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added pleasantly.

" Yes." The doctor had not leisure to stay long
at this time of the day, and soon Mr. Tindal had his
garden and his contented thoughts to himself. As
he sat in a sunny south-sheltered corner, near the
house, he could hear floating across the still Sunday
fields the sweet singing in church, and his own soul
swelled with gratitude to the Almighty power that,
after all his straying in the Tvilderness, had set his
feet once more in a straight and open path.

Amongst the many sad and painful things he
had to remember, he had perhaps fewer to regret
than most men of his age. Originally of the better
end of human kind, even his terrible calamity had
not been able to pervert his sense of the right and
the good. He had taken the lot that had fallen to
him, never willingly indeed, but at length submis-
sively, and when he could no longer endure the



ROUND ABOUT ROOD ABBEY. 181

averted faces, and suspicious regards tliat met him
everywhere about home, he had betaken himself to
the wider world, w^here men come and go, and no one
asks whence or whither. Thus he had lived by
necessity, as hundreds live by choice — without
friends or intimates — hanging only on the acquaint-
ances of a week or a day.

Who knew the streets of the world more wisely
than Arthur Tindal ? or the churches, the theatres,
the prisons, the antiquities, the pictures, the things old
or the things new that are to be seen for a silver fee ?
He was not drawn to the deserts and solitudes of the
earth. If he must be alone, still let it be in a crowd.
He liked to move amongst his kind, to hear voices,
to watch the little dramas that are perpetually enact-
ing on the stage of life. Pierce travelled with him
everywhere — a lugubrious shadow projected out of
the dismal past, a memento mori that never ceased
its sighing. Yet neither shadow nor sighing could
get their cold chill into his bones. He raged now
and then indeed furiously. What a capacity for
happiness he had — what a keen sense of appreciation
for the feast of earthly good things, at which he



182 MR. wynyard's wakd.

miglit never sit down ! — for who sits and eats in
peace with Damocles' sword hanging by a hair above
his head, and with his convives eyeing him askance
as if his presence were poison in the dish ? He
looked on, thinking no more to taste the sweet and
the savoury, mingled for most mortals so ingeniously
with the bitter of life. He looked on, sarcastically,
sadly, yearningly, hungi'ily for nearly seven 3- ears.
He had a taste and a palate still undulled, and an
appetite that, instead of turning away sick, grew only
more and more craving, until he declared at last he
must eat or die.

So it came to pass one morning shortly before
Christmas, being then at Avignon, he announced to
Pierce his determination to return to England. The
servant exerted his utmost efforts at dissuasion in
vain. His master would go. He had been long
enough a stranger and pilgrim, and he would return
to the house of his fathers. Who could tell whether
the Eskdale families might not have repented their
harsh behaviour, and be willing now to give him
again the hand of fellowship ? He had reached
home. Rood Abbey received him without a welcome.



ROUND ABOUT ROOD ABBEY. 183

A week — a fortnight — a month elapsed. Not a man
sought him out. He mounted his horse and rode to
the meet at Bernihorpe ; he followed the field all
day ; he was in at the death, but nobody appeared to
recognize him as one of their company. He had
gone away, a rustic young fellow, under an awful
cloud ; he had returned, a man "vsith the air of travel,
experience, cultivation, and world-weariness. Spring
and summer, autumn and winter, the times and the
seasons had gone their round, but the bovine fixity
of Eskdale opinion had stirred not a whit. Here
was the Cain who had killed his brother ; the mark
had been plainly set ; let him be outcast still.

A feeling akin to despair had descended on him
when he saw there was no repentance and no change.
He went about glooming, and trying to fight it oft'.
It was during one of his dark days that he met
Penelope Croft riding to Mayfield with her mother.
It vras during another that he fell before their
hospitable door, was taken in, was taken care of, and
had his wounds bound up with tender Christian
charity. Whether he would have seen love in
Pennie's eyes had they met, where all was gay and



184 MK. WYNYxVRD'S WARD.

all serene, is a doubtful question. Perhaps lie would
not have taken patience to consider the face that was
more pathetic than pretty, that had no regularity of
feature or beautiful bloom of colour. But shut up
with it so often alone, he had learnt to see that
the countenance was womanly and thoughtful, that
the eyes were now sparkling with mischief, now soft
with an inexpressible tenderness, that the mouth
was delicately firm, the skin clear and smooth as
satin, and susceptible of a rosy flush under provoca-
tion. Pennie was fastidiously dainty and neat in all
her belongings. She satisfied the most critical taste
by her exquisite personal cultivation, and Mr. Tindal
had not much to do beyond criticizing and observing
her for ever so long. She gained by this close scrutiny ;
person, temper, mind — all stood the test ; and when
the time came for him to leave this little lady, he
discovered that he loved her with all his heart.

