M. E Smith.

Love and liking : a novel (Volume 3) online

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The Author of


Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



31 ilooet.




' Tell me, where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head
How begot, how nourished ? "









V. ?>



" Thou'll break my hearty thou bounie bird
That sings upon the bough,
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
And wist no' o' my fate."

The next day there was a dinner-party at
Seapinks, a few hours before which Judy sent
an excuse. Dulsie had caught a cold, and as
Sybella and the squire were going, she stayed
at home to keep her cousin company. Dulsie
had taken her elder sister's defection greatly
to heart, and Judy could not bear the thought
of her spending a long evening by herself,
nervous under the depression of what might
prove a rheumatic cold, and anxious as to
Mabella's future. She was perhaps not very
sorry for the pretext. She felt the necessity
of taking her feelings, under their present
VOL. m. 33


perturbation, strictly to task. Without one
atom of personal vanity, she was yet too
quick of apprehension not to perceive that
Lord Le Pole was, notwithstanding his insou-
ciant manner and light badinage when others
were present, thoroughly in earnest in his in-
tentions reo-ardin<ij her. She knew she would
ere lons^ have to face, what she too certainlv
felt would be, the crisis of her life.

'' Did she love him ? "

Her heart gave but one answer.

But had she not loved Ned Eawson ? Un-
erringly came the heart's reply, it icas not
love. Yet it might have been. Yes, she
was sure of that. Had fate not cast Le Pole
in her way perhaps, her mind might not have
suddenly been awakened to its latent powers,
nor she have discovered that her nature had
deeper needs than could be filled by the
merry companion of her quickly-vanishing

He had been at pains, too, she remembered,
to impress upon her the fact, according to
his taking, of the intellectual inferiority of
women. A man, to him, was the world to


himself; into his deeper monitions, his ambi-
tions, his struggles, his work among men, a
woman might never enter. A wife, however
loved, would be to him, when the first gloss
of possession had worn off, but as his luxu-
rious country residence is to the city toiler.
There he finds rest from the hurrying to and fro
of the busy mart, luxurious ease for his tired
energies, and beauty for his eyes, wearied of
the dead monotony of brick and stone.

It was necessary, it was natural for a man,
however occupied, however great, to have
lighter moods and to give expression to his
lighter nature. He could not have that utter
relaxation he need.ed and loved with the stern
mates of his working hours ; it would not be
seemly. Neither could he have that appre-
ciation his soul craved. !Men were never the
heroes to each other they were to women.

But she should have all within her range

that she could desire or his means bestow ;

all of dress, luxury, amusement. He would

honour iier, be true to her, keep even the

winds of heaven from blowincf too roucrhlv on

her, give up to her the all of self outside, not



the greater self that was his soul — yet even
that in part should be hers, for she should be
his rehgion.

All this, Judy knew, Ned would give, all
this he would be to her, and but a few short
weeks ago she did not seem to have wished
for more, to have known that her heart
craved for more. She had dreamt she loved
him. Alas ! from dreams such as these how
many wake too late ! But not little Judy.
The pleasant spell was broken, and she knew
that her lover-friend had

^'' Asked for the costliest thing

Ever made by tlie Hand above,
A woman's heart, a woman's life,
And a woman's wonderful love."

She knew that he had asked

'' For that precious thing

As a child might ask for a toy ;
Demanding what others had died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy."

But in this hour of silent questioning she
summoned him to " the bar of her woman's
soul," and her heart gave the verdict. There
was no voice to plead for him there.


Then slie thought of that other, so lately
found, yet now so one with her life, it
seemed to her that he must always have been
a part of that life. His voice sounded in her
ear as no other voice had ever sounded, his
eyes haunted her with an all-pervading pre-
sence. She thought of his words. They were
not many, they had not known each other
many days, yet how earnest they were — that
was when they were quite alone. With light
touches what garnered knowledge they told
of, and, too, what depths of human sympathy;
yet it was nothing outward that had made her
captive. Iteasuring man with man in out-
ward seemincf, Xed had the advantage : and
even in natural graces — truth, honour and
kindliness — he could lose nothing by com-
parison : but it was —

" The secret svmpatbv,
The silver link, the silent tie,
Which heart to heart and mind to mind
In body and in soul can bind."'

