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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LIBRARY AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN



m v 5 1981
••"MAR 08 1984



L161— O-1096




Digitized by the Internet Archive

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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



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NUTTIE'S FATHER



-S>-



NUTTIE'S FATHEK



BY

CHAELOTTE M. YONGE

AUTHOR OF 'THE HEIR OF REDCLYFFE,' 'UNKBOWH TO HISTORY,' ETC.



VOL. I.



ILontiou

MACMILLAN AND CO.

1885



Printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh.



3



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CO

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CONTENTS.



oo CHAPTER I.

^ PAGE

^ St. Ambrose's Choir ...... 1



CHAPTER II.
Monks Horton ....



CHAPTER III.
Heir Hunting . . . • • • • 16

CHAPTER IV.
A Name 27

CHAPTER V.
Suspense 46

CHAPTER VI.
The Water-Soldier 58



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VII.

PAGE

That Man 67

CHAPTER. VIII.
The Father 77

CHAPTER IX.
New Plumes . . . . . • ■ • 91

CHAPTER X.
Brldgefield Egremont 99

CHAPTER XL
Lawn-Tennis . . . . % . . . .122

CHAPTER XII.
Out of "Work . 135

CHAPTER XIII.
Detrimentals . . . • . • .148

CHAPTER XIV.
Going Agee . . . . . . .156

CHAPTER XV.
A Castle of Umbrellas . . . . . .172

CHAPTER XVI.
Infra Dig I 82



CONTEXT.-. Vll

CHAPTER XVII.

PAGE

An Old Friend . . . . . . .200

CHAPTER XVIII.
A Friend in Need . . . . . .210

CHAPTER XIX.
The Vortex 230

CHAPTER XX.
Wolf 245



CHAPTER I.

ST. Ambrose's choir.

' For be it known
That their saint's honour is their own.' — Scott.

The town of Micklethwayte was rising and thriving.
There were salubrious springs which an enterprising-
doctor had lately brought into notice. The firm
of Greenleaf and Dutton manufactured umbrellas in
large quantities, from the stout weather-proof family
roof down to the daintiest fringed toy of a parasol.
There were a Guild Hall and a handsome Corn Mar-
ket. There was a Modern School for the boys, and a
High School for the girls, and a School of Art, and a
School of Cookery, and National Schools, and a British
School, and a Board School, also churches of every
height, chapels of every denomination, and iron mission
rooms budding out in hopes to be replaced by churches.
Like one of the animals which zoologists call
radiated, the town was constantly stretching out fresh
arms along country roads, all living and working, and
gradually absorbing the open spaces between. One of

VOL. I. B



2 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

these arms was known as St. Ambrose's Koad, in right of
the church, an incomplete structure in yellow brick,
consisting of a handsome chancel, the stump of a tower,
and one aisle just weather- tight and usable, but, by its
very aspect, begging for the completion of the beautiful
design that was suspended above the alms-box.

It was the evening of a summer day which had
been very hot. The choir practice was just over, and
the boys came out trooping and chattering ; very small
ones they were ; for as soon as they began to sing-
tolerably they were sure to try to get into the choir
of the old church, which had a foundation that fed,
clothed, taught, and finally apprenticed them. So,
though the little fellows were clad in surplices and
cassocks, and sat in the chancel for correctness sake,
there was a space round the harmonium reserved for
the more trustworthy band of girls and young women
who came forth next, followed by four or five
mechanics.

Behind came the nucleus of the choir — a slim, fair-
haired youth of twenty ; a neat, precise, well-trimmed
man, closely shaven, with stooping shoulders, at least
fifteen years older, with a black poodle at his heels, as
well shorn as his master, newly risen from lying outside
the church door ; a gentle, somewhat drooping lady in
black, not yet middle-aged and very pretty ; a small
eager, unformed, black-eyed girl, who could hardly keep
back her words for the outside of the church door ; a
tall self-possessed handsome woman, with a fine classi-
cal cast of features ; and lastly, a brown-faced, wiry,



I.] ST. AMBROSE'S CHOIR. 3

hardworking clergyman, without an atom of super-
fluous flesh, but with an air of great energy.

' Oh ! vicar, where are we to go ? ' was the question
so eager to break forth.

' Not to the Crystal Palace, Nuttie. The funds
won't bear it. Mr. Dutton says we must spend as
little as possible on locomotion.'

' I'm sure I don't care for the Crystal Palace. A
trumpery tinsel place, all shams.'

1 Hush, hush, my dear, not so loud,' said the quiet
lady ; but Nuttie only wriggled her shoulders, though
her voice was a trifle lowered. ' If it were the British
Museum now, or Westminster Abbey.'

