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BY MRS. ELLIS, AUTHORESS OF "THE WOMEN OF ENGLAND," ETC.

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CHAPTER XI.

should be shaken except by evidence which ARGARET COURTENAY had had not yet been manifest to her, that Harry said truly that she hated mysteries, Dunlop was capable of base and deliberate especially such as created a feel- deception. ing of doubt towards those whom Thus, then, there lay before her all the

it was necessary to her happi- long months of another autumn, winter, and ness that she should implicitly believe, and spring, to be spent not in the most congenial entirely trust. Yet it seemed, just at this companionship, and during which she knew period of her life, as if her appointed and that she would be continually subjected to peculiar trial was to be surrounded by the annoyance of hearing what she did not mysteries. Archy Dunlop had been a mys- want to hear—of listening to injurious and tery to her. The reports which she was unfounded surmises which she had no sufcontinually hearing about his brother were a ficient means of disproving. still greater mystery. She was beginning Perhaps there is no human condition more to understand the former case—the latter trying to the temper or more injurious to the remained inexplicable. Again and again disposition than this; and Margaret, if not Margaret had turned a deaf ear to these really irritable, was naturally impetuous reports, and when compelled to hear, had and indignant whenever she was placed in cast them from her, and mentally trampled contact with injustice and wrong. them under foot. But they rose again; and then, through all the long months-the now the letter with the well-known hand- winter months which lay before her, was she writing which she had seen with her own to keep up the sunshine of her life under eyes—that also must be got rid of as evidence these circumstances ? against her friend; for why should he not Happily Margaret found something to do. write to the young woman with directions Not long after leaving Eastwick, at the end of for her journey, without culpability on his the summer, she received a long confidential part, or shame on hers?

letter from Archy Dunlop. It was disconIn this state of mind, and without the tented and querulous in its tone, as if the least ray of light having been thrown upon writer considered himself the most unforthe subject, Margaret was obliged again to tunate of human beings—as if all things were leave the place where alone she could expect against him--as if nothing in his case was to obtain any explanation of this, the grand or could be of any use.

But all this, unmystery of all. But although she did so comfortable as it was in the reading, did not with feelings much disturbed, her faith was deter Margaret from answering the letter still unshaken. It was not possible that it | freely and fully; for so long as Archy would

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pour out his heart in his letters to her, she to do good ; and with this subject occupying felt it her bounden duty to keep up the cor- many of her graver moments, Margaret did respondence in the same frank and earnest not find the winter pass so wearily as she at

Indeed, each succeeding letter, first anticipated. Indeed, such is the effect sad as it was, afforded her hope; and that of all earnest endeavours to serve our fellowhope by degrees assumed the character of beings, especially to serve them where their faith—faith that he who had been so cared highest interests are concerned, that a cerfor in early life, so prayed for in the sim- tain cheerfulness attends our labours, and plicity and tenderness of parental love, would even a peace of mind beyond what any out. not be left in his hour of darkness to sink ward circumstances could produce. lower and lower until past recovery.

Thus months and weeks passed on; and Here, also, Margaret had faith; and all when at last the actual time seemed apthrough the time of separation she made proaching very near for the Andersons this her chief duty, to deal as kindly as she again to make their summer visit to the could, and yet firmly and faithfully, with this seacoast, Margaret began secretly both to poor troubled heart and broken spirit, in hope and to fear what this visit might bring order to bring about again a cheerful appre- to light. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson liked the ciation of the wise and merciful government place so well, that subsequently to their last of God in His dealings with His rebellious visit they had purchased a small house situchildren. Here indeed faith was especially ated very near the rectory; and consequently needed, as all can testify who have made the it was no longer a matter of doubtful conexperiment of labouring to bring about this sultation as to where they should spend their desired result with a diseased mind, and per- summer months. Hitherto the weather had verted understanding.

almost always been favourable during their Inexperienced as Margaret was in dealing stay at Eastwick. Had they known what with any great variety of mental disorder, it storms were sometimes experienced there, was both a surprise and a disappointment to long before the time when visitors generally her to find that Archy—the gentle, tender- begin to think of winter, they would probably spirited Archy-should be so difficult to have been more cautious in laying out their persuade; in the first place, that he had him

money upon a tenement so exposed to the self been seriously culpable, and in the north and east. This year they were dessecond, that there must be no excuses and tined to understand the climate and the no half-measures in his return to upright situation better. The summer throughout ness and peace. Yet all who have had much was ungenial, and Mr. Anderson, having to do with characters like Archy's must have early caught a rheumatic cold, became a found that, the influence of praise and blame confirmed invalid, unable to leave the house. having once led them wrong, they seem to All things externally looked dreary in the enter into a perfect labyrinth of false rea- extreme ; and not only was there but little soning, and mixed motives, every attempt at sunshine on the landscape and the

but disentanglement from which appears only to no light had yet dawned upon Margaret's plunge them deeper into hopeless confusion. mystery. Rather the contrary, for fresh

