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ONE MAIDEN ONLY.



VOL. II.



'•• Kind souls, you wonder why, love you,
While you, you wonder why, love none :
We love, sir, for the good we do,
Not that which unto us is done."



ONE MAIDEN ONLY.



BY



EDWARD CAMPBELL TAINSH.

AUTHOR OF

"ST. ALICE," "CROWNED,"
&c, &c.



IN THREE VOLUMES.
VOL. II.



LONDON:

HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
1870.

T/ie right of Translation u reserved.



LONDON

PItlNTED FY MACDONALD AND TUGWELL,

BLENHEIM HOUSE.






ONE MAIDEN ONLY.



CHAPTER I.

MR. MONCTON received Hartley's letter
while he was sitting at dinner with
his family ; he put it down by the side of his
plate, unopened, with a frown, and went on
eating in silence. It happened that this day
Giles was giving to his kindred the some-
what rare pleasure of his society, and sitting
near to his father, he saw the handwriting.

" Why, that's from Hartley," he said ; " it
must be something important, I should think.
You saw him at the office just now, didn't
you ?

Mr. Moncton muttered something that
was very like an oath, and the others looked
uncomfortable.

" What's the matter ?" said Giles ; " you

VOL. II. B



2 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

all seem very mysterious. Has the paragon
been misbehaving himself?"

" Confound you ! Hold your tongue, will
you?' 1 said Mr. Moncton, looking up savage-
ly at his son.

" My dear !" said Mrs. Moncton ; and then
to Giles, " we do not wish you to speak of
Mr. Leighton again, Giles."

" Then perhaps you'll tell me why not,"
said Giles, irritated by his father's words ;
" I'm not a baby to have my mouth shut
without a reason."

" I'll tell you the reason, Giles," said Etta,
looking him full in the face ; " Mr. Leighton
has jilted me."

" Indeed he has not, my child ; how dare
you say such a thing of yourself."

" Indeed, he has, mamma; anybody would
tell you that he jilted me."

" Jilted you, has he, Etta ? Serves you
right, too ; you ought to have known what
the ass was worth. The snob ! I reckon 111
give him a bit of my mind when I meet him!"

Etta laughed. "You had better, Giles.
I should think he would not want any worse



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 6

punishment than to be lectured by you on
his conduct."

" Curse him !" said Giles, too pre-occupied
by his own emotions to be touched by his
sister's scorn ; u coming here with his airs
and graces, lording it over everybody, and
setting up for an angel of light. A pretty
disgrace to the family, indeed. I'll break
every bone in his skin if I meet him !"

" Have you done dinner, mamma ?" said
Etta ; and though her mamma had bv no
means done, she said " yes ;" and she and
Etta and Ada left the table.

After they were gone, Mr. Moncton open-
ed the letter. He read it through twice,
and then threw it to his son.

"It serves him right," said Giles; " I hope
he'll die like a dog. I wouldn't throw him
a crust if it would save his life."

Giles felt himself avenged by his loud,
coarse words, for all Hartley's assumptions
of superior virtue. Mr. Moncton did not
take much pains to respond to his son's in-
dignation ; but, after brooding ever so long,
he said, as to himself,

b 2



4 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

"A fool the fellow is, to have thrown
away such a splendid chance as that. No-
body wanted him to marry the child, if he
would but have let her alone."

Mr. Moncton could not quite get over
Hartley's resignation for a long time. And
when he told his wife about the letter, they
grieved, in secret from themselves, so to say,
over this miscarriage of one who had been
dearer to them than their own son.

Giles was possessed by his indignation.
He tried to talk to Etta about it, but she
would have none of it ; and even Ada turn-
ed a scornful ear to her brothers heroics.
But, none the less, Giles was possessed by
his indignation, and seemed to enjoy keenly
the rare luxury of moral superiority. He
determined that he would not wait for
chance to bring him into contact with Hart-
ley ; he would look out for him ; he would
go in quest of him ; he would beard him in
his den. By these leaps Giles vaulted to
the summit of his purpose, and then there
came a pause and a slight reaction. He
would not go to-night, at all events. This



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. O

was in the evening of the clay following that
on which Mr. Moncton had received Hart-
ley's letter.