She had placed him, too, at the bar of her
woman's soul, and her heart had oriven the
verdict, for love had pleaded for him there.


Came there then the sweet words he had sung
the first day, counting such time by hours, of
their meeting :

" Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle,
Why not I with thine ? "

And she knew theirs had mingled. Then
her e3^es, soft and yearning, sought tiie sea
slumbering restlessly in tlie placid moonlight,
and she wondered with dreamy consciousness
what it was that so instantly had quickened
the unsuspected dormant principle of love
within her breast ; but all of answer the ever-
sounding and mysterious sea gave was "love's
best interpreter, a sigh."

Her gaze travelled back to earth. She felt
the influence of love everywhere, in the living
heavens, in the teeming earth, in the silence
and the shadow. Yet there was no answer to
her quest. Then insensibly to her memory
came the words of the passion-poet Byron :

" Why did she love him ? Curious fool, be still ;
f s human love the growth of human will ? "


And Judy, closing^ her eyes, prayed that hers
might be the growth of the will divine.

She was all alone in the drawing-room.
Diilsie had gone to bed. She had, she said,
a rheumatic chill, and if she took it in time it
might be checked. She wished to be present
at Judy's first ball, so she would take care of
herself. Judy was glad to be alone. The
quick minutes flew, no loneliness had made
time laggard. Quick-coming fancies had
peopled the pleasant chamber. She was
sitting in Dulsie's pillowy chair in tlie deep
window, the doors of which were open wide.
On the table in the centre of the room was
the large lamp, its. light, at Judy's instance,
lowered. No other light was lit.

Her head leant back on the soft cushion.
Her hands were idly clasped before her. On
her bosom was a bunch of fors^et-me-nots.
Suddenly a shadow fell on the gravel path
beneath ; she had not heard the step on the
lawn. She started up, and with a face all
aglow with love and pride, with the assured
air of a joyous welcome, Ned Eawson appeared
before her.


Just for a second a guilty feeling of
treachery touched her sensitive consciousness,
but a glance at Xed's jubilant visage restored
her self-po?session.

" May I come in ? " he asked, laughing with
eyes and lips.

She held out her hand in iireetinii. He
tripped as he stepped on to the matting, and
she laughed. He held her hand in both of
his, and looking down on her with his eyes
full of happiness, said :

" I got your message from your mother,
Judy, but you might have written it yourself."

" What message ? " was on her tongue ;
she had sent none. But she checked herself
in time ; she did not care to convict her
mother of an untruth.

" We are all very glad for your sake," she
said with more warmth than she was aware
of. Her heart smote her, for she did like him
very much — she did not wish to pain him.

" Yes," he said, ^' it was a great triumph,
and so unexpected, for I thought he would
have run me hard."

" Have vou taken vour seat ? " she asked.


" Oh, yes."

" I needn't ask on which side," she said ;
" I had no idea you were such an ultra-
radical," and her sweet face, so child-like and
piquant, took a shade of grave concern, her
usual airy pose just a whit of dignity.

Xed started a moment, and then, as if over-
come by an absurdity, burst into a merry laugh.

" Ultra-radical ! " he repeated ; " ^hy,
Judy, who taught you that ? "

The indignant blood mounted to her very
brow, bui that was all her protest. Her eyes
fell on the forget-me-nots in her breast, and
she foro'ave him. She even answered :


" I wished to understand things, and so I
read the papers, and Elsie Eber explained
what was difficult. But I did not find the
subject so very difficult, Mr. Eawson, and
when I said you were 'ultra-radical' I
meant you had gone further than your con-
stituency required."

With an air of badinasfc, but withal tender
ness, Xed floundered on.

" 'Mr. Eawson !' Judy, you are in a pet. I
humbly beg your pardon ; I did not see your


stockings matched your flowers," and he looked
at the little blue forget-me-nots significantly.

She would not quarrel with him.

"The worse for you," she said lightly ; " I am
true blue. But I do think vou mioht have
drawn the line at the Licensing Bill, Ned." She
looked up at him with frank eyes full of in-
tellio'ence. " Ned, you have a strand career
before 3'ou ; won't you make principle your
standard ? You don't approve of that Bill —
I have heard you say so to Mr. Horseman —
you are not opposed to the duke's foreign
policy, and yet you have pledged yourself
against your convictions. I thought better
things of you, Ned."

