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【英文原版】红礁画浆录(Beatrice)/(英)亨利·莱德·哈葛德 [复制链接]

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只看该作者 10楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter X. Lady Honoria Makes Arrangements 0~PXa(!^K  
In another moment somebody entered the room; it was Elizabeth. She had returned from her tithe collecting expedition--with the tithe. The door of the sitting-room was still ajar, and Geoffrey had his back towards it. So it happened that nobody heard Elizabeth's rather cat- like step, and for some seconds she stood in the doorway without being perceived. She stood quite still, taking in the whole scene at a glance. She noticed that her sister held her head down, so that her hair shadowed her, and guessed that she did so for some reason-- probably because she did not wish her face to be seen. Or was it to show off her lovely hair? She noticed also the half shy, half amused, and altogether interested expression upon Geoffrey's countenance--she could see that in the little gilt-edged looking-glass which hung over the fire-place, nor did she overlook the general air of embarrassment that pervaded them both. $ly#zQR  
When she came in, Elizabeth had been thinking of Owen Davies, and of what might have happened had she never seen the tide of life flow back into her sister's veins. She had dreamed of it all night and had thought of it all day; even in the excitement of extracting the back tithe from the recalcitrant and rather coarse-minded Welsh farmer, with strong views on the subject of tithe, it had not been entirely forgotten. The farmer was a tenant of Owen Davies, and when he called her a "parson in petticoats, and wus," and went on, in delicate reference to her powers of extracting cash, to liken her to a "two- legged corkscrew only screwier," she perhaps not unnaturally reflected, that if ever--pace Beatrice--certain things should come about, she would remember that farmer. For Elizabeth was blessed with a very long memory, as some people had learnt to their cost, and generally, sooner or later, she paid her debts in full, not forgetting the overdue interest. 6>LQGO  
And now, as she stood in the doorway unseen and noted these matters, something occurred to her in connection with this dominating idea, which, like ideas in general, had many side issues. At any rate a look of quick intelligence shone for a moment in her light eyes, like a sickly sunbeam on a faint December mist; then she moved forward, and when she was close behind Geoffrey, spoke suddenly. jQK2<-HZ3  
8 *(W |J  
"What are you both thinking about?" she said in her clear thin voice; "you seem to have exhausted your conversation." ow>[#.ua  
Geoffrey made an exclamation and fairly jumped from his chair, a feat which in his bruised condition really hurt him very much. Beatrice too started violently; she recovered herself almost instantly, however. QX~72X=(  
"How quietly you move, Elizabeth," she said. %RF   
"Not more quietly than you sit, Beatrice. I have been wondering when anybody was going to say anything, or if you were both asleep." 97 X60<  
For her part Beatrice speculated how long her sister had been in the room. Their conversation had been innocent enough, but it was not one that she would wish Elizabeth to have overheard. And somehow Elizabeth had a knack of overhearing things. ~oyPmIcb  
"You see, Miss Granger," said Geoffrey coming to the rescue, "both our brains are still rather waterlogged, and that does not tend to a flow of ideas." XBBRB<l)  
"Quite so," said Elizabeth. "My dear Beatrice, why don't you tie up your hair? You look like a crazy Jane. Not but what you have very nice hair," she added critically. "Do you admire good hair, Mr. Bingham." <>GyG-q  
"Of course I do," he answered gallantly, "but it is not common." '` "&RuB  
Only Beatrice bit her lip with vexation. "I had almost forgotten about my hair," she said; "I must apologise for appearing in such a state. I would have done it up after dinner only I was too stiff, and while I was waiting for Betty, I went to sleep." G.8ZISN/  
QQJ cvaQ  
"I think there is a bit of ribbon in that drawer. I saw you put it there yesterday," answered the precise Elizabeth. "Yes, here it is. If you like, and Mr. Bingham will excuse it, I can tie it back for you," and without waiting for an answer she passed behind Beatrice, and gathering up the dense masses of her sister's locks, tied them round in such fashion that they could not fall forward, though they still rolled down her back. C|+5F,D  
Just then Mr. Granger came back from his visit to the farm. He was in high good humour. The pig had even surpassed her former efforts, and increased in a surprising manner, to the number of fifteen indeed. Elizabeth thereon produced the two pounds odd shillings which she had "corkscrewed" out of the recalcitrant dissenting farmer, and the sight added to Mr. Granger's satisfaction. ?AR6+`0  
"Would you believe it, Mr. Bingham," he said, "in this miserably paid parish I have nearly a hundred pounds owing to me, a hundred pounds in tithe. There is old Jones who lives out towards the Bell Rock, he owes three years' tithe--thirty-four pounds eleven and fourpence. He can pay and he won't pay--says he's a Baptist and is not going to pay parson's dues--though for the matter of that he is nothing but an old beer tub of a heathen." zZ kwfF  
"Why don't you proceed against him, then, Mr. Granger?" V_h, UYN  
"Proceed, I have proceeded. I've got judgment, and I mean to issue execution in a few days. I won't stand it any longer," he went on, working himself up and shaking his head as he spoke till his thin white hair fell about his eyes. "I will have the law of him and the others too. You are a lawyer and you can help me. I tell you there's a spirit abroad which just comes to just--no man isn't to pay his lawful debts, except of course the parson and the squire. They must pay or go to the court. But there is law left, and I'll have it, before they play the Irish game on us here." And he brought down his fist with a bang upon the table. E<Efxb' p  
Dy mf  
Geoffrey listened with some amusement. So this was the weak old man's sore point--money. He was clearly very strong about that--as strong as Lady Honoria indeed, but with more excuse. Elizabeth also listened with evident approval, but Beatrice looked pained. ,'Zs")Ydp  
"Don't get angry, father," she said; "perhaps he will pay after all. It is bad to take the law if you can manage any other way--it breeds so much ill blood." j2^Vz{  
"Nonsense, Beatrice," said her sister sharply. "Father is quite right. There's only one way to deal with them, and that is to seize their goods. I believe you are socialist about property, as you are about everything else. You want to pull everything down, from the Queen to the laws of marriage, all for the good of humanity, and I tell you that your ideas will be your ruin. Defy custom and it will crush you. You are running your head against a brick wall, and one day you will find which is the harder." vLI'Z)\  
'"C& dia  
Beatrice flushed, but answered her sister's attack, which was all the sharper because it had a certain spice of truth in it. |Ml~_m  
"I never expressed any such views, Elizabeth, so I do not see why you should attribute them to me. I only said that legal proceedings breed bad blood in a parish, and that is true." K!a7Hg  
"I did not say you expressed them," went on the vigorous Elizabeth; "you look them--they ooze out of your words like water from a peat bog. Everybody knows you are a radical and a freethinker and everything else that is bad and mad, and contrary to that state of life in which it has pleased God to call you. The end of it will be that you will lose the mistresship of the school--and I think it is very hard on father and me that you should bring disgrace on us with your strange ways and immoral views, and now you can make what you like of it." {# N,&?[  
"I wish that all radicals were like Miss Beatrice," said Geoffrey, who was feeling exceedingly uncomfortable, with a feeble attempt at polite jocosity. But nobody seemed to hear him. Elizabeth, who was now fairly in a rage, a faint flush upon her pale cheeks, her light eyes all ashine, and her thin fingers clasped, stood fronting her beautiful sister, and breathing spite at every pore. But it was easy for Geoffrey who was watching her to see that it was not her sister's views she was attacking; it was her sister. It was that soft strong loveliness and the glory of that face; it was the deep gentle mind, erring from its very greatness, and the bright intellect which lit it like a lamp; it was the learning and the power that, give them play, would set a world aflame, as easily as they did the heart of the slow- witted hermit squire, whom Elizabeth coveted--these were the things that Elizabeth hated, and bitterly assailed. -:Jn|=  
Accustomed to observe, Geoffrey saw this instantly, and then glanced at the father. The old man was frightened; clearly he was afraid of Elizabeth, and dreaded a scene. He stood fidgeting his feet about, and trying to find something to say, as he glanced apprehensively at his elder daughter, through his thin hanging hair. A[N>T\  
Lastly, Geoffrey looked at Beatrice, who was indeed well worth looking at. Her face was quite pale and the clear grey eyes shone out beneath their dark lashes. She had risen, drawing herself to her full height, which her exquisite proportions seemed to increase, and was looking at her sister. Presently she said one word and one only, but it was enough. g# <M/qn  
"Elizabeth." 9C)w'\u9+  
Her sister opened her lips to speak again, but hesitated, and changed her mind. There was something in Beatrice's manner that checked her. 1f1J'du  
"Well," she said at length, "you should not irritate me so, Beatrice." B"I> mw  
Beatrice made no reply. She only turned towards Geoffrey, and with a graceful little bow, said: c+G: bb%p  
tT yu,%/m  
"Mr. Bingham, I am sure that you will forgive this scene. The fact is, we all slept badly last night, and it has not improved our tempers." 2ZtqZ64i  
There was a pause, of which Mr. Granger took a hurried and rather undignified advantage. HqXo;`Yy}  
"Um, ah," he said. "By the way, Beatrice, what was it I wanted to say? Ah, I know--have you written, I mean written out, that sermon for next Sunday? My daughter," he added, addressing Geoffrey in explanation-- "um, copies my sermons for me. She writes a very good hand----" xu:m~8%  
Remembering Beatrice's confidence as to her sermon manufacturing functions, Geoffrey felt amused at her father's na飗e way of describing them, and Beatrice also smiled faintly as she answered that the sermon was ready. Just then the roll of wheels was heard without, and the only fly that Bryngelly could boast pulled up in front of the door. ^z^>]Qd  
"Here is the fly come for you, Mr. Bingham," said Mr. Granger--"and as I live, her ladyship with it. Elizabeth, see if there isn't some tea ready," and the old gentleman, who had all the traditional love of the lower middle-class Englishman for a title, trotted off to welcome "her ladyship." O0{  
Presently Lady Honoria entered the room, a sweet, if rather a set smile upon her handsome face, and with a graceful mien, that became her tall figure exceedingly well. For to do Lady Honoria justice, she was one of the most ladylike women in the country, and so far as her personal appearance went, a very perfect type of the class to which she belonged. )M N yOj  
Geoffrey looked at her, saying to himself that she had clearly recovered her temper, and that he was thankful for it. This was not wonderful, for it is observable that the more aristocratic a lady's manners are, the more disagreeable she is apt to be when she is crossed. /C"s_:m;3  
"Well, Geoffrey dear," she said, "you see I have come to fetch you. I was determined that you should not get yourself drowned a second time on your way home. How are you now?--but I need not ask, you look quite well again." &/hr-5k  
"It is very kind of you, Honoria," said her husband simply, but it was doubtful if she heard him, for at the moment she was engaged in searching out the soul of Beatrice, with one of the most penetrating and comprehensive glances that young lady had ever enjoyed the honour of receiving. There was nothing rude about the look, it was too quick, but Beatrice felt that quick as it might be it embraced her altogether. Nor was she wrong. mf]( 3ZL  
L >Ez-  
"There is no doubt about it," Lady Honoria thought to herself, "she is lovely--lovely everywhere. It was clever of her to leave her hair down; it shows the shape of her head so well, and she is tall enough to stand it. That blue wrapper suits her too. Very few women could show such a figure as hers--like a Greek statue. I don't like her; she is different from most of us; just the sort of girl men go wild about and women hate." [zh4W*K_cq  
All this passed through her mind in a flash. For a moment Lady Honoria's blue eyes met Beatrice's grey ones, and she knew that Beatrice liked her no better than she did Beatrice. Those eyes were a trifle too honest, and, like the deep clear water they resembled, apt to throw up shadows of the passing thoughts above. da9*9yN  
y~== waZw  
"False and cold and heartless," thought Beatrice. "I wonder how a man like that could marry her; and how much he loves her." fCt^FU  
Thus the two women took each other's measure at a glance, each finding the other wanting by her standard. Nor did they ever change that hastily formed judgment. pY+.SuM  
! (2-(LgA  
It was all done in a few seconds--in that hesitating moment before the words we summon answer on our lips. The next, Lady Honoria was sweeping towards her with outstretched hand, and her most gracious smile. N=OS\pz  
"Miss Granger," she said, "I owe you a debt I never can repay--my dear husband's life. I have heard all about how you saved him; it is the most wonderful thing--Grace Darling born again. I can't think how you could do it. I wish I were half as brave and strong." 3>i>@n_  
3=Z<wD s  
"Please don't, Lady Honoria," said Beatrice. "I am so tired of being thanked for doing nothing, except what it was my duty to do. If I had let Mr. Bingham go while I had the strength to hold on to him I should have felt like a murderess to-day. I beg you to say no more about it." prZ55MS.  
h2% J/69  
"One does not often find such modesty united to so much courage, and, if you will allow me to say it, so much beauty," answered Lady Honoria graciously. "Well, I will do as you wish, but I warn you your fame will find you out. I hear they have an account of the whole adventure in to-day's papers, headed, 'A Welsh Heroine.'" H>.B99vp  
|) Pi6Y  
"How did you hear that, Honoria?" asked her husband. U<47WfcW  
z856 nl  
"Oh, I had a telegram from Garsington, and he mentions it," she answered carelessly. hazq#J!  
