But she nudged him in vain. Patton had suddenly run down,
and there was no more to be got out of him.
Not only had nerves and speech failed him as they were wont,
but in his cloudy soul there had risen, even while Marcella was
speaking, the inevitable suspicion which dogs the relations of the
poor towards the richer class. This young lady, with her strange
talk, was the new squire's daughter. And the village had already
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD
made up its mind that Richard Boyce was ^* a poor sort,'^ and <^a
hard sort *^ too, in his landlord capacity. He wasn't going to be
any improvement on his brother ā not a haporth! What was the
good of this young woman talking as she did, when there were
three summonses ā as he, Patton, heard tell ā just taken out by
the sanitary inspector against Mr. Boyce for bad cottages ? And
not a farthing given away in the village neither, except perhaps
the bits of food that the young lady herself brought down to
the village now and then, ā for which no one, in truth, felt any
cause to be particularly grateful. Besides, what did she mean
by asking questions about the poaching ? Old Patton knew as
well as anybody else in the village, that during Robert Boyce's
last days, and after the death of his sportsman son, the Mellor
estate had become the haunt of poachers from far and near; and
that the trouble had long since spread into the neighboring prop-
erties, so that the Winterbourne and Maxwell keepers regarded
it their most arduous business to keep watch on the men of
Mellor. Of course the young woman knew it all; and she
and her father wanted to know more. That was why she talked.
Patton hardened himself against the creeping ways of the qual-
" I don't think naught, '^ he said roughly, in answer to Mrs.
Jellison. ^* Thinkin' won't come atwixt me and the parish cofHn
when I'm took. I've no call to think, I tell yer. *'
Marcella's chest heaved with indignant feeling.
^* Oh, but Mr. Patton ! ** she cried, leaning forward to him,
** won't it comfort you a bit, even if you can't live to see it, to
think there's a better time coming ? There must be. People
can't go on like this always, ā hating each other and trampling on
each other. They're beginning to see it now, they are! When I
was living in London, the persons I was with talked and thought
of it all day. Some day, whenever the people choose, ā for
they've got the power now they've got the vote, ā there'll be
land for everybody; and in every village there'll be a council to
manage things, and the laborer will count for just as much as
the squire and the parson, and he'll be better educated and bet-
ter fed, and care for many things he doesn't care for now. But
all the same, if he wants sport and shooting, it will be there for
him to get. For everybody will have a chance and a turn, and
there'll be no bitterness between classes, and no hopeless pining
and misery as there is now ! "
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD
The girl broke off, catching her breath. It excited her to say
these things to these people, to these poor tottering old things
who had lived out their lives to the end under the pressure of
an iron system, and had no lien on the future, whatever paradise
it might bring. Again, the situation had something foreseen
and dramatic in it. She saw herself, as the preacher, sitting on
her stool beside the poor grate; she realized as a spectator the
figures of the women and the old man played on by the firelight,
the white, bare, damp-stained walls of the cottage, and in the
background the fragile though still comely form of Minta Hurd,
who was standing with her back to the dresser and her head
bent forward, listening to the talk, while her fingers twisted the
straw she plaited eternally from morning till night for a wage of
about li". 3<-/. a week.
Her mind was all aflame with excitement and defiance, ā
defiance of her father. Lord Maxwell, Aldous Raeburn. Let him
come, her friend, and see for himself what she thought it right
to do and say in this miserable village. Her soul challenged
him, longed to provoke him! Well, she was soon to meet him,
and in a new and more significant relation and environment.
The fact made her perception of the whole situation the more
rich and vibrant.
Patton, while these broken thoughts and sensations were cours-
ing through Marcella's head, was slowly revolving what she had
been saying, and the others were waiting for him.
At last he rolled his tongue round his dry lips, and delivered
himself by a final effort.
" Them as likes, miss, may believe as how things are going to
happen that way, but yer won't ketch me! Them as 'ave got
'ull keep,^^ ā he let his stick sharply down on the floor, ā ^' an' them
as 'aven't got 'ull 'ave to go without and lump it, as long as
you're alive, miss : you mark my words ! ^^
" O Lor', you wor alius one for makin' a poor mouth, Pat-
ton ! " said Mrs. Jellison. She had been sitting with her arms
folded across her chest, part absent, part amused, part mali-
cious. " The young lady speaks beautiful, just like a book, she
do. An' she's likely to know a deal better nor poor persons like
you and me. All / kin say is, ā if there's goin' to be dividin' up
of other folks' property when I'm gone, I hope George Westall
won't get nothink of it! He's bad enough as 'tis. Isabella 'ud
have a fine time if ee took to drivin' of his carriage."
