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A bartered honour : a novel (Volume 2) online

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is mine is thine, and thine, angel, is mine, don't
yer know ? "

But Sabine was thoroughly vexed. She began
to fear that Hiram had only married her for her
money, and that he had nothing of his own. Ever
since his wedding day (to buy the ring, for which
occasion he had borrowed £10 of her), he had
never ceased to plague her for money. Often, too,


he had gone out, leaving her alone all the evening,
to return late at night. Now Sabine was both
avaricious and exacting, and therefore Hiram was
just acting in the very way to get into her black

He did not seem to care, though, for, sitting in
true American style, with his chair tilted up and
his feet on the marble mantel-piece, he continued
to smoke quietly, blowing huge clouds of smoke
between himself and his wife.

Now be it that the pungent vapour of the
Manilla irritated Sabine's mucous membrane, or
be it that some wandering fly, sent by a god in-
imical to Hymen, alighted on that lady's nose to
study the art of engraving on copper, but certain
it is that Sabine sneezed once, twice, and both
times violently. The violent motion of her head
in the process of sternutation, dislodged the row
of false curls, arranged as what is commonly called
a front, and these fell on her lap. There was not
much more wanted to complete her irritation, but
Bartlemy laughed, that was more than enough.
Sabine rose to her feet in a state of incompre-
hensible anger, and holding the false curls in her
hand, stamped her foot violently on the floor, and
burst into a torrent of spiteful reproach.

"You horrid, vulgar man! What ha^^e you got
to laugh at ? Your own wedded wife, too ! With
your legs on the mantel-piece at the Hotel Conti-
nental — aren't you ashamed of yourself? And
what if I do wear false curls ? I paid for them,
I suppose ? When is your money coming? Any-


thing is better than red hair — mine is tightly tied
up, and not one penny shall you have to spend on
sherry-cobblers. Manillas, too, in my drawing-
room — you suck through a straw, faugh ! And
nicely your friend Snorker behaved, too, at the wed-
ding. Staying out all last night — drunk as a lord —
and you a clergyman of the Church of England.
Why didn't T listen to my friends. What is to be-
come of us if we begin quarrelling now ? Oh ! I am
so disgusted — Fll go home — I won't stay here, to
have you smoke in my room. Your tenants, too
— disrespectful men they are. When I write to
jour farmer, Mr. Sharp, to the address you gave
in the Scilly Islands, to ask for your rents, what
does he do ? He insults your wife, yonr lawful
wedded wife ; and sends back my letter with ' not
known ' written on the envelope ; and you sit
there, with your legs on the mantel-piece. ''

With these, and many similar reproaches and
peevish threats, did Sabine revile her lord and
master, but finding that she only seemed to amase
him, she rushed out of the room, banging the door
violently after her.

Hiram looked round, and spitting a quantity of
tobacco juice after her as she closed the door,
got up.

'' Whew ! " said he, " Is this the way she is
going to go on ? This won't do. If I have run
all this risk, and had all this bother, and faked my
cards, to turn up a black deuce in the end, I'm a
bigger fool than I thought I was. Esther was
better than she. Esther, at le^-st, was young and


pretty ; but that old cow ! If she had not got
her money tied up sheM be a dear bargain, but as
it is, deuced if I don't think I'm sold. Still, a
thousand a year certain, five thousand dollars, are
comfortable enough. But I haven't patience. I
shall lob her by-and-bye, if she goes on this suit^
and then all will be U P. I must act otherwise.
And, beware Mrs. Hiram the Third, lest you
get into an evil plight. I am not the man to
scruple or hesitate — but where is that letter from
Snorker ? "

Bartlemy got up, and after rummaging in his
writing-case found a letter addressed to the Eev.
Bartlemy Hiram. He opened it and re-read it. It
was short and enigmatical.

''Dear Mil.

" If cash tight, or old girl capricious.
'' Peckham Lodge. Twig ?
" C. S.^'

" I hope it may not come to that,'^ said Bartlemy^
as he put the letter back into its envelope. " I
hardly like that job. Curse Snorker ; am I not
bad enough without his devilish suggestions? No,
no, it must not come to that. I've played a suc-
cessful game so far, but after the Lord Mayor^s
show comes the dung cart, and trumps may fail.
I must go on as I have done, and try to get what
I want. If she is still skittish, well — then will be
time to think of Peckham Lodge. And now for
my little Palais Eoyal girl."

