Charlotte Mary Yonge.

The trial: More links of the daisy chain (Volume 1) online

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spring, and the school had lost several good players at the
end of the half year ; but on the other hand, the holidays
being over, George Larkins had been unable to collect an
eleven either in full practice or with public school training ;
and the veteran spectators were mourning the decay of
cricket, and talking of past triumphs. The school had the
first innings, which resulted in the discomfiture of Fielder,
one of their crack champions, and with no great honour
to any one except Eolliot, the dux, and Leonard Ward, who
both acquitted themselves so creditably, that it was allowed


that if others had done as well, Stoneborough might have
had a chance.

But when * All England ' went in, the game seemed to be
more equally balanced. Aubrey May, in spite of devoted
practice under Tom's instructions, was, from nervous eager-
ness, out almost as soon as in, and in his misery of shame
and despair felt like the betrayer of his cause. But in due
time, with the sun declining, and the score still low, Tom
May came forward, as the last hope of 'All England,' lissom,
active, and skilled, walking up to his wicket with the easy
confidence of one not greatly caring, but willing to show the
natives what play might be.

And his play was admirable ; the fortunes of the day
began to tremble in the balance ; everyone, spectators and
all, were in a state of eager excitement ; and Aubrey, out of
tone and unable to watch for the crisis, fairly fled from the
sight, rushed through the cloister door, and threw himself
with his face down upon the grass, shivering with suspense.
There he lay till a sudden burst of voices and cheers showed
that the battle was over.

The result 1 He could not believe eyes or ears as he
opened the door, to behold the triumphant gestures of Stone-
borough, and the crest-fallen air of his own side, and heard
the words, " Folliot missed two chances of longleg — ^Ward
— tremendous rush — caught him out — with only one run
to tie."

Dr. May was shaking hands with Leonard in congratulation,
not solely generous, for let his sons be where they would,
Stoneborough triumi:)hs were always the doctor's, and he was
not devoid of gratitude to any one who would defeat Tom.
IS'oting, however, the flitting colour, fluttering breath, and


trembliDg limbs, that showed the effect of the day's fatigue
and of the final exertion, he signed back the boys, and
thnist Leonard Tvithin the cloister door, bidding Aubrey
fetch Tiis coat, and Ethel keep guard over him, and when he
was rested and cooled, to take him home to the High Street,
where his sisters would meet him.

"But — Sir — the — supper!" gasped Leonard, leaning
against the door-post, unable to stand alone.

" I dare say. Keep him safe, EtheL"

And the doctor shut the door, and offered himself to appease
the lads who were clamouring for the hero of their cause ;
while Leonard sank back on the bench, past words or looks
for some moments.

" You have redeemed youi* pennon mth your last gasp,"
said Ethel, half reproachfully.

" I was determined," panted the boy. " I don't know how
I did it. I couldn't fail with you looking on. You did it
by coming."

Eeply was spared by Aubrey's return, with the coat in one
hand, and a glass of ale in the other. " You are to go home
with Ethel at once," he pronounced with the utmost zest,
" that is, as soon as you are nested My father says you
must not think of the supper, unless you particularly wish
to be in bed for a week,; but we'll all drink your health, and
m return thanks — the worst player for the best."

This was the first time Aubrey had been considered in
condition for such festivities, and the gratification of being
superior to somebody might account for his glee in invaliding
his friend.

Cricket suppers were no novelties to Leonard ; and either
this or hisexhaustion must have made him resign himseK


to his fate, and walk back with Ethel as happily as at

The sisters soon followed, and were detained to drink tea.
The cricketers' mirth must have been fast and furious if it
exceeded that at home, for the doctor thought himself bound
to make up for the loss to Leonard, put forth all his powers
of entertainment, and was comically confidential about "these
Etonians that think so much of themselves."

Averil was lively and at ease, showing herself the pleasant
well-informed girl whom Ethel had hitherto only taken on
trust, and acting in a pretty motherly way towards the little
sisters. She was more visibly triumphant than was Leonard,
and had been much gratified by a request from the Bankside
curate that she would entirely undertake the harmonium at
the chapel. She had been playing on it during the absence
of the schoolmaster, and with so much better effect than he
could produce, that it had been agreed that he would be best
in his place among the boys.