The next day Giles was making a call, as
sometimes, though not often, unless it were
upon a bachelor acquaintance of the brandy-
and-water and broad joke type, he did.
The excuse for his weakness upon the pre-
sent occasion was that, having seen one of
the ladies of the house at his mother's a few
evenings before, he had been so struck with
her, that her image had seriously disturbed
the calm equanimity with which he usually
passed on from the important hour of break-
fast, through the still more important hour
of dinner, to the hours, most important of
all, of good-fellowship and languid dissipa-
tion that closed the day. This lady was not
a stranger to Giles, but she had never be-
fore had the honour to attract his attention;
and it may be that his new-born acquaint-
ance with the emotion of love, even though
that emotion was not of a keener intensity
than the passions of an oyster, say, helped
somewhat to quicken his indignation against



6 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

the fickleness or the treason of Hartley.

The ladies upon whom Giles was calling
were a Mrs. Eythorne and her two daugh-
ters, Frances and Sophia. Sophia was the
younger, and the elect of Giles's devotion.
Her responsiveness did not seem great, and,
indeed, all three of the ladies appeared to
be rather amused than anything else at
Giles's call.

Giles, however, did his best bravely.

" I wanted to call ever so long ago — the
day after you were at our house, in fact,"
he said ; " but I have been so busy, that I
could not manage it."

"Sirs. Eythorne looked gravely sympa-
thetic at the extent of Giles's burdens and
duties ; but Frances said —

"Oh! do you work, Mr. Giles? I
thought you never did anything but smoke.
Tell us what you do, and what has made
you so busy."

Giles laughed, as if a delicate compliment
had been paid him, and said —

" Thought I did nothing but smoke, did
you?" And then to Sophia, with a touch



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 7

of bovine tenderness in his manner — " Did
you think so too, Miss Sophia?"

Miss Sophia was not sure that she had
thought about it at all, but she made no
doubt that, had she done so, she should
have arrived at the same conclusion as her
sister. Like her sister, too, she should im-
mensely like to know what his occupations
really were.

Giles was in the middle of a full account
of his many cares and duties, when a fresh
caller was announced, under the name of
" Mr. Hartley Leighton."

This was Hartley's first visit to the Ey-
thornes since his return from his holiday.
Mrs. Eythorne and her daughters knew no-
thing of what had passed in the Moncton
family these latter days, so they received
their new visitor all unsuspicious of the
storm that was hanging over their heads.

Hartley came into the room with his old
easy manner of assured welcomeness as
strong upon him as ever. To have looked
at him, you would have felt sure that no
cloud had ever crossed his heart or life.



b ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

"Well," he said, shaking hands with Mrs.
Eythorne and her daughters, " I hope you
have been pining to see me. I couldn't get
here before, but I have been thinking about
you night and day."

" Of course we have been pining for you,
and of course you have been thinking about
us," said Mrs. Eythorne, as she would have
done to her own son, had he made a similar
nonsense-speech; while the girls smiled, and
beamed upon him as if he were a very wel-
come visitor indeed.

Giles was standing by, not softened in his
feelings towards Hartley by the reception
to which he was witness ; in a minute Hart-
ley saw him.

" Ah ! Giles," said he, with scarcely a
flicker in his manner, and holding out his
hand — " I didn't see you."

Giles scowled upon him, and kept back
his hand. " I don't shake hands with a vil-
lain," he said.

Hartley's face flushed, and the ladies
opened their eyes in unmeasured astonish-
ment.



ONE MAIDEX ONLY. \)

" You are risht ; nor I with an ill-bred
churl henceforth," Hartley said, turning
contemptuously from him.

Giles glared upon him.

" What do you mean by an ill-bred churl,
you impertinent puppy and scoundrel ?" he
said.

"What do I mean by an ill-bred churl ?"
Hartley said, looking round full in Giles's
face — " I mean you, man ; don't you know
yourself after all these years ?" Then, turn-
ing to Mrs. Eythorne, he said, " I'll go —
shall I ?"

" I think you had better," she answered ;
and smiling round at the girls, he went.

