Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

5 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



14. WOMAN'S WILL; OR, ENERGY REWARDED. CHAPTER YIIL Mi(S. HORACE. l0r "whether for right or for ■wrong', whether ^dv°^ or ^or ev^> i hud fixed herself in 811 *^esca'.s house. %fe Was, for the time at least, in a position of Q(i cf comfort. (She eould lie down at night ^DdiS'PeP securely; she could rise in the morning jj 6ilr no evil. Wijjji" dutioa were n< ither arduous nor trying. Did v*as no down-trodden slave of a capricious ^itt]°tUUa" i-'rom the first she ruled Lady s'-ewawitia sway tuat was almost despotic. pauses co*tributed to this state oi things; 8 OWn powers of resistance; the old lady's ^hich increasing infirmities, too, ca,iscd a p-i6siveness heretofore unknown, to her^a° rclY 011 Winifred—she even d< erred 6-fter v" Voung could never have attained, ue']naintance, to the pinnacle Winifred Bupe with ease in a fortnight. So much for ta,.t to rearwv3, and dexterity. Winifred now began It F the fruits of her labours. eELt er P^e'sant to ride out in the fine sprmg "-Plpa er, auud buiiding hedgerows and singing birds Well r1 to walk abroad well clothed, well fed, and *osy V'red for. Winifred's cheek grew round and k fLRer e^*e was bright, and her step elastic, She h "7ere l-'allnv days for her.; 0tr't'ti Uever heard any tidings of her husband. Vrjte tm,.8.she triod to imagine him successful. To *hatov° n> to attempt any kind of correspondence tiin8elfer> wonld be impolitic. He might present P^i^t Lady Wnittiesea's door ragged and fcif_rit' ? had heen a clear, straightforward arrange- To t, :Each stood on his or her own foundation, the ^hat Winifred felt no touch of interest in been orie with whom her early lopes had Short r^°Ciatwl, would be to maVe her out little is ,a nionster. t^he did feel an interest, but, af before, she tried to imagine him sue- intewt, irking' care, however, would begin to eat 'kPPear i rt of Winifred's prosperty. One rock *&e w above the smooth waters over which Ul, 8;iiling( and against which she might, after Thea t0 shipwreck- Mrs. Horace hn L I^°re scraps of information Winifred picked this ?U' in° Mrs. Horace, the more clearly defined lT>ear ^ecanie. hi, 8' Horace had a resolute will, and indomitable Ïl¡ tzo had Winifred. But Mrs. Horace stood >T strong position, Winifred in a weak one. frea? t!l,jro was Mrs. Horace, down here was Wim- ^1 Horace, by one stroke, might overthrow ^,fred. It was a woman against a woman. 'fc;f v and many a time did Winifred, in lrnagina- g jfoasure strength with Mrs. Horace. She knew 8if*C, her own vulnerable part. Mrs Horace would 6t, her to the verv last grain, and how could she the process?* Uj, ,Uo> she h,d the black and white agreement to °du e. But then what was that against a few i_ 8agreeable phrases, such as impostor, false pre- which might possibly be rung in her *—nay, which might result in a fatal disaster ? {i So speculated Winifred, and a dreary speculation II was I > She had absolutely no antidote to this alarm save t'a the favour of Lady Whittlesea. Lady Whittlesea, bereft of Perkins, who had gone P°rtie for change of air, felt Winifred to be absolutely dispensable. And here was Winifred's stronghold. There was no recurring to the past or reviving question of pedigree or references. The old ^.v was too well satisfied with her present arrango- tav -to ^or any inopportune discovery. The »T^0l^te stood on her own merits, and by them she ►stS be jud-ed- feor, Jt was tiresome, and puzzling, too, for Mrs. j »„! ■aco to be re urring a<*ain and again to the vexed t(Ject of companionship. ^Tot C0rr,iDo the first of next month," she Bdnerf' ii,and with me. I am quite deter- I 3ou shall have a companion." her 1 (|an'^ think what Mrs. Horace means," said Fou S^P to Winifred. "If she sent you, and »omr>vdli' s^e did, why does she want me to have ^Wyelse?" 