern Where was the corresponding vase w h ich ought t o
.
,

have been placed at the corre sponding extremity of the book s

case ? I returned to the open sixth drawer of the cabine t,


an d looked in again There was n o mistaking the patter n
.

on the fragments when I examined them n ow Th e vas e


,
.

w h ich h ad been b rok en w a s t h e vas e w hi ch had s tood i n t h e


TH E SEA R CHI 79

p lace now vacant on the top of the bookcase at the end n earest ,

to the window .

M aking this discovery I took out the fragments down to


, ,

the sm allest morsel of the s h attered china and examined them ,

c aref ully on e af t er another .

I was too ignorant of the subject to be able to esti m ate the


val ue of the va se or the antiqui t y of the va se or even to
,

know whether it w as of British or of f oreign manuf a cture .

Th e ground was of a delicate cre a m colour Th e ornaments


-
.

traced on this were wre aths of owers and cupids surround ,

ing a me dall ion on either side of the vase U pon the space .

wi t hin on e of the m edallions was p ainted with exquisite


delicacy a woman s head representing a nymph or a goddess

.
,

or perh a ps a portrait of some celebr a ted perso n I w a s not

learned enough to say which Th e o t h er med al lion enclosed


.

the head of a man also treated in the cla ssical s tyle Re


, .

c l i n i ng shepherds and shepherdesses in Watt eau costume , ,

w ith their dogs an d their sheep f o r med t h e a dornments of


,

the pedestal S uch h ad the vase been in the days of its


.

prosperi t y when it stood on the t op of the bookcase By


, .

what accident h a d it become broken ? An d why h ad Major


Fit z David s f ace ch anged when he f oun d that I h ad di s
-

covered the remain s of hi s shattered work of Art in the


cabinet drawer ?
Th e rem ai ns le ft those serious questions unan s wered the
remains told m e absolutely nothing And yet i f my ow n .
,

observation of the M ajor was t o be trusted the way to the ,

clue of whi ch I was in search lay direc t l y or indirectly


,

through the broken vase


It was useless to pursue the question knowing n o more ,

than I kne w now I returned to t h c bookcase


. .

Thus far I had assumed (without any sufcient reason ) that


,

t h e cl ue of which I was in search must necess a rily reveal itself


t h r ough a w r itte n paper of some sort It now occurred to
rue
.

aft er the movement w hich I had detected on the part of


80 TII E LA l V AND TH E L AD Y .

the Majorthat the clue might q uite a s probably pr e s en t


itsel f in the form of a book .

I looked along the lower rows of shelve s ; stan di ng just


near enough t o them to read the titles on the backs of the
volumes I saw Voltaire in red morocco ; Sh akespeare in
.

blue ; Walter S cott in green the History of England in


brown the Annual R egister in yell ow c al f There I pause d .
,

w earied and di scou raged already by the long rows of volu m es .

How (I thou ght to myself) am I to examine all these


books ? And what am I to look for even if I do examine ,

them all ?
Maj or Fit z David had spoken of a terrible mis fortun e which
-

had darkened my husband s past l i fe In w hat possible way



.

could any trace of that misf ortun e or any suggestive h int of


,

something rese m bling it exist in the archives of the Annual


,

R egister or in the page s of Voltaire ? Th e b a re idea of such


,

a thing seemed absurd Th e mere attempt to m ake a serious


.

examination in this direction was surely a wanton waste of


time ?
And yet the Maj or had certainly s tolen a look at the book
,

case And again the broken vase had once stood on the
.
,

bookcase Did these circumstances j usti fy me in connecting


.

the vase and the bookcase as twin landmark s on the way that
led to discovery ? The question w as not an easy on e to
decide on the spur of the moment .

I looked u p at the higher shelve s .

Here the collection of books exhibited a gr eater variety .

Th e volumes were smaller and were n ot so care f ully arranged


'

a s on the lower s helves S ome were bound in cloth ; some


.

were only protected by paper covers O ne or two had fallen .


,

and lay at on the shelves Here and there I saw empty.

s paces f ro m which books had been removed and n ot replaced .

In short there was no discouraging uni formi ty in these higher


,

r egions of the bookcase Th e untidy top s helves looke d


.

sugge s tive of so me lu c k y accident w hich mi ht u n ex ecte dl


g p y

7 7 1E SEAR CH . 8!

lead the way t o su cc ess I decided if I di d ex amine the


.
,

bookcase at all to begin at the t op


,
.

Where was the librar y ladder ?


I had le ft it against the partition wall which divided the
back room from the room in front L ooking that way I .
,

necessarily looked also towards the door that ran in grooves


the imperfectly closed door through w hi ch I had heard Major
-

Fitz David question his servant on the subj ect of my personal


-

a ppearance when I rst entered the house N0 one had


, .

moved this door during the time of my visit Everybody


, .

enterin g or leaving the room had used the other door whi ch
l ed into the hall .

At the moment when I looked round somethi ng stirred in ,

the front room The movement let the light in suddenl y


.

through the small O pen space left by the partiall y closed door -
.

H a d somebody been watchi ng me through the chink ? I


stepped softly to the door and pushed it back until it was
,

wide open T here was the Major discovered in the front


.
,

room ! I saw it in his face h e had been watching me at the


bookcase
Hi s hat was in hi s hand He was evidently going out 3 and
.

h e de xterously took advantage o f that circumstance to give a

plausible re ason for being so near the door .

I hope I di dn t frighten you he said




, .

You startled me a l ittle Major , .



1 am so sorry and so ashamed ! I was just going t o open
,

the door and tell you that I am obliged to go ou t I have


, .

r eceived a pressing message from a lady A charming per .

son I sho ul d so l ike you to kno w her S he is in sad


trouble poor thing L ittle b i l ls you kno w and nasty trades
, .
, ,

people who want their money and a husband oh dear me , , ,

a husband w h o is quite un w orthy of her A most interesting


c reatu re . Y ou remind me of her a little you both have the
same c arriage of the head I shall not b e more than hal f an
.
-

h o ur g o ne Can I do any thing for you ? You ar e l ooki ng


.

G
82 TJYE LA W AND TH E L AD Y .

fatig ued .P ray let me s end f or some more champagne



N o ? Promise to ring when you want it T hat 3 right Au .

r evoz r my charming friend a w r evoz r


' '

I pul led the door to again the moment h i s b ack was


,

t urned 3 and sat down for awhile to compose mysel f .

He had been watching me at the bookcase The man who


was in my husband s condence the man who kne w where

,

t h e clue was to be found had been watchi ng me at the


,

bookcase ! T here w as n o doubt of it now Major Fit z .

David had shown me the hi ding place of the secret, in spite


-

of himsel f !

I looked with indiff eren c e at the other pieces of furniture ,

ranged against the fourth wall whi c h I had not examined y et


, .

I surveyed w ithout the sli ghtest feeli ng of curiosity all the


, ,

little eleg ant t ri es scattered on the tables and on t h e


chimney piece 3 each on e of which might have been an obj ec t
-

of suspicion to me under other circumstances Even t h e .

water colour drawings failed to interest me in my present


-

frame o f mind I observed la n guidly that they were most of


.

them portraits of ladies fair idols no doubt, o f the Maj or s ,


facile adoration and I cared to notice no more M y busi .

n ess in that room (I was certain of it now !) began and


ended with the bookcase I left my seat to fetch the library
.

ladder 3 determining t o begin the work of investigation on the


top shelves .

O n my way t o the ladder I passed one of the tables and ,

saw the keys lying on it which Maj or Fit z David had le ft at -

my disposal .

T he smaller of the two keys instantly reminded me of the


c upboards u nder the bookcase I had strangely overlooked
.

these A vague distrust of the locked doors a v ague doub t


.
,

of what they might be hidi n g from me stole into my mind , .

I le ft the ladder in its place against the wa l l and set mysel f ,

t o examine the contents o f the cupboards rst .

The cupboards were three in number As I opened t h e .


TH E S EA ) ? CH . 8;

rst of them, the singing u pstairs ceased For a mom ent .

there was something almost oppressive in the sudden change


from noise to silence I suppose my nerves must have been
.

over w rought T he n ext sound in the house nothing more


-
.


remarkable than the creaking o f a man s boots descendin g ,

the stair s made me shudder all over The man was no .

doubt the si n ging master going away after giving his lesson
, .

I heard the house door c lose on him and started at the


f amiliar sound as i f it was something terrible which I had
never heard before ! T hen there was silence again I roused .

mysel f as well as I could and began my examination of the


,

rst cupboard .

I t was divided into t w o compartments .

The top c ompartment contained nothing but boxes of


cigars ran ged in rows on e on another T he under compart
, .

ment was devoted to a collection of shells T hey were all .

hu ddled together anyho w the Maj or evidently setti n g a far


higher value on his cigars than on his shells I s earched this .

l o w er compart m ent care fully for any object interesting to me


which might be hi dden in it N othing was to be found in
"

any part of it besides the shells


,
.

As I opened the second c u pboard it struck me that the ,

l ight was beginni ng to fail .

I looked at the windo w It was hardly evenin g yet The


. .

darkening of the light was produced by gatherin g clouds .

R ain drops pattered against the glass 3 the autumn wind


-

whistled mourn ful ly in the corners of the courtyard I .

mended the re be fore I rene w ed my search My ner ves .

were in fault again I suppose I shivered when I went back


,
.

to the bookcase My hands trembled I wondered what w as


.

the matter with me .

The second cupboard revealed (in the upper division of it)


som e really beauti ful cameos 3 not mounted but laid on cotton ,

wool in neat cardboard trays In on e corner hal f hidd en


, .
,

u nder one o f the trays there peep ed ou t the white leaves o f a


,
84 TH E LA IV AND TH E L AD Y .

l ittle manuscri pt The manuscript proved to be a des c riptive


.

catalogue o f the cameos nothing more ~

T urning to the lo w er di vision of the cupboard I found ,

more costly curiosities in the shape of i t ory carvings from


,

J apan and specimens of rare silk from Chi na I bega n to


,
.

'
feel weary of disinterring the Major s treasures The lo nger .

I searched the farther I seemed to remove mysel f from the


,

on e object that I had it at heart to attain After closing the .

door of the second cupboard I al most doubted whether it ,

would be worth my while t o proceed farther, and open the


third and last door .

A little reection convinced me that it would be as well ,

n o w that I had begun my examination of the lower regions

of the bookcase to go on with it t o the end I opened the


, .

last cupboard .

O n the upper shel f there appeared , in s olitary grandeu r,


on e obj ect only a gorgeously bound book -
.

I t was of a larger si z e than usual j udging of it b y c om ,

parison with the dimensions of modern volumes The .

bindi ng was of blue velvet with clasps of silver worked in ,

beautiful arabesque pa tterns and with a lock of the same ,

p r ecious metal to protect the book from pry ing e y es W he n .

I took it up I found that the l ook was not closed


,
.

Had I any right to take advantage of this a cc ident an d ,

open the book ? I have put the question since to some of , ,

my friends of both se x es The women all agree that I w as


, .

per fectly j u st i ed considering the serious interests that I


had at stake i n taki n g any advantage of any book in t h e
Major s house The m en differ from this view and declare

.
,

that I ought to have put back the volume in blue velvet u n ,


opened 3 care fully guarding mysel f from any aft er temptation -

to look at it again by locking the c upboard door I dare say


, .

the men are right .

Being a woman how ever, I opened the book, without a


,

mome n t s hesitation

.
TH E SEAR CH . 85

Th e leaves were of the nest vell um wi tn taste fully ,

designed ill uminations all round them An d what di d these .

highly orn amented pages contain ? T o my u nutterable


ama z ement an d disgust they contained lock s of hair let
,

neatl y into the centre o f each page with inscriptions


,

beneath which prov ed t h em to be love tokens from various


,
'

la dies who had touched the Major s susceptible heart at


,

di fferent periods of his li fe The ins criptions were writte n


.

in other languages besides English 3 but they appeared t o be


equally devoted t o the same curious purpose namely t o ,

r emindi n g the Major of the dates at which his various attach

ments had come to an untimely end Thus the rst page .


,

exhibited a lock of the lightest ax en hair with these line s ,

beneath : My adored Madeline Eternal constancy Alas



. .

J uly 22nd 1 8 39 l
,
The next page was adorned by a darker
shade of hair with a French inscription under it : Cl mence
, .

m
Idole de m on am e T ouj ours del e Hlas : 2
. Avril .
o
,

1 8 40 A l ook o f red hair followed with a lamentation in


L atin under it 3 a note bei n g attached to the date of dissol u
tion of partnership in this case stating that the lady w as
, ,

descended fro m the ancient R omans and was there fore ,

m ourned appropriately in L atin by her devoted Fi ta Davi d .

