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to his feelings as a gentleman. I have but one mis-
giving, that the old prejudice may still linger so as
to bias his mind, and that the absence of proof will,
without his being aware of it, rankle in his breast.
I believe he will grant John Vivian's offence, and
yet I do not say that he will forgive your brother,
so as to restore him to his inheritance."

" Then be it so," exclaimed Mr. Vivian. " Let
the paltry acres go ; it was not for them that I grieved
when he disinherited me, and it is not for them that
I have sought him now. Let him acknowledge that
I am not the base wretch he thought me, and admit
me to intercourse with my home, and I will be con-
tent. The labour of my own intellect shall, through
God's aid, support me for the future, as it has sup-
ported me during the past, and when I die I shall
have the satisfaction of knowing that not even to
my father was I indebted for my own prosperity, or
that of my children."

" Proud, dearest Edward, still," said Mildred
gently.

" Oh! Mildred, does not this unjust world make
one so ? "

" Yes," and Mildred sighed ; " it is one's struggle."



304 CLEVE HALL.

" To bear punishment and own it to be punish-
ment, Mildred, that is what I find so hard. Yet I
have had many years in which to learn the lesson."

" And many things to teach it you. I must hear
all before long."

" Not till you have told me all. One question I
must ask now." His voice became tremulous and
sank, and Mr. Lester withdrew himself, and walked
to the other end of the apartment. "Mildred, did
Edith think of me as my father did ? "

" Not as he did. He would not tell her what he
thought the truth."

" But she suspected me ?"

" She feared, and the fear "

" Killed her ; I knew it. God forgive and aid
me.

" She had been ill and anxious before," continued
Mildred; "the shock was very great, but it might
only have aggravated, not caused, the evil. She
had a brain fever at the time, but she rallied from
it, and lived many months afterwards."

" And did she speak of me ? Did you talk to-
gether?"

" Alas ! no, that was my grief; but it was all pent
up; it worked inwardly. It was very strange, she
who had been so unreserved before."

" John Vivian's doing," he murmured. " Can it
be possible to forgive ? And all that time she con-
sidered me a wretch, Mildred. ; lost, — sunk."

" Forget it now, Edward. If the dead know the
secrets of the living, she has long since learnt that
you were innocent. If not, the day will come when



CLEVE HALL. 305

she must know it. It was God who appointed her
trial and ours."

" She thought me guilty," he continued ; " and I
was so, though not as she believed. Oh! Mildred,
the indescribable wretchedness of that time I — but for
my wife, I must have been overwhelmed by it."

" And the years of misery that have followed ! "
continued Mildred : " when my father thinks of them,
he must yield."

" Yet remember, Mildred, it must be to justice,
not compassion. He did me wrong unknowingly ;
when he is convinced of his error, he must do me
right freely. I can accept nothing but pardon for
the oifence I did commit — restitution for the suf-
ferings borne for those which I did not commit."

" You are like him," said Mildred, smiling sadly.

" Then there is the more hope that we may under-
stand each other. For my own reputation's sake, —
my character in the sight of the world, — I must
demand a full acknowledgment that I have been
wronged,"

" And for his own reputation's sake, — his character
in the sight of the world, — he will demand a full
proof that he has wronged you."

Mr. Vivian was silent and very thoughtful.

The remembrance of Bertha's refusal to deliver up
the paper crossed Mildred's mind, but she would not
speak of it ; her brother's countenance showed feel-
ings which needed no aggravation.

Mr. Lester came up to them : " We must go now,
Vivian : remember we have business on our hands,
and explanations to be made to the preventive men,

VOL. II, X



306 CLEVE HALL.

— possibly to the magistrates also, if we wish to pre-
vent inquiry as to Clement's share and Ronald's, and
your own, in this unhappy affair ; and to-morrow
early I have promised to be at the Gorge."

" To see Ronald ?" inquired Mildred. " Is it not a
miserable place for him ? "

" Not miserable, but very uncomfortable. He in-
sisted upon being taken there, as well as he could
insist upon any thing, so utterly exhausted as he
was. He dreaded the Grange evidently."

" He will have no one to take care of him or nurse
him."

" I said so. I urged Mark to carry him to the Rec-
tory, but his agony of distress at the idea was so
great that we were forced to give way. The old
woman who has the charge of Barney is a tolerable
nurse, and Mark has given him up his own bed, and
is off himself to get out of the way of observation.
Yivian and I went Avith Ronald, and saw that he
was in no want of any thing for the present ; and so
we must leave it. To-morrow he may rally, — and
then we may bring him to reason."