3 'ruth Was s^ont- Hare she let out the v hole *« Yes b be expedient ? Honesty said, ,lKo-' I'?' Tn( ans and at all risks." Policy said, Win f £ ro"n(l's n°t safe at present." [She oK ed followed the instincts of her nature. Jjj00^ guided by policy. t>Ut S- Horace may not wish her secrets to be found And she- WB then she artfully ^turned the [subject into l''orn nnel" ^an Vr 'le next ten days Winifred woiked harder r' e'ver. Uy Whittlesea, pleased, flattered, fascinated, ^ere af°u ^avou I'ito's hands spell bound, and, as it l'h her mercy. tiSit lady seemed to regard Mrs. Horace's Jentlv ) t any great enthusiasm; but she evi- inifr upon Anastasia. One day she told t^arry 0 J'11 confidence that Anastasia was likely to Pr,yijlfra.'Jar°not; "at least Sir Philip Ormond is ulauglv^f addresses to her," said the old lady, ex- bfcrrv/ and of course we shall have him at Show- 5< ivi* tv>-4^astasia must be very young," said Wini- Yes kKn§[ of the carte-de-visite. er at'l 18 y0,111 ff- Sir Philip is twenty years t^sed «ft," said Lady Whittlesea, who was dis- 0 commmiieative. But then it would aaiIe<i sh J 8ucl1 an advantageous offer slip," thk ^'dedly. "Oh, dear, no!" ^°ndorin,r old lady sat looking at Winifred, and 8ettin» whether she had ever had a chance of VeJ"y clevp^>ed j because she is nice looking and hen T 'J thought Lady Whittlesea. KlQr«iiir;, i 7 Whittlesea, who was ta,lkative that ^'trideur n,f'^van to dilate upon the riches and the which ,^jr Ormond family, and of the estate to teini,r]{8 ^uihp had recently succeeded, all which Wl^ I'rofm/rwi heard with feigned interest, but Indeed t[ mdifh'erence. ears like L -j,0^ lady's words passed through her What wt B0no- of re the loves or the glories of Sir Philip danger •asia; to her, when Mrs. Horace loomed U8jy ln the distance ? „ I CHAPTER IX. R, R0PE „ OPEN WAR. Lady \v. •Y,1, have the dinner to a moment," '-tlesea. "Mrs. Horace never likes th %-V) arid^V May, a bright, balmy spring r^Sed f0r j. Whittlesea and Winifred were «^Pf'ctation mner' and sitting in an attitude of ^^STATI°YU^E WAS'GONE TO FETCH MRS. HORACE FROM oscitej ^hittlesea was fluttered and a little ^af on elt proud of the grand-daughter who lo°ked pa| of marrying a baronet. Winifred Passed, and" ti, ..COmposed. Her lips were com- re"aPpeared L 0, '18 which had faded into obscurity •narshneas w stood out with their accustomed in moved about the room as if restless her eager eV(18e' '^he least noise startled her, and Her heart WS looking out into the street. ^ress- By i asf. eating convulsively under her silk aP^roaching nstlUct she felt that an enemy was of ^tho hougea Carr^aSe"came rattling up to the door red t ewimniin„<V^rne(l quickly from the window, a mist b^d caught RiVv,^ ?r eyes> In that moment she b^t with purnlo f °t v°luminous folds of velvet, a purls. fathers, and a profusion of golden These thin r Oo dowt?n3ere jumhled together in confusion. l&dy Whittleapa ™e°t them, Miss Godfrey," cried ^Winifred Make'ha^ Settin8 rent down IMV short gasp. Then she rect. Moad^staucase, holding her j^head When she eot • » face with Mrs 1?r0 she found herself face B a law unto tho™ i 8 8eem 111 8ome cases to jese two women with i68* IQ a single moment jhatever, re»arfl'prl anJ' previous acquaintance nd dislike. ° It wn a& °^er with mutual distrust tflieve in her fellow-creatures0^06'3 10 di8" stood in the hall, her magnificent dress falling round her m rich folds, and giving her stately and majestic person every possible advantage, she looked like one whose office it is to crush. She had crushed many weak, defenceless women, and swept them from her path like insects women in subordinate positions, whose integrity she had doubted—women of the world, whom she had met once on equal terms, but who had since succumbed to her imperious disdain. i. In the circle in which she moved Mrs. Horace was paramount. Who, then, was this dark-eyed girl, who had taken upon herself to receive her—and to receive her with cool politeness, nothing more t She bent her cold, grey eye on Winifred, and asked (in a voice with a metallic ring in it) whom she had the pleasure of addressing. I am Miss Godfrey, her ladyship's companion," said Winifred, quietly. « What! And Mrs. Horace put her glass to her eye. Lid you s.iy her companion?" Now, then, mamma, do let us go up-stairs," said a sweet voice behind. I want to see grand- mamma." The voice, sweet as silver bells, touched W ini- fred's sympathies to the quick. It belonged to Anastasia. Anastasia had been speaking to Perkins, who had returned the day before. Winifred did not see her face till that minute.. "She is more beautiful than her picture, thought Winifred-" oh, far more beautiful! "I am very glad to see you, Miss Godfrey, said Anastasia, holding out her hand kindly and frankly. It is very good of you to take pity on poor grand- mamma." in "Anastasia!" said her mother, severely, "you forget yourself." Anastasia fell back'a little, that her august mother nr>ht rass up-stairs. As the velvet folds moved on with stately pride, she whispered to Winifred: Do not mind mamma. 