to make her my wife. I am speaking
of Maria Hastings."
" Eh, lad, but that's good news !"
George burst into a laugh. " What
green geese you must all have been,
Janet ! Had you used your eyes, you
might have detected, this long while
past, that my choice was fixed on Ma-
ria. But the rector doubts whether
you will approve. He will not prom-
ise her to me until he has your sanc-
" I'll put my shawl on and go down
at once to the rectory, and tell him
that we all love Maria," said Janet,
more impulsively than was common
with her : but in truth she had been
relieved from a great fear. There was
something about Charlotte Pain that
frightened sedate Janet. Compared
with her, Maria Hastings appeared
every thing that was desirable as a
wife for George. Her want of for-
tune, her want of position, ā which
was certainly not equal to that of the
Godolphins, ā were lost sight of.
" I could do with some broth, Janet,"
cried out George, as she was leaving
the room : " I have had nothing since
"To be sure. I am growing for-
getful. Margery shall wait upon you,
my dear. But, to go down to the rec-
tory without delay, is a courtesy due
So, no impediment was placed upon
the marriage. Neither was any im-
pediment placed upon its immediate
celebration, ā the rector permitting
himself to be persuaded into allowing
it. Whether he would have done so
but for that absurd fable of the private
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT
Carriage, may be doubtful. Char-
lotte Pain contrived that the story
should become public property. What
with that ā which, however, nobody
believed ā and what with the present
real marriage, Prior's Ash had a dainty
dish of gossip served up to it.
Three weeks subsequent to the day
when it was broached to the rector,
George Godolphin and Maria stood
before that rector, in the Church of
All Souls'. George did not appear
very ill now: he was not so shadowy,
his fine complexion had come again,
and stick the second was discarded.
Maria was beautiful. Her soft bridal
robes floated around her, her color
went and came, as she glanced shyly
up at George Godolphin, ā a hand-
some couple ; one that is seldom seen.
It was quite a private marriage ā
so to speak ; but few guests being
present, and they relatives, or very
close friends. Lady Godolphin had
responded to the invitation (which
Janet had not expected her to do)
and was the guest of Ashlydyat.
Very superb was she in silks and
jewels this day. Old Mrs. Briscow
had also remained for it. Mr. Crosse
was present, and some relatives of the
Hastings family: and Grace and Cecil
were bridesmaids. The rector joined
their hands, speaking the necessary
words slowly and emphatically ; words
that bound them to each other till
Then came the breakfast at the
rectory, and then the going away.
The carriage waited at the gate. The
rector laid his hand upon George Go-
dolphin's arm as he was going out to
it, and addressed him in a low tone :
" I have confided her to you in en-
tire trust. You will cherish her in
all love and honor ?"
"Always I 1 ' emphatically pronounced
George, grasping the rector's hand.
"You shall never have cause to repent
Thomas Godolphin was placing
Maria in the carriage. She looked
out through her tears, nodding
her last adieus. George took his
place beside her, and the post-boys
started on the first stage towards
As they were passing the house of
Lady Sarah Grame, by which their
route lay, that lady herself sat at the
window, as did also Sarah Anne, ā
both on the tiptoe of curiosity, beyond
all doubt. Between them, laughing
and talking with a gay air, and look-
ing out, stood Charlotte Pain. Maria
gave vent to an involuntary exclama-
Another moment, and they had
whirled by, beyond view. George
turned impulsively to Maria and drew
her close to him. " Thank God ! thank
God !" he earnestly said.
"For what?" she murmured.
" That you are mine. Maria, I
dreamt last night that I had married
Charlotte Pain, and that you were
dying. The dream has been haunt-
ing me all day. I can laugh at it
now. Thank God !"
In the gayest and lightest room of
Lady Godolphin's Folly, its windows
open to the green slopes, the flower-
ed parterres, to the magnificent pros-
pect which swept the horizon in the
distance, was Mrs.Verrall. She lay
back in a fauteuil, in the idle, vain,
listless manner favored by her ; toying
with the ribbons of her tasty dress,
with the cluster of shining trifles on
her watch-chain, with her gossamer
handkerchief, its lace so fine in texture
that unobservant eyes could not tell
where the cambric ended and that be-
gan, with her fan which lay beside
her, tapping her pretty foot upon an
ottoman in some impatience ; there
she sat, displaying her charms in
conscious vanity, and waiting for any
callers, idle and vain as herself, who
might arrive to admire those charms.
