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CHAPTER XXII.

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THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL.

oughly even than he had done, and bad
made promises wbich it would have been as
shameful to break as it would be to keep

them. But even as it was, had he not made
HARRY CLAVERING, when he walked such promises ? Was there not such a prom-
away from Bolton Street after the scene in ise in that embrace, in the half-forgotten
which he had been interrupted by Sophie word or two which he had spoken while she
Gordaloup, was not in a happy frame of was in his arms, and in the parting grasp of
mind, nor did he make his journey down to his hand ? He could not write that letter
Clavering with much comfort to himself. then, on that morning, hurried as he was
Whether or no he was now to be regarded as with the necessity of his journey ; and he
a villain, at any rate he was not a villain ca- started for Clavering resolving that it should
pable of doing his villany without extreme be written from his father's house.
remorse and agony of mind. It did not seem It was a tedious, sad journey to him, and
to him to be even yet possible that he should he was silent and out of spirits when he
be altogether untrue to Florence. It hardly reached his home ; but he had gone there
occurred to him to think that he could free for the purpose of his cousin's funeral, and
himself from the contract by which he was his mood was not at first noticed, as it might
bound to her. No; it was towards Lady have been had the occasion been different.
Ongar that his treachery must be exhibit- His father's countenance wore that 'well-
ed ; – towards the woman whom he had known look of customary solemnity which is
sworn to befriend, and whom he now, in his found to be necessary on such occasions,
distress, imagined to be the dearer to him of and his mother was still thinking of the sor-
the two. He should, according to his custom, rows of Lady Clavering who had been at
have written to Florence a day or two be- the rectory for the last day or two.
fore he left London, and, as he went to Bol- “ Have you seen Lady Ongar since she
ton Street, had determined to do so that heard of the poor child's death ?” his
evening on his return home; but when he mother asked.
reached his rooms he found it impossible to “ Yes, I was with her yesterday evening.”
write such a letter. What could he say to “Do you see her often ?” Fanny in-
her that would not be false? How could quired.
he tell her that he loved her, and speak as “ What do you call often ? No; not often.
he was wont to do of his impatience, after I went to her last night because she had
that which had just occurred in Bolton given me a commission. I have seen her
Street?

three or four times altogether.” But what was he to do in regard to Julia ? “ Is she as handsome as she used to be ?" He was bound to let her know at once what said Fanny. was his position, and to tell her that in treat- “ I cannot tell; I do not know." ing her as he had treated her, he bad simply “You used to think her very handsome, insulted her. That look of gratified content. Harry.” ment with which she had greeted him as he Of course she is handsome. There has was leaving her, clung to his memory and never been a doubt about that ; but when a tormented him. Of that contentment he woman is in deep mourning one can hardly must now rob her, and he was bound to do think about her beauty." Oh, Harry, so with as little delay as was possible. Early Harry, how could you be so false ? in the morning before he started on his jour- “I thought young widows were always ney he did make an attempt, a vain attempt, particularly charming," said Fanny; "and to write, not to Florence, but to Julia. The when one remembers about Lord Ongar, letter would not get itself written. He had one does not think of her being a widow not the hardihood to inform her that he had so much as one would do if he had been amused himself with her sorrows and that he different.” had injured her by the exhibition of his love. “I don't know anything about that,” said And then that horrid Franco-Pole, whose he. He felt that he was stupid, and that prying eyes Julia had dared to disregard, he blundered in every word, but he could because she had been proud of his love! If not help himself. It was impossible that he she had not been there, the case might have should talk about Lady Ongar with proper been easier. Harry, as he thought of this, composure. Fanny saw that the subject anforgot to remind himself that if Sophie had noyed him and that it made him cross, and not interrupted him he would have floun- she therefore ceased.

“ She wrote a very dered on from one danger to another till he nice letter to your mother about the poor would have committed himself more thor-child, and about her sister," said the rec

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tor. “I wish with all my heart that Her- obliged to her, but that I do not think it mione could go to her for a time.”

will be possible. She is free you know, to “I fear that he will not let her,” said Mrs. do what she pleases.”. Clavering. “I do not understand it all, but “ Yes, she is free. But do you mean?” Hermione says that the rancour between “I mean, Harry, that I had better stay Hugh and her sister is stronger now than where I am. What is the use of a scene, ever."

and of being refused at last ? Do not say " And Hugh will not be the first to put more about it, but tell her that it cannot be rancour out of his heart,” said the rector. so.” This Harry promised to do, and after

On the following day was the funeral, and a while was rising to go, when she suddenly Harry went with his father and cousins to asked him a question. “Do you remember the child's grave.

When he met Sir Hugh what I was saying about Julia and Archie in the dining-room in the Great House, the when you were here last ? " baronet hardly spoke to him.