' Or the Alps,' chimed in a quieter voice, ' or the
Uffizi.'

'Now, Mr. Dutton, that's not what I want. Our
people aren't ready for that, but what they have let
it be real. Miss Mary, don't you see what I mean ? '

'Piather better than Miss Egremont herself,' said
Mr. Dutton.

'Well/ said the vicar, interposing in the wordy
war, 'Mrs. Greenleaf's children have scarletina, so we
can't go to Horton Bishop. The choice seems to be
between South Beach and Monks Horton.'

' That's no harm/ cried Nuttie ; ' Mrs. Greenleaf is
so patronising ! '

' And both that and South Beach are so stale/ said
the youth.

' As if the dear sea could ever be stale/ cried the
young girl.



4 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

' I thought Monks Horton was forbidden ground,'
said Miss Mary.

1 So it was with the last regime' said the vicar ;
' but now the new people are come I expect great things
from them. I hear they are very friendly.'

' I expect nothing from them/ said Nuttie so sen-
tentiously that all her hearers laughed and asked ' her
exquisite reason,' as Mr. Dutton put it.

' Lady Kirkaldy and a whole lot of them came into
the School of Art.'

' And didn't appreciate " Head of Antinous by
Miss Ursula Egremont," ' was the cry that interrupted
her, but she went on with dignity unruffled — ' Any-
thing so foolish and inane as their whole talk and
all their observations I never heard. " I don't like
this style," one of them said. " Such ugly useless
things ! I never see anything pretty and neatly fin-
ished such as we used to do." ' The girl gave it in a
tone of mimicry of the nonchalant voice, adding, with
fresh imitation, ' " And another did not approve of
drawing from the life — models might be such strange
people." '

' My ears were not equally open to their profani-
ties,' said Miss Mary. ' I confess that I was struck
by the good breeding and courtesy of the leader of the
party, who, I think, was Lady Kirkaldy herself.'

' I saw ! I thought she was patronising you, and
my blood boiled !' cried Nuttie.

' Will boiling blood endure a picnic in the park of so
much ignorance, folly, and patronage ? ' asked Mr. Dutton.



I.] ST. AMBROSE'S CHOIR. 5

' Oh, indeed, Mr. Dutton, Nuttie never said that/
exclaimed gentle Mrs. Egremont.

' Whether it is fully worth the doing is the question/
said the vicar.

1 Grass and shade do not despise,' said Miss Mary.

1 There surely must be some ecclesiastical remains/
said the young man.

1 And there is a river/ added the vicar.

' I shall get a stickleback for my aquarium/ cried
Nuttie. ' We shall make some discoveries for the
Scientific Society. I shall note down every individual
creature I see ! I say ! you are sure it is not a sham
waterfall or Temple of Tivoli !'

' It would please the choir boys and G-. F. S. girls
quite as much, if not more, in that case/ said Miss
Mary ; ' but you need not expect that, Nuttie. Land-
scape-gardening is gone by.'

' Even with the county people ? ' said Nuttie.

1 By at least half a century/ said Mr. Dutton, ' with
all deference to this young lady's experience.'

'It was out of their own mouths/ cried the girl
defiantly. 'That's all I know about county people,
and so I hope it will be.'

' Come in, my dear, you are talking very fast/
interposed Mrs. Egremont, with some pain in the soft
sweet voice, which, if it had been a little stronger,
would have been the best in the choir.

These houses in St. Ambrose's Eoad were semi-
detached. The pair which the party had reached had
their entrances at the angles, with a narrow gravel



6 XUTTIE S FATHER. [chap.

path leading by a tiny grass plat to each. One, which
was covered with a rich pall of purple clematis, was
the home of Mrs. Egremont, her aunt, and Nuttie ; the
other, adorned with a Gloire de Dijon rose in second
bloom, was the abode of Mary Nugent, with her mother,
the widow of a naval captain. Farther on, with ad-
joining gardens, was another couple of houses, in one
of which lived Mr. Dutton ; in the other lodged the
youth, Gerard Godfrey, together with the partner of
the principal medical man. The opposite neighbours
were a master of the Modern School and a scholar.
Indeed, the saying of the vicar, the Eev. Francis
Spyers, was, and St. Ambrose's Eoad was proud of it,
that it was a professional place. Every one had some-
thing to do either with schools or umbrellas, scarcely
excepting the doctor and the solicitor, for the former
attended the pupils and the latter supplied them. Mr.
Dutton was a partner in the umbrella factory, and
lived, as the younger folk said, as the old bachelor of
the Eoad. Had he not a housekeeper, a poodle, and
a cat ; and was not his house, with lovely sill boxes
full of flowers in the windows, the neatest of the neat ;
and did not the tiny conservatory over his dining-room
window always produce the flowers most needed for
the altar vases, and likewise bouquets for the tables of
favoured ladies. Why, the very daisies never durst
lift their heads on his little lawn, which even bore a
French looking-glass globe in the centre. Miss Nugent,
or Miss Mary as every one still called her, as her elder
sister's marriage was recent, was assistant teacher at



I.] ST. AMBROSES CHOIR. 7

the School of Art, and gave private drawing lessons,
so as to supplement the pension on which her mother
lived. They also received girls as boarders attending
the High School.