Such, however, is the result of mere clouds had gathered, and even the Godwins human effort-of reasoning—of persuasion scarcely spoke of Harry Dunlop now. —even of plain dealing as with a rational “You see, my dear,” said Mrs. Godwin, being. Happily, there is other and more when talking confidentially one day with powerful help always at hand. And in Margaret, "I could have withstood any. treating this most perplexing case, Margaret thing but this. But one day when Mr. was brought more earnestly than ever in her Godwin called to see James Halliday, who life before to seek that higher help without has been ailing a good deal lately, and which she did not venture to expect success.

certainly is not the man he was, he showed We are seldom long unhappy when trying him part of a letter from his niece, which

sea,

stated that on her arrival at New York, it otherwise. It was even bad that Harry Harry Dunlop met her on board the vessel, Dunlop, her hero, should choose a wife from and took, as she said, the kindest care of a social position so much beneath his own; her and her things.”

only, whenever she turned this over in her “And why should he not?” exclaimed thoughts, she recollected that in Canada Margaret.

such a wife might possibly be more suitable " Why should he, my dear? Why should to a farmer than a lady would be; and let the girl go to New York at all, only by us not judge her hardly if, when this his directions, as her uncle says she did. thought presented itself, she sometimes said And why should James Halliday smile to herself, with a slight touch of bitternessand chuckle, and look significantly when “But why not have both ? There are hands he showed the letter, if there was nothing that would have worked for him amongst in it?"

those whose companionship he could not “Because,” said Margaret, “he is a story- have despised.” Not that her faith was telling, mischief-making, and altogether giving way. As tenaciously as ever she horrid man!

held by the belief that Harry Dunlop was “My dear girl,” said Mrs. Godwin, lay- honourable, just, and true. Yet still, when ing her hand reprovingly upon Margaret's alone, the question would come again and arm, "you must not be so hasty. Remember again—"But why did he go on board that that Mr. Godwin saw the letter himself.” ship to meet the girl himself? Why not

“ Saw part of a letter,” replied Margaret. send the man to meet her who was to be her

“The other part," said Mrs. Godwin, husband ?” "he was told related only to family matters. Such thoughts, though womanly, were Besides, was not what he did see quite certainly not wise, and Margaret struggled enough?"

hard to drive them away, often rousing her"I do not pretend to understand the self by a determined effort to do some exact facts," Margaret said, after considering present duty, which is always the sure a little while; “but I feel as sure as I ever defence against troublesome and useless did that Harry stands clear of all treachery thoughts. And in a high degree Margaret and meanness. Indeed, if he were guilty, possessed the happy art of finding many do you believe the girl would have betrayed duties. She could associate herself closely, even so much as that part of the letter dis- and with a real interest, with all human closed ?"

beings whose companionship was neither "If it was all so arranged as that they repulsive nor degrading. Thus she became should be married immediately on Nelly's the confidant of many, and in this close inarrival, it would not matter," observed Mrs. tercourse found the way to help them. Godwin, not appearing to notice the sudden Mrs. Godwin was always glad of help in start which Margaret gave when she said her parish duties amongst the ignorant and this. You see, there might be nothing the poor, and Margaret found a wide sphere really bad, as the world judges of people’s of usefulness here. Agnes was especially actions, in the transaction. Tom Lawson thankful for help, and Margaret's stronger might have given the girl up; and if she is and more decided character afforded her now the wife of Harry Dunlop, the less we

the kind of encouragement and support say, and the less we think about it, the which she most needed. But especially better."

poor Archy wanted help, and Margaret's "Decidedly,”said Margaret,very promptly, cheerful, healthy tone of conversation had and then she became silent, for she at least the happy effect of rousing him out of that had no wish to hear more. It was of no use despondency which seemed to have been saying, “If they were married,” or, “Tom settling upon him during the time which Lawson might have given the girl up.” It had elapsed since she saw him last. was bad to Margaret, and she could not see But beyond the hope of help which

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Margaret's companionship always afforded, "Do

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think Agnes would ?" there was something about her which drew Certainly she would. But, Archy, you out the close secrets connected with the must not misunderstand me. Shall I tell inner life of those with whom she lived on

you a very plain truth ?" familiar terms; and she had not been long “Tell me anything. You cannot make

" at Eastwick before Archy laid before her, in me more unhappy than I am." the deepest confidence, a little romance of "Well, then, I must speak out fully what his own life which had been the cause of a I have often hinted before. Agnes knew tender melancholy still brooding over his of that sad fall of yours, by hearing it despirit, and, as he believed, destined to brood scribed in the worst and most ungenerous there for ever.

