Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

A rose of a hundred leaves; a love story online

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valley such a piece of news could not be
kept; the very birds would talk about
it in their nests. She must herself tell
Will, and although she had done nothing
wrong, she was afraid to tell him.

When she reached home she was glad
to hear that Will had been sent for to
Squire Frostham's. " It was something
about a fox," said Brune. " They wanted
me too, but Alice Frostham is a girl I can
not abide. I would not go near her."

" Brune, will you take a long ride for
my sake? "

" I will do anything for you I can."
" I met Ulfar Fenwick this morning."
" Then you did a bad thing. I would
not have believed it of you. Good Lord !
there is as much two-facedness in a woman
as there is meat in an egg."

" Brune, you are thinking wrong. I
did not know he was in the country till
he stood before me ; and he did not move

148 A- Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

me a hair's-breadth any way. But Lottie
from the vicarage saw us together ; and
she was going to Dalton. You know what
she will say ; and by and by the Frosthams
will hear; and then they will feel it to be
' only kind ' to talk to Will about me and
my affairs ; and the end of it will be some
foolish deed or other. If you love me,
Brune, go to Redware to-night, and see
Lady Redware, and tell her there is dan
ger for her brother if he stays around

" I can say that truly. There is danger
for the scoundrel, a good deal of it."

" Brune, it would be such a sorrow to
me if every one were talking of me again.
Do what I ask you, Brune. You promised
to stand by me through thick and thin."

" I did ; and I will go to Redware as
soon as I have eaten my dinner. If Lottie
saw him, it will be known all over. And
if no one came up here on purpose to tell
Will, he would hear it at Dalton next week,
when that lot of bothering old squires sit
down to their market dinner. It would

For Mother's Sake.


be a grand bit for them to chew with their


" I thought they talked about politics."
" They are like other men. If you get

more than one man in a

place, they are talking bad f

about some woman. They V^

call it politics, but it is mostly


" I am going to tell Will myself."

" That is a deal the best plan."

"Be sure to frighten Lady Redware;

make her think Ulfar's life is in danger,

anything to get him out of the dales."
" She will feel as if the heavens were

going to fall, when I get done with her.

My word ! who would have thought of him

coming back? Life is full of surprises."

150 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

" But only think, if there was never any
thing accidental happened ! Surprises are
just what make life worth having, eh,

" Maybe so, and maybe not. When
Will comes home, tell him everything at
once. I can manage Lady Redware, I '11
be bound."

With the promise he went away to per
form it, and Aspatria carried her trembling
heart into solitude. But the lonely place
was full of Ulfar. A thousand hopes were
budding in her heart, growing slowly,
strongly, sweetly, in that earth which
she had made for them out of her love,
her desires, her hopes, and her faithful



BRUNE arrived at Redvvare Hall while
it was still afternoon, and he found no diffi
culty in obtaining an interview with its
mistress. She was sitting at a table in a
large bay-window, painting the view from
it. For in those days ladies were not
familiar with high art and all its nomencla
ture and accessories ; Lady Redware had
never thought of an easel, or a blouse, or
indeed of any of the trappings now con
sidered necessary to the making of pic
tures. She was prettily dressed in silk ;
and a square of bristol-board, a box of
Newman's water-colours, and a few camel's-
hair pencils were neatly arranged before

She rose when Brune entered, and met
him with a suave courtesy; and the unso-

152 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

phisticated young man took it for a gen
uine pleasure. He felt sorry to trouble
such a nice-looking gentlewoman, and he
said so with a sincerity that made her sud
denly serious. " Have you brought me
bad news, Mr. Anneys?" she asked.

" I am afraid you will be put about a
bit. Sir Ulfar Fenwick met my sister this
morning; and they were seen by ill-natured
eyes, and I came, quiet-like, to let you know
that he must leave the dales to-night."
" Cannot Sir Ulfar meet his own wife? "
" Lady Redware, that is not the ques
tion. Put it, ' Cannot Sir Ulfar meet your
sister?' and I will answer you quick
enough, ' Not while there are two honest


men in Allerdale to prevent him.' "

" You cannot frighten Sir Ulfar from
Allerdale. To threaten him is to make
him stay."

" Dalesmen are not ones to threaten. I
tell you that the vicar's maid saw Sir Ulfar
and my sister together; and when William
Anneys hears of it, Sir Ulfar will get such
a notice to leave these parts as will give

154 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

him no choice. I came to warn him away
before he could not help himself. I say
freely, I did so to please Aspatria, and out
of no good-will going his way."