That evening, after dinner, Sabine made friends

ETC. 59

again with her husband, and gave him some money.
He immediately took his hat, and was going to
leave the room, when she asked him to stay ; she
had something so nice to tell him.

*^What is it ? " said Bartlemy, impatiently. " I
want to be off."

'' Where to ? "

" To the Young Men's Christian Association."

There was a notorious cafe on the boulevards,
which Bartlemy frequented at nights, which he
pleasantly styled the Young Men's Christian
Association, whenever his wife asked him where
he had been.

" ^o, stay," said Sabine, " a gentleman is
coming to see you."

" Who is he ? What does he want ? "

" He is the Eev. John Middleton, chaplain of the
English chapel, in the Rue des Capucines. I met
him at table d^hote. He is called away to England
suddenly for a week: and has to provide for the ser-
vices in his absence. I told him that my husband
was a clergyman of the Church of England, and I
said I thought you would only be too glad to oblige

" You did, did you? " growled Bartlemy.

"Yes, dear, you remember complaining, only
yesterday, that you had no work to do, no lambs
to attend to. Don't you remember ? It was just
before you borrowed that fifty francs of me. So
when I heard him talking about this difficulty,
I at once thought what a nice thing for


" And you say that this fellow is coming to-

" Yes , dear, directly."

Bartlemy appeared very much at a loss what to
do, or what to say. He stood in the middle of
the room, twisting his broad wide-awake hat,
and casting ferocious glances at his wife. He
had never appeared more repulsively ugly than

" I won^t see him," he said at last. " I won't
be taken in again. If it is known that there is a
soft clergyman here in Paris, I shall have every
lazy chaplain who wants to get off work running
after me to take his duty. Clergymen are not so
very zealous when they can get others to do their
work. I certainly won^t give in this time. Now,
listen, Sabine. I don't want you to advertise me
at every corner. I don't want to be talked about,
and referred about ; I am not strong, and I cannot
overwork myself. I don't want to do this work.
I should not be doing a kindness to the man if I
did undertake it. I should only be encouraging
him in sloth, and sloth is a bad quality in a
clergyman. We all have our work, and we must
do it — I at St. Olphage's, Wykeh am- Within, and
he, at his chapel, in the Rue des Capucines. I
suppose he would offer to pay me. I do not make
the golden key the bar, but I feel strongly that
the hireling fleeth, and that the good shepherd
ought to know his sheep, and not leave them to go
to England for a week. You may refer him on
this subject to the Axe of the Apostles, or St.


Jacob's gospel. I do not know wliere the passage
occurs at this moment. It is in one of those two.''

Bartlemy was then going to take his departure,
when a knock at the door announced that the Rev.
John Middleton had come.

This gentleman, introducing himself with much
suavity, asked if he had the pleasure of addressing
the Rev. Hiram.

" You have," said Bartlemy, abruptly preparing
to leave the room.

The Rev. John Middleton, to judge from his ap-
pearance, was one of those sleek self-satisfied
parsons who fancy that the fact of their being
imder the wing of the Church elevates them above
the rest of men, and frees them to a certain degree
from the conventionalities and etiquette of society.
This gentleman carried a "Clergy List" in his
hand. He had it open at the letter H. Turning to
Sabine he said —

" My dear madam, I have come to apologise. I
see that your husband's name does not" —

" Whoever gave you leave to enter my room ? "
burst out Bartlemy.

" I am addressing your wife, sir," said the Rev.
Middleton, with a touch of mild reproach. " I am
addressing " —

" I don't want you to address anybody."

" Your dear wife, who kindly suggested that you
would undertake to perform my duty during my
absence to England.''

" My dear wife had not the slightest right to
promise anything of the kind."


" Oh ! Bartie," said Sabine.

" Oh Bartie, or Bartie Oh ! I won^t do anything
of the kind. I won't encourage absentees. I will
not be the hireling of any faithless shepherd, who
wishes to go to England for a week."

" I do not now wish it," said Mr. Middleton.
" I have come to tell the lady that I have found a
substitute. I should have been very much obliged
to you, had you acted for me, but as my chapel is
strictly Church of England, and as your name does

Bartlemy rushed out of the room.

'* Appear in the ' Clergy List,' " continued Mr.
Middleton, blandly, " I had to look for another."

