nature of Lady Godolphin to take.
Old acquaintances dropped in without
ceremony, and stayed the morning
with her, gossiping of times past ami
present; or she dropped into their
houses, and stayed with them. Of
gayety there was none : Sir George's
state of health forbade it : and in this
quiet social intercourse — which Char-
lotte Pain held in especial contempt —
the young visitors were not wanted.
Altogether they were much at liberty,
and went roaming where they would,
under the protection of Mr. George
He had now been a week at Broom-
head, — flirting with Charlotte, giving
THE SHADOW OP ASHLYDYAT.
stolen minutes to Maria. A looker-on
might have decided that Miss Pain
was the gentleman's chief magnet of
attraction ; for, in public, his attentions
were principally given to her. She
may be pardoned for estimating them at
more than they were worth ; but she
could very well have welcomed any
friendly wind that would have come to
waft away Maria, and to keep her
away. They knew — those two girls
— that their mutual intercourse was
of a hollow nature : that their paraded
friendship, their politeness, was rotten
at the core. Each was jealous of the
other ; and the one subject which filled
their minds was never alluded to in
their speech. Either might have af-
firmed to the other, "You are aware
that I watch you and George : my
jealous eyes are upon your every
movement, my jealous ears are ever
open." But these avowals are not
made in social life ; and Charlotte and
Maria observed studied courtesy, mak-
ing believe to be mutually uncon-
scious, — knowing all the while that
the consciousness existed in a remark-
able degree. It was an artificial state
"How dark you are making those
trees !" exclaimed Charlotte Pain.
Maria paused, pencil in hand :
glanced at the trees opposite, and at
the trees on paper. " Not too dark,"
she said. " The grove is a heavy one."
" What's that queer-looking thing
in the corner? It is like a half-moon
coming down to pay us a visit."
Maria held out her sketch at arm's
distance, — laughing merrily : " You
do not understand perspective, Char-
lotte. Look at it now."
" Not I," said Charlotte. " I un-
derstand nothing of the work. They
tried me at it when I was a child, but
I never could be got to make a straight
line without the ruler. After all,
where's the use of it ? The best-made
sketch cannot rival its model, — na-
" But the sketches serve to remind
us of familiar places when we are be-
yond their reach," was Maria's an-
swer. "I like drawing."
" Maria draws well," observed
George Godolphin, from his swinging
perch on the branch of a neighboring
She looked up at him almost grate-
fully. " This will be one of the best
sketches I have taken here," she said.
"It is so thoroughly picturesque : and
that farm-house beneath the hill serves
to give life to the picture."
Charlotte Pain cast her eyes upon
the house in the distance over the
green field, to which she had not be-
fore vouchsafed a glance. A shade
of contempt crossed her face :
" Call that a farm-house ! I should
say it was a tumble-down old cot-
" It is large for a cottage : and it
has a barn and sheds around it," re-
turned Maria. " I conclude it was a
farm some time."
"It is not inhabited," said Char-
" Oh yes it is. There is a woman
standing at the door. I have put her
in my sketch."
" And her pipe also ?" cried out
" Her pipe ?"
George took his own cigar from his
mouth as he answered : " She is smok-
ing — that woman — a short pipe."
Maria shaded her eyes with her
hand, and gazed attentively. " I —
really — do — thigk — she — is !" she ex-
claimed, slowly. "What a strange
"A Welshwoman married to a
Scotch husband, possibly," suggested
Charlotte. "The Welsh smoke."
"I'll make her a Welshwoman,"
said Maria, gayly, "with a man's
coat, and a man's hat. But there's —
there's another now. George ! it is
" Yes," said Mr. George, composed-
ly. "I saw her go in half an hour
ago. How smart she is ! She must
be paying morning-visits."
They laughed at this, and watched
Margery. A staid woman of middle
age, who had been maid to the late
Mrs. Godolphin. Margery dressed
plainly, but she certainly did look
THE SHADOW OF A S II L Y D Y A T .
smart to-day, as the sun's dazzling
rays fell upon her. The sun was un-
usually bright, and Charlotte Pain re-
marked it, saying it made her eyes
" Suspiciously bright," observed
" Suspiciously ?"
He flirted the ashes from his cigar
with his finger. " Suspicions of a
storm," he said. " We shall have it
" Do you think so ?"
He pointed his hand toward the
edge of the horizon. " See those
clouds. They look small, inoffensive ;
but they mean mischief."