" Ah !" said the doctor, "two things in one are apt to be
like Aubrey's compromise between walking-stick and camp-
stool — a little of neither."

"I don't mean it to be a little of neither with me. Dr.
May," said Averil. " I shall have nothing to do with my
choir on week days, till I have sent these pupils of mine
to bed."

" Are you going to train the choir too 1 " asked Leonard.

" I must practise with them, or we shall not understand
one another ; besides, they have such a horrid set of tunes,
Mr. Scudamour gave me leave to change them. He is going
to have hymnals, and get rid of Tate and Brady at once."

" Ah ! poor Kahum ! " sighed the doctor with such a


genuine sigh, that Averil turned round on him in amaze-

" Yes," said Ethel, " I'm the only one conservative enough
to sympathize with you, papa."

*' But does any one approve of the Xew Version ? " cried
Averil, recovering from her speechless wonder.

" Don't come down on me," said the doctor, holding up
his hands. " I know it all ; hut the singing psalms are the
singing psalms to me — and I can't help my bad taste — I'm
too old to change."

" Oh ! but, papa, you do Like those beautiful hymns that
we have now ? " cried Gertrude.

" Oh ! yes, yes, Gertrude, I acquiesce. They are a great
improvement ; but then, wasn't it a treat when I got over to
"Woodside Church the other day, and found them singing,
' Xo change of times shall ever shock 1 ' " and he began to
hum it.

" That is the Sicilian Mariners' hymn," said Averil. '' I
can sing you that whenever you please."

" TTiank you ; on condition you sing the old Tate and
Brady, not your ' Sanctissima, Purissima,' " said the
doctor a little mischievously.

" AVhich is eldest, I wonder ? " asked Ave, smiling, pleased
to comply with any whim of his ; though too young to
understand the associations that entwine closely around all
that has assisted or embodied devotion.

The music went from the sacred to the secular ; and Ethel
owned that the perfectly pronounced words and admirable
taste made her singing very different from that which
adorned most dinner parties. Dr. May intensely enjoyed,
and was between tears and bravos at the charge of the vSix


Hundred, when the two brothers entered, and stood silently

That return brought a change. Aubrey was indeed open
and bright, bursting out with eager communications the
moment the song ceased, then turning round with winning
apologaes, and hopes that he was not interrupting ; but Tom
looked so stifif and polite as to chill everyone, and Averil
began to talk of the children's bed time.

The doctor and Aubrey pressed for another song so
earnestly that she consented ; but the spirit and animation
were gone, and she had no sooner finished than she made
a decided move to depart, and Dr. May accompanied the
party home.

" Is my father going to put that fellow to bed 1 " said
Tom, yawning, as if injured by the delay of bed time thus

" Your courtesy does not equal his," said Ethel

*' Nor ever will," said Tom.

" Never," said Ethel, so emphatically that she nettled him
into adding,

" He is a standing warning against spoiling one's patients.
I wouldn't have them and their whole tag-rag and bobtail
about my house for something ! "

" Tom, for shame ! " cried Mary, bursting out in the
wrath he had intended to excite.

" Ask him which is tag, which rag, and which bobtail,"
suggested Ethel.

" ]\Iab, I suppose," said Gertrude, happily closing the
discussion, but it was re-animated by her father's arrival.

" That's a nice girl," he said, " very nice ; but we must
not have her too often in the evening, Mary, without Henry.
It is not fair to break up people's home party."


" Bobber than bobtail," murmured Tom, with, a gesture
only meant for Ethel.

" Ave said he would be out till quite late, papa," said
Mary in self-defence. ^^

" She ought to have been back before him," said Dr. May.
" He didn't seem best pleased to have found her away ; and
let me tell 3^ou, young woman, it is hard on a man who has
been at work all day to come home and find a dark house
and nobody to speak to."

Mary looked melancholy at this approach to reproof, and
Tom observed in an under tone,

" Xever mind, Mary, it is only to give papa the oppor-
tunity of improving his pupil, while you exchange confidence
with your bosom friend. I shall be gone in another month,
and there will be nothing to prevent the perfect fusion of

No one was sorry that the evening here came to an end.

" I hope," said Dr. May at the Sunday's dinner, " that the
cricket match has not done for that boy ; I did not see him
among the boys."

