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It was a scene to be interpreted at a glance, that golden sunset hour under the
shadow of the elms. Page 19, Vol. IV.



STRATHMORE.



BEBEE; OR, TWO LITTLE WOODEN SHOES.
LADY MARABOUT'S TROUBLES.



BY

OUIDA.'



VOL. IV.



NEW YORK:

P. F. COLLIER, PUBLISHER.

1889.



Stecfc
flnnex



CONTENTS.



STRATH MORE.

CHAP. I. Strathmore of White Ladies. ............................................... 5

II. Under the Shadow of the Elms ............................................. 15

I II. The Vigil of St. John ....................................................... 26

IV. A Titian Picture seen by Sunset-light ............. . ........................ 31

V. The Bonne-Adventure told under the Lindens .............................. 37

VI. The White D9mino Powdered with Golden Bees ............................ 47

VII. Two Night Pictures by Waxlight, and by Moonlight ...................... 61

VIII. The Kismet that was Written on a Milleneurs-scented Note ................. 66

IX. The Warning of the Scarlet Camellias ...................................... 73

X. La Belle v. La Belle ......................................................... 82

XI. The Daughter of Eve in the Garden of Roses ....................... . ....... 90

XII. In Royal Broceliande ....................................................... 95

XI 1 1. The Weaving of the Golden Shuttle ................. ........................ j 34

XIV. Feathery Seeds that were Freighted with Fruit of the Future ................ 112

XV. Rose Leaves which bore a Poisoned Charm .................................. 1 17

XVI." At her Feet he Bowed and Fell " .......................................... 126

XVII. The Axe laid to the Root .......................................... ." ........ 135

XVI 1 1. Guenevere and Elaine ...................................................... r4o

XIX. The Silver Shield and the Charmed Lance .................................. 141

XX. Bella Demonica con Angelico Riso ........................................ 150

XXL The Brooding of the Storm ................................................ 158

XXII. The Ashes in the Lamp .......................... / .......................... 164

XXIIL The Swoop of the Vulture .................................................. 170

XXIV. " And the Sun went down upon his Wrath " .................................. 178

XXV. The Message from the Dead ................................................ 181

XXVI. " Whoso has Sown the Whirlwind shall be Reaper of the Storm" .......... 186

XXVII. Dies Irae .................................................................... 190

XVIII. Requiem ^Eternam ......................................................... 194

XXIX. " Good and Evil as two Twins cleaving together " .......................... 198

XXX. The Frail Argosy which was Freighted with Atonement ................... 205

XXXI. The Whisper in the Tuileries ............................................... 214

XXXII. The Dagger suspended by a single Hair .................................... 217

XXXIII. The Poisoned Wounds from the Silvered Steel... .. 222

XXXI V. The Errand of the Lost ........................ ..... 228

XXX V~ The Germ of the Secret ................................................... 236

XXXVI. The Reaping of the Storm ................................................ 238

XXXVII. Resquiescat in Pace .................. .. 247

XXXVII L After Long Years .......................................................... 251

XXXIX. The Pilgrimage of Expiation .............................................. 254

XL. The Cabinet Minister ..................................................... 262

XLL Among the Lilies of the Valley ............................................. 268

XLII. One of the Legion of the Lost ............................................. 280

XLIIL The Shadow of the Future .......................................... ........ 284

XLIV. The Dawn of Danger ....................................................... 290

XLV. " Seized, in the Name of the Emperor " .................................... 300

XLVI. " Roses my Secret Keep " ................................................. 305

XLVII. Can Oblivion be Bought ? .................................................. 310

XLVIIL The Night Whisper of the Roses ........................................... 321

XLIX. The First Awakening ...................................................... 328

L. Under the Shadow of the Palms ........................................... 332

VOL. IV. (3)



t CONTENTS.

