Elizabeth Missing Sewell.

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uprising books of valuable information and acknowleH
'till adapter! for readinjr wJiilf rr'tvf»"iti'r. ^nl n'^'i '>f n r'lfim- •
tliiin worthy of preservation.

/./*/ of ihe 39 Volumes alreaoy

1. Mr. Macaulay's Essays on Warrbn Hastinus and l^uni) Ci.i
•2 Mr. jMacaulay's Essays on Pirrand Chatham, Uankk&Gl

'■'>. Laing's Residence in N«irway

4. Ida Pfkiffer's Lady's Voyage Round the Worli'

:>. Eothen, or Tr.aces of Travel from the East

u. Mr. Macaulay's Essays on Addison, Walpole, ill

7. Hue's Travels in Tartary, Thib^.t, and China

s. Thomas HoLCRoFT's Memoirs

t. Werne's African Wandkrino!}

ii». Airs. Jameson's tJKETCHEs inCanadi

) 1. Jerrmann's Pictures from tiT. PE'rKR^iil !.■

12. The Rev. G. R, Glkio's Leii'sic Campaign. .

i.'{. Hughes's Australian Colonies

14. Sir Edward Seaward's Shipwreck

">. Alexandre Dumas' Me.moirs of a Maure-d'Arm

It). (juR Coal Fields ani Our Coal Pits

7. M'Culloch's l^oNDON ; and Gironiere's Philippine;-

■->. Sir Roger de Coverley ; and Southey's Love Stokv

,,, r Lord Carlisle's Lectures ami Addresses; am'

■ \ Jeffrey's E.-iSAYS on Swifp and Richardson.. .

'H. Hope's Bible in Uriitany, and Chase in Hritt.v.^ ^
-1. The Electric Telivoraph ; and Natural History of (

2. Me.moir of the JDuKE of Wellington ; Life of AL^iRSH \ i
r-,. Turkey and Chuistenoo.m ; and Ranke's Ferdin A M v
,. rBAURow's CoNTiNEXT.AL Toi-R ; and„

■ \ Ferguson's Swiss Men and Swiss Mountains . .
,- f Souvestre's Attic Philosopher in Paris ;

" I Working Man's Confessions

,(- f Mr. Macaulay's F^sAVson LniiD Byron & tin- 1 <■
" '■ L and his Speeches on Paklia.mentary Reform 1 1
,_ rSHiRLEY Brooks's RussiA\<<ofihe South ; and -i

'■ iDr. Kemp's IxDiCATio.xs of Instinct /

's.'s Adventures iu the Wilds of Ni>«TH A ^

J,t. Russia. By the Marquis I )e Custine

u). Selections from the Rev. Sydney Smith's Writi
^. I BoDENSTEDTiind Wagn er's ScH AM yL ; and>

■ I M'Culloch's Russia and Turkey ^

■2. Laing's Notes of a Traveller, First -

>:5. DuRRiEu's Morocco ; and an Essay en \l'
I. Ramrlks in Iceland, hy Pi.iNY Miles ...
;.'. Selections from Sydney Smith's Writini.


' I Miss Ma yne's Arctic Voyages and |)iscaVERiE>
17. Cornwall: Its Mines, Miners, and Scenery .
iS. De Foe and Church ilu By John Forsteb, Esq.
i'.». Greoorovius's Corsica, transiatMl by Russrll M


VOL. n.







London :
A. and G. A. Spo ttiswoode,





Tho' justice be thy plea, consider this,

That in the course of justice none of us

Should see salvation." — Tlie Merchant of Venice.





{.The Author of this work reaenes the right of authorising a Translation of it."]

7 ^fu^s/S'S^^



The evening at the Rectory had been more pleasant
than at the Lodge. The hour for tea was earlier, at
least, nominally, though Mr. Lester's engagements
did not always admit of his being punctuah This
evening he happened to be very fairly at leisure, and
had given Rachel more of his time than he was often
able to do. They were very precious hours for
Rachel, which were thus snatched from other duties.
They tended more to enlarge and form her mind
than any which were devoted to regular study. Mr.
Lester's character was peculiarly simple, notwith-
standing the depth of his intellect. He never dogma-
tised, or patronised, even when talking to a child.
There was no effort to obtain influence or produce an
effect, and so conversation, with him, even when
touching upon the most abstruse subjects, flowed
easily, because no one could feel shy, or be afraid of
betraying ignorance, before one who never seemed to
lose the consciousness that he himself was but a

