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" He's playing you a trick, Jessie. None of us is
called that," said Lucy. *' Spin it again and cit,
feather, or fan, or something."



A PARTY AT ROOD GRANGE. 113

*' That's just like you, Timothy, but I'll be even
with 3'ou some day," said Jessie, menacing the lean
young man, with all her dimples. He -fished she
would, and as she set the trencher going again, and
cried for her lady's fan, Lucy herself rose, and
cleverly contrived to knock it flat in attempting to
catch it.

*' That is a forfeit, Miss Lucy," said Lawyer
Hargrove.

" I know it is," returned she, and threw her
handkerchief on the heap with an air.

And so the game went on for half-an-hour or
more, when Bobby Clough suggested that the forfeits
must be redeemed, or there would not be time
enough to make an end before supper. The forfeits
were redeemed accordingly, not without a vast
amount of noise and laugljter. Bobby Clough
himself, with his eyes bound, was oracle. " Here
is a thing, and a very pretty thing, what shall be
done with this pretty thing ? " demanded Dick,
dangling the blue bow openly, and whispering aside
to Bobb}^, *'It is Jessie's?" Jessie was bidden to
whistle a stave from Garryowen, which, as she

VOL. I. 8



114 MR. WYN yard's ^YARD.

could not, was compromised by a tribute to Dick.
Pennie had nothing to pay for, so she escaped from
the shrill clamour into the parlour to hear Tom
Boothby sing. Ah ! how he sang ! a rich, mellow,
pathetic troll that made hearts throb and eyes fill,
when he, and that most unpromising lean, black
young man, who was really the doctor's assistant,
joined with Gaskill and the host in a merry catch,
which made the eyes run over with laughter, and
before sides had ceased aching after that, there was a
cry raised, *' Come to supper."

The supper was Mrs. Lister's triumj^hant hour
of the night.

'' You mustn't expect to see am-thing as gi-and
as this at Beckby, Miss Pennie," Mrs. Jones warned
her.

Pennie was sure, in return, that Beckby would be
very pleasant.

If there had been hitherto any silent tongues
amongst the guests, they must now surely have been
all unloosed ; for the hum and roar were continuous,
with a running fire of crackers amongst the young
people. It was not until the supper was half over



A PARTY AT ROOD GRANGE. 115

that Mrs. Lister was sufficiently disengaged from her
hospitable cares to notice how hers were placed ; and
then she saw that Dick had paired with Jessie,
Joanna with Gaskill, Lucy with the lawyer, and
Pennie — Pennie, for whom the party was given —
with the doctor's assistant ! She seemed to be
capitally entertained too, for her quaint little phiz
was all one laugh, and the lean, black-a-vised medico
never ceased talking, except to hear her response.
Buckhurst was a notorious wag, and at this moment
he was imposing on Pennie's credulity tremendously,
with an anecdote of how, when he was in Australia
(where he had never been) with Dr. Scoresby (whom
he had never seen), they had, on a very frosty day,
a hand-to-hand fight with a wild cat, as big as a
mastiff, whose coat was so electrical that when they
struck at her it gave out sparks that set his hair
on fire.

** I should have expected it to grow crisp and
frizzy ever after," said Pennie, with demure in-
sinuation.

" So would anybody who did not understand the
philosophy of the thing," replied he, in a confident

8—2



116 MR. WYNYARD'S ward.

tone. " Did you ever hear of tlie roan in America
that the alHgator played Jonah with ? No ; then
you don't read your newspaper. It is too long a
story to tell you now, but remind me of it the next
time we sit together at supper."

There was more dancing afterwards, until two or
three o'clock in the morning, when the company was
visibly thinning, and the blind fiddler had fallen
asleep. Soon after two, Mrs. Croft asked Pennie
what she thought about going home. Pennie was
quite ready, and Dick, again prompted by his mother,
helped her to wi-ap up, and was as coaxing and
teasing with her as he might have been with Jessie.

" Dick, I shall like you as well if you'll behave
to me as you do to your sisters," said she, dispensing
gently with some of his attentions. " We should be
better friends, I know."

" ^Miat a little odd thing you are, Pennie. They
give me a kiss at good-night, so it is only fair.

if

" Yes, she's coming, Aunt Croft ! I shall see you
safe into the phaeton."

There was a fine moon, and no wind, and the
short drive home was not disagreeable. "You



A PARTY AT ROOD GRANGE. 117

enjo;yed yourself, Pennie, love ? " inquired her
mother. " Dick is the best-natured fellow that ever
was, but he tries to please too many."

" I should cleave to Jessie, were I in his shoes,"
responded Pennie.