"Telegram from Garsington! Hence these smiles," thought he. "I suppose that she is going to-morrow." 'iUg[{'+  
"I have some other news for you, Miss Granger," went on Lady Honoria. "Your canoe has been washed ashore, very little injured. The old boatman--Edward, I think they call him--has found it; and your gun in it too, Geoffrey. It had stuck under the seat or somewhere. But I fancy that you must both have had enough canoeing for the present." |L:Cn J  
"I don't know, Lady Honoria," answered Beatrice. "One does not often get such weather as last night's, and canoeing is very pleasant. Every sweet has its salt, you know; or, in other words, one may always be upset." l]#!+@  
At that moment, Betty, the awkward Welsh serving lass, with a fore-arm about as shapely as the hind leg of an elephant, and a most unpleasing habit of snorting audibly as she moved, shuffled in with the tea-tray. In her wake came the slim Elizabeth, to whom Lady Honoria was introduced. Cmd329AH  
j, u#K)7{T  
After this, conversation flagged for a while, till Lady Honoria, feeling that things were getting a little dull, set the ball rolling again. h/ep`-YaH  
"What a pretty view you have of the sea from these windows," she said in her well-trained and monotonously modulated voice. "I am so glad to have seen it, for, you know, I am going away to-morrow." _j ;3-m  
Beatrice looked up quickly. %$mjJw<|&  
"My husband is not going," she went on, as though in answer to an unspoken question. "I am playing the part of the undutiful wife and running away from him, for exactly three weeks. It is very wicked of me, isn't it? but I have an engagement that I must keep. It is most tiresome." ti_u!kNv  
Geoffrey, sipping his tea, smiled grimly behind the shelter of his cup. "She does it uncommonly well," he thought to himself. \Jpw1,6  
"Does your little girl go with you, Lady Honoria?" asked Elizabeth. -\,VGudM}  
"Well, no, I think not. I can't bear parting with her--you know how hard it is when one has only one child. But I think she would be so bored where I am going to stay, for there are no other children there; and besides, she positively adores the sea. So I shall have to leave her to her father's tender mercies, poor dear." $68 XZCx  
"I hope Effie will survive it, I am sure," said Geoffrey laughing. 5?)}F/x  
"I suppose that your husband is going to stay on at Mrs. Jones's," said the clergyman. YDdLDE  
@m }rQT  
"Really, I don't know. What are you going to do, Geoffrey? Mrs. Jones's rooms are rather expensive for people in our impoverished condition. Besides, I am sure that she cannot look after Effie. Just think, she has eight children of her own, poor old dear. And I must take Anne with me; she is Effie's French nurse, you know, a perfect treasure. I am going to stay in a big house, and my experience of those big houses is, that one never gets waited on at all unless one takes a maid. You see, what is everybody's business is nobody's business. I'm sure I don't know how you will get on with the child, Geoffrey; she takes such a lot of looking after." ^p'D<!6sK  
"Oh, don't trouble about that, Honoria," he answered. "I daresay that Effie and I will manage somehow." (\[jf39e  
Here one of those peculiar gleams of intelligence which marked the advent of a new idea passed across Elizabeth's face. She was sitting next her father, and bending, whispered to him. Beatrice saw it and made a motion as though to interpose, but before she could do so Mr. Granger spoke. &~D.")Dz  
"Look here, Mr. Bingham," he said, "if you want to move, would you like a room here? Terms strictly moderate, but can't afford to put you up for nothing you know, and living rough and ready. You'd have to take us as you find us; but there is a dressing-room next to my room, where your little girl could sleep, and my daughters would look after her between them, and be glad of the job." y:(C=*^<t  
Again Beatrice opened her lips as though to speak, but closed them without speaking. Thus do our opportunities pass before we realise that they are at hand. kgI.kT(=  
Instinctively Geoffrey had glanced towards Beatrice. He did not know if this idea was agreeable to her. He knew that her work was hard, and he did not wish to put extra trouble upon her, for he guessed that the burden of looking after Effie would ultimately fall upon her shoulders. But her face told him nothing: it was quite passive and apparently indifferent. Fn0LE~O}-8  
"You are very kind, Mr. Granger," he said, hesitating. "I don't want to go away from Bryngelly just at present, and it would be a good plan in some ways, that is if the trouble to your daughters would not be too much." T/.y(8!0I8  
"I am sure that it is an excellent plan," broke in Lady Honoria, who feared lest difficulties should arise as to her appropriation of Anne's services; "how lucky that I happened to mention it. There will be no trouble about our giving up the rooms at Mrs. Jones's, because I know she has another application for them." #)eJz1~  
L|'ME| '  
"Very well," said Geoffrey, not liking to raise objections to a scheme thus publicly advocated, although he would have preferred to take time to consider. Something warned him that Bryngelly Vicarage would prove a fateful abode for him. Then Elizabeth rose and asked Lady Honoria if she would like to see the rooms her husband and Effie would occupy. PP`n>v=n  
She said she should be delighted and went off, followed by Mr. Granger fussing in the rear. Qeog$g.HI  
"Don't you think that you will be a little dull here, Mr. Bingham?" said Beatrice. mm`3-F|  
"On the contrary," he answered. "Why should I be dull? I cannot be so dull as I should be by myself." $z]l4Hj  
Beatrice hesitated, and then spoke again. "We are a curious family, Mr. Bingham; you may have seen as much this afternoon. Had you not better think it over?" ![V- e  
"If you mean that you do not want me to come, I won't," he said rather bluntly, and next second felt that he had made a mistake. Mx }(w\\T  
@'<|B. f  
"I!" Beatrice answered, opening her eyes. "I have no wishes in the matter. The fact is that we are poor, and let lodgings--that is what it comes to. If you think they will suit you, you are quite right to take them." @lX)dY  
Geoffrey coloured. He was a man who could not bear to lay himself open to the smallest rebuff from a woman, and he had brought this on himself. Beatrice saw it and relented. qr@,92_  
v=4TU \b%  
"Of course, Mr. Bingham, so far as I am concerned, I shall be the gainer if you do come. I do not meet so many people with whom I care to associate, and from whom I can learn, that I wish to throw a chance away." +]6 EkZO  
"I think you misunderstand me a little," he said; "I only meant that perhaps you would not wish to be bothered with Effie, Miss Granger." t5_`q(:  
She laughed. "Why, I love children. It will be a great pleasure to me to look after her so far as I have time." we@bq,\w  
Just then the others returned, and their conversation came to an end. )CB?gW  
"It's quite delightful, Geoffrey--such funny old-fashioned rooms. I really envy you." (If there was one thing in the world that Lady Honoria hated, it was an old-fashioned room.) "Well, and now we must be going. Oh! you poor creature, I forgot that you were so knocked about. I am sure Mr. Granger will give you his arm." ]+l r  
Mr. Granger ambled forward, and Geoffrey having made his adieus, and borrowed a clerical hat (Mr. Granger's concession to custom, for in most other respects he dressed like an ordinary farmer), was safely conveyed to the fly. :o:??tqw  
And so ended Geoffrey's first day at Bryngelly Vicarage. iH>djGhTh  

只看该作者 11楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XI. Beatrice Makes an Appointment ]7*kWc2  
  Lady Honoria leaned back in the cab, and sighed a sigh of satisfaction. RB IOdz  
"That is a capital idea," she said. "I was wondering what arrangements you could make for the next three weeks. It is ridiculous to pay three guineas a week for rooms just for you and Effie. The old gentleman only wants that for board and lodging together, for I asked him." x)_r@l`$ix  
"I daresay it will do," said Geoffrey. "When are we to shift?" xNIGO/uI~  
1'fb @vO  
"To-morrow, in time for dinner, or rather supper: these barbarians eat supper, you know. I go by the morning train, you see, so as to reach Garsington by tea-time. I daresay you will find it rather dull, but you like being dull. The old clergyman is a low stamp of man, and a bore, and as for the eldest daughter, Elizabeth, she's too awful--she reminds me of a rat. But Beatrice is handsome enough, though I think her horrid too. You'll have to console yourself with her, and I daresay you will suit each other." fEwifSp.  
"Why do you think her horrid, Honoria?" gDC2 >nV  
N RSU+D-z  
"Oh, I don't know; she is clever and odd, and I hate odd women. Why can't they be like other people? Think of her being strong enough to save your life like that too. She must have the muscle of an Amazon-- it's downright unwomanly. But there is no doubt about her beauty. She is as nearly perfect as any girl I ever saw, though too independent looking. If only one had a daughter like that, how one might marry her. I would not look at anything under twenty thousand a year. She is too good for that lumbering Welsh squire she's engaged too--the man who lives in the Castle--though they say that he is fairly rich." fp;a5||5  
"Engaged," said Geoffrey, "how do you know that she is engaged?" aR)?a;}H  
"Oh, I don't know it at all, but I suppose she is. If she isn't, she soon will be, for a girl in that position is not likely to throw such a chance away. At any rate, he's head over ears in love with her. I saw that last night. He was hanging about for hours in the rain, outside the door, with a face like a ghost, till he knew whether she was dead or alive, and he has been there twice to inquire this morning. Mr. Granger told me. But she is too good for him from a business point of view. She might marry anybody, if only she were put in the way of it." =l,#iYJP8  
Somehow, Geoffrey's lively interest in Beatrice sensibly declined on the receipt of this intelligence. Of course it was nothing to him; indeed he was glad to hear that she was in the way of such a comfortable settlement, but it is unfortunately a fact that one cannot be quite as much interested in a young and lovely lady who is the potential property of a "lumbering Welsh squire," as in one who belongs to herself. ? s4oDi|:  
The old Adam still survives in most men, however right-thinking they may be, and this is one of its methods of self-assertion. 3+zzi  
hgwn> p:S#  
"Well," he said, "I am glad to hear she is in such a good way; she deserves it. I think the Welsh squire is in luck; Miss Granger is a remarkable woman." 9 tAE#A  
"Too remarkable by half," said Lady Honoria drily. "Here we are, and there is Effie, skipping about like a wild thing as usual. I think that child is demented." !YY 6o V  
3Qk/ Ll  
On the following morning--it was Friday--Lady Honoria, accompanied by Anne, departed in the very best of tempers. For the next three weeks, at any rate, she would be free from the galling associations of straightened means--free to enjoy the luxury and refined comfort to which she had been accustomed, and for which her soul yearned with a fierce longing that would be incomprehensible to folk of a simpler mind. Everybody has his or her ideal Heaven, if only one could fathom it. Some would choose a sublimated intellectual leisure, made happy by the best literature of all the planets; some a model state (with themselves as presidents), in which (through their beneficent efforts) the latest radical notions could actually be persuaded to work to everybody's satisfaction; others a happy hunting ground, where the game enjoyed the fun as much as they did; and so on, ad infinitum. Q7L)f71i  
Lady Honoria was even more modest. Give her a well appointed town and country house, a few powdered footmen, plenty of carriages, and other needful things, including of course the entr閑 to the upper celestial ten, and she would ask no more from age to age. Let us hope that she will get it one day. It would hurt nobody, and she is sure to find plenty of people of her own way of thinking--that is, if this world supplies the raw material. 9U&~(;  
S>.q 5  
She embraced Effie with enthusiasm, and her husband with a chastened warmth, and went, a pious prayer on her lips that she might never again set eyes upon Bryngelly. 8b-7]%  
It will not be necessary for us to follow Lady Honoria in her travels. That afternoon Effie and her father had great fun. They packed up. Geoffrey, who was rapidly recovering from his stiffness, pushed the things into the portmanteaus and Effie jumped on them. Those which would not go in they bundled loose into the fly, till that vehicle looked like an old clothes ship. Then, as there was no room left for them inside, they walked down to the Vicarage by the beach, a distance of about three-quarters of a mile, stopping on their way to admire the beautiful castle, in one corner of which Owen Davies lived and moved. >_rzT9gX&  
"Oh, daddy," said the child, "I wish you would buy a house like that for you and me to live in. Why don't you, daddy?" MDMtOfe|  
"Haven't got the money, dear," he answered. 8QkWgd7y  
"Will you ever have the money, daddy?" "D ts*  
"I don't know, dear, perhaps one day--when I am too old to enjoy it," he added to himself. FbNH+?  
"It would take a great many pennies to buy a house like that, wouldn't it, daddy?" said Effie sagely. %8Z|/LGg  
"Yes, dear, more than you could count," he answered, and the conversation dropped. WQIM2_=M  
6S! lD=  
Presently they came to a boat-shed, placed opposite the village and close to high-water mark. Here a man, it was old Edward, was engaged in mending a canoe. Geoffrey glanced at it and saw that it was the identical canoe out of which he had so nearly been drowned. T,xVQ4J?  