He was dreaming of her, painting the scenery for
the second act in his life, all through the service-
time in Church ; and when loudly, through the open
doors, the organ sounded the dismissal, he was still
busy with his air- drawn pictures.



( 185 )



VIII.

DISAPPOINTMENT.

Penelope Croft walked from the church to the
vicarage gate with her new friend, Mrs. Featherston.
They talked of good things like good hopeful women,
but only a word or two of importance to this chronicle
passed between them. '' The Abbey pew was empty,"
said the vicar's wife.

*' Mr. Tindal would hardly be able to walk to
church yet," replied Pennie.

" Ah, no ! When he is well, I hope he will
come regularly, if it be only for the example's sake.
As for that sad story about him, I don't believe a
word of it, neither does Harry. We intend to do all
our possible to rehabilitate him."

Pennie's eyes lightened. She could have kissed
that rosy little woman for her French idiom on the



186 MR. wynyakd's ward.

spot, tliongli it was not lier wont to express her
feelings in that embracive fashion.

Her mother and Mrs. Jones were following close
behind, and a thin stream of cottagers and farm-
servants was oozing on before. When Pennie parted
with the vicar's wife she held on her way by herself.
It was a very sunshiny day, warm for the season,
and the spring was appearing in verdant touches
here and there amongst the earlier budding trees.
She felt happy — so happy and tranquil after her
prayers, and her quiet, loving, trusting thoughts.
Pennie's was a genial religion. It never occurred to
her that joy and gladness amongst His creatures
could be offensive to the great giver of all good ; and
because she was happy, she was thankful. She kept
time with her step to the singing in her heart, and
when she came to the old garden-door, and waited
to bid Mrs. Jones good-day, that generous soul
exclaimed in a gush of admiration, — "Why, Miss
Pennie, you've got quite a colour ! You 11 come out
a'most bonny enow." Love and pious thoughts are
indeed rare and delicate painters, and they and April
together had been giving, for the last few days.



DISAPPOINTMENT. 187

some very tender and elevating toiiciies to lier ugly,
pathetic, young face.

One of Pennie's distresses at Mayfield was the
Sunday afternoon. Her father and mother had
always felt their religious devoir well done when the
morning service was over, and though the church-
bells chimed again for evening prayers at three o'clock,
the worshippers they drew from the rich farm-houses
were very few. To hold a levee of friends during
those long hours when best clothes must be worn out
of respect for the day, was Mrs. Croft's dehght, as it
had been her husband's ; and it was only heavy rain
or snow that balked her of her weekly treat. Mr.
Hargrove, Mr. Buckhurst, Mr. Briggs and his vdfe, or
Jessie, would walk over from Allan Bridge, and drop
in for a gossip, which, when the days were long,
ended always in their stopping tea. Tom Boothby,
Mr. Gaskill, and old Bobby Clough would turn up
about once in three months, and more frequently Mr.
Lister and Dick, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones. There were
many others besides these to whom the hospitable
widow gave entertainment as they listed — pipes and
hollands, or toast and tea.



188 MR. wynyard's ward.

From this noisy Sunday society Pennie recoiled
witli tlie keenest repulsion. It had been intermitted
during Mr. Tindal's residence in the house, but she
foresaw that on this afternoon it would arrive in great
force, and as soon as dinner was over, she put on her
bonnet to go to church to avoid it as long as possible.
Her mother remonstrated faintly, but Pennie kissed
her, and went her way with gentle determination.

Piood Church was still unrestored. Frequent
whitewashing had blunted the sharpness of arch and
capital, and the wood-work throughout, wherever it
was not patched with a ^^iece of deal board, was
fretted and decayed. Pennie took her seat in the
Grange pew which faced the Tindal pew, one on either
side of the chancel, and she had not been many
minutes in her place, before the service began, and
she became aware of an opposite neighbour in Mr.
Tindal. He had no book, and he gazed about him
without reserve until he espied her, when he grew a
shade more decorous in his behaviour, and graduated
gently into perfect propriety. He had not been
within the doors of an English church for seven
years, and the cold, bald unsightliness of this struck