*' You don't know what's what. There's a many
things belongs to all things in this world. When
folks marries it is mostly for life."

" x^nd so it ought to be for love. That is my
view, mother."



118 MR. WYNYARD'S ward.



V.

AN UNINVITED GUEST.

Pennie had been three weeks at Majfield. The
party at Beckby was over, and so also was Mrs. Croft's
return entertainment. Pennie had seen her kinsfolk
in the familiarity of their homes, had made acquaint-
ance with her mother's friends, and had left a kindly
impression on nearly all. And what impression had
they left on her ?

It was gi'owing dusk in the parlour. Mrs. Croft
had gone out by herself for a gossip, Pennie did not
know where, and she was alone. She had ensconced
herself in the window-seat with an old novel from the
bookcase, wi'itten in letters, but the story had not
proved interesting, and was now thrown aside. The
garden trees shook tempestuously in the wild March
afternoon, and ever and anon a blast of sleet whirled



AN UNINVITED GUEST. 119

across the panes, foretelling of snow. Pennie had on
her pathetic face. She was thinking — " I hope I am
not unnatural, but I could not lead this life alwa^'s.
If I had never left them I should be happy enough
amongst them. I should feel as they feel, and think
as they think, but now I cannot. How tired I get
of their talk — beaux and butter, money and mice,
markets and marrying, and lambing ! Bessie in the
kitchen is better off than I should be here, for I have
no interest in anything. Dear mother, how good
and kind she is ! It would weary her to live ^y life
as much as it wearies me to live hers. She would
not know how to get through the day without her
farm and her farming frieuds. No, I must stay at
Eastwold ; and I can come over oftener now Miss
Rosslyn has left. It is only a morning's ride after
all. Yet it must be sad for her alone in these lono-

o
winter days and nights."

So her mother had told her, suggesting that she

should come home to Mayfield altogether. Pennie

was in infinite perplexity and distress about it. She

wanted to do what was right, and for a vexed moment

she felt as if her mother ought not to have put her



120 MR. WYN yard's WARD.

on making such a sacrifice, nor yet on refusing to
make it. For a sacrifice in a large sense it would
assuredly be. Pennie had cultivated her intelligence,
her taste, her fancy ; she was not at all fine, but she
liked the friction of good company, and would like it
still better as she gi-ew more mature in mind. At
Mayfield she must either change her j^nrsuits or be
without one associate, one sympathizer in them.
Her most frequent T\ish was, that she had never left
home, but close upon it followed always a confession
to herself that Eastwold suited her now better than
home — Eastwold, with its faded refinements, its
sorrows and many cares, suited her better than the
rough jollity of her kinsfolk and her mother's
friends. Distance lent enchantment to Xhe view of
Mayfield, as of other places ; absence made Pennie's
heart grow fonder of the old barnyard and the
chickens. Since she saw them last, womanly senti-
ments had begun to bud in her, which were proving
not of the native briar, but of the foreign graft.
There had been a little aching sense of disappoint-
ment with her at odd moments ever since she came,
and when her mother spoke of her staying on for



AN UNINVITED GUEST. 121

always, she only felt what an effort it had been
sometimes to behave as she was expected to behave.

She was going over it all in her own mind to no
profit when an event came to pass — an event of small
importance as it seemed, but which had its great
consequences nevertheless.

" Oh, dear ! oh, dear ! Whatever' s happened ?
the voice was Bessie's rushing to the back-door.
Pennie was off the window-seat, and out of the room
in a twinlding. " What's happened to you, sir ? "

*' Nothing worse than a sprained ankle, my girl.
Let me come in, and sit down a minute." It was
Mr. Tindal who spoke, as he limped with painfal
difficulty up the steps, supporting himself by the
wall.

" Take my shoulder, sir, — lean on me. Kitchen
is not redd up yet, it's only a step farther to best
parlour, sir, and there's a sofy there. Miss Penelope,
just run up to your mother's room, and bring down
that old leg-rest that was your father's. It's in
comer by clock." Pennie went and came quickly,
and Mr. Tindal was accommodated as well as could
be. He appeared to suffer acutely, for he held his



122 MR. WYNYARD'S ward.

leg with both hands, and frowned under his hat
tremendously.

" What is good for a sprain ? I'm sure if I know ! "
ejaculated Bessie. "Do you know, Miss Penelope ? "
Pennie shook her head, and Mr. Tindal, looking at
her, applied one hand to the removal of his hat.

