in his aspect. He then bethought him of the warning he had re-
304 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
ceived from his daughter, and how prophetically she had spoken,
â when she said that he might be summoned suddenly to his
account, and no preparation made. Perhaps he had been spared
for a short space at her intercession, in order to enable him to
make this preparation, and it behoved him not to neglect the
opportunity. Certainly, it was a wonder he had not died.
Another such shock would infallibly kill him ; and the final
blow he felt equally sure would not long be delayed. A total
revulsion had now taken place in his feelings, and he was
just as eager to repair the wrongs he had committed, as he
had lately been to uphold them. If Gage had been present, he
would have confessed all to him, and implored his pardon. At all
events, he could make ample reparation on the morrow. But
what if another and severer attack should occur in the interim,
and deprive him of his faculties, or perhaps of life itself ? No,
justice must be done, and without delay.
With this design, he unlocked a chest, and took from it certain
bundles of bills of which he knew tlie importance, together with
his private ledger, placing them on the table to be ready for
delivery to Gage â or where they might be found by him in case
his own dreadful presentiments should be verified.
He next wrote a letter, wherein he confessed all the wrongs he
had done; and intimating that he desired to make the best atone-
ment in his power, surrendered the whole of the Monthermer
property to Gage. This document signed, he enclosed it in a
sheet of paper, sealed the packet, and directed it to Gage. A
great weight seemed taken from his breast, and death, whose near
approach he had hitherto viewed with indescribable alarm, had
now lost much of its terror. But he had another document to
prepare â his will â and he set about it at once. It was brief, and
speedily completed. But it must be executed in the presence of
witnesses, and in order to find these he must go below. Accord-
ingly, he placed both the documents he had prepared in his breast,
and went forth. As he proceeded along the grand gallery, he
perceived two female figures approaching him, one of whom bore
a light, and instantly recognised in them Mrs. Jenyns and her at-
tendant, Davies. He would have avoided them, if possible, but
on seeing him the actress quickened her steps, and was almost in-
stantly close beside him.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 305
"I was coming to you, Mr. Fairlie," she cried. " I have some-
thing of importance to say to you."
"Another time, madam," he rejoined, coldly. "I have business
on hand now."
" Ah ! but another time won't do," she cried. " I must have
an answer at once."
'' An answer to what question?" he returned.
'* Stand aside, Davies." And as the attendant retired, Mrs.
Jenyns added, " Circumstances may prevent our marriage to-
morrow. Are you willing to buy this precious document from me
" Squire Warwick's will !" Fairlie exclaimed, starting. And then
crushing the thought which the temptress had roused, he added,
" No, madam. It is useless to me now. I care not for it."
" Ah !" she exclaimed, "you have formed some new plans, and
fancy yourself secure. You think to juggle and cheat me, as you
have juggled and cheated Gage, but you will find yourself mis-
taken. If I had married you, I would have made you the scoff of
" It is well that I have escaped your snares, then."
"You have escaped this fate, but you have not escaped me,
and you shall not do so. If I can have nothing else, I will have
revenge. This is no idle menace, as you will find. Reflect upon
it â sleep upon it, if you can. To-morrow morning I shall require
an answer." And she hurried off with her attendant, while Fairlie
slowly followed, and descended the great staircase.
On reaching the entrance-hall, he found some of the guests
assembled there, with bed-candles in hand, talking together before
they retired to rest, and he begged three of them to do him the
favour to accompany him to the library, and witness the execution
of his will. They laughed at the request, but readily complied,
and- the will was duly signed and attested.
Fairlie thanked them for the service, bade them good night,
and the three gentlemen went away, wondering why he should
be so urgent about his will, though they admitted to each other
that there might be some necessity for the step, since he looked ex-
Fairlie's next business was to liberate Mark Rougham. Procuring
a key from a man-servant named Blackford, who slept on the ground-
306 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
floor, and whose chamber he visited for the purpose, he unlocked
the door of the strong-room, and discovered Mark reclining against
the wall, in a corner, fast asleep. Fairlie envied him the sound-
ness of his slumbers, but he interrupted them, shaking him with
some force, and at last succeeded in awakening him. Mark rubbed
his eyes, and seemed not a little surprised when he found who
had disturbed him, but his wonder increased when he heard what
Fairlie had to say to him, and fancied he must still be dreaming.
