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her stifle a sigh. Then she turned to him quickly
again, and her mood of melancholy had changed
instantaneously, surprisingly.

"Your promise your promise, Byron," she
said in a breath.

" I have given you my promise, and I mean to
keep it," he said.

"Oh, I don't mean that," she cried almost
petulantly. "I mean the promise you gave me
in the garden I have been thinking about it ever
since the poem you have brought it to me? "

He had actually forgotten for the time that he
had written a poem. And even now, when he
remembered it, it seemed a very small thing com-
pared with the issues of the previous ten minutes.
When the young knight has had his hand on the
grip of his sword, he is not to be blamed if he has
left his lute still hanging on the willow.

" I did not forget that promise ; but the other
is so much greater," said he. "I brought the
paper down with me, and left it in the hall. I
shall fetch it if you wish, but how can you read
it while the echoes of that wonderful song have
scarcely faded away? It will seem very thin
and feeble in comparison."

Love Alone Is Lord 1 1 1

"Quick, quick," she said, pointing toward the
door, and smiling. " Nay, if you are fearful for
the ghostly echoes of The Minstrel, I will go with
you, and we will read it together in the hall."

She put her hand on his arm, and they left the
room together. There was a short passage be-
tween the drawing-room and the hall. It was too
short to have a light of its own. Seeing that the
lamps of the hall were burning dim, they left
the drawing-room door open, so that the il-
lumination from the candles in the chandelier
blazed through the passage. Before they had
taken half a dozen steps toward the hall, there
arose behind them the sound of the shaking of the
drawing-room windows in their frames, as though
struck by a strong gust of wind.

They stopped, startled by the sound.

" The door! " cried Mary, springing back to pre-
vent the slamming of the door which they had
left widely ajar ; she had seen it begin to swing, but
she was too late to hold it back. It slammed with
a tremendous crash, and a clanging of glass and
old china in the many cabinets along the walls of
the room.

Mary gave an exclamation of alarm, but before
the clink of the glass had ceased, there came from
the hall the sound as of the tearing away of the
panelling, and this was followed by a dull crash
that shook the house. A whirl of dust went in
their faces, and the place was plunged in. dark-
ness, the lamps having been blown out, so that

ii2 Love Alone Is Lord

for some time neither Mary nor Byron could know
what had happened.

Then came the voices of servants from across
the hall, the men shouting back for candles, the
maids' shrill and affrighted, the butler only cry-
ing out, not so loud as to be disrespectful, but
still, with a force that suggested the stables:

"Are you there, my lord? Are you safe, Miss
Mary? Lord ha' mercy! Did I hear your voice,
my lord? Be quiet, you unmannerly crew behind
there! I believe 't is his lordship's voice."

" All right, Mayne," Byron sang out. " We are
all right here what has happened can you see? "

"The ceiling has fallen, my lord leastaways,
it sounded like it," said the butler. " Thank God,
Miss Mary was not under it! They 're fetching
candles, my lord! Phew! what a dust!"

Mary had hastened back to the drawing-room
to get lights; she could see that all the candles
had not been extinguished by that. amazing gust.
But Byron was groping his way into the hall
through the dust and debris.

All at once the place was flooded with lights
from both sides. The servants brought lamps,
and Mary was carrying a silver candelabrum.
The lights went in streams through an atmosphere
of dust as if it had been one of fog. With candles
held aloft it was possible within a minute to see
what had happened. The full-length portrait by
Gainsborough which had been hanging in the re-
cess at one side of the first flight of stairs had

Love Alone Is Lord 113

fallen on the floor, the massive wooden frame
tearing away a portion of the oak panel of the wall
in its descent, and overturning the jasper pedestal
with its gilt figure. There the great picture lay
face downward, one edge of the frame resting
where it had swerved in falling, against the oak
banisters a few feet from the floor ; while the light
was shining upon the ormolu of the beautiful Diana,
lying where it had tumbled several yards away.

Jammed between the frame and the jasper
pedestal was the manuscript which Byron had
hidden behind the figure some hours previously.

