Charlotte Mary Yonge.

Dynevor Terrace: or, the clue of life — Volume 2 online

. (page 1 of 28)
Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeDynevor Terrace: or, the clue of life — Volume 2 → online text (page 1 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Sandra Laythorpe. HTML version by Al Haines.









One single flash of glad surprise
Just glanced from Isabel's dark eyes,
Then vanished in the blush of shame
That as its penance instant came -
'O thought unworthy of my race!'
The Lord of the Isles.

As little recked Fitzjocelyn of the murmurs which he had provoked, as
he guessed the true secret of his victory. In his eyes, it was the
triumph of merit over prejudice, and Mrs. Frost espoused the same
gratifying view, though ascribing much to her nephew's activity, and
James himself, flushed with hope and success, was not likely to dissent.

Next they had to make their conquest available. Apart from Louis's
magnificent prognostications, at the lowest computation, the head
master's income amounted to a sum which to James appeared affluence;
and though there was no house provided, it mattered the less since
there were five to choose from in the Terrace, even if his grandmother
had not wished that their household should be still the same. With
Miss Conway's own fortune and the Terrace settled on herself, where
could be any risk?

Would Lady Conway think so? and how should the communication be made?
James at first proposed writing to her, enclosing a letter to Isabel;
but he changed his mind, unable to satisfy himself that, when absent
from restraint, she might not send a refusal without affording her
daughter the option. He begged his grandmother to write to Isabel; but
she thought her letter might carry too much weight, and, whatever might
be her hopes, it was not for her to tell the young lady that such means
were sufficient.

Louis begged to be the bearer of the letter. His aunt would certainly
keep terms with him, and he could insure that the case was properly
laid before Isabel; and, as there could be no doubt at present of his
persuasive powers, James caught at the offer. The party were still at
Beauchastel, and he devised going to his old quarters at Ebbscreek, and
making a descent upon them from thence.

When he came to take up his credentials, he found James and his little
black leathern bag, determined to come at least to Ebbscreek with him,
and declaring it made him frantic to stay at home and leave his cause
in other hands, and that he could not exist anywhere but close to the
scene of action.

Captain Hannaford was smoking in his demi-boat, and gave his former
lodgers a hearty welcome, but he twinkled knowingly with his eye, and
so significantly volunteered to inform them that the ladies were still
at Beauchastel, that James's wrath at the old skipper's impudence began
to revive, and he walked off to the remotest end of the garden.

The Captain, remaining with Louis, with whom he was always on far more
easy terms, looked after the other gentleman, winked again, and
confessed that he had suspected one or other of them might be coming
that way this summer, though he could not say he had expected to see
them both together.

'Mind, Captain,' said Louis,' it wasn't _I_ that made the boat late
this time last year.'

'Well! I might be wrong, I fancied you cast an eye that way. Then
maybe it ain't true what's all over the place here.'

Louis pressed to hear what. 'Why, that when the French were going on
like Robert Spear and them old times, he had convoyed the young lady
right through the midst of them, and they would both have been shot, if
my Lady's butler hadn't come down with a revolver, killed half-a-dozen
of the mob, and rescued them out of it, but that Lord Fitzjocelyn had
been desperately wounded in going back to fetch her bracelet, and Mr.
Delaford had carried him out in his arms.'

'Well!' said Louis, coolly, without altering a muscle of his face, as
the Captain looked for an angry negative.

'And when they got home, - so the story went, - Mr. Frost, the tutor, was
so mad with jealousy and rage, that my Lady declared those moorings
would not suit her no longer, but had let go, and laid her head right
for Beauchastel.'

'Pray what was the young lady supposed to think of the matter?'

'Stories appeared to vary. One version said that Mr. Delaford had
found him on his knees to her; and that my Lady had snatched her
cruelly away, because she would not have her married before her own
daughters, and looked over all the post, for fear there should be a
letter for her. Another declared that Miss Conway would not have him
at any price, and was set upon the poor tutor, and that he was lying
dangerously ill of a low fever. - The women will have it so,' observed
the Captain, 'the story's everywhere, except maybe in the parlour at
Beauchastel, and I wouldn't wonder if Mrs. Mansell knew it all herself,
for her maid has a tongue a yard long. I won't say but I thought there
might be some grain of truth at the bottom - '

'And you shall hear it by-and-by, when I know what it is myself.'

