Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The bow of orange ribbon; a romance of New York online

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daughter of Israel is the beloved of all the daughters-
of God. A blessing to my house she will bring."


" That is not what the world says, Bram. No, my
son. It is thus, and like it : that God is angry with
his people, and for that he has scattered them
through all the nations of the earth."

"Such folly is that! To colonize, to ' take posses-
sion ' of the whole earth, is what the men of Israel
have always intended. Long before the Christ was
born in Bethlehem, the Jews were scattered through-
out every known country. I will say that to the
dominie. It is the truth, and he cannot deny it."

"But surely God is angry with them."

" I see it not. If once he was angry, long ago he
has forgiven his people. ' To the third and fourth
generation ' only is his anger. His own limit that
is. Who have such blessings ? The gold and the
wine and the fruit of all lands are theirs. Their in-
crease comes when all others' fail. God is not angry
-with them. The light of his smile is on the face of
Miriam. He teaches her father how to traffic and to
prosper. Do not the Holy Scriptures say that the
blessing, not the anger, of the Lord maketh rich ? "

"Well, then, my son, all this is little to the pur-
pose, if she will not have thee for her husband. But
be not easy to lose thy heart. Try once more."

" Useless it would be. Miriam is not one of those
who say * no ' and then ' yes.' "

" Nearly two years you have known her. That
was long to keep you in hope,and doubt. I think
she is a coquette."

" You know her not, mother. Very few words of
love have I dared to say. We have been friends. I
was happy U> stand in the store and talk to Cohen,
and watch her. A glance from her eyes, a pleasant
word, was enough. I feared to lose all by asking too

"Then, why did you ask her to-night? It would
have been better had your father spoken first to Mr.

" I did not ask Miriam to-night. She spared me
all she could. She was in the store as I passed, and
I went in. This is what she said to me, 'Bram,
dear Bram, I fear that you begin to love me, be-


cause I think of you very often. And my grand-
father has just told me that I am promised to Judah
Belasco of London. In the summer he will come
here, and I shall marry him.' I wish, mother, you
could have seen her leaning against the black kas;
for between it and her black dress, her face was
white as death, and beautiful and pitiful as an an-

" What said you then ? "

" Oh, I scarce know! But I told her how dearly I
loved her, and I asked her to be my wife."

" And she said what to thee ? "

" ' My father I must obey. Though he told me to
slay myself, I must obey him. By the God of Israel,
I have promised it often.' "

" Was that all, Bram ? "

" I asked her again and again, I said, 'Only in
this one thing, Miriam, and all our lives after it we
will give to him.' But she answered, ' Obedience is
better than sacrifice, Bram. That is what our law
teaches. Though I could give my father the wealth
and the power of King Solomon, it would be worth
less than my obedience.' And for all my pleading,
at the last it was the same, ' I cannot do wrong; for
many right deeds will not undo one wrong one. 1 So
she gave me her hands, and I kissed them, my
first and last kiss, and I bade her farewell; for my
hope is over, I know that."

"She is a good girl. I wish that you had won
her, Bram." And Lysbet put down her work and
went to her son's side; and \vith a great sob Bram
laid his head against her breast.

" As one whom his mother comforteth! " Oh, ten-
der and wonderful consolation! It is the mother
that turns the bitter waters of life into wine. Bram
talked his sorrow over to his mother's love and
pity and sympathy; and when she parted with him,
long after the midnight, she said cheerfully, " Thou
hast a brave soul, mljn zoon, mijn Bram; and this
trouble is not all for thy loss and grief. A sweet
memory will this beautiful Miriam be as long as
thou livest; and to have loved well a good woman,
will make thee always a better man for it."




"The town's a golden, but a fatal, circle,
Upon whose magic skirts a thousand devils,
In crystal forms, sit tempting Innocence,
And beckoning Virtue from its centre."


"Where Vice not only has usurped the place,
But the reward, and even the name, of Virtue."

THE trusting, generous letter which Joris had
written to his son-in-law arrived a few days before
Hyde's departure for London. With every decent
show of pleasure and gratitude, he said, " It is an
unexpected piece of good fortune, Katherine. and
the interest of five thousand pounds will keep Hyde
Manor up in a fine style. As for the principal, we
will leave it at Secor's until it can be invested in
land. What say you ? "

Katherine was quite satisfied ; for, though natur-
ally careful of all put under her own hands, she was
at heart very far from being either selfish or merce-
nary. In fact, the silver cup was at that hour of
more real interest to her. It would be a part of her
old home in her new home. It was connected with
her life memories, and it made a portion of her
future hopes and dreams. There was also some-
thing more tangible about it than about the bit of
paper certifying to five thousand pounds in her
name at Secor's Bank.