" 'T was God's mercy that you were sitting
elsewhere, miss, and my lord, too," was the com-
ment of the butler. They were standing about the
fallen picture, servants of all degrees, disregard-
ing precedence under the strain of the catastrophe,
holding candles above their heads like torches;
even Miss Chaworth had not abandoned her
candelabrum. They stood as people stand around
the body of a man who has been killed by acci-
dent. They seemed to be anxious to learn if he
were quite dead. All the rest of the hall was in
gloom. The butler ordered one of the footmen
to re-light the lamps; this was when the effects
of the panic were beginning to wear off. Other
men were told to set the place in order. Byron
rescued his poem.

" What a gust that was I never saw the like !
'T was the gust beyond doubt that did the mis-
chief, if we only knew how," said the housekeeper.


ii4 Love Alone Is Lord

"A gust! 'Twas the hurricane of a moment;
something like a flash of lightning in the form of
a hurricane, if I 'm not speaking too bold," said
the butler.

"I saw no lightning, nor thunder whatsoever,
though there might have been a peal that got lost
in the crash of the picture," said the housekeeper.

" I did n't presume to say there was lightning,
only that the gust had the quickness of lightning
about it, and the blast of a hurricane as well,"
replied the butler. He felt that the woman was
too ready to quibble. Was this a moment for

"We had just left the drawing-room on our
way here; it was the drawing-room door that
slammed, and the next moment came the crash
of the picture," said Miss Chaworth. " I suppose
the slamming of the door had something to do
with the falling of the picture."

One of the men was examining the picture-
chain and another was peering up at the top of
the oak panel where the hook was. The hook
was still in its place, and the chain was intact.
What had given way was one of the rings that had
been screwed into the side of the great frame itself.
It appeared likely that the wood had become
slightly rotten about the ring, so that the picture
had been for, perhaps, a long time hanging by a
very shaky screw, which at last gave way through
the tremor caused by the violent slamming of the

Love Alone Is Lord 115

Happily no damage was done that could not
be easily repaired ; the moulding of the oak panel
was broken away where the frame had slipped a
foot or two down the wall before falling forward,
and the frame itself had a splinter or two knocked
off dne of its mouldings ; this was the sum of the

"'Twas God's mercy," began the butler once
more; he seemed to think that it was necessary
for him to do his best for the honour of the house
to prevent his lordship from going away with the
idea that the incident was trivial ; but his lordship
laughed and followed Miss Chaworth, a footman
carrying her candelabrum, back into the drawing-

Miss Chaworth was not smiling.

"'Twas God's mercy," said Byron, imitating
the voice of the butler.

"Was it?" said the girl. "I am not sure. It
was strange, terribly strange! You heard that
gust which came through the window and shook
the whole house? "

"It has not been repeated; the night is quite
still now," said he.

"That is what makes it so strange," said she.
" The night was never otherwise than still. That
awful gust blew out of a perfectly calm sky.
Unearthly! I think it was unearthly."

He saw that she was pale, and when he laid his
hand on hers he felt that it was trembling.

"Dear Mary, whatever danger there was it is

n6 Love Alone Is Lord

over now," he said. "Why should you be so
anxious now?"

"Unearthly I felt it," she said, not looking at
him, but into vacancy. " I tell you I felt it pass-
ing me when I stood in the passage for that
moment it fled past me something."

"The wind I felt it too when the door
slammed. I distinctly felt the cold touch

"The cold touch that was it a horrid cold
touch like an icy hand the hand of a dead

He had a momentary shock; but he quickly
recovered himself, remembering that it lay with
him to quiet the nervousness of a girl.

" Take my word for it, my dear cousin, 't was
the cold touch of the wind," said he. " Why, did
we not see its effects and hear them into the bar-
gain? What do you fancy it was that banged the
door and blew out the lights if not the wind? "

Then she turned to him.

" Cousin Byron," she said, in a whisper that had
something of terror in it. " Cousin Byron, do you
know whose portrait that was which fell?"

" I never heard oh, yes, I did ; it was the por-
trait of your grandfather," said Byron. " He died
a long time ago, more than thirty years ago, your
father told me."

"Do you know how he died? you must have
heard the terrible story," said the girl.

" I think that your father mentioned America.
Was he not a soldier? Did not he fight against

Love Alone Is Lord 1 1 7

the brave Washington. I hope he repented of it
before he died."

