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were shut against him, he felt humiliated, as
though the place had passed away from him for-
ever. He had actually lain down to sleep at the
side of the ditch, like any vagrant, and lo! he had
awakened for this this sense of having achieved
all that man could hope to achieve in the world
this sense of glory and rapture.

It was like a fairy story realised. The young
prince, being thrust out of his kingdom by
strangers, and being found asleep on the dusty
roadside by a princess, who brought him to her
palace, made him sit on the throne beside her, and
endowed him with more than half her kingdom,
and with all herself as well.

It took him some time to recover from the ex-
citement that his vivid fancy had caused him,
and to think of his actual position at that moment.
He knew that the Chaworths were relations of his
own, how far distant he could not tell. At any
rate, it was sufficiently close to have made a visit
from Mrs. Chaworth and her daughter to his



Love Alone Is Lord 75

mother obligatory, when they were in London
several years before, while he was yet a child;
and it was sufficiently distant to save the need
for any exchange of visits between the two
families -when his mother came to live at South-
well, fourteen or fifteen miles from Annesley
Hall. He recollected his mother's pointing out
the entrance to the Hall to him when they drove
past one afternoon during the previous summer.
She had told him that the Chaworths, who were
his cousins, lived there, and that they were too
proud to own the relationship, though they had
visited her in London.

He had thought no more about the Chaworths
at that time, only reserving to himself the right
to think that the ladies of the family showed a
certain amount of wisdom and discrimination in
refraining from pressing on his mother their claim
to regard her as one of the family. He knew that
no one had ever known his mother as a friend
without living to regret it.

Young as he was, he had experience enough of
his mother to refuse to take the pride of the
Chaworths as proved on the evidence which she
had brought forward to sustain her assertion.
And now he was glad that he had not done them
such an injustice. Pride? It did not show much
pride on their part to pick him up from the road-
side and take him home with them in their coach,
in spite of his rags and his begrimed condition.

And at this point of his reflections the weight



76 Love Alone Is Lord

of the thought that he had nothing to put on his
limbs except those same rags pressed him down
into his bed again. He thought of pleading sick-
ness intolerable weariness any excuse would
be sufficient to save him from the intolerable
humiliation of appearing before Mary Chaworth
in those rags.

And then his door was knocked at, and Mr.
Chaworth 's man entered the room with a port-
manteau, and with Mr. Chaworth 's compliments
to his lordship, to inform his lordship that he had
given directions to one of the grooms to ride to
Southwell for a fresh suit of his lordship's clothes,
and the man had just returned with the portman-
teau, and would his lordship care to rise, or prefer
to have luncheon in his lordship's room.

His lordship's heart rose at the sight of his
portmanteau and a knowledge of its contents.
But as the man approached the bed, there came
to his lordship the dreadful thought that he
might see the sheet of paper on which the verses
were scrawled. What if the valet were to get it
in his hands and fling it away, believing it to be
worthless! Byron had a man's dread of new
valets. He felt very humble in the presence of
Mr. Chaworth 's man, and he knew that he would
be powerless to save the document from destruc-
tion if the man had a mind to destroy it.

He temporised with him in order to get the
paper into his hands once more, and effectively
concealed; but a strange valet is inexorable as



Love Alone Is Lord 77

Fate. He seems to perceive every attempt that
may be made to compel him to keep his distance.
His eyes are watchful. This man might have
entered the room solely for the purpose of getting
within reach of the manuscript. He would not
leave the room to find out what o'clock it was;
he had announced the hour to be half -past eleven.
He would not even carry the portmanteau across
the room to the small table where his lordship
suggested it might be unpacked. There was a
stand quite close to the bed, he explained quite
respectfully. Would he be pleased to close the
window, Lord Byron asked in despair. When
the man went to the window his lordship threw
the coverlet over the paper, and then suffered
himself to be led to the dressing-room, where a
bath was awaiting him.

When he returned to the bedroom, he found
the manuscript neatly smoothed out and laid on
the table with a paper weight preventing the
possibility of its being blown away by a draught.
The valet was certainly a most valuable servant,
and Lord Byron feared to meet his eyes for the
rest of the morning.