"Look, Effie," said he, "that is the boat out of which I was upset." Effie opened her wide eyes, and stared at the frail craft.  ZZFI\o  
"It is a horrid boat," she said; "I don't want to look at it." -I$txa/"|  
"You're quite right, little miss," said old Edward, touching his cap. "It ain't safe, and somebody will be drowned out of it one of these days. I wish it had gone to the bottom, I do; but Miss Beatrice, she is that foolhardy there ain't no doing nothing with her." w-Q 6 -  
"I fancy that she has learnt a lesson," said Geoffrey. te4"+[ $|  
"May be, may be," grumbled the old man, "but women folk are hard to teach; they never learn nothing till it's too late, they don't, and then when they've been and done it they're sorry, but what's the good o' that?" lfhKZX  
6 FxndR;  
Meanwhile another conversation was in progress not more than a quarter of a mile away. On the brow of the cliff stood the village of Bryngelly, and at the back of the village was a school, a plain white- washed building, roofed with stone, which, though amply sufficient and suitable to the wants of the place, was little short of an abomination in the eyes of Her Majesty's school inspectors, who from time to time descended upon Bryngelly for purposes of examination and fault- finding. They yearned to see a stately red-brick edifice, with all the latest improvements, erected at the expense of the rate-payers, but as yet they yearned in vain. The school was supported by voluntary contributions, and thanks to Beatrice's energy and good teaching, the dreaded Board, with its fads and extravagance, had not yet clutched it. \Le #+ P  
Beatrice had returned to her duties that afternoon, for a night's rest brought back its vigour to her strong young frame. She had been greeted with enthusiasm by the children, who loved her, as well they might, for she was very gentle and sweet with them, though few dared to disobey her. Besides, her beauty impressed them, though they did not know it. Beauty of a certain sort has perhaps more effect on children than on any other class, heedless and selfish as they often seem to be. They feel its power; it is an outward expression of the thoughts and dreams that bud in their unknowing hearts, and is somehow mixed up with their ideas of God and Heaven. Thus there was in Bryngelly a little girl of ten, a very clever and highly excitable child, Jane Llewellyn by name, born of parents of strict Calvinistic views. As it chanced, some months before the opening of this story, a tub thumper, of high renown and considerable rude oratorical force, visited the place, and treated his hearers to a lively discourse on the horrors of Hell. 45JLx?rN_  
In the very front row, her eyes wide with fear, sat this poor little child between her parents, who listened to the Minister with much satisfaction, and a little way back sat Beatrice, who had come out of curiosity. }RK9Onh3G  
Presently the preacher, having dealt sufficiently in terrifying generalities, went on to practical illustrations, for, after the manner of his class, he was delivering an extemporary oration. "Look at that child," he said, pointing to the little girl; "she looks innocent, does she not? but if she does not find salvation, my brethren, I tell you that she is damned. If she dies to-night, not having found salvation, she will go to Hell. Her delicate little body will be tormented for ever and ever----" CQ ?|=cN  
Here the unfortunate child fell forward with a shriek. *G38N]|u6  
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself, sir," said Beatrice aloud. LxO'$oKZV  
She had been listening to all this ill-judged rant with growing indignation, and now, in her excitement, entirely forgot that she was in a place of worship. Then she ran forward to the child, who had swooned. Poor little unfortunate, she never recovered the shock. When she came to herself, it was found that her finely strung mind had given way, and she lapsed into a condition of imbecility. But her imbecility was not always passive. Occasionally fits of passionate terror would seize upon her. She would cry out that the fiends were coming to drag her down to torment, and dash herself against the wall, in fear hideous to behold. Then it was found that there was but one way to calm her: it was to send for Beatrice. Beatrice would come and take the poor thin hands in hers and gaze with her calm deep eyes upon the wasted horror-stricken face till the child grew quiet again and, shivering, sobbed herself to sleep upon her breast. N=kACEo  
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And so it was with all the children; her power over them was almost absolute. They loved her, and she loved them all. -vMP{,  
And now the schooling was almost done for the day. It was Beatrice's custom to make the children sing some simple song before they broke up. She stood in front of them and gave the time while they sung, and a pretty sight it was to see her do it. On this particular afternoon, just as the first verse was finished, the door of the room opened, and Owen Davies entered, bearing some books under his arm. Beatrice glanced round and saw him, then, with a quick stamp of her foot, went on giving the time. 7S Qu  
The children sung lustily, and in front of them stood Beatrice, dressed in simple white, her graceful form swaying as she marked the music's time. Nearer and nearer drew Owen Davies, till at length he stood quite close, his lips slightly apart, his eyes fixed upon her like the eyes of one who dreams, and his slow heavy face faintly lit with the glow of strong emotion. A5z`3T;1  
The song ended, the children at a word from their mistress filed past her, headed by the pupil teachers, and then with a shout, seizing their caps, ran forth this way and that, welcoming the free air. When they were all gone, and not till then, Beatrice turned suddenly round. ,l~i|_  
"How do you do, Mr. Davies?" she said. ?oP<sGp  
He started visibly. "I did not know that you had seen me," he answered. rISg`-  
"Oh, yes, I saw you, Mr. Davies, only I could not stop the song to say how do you do. By the way, I have to thank you for coming to inquire after me." ^`?2g[AA  
"Not at all, Miss Beatrice, not at all; it was a most dreadful accident. I cannot tell you how thankful I am--I can't, indeed." }JPLhr|d^  
"It is very good of you to take so much interest in me," said Beatrice. ;8Qx~:c  
}+] l_!v*  
"Not at all, Miss Beatrice, not at all. Who--who could help taking interest in you? I have brought you some books--the Life of Darwin--it is in two volumes. I think that I have heard you say that Darwin interests you?" BS*Y3$  
"Yes, thank you very much. Have you read it?" HRg< f= oz  
"No, but I have cut it. Darwin doesn't interest me, you know. I think that he was a rather misguided person. May I carry the books home for you?" 5: vy_e&  
"Thank you, but I am not going straight home; I am going to old Edward's shed to see my canoe." V1 O]L66  
As a matter of fact this was true, but the idea was only that moment born in her mind. Beatrice had been going home, as she wanted to see that all things were duly prepared for Geoffrey and his little daughter. But to reach the Vicarage she must pass along the cliff, where there were few people, and this she did not wish to do. To be frank, she feared lest Mr. Davies should take the opportunity to make that offer of his hand and heart which hung over her like a nightmare. Now the way to Edward's shed lay through the village and down the cliff, and she knew that he would never propose in the village.  o\-:  
It was very foolish of her, no doubt, thus to seek to postpone the evil day, but the strongest-minded women have their weak points, and this was one of Beatrice's. She hated the idea of this scene. She knew that when it did come there would be a scene. Not that her resolution to refuse the man had ever faltered. But it would be painful, and in the end it must reach the ears of her father and Elizabeth that she had actually rejected Mr. Owen Davies, and then what would her life be worth? She had never suspected it, it had never entered into her mind to suspect, that, though her father might be vexed enough, nothing on this earth would more delight the heart of Elizabeth. ,-.a! a  
Presently, having fetched her hat, Beatrice, accompanied by her admirer, bearing the Life of Darwin under his arm, started to walk down to the beach. They went in silence, Beatrice just a little ahead. She ventured some remark about the weather, but Owen Davies made no reply; he was thinking, he wanted to say something, but he did not know how to say it. They were at the head of the cliff now, and if he wished to speak he must do so quickly. 6%t>T~x  
"Miss Beatrice," he said in a somewhat constrained voice. i_kKE+Q  
"Yes, Mr. Davies--oh, look at that seagull; it nearly knocked my hat off." /yn%0Wish  
But he was not to be put off with the seagull. "Miss Beatrice," he said again, "are you going out walking next Sunday afternoon?" . vJlTg  
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"How can I tell, Mr. Davies? It may rain." , A@uSfC(  
"But if it does not rain--please tell me. You generally do walk on the beach on Sunday. Miss Beatrice, I want to speak to you. I hope you will allow me, I do indeed." t|j p]Vp  
Then suddenly she came to a decision. This kind of thing was unendurable; it would be better to get it over. Turning round so suddenly that Owen started, she said: =!N,{V_  
I1 +A$<Fa  
"If you wish to speak to me, Mr. Davies, I shall be in the Amphitheatre opposite the Red Rocks, at four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, but I had much rather that you did not come. I can say no more." #B6$ r/%  
"I shall come," he answered doggedly, and they went down the steps to the boat-shed. ^0(`:*  
"Oh, look, daddy," said Effie, "here comes the lady who was drownded with you and a gentleman," and to Beatrice's great relief the child ran forward and met them. ]8|peo{  
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"Ah!" thought Geoffrey to himself, "that is the man Honoria said she was engaged to. Well, I don't think very much of her taste." q&V=A[<rz  
In another minute they had arrived. Geoffrey shook hands with Beatrice, and was introduced to Owen Davies, who murmured something in reply, and promptly took his departure. ['_G1_p  
Wf:I 0  
They examined the canoe together, and then walked slowly up to the Vicarage, Beatrice holding Effie by the hand. Opposite the reef they halted for a minute. {h *Pkn1  
U> s$}Y:+Z  
"There is the Table Rock on which we were thrown, Mr. Bingham," said Beatrice, "and here is where they carried us ashore. The sea does not look as though it would drown any one to-night, does it? See!"--and she threw a stone into it--"the ripples run as evenly as they do on a pond." m'P,:S)=  
~E tW B  
She spoke idly and Geoffrey answered her idly, for they were not thinking of their words. Rather were they thinking of the strange chance that had brought them together in an hour of deadly peril and now left them together in an hour of peace. Perhaps, too, they were wondering to what end this had come about. For, agnostics, atheists or believers, are we not, most of us, fatalists at heart? 1$#{om9  

只看该作者 12楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XII. The Writing on the Sand A6KP(@   
Geoffrey found himself very comfortable at the Vicarage, and as for Effie, she positively revelled in it. Beatrice looked after her, taking her to bed at night and helping her to dress in the morning, and Beatrice was a great improvement upon Anne. When Geoffrey became aware of this he remonstrated, saying that he had never expected her to act as nurse to the child, but she replied that it was a pleasure to her to do so, which was the truth. In other ways, too, the place was all that he desired. He did not like Elizabeth, but then he did not see very much of her, and the old farmer clergyman was amusing in his way, with his endless talk of tithes and crops, and the iniquities of the rebellious Jones, on whom he was going to distrain. 8I*yS#  
For the first day or two Geoffrey had no more conversations with Beatrice. Most of the time she was away at the school, and on the Saturday afternoon, when she was free, he went out to the Red Rocks curlew shooting. At first he thought of asking her to come too, but then it occurred to him that she might wish to go out with Mr. Davies, to whom he still supposed she was engaged. It was no affair of his, yet he was glad when he came back to find that she had been out with Effie, and not with Mr. Davies. [+@T"2h2b  
uxX 3wY;M  
On Sunday morning they all went to church, including Beatrice. It was a bare little church, and the congregation was small. Mr. Granger went through the service with about as much liveliness as a horse driving a machine. He ground it out, prayers, psalms, litany, lessons, all in the same depressing way, till Geoffrey felt inclined to go to sleep, and then took to watching Beatrice's sweet face instead. He wondered what made her look so sad. Hers was always a sad face when in repose, that he knew, but to-day it was particularly so, and what was more, she looked worried as well as sad. Once or twice he saw her glance at Mr. Davies, who was sitting opposite, the solitary occupant of an enormous pew, and he thought that there was apprehension in her look. But Mr. Davies did not return the glance. To judge from his appearance nothing was troubling his mind. 16ip:/5  
Indeed, Geoffrey studying him in the same way that he instinctively studied everybody whom he met, thought that he had never before seen a man who looked quite so ox-like and absolutely comfortable. And yet he never was more completely at fault. The man seemed stolid and cold indeed, but it was the coldness of a volcano. His heart was a-fire. All the human forces in him, all the energies of his sturdy life, had concentrated themselves in a single passion for the woman who was so near and yet so far from him. He had never drawn upon the store, had never frittered his heart away. This woman, strange and unusual as it may seem, was absolutely the first whose glance or voice had ever stirred his blood. His passion for her had grown slowly; for years it had been growing, ever since the grey-eyed girl on the brink of womanhood had conducted him to his castle home. It was no fancy, no light desire to pass with the year which brought it. Owen had little imagination, that soil from which loves spring with the rank swiftness of a tropic bloom to fade at the first chill breath of change. His passion was an unalterable fact. It was rooted like an oak on our stiff English soil, its fibres wrapped his heart and shot his being through, and if so strong a gale should rise that it must fall, then he too would be overthrown. xd`\Ai  
For years now he had thought of little else than Beatrice. To win her he would have given all his wealth, ay, thrice over, if that were possible. To win her, to know her his by right and his alone, ah, that would be heaven! His blood quivered and his mind grew dim when he thought of it. What would it be to see her standing by him as she stood now, and know that she was his wife! There is no form of passion more terrible than this. Its very earthiness makes it awful. <I{Yyl^  
The service went on. At last Mr. Granger mounted the pulpit and began to read his sermon, of which the text was, "But the greatest of these is charity." Geoffrey noticed that he bungled over some of the words, then suddenly remembered Beatrice had told him that she had written the sermon, and was all attention. He was not disappointed. Notwithstanding Mr. Granger's infamous reading, and his habit of dropping his voice at the end of a sentence, instead of raising it, the beauty of the thoughts and diction was very evident. It was indeed a discourse that might equally well have been delivered in a Mahomedan or a Buddhist place of worship; there was nothing distinctively Christian about it, it merely appealed to the good in human nature. But of this neither the preacher nor his audience seemed to be aware, indeed, few of the latter were listening at all. The sermon was short and ended with a passage of real power and beauty--or rather it did not end, for, closing the MS. sheets, Mr. Granger followed on with a few impromptu remarks of his own. \ Ju7.3.  
p|w0 i[hc  
"And now, brethren," he said, "I have been preaching to you about charity, but I wish to add one remark, Charity begins at home. There is about a hundred pounds of tithe owing to me, and some of it has been owing for two years and more. If that tithe is not paid I shall have to put distraint on some of you, and I thought that I had better take this opportunity to tell you so." ,b t j6hg  
Then he gave the Benediction. U.N?cKv  
The contrast between this business-like speech, and the beautiful periods which had gone before, was so ridiculous that Geoffrey very nearly burst out laughing, and Beatrice smiled. So did the rest of the congregation, excepting one or two who owed tithe, and Owen Davies, who was thinking of other things. uc/W/c u,  
As they went through the churchyard, Geoffrey noticed something. Beatrice was a few paces ahead holding Effie's hand. Presently Mr. Davies passed him, apparently without seeing him, and greeted Beatrice, who bowed slightly in acknowledgment. He walked a little way without speaking, then Geoffrey, just as they reached the church gate, heard him say, "At four this afternoon, then." Again she bowed her head, and he turned and went. As for Geoffrey, he wondered what it all meant: was she engaged to him, or was she not? ~0@fK<C)O  
Z B`d&!W>  
Dinner was a somewhat silent meal. Mr. Granger was thinking about his tithe, also about a sick cow. Elizabeth's thoughts pursued some dark and devious course of their own, not an altogether agreeable one to judge from her face. Beatrice looked pale and worried; even Effie's sallies did not do more than make her smile. As for Geoffrey himself, he was engaged in wondering in an idle sort of way what was going to happen at four o'clock. ]Y!x7  
"You is all very dull," said Effie at last, with a charming disregard of grammar. G]4Ca5;Z!N  
"People ought to be dull on Sunday, Effie," answered Beatrice, with an effort. "At least, I suppose so," she added. V~ORb1  
Elizabeth, who was aggressively religious, frowned at this remark. She knew her sister did not mean it. Z17b=x Jw  
"What are you going to do this afternoon, Beatrice?" she asked suddenly. She had seen Owen Davies go up and speak to her sister, and though she had not been near enough to catch the words, scented an assignation from afar. Y b3ckktY  
Beatrice coloured slightly, a fact that escaped neither her sister nor Geoffrey. 6MT (k:  
"I am going to see Jane Llewellyn," she answered. Jane Llewellyn was the crazy little girl whose tale has been told. Up to that moment Beatrice had no idea of going to see her, but she knew that Elizabeth would not follow her there, because the child could not endure Elizabeth. nnv|GnQST  
"Oh, I thought that perhaps you were going out walking." 8q[; 0  
"I may walk afterwards," answered Beatrice shortly. Hb)FeGsd).  