It was this characteristic which had so tended to
develope Rachel's intellect. It had been nurtured in




a genial atmosphere, free from the blight of coldness,
or the stunting influence of condescension, or the
weakness caused by the cultivation of any faculty
merely for the purpose of display. She was not quick
in acquiring mere knowledge, and had therefore never
been considered clever ; and this, perhaps, was rather
an advantage, since it served to make her like her
father, simple-minded and free from self-consciousness.
But she had great powers of comprehension, and could
grasp a vast idea almost as it seemed by intuition,
even when she Avas unable to follow out the detailed
evidence by which it was supported. If Mr. Lester's
mind had been controversial, this alone would not
have satisfied him ; if he had found pleasure in rea-
soning for the sake of controversy, or delighted in
argument from the love of victory, he would have
required a companion Avho could at times throw down
the gauntlet against him, and give interest to his
researches by opposition. But truth alone was his
object ; and if all the world could see and recognise
truth, he was only so much the better pleased. And
it was very pleasant to find a willing listener always
ready at his fireside, and to listen to Rachel's remark,
and set her difiiculties at rest. Intelligent ignorance
is most valuable when we are endeavouring to reason
correctly. It makes us view our theories from many
difierent points ; and those, peculiarly, which our
own preconceived ideas would have been likely to
hide from us ; and Mr. Lester often learnt more from
Ilachel's humble question, how can that be, Papa?
than he would have done from hours of study.

The danger was lest this kind of abstract specula-


tion should be too absorbing for botli. With a less
amount of conscientiousness, it might have rendered
them unreal. But Mr. Lester's own training had
taught him, as a moral caution, the lesson which is
sometimes learnt to our cost, in another sense, by the
bitter experience of life. " Save me from my friends,
I can save myself from my enemies," would have been
translated by him, though only in a secondary sense,
" Save me from my virtues, I can save myself from
my vices." His warnings to Eachel were but the ex-
pression of those which he gave to himself; and fear-
ful of the enticing nature of such intercourse, he
continually checked and limited it, never allowing it
to interfere with the slightest practical duty, even
when a plausible reason for the indulgence could be
brought forward, and always, if possible, deducing-
even from the most abstruse theories some definite
conclusion which might operate upon the daily course
of life.

A conversation of this kind had been carried on by
the flickering, cheerful firelight ; Mr. Lester leaning
forward with his arm round Rachel's neck, and Rachel
on her low stool, resting her head against his knees.
He had been explaining to her the kind of argument
used in Bishop Butler's Analogy, — trying to make
her comprehend the true strength and goodness which
are to be found in being contented with the faith of
probability, rather than the certainty of demonstra-
tion ; or rather not so much endeavouring to make
her understand, as pouring forth his own ideas, — show-
ing her how the argument had worked upon his own
mind. And Rachel was drinking in his words, find-
B 2


ing in them, not indeed an answer to the difficulties
which her working, thoughtful mind, often suggested ;
but that calm, trusting, enduring principle, based
upon the consciousness of our own infinite ignorance
and God's Almighty Wisdom, which, if we think at
all, can alone support us through the mysterious
scenes of this mortal existence.

It was not quite agreeable to be recalled from these
favourite subjects, and the enjoyment of the hour so
rarely free from interruption, yet Mr. Lester did not
even look annoyed when Bertha's knock was heard at
the door, and Rachel only said, " It is over now.
Papa, thank you so very much," and kissed him, and
moved away before the door opened, that Miss Camp-
bell — for she guessed it could be no one else — might
not think she had disturbed them.

Bertha entered the room slowly, and, after saying
that she was afraid she had interrupted them, sat
down by the fire. Rachel begged her to take off her
bonnet and shawl, but she declined, still in the same
unmoved voice which gave no indication as to wh}"-
she had come, or how long she intended to stay. Mr.
Lester was used to her however, and went at once to
the point. " Do you wish to see me for any thing
particular ? "

" Thank you, I should like to say a few words to
you, alone."

" Then, Rachel, run and see if the fire is burning in
my study ; perhaps, we had better go in there."

" I won't keep you long," said Bertha.

" The study is tlie best place for business, whether
it be long or short," said Mr. Lester ; and to the study
they went.


