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painted doll sort of beauty,' added my Lady; "and what was it I heard about a pic-nic party ?'
No party, my dear,' replied the Rector, only a little fresh air for the family-a day in the country park. Felix spends his birth-day present from his godfather in taking them.'
"Ah! always was sure they had rich friends, though they keep it so close. Never let me hear of their poverty after this.'
Answers only rendered it worse, so my Lady had it her own way, and not being known to the public in St. Oswald's Buildings, did not trouble them much. Yet there was a certain deference to public opinion there, when Alda was heard pouting, · Felix, why did you go to that horrid Harper? Just fancy Miss Price seeing us!'
• Who cares for a stuck-up thing like Miss Price ?' growled Felix.
*I don't care for her,' said Edgar; 'but it is just as well to have some notion of things, and Felix hasn't a grain. Why, all the fellows will be asking which of us is pepper, and which Souchong? I wouldn't have Froggatt or Senior see me in it at no price.'
Very well, stay at home then,' said Felix.
"You could have had the waggonet from the Fortinbras Arms,' said Alda.
*Ayfor all my money and not for love.' • Forshame, Alda,' said her twin sister, 'how can you be so ridiculous!'
You know yourself, Wilmet, it is quite true; if any of the girls see us, we shall be labeled “ The Groceries.”'
“Get inside far enough, and they will not see you.'
* Ay, but there'll be that disgusting little Bobbie and Lance sitting in the front, making no end of a row,' said Edgar; "and the whole place will know that Mr. Underwood and his family are going out for a spree in old Harper's van! Pah! I shall walk!'
"So shall I,' said Alda, “at least till we are out of the town; but that won't do any good if those children will make themselves so horridly conspicuous. Could not we have the thing to meet us somewhere out of town, Felix?'
And how would you get Cherry there, or Mamma? Or Baby?-No, no, if you are too genteel for the van, you may walk.'
(To be continued.)
BERTRAM; OR, THE HEIR OF PENDYNE.
PART II.-CHAPTER VII.
The Westerleigh coach—which had travelled up to London in the early mornings, returning at night, as though the whole country were not intersected in all directions with indications of another and an improved method of conveyance-arrived one evening at the King's Arms, in the early autumn, and set down an unusual number of passengers from the roof.
Youngish persons they seemed to be, and well dressed ; and they entered the hotel immediately, as though they had been expected. All, excepting one; who with more of hesitation in his manner went up to the waiter, and asked if he could have a bed.
This was the only one of the party with whom we have any acquaintance. He is known in the Exhibition Catalogue of this summer as the painter, R. Gray.'
'I believe so, Sir; I will inquire.' And the man was turning away. *Stay. Is it “the Season” at Westerleigh just now,
hotel is so full ?' asked the young artist.
* Well, Sir,' replied the man doubtfully, uncertain whether the facts of the case would warrant the application of the word, 'there is to be a wedding to-morrow; and the gentleman's friends have come down to our hotel, and well-nigh filled it up; but there will be a bed for you, Sir, no doubt.' And away went the waiter to inquire.
Robin stood in the door-way, and looked out upon the market-place. Unaltered in its general aspect, except a fancied contraction in the size. As to the details of name and trade, &c., his memory would not serve him. He looked to the left. There were the iron railings in front of the Doctor's house; the corner, where he had made in the dust one of his first essays in drawing; the door, where he had been told-though not so roughly as might bethat he was after no good.
Before him were the churchyard gates, and the church, from whence he and his sister had been hunted like dogs, and then with such touching kindness gathered in. Where was Miss Ryder now? and was she old and grey in the long space of these past ten years? And her father? He should like to see whether the name were still
that plate upon the door.
And there, on his right hand, was the road leading to Brastings—that road ... But here he was interrupted in his reverie by the return of the waiter, with the assurance that there was a room at his service, rather high up. Would the gentleman like to see it? No; the gentleman only wished his bag taken up, and dinner in half-an-hour. He would take a turn while it was light. But who lived in that house with the iron railings?
Dr. Ryder, Sir,' replied the waiter, who had been longing to inform the stranger of the gay doings in prospect. It is Miss Ryder who is to be married to-morrow.'
• Oh, indeed. Is she a young lady, or middle-aged ?'
* Not middle-aged, Sir ; dear me, no! About eight-and-twenty, the folks say; and as she was born here, I make no doubt they are right. Gentleman-from London, Sir. Mr. Arthur Lloyd.'
Oh.' Robin was looking another way; and so the waiter did not offer any farther information. He was not really uninterested in the circumstance of Miss Ryder's marriage; but other thoughts were coursing through his mind. He stood as if uncertain for a moment; then he crossed the market-place, and disappeared through the churchyard gate.
There are those in every small country town, to whom the knowledge of another person's errand is so much treasure stored up, and to be drawn from when required to be required most surely upon some occasion, soon or late.
One of these gossips observed the slight figure of the gentlemanlylooking youth, as he crossed the market-place; and as he became lost to view, on went the gossip's hat—not women only take part in these affairs, be it known—and he thought that it would be important to learn the object of this one of the to-morrow's guests, in going thus prematurely to see the church. So with great appearance of most pressing haste, he passed through the open gate to the stile on the opposite side.
It was almost too much happiness to be so immediately repaid for his trouble. The stranger actually turned round, and stopped this express train upon its flying journey nowhere.
* You are in haste, I perceive, and must not be detained,' said Robin, who was intending to propose a question.
'No, Sir; not in too much haste to shew you anything for a moment.'
'I was looking round here,' continued the young painter. 'I suppose these are parishioners, mostly. A great many lie here.'
