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TH6 SPHINX



1N-AUBRGY



PARISH*





Pictures of American Life and Character
Past and Present



THE SPHINX IN AUBREY PARISH.



i.

SAMUEL SEW ALL, AND THE WORLD
HE LIVED IN.

ILLUSTRATED.

A book not without uses for the learned in American hist-
ory. It certainly will inspire the ingenuous youth of our land
to study and understand the mixed, singular, and solemn story
of how, out of the zeal, religion, and shrewd common sense of
a few immigrants, a great and free nation was born. [/ press.

II.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A NEW
ENGLAND FARM HOUSE.

A ROMANCH OF THE OLD COLONY.

Third edition. Illustrated, i2tno, 380 pages. $1.50.

A book that will take its place, on the shelves of the library,
by the side of " The Vicar of Wakefield." Born and bred on
Cape Cod, the author, at the winter firesides of country people
very conservative of old English customs now gone, heard cu-
rious talk of kings, Puritan ministers, the war and precedent
struggle of our Revolution, and touched a race of men and
women now passed away. He also heard, chiefly from ancient
women, the traditions of ghosts, witches, and Indians, as they
are preserved, and to a degree believed, by honest Christian
folk, in the very teeth of modern progress. These things are
embodied in this book.

III.
THE SPHINX IN AUBREY PARISH.

A NOVEL.

Illustrated, lamo, cloth, 400 pages. $1.50.

The instantaneous popularity of "A New England Farm
House," the author's first venture in the field of fiction (which
has been read and re-rea^, by all classes, with an eagerness lit-
tle short of that which hailed the appearance of " Scarlet Letter"
a generation ago), has led the publishers to induce Mr. Cham-
berlain to consent to a companion volume. Wholly distinct
from that first book in its plot, scenery, and location, it will be
found as interesting, and equally as strong in its animation and
sustained energy of action.

*** For sale by all booksellers, or will be sent, post-paid, on
receipt of price by the publishers,

CUPPLES & HURD,
be 2H0onquin p0rf. BOSTON.




THE SPHINX IN AUBREY PARISH.



THE SPHINX



IN



AUBREY PARISH



A NOVEL



N. H. CHAMBERLAIN

Author of" The Autobiography of a New England Far;>i House."



BOSTON
CUPPLES AND KURD

(3Tbe 2U0onquin press
1889



COPYRIGHT, 1889,
By CUPPLES & HURD.



A II rights reserved.



I DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO MY MEMORIES.

THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE ARCHDEACON .... 9
II. THE REV. FREDERIC ARDENNE . .12

III. SIR CHAUNCEY DE VERB ... 26

IV. EASTER IN THE CATHEDRAL ... 38
V. Miss HANNAH 51

VI. Two MEN AT CROSS PURPOSES . . 57

VII. ST. JOHN'S G8

VIII. STRASBOURG MINSTER .... 77

IX. AUBKEY PARISH 86

X. HELEN DE VERE 95

XL MOTHER WALKER . . . . 104

XII. A MOTHER'S SURPRISE . . . .112

XIII. FOLK A PARSON FINDS OUT . . . 119

XIV. THE PARTY AT RIVER NOOK . .127
XV. AFTER THE PARTY .... 158

XVI. FIRST FLOWERS 172

XVII. THE SHADOW OF NEMESIS . . . 182

XVIII. A MAIDEN 196

XIX. THE REVIVAL 205

XX. THE OLD AND THE NEW IN STRIFE . 222
XXI. A HOME FOR A HEART . . . .231

XXII. FLOWERS AGAIN 236

XXIII. MOTHER AND SON . 245



8 Contents.

CHAPTER PAGE

XXIV. A DINNER OF HERBS . . . .253
XXV. A YACHTING PARTY . . . .262

XXVI, A NIGHT AFLOAT 276

XXVII. A MUSICALE IN AUBREY . . . 284
XXVIII. THE WEDDING IN BLACKBERRY

HOLLOW 303

XXIX. A LETTER 338

XXX. AT INDIAN WELL 349

XXXI. FLOTSAM AND JETSAM .... 363
XXXII. SIR CHAUNCEY DE VERE AGAIN . . 366

XXXIII. LIBERTY AT LAST . .374

XXXIV. THE AGNOSTIC 381

XXXV. THE CHRISTMAS TIDE . . . .400

XXXVI. WATER AGAIN 408

XXXVII. A SISTER OF MERCY . . . .415

XXXVIII. HOME AGAIN 426

XXXIX. Miss MARY KENDRICK . . . .436
XL. AN INVASION OF THE RECTORY . . 447

XLI. THE MARRIAGE 461

XLII. EDWARD VAUGHN FINALE . 469



CHAPTER I.

THE ARCHDEACON.

THE Archdeacon rang his bell. In due time a
servant appeared.

" Tell Mr. Ardenne I wish to speak with him."

The servant bowed and retired. The Archdea-
con turned to the papers on his table. He shall
remain there until the brief account which this
history demands is given. Archdeacon Ardenne
inhabits one of those comfortable recluse English
houses, which for a couple of hundred years or so
have looked across the Cathedral Close at Ches-
ter upon the venerable Minster which pious hands
have built over St. Werburgh's shrine. He has
been, for some time now, one of the Cathedral
clergy. More than this, he is a Cambridge man,
and fifty-six; an imposing, stalwart Englishman,
in clerical dress, but with a certain curt, decisive,
military air, that befits him as one of a race of
warriors.

The long rows of ancient-looking books in white
parchment with Latin titles, the shelves filled with
monotonous reaches of grim and heavily leathered



10 The Archdeacon.

volumes of old divinity, with his exquisite edition
of the Fathers, show the tone of his exact and sturdy
scholarship. The elaborate bronzes on the mantel
tell us that he is rich. The stray pens, with per-
chance a vagrant inkstand hidden behind the man-
tel vases, and the piles of irregularly sorted pamph-
lets upon the heavy Brussels carpet, declare the
bachelor. And he writes at his table by the sober
daylight entering between the heavy drapery of
the green velvet curtains, while his favorite terrier
lies before the right comfortable lazy blaze of the
coal fire, asleep.

A young man stood beside the Archdeacon at
his writing.

" You sent for me just now, sir ? "

The Archdeacon rose from his chair and laid his
hand familiarly upon his shoulder.

" Ah yes, Fred, I tell you something. You are
to inform the precentor before night that on
Easter morning he is to sing, as the anthem, from
Handel's Messiah, ' I know that my Redeemer
liveth.' You know the music. Another thing.
Downham is sick, and Lloyd has gone down to see
his father who is dying. Robson declines for rea-
sons. You are to preach the Easter sermon.

" I, Uncle ? You are quizzing me."

"Not at all. Listen. I have spoken to the
Bishop, and he has seen fit to order it. You are
too good a Churchman to rebel against authority.



The Archdeacon. 11

It is settled that you preach. I give you a word
of advice. You know what Easter Sunday in the
Cathedral is. It is your opportunity. I advise
you to improve it. You have four days for prep-
aration. If you miss your mark, I shall blush in
my stall for your mother's son."

The young man seemed to meditate upon the
Archdeacon's proposition, but he finally answered
quietly, " I will preach then, Uncle."

" I give you another piece of advice, very pri-
vately, Fred. I have never thought that a lady's
drawing-room was just the place to court theology.
I suggest that this week you eschew our neighbor
Helen De Vere."

The young man blushed to his temples, but said
nothing.

" It may be very pleasant work, you think,"
the Archdeacon continued, "studying a little divin-
ity and I confess Miss De Vere is one, but I
am going to befriend the sermon. Turn monk
and keep your cell till after Easter. Now go and
tell the precentor."

