about the next day over all the neighbourhood with the tidings and
comported himself as though he had private access to all Lord
The unwonted emotion tamed Maurice for several days, and his
behaviour was the better for his daily rides with papa to Hadminster,
to forestall the second post. At last, on his return, his voice rang
through the house. 'Mamma, where are you? The letter is come, and
Gilbert shot two Russians, and saved Cousin Fred!'
'I opened your letter, Albinia,' said Mr. Kendal; and, as she took it
from him, he said, 'Thank God, I never dared hope for such a day as
He shut himself into the library, while Albinia was sharing with
Sophy the precious letter, but with a moment's disappointment at
finding it not from Gilbert, but from her brother William.
'Before you receive this,' he wrote, 'you will have heard of the
affair of to-day, and that our two lads have come out of it better
than some others. There are but nine officers living, and only four
unhurt out of the 25th Lancers, and Fred's escape is entirely owing
to your son.'
Then followed a brief narrative of the events of Balaklava, that
fatal charge so well described as 'magnifique mais pas la guerre,' a
history that seemed like a dream in connexion with the timid Gilbert.
His individual story was thus: - He safely rode the 'half a league'
forward, but when more than half way back, his horse was struck to
the ground by a splinter of the same shell that overthrew Major
Ferrars, at a few paces' distance from him. Quickly disengaging
himself from his horse, Gilbert ran to assist his friend, and
succeeded in extricating him from his horse, and supporting him
through the remainder of the terrible space commanded by the
batteries. Fred, unable to move without aid, and to whom each step
was agony, had entreated Gilbert to relinquish his hold, and not
peril himself for a life already past rescue; but Gilbert had not
seemed to hear, and when several of the enemy came riding down on
them, he had used his revolver with such effect, as to lay two of the
number prostrate, and deter the rest from repeating the attack.
'All this I heard from Fred,' continued the General; 'he is in his
usual spirits, and tells me that he feels quite jolly since his arm
has been off, and he has been in his own bed, but I fear he has a
good deal to suffer, for his right side is terribly lacerated, and I
shall be glad when the next few days are over. He desires me to say
with his love that the best turn you ever did him was putting young
Kendal into the 25th. Tell your husband that I congratulate him on
his son's conduct, and am afraid that his promotion without purchase
is only too certain. Gilbert's only message was his love. Speaking
seems to give him pain, and he is altogether more prostrated than so
slight a wound accounts for; but when I saw him, he had just been
told of the death of his colonel and several of his brother officers,
among them young Wynne, who shared his tent; and he was completely
overcome. There is, however, no cause for uneasiness; he had not
even been aware that he was hurt, until he fainted while Fred was
under the surgeon's hands, and was then found to have an ugly
contusion of the chest, and a fracture of the uppermost rib on the
left side. A few days' rest will set all that to rights, and I
expect to see him on horseback before we can ship poor Fred for
Scutari. In the meantime they are both in Fred's tent, which is
Albinia understood whence came Gilbert's heroism. He had charged at
first, as he had hunted with Maurice, because there was no doing
otherwise, and in the critical moment the warm heart had done the
rest, and equalled constitutional courage: but then, she saw the
gentle tender spirit sinking under the slight injury, and far more at
the suffering of his friend, the deadly havoc among his comrades, and
his own share in the carnage. The General coolly mentioned the two
enemies who had fallen by his pistol, and Maurice shouted about them
as if they had been two rabbits, but she knew enough of Gilbert to be
sure that what he might do in the exigency of self-defence, would
shock and sicken him in recollection. Poor Fred! how little would
she once have believed that his frightful wound could be a secondary
matter with her, only enhancing her gratitude on account of another.
That was a happy evening; Maurice was sent to ask Ulick to dinner,
and at dessert drank the healths of his soldier relatives, among whom
Mr. Kendal with a smile at Ulick, included Bryan O'More.
In the universal good-will of her triumph, Albinia having read her
precious letter to every one, resolved to let the Drurys hear it,
before forwarding it to Fairmead. Lucy's neglect of that family was
becoming flagrant, and Albinia was resolved to take her to make the
call. Therefore, after promulgating her intentions too decidedly for
Algernon to oppose them, she set out with Lucy in the most virtuous
state of mind. Maurice was to ride out with his father, and Sophy
was taking care of grandmamma, so she made her expedition with an
easy mind, and absolutely enjoyed the change of scenery.
