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to him as either of themselves, he had not hesitated
to sanction it. His letter reached Mr. Wynyard by
the same post, as a second from Mr. Hargrove on
the same topic ; and the next day arrived two more —


one from Mr. Tindal, and the other from Peunie

The poor expatriated gentleman was bothered
exceedingly by this awkward love-story of his ward's.
He would have liked to write back, " Give her her
head ; let her marry the first man that asks her,
only I am quit of her, and of Hargrove's perpetual
suggestions to bolster up my own miserable fortunes
by helping myself to hers ! " To his agent he did
write almost as bluntly as this ; but when he had
taken thought during an hour or two's sultry moon-
ing country-wards from Dieppe, he penned a con-
siderate letter to Pennie, recommending patience,
and a glimpse of the world beyond Eskdale before
she set a seal to her life that must stamp it to the
close ; a manly letter to Mr. Tindal, decHning to
recognize any bond that he might have made with
his ward until she had had time and opportunity
given her to understand her own. and his position
better than she could possibly do now ; and a short
letter to Dr. Grey, conveying in rather more decorous
phrase Mr. Hargrove's opinion, that " he was a pretty
trustee for an heiress."

248 MR. wynyard's ward.

" So I am," confessed the doctor, with shame and
confusion of face ; " but it is never too late to mend."

He went over to the lawyer's office one unoccu-
pied morning, when Buckhurst had taken his country
round, intent on acquiring some information respect-
ing Pennie's monetary business. Hargrove received
him with a cynical laugh. " You have some lee-way
to make up, Grey, I can tell you," said he, glancing
at one of a row of japanned boxes shelved in his
private room, on which the words *' Croft- Ward "
were painted in white letters.

Dr. Grey was not a rich man, nor a knowing
man. He had never been in the way of handling
much money, and he was almost ignorant of the
details of business ; but his newspaper had made
him acquainted with the pet rogueries of trustees,
agents, bankers, and so forth, and he asked to see
for himself that the securities for Pennie's property
were all safe. He did not care a chip for affronting
Mr. Hargrove ; he was indeed rather glad than other-
wise to show that he did suspect his honesty, and
that he had an inkling of what knavish lawyers
might do with their clients' papers if they pleased.


Mr. Hargrove, with the liveHest good-humour, reached
down the box, unlocked it, and tumbled out a mass
of parchments, of every shade of antiquity ; some
single, some tied in thick bundles, and other docu-
ments besides.

" ^liat will you start with?" asked he, airily.
"Do you propose to read 'm all through? These
are the deeds relating to Haggerston Mills ; and
these again belong to the little farm at Appley.
That's the last mortgage raised on Methley Towers
— and that's another. These are railway debentures
and preference shares ; and these bits of spotty paper
represent a large sum in the 'sweet simplicity,' as
somebody calls it, of the three per cents."

'' I tell you what, Hargrove, I don't understand
you just at present — you have a game, but I don't
quite see it," interposed the doctor. " Perhaps the
things are all there."

" Confound you and your fancies. Grey; perhaps
you have not got a bee in your bonnet this morning ! "
roared the la^swer all of a sudden, bursting out in his
big bullying tone. The clerk opened the door of the
outer room, peeped in, and shut it again.


Dr. Grey's nerves were too tough to be shaken
by a voice ever so loud. " Come, come, Hargrove,
bullying won't do with me," he said, with con-
temptuous coolness. " As long as Mr. Wynyard
was on the spot he was check enough. I had no fear
but that all would go right, but now that he has gone
out of the way under such awkward circumstances,
I am not so sure. I'll trouble you to send me a
detailed list of all these things — I should like to be
on the safe side when Miss Croft calls on us to
render an account of our trusteeship. You under-
stand, Hargrove?"

*' I understand. You shall have the list written
out plain, as if it was for a lady ; and you can have
the box do^vTi once a week, and compare it with the
contents, if you like." The doctor pocketed the sneer,
and went out. The suggestion was not bad — once a
week would be too much of a good thing, but once
a year would be practical and sensible, and no gi-eat
trouble either ; and he made a resolution that he
would not neglect it.

Peunie met a hearty welcome from her mother


on her arrival at Mayfield, and found her parlour
fragrant with fresh-cut roses. A pile of new enter-
taining books was on the table.