"So there is an assignation," thought Elizabeth, and a cold gleam of intelligence passed across her face. =oBpS=<7  
Shortly after dinner, Beatrice put on her bonnet and went out. Ten minutes passed, and Elizabeth did the same. Then Mr. Granger announced that he was going up to the farm (there was no service till six) to see about the sick cow, and asked Geoffrey if he would like to accompany him. He said that he might as well, if Effie could come, and, having lit his pipe, they started. 4E$MhP  
Meanwhile Beatrice went to see the crazy child. She was not violent to-day, and scarcely knew her. Before she had been in the house ten minutes, the situation developed itself. =2R4Z8G  
The cottage stood about two-thirds of the way down a straggling street, which was quite empty, for Bryngelly slept after dinner on Sunday. At the top of this street appeared Elizabeth, a Bible in her hand, as though on district visiting intent. She looked down the street, and seeing nobody, went for a little walk, then, returning, once more looked down the street. This time she was rewarded. The door of the Llewellyns' cottage opened, and Beatrice appeared. Instantly Elizabeth withdrew to such a position that she could see without being seen, and, standing as though irresolute, awaited events. Beatrice turned and took the road that led to the beach. tU4#7b:Y  
Then Elizabeth's irresolution disappeared. She also turned and took the road to the cliff, walking very fast. Passing behind the Vicarage, she gained a point where the beach narrowed to a width of not more than fifty yards, and sat down. Presently she saw a man coming along the sand beneath her, walking quickly. It was Owen Davies. She waited and watched. Seven or eight minutes passed, and a woman in a white dress passed. It was Beatrice, walking slowly. x`6MAZ  
"Ah!" said Elizabeth, setting her teeth, "as I thought." Rising, she pursued her path along the cliff, keeping three or four hundred yards ahead, which she could easily do by taking short cuts. It was a long walk, and Elizabeth, who was not fond of walking, got very tired of it. But she was a woman with a purpose, and as such, hard to beat. So she kept on steadily for nearly an hour, till, at length, she came to the spot known as the Amphitheatre. This Amphitheatre, situated almost opposite the Red Rocks, was a half-ring of cliff, the sides of which ran in a semicircle almost down to the water's edge, that is, at high tide. In the centre of the segment thus formed was a large flat stone, so placed that anybody in certain positions on the cliff above could command a view of it, though it was screened by the projecting walls of rock from observation from the beach. Elizabeth clambered a little way down the sloping side of the cliff and looked; on the stone, his back towards her, sat Owen Davies. Slipping from stratum to stratum of the broken cliff, Elizabeth drew slowly nearer, till at length she was within fifty paces of the seated man. Here, ensconcing herself behind a cleft rock, she also sat down; it was not safe to go closer; but in case she should by any chance be observed from above, she opened the Bible on her knee, as though she had sought this quiet spot to study its pages. ^50dF:V(1  
Three or four minutes passed, and Beatrice appeared round the projecting angle of the Amphitheatre, and walked slowly across the level sand. Owen Davies rose and stretched out his hand to welcome her, but she did not take it, she only bowed, and then seated herself upon the large flat stone. Owen also seated himself on it, but some three or four feet away. Elizabeth thrust her white face forward till it was almost level with the lips of the cleft rock and strained her ears to listen. Alas! she could not hear a single word. wnS,Jl  
"You asked me to come here, Mr. Davies," said Beatrice, breaking the painful silence. "I have come." 8?Zhh.  
&5 "!  0  
"Yes," he answered; "I asked you to come because I wanted to speak to you." ]$/oSa/  
"Yes?" said Beatrice, looking up from her occupation of digging little holes in the sand with the point of her parasol. Her face was calm enough, but her heart beat fast beneath her breast. Kn^+kHh:  
"I want to ask you," he said, speaking slowly and thickly, "if you will be my wife?" 7Yg1z%%U  
Beatrice opened her lips to speak, then, seeing that he had only paused because his inward emotion checked his words, shut them again, and went on digging little holes. She wished to rely on the whole case, as a lawyer would say. & R_?6*n  
"I want to ask you," he repeated, "to be my wife. I have wished to do so for some years, but I have never been able to bring myself to it. It is a great step to take, and my happiness depends on it. Do not answer me yet," he went on, his words gathering force as he spoke. "Listen to what I have to tell you. I have been a lonely man all my life. At sea I was lonely, and since I have come into this fortune I have been lonelier still. I never loved anybody or anything till I began to love you. And then I loved you more and more and more; till now I have only one thought in all my life, and that thought is of you. While I am awake I think of you, and when I am asleep I dream of you. Listen, Beatrice, listen!--I have never loved any other woman, I have scarcely spoken to one--only you, Beatrice. I can give you a great deal; and everything I have shall be yours, only I should be jealous of you--yes, very jealous!" dCo)en  
-n 7 @r  
Here she glanced at his face. It was outwardly calm but white as death, and in the blue eyes, generally so placid, shone a fire that by contrast looked almost unholy. #r9\.NA!  
"I think that you have said enough, Mr. Davies," Beatrice answered. "I am very much obliged to you. I am much honoured, for in some ways I am not your equal, but I do not love you, and I cannot marry you, and I think it best to tell you so plainly, once and for all," and unconsciously she went on digging the holes. TNh&g.  
"Oh, do not say that," he answered, almost in a moan. "For God's sake don't say that! It will kill me to lose you. I think I should go mad. Marry me and you will learn to love me." !DA4q3-U>>  
Beatrice glanced at him again, and a pang of pity pierced her heart. She did not know it was so bad a case as this. It struck her too that she was doing a foolish thing, from a worldly point of view. The man loved her and was very eligible. He only asked of her what most women are willing enough to give under circumstances so favourable to their well-being--herself. But she never liked him, he had always repelled her, and she was not a woman to marry a man whom she did not like. Also, during the last week this dislike and repulsion had hardened and strengthened. Vaguely, as he pleaded with her, Beatrice wondered why, and as she did so her eye fell upon the pattern she was automatically pricking in the sand. It had taken the form of letters, and the letters were G E O F F R E--Great heaven! Could that be the answer? She flushed crimson with shame at the thought, and passed her foot across the tell-tale letters, as she believed, obliterating them. p".wqg*W  
3 u=\d)eq  
Owen saw the softening of her eyes and saw the blush, and misinterpreted them. Thinking that she was relenting, by instinct, rather than from any teaching of experience, he attempted to take her hand. With a turn of the arm, so quick that even Elizabeth watching with all her eyes saw nothing of the movement, Beatrice twisted herself free. LIJ#nb  
"Don't touch me," she said sharply, "you have no right to touch me. I have answered you, Mr. Davies." {[bpvK  
| h"$  
Owen withdrew his hand abashed, and for a moment sat still, his chin resting on his breast, a very picture of despair. Nothing indeed could break the stolid calm of his features, but the violence of his emotion was evident in the quick shivering of his limbs and his short deep breaths. n0K+/}m  
"Can you give me no hope?" he said at last in a slow heavy voice. "For God's sake think before you answer--you don't know what it means to me. It is nothing to you--you cannot feel. I feel, and your words cut like a knife. I know that I am heavy and stupid, but I feel as though you had killed me. You are heartless, quite heartless." 5,O:"3>c  
 "}[ ]R  
Again Beatrice softened a little. She was touched and flattered. Where is the woman who would not have been? V6Of(;r  
"What can I say to you, Mr. Davies?" she answered in a kinder voice. "I cannot marry you. How I can I marry you when I do not love you?" k?Zcv*[)D+  
"Plenty of women marry men whom they do not love." A.!3{pAb  
"Then they are bad women," answered Beatrice with energy. *jy"g64j  
< 'r<MA<  
"The world does not think so," he said again; "the world calls those women bad who love where they cannot marry, and the world is always right. Marriage sanctifies everything." ^}hSsE  
Beatrice laughed bitterly. "Do you think so?" she said. "I do not. I think that marriage without love is the most unholy of our institutions, and that is saying a good deal. Supposing I should say yes to you, supposing that I married you, not loving you, what would it be for? For your money and your position, and to be called a married woman, and what do you suppose I should think of myself in my heart then? No, no, I may be bad, but I have not fallen so low as that. Find another wife, Mr. Davies; the world is wide and there are plenty of women in it who will love you for your own sake, or who at any rate will not be so particular. Forget me, and leave me to go my own way--it is not your way." !Ka~X!+\  
' ui`EL%  
"Leave you to go your own way," he answered almost with passion--"that is, leave you to some other man. Oh! I cannot bear to think of it. I am jealous of every man who comes near you. Do you know how beautiful you are? You are too beautiful--every man must love you as I do. Oh, if you took anybody else I think that I should kill him." *XqS~G  
"Do not speak like that, Mr. Davies, or I shall go." H3" D$Nv  
He stopped at once. "Don't go," he said imploringly. "Listen. You said that you would not marry me because you did not love me. Supposing that you learned to love me, say in a year's time, Beatrice, would you marry me then?" hV4B?##O  
nob^ I5?  
"I would marry any man whom I loved," she answered. O/=i'0X v  
6A& f  
"Then if you learn to love me you will marry me?" O$%C(n(  
8P3EQY -  
"Oh, this is ridiculous," she said. "It is not probable, it is hardly possible, that such a thing should happen. If it had been going to happen it would have happened before." yVxR||e  
"It might come about," he answered; "your heart might soften towards me. Oh, say yes to this. It is a small request, it costs you nothing, and it gives me hope, without which I cannot live. Say that I may ask you once more, and that then if you love me you will marry me." m \4jiR_o  
Beatrice thought for a moment. Such a promise could do her no harm, and in the course of six months or a year he might get used to the idea of living without her. Also it would prevent a scene. It was weak of her, but she dreaded the idea of her having refused Owen Davies coming to her father's ears. \GbT^!dj  
"If you wish it, Mr. Davies," she said, "so be it. Only I ask you to understand this, I am in no way tied to you. I give you no hope that my answer, should you renew this offer a year hence or at any other time, will differ from that I give you to-day. I do not think there is the slightest probability of such a thing. Also, it must be understood that you are not to speak to my father about this matter, or to trouble me in any way. Do you consent?" J}`K&DtM9  
_\sm$ `q  
"Yes," he answered, "I consent. You have me at your mercy." *[W!ng  
"Very well. And now, Mr. Davies, good-bye. No, do not walk back with me. I had rather go by myself. But I want to say this: I am very sorry for what has happened. I have not wished it to happen. I have never encouraged it, and my hands are clean of it. But I am sorry, sorry beyond measure, and I repeat what I said before--seek out some other woman and marry her." 7i 334iQZ  
e *;"$7o9  
"That is the cruellest thing of all the cruel things which you have said," he answered. qZ_^#%zO  
"I did not mean it to be cruel, Mr. Davies, but I suppose that the truth often is. And now good-bye," and Beatrice stretched out her hand. r<&d1fM;X  
He touched it, and she turned and went. But Owen did not go. He sat upon the rock, his head bowed in misery. He had staked all his hopes upon this woman. She was the one desirable thing to him, the one star in his somewhat leaden sky, and now that star was eclipsed. Her words were unequivocal, they gave but little hope. Beatrice was scarcely a woman to turn round in six months or a year. On the contrary, there was a fixity about her which frightened him. What could be the cause of it? How came it that she should be so ready to reject him, and all he had to offer her? After all, she was a girl in a small position. She could not be looking forward to a better match. Nor would the prospect move her one way or another. There must be a reason for it. Perhaps he had a rival, surely that must be the cause. Some enemy had done this thing. But who? \ J9@p  
At this moment a woman's shadow fell athwart him. 9<\wa/#  
"Oh, have you come back?" he cried, springing to his feet. IqcPml{\  
"If you mean Beatrice," answered a voice--it was Elizabeth's--"she went down to the beach ten minutes ago. I happened to be on the cliff, and I saw her." x_bS-B)%Y:  
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Miss Granger," he said faintly. "I did not see who it was." bX=ht^e [  
it D%sKo  
Elizabeth sat down upon the rock where her sister had sat, and, seeing the little holes in the breach, began indolently to clear them of the sand which Beatrice had swept over them with her foot. This was no difficult matter, for the holes were deeply dug, and it was easy to trace their position. Presently they were nearly all clear--that is, the letters were legible. Lk4&&5q  
"You have had a talk with Beatrice, Mr. Davies?" g4oFUyk{  
"Yes," he answered apathetically. Mpk^e_9`<  
Elizabeth paused. Then she took her bull by the horns. I%e7:cs>  
2}$Vi$ R  
"Are you going to marry Beatrice, Mr. Davies?" she asked. %bDd  
"I don't know," he answered slowly and without surprise. It seemed natural to him that his own central thought should be present in her mind. "I love her dearly, and want to marry her." ;Jx ^  
"She refused you, then?" A=XM(2{aN  
\ [>Rt  
"Yes." bjvi`jyL3k  
Elizabeth breathed more freely. ^(6.M\Q  
"But I can ask her again." D&]SPhX  
&| ',o ?'F  
Elizabeth frowned. What could this mean? It was not an absolute refusal. Beatrice was playing some game of her own. eyUo67'7  
"Why did she put you off so, Mr. Davies? Do not think me inquisitive. I only ask because I may be able to help you." g)2}`}  
# (T  
"I know; you are very kind. Help me and I shall always be grateful to you. I do not know--I almost think that there must be somebody else, only I don't know who it can be." V- Oy<  
"Ah!" said Elizabeth, who had been gazing intently at the little holes in the beach which she had now cleared of the sand. "Of course that is possible. She is a curious girl, Beatrice is. What are those letters, Mr. Davies?" # 4L[8(+V  
He looked at them idly. "Something your sister was writing while I talked to her. I remember seeing her do it." Ue^2H[zs-  
[%7y !XD  
"G E O F F R E--why, it must be meant for Geoffrey. Yes, of course it is possible that there is somebody else, Mr. Davies. Geoffrey!--how curious!" G- wQ weJ9  
"Why is it curious, Miss Granger? Who is Geoffrey?" o_; pEe  
Elizabeth laughed a disagreeable little laugh that somehow attracted Owen's attention more than her words. t95hI DtD  
"How should I know? It must be some friend of Beatrice's, and one of whom she is thinking a great deal, or she would not write his name unconsciously. The only Geoffrey that I know is Mr. Geoffrey Bingham, the barrister, who is staying at the Vicarage, and whose life Beatrice saved." She paused to watch her companion's face, and saw a new idea creep across its stolidity. "But of course," she went on, "it cannot be Mr. Bingham that she was thinking of, because you see he is married." etF?,^)h=g  
"Married?" he said, "yes, but he's a man for all that, and a very handsome one." 'qLk"   
[ d<|Cde  
"Yes, I should call him handsome--a fine man," Elizabeth answered critically; "but, as Beatrice said the other day, the great charm about him is his talk and power of mind. He is a very remarkable man, and the world will hear of him before he has done. But, however, all this is neither here nor there. Beatrice is a curious woman, and has strange ideas, but I am sure that she would never carry on with a married man." H^"BK-`hs  
6f 6_ztTL  
"But he might carry on with her, Miss Elizabeth." SrK;b .  