" You don't speak very anxiously," said Mildred.

'' The medical opinion is ftivourable. A good deal
of the exhaustion we found proceeded from his having
eaten nothing for many hours. But I don't venture
to say he will recover."

Mr. Vivian had been standing by them in silence.
He bent over his sister and kissed her : " My doing !
Mildred ; the curse falls on all connected with me."

" Dearest Edward ! — the curse is taken away
when there is repentance."



CLEVE HALL. 307

" Not in this world, as regards temporal suffering,"
he replied.

" Save that the suffering may be converted into
blessing," observed Mr. Lester. " And for Eonald,
sorrow would be idle : should he live, he will live
to redeem his name ; should he die, who can doubt
that mercy is in store for him ? "



X 2



308 CLEVE HALL.



CHAP. LI.

" The General has had another attack of faintness,
Sir ; Miss Vivian is with him."

That was the information which greeted Mr. Lester
when he appeared at the Hall the following morning.
Greaves looked uneasy, and spoke anxiously, but said
that Dr. Lawes assured them there was nothing to be
alarmed at.

The intelligence was seconded by a note from
Mildred, written in pencil : " We must be patient.
It is worry of mind. Nothing can be said to him
yet."

Patience was comparatively easy now — at least, for
Mr. Vivian. He had taken up his abode at the Farm
in preference to the Rectory ; and thither Ella was
sent to make what might be called her first acquain-
tance with her father. Louisa and Fanny also were
with him ; whilst Bertha vv-^as preparing Mrs. Camp-
bell's mind for his return. Only Clement was absent.

Mr. Vivian's was one of those easily depressed,
easily excited minds, which seem never entirely to
lose their elasticity ; and now that personal danger
was at an end, and he was restored to the free com-
panionship of his family, he would scarcely allow the
happiness of the present moment to be disturbed by
any fears for the future. He was charmed with



CLEVE HALL. 309

Ella's talents, Louisa's sense, and little Fanny's beauty,
and turned from any remembrance of Clement's mis-
conduct ; till it was forced upon him at last, when
Mr. Lester came, and it was necessary to make in-
quiry into all that had taken place.

Clement's story was short but full of warning. He
had not offended to the full extent intentionally — that
was his excuse ; and yet every word he spoke showed
that most fiital of all intentions, the determination to
follow a weak self-will.

To do him justice, he did not for a moment en-
deavour to evade blame by equivocation. The first
most marked and wilful wandering from the right path
had been the concealment of his visit to the Grange.
Had it been confessed, Mr. Lester's strict injunctions
would have supported his weakness, and probably
enabled him to withstand further temptations. But
once on the downward path, and the impetus of
evil carried him easily forward. His vanity liad
been excited by the praises bestowed upon his quick-
ness in figures ; and under the pretence of being
further useful to Captain Vivian, he had for the
fourth time been enticed by him to the Grange, as
he was returning from the hills. Clement knew he
was doing wrong — he quite confessed it ; but Captain
Vivian, he said, was pressing. In the course of con-
versation it was suggested to him that Captain Vi-
vian's vessel was at Encombe, and upon the point of
making a short sail of about an hour round by Cleve ;
if he Avould only go on board, he was to have a good
lesson in seamanship, and might return almost before
he was missedl

X 3



310 CLEYE HALL.

The offer, accompanied by flattering prophecies
that he would make a first-rate sailor, was too tempt-
ing to be refused. And Clement went with Captain
Vivian to the cliff; and then finding it growing dusk,
wished to return. But he was laughed at, as being
inclined to sneak out of an adventure, and told that
the moon would be up directly ; and so having, as he
fancied, no good excuse, he went. Captain Vivian
he thought meant to accompany him, but at the last
moment he put him in charge of Mark Wood.

From that time Clement's existence had been one
almost of terror. The vessel sailed in the direction
of the opposite coast ; and he found himself in the
hands of men who would neither listen to him nor
explain their intentions. They treated him civilly,
but were deaf to his remonstrances — except that
Mark Wood assured him, from time to time, that no
personal injury was intended him.

If he had erred greatly, the agony of mind of that
one night had been a punishment in which seemed
condensed the lesson of a life. Of what went on in
the vessel Clement was very ignorant. Tliey had
met and spoken with another vessel, and he imagined
had received contraband goods on board ; but he was
kept close in the cabin, and, indeed, was too ill a
great part of the time to enter into anything but his
own sufferings.