" Not appear in the ' Clergy List ? ' " was the
astonished question of Sabine. '' What do you
mean ? "

The Eev. Middleton answered by placing the
book in her hands.

True, the name of Hiram appeared nowhere,
and turning to the part where the livings are
alphabetically arranged, and looking under
Wykeham- Within Sabine found the following
entry : —

" Wykeham-Within, Kent : Rev. John Marsden,
M.A., vicar; Rev. Upland Stylites, curate."

" Is your husband not of our persuasion ? '^
asked Mr. Middleton.

" Yes, yes," said Sabine hurriedly. " Yes ;
there is some mistake. He is curate of St. Olphage's


at Wykeham- Within, or at least was two months

" No, no, madam,^' said the Rev. John Middle-
ton ; " an error, an error. I am the incumbent of
the adjoining parish of Wjkeham-in-the-Bath,
and I know both the Rev. Marsden and the Rev. U.

"How long? " asked Sabine faintly.

" Several years ; yes, I may say several years."

" Are there not perhaps two curates ? ^' put in
Sabine in desperation.

'' Madam, not much of glebe, of corn and oil is
enjoyed by the vicar. This parish is poor, very
poor, and can hardly maintain one minister, let
alone three."

"Is there no other church near ? no chapel? I
am positive that there is Bartlemy's cure.""

"I have not heard of any ecclesiastical institu-
tion in the parish of Wykeham-Within rejoicing
in the denomination of Bartlemy's cure," answered
Mr. Middleton. "There is a chapel there not
ofi&ciated over by either of the gentlemen I have

"What is it?^'

"A very noisesome nest of Dissent. A kind of
American Shakers, or something equally awfully

" Who is the presiding minister ? "

" I do not know his name. I have never seen
him. ^yhere ignorance is bliss, you know."

" Thank you, sir."


''Pas de quoi, madame."

With this Mr. Middleton departed, leaving^
Sabine in no very comfortable state of mind.
Could this be true? Had she married an im-
postor? Was she wedded to anything so awful as^
a heretic? Poor Sabine felt that her immortal
soul was in danger.

There are some things which we will not believe
even after we have received the clearest proofs of
their truth. Sabine could not bring herself to
believe that she had been duped by her own
Bartie. That was impossible* The editor of that
particular ^' Clergy List " was a stupid man, and
poor Bartie had been forgotten. Still it was with
no very easy heart that she went to bed that
night. She could not get to sleep. Why was her
husband so late ? Was he beginning already to
desert her in the second week of their marriage ?
Why does the candle go out just as she is in this
unpleasant state of mind? and why will her
thoughts keep reverting to that awful night— her
bridal night at Dover? What did all this mean ?
Had she done wrong in marrying this man — who
really seemed so good, so pure, so holy ? If not,
why were her dreams so unhappy, and what was
the meaning of those anxious moments she felt
occasionally? She was superstitious, she knew,
but had she not had to do with facts and intensely
unpleasant facts ? For, for all that Bartlemy had
urged to the contrary, she was positively certain
that on the first night of her marriage she had
seen in her room at the — . What ? No ! It

ETC. 65

was a night like this. The wind was sighing
lugubriously in the trees of the Tuileries, and
their rustling was not unlike the sound she had
heard that tearful night of the waves lapping the
shingly beach. Would that fearful figure appear
again ?

Sabine sat up in her bed with straining eyes
and ears. All was quiet, save when some late
cab rattled along the pavement. The night was
wet and dark.

Sabine lay down again.

Why did he not come home ? Was he angry
with her ? Had her cruel words of the morninsr
hurt him so much that he had left her ? Had she
driven him to suicide, and would she find him on
the morrow lying stiff and stark on one of the
tables of the Morgue ?

Poor Sabine ! could she only have seen her
lord and master then, sitting in the Cafe — , on
the Boulevard des Italiens, surrounded by Hebes of
every beauty and charm !

Bartlemy did not return home till early next
morning, and went to sleep on the sofa in their

Sabine found him, when she got up, still asleep,
lying fully dressed on the sofa, with his dripping
umbrella still up over his head, his muddy boots on
the silk cushion, and a bill for a champagne supper
en cabinet particulier sticking in the button-hole of
his overcoat.

This sight, coupled with the reminiscences of



otlier sights and general neglect, together with her
awakened suspicions about his character, led
Sabine to rouse him roughly, and then and there
to tax him with his deceit.