" I bear pain very ill," said he, apologetically.
So it appeared, for his face was grey to the lips.
Pennie got him some brandy, and wished her mother
would come home. Bessie proposed sending Ned off
to Allan Bridge for the doctor. ' ' I wish you would, and
if he is out, let Buckhurst attend," added the patient.
" Pray, don't stand. Miss Croft, or I shall feel less at
my ease still." As Ned clattered out of the yard on
Darby, Bessie returned to the parlour with candles ;
drew the curtains, stirred the fire, and said missis
would not surely be long now. She then went out
and shut the door> leaving Pennie to keep the acci-
dental guest company.

Who could be sociable in the first agony of a
sprain ? Mr. Tindal rejected Pennie's potion, and
sat glooming, now at his disabled limb, and then at
the fire. *' I shall not get back to Eood to-night.



AN UNINVITED GUEST. 123

Will that lad of yours think to tell them as he passes
that I am here ? " he inquired presently.

Pennie knew little of Xed's ways, but arguing
from one boy to another — from Francis, Geoffrey or
Maurice, to him — she feared that he would not think
to do anything sensible that he was not bidden to do.
" But, you know, the doctor could leave a message as
he returns," added she, " or if there is likely to be
any anxiety about your absence, old Jacob shall go
now — at once." Mr. Tindal said there was no need
to trouble old Jacob, and then he relapsed into silence.
Pennie remembered her cousin's panegyric on him,
and thought he must be a very different person at
different times.

He was a man of one or two and thirty, and had
a fine sensible face, vdih. a cuiwe of healthy sarcasm
about the lips ; evidently not a man to be known in
an hom-'s idle society, though he could be free and
familiar enough on occasion to delight the fluttering
souls of Lucy and Joanna. At this moment, though
his features were contorted with pain, his countenance
was one to inspire liking and confidence. Uncon-
sciously he appealed to the kindness and forbearance



124 MR. WYNYARD'S WARD.

of strangers wherever lie went, and Pennie's senti-
mental heart was peculiarly open to such an appeal.
She wished the doctor would come, she wished her
mother would come, hut most ardently she wished
she could do something for the sufferer herself.

Mrs. Croft was the first to arrive. *' Oh, dear !
that I should have been out, Mr. Tindal, and that a gel
of mine should be so helpless as not to know what to
do for a sprain ! " was her cry. ^'Pennie, love, take
my bonnet and gloves, and go to my cupboard,
and, straight in front of you, you'll see a bottle
labled. "

" I'll wait for the doctor or Buckhurst, Mrs.
Croft, thank ye," interposed her reluctant visitor, in
alarm. " Perhaps it is more than a sprain. If my
boot were only off — it will have to be cut. Ah, no,
let it be — let it be ! " he remonstrated, before the
widow had touched his foot, and she was glad to leave
him to himself. His extreme sensitiveness shook
her nerves, and made Pennie run to ask Bessie if she
thought the doctor would be long.

"No, — listen. That's him riding into t'yard now."
Bessie went to open the door, and Pennie standing by



AN UNINVITED GUEST. 125

the kitchen fire, recognized the voice of Mr. Buckhurst
entering with a joke. He turned in there first, put
down his hat and whip, and chafing his hands for a
brisk minute, nodded, and followed Bessie into the
parlour.

In less than five minutes he was out again, in a
cool hurry : " You'll have Mr. Tindal's company for a
month to come. It is a broken leg — just above the
ankle ; a slip on a loose stone, and a fall," said he,
and was gone.

Dr. Grey returned with his assistant, and Mr.
Tindal's man, shortly. The limb was set, and by
Mrs. Croft wept over. " Oh, how he bore it ! " sobbed
she, telling the story to her daughter and Bessie.
^* Beautiful. He's resting now, j^oor fellow. There
goes your parlour, Pennie ; he says he won't stir till
he's well. Put supper in the dining-room, lass ; the
doctor and Buckhurst will be glad of something before
they go. Mr. Tindal's man'll sit up with him, and
I'll make his gruel myself. He's to get nothing else
to-night. I've a true pity for him," added she to
Pennie aside, "but I'd as lief he'd fallen before some-
body else's door. There never was a man that ill-



1-26 MR. wyxyakd's ward.

luck dogged as it dogs him. One might fancy there
was a curse upon him."