Could this be the little Judy of but a few
weeks since ? Judy with sharp repartee and
girlish raillery, the best lawn-tennis bat in
the county, the prettiest, lovingest, dearest,
sweetest little girl that ever fell to a fellow's lot?
— for Judy was his lot, that he knew. Why,
it was only a few months since she asked him
what was the use of politics, when there were
so many laws ; and did lawyers make the poli-
ticians, or the politicians the lawyers, and here


slie was arraigning him on " political con-
victions " and questioning his "principles." It
was that prig Le Pole, he was sure. Then
he remembered, as in an inspired flash,
that the fellow had worn a sprig of forget-
me-nots the first day of nomination — it
was on his breast — and with a terrible
pang his jealousy took fire. He looked at
her. She was a little pale, and her sweet
eyes were grave ; yet he had never seen
her so lovely, so fresh, so pure. A great
longing swelled in his heart to clasp her in
his strong arms and lay her golden head
on his breast. A protecting, absorbing love
went out from him^ Only a second-thought
is electric. He stood almost in dumb amaze-
ment, then he said very gently :

'• Little Judy, what can women know of
politics ? It is a great and abstruse study, only
fit for a man's strong intellect. Women who
enter upon man's province unsex themselves.
They are queens of their own realms, and
these are — society for the bolder spirits, home
for gentler ones like you."

Alas lor Ned ! One peep into the little


heart swelling indignantly at his tirade, and
he would have turned from the triumph he
had so lately won as from a mocking crown
of tinsel splendour.

She was not pale now ; her eyes glowed
with fire, but they fell on the flowers in her
breast, and she smiled. Then she looked up
at him proudly, but oh, so gently ; he could
have fallen at her feet and worshipped her
where she stood.

" I think," she said slowly and clearly, " I
think a woman who cannot enter with a full
apprehending mind into all lier husband does
and knows is not fit to be queen of his home.
A woman's intellect is as keen as a man's ; it
is only a little less in degree, and necessarily
so ; except out of the natural order of things
she is not called on to stand the wear and
tear of the great vocations of man — politics
and commerce and the learned professions —
but she is called on to understand all these
things that she may be his helpmeet, and so
be a part of his innermost life, not merely the
toy of his idle hours. A man who shuts a
woman out of his larger life is no help-


meet for her. I doubt if he has a larger

A great fear made Xed's heart stand

" Judy, little Judy," he cried, " some one
has come between us."

He took her hand. She drew it quickly
away ; her face was averted. Again the
colour had left her cheeks, but she was very
erect and very still.

"Some one," he cried with a voice that
seemed to supplicate and demand in one,
" some one has been trying to spoil my inno-
cent dove, my little womanly darling. Nay,
you must hear me. Girl as you are, Judy,
you are a woman, too, and you know — you
have always known 1 love you. You have
let me think you love me, too. I did think so,
and I valued my triumph at Oxminster most
for your sake ; it gave me a career and the
hope of winning you. Do 3'ou forget how
often you urged me to work P Was it only for
my own sake ? "

She shook her head as if in pain, and her
eyes fell on the ground.


" I would not write, Judy, and fed on your
messaire — the messa<?e you sent me tlirouo-h
your mother ; for I said I would tell you my
story face to face, and get your answer from
your own sweet lips. I told my uncle about
it. He did not say much at first, or promise
anything, but when he sent me on the invita-
tion to the ball he wrote me this letter, and I
brought it here to lay it at your feet. It tells
me I am to be his heir, and he bids me bring
my pretty bride home to Janitor Hall. I got
it, Judy, the night I took my seat in the House,
and there was not in that great assembly a
prouder, a happier man. You will come, won't

you, Judy ? You will be my Oh, girl, do

not break my heart. What has turned you to
ice ? You are no coquette. You did not seek to
win my heart, only to throw it aside as you
would a coveted trinket when you were tired
of it. You did love me. Listen to me, Judy.
You shall learn all about politics if you will. I
will be your teacher, darling. Judy, speak to
me. Only lift your eyes ; do not be so still.
Oh, who has come between us ? " He spread
his hands before her in an attitude of appeal,


bending his face, as if by the very force of his
pain to draw hers upwards.