" Xo," said Mary, " but he has met with some accident,
and has the most terrible bruised face. Ave can't make out
how he did it. Do you know, Aubrey ? "

The doctor and his two sons burst out laughing.

" I thought," said Ethel rather grieved, " that those things
had gone out of fashion."

" So Ethel's proteg6, or prodigy, which is it ? " said Tom,
" is turning out a muscular Christian on her hands."

" Is a muscular Christian one who has muscles, or one
who trusts in muscles ] " asked Ethel.

" Or a better cricketer than an Etonian?" added the doctor.



Tom and Aubrey returned demonstrations that Eton's
glory was untarnished, and the defeat solely o^ving to " such
a set of sticks."

" Aubrey," said Ethel, in their first private moment, "was
this a fight in a good cause 1 for if so, I will come down
with you and see him."

Aubrey made a face of dissuasion, ending in a whistle.

*' Do at least tell me it is nothing I should be sorry for,"
she said anxiously.

He screwed his face into an intended likeness of Ethel's
imitation of an orchis, winked one eye, and looked

" I see it can't be really bad," said Ethel, " so I will rest
on your assurance, and ask no indiscreet questions."

" You didn't see, then 1 " said Aubrey, aggrieved at the
failure of his imitation. " You don't remember the beauty
he met at Coombe ? "

" Beauty ! Xone but Mab."

" AYell, they found it out and chaffed him. Eielder said
he would cut out as good a face out of an old knob of apple
wood, and the doctor in petticoats came up again, he got
into one of his rages, and they had no end of a shindy,
better than any, they say, since Lake and Benson fifteen
years ago ; but Ward was in too great a passion, or he would
have done for Eielder long before old Hoxton was seen
mooning that way. So you see, if any of the fellows should
be about, it would never do for you to be seen going to bind
lip his wounds, but I can tell him you are much obliged, and
aU that."

" Obliged, indeed ! " said Ethel. " AYhat, for making me
the laughing-stock of the school ? "


" No, indeed," cried Aubrey, distressed. " He said not a
word — they only found it out — because he found that seat
for you, and papa sent him away with you. They only
meant to poke fun, and it was his caring that made it come
home to him. I wonder you don't like to find that such a
fellow stood up for you."

" I don't like to be made ridiculous."

" Tom does not know it, and shall not," eagerly interposed

" Thank you," said she, with all her heart.

" Then don't be savage. You know he can't help it if
he does think you so handsome, and it is very hard that you
should be affronted with him, just when he can't see out of
one of his eyes."

" For that matter," said Ethel, her voice trembling, " one
likes generosity in any sort of a cause ; but as to this, the
only way is to laugh at it."

Aubrey thought this " only way " hardly taken by the
cachinnation with which she left him, for he was sure that
her eyes were full of tears ; and after mature consideration
he decided that he should only get into a fresh scrape by
letting Leonard know that she was aware of the combat and
its motive.

" If I were ten years younger, this might be serious,"
meditated Ethel. " Happily, it is only a droll adventure for
me in my old age, and I have heard say that a little raving
for a grown-up tvoman is a wholesome sort of delusion at his
time of life. So I need not worry about it, and it is pretty
and touching while it lasts, good fellow ! "

Ethel had, in fact, little occasion to worry herself ; for all
special manifestations of Leonard's devotion ceased. Whether

I 2


it were that Tom with his grave satirical manner contrived
to render the house disagreeable to both brother and sister,
or whether Leonard's boyish bashfulness had taken alarm, and
his admiration expended itself in the battle for her charms,
there was no knowing. All that was certain was, that the
"Wards seldom appeared at Dr. May's, although elsewhere
Mary and Aubrey saw a great deal of their resj)ective friends,
and through both, Ethel heard from time to time of Leonard,
chiefly as working hard at school, but finding that his illness
had cost him not only the last half year's learning, but some
memory and power of aj)plication. He was merging into
the ordinary school boy — a very good thing for him no
doubt — though less beautiful than those Coombe fancies.
And what were they worth ?



" Little specks of daily trouble-
Petty grievance, petty strife —
Filling up with drops incessant
To the brim the cup of life.

Deeper import have these tiifles

Than we think or care to know :
In the air a feather floating,

Tells from whence the breezes blow. "

Rev. G. Mmisell.