Rachel asked for the lamp, and began her evening
work for the poor; her thoughts occupied with all
her father had been saying, whilst her fingers moved

" Clement has been with Goff again to-night,"
began Bertha at once. She was abrupt upon prin-
ciple, when business was concerned, from an idea
that abruptness was a species of honesty.

" Has he ? when, and how long ? " Mr. Lester
always treated her in her own way, and never offered
consolation or sympathy till every thing relating to
the matter before them had been said.

" My mother sent him to the Hall on a message. I
did not think it desirable, but she was determined.
Clement met Goff coming home, and stayed with him
nearly three quarters of an hour beyond his time. At
least — no — I can't be sure that he stayed -with him all
the time, but he was certainly three quarters of an
hour behind time."

*' And what excuse does he make for himself ? "

" None ; I did not give him the opportunity. An-
other thing I wanted to say. Your servan t took the
letters to the post to-day, and met Goff, and allowed
him to carry them for her. I don't think that is

Mr. Lester's countenance changed. ** Took them,
do you say ? Did she let him have them ? "

" Yes, so the children told me."

Mr. Lester rang the bell. It was answered by th^
delinquent Anne.

Bertha turned round upon her sharply; but Mr.
Lester spoke very gently, much more gently than

B 3


when he was addressing Bertha : " Anne, j'ou took
the letters to the post to-day?"

« Yes, Sir."

" Did you put them in yourself ? "

A blush, and a hesitation. " I gave them, Sir,
that is, I took care that they should be put in."

"That is not the point. Did you put them in
yourself ? "

" No, Sir ; but " Anne looked round for help, but

there was none to be obtained from Bertha.

" Don't be frightened, there is no good in excuses.
Who did put them in ? "

"Anne's voice trembled, and her tears began to
flow, as if sentence against her had been already
passed. " I met Goff, Sir, and he was very civil ; and
I was so busy ; and I didn't know you would mind."

"And you gave them to him ? Did you ever do so

"Yes, Sir; I think so."

"Recollect, you must be quite sure. You have
given them to him before ? "

" I can't tell, I don't remember. Please, Sir, don't
send me away, I will never do so again."

" Foolish girl ! You will be certain of being sent
away if you deceive me. Let me know at once how
long you have been in the habit of allowing this man
to take the letters for you."

Mr. Lester doubtless intended to be gentle still,
but his uneasiness and anxiety gave a sternness to his
voice, and an impatience to his manner, which ef-
fectually frightened poor Anne, and without any fur-
ther attempt at excuse she poured forth a confession
which, though comparatively slight in its evil as


regarded herself, was the cause of the most painful
misgivings as to the affairs in which Mr. Lester was

It seemed that Goff had for a long period been
endeavouring to make friends with Anne, always
putting himself in her way, talking to her, and from
her obtaining a good deal of information as to the
proceedings at the Parsonage and the Lodge. Anne
had given her information in the simplicity of her
heart, not in the least intending to do harm, not
knowing that what she was saying could be of the
slightest consequence, but only at first yielding to the
love of gossip, and perhaps a little intimidated by the
questions of her interrogator, which were generally
put in such a way as to give her little choice as to
her answers. By degrees, however, he had drawn
her into a confidence Avhich she herself saw to be
wrong and dangerous, but it was then out of her
power, or at least so she thought it, to recede. When-
ever she went out, Goff met her, persecuting her with
questions, and threatening her mysteriously if she
refused to answer them. However she might try to
avoid him he was sure to cross her path ; most es-
pecially he put himself in her way, as had happened
on the present occasion, when she was entrusted with
the letters for the post, sometimes making her show
him the directions, and more than once inducing
her to give them up to him. Anne's excuse was that
she could see no harm ; it did not seem to her that it
signified much whether one person or another took
them. ; and it saved her a walk which she was very
glad oP, as she had so much to do. Yet she was forced

B 4


to acknowledge that she never came back without a
fear of being scolded, if she was found out, and for
that reason had carefully avoided letting her fellow-
servant know what she had done.

It was one of those many instances in which a
fault has been committed much greater than has been
intended or understood, but for which there is little
excuse, since the warning of conscience ought to
have been a sufficient safeguard. Anne was dis-
missed with a severe reprimand, and cried bitterly
when she was told that her master had lost his con-
fidence in her ; but Mr. Lester's thoughts were at the
moment too painfully occupied to permit him to dwell
long upon her share of the offence ; and as the door
closed behind her, he sat down, and forgetting Ber-
tha's presence, gave way to a train of perplexing

Bertha remained by him unmoved. She would
have waited for an hour without interrupting him,
but her patience was not quite so sorely tried. Mr.
Lester looked up at length, and said, " We have been
utterly outwitted by him."

