Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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pasture, and, as if in obedience to his unspoken
desires, Edith walked through the grass by his
side. They spoke little, for silence seemed to
be so eloquent. And oh, how sweet was the
silence between them ! In the twilight they
drew closer to each other and began to con-
verse softly about their own past lives. Edith
told him that she had been educated in Bristol
because she had an aunt living there ; that she
had scarcely returned home ere her father died,
and that, ever since, she had lived at Bradley

Joe thought she must be lonely there, and
wondered how she could manage so large an
estate. And Edith admitted that she very
often was a little lonely ; but that, as for the
estate, it was easily managed. She had her
father s old lawyer and agents to help her, and,
she added with a sharp laugh, " I should know
very well, though, how to take care of it with
out them."

During that walk Joe s last scruples gave
way. He determined to win Edith if it were


possible ; and when this determination had
been arrived at, he began to tell himself that
his father had, in a manner, cast him off ; that
nothing he could do would be likely to be satis
factory, and that, therefore, he might as well
marry the woman he loved.

And he thought about Edith s riches until
they became quite unobjectionable. His pro
fession had been, as yet, a failure. He had
adopted it in a kind of bravado ; he did not
like it, and he had no special genius for it. In
his heart he knew that he was never likely to
be a successful lawyer. His money was nearly
gone. His father was practically dead to him,
his aunt too poor to give him pecuniary aid ;
four years of luxury and self-indulgence had
made him far less inclined to face the strife of
life than he had been on that night when he
elected to take his own way and $,ooo.

To be master of Bradley Manor and the hus
band of the handsome Edith Bradley was
surely not a bad lot in life. If fortune designed
him so much favor, why should he throw it
away for a few sentimental objections ? The
idea became familiarly pleasant to him. He


was determined to let every thing go in order to
realize it.

And Edith had that proud nature which
would rather confer an obligation than accept
one. Directed by the impulse of her own
heart, she had singled out this handsome youth
for her favor in the very hour of their meeting.
Still, she was more cautious than impulsive.
She desired to be better acquainted with her
lover s character. Above all she wanted to be
certain of her own heart ; and she waited for
its assurance with a curious eagerness, wondering
often by what name she ought to call the sweet
tumult in her breast, the longing for Joe s pres
ence, the restlessness in his absence, the in
fluence which he personally exercised over her.

One morning in the following spring, she
awoke with all these doubts settled. She had
had a wonderful dream. She had dreamt that
she loved Joe. And the dream had been so
delightful that it made her heart ache to
awaken from it. It was the settlement of the
question to her, and it influenced her manner
in some such sweetly subtle way that it was
almost as perfect a revelation to Joe. That
afternoon, as they walked in the garden, with


the glory and the freshness of the spring
around them, Joe asked Edith to be his wife,
and Edith told him her dream, and let him read
it as he wished.

The few hours that followed were so wonder
ful to Joe that they actually changed for a short
space the youth s countenance. It was so
bright and joyous, he held his head so high and
stepped so proudly, that Martha Thrale could
not but notice his exaltation, the more so
that it was in such direct contrast to the moods
of anxiety and depression he had recently been
subject to.

" Well, Joe," she said, cheerfully, " thou looks
middling happy to-night ; and I m glad to see
it. Whatever is up with thee ? "

" The best bit of luck that can come to any
man, Aunt Martha."

" Does ta mean wedding?"

" Yes, I mean wedding. What do you think
of it?"

" I niver waste time thinking o it. I am too
old, and thou art too poor. Wedding is
naught in my line, nor in thine either, I sud say."

" But, aunt, I have won the noblest prize in


" I hev heard a sight o men and women say
t vary same thing, when t craze to get wed
comes over em. And I hev noticed that it is
most sure to come to such foolish folk as hev
no knowledge o private arithmetic and can t
reckon up ta difference between their incomings
and outgoings."

" I am not one of that kind, aunt. And if
money can make us happy, she has plenty of

" I don t say that money can make you
happy, Joe ; not it ! Folks usually expect a
deal more happiness from money than it iver
gives, either men or women. Who is ta going
to marry ? Or, rather, who is going to marry

" Miss Bradley."

" Niver ! Niver!! Niver!!!

" She is that, though. And there is not a
better or a lovelier woman in the world."

" Owd Luke Bradley s daughter? "

" To be sure."

