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Produced by Daniel Fromont




Susan Warner, 1819-1885 & Anna Warner 1824-1915, Wych Hazel
(1876), Putnam's edition 1888




_Wych Hazel_ seen by _The Atlantic monthly_, Volume 38, Issue 227,
September 1876, pp. 368-369

"It may well be questioned whether the authors of the _Wide,
Wide World_ have added to their fame by this new novel. In the
first place, the story it tells is one of no marked merit or
originality, and the way in which it is told is in the highest
degree crabbed and unintelligible. There is such an air of
pertness about every one of the speakers, and the story is
told almost entirely by means of conversations, that the
reader gets the impression that all the characters are
referring to jests known only to themselves, as if he were
overhearing private conversations. As may be imagined, this
scrappy way of writing soon becomes very tiresome from the
difficulty the reader has in detecting the hidden meaning of
these curt sentences. The book tells the love of Rollo for
Wych Hazel, and indulges in gentle satire against parties,
round dances, etc. The love-story is made obscure, Rollo's
manners are called Spanish, and he is in many ways a peculiar
young man. We seem to be dealing much more with notes for a
novel than with the completed product."




WORKS BY


SUSAN AND ANNA WARNER.


WYCH HAZEL. Large 12mo, cloth extra $1 75

"If more books of this order were produced, it would elevate
the tastes and increase the desire for obtaining a higher
order of literature." - _The Critic_.

"We can promise every lover of fine fiction a wholesome feast
in the book." - _Boston Traveller_.


THE GOLD OF CHICKAREE. Large 12mo, cloth extra $1 75

"It would be impossible for these two sisters to write
anything the public would not care to read." - _Boston
Transcript_.

"The plot is fresh, and the dialogue delightfully vivacious."
- _Detroit Free Press_.


DIANA. 12mo, cloth $1 75

"For charming landscape pictures, and the varied influences of
nature, for analysis of character, and motives of action, we
have of late seen nothing like it." - _The Christian Register_.

" 'Diana' will be eagerly read by the author's large circle of
admirers, who will rise from its perusal with the feeling that
it is in every prospect worthy of her reputation." - _Boston
Traveller_.




WYCH HAZEL


BY


SUSAN AND ANNA WARNER

AUTHORS OF "WIDE, WIDE WORLD," "DIANA," "THE GOLD OF
CHICKAREE," ETC.


NEW YORK & LONDON

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

The Knickerbocker Press

1888


COPYRIGHT BY

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

1876


CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I. MR. FALKIRK


CHAPTER II. BEGINNING A FAIRY TALE


CHAPTER III. CORNER OF A STAGE-COACH


CHAPTER IV. FELLOW-TRAVELLERS


CHAPTER V. IN THE FOG


CHAPTER VI. THE RED SQUIRREL


CHAPTER VII. SMOKE


CHAPTER VIII. THE MILL FLOOR


CHAPTER IX. CATS


CHAPTER X. CHICKAREE


CHAPTER XI. VIXEN


CHAPTER XII. AT DR. MARYLAND'S


CHAPTER XIII. THE GREY COB


CHAPTER XIV. HOLDING COURT


CHAPTER XV. TO MOSCHELOO


CHAPTER XVI. FISHING


CHAPTER XVII. ENCHANTED GROUND


CHAPTER XVIII. COURT IN THE WOODS


CHAPTER XIX. SELF-CONTROL


CHAPTER XX. BOUQUETS


CHAPTER XXI. MOONSHINE


CHAPTER XXII. A REPORT


CHAPTER XXIII. KITTY FISHER


CHAPTER XXIV. THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS


CHAPTER XXV. IN THE GERMAN


CHAPTER XXVI. IN THE ROCKAWAY


CHAPTER XXVII. THE GERMAN AT OAK HILL


CHAPTER XXVIII. BREAKFAST FOR THREE


CHAPTER XXIX. JEANNIE DEANS


CHAPTER XXX. THE WILL


CHAPTER XXXI. WHOSE WILL?


