When he had heard Katie cough, he had in nowise connected the
hated sound with his own arrest. He had thought only of his own
'Oh! Charley - I know I can trust you,' said Mrs. Woodward. 'I
know you are gentle and good. You will be gentle and good to us,
will you not? you will not make us all wretched?'
Charley declared that he would not willingly do anything to cause
pain to any of them.
'No - I am sure you will not. And therefore, Charley, you must not
see Katie any more.'
At this time they had turned off the road into a shady lane, in
which the leaves of autumn were beginning to fall. A path led
over a stile away from the lane into the fields, and Mrs.
Woodward had turned towards it, as though intending to continue
their walk in that direction. But when she had reached the stile,
she had sat down upon the steps of it, and Charley had been
listening to her, standing by, leaning on the top rail.
'And therefore, Charley, you must not see Katie any more.' So
much she said, and then she looked into his face with imploring
It was impossible that he should answer her at once. He had to
realize so much that had hitherto not been expressed between
them, before he could fully understand what she meant; and then
he was called on to give up so much that he now learnt for the
first time was within his reach! Before he could answer her he
had to assure himself that Katie loved him; he had to understand
that her love for one so abandoned was regarded as fatal; and he
had to reply to a mother's prayer that he would remove himself
from the reach of a passion which to him was worth all the world
He turned his face away from her, but still stood leaning on the
stile, with his arms folded on it. She watched him for a while in
silence, and at last she saw big tears drop from his face on to
the dust of the path on the farther side. There they came rolling
down, large globules of sorrow. Nothing is so painful to a woman
as a man in tears, and Mrs. Woodward's heart was wrung to its
very core. Why was he not like Alaric or Norman, so that she
might make him welcome to her daughter's heart?
She leant towards him and put her hand caressingly on his arm.
'It shall be so, shall it not, Charley?'
'Oh, of course, if you say so.'
'I have your word, then? If I have your word, that will be a
perfect bond. I have your word, have I not, Charley?'
'What! - never see her in my life?' said he, turning almost
fiercely on Mrs. Woodward.
'That, you know, is more than you can promise,' said she, very
gently. 'It is not to the letter of the promise that I would bind
you, but to its spirit. You understand well what I mean; you know
what I wish, and why I wish it. Say that you will obey my wish,
and I will leave the mode of doing it to your own honour. Have I
He shook her hand off his arm almost roughly, though
unintentionally, and turning sharply round leant with his back
against the stile. The traces of tears were still on his cheeks,
but he was no longer crying; there was, however, a look on his
face of heart-rending sorrow which Mrs. Woodward could hardly
'I do understand you,' said he, 'and since you demand it, I will
promise;' and then they walked home side by side, without
interchanging a single word.
When they reached the house, Mrs. Woodward went to her room, and
Charley found himself alone with Katie.
'I hope you find yourself better this evening,' said he.
'Oh, I am quite well,' she answered, with her sweetest, kindest
voice; 'I am quite well, only sometimes I am a little weak.'
He walked up to the window as though to pass on to the lawn; but
the season was too far advanced for that, and the window was
locked. He retraced his steps, therefore, and passing out of the
drawing-room into the hall, stood at the open front door till he
heard Mrs. Woodward come down. Then he followed her into the
'Good-bye,' he said to her suddenly; 'I shall start by the early
train to-morrow, and shall not see you.' She pressed his hand,
but he in nowise returned the pressure. 'Good-bye, Linda; good-
bye, Katie; good night, Captain Cuttwater.' And so he went his
way, as Adam did when he was driven out of Paradise.
Early on the following morning, the cook, while engaged in her
most matutinal duties, was disturbed by a ring at the front door.
She, and she only of the household, was up, and as she had not
completed her toilet with much minuteness, she was rather
embarrassed when, on opening the door, she saw Mr. Charles Tudor.
'I beg your pardon, cook, for troubling you so early; but I have
left something in the drawing-room. I can find it myself;' and,
so saying, he hurried into the room, so as to prevent the servant
from following him.
Katie had a well-worn, well-known little workbox, which, in years
now long past; had been given to her either by Alaric or Harry.