'I'd not say I would have believed it the more if that fine gentleman
had taken his oath of it - a fellow that ain't to be trusted,' observed
the Captain.

This might have led to a revelation, if Louis had had time to attend to
it; but he had pity on James's impatient misery, and proceeded to ask
the loan of the boat. The tide would not, however, serve; and as
waiting till it would was not to be endured, the two cousins set off to
walk together through the woods, Louis beguiling the way by chaffing
James, as far as he would bear, with the idea of Isabel's name being
trifled with by the profane crowd.

He left James at the gate of the park, prowling about like a panther to
try for a glimpse of Isabel's window, and feeding his despair and
jealousy that Louis should boldly walk up to the door, while he, with
so much better a right, was excluded by his unguarded promise to Lady

All the tumultuary emotions of his mind were endlessly repeated, and
many a slow and pealing note of the church-clock had added fuel to his
impatience, and spurred him to rush up to the door and claim his
rights, before Louis came bounding past the lodge-gates, flourishing
his cap, and crying, 'Hurrah, Jem! All right!'

'I'm going to her at once!' cried Jem, beginning to rush off; but Louis
caught and imprisoned his arm.

'Not so fast, sir! You are to see her. I promise you shall see her if
you wish it, but it must be in my aunt's way.'

'Let me go, I say!'

'When I have walked five miles in your service, you won't afford me an
arm to help me back. I am not a horse with wings, and I won't be
Cupid's post except on my own terms. Come back.'

'I don't stir till I have heard the state of the case.'

'Yes, you do; for all the sportsmen will be coming home, and my aunt
would not for all the world that Mr. Mansell caught you on the
forbidden ground.'

'How can you give in to such shuffling nonsense! If I am to claim
Isabel openly, why am I not to visit her openly? You have yielded to
that woman's crooked policy. I don't trust you!'

'When you are her son, you may manage her as you please. Just now she
has us in her power, and can impose conditions. Come on; and if you
are good, you shall hear.'

Drawing James along with him through the beechwood glades, he began,
'You would have been more insane still if you had guessed at my luck. I
found Isabel alone. Mrs. Mansell had taken the girls to some juvenile
fete, and Delaford was discreet enough not to rouse my aunt from her
letters. I augured well from the happy conjunction.'

'Go on; don't waste time in stuff.'

'Barkis is willing, then. Is that enough to the point?'

'Fitzjocelyn, you never had any feelings yourself, and therefore you
trifle with those of others.'

'I beg your pardon. It was a shame! Jem, you may be proud. She
trusts you completely, and whatever you think sufficient, she regards
as ample.'

'Like her! Only too like her. Such confidence makes one feel a
redoubled responsibility.'

'I thought I had found something at which you could not grumble.'

'How does she look? How do they treat her?'

'Apparently they have not yet fed her on bread and water. No;
seriously, I must confess that she looked uncommonly well and lovely!
Never mind, Jem; I verily believe that, in spite of absence and all
that, she had never been so happy in her life. If any description
could convey the sweetness of voice and manner when she spoke of you! I
could not look in her face. Those looks can only be for you. We
talked it over, but she heeded no ways and means; it was enough that
you were satisfied. She says the subject has never been broached since
the flight from Northwold, and that Lady Conway's kindness never
varies; and she told me she had little fear but that her dear mamma
would be prevailed on to give sanction enough to hinder her from
feeling as if she were doing wrong, or setting a bad example to her
sisters. They know nothing of it; but Walter, who learnt it no one
knows how, draws the exemplary moral, that it serves his mother right
for inflicting a tutor on him.'

'Has she had my letter? Does she know I am here?'

'Wait! All this settled, and luncheon being ready, down came my Lady,
and we played unconsciousness to our best ability. I must confess my
aunt beat us hollow! Isabel then left us to our conference, which we
conducted with the gravity of a tailor and an old woman making a match
in Brittany.'