But Hyde knew well the importance of Catherine's
fortune. It enabled him to face his relatives and
friends on a very much better footing than he had
anticipated. He was quite aware, too, that the
simple fact was all that society needed. He expected
to hear in a few days that the five thousand pounds
had become fifty thousand pounds ; for he knew that
rumor, when on the boast, would magnify any kind
of gossip, favorable or unfavorable. So he was no
longer averse to meeting his former companions:
even to them, a rich wife would excuse matrimony.


And, besides, Hyde was one of those men who re-
gard money in the bank as a kind of good con-
science : he really felt morally five thousand pounds
the better. Full of hope and happiness, he would
have gone at a pace to suit his mood ; but English
roads at that date were left very much to nature and
to weather, and the Norfolk clay in springtime was
so deep and heavy that it was not until the third
day after leaving that he was able to report for

His first social visit was paid to his maternal
grandmother, the dowager Lady Capel. She was
not a nice old woman ; in fact, she was a very spite-
ful, ill-hearted, ill-tempered old woman, and Hyde
had always had a certain fear of her. When he
lauded in London with his wife, Lady Capel had
fortunately been at Bath; and he had then escaped
the duty of presenting Katherine to her. But she
was now at her mansion in Berkeley Square, and
her claims upon his attention could not be post-
poned ; and, as she had neither eyes nor ears in the
evenings for any thing but loo or whist, Hyde knew
that a conciliatory visit would have to be made in
the early part of the day.

He found her in the most careless dishabille, wig-
less and unpainted, and rolled up comfortably in an
old wadded morning-gown that had seen years of
snuffy service. But she had outlived her vanity.
Hyde had chosen the very hour in which she had
nothing whatever to amuse her, and he was a very
welcome interruption. And, upon the whole, she
liked her grandson. She had paid his gambling-
debts twice, she had taken the greatest interest in
his various duels, and sided passionately with him
in one abortive love-affair.

" Dick is no milksop," she would say approvingly,
when told of any of his escapades; "faith, he has
my spirit exactly ! I have a great deal more temper
than any one would believe me capable of," which
was not the truth, for there were few people who
really knew her ladyship who ever felt inclined to
doubt her capabilities in that direction.


So she heard the rattle of Hyde's sword, and the
clatter of his feet on the polished stairs, with a good
deal of satisfaction. " I have him here, and I shall
do my best to keep him here," she thought. " Why
should a proper young fellow like Dick bury himself
alive in the fens for a Dutchwoman ? In short, she
has had enough, and too much, of him. His grand-
mother has a prior claim, I hope, and then Arabella
Suffolk will help me. I foresee mischief and amuse-
ment. Well, Dick, you rascal, so you have had to
leave America! I expected it. Oh, sir, I have
heard all about you from Adelaide ! You are not to
be trusted, either among men or women. And pray
where is the wife you made such a fracas about. Is
she in London with you ? "

" No, madam : she preferred to remain at Hyde,
and I have no happiness beyond her desire."

" Here's flame ! Here's constancy ! And you have
been married a whole year! I am struck with

"A whole year, a year of divine happiness, I
assure you."

" Lord, sir! You will be the laughing-stock of the
town if you talk in such fashion. They will have
you in the play-houses. Pray let us forget our
domestic joys a little. I hear, however, that your
divinity is rich."

"She is not poor; though if

"Though if she had been a beggar-girl you would
have married her, rags and all. Swear to that, Dick,
especially when she brings you fifty thousand
pounds. I'm very much obliged to her: you can
hardly, for shame, put your fingers in my poor purse
now, sir. And you can make a good figure in the
world ; and as your cousin Arabella Suffolk is stay-
ing with me, you will be the properest gallant for her
when Sir Thomas is at the House."

"I am at yours and cousin Arabella's service,

"Exactly so, captain; only no more quarreling
and fighting. Learn your catechism, or Dr. Watts,
or somebody. Remember that we have now a bishop


in the family. And I am getting old, and want to be
at peace with the whole world, if you will let me."