" A sad oco

Yes ; I remember." casion ; is it not?” said Archie ;“ very sad ; “ Well, would he have a chance ? It very sad.”

Then Harry could see that seems that you see more of her now than Hugh scowled at his brother angrily, hating any one else.” his humbug, and hating it the more because “No chance at all, I should say." And in Archie's case it was doubly humbug. Harry, as he answered, could not repress a Archie was now heir to the property and to feeling of most unreasonable jealousy: the title.

“Ah, you have always thought little of After the funeral Harry went to see Lady Archie. Archie's position is changed now, Clavering, and again had to endure a con- Harry, since my darling was taken from persation about Lady Ongar. Indeed, he me. Of course be will marry, and Hugh, had been specially coinmissioned by Julia to I think, would like him to marry Julia. It press upon her sister the expediency of leav- was he proposed it. He never likes anything ing, Clavering for a while. This had been unless he has proposed it himself.”. early on that last evening in Bolton Street, " It was he proposed the marriage with long before Madame Gordeloup had made Lord Ongar. Does he like that ?” her appearance. “ Tell ber from me," Lady “Well; you know, Julia has got her Ongar had said, " that I will go anywhere money.” Harry as he heard this, turned that she may wish if she will go with me, away, sick at heart. The poor baby whose she and I alone; and, Harry, tell her this mother was now speaking to him, had only as though I meant it. I do mean it. She been buried that morning, and she was alwill understand why I do not write myself. ready making fresh schemes for family I know that he sees all her letters when he wealth. Julia has got her money! That is with her.” This task Harry was now to had seemed to her, even in her sorrow, to perform, and the result he was bound to be sufficient compensation for all that her communicate to Lady Ongar. The message sister had endured and was enduring. Poor he might give; but delivering the answer to soul. Harry did not reflect as he should Lady Oogar would be another thing. have done, that in all her schemes she was

Lady Clavering listened to what he said, only scheming for that peace which might but when he pressed her for a reply shé perhaps come to her if her husband were shook her head. " And why not, Lady satisfied. “ And why should not Julia take Clavering ?”

him?” she asked. “ People can't always leave their houses “I cannot tell why, but she never will,” and go away, Harry."

said Harry, almost in anger. At that mo" But I should have thought that you ment the door was opened, and Sir Hugh could have done so now; - that is before came into the room. I did not know that long. Will Sir Hugh remain here at Clav- you were here,” Sir Hugh said, turning to ering ?

the visitor. “ He has not told me that he means to “I could not be down here without say

ing a few words to Lady Clavering.” * If he stays, I suppose you will stay; but

* The less said the etter, I suppose, just if he goes up to London again, I cannot see at present,” said Sir Hugh. But there was why you and your sister should not go away no offence in the tone of his voice, or in his together. She mentioned Tenby as being contenance, and Harry took the words as very quiet, but she would be guided by you meaning none. altogether."

"I was telling Lady Clavering that as " I do not think it will be possible, Harry. soon as she can, she would be better if she Tell her with my love, that I am truly left home for a while.”

go."

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And why should you tell Lady Claver-man. “By you,” he said, “ her brother-ining that.”

law ; - by you, who made up her wretched “I have told him that I would not go," marriage, and who, of all others, were the said the poor woman.

most bound to protect her." “Why should she go, and where; and “Oh, Harry, don't, don't !” shrieked why have you proposed it? And how does Lady Clavering. it come to pass that her going or not going “ Hermione, hold your tongue,” said the should be a matter of solicitude to you?" imperious husband ; '“or, rather, go away Now, as Sir Hugh asked these questions of and leave us. I have a word or two to say his cousin, there was much of offence in his to Harry Clavering which had better be said tone, — of intended offence, — and in his in private.” eye, and in all his bearing. He had turned " I will not go if you are going to quarhis back upon his wife, and was looking full rel.” into Harry's face. "Lady Clavering, no Harry," said Sir Hugh, “I will trouble doubt, is much obliged to you,” he said, you to go downstairs before me. If you will “ but why is it that you specially have in- step into the breakfast-room I will come to terfered to recommend her to leave her you.” home at such a time as this?”

Harry Clavering did as he was bid, and Harry had not spoken as he did to Sir in a few minutes was joined by his cousin Hugh without having made some calculation in the breakfast-room. in his own mind as to the result of what he “ No doubt you intended to insult me by was about to say. He did not, as regarded what you said upstairs." The baronet behimself, care for his cousin or his cousin's gan in this way after he had carefully shut anger. His object at present was simply the door, and had slowly walked up to the that of carrying out Lady Ongar's wish, and rug before the fire, and had there taken his he had thought that perhaps Sir Hugh might position. not object to the proposal which his wife “ Not at all; I intended to take the part was too timid to make to him.

of an ill-used woman whom you had calum“ It was a message from her sister,” said niated.” Harry, “ sent by me.”