" I wouldn t hev thought it of thee ! Does
ta remember all t wrongs he did thy father?
I m not on t side of Amos Braithwaite mostly,
but I do think it is a shame o thee to tak t


daughter of his life-long enemy for thy wife ;
I do that! Why, he ll niver forgive

" I stood by my father while he stood by me.
Now he never so much as asks if I be living or
dead. He can hardly expect me to give up
Edith in order to carry on his spite against a
dead man. I d be a fool if I did."

" I never said thou wert a wise man, but I
don t think a fool is iver a big fool until he gets
himsen married. Thou hasn t made ^"50 in a
twelvemonths. How is ta going to keep a rich,
fashionable lass like Edith Bradley ? "

" Miss Bradley has ^6,000 a year, beside the
income from Bradley Manor. That is some

" Happen it is and happen it isn t. But if ta
wants to marry ,6,000, do it, my lad. I don t
think thou wilt be any too good for such a job
if ta tak s to it, Joe."

Nothing Joe could say reconciled Martha
Thrale to the marriage. Good lasses come
from good stock," she said angrily ; " and I
think little o Luke Bradley."

" I never heard any one but father say any
thing wrong of Luke Bradley. He was a very


good churchman, and his hands all spoke well
of him."

" Thy father had his own opinions of Bradley,
and if ta was a good son thou would surely stand I
by thy own family."

" Right or wrong ? "

" Right or wrong, for sure ! But I mak
no doubt thou would go against me also, if there
was .6,000 a year for that job too. When is ta
going to be wed ? "

" In a month."

" My word ! Thou is in a hurry. I sud
think thou might give thy father a chance to;
say a word about bringing t Bradleys into his
family. It isn t fair, Joe; it isn t a bit fair of

Such conversations were very common during
the hurried interval, though, as the wedding
day drew near, Martha grew more and more
taciturn. She wanted Amos to know the step
his son was contemplating, and yet she could
not make up her mind to be the informant.
The news, however, reached Amos in a still
more direct way.

It happened that Joshua Perkins had the
management of the Bradley estate, and a few


days before the proposed marriage was to be
celebrated, Joe and Edith rode over to his
office together in order to sign some papers.
The business was pleasantly transacted, and
the lovers were cantering up the street to
gether, when Amos Braithwaite s gig stopped
at the lawyer s door.

Perkins stood just within it, shading his eyes
with his hands, and watching the happy, hand-
some couple. When Amos was at his side, he
pointed them out to him. The trop-a-trop,
trop-a-trop of the horses feet was flung back in
resonant echoes, anfl Perkins, with a soft,
unctuous laugh, said, " Dost ta see that bay
gelding thy Joe is riding? It s worth four
hundred guineas if it s worth a halfpenny ; and
it can do "proputty! prop-ut-ty ! prop-ut-ty ! "
quite as well as that farmer s nag some o them
great poets made a song about."

" Whativer is ta talking about ? "

"That is Joe Braithwaite."

" I don t need thee to tell me that, I sud

" Does ta know t lass he is with ? "

" Not I. I d be middling busy if I tried to
keep up wi Joe s sweethearts."


" Ay ; but thou wilt hev to know this one.
Why, it s Luke Bradley s daughter, and thy
Joe and her are bound to mak a wedding of

" Joshua Perkins, be quiet, will ta ! Our Joe
and Bradley s lass ! Thou doesn t know what
ta is saying !"

" I know varry well what I m saying, and
thou wilt find it come out so whether ta be
lieves me or not."

" Thou caps me ! It s a bit o news I can t
tak into my head at all."

" Well, I don t blame thee. Thou may well
hev a wondering spell. But it is true as Gos
pel. I hev drawn out t settlements, and they
hev just signed em. My word ! but she is a
clever lass! She ll keep what s her awn on t*
safe side."

" Joe wer allays going up and down among
t women wi his heart in his hand ! but to
think o Bradley s lass taking it ! Is she worth
much ? "

" Bradley Manor and ^"6,000 a year. And
she is varry handsome, and sharp as a steel-

" Say no more, Perkins. Joe will be knock.


ing his head against t stars soon ; he ll be that
set up. Lookee, Perkins," and Amos drew a
long bill from his pocket-book and pointed out
certain items against which he had put a pencil-

" What does ta mean by charging me i this
way ? I ll niver pay it niver ! "

" Business, Braithwaite, business."

