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Papist besides. But Mrs. Moth, though a
representative woman, was not all the world,
nor the best part of it. Marie-Irene passed
with the majority as do other girls possessed of
beauty, grace, talent, and a fair dower besides.
Her religion was the real difference, for that
was her life.

When Captain Meade met the young lady
for the third time, she was assisting at a recep-
tion in the Dutch garden again. Her white
eala o-Qwn and blue ribbons were still much in
the fashion of the little eirl he remembered
laughing at his stories in the same place half-a-
dozen years ago, and she looked so sweetly
serious that the impulse seized him to tell her
a story, just to see her laugh now. Marie-



70 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

Irene was perfectly obliging. The conse-
quence was that he caught her blithe humour,
and learned, like other men in trouble before
him, that life goes forward, and the sun, hidden
awhile behind the clouds, may break out at
any hour of the day, all the lovelier in its clear
shining if there have been rain.

It was Marie-Irene's birthday that day, and
those who were privileged to know it had
brought her gifts for love-tokens. Mr. Clarges
had brought her an exquisite spray of his
favourite Devoniensis rose — a white rose just
unfolding, with buds and glossy leaves — and
in presenting it he had made her one of his
pretty, old-fashioned compliments that he was
famous for. Marie-Irene was pleased and
touched ; for she was fond of the old clergy-
man from a child, and he had been always
good to her.

" Come and talk to Hueh Oliver's mother.



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 7 I

Hughie has won the prize for swift running,"
she said, and offered her hand to conduct
him to Mrs. Denys. Mrs. Denys received him
with kind civiHty, and thanked him for his con-
gratulations, but they got no further. Hughie's
mother preferred to talk of her boy with Mr.
Orme.

'' Clarges, I am glad to see you here," Mr.
Denys cried, arriving to his old friend's deli-
verance, and they walked up and down under
the yew hedge arm in arm for a long while.

It was generally remarked how well and
hearty Mr. Denys looked that afternoon —
how sturdy and upright — with no care in his
face, and with a ready word for every one.
Cousin Elizabeth Paul, who had come bring-
ing Marie-Irene a handful of pearls that she
would never wear any more, was greatly
struck. " Life goes better with him," she said
to herself. '' He is more and more like what



72 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

he was meant to be." Fat Colonel Hayman
and Sir John Herrick were as cordial with their
neighbour now as if he had never offended,
and they had never stoned him.

'^ If Denys would stand for the county, he
would have as fair a chance of beino^ returned
as any man I know," Colonel Hayman roared
with boisterous laughter, as if the thing were
a good joke, but true for all that.

Delia heard him, and a delicate faint colour
tinged her cheek. '' They are speaking of my
dear husband," she said to a lady, almost a
stranger, who was pacing the lawn at her side.

" You have a right to be proud of him,"
the lady answered. " I knew Navestock well
when I was a girl, and I have often heard
since what Mr. Denys was doing there. The
Meades are of our connection. Mr. Denys
has had great opportunities, and has known
how to use them."



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 73

"He has, indeed, and I like to hear it
acknowledged. And Cote — do you enjoy
Cote ? " Mrs. Denys asked.

" Yes. I think I was never in a prettier little
town, and I have been half the world over
since I was married. We have our lodcrines
in the Green Square, above the hosier's
shop where the golden ivy is trained up the
door-posts. We came in on a fine Satur-
day evening, and were quite taken with the
lively stir and picturesqueness of the place
— like some foreign scene with the people
walking about and the band playing under
the trees."

" Most of our visitors are captivated by the
rural charm of the old village, which we have
done our best to brinor into the new. Time

o

will stand our friend, and tint and clothe what
is cold and bare yet."

" And you have religious privileges. The



74 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

old clergyman looks benign, and] Mr. Orme
can preach a sermon to do one good."

" Mr. Orme Is only hired for a term, but
we trust to keep him permanently when the
new church is consecrated."

Mrs. Midas ran up to Mrs. Denys with
both hands out and a gush of greeting, and the
stranger moved away. Poor, pretty little lady,
her clothes grew finer every season and her
manner more effusive, keeping pace with her
husband's increasing wealth and unpopularity.
Mrs. Denys had come to be rather sorry for
her. She had a restless vanity and love of
display, and suffered profoundly from her
secret consciousness that no real prestige
attached to her position as the squire's wife at
Cambourne. Cambourne, like Cote, had wel-
comed immiofrants from the ends of the earth
— Jews, Greeks, stock-brokers, and others, all
complete infidels as regards the title of country



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 75

squires to receive honour when by their deeds
they have deserved none.