CHAPTER XXXII. CAPTAIN LANCASTER'S TEAM


CHAPTER XXXIII. HITS AT CROQUET


CHAPTER XXXIV. FRIENDLY TONGUES


CHAPTER XXXV. FIGURES AND FAVOURS


CHAPTER XXXVI. THE RUNAWAY


CHAPTER XXXVII. IN A FOG


CHAPTER XXXVIII. DODGING


CHAPTER XXXIX. A COTTON MILL


CHAPTER XL. SOMETHING NEW


CHAPTER XLI. A LESSON


CHAPTER XLII. STUDY






CHAPTER I.

MR. FALKIRK.


"We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing."


When one has in charge a treasure which one values greatly,
and which, if once made known one is pretty sure to lose, I
suppose the impulse of most men would be towards a hiding-
place. So, at any rate, felt one of the men in this history.
Schools had done their secluding work for a time; tutors and
governors had come and gone under an almost Carthusian vow of
silence, except as to their lessons; and now with seventeen
years of inexperience on his hands, Mr. Falkirk's sensations
were those of the man out West, who wanted to move off
whenever another man came within twenty miles of him.

Thus, in the forlorn hope of a retreat which yet he knew must
prove useless, Mr. Falkirk let the first March winds blow him
out of town; and at this present time was snugly hid away in a
remote village which nobody ever heard of, and where nobody
ever came.

So far so good: Mr. Falkirk rested and took breath.
Nevertheless the spring came, even there; and following close
in her train, the irrepressible conflict. Whoever succeeded in
running away from his duties - or his difficulties? There was a
flutter of young life within doors as without, and Mr. Falkirk
knew it: there were a hundred rills of music, a thousand
nameless flowers to which he could not close his senses. There
was a soft, indefinable stir and sweetness, that told of the
breaking of Winter bonds and the coming of Summer glories; and
he could not stay the progress of things in the one case more
than in the other.

Mr. Falkirk had always taken care of this girl - the few years
before his guardianship were too dim to look back to much.
From the day when she, a suddenly orphaned child, stood
frightened and alone among strangers, and he came in and took
her on his knee, and bade her "be a woman, and be brave." That
was his ideal of womanhood, - to that combination of strength
and weakness he had tried to bring Wych Hazel.

Yet though she had grown up in Mr. Falkirk's company, she
never thoroughly understood him: nature and circumstances had
made him a reserved man, - and her eyes were young. Of a piece
with his reserve was the peculiar fence of separation which he
built up between all his own concerns and those of his ward.
He was poor - she had a more than ample fortune; yet no
persuading would make him live with her. Had he been rich,
perhaps she might have lived with him; but as it was, unless
when lodgings were the rule, they lived in separate houses;
only his was always close at hand. Even when his ward was a
little child, living at Chickaree with her nurses and
housekeeper, Mr. Falkirk never spent a night in the house. He
formally bought and paid for a tiny cottage on the premises,
and there he lived: nothing done without his knowledge,
nothing undone without his notice. Not a creature came or went
unperceived by Mr. Falkirk. And yet this supervision was
generally pleasant. As he wrought, nothing had the air of
espionage - merely of care; and so I think, Wych Hazel liked it,
and felt all the more free for all sorts of undertakings,
secured against consequences. Sometimes, indeed, his quick
insight was so astonishing to the young mischief-maker, that
she was ready to cry out treachery! - and the suspected person
in this case was always Gotham. Yet when she charged upon
Gotham some untimely frost which had nipped her budding plans,
Gotham always replied -

'No, Miss 'Azel. I trust my 'onor is sufficient in his
respect.'

She and Gotham had a singular sort of league, - defensive of Mr.
Falkirk, offensive towards each other. She teased him, and
Gotham bore it mastiff-wise; shaking his head, and wincing,
and when he could bear it no longer going off. Wych Hazel? -
yes, she was that.

And how did she win her name? Well, in the first place, "the
nut-browne mayd" and she were near of kin. But whether her
parents, as they looked into the baby's clear dark eyes, saw
there anything weird or elfish, - or whether the name 'grew,' - of
that there remains no record. She had been a pretty quiet
witch hitherto; but now -

"Once git a scent o' musk into a drawer,
And it clings hold, like precerdents in law!"

