Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The Man Between, an International Romance online

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steamer if you wish it."

"I am delighted, father. I long to see England; more than all, I long to
see Rawdon. I did not know until this moment how much I loved it."

"Well, then, I will have all ready for us to sail next Saturday. Say
nothing about it to Mostyn. He will call to-morrow morning to bid you
good-by before leaving for Newport with McLean. Try and be out."

"I shall certainly be out," said Ethel. "I do not wish ever to see his
face again, and I must see grandmother and tell her what we are going to

"I dare say she guesses already. She advised me to ask you about the
mortgage. She knew what you would say."

"Father, who are the Tyrrel-Rawdons?"

Then the Judge told the story of the young Tyrrel-Rawdon, who a century
ago had lost his world for Love, and Ethel said "she liked him better
than any Rawdon she had ever heard of."

"Except your father, Ethel."

"Except my father; my dear, good father. And I am glad that Love did not
always make them poor. They must now be rich, if they want to buy the

"They are rich manufacturers. Mostyn is much annoyed that the Squire
has begun to notice them. He says one of the grandsons of the
Tyrrel-Rawdons, disinherited for love's sake, came to America some time
in the forties. I asked your grandmother if this story was true. She
said it is quite true; that my father was his friend in the matter,
and that it was his reports about America which made them decide to try
their fortune in New York."

"Does she know what became of him?"

"No. In his last letter to them he said he had just joined a party
going to the gold fields of California. That was in 1850. He never
wrote again. It is likely he perished on the terrible journey across the
plains. Many thousands did."

"When I am in England I intend to call upon these Tyrrel-Rawdons. I
think I shall like them. My heart goes out to them. I am proud of this
bit of romance in the family."

"Oh, there is plenty of romance behind you, Ethel. When you see the old
Squire standing at the entrance to the Manor House, you may see the hags
of Cressy and Agincourt, of Marston and Worcester behind him. And the
Rawdon women have frequently been daughters of Destiny. Many of them
have lived romances that would be incredible if written down. Oh, Ethel,
dear, we cannot, we cannot for our lives, let the old home fall into the
hands of strangers. At any rate, if on inspection we think it wrong to
interfere, I can at least try and get the children of the disinherited
Tyrrel back to their home. Shall we leave it at this point for the

This decision was agreeable to all, and then the few preparations
necessary for the journey were talked over, and in this happy discussion
the evening passed rapidly. The dream of Ethel's life had been
this visit to the home of her family, and to go as its savior was a
consummation of the pleasure that filled her with loving pride. She
could not sleep for her waking dreams. She made all sorts of resolutions
about the despised Tyrrel-Rawdons. She intended to show the proud,
indolent world of the English land-aristocracy that Americans, just as
well born as themselves, respected business energy and enterprise; and
she had other plans and propositions just as interesting and as full of
youth's impossible enthusiasm.

In the morning she went to talk the subject over with her grandmother.
The old lady received the news with affected indifference. She said,
"It mattered nothing to her who sat in Rawdon's seat; but she would not
hear Mostyn blamed for seeking his right. Money and sentiment are no
kin," she added, "and Fred has no sentiment about Rawdon. Why should he?
Only last summer Rawdon kept him out of Parliament, and made him spend a
lot of money beside. He's right to get even with the family if he can."

"But the old Squire! He is now - - "

"I know; he's older than I am. But Squire Percival has had his day,
and Fred would not do anything out of the way to him - he could not; the
county would make both Mostyn and Rawdon very uncomfortable places to
live in, if he did."

"If you turn a man out of his home when he is eighty years old, I
think that is 'out of the way.' And Mr. Mostyn is not to be trusted. I
wouldn't trust him as far as I could see him."

"Highty-tighty! He has not asked you to trust him. You lost your chance
there, miss."

"Grandmother, I am astonished at you!"

"Well, it was a mean thing to say, Ethel; but I like Fred, and I see the
rest of my family are against him. It's natural for Yorkshire to help
the weakest side. But there, Fred can do his own fighting, I'll warrant.
He's not an ordinary man."

"I'm sorry to say he isn't, grandmother. If he were he would speak
without a drawl, and get rid of his monocle, and not pay such minute
attention to his coats and vests and walking sticks."