“ Now look here, Harry, I will have no Upon my word she is very kind. And interference on your part in my affairs, what was the message,

unless it be a either here or elsewhere. You are a very secret between you three ? "

fine fellow, no doubt, but it is not part of I have had no secret, Hugh,” said his your business to set me or my house in orwife.

der. After what you have just said before “Let me hear what he has to say,” said Lady Clavering you will do well not to Sir Hugh.

come here in my absence.” “ Lady Ongar thought that it might be “ Neither in your absence nor in your well that her sister should leave Clavering presence.” for a short time, and and has offered to go “ As to the latter you may do as you anywhere with her for a few weeks. That please. And now touching my sister-in-law, is all."

I will simply recommend you to look after “ And why the devil should Hermione your own affairs.". leave her own house? And if she were to “ I shall look after what affairs I please.” leave it, why should she go with a woman “Of Lady Ongar and her life since her that bas misconducted herself ?”

marriage I daresay you know as little as "Oh, Hugh!” exclaimed Lady Claver- anybody in the world, and I do not suppose ing

it likely that you will learn much from her. Lady Ongar has never misconducted She made a fool of you once, and it is on herself," said Harry.

the cards that she may do so again.” “ Are you her champion ?” asked Sir “ You said just now that you would brook Hugh.

no interference in your affairs. Neither “ As far as that, I am. She has never will l." misconducted herself; and what is more,

“ I don't know that

you

have affairs she has been cruelly used since she came in which any one can interfere. I have home."

been given to understand that you are * By whom; by whom?” said Sir Hugh, engaged to marry that young lady whom stepping close up to his cousin and looking your mother brought here one day to dinwith angry eyes into his face.

ner. If that be so, I do not see how you But Harry Clavering was not a man to can reconcile it to yourself to become the be intimidated by the angry eyes of any champion, as you called it, of Lady Ongar.”

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any

said you

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“ I never said anything of the kind.” he could produce good, when his interfer“ Yes, you did.”

ence could be efficacious only for evil. Why “No; it was you who asked me whether could he not have held his tongue when Sir I was her champion.”

Hugh came in, instead of making that vain * And you were."

suggestion as to Lady Clavering? But s. So far as to defend her name when even this trouble was but an addition to the I heard it traduced by you."

great trouble that overwhelmed him. How “ By beavens, your impudence is beauti- was he to escape the position which he had ful. Who knows her best, do you think. – made for himself in reference to Lady you or I? Whose sister-in-law is she? You Ongar? As he had left London he had have told me I was cruel to her. Now to promised to himself that he would write to that I will not submit, and I require you her that same night and tell her everything to apologize to me.”

as to Florence; but the night had passed, "I have no apology to make, and noth- and the next day was nearly gone, and no ing to retract."

such letter had been written. “ Then I shall tell your father of your As he sat with his father that evening, he gross misconduct, and shall warn him that told the story of his quarrel with his cousin. you have made it necessary for me to turn his His father sbrugged his shoulders and raised son out of my house. You are an imperti- his eyebrows. “You are a bolder man than nent, overbearing puppy, and if your name I am,” he said. “I certainly should not were not the same as my own, I would tell have dared to advise Hugh as to what he the grooms to horsewhip you off the place.” should do with his wife.”

" Which order, you know, the grooms But I did not advise him. I only said would not obey. They would a deal sooner that I had been talking to her about it. If horsewhip you. Sometimes I think they he were to say to you that he had been will, when I hear you speak to them.” recommending my mother to do this or that, “Now go!”

you would not take it amiss ? " * Of course I shall go. What would “ But Hugh is a peculiar man." keep me here ?”

“No man has a right to be peculiar. Sir Hugh then opened the door, and Every man is bound to accept such usage Harry passed through it, not without a as is customary in the world." cautious look over his shoulder, so that he “I don't suppose that it will signify might be on his guard if any violence were much," said the rector. contemplated. But Hugh knew better than cousin's doors barred against you, either that, and allowed his cousin to walk out of here or in London, will not injure you." the room, and out of the house, unmo- · Oh, no; it will not injure me; but I do lested.

