" The rhymes run thus, if I can bring 'em to mind," Mark re-
" Hard by the hill whereon the Beacon stands,
One proud Monthermer shall lose house and lands ;
On the same spot â if but the way be plain â
Another of the line shall both regain."
" A strange prediction, truly," Gage said, musingly. ^'^ If hut
the way be -plairH â what can that mean ? No use inquiring now.
â Fail not to meet me, Mark."
" On Friday, at daybreak, if breath be in my body, you may
count on seeing me," Rougham replied.
" And whatever breath be in mine, or not, you will find me
there," Gage rejoined. " And now farewell, Mark." And with-
out another word^ he hurried to the carriage, leaving Rougham to
ponder over his parting words.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 221
A SLEEPLESS NIGHT.
Gage's reappearance at Monthermer Castle created an extra-
ordinary sensation amongst the neighbouring gentry, and indeed
throughout the whole county. No one expected to find him there
again, â at all events, not in the quality of lord of the mansion,
and such he was still, to all appearances. Tidings of his utter ruin
had of course been recei- â¢:(!. Such news flies quickly. Moreover,
it was rumoured tha^ che whole of his estates had been seized by
Fairlie ; and though this report wanted confirmation, it obtained
general credence, being quite consistent with the steward's known
character for rapacity.
Precisely at this juncture, when everybody supposed him shut
up in the Fleet, or some other debtors' prison, Gage suddenly
returned, having travelled from town (it was said) in his usual
magnificent- style, and accompanied by his usual attendants. Nor
did he appear to meditate any change in his extravagant mode of
living; his first business on his arrival being to issue invitations
to all his acquaintance, announcing his intention of keeping open
house for a weekâ the festivities to be concluded by a grand enter-
tainment, to which the honour of their company was requested.
The recipients of these invitations were naturally filled with
astonishment. Not being in the secret of Gage's arrangement
with Fairlie, they knew not what to make of it. One said to
another, " Have you heard that Monthermer is come back to the
Castle, and has begun again at his old rattling pace ?" And the
other replied that he had heard it, but could scarcely believe it,
so he meant to ride over on the morrow and satisfy himself.
Whereupon they both agreed to accept Gage's invitation.
222 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
Their example was generally followed. Many went from
curiosity â many more because they felt certain of getting sur-
passingly good dinners â and some few because they liked Gage
personally, and were really glad to welcome him home again.
So great was the influx of guests, that on the third day every
room in the immense mansion was occupied, except such as had
been set apart for visitors expected from town. Those who looked
for good cheer were not disappointed. Heretofore, the lord of the
Castle had been renowned for profuse liospitality ; but his present
banquets surpassed all previously given, both in excellence and
splendour. Nothing was wanting that the greatest epicure could de-
sire ; while the hardest-drinking foxhunter got enough â and some-
thing more than enough â burgundy and claret.
As may be supposed, the best of Gage's neighbours held
aloof, and would take no part in his festivities, but the boon
companions who did rally round him persuaded him he was
better without such high and mighty folks. Good fellowship
and good wine would be thrown away upon them. He him-
self was worth the whole set put together. He was the best
and most hospitable fellow in the world, and deserved a dozen
fortunes. Let the reader picture to himself a score of old topers
(some of them six-bottle men), a like number of gay and dissolute
youths, former associates of our hero, together with a sprinkHng
of the miscellaneous class of gentry who throng a hunting-field,
and he will have some idea of the class of company now assembled
at the Castle. From morn to night, and from night to morn, it
was one continued round of revelry and enjoyment.
On the fourth day the party was increased by the arrival of Sir
Randal de Meschines, Mr. Freke, Lord Melton, Brice Bunburj,
Nat Mist, and Jack Brassey, with their attendants ; and later
on the same day came Mrs. Jenyns. The last visitor was a sur-
prise to Gage â he had not expected her.
" You won't find me in the way," she said to him, perceiving
his embarrassment as he endeavoured to give her a smiling
welcome ; " and I beg you not to stand on any ceremony with
me, but to put me just where you please. Fairlie told me there
would be no room for me, and that you didn't want me ; but I
knew better, so here I am. But, bless me, how ill you appear !
What's the mattoy ? I declare you look ten years older than when
I saw you last."
