" Happiness ! " murmured the other, scornfully.
" A word you don't, won't understand. Yet to me it means
much. Who knows ? Perhaps there may come a day when
I shall look back upon it, and see it as empty of satisfaction
as it now seems to you.
But more likely that I shall live to
look back in sorrow for its loss."
The dialogue became such as they had held more than
once of late, fruitless it seemed, only saddening to both.
And Cecily was to-day saddened by it beyond her wont ; her
excessive gaiety yielded to a dejection which passed indeed,
but for a while made her very unlike herself, silent, with
" I had one valid excuse for coming to see you to-day,"
she said, when gaiety and dejection had both gone by. " Mr.
and Mrs. Bradshaw seriously think of going to Rome at the
end of next week, and they wish to have another day at
Pompeii. They would like it so much if you would go with
them. If you do, I also will ; we shall make four for a car-
riage, and drive there, and come back by train."
" What day ? "
IN THE DEAD ClTV. 147
** To-morrow, if it be fine. Let me take tliem your
On Monday morning, as arranged, slae was driving down
to the Mergellina, when, with astonishment, she saw her
brother standing by the roadside, beckoning to her. The
carriage stopped, and he came up to sj)eak.
" Where are you off to ? " he asked.
•' You are still here ? "
" I haven't been well. Didn't feel able to go yesterday. I
"ivas just coming to see you."
" Not well, Eeuben ? Why didn't you come before ? "
" I couldn't. I want to speak to you. Where are you
going ? "
She told him the plan for the day. Elgar turned aside,
" I'U see you there — at Pompeii somewhere. It'll be on
"I had rather not go at all. I'll ask them to excuse me ;
Mrs. Lessingham will perhaps take my place, and "
" No ! I'll see you at Pompeii. I shall have no difficulty
in finding you."
Miriam looked at him anxiously.
'• I don't wish you to meet us there, Reuben.**
" And I do wish ! Let me have my way, Miriam. Say
nothing about me, and let the meeting seem by chance."
"I can't do that. You make yourself ridiculous,
" Let me judge for myself. Go on, or you'll be late."
She half rose, as if about to descend from the carriage.
Elgar laid his hand on her arm, and clutched it so strongly
that she sank Ijack and regarded him with a look of anger.
" Miriam ! Do as I wish, dear. Be kind to me for this
once. If you refuse, it will make no difference. Have some
feeling for ine. This one day, Miriam."
143 THE EMANCIPATED.
Again slie loolced at liiin, and reflected. On account of
the driver, tliougli of course lie could not understand them,
tLey had subdued their voices, and Reuben's sudden action
had not been noticeable.
" This one piece of sisterly kindness," he pleaded,
" It shall be as you v^ish," Miriam replied, her face cast
" Thank you, a thousand times. Avanti, cocchiere ! "
Scrutiny less keen than Miriam's could perceive that
Cecily had not her usual pleasure in to-day's expedition.
Eveij. Mrs. Bradshaw, sitting over against her in the car-
riage, noticed that the girl's countenance lacked its natural
animation, wore now and then a tired look ; the lids hung a
little heavily over the beautiful eyes, and the cheeks were a
thought pale. When she forgot herself in conversation,
Cecily was the same as ever; mirthful, brightly laughing,
fervent in expressing delight ; but her thoughts too often
made her silent, and then one saw that she was not
heart and soul in the present. It was another Cecily than
on that day at Baise. " She has been over-exciting herself
since she came here," was Mrs. Bradshaw's mental
remark. Miriam, anxiously observant, made a different
interpretation, and was hai'assed with a painful conflict of
Jacob Bush Bradshaw had no eyes for these trivialities.
He sat in the squared posture of a hearty Englishman,
amusing himself with everything they passed on the road,
self-congratulant on the knowledge and experience he had
been storing, joking as often as he spoke.
" The lad Marsh would have uncommonly liked an in-
vitation to come with us to-day," he said, about midway in
the drive. "What pi'ecious mischief we could have made
by asking him, Hannah ! "
" There's no room for him, fortunately/*
*• Oh yes ; up on the box."
IN THE DEAD CITY. 149
His eye twinkled as he looked at Cecily. She questioned
" Where would be the mischief, Mr. Bradshaw ? "
" He talks nonsense, my dear," interposed Mrs. Bradshaw.
" Pay no attention to him."
