Mrs. Denyer solemnly invited the young man to a private
" Mr. Marsh," she began, with pained dignity, whilst
Clifford stood before her twiddling his watch-chain, " I
really think the time has come for me to ask an explanation
of what is going on. My daughter distresses me by saying
that all is at an end between you. If that is really the case,
why do you continue to live here, when you must know
how disagreeable it is to Madeline ? "
" Mrs. Denyer," replied Clifford, in a friendly tone,
" there has been a misunderstanding between us, but I
am very far from reconciling myself to the thought
that everything is at an end. My remaining surely proves
" I should have thought so. But in that case I am
obliged to ask you another question. What can you mean
by paying undisguised attentions to another young lady who
is living here ? "
120 THE EMANCIPATED.
" You astonish me. What foundation is there for such a
charge ? "
'â€¢ At least you won't affect ignorance as to the person of
whom I speak. I assure you that I am not the oniy one
who has noticed this."
*' You misinterpret my behaviour altogether. Of course,
you are speaking of Miss Doran. If your observation had
been accurate, you would have noticed that Miss Doran gives
me no opportunity of paying her attentions, if I wished.
Certainly I have had conversations with Mrs. Lessingham,
but I see no reason why I should deny myself that
" This is sophistry. You walked about the museum with
hoih these ladies for a long time yesterday."
Clifford was startled, and could not conceal it.
" Of course," he exclaimed, " if my movements are
watched, with a view to my accusation ! "
And he broke off significantly.
" Your movements are not watched. But if I happen
to hear of such things, I must draw my own conclusions."
" I give you my assurance that the meeting was purely by
chance, and that our conversation was solely of indifferent
matters â€” of art, of Pompeii, and so on."
" Perhaps you are not aware," resumed Mrs. Denyer,
with a smile that made caustic comment on this apology,
" that, when we sit at table, your eyes are directed to Miss
Doran with a frequency that no one can help observing."
Marsh hesitated ; then, throwing his head back, remarked
in an unapproachable manner :
" Mrs. Denyer, you will not forget that I am an artist."
" I don't forget that you profess to be one, Mr. Marsh."
This was retort with a vengeance. Clifford reddened
slightly, and looked angry. Mrs. Denyer had reached the
point to which her remarks were from the first directed, and
it was not her intention to spare the young man's suscepti-
bilities. She had long ago gauged him, and not inaccurately
THE MARTYR. 121
on tlie whole ; it seemed to her that he was of the men who
can be " managed."
" I fail to miderstand you," said Marsh, with dignity.
" My dear Clifford, let me speak to you as one who has
your well-being much at heart. I have no wish to hurt your
feelings, but I have been upset by this silly affair, and it
makes me speak a little sharply. Now, I see well enough
what you have been about ; it is an old device of young
gentlemen who wish to revenge themselves just a little for
what they think a slight. Of course you have never given
a thought to Miss Doran, who, as you say, would never
dream of carrying on a flirtation, for she knows how things
are between you and Madeline, and she is a young lady of
very proper behaviour. In no case, as you of course under-
stand, could she be so indelicate as anything of this kind
would imply. No ; but you are vexed with Madeline about
some silly little difference, and you play with her feelings.
There has been enough of it ; I must interfere. And now
let us talk a little about your position. Madeline has, of
course, told me everything. Listen to me, my dear Clifford ;
you must at once accept Mr. Hibbert's kindly meant pro-
posal â€” you must indeed."
Marsh had reflected anxiously during this speech. He let
a moment of silence pass ; then said gravely :
"I cannot consent to do anything of the kind, Mrs.
" Oh yes, you can and will, Clifford. Silly boy, don't you
see that in this way you secure yourself the future just
suited to your talents ? As an artist you will never make
your way ; that is certain. As a man with a substantial
business at your back, you can indulge your artistic tastes
quite sufficiently, and will make yourself the centre of an
admiring circle. We cannot all bo stars of the first magni-
tude. Be content to shine in a provincial sphere, at all
events for a time. Madeline as your wife will help you sub-
stantially. You will have good society, and better the
122 THE EMANCIPATED.
richer you become. Tou are made to be a rich man and to
enjoy life. Now let us settle this affair with your step-
Still Clifford reflected, and again with the result that he
api^eared to have no thought of being persuaded to such
concessions. The debate went on for a long time, ultimately
with no little vigour on both sides. Its only immediate
result was that Marsh left the house for a few days, retiring
to meditate at Pompeii.
