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enough how to behave ourselves to our fair young
countrywomen ; we can be civil enough to young
women ; nature teaches us that ; but it is so
seldom that w^e are sufficiently complaisant to
be civil to old women ; and yet that, after all,
is the soul of gallantry. It is to the sex that
we profess to do homage. Our theory is, that
feminine weakness shall receive from man's
strength humble and respectful service. But
where is the chivalry, where the gallantry, if we
only do service in expectation of receiving such



CHISWICK GARDENS. 1S9

guerdon as rosy clieeks and laughing eyes can
bestow ?

It may be said that Yictoire had an object in
being civil to Mrs. Val. But the truth is, all
French Victoires are, as a rule, courteous to old
ladies. An Englishman may probably be as
forward as a Frenchman in rushing into a
flaming building to save an old woman's life ; but
then it so rarely happens that occasion offers
itself for gallantry such as that. A man, however,
may with ease be civil to a dozen old women in
one day.

And so they went on walking through par-
terres and glass-houses, talking of theatres, balls,
dinner-parties, pic-nics, concerts, operas, of ladies
married and single, of single gentlemen who
should be married, and of married gentlemen who
should be single, of everything, indeed, except
the flowers, of which neither Yictoire nor his
companions took the shghtest notice.

" And madame really has a dance to-night in
her own house ?"

" Oh, 3^es," said Mrs. Yal ; " that is, just a few
quadrilles and waltzes for Clementina. I really
hardly know whether the people will take the
carpet up or no." The people, consisting of the
cook and housemaid, — for the page had of course
come T\dth the carriage, — were at this moment
hard at work wrenching up the nails, as Mrs.
Yal was verv well aware.



190 THE THREE CLERKS.

'' It will be deliglitful, cliarming," said
Yictoire.

" Just a few people of our ovv^n set, you know,"
said Mrs. Yal : '' no crowd, or fuss, or anything
of that sort ; just a few people tliat w^e know are
nice, in a quiet homely way."

"Ah, that is so pleasing," said M. Yictoire :
" that is just what I like ; and is mademoiselle
eneao^ed for — '■ — "

No. Mademoiselle was not engaged, either
for — or for — or for — &c. &c. &c. ; and then
out came the little tablets, under the dome of
a huge green-house filled with the most costly
exotics, and Clementina and her fellow-labourer
in the cause of Terpsichore went to work to
make their arrangements for the evening.

And the rest of the party followed them.
Gertrude vfas accompanied by an Englishman
just as idle and quite as useless as M. Yictoire,
but not quite so graceful a butterfly, but one
without colour.

And then came the Misses Neverbend walking
together, and with them, one on each side, two
tall Frenchmien, whose faces had been remo-
delled in that mould into which so large a pro-
portion of Parisians of the present day force
their heads, in order that they may come out Avith
some look of the Emperor about them. Were
there not some such machine as this in operation,
it would be impossible that so many Frenchmen



CHISWICK GARDENS. 191

should appear with elongated, angular, liard faces,
aU. as like each other as though they were
brothers ! The cut of the heard, the long prickly-
ended, clotted moustache, which looks as though
it were being continually rolled up in saliva,
the sallow, lialf bronzed, apparently unwashed
colour — these may all, perhaps, be assumed by
any man after a certain amount of labour and
culture. But liov/ it has com^e to pass that
every Parisian has been able to obtain for
himself a pair of the Emperor's long, hard,
bony, cruel-looking cheeks, no Englishman has
yet been able to guess. That having the pov/er
they sliould have the v/ish to vrear this mask is
almost equally remarkable. Can it be that a
political phase, v.lien stamped on a people with
an iron hand of sufficient power of pressure,
will leave its impress on the outward body as
well a;S on the inward soul ? If so, a Frenchman
may, perhaps, be thought to have gained in the
annarent stubborn wilfulness of his countenance
some recompense for his compelled loss of all
political wilfulness vrhatever.

Be this as it may the two Misses ISTeverbend
walked on, each with a stubborn long-faced
Frenchman at her side, looking altogether not
ill pleased at this instance of the excellence of
French manners. After them came Linda,
talking to some accjuaintance of her own, and
then poor dear little Katie with another French-



192 THE THREE CLERKS.

man, sterner, more stubborn looking, more long
faced, more like tlie pattern after whom lie and
tliey had been remodelled tlian any of them.