The first brightening of the orphaned house of Bankside had
been in Leonard's return. The weeks of his absence had
been very sore ones to Averil, while she commenced the
round of duties that were a heavy burthen for one so young,
and became, instead of the petted favourite, the responsible
head of the house.

She was willing and glad to accept the care of her little
sisters — docile bright children — who were pleased to return
to the orderly habits so long interrupted, and were so in-
telligent, that her task of teaching was a pleasant one ; and
almost motherly love towards them grew up as she felt their
dependence on her, and enjoyed their caresses.

With Henry she had less in common. He expected of


her what she had not learnt, and was not willing to acquire.
A man interfering in the woman's province meets little
toleration ; and Henry was extremely precise in his require-
ments of exact order, punctuality, and excellence, in all the
arrangements of his house. Wliile breaking her in to house-
keeping, he made himself appear almost in the light of a
task-master — and what was worse, of a despised task-master.
Averil thought she could not respect a brother whose dis-
pleasure was manifested by petulance, not sternness, and
who cared not only about his dinner, but about the tidy
appearance of the drawing-room — nay, who called that tasty
which she thought vulgar, made things stiff where she meant
them to be easy and elegant, and prepared the place to be the
butt of Tom May's satire.

Henry was not a companion to her. His intellect was
lower, his education had not been of the same order, and he
had not the manly force of character that makes up for
everything in a woman's eyes. Where she had talents, he
had pretensions — just enough to make his judgments both
conceited and irritating ; and where her deeper thoughts and
higher aspirations were concerned, she met either a blank or
a growing jealousy of the influence of the clerg}^ and of the
May family.

Yet Henry "Ward was really a good brother, sacrificing
much to his orphan sisters, and living a moral and religious
life — such as gained for him much credit, and made ]\Irs.
Ledwich congratulate Averil on the great excellence and
kindness of her incomparable brother.

Averil assented, and felt it a dreary thing to have an
incomparable brother.

But when Leonard came home, the face of the house was

THE TRIAL. 119 •

changed. Xow slie had somethirg to look forward to. Xow
there was something to hear that stirred her deeper feelings
— some one who would understand and respond — some one
to make common cause with. Little as she saw of the school-
boy, there was life in her day, for sympathy and compre-
hension had come home with him.

After aU, there were recesses in Leonard's confidence to
wliich Ave did not penetrate ; but there was quite enough to
be very happy upon, especially those visions that had been
built on the Melanesian letters. They were not near enough
to terrify her with the thought of separation, and she was
sufficiently imbued with Mary ]May's sentiments to regard
mission-work as the highest ambition. Leonard's strong will
and manly disposition would have obtained her homage and
affection, even without the lofty sentiments and the lesser
graces that made the brother and sister thoroughly suited to
one another ; and the bond of union was unfortunately
cemented by equal annoyance at Henry's peculiarities.

It certainly was rather hard on a young head of a family
to have a younger brother his superior in every respect, and
with an inseparable sister. That Henry had not found out
Leonard's superiority was no reason that it should not gall
him ; and his self-assertions were apt to be extremely irri-
tating. Even in the first flush of welcome, he had made it
plain that he meant to be felt as master of the house, and to
enforce those petty regulations of exact order that might be
easily borne from a mother, or played with in a sister — would
be obeyed grudgingly from a father, but could be intolerable
in a brother.

The reception of Mab and the ammonites was but an
earnest of simdar unmracious acts on the one hand, and


aggressions on the other, often unintentional. Averil did,
indeed, smooth matters, but she shared Leonard's resent-
ment ; and outward submission was compensated by murmur
and mockery in private.

Still the household worked on fairly ; and Mrs. Ledwich
was heard to declare, with tears in her eyes, that it was
beautiful to see such a happy family of love as those dear
young Wards !

"The happy family in Trafalgar Square!" muttered Dr.

The confidence of the happy family was on this wise.
When Leonard came home with his unpresentable face, he
baffled all Ave's anxious questions ; and she was only en-
lightened by Henry's lamentations, in his absence, over the
hopelessness of a brother who was so low and vulgar as to
box ! Her defence being met by a sneer, she flew to tell
Leonard of the calumny, and was laughed at for her inno-
cence ; but extorted that he had fought with a fellow that
talked impudently of some of the Mays — cause fully suf-
ficient in her eyes ; nor did Henry utter any open reproof,
though he contrived to exasperate his brother into fierce
retort and angry gesture by an unnecessary injunction not to
show that ungentlemanly face.