" But if he will not leave Allerdale? "

" But if William Anneys, and the sixty
gentlemen who will ride with William
Anneys, say he must go? What then? "

" Of course Sir Ulfar cannot fight a

" Not one of that mob of gentlemen
would fight him ; but they all carry stout
riding-whips." And Brune looked at the
lady with a sombre intentness which made
further speech unnecessary. She had been
alarmed from the first ; she now made no
further attempt to disguise her terror.

"What must I do, Mr. Anneys?" she
asked. "What must I do?"

" Send your brother away from Cum
berland to-night. I say he must leave
to-night. To-morrow morning may be too
late to prevent a great humiliation. Aspa
tria begged me to come to you. I do not
say I wanted to come."

But they were Young.


At this moment the door opened, and
Sarah Sandys entered. Brune turned, and
saw her; and his heart stood still. She
came slowly forward, her gar
ment of pale-green and
white just touching \~
her sandalled feet.
She had a rush bas
ket full of violets in
her hands ; there
were primroses in
her breast and belt,
and her face was
like a pink rose.
High on her head her
fair hair was lifted, and,
being fastened with a
large turquoise comb, it
gave the idea of sunshine and
blue sky.

Brune stood looking at her, as a mortal
might look at the divine Cytherea made
manifest. His handsome, open face, full
of candid admiration, had almost an august
character. He bowed to her, as men bow

156 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

when they bend their heart and give its
homage and delight. Sarah was much
impressed by the young man's beauty, and
she felt his swift adoration of her own
charms. She made Lady Redware intro
duce her to Brune, and she completed her
conquest of the youth as she stood a
moment holding his hand and smiling with
captivating grace into his eyes.

Then Lady Redware explained Brune's
mission, and Sarah grasped the situation
without any disguises. " It simply means
flight, Elizabeth," she said. "What could
Ulfar do with fifty or sixty angry Cumber
land squires? He would have to go. In
fact, I know they have a method of per
suasion no mortal man can resist."

Brune saw that his errand was accom
plished. Lady Redware thanked him for
his consideration, and Sarah rang for the
tea-service, and made him a cup, and gave
it to him with her own lovely hands.
Brune saw their exquisite form, their trans
lucent glow, the sparkling of diamonds
and emeralds upon them. The tea was

But they were Young. 157

as if brewed in Paradise ; it tasted of all
things delightful; it was a veritable cup
of enchantments.

Then Brune rode away, and the two
women watched him over the hill. He
sat his great black hunter like a cavalry
officer; and the creature devoured the
distance with strides that made their hearts
leap to the sense of its power and life.

" He is the very handsomest man I ever
saw ! " said Sarah.

"What is to be done about Ulfar?
Sarah, you must manage this business.
He will not listen to me."

" Ulfar has five senses. Ulfar is very
fond of himself. He will leave Redware,
of course. How handsome Brune Anneys
is ! "

"Will you coax him to leave to-night? "

" Ulfar? Yes, I will; for it is the proper
thing for him to do. It would be a shame
to bring his quarrels to your house. What
a splendid rider! Look, Elizabeth, he is
just topping the hill ! I do believe he
turned his head! Is he not handsome?

158 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

Apollo! Antinoiis ! Pshaw! Brune An-
neys is a great deal more human, and a
great deal more godlike, than either."

" Do not be silly, Sarah. And do oc
cupy yourself a little with Ulfar now."

"When the hour comes, I will. Ulfar
is evidently occupying himself at present
in watching his wife. There is a decorous
naughtiness and a stimulating sense of
danger about seeing Aspatria, that must
be a thorough enjoyment to Ulfar."

" Men are always in fusses. Ulfar has
kept my heart palpitating ever since he
could walk alone."

Sarah sighed. " It is very difficult,"
she said, "to decide whether very old men
or very young men can be the greater
trial. The suffering both can cause is im
mense ! Poor Sandys was sixty-six, and
Ulfar is thirty-six, and - She shook

her head, and sighed again.

" How hateful country-people are ! " ex
claimed Elizabeth. " They must talk, no
matter what tragedy they cause with their
scandalous words."

But they were Young. 159

" Are they worse than our own set,
either in town or country? You know
what the Countess of Denbigh considered
pleasant conversation? telling things
that ought not to be told."