*' Them's from the Abbey, Pennie, love," said
Mrs. Croft, as her daughter noticed them. " When
I heard you were to be here as to-day, I walked up
to see Mr. Tindal, and get an understanding of
things, which it is no more than proper I should.
And this morning he sent the books with a note.
Here it is."

Pennie opened the note and read, — *' My dear
child, your mother has told me that you are coming
to Mayfield for a week's hay-making. I have her
permission to send you some books, and to see you,
my pet ; but not every day." Pennie turned suddenly
about, and rewarded her mother with another kiss,
and another to that.

" When gels falls in love they is so afiectionate,"
said the widow, and refrained herself for the present
from anything more.

There was a good deal in the note, besides what
has been quoted above, but as it was meant only for
Pennie's private delectation, and was not all sense, it

252 MR. wynyard's ward.

need not be given in full. The pith was in the first
lines, and the rest was a variation on the eternal
sweet rondo of lovers, pitched in a plaintive minor

As early on the morrow as a lady might be pre-
sumed to be at liberty to receive a visitor, Mr. Tindal
presented himself at Mayfield, and Pennie and he
had a long, open-hearted talk over their common
interests. It is not often that so dark a -wTong side
to their loves falls to the lot of mortals. Pennie was
much, much happier than he, because she was
ignorant, and had a more hopeful temperament.

*' Think of MiUicent and Michael Forester," said
she ; and harped on that string of good augury until
she had almost persuaded Mr. Tindal into her own
frame of mind. But the good effect was transient.
Her love was a rest and stay to him, but he was past
exhilarating for longer than an hour. After thirty,
the world claims its share in a man's interests, and
love is no more the be-all and end-all of existence,
as at twenty it appears. On the whole, he was sad
that day.

On the next he was more melancholv still. He


had received a letter from Xormandv, and must
needs go to Mayfield early to communicate it. He
found Pennie pondering over hers. Her mother had
warned her last night that if she married Mr. Tindal,
she would be only marrying herself to misery, and
she was intent on feeling and proving that she had
no manner of dread of being anything but blessed
in her choice. She exchanged her letter with Mr.
TindaFs to read. Both were filled with very sound,
vexatious common-sense.

Mr. Tindal smiled sarcastic over the document
offered for his perusal, and when he had finished it,
said, " Why are you that important thing, a great
heiress, Pennie ? If you could divest yourself of
yom- money, I might take you now, when I have sore
need of you — as it is, I must wait until you have
seen the world, or have it all crying out on me, not
only as an assassin, but as a robber of the bank.
Mr. Wynyard thinks it is not an honourable course
I have taken — perhaps I ought to leave you fi-ee ? "
— this interrogatively.

"^Tiat if I like my bondage better? They
think I shall change, but they don't know me ! "

254 MR. wynyard's ward.

Pennie was always more attractive for a touch of
enthusiasm, that kindled her eyes, and made her
breathe short.

" I cannot let you go of myself, child. Wliile
you stick to me, I will try to rest, and be thankful.
I dare not tempt you to break with others for the
sake of me ; but let us pray, both of us, for a short
day of probation. I have a positive terror of setting
forth again on my solitary travels. I hate to be
alone. I dread my own vacancy more than ever.
And yet, can I stay at Rood with you away?"

Pennie endeavoured her utmost to cheer him ;
and she did succeed a little, though he heard and
felt in every word and tone and look that she knew
no more of the horror of great darkness that had
compassed his solitude about, during the last few
weeks, than a baby knows of the cares that may be
crooning in its mother's heart while it is babbling
and laughing in her face. Pennie imagined that her
sympathy fathomed the depths of his sufferings ; but
indeed it fell short by many and many a line. It is
not conceivable, in fact, that a girl should under-
stand the recurrent pangs of such a life as lay behind


him, or such a dreary waste as he saw stretching out
long before. Nevertheless, her present love was an
interlude of sheenland, the remembrance of which
might go with him into the wilderness. Other men
had broken down, and had fled fi'om the glare of
society into the very shadow of death, to escape from
much lighter calamities than had been laid on him ;
but he had walked long under his load erect, and if
he began now to faint and weary, was it a marvel,
when, after seeing it for a moment unloosed, it had
been bound on his aching shoulders faster than
ever *?

'' "VMien the days come to an end, and I lie down
at night, I feel that I should just like to stretch
myself out and die," he said to Pennie ; and Pennie,
with shining eyes, answered that he must not give
way to thinking so. If he had given way to thinking
so, perhaps the dying might have been accomplished
ere now.

