Charlotte Mary Yonge.

Dynevor Terrace, or, The clue of life (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 27)
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T^Tio wisdom's sacred prize -would win,
Must with the fear of God begin ;
Immortal praise and heavenly skill
HaTe they who know and do His will.

New Version.




{The Author reterves the right of Tramlation.']



























Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign




Farewell rewards and fairies,

Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sluts in dairies

May fare as well as they.

Bp. Corbet,

AN ancient leafless stump of a horse-chesnut stood in
the middle of a dusty field, bordered on the south
side by a row of houses of some pretension.

Against this stump, a pretty delicate fair girl of
seventeen, whose short lilac sleeves revealed slender
white arms, and her tight, plain cap tresses of flaxen
hair that many a beauty might have envied, was bangino-
a cocoa-nut mat, chanting by way of accompaniment
in a sort of cadence —

* I have found out a gift for my fair,
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed ;
But let me the plunder forbear,
She will say '

* Hollo, I'll give you a shilling for 'em!' was the un-
looked-for conclusion, causing her to start aside with
a slight scream, as there stood beside her a stout,
black-eyed, round-faced lad, his ruddy cheeks and
loutish air showing more rusticity than agreed with
his keen, saucy expression, and mechanic's dress.



' So that's what you call beating a mat,' said he,
catching it from her hands, and mimicking the tender
clasp of her little fingers. ' D'ye think it's alive, that
you use it so gingerly ? Look here ! Give it him well !'
as he made it resound against the tree, and emit
a whirlwind of dust. ' Lay it into him with some
jolly good song fit to fetch a stroke home with ! Why,
I heard my young Lord say, when Shakspeare was a
butcher, he used to make speeches at the calves, as if
they was for a sacrifice, or ever he could lift a knife
to 'em.'

' Shakspeare ! He as wrote Romeo and Juliet, and
all that ! He a butcher ! Why, he was a poet !' cried
the girl, indignantly.

'If you know better than Lord Fitzjocelyn, you
may !' said the boy.

' I couldn't have thought it !' sighed the maiden.

' It's the best of it !' cried the lad, eagerly. ' Why,
Charlotte, don't ye see, he rose hisself. Anybody may
rise hisself as has a mind to it !'

' Yes, I've read that in books,' said Charlotte. ' You
can, men can, Tom, if you would but educate yourself
like Edmund in the Old English Baron. But then,
you know whose son you are. There can't be no cata-
strophe — *

' I don't want none,' said Tom. ' We are all equal
by birth, so the orator proves without a doubt, and
we'll show it one of these days. A rare lady I'll make
of you yet, Charlotte Arnold.'

' O hush, Tom, I can never be a lady — and I can't
stand dawdling here — nor you neither. 'Tisn't right
to want to be out of our station; though I do wish I
lived in an old castle, where the maidens worked
tapestry, and heard minstrels, and never had no stairs
to scour. Come, give me my mats, and thank you

' I'll take 'em in,' said Tom, shouldering them. ' 'Tis
breakfast-hour, so I thought I'd just run up and ax
you when my young Lord goes up to Oxford.'


' He is gone,' said Charlotte ; ' he was here yesterday
to take leave of missus. Mr. James goes later — '

' Gone !' cried Tom. ' If he didn't say he'd come and
see me at Mr. Smith's !'

' Did you want to speak to him V

' I wanted to see him particular. There's a thing
lays hea^-y on my miud. Yon see that place dovm in
Ferny dell — there's a steep bank down to the water.
AVell, my young Lord was very keen about building a
kind of steps there in the summer, and he and I settled
the stones, and I was to cement 'em. By comes
jMr. Frost, and finds faults, what I thought he'd
no call to j so I flings do^^^l my trowel, and wouldn't
cro on for he ! I was so mortal anon-y, I would not ci'o
back to the work; and I believe my Lord forgot it — and
then he went back to college ; and Frampton and Gervas,
they put on me ; and you know how 'twas I come away
from Ormersfield. I was not going to say a word to one
of that lot ! but if I could see Lord Fitzjocelyn, I'd tell
him they stones arn't fixed ; and if the frost gets into
'em, there'll be a pretty go next time there's a tolera-
blish weight ! But there — it is his own look-out ! If
he never thought it worth his while to keep his
promise, and come and see me — '

' O Tom I that isn't right ! He only forgot — I hear
Mrs. Beckett telling him he'd forget his own head if it
wasn't fixed on, and Mr. James is always at him.'