Poor little Katie ! This was her first day in
public. With many imploring caresses, with
many half-formed tears in her bright eyes, with
many assurances of her perfect health, she had
induced her mother to allow her to come to the
flower-show ; to allow her also to go to Mrs.
Val's dance, at which there were to be none
but such very nice people. Katie was to com-
mence her life, to open her ball with this flower-
show. In her imagination it was all to be one
long bright flower-show, in which, however, the
sweet sorrowing of the sensitive plant would ever
and anon invite her to pity and tears. When
she entered that narrow portal she entered the
world, and there she found herself walking on
the well-mown grass with this huge, stern, bearded
Frenchman by her side ! As to talking to him,
that was quite out of the question. At the gate
some slight ceremony of introduction had been
gone through, which had consisted in all the
Frenchmen taking off their hats and bowing to
the two married ladies, and in the Englishmen
standing behind and poking the gravel with their
canes. But in this no special notice had of
course been taken of Katie ; and she had a kind
of idea, whence derived she knew not, that it
would be improper for her to talk to this man.



CH IS WICK GARDENS. 198

unless she were actually and hond fide introduced
to liim. And then, again, poor Katie was not
very confident in her French, and then her com-
panion w^as not very intelligible in his English ;
so when the gentleman asked, "Is it that mademoi-
selle lofe de fleures ? " poor little Katie felt herself
trembling, and tried in vain to mutter something ;
and Avhen, again essaying to do his duty, he
suo-grested that " all de beaute of Londres did
delight to valk itself at Chisveek," she w^as equally
dumb, merely turning on him her large eyes for
one moment, to show" that she knew that he ad-
dressed her. After that he walked on as silent
as herself, still keeping close to her side; and other
ladies, who had not the good fortune to have male
companions, envied her happiness in being so
attended.

But Alaric and Charley were coming she knew" ;
Alaric was her broth er-in-law" now% and therefore
she would be delighted to meet him; and Charley,
dear Charley, she had not seen him since he went
away that morning, now four days since ; and
four days was a long time, considering that he
had saved her life. Her busy little fingers had
been hard at work the while, and now she had
in her pocket the purse Avhich she had been so
eager to make, and which she was almost afraid
to bestow.

" Oh, Linda," she had said, " I don't think I
will after all ; it is such a little thing."

VOL. TI. K



194 THE THREE CLERKS.

'* Nonsense, cliild, you wouldn't give liim a
worked counterpane, little things are best for
presents."

" But it isn't good enough," slie said, looking
at her handy work in despair; but, nevertheless,
she persevered, working in the golden beads with
constant diligence, so that she might be able to
give it to Charley among the Chiswick flowers.
Oh ! what a place it was in which to bestow a
present, with all the eyes of all the world upon
her !

And then this dance to which she was going !
The thouofht of what she would do there troubled
her. Would any one ask her to dance ? Would
Charley think of her when he had so many grown-
up girls, girls quite grov/n up, all around him ?
It would be very sad if at this London party it
should be her fate to sit down the whole evening
and see others dance. It would suffice for her,
she thought, if she could stand up with Linda,
but she had an idea that this v^ould not be
allowed at a London party ; and then Linda,
perhaps, might not lilvC it. Altogether she had
much upon her mind, and was beginning to think
that, perhaps, she might have been happier to
have stayed at home with her mama. She had
not quite recovered from the effect of her toss into
the water, or the consequent excitement, and a
very little misery would upset her. And so she
walked on with her Napoleonic companion, from



CHISWICK GARDENS. 195

v\'liom she did not know liow to free herself,
through one glass-house after another, across
lawns and along paths, attemj^tmg every now
and then to get a word with Linda, and not at
all so happy as she had hoped to have been.

At last Gertrude came to her rescue. They
were all cono^reo^ated for awhile in one "-reat
llower-house, and Gertrude, finding herself near
her sister, asked her how she liked it all.

" Oh I it is very beautiful," said Katie, ''only — "

" Only what, my dear ? "

"Would you let me come with you a little
while — look here — " and she crept softly aromid
to the other side of her sister, sidling with little
steps away from the Frenchman, at whom, hovv'-
ever, slie kept furtively lookmg, as though she
feared that he would detect her in the act.

''Look here, Gertrude," she said, twitchuiP-
her sister's arm, " that gentleman there — 3-ou see
him, don't you ? he's a Frenchman, and I don't
know liow to get avv'ay from him."

"Hovf to get avray from him ? " said Gertrude.
"That's M. Deiabarbe de L'Empereur, a great
friend of "virs. Tal's, and a very quiet sort of man
I believe ; he won t eat you."