However, he became convinced at last that he was wide awake,
and, springing to his feet, declared he was ready to do whatever he
" I am glad you have made up your mind to act rightly, sir,
and make amends," he said ; " it will be a comfort to you on your
death-bed. Now gi' me your orders, and I'll obey 'em."
" First of all you must have something to eat," Fairlie said,
" for you will have to stand guard at my bedroom door during the
whole of the night, and will need support."
" Well, I shan't object to a mouthful of meat and a glass of ale,
seein' as how I've had no supper," Mark rejoined; " but I want no
more sleep, for I've had plenty of that to last me till to-morrow
Fairlie then led him to the servants' -hall, in the midst of which
stood a long table, covered with the remains of a plentiful supper.
The room was quite deserted â all the servants having long since
retired to rest. Mark did not require pressing to commence an
attack upon a cold round of beef, and Fairlie, having filled a large
jug of ale from a cask which stood in an adjoining cupboard, set
it before him, and telling him when he had concluded his meal to
come up to the long gallery, he left him.
Fairlie then went back to Blackford's chamber, and told him that
he must rise at early dawn, and unfurl the great banner emblazoned
with the Monthermer arms from the flagstaff.
" Why, that banner hasn't been displayed since the young squire
â I beg your pardon for naming him â came of age," Blackford
replied. " It will bring all the tenantry to the Castle. They'll
look upon it as a signal."
" Never heed that," Fairlie rejoined. " Do as I bid you."
" Rest easy, sir ; I won't fail. Ill call Tom Loes at peep of day.
He knows where the banner is kept â and we'll hoist it."
THE SPENDTHEIFT. 307
Fairlie then withdrew, and returned to his own room. On
entering it, he discovered the butler, as we have already related.
Fairlie had not sought his chamber to rest within it. More re-
mained to be done, and he now only awaited the appearance of Mark
Rougham to set forth on a sad errand. While hardened in guilt,
and impenitent, he had not dared to look upon the inanimate fea-
tures of his daughter. He had sent away Lettice without even
promising to fulfil her dying mistress's wish. Now he felt that it
was a sacred and solemn duty to fulfil it.
Presently, he heard Mark's footsteps in the gallery, and came
out to him. Bidding him station himself at the door, and not
allow any one to enter his room during his absence, he again
descended to the lower part of the house, quitted it by the glass
door opening from the library upon the lawn, and shaped his
course towards the Ivy Tower.
308 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
He stood before the tower. A feeble liglit glimmered from a
narrow loophole. The light was burning in her room. He passed
through the arched entrance, ascended the spiral staircase, and
paused to draw breath. Another step would place him in the pre-
sence of the dead. But his approach had been heard ; the door was
opened by Lettice Rougham^ and he rushed into the room.
He saw only one object â a marble figure stretched upon the
couch â and, uttering a cry of anguish and despair, he sprang
towards it, flung himself upon his knees, and taking her hand,
pressed his lips to the clay-cold fingers â passionately imploring
After a while he became calmer. He arose, and with bowed
head regarded his child. Yes, there she lay â she who had once
honoured him â had loved him always, and whose latest breath
had exhaled in prayer for him. There she lay ! â placidly beautiful
â an angelic smile on her lips â her dark hair unloosed, and wan-
dering over her neck and bosom, and contrasting with the marble
whiteness of her skin.
There she lay! â his only child â his only relative â the pride of
his heart â cut off in the morning of life, in her bloom and beauty
â destroyed by him â by her father ! For had not she herself told
him that the dread secret he had imposed upon her had killed
her ? His crime had weighed her down, and brought her to that
bed of death ! Madness was in the thought.
But, look again ! â ay, he must look again, for he could not with-
draw his gaze. The sight fascinated him. There she lay ! â the
virtuous, the irreproachable daughter of a wretched, guilty sire,
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 309
whose greatest misfortune had been that she was his child â whose
only fault was that she had obeyed his sinful injunctions ! Ye?,
there she lay ! â gone ! â lost to him for ever I
Forgiveness ! oh, forgiveness I
Again he knelt down by the couch, and clasped the icy hand.