'* I don't believe that some of them even
know who we are," Mrs. Midas added in a
plaintive whisper when she had recounted to
Mrs. Denys some recent, awful instance of
trespass on their cherished prerogative.

Mrs. Denys forbore to smile : '' You have
a set-off against what you complain of. Mr.
Midas is sufficiently appreciated by his own
friends," she answered with gravity. '* They
have made him chairman of the Rowboro'
bench since Sir Martin Deane Foxe retired.
And have not the way-wardens of the pen-
insula elected him their chairman — in blunt
rejoinder, as it would seem, to the appeal
made to them against him for closing a
pleasant walk which is claimed as a right of
way ? "

*' Oh, that was political Influence. Old



']^ MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

Boreas showed on the other side, and we are
still masters of the situation there. But it
was, perhaps, too much zeal."

" It was certainly too much zeal. It was a
very great pity that Mr. Essex-Brough should
think it excusable to circulate a lie with a
circumstance to serve your husband in such a
case, and that Mr. Barter and Mr. Sale should
put their names to letters prepared for the
newspapers in his solicitor's office. But it was
a still greater pity that local authorities, hold-
ing a trust for the public, should appear to con-
sider a gentleman who accepted such services
the fittest amonorst them to rule their counsels.
While gentlemen go these lengths for one
another, and call it loyalty, we must expect
strangers, educated in a different school, to
break out in contempt of them sometimes,
and raise a shout for justice."

*' And not get it," Mrs. Midas added with



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. ']'J

a titter of foolish triumph. *' It was made a
party affair, you know, and we won."

" You won, I know. Whether the principle
that gave you the victory may not entail a
worse ultimate loss remains to be seen. The
judge, my grandfather, is very angry that such
pranks are being played and condoned in the
name of his political party. He says that
common feeling has now a strong, steady drift
in favour of courage, character, and noble
conduct."

" Oh, nothing succeeds like success ! I love
to win — the means don't concern me, nor
whether the cause is altogether good. Party
spirit cares nothing for common feeling."

" More s the pity — it has the truer touch,"
Mrs. Denys said a little sadly.

The two ladies had turned into the broad
walk, and saw coming towards them their
respective husbands. No two men could have



yS MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

afforded a more striking contrast. Time was
dealing kindly with Mr. Denys, who had got
the better of his accidents and misfortunes,
and carried his nearly sixty years with robust
ease; while Mr. Midas, never very wholesome
to look at, had now the flushed face and thick
utterance of a man who drinks habitually too
much wine. His success had not entirely
succeeded. He had lost the swaggering pom-
posity of gait and manner that he had when
he was younger, and walked with a heavy
foot, and head han^ine down. When first he
dipped his hand into the lucky-bag of fortune
he drew a rare prize, and his aspect proved,
if anything could prove it, that he had not
been equal to his gift. He had drawn Cam-
bourne for his inheritance, and had cared no
more for it than if it had been a mere mine
to dig money out of. Just now he was at
his wits' end, driven hither and thither by



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 79

the multiplied mean vexations of business in
arrears, neglected, muddled, and mismanaged.
His steward had gone off with a large plunder,
and had left him to reap the consequence of
trusting his affairs to a man whose want of
integrity had been long a common tale.

The gentleman had been up to the new
church. '' We shall be ready for the consecra-
tion next summer, Delia," Mr. Denys said to
his wife as they met.

" Before next summer, I hope, Hugh. And
what does Mr. Midas think of the eround we

o

have laid out to bury our dead ? "

Mr. Midas answered that it was not what
/le thought, but what the bishop might think,
that it imported them to know. His wife set
her eyes upon him uneasily. They had a
burning question of a burial-ground on hand
at Cambourne just then themselves, and Mr.
Midas was apt to lose his temper about it.



8o MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

" The bishop has a name that he is wise,"
said Mr. Denys. '' The bishop knows that
the world has a future, and that the Church
will stand the firmer for enlar^inof her founda-
tions. He will not be sorry to hear that we
have found a way of peace to the grave with
Dissenters."

" What is it — your way of peace ? " Mrs.
Midas inquired, anxious and disturbed, but
smiling with her lips.