Miriam had heard now and then of Clifford Marsh. She
met Jacob's smile, and involuntarily checked it by her
" We might have asked the Denyers as well," said Cecily,
" and have had another carriage, or gone by train."
Mr. Bradshaw chuckled for some minutes at this
proposal, but his wife would not allow him to pursue the
They lunched at the Hotel Diomede before entering the
precincts of the ruins. Mr. Bradshaw had invariably a
splendid appetite, and was by this time skilled in ordering
the meals that suited him. The few phrases of Italian
which he had appropriated were given forth ore rohmdo,
with Anglo-saxon emphasis on the o's, and accompanied with
large gestures. His mere appearance always sufficed to put
landlords and waiters into their most urbane mood ; they
never failed to take him for one of the English nobility — a
belief confirmed by the handsomeness of his gratuities,
Mrs. Bradshaw was not, perhaps, the ideal lady of rank,
but the fine self-satisfaction on her matronly visage, the
good-natured disdain with which she allowed herself to be
waited upon by foolish foreigners, her solid disregard of
everything beyond the circle of her own party, were impres-
sive enough, and exacted no little subservience.
Strong in the experience of two former visits, Mr. Brad-
shaw would have no guide to-day. Murray in hand, ho
knew just what he wished to see again, and where to find it.
As Miriam was at Pompeii for the first time, he took her
especially under his direction, and showed her the city much
as he might have led her over his silk-mill iu Manchester.
Unin^bued with history and literature, he knew nothing of
I50 THE EMANCIPATED.
the scliolar's or tlie poet's euthusiasm ; his gratification lay
in exercising his solid intelligence on a lot of strange and
often grotesque facts. Here men had lived two thousand
years ago. There was no mistake about it ; yoti saw the
deep ruts of their wheels along the rugged street ; nay, you
saw the wearing of their very feet on the comically narrow
pavements. And their life had been as different as possible
from that of men in Manchester. Everything excited him
" Now, this is the house of old Pansa — no doubt an
ancestor of friend Sancho " — with a twinkle in his eye.
" We'll go over this carefully, Mrs. Bashe ; it's one of the
largest and completest in Pompeii. Here we are in what
they called the atrium."
Cecily spoke seldom. Of course, she would have pre-
ferred to bo alone here with Miriam ; best of all — or nearly
so — if they could have made the same party as at Baise. At
times she lingered a little behind the others, and seemed
deep in contemplation of some object ; or she stood to watch
the lizards darting about the sunny old walls. When all
were enjoying the view from the top of Jupiter's Temple,
she gazed long towards the Sorrento promontory, the height
of St. Angelo.
" Amalti is over on the far side," she said to Miriam.
•' They are both working there now."
Miriam replied nothing.
When they were in the Street of Tombs, Cecily again
paused, by the sepulchre of the Priestess Mamia, whence
there is a clear prospect across the bay towards the moun-
tains. Turning back again, she heard a voice that made her
tremble with delighted surprise. A wall concealed the
speaker from her; she took a few cjuick steps, and saw
Eeuben Elgar shaking hands with the Bradshaws. He
looked at her, and came forward. She could not say any-
thing, and was painfully conscious of the blood that rushed
to her face ; never yet had she known this stress of heart-
IN THE DEAD CITY. 151
beats that made suffering of joy, and the misery of being
unable to command herself under observant eyes.
It was years since Elgar and the Bradshaws had met. As
a boy he had often visited their house, but from the time of
his leaving home at sixteen to go to a boarding-school, his
acquaintance with them, as with all his other Manchester
friends, practically ceased. They had often heard of him —
too often, in their opinion. Aware of his arrival at Naples,
they had expressed no wish to see him. Still, now that he
met them in this unexpected way, they could not but assume
friendliness. Jacob, not on the whole intolerant, was willing
enough to take "the lad" on his presentments; Reuben
had the guise and manners of a gentleman, and perhaps
was grown out of his reprobate habits. Mr. Bradshaw and
his wife could not but notice Cecily's agitation at the
meeting ; they exchanged wondering glances, and presently
found an opportunity for a few words apart. What was
going on ? How had these two young folks become so
intimate ? Well, it was no business of theirs. Lucky that
Mrs. Baske was one of the coinpany.
