to give some of the offending parties a caution ; and he fancied they
would be more on their guard in future. He hoped he should
not have to give Lettice a similar lesson; for retailers of falsehood
and scandal were just as bad as the originators. And so our con-
" And here I must remark, Lucy, that my maid was not my sole
informant, though I can depend upon her, for Lettice, though a little
giddy, is a good girl, and much attached to me. She is daughter
of Mark Rougham, whom you must know. My opinion of the
' gentlemen^ remained unshaken, notwithstanding all my father's
assertions ; and I have since had personal reason to complain
of one of them — Sir Randal Meschines. On two or three oc-
casions, latterly, this coxcomb has contrived to throw himself
in my way, though I have done my best to avoid meeting any
of Mr. Monthermer's guests; and he has greatly annoyed me
with liis impertinence and adulation, and his professions of a
violent passion for me, which I am certain he cannot feel. He ia
so daring in his manner that he quite terrifies me. I kept my
room yesterday to avoid him, but he managed to send me, by
Gage's French valet, Chassemouche, a note, full of flaming non-
sense, which I returned immediately by the bearer. I could laugh at
what this silly fop says, but I am in no mood for mirth just now ;
and, sooth to say, his attentions alarm me. He is not like Gage,
or your brother Arthur — but has a bold, insolent tone, which is
quite intolerable. He says he will kill himself, if I do not take pity
on him, and I almost wish he would put his threat into execution.
I" But I must check myself, Lucy. I meant only to send you a
few lines, praying you to help one dear to us both, and I find
56 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
myself writing about my own troubles. My lengthy narrative will,
at all events, serve to let you know how I am circumstanced, and
how impossible it is for me to aid Gage in what I believe to be a
most critical position. I apply to you, Lucy, because, with all his
faults, I know you still love him ; and I would fain hope, if he can
be rescued from' the perils and temptations now environing him,
that he may one day requite your devotion.
" He is in need of a true friend, Lucy. Will your brother be
that friend? " Clare."
Of course, there was a postscript. No young lady's letter, how-
ever voluminous, would be complete without one. It was to this
" I have just heard that some new scheme is on foot, and that
the planners of it expect to win a larger sum than usual from Gage.
Will Arthur come over this evening? Pray of him to do so, Lucy.
I must see him first, and will meet him at nine o'clock at the Ivy
Tower adjoining the ruins of the old Castle. He may recollect the
spot, for he once spoke to me there. Do not think this proposal
wrong, Lucy. I shall have Letty Rougham with me. You will
persuade Arthur to come, will you not, Lucy? Another note has
just been brought to me from that impertinent coxcomb Sir Randal.
I have burnt it unread. " C."
*^And she would have me save the man I hate?" Arthur
cried, in a fury, when this letter was shown to him by his sister.
" He may go to perdition for aught I care. What is it to me if
he is surrounded by sharpers and rakes? What matter if they
ruin him ? What matter if Fairlie lends them a helping hand ?
The idiot must pay the penalty of his folly and vice. I can't help
him, and I wouldn't if I could."
"Yes, you can and will — for my sake, Arthur," Lucy said,
imploringly. "At all events, go and see Clare, that's a dear,
kind, good fellow, and hear what she has to say."
" No, I daren't trust myself with her. She would make a fool
'^ Nonsense. Only think, if you should be the means of rescuing
Gage from the snares that beset him, how grateful he would be."
" And as a matter of course throw himself at your feet, Lucy,
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 37
and offer you his hand as a recompense. By my faith, he would
do us great honour."
*' If he did, and I accepted him, wouid not that remove a dif-
ficulty from your way, sir? Would not Clare then be quite free —
and might not all be happily arranged? I'm sure if you only prove
yourself his friend, as Clare says, all will come right."
" But don't you see, Lucy, that she is not thinking of me at all
m the matter, but only of him. I am only a secondary considera-
tion with her — scarcely considered at all. You yourself are just as
selfish, and display as little regard for me. You care only for
Gage. He is in a scrape, from which he cannot disentangle him-
self. * Save him — or he is lost,' you both of you cry out. What
is it to me, if he is lost? A gain rather than otherwise. If I
felt that Clare despised him as I despise him — if she expressed a
quarter of the affection for me that she expresses in every line of
that letter for hirriy I would obey her slightest behest, and deliver
him at the hazard of my life. But it is too much to expect me
to aid a successful rival."