His groans and remorseful ejaculations made those who listened
shake with terror.
But his grief was too violent to last long. Quitting his kneel-
ing posture he looked round, and for the first time became aware
that Lettice had a female companion. He could scarcely distin-
guish her, for she had withdrawn to the further corner of the
room ; but he knew who it must be. Who but Lucy Poynings
could be there at such an hour â at such a season ?
Slowly approaching Lucy, he said, in a voice of profound emo-
tion, which, was not without eficct upon the hearer, notwithstand-
ing the repugnance she felt towards him,
"I thank you. Miss Poynings, from the bottom of my heart, for
the devoted attention you have shown to my lost child. You have
been more than a sister to her, and have supplied that affection
which she had a riglit to expect from me â but which (alas !) she
never experienced. You knew her well, and appreciated her noble
qualities. Though unworthy of it, I was not ignorant of the in-
estimable value of the treasure entrusted to my charge â but 1
blindly cast it away in the search after earthly dross. But having
witnessed my anguish, you will understand the depth oi my re-
Here he paused for a moment, and then continued with a
solemnity so profoundly impressive^ as to leave no doubt of his sin-
" Hear me, both of you," he cried, " and mark well my words !
I ask no pity from you, for I deserve none; but do not turn
away till you have heard me out. I am a wretched, miserable
man, condemned of Heaven and my fellows. I have been guilty of
the basest and blackest ingratitude to my benefactor, and have
committed many offences, but that which lies heaviest on my soul
is my daughter's death. I have raised no hand against her, but
I feel, not the less, that I have brought her to an untimely grave.
Can guilt be greater than mine? Can I hope for pardon?"
" Yes, if you make atonement for the wrongs you have com-
310 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
mitted, pardon will not be denied you," Lucy rejoined. " It was
your daughter's last hope that you might be brought to a state of
"I am penitent â truly penitent," Fairlie cried, "and I will
make all the atonement in my power. Herein," he continued,
taking the sealed packet from his breast, " I have confessed the
wrongs I have done to Gage Monthermer, and have given back all
the property I have unjustly acquired from him. So far I have
obeyed my daughter's dying injunctions. The packet will be
found by Gage to-morrow. But this is not all; and I again pray
of you to attend to me, for what I have next to say concerns you
" Concerns us !" Lucy exclaimed, in surprise. " In what,
"You shall hear. I have other property, which I may
rightfully call my own, inasmuch as it was gained by honest
means before the death of my benefactor, Warwick Monthermer.
This property is not inconsiderable, and would have contented me,
had my wishes been moderate. But let that pass. I am alone in
the world â without relative or friend. My daughter has been taken
from me. But I desire to fulfil her wishes, and to make such dis-
position of my property as maybe in entire accordance with them.
I shall therefore leave it to those who loved her, whom she loved,
and who merited her love. I address myself first to you, Lucy
Poynings, as her best and dearest friend. Nay, hear me out. It
is not my voice, but the voice of my poor child, that now addresses
you. I have left the whole of this property to you â subject to
certain charges, which I will specify anon. Take it as a gift
from Clare. Happily, you do not need wealth ; but it will consti-
tute a marriage portion, and if hereafter â when his reformation
has been proved â you should (fortunately for him) bestow your
hand upon Gage, the bequest will have accomplished its object."
" Oh, sir ! speak not thus !" Lucy exclaimed.
" Such I know was my daughter's wish," Fairlie pursued.
" And now as to the charges I mentioned. They are but two in
number. The first is a marriage portion to this maiden â my
daughter's attached and faithful attendant, Lettice Rougham. The
few hundreds left her will but inadequately repay her services.
The remaining bequest is of a sum of money suflGlcient to purchase
THE SPENDXnEIFT. 311
Cowbridge Farm, of which I unjustly dispossessed Lettice's father,
Mark Rougham, and which I now leave to that worthy man.
Except these charges," he added to Lucy, " all the rest is yours."
" I will not question what you have thought fit to do, because
this is not a fitting moment for such discussion," Lucy rejoined;
" but you speak of your will as if it were to take effect imme-
diately. You may live for years."
"Lucy Poynings," Fairlie said, with increased solemnity,
" many hours will not elapse ere I shall join my daughter. I
have received a warning not to be mistaken. The sun will not
arise and find me among the living. But Heaven be praised!