At a distance, in another fauteuil,
listless and impatient also, sat Rodolf
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
Pain. Time hung heavy on Mr. Pain's
hands just now. He was kept a sort
of prisoner at Lady Godolphin's Folly,
and it appeared to be the chief busi-
ness of Charlotte Pain's life to be cross
to him. Three weeks had his sojourn
there lasted : and though he had hinted
to Charlotte on his arrival that he
might remain a good number of weeks
ā interminable weeks, was the expres-
sion, I think ā he had not really thought
to do so ; and the delay was chaffing
him. What particular business might
be keeping Mr. Pain at Prior's Ash
it is not our province at present to
inquire : what his particular motive
might be for rather shunning observa-
tion than courting it, is no affair of
ours. He did not join Mrs. Verrall in
her visiting : he had an innate dislike
to visitors ā to "fine people," as he
called it. Even now, did any carriage
drive up and deposit its freight at the
Folly, it would be signal for Mr. Rodolf
Pain's walking out of the drawing-
room. He was shy, and had not been
accustomed to society. He strolled
in and out all day in his restlessness,
nearly unnoticed by Mrs.Yerrall, fid-
geting Charlotte Pain, ā a cigar in
his mouth, and his hands in his
pockets, sauntering about the grounds,
flinging himself into chairs : one sent-
ence of complaint perpetually on his
lips: "I wish to goodness Verrall
would write !"
But Verrall did not write. Mrs.
Verrall had received one or two short
notes from him after her return from
London ā where she had stayed but
twenty-four hours ā and all the allu-
sion in them to Mr. Pain had been,
" Tell Rodolf he shall hear from me
as soon as possible." Rodolf could
only wait with what patience he
might, and feel himself like a caged
tiger, without its fierceness. There
was nothing of fierceness about Rodolf
Pain ā timidity, rather, than that.
A timidity for which Charlotte des-
pised him. Had he been more fierce,
she might have accorded him greater
respect. What could have possessed
Charlotte ever to engage herself to
Rodolf Pain, would be a mystery for
curious minds to solve, only that such
mysteries are enacted every day.
Engagements and marriages, appar-
ently the most incongruous, take place.
This much maybe said for Charlotte:
that, let her enter into what engage-
ment she might, she would keep it or
break it, just as whim or her con-
venience suited her. Rodolf Pain's
thoughts, as he sat in that chair, were
probably turned to this very fact, for
he broke the silence suddenly by a
pertinent question to Mrs. Verrall.
"Does she never mean to marry?"
" Who ?" languidly asked Mrs.
" Charlotte, of course. I have noth-
ing to do with anybody else, that I
should ask. She faithfully promised
to be my wife : you know she did, Mrs.
" Don't talk to me, Rodolf," apathet-
ically interrupted Mrs. Verrall. "As
if I should interfere between you and
"I think you are in league together
to snub me, Mrs. Verrall, she and you;
that's what I do," grumbled Rodolf.
" If I only remind her of her promise,
she snaps my nose off. Are we to be
married, or are we not ?"
" It is no affair of mine, I say,"
said Mrs. Verrall, "and I shall not
make it one. I had as soon Charlotte
married you, as not; but I am not
going to take an active part in urging
it ā only to get probable blame after-
wards. That is all I can say, and if
you tease me more, Rodolf, I shall
trouble you to walk into another
Thus repulsed, Rodolf Pain held
his tongue. He turned about in his
chair, stretched out his feet, drew
them in again, threw up his arms
with a prolonged yawn, and altogether
proved that he was going wild for
want of something to do. Presently
he bep:an again.
" Where's she off to ?"
" Charlotte ?" cried Mrs. Verrall.
" She went into Prior's Ash. She
said ā yes, I think she said, she should
call upon Lady Sarah Grame. Look
THE SHADOW OF ASULYDYAT.
Mrs.Verrall rose from her seat and
ran to a farther window, whence she
gained a better view of the road, lead-
ing from Ashlydyat to Prior's Ash. A
chariot-and-four was passing slowly
down towards the town. Its post-boys
wore white favors, and Margery and a
man-servant were pe'rched outside. Mrs.
Verrall knew it, ā that it was the car-
riage destined to convey away George
Godolphin and his bride, who were at
that moment seated at the breakfast
at All Souls' rectory, chief amidst the
" Then Margery does go abroad
with them !" exclaimed Mrs.Verrall.
"The servants had laid hold of so
many conflicting tales, that it was im-
possible to know which to believe.
She goes as Mrs. George's maid, I
suppose, and to see after him and his
" His rheumatism's well, isn't it ?"
returned Rodolf Pain.