Then Ethel proceeded to explain her resolves with regard to the
Tyrrel-Rawdons. "I shall pay them the greatest attention," she said.
"It was a noble thing in young Tyrrel-Rawdon to give up everything for
honorable love, and I think everyone ought to have stood by him."

"That wouldn't have done at all. If Tyrrel had been petted as you think
he ought to have been, every respectable young man and woman in the
county would have married where their fancy led them; and the fancies of
young people mostly lead them to the road it is ruin to take."

"From what Fred Mostyn says, Tyrrel's descendants seem to have taken a
very respectable road."

"I've nothing to say for or against them. It's years and years since I
laid eyes on any of the family. Your grandfather helped one of the young
men to come to America, and I remember his mother getting into a passion
about it. She was a fat woman in a Paisley shawl and a love-bird on her
bonnet. I saw his sister often. She weighed about twelve stone, and had
red hair and red cheeks and bare red elbows. She was called a 'strapping
lass.' That is quite a complimentary term in the West Riding."

"Please, grandmother, I don't want to hear any more. In two weeks
I shall be able to judge for myself. Since then there have been
two generations, and if a member of the present one is fit for
Parliament - - "

"That's nothing. We needn't look for anything specially refined in
Parliament in these days. There's another thing. These Tyrrel-Rawdons
are chapel people. The rector of Rawdon church would not marry Tyrrel to
his low-born love, and so they went to the Methodist preacher, and after
that to the Methodist chapel. That put them down, more than you can
imagine here in America."

"It was a shame! Methodists are most respectable people."

"I'm saying nothing contrary."

"The President is a Methodist."

"I never asked what he was. I am a Church of England woman, you know
that. Born and bred in the Church, baptized, confirmed, and married in
the Church, and I was always taught it was the only proper Church for
gentlemen and gentlewomen to be saved in. However, English Methodists
often go back to the Church when they get rich."

"Church or chapel makes no difference to me, grandmother. If people are
only good."

"To be sure; but you won't be long in England until you'll find out that
some things make a great deal of difference. Do you know your father was
here this morning? He wanted me to go with you - a likely, thing."

"But, grandmother, do come. We will take such good care of you, and - - "

"I know, but I'd rather keep my old memories of Yorkshire than get
new-fashioned ones. All is changed. I can tell that by what Fred
says. My three great friends are dead. They have left children and
grandchildren, of course, but I don't want to make new acquaintances at
my age, unless I have the picking of them. No, I shall get Miss Hillis
to go with me to my little cabin on the Jersey coast. We'll take our
knitting and the fresh novels, and I'll warrant we'll see as much of
the new men and women in them as will more than satisfy us. But you must
write me long letters, and tell me everything about the Squire and the
way he keeps house, and I don't care if you fill up the paper with the

"I will write you often, Granny, and tell you everything."

"I shouldn't wonder if you come across Dora Stanhope, but I wouldn't ask
her to Rawdon. She'll mix some cup of bother if you do."

"I know."

In such loving and intimate conversation the hours sped quickly, and
Ethel could not bear to cut short her visit. It was nearly five when
she left Gramercy Park, but the day being lovely, and the avenue full of
carriages and pedestrians, she took the drive at its enforced tardiness
without disapproval. Almost on entering the avenue from Madison Square
there was a crush, and her carriage came to a standstill. She was then
opposite the store of a famous English saddler, and near her was an open
carriage occupied by a middle-aged gentleman in military uniform. He
appeared to be waiting for someone, and in a moment or two a young man
came out of the saddlery store, and with a pleasant laugh entered the
carriage. It was the Apollo of her dreams, the singer of the Holland
House pavement. She could not doubt it. His face, his figure, his walk,
and the pleasant smile with which he spoke to his companion were all
positive characteristics. She had forgotten none of them. His dress was
altered to suit the season, but that was an improvement; for divested of
his heavy coat, and clothed only in a stylish afternoon suit, his tall,
fine figure showed to great advantage; and Ethel told herself that he
was even handsomer than she had supposed him to be.