The reveille of a night of debauch is not exactly
the most fitting time to attack people on their lack
of moral qualifications, and with a perverse and un-
couth man like Hiram perhaps the worst time she
could have chosen.

It would be too painful to the reader to relate
verbatim what passed between the couple.
Bartlemy was sullen and rude, and did not care to
deny anything to the abusive and hysterical
Sabine. They exchanged vituperations for some
time, Sabine asserting that she had been wofully
duped, that she never dreamt of marrying an
American Skater (Shaker?), and afl&rraing that
she would very much like to see Bartlemy's funds.
Her money was her own, and she meant to keep
it ; she was not going to keep a big man in sloth.
Why did he call himself reverend if he was not
;S0 ? He reverend, with his muddy boots on the
eilk cushions. How would he pay for them now
they were spoilt ? She knew that she wouldn't.
Why did he not go back to his skaters ? She
would have a separation — and so on.

Bartlemy did not answer much during this tirade,
and, with the exception of an occasional interpel-
lated *■' Go on," kept remarkably quiet. As soon as
she had finished, however, and was standing waiting
for sufficient breath to carry on the attack, he
rose clumsily from the sofa, and staggered towards


her, caught her by the arm, and said in a voice
hoarse with subdued passion, and in a tone of
violent menace that made Sabine shake with
fear —

"Look here, Mrs. Hiram, you have said enough.
Don't say any more, I have the word now. You
married me. I suppose you knew what you were
doing. You can't plead the giddiness of youth,
any way. Anyhow, I am your husband, and as
such 1 have power over you. It depends on you
whether I use this power or not to your discomfort.
It does not matter now what I was before I married
you. It does not matter a straw whether I told
you a lie or not about my means and my profes-
sion. You force me to this confession. It does
not pain me — it will pain you. I am not a clergy-
man of your Church ; I have officiated in a Shaker
ChapeL I have no means whatever. I have
nothing but my clothes and about eighteen francs.
Yes, you wanted this, and you shall have it.
Further, I married you because j'ou have money,
and my position was desperate. You shall not be
spared a single detail. You have taxed me with a
lie, I will give you the truth. I repeat, I married
you for your money, and I mean to have the enjoy-
ment of this money. What else did I marry you
for ? Come, do 3'ou think you attracted me —
charmed me ? I have yet to discover the piquancy
of wrinkles and grey hair. Now listen, I will
come to a bargain with you. You are my wife,
the wife, be it, of a penniless impostor. These
are your own words. Nothing can undo that;


you are bound to me for life. I can force you to
be with me always, day and night. Therefore it
is your advantage to be on good terms with me.
Let me have money, and keep quiet. We can
settle down somewhere in England and have a
comfortable life on your thousand a year. Defy
me at your peril."

Stung to the quick in her pride, her avarice, her
formal religion, maddened with shame and anger,
the blood rushed to the unhappy woman's head in
a red-hot torrent as she listened to the cold, shame-
less words addressed to her by a man with whom,
by her own act and by her own free will, she was
destined to pass the rest of her life.

Before he had half finished his speech Sabine
fell heavily to the floor. She had fainted.

It is not with these two that my story has prin-
cipally to deal, and it is with pleasure that I dis-
miss them for a time from its pages. A few short
words concluding this chapter will suf0.ce.

Sabine's fainting fit was followed by a violent
attack of brain fever which kept her to her bed in
the Hotel Continental for many weeks. Her
husband was most attentive to her and appeared
unable to leave her bedside, or to give her into
the sole charge of a nurse. He absolutely refused
to allow either a French or an English nurse to
attend to her, but secured the services of an old
Greek woman, "who could not understand her

Sabine never thoroughly recovered the effects
of this illness. When she got better she seemed


to have settled into a state of morbid hjpoclion-
driacism and moodiness.

As soon as she was well enough to be moved
her husband took her to England^ and hiring a
small cottage on the Devonshire coast, installed
her there. He did not trouble her much with his
company, but was continually going away to
London. Sabine still kept a rigid hand over her
cash-box and Hiram had great difficulty in get-
ting money from her. On such occasions, after
violently disputing with his wife, he would refer
in private to a dirty and worn letter which he
carried about with him, the perusal of which
seemed to put him in a state of doubt and hesita-

Kow back, as fast as thought can carry us, to
the glorious South.