** Nothing is too much to expect from a generous nature like
yours, Arthur. Even as revenge, your interposition at this junc-
ture would be noble : but do not view it in that light. Rather
look back to the days of your affectionate intercourse with Gage —
when you were boys together — shared everything in common, and
would have defended each other against any attack — when no
rivalry existed in your breasts. Look back to that time, Arthur, '
and for the sake of your early regard, render him an important
service, which no one is able to perform but yourself. For consider,
lie has no true friend. All those calling themselves such, and
supposed such by him, are his worst enemies. I do not believe
Gage to be so bad — so depraved as he is represented. There
is much good in him, I believe, though it is sadly overclouded;
and the very tastes and qualities which now lead him into such
extravagances and follies — such excesses if you will — might, if pro-
perly directed and controlled, render him an ornament to society.
Such, through your friendly agency, he may become. And what a re-
flection this will be to you hereafter, Arthur ! — what a consolation !"
" I am scarcely convinced by your reasoning, Lucy," her brother
replied, sadly; " but I will act as you desire, and I trust good may
38 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
come of it. As a boy, I always liked Gage — better, indeed, than
any one else ; and one cannot quite forget early friendship. Lat-
terly, I have hated him."
" O, do not say so, Arthur I"
*' I have hated him, I repeat, Lucy, and with good cause. A
man cannot love as I love, and not detest his rival. Nevertheless, I
will serve him, for the sake of old tunes, and for your sake, Lucy.
I despair of success — but the effort shall be made."
" Have no misgivings, Arthur. Your cause is good, and Heaven
will prosper it."
Accordingly, an answer was sent back to Clare by her mes-
senger that Arthur would keep the appointment she had made.
On that evening, the young man rode, unattended, towards Mon-
thermer Castle, and when within a mile or so of his destination, began
to consider where he should leave his horse, as he did not intend to
announce himself to Gage until after his interview with Clare —
resolving to be governed in what he did by her advice ; and while
debating this point with himself, he overtook a farmer slowly
jogging along, and mounted on a good specimen of that sturdy
description of animal known as a Suffolk Punch. As he happened
to be acquainted with the man, who was no other than Mark
Rougham, he slackened speed to have a few moments' talk with
him. He had heard that Mark had been ejected from his farm by
Fairlie, but was not aware of his reinstatement, and his first in-
quiries were, as to how he was going on?
" Why, pretty well, thank your honour," Mark replied. '^ I be
got back to t' owld house, thanks to t' young Squire ; but how long
Fra to remain there t' Lord above only knows ; for Muster Fairlie,
I reckon, has more power in his hands than t' young Squire, and
will do what he likes, and set all crooked again when t'other's
back be turned. He ha' given me to understand as much already,
deuce take him ! That man be like t' Unjust Steward we read
on i' Scripture. As to t' young Squire, I've nought to say against
him, but much to say in his favour. His heart be i' th' right
place, I be sure; and he'll do nothin' wrong if let alone — but it be
a pity, Muster Arthur, — a great pity, — he do let others do wrong
in his name, and abuse his authority — and a greater pity still, if
it be true as I hear tell, that he ha' gotten a set o' gambling folk
THE SPEITDTHRIFT. 39
stayin' wi' him at the Castle, who be preyin' upon him as I've seen
a swarm o' wasps feast upon a ripe pear. Ah ! sir, the poor young
gentleman is sadly in need of good advice, and wants some one
like yourself, or Sir Hugh, to talk to him."
" It is for that very purpose I am now proceeding to the Castle^'
Arthur rejoined. " I am glad to have met you, Mark, for what
you say about Mr. Montherraer gives me better hopes of success
than I previously entertained. I hope I may be able to chase
away those greedy insects."
'* Take care you don't get stung yourself while doin* it, sir,"
Mark observed. " They'll fight for the prize, you may rely on it.
Ah, sir, if you could only free him from Muster Fairlie, you would
render him a service indeed !"
" That, I fear, is beyond my power, Mark. Besides " And
*' I fear I've said what I ought not, Muster Arthur, and I ask
pardon for my boldness, sir, but it's the custom wi' us Suffolk
yeomen to speak out, as you well know, for you ha' lived among
us ; and so hopin' to gi' no offence, for I mean none, I may as
well tell the truth, and confess that I know your honour has been a
little bit smitten wi' Mistress Clare — more than a little bit, mayhap.