'You came out with that valuable improvable freehold, the Terrace, I

'I told the mere facts! My aunt was rather grand about a
grammar-school; she said even a curacy would sound better, and she must
talk it over with Isabel. I gave your letter, conjuring her to let
Isabel have it, and though she declared that it was no kindness, and
would put the poor darling into needless perplexity, she was touched
with my forbearance, in not having given it before, when I had such an
opportunity. So she went away, and stayed a weary while: but when she
came, it was worth the waiting. She said Isabel was old enough to know
her own mind, and the attachment being so strong, and you so
unexceptionable, she did not think it possible to object: she had great
delight in seeing you made happy, and fulfilling the dictates of her
own heart, now that it could be done with moderate prudence. They go to
Scarborough in a fortnight, and you will be welcome there. There's for

'Louis, you are the best fellow living! But you said I was to see her
at once.'

'I asked, why wait for Scarborough?' and depicted you hovering
disconsolately round the precincts. Never mind, Jem, I did not make
you more ridiculous than human nature must needs paint a lover, and it
was all to melt her heart. I was starting off to fetch you, when I
found she was in great terror. She had never told the Mansells of the
matter, and they must be prepared. She cannot have it transpire while
she is in their house, and, in fact, is excessively afraid of Mr.
Mansell, and wants to tell her story by letter. Now, I think,
considering all things, she has a right to take her own way.'

'You said I was not to go without meeting her!'

'I had assented, and was devising how to march off my lunatic quietly,
when the feminine goodnatured heart that is in her began to relent, and
she looked up in my face with a smile, and said the poor dears were
really exemplary, and if Isabel should walk to the beach and should
meet any one there, she need know nothing about it.'

'What says Isabel?'

'She held up her stately head, and thought it would be a better return
for Mr. Mansell's kindness to tell him herself before leaving
Beauchastel; but Lady Conway entreated her not to be hasty, and
protested that her fears were of Mr. Mansell's displeasure with her for
not having taken better care of her - she dreaded a break, and so
on, - till the end of it was, that though we agree that prudence would
carry us off to-morrow morning, yet her ladyship will look the other
way, if you happen to be on the southern beach at eleven o'clock
to-morrow morning. I suppose you were very headlong and peremptory in
your note, for I could not imagine Isabel consenting to a secret tryste
even so authorized.'

'I never asked for any such thing! I would not for worlds see her led
to do anything underhand.'

'She will honour you! That's right, Jem!'

'Neither as a clergyman, nor as a Dynevor, can I consent to trick even
those who have no claim to her duty!'

'Neither as a gentleman, nor as a human creature,' added Louis, in the
same tone. 'Shall I go back and give your answer?'

'No; you are walking lame enough already.'

'No matter for that.'

'To tell you the truth, I can't stand your being with her again, while
I am made a fool of by that woman. If I'm not to see her, I'll be off.
I'll send her a note; we will cross to Bickleypool, and start by the
mail-train this very night.'

Louis made no objection, and James hurried him into the little parlour,
where in ten minutes the note was dashed off: -

My Own Most Precious One! - (as, thanks to my most unselfish of cousins,
I may dare to call you,) - I regret my fervency and urgency for an
interview, since it led you to think I could purchase even such
happiness by a subterfuge unworthy of my calling, and an ill return of
the hospitality to which we owed our first meeting. We will meet when
I claim you in the face of day, without the sense of stolen felicity,
which is a charm to common-place minds. My glory is in the assurance
that you understand my letter, approve, and are relieved. With such
sanction, and with ardour before you like mine, I see that you could do
no other than consent, and there is not a shadow of censure in my mind;
but if, without compromising your sense of obedience, you could openly
avow our engagement to Mr. Mansell, I own that I should feel that we
were not drawn into a compromise of sincerity. What this costs me I
will not say; it will be bare existence till we meet at Scarborough.

'Your own, J. E. F. D.'

Having written this and deposited it in the Ebbscreek post-office,
James bethought himself that his submissive cousin had thrown himself
on the floor, with his bag for a pillow, trying to make the most of the
few moments of rest before the midnight journey. Seized with
compunction, James exclaimed, 'There, old fellow, we will stay

'Thank you - ' He was too sleepy for more.