More shades of hair and more inscri ptions followed until I


, ,

was weary of looking at them I put down the book dis


.

gusted with the creatures who had assisted in lling i t and


then took it up again by an after thou ght Thus far I had
,
-
.
,

thoroughly searched everything that had presented itsel f to


my notice .Agreeable or not agreeable , it was plainly of
serious importance to my o w n interests to go on as I had

begun and thoroughly to search the book


,
.

I turned over the pages until I came t o the rst blank leaf .

S eein g that they were all blank leaves from this place to t he
en d I li fted the volume by the back and as a last measure of
, , ,

precaution shook it so as to dislodge any loose papers or ca rds


,

whi ch mi ght have es c aped my noti ce b etween the leaves .


86 TH E LA IV AN D TH E LA D V .

Th is time my patience was rewarded b y a di s c overy whi ch


,

indescribably irritated and distressed me .

A small photograph mounted on a card fell ou t of the


, ,

book A rst glance showed me t hat it represented the per


.

traits of two persons .

O ne of the persons I recognised as my husband .

The other person was a woman .

Her face was enti rely u nknown to me S he was not .

y ou n g T he picture represented her seated on a chai r with


.
,

my husband standin g behind and bending over her holding , ,

on e of her hands in his Th e woman s face was hard featured


-
.

and u gly with the marking lines of strong passions an d


,

resolute self wi l l plainly wri tten on it S till ugly as she was


-
.
, ,

I felt a pang of j ealousy as I noticed the familiarly a ff ectionat e -

a ction by w hi ch the artist


(with the permission o f his sitters ,

)
o f course had connected the two gures in a group Eustace .

had briey told me in the days o f our courtship that he had


, ,

more than once fancied himsel f to be in love before he met ,

with me Could this very unattra ctive woman have been on e


.

of the objects of hi s admi ration ? Had she been near enough


an d dear eno u gh t o him t o be photographed with her hand
,

i n his ! I looked and looked at the portraits unti l I co uld ,

endure them no longer Women are strange creatures 3 mys


.

t er i es even to themselves I threw the photograph fro m me


.

into a corner of the cupboard I was savagely a n g ry with .

my husband 3 I hated yes hated with all my heart and ,

soul -
the woman who had got h i s hand in hers 3 the un
known woman with the sel f will ed hard featured face - -
.

All thi s time the lower shel f of the c upboard was still wai t
i ng t o be looked over .

I knelt down to examine i t eager to clear my mind if ,

I could, of the degrading j ealousy that had got possession


of me .

Un fortunately the lower shelf contai ned nothing but reli cs


of the Maj or s military l i fe 3 c omprisi n g h i s sword and pistols,

THE SEAR CH . 87

hi s epaul ettes hi s sash and other minor accou trements


, , .

N one of t h ese obj ec t s excited the slightest interest in m e


~
.

My eyes wandered ba ck to the upper shel f 3 and l ike t h e ,

fool I was (there is no milder word that can t l y des c rib e me


at that moment) I took the photograph ou t again an d en
, ,

raged myself uselessly by another look at it T his time I .

observed what I had n ot noticed be fore that th ere were some


, ,

lines of writing (in a woman s hand) at the ba ck of the per

traits The lines ran thus


.

T o Major Fit z David, with t w o vases F rom h i s f ri end s


-
.


S and E M
. . .

Was on e of those t w o vases the vase that had been broken ?



An d w as the c hange that I had noticed in Maj or Fit z David s -

face produced by some past association in connexion with it ,

which in some way aff ected me It might or might not be


so I was little disposed to indulge in speculatio n on thi s
.

topic while the far more serious question of the initials c on


,
~

fronted me on the back of the photograph .

S and E. T hose last two letters might stand f ol


.

the initials of my husband s name his true name Eustac e

Ma c al l an In this case the rst letter


. in all prob a
,

bili t y indicated h er name


,
What right had sh e to associate .

herself with hi m in that man n er ? I considered a l ittle m y


memory exerted itself I suddenly called to mind that
Eustace had sisters He had spoken of them more than
.

once in the time be fore our marriage Had I been mad


, .

enough to to rture mysel f with j ealousy of my husband s


sister ? It might well be so 3 S might stand for his sister s .


Christian name I felt heartily ashamed of myself as thi s


.
,

new vie w of the matter dawned on me What a wron g I .

had done to them both in my thoughts I turned the pho


,

t og raph sadly and penitently t o examine the portraits agai n


, ,

with a kinder an d truer appreciation of them .

I naturally looked now for a family likeness bet w een th e


t w o face s There w as n o family likeness : on the c ontrary,
.
88 THE LA IV AND TH E L AD Y .

they were a s unlike each other in for m and expre ssion as


faces could be Was sh e hi s sister after all ? I looked at
.

her hands as represented in the portrait Her right hand


,
.

was clasped by Eustace : her le ft hand lay on her lap On .

the third ng er distin c tly visiblethere was a wedding


ring Were any of my husband s sisters married ? I had
.

mysel f asked him the question when he mentioned them


to me ; and I perfe c tly remembered that he had repli ed in
the negative .

Was it possible that my rst j ealous instin ct had l ed me


to t h e right conclusi on a fter all ? If it had what did t h e ,

association of the three initial letters mean ? What di d t h e


weddi n g ring mean ? Good Heavens ! was I looking at the
-

portrait of a rival in m y hu sband s aff ectionsand was that


r ival hi s Wi fe ?

I threw the photograph from me with a c ry of horror .

For on e terrible moment I felt as i f my reason was g iving


,
.

way I don t know what would have happenedor what I


.

sho uld have done next i f my love for Eustace had not
taken the uppermost place among the contending emotion s
that tortur ed me That faithful love steadied my brain
. .

That faithful love roused the reviving inuences of my


better and nobler sense Was the man whom I had en
.

shrined in my heart of hearts capable of such base wicked


ness as the bare idea of his marri age to another woman i m

plied ? N o mine was the baseness mine the wickedness,


,

i n having even for a moment thought it of him


I picked up the detestable photograph fro m the oor and ,

put it back i n the book I hast i ly closed the cupboard door


.
,

fetched the l ibrary ladder and set it against the bookcase


,
.

My on e idea now was the idea o f taki ng re fuge in employ


, ,

m ent of any sort from my ow n thoughts I felt the hateful .

suspicion that had degraded me coming back again in Spite

o f my e fforts to repel it The books ! the books ! my onl y


.

hope w as to ab sorb mysel f, body and and s o ul, in t h e booka


TH E S EA]? CH .
89

I h ad the ladder w hen I he ard the door


on e f oo t on ,

of t he r oom opent h e door whi c h c ommu nicated with the

hall .

I looked round expe c ting t o s ee the Major I saw i nstead ,


.

the Maj or s future prima donna standing j ust inside the door,
-

with her round ey es steadily xed on me .

I can stand a good deal the girl began coolly 3 but I


,

,

c an t stand th i s any longer

.

Wh at is it that you can t stand any longer ? I asked


.


If you have been here a minute you have been here ,

t w o good hours she went on Al l by yoursel f in the


,

.

,

Major s study I am of a j e al o us disposition I am An d I



. .

want t o kno w what it means S he advanced a few step s .


nearer to me with a heightening c olour and a threatenin g


,

look I s he going to bring you ou t on the stage ? sh e asked,


.

sharpl y .


Certainly not .

He ain t in love with you i s he ?


Under other c ircumstances I might have t old her to leave ,

the room In my position at that critical moment the mere


.
, ,

presence of a hum an creature was a positive reli e f to me .

Eve n this girl with her coarse questions an d her u ncultivated


,

manners was a welcome int r uder on my solitu d e she o ff ered


,

me a refuge from mysel f .

Y our question is not very civilly put I said Ho w ever ,



.
,

I excuse you You are probably not aware tha t I am a


.

married woman .


What has that got t o do with it ? sh e retorted Married

.
,

or si n gle it s all on e to the Maj or The bra z ed faced hussey


-
.
,

w h o call s hersel f Lady Clarinda is married and sh e send s


him nosegays three ti mes a week ! N ot that I care mi nd ,

y ou about the ol d fool But I ve lost my situation at the


, .

r ailway and I ve got m y o w n interests to lo ok after and I



, ,

don t know what may happen i f I let other women come
b etween him and me That s where the sho e pin ches don t

.
90 TH E LA W AND TH E LA D Y .

you see I m not easy in my mind wh en I see hi m lea ving


?

,

y ou mi stress here to do j ust wh at you l ike No o ff ence ! I .

speak ou t I do I want to know w hat you are about, all


.

by yoursel f in thi s room ? How did you pick up with the


,

Maj or ? I never heard h i m speak of y ou before t o day -


.

Under all the surface selshness and coarseness of thi s


stra nge girl there w as a certain frankness and freedom w hich
,

pleaded in her favour to my mind at any rate I answered .

frankly and freely on my side ,


.


Maj or Fi t a Davi d is an ol d friend of my husband s I

said 3 and he is kind t o me for my husband s sake He has


g iven me permission to look about in this room


I stopped at a loss how to describe my employment in
,

terms which shoul d tell her nothing and which should at the ,

same time success full y set her distrust of me at rest .

T o look about in thi s room f or what ? she asked Her


.

ey e fell on the library ladder beside w hi ch I was still stand ,

i ng . For a book ? she resumed


.

Yes I said taking the hint


,

, For a book . .

Haven t you found it yet ?




No .

'

i h e looked hard at me ; undisguisedly c onsiderin g with


hersel f whether I was or was not speaking the t ruth , ,
.

Y ou see m to be a good sort she said making up her m ind ,



,

at last .

There 8 nothing stuck u p about you I ll help you

-
.

i f I can I have rummaged among the books here over and


.

over again , and I know more about them than you do What .

book do you want ?


As sh e put that awkward question she noticed for the rs t ,

time L ady Clarinda s nosegay lying on t h e side tabl e where


the Maj or had le ft it Instant ly forgetting me and my book


.
,

this curious girl pounced like a fury on the owers and ,

actually trampled them under her feet



There she cried I f I had L ady Clarinda here, I d
.

serve her in the same way



.
TH E SEA R CH
'

.
91


What will the Major say ? I asked
.


What do I care ? D o you suppose I m a frai d of hi m ?

O nly last week I broke on e of his ne gimcracks u p there ,

and al l through L ady Clarinda and her owers


S he pointed to the top of the bookcase to the empty space
on it c lose by the windo w
, My heart gave a sudden bound
.
,

as my eyes took the direction indicated by her nger S h e .

had broken the vase ! Was the w ay to discovery about t o


reveal itself to me through this girl ? N ot a word would pass
my lips 3 I could only look at her .


Y es she said The thing stood there He knows how
. .

I hate her owers and he put her nosegay in the vase out of
,

my way There was a woman s face painted on the china ;


.

and he told me it was the l iving image o f h er face It was .

no more like her than I am I was in such a rage th at I up.

with the book I was reading at the time and shied it at the ,

painted face O ver the vase went bless your heartcrash to


.
,

the oor S top a bit ! I wonder whether tha t s t he book you


.

have been looking a fter ? Ar e y ou l ike me ? Do you l i ke


r eading T rials ?

Trial s ? Had I heard her aright ? Y es she had said Trials , .

I answered by an ai r m at i ve motion of my head I was .

still speechless The girl sauntered in her cool way to the


.

replace and taking up the tongs returned with them to the


, ,

bookcase .

Here s where the book fell sh e said i n the space



,

between the bookcase and the wall I ll have it out in no .



t i me .

I waited without moving a muscle without uttering a ,

word .

S he approached me with the ton gs in one han d and with


, ,

a plainly bound volume in the other


-
.


Is that the book ? sh e said O pen it and sec

.
, .

I took the book from her .



It s tremendously interestin g she w ent on
I ve r ead ,

.
92 TH E LA W AND TH E LA D Y .

it twi c e over I have . Mind you, I believ e he di d it a fter


,

\ ll .

Did it ? Did what ? What w as sh e t alking about ? I


tried to pu t the question to her I struggled quite vainly
.

to say only those words What are you talking about ?

S he seemed to lose all patience with me S he snatched .

the book ou t of my hand and ope n ed it before me on the


,

table by which we vver e standing side by side .

I declare you re as helpless as a baby



she said c on ,

t em pt u ousl y There ! I s that the book ?


.

I read the rst lines on the titl e page

A C OM P LETE R EP O RT O F
TH E T RI AL or

EU S T A C E M A CAL L A N
I stopped and looked up at her She started b ack from
, .

me w ith a scream of terror I looked down again at the


.

title page, and read the nex t lines


-

FOR THE A LL EG ED P O I S ON I N G
or

HI S WIFE .

T here G od s mercy remembered me


,

. There the bl ack
,

blank of a swoon swallowed me up .

C HAPTER XI .

THE R ETU R N TO L I FE .

MY F IR ST remembran c e , when I began to recover my senses,


was the remembrance of Pain agonising pain as if every ,

nerve in m y body was bei ng twiste d and torn ou t of me .


