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IVlyliady Pride

55 CHARLES GARVICEL




1 & M. OTTENHEIMER, Baltimore, MA



MY LADY PRIDE




CHARLES GARVICE



COPYRIGHT, 1904



I. & M. OTTENHEIMER

321 W- Baltimore Si Baltimore,



MY LADY PRIDE.



CHAPTER I.

A PLEA FOR JUSTICE.

IT was a lovely evening in June, and the clock of Westbury
church struck six as a young giil walked down the High
Street toward the lanes leading to tae open .country ^eyend.
She was tall and slim, as a young girl of nineteen should
be; slim and exceedingly graceful' and the ligiil;,. springy
step spoke of health and strength, as well as youth.

She was beautiful, was this girl, as well as strong and
healthy ; and if I were to go over her good gifts in catalogue
fashion, I should tell of her clear-cut, oval face, of the brown
hair, almost black but for the golden tints reflecting the
evening sun; of the large but expressive mouth; and, lastly,
of the gray eyes that could be so soft or sparkling, demure or
mirthful, just at the will and bidding of their owner.

But such enumerations are not of much use, because, elabo-
rate as they may be, they never succeed in describing such
beauty as Moris Carlisle's.

She had a tennis bat in her hand, and her face was slightly
Pushed, as if she had been playing up to the last moment, as
indeed she had, for when the clock struck six she glanced up
at the church turret and quickened her pace to a run.

Leaving the High Street, she turned to the left, and, push-
ing open a gate, sped up a small garden path and ran into
a pretty cottage, which nestled back from the lane as if it were
trying to hide itself.

I say "ran in," because the door was open, showing a
quaint little hall, with an old oak chest for a table, and an
old oak chair standing beside it. On both the chair and the
c%est were carved a..cqai / ^t-am% - a dove fighting with an

9668O*



10 MY LADY PRIDE.

eagle above an ivy bush. They were the arms of the Carlisle^
and had been borne by one of Florists ancestors as far back as

11 ic Crusades.

SIui threw the bat and her hat on the chest, and smoothing
her hair with that gesture which only a woman can accom-
plish, opened a door on the left and looked in.

It was an extremely pretty and neat dining-room, and tht
cloth was laid for dinner, but Floris, after looking around
and failing to see any one, went into the hall and called, in a
clear, sweet voice:

"Mamma!"

At the same moment a neat and respectful looking little
servant-maid appeared from the kitchen regions, and with a
voice slightly hushed, said:

" Mistress is in the drawing-room, miss with a gentle-
man."

The large gray eyes expressed a faint surprise, as if a vis-
itor were an unusual thing, and she hesitated, with her fingers
upon the. handle of the .drawing-room door. But, as a very
thin voice from within said:

'" Is thai you, Floris ? Come in !" She opened the door and
entered.

Carlisle was seated in a chair beside the fire there
was a fire, though it was June, because Mrs. Carlisle was an
invalid, and never quite warm from January to December
and opposite her sat a thin, middle-aged gentleman, with
gray hair and small, sharp eyes.

At the entrance of the girl, the small eyes glanced at hep
with a sudden flash of admiration and surprise, then sought
the fire again.

Mrs. Carlisle's face was very pale, and there was a troubled,
anxious and extremely perplexed look in her face.

:< This is my daughter, Mr. Morrel," she said, faintly^.
" Floris, this is Mr. Morrel, the lawyer."

Mr. Morrel rose and bowed sharply and quickly, as if he
eould scarcely spare time for the ceremony, and Floris
inclined her head with a slight look of curiosity.

There was silence for a moment; then Mrs. Carlisle rose,
and drew her silk shawl around her.

" You will stay and dine with us, Mr. Morrel ?" she asked,
almost pleadingly.

The lawyer glanced at his watch with a frown, as if he had
a private quarrel with it, and looked up sharply.



MY LADY PRIDE. 11

" I have to catch the eight o'clock train, ma'am."