" Cheat ry, thou means. If this is business,
thou sud hev taken out a license to steal. I
want to start an action against John Deaconson
for me lling wi 1 my beck, but thou s all not
touch a paper till this bill is settled. Now
then, what is ta going to do about it?"

"The charges are quite reg lar."

" I m reg lar too in t courts ; and I m almost
as good a lawyer as thysen."

Perkins laughed, and then ran his pen
through the objectionable items as he said :
" One bear does not bite another bear, Braith
waite, and it wouldn t pay me to eat thee up."

" I sud think it wouldn t. There s outsiders
for thee to whet thy teeth on. See here now."
Then he laid before the lawyer his complaint
and his instructions, and in their consideration
he seemed to have entirely forgotten the news


about his son. But he had not. As he rode
back to Bevin Mill he thought of nothing* else,
and he looked at the affair in a way that would
probably never have suggested itself to any one
but Amos Braithwaite.

He had begun his manufacturing life as a
hand in Bradley s mill, and in the subsequent
years all the relations between the men had
been of the most exasperating kind. But Amos
regarded his son s marriage with Bradley s
daughter and heiress as a kind of providential
retribution in his favor, and he was in a
triumphant state as he muttered to himself,
" How t owd turkey-cock used to snub me \
How he used to gobble round and set me in
Cold-shoulder Lane as often as iver he could !
And only to think o Luke Bradley tueing and
scrimping himsen and saving a his brass for
my Joe! It caps me all to bits!" and he
flecked his whip so emphatically that the horse
really imagined him in a hurry, and went at a
pace through Bevin village that would have
astonished Amos himself had he been conscious
of it.

But in that hour some very unusual thoughts
had possession of his mind. Unknowingly,


almost defiantly, Joe Braithwaite had done a
thing which seemed to Joe s father a particu
lar providence for the settlement of his claims
against the dead- and -gone Luke Bradley.
Amos could believe in a special providence
when it undertook the righting of his peculiar
personal grievances, and he kept ejaculating in
the excitement of his satisfaction, " It s fair
wonderful ! It s a clear providence ! It s what
I niver could hev expected ! And I hev no
doubt at all that t proud, miserly owd fellow
knows all about it. My word ! If he does, my
Joe will be plaguing him far worse thon even t
devil himsen can manage it ! He will that !"



There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
Tis in ourselves that we are thus, or thus,
Love is love to the end of the reckoning.

whole affair was such a wonder to
X Amos that he could not eat his dinner.
" I am more than satisfied. I m heart-full," he
said, as he pushed the platter and plate aside.
" A bit o tobacco is all as iver I need to-night;
my own thoughts are a good meal, and plenty
o it. Joe has given me my dinner, and a right
good one it is! T lad is no fool, why, of course
he isn t. He s my son. It ud be a varry
strange thing if he didn t know what side his
bread was t best buttered on."

Then it occurred to him that he might go
into Bradford and buy the handsomest bit of
silverware or jewelry he could put his hands
on. He had never said he wouldn t give Joe s


wife a present, and he could send it without a
name, and so avoid the bother of thanks, which
might lead to an interview, and far more con
cession than he had any intention of making at
this time, even under circumstances so agree
able to him.

He lay awake a long time that night, picking
and choosing among Joshua Wilson s fine
silverware and brooches and bracelets. And
as men wake and muse in the dark midnight,
they are either better or worse than their usual
selves. Amos was better. He remembered
Joe s pleasant ways and bright presence and
handsome face. Vague, longing plans for
bringing back his banished son flitted through
his mind. He was quite resolved to send
Edith a silver tea service, and as handsome a
bracelet as he could put his fingers on. And
feeling all the glow of his kind intention, he
fell happily asleep.

But while he slept some evil angel whispered
doubtful and irritating suspicions into his ear.
He awoke with a sense of injury, and the first
thoughts of his heart were : " Mebbe, now, Joe
is marrying Edith Bradley just because he
knows I hated her father so heartfully. He


thinks it will spite me, happen. Or, I sudn t
wonder if he is aiming to set himsen above me.
He ll hev more brass now to fling away than I
hev, and he ll get among gentry that wouldn t
know Amos Braithwaite, no, not if they passed
him fifty times a day. I hevn t any objection,
I m sure only, come to think o it, I d be more
than a fool to waste my money on owd Bradley s
lass. I won t do it ! Folks hev a lot o soft
thoughts in t night time, to be sure. It s a
blessing that a bit o common sense comes back
wi t sun up."