' Forget ! Aye, there's nothing gentlefolks forget
like poor folks. But I've done with he ! Let him look
out — I kept my promises to him long enough ; but if he
don't keep his'n — '

' For shame, for shame, Tom I You don't mean it !'
cried Charlotte. ' But. oh !' with a difierent tone,
' give me the mat 1 There's the old Lord and Mr.
Povninofs ridinij down the terrace !'

'I ain't ashamed of nothing!' said the lad, proudly;
and as Charlotte snatched away the mats, and vanished
like a frightened hare, he stalked along like a villa f^e
Hampden, muttering, 'The old tyrant shall see



wliether I'm to be trampled on !' and -svith botli hands
in his pockets, he gazed straight up into the face of the
grave elderly gentleman, who never even perceived him.
He could merely bandy glances with Poynings, the
groom, and he was so far from indifferent that he
significantly lifted up the end of his whip. Nothing
could more have gratified Tom, who retorted with
a grimace and murmur, 'Don't you wish you may
catch me? You jealous syc — what is the word, sick
of uncles or aunts, was it, that the orator called
'em ? He'd say I'd a good miss of being one of that
sort, and that my young Lord there opened my eyes
in time. No better than the rest of 'em — '

And the clock striking eight, he quickened his pace
to return to his work. He had for the two or three
previous years been nominally under the gardener
at Ormersfield, but really a sort of follower and
favourite to the young heir, Lord Fitzjocelyn — a
position which had brought on him dislike from the
superior servants, who were not propitiated by his
independent and insubordinate temper. Faults on
every side had led to his dismissal; but Lord Fitzjoce-
lyn had placed him at an ironmonger's shop in the
town of North wold, where he had been just long
enough to become accessible to the various temptations
of a lad in such a situation.

Charlotte sped hastily round the end of the block of
buildings, hurried down the little back garden, and
flew breathlessly into her own kitchen, as a haven of
refuge ; but she found a tall, stiff, starched, elderly
woman standing just within the door, and heard her
last words.

' Well ! as I said, 'tis no concern of mine ; only I
thought it the part of a friend to give you a warning,
when I seen it with my ow^n eyes ! — Ah ! here she is !'
as Charlotte dropped into a chair. ' Yes, yes. Miss,
you need not think to deceive me ; I saw you from Miss
j\Iercy's window — '

* Saw what V faintly exclaimed Charlotte.


' You know well enough/ was the return. ' You
may think to blind Mrs. Beckett here, but I know
what over good-nature to young girls comes to. Pretty
use to make of your fine scholarship, to be encouraging
followers and sweethearts, at that time in the morning
too !'

* Speak up, Charlotte,' said the other occupant of the
room, a pleasant little bri^sk woman, with soft brown
eyes, a clear pale skin, and a face smooth, in spite of
nearly sixty years ; ' speak np, and tell Mrs. Martha
the truth, that you never encouraged no one.'

The girl's face was all one flame ; but she rose up, and
clasping her hands together, exclaimed — ' Me encou-
rage ! I never thought of what Mrs. Martha says ! I
dont know what it is all about !'

' Here, Jane Beckett,' cried Mrs. Martha ; ' d'ye see
what 'tis to vindicate her ! Will you take her word
against mine, that she's been gossiping this half-
hour with that young rogue as was turned off at
Ormersfield V

' Tom Madison !' cried the girl, in utter amaze.
' Oh ! Mrs. Martha !'

' Well ! I can't stop !' said Martha. ' I must get
Miss Faithfull's breakfast ! but if you was under me,
Miss Charlotte, I can tell you it would be better for
you ! You'll sup sorrow yet, and you'll both recollect
my advice, both of you.'

Wherewith the Cassandra departed, and Charlotte,
throwing her apron over her face, began to cry and
sob piteously.

' My dear ! what is it now ?' exclaimed her kind
companion, pulling down her apron, and trying to
draw down first one, then the other of the arms
which persisted in veiling the crimson face. ' Surely
you don't think missus or I would mistrust you, or
think you'd take up with the likes of him !'

' How could she be so cruel — so spiteful,' sobbed
Charlotte, ' when he only came to ask one que.stion,
and did a good turn for me with the mats. I never


thought of such a thing. Sweetheart, indcod ! So cruel
of her!'