Charlotte Pain strolled away over
the meadow toward the cross path
on which Margery was advancing.
George Godolphin leaped from his
seat, apparently with the intention of
following her. But first of all he
approached Maria, and bent to look
at her progress.
" Make the farm — as you called it
. — very conspicuous, Maria, if you are
going to reserve the sketch as a me-
mento," said he.
"Is it not a farm ?"
" It was, once ; until idleness suffered
it to drop through."
" Why should I make it particularly
conspicuous ?" she continued.
There was no reply, and she looked
quickly up. A peculiar expression,
one which she did not understand, sat
upon his face.
" If we had a mind to cheat the
world, Maria, we might do so, by
paying a visit to that house ?"
" In what way ?"
" I might take you in Maria Hast-
ings, and bring you out Mrs. George
" What do you mean ?" she uttered,
Mr. George laughed. " The man
who lives there, Sandy Bray, has
made more couples one than a rustic
parson. Some people call him a
public nuisance : others say he is a
convenience, it being three miles to
the nearest kirk. He goes by the
nickname of Minister Bray. Many a
lad and lassie have stolen in there,
under the cover of the glimmering
twilight, and in five minutes have
come forth again, married, the world
being none the wiser."
" Is it the place they call Gretna
Green ?" inquired Maria, in much
" No," laughed he ; " it is not
Gretna Green. Only a place of the
same description, equally service-
" But such marriages cannot stand
" Indeed they do. You have surely
heard of the Scotch laws ?"
" I have heard that anybody can
marry people in Scotland. I have
heard that the simple declaration of
saying you take each other for man
and wife constitutes a marriage."
"Yes; if said before a witness.
Would you like to try it, Maria ?"
The color flushed into her face as
she bent it over her drawing. She
smiled at the joke, simply shaking her
head by way of answer. And Mr.
George Godolphin went off, laughing,
lighting another cigar as he walked.
Overtaking Charlotte Pain just as
Margery came up, he accosted the
"How grand you are, Margery !
What's agate ?"
" Grand !" uttered Margery. " Who
says it ? What is there grand about
" That shawl displays as many colors
as the kaleidoscope. We thought it
was a rainbow coming along. Did it
arrive express in a parcel last night
from Paisley ?"
" It isn't me that's got money to
spend upon parcels 1" retorted Mar-
gery. " I have too many claims a
dragging my purse at both ends, for
A faithful servant was Margery, in
spite of her hard features, and her
hard speech. Of scant ceremony she
had always been, and of scant cere-
mony she would remain ; in fact, she
was given to treat the younger
branches of the Godolphins, Mr.
George included, very much as she
THE SHADOW OF ASHLVDYAT.
had treated them when they were
children. They knew her sterling
worth, and they did not quarrel with
her plain manners.
"When you have got half a dozen
children a pulling at your tail, ' I want
this !' from one, and ' I want that !'
from another, and the same cry run-
ning through the lot, it isn't much
money you can keep to spend on
shawls," resumed Margery.
George Godolphin enjoyed his joke
at Margery, rarely letting slip an
opportunity of teasing her. At times
they came to an open rupture.
" Half a dozen children !" he ex-
claimed, lifting his hands in awe.
" What an avowal for a single wo-
" Single women often have more
children than married ones, as far as
the cost of 'em goes," cried Margery,
who altogether appeared too much
put out to care for any thing said by
George. " I know I have found it so.
I was a fool to come here ; that's
what I was 1 When the master said
to me, ' You had better ■ come with
us, Margery,' I ought to have an-
swered, 'No, Sir George, I'm better
stopping away. ' "
" Well, what is the grievance,
Margery?" George asked, while Char-
lotte Pain turned from one to the other
" Why, they are on at me for money,
that's what it is, Mr. George. My lady
sent for me this morning to say she
intended to call and see Selina to-day.
Of course, I knew what that meant,
— that I was to go and give 'em a
hint to have things tidy, — for, if there's
one thing my lady won't do, it is to
put her foot into a pigsty. So I
clapped on my shawl, that you are
laughing at, and went. There was
nothing the matter Avith the place,
for a wonder ; but there was with
them. Selina, she's in bed, ill, — and
if she frets as she's fretting now, she
won't get out of it in a hurry. Why
did she marry the fellow ? It does
make me so vexed."