His experiences of life had led Amos always
to attribute the lowest motives to the human
heart ; and so he let these baser second thoughts
rule him. Yet he was morose and unhappy
under their sway, and his hands, with the intui
tive penetration of servants, divined the cause
of his ill-temper, and decided with great satis
faction that " he hadn t been invited to t
wedding, and thet it served him right."

But one morning there came to him a note in
white satin and silver. It was an invitation to
be present at the marriage of Joseph Braith
waite and Edith Bradley, at Bradley Court.
Within this fine missive there was a strip of


ordinary writing paper, and on it Joe had writ
ten four words, " Do come, dear father."

He held the whole in his large, brown, hairy
hand a few minutes, looking steadily at them.
Then, with a smile, in which anger and satisfac
tion were queerly blended, he dropped the gay
festival cards into the fire, and as he watched
them turn to ashes he slowly fingered the strip
of paper that bore his son s entreating mes
sage, " Do come, dear father."

He hesitated about burning it, and to hesi
tate is generally to give up or to give in. After
a few moments had passed, he took out his
pocket-book, and put the bit of paper into a
compartment intended for postage stamps, but
which he never used for that purpose. And
while doing so tne question of a wedding-
present again crossed his mind. But this time
it came when every thing was adverse for its
realization. He had just been buying largely,
and needed all his ready cash, and, besides, it
.suddenly struck him that silver or jewelry was
just so much cash buried in a casket or drawer
and not paying a penny of interest.

" A bit of good chinaware is all I hev, and
all I want in my house, and I niver owned


aught in t way o* jewelry but a silver watch
mysen," he muttered; and Amos was not the
man to think the requirements of any other
person greater than his own. Thus, every kindly
thought perished in suspicion and avarice.

It would have made Joe happy if he had
known of their existence, transient as it was.
He watched anxiously for some answer to his
request, and he was hurt and disappointed
when none came. All the more so, because
Martha Thrale had also positively refused to
be present at the marriage. She had taken a
great dislike to Miss Bradley at their first in
terview. She fancied that the young lady
tried to patronize her, a mode of treatment
which highly offended the independent York
shire woman.

" She wanted naught that Edith Bradley
hed ; she was welcome to her fine house, and
her grand friends, ay, and her handsome hus
band, too. She hedn t a word to say either
for t wedding, or against it. It was none of
her affairs," etc. Yet to her favorite Wesleyan
preacher she admitted that " Miss Bradley
was that kind o young woman as allays set
her teeth on edge."


" Her tenants speak well of her, Miss Thrale,"
he rejoined, " and it is our duty to hope for
the best."

" To be sure, sir. I hev heard that she is
sweet as May flowers to them as she can order
and hector! Niver mind ! It won t be very
long before Joe Braithwaite will get to see
into his folly a bit."

" She is lady of the Manor, you know, Miss
Thrale, and it is her duty to take some author
ity upon her. She ought to reprove the idle
and the slovenly, and see that those under her
do their duty."

" She does it varry well, and varry often, if
all reports be true. And, if she is anything
like her father, she ll tak t sharp edge off Joe
Braithwaite quick enough, if she thinks he s
getting a bit too for ard or independent. I
hope she will. I m not sorry for Joe, but I
am for Joe s father. I don t set much store by
Amos Braithwaite, but I know this wedding
will be vinegar and gall to him. Joe hed a
right to think of his father, and it s hard on
me too, it is that ! I ve done iverything for
Joe, and then he marries such a lass as I can
not abide to go to t wedding. And me that


fond of going to weddings, and allays full o*
good wishes for young things beginning life

" It is a little hard, Miss Thrale, but per
haps you may yet make up your mind to go."

" Me go ! Why ! I ve said I wouldn t go. I
am none o them women who say no, and then

But though Martha stayed at home to please
her own kind of pride, she deeply regretted
not having seen all the fine dresses and wed
ding presents, and not having been present
at a feast which included among its guests a
bishop, a baronet, and a member of Parliament.
There was a full report of all the grand doings
in the local paper, and Martha Thrale read
every word of it with the greatest interest and
the most minute attention.