The young man went without a word. The Arch-
deacon returned to his writing, and the terrier slept
on before the fire.



CHAPTER II.

THE REV. FREDERIC ARDENNE.

THE young man told the precentor. He found
him conning over some music in the choir room.

"Ah yes, " said the old man; " I have been ex-
pecting that message, and everything is ready.
The Archdeacon has had that music every Easter
for ten years now. Good as it is, I wonder he
never changes it. I suggested it once, but he ended
the matter by saying : ' Bentley, I hope we are to
have that music as men have their wives, as long
as we both shall live.' " There was one little thing
that the precentor did not know about the brief
gray man who ordered it. One Easter Sunday,
years ago, the Archdeacon had heard that anthem
with a young girl sitting beside him in the pew
for that day only who before another Easter
had white flowers laid around her face ; and ever
since, at the great feast of immortality, he had
somehow heard in that music the tones of her
voice, and felt the sunshine of a presence which
no grave could hide. The precentor went on with
his work. It may be as well to take a look at the
young man who brought the message.



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 13

Frederic Ardenne is a man hard upon thirty
years old, of a Cheshire family whose men for gen-
erations had served their king as soldiers, under
diverse skies, with that loyalty which an English
soldier shows. He himself had been bred for the
Church. His father, whom he had never known,
died at Salamanca, when, at sunset, the Saxon
shouts that rang through those Spanish vineyards,
reddened and trampled under the angry feet of
stalwart foemen, told of the great victory won;
and they found the sword in the cold hand of Col.
Ardenne as he lay among his men under the pure
stars which looked down on the dead heroes. The
son from childhood bore in his heart the proud
memories of such a sire, and had read with tears
the words that men had placed in the nave of the
cathedral as epitaph :

HIS RACE WAS ONE OF SOLDIERS ;

AMONG SOLDIERS HE LIVED AMONG THEM HE DIED ',

A SOLDIER FALLING WHERE NUMBERS FELL WITH HIM,

IN A FOREIGN LAND.

YET THERE DIED NONE MORE GENEROUS,
MORE DARING, MORE GIFTED, MORE RELIGIOUS.

ON HIS EARLY GRAVE

FELL THE TEARS OF STERN AND HARDY MEN,
AS HIS HAD FALLEN ON THE GRAVE OF OTHERS.

His mother died with the sword stroke that slew
her husband. The orphan became as the Archdea-
con's son. From the day when he had been brought



14 The Rev. Frederic Ardenne.

by his nurse to the latter's study, a chubby infant
in white dress with blue ribbons, till the time when
he came back from the University a prizeman
and a deacon, with the promise of a brilliant
future, his uncle had provided in all his affairs
with a right fatherly solicitude. He seemed to be
impressed with the thought that, somehow, his own
life was to perpetuate itself in his nephew, and
looked to him to be rescued from his years, and his
name from the grave that lay at the end of them.
Besides, in certain subtle ways he was rekindling
youth in his own heart, from the fresh, ingenuous
ways of the young man whom he overwatched.
They were, therefore, by an organic necessity, fast
friends.

At the time when our story begins, the young
man was a priest in orders, who, without holding
any fixed appointment among the Cathedral clergy,
had, through the kindness of his uncle, been en-
trusted with several minor affairs in its service,
which, while they gave him insight into his future
work, might in time answer as stepping-stones to
something better. His scholarship grew among
the Archdeacon's books, and under the Cathedral
shadows those churchly thoughts deepened in his
heart, which, when set at the centre of one's life,
make it buoyant with a great hope. Otherwise,
he is a middle-sized, gentlemanly Saxon, with
brown hair and eyes, a gentle, retiring manner,



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 15

veiling a reserved strength and earnestness which
are the sufficient promise of his future.

The Archdeacon had given his nephew his order
and his advice. The order was obeyed. Ten min-
utes after lie left the precentor, however, his feet
were on the steps of that same Helen De Vere's
house, against whose fascinations, for this week
at least, the Archdeacon had so affectionately
warned him.