The war had drawn every one nearer together, and Mrs. Drury was
really anxious about Gilbert, and grateful for the intelligence. Nor
did Lucy meet with anything unpleasant. Mrs. Cavendish Dusautoy, in
waist-deep flounces, a Paris bonnet, and her husband's dignity,
impressed her cousins, and whatever use they might make of their
tongues, it was not till after she was gone.
As the carriage stopped at the door, Sophy came out with such a
perturbed an expression, as seemed to prelude fatal tidings; and Lucy
was pausing to listen, when she was hastily summoned by her husband.
'Oh! mamma, he has struck Maurice such a blow!' cried Sophy.
'Algernon? where's Maurice? is he hurt?'
'He is in the library with papa.'
She was there in a moment. Maurice sat on his father's knee,
listening to Pope's Homer, leaning against him, with eye, cheek, and
nose exceedingly swelled and reddened; but these were symptoms of
which she had seen enough in past days not to be greatly terrified,
even while she exclaimed aghast.
'Aye!' said Mr. Kendal, sternly. 'What do you think of young
'What could you have done to him, Maurice?'
'I painted his image.'
'The children got into the painting-room,' said Mr. Kendal, 'and did
some mischief; Maurice ought to have known better, but that was no
excuse for his violence. I do not know what would have been the
consequence, if poor little Albinia's screams had not alarmed me. I
found Algernon striking him with his doubled fist.'
'But I gave him a dig in the nose,' cried Maurice, in exultation; 'I
pulled ever so much hair out of his whiskers. I had it just now.'
'This sounds very sad,' said Albinia, interrupting the search for the
trophy. 'What were you doing in the painting-room? You know you had
no business there.'
'Why, mamma, little Awk wanted me to look at the pictures that Lucy
shows her. And then, don't you know his image? the little white bare
boy pulling the thorn out of his foot. Awkey said he was naughty not
to have his clothes on, and so I thought it would be such fun to make
a militiaman of him, and so the paints were all about, and so I gave
him a red coat and black trousers.'
'Oh, Maurice, Maurice, how could you?'
'I couldn't help it, mamma! I did so want to see what Algernon would
'So he came up and caught us. And wasn't he in a jolly good rage?
that's all. He stamped, and called me names, and got hold of me to
shake me, but I know I kicked him well, and I had quite a handful out
of his whisker; but you see poor little Awkey is only a girl, and
couldn't help squalling, so papa came up.'
'And in time!' said Mr. Kendal; 'he reeled against me, almost
stunned, and was hardly himself for some moments. His nose bled
violently. That fellow's fist might knock down an ox.'
'But he didn't knock _me_ down,' said Maurice. 'You told me he did
'That's all he thinks of!' said Mr. Kendal, in admiration.
'Not a cry nor a tear from first to last. I told Sophy to let me
know when Bowles came.'
'For a black eye?' cried the hard-hearted mother, laughing. 'You
should have seen what Maurice and Fred used to do to each other.'
'Oh, tell me, mamma,' cried Maurice, eagerly.
'Not now, master,' she said, not thinking his pugnacity in need of
such respectable examples. 'It would be more to the purpose to ask
Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy's pardon for such very bad behaviour.'
Mr. Kendal looked at her in indignant surprise. 'Ours is not the
side for the apology,' he said. 'If Dusautoy has a spark of proper
feeling, he must excuse himself for such a brutal assault.'
'I am afraid Maurice provoked it; I hope my little boy is sorry for
having been so mischievous, and sees that he deserves - '
Mr. Kendal silenced her by an impatient gesture, and feeling that
anything was better than the discussion before the boy, she tried to
speak indifferently, and not succeeding, left the room, much annoyed
that alarm and indignation had led the indulgent father to pet and
coax the spirit that only wanted to be taken down, and as if her
discipline had received its first real shock.
Mr. Kendal followed her upstairs, no less vexed. 'Albinia, this is
absurd,' he said. 'I will not have the child punished, or made to
ask pardon for being shamefully struck.'
'It was shameful enough,' said Albinia; 'but, after all, I can't
wonder that Algernon was in a passion; Maurice did behave very ill,
and it would be much better for him if you would not make him more
impudent than he is already.'