*' It is nothing but enclosing the whole burial-
ground with one wall, and separating by a
double line of trees an acre of it for our neieh-
bours who do not come to church. The bishop
and his clergy can march on the inner side
of the trees when they read the consecration
service ; and the next day the minister of
Salem can come with his conorreofation and
bless their lot. Clarges has no objections, and
I have none."



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 8 1

*' I suppose those are what you call Liberal
notions, and you are going to stand for the
county ? " Mr. Midas suggested with a covert
sneer.

Mr. Denys laughed : " I call them truly
Conservative notions. It is you who are the
subverters, who use your party flag for a cloak
of maliciousness," retorted he, and disclaimed
all. ambition of standing for the county.

Delia did not see why he should disclaim it,
and Mrs. Midas asked her husband if there
was any reason why he should not come for-
ward himself. Mr. Midas growled that a con-
test was expensive, and the issue doubtful :
'' But it is my intention to give a burial-
ground to Cambourne eventually — eventually,"
he announced with nervous emphasis as Sir
Thomas Britton came up with Mr. Clarges.

" People cannot wait to be buried eventually,
they must be buried when they die ; and in the

VOL. III. F



82 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

meanwhile it is a long way to carry a corpse
to Marshleas," the old fox-hunter objected.

The Cambourne grievance was likely to
become a burden and tax upon himself.
Marshleas Church was the mother church of
the peninsula, and the separate parishes had
ancient rights of burial there, which, after be-
ing allowed to lapse for many years, were
being re-claimed by Cambourne under the
necessity of wider room for the new popula-
tion — a measure which was causincr extra-

o

ordinary feeling and disturbance.

Mr. Clarges tenderly turned the conversa-
tion : " If the last news be true, there will be
no contest for the county — Mr. James Herrick
of Knowle has consented to be put in nomina-
tion," he said cheerfully.

" Politics again," murmured Mrs. Midas, and
moved a step onwards, inviting Mrs. Denys to
follow. '' I don't care for public affairs unless



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. St,

my husband is interested, and I fancy that he
has no chance of being county member," she
said, and sighed, avowing that she would
enjoy the dignity of county member's wife
immensely.

Mrs. Denys was silent. She coloured softly,
remembering and reflecting. Mr. James Her-
rick had represented Newbury for nine years,
and was a man of mark in the House of
Commons. His wife had once complained to
her Cousin Delia that when Parliament was
sitting she saw nothing of Jem. She judged
Delia to be the more fortunate woman because
her husband need never be absent. " And
you have a son — I have none but girls," pretty
Fanny lamented. The days were long gone
by, and grown dim in memory, when her
Cousin Fanny denied to Delia the company
of Mr. Denys to dinner at Knowle. They
did not stay In each other s houses, but they



84 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

were perfect friends, and met in London, at
Navestock rectory, and more rarely at Danes-
more, with entire satisfaction and cordiality.

Towards five o'clock the company In the
Dutch garden received several accessions.
Lady Herrick arrived with one of her grand-
daughters, and proudly confirmed Mr. Clarges
Information, which, Indeed, he had from Sir
John.

*' This is Clara, James' second girl," said
she, presenting her to Mrs. Denys ; and Clara
looked up with a pair of blue eyes as brightly
shy as her mother's at the same blushing age.
Hugh Oliver was Inquired for, but was not
forthcoming. Marie- Irene was proposed in-
stead, but the little girl said quietly that she
would stay with grandmamma.

Mrs. Essex - Brough appeared by herself,
leaving her husband reluctantly.

Mrs. Midas met her with her customary



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 55

flutter : '' You have escaped for a while ! How
jaded you look — how I do pity you ! " cried the
lively young lady. ''What should I do if I
were in your place?"

" Your duty, I hope," said Miss Nancy
Clarges with a kind seriousness, hearing her,
and intervening.

" Don't pity me ; my husband made me
come. I carry him back a little talk," Mrs.
Essex-Brough answered, and accepted Miss
Nancy's proffered company. Her faithfulness
in trouble was a support that even Mrs. Essex-
BrouQ^h was fond of.