My daughter Letty be her maid, and she ha' dropped a word or
two to her mother concemin' it, and the good dame of course
couldn't keep the secret, but must needs blab it to me. Havin*
confessed this, I must add — always without offence — that a tidier
lass, or a sweeter or prettier lass, or, what is more, a better lass —
though she do ca' owld FeHx her father — is not to be found in the
whole county, than Mistress Clare ; and though some folk might
turn up their noses, and say you were demeanin' of yourself by
such a marriage, Muster Arthur — always without offence, sir — I
think you'd do well: for a virtuous woman, as we're told by them
as knew what they said, is a jewel above price, and such a one I
believe Mistress Clare Fairlie to be. You be not offended wi' my
freedom, I hope, sir?"
"Not in the least, ray good fellow," Arthur replied; ** and to
prove I am not, I will take you into my confidence, and tell
you I am about to meet Clare privately in the garden near the
Ivy Tower, to concert measures with her for "
40 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
" For runnin' away wi' her fro' t' owd chap," Mark interrupted,
delightedly. ** The best thing you can do, sir. I'll help you wi'
all my heart. Only tell me what to do."
*' Much obliged to you, Mark, but I'm not exactly bent upon
4lie enterprise you suppose. Indeed, to tell you the truth, I don't
think the young lady would run away with me. My sole object
is to consult with her as to the best means of freeing Mr. Mon-
thermer from the harpies who are draining his life-blood from him."
" And be she the best person to consult wi' on such a matter,
do you think, sir ? — However, it's no business of mine", and I begs
pardon for my freedom. If I were you, I'd go at 'em at once.
Show 'em up in their true colours. Pll back you up, if you want
any one to stand by you."
" Again I thank you, Mark, but I trust I am equal to the dis-
agreeable task I have imposed upon myself. However, since
you volunteer your services, I will take advantage of the offer to
this extent. I am to meet Clare at nine o'clock, as I have told
you. You shall go with me, and remain within call."
" That I will, sir, wi' pleasure. And I shall be quite ready, in
case you should follow out my notion — supposin' the young lady
should be agreeable to it."
" No fear of that, Mark. But perhaps I may have to send a mes-
sage by you to my sister. That is why I want you to accompany me."
" I'll do whatever you tell me. Muster Arthur ; and I only
hope I may have somethin' better to do than take a message —
unless it be a message to say you're off wi' Mistress Clare — no
offence, sir. But as there be a good hour and a half betwixt
this and nine o'clock, perhaps you'll ride on wi' me to Cowbridge
Farm, and put up your horse there. We can then start for the
Castle a-foot when you think proper."
Arthur agreed to this proposal, and accordingly they proceeded
to the farm, where they dismounted, and on entering the dwelling,
which looked a snug tenement — though it was scarcely got into
thorough order after its recent disarrangement — the young gentle-
man was heartily welcomed by the honest yeoman's buxom spouse.
Three or four children crowded round Mark's leather-cased legs, and
struggled for a caress, but he took a crowing infant from the arms
of his wife, and holding it towards Arthur, exclaimed: '^Here's
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 41
wishin* you well married, sir, and as fine a babby as this to bless
you — meanin' no ofience, sir" — and then suddenly changing his
tone, and patting the curly heads of his other children, he added,
"Muster Fairlie thought little of these poor things when he
turned us all out of doors. However, I won't speak of it. Come,
bestir thyself, dame, and get us somethin' to eat and drink. We
must be off soon. Young Squire Poynings and I have some busi-
ness to do up at the Castle. We may chance to bring a young
lady back wi' us. Don't stare, dame, but draw a jug o' beer.
Sit ye down. Muster Arthur — do sit ye down, sir. Get away
childer, and make less din."
Half an hour after this, Arthur and his companion set out on
their expedition. Leaping the park palings, they took their way
silently and at a quick pace over the elastic sod.
Every inch of these broad and beautiful domains was known to
Mark, so no better guide could have been found than he. It was
a bright starlight night, and by the time they reached the ruins the
moon would have risen, Mark said, though he didn't know whether
Muster Arthur would be pleased or not at the circumstance.
At length, on emerging from out a dense grove of trees into which
they had plunged, they beheld a vast, black, jagged mass before
them. It was the ruined Castle, and as they drew near the
venerable structure, one tall tower, partially overgrown with ivy,
and tipped by the crescent moon, began to detach itself from the
rest of the hoary pile.
