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aiBRARY

OF THE
UN 1 VLRSITY
Of ILLINOIS

P2A2 w<T
V.2.



Digitized by tine Internet Archive

in 2009 with funding from

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



http://www.archive.org/details/wortlebankdiarys02leeh



THE



WORTLEBANK DIARY,



AND SOME OLD SIORIES FROM



KATHIE BRANDE'S PORTFOLIO.



BY HOLME LEE,

ADTHOB OF " SYLVAN HOLT's DAUGHTER," ETC.



IN THREE VOLUMES.



VOL. 11.



LONDON:

SMITH, ELDER AND CO., 65, CORNHILL.



M.DCCC.LX.



l^The right of Translation is reserved.'}






CONTENTS

OF THE SECOND VOLUME.



Page
From the Diaky ...... 1

Stories Round the Yule Log : —

My Brother Robert . . , . . 4

Poor Dick . . . , . .29

A Day of Reckoning . . . . . 47

An Immortal Poem . . . .111

At Old Saint Ann's . . . . . 127

From the Diary . . . . . .180

From First to Last . . . . . . 193

From the Diary ...... 270

The Devil's Mark . . . . . . 276



THE



WOETLEBANK DIARY,



AND SOME OLD STORIES FROM



KATHIE BRANDE'S PORTFOLIO.



J[rnm the Siarir,

Chr{st7nas Day,

Our Christmas Eve dinner went off much more
pleasantly than I had ventured to hope, and I
think my Belle was one cause of it.

We were chatting over the dessert, and Felix
had just given her a glass of wine, when she
nodded at him, and whispered, " Grandpapa's
good health," in such a whimsical way that a
smile passed round the table involuntarily.

Nobody but Belle could have ventured on it,
and, perceiving that she had not excited any
displeasure, she added, in the same tone —

VOL. II. 21



2 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

" Toast the babj, grandpapa — say^ baby's
health."

Felix gave her a tap on the knuckles with
liis knife, and then looking at me, said —

" We will drink to the babj and its father
and mother."

So we all did ; and, of course, Harry is for-
given.

Emmy and I think we may induce Felix to
let him come with Francis and Jean Maynard
next week — I should like to see our first quarrel
end with the old year fast a-dying.

Our company consisted of Mr. Dover and the
captain, Dr. Fergus and that agreeable elderly
lady who has come to live at Wortlebank, and
whom Felix finds so useful in the schools and
amongst the poor people. Miss Mostyn, Belle,
and Steenie, dined with us, and during the even-
ing round the yule logs we all fell to story-
telling.

I was much interested to hear that Miss Janson
was sister to that Robert Janson whose mechanical
inventions have proved of such incalculable value
since his death, which happened when I was



FROM THE DIAKY. 3

quite young. I remember hearing of it at the
time, but I had no idea that he had died so poor
and unfortunate ; his story, as his sister related
it, seemed to me truly pathetic ; and none the
less pathetic for the calm philosophy with which
she chose to regard its events, because he had
always so regarded them.

Captain Dover also told us an incident of sailor-
life, relating to one of the passengers who was
saved with him from the Avreck of the Golden
Mary. Dr. Fergus related a strange tale within
his experience ; Miss Mostyn gave us an account
of her clever brother David's early attempts in
literature ; and my old Portfolio was drawn upon
for a Chronicle of Eversley. This group of
narratives, as they were told on Christmas Eve, I
shall call

" Stories Round the Yule Log."



21—2



THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.



]IY EEOTIIER EOBEPiT.

MISS janson's story.



I.

His was a disappointed life, 1 have heard people
say; but I, who lived with him from the be-
glmiing to the end of it, can assert that it was
not a disappointed life, nor an unhappy one.
Certainly not. What can a man want to see
more in this vv orld than the accomplishment of his
plans, for which he has toiled early and late,
expending on them all his youth, hope, health,
and energy ? That others profited by his inven-
tions, and grew rich on them, while he remained
poor, neglected, and obscure, is a mere secondary
consideration. It was his luorh that he looked
to, and not any possible rewards that it might
bring him ; and as he brought his work to a fair
completion, and did his share of good in his day



MY BROTHER ROBERT. &

and generation, he had no right to be dissatisfied *,
and he was not dissatisfied. I know it for a
fact — he has told me so many a time. He wonld
say : " Don't complain, Mary. You might com-
plain if I had failed altogether, but I have done
my work, and that is enough. I declare I feel
a proud man sometimes when I see what grand
things my invention is helping others to do." I
was less easily satisfied for him than he was for
himself; but when I saw that murmuring really
troubled him, I tried to keep my tongue quiet.