Doubtless she had now work-boxes grander both in appearance and
size; but, nevertheless, whether from habit or from choice, her
custom was, in her daily needlework, to use this old friend.
Often and often had Charley played with it many wicked pranks.
Once, while Katie had as yet no pretension to be grown up, he had
put a snail into it, and had incurred her severe displeasure. He
had stuffed it full of acorns, and been rewarded by being pelted
with them round the lawn; and had filled it with nuts, for which
he had not found it so difficult to obtain pardon. He knew every
hole and corner in it! he was intimate with all her little
feminine nicknacks - her silver thimble, her scissors, her bit of
wax, and the yard-measure, which twisted itself in and out of an
ivory cottage - he knew them all, as well as though they were his
own; and he knew also where the workbox stood.
He closed the door behind him, and then, with his quickest
motion, raised the lid and put within the box, just under the bit
of work on which she was employed, a light small paper parcel. It
contained the purse which she had worked for him, and had given
to him with such sweet affection at the Chiswick flower-show.
HOW APOLLO SAVED THE NAVVY
About the middle of November, the Woodwards went to Torquay, and
remained there till the following May. Norman went with them to
see them properly settled in their new lodgings, and visited them
at Christmas, and once again during their stay there. He then
went down to fetch them home, and when they all returned,
informed Charley, with whom he was still living, that he was
engaged to Linda. It was arranged, he said, that they were to be
married in August.
On the whole, the journey to Torquay was considered to have been
successful. Katie's health had been the only object in going
there, and the main consideration while they remained. She
returned, if not well, at any rate not worse. She had got through
the winter, and her lungs were still pronounced to be free from
those dreadful signs of decay, the name of which has broken so
many mothers' hearts, and sent dismay into the breasts of so many
fathers. During her sojourn at Torquay she had grown much, and,
as is often the case with those who grow quickly, she had become
weak and thin. People at Torquay are always weak and thin, and
Mrs. Woodward had not, therefore, been greatly frightened at
this. Her spirits, though by no means such as they had been in
former days, had improved, she had occupied herself more than she
had done during the last two months at Hampton, and had, at least
so Mrs. Woodward fondly flattered herself, ceased to be always
thinking of Charley Tudor. It was quite clear that she had firmly
made up her mind to some certain line of conduct with reference
to him; she never mentioned his name, nor was it mentioned in her
hearing by either her mother or sister during their stay at
Torquay. When Norman came down, she always found some opportunity
of inquiring from him as to Charley's health and welfare; but she
did this in a manner which showed that she had succeeded in
placing her feelings wonderfully under control.
On that Monday morning, on which Charley had returned to town
after his early visit to her workbox, she had not failed to find
the purse. Linda was with her when she did so, but she had
contrived so to conceal her emotion, that nothing was seen and
nothing suspected. She felt at once that it was intended that all
intercourse should be broken off between them. She knew
instinctively that this was the effect of some precaution on her
mother's part, and with a sad bosom and a broken heart, she
acquiesced in it. She said nothing, even to herself, of the truth
and constancy of her love; she made no mental resolution against
any other passion; she did not even think whether or not she
might ever be tempted to love another; but she felt a dumb aching
numbness about her heart; and, looking round about her, she
seemed to feel that all was dark and dismal.
And so they sojourned through the winter at Torquay. The effort
which Katie made was undoubtedly salutary to her. She took again
to her work and her lessons - studies we should probably now call
them - and before she left Torquay, she had again learned how to
smile; but not to laugh with that gay ringing silver laughter,
ringing, but yet not loud, which to Charley's ear had been as
sweet as heavenly music. During this time Uncle Bat remained at
Hampton, keeping bachelor's house by himself.
And then while they were at Torquay, Linda and Norman became
engaged to each other. Their loves were honest, true, and happy;
but not of a nature to give much scope to a novelist of a
romantic turn. Linda knew she was not Norman's first love, and
requited Norman, of course, by telling him something, not much,
of Alaric's falseness to her. Norman made but one ungenerous
stipulation. It was this: that in marrying him Linda must give up
all acquaintance with her brother-in-law. He would never, he
said, be the means of separating two sisters; she and Gertrude
might have such intercourse together as their circumstances might
render possible; but it was quite out of the question that either
he, Harry Norman, or his wife, should ever again associate with
In such matters Linda had always been guided by others; so she
sighed and promised, and the engagement was duly ratified by all
the parties concerned.