In the mean time there was no apparent diminution in
MadeUne's friendhness towards Cecily Doran. It was not
to be supposed that Madeline thought tenderly of the other's
beauty, or with warm admiration of her endowments ; but
she would not let Chfford Marsh imagine that it mattered to
her in the least if he at once transferred his devotion to
Miss Doran. Her tone in conversing with Cecily became a
little more patronizing.â€” though she spote no more of
impressionism, â€” in proportion as she discovered the younger
girl's openness of mind and her lack of self-assertiveness.
" You play the piano, I think ? " she said one day.
" For my own amusement only."
" And you di'aw ? "
" With the same reserve."
" Ah," said Madeline, " I have long since given up these
things. Don't you think it is a pity to make a pastime of
an art ? I soon saw that I was never likely really to do any-
thing in music or drawing, and out of respect for them I
ceased toâ€” to potter. Please don't think I apply that word
" Oh, but it is very applicable," rephed Cecily, with a
laugh. " I think you are quite right ; I often enough have
the same feeling. But I am full of inconsistenciesâ€” as you
are finding out, I know."
Mrs. Lessingham displayed good nature in her intercourse
with the Denyers. She smiled in private, and of course
breathed to Cecily a word of warning ; but the family enter-
THE MARTYR. 123
tained ter, and Madeline she came really to like. With
Mrs. Denyer she comjmred notes on the Italy of other
"A sad, sad change !" Mrs. Denyer was wont to sigh.
â€¢' All the poetry gone ! Think of Eome before 1870, and
what it is now becoming. One never looked for intellect in
Italy â€” living intellect, of course, I mean^but natural poetry
one did expect and find. It is heart-breaking, this progress !
If it were not for my dear girls, I shouldn't be here ; they
adore Italy â€” of course, never having known it as it was.
And I am sure you must feel, as I do, Mrs. Lessiugham, the
miserable results of cheapened travel. Oh, the people one
sees at railway-stations, even meets in hotels, I am sorry to
say, sometimes ! In a few years, I do believe, Genoa and
Venice will strongly remind one of Margate."
No echo of the cry of "Wolf!" ever sounded in Mrs.
Denyer's conversation when she spoke of her husband.
That Odysseus of commerce was always referred to as being
concerned in enterprises of mysterious importance and
magnitude ; she would hint that he had political missions,
uaturally not to be spoken of in plain terms. Mrs. Lessing-
ham often wondered with a smile what the truth really was ;
she saw no reason for making conjectures of a disagreeable
kind, but it was pretty clear to her that selfishness, idleness,
and vanity were at the root of Mrs. Denyer's character, and
in a measure explained the position of the family.
During the last few days, Barbara had exhibited a revival
of interest in the " place in Lincolnshire." Her experi-
ments proved that it needed but a moderate ingenuity to
make Mr. Musselwhite's favourite topic practically inex-
haustible. The " place " itself having been sufiiciently
described, it was natural to inquire what other " places " were
its neighbours, what were the characteristics of the nearest
town, how long it took to drive fx'ona the " place " to the
town, fnjin the " place " to such another "place," and so on.
Mr, Musselwhito was undisguisedly grateful for every
124 THE EMANCIPATED.
remark or question that kej^t liim talking at Lis ease. It vras
always his dread lest a subject should be broached on which
he could say nothing whatever â€” there were so many such !
â€”and as often as Barbara broke a silence without realizing
his fear, he glanced at her with the gentlest and most
amiable smile. Never more than glanced ; yet this did not
seem to be the result of shyness ; rather it indicated a lack
of mental activity, of speculation, of interest in her as a
One morning he lingered at the luncheon-table when
nearly all the others had withdrawn, playing with crumbs,
and doubtless shrinking from the ennui that lay before him
until dinner-time. ISTear him, Mrs. Denyer, Barbara, and
Zillah were standing in conversation about some photographs
that had this morning come by post.
â– * This one isn't at all like you, my dear," said Mrs. Denyer,
with emphasis, to her eldest girl. " The other is passable,
but I wouldn't have any of these."
" Well, of course I am no judge," replied Barbara, "but
I can't agree with you. I much prefer this one."
Mr. Musselwhite was slowly rising.
" Let us take some one else's opinion," said the mother.
