would sit in the drawing-room for an hour, pulhng his
whiskers and moustaches nervously, often glancing at
Barbara, making the kindest inquiries concerning Madeline,
for whom he actually brought flowers. On one of these
occasions, he told them that his brother the baronet was
very ill, down at the " place in Lincolnshire." And after
mentioning this, he fell into abstraction.
As for Madeline, she still received letters from Clifford
Marsh. On first hearing of the accident, Clifford at once
came to Southampton ; his distress was extreme. But it was
useless for him to remain, and business demanded his return
to Leeds. Neither he nor Madeline was yet aware of the
gravity of what had happened ; they talked of recovery.
Before long Madeline knew how her situation was generally
regarded, but she could not abandon hope ; she was able to
write, and not a word in her letters betrayed a doubt of the
possibility that she might yet be well again. Clifford wrote
very frequently for the first year, with a great deal of genuine
tenderness, with compassion and encouragement. Never
mind how long her illness lasted, let her be assured of his
fidelity ; no one but Madeline should ever be his wife. A
considerable part of his letters was always occupied with
lamentation over the cursed fate that bound him to the
Philistines, though he took care to repeat that this was the
result of his own choice, and that he blamed no one â€” unless
it were his gross-minded step-father, who had driven him to
such an alternative, These bewailings grew less vehement
THE DENVEkS IN ENGLAND. 2S5
as his letters became shorter and arrived at longer Intervals ;
there besan to be a sameness in the tone, even in the words.
When his yearly holiday came round, he promised to visit
Southampton, but after all never did so. What was the
use ? he wrote. It only meant keener misery to both.
Instead of coming south, he had gone into Scotland.
And Madeline no longer expressed a wish to see him. Her
own letters grew shorter and calmer, containing at length
very little about herself, but for the most part news of family
affairs. Every now and then Clifford seemed to rouse him-
self to the effort of repeating his protestations, of affirming
his deathless faith; but as a rule he wrote about trifles,
sometimes even of newspaper matters. So did the second
year of Madeline's martyrdom come to its close.
Quan-elling incessantly, Mrs. Denyer and Barbara pre-
pared the lodger's dinner between them. This Mrs. Travis
was not exacting ; she had stipulated only for a cutlet, or
something of the kind, with two vegetables, and a milk pud-
ding. Whatever was proposed seemed to suit her. The
Denyers knew nothing about her, except that she was able
to refer them to a lady who had a house in Mayfair ; her
husband, she said, was abroad. She had broiight a gi'eat
deal of luggage, including books to the number of fifty
When the moment for decision came, Barbara snatched up
the folded white table-cloth, threw it with knives, forks, and
plates upon a tray, and ascended to the lodger's sitting-room.
Her cheeks were hot ; her eyes flashed. She had donned the
most elegant attire in her possession, had made her hair
magnificent. Her knock at the door was meant to be a
declaration of independence ; it sounded peremptory.
Mrs. Travis was in an easy-chair, reading. She looked up
absently ; then smiled.
" Good evening, Miss Denyer. How close it has been
again ! "
286 THlE EMANCIPATED.
" Very. 1 must ask you to excuse me, Mrs, Travis, if 1
do these tliinpjs rather awkwardly. At a moment's notice,
we have lost the servant whose duty it was."
" Oh, I am only sorry that you should have the trouble.
Let us lay the table together. I've done it often enough for
myself. ISTo, that's the wrong side of the cloth. I'll put
these things in order, whilst you go for the rest."
Barbara looked at Mrs. Travis with secret disdain. The
girl's nature was plebeian ; a little arrogance would have
constrained her to respect, however she might have seemed
to resent it. This good-natured indifference made her feel
that her preparations were thrown away. She would have
preferred to see herself as a martyr.
When dinner was over and the table being cleared, Mrs.
Travis spoke of Madeline.
" Does she sleep well at night ? "
" Never till very late," replied Barbara.
" Does she like to be read to ? "
" Oh yes â€” reading of certain kinds. I often read ItpJiau
poetry to her."
Mrs. Travis had not now to learn for the first time of the
family's superior attainments ; it had been Mrs. Denyer's
care to impress upon her that they were no ordinary letters
of lodgings. Indeed, said Mrs. Denyei', they were rather
depaysees here in England ; they had so long been accustomed
to the larger intellectual atmosphere of Continental centres.