" Ko, he won't eat me, I know ; but I can't
look at anything, because he ^\aLl walk so close to
me ; mayn't I come with you ? "

Gertrude told her she might, and so Katie
made good her escape, hiding herself from her

K 2



196 THE THREE CLERKS.

enemy as well as slie could behind her sister's
petticoats. He, poor man, was perhaps as rejoiced
at the arrangemicnt as Katie herself; at any rate
he made no attempt to regain his prey, hut went
on by himself, looking as placidly stern as ever,
till he was absorbed by Mrs. Yal's more imme-
diate party, and then he devoted himself to her,
while M. Jaquetanape settled with Clementina
the properest arrangement for the waltzes of the
evening. ^



Katie was beginning to be tranquilly happy, \
and was listening to the enthusiasm of Ugolina /Cll^
Neverbend, who declared that flowers were tlie
female poet's fitting food — it may be doubted
whether she had ever tried it — when her heart
leaped within her on hearing a sharp, clear, well-
known voice, almost close behind her. It was
Charley Tudor. After her silent promenade with
M. Delabarbe de L'Empereur, Katie had been
well pleased to put up with the obscure but 3'et
endurable volubility of Ugolina ; but now she
felt almost as anxious to get quit of Ugolina as
she had before been to shake off the French-
man.

" Flowers are Nature's chef-d'oeuvre," said
Ugolina ; " they convey to me the purest and
most direct essence of that heavenly power of
production which is the sweetest evidence whicli
Jehovah gives us of his presence."

" Do they ?" said Katie, looking over her shoul-



CHISWICK GARDENS. 197

der to watcli what Charley was doing, and to see
w^hetlier he was coming to notice her.

" They are the bright stars of his immediate
handiwork," said Ugolina ; " and if our dim eyes
could read them aright, they wonld whisper to us
the secret of his love."

" Yes, I dare say they would," said Katie, who
felt, perhaps, a little disappointed because Charley
lingered awhile shaking hands with Mrs. Yal and
Clementina Golightly.

It was, how^ever, but for a moment. There was
much shaking of hands to be done, and a con-
siderable taking off of hats to be gone througli ;
and as Alaric and Charley encountered the head
of the column lirst, it w^as only natural that they
should work their way through it gradually.
Katie, however, never guessed — how could she ? —
that Charley had calculated that by reaching her
last he Vv^ould be able to remain wdth her.

She was still listening to Ugolina, v.dio was
mounting higher and higher up to heaven, when
she found her hand in Charley's. Ugolina might
now mount up, and get down again as best she
could, for Katie could no longer listen to her.

Alaric had not seen her yet since her ducking.
She had to listen to, and to answ^er his con-
gratulations, Charley standing by and making
his comments.

" Charley says you took to the water quite
naturally, and swam like a duck," said Alaric.



198 THE THREE CLERKS.

"Only slie went in head foremost," said
Cliarley.

" All bathers onght to do that," said Alaric ;
"and tell me, Katie, did yon feel comfortable
when yon were in the water?"

" Indeed I don't recollect anything abont it,"
said she, " only that I saw Charley coming to
me, just when I was going to sink for the last
time."

" Sink — why I'm told that you floated like a
deal board."

" The big hat and the crinoline kept her up,"
said Charley ; " she had no idea of sinking."

" Oh ! Charley, you know I was under the
water for a long time ; and that if you had not
come, just at that very m.oment, I should never
have come up again."

And then Alaric went on, and Charley and
Katie were left together.

How Yv^as she to give him the purse ? It was
burning a hole in her pocket till she could do
so ; and yet, how was she to get it out of her
possession into his, and make her little speech,
here in the public garden ? She could have done
it easily enough, at home in the drawing room
at Surbiton Cottaore.

"And how do you like the gardens ?" asked
Charley.

" Oh ! they are beautiful ; but I have hardly
been able to see anything yet : I have been



cms WICK GAUDENS. 199

going about witli a great big Frenchman— there,
that man there — he has such a queer name."

" Did his name prevent your seeing ? "

'' No, not his name, I didn't know his name
then. But it seemed so odd to be walking
about with such a man as that. But I want to 2:0
back, and look at the black and yellow roses in
that house, there. Would you go with me?
that is, if we may. I wonder whether we may ?"