- not Mr. Falkirk could get it out.


CHAPTER II.

BEGINNING A FAIRY TALE.


'Mr. Falkirk, I _must_ go and seek my fortune!'

Wych Hazel made this little remark, sitting on a low seat by
the fire, her arms crossed over her lap.

'Wherefore?' said her guardian.

'Because I want to, sir. I have no other than a woman's
reason.'

'The most potent of reasons!' said Mr. Falkirk. 'The rather,
because while professing to have no root, it hath yet a dozen.
How long ago did Jack show his lantern, my dear?'

'Lantern!' said the girl, rather piqued, - adding, under her
breath, 'I'm going to follow - Jack or no Jack! Why, Mr.
Falkirk, I never got interested a bit in a fairy tale, till I
came to - "And so they set out to seek their fortune." It's my
belief that I belong in a fairy tale somewhere.'

'Like enough,' said her guardian shortly.

'So you see it all fits,' said Wych Hazel, studying her future
fortunes in the fire.

'What fits?'

'My going to seek what I am sure to find.'

'That will ensure your missing what is coming to find you.'

'People in fairy tales never wait to see what will come, sir.'

'But, my dear, there is a difficulty in this case. Your
fortune is made already.'

'Provokingly true, sir. But after all, Mr. Falkirk, I was not
thinking of money.'

'A settlement, eh?' said Mr. Falkirk. 'My dear, when the
prince is ready, the fairy will bring him.'

'Now, Mr. Falkirk,' said the girl, with her cheeks aglow, 'you
know perfectly well I was not thinking of _that_.'

'Will you please to specify of what you were thinking, Miss
Hazel?'

Miss Hazel leaned her head on her hand and reflected.

'I don't believe I can, sir. It was a kind of indefinite
fortune, - a whole windfall of queer adventures and people and
things.'

Mr. Falkirk at this turned round from his papers and looked at
the girl. It was a pretty vision that he saw, and he regarded
it somewhat steadily; with a little break of the line of the
lips that yet was not merriment.

'My dear,' he said gravely, 'such birds seldom fly alone in a
high wind.'

'Well, sir, never mind. Could you be ready by Thursday, Mr.
Falkirk?'

'For what, Miss Hazel?'

'Dear me!' said the girl with a soft breath of impatience. 'To
set out, sir. I think I shall go then, and I wanted to know if
I am to have the pleasure of your company.'

'Do _I_ look like a fairy tale?' said Mr. Falkirk.

He certainly did not! A keen eye for practical realities, a
sober good sense that never lost its foothold of common
ground, were further unaccompanied by the graces and charms
wherewith fairy tales delight to deck their favourites.
Besides which, Mr. Falkirk probably knew what his fortune was
already, for the grey was abundantly mingled with the brown in
his eyebrows and hair. However, to do Miss Hazel's guardian
justice, if his face was not gracious, it was at least in some
respects fine. A man always to be respected, easily to be
loved, sat there at the table, at his papers.

As for the little 'nut-browne mayd' who studied destiny in the
fire, she merely glanced up at him in answer to this appeal;
and with a shake of the head as if fairy tales and he were
indeed hopelessly disconnected, returned to her musings. Then
suddenly burst forth -

'I am so puzzled about the colour of my new travelling dress!
"Contrasts," and "harmonies," and all that stuff, belong to
the pink and white people. But pink and brown - Mr. Falkirk, do
you suppose I can find anything browner than myself, that will
set me off, and do? - I can't travel in gold colour.'

'You want to have as much as possible the effect of a picture
in a frame?'

'Not at all, sir. That is just what I want to avoid. The dress
should be a part of the picture.'

'I don't doubt it will be!' said Mr. Falkirk sighing. 'Before
you set out, my dear, had you not better invest your property?
so that you could live upon the gathered interest if the
capital should fail.'

'I thought it was invested?' said the girl, looking up.

