The Eustace Diamonds - Anthony Trollope - ebook
Kategoria: Obyczajowe i romanse Język: angielski Rok wydania: 1872

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Anthony Trollope

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About
Chapter 1 - Lizzie Greystock
Chapter 2 - Lady Eustace
Chapter 3 - Lucy Morris
Chapter 4 - Frank Greystock
Chapter 5 - The Eustace Necklace
Chapter 6 - Lady Linlithgow's Mission
Chapter 7 - Mr. Burke's Speeches

About Trollope:

Anthony Trollope's father, Thomas Anthony Trollope, worked as a barrister. Thomas Trollope, though a clever and well-educated man and a Fellow of New College, Oxford, failed at the bar due to his bad temper. In addition, his ventures into farming proved unprofitable and he lost an expected inheritance when an elderly uncle married and had children. Nonetheless, he came from a genteel background, with connections to the landed gentry, and so wished to educate his sons as gentlemen and for them to attend Oxford or Cambridge. The disparity between his family's social background and its poverty would be the cause of much misery to Anthony Trollope during his boyhood. Born in London, Anthony attended Harrow School as a day-boy for three years from the age of seven, as his father's farm lay in that neighbourhood. After a spell at a private school, he followed his father and two older brothers to Winchester College, where he remained for three years. He returned to Harrow as a day-boy to reduce the cost of his education. Trollope had some very miserable experiences at these two public schools. They ranked as two of the most élite schools in England, but Trollope had no money and no friends, and got bullied a great deal. At the age of twelve, he fantasized about suicide. However, he also daydreamed, constructing elaborate imaginary worlds. In 1827, his mother Frances Trollope moved to America with Trollope's three younger siblings, where she opened a bazaar in Cincinnati, which proved unsuccessful. Thomas Trollope joined them for a short time before returning to the farm at Harrow, but Anthony stayed in England throughout. His mother returned in 1831 and rapidly made a name for herself as a writer, soon earning a good income. His father's affairs, however, went from bad to worse. He gave up his legal practice entirely and failed to make enough income from farming to pay rents to his landlord Lord Northwick. In 1834 he fled to Belgium to avoid arrest for debt. The whole family moved to a house near Bruges, where they lived entirely on Frances's earnings. In 1835, Thomas Trollope died. While living in Belgium, Anthony worked as a Classics usher (a junior or assistant teacher) in a school with a view to learning French and German, so that he could take up a promised commission in an Austrian cavalry regiment, which had to be cut short at six weeks. He then obtained a position as a civil servant in the British Post Office through one of his mother's family connections, and returned to London on his own. This provided a respectable, gentlemanly occupation, but not a well-paid one. (from Wikipedia)

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Chapter 1 Lizzie Greystock

It was admitted by all her friends, and also by her enemies,-who were in truth the more numerous and active body of the two,-that Lizzie Greystock had done very well with herself. We will tell the story of Lizzie Greystock from the beginning, but we will not dwell over it at great length, as we might do if we loved her. She was the only child of old Admiral Greystock, who in the latter years of his life was much perplexed by the possession of a daughter. The admiral was a man who liked whist, wine,-and wickedness in general we may perhaps say, and whose ambition it was to live every day of his life up to the end of it. People say that he succeeded, and that the whist, wine, and wickedness were there, at the side even of his dying bed. He had no particular fortune, and yet his daughter, when she was little more than a child, went about everywhere with jewels on her fingers, and red gems hanging round her neck, and yellow gems pendent from her ears, and white gems shining in her black hair. She was hardly nineteen when her father died and she was taken home by that dreadful old termagant, her aunt, Lady Linlithgow. Lizzie would have sooner gone to any other friend or relative, had there been any other friend or relative to take her possessed of a house in town. Her uncle, Dean Greystock, of Bobsborough, would have had her, and a more good-natured old soul than the dean's wife did not exist,-and there were three pleasant, good-tempered girls in the deanery, who had made various little efforts at friendship with their cousin Lizzie; but Lizzie had higher ideas for herself than life in the deanery at Bobsborough. She hated Lady Linlithgow. During her father's lifetime, when she hoped to be able to settle herself before his death, she was not in the habit of concealing her hatred for Lady Linlithgow. Lady Linlithgow was not indeed amiable or easily managed. But when the admiral died, Lizzie did not hesitate for a moment in going to the old "vulturess," as she was in the habit of calling the countess in her occasional correspondence with the girls at Bobsborough.

The admiral died greatly in debt;-so much so that it was a marvel how tradesmen had trusted him. There was literally nothing left for anybody,-and Messrs. Harter and Benjamin of Old Bond Street condescended to call at Lady Linlithgow's house in Brook Street, and to beg that the jewels supplied during the last twelve months might be returned. Lizzie protested that there were no jewels,-nothing to signify, nothing worth restoring. Lady Linlithgow had seen the diamonds, and demanded an explanation. They had been "parted with," by the admiral's orders,-so said Lizzie,-for the payment of other debts. Of this Lady Linlithgow did not believe a word, but she could not get at any exact truth. At that moment the jewels were in very truth pawned for money which had been necessary for Lizzie's needs. Certain things must be paid for,-one's own maid for instance; and one must have some money in one's pocket for railway-trains and little knick-knacks which cannot be had on credit. Lizzie when she was nineteen knew how to do without money as well as most girls; but there were calls which she could not withstand, debts which even she must pay.

She did not, however, drop her acquaintance with Messrs. Harter and Benjamin. Before her father had been dead eight months, she was closeted with Mr. Benjamin, transacting a little business with him. She had come to him, she told him, the moment she was of age, and was willing to make herself responsible for the debt, signing any bill, note, or document which the firm might demand from her, to that effect. Of course she had nothing of her own, and never would have anything. That Mr. Benjamin knew. As for payment of the debt by Lady Linlithgow, who for a countess was as poor as Job, Mr. Benjamin, she was quite sure, did not expect anything of the kind. But- Then Lizzie paused, and Mr. Benjamin, with the sweetest and wittiest of smiles, suggested that perhaps Miss Greystock was going to be married. Lizzie, with a pretty maiden blush, admitted that such a catastrophe was probable. She had been asked in marriage by Sir Florian Eustace. Now Mr. Benjamin knew, as all the world knew, that Sir Florian Eustace was a very rich man indeed; a man in no degree embarrassed, and who could pay any amount of jewellers' bills for which claim might be made upon him. Well; what did Miss Greystock want? Mr. Benjamin did not suppose that Miss Greystock was actuated simply by a desire to have her old bills paid by her future husband. Miss Greystock wanted a loan sufficient to take the jewels out of pawn. She would then make herself responsible for the full amount due. Mr. Benjamin said that he would make a few inquiries. "But you won't betray me," said Lizzie, "for the match might be off." Mr. Benjamin promised to be more than cautious.

There was not so much of falsehood as might have been expected in the statement which Lizzie Greystock made to the jeweller. It was not true that she was of age, and therefore no future husband would be legally liable for any debt which she might then contract. And it was not true that Sir Florian Eustace had asked her in marriage. Those two little blemishes in her statement must be admitted. But it was true that Sir Florian was at her feet, and that by a proper use of her various charms,-the pawned jewels included,-she might bring him to an offer. Mr. Benjamin made his inquiries, and acceded to the proposal. He did not tell Miss Greystock that she had lied to him in that matter of her age, though he had discovered the lie. Sir Florian would no doubt pay the bill for his wife without any arguments as to the legality of the claim. From such information as Mr. Benjamin could acquire he thought that there would be a marriage, and that the speculation was on the whole in his favour. Lizzie recovered her jewels and Mr. Benjamin was in possession of a promissory note purporting to have been executed by a person who was no longer a minor. The jeweller was ultimately successful in his views,-and so was the lady.

Lady Linlithgow saw the jewels come back, one by one, ring added to ring on the little taper fingers, the rubies for the neck, and the pendent yellow earrings. Though Lizzie was in mourning for her father, still these things were allowed to be visible. The countess was not the woman to see them without inquiry, and she inquired vigorously. She threatened, stormed, and protested. She attempted even a raid upon the young lady's jewel-box. But she was not successful. Lizzie snapped and snarled and held her own,-for at that time the match with Sir Florian was near its accomplishment, and the countess understood too well the value of such a disposition of her niece to risk it at the moment by any open rupture. The little house in Brook Street,-for the house was very small and very comfortless,-a house that had been squeezed in, as it were, between two others without any fitting space for it,-did not contain a happy family. One bedroom, and that the biggest, was appropriated to the Earl of Linlithgow, the son of the countess, a young man who passed perhaps five nights in town during the year. Other inmate there was none besides the aunt and the niece and the four servants,-of whom one was Lizzie's own maid. Why should such a countess have troubled herself with the custody of such a niece? Simply because the countess regarded it as a duty. Lady Linlithgow was worldly, stingy, ill-tempered, selfish, and mean. Lady Linlithgow would cheat a butcher out of a mutton-chop, or a cook out of a month's wages, if she could do so with some slant of legal wind in her favour. She would tell any number of lies to carry a point in what she believed to be social success. It was said of her that she cheated at cards. In back-biting, no venomous old woman between Bond Street and Park Lane could beat her,-or, more wonderful still, no venomous old man at the clubs. But nevertheless she recognised certain duties,-and performed them, though she hated them. She went to church, not merely that people might see her there,-as to which in truth she cared nothing,-but because she thought it was right. And she took in Lizzie Greystock, whom she hated almost as much as she did sermons, because the admiral's wife had been her sister, and she recognised a duty. But, having thus bound herself to Lizzie,-who was a beauty,-of course it became the first object of her life to get rid of Lizzie by a marriage. And, though she would have liked to think that Lizzie would be tormented all her days, though she thoroughly believed that Lizzie deserved to be tormented, she set her heart upon a splendid match. She would at any rate be able to throw it daily in her niece's teeth that the splendour was of her doing. Now a marriage with Sir Florian Eustace would be very splendid, and therefore she was unable to go into the matter of the jewels with that rigour which in other circumstances she would certainly have displayed.

The match with Sir Florian Eustace,-for a match it came to be,-was certainly very splendid. Sir Florian was a young man about eight-and-twenty, very handsome, of immense wealth, quite unencumbered, moving in the best circles, popular, so far prudent that he never risked his fortune on the turf or in gambling-houses, with the reputation of a gallant soldier, and a most devoted lover. There were two facts concerning him which might, or might not, be taken as objections. He was vicious, and-he was dying. When a friend, intending to be kind, hinted the latter circumstance to Lady Linlithgow, the countess blinked and winked and nodded, and then swore that she had procured medical advice on the subject. Medical advice declared that Sir Florian was not more likely to die than another man,-if only he would get married; all of which statement on her ladyship's part was a lie. When the same friend hinted the same thing to Lizzie herself, Lizzie resolved that she would have her revenge upon that friend. At any rate the courtship went on.

We have said that Sir Florian was vicious;-but he was not altogether a bad man, nor was he vicious in the common sense of the word. He was one who denied himself no pleasure, let the cost be what it might in health, pocket, or morals. Of sin or wickedness he had probably no distinct idea. In virtue, as an attribute of the world around him, he had no belief. Of honour he thought very much, and had conceived a somewhat noble idea that because much had been given to him much was demanded of him. He was haughty, polite,-and very generous. There was almost a nobility even about his vices. And he had a special gallantry of which it is hard to say whether it is or is not to be admired. They told him that he was like to die,-very like to die, if he did not change his manner of living. Would he go to Algiers for a period? Certainly not. He would do no such thing. If he died, there was his brother John left to succeed him. And the fear of death never cast a cloud over that grandly beautiful brow. They had all been short-lived,-the Eustaces. Consumption had swept a hecatomb of victims from the family. But still they were grand people, and never were afraid of death.

And then Sir Florian fell in love. Discussing this matter with his brother, who was perhaps his only intimate friend, he declared that if the girl he loved would give herself to him, he would make what atonement he could to her for his own early death by a princely settlement. John Eustace, who was somewhat nearly concerned in the matter, raised no objection to this proposal. There was ever something grand about these Eustaces. Sir Florian was a grand gentleman; but surely he must have been dull of intellect, slow of discernment, blear-eyed in his ways about the town, when he took Lizzie Greystock,-of all the women whom he could find in the world,-to be the purest, the truest, and the noblest. It has been said of Sir Florian that he did not believe in virtue. He freely expressed disbelief in the virtue of women around him,-in the virtue of women of all ranks. But he believed in his mother and sisters as though they were heaven-born; and he was one who could believe in his wife as though she were the queen of heaven. He did believe in Lizzie Greystock, thinking that intellect, purity, truth, and beauty, each perfect in its degree, were combined in her. The intellect and beauty were there;-but, for the purity and truth-; how could it have been that such a one as Sir Florian Eustace should have been so blind!

Sir Florian was not, indeed, a clever man; but he believed himself to be a fool. And believing himself to be a fool, he desired, nay, painfully longed, for some of those results of cleverness which might, he thought, come to him, from contact with a clever woman. Lizzie read poetry well, and she read verses to him,-sitting very near to him, almost in the dark, with a shaded lamp throwing its light on her book. He was astonished to find how sweet a thing was poetry. By himself he could never read a line, but as it came from her lips it seemed to charm him. It was a new pleasure, and one which, though he had ridiculed it, he had so often coveted! And then she told him of such wondrous thoughts,-such wondrous joys in the world which would come from thinking! He was proud, I have said, and haughty; but he was essentially modest and humble in his self-estimation. How divine was this creature, whose voice to him was as that of a goddess!

Then he spoke out to her, with his face a little turned from her. Would she be his wife? But, before she answered him, let her listen to him. They had told him that an early death must probably be his fate. He did not himself feel that it must be so. Sometimes he was ill,-very ill; but often he was well. If she would run the risk with him he would endeavour to make her such recompense as might come from his wealth. The speech he made was somewhat long, and as he made it he hardly looked into her face.