I have made my preparations. I have done what lies in me to
expiate my ofiences."
He then moved slowly towards the bed, and looking down
tenderly upon his child, said, in a low tone, " Art thou content '
with me, my daughter ? Have I obeyed thy wishes in all things ?
Speak to me! oh, speak to me!" he ejaculated, yielding to the
passionate impulse, and clasping the inanimate form in his arms.
" I answer for her," Lucy said. ^' She is content with you.
Regard well her features â and see if they smile not approval."
" They do â they do," Fairlie rejoined. " They speak forgive-
ness. Leave me alone with her for a short space, I implore of you.
I would pray by her side."
Thus exhorted, Lucy and her companion withdrew, and pro-
ceeded to an upper chamber in the tower. Both were moved to
tears, and Lettice sobbed audibly.
When they were gone, Fairlie knelt by tlie bedside, and prayed
fervently. While thus engaged, he fell into a sort of trance,
during which he imagined that his daughter appeared to him,
with looks of celestial beauty, and a smile beaming of Paradise,
telHng him he was forgiven. He was still in this state of ecstasy
when Lucy and her companion came down again. On hearing
them enter the chamber he arose.
" I have seen her !" he cried, " She has promised me pardon."
Lucy said nothing in contradiction, for she feared liis reason was
" And now I have done," he continued. " I commit her dear
remains to your charge. You will see the last rites performed. I
shall return to my own room, which I shall never quit again till I
312 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
am taken from it. She has assured me I shall speedily join her.
And now mark my last words. The documents I have mentioned
â the confession and the will â will be found near me, when Gage
comes to-morrow morning to the Castle. Farewell!"
And once more bending down before his daughter, and pressing
his lips to her hand, he quitted the chamber.
Strength seemed to have been granted him for the effort he had
made â and for this effort only â for it was with the utmost difficulty
he regained the Castle, and on reaching the foot of the great staircase
he fell with a groan. Luckily, Mark Rougham heard him, from
the long gallery where he was stationed, and hastily descending,
carried him up the staircase. By his own desire Mark helped him
to his dressing-room, where he sank quite exhausted into a chair.
"You will be better for some restorative," Mark said, greatly
alarmed at his appearance, for he really believed him to be dying
"No â no â I want nothing. Leave me," Fairlie said, feebly.
" But I can't find i' my heart to leave you i' this state," Mark
"Go, I beg of you â nay, I insist," Fairlie said. " Keep watch
as I have directed in the gallery, and do not let any one enter my
room till Mr Monthermer's arrival to-morrow. He will find all
ready for him."
" He won't find you alive, I'm thinkin'," Mark muttered, as he
Left alone, Fairlie mustered all his remaining strength for a final
effort. He locked the doors of his bed-chamber and dressing-room
â took out the two packets he had prepared â laid them on the
table, and extinguished the light.
Darkness and the voice of prayer. Presently the voice was
hushed, and there was a deep sigh. Then profound silence reigned
amidst the srloom. . â¢
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 313
MOEN AT THE CASTLE.
The long, dread night is past, and mom is come. The new-
risen sun shines brightly upon the lordly groves near the Castle,
and disperses the white mists hanging over the marshy grounds
in the valleys. In the park the deer come tripping forth from
their coverts in the fern-brakes, and their slim figures and branch-
ing horns can be distinctly discerned as they cross the lengthening
glades. All nature is speedily aroused by the kindling beams of
the beneficent luminary.
But not alone does sunshine glitter upon grove and landscape ;
it gilds the proud vanes on the Castle, glitters on its many windows,
and clothes the magnificent fabric with splendour. The grand old
pile puts on its most imposing aspect. But as yet there is little
stir within. The God of Day peers in at the upper windows, and
espies drowsy menials slumbering off nocturnal potations. He tries
to look in at windows lower down, but thick curtains impede his
gaze. If he could pierce through these, he would behold the
gambler dreaming that his luck has deserted him â the epicure
groaning from a surfeit â the bacchanalian fevered by excess of
wine â the actress terrified by fancies that her beauty and fasci-
nations have fled. These persons are safe from the sun's scrutiny.