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 15655
The others laughed out, Marcella at their head; and Mrs. Jel-
lison subsided, the corners of her mouth still twitching, and her
eyes shining as though a host of entertaining notions were troop-
ing through her, which however she preferred to amuse herself
with rather than the public. Marcella looked at Patton thought-
*^ You've been all your life in this village, haven't you, Mr.
Patton ? ^^ she asked him.
<* Born top o' Witchett's Hill, miss. An' my wife here, she
wor born just a house or two further along, an' we two been
married sixty-one year come next March. '^
He had resumed his usual almshouse tone, civil and a little
plaintive. His wife behind him smiled gently at being spoken
of. She had a long fair face, and white hair surmounted by a
battered black bonnet; a mouth set rather on one side, and a
more observant and refined air than most of her neighbors. She
sighed while she talked, and spoke in a delicate quaver.
"D'ye know, miss,** said Mrs. Jellison, pointing to Mrs. Pat-
ton, " as she kep' school when she was young ? '*
" Did you, Mrs. Patton ? '* asked Marcella in her tone of sym-
pathetic interest. " The school wasn't very big then, I suppose ? **
"About forty, miss,** said Mrs. Patton with a sigh. "There
was eighteen the rector paid for, and eighteen Mr. Boyce paid
for, and the rest paid for themselves.**
Her voice dropped gently, and she sighed again like one
weighted with an eternal fatigue.
"And what did you teach them ? ** a
" Well, I taught them the plaitin', miss, and as much riadin'
and writin' as I knew myself. It wasn't as high as it is now,
you see, miss,** and a delicate flush dawned on the old cheek,
as Mrs. Patton threw a glance round her companions as though
appealing to them not to tell stories of her.
But Mrs. Jellison was implacable. "It wor she taught me,'*'*
she said, nodding at Marcella and pointing sideways to Mrs.
Patton. " She had a queer way wi' the hard words, I can tell
yer, miss. When she couldn't tell 'em herself she'd never own
up to it. * Say Jerusalem, my dear, and pass on. * That's what
she'd say, she would, sure's you're alive! I've heard her do it
times. An' when Isabella an' me used to read the Bible, nights,
I'd alius rayther do 't than be beholden to me own darter. It
gets yer through, anyway.**
ie6^6 *^^S. HUMPHRy WARD
"Well, it wor a good word,*^ said Mrs. Patton, blushing and
mildly defending herself. "It didn't do none of yer any harm."
" Oh, an' before her, miss, I went to a school to another woman,
as lived up Shepherd's Row. You remember her, Betsy Brunt ? '^
Mrs. Brunt's worn eyes began already to gleam and sparkle.
" Yis, I recolleck very well, Mrs. Jellison. She wor Mercy
Moss; an' a goodish deal of trouble you'd use to get me into wi'
Mercy Moss, all along o' your tricks."
Mrs. Jellison, still with folded arms, began to rock herself
gently up and down as though to stimulate memory.
" My word, but Muster Maurice ā he wor the clergyman here
then, miss ā wor set on Mercy Moss. He and his wife they flat-
tered and cockered her up. Ther wor nobody like her for keepin'
school, not in their eyes ā till one midsummer ā she ā well, she
ā I don't want to say nothink onpleasant ā du^ she transgressed^''*
said Mrs. Jellison, nodding mysteriously, ā triumphant however in
the unimpeachable delicacy of her language, and looking round
the circle for approval.
" What do you say ? " asked Marcella innocently. " What did
Mercy Moss do ? "
Mrs. Jellison's eyes danced with malice and mischief, but
her mouth shut like a vise. Patton leaned forward on his stick,
shaken with a sort of inward explosion; his plaintive wife laughed
under her breath till she must needs sigh, because laughter tired
her old bones. Mrs. Brunt gurgled gently. And finally Mrs. Jel-
lison was carried away.
" Oh, my goodness me, don't you make me tell tales o' Mercy
Moss ! " she said at last, dashing the water out of her eyes with
an excited tremulous hand. " She's been dead and gone these
forty year, ā married and buried mos' respeckable, ā it 'ud be a
burning shame to bring up tales agen her now. Them as tittle-
tattles about dead folks needn't look to lie quiet theirselves in
their graves. I've said it times, and I'll say it again. What are
you lookin' at me for, Betsy Brunt ? "
And Mrs. Jellison drew up suddenly with a fierce glance at
"Why, Mrs. Jellison, I niver meant no offense," said Mrs.