But it was necessary to him that he should be made to know by some signal from her how it was going with her feelings. As he spoke of his danger, there came a gurgling little trill of wailing from her throat, a soft, almost musical sound of woe, which seemed to add an unaccustomed eloquence to his words. When he spoke of his own hope the sound was somewhat changed, but it was still continued. When he alluded to the disposition of his fortune, she was at his feet. "Not that," she said, "not that!" He lifted her, and with his arm round her waist he tried to tell her what it would be his duty to do for her. She escaped from his arm and would not listen to him. But,-but-! When he began to talk of love again, she stood with her forehead bowed against his bosom. Of course the engagement was then a thing accomplished.

But still the cup might slip from her lips. Her father was now dead but ten months, and what answer could she make when the common pressing petition for an early marriage was poured into her ear? This was in July, and it would never do that he should be left, unmarried, to the rigour of another winter. She looked into his face and knew that she had cause for fear. Oh, heavens! if all these golden hopes should fall to the ground, and she should come to be known only as the girl who had been engaged to the late Sir Florian! But he himself pressed the marriage on the same ground. "They tell me," he said, "that I had better get a little south by the beginning of October. I won't go alone. You know what I mean;-eh, Lizzie?" Of course she married him in September.

They spent a honeymoon of six weeks at a place he had in Scotland, and the first blow came upon him as they passed through London, back from Scotland, on their way to Italy. Messrs. Harter and Benjamin sent in their little bill, which amounted to something over L400, and other little bills were sent in. Sir Florian was a man by whom such bills would certainly be paid, but by whom they would not be paid without his understanding much and conceiving more as to their cause and nature. How much he really did understand she was never quite aware;-but she did know that he detected her in a positive falsehood. She might certainly have managed the matter better than she did; and had she admitted everything there might probably have been but few words about it. She did not, however, understand the nature of the note she had signed, and thought that simply new bills would be presented by the jewellers to her husband. She gave a false account of the transaction, and the lie was detected. I do not know that she cared very much. As she was utterly devoid of true tenderness, so also was she devoid of conscience. They went abroad, however; and by the time the winter was half over in Naples, he knew what his wife was;-and before the end of the spring he was dead.

She had so far played her game well, and had won her stakes. What regrets, what remorse she suffered when she knew that he was going from her,-and then knew that he was gone, who can say? As man is never strong enough to take unmixed delight in good, so may we presume also that he cannot be quite so weak as to find perfect satisfaction in evil. There must have been qualms as she looked at his dying face, soured with the disappointment she had brought upon him, and listened to the harsh querulous voice that was no longer eager in the expressions of love. There must have been some pang when she reflected that the cruel wrong which she had inflicted on him had probably hurried him to his grave. As a widow, in the first solemnity of her widowhood, she was wretched and would see no one. Then she returned to England and shut herself up in a small house at Brighton. Lady Linlithgow offered to go to her, but she begged that she might be left to herself. For a few short months the awe arising from the rapidity with which it had all occurred did afflict her. Twelve months since she had hardly known the man who was to be her husband. Now she was a widow,-a widow very richly endowed,-and she bore beneath her bosom the fruit of her husband's love.

But, even in these early days, friends and enemies did not hesitate to say that Lizzie Greystock had done very well with herself; for it was known by all concerned that in the settlements made she had been treated with unwonted generosity.


Chapter 2 Lady Eustace

There were circumstances in her position which made it impossible that Lizzie Greystock,-or Lady Eustace, as we must now call her,-should be left altogether to herself in the modest widow's retreat which she had found at Brighton. It was then April, and it was known that if all things went well with her, she would be a mother before the summer was over. On what the Fates might ordain in this matter immense interests were dependent. If a son should be born he would inherit everything, subject, of course, to his mother's settlement. If a daughter, to her would belong the great personal wealth which Sir Florian had owned at the time of his death. Should there be no son, John Eustace, the brother, would inherit the estates in Yorkshire which had been the backbone of the Eustace wealth. Should no child be born, John Eustace would inherit everything that had not been settled upon or left to the widow. Sir Florian had made a settlement immediately before his marriage, and a will immediately afterwards. Of what he had done then, nothing had been altered in those sad Italian days. The settlement had been very generous. The whole property in Scotland was to belong to Lizzie for her life,-and after her death was to go to a second son, if such second son there should be. By the will money was left to her, more than would be needed for any possible temporary emergency. When she knew how it was all arranged,-as far as she did know it,-she was aware that she was a rich woman. For so clever a woman she was infinitely ignorant as to the possession and value of money and land and income,-though, perhaps, not more ignorant than are most young girls under twenty-one. As for the Scotch property,-she thought that it was her own, for ever, because there could not now be a second son,-and yet was not quite sure whether it would be her own at all if she had no son. Concerning that sum of money left to her, she did not know whether it was to come out of the Scotch property or be given to her separately,-and whether it was to come annually or to come only once. She had received, while still in Naples, a letter from the family lawyer, giving her such details of the will as it was necessary that she should know, and now she longed to ask questions, to have her belongings made plain to her, and to realise her wealth. She had brilliant prospects; and yet, through it all, there was a sense of loneliness that nearly killed her. Would it not have been much better if her husband had lived, and still worshipped her, and still allowed her to read poetry to him? But she had read no poetry to him after that affair of Messrs. Harter and Benjamin.

The reader has, or will have, but little to do with these days, and may be hurried on through the twelve, or even twenty-four months which followed the death of poor Sir Florian. The question of the heirship, however, was very grave, and early in the month of May Lady Eustace was visited by her husband's uncle, Bishop Eustace, of Bobsborough. The bishop had been the younger brother of Sir Florian's father,-was at this time a man about fifty, very active and very popular,-and was one who stood high in the world, even among bishops. He suggested to his niece-in-law that it was very expedient that, during her coming hour of trial, she should not absent herself from her husband's family, and at last persuaded her to take up her residence at the palace at Bobsborough till such time as the event should be over. Lady Eustace was taken to the palace, and in due time a son was born. John, who was now the uncle of the heir, came down, and, with the frankest good humour, declared that he would devote himself to the little head of the family. He had been left as guardian, and the management of the great family estates was to be in his hands. Lizzie had read no poetry to him, and he had never liked her, and the bishop did not like her, and the ladies of the bishop's family disliked her very much, and it was thought by them that the dean's people,-the Dean of Bobsborough was Lizzie's uncle,-were not very fond of Lizzie since Lizzie had so raised herself in the world as to want no assistance from them. But still they were bound to do their duty by her as the widow of the late and the mother of the present baronet. And they did not find much cause of complaining as to Lizzie's conduct in these days. In that matter of the great family diamond necklace,-which certainly should not have been taken to Naples at all, and as to which the jeweller had told the lawyer and the lawyer had told John Eustace that it certainly should not now be detained among the widow's own private property,-the bishop strongly recommended that nothing should be said at present. The mistake, if there was a mistake, could be remedied at any time. And nothing in those very early days was said about the great Eustace necklace, which afterwards became so famous.

Why Lizzie should have been so generally disliked by the Eustaces, it might be hard to explain. While she remained at the palace she was very discreet,-and perhaps demure. It may be said they disliked her expressed determination to cut her aunt, Lady Linlithgow;-for they knew that Lady Linlithgow had been, at any rate, a friend to Lizzie Greystock. There are people who can be wise within a certain margin, but beyond that commit great imprudences. Lady Eustace submitted herself to the palace people for that period of her prostration, but she could not hold her tongue as to her future intentions. She would, too, now and then ask of Mrs. Eustace, and even of her daughter, an eager, anxious question about her own property. "She is dying to handle her money," said Mrs. Eustace to the bishop. "She is only like the rest of the world in that," said the bishop. "If she would be really open, I wouldn't mind it," said Mrs. Eustace. None of them liked her,-and she did not like them.

She remained at the palace for six months, and at the end of that time she went to her own place in Scotland. Mrs. Eustace had strongly advised her to ask her aunt, Lady Linlithgow, to accompany her, but in refusing to do this, Lizzie was quite firm. She had endured Lady Linlithgow for that year between her father's death and her marriage; she was now beginning to dare to hope for the enjoyment of the good things which she had won, and the presence of the dowager-countess,-"the vulturess,"-was certainly not one of these good things. In what her enjoyment was to consist, she had not as yet quite formed a definite conclusion. She liked jewels. She liked admiration. She liked the power of being arrogant to those around her. And she liked good things to eat. But there were other matters that were also dear to her. She did like music,-though it may be doubted whether she would ever play it or even listen to it alone. She did like reading, and especially the reading of poetry,-though even in this she was false and pretentious, skipping, pretending to have read, lying about books, and making up her market of literature for outside admiration at the easiest possible cost of trouble. And she had some dream of being in love, and would take delight even in building castles in the air, which she would people with friends and lovers whom she would make happy with the most open-hearted benevolence. She had theoretical ideas of life which were not bad,-but in practice, she had gained her objects, and she was in a hurry to have liberty to enjoy them.

There was considerable anxiety in the palace in reference to the future mode of life of Lady Eustace. Had it not been for that baby-heir, of course there would have been no cause for interference; but the rights of that baby were so serious and important that it was almost impossible not to interfere. The mother, however, gave some little signs that she did not intend to submit to much interference, and there was no real reason why she should not be as free as air. But did she really intend to go down to Portray Castle all alone;-that is, with her baby and nurses? This was ended by an arrangement, in accordance with which she was accompanied by her eldest cousin, Ellinor Greystock, a lady who was just ten years her senior. There could hardly be a better woman than Ellinor Greystock,-or a more good-humoured, kindly being. After many debates in the deanery and in the palace,-for there was much friendship between the two ecclesiastical establishments,-the offer was made and the advice given. Ellinor had accepted the martyrdom on the understanding that if the advice were accepted she was to remain at Portray Castle for three months. After a long discussion between Lady Eustace and the bishop's wife the offer was accepted, and the two ladies went to Scotland together.

During those three months the widow still bided her time. Of her future ideas of life she said not a word to her companion. Of her infant she said very little. She would talk of books,-choosing such books as her cousin did not read; and she would interlard her conversation with much Italian, because her cousin did not know the language. There was a carriage kept by the widow, and they had themselves driven out together. Of real companionship there was none. Lizzie was biding her time, and at the end of the three months Miss Greystock thankfully, and, indeed, of necessity, returned to Bobsborough. "I've done no good," she said to her mother, "and have been very uncomfortable." "My dear," said her mother, "we have disposed of three months out of a two years' period of danger. In two years from Sir Florian's death she will be married again."

When this was said Lizzie had been a widow nearly a year, and had bided her time upon the whole discreetly. Some foolish letters she had written,-chiefly to the lawyer about her money and property; and some foolish things she had said,-as when she told Ellinor Greystock that the Portray property was her own for ever, to do what she liked with it. The sum of money left to her by her husband had by that time been paid into her own hands, and she had opened a banker's account. The revenues from the Scotch estate,-some L4,000 a year,-were clearly her own for life. The family diamond-necklace was still in her possession, and no answer had been given by her to a postscript to a lawyer's letter in which a little advice had been given respecting it. At the end of another year, when she had just reached the age of twenty-two, and had completed her second year of widowhood, she was still Lady Eustace, thus contradicting the prophecy made by the dean's wife. It was then spring, and she had a house of her own in London. She had broken openly with Lady Linlithgow. She had opposed, though not absolutely refused, all overtures of brotherly care from John Eustace. She had declined a further invitation, both for herself and for her child, to the palace. And she had positively asserted her intention of keeping the diamonds. Her late husband, she said, had given the diamonds to her. As they were supposed to be worth L10,000, and were really family diamonds, the matter was felt by all concerned to be one of much importance. And she was oppressed by a heavy load of ignorance, which became serious from the isolation of her position. She had learned to draw cheques, but she had no other correct notion as to business. She knew nothing as to spending money, saving it, or investing it. Though she was clever, sharp, and greedy, she had no idea what her money would do, and what it would not; and there was no one whom she would trust to tell her. She had a young cousin, a barrister,-a son of the dean's, whom she perhaps liked better than any other of her relations,-but she declined advice even from her friend the barrister. She would have no dealings on her own behalf with the old family solicitor of the Eustaces,-the gentleman who had now applied very formally for the restitution of the diamonds; but had appointed other solicitors to act for her. Messrs. Mowbray and Mopus were of opinion that as the diamonds had been given into her hands by her husband without any terms as to their surrender, no one could claim them. Of the manner in which the diamonds had been placed in her hands, no one knew more than she chose to tell.

But when she started with her house in town,-a modest little house in Mount Street, near the park,-just two years after her husband's death, she had a large circle of acquaintances. The Eustace people, and the Greystock people, and even the Linlithgow people, did not entirely turn their backs on her. The countess, indeed, was very venomous, as she well might be; but then the countess was known for her venom. The dean and his family were still anxious that she should be encouraged to discreet living, and, though they feared many things, thought that they had no ground for open complaint. The Eustace people were forbearing, and hoped the best. "D—— the necklace!" John Eustace had said, and the bishop unfortunately had heard him say it! "John," said the prelate, "whatever is to become of the bauble, you might express your opinion in more sensible language." "I beg your lordship's pardon," said John, "I only mean to say that I think we shouldn't trouble ourselves about a few stones." But the family lawyer, Mr. Camperdown, would by no means take this view of the matter. It was, however, generally thought that the young widow opened her campaign more prudently than had been expected.