Mayfield hardly knew itself on the morrow. An
uninvited guest (especially an uninvited male guest
with a broken leg) upsets the routine of small house-
holds completely. Pennie had no dulness or inoc-
cupation to complain of now. Her mother was
obliged to make her useful in all manner of ways,
and she complacently accepted the duties with which
she was charged, to relieve others for service in the
parlour. Dr. Grey congratulated her on getting into
training for a farmer's wife, and promised to tell her
cousin Dick what a clever, handy little body she was
— compliments Pennie did not appreciate from her
negligent co-trustee. Her leave of absence from
Eastwold was extended, and she no longer felt any
particular anxiety to return. She conceived a deep
interest in the tenant of her pretty parlour, from
which she was exiled for many days, while moans
and groans of pain smote her with yearning and pity
as she listened helpless at the door. The coming
and going of the doctor, of the housekeeper at the
Abbey, of Pierce, Mr. Tindal's man, and of other



AX UXINVITED GUEST. 127

persons to help, to hinder, or to inquire, created a
pei-petual bustle and variety. The first hour of rest
in the daytime that Pennie enjoyed was one after-
noon when her mother slipped out of the parlour to
get a taste of fresh air in the garden (and of gossip
with Mrs. Jones), when she was bidden to slip in,
quietly sit her do\^Ti, and, if Mr. Tindal asked for
drink, to give it him, but not let him talk.

Pennie did as she was told with a gi-eat awe upon
her. Mr. Tindal had been at death's-door ; he was
as weak as water yet, and it was much if he got
better — so Bessie, and the strange nurse Dr. Grey
had provided for him at the worst, had talked
before her. Pennie had never be^n in the presence
of any one hovering on the confines of the other
world ; and when she entered the parlour, she felt
Hke going to chm-ch in Lent, when the pulpit was
draped in black cloth, and the choir pitched all their
tunes in a minor key. A low hon camp-bed had
been set up between the window and the fire, and
there lay the sick man, white, worn, pathetic, with
shut, sunken eyes, and close-cHpt hair. He was so
still that she thought he slept, but presently he



128 MR. wykyard's ward.

muttered a wish to know what o'clock it was. Pennie
drew a Httle nearer, and said it was half-past three.
At the sound of a fresh voice he opened his eyes,
looked at her, and then at the table, where stood a
pitcher of refreshing drink, a glass, and a spoon.
She interpreted the glance into a thirsty desire,
poured some out, and offered it to his lips.

"Is Pierce here?" he asked. Pennie said he
was not. " Nor your mother ? Then try if you can
raise my head a little, so that I can get a convenient
sip." Pennie proposed the spoon. " That is right
— you will soon learn." His face took on another
expression altogether. " I feel that I have got a good
turn at last," said he.

" Yes, hut 3'ou must not talk," replied his new^
nurse, with decision. " If you do, 3'ou will fall off
again."

"No, I shall not." This flat contradiction put
to flight Pennie's awe, and she felt no more solemn
than she had done when helping to wait on the
WjTiyard hoys once, all three convalescent and
fractious together after the measles. While she was
still presiding in the parlour, her mother returned,



AN UNINVITED GUEST. 129

bringing in Dr. Grev, and, in reply to the usual
inquiries, the patient said he thought he might enter
on a course of amusement now.

" Is he off his head again ? A course of amuse-
ment when he can't lift his hand to his mouth ! "
whispered the vridow.

" Glad to see you in spirits, sir," said the doctor.
*' "We will put Miss Penelope in charge of you again.
She has stirred you up." Pennie remonstrated that
indeed she had only told him what o'clock it was,
and giyen him drink "v^'ith a spoon. " It is all right,
my dear, you shall giye it him again. A bit of
diYersion with his tonics will help him on."



YOL. I.



130 MR. WYNYAKD'S WARD.



\t:.

A THORN AND FLOWER PIECE.

Penelope was still at Mayfield when the hlackthorn
winter was over. Mr. Tindal was still there, too,
but in a fair way, at last, towards recovery. He had
made himself very much at home in Mrs. Croft's
best parlour, like a man accustomed to frequent
change of quarters. Its pretty pale chintz furniture
was none the fresher for his seven weeks' occupancy,
and none the sweeter for his convalescent pipes. He
was not a docile patient, and the consequence had
been a bad bout of fever, and a hospital nurse from
Norminster, who frightened him into good beha\dour,
and brought him round. She was departed again
now, and he was left to the tendance chiefly of
Pennie, which also must shortly cease ; for the wed-
ding- at Brackenfield was drawing nigh, and she would



A THORN AND FLOWER PIECE. 131

have to go. He really might have gone himself a
week ago, and Dr. Grey had suggested a removal ;
but Mr. Tindal then began to profess a concern for
the stability of his cure which he had not previously
evinced, and the result was that he stayed on.