Full consciousness of the difficulties presented by the
characters of the two brothers w^ould have been far too
oppressive ; and perhaps it was better for Averil that she
had it not, but had her own engrossing interests and employ-
ments drawing off her attention and enlivening her spirits.
Her church music was her object in life — the dedication of
the talent that had been cultivated at so much time and
cost, and the greatest honour and enjoyment she could


imagine ; and she had full participation from Leonard, -who
had a hearty love for sacred music, readily threw himself
into her plans, and offered voice and taste to assist her
experiments. 'Nor had her elder brother any objection to
her being thus brought forward : he was proud of her per-
formance, and gratified with the compliments it elicited ; and
all went well till the new hjminals arrived, and books upon
books, full of new tunes, anthems, and chants, were accumu-
lating on the music-stand.

*' What are you about there all the evening, not opening
your lips 1 "

" Leonard is writing out his verses, and I am copying

" I wonder you neither of you will remember that that
table was never meant to be littered over with all sorts of
rubbish ! "

"I thought tables were to put things on," returned
Leonard coolly.

" Drawing-room tables were not made to be inked ! That
cover will be ruined in a day or two ! "

" Very well — then we'll pay for it ! " said Leonard, in the
same aggravating tone.

" Here are newspapers spread between it and the ink,"
said Averil, displaying them with an air of injured innocence
that made Henry subside ; but he presently exclaimed :

" Is that copying to go on all night ? Can't you speak,
nor play anything, to send one off to sleep 1 "

AVith a martyr look, yet a satirical glance, Averil opened
the piano ; and Henry settled himself in the master's arm-
chair, as one about to enjoy well-earned rest and entertain-
ment after a hard day's work.


" I say, what doleful drone have you there ? "

" I am trying a new chant for the Nunc Dimittis."

" Nothing but that day and night ! Give us something
worth hearing."

" I thought you only wanted to go to sleep."

" I don't want to dream myself into church, listening to
Scudamour's proses : I've quite enough of that on Sunday."

Ave began to play one of her school waltzes ; and the
touch of her fingers on the keys had so sharp-edged and
petulant a tone, that Leonard smiled to himself as he ran his
fingers through his hair over his books. Nor was it soothing
to Henry, who, instead of going to sleep, began to survey
the room, and get food for annoyance.

" I say," said he, looking across at a little brass-barred
book-case of ornamental volumes on the opposite cheffoniere,
" what book is out there % "

" Scott's Lay," said Leonard ; *'it is up in my room."

" I told you, Ave, not to let the drawing-room books be
carried about the house to be spoilt ! " said Henry, who
seldom reproved his brother direct, but generally through

" You'd better get some made of wood then," said

" Eemember then, Ave, I say I will not have my books
taken out, and left about over the house."

Leonard dashed out of the room passionately, and presently
came thundering down again, every step audible the whole
way, and threw the book on the table, bringing in a whirl-
wind, and a flaring sloping candle dropping upon the precious
cloth. Henry started up and pointed.

" I'm glad of it ! " exclaimed Leonard ; " it will be a


little amusement for you. Good niglit, Ave ! I'm going to
finish upstairs, since one can't read, write, or touch a book
without your being rowed ! "

He was gone, and Averil, though rather frightened, gave
him infinite credit for keeping his temper ; and perhaps he
deserved it, considering the annoyance and the nature of the
provocation ; but she did not reflect how much might have
been prevented by more forethought and less pre-occupation.
She said not a^ word, but quietly returned to her copying ;
and when Henry came with paper and poker to remove the
damage, she only shoved back her chair, and sat waiting, pen
in hand, resigned and ironical.

'' I declare," grumbled Henry, as he examined the re-
maining amount of damage, " these day-schools are a great
inconvenience ; there's no keeping a place fit to be seen with
a great uncivilized lad always hanging about ! "

" Leonard is considered particularly gentlemanlike," said
Ave, with lips compressed, to keep back something about old

"Now, I should have thought a lady would have some
regard to her own drawing-room, and object to slovenliness
— elbows on table, feet everj-where ! "

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