" I wish to see Miss Helen," he said to the ser-
vant who ushered him into the hall.

" Miss De Vere is out, but left word she would
be back in half an hour."

" Very well, then, I will wait ; " and he went into
the library.

It must be evident by this time to the most stolid
reader that they two are lovers. And yet that one
short phrase, " I love you," which, when spoken out
of a heart, makes so often another's rich with a
great peace and joy, so that this world rises forever
after with a new light and benediction on it, and
sometimes are those final words which put as it
were a vast and silent sea between two lives for
that one instant so close together, had never been
spoken between them.

It was one time when the young man had come
home in the first flush of his Rugby school-days, to
spend Christmas, that they met. A little merry
child, with a round face ruddy with the Christmas



16 The Rev. Frederic Ardenne.

frost, driving hoop on the walk of the Cathedral
Close, had quite without intent driven herself and
hoop bolt into the arms of the circumspect and
stately youth who happened to be out that morn,
ing, in Rugby costume, upon his travels.

" Whose child are you ? " said the youth, as he
righted to their true equilibrium both the hoop
and its blushing owner.

" I am Helen De Vere, and I live in the great
house yonder."

Such had been their introduction. Their fami-
lies were friends and neighbors. Hers consisted of
a maiden aunt, Miss Hannah De Vere, a rather
stately lady, who always reminded the child of the
good queens she had read about in the story books,
and who, truth to say, busied herself in no other
task than that of a most painful and conscientious
care of the child's wants and wishes ; and her uncle
and guardian, Sir Chauncey De Vere, an absentee
for the most part in the Parisian cafes, of whom we
shall hear more anon. It very naturally happened
that the young people became friends. When Fred-
eric came from school or college, and it was dull at
the Archdeacon's, he came to learn somehow that
there was sunshine at the De Vere's. Helen grew
to regard him as a very elegant, tall man, who told
her famous stories of things in the great world or
read her fairy tales or the stories of King Arthur's
Table. If she had been asked what love was, she



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 17

could have answered no more wisely than if she
had been questioned as to what the aether was ; and
yet somehow deep down in the child's heart an un-
recognized sentiment some day had planted itself
as silently as the flowers grow in the spring earth.
Frederic thought of her as a sunny-hearted child,
very pleasant to listen to and to be happy with,
as grown boys are happy with open-hearted,
merry girls. It had gone on so for years. And
as it happens every year that the spring germs
unfold themselves under June skies into summer
flowers, so it came to pass that half unconsciously
to both the lilies of a first love sprang up and
opened their blossoms without a sound. If Helen
asked herself why she counted the weeks to Fred-
eric's vacation so sedulously, she never favored
herself with the plain answer. If Frederic ever in-
quired why the long Christmas evenings seemed so
short, and the coal fire so ruddy, and the very night
so bright at the De Vere's when the rain and the
snow were outside, and lie sat and chatted with the
young girl about his college or their friends, while
Miss Hannah looked up from her worsted now and
then at the two children with no more dread com-
mand to Helen than to be careful about tiring
herself with too much talk, he too, escaped putting
before his own heart the exact answer.

The truth came to him at last on this wise.
Helen De Vere had fallen dangerously sick one



18 The Rev. Frederic Ardenne.

Easter, and the physicians consulted ominously.
It drew a very black cloud for him over the Easter
holidays. It muffled the Easter anthems to a
dirge and made the Easter festivals to mock his
fearful and heavy heart. And thenceforth rose
in his soul the consciousness that he loved the
child, loved her as he thought with a love that
would outlast the very skies over him and her.
Helen recovered. Did the favorite flowers he sent
her tell her ? Did the eager eyes and the grateful
words which greeted her when for the first time
she came down stairs and lay on the lounge in the
library, and Miss Hannah stood sentinel over them
when Frederic Ardenne came in with her aunt's
permission? In that hour when herself was re-
vealed to her she became a woman. And yet one
word was never spoken, though they from hence-
forth knew each other. As ivy that twines itself
about the oak is silent, so noiselessly did the ten-
drils of Helen's love twine themselves around the
life of Frederic Ardenne.