And now as so much has been said of the character and fortune and special circumstances of Lizzie Greystock, who became Lady Eustace as a bride, and Lady Eustace as a widow and a mother, all within the space of twelve months, it may be as well to give some description of her person and habits, such as they were at the period in which our story is supposed to have its commencement. It must be understood in the first place that she was very lovely;-much more so, indeed, now than when she had fascinated Sir Florian. She was small, but taller than she looked to be,-for her form was perfectly symmetrical. Her feet and hands might have been taken as models by a sculptor. Her figure was lithe, and soft, and slim, and slender. If it had a fault it was this,-that it had in it too much of movement. There were some who said that she was almost snake-like in her rapid bendings and the almost too easy gestures of her body; for she was much given to action, and to the expression of her thought by the motion of her limbs. She might certainly have made her way as an actress, had fortune called upon her to earn her bread in that fashion. And her voice would have suited the stage. It was powerful when she called upon it for power; but, at the same time, flexible and capable of much pretence at feeling. She could bring it to a whisper that would almost melt your heart with tenderness,-as she had melted Sir Florian's, when she sat near to him reading poetry; and then she could raise it to a pitch of indignant wrath befitting a Lady Macbeth when her husband ventured to rebuke her. And her ear was quite correct in modulating these tones. She knew,-and it must have been by instinct, for her culture in such matters was small,-how to use her voice so that neither its tenderness nor its wrath should be misapplied. There were pieces in verse that she could read,-things not wondrously good in themselves,-so that she would ravish you; and she would so look at you as she did it that you would hardly dare either to avert your eyes or to return her gaze. Sir Florian had not known whether to do the one thing or the other, and had therefore seized her in his arms. Her face was oval,-somewhat longer than an oval,-with little in it, perhaps nothing in it, of that brilliancy of colour which we call complexion. And yet the shades of her countenance were ever changing between the softest and most transparent white, and the richest, mellowest shades of brown. It was only when she simulated anger,-she was almost incapable of real anger,-that she would succeed in calling the thinnest streak of pink from her heart, to show that there was blood running in her veins. Her hair, which was nearly black,-but in truth with more of softness and of lustre than ever belong to hair that is really black,-she wore bound tight round her perfect forehead, with one long love-lock hanging over her shoulder. The form of her head was so good that she could dare to carry it without a chignon, or any adventitious adjuncts from an artiste's shop. Very bitter was she in consequence when speaking of the head-gear of other women. Her chin was perfect in its round, not over long,-as is the case with so many such faces, utterly spoiling the symmetry of the countenance. But it lacked a dimple, and therefore lacked feminine tenderness. Her mouth was perhaps faulty in being too small, or, at least, her lips were too thin. There was wanting from the mouth that expression of eager-speaking truthfulness which full lips will often convey. Her teeth were without flaw or blemish, even, small, white, and delicate; but perhaps they were shown too often. Her nose was small, but struck many as the prettiest feature of her face, so exquisite was the moulding of it, and so eloquent and so graceful the slight inflations of the transparent nostrils. Her eyes, in which she herself thought that the lustre of her beauty lay, were blue and clear, bright as cerulean waters. They were long large eyes,-but very dangerous. To those who knew how to read a face, there was danger plainly written in them. Poor Sir Florian had not known. But, in truth, the charm of her face did not lie in her eyes. This was felt by many even who could not read the book fluently. They were too expressive, too loud in their demands for attention, and they lacked tenderness. How few there are among women, few perhaps also among men, who know that the sweetest, softest, tenderest, truest eyes which a woman can carry in her head are green in colour! Lizzie's eyes were not tender,-neither were they true. But they were surmounted by the most wonderfully pencilled eyebrows that ever nature unassisted planted on a woman's face.

We have said that she was clever. We must add that she had in truth studied much. She spoke French, understood Italian, and read German. She played well on the harp, and moderately well on the piano. She sang, at least in good taste and in tune. Of things to be learned by reading she knew much, having really taken diligent trouble with herself. She had learned much poetry by heart, and could apply it. She forgot nothing, listened to everything, understood quickly, and was desirous to show not only as a beauty but as a wit. There were men at this time who declared that she was simply the cleverest and the handsomest woman in England. As an independent young woman she was perhaps one of the richest.


Chapter 3 Lucy Morris

Although the first two chapters of this new history have been devoted to the fortunes and personal attributes of Lady Eustace, the historian begs his readers not to believe that that opulent and aristocratic Becky Sharp is to assume the dignity of heroine in the forthcoming pages. That there shall be any heroine the historian will not take upon himself to assert; but if there be a heroine, that heroine shall not be Lady Eustace. Poor Lizzie Greystock!-as men double her own age, and who had known her as a forward, capricious, spoilt child in her father's lifetime, would still call her. She did so many things, made so many efforts, caused so much suffering to others, and suffered so much herself throughout the scenes with which we are about to deal, that the story can hardly be told without giving her that prominence of place which has been assigned to her in the last two chapters.

Nor does the chronicler dare to put forward Lucy Morris as a heroine. The real heroine, if it be found possible to arrange her drapery for her becomingly, and to put that part which she enacted into properly heroic words, shall stalk in among us at some considerably later period of the narrative, when the writer shall have accustomed himself to the flow of words, and have worked himself up to a state of mind fit for the reception of noble acting and noble speaking. In the meantime, let it be understood that poor little Lucy Morris was a governess in the house of old Lady Fawn, when our beautiful young widow established herself in Mount Street.

Lady Eustace and Lucy Morris had known each other for many years,-had indeed been children together,-there having been some old family friendship between the Greystocks and the Morrises. When the admiral's wife was living, Lucy had, as a little girl of eight or nine, been her guest. She had often been a guest at the deanery. When Lady Eustace had gone down to the bishop's palace at Bobsborough, in order that an heir to the Eustaces might be born under an auspicious roof, Lucy Morris was with the Greystocks. Lucy, who was a year younger than Lizzie, had at that time been an orphan for the last four years. She too had been left penniless, but no such brilliant future awaited her as that which Lizzie had earned for herself. There was no countess-aunt to take her into her London house. The dean and the dean's wife and the dean's daughters had been her best friends, but they were not friends on whom she could be dependent. They were in no way connected with her by blood. Therefore, at the age of eighteen, she had gone out to be a child's governess. Then old Lady Fawn had heard of her virtues,-Lady Fawn, who had seven unmarried daughters running down from seven-and-twenty to thirteen, and Lucy Morris had been hired to teach English, French, German, and something of music to the two youngest Miss Fawns.

During that visit at the deanery, when the heir of the Eustaces was being born, Lucy was undergoing a sort of probation for the Fawn establishment. The proposed engagement with Lady Fawn was thought to be a great thing for her. Lady Fawn was known as a miracle of Virtue, Benevolence, and Persistency. Every good quality that she possessed was so marked as to be worthy of being expressed with a capital. But her virtues were of that extraordinarily high character that there was no weakness in them,-no getting over them, no perverting them with follies or even exaggerations. When she heard of the excellencies of Miss Morris from the dean's wife, and then, after minutest investigation, learned the exact qualities of the young lady, she expressed herself willing to take Lucy into her house on special conditions. She must be able to teach music up to a certain point. "Then it's all over," said Lucy to the dean with her pretty smile,-that smile which caused all the old and middle-aged men to fall in love with her. "It's not over at all," said the dean. "You've got four months. Our organist is about as good a teacher as there is in England. You are clever and quick, and he shall teach you." So Lucy went to Bobsborough, and was afterwards accepted by Lady Fawn.

While she was at the deanery there sprung up a renewed friendship between her and Lizzie. It was, indeed, chiefly a one-sided friendship; for Lucy, who was quick and unconsciously capable of reading that book to which we alluded in a previous chapter, was somewhat afraid of the rich widow. And when Lizzie talked to her of their old childish days, and quoted poetry, and spoke of things romantic,-as she was much given to do,-Lucy felt that the metal did not ring true. And then Lizzie had an ugly habit of abusing all her other friends behind their backs. Now Lucy did not like to hear the Greystocks abused, and would say so. "That's all very well, you little minx," Lizzie would say playfully, "but you know that they are all asses!" Lucy by no means thought that the Greystocks were asses, and was very strongly of opinion that one of them was as far removed from being an ass as any human being she had ever known. This one was Frank Greystock, the barrister. Of Frank Greystock some special-but, let it be hoped, very short-description must be given by-and-by. For the present it will be sufficient to declare that, during that short Easter holiday which he spent at his father's house in Bobsborough, he found Lucy Morris to be a most agreeable companion.

"Remember her position," said Mrs. Dean to her son.

"Her position! Well;-and what is her position mother?"

"You know what I mean, Frank. She is as sweet a girl as ever lived, and a perfect lady. But with a governess, unless you mean to marry her, you should be more careful than with another girl, because you may do her such a world of mischief."

"I don't see that at all."

"If Lady Fawn knew that she had an admirer, Lady Fawn would not let her come into her house."

"Then Lady Fawn is an idiot. If a girl be admirable, of course she will be admired. Who can hinder it?"

"You know what I mean, Frank."

"Yes-I do; well. I don't suppose I can afford to marry Lucy Morris. At any rate, mother, I will never say a word to raise a hope in her,-if it would be a hope-"

"Of course it would be a hope."

"I don't know that at all. But I will never say any such word to her,-unless I make up my mind that I can afford to marry her."

"Oh, Frank, it would be impossible!" said Mrs. Dean.

Mrs. Dean was a very good woman, but she had aspirations in the direction of filthy lucre on behalf of her children, or at least on behalf of this special child, and she did think it would be very nice if Frank would marry an heiress. This, however, was a long time ago, nearly two years ago; and many grave things had got themselves transacted since Lucy's visit to the deanery. She had become quite an old and an accustomed member of Lady Fawn's family. The youngest Fawn girl was not yet fifteen, and it was understood that Lucy was to remain with the Fawns for some quite indefinite time to come. Lady Fawn's eldest daughter, Mrs. Hittaway, had a family of her own, having been married ten or twelve years, and it was quite probable that Lucy might be transferred. Lady Fawn fully appreciated her treasure, and was, and ever had been, conscientiously anxious to make Lucy's life happy. But she thought that a governess should not be desirous of marrying, at any rate till a somewhat advanced period of life. A governess, if she were given to falling in love, could hardly perform her duties in life. No doubt, not to be a governess, but a young lady free from the embarrassing necessity of earning bread, free to have a lover and a husband, would be upon the whole nicer. So it is nicer to be born to L10,000 a year than to have to wish for L500. Lady Fawn could talk excellent sense on this subject by the hour, and always admitted that much was due to a governess who knew her place and did her duty. She was very fond of Lucy Morris, and treated her dependent with affectionate consideration;-but she did not approve of visits from Mr. Frank Greystock. Lucy, blushing up to the eyes, had once declared that she desired to have no personal visitors at Lady Fawn's house; but that, as regarded her own friendships, the matter was one for her own bosom. "Dear Miss Morris," Lady Fawn had said, "we understand each other so perfectly, and you are so good, that I am quite sure everything will be as it ought to be." Lady Fawn lived down at Richmond all the year through, in a large old-fashioned house with a large old-fashioned garden, called Fawn Court. After that speech of hers to Lucy, Frank Greystock did not call again at Fawn Court for many months, and it is possible that her ladyship had said a word also to him. But Lady Eustace, with her pretty little pair of grey ponies, would sometimes drive down to Richmond to see her "dear little old friend" Lucy, and her visits were allowed. Lady Fawn had expressed an opinion among her daughters that she did not see any harm in Lady Eustace. She thought that she rather liked Lady Eustace. But then Lady Fawn hated Lady Linlithgow as only two old women can hate each other;-and she had not heard the story of the diamond necklace.

Lucy Morris certainly was a treasure,-a treasure though no heroine. She was a sweetly social, genial little human being whose presence in the house was ever felt to be like sunshine. She was never forward, but never bashful. She was always open to familiar intercourse without ever putting herself forward. There was no man or woman with whom she would not so talk as to make the man or woman feel that the conversation was remarkably pleasant,-and she could do the same with any child. She was an active, mindful, bright, energetic little thing to whom no work ever came amiss. She had catalogued the library,-which had been collected by the late Lord Fawn with peculiar reference to the Christian theology of the third and fourth centuries. She had planned the new flower-garden,-though Lady Fawn thought that she had done that herself. She had been invaluable during Clara Fawn's long illness. She knew every rule at croquet, and could play piquet. When the girls got up charades they had to acknowledge that everything depended on Miss Morris. They were good-natured, plain, unattractive girls, who spoke of her to her face as one who could easily do anything to which she might put her hand. Lady Fawn did really love her. Lord Fawn, the eldest son, a young man of about thirty-five, a Peer of Parliament and an Under-Secretary of State,-very prudent and very diligent,-of whom his mother and sisters stood in great awe, consulted her frequently and made no secret of his friendship. The mother knew her awful son well, and was afraid of nothing wrong in that direction. Lord Fawn had suffered a disappointment in love, but he had consoled himself with blue-books, and mastered his passion by incessant attendance at the India Board. The lady he had loved had been rich, and Lord Fawn was poor; but nevertheless he had mastered his passion. There was no fear that his feelings towards the governess would become too warm;-nor was it likely that Miss Morris should encounter danger in regard to him. It was quite an understood thing in the family that Lord Fawn must marry money.

Lucy Morris was indeed a treasure. No brighter face ever looked into another to seek sympathy there, either in mirth or woe. There was a gleam in her eyes that was almost magnetic, so sure was she to obtain by it that community of interest which she desired,-though it were but for a moment. Lord Fawn was pompous, slow, dull, and careful; but even he had given way to it at once. Lady Fawn, too, was very careful, but she had owned to herself long since that she could not bear to look forward to any permanent severance. Of course Lucy would be made over to the Hittaways, whose mother lived in Warwick Square, and whose father was Chairman of the Board of Civil Appeals. The Hittaways were the only grandchildren with whom Lady Fawn had as yet been blessed, and of course Lucy must go to the Hittaways.

She was but a little thing;-and it cannot be said of her, as of Lady Eustace, that she was a beauty. The charm of her face consisted in the peculiar, watery brightness of her eyes,-in the corners of which it would always seem that a diamond of a tear was lurking whenever any matter of excitement was afoot. Her light-brown hair was soft and smooth and pretty. As hair it was very well, but it had no speciality. Her mouth was somewhat large, but full of ever-varying expression. Her forehead was low and broad, with prominent temples, on which it was her habit to clasp tightly her little outstretched fingers as she sat listening to you. Of listeners she was the very best, for she would always be saying a word or two, just to help you,-the best word that could be spoken, and then again she would be hanging on your lips. There are listeners who show by their mode of listening that they listen as a duty,-not because they are interested. Lucy Morris was not such a one. She would take up your subject, whatever it was, and make it her own. There was forward just then a question as to whether the Sawab of Mygawb should have twenty millions of rupees paid to him and be placed upon a throne, or whether he should be kept in prison all his life. The British world generally could not be made to interest itself about the Sawab, but Lucy positively mastered the subject, and almost got Lord Fawn into a difficulty by persuading him to stand up against his chief on behalf of the injured prince.