She laughed. "Do you really think that a man like Mr. Bingham would try to flirt with girls without encouragement? Men like that are as proud as women, and prouder; the lady must always be a step ahead. But what is the good of talking about such a thing? It is all nonsense. Beatrice must have been thinking of some other Geoffrey--or it was an accident of something. Why, Mr. Davies, if you for one moment really believed that dear Beatrice could be guilty of such a shameless thing as to carry on a flirtation with a married man, would you have asked her to marry you? Would you still think of asking such a woman as she must be to become your wife?" q*{"6"4(  
"I don't know; I suppose not," he said doubtfully. H8\{ GGg  
"You suppose not. I know you better than you know yourself. You would rather never marry at all than take such a woman as she would be proved to be. But it is no good talking such stuff. If you have a rival you may be sure it is some unmarried man." ^9{ 2  
Owen reflected in his heart that on the whole he would rather it was a married one, since a married man, at any rate, could not legally take possession of Beatrice. But Elizabeth's rigid morality alarmed him, and he did not say so. 4OIN@n*4  
"Do you know I feel a little upset, Miss Elizabeth," he answered. "I think I will be going. By the way, I promised to say nothing of this to your father. I hope that you will not do so, either." NR [VGZj  
3$b(iI< "  
"Most certainly not," said Elizabeth, and indeed it would be the last thing she would wish to do. "Well, good-bye, Mr. Davies. Do not be downhearted; it will all come right in the end. You will always have me to help you, remember." }X?*o `sW  
m [g}vwS  
"Thank you, thank you," he said earnestly, and went. Q(6(Scp{  
Elizabeth watched him round the wall of rock with a cold and ugly smile set upon her face. %Be[DLtE"  
qk,y|7 p  
"You fool," she thought, "you fool! To tell me that you 'love her dearly and want to marry her;' you want to get that sweet face of hers, do you? You never shall; I'd spoil it first! Dear Beatrice, she is not capable of carrying on a love affair with a married man--oh, certainly not! Why, she's in love with him already, and he is more than half in love with her. If she hadn't been, would she have put Owen off? Not she. Give them time, and we shall see. They will ruin each other--they must ruin each other; it won't be child's play when two people like that fall in love. They will not stop at sighs, there is too much human nature about them. It was a good idea to get him into the house. And to see her go on with that child Effie, just as though she was its mother--it makes me laugh. Ah, Beatrice, with all your wits you are a silly woman! And one day, my dear girl, I shall have the pleasure of exposing you to Owen; the idol will be unveiled, and there will be an end of your chances with him, for he can't marry you after that. Then my turn will come. It is a question of time--only a question of time!" 3b@1Zahz  
So brooded Elizabeth in her heart, madded with malicious envy and passionate jealousy. She loved this man, Owen Davies, as much as she could love anybody; at the least, she dearly loved the wealth and station of which he was the visible centre, and she hated the sister whom he desired. If she could only discredit that sister and show her to be guilty of woman's worst crime, misplaced, unlegalised affection, surely, she thought, Owen would reject her. _AHB|P I  
She was wrong. She did not know how entirely he desired to make Beatrice his wife, or realise how forgiving a man can be who has such an end to gain. It is of the women who already weary them and of their infidelity that men are so ready to make examples, not of those who do not belong to them, and whom they long for night and day. To these they can be very merciful. h-+a;![  

只看该作者 13楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XIII. Geoffrey Lectures JO=[YoTr  
Meanwhile Beatrice was walking homewards with an uneasy mind. The trouble was upon her. She had, it is true, succeeded in postponing it a little, but she knew very well that it was only a postponement. Owen Davies was not a man to be easily shaken off. She almost wished now that she had crushed the idea once and for all. But then he would have gone to her father, and there must have been a scene, and she was weak enough to shrink from that, especially while Mr. Bingham was in the house. She could well imagine the dismay, not to say the fury, of her money-loving old father if he were to hear that she had refused-- actually refused--Owen Davies of Bryngelly Castle, and all his wealth. KH\b_>wU2  
Then there was Elizabeth to be reckoned with. Elizabeth would assuredly make her life a burden to her. Beatrice little guessed that nothing would suit her sister's book better. Oh, if only she could shake the dust of Bryngelly off her feet! But that, too, was impossible. She was quite without money. She might, it was true, succeed in getting another place as mistress to a school in some distant part of England, were it not for an insurmountable obstacle. Here she received a salary of seventy-five pounds a year; of this she kept fifteen pounds, out of which slender sum she contrived to dress herself; the rest she gave to her father. Now, as she well knew, he could not keep his head above water without this assistance, which, small as it was, made all the difference to their household between poverty and actual want. If she went away, supposing even that she found an equally well-paid post, she would require every farthing of the money to support herself, there would be nothing left to send home. It was a pitiable position; here was she, who had just refused a man worth thousands a year, quite unable to get out of the way of his importunity for the want of seventy-five pounds, paid quarterly. Well, the only thing to do was to face it out and take her chance. On one point she was, however, quite clear; she would not marry Owen Davies. She might be a fool for her pains, but she would not do it. She respected herself too much to marry a man she did not love; a man whom she positively disliked. "No, never!" she exclaimed aloud, stamping her foot upon the shingle. E}%hz*Q)(  
"Never what?" said a voice, within two yards of her. Zo>]rKeV  
She started violently, and looked round. There, his back resting against a rock, a pipe in his mouth, an open letter on his knee, and his hat drawn down almost over his eyes, sat Geoffrey. He had left Effie to go home with Mr. Granger, and climbing down a sloping place in the cliff, had strolled along the beach. The letter on his knee was one from his wife. It was short, and there was nothing particular in it. Effie's name was not even mentioned. It was to see if he had not overlooked it that he was reading the note through again. No, it merely related to Lady Honoria's safe arrival, gave a list of the people staying at the Hall--a fast lot, Geoffrey noticed, a certain Mr. Dunstan, whom he particularly disliked, among them--and the number of brace of partridges which had been killed on the previous day. Then came an assurance that Honoria was enjoying herself immensely, and that the new French cook was "simply perfect;" the letter ending "with love." <V>dM4Mkr  
"Never what, Miss Granger?" he said again, as he lazily folded up the sheet. fxT-j s#S  
"Never mind, of course," she answered, recovering herself. "How you startled me, Mr. Bingham! I had no idea there was anybody on the beach." im @h -A]0  
"It is quite free, is it not?" he answered, getting up. "I thought you were going to trample me into the pebbles. It's almost alarming when one is thinking about a Sunday nap to see a young lady striding along, then suddenly stop, stamp her foot, and say, 'No, never!' Luckily I knew that you were about or I should really have been frightened."  =kuMWaD  
"How did you know that I was about?" Beatrice asked a little defiantly. It was no business of his to observe her movements. j}C}:\-fY  
"In two ways. Look!" he said, pointing to a patch of white sand. "That, I think, is your footprint." V]db'qB\  
"Well, what of it?" said Beatrice, with a little laugh. 4J/}]Dr5  
Ku} Z  
"Nothing in particular, except that it is your footprint," he answered. "Then I happened to meet old Edward, who was loafing along, and he informed me that you and Mr. Davies had gone up the beach; there is his footprint--Mr. Davies's, I mean--but you don't seem to have been very sociable, because here is yours right in the middle of it. Therefore you must have been walking in Indian file, and a little way back in parallel lines, with quite thirty yards between you." tnN.:%mZ  
"Why do you take the trouble to observe things so closely?" she asked in a half amused and half angry tone. 9.gXzP H  
"I don't know--a habit of the legal mind, I suppose. One might make quite a romance out of those footprints on the sand, and the little subsequent events. But you have not heard all my thrilling tale. Old Edward also informed me that he saw your sister, Miss Elizabeth, going along the cliff almost level with you, from which he concluded that you had argued as to the shortest way to the Red Rocks and were putting the matter to the proof." f_jo+z{-ik  
"Elizabeth," said Beatrice, turning a shade paler; "what can she have been doing, I wonder." Q]Y*K  
@Lpq~ 1eZB  
"Taking exercise, probably, like yourself. Well, I seat myself with my pipe in the shadow of that rock, when suddenly I see Mr. Davies coming along towards Bryngelly as though he were walking for a wager, his hat fixed upon the back of his head. Literally he walked over my legs and never saw me. Then you follow and ejaculate, 'No, never!'--and that is the end of my story. Have I your permission to walk with you, or shall I interfere with the development of the plot?" aE`c%T):`  
"There is no plot, and as you said just now the beach is free," Beatrice answered petulantly. ~+Rc }K  
They walked on a few yards and then he spoke in another tone--the meaning of the assignation he had overheard in the churchyard grew clear to him now. ?^H `M|S  
1_o],? Q  
"I believe that I have to congratulate you, Miss Granger," he said, "and I do so very heartily. It is not everybody who is so fortunate as to----" @E^~$-J5j  
Beatrice stopped, and half turning faced him. _.>QEh5"5  
"What do you mean, Mr. Bingham?" she said. "I do not understand your dark sayings." 6^%UU o%  
"Mean! oh, nothing particular, except that I wished to congratulate you on your engagement." 6^uq?  
"My engagement! what engagement?" h]og*(  
"It seems that there is some mistake," he said, and struggle as he might to suppress it his tone was one of relief. "I understood that you had become engaged to be married to Mr. Owen Davies. If I am wrong I am sure I apologise." ~vXaqCX  
"You are quite wrong, Mr. Bingham; I don't know who put such a notion into your head, but there is no truth in it." 2P/K K  
e =4+$d  
"Then allow me to congratulate you on there being no truth in it. You see that is the beauty of nine affairs matrimonial out of ten--there are two or more sides of them. If they come off the amiable and disinterested observer can look at the bright side--as in this case, lots of money, romantic castle by the sea, gentleman of unexceptional antecedents, &c., &c, &c. If, on the other hand, they don't, cause can still be found for thankfulness--lady might do better after all, castle by the sea rather draughty and cold in spring, gentlemen most estimable but perhaps a little dull, and so on, you see." ?:|-Dq,  
There was a note of mockery about his talk which irritated Beatrice exceedingly. It was not like Mr. Bingham to speak so. It was not even the way that a gentleman out of his teens should speak to a lady on such a subject. He knew this as well as she did and was secretly ashamed of himself. But the truth must out: though Geoffrey did not admit it even to himself he was bitterly and profoundly jealous, and jealous people have no manners. Beatrice could not, however, be expected to know this, and naturally grew angry. O:#+%  
w6 2=06`@  
"I do not quite understand what you are talking about, Mr. Bingham," she said, putting on her most dignified air, and Beatrice could look rather alarming. "You have picked up a piece of unfounded gossip and now you take advantage of it to laugh at me, and to say rude things of Mr. Davies. It is not kind." /,5Z-Z*wq  
"Oh, no; it was the footsteps, Miss Granger, and the gossip, and the appointment you made in the churchyard, that I unwillingly overheard, not the gossip alone which led me into my mistake. Of course I have now to apologise." 1'6cGpZY  
Again Beatrice stamped her foot. She saw that he was still mocking her, and felt that he did not believe her. f1{z~i9@$  
"There," he went on, stung into unkindness by his biting but unacknowledged jealousy, for she was right--on reflection he did not quite believe what she said as to her not being engaged. "How unfortunate I am--I have said something to make you angry again. Why did you not walk with Mr. Davies? I should then have remained guiltless of offence, and you would have had a more agreeable companion. You want to quarrel with me; what shall we quarrel about? There are many things on which we are diametrically opposed; let us start one." Z>A{i?#m  
T |"`8mG  
It was too much, for though his words were nothing the tone in which he spoke gave them a sting. Beatrice, already disturbed in mind by the scene through which she had passed, her breast already throbbing with a vague trouble of which she did not know the meaning, for once in her life lost control of herself and grew hysterical. Her grey eyes filled with tears, the corners of her sweet mouth dropped, and she looked very much as though she were going to burst out weeping. QUP|FIpZ  
"It is most unkind of you," she said, with a half sob. "If you knew how much I have to put up with, you would not speak to me like that. I know that you do not believe me; very well, I will tell you the truth. Yes, though I have no business to do it, and you have no right--none at all--to make me do it, I will tell you the truth, because I cannot bear that you should not believe me. Mr. Davies did want me to marry him and I refused him. I put him off for a while; I did this because I knew that if I did not he would go to my father. It was cowardly, but my father would make my life wretched----" and again she gave a half- choked sob. SfDQ;1?  