The next day was Sunday. Both morning and
afternoon the Tindal pew at church was empty.
Pennie felt sorry ; and not being apt at hiding her


sorrow, she let Mrs. Featherston see that she thought
the vicar had done unwisely and unkindly in allow-
ing it to be known that he had taken the vulgar side
against his patron.

*' But, my dear ! '' remonstrated the clergyman's
wife, w^ho, though much given to mending the erro-
neous ways of others, was quite unused to being
taken to task herself.

Pennie did not weaken the impression she had
made by mere words. Mrs. Featherston parted from
her with inward disturbance, and a doubt of her own
perfection, such as had not often troubled her before.
Perhaps she and the vicar had been hasty. It was
easy to follow a multitude to do evil, as Pennie said.
Perhaps they ought to have made a firmer stand ; to
have been more cautious how they dealt with an
unhappy man, whose fate w^ould have urged some to
despair. They had acted the part of the priest and
Levite of old, and had passed by on the other side,
leaving him to bleed to death of his wounds, unless
some chance Samaritan should come that way.
What a caustic tongue that little, sad-faced girl
possessed ! She made no scruple of applying Holy


Writ to common life : the vicar's wife had not
thought it of her.

The only visitors to Mayfield that afternoon
were Mr. Lister and Dick. The latter had quite
dropped his cousinly freedoms, and treated Pennie
with a frank and friendly respect. She liked the
change, and was easy and cordial with him. Her
uncle shook hands more Avarmly than was his wont ;
and immediately said, without any affectation of

" Well, niece, I, for one, am not going to hlame
you. There's a deal to be said about what's lately
turned up that hasn't been said yet — not in t' papers
anyhow. If I'd ever had an opinion one way or t' other,
which I can't rightlings say as I ever had, I should
be for clearing Mr. Tindal, when I see a young lass,
that's no fool, willing to take him for better, for

Mrs. Croft groaned, shook her head doubtingly,
and said, " Ah ! but he should hear Hargi'ove

" Hargrove's a rare deep file — clever family the
Hargroves, all of 'em. Was it our man or his
VOL. I. 17

258 MR. wynyard's ward.

brother, the editor, wrote tliem stunning pieces in
Norminster Gazette, I should like to know. Lawyer's
a goodish penman."

Pennie started when she heard this significant
fact, and laid it to heart. She could have no more
doubt now whence issued the inspiration of that last
cruel article which had closed the account of the
Rood tragedy in the favourite Eskdale news. She
was confirmed in a suspicion that, for some motive
unknown, Mr. Hargrove sought to keep her apart
from Mr. Tindal, and that the way he took to his
object was by insisting on Mr. Tindal's guilt. This
suspicion Doctor Grey shared with his ward ; but he
explained the agent's behaviour into an anxiety to
retain the management of Pennie' s afiairs, and the
profits therefrom arising, of which her marriage,
whether with Mr. Tindal or anybody else, would
possibly deprive him. He was not thoroughly at
ease in his mind whether there might not also be
something nefarious to hide, which must come to
light when she changed her estate. Mr. Hargi'ove's
violence had given him this impression, but he did
not know where to turn for its proof. The lawyer


had a very general reputation for integrity — at least,
no public slur had yet been cast upon it.

It was not a joyous haymaking to Pennie that
summer. She outstayed her week at Mayfield, as
she alY\ays did outstay her leave at home ; but the
simple, old-fashioned ways of it, which needed a
peaceful soul to enjoy them, had lost their savour.
Several more letters passed between Mr. AYynyard
and Mr. Tindal, and Mr. AYynyard and his ward,
ending in an accepted fiat that, until Pennie was of
age, the lovers must submit to a total separation.
Neither would consent to this except under pressure ;
and when Pennie showed signs of rebellion, that
pressm-e was applied without sparing. Doctor Grey,
much against his will, was deputed by her co-trustee
to intimate to her seriously that if she did not pay
due and lawful obedience to her guardians and her
mother in this most important matter, she would be
handed to the Lord Chancellor as an intractable
heiress, over whom her natural friends were unable
to keep ward. The indenniteness of this menace
subdued Pennie. Doctor Grey declined to counte-


260 MR. wynyard's ward.

nance her in any immediate revolt against the
judgment of Mr. Wynyard and her mother, and Mr.
Tindal, seeing no help for it, reluctantly acquiesced
in the decree. Their engagement, however, hoth
were determined to hold sacred.

