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Consett thought he was beinof reminded of his
own little skirls whom he had lost. When he
lifted Kitty on his knee, she sighed the last
sio^h of her exhausted sorrow, leaninor a2:ainst
his breast. It was over, and she was tired
of it — open to consolation and new loves after
the manner of her age. Mr. Denys mentioned
some furry favourites of his own at home,
and proposed that Kitty should come to the
Manor House and make friends Avith them.

" There's no time like the present," he said
to her mother. '' Huorhie and I are o^oino^
across the Green Square, and may stop a few
minutes at the church, but Kitty shall not
be tired. She shall have her dinner at one



YOUNG PEOPLE. 99

o'clock, and Marie-Irene shall bring her back
in the afternoon."

Mrs. Consett was sure the child would be
safe, and Mr. Denys led her off just as she
was— in her cotton bonnet and frilled slip over
her frock, a pretty picture of a little country
girl any way and every way. Kitty was pleased
to go, and in the simplicity of her heart made
no ado, but entered into interesting conversa-
tion with both her companions on the road.
They were also themselves the cause of con-
versation, then and afterwards.

It was the time of morninof when all the
world was out-of-doors, expatiating in the sun-
shine and sea-air — the people who lived at
Cote, the people who were there for the season,
and the people who had come only to spend
the day — shoals of these last, of every degree,
in every variety of costume. There had been
rain the night before, and when Mr. Denys



lOO MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

turned into the Green Square with his son
and Httle Kitty Consett, its aspect was extra-
ordinarily bright, animated, and fresh. Stran-
gers were apt to be charmed with the Green
Square at Cote beyond anything they found at
Marshleas or Cambourne. It had a breadth
of shadow on the north side, which was a busy
market-scene for a couple of hours before noon.
Buying and selling were going on wath vivacity
now in front of the open stalls, and on the
edge of the flags, where women who sold
butter and fresh eggs, vegetables and fruit, sat
at the receipt of custom. In the distance,
under one of the great isolated trees, Mr.
Denys descried Mr. Clarges and Mr. Orme,
the centre of a group of gentlemen and work-
men, viewing the church tower, from which the
scaffolding had been removed since yester-
day, and went straight across to them in the
blindine sun.



YOUNG PEOPLE. lOI

Old Crump, who was on the skirts of the
crowd, spoke to the squire as he passed, and
followed the boy with his eyes. He had a
great favour and affection for Hugh Oliver,
who always used him with civility.

" It is a noble church, and crowns the
Green Square, Mr. Denys," the rector said,
and seemed in hlo^h o^ood-humour.

'' And nov/ for the bells," added Mr. Orme
valiantly.

" You must wait for the bells till my son Is
married. You shall have the bells to ring at
my son's wedding," Mr. Denys answered in
the same voice.

Hugh Oliver stood by, a bluff school-boy,
ruddy and brown, showing his white teeth in a
rare laugh, and holding little Kitty Consett by
the hand.

The rector said well that the church was a
noble church, and crowned the Green Square.



I02 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

It wanted nothing now that the great tower
dominated it, looking over all to the sea, a
landmark for all the country round. The
lime-trees that were young when the Green
Square was a swampy field were a thick screen
of leafy coolness now. The solid, tall houses
built where Moffatt's Corner had been done
away, rose against the blue sky with peaked
gables, irregular roof-lines, and many-formed
chimney-stacks. All the houses on the place
showed an amiable rivalry in their adornment.
Some were wreathed to the topmost cornice
with florid garniture of ivy, green, golden and
silver. Some had traced their window-lines
with roses, and draped them with curtains
of clematis, purple, blue, and fragrant white.
Some waited for their chief glory until the
early frosts made the Virginian creeper burn
red as scarlet and fire upon the walls. Any-
thing would grow that was planted and kindly



YOUNG TEOPLE.



cared for. The myrtle covered the stones Hke
a mantle of velvet sown with pearls ; the
magnolia blossomed abundantly in seasons of
steady, prolonged heat ; and the Spanish jessa-
mine revealed its stars in every warm, southern
nook. The people who took pains with their
houses were aware that Mrs. Denys was
gratified ; and they had their reward in the
beauty and pleasantness of the place, in the ad-
miration it excited, and the favour it brought
them. Cote was said now to be as full as it
would hold, and indeed the lively stir that
morning, the air of bustle and business, bore
out the assertion, and sustained the boast.
And all this, as Crump said, at no cost but
of a little thought, and work in overtime.