What else can be said of her face or personal appearance that will interest a reader? When she smiled, there was the daintiest little dimple on her cheek. And when she laughed, that little nose, which was not as well-shaped a nose as it might have been, would almost change its shape and cock itself up in its mirth. Her hands were very thin and long, and so were her feet,-by no means models as were those of her friend Lady Eustace. She was a little, thin, quick, graceful creature, whom it was impossible that you should see without wishing to have near you. A most unselfish little creature she was, but one who had a well-formed idea of her own identity. She was quite resolved to be somebody among her fellow-creatures,-not somebody in the way of marrying a lord or a rich man, or somebody in the way of being a beauty, or somebody as a wit; but somebody as having a purpose and a use in life. She was the humblest little thing in the world in regard to any possible putting of herself forward or needful putting of herself back; and yet, to herself, nobody was her superior. What she had was her own, whether it was the old grey silk dress which she had bought with the money she had earned, or the wit which nature had given her. And Lord Fawn's title was his own, and Lady Fawn's rank her own. She coveted no man's possessions,-and no woman's; but she was minded to hold by her own. Of present advantages or disadvantages,-whether she had the one or suffered from the other,-she thought not at all. It was her fault that she had nothing of feminine vanity. But no man or woman was ever more anxious to be effective, to persuade, to obtain belief, sympathy, and co-operation;-not for any result personal to herself, but because, by obtaining these things, she could be effective in the object then before her, be it what it might.

One other thing may be told of her. She had given her heart,-for good and all, as she owned to herself,-to Frank Greystock. She had owned to herself that it was so, and had owned to herself that nothing could come of it. Frank was becoming a man of mark,-but was becoming a man of mark without much money. Of all men he was the last who could afford to marry a governess. And then, moreover, he had never said a word to make her think that he loved her. He had called on her once or twice at Fawn Court,-as why should he not? Seeing that there had been friendship between the families for so many years, who could complain of that? Lady Fawn, however, had-not complained, but just said a word. A word in season, how good is it? Lucy did not much regard the word spoken to herself; but when she reflected that a word must also have been spoken to Mr. Greystock,-otherwise how should it have been that he never came again?-that she did not like.

In herself she regarded this passion of hers as a healthy man regards the loss of a leg or an arm. It is a great nuisance, a loss that maims the whole life,-a misfortune to be much regretted. But because a leg is gone, everything is not gone. A man with a wooden leg may stump about through much action, and may enjoy the keenest pleasures of humanity. He has his eyes left to him, and his ears, and his intellect. He will not break his heart for the loss of that leg. And so it was with Lucy Morris. She would still stump about and be very active. Eyes, ears, and intellect were left to her. Looking at her position, she told herself that a happy love could hardly have been her lot in life. Lady Fawn, she thought, was right. A governess should make up her mind to do without a lover. She had given away her heart, and yet she would do without a lover. When, on one dull, dark afternoon, as she was thinking of all this, Lord Fawn suddenly put into her hands a cruelly long printed document respecting the Sawab, she went to work upon it immediately. As she read it, she could not refrain from thinking how wonderfully Frank Greystock would plead the cause of the Indian prince, if the privilege of pleading it could be given to him.

The spring had come round, with May and the London butterflies, at the time at which our story begins, and during six months Frank Greystock had not been at Fawn Court. Then one day Lady Eustace came down with her ponies, and her footman, and a new dear friend of hers, Miss Macnulty. While Miss Macnulty was being honoured by Lady Fawn, Lizzie had retreated to a corner with her old dear friend Lucy Morris. It was pretty to see how so wealthy and fashionable a woman as Lady Eustace could show so much friendship to a governess. "Have you seen Frank, lately?" said Lady Eustace, referring to her cousin the barrister.

"Not for ever so long," said Lucy, with her cheeriest smile.

"He is not going to prove a false knight?" asked Lady Eustace, in her lowest whisper.

"I don't know that Mr. Greystock is much given to knighthood at all," said Lucy,-"unless it is to being made Sir Francis by his party."

"Nonsense, my dear; as if I didn't know. I suppose Lady Fawn has been interfering-like an old cat as she is."

"She is not an old cat, Lizzie! and I won't hear her called so. If you think so, you shouldn't come here. And she hasn't interfered. That is, she has done nothing that she ought not to have done."

"Then she has interfered," said Lady Eustace, as she got up and walked across the room, with a sweet smile to the old cat.


Chapter 4 Frank Greystock

Frank Greystock the barrister was the only son of the Dean of Bobsborough. Now the dean had a family of daughters,-not quite so numerous indeed as that of Lady Fawn, for there were only three of them,-and was by no means a rich man. Unless a dean have a private fortune, or has chanced to draw the happy lot of Durham in the lottery of deans, he can hardly be wealthy. At Bobsborough the dean was endowed with a large, rambling, picturesque, uncomfortable house, and with L1,500 a year. In regard to personal property it may be asserted of all the Greystocks that they never had any. They were a family of which the males would surely come to be deans and admirals, and the females would certainly find husbands. And they lived on the good things of the world, and mixed with wealthy people. But they never had any money. The Eustaces always had money, and the Bishop of Bobsborough was wealthy. The dean was a man very different from his brother the admiral, who had never paid anybody anything. The dean did pay; but he was a little slow in his payments, and money with him was never very plentiful. In these circumstances it became very expedient that Frank Greystock should earn his bread early in life.

Nevertheless, he had chosen a profession which is not often lucrative at first. He had been called to the Bar, and had gone,-and was still going,-the circuit in which lies the cathedral city of Bobsborough. Bobsborough is not much of a town, and was honoured with the judges' visits only every other circuit. Frank began pretty well, getting some little work in London, and perhaps nearly enough to pay the cost of his circuit out of the county in which the cathedral was situated. But he began life after that impecunious fashion for which the Greystocks have been noted. Tailors, robemakers, and booksellers gave him trust, and did believe that they would get their money. And any persistent tradesman did get it. He did not actually hoist the black flag of impecuniosity, and proclaim his intention of preying generally upon the retail dealers, as his uncle the admiral had done. But he became known as a young man with whom money was "tight." All this had been going on for three or four years before he had met Lucy Morris at the deanery. He was then eight-and-twenty, and had been four years called. He was thirty when old Lady Fawn hinted to him that he had better not pay any more visits at Fawn Court.

But things had much altered with him of late. At the time of that visit to the deanery he had made a sudden start in his profession. The Corporation of the City of London had brought an action against the Bank of England with reference to certain alleged encroachments, of which action, considerable as it was in all its interests, no further notice need be taken here than is given by the statement that a great deal of money in this cause had found its way among the lawyers. Some of it penetrated into the pocket of Frank Greystock; but he earned more than money, better than money, out of that affair. It was attributed to him by the attorneys that the Bank of England was saved from the necessity of reconstructing all its bullion-cellars, and he had made his character for industry. In the year after that the Bobsborough people were rather driven into a corner in search of a clever young Conservative candidate for the borough, and Frank Greystock was invited to stand. It was not thought that there was much chance of success, and the dean was against it. But Frank liked the honour and glory of the contest, and so did Frank's mother. Frank Greystock stood, and at the time in which he was warned away from Fawn Court had been nearly a year in Parliament. "Of course it does interfere with one's business," he had said to his father, "but then it brings one business also. A man with a seat in Parliament who shows that he means work will always get nearly as much work as he can do." Such was Frank's exposition to his father. It may perhaps not be found to hold water in all cases. Mrs. Dean was of course delighted with her son's success, and so were the girls. Women like to feel that the young men belonging to them are doing something in the world, so that a reflected glory may be theirs. It was pleasant to talk of Frank as member for the city. Brothers do not always care much for a brother's success, but a sister is generally sympathetic. If Frank would only marry money, there was nothing he might not achieve. That he would live to sit on the woolsack was now almost a certainty to the dear old lady. But in order that he might sit there comfortably it was necessary that he should at least abstain from marrying a poor wife. For there was fear at the deanery also in regard to Lucy Morris.

"That notion of marrying money as you call it," Frank said to his second sister Margaret, "is the most disgusting idea in the world."

"It is as easy to love a girl who has something as one who has nothing," said Margaret.

"No,-it is not; because the girls with money are scarce, and those without it are plentiful,-an argument of which I don't suppose you see the force." Then Margaret for the moment was snubbed and retired.

"Indeed, Frank, I think Lady Fawn was right," said the mother.

"And I think she was quite wrong. If there be anything in it, it won't be expelled by Lady Fawn's interference. Do you think I should allow Lady Fawn to tell me not to choose such or such a woman for my wife?"

"It's the habit of seeing her, my dear. Nobody loves Lucy Morris better than I do. We all like her. But, dear Frank, would it do for you to make her your wife?"

Frank Greystock was silent for a moment, and then he answered his mother's question. "I am not quite sure whether it would or would not. But I do think this-that if I were bold enough to marry now, and to trust all to the future, and could get Lucy to be my wife, I should be doing a great thing. I doubt, however, whether I have the courage." All of which made the dean's wife uneasy.

The reader, who has read so far, will perhaps think that Frank Greystock was in love with Lucy as Lucy was in love with him. But such was not exactly the case. To be in love, as an absolute, well-marked, acknowledged fact, is the condition of a woman more frequently and more readily than of a man. Such is not the common theory on the matter, as it is the man's business to speak, and the woman's business to be reticent. And the woman is presumed to have kept her heart free from any load of love, till she may accept the burthen with an assurance that it shall become a joy and a comfort to her. But such presumptions, though they may be very useful for the regulation of conduct, may not be always true. It comes more within the scope of a woman's mind, than that of a man's, to think closely and decide sharply on such a matter. With a man it is often chance that settles the question for him. He resolves to propose to a woman, or proposes without resolving, because she is close to him. Frank Greystock ridiculed the idea of Lady Fawn's interference in so high a matter as his love,-or abstinence from love. Nevertheless, had he been made a welcome guest at Fawn Court, he would undoubtedly have told his love to Lucy Morris. He was not a welcome guest, but had been banished; and, as a consequence of that banishment, he had formed no resolution in regard to Lucy, and did not absolutely know whether she was necessary to him or not. But Lucy Morris knew all about it.

Moreover, it frequently happens with men that they fail to analyse these things, and do not make out for themselves any clear definition of what their feelings are or what they mean. We hear that a man has behaved badly to a girl, when the behaviour of which he has been guilty has resulted simply from want of thought. He has found a certain companionship to be agreeable to him, and he has accepted the pleasure without inquiry. Some vague idea has floated across his brain that the world is wrong in supposing that such friendship cannot exist without marriage, or question of marriage. It is simply friendship. And yet were his friend to tell him that she intended to give herself in marriage elsewhere, he would suffer all the pangs of jealousy, and would imagine himself to be horribly ill-treated! To have such a friend,-a friend whom he cannot or will not make his wife,-is no injury to him. To him it is simply a delight, an excitement in life, a thing to be known to himself only and not talked of to others, a source of pride and inward exultation. It is a joy to think of when he wakes, and a consolation in his little troubles. It dispels the weariness of life, and makes a green spot of holiday within his daily work. It is, indeed, death to her;-but he does not know it. Frank Greystock did think that he could not marry Lucy Morris without making an imprudent plunge into deep water, and yet he felt that Lady Fawn was an ill-natured old woman for hinting to him that he had better not, for the present, continue his visits to Fawn Court. "Of course you understand me, Mr. Greystock," she had said, meaning to be civil. "When Miss Morris has left us,-should she ever leave us,-I should be most happy to see you." "What on earth would take me to Fawn Court, if Lucy were not there!" he said to himself,-not choosing to appreciate Lady Fawn's civility.

Frank Greystock was at this time nearly thirty years old. He was a good-looking, but not strikingly handsome man; thin, of moderate height, with sharp grey eyes, a face clean shorn with the exception of a small whisker, with wiry, strong dark hair, which was already beginning to show a tinge of grey;-the very opposite in appearance to his late friend Sir Florian Eustace. He was quick, ready-witted, self-reliant, and not over scrupulous in the outward things of the world. He was desirous of doing his duty to others, but he was specially desirous that others should do their duty to him. He intended to get on in the world, and believed that happiness was to be achieved by success. He was certainly made for the profession which he had adopted. His father, looking to certain morsels of Church patronage which occasionally came in his way, and to the fact that he and the bishop were on most friendly terms, had wished his son to take orders. But Frank had known himself and his own qualities too well to follow his father's advice. He had chosen to be a barrister, and now, at thirty, he was in Parliament.