" You are thinking of his younger brother. No,
that is the portrait of my grandfather who was
killed by the last Lord Byron, your father's


BYRON looked at her for a few moments. She
perceived from his expression that he had
never heard the story with which all England had
rung when his father was still a boy.

"Is it possible that you never heard of the
duel it was called a duel, between Lord Byron
and my grandfather, the original of that por-
trait?" she said.

" I heard nothing of it," said he, after a breath-
less pause. "Who was there to tell me of it? I
was cut off from the family of Byron. My grand-
uncle never acknowledged my existence, even
after he knew that I was his heir."

"They were kinsmen and associates, and un-
happily their tempers were akin," said Mary.
" They had constant quarrels during the years that
they were neighbours, and one night it is said,
that they were dining together a crisis came.
No one knows whether the insult came from Lord
Byron or from my grandfather, but there were
hot words and a blow. It is said that my grand-
father wished to arrange for a meeting to take
place the next morning, but Lord Byron forced
him at the point of the sword to draw that very
hour in his own defence. They fought in a room


Love Alone Is Lord 119

in Newstead which was lighted by a single candle.
There were no witnesses. A few minutes after they
entered the room, the servants, who were huddled,
about the door outside, heard the voice of my
grandfather crying out, ' Murder! ' There was the
sound of a heavy fall, and a derisive word in the
voice of his antagonist. The door was thrown
open and my grandfather was seen lying on his
back on the floor, his sword at the other end of
the room, and Lord Byron standing over him with
the candle in one hand and his sword dripping
blood in the other."

Byron was breathing heavily. His throat felt
dry and his lips parted. He seemed to be trying
to speak, but only a husky word or two came
from him, and then indistinctly

" Murdered murdered and your grand-
father!" were the only words that the girl heard
him speak.

"Everyone declared that murder had been
done ; but Lord Byron was tried by his peers and
acquitted of all criminal intent," said Mary.

There was a long pause. Through the silence
in the room there came the sounds of the servants
in the hall trying to raise the picture. Their
staggering feet on the bare floor sounded in By-
ron's ear like men bearing a heavy body across the

"Murdered your father's father and yet I
am here to-night," he said, in a whisper.

" Why should you not be here? " she cried, with

120 Love Alone Is Lord

almost passionate vehemence. " Why should not
that horrible thing be forgotten? It is not as if
you were his direct descendant. You are only
the son of his brother's son ; that does not connect
you with him, except distantly. My father feels
that, and my mother also. That was why she
paid a visit to Mrs. Byron in London long ago;
and that being so, why should he ?"

She glanced toward the door as if she expected
to see someone there.

Byron understood what she meant. But he
did not look toward the door.

"You think," he said, after a pause, "you
think that he that he the falling of the pic-
ture in another second or two I should have
been beneath it is that what is in your thought,
Mary a protest?"

She put her hands before her face, and he saw
how agitated she was. She was breathing in
rapid sobs, and spasmodically. This was for him,
he felt; the thought of the danger to which he
had been so near had overcome her. The thought
overwhelmed him. He would have liked to throw
himself at her feet, and tell her that his heart was
full of love for her, that he was ready to do any-
thing for her happiness, even to go away from
her forever. But he felt that suddenly a cold
hand had been stretched out from another world
between them. In every phrase that had come
from the girl in telling him the story of the duel
between their kinsfolk he had been conscious of

Love Alone Is Lord 121

the obtrusion of that dead hand it came be-
tween them it forced them apart.

At last she took her hands from her face.

"It is ridiculous!" she said. "You can only
think me a foolish girl superstitious affrighted
at a shadow no, not even a shadow only the
shadow of a shadow a freak of the fancy a gust
of wind. But you will allow that it was a strange
thing. Why should it have fallen just at that
moment, tell me that? It held quite firmly all
these years ; but just when you you the repre-
sentative of the Byron family when you, I say,
are within a dozen yards of his picture of that
heavy frame if it had fallen upon you, you
would never have spoken again."

"Dear Mary dearest girl do you know how
I feel when I think of your being so affected on
my behalf?" he said, leaning over her tenderly,
his hand resting on the back of her chair.