Giles stood glaring, his face as red as
brandy and water could have made it, al-
most, and, for a minute, too full of his pas-
sion to find words for its utterance. Then
he burst out —

" The sneaking liar and impostor ! I al-
ways hated the beast, with his fine airs, and
silky manners, and confounded imperti-
nence ; I should like to whip him to death
like a dog. You may smile at him, and



10 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

make much of him as long as you like, and
then he'll turn upon you, and jilt you and
insult you just as he has my poor sister at
home. The smooth-faced, scoundrel, I hate
him ! "

"I think you had better go, my dears,"
Mrs. Eythorne said to her daughters ; and
the girls went, paying no adieux to Giles.
Then she said to him, " I must beg you not
to repeat the favour of this call, Mr. Monc-
ton ; and you will, I hope, permit me to say
that, if your sister has been injured by any
one, or if you think that she has, a repetition
of such scenes as this will scarcely be the best
thing that you can do to win her thanks for
your championship."

Giles understood little more of this speech
than the part that told him that he was not
to repeat his call ; and this part did not tend
to soothe his passion, or to chasten his lan-
guage. He broke out in a fresh burst of
abuse and hate against Hartley, and only
when Mrs. Eythorne hadleft the room, saying,
" I regret that I must leave you, sir," did
his words stop. Then he went downstairs,



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 11

and a servant met him and let him out, and
shut behind hint the door of Mrs. Eythorne's
house, and that other door which opened on
bright visions of an oyster-paradise, his no
more for ever. Giles, however, had not
gone many steps from the door of paradise,
before another object than his lost visions
challenged his attention.

Hartley, as soon as he had left Mrs. Ey-
thorne's house, had gone on to make another
call. But as he went he thought, and think-
ing, it occurred to him that his just-accom-
plished act might very easily take the con-
struction of his having been prompt to get
out of Giles's way. Now, ordinarily, he
w x ould have been in no impatient hurry to
redeem his character from the suspicion of
cowardice. At the present time, however,
two things marred his calm belief in the
power of his courage to vindicate itself. One
of these was the fact that he carried a not
quite easy conscience in his bosom; the other
that the plans he had already begun to form
left but little time in which this vindication
could take place. So, moved by these



12 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

thoughts, when he had gone a little way
from Mrs. Eythorne's house, he half- uncon-
sciously turned back, and in so doing brought
himself face to face with Giles. Each man
saw the other approaching before they ac-
tually met, and Giles's hot indignation blazed
up into fury at the sight of his enemy.
Hartley was calm ; contempt made him that.
Giles's insulting words had had little power
to sting him, even at the moment ; and now
he was indifferent to them. As he came up
to Giles, he looked towards him, not essay-
ing to stop unless the other accosted him,
but simply to show that he was not afraid.
Giles, however, drew up in front of him.

" Well, you sneaking coward," he said ;
"I've got you at last, have I ?"

" I came back in case you might wish to
renew our conversation in this less inappro-
priate place."

"Did you? Curse you ! It would have
made little difference to me if you had run
a hundred miles. I'd have tracked you to
your kennel, wherever you might have crept
to!"



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 13

" You surpass yourself, my dear sir. But
my ears are delicate. If you have nothing
more pleasant or more to the point to
say, I'll pass on."

u Curse you ! You won't pass on till I've
done with you, and that won't be just this
moment, I can tell you ! "

Giles's passion had mastered him, and for
a moment it took the place of the courage
of which he had not too much. As he spoke,
he put his hand on Hartley's arm to stop
him as he made to move on.

Hartley flashed at that. With his other
hand he pushed Giles sharply back, saying
as he did so —

" Touch me, you cur? Keep your foul
hands to yourself."

Giles staggered back, but kept his feet.
Then, with the walking-stick he held in his
hand, he aimed a savage blow at Hartley's
face, which, missing the face, came down
upon his ear, and maddened him with a
stinging pain that was almost intolerable for
the moment. But he caught hold of the
stick as it glanced from his face, and wrench-



14 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

ing it from Giles's hand, he flung it out across
the road. Then, springing at him, he struck
him a telling blow between the eyes, and
the ox was felled.

For a moment Hartley stood over his
enemy. He was a couple of inches shorter,
and a stone or two lighter, perhaps, but
every ounce of him was good healthy flesh
and bone, while Giles was pulpy with brandy
and beer and smoke.

Giles struggled up, cursing and swearing
as even he had never done before, and
rushed blindly on Hartley. It was soon
over, and in a moment he was down again,
more heavily than at first. Hartley stood,
looking double his proper size and power,
flashing down upon him. By him stood
some railings that shut in the area of the
house opposite which they were. It took
but an instant. Stooping quickly, he caught
hold of the body of his prostrate foe with
both hands, and lifting him by a sudden
strain and jerk over the railings, he dropped
him into the area below. The fall was eight
feet.



