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Mr. Trevor, and escorted by him and the boys they came down to the station. The soldiers were waiting, and Mr. Trevor made over to the sergeant a parcel of books for them, and received his humble thanks for the help he had given them. Mrs. Trevor had already given him a special recollection of herself, and a message to Colonel Hopetoun, and begged him to let her know where he was quartered from time to time. No one but herself knew what an ache was gone from her brave loving heart. Neither her husband nor of course her children had known her beloved brother. She had been much separated from all her own family since her marriage, and happy as she was, there was a yearning that she thought was never to be satisfied to hear of his last hour upon earth, as well as to speak sometimes to some one who knew him. His last business with Sergeant Malcolm had been to arrange something for the increased comfort of his men, and when the shell had done its work, his last distinct words had been “Ready, my LORD,” as if in battle his chief had called him.
Beatrice and her father took possession of a first-class carriage and most carefully made one side into a sofa for Salome, for whom they had taken a ticket. Whether they had paid the difference on third-class fares in consequence of the weather, or how it was, Mr. Trevor did not of course inquire, but that part of the small mystery was explained by his accidentally hearing a request made to the guard to let one of the empty compartments be considered as a smoking carriage if wanted.
“Papa has some special cigarettes that relieve his asthma," said Beatrice to Mr. Trevor," and he really must not take refuge in a thirdclass carriage again to-day in this cold; he did so yesterday, there being no regular smoking carriage on that line. It all turned out for the best, as we should not perhaps have made acquaintance so soon with this
poor little Salome.” So Mrs. De Hoggyns had seen them get in when she began her journey at Allington, and had no idea that a mere change was being made.
Douglas hung on to the soldiers' carriage as long as the guard would let him, longing to go with them, and talking of powder, cartridges, guns, to the very last, and then amidst the cheers of the boys the first train for twenty-four hours steamed away and soon disappeared in the snowy cutting. Only at five o'clock that evening did the last flakes descend, after having fallen without interruption for thirty hours.
1 A fact in Oxfordshire in January, 1881. For two days no letters from London were delivered.
Again next morning no post, no papers, and it was not till the 21st of January that the accumulation of three days reached the Rectory. One with an earl's coronet and monogram caught the eye of Rupert who was a collector, and his curiosity was soon satisfied by the letter read out loud by his father from Lord Belmont dated Whitehaven Hall, Exeter. And he was the unobtrusive third-class passenger-the true descendant of Norman Barons, Crusaders, Cavaliers—and his daughter who wrote separately to Agnes was Lady Beatrice Fortescue. He said, that before thanking Mr. Trevor for his kindness, he must explain that his first wish had been simply to keep out of his way, and not add to his cares in the unexpected inroad into his house; and afterwards finding that another guest was one with whose husband he was in personal and painful collision, he thought it best not to make himself known, and that Mr. Trevor's delicacy in making no inquiries as to whom he was entertaining, had struck him as much as his warmhearted help and hospitality. Lord Belmont further said that he and his daughter had been so vexed at having only a little money with them just enough for Salome's ticket, their resources being in the train with their luggage, and that they had left the good servants at the Rectory with only empty thanks. He enclosed a cheque for £15, £5 for the servants who he trusted were resting from their exertions, £5 to be divided between Gresford and the porter as Mr. Trevor thought best, and the remaining £5 for the poor of the parish as a thankoffering for his and his daughter's preservation. He said he had one more favour to ask, but that she had begged to be allowed to make it, and that if it were granted it would much increase his obligations.
Beatrice's request was, that as soon as the effects of the great snow had passed away, Agnes would come and pay her a long visit. She hoped they would not consider her and her father as very tricky people, but they had felt the evening would be more peaceful if they preserved their incognito. “And I did so enjoy being with you, we had just had such a worrying week at Blackton at the dreary hotel there, where we went that my father might try and rescue the poor school, and it quite cheered us both up to find ourselves in such a happy family party once more. This place faces due south, and we want you so much to come to us and make it your Convalescent Home. I think real change of climate would soon make a difference in your health, and the sunshine here is more abundant than anywhere else in England, even our geraniums
can be left out some winters, and we have one wall with oranges growing on it in the open air. But as an inducement I must tell you of the good you will do us; since my beloved mother's death more than two years ago, my father has shrunk from receiving or making any visits even in his own family, but it is his strong wish that you should come to us, and I feel it will be such a kindness to help us to get back a little into former ways. The Sisters' Home is close to us, and I took Salome there this morning in my mother's chair, and left her very happy."
Lady Beatrice did not say that her father had built the Home and given it to the Sisterhood in memory of his wife, to whom planning it had been one of the great interests of the last year of her life.