" Well ; but he's not. He is as weak
as water, wanting care still. Prudent
Janet does well to send Margery :
what should Mrs. George know, about
taking care of the sick ? I think they
have shown excessively bad manners
not to invite me to the breakfast,"
continued Mrs. Yerrall, in a tone of
" Somebody said that it was to be
quite a private breakfast, ā confined to
"I don't care," said Mrs.Verrall;
"they might have made an exception
in my favor. They know I like such
tilings : and w r e lived in their house,
Ashlydyat, -and are now living at
Lady Godolphin's Folly."
"That's where Charlotte's gone, I'll
lay," cried Mr. Rodolf Pain.
Mrs.Verrall turned her eyes upon
him with a slight accession of w T onder
in them. " Gone there ! To the
rectory ? Nonsense, Rodolf !"
"I didn't say to the rectory, Mrs.
Verrall. She'd not be so stupid as to
go there, without an invitation. She's
gone about the town, staring at the
carriages, and looking out for what
she can see."
" Very possibly," returned Mrs.
Verrall, throwing herself into her
chair in weariness. "What has be-
come of all the people to-day, that no-
body comes, to call upon me ? I
should think they are stopping to look
at the wedding."
Rodolf, in weariness as great, slowly
lifted his body out of the chair, gave
himself another good long stretch, and
quitted the room. Talk of the curse
of work ! Never did work bring a
curse half as great as that brought by
idleness. Better break stones in the
road, better work in galley-chains,
than sit through the livelong day, day
after day as the year goes round, and
be eaten up with lassitude. Rodolf
Pain's compelled idleness was but
temporary ; he was away from his oc-
cupation only for a time : but Mrs.
Verrall possessed no occupation from
year's end to year's end. Her hands
had no duties to perform, no labor to
transact : she never touched any thing
in the shape of ornamental work ; she
rarely, if ever, opened a book. She
was one of those who possess no re-
sources within themselves : and, may
Heaven have mercy upon all such !
By-and-by, after Rodolf had smoked
two cigars outside, and had lounged
in again, pretty near done to death
with the effort of killing time, Char-
lotte returned. She came in at the
open window, apparently in the highest
spirits, her face sparkling.
"Did you hear the bells ?" asked she.
"I did," answered Rodolf. "I
heard them when I was out, just
"The town's quite in a commotion,"
Charlotte resumed. " Half the raga-
muffins in the place are collected
round the rectory gates : they had
better let the beadle get amongst
" Commotion or no commotion, I
know I have not had a soul to
call here !" grumbled Mrs. Verrall.
"Where have you been, Charlotte?"
"At Lady Sarah's. And I have
had the great honor of seeing the
bride and bridegroom !" went on
Charlotte, in a tone of complaisance
so intense as to savor of mockery.
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT,
" They came driving by, in the car-
riage, and we had full view."
This somewhat aroused Mrs.Yerrall
from her listlessness. " They have
started, then ! How did she look,
" Look !" cried Charlotte. " She
looked as she usually looks, for all I
saw. He had hectic cheeks ; I could
see that. Mr. George must take care
of himself yet, I fancy."
"How was Mrs. George dressed?"
questioned Mrs.Yerrall again.
" Could I see ? ā seated low in the
carriage, as she was, and leaning back
in it !" retorted Charlotte. " She wore
a white bonnet and vail, and that's all
I can tell. Margery and Pierce were
with them. I say, Kate, don't you
think Lady Sarah must feel this day?
A few months back, and it was her
daughter who was on the point of
marriage with a Godolphin. But she
did not seem to think of it. She'd
give her head for a daughter of hers
to wed a Godolphin still."
Mrs. Yerrall raised her eyes to
Charlotte's with an expression of sim-
ple astonishment. The remark mys-
tified her. Mrs. Yerrall could boast
little depth of any sort, and never saw
half so far as Charlotte did. Char-
lotte resumed :
" / saw ; / know ; I have seen and
known ever since Ethel died. My
lady would like Sarah Anne to take
Ethel's place with Thomas Godol-
" I can hardly believe that, Char-
" Disbelieve it, then," equably re-
sponded Charlotte, as she passed out
to the terrace and began to call to her
dogs. They came noisily up in an-
swer, and Charlotte disappeared with
And Mr. Rodolf Pain, sitting there
in his embroidered chair, with a swell-
ing heart, remarked that Charlotte
had not vouchsafed the smallest notice
to him. " I'd not stop another hour,"
he murmured to himself, "only that
my going back would put up Yerrall :
and ā and it might not do."