Mr. Denys did not halt long to contemplate
the church tower. " The finest effect is in the
evening. Your mother will like to come at sun-
set," he said to Hugh Oliver as they walked on.



I04 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

" This is the night the band plays," the boy
objected.

'* We will not mind that, for once. The
evening will be very soft and beautiful after
this hot day. To-morrow we must go to
Navestock."

Kitty did not flag at all, but her face was
very rosy when Mr. Denys presented her
before his wife in her morning-room, where
she was busy with her letters, and affairs of
business, as her custom was at that hour. She
turned her head without rising, but was kind
and gracious enough when she saw her little
visitor. Everybody was fond of Kitty.

" I have brought you company, Delia.
Make much of her, for she has been in sad
trouble to-day," Mr. Denys said. " Where is
Marie-Irene, and where is Muff?"

Muff looked round from the window-sill
where she was sunning herself — a white



YOUNG PEOPLE. IO5

Persian cat with torquoise-blue eyes, and evi-
dently not deaf as prejudiced witnesses love to
aver that blue-eyed, white Persian cats are.

Marie- Irene was in the earden with a book.
Hugh Oliver took Kitty and went in quest
of her. Muff courteously attending them, and
returning w^hen they were called to dinner.

Dinner over, there was a tour of inspection,
conducted by the squire himself, all round the
premises, wherever there was any creature,
gamesome or young, that Kitty might be
pleased to have an introduction to — ball-like
puppies, a calf with spikes on its nose, a foal
with frail, long legs, cocks and hens, ducks,
turkeys. Mrs. Brice, looking out from the
still-room window, saw the master pass, carry-
ing the child throus^h the imminent numerous
perils of the poultry-yard. " Poor master ! just
so I've seen him carry his own little girls,
many's the time," she said.



I06 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

Mrs. Denys and Marie-Irene, in vast,
slouched straw hats, were of the party, and
the carriao^e came to the door for their after-
noon drive before the inspection was finished.
That brought it to an end, however, and
Kitty's mourning comforts were wound up by
her conveyance home with a kitten of Muff's
Hneage in her lap, and a basket of strawberries
for her mother.

*' And has my pet been happy — very
happy ? " Mrs. Consett tenderly inquired.
Kitty had been so happy that words could
not utter it. Nevertheless, the first thing she
did was to go and sit by Comfy's grave,
and promise never, never to forget her.



( I07 )




CHAPTER XLII.

SOME LAST WORDS.

" I have too grieved a heart

To take a tedious leave."

Sha kspeare.

When the carriage drove away that bore
Kitty Consett home, Mr. Denys walked into
the villaee, and went down to the Glen House.
The new house had never attained to the
bowery perfections of the old one which had
so many links with Mr. Denys' memory, but
the gardens were little altered, and the hollow
walk under the beech-trees was always the
same — soft under foot and shady over head,
a dellQ:htful walk for an invalid who shivers
on any but the warmest days. And this was
now Mr. Essex-Brough's melancholy case. He



I08 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

was holding his wife's arm, and travelHng
slowly up and down, resting often, when Mr.
Denys appeared in sight, and looked along
the green alley to discover whether they were
there.

" Here is Mr. Denys, come to relieve you
for an hour, Chattie," he said.

" I wish you would not fancy that I am tired
when I am not tired," was his wife's answer.
*' Am I a woman to want a dance when my
husband is lying ill in the next room ? "

No. Let motives alone — they are mixed
and inscrutable often. Mrs. Essex- Brough was
a good wife as she was a good neighbour,
the more serviceable as there w^as the more
need of it. Her husband had been a pitiable
sufferer at intervals since before their marriage,
and a heavy cloud that he had passed under
lately had developed his malady, of which the
fatal issue was predicted at no very long date.



SOME LAST WORDS. IO9

He had not many people to come to see
him, but Mr. Denys, when he was at Cote,
never failed him for a day.

" So you are going to Navestock to-morrow
— are you going for any length of time ? " the
sick man inquired.

*' I shall be at the Manor House again
within the week. Delia goes with me, and
never stays willingly longer than she must."

" I shall last the week, I hope."

" I would not leave if the end were likely
to be so soon. Swift gives you a month or
two," Mr. Denys said with great concern.

'' Swift is a eood fellow. But I would not
have you stay for me — I might keep you
waiting till you lost patience."