DISAPPOINTMENT. 189

liim witli surprise and discomfoi-t ; for it was his
own. Schemes of re-edification immediately suggested
themselves to him, and he resolved to consult Pennie
about it on the moiTow ; Pennie was sure to be in-
terested in such a work. He could not keep his
thoughts fi'om straying during either the prayers or
the sermon, but he felt the better for being where he
was, and when he spoke a few words to Pennie in the
churchyard afterwards, she knevr that he was a world
easier in his heart than when he left Mayfield. She
wondered what had happened, but there was no
opportunity of asking, for Mrs. Featherston came up
•w-ith kind inquiries and congratulations on his
recovery, and Pierce was waiting for him -^ith the
drag at the gate. " To-morrow," was all he said after,
but it was quite enough to send Pennie home content.
When she arrived there the parlour was very loud.
She heard Bobby Clough's voice first, and then Mr.
Hargrove's, and she made her stay upstairs as long
as she dared. She had the satisfaction of seeing the
old beau-bachelor depart ; and with him an unknown
farmer person who was Mr. Briggs ; but when Bessie
came to tell her she had taken in tea, Mr. Hargi'ove



190 MR. WYN yard's WARD.

was still there, and lie remained. Some confidential
talk was passing between liim and the widow, which
ceased abruptly as Pennie entered the room, and she
felt sure the subject of it was herself. Her mother's
heart was easily unlocked and robbed of its secrets,
and when Pennie saw the lawj^er's eyes fixed on the
ring with which Mr. Tindal had adorned her hand,
she was convinced that he had been made the deposi-
tary of her confidence. Mrs. Croft thought highly of
him as a gentleman, a professional man, and the real
acting trustee for her daughter ; and though, when
they began their gossip, it had not been in her mind
to speak of the gift Mr. Tindal had made to Pennie, it
slipped out along with other details of his residence
at Mayfield ; and to Mr. Hargrove's understanding, it
appeared the most important and significant of all.
He put on it, in fact, the intei-pretation that Mr.
Tindal meant to secure Mr. AYynyard's wealthy ward
for his viife, but so far was he from assigning the
desire to its true cause, that he attributed it entirely
to her money, and said to himself that it must be his
business to circumvent it.

He began at once by cautiously and skilfully



DISAPPOINTMENT. 191

undermining that slight little structure of revised
opinion which Pennie had prevailed wdth her mother
to build up on the old storied foundation of Mr.
Tindal's life. He reverted to his brother's mysterious
death, and declared that he was as certain Ai-thur
Tindal was the assassin as if he had seen him point
the gun that killed him. He dipt into the well of
stagnant gossip and lies about that tragedy, and
brought up a bucketful of slimy weeds and rottenness,
which he poured out slowly before Mrs. Croft's
memoiy, until she was ready to affirm, like him, that
there must be some truth at the bottom of this foul
deposit, if only they could fish it up.

" I'll not go to Rood to-morrow, nor I won't let
her go," was the conclusion she promptly brought
her fears to ; and then she confessed to Mr. Hargrove
how she had promised to stay and lunch at the Abbey
with her daughter as she carried her back to Eastwold.

" Stay and lunch at the Abbey ! " echoed the
lawyer softly and awfully; "why, my good friend, it
would be the dale's talk. You did your Samaritan's
duty in taking him in here, and taking care of him
until he was well, and he has endeavoured to acquit



192 MR. WYNYARD'S WARD.

himself of the obhgation, and there I should advise
you to let the intimacy drop. As for associating
with him familiarly, while he lies under such a ban as
that of imputed murder, you really must not think
of it."

Mr. Hargrove appeared so shocked at the notion
that for several minutes he could speak of nothing
else ; and this was the theme he and the widow were
upon, when Pennie — all unwitting of the disappoint-
ment in store for her — presented herself at tea. Her
mother looked conscious, the lawyer very serious.
Conversation was at a halt for some time, but the clink
of the urn, the teapot, and cups, covered the silence
until Mrs. Croft inquired who was at church. "■ Only
the school-children, a few old people, Mrs. Featherston
and Mr. Tindal," Pennie replied.

" Mr. Tindal at church ! " cried Mr. Hargi-ove,
in mocking amazement. " Trying the devotional
dodge — very astute, very clever, I must say."

Pennie set a watch on her lips ; it was not for
her to undertake Mr. Tindal's defence against this
odious maUf as in her own mind she called the agent,
but she could not control the indignant wave of



DISAPPOIX'niENT. 193

colour that flushed into her face. It was not lost on
him ; it gave him the measure of her sentiments,
but by no means of her character and her powers.
These he underrated, having a general contempt for
all women. He tried her with a little rallpng next.

