Charlotte Mary Yonge.

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school,' said Claude.

'Oh! that was in Eleanor's time,' said Lily; 'there was nothing to
draw her out, she never was encouraged; but since she has been in my
class, and has found that her wishes to do right are appreciated and
met by affection, she has been quite a new creature.'

'Since she has been in MY class,' Claude repeated.

'Well,' said Lily, with a slight blush, 'it is just what Robert says.
He told her, when he gave her her prize Bible on Palm Sunday, that
she had been going on very well, but she must take great care when
removed from those whose influence now guided her, and who could he
have meant but me? And now she is to go on with me always. She will
be quite one of the old sort of faithful servants, who feel that they
owe everything to their masters, and will it not be pleasant to have
so sweet and expressive a face about the house?'

'Do I know her face?' said Claude. 'Oh yes! I do. She has black
eyes, I think, and would be pretty if she did not look pert.'

'You provoking Claude!' cried Lily, 'you are as bad as Alethea, who
never will say that Esther is the best person for us.'

'I was going to inquire for the all-for-love principle,' said Claude,
'but I see it is in full force. And how are the verses, Lily? Have
you made a poem upon Michael Moone, or Mohun, the actor, our uncle,
whom I discovered for you in Pepys's Memoirs?'

'Nonsense,' said Lily; 'but I have been writing something about Sir
Maurice, which you shall hear whenever you are not in this horrid
temper.'

The next afternoon, as soon as luncheon was over, Lily drew Claude
out to his favourite place under the plane-tree, where she proceeded
to inflict her poem upon his patient ears, while he lay flat upon the
grass looking up to the sky; Emily and Jane had promised to join them
there in process of time, and the four younger ones were, as usual,
diverting themselves among the farm buildings at the Old Court.

Lily began: 'I meant to have two parts about Sir Maurice going out
to fight when he was very young, and then about his brothers being
killed, and King Charles knighting him, and his betrothed, Phyllis
Crossthwayte, embroidering his black engrailed cross on his banner,
and then the taking the castle, and his being wounded, and escaping,
and Phyllis not thinking it right to leave her father; but I have not
finished that, so now you must hear about his return home.'


'A romaunt in six cantos, entitled Woe woe,
By Miss Fanny F. known more commonly so,'


muttered Claude to himself; but as Lily did not understand or know
whence his quotation came, it did not hurt her feelings, and she went
merrily on:-