" You will have plenty of time/' said Mrs. Carlisle ; " I
I should be glad if you will stay, because you can explain this
this business to my daughter better than I can. Indeed, I
fear I do not understand it/' and she looked from one to the
other with a perplexed and feeble glance.

Floris went toward her and arranged the shawl that had
fallen askew, and the three went into the dining-room. I,
was the picture of comfort, and the hatchet-faced lawyer
looked around and rubbed his hands, then frowned as if he
had remembered something, coughed huskily, and sunk into
his chair with a sigh.

Mrs. Carlisle sat at the bottom of the table, and Floris at
the head, and it was to Floris that the soup was brought, as
if she were the presiding genius.

" Have you come from London, Mr. Morrel ?" she asked, in
the clear, soft voice, which made one pause before answering,
in case she should speak again.

" Yes," he said, sharply ; " by the four- thirty ! Very slow
train ! Shamefully late ! But railway directors don't under-
stand the value of time."

"And lawyers do!" said Floris, with a smile.

" They do," he assented, and then attacked the fish as if ig*
illustration of the truth of his assertion.

Floris looked at him with a curiosity which would have
been amused but for the pale, anxious face opposite her.

"Where have you been, Floris?" asked Mrs. Carlisle, to
break the silence.

" To Lady Burton's tennis party, mamma."

" Oh, yes ! I had forgotten," said Mrs. Carlisle, with a
sigh.

" Do you play tennis, Mr. Morrel ?" asked Floris.

" No, Miss Carlisle ; I have no leisure for tennis. I hope!
you had a pleasant afternoon."

" Yes, very !" she said.

The conversation dropped again. It was evident that both
the lawyer and Mrs. Carlisle were too full of some business
matter to talk of anything else, and Floris relapsed into silent
attention to their guest.

Presently the servant left the room, and Mrs. Carlisle,
gently pushing the port decanter to the lawyer, said:

" Perhaps you will let us stay while you take your wine,
Mr. Morrel, and and tell my daughter about this business."



18 MY LADY PRIDE.

4t Certainly, ma'am; but I don't drink port; it muddles the
brains, and lawyers have to keep theirs clear."

Mrs. Carlisle sighed, and Floris rose and brought some
flaret from the sideboard.

The lawyer bowed, sipped the wine, and cleared his throat.

" I've come down to tell your mamma, Miss Carlisle, that
the ease has closed/' he said, looking at her with a sharp in*
temt in his small eyes.

" The case ?" repeated Floris, knitting her brows ; then she
smiled. " I beg your pardon. I had almost forgotten," shft
explained. " I have known about it so long, ever since I can
remember, that strange as it all seems, I have almost learned
to forget it!"

" No doubt," he said, gravely. " The lawsuit was com-
menced 'during your grandfather's time."

"Yes," said Floris, smiling still; " I can femember, when
I was a child, hearing another girl boast that she had a
baronet in her family, and my retort that we had a chancery
suit in ours."

The lawyer didn't look quite so amused as he might have
done ; perhaps he felt that there was some sarcasm on " the
laws' delays."

" In your grandfather's time," he repeated. " He and
Lord Norman were distantly connected "

"We always denied the relationship," murmured Mrs
Carlisle.

The lawyer bowed.

" At any rate, the two families, the Carlisks and the Nor*
mans, were mixed up, if I may use the expression, in some
way or other."

" It was something to do with some land," murmured Mrs.
[(Carlisle. " I don't understand it; I never did."

"And no one else, it would appear," said Floris, gently,
jbut with a smile, "seeing that it has taken two generations
to puzzle it out."

"And some of the most learned men on the bench, at the
bar !" said Mr. Morrel. "At any rate, the two families quar-
reled about the land, and threw it into chancery. It is very
easy indeed, it is the easiest thing in the world to put a
thing into chancery, and about the hardest thing to get it out
again," and he then coughed behind his hand.