Hyde laughed merrily. "Why, grandmother,
such advice from you ! I don't trust it. There never
was a more perfect hater than yourself."

" I know, Dick. I used to say, ' Lord, this person
is so bad, and that person is so bad, I hate them! '
But at last I found out that every one was bad : so I
hate nobody. One cannot take a sword and run the
whole town through. I have seen some very relig-
ious people lately; and you will find me very
serious, and much improved. Come and go as you

E lease, Dick: Arabella and you can be perfectly
appy, I dare say, without minding me."

" What is the town doing now ? "

"Oh, balls and dances and weddings and other
follies! Thank the moon, men and women never
get weary of these things ! "

" Then you have not ceased to enjoy them, I hope."

" I still take my share. Old fools will hobble after
young ones. I ride a little, and visit a little, and
have small societies quite to my taste. And I have
my four kings and aces ; that is saying every thing.
I want you to go to all the diversions, Dick; and
pray tell me what they say of me behind my back.
I like to know how much I annoy people."

"I shall not listen to any thing unflattering, I
assure you."

" La, Dick, you can't fight a rout of women and
men about your grandmother! I don't want you to
fight, not even if they talk about Arabella and you.
It is none of their business ; and, as for Sir Thomas
Suffolk, he hears nothing outside the House, and he
thinks every Whig in England is watching him, a
pompous old fool! "

"Oh, indeed! I had an idea that he was a very
merry fellow."

" Merry, forsooth ! He was never known to laugh.
There is a report that he once condescended to
smile, but it was at chess. As for fighting, he
wouldn't fight a dog that bit him. He is too
patriotic to deprive his country of his own abilities.


No, Dick : I really do not see any quarrel ahead,
unle.^ you make it."

" I shall think of my Kate when I am passionate,
and so keep the peace."

" ' I shall think of my Kate.' Grant me patience
with all young husbands. They ought to remain in
seclusion until the wedding-fever is over. By the
Lord Harry! If Jack Capel had spoken of me in
such fashion, I would have given him the best of
reasons for running some pretty fellow through the
heart. Hush! Here comes Arabella, and I am
anxious you should make a figure in her eyes."

Arabella came in very quietly, but she seemed to
take possession of the room as she entered it. She
had a bright, piquant face, a tall, graceful form, and
that air of high fashion which is perhaps quite as

She was " delighted to meet cousin Dick. Oh,
indeed, you have been the town talk!" she said,
with an air of attention very flattering. "Such a
passionate encounter was never heard of. The clubs
were engaged with it for a week. I was told that
Lord Paget and Sir Henry Dutton came near fight-
ing it over themselves. Was it really about a bow
of orange ribbon ? And did you wear it over your
heart? And did the Scotchman cut it off with his
sword ? And did you run him through the next
moment! There were the most extraordinary
accounts of the affair, and of the little girl with the
unpronounceable Dutch name who "

" Who is now my wife, Lady Suffolk."
* " Certainly, we heard of that also. How romantic !
The secret marriage, the midnight elopement, and
the man-of-war waiting down the river with a
broadside ready for any boat that attempted to stop

"Oh, my lady, that is the completest nonsense! "

"Say 'cousin Arabella,' if you please. Has not
grandmother told you that I, not the Dutch girl,
ought to have been your wife ? It was all arranged
years ago, sir. You have disappointed grandmother ;
as for me, I have consoled myself with Sir Thomas."


"Yes, indeed," said Lady Capel; "though Dick
was entirely out of the secret of the match, my son
Will and I had agreed upon it. I don't know what
Will thinks of a younger son like Dick choosing
for himself."