''Tis the twenty-ninth of merry May;
Full cheerily shine the sunbeams to-day,
Their joyous light revealing
Full many a troop in garments gay,
With cheerful steps who take their way
By the green hill and shady lane,
While merry bells are pealing;
And soon in Beechcroft's holy fane
The villagers are kneeling.
Dreary and mournful seems the shrine
Where sound their prayers and hymns divine;
For every mystic ornament
By the rude spoiler's hand is rent;
Scarce is its ancient beauty traced
In wood-work broken and defaced,
Reft of each quaint device and rare,
Of foliage rich and mouldings fair;
Yet happy is each spirit there;
The simple peasantry rejoice
To see the altar decked with care,
To hear their ancient Pastor's voice
Reciting o'er each well-known prayer,
To view again his robe of white,
And hear the services aright;
Once more to chant their glorious Creed,
And thankful own their nation freed
From those who cast her glories down,
And rent away her Cross and Crown.
A stranger knelt among the crowd,
And joined his voice in praises loud,
And when the holy rites had ceased,
Held converse with the aged Priest,
Then turned to join the village feast,
Where, raised on the hill's summit green,
The Maypole's flowery wreaths were seen;
Beneath the venerable yew
The stranger stood the sports to view,
Unmarked by all, for each was bent
On his own scheme of merriment,
On talking, laughing, dancing, playing -
There never was so blithe a Maying.
So thought each laughing maiden gay,
Whose head-gear bore the oaken spray;
So thought that hand of shouting boys,
Unchecked in their best joy - in noise;
But gray-haired men, whose deep-marked scars
Bore token of the civil wars,
And hooded dames in cloaks of red,
At the blithe youngsters shook the head,
Gathering in eager clusters told
How joyous were the days of old,
When Beechcroft's lords, those Barons bold,
Came forth to join their vassals' sport,
And here to hold their rustic court,
Throned in the ancient chair you see
Beneath our noble old yew tree.
Alas! all empty stands the throne,
Reserved for Mohun's race alone,
And the old folks can only tell
Of the good lords who ruled so well.
"Ah! I bethink me of the time,
The last before those years of crime,
When with his open hearty cheer,
The good old squire was sitting here."
"'Twas then," another voice replied,
"That brave young Master Maurice tried
To pitch the ball with Andrew Grey -
We ne'er shall see so blithe a day -
All the young squires have long been dead."
"No, Master Webb," quoth Andrew Grey,
"Young Master Maurice safely fled,
At least so all the Greenwoods say,
And Walter Greenwood with him went
To share his master's banishment;
And now King Charles is ruling here,
Our own good landlord may be near."
"Small hope of that," the old man said,
And sadly shook his hoary head,
"Sir Maurice died beyond the sea,
Last of his noble line was he."
"Look, Master Webb!" he turned, and there
The stranger sat in Mohun's chair;
At ease he sat, and smiled to scan
The face of each astonished man;
Then on the ground he laid aside
His plumed hat and mantle wide.
One moment, Andrew deemed he knew
Those glancing eyes of hazel hue,
But the sunk cheek, the figure spare,
The lines of white that streak the hair -
How can this he the stripling gay,
Erst, victor in the sports of May?
Full twenty years of cheerful toil,
And labour on his native soil,
On Andrew's head had left no trace -
The summer's sun, the winter's storm,
They had but ruddier made his face,
More hard his hand, more strong his form.
Forth from the wandering, whispering crowd,
A farmer came, and spoke aloud,
With rustic bow and welcome fair,
But with a hesitating air -
He told how custom well preserved
The throne for Mohun's race reserved;
The stranger laughed, "What, Harrington,
Hast thou forgot thy landlord's son?"
Loud was the cry, and blithe the shout,
On Beechcroft hill that now rang out,
And still remembered is the day,
That merry twenty-ninth of May,
When to his father's home returned
That knight, whose glory well was earned.
In poverty and banishment,
His prime of manhood had been spent,
A wanderer, scorned by Charles's court,
One faithful servant his support.
And now, he seeks his home forlorn,
Broken in health, with sorrow worn.
And two short years just passed away,
Between that joyous meeting-day,
And the sad eve when Beechcroft's bell
Tolled forth Sir Maurice's funeral knell;
And Phyllis, whose love was so constant and tried,
Was a widow the year she was Maurice's bride;
Yet the path of the noble and true-hearted knight,
Was brilliant with honour, and glory, and light,
And still his descendants shall sing of the fame
Of Sir Maurice de Mohun, the pride of his name.'


'It is a pity they should sing of it in such lines as those last
four,' said Claude. 'Let me see, I like your bringing in the real
names, though I doubt whether any but Greenwood could have been found
here.'

'Oh! here come Emily and Jane,' said Lily, 'let me put it away.'

'You are very much afraid of Jane,' said Claude.

'Yes, Jane has no feeling for poetry,' said Lily, with simplicity,
which made her brother smile.

Jane and Emily now came up, the former with her work, the latter with
a camp-stool and a book. 'I wonder,' said she, 'where those boys
are! By the bye, what character did they bring home from school?'

'The same as usual,' said Claude. 'Maurice's mind only half given to
his work, and Redgie's whole mind to his play.'

'Maurice's talent does not lie in the direction of Latin and Greek,'
said Emily.

'No,' said Jane, 'it is nonsense to make him learn it, and so he
says.'

'Perhaps he would say the same of mathematics and mechanics, if as
great a point were made of them,' said Lily.

'I think not,' said Claude; 'he has more notion of them than of Latin
verses.'

'Then you are on my side,' said Jane, triumphantly.

'Did I say so?' said Claude.

'Why not?' said Jane. 'What is the use of his knowing those stupid
languages? I am sure it is wasting time not to improve such a genius
as he has for mechanics and natural history. Now, Claude, I wish you
would answer.'

'I was waiting till you had done,' said Claude.

'Why do you not think it nonsense?' persisted Jane.

'Because I respect my father's opinion,' said Claude, letting himself
fall on the grass, as if he had done with the subject.

'Pooh!' said Jane, 'that sounds like a good little boy of five years
old!'

'Very likely,' said Claude.

'But you have some opinion of your own,' said Lily.

'Certainly.'

'Then I wish you would give it,' said Jane.

'Come, Emily,' said Claude, 'have you brought anything to read?'

'But your opinion, Claude,' said Jane. 'I am sure you think with me,
only you are too grand, and too correct to say so.'

Claude made no answer, but Jane saw she was wrong by his countenance;
before she could say anything more, however, they were interrupted by
a great outcry from the Old Court regions.

'Oh,' said Emily, 'I thought it was a long time since we had heard
anything of those uproarious mortals.'