' Bless me !' said Jane, * girls used to think it only
civility to say they had a sweetheart !'

' Don't, Mrs. Beckett ! I hate the word ! I don't
■want no such thing! I won't never speak to Tom
Madison again, if such constructions is to be put on

'Well, after all, Charlotte dear, that will be the
safest way. You are young yet, and best not to think
of settling, special if you aren't sure of one that is
steady and religious ; and you'd better keep yourself up,
and not get a name for gossiping — though there's no
harm done yet, so don't make such a work. Bless me,
if I don't hear his lordship's voice ! He ain't never come
so early!'

* Yes, he is,' said Charlotte, recovering from her sobs ;
* he rode up as I came in.'

' Well, to be sure, he is come to breakfast ! I hope
nothin's amiss with my young Lord ! I must run up
with a cup and plate; and you, make the place tidy, in
case Mr. Poynings comes in. You'd better run into
the scullery and wash your face ; 'tis all tears ! You're
a terrible one to cry, Charlotte !' with a kind, cheering
smile and caress.

Mrs, Beckett bustled off, lea\dng Charlotte to restore
herself to the little handy piece of household mecha-
nism which kind, patient, motherly training had ren-
dered her.

Charlotte Arnold had been foirly educated at a
village school, and tenderly brought up at home till
left an orphan, when she had been taken into her
present place. She had much native refinement and
imagination, \vhich, half cultivated, produced a curious
mixture of romance and simplicity. Her insatiable
taste for reading was meritorious in the eyes of Mrs.
Beckett, who, unlearned herself, thought any book
better than ' gadding about,' and, after hearing her
daily portion of the Bible, listened to the most adven-


turous romances, with a sense of pleasure and duty in
keeping the girl to her book. She loved the little
fragile orphan, taught her, and had patience with her,
and trusted the true high sound principle which she
recognised in Charlotte, amid much that she could not
fathom, and set down alternately to the score of scho-
larship and youth.

Taste, modesty, and timidity were guards to Char-
lotte. A broad stare was terror to her, and she had
many a fictitious horror, as well as better-founded
ones. Truly she said, she hated the broad words
Mai-tha had used. One who craved a true knight to
be twitted with, a sweetheart ! Martha and Tom Madi-
son were almosi equally distasteful, as connected with
such a reproach; and the little maiden drew into herself,
promenaded her fancy in castles and tournaments, kept
under Jane's wing, and was upheld by her as a sensible,
prudent girl.




I praise thee, matron, and thy due
Is praise, heroic praise and true ;
With admiration I behold
Thy gladness unsubdued and bold.
Thy looks and gestures all present
The picture of a life well spent ;
Our hvunan nature throws away
Its second twilight and looks gay.


UNCONSCIOUS of Charlotte's flight and Tom's
affront, the Earl of Ormersfield rode along
Dynevor Terrace — a row of houses with handsome
cemented fronts, tragic and comic masks alternating
over the downstairs windows, and the centre of the
block adorned with a pediment and colonnade ; but
there was an air as if something ailed the place : the
gardens were weedy, the glass doors hazy, the cement
stained and scarred, and many of the windows closed
and dark, like eyes wanting speculation, or with
merely the dreary words ' To be let' enlivening their
blank gloom. At the house where Charlotte had
vanished, he drew his rein, and opened the gate — not
one of the rusty ones — he entered the garden, -svhere
all was trim and fresh, the shadow of the house lyirg
across the sward, and preserving the hoar-frost, which,
in the sunshine, was melting into diamond drops on
the lingering China roses.

Without ring or knock, he passed into a narrow,
carpetless vestibule, unadorned except by a beautiful
blue Wedge wood vase, and laying down hat and


whip, mounted tlie bare staircase, loDg since divested
of all paint or polish. Avoiding the door of the prin-
cipal room, he opened another at the side, and stood in
a flood of sunshine, pouring in from the window, which
looked over all the roofs of the town, to the coppices
and moorlands of Ormersfield. On the bright fire
sung a kettle, a white cat purred on the hearth, a
canary twittered menily in the window, and the light
smiled on a languishing Dresden shepherdess and her
lover on the mantelpiece, and danced on the ceiling,
reflected from a beautifully chased silver cream-jug —
an inconsistent companion for the homely black teapot
and willow-patterned plates, thougli the two cups of
rare Indian porcelain were not unworthy of it. The
furniture was the same mixture of the ordinary and
the choice, either worn and shabby, or such as would
suit a virtuoso, but the whole aiTanged with taste
and care that made the effect bright, pleasant, and
comfortable. Lord Ormersfield stood on the hearth-
rusj waitinfc. His face was that of one who had learnt
to wait, more considerate than acute, and bearing the
stamp both of toil and sufiering, as if grief had taken,
away all mobility of expression, and left a stern,
thoughtful steadfastness.