'Only a part of it,' replied Mr. Falkirk. 'Nothing but your
money.'

'Nothing but!' said Wych Hazel. 'Why what more have I, Mr.
Falkirk?'

'A young life,' said her guardian, - 'a young and warm heart, -
good looks, an excellent constitution, a head and hands that
might do much. To which I might add, - an imagination.'

'My dear Mr. Falkirk,' said the girl laughing, 'I shall want
them all to pay my travelling expenses. All but the last - and
that is invested already, to judge by the interest.'

He smiled, a shaded smile, such as he often wore when she
danced away from his grave suggestions. He never pursued her.
But when she added,

'After all, sir, investments are your affair,' -

'My dear,' he said, 'a woman's jewels are in her own keeping -
unless indeed God keep them. Yet let her remember that they
are not hers to have and to hold, but to have and to use; a
mere life interest - nor always that.'

And then for a while silence fell.

'Will you think me _very_ extravagant if I get a new travelling
dress, sir?' the girl began again.

'I have not usually been the guardian of your wardrobe, Miss
Hazel.'

'No, sir, of course; but I wanted your opinion. You gave one
about my jewels. And by the way, Mr. Falkirk, won't you just
tell me the list over again?'

Mr. Falkirk turned round and bent his brows upon Wych Hazel
now, but without speaking.

'Well, sir?' she repeated, looking up at him, 'what are they,
if you please?'

'Two brilliants of the first water,' replied Mr. Falkirk
looking down into her eyes. 'To which some people add, two
fine bits of sardius.'

'And which some people say are set in bronze,' - said the young
lady, but with a pretty little laugh and flush.

'Where do you propose the search should begin?' said the
gentleman, disregarding this display.

'At Chickaree, sir. I should go down there at once, and so
start from home in proper style.'

'And your plan of operations?' pursued Mr. Falkirk.

'Perfectly simple, sir. Of two roads I should always take the
most difficult, and so on - ad infinitum.'

'Perfectly simple, indeed,' said Mr. Falkirk. 'Yet it might
lead to a complication. I'm afraid it would prove a Western
line of travel, my dear - end in a squirrel track, and run up a
tree.'

'What a lookout we shall have!' said Wych Hazel. 'But about
the dress, Mr. Falkirk - you know my last one is quite new - and I
do so want another!'

'Then get it,' he said with a smile. 'Though I am afraid, my
dear, it is hardly in keeping. Quickear began the search in
rags, and Cincerella in ashes, and the "Fair one with the
golden locks" had, I think, no other adornment. Puss in boots
was indeed new rigged - but Puss was only a deputy. What do you
say to sending me forth in boots, to seek a fortune for you?'

An irrepressible laugh rippled forth - sweet and sound, and, oh,
so heartwhole!

'Let me see,' she said; 'To-day is Monday. To-morrow I will
get the dress and distract my dressmaker. And next Monday we
will set out, and take Chickaree for our first stage. My dear
Mr. Falkirk - most potent, grave, and reverend sir, - if you sally
forth as Puss in boots, of course I shall at once turn into
the Marquis of Carrabas, which would not suit your notions at
all - confess!' she added, locking both hands round his arm, and
flashing the brilliants before his eyes.

'Next Monday we will take the first stage for Chickaree,' said
Mr. Falkirk in an unmoved manner. 'How many servants in your
train, Miss Hazel?'

'None, sir. Mrs. Bywank is there already, and Mrs. Saddler can
"forward" me "with care." I'll pick up a new maid by the way.'

'Will you pick up a page too? or does Dingee keep his place?'

'If he can be said to have one. O, Dingee, of course.'

'Wych Hazel,' said Mr. Falkirk from under his brows, 'what is
your plan? - if you are capable of such a thing.'

'My plan is to unfold my capabilities, sir, - for your express
benefit, Mr. Falkirk. We will beat the bush in every
direction, and run down any game that offers.'

Mr. Falkirk turned his chair half away, and looked into the
fire. Then slowly, but with every effect of expression, he
repeated, -


'A creature bounced from the bush,
Which made them all to laugh,
"My lord," he cried, "A hare! a hare!"
But it proved an Essex calf.'