'I hope there is nothing the matter,' said Lily.

'Oh no,' said Jane, 'I hear Redgie's laugh.'

'Aye, but among that party,' said Emily, 'Redgie's laugh is not
always a proof of peace: they are too much in the habit of acting
the boys and the frogs.'

'We were better off,' said Lily, 'with the gentle Claude, as Miss
Middleton used to call him.'

'Miss Molly, as William used to call him with more propriety,' said
Claude, 'not half so well worth playing with as such a fellow as
Redgie.'

'Not even for young ladies?' said Emily.

'No, Phyllis and Ada are much the better for being teased,' said
Claude. 'I am convinced that I never did my duty by you in that
respect.'

'There were others to do it for you,' said Jane.

'Harry never teased,' said Emily, 'and William scorned us.'

'His teasing was all performed upon Claude,' said Lily, 'and a great
shame it was.'

'Not at all,' said Claude, 'only an injudicious attempt to put a
little life into a tortoise.'

'A bad comparison,' said Lily; 'but what is all this? Here come the
children in dismay! What is the matter, my dear child?'

This was addressed to Phyllis, who was the first to come up at full
speed, sobbing, and out of breath, 'Oh, the dragon-fly! Oh, do not
let him kill it!'

'The dragon-fly, the poor dear blue dragon-fly!' screamed Adeline,
hiding her face in Emily's lap, 'Oh, do not let him kill it! he is
holding it; he is hurting it! Oh, tell him not!'

'I caught it,' said Phyllis, 'but not to have it killed. Oh, take it
away!'

'A fine rout, indeed, you chicken,' said Reginald; 'I know a fellow
who ate up five horse-stingers one morning before breakfast.'

'Stingers!' said Phyllis, 'they do not sting anything, pretty
creatures.'

'I told you I would catch the old pony and put it on him to try,'
said Reginald.

In the meantime, Maurice came up at his leisure, holding his prize by
the wings. 'Look what a beautiful Libellulla Puella,' said he to
Jane.

'A demoiselle dragon-fly,' said Lily; 'what a beauty! what are you
going to do with it?'

'Put it into my museum,' said Maurice. 'Here, Jane, put it under
this flower-pot, and take care of it, while I fetch something to kill
it with.'

'Oh, Maurice, do not!' said Emily.

'One good squeeze,' said Reginald. 'I will do it.'

'How came you be so cruel?' said Lily.

'No, a squeeze will not do,' said Maurice; 'it would spoil its
beauty; I must put it ever the fumes of carbonic acid.'

'Maurice, you really must not,' said Emily.

'Now do not, dear Maurice,' said Ada, 'there's a dear boy; I will
give you such a kiss.'

'Nonsense; get out of the way,' said Maurice, turning away.

'Now, Maurice, this is most horrid cruelty,' said Lily; 'what right
have you to shorten the brief, happy life which - '

'Well,' interrupted Maurice, 'if you make such a fuss about killing
it, I will stick a pin through it into a cork, and let it shift for
itself.'

Poor Phyllis ran away to the other end of the garden, sat down and
sobbed, Ada screamed and argued, Emily complained, Lily exhorted
Claude to interfere, while Reginald stood laughing.

'Such useless cruelty,' said Emily.

'Useless!' said Maurice. 'Pray how is any one to make a collection
of natural objects without killing things?'

'I do not see the use of a collection,' said Lily; 'you can examine
the creatures and let them go.'

'Such a young lady's tender-hearted notion,' said Reginald.

'Who ever heard of a man of science managing in such a ridiculous
way?'

'Man of science!' exclaimed Lily, 'when he will have forgotten by
next Christmas that insects ever existed.'

It was not convenient to hear this speech, so Maurice turned an empty
flower-pot over his prisoner, and left it in Jane's care while he
went to fetch the means of destruction, probably choosing the lawn
for the place of execution, in order to show his contempt for his
sisters.

'Fair damsel in boddice blue,' said Lily, peeping in at the hole at
the top of the flower-pot, 'I wish I could avert your melancholy
fate. I am very sorry for you, but I cannot help it.'

'You might help it now, at any rate,' muttered Claude.

'No,' said Lily, 'I know Monsieur Maurice too well to arouse his
wrath so justly. If you choose to release the pretty creature, I
shall be charmed.'

'You forget that I am in charge,' said Jane.

'There is a carriage coming to the front gate,' cried Ada. 'Emily,
may I go into the drawing-room? Oh, Jenny, will you undo my brown
holland apron?'