She sprang to her feet with a little cry of dis-
tress. She held up both her hands against him,
only for a second, however, then she cried:

"The poem the poem your poem, Cousin
Byron. You have not yet kept your promise!
Good heavens! What have we been thinking of
talking of all this time, while a poem remained
to be read. Come, the poem the poem your
poem my poem whatever may happen, Byron,
I will always call it my poem."

She had walked across the room, tripping in a
dainty minuet step of exquisite artificiality; a

122 Love Alone Is Lord

suggestion of gaiety that made her like a figure
in a masque of "Spring." But he knew that she
was acting; there was no perfume of spring in
the room across which she had flitted. She threw
herself upon a sofa that stood in the farthest
alcove of the opposite wall, and smiled toward

"I am on the tiptoe of expectancy, Cousin
Byron," she cried.

" I cannot read it to you now," he said.

She straightened herself on the sofa she had
been lying back before. She stretched out a
derisive finger at him.

"What? But your promise; you gave me
your promise," she cried.

He shook his head; but remained silent. A
poem seemed a poor thing to him at that moment.
What were a few lines that jingled together, com-
pared with a living incident?

"Let me talk to you instead, Mary," said he.

"Oh, we have had too much talking," she
cried. "We have neglected the poem."

"I must speak," he said. "Even though I
have received a terrible shock, I will speak what
is in my heart."

She rose quickly.

"Hush. They have returned," she said. "I
hear the sound of the carriage. They will be in
the hall in a minute. We must meet them there. "

She hurried abruptly from the room leaving
him standing where he had risen from his chair

Love Alone Is Lord 123

a few moments before. Her abruptness was on
the verge of rudeness; and he was still a boy in
point of sensitiveness. She had, as it were, re-
minded him of his helplessness; at any rate she
seemed to have forgotten that he was unable to
move so quickly as she did. But then she seemed
to fly.

He stood there alone for some time. He heard
Mr. and Mrs. Chaworth passing into the hall, and
Mary's rapid account of the falling of the picture,
with a laugh now and again from her, and an ex-
clamation of surprise in her father's bass, as she
hurried on. Then they all laughed together;
they clearly lacked their daughter's imagination
which had caused her to be superstitious in regard
to the accident. It was apparent that Mr. Cha-
worth was talking only of the defective screw,
which the butler was pointing out to him. He
could distinctly hear the butler say :

" 'T was the mercy of Heaven, sir, that '

He joined the others in the hall, and made his
remarks on the incident.

"F faith, my lad, you were lucky," said Mr.
Chaworth. " If you had been sitting in your
usual place you would have got the full weight of
the top of the frame on your skull, and we should
be puzzled to know where to look for the new
Lord Byron."

" If it had happened the account would only be
square between the Byrons and the Chaworths,"
said Byron slowly.

124 Love Alone Is Lord

Mrs. Chaworth grasped his meaning at once
though her husband did not do so immediately;
but the moment he perceived what was in By-
ron's mind, he smiled, saying:

" Egad, and so it would ; there 's some reason
in what you say. But thank Heaven there 's no
balance of accounts kept in this way as it is in
Sicily. You have heard of the vendetta, Byron?
Someone told me that the same system prevails
in the Highlands. Is there not a red cross a
fiery cross, or some clannish thing of that type?
Well, I '11 see that the picture is properly clamped
to the wall to-morrow, to prevent the possibility
of an accident. You will then be able to sit here
with confidence."

Nothing more was said on the subject. Mr.
Chaworth, a few steps back from where the pic-
ture stood on the floor, leaning up against the
injured panel, looked at the painting critically,
and asserted that Mr. Lawrence never would be
the master that Gainsborough was. Mr. Law-
rence never could make a man stand boldly on
his own feet. He called Byron's attention to the
nobility of the pose of the figure in the picture
before him.

"Ah, no! there are no painters nowadays like
what we used to have; and so I think we had
better go to bed," said he.

Thus, unconcernedly, they separated, only By-
ron, shaking hands with Mary, noticed that she
was pale, and that there was still a look of rest-

Love Alone Is Lord 125

lessness in her eyes. She had certainly been
deeply impressed by what had occurred.