" I hope not," was Bertha's quiet answer.

" Wliat hope do you see ? " inquired Mr. Lester,

" K he had discovered any thing, we should have
known it before this. At the utmost, he can but

" I would not trust. He might know every thing,
and still keep quiet till the last moment. This affair
of the letters, you see, has been going on for some


" Yes." Bertha looked more anxiously grave.
" I will take them myself for the future."

" Or I will ; we can trust no one but ourselves.
But I think less of that." He paused ; then added,
suddenly, " What do you say to the time being
arrived for the decisive step ? "

The colour rushed to Bertha's cheek in a quick
glow, and faded away as suddenly. " Oh, Mr. Lester,
do you at last say that ? "

" I see no other alternative. The moment the fact
of Vivian's being in England is absolutely known, or
even very probably suspected, we are exposed to
schemes against which it is impossible for us to be
on our guard. Goff may have opened our letters, or
he may not ; at any rate, it is clear he has found out
that Mr. Bruce is not Mr. Bruce, or he would have
had no curiosity in the matter."

" And you would have Edward go openly to his
father ? " inquired Bertha.

" I see nothing else that is to be done."

" But, dear Mr. Lester, you speak so despondingly."

He hesitated for an instant ; then he said, " I
have seen General Vivian to-day."

" And you have sounded him ? Why didn't you
tell me before ? "

" I sounded him as much as I dared, with regard
to Clement; but he has entrenched himself within
a wall of false principles, and there is no reaching

" And you don't think that Edward's appearance
in person will have any effect ? A father ! it must
soften him."


" And it may harden him ; he may, I think he
will, call it a fresh act of disobedience."

Bertha looked discouraged. " There is no time
to work upon him," she said, " as we had hoped,
through the children."

" No ; and if there were, I am afraid I should not
be very sanguine as to the result."

" General Vivian is too keen-sighted not to see
Ella's faults, even if they were less hidden than they
are," replied Bertha.

" Yes ; and there is the old prejudice."

" She is a Campbell," said Bertha, bitterly. "Little
enough the Campbells would have to do with the
Vivians if they could help it."

Mr. Lester laid his hand kindly upon hers ; yet
there was reproof in his tone, as he said, " I hoped
that old feeling had been buried."

Bertha coloured. " General Vivian takes pains to
revive it," she said.

" It must be buried, if there is to be any hope of
success with us. We must trust almost every thing
to you and Mildred, and you must therefore be

Bertha was silent.

" You will find her anxious to prove herself a
friend," continued Mr. Lester gravely.

" She has made no advances," was the reply.

" Is that quite a fair judgment?" replied Mr. Les-
ter, "considering how little she is her own mistress.
And surely she has sent you kind messages."

Bertha's habitual candour conquered her momen-
tary pique. " I dare say Miss Vivian has done all


that I ought to expect," she said; "but it is very
difficult to forget that if it had not been for the old
family feud, poor Flora must have been received by
them, and all that happened afterwards would have
been spared. There was no fault in her."

" Miss Vivian feels this as much as you do," re-
plied Mr. Lester ; " and you, on your part, must
consider that, but for what, no doubt, there was
cause to consider an unfortunate attachment to your
sister, her only brother might never have been an
exile from his home. I don't say this to pain you,"
he continued, observing Bertha's face of distress ;
" I only wish to make you view the question from
both sides. It may be most essential that there
should be no misunderstanding between you and
Mildred. You have both something to forget and
to forgive, as regards your family histories."

"I will try not to be prejudiced," said Bertha;
but the tone implied a mental reservation.

" And you will succeed," replied Mr. Lester, " if
you don't attempt too much. These vague feelings
of family dislike are scarcely to be combated like
actual faults. We can only accept them, and deal
with them as we do with individual characteristics,
— negatively, that is, rather than positively."

" I don't quite understand," replied Bertha.

" What I mean to say is, that we can't actually
make ourselves, all at once, forget them, or feel as if
they did not exist, any more than we can suddenly
become insensible to certain peculiarities of manner
or expression which may offend us ; but we can pre-
vent ourselves from allowing them to weigh with us


unduly ; and it is always in our power to put them
aside in action."

