Abbildungen der Seite

would expose

her to the horrible charge of most a sin. Mr. Dowlas was an excellent wilfully intending to profit by a fraud. She man in himself, but to endow him with had, indeed, a clear conscience; at least, wealth would be to enrich his wife all the what she had hitherto done had been done same. from the purest motives and in the very They had four children, but Mr. Gryffyth teeth of her own inclinations. It would not felt the anomaly of passing over the parents he hard to show that no inkling of Mr. for their sakes. Mr. Dowlas must have Gryffyth's intentions was likely to have domestic difficulties enough. It would hardly reached her. She must tell all the very be well to complicate them by making his next day, and trust to the good sense and children wealthy while he continued poor. forbearance of others to forgive her this Besides, was it likely that the children of great but innocent mischief.

such a mother would grow up qualified to The good sense of Mrs. Roberts ! The adorn a higher position ? generous forbearance of Mrs. Dowlas!

However, people must be taken as they Eva thought on what manner of persons stand. And some time towards the close of she was thus relying, and she despaired 1855 Mr. Gryffyth executed a will, bequeathmore and more. Yet she slept a great part ing his landed property all to Mr. Dowlas, of the night. Convicts will sleep on the and charging it with an income of two huneve of execution, and when the bammering dred a year, to be paid for life to poor Mrs. up of the scaffold is audible in their cells. Roberts. As time after time stories reached Eva slept until her usual hour of waking in his ears of the behaviour of Mrs. Dowlas, the morning

and of the small control her husband exerMr. Gryffyth's motives for the unexpect- cised over her, Mr. Gryffyth felt very uned disposal of bis estate might, very likely, comfortable, and many a time envied those occur to you without our dwelling on them; people who can die and leave nothing yet we may briefly recapitulate them. behind them. He was still disquieting him

He lived hoping and hoping that his self, while feeling that very soon the matter nephew would, one day or other, step for- would have passed out of his control altoward and heal the breach between them. gether, when he heard that Susanna RobMr. Gryffyth would have exacted no hu- erts had, after all, a living daughter, and miliating condition. The merest wish for a that that daughter was coming to Llynrenewed intercourse would have been met, bwllyn. on his part, with restored affection in life, On that day when Mrs. Dowlas had inand the reversion of his estate after death. sisted on her husband's taking her to TreBut time wore on, and the nephew, pros- mallyoc, old Gryffyth, shutting out the lady pering in his own way, made no advance from the conference, had asked many queson his side. Owen Gryffyth was far too tions of Mr. Dowlas as to the new relation proud to expose himself to the chances of a suddenly come amongst them. The good cold refusal. He was a Dissenter, and his rector of Llynbwllyn gave to Eva all the nephew a richly beneficed clergyman. He praise he thought her to deserve. She was grew old in years, and received one or very beautiful; she had been thoroughly two signs within that the earthly taberna- well educated, both in solid acquirements cle was failing him. Resolved that in de- and ornamental accomplishments; she was fault of a reconciliation) his natural heir a perfect lady, and fit for any station to should not be his actual heir, the old which Providence might be about to call Welshman considered what he should do. her. Witha! she was most amiable in disHe greatly desired to benefit the Roberts position, forbearing with the weaknesses of family. He cherished the memory of his her mother, and winning the grateful affecstepmother, the sister of Mr. David Rob- tion of her youthful cousins. Thus, with

She had (in marrying his father) de- the utmost pleasure to himself, did Mr. livered him from the dominion of a very Dowlas talk of Eva. And this was the good cross aunt; and, though somewhat his which Mrs. Dowlas got by the visit she father's interior in station, had performed world insist upon paying! all her duties kindly and wisely. But, as Left to himself, Mr. Gryffyth took note of he wearily considered, could he hope that what he had heard. He did not feel equal either of her nieces would make a good use to seeing the young lady bimself, but he of his estate if they got it? Susanna was a could trust the sense and taste of his more fool ; and her folly had left her in a very than disinterested informant. Surely she painful and doubtful position before the was expressly created to rescue him out of world. Jane, Mrs. Dowlas, was an intem- the difficulty he so much and so often deperate vixen, to enrich whom would be al- | plored. Here as if by direct interference