Mrs. Croft's heart ached often to give Pennie her
way when she saw her little distressed air, hut a
stern sense of duty prevailed over her capricious
affectionateness, and she ended hy persuading herself
that she was certainly acting for the hest.

*^You may well afford to wait, you are not
nineteen, Pennie, love," argued she soothingly. "It
is not many gels that many hefore they're nineteen.
I shouldn't wonder yet if you got off hefore your

" I am not thinking of it in that way," said
Pennie, plaintively. "But he is so lonely and for-
saken. If we might only write to each other — it is
very hard to forhidt out that she could not possibly look
nicer. Her own glass had told her the same. She


276 MR. wynyaed's ward.

did not like yellow in the abstract, but she could not
deny that the yellow silk, white tulle, and golden
wheat-ears that composed and embellished her attire,
added a quite novel lustre to her polished neck, her
arms, her dusky visage ; that, though as far as ever
from being pretty, madame's genius had brought out
all her latent powers of being picturesque. The fame
of her great fortune had gone before her, and was
generally known in the English society of Paris.
Lady Brooke had proclaimed her ugliness as a heavy
drawback on her more solid attractions, but Pennie
did not strike strangers as being at all unreasonably
ugly. Several persons of taste and distinction re-
quested an introduction to her — for dancing purposes,
of course. And then it came out that Pennie would
not dance — could not dance, as ladies dance in Paris.
Lady Goodwin was positively distressed.

*' You ought to have begun to take lessons the
day we arrived," whispered she. " I take blame to
myself for my forgetfulness. Yes — I quite recollect
your little style at Brackenfield and Norminster
Ball, your little capers and twirls that made Uncle
Christopher laugh. That was the fashion fifty


years ago — I am quite gTieved : but we will not
have you make an exhibition of yourself. Better
sit still than do that."

So Pennie sat still, not at all disconsolately.
Her only dancing-master had been a wizened, very
old Swiss, originally a valet, married to an English
cook, who lived at Allan Bridge, and combined in-
struction in fencing, in dancing, and in the French
language, with the trade of hairdresser, barber, and
perfumer. Eskdale availed itself of his services in
every caipacitj, and was perfectly satisfied with the
result so long as it stayed at home. Pennie looked
so new, primitive, and pleased with all she saw, that
when she offered this rustic fact to Mr. Clifford,
a very serene Englishman, in explanation of her
second refusal to raise with him, he pronounced her
simplicity delicious. He would not have appreciated
it so highly, if he had not been assured that she
was worth more than her weight in gold — literaUy
speaking, worth more than her weight in gold.
Pennie had been so described, and the description
clung to her.

*' Yitz is de littel Englis gel dat is worse more

278 MR. wynyakd's ward.

zan her weight in gold ? " was asked in a shrill
whisper behind her, while the serene Englishman
in front was holding her in light ball-room conver-
sation. Penni6 laughed silently, thoroughly appre-
ciating the fun of the inquiry. Another voice — the
unmistakable growl of a Briton — made answer that
all little English girls were vv'orth more than their
weight in gold, and Pennie's acquaintance, glancing
quickly round, said, "What, Bangham, are you
here ? "

" I wish I was anywhere else. Paris is con-
foundedly like an oven, and this is the hottest
corner of it. How d'ye do ? " Captain Bangham
held out his hand, and the countrymen exchanged
the national greeting.

"Well, d'ye think we shall go to war? " was the
next question.

" Not a doubt of it. Can't understand what the
Government means, shilly-shallying like this. Much
better show 'em we mean it, and give 'em it hot and
strong at once. That is what I say."

" That is what everybody says, both here and in
London. There are not two opinions about it." The


friends moved off, and Lad}^ Brooke sailed, a great
white luminous cloud, into the space Mr. Clifford had
vacated. She loomed largely benignant over Pennie,
hoped she was enjoying her first Paris hall, and
regi-etted not to see her better engaged than sitting
still. She offered to try to find her a partner — she
had no doubt she could.

" Thank you," said Pennie ; *' but it would be
of no use, for I cannot dance." Then she had to
explain. Lady Brooke was amazed ; urged her to
try — anything passed for dancing now-a-days ; her
friends would make allowance.

"I am very well entertained. The music iw
lovely. I do not at all care for sitting still," replied
Pennie, confused by the tone of compassionate
patronage with which it was Lady Brooke's whim to
address her.