'I did not expect you to take part against your own child, when he
has been so severely maltreated,' said he, with such unreasonable
displeasure, that almost thinking it play, she laughed and said, 'You
are as bad as the mothers of the school-children, when they wont have
He gave a look as if loth to trust his ears, walked into his room,
and shut the door. The thrill of horror came over her that this was
the first quarrel. She had been saucy when he was serious, and had
offended him. She sprang to the door, knocked and called, and was in
agony at the moment's delay ere he returned, with his face still
stern and set. Pleading and earnest she raised her eyes, and
surrendered unconditionally. 'Dear Edmund, don't be vexed with me, I
should not have said it.'
'Never mind,' he said, affectionately; 'I do not wish to interfere
with your authority, but it would be impossible to punish a child who
has suffered so severely; and I neither choose that Dusautoy should
be made to think himself the injured party, nor that Maurice should
be put to the pain of apologizing for an offence, which the other
party has taken on himself to cancel with interest.'
Albinia was too much demolished to recollect her two arguments, that
pride on their side would only serve to make Algernon prouder, and
that she did not believe that asking pardon would be so bitter a pill
to Maurice as his father supposed. She could only feel thankful to
have been forgiven for her own offence.
When they met at dinner, all were formal, Algernon stiff and haughty,
ashamed, but too grand to betray himself, and Lucy restless and
uneasy, her eyes looking as if she had been crying. When Maurice
came in at dessert, the fourth part of his countenance emulating the
unlucky cast in gorgeous hues of crimson and violet, Algernon was
startled, and turning to Albinia, muttered something about 'never
having intended,' and 'having had no idea.'
He might have said more, if Mr. Kendal, with Maurice on his knee, had
not looked as if he expected it; and that look sealed Albinia's lips
against expressing regret for the provocation; but Maurice exclaimed,
'Never mind, Algernon, it was all fair, and it doesn't hurt now. I
wouldn't have touched your image, but that I wanted to know what you
would do to me. Shake hands; people always do when they've had a
Mr. Kendal looked across the table to his wife in a state of
unbounded exultation in his generous boy, and Albinia felt infinitely
relieved and grateful. Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy took the firm young
paw, and said with an attempt at condescension, 'Very well, Maurice,
the subject shall be mentioned no more, since you have received a
severer lesson than I intended, and appear sensible of your error.'
'It wasn't you that made me so,' began Maurice, with defiant eye; but
with a strong sense of 'let well alone,' his father cut him short
with, 'That's enough, my man, you've said all that can be wished,'
lifted him again on his knee, and stopped his mouth with almonds and
The subject was mentioned no more; Lucy considered peace as
proclaimed, and herself relieved from the necessity of such an
unprecedented deed as preferring an accusation against Maurice, and
Albinia, unaware of the previous persecution, did not trace that
Maurice considered himself as challenged to prove, that experience of
his brother-in-law's fist did not suffice to make him cease from his
Two days after, Algernon was coming in from riding, when a simple
voice upon the stairs observed, 'Here's such a pretty picture!'
'Eh! what?' said Algernon; and Maurice held it near to him as he
stood taking off his great coat.
'Such a pretty picture, but you mustn't have it! No, it is Ulick's.'
'Heavens and earth!' thundered Algernon, as he gathered up the
meaning. 'Who has dared - ? Give it me - or - ' and as soon as he was
freed from the sleeves, he snatched at the paper, but the boy had
already sprung up to the first landing, and waving his treasure,
shouted, 'No, it's not for you, I'll not give you Ulick's picture.'
'Ulick !' cried Algernon, in redoubled fury. 'You're put up to this!
Give it me this instant, or it shall be the worse for you;' but ere
he could stride up the first flight, Maurice's last leg was
disappearing round the corner above, and the next moment the
exhibition was repeated overhead in the gallery. Thither did
Algernon rush headlong, following the scampering pattering feet, till
the door of Maurice's little room was slammed in his face. Bursting
it open, he found the chamber empty, but there was a shout of elvish
laughter outside, and a cry of dismay coming up from the garden,
impelled him to mount the rickety deal-table below the deep sunk
dormer window, when thrusting out his head and shoulders, he beheld
his wife and her parents gazing up in terror from the lawn. No
wonder, for there was a narrow ledge of leading without, upon which
Maurice had suddenly appeared, running with unwavering steps till in
a moment he stooped down, and popped through the similar window of
While still too dizzy with horror to feel secure that the child was
indeed safe within, those below were startled by a frantic shout from
Algernon: 'Let me out! I say, the imp has locked me in! Let me
Albinia flew into the house and upstairs. Maurice was flourishing
the key, and executing a war-dance before the captive's door, with a
chant alternating of war-whoops, 'Promise not to hurt it, and I'll
let you out!' and 'Pity poor prisoners in a foreign land!'