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 15

The street in which this battle took place
was a quiet one, yet before the encounter
was over more than one spectator was with-
in seeing range. The fact moved Hartley
but little, and as soou as he had emptied his
hands of Giles, he walked as proudly away
as though a very St. George had dealt final
justice upon the great dragon himself. Then
he went back to Mrs. Eythorne's house.

Mrs. Eythorne received him gravely. She
had been pondering what had happened.
With Giles and his coarse tongue she had
certainly no sympathy. But there was pro-
bably a cause for his anger, and if the cause
were such as his words implied, then there
was reason why she should look gravely at
Hartley.

" I am very glad you have come back,"
she said; "that man's words have made me
feel uncomfortable about you."

" Uncomfortable about me ! Why, I
wonder ?"

" I should not like that which he seemed
to imply to be true."

" You would not think the worse of me



16 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

for anything that he could say, I should
hope."'

" I certainly would not if you told me
that what he said was untrue. What did he
mean by saying that you had jilted and in-
sulted his sister ?"

" "Whatever he meant, he lied, for I have
done neither."

"I do not ask you to tell me anything
that you do not wish to tell," Mrs. Eythorne
said ; " but I should be very glad to be sure
that no one has a right to complain of you."

Hartley had told himself again and again
that no one had a right to complain of him,
but that rather he had a right to complain
of a great many people. But now when
Mrs. Eythorne asked him to assert his con-
viction, he could not quite manage it. He
tried, and his inability to do so irritated him,
so he said, instead,

" As for that, people, with or without
right, complain of so many things, that he
is a fortunate man whom no one finds fault
with."

Mrs. Eythorne felt that Hartley had de-



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 17

clined to answer her doubts. She was very
sorry. She liked him warmly ; yet now she
could not doubt that Giles and his family had
some reason to feel aggrieved at his behavi-
our to them.

Then the girls came in, and the conversa-
tion turned to indifferent matters. Hartley
talked freely, yet he could not carry himself
after his usual fashion, and he left, feeling
that he must not count upon the Eythornes
being as great friends to him as heretofore.

As he walked to his rooms, he was at
first half inclined to call himself a fool for
having gone back to the Evthornes at all.
But upon this point he presently altered
his mind. He must have crone some
time and soon ; and whenever he had
gone, he would have had the same diffi-
culty to grapple with that he had now so
poorly met. Yet he did not see how he
could have met it better. That he and the
Monctons had parted, and that the Monc-
tons felt themselves aggrieved by him, must
have come to be known, and the rest fol-
lowed. A certain amount of gossip was in-

VOL II. c



18 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

evitable after all that had happened. He
must grin and bear it. Yet his grin, as he
came to this conclusion, was not a cheerful
one, for to men of Hartley's type there are
few things more hateful than the being un-
favourably talked over.

One practical effect the events of the
morning had upon Hartley. Notwithstand-
ing he had cut himself off from all to whom
he was most closely bound, he had, until
now, still felt a lingering desire to cling, in
some sort, to his old life and his old con-
nexions, on account of the many faces that
smiled on him wherever he went. But
now, if these smiling faces were to become
critical faces, and if words of praise were to
turn into words of gossip or blame, then he
had no desire to continue in his old sur-
roundings. Better strange faces than criti-
cal ones ; he could soon teach new faces to
smile on him, he thought; and so his resolve
was brought to full ripeness.

One present satisfaction he had, and keen-
ly enjoyed. He had humbled that bully
Giles. For some time past his part had



ONE MAIDEN ONLY. 1 9

been to receive rather than to administer
humiliation. But at last the tables were
turned, and the picture of Giles prostrate
under his blow, and ludicrous under his
later punishment, afforded him satisfaction
enough to more than balance the annoyance
that the morning had brought him. The
glow of a great satisfaction was upon him,
and he went home in better spirits than he
had known for a good many days past.