Then Arabella made Hyde a pretty, mocking cour-
tesy, and he could not help looking with some inter-
est at the woman who might have been his wife.
The best of men, and the best of husbands, are
liable to speculate a little, under such circum-
stances, and in fancy to put themselves into a posi-
tion they have probably no wish in reality to fill. -
She noticed his air of consideration ; and, with a toss
of her handsome head, she spread out all her finery.
"You see," she said, "I am dressed so as to make
a tearing show." She wore a white poudesoy gown,
embroidered with gold, and the prettiest high-heeled
satin slippers, and a head-dress of wonderful work-
manship. " For I have been at a concert of music,
cousin Dick, and heard two overtures of Mr. Han-
del's, and a sonata by Corella, done by the very best

"And, pray, whom did you see there, my dear?
and what were they talking about ? "

" Of all people, grandmother, I saw Lady Susan
Eye and the rest of her sort; and they talked of
nothing but the coming mask at Kanelagh's. Cousin,
I bespeak you for my service. I am going as a
gypsy, for it will give me the opportunity of telling
the truth. In my own character, I rarely do it:
nothing is so impolite. But I have a prodigious
regard for truth ; and at a mask I give myself the
pleasure of saying all the disagreeable things that I
owe to my acquaintances."

Katherine was almost ignored ; and Hyde did not
feel any desire to bring even her name into such a
mocking, jeering, perfectly heartless conversation.
He was content to laugh, and let the hour go past in
such flim-flams of criticism and persiflage. He re-
membered when he had been one of the units in such
a life, and he wondered if it were possible that he
could ever drift back into it. For even as he sat


there, with the memory of his wife and child in his
heart, he felt the light charm of Lady Arabella's
claim upon him, and all the fascination of that gay,
thoughtless animal life, which appeals so strongly
to the selfish instincts and appetites of youth.

He had a plate of roast hare and a goblet of wine,
and the ladies had chocolate and rout cakes ; and he
ate and drank, and laughed, and enjoyed their

bright, ill-natured pleasantly, as men enjoy such
piquant morsels. Thus a couple of hours passed ;
and then it became evident, from the pawing and
snorting outside, that Mephisto's patience was quite
exhausted. Hyde went to the window, and looked
into the square. His orderly was vainly endeavor-
ing to soothe the restless animal; and he said,
"Mephisto will take no excuse, cousin, and I find
myself obliged to leave you." But he went away in
an excitement of hope and gay anticipations ; and,
with a sharp rebuke to the unruly animal, he vaulted
into the saddle with soldierly grace and rapidity.
A momentary glance upward showed him Lady
Capel and Lady Suffolk at the window, watching
him ; the withered old woman in her soiled wrap-
pings, the youthful beauty in all the braver} 7 of her
white and gold poudesoy. In spite of Mephisto's
opposition, he made them a salute; and then, in a
clamor of clattering hoofs, he dashed through the

"That is the man you ought to have married, Ara-
bella," said Lady Capel, as she watched the young
face at her side, which had suddenly become pensive
and dreamy : " you would have been a couple for
the world to look at.!'

"Oh, indeed, you are mistaken, grandmother!
Sir Thomas is an admirable husband, blind and
deaf to all I do, as a good husband ought to be.
And as for Dick, look at him, bowing and smiling,
and ready to dp me any service, while the girl he
nearly died for is quite forgotten."

"Upon my word, you wrong Dick. His love for
that woman is beyond every thing. I wish it wasn't.
What right had she to come into our family, and


spoil plans and projects made before she was born.
I should dearly love, to play her her own card back.
And I must say, Arabella, that you seem to care
very little about your own wrongs."

"Oh, I am by no means certified that the woman
has wronged me! I don't think I should have
loved Dick, in any case."

"Ha!" Lady Capel looked in her grand-daugh-
ter's musing face, and then, with a chuckle, hob-
bled to the bell and rang for her maid. "You are
very prudent, child, but I am not one that any
woman can deceive. I know all the tricks of the
sex. Oh, heavens! what a grand thing to be two
and twenty, with a kind husband to manage, and
lovers bowing and begging at your shoe-ties ! Well,
well, I had my day ; and, thank the fools, I did some
mischief in it! Yes, there were eight duels fought
for me; and, while Somers and Scrope were wetting
their swords in the quarrel, I w r as dancing with Jack
Capel. Jack told me that night he would make me
marry him ; and, when I slapped his cheek with my
fan, he took my hands in a rage, and swore I should
do it that hour. And, faith, he mastered me ! Your
grandfather Capel had a dreadful temper, Arabella."

" I have heard that Cousin Dick Hyde has a tem-
per too."

" Dick is vain ; and you can make a vain man
stand on his head, or go down on his knees, if you
only vow that he performs the antics better than
any other human creature. The town will fling
itself at Dick Hyde's feet, and Dick will fling him-
self at yours. Mind what I say: my prophecies
always come true, Arabella, for I never expect sin-
ners to be saints, my dear."