She called to him to desist, but he was too wild to be checked by her
voice, and as she advanced to capture him, he shot like an arrow to
the other end of the passage, and down the back-stairs. She promised
speedy rescue, and hurried down, hoping to seize the culprit in the
hall, but he had whipped out at the back-door, and was making for the
garden gate, when his father hastened down the path to meet him, and
seeing his retreat cut off, he plunged into the bushes, and sprang
like a cat up a cockspur-thorn, too slender for ascent by a heavier
weight, and thence grinned and waved his hand to his prisoner at the
'Maurice,' called his father, 'what does this mean?'
'I only want to take home Ulick's picture. Then I'll let him out.'
'That's my secret.'
'This is not play, Maurice,' said Albinia. 'Attend to papa.'
The boy swung the light shrub about with him in a manner fearful to
behold, and looked irresolute. Lucy put in her cry, 'You very
naughty child, give up the key this moment,' and above, Algernon
bawled appeals to Mr. Kendal, and threats to Maurice.
'Silence!' said Mr. Kendal, sternly. 'Maurice, this must not be.
Come down, and give me the key of your room.'
'I will, papa,' said Maurice, in a reasonable voice. 'Only please
promise not to let Algernon have Ulick's picture, for I got it
without his knowing it.'
'I promise,' said Mr. Kendal. 'Let us put an end to this.'
Maurice came down, and brought the key to his father, and while Lucy
hastened to release her husband, Mr. Kendal seized the boy, finding
him already about again to take flight.
'Papa, let me take home Ulick's picture before he gets out,' said
Maurice, finding the grasp too strong for him; but Mr. Kendal had
taken the picture out of his hand, and looked at it with changed
It depicted the famous drawing-room scene, in its native element, the
moon squinting through inky clouds at Lucy swooning on the sofa,
while the lofty presence of the Polysyllable discharged the fluid
from the inkstand.
'Did Mr. O'More give you this?' asked Mr. Kendal.
'No, it tumbled out of his paper-case. You know he said I might go
to his rooms and get the Illustrated News with the picture of
Balaklava, and so the newspaper knocked the paper-case down, and all
the things tumbled out, so I picked this up, and thought I would see
what Algernon would say to it, and then put it back again. Let me
have it, papa, if he catches me, he'll tear it to smithereens.'
'Don't talk Irish, sir,' said his father. 'I see where your
impertinence comes from, and I will put a stop to it.'
Maurice gave back a step, amazed at his father's unwonted anger, but
far greater wrath was descending in the person of Mr. Cavendish
Dusautoy, who came striding across the lawn, and planting himself
before his father-in-law, demanded, 'I beg to know, sir, if it is
your desire that I should be deliberately insulted in this house?'
'No one can be more concerned than I am at what has occurred.'
'Very well, sir; then I require that this intolerable child be
soundly flogged, that beggarly Irishman kicked out, and that infamous
'Oh, papa,' cried Maurice, 'you promised me the picture should be
'I promise you, you impudent brat,' cried Algernon, 'that you shall
learn what it is to insult your elders! You shall be flogged till
you repent it!'
'You will allow me to judge of the discipline of my own family,' said
'Ay! I knew how it would be! You encourage that child in every sort
of unbearable impudence; but I have endured it long enough, and I
give you warning that I do not remain another night under this roof
unless I see the impertinence flogged out of him.'
'Papa never whips me,' interposed Maurice. 'You must ask mamma.'
Mr. Kendal bit his lips, and Albinia could have smiled, but their
sense of the ludicrous inflamed Algernon, and like one beside
himself, he swung round, and declaring he should ask his uncle if
that were proper treatment, he marched across the lawn, while Mr.
Kendal exclaimed, 'More childish than Maurice!'
'Oh, mamma, what shall I do?' was Lucy's woful cry, as she turned
back, finding herself unable to keep up with his huge step, and her
'My dear,' said Albinia, affectionately, 'you had better compose
yourself and follow him. His uncle will bring him to reason, and
then you can tell him how sorry we are.'