Charley was clearly of opinion that they
might, and should, and would ; and so awa}^ they
sallied back to the roses, and Katie began to en-
joy the first instalment of the happiness which
she had anticipated. In the temple of the roses,
the crowd at first was great, and she could not
get the purse out of her pocket, nor make her
speech ; but after a while the people passed on,
and there was a lull before others filled their
places, and Katie found herself opposite to a
beautiful black rose, vfith no one close to her
but Charley.

"I have got something for you," she said;
and as she spoke she felt herself to be almost
hot with blushing.

"Something for me," said Charley; and he
also felt himself abashed, he did not know why.

"It's only a very little thing," said Katie,
feeling in her pocket, " and I am almost ashamed
to ask you to take it. But I made it all myself ;
no one else put a stitch in it," and so saying, and



200 THE THREE CLERKS.

lookinp" round to see tliat she was not observed,
she handed her gift to Charley.

" Oh ! Katie, dearest Katie," said he, " I am
so much obKged to you — I'll keep it till I die."

" I didn't know what to make that was better,"
said she.

"Nothing on earth could possibly be better,"

said he.

" A plate of bread and butter and a purse are
a very poor return for saving one's life," said she ;
half laughing, half crying.

He looked at her with his eyes full of love ;
and as he looked, he swore within himself that
come what might, he would never see Norah
Greraghty again, but would devote his life to an
endeavour to make himself worthy of the angel
that was now with him. Katie the while was look-
ing up anxiously into his face. She was think-
ing of no other love than that which it became her
to feel for the man who had saved her life. She
was thinking of no other love ; but her young
heart was opening itself to a very different feeling.
She was sinking deep, deep, in waters which
were to go near to drown her warm heart ; much
nearer than those other vv^aters which she fancied
had all but closed for ever over her life.

She looked into his face, and saw that he was
pleased ; and that, for the present, was enough
for her. She was at any rate happy now. So
they passed on through the roses, and tlien lost



CHISWICK GARDENS. 201

themselves among the geraniums, and wondered
at the gigantic rhododendrons and beautiful
azaleas, and so went on from house to house,
and from flower-bed to flower-bed, Katie talking
and Charley listening, till she began to wonder
at her former supineness, and to say both to her-
self and out loud to her companion, how ver^',
very, very glad she was that her mother had let
her come.

Poor Katie — dear darling bonnie Katie —
sweet, sweetest, dearest child ! Why, oh v.diy,
has that mother of thine, that tender-hearted,
loving mother, put thee unguarded in the way
of such peril as this ? Has she not sworn to
herself that over thee at least she would watch as
a hen does over her young, so that no mifortunate
love should quench thy young spirit, or blanch
thy cheek's bloom ? Has she not trembled at
the thought of what would have befallen thee,
had thy fate been such as Linda's? Has she
not often — oh, hov/ often ! — on her knees
thanked the Almighty Grod that Linda's spirit
was not as thine ; that this evil had happened to
the lamb whose temper had been fitted by Him
to endure it ? And yet — here thou art — all un-
guarded, all unaided, left by thyself to diink of
the cup of sweet poison, and none near to v/arn
tliee that the draught is deadly !

Alas ! — 'twould be useless to warn thee now.
The false god has been placed upon the altar,

K 3



202 THE THREE CLERKS.

the temple all sliining with gems and gold lias
been built aronnd him, the incense cup is already
svfinging ; nothing will now turn the idolater
from her worship, nothing short of a miracle.

Our Katie's childish days are now all gone.
A woman's passion now glows within her breast,
though as yet she has not scanned it with a
woman's intelligence. Her mother, listening to
a child's entreaty, had suffered her darling to go
forth for a child's amusement. It v/as doomed
that the child should return no more, but in
lieu of her, a fair, heart-laden maiden, whose
every fondest thought must henceforth be of a
stranger's welfare and a stranger's fate.

But it must not be thought that Charley
abused the friendship of Mrs. Woodward, and
made love to Katie, as love is usually made —
with warm words, assurances of affection, with
squeezing of the hand, v/ith sighs, and all a
lover's ordinary catalogue of resources. Though
we have said that he was a false god, yet he
was hardly to be blamed for the temple, and
ffems, and g'old, with which he v/as endowed :
not more so, perhaps, than the unconscious bird
which is made so sacred on the banks of the
Egyptian river. He loved too, perhaps as
warmly, though not so fatally as Katie did ; but
he spoke no word of his love. He walked
among the flowers with her, laughing and listen-
ing to her in his usual light-hearted, easy man-



CHISWICK GARDENS. 203

iier ; every now and again liis arm would tlirill
with pleasure, as he felt on it the touch of her
little fingers, and his heart would leap within
him as he gazed on the speaking beauty of her
face ; but he was too honest-hearted to talk to
the young girl, to Mrs. Woodward's child, of
love. He talked to her as to a child — but she
listened to him and loved him as a woman.