Floris leaned back in her chair, with her hands folded in her



MY LADY PRIDE. 13

lap, md her beautiful gray eyes fixed on tile window opposite
her with dreamy intentness.

" The question at issue," resumed Mr. Morrel, " was very
small to begin with, but its proportions grew as the case pro-
greased."

" Yes," said Floris, softly, " and the costs, too, Mr. Mor-
reL We used to live at the Hall at one time."

The lawyer coughed again.

" Costs will grow, Miss Carlisle, in such a case as this. The
iuit's become one of the most celebrated on record. It will "-4
here he bowed impressively " supply precedents for future i
cases unto the end of time."

"We ought to feel very proud," says Floris, with a low
laugh.

" You ought," he assented, quite seriously. " It is quite
an honor to be a party to the suit of Norman versus Car-
lisle!"

"It has been a very expensive honor," she said, smiling
gently.

"Ahem ! Yes, no doubt. But to come to the point. The
case, I am proud and happy to say, was closed to-day. That
is, I should be proud and happy," he corrected himself, with
a slight flush, " if it had been closed with a different decision."

" Then we have lost ?" said Floris, without any great show
of interest.

He wagged his head gravely.

" I regret to say fhat you have, Miss Carlisle. After pa-
tient hearing in one court after another, the case has been car-
ried to the Lords, and the final decision has been pronounced
in favor of Lord Norman."

Mrs. Carlisle uttered a feeble moan, but Floris turned her
lovely gray eyes on the thin face of the lawyer, without any
suspicion of the significance of his words.

" Lord Norman," she repeated, softly, almost absently,
thinking how, throughout her short life, that name haeL
haunted and hovered about her. " Well, I suppose it is just."f

" We always considered that his claim was most unjust,"^
mUgaured Mrs. Carlisle. " I never understood it ! Your>
j?vx father llse d to spend hours in trying to explain the case
fe* ~-v but I always got confused and muddled."

"Th* effect upon a great many persons beside yourself,
madame," said the lawyer.

Floris had risen, and stood at the window looking out at



14 MT LADY PRIDE.

the view which, like a lovely panorama, stretched before her.
There was not a hill or tree that she did not know and love.
The lawyer's dry voice recalled her to herself.

" Yes, we, on our side, always thought the Norman claim
unjust, of course, or we should not have continued fighting."

" But do you not think so now ?" said Floris, turning to
him.

" The highest court in the land has pronounced in his
avor," replied the lawyer, significantly.

Floris sighed.

" Well/' she said, gently, " I am sure that we are glad that
it is all over, and that the case is decided. Lord Norman is
quite welcome to the prize he has fought for whatever it is
I don't know what it is !"

"A very large sum of money/' said the lawyer, grimly, and
Mrs. Carlisle moaned again.

" Which we might have won, and which would have made
us rich again. Never mind, mamma/' and as she spoke she
turned, with a bright, consoling smile, upon the feeble lady
shivering in her easy-chair. " Money isn't everything, as
somebody says. Lord Norman is quite welcome to it, is he
not?"

Mrs. Carlisle did not reply, and Mr. Morrel looked from one
to the other rather curiously and in silence for a minute or so.
Then he coughed, and with hesitation and embarrassment
staring from every sharp feature, said:

"Ahem ! If it were only the sum in dispute that was
affected by the decision, Miss Carlisle, it would not so much
matter." *

" What else is there ?" asked Flons, with quiet surprise.

" The costs," replied the lawyer, grimly ; " the expenses of
this trial and the one preceding it

" But we have been paying costs ever since I can remem-
ber !" she said. " It is the costs in this ' celebrated case/ of
which we ought to be so proud, which has driven us from the
Hall to this cottage; it is the costs and expenses which, like
Aaron's serpent, Mr. Morrel, have swallowed up our carriages
and horses and men-servants, and reduced us to the condition
/,in which we are quite content," she added, with simple dignity
that awed the dry and musty lawyer and made him cough
again. " Surely, there are no further demands upon us !"