He had been asked to stand for Bobsborough in the Conservative interest, and as a Conservative he had been returned. Those who invited him knew probably but little of his own political beliefs or feelings,-did not, probably, know whether he had any. His father was a fine old Tory of the ancient school, who thought that things were going from bad to worse, but was able to live happily in spite of his anticipations. The dean was one of those old-world politicians,-we meet them every day, and they are generally pleasant people,-who enjoy the politics of the side to which they belong without any special belief in them. If pressed hard they will almost own that their so-called convictions are prejudices. But not for worlds would they be rid of them. When two or three of them meet together, they are as freemasons, who are bound by a pleasant bond which separates them from the outer world. They feel among themselves that everything that is being done is bad,-even though that everything is done by their own party. It was bad to interfere with Charles, bad to endure Cromwell, bad to banish James, bad to put up with William. The House of Hanover was bad. All interference with prerogative has been bad. The Reform bill was very bad. Encroachment on the estates of the bishops was bad. Emancipation of Roman Catholics was the worst of all. Abolition of corn-laws, church-rates, and oaths and tests were all bad. The meddling with the Universities has been grievous. The treatment of the Irish Church has been Satanic. The overhauling of schools is most injurious to English education. Education bills and Irish land bills were all bad. Every step taken has been bad. And yet to them old England is of all countries in the world the best to live in, and is not at all the less comfortable because of the changes that have been made. These people are ready to grumble at every boon conferred on them, and yet to enjoy every boon. They know, too, their privileges, and, after a fashion, understand their position. It is picturesque, and it pleases them. To have been always in the right and yet always on the losing side; always being ruined, always under persecution from a wild spirit of republican-demagogism,-and yet never to lose anything, not even position or public esteem, is pleasant enough. A huge, living, daily increasing grievance that does one no palpable harm, is the happiest possession that a man can have. There is a large body of such men in England, and, personally, they are the very salt of the nation. He who said that all Conservatives are stupid did not know them. Stupid Conservatives there may be,-and there certainly are very stupid Radicals. The well-educated, widely-read Conservative, who is well assured that all good things are gradually being brought to an end by the voice of the people, is generally the pleasantest man to be met. But he is a Buddhist, possessing a religious creed which is altogether dark and mysterious to the outer world. Those who watch the ways of the advanced Buddhist hardly know whether the man does believe himself in his hidden god, but men perceive that he is respectable, self-satisfied, and a man of note. It is of course from the society of such that Conservative candidates are to be sought; but, alas, it is hard to indoctrinate young minds with the old belief, since new theories of life have become so rife!

Nevertheless Frank Greystock, when he was invited to stand for Bobsborough in the Conservative interest, had not for a moment allowed any political heterodoxy on his own part to stand in the way of his advancement. It may, perhaps, be the case that a barrister is less likely to be influenced by personal convictions in taking his side in politics than any other man who devotes himself to public affairs. No slur on the profession is intended by this suggestion. A busy, clever, useful man, who has been at work all his life, finds that his own progress towards success demands from him that he shall become a politician. The highest work of a lawyer can only be reached through political struggle. As a large-minded man of the world, peculiarly conversant with the fact that every question has two sides, and that as much may often be said on one side as on the other, he has probably not become violent in his feelings as a political partisan. Thus he sees that there is an opening here or an opening there, and the offence in either case is not great to him. With Frank Greystock the matter was very easy. There certainly was no apostasy. He had now and again attacked his father's ultra-Toryism, and rebuked his mother and sisters when they spoke of Gladstone as Apollyon, and called John Bright the Abomination of Desolation. But it was easy to him to fancy himself a Conservative, and as such he took his seat in the House without any feeling of discomfort.

During the first four months of his first session he had not spoken,-but he had made himself useful. He had sat on one or two Committees, though as a barrister he might have excused himself, and had done his best to learn the forms of the House. But he had already begun to find that the time which he devoted to Parliament was much wanted for his profession. Money was very necessary to him. Then a new idea was presented to him.

John Eustace and Greystock were very intimate,-as also had been Sir Florian and Greystock. "I tell you what I wish you'd do, Greystock," Eustace said to him one day, as they were standing idly together in the lobby of the House. For John Eustace was also in Parliament.

"Anything to oblige you, my friend."

"It's only a trifle," said Eustace. "Just to marry your cousin, my brother's widow."

"By Jove,-I wish I had the chance!"

"I don't see why you shouldn't. She is sure to marry somebody, and at her age so she ought. She's not twenty-three yet. We could trust you,-with the child and all the rest of it. As it is, she is giving us a deal of trouble."

"But, my dear fellow-"

"I know she's fond of you. You were dining there last Sunday.

"And so was Fawn. Lord Fawn is the man to marry Lizzie. You see if he doesn't. He was uncommonly sweet on her the other night, and really interested her about the Sawab."

"She'll never be Lady Fawn," said John Eustace. "And to tell the truth, I shouldn't care to have to deal with Lord Fawn. He would be infinitely troublesome; and I can hardly wash my hands of her affairs. She's worth nearly L5,000 a year as long as she lives, and I really don't think that she's much amiss."

"Much amiss! I don't know whether she's not the prettiest woman I ever saw," said Greystock.

"Yes;-but I mean in conduct, and all that. She is making herself queer; and Camperdown, our lawyer, means to jump upon her; but it's only because she doesn't know what she ought to be at, and what she ought not. You could tell her."

"It wouldn't suit me at all to have to quarrel with Camperdown," said the barrister, laughing.

"You and he would settle everything in five minutes, and it would save me a world of trouble," said Eustace.

"Fawn is your man;-take my word for it," said Greystock, as he walked back into the House.

*****

Dramatists, when they write their plays, have a delightful privilege of prefixing a list of their personages;-and the dramatists of old used to tell us who was in love with whom, and what were the blood relationships of all the persons. In such a narrative as this, any proceeding of that kind would be unusual,-and therefore the poor narrator has been driven to expend his first four chapters in the mere task of introducing his characters. He regrets the length of these introductions, and will now begin at once the action of his story.


Chapter 5 The Eustace Necklace

John Eustace, Lady Eustace's brother-in-law, had told his friend Greystock, the lady's cousin, that Mr. Camperdown the lawyer intended to "jump upon" that lady. Making such allowance and deduction from the force of these words as the slang expression requires, we may say that John Eustace was right. Mr. Camperdown was in earnest, and did intend to obtain the restoration of those jewels. Mr. Camperdown was a gentleman of about sixty, who had been lawyer to Sir Florian's father, and whose father had been lawyer to Sir Florian's grandfather. His connexion with the property and with the family was of a nature to allow him to take almost any liberty with the Eustaces. When therefore John Eustace, in regard to those diamonds, had pleaded that the heir in his long minority would obtain ample means of buying more diamonds, and of suggesting that the plunder for the sake of tranquillity should be allowed, Mr. Camperdown took upon himself to say that he'd "be —— if he'd put up with it!" "I really don't know what you are to do," said John Eustace.

"I'll file a bill in Chancery if it's necessary," said the old lawyer. "Heaven on earth! as trustee how are you to reconcile yourself to such a robbery? They represent L500 a year for ever, and she is to have them simply because she chooses to take them!"

"I suppose Florian could have given them away. At any rate he could have sold them."

"I don't know that," said Mr. Camperdown. "I have not looked as yet, but I think that this necklace has been made an heirloom. At any rate it represents an amount of property that shouldn't and couldn't be made over legally without some visible evidence of transfer. It's as clear a case of stealing as I ever knew in my life, and as bad a case. She hadn't a farthing, and she has got the whole of the Ayrshire property for her life. She goes about and tells everybody that it's hers to sell to-morrow if she pleases to sell it! No, John;-" Mr. Camperdown had known Eustace when he was a boy, and had watched him become a man, and hadn't yet learned to drop the name by which he had called the boy,-"we mustn't allow it. What do you think of her applying to me for an income to support her child,-a baby not yet two years old?" Mr. Camperdown had been very adverse to all the circumstances of Sir Florian's marriage, and had subjected himself to Sir Florian's displeasure for expressing his opinion. He had tried to explain that as the lady brought no money into the family she was not entitled to such a jointure as Sir Florian was determined to lavish upon her. But Sir Florian had been obstinate,-both in regard to the settlement and the will. It was not till after Sir Florian's death that this terrible matter of the jewels had even suggested itself to Mr. Camperdown. The jewellers in whose custody the things had been since the death of the late Lady Eustace had mentioned the affair to him immediately on the young widow's return from Naples. Sir Florian had withdrawn, not all the jewels, but by far the most valuable of them, from the jewellers' care on his return to London from their marriage tour to Scotland, and this was the result. The jewellers were at that time without any doubt as to the date at which the necklace was taken from them.

Mr. Camperdown's first attempt was made by a most courteous and even complimentary note, in which he suggested to Lady Eustace that it would be for the advantage of all parties that the family jewels should be kept together. Lizzie as she read this note smiled, and said to herself that she did not exactly see how her own interests would be best served by such an arrangement. She made no answer to Mr. Camperdown's note. Some months after this, when the heir was born, and as Lady Eustace was passing through London on her journey from Bobsborough to Portray, a meeting had been arranged between her and Mr. Camperdown. She had endeavoured by all the wiles she knew to avoid this meeting, but it had been forced upon her. She had been almost given to understand that unless she submitted to it, she would not be able to draw her income from the Portray property. Messrs. Mowbray and Mopus had advised her to submit. "My husband gave me a necklace, and they want me to give it back," she had said to Mr. Mopus. "Do nothing of the kind," Mr. Mopus had replied. "If you find it necessary, refer Mr. Camperdown to us. We will answer him." The interview had taken place, during which Mr. Camperdown took the trouble to explain very plainly and more than once that the income from the Portray property belonged to Lady Eustace for her life only. It would after her death be rejoined, of necessity, to the rest of the Eustace property. This was repeated to Lady Eustace in the presence of John Eustace; but she made no remark on being so informed. "You understand the nature of the settlement, Lady Eustace?" Mr. Camperdown had said. "I believe I understand everything," she replied. Then, just at the close of the interview, he asked a question about the jewels. Lady Eustace at first made no reply. "They might as well be sent back to Messrs. Garnett's," said Mr. Camperdown. "I don't know that I have any to send back," she answered; and then she escaped before Mr. Camperdown was able to arrange any further attack. "I can manage with her better by letter than I can personally," he said to John Eustace.

Lawyers such as Mr. Camperdown are slow, and it was three or four months after that when he wrote a letter in his own name to Lady Eustace, explaining to her, still courteously, that it was his business to see that the property of the Eustace family was placed in fit hands, and that a certain valuable necklace of diamonds, which was an heirloom of the family, and which was undeniably the property of the heir, was believed to be in her custody. As such property was peculiarly subject to risks, would she have the kindness to make arrangements for handing over the necklace to the custody of the Messrs. Garnett? To this letter Lizzie made no answer whatever, nor did she to a second note, calling attention to the first. When John Eustace told Greystock that Camperdown intended to "jump on" Lady Eustace, the following further letter had been written by the firm;-but up to that time Lizzie had not replied to it:

62, New Square, Lincoln's Inn,

May 5, 186—.

Madam,

It is our duty as attorneys acting on behalf of the estate of your late husband Sir Florian Eustace, and in the interest of your son, his heir, to ask for restitution of a certain valuable diamond necklace which is believed to be now in the possession of your ladyship. Our senior partner, Mr. Camperdown, has written to your ladyship more than once on the subject, but has not been honoured with any reply. Doubtless had there been any mistake as to the necklace being in your hands we should have been so informed. The diamonds were withdrawn from Messrs. Garnett's, the jewellers, by Sir Florian soon after his marriage, and were, no doubt, entrusted to your keeping. They are appanages of the family which should not be in your hands as the widow of the late baronet, and they constitute an amount of property which certainly cannot be alienated from the family without inquiry or right, as might any trifling article either of use or ornament. The jewels are valued at over L10,000.

We are reluctantly compelled, by the fact of your having left unanswered three letters from Mr. Camperdown, Senior, on the subject, to explain to you that if attention be not paid to this letter, we shall be obliged, in the performance of our duty, to take legal steps for the restitution of the property.

We have the honour to be,

Madam,

Your ladyship's most obedient servants,

Camperdown & Son.

To Lady Eustace.

&c. &c.

A few days after it was sent old Mr. Camperdown got the letter-book of the office and read the letter to John Eustace.

"I don't see how you're to get them," said Eustace.

"We'll throw upon her the burthen of showing that they have become legally her property. She can't do it."

"Suppose she sold them?"

"We'll follow them up. L10,000, my dear John! God bless my soul! it's a magnificent dowry for a daughter,-an ample provision for a younger son. And she is to be allowed to filch it, as other widows filch china cups, and a silver teaspoon or two! It's quite a common thing, but I never heard of such a haul as this."

"It will be very unpleasant," said Eustace.

"And then she still goes about everywhere declaring that the Portray property is her own. She's a bad lot. I knew it from the first. Of course we shall have trouble." Then Mr. Eustace explained to the lawyer that their best way out of it all would be to get the widow married to some respectable husband. She was sure to marry sooner or later,-so John Eustace said,-and any "decently decent" fellow would he easier to deal with than she herself. "He must be very indecently indecent if he is not," said Mr. Camperdown. But Mr. Eustace did not name Frank Greystock the barrister as the probable future decent husband.

When Lizzie first got the letter, which she did on the day after the visit at Fawn Court of which mention has been made, she put it by unread for a couple of days. She opened it, not knowing the clerk's handwriting, but read only the first line and the signature. For two days she went on with the ordinary affairs and amusements of her life, as though no such letter had reached her; but she was thinking of it all the time. The diamonds were in her possession, and she had had them valued by her old friend Mr. Benjamin-of the firm of Harter and Benjamin. Mr. Benjamin had suggested that stones of such a value should not be left to the risk of an ordinary London house; but Lizzie had felt that if Mr. Benjamin got them into his hands, Mr. Benjamin might perhaps not return them. Messrs. Camperdown and Garnett between them might form a league with Mr. Benjamin. Where would she be, should Mr. Benjamin tell her that under some legal sanction he had given the jewels up to Mr. Camperdown? She hinted to Mr. Benjamin that she would perhaps sell them if she got a good offer. Mr. Benjamin, who was very familiar with her, hinted that there might be a little family difficulty. "Oh, none in the least," said Lizzie;-"but I don't think I shall part with them." Then she gave Mr. Benjamin an order for a strong box, which was supplied to her. The strong box, which was so heavy that she could barely lift it herself, was now in her London bedroom.