With a light, airy, girlish step and the rustle of
silk in the hall Helen De Vere entered the library.
Frederic Ardenne rose to meet her.

" How did you know I was here, my child," he
asked.

" I saw your hat in the hall and I was expecting
you to-day."

"Me! Why?"



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 19

" Oh, because you come here, you know, and you
promised to read to me this week. And you have
been away two days already."

" I have been very busy with the service, and this
is the most solemn Passion Week."

" I know it," she said, more soberly ; " arid yet I
have waited for you. It is selfish, I know, but I
am glad you have come. The sun has not shone
this week and it is very lonely in the house. But
tell me what you have been doing."

While Helen De Vere is laying aside her shawl
and hat by the light of the fire in the grate we
will study her a little. It is a face almost brunette,
with regular features, and just now aglow with the
fresh air of her evening walk, and animate perhaps
with Mr. Ardenne's presence ; the free, open, gener-
ous, trusting face of young girlhood. The dark
hazel eyes, round, full, and dreamy, like deep foun-
tains under the long eyelashes, are full of gentle-
ness and pathos, as is the wont of sensitive woman-
hood. The brown hair smooth over the white
forehead, the petite, girlish figure, the exquisitely
moulded little hands, a certain delicacy and tremu-
lousness of the clear-cut mouth, joined to a gentle
and sensitive habit of hiding herself away as it
were from strangers or aught that jars upon her
sensitive and modulated nature, are the sure signs
of the one fact about her, that she is born a
lady.



20 The Rev. Frederic Ardenne.

"As now you have folded your shawl in an
exact square and laid your hat in the very centre,
according to Miss Hannah's education, you will
perhaps talk to me a little," said Mr. Ardenne, after
he had for some time watched her exemplary pa-
tience in laying aside the aforesaid apparel upon
the table.

" Indeed, sir. That is a new fashion. It is you
who are to talk to me. Is that so very difficult for
you?"

"Not very difficult. What am I to say?"

" Whatever you choose. Nothing or anything.
Why should you ask me to tell you ? "

"Are you a good listener?"

" Sometimes, if the story be good. But I asked
you something."

"What was it, my child?"

" If you have forgot, I think it was something
about the Archdeacon's terrier. Nothing very im-
portant, I am sure."

" No, Helen, I have not forgot. I was only try-
ing your kind heart," said the repentant man, as
he came across the room and seated himself by
Helen's side, with the certain air of a man who
knows his place. "You ask what I have been
doing. Well, then, I have been arranging the
Easter presents for the choir boys ; hearing them
rehearse their music ; taught the charity scholars
about Passion Week ; said service, and been very



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 21

busy. But why don't you ask me what I am going
to do?"

" What, sir, are you going to do ? "

" That is what I came here to tell you," and he
leaned in his earnest way towards her. " Our
good bishop, since others have failed him, has
commanded me to preach at Easter. Is not that
news for you, that I, Frederic Ardenne, am to
preach in the Cathedral ? "

" I am very glad to hear it."

"Why?"

"For your sake, sir."

" Why for my sake? "

" Because," and here the young girl hesitated, as
though something forbade her to go on.

" Because why, my child ? "

"Because, then, if it is right for me to say it,
I am sure you will do well. You have been at
the University, you know, and have the learning,
and it will make you friends. You want friends,
don't you? Besides, it is so pleasant to have one's
friend preach in the Cathedral choir, one hopes
so much, is so anxious, is so glad when he does
well, I can't say exactly why. It is wrong per-
haps, but I am ambitious for my friends, though I
have few friends, and most of them are women.
Is your sermon written?"