Much has been said and written about the effect produced upon men by the sight of a lady in, or on the border line of tears, and there is no doubt that this effect is considerable. Man being in his right mind is deeply moved by such a spectacle, also he is frightened because he dreads a scene. Now most people would rather walk ten miles in their dress shoes than have to deal with a young lady in hysterics, however modified. Putting the peculiar circumstances of the case aside, Geoffrey was no exception to this rule. It was all very well to cross spears with Beatrice, who had quite an equal wit, and was very capable of retaliation, but to see her surrender at discretion was altogether another thing. Indeed he felt much ashamed of himself. )[ b#g(Y(  
"Please don't--don't--be put out," he said. He did not like to use the word "cry." "I was only laughing at you, but I ought not to have spoken as I did. I did not wish to force your confidence, indeed I did not. I never thought of such a thing. I am so sorry." 4L11P  
His remorse was evidently genuine, and Beatrice felt somewhat appeased. Perhaps it did not altogether grieve her to learn that she could make him feel sorry. J$#D:KaU:N  
/ Z1Wy-Z  
"You did not force my confidence," she said defiantly, quite forgetting that a moment before she had reproached him for making her speak. "I told you because I did not choose that you should think I was not speaking the truth--and now let us change the subject." She imposed no reserve on him as to what she had revealed; she knew that there was no necessity to do so. The secret would be between them-- another dangerous link. i]LU4y %'  
Beatrice recovered her composure and they walked slowly on. l#tS.+B7  
"Tell me, Mr. Bingham," she said presently, "how can a woman earn her living--I mean a girl like myself without any special qualifications? Some of them get on." jK& Nkp  
3N(8| wh  
"Well," he answered, "that depends upon the girl. What sort of a living do you mean? You are earning a living now, of a kind." z'5;f;  
nOA ,x  
"Yes, but sometimes, if only I could manage it, I think that I should like to get away from here, and take another line, something bigger. I do not suppose that I ever shall, but I like to think of it sometimes." "6|'& 6&  
J8`1V `$  
"I only know of two things which a woman can turn to," he said, "the stage and literature. Of course," he added hastily, "the first is out of the question in your case." O(c4iWm  
"And so is the other, I am afraid," she answered shaking her head, "that is if by literature you mean imaginative writing, and I suppose that is the only way to get into notice. As I told you I lost my imagination--well, to be frank, when I lost my faith. At one time I used to have plenty, as I used to have plenty of faith, but the one went with the other, I do not understand why." E!(`275s  
L 52z  
"Don't you? I think I do. A mind without religious sentiment is like a star without atmosphere, brighter than other stars but not so soft to see. Religion, poetry, music, imagination, and even some of the more exalted forms of passion, flourish in the same soil, and are, I sometimes think, different manifestations of the same thing. Do you know it is ridiculous to hear you talk of having lost your faith, because I don't believe it. At the worst it has gone to sleep, and will wake up again one day. Possibly you may not accept some particular form of faith, but I tell you frankly that to reject all religion simply because you cannot understand it, is nothing but a form of atrocious spiritual vanity. Your mind is too big for you, Miss Granger: it has run away with you, but you know it is tied by a string --it cannot go far. And now perhaps you will be angry again." uma9yIk  
"No, indeed, why should I be angry? I daresay that you are quite right, and I only hope that I may be able to believe again. I will tell you how I lost belief. I had a little brother whom I loved more than anything else in the world, indeed after my mother died he was the only thing I really had to love, for I think that my father cares more for Elizabeth than he does for me, she is so much the better at business matters, and Elizabeth and I never quite got on. I daresay that the fault is mine, but the fact remains--we are sisters but we are not intimate. Well, my brother fell ill of a fever, and for a long time he lay between life and death, and I prayed for him as I never prayed for anybody or anything before--yes, I prayed that I might die instead of him. Then he passed through the crisis and got better, and I thanked God, thinking that my prayers had been answered; oh, how happy I was for those ten days! And then this happened:--My brother got a chill, a relapse followed, and in three days he was dead. The last words that he spoke to me were, 'Oh, don't let me die, Bee!'--he used to call me Bee--'Please don't let me die, dear Bee!' But he died, died in my arms, and when it was over I rose from his side feeling as though my heart was dead also. I prayed no more after that. It seemed to me as though my prayers had been mocked at, as though he had been given back to me for a little while in order that the blow might be more crushing when it fell." ckkM)|kK  
"Don't you think that you were a little foolish in taking such a view?" said Geoffrey. "Have you not been amused, sometimes, to read about the early Christians?--how the lead would not boil the martyr, or the lion would not eat him, or the rain from a blue sky put out the fire, and how the pagan king at once was converted and accepted a great many difficult doctrines without further delay. The Athanasian Creed was not necessarily true because the fire would not light or the sword would not cut, nor, excuse me, were all your old beliefs wrong because your prayer was unanswered. It is an ancient story, that we cannot tell whether the answering of our petitions will be good or ill for us. Of course I do not know anything about such things, but it seems to me rash to suppose that Providence is going to alter the working of its eternal laws merely to suit the passing wishes of individuals--wishes, too, that in many cases would bring unforeseen sorrows if fulfilled. Besides I daresay that the poor child is happier dead than he would have been had he lived. It is not an altogether pleasant world for most of us." BB}iBf I'  
"Yes, Mr. Bingham, I know, and I daresay that I should have got over the shock in time, only after that I began to read. I read the histories of the religions and compared them, and I read the works of those writers who have risen up to attack them. I found, or I thought that I found, the same springs of superstition in them all-- superstitions arising from elementary natural causes, and handed on with variations from race to race, and time to time. In some I found the same story, only with a slightly altered face, and I learned, moreover, that each faith denied the other, and claimed truth for itself alone. *" +cP!  
Nv#, s_hG  
"After that, too, I went to the college and there I fell in with a lady, one of the mistresses, who was the cleverest woman that I ever knew, and in her way a good woman, but one who believed that religion was the curse of the world, and who spent all her spare time in attacking it in some form or other. Poor thing, she is dead now. And so, you see, what between these causes and the continual spectacle of human misery which to my mind negatives the idea of a merciful and watching Power, at last it came to pass that the only altar left in my temple is an altar to the 'Unknown God.'" {:j!@w3  
Geoffrey, like most men who have had to think on these matters, did not care to talk about them much, especially to women. For one thing, he was conscious of a tendency to speech less reverent than his thought. But he had not entered Beatrice's church of Darkness, indeed he had turned his back on it for ever, though, like most people, he had at different periods of his past life tarried an hour in its porch. So he ventured on an objection. Q*(C)/QW  
"I am no theologian," he said, "and I am not fond of discussion on such matters. But there are just one or two things I should like to say. It is no argument, to my mind at least, to point to the existence of evil and unhappiness among men as a proof of the absence of a superior Mercy; for what are men that such things should not be with them? Man, too, must own some master. If he has doubts let him look up at the marshalling of the starry heaven, and they will vanish." JR)rp3o-  
m ws.)  
"No," said Beatrice, "I fear not. Kant said so, but before that Moli鑢e had put the argument in the mouth of a fool. The starry heavens no more prove anything than does the running of the raindrops down the window-pane. It is not a question of size and quantity." sn%fE  
.M lE1n'  
"I might accept the illustration," answered Geoffrey; "one example of law is as good as another for my purpose. I see in it all the working of a living Will, but of course that is only my way of looking at it, not yours." |1o]d$3m  
"No; I am afraid," said Beatrice, "all this reasoning drawn from material things does not touch me. That is how the Pagans made their religions, and it is how Paley strives to prove his. They argued from the Out to the In, from the material to the spiritual. It cannot be; if Christianity is true it must stand upon spiritual feet and speak with a spiritual voice, to be heard, not in the thunderstorm, but only in the hearts of men. The existence of Creative Force does not demonstrate the existence of a Redeemer; if anything, it tends to negative it, for the power that creates is also the power which destroys. What does touch me, however, is the thought of the multitude of the Dead. That is what we care for, not for an Eternal Force, ever creating and destroying. Think of them all--all the souls of unheard-of races, almost animal, who passed away so long ago. Can ours endure more than theirs, and do you think that the spirit of an Ethiopian who died in the time of Moses is anywhere now?" \]K-<&f  
"There was room for them all on earth," answered Geoffrey. "The universe is wide. It does not dismay me. There are mysteries in our nature, the nature we think we know--shall there be none in that which we know not? Worlds die, to live again when, after millions of ages, the conditions become once more favourable to life, and why should not a man? We are creatures of the world, we reflect its every light and shadow, we rejoice in its rejoicing, its every feature has a tiny parallel in us. Why should not our fate be as its fate, and its fate is so far as we know eternal. It may change from gas to chaos, from chaos to active life, from active life to seeming death. Then it may once more pass into its elements, and from those elements back again to concrete being, and so on for ever, always changing, but always the same. So much for nature's allegory. It is not a perfect analogy, for Man is a thing apart from all things else; it may be only a hint or a type, but it is something. .#X0P=  
"Now to come to the question of our religion. I confess I draw quite a different conclusion from your facts. You say that you trace the same superstitions in all religions, and that the same spiritual myths are in some shape present in almost all. Well, does not this suggest that the same great truth underlies them all, taking from time to time the shape which is best suited to the spiritual development of those professing each. Every great new religion is better than the last. You cannot compare Osirianism with Buddhism, or Buddhism with Christianity, or Mahomedanism with the Arabian idol worship. Take the old illustration--take a cut crystal and hold it in the sun, and you will see many different coloured rays come from its facets. They look different, but they are all born of the same great light; they are all the same light. May it not be so with religion? Let your altar be to the 'Unknown God,' if you like--for who can give an unaltering likeness to the Power above us?--but do not knock your altar down. #8PjYB  
"Depend upon it, Miss Granger, all indications to the contrary notwithstanding, there is a watching Providence without the will of which we cannot live, and if we deliberately reject that Providence, setting up our intelligence in its place, sorrow will come of it, even here; for it is wiser than we. I wish that you would try and look at the question from another point of view--from a higher point of view. I think you will find that it will bear a great deal of examination, and that you will come to the conclusion that the dictum of the wise- acre who says there is nothing because he can see nothing, is not necessarily a true one. There, that is all I have to say, and I wish that I could say it better." giI9-C  
M,l Ib9  
"Thank you," said Beatrice, "I will. Why here we are at home; I must go and put Effie to bed." A H`6)v<f  
< =sO@0(<  
And here it may be stated that Geoffrey's advice was not altogether thrown away. Beatrice did try looking at the question again, and if Faith did not altogether come back to her at least Hope did, and "the greatest of these, which is Charity," had never deserted her. Hope came slowly back, not by argument probably, but rather by example. In the sea of Doubt she saw another buoyed up, if it were but on broken pieces of the ship. This encouraged her. Geoffrey believed, and she-- believed in Geoffrey. Indeed, is not this the secret of woman's philosophy--even, to some extent, of that of such a woman as Beatrice? "Let the faith or unfaith of This, That, or the other Rabbi answer for me," she says--it is her last argument. She believes in This, or That, or some other philosopher: that is her creed. And Geoffrey was the person in whom Beatrice began to believe, all the more wholly because she had never believed in any one before. Whatever else she was to lose, this at least she won when she saved his life. I9H+$Wjd  
,{7Z OzA  

只看该作者 14楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XIV. Drifting ?]Hs~n-  
On the day following their religious discussion an accident happened which resulted in Geoffrey and Beatrice being more than ever thrown in the company of each other. During the previous week two cases of scarlatina had been reported among the school children, and now it was found that the complaint had spread so much that it was necessary to close the school. This meant, of course, that Beatrice had all her time upon her hands. And so had Geoffrey. It was his custom to bathe before breakfast, after which he had nothing to do for the rest of the day. Beatrice with little Effie also bathed before breakfast from the ladies' bathing-place, a quarter of a mile off, and sometimes he would meet her as she returned, glowing with health and beauty like Venus new risen from the Cyprian sea, her half-dried hair hanging in heavy masses down her back. Then after breakfast they would take Effie down to the beach, and her "auntie," as the child learned to call Beatrice, would teach her lessons and poetry till she was tired, and ran away to paddle in the sea or look for prawns among the rocks. 6zU0 8z0-  