" Don't say that. Mr. Denys has never
forgotten to be kind," the sick man's wife
remonstrated.

'' And there is one other person who has



no MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

never forgotten to be kind, Chattle," he said
with a touch of compunction. " Let us go
indoors. It begins to be chill when the sun
gets round behind the fir-trees at the back
of the house."

Mr. Essex-Brou^h had done worse thino^s
in his time than circulate that lie with a
circumstance to serve a friend which had been
his final discomfiture. Shielded by the strong
defence of money, he had gone on with im-
punity in the perverse ways he loved, fearing
no check and meeting none, until that day
which the fates hold in reserve for men who
tempt their luck too long. That day brought
him face to face with a person of no account
in the world, unless by force and weight of
character, an inconvenient witness in a matter
where his friend wanted backing, and when, at
the critical moment, he applied the lever of
a lie to destroy the value of testimony by



SOME LAST WORDS. I I 1

destroying first the credit of a good name, he
raised what he could not support, and what
in falling to the ground fell upon and crushed
himself. He had to answer to the law for his
venturesome use of bad expedients, and few
compassionated his misfortune. He was furi-
ously angry, and could never resist talking of
it, but he was not ashamed. To the last he
was consistent, and boldly maintained the prin-
ciple that a gentleman must play fair with his
equals, but may ride over the rest of the world
as he pleases, and no harm to his honour.

" There is a ereat deal of vaoourinof about
what a gentleman will do, and what a gentle-
man will not do. Look round you, Denys, and
tell me, where is the perfect man ? " he said to-
day. " Is Midas ideally honest ? Does old
Boreas seek no private ends ? More act by
my principle than avow it. Niggers and low
fellows understand it as well as we. Clarc^es



I 1 2 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

acquiesces in it with the pious cynicism of all
well-off and well-bred men of his school. It
is the political principle that governs half the
world."

Mr. Denys did not care to enter into the
argument. He knew that it was the principle
which had formerly guided himself whenever
his might came into collision with the right of
weaker folk. But he had kept always on the
safe side of the law. And he had learnt since
a better way.

Mr. Essex-Brough continued his self-excul-
pation : " I had no malice against the indivi-
dual. I meant him no personal injury in
writine that he was a sort of lunatic. I wanted
to carry our case, and that was only a strong
way of putting my opinion, that it is madness
for a man to fly in the face of his squire. The
fact is, I did not know him, or I should have
let him alone. You cleared the Blythes out of



SOME LAST WORDS. II3

the Orchard for nothing else, Denys. And
quite right too."

" Would to God that I could bring them
back," Mr. Denys said forcibly.

Mrs. Essex-Brough mentioned that Richard
Blythe had been in Cote several times lately.
" He is here to-day," she said. '' I met him
as I was riding up to the down this morning
before breakfast."

*' I had not heard of it. Why is he here ? "
Mr. Denys was evidently taken by surprise.

" He made no sign — and yet I think he
must have known me," the lady replied.

There was a sudden cessation of talk. Mr

Denys air was grave and pre-occupled, as if

some urgent thought had presented Itself to

him at the moment. When he got up to go,

and had shaken hands with his condemned

friend once, he returned from the door again

to repeat his good-byes.

VOL. in. H



114 ^RS. DENYS OF COTE.

" In case you see me no more ? " Mr.
Essex-Brough said with a grim smile.

"In case you see me no more," Mr. Denys
answered. " As the Lord Hveth, there is but a
step between any of us and death ! "

A quarter of an hour after the squire was
gone, Mr. Essex-Brough said to his wife :
'' What did Denys mean, Chattie — ' As the
Lord hveth, there is but a step between any of
us and death ? ' "

" He was speaking out of the Bible. I
don't know what he meant," was her reply ;
but she had been considerinor it too.