But, clad in the attire for which Mr. Chaworth
had been thoughtful enough to send to Southwell,
he felt a good deal less shy in making his appear-
ance in the breakfast-room than he had been on
his arrival at the Hall. He had his thanks to offer
to Mr. Chaworth for his kindness in the matter of
the portmanteau ; but Mary affirmed that he had



78 Love Alone Is Lord

looked infinitely more picturesque in his old
clothes yes, much more like a gipsy vagrant
than he did now, when he looked as common-
place as an ordinary English gentleman.

" If that is so, it is a more complete disguise for
me than the other," said Byron. "I sometimes
feel as one might expect a gipsy vagrant to feel,
but never as an English gentleman."

" You must possess something of the adroitness
of the character in which you appeared when we
came upon you, if you managed to sup within
reasonable distance of Newstead," said Mr.
Chaworth.

Byron felt that this was an invitation to him
to narrate his adventures of the night; but he
did not wish to run a chance of being thought a
fool by talking about the cottage hidden among
the trees of his park. He asked Mr. Chaworth
if there was not a man named Vince in the
neighbourhood.

Mr. Chaworth raised his eyebrows.

"I had not thought of Vince," said he. "You
came upon Vince in the course of your adven-
tures? But if you supped at his cottage, why
did you not sleep there also?"

Byron showed himself to be ill at ease at the
question, and Mrs. Chaworth tactfully broke in
on the conversation.

" If you were on the road shortly before mid-
night, you may be able to say if our people were
talking nonsense when they affirm that the stars



Love Alone Is Lord 79

left their places in the sky and kept tumbling to
and fro for an hour," said she.

" T is the rascals themselves who were doing
the tumbling about, I dare swear," said her hus-
band. " 'T is your drunken rogue who declares
with vehemence that everyone about him nay,
the houses and the King's highway itself are in
a condition of melancholy instability."

"But last night the thing happened," said
Byron. " I do not suppose that such a thing
ever happened in the world before, but I saw it
with my eyes from the ridge of the hill near a wind-
mill. The night was, as you know, very dark,
and there was only a breath of air now and again."

"We should know; we were nearly stifled in
the coach on our way to the Stapyltons' ball,"
said Mr. Chaworth. " But you amaze me."

" I saw two stars moving side by side across the
sky," said Byron, "and then, by slow degrees, the
sky became alive with little trailing comets, some
tiny as stars, others larger than any planet, and
brighter the whole universe seemed to be pulsat-
ing stars flying, shooting, sparkling, quivering,
glowing stars a beautiful sight."

"Amazing!" cried Mr. Chaworth.

"And you could watch it without feeling sure
that the world was coming to an end," said Mary.
"Why, if I had had a glimpse of such a thing, I
should have "

" Put off even the most ardent partner for your
next dance ay, for a quarter of an hour or so,"



8o Love Alone Is Lord

said her father. " If the world were actually
coining to an end, you would feel that you must
increase the tempo of the waltz or you would not
be able to get through it in time. By my soul, I
believe that, if the news came during a ball that
the world was coming to an end, some of you girls
would reserve a dance or two on the chance of
having as partner the strong angel seen by St.
John."

"And you if there was a Nottingham squire
at hand, he would lose no moment in trying to get
the better of the angel on the white horse by selling
him another to make up a match pair to go in
double harness," cried Mary. But at an ex-
clamation of reproof from her mother, she has-
tened to ask her pardon.

" I did not mean to be irreverent, even for the
sake of being in the company of papa," she said.
"And what did you really think of that wonder,
Cousin Byron?" she added, turning to the boy
who had been interrupted in his narrative.

" Oh, Byron had only an idea that the stars were
falling from the heaven to warn him that he would
have a tumble before morning," laughed the father.
"Now, is not that the truth, Byron?"

Byron laughed also, a little uneasily.

" I do not say that, for a moment, something
like that only for a moment, mind afterwards,
what I thought was, how paltry man is, what a
humble place this world of ours is!" he said.

" Please do not say this world of ours, my dear



Love Alone Is Lord 81

Byron," said Mrs. Chaworth gently. "The earth
is not man's, but God's the earth and the fulness
thereof. We are only tenants at will. That
should be the lesson of the stars."