Almost as soon as he entered his carriage there was a movement, and
she hoped her driver might advance sufficiently to make recognition
possible, but some feeling, she knew not what, prevented her giving
any order leading to this result. Perhaps she had an instinctive
presentiment that it was best to leave all to Destiny. Toward the upper
part of the avenue the carriage of her eager observation came to a stand
before a warehouse of antique furniture and bric-a-brac, and, as it did
so, a beautiful woman ran down the steps, and Apollo, for so Ethel had
men-tally called him, went hurriedly to meet her. Finally her coachman
passed the party, and there was a momentary recognition. He was bending
forward, listening to something the lady was saying, when the vehicles
almost touched each other. He flashed a glance at them, and met the
flash of Ethel's eyes full of interest and curiosity.

It was over in a moment, but in that moment Ethel saw his astonishment
and delight, and felt her own eager questioning answered. Then she was
joyous and full of hope, for "these two silent meetings are promises,"
she said to Ruth. "I feel sure I shall see him again, and then we shall
speak to each other."

"I hope you are not allowing yourself to feel too much interest in this
man, Ethel; he is very likely married."

"Oh, no! I am sure he is not, Ruth."

"How can you be sure? You know nothing about him."

"I cannot tell HOW I know, nor WHY I know, but I believe what I feel;
and he is as much interested in me as I am in him. I confess that is a
great deal."

"You may never see him again."

"I shall expect to see him next winter, he evidently lives in New York."

"The lady you saw may be his wife. Don't be interested in any man on
unknown ground, Ethel. It is not prudent - it is not right."

"Time will show. He will very likely be looking for me this summer at
Newport and elsewhere. He will be glad to see me when I come home. Don't
worry, Ruth. It is all right."

"Fred called soon after you went out this morning. He left for Newport
this afternoon. He will be at sea now."

"And we shall be there in a few days. When I am at the seaside I always
feel a delicious torpor; yet Nelly Baldwin told me she loved an Atlantic
passage because she had such fun on board. You have crossed several
times, Ruth; is it fun or torpor?"

"All mirth at sea soon fades away, Ethel. Passengers are a very dull
class of people, and they know it; they rebel against it, but every hour
it becomes more natural to be dull. Very soon all mentally accommodate
themselves to being bored, dreamy and dreary. Then, as soon as it is
dark, comes that old mysterious, hungering sound of the sea; and I for
one listen till I can bear it no longer, and so steal away to bed with a
pain in my heart."

"I think I shall like the ocean. There are games, and books, and
company, and dinners, and other things."

"Certainly, and you can think yourself happy, until gradually a
contented cretinism steals over you, body and mind."

"No, no!" said Ethel enthusiastically. "I shall do according to
Swinburne -

"'Have therefore in my heart, and in my mouth,
The sound of song that mingles North and South;
And in my Soul the sense of all the Sea!'"

And Ruth laughed at her dramatic attitude, and answered: "The soul of
all the sea is a contented cretinism, Ethel. But in ten days we may be
in Yorkshire. And then, my dear, you may meet your Prince - some fine
Yorkshire gentleman."

"I have strictly and positively promised myself that my Prince shall be
a fine American gentleman."

"My dear Ethel, it is very seldom

"'the time, and the place,
And the Loved One, come together.'"

"I live in the land of good hope, Ruth, and my hopes will be realized."

"We shall see."


- Song of Solomon, VI. 11.


IT was a lovely afternoon on the last day of May. The sea and all the
toil and travail belonging to it was overpass, and Judge Rawdon, Ruth
and Ethel were driving in lazy, blissful contentment through one of
the lovely roads of the West Riding. On either hand the beautifully
cut hedges were white and sweet, and a caress of scent - the soul of
the hawthorne flower enfolded them. Robins were singing on the topmost
sprays, and the linnet's sweet babbling was heard from the happy nests
in its secret places; while from some unseen steeple the joyful sound
of chiming bells made music between heaven and earth fit for bands of
traveling angels.

They had dined at a wayside inn on jugged hare, roast beef, and
Yorkshire pudding, clotted cream and haver (oaten) bread, and the
careless stillness of physical well-being and of minds at ease needed no
speech, but the mutual smiling nod of intimate sympathy. For the sense
of joy and beauty which makes us eloquent is far inferior to that sense
which makes us silent.