And why should Cecily disguise that now only was her
enjoyment of the day begun — that only now had the sun-
shine its familiar brightness, the ancient walls and ways
their true enchantment ? She did not at once become
more talkative, but the shadow had passed uttei-ly from
her face, and there was no more listlessness in her move-
"I have stopped here on my way to join Mallard," was
all Reuben said, in explanation of his presence.
All kept together. Mr. Bradshaw resumed his interest
in antiquities, but did not speak so freely about them as
" Your brother knows a good deal more about these things
than I do, Mrs. Baske," he remarked. " He shall give us
the benefit of his Latin."
Miriam resolutely kept her eyes alike from Reuben and
152 THE EMANCIPATED.
from Cecily. Hitlierto lier attention to the ruins had been
intermittent, but occasionally she had forgotten herself so far
as to look and ponder ; now she saw nothing. Her mind was
gravely troubled ; she wished only that the day were over.
As for Elgar, he seemed to the Bradshaws singularly
quiet, modest, inoffensive. If he ventured a suggestion or a
remark, it was in a subdued voice and with the most
pleasant manner possible. He walked for a time with Mrs.
Bradshaw, and accommodated himself with much tact to her
way of regarding foreign things, whether ancient or modern.
Jji a short time all went smoothly again.
Not since they shook hands had Elgar and Cecily
encountered each other's glance. They looked at each
other often, very often, but only when the look could not be
returned ; they exchanged not a syllable. Yet both knew
that at some approaching moment, for them the supreme
moment of this day, their eyes must meet. Not yet; not
casually, and whilst others regarded them. The old ruins
would be kind.
It was in the house of Meleager. They had walked
among the coloured columns, and had visited the inner
chamber, whei-e upon the wall is painted the Judgment of
Paris. Mr. Bradshaw passed out through the narrow door-
way, and his voice was dulled ; Miriam passed with him,
and, close after her, Mi's. Bradshaw. Reuben seemed to
draw aside for Cecily, but she saw his hand extended
towai'ds her — it held a spray of maidenhair that he had just
gathered. She took it, or would have taken it, but her
hand was closed in his.
" I have stayed only to see you again," came panting
from his lips. " I could not go till I had seen you again ! "
And before the winged syllables had ceased, their eyes
met ; nor their eyes alone, for upon both was the constraint
of jjassion that leaps like flame to its desire — mouth to
mouth and heart to heart for one instant that coijcentx-ated
all the joy of being.
IN THE DEAD CITY.
"Wheat hand, centuries ago crumbled into indistinguishable
dust, painted that parable of the youth making his award to
Love P What eyes gazed upon it, when this was a home of
man and woman warm with life, listening all day long to
the music of uttered thoughts ? Dark-buried whilst so
many ages of history went by, thrown open for the sunshine
to rest upon its pallid antiquity, again had this chamber
won a place in human hearts, witnessed the birth of joy and
hope, blended itself with the destiny of mortals. He who
pictured Paris dreamt not of these passionate lips and their
imborn language, knew not that he wrought for a world
hidden so far in time. Though his white-limbed goddess
fade ghostlike, the symbol is as valid as ever. Did not her
wan beauty smile youthful again in the eyes of these her
latest worshippers ?
And they went forth among the painted pillars, once
more shunning each other's look. It was some minutes
before Cecily knew that her fingers still crushed the spray
of maidenhair ; then she touched it gently, and secreted it
within her glove. It must be dead when she reached home,
but that mattered nothing ; would it not remain the sign of
something deathless ?
She believed so. In her vision the dead city had a new
and wonderful life ; it lay glorious in the light of heaven,
its strait ways fit for the treading of divinities, its barren
temples reconsecrate with song and sacrifice. She believed
there was that within her soul which should survive all
change and hazard — survive, it might be, even this warm
flesh that it was hard not to think immortal.
She sought Miriam's side, took her hand, held it playfully
as they walked on together.
" Why do you look at me so sadly, Miriam ? "
" I did not mean to."
"Yet you do. Let me see you smile once to-day."
But Miriam's smile was sadder th^n her grave look,
154 THE EMANCIPATED,
It was true enougli that Clifford Marsh would have
relished an invitation to accompany that party of four to
Pompeii. For one thing, he was beginning to have a diffi-
culty in passing his days ; if the present state of things
prolonged itself, his position might soon resemble that of
Mr. Musselwhite. But chiefly would he have welcomed the
prospect of spending some hours in the society of Miss
Doran, and under circumstances which would enable him to
shine. Clifford had begun to nurse a daring ambition.