Amos also read it ; and he had his own
opinion of the proceedings, and of their prob
able results.

" A bishop and two parsons ! " he said, sar
castically. " I wer married by t Methody
preacher in Baildon Chapel, and I found out
as t* job wer varry well done."

He had noticed Joshua Perkins s name among


the Ifst of guests, and he waited anxiously fof
him to call and say something about the cere
mony. But Perkins did not even pass Bevin

" He thinks if I have to go and see him I ll
bring a bit o business wi me, as an excuse
for he sells ivery word he speaks, does Joshua,
or tries to but I ll do nowt o t sort. It
would be such a wedding as niver was if t
news of it was worth paying for."

So he went to see Perkins, and made no ex
cuse for the visit. " I heard thou was at Joe s
wedding," he said, without any preliminary.
" Well, then, what kind of a time did ta hev
there ? "

" It was a varry grand affair, Mr. Braith-

" What is ta mistering me for ? Thou
knaws my name well enough, and thou hes
call d me by it a few times, I think."

" I was thinking of thee as connected with t
young couple of Bradley Manor, I suppose, so
a little formality would come natural."

" Think o me by mysen, will ta ? I m not a
mite better for t connection, and I don t think


mysen any better for it. Why sud I ? So there
was great stirrings, I hear ? "

" The best people in the county were there."

" To be sure, and I hope t best people did
something to show what they were."

" If ta means in t way c presents, Amos, I
think they did, ay, I think they did. Varry
handsome indeed ! I heard the silver alone
was worth ^"2,000. I m astonished thou didn t
send a bit o plate o some sort."

"Thou would hev been far more astonished
if I had sent a bit of any sort at all. They ll
be going to live at Bradley Court, I reckon ? *

" Eventually."

" Eventually ! Now whativer does ta mean ? "

" I mean that they are gone abroad for some

" Gone abroad ! Gone abroad ! What non
sense ! Where hev they gone to? "

" To Paris first, and then to Rome."

" Well, that caps all I ever heard of. Paris
and Rome ! Joe ought to be shamed o him-
sen. He knows what I think o such carryings
on. I sud hev thought London and Edin
burgh might hev been good enough for em."

" Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of


Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel ? *
quoted Perkins, for the moment quite well
pleased with his own adaptation. But Amos
did not understand the allusion, and he an
swered with some asperity, " What ista saying ?
Them sound varry like Bible words."

" They are Bible words."

"Then what is ta using em here for? Thy
office isn t a fit place to be talking of t Bible
in, I sud think. When is Joe coming back to
England ? "

" Now then, Amos, I am not thy catechism ;
and I m partic lar busy this morning. There is
going to be a big fight between John Henry
\Vade and Timothy Crawley about t right and
t wrong of their spinning-jenny patent ; and
I hev to tak a hand in it."

" Hes ta ? Then I m sorry for t man, who-
iver he is, as thou art going to mak out to be
t varry biggest blackguard in a England."

The compliment was fully appreciated by
Perkins; and it put him in a good humor.
He rose and laid his hand upon Amos in a
very friendly way. " Listen to me a bit," he
said. " Don t ee worry thysen about Joe
Braithwaite. He s done a grand thing in wed-


ding Edith Bradley. Why, a tell thee, Amos,
he may be i Parliament at t next general
election. I ll back him for it. Thou ought to
be proud o such a lad. He does thy bringing
up a deal o credit. And thou ought to hev
been at his wedding, and sent him off wi a
thousand pounds in his pocket. I wish ta hed."

" I dare say ta does, seeing thou wouldn t
hev been any loser by it. Good morning to

" Good morning, Amos. Thou may tak
things middling comfortable about Joe now;
my word for it."

" Don t thee charge me for thy word ; mind
that. I didn t come here to ask thee for it.
I ll not pay owt for it."

In the main, Joe was at this time quite of
the same opinion as Perkins, with regard to his
marriage. True, there had been several slight
disagreements before the ceremony with regard
to its arrangements. Perhaps, with reason,
Joe had felt Edith to have been more positive
than he liked ; but then a woman may surely
be positive about a circumstance so directly
and distinctly personal. Still she had failed
him on a point equally important to his own


feelings. For he had wished her to write to
his father and aunt, and try to conciliate them
a little ; and her firm refusal to do so had pained

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrMaster of his fate → online text (page 4 of 13)