" The poor girls pine for Italy ; they have always adored
Italy. My eldest daughter is far more Italian than English."
" Well, I don't read Italian," said Mrs. Travis to Barbara,
" bnt if English would do, I should really like to sit with
her for an hour sometimes. I never sleep myself if I go to
bed before midnight. Do you think she would care for my
company ? "
" I am sure she would be grateful to you," answered
Barbara, who felt that she might now exhibit a little polite-
THE DENVERS iN ENGLAND. 2S7
"Then please ask her if I may come to-night."
This request was readily granted, and at about half- past
nine Mrs. Travis went into the sick-chamber, taking in her
hand a volume of Browning. Madeline had not yet seen
the lodger; she returned her greeting in a murmur, and
examined her with the steady eyes of one whoii great suffer-
ing has delivered from all petty embarrassments. Her face
was not so calm as when Barbara came to speak to her in the
afternoon ; lines of pain showed themselves on her forehead,
and her thin lips were compressed.
^' It's very good of you to come," she said, when Mrs.
Travis had taken a seat by the bed. " But please don't read
anything to-night. I don't feel that I could take any
interest. It is so sometimes."
" Naturally enough. But do you feel able to talk ? "
" Yes ; I had rather talk. Can you tell me something
quite new and different from what I'm accustomed to hear ?
Do you know any country where I haven't been ? "
" I haven't travelled much. Last autumn I was in Iceland
for a few weeks ; would you care to hear of that ? "
" Very much. Just talk as if you were going over it in
your memory. Don't mind if 1 close my eyes ; I shan't be
asleep'; it helps me to imagine, that's all."
Mrs. Travis did as she was asked. Now and then Made-
line put a question. When at length there came a pause,
Bhe said abruptly :
" I suppose it seems dreadful to you, to see me lying here
like this ? "
" It makes me wish I had it in my power to relieve you."
" But does it seem dreadful ? Could you bear to itnagine
yourself in the same case ? I want you to tell me trutlifully.
I'm not an uneducated girl, you know ; I can think about
life and death as people do nowadays."
Mi's. Travis looked at her curiously.
" I can imagine positions far worse," she answered.
"That means, of course, that you could not bear to picture
288 THE EMANCIPATED.
yourself in this. But it's strange how one can get used to
it. The first year I suffered horribly â€” in mind, I mean.
But then I stiU had hope. I have none now, and that keeps
my mind calmer. A paradox, isn't it ? It's always possible,
you know, that I may feel such a life unendurable at last,
and then I should hope to find a means of bringing it to an
end. For instance, if we become so poor that I am too great
a burden. Of course I wouldn't live in a hospital. I don't
mean I should be too proud, but the atmosphere would be
intolerable. And one really needn't live, after one has
decided that it's no use."
" I don't know what to say about that," murmured Mrs.
" No ; you haven't had the opportunity of thinking it over,
as I have. I can imagine myself reaching the point when I
should not care to have health again, even if it were offered
me. I haven't come to that yet ; oh no ! To-night I am
feeling dreadfully what I have lost â€” not like I used to, but
still dreadfully. Will you tell me something about your-
self ? What kind of books do you like ? "
" Pretty much the same as you do, I should fancy. I like
to know what new things people are discovering, and how
the world looks to clever men. But I can't study ; I have
no perseverance. I read the reviews a good deal."
" You'd never guess the last book I have read. It lies on
the chest of drawers there â€” a treatise on all the various
kinds of paralysis. The word ' paralysis ' used to have the
most awful sound to me ; now I'm so familiar with it that it
has ceased to be shocking and become interesting. What I
am suffering from is called paraplegia ; that's when the
lower half of the body is affected; it comes from injury or
disease of the spinal cord. The paralysis begins at the
point in the vertebral column where the injury was received.
But it tends to spread upward. If it gets as far as certain
nerves upon which the movements of the diaphragm depend,
then you die. I wonder whether that will be my case ? "
7HE DENYERS IN ENGLAND. 2S9
Mrs. Travis kept her eyes on the girl during this singular
little lecture ; she felt the fascination which is exercised by
strange mental phenomena.
" Do you know Italy ? " Madeline asked, with sudden
" I have travelled through it, like other tourists."