“Yes, Sir, they are mostly parishioners, more or less.' * More or less,' repeated Robin, did you say?'
“Yes, Sir; some for longer than others, I meant; and one or two were visitors—like you, Sir. Old Mrs. Morley was just at Mrs. Smith's three days, and was took off quite sudden. There, with the white monument, and the urn.'
"And these have no names ?'
'I really can't say, Sir. One was not, I know; because there was a great talk about it. A Gipsy out of the lane there, many years ago.'
'Indeed,' said Robin. Which of these ?' pointing.
*This one, Sir. The Vicar chose to have it so; and he read the service himself.'
'Indeed,' said Robin. "What name was it? Some of the Gipsies bave very curious names, as I have heard.'
'I do not know, Sir. Mr. Bates could have told you last year; but he has had a stroke, and his mind is not always very clear. But there was a great talk at the time; and Mr. Bates, he stood up for the churchyard, and had quite a quarrel with the old Gipsy about it. She stood out that the young one was a christened woman ; and the Vicar, he thought proper to believe her, though Mr. Bates did not.'
• Mr. Bates—is that your sexton's name?' VOL 9.
'Yes, Sir; he was sexton then. There he sits at his door, looking at us now.'
It was not interesting to be talking only about the Gipsies. It seemed as if the stranger could scarcely have had any purpose at all. So, failing any other subject, the gossip resumed his haste, and passed quickly over the stile.
But he turned in getting over, although it was not necessary to do 80; and looking up, he saw the stranger standing, apparently lost in meditation, beside the Gipsy's grave.
And so Robin stood, longer even than his informant could have imagined. However, on quitting the spot, he did not follow the gossiphad he done so, he might have seen him turn round, for no apparent reason, and return; but he turned towards another well-remembered path, which brought him within a very few moments into his old haunts in the Brastings Lane.
Old associations were full in the mind of the young man, as he passed out of the church porch into the lane. Yet when he thought of his present life-of the kind friends who had made him their companion and equal—of the tone of his own mind, so harmonious in everything with theirs, so utterly diverse from the old tent life-he could scarcely believe in his own identity. Was he ever ragged, and a beggar? Did he ever run after Lord Pendyne's carriage, and ask him and his Countess for charity ? Had his habitation for years been no other than the wheeled house? The lane was vacant now, although certain old traces upon the grass told where the camp had been located, either then or since. And then came other thoughts, the thoughts burnt in.
It was a relief to Robin to emerge out of the deep shade of the lane, into the open road again at last. He turned to the right with a quick step, and raising his eyes to observe an obstruction in his path, he found himself face to face with old Madge.
The deep flush which almost darkened the pale countenance of the young artist, would have removed from Robin any previous doubt of his identity. Yes, he was the boy again for a moment. But it told nothing but fiction to the old Gipsy.
A young man with an uneasy conscience was occasionally an easy dupe to the trade she professed : possibly this one might be superstitious or fearful as the rest. He had certainly given some evidence to her already. “Tell you your fortune, young gentleman” said she, holding out her hand. Let me make it all come right for you—if you will cross my hand with a gold piece.'
'It is all quite right, thank you,' replied Robin, recovering himself ; and I am afraid I have not many gold pieces to spare.'
‘But it is not all right, young gentleman-no, no, no; when there's something you know that you are hiding, meet whom you will
The flush had nearly returned to Robin's face, as the old woman dropped her voice to a whisper ; for he had before him the Gipsy life, which he certainly was not proclaiming to all the world.
• You can't deceive the Gipsy : you had better make her your friend,' pursued the cunning woman. “Perhaps she knows things about you, young gentleman, that you don't want to come out before everybody.'
She certainly did. Robin began to wonder whether he were really recognized.
. If you don't want it to come out, you will give me the gold piece,' continued old Madge.
'I will give you this, with my good wishes,' replied Robin ; ‘and I will give you a gold piece when I am a richer man.'
Not to purchase her silence; but he could not leave her—so old and poor-without some token of his good will.
And that you will be, some day,' said old Madge ; for the half-crown 80 willingly given was not to be despised; "and you will make a noble lady very happy, though she is not thinking of you now. Then you will give your Gipsy the gold piece.'
She called the last words after him, for Robin was uncourteously proceeding on his way, with a somewhat quicker step.
Was he foolish, this young man ? but he did not like the encounter. He would finish up the work he had to do; and he would not wait, as he had intended, to see the wedding.
He passed a tidy little garden. Old Bates was still sitting at his door. Robin had no nervous feelings about him; and from his own pinnacle of health and strength, he pitied the infirm old man, thus helplessly passing away. He stopped for a moment. Bates liked nothing better than a good view of anyone just come into the town.
'Be you the bridegroom ?' said he, looking full into Robin's face. "You are one of the party, I know; and I hope you will have a fine day like this for the wedding.'
'I hope they may,' replied Robin. He gave one look to see if old Madge were following him. “But I am not one of the party; although a good many of them traveled down with me this afternoon by the coach. Accidental, merely, my coming with them.'
• Be it ?'
Bates longed to put another question, but Robin stopped him with one of his own.
“I see head-stones and other memorials there,' said he, pointing to the churchyard gates. Have you anyone in Westerleigh who does these things, or do they come from a distance ?!
No. They be all done there.' He nodded in the direction of the London road. It was the extent of his interval of sense; and the old man began rather to wander in his talk.
Robin's hand was in his waistcoat pocket. “You used to get halfcrowns when you were sexton,' said he. “Here, they don't come quite so frequently now, perhaps.'