E-text prepared by Delphine Lettau and Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.
In Two Volumes.
Chapman and Hall, 193, Piccadilly.
[All rights reserved.]
Printed by Virtue and Co.,
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
I. THE EARLY HISTORY OF LADY LOVEL.
II. THE EARL'S WILL.
III. LADY ANNA.
IV. THE TAILOR OF KESWICK.
V. THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL MAKES A PROPOSITION.
VI. YOXHAM RECTORY.
VII. THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL PERSEVERES.
IX. IT ISN'T LAW.
X. THE FIRST INTERVIEW.
XI. IT IS TOO LATE.
XII. HAVE THEY SURRENDERED?
XIII. NEW FRIENDS.
XIV. THE EARL ARRIVES.
XVI. FOR EVER.
XVII. THE JOURNEY HOME.
XVIII. TOO HEAVY FOR SECRETS.
XIX. LADY ANNA RETURNS TO LONDON.
XX. LADY ANNA'S RECEPTION.
XXI. DANIEL AND THE LAWYER.
XXII. THERE IS A GULF FIXED.
XXIII. BEDFORD SQUARE.
XXIV. THE DOG IN THE MANGER.
THE EARLY HISTORY OF LADY LOVEL.
Women have often been hardly used by men, but perhaps no harder
usage, no fiercer cruelty was ever experienced by a woman than
that which fell to the lot of Josephine Murray from the hands
of Earl Lovel, to whom she was married in the parish church of
Applethwaite, - a parish without a village, lying among the mountains
of Cumberland, - on the 1st of June, 181 - . That her marriage was
valid according to all the forms of the Church, if Lord Lovel were
then capable of marrying, no one ever doubted; nor did the Earl
ever allege that it was not so. Lovel Grange is a small house,
surrounded by a small domain, - small as being the residence of a rich
nobleman, lying among the mountains which separate Cumberland from
Westmoreland, about ten miles from Keswick, very lovely, from the
brightness of its own green sward and the luxuriance of its wild
woodland, from the contiguity of overhanging mountains, and from the
beauty of Lovel Tarn, a small lake belonging to the property, studded
with little islands, each of which is covered with its own thicket
of hollies, birch, and dwarfed oaks. The house itself is poor, ill
built, with straggling passages and low rooms, and is a sombre,
ill-omened looking place. When Josephine Murray was brought there
as a bride she thought it to be very sombre and ill-omened; but she
loved the lakes and mountains, and dreamed of some vague mysterious
joy of life which was to come to her from the wildness of her
I fear that she had no other ground, firmer than this, on which to
found her hopes of happiness. She could not have thought Lord Lovel
to be a good man when she married him, and it can hardly be said that
she loved him. She was then twenty-four years old, and he had counted
double as many years. She was very beautiful, dark, with large, bold,
blue eyes, with hair almost black, tall, well made, almost robust, a
well-born, brave, ambitious woman, of whom it must be acknowledged
that she thought it very much to be the wife of a lord. Though our
story will be concerned much with her sufferings, the record of her
bridal days may be very short. It is with struggles that came to
her in after years that we shall be most concerned, and the reader,
therefore, need be troubled with no long description of Josephine
Murray as she was when she became the Countess Lovel. It is hoped
that her wrongs may be thought worthy of sympathy, - and may be felt
in some sort to atone for the ignoble motives of her marriage.
The Earl, when he found his bride, had been living almost in solitude
for a twelvemonth. Among the neighbouring gentry in the lake country
he kept no friendly relations. His property there was small, and his
character was evil. He was an English earl, and as such known in
some unfamiliar fashion to those who know all earls; but he was a
man never seen in Parliament, who had spent the greater part of his
manhood abroad, who had sold estates in other counties, converting
unentailed acres into increased wealth, but wealth of a kind much
less acceptable to the general English aristocrat than that which
comes direct from land. Lovel Grange was his only remaining English
property, and when in London he had rooms at an hotel. He never
entertained, and he never accepted hospitality. It was known of him
that he was very rich, and men said that he was mad. Such was the man
whom Josephine Murray had chosen to marry because he was an earl.