So did Miss Headworth, who had all her life been
one of those people who seem condemned to toil to
make up for the errors or disasters of others. First
she helped to educate a brother, and soon he had died
to leave an orphan daughter to be bred up at her cost.
The girl had married from her first situation ; but had
almost immediately lost her husband at sea, and on
this her aunt had settled at Micklethwayte to make a
home for her and her child, at first taking pupils, but
when the High School was set up, changing these into
boarders ; while Mrs. Egremont went as daily governess
to the children of a family of somewhat higher pre-
tensions. Little Ursula, or Nuttie, as she w T as called,
according to the local contraction, was like the child
of all the party, and after climbing up through the High
School to the last form, hoped, after passing the Cam-
bridge examination, to become a teacher there in
another year.



CHAPTER II.



MONKS HORTOX.



'And we will all the pleasures prove,
By shallow rivers, by whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.' — Old Ballad.

It was holiday-time, and liberties were taken such as
were not permissible, when they might have afforded a
bad precedent to the boarders. Therefore, when two
afternoons later Mary Nugent, returning from district
visiting, came out into her garden behind the house,
she was not scandalised to see a pair of little black
feet under a holland skirt resting on a laurel branch,
and going a few steps more she beheld a big shady
hat, and a pair of little hands busy with a pencil and
a blank book ; as Ursula sat on the low wall between
the gardens, shaded by the laburnum which facilitated
the ascent on her own side.

' Oh Miss Mary ! Delicious ! Come up here S You
don't know how charming this is.'

She moved aside so as to leave the ascent — by an
inverted flower-pot and a laurel branch — open to her
friend, thus knocking down one of the pile of books



.chap. II.] MONKS HOBTON. 9

which she had taken to the top of the wall. Miss
Nugent picked it up, ' Marie Stuart ! Is this your
way of studying her ? '

'Now, you know 'tis holiday time, and volunteer
work ; besides, she was waiting for you, and I could
not help doing this.' She held out a hand, which was
scarcely needed, and Mary sprang lightly to share her
perch upon the wall. ' Look here !'

'Am I to guess the subject as in the game of
historic outlines,' said Miss Nugent, as the book was
laid on her lap. 'It looks like a modern — no, a
mediaeval — edition of Marcus Curtius about to leap
into the capital opening for a young man, only with
his dogs instead of his horse. That hound seems very
rationally to object.'

' Now don't ! Guess in earnest.'

' A compliment to your name. The Boy of Egre-
mont, poor fellow, just about to bound across the
strid.'

' Exactly ! I always feel sure that my father must
have done something like this.'

' Was it so heroic ? ' said Miss Mary. ' You know
it was for the hundredth time, and he had no reason
to expect any special danger.'

' Oh but his mother was waiting, and he had to go.
Now, I'll tell you how it must have been with my
father. You know he sailed away in a yacht before
I was born, and poor mother never saw him again ;
but I know what happened. There was a ship on fire
like the Birkenhead, and the little yacht went near to



10 NUTTIES FATHER. [chap.

pick up the people, and my father called out, like Sir
Humphrey Gilbert —

" Do not fear, Heaven is as near
By water as by land."

And the little yacht was so close when the great ship
blew up that it got sucked down in the whirlpool, and
rescuers and all died a noble death together !'

' Has your mother been telling you ? ' asked Miss
Mary.

' Oh no ! she never mentions him. She does not
know. No one does ; but I am quite sure he died
nobly, with no one to tell the tale, only the angels to
look on, and that makes it all the finer. Or just
suppose he was on a desert island all the time, and
came back again to find us ! I sometimes think
he is.'

' What ? When you are quite sure of the other
theory ? '

1 1 mean I am quite sure while I am thinking
about it, or reading Robinson Crusoe, or the Swiss
Family!

'Oh!'

'Miss Mary, has no one ever told you anything
about my father ? '

' jSTo one.'