"The Countess is a wretch! she would
tell the most sacred of secrets."

" I tell secrets also. I do not consider
it wrong. What business has any one to
throw the onus of keeping their secret on
my shoulders? Why should they expect
from me more prudence than they them
selves have shown?"

" That is true. But in these valleys they
speak so uncomfortably direct; nothing
but the strongest, straightest, most definite
words will be used."

" That is a pity. People ought to send
scandal through society in a respectable
hunt-the-slipper form of circulation. But
that is a kind of decency to be cultivated.
However, I shall tell Ulfar, in the plainest
words I can find, that there will be about
sixty Cumberland squires here to-morrow,
to ride with him out of the county, and

160 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

that they are looking forward to the fun
of it just as much as if it was a fox-hunt.
Ulfar has imagination. He will be able
to conceive such a ride, the flying man,
and the roaring, laughing, whip-cracking
squires after him ! He will remember
how Tom Appleton the wrestler, who did
something foul, was escorted across the
county line last summer. And Ulfar hates
a scene. Can you fancy him making him
self the centre of such an affair? "

So they talked while Brune galloped
homeward in a very happy mood. He
felt as those ancients may have felt when
they met the Immortals and saluted them.
The thought of the beautiful Mrs. Sandys
filled his imagination; but he talked com
fortably to Aspatria, and assured her that
there was now no fear of a meeting be
tween her husband and Will. " Only," he
said, " tell Will yourself to-night, and he
will never doubt you."

Unfortunately, Will did not return that
night from the Frosthams' ; for in the morn
ing the two men were to go together to Dal-

But they were Young. 161

ton very early. Will heard nothing there,
but Mrs. Frostham was waiting at her gar
den gate to tell him when he returned. He
had left Squire Frostham with his son-in-
law, and was alone. Mrs. Frostham made
a great deal of the information, and broke
it to Will with much consideration. Will
heard her sullenly. He was getting a few
words ready for Aspatria, as Mrs. Frost-
ham told her tale, but they were for her
alone. To Mrs. Frostham he adopted a
tone she thought very ungrateful.

For when the whole affair, real and con
sequential, had been told, he answered :
" What is there to make a wonder of?
Cannot a woman talk and walk a bit with
her own husband? Maybe he had some
thing very particular to say to her. I think
it is a shame to bother a little lass about a
thing like that."

And he folded himself so close that Mrs.
Frostham could neither question nor sym
pathize with him longer. " Good-evening
to you," he said coldly; and then, while
visible, he took care to ride as if quite at

1 62 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

his ease. But the moment the road turned
from Frostham he whipped his horse to
its full speed, and entered the farmyard
with it in a foam of hurry, and himself
in a foam of passion.

Aspatria met him with the confession on
her lips. He gave her no time. He as
sailed her with affronting and injurious
epithets. He pushed her hands and face
from him. He vowed her tears were a
mockery, and her intention of confessing a
lie. He met all her efforts at explanation,
and all her attempts to pacify him, at

She bore it patiently for a while ; and
then Will Anneys saw an Aspatria he had
never dreamed of. She seemed to grow
taller ; she did really grow taller ; her face
flamed, her eyes flashed, and, in a voice
authoritative and irresistible, she com
manded him to desist.

" You are my worst enemy," she said.
" You are as deaf as the village gossips.
You will not listen to the truth. Your
abuse, heard by every servant in the house,

But they were Young- 163

certifies all that malice dares to think.
And in wounding my honour you are
a parricide to our mother's good name !
I am ashamed of you, Will! "

From head to foot she reflected the in
dignation in her heart, as she stood erect
with her hands clasped and the palms
dropped downward, no sign of tears, no
quiver of fear or doubt, no retreat, and no
submission, in her face or attitude.

" Why, whatever is the matter with you,
Aspatria? "

At this moment Brune entered, and she
went to him, and put her hand through
his arm, and said : " Brune, speak for me !
Will has insulted mother and father,
through me, in such a way that I can
never forgive him ! "

" You ought to be ashamed of yourself,
Will Anneys ! " And Brune put his sister
gently behind him, and then marched
squarely up to his brother's face. " You
are as passionate as a brute beast, Will,
and that, too, with a poor little lass that
has her own troubles, and has borne

164 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

them like like a good woman always

" I do not want to hear you speak,

" Ay, but I will speak, and you shall
hear me. I tell you, Aspatria is in no kind
to blame. The man came on her sudden,
out of the plantation. She did not take
his hand, she did not listen to him. She
sent him about his business as quick as
might be."