And so they rambled on till the hour appoint-
ed for quitting this elysium had arrived. Every
now and again they had a glimpse of some one of
their party, Avhich had satisfied Katie that they
were not lost. At first Clementina was seen
tracing with her parasol on the turf the plan of
a new dance. Then Ugolina passed by them
describing the poetry of the motion of the spheres
in a full fiow of impassioned eloquence to M.
Delabarbe de L' Empereur ; " cest toujoiirs vrai ;
que mademoiselle dit est toujours vrai,'' was the
Frenchman's answer, which they heard thrice
repeated. And then Lactimel and Captain Val
were seen together, the latter ha\dng disappointed
the propheci'es which had been made respecting
him. Lactimel had an idea that as the Scotts
were great people, they were all in Parliament,
and she was endeavouring to persuade Captain
Yal that something' ous^ht to be done for the
poor.

" Think," said she, '•' only think. Captain Scott,
of all the money that this /<??<? must cost."



204 THE THREE CLERKS.

''A doosed sight," said tlie Captain, liardly
articulating from under his tliick, sandy- coloured
moustache, which, growing downwards from his
nose, looked like a heavy thatch put on to pro-
tect his mouth from the inclemency of the clouds
above. " A doosed sight," said the captain.

"ISTow suppose. Captain Scott, that all this
money could be collected. The tickets, you
know, and the dresses, and ''

" I wish I knew how to do it," said the
captain.

Lactimel went on wdtli her little scheme for
expending the cost of the flower-show in bread
and bacon for the poor Irish of Saffron Hill ; but
Charley and Katie heard no more ; for the mild
philosopher passed out of hearing and out of
sight.

At last Katie got a poke in her back from a
parasol, just as Charley had expended half-a-crown,
one of Mr. M'^Ruen's last, in purchasing for
her one simple beautiful flower, to put into her
hair that night.

"You naughty puss," said Grertrude ; "we
have been looking for you all over the gardens.
Mrs. Yal and the Miss Neverbends have been
waiting this half hour." Katie looked terribly
frightened. " Come along, and don't keep them
waiting any longer. They are all in the passage.
This was your fault. Master Charley,"



CHISWICK GARDENS. 205



Oil no, it was not," said Katie; ''but we



7?



thought

" Never mind thinking," said Gertrude ; '' but
come along." And so they hurried on, and were
soon replaced in their respective vehicles, and
then went back to town.

" Well, I do think the Chiswick Gardens is
the nicest place in all the world," said Katie,
leaning back in the cab, and meditating on her
past enjoyment.

" They are very pretty — very," said Lactimel
Xeverbend. " I only wish every cotter had such
a p-arden behind his cottao^e. I am sure we
might manage it, if we set about it in the
right way."

"A^^iat, as big as Chisv/ick?" said Katie.
"No; not so big," said Lactimel; "but quite as
nicely kept."

" I think the pigs w^ould get in," said Katie.
"It would be much easier, and more important
too to keep their minds nicely," said Ugolina;
" and there the pigs could never get in."

" No ; I suppose not," said Katie.

" I don't know that," said Lactimel.



CHAPTEE X.



Katie's first ball.



In spite of Mrs. Val's oft-repeated assnrance
tliat thej would have none but nice people, she
had done her best to fill her rooms, and not
unsuccessfully. She had, it is true, eschewed the
G-olightly party, who resided some north of
Oxford Street, in the purlieus of Fitzroy Square,
and some even to the east of Tottenham Court
Eoad. She had eschewed the Golightlys, and
confined herself to the Scott connection ; but so
great had been her success in life, that, even
under these circumstances, she had found herself
able to fill her rooms respectably. If, indeed,
there was no absolute crowding, if some space was
left in the front drawing-room sufiicient for the
operations of dancers, she could still attribute
this apparent want of fashionable popularity to
the selectness of the few nice people whom
she had asked. The Hon. Mrs. Yal was no
ordinary woman, and understood well how to
make the most of the goods with which the
gods provided her.

The Miss Neverbends were to dine with the
Tudors, and 2:0 with them to the dance in the
evening, and their brother Fidus v/as to meet



Katie's first ball. 207

tliem tliere. Charley was, of course, one of the
party at dinner ; and as there was no other gen-


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