Meanwhile the child's father and Beatrice would talk--not about religion, they spoke no more on that subject, nor about Owen Davies, but of everything else on earth. Beatrice was a merry woman when she was happy, and they never lacked subjects of conversation, for their minds were very much in tune. In book-learning Beatrice had the advantage of Geoffrey, for she had not only read enormously, she also remembered what she read and could apply it. Her critical faculty, too, was very keen. He, on the other hand, had more knowledge of the world, and in his rich days had travelled a good deal, and so it came to pass that each could always find something to tell the other. Never for one second were they dull, not even when they sat for an hour or so in silence, for it was the silence of complete companionship. QrmGrRH  
So the long morning would wear away all too quickly, and they would go in to dinner, to be greeted with a cold smile by Elizabeth and heartily enough by the old gentleman, who never thought of anything out of his own circle of affairs. After dinner it was the same story. Either they went walking to look for ferns and flowers, or perhaps Geoffrey took his gun and hid behind the rocks for curlew, sending Beatrice, who knew the coast by heart, a mile round or more to some headland in order to put them on the wing. Then she would come back, springing towards him from rock to rock, and crouch down beneath a neighbouring seaweed-covered boulder, and they would talk together in whispers, or perhaps they would not talk at all, for fear lest they should frighten the flighting birds. And Geoffrey would first search the heavens for curlew or duck, and, seeing none, would let his eyes fall upon the pure beauty of Beatrice's face, showing so clearly against the tender sky, and wonder what she was thinking about; till, suddenly feeling his gaze, she would turn with a smile as sweet as the first rosy blush of dawn upon the waters, and ask him what he was thinking about. And he would laugh and answer "You," whereon she would smile again and perhaps blush a little, feeling glad at heart, she knew not why. W}(xE?9&  
Then came tea-time and the quiet, when they sat at the open window, and Geoffrey smoked and listened to the soft surging of the sea and the harmonious whisper of the night air in the pines. In the corner Mr. Granger slept in his armchair, or perhaps he had gone to bed altogether, for he liked to go to bed at half-past eight, as the old Herefordshire farmer, his father, had done before him; and at the far end of the room sat Elizabeth, doing her accounts by the light of a solitary candle, or, if they failed her, reading some book of a devotional and inspired character. But over the edge of the book, or from the page of crabbed accounts, her eyes would glance continually towards the handsome pair in the window-place, and she would smile as she saw that it went well. Only they never saw the glances or noted the smile. When Geoffrey looked that way, which was not often, for Elizabeth--old Elizabeth, as he always called her to himself--did not attract him, all he saw was her sharp but capable-looking form bending over her work, and the light of the candle gleaming on her straw- coloured hair and falling in gleaming white patches on her hard knuckles. JHVesX  
( v=Z$#l  
And so the happy day would pass and bed-time come, and with it unbidden dreams. 9d,2d5Y  
Geoffrey thought no ill of all this, as of course he ought to have thought. He was not the ravening lion of fiction--so rarely, if ever, to be met with in real life--going about seeking whom he might devour. He had absolutely no designs on Beatrice's affections, any more than she had on his, and he had forgotten that first fell prescience of evil to come. Once or twice, it is true, qualms of doubt did cross his mind in the earlier days of their intimacy. But he put them by as absurd. He was no believer in the tender helplessness of full-grown women, his experience having been that they are amply capable--and, for the most part, more than capable--of looking after themselves. It seemed to him a thing ridiculous that such a person as Beatrice, who was competent to form opinions and a judgment upon all the important questions of life, should be treated as a child, and that he should remove himself from Bryngelly lest her young affections should become entangled. He felt sure that they would never be entrapped in any direction whatsoever without her full consent. ob.=QQQs  
Then he ceased to think about the matter at all. Indeed, the mere idea of such a thing involved a supposition that would only have been acceptable to a conceited man--namely, that there was a possibility of this young lady's falling in love with him. What right had he to suppose anything of the sort? It was an impertinence. That there was another sort of possibility--namely, of his becoming more attached to her than was altogether desirable--did, however, occur to him once or twice. But he shrugged his shoulders and put it by. After all, it was his look out, and he did not much care. It would do her no harm at the worst. But very soon all these shadowy forebodings of dawning trouble vanished quite. They were lost in the broad, sweet lights of friendship. By-and-by, when friendship's day was done, they might arise again, called by other names and wearing a sterner face. sC.aT(meJ  
It was ridiculous--of course it was ridiculous; he was not going to fall in love like a boy at his time of life; all he felt was gratitude and interest--all she felt was amusement in his society. As for the intimacy--felt rather than expressed--the intimacy that could already almost enable the one to divine the other's thought, that could shape her mood to his and his to hers, that could cause the same thing of beauty to be a common joy, and discover unity of mind in opinions the most opposite--why, it was only natural between people who had together passed a peril terrible to think of. So they took the goods the gods provided, and drifted softly on--whither they did not stop to inquire. jCMr[ G=  
One day, however, a little incident happened that ought to have opened the eyes of both. They had arranged, or rather there was a tacit understanding, that they should go out together in the afternoon. Geoffrey was to take his gun and Beatrice a book, but it chanced that, just before dinner, as she walked back from the village, where she had gone to buy some thread to mend Effie's clothes, Beatrice came face to face with Mr. Davies. It was their first meeting without witnesses since the Sunday of which the events have been described, and, naturally, therefore, rather an awkward one. Owen stopped short so that she could not pass him with a bow, and then turned and walked beside her. After a remark or two about the weather, the springs of conversation ran dry. p1 9j  
"You remember that you are coming up to the Castle this afternoon?" he said, at length. E>tlY&0[$  
"To the Castle!" she answered. "No, I have heard nothing of it." WQ/H8rOs  
"Did not your sister tell you she made an engagement for herself and you a week or more ago? You are to bring the little girl; she wants to see the view from the top of the tower." t]|WRQvy8  
Then Beatrice remembered. Elizabeth had told her, and she had thought it best to accept the situation. The whole thing had gone out of her mind. [)V&$~xW  
"Oh, I beg your pardon! I do remember now, but I have made another plan--how stupid of me!" .a._WZF  
"You had forgotten," he said in his heavy voice; "it is easy for you to forget what I have been looking forward to for a whole week. What is your plan--to go out walking with Mr. Bingham, I suppose?" tRU+6D <w  
"Yes," answered Beatrice, "to go out with Mr. Bingham." [@"~'fu0  
"Ah! you go out with Mr. Bingham every day now." jWHv9XtW  
"And what if I do?" said Beatrice quickly; "surely, Mr. Davies, I have a right to go out with whom I like?" VK>ZH^-  
"Yes, of course; but the engagement to come to the Castle was made first; are you not going to keep it?" VsIDd}~C%  
SM? rss.=  
"Of course I am going to keep it; I always keep my engagements when I have any." gUa-6@  
"Very well, then; I shall expect you at three o'clock." tO}Y=kZa{  
Beatrice went on home in a curiously irritated condition of mind. She did not, naturally, want to go to the Castle, and she did want to go out with Geoffrey. However, there was no help for it. *r/o \pyH  
When she came in to dinner she found that Geoffrey was not there. He had, it seemed, gone to lunch with Dr. Chambers, whom he had met on the beach. Before he returned they were all three starting for the Castle, Beatrice leaving a message to this effect with Betty. f^[u70c82  
About a quarter of an hour afterwards, Geoffrey came back to fetch his gun and Beatrice, but Beatrice was gone, and all that he could extract from Betty was that she had gone to see Mr. Davies. Lb0BmR%0  
He was perfectly furious, though all the while he knew how unreasonable was his anger. He had been looking forward to the expedition, and this sudden change of plan was too much for his temper. Off he started, however, to pass a thoroughly miserable afternoon. He seemed to miss Beatrice more each step and gradually to grow more and more angry at what he called her "rudeness." Of course it never occurred to him that what he was really angry at was her going to see Mr. Davies, or that, in truth, her society had become so delightful to him that to be deprived of it even for an afternoon was to be wretched. To top everything, he only got three good shots that afternoon, and he missed them all, which made him crosser than ever. f4lC*nCN  
-:  8[  
As for Beatrice, she enjoyed herself just as little at the Castle as Geoffrey did on the beach. Owen Davies took them through the great unused rooms and showed them the pictures, but she had seen them before, and though some of them were very fine, did not care to look at them again--at any rate, not that afternoon. But Elizabeth gazed at them with eager eyes and mentally appraised their value, wondering if they would ever be hers. QP1 bm]QYA  
"What is this picture?" she asked, pointing to a beautiful portrait of a Dutch Burgomaster by Rembrandt. iJem9XXb  
"That," answered Davies heavily, for he knew nothing of painting and cared less, "that is a Velasquez, valued for probate at ?,000--no," referring to the catalogue and reading, "I beg your pardon, the next is the Velasquez; that is a Rembrandt in the master's best style, showing all his wonderful mastery over light and shade. It was valued for probate at ?,000 guineas." DV">9{"5']  
"Four thousand guineas!" said Elizabeth, "fancy having a thing worth four thousand guineas hanging on a wall!" 84uHK)h<%  
And so they went on, Elizabeth asking questions and Owen answering them by the help of the catalogue, till, to Beatrice's relief, they came at length to the end of the pictures. Then they took some tea in the little sitting room of the master of all this magnificence. Owen, to her great annoyance, sat opposite to Beatrice, staring at her with all his eyes while she drank her tea, with Effie sitting in her lap, and Elizabeth, observing it, bit her lip in jealousy. She had thought it well to bring her sister here; it would not do to let Mr. Davies think she was keeping Beatrice out of his way, but his mute idol worship was trying to her feelings. After tea they went to the top of the tower, and Effie rejoiced exceedingly in the view, which was very beautiful. Here Owen got a word with Elizabeth. <.lT.>'?  
"Your sister seems to be put out about something," he said. /QeJ#EHn  
"I daresay," she answered carelessly; "Beatrice has an uncertain temper. I think she wanted to go out shooting with Mr. Bingham this afternoon." DD4fV`:kG  
Had Owen been a less religious person he might have sworn; as it was, he only said, "Mr. Bingham--it is always Mr. Bingham from morning to night! When is he going away?" } +@H&}u  
"In another week, I believe. Beatrice will be sorry, I think; she makes a great companion of him. And now I think that we must be getting home," and she went, leaving this poisoned shaft to rankle in his breast. ,Tb~+z|-[  
After they had returned to the vicarage and Beatrice had heard Effie her prayers and tucked her up in her small white bed, she went down to the gate to be quiet for a little while before supper. Geoffrey had not yet come in. yzvNv]Z'*  
It was a lovely autumn evening; the sea seemed to sleep, and the little clouds, from which the sunset fires had paled, lay like wreaths of smoke upon the infinite blue sky. Why had not Mr. Bingham come back, she wondered; he would scarcely have time to dress. Supposing that an accident had happened to him. Nonsense! what accident could happen? He was so big and strong he seemed to defy accidents; and yet had it not been for her there would be little enough left of his strength to-day. Ah! she was glad that she had lived to be able to save him from death. There he came, looming like a giant in the evening mist. r'kUU] j9  
There was a small hand-gate beside the large one on which she leant. Geoffrey stalked straight up to it as though he did not see her; he saw her well enough, but he was cross with her. 49)A.Bh&!  
She allowed him to pass through the gate, which he shut slowly, perhaps to give her an opportunity of speaking, if she wished to do so; then thinking that he did not see her she spoke in her soft, musical voice. U Ox$Xwp5&  
"Did you have good sport, Mr. Bingham?" PZ/gD  
"No," he answered shortly; "I saw very little, and I missed all I saw." !XjvvX"j  
"I am so sorry, except for the birds. I hate the birds to be killed. Did you not see me in this white dress? I saw you fifty yards away." $'3`$   
"Yes, Miss Granger," he answered, "I saw you." ]!J 6S.@#+  
5EDN 9?a  
"And you were going by without speaking to me; it was very rude of you --what is the matter?" |ofegO}W7  
"Not so rude as it was of you to arrange to walk out with me and then to go and see Mr. Davies instead." %)T>Wn%b]v  
"I could not help it, Mr. Bingham; it was an old engagement, which I had forgotten." \"B?'Ep;  
"Quite so, ladies generally have an excuse for doing what they want to do." kcKcIn{  
"It is not an excuse, Mr. Bingham," Beatrice answered, with dignity; "there is no need for me to make excuses to you about my movements." ^hq+ L^$^  
"Of course not, Miss Granger; but it would be more polite to tell me when you change your mind--next time, you know. However, I have no doubt that the Castle has attractions for you." PL$*)#S"$  
F6>K FU8  
She flashed one look at him and turned to go, and as she did so his heart relented; he grew ashamed. + *u'vt?  
"Miss Granger, don't go; forgive me. I do not know what has become of my manners, I spoke as I should not. The fact is, I was put out at your not coming. To tell you the honest truth, I missed you dreadfully." Z_b^K^4  
G.j  R  
"You missed me. That is very nice of you; one likes to be missed. But, if you missed me for one afternoon, how will you get on a week hence when you go away and miss me altogether?" l'yX_`*Iq  
Beatrice spoke in a bantering tone, and laughed as she spoke, but the laugh ended in something like a sigh. He looked at her for a moment, looked till she dropped her eyes. ;Avz%2#c`  
V XE85  
"Heaven only knows!" he answered sadly. *qX!  