It was not until he was in his own room that he
asked himself what it was that had left so deep an
impression on her. Was it the thought of the
risk that he had run ? Was it that sensation which
she said she had experienced when that strange
gust of wind had rushed past her? Was it a
mingling of these feelings that had produced her
curious restlessness when she had been with him
in the drawing-room, and which he had seen in
her eyes when he had taken her hand at parting?
Or was it that she had been conscious of that cold
hand which he had felt coming between them
when she told him the story of the fatal duel?

He stood leaning against the side of his window
trying to think out these questions which he had
asked himself, and he had not succeeded in finding
an answer to any one of them, before he began
to ask himself what was the origin of the rest-
lessness which had taken possession of him since
he had sat with Mary in the garden, and told her
that he had written his verses. His answer came
to him speedily. He loved her. He had loved
her from the moment when he had opened his
eyes and seen her face looking down upon his

And then this restlessness of his drove him
back to wonder if she had indeed felt that that
terrible incident which had happened before
either of them was born had always been regarded

126 Love Alone Is Lord

by her as a barrier between them if there was
something repulsive to her in the thought of
loving or being loved by the living representative
of the man who had murdered her father's

She knew what his own feelings had been
while she was in the act of telling him the story,
and he was still conscious of the presence of that
hand which had come between the girl and him-
self. But a few minutes later she had told him
with almost passionate vehemence that the whole
incident should be forgotten; that she did not
think of him as being any relation to the man who
had been guilty of the death of her father's father,
but although she had said this, he remembered
that, so far from becoming more tranquil, she
had become more excited than before, glancing
toward the door with a certain expression of fear
in her eyes.

Of what was she fearful? Was it of some
supernatural power of evil of whose approach the
falling of the picture was a warning? Was she
thinking of the narrowness of his escape from
almost certain death? Was she so greatly at-
tached to him that the very thought of the risk
he had run perturbed her?

He would have given all that he possessed to
be satisfied that this view of the matter was the
right one. He had been about to test it when she
had hastened to the other side of the room, simu-
lating a gay indifference to fate, and thus pre-

Love Alone Is Lord 127

venting him from telling all that he had in his
heart to tell her.

And if she had acted with this intention, would
he be doing wrong to assume that she had some
instinct of what his revelation to her would be?
Would his declaration of love be no revelation to
her? Had she guessed long before what was in
his heart?

Had she done so by looking into her own heart?

It was the instinct of this boy's genius that
told him that a woman always comes to a know-
ledge of what is in a man's heart by looking into
her own. But it did not tell him why Mary had
been so persistent in averting the moment of his
declaration to her, why she had harped upon his
promise to read his poem to her, why she had
given a sigh of relief when she sprung to her feet
on hearing the wheels of the carriage on the

The life of a genius with the affections of a man
is made up into alternate flights into the highest
heaven and descents into the deepest hell, and
the story of Byron is essentially the story of a
genius with affections. Within the space of an
hour, while he stood at his window facing the
black night, or lay undressed upon his bed, or
paced his floor with uneven steps, he felt all the
exaltation of a boy who knows that he is loved,
and all the tortures of the man who doubts. One
moment his heart was singing a paean, and before
he had crossed the room the strain dwindled into

128 Love Alone Is Lord

a dirge. He knew that he loved, but he had no
assurance that he was beloved ; and to be with-
out assurance is to a lover to be in a bottomless
pit of despair.

He looked out on to the night; but the night
was blank ; he threw himself upon his couch and
tried to work out the question as if it were a
mathematical problem, assigning a numeral value
to every sign that he could recollect of favours
shown to him by the girl ; he thought of a hundred
favours, but he was no happier than before,
for in his calculations the value of that curious
change of hers from passionate earnestness to the
cajolery of a play actress, with pretty feet, served
to upset his mathematics and to send him on a
pendulous excursion between the walls of his
room. To and fro he went, sometimes with
bowed head, again with uplifted head, now and
then with hands clasped behind his back, and for
many journeys interlocked above his head.

The room was too small for him ; he felt, after
pacing it for a bad hour, that the atmosphere was
stifling. He threw open his door and stepped out
noiselessly upon the carpet of the corridor leading
to the gallery above the staircase. But even if

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