Mark Wood waited upon him, and told him when
they were about to return ; but as they neared the
shore Mark left him, and another man. Hale, took
charge of him. He felt himself then a prisoner ; and
from the casual observations which were dropped



CLEVE HALL. 3il

before him, understood the nature of the expedition
in which the men were engaged, and resolved at all
hazards to leave them as soon as they touched the
land. But this he soon found to be impossible.
Hale kept close to him, and had even threatened to
shoot him if he attempted to escape. The result
Mr. Lester and his father already knew.

It was all told concisely and abruptly, drawn from
him in a great measure by questions ; and when at
last the history was ended, Clement stood humbled
and silent, not even venturing to ask for forgiveness.
His father pitied him — perhaps there were too many
and too keen recollections of his own follies to
condemn him. Mr. Lester pitied him also, yet his
manner was coldly stern. One comment only he
made upon the facts he had heard : " Absence of in-
tention, Clement, will not save us from the conse-
quences of our faults. There is a straight and narrow
path to Heaven : no one who leaves it intends to go
to Hell."

" I have had a lesson for life, Sir ; I don't mean
to forget it," replied Clement.

" A lesson for Eternity it ought to be, Clement. If
small disobediences will produce such terrible con-
sequences on earth, we may be quite certain that
they will, without repentance, produce a thousand-
fold more terrible consequences hereafter. I would
say it to you and to Ella also. Neither of you have
as yet learnt what strict duty means ; and if you do
not learn it now, it will be taught you by the bitter
experience of life."

Clement turned to his father. From him it seemed
X 4



312 CLEYE HALL.

that he expected greater palliation of his faults ; but
Mr. Vivian sat with his forehead resting on his
hands. Only once he looked up for a moment, and
said that he should like Ella to be sent for.

She came, bright, excited, full of hope and happi-
ness, having only just begun to realise that the quiet,
strange Mr. Bruce could possibly be her own father.
The sight of Clement, and the grave countenances
which she saw, awed and subdued her. She sat
down by her father ; and he put his arm round her,
and looked at her tenderly, but his eyes were dimmed
with tears, and he did not speak.

" You have forgiven him, dear Papa," whispered
Ella.

"Mr. Lester says he is not the only person to
require forgiveness," replied her father, evasively.

Ella looked up inquiringly.

" Am I very strict, Ella," observed Mr. Lester,
"in saying that, if your influence had always been
exerted on the side of obedience, last night's suf-
ferings might have been spared us ? "

Ella's colour rose. She could bear her aunt
Mildred's gentle and sympathising reproof, but
Mr. Lester's cold, severe tone touched her pride.

She was not aware, she said, that any influence of
her's had induced Clement to join the smugglers.

"I didn't join them, Ella!" exclaimed Clement;
" I wouldn't for the world have been mixed up with
such a low set. I was taken off against my will.
But I was very wrong," he added, more gently.

Ella glanced at him in surprise.

" You will think me hard, I know, Ella," continued



CLEVE HALL. 313

Mr. Lester ; " but I can easily make you see that I
have reason on my side. Who encouraged Clement
to spend the time that should have been devoted to
study upon the shore, and so gave him desultory
habits?"

Ella blushed, and was silent.

" Who set him the example of disrespect, disobe-
dience, wilfulness, in small every-day matters ; and
so led him into the same in greater ones? Who
never would allow that punctuality to hours Avas a
duty ; Vnd so made him think it of little consequence
whether he stayed with those men or not ? Who used
to excite him by talking of chivalry, and adventure,
and daring — and forgot that the noblest daring is
that which shall conquer self?"

No reply ; but Ella leant her head on her f\ither's
shoulder, and burst into tears.

Clement was much distressed. " If you wouldn't
be angry with her. Sir. Indeed it was my own doing.
I ought to have known better ; and I did, too."

" Ella won't be angry with me by-and-by," said
Mr. Lester ; " she would rather hear the truth."

" I am not angry, now," — and Ella looked up, and
half smiled through her tears ; — "Aunt Mildred has
told me all before."

" And Aunt Mildred has taught you to be a very
different person from what you were, Ella," replied
Mr. Lester, kindly; " and if there had not been some-
thing of a sense of justice in my mind, which made
me feel that you could scarcely be exonerated from a
share in Clement's faults, I doubt if I should have
spoken to you as I have : certainly I should not



314 CLEVE HALL.

have chosen to do so the first day of your father's
being with you."