1 am your friend. It was a curious speech to make. But Anastasia was used to drop oil into the wounds made by Mrs. Horace. Winifred smiled. You are very kind," she said, but I can hold my own." No two faces in the world could be more unlike each other than the-e two. Anastasia's was full of sensibility. Her blue eyes beamed tenderness. Where he got it was a wonder, for tenderness did not come of the Whittlesea stock, nor of the Horace blood eithl r. Yet Anastasia was the very creature of feeling and of sentiment. No possible process could have made her into a woman of the world. In 't, She was as fresh and unsophisticated as a shepherdess of Arcadia. We knov Winifred, and Winifred's history. Winifred did not enter the drawing-room. She retired to her chamber to think-to get out her weapons, in fact, and feel their edges. If she is proud, so am I; if she is crafty, so am I And the hard lines got harder and:more unpleasant. Prcsentlv Winifred's face relaxed. She was thinking of Anastasia with a kind of pity. For this world, with its quips and cranks, its pitfalls, its bleak and stony places, seemed hardly fit for such as she was. When dinner was announced, and Winifred took her place at table, she folt that hostilities had com- menced in earnest. It was evident that by compul- sion only would Mrs. Horace eat bread with her. Winifred entered the lists tacitly, and with the in- tention of acting wholly on the defensive. When Mrs. Horace tried to spike her, which she did several times during dinner, Winifred put up a shield, that was all. After dinner, Winifred would have retired, but Lady Whittlcsea desired her to follow them into the drawing-room. Winifred obeyed without any apparent reluctance. Sho brought her work, and sat in her accustomed place. She had the air of a person thoroughly established. Mrs. Horace, on the contrary, regarded her pre- sence there as unauthorised. She sat on the sofa in a half-reclining attitude, nearly covering it with her velvet folds, and now and then looking loftily at Winifred. Her looks said plainly It is all very fine, Miss Godfrey, but I shall dis- place you to-morrow I" Winifred heeded none of these things. She held fast by the old lady. Just at this juncture Lady Whittlesea said to her daughter: And pray when is Harry King coming ? Winifred knew that Harry King was a poor rela- tion much snubbed by Mrs. Horace; upon whom he was dependent. She had heard him spoken of as residing at Whittlesea Manor in the capacity of steward or bailitf. He was a favourite with the old lady, who employed him to look after her tenants. "When is Harry coming?" she repeated. "I thought he was to have a holiday ?'' "Nonsense, mother! he wants no holiday; he must work," replied Mrs. Horace, sternly. Humph! if vouTbend the bow too tight it may snap," replied th» old Jady, who always contradicted Mrs. Horace "besides, I want Harry." Then you can't have him, mother. He must look after the workmen. I have left workmen in the house." Humph! In my opinion the lad ought to have a profession," said the old lady, soon after. Profession, mother! Yes. I don't see why not. The church, or the law." Where is the money to come from ?" asked Mrs. Horace, grimly. Well, as to that- began Lady Whittlesea, but Mrs. Horace cut her short. Harry will manage my estate. That is pro- fession enough for him Nothing more was said; but when, soon after, Winifred and her patroness were alone, the old lady said, in a quick, firm tone Get out my desk, Miss Godfrey. I want you to write and tell Harry to come." Winifred obeyed with alacrity, and when the letter was written, Lady Whittlesea said, chuckling with delight: Now then put on your bonnet, and run with it to the post. I will have Harry I" CHAPTER X. A WOMAN AGAINST A WOMAN. "PERKIXs tells me you have taken an adventuress into your house," said Mrs. Horace. She was standing by her mother s bedside, while the old lady was sipping her chocolate. It was an opportunity for Mrs. Horace to speak her mind-an opportunity the old lady had planned not to grant. -he was very comfortable," she said, "and did not want to be disturbed." But, mother, you must be disturbed. That girl is not respectable," said Mrs. Horace, severely. "How