" You went to Naples ? "
" If I close my eyes, how well I can see JSTajjles ! Now I
am walking through the Villa Nazionale. I come out into
the Largo Vittoria, where the palm-trees are â€” do you
remember ? Now I might go into the Chiatamone, between
the high houses; but instead of that I'll turn down into
Via Caracciolo and go along by the sea, till I'm opposite the
Castel deir Ovo. Now I'm turning the corner and cominsr
on to Santa Lucia, where there are stalls with shells and
ices and fish. I can smell the Santa Lucia. And to think
that I shall never see it again, never again. â€” Don't stay any
longer now, Mrs. Travis. I can't talk any more. Thank you
for being so kind."
In a week's time it had become a regular thing for Mrs.
Travis to spend an hour or two daily with Madeline. Their
conversation was suitable enough to a sick-chamber, yet
strangely unHke what is wont to pass in such places. On
Madeline's side it was tlioroughly morbid ; on that of her
visitor, a curious mixture of unhealthy speculation and pure
f eehng. Mrs. Travis was at first surprised that the suffering
girl never seemed to think of ordinary religion as a solace.
She herself had no fixity of faith ; her mind played con-
stantly with creeds of negation ; but she felt it as an un-
natural thing for one of Madeline's age to profess herself
wholly without guidance on so dark a journey. And
presently she began to doubt whether the profession were
genuine. The characteristic of the family was pretence and
posing ; Mrs. Denyer and Barbara illustrated that every time
they spoke. Not impossibly Madeliuo did but declare the
290 THE EMANCIPATED.
same tendency in lier rambling and quasi-pMlosopLlc talk.
Slie was fond of warning Mrs. Travis against attributing to
lier the common prejudices of women. And yet, were it
affectation, then the habit must be so inextricably blended
with her nature as to have become in practice a genuine
motive in the mind's working, Madeline would speculate on
the difference between one of her " culture " in the circum-
stances and the woman who is a slave of tradition ; and a
moment after she would say something so profoundly
pathetic that it brought tears to her companion's eyes.
Mrs. Travis never spoke of her personal affairs ; Madeline
could supjily no food for the curiosity of her mother and
sister when they questioned her about the long private con-
versations. The lodger received no visitors, and seldom a
letter. In the morning she went out for an hour, generally
towards the heath ; occasionally she was fi'om home until
late at night. About the quality of the attendance given
her she was wholly indifferent ; in spite of frequent incon-
veniences, she made her weekly payments without a word of
dissatisfaction. She had a few eccentricities of behaviour
which the Denyers found it difficult to reconcile vdth the
refinement of her ordinary conduct. Once or twice, when
the servant went into her sitting-room the first thing in the
morning, she was surprised to find Mrs. Travis lying asleep
on the couch, evidently just as she had come home the
previous night, except that her bonnet was removed. It had
happened, too, that when some one came and knocked at her
door during the day, she vouchsafed no answer, and yet made
the sound of moving about, as if to show that she did not
choose to be disturbed, for whatever reason.
The household went its regular way. Mrs. Denyer sat in
her wonted idle dignity, or scolded the hard-driven maid-of-
all-work, or quarrelled fiercely with Barbara. Barbara was
sullen, insolent, rebellious against fate, by turns. Up in the
still room lay poor Madeline, seldom visited by either of the
THE DENYERS IN ENGLAND. 29I
two save when it was necessary. All knew that the position
of things had no security ; before long there must come a
crisis worse than any the family had yet experienced.
Unless, indeed, that one hope which remained to them could
One afternoon at the end of July, mother and daughter
were sitting over their tea, lamenting the necessity which
kept them in London when the eternal fitness of things
demanded that they should be preparing for travel. They
heard a vehicle draw up before the house, and Barbara,
making cautious espial from tlie windows, exclaimed that it
was Mr. Musselwhite.
" He has a lot of flowers, as usual," she added, scornfully,
watching him as he paid the cabman. " Gro into the back
room, mamma. Let's say you're not at home to-day. Send
for the teapot, and get some moi'e tea made."
There came a high-bred knock at the front door, and Mrs.
Mr. Musselwhite entered with a look and bearing much
graver than usual. He made the proper remarks, and gave
Barbara the flowers for her sister j then seated himself, and
stroked his moustache.
" Miss Denyer," he began, when Barbara waited wearily
for the familiar topic, " my brother, Sir Grant, died a week
"I am very grieved to hear it," she replied, mechanically,
at once absorbed in speculation as to whether this would make
any change that concerned her.