People come now and look at his grave under
the yew-tree in Alsterdale churchyard, and go
away and say they have seen it ; and that is all
the honour and profit my brother, Robert Janson,
ever reaped from his life's labour. A year or
two back some strangers came and proposed to
put up a monument over his grave ; but I warned
them not to meddle with it as long as I lived.
He would have been an old man now ; but he
died at thirty-seven : young, certainly — I grant
that, and poor; because in his last broken-down
years I had to support him — but not disappointed.
He would never allow it living, and I will not



6 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

allow it since lie is dead. His was not a dis-
appointed life. It will do no one any harm to
tell liis story now; and it will give no one any
pain. I am the only person left in the world who
ever had any interest in him.



11.

We were a large family altogether, living in the
farmhouse at Alster Priors : my grandfather and
grandmother, my father and mother, aunt Anna,
and five children. This period, of course, dates
as far back as I can remember. I was the eldest
and Eobert was the youngest. The others were
Charles, who succeeded to the farm — Mark, who
enlisted for a soldier, and was, we believed, but
were never sure, killed in Spain, fighting with
the French — and John, who died a boy. We
got our first schooling in the village : reading,
writing, and ciphering, and nothing more that
I can call to mind. It was thought learning
enough in those days amongst the yeoman class
of farmers to which we belonged. From quite
a little one, Robert seemed different fi'om the



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 7

rest of us, who were liomely, contented folks,
and everybody but my mother and me — aunt
Anna especially — made a point of discouraging
his studious ways and ridiculing his fancies. Per-
haps there was no greater trial in his much-tried
life than the consciousness that his own fiimily
had no faith in him. Nobody but we two had
patience with him. His grandfather, father, and
brothers, res^arded him as a fool and idle ne'er-
do-well.

I very well remember his asking my grand-
father one night, '' Have you ever been to London,
grandfather, or seen any of the great steam-ships
and manufactories ? " And " No, thank God ! "
was the fervent answer. This emphatic thanks-
giving might be regarded as an epitome of the
family sentiments : the gratitude of our elders for
similar blessings was hourly expressed. They
were strongholds of prejudice, and it was as diffi-
cult to effect a change, or introduce an improve-
ment amongst them, as it is to overturn the fixed
idea of a monomaniac. They had all, except
my mother, been born in Alsterdale, and had
vegetated there contentedly in unimpeachable re-



8 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

spectabilitj', never travellliig more than a dozeiii
miles from home : there tliey would die, and there-
be buried in good old age. They were proud,
too, and that with the most impracticable pride ;•
for they gloried in their ignorant prejudices, and
would not have exchanged them for the wisdom
of Solomon. Living from generation to genera-
tion on their own farm-lands of Alster Priors,
in the midst of a scanty and illiterate population
of labourers, above the small farmers and beneath
the great gentry — on a sort of debateable ground
between both — they were isolated almost entirely
from society, and secluded in a dignified insignifi-
cance, wdiich their hereditary integrity alone kept
from being ridiculous. They felt contempt for
all new-fangled ideas ; being unable to bring their
own to any other standard than that which allows
worth only to what lias been long established.

Sometimes, like a puff of a wind beyond the
Fells, the story of some great invention came to
disturb the calm torpidity of their existence.
Then they would rouse up, wonder what the
world was coming to, and hope it was not a
tempting of Providence for mortal man to attain



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 1>

to such knowleclo-e, and to work sucli strange
and powerful devices. My father, especially, was
a lover of all things old : old books, old customs,
old fashions, and old-fashioned manners. Sir
Koger, and the widow, uncle Toby and Squire
Western, might have been the joersonal friends
of his youth, from the figure they made in his
talk. He always addressed my mother as dame,
and the servant-women as lasses, speaking in a
loud voice and broad accent that often made my
mother wince. She was south country born and
bred, and had been left as ward to the care of
my grandparents, who, not knowing what else to
do with her, married her to their son. She was
younger than my father and pretty ; but so quiet,.
delicate, and resen-ed, that aunt Anna was mis-
tress of the house much more than she. Aunt
Anna was a big, strong-featured woman, of great
decision, and, as our family considered, of great
learning also. She knew the names and proper-
ties of plants, was cognisant of signs in the
weather, an interpreter of dreams and mysterious
appearances in the sky: she was the oracle of
Alsterdale, besides being a cunning hand at



10 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

raising a pie, and making conserves, jellies, and
custards. My brother Mark — the wild one —
was her favourite ; Robert she had not any love
for, nor he for her. She was very fond of power,
and always seemed most at ease with herself
when she was either ruling or thwarting some-
body.