" I regret to say that there are," he replied, and to his
credit, be it said, he looked sorry, as his glance rested upon



MY LADY PRIM. 15

the slim, graceful girl, with the clear, soft voice and large,
gray eyes.

Mrs. Carlisle groaned.

" There are the costs of these last two trials, Miss Carlisle,
and they amount to a little over five thousand pounds !"

The blow for which he had been mercifully preparing her,
was struck at last.

Floris stood quite still for a moment; then she went and
laid her white hand tenderly and soothingly upon her mother's,
shoulder.

" Five thousand pounds !" she murmured, in a low, distinct
voice, that quivered for all her effort to keep it firm. " We
have to pay that?"

The lawyer inclined his head.

" Each side to pay its own costs," he said. " Yours will be
quite that sum; but don't be alarmed, Miss Carlisle

She did not hear him. Her eyes were fixed on the floor, her
heart beating slowly and heavily.

Five thousand pounds ! She knew what it meant ! Five
thousand pounds ! It would nearly ruin them ! In a moment
she saw the lovely view, lying bathed in the sunset, fading
slowly aXvay, giving place to some squalid London street; the
comfortable apartment was transformed to a miserable parlor
in a dirty lodging-house! This, then, was what this man had
come to tell them ! That they were ruined !

Her hand shook upon the feeble shoulder, and her parted
lips quivered as the tears gathered slowly in her eyes.

Mr. Morrel had stopped abruptly^s he saw that she was not
listening ; but now he went on again, his dry, sharp voice
striking on her ears discordantly.

" Don't be alarmed, Miss Carlisle ; you have not heard me
out yet. I have "still some intelligence to communicate."

She turned her head toward him very slowly.

" I beg your pardon," she said, quietly ; " I was startled."

" No doubt, no doubt," he sniffed. " Every excuse ; my
fault, Miss Carlisle. I ought to have told you first what I am
going to tell you now/ 9

She listened, with pale, sorrowful face.

"At the close of the trial, immediately after the decision of
the judges, we received a communication from Lord Norman
tfeough his lawyer, of course."

"Yes?"

" It was a communication which surprised us surprised us



If MY LADY PRIDE.

very much. We had no right or reason to expect an offer of
such a kind from Lord Norman, and it does him the greatest
credit the very greatest!"

"An offer from Lord Norman?" she repeated, dully.

" Yes !" snapped Mr. Morrel. " Immediately upon hearing
'that he had won his cause, his lordship sent and offered to
pay your costs for you."

J There was a silence while one could count twenty. The
lovely face turned to the window was white and set. The
hand resting on the feeble woman's shoulder shut tightly.
The soft, firm lips closed with a close compression. Mr. Mor-
rel was too much taken up with his own satisfaction to notice
the effect of his announcement.

" It was a remarkably generous offer ; extraordinarily so !"
he said, wagging his head. " I was never more surprised in
Hiy life never ! Such a new experience for me, I assure you 5
I have often known of offers of compromise before cases have
been finally tried, but never after. Why, it is a clear gift of
five thousand pounds ! I congratulate you and your mamma,
Miss Carlisle," and he made a little bow, which broke off
short as Floris's voice rose clear and full, though low, with the
single word :

"Stop!"

Mr. Morrel looked up at her with a start. He had ex-
pected, if not a gush of gratitude, at any rate an expreseiou
of thankfulness and relief ; but the " Stop !" sounded anything
but that.

" You say that Lord Norman has offered, of his own free
will, to pay these costs ; to give us, yon said, this money ?"

"Yes, oh, yes; there is no mistake!" replied Mr. Mori el,

" and we should have accepted, but thought it better, as a

^matter of form, to lay the offer before you. We thought

([chat, perhaps, you would like to make something more than

a formal acknowledgment of his lordship's kindness."