" It was a long and painful illness, and recovery was
known to be impossible. Yet I too cannot help grieving.
As you know, we had not seen much of each other for some
years, but I had the very highest opinion of Sir Grant, and
it always gave me pleasure to think of him as the head of
our family. He was a man of great abihties, and a kind
" I am s\ire he was â€” from what you have told me of him."
292 THE EMANCIPATED.
" Mj nepliew succeeds to the title and tlie estate ; te Is
now Sir Eoland Musselwhite. I have mentioned him in
our conversations. He is about thirtj-four, a very able
man, and very kind, very generous."
There was a distinct tremor in his voice ; he pulled his
moustache vigorously. Barbara listened with painful
"If you will forgive me for speaking of my private
circumstances, Miss Denyer, I should like to tell you that
for some years I have enjoyed only a very restricted in-
come ; a bachelor's allowance â€” really it amounted to nothing
more than that. In consequence of that, my life has been
rather unsettled ; I scarcely knew what to do with myself,
in fact ; now and then time has been rather heavy on my
hands. You may have noticed that, for I know you are
He waited for her to say whether she had or had not
observed this peculiarity in him.
" I have sometimes been afraid that was the case," said
"I quite thought so." He smiled with gratification.
" But now â€” if I may speak a little longer of these personal
mattersâ€” all that is altered, and by the very great kindness,
the generosity, of my nephew Sir Eoland. Sir Roland has
seen fit to put me in possession of an income just three
times what I have hitherto commanded. This does not,
Miss Denyer, make me a wealthy man ; far from it. But it
puts certain things within my reach that I could not
think of formerly. For instance, I shall be able to take a
modest house, either in the country, or here in one of the
suburbs. It's my wish to do so. My one great wish is to
settle down and have something to â€” to occupy my time."
Barbara breathed a faint approval.
" You may wonder. Miss Denyer, why I trouble you with
these details. Perhaps T might be pardoned for doing so,
if I spoke withâ€” with a desire for your friendly sympathy.
THE DENYERS IN ENGLAND. 293
But there is more than that in my mind. The day is come,
Miss Denyer, when I am able to say what I would gladly
have said before our parting at Naples, if it had been
justifiable in me. That is rather a long time ago, but the
feeling I then had has only increased in the meanwhile.
Miss Denyer, I desire humbly to ask if you will share with
me my new prosperity, such as it is ? "
The interview lasted an hour and a quarter. Mrs.
Denyer panted with impatience in the back parlour. Such
an extended visit could not but have unusual significance.
On hearing the door of the other room open, she stood up
and listened. But there was no word in the passage, no
The front door closed, and in two ticks of the clock Barbara
came headlong into the parlour. With broken breath, with
hysterical laughing and sobbing, she made known what had
happened. It was too much for her ; the relief of suspense,
the absolute triumph, were more than she could support
with decency. Mrs, Denyer shed tears, and embraced
her daughter as if they had always been on the fondest
" Go up and tell Maddy ! "
But, as not seldom befalls, happiness inspired Barbara
iv'ith a delicacy of feeling to which as a rule she was a
" I don't like to, mamma. It seems cruel."
" But you can't help it, my dear ; and she must know to-
morrow if not to-day."
So before long Barbara went upstairs. She entered the
room softly, Madeline had her eyes fixed on the ceiling,
and did not move them as her sister approached the bed.
" Miidfly ! "
Then inil(!ed she looked at the speaker, and with surprise,
Bo unwonted was this tone on Barbara's lips. Surprise waa
quickly succeeded by a smile,
294 THE EMANCIPATED
" I know, Barbara ; I understand."
Â«' What ? How can you ? "
"I heard a cab drive up, and I heard a knock at the
door. ' That's Mr. Musselwhite,' I thought. He has been
here a long time, and now I understand. You needn't tell
" But there's a good deal to tell that you can't have found
out, quick as you are."
And she related the circumstances. Madeline listened
with her eyes on the ceiling.
" We shall be married very soon," Barbara added ; " as
soon as a house can be chosen. Of course it must be in
London, or very near. We shall go somewhere or other,
and then, very likely, pay a formal visit to the ' place in
Lincolnshire.' Think of that ! Sir Roland seems a good
sort of man ; he will welcome us. Think of visiting at the
* place in Lincolnshire ' ! Isn't it all like a dream ? "
" What will mamma do without you ? "
" Oh, Zillah is to come home. We'll see about that."