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 223
This was said in jest, but it was not far wide of the truth. Gage
had, indeed, entirely lost his youthful expression of countenance,
and looked frightfully worn and haggard. Since his return to the
Castle he had known little rest. The large bed-chamber which he
occupied had formerly been used by his father, and he fancied
he heard strange sounds within it. On the night preceding Mrs.
Jenyns's arrival he had been more than usually restless. After
tossing to and fro for hours upon his pillow, in the vain attempt
to court sleep, he arose, and, full of superstitious terror, hastily
attired himself, and stepped forth into the long gallery, lined with
full-length portraits of his ancestors.
Pictures no longer, but fearful spectres.
The moon shed its pale radiance through the opposite windows,
and, thus illuminated, the figures of the old Monthermers started
from their frames like ghosts. The first phantom that Gage en-
countered was Radulphus, a mail-clad baron of the time of Ed-
ward I., and founder of the line. To this awful shade succeeded
Sir Lionel, who had been knighted by Edward III. â then Kenric,
the wise, Randal, the proud, Redwald, the gigantic â with many
more : Oswald, who flourished in the reign of Edward IV. ;
Egbert, a galliard page in the days of Henry VIII., a crafty states-
man in the time of EUzabeth ; Sigebert, knighted by James I. ;
Arthur, the cavaUer ; Vernon, Gage's grandsire; and lastly, War-
wick, his father.
Close beside the shadowy form of Warwick floated the semblance
of a young and beautiful woman. Her regards were fixed tenderly
and sorrowfully upon her erring son â so tenderly that his heart
was melted. Agonising thoughts racked him at that moment,
and he bitterly reproached himself. He had never known the
caresses of a mother, had never received counsel from her lips â
but would it have profited him if he had? Could a mother have
rescued him from destruction? No â no. He deserved to perish.
^r He had forfeited all claim to compassion.
mjk Overwhelmed by dark and despairing thoughts, he glanced
^Halong the Hne of phantoms, and meeting their regards with looks
^Bstem as their own, gave utterance to a terrible resolution he had
^R formed. But the spectres frowned, and seemed to mutter that even
^Hin the tomb he should have no place beside them.
^B Suddenly he was roused from the state of stupefaction into which
224 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
from below. A large party of his guests were passing the night
in carousing. In their society he might find forgetfulness, and
without waiting a moment he hurried down to them. But, on
gaining the room where the party was assembled, he was completely
disgusted by the scene presented to his view. Prostrate forms were
lying across the room â some so overcome with wine and punch as
to be unable to rise â some fast asleep â their attire disordered, and
their perukes scattered about. But some half-dozen were still able
to maintain their seats at the table, and these vaHant topers hailed
Gage with tipsy shouts, and called upon him to join them ; but
unable to conquer his repugnance, he hastily retreated, and rousing
up a groom, proceeded to the stable, and bidding the man saddle
his favourite hunter, Hotspur, he rode forth into the park. The
groom thought he must have taken leave of his senses.
He dashed off at a gallop, and plunged into the most secluded
part of the park â but black care was on his track. A troop of phan-
tom horsemen overtook him â and rode by his side. In vain he urged
Hotspur to his utmost speed â still the ghostly company kept up
with him. He knew them all â Redwald the gigantic, Kenric with
his towering brow, Randal with his lofty port, Arthur with his
flowing locks ; â and his father â yes, his father headed the troop.
Go where he would, they went with him. If he swept along a
glade at full speed, the spectral horsemen were beside him â if he
drew the rein on an eminence, they paused likewise. He pressed
his hand before his eyes, but, on removing it, they were still there.
' What would ye with me?" he exclaimed. " Why do you follow
me thus ?" The figures made no reply, but pointed to the Castle.
" I know what you mean," he continued. " You upbraid me with
having lost it. But be at peace. Ere many days my faults shall be
As he uttered the exclamation the phantoms melted away into the
mist, and he rode back slowly and without further disquietude to
As the groom took his horse to the stable, he wondered what
the young squire had been at. Hotspur hadn't a dry hair upon
him, and looked as if he had been drenched wi' water from head
The occurrences of this night had so changed Gage's appearance
as to warrant Mrs. Jenyns's observation that he looked full ten
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 225
SHOWING HOW GAGE WAS a6AIN PREVAILED UPON TO PLAT, AND WHAT
SUCCESS ATTENDED HIM.