" Mr. Lester has lectured me, too, very often," said
Mr. Vivian, kissing her fondly. " You know he was
my tutor, so he was accustomed to it years ago. God
grant they may profit by it better than I did," he
added, in a lower voice.

Clement came forward boldly : " I am willing to
bear any punishment, Sir, which my father or you
may think right. And I would rather."

" You have had your punishment, Clement, from
God ; if that should fail, nothing else will have any
effect."

" And you won't trust me, Sir, again ?"

" Yes, you will ; it is impossible not to trust him,"
exclaimed Ella.

" I trust him entirely, implicitly — as a general
trusts a prisoner on his parole," said Mr. Vivian,
quickly.

Mr. Lester was silent.

Clement looked disheartened ; Ella inclined to be
angry.

" Shall I tell you, Clement, why I scarcely dare to
say I trust you ? " replied Mr. Lester. " Not only
because of that one instance of deception, most
grievous though it was, for I believe you are heartily
ashamed of it; but because your besetting sin —
almost more fatal to a man than to a woman — is
vanity."

Clement winced under the accusation.

" It is very painful, I know, to hear it. It is such
a weakness, so entirely opposed to a manly spirit, that



CLEVE HALL. 315

we are apt to give it any name ratlier than its true
one. You think that you like adventure — deeds of
enterprise : what you really like is admiration of any
kind. Let it come from your father, from me, from
the fishermen on the shore — it matters not who or
what may be the source — if you are admired you are
satisfied. There, Clement, is your snare."

" Yes, Sir, I know it."

Mr. Lester's countenance brightened a little, and he
laid his hand affectionately on Clement's shoulder :
"Remoter it as well as know it, and I shall be
satisfied. Own that you are vain ; repeat it to
yourself; think of it; watch against it; pray most
earnestly that you may be saved from it, and you
will, through God's mercy, be all that we most
earnestly desire ; for a man who is fighting against
vanity posts a sentinel upon eye, and ear, and tongue,
and every imagination of the heart : yield, and there
is no surer way to mar success in this world, or to
destroy your hopes for another."

Clement stood silent ; and Ella, longing to with-
draw attention from him, said, rather lightly : " You
won't tell me my great fault, Mr. Lester."

" Perhaps I don't know you as well as I do Cle-
ment," he replied, coldly ; " besides, I have said
enough for one morning."

" But I should like to know ; please tell me."

" Really ? — can you bear it ? "

" Clement can bear it, and so can I, I hope," re-
plied Ella, drawing herself up.

" I could see one great fault peeping out in the
way you spoke just then," replied Mr. Lester — "pride !"



316 CLEVE HALL.

" Yes, I know I am proud," said Ella.

" But you are not ashamed of it."

" It is very wrong, I am quite aware of that."

*' But it doesn't lower you, you think, in the eyes
of others. You wouldn't shrink from being called
a proud person ? "

" Not very much" — and Ella coloured, though she
almost smiled.

"No; and there is the great danger of pride; —
persons are not ashamed of it. I have known many
who rather pride themselves upon it. But, Ella, that
is not according to God's judgment ; and it will be
no satisfaction to us, when Heaven is lost, to know
that it was through a sin v/hich we fancied was a
noble one."

" I don't know that I thought it noble exactly,"
observed Ella, " only not so silly as some others."

" But even in that you are mistaken," replied Mr.
Lester. " Proud persons don't think they are ridi-
culous, but they are so ; and many times, when they
imagine they have only been upholding their dignity,
they have actually made themselves absurd."

Ella looked grave and uncomfortable, and said that
it was very difficult to know when she was proud.

" Of course it is," replied Mr. Lester. " You think
that pride is a family failing, and you admire it for
its antiquity. I can trace it back farther than you
do, Ella ; it was Satan's sin when he rebelled against
God."

Ella looked towards her father, to hide from Mr.
Lester the blush which crimsoned her cheek.



CLEVE HALL. 317

"Pride and indolence," whispered Mr. Vivian —
" these I have always been told were my child's
great faults."

" Yes, Papa, indolence, I know ; but I never
thought so much about pride, and "

"And what?"

" It seems hard upon me."

" It is just what I used to say, Ella ; he was so very
unsparing when he told me my faults."