TII E RE TURN TO L I FE .
93

M y whole bei ng writhed and quivered under the dumb and


dreadful protest o f N ature against the e ff ort to recall me to
li fe I would have g iven worlds to be able to c ry ou t to
.

entreat t h e unseen c reatures about me to give me b ack to death .

How long that speechless agony held me I never knew In , .

a long er or a shorter ti m e there stole over me slowly a sleepy ,

sense of rel ie f I heard my o w n laboured breathing I felt


. .

my hands moving feebly and mechanically like the hands of


a baby I faintly opened my eyes aud looked round me as
.
,

i f I had passed through the ordeal of death, and had awakened


t o new senses in a n ew w orld
,
.

The rst person I sa w was a man a stranger He moved .

qu ietly ou t of my sight 3 beckoning as he di sappeared, to ,

some other person in the room .

S lowly and unwilli ngly the other person advanced t o the


,

so fa on which I lay A faint c ry o f j oy escaped me ; I tried


.

t o hold ou t m y feeble hands The other person w h o was


.

approachi ng me was my h u sband


I looked at him eagerly He never looked at me in r e
.

turn With his eyes on the ground with a strange appear


.
,

ance of con fusion and distress in his face he too moved , , ,

away out of my sight T he unknown man whom I had rst


.

noticed followed h i m ou t of the room


,
I called after hi m .

faintly Eustace ! He never answered 3 he never returned


,

.

With an e ff ort I moved my head on the p i ll ow so as to look ,

r ound on the other side of the sof a Another familiar fa c e .

appeared be fore me as if in a dream My good ol d Benjamin .

was sitti ng watching me with the tears in his eyes


, .

He r ose and took my hand silently i n his simple kindly , ,

way .


Where i s Eustac e ? I asked
Why h as he gon e away .

a n d le ft me ?

I was sti l l miserably weak My eyes wandered mechani c


.

all y round the room a s I put the question I saw Majo r .

F it z David
-
I saw the table on which the si nging girl h ad
.
-
94 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD Y .

opened the book to sho w it to me I sa w the girl hersel f . .

sitting alone in a corner with her han dkerchie f t o her eyes


,

as i f she was crying In one mysteri ous moment my memo ry


.

recovered its powers The recoll e ction of that fatal title


.

page came back to me in all its horror T he on e feeling that .

it roused in me now was a longing to see my husband t o


,

thro w myself into his arms and tell him how rmly I believed,

in h i s innocence h owtruly and de arly I loved hi m I sei z ed


, .

on Benjamin with feebl e trembling hands Bring h i m


, .


back to me ! I cried wildl y Where is he ? Help me t o
, .

get up
A stran ge voi c e answered rmly and kindly , ,

Compose y oursel f madam Mr Woodville is waiting


, . .


until you have recovere d in a room close by ,
.

I looked at him and recogni z ed the stran ger w h o had


,

followed my husband out of the room Why h ad he returned .

alone ? Why was Eustace not with me like the rest o f them ,

I tried to raise mysel f and get on my feet T he stranger


,
.

gently pressed me back again on the pil low I attempted to .

resist him 3 quite uselessly of course Hi s rm hand held .

me as gently as ever in my pl ace


, , .

You must rest a little he said



You must take some , .

wine I f you exert yourself now you will faint again


.
, .

O ld Be njamin stooped over me and whispered a word of ,

e xplanation .

It s the doctor my dear Y ou must do as he tells you



, . .

T he doctor ? T hey had called the doctor i n to help them


I began dimly to understand that my f ai n t i n g t m ust have
presented symptoms far more serious than the fainting t s o f -

women in general I appealed to the doctor in a helpless


.
, ,

querulous way t e account to me for my husband s ex t r aor


,

di n ary absence .


Why did you let him leave the room ? I asked If I .


can t go to him wh y don t you bring h i m here to me ?

T he doctor appeared to be at a loss how to reply to me .


TIIE R E TURN T0 L IFE .
95

He looked at Benj amin and said , ,



Wi ll you speak tc Mrs .

Woodville
Be njamin in his turn looked at Maj or Fitz David and
, ,
-

said Will y ou
,
The M ajor signed to the m both to leave
us. T hey rose together and went into the front room 3 pull
,

ing the door to after them in i t s grooves As they le ft us .


,

the girl who had so strangely revealed my husb and s secret to

me rose in her corner and approached the sofa .


I suppose I had better go t oo ? she said addressing Maj or ,

F it z Davi d
-
.


If you please the Maj or answered
, .

He spoke (as I thought) rather coldly She tossed her hea d .


,

and turned her back on h i m in high indignation I must .


say a word for mysel f ! cried this strange creature with an ,

hysterical ou tbreak o f energy I must say a word or I shall


.
,

burst
With that extraord i nary pre face she sudden ly turned my ,

way a n d poured out a per fect torrent of words on me


, .

Y ou hear how the Major speaks to me ? she began He

blames mepoor Mefor everything that has happened


.

I .

am as innocent as the new born babe I acted for the best -


. .

I thought you wanted the book I don t know now what .


made you faint dead away when I opened it An d the M aj or .

blames Me ! As i f it was my fault ! I am not on e of the


fainting sort mysel f 3 but I feel it I can tel l you Yes I ,
.

feel it though I don t faint about it I come of respectable


,

.

parents I do My name is Hoi g h t y Miss Hoi g h t y I


. .

have my ow n sel f respect 3 and it s wounded I say my sel f


-

.

respect i s wounded when I nd myself blamed without de


,

serving it Y ou deserve it i f anybody does Didn t you


.
, .

tell me you were looking for a book ? An d didn t I present

it to you promiscuously with the best intentions ? I thin k


,

you might say so yoursel f now the doctor has brought you t o
,

again .I think you m i ght speak up f or a poor girl who


i s worked to d e ath with singing and lan guages and what
96 TH E LA IV AND TH E L AD Y .

not a poor girl w h o has nobody else to speak for her I .

am as respectable as you are if you come to that Mv ,


.

name is Hoi g h ty My parents are in business and my


.
,

mam ma has seen bet ter days, and mixed in the best of

company .

T here Miss Hoi g h ty l ifted her handker chie f again t o h er


,

face an d burst modestly into tears behi nd it


, .

It was certainly hard to hold her responsible for what h ad


happened I ans w ered as kindly as I could ; and I attempted
.

to speak to Major Fit z David in her defence He knew what


-

terrible anxieties were O ppressin g me at that moment ; and


considerately re fusing t o hear a word he took the task of ,

consoling his y oung primadonn a entirely on himself What .

he s ai d to her I neither heard nor cared to hear ; he spoke


in a whisper It ended in his pacifying Miss H oi g ht y by
.
,

kissin g her hand and leading her (as he might have led a
,

duchess) out of the room .


I h epe that foolish girl has not annoyed you at such a

ti me as this ? he said very earnestly when he returned to, ,

the so fa
I can t tell you h ow grieved I am at what has
.

ha ppened I was care ful to warn you, as you may remember


. .

S till, i f I could only have foreseen


I let him pro c eed n o farther No human forethought .

could have provided against wh at had happened Besides .


,

drea dful as the dis c overy had been I would rather have made ,

it and suffer under it as I was suff ering n ow than have bee n


, , ,

kept in the dark I told him this An d then I turned to


. .

the on e subj ect that was now of an y interest to me the sub


j ect of my unhappy husband .

How did he come to this house ? I asked



.

H e came here with Mr Benjamin shortly af t er I r et ur n ed,


.
,

t h e Maj or replied .


L ong after I was taken i ll ?
N o I had j ust s ent for t h e d oct or feeling serio usly

.


alarm ed about you .
TH E R E TU RN To L IFE .
9?

What br o ught hi m h ere ? Did he ret urn t o the hotel and ,

miss me ?

Yes He r et urned earlier than he had anticipated 3 and he


.

f el t un easy at not nding you at the hotel



.
o

Did he suspect me o f being with you ? Did he c ome here


from the hotel ?


N 0 He appears to have gone rst to Mr Benjamin t o
. .
,

inquire about you What he heard from your old friend I


.
,

c annot say I o nl y kno w that Mr Benj amin ac c omp ani ed


. .

hi m when he came here



.

T his brie f explanation was quite enough for me I under ~

stood what had happened Eustace wo uld easily frighten .

simple ol d B enjamin about m y absence fro m the hotel ; and ,

once alarmed Benjamin wo uld be persuaded without dif culty


,

to repeat the few words which had passed between us on the ,

subject of Major Fi t z Davi d My husband s presence in the .


Major s house was perfectly e xplained But his extraordinary



.

c onduct in leaving the room at the very time when I w as ,

j ust recovering my senses still remained to be accounted for ,


.

Major Fit z David looked seriou sly embarrassed when I put


-

the question to hi m .



I hardl y know how t o explain it t o you he said Eus , .


ta c e has surprised and disappointed me .

He spoke very gravely Hi s looks told me more than hi s


.

words : hi s looks al ar med me .


Eustace has not quarrelled with you ? I said .


O h no !
,

He u nderstands that you have not broken y our promise t o

Certainly My young vo c ali st (Miss Hoi g h ty) told t h e


.

doctor exactly what had happened ; and the doctor in her


presence repeated the statement to your husband .

Did the doctor see the Trial


Neither the doctor nor Mr Benjamin has seen the Tr ial
. .

I have lo cked it up 3 and I hav e carefully kept the terri bl e


H
98 TH E LA W AND TH E LA D Y .

s tory of yo ur conne x ion with the prisoner a se cret from all 0 .

them Mr Benjamin evidently has hi s suspicions But the


. . .

doctor has no idea and Miss Hoi gh t y has no idea of the true
, ,

cause o f y our fainting t They both believe that you are


.

subject to serious nervo us attacks 3 and that your husband s

name i s real ly Woodvill e Al l that the truest friend coul d do


.

t o spare Eustace I have done


, He persists nevertheless in
.
, ,

blami n g me for letting y ou enter m y house An d worse far .


,

worse than this he persists in declaring that the event of


,

t o day has fatally estran ged you from him There is an end .

of our married l i fe

he said to me now she knows that I
, ,

a m the man who w as tried at Edinburgh for poisoning my


wi fe
I rose from the so f a in horro r .

Good God ! I cried ; does Eustace suppose that I doubt



hi s innocence ?
He denies that it is possible for you or for an ybody t o , ,

believe in hi s innocence the Maj or replie d ,



.

Help me to the door, I said Where is he


I must and .

will see h i m
I dropped back exhausted on the so fa as I said the word s .

M ajor Fit z David poured ou t a glass of wine from the bottle


-

o n the table and insisted on my drinking it


,
.

Y ou sh al l see him said the M aj or


,

I promise you that . .

T he doctor has forbidden hi m to leave the house until you ,

have seen him O nly wait a little


. My poor dear lady ,

wait i f it is only for a few minutes until you are stro n ger
, ,

I had no choice but to obey him O h tho se mi serable .


,

helpless minutes on the so fa ! I cannot write o f them without


shudderi n g at the recollection even at this distance o f time .

Bring him here I said Pray pray bring hi m here !


.
, ,

Who is to persuade him to come back ? asked the Maj or


,

sa dly . How can I how can anybody prevail with a man


, ,

a madman I had al most said who could leave you at t h e

moment when you rst opened your eyes on hi m ? I saw


TH E R E TU RN To L I FE .
99

Eusta ce alone in the next room while t he doctor was in


, ,

a ttendance on y ou I tried to shake his obstinate distrust of


.

your belie f in his innocence and of my belie f in his inno ,

cence by every a rgument and every appeal that an ol d friend


,

could address to him He had but one answer to give me


. .

Reason as I might and plead as I might he still persisted i n


, ,

re ferri n g me t o the S cotch Verdi ct .

The S cotch V erdict ? I repeated What is that ?



.

T he M ajor looked surprised at the question .

Have you really never heard of the T rial ? he said


.



N ever .


I thought i t strange he w en t on when you told me you
,
'

had found out your husband s true na m e that the discovery

a ppeared to have suggested no pain ful as sociation to your

mind It is not more than three years since all England


.

was talking o f your husband O ne can hardly wonder at his .

takin g refuge poor fello w in an assumed name ! Where


, ,

could you have been at the time ?


Did you say it was three y ears ago I asked .



Y es.

I understood my strange ignorance of w hat appeared t o be


so well known to other people Three years since my father .
,

was alive I was l ving with him in a country house in


i

.
,

Italy up in the mountains n ear S iena We never saw an ,


.

English newspaper or met with an English traveller for


, ,

weeks and weeks together There m i g ht certainl y have been


.

some re ference made to the fa mous S cotch T rial in m y father s


letters from Englan d I f the r e was he never told me of it


.
, .

O r i f he did mention t h e case I must have forgotten it in


, ,

course of time T ell me I said to the Major what h as


.