But into one room he looks steadily, and with an inquisitive eye.
What sees he there ? A kneeling figure â kneeling, but in a strange
posture, with hands extended, and head dropped upon the chair.
He pours his radiance upon it. But it moves not. It feels no
revivificating heat. The eyes will never again open to the light
of day. So the sunbeams fly from it and settle upon the table â *
lighting up two sealed packets â and an extinguished taper â the
emblem of the motionless figure at the chair.
314 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
But not alone does the sunlight glorify and gladden the Castle
â it gleams on all around it â on the smooth velvet lawns, where
gardeners are already at work with scythe and roller, pursuing
their task gleefully â on the parterres â on the stately terraces,
where other gardeners may be seen wending to their work â on the
orchards â the stables, and outbuildings â on the grey walls of the
ancient Castle â and on the Ivy Tower.
Why does the sunlight settle on that narrow loophole ? Would
it look into another chamber of death ? Would it know what
is passing there ? A slanting beam shoots in through the
narrow aperture and falls upon a marble countenance, giving the
white transparent skin an indescribable beauty, and encircling the
head and its crown of dark hair with a nimbus of glory like a saint.
Two persons are beside that bed. One, overcome by fatigue, is
wrapped in slumber. The other watches with admiration the
magical effect of the sunbeams on the features of the dead. Never
has she seen aught so seraphic in expression â so effluent of beati-
tude, as that countenance. As she gazes, a conviction crosses the
watcher that the spirit of her departed friend is hovering near her,
whispering that she is about to Tving her flight to Heaven. All
she has stayed for on earth is accomplished. Even as the thought
crosses the beholder, the stream of sunlight has left the face â the
effulgence vanishes from brow and hair â and the marble features
resume their rigidity. Filled with unspeakable joy, the watcher
kneels by the couch and prays.
Meanwhile, the sun shines brightly on the Castle and its broad
domains ; and many of the tenantry who look towards it are struck
with surprise as they see, floating from the tall flagstaff on the roof,
a banner displaying the arms of Monthermer. The sight diffuses
universal joy throughout the whole of Monthermer's domains, for
all who behold it look upon it as a harbinger of the young squire's
restoration. He has come to his own again. He has defeated the
unjust steward. None have any love for Fairlie, and therefore all
rejoice in his downfal. With all his faults, Gage is a favoxirite with
the tenantry. They like him for his father's sake, whose memory
is universally revered ; and though not insensible to his errors, they
regard them with a lenient eye. He has had bad counsellors ; and
his guardian, who should have screened him from it, has thrown
temptation in his path. Thus they reason, and, from a variety of
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 315
causes, are overjoyed that a Monthermer will still rule over them.
To this joy, their own escsape from Fairlie naturally contributes.
They all know what they had to expect from that hard, griping
Rumours have spread abroad â with the unaccountable rapidity
with which rumour always travels, as if wafted through the
air â of the disturbance that took' place at the Castle on the
previous day; and it is said that on the day, which has just
commenced, Gage, who has gone over to Reedham with young
Arthur Poynings, is to return to the house of his ancestors,
and drive the intruder fl-om it. Their best wishes are with him ;
and when they behold this banner â a flag first used by Squire
Warwick on the occasion of his son's birth, when it gave the
signal to all beholders that he kept open house â floating from
the summit of the Castle, they make sure that their hopes will be
realised. Fairlie, they imagine, would never willingly permit the
Aug to be unfurled. Little do they think that it was he who com-
manded its display. However, they regard its appearance as a
favourable omen, and one and all accept it as a signal to flock to
Thus the farmers, for miles and miles around, leave their work
and return to their homes, to tell their wives that the old flag is
floating from the Castle, and that they must go thither to see what
it means. So they don their best attire, and prepare to set forth.
Mounted on rough steeds â all stout Suffolk punches â they take
their way through the lanes leading to the Castle, their numbers gra-
dually increasing, until they form a troop of nigh two hundred horse-
men â a formidable band â and many of them declare that if the
young squire wants a hand to set him in his place again, he will
easily find it. The elders amongst them talk much of Squire
Warwick, and of the loss they sustained in his sudden death.
Ah! if he had but been spared, some of these greybeards say,
his son would have been a different person. A father would have