Meantime, Giles was in the area, or in
process of delivery therefrom. The two
heavy falls that Hartley had given him upon
the pavement above had taken a good deal
out of him ; and when he found himself
dropped so unceremoniously into the area,
he was finished, courage and all. He did not
even any more swear, and than this no com-
pleter proof of utter collapse could have come
from him. For a minute he lay still upon the
area floor, and by the end of this time two or
three passers-by had reached the spot, and
were looking down over the railings upon
his prostrate form. Then, with some little
difficulty, for he was pretty well bruised, he

c 2



20 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

got up, and cast about for the means of es-
cape. But there were no means ; the walls
of the area were too smooth to be scaled,
and of steps there were none. All the time
the passers-by looked down from above, not
whollv grave of countenance, and their at-
tentioDS and comments afforded him neither
comfort nor encouragement. In a little
time the crowd around the area attracted
the notice of the inhabitants of the house,
and then the cause of the gathering was
soon made known. Giles was admitted
through the door of the kitchen into the
house, and the explanation of his mysteri-
ous appearance in the area was asked of
him. The- explanation he gave was very
obviously false, but, by the mercy of his
jailers, he was suffered to depart, though
amid their ill-concealed smiles, as soon as
the crowd that awaited his exit through the
street-door had lost their patience and de-
parted. Then he went home and brushed
his clothes with his own hands, but he never
spoke of the pain that all attitudes of sitting
and standing for some davs caused him, nor



ONE MAIDEN OXLY. 21

did he tell Etta of all his achievements in
his championship of her fair name and fame.

But the outside world was less discreet.
Gradually the rumour spread that a quarrel
had taken place between the Monctons and
Hartley ; and then, with more or less ac-
curacy, the cause of the quarrel came to
be stated. Presently the story of the
combat between Hartley and Giles was
passed about, and the area scene, embel-
lished by the imaginations of many tellers,
figured conspicuously in the narrative. And
in due course all this came to the ears of the
Moncton family, and made them very angry
indeed. Etta would not speak to her bro-
ther for weeks after, and Ada laughed in
his face, almost, whenever she met him.

" A pretty thing, isn't it, to have such a
confounded fool of a son ?" said Mr. Monc-
ton ; and, indeed, the storm that pelted
down upon the head of Giles was so fierce,
that Mrs. Moncton was moved to the defence
of her hopeful first-born.

" Poor Giles !" said she, " you needn't all
be so hard upon him. I'm sure he meant



22 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

well, after all, however it may have turned
out."

" Meant well, did he, the ass !" said Mr.
Moncton, with an air of unutterable scorn —
" it's a pity he should have departed from
his rule for this once, and to such purpose.
I hope to goodness he will never mean well
again as long as he lives ; he is much less
unpleasant and dangerous when he means
ill, the idiot ! "

So, neither in mind nor in muscle, did
Giles reap reward or satisfaction from his
heroic deeds on behalf of his injured sister.
That Mr. Moncton's fervent aspiration after
his son's persistent continuance in ill-mean-
ing would be realised, seemed more likely
now than ever ; for while he loved his kin-
dred and all his kind less than ever he had
done, he hated Hartley with an intensity
that was wholly out of proportion to all his
previous sentiments, and seemed monstrous
in its contrast with all the other faint notes
of the series of oyster emotions that com-
pleted the gamut of his heart.



23



CHAPTER II.

TN his letter to the directors, Hartley had
requested that he might be permitted
to abstain from at all entering upon the
duties of his new appointment. The re-
quest, in the nature of the case, could not
but be complied with ; and as, by accepting
the new appointment, he had become sepa-
rated from the old one, he was free altoge-
ther, and at once.

How, now, should he use his freedom,
was the question. He had the world to
begin again. How and where should he
begin it ? He had a considerable number
of friends still, of whatever quality they
might be. Of what quality toere they?
How would they serve him, if he attempted
to use them ? — and should he attempt to use
them ? These and such questions Hartley
pondered for some time, and then the an-



24 ONE MAIDEN ONLY.

swer came out clear and distinct. He would
begin the world again, but not in the old
surroundings. It should be a new world as
well as a new beginning. Of whatever
quality his friends might be, he would not
try them ; he would be his own friend this
time. He was free — he would be free to
some purpose. So he resolved, and before
long all his acquaintance knew that Hartley
Leighton meant to travel.

With present properties he was not so
burdene^that their disposing took long to
accomplish. He had rather expensive rooms
on his hands ; these he gave notice that he
would leave in a fortnight. He had some
clothes ; these he would carry with him.
He had a number of books ; some of these
he sold, others he gave away, and the rest


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