'They never tell me. Mother cries, and aunt
Ursula puts on her " there's-an-end-of-it look." Do
you think there is anything they are waiting to tell
me till I am older ? ' '



ii.] MONKS HORTOX. 11

1 If there were, I am sure you had better not try to
find it out beforehand.'

'You don't think I would do anything of that sort $
But I thought you might know. Do you remember
their first settling here V

1 Scarcely. I was a very small child then.'

Miss Nugent had a few vague recollections which
she did not think it expedient to mention. A dim
remembrance rose before her of mysterious whisperings
about that beautiful young widow, and that it had
been said that the rector of the Old Church had
declared himself to know the ladies well, and had
heartily recommended them. She thought it wiser
only to speak of having been one of their first scholars,
telling of the awe Miss Headworth inspired ; but the
pleasure it was to bring a lesson to pretty Mrs. Egre-
mont, who always rewarded a good one with a kiss,
' and she was so nice to kiss — yes, and is.'

1 Aunt Ursel and mother both were governesses,'
continued the girl, 'and yet they don't want me to go out.
They had rather I was a teacher at the High School.'

'They don't want to trust their Little Bear out in
the world.'

' I think it is more than that,' said the girl. ' I
can't help thinking that he — my father — must have
been some one rather grand, with such a beautiful name
as Alwyn Piercefield Egremont. Yes ; I know it was
that, for I saw my baptismal certificate when I stood
for the scholarship; it was Dieppe, — Ursula Alice,
daughter of Alwyn Piercefield and Alice Elizabeth



12 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [cHAr.

Egremont, May 15, 1860. James Everett — I think
he was the chaplain at Dieppe.'

Mary Nugent thought it the wisest way to laugh
and say : ' You, of all people in the world, to want to
make out a connection with the aristocracy !'

' True love is different/ said Ursula. ' He must
have been cast off by his family for her sake, and have
chosen poverty : —

" To make the croon a pimcl, my Alwyn gaed to sea,
And the croon and the pund, they were baith for me." '

Miss Mary did not think a yacht a likely place
for the conversion of a croon into a pound, and the
utter silence of mother and aunt did not seem to her
satisfactory ; but she feared either to damp the youth-
ful enthusiasm for the lost father, or to foster curiosity
that might lead to some painful discovery, so she took
refuge in an inarticulate sound.

' I think Mr. Dutton knows,' proceeded Nuttie.

' You don't mean to ask him ? '

' Catch me ! I know how he would look at me.'

'Slang! A forfeit!'

' Oh, it's holiday time, and the boarders can't hear.
There's Mr. Dutton's door !'

This might in one way be a relief to Miss Nugent,
but she did not like being caught upon the wall, and
therefore made a rapid descent, though not without a
moment's entanglement of skirt, which delayed her long
enough to show where she had been, as Mr. Dutton
was at the same moment advancing to his own wall



II.] MONKS HOETOX. 13

on the opposite side of the Nugent garden. Perhaps
he would have pretended to see nothing but for
Nuttie's cry of glee.

' You wicked elf/ said Miss Mary, ' to inveigle
people into predicaments, and then go shouting ho !
ho ! ho ! like Eobin Goodfellow himself.'

' You should have kept your elevation and dignity
like me/ retorted Ursula ; ' and then you would have
had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Dutton climbing his
wall and coming to our feet.'

' Mischievous elves deserve no good news/ said Mr.
Dutton, who was by no means so venerable that the
crossing the wall was any effort or compromise of
dignity, and who had by this time joined Mary on
her grass plat.

' Oh, what is it ! Are we to go to Monks Horton?'
cried ISTuttie.

' Here is a gracious permission from Lord Kirkaldy,
the only stipulations being that no vestiges of the
meal, such as sandwich papers or gooseberry skins, be
left on the grass ; and that nobody does any mischief/
he added in an awful tone of .personality. 'So if I
see anybody rooting up holly trees I shall be bound to
interfere/

' Now, Mr. Dutton, it was only a baby holly in a
chink/

' Only a holly tree ! Just like the giant's daughter
when she only carried off waggon, peasant, oxen, and
all in her pinafore.'

( It is not longer than my finger now ! '



14 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

' Well, remember, mischief either wanton or scientific
is forbidden. You are to set an example to the choir-
boys.'

' Scientific mischief is a fatal thing to rare plants/
said Mary.

' If I'm not to touch anything, I may as well stay
at home,' pouted Nuttie.

' You may gather as many buttercups and daisies
as the sweet child pleases,' said Mr. Dutton ; where-
upon she threatened to throw her books at his head.