The delay was recompensed. James was trying to persuade Louis to rouse
himself to be revived by bread-and-cheese and beer, and could extort
nothing but a drowsy repetition of the rhyme, in old days the war-cry
of the Grammar-school against the present headmaster, -

'The Welshman had liked to be choked by a mouse,
But he pulled him out by the tail,' -

when an alarum came in the shape of a little grinning boy from
Beauchastel, with a note on which James had nearly laid hands, as he
saw the writing, though the address was to the Viscount Fitzjocelyn.

'You may have it,' said Louis. 'If anything were wanting, the
coincidence proves that you were cut out for one another. I rejoice
that the moon does not stoop from her sphere.'

'My Dear Cousin, - I trust to you to prevent Mr. F. Dynevor from being
hurt or disappointed; and, indeed, I scarcely think he will, though I
should not avail myself of the permission for meeting him so kindly
intended. I saw at once that you felt as I did, and as I know he will.
He would not like me to have cause to blush before my kind friends - to
know that I had acted a deceit, nor to set an example to my sisters for
which they might not understand the justification. I know that you
will obtain my pardon, if needed; and to be assured of it, would be all
that would be required to complete the grateful happiness of


The boy had orders not to wait; and these being seconded by fears of
something that 'walked' in Ebbscreek wood after dark, he was gone
before an answer could be thought of. It mattered the less, since
Isabel must receive James's note early in the morning; and so, in fact,
she did - and she was blushing over it, and feeling as if she could
never have borne to meet his eye but for the part she had fortunately
taken, when Louisa tapped at her door, with a message that Mr. Mansell
wished to speak with her, if she were ready.

She went down-stairs still in a glow; and her old friend's first words
were a compliment on her roses, so pointed, that she doubted for a
moment whether he did not think them suspicious, especially as he put
his hands behind his back, and paced up and down the room, for some
moments. He then came towards her, and said, in a very kind tone,
'Isabel, my dear, I sent for you first, because I knew your own mother
very well, my dear; and though Lady Conway is very kind, and has always
done you justice, - that I will always say for her, - yet there are times
when it may make a difference to a young woman whether she has her own
mother or not.'

Isabel's heart was beating. She was certain that some discovery had
been made, and longed to explain; but she was wise enough not to speak
in haste, and waited to see how the old gentleman would finally break
it to her. He blundered on a little longer, becoming more confused and
distressed every minute, and at last came to the point abruptly. 'In
short, Isabel, my dear, what can you have done to set people saying
that you have been corresponding with the young men at Ebbscreek?'

'I sent a note to my cousin Fitzjocelyn last night,' said Isabel, with
such calmness, that the old gentleman fairly stood with his mouth open,
looking at her aghast.

'Fitzjocelyn! Then it is Fitzjocelyn, is it?' he exclaimed. 'Then,
why could he not set about it openly and honourably? Does his father
object? I would not have thought it of you, Isabel, nor of the lad

'You need not think it, dear Mr. Mansell. There is nothing between
Lord Fitzjocelyn and myself but the warmest friendship.'

'Isabel! Isabel! why are you making mysteries? I do not wish to pry
into your affairs. I would have trusted you anywhere; but when it
comes round to me that you have been sending a private messenger to one
of the young gentlemen there, I don't know what to be at! I would not
believe Mrs. Mansell at first; but I saw the boy, and he said you had
sent him yourself. My dear, you may mean, very rightly - I am sure you
do, but you must not set people talking! It is not acting rightly by
me, Isabel; but I would not care for that, if it were acting rightly by
yourself.' And he gazed at her with a piteous, perplexed expression.

'Let me call mamma,' said Isabel.

'As you will, my dear, but cannot you let the simple truth come out
between you and your own blood-relation, without all her words to come
between? Can't you, Isabel? I am sure you and I shall understand each

'That we shall,' replied Isabel, warmly. 'I have given her no promise.
Dear Mr. Mansell, I have wished all along that you should know that I
am engaged, with her full consent, to Mr. Frost Dynevor.'

'To the little black tutor!' cried Mr. Mansell, recoiling, but
recollecting himself. 'I beg your pardon, my dear, he may be a very
good man, but what becomes of all this scrambling over barricades with
the young Lord?'