It was now mid-April, a sunny bright morning,
and the parlour-window stood wide open to let in the
air. Mr. Tindal lay recumbent on the sofa, a cigar
between his lips, lazily watching the lazy motion of
the smoke as he puffed it away. Pennie was gone
into the garden to gather a few sweet violets, white
and purple, to offer to her mother's guest — a morn-
ing gift that had regularly accompanied her morning
inquiries since she had been admitted to do her part
in waiting on him. He espied her in the distance,
stooping over the violet beds, and raised himself
a degree or two that he might command her move-
ments, which he followed with as much interest as if
he were her lover. They had, in fact, struck up
a cordial friendship, and Pennie went and came
about him with the quiet assurance of a woman who
knows that her comings and goings are noted with
satisfaction. He did not care what trouble he gave

9—2



132 MR. wynyard's ward.

lier. It was Pennie here, Pennie there ; I want
this, give me that ; read to me, sit where I can see
you, child, and so forth ; and Pennie was all cheerful
obedience. He had ceased to think of her as either
plain or queer ; he only felt that she liked him,
studied him, and was necessary to him. As for
Pennie, if the present life could have gone on for
ever, she would not have wearied of it.

By and by she turned towards the house, walldng
slowly, and stopping now and then to arrange her
posy. Mr. Tindal called to her : " Pennie ! " She
looked up at the window, and stept that way. " I am
brisker this morning, Pennie, ever so much. Grey
told me again yesterday, that I might go home —
must I?"

" There are your violets," tossing him lightly the
fragrant tuft, tied with a green silk thread. He
caught it, and said, " Was that the way she answei-ed
him ? " Pennie smiled a little ruefully. Her mother
had been tired of her guest from the beginning, and
now most heartily wished he would take himself off —
it was on a hint from her that the doctor had twice
spoken.



A THORN AND FLOWER PIECE. 133

" I shall bid Pierce bring tlie drag over for me
this afternoon, Pennie, since you do not care."

*' I am going back to Eastwold myself on Monday."
It was now Thursday.

" Come in, and let us go on with our book. "We
shall not finish it now, but we will finish it some
day." Pennie moved away from the window, and
presented herself in the parlour. " Sit against the
light, child. What is that pretty red-leaved thing
just coming out by the glass ? An American trailer
— I thought so."

Pennie took up their book, placed herself where
she was told, and began to read. It was an Italian
story of Manzoni's, by means of which Mr. Tindal
had undertaken to improve her accent. The passage
was a description of wild mountain scenery at sunset.
She went through a page or more without interrup-
tion, and then, glancing off her book towards her
master, said: "You are not attending." He was
gazing at her nevertheless, meditatively, through the
fumes of his cigar, and he heard her voice, though
not her words. He asked why she did not go on,
and she proceeded, always aware that he was, as



134 MR. wynyard's ward.

she said, " not attending " to lier pronunciation.
Presently she paused again, and Mr. Tindal emerged
from his abstraction.

"It is not interesting to-day, is it ? Put it by,
and let us talk," said he. *'You are sorry — I see
you are, and so am I."

Yes. There were tears in Pennie's eyes — foolish
tears. ''I don't know why," said she, and tried to
laugh, and shake them away.

" So end all pleasant things ! Come here, my
child," he held out his hand to her, and she gave
her own, looking away out of the window to hide
her face. Poor Pennie, tears were not becoming to
her, but she never thought of that. Her heart was
very full ; its pang quite as acute as that which
wrings the bosom of fair women in the like case.
She was j-oung, and hardly comprehended her own
distress. It was something much more poignant
than the parting pain ; something sprung of odd
mysterious words heard here and there, whose mean-
ing in her new self-consciousness she had never dared
to ask. She was feeling after it, when Mr. Tindal
spoke again.



A THORN AND FLOWER PIECE. 135

" Pennie, I am a venerable i)erson in comparison
wdtli you, and have seen a deal of the world. I want
to keep you for my friend, dating from the night
when I limped broken-legged into this house. I used
to have plenty of friends. I have none now, — only
acquaintances. If you wish to know why, your
mother, or anj'body in Eskdale can tell you, who
remembers the events of seven or eight years ago.
Why do you look at me as if you were afraid ? "
She had turned with eyes of startled, troubled in-
quiry. He went on with more vehemence : " Pennie,
I was watching your mouth as you read, and I made
up my mind that you liked me, and would stick fast
by me; that you would hear that terrible story —
without being stirred from your kind opinion. I was
going to ask a pledge of you."

"Ask it — I believe in you — I shall always believe
in you," said Pennie in eager, tender haste to dis-
sipate the pain and distrust she perceived she had
caused. " I will not hear that story."

*' Hear it, Pennie, but hear me first. I am as
clear of that guilt as you, so help me heaven in my
extremity ! "



136 MR. WYN yard's WARD.

How had they travelled to this view down a dark


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