,

,

the V erdict to do with my husband s horri ble doubt of u s

Eustace is a free man The verdict was N ot Guil ty, of


.

course
Maj or Fit z David shook his head sadl y .



Eustace was tried i n S c otland, he said
There i s a .
: 00 7 1 1 E LA W A ND TH E LA D Y .

verdict allo w ed by the S cotch l aw which (so far as I know ) ,

i s not permitted by the laws of any other civiliz ed country o n


th e face of the earth When the j ury are in doubt whether
.

to condemn or acquit the prisoner bro ught be fore them th ey ,

are permitted in S cotland to express that doubt by a form


, ,

o f compromise I f there is not evidence enough on the on e


.
,

h and t o justi fy them in ndi n g a prisoner guil ty and not


, ,

evidence enou gh on the other hand to thoroughly convince


, ,

them that a prisoner is innocent they extricate themselve s ,

from the difculty by nding a verdict of Not Proven .


Was that the verdict when Eusta c e w as tried ? I ask ed


.

Y es .


The jury were not quite satised that my husband w as
guilty and n ot quite satised that my husband was inno c ent
Is that what the S cotch V erdict means
That is what the S cotch V erdict means For three years .

that doubt about him in the minds of the j ury w h o t r i ed him



has stood on publi c record .

O h my poor darli n g ! my innocent martyr ! I understood


,

it at l ast The false n ame in which he had married me 3 the


.

terrible words he had spoken when he had warned me t o


respect his secret 3 the still more terrible doubt that he felt
of me at that mo m ent i t was all intelli gible to m y sympa

thies 3 it was all clear to my understanding now I got up , .

again from the so fa stro n g in a dari n g resolution which t h e


,

S cotch V erdict had suddenly ki ndled in me a resol ution at ,

once too sacred and too desperate to be conded in the r st ,

instance to any o ther than my husband s ear


,

.


Take me t o Eustac e I said I am stro ng enough to bear
, .


anythi ng n ow .

After on e searching look at me the Maj or s ilently o ff er ed ,

me his arm We lef t t h e room togeth er


. .
TH E SCO TCH VERD I C T 1oz

C HAPTER XII .

THE S C O TC H RD IC T
VE .

WE walked the f ar end of the hal l M aj or F itz David


to .
-

opened the door o f a long narrow room built ou t at the back ,

of the house as a smoking room and extending along on e side -

o f the co u rtyard as far as the stable wall .

My husband was alone in the roo m 3 seated at the farther


end of it near the replace He started to his feet and faced
, .
,

me in silence as I entered The Maj or softly closed the door .

on us and retired
, Eustace never stirred a step to meet me
. .

I ran to him and thre w my arms round his neck and kissed
, ,

hi m .The embrace was not ret urned 3 the kiss was not
returned He passively submitted nothing more
. .



Eustace I said I n ever loved you more dearly than I
, ,

love you at this moment I never fel t for you as I feel for
y ou now
He released hi mself deliberately from my arms He signed .

to me with the me chanical courtesy of a stranger t o take a


, ,

chair .


Thank y ou Valeria, he ans w ered in c old meas ured tones
,

,
.

Y ou could say no less t o me a fter what h as happened 3 and


y ou could say no more T hank you . .

We were standing be fore the replace He le ft m e and .


,

walked away slowly with his head down 3 apparently intend


ing t o leave the room I follo w ed h i m I got be fore h i m
.

I placed mysel f between hi m and the door .

Why do you leave me I said Why do you speak t o .

me in this cruel way ? A re you angry Eustace ? My darling, ,

you a r e angry I ask you to forgive me


, .

It is I who ought to ask your pardon he replied I b eg ,



.


you to forgive me, Valeria, for having made you m y wi fe .
r0 2 TH E LA W AN D TH E LA D Y .

He pronounced those words with a hopeless heart broken ,


-

humility dread ful to see I laid my hand on hi s bosom


, . .

I s aid, Eustace look at me , .


He slowly li fted hi s eyes to my fac e eyes cold and clear


and tearless looking at me in st eady resign ation in immovable
, ,

despair In the utter wretchedness of that moment I w a s


.
,

like him ; I was as quiet and as cold as my husband He .

chilled he fro z e me
,
.



Is it possible I said, that you doubt my belie f in your
,

innocence
H e le ft the question unanswered He si ghed bitterly to .

h imsel f Poor woman ! he sai d as a stranger might have



.
,

said pityi n g me
,
Poor woman .

My heart swell ed in me as if it would burst I l if ted my .

hand from his bosom and laid it on his shoulder to support ,

myself .


I don t ask you to pity me Eustace ; I ask you to do me

,

justice You are n ot doing me j ustice I f you had t r usted


. .

me with the truth in the days w hen we rst knew that we


loved each other i i you had told me al l and more than all , ,

that I know now as G od is my witness I would still have ,

m arried you N ow do you doubt that I believe y ou are an


innocent man l

I don t doubt it he said Al l your impulses are generous


,

. .

You are speaking generously and feeling generously Don t ,


.

blame me my poor child i f I look on farther than you do ;


, ,

i f I see w hat is to comet oo surely t o come i n the cruel



future .

The cruel future ! I repeated What do you mean ?


.

You believe in my innocence V aleria The J ury who ,


.

t ried me doubted i t and have left that doubt on record .

What reason have you for believing in the face of the Verdict , ,

that I am an innocent man ?


I want no reason I believe, in spite of t h e Verdict .
TH E SC O TCH VERD I C T: r0 3

Wi ll your friends agree with you ? When y our uncle and


-

aunt know what has happened and sooner or later they


must know i t what will they say ? T hey wil l say
He ,

began badly ; b e concealed from ou r n ie c e that he had been


a prisoner on his trial 3 he married ou r niece under a false

name H e may say he is innocent 3 but we have only his


.

word for it When he was put on his trial the verdict was
.
,

N ot Proven N ot Proven won t do for us If the J ury have


.

.

done him an injustice i f he i s innocen t let hi m prove it .


T hat is what the world thinks and says of me That is what .

your friends wil l think and say o f me T he time is coming .


,

Valeria when youe ven Y ou will feel that your friends


,

have reason to appeal to on their side and that you have no ,

reason on yours .


That time will never come ! I answered warmly
Y ou
, .

wrong me you insult me in thinking it possible


, ,

He put do wn my hand from hi m and drew back a step , ,

with a bitter smile .


We have only been married a few days Valeria Y our ,
.

love for me i s new and young Time which w ea rs away all .


,

things w ill wear away the rst fervour of that love


, .


Never ! never !

He drew back from me a little farther still .


L ook at the world round you h e said The happiest ,

. .

husbands and wives have their occasional misunderstandings


and disagreements 3 the brightest marr ied li fe has its passing
clouds When those days come for u s the doubts and fears
.
,

that you don t feel now wil l nd their way to you then When

,
.

t h e clou ds rise on ou r married li fewhen I say my rst harsh


word w hen you make your rst hasty reply then in the
, ,

soli tude of your ow n room in the stilln ess of the wake ful ,

n ight you will think of my rst wi fe s miserable death


,
You
.

will remember that I was held responsible for it and that my ,

i nnocence was never proved Y ou will say to yoursel f Did .


,

i t begin, in her time with a harsh word from him, and with
,
[ 04 THE LA W A N D TI IE L A D Y;

a hasty reply from her ? Will it on e day end with me as t he ,

J ury hal f feared that it ended with her Hideous questions


for a wi fe to ask hersel f ! You will sti e them 3 you wi ll
r ecoil from them like a good woman with horror But ,
, ,
.

when we meet the next morning you will be on your gu ard , ,

and I shall see it and know in my heart of hearts w hat it


,

means Embittered by that knowledge m y next harsh word


.
,

may be harsher still Y our next thoughts of me may remind


.
'

you more vividly and more boldly that your husband was
, ,

once tried as a poisoner and that the question of his rst


,

wi fe s death w as never properly cleared up Do you see .

w hat materials for a domestic hell are mingling for us here

Was it for nothing that I warned you solemnly warned you , ,

to draw back when I found you bent on discoveri n g the


,

truth ? Can I ever be at your bedside n ow when you are ill , ,

and not remind you in the most innocent thi n gs I do of


, ,

w hat h appened at that other bed side in the time of that other
,

woman w hom I married rst ? I f I pour ou t your medicine ,

I commit a suspicious action they said I poisoned her in her


medicine I f I bring you a cup o f tea I revive the remem
.
,

brance of a horrid doubt they said I put the arsenic in h er


cup of tea I f I kiss you when I leave the room I remind
.

you that the prosecution accused me of kissi ng h er to save ,

a ppearances and produ c e an e ff ect on the nurse Can we .

live together on such terms as these ? N o mortal creatures


coul d support the misery of it This very day I said to you,
.

I f you stir a step farther in this matter there is an end o f ,



your happiness for the rest of your li fe Y ou have taken
that stepand the end has come to your happiness and to
.

mine T he doubt that kills love has cast its blight on you
.

an d on me for the rest of our lives

S o far I had forced myself to listen to him At those last .

words the picture of the future that he was placi n g b efore


,

me be c ame t oo hideous t o b e endured I re fused t ( h ea r .

more .
TH E 3c oTCI I
. VER D IC T: r0 5


You are talki n g horribly, I said your ag e and at
.

At
mine have we done with love and done w ith h 0pe ? It is
, ,

blasphemy to love and h epe to say it !


Wait till you have read the Trial he answered You ,

.

mean to read it I suppose ? ,



Every word of it ! With a motive Eust ace, which you ,

h ave yet to know


.


N o motive of yours Valeria no love and hope of yours
, ,

can alter the inexorable facts My rst wi fe died poisoned 3 .

and the verdict of the J ury has n ot absolutely acquitted me


o f the guilt of causing her death As long as you were .

ignorant of that the possibilities of happi n ess were


,

within ou r reach N ow you kno w it I say againo ur


.
,

married life is at an end .



N o, I said N ow I kno w it our married li fe has begun
.

beg un wi th a n ew obj ect for your wi fe s devotion with a new

r eason for your wi fe s love



What do you mean ?
I went near to hi m again and took hi s hand , .


What did you tell me the world h as said of you ? I asked
.


What did you tell me my frien ds would say of you ? N ot
Proven won t do f or us

I f the J ury have done him an i n
.

justic e if he i s innocen t let him prove it Those were t h e .


words y ou put into the mouths of my friends I adopt them .

for mine I say N ot Proven won t do for m e


,
Prove your
.

right Eustace to a verdict of N ot Guilty Why have you


, ,
.

let three years pass without doing it ? S hall I guess why ?


You have waited f or your wi fe to help you H ere she is my .
,

darling ready to help you wi th all her heart and soul


,
.

Here sh e is with on e object in lifeto show the world


, ,

and to show the S cotch J ury, that her husband is an innocent


man
I had roused myself 3 my p ul ses were throbbing my voice ,

r ang through the room Had I rou s ed hi m


. What w as hi s
an s w er
[ 06 TI I E LA IV A N D TH E L AD Y .


R ead the T rial That was his answer . .

I sei z ed his arm In my indignation and my despair I shook


.
,

h i m with all my strength God forgive me I coul d almost .


,

have struck him for the tone in which he had spoken and
, ,

the look that he had cast on me



I have told you that I mean to read the Trial I s aid ,

.

I mean to read it line by li ne with you S ome inexcusable , , .

mistake has been made Evidence in your favour that might .


,

have been found has not been found S uspicious circum , .

stances have not been investigated Crafty people have not .

been watched Eustace ! the conviction of some dreadful


.

over sight committed by you or by the perso n s who helped


,

you is rmly settled in my mind The resolution to set that


, .

v ile V erdict right was the rst resolution that came to me ,

when I rst heard of it in the next room We w i ll set it .

right We m u st set it right for your sake for my sake for , ,

the sake of our children if we are blest w ith children Oh .


,

my ow n love don t look at m e with those cold eyes
,
Don t

answer me in those hard tones ! D on t treat me as if

I was talking ignorantly and madly of something that c an


never be
S ti ll I failed to r eu se him Hi s next words were spoken
, .

c ompassionately rather than coldly that w as all .

My de fence was undertaken by the greatest lawyers in the


land he said ,

After such men have done their ut most and
.
,

have failed my poor Valeria what can y ou what c an I do ? , , ,

We c an only submit .


N ever ! I cried The gr ea test lawyers are m ortal men 3

.

t h e greatest lawyers have made mistakes be fore n ow Y ou .

c an t deny that

.

R ead the Trial



For the t hird ti me , he said those cruel.

words an d said no more


, .