'That is right, little mincing Miss,' said Reginald, with a low bow;
'how fine we are to-day.'

'How visitors break into the afternoon,' said Emily, with a languid
turn of her head.

'Jenny, brownie,' called Maurice from his bedroom window, 'I want the
sulphuric acid.'

Jane sprang up and ran into the house, though her sisters called
after her, that she would come full upon the company in the hall.

'They shall not catch me here,' cried Reginald, rushing off into the
shrubbery.

'Are you coming in, Claude?' said Emily.

'Send Ada to call me, if there is any one worth seeing,' said Claude

'They will see you from the window,' said Emily.

'No,' said Claude, 'no one ever found me out last summer, under these
friendly branches.'

The old butler, Joseph, now showed himself on the terrace; and the
young ladies, knowing that he had no intention of crossing the lawn,
hastened to learn from him who their visitors were, and entered the
house. Just then Phyllis came running back from the kitchen garden,
and without looking round, or perceiving Claude, she took up the
flower-pot and released the captive, which, unconscious of its peril,
rested on a blade of grass, vibrating its gauzy wings and rejoicing
in the restored sunbeams.

'Fly away, fly away, you pretty creature,' said Phyllis; 'make haste,
or Maurice will come and catch you again. I wish I had not given you
such a fright. I thought you would have been killed, and a pin stuck
all through that pretty blue and black body of yours. Oh! that would
be dreadful. Make haste and go away! I would not have caught you,
you beautiful thing, if I had known what he wanted to do. I thought
he only wanted to look at your beautiful body, like a little bit of
the sky come down to look at the flowers, and your delicate wings,
and great shining eyes. Oh! I am very glad God made you so
beautiful. Oh! there is Maurice coming. I must blow upon you to
make you go. Oh, that is right - up quite high in the air - quite
safe,' and she clapped her hands as the dragon-fly rose in the air,
and disappeared behind the laurels, just as Maurice and Reginald
emerged from the shrubbery, the former with a bottle in his hand.

'Well, where is the Libellulla?' said he.

'The dragon-fly?' said Phyllis. 'I let it out.'

'Sold, Maurice!' cried Reginald, laughing at his brother's disaster.

'Upon my word, Phyl, you are very kind!' said Maurice, angrily. 'If
I had known you were such an ill-natured crab - '

'Oh! Maurice dear, don't say so,' exclaimed Phyllis. 'I thought I
might let it out because I caught it myself; and I told you I did not
catch it for you to kill; Maurice, indeed, I am sorry I vexed you.'

'What else did you do it for?' said Maurice. 'It is horrid not to be
able to leave one's things a minute - '

'But I did not know the dragon-fly belonged to you, Maurice,' said
Phyllis.

'That is a puzzler, Mohun senior,' said Reginald.

'Now, Redgie, do get Maurice to leave off being angry with me,'
implored his sister.

'I will leave off being angry,' said Maurice, seeing his advantage,
'if you will promise never to let out my things again.'

'I do not think I can promise,' said Phyllis.

'O yes, you can,' said Reginald, 'you know they are not his.'

'Promise you will not let out any insects I may get,' said Maurice,
'or I shall say you are as cross as two sticks.'

'I'll tell you what, Maurice,' said Phyllis, 'I do wish you would not
make me promise, for I do not think I CAN keep it, for I cannot bear
to see the beautiful live things killed.'

'Nonsense,' said Maurice, fiercely, 'I am very angry indeed, you
naughty child; promise - '

'I cannot,' said Phyllis, beginning to cry.

'Then,' said Maurice, 'I will not speak to you all day.'

'No, no,' shouted Reginald, 'we will only treat her like the horse-
stinger; you wanted a puella, Maurice - here is one for you, here,
give her a dose of the turpentine.'

'Yes,' said Maurice, advancing with his bottle; 'and do you take the
poker down to Naylor's to be sharpened, it will just do to stick
through her back. Oh! no, not Naylor's - the girls have made a hash
there, as they do everything else; but we will settle her before they
come out again.'

Phyllis screamed and begged for mercy - her last ally had deserted
her.

'Promise!' cried the boys.

'Oh, don't!' was all her answer.

Reginald caught her and held her fast, Maurice advanced upon her, she
struggled, and gave a scream of real terror. The matter was no joke
to any one but Reginald, for Maurice was very angry and really meant
to frighten her.

'Hands off, boys, I will not have her bullied,' said Claude, half
rising.