"I won't stand no insinooating, " said Mrs. Jellison with
energy. " If you've got soomthink agen me, you may out wi' 't
an' niver mind the young lady."
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 1 565 7
But Mrs. Brunt, much flurried, retreated amid a shower of
excuses, pursued by her enemy, who was soon worrying the
whole little company as a dog worries a flock of sheep; snap-
ping here and teasing there, chattering at the top of her voice
in broad dialect as she got more and more excited, and quite as
ready to break her wit on Marcella as on anybody else. As for
the others, most of them had known little else for weeks than
alternations of toil and sickness; they were as much amused and
excited to-night by Mrs. JelHson's audacities as a Londoner is by
his favorite low comedian at his favorite music-hall. They played
chorus to her, laughed, baited her; even old Patton was drawn
against his will into a caustic sociability.
Marcella meanwhile sat on her stool, her chin upon her hand,
and her full glowing eyes turned upon the little spectacle, absorb-
ing it all with a covetous curiosity.
The light-heartedness, the power of enjoyment, left in these
old folk, struck her dumb. Mrs. Brunt had an income of two-
and-sixpence a week, plus two loaves from the parish, and one
of the parish or <^ charity '* houses, ā a hovel, that is to say, of
one room, scarcely fit for human habitation at all. She had lost
five children, was allowed two shillings a week by two laborer
sons, and earned sixpence a week ā about ā by continuous work
at 'ā 'ā¢ the plait. *^ Her husband had been run over by a farm cart
and killed; up to the time of his death his earnings averaged
about twenty-eight pounds a year. Much the same with the
Pattons. They had lost eight children out of ten, and were
now mainly supported by the wages of a daughter in service.
Mrs. Patton had of late years suffered agonies and humiliations
indescribable, from a terrible illness which the parish doctor was
quite incompetent to treat; being all through a singularly sensi-
tive woman, with a natural instinct for the decorous and the beau-
Amazing! Starvation wages; hardships of sickness and pain;
horrors of birth and horrors of death; wholesale losses of kindred
and friends; the meanest surroundings; the most sordid cares, ā
of this mingled cup of village fate every person in the room had
drunk, and drunk deep. Yet here in this autumn twilight they
laughed and chattered and joked, ā weird, wrinkled children, en-
joying rn hour's rough play in a clearing of the storm! Depend-
ent from birth to death on squire, parson, parish, crushed often
and ill-treated according to their own ideas, but bearing so little
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD
ill-will; amusing themselves with their own tragedies even, if
they could but sit by a fire and drink a neighbor's cup of tea.
Her heart swelled and burned within her. Yes, the old
people were past hoping for; mere wreck and driftwood on the
shore, the springtide of death would soon have swept them all
into unremembered graves. But the young men and women, the
children, were they too to grow up, and grow old like these, ā
the same smiling, stunted, ignobly submissive creatures ? One
woman at least would do her best with her one poor life to rouse
some of them to discontent and revolt!
DAVID AND ELISE
From <The History of David Grieve. > Copyright 1891, by Macmillan & Co.
DAVID stared at Elise. He had grown very pale. She too was
white to the lips. The violence and passion of her speech
had exhausted her; her hands trembled in her lap. A
wave of emotion swept through him. Her words were inso-
lently bitter: why then this impression of something wounded
and young and struggling, ā at war with itself and the world, ā
proclaiming loneliness and sehnsucht, while it flung anger and
He dropped on one knee, hardly knowing what he did. Most
of the students about had left their work for a while; no one was
in sight but a gardien whose back was turned to them, and a
young man in the remote distance. He picked up a brush she
had let fall, pressed it into her reluctant hand, and laid his fore-
head against the hand for an instant.
^^You misunderstand me,'' he said, with a broken, breathless
utterance. ** You are quite wrong ā quite mistaken. There are
not such thoughts in me as you think. The world matters noth-
ing to me either. I am alone too; I have always been alone.
You meant everything that was heavenly and kind ā you must
have meant it. I am a stupid idiot! But I could be your friend
ā if you would permit it.''