He had found her near Keswick, living with her father in a pretty
cottage looking down upon Derwentwater, - a thorough gentleman, for
Captain Murray had come of the right Murrays; - and thence he had
carried her to Lovel Grange. She had brought with her no penny of
fortune, and no settlement had been made on her. Her father, who
was then an old man, had mildly expostulated; but the ambition
of the daughter had prevailed, and the marriage was accomplished.
The beautiful young woman was carried off as a bride. It will be
unnecessary to relate what efforts had been made to take her away
from her father's house without bridal honours; but it must be told
that the Earl was a man who had never yet spared a woman in his lust.
It had been the rule, almost the creed of his life, that woman was
made to gratify the appetite of man, and that the man is but a poor
creature who does not lay hold of the sweetness that is offered to
him. He had so lived as to teach himself that those men who devote
themselves to their wives, as a wife devotes herself to her husband,
are the poor lubberly clods of creation, who had lacked the power to
reach the only purpose of living which could make life worth having.
Women had been to him a prey, as the fox is a prey to the huntsman
and the salmon to the angler. But he had acquired great skill in his
sport, and could pursue his game with all the craft which experience
will give. He could look at a woman as though he saw all heaven in
her eyes, and could listen to her as though the music of the spheres
was to be heard in her voice. Then he could whisper words which, to
many women, were as the music of the spheres, and he could persevere,
abandoning all other pleasures, devoting himself to the one
wickedness with a perseverance which almost made success certain.
But with Josephine Murray he could be successful on no other terms
than those which enabled her to walk out of the church with him as
She had not lived with him six months before he told her that the
marriage was no marriage, and that she was - his mistress. There was
an audacity about the man which threw aside all fear of the law, and
which was impervious to threats and interference. He assured her that
he loved her, and that she was welcome to live with him; but that she
was not his wife, and that the child which she bore could not be the
heir to his title, and could claim no heirship to his property. He
did love her, - having found her to be a woman of whose company he had
not tired in six months. He was going back to Italy, and he offered
to take her with him, - but he could not, he said, permit the farce of
her remaining at Lovel Grange and calling herself the Countess Lovel.
If she chose to go with him to Palermo, where he had a castle, and to
remain with him in his yacht, she might for the present travel under
the name of his wife. But she must know that she was not his wife.
She was only his mistress.
Of course she told her father. Of course she invoked every Murray
in and out of Scotland. Of course there were many threats. A duel
was fought up near London, in which Lord Lovel consented to be shot
at twice, - declaring that after that he did not think that the
circumstances of the case required that he should be shot at any
more. In the midst of this a daughter was born to her and her father
died, - during which time she was still allowed to live at Lovel
Grange. But what was it expedient that she should do? He declared
that he had a former wife when he married her, and that therefore she
was not and could not be his wife. Should she institute a prosecution
against him for bigamy, thereby acknowledging that she was herself
no wife and that her child was illegitimate? From such evidence as
she could get, she believed that the Italian woman whom the Earl in
former years had married had died before her own marriage. The Earl
declared that the Countess, the real Countess, had not paid her debt
to nature, till some months after the little ceremony which had taken
place in Applethwaite Church. In a moment of weakness Josephine fell
at his feet and asked him to renew the ceremony. He stooped over her,
kissed her, and smiled. "My pretty child," he said, "why should I do
that?" He never kissed her again.
What should she do? Before she had decided, he was in his yacht
sailing to Palermo; - sailing no doubt not alone. What should she do?
He had left her an income, - sufficient for the cast-off mistress
of an Earl, - some few hundreds a year, on condition that she would
quietly leave Lovel Grange, cease to call herself a Countess, and
take herself and her bairn, - whither she would. Every abode of sin
in London was open to her for what he cared. But what should she
do? It seemed to her to be incredible that so great a wrong should
befall her, and that the man should escape from her and be free from
punishment, - unless she chose to own the baseness of her own position
by prosecuting him for bigamy. The Murrays were not very generous in
their succour, as the old man had been much blamed for giving his
daughter to one of whom all the world knew nothing but evil. One
Murray had fired two shots on her behalf, in answer to each one of
which the Earl had fired into the air; but beyond this the Murrays
could do nothing. Josephine herself was haughty and proud, conscious
that her rank was greater than that of any of the Murrays with whom
she came in contact. But what should she do?