I Sir Randal and Beau Freke had come down to Monthenner
Castle in the hope of winning back their money, but in this expec-
tation it seemed likely they would be disappointed. Play â and
pretty deep play, too â had been going on every night, but Gage
took no part in it. The fact was, he had no funds, and was
therefore compelled to be a mere spectator. It was an additional
mortification to him to be reminded by his newly-arrived guests
of his promise to give tl^em revenge. He made the best excuses
he could, but he felt they looked upon him as a shuffler â of all
characters the one he most despised â and he writhed under the
" This used not to be the case when we were here last, Mon-
thermer," Sir Randal said. " Then you could not resist a game at
piquet or gleek, and were my constant antagonist at hazard. Why
not sit down with us now ? What say you to a game at two-handed
putt ? â or, if you prefer it, lanterloo ? â I am for anything â tick-
tack â in-and-in â passage â or what you will. Only sit down."
" Excuse me, Sir Randal, I don't play to-night."
" Why, 'sdeath ! man, have you made a second vow against cards
and dice ? If so, I counsel you to break it like the first. I would
I fain lose a few more thousands to you."
" And so would I," Beau Freke added. " We will absolve you
pom any new vow you may have made, Monthermer. And no
poubt you will have as good luck as you had a short time ago at
[ Just then, Lord Melton, who was engaged with a party at five-
226 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
cards, called out : " I'll bet a hundred pounds, Monthermer, that
I win all the cards."
Gage felt desperately inclined to rejoin, " Done!" but he re-
strained himself, and merely said, " I don't bet now."
" Why, what the deuce prevents you ? " his lordship cried.
" See ! " he added, displaying his cards, " if you had taken me,
you would have won."
Not liking to be further troubled. Gage soon afterwards quitted
the card-room, and did not return to it that night.
On the following evening, however, Mrs. Jenyns managed to
lure him to the hazard-table. He had been excusing himself as
before, when she took him aside, and urged him to try his luck
" I must have money to play with, Peg," he said, with a forced
" Why, so you shall," she replied. " Take my pocket-book. It
is full of bank-notes. I want you to play for me, and don't be
afraid to stake highly. We will divide the winnings as before."
" Have you lucky dice with you ?" Gage rejoined, glancing at
^^ You broke those I most relied on," she replied ; " but I have
another pair, and you may try them, if you like."
" Let me have them," Gage rejoined. " To what extent must
" That pocket-book contains almost all you won for me at the
Groom-Porter's â about 17,000/. I am willing to risk it all."
" You had better not trust me."
" Pooh ! I haven't the slightest uneasiness," she rejoined, slipping
a pair of dice into his hands. "I know you will win. Come
along!" And leading him towards the table, she called out,
" Gentlemen, I am happy to inform you that I have induced Mr.
Monthermer to play."
The announcement was received with acclamations, and a place
was instantly made for Gage at the table. Both Sir Randal and
Beau Freke asked how much he meant to stake. A thousand
pounds was the reply. The dice rattled, and Gage lost. Mrs.
Jenyns, who stood at his elbow, looked surprised, but whispered
him to double his stakes. He did so, and lost again. The actress
bit her lips with vexation, but signed to him to go on. He obeyed,
but without better luck. The stake was now eight thousand pounds.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 227
and he paused before laying down the money, but Mrs. Jenyns
would have no cessation. The run of luck was still against him.
The eight thousand pounds was swept off by his opponents. Alto-
gether he had lost fifteen thousand pounds â within two thousand
of the contents of the pocket-book.
" Stake what is left," Mrs. Jenyns whispered ; " and play with
care," she added, significantly. Gage strove to comply with her
injunctions â but he was beaten, and the pocket-book was empty !
His adversaries urged him to go on, but he shook his head, and
left the table.
" I am sorry to have played so badly," he remarked to Mrs,
Jenyns, who had followed him hastily. " But I might perhaps
have done better if I had used the dice you gave me."
" What ! didn't you use them ?" she cried, with an explosion of
rage. " This accounts for it ! Fool that I was to trust you I
You have ruined me."
"But, Peg "
" Don't talk to me. I am out of all patience. Give me the
dice, and let me try. But no â no â I cannot play. All my money
is gone. Have you none to lend me ? A hundred pounds will do.'*
" I have not the hundredth part of that amount left," he an-
Mrs. Jenyns looked as if she could annihilate him â but her
anger seemed suddenly to abate.