This exquisite pause in life was suddenly ended by an exclamation from
the Judge. They were at the great iron gates of Rawdon Park, and
soon were slowly traversing its woody solitudes. The soft light, the
unspeakable green of the turf, the voice of ancient days murmuring in
the great oak trees, the deer asleep among the ferns, the stillness
of the summer afternoon filling the air with drowsy peace this was the
atmosphere into which they entered. Their road through this grand park
of three hundred acres was a wide, straight avenue shaded with beech
trees. The green turf on either hand was starred with primroses. In the
deep undergrowth, ferns waved and fanned each other, and the scent of
hidden violets saluted as they passed. Drowsily, as if half asleep,
the blackbirds whistled their couplets, and in the thickest hedges the
little brown thrushes sang softly to their brooding mates. For half an
hour they kept this heavenly path, and then a sudden turn brought them
their first sight of the old home.

It was a stately, irregular building of red brick, sandaled and veiled
in ivy. The numerous windows were all latticed, the chimneys in
picturesque stacks, the sloping roof made of flags of sandstone. It
stood in the center of a large garden, at the bottom of which ran a
babbling little river - a cheerful tongue of life in the sweet, silent
place. They crossed it by a pretty bridge, and in a few minutes stood
at the great door of the mansion. It was wide open, and the Squire, with
outstretched hands, rose to meet them. While yet upon the threshold he
kissed both Ethel and Ruth, and, clasping the Judge's hand, gazed at him
with such a piercing, kindly look that the eyes of both men filled with

He led them into the hall, and standing there he seemed almost a part of
it. In his youth he had been a son of Anak, and his great size had been
matched by his great strength. His stature was still large, his face
broad and massive, and an abundance of snow-white hair emphasized the
dignity of a countenance which age had made nobler. The generations of
eight hundred years were crystallized in this benignant old man, looking
with such eager interest into the faces of his strange kindred from a
far-off land.

In the evening they sat together in the old hall talking of the Rawdons.
"There is great family of us, living and dead," said the Squire, "and I
count them all my friends. Bare is the back that has no kin behind it.
That is not our case. Eight hundred years ago there was a Rawdon in
Rawdon, and one has never been wanting since. Saxon, Danish, Norman, and
Stuart kings have been and gone their way, and we remain; and I can tell
you every Rawdon born since the House of Hanover came to England. We
have had our share in all England's strife and glory, for if there was
ever a fight going on anywhere Rawdon was never far off. Yes, we can
string the centuries together in the battle flags we have won. See
there!" he cried, pointing to two standards interwoven above the central
chimney-piece; "one was taken from the Paynim in the first Crusade, and
the other my grandson took in Africa. It seems but yesterday, and Queen
Victoria gave him the Cross for it. Poor lad, he had it on when he died.
It went to the grave with him. I wouldn't have it touched. I fancy the
Rawdons would know it. No one dare say they don't. I think they meddle a
good deal more with this life than we count on."

The days that followed were days in The House Wonderful. It held the
treasure-trove of centuries; all its rooms were full of secrets.
Even the common sitting-room had an antique homeliness that provoked
questions as to the dates of its furniture and the whereabouts of its
wall cupboards and hidden recesses. Its china had the marks of forgotten
makers, its silver was puzzling with half-obliterated names and dates,
its sideboard of oak was black with age and full of table accessories,
the very names of which were forgotten. For this house had not been
built in the ordinary sense, it had grown through centuries; grown out
of desire and necessity, just as a tree grows, and was therefore fit
and beautiful. And it was no wonder that about every room floated
the perfume of ancient things and the peculiar family aura that had
saturated all the inanimate objects around them.

In a few days, life settled itself to orderly occupations. The Squire
was a late riser; the Judge and his family breakfasted very early. Then
the two women had a ride in the park, or wandered in the garden, or sat
reading, or sewing, or writing in some of the sweet, fair rooms. Many
visitors soon appeared, and there were calls to return and courtesies to
accept. Among these visitors the Tyrrel-Rawdons were the earliest. The
representatives of that family were Nicholas Rawdon and his wife Lydia.
Nicholas Rawdon was a large, stout man, very arrogant, very complete,
very alert for this world, and not caring much about the other. He was
not pleased at Judge Rawdon's visit, but thought it best to be
cousinly until his cousin interfered with his plans - "rights" he called
them - "and then!" and his "THEN" implied a great deal, for Nicholas
Rawdon was a man incapable of conceiving the idea of loving an enemy.