The Earl had been gone five years, sailing about the world she knew
not where, when at last she determined to institute a prosecution for
bigamy. During these years she was still living at the Grange, with
her child, and the Courts of Law had allotted her some sum by way of
alimony till her cause should be decided; but upon this alimony she
found it very difficult to lay her hands, - quite impossible to lay
her hands upon the entirety of it. And then it came to pass that
she was eaten up by lawyers and tradesmen, and fell into bad repute
as asserting that claims made against her, should legally be made
against the very man whom she was about to prosecute because she was
not his wife. And this went on till further life at Lovel Grange
became impossible to her.
In those days there was living in Keswick a certain Mr. Thomas
Thwaite, a tailor, who by degrees had taken a strong part in
denouncing the wrongs to which Lady Lovel had been subjected. He
was a powerful, sturdy man, with good means for his position, a
well-known Radical in a county in which Radicals have never been
popular, and in which fifty years ago they were much rarer than they
are now. At this time Keswick and its vicinities were beginning to be
known as the abodes of poets, and Thomas Thwaite was acquainted with
Southey and Wordsworth. He was an intelligent, up-standing, impulsive
man, who thought well of his own position in the world, and who could
speak his mind. He was tall, massive, and square; tender-hearted and
very generous; and he hated the Earl of Lovel with all his heart.
Once the two men had met since the story of the Countess's wrongs
had become known, and the tailor had struck the Earl to the ground.
This had occurred as the Earl was leaving Lovel Grange, and when he
was starting on his long journey. The scene took place after he had
parted from his Countess, - whom he never was to see again. He rose to
his feet and rushed at the tailor; but the two were separated, and
the Earl thought it best to go on upon his journey. Nothing further
was done as to the blow, and many years rolled by before the Earl
came back to Cumberland.
It became impossible for the Countess and her daughter, the young
Lady Anna as she was usually called, to remain at Lovel Grange,
and they were taken to the house of Mr. Thwaite, in Keswick, as a
temporary residence. At this time the Countess was in debt, and
already there were lawsuits as to the practicability of obtaining
payment of those debts from the husband's estate. And as soon as it
was determined that the prosecution for bigamy should be instituted,
the confusion in this respect was increased. The Countess ceased to
call herself a countess, as she certainly would not be a countess
should she succeed in proving the Earl to have been guilty. And
had he been guilty of bigamy, the decree under which alimony was
assigned to her would become void. Should she succeed, she would
be a penniless unmarried female with a daughter, her child would
be unfathered and base, and he, - as far as she could see, - would be
beyond the reach of punishment. But, in truth, she and her friend the
tailor were not in quest of success. She and all her friends believed
that the Earl had committed no such crime. But if he were acquitted,
then would her claim to be called Lady Lovel, and to enjoy the
appanages of her rank, be substantiated. Or, at least, something
would have been done towards substantiating those claims. But during
this time she called herself Mrs. Murray, and the little Lady Anna
was called Anna Murray.
It added much to the hardship of the woman's case that public
sympathy in distant parts of the country, - up in London, and in
southern counties, and even among a portion of the gentry in
Cumberland and Westmoreland, - did not go with her. She had married
without due care. Some men said, - and many women repeated the
story, - that she had known of the existence of the former wife, when
she had married the Earl. She had run into debt, and then repudiated
her debts. She was now residing in the house of a low radical tailor,
who had assaulted the man she called her husband; and she was living
under her maiden name. Tales were told of her which were utterly
false, - as when it was said that she drank. Others were reported
which had in them some grains of truth, - as that she was violent,
stiff-necked, and vindictive. Had they said of her that it had
become her one religion to assert her daughter's right, - per fas aut
nefas, - to assert it by right or wrong; to do justice to her child
let what injustice might be done to herself or others, - then the
truth would have been spoken.