" What has she to fret about ?" con-
" What does she always have to fret
about?" retorted Margery. "His
laziness, and them children's ill-doings.
They go roaming about the country,
here, there, and everywhere, after
work, as they say, after places ; and
then they get into trouble and untold-
of worry, and come home or send
home for money to help them out of
it ! One of them, Nick — and a good
name for him, say I ! — must be off
into Wales to them relations of Bray's ;
and he has been at some mischief there,
and is in prison for it, and is now
committed to take his trial. And the
old woman has walked all the way
here to get funds from them, to pay
for his defence. The news has half
" I said she was a Welshwoman,"
interrupted Charlotte Pain. " She
was smoking, was she not, Margery ?"
" She's smoking a filthy short pipe,"
wrathfully returned Margery. "But
for that, I should have said she was
a decent body, — although it's next to
impossible to make out her tongue.
She puts in ten words of Welsh to two
of English. Of course they have got
no money to furnish for it ; it wouldn't
be them if they had ; so they are
wanting to get it out of me. Fifteen
or twenty pounds ! My word ! They'd
like me to end my days in the work-
" You might turn a deaf ear, Mar-
gery," said George.
" I know I might :
dred times have I
in her bed, poor thing, sobbing and
moaning, and asking if Nick is to be
abandoned quite. The worse a lad
turns out, the more a mother clings to
him, — as it seems to me. Let me be
here, or let me be at Ashlydyat, I have
no peace for their wants. By word of
mouth or by letter they are on at me."
"If Nick' has got a father, why can
he not supply him ?" asked Charlotte.
"It's a sensible question, Miss
Pain," said the woman. "Nick's
father is one of them stinging-nettles
that only encumber the world, doing
no good for themselves nor for anybody
: and many a hun-
vowed I would,"
" But there's she
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
beside. ' Minister' Bray, indeed ! it
ought to be something else, I think.
Many a one has had cause to rue the
hour that he ' ministered' for 'em !"
" How does he minister ? — what do
you mean?" wondered Charlotte.
" He marries folks ; that's his ne'er-
do-well occupation, Miss Pain. Give
him a live-shilling piece, and he'd mar-
ry a boy to his grandmother. I'm
Scotch by nativity, — though it's not
much that I have lived in the land, —
but I do say, that, to suffer such laws
to stand good, is a sin and a shame.
Two foolish children — and many of
those that go to him are no better —
— stand before him for a half minute,
and he pronounces them to be man and
wife ! And man and wife then they
are, and must remain so till the grave
takes one of them, — whatever their re-
pentance may be when they wake up
from their folly. It's just one of the
blights upon bonny Scotland."
Margery, with no ceremony of leave-
taking, turned at the last words, and
continued her way. George Godol-
phin smiled at the blank expression
displayed on the countenance of Char-
lotte Pain. Had Margery been talk-
ing Welsh, like the old woman with
the pipe, she could not have less un-
" You require the key, Charlotte,"
said he. " Shall I give it to you ?
Margery was my mother's maid, as
you may have heard. Her sister, Se-
lina, was maid to the present Lady
Godolphin : not of late : long and long
before she ever knew my father. It
appears the girl, Selina, was a favorite
of her mistress ; but she left her in
spite of opposition — opposition from all
quarters — to marry Mr. Sandy Bray ;
and has, there's no doubt, been rue-
ing it ever since. There are several
children of an age now to be out in the
world ; but you heard Margery's ac-
count of them. I fear they do pull
unconscionably at poor Margery's
" Why does she let them ?" asked
Mr. George opened his penknife and
ran the point of it through his cigar,
ere he answered. "Margery has a
soft place in her heart. As I believe
most of us have — if our friends could
but find the way to it."
" How strange that two sisters
should live, the one with your father's
first wife, the other with his second I"
exclaimed Charlotte, when she had
given a few moments to thought.
" Were they acquainted ? — the ladies."
" Not in the least. They never saw
each other. I believe it was through
these women being sisters that my
father became acquainted with the
present Lady Godolphin. He was in
Scotland, with Janet, visiting my
mother's family, and Margery, who
was with them, brought Janet to that
very house, there, to see her sister.
Mrs. Campbell — as she was then —
happened to have gone there that day ;
and that's how the whole arose. Peo-
ple say there's a fatality in all things.
One would think there must be : until
that day, Mrs. Campbell had not been
in the house for two or three years,
and would not be likely to go into it
for two or three more."