do you know that?" said the old lady, looking up. I do know it. Pray what reference have you had P" "A reference to the Godfreys, of Dorsetshire," replied the old lady, bnskly-" as good a family as any in England." "But how do you know, that she belongs to Lhem P" She told me she did." Yes, and she told you that I had sent her. Fie upon you, mother, for being so cajoled! I never sent her, I was not likely." "You sent Miss Young, who was not worthy jo hold a candle to her!" replied the old lady, whose face was assuming an expression of dogged obstinacy. Miss Young was a gentlewoman Bah! don't tell me," said the old lady con- temptuously. Mother, it is my duty to protect you from ad- venturers. Let me dismiss this girl. I will pay her i quarter's salary in advance, which is more than she deserves." I beg you will let her alone," replied the old lady, angrily. "You have been tormenting me to tiave a companion. Now I have got one I mean to keep her." Mrs. Horace stood a few moments as if reflecting. rhen she said— You cannot expect us to associate with a creature like Miss Godfrey h" You may do as you please about that. I know Anastasia will behave well to her," added Lady Whittlesea, with emphasis. I have a great mimd to go home," said Mrs. Horace, watching the effect of her threat. Do, if you like. It will be silly of you," said Lady Whittlesea. Mrs. Horace, completely baffled, stalked from the room. Lady Whittlesea chuckled a little, and then rang the bell for Perkins to come and dress her. Now, Perkins, if I hear that you are saying a were. against Miss Godfrey I shall send you about yeur business this very minute." So admirably had Winnifred played her cards! Meantime Mrs. Horace swept into tho drawing- room. Winifred was there alone. She was watering Lady Whittlesea's geraniums. j. Miss Godfrey," said Mrs. Horace, sharply, I wish to speak to you." Winifred looked at her arch foe with an air of im- perturbable coolness. She did not even set down her watering-can. Perhaps you would be so good as tc attend to me," said Mrs. Horace, with some displeasure. "I am attending," replied Winifred, coolly. Mrs. Horace bit her lip. There was no parallel to the insolence of this girl I I wish to acquaint you, Miss Godfrey, with the fact that your presence is objectionable to me," said she. "Yery likely. I regret it should be so," replied Winifred, briskly; "but allow me to remind you that I am not your companion." Upon my word!" replied Mrs. Horace, choking with rage, your manners are peculiar, Miss God- frey. I never remember meeting with their equal in my life." r "1 always was peculiar," replied Winifred. smiling. This thing must not be," said Mrs. Horace to herself. At any price this girl must be got rid of. I have a proposal to make to you, Miss Godfrey," she said aloud. You cannot remain with my mother." "Indeed!" cried Winifred, incredulously. No, it is not to be thought of. An obscure and unknown individual, without references as to family or character Mrs. Horace paused. There was a look in Wini- fred's eye which stopped her. Sublime and all-potent as she was, she could not for the life of her crush this girl. Therefore," continued Mrs. Horace, I wish to EIfler you a sum of money, in consideration of which you will leave quietly and without disturbance. Suppose we say twenty pounds. Will you leave for that f" No," said Winifred, quietly, I will not. Mrs. Horace gasped a little. Her breath seemed taken away by Winifred's audacity. Still, something must be done-anything, in fact, so that Winifred could be hustled out of the house before Lady Whittlesea came down. Will you go for thirty pounds ?" Winifred shook her head. For forty r" gasped Mrs. Horace, getting despe- rate. No, Mrs. Horace. I will not leave for any con- sideration whatever Mrs. Horace was white with anger and disappoint- ment. You had better accept my terms, Miss Godfrey, before I proceed to extremities." I am not afraid of you, Mrs. Horace," replied Winifred, looking her full in the face. It is but a woman against a woman." A woman She, the splendid, the magnificent Mrs. Horace, who left behind her wherever she went a train of glory—a queen, an empress, in her sphere -to be called a woman! She swept from the room in a whirlwind of indig- nation and of scorn. Winifred looked after her a moment, and then calmly finished watering the geraniums. (To be continued.) [