We must now return to Charley. When he got back to town, he felt
that he had lost his amulet; his charm had gone from him, and he
had nothing now left whereby to save himself from ruin and
destruction. He was utterly flung over by the Woodwards; that now
was to him an undoubted fact. When Mrs. Woodward told him that he
was never again to see Katie, that was, of course, tantamount to
turning him out of the Cottage. It might be all very well to talk
to him of affection and friendship; but it was manifest that no
further signs of either were to be shown to him. He had proved
himself to be unworthy, and was no more to be considered as one
of the circle which made the drawing-room at Surbiton Cottage its
centre. He could not quite explain all this to Norman, as he
could not tell him what had passed between him and Mrs. Woodward;
but he said enough to make his friend know that he intended to go
to Hampton no more.
It would be wrong, perhaps, to describe Charley as being angry
with Mrs. Woodward. He knew that she was only doing her duty by
her child; he knew that she was actuated by the purest and best
of motives; he was not able to say a word against her even to
himself; but, nevertheless, he desired to be revenged on her - not
by injuring her, not by injuring Katie - but by injuring himself.
He would make Mrs. Woodward feel what she had done, by rushing,
himself, on his own ruin. He would return to the 'Cat and
Whistle' - he would keep his promise and marry Norah Geraghty - he
would go utterly to destruction, and then Mrs. Woodward would
know and feel what she had done in banishing him from her
Having arrived at this magnanimous resolution after a fortnight's
doubt and misery, he proceeded to put his purpose into execution.
It was now some considerable time since he had been at the 'Cat
and Whistle;' he had had no further visit from Mrs. Davis, but he
had received one or two notes both from her and Norah, to which,
as long as he had Katie's purse, he was resolute in not replying;
messages also had reached him from the landlady through Dick
Scatterall, in the last of which he was reminded that there was a
trifle due at the bar, and another trifle for money lent.
One night, having lashed himself up to a fit state of wretched
desperation, he found himself at the well-known corner of the
street leading out of the Strand. On his journey thither he had
been trying to realize to himself what it would be to be the
husband of Norah Geraghty; what would be the joy of returning to
a small house in some dingy suburb and finding her to receive
him. Could he really love her when she would be bone of his bone
and flesh of his flesh, the wife of his bosom and the mother of
his children? In such a case would he ever be able to forget that
he had known Katie Woodward? Would those words of hers ever ring
in his ears, then as now - 'You will be steady, dear Charley;
There are those who boast that a gentleman must always be a
gentleman; that a man, let him marry whom he will, raises or
degrades his wife to the level of his own condition, and that
King Cophetua could share his throne with a beggar-woman without
sullying its splendour or diminishing its glory. How a king may
fare in such a condition, the author, knowing little of kings,
will not pretend to say; nor yet will he offer an opinion whether
a lowly match be fatally injurious to a marquess, duke, or earl;
but this he will be bold to affirm, that a man from the ordinary
ranks of the upper classes, who has had the nurture of a
gentleman, prepares for himself a hell on earth in taking a wife
from any rank much below his own - a hell on earth, and, alas! too
often another hell elsewhere also. He must either leave her or
loathe her. She may be endowed with all those moral virtues which
should adorn all women, and which, thank God, are common to women
in this country; but he will have to endure habits, manners, and
ideas, which the close contiguity of married life will force upon
his disgusted palate, and which must banish all love. Man by
instinct desires in his wife something softer, sweeter, more
refined than himself; and though in failing to obtain this, the
fault may be all his own, he will not on that account the more
easily reconcile himself to the want.
Charley knew that he was preparing such misery for himself. As he
went along, determined to commit a moral suicide by allying
himself to the barmaid, he constrained himself to look with his
mind's eye 'upon this picture and on that.'