" Is Bray a mauvais sujet ?"
George lifted his eyebrows. " I
don't know that there's much against
him, except his incorrigible laziness :
that's bad enough when a man has
children to keep. Work he will not.
Beyond the odds and ends that he gets
by the exercise of what he is pleased
to call his trade, the fellow earns noth-
ing. Lady Godolphin is charitable to
the wife ; and poor Margery, as she
says, finds her purse drawn at both
" I wondered why Margery came to
Scotland!" exclaimed Charlotte, "not
being Lady Godolphin's maid. What
i$ Margery's capacity in your family ?
I have never been able to find out."
" It might puzzle herself to tell what
it is now. After my mother's death,
she waited on my sisters ; but when
they left Ashlydyat, Margery declined
to follow them. She would not quit
Sir George. She is excessively at-
tached to him, nearly as much so as
she was to my mother. That, the
quitting of Ashlydyat, ourselves first,
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
and then my father, was a hard blow
to Margery," George added in a
dreamy tone. " She has never been
the same in manner since."
" It was Margery* was it not, who
attended upon Sir George in his long
" I do not know what he would have
done without her," spoke George Go-
dolphin in a tone that betrayed its own
gratitude. " In sickess she is invalua-
ble ; certainly not to be replaced where
she is attached. Lady Godolphin,
though in her heart I do not fancy she
likes Margery, respects her for her
" I cannot say I like her," said Char-
lotte Pain. " Her manners are too in-
dependent. I have heard her order
" And you will hear her again," said
George Godolphin. " She exercised
great authority over us when we were
children, and she looks upon us as
children still. Her years have grown
with ours, and there is ever the same
distance of age between us. I speak
of the younger among us : to Thomas
and Janet she is the respectful servant ;
m a measure also to Bessy ; of me
and Cecil she considers herself partial
" If they are so poor as to draw Mar-
gery of her money, how is it they can
live in that house and pay its rent ?"
inquired Charlotte, looking towards
" It is Bray's own. The land be-
longing to it has been mortgaged three
deep long ago. He might have been
in a tolerably good position had he
chosen to take care of his chances : he
was not born a peasant."
" Who is this ?" exclaimed Charlotte.
A tall slouching man with red hair
and heavy shoulders was advancing
towards them from the house. George
turned round to look ; he had his back
that way, leaning against a fence.
"That is Bray himself. Look at
the lazy fellow ! You may tell his
temperament from his gait."
George Godolphin was right. The
man was not walking along, but trail-
ing, — sauntering ; turning to either
side and bending his head as if flowers
lay in his path and he wished to re-
gard them ; his hands in his pockets,
his appearance any thing but fresh and
clean. They watched him come up.
He touched his hat then and accosted
Mr. George Godolphin.
" My service to ye, sir ? I didna
know you were in these parts."
" So you are still in the land of the
living, Bray !" was Mr. George's re-
sponse. " How is business ?"
"Dull as a dyke," returned Bray.
" Times are bad. I've hardly took a
crown in the last three months, sir.
I shall have to emigrate, if this is to
" I fear you would scarcely find an-
other country so tolerant of your pe-
culiar calling, Bray," mocked George.
" And what would the neighborhood
do without you ? It must resign it-
self to single blessedness."
" The neighborhood dunna come to
me. Folks go over to the kirk now
it's come into fashion ; and I'm going
down. 'Tvvas different in the past
times : a man would give a ten-pun
note then to have things done neatly
and quietly. But there's fresh notions
and fresh havers ; and, for all the good
they have done me, I might as well
be out of the world. Is this Miss
The last question was put abruptly,
the man turning himself full upon
Charlotte Pain, and scanning her face.
George Godolphin was surprised out
of an answer : had he taken a moment
for reflection, he might have deemed
the question an impertinent one, and
passed it by.
'• Miss Cecil is not in Scotland."
" I thought it might be her," said
the man, " for Miss Cecil's looks are
a country's talk, and I have heard
much of them. I see now : there's
naught of the Godolphin there. But
it's a bonny face, young lady : and I
dare say there's them that are finding
He shambled on, with a gesture of
the hand by the way of salutation.
Charlotte Pain did not dislike the
implied compliment. " How can this
THE SHADOW OF A S II L Y D Y A T
man marry people ?" she exclaimed.
" He is no priest."