'' T\Tiat an odd little creature you are ! I suppose
it would be impossible to make you look or think
like other people. I should so much like to ask you
a question. I can see through your glove that you
still wear the bride-ring of Piood." Pennie coloured
slightly, and her air betrayed that she did not like

280 MR. wynyard's ward.

the turn of the conversation. Lady Brooke became
only the more inquisitive. *' Tell me," whispered
she, " do you hold to your pledge ? I know your
guardians have refused to recognize any sort of en-
gagement between you and Mr. Tindal ; but do you
adhere to it yourselves ? "

" I shall not deny it ; but I do not acknowledge
your right to catechize me," said Pennie, flushing
deeper and deeper.

Lady Brooke only smiled superior at the little
country girl's rebufl". She had learned all she wished
to know, and within five minutes she had apprised
a dear, deeply-indebted friend, on the look-out for a
good match to retrieve his fortunes, that in her
judgment it would be only love's labour lost to pay
court to Penelope Croft.

Lady Goodwin had a chaperone's eye on her
charge the whole night ; but she had too many
friends and acquaintances to greet and chat with for
more than this. It was certainly tiresome to bring
a girl to a ball who could not dance, especially a girl
whom twenty people wanted to dance with.

" If you could have danced, Pennie, your debut


might have been quite a success," she said to her
just before supper. " Instead of that, it is almost a
failure, and Lady Brooke is going about pitying


" I don't care," said Pennie. '' There is nobody
here I should like to dance with — nobody I mind
ever meeting again."

She was not sorry, however, when Mr. Clifibrd
re-appeared, and after a word or two with Lady
Good-uin, proposed to conduct her charge to the
supper-room. He had a veiy agreeable manner —
quiet, easy, kind. She was not afi-aid of him. He
was not young, and he looked rather fatigued and
tired of everything but the little pleasure he took in
her freshness. This was obvious. It set Pennie
free to enjoy in her own fashion. He led her to
supper, fed her with dainties such as girls love, then
escorted her through the long suite of rooms, the
conservatories, the lamp-lit gardens, and back again
to Lady Goodwin's sheltering wing. As Pennie
resumed her seat, Mr. Clifford whispered an aside
to her chaperone : "Lady Goodwin, she is charm-
inr/.'' Pennie's first sip of flattery — she found it

232 MR. wynyard's ward.

sweet. When Mr. Clifford assisted her presently to
the carriage, the conscious intoxication of it was in
her eyes and in her voice. She responded to his
calm " Good-night " with a gentle flutter of the
nerves. Come to herself again, she thought what a
little, silly fool she was : the fact being that she knew
nothing yet of the world, and very little of herself.

The next day Mr. Clifibrd called upon Sir Andrew
and Lady Goodwin at their hotel. The carriage had
just been brought round to take them for a drive
with Pennie to St. Cloud. They proposed that he
should fill the vacant seat, and come with them.
He consented — he had no engagement that he could
remember. All very listlessly, he said it. Pennie
felt what an interesting person he was : he must
have a history with that manner certainly. Sir
Andrew Goodwin was sometimes rather sarcastic in
his sententious speeches, and as the conversation
engaged and grew animated between Mr. Clifford and
his wife, Pennie divined that the Yorkshire squire
did not admire — did not quite believe in the hlase
citizen of the world ; that if good manners had not


forbidden, he would more than once have cried
^' Fudge / " to his sentiments. They were old ac-
quaintances : the men had indeed been boys together
at Eton, and had a score of reminiscences in common
to recal, in many of which Lady Goodwin held her
place. Mr. Cliiford had visited at Brackenfield some
years before. He had also been in Eskdale — at
Eood Abbey, as it presently revealed itself to Pennie.
He spoke of himself, in fact, as Hugh Tindal's
friend. For obvious reasons. Sir Andrew tried to
turn the conversation ; Mr. Clifford, unaware of
them, persevered.

*' Dreadful fate to be cut off in that sudden way.
It has never been cleared up yet, has it?" He was
told it had not. ''I see a woman's hand in it —
always did. Scandalous thing to lay it to his
brother." Pennie experienced a fresh movement of
sympathy towards Mr. Clifford. Lady Goodwin in-
terposed with some inquiry about the lady whom the
Emperor had just exalted from a private station to
share his throne. There was ten minutes good talk

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