" Lottie Patterson saw her," said Will,

" Because Aspatria called Lottie Patter
son to her; and if Lottie Patterson says
she saw anything more or worse than
ought to be, I will pretty soon call upon
Seth Patterson to make his sister's words
good. Cush ! I will that ! And what is
more, Will "Anneys, if you do not know
how to take care of your sister's good
name, I will teach you, you mouse of a
man ! You go and side with that Frostham
set against Aspatria ! Chaff on the Frost-
hams ! It is a bad neighbourhood where

But they were Young. 165

a girl like Aspatria cannot say a word or
two on the king's highway at broad noon
day, without having a sisserara about it."

" I did not side with the Frosthams
against Aspatria."

"I'll be bound you did!"

" Let me alone, Brune ! Go your ways
out of here, both of you ! "

" To be sure, we will both go. Come,
Aspatria. When you are tired of balloon
ing, William Anneys, and can come down
to common justice, maybe then I will talk
to you, not till."

Now, good honest anger is one of the
sinews of the soul ; and he that wants it
when there is occasion has but a maimed
mind. The hot words, the passionate at
mosphere, the rebellion of Aspatria, the
decision of Brune, had the same effect
upon Will's senseless anger as a thunder
storm has upon the hot, heavy, summer
air. Will raged his bad temper away, and
was cool and clear-minded after it.

At the same hour the same kind of
mental thunder-storm was prevailing over

1 66 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

all common-sense at Redware Hall. Ulfar,
after a long and vain watch for another
opportunity to speak to Aspatria, returned
there in a temper compounded of anger,
jealousy, disappointment, and unsatisfied
affection. He heard Lady Redvvare's
story of his own danger
and of Brune's considera
tion with scornful indiffer
ence. Brune's consid
eration he laughed at.
He knew very well, he
answered, that Brune
Anneys hated him, and
would take the greatest
delight in such a hubbub
as he pretended was in

" But he came to please
Aspatria," continued Lady
He said he came only to
please Aspatria."

" So Aspatria wishes me to leave Aller-
dale? I will not go."

" Sarah, he will not go," cried Lady


But they were Young. 167

Redware, as her friend entered the room.
" He says he will not go."

" That is because you have appealed to
Ulfar's feelings instead of to his judgment.
When Ulfar considers how savagely primi
tive these dalesmen are in their passions,
he will understand that discretion is the
nobler part of valour. In Russia he
thought it a very prudent thing to get out
of the way when a pack of wolves were in
the neighbourhood."

"The law will protect me in this house.
Human beings have to mind the law."

" There are times when human beings
are a law unto themselves. How would
you like to see a crowd of angry men
shouting around this house for you?
Think of your sister, and of me, if I am
worth so much consideration."

" I am not to be frightened, Sarah."

" Will you consider, then, that as far as
Keswick and Kendal on one side, and as
far as Dalton and Whitehaven on the other
side, every local newspaper will have, or
will make, its own version of the affair?

1 68 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

The Earl of Lonsdale, with a large party,
is now at Whitehaven Castle. What a
sauce piquante it will be to his dinners !
How the men will howl over it, and how
the women will snicker and smile ! "

" Sarah ! you can think of the hateful-
lest things."

" And Lonsdale will go up to London
purposely to have the delight of telling it
at the clubs."

" Sarah ! "

" And the ' Daily Whisper ' will get
Lonsdale's most delectable version, and
blow it with the four winds of heaven to
the four corners of the civilized world."

"Sarah Sandys, I "

" Worse still ! that poor girl whom you
treated so abominably, must suffer the
whole thing over again. Her name will be
put as the head and front of your offend
ing. All her sorrows and heartbreak will
be made a penny mouthful for country
bumpkins and scandalous gammers to
' Oh ! ' and ' Ah ! ' over. Ulfar, if you are
a man, you will not give her a moment's

But they were Young. 169

terror of such consequences. You may
see that she fears them, by her sending her
brother to entreat your absence."