" Something must be done to repair this error," she said, in a
tone of forced calmness. " We must confer together to-morroyr
about Fairlie." â¢
" About Fairlie !" Gage exclaimed. " What about him?"
" Not so loud," she rejoined; " the servants are all his spies, and
some of them may overhear you. I fancied that man was listening,"
pointing to Pudsey, who was standing at a little distance from them.
" To-morrow I will open my design to you. You owe me repara-
tion for the mischief you have just done me â and I will show you
how to make ample amends. But let us separate. I am quite sure
that man is listening. Meet me to-morrow morning early â in the
And she left the room, while Gage walked back to the hazard-
table, and watched the play.
" I did right not to use her dice," he thought. " Better lose,
than win unfairly."
228 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
AN IKTERVIEW IN THE IVY TOWEB.
The last day but one of his term had now arrived, and in a few
more hours Gage must for ever cast aside his borrowed honours,
â¢and cease to be lord of Monthermer.
Another day, and all would be over ! Well, what matter ! Had
he not exhausted all the enjoyments of life? had he not feasted and
caroused to satiety? had he not drained the cup of pleasure to the
dregs? â He could now throw it aside without regret.
"Without regret, perhaps, â but not without compunction â not
without remorse. He dared not review his frenzied career â ^he
dared not reflect upon the innumerable follies he had committed â
such acts would not bear reflection â but he vainly sought to stifle
the cries of conscience within his breast. These cries would be
heard even in the midst of riotous indulgence ; they chilled his
blood, and banished sleep from his couch ; they drove him at times
almost to the verge of madness.
But there would soon be an end, and till then he would know no
,^ restraint â no pause. If his career had been brief and brilliant as
.that of a meteor â its close should be like the meteor's sudden
Such thoughts asritated him as on the mornino: of the sixth
â¢.day after his return he crossed the broad velvet lawns of the gar-
',den, and mounted the stone steps of the terrace leading to the
ruins of the ancient Castle. He was unaccompanied, for not one
of his numerous guests was yet astir. The hour was too early for
them after their prolonged debauches overnight, and many of
them would not rise before noon, and would then require fresh
stimulants to set them going for the day. But as their host
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 229
could not sleep, he quitted his couch betimes, and sought to cool
his throbbing brow and fevered limbs in the fresh morning air.
Besides, he had another motive for his early walk. On retiring
to his chamber on the previous night he had found on his toilet-
table a note, in a female hand, with which he thought he was
familiar, though he could not assign a name to the writer. The
note bore no signature, and contained only a few words, begging
him to come next morning to the Ivy Tower, where a friend
desired to see him. Strictest secrecy was enjoined. Time was
when such a billet would have piqued his curiosity, and flattered
his vanity with the idea of a conquest, but no such idle feelings
now excited him. Still he resolved to go; and it was to keep the-
appointment that he now shaped his course towards the ruins of
the old Castle.
He had not proceeded far along the terrace, when, raising his
eyes, which, owing to his melancholy musing, had been hitherto-
fixed on the ground, he perceived a man advancing to meet him,
and at once recognising Mark Rougham, halted till the latter came
up, thinking him very much in the way at the moment, and con-
sidering how to get rid of him.
" Good day to your honour," Mark cried, taking off his hat as^
he drew near â " you be well met. I were comin' down to the Hall
to try and get a word wi' you. But ray errand's done, since you
be on the way to the Ivy Tower."
" Ah ! you know I am going there ! â Perhaps you are aware that
I got a note last night?"
" Aware of it ! why, I brought it myself, sir â and got one o' th*^
women servants to place it i' your bed-chamber, where you would
be sure to find it. You can guess who it be from, I suppose?
Lord bless her ! I couldn't ha' believed in such goodness and devo^
tiou, unless I'd seen it. My heart has been like to burst wi' what
I ha' witnessed since yesterday â so much consideration for others,
so little care for self. Sure I am, if there be any one able to-
save a sinful soul fro' destruction, it be she. There ben't such
another on earth."
*^ Such another as whom, Mark ?"
" Why, whom else can I mean but Miss Fairlie ! Such words
as I've used couldn't be true of any other of her sex â not that I
mean to say aught against 'emâ but she be a paragon."
230 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
" You lead me to suppose she is here, Mark â but that is impos-
sible, unless her health has greatly improved."