CHAP. LI. God's Acre by the Sea 34c

LI I. Unearthed 347

LII I. In his Dark Hour 35 1

LIV. " Morituri te Salutant " 35

LV. Lost in the Holiness of Redemption 363

LVL The Harvest of the Guilt reaped by the Guiltless 369

LVII. " And Retribution arose " 372

L VI 1 1. Severed 377

L1X. The Choice that was Left 383

LX. The Words of Betrothal 388

LXI. The Shadow of the Past 392

LXIL " And Unforgiving, Unforgiven " 395

LXI 1 1. Evil done, that Good may come 401

LXIV. " Those whom God hath joined together let no Man put asunder " 405

LXV. The Roses of the Spring 409

LXVI. The Snake in the Shadow 412

LXVI I. From the Aloe's Flame comes forth Fragrance and Bitterness 416

LXVI 1 1. In the Bagne of Toulon 423

LXIX. The Symbol of the Dying Flower 432

LXX. Ouaestores Paricidii 438

LXXI. The Outcast by the Gates 442

LXXI I. Thalassis ! Thalassis ! 451

LXXI 1 1. Under the Wings of the Angel 454

LXXI V. " The Bows of the Mighty are Broken " 460

LXX V. Kot a<? rjfjil trra. &iA7JnaT<x ri^iav 465

LXXVI. "E Poi Uscimmo a Reverder' le Stelle" 476



BEBEE; OR, TWO LITTLE WOODEN SHOES 479



LADY MARABOUT'S TROUBLES; OR, THE WORRIES OF A CHAPERONE.
IN THREE SEASONS.

Season the First. The Eligible....
Season the Second. The Ogre..
Season the Third.-The Climax. . . .

"43



HOLLY WREATHS AND ROSE CHAINS.



,. e -uyn... . 674

co 'd Bath warms up the Colonel.

IVr f , L v t. makin S on H <% Ground doesn't pro'sper.V ' 688

IV.-The Colonel kills his Fox, but loses his Head after other Game ............. 697



STRATHMORE.



CHAPTER I.

STRATHMORE OF WHITE LADIES.

WHITE LADIES meant neither snow-drops, by their pretty old English name,
ghosts in white cere-clothes, nor belles in white tarlatan. It was only an old
densely-wooded estate down in one of those counties that give Creswick his
cool checkered shade and wild forest streams, and lend Birket Foster his shal-
low sunny brooks and picturesque roadsides; but which, I am told of superior
taste, are terribly insipid and miserably tame, with many other epithets I do
not care to repeat, having a lingering weakness myself for the old bridle-paths
with the boughs meeting above head, the hawthorn hedges powdered with their
snowy blossom, and the rich meadow lands with their tall grasses, and clover,
and cowslips, where cattle stand up to their hocks in fresh wild thyme, and
shadows lengthen slowly and lazily through long summer days.

White Ladies was an ancient and stately abbey, the last relic of lands once
wide and numerous as Warwick's ere he fell at Gladsmoor Heath; a single
possession though that lordly enough where it had once been but one among
a crowded beadroll of estates, that had stretched over counties before they were
parcelled out and divided, some among the hungry courtiers who fattened upon
abbey lands; some among the Hanoverian rabble, who scrambled for the
goodly spoils of loyal gentlemen; some, later on, among the vampires of Israel,
who, like their forefather and first usurer, Jacob, know well how to to treat with
the famished, and sell us our mess of pottage at no smaller price than our
birthright. In the days of Monkery and of Holy Church, White Ladies had
been a great Dominican monastery, rich in its wealth and famous in its sanctity;
and though since those days the great Gothic pile had been blasted with
petronels, burned with flame, and riddled with the bullets of the Ironsides,
when the western sun slanted in flecks of gold through the boughs of the wych-
elms and fell on the panes of the blazoned windows, or the moonlight stream-
ing across the sward, gleamed through the pointed arches and aisles and down

(5)



6 QUID AS WORKS.

the ivy-covered cloisters, the abbey had still a stately and solemn beauty, given
to it in ancient days by the cunning hand of master masons, in the days when
men built for art and not for greed, and lavished love in lieu of lusting gold,
when they worked for a long lifetime to leave some imperishable record of their
toil, grandly heedless how their names might perish and be forgot. It stood
down in deep secluded valleys on the borders of Wales, shut in by dense forest
lands that covered hill and dale for miles about it, and sheltered in their re-
cesses the dun deer in their coverts and the gray herons by their pools;
a silent, solitary, royal place, where the axe never sounded among the cen-
tenarian trees, and the sylvan glory was never touched by the Vandal of time
and the Goth of steam that are swiftly sapping what Tudor iconoclasts spared,
and destroying what Puritan petards left free.