I n utter despair of moving h i m feeling keenly bitterly (i f ,

I must ow n it ) his merciless superiorit y to all that I had sa i d


to him in the honest fe r vour ( f my devotion and my love I
,
TH E MA N S D E CISI ON

. my

thought of M aj or F it z David as a last resort I n the dis -


.

ordered state of my mind at that moment it made n o , ,

diff erence to me that the Maj or had already tried to reason


with him and had failed ,
In the face of the facts 1 .
,

had a blind belief in the {inuence o f hi s ol d friend ,

if his ol d friend could only b e prevailed u pon t o support


my view .


Is there no persuading you ? I said He looked away
.

without answerin g At least you can wait for me a mo


.

ment I went on
,

I want you to hear another Opinion ,
.

besides mine .

I left him and returned to the study Major Fit z David


, .
-

was not there I knocked at the door of communication with


.

the front room It was O pened instantly by the M aj or him


.

sel f . The doctor had gone away Be nj amin still rem ained .

A the room .

Will you come and speak t o Eustace ? I began I f you


.

will only say what I want you to say


Before I coul d add a word more I heard the house door ,

opened and closed Maj or Fit z David and Benjamin heard i t


.
-

too They looked at each other in silence


. .

I ran back be fore the Maj or could stop me to the room in


, ,

which I had seen Eustac e It was empty My husband h ad . .

left the h ouse .

C HAP TER X III .

TH E M AN

S O
D E I sI ON.

Mr rst impul se the r eckless impulse t o follow Eusta ce


w as

openly through the streets


, .

The Major and Be njamin both opposed this hasty resol u


t ion on m y part T hey appealed to my ow n sense of sel f
.
[08 TH E LA W AND THE LA D Y .

respe c t without (so far as I remember it) producing the


,

slightest e ff ect on my mind They were more success ful .

when they entreated me n ext to be patient for my husband s ,

sake In mercy to Eustace they begged me to wait hal f ah


.
,
-

3hour . If he failed to return in that time they pledged them ,

selves to accompany me in search of him to the hotel .

In mercy to Eusta c e I consented to wait What I suff ered


, .

under the forced necessity for remaining passive at that crisis


in my li fe no words of mine c an tell It will be better if I
, .

go on with my narrative .

Benjamin was the rst t o ask me what had passed between


my husband and mysel f .


Y ou may speak freely my dear, he said
I know what ,

.

has happened since you have been i n Major F it z David s -


house N o on e h as told me abo ut it ; I found it ou t for


.

mysel f I f y ou remember I was struck by the name Mac


.
,
~

'


allan when you rst mentioned it to me at my c ot t ag e I
,
.


could n t guess w hy at the time I kno w why now
, .
, .

Hearing this I told them both u nreservedly what I had


,

said to Eustace and how he had received it T o my u m


,
.

speakable disappointment they both sided wi th my hus ,

band treating my v iew of his position as a mere dream .

They said it as he had said i t, You have not read


,

the T rial .

I was really enraged wi th them T he fa cts are enough for .

me I said

,
We know he is innocent Why is his innocence
. .

not proved ? It ought to be it must be i t shal l be ! I f the , ,

T rial tells me it can t be done I re fuse to believe the T rial


, .

Where is the book Major ? L et me see for myself if his


, ,

lawyers h ave left nothing for his wi fe to do Did they love .

h i m as I love him Give me the book


Major F itz David looked at Be njamin
-
.

It will onl y additionally shock and distress her i f I giv e ,

her the book he said



Don t you agree wi th me ?
, .

I interposed be for e Benj amin c o uld an s wer .


TH E M AN S DE CI S I ON

. [ 09


If you refuse my request I said you will oblige me ,

,

,

Major to go t o the nearest bookseller and tell hi m t o buy t h e


, ,

Trial for me I am deter mined to read it


. .

T his time Be njamin sided w ith me


,
.


N othing can make matters worse than they are si r he , ,

said . I f I may be permi tted to advise let her have her



,

o w n way .

T he Major rose and took the book out of the I talian


,

c abinet t o which he had consigned it for safe keeping .


My young friend tell s me that sh e in form ed you of her ,

regrettable outbreak of temper a few days since he said as , ,

he handed me the volume I was not aware at the time.


,

what book she had in her hand when she so far forgot her
self as t o destroy the vase When I left you i n the study I .
,

supposed the R eport of the Trial to be in its customary place ,

on the top shel f of the bookcase ; and I ow n I felt some

c uriosity t o kno w whether you would think of examini n g

that shelf T he broken vase i t is needl ess to conceal it


.

fro m you now was on e of a pair presented t o me by your


husband and hi s rst wi fe only a week before the poor ,

woman s terrible death



I felt my rst presentiment that
.

ou wer e on the b r ink of discovery when I found y ou look


y ,

ing at the fragments and I fancy I betray ed t o you that


something of the kind was disturbing me You looked as .

i f you noticed it .

I did notice it Maj or An d I too had a vagu e idea that


, .
, ,

I was on the way to discovery Will y ou look at your wat ch ? .

Have we waited half an hour yet ? - -

M y impatien c e had misled m e The ordeal of the half .

h our was not yet at an end .

S lowly and more slowly the heavy minutes foll owed ea ch ,

othe r an d still there were no signs of my husband s return


.

We tried to continue ou r conversation and failed N othing , .

was audi ble no sounds but the ordinary sounds of the street
disturbed t h e dread ful s ilen c e Try as I might t o repel it, .
[ 10 TH E LA W AN D Tf l E LA D Y .

there was one f oreboding thought th at pressed closer a nd


closer on m y mind as the interval of waiting wore its weary
way on I shuddered as I asked myself if our married li fe
.
,

had come to an end i f Eustace had really left me ?


T he M aj or saw what Be njamin s slower perception had not

yet discovered that my fortitude was beginning t o sink


under the unrelieved oppression of suspense .


Come ! he s aid
L et us go to the hotel
. .

It then wanted nearly ve minutes to the hal f hour I -


.

l ooked m y gratitude t o M aj or Fit z David for sparing me -

those last ve m inutes : I could n ot speak to him or to ,

B enjamin I n silen c e we thr ee got into a cab and drove


.

to the hotel .

The landlady met us in the hall N othin g had been seen .

or heard of Eustace T here was a letter waiting for me


.

upstairs on the table in our sitting room It had been left


,
-
.

at the hotel by a messenger only a few minutes s i nce , .

Trembling and breathless I ran up the stairs ; the two ,

gentlemen following me The writing on the address of the .


letter was in my husband s hand My hear t sank in me as I .

looked at the lines ; there coul d be but on e reason for his


writin g to m e That closed envelope held his farewell words
. .

I sat with the letter on my l ap st upeed in c apable of ope n ,

i ng it
.

K ind hearted Be njamin attempted to com fort and en c o u rage


-

me The Maj or w ith hi s larger experience of women war ned


.
, ,

the ol d man to be silent .

Wait I I heard hi m whisper S peaking t o her will do .

no good now G ive her time . .


A cting on a sudden impulse I held out the letter to him ,

as he spoke Even moments might be of importance if


.
,

Eustace had indeed le ft me T o give me time might be t o .


,

l ose the opportunity of recalling him .

You are his ol d friend I sai d O pen his letter Maj or,
,

.
,

an d read it f or me

.
TH E M AN S D E CI S I OzV
'
. In

Maj or F it z David Opened the letter and read it throu gh t o


-

himself Whe n he had done he thre w it on the table with a


.
,

gesture which was almost a gesture of contempt .


There is but on e e x c us e for him he said Th e man is , .


mad .

Those words told me all I knew the worst 3 and, knowin g


.

i t I c ould read the letter


, It ran thus .

MY O D VA LERIAB EL V E ,

When you read these lines you read my farewell ,

words I return t o m y solitary un friended li fe my li fe


.

be fore I knew you .

My darli ng y ou have been cruel ly treated You have



, .

been entrapped into marrying a man who has been publicly


accused of poisoning his rst wi fe and who has not been
honourably and completely acquitted of the charge An d .

you know it
Can you l ive on terms o f mutual c ondence and mutual
esteemwith me when I have committed this fraud and when
, ,

I stand towards you in this position ? It was possible f or


you to live with me happily while you were in ignoran c e of
'
,

the truth It is n ot possi bl e now you know all


.
,
.

N o ! the on e atonement I can make is t o leave you


-
.

Y our one chance of future happiness is to be disassociated at ,

once and for ever from my dishonoured life I love you


, .
,

Valeriatruly devotedly passionately But the spectre of


, , .

the poisoned woman rises between us It makes no difference .

that I am innocent even of the thought of harming my rst


wi fe My innocence has not been proved In this world my
. .

innocence can never be proved Y ou are young and lovin g .


,

and generous and hope ful Bless others Valeria w ith your .
, ,

rare attractions and y our delight ful gifts They are of no .

avail with m e T he poisoned woman stands between u s


. .

If you live with me now you will see her as I see her That
, .

t orture shall never be y ours I love y ou I leave you . . .


1 12 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD Y .

Do you think me hard and c ru el ? Wait a lit tl e, and ti me


will change that way of thinki ng As the years g o on, you .

will say to yourself Basely as he de c eived me there was som e


, ,

generosity in hi m He was man enough to release me of hi s


.


ow n free will .


Y es Valeria I full y freely release y ou If it be possibl e
, , , .

to annul our marriage let it be done R ecover your li berty


, .

by any means that you may be advised to employ 3 and b e


a ssured be forehand o f my entire and implicit submission My .

lawyers have the necessa ry instructions on this subject Y our .

uncle has only to communicate with them and I think he will ,

be satised of my resolution to do you j ustice T he on e .

in terest that I have now le ft in life i s my interest in your ,

welfare an d your happiness in the time to come Your wel .

fare and your happiness are no longer to be found in y ou r


union with Me .

I can write no more T his letter will wait for you at the
.

hotel It will be useless to attempt t o tra c e me I know m y


. .

ow n weakness My heart is al l yo u rs 3 I might yield t o you


.

i f I let y ou see me again .

S how these lines to your uncle and to any friends whose ,

opinions y ou may value I have only to sign my dishonoured


.

name 3 and every on e will understand and applaud my motive


for writing as I do The name j ust i esamply j ust i es t h e
.

letter F org ive me, and forget me Farewel l


. .

EU S TA C E MA CALLAN .

In those words he took hi s leav e of me We had then


been married
.
,

s i x day s .

C HAP TER XI V .

W OMAN S WER

TH E S AN .

Trm s far I have written of myself with perfe c t frankne ss


,

and, I think I may fairly add, with some c ourage as w ell


THE WOIII AN
S A

S WE R . "3

My frankness fails me and my c ourage fails me when I look


, ,

back to my husband s farewell letter and try to recall the


storm of contending passions that it roused in my mind .

N o l I cannot tell the truth about mysel f I dare not tell the
truth about myself at that terrible time Men ! consult .

your observation of women and imagine what I felt ,


.

Women ! look into y our o wn hearts and see what I fel t , ,

for yourselves .

What I di d when my mind was quiet again is an easier


, ,

matter to deal with I answered my husband s letter M y


.

.

reply to him shall appear in these pages It will show .


,

in some degr ee what effect (o f the lasting sort) hi s deser


,

tion of me produced on my mind It will also reveal the .

motives that sustained me the hopes that animated me , ,

in the new and strange li fe whi ch my next chapters must


des c ribe
.

I was rem oved from the hotel in the care of my f atherly ,

ol d friend , Benjami n A bedroom was prepared for me in his


.

lit tle vi l la T here I passed the rst nig ht of my separatio n


.
,

fro m my husband T owards the morning my weary brain


.
,

got some rest I slept .

At breakfast time Maj or F it z David call ed to inquire about


-

,
-

me He had kin dly volunteered to go and speak for me to


.

my husband s lawyers on the preceding day They had



, .

admitted that they knew w here Eustace had gone 3 but they
declared at the same time that they were positively forbidden
to communicate hi s address to any on e In other respects .
,

their Instructions in relation to the w i fe o f their client were
(as they were pleased t express it) generous to a fault I
o .

had only to write to them and they would furnish me with a


,

c opy by ret urn o f post .

Thi s was the Major s news He re frained with the ta ct



.
,

th at distin guished hi m , from puttin g any questions to me


bey on d question s relating t o th e state of my health The se .

3
TH E LA W AND TH E L AD Y;

answered he took his leave of me for that day He and


, .

Benj amin had a long talk together afterwards i n the garden ,

of the vill a .

I retired to my room and wrote to my uncle S t arkweather ;


,

telli n g him exactly what had happe n ed and enclosing hi m a ,

copy of my husband s letter Thi s done I went ou t for a



.
,

little while to breathe the fresh air and to thi nk I was soon ,
.

weary and went back again t o m y room to rest My kind


,
.

ol d Be njamin le ft me at perfect liberty to be alo n e as long as

I pleased T owards the aftern oon I began to feel a little


.
,

more li ke my ol d self again I mean by this that I could .


,

think of Eu stace without bursting ou t crying and could ,

speak to Benjamin without di stressin g and frightening the


dear ol d man .