Mrs. Consett came, and sauntered here and
there with Cousin Elizabeth Paul, glad of
a respite from the noise of her houseful of
children, and a glimpse of the gay world that
she had lived in once. Cousin Elizabeth Paul
observed with a touch of pathos how every
year they missed some of the faces familiar



86 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

in former seasons. Duchess Adela would
never appear there any more, and Mr. Wilton
had finally departed, not waiting to see the
church finished, or the last stone laid of the
beautiful Green Square. But if some of the
familiar faces had left the scene, others had
come on. The strano^ers at Cote this summer
of sufficient consequence to be received at the
Manor House were unusually numerous, and
amongst them were foreigners of royal dignity
and world-wide fame, to whom this English
village by the sea was an earthly paradise.
But more interestinof to the JiabittLds was
Captain Meade, whose name was inscribed on
the national roll of heroes, and whose story
promised to be distinguished for other episodes
besides that which had won him the Cross
of Valour. There he was, a sun-baked soldier,
with an ugly sword-cut across his right cheek
and severing the eye-brow, the reputed owner



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. Sy

of Navestock New Place, and inquisitively
noticed in his assiduous attendance upon a
young lady in a white gown and blue ribbons
— a beautiful young lady evidently at home,
and happy there, but never introduced to the
casual, chance guests of the season.

" Who Is she ? " one asked, much admiring
her as the two passed at a little distance under
the trees.

The query was addressed to Mrs. Moth.
" Nobody," said that lady, and her counte-
nance was forbidding.

Captain Meade looked down Into the charm-
ing face, and Marie-Irene looked up like sweet
May, answering to a question put as much in
sport as in curiosity : " Tom Rose — do you
remember Tom Rose ? He is staying with
us. Hucrh Oliver and he are o^one out sallinor-.

o o o

They don't care for afternoons in a garden.
You will see them presently."



88 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

But Tom Rose and Hus^h Oliver did not
appear until the company had departed, and
the lawns and alleys were left to the shades
of evening and silence, and the thronging of
winged creatures that haunt the summer
twiliofht.



( 89 )



CHAPTER XLI.



YOUNG PEOPLE.



*' I have often thought what a melancholy world this would be with-
out children, and what an inhuman world without the aged."

Coleridge.

With Hugh Oliver Denys and Tom Rose
went sailing every day of the warm August
weather two or three young Consetts, boys
home from school for their holidays as Hugh
Oliver was at home. Captain Meade passed
imperceptibly into treating them as all boys
together, and Tom Rose as the greatest boy
of any — " a regular wild shaver," as Todd
the boatman called him when he was let loose
on the water. His wonderful genius, unless
for mischief, was quite in abeyance.



90 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

Captain Meade found Cote agree with him,
and took up his quarters for an indefinite
period at the old thatched inn, opposite the old
original library and bazaar, which still enjoyed
a large measure of public favour under the
new order of things. Occasionally he sat for
an hour of an evening with Mrs. Consett.
Major Consett had fallen in that famous fight
where Captain Meade got his sword-cut across
the face, and in the brief, swift moments of
ebbing life was able to whisper a few words
to his friend and brother-in-arms : " You will
let Kitty know — my poor Kitty, my poor
children. God help her — there are so many
of them."

There v/ere so many of them. Captain
Meade was some time in mastering correctly
their names and ages. The boys came first,
in close succession, and five in all ; then came
Olivia, Helen, and Kitty the less, who, to the



YOUNG PEOPLE. 9 1

privilege of being the youngest, added the
further privilege of a likeness to her mother,
who was called the prettiest woman in the
regiment when she joined it as Lieutenant
Consett's newly-married wife. And she was
pretty still as his widow, and would be pretty
as long as she lived, for her countenance was
lovely, and her heart warm, tender, trustful,
and peaceful.

Mrs. Consett found the world full of good
people who were all glad to be kind to her.
When she came to Cote in her new mourning,
the bearer of a letter of introduction from
Captain Meade, and was granted a lease of a
spacious, shabby, picturesque cottage under
Mr. Denys, that gentleman felt no delicacy
in directing her to supply her family — so
numerous and so small — with fruit and vege-
tables from the kitchen-s^arden at the Manor
House, and she felt no delicacy in obeying



92 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

his directions, for she needed kindness, and
her cottage had no kitchen-garden belonging
to it. Afterwards, when she took Hugh
OUver to teach with her own flock, she be-
came one of Mrs. Denys' dearest intimates,
and the same relations were continued when
Hugh Oliver passed out of the hands of the
women, and went to Rugby. Marie- Irene ^
profited by association with the little girls in
the intervals when she emerged from her
convent ; and since she had come home for
good, the intercourse between the two houses,
which was almost daily, had been established
on an easy footing that made Captain Meade
many quiet, unexpected opportunities of im-
proving her sweet acquaintance.

Mr. Denys knew of these meetings, con-
sented to them, and was o^lad.