Presently a lady entered the room. Her hair was
white as snow, and she could not have seen less than
seventy-seven years ; but beauty was not gone from her
features — smiles were still on her lips, brightness in her
clear hazel eyes, buoyancy in her tread, and alertness
and dignity in her tall, slender, unVjent figure. There
was nothing so remarkable about her as the elasticity
as well as sweetness of her whole look and bearing,
as if, while she had something to love, nothing could
be capable of crushing her.

'You here !' she exclaimed, holding out her hand to
her guest. ' You are come to breakfast.'

' Thank you ; I wished to see you without inter-
rupting your day's work. Have you many scholars
at present f


' Only seven, and three go into school at Easter.
Jem and Clara wish me to undertake no more, but I
should sorely miss the little fellows. I wish they may
do me as much credit as Sydney Calcott. He wrote
himself to tell me of his success.'

' I am glad to hear it. He is a very promising
young man.'

' I tell him I shall come to honour, as the old dame
who taught him to spell. My scholars may make a
Dr. Busby of me in history.'

' I am afraid your preferment will depend chiefly on
James and young Calcott.'

' Nay, Louis tells me that he is going to read won-
derfully hard; and if he chooses, he can do more than
even Sydney Calcott.'

' If !' said the Earl.

Jane here entered with another cup and plate,
and Lord Ormersfield sat down to the breakfast-table.
After some minutes' pause he said, ' Have you heard
from PeiTi V

' Not by this mail. Have you V

* Yes, I have. Mary is coming home.'

* INIary !' she cried, almost springing up — 'INfary Pon-
sonby 1 This is good news — unless,' as she watched
his grave face, ' it is her health that brings her.'

* It is. She has consulted the surgeon of the Libra,
a very able man, who tells her that there is absolute
need of good advice and a colder climate ; and Ponsonby
has consented to let her and her daughter come home
in the Libra. I expect them in February.'

'My poor Mary! But she will get better away
from him. I trust he is not coming !'

' Not he,' said Lord Ormersfield.

' Dear, dear Mary ! I had scarcely dared to hope
to see her again,' cried the old lady, with tears in her
eyes. ' 1 hope she will be allowed to be with us, not kept
in London wdth his sister. London does her no good.'

' The very purport of my visit,' said Lord Ormers-
field, ' was to ask whether you could do me the favour


to set aside your scholars, and enable me to receive
jNIrs. Ponsonby at home.'

^ Tliank you — oh, thank you. There is nothing I
should like better, but I must consider — '

' Clara would find a companion in the younger Mary
in the holidays ; and if James would make Fitzjocelyn
his charge, it would complete the obligation. It
would be by far the best arrangement for Mary's com-
fort, and it would be the greatest satisfaction to me to
see her with you at Ormei^field.'

^ I believe it would indeed,' said the old lady, more
touched than the outward manner of the Earl seemed
to warrant. ' I would — you know I would do my
very best that you and Mary should be comfortable
together' — and her voice trembled — ' but you see I can-
not promise all at once. I must see about these little
boys. I must talk to Jem. In short, you must not
be disappointed' — and she put her hands before her
face, trying to laugh, but almost overcome.

' Nay, I did not mean to press you,' said Lord
Ormersfield, gently ; ' but I thought, since James has
had the fellowship and Clara has been at school, that
you wished to give up your pupils.'

' So I do,' said the lady, but still not yielding ab-

' For the rest, I am very anxious that James should
accept Fitzjocelyn as his pupil. I have always con-
sidered their friendship as the best hope j and other
plans have had so little success, that — '

' I'm not going to hear Louis abused !' she exclaimed,


' Yes,' said Lord Ormersfield, with a look nearly ap-
proaching a smile, ' you are the last person I ought
to invite, if I wish to keep your nephew unspoiled.'

' I wish there were any one else to spoil him !'