The case dragged itself on slowly, and little Anna Murray was a child
of nine years old when at last the Earl was acquitted of the criminal
charge which had been brought against him. During all this time he
had been absent. Even had there been a wish to bring him personally
into court, the law would have been powerless to reach him. But there
was no such wish. It had been found impossible to prove the former
marriage, which had taken place in Sicily; - or if not impossible, at
least no adequate proof was forthcoming. There was no real desire
that there should be such proof. The Earl's lawyers abstained, as
far as they could abstain, from taking any steps in the matter. They
spent what money was necessary, and the Attorney-General of the day
defended him. In doing so, the Attorney-General declared that he had
nothing to do with the Earl's treatment of the lady who now called
herself Mrs. Murray. He knew nothing of the circumstances of that
connection, and would not travel beyond his brief. He was there to
defend Earl Lovel on a charge of bigamy. This he did successfully,
and the Earl was acquitted. Then, in court, the counsel for the wife
declared that his client would again call herself Lady Lovel.
But it was not so easy to induce other people to call her Lady Lovel.
And now not only was she much hampered by money difficulties, but so
also was the tailor. But Thomas Thwaite never for a moment slackened
in his labours to make good the position of the woman whom he had
determined to succour; and for another and a longer period of eight
years the battle went on. It went on very slowly, as is the wont with
such battles; and very little way was made. The world, as a rule, did
not believe that she who now again called herself the Countess Lovel
was entitled to that name. The Murrays, her own people, - as far as
they were her own people, - had been taught to doubt her claim. If
she were a countess why had she thrown herself into the arms of an
old tailor? Why did she let her daughter play with the tailor's
child, - if, in truth, that daughter was the Lady Anna? Why, above
all things, was the name of the Lady Anna allowed to be mentioned,
as it was mentioned, in connection with that of Daniel Thwaite, the
During these eight weary years Lady Lovel, - for so she shall be
called, - lived in a small cottage about a mile from Keswick, on the
road to Grassmere and Ambleside, which she rented from quarter to
quarter. She still obtained a certain amount of alimony, which,
however, was dribbled out to her through various sieves, and which
reached her with protestations as to the impossibility of obtaining
anything like the moderate sum which had been awarded to her. And
it came at last to be the case that she hardly knew what she was
struggling to obtain. It was, of course, her object that all the
world should acknowledge her to be the Countess Lovel, and her
daughter to be the Lady Anna. But all the world could not be made to
do this by course of law. Nor could the law make her lord come home
and live with her, even such a cat and dog life as must in such case
have been hers. Her money rights were all that she could demand; - and
she found it to be impossible to get anybody to tell her what were
her money rights. To be kept out of the poorhouse seemed to be all
that she could claim. But the old tailor was true to her, - swearing
that she should even yet become Countess Lovel in very truth.
Then, of a sudden, she heard one day, - that Earl Lovel was again at
the Grange, living there with a strange woman.
THE EARL'S WILL.
Not a word had been heard in Keswick of the proposed return of the
old lord, - for the Earl was now an old man, - past his sixtieth year,
and in truth with as many signs of age as some men bear at eighty.
The life which he had led no doubt had had its allurements, but it
is one which hardly admits of a hale and happy evening. Men who make
women a prey, prey also on themselves. But there he was, back at
Lovel Grange, and no one knew why he had come, nor whence, nor how.
To Lovel Grange in those days, now some forty years ago, there was no
road for wheels but that which ran through Keswick. Through Keswick
he had passed in the middle of the night, taking on the post-horses
which he had brought with him from Grassmere, so that no one in the
town should see him and his companion. But it was soon known that
he was there, and known also that he had a companion. For months he
resided thus, and no one saw him but the domestics who waited upon
him. But rumours got abroad as to his conduct, and people through the
county declared that Earl Lovel was a maniac. Still his property was
in his own control, and he did what it listed him to do.