"He can, and he does ; and is not
interfered with, or forbidden," said
George Godolphin. " At least, he
did. By his own account, his patro-
nage seems to be now on the decline."
" Did he marry them openly ?"
"Well — no, I conclude not. If peo-
ple found it convenient to marry
openly they would not go to him.
And why they should go to him at
all, puzzles me, and always has done;
for, the sort of marriage that he per-
forms can be performed by anybody
wearing a coat, in Scotland, or by the
couple themselves. But he has ac-
quired a name, ' Minister Bray ;' and
a great deal lies in a name for ladies
"Ladies!" cried Charlotte, scorn-
fully. " Only the peasants went to
him, I am sure."
" Others have gone, besides peas-
ants. Bray boasts yet of a fifty-
pound note, once put into his hand
for pronouncing the benediction. It
is a ceremony that we are given to be
lavish upon," added George, laughing.
" I have heard of money being grudged
for a funeral ; but I never did for a
" Were I compelled to be a resident
of this place, I should get married
myself, or do something else as des-
perate, oui of sheer ennui," she ex-
" You find it dull ?"
" It has been more tolerable since
you came," she frankly avowed.
George raised his hat, and his blue
eyes shot a glance into hers. " Thank
" Why were you so long in coming ?
Do you know what I had done. I
had written a letter to desire Mrs.
Verrall to recall me. Another week
of it would have turned me melancholy.
Your advent was better than no-
"Thank you again, mademoiselle.
When I promise "
"Promise !" she warmly interrupted.
" I have learnt what your promises
are worth. Oh but, George, tell me —
What was it that you and Lady Go-
dolphin were saying yesterday? It
was about Ethel Grarne. I only
caught a word here and there."
" Thomas wishes Lady Godolphin
would invite Ethel here for the re-
mainder of their stay. He thinks
Ethel would be all the better for a
change, after being mured up in that
fever-tainted house. But, don't talk
of it. It was but a little private ne-
gotiation that Thomas was endeavor-
ing to carry out upon his own account.
He wrote to me and he wrote to my
lady. Ethel knows nothing of it."
" And what does Lady Godolphin
George drew in his lips. " She
says No, — as I expected. And I
believe she is for once sorry to say it,
for pretty Ethel is a favorite of hers.
But she retains her dread of the fever.
Her argument is, that, although Ethel
has escaped it in her own person, she
might by possibility bring it here in
"Stuff!" cried Charlotte Pain. "Sa-
rah Anna might ; but I do not see
how Ethel could. I wonder Thomas
does not marry, and have done with
it ! He is old enough."
" And Ethel young enough. It
will not be delayed long now. The
vexatious question, concerning resi-
dence, must be settled in some way."
" What residence ? What is there
vexatious about it ?" quickly asked
" There is some vexation about it,
in some way or other," returned
George, with indifference, not choos-
ing to speak more openly. "It is
not my affair : it lies between Thomas
and Sir George. When Thomas comes
here next week "
"Is Thomas coming next week V
" That is the present plan. And I
She threw her flashing eyes at him.
They said — well, they said a good
deal : perhaps Mr. George could read
it. " You had better get another let-
ter of recall written, Charlotte," he re-
sumed, in a tone which might be
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
taken for jest or for earnest, " and give
me the honor of your escort."
" How you talk !" returned she,
peevishly. "As if Lady Godolphin
would allow me to go all that way
under your escort ! As if I would go !"
" You might have a less safe one,
Charlotte mia," cried Mr. George,
somewhat saucily. " No lion should
come near you, to eat you up."
"George," resumed Charlotte, after
a pause, " I wish you would tell me
whether Mrs. Yerrall Good Hea-
vens ! what's that?"
Loud sounds of distress were sound-
ing in their ears. They turned hastily.
Maria Hastings, her camp-stool over-
turned, her sketching materials scat-
tered on the ground, was flying to-
wards them, sobbing, moaning, calling
upon George Godolphin to save her.
There was no mistaking that she was
in a state of intense terror.
Charlotte Pain wondered if she had
gone mad. She could see nothing
possible to alarm her. George Go-
dolphin cast his rapid glance to the
spot where she had sat, and could
see nothing, either. He hastened to
meet her, and caught her in his arms,
where she literally threw herself.
Entwined round her left wrist was
a small snake, or reptile of the species,
more than a foot long. It looked like
an eel, writhing there. Maria had
never come into personal contact with
any thing of the sort : but she remem-