It was Mrs. Consett's summer morning
custom to take a thoughtful stroll after break-



YOUNG PEOPLE. 93

fast under the deep verandah before sitting
down to the day's work. It refreshed her
spirits and cheered her heart. The cottage
had ofrown with the o^rowth of some former
family, and was wonderfully pretty in its old
age. Here a gay canariensis decked the
myrtle-green of the walls with a cloud of
yellow butterflies : there a scarlet tropoleum
sported up to the thatch, and peeped in at
a dormer window. Roses foamed over the
verandah, and jessamine and clematis were
preparing a later show and sweetness. All
the house was fragrant as a nosegay, and
clean as wax, but sadly worn and faded.
Mrs. Consett's eye was accustomed to it. She
let the boys and girls go in and out of the
French windows which stood open the day
lonof. With eio^ht of her own and two or
three of other people's, it was impossible to
enforce the minor tidiness of life. But some



94 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

consolatory reflection always attended on this
lady's trials. She found much to be thankful
for in that the children enjoyed their health —
a consideration that seemed more important
than the partial absence of pattern from the
parlour carpet, or the total absence of carpet
from the stair.

On a certain clear, warm morning the whole'
brood had scattered themselves in pursuit of
amusement. The boys had probably gone to
the shore. The girls had certainly wandered
off into the green field that adjoined the
garden, for their mother saw the white cotton
bonnet of Kitty the less going along by the
hedge where primroses were profuse in spring,
and her sisters were not likely to be far off
though they were not in sight. She took a
few turns more, and stopped — surely that was
her child's voice in keen distress ? Yes.
There came Kitty, running and stumbling,



YOUNG PEOPLE. 95

loudly, bitterly crying, carrying a load that was
too much for her, all her little white petticoats
smirched with mire, and her pinafore red and
wet with fresh blood.

" Oh, my pet ! she has surely fallen ! she has
hurt herself!" her mother said, and hastened
to the rescue.

It was Kitty's tender heart that was hurt.
Mr. Swift, passing along the road, had heard
her cry, and was there as soon as her mother.
When Kitty saw help coming, she plumped
softly down on the grass, and uncuddled her
burden with a new outburst of tears : " Oh,
my Comfy, my Comfy, that I love so I " was
her pitiful cry. The doctor stooped to see.
It was Kitty's pussy, which had met the sad
fate of marauders. Her eyes were glazing,
she was warm yet. Kitty laid her face down
on the soft fur, and refused to be separated
from her pussy.



g6 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

Just then appeared advancing up the field,
from the opposite direction, Mr. Denys and
Hugh Ohver. Everybody was sorry for
Kitty's bereavement. Hugh OHver sat on his
heels beside her, and stroked pussy's coat — a
kindness and sympathy that went to the child's
heart. She tried to tell him about it — how
Comfy was missing at breakfast-time, and she
had crone to seek her — but broke down with
more tears, more sobs. Kitty was seven years
old, and this was a grief indeed.

''She's gone where good pussies go," said
Mr. Denys. " Hugh Oliver shall write her
elegy."

Kitty's sisters stood near, glistening in
unison. The children were left to console one
another, and were presently seen superintend-
ing a grave. When pussy's obsequies were
ended, Hugh Oliver kissed Kitty to staunch
her tears, and Helen led her into the house to



YOUNG PEOPLE. • 97

put on clean apparel. Hugh Oliver then
joined his father in Mrs. Consett's parlour,
where they were talking business.

Mr. Denys had fallen into the way of being
a helpful adviser of the widow with many sons,
and had come brin^inor favourable news from

o o

Mr. Gooden for the eldest, who would have
liked of all things to be a squire, but failing
that, for want of land of his own, had deter-
mined to be the next best thino^ — a farmer of
somebody else's land. Mr. Denys had negoti-
ated the lad's going to his own principal ten-
ant for a year or two's instruction, and Mrs.
Consett was feeling very happy in the assur-
ance that Charlie's future was being well pre-
pared for. Their talk was nearly over when
Hugh Oliver presented himself, and was asked
what he had done with Kitty. He gave his
touching account, and as his father and he

were about leaving, Kitty came in to tell her
VOL. in. G



98 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

Story, looking like a white flower with the dew
not shaken from it yet. She stood by Mr.
Denys with the fearless frankness of a child
accustomed to indulgence, and he seemed to
listen to her with a pathetic delight. Mrs.


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