Isabel described the true history of her engagement; and it was
received with a long, low whistle, by no means too complimentary.

'And what makes him come and hide in holes and corners, if this is all
with your mamma's good will?'

'Mamma thought you would be displeased; she insisted on taking her own
time for breaking it to you,' said Isabel.

'Was there ever a woman but must have her mystery? Well, I should have
liked him better if he had not given into it!'

'He never did!' said Isabel, indignant enough to disclose in full the
whole arrangement made by Lady Conway's manoeuvres and lax good-nature.
'I knew it would never do,' she added, 'though I could not say so
before her and Fitzjocelyn. My note was to tell them so: and look
here, Mr. Mansell, this is what Mr. Dynevor had already written before
receiving mine.'

She held it out proudly; and Mr. Mansell, making an unwilling sound
between his teeth, took it from her; but, as he read, his countenance
changed, and he exclaimed, 'Ha! very well! This is something like! So
that's it, is it? You and he would not combine to cheat the old man,
like a pair of lovers in a trumpery novel!'

'No, indeed!' said Isabel, 'that would be a bad way of beginning.'

'Where is the young fellow? - at Ebbscreek, did you say? I'll tell you
what, Isabel,' with his hand on the bell, 'I'll have out the dogcart
this minute, and fetch him home to breakfast, to meet my Lady when she
comes down stairs, if it be only for the sake of showing that I like
plain dealing!'

'Isabel could only blush, smile, look doubtful, and yet so very happy
and grateful, that Mr. Mansell became cautious, lest his impulse should
have carried him too far, and, after having ordered the vehicle to be
prepared, he caught her by the hand, and detained her, saying, 'Mind
you, Miss, you are not to take this for over-much. I'm afraid it is a
silly business, and I did not want you to throw yourself away on a
schoolmaster. I must see and talk to the man myself; but I won't have
anything that's not open and above-board, and that my Lady shall see
for once in her life!'

'I'm not afraid,' said Isabel, smiling. 'James will make his own way
with you.'

Isabel ran away to excuse and explain her confession to Lady Conway;
while Mr. Mansell indulged in another whistle, and then went to inform
his wife that he was afraid the girl had been making a fool of herself;
but it was not Lady Conway's fault that she was nothing worse, and he
was resolved, whatever he did, to show that honesty was the only thing
that would go down with him.

The boat was rocking on the green waves, and Louis was in the act of
waving an adieu to deaf Mrs. Hannaford, when a huntsman's halloo caused
James to look round and behold Mr. Mansell standing up in his dogcart,
making energetic signals with his whip.

He had meant to be very guarded, and wait to judge of James before
showing that he approved, but the excitement of the chase betrayed him
into a glow of cordiality, and he shook hands with vehemence.

'That's right! - just in time! Jump in, and come home to breakfast. So
you wouldn't be a party to my Lady's tricks! - just like her - just as
she wheedled poor Conway. I will let her see how I esteem plain
dealing! I don't say that I see my way through this business; but
we'll talk it over together, and settle matters without my Lady.'

James hardly knew where he was, between joy and surprise. The
invitation was extended to his companion; but Fitzjocelyn discerned
that both James and Mr. Mansell would prefer being left to themselves;
he had a repugnance to an immediate discussion with the one aunt, and
was in haste to carry the tidings to the other: and besides, it was
becoming possible that letters might arrive from the travellers.
Actuated by all these motives, he declined the offer of hospitality,
and rowed across to Bickleypool, enlightening the Captain on the state
of affairs as far as he desired.



Tho' this was fair, and that was braw,
And you the toast of all the town,
I sighed and said, amang them a',
Ye are not Mary Morison.

Mrs. Frost and Louis were very merry over the result of Lady Conway's
stratagems, and sat up indulging in bright anticipations until so late
an hour, that Louis was compelled to relinquish his purpose of going
home that night, but he persisted in walking to Ormersfield before
breakfast, that he might satisfy himself whether there were any letters.

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeDynevor Terrace: or, the clue of life — Volume 2 → online text (page 1 of 28)