Through the dark elm-boughs that swayed against the marvellous carvings
with which Norman builders had enriched the abbey; through the tangled ivy
that hid where Cromwell's breach had blasted, and where Henry's troops had
sacked; through the deep heraldic blazonries upon the panes, where the arms
of the Strathmores with their fierce motto, "Slay, and spare not!" were
stained; the summer sun shone into one of the chambers at White Ladies. In
olden days, and turn-by-turn as time went on and fortunes changed, the chamber
had been the audience- place of the Lord Abbot, where he had received high
nobles who sought the sanctuary because the price of blood was on their heads,
or thriftless kings of Plantagenet who came to pray the aid of Mother Church
for largesse to their troops ere they set sail for Palestine. It had been the
bower-room of a captive queen, where Mary had sat over her tapestry thinking
of the days so long gone by, when on her soft childish brow, fair with the
beauty of Stuart and Guise, the astrologer had seen the taint of foreshadowed
woe, and the presage of death under the soft golden curls. It had been the
favorite haunt of Court beauties where they had read the last paper of Spec, and
pondered over new pulvillios, and rejoiced that the peace had been made at
Utrecht, to bring them the French mode and Paris chocolate, and thought in
their secretly-disaffected hearts of the rising that was fomenting among the gal-
lant gentlemen of the North, and of the cypher letter lying under the lace in
their bosoms from one brave to rashness, and thrice well-beloved because in
danger of the Cause, who was travelling secretly and swiftly to St. Germain.

Vow the ^lantagenets had died out, root and branch, and the tapestry woven
by Mary was faded and moth-eaten, and the Court beauties were laid in the

hapel vault, and oriel-chamber was scented with Manillas, Burgendies, and

irs, while three or four men sat at breakfast with a group of retrievers on

learth. The sun falling through the casements, shone on the brass and-

ns, the oak carvings, the purple silk of the hangings on the walls, and on the

fruits, the steaming coffe and the golden Rhenish, that were crowded



STRA THMORE. 7

in profusion on the table, at which the host and the guests of White Ladies
lounged, smoking and looking over the contents of the letter-bag, peeling an
apricot, or cutting into a haunch a la Marinade, silent, lazy, and inert, for there
was nothing to tempt them out but the rabbits, and the morning was warm and
the shaded room pleasant. At the head of his table the host sat in the deep
shadow, where the light of the outer day did not reach, but left the dark purple
hangings of the wall with the dead gold of their embroideries in gloom behind
him, at the back of his fauteuil. He was a man then of nine-and-twenty or
thirty; but looked something older than he was; he was tall and slightly made,
and wore a black velvet morning-coat. His face was singularly striking and
impressive, more by expression than by feature it was such a countenance as
you see in old Italian portraits, and in some Vandykes, bearing in them power
strangely blended with passion, and repose with recklessness; his hair, mous-
tache, and beard were of a dark chestnut hue; his mouth was very beautifully
formed, with the smile generous, but rare, the eyebrows very dark, straight, and
finely pencilled; the eyes gray. And it was in these, as they lightened to steel-
like brilliance, or darkened black as night with instantaneous and pitiless anger,
that an acute physiognomist would have inferred danger and evil to himself and
to others, that would arise from a spring as yet, perhaps, unknown and con-
cealed ; and that an artist studying his face, in which his art would have
found no flaw, would have said that this man would be relentless, and might
have predicted of him, as the Southern sculptor prophesied of Charles Stuart,
"Something evil will befall him. He carries misfortune on his face."

He lay back in his chair, turning over his letters, looking idly one by one at
them, not opening some, and not reading wholly through any; many of them
had feminine superscriptions, and scarlet or azure chiffres at the seal, as deli-
cately scented as though they had been brought by some Court page, rather
than by the rough route of the mail-bag. They afforded him a certain amuse-
ment that summer's morning, and Strathmore of White Ladies this man with
the eyes of a Catiline, and the face of a Strafford had no care greater on his
mind for either the present or the tuture just then than that his keepers had
told him the broods were very scanty, and the young birds had died off shock-
ingly in the early parts of the spring; that he was summoned to go on a diplo-
matic mission to Bulgaria to confer with a crabbed Prince Michel, before he
cared to leave England; and that one of his fair correspondents, Nina Monto-
lieu, a Free Companion, whose motto blazoned on her pretty fluttering pennon,
was a very rapacious "tout prendre /" might be a little more troublesome and
exigeante than was agreeable, and give him a taste of the tenacious griffes now
that he had tired of playing with the pattes de velours. He had nothing graver
or darker to trouble him, as he leant back in his fauteuil in the shadow where
the sunlight did not come, glancing out now and then to the masses of forest,



QUID AS WORKS.
o

md the gray cloisters, ivy-hung and crumbling to ruins, that were given to view
through the opened casement of the arched windows of his chamber. His face
was the face of a State-conspirator of Velasquez, of a doomed Noble of Van-
dyke- but his life was the easy, nonchalant, untroubled, uncheckered life of an
Fnglish gentleman of our days; and his thoughts were the thoughts that are
natural to, and that run in couple with, such a life. Born to calamity " would
have been as little applicable to Strathmore as it seemed to Charles of England,
when he and Villiers looked into the long eyes of the Spanish donnas and drank
to the loveliness of Henriette de Bourbon. But in those joyous, brilliant days
of Madrid and Paris, the shadow of the future had not fallen across the thres-
hold of Whitehall neither as yet had it fallen here across the threshold of

White Ladies.