" I wonder what Mr. Musselwhite would say ? "
The mention of his name caused him to turn his head,
half absently, with an inquiring smile. Barbara withdrew a
step, but Mrs. Denyer, in the most natural way possible,
requested Mr. Musselwhite's judgment on the portraits
He took the two in his hands, and, after inspecting them,
looked round to make comparison with the original. Bar-
bara met his gaze placidly, with gracefully poised head, her
hands joined behind her. It was such a long time before
the arbiter found anything to remark, that the situation
became a little embarrassing ; Zillah laughed girlishly, and
ter sister's eyes fell.
â™¦' Eeally, it's very hard to decide," said Mr. Musselwhite
THE MARTYR. 125
at length, â– with grave conscientiousness. " I think they're
both remarkably good. I really think I should have some
" Barbara thinks that this makes her look too childish,"
said Mrs. Denyer, using her daughter's name with a pleasant
Again Mr. Musselwhite made close comparison. It was,
in fact, the first time that he had seen the girl's features ;
hitherto they had been, like everything else not embalmed in
his memory, a mere vague perception, a detail of the phan-
tasmic world through which he struggled against his
"Childish? Oh dear, no!" he remarked, almost viva-
ciously. " It is charming ; they are both charming. Eeally,
I'd have some of both. Miss Denyer."
" Then we certainly will," was Mrs. Denyer's conclusion ;
and with a gracious inclination of the head, she left the
room, followed by her daughters. Mr. Musselwhite looked
round for another glance at Barbara, but of course he was
just too late.
Poor Madeline, in the meantime, was being sorely tried.
Whilst Clifford Marsh was away at Pompeii, daily " scenes "
took place between her and her mother. Mrs. Denyer would
have had her make conciliatory movements, whereas Made-
line, who had not exchanged a word with Clifford since the
parting in wrath, was determined not to be the first to show
signs of yielding. And she held her ground, tearless, resent-
ful, strong in a sense of her own imj^ortance.
When he again took his place at Mrs. Gluck's table, Clif-
ford had the air of a man who has resigned himself to the
lack of sympathy and appreciation â€” nay, who defies every-
thing external, and in the strength of his genius goes
serenely onwards. Never had he displayed such self-con-
sciousness ; not for an instant did he forget to regulate
the play of his features. Mrs. Denyer he had greeted dis-
tantly; her daughters, more distantly still. He did not
126 THE EMANCIPATED.
look more than ouce or twice in Miss Doran's direction, iot
Mrs. Denyer's reproof had made him conscious of an excess
in artistic homage. His neighbour being Mr. Bradshaw, he
conversed with him agreeably, smiling seldom. He seemed
neither depressed nor uneasy ; his countenance wore a grave
and noble melancholy, now and then illumined with an
The Bradshaws had begun to talk of leaving Naples, but
this seemed to be the apology for enjoying themselves which
is so characteristic of English people. Even Mrs. Bradshaw
found her life from day to day very pleasant, and in con-
sequence never saw her friends at the villa without express-
ing much uneasiness about affairs at home, and blaming her
husband for making so long a stay. Both of them were
now honoured with the special attention of Mr. Marsh.
Clilford was never so much in his element as when convers-
ing of art and kindred matters with persons who avowed
their deficiencies in that sphere of knowledge, yet were
willing to learn; relieved from the fear of criticism, he
expanded, he glowed, he dogmatized. With Mrs. Lessiug-
ham he could not be entirely at his ease ; her eye was
occasionally disturbing to a pretender who did not lack dis-
cernment. But in walking about the museum with Mr.
Bradshaw, he was the most brilliant of ciceroni. Jacob was
not wholly credulous, for he had spoken of the young man
with Mrs. Lessingham, but he found such companionship
entertaining enough from time to time, and Clifford's
knowledge of Italian was occasionally a help to him.
A day or two of moderate intimacy with any person what-
soever always led Clifford to a revelation of his private
circumstances ; it was not long before Mr. Bradshaw was
informed not only of Mr. Hibbert's harshness, but of the pain-
ful treatment to which Clifford was being subjected at the
hands of Mrs. Denyer and Madeline. The latter point was
handled with a good deal of tact, for Clifford had it in view
that through Mr. Bradshaw his words would one way or
THE MARTYR. \2y
otlier reacli Mrs. Lessingham, and so perchance come to
Miss Dorau's ears. He made no unworthy charges ; he
spoke not in auger, but in sorrow ; he was misunderstood,
he was depreciated, by those who should have devoted them-
selves to supporting his courage under adversity. And as
he talked, he became the embodiment of calm magnanimity ;
the rhetoric which was meant to impress his listener had an
exalting effect upon himself â€” as usual.