Yery intense was that gentleman's
surprise to see, not two minutes after,
Mr. Yerrall himself enter the room by
the window. Mrs. Yerrall gave a lit-
tle shriek of astonishment ; and the
new-comer, throwing his summer-over-
coat upon a chair, shook hands with
his wife and gave her a kiss. Plenty
of dust was mingled with his yellow
whiskers and his moustache.
" I came third-class most of the
way," explained Mr. Yerrall, as an
apology for the dust. " The first-class
carriage was stuffing hot, and there
was no getting a smoke in it. We
had a troublesome guard : the fellow
excused himself by saying one of the
directors w r as in the train."
" I have been all this while rubbing
my eyes to find out whether they are
deceiving me," cried Rodolf Pain.
" Who was to dream of seeing you
here to-day, sir ?"
" I should think you expected to see
me before, Rodolf," was Mr. Yerrall's
" Well, so I did. But it seemed to
be put off so long, that I am surprised
to see you now. Is ā is all straight ?"
" Quite straight," replied Mr. Yer-
rall ; " after an overwhelming amount
of bother. You are going up to-day,
" And not sorry to hear it, either,"
cried Rodolf Pain, with emphasis.
" I am sick of having nothing to do.
Is Appleby settled ?" he added, drop-
ping his voice.
Mr. Yerrall gave a nod ; and, draw-
ing Rodolf Pain to a far window,
stood there talking to him for some
minnutes in a undertone. Mrs. Yer-
rall, who never, concerned herself with
matters of business, and never would
listen to them, went out on the terrace,
a pale pink parasol, with its white
fringe, held between her face and the
sun. While thus standing, the dis-
tant bells of All Souls', which had been
ringing occasional peals throughout
the day, smote faintly upon her ear.
She went in-doors again.
"Yerrall," said she, " if you come
out here you can hear the bells. Do
you know what thev are ringing for ?"
" What bells ? Why should I hear
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
them ?" inquired Mr. Verrall, turning
from Rodolf Pain.
" They are ringing for George Go-
dolphin's wedding. He has been mar-
The information appeared, ā as Ro-
dolf Pain would have expressed it,
had he given utterance to his senti-
ments, ā to strike Mr. Yerrall all of a
heap. " George Godolphin married to-
day !" he repeated, in profound aston-
ishment, remembering the creachy
state George had been in when he had
quitted Prior's Ash, three weeks be-
fore. " Married or buried, do you
Mrs. Yerrall laughed. " Oh, he has
got well from his illness ; or nearly
well," she said. " The bells wouid
toll muffled peals, if he were buried,
Yerrall, Yerrall, like they did for Sir
" And whom has he married ?" con-
tinued Mr. Yerrall, not in the least
overgetting his astonishment.
" Maria Hastings."
Mr. Yerrall stroked his yellow
moustache, ā a somewhat recent ap-
pendage to his beauty. He was by
no means a demonstrative man, ā ex-
cept on rare occasions, ā and though
the tidings evidently made marked
impression on him, he said nothing.
" Is Charlotte at the wedding ?" he
" No strangers were invited," re-
plied Mrs. Yerrall. "Lady Godol-
phin came for it, and is staying at
Ashlydyat. She has put off her weeds
for to-day, and appears in colors, ā
glad enough, I know, of the excuse
tor doing so."
" Where is Charlotte ?" resumed Mr.
He happened to look at Rodolf
Pain as he spoke, and the latter an-
swered, pointing towards some trees
on the right.
" She went down there with her
dogs. I'll go and find her."
Mr. Yerrall watched him away and
then turned to his wife, ā speaking,
however, impassively still.
" You say he has married Ma-
ria Hastings ? How came Char-
lotte to let him slip through her
" Because she could not help it, I
suppose," replied Mrs. Yerrall, shrug-
ging her pretty shoulders. " I never
thought Charlotte had any chance
with George Godolphin, Maria Hast-
ings being in the way. Had Char-
lotte been first in the field, it might
have made all the difference. He had
fallen in love with Maria Hastings be-
fore he ever saw Charlotte."
Mr. Yerrall superciliously drew down
his lips at the corners. " Don't talk
about a man's ' falling in love,' Kate.
Girls fall in love, ā men know better.
Charlotte has played her cards badly,"
he added, with some emphasis.
" I don't know," said Mrs. Yerrall.
" That Charlotte would play them to
the best of her ability, there's little
doubt : but, as I say, she had no
chance from the first. I think George
did love Maria Hastings. I'm sure
they have been together enough, he
and Charlotte, and they have flirted
enough ; but, as to caring for Char-
lotte, I don't believe George cared for
her any more than he cared for me.