" You are like your cousin Lucy, Miss Penelope :
because Mr. Tindal's a fine-looking gentleman, and
has a pleasant way with him, when he gets black
dog Care off his back for an hour, she takes him for
a persecuted saint, and would fall down and worship
him, if he'd only show that it would be agreeable."
Pennie did not like the implication, but she still held
her peace. Mr. Hargrove threw a strain of malig-
nity into his probing speech to finish with. " Fools
fancy a rogue with a slink, a furtive eye, and a
wheedling whine, but the real rogues that carry a
real fox gnawing at 'em under their cloaks, put on
a jolly grin, and have a jest at their tongue's end.
It is the rogue who is best at shamming innocence
we should be most on our guard against, Miss
Penelope, or we are robbed before we know where we
are."

" Are 3-0U quoting Jacques the gi-azier ? " said
VOL. I. 13



194 iME. wynyard's ward.

Penelope — not without point. She had heard that
burly personage deliver himself of a similar senti-
ment to her mother, and it was to Hargrove, on
Mr. Wynyard's affairs, he was covertly alluding.

The laysyer stared uneasily : " What do you
know of Jacques the grazier ? " asked he.

" Poor fellow, he was opening up his troubles
about his money to me when he brought over the
Alderney," interposed Mrs. Croft. *' Set a man
talking of his troubles, and he'll go on for all evers.
How is business prospering in Aikindale, sir, if it
isn't a liberty to ask ? Is there a prospect of Mr.
Wynyard's coming back to Eastwold '? "

"Not at present, I fear, not at present : " the lawyer
took refuge in a solicitous air, and refrained from pro-
voking anymore double-edged questions fromPennie.
He discerned in that one with which she had favoured
him a shrewdness, fearlessness, and directness of cha-
racter extremely hard to deceive or to manage. He
discerned also that she had got a theory of himself
into her mind, possibly truer to the fact than was
convenient, which she was endeavouring to match
with his moralities, and his popular repute as



DISAPPOINTMENT. 195

gathered from Jacques the grazier. He relished
neither her scrutiny nor her sarcasm, but he felt it
was good he should be aware — however unwelcome
the discovery — that there lived at Eastwold a familiar
who distrusted him, and who would not be afraid
of showing her distrust. The subject of Arldndale
was evaded, and shortly after tea he took his de-
parture, to Pennie's exceeding relief.

Mrs. Croft did not announce that she had
changed her mind about stapng to lunch at Rood
Abbey until the following morning at breakfast, and
the shock was so wholly unexpected that Pennie
could not conceal her -^Tath and disappointment.
Angry tears flashed into her e^^es, and she said
almost with a sob that it was very unkind, and what
right had Mr. Hargrove to speak of Mr. Tindal as
he did ? She was sure he had influenced her
mother to refuse her this last pleasure of her visit.
Mrs. Croft could be irate as well as her daughter.

" Is that the way to talk to me, Penelope ?
You're not to judge of what's proper and what's not
proper. I won't have you get no friendlier with

13— i



196

Mr. Tindal ; and if you say another word, I'll make
you send back that keepsake-ring he gave you."

Admonished in this strain, Pennie did not say
another word. Love and confidence shrunk up
wounded into a corner of her heart, and the \^ddow,
as soon as her passion was past, discerned with com-
punction that she had done more harm than good.
Yet her next w^ords did not mend matters. " If Mr.
Hargrove did give me a warning, it is no more than
what he's bound to do. Where is Mr. Wynyard
that your father put you under care of, and v\'hat
heed does Dr. Grey pay to your bringing-up ? If
you'd been left to me and your uncle Lister to
manage, there'd ha' been far more sense in it, and
you'd not be setting yourself up now to know what's
right better nor your mother."

This was the style in which Mrs. Lister rated
J oanna and Lucy ; it is needless to say that Pennie
was not used to it, and that she cowered under it
with as much shame and dismay as if she had been
threatened with physical chastisement. The widow
was hardly aware of the extent of the mischief she
was doing with her rough words, which she would



DISAPP01NT:\rENT. 197

forget before the morniDg was over, but which Pennie
would feel sorely for many a long day. The mother
even fancied that she was performing a maternal
duty — '' teaching her gel to know herself," as she
would have expressed it, but, in fact, she was only
teaching her reserve. The tears stole down Pennie's
cheeks, and she rubbed them off furtively, quivering
through all her body, but saying nothing ; and, when
breakfast was over, she went out into the garden,
and had a good cry by herself.