Presently they came to an iron railing, surrounding the garden,
and leaving Mark near a tree, Arthur sprang over this slight fence,
and approached the place of rendezvous alone.
42 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
IN WHICH IiETTICE EOTTGHAM DISPLAYS A HEADY WTI.
Clare Fairlie had the highest opinion of Arthur Poynings.
She did not love him, but she esteemed him for his many excel-
lent qualities, and could not help admiring his manly appearance.
What her feelings might have been towards him, if she had
known him earlier, when her afibctions were disengaged, we need
not inquire. Perhaps, she herself might regret not having a heart
to bestow upon a youth so deserving. Be this as it may, he was
the first person she turned to in her trouble. It was rather hard to
put his generosity to so severe a test as to call upon him to aid a
rival; but Gage's danger (it appeared to her) did not admit of hesi-
tation. Scarcely, however, was the letter to Lucy gone, than Clare
repented her boldness, and would have recalled it. What would
Arthur think of her ? He might be angry, but he would come.
She knew the influence she had over him — but had she any right
to exert it? — Yes, yes, she was bound to do everything she could
to save Gage. So easily do we find excuses for our actions when
love is the prompter.
At last, Clare's suspense was relieved by Lucy's reply, which
was brought her by Lettice Rougham. O, how cheered she was
by the dear girl's expressions of sympathy ! Lucy was quite as
anxious as herself about Gage — just as eager to serve him.
Arthur, too, would obey her summons. O, how kind, how
generous in him to come ! But she knew he would.
Little Lettice Rougham, who had been watching her as she read
the letter, and saw it contained some satisfactory intelligence, now
threw in a word. But before we attend to her, let us see what
Lettice was like. This then is her picture. Small in stature,
plump as a partridge, rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed, rising nineteen.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 43
— she was altogether a very merry, coquettish, engaging little
creature. The exuberance of her person was carefully restrained by
tightly-fitting bodice, crossed outside with pink ribbons ; her fair
hair was taken back from her smooth forehead, and rolled under a
very becoming little cap ; and her scarlet grogram petticoat, with
the chintz dress looped up above it, was luckily not long enough
to hide the smallest feet and the neatest ankles to .be seen at
Month ermer Castle.
Little Lettice had just been adding an inch or two to her
height, by standing on tiptoe, and trying to peep at the letter
over her young lady's shoulder ; but finding she could discover
nothing in this way, and that she was not likely to gain much infor-
mation by remaining silent, she began the discourse by inquiring
whether Clare had any orders for her ?
" No, Lettice," the other replied; but after a moment's hesitation,
she added, blushing sHghtly as she spoke, " I sliall want you to
accompany me to the Ivy Tower at nine o'clock this evening."
** What, to see the moon rise, miss — or hear the nightingales
sing? I don't think they've begun yet. Won't it be very cold ?
I declare it makes me quite shiver at the idea of a solitary walk
at such an hour. And then somebody may be hidden in the
ruins — and may rush out upon us, and frighten us — and we should
be so far away from the house, that our screams couldn't be
" Don't be afraid, Lettice. No harm will befal us."
*' I don't know that, miss. Strange things have been seen in
those old ruins. I'm not very fond of going there alone, even
in the daytime ; and ai night the owls make such a noise in the
towers, and puff and whoop so angrily, and the jars scream so, as
if they didn't desire one's company, and the bats wheel about so
awsomcly overhead, that they quite scare me; and — and — with
your leave, miss, I should prefer supper in the servants'-hall. An
evening stroll may be very well, if it's to meet somebody."
** Well, Lettice, to satisfy you that I do not mean to go out
merely to see the moon rise, or hear the nightingales sing ; and to
prove that we shall have some company among the ruins besides
the owls and bats, I will tell you that I do expect to meet somebody
there — a young gentleman."
44 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
" Law, miss, you don't say so ! You so very particular, meet
a young gentleman in tKe ruins ! Everybody calls me a silly girl,
and if I were to do such a thing, it wouldn't be surprising — but
you ! — I should never have expected it."
" I don't wonder you disapprove of the step, Lettice ; and, in-
deed, I can scarcely reconcile it to my own notions of propriety.
But it is necessary I should see Mr. Arthur Poynings alone, and
unobserved, before he enters the house."
** Is Mr. Arthur the gentleman you expect to meet, miss ? If
I'd known that, I wouldn't have said a word against it — not
I ! I'm quite ready to go. Never mind the moon, or the
owls, or the bats. I don't care, if it should be as dark as pitch.