He had felt of what nature was the sort of love with which Katie
Woodward had inspired his heart; and he felt also what was that
other sort of love to which the charms of Norah Geraghty had
Norah was a fine girl, smart enough in her outward apparel, but
apt occasionally to disclose uncomfortable secrets, if from any
accident more than her outward apparel might momentarily become
visible. When dressed up for a Sunday excursion she had her
attractions, and even on ordinary evenings, a young man such as
Charley, after imbibing two or three glasses of spirits and
water, and smoking two or three cigars, might find her to be what
some of her friends would have called 'very good company.' As to
her mind, had Charley been asked about it, he would probably have
said that he was ignorant whether she had any; but this he did
know, that she was sharp and quick, alert in counting change, and
gifted with a peculiar power of detecting bad coin by the touch.
Such was Norah Geraghty, whom Charley was to marry.
And then that other portrait was limned with equal accuracy
before his eyes. Katie, with all her juvenile spirit, was
delightfully feminine; every motion of hers was easy, and every
form into which she could twist her young limbs was graceful. She
had all the nice ideas and ways which a girl acquires when she
grows from childhood to woman's stature, under the eye of a
mother who is a lady. Katie could be untidy on occasions; but her
very untidiness was inviting. All her belongings were nice; she
had no hidden secrets, the chance revealing of which would
disgrace her. She might come in from her island palaces in a
guise which would call down some would-be-censorious exclamation
from her mother; but all others but her mother would declare that
Katie in such moments was more lovely than ever. And Katie's
beauty pleased more than the eye - it came home to the mind and
heart of those who saw her. It spoke at once to the intelligence,
and required, for its full appreciation, an exercise of the
mental faculties, as well as animal senses. If the owner of that
outward form were bad or vile, one would be inclined to say that
Nature must have lied when she endowed her with so fair an index.
Such was Katie Woodward, whom Charley was not to marry.
As he turned down Norfolk Street, he thought of all this, as the
gambler, sitting with his razor before him with which he intends
to cut his throat, may be supposed to think of the stakes which
he has failed to win, and the fortune he has failed to make.
Norah Geraghty was Charley's razor, and he plunged boldly into
the 'Cat and Whistle,' determined to draw it at once across his
weasand, and sever himself for ever from all that is valuable in
It was now about eleven o'clock, at which hour the 'Cat and
Whistle' generally does its most stirring trade. This Charley
knew; but he also knew that the little back parlour, even if
there should be an inmate in it at the time of his going in,
would soon be made private for his purposes.
When he went in, Mrs. Davis was standing behind the counter,
dressed in a cap of wonderful grandeur, and a red tabinet gown,
which rustled among the pots and jars, sticking out from her to a
tremendous width, inflated by its own magnificence and a
substratum of crinoline. Charley had never before seen her
arrayed in such royal robes. Her accustomed maid was waiting as
usual on the guests, and another girl also was assisting; but
Norah did not appear to Charley's first impatient glance.
He at once saw that something wonderful was going on. The front
parlour was quite full, and the ministering angel was going in
and out quickly, with more generous supplies of the gifts of
Bacchus than were usual at the 'Cat and Whistle.' Gin and water
was the ordinary tipple in the front parlour; and any one of its
denizens inclined to cut a dash above his neighbours generally
did so with a bottom of brandy. But now Mrs. Davis was mixing
port-wine negus as fast as her hands could make it.
And then there were standing round the counter four or five
customers, faces well known to Charley, all of whom seemed to be
dressed with a splendour second only to that of the landlady. One
man had on an almost new brown frock coat with a black velvet
collar, and white trousers. Two had blue swallow-tailed coats
with brass buttons; and a fourth, a dashing young lawyer's clerk
from Clement's Inn, was absolutely stirring a mixture, which he
called a mint julep, with a yellow kid glove dangling out of his
They all stood back when Charley entered; they had been
accustomed to make way for him in former days, and though he had
latterly ceased to rule at the 'Cat and Whistle' as he once did,
they were too generous to trample on fallen greatness. He gave
his hand to Mrs. Davis across the counter, and asked her in the
most unconcerned voice which he could assume what was in the
wind. She tittered and laughed, told him he had come too late for
the fun, and then retreated into the little back parlour, whither
he followed her. She was at any rate in a good humour, and seemed
quite inclined to forgive his rather uncivil treatment of her
notes and messages.