As soon as men knew that he was in the land, claim after claim was
made upon him for money due on behalf of his wife, and loudest among
the claimants was Thomas Thwaite, the tailor. He was loudest and
fiercest among the claimants, but was loud and fierce not in enmity
to his old friend the Countess, but with a firm resolve to make the
lord pay the only price of his wickedness which could be exacted from
him. And if the Earl could be made to pay the claims against him
which were made by his wife's creditors, then would the law, so far,
have decided that the woman was his wife. No answer was made to any
letter addressed to the Earl, and no one calling at the Grange could
obtain speech or even sight of the noble owner. The lord's steward at
the Grange referred all comers to the lord's attorneys in London, and
the lord's attorneys simply repeated the allegation that the lady was
not the lord's wife. At last there came tidings that an inquiry was
to be made as to the state of the lord's health and the state of the
lord's mind, on behalf of Frederic Lovel, the distant heir to the
title. Let that question of the lord's marriage with Josephine Murray
go as it might, Frederic Lovel, who had never seen his far-away
cousin, must be the future earl. Of that there was no doubt; - and new
inquiries were to be made. But it might well be that the interest of
the young heir would be more deeply involved in the marriage question
than in other matters concerning the family. Lovel Grange and the few
mountain farms attached to the Cumberland estate must become his, let
the frantic Earl do what damage he might to those who bore his name;
but the bulk of the property, the wealth of the Lovels, the great
riches which had enabled this mighty lord to live as a beast of prey
among his kind, were at his own disposal. He had one child certainly,
the Lady Anna, who would inherit it all were the father to die
intestate, and were the marriage proved. The young heir and those
near to him altogether disbelieved the marriage, - as was natural.
They had never seen her who now called herself the Countess, but
who for some years after her child was born had called herself Mrs.
Murray, - who had been discarded by her own relations, and had taken
herself to live with a country tailor. As years had rolled by the
memory of what had really occurred in Applethwaite Church had become
indistinct; and, though the reader knows that that marriage was
capable of easy proof, - that there would have been but little
difficulty had the only difficulty consisted in proving that, - the
young heir and the distant Lovels were not assured of it. Their
interest was adverse, and they were determined to disbelieve. But the
Earl might, and probably would, leave all his wealth to a stranger.
He had never in any way noticed his heir. He cared for none that
bore his name. Those ties in the world which we call love, and deem
respectable, and regard as happy, because they have to do with
marriage and blood relationship as established by all laws since
the days of Moses, were odious to him and ridiculous in his sight,
because all obligations were distasteful to him, - and all laws,
except those which preserved to him the use of his own money. But now
there came up the great question whether he was mad or sane. It was
at once rumoured that he was about to leave the country, and fly back
to Sicily. Then it was announced that he was dead.
And he was dead. He had died at the age of sixty-seven, in the arms
of the woman he had brought there. His evil career was over, and his
soul had gone to that future life for which he had made it fit by the
life he had led here. His body was buried in Applethwaite churchyard,
in the further corner of which long, straggling valley parish Lovel
Grange is situated. At his grave there stood no single mourner; - but
the young lord was there, of his right, disdaining even to wear a
crape band round his hat. But the woman remained shut up in her own
chamber, - a difficulty to the young lord and his lawyer, who could
hardly tell the foreigner to pack and begone before the body of her
late - lover had been laid in the grave. It had been simply intimated
to her that on such a date, - within a week from the funeral, - her
presence in the house could not longer be endured. She had flashed
round upon the lawyer, who had attempted to make this award known to
her in broken French, but had answered simply by some words of scorn,
spoken in Italian to her waiting-maid.
Then the will was read in the presence of the young earl; - for there
was a will. Everything that the late lord had possessed was left, in
one line, to his best-beloved friend, the Signorina Camilla Spondi;
and it was stated, and very fully explained, that Camilla Spondi was
the Italian lady living at the Grange at the date on which the will
was made. Of the old lord's heir, the now existing Earl Lovel, no
mention was made whatever. There were, however, two other clauses
or parts in the will. There was a schedule giving in detail the
particulars of the property left to Camilla Spondi; and there was
a rambling statement that the maker of the will acknowledged Anna
Murray to be his illegitimate daughter, - that Anna Murray's mother