^ For his sake, then, come and make Ormersfield
cheerful. It will be far better for him.'

* And for you, to see more of Jem,' she added. ' If
he were yours, what v/ould you say to such hours V


The last words were aimed at a young man who
came briskly into the room, and as he kissed her, and
shook hands with the Earl, answered in a quick, bright
tone, ' Shocking, aye. All owing to sitting up till one !'

' Heading V said the Earl.

* Reading,' he answered, with a sort of laughing
satisfaction in dashing aside the approval expressed in
the cpiery, 'but not quite as you suppose. See here,'
as he held up maliciously a railway novel.

' I am afraid I know where it came from,' said Lord

' Exactly so,' said James. 'It was Fitzjocelyn's
desertion of it that excited my curiosity.'

' Indeed. I should have thought his desertions far
too common to excite any curiosity.'

' By no means. He always has a reason.'

' A plausible one.'

' More than plausible,' cried James, excitement
sparkling in his vivid black eyes. ' It haj^j^ens that
this is the very book that you would most rejoice to
see distasteful to him — low morality, false principles,
morbid excitement, not a line that ought to please a
healthy mind.' —

' Yet it has interest enough for you.'

' I am not Fitzjocelyn.'

' You know how to plead for him.'

' I speak simple truth,' bluntly answered James,
running his hand through his black hair, to the ruin of
the morning smoothness, so tliat it, as well as the
whole of his quick, dark countenance seemed to have
undergone a change from sunny south to stormy north
in the few moments since his lirst appearance.

Ajfter a short silence. Lord Ormersfield turned to
liim, saying 'I have been begging a favour of my aunt,
and I have another to ask of you,' and repeating his
explanation, begged him to undei-take the tutorship of
his son.

' I shall not be at liberty at Easter,' said James ; ' I
have all but undertaken some men at Oxford.'


' Oh, my clear Jem 1' exc-laimed the old lady, 4s that
settled beyond alteration V

' I'm not goincj to throw them over.'
' Then I shall hope for you at Midsummer,' said the

' We shall see how things stand,' he returned, un-

' I shall ^sT-ite to you,' said Lord Ormersfield, still
undaunted, and soon after taking his leave.

' Cool r cried James, as soon as he was gone. ' To ex-
pect you to give up your school at his beck, to come
and keep house for him as long as it may suit him !'

' Nay, Jem, he knew how few boys I have, and that
I intended to give them up. You don't mean to refuse
Louis V she said, imploringly.

' I shall certainly not take him at Easter. It would
be a mere farce intended to compensate to us for o-ivino-
up the school, and I'll not lend myself to it while I
can have real work.'

' At Midsummer, then. You know he will never
let Louis spend a long vacation without a tutor.'

' I hate to be at Ormersfield,' proceeded James,
vehemently, 'to see Fitzjocelyn browbeaten and con-
tradicted every moment, and myself set up for a model.
I may steal a horse, while he may not look over the
wall ! Did you obsei've the inconsistency i — ani:rrv with
the poor fellow first for having the book, and then for
not reading the whole, while it became amiable and
praisewoilhy in me to burn out a candle over it !'

' Ah I that was my concern. I tell him he would
sing another note if you were his son.'

' I'd soon make him ! I would not stand what Louis
does. The more he is set down and sneered at, the
more debonnaire he looks, till I could rave at him for
taking it so easily.'

' I hoped you might have hindered them from
fretting each other, as they do so often.'

'I should only he a fresh element of discord, while
his lordship will persist in making me his pattern


young man. It makes me hate myself, especially as
Louis is such an unaccountable felloNv that he won't.'

' I am sorry you dislike the plan so much.'

' Do you mean that you wish for it, grandmamma V
cried he, turning full round on her with an aii' of
extreme amazement. ' If you do, there's an end of it ;
but I thought you valued nothing more than an inde-
pendent home.'

' Nor would I give it up on any account,' said she.
' I do not imagine this could possibly last for more
than a few months, or a year at the utmost. Bat you
know, dear Jem, I would do nothing you did not

' That's nothing to the purpose,' replied James.
' Thouo:h it is to be considered whether Ormersfield is
likely to be the best preparation for Clara's future life.
However, I see you wish it — '

' I confess that I do, for a few months at least, which
need interfere neither with Clara nor with you. I have

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeDynevor Terrace, or, The clue of life (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 27)