She wished this had not happened on her last
day at home. She knew her mother's warm temper
was apt to break out now and again on the offending
head of Bessie or of Ned, but she never recollected
being called on herself to bear the brunt of it before.
And then the disappointment about going to the
Abbey, which she knew would be as gi-eat to Mr.
Tindal as to her — and it might be ever so long
before she saw him again. At this thouglit her
tears grnshed anew. Mrs. Croft was not much less
miserable than she had made her daughter. To be
sure, she had no tender reasons for wishing to eat
her luncheon at Piood Abbey instead of at home, but



198 MR. wynyard's ward.

slie was Text at herself for liaviug grieved Pennie,
aud she was afraid it might affect their future inter-
course. Pennie, as she remembered of old, had
alwaj's taken a small reproach acutely to heart, and
as a child had been shy and timid for a week after
the lightest scufting. If she turned shy and timid
now, it might end in her not coming to Mayfield
again in ha\dug-time. Indeed, without intending,
without knowing it, her mother had taken away in
an instant from Mayfield its chiefest charm. And
regret would not restore it.

Pennie made the first advance towards peace. She
came to the kitchen door where her mother was, and
asked if a note ought not to be sent to Mr. Tindal
to tell him they were not going to the Abbey. *

" What a fuss you do make about it, Pennie,"
said her mother who stuck to her main resolution,
and thought it due to herself to maintain her
dignity. " He'll expect no note, not he ; it isn't
like as if it was a party. I'll not have any writing
backwards and forwards between you. That would
be worse than the other." Almost before she had
done speaking, Pennie had withdrawn herself to the



DISAPPOINTMENT. 199

parlour, and was crj-ing again more bitterly than
ever. She did not wear tears near her eyes, but
when the deep fountains were opened, they flowed
copiously.

AYhile Pennie was bewailing herself thus at
Mayneld, Mr. Tindal, in anticipation of her speedy
arrival, was going about with a cheerful countenance,
putting the final touches of embellishment to his
sanctum in which he proposed to receive her. How
often had she gathered violets and garnished her
rustic parlour for him ! He remembered with
gi'ateful tenderness, her thousand delicate little
efforts to please his eye, and lighten the tedium
of his confinement, and he thought that she should
see he had not been unobservant of her whims and
her tastes. With his own fingers, less deft than
hers, but far from incapable, he filled a cup on his
writing-table with wet long - fronded moss, and
stuck it thick with double violets. From the
neglected green-house, Pierce brought in a stand of
plants in blossom, cinerarias of every shade of
purple, heaths, rosy pink and white, and a tall



200 MR. wynyard's ward.

full-flowered crimson camellia in the centre, wliicli
made a rich glowing mass of colour in the vnde,
deep window.

The room had the morning sun, and was spacious
and airy, with a soft, many-hued Persian carpet,
green silk draperies, and antique furniture of dark
walnut wood, wrought all of it, according to the tra-
ditions of the house, from the original car\dngs,
panellings, and plenishing of the Ahhey. The
pictures on the walls were landscapes, every one,
and most of them were sunny scenes. Over the
mantel-piece, which was lofty and sculptured of
w^ood like the book-cases and cabinets, there was
an Italian view of a lake and mountains — blue,
golden and glorious. Mr. Tindal had chosen this
room for his own on his return, feeling his need of
all things bright; and as he made it festive for his
expected guest, he glanced round it approvingly, and
said to himself — Yes, she would like it. It had been
his mother's drawing-room, and should be hers. So
confident was he of the balance of that cup to which
he was approaching his thirsty lips.

The clock went round to three quarters of an



DISAPPOIXTMEXT. 201

Lour past noon, and then he began to count the
minutes until she came. He had to count them a
long while, but he did not give up expecting until
Pierce entered and said, Miss Croft had ridden by
with her mother. Then there was an end of it.
The afternoon was half over, the sun had faded out
of the room, and he went to his savourless meal
alone. It was not her fault, he was sure, but he
experienced a sense of pain and dejection far beyond
the ordinary sense of disappointment ; and for the
whole of that day he could not raise himself above it.
He tried \^Titing, he tried a book, he tried his pipe —
that consoled him best ; his familiar friend that
moraHzed ill smoke, and was never weariful.



202 MR. wynyard's ward.



IX.

ABOUT RINGS.


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