His wife was a pleasant, garrulous woman, who interested Ethel very
much. Her family was her chief topic of conversation. She had two
daughters, one of whom had married a baronet, "a man with money and easy
to manage"; and the other, "a rich cotton lord in Manchester."

"They haven't done badly," she said confidentially, "and it's a great
thing to get girls off your hands early. Adelaide and Martha were well
educated and suitable, but," she added with a glow of pride, "you should
see my John Thomas. He's manager of the mill, and he loves the mill, and
he knows every pound of warp or weft that comes in or goes out of the
mill; and what his father would do without him, I'm sure I don't know.
And he is a member of Parliament, too - Radical ticket. Won over Mostyn.
Wiped Mostyn out pretty well. That was a thing to do, wasn't it?"

"I suppose Mr. Mostyn was the Conservative candidate?"

"You may be sure of that. But my John Thomas doesn't blame him for
it - the gentry have to be Conservatives. John Thomas said little against
his politics; he just set the crowd laughing at his ways - his dandified
ways. And he tried to wear one eyeglass, and let it fall, and fall, and
then told the men 'he couldn't manage half a pair of spectacles; but he
could manage their interests and fight for their rights,' and such like
talk. And he walked like Mostyn, and he talked like Mostyn, and spread
out his legs, and twirled his walking stick like Mostyn, and asked them
'if they would wish him to go to Parliament in that kind of a shape, as
he'd try and do it if they wanted a tailor-made man'; and they laughed
him down, and then he spoke reasonable to them. John Thomas knows what
Yorkshire weavers want, and he just prom-ised them everything they had
set their hearts on; and so they sent him to Parliament, and Mostyn went
to America, where, perhaps, they'll teach him that a man's life is worth
a bit more than a bird or a rabbit. Mostyn is all for preserving game,
and his father was a mean creature. When one thinks of his father, one
has to excuse the young man a little bit."

"I saw a good deal of Mr. Mostyn in New York," said Ethel. "He used to
speak highly of his father."

"I'll warrant he did; and he ought to keep at it, for he's the only one
in this world that will use his tongue for that end. Old Samuel Mostyn
never learned to live godly or even manly, but after his death he ceased
to do evil, and that, I've no doubt, often feels like a blessing to them
that had to live anyway near to him. But my John Thomas!"

"Oh," cried Ethel, laughing, "you must not tell me so much about John
Thomas; he might not like it."

"John Thomas can look all he does and all he says straight in the face.
You may talk of him all day, and find nothing to say that a good girl
like you might not listen to. I should have brought him with us, but
he's away now taking a bit of a holiday. I'm sure he needs it."

"Where is he taking his holiday?"

"Why, he went with a cousin to show him the sights of London; but
somehow they got through London sights very quick, and thought they
might as well put Paris in. I wish they hadn't. I don't trust foreigners
and foreign ways, and they don't have the same kind of money as ours;
but Nicholas says I needn't worry; he is sure that our John Thomas, if
change is to make, will make it to suit himself."

"How soon will he be home?"

"I might say to-day or any other early day. He's been idling for a month
now, and his father says 'the very looms are calling out for him.' I'll
bring him to see you just as soon as he comes home, looms or no looms,
and he'll be fain to come. No one appreciates a pretty girl more than
John Thomas does."

So the days passed sweetly and swiftly onward, and there was no trouble
in them. Such business as was to be done went on behind the closed
doors of the Squire's office, and with no one present but himself, Judge
Rawdon, and the attorneys attached to the Rawdon and Mostyn estates. And
as there were no entanglements and no possible reason for disputing,
a settlement was quickly arrived at. Then, as Mostyn's return was
uncertain, an attorney's messenger, properly accredited, was sent to
America to procure his signatures. Allowing for unforeseen delays, the
perfected papers of release might certainly be on hand by the fifteenth
of July, and it was proposed on the first of August to give a dinner
and dance in return for the numerous courtesies the American Rawdons had

As this date approached Ruth and Ethel began to think of a visit to
London. They wanted new gowns and many other pretty things, and why not
go to London for them? The journey was but a few hours, and two or three
days' shopping in Regent Street and Piccadilly would be delightful. "We
will make out a list of all we need this afternoon," said Ruth, "and
we might as well go to-morrow morning as later," and at this moment

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe Man Between, an International Romance → online text (page 7 of 14)