I do not mean the mere bodily Deprived, as he had been for many months, fall which caused your lameness, but your of the accustomed exercises necessary to moral fall—all the degrading circumstances healthy youth, confined in great measure by which it was attended when you lost to the house, and to the society of gentle- your hold of what was true and just and spirited and amiable women, he had very noble, and associated yourself with unprinnaturally nursed his old partiality for Agnes cipled companions, and tried to win their Godwin into a warmer attachment; and in favour, and delighted in their praise. I an unguarded moment, when her manner call this your fall; but, thank God, it is not towards him appeared more tender than a fall beyond recovery. Agnes kner of all usual, he had told her of his love.

this, and you are aware how she had been But this disclosure had not been received brought up to love and reverence all that is even with compassion. Agnes was surprised pure and good. No wonder if she saw you at his folly, and she showed that she was in a light even more unfavourable than you so. Nay, there was something bordering deserved—no wonder if she cannot see you

, on contempt in her manner, which poor again as you used to be." Archy, attributing it entirely to his lame- “Ah, that is what I am continually ness and to the crippled appearance he must grieving over-if I could only be again as always make, laid afresh to his sad heart, I used to be!" until he was thrown back into a state of “Don't distress yourself about that, Archy. despondency from which it seemed impos- It is impossible. But I can tell you of somesible to rouse him.

hing better than that--something better, In telling his tale to Margaret, which he and yet quite attainable.” did with a simplicity which almost betrayed "I wonder what.

But you are an enthuher into smiling, while Archy looked as if siast, Margaret, and talk of things possible he expected her to weep, he added, in tones

to others, yet impossible to me." of the deepest melancholy, “I might have No; I mean what is quite possible to known, if I had not been the greatest sim- you. I mean that you shall gather, as it pleton alive, that no woman would ever

were, your better self up again—that you marry a poor disfigured object like me; only shall be all the stronger and the wiser for I fancied in my folly that some women were what has passed." heroic enough even for that.”

« But not the same. "Oh, Archy," Margaret exclaimed, "it “No, certainly, not the same; nor is it was not that at all! I don't believe Agnes altogether desirable that you should be the even thought of your lameness. Besides,

same, for now we know how much vanity it really is nothing, or next to nothing, in and weakness there was in your character.” the way of disfigurement. If you would “ Aud yet how many friends I had then, exert yourself a little more, and try to walk, whose good opinion was the joy of my life." and not lie brooding over your miseries as “Still, Archy, we did not thoroughly you do, I believe you would almost forget know you. You did not know yourself

. it yourself, and I am sure I should.” The facts of your school-life, however painful and humiliating-nay, however wrong blowing, and dashing up the waves in a long in themselve3-have done this good, -they line of rolling billows and snowy foam. have brought the truth to light; they have Archy managed extremely well. He could prored how weak you are-I may say how walk a great deal better than he thought he weak we all are, when we take our affairs could ; and Margaret ras more than ever into our own hands—when we put away the convinced that a little bodily as well as thought of Him who is the only safe Guide, mental rousing would be the thing to do and submit our actions only to the praise him good. and blame of those who are as weak, and Occupied with these thoughts, and with a perhaps more wicked, than we are ourselves. pleasant kind of chat, by which she enPerhaps, Archy, you only seemed a good deavoured to beguile the time, so as to lead boy before this happened. You must have her companion on, she became at length been a weak, vain boy, or you would searcely aware that they were approaching a little have been overcome by temptation as you sheltered hollow lying under the cliff, where were. Suppose you rise up now, and, with James Halliday's cottage was situated, and the strength that God will give you, become where other boats beside his own were drawn stronger from the knowledge of yourself up on the beach, this being a favourite spot and of the world which you have obtained with the fishermen, who were now beginning by this sad experience-strong for duty and to look anxiously at the weather, and the help and Christian service; and the more more so as the summer months seemed to be strong, because you will be humble now. passing without much hope of their accusYes, Archy, we are never really strong

tomed harvest of the sea. until we have learned to walk humbly

I did not observe where we were going," before God; and perhaps this is what you said Margaret, suddenly recollecting that of were not doing before your fall. But come, all men James Halliday was the one least we have talked long enough for this morn- agreeable for her to meet. "Perhaps we ing. What do you say to a walk with me had better turn back before you are too tired, on the seashore ?"

Archy." "I walk so slowly, nobody likes to walk “I am too tired already," replied her with me.”

companion. “I must ask James Halliday "Yes, I do, Archy. I like it very much. to let me rest in his cottage. I have often I like it for your own sake; and I like to rested there, or in his old boat, where I think that those good parents and relatives used to sit watching him at his nets." of yours, who cannot help you themselves, ,

“ I don't think I should like to do either," would like that you should have a sister in said Margaret. me. For you know I have neither parents • Why not?” Archy asked, with perfect nor brothers nor sisters myself. You must, simplicity. “ Harry used to come here. therefore, believe me, dear Archy, that I am James Halliday and he were great friends; happy walking ever so slowly with you, for and Nelly Armstrong and he wore great I know the fresh air does you good; and if friends too. I want to ask after Nelly; it you do feel a little tired sometimes, it is is so long since I heard about her." better than this idle brooding over past Margaret, turning away her face to hide , miseries, which brings no good either to the expression which she could not otherwise yourself or to any one else.''

conceal, was on the point of saying that she, Margaret was so intent upon drawing her at any rate, must return. But while thinkcompanion out into the fresh air, and at the ing of the means of escape, James Halliday same time making the walk easy and pleasant himself overtook them, and with a cordial to him, that she paid little attention to the recognition of Archy, asked him to go into direction which their steps were taking. It the house and rest awhile, for “to sit in the was enough for her that they led down to boat,” he said, “with such a wind blowing, the beach, where a fresh, healthy breeze was might not be so pleasant as it used to be

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