Bless me ! how things do come round, to be sure. They say
it's not easy to whistle a lost lover back again, but you seem to
have found out the way, miss ; and very glad I am of it. You'll
excuse me — I'm free-spoken, like my father — and I may say now,
that I always thought you very cruel to Mr. Arthur. I couldn't
have been so hard-hearted to so nice a young gentleman."
" You would have acted precisely as I have done, if your affec-
tions had been engaged, Lettice. But I must set you right as to
the cause of Mr. Arthur's visit. He comes here at my request, it
is true, but his errand does not relate to me at all, as you will
learn, for you will be present at our interview."
" O, don't be afraid of me, miss ! I shall shut my eyes, and
stop my ears, all the time you're together, I can promise you."
'^ I beg you will do no such thing, Lettice. I have nothing
to conceal from you, and I dare say your assistance will be
required in my project, should it be carijed out. You're dying
to know what it is I perceive, but your curiosity cannot be in-
dulged till the proper time. And now, Lettice, a word of advice,
in return for your disapproval of my behaviour to Mr. Arthur
Poynings. As you well know, I love another, and therefore I could
not encourage Mr. Arthur's suit. But are you not similarly cir-
cumstanced, let me ask, Lettice? Is not the son of an honest
yeoman in love with you? Have you not plighted your troth
to Joyce Wilford?"
Lettice made no reply, but hung down her head.
" You do not contradict me, and therefore admit that I am
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 45
right. Then how can you allow other young men to pay you
attention? Such levity is highly improper, and very unfair to
Joyce; and if he hears of it, he is certain to resent it. If you
lose him you will be very sorry; but no one will be sorry for
you, Lettice, for they will say you were rightly served."
"I don't care what folks say of me, miss," Lettice replied,
pouting; "and if Joyce chooses to turn his back on me, he is
quite welcome. I shan't break my heart about him, I can tell him.
I don't like to be rude to young men, and if they're polite to me,
I'm civil to them — that's my way."
" And a very silly way it is, and extremely reprehensible. You
are sadly too fond of flattery and admiration, Lettice."
'* Why, if men will pay one compliments, miss, what is one to
do? Looking cross won't check 'em; besides, I carCt look cross
for the life of me, if anybody compliments me, and says I'm good-
" But you can help trying to attract attention, you giddy
" I don't try to attract it, miss ; it comes naturally. Men
show me attention whether I like it or not. There's Mr. Bellairs,
he's always teasing me with his nonsense, though I do my best to
keep him at a distance, — and that grinning Frenchman, Mounseer
Shassymouse, who tells me I'm so jolly and so bell, — I'm sure I
don't encourage him, for I can't abide him. Then there's the two
fine gentlemen from Lunnon — the two valets, I mean — Mr. Tibbits
and Mr. Trickett, — I must say they're the forrardest of all,
though I can't but allow they're the best-looking and gentcclest,
and I shouldn't object to their company, if they weren't quite
so familiar. Would you believe it, miss, it was only yesterday
that Mr. Trickett squeezed my hand, and the night before Mr.
Tibbits tried to kiss me ! — he did indeed, miss. These two im-
pudent fellows are just as troublesome to me as Sir Randal is to you.
I told 'em I was engaged to an honest young man, and couldn't
listen to any one else; and would you believe it, they burst out
laughing, and said that didn't signify in the least, they'd soon
got rid of young Clodpole — though I don't think they'd find
it such easy work as they fancy, for Joyce is a broad-shouldered
fellow, and knows how to use his fists — and as to me, I might
46 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
have whichever of 'em 1 pleased for a husband, and when I got
to Lunnon I should ride in a gilt coach like a grand lady."
" Don't let your head be turned by any such nonsense, Lettice.
These two valets are rakes and gamblers like their masters, and
equally dangerous and designing. You cannot be too careful with
" I'm sure of it, miss. I didn't believe what they said at the
time, and it proved to be all stuff, for Mr. Tibbits whispered in my
ear that Mr. Trickett was married already, and soon afterwards
Mr. Trickett told me the same thing of Mr. Tibbits ; so as you say,
miss, they're a couple of arrant deceivers."
The conversation was here interrupted by a tap at the door.
Without waiting for permission to enter, the person who knocked
opened it, and came in. It was Chassemouche. Advancing a
few paces towards Clare, and making an obsequious congee at each