He looked up and turned a little in his chair as the door opened, and the
smile that was the more brilliant and attractive because extremely rare, lighted

his face.

" You incorrigible fellow ! the coffee is cold, and the claret is corked, and
the omelettes are overdone, but it's no more than you deserve. Won't you
ever be punctual ? We were going down to Hurst Warren at nine, and it's now
eleven. You are the most idle dog, Erroll, under heaven ! "

" You were only down yourself six minutes and a half ago (I asked Craven),
so don't you talk, my good fellow. You have been reading the first volume of
the ' Amours d'une Femme,' and sending the rabbits to the deuce; and I've
been reading the second, and consigning them to the devil, so nous sommes
quittes. A summer morning's made for a French novel in bed, with the
window open and the birds singing outside; pastorals and pruriencies go un-
commonly nicely together, rather like lemons and rum, you know. Contrasts
are always chic ! "

With which ennunciation of doctrine the new comer sat down, rolled his
chair up to the table, and began an inspection of some lobster cutlets a la
Marechale, taking a cup of creamy chocolate from the servant behind him,
while Strathmore looked at him with a smile still on his lips, and a cordial look
in his eyes, as if the mere sound of the other's voice were pleasant to him.
The belated guest was a man of his own age, or some few years older; in frame
and sinew he was superb; in style he was rather like a dashing Free Lance, a
gallant debonnair captain of Bourbon's Reiters, with his magnificent muscle
and reckless brilliance, though he was as gentle as a woman and as lazy as
Circassian girl. He called himself the handsomest man in the Service, ana
had the palm given him undisputingly; for the frank, clear, azure eyes that
grew so soft in love, so trustful in friendship, the long fair hair sweeping off a
forehead white as the most delicate blonde's, the handsome features with their
sunny candor and their gay sensuous smile, made his face almost as attractive



STA THMORE. 9

to men as to women. As for the latter, indeed, they strewed his path with the
conqueror's myrtle-leaves. His loves were as innumerable as the stars, and by
no means so eternal; and if now and then the beau sexe had the best of the
warfare, it was only because they are never compassionate to those who sur-
render to them at once, and whom they can bind and lead captive at their will,
which the least experienced could do at one stroke with Bertie Erroll, as he
freely and lamentingly confessed. The Beau Sabreur (as he had been nick-
named, a la Murat, from his cornethood, partly from some back-handed strokes
of his in Caffreland, partly from the personal beauty which he inherited from a
race whose beauty was all their patrimony), terrific, as his science could tell
when he put the gloves on, and daring, as the chronicles of the Cape decreed
him to be in the saddle and the skirmish, was soft as silk in the hands of a
beauty, and impressionable and plastic as wax when fairy fingers were at work.
He had never in his life resisted a woman, and avowed himself utterly unable
to do so. Have you ever known the muscle that brought Laomedon to grief of
any avail against the Lydian Queen ?

" Letters ! Why w/7/they write them ? " he said, as he glanced at the small
heap of feminine correspondence piled beside his plate. " It's such a pity ! it
only makes us feel bearish, bored, and miserably ungrateful; wastes an hour
to get through them religiously, or hangs a millstone of unperformed duty
and unexpiated debt about our necks for the livelong day, till post-time conies
round again and makes bad worse ! "