'Yes,' said Wych Hazel with excellent coolness, - 'men do make
such little mistakes, occasionally. But this time I shall be
along. Good night, sir.'


CHAPTER III.

CORNER OF A STAGE COACH


'Miss Hazel! - Dear Miss Hazel! - Dear _me_, Miss Hazel! - here's the
morning, ma'am, - and Gotham, and Mr. Falkirk!'

So far the young eyes unclosed as to see that they could see
nothing - unless the flame of a wind-tossed candle, - then with a
disapproving frown they closed again.

'But Miss Hazel?' remonstrated Mrs. Saddler.

'Well?' said Wych Hazel with closed eyes.

'Mr. Falkirk's dressed, ma'am.'

'What is it to me if Mr. Falkirk chooses to get up over
night?'

'But the stage, ma'am!'

'The stage can wait.'

'The stage won't, Miss Hazel,' said Mrs. Saddler, earnestly.
'And Gotham says it's only a question of time whether we can
catch it now.'

Something in these last words had an arousing power, for the
girl laughed out.

'Mrs. Saddler, how _can_ one wake up, with the certainty of
seeing a tallow candle?'

'Dear me,' said Mrs. Saddler hurrying to light two tall
sperms, 'if _that's_ all, Miss Hazel - '

'That's not all. What's the matter with Mr. Falkirk this
morning?'

'Why nothing, ma'am. Only he said you wanted to take the first
stage to Chickaree.'

'Which I didn't, and don't.'

'And Gotham says,' pursued Mrs. Saddler, 'that if it is the
first, ma'am, we'll save a day to get to Chickaree on
Thursday.'

Whereupon, Wych Hazel sprung at once into a state of physical
and mental action which nearly blew Mrs. Saddler away.

'Look,' she said, tossing the curls over her comb, - 'there's my
new travelling dress on the chair.'

'Another new travelling dress!' said Mrs. Saddler with
upraised hands.

'And the hat ribbands match,' said Wych Hazel, 'and the
gloves. And the veil is a shade lighter. Everything matches
everything, and everything matches me. You never saw my match
before, did you Mrs. Saddler?'

'Dear me! Miss Hazel,' said the good woman again. 'You do talk
so wonderful!'

It was splendid to see her look of dismay, and amusement, and
admiration, all in one, and to catch a glimpse of the other
face - fun and mischief and beauty, all in one too! To put on
the new dress, to fit on the new gloves, - Wych Hazel went down
to Mr. Falkirk in admirable spirits.

Mr. Falkirk looked gloomy. As indeed anything might, in that
hall; with the front door standing open, and one lamp burning
till day should come; and the chill air streaming in. Mr.
Falkirk paced up and down with the air of a man prepared for
the worst. He shook Wych Hazel grimly by the hand, and she
laughed out,

'How charming it is, sir? But where's breakfast?'

'Breakfast, Miss Hazel,' said her guardian solemnly, 'is
never, so far as I can learn, taken by people setting out to
seek their fortune. It is generally supposed that such people
rarely have breakfast at all.'

'Very well, sir, - I am ready,' - and in another minute they were
on their way, passing through the street of the little
village, and then out on the open road, until after a half-
hour's drive they entered another small settlement and drew up
before its chief inn. Bustle enough here, - lamps in the hall
and on the steps; lamps in the parlours; lamps running up and
down the yards and road and dimly disclosing the outlines of a
thorough bred stage coach and four horses, with the various
figures pertaining thereto. Steadily the dawn came creeping
up; the morning air - raw and damp - floated off the horses'
tails, and flickered the lights, and even handled Wych Hazel's
new veil. I think nothing but the new travelling dress kept
her from shivering, as they went up the inn steps. People
seeking their fortunes may at least _want_ their breakfast.

But Mr. Falkirk was perverse. As they entered the hall, a
waiter threw open the door into the long breakfast room -
delicious with its fire and lights and coffee - (neither did the
voices sound ill), but Mr. Falkirk stopped short.