That night I had a little more sleep The next mornin g


,
.

I was stron g enou gh to con front the rst and foremost duty
that I now owed to mysel f the duty of answering my
husband s letter

.

I wrote to him in these words

I am still too weak and weary Eustace t o write t o you at , ,

any length B ut my mind is cl ear I have formed my ow n


. .

O pinion of you and your letter ; and I know what I mean t o


do n ow you have left me S ome women in my situation .
, ,

might think that you had forfeited all right to their condence .

I don t think that S o I write and tell you what is in m y



.

mind in the plainest and fewest words that I can use


, .

Y ou say you love me and you leave me I don t und er .


stand loving a woman and leaving her For my part i n


, .
,

spite of the hard things you have said and written to me and ,

in spite of the cruel manner in which you have left me I love ,

y ouand I won t give you up N o ! As lo n g as I live I


~

.
,

mean t o li ve your wi fe .

Does this surprise you I It surpris es me I f anothe r


'
.

woman wr ote i n thi s manner to a man w h o had behaved t o


TH E WOIII AN
S ANS WER . "5

h er as have behaved I shoul d be quite at a l oss to account


you ,

for her conduct I am quite at a loss to account for my own


.

conduct I ought to hate you and yet I can t help loving


.

you I am ashamed Of mysel f 3 but so it is


. .

You need feel no fear of my attempting t o nd ou t


where you are and of my trying to persuade you t o return t o
,

me. I am n ot quite foolish eno ugh to do that You are not .

i n a t state of mind to return to me Y ou are all wrong .


,

all over from head to foot When you get right again I am
, .
,

v ain enough to think that you will return to me of your o w n


a ccord A n d shall I be weak enough to forgive you ? Y es
.
,

I sh all certainly be weak enough to forgive you .

But how are you to get right again ?


I have pu zzled my brains over this question by night and
by day and my opinion is that you will never get right again,
unless I help you .

HOW am I to help you ?


The question is easily answere d What the Law has .

failed to do for you , your Wi fe must do for you D o you .

remember what I said when we were together in the back


,

room at M ajor Fi t z Davi d s house ? I told you that the rst


r

thought that came t o me when I heard what the S cotch J ury


,

h ad done was the thought Of setting their vile V erdict right


, .

Well ! Your letter has xed thi s idea more rmly i n my


mind than ever The only chance that I can see Of winning
.

you back to me in the character of a penitent and lovi n g


,

husban d is to change that underhand S cotch V erdict of N ot


,

Proven into an honest English verdict of Not G ui lty


, .

Ar e you surpr ised at the knowle dge of the l a w which thi s


way of writi n g betrays in an ignorant woman ? I have been
learning m y dear : the La w and the L ady have begun by
,

u nderstanding on e another In plain English I have looked


.
,


into O gilvie s Imperia l Dictionary 3 and O gilvie tells me : A

verdict of N ot Proven o nl y indicates that in the O pinion Of ,

t he J ury, there is a de c ien cy in the eviden ce to c o nvi c t t h e


6 TH E LA W AND THE LAD Y .

prison er A verdi c t of Not Guilty imports the Jury s opinio n


.

that the prisoner is i n n oc en Eustace ! that shall b e th e


O pin ion of the world in general and of the S cotch J ury in ,

particular in your case TO that on e Obj ect I dedicate m y


,
.

life to come i f God spares me !


,

Who will help me when I need help is more than I yet


, ,

know There was a time when I had hoped that we should


.

go hand in b an d together in doi n g this good work That .

hope is at an end I no lon ger expect you or ask you t o


.
, ,

help me A man who thi nks as you think can give n o hel p
.
,

to an ybody i t is his miserable condition to have no hope .

S O be it I will hope for two and will work for two 3 and I ,

shall nd some one to help menever fear i f I deserve it .


I will say nothing about my plans I have not read the
T rial yet It is quite enough for me that I know you are
.

innocent When a man is innocent there m u st be a way of


.
,

proving it the on e thing needful is to nd the way S ooner .

or later with or without assistance


, I shall nd it Y es ! , .

be fore I know any single particular of the Case I tell you ,

positively I shal l nd it !

You may la u gh over this l li nd condence on my part or ,

you may cry over it I don t pretend to know whether I am


.

an O bject f or ridicule or an O bj ect for pity O f one thing only .

I am cert ain I mean to win you back a man vindicated


.
,

be fore the world without a stain on his character or hi s


,

n ame thanks to his Wife .

Write to me sometimes Eustace 3 and believe me through , ,

al l the bitterness Of this bitter b u siness y our faith ful and


,

toving

VALERIA
.

There was my reply ! P oor enou gh as a composition (I


c ould write a much better letter n ow
) it had if I may pre , ,

sume t o say so on e merit It was the honest e xpression at


, .

what I really meant and felt .


TH E WOAI AN
5 ANS WEE . 117

I read it t o Benj amin He held up his han ds with hi s


.

c ustoma ry gesture w hen he was thoroughl y bewildered and

dismayed It seems the rashest letter that ever w as written


.
,

said the dear O ld man I never heard V aleria of a w oman


.
, ,

doi n g what you propose to do L ord help us ! the new gene .

ration is beyond my fathoming I wish your uncle S tark .

weather was here : I wonder what he would say ? Oh, dea r


me what a letter from a wife to a husband ! Do you really
,

mean to send it to him ?

I added immeasurably to my ol d friend s surprise by not


,

even employing the post oth ee I wished to see the i nst ruc
-
.

tions whi ch my husband had le ft behind hi m S o I took the .

letter to his lawyers myself .

The rm consisted of two partners They both received m e .

together O ne was a so ft lean man with a sour smile The


.
, .

other was a hard fat m an with ill tempered eyebrows ,


I took -
.

a great dislike to both Of them O n their side they appeared .


,

to feel a strong distrust of me We began by disagreeing . .

Th ey showed me my husba n d s instructions 3 providing amon g



,

other things for the pay m ent o f on e clear half Of his income
, ,

as lon g as he lived to his wi fe I positively refused t o touch


, .

a farthi ng of his money .

The lawyers were unaffectedly shocked and astonished at


this decision N othing Of the sort had ever happened before
.
,

i n the whole course of their experience They argu ed and .

r emonstrated with me The partner with the ill tempered


.
-

eyebrows wanted to know what my reasons were The .

partner with the sour smile reminded his coll eague satirically
that I was a lady and had therefore no reasons to give I
,
.

o nly answered Be so good as to forward my letter gentle


~
, ,

men and left them .

I have no wish t o claim any credit to mysel f in these pages


w h ich I do not honestly deserve The truth is that my pride .

forbade me t o accept help fro m Eustace now that he had le ft ,

me My ow n little fortune (eig ht h u ndre d a y ear) h ad bee n


.
: 13 TH E LA W A ND TH E LAD Y .

settled on mysel f when I married It had been more than I .

wanted as a single woman and I was resolved that it sh ould ,

be enough for me n ow B enjamin had insisted on m y c on


.

si der i ng his cottage as m y home Under these circumstan c es .


,

the expenses in which my determination to clear my husband s

c haracter might involve me were the only expenses for whi ch ,

I had to provide I coul d a fford to be i ndependent and i n


.

dependent I resolved that I would be .

While I em occupied in con fessing my weakness and my


errors it is only right t oadd that dearly as I still loved my
, ,

u n h appy misguided husband there was on e little fault of hi s


,

which I found it n ot easy t o forgive .

Pardoning other things I could not pardon his conceal i ng


,

from me that he had been married to a rst w if e Why I .

should have felt this so bitterly as I did at certain times and ,

seasons I am not able to explain


,
J ealousy was at the .

bottom of it I suppose An d yet I was not conscious of


,
.
,

being j ealous especially w hen I thou ght Of the poor


creature s miserable death

S till at O dd times when I.
,

was discouraged and out of temper I used to say to mysel f , ,

Eustace ought not to have kept th a t secret from me Wha t .


would he have said, if I had been a widow, and had never told
him Of it ?
It was getting on towards evening when I r eturned t o the
c ottage Benj ami n appeared t o have been on the look ou t
.
-

f or me B efore I c ould ring at the bell he Opened the g arden


.

gate .



Prepare y ourself for a surprise my dear he said Y our , , .

uncle the R everend Doctor S tarkweather has arrived from th e


, ,

N orth and is waiting to see you H e received your letter


, .

thi s morning and he took the rst tr ain to L ondon as soon as


,

he had read it .

In another minute m y un cle s strong arms were round me


.

I n my forlorn position I felt the good V icar s k ind n ess i n


,

,

travelling all t h e way to L ondon to see me very g rate fully , .


TH E WOM AN
S ANS WER . 1 1 9

It brought the tears into my eyestears withou t bitterness, ,

that di d me good .

I have come my dear child, t o take you back t o your Ol d


,

home he said
,

N0 words can tell h o w fervently I wish you
.


h a d never le ft your aunt and me Well well we won t talk .

about it The mischi ef is done and the next thing is to


.

mend it as well as we can I f I could only get within arm s .


length o f that husband Of yours Valeria there there G od ,

forgive me I am forgetting that I am a clergyman What


,
.

shall I forget next I wonder ? By the bye your aunt sends


,
-

you her dearest love S he is more superstitious than ever. .

This miserable business doesn t surprise her a bit S he says


.

it all began with your making that mistake about your name
in signing the church register Y ou remember ? Was there .

ever such stu ff ? Ah she s a foolish woman that wi f e Of ,



,

mine ! But she means wella good soul at bottom S he .

would have travell ed all the way here along with me i f I ,

would have let her I said N o 3 you stop at home and look
.
,

a fter the house and the parish 3and I ll brin g the chil d back
.

Y ou shall have your O ld bedroom Valeria with the white , ,

curtains you know looped up with blu e We will return to


, ,

the Vicarage (i f you c an get up in time) by the nine forty -

train to morrow morning


-
.

R eturn to the V icarage How could I do that ? H ow


c ould I hope to gain w hat was n ow the one Obj ect of my
existence if I buried myself in a remote north country village
,
-
.

It was simply impossible for me to accompany Doctor S tark


weather on his return to his ow n house .

I thank you uncle with all my heart I said


, B ut I am
, ,

.

a fraid I can t leave L ondon for the present



.

You can t leave L ondon for the present




he repeate d .


What does the girl mean Mr Be njamin ? ,
.

Benjamin evaded a direct reply .

S he is kindly welcome here Doctor S tarkweather, h e s aid , ,


as lo ng as she c hoo se s to stay with me



.
1 20 TH E LA IV AND TH E L AD Y .


That s n o answer retorted my uncle in his rough an d

,

,
-

ready way H e turned to me


. What is there to keep y ou .

in L ondon he asked You used to hate L ondon I sup


. .

pose there is some reason ?

I t was only due to my good guardian and friend that


I should take hi m into my condence sooner or later There .

was no help for it but to rouse my courage and tell


hi m frankly w hat I had it in my mind to do The Vicar .

listened in breathless dismay He turned to Benjamin .


,

with distress a s well as surprise in hi s face, when I


had done .


G od help her ! cried the worthy man
The poor thing s .

troubles have turned her brain !


I tho u ght you would disapprove of it si r said Benjamin , , ,

in his mild and moderate way I con fess I disapprove Of it .


myself .



Disapprove O f it isn t the w ord retorted the Vicar ,

,

.

Don t put i t in that feeble way i f you please An act of


,
.

madness that s w hat it is i f she really means what she says



,
.

He turned my way and looked as he used to l o ok at the


, ,

afternoon service when he was catechising an obstinate chi ld


, .

You don t mean it he said do you ?



, ,

I am very sorry to forfeit your good opinion uncle I r e , ,


plied . B ut I must ow n that I do certainly mea n it .


In plain English retorted the Vicar you are conceited


,

,

enough to think that you can succeed where the greatest

l awyers in S cotland have failed Th ey coul dn t prove this



.

man s innocence all working together An d you are going



, .

t o prove it si n gle handed ? Upon my word y ou are a ,

wonder ful woman cried my uncle suddenly descending from


,

,

i ndignation to irony May a plain country parson who isn t
.
,

u sed to lawy ers in petticoats, be per mitted t o ask h ow you

mean to do it ?


I mean to begin b y readin g the Trial uncle , .


Nic e r eadi ng for a y oung woman You will be wanti n g
TH E WOIlL/AN
S ANS WER . 1 21

a batch O f nasty F rench novels n ext Well and when you .


,


have read the Trial what then ? Have you thought of that ?

Yes uncle I have thought Of that I shall rst t ry t o


, . .

f orm some conclusion (a fter rea di ng the Trial) as to the g uilty


person who really c ommitted the crime T hen I shall make .
,

out a li st Of the witnesses w h o spoke in m


y husband s

de fence I shall go to those witnesses and tell them who I


.
,

am and what I want I shall ask all sorts Of questions


, .

which grave lawy ers might think it beneath their dignity t o


put I shall be gui ded in what I do next by the ans w ers I
.
, ,

receive An d I shall not be discouraged no matter what


.
,

di fculties are thrown in my way T hose are my pl ans, .

uncle so far as I know them now


, .