III.

KoBERT was fond of the wheelwright's and car-
penter's shops much more than of bird-nesting
and nutting, like his brothers ; and Willie Paxton
has often said that at ten years old he could handle
his tools like a man. It was in those places that
he got his first knowledge of mechanics ; the
school-master, who, for the time and place, was
a well-instructed person, brought him on in
mathematics ; and our rector, who always would
have it the lad was a genius, and worth his three
brothers put together, lent him books and papers
that gave accounts of inventions and things in
science, as well as biographical sketches of men
who had been distinguished in such matters.



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 11

Robert used to like to call our attention to tlie
small beginnings some of tliem had risen from ;
<ind aunt Anna would always try to spite liini
by saying that he need not let his mind hanker
after those folks, for he was to be a farmer, and
farm the Little Ings land. But Robert was the
pleasantest-tempered creature in the world, and
never would be led into retorting on her. Some-
times, in his waggish way, he would draw her
on to talk of herself, and would try to enlist her
in his own pursuits ; but she was too wary to be
flattered by a boy, and he made no way with her.

One morning aunt Anna, Robert, and I were
all three in the garden picking camomile flowers,
a large bed of which supplied the family phar-
macopeia, when one of these talks took place.
Robert asked aunt Anna Iioav far fi'om Alster-
dale she had ever travelled. She replied that
when she was young she had been at the Rich-
mond balls, and that once she had gone with her
father to the place where they hang folks, which
she explained as being York.

" You ought to be thankful you live in Alster-
dale, Robert. Don't be always hankering after



12 THE WOKTLEBANK DIARY.

great, wicked towns," she said ; " I never want
to see one ao^ain as lonoj as I live — never."

The last generation of the Janson family had
produced an unsuccessful poet, whom our grand-
mother said Robert was like in almost every
point. We had no personal recollection of him,
because he had died before any of us were born ;
but to my fancy, and to Robert's, uncle Paul
had been heroic. Robert, always on the watch
for aunt Anna's genial moments, now ventured
to say, —

"I would rather be a man like uncle Paul
than a farmer, aunt Anna; this seems such a
sluggish life."

'^ Trash ! " was my aunt's contemptuous ejacu-
lation. " Your uncle Paul was a poor, weak
creature. What good ever came of his philan-
thropy and book-writing? If he had taken the
Little Ings Farm that you are to have, he might
have been alive now, and worth money, instead
of lying in Alsterdale churchyard. Poor Paul
had a good heart, but not the spirit of a mouse ',
don't you take him for your model, Robert, if
Tou don't want to come to his end."



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 13

" Mi\ Tate showed me a book of liis, and said
he was not only a fine genius, but a pious, devoted,
and truly admirable man."

"Learn to appreciate the relative value of
■things, and have an opinion of your own. Are
you to receive as gospel every word old Tate
says ? Just let me state the case to you." Aunt
Anna dropped basket and scissors, as she rose
erect in her oratorical attitude. " Your father
and Paul, when they came of age, got each some
money under their grandfather's will. Marma-
duke kept to his farming, but Paul gathered his
substance together like the prodigal son, and went
and spent it — not in riotous living, certainly, but
to just as little purpose — among felons in jails
and paupers in hospitals. Then he must needs
publish to the world a host of abuses that he had
discovered, and make himself enemies ; so all his
fine schemes came to nought, and he died as much
from heart-break as neglect."

"No, aunt Anna; his schemes have not come
to nought ; for what he began, other people have
taken up and finished. Dr. Monson says so."

" Don't be Dr. Anybody's mouthpiece ; give me



14 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

your own words or none/' rejoined my aunt,,
stooping to her task again.

" They are my words, too."

" Yery silly ones they are, then. I don't want
to see any of you wiser or better men than your
fiither or grandfather before you. They have
always been respected, and Paul was more laughed
at than anything else."