" Tou mean to hold out, then ? " asked the bluff Jacob,
with a smile which all but became a chuckle.
" I am an artist," was the noble reply. " I cannot
abandon my life's work."
" But how about bread and cheese ? They are necessary
to an artist, as much as to other men, I'm afraid."
Clifford smiled calmlv.
" I shall not be the first who has starved in such a cause."
Jacob roared as he related this conversation to his wife.
"I must keep an eye on the lad," he said. "When I
hear he's given in, I'll write him a letter of congratulation."
fEOOP AGAINST ILLTJSIOlT.
An interesting conversation took place one morning
between Mrs. Spence and Mrs. Lessingham with regard to
Cecily. They were alone together at the villa ; Cecily and
Miriam had gone for a drive with the Bradshaws. After
speaking of Reuben Elgar, Mrs. Lessingham passed rather
abruptly to wliat seemed a disconnected subject.
" I don't tliink it's time yet for Cecily to give up her set
studies. I should like to find some one to read with her
128 THE EMANCIPATED.
regularly again before long â€” say Latin and history ; there
would be no harm in a little mathematics. But there's a
difficulty in finding the suitable person," She smiled.
" I'm afraid only a lady will answer the purpose."
" Better, no doubt," assented Eleanor, also with a smile.
" And ladies who would be any good to Cecily are not at
one's disposition every day. What an admirable mind she
has ! I never knew any one acquire with so little effort.
Of course, she has long ago left me behind in everything.
The only use I can be to her is to help her in gaining know-
ledge of the world â€” not to be learnt entirely out of books,
" What is your system with her ? "
" You see that I have one," said Mrs. Lessingham,
gratified, and rustling her plumage a little as a lady does
when she is about to speak in confidence of something that
jjleases her. " Of course, I very soon understood that the
ordinary surveillance and restrictions and moral theories
wex'e of little use in her case. (I may speak with you quite
freely, I am sure.) I'm afraid the results would have been
very sad if Cecily had grown up in Lancashire."
" I doubt whether she would have grown up at all."
" Indeed, it seemed doubtful. If her strength had not
utterly failed, she must have suffei-ed dreadfully in mind.
I studied her carefuUy during the first two years ; then I
was able to pursue my method with a good deal of con-
fidence. It has been my aim to give free play to all her
faculties ; to direct her intelligence, but never to check its
growth â€” as is commonly done. We know what is meant by
a girl's education, as a rule ; it is not so much the imparting
of knowledge as the careful fostering of special ignorances.
I think 1 put it rightly ? "
" I think so."
" It is usual to say that a girl must know nothing of this
and that and the other thing â€” these things being, in fact,
the most important for her to understand. I won't say
PROOF AGAINST ILLUSION. 129
that every girl can safely be left so free as I have left
Cecily ; but when one has to deal with exceptional
intelligence, why not yield it the exceptional advantages ?
Then again, I had to bear in mind that Cecily has strong
emotions. This seemed to me only another reason for
releasing her mind from the misconceptions it is usual to
encourage. I have done my best to help her to see things
as they are, not as moral teachers would like them to be,
and as parents make-believe to their girls that they are
Mrs. Lessingham ended on a suave note of triumph, and
smiled very graciously as Eleanor looked approval.
" The average parent says," she pursued, " that his or her
daughter must be kept pure-minded, and therefore must
grow up in a fool's paradise. I have no less liking for
purity, but I understand it in rather a different sense ;
certain examples of the common purity that I have met
with didn't entirely recommend themselves to me. Then
again, the average parent says that the daughter's lot in life
is marriage, and that after marriage is time enough for her
to throw away the patent rose-coloured spectacles. I, on
the other hand, should be very sorry indeed to think that
Cecily has no lot in life besides marriage ; to me she seemed
a human being to be instructed and developed, not a pretty
girl to be made ready for the market. The rose-coloured
spectacles had no part whatever in my system. I have
known some who threw them aside at marriage, in the
ordinary way, with the result that they thenceforth looked
on everything very obliquely indeed. I'm sorry to say that
it was my own fate to wear those spectacles, and I know
only too well how hard a struggle it cost me to recover
" Mine fell off and got broken long before I was married,"
said Eleanor, " and my parents didn't think it worth while
to buy new ones."