" She may he a trifle better than she has been," Mark replied,
" but her life still hangs by a thread, which may be snapped at any
minute. Howsomever, in spite of illness and fatigue, she is here ;
and a wonderful thing it be that she can have gone through so long
a journey; but her brave and good heart supported her â and no
doubt Heaven leant her aid."
" What has brought her here?" Gage cried.
" Can your honour ask that question? She be come to see you
â to speak wi' you â to try and move your heart ; and I hope, by
Heaven's grace, she may succeed in doing so. You wrote to her,
sir, didn't you, afore you left Lunnon?"
" I sent her a few hasty lines, telling her I was going down to
Monthermer Castle for a week. I scarcely knew what I wrote,
I was so hurried."
" Whatever you did write, sir, your letter caused her to follow
you. In spite of all remonstrances, she set oiF on the same day
as yourself, with my daughter Lettice, and travelled by slow stages
to Bury St. Edmund's. There she took rest ; but, while doing so^
she sent on a messenger to Muster Gosnold, the head gardener, to
prepare the rooms in the Ivy Tower for her reception."
" I remember hearing she had taken a fancy to the old tower,
and had had it furnished," Gage remarked.
" Ay, that was after Muster Arthur Poynings had the ill-luck
to get wounded, and were removed there," Mark continued. " A
sad affair that, sir, and might have turned out worse than it did.
I thought the young gentleman would have died, and I'm pretty
sure he would have done but for Miss Fairlie's care. She watched
by him the whole night, tendin' him like a sister, and never left
him till he was removed on a litter to Reedham. From that
time forward she took a liking to the old tower. But, as I was
sayin', while she rested at Bury, a messenger was sent over to Muster
Gosnold to get the rooms ready for her â and at the same time
Lettice despatched a man to Reedham to let me know they were
comin'. As luck would have it, Sir Hugh and the family had
just returned fro' Lunnon, so I could not help mentioning the
circumstance to Muster Arthur, â and, as a matter of course, he
tells Miss Lucy â and what does she do, but decide at once to come
THE SPENDTHRIFT. JSSl
here and nurse her friend. A good deal was said against it, as
your honour may suppose, by Muster Arthur and my lady, but
the long and the short of the matter is, she comes."
"What! is Miss Poynings here, too?' Gage exclaimed, in.
" Ay, in good truth is she, sir," Mark replied. " She and her
brother joined Miss Fairlie at the cross-roads, half way betwixt
this and Reedham, and Muster Arthur brought 'em here last night,
and saw 'em comfortably settled afore he left â and that's all about
it â no, not quite all, for Miss Lucy wrote the note to you,
which I myself conveyed, as I've already told you. And now,
sir, shall I conduct you to her?"
Gage remained for a moment irresolute, and then, as if nerving
himself for the interview, he said, " Lead on, Mark."
Not a word more passed between them.
On reaching the tower, Mark went in, while Gage waited
without till he received a summons to enter, and then fol-
lowing his conductor up a short spiral staircase, was admitted
into a lofty circular chamber, which had been fitted up with con-
siderable taste, and with every needful attention to comfort. The
furniture was cumbrous and old-fashioned, but in harmony with
the room. A copper lamp hung from the groined roof, and a
dim mirror, in an ebony frame, was placed over the ancient
chimney-piece. The stone walls were covered with old tapestry,
and the deep embrasures shrouded by thick curtains. A wood
fire was burning cheerily on the. hearth, and its blaze illuminated
the room. On a sofa near the fireplace, and covered by shawls^
reclined Clare. In close attendance upon her were Lucy Poynings
and Lettice Rougham. Mark did not enter with Gage, but
having ushered him to the door, shut it, and remained outside.
For a few moments there was a profound silence, broken only
by half-stifled sobs proceeding from Lettice. At length, a low
voice was heard to say, " Draw near, I beg of you." And Gage
approached the sofa on which the sufferer rested.
" Sit down beside me for a moment," Glare continued, in her
soft feeble accents, " and let me explain the cause of my pre-
sence here. I had thought never to see you again, but compassion
has overcome all other feelings, and I have resolved to persevere to
the last. Therefore have I come. I will not reproach you with
232 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
having broken your promise to me. For that I freely forgive you,
and pray Heaven to forgive you likewise."
She then paused for a few moments, after which she resumed in
a firmer tone :