" People don't laugh at him now. They honour
him."

" Lip-worship. What is it worth, when he
has been dead these thirty years? He would
have starved to death if your father had not
fetched him home. What is the good of looking
at a man's grave ? He is a warning, not an
example, nephew Robert."

"Was he happy, aunt Aima?"

"Happy? I can't tell. He said to me, the
night before he died, that nobody should take the
post of an apostle of reform whose heart was not
prepared for Martyrdom. He did hope to do
good at first, and hope kept him up while it
lasted ; but he had not pith enough : he was soon
worn out."



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 15-

The camomile gathering was over^ and with
a retrospective sigh to the memory of her brother,,
amit Anna took np her basket, and went into
the house. Robert and I, after strolling a few
minutes longer in the garden, passed through
the wicket-gate and across the bridge, to the
church, which stood about five hundred yards
off on the hill-side. There were, and are, a great
many yew^s in the grave-yard, and under one
uncle Paul lay, with a plain slab of the gray stono
over him, inscribed only with his name and age.
(My brother Robert's grave is to the right of
it, only marked by a low head-stone.) We sat
down on uncle Paul's grave, and began to talk
about him. We both admired him sincerely.

As I remember my brother Robert in his boy-
hood, he w^as slight and tall, with a great fore-
head, and bushy brown hair ; his eyes were blue
and his skin brown ; he had what one would
call a fine countenance. His temper was cheer-
ful and kind ; and with uncle Paul's love of true
and beautiful things, he had a character of more
muscle and force. I always loved Robert the
best of my brothers, and sympathised with his



a 6 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

dislike to our torpid state of existence : laut what
could we do against tlie rest?



IV.

From fourteen to eighteen Robert went on fret-
ting, fidgeting, and working alternately, until
one day there was a rumour of a grand new
bridge to be built over the Alster, about eleven
miles above our house; beside it, where there
was a fall in the water, a manufactory was going
to be built for weaving of stockings. Neither
good words nor ill words would keep Robert
from going up there day after day, and staying
till nightfall. It was in the time of hay harvest,
and my father was often angry at his absence.
One day he said to him in a rage, little think-
ing his words would be taken in plain earnest, —

" If any of those engineering, architect, machine
fellows will take thee, Robert, thou mayst bind
thyself to them for life ; I never want to see thy
idle face again."

Robert did not come back that night, but the
next morning he fetched his clothes when his



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 17

father was out in tlie fields, and only tlie women
at home. Aunt Anna was terribly vexed, and sent
to call his father in. My mother would have hac!
Robert go without seeing him, but the lad said, —

"Nay, I've my father's leave," and he stood
up with his bonnie young face all glowing and
brave, fearing none of us. " When I'm a man
Mary shall come and keep my house — won't you,
Mary ? "

I promised him.

We were amazed to see how my father took
it, when aunt Anna told him Robert was set on
going, and nothing could stay him. The two
took a long look at each other, as if measuring
their strength; then they shook hands. My
mother cried to see it.

" If the lad will go, let him go in peace," said
my father ; " I can make nothing of him. Anna,
fetch up a bottle of wine to drink his health at
the dumer. Thy grandfather will be displeased,
lad ; thou'rt as wilful as ever Paul, my brother,
was, and I misdoubt me that thou'll prosper an
ill; but thou shalt not go with a curse at thy
back, my lad."

VOL. II. 22



18 THE WOKTLEBANK DIARY.

And SO Robert left us.

I should be twentj-elght or twentj-uine years
old at that thne, and in my own mind I had a
strange hankering to go after the lad and take
care of him ; and as if to give me my liberty,,
in the year that followed the old grandfather and
grandmother were both taken away, and those
who were left were well able to take tent for
themselves. Still I don't know that I would
liave left home, if my own mother had not said,
one Christmas night, the first he was away, " Our
Robert will be glad to see you, Mary. Your
father and I were saying, why should you not
go and stop with him for the change." My
mother spoke for me as much or more than for
him ; but what for has nothing to do with Ro-
bert's story ; so I pass over that.