In the back parlour Charley found more people drinking, and among
them three ladies of Mrs. Davis's acquaintance. They were all
very fine in their apparel, and very comfortable as to their
immediate employment, for each had before her a glass of hot
tipple. One of them, a florid-faced dame about fifty, Charley had
seen before, and knew to be the wife of a pork butcher and
sausage maker in the neighbourhood. Directly he entered the room,
Mrs. Davis formally introduced him to them all. 'A very
particular friend of mine, Mrs. Allchops; and of Norah's too, I
can assure you,' said Mrs. Davis.
'Ah, Mr. Tudor, and how be you? A sight of you is good for sore
eyes,' said she of the sausages, rising with some difficulty from
her chair, and grasping Charley's hand with all the pleasant
cordiality of old friendship.
'The gen'leman seems to be a little too late for the fair,' said
a severe lodging-house keeper from Cecil Street.
'Them as wills not, when they may,
When they wills they shall have nay,'
said a sarcastic rival barmaid from a neighbouring public, to
whom all Norah's wrongs and all Mr. Tudor's false promises were
Charley was not the fellow to allow himself to be put down, even
by feminine raillery; so he plucked up his spirit, sad as he was
at heart, and replied to them all _en masse_.
'Well, ladies, what's in the wind now? You seem to be very cosy
here, all of you; suppose you allow me to join you.'
'With a 'eart and a 'alf,' said Mrs. Allchops, squeezing her
corpulence up to the end of the horsehair sofa, so as to make
room for him between herself and the poetic barmaid. 'I'd sooner
have a gentleman next to me nor a lady hany day of the week; so
come and sit down, my birdie.'
But Charley, as he was about to accept the invitation of his
friend Mrs. Allchops, caught Mrs. Davis's eye, and followed her
out of the room into the passage. 'Step up to the landing, Mr.
Tudor,' said she; and Charley stepped up. 'Come in here, Mr.
Tudor - you won't mind my bedroom for once.' And Charley followed
her in, not minding her bedroom.
'Of course you know what has happened, Mr. Tudor?' said she.
'Devil a bit,' said Charley.
'Laws, now - don't you indeed? Well, that is odd.'
'How the deuce should I know? Where's Norah?'
'Why - she's at Gravesend.'
'At Gravesend - you don't mean to say she's - - '
'I just do then; she's just gone and got herself spliced to
Peppermint this morning. They had the banns said these last three
Sundays; and this morning they was at St. Martin's at eight
o'clock, and has been here junketing ever since, and now they're
away to Gravesend.'
'Gravesend!' said Charley, struck by the suddenness of his
rescue, as the gambler would have been had some stranger seized
the razor at the moment when it was lifted to his throat.
'Yes, Gravesend,' said Mrs. Davis; 'and they'll come up home to
his own house by the first boat to-morrow.'
'So Norah's married!' said Charley, with a slight access of
sentimental softness in his voice.
'She's been and done it now, Mr. Tudor, and no mistake; and it's
better so, ain't it? Why, Lord love you, she'd never have done
for you, you know; and she's the very article for such a man as
There was something good-natured in this, and so Charley felt it.
As long as Mrs. Davis could do anything to assist her cousin's
views, by endeavouring to seduce or persuade her favourite lover
into a marriage, she left no stone unturned, working on her
cousin's behalf. But now, now that all those hopes were over, now
that Norah had consented to sacrifice love to prudence, why
should Mrs. Davis quarrel with an old friend any longer? - why
should not things be made pleasant to him as to the others?
'And now, Mr. Tudor, come down, and drink a glass to their
healths, and wish 'em both well, and don't mind what them women
says to you. You're well out of a mess; and now it's all over,
I'm glad it is as it is.'
Charley went down and took his glass and drank 'prosperity to the
bride and bridegroom.' The sarcastic rival barmaid said little
snappish things to him, offered him a bit of green ribbon, and
told him that if he 'minded hisself,' somebody might, perhaps,
take him yet. But Charley was proof against this.
He sat there about half an hour, and then went his way, shaking
hands with all the ladies and bowing to the gentlemen. On the
following day, as soon as he left his office, he called at the
'Cat and Whistle,' and paid his little bill there, and said his
last farewell to Mrs. Davis. He never visited the house again.