On the morning of the third day she read the letter. Miss Macnulty was staying with her, but she had not said a word to Miss Macnulty about the letter. She read it up in her own bedroom, and then sat down to think about it. Sir Florian, as he had handed to her the stones for the purpose of a special dinner party which had been given to them when passing through London, had told her that they were family jewels. "That setting was done for my mother," he said, "but it is already old. When we are at home again they shall be reset." Then he had added some little husband's joke as to a future daughter-in-law who should wear them. Nevertheless she was not sure whether the fact of their being so handed to her did not make them her own. She had spoken a second time to Mr. Mopus, and Mr. Mopus had asked her whether there existed any family deed as to the diamonds. She had heard of no such deed, nor did Mr. Camperdown mention such a deed. After reading the letter once she read it a dozen times; and then, like a woman, made up her mind that her safest course would be not to answer it.

But yet she felt sure that something unpleasant would come of it. Mr. Camperdown was not a man to take up such a question and to let it drop. Legal steps! What did legal steps mean, and what could they do to her? Would Mr. Camperdown be able to put her in prison,-or to take away from her the estate of Portray? She could swear that her husband had given them to her, and could invent any form of words she pleased as accompanying the gift. No one else had been near them then. But she was, and felt herself to be absolutely, alarmingly ignorant, not only of the laws, but of custom in such matters. Messrs. Mowbray and Mopus and Mr. Benjamin were the allies to whom she looked for guidance; but she was wise enough to know that Mowbray and Mopus, and Harter and Benjamin were not trustworthy, whereas Camperdown and Son and the Messrs. Garnett were all as firm as rocks and as respectable as the Bank of England. Circumstances,-unfortunate circumstances,-drove her to Harter and Benjamin and to Mowbray and Mopus, while she would have taken so much delight in feeling the strong honesty of the other people to be on her side! She would have talked to her friends about Mr. Camperdown and the people at Garnett's with so much satisfaction! But ease, security, and even respectability may be bought too dearly. Ten thousand pounds! Was she prepared to surrender such a sum as that? She had, indeed, already realised the fact that it might be very difficult to touch the money. When she had suggested to Mr. Benjamin that he should buy the jewels, that worthy tradesman had by no means jumped at the offer. Of what use to her would be a necklace always locked up in an iron box, which box, for aught she knew, myrmidons from Mr. Camperdown might carry off during her absence from the house? Would it not be better to come to terms and surrender? But then what should the terms be?

If only there had been a friend whom she could consult; a friend whom she could consult on a really friendly footing!-not a simply respectable, off-handed, high-minded friend, who would advise her as a matter of course to make restitution. Her uncle the dean, or her cousin Frank, or old Lady Fawn, would be sure to give her such advice as that. There are people who are so very high-minded when they have to deal with the interests of their friends! What if she were to ask Lord Fawn?

Thoughts of a second marriage had, of course, crossed Lady Eustace's mind, and they were by no means the worst thoughts that found a place there. She had a grand idea,-this selfish, hard-fisted little woman, who could not bring herself to abandon the plunder on which she had laid her hand,-a grand idea of surrendering herself and all her possessions to a great passion. For Florian Eustace she had never cared. She had sat down by his side, and looked into his handsome face, and read poetry to him,-because of his wealth, and because it had been indispensable to her to settle herself well. And he had been all very well,-a generous, open-hearted, chivalrous, irascible, but rather heavy-minded gentleman; but she had never been in love with him. Now she desired to be so in love that she could surrender everything to her love. There was as yet nothing of such love in her bosom. She had seen no one who had so touched her. But she was alive to the romance of the thing, and was in love with the idea of being in love. "Ah," she would say to herself in her moments of solitude, "if I had a Corsair of my own, how I would sit on watch for my lover's boat by the sea-shore!" And she believed it of herself, that she could do so.

But it would also be very nice to be a peeress,-so that she might, without any doubt, be one of the great ladies of London. As a baronet's widow with a large income, she was already almost a great lady; but she was quite alive to a suspicion that she was not altogether strong in her position. The bishop's people and the dean's people did not quite trust her. The Camperdowns and Garnetts utterly distrusted her. The Mopuses and Benjamins were more familiar than they would be with a really great lady. She was sharp enough to understand all this. Should it be Lord Fawn or should it be a Corsair? The worst of Lord Fawn was the undoubted fact that he was not himself a great man. He could, no doubt, make his wife a peeress; but he was poor, encumbered with a host of sisters, dull as a blue-book, and possessed of little beyond his peerage to recommend him. If she could only find a peer, unmarried, with a dash of the Corsair about him! In the meantime, what was she to do about the jewels?

There was staying with her at this time a certain Miss Macnulty, who was related, after some distant fashion, to old Lady Linlithgow, and who was as utterly destitute of possessions or means of existence as any unfortunate, well-born, and moderately-educated, middle-aged woman in London. To live upon her friends, such as they might be, was the only mode of life within her reach. It was not that she had chosen such dependence; nor, indeed, had she endeavoured to reject it. It had come to her as a matter of course,-either that or the poor-house. As to earning her bread, except by that attendance which a poor friend gives,-the idea of any possibility that way had never entered her head. She could do nothing,-except dress like a lady with the smallest possible cost, and endeavour to be obliging. Now, at this moment, her condition was terribly precarious. She had quarrelled with Lady Linlithgow, and had been taken in by her old friend Lizzie,-her old enemy might, perhaps, be a truer expression,-because of that quarrel. But a permanent home had not even been promised to her; and poor Miss Macnulty was aware that even a permanent home with Lady Eustace would not be an unmixed blessing. In her way, Miss Macnulty was an honest woman.

They were sitting together one May afternoon in the little back drawing-room in Mount Street. They had dined early, were now drinking tea, and intended to go to the opera. It was six o'clock, and was still broad day, but the thick coloured blind was kept across the single window, and the folding doors of the room were nearly closed, and there was a feeling of evening in the room. The necklace during the whole day had been so heavy on Lizzie's heart, that she had been unable to apply her thoughts to the building of that castle in the air in which the Corsair was to reign supreme, but not alone. "My dear," she said,-she generally called Miss Macnulty my dear,-"you know that box I had made by the jewellers."

"You mean the safe."

"Well,-yes; only it isn't a safe. A safe is a great big thing. I had it made especially for the diamonds Sir Florian gave me."

"I supposed it was so."

"I wonder whether there's any danger about it?"

"If I were you, Lady Eustace, I wouldn't keep them in the house. I should have them kept where Sir Florian kept them. Suppose anybody should come and murder you!"

"I'm not a bit afraid of that," said Lizzie.

"I should be. And what will you do with it when you go to Scotland?"

"I took them with me before;-in my own care. I know that wasn't safe. I wish I knew what to do with them!"

"There are people who keep such things," said Miss Macnulty.

Then Lizzie paused a moment. She was dying for counsel and for confidence. "I cannot trust them anywhere," she said. "It is just possible there may be a lawsuit about them."

"How a lawsuit?"

"I cannot explain it all, but I am very unhappy about it. They want me to give them up;-but my husband gave them to me, and for his sake I will not do so. When he threw them round my neck he told me that they were my own;-so he did. How can a woman give up such a present,-from a husband,-who is dead? As to the value, I care nothing. But I won't do it." By this time Lady Eustace was in tears, and had so far succeeded as to have produced some amount of belief in Miss Macnulty's mind.

"If they are your own, they can't take them from you," said Miss Macnulty.

"They sha'n't. They shall find that I've got some spirit left." Then she reflected that a real Corsair lover would protect her jewels for her;-would guard them against a score of Camperdowns. But she doubted whether Lord Fawn would do much in that way. Then the door was opened, and Lord Fawn was announced. It was not at all unusual with Lord Fawn to call on the widow at this hour. Mount Street is not exactly in the way from the India Office to the House of Lords; but a Hansom cab can make it almost in the way. Of neglect of official duty Lord Fawn was never guilty; but a half hour for private business or for relaxation between one stage of duty and another,-can any Minister grudge so much to an indefatigable follower? Lady Eustace had been in tears as he was announced, but the light of the room was so low that the traces of them could hardly be seen. She was in her Corsair state of mind, divided between her jewels and her poetry, and caring not very much for the increased rank which Lord Fawn could give her. "The Sawab's case is coming on in the House of Commons this very night," he said, in answer to a question from Miss Macnulty. Then he turned to Lady Eustace. "Your cousin, Mr. Greystock, is going to ask a question in the House."

"Shall you be there to answer him?" asked Miss Macnulty innocently.

"Oh dear, no. But I shall be present. A peer can go, you know." Then Lord Fawn, at considerable length, explained to the two ladies the nature and condition of the British Parliament. Miss Macnulty experienced an innocent pleasure in having such things told to her by a lord. Lady Eustace knew that this was the way in which Lord Fawn made love, and thought that from him it was as good as any other way. If she were to marry a second time simply with the view of being a peeress, of having a respected husband, and making good her footing in the world, she would as lief listen to parliamentary details and the prospects of the Sawab as to any other matters. She knew very well that no Corsair propensities would be forthcoming from Lord Fawn. Lord Fawn had just worked himself round to the Sawab again, when Frank Greystock entered the room. "Now we have both the Houses represented," said Lady Eustace, as she welcomed her cousin.

"You intend to ask your question about the Sawab to-night?" asked Lord Fawn, with intense interest, feeling that, had it been his lot to perform that task before he went to his couch, he would at this moment have been preparing his little speech.

But Frank Greystock had not come to his cousin's house to talk of the Prince of the Mygawb territory. When his friend Eustace had suggested to him that he should marry the widow, he had ridiculed the idea;-but nevertheless he had thought of it a good deal. He was struggling hard, working diligently, making for himself a character in Parliament, succeeding,-so said all his friends,-as a barrister. He was a rising young man, one of those whose names began to be much in the mouths of other men;-but still he was poor. It seemed to himself that among other good gifts that of economy had not been bestowed upon him. He owed a little money, and though he owed it, he went on spending his earnings. He wanted just such a lift in the world as a wife with an income would give him. As for looking about for a girl whom he could honestly love, and who should have a fortune of her own as well as beauty, birth, and all the other things,-that was out of his reach. If he talked to himself of love, if he were ever to acknowledge to himself that love was to have sway over him, then must Lucy Morris be the mistress of his heart. He had come to know enough about himself to be aware of that;-but he knew also that he had said nothing binding him to walk in that path. It was quite open to him to indulge a discreet ambition without dishonour. Therefore he also had come to call upon the beautiful widow. The courtship with her he knew need not be long. He could ask her to marry him to-morrow,-as for that matter to-day,-without a feeling of hesitation. She might accept him or might reject him; but, as he said to himself, in neither case would any harm be done.

An idea of the same kind flitted across Lizzie's mind as she sat and talked to the two gentlemen. She knew that her cousin Frank was poor, but she thought that she could fall in love with him. He was not exactly a Corsair;-but he was a man who had certain Corsair propensities. He was bold and dashing, unscrupulous and clever, a man to make a name for himself, and one to whom a woman could endure to be obedient. There could be no question as to choice between him and Lord Fawn, if she were to allow herself to choose by liking. And she thought that Frank Greystock would keep the necklace, if he himself were made to have an interest in the necklace; whereas Lord Fawn would undoubtedly surrender it at once to Mr. Camperdown.

Lord Fawn had some slight idea of waiting to see the cousin go; but as Greystock had a similar idea, and as he was the stronger of the two, of course Lord Fawn went. He perhaps remembered that the Hansom cab was at the door,-costing sixpence every fifteen minutes,-and that he wished to show himself in the House of Lords before the peers rose. Miss Macnulty also left the room, and Frank was alone with the widow. "Lizzie," said he, "you must be very solitary here."

"I am solitary."

"And hardly happy."

"Anything but happy, Frank. I have things that make me very unhappy;-one thing that I will tell you if you will let me." Frank had almost made up his mind to ask her on the spot to give him permission to console all her sorrows, when there came a clattering double-knock at the door. "They know I shall be at home to nobody else now," said Lady Eustace. But Frank Greystock had hardly regained his self-possession when Miss Macnulty hurried into the room, and, with a look almost of horror, declared that Lady Linlithgow was in the parlour.


Chapter 6 Lady Linlithgow's Mission

"Lady Linlithgow!"-said Frank Greystock, holding up both his hands.

"Yes, indeed!" said Miss Macnulty. "I did not speak to her, but I saw her. She has sent her-love to Lady Eustace, and begs that she will see her."

Lady Eustace had been so surprised by the announcement that hitherto she had not spoken a word. The quarrel between her and her aunt had been of such a nature that it had seemed to be impossible that the old countess should come to Mount Street. Lizzie had certainly behaved very badly to her aunt;-about as badly as a young woman could behave to an old woman. She had accepted bread, and shelter, and the very clothes on her back from her aunt's bounty, and had rejected even the hand of her benefactress the first moment that she had bread, and shelter, and clothes of her own. And here was Lady Linlithgow down-stairs in the parlour, and sending up her love to her niece! "I won't see her!" said Lizzie.

"You had better see her," said Frank.

"I can't see her!" said Lizzie. "Good gracious, my dear-what has she come for?"

"She says it's very important," said Miss Macnulty.

"Of course you must see her," said Frank. "Let me get out of the house, and then tell the servant to show her up at once. Don't be weak now, Lizzie, and I'll come and find out all about it to-morrow."