I went away to Robert at Birmingham, where
he was — an ugly great town then, not what it
is now — and truly, the lad was glad to have a
face that he knew about him. I had a little for-
tune of my own, so that I was no burden on
him ; but afterwards, as things turned out, a help.
I took three rooms in a cottage a good half-mile



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 19

from tlie town, and he changed to live witli me.
In the day he was at work in one of those vast
manufactories of iron machinery ; — I did see
over one once, but what with the heat, the noise,
and the stir, I could not tell now what it was
hke — and in the evenings I had him mostly with
me. He was not so merry a companion as he
used to be, for his great idea had just begun to
germinate, and many a silent hour I sat at one
end of the table, while he at the other sat work-
ing out his calculations, and making drawings
of different parts of machinery. He got to
making models after, and many a one did he
fling do^ai and break. There was difficulty after
difficulty to overcome.

He would lecture to me about his drawing
sometimes, and try to make me understand the
relative power of this and that lever and wheel ;
and though I could have remembered at the time,
I could not tell you now, if I would, one fiftieth
part of what he said. This was to save labour
and waste ; that for safety ; this for speed. It
was impossible to avoid being interested in his
work, seeinrr how his heart and soul were bound

22—2



20 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.

up in it. I was as eager lie should succeed as he
was himself. ^' If I do succeed, Maiy, it will be
the making of me ; and I will succeed," he used
to say, after every failure. And I believed he
would.



Months went on, years went on, and Robert was
twenty-five, with his idea still unwrought out.
In the midst of his hard toil and absorbing
thoughts I was glad that he still kept his kind,
warm, manly heart. There is a short bit in his
storv that I must not leave out — that about Rosie
Kirwan. Her mother was a near neighbour of
ours, and we had made acquaintance in our walks.
Rosie came to tea with me sometimes, and that
was the way she and Robert came, first to know,
and afterwards to love, each other. Rosie was
not so pretty as she was fresh-looking — fresh as
May morning in Alsterdale, or as a half-blovv^n
rose ; a tall girl, straight and strong, with a romid
waist and a throat white and smooth as a marble
figure; a firm step, a quick eye, and rather a



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 21

breezy temper. I liked her very mucli ; she was
a frank, honest, sensible girl, and her mother liad
brought lier up welL

They came to an agreement between them-
selves soon, and it was really a pleasant sight to
see Robert at his work, and Rosie leaning over
him, bending her fine brows and setting her lips
firm in a conscientious endeavour to take it all
in ; and then giving me a quick little glance across
the table, as much as to say, " I can't understand
it one bit."

Mrs. Kirwan was satisfied with the engagement,
though I did not quite approve of her way of
speaking of it. She said, "It is always a good
speculation for a girl to marry a young man of
talent and energy, though he may not be rich; he
is almost sure to make some way in the world.
I must confess that I should not let Rosie throw
herself away on anybody ; and, if Robert gets
forward as he promises to do, I shall be glad to
^et him have her. She is a good girl."

The young things made no calculations, being
content, apparently, with the present time of
lovincr each other.



22 THE WORTLEBANK DIARY.



VI.

At last the day came when Robert walked into
my parlour one night and said, " It is done,
Mary." His face was all alight with pride and
satisfaction, for Rosie was there, and, when he
spoke, she marched straight up to him, and gave
him a kiss.

" I promised I would, Mary," said she, blushing
like a rose ; " I promised him six months ago ; "
and the shame-faced girl looked as if she had done
wrong, whereas Robert vowed she had been hard
as flint, and that was the very first time she had
suffered their lips to meet.

" Then it is a kiss for luck," said I ; and Rosie
was as still as a mouse all the evening after.

We had to hear about his success now. It
was a grand invention we knew then, and all the
world knows it now ; but, there were many things
to be done before Robert was to be a made man
by it. I believe people are no more ready now
than they were then to adopt new systems ; but it
had been submitted to a number of men, both



MY BROTHER ROBERT. 23

scientific and practical, and they all pronounced it
the finest invention of the age. He must get it
patented ; he must do this, he must do that, he
must do the other. Words.

He bade Rosie and me good-bye, and carried
his model to London — it was great expense — and
there he stayed ; we being very anxious all the
time. To tell you the backwards and forwards
work he had, the advice on one hand and the
warnings on the other, would be more than I could
do, or than you would care to hear. Besides,
is it not known well enough, by all who interest
themselves in such things, the trouble there is to
get a new invention adopted ?

All this time in London was lost time. Robert
wanted money, and money he had not, and he
was not earning any. My father had done for
him all he ever intended to do, so I parted with
my fortune, all but a bare maintenance, and kept


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