Maurice gave a violent start, Reginald looked round laughing, and
exclaimed, 'Who would have thought of Claude sneaking there?' and
Phyllis ran to the protecting arm, which he stretched out. To her
great surprise, he drew her to him, and kissed her forehead, saying,
'Well done, Phyl!'

'Oh, I knew he was not going to hurt me,' said Phyllis, still panting
from the struggle.

'To be sure not,' said Maurice, 'I only meant to have a little fun.'

Claude, with his arm still round his sister's waist, gave Maurice a
look, expressing, 'Is that the truth?' and Reginald tumbled head over
heels, exclaiming, 'I would not have been Phyl just them.'

Ada now came running up to them, saying, 'Maurice and Redgie, you are
to come in; Mr. and Mrs. Burnet heard your voices, and begged to see
you, because they never saw you last holidays.'

'More's the pity they should see us now,' said Maurice.

'I shall not go,' said Reginald.

'Papa is there, and he sent for you,' said Ada.

'Plague,' was the answer.

'See what you get by making such a row,' said Claude. 'If you had
been as orderly members of society as I am - '

'Oh, but Claude,' said Ada, 'papa told me to see if I could find you.
Dear Claude, I wish,' she proceeded, taking his hand, and looking
engaging, 'I wish you would put your arm round me as you do round
Phyl.'

'You are not worth it, Ada,' said Reginald, and Claude did not
contradict him.



CHAPTER VIII - THE BROTHERS



'But smiled to hear the creatures he had known
So long were now in class and order shown -
Genus and species. "Is it meet," said he,
"This creature's name should one so sounding be -
'Tis but a fly, though first-born of the spring,
Bombylius Majus, dost thou call the thing?"

It was not till Sunday, that Lily's eager wish was fulfilled, of
introducing her friend and her brothers; but, as she might have
foreseen, their first meeting did not make the perfections of either
party very clear to the other. Claude never spoke to strangers more
than he could help, Maurice and Reginald were in the room only a
short time; so that the result of Miss Weston's observations, when
communicated in reply to Lily's eager inquiries, was only that Claude
was very like his father and eldest brother, Reginald very handsome,
and Maurice looked like a very funny fellow.

On Monday, Reginald and Maurice were required to learn what they had
always refused to acknowledge, that the holidays were not intended to
be spent in idleness. A portion of each morning was to be devoted to
study, Claude having undertaken the task of tutor - and hard work he
found it; and much did Lily pity him, when, as not unfrequently
happened, the summons to the children's dinner would bring him from
the study, looking thoroughly fagged - Maurice in so sulky a mood that
he would hardly deign to open his lips - Reginald talking fast enough,
indeed, but only to murmur at his duties in terms, which, though they
made every one laugh, were painful to hear. Then Claude would take
his brothers back to the study, and not appear for an hour or more,
and when he did come forth, it was with a bad headache. Sometimes,
as if to show that it was only through their own fault that their
tasks were wearisome, one or both boys would finish quite early, when
Reginald would betake himself to the schoolroom and employ his idle
time in making it nearly impossible for Ada and Phyllis to learn, by
talking, laughing, teasing the canary, overturning everything in
pursuing wasps, making Emily fretful by his disobedience, and then
laughing at her, and, in short, proving his right to the title he had
given himself at the end of the only letter he had written since he
first went to school, and which he had subscribed, 'Your affectionate
bother, R. Mohun.' So that, for their own sake, all would have
preferred the inattentive mornings.

Lily often tried to persuade Claude to allow her to tell her father
how troublesome the boys were, but never with any effect. He once
took up a book he had been using with them, and pointing to the name
in the first page, in writing, which Lily knew full well, 'Henry
Mohun,' she perceived that he meant to convince her that it was
useless to try to dissuade him, as he thought the patience and
forbearance his brother had shown to him must be repaid by his not
shrinking from the task he had imposed upon himself with his young
brothers, though he was often obliged to sit up part of the night to
pursue his own studies.

If Claude had rather injudiciously talked too much to Lilias of 'her
principle,' and thus kept it alive in her mind, yet his example might
have made its fallacy evident. She believed that what she called
love had been the turning point in his character, that it had been
his earnest desire to follow in Henry's steps, and so try to comfort
his father for his loss, that had roused him from his indolence; but
she was beginning to see that nothing but a sense of duty could have
kept up the power of that first impulse for six years. Lily began to
enter a little into his principle, and many things that occurred
during these holidays made her mistrust her former judgment. She saw
that without the unvarying principle of right and wrong, fraternal
love itself would fail in outward acts and words. Forbearance,
though undeniably a branch of love, could not exist without constant


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