from the skies

was an heiress combining am your mother after all. You don't intend kindred with his deceased stepmother with to disown me, Eva ?” every personal and moral quality which he “ Poor dear mother ! at least, I know could have desired. Is it surprising that ere of no mother besides you, — I'll never cause the week was at an end, Owen Gryffyth had you any pain which I can possibly help givdestroyed his former will, and duly signed ing you. At least be sure of that." that one which we have had the privilege of " Then you'll let me stay with you here, reading? Before the sun went down upon and I shall be happy, I know. Oh, I can't the day of his burial, a circle, widening from tell what I should have done if I had had to hour to hour, was talking of Eva as of the go hoine with your aunt and uncle. Really, I being in all their acquaintance the most to think I must have gone and slept at the pubbe envied. For she was beautiful and rich. lic-house. Your aunt is positively not safe And she all the while was wondering wheth-. just now, — no! safe. I hear that the way er the night would close in on anybody who she went on as soon as they got back to the had a harder burtben than her own to Rectory yesterday was really awful, somebear.

thing quite awful. They tell me that she When, on the following morning, she kicked the cat from the top to the bottom of came down-stairs, she found Mrs. Roberts in the stairs, and threw Winifred's best bonnet the breakfast room. It was as pleasant a on the kit hen fire. But my sister Dowlas room as you can fancy. But all the delights has such strength of character, to be sure ; of the house were so many torments to poor such strength of character that there are Eva. She felt herself such a degraded im- times when she really doesn't know what postor. Of all the company which had she does herselt.” thronged the house the day before, there Eva had no moral or example wherewith was not one who had not a somewhat better to point this sketch of aunt Dowlas; and right to be there than she had. And they Mrs. Roberts went talking on :had all retired and left her to rule in the “ But though she has behaved so badly to house alone.

you, Eva, I hope you'll try to forgive ber-She found but little comfort in her poor to forgive her just enough to have her here silly companion. Pre-occupied as her to tea by-and-bye, just to show her that it's thoughts were, Eva could not but observe our turn now, you know. We can show a the change that sudden prosperity had made much better set of tea-things than hers that in the manner and look of Mrs. Roberts. she's so proud of. I've ben looking over The immense difference between herself the things myself just now, and you've got and her fiery sister seemed now to have a set – oh, I should think that every single greatly diminished. She really looked self- cup' in it must be worth the whole cost of asserting in her turn. The poor creature my sister Jane's best ; so I really should like had actually stuck some trashy finery on to her to see it." lier dress; and the likelihood that the dread- And by-and-by, to Eva's great satisfacful disappointment coming would throw her tion, the woman whom wealth had already mind fairly off its balance arose before Eva's changed went out to pursue her inquiries into eyes, and filled her with a new and sicken- the house and its treasures, and Miss March ing dread.

could nsider w] she had better do. Her Mrs. Roberts was talkative enough now. hitherto really resource, the counsel of Mr.

· Well, my dear, dearest love, isn't it a Ballow, was not in this matter available. It grcat biessing that, instead of living any was Friday now, and not before Sunday, if inore with my sister Dowlas, and bearing indeed so soon, could she obtain an answer all her shocking tantrums, we can live by to any letter she might send. Could she ourselves in this delightful place ? Ab, my really defer proceedings until Monday ? dear girl! you'll forgive your poor mother that would be three whole days. Three enfreely now now won't you? Eva, say tire days passed in deceit and duplicity you forgive me; say I shall always have a which sickened her more and more every home with you !'

minute. And could she doubt what Mr. “ Poor

I will do my Ballow would advise ? He would counsel best, believe me.”

her to reveal all without delay. And would “ My dear, you shall never find me in the he not be certai, to indicate Mr. Lewis as way. 'I know, after my shameful behaviour the person to whom the first revelation had to you when you were born, I have no such better be made ? The fearful mischief which right as other mothers may have. But it's had ensued from concealment was a warning proved the better for you in the end, and I to her to conceal no longer. Mr. Lewis had

poor woman !

expressed himself ready to wait upon her if have heard how strange a history mine has she desired that very day. She bitterly felt been ?— how I grew up under the care of that in so much as requesting his presence one who protected me out of charity, and she was acting on false pretences. For wbat without any knowledge of my real pareal claim did she possess on his attentions? rents ? ”. But it was the only honest course before “Hm! to a certain extent T- I have heard her, and strength was given her to proceed it,” replied Mr. Lewis, who, if he could with it. She wrote a short note, beseeching avoid it without a falsehood, would never him to come to her that day, on very urgent confess to ignorance. matters arisiug out of Mr. Gryffyth's will.