Miss Nugent asked how they were to go, and Mr.
Dutton explained that there was only a quarter of a
mile's walk from the station ; that return tickets would
be furnished at a tariff of fourpence a head ; and that
there would be trains at 1.15 and 7.30.

' How hungry the children will be.'

' They will eat all the way. That's the worst of
this sort of outing. They eat to live and live to eat.'

1 At least they don't eat at church,' said Nuttie.

'Not since the peppermint day, when Mr. Spyers
suspended Dickie Drake,' put in Mary.

'And the Spa Terrace Church people said it was
incense.'

'No, Nuttier

' Indeed they did. Louisa Barnet attacked us
about it at school, and I said I wished it had been.
Only they mustn't eat peppermint in the train, for it
makes mother quite ill.'

'Do you mean that Mrs. Egremont will come?'
exclaimed Mr. Dutton.



II.] MONKS HOETON. 15

' Oh yes, she shall. It is not too far, and it will be
very good for her. I shall make her/

' There's young England's filial duty !' said Mary.

' Why, I know what is good for her, and she
always does as " I wish." '

' Beneficent despotism !' said Mr. Dutton. ' May I
ask if Miss Headworth is an equally obedient subject.'

' Oh ! Aunt Ursel is very seldom tiresome.'

' ISTuttie ! Xuttie ! my dear,' and a head with the
snows of more than half a century appeared on the
other side of the wall, under a cap and parasol. ' I
am sorry to interrupt you, but it is cool enough for
your mother to go into the town, and I wish you to
go with her.'



CHAPTEE III.

HEIR HUNTING.

1 And she put on her gown of green,
And left her mother at sixteen,

To marry Peter Bell ! ' — Wordsworth.

In the shrubberies of Monks Horton were walking a
lady somewhat past middle age, but full of activity
and vigour, with one of those bright faces that never
grow old, and with her a young man, a few years over
twenty, with a grave and almost careworn countenance.

More and more confidential waxed the conversa-
tion, for the lady was making fresh acquaintance with
a nephew seldom seen since he had been her pet and
darling as almost a baby, and he was experiencing the
inexpressible charm of tone and manner that recalled
the young mother he had lost in early boyhood.

' Then your mind is made up,' she said ; ' you are
quite right to decide on having a profession ; but how
does your father take it ? '

' He is quite convinced that to repeat my uncle's
life, dangling on as heir, would be the most fatal
mistake.'



CHAP. III.



HEIR HUNTING. 17



' Assuredly, and all the legal knowledge you acquire
is so much in favour of your usefulness as the squire.'

' If I ever am the squire, of which I have my
doubts.'

' You expect Mr. Egremont to marry ? '

' Not a future marriage ? but one in the past.'

' A private marriage ! Do you suspect it ?'

'I don't suspect it — I know it. I have been
hoping to talk the matter over with you. Do you
remember our first governess, Miss Headworth ? '

'My dear Mark, did I not lose at Pera the charms
of your infancy ?'

' Then neither my mother nor my grandmother ever
wrote to you about her ? '

' I do remember that it struck me that immunity
from governesses was a compensation for the lack of
daughters.'

' Can you tell me no details,' said Mark anxiously.
' Have you no letters ? It was about the time when
Blanche was born, when we were living at Eaxley.'

' I am sorry to say that our roving life prevented
my keeping old letters. I have often regretted it.
Let me see, there was one who boxed May's ears.'

' That was long after. I think it was that woman's
barbarity that made my father marry again, and a
very good thing that was. It was wretched before.
Miss Headworth was in my own mother's time.'

' I begin to remember something happening that
your mother seemed unable to write about, and your
grandmother said that she had been greatly upset by

vol. i. c



18 nuttie's FATHER. [chap.

" that miserable affair," but I was never exactly told
what it had been.'

' Miss Headworth came when I was four or five
years old. Edda, as we used to call her in May's
language, was the first person who gave me a sense of
beauty. She had dark eyes and a lovely complexion.
I remember in after times being silenced for saying,
" not so pretty as my Edda." I was extremely fond of
her, enough to have my small jealousy excited when
my uncle joined us in our walks, and monopolised
her, turning May and me over to play with his dog 1'

' But, Mark, Mr. Egremont is some years older than
your father. He could not have been a young man
at that time.'

' So much the worse. Most likely he seemed to
her quite paternal. The next thing I recollect was
our being in the Isle of Wight, we two children, with
Miss Headworth and the German nurse, and our
being told of our new sister. Uncle Alwyn and his
yacht were there, and we went on board once or twice.
Then matters became confused with me, I recollect a
confusion, papa and grandmamma suddenly arriving,
everybody seeming to us to have become very cross,
our dear Miss Headworth no where to be found, our


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