Mrs. Trevor received two letters, one long one from Colonel Hopetoun, that she could not trust herself to read through till she was alone, except the part that gave his hearty thanks to her husband for his care of the good sergeant and the men, and enclosing another banknote, which he begged Mr. Trevor would apply as he thought right at the station. He hoped they would not forget that he was at Plymouth should they be near him, and near him they were to be much sooner than they then expected. The last letter was from Mrs. De Hoggyns, destitute of thanks, but begging that search might be made for the silver top of a smelling-bottle engraved with the De Hoggyns' arms which she had missed from her dressing-case. She had noticed an old woman about the rooms, and she hoped she and the servants would be questioned. Sibyl and the boys made an outcry at any suspicion falling on Mrs. Scrubbs, the model widow of the village, but the next post brought a post-card with “Top of bottle found,” and no more was heard of Mrs. De Hoggyns.
Within a month Lord Belmont appeared again to escort Agnes into Devonshire. He had gained the battle at Blackton by outbidding Mr. De Hoggyns for two cottages close to the school on the site of which the necessary addition was to be made at his cost, and this with trebling his already large subscription had ended the trouble for the time being. And a most sympathetic listener did he find in Mr. Trevor during the short interval of waiting before the train for the west arrived.
Agnes wrote on her arrival that she had no idea of anything in England being so lovely as the house into which she was received. It was like her mother's descriptions of the Italian villas seen in her early youth. The house lay in a sort of bay of its own, with a picturesque
fishing village running out on one side, a dazzling white beach giving the names of Whitehaven and Silvershore to it, and the opposite little promontory. Behind the house on the north lay protecting woods rising gradually, and its gardens and pleasure grounds sloped down to the blue sea.
The front rooms opened on a terrace with a loggia as in Italy, between the drawing-room and large morning-room, this was full of flowers and creepers so arranged as to leave room for sofas and tables, and could be either closed with sliding windows or thrown open to enjoy the sea-breeze. The soft air, the charm of the beauty around her, and the goodness and kindness of her new friends soon brought a complete change in her health and spirits. Vigorously had she struggled against depression, but here there was none to battle with. The girls passed happy mornings together, reading, working, and talking. Perhaps their sympathy of character and tone of mind was shown in its most marked way by their never alluding to, or discussing the De Hoggyns party. But Agnes guessed rightly that the lovely crystal locket had been turned in order to avoid a chance of its owner's rank being surmised, for when they knew each other well Beatrice told her it had been her mother's last birthday present to her, and the engraving was an intricate entwining of her initials and coronet.
She only wanted her initials,” said the daughter, "which were the same as mine, but such a lovely design was sent that my father thought it a pity to disturb it.”
Agnes' visit did not end with the return of the warm weather. The old Vicar of Whitehaven had been long failing, and died just as spring was passing into summer. Lord Belmont at once thought of Mr. Trevor as his successor. The living in a worldly sense was he knew a far better one than Beechwood, and all secular outgoings were provided for by himself, only private almsgiving resting on the Vicar, as it should on all. Oxford for Rupert, Woolwich and the Royal Artillery for Douglas, would be possibilities instead of hopes and dreams. The climate would completely restore Agnes, and his own child would have a motherly friend and delightful young companions at her very door. All these were the advantages for the Trevors and himself. But such a man as Lord Belmont, even for those who had saved him and her from the perils of the great snow, would not have let such motives weigh for a moment had not a stronger one been behind them--the good of the people whom he looked upon as God's charge to himself.
The death of his own devoted wife had left much of the village or
ganisation in confusion : the Vicar was an old childless widower, and though with a curate the spiritual wants were supplied, Beatrice was too young to be in charge of all that had been her mother's care in her days of health. Lord Belmont had seen in an exceptional way the interior of the Trevor household, and felt he could not hope to bring into his parish a better combination of goodness, efficiency, and
With Mr. Trevor as its spiritual head, and with his family as coadjutors, he would be introducing elements not of mere good manners, curtsey dropping, hat touching, and civil speeches, but what the words implied in the old English sense, and what is still meant in French by “ les bonnes moeurs.”
So Agnes, it was agreed, should remain till after the migration, which followed as soon as possible on her father's acceptance of the charge of Whitehaven, and thus be saved two journeys and the fatigue of the general confusion. Some little repairs were perhaps purposely delayed at the vicarage, that Lord Belmont might insist on the Trevors beginning their residence under his roof, and on a bright July day just six months from the great snow, he and Beatrice had the true pleasure of welcoming those who had associated it to them with such happy and grateful recollections.
SALVETE, FLORES MARTYRUM.
(PRUDENTIUS.' A.D. 348.)
Thy rival is in safety fled. 1“ Giving, as he does, many and distinct tokens of belonging to an age of deeply sunken taste, yet was his gift of sacred poetry a most true one, and in many respects a most original."