" True, my dear, quite true," said Mr. Chaworth.
" Our tenure is of the most insecure. Was not
Byron thrown from his horse? When that could
happen, where is stability to be found? By the
way, how did it happen, Byron?"

Byron explained how the great meteor, breath-
ing flame like a fiery flying dragon, and hissing its
way through the sky, ending in a burst of celestial
artillery, had been too much for the horse's nerves,
and how, after carrying him with a rush through
the trees that had turned his coat into rags, it had
charged the gate and thrown him among the
foliage that overhung the wall at Newstead. His
account of the blunderbuss practice of the butler
caretaker did not spare himself ; but he was care-
ftil not to touch upon his offended dignity. Some-
how the attitude of sombre dignity which at night
seems to be striking, bears quite another aspect
when viewed over the cheerful expanse of a break-
fast table, especially when a girl with a strong
sense of the ludicrous is at one side, and a gentle-
man with a turn for sarcasm is at the other. He
knew that they would not have laughed had he
told them how he pulled the hall bell imperiously,
and then commanded the attendance of the ser-
vants by the announcement, " I am Lord Byron,"
no, they would not have laughed; they would



82 Love Alone Is Lord

have laboriously refrained from laughter, and
that would have been still harder for him to bear.
He spoke of the martial weapon with the negro
lips at the window, and then of the timely arrival
of that Mr. Vince, and of the armistice which had
been arranged by the interposition of this tactful
neutral. Then he paused.

"You mentioned that you supped at the cot-
tage," said Mr. Chaworth. Would it be too
curious on my part were I to ask you why you
preferred the roadside to Vince's sofa?"

" No, no ; that would be like looking a gift horse
in the mouth," said Mary. "No, we should be
quite content with the course of circumstances
which gave us a chance of meeting and greeting
our cousin, without seeking to pry into first
causes."

She looked smilingly toward Byron, but the
eyes that met hers were not smiling; they were
adoring; she was conscious of a little shock, so
expressive were they of deep feeling more than
that of rapture. She had a maiden's fright for
a moment, half a dozen quick heart beats; and
a quick indrawing of breath. She had never be-
fore seen such an expression in human eyes so
beautiful so full of tenderness of passionate
devotion.

And then Byron looked down, his long lashes
falling on his cheeks, and the curls that had been
on his forehead slipping down almost to his eye-
brows. His face was glowing, his sensitive white



Love Alone Is Lord 83

skin being so transparent as to show the suffusion
beneath.

" I have no doubt that Vince was as sardonic as
usual," said Mr. Chaworth. "He would not be
likely to miss the opportunity of affronting the
representative of the Byrons. We will not ask
you if you found his insolence at last unendurable,
my boy; if you did, you only followed the ex-
ample of everyone who has come in contact with
the man."

" This is what happened," said Byron. " I had
no idea who the man was how could I have ever
heard his name? Indeed, I felt sympathy for
him when he told me of his position; I was pre-
pared to make allowances; but he said too much
for anyone to bear. How could I have any re-
spect for my grand-uncle? I did not mind greatly
what he said about him, but I could not hear a
stranger speak as he did of my own father; I
could not hear him assure me of the certainty of
my going headlong to perdition, because of the
sins of my ancestors. It may have been foolish
of me, but looking at him, seeing his curious
likeness to my father, I felt for the moment that
I was in the presence of some power of evil,
something with a horrible skill in spells I have
heard of them in Scotland, though some people
say they do not exist."

"And so you thought it prudent to get away
while there was yet time?" said Mr. Chaworth.
" You are not to blame, and assuredly we here are



84 Love Alone Is Lord

not likely to blame you, since, as Mary said, your
contretemps in the cottage was the means of
making us acquainted; of course, we must have
come together before long, being kinsmen; but
for the shortening of that space of time we are
really grateful to Mr. Vince. He will find himself
run through the vitals some day through making
too free use of that venomous tongue of his. He
speaks vitriol. I have heard it said that he writes
for the reviews into the bargain."

"So bad as that?" said Mary.

"Perhaps I slander him; but that is general
report," replied her father. " He was established
in the cottage by your grand-uncle, and provided
with a small competency. He is said to be
educated."

" He took no trouble to find out where I went
when I left him," said Byron. " I had only gone
thirty or forty yards away from the place when I
turned to look back on it. It had disappeared.
You should have heard the way he laughed when
he lay back in his chair and heard what I had to
say. You would not think me a fool for having
that fancy that he was a demon."

