Charlotte Mary Yonge.

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has consented to Mark's making the experiment of
working for a year in Greenleaf and Dutton's office,
with a view to entering the firm in future. I was

196 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

very anxious to understand from such true ladies what
the position would be socially. I longed to talk it
over with you beforehand ; but Alwyn could never
spare you, and it was not a subject to be broached
without ample time for discussion. We felt that
though the Kirkaldys could tell us much, it was only
from the outside, whereas Miss Headworth could speak
from within. The decision is of course a blow to his
father, and will be still more so to the De Lyonnais
family, but they have never done anything to entitle
them to have a voice in the matter, and the Kirkaldys
agree with us that, though not a path of distinction,
it is one of honourable prosperity ; and with this, if
Mark is content, we have no right to object, since
his mind is set on present happiness rather than

It was a letter gratifying to Alice in its con-
fidential tone, as well as in the evident approval of
those surroundings which she loved so well. She read
it to her husband, as she was desired to give him a
message that the Canon had not written out of con-


sideration for his eyes. He laughed the laugh that
always jarred on her. ' So Master Mark has got his
nose to the grindstone, has he ? ' was his first ex-
clamation, and, after some cogitation, ' The fellow wants
to be married, depend on it ! '

'Do you think so?' returned Alice wistfully.

' Think ! Why you may see it in Jane's letter !
I wonder who it is ! The little yellow Euthven
girl, most likely ! The boy is fool enough for anything !

xvi.] INFRA DIG. 197

I thought he would have mended his fortunes with
Ursula, but he's too proud to stomach that, I
suppose !'

'I did wish that !' said Alice. ' It would have set
everything straight, and it would have been so nice
for her.'

' You should have cut out your daughter after your
own pattern,' he answered ; ' not let her be such a
raw insignificant little spitfire. 'Tis a pity. I don't
want the estate to go out of the name, though I won't
leave it to an interfering prig like Mark unless he
chooses to take my daughter with it !'

The latter part of this amiable speech was muttered
and scarcely heard or attended to by Alice in her
struggle to conceal the grief she felt at the uncompro-
mising opinion of her child. Nuttie might outgrow
being raw, but there seemed less rather than more
prospect of a better understanding with her father.
About a week later Mark made his appearance, timing
it happily when his uncle was making his toilette,
so that his aunt was taking a turn on the sunny
terrace with Nuttie when the young man came hurry-
ing up the garden.

' Mark ! What ? Are you come home ? '

'Not the others. They are at Mr. Condamine's.
I came last night — by way of Lescombe. Edda, dear,
it is all right ! Oh, I forgot you did not know !
There was no seeing you before we went away. Ah !
by the bye, how is my uncle ?'

' Much better, except that using his eyes brings

198 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

on the pain. What is it, Mark ? Ah ! I can guess/
she said, aided no doubt by that conjecture of her

' Yes, yes, yes ! ' he answered, with a rapidity quite
unlike himself. 'Why, Nuttie, how mystified you
look !'

' I'm sure I don't wonder at any one being glad to
live at dear old Micklethwayte,' said Nuttie slowly.
1 But, somehow, I didn't think it of you, Mark.'

' My dear, that's not all ! ' said her mother.

'Oh!' cried Nuttie, with a prolonged intonation.
' Is it ? — Oh, Mark ! did you do it that night when
you led the horse home ?'

' Even so, Nuttie ! And, Aunt Alice, Lady Eonnis-
glen is the best and bravest of old ladies, and the
wisest. Nobody objects but Lady Delmar, and she
declares she shall not consider it an engagement till
Eonnisglen has been written to in Nepaul, as if he
had anything to do with it ; but that matters the less,
since they all insist on our waiting till I've had a
year's trial at the office ! I suppose they could not
be expected to do otherwise, but it is a pity, for I'm
afraid Lady Delmar will lead Annaple and her mother
a life of it.'

' Dear Mark, I am delighted that it is all going so

' I knew you would be ! I told them I must tell
you, though it is not to go any farther.'

So that hope of Mark's restoration to the inherit-
ance faded from Alice, and yet she could not be

xvi.] INFEA DIG. 199

concerned for him. She had never seen him in such
good spirits, for the sense of failure and disappoint-
ment had always been upon him; and the definite
prospect of occupation, gilded by his hopes of Annaple,
seemed to make a new man of him.



'My heart untravelled still returns to thee.' — Goldsmith.

To go abroad 1 Such had been the fairy castle of
Nuttie's life. She had dreamed of Swiss mountains,
Italian pictures, Eheinland castles, a perpetual pano-
rama of delight, and here she was in one of the great
hotels of Paris, as little likely to see the lions of that
city as she had been to see those of London.

The party were halting for two days there because
the dentist, on whom Mr. Egremont's fine show of
teeth depended, practised there ; but Nuttie spent
great part of the day alone in the sitting-room, and her
hand-bag and her mother's, with all their books and
little comforts, had been lost in the agony of landing.
Her mother's attendance was required all the morning,
or what was worse, she expected that it would be, and
though Nuttie's persistence dragged out the staid, silent
English maid, who had never been abroad before, to
walk in the Tuilleries gardens, which they could see
from their windows, both felt half-scared the whole

CHAP, xvn.] AX OLD FRIEND. 201

time. Xuttie was quite unused to finding her own
way unprotected, and Martin was frightened, cross, and
miserable about the bags, which, she averred, had been
left by Gregorio's fault. She so hated Gregorio that only
a sort of adoration which she entertained for Mrs. Egre-
mont would have induced her to come tete-a-tete with
him, and perhaps he was visiting his disappointment
about Mentone on her. In the afternoon nothing was
achieved but a drive in the Bois de Boulogne, when it
was at once made evident that Mr. Egremont would
tolerate no questions nor exclamations.

His mouth was in no condition for eating in public,
and he therefore decreed that his wife and daughter
should dine at the table d'hote, while he was served
alone by Gregorio. This was a great boon to Nuttie,
and to her mother it recalled bridal days long past at
Dieppe; but what was their astonishment when on
entering the room they beheld the familiar face of Mr.
Button ! It was possible for him to place himself
between them, and there is no describing the sense of
rest and protection his presence imparted to them, more
especially to Xuttie.

He had come over, as he did from time to time,
on business connected with the materials he used, and
he was beguiled into telling them of his views of Mark,
whom he had put in the way of learning the prelimin-
aries needful to an accountant. He had a deep
distrust of the business capacities and perseverance of
young gentlemen of family, especially with a countess-
aunt in the neighbourhood, and quoted Lord Eldon's

202 nuttie's father. [chap.

saying that to make a good lawyer of one, it was need-
ful for him to have spent both his own and his wife's
fortune to begin with, but he allowed that young Mr.
Egremont was a very favourable specimen, and was
resolutely applying himself to his work, and that he him-
self felt it due to him to give all the assistance possible.

Miss Headworth, he could not deny, had aged, but
far less than Mrs. Nugent in the past year, and it really
was a great comfort to Miss Mary to have the old ladies
together. He told too how the mission, now lately
over, had stirred the Micklethwayte folk into strong
excitement, and how good works had been undertaken,
evil habits renounced, reconciliations effected, religious
services frequented. Would it last ? Xobody, he
said, had taken it up so zealously as Gerard Godfrey,
who seemed as if he would fain throw everything
up, and spend his whole life in some direct service as
a home missionary or something of the kind. ' He is
a good fellow,' said Mr. Dutton, 'and it is quite
genuine, but I made him wait at least a year, that he
may be sure that this is not only a passing impulse.'

Nuttie thought that she knew what was the im-
pulse that had actuated him, and felt a pleasant elation
and self consciousness even while she repressed a sigh
of pity for herself and for him. Altogether the dip
into the Micklethwayte world was delightful, but when
Mr. Dutton began to ask Nuttie what she had seen,
she burst out with, ' Nothing — nothing but just a walk
and a drive in the Bois de Boulogne;' and her mother
explained that ' in Mr. Egremont's state of health,' etc.

xvii.] AN OLD FEIEND. 203

' I wonder/ asked Mr. Dutton, ' if I might be
allowed '

Nuttie's eyes sparkled with ecstasy.

It ended in her mother, who had been wondering
how Mr. Egremont could be amused all the long even-
ing, arranging that Mr. Dutton should come in an
hour's time to call on him, on the chance of being
admitted, and that then the offer might be made when
she had prepared him for it, advising Nuttie to wait in
her own room. She was beginning to learn how to
steer between her husband and her daughter, and she
did not guess that her old friend was sacrificing one of
the best French plays for the chance.

It turned out well ; Mr. Egremont was conscious of
a want of variety. He demanded whether it was the
young fellow, and being satisfied on that part, observed
in almost a good-humoured tone, ' So, we are in for
umbrellas, we may as well go in for the whole firm ! '
caused the lights to be lowered under pretext of
his eyes — to conceal the lack of teeth — did not
absolutely refuse to let Nuttie take advantage of the
escort, and when Mr. Dutton did come to the ante-
room of the apartment, he was received with full
courtesy, though Gregorio looked unutterable contempt.
Mr. Dutton was a man who could talk, and had seen
a good deal of the world at different times. Mr.
Egremont could appreciate intelligent conversation,
so that they got on wonderfully well together, over
subjects that would have been a mere weariness to
Xuttie but for the exceeding satisfaction of hearing

204 NUTTIE'S FATHEK. [chap.

a Micklethwayte voice. At last Mr. Dutton said some-
thing about offering his escort to the ladies, or to Miss
Egremont, who used, he said in a paternal way, to be
a little playfellow of his ; Mr. Egremont really smiled,
and said, ' Aye, aye, the child is young enough to run
after sights. Well, thank you, if you are so good as
to take the trouble, they will be very grateful to you,
or if her mother cannot go with her, there's the

Nuttie thought she had never known him so
amiable, and hardly durst believe her good fortune
would not turn the wheel before morning. And it so
far did that her mother found, or thought she found,
that it would not do to be out of call, and sent the
silent Martin in her stead. But Mr. Dutton had set
telegraphs to work and recovered the bags, which
Gregorio had professed to give up in despair.

A wonderful amount of lionising was contrived by
Mr. Dutton, who had lived a few years at Paris in
early youth, and had made himself acquainted alike
with what was most worth seeing, and the best ways
and means of seeing it, so that as little' time as pos-
sible was wasted on the unimportant. It was one of
the white days of ISTuttie's life, wanting nothing but
her mother's participation in the sight of the St.
Michael of the Louvre, of the Sainte Chapelle, of the
vistas in Notre Dame, and of poor Marie Antoinette's
cell, — all that they had longed to see together.

She had meant to tell Mr. Dutton that it was all
her father's selfishness, but somehow she could not say

xyii.] AN OLD FRIEND. 205

so, there was something about him that hindered all
unbefitting outbreaks of vexation.

And thus, when she mentioned her disappointment
at not being allowed to go to Micklethwayte with her
uncle, he answered, ' You could not of course be spared
with your father so unwell.'

* Oh, he never let me come near him ! I wasn't
of the slightest use to him !'

' Mrs. Egremont would have missed you.'

' Eeally he never gave her time. He perfectly
devours her, body and soul. Oh dear, no ! 'Twas for
no good I was kept there, but just pride and ingrati-
tude, though mother tried to call it being afraid for
my manners and my style.'

1 In which, if you lapse into such talk, you fully
justify the precaution. I was just thinking what a
young lady you had grown into,' he answered in a
tone of banter, under which, however, she felt a
rebuke ; and while directing her attention to the
Pantheon, he took care to get within hearing again of

And in looking at these things, he carried her so
far below the surface. St. Michael was not so much
Eaffaelle's triumph of art as the eternal victory over
sin ; the Sainte Chapelle, spite of all its modern im-
sanctified gaudiness, was redolent of St. Louis ; and the
cell of the slaughtered queen was as a martyr's shrine,
trod with reverence. There were associations with
every turn, and Nuttie might have spent years at
Paris with another companion without imbibing so

206 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

many impressions as on this December day, when she
came home so full of happy chatter that the guests at
the talk d'hote glanced with amusement at the eager
girl as much as with admiration at the beautiful
mother. Mr. Dutton had been invited to come and
take coffee and spend the evening with them again,
but Mr. Egremont's affairs with the dentist had been
completed, and he had picked up, or, more strictly
speaking, Gregorio had hunted up for him, a couple of
French acquaintances, who appeared before long and
engrossed him entirely.

Mr. Dutton sat between the two ladies on a stiff
dark-green sofa on the opposite side of the room, and
under cover of the eager, half-shrieking, gesticulating
talk of the Frenchmen they had a quiet low -toned
conversation, like old times, Alice said. ' More than
old times,' Nuttie added, and perhaps the others both
agreed with her.

When the two Englishwomen started at some of
the loud French tones, almost imagining they were full
of rage and fury, their friend smiled and said that such
had been his first notion on coming abroad.

' You have been a great deal abroad ? ' Mrs. Egre-
mont asked ; ' you seem quite at home in Paris.'

' Oh, mamma, he showed me where the school was
that he went to, and the house where he lived S Up
such an immense way ! '

Mr. Dutton was drawn on to tell more of his former
life than ever had been known to them. His father,
a wine merchant, had died a bankrupt when he was ten

xvii.] AN OLD FKIEND. 207

years old, and a relation, engaged in the same business
at Paris, had offered to give him a few years of foreign
schooling, and then make him useful in the business.

His excellent mother had come with him, and they
had lived together on very small means, high up in a
many-storied lodging-house, while he daily attended the
Lytic. His reminiscences were very happy of those
days of cheerful contrivance, of her eager desire to
make the tiny appartement a home to her boy, of their
pleasant Sundays and holidays, and the life that in
this manner was peculiarly guarded by her influence,
and the sense of being all she had upon earth. He
had scarcely ever spoken of her before, and he dwelt
on her now with a tenderness that showed how she had
been the guiding spirit of his life.

At fifteen he was taken into the office at Marseilles,
and she went thither with him, but the climate did
not agree with her; she drooped, and, moreover, he
discovered that the business was not conducted in the
honourable manner he had supposed. After a few
months of weighing his obligations to his kinsman
against these instincts, the question was solved by his
cousin's retiring. He resolved to take his mother back
to England at any loss, and falling in with one of the
partners of the umbrella firm in quest of French silk, he
was engaged as foreign correspondent, and brought his
mother to Micklethwayte, but not in time to restore
her health, and he had been left alone in the world
just as he came of age, when a small legacy came to
him from his cousin, too late for her to profit by it.

208 NUTTIE'S FATHER. [chap.

It had been invested in the business, and he had thus
gradually risen to his present position. Mrs. Egre-
niont was amazed to hear that his mother had only
been dead so short a time before she had herself come
to Micklethwayte ; and fairly apologised for the sur-
prise she could not help betraying at finding how
youthful he had then been, and Nuttie exclaimed, in
her original unguarded fashion :

'Why, Mr. Dutton, I always thought you were
an old bachelor ! '

' Nuttie, my dear ! ' said her mother in a note of
warning, but Mr. Dutton laughed and said :

' Not so far wrong ! They tell me I never was a
young man.'

' You had always to be everything to your mother,'
said Mrs. Egremont softly.

'Yes,' he said, 'and a very blessed thing it was
for me.'

' Ah ! you don't regret now all that you must have
always been giving up for her,' returned Alice.

' No, indeed. Only that I did not give up more.'

' That is always the way.'

' It is indeed. One little knows the whips that a
little self-will prepares.'

Nuttie thought he said it for her admonition, and
observed, 'But she was good,' only, however, in a mumble,
that the other two thought it inexpedient to notice,
though it made both hearts ache for her, even Alice's
— with an additional pang of self-reproach that she
herself was not good enough to help her daughter better.

xvil] AN OLD FRIEND. 209

Xeither of them guessed at the effect that a glimpse
of the lovely young seeming widow had had on the
already grave self-restrained young man in the home
lately made lonely, how she had been his secret object
for years, and how, when her history was revealed to
him, he had still hoped on for a certainty which had
come at last as so fatal a shock and overthrow to all
his dreams.

A life of self-restraint and self- conquest had
rendered it safe for him to thoroughly enjoy the brief
intercourse, which had come about by the accident of
his having come to dine at the Hotel de Louvre, to
meet a friend who had failed him.

These were two completely happy hours to all the
three, and when they said 'good -night' there was a
sense of soothing and invigoration on Alice's mind ;
and on Nuttie's that patience and dutifulness were
the best modes of doing justice to her Micklethwayte
training, although he had scarcely said a word of
direct rebuke or counsel.

While Mr. Dutton sped home to tell Miss Head-
worth that Mrs. Egremont looked lovelier than ever,
and was — yes she was — more of an angel, that her
husband had been very pleasant, much better than he
expected, and, indeed, might come to anything good
under such influence ; and as to little Nuttie — she
was developing fast, and had a brave constant heart,
altogether at Micklethwayte. But that servant who
was acting as courier was an insolent scoundrel, who
was evidently cheating them to the last degree.
vol. i. p



1 True courage often is in frightened eyes. ' —

Thoughts and Verses.

All the preliminaries of the sojourn at Nice had been
settled in correspondence, and the Egremont family
had nothing to do, after arriving at the station, but to
drive up to Villa Eugenie, whose flower -wreathed
balconies were like a vision of beauty. Servants had
been hired through agencies known to Mr. Egremont,
and Gregorio looked very black at his mistress keeping
the reins in her hand, and tried to make her feel her-
self inefficient.

It was not an eventful or very interesting part of
Ursula's life. She was almost wild with the novelty
and beauty of the South at first, but except for what
she could thus see, there was little variety. The
mould of the day was as much as possible after the
Bridgefield fashion, except that there were no cousins
at the Rectory, no parish interests, very little society,
as far as the ladies were concerned. Mr. Egremont


had old acquaintance and associates with whom he
spent afternoons and evenings, after his own fashion,
but they were not people to whom he wished to intro-
duce Ins wife and daughter.

And the superior English habitues of Nice, the
families who formed the regular society, knew Mr.
Egremont's reputation sufficiently to feel by no means
disposed to be cordial to the fair wife and grown-up
daughter whom he so unexpectedly produced on the
scene. It had been different at home, where he had
county standing, and the Canon and Canoness answered
for the newcomers ; but here, where all sorts of
strange people came to the surface, the respectable felt
it needful to be very cautious, and though of course
one or two ladies had been asked to call through the
intervention of Lady Kirkalcly or of Mrs. William
Egremont, and had been assured on their authority
that it was ' all right,' their attentions were clogged
by doubt, and by reluctance to involve their man-
kind in intimacy with the head of the family.
Thus very little of the proverbial gaiety of Nice
offered itself to Nuttie and her mother, and, except
by a clerical family who knew Mr. Spyers, they
were kept at a distance, which Mr. Egremont per-
ceived and resented by permitting no advances. The
climate suited him so well that, to his wife's great
relief, he seemed to have dropped his inclination for
sedatives ; but his eyes would not bear much, and she
felt bound to be always on the alert, able to amuse
him and hinder his feeling it dull. Gregorio highly

212 nuttee's fathee. [chap.

disapproved of the house and servants, and was always
giving hints that Mentone would agree far better with
his master ; but every day that Mr. Egremont seemed
sufficiently amused at Nice was so much gain, and she
had this in her favour, that he was always indolent
and hard to move. Moreover, between his master's
levee and late dinner Gregorio was hardly ever to be
found. No doubt he knew the way to Monte Carlo
well enough, and perhaps preferred that the family
should be farther off, for he soon ceased to show him-
self discontented with their present abode. Once
when his absence was inconvenient, Mr. Egremont
abused him roundly as a good-for-nothing gambler,
but when Alice hoped that he might be called to a
reckoning, the wrath had subsided with the immediate
vexation, and as usual she was told ' All those fellows
were alike.'

The foreign servants were not to be induced to
give the early-rising ladies more than a roll and cup
of coffee, and Nuttie felt ravenous till she learned to
lay in a stock of biscuits, and, with Martin's conni-
vance, made tea on her own account, and sustained her
mother for the morning's walk before the summons to
Mr. Egremont.

He always wanted his wife much earlier in the day,
during his hours of deshabille, and letting her write
his letters and read the papers to him. She was
pleased with this advance, but it gave Nuttie a great
deal more solitude, which was sometimes judiciously
spent, but it was very hard not to be desultory in


spite of learning lessons in French, Italian, and

Later in the day came the drive or the visit to the
public gardens when the band was playing, but this
became less frequent as Mr. Egremont observed the
cold civility shown to his wife, and as he likewise
grew stronger and made more engagements of his own.
Then Nuttie had happy afternoons of driving, donkey-
riding, or walking with her mother, sketching, botanising,
admiring, and laying up stores for the long descriptive
letters that delighted the party in St. Ambrose's Eoad,
drinking in all the charm of the scenery, and entering
into it intelligently. They spent a good many even-
ings alone together likewise, and it could not but give
Alice a pang to see the gladness her daughter did not
repress when this was the case, even though to herself
it meant relaxation of the perpetual vigilance she had
to exert when the father and daughter were together

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