" I have never seen Mss Vivian yet," replied
Bertha ; " so there have been few opportunities for

" She would like to see you as soon as you can
make it convenient to go to her ; the sooner now, I
think, the better. She is one with us, and has, I
think, quite forgiven the concealment of Mr. Bruce's

Bertha seemed undetermined ; and said she could
not perceive what good was likely to accrue from
the meeting.

" Essential good, if our hopes should fail," replied
Mr. Lester. " In that case you will be the only per-
son to keep up an}'- satisfactory communication be-
tween Mildred and the children. Poor Vivian will
be more cut off than ever."

" I am so unfortunate and awkward," said Bertha.
'• I feel that I mar every thing I come in contact
with. I don't mean it, I am sure," she added as
tears rose to her eyes.

Mr. Lester answered eagerly : " No, I am sure you
don't. Perhaps, — don't think I am taking a liberty
in saying so, — perhaps contact with another mind
may throw more light upon your own. Only, I will
just remind you, — you mustn't think it necessary to
fall in love with Mildred."

Bertha smiled in spite of herself. " Not much fear
of that," she said.

" I am not so sure. I really believe that conscien-
tious people have great difficulty in accepting anti-


patliies, and so they make violent efforts to overcome
them, which have just the contrary effect from that

" The antipathies are wrong, of course," replied

" Their indulgence is Avrong, but the feeling
may be the result of circumstances beyond our own
control, and we are much more likely to be just
to persons v.Oien we acknowledge to ourselves we have
a prejudice against them, than when we try to conceal
the fact and persuade ourselves that we are fond of
them. But w^e must leave all that now. I am sure
you will try to understand Miss Vivian, and I hope
when I come back from London I shall hear that you
have met."

" Are you going to London ? " inquired Bertha

" I think I must see Vivian ; but I shall only be
absent two or three days."

" And he will come down at once then ? "

" He will wish to do so, I suspect ; any risk will
seem better than the monotonous life he has been
leading. But even without this fresh call, I think
I must have gone to talk to him about what is to be
done with Clement. The General offers to assist in
placing him with a private tutor."

Bertha's countenance brightened. " Oh ! then, he
does acknowledge a duty."

" Partly ; I don't mean to be perverse, but I
honestly would rather he did not. Persons are so
difficult to deal with who go half-way with a duty,
and then say good-b'ye to it. He promised, — let


me see — I made a memorandum as to tlie conversa-
tion when I came away."

Mr. Lester felt for his pocket-book, and in doing
so took out his handkerchief, and with it the paper
which he had, without knowing it, brought away
from the Hall. It fell upon the table, and Bertha
took it up. " Is this it ? " she said.

" Thank you, no : I wrote it on a blank leaf"
Without looking at the paper, and supposing it to be a
bill, Mr. Lester placed it in the pocket of his little
book, and then proceeded to read to Bertha the heads
of his morning conversation.

" You see," he said, when he had ended, " there is
little if any hope : the feeling is as strong — stronger
perhaps than ever ; and each day that goes by
strengthens it, by enlisting pride in support of what
seems justice. No, we have now only one alternative,
to make a last appeal to the General's feelings, and
possibly in doing that we may find the clue to John
Vivian's rascality, and so at least place Vivian's
conduct in its true light, even if we can do nothing

" And if all should fail, Edward must return to
Jamaica," said Bertha.

"I trust not that ; he would never stand it : we must
make a home for him somewhere ; and with you and
Mildred to feel with him we may hope that it may be
fairly happy. But that is running on very fiir
ahead, and we must not forget Goff and the present

" I don't see what is to be done about him," said


" Nothing just now but to watch. Oh ! Clement,
Clement ! the despair it is not to be able to trust

" And he piques himself so upon being honourable,
and having the feelings of a gentleman," said Bertha.

" Yes, not at all perceiving that the very essence
of honour is never to abuse confidence."

" Don't you think it might be as well to see him,
and inquire what he has been doing witli himself
this evening ? " asked Bertha.

Mr. Lester considered a little. " I hate being
suspicious, and the very fact of inquiring so minutely
very often suggests deceit. Yet perhaps it may be
as well : I will walk with you across the garden, and
then I will bring him back."

" There is no occasion for that," answered Bertha
in reply. " The moon is just up, and it is quite light.

Online LibraryElizabeth Missing SewellCleve Hall (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 26)