" Perhaps he fancied that you were one when
he heard all that you had to say," remarked Mary
slyly. "But how could the cottage disappear?
Is the man really in league with the Evil One?"

"It may only be with the editor of the Quar-
terly; but that would be sufficient grounds for the
supposition. Of the two, I think that I should



Love Alone Is Lord 85

prefer the well, I will not say which monster of
the two," said Mr. Chaworth.

It appeared that the Quarterly Review had taken
up a different stand from that of Mr. Chaworth in
discussing the Westminster election.

And all this time no question was asked of By-
ron respecting his reasons for suddenly leaving
his mother's house, nor had a word been spoken
on the subject of his return to Southwell. He
somehow had a feeling that everyone suspected
the truth. There were very few people in the
neighbourhood of Mrs. Byron who remained in
ignorance of the quality of her temper.

Byron himself was not greatly concerned about
his mother ; he would have been quite content to
pay a long visit to his kinsfolk; but his mother
was greatly concerned about him. She arrived
at Annesley Hall early in the afternoon, driving
the fourteen miles from Southwell in a decayed
chariot which she had bought for a trifle at a sale.
The horses were such as might be expected to
deal tenderly with the vehicle. They were bor-
rowed (with the coachman) from a friendly
farmer, who looked forward to a renewal of his
lease on easy terms when Mrs. Byron's son should
enter on his inheritance.

Could there have been a more devoted mother?
She threw her arms around her beloved boy and
held him close to her ample form, her beady
eyes showing all white while she turned them to-
ward the ceiling exclamations soaring from the



86 Love Alone Is Lord

hollows of motherly huskiness into a quavering
falsetto of maternal emotion! Her boy her be-
loved Byron what a night she had passed!
Would anyone be cruel enough to blame her?
Mrs. Chaworth knew what 't was to be a mother.
Only a mother could understand a mother's feel-
ings. And when Farmer Fuggle had talked to
Miller Rankin over the cap which he had found
among the trees at Ash Knoll, they brought it to
her in the early morning to ask her if she could
recognise it as his lordship's; and before they
had left the house, Farmer Britain had come with
an account of his lordship's horse, dead, with a
broken blood-vessel, at the gate was it strange
that she was on the verge of distraction? Again
Mrs. Chaworth was appealed to in the sacred name
of mother.

So the detestable comedy of questions that
were not meant to be answered of upturned
eyes of grotesque gratitude to Heaven and Mr.
Chaworth for having relieved her horrible sus-
pense through the agency of a groom asking for
a portmanteau of rapturous, bubbling kisses
sprawling over the unhappy son's cheek, went on;
and the raucous accent of the Highland Gordons
stamped with clattering feet from phrase to
phrase, and the small, fat face became redder and
fatter, not without a suspicion of beads of dew,
for with such there is no such sudorific as emotion.
She was an emotional gymnast; an emotional
acrobat, who turned and twisted and gyrated to



Love Alone Is Lord 87

excess, believing that she accomplished all that
she meant to accomplish ; believing that she was
drawing tears from all eyes that watched her, be-
cause tears were in her own. She was thoroughly
sincere for the moment and inexhaustibly
ridiculous.

Her son, struggling to be released from her
sudden embrace, knew that everyone in the
room was inwardly laughing, though not a facial
muscle moved. His mother would not let him
stir ; she was well aware of the fact that he was a
part of the picture. In the group entitled The
Return of the Prodigal, the son is an important
figure. She could not spare her darling Byron,
whom she had attacked the day before with a
pair of tongs, and then with the more formidable
weapon, her tongue. Between tongue and tongs
her beloved son, who, she now thanked Heaven
(with circulating white eye-balls) was spared to
her, had had some exciting moments, but then
he had the power to fly, whereas now he was held
to a billowy bosom, and compelled to participate
in the mechanics of its rapture, as a shallop sways
in the control of the waves.

At last the tempest died away in the usual
fashion, with a red-faced sunset, and an occa-
sional sough and sob of subsidence, and a quick-
passing squall with a smart rain of tears.