They have gone abroad for the win-
ter, ā will be away six months, or
"I am sorry for that," quietly re-
marked Mr. Yerrall. " I was in hopes
to have made some use of Mr. George
"Use?" cried Mrs. Yerrall. "What
" Oh, nothing," carelessly replied
Mr. Yerrall. "A little matter of busi-
ness that I was going to propose to
" Won't it do when he comes home ?"
" I dare say it may," said Mr. Yer-
Mr. Rodolf Pain had walked to the
right, and plunged amidst the grove
of trees in search of Charlotte. He
was not long in finding her. The
noise made by her dogs was sufficient
guide. In one respect Charlotte Pain
was better off than her sister, Mrs.
Yerrall : she found more resources for
killing time. Charlotte had no greater
taste for books than Mrs. Yerrall had :
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT,
if she took one up, it was only to fling
it down again : she did not draw, she
did not work. For some reasons of
her own, Charlotte kept an orna-
mental piece of work in hand, which
never got finished. It is speaking
metaphorically, you know, to say "in
hand." Had she kept it literally in
hand it might have progressed better.
Once in a way, upon the most rare
occasions, it was taken up, and a
couple of stitches done to it; and
then, like the book, flung down again.
Charlotte played well ; nay, bril-
liantly : but she never played to amuse
herself, or for the love of music : al-
ways for display. The resources which
Charlotte possessed above Mrs.Ver-
rall lay in her horsemanship and her
dogs. Mrs.Yerrall could ride, and
sometimes did ; but it was always in
a decorous manner. She did not gal-
lop, helter-skelter, across country, as
Charlotte did, with half a dozen cava-
liers barely keeping up with her ;
she took no pleasure in horses for
themselves, and she would as soon
have entered a pigsty as a stable.
With all Mrs. YerralPs vanity, and her
not overstrong intellect, she possessed
more of the innate refinement of the
gentlewoman than did Charlotte.
Look at Charlotte now : as Rodolf
Pain, ā a cigar, which he has just
lighted, between his lips, and his hands
in his pockets, ā approaches her. She
is standing on a garden-bench with
the King Charley in her arms : the
other two clogs she had set on to fight
at her feet, their muzzles lying on the
bench beside her. What with the
natural tempers of these two agreea-
ble animals, and what with Charlotte's
frequent pastime of exasperating the
one against the other, it had been
found necessary to keep them muz-
zled to prevent fights : but Charlotte
delighted in removing the muzzles,
and setting them on, ā as she had done
now. Charlotte had these resources
in addition to any possessed by Mrs.
Yerrall. Mrs.Yerrall would not, of
her own free-will, have touched a dog
with her finger : if compelled to it, it
would have been accomplished in the
most gingerly fashion with the ex-
treme tip : and it was . a positive
source of annoyance to Mrs.Yerrall,
often of contention between them,
Charlotte's admitting these clogs to
familiar companionship. Charlotte,
when weary from lack of pastime,
could find it in the stables, or with
her dogs. Many an hour did she
thus pass : and, so far, she had the
advantage of Mrs.Yerrall. Mrs.Yer-
rall often told Charlotte that she ought
to have been born a man : it cannot
be denied that some of her tastes were
more appropriate to a man than to a
Rodolf Pain reached the bench.
It was a lovely place, secluded, and
shaded by trees ; with an opening in
front to admit a panoramic view of
the enchanting scenery. But, on the
green mossy turf between that bench
and the opening, snarled and fought
those awful dogs, ā neither the noise
nor the pastime particularly in ac-
cordance with that pleasant spot, so
suggestive of peace. Charlotte looked
on approvingly, giving a helping word
to either side which she might deem
required it ; while the King Charley
barked and struggled in her arms be-
cause he was restrained from joining
in the melee.
" I am going up at last, Charlotte."
" Up where ?" asked Charlotte,
without turning her eyes on Rodolf
" To town. Yerrall's come back."
Surprise caused her to look at him
now. "Yerrall back 1" she uttered.
" He has come suddenly, then : he
was not back five minutes ago. When
are you going up ?"
" I will tell you all about it, if
you'll muzzle those brutes, and so
stop their noise."
"Muzzle them yourself," said Char-
lotte, kicking the muzzles on to the
grass with her foot.
Mr. Pain accomplished his task,
though he did not particularly like it;
neither was it over easy of accom-
plishment : the dogs were ferocious
at the moment. He then drove them
away, and Charlotte dropped her
THE SHADOW OF ASI1LYDYAT.
King Charley that he might run after
them, ā which he did, barking his
short, squeaking bark. Rodolf held
out his hand to help Charlotte down
from her standing on the bench : but
Charlotte chose to remain where she
was, and seated herself on one of its