" Wise parents ! No, I have steadily resisted the theory
130 THE EMANCIPATED.
that a girl must know nothing, think nothing, hut what is
likely to meet the approval of the average husband â€” that is
to say, the foolish, and worse than foolish, husband.
1 see no such difference between girl and boy as demands a
difference in moral training ; we know what comes of the
prevalent contraiy views. And in Cecily's case, I believe I
have vindicated my theory. She respects herself ; she
knows all that lack of self-respect involves. She has been
fed on wholesome victuals, not on adulterated milk. She is
not haunted with that vulgar shame which passes for maiden
modesty. Do you find fault with her, as a girl ? "
" I should have to ponder long for an objection."
'â€¢ And what is the practical result ? In whatever society
she is, I am quite easy in mind about her. Cecily will never
do anything foolish. It's only the rose-coloured spectacles
that cause stumbling. And I mean by ' stumbling ' all the
silliness to which girls are subject. Ah ! if I could live my
girlhood over again, and with some sensible woman to guide
me ! If I could have been put on my guard against idiotic
illusions, as Cecily is ! "
"We mustn't expect too much of education," Eleanor
ventured to remark. " There is no way of putting experi-
ence into a young girl's head. It would say little for her
qualities if a girl could not make a generous mistake."
" Such mistakes are not worthy of being called generous,
as a rule. They are too imbecile. That state of illusion is
too contemptible. There is very little danger of Cecily's
seeing any one in a grossly false light."
Eleanor did not at once assent.
"You seem to doubt that?" added the other, with a
" I think she is as well guarded as a girl can be ; but, as I
said before, education is no substitute for exijerience. Don't
think me captious, however. I sympathize entirely with the
course you have taken. If I had a daughter, I should like
her to be brought up on the same principles."
PROOF AGAINST ILLUSION. 131
" Cecily is very mature for lier age," contiuued Mrs. Les-
singliam, with evident pleasure in stating and restating her
grounds of confidence. " She feels strongly, but never
apart fi-om judgment, Now and then she astonishes me
with her discernment of character ; clearness of thought
seems almost to anticipate in her the experience on which
you lay such stress. Have you noticed her with Mr. Mal-
lard ? How differently "many girls would behave ! But
Cecily understands him so well ; she knows he thinks of her
as a child, and nothing could be more simply natural than
her friendship for him. I suppose Mr. Mallard is one of
the artists who never marry ? "
" I don't know him well enough to decide that," answered
Eleanor, with a curious smile.
It was in the evening of this day, when the Sj)ences and
Miriam jvere sitting together after dinner, that a servant
announced a visit of Reuben Elgar, adding that he was in
his sister's room. Miriam went to join him.
" You can spare me a minute or two ? " he asked cheerily,
as she entered.
" Certainly. You are just back from Pompeii ? "
"From Castellamare â€” from Sorrento the indescribable
â€¢ â€” from Amalfi the unimaginable â€” from Salerno ! Leave
Naples without seeing those places, and hold yourself for
ever the most wretched of mortals ! Old Mallard forced me
to go with him, and I am in his debt to eternity ! "
This exalted manner of speech was little to Miriam's
taste, especially from her brother. Sobriety was what she
desired in him. It seemed a small advantage that his
extravagance should exhibit itself in this way rather than in
worse ; the danger was still there.
" Sit down, and talk more quietly. You say Mr. Mallard
forced you to go ? "
"I was coming back to Naples from Pompeii. By-the-
bye, I went up Vesuvius, and descended shoeless. The
guides ought to have metal boots on hire. I was coming
132 THE EMANCIPATED.
back, but Mallard clutched me by the coat-collar. Even
now I've come sorely against his will. I left him at Amalfi.
I'm going to settle my affairs here to-morrovr, and join him
again. He's persuaded me to try and work at Amalfi."
" How long do you think of staying there ? "
** It all depends. Perhaps I shan't be able to do anything,
" But surely that depends on yourself."
" Not a bit ! If I were a carpenter or bricklayerj one
might say so â€” in a sense. But such work as I am going to
do is a question of mood, influences, caprices "
" Mr. Mallard was unwilling to let you return here ? "
. " Naturally. He knows my uncertainty. But I have pro-
mised him ; I shall keep my word."
" He is working himself ? "