Eva went on, Mr. Lewis lived about five miles off. Eva's “ A short time ago I was led to believe messenger was quickly home again with a I most solemnly assure you I did believe note in reply. Mr. Lewis would wait upon that Mrs. Roberts was my mother. A little Miss Roberts that very day, about two while ago I received from my nearest and o'clock.

dearest friends positive proof that it was Eva wrote to the Ballows to tell them of entirely a mistake; that – in short, that I am the dreadful embarrassment which had not Mrs. Roberts's daughter, and, as you will overtaken her, and of her hope that the see at once, have no possible claim to the lawyer's assistance might guide her to some property left me under that name.” honest escape from it. She also wrote to "Is it possible? Miss Roberts, you're Richard. Her immediate anxiety was to surely under some delusion!” keep Mrs. Roberts from assisting at the “I was under a delusion indeed. But if coming interview. This it proved easy to you look at this letter, which was written do. After a very early dinner the latter by Mr. Dowlas only six weeks ago, you will lady went out on a gossipping visit to one or see that I really had every reason to think two families with whom she had some ac- myself bis niece. And then if you look at quaintance. And she was a mile away from this other letter, which I myself received some the house by the time the lawyer arrived. days ago from Mr. Ballow (he is one of the

He was very cordial and animated. Eva friends of whom I spoke just now), you will was by far the most interesting client he see how thoroughly all the proofs in the forhad had for many and many a long year; mer letter are set aside.” and he greatly rejoiced to think into what Mr. Lewis took the two letters in hand, hands Tremallyoc House had fallen.

to wit, Mr.Dowlas's letter to Mrs. Ferrier Eva thought she must offer him a glass of (transcribed by us in chapter the sixth), wine. Poor girl ! she could not even do that and the letter from Mr. Ballow, telling Eva without a guilty feeling that she was rob- of his interview with Madame Durange, and bing Mr. Gryffyth's real heir. They sat in the consequent certainty that Mrs. Roberts's the breakfast-room aforesaid, — be with his daughter had died in her infancy. For glass in his hand, she nervously fingering many minutes the lawyer was perusing, her watch-guard, deferring the inevitable comparing, and weighing the two important plunge, and (as we are wont to do) suffer- documents, together with the papers proing it many times over in consequence. Her cured by Mr. Ballow to make his case a hesitation was much too manifest to be pass- certain one. ed unnoticed by him.

At length Mr. Lewis returned them into “ Well, Miss Roberts, you see I have been Eva's hand. prompt in coming. In what way can I serve “Well, Miss Roberts – Well Miss March, you ? Now I think I can guess I think I ought to say, - this is a very complicated I can guess. There's a gentleman in ques- matter, to be sure. It is much to be regrettion, I fancy? Don't be angry if I am ted that you did not make known the conwrong. But am I not right?

tents of this letter of Mr. Ballow's as soon as " It's not that, that is — it is not for you received it. that I wished to see you.

I assure


Mr. Eva now had to tell him her motives for Lewis, I wouldn't have troubled you if I hiding the truth. She was glad to see that could have avoided it."

he did not appear to distrust her. “Why, I begin to be afraid you've taken “ Miss March,” he said, “I fully believe a dislike to me, Miss Roberts. The oftener you. As to your designing to get this propyou send for me the better I shall be pleas- erty, why, no one knows better than I do ed.”

bow very close my old friend Gryffyth kept “I can only thank you for coming with his intentions; and I know it was impossiall my heart. You cannot know what ble, since he never so much as saw you, trouble I am in, Mr. Lewis. I believe you that you could have been expecting such a

at once.

thing. But I cannot promise you that you gyman, as you may be aware. His name is will meet with like justice from everybody Leyburn — the Reverend Henry Leyburn. concerned."