Allowing his vanity to caress him into the half -belief that he
was really making a noble stand against the harshness of
fate, he naturally spent much time in imagining how other
people regarded him — above all, what figure he made in the
eyes of Miss Doran. There could be no doubt that she
knew, at all events, the main items of his story ; was it not
certain that they must make some appeal to her sym-
pathies ? His air of graceful sadness could not but lead
her to muse as often as she observed it ; he had contem-
plated himself in the mirror, and each time with reassur-
ance on this point. Why should the attractions which had
been potent with Madeline fail to engage the interest of this
younger and more emotional girl? Miss Doran was far
beyond Madi line in beauty, and, there was every reason to
believe, had the substantial gifts of fortune which Madeline
altogether lacked. It was a bold thing to turn his eye to
her with such a thought, circumstances considered ; but the
boldness was characteristic of Marsh, with whom at aU
times self-esteem had the force of an irresistible argument.
THE DECLARATION. 155
He was incapable of passion. Just as he had made a
pretence of pursuing art, because of a superficial cleverness
and a liking for ease and the various satisfactions of his
vanity in such a career, so did he now permit his mind to
be occupied with Cecily Doran, not because her qualities
blinded him to all other considerations, but in pleasant
yielding to a temi^tation of his fancy, which made a lively
picture of many desirable things, and flattered him into
thinking that they were not beyond his reach. For the
present he could do nothing but wait, supporting his pose of
placid martyrdom. Wait, and watch every oj)portunity ;
there would arrive a moment when seeming recklessness
might advance him far on the way to triumph.
And yet he never for a moment regarded himself as a
schemer endeavouring to compass vulgar ends by machina-
tion. He had the remarkable faculty of viewing himself in
an ideal light, even whilst conscious that so many of his
claims were mere pretence. Men such as Clifford Marsh do
not say to themselves, " What a humbug I am ! " When
driven to face their conscience, it si)eaks to them rather in
this way : " You are a fellow of fine qualities, altogether out
of the common way of men. A pity that conditions do not
allow you to be perfectly honest ; but people iu general are
BO foolish that you would get no credit for your superiority
if you did not wear a little tinsel, practise a few harmless
affectations. Some day your difficulties will be at an end,
and then you can afford to show yourself in a simpler guise."
When he looked in the glass, Clifford admired himself with-
out resei*ve ; when he talked freely, he a])plauded his own
cleverness, and thought it the most natural thing that other
people should do so. When he meditated abandoning
Madeline, his sincere view of the matter was that she-had
proved herself unworthy : however sensible her attitude, a
girl had no right to put such questions to her lover as she
had done, to injure his self-love. When he plctted with
himself to engage Cecily's interest, he said that it was tho
156 THE EMANCIPATED.
course any lover would have pursued. And in the end lie
really persuaded himself that he was in love with her.
Yet none the less he thought of Madeline with affection.
He was piqued that she made no effort to bring him back to
her feet. To be sure, her mother's behaviour probably
implied Madeline's desire of reconciliation, but he wished
her to make personal overtures ; he would have liked to see
her approach him with humble eyes, not troubling himself
to debate how he should act in that event. With Mrs.
Denyer he was once more on terms of apparent friendliness,
though he held no private dialogue with her ; he was willing
that she should suppose him gradually coming over to her
views. Barbara and Zillah showed constraint when he
spoke with them, but this he affected not to perceive. Only
with Madeline he did not converse. Her air of uncon-
cemedness at length proved too much for his patience, and
so it came about that Madeline received by post a letter
addressed in Clifford's hand. She took it to her bedroom,
and bi'oke the envelope with agitation.
"Your behaviour is heartless. Just when I am in deep
distress, and need all possible encouragement in the grave
struggle upon which I have entered — for I need not tell you
that I am resolved to remain an artist — you desert me, and
do your best to show that you are glad at being relieved of
all concern on my account. It is well for me that I see the
result of this test, but, I venture to think, not every woman
would have chosen your course. I shall very shortly leave
Naples. It will no doubt complete your satisfaction to think
of me toiling friendless in London. Eemember this as my
farewell.— C. M."
The next morning Clifford received what he expected, a
reply, also sent by post. It was written in the clearest and
steadiest hand, on superfine paper.