She did lift her eyes. The tears were
streaming from them She placed her palms
in his, and said, speaking as firmly as she could,
" Ned, beloved friend, it was all a great
mistake. I do not love you — I never did love
you, and indeed — indeed, I did not know you
loved me as you do."

'' What did you mean then," he demanded
almost fiercely, holding her hands so tightly
the old ring; she wore cut into her finofer, but
she did not wince, " what did you mean by
that message, by sending me your ' dear love ' —
these were your words — ■' that you were proud
of me, and that the time would be long till

vou saw me ao^am


''•Ned," she whispered, " I did not send }'ou
any message— poor mamma imagined I did, I
suppose. I did not even know she had written
to you."

A blank dismay spread over his agitated
face ; he let her hands go and staggered back.

" But you knew I loved you," he cried in
mingled pain and anger. " Oh, girl, girl, you


have done an evil thing, you have blighted my

He turned from her, and with a proud
gesture covered his anguished eyes with one

Poor Judy, it was a terrible ordeal. Her
self-accusation was bitter. She thought her
heart would burst ; she had been playing with
fire, and she had not known it.

"Oh, Ned," she said, vainly checking her
sobs, " I did not know what love was — was
then. If I married you, and did not give you
my whole heart, did not believe in you with
an unquestioning belief, did not feel in every
vein that we were one in one, that you were
my king, my all, then I should blight your life.
I cannot do this, Ned. You have a world in
which there is no place for a wife. I have
awakened, Ned, to my need of a fuller love
than your nature can ever give. All I want,
you have not to give ; what I have to give, you
do not want. Ned, dear Ned, we should but
blight each other's lives. Forgive me."

The tears came in streams, falling on the
pale forget-me-nots.


" And be my friend still ; a friend is very
near one's heart, Xed, and I do love you very
dearly, but not with the love that alone makes
marriage holy. I did not think to wound you

She took the hand that hung powerless by
his side. He gave a little shiver at her touch.
She raised it to her lips and kissed it, then she
turned silently away and made as if to leave
the room. But with an uncontrollable impulse
and a great sob of anguish he caught her to his
breast, pressed his lips fiercely on hers, whisper-
ing, " Now I shall always know they were mine
first," and unloosed her, gently steadying her
against the open door at the window, then
plucked the flowers from her breast, and
dashed across the lawn out into the night. So
sudden, so blind his rush, he did not see a
figure standing in the very centre of the green,
under the cover of a bush ; neither did he look
back, or he would have seen it issue from the
gate with a quick defiant step and hasten out-
wards to the shore. It was Lord Le Pole.

VOL. m. 34


" With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er."

It was nearly twelve o'clock before Ned
returned to his hotel. As he came slowly
along the pavement an intimate acquaintance
could have noted a change in the entire man.
The youth seemed dashed from his face. There
were hard lines round his handsome mouth, a
knit in his smooth brow, and a cold, far-seek-
ing look in his eyes. He stooped, too, and his
hands were restless.

At the door of the hotel was a rather ancient
travelling-carriage, to which were attached
two rough and sturdy plough-horses. A
servant in loose-fitting country-made livery
and old-fashioned hat with tarnished gold
band was helping a porter in with an old
battered imperial. A venerable-looking, tall
and commanding woman stood in the hall ;
her attire was in keeping with the equipage ;


she liad just vacated a long cloak of brown
satin, with velvet cape, fastened in front by-
great gold clasps, and a bonnet with an elevated
crown and overshadowing leaf, surmounted by
a bird of paradise feather, thick low shoes with
broad ties, and tan-leather gloves. A long
veil of Chantilly lace hung wisply at the side
of her bonnet.

She was to all appearance an invader. The
waiters whispered in the background, and
maids peeped through the side doors affrighted.
Mr. Barnes, the landlord, was standing seem-
ingly bewildered before her.