And during the next six months Lady Capel found
plenty of opportunities for complimenting herself
upon her own penetration. Society made an idol of
Capt. Hyde; and, if he was not at Lady Arabella's
feet, he was certainly very constantly at her side.
As to his marriage, it was a topic of constant doubt
and dispute. The clubs betted on the subject. In
the ball-rooms and the concert-rooms, the ladies


positively denied it; and Lady Arabella's smile and
shrug were of all opinions the most unsatisfactory
and bewildering. Some, indeed, admitted the mar-
riage, but averred, with a meaning emphasis, that
madam was on the proper side of the Atlantic.
Others were certain that Hyde had brought his wife
to England, but felt himself obliged, on account of
her great beauty, to keep her away from the con-
queriug heroes of London society. It was a signifi-
cant index to Hyde's real character, that not one of
his associates ever dared to be familiar enough to
ask him for the truth on a question so delicately

"Hyde is exactly the man to invite me to meet
him in Marylebone Fields for the answer," said a
young officer, who had been urged to make inquiries
because he was on familiar terms with his comrade.
"If it comes to a matter of catechism, gentlemen,
I'll bet ten to one that none of you ask him two con-
secutive questions regarding the American lady."

And perhaps many husbands may be able to un-
derstand a fact, which to the general world seems
beyond satisfactory explanation. Hyde loved his
wife, loved her tenderly and constantly; he felt him-
self to be a better man whenever he thought of her
and his little son, and he thought of them very fre-
quently; and yet his eyes, his actions, the tones of
his voice, daily led his cousin. Lady Suffolk, to im-
agine herself the empress of his heart and life. Xor
was it to her alone that he permitted this affectation
of love. He found beauty, wherever he met it, pro-
vocative of the same apparent devotion. There were
a dozen men in his own circle who hated him with
all the sincerity that jealousy gives to dislike and
envy ; there were a score of women who believed
themselves to have private tokens of Hyde's special
admiration for them.

Unfortunately, his military duties were only on
very rare occasions any restraint to him. His days
were mainly spent in dangling after Lady Suffolk and
other fair dames. It was auctions at Christie's, and
morning concerts, and afternoon rides and plays,


and dinners and balls and masks at Banelagh's. It
was sails down the river to Bichmond, and trips to
Sadler's Wells, and one perpetual round of flirting
and folly, of dressing and dancing and dining and

And it must be remembered that the English wo-
men of that day were such as England may well
hope never to see again. They had little education:
many very great ladies could hardly read and spell
properly. Their sole accomplishments were dress-
ing and embroidery; the ability to make a few deli-
cate dishes for the table, and scents and pomade for
the toilet. In the higher classes they married for
money or position, and gave themselves up^to in-
trigue. They drank deeply ; they played high ; they
very seldom went to church, for Sunday was the
fashionable day for all kinds of frivolity and amuse-
ment. And as the men of any generation are just
what the women make them, England never had
sons so profligate, so profane and drunken. The
clubs, especially Brooke's, were the nightly scenes
of indescribable orgies. Gambling was their serious
occupation ; duels were of constant occurrence.

Such a life could not be lived except at frightful
and generally ruinous expense. Hyde was soon em-
barrassed. His pay was small and uncertain ; and
the allowance which his brother William added
to it, in order that the heir-apparent to the earldom
might live in becoming style, had not been calcu-
lated on the squandering basis of Hyde's expendi-
tures. Toward Christmas bills began to pour in,
creditors became importunate, and, for the first time
in his life, creditors really troubled him. Lady
Capel was not likely to pay his debts any more. The
earl, in settling Hyde's American obligations, had
warned him against incurring others, and had
frankly told him he would permit him to go to jail
rather than pay such wicked and foolish bills for him
again. The income from Hyde Manor had never
been more than was required for the expenses of the
place ; and the interest on Katherine's money had
gone, though he could not tell how. He was desti-


tute of ready cash, and he foresaw that he would have
to borrow some from Lady Capel or some other ac-
commodating friend.

He returned to barracks one Sunday afternoon,
and was moodily thinking over these things, when
his orderly brought him a letter which had ar-
rived during his absence. It was from Katherine.
His face flushed with delight as he read it, so sweet

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe bow of orange ribbon; a romance of New York → online text (page 15 of 20)