" Why 7#/7/they write them ? " echoed Strathmore, giving a contemptuous
push of his elbow to Nina Montolieu's envelope, a souvenir of the past season,
with which he could very well have dispensed. "Our Brinvilliers poison us
with patchouli paper, and stab us with a crowquill. One might like to 'die of
a rose in aromatic pain,' but I would rather not die of a billet of three-scented
sheets crossed ! Correspondence is cruel with women. If you don't answer
them, you feel sinful and discourteous; if you do answer them, you only sup-
ply them with ammunition to fire on to you afresh with fifty more rounds of
grape and canister. They love to spend their whole mornings skimming over
a thousand lines, and winding up with ' Toujours a toi ! ' They love to write
honey to you with one pen, and gall about you with another; they love to
address their dearest friends on a rose-tinted sheet, and blot it to damn them
on a cream-colored one. Writing is women's metier; but it is deucedly hard
( that they will inflict the results upon us ! "

r " It's an odd psychological fact that women will write on for twelve months
unanswered, as religiously as they wipe their pens, omit their dates, and believe
in the acceleration of postal speed, by an ' immediate ' on the envelope," put in
Phil Danvers from the bottom of the table, helping himself to some Strasbourg
pate. "Some of them write delightfully, though Tricksey Bellevoix does.



10 QUID AS WORKS.

Her notes are the most delicious olla podrida of news, mots, historiettes, and
little tit-bits of confidence imaginable; she always tells you, too, mischievous
things of the people you don't like, instead of scandalizing people you do, after
the ordinary fashion. Her letters are not bad fun at all when you're smoking,
and want something to look at for ten minutes."

" I'll tell her how you rate them ! She's going to Charlemont next week.
See if you get any more letters, Phil ! " cried Erroll.

" My dear fellow, if we turned king's evidence on one another, I don't think
we should get any more feminine favors at all ! " laughed Strathmore. " Very
few of them would relish the chit-chat about them if they'd correct reports from
the club windows and short-hand notes from the smoking-rooms. Would you
be let in again to the violet boudoir in Bruton-street if Lady Fitz knew you'd
told me last night that she had the very devil's own temper ? and would Con
be called 'ami choisi de non coeur,' if Madame la Baronne knew that when he
gets her notes he says, Deuce take the woman ! how she bothers," audibly in
White's ? Try that grilse, Langton it was in the river yesterday."

" And is prime. It would have been worth Georgie's trolling."

" Georgie lost all her rings last week in the Dee five thousand pounds'
worth in diamonds and sapphires served her perfectly right! What business
has she with March browns and dun governors ? " said the host of White Ladies,
drawing a plate of peaches to him. " I cannot conceive what women are about
when they take up that line of thing. How can they imagine an ill-done replica
of ourselves can attract us ? A fast woman is an anomaly, and all anomalies
are jarring and bizarre. To kiss lips that smell of smoke to hear one's belle
amie welcome one with ' All serene!' to see her ' bugle eye-ball and her
cheek of cream ' only sparkle and flush for a tan gallop and a Rawcliffe year-
ling to have her boudoir as horsy as the Corner, and her walk a cross between
a swing and a strut! Pah! give me women as soft, and as delicate, and as
velvet as my peaches!"

" Peaches ? " put in Erroll. " Ominous simile! Your soft women have an
uncommonly hard stone at their core, and a kernel that's poison under the
velvet skin, mon cher Cis! "

" Soil ! I only brush the bloom, and taste the sweetness! " yawned Strath-
more. " A wise man never lingers long enough over the same to have time to
come to the core. With peaches and women, it's only the side next the sun
that's tempting; if you find acid in either, leave them for the downy blush of
another! How poetic we grow! Is it the Rhenish ? That rich, old, amber,
mellow wine always has a flavor of Hoffmann's fancies and Jean Paul's verse
about it; it smells of the Rheingau! I don't wonder Schiller took his inspira-
tions from it. I say, Enroll, I heard from Rokeby this morning. He doesn't
say a word about the Sartory betting, nor yet of the White Duchess scandal.



STA T HMO RE. 11

He is only full of two things: La Pucelle's chances of the Prix de Rastatt at
Baden, and of this beauty he's raving of, something superb, according to him,
a Creole, I think he says Lady Vavasour! Really one's bored to death with
ecstacies about that woman! Have you heard the name? /have lots of
times, but I've always missed her."

"Vavasour? Vavasour? The deuce, I have rather!" said Enroll,
thrown into a beatific vision by the mere name of the lady under discussion,
stroking his soft, silky moutasche, while he stirred some more cream into his
chocolate.

" Who is she ? " asked Langton, who was only just back from a ten years'
campaign in Scinde, curling a loose leaf round his Manilla.

" More than I can tell you, tres-cher. I believe it's more than anybody
knows. She sprang into society like Aphrodite from the sea-foam. One may
as well be graceful in metaphor, eh ? You mean a Creole, Strathmore, who
made a tremendous row at St. Petersburg came nobody knew precisely whence
hadn't been seen till she appeared as Lady Vavasour and Vaux tooling a



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