" Yes, yes," murmured Mrs. Carlisle, tremulously.

" Hush, hush !" breathed Floris, bending over her ; then
she raised her head and fixed her eyes upon the man of law.

" You did right, sir," she said ; and at the solemnity in her
voice he started and stared at her. " We should like to make
something more than a formal acknowledgment, through a
lawyer, of Lord Norman's kindness !"

With a swift, yet graceful, and all too haughty, gesture ?
she glided to a side-table, and bending, not sittingj



MY LADY PRIDE. I?)

hastily. Then she glided back, and with the air of an in*
dign&nt empress, she extended her white hand with the papei
in it.

" There's an acknowledgment of his lordship's offer. Be
good enough to read it, Mr. Morrel."

The lawyer held the paper near the lamp, and, in his
amazement, read the written words aloud.

"A Carlisle demands justice, not charity, and having re-
ceived the former, has no desire to become the recipient ofc
the latter, even though it should be at the hands of the Earl
of Nerman."



CHAPTER II.
LADY PENDLETON'S COMPANION.

MRS. CARLISLE uttered an exclamation of dismay, and be-
gan to wring her hands.

The lawyer stared and blinked with his small eyes at t&e
tall, slim figure and proud, beautiful face, as if he were 0m
the verge of a fit.

"Good gracious ! " he gasped, at last. " Do you mean to
say that really, Mrs. Carlisle, I appeal to you/' and he held
out the sheet of note-paper almost dramatically.

" My mother agrees with me, sir, that this offer of Lori
Norman's must be declined. We have no claim upon his
generosity. We are not his relations we are not even his
friends. We have been the foes of his family for years. Thk
suit, which has impoverished and ruined us, has cost him
thousands of pounds. He has won it, he has proved to be in
the right and we in the wrong, so that for all these years the
Carlisles have done him great and lasting injury. And in
return he offers us five thousand pounds ! "

Her face was crimson now, the gray eyes flashing, the read
lips apart with wounded pride and resentment.

" What right has he to humiliate us ? " and her hand closed
tightly on the back of her mother's chair.

The lawyer, poor fellow, quite unable to understand the
fine feeling which prompted the refusal from the pr<mi and
haughty nature of the girl, stared and gasped, an4
<f Good gracious j " again, helplessly.



18 M? LADY PRIDE.

"Then then this is your answer, Mrs. Carlisle?" he
said.

"Yes. Floris, my daughter, knows what is best. Lord
Norman is very kind, he meant kindly, and and I thought
for the moment that we

" For Heaven's sake, ma'am/' interjected the lawyer,
abruptly, almost pleadingly, " don't throw away five thous-
and pounds for the sake of a little pride! Put it in your
pocket, Mrs. Carlisle your pride, I mean, and save the
'money ! "

Mrs. Carlisle hesitated, and looked up at Floris, then
-feighed, for the girl's face was inflexible.

" No other answer is possible than that I have given you,"
said Floris, quietly..

He got his hat, and looked from one to the other.

" See here, ma'am," he said, '" I shall take 'the liberty of
retaining Miss Carlisle's note for twenty-four hours, in case
I say in case you should change your minds, which I hope
to goodness you will. If I don't hear from you by this time
to-morrow I will hand your answer to Lord Norman.. But I
trust that I shall hear. Good-night, Mrs. Carlisle; good-
night, Miss Carlisle/'

There was a silence for a moment after the door had closed
upon him, then Mrs. Carlisle, who had been shedding a weak
tear or two, shook her head dolefully, and wailed :

" What is to be done, Floris ? We must go into London
lodgings, and and live on cold mutton and bad sherry."

Floris laughed softly, if a little sadly.