An unexpected concurrence of events had
suddenly brought up before Mr. Deng's' mind
some spectres of the past. Was he afraid of
them ? He testified no fear, and would have
confessed to none, but he went straight home
from the Glen House, and did a thing that it



SOME LAST WORDS. II5

had been long his intention to do, but which
he had delayed from a natural reluctance to
act as in anticipation of death, when there was
no threatening of death unless in his secret
consciousness. He wrote several letters which
he consigned to a locked drawer of his writinof-
table — Delia would have the key in the event
that he was preparing for. Then he turned
to the destroying of letters — destroying some
with a cruel pain of remembrance, no doubt;
but havinof bes^un the task, he did not linger
over it. His Cousin Ralph was his own master
again, and he was going to Navestock to-
morrow — his peril none the less because ex-
perts had decreed poor Ralph recovered of
his lunacy. And Richard Blythe was back
at Cote — had been at Cote several times lately.
Why ? Mr. Denys had heard of what was
called his rancour when he went away, and
he had heard nothine of him since. This was



Il6 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

first in his recollection, therefore — not that he
believed much of Richard's rancour ( it was
not like the man), but his re-appearance on
the scene of his griefs at the moment when
Ralph Denys was free again to prosecute his
revenges, did give an impetus to the dormant
superstition in his mind — if that may be called
superstition which was really faith in the
working out of law, and a foresight of prob-
able consequences. When his wife and Marie-
Irene returned from their drive, Delia sought
her husband there — in his private room, where
he was commonly to be found at that hour,
and found him still busy. The saddest part
of his duty was completed, but it was not all
done. The drawers of his escritoire wxre
open, but some had yet to disgorge their con-
tents, and the contents of others were strewn
on the floor and on the tables.

''What are you doing, Hugh? What are



SOME LAST WORDS. II7

these old papers lying all over the place ? "
his wife asked, looking about.

'' Letters. I have been sorting them, and
putting in order what are necessary to be kept.
They are not many. Those may be burned."
He gathered up an armful, cast them into
the fire-grate, struck a match, and set them
alight there and then — not the first batch by
the ashes on the hearth. ''It gives no end
of pain and trouble to look through a man's
papers after he is gone. I will not leave you
that bad legacy, Delia. These are family
letters — of no interest any more." He spoke
with studied indifference.

Delia stood with a doubtful aspect, watching
their destruction. " I save very few letters,"
she said musingly.

''That is the best way. Answer them, if they
want answerlnor and have done with them."

"Yours and my boy's, and a few more,"



Il8 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

'' Amongst these were mine to my mother
when I was Huo^hle's aee — letters from school
chiefly."

Delia picked up a charred page that had
fallen between the bars. It was nothing — a
blank page. She seemed disappointed : " I
should have liked to read those letters of
yours from Rugby. Are they all burnt ? "
she inquired.

" Yes, I believe so. They were not worth
reading. Look here." Mr. Denys held out
to her as he spoke an oval miniature, not
very well painted, and set only in a rim of
tarnished metal.

*' Who is it ? Can it possibly be yot^ ? ''
Delia said, smiling over it with a very real
and good-humoured amusem_ent.

It was the portrait of a sturdy little boy in
a white frock and red sash and shoulder-knots,
with fair hair cut straight across his forehead,



SOME LAST WORDS. II9

and great blue eyes full of vivacity — a mother's
darling one day, no doubt.

" It is like you yet," Delia said again. " I
shall take possession of it."

Mr. Denys held another miniature in his
hand, from which he glanced once or twice at
his wife as she was speaking. " Take this,"
he said at last. " I am rather jealous of your
remembrance."

Delia's beautiful blush and the sudden
brightness of her eyes announced her pride
and delio^ht in the Qrlft which her husband
presented with his short, " Take this." It was
a likeness of himself, excellent, admirable, by
a great artist who had known his sitter in-
timately since they were both young men.

'' I was keeping it in reserve until to-morrow,
our wedding-day," Mr. Denys said.

*' And this is our weddine-eve ! I did not
think when I was so miserable all that while



I20 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

ago that I could ever be so quiet and contented
as I am. Oh, my dear, you have been very
good to me," DeHa answered, and came near
to thank him.

" Better than you expected, eh ? " he said,
lookinof in her face. " Tell them so when I am
gone. They were hard upon me, but you were
stout-hearted, and faithful, and tender. God
bless you, my wife, for the years I have been
happy with you ! "

*'God make them many more, dear Hugh,
I pray."

If Delia dissolved in tears at this it was be-
cause she thought of the sorrows they had lived
through together as well as of the joys. But
there seemed a truce to sorrows at this time.
All was going well at Cote, and there was a
peep of light on the horizon where Mr. Denys
looked for the rising of that star of his hopes,
which he expected to culminate at New Place.