" It is you, then, who are ambitious. You should
be a soldier. Soldiers are captains and grow to



22 The, Rev. Frederic Ardenne.

emperors. But in the Church we are only standard
bearers and soldiers always under one captain.
For such as I am, my child, there is only service,"
the young man said half sadly.

" And yet," she went on, " there are different
qualities of the service you speak of. That which
is done in the Church should be well done in honor
of Him who is the Best. I am sure I wish you
to do the best. Is that wrong ? "

" Possibly not. You may be sure, my child, I
shall do the best I can for my Master's sake and
your sake too."

" I certainly wish it. Is the sermon written ? "

" Not one word. That reminds me. The Arch-
deacon gave me strict in charge to become a monk
and keep my cell till it was written."

" Are you sure it is quite right, then, for you to
be here? " the young girl asked anxiously. " What
if you should fail? Somehow I should blame
myself."

" And thereby sin against yourself. I shall not
fail. I came here to see you an hour and then go
away to the writing. You know I tell you that
you afifect me like one of Mozart's anthems."

" I am not musical, sir."

" Not exactly ; and yet the cause of music in
others, my child."

"I can't teach my aunt music, sir. I have
tried it ; and she never sings above the third note



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 23

in the scale, though she gets through the service
tolerably. But you must go now and write your
sermon."

" Very well, then, after Easter I shall see you
again."

" Yes, and read to me the ' In Memoriam,' as
you promised. But one thing I forgot to tell you:
Aunt has letters that Sir Chauucey will be here at
Easter."

" Sir Chauncey De Vere ! He has been gone
these five years and hates England. I should have
as soon looked for Notre Dame crossing the channel
as he. What is he coming for?"

"I really do not know. Business, Aunty thinks.
His rooms have been prepared to-day."

Why was it that the mention of Sir Chauncey's
coming threw a gloom, as of anticipated evil, over
both Helen and the young man beside her ? He
was her uncle and certainly not his enemy. The
two men had hardly met, and yet even her heart
foreboded some, as yet, unshaped evil. Was it that
the good angel who kept watch and ward over so
pure a heart, looking into it and into the great world
outside it, saw enemies arraying themselves against
its peace, to wither a mighty hope born in that
stainless life of hers ? Was it the strong angel of
a man's work and wrestle, who began to sound
through his life the low and muffled notes of a most
bitter sorrow, and moved now the heart of Frederic



24 The Rev. Frederic Ardenne.

Ardenne with the name of a man almost unknown
to him !

O Good Angels, of whatever watch and ward,
whose protecting wings skyward are ever bright
in the blaze of an unsetting sun, but earthward
cast sometimes the shadows of your presence for
the warning of those you shelter, as much as in
you lies, and under the rule of Him who is so
strong, cover away from storm and night these two
lives now given to your charge, for His sake who
is the Life, and suffered once for all !

" So, then, Sir Chauncey De Vere comes here at
Easter," the young man said slowly, as if he felt
but could not measure an impending danger.
" Well, at any rate, come with me, my child, to the
hall door as usual."

She followed him without a word. He turned
to her as he opened the door. " Pardon me ; I
was tired when I came here and have been but
miserable company. And yet I could not stay
away."

" I have nothing to pardan, sir."

The young man bent down, and gravely signed
with his finger upon the willing and wonted fore-
head the sign of the cross.

"Pax tecum," he said.

And a low voice answered gently, "Et cum
spiritu tuo."

Frederic Ardenne passed out and into the night,



The Rev. Frederic Ardenne. 25

and there were no stars above him for the clouds.
And the night that was to shroud his heart for
many weary years had no stars for the clouds.
And yet, for him, for us, for all who suffer, above
the clouds are the stars that sing and shine for ever
and ever !



CHAPTER III.

SIR CHAUNCEY DE VERE.

SIR CHAUNCEY DE VERB came home on Good
Friday ; but Sir Chauncey had denied Good Fri-
day all his life. The solemn Sacrifice it commem-



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