" But I would rather know them ; I would rather
he should tell me of them. I don't want any one to
think better of me than I am ; only it always seemed
that indolence was much worse than pride."

" There is not much to choose between them, I am
afraid," said Mr. Vivian.

"But pride I — people would be nothing without
pride," exclaimed Ella, and she sat up, and turned to
Mr. Lester for an answer.

" Nothing without self-respect," replied Mr. Lester ;
" and that must be founded upon truth, and those
who see themselves truly can never be proud."

" I don't know what you mean by self-respect."

" A respect for ourselves as being God's creatures,
redeemed and sanctified by Him ; made the dwelling-
place of His Spirit, and destined to live with Him
hereafter. That respect will make us fear to do, or
say, or think any thing which may lower us in His
Eyes ; but when we have done so, it will force us at
once to acknowledge our fault, because it is only by
that acknowledgment that we can be restored to
His favour."



318 CLEVE HALL.

" That scarcely meets Ella's notions," said Mr.
Vivian, as lie watched his child's face ; " she is think-
ing of this world."

" Well then as regards this world ; self-respect,
Ella, is but a phase of that foundation of all things,
truth. Proud people place themselves in false posi-
tions ; persons with self-respect see exactly what they
have a claim to. No one calls a prince proud be-
cause he requires to be honoured as a prince ; self-
respect teaches him to claim such attention. But
when he forgets that other persons have their stations
requiring honour also, then pride begins, and self-re-
spect ceases. In this point of view, however, self-
respect is only a natural virtue, and may be pos-
sessed where there is no real religion. The genuine
feeling is that which I spoke of before, and which
must always go hand in hand with humility. But
we have had enough lecturing upon faults this
morning," added Mr. Lester, suddenly stoj^ping, and
changing his tone. " I must go and see after my
other parishioners, and talk a little to Eachel. I
only saw her for a minute last night, and she had a
wonderful story to tell me of her adventures jester-
day."

He held out his hand to Ella ; she took it shyly
but cordially and said, " Thank you." Her heart
was quite full.

" Don't consider me very severe, dear child, if you
can help it ; I only want you to be perfect now papa
is come."

He went up to Clement, who was standing in the
background.



CLEVE HALL. 319

" It may be all forgotten," said Mr. Yivian, " may
it not?"

" Yes, indeed, as far as I am concerned. And one
thing, Clement, I say from my heart ; I trust you now
more than I have ever done before. I am sure you
are heartily sorry."

Clement's eyes sparkled through tears : " You shall
have cause. Sir ; indeed I don't mean to forget."

" God bless you, my dear boy, and give you strength
to keep your resolution."

Mr. Lester departed, and Clement threw himself
into his father's arms, and sobbed.



320 CLEVE HALL.



CHAP. LIL

Weary and anxious were tlie hours spent by Mildred
Vivian in her father's sick chamber. She was told
there was nothing to fear; she scarcely thought
there was ; and yet the suspense and watching, the
sense of personal helplessness, the boding care for
her brother, the longing to search into the depths of
.her father's thoughts, aggravated every symptom in
her eyes. One fear after another presented itself.
He lay still and silent, and she thought that some
sudden weakness had paralysed his powers. He was
restless, and she fancied that fever was coming on.
He looked flushed, and she thought there was a rush
of blood to the head. But the fear which most
haunted her was that of paralysis. Such an attack,
common at his age, might weaken his mental powers,
and render futile all endeavours to explain her
brother's conduct. She was with him constantly,
but he said very little to her. He did not sleep, but
his mind seemed absorbed with thoughts which he
would not communicate, but which seemed working
and goading him almost beyond endurance.

As he neither questioned her concerning Mr. Les-
ter's return, nor referred to the missing paper, Mil-
dred feared to agitate him by bringing the subject
before him. Yet it was evident that such a state of



CLEVE HALL. 321

things could not long continue. The feelings preying
upon him would inevitably work their way fatally, if
some stop were not put to them ; and on the fourth
day after the beginning of this miserable suspense,
Mildred ventured to mention Mr. Lester's name, and
ask whether her father would be willing to see him.

"If he will, he may come;" that was all the
answer: but it was sufficient for Mildred, and she
dispatched a messenger to the Eectory, with the re-
quest that Mr. Lester would, if possible, be at the
Hall in the course of the afternoon.

The General insisted upon dressing and sitting up
then, though he had been told that to rise might
bring back the giddiness and faintness. He was very


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