He spoke with an extraordinary timidity and slowness. He
forgot all his scruples, all pride ā everything. As he knelt there,
so close to her delicate slimness, to the curls on her white neck,
to the quivering lips and great defiant eyes, she seemed to him
once more a being of another clay from himself ā beyond any
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD
criticism his audacity could form. He dared hardly touch her;
and in his heart there swelled the first irrevocable wave of young
She raised her hand impetuously and began to paint again.
But suddenly a tear dropped on to her knee. She brushed it
away, and her wild smile broke.
^^Bah!'^ she said: "what a scene, what a pair of children!
What was it all about ? I vow I haven't an idea. You are an
excellent farceur, Monsieur David! One can see well that you
have read George Sand.'^
He sat down on a little three-legged stool she had brought
with her, and held her box open on his knee. In a minute or
two they were talking as though nothing had happened. She was
giving him a fresh lecture on Velasquez, and he had resumed his
role of pupil and listener. But their eyes avoided each other;
and once, when in taking a tube from the box he held, her
fingers brushed against his hand, she flushed involuntarily, and
moved her chair a foot further away.
" Who is that ? ^^ she asked, suddenly looking round the corner
of her canvas. *-^Mon Dieii ! M. Regnault ! How does he come
here ? They told me he was at Granada. **
She sat transfixed, a joyous excitement illuminating every
feature. And there, a few yards from them, examining the
Rembrandt ^ Supper at Emmaiis ^ with a minute and absorbed at-
tention, was the young man he had noticed in the distance a few
minutes before. As Elise spoke, the new-comer apparently heard
his name, and turned. He put up his eyeglass, smiled, and took
off his hat.
" Mademoiselle Delaunay ! I find you where I left you, at
the feet of the master! Always at work! You are indefatigable.
Taranne tells me great things of you. ^Ah,^ he says, *if the
men would work like the women ! * I assure you, he makes us
smart for it. May I look? Good ā very good! a great improve-
ment on last year; stronger, more knowledge in it. That hand
wants study ā but you will soon put it right. Ah, Velasquez!
That a man should be great, one can bear that, ā but so great!
It is an offense to the rest of us mortals. But one cannot realize
him out of Madrid. I often sigh for the months I spent copying
in the Museo. There is a repose of soul in copying a great mas-
ter ā don't you find it? One rests from one's own efforts awhile;
the spirit of the master descends into yours, gently, profoundly."
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD
He Stood beside her, smiling kindly, his hat and gloves in
his hands, perfectly dressed, an air of the great world about his
look and bearing which differentiated him wholly from all other
persons whom David had yet seen in Paris. In physique too he
was totally unlike the ordinary Parisian type. He was a young
athlete, ā vigorous, robust, broad-shouldered, tanned by sun and
wind. Only his blue eye ā so subtle, melancholy, passionate ā
revealed the artist and the thinker.
Elise was evidently transported by his notice of her. She
talked to him eagerly of his pictures in the Salon; especially of
a certain 'Salome,' which, as David presently gathered, was the
sensation of the year. She raved about the qualities of it, ā the
words "color,*' "poignancy,'' "force," recurring in the quick
" No one talks of your success now, monsieur. It is another
word. C'est la gloire elle-nieme qui vous parte h I'oreille ! ^^*
As she let fall the most characteristic of all French nouns, a
slight tremor passed across the young man's face. But the look
which succeeded it was one of melancholy; the blue eyes took a
" Perhaps a lying spirit, mademoiselle. And what matter, so
long as everything one does disappoints oneself ? What a tyrant
is art ! insatiable, adorable ! You know it. We serve our king
on our knees, and he deals us the most miserly gifts."
" It is the service itself repays, " she said eagerly, her chest
"True! ā most true! But what a struggle always! No rest ā
no content. And there is no other way. One must seek, grope,
toil ā then produce rapidly ā in a flash ā throw what you have
done behind you ā and so on to the next problem, and the next.
There is no end to it; there never can be. But you hardly came
here this morning, I imagine, mademoiselle, to hear me prate!
I wish you good-day and good-by. I came over for a look at the
Salon; but to-morrow I go back to Spain. I can't breathe now
for long away from my sun and my South! Adieu, mademoi-
selle. I am told your prospects, when the voting comes on, are
excellent. May the gods inspire the jury."
He bowed, smiled, and passed on, carrying his lion-head and
kingly presence down the gallery, which had now filled up again;
*^<It is Glory herself who whispers to you now!*'
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 1566)
and where, so David noticed, person after person turned as he
came near, with the same flash of recognition and pleasure he
had seen upon Elise's face.