not wish you to think that I have been unAnd this had happened on the day of reasonable.” the funeral! Harry Clavering had quar- The night went by and so did the next relled thus with the father within a few day, and still the letter did not get itself hours of the moment in which they two had written. On the third morning after the stood together over the grave of that fa- funeral he heard that Sir Ilugh had gone ther's only child! As he thought of this away; but he, of course, did not go up to while he walked across the park he became the house, remembering well that he had sick at heart. How vile, wretched and been warned by the master not to do so in miserable was the world around him! How the master's absence. His mother, however, terribly vicious were the people with whom went to Lady Clavering, and some interhe was dealing! And what could he think course between the families was renewed. of himself, — of himself, who was engaged He had intended to stay but one day after to Florence Burton, and engaged also, as the funeral, but at the end of the week he he certainly was, to Lady Ongar? Even was still at the rectory. It was Whitsuntide his cousin had rebuked him for his treach- he said, and he might as well take his holiery to Florence; but what would his cousin day as he was down there. Of course they have said had he known all ? And then were glad that he should remain with them, what good had be done ; or rather what but they did not fail to perceive that things evil had he not done? In his attempt on with him were not altogether right; nor behalf of Lady Clavering bad he not, in had Fanny failed to perceive that he had truth, interfered without proper excuse, not once mentioned Florence's name since and fairly laid himself open to anger from he had been at the rectory: his cousin ? And he felt that he had been Harry,” she said, “there is nothing an ass, a fool, a conceited ass, thinking that wrong between you and Florence ? ”

" To have your and you

Wrong! what should there be wrong? | that Julia should be the sacrifice. Julia What do you mean by wrong

?

should be sacrificed, — Julia and himself ! “I hada letter from her to-day and she But still he could not write to Florence till asks where you are.”

he had written to Julia. He could not “ Women expect such a lot of letter- bring himself to send soft, pretty, loving writing! But I have been remiss I know. words to one woman while the other was I got out of my business way of doing still regarding him as her affianced lover. things when I came down here and have “ Was your letter from Florence this neglected it. Do you write to her to-mor- morning ?” Fanny asked him. row,

and tell her that she shall hear from “ Yes; it was. me directly I get back to town.”

“ Had she received mine ?" “ But why should you not write to her “ I don't know. Of course she had. If from here?

you sent it by post of course she got it." “ Because I can get you to do it for me.” “She might have mentioned it, perhaps."

Fanny felt that this was not at all like a “ I daresay she did. I don't remember.” lover, and not at all like such a lover as her “Well, Harry; you need not be cross brother had been. While Florence had with me because I love the girl who is going been at Clavering he had been most con- to be your wife. You would not like it if stant with his letters, and Fanny had often I did not care about her." heard Florence boast of them as being “I hate being called cross." perfect in their way. She did not say any- Suppose I were to say that I hated thing further at the present moment, but your being cross. I'm sure I do;she knew that things were not altogether are going away to-morrow, too. You have right. Things were by no means right. hardly said a nice word to me since you He had written neither to Lady Ongar nor have been home.” to Florence, and the longer he put off the Harry threw himself back into a chair task the more burdensome did it become. almost in despair. He was not enough a He was now telling himself that he would hypocrite to say nice words when his heart write to neither till he got back to London. within him was not at ease. He could not

On the day before he went, there came to bring himself to pretend that things were him a letter from Stratton. Fanny was pleasant. with him when he received it, and observed “ If you are in trouble, Harry, I will not that he put it into his pocket without open- go on teasing you." ing it. In his pocket be carried it unopened “I am in trouble,” he said. half the day, till he was ashamed of his own “ And cannot I help you ?” weakness. At last, almost in despair with “ No; you cannot help me.

No one can himself, he broke the seal and forced him- help me. But do not ask any questions." self to read it. There was nothing in it * Oh, Harry! is it about money ?” that need have alarmed him. It contained “ No, no; it has nothing to do with hardly a word that was intended for a re- money." buke.

You have not really quarrelled with "I wonder why you should have been Florence ?" two whole weeks without writing,” she said. No; I have not quarrelled with her at " It seems so odd to me, because you have all. But I will not answer more questions. spoiled me by your customary goodness. And, Fanny, do not speak of this to my faknow that other men when they are en-ther or mother. It will be over before long, gaged do not trouble themselves with con- and then, if possible, I will tell you.”. stant letter-writing. Even Theodore, who " Harry, you are not going to fight with according to Cecilia is perfect, would not Hugh ?” write to her then very often; and now, • Fight with Hugh! no. Not that I when he is away, his letters are only three should mind it ; but he is not fool enough lines. I suppose you are teaching me not for that. If he wanted fighting done, he to be exacting. If so, I will kiss the rod would do it by deputy. But there is nothlike a good child; but I feel it the more be- ing of that kind." cause the lesson bas not come soon enough.” She asked him no more questions, and on

Then she went on in her usual strain, the next morning he returned to London. telling him of what she had done, what she On his table he found a note which he at had read, and what she had thought. There once knew to be from Lady Ongar, and was no suspicion in her letter, no fear, no which had come only that afternoon. hint at jealousy. And she should have no Come to me at once ; — at once.” That further cause for jealousy! One of the two) was all that the note contained. must be sacrificed, and it was most fitting!

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