" I suppose he forgot to bring me some flowers to-
day ? "
" No ! But I declare I forgot to bring them up. I'll
fetch them at once."
She did so, running downstairs and up again like a
child, with a jump at the landings. The flowers were put
in the usual place. Madeline looked at them, and listened
to her sister's chatter for five minutes. Then she said
"Go away now, please. I've heard enough for the
" You shall have all sorts of comforts, Maddy."
" Gro away, Barbara."
The sister obeyed, looking back with compassion from the
door. She closed it softly, and in the room there was the
old perfect stillness. Madeline had let her eyelids fall, and
the white face against the white pillows was like that of one
THE DENVERS IN ENGLAND. 295
dead. But upon the eyelashes there presently shone a tear ;
it swelled, broke away, and left a track of moisture. Poor
white face, with the dark hair softly shadowing its temples !
Poor troubled brain, wearying itself in idle questioning of
powers that heeded not !
MULTUM IX PARTO.
Elgae's marriage had been a great success. For a year
and a half, for even more than that, he had lived the fullest
and most consistent life of which he was capable ; what
proportion of the sons of men can look back on an equal
span of time in their own existence and say the same of it ?
Life with 'Cecily gave predominance to all the noblest
energies in his nature. He loved with absolute sincerity ;
his ideal of womanhood was for the time realized and
possessed ; the vagrant habit of his senses seemed per-
manently subdued ; his mind was occupied with high
admirations and creative fancies ; in thought and speech he
was ardent, generous, constant, hopeful. A happy marriage
can do no more for man than make unshadowed revelation
of such aspiring faculty as he is endowed withal. It can-
not supply him with a force greater than he is born to ;
oven as the happiest concurrence of healthful circumstances
cannot give more strength to a physical constitution than its
origin warrants. At this period of his life, Eeuben Elgar
could not have been more than, with Cecily's help, he
showed himself. Be the future advance or retrogression, he
had lived the possible life.
Whose the fault that it did not continue ? Cecily's, if it
296 THE EMANCIPATED.
were blameworthy to demand too much ; Elgar's, if it be
wrong to learn one's own limitations.
His making definite choice of a subject whereon to employ
his intellect was at one and the same time a proof of how
far his development had progressed and a warning of what
lay before him. However chaotic the material in which he
proposed to work, however inadequate his powers, it was
yet a truth that, could he execute anything at all, it would
be something of the kind thus vaguely contemplated. His
intellect was combative, and no subject excited it to such
activity as this of Hebraic constraint in the modern world.
Elgar's book, supposing him to have been capable of
writing it, would have resembled no other ; it would have
been, as he justly said, unique in its anti-dogmatic passion.
It was quite in the order of things that he should propose
to write it ; equally so, that the attempt should mark the
end of his happiness.
For all that she seemed to welcome the proposal with
enthusiasm, Cecily's mind secretly misgave her. She had
begun to understand Keuben, and she foresaw, with a
certainty which she in vain tried to combat, how soon his
energy would fail upon so great a task. Impossible to
admonish him ; impossible to direct him on a humbler path,
where he might attain some result. With Keuben's temper-
ament to deal with, that would mean a fatal disturbance of
their relations to each other. That the disturbance must
come in any case, now that he was about to prove himself,
she anticipated in many a troubled moment, but would not
let the forecast discourage her.
El gar knew how his failure in perseverance affected her ;
he looked for the signs of her disappointment, and was at no
loss to find them. It was natural to him to exaggerate the
diminution of her esteem ; he attributed to her what, in her
place, he would himself have felt ; he soon imagined that
she had as good as ceased to love him. He could not bear
to be less in her eyes than formerly ; a jealous shame stung
him, and at length made hini almost bitter against hej-f
MULTUM IN PARVO. 297
In this way came about his extraordinary outbreak that
night when Cecily had been alone to her aunt's. Pent-up
irritation drove him into the extravagances which to Cecily
were at first incredible. He could not utter what was really
in his mind, and the charges he made against her were
modes of relieving himself. Yet, as soon as they had once
taken shape, these rebukes obtained a real significance of
their own. Coincident with Cecily's disappointment in him
had been the sudden exhibition of her pleasure in society.
Under other circumstances, his wife's brilliancy among