As Ned entered he was followed by the
admiral and Mrs. Trelawney. They had been
dining at Seapink?, and had walked home The
tableau was sufro-estive of a breeze

" Madam," repeated Mr. Barnes, '^ I have
only one vacant room, and that will be
occupied at an early hour to-morrow. I
understood from Mrs. Trelawney," bowing to
that lady, " that you were to be accommodated
at Egbert Lodge."

" Miss Le Pole ? " said Catty with a merry

twinkle in her eye, in anticipation of fun, as



she came gracefully forward and introduced

She was received with a court courtesy that
would have done honour to her Devonshire
Grace in the days of the Eegency.

The temptation was irresistible ; Catty per-
formed its fellow with the gravest of faces and
stateliest of miens.

" Mr. Egbert told me," she said, " that he
expected you at the Lodge to-morrow. He
will be greatly distressed when he hears you
are here."

" Madam," replied Miss Le Pole, " I never
had the slightest intention of being any one's
guest but my own. I suppose, Mr. Barnes,
there is no objection to my using the room
you say is vacant for to-night. I intend to
drive straight home from the ball."

" It is so small, madam," said the landlord
in real distress, "it could not possibly hold
your luggage."

He looked at the huge imperial and then
at the multifarious articles heaped on its top,
which were taken from the carriage.

" Jonas," cried Catty, wheeling round, but


only in time to see that individual sneaking
off as quickly as his little legs could carry him.

Ned had watched the scene without a sign
that the humour of it touched him. There
was a present hardness on his face that bid
defiance to mirth. As I\Ir. Barnes ceased
speaking, he came forward and with a low
bow placed his room at Miss Le Pole's service.
" It was a large airy one," he said, " any nook
did for a bachelor."

Miss Le Pole executed another reverence,
not the less stately for the gracious smile that
accompanied it.

" May I ask your name, sir? " she said.

" Eawson," he replied, adding as he turned
away ; " I will see my things are cleared out,
that you may get in at once."

" Stop, Mr. Eawson," she cried ; "you are
the new member for Oxminster, I presume .^ "

Xed bowed.

" I beg to thank you for your politeness.
I shall not forget it, and if you will honour
me with your company at the Manor House
in September I shall be pleased to turn you
loose among the partridges. Just drop me a


line to say you are coming, and I'll send to
Nettletliorp to meet you."

Ned thanked her indifferently and hastened

Catty, with empressement and sly deference,
now asked if she could be of any use to Miss
Le Pole ; but the old lady, whom nothing ever
escaped, had understood the handsome Irish-
woman's derision. She knew that Catty was
turning her into ridicule, so she replied grimly,
and with old-fashioned pronunciation :

" I'm much obleeged to you, ma'am, but I
never found ornamental things of much use.
I'm not accustomed to gim-crackery. Pray
don't let my distresses keep you from your

She knew perfectly w^ell the relation the ill-
matched pair bore to each other ; the ring of
the '' Jonas " uttered by Catty had made that

Catty laughed good-humouredly, heedless
of some ill-repressed tittering. She had a
flawless temper.

" Oh, he's my husband," she cried ; " I picked
him up when I w^as bric-a-brac hunting ;


it's not every da}^ one comes across an ante-
diluvian admiral. I dote on oddities, ta-ta ; "
and she kissed the tips of her fingers to Miss
Le Pole as she tripped oflT. But suddenly,
throwing her head back, she called out, "It's
not a fancy ball, remember."

Catty's skirt was long. With a saucy fling
she had thrown it full lengfth on the orround.
It cauf^ht in a basket standincr beside the
imperial and upset it ; the contents were eggs,
and eggs are brittle. Full of penitence she
hastened back to the rescue, but to escape
the mess which spread as the eggs rolled over
and over and broke, she jumped upon a large
hamper at a little distance.

" I hold you responsible," cried Miss Le
Pole to the distressed landlord. " There were
six dozen in the basket, and the market price
is ten to the shillingf."

"Oh, I'll pay," called out Catty, adding in
a stage whisper, " never could resist the

" Madam," said Miss Le Pole in a deep
voice, " don't measure other people's corn by
your bushel."



At that instant, as if in recognition of a
familiar voice, a loud cackle came from the
hamper on which Catty had taken refuge,
and a goose's head was thrust through the
opening of the lid. She sprang airily to
the ground, gathered her train on her

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