It ought to be in our favour that he has got “ No indeed, Mr. Lewis. I dare say you a splendid living, and is very well off in are thinking of Mrs. Dowlas. You saw other ways.”. what her anger was when she had no idea But would you advise my going there I had anything to hide from her. What myself ?” will be her fury when she becomes aware

**. Yes, I should, I do. With a proper that she has lost the property through one escort, of course. Have you no friend who who had never the remotest connection would with


?" with her!”

Eva thought of Mrs. Check, and said she Why, Miss March, I am not so sure had a friend in London. She thought it but that, when she discovered she really had would be selfish to ask so singular a service a grievance against you, she might hate you from Mrs. Ballow. all the less. It would give her a certain “ Very well. Then stay bere quietly sense of superiority. However, you are till Monday. Don't fancy yourself an inright in thinking that the shock may be truder. When Mr. Leyburn finds that you very dangerous to that poor weak Mrs. are the cause of his inheriting Tremallyoc Roberts. We must use the utmost precau- after all, he will not grudge you a few tion. Of course I now understand what nights' rest in it. Say not a word to anyyesterday puzzled me very much, in the body here; and on Monday I'll see you remarks you made and the questions you safe at Chester and off by the train. Then asked.”

write to your friend to meet you in London, “ And now, Mr. Lewis, tell me I entreat and take you down into Cambridgeshire on you, it there be any way in which this fear- the Tuesday. Tell Mr. Leyburn the whole ful mischief can be undone.”

Of course, if he won't make any Mr. Lewis thought a little before he spoke concessions, why, you can only fall back on again.

the knowledge that you did your best and "I see only one resource,” he said ; meant your best all the matter through. clearly, but one. You are already aware And now, my dear, good-bye. I do feel that, there being no such person as the very sorry that this house is not to be yours daughter of Mrs. Roberts, all the property – only don't you tell Mr. Leyburn of my (not specified in the will) must come to saying so. Just another thing: have you the heir-at-law, who happens also to be the plenty of money ?." next of kin. What you desire is that some- “Yes, ample. And my friends at Minchthing should be done for the benefit of Mrs. ley will supply me with any more I may Roberts, and also for the Dowlases. That, need." I conclude, is the thing ?”

Very good, only don't be backward in Yes, most certainly yes.”

asking me if you really want any. I'll “And you will see directly, that if such a make such explanations here and at Llynthing is to be done at all, the heir-at-law bwllyn as may be needed. Nothing more and no one else must be trusted to do it. reasonable than when a young lady has The question for us is, will he do it? Will he, money left her, she should be called to seeing that he benefits himself so largely by travel up to London.” this strange mistake? Will he be generous

And then Mr. Lewis went away. to those who, on the other hand, have suf- Of Eva's doings for the next two days we fered so largely by it.”

need only say that her heart was very much " I suppose he cannot be bound to do lightened, anxious as it still continued. She anything?"

could not go to the church on Sunday, for * By no means. You can only appeal to it involved the sitting, as owner of the manhis generosity. And I should recommend or, in the great Tremallyoc House pew. your doing it in person. It's a somewhat On Saturday she bad written both to Mrs. singular proceeding, I am aware. But Ballow and to Richard of the new enterprise the whole affair is singular from beginning now before her. to end; and it would be far the best way · About the middle of Monday she found for effect."

herself handed into the train for London by “But who is he ? and where does he Mr. Lewis at Chester. They had quitted live ?"

Tremallyoc early in the morning. Eva "I am sorry to say that he lives a very felt very desolate and not a little unhappy. great distance from here. About halfway It seemed as if she were again and again to between Cambridge and Isly. He is a cler-I be driven about, the world affording her na POURTH SERIEA. LIVING AGL VOL. III. 44.

resting-place. But she lived to view this tide sweeping all in one direction - undojourney in a very different aspect by far. ing wrongs of which, as yet, she was not There was a thread of light in the labyrinth aware, and guiding her back to the she was compelled to tread. Through all hearts of her long-lost parents, and to the the varying currents which drove her hither discovery of her rightful home. and thither there was an over-mastering

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »