Charlotte Mary Yonge.

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was a little door in one of these gates, which was scarcely ever
shut, from whence a well-worn path led to the porch, where generally
reposed a huge Newfoundland dog, guardian of the hoops and
walkingsticks that occupied the corners. The front door was of heavy
substantial oak, studded with nails, and never closed in the daytime,
and the hall, wainscoted and floored with slippery oak, had a noble
open fireplace, with a wood fire burning on the hearth.

On the other side of the house was a terrace sloping down to a lawn
and bowling-green, hedged in by a formal row of evergreens. A noble
plane-tree was in the middle of the lawn, and beyond it a pond
renowned for water-lilies. To the left was the kitchen garden,
terminating in an orchard, planted on the ramparts and moat of the
Old Court; then came the farm buildings, and beyond them a field,
sloping upwards to an extensive wood called Beechcroft Park. In the
wood was the cottage of Walter Greenwood, gamekeeper and woodman by
hereditary succession, but able and willing to turn his hand to
anything, and, in fact, as Adeline once elegantly termed him, the
'family tee totum.'

To the right of the house there was a field, called Long Acre,
bounded on the other side by the turnpike road to Raynham, which led
up the hill to the village green, surrounded by well-kept cottages
and gardens. The principal part of the village was, however, at the
foot of the hill, where the Court lane crossed the road, led to the
old church, the school, and parsonage, in its little garden, shut in
by thick yew hedges. Beyond was the blacksmith's shop, more
cottages, and Mrs. Appleton's wondrous village warehouse; and the
lane, after passing by the handsome old farmhouse of Mr. Harrington,
Mr. Mohun's principal tenant, led to a bridge across a clear trout
stream, the boundary of the parish of Beechcroft.



CHAPTER III - THE NEW PRINCIPLE



'And wilt thou show no more, quoth he,
Than doth thy duty bind?
I well perceive thy love is small.'

On the Sunday evening which followed Eleanor's wedding, Lilias was
sitting next to Emily, and talking in very earnest tones, which after
a time occasioned Claude to look up and say, 'What is all this about?
Something remarkably absurd I suspect.'

'Only a new principle,' said Emily.

'New!' cried Lily, 'only what must be the feeling of every person of
any warmth of character?'

'Now for it then,' said Claude.

'No, no, Claude, I really mean it (and Lily sincerely thought she
did). I will not tell you if you are going to laugh.'

'That depends upon what your principle may chance to be,' said
Claude. 'What is it, Emily? She will be much obliged to you for
telling.'

'She only says she cannot bear people to do their duty, and not to
act from a feeling of love,' said Emily.

'That is not fair,' returned Lily, 'all I say is, that it is better
that people should act upon love for its own sake, than upon duty for
its own sake.'

'What comes in rhyme with Lily?' said Claude.

'Don't be tiresome, Claude, I really want you to understand me.'

'Wait till you understand yourself,' said the provoking brother, 'and
let me finish what I am reading.'

For about a quarter of an hour he was left in peace, while Lily was
busily employed with a pencil and paper, under the shadow of a book,
and at length laid before him the following verses:-


'What is the source of gentleness,
The spring of human blessedness,
Bringing the wounded spirit healing,
The comforts high of heaven revealing,
The lightener of each daily care,
The wing of hope, the life of prayer,
The zest of joy, the balm of sorrow,
Bliss of to-day, hope of to-morrow,
The glory of the sun's bright beam,
The softness of the pale moon stream,
The flow'ret's grace, the river's voice,
The tune to which the birds rejoice;
Without it, vain each learned page,
Cold and unfelt each council sage,
Heavy and dull each human feature,
Lifeless and wretched every creature;
In which alone the glory lies,
Which value gives to sacrifice?
'Tis that which formed the whole creation,
Which rests on every generation.
Of Paradise the only token
Just left us, 'mid our treasures broken,
Which never can from us be riven,
Sure earnest of the joys of Heaven.
And which, when earth shall pass away,
Shall be our rest on the last day,
When tongues shall fail and knowledge cease,
And throbbing hearts be all at peace:
When faith is sight, and hope is sure,
That which alone shall still endure
Of earthly joys in heaven above,
'Tis that best gift, eternal Love!'


'What have you there?' said Mr. Mohun, who had come towards them
while Claude was reading the lines. Taking the paper from Claude's
hand, he read it to himself, and then saying, 'Tolerable, Lily; there
are some things to alter, but you may easily make it passable,' he
went on to his own place, leaving Lilias triumphant.

'Well, Claude, you see I have the great Baron on my side.'

'I am of the Baron's opinion,' said Claude, 'the only wonder is that
you doubted it.'

'You seemed to say that love was good for nothing.'

'I said nothing but that Lily has a rhyme.'

'And saying that I was silly, was equivalent to saying that love was
nothing,' said Lily.

'O Lily, I hope not,' said Claude, with a comical air.

'Well, I know I often am foolish, but not in this,' said Lily; 'I do
say that mere duty is not lovable.'

'Say it if you will then,' said Claude, yawning, 'only let me finish
this sermon.'

Lily set herself to reconsider some of her lines: but presently
Emily left the room, Claude looked up, and Lily exclaimed, 'Now,
Claude, let us make a trial of it.'

'Well,' said Claude, yawning again, and looking resigned.

'Think how Eleanor went on telling us of duty, duty, duty - never
making allowances - never relaxing her stiff rules about trifles -
never unbending from her duenna-like dignity - never showing one spark
of enthusiasm - making great sacrifices, but only because she thought
them her duty - because it was right - good for herself - only a higher
kind of selfishness - not because her feeling prompted her.'

'Certainly, feeling does not usually prompt people to give up their
lovers for the sake of their brothers and sisters.'

'She did it because it was her duty,' said Lily, 'quite as if she did
not care.'

'I wonder whether Frank thought so,' said Claude.

'At any rate you will confess that Emily is a much more engaging
person,' said Lily.

'Certainly, I had rather talk nonsense to her,' said Claude.

'You feel it, though you will not allow it,' said Lily. 'Now think
of Emily's sympathy, and gentleness, and sweet smile, and tell me if
she is not a complete personification of love. And then Eleanor,
unpoetical - never thrown off her balance by grief or joy, with no ups
and downs - no enthusiasm - no appreciation of the beautiful - her
highest praise "very right," and tell me if there can be a better
image of duty.'

Claude might have had some chance of bringing Lily to her senses, if
he had allowed that there was some truth in what she had said; but he
thought the accusation so unjust in general, that he would not agree
to any part of it, and only answered, 'You have very strange views of
duty and of Eleanor.'

'Well!' replied Lily, 'I only ask you to watch; Emily and I are
determined to act on the principle of love, and you will see if her
government is not more successful than that of duty.'

Such was the principle upon which Lily intended her sister to govern
the household, and to which Emily listened without knowing what she
meant much better than she did herself. Emily's own views, as far as
she possessed any, were to get on as smoothly as she could, and make
everybody pleased and happy, without much trouble to herself, and
also to make the establishment look a little more as if a Lady Emily
had lately been its mistress, than had been the case in Eleanor's
time. Mr. Mohun's property was good, but he wished to avoid
unnecessary display and expense, and he expected his daughters to
follow out these views, keeping a wise check upon Emily, by looking
over her accounts every Saturday, and turning a deaf ear when she
talked of the age of the drawing-room carpet, and the ugliness of the
old chariot. Emily had a good deal on her hands, requiring sense and
activity, but Lilias and Jane were now quite old enough to assist
her. Lily however, thought fit to despise all household affairs, and
bestowed the chief of her attention on her own department - the
village school and poor people; and she was also much engrossed by
her music and drawing, her German and Italian, and her verse writing.

Claude had more power over her than any one else. He was a gentle,
amiable boy, of high talent, but disposed to indolence by ill health.
In most matters he was, however, victorious over this propensity,
which was chiefly visible in his love of easy chairs, and his dislike
of active sports, which made him the especial companion of his
sisters. A dangerous illness had occasioned his removal from Eton,
and he had since been at home, reading with his cousin Mr. Devereux,
and sharing his sisters' amusements.

Jane was in her own estimation an important member of the
administration, and in fact, was Emily's chief assistant and deputy.
She was very small and trimly made, everything fitted her precisely,
and she had tiny dexterous fingers, and active little feet, on which
she darted about noiselessly and swiftly as an arrow; an oval brown
face, bright colour, straight features, and smooth dark hair, bright
sparkling black eyes, a little mouth, wearing an arch subdued smile,
very white teeth, and altogether the air of a woman in miniature.
Brisk, bold, and blithe - ever busy and ever restless, she was
generally known by the names of Brownie and Changeling, which were
not inappropriate to her active and prying disposition.

Excepting Claude and Emily, the young party were early risers, and
Lily especially had generally despatched a good deal of business
before the eight o'clock breakfast.

At nine they went to church, Mr. Devereux having restored the custom
of daily service, and after this, Mr. Mohun attended to his
multitudinous affairs; Claude went to the parsonage, - Emily to the
storeroom, Lily to the village, the younger girls to the schoolroom,
where they were presently joined by Emily. Lily remained in her own
room till one o'clock, when she joined the others in the schoolroom,
and they read aloud some book of history till two, the hour of dinner
for the younger, and of luncheon for the elder. They then went out,
and on their return from evening service, which began at half-past
four, the little ones had their lessons to learn, and the others were
variously employed till dinner, the time of which was rather
uncertain but always late. The evening passed pleasantly and quickly
away in reading, work, music, and chatter.

As Emily had expected, her first troubles were with Phyllis; called,
not the neat handed, by her sisters; Master Phyl, by her brothers;
and Miss Tomboy, by the maids. She seemed born to be a trial of
patience to all concerned with her; yet without many actual faults,
except giddiness, restlessness, and unrestrained spirits. In the
drawing-room, schoolroom, and nursery she was continually in scrapes,
and so often reproved and repentant, that her loud roaring fits of
crying were amongst the ordinary noises of the New Court. She was
terribly awkward when under constraint, or in learning any female
accomplishment, but swift and ready when at her ease, and glorying in
the boyish achievements of leaping ditches and climbing trees. Her
voice was rather highly pitched, and she had an inveterate habit of
saying, 'I'll tell you what,' at the beginning of all her speeches.
She was not tall, but strong, square, firm, and active; she had a
round merry face, a broad forehead, and large bright laughing eyes,
of a doubtful shade between gray and brown. Her mouth was wide, her
nose turned up, her complexion healthy, but not rosy, and her stiff
straight brown hair was more apt to hang over her eyes, than to
remain in its proper place behind her ears.

Adeline was very different; her fair and brilliant complexion, her
deep blue eyes and golden ringlets, made her a very lovely little
creature; her quietness was a relief after her sister's boisterous
merriment, and her dislike of dirt and brambles, continually
contrasted with poor Phyllis's recklessness of such impediments. Ada
readily learnt lessons, which cost Phyllis and her teacher hours of
toil; Ada worked deftly when Phyllis's stiff fingers never willingly
touched a needle; Ada played with a doll, drew on scraps of paper, or
put up dissected maps, while Phyllis was in mischief or in the way.
A book was the only chance of interesting her; but very few books
took her fancy enough to occupy her long; - those few, however, she
read over and over again, and when unusual tranquillity reigned in
the drawing-room, she was sure to be found curled up at the top of
the library steps, reading one of three books - Robinson Crusoe,
Little Jack, or German Popular Tales. Then Emily blamed her
ungraceful position, Jane laughed at her uniform taste, and Lily
proposed some story about modern children, such as Phyllis never
could like, and the constant speech was repeated, 'Only look at Ada!'
till Phyllis considered her sister as a perfect model, and sighed
over her own naughtiness.

German Popular Tales were a recent introduction of Claude's, for
Eleanor had carefully excluded all fairy tales from her sisters'
library; so great was her dread of works of fiction, that Emily and
Lilias had never been allowed to read any of the Waverley Novels,
excepting Guy Mannering, which their brother Henry had insisted upon
reading aloud to them the last time he was at home, and that had
taken so strong a hold on their imagination, that Eleanor was quite
alarmed.

One day Mr. Mohun chanced to refer to some passage in Waverley, and
on finding that his daughters did not understand him, he expressed
great surprise at their want of taste.

Poor things,' said Claude, 'they cannot help it; do not you know that
Eleanor thinks the Waverley Novels a sort of slow poison? They know
no more of them than their outsides.'

'Well, the sooner they know the inside the better.'

'Then may we really read them, papa?' cried Lily.

'And welcome,' said her father.

This permission once given, the young ladies had no idea of
moderation; Lily's heart and soul were wrapped up in whatever tale
she chanced to be reading - she talked of little else, she neglected
her daily occupations, and was in a kind of trance for about three
weeks. At length she was recalled to her senses by her father's
asking her why she had shown him no drawings lately. Lily hesitated
for a moment, and then said, 'Papa, I am sorry I was so idle.'

'Take care,' said Mr. Mohun, 'let us be able to give a good account
of ourselves when Eleanor comes.'

'I am afraid, papa,' said Lily, 'the truth is, that my head has been
so full of Woodstock for the last few days, that I could do nothing.'

'And before that?'

'The Bride of Lammermoor.'

'And last week?'

'Waverley. Oh! papa, I am afraid you must be very angry with me.'

'No, no, Lily, not yet,' said Mr. Mohun, 'I do not think you quite
knew what an intoxicating draught you had got hold of; I should have
cautioned you. Your negligence has not yet been a serious fault,
though remember, that it becomes so after warning.'

'Then,' said Lily, 'I will just finish Peveril at once, and get it
out of my head, and then read no more of the dear books,' and she
gave a deep sigh.

'Lily would take the temperance pledge, on condition that she might
finish her bottle at a draught,' said Mr. Mohun.

Lily laughed, and looked down, feeling quite unable to offer to give
up Peveril before she had finished it, but her father relieved her,
by saying in his kind voice, 'No, no, Lily, take my advice, read
those books, for most of them are very good reading, and very pretty
reading, and very useful reading, and you can hardly be called a
well-educated person if you do not know them; but read them only
after the duties of the day are done - make them your pleasure, but do
not make yourself their slave.'

'Lily,' said Claude the next morning, as he saw her prepare her
drawing-desk, 'why are you not reading Peveril?'

'You know what papa said yesterday,' was the answer.

'Oh! but I thought your feelings were with poor Julian in the Tower,'
said Claude.

'My feelings prompt me to sacrifice my pleasure in reading about him
to please papa, after he spoke so kindly.'

'If that is always the effect of your principle, I shall think better
of it,' said Claude.

Lily, whether from her new principle, or her old habits of obedience,
never ventured to touch one of her tempters till after five o'clock,
but, as she was a very rapid reader, she generally contrived to
devour more than a sufficient quantity every evening, so that she did
not enjoy them as much as she would, had she been less voracious in
her appetite, and they made her complain grievously of the dulness of
the latter part of Russell's Modern Europe, which was being read in
the schoolroom, and yawn nearly as much as Phyllis over the
'Pragmatic Sanction.' However, when that book was concluded, and
they began Palgrave's Anglo Saxons, Lily was seized within a sudden
historical fever. She could hardly wait till one o'clock, before she
settled herself at the schoolroom table with her work, and summoned
every one, however occupied, to listen to the reading.



CHAPTER IV - HONEST PHYL



'Multiplication
Is a vexation.'

It was a bright and beautiful afternoon in March, the song of the
blackbird and thrush, and the loud chirp of the titmouse, came
merrily through the schoolroom window, mixed with the sounds of happy
voices in the garden; the western sun shone brightly in, and tinged
the white wainscoted wall with yellow light; the cat sat in the
window-seat, winking at the sun, and sleepily whisking her tail for
the amusement of her kitten, which was darting to and fro, and
patting her on the head, in the hope of rousing her to some more
active sport.

But in the midst of all these joyous sights and sounds, was heard a
dolorous voice repeating, 'three and four are - three and four are - oh
dear! they are - seven, no, but I do not think it is a four after all,
is it not a one? Oh dear!' And on the floor lay Phyllis, her back
to the window, kicking her feet slowly up and down, and yawning and
groaning over her slate.

Presently the door opened, and Claude looked in, and very nearly
departed again instantly, for Phyllis at that moment made a horrible
squeaking with her slate-pencil, the sound above all others that he
disliked. He, however, stopped, and asked where Emily was.

'Out in the garden,' answered Phyllis, with a tremendous yawn.

'What are you doing here, looking so piteous?' said Claude.

'My sum,' said Phyllis.

'Is this your time of day for arithmetic?' asked he.

'No,' said Phyllis, 'only I had not done it by one o'clock to-day,
and Lily said I must finish after learning my lessons for to-morrow,
but I do not think I shall ever have done, it is so hard. Oh!'
(another stretch and a yawn, verging on a howl), 'and Jane and Ada
are sowing the flower-seeds. Oh dear! Oh dear!' and Phyllis's face
contracted, in readiness to cry.

'And is that the best position for doing sums?' said Claude.

'I was obliged to lie down here to get out of the way of Ada's sum,'
said Phyllis, getting up.

'Get out of the way of Ada's sum?' repeated Claude.

'Yes, she left it on the table where I was sitting, where I could see
it, and it is this very one, so I must not look at it; I wish I could
do sums as fast as she can.'

'Could you not have turned the other side of the slate upwards?' said
Claude, smiling.

'So I could!' said Phyllis, as if a new light had broken in upon her.
'But then I wanted to be out of sight of pussy, for I could not think
a bit, while the kitten was at play so prettily, and I kicked my
heels to keep from hearing the voices in the garden, for it does make
me so unhappy!'

Some good-natured brothers would have told the little girl not to
mind, and sent her out to enjoy herself, but Claude respected
Phyllis's honesty too much to do so, and he said, 'Well, Phyl, let me
see the sum, and we will try if we cannot conquer it between us.'

Phyllis's face cleared up in an instant, as she brought the slate to
her brother.

'What is this?' said he; 'I do not understand.'

'Compound Addition,' said Phyllis, 'I did one with Emily yesterday,
and this is the second.'

'Oh! these are marks between the pounds, shillings, and pence,' said
Claude, 'I took them for elevens; well, I do not wonder at your
troubles, I could not do this sum as it is set.'

'Could not you, indeed?' cried Phyllis, quite delighted.

'No, indeed,' said Claude. 'Suppose we set it again, more clearly;
but how is this? When I was in the schoolroom we always had a sponge
fastened to the slate.'

'Yes,' said Phyllis, 'I had one before Eleanor went, but my string
broke, and I lost it, and Emily always forgets to give me another. I
will run and wash the slate in the nursery; but how shall we know
what the sum is?'

'Why, I suppose I may look at Ada's slate, though you must not,' said
Claude, laughing to himself at poor little honest simplicity, as he
applied himself to cut a new point to her very stumpy slate-pencil,
and she scampered away, and returned in a moment with her clean
slate.

'Oh, how nice and fresh it all looks!' said she as he set down the
clear large figures. 'I cannot think how you can do it so evenly.'

'Now, Phyl, do not let the pencil scream if you can help it.'

Claude found that Phyllis's great difficulty was with the farthings.
She could not understand the fractional figures, and only knew thus
far, that 'Emily said it never meant four.'

Claude began explaining, but his first attempt was far too
scientific. Phyllis gave a desponding sigh, looking so mystified,
that he began to believe that she was hopelessly dull, and to repent
of having offered to help her; but at last, by means of dividing a
card into four pieces, he succeeded in making her comprehend him, and
her eyes grew bright with the pleasure of understanding.

Even then the difficulties were not conquered, her addition was very
slow, and dividing by twelve and twenty seemed endless work; at
length the last figure of the pounds was set down, the slate was
compared with Adeline's, and the sum pronounced to be right. Phyllis
capered up to the kitten and tossed it up in the air in her joy, then
coming slowly back to her brother, she said with a strange, awkward
air, hanging down her head, 'Claude, I'll tell you what - '

'Well, what?' said Claude.

'I should like to kiss you.'

Then away she bounded, clattered down stairs, and flew across the
lawn to tell every one she met that Claude had helped her to do her
sum, and that it was quite right.

'Did you expect that it would be too hard for him, Phyl?' said Jane,
laughing.

'No,' said Phyllis, 'but he said he could not do it as it was set.'

'And whose fault was that?' said Jane.

'Oh! but he showed me how to set it better,' said Phyllis, 'and he
said that when he learnt the beginning of fractions, he thought them
as hard as I do.'

'Fractions!' said Jane, 'you do not fancy you have come to fractions
yet! Fine work you will make of them when you do!'

In the evening, as soon as the children were gone to bed, Jane took a
paper out of her work-basket, saying, 'There, Emily, is my account of
Phyl's scrapes through this whole week; I told you I should write
them all down.'

'How kind!' muttered Claude.

Regardless of her brother, who had not looked up from his book, Jane
began reading her list of poor Phyllis's misadventures. 'On Monday
she tore her frock by climbing a laurel-tree, to look at a
blackbird's nest.'

'I gave her leave,' said Emily. 'Rachel had ordered her not to
climb; and she was crying because she could not see the nest that Wat
Greenwood had found.'

'On Tuesday she cried over her French grammar, and tore a leaf out of
the old spelling-book.'

'That was nearly out before,' said Emily, 'Maurice and Redgie spoilt
that long ago.'

'I do not know of anything on Wednesday, but on Thursday she threw
Ada down the steps out of the nursery.'

'Oh! that accounts for the dreadful screaming that I heard,' said
Claude; 'I forgot to ask the meaning of it.'


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