A wild jealousy of the young conqueror invaded the English lad.
" Who is he ? '* he asked.
Elise, woman-like, divined him in a moment. She gave him
a sidelong glance, and went back to her painting.
^^That,** she said quietly, "is Henri Regnault. Ah, you know
nothing of our painters. I can't make you understand. For
me he is a young god; there is a halo round his head. He has
grasped his fame ā the fame we poor creatures are all thirst-
ing for. It began last year with the Prim ā General Prim on
horseback ā oh, magnificent! a passion! an energy! This year
it is the ^ Salome.^ About ā Gautier ā all the world ā have lost
their heads over it. If you go to see it at the Salon, you will
have to wait your turn. Crowds go every day for nothing else.
Of course there are murmurs. They say the study of Fortuny
has done him harm. Nonsense! People discuss him because he
is becoming a master; no one discusses the nonentities. TJiey
have no enemies. Then he is a sculptor, musician, athlete, ā well
born besides, ā all the world is his friend. But with it all so
simple ā bofi caniarade even for poor scrawlers like me. Je
V adore ! Ā»
"So it seems, *^ said David.
The girl smiled over her painting. But after a bit she looked
up with a seriousness ā nay, a bitterness ā in her siren's face,
which astonished him.
"It is not amusing to take you in, ā you are too ignorant.
What do you suppose Henri Regnault matters to me ? His world
is as far above mine as Velasquez's art is above my art. But
how can a foreigner understand our shades and grades ? Noth-
ing but success, but la gloire, could ever lift me into his world.
Then indeed I should be everybody's equal, and it would mat-
ter to nobody that I had been a Bohemian and a ddclass^eJ**
She gave a little sigh of excitement, and threw her head back
to look at her picture. David watched her.
"I thought,^' he said ironically, "that a few minutes ago you
were all for Bohemia. I did not suspect these social ambitions.'*
"All women have them ā all artists deny them,'* she said reck-
lessly. " There, explain me as you like. Monsieur David. But
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD
don't read my riddle too soon, or I shall bore j^ou. ā Allow me to
ask you a question.*^
She laid down her brushes and looked at him with the utmost
gravity. His heart beat; he bent forward.
"Are you ever hungry, Monsieur David ? "
He sprang up, half enraged, half ashamed.
" Where can we get some food ? ^*
"That is my affair, '^ she said, putting up her brushes. "Be
humble, monsieur, and take a lesson in Paris.'*
And out they went together, he beside himself with delight
of accompanying her, and proudly carrying her box and satchel.
How her little feet slipped in and out of her pretty dress !
how, as they stood on the top of the great flight of stairs lead-
ing down into the court of the Louvre, the wind from outside
blew back the curls from her brow, and ruffled the violets in her
hat, the black lace about her tiny throat! It was an enchant-
ment to follow and to serve her. She led him through the Tuile-
ries Gardens and the Place de la Concorde to the Champs Elysees.
The fountains leapt in the sun; the river blazed between the
great white buildings of its banks; to the left was the gilded
dome of the Invalides and the mass of the Corps Legislatif ; while
in front of them rose the long ascent to the Arc de I'Etoile, set
in vivid green on either hand. Everywhere was space, glitter,
magnificence. The gayety of Paris entered into the Englishman
and took possession.
Presently, as they wandered up the Champs Elysees, they
passed a great building to the left. Elise stopped and clasped
her hands in front of her with a little nervous spasmodic gest-
" That, ** she said, " is the Salon. My fate lies there. When
we have had some food, I will take you in to see.*'
She led him a little further up the avenue; then took him
aside through cunningly devised labyrinths of green till they came
upon a little cafe restaurant among the trees, where people sat
under an awning, and the wind drove the spray of a little fount-
ain hither and thither among the bushes. It was gay, foreign,
romantic, unlike anything David had ever seen in his northern
world. He sat down, with Barbier's stories running in his head.
Mademoiselle Delaunay was George Sand ā independent, gifted,
on the road to fame like that great d^class^e of old; and he was
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 1 5 663
her friend and comrade, ā a humble soldier, a camp follower, in
the great army of letters.
Their meal was of the lightest. This descent on the Champs
Elysees had been a freak on Elise's part, who wished to do
nothing so banal as to take her companion to the Palais Royal.
But the restaurant she had chosen, though of a much humbler
kind than those which the rich tourist commonly associates with