The Vicar and Benjamin looked at each other as if they ,

doubted the evidence of their ow n senses The V icar spoke . .

DO you mean to tell me he said that you are going



, ,

roaming about the country to throw yoursel f on the mercy ,

of strangers and to risk whatever rough reception you may


,

get in the course of your travels ? Y ou ! A you n g woman


Deserted by your husband ! With nobody t o protect you !
Mr Benjamin do you hear her ? An d can you believe you r
.
,

ea rs ? I declare to Heaven I don t kno w whether I am

a wake or dreaming L ook at her just look at her


. There
sh e sits as cool and easy as i f sh e had said nothing at all

extraordinary and was going to do nothing out of the common


,

way What am I to do wit h her that s the serious question


what on earth am I to do with her ?
-

L et me try my experiment uncle rash as it may look t o



, ,

you I said ,

N othing else will com fort and support me 3
.

an d God knows I want com fort and support Don t think


.

me obstinate I am ready t o admit that there are seriou s


.


difculties in my way .

T he Vicar resumed hi s ironi c al tone .

O h ! he said You admit that, do you ? Well, there i s



.

som ethin g gained, at an y rat e I


1 22 TH E LA W A ND TH E L AD Y .


Many another woman be fore me I went has fac e d ,

on,

serious difculties and has c onquered them for the sake of


,

the man she loved .


Doctor Starkweather rose slowly t o his feet w ith the air of a ,

person whose capacity of toleration had reached its last l i mits .


Am I t o understand that y ou are still in love w ith
Mr Eustace Mac all an ? he asked
.

.

Y es I answered,

.



The hero Of the great Poison Trial ? pursued my uncle .

The man who has deceived and deserted you ? Y ou lov e



hi m ?

I love h i m more dearly than ever .

Mr Benjami n said the V icar



. I f she recovers her
,

.

senses between this and nine O clock to morro w morning


,

send her with her luggage to L oxley s Hotel where I am n ow


,

staying G ood night V aleria I shall consult with your


.
, .


aunt as to what is to be done next I have no more to say . .

G ive me a kiss uncle at parting , , .


O h yes I 11 give you a kiss Anything you l ike Valeri a


,
.

.
,
.

I shall be sixty v e next birthday ; and I thought I knew


-

somethi n g of women at my time of l i fe It see ms I know .

nothing L oxley s Hotel is the address Mr B enja min Good


.

,
. .


n ight .

Benj amin looked ve ry g rave when he ret urned to me after ,

a ccompan yi n g Doctor S ta rkweather to t he garden gate .

Pray be advised my dear he said I don t ask you t o


, ,

.

consider my v iew Of this matter as good for much But y our .

u n cle s O pinion is surely worth considering ?


I did not reply It was useless to say any more I made


. .

u p my mind to be misunderstood and discouraged and to bear ,

it . G ood n i ght my dear O ld friend w as al l I said to Ben


, ,

jamin T hen I turned away I con fess with the tears in my


.

eyes and took re fuge in my bedroom .

The win do w blind was u p 3 and the aut umn moonligh t


-

sh one brilliantl y into the littl e room .


S TOR Y OF TH E TRIA L . PR EL I AI I NAR I E S . [ 23

As I stood by the windo w looki ng out the memory c ame , ,

to me of another moonlight ni ght when Eustace and I wer e


wal king together in the Vicarage garden be fore our marriage
It w as the night of which I have written many pages back , ,

w hen there were O bstacles to our union and when Eusta c e ,

had O ff ered to release me from my en gagement to him 1 .

sa w the dear face again looki n g at me in the moonlight ; I


,

heard once more his words and mine Forgive me (he ha d,


.

said ) for having loved youpassionately, devotedl y loved


'


you . Forgive me and let me go , .

An d I had answered O h Eustace I am onl y a wom an


, , , ,


don t madden me ! I can t live without you I must an d
.
,

will be your wi fe ! An d n ow a fter marriage had united


,

,

us we were parted !
,
Parte d still loving each other as pas ,

si on at el y as ever An d why ? Because he had been accused


.

Of a crime that he had never committed and because a S c otch ,

j ury had failed t o see that he was an innocent man .

I looked at the lovely moonlight pursuing these remem ,

b r anc es and these thoughts A new ardour burnt in m e . .

N o I said to myself Neither relations nor friends shall


.

prevail on me to falter and fa il in my husband s cause The


.

assertion of his i nnocence is th e work of my li fe I w ill begin


i t to night
-

I dr e w down the blind an d li t the candles In the quiet



.
,

n igh t alone and unaided I took my rst step on the toil


some and terrible j ourney that lay be fore me From t h e .

title page to the end without stopping to rest and without


-

, ,

missing a word I read the T rial Of my husband for t h e murd er


,

of hi s wi fe .

C HAPTER XV .

TH E S TO R Y OF TH E TR IA L. TH E P R EL I M I N ARIES .

LET me con fess another weakness, my part, be fore I begin


on

the s tory Of t h e Tr ial . I c ann ot prevail upon my self to c opy


: 24 THE LA W AND THE LAD Y .

f or the second time the horrible title page which holds up t o


,
-

publ i c ignominy my husband s name I have c opied it once


.

in my tenth chapter L et once be enough . .

Turn ing to t h e second page of the T rial I found a N ote, ,

assuring the reader of the absolute c orrectness O f the R eport


of the proceedi n gs The compiler described himsel f as having
.

enjoyed certain privileges Thus the presiding J udge had hi m .


,

self revised his charge to the J ur y An d again the c hi ef .


, ,

la wyers for the prosecution and the de fence following ,



the J u dge s example h ad revised their speeches for and
, , ,

against the prisoner


,
L astly particular care had been taken
.
,

to secure a literally c orrect report of the evidence given


by the various w itnesses It w as some relief to me to .

discover this N ote an d to be satised at the outset that the


,

S tory Of the Trial was in every particular, full y and truly


,

told .

The ne x t page interested me more nearly still It enu m e .

rated the actors i n the J udi c ial Drama the men who held in

t heir hands my husband s honour, an d my husband s life

Here i s the L ist

TH E LO R D J U S TI CE CLER K ,

LO R D DRU M FENNI CK J udges on the B ench , .

LO R D NOB LEK I RK ,

TH E LO R D AD V O C ATE (Mintlaw)
Counsel for ,

DO N A L D D REW Esquire (Advocate


Depute )
,
the Crown .

Mr JAM ES AR LI SS W S Agent for the Crown


.
, . .
, .

THE D EA N 0 F FA C U L TY (Far m i c h a el ), Counsel for t h e


AL EXAN D ER C R O C K ET Esquire (Ad Pan el (other w ise
,

vocate) ,
the Prisoner) .

Mr TH ORNI EB ANK W S ,
Agen t s for the Pa n l
.
, . .

Mr PLAYMORE, W S ,
e .
. . .

T he Indictment against the Prisoner then foll owe d 1 sh all .

not m y the u n c outh language full Of ne edless repetition : ,

(an d if I know any thin


, g of t h e s u bj ec t,
not g uiltle s s of b ad
S TO R Y OF TH E TR I AL . P RE L I EI I ZVAR I ES . 1 25

g rammar as well ) in which my innocent husband


,
w as solemnly

and falsely accused Of poisonin g hi s rst wi fe The less there .

is of that false and hate ful Indictment on this page the better ,

and t h e truer the page will look to my eyes ,


.

T o be brie f then Eustace M ac all an w as indicted an d


,

,

a ccused at the instance of David Mintlaw Esq Her M ajesty s



.
, ,

Advocate for Her M aj esty s interest of the Murder Of hi



.
, ,

Wi fe by poison at his residence called Gl eni n c h in the county


, ,

of Mid L othian
-
The poison was alleged to have been
.

wickedly and feloniously given by the prisoner to his wi fe


S ara on two occasions in the form of arsenic administered
, , ,

i n tea medicine or other article or articles of food or drink


, , ,

to the prosecutor unknown or in some other manner to the ,

prosecutor unknown It was further declared that the


.

prisoner s wi fe h ad died of the poison thus administered by


h er husband on one or other or both of the stated O ccasions 3


, , ,

a n d that she was thus murdered by her husband T he next .

paragraph asserted that the said Eustace Mac al l an taken


, ,

before J ohn Daviot Esquire advocate Sheriff substitute Of


, , ,
-

Mid L othian did in his presence at Edinburgh (on a given


-

date vi z f the 29th Of O ctober) subscribe a Declaration


.
,

stating his innocence Of the alleged crime : thi s D eclaration


being reserved in the Indictment together w ith certai n
Docu ments papers and articles enumerated in an Inventory
, , ,

to be used in evidence against the prisoner The Indic t .

ment concluded by declaring that in the event Of the o ff ence ,

c harged against the prisoner being found proven by the

Verdict he the said Eustace Mac all an ought to be punished


, , ,

with the pains of the law to deter others from c ommittin g ,

the like cri mes in all time coming .


SO much for the Indictment I have done with i t and I


a m rejoi c ed to have done with it .

An Inventory Of papers documents and articles foll owed , ,

at great le n gth on the three next pages


, This in its turn , .
,

was su cc eeded b y the lis t of the wit nes ses, and by the n am e s
1 26 THE LA W AND TI I E L AD Y .

Of t h e jurors (fteen in number) balloted for to try the case , .

An d then at last t h e R eport Of the Trial began


, , I t resolved .

itsel f t o my mi nd into thr ee great Question s As it appeared


, , .

to me at the time so let me present it here


, .

CHAP TER XVI .

r I Rsr Q U ES TI O N DID TH E WOMA N


'

DI E P O I S ON ED ?

THE

proceedings began at ten o clock The prisoner w as .

placed at the Bar before the High Court of J usticiary at


, ,

Edinburgh He bowed respect full y to the Bench and pleaded


.
,

N ot G uilty in a low voice


, .

It was Observed by every on e present that the prisoner s ,


face betrayed the traces o f acute mental su ff eri n g He w as .

deadly pale Hi s eyes never once wandered to th e crowd in


'

the Court When certain witnesses appeared agains t hi m he


.
,

looked at them with a momentary attention At other times .


,

he kept h i s eyes on the ground When the evidence touched .

on his wi fe s ill ness and death he was deeply a ffected



and ,

c overed hi s face with his hands It was a subj ect of general


.

r emark and general surprise that the prisoner in this case


, ,

(although a man ) showed far less sel f possession than the last
,
-

prisoner tried in that Court for murdera woman who had ,

b ee n convicted on overwhelming evidence There were persons .

present (a small minority only) who considered this want of


co mposure on the part Of the prisoner to be a Si gn in his

favour S el f possession in his dread ful position signied t o


.
-

, ,

their minds the stark insensibility Of a heartless and shama


,

les s criminal and a fforded in itself a presumptionnot of


,

innocence but Of gu ilt .

The rst witness called w as J ohn Daviot Esquire S heriff , ,


s

S ubstitute of Mid L othian He wa s e xamin ed by t h e L o r d


-
.

Advo cate (as c ouns el for the prose cution ) 3 and said :
FI RS TD I D TH E WOM AN DI E P OI S OA ED 7
.
m

The prisoner was brou ght before me on the present charge .

He made and subscribed a Declaration on the 29 t h of


"

, , ,

O ctober It was freely and voluntarily made ; the prisoner


.

havin g been first duly warned and admonished


.

Ha ving identied the Declaration , the S heri ff S ubstitut - e

being cross exa mined by the Dean of Facul ty (as counsel for
-

the defence) continued his evidence in these words



The charge against the prisoner was Murder This was ,
.

communicated to him before he made the Declaration T he .

questions addressed to the prisoner were put partly by me , ,

part ly by another Ofcer the ProcuratorFiscal The answers , .

were given distinctly and so far as I could ju dge without , , ,

reserve The statements put forward i n the Declaration


.

were all made in answer to questions asked oy the Procurator


Fiscal or by mysel f .

A clerk in the S heri ff Clerk s o fce then O c i ally produced



-

the Declaration and corroborated the evidence of the witness


,

who ha d preceded hi m .

T he appearance Of the nex t w itness c reated a marked


sensation in the Court This was n o less a person than the . .

nurse who had attended Mrs Mac all an in her last il lness by .

name Christina Or msay


,
.

After the rst formal answers the nurse (examined by t h e ,

L ord Advocate) proceeded to say



1 w as rst sent for to attend the deceased lady on t h e , ,

seventh Of O ctober S he was then suffering from a severe


.

cold accompanied by a rheumatic aff ection Of the le ft knee


,

j oint Previous to this I understood that h er health had


.
,

been fairly good S he was not a very difc ult person t o


.

n urse when you got used to her


, and understood h ow t o ,

man ag e her The main di fculty was caused by her temper


. .