SOME LAST WORDS. 12 1

Captain Meade dined at the Manor House this
evening, and Marie- Irene put on a white gown
that somebody had said became her exceed-
ingly — a white gown with much cloudy softness
of lace about it, and garnet-coloured roses in
her hair that Captain Meade had brought her
from Mrs. Consett's garden. There were signs
that the young lady began to care for the
hero's approval, and as they walked across the
Green Square, following in the wake of Mr.
and Mrs. Denys, to view the church tower at
sunset, it was remarked that they had a little
the air of lovers.

A great many people were out besides the
party from the Manor House. A few were out
with the same object as themselves — to view
the tower finished and unveiled — but more
because it was the custom on a fine summer
evening to assemble in the Green Square when
the band of native talent performed a selection



122 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

of music. All ranks and conditions of men
were represented, work folk, trades folk, gentle
folk, and all taking their pleasure. It was the
custom to keep the shops open also, and to
light them up where there were pretty things
to sell ; and though business was considered
over at seven o'clock, the shopkeepers sat
before their own doors, ready to improve the
hour if there was any call, and enjoying their
lawful rest after the fatigues of the day if
there was none.

" It is very gay and amusing : It Is as new
to me as to you," Marie-Irene said to her
companion.

They were passing in front of the centre
house on the south side of the square, the new
inn, a picturesque and capacious building, with
hooded balconies and a garden before it, where
a party of young people, incited by the music,
had got up an impromptu dance. They sang,



SOME LAST WORDS. I 23

as they danced, tira-la-la to the tune. It was
a pretty incident, which a group of common
folk were standing to admire. Mr. and Mrs.
Denys halted for a minute like the rest, then
paced gently on, contemplating the great white
tower in the distance, and exchanging frequent
recognitions with nels^hbours in frieze and
fustian, and recognitions scarcely less frequent
with other neighbours in broadcloth and silk.

It was Mrs. Denys pride to say that she
knew every face by sight belonging to Cote,
and that her speaking acquaintance was nearly
as extensive. She was greatly beloved and
revered, a most beautiful lady still, but statelier
than when she came first amongst the people,
and with an expression of countenance very
sweetly patient, which they said she had never
lost since her little younger son died. The
squire's way of pulling off the soft grey hat
that was his country-wear was peculiar to him-



124 ^IRS. DENYS OF COTE.

self. He mieht have been oolnsf to throw it
down, but back on his head It went again with
the same quick automatic action. For the
instant that he was uncovered, his face was
lifted up, and he looked full at the person he
was greeting. Just so he looked at Richard
Blythe, who, advancing from the opposite
direction, reached the steps leading up to the
churchyard as he did, and stood back ren-
dering him the homage customary still from
cottager to squire amongst peasants of the
shepherd's type — the old-fashioned homage of
self-respect and rustic good manners. Mr.
and Mrs. Denys went up the steps, Delia with
downcast face, saddened by the recollections
that the unexpected meeting brought to mind,
and her husband not quite unshaken, though
he was in a measure prepared for it.

" Blythe looks well. He has prospered
since he went away," Mr. Denys remarked in



SOME LAST WORDS. 1 25

a low voice, but cheerful enough ; for, Indeed,
the man's appearance was a relief and satis-
faction to him.

" Yes. He would be likely to prosper any-
where, keeping his health," Delia replied in the
same tone, suppressing a sigh.

They w^alked round to the north-west of the
church where the splendid glow and flush of
sunset lay over the inland country seen for
miles and miles away. The churchyard had
been planted when the building was begun,
and the young trees, straight-grown and full
of summer leaf, gave promise of a grand matu-
rity. The enclosure wall was low enough for
a seat here, where the ground fell abruptly on
the outside, and two or three strangers had
found their way in for a quiet hour before the
night. Mr. and Mrs. Denys sat down to rest,
and wait for their young people, who had
loitered, talking, meanwhile, as intimate, dear



126 MRS. DENYS OF COTE.

friends talk of a work that is to outlive
them.

The church was called of Mr. Denys' build-
ing. It was built to stand for ages, of stone
imperishable, and was glorious for its strength
rather than lovely for any beauty or grace of
exterior ornament. The foundations were
laid deep, as the old companies of freemasons
laid the foundations of the ancient churches ;
and the tower, octagonal in form and but-
tressed hugely, rose in a noble lantern high
over the bell-chamber, ready and waiting for
the bells that were not to ring till the founder's
son was wedded. The warm reflections of
the declininor sun cast a veil of soft Yio-ht and

o o

delicate colour about the pale, bare walls.

" A very few years, and they will have a


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