"The mutton need not be always cold, mamma, and as to
the sherry, you never drink it, and I hate it. And I don't
think we need go into lodgings in London, dear. I think we
can stay here still that is, you can," she added, softly.
'' This afternoon I was sitting on the lawn with Lady Burton,
when she suddenly began to talk of her sister, Lady Pendle-
ton. She had had a letter from her this morning, asking her
if she knew of a young lady who would be likely to suit her
as a companion. I have thought of a young lady who
might, perhaps, serve in place of the angei Lady Pendleton
is looking for. It is a young lady of the name of Floris
Carlisle."

Mrs. Carlisle stared down at her with feeble astonishment.

" You, Floris ! "

I! Why not, mamma? Think of it! Ninety



MY LADY PRIDE. 19

pounds a year and and a home " Her voice broke, and
Mrs. Carlisle began to cry instanter. ' " No, no, mamma, we
will not cry, either of us."

She rose as she spoke and went to the table.

" I don't know what made me do it, but I asked for Lady
Pendleton's address, and copied it in my memorandum-
book. Fifty-nine Grosvenor Place. That sounds very grand,
mamma ! "

j She stopped the thin stream of bewailing and bemoaning
which Mrs. Carlisle began to pour out, with a kiss, and then
.went back to the table and wrote a short note.

" There, mamma I I have told Lady Pendleton that I am
musical, cheerful, that I love reading the newspaper better
than anything else on earth, and as for my looks/' she laughed
carelessly, " though not beautiful, children do not, as a rule,
fly at my approach, and that I have not a positive cast in my
eye ! Beyond that, she must judge for herself."

She came back with the note in her hand, and threw her
arms around the weak-natured mother and kissed her, and as
there was no glass Mrs. Carlisle did not see the unshed tears
that filled the glorious gray eyes of the girl who was too proud
to accept five thousand pounds, but not too proud to go out
and work as a servant!

A week later, when the newspapers had about grown tired
of referring to the great Norman versus Carlisle case, Moris
stood in the hall of 59 Grosvenor Place.

" Lady Pendleton ? Yes, miss," said the huge footman,
with the deepest respect, after a glance at the beautiful face,
with the obvious air of good breeding. "Yes, miss, her
ladyship's at home."

Moris took out her card-case, but suddenly remembering
that lady companions should not carry visiting-cards, said :

" Please say that Miss Carlisle has come."

The footman looked rather surprised, but his respect, for a
marvel, did not vanish, and he showed Floris into an immense
drawing-room quite civilly.

I Floris was trying to form conjecture as to the kind of woman
the mistress might be, when the footman returned.

" Her ladyship will be obliged if you will go up to her
room, miss," he said.

Floris followed him up a flight of broad stairs, along a
short corridor, and entered Lady Pendleton's boudoir.

As she did so, a little woman, beautifully dressed, rose



20 MY LADY PRIDE.

from a chair surrounded by a batch of dress materials, an8
came toward her.

ik Is that you, Miss Carlisle? How do you do?" she ex-
claimed in a quiet, alert, but musical voice, very much what
a linnet's would be if it could speak in the Iruman tongue.
u How kind of you to come so soon! "

By this time she had reached Floris, who stood with her
fmv to the window, and stopped short, with a stare of open-
eyed wonder and delight that would have been amusing if it
had not been rather ' startling.

"' Oh ! " she exclaimed. " Why, they never told me

Then she stopped again and peered up at Moris, with her
little head on one side, and laughed chirpingly.

" My dear, how ridiculously, how absurdly beautiful you
are ! "

Floris strove hard not to blush at this sudden and knock-
down compliment, but the crimson flooded her sweet face.

" Oh, I beg your pardon ! That's just me ! Offend you
the moment you come into the house-! But you mustn't
mind me, dear ; it's my way. Have you had any lunch ? " she
broke off, her head on one side, her bright, bird-like eyes
fixed on Floris's rather bewildered face.

" Yes, thank you, Lady Pendleton," she said.

" You shall have a glass of wine. I'll ring for it. No ?


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