And still no one at the table so much as
smiled. Byron had never been among such well-
bred people. He was mindful of the "Whisht,



88 Love Alone Is Lord

wumman! " and the " Dinna mak' a fule o' yersel',"
with other frank recommendations, which had
been wont to greet her emotional excesses at
Aberdeen ; for in Aberdeen there was much frank-
ness, and good manners imply dissimulation.
He tried to believe that the Chaworths did not
know all; that they had, by some singular
fatality, failed to hear what everyone else had
heard respecting his mother's temper; but in a
moment the absence of all expression on their
faces told him that they knew nearly as much as
he did. He seated himself in a window, and
stared out at the gardeners sweeping up the
fallen leaves, while his mother was partaking of
cake and wine, flinging herself, so to speak, upon
Mrs. Chaworth, with a complaint about the diffi-
culty of obtaining servants in Southwell, with
instances of ingratitude and insolence, with
statistics of those who had forsaken her service
within a single month some within a single day
one within an hour.

This was dreadful; but before his mother had
gone back to her chariot, it was settled that he
was to extend his visit to Annesley until it was
time for him to go back to Cambridge.

The whole house seemed to utter a sigh of relief
when the foolish woman disappeared a round,
red face peeping, with a strain upon an apoplectic
neck, from the window of the vehicle, and then
suddenly popping into a sort of rabbit-hutch
obscurity.



Love Alone Is Lord 89

In less than half an hour, Mary Chaworth had
made Byron forget that he had a mother in
whose presence the best-intentioned son could
not be neutral when she was determined to obtain
recognition as an absurdity.



CHAPTER VIII

SHE understood him from the first. She
seemed, by exercise of that sympathy which
with some women is an instinct, to be aware of all
that was in his heart his sensitiveness, his pride,
his passion to be distinct from other people, and
not only to be distinct, but to be distinguished as
well, his restlessness, his rebellion against the ex-
isting order of things in the world, if that which
seems to be wholly without order may be so
termed. She scarcely needed that he should
confess anything to her, though the first day that
they were together he was confessing to her as he
had never confessed to anyone else in the world,
his doubts, his aspirations (some of them), his
hatreds. She knew by instinct that he had never
had a chance of talking freely to any woman be-
fore possibly never to any man either. That
was why he was so shy, and appeared to be ill at
ease in the presence of strangers; she felt sure
that he had once or twice been momentarily con-
fidential, and had got laughed at in consequence,
and this was quite true. She knew that he had
never been so happy in all his life as he was when
by her side in the garden, on horseback, in the
music-room. She sometimes wondered if she
herself had ever been so happy.

90



Love Alone Is Lord 91

Of course, he was as a brother to her that was
the thought in which this girl enwrapped herself
as with a robe of cold satin. How could he be
otherwise than a brother to her, a young brother
making the most of his holidays? He was two
years younger than she was, and that meant (she
thought) fully ten in experience of the world. He
had scarcely met a dozen people in the course of
his life; he had never met half that number of
people in his own position in the world; but she
had met hundreds. She had had the experience
of refusing four offers of marriage within the first
year of her leaving the schoolroom; she was the
sole heiress to three magnificent properties. It
never occurred to her that it was possible for a
boy of seventeen to be a man at heart and in the
knowledge of the heart of man, in thought, in
passion. How could it occur to her that the boy
with whom she was associating on a footing of the
most delightful friendship was the one boy of a
century? That he knew by instinct more than
all other men had learned by experience more
than the majority of men learned during the
whole of their lives.

She could not know this; more than once she
was startled by his giving expression to a thought
that was very different from any that would be
likely to come into a boy's mind. Sometimes it
was a thought that seemed to have been inspired
by a cynical observance of the act of a public
man, sometimes one that seemed to come from a



92 Love Alone Is Lord

mocking spirit which was never very far away
from him. But more often she was startled by
the perfect beauty of an idea that seemed to flash
across his mind, and be uttered by him as though
he were not responsible for it. A moment after
such an utterance he would flush as if he were
as greatly surprised as she was at the idea which
had come to him.

Once she said, looking at him in a puzzled way :

" I should like to know if you speak from mem-
ory, Cousin Byron, or if these thoughts simply
come to you. Will you tell me? "

He flushed rosier than before, and replied, not
without a stammer:



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