'You may assure him,' said Mr. Kendal, 'that I am as much hurt as he
can be, that such an improper use should have been made of O'More's
intimacy here, and I mean to mark my sense of it.'
'And,' said Lucy, 'I don't think anything would pacify him so much as
Maurice being only a little beaten, not to hurt him, you know.'
'If Maurice be punished, it shall not be in revenge,' said Mr.
'I'm afraid nothing else will do,' said Lucy, wringing her hands.
'He has really declared that he will not sleep another night here
unless Maurice is punished; and whatever he says, he'll do, and I
know it would kill me to go away in this manner.'
Her father confidently averred that he would do no such thing, but
she cried so much as to move Maurice into exclaiming, 'Look here,
Lucy, I'll come up with you, and let him give me one good punch, and
then we shall all be comfortable again.'
'I don't know about the punching,' said Albinia; 'but I think the
least you can do, Maurice, is to go and ask his forgiveness for
having been so very naughty. You were not thinking what you were
about when you locked him in.'
This measure was adopted, Mr. Kendal accompanying Lucy and the boy,
while Albinia went in search of Sophy, whom she found in grandmamma's
room, looking very pale. 'Well?' was the inquiry, and she told what
'I hope Maurice will be punished,' said Sophy; so unwonted a
sentiment, that Albinia quite started, though it was decidedly her
'That meddling with papers was very bad,' she said, with an
'Fun is a perfect demon when it becomes master,' said Sophy. It was
plain that it was not Maurice that she was thinking of, but the
caricature. Her sister should have been sacred from derision.
'We must remember,' she said, 'that it was only through Maurice's
meddling that we became aware of the existence of this precious work.
It is not as if ho had shown it to any one.
'How many of the O'Mores have made game of it?' asked Sophy,
bitterly. 'No, I am glad I know of it, I shall not be deceived any
With these words she withdrew, evidently resolved to put an end to
the subject. Her face was like iron, and Albinia grieved for the
deep resentment that the man whom she had ventured to think of as
devoted to herself, had made game of her sister. Poor Sophy, to her
that tryste had been a subject of unmitigated affliction and shame,
and it was a cruel wound that Ulick O'More should, of all men, have
turned it into ridicule. What would be the effect on her?
In process of time Mr. Kendal returned. 'Albinia,' he said, 'this is
a most unfortunate affair. He is perfectly impracticable, insists on
starting for Paris to-morrow, and I verily believe he will.'
'She is in such distress, that I could not bear to look at her, but
he will not attend to her, nor to his uncle and aunt. Mrs. Dusautoy
proposed that they should come to the vicarage, where there would be
no danger of collisions with Maurice; but his mind can admit no idea
but that he has been insulted, and that we encourage it, and he
thinks his dignity concerned in resenting it.'
'Not much dignity in being driven off the field by a child of six
'So his aunt told him, but he mixes it up with O'More, and insists on
my complaining to Mr. Goldsmith, and getting the lad dismissed for a
libellous caricaturist, as he calls it. Now, little as I should have
expected such conduct from O'More, it could not be made a ground of
complaint to his uncle.'
'I should think not. No one with more wit than Algernon would have
dreamt of it! But if Ulick came and apologized? Ah! but I forgot!
Mr. Goldsmith sent him to London this morning. Well, it may be
better that he should be out of the way of Algernon in his present
'Humph!' said Mr. Kendal. 'It is the first time I ever allowed a
stranger to be intimate in my family, and it shall be the last. I
never imagined him aware of the circumstance.'
'Nor I; I am sure none of us mentioned it.'
'Maurice told him, I suppose. It is well that we should be aware who
has instigated the child's impertinence. I shall keep him as much as
possible with me; he must be cured of Irish brogue and Irish coolness
before they are confirmed.'
Mr. Kendal's conscience was evidently relieved by transferring to the
Irishman the imputation of fostering Maurice's malpractices.
They were interrupted by Lucy's arrival. She was come to take leave
of home, for her lord was not to be dissuaded from going to London by
the evening's train. The greater the consternation, the sweeter his
revenge. Never able to see more than one side of a question, he
could not perceive how impossible it was for the Kendals to fulfil
his condition with regard to Ulick O'More, and he sullenly adhered to