"I am sorry you should have repeated your insult in a
written form ; I venture to thiuk that not every man would
have followed this course, For myself, it is well indeed that
THE DECLARATION. 157
I see the res alt of the test to "which you have been exposed.
But I shall say and think no more of it. As you leave soon,
I would suggest that we should be on the terms of ordinary
acquaintances for the remaining time ; the present state of
things is both disagreeable and foolish. It will always seem
to me a very singular thing that you should have continued
to live in this house ; but that, of course, was in your own
discretion. — M. D."
This was on the morning when Cecily and her companions
went to Pompeii. Towards luncheon-time, Clifford entered
the drawing-room, and there found Mrs. Lessingham in con-
versation with Madeline. The former looked towards him
in a way which seemed to invite his approach.
"Another idle morning, Mr. Marsh ? " was her greeting.
" I had a letter at breakfast that disturbed me," he
replied, seating himself away from Madeline.
" I'm sorry to hear that."
" Mr. Marsh is very easily disturbed," said Madeline, in a
light tone of many possible meanings.
" Yes," admitted Clifford, leaning back and letting his
head droop a little ; " I can seldom do anything when I am
not quite at ease in mind. Eather a misfortune, but not an
uncommon one with artists."
The conversation turned on this subject for a few minutes,
Madeline taking part in it in a way that showed her resolve
to act as she had recommended in her note. Then Mrs.
Lessingham rose and left the two together. Madeline
seemed also about to move ; she followed the departing lady
with her eyes, and at length, as though adding a final
remark, said to Chfford :
" There are several things you have been so kind as to
lend me that I must return before you go, Mr. Marsh. I
will make a parcel of them, and a servant shall take them to
Since the quarrel, Madeline had not worn her ring of
158 THE EMANCIPATED.
betrotlial, Tout this was the first time she had spoken of
" I am sorry you have had news that disturbed you," she
continued, as if in calm friendliness. " But I dare say it is
something you will soon forget. In future you probably
won't think so much of little annoyances."
" Probably not."
She smiled, and walked away, stopping to glance at a pic-
ture before she left the room. Clifford was left with laiitted
brows and uneasy mind ; he had not believed her capable of
this sedateness. For some reason, Madeline had been dress-
ing herself with unusual care of late (the result, in fact, of
frequent observation of Cecily), and just now, as he entered,
it had struck him that she was after all very pretty, that no
one could impugn his taste in having formerly chosen her.
His refei'ence to her letter was a concession, made on the
moment's impulse. Her rejecting it so unmistakably looked
serious. Had she even ceased to be jealous ?
In the course of the afternoon, one of Mrs. Gluck's ser-
vants deposited a parcel in his chamber. When he foimd it,
he bit his lips. Indeed, things looked serious at last. He
passed the hours till dinner in rather comfortless solitude.
But at dinner he was opposite Cecily, and he thought he
had never seen her so brilliant. Perhaps the day in the
open air — there was a fresh breeze — had warmed the ex-
quisite colour of her cheeks and given her eyes an even
purer radiance than of wont. The dress she wore was not
new to him, but its perfection made stronger appeal to his
senses than previously. How divine were the wreaths and
shadowings of her hair ! With what gracile loveliness did
her neck bend as she spoke to Mrs. Lessingham ! What
hand ever shone with more delicate beauty than hers in the
offices of the meal ? It pained him to look at Madeline and
Moreover, Cecily met his glance, and smiled — smiled with
adorable frankness. From that moment he rejoiced at what
THE DECLARATION. 159
bad taten place to-day. It had left him his complete free-
dom. Good ; he had given Madeline a final chance, and she
had neglected it. In every sense he was at liberty to turn
his thoughts elsewhither, and now he felt that he had even
" We had an unexpected meeting with Mr. Elgar," were
Cecily's words, when she spoke to her aunt of the day's
Mrs. Lessingham showed surprise, and noticed that Cecily
kept glancing over the columns of a newspaper she had care-
lessly taken up.
" At Pompeii ? " ♦
" Yes ; in the Street of Tombs. For some reason, he had
delayed on his journey."
" I'm not surprised."
"Delay is one of his characteristics, isn't it?" returned
the elder lady, with unaccustomed tartness. "A minor
branch of the root of inefficiency."
" I am afraid so."
Cecily laughed, and began to read aloud an amusing pas-
sage from the paper. Her aunt put no further question ;