" And I must be called coward and
runaway ! "

" Let them call you anything they like,
so that you spare her further shame and

" Your talking in this fashion to me
Sarah, is very like Satan correcting sin.
I loved Aspatria when I met you in

" Of course ! Adam always has his Eve
ready. ' Not my fault, good people !
Look at this woman ! With her bright
smiles and her soft tongue she beguiled
me ; and so I fell ! ' We can settle that
question, you and I, again. Now you
must ring the bell, and order your horse
say, at four o'clock to-morrow morning.
You can have nearly six hours' sleep,
quite enough for you."

" You have not convinced me, Sarah."

" Then you must ride now, and be con
vinced afterward. For your sister's sake

170 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

and for Aspatria's sake, you will surely go

Lady Redware was crying, and she cried
a little harder to emphasize Sarah's plead
ing. Ulfar was in a hard strait. He
looked angrily at the handsome little
woman urging him to do the thing he
hated to do, and then taking the kerchief
from his sister's face, he kissed her, and
promised to leave Redware at dawn of

" But," said he, " if you send me away
now, I tell you, our parting is likely to be
for many years, perhaps for life. I am
going beyond civilization, and so beyond

" Do not flatter yourself so extrava
gantly, Ulfar. There is scandal every
where, and always has been, even from
the beginning. I have no doubt those
nameless little sisters of Cain and Abel
were talked about unpleasantly by their
sisters and brothers-in-law. In fact, wher
ever there are women there are men glad
to pull them down to their own level."

But they were Young.


" Is it not very hard,

then, that I am not to

be permitted to stay

here and defend the


women I love? "

Sarah shook her

head. " It is beyond

your power, Ulfar. If

Porthos were on earth

again, or Amadis of


Gaul, they might have

happy and useful ca


reers in handling as they


deserve the maligners


of good, quiet women.


But the men of this

era ! which of them

Mjf 1L

durst lift the stone that


the hand without sin is

fr J

permitted to cast?"


So they talked the



night away, drifting ^j

gradually from the un- ', ,

pleasant initial subject to ^'i*'

Ulfar's plan of travel and 4*

172 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

the far-off prospect of his return. And in
the gray, cold dawn he bade them farewell,
and they watched him until he vanished in
the mists rolling down the mountain. Then
they kissed each other, a little, sad kiss
of congratulation, wet with tears ; they had
won their desire, but their victory had left
them weeping. Alas ! it is the very condi
tion of success that every triumph must be
baptized with somebody's tears.

This event, beginning in such a trifle as
an almost accidental visit of Aspatria to
the vicar, was the line sharply dividing
very different lives. Nothing in Seat-
Ambar was ever quite the same after it.
William Anneys, indeed, quickly perceived
and acknowledged his fault, and the recon
ciliation was kind and complete; but As
patria had taken a step forward, and crossed
clearly that bound which divides girlhood
from womanhood. Unconsciously she as
sumed a carriage that Will felt compelled
to respect, and a tone was in her voice he
did not care to bluff and contradict. He
never again ordered her to remain silent or

But they were Young. 173

to leave his presence. A portion of his
household authority had passed from him,
both as regarded Aspatria and Brune ; and
he felt himself to be less master than he
had formerly been.

Perhaps this was one reason of the grow
ing frequency of his visits to Frostharn.
There he was made much of, deferred to,
and all his little fancies flattered and
obeyed. Will knew he was the most im
portant person in the world to Alice
Frostham; and he knew, also, that he
only shared Aspatria's heart with Ulfar
Fenwick. Men like the whole heart, and
nothing less than the whole heart; hence
Alice's influence grew steadily all through
the summer days, full to the brim of happy
labour and reasonable love. As early as
the haymaking Will told Aspatria that
Alice was coming to Seat-Ambar as its
mistress ; and when the harvest was gath
ered in, the wedding took place. It was
as noisily jocund an affair as Aspatria's
had been silent and sorrowful ; and Alice
Frostham, encircled by Will's protecting

1/4 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

arm, was led across the threshold of her
own new home, to the sound of music and

The home was quickly divided, though
without unkind intent. Will and Alice had
their own talk, their own hopes and plans,
and Aspatria and Brune generally felt that
their entrance interfered with some dis
cussion. So Aspatria and Brune began to
sit a great deal in Aspatria's room, and by
and by to discuss, in a confidential way,
what they were to do with their future.
Brune had no definite idea. Aspatria's
intents were clear and certain. But she
knew that she must wait until the spring
brought her majority and her freedom.

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