"Mind you do," said Lizzie. Then Frank took his departure, and Lizzie did as she was bidden. "You remain in here, Julia," she said,-"so as to be near if I want you. She shall come into the front room." Then, absolutely shaking with fear of the approaching evil, she took her seat in the largest drawing-room. There was still a little delay. Time was given to Frank Greystock to get away, and to do so without meeting Lady Linlithgow in the passage. The message was conveyed by Miss Macnulty to the servant, and the same servant opened the front door for Frank before he delivered it. Lady Linlithgow, too, though very strong, was old. She was slow, or perhaps it might more properly be said she was stately in her movements. She was one of those old women who are undoubtedly old women,-who in the remembrance of younger people seem always to have been old women,-but on whom old age appears to have no debilitating effects. If the hand of Lady Linlithgow ever trembled, it trembled from anger;-if her foot ever faltered, it faltered for effect. In her way Lady Linlithgow was a very powerful human being. She knew nothing of fear, nothing of charity, nothing of mercy, and nothing of the softness of love. She had no imagination. She was worldly, covetous, and not unfrequently cruel. But she meant to be true and honest, though she often failed in her meaning;-and she had an idea of her duty in life. She was not self-indulgent. She was as hard as an oak post,-but then she was also as trustworthy. No human being liked her;-but she had the good word of a great many human beings. At great cost to her own comfort she had endeavoured to do her duty to her niece, Lizzie Greystock, when Lizzie was homeless. Undoubtedly Lizzie's bed, while it had been spread under her aunt's roof, had not been one of roses; but such as it had been, she had endured to occupy it while it served her needs. She had constrained herself to bear her aunt;-but from the moment of her escape she had chosen to reject her aunt altogether. Now her aunt's heavy step was heard upon the stairs! Lizzie also was a brave woman after a certain fashion. She could dare to incur a great danger for an adequate object. But she was too young as yet to have become mistress of that persistent courage which was Lady Linlithgow's peculiar possession.

When the countess entered the drawing-room Lizzie rose upon her legs, but did not come forward from her chair. The old woman was not tall;-but her face was long, and at the same time large, square at the chin and square at the forehead, and gave her almost an appearance of height. Her nose was very prominent, not beaked, but straight and strong, and broad at the bridge, and of a dark-red colour. Her eyes were sharp and grey. Her mouth was large, and over it there was almost beard enough for a young man's moustache. Her chin was firm, and large, and solid. Her hair was still brown, and was only just grizzled in parts. Nothing becomes an old woman like grey hair, but Lady Linlithgow's hair would never be grey. Her appearance on the whole was not pre-possessing, but it gave one an idea of honest, real strength. What one saw was not buckram, whalebone, paint, and false hair. It was all human,-hardly feminine, certainly not angelic, with perhaps a hint in the other direction,-but a human body, and not a thing of pads and patches. Lizzie, as she saw her aunt, made up her mind for the combat. Who is there that has lived to be a man or woman, and has not experienced a moment in which a combat has impended, and a call for such sudden courage has been necessary? Alas!-sometimes the combat comes, and the courage is not there. Lady Eustace was not at her ease as she saw her aunt enter the room. "Oh, come ye in peace, or come ye in war?" she would have said had she dared. Her aunt had sent up her love,-if the message had been delivered aright; but what of love could there be between the two? The countess dashed at once to the matter in hand, making no allusion to Lizzie's ungrateful conduct to herself. "Lizzie," she said, "I've been asked to come to you by Mr. Camperdown. I'll sit down, if you please."

"Oh, certainly, Aunt Penelope. Mr. Camperdown!"

"Yes;-Mr. Camperdown. You know who he is. He has been with me because I am your nearest relation. So I am, and therefore I have come. I don't like it, I can tell you."

"As for that, Aunt Penelope, you've done it to please yourself," said Lizzie, in a tone of insolence with which Lady Linlithgow had been familiar in former days.

"No, I haven't, miss. I haven't come for my own pleasure at all. I have come for the credit of the family, if any good can be done towards saving it. You've got your husband's diamonds locked up somewhere, and you must give them back."

"My husband's diamonds were my diamonds," said Lizzie stoutly.

"They are family diamonds, Eustace diamonds, heirlooms,-old property belonging to the Eustaces, just like their estates. Sir Florian didn't give 'em away, and couldn't, and wouldn't if he could. Such things ain't given away in that fashion. It's all nonsense, and you must give them up."

"Who says so?"

"I say so."

"That's nothing, Aunt Penelope."

"Nothing, is it? You'll see. Mr. Camperdown says so. All the world will say so. If you don't take care, you'll find yourself brought into a court of law, my dear, and a jury will say so. That's what it will come to. What good will they do you? You can't sell them;-and as a widow you can't wear 'em. If you marry again, you wouldn't disgrace your husband by going about showing off the Eustace diamonds! But you don't know anything about 'proper feelings.'"

"I know every bit as much as you do, Aunt Penelope, and I don't want you to teach me."

"Will you give up the jewels to Mr. Camperdown?"

"No-I won't."

"Or to the jewellers?"

"No; I won't. I mean to-keep them-for-my child." Then there came forth a sob, and a tear, and Lizzie's handkerchief was held to her eyes.

"Your child! Wouldn't they be kept properly for him, and for the family, if the jewellers had them? I don't believe you care about your child."

"Aunt Penelope, you had better take care."

"I shall say just what I think, Lizzie. You can't frighten me. The fact is, you are disgracing the family you have married into, and as you are my niece-"

"I'm not disgracing anybody. You are disgracing everybody."

"As you are my niece, I have undertaken to come to you and to tell you that if you don't give 'em up within a week from this time, they'll proceed against you for-stealing 'em!" Lady Linlithgow, as she uttered this terrible threat, bobbed her head at her niece in a manner calculated to add very much to the force of her words. The words, and tone, and gesture combined were, in truth, awful.

"I didn't steal them. My husband gave them to me with his own hands."

"You wouldn't answer Mr. Camperdown's letters, you know. That alone will condemn you. After that there isn't a word to be said about it;-not a word. Mr. Camperdown is the family lawyer, and when he writes to you letter after letter you take no more notice of him than a-dog!" The old woman was certainly very powerful. The way in which she pronounced that last word did make Lady Eustace ashamed of herself. "Why didn't you answer his letters, unless you knew you were in the wrong? Of course you knew you were in the wrong."

"No; I didn't. A woman isn't obliged to answer everything that is written to her."

"Very well! You just say that before the judge! for you'll have to go before a judge. I tell you, Lizzie Greystock, or Eustace, or whatever your name is, it's downright picking and stealing. I suppose you want to sell them."

"I won't stand this, Aunt Penelope!" said Lizzie, rising from her seat.

"You must stand it;-and you'll have to stand worse than that. You don't suppose Mr. Camperdown got me to come here for nothing. If you don't want to be made out to be a thief before all the world-"

"I won't stand it!" shrieked Lizzie. "You have no business to come here and say such things to me. It's my house."

"I shall say just what I please."

"Miss Macnulty, come in." And Lizzie threw open the door, hardly knowing how the very weak ally whom she now invoked could help her, but driven by the stress of the combat to seek assistance somewhere. Miss Macnulty, who was seated near the door, and who had necessarily heard every word of the conversation, had no alternative but to appear. Of all human beings Lady Linlithgow was to her the most terrible, and yet, after a fashion, she loved the old woman. Miss Macnulty was humble, cowardly, and subservient; but she was not a fool, and she understood the difference between truth and falsehood. She had endured fearful things from Lady Linlithgow; but she knew that there might be more of sound protection in Lady Linlithgow's real wrath than in Lizzie's pretended affection.

"So you are there, are you?" said the countess.

"Yes;-I am here, Lady Linlithgow."

"Listening, I suppose. Well;-so much the better. You know well enough, and you can tell her. You ain't a fool, though I suppose you'll be afraid to open your mouth."

"Julia," said Lady Eustace, "will you have the kindness to see that my aunt is shown to her carriage. I cannot stand her violence, and I will go up-stairs." So saying she made her way very gracefully into the back drawing-room, whence she could escape to her bed-room.

But her aunt fired a last shot at her. "Unless you do as you're bid, Lizzie, you'll find yourself in prison as sure as eggs!" Then, when her niece was beyond hearing, she turned to Miss Macnulty. "I suppose you've heard about these diamonds, Macnulty?"

"I know she's got them, Lady Linlithgow."

"She has no more right to them than you have. I suppose you're afraid to tell her so, lest she should turn you out;-but it's well she should know it. I've done my duty. Never mind about the servant. I'll find my way out of the house." Nevertheless the bell was rung, and the countess was shown to her carriage with proper consideration.

The two ladies went to the opera, and it was not till after their return, and just as they were going to bed, that anything further was said about either the necklace or the visit. Miss Macnulty would not begin the subject, and Lizzie purposely postponed it. But not for a moment had it been off Lady Eustace's mind. She did not care much for music, though she professed to do so,-and thought that she did. But on this night, had she at other times been a slave to St. Cecilia, she would have been free from that thraldom. The old woman's threats had gone into her very heart's blood. Theft, and prison, and juries, and judges had been thrown at her head so violently that she was almost stunned. Could it really be the case that they would prosecute her for stealing? She was Lady Eustace, and who but Lady Eustace should have these diamonds or be allowed to wear them? Nobody could say that Sir Florian had not given them to her. It could not, surely, be brought against her as an actual crime that she had not answered Mr. Camperdown's letters? And yet she was not sure. Her ideas about law and judicial proceedings were very vague. Of what was wrong and what was right she had a distinct notion. She knew well enough that she was endeavouring to steal the Eustace diamonds; but she did not in the least know what power there might be in the law to prevent, or to punish her for the intended theft. She knew well that the thing was not really her own; but there were, as she thought, so many points in her favour, that she felt it to be a cruelty that any one should grudge her the plunder. Was not she the only Lady Eustace living? As to these threats from Mr. Camperdown and Lady Linlithgow, she felt certain they would be used against her whether they were true or false. She would break her heart should she abandon her prey and afterwards find that Mr. Camperdown would have been wholly powerless against her had she held on to it. But then who would tell her the truth? She was sharp enough to understand, or at any rate suspicious enough to believe, that Mr. Mopus would be actuated by no other desire in the matter than that of running up a bill against her. "My dear," she said to Miss Macnulty, as they went up-stairs after the opera, "come into my room a moment. You heard all that my aunt said?"

"I could not help hearing. You told me to stay there, and the door was ajar."

"I wanted you to hear. Of course what she said was the greatest nonsense in the world."

"I don't know."

"When she talked about my being taken to prison for not answering a lawyer's letter, that must be nonsense?"

"I suppose that was."

"And then she is such a ferocious old termagant,-such an old vulturess. Now isn't she a ferocious old termagant?" Lizzie paused for an answer, desirous that her companion should join her in her enmity against her aunt, but Miss Macnulty was unwilling to say anything against one who had been her protectress, and might, perhaps, be her protectress again. "You don't mean to say you don't hate her?" said Lizzie. "If you didn't hate her after all she has done to you, I should despise you. Don't you hate her?"

"I think she's a very upsetting old woman," said Miss Macnulty.

"Oh, you poor creature! Is that all you dare to say about her?"

"I'm obliged to be a poor creature," said Miss Macnulty, with a red spot on each of her cheeks.

Lady Eustace understood this, and relented. "But you needn't be afraid," she said, "to tell me what you think."

"About the diamonds, you mean?"

"Yes; about the diamonds."

"You have enough without them. I'd give 'em up for peace and quiet." That was Miss Macnulty's advice.

"No;-I haven't enough;-or nearly enough. I've had to buy ever so many things since my husband died. They've done all they could to be hard to me. They made me pay for the very furniture at Portray." This wasn't true; but it was true that Lizzie had endeavoured to palm off on the Eustace estate bills for new things which she had ordered for her own country-house. "I haven't near enough. I am in debt already. People talked as though I were the richest woman in the world; but when it comes to be spent, I ain't rich. Why should I give them up if they're my own?"

"Not if they're your own."

"If I give you a present and then die, people can't come and take it away afterwards because I didn't put it into my will. There'd be no making presents like that at all." This Lizzie said with an evident conviction in the strength of her argument.

"But this necklace is so very valuable."

"That can't make a difference. If a thing is a man's own he can give it away;-not a house, or a farm, or a wood, or anything like that; but a thing that he can carry about with him,-of course he can give it away."

"But perhaps Sir Florian didn't mean to give it for always," suggested Miss Macnulty.

"But perhaps he did. He told me that they were mine, and I shall keep them. So that's the end of it. You can go to bed now." And Miss Macnulty went to bed.

Lizzie, as she sat thinking of it, owned to herself that no help was to be expected in that quarter. She was not angry with Miss Macnulty, who was, almost of necessity, a poor creature. But she was convinced more strongly than ever that some friend was necessary to her who should not be a poor creature. Lord Fawn, though a peer, was a poor creature. Frank Greystock she believed to be as strong as a house.


Chapter 7 Mr. Burke's Speeches

Lucy Morris had been told by Lady Fawn that,-in point of fact that, being a governess, she ought to give over falling in love with Frank Greystock, and she had not liked it. Lady Fawn no doubt had used words less abrupt,-had probably used but few words, and had expressed her meaning chiefly by little winks, and shakings of her head, and small gestures of her hands, and had ended by a kiss,-in all of which she had intended to mingle mercy with justice, and had, in truth, been full of love. Nevertheless, Lucy had not liked it. No girl likes to be warned against falling in love, whether the warning be needed or not needed. In this case Lucy knew very well that the caution was too late. It might be all very well for Lady Fawn to decide that her governess should not receive visits from a lover in her house;-and then the governess might decide whether, in those circumstances, she would remain or go away; but Lady Fawn could have no right to tell her governess not to be in love. All this Lucy said to herself over and over again, and yet she knew that Lady Fawn had treated her well. The old woman had kissed her, and purred over her, and praised her, and had really loved her. As a matter of course, Lucy was not entitled to have a lover. Lucy knew that well enough. As she walked alone among the shrubs she made arguments in defence of Lady Fawn as against herself. And yet at every other minute she would blaze up into a grand wrath, and picture to herself a scene in which she would tell Lady Fawn boldly that as her lover had been banished from Fawn Court, she, Lucy, would remain there no longer. There were but two objections to this course. The first was that Frank Greystock was not her lover; and the second, that on leaving Fawn Court she would not know whither to betake herself. It was understood by everybody that she was never to leave Fawn Court till an unexceptionable home should be found for her, either with the Hittaways or elsewhere. Lady Fawn would no more allow her to go away, depending for her future on the mere chance of some promiscuous engagement, than she would have turned one of her own daughters out of the house in the same forlorn condition. Lady Fawn was a tower of strength to Lucy. But then a tower of strength may at any moment become a dungeon.