'Is that the only fire you've got? I want breakfast in a
private room.'

Now Mr. Falkirk's tone was sometimes one that nobody would
think of answering in words, - of course, the waiter could do
nothing but wheel about and open another door next to the
first.

'Ah!' Mr. Falkirk said with immense satisfaction, as they
stepped in.

'Ah!' - repeated his ward rather mockingly. 'Mr. Falkirk, this
room is cold.'

Mr. Falkirk took the poker and gave the fire such a punch that
it must have blazed uninterruptedly for half a day after.

'Cold, my dear?' he said beamingly - 'no one can be cold long
before such a fire as that. And breakfast will be here in a
moment. If it comes before I get back, don't wait for me. How
well your dress looks!'

'And I? - Mr. Falkirk,' said Wych Hazel.

'Why that's a matter of taste, my dear, of course. Some people
you know are partial to black eyes - which yours are not. Others
again - Ah, here is breakfast, - Now my dear, eat as much as you
can, - you know we may not have any breakfast to-morrow. On a
search after fortune, you never can tell.'

And helping her to an extraordinary quantity of everything on
the tray, Mr. Falkirk at once went off and left her to dispose
of it all alone. And of course he went straight into the next
room. Didn't she know he would? - and didn't she hear the duo
that greeted him? - 'What, Mr. Falkirk!' - 'Sir, your most
obedient!' - and her guardian's double reply - 'Back again, eh?' -
and 'Your most obedient, Mr. Kingsland.' Wych Hazel felt
provoked enough not to eat another mouthful. Then up came the
stage, rumbling along to the front door; and as it came, in
rushed Mr. Falkirk, poured out a cup of scalding coffee and
swallowed it without a moment's hesitation.

'Coach, sir!' said the waiter opening the door.

'Coach, my dear?' repeated her guardian, taking her arm and
whisking her down the hall and into the stage, before the
passengers in the long room could have laid down their knives.

'What is the use of being in such a hurry, Mr. Falkirk?' she
said at last; much tried at being tossed gently into the stage
like a brown parcel - (which to be sure she was, but that made
no difference).

'My dear,' said Mr. Falkirk, solemnly, "there is a tide in the
affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to
fortune.' "

And with that he drew off his glove, leaned back, and passed
his hand over his brow with the air of a man who had in some
shape achieved success.

By this time the stream of passengers began to pour forth; and
the coach creaked and swung to and fro, as trunk after trunk
and man after man found their way up to the roof. Then the
door was flung open, and other passengers tumbled in, the
lantern flashing dimly upon their faces and coats. Three and
three more, - and another, but his progress was stayed.

'Not in here, sir,' said Mr. Falkirk politely, 'I have paid
for three seats.'

'There ain't another seat,' says the driver, - 'and he ain't a
big man, sir - guess maybe you'll let him have a corner - we'll
make it all right, sir.' He had a corner, - and so did our
heroine! The new dress! Never mind; the sooner this went the
sooner she would get another. And they rolled off, sweetly and
silently, upon the country road. The morning was lovely. Light
scarfs of fog floated about the mountain tops, light veils of
cloud just mystified the sky; the tree-tops glittered with
dew, the birds flew in and out; and through an open corner of
her leathern curtain Wych Hazel peered out, gazing at the new
world wherein she was going to seek her fortune.

'Spend the Summer at Chickaree, Mr. Falkirk?' said a voice
from the further end of the coach. Wych Hazel drew in her head
and her attention, and sat back to listen.

'I did not say I was going there,' said her guardian dryly.

'Two and two make four, my good sir. There's not even a sign
of a place of entertainment between Stone Bridge and Crocus,
and Stone Bridge you have confessed to.'

'You consider places of entertainment among the essentials
then?'

'Why, in some cases,' said the gentleman, with a suspicious
glance at Wych Hazel's brown veil.

'How long is it since you were there, Mr. Falkirk?' inquired



Online LibrarySusan WarnerWych Hazel → online text (page 1 of 33)