The Baroness de Bienaimee was a lover of all true
manliness and of chivalrous deeds, and was so
pleased with the account that the Chevalier de
la Yigne had given of Charles's behaviour on the
night of their return from the Toledo Lacrymae
Christi depot, that she gave him to understand
that he was always welcome at the Yilla Dresda,
so that Charles went as often as he could manage
to do so, consistent with his idea of convention-

Herbert, who was financially independent, was
so pleased with Italy and enjoyed the society of
Charles and bis new friends, the Mertons, so
much, that he determined to stay on at Sorrento
indefinitely as to time. He had also, through the
introduction of Charles, the entry to the Yilla
Dresda, but, to tell the truth, he preferred the
society of the Mertons. It had not taken long
before he had learnt to admire the gentle beauty
and amiability of Mildred. The warm South soon
fans admiration into the flame of love, and scarcely
a month had passed before Herbert began to feel
that life without Mildred was not what life should

But Mildred was not ready to return his love,
even had she known it. She was but a child, and


Laving known sorrow and bereavement, in which
she had been comforted by the society of her kind
and amiable brother, she clung to him with a
grateful love and could never think of leaving

There existed, however, a very friendly feeling
between the three Americans, and Herbert was
nearly always in the society of John Merton. At
first their conversation had chiefly turned on the
curious mistake that had brought their acquain-
tance about, and from Herbert John had learnt
the whole story, and shared in his indignation,
and sympathised with him in his sorrow. Their
first meeting was often the subject of much plea-
santry between the two young men, who never
could decide who got the best of the physical
encounter, each yielding the other the palm.

Even gentle Mildred learnt to laugh at the story
retold, though she aflSrmed, that even now that Dr.
Toogood's villany was exposed, she conld not quite
banish the affectionate remembrance she had of
him, whom she had always looked upon as a bene-
factor, and who, bad though his motives might
have been, had been the means of bringing her
once more into the arms of her dear old mother.

Although Charles had now the opportunity of
seeing Euphrosyne every day, and thus an excel-
lent chance of pushing his suit^ he did not pro-
gress very well.

Euphrosyne seemed to him to be interested in
him out of sympathy with his literary tastes and
knowledge, but that was all.


The Duke di Caserta did not often visit the
Yilla Dresda. He once told Charles the reason.
He was paying his addi'esses to the daughter of a
nobleman who lived at Florence, and frequently
left Naples for that purpose.

Euphrosjne was very sad at this. She did so
want to have him near her, to see him, to hear
him laugh, to listen to his words, to hang on his
sturdy arm.

It was one glorious evening, the sun had set in
all its splendour behind the purple islands, and
Charles was sitting with the two girls, Bianca and
Euphrosyne, on the seaward terrace of the Villa

They had asked him to read to them ; he had
been reading a French translation of Goethe, and
they were talking about what he had read.

"How true are those lines," said Euphrosyne,
"of Goethe's, that ambition cannot go hand in
hand with love, and that ambition outstrides its
gentler companion. Is it not so, Signor Carlo ? "

'* Signorina," answered Charles, blushing, ''I
do not know. I did not like the lines myself. I
can fancy no greater happiness for a man than to
fight his way through the world side by side with
a woman he loves, to share his trouble with her,
and to share his glory and success when the
struggle is over."

'^ Oh, yes," said Bianca, impetuously, with a
light coming into her flashing eyes, " I think so,
too. How happy that woman must be. Happier
than the Spartan mother who gave her son his


shield. She stayed at home while her son was on
the battle-field, but in the struggle with the world
the wife stands at the warrior's right hand, and
shares with him she loves the brunt of the battle,
encourages him, allures him on to greater bravery,
and sweetens with her company the pleasure of
the victory."

" No," said Euphrosyne. " No, I do not think
I should be happy thus. Is not a woman's love
the ultimate of man's happiness? Do not men
say so? Then why should a man j^ossessing this
strive for worldly success ? An ambitious man
■would make me unhappy. He would first tell me
that I was all in all to him, and then he would set
about to gain a further happiness. No, to rest
for ever with him — that were my happiness."

"Not mine," said Bianca, with impetuosity.
*' Not mine. I could not love a slothful man, a
lotus-eater. We have no longer mailed knights
to do valiant deeds to prove their love for us, but
men can still prove that they think no sacrifice,

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