Frank Greystock was not her lover. Ah,-there was the worst of it all! She had given her heart and had got nothing in return. She conned it all over in her own mind, striving to ascertain whether there was any real cause for shame to her in her own conduct. Had she been unmaidenly? Had she been too forward with her heart? Had it been extracted from her, as women's hearts are extracted, by efforts on the man's part; or had she simply chucked it away from her to the first comer? Then she remembered certain scenes at the deanery, words that had been spoken, looks that had been turned upon her, a pressure of the hand late at night, a little whisper, a ribbon that had been begged, a flower that had been given;-and once, once-; then there came a burning blush upon her cheek that there should have been so much, and yet so little that was of avail. She had no right to say to any one that the man was her lover. She had no right to assure herself that he was her lover. But she knew that some wrong was done her in that he was not her lover.

Of the importance of her own self as a living thing with a heart to suffer and a soul to endure, she thought enough. She believed in herself, thinking of herself, that should it ever be her lot to be a man's wife, she would be to him a true, loving friend and companion, living in his joys, and fighting, if it were necessary, down to the stumps of her nails in his interests. But of what she had to give over and above her heart and intellect she never thought at all. Of personal beauty she had very little appreciation even in others. The form and face of Lady Eustace, which indeed were very lovely, were distasteful to her; whereas she delighted to look upon the broad, plain, colourless countenance of Lydia Fawn, who was endeared to her by frank good humour and an unselfish disposition. In regard to men she had never asked herself the question whether this man was handsome or that man ugly. Of Frank Greystock she knew that his face was full of quick intellect; and of Lord Fawn she knew that he bore no outward index of mind. One man she not only loved, but could not help loving; the other man, as regarded that sort of sympathy which marriage should recognise, must always have been worlds asunder from her. She knew that men demand that women shall possess beauty, and she certainly had never thought of herself as beautiful; but it did not occur to her that on that account she was doomed to fail. She was too strong-hearted for any such fear. She did not think much of these things, but felt herself to be so far endowed as to be fit to be the wife of such a man as Frank Greystock. She was a proud, stout, self-confident, but still modest little woman, too fond of truth to tell lies of herself even to herself. She was possessed of a great power of sympathy, genial, very social, greatly given to the mirth of conversation,-though in talking she would listen much and say but little. She was keenly alive to humour, and had at her command a great fund of laughter, which would illumine her whole face without producing a sound from her mouth. She knew herself to be too good to be a governess for life;-and yet how could it be otherwise with her?

Lady Linlithgow's visit to her niece had been made on a Thursday, and on that same evening Frank Greystock had asked his question in the House of Commons,-or rather had made his speech about the Sawab of Mygawb. We all know the meaning of such speeches. Had not Frank belonged to the party that was out, and had not the resistance to the Sawab's claim come from the party that was in, Frank would not probably have cared much about the prince. We may be sure that he would not have troubled himself to read a line of that very dull and long pamphlet of which he had to make himself master before he could venture to stir in the matter, had not the road of Opposition been open to him in that direction. But what exertion will not a politician make with the view of getting the point of his lance within the joints of his enemies' harness? Frank made his speech, and made it very well. It was just the case for a lawyer, admitting that kind of advocacy which it is a lawyer's business to practise. The Indian minister of the day, Lord Fawn's chief, had determined, after much anxious consideration, that it was his duty to resist the claim; and then, for resisting it, he was attacked. Had he yielded to the claim, the attack would have been as venomous, and very probably would have come from the same quarter. No blame by such an assertion is cast upon the young Conservative aspirant for party honours. It is thus the war is waged. Frank Greystock took up the Sawab's case, and would have drawn mingled tears and indignation from his hearers, had not his hearers all known the conditions of the contest. On neither side did the hearers care much for the Sawab's claims, but they felt that Greystock was making good his own claims to some future reward from his party. He was very hard upon the minister,-and he was hard also upon Lord Fawn, stating that the cruelty of Government ascendancy had never been put forward as a doctrine in plainer terms than those which had been used in "another place" in reference to the wrongs of this poor ill-used native chieftain. This was very grievous to Lord Fawn, who had personally desired to favour the ill-used chieftain;-and harder again because he and Greystock were intimate with each other. He felt the thing keenly, and was full of his grievance when, in accordance with his custom, he came down to Fawn Court on the Saturday evening.

The Fawn family, which consisted entirely of women, dined early. On Saturdays, when his lordship would come down, a dinner was prepared for him alone. On Sundays they all dined together at three o'clock. On Sunday evening Lord Fawn would return to town to prepare himself for his Monday's work. Perhaps, also, he disliked the sermon which Lady Fawn always read to the assembled household at nine o'clock on Sunday evening. On this Saturday he came out into the grounds after dinner, where the oldest unmarried daughter, the present Miss Fawn, was walking with Lucy Morris. It was almost a summer evening;-so much so, that some of the party had been sitting on the garden benches, and four of the girls were still playing croquet on the lawn, though there was hardly light enough to see the balls. Miss Fawn had already told Lucy that her brother was very angry with Mr. Greystock. Now, Lucy's sympathies were all with Frank and the Sawab. She had endeavoured, indeed, and had partially succeeded, in perverting the Under-Secretary. Nor did she now intend to change her opinions, although all the Fawn girls, and Lady Fawn, were against her. When a brother or a son is an Under-Secretary of State, sisters and mothers will constantly be on the side of the Government, so far as that Under-Secretary's office is concerned.

"Upon my word, Frederic," said Augusta Fawn, "I do think Mr. Greystock was too bad."

"There's nothing these fellows won't say or do," exclaimed Lord Fawn. "I can't understand it myself. When I've been in opposition, I never did that kind of thing."

"I wonder whether it was because he is angry with mamma," said Miss Fawn. Everybody who knew the Fawns knew that Augusta Fawn was not clever, and that she would occasionally say the very thing that ought not to be said.

"Oh, dear, no," said the Under-Secretary, who could not endure the idea that the weak women-kind of his family should have, in any way, an influence on the august doings of Parliament.

"You know mamma did-"

"Nothing of that kind at all," said his lordship, putting down his sister with great authority. "Mr. Greystock is simply not an honest politician. That is about the whole of it. He chose to attack me because there was an opportunity. There isn't a man in either House who cares for such things, personally, less than I do;"-had his lordship said "more than he did," he might, perhaps, have been correct;-"but I can't bear the feeling. The fact is, a lawyer never understands what is and what is not fair fighting."

Lucy felt her face tingling with heat, and was preparing to say a word in defence of that special lawyer, when Lady Fawn's voice was heard from the drawing-room window. "Come in, girls. It's nine o'clock." In that house Lady Fawn reigned supreme, and no one ever doubted, for a moment, as to obedience. The clicking of the balls ceased, and those who were walking immediately turned their faces to the drawing-room window. But Lord Fawn, who was not one of the girls, took another turn by himself, thinking of the wrongs he had endured.

"Frederic is so angry about Mr. Greystock," said Augusta, as soon as they were seated.

"I do feel that it was provoking," said the second sister.

"And considering that Mr. Greystock has so often been here, I don't think it was kind," said the third.

Lydia did not speak, but could not refrain from glancing her eyes at Lucy's face. "I believe everything is considered fair in Parliament," said Lady Fawn.

Then Lord Fawn, who had heard the last words, entered through the window. "I don't know about that, mother," said he. "Gentleman-like conduct is the same everywhere. There are things that may be said and there are things which may not. Mr. Greystock has altogether gone beyond the usual limits, and I shall take care that he knows my opinion."

"You are not going to quarrel with the man?" asked the mother.

"I am not going to fight him, if you mean that; but I shall let him know that I think that he has transgressed." This his lordship said with that haughty superiority which a man may generally display with safety among the women of his own family.

Lucy had borne a great deal, knowing well that it was better that she should bear such injury in silence;-but there was a point beyond which she could not endure it. It was intolerable to her that Mr. Greystock's character as a gentleman should be impugned before all the ladies of the family, every one of whom did, in fact, know her liking for the man. And then it seemed to her that she could rush into the battle, giving a side blow at his lordship on behalf of his absent antagonist, but appearing to fight for the Sawab. There had been a time when the poor Sawab was in favour at Fawn Court. "I think Mr. Greystock was right to say all he could for the prince. If he took up the cause, he was bound to make the best of it." She spoke with energy and with a heightened colour; and Lady Fawn, hearing her, shook her head at her.

"Did you read Mr. Greystock's speech, Miss Morris?" asked Lord Fawn.

"Every word of it, in the Times."

"And you understood his allusion to what I had been called upon to say in the House of Lords on behalf of the Government?"

"I suppose I did. It did not seem to be difficult to understand."

"I do think Mr. Greystock should have abstained from attacking Frederic," said Augusta.

"It was not-not quite the thing that we are accustomed to," said Lord Fawn.

"Of course I don't know about that," said Lucy. "I think the prince is being used very ill,-that he is being deprived of his own property,-that he is kept out of his rights, just because he is weak, and I am very glad that there is some one to speak up for him."

"My dear Lucy," said Lady Fawn, "if you discuss politics with Lord Fawn, you'll get the worst of it."

"I don't at all object to Miss Morris's views about the Sawab," said the Under-Secretary generously. "There is a great deal to be said on both sides. I know of old that Miss Morris is a great friend of the Sawab."

"You used to be his friend too," said Lucy.

"I felt for him,-and do feel for him. All that is very well. I ask no one to agree with me on the question itself. I only say that Mr. Greystock's mode of treating it was unbecoming."

"I think it was the very best speech I ever read in my life," said Lucy, with headlong energy and heightened colour.

"Then, Miss Morris, you and I have very different opinions about speeches," said Lord Fawn, with severity. "You have, probably, never read Burke's speeches."

"And I don't want to read them," said Lucy.

"That is another question," said Lord Fawn; and his tone and manner were very severe indeed.

"We are talking about speeches in Parliament," said Lucy. Poor Lucy! She knew quite as well as did Lord Fawn that Burke had been a House of Commons orator; but in her impatience, and from absence of the habit of argument, she omitted to explain that she was talking about the speeches of the day.

Lord Fawn held up his hands, and put his head a little on one side. "My dear Lucy," said Lady Fawn, "you are showing your ignorance. Where do you suppose that Mr. Burke's speeches were made?"

"Of course I know they were made in Parliament," said Lucy, almost in tears.

"If Miss Morris means that Burke's greatest efforts were not made in Parliament,-that his speech to the electors of Bristol, for instance, and his opening address on the trial of Warren Hastings, were, upon the whole, superior to-"

"I didn't mean anything at all," said Lucy.

"Lord Fawn is trying to help you, my dear," said Lady Fawn.

"I don't want to be helped," said Lucy. "I only mean that I thought Mr. Greystock's speech as good as it could possibly be. There wasn't a word in it that didn't seem to me to be just what it ought to be. I do think that they are ill-treating that poor Indian prince, and I am very glad that somebody has had the courage to get up and say so."

No doubt it would have been better that Lucy should have held her tongue. Had she simply been upholding against an opponent a political speaker whose speech she had read with pleasure, she might have held her own in the argument against the whole Fawn family. She was a favourite with them all, and even the Under-Secretary would not have been hard upon her. But there had been more than this for poor Lucy to do. Her heart was so truly concerned in the matter, that she could not refrain herself from resenting an attack on the man she loved. She had allowed herself to be carried into superlatives, and had almost been uncourteous to Lord Fawn. "My dear," said Lady Fawn, "we won't say anything more upon the subject." Lord Fawn took up a book. Lady Fawn busied herself in her knitting. Lydia assumed a look of unhappiness, as though something very sad had occurred. Augusta addressed a question to her brother in a tone which plainly indicated a feeling on her part that her brother had been ill-used and was entitled to special consideration. Lucy sat silent and still, and then left the room with a hurried step. Lydia at once rose to follow her, but was stopped by her mother. "You had better leave her alone just at present, my dear," said Lady Fawn.

"I did not know that Miss Morris was so particularly interested in Mr. Greystock," said Lord Fawn.

"She has known him since she was a child," said his mother.

About an hour afterwards Lady Fawn went up-stairs and found Lucy sitting all alone in the still so-called school-room. She had no candle, and had made no pretence to do anything since she had left the room down-stairs. In the interval family prayers had been read, and Lucy's absence was unusual and contrary to rule. "Lucy, my dear, why are you sitting here?" said Lady Fawn.

"Because I am unhappy."

"What makes you unhappy, Lucy?"

"I don't know. I would rather you didn't ask me. I suppose I behaved badly down-stairs."

"My son would forgive you in a moment if you asked him."

"No;-certainly not. I can beg your pardon, Lady Fawn, but not his. Of course I had no right to talk about speeches, and politics, and this prince in your drawing-room."

"Lucy, you astonish me."

"But it is so. Dear Lady Fawn, don't look like that. I know how good you are to me. I know you let me do things which other governesses mayn't do;-and say things; but still I am a governess, and I know I misbehaved-to you." Then Lucy burst into tears.

Lady Fawn, in whose bosom there was no stony corner or morsel of hard iron, was softened at once. "My dear, you are more like another daughter to me than anything else."

"Dear Lady Fawn!"

"But it makes me unhappy when I see your mind engaged about Mr. Greystock. There is the truth, Lucy. You should not think of Mr. Greystock. Mr. Greystock is a man who has his way to make in the world, and could not marry you, even if, under other circumstances, he would wish to do so. You know how frank I am with you, giving you credit for honest, sound good sense. To me and to my girls, who know you as a lady, you are as dear a friend as though you were-were anything you may please to think. Lucy Morris is to us our own dear, dear little friend Lucy. But Mr. Greystock, who is a Member of Parliament, could not marry a governess."

"But I love him so dearly," said Lucy, getting up from her chair, "that his slightest word is to me more than all the words of all the world beside! It is no use, Lady Fawn. I do love him, and I don't mean to try to give it up!" Lady Fawn stood silent for a moment, and then suggested that it would be better for them both to go to bed. During that minute she had been unable to decide what she had better say or do in the present emergency.