S he was not a sullen person ; Sh e was headstrong and


viole nt easily excited to y into a passion an d qui te reck ,

l ess i n 1 er ts Of anger as to what she said or did


,

At such ,
.

t i m es, I really hardl y think Sh e knew what Sh e was abo ut .


1 28 TH E LA W AN D TH E L AD Y .

M y ow n idea i s that her temper was made still mor e irritable


,

by unhappiness in her married l i fe S he was far from bein g .

a reserved person Indeed sh e was disposed (as I thought )


.
,

to be a little t oo c ommunicative about hersel f and her


troubles with persons like me w h o were beneath her i n
, , ,

station S he did not scruple for instance to tell me (when


.
, ,

we had been long enou gh together to get used to ea ch other)


that she was very unhappy and fretted a good deal about her
,

husband O ne n i ght when Sh e was wake ful and restless sh e


.
, ,

said t o me
T he D ean of Faculty here interposed ; speaking on the
prisoner s behal f He appealed to the J u dges to say whether

.

such loose and unreliable evidence as th is was evidence which ,

could be received by the Court ?


The L ord Advocate (speakin g on b eh al f of the Crown)
claimed it as h i s right to produc e t h e evidence It w as .

Of the utmost importance in this case to Sho w (on the , ,

testimony Of an unprej udiced witness) on what terms t h e


husband and wife w er e li vi ng The witness was a most
. .

respectable woman S he had won and deserved the


.
, ,

condence Of the unhappy la dy whom she attended on her


deathbed .

After briey c onsulting together the J udges unanimously ,

decided that the evidence could not be admitted What the .

witness had hersel f seen and Observed Of the relations between


the husband and wi fe, was the only evidence that they could
receive .

The L ord Ad vocate thereupon c ontinued his examination


of the witness C hristina Or msay resumed her evidence as
.

foll ows :
My position as nurse led necessarily to my seeing more o f
Mrs Ma c al l an than any other person in the house I am
. .

a bl e to speak fro m experience, Of many things n ot known to


,

others who were only in her room at intervals .

For instance , I had more than one O pportunity of pers o nal ly


ElRS T D I D TH E WOM AN DI E P O I S ONE D ' 1 29

O bs erving that Mr and Mrs Mac al l an did not live together


,
. .

ve ry happily I can give you an example of this not drawn


.
,

from what others told me but fro m what I noticed for myself
, .


Towards the latter part of my attendance on Mrs .

Mac all an a young widow lady named Mrs Beauly a


, , .

cousin of Mr M ac all an s came t o stay at G l eni nc h Mrs


.

. .

Mac all an was j ealous of this lady 3 and she showed it in my ,

presence only the day before her death when Mr M ac al l an


, , .

c ame into her room to inquire how sh e had passed the night .


O h sh e said
,

never mind how I have slept ! What do
,

you care whether I sleep well or ill ? H ow has Mrs .

Beauly passed the night ? Is Sh e more beauti ful than ever


thi s morning ? G O back to her pray go back to her !

Don t waste your time with me

Beginning in that manner .
,

she worked hersel f into on e of her furious rages I was .

brushing her hair at the time 3 an d feeling that my presence ,

was an impropriety u nder the circumstances I attempted to ,

leave the room S he forbade me to go M r Mac all an felt


. . .
,

as I did that m y duty was to withdraw 3 and he said so in


,

p l ain words Mrs M ac all an i nsisted on my staying in


. .
,

language so insolent to her husband that he said If y ou ,

cannot control yourself either the nurse leaves the room or I


,

do.

S he refused to yield even then A good excuse Sh e .
,

s aid for getting back to Mrs Beauly G O


,
He took her . .

at her word and walked out of the room He had barely


,
.

c losed the door before sh e began revili ng hi m to me in the


,

most shocki ng manner S he declared among other things


.
,

sh e said Of him that t h e news of all others which he would


,

be glad to hear would be the news Of her death I ventured .


,

qui te respe c tfully on remonstrati n g with her S he took up


,
.

the hairb r ush and threw it at me and then and there di s


, , ,

mi ssed me from my attendance on her I left her ; and .

waited below until her t Of passion had worn itself out .

Then I returned t o my place at the bedside and for a whi l e, , ,

things w ent on again as usual .


1 30 TH E LA W AND TH E LAD r .

It may not be amiss to add a w ord whi ch may help to ex

plain Mrs Mac al l an s j ealousy of her husband s cousin Mrs


.

. .

M ac all an was a very plain woman S he had a cast in on e of .

her eyes and (if I may use the expression ) one of the most
,

muddy blot chy complexions it was ever my mis fortune


,
-

to see in a person s face Mr s Beaul y on the other hand


. .
, ,

was a most attractive lady Her eyes were universally .

admired ; and Sh e had a most beautif t clear and delicate


colour Poor Mr s Macal l an said of her most untruly that
. .
, ,

sh e painted .

N 0 3 the de fects in the complexion of the deceased lady


were not in any way attributable to her illness I should call .

them born and bred defects in hersel f .

Her illness i f I am asked to describe it I Should say w as


, ,

troublesome nothi ng more Until the last day there were


, .
,

no sym ptoms i n the least degree serious about the mal ady
that had taken her Her rheumatic knee was pain ful of .
,

course acutely pain ful i f you like w hen Sh e moved it 3 and


, ,

the connement to bed was irksome enough no doubt But , .

oth erwise there was nothi ng in t h e lady s condition be fore

the fatal attack came to alarm her or anybody about her , .

S he h ad her books and h er w riting m aterials on an inval id


,
-

table w hi ch worked on a pivot an d could be arranged in a n y ,

position most agreeable to her At times sh e read and wrote .


,

a great deal At other times she lay quiet thinking her


.
, ,

ow n thou ghts or talking with m e and with on e or


,

two lady friends in the nei ghbourhood w h o came r egularly


to see her .

Her wri ting so far as I kne w was almost entirely Of the


, ,

poetical sort S he was a great b and at composi ng poetry


. .

O n on e occasion on l y she showed me some of her poems I , .

a m no judge Of such thi ngs Her poetry was Of the dismal .

kind ; despairin g about hersel f and wonderi n g why Sh e had ,

ever been born and nonsense like that Her husband came
,
.

in m or e than once for some hard hits at his cruel heart and
FIRS TD ID TH E IVOZII AN D I E
'

P O I S ONE D f 1 3!

his ignorance o f his wife s merits In short she vented


.
,

h er d i scontent with her pen as well as with her ton g ue .

There were times and pretty Often too when an angel


from heaven would have failed to have satised Mrs .

Mac all an .

T hroughout the period of her ill ness the deceased la dy


occupied the same room a large bedroo m situated (like all


the best b c dm on S) on the rst oor Of the house .

Y es : t h e plan Of the room n ow shown to me i s quite


accurately taken according to my remembrance of it O ne


, .

door led into the great passage or corridor on w hich all the , ,

doors O pened A second door at on e side (marked B on the


.
,

plan ) led into Mr Ma c al l an s sleeping room A t hi rd door


,
.

.
,

on the Opposite side (marked C on the plan ) communicated ,

with a li ttle study or book room used as I was told by Mr -

, , , .

Mac all an s mother when Sh e was staying at G l en i nc h but



,

seldom or never entered by any one else M r Macallan a


. .

mother was not at G l en i nc h while I was there The door .

between the bed r oom and this study was locked and the key ,

was taken out I don t know who had the key or whether
.

there were more keys than one in existence The door was .

never Opened to my knowledge I only got into the stu dy


,
.
,

t o look at it along with the housekeeper by entering thro u gh ,

a second door that opened on to the corridor


. .

I beg to say that I can speak fro m my ow n knowledge



, ,

positively about Mrs Mac all an s ill ness and about the sudden
.

change which ended in her death By the doctor s advice I .



,

made notes at the ti me Of dates and hours and such like I


, , , .

looked at my notes be fore coming here .

Fro m the seventh of O ctober when I was rst called in t o ,

nurse her to the twentieth Of the same month she slowly


, , ,

but steadily improved in health Her knee was still pai nf l


, .
,

no doubt 3 but the i nammatory look Of it was disappearing .

As to the other symptoms except weakness from lying in b ed , ,

and irritability of temper there w as really nothing the matter


,
1 32 TH E LA W AND TH E L AD Y .

with her S he slept badly I ou ght perhaps to add B ut Wt


.
, .

remedied this by means Of composing draughts pres cribe d


,
-

for that purpose by the doctor .

O n the morning Of the twenty r st at a few min utes past -

six I got my rst alarm that something was going wrong


,

with Mrs Mac all an


. .

I was woke at the time I have mentioned by the ringi ng


, ,

Of the hand bell whi ch sh e kept on her bed t able L et me


- -
.

say for mysel f that I had only fallen a sleep on the sofa in the

bedroom at past two in the morn ing from Sheer fatigue


, , .

Mrs Mac al l an was then awake S he was in one of her bad


. .

humours with me I had tried to prevail on her t o let me


.

remove her dressing case from her bed table after sh e had - -

used it in m ak ing h er toilet for the night It took up a great .

deal of room 3 an d she could not possibly want it again before


the morni n g But no she insisted on my lettin g it be
. .

There was a glass inside t h e case 3 and plain a s sh e was sh e , ,

n ever wearied Of looki n g at hersel f in that glass I saw that


sh e was in a bad state of t emper so I gave her her way and , ,

let the dressi n g case be Findi n g that she was t oo sullen to


-
.

speak to m e after t hat an d too obstinate to take her composi ng


,

dra u ght from me when I o ff ered it I laid me down on the ,

so fa at her bed foot and fell asl eep as I have said


~

, , .

T he moment her bell ra n g I was u p and at the bedside , ,

r ea dy to make m ysel f use f ul .

I asked w hat was the m atter with her S he complained .

Of faintness an d depressio n an d said She felt sick I i n , .

quired i f sh e h ad taken anythi ng in the way Of physi o or food


while I h ad been asleep She answered that her husband had .

come in about an hour since an d n ding her still sleepl ess , , ,

had himsel f administered t h e composi n g draught Mr Mac -


. .

all an (sleepi n g in t h e n ext room) j oi n ed u s while sh e was


Speaking H e t oo had been arouse d by the bell He heard
.
, , .

w hat Mrs Ma c al l an said t o me about the composing dra ught


.
-

a n d made n o re ma rk upon it It seemed to me that he w as .


FI RS TD I D TI I E WOIII AN DIE P O I S ONE D ? I 33

alarmed at his wi fe s f aintness I sugg ested that Sh e should


'

take a lit tle wi ne or brandy an d w at er S he ans w ered that


,
-
.

sh e c ould S w allo w nothing so strong as wine or brandy .

having a burni ng pain in her stomach already I put my .

hand o n her sto m ach quite lightly S he screamed w h en I .

touched her ,

This symptom alarmed us We sent to the village for t h e .

medical man who had attended Mrs Macall an during her .

i llness on e Mr Gale . .

The doctor seemed no better able t o account for the ch ange


for the worse in his patient than we were Hearing her com .

plaint Of thirst he gave her some milk N ot long a fter taking


, .

it she was sick The sickness appeared to relieve her S he


, . .

soon gre w dro w sy and slumbered Mr G ale le ft us with


, . .
,

strict injunctions to send for h i m instantly if she was taken ill


again .

N othi ng Of the sort happened 3 no chan ge took place f or


the next three hours or more She roused u p towar ds hal f .

past nine and inquired about her husband I in formed her


,
.

that he had returned to his own room and asked i f I should ,

send for him S he said NO I asked next i f she would


.
, .
,


like anythi n g to eat or drink S he said N o again in .
, , ,

rather a vacant st u peed w ay and then told me t o go do w n


,

stairs and get my break fast O n my way down I met the .

housekeeper S he invited me to break fast with her in her


.

room instead of i n the servants b all as usual I remained


,

.

with the housekeeper but a short ti me : certainly not more


than half an hour .

G oin g upstairs again I met the under housemaid sweeping, ,


-

on on e Of the landings .

The girl in formed me that Mrs Mac all an had taken a



.

c u p Of tea during my absence in the housekeepe r s room


.
,

M r Mac all an s valet had ordered the tea for his mi stress by

.
,

his master s directions T he under housemaid made it and



.
-

t ook it u pstairs herself to Mrs Mac all an s roo m Her mas t e r



. .
1 34 TH E L A IV A N D TH E LAD Y .

(she s ai d) O pened the door when she knock ed and took the , ,

teacup from her with his ow n hand He O pened the door .

widely enough for her to see into the bedroom and to notic e ,

that nobody was with Mrs Mac al l an but himsel f . .

After a little talk with the under housemaid I returned to -

the bedroom NO one was there Mrs Ma c al l an was lyi n g


. . .<