"Let us go in," said Beatrice, in a constrained voice; "how chill the air has turned." QNN*/n  

只看该作者 15楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XV. Only Good-Night G"tlJ7$myQ  
  Five more days passed, all too quickly, and once more Monday came round. It was the 22nd of October, and the Michaelmas Sittings began on the 24th. On the morrow, Tuesday, Geoffrey was to return to London, there to meet Lady Honoria and get to work at Chambers. That very morning, indeed, a brief, the biggest he had yet received--it was marked thirty guineas--had been forwarded to him from his chambers, with a note from his clerk to the effect that the case was expected to be in the special jury list on the first day of the sittings, and that the clerk had made an appointment for him with the solicitors for 5.15 on the Tuesday. The brief was sent to him by his uncle's firm, and marked, "With you the Attorney-General, and Mr. Candleton, Q.C.," the well-known leader of the Probate and Divorce Court Bar. Never before had Geoffrey found himself in such honourable company, that is on the back of a brief, and not a little was he elated thereby. $4~Z]-38#A  
But when he came to look into the case his joy abated somewhat, for it was one of the most perplexing that he had ever known. The will contested, which was that of a Yorkshire money-lender, disposed of property to the value of over ?0,000, and was propounded by a niece of the testator who, when he died, if not actually weak in his mind, was in his dotage, and superstitious to the verge of insanity. The niece to whom all the property was left--to the exclusion of the son and daughter of the deceased, both married, and living away from home --stayed with the testator and looked after him. Shortly before his death, however, he and this niece had violently quarrelled on account of an intimacy which the latter had formed with a married man of bad repute, who was a discharged lawyer's clerk. So serious had been the quarrel that only three days before his death the testator had sent for a lawyer and formally, by means of a codicil, deprived the niece of a sum of ?,000 which he had left her, all the rest of his property being divided between his son and daughter. Three days afterwards, however, he duly executed a fresh will, in the presence of two servants, by which he left all his property to the niece, to the entire exclusion of his own children. This will, though very short, was in proper form and was written by nobody knew whom. The servants stated that the testator before signing it was perfectly acquainted with its contents, for the niece had made him repeat them in their presence. They also declared, however, that he seemed in a terrible fright, and said twice, "It's behind me; it's behind me!" 3-,W? "aC  
Within an hour of the signing of the will the testator was found dead, apparently from the effects of fear, but the niece was not in the room at the time of death. The only other remarkable circumstance in the case was that the disreputable lover of the niece had been seen hanging about the house at dusk, the testator having died at ten o'clock at night. There was also a further fact. The son, on receiving a message from the niece that his father was seriously worse, had hurried with extraordinary speed to the house, passing some one or something--he could not tell what--that seemed to be running, apparently from the window of the sick man's room, which was on the ground floor, and beneath which footmarks were afterwards found. Of these footmarks two casts had been taken, of which photographs were forwarded with the brief. They had been made by naked feet of small size, and in each case the little joint of the third toe of the right foot seemed to be missing. But all attempts to find the feet that made them had hitherto failed. The will was contested by the next of kin, for whom Geoffrey was one of the counsel, upon the usual grounds of undue influence and fraud; but as it seemed at present with small prospect of success, for, though the circumstances were superstitious enough, there was not the slightest evidence of either. This curious case, of which the outlines are here written, is briefly set out, because it proved to be the foundation of Geoffrey's enormous practice and reputation at the Bar. i}P{{kMJ  
d[J_iD{ &  
He read the brief through twice, thought it over well, and could make little of it. It was perfectly obvious to him that there had been foul play somewhere, but he found himself quite unable to form a workable hypothesis. Was the person who had been seen running away concerned in the matter?--if it was a person. If so, was he the author of the footprints? Of course the ex-lawyer's clerk had something to do with it, but what? In vain did Geoffrey cudgel his brains; every idea that occurred to him broke down somewhere or other. / + %  
"We shall lose this," he said aloud in despair; "suspicious circumstances are not enough to upset a will," and then, addressing Beatrice, who was sitting at the table, working: w,FPL&{  
"Here, Miss Granger, you have a smattering of law, see if you can make anything of this," and he pushed the heavy brief towards her. ")STB8kQ  
Beatrice took it with a laugh, and for the next three-quarters of an hour her fair brow was puckered up in a way quaint to see. At last she finished and shut the brief up. "Let me look at the photographs," she said. aIV / c  
Geoffrey handed them to her. She very carefully examined first one and then the other, and as she did so a light of intelligence broke out upon her face. S%i^`_=Q  
"Well, Portia, have you got it?" he asked. 69g{oo  
"I have got something," she answered. "I do not know if it is right. Don't you see, the old man was superstitious; they frightened him first of all by a ghostly voice or some such thing into signing the will, and then to death after he had signed it. The lawyer's clerk prepared the will--he would know how to do it. Then he was smuggled into the room under the bed, or somewhere, dressed up as a ghost perhaps. The sending for the son by the niece was a blind. The thing that was seen running away was a boy--those footprints were made by a boy. I have seen so many thousands on the sands here that I could swear to it. He was attracted to the house from the road, which was quite near, by catching sight of something unusual through the blind; the brief says there were no curtains or shutters. Now look at the photographs of the footprints. See in No. 1, found outside the window, the toes are pressed down deeply into the mud. The owner of the feet was standing on tip-toe to get a better view. But in No. 2, which was found near where the son thought he saw a person running, the toes are spread out quite wide. That is the footprint of some one who was in a great hurry. Now it is not probable that a boy had anything to do with the testator's death. Why, then, was the boy running so hard? I will tell you: because he was frightened at something he had seen through the blind. So frightened was he, that he will not come forward, or answer the advertisements and inquiries. Find a boy in that town who has a joint missing on the third toe of the right foot, and you will soon know all about it." b2m={q(s  
"By Jove," said Geoffrey, "what a criminal lawyer you would make! I believe that you have got it. But how are we to find this boy with the missing toe-joint? Every possible inquiry has already been made and failed. Nobody has seen such a boy, whose deficiency would probably be known by his parents, or schoolfellows." t#k]K]  
"Yes," said Beatrice, "it has failed because the boy has taken to wearing shoes, which indeed he would always have to do at school. His parents, if he has any, would perhaps not speak of his disfigurement, and no one else might know of it, especially if he were a new-comer in the neighbourhood. It is quite possible that he took off his boots in order to creep up to the window. And now I will tell you how I should set to work to find him. I should have every bathing-place in the river running through the town--there is a river--carefully watched by detectives. In this weather" (the autumn was an unusually warm one) "boys of that class often paddle and sometimes bathe. If they watch close enough, they will probably find a boy with a missing toe joint among the number." L5&M@YTH  
f1 ;  
"What a good idea," said Geoffrey. "I will telegraph to the lawyers at once. I certainly believe that you have got the clue." :U6` n  
And as it turned out afterwards Beatrice had got it; her suppositions were right in almost every particular. The boy, who proved to be the son of a pedlar who had recently come into the town, was found wading, and by a clever trick, which need not be detailed, frightened into telling the truth, as he had previously frightened himself into holding his tongue. He had even, as Beatrice conjectured, taken off his boots to creep up to the window, and as he ran away in his fright, had dropped them into a ditch full of water. There they were found, and went far to convince the jury of the truth of his story. Thus it was that Beatrice's quick wit laid the foundations of Geoffrey's great success. eqx }]#  
This particular Monday was a field day at the Vicarage. Jones had proved obdurate; no power on earth could induce him to pay the ?4 11s. 4d. due on account of tithe. Therefore Mr. Granger, fortified by a judgment duly obtained, had announced his intention of distraining upon Jones's hay and cattle. Jones had replied with insolent defiance. If any bailiff, or auctioneer, or such people came to sell his hay he would kill him, or them. %:3XYO.w-  
So said Jones, and summoned his supporters, many of whom owed tithe, and none of whom wished to pay it, to do battle in his cause. For his part, Mr. Granger retained an auctioneer of undoubted courage who was to arrive on this very afternoon, supported by six policemen, and carry out the sale. Beatrice felt nervous about the whole thing, but Elizabeth was very determined, and the old clergyman was now bombastic and now despondent. The auctioneer arrived duly by the one o'clock train. He was a tall able-bodied man, not unlike Geoffrey in appearance, indeed at twenty yards distance it would have been difficult to tell them apart. The sale was fixed for half-past two, and Mr. Johnson--that was the auctioneer's name--went to the inn to get his dinner before proceeding to business. He was informed of the hostile demonstration which awaited him, and that an English member of Parliament had been sent down especially to head the mob, but being a man of mettle pooh-poohed the whole affair. ;1k& }v&  
"All bark, sir," he said to Geoffrey, "all bark and no bite; I'm not afraid of these people. Why, if they won't bid for the stuff, I will buy it in myself." .}==p&(  
"All right," said Geoffrey, "but I advise you to look out. I fancy that the old man is a rough customer." #^}H)>jWy  
~/rD _K  
Then Geoffrey went back to his dinner. [* <x)  
As they sat at the meal, through a gap in the fir trees they saw that the great majority of the population of Bryngelly was streaming up towards the scene of the sale, some to agitate, and some to see the fun. [H*JFKpx  
}U8v ~wcd  
"It is pretty well time to be off," said Geoffrey. "Are you coming, Mr. Granger?" NK qI x  
"Well," answered the old gentleman, "I wished to do so, but Elizabeth thinks that I had better keep away. And after all, you know," he added airily, "perhaps it is as well for a clergyman not to mix himself up too much in these temporal matters. No, I want to go and see about some pigs at the other end of the parish, and I think that I shall take this opportunity." >e {1e  
O q$_ q  
"You are not going, Mr. Bingham, are you?" asked Beatrice in a voice which betrayed her anxiety. qt}M&=}8Q  
"Oh, yes," he answered, "of course I am. I would not miss the chance for worlds. Why, Beecham Bones is going to be there, the member of Parliament who has just done his four months for inciting to outrage. We are old friends; I was at school with him. Poor fellow, he was mad even in those days, and I want to chaff him." pA*C|g  
"I think that you had far better not go, Mr. Bingham," said Beatrice; "they are a very rough set." w&?XsO@0W  
Y$L` G  
"Everybody is not so cowardly as you are," put in Elizabeth. "I am going at any rate." nNCR5&,q  
"That's right, Miss Elizabeth," said Geoffrey; "we will protect each other from the revolutionary fury of the mob. Come, it is time to start." MUl`0H"tR  
And so they went, leaving Beatrice a prey to melancholy forebodings. Yuv=<V  
She waited in the house for the best part of an hour, making pretence to play with Effie. Then her anxiety got the better of her; she put on her hat and started, leaving Effie in charge of the servant Betty. r4u ,I<ZbH  
Beatrice walked quickly along the cliff till she came in sight of Jones's farm. From where she stood she could make out a great crowd of men, and even, when the wind turned towards her, catch the noise of shouting. Presently she heard a sound like the report of a gun, saw the crowd break up in violent confusion, and then cluster together again in a dense mass. Eva&FHRTY  
F+5 5p8  
"What could it mean?" Beatrice wondered. [fwk[qFa  
y]!#$C /  
As the thought crossed her mind, she perceived two men running towards her with all their speed, followed by a woman. Three minutes more and she saw that the woman was Elizabeth. :rk6Stn$z  
The men were passing her now.  '"hSX=  
"What is it?" she cried. XQOM6$~,  
"Murder!" they answered with one voice, and sped on towards Bryngelly. =?\%E[j  
U+[ "b-c  
Another moment and Elizabeth was at hand, horror written on her pale face. z'"Y+EWN  
|TR +Wn  
Beatrice clutched at her. "Who is it?" she cried. H4sc7-  
- leYR`P  
"Mr. Bingham," gasped her sister. "Go and help; he's shot dead!" And she too was gone. ;P/ 4.|<  
Beatrice's knees loosened, her tongue clave to the roof of her mouth; the solid earth spun round and round. "Geoffrey killed! Geoffrey killed!" she cried in her heart; but though her ears seemed to hear the sound of them, no words came from her lips. "Oh, what should she do? Where should she hide herself in her grief?" ZmNNR 1%/  
$ ]#WC\Hv  
A few yards from the path grew a stunted tree with a large flat stone at its root. Thither Beatrice staggered and sank upon the stone, while still the solid earth spun round and round. eF9GhwE=  
Presently her mind cleared a little, and a keener pang of pain shot through her soul. She had been stunned at first, now she felt. kLZVTVSJt  
"Perhaps it was not true; perhaps Elizabeth had been mistaken or had only said it to torment her." She rose. She flung herself upon her knees, there by the stone, and prayed, this first time for many years --she prayed with all her soul. "Oh, God, if Thou art, spare him his life and me this agony." In her dreadful pangs of grief her faith was thus re-born, and, as all human beings must in their hour of mortal agony, Beatrice realised her dependence on the Unseen. She rose, and weak with emotion sank back on to the stone. The people were streaming past her now, talking excitedly. Somebody came up to her and stood over her. h72/03!  
Oh, Heaven, it was Geoffrey! |<,qnf | -  
"Is it you?" she gasped. "Elizabeth said that you were murdered." DPxx9lN_rx  
"No, no. It was not I; it is that poor fellow Johnson, the auctioneer. Jones shot him. I was standing next him. I suppose your sister thought that I fell. He was not unlike me, poor fellow." k37?NoT  
Beatrice looked at him, went red, went white, then burst into a flood of tears. ,gQl_Amvz  
A strange pang seized upon his heart. It thrilled through him, shaking him to the core. Why was this woman so deeply moved? Could it be----? Nonsense; he stifled the thought before it was born. D{B?2}X  
P  y v>  
"Don't cry," Geoffrey said, "the people will see you, Beatrice" (for the first time he called her by her christian name); "pray do not cry. It distresses me. You are upset, and no wonder. That fellow Beecham Bones ought to be hanged, and I told him so. It is his work, though he never meant it to go so far. He's frightened enough now, I can tell you." 0V3dc+t)O  
Beatrice controlled herself with an effort. [E p'm  
"What happened," he said, "I will tell you as we walk along. No, don't go up to the farm. He is not a pleasant sight, poor fellow. When I got up there, Beecham Bones was spouting away to the mob--his long hair flying about his back--exciting them to resist laws made by brutal thieving landlords, and all that kind of gibberish; telling them that they would be supported by a great party in Parliament, &c., &c. The people, however, took it all good-naturedly enough. They had a beautiful effigy of your father swinging on a pole, with a placard on his breast, on which was written, 'The robber of the widow and the orphan,' and they were singing Welsh songs. Only I saw Jones, who was more than half drunk, cursing and swearing in Welsh and English. When the auctioneer began to sell, Jones went into the house and Bones went with him. After enough had been sold to pay the debt, and while the mob was still laughing and shouting, suddenly the back door of the house opened and out rushed Jones, now quite drunk, a gun in his hand and Bones hanging on to his coat-tails. I was talking to the auctioneer at the moment, and my belief is that the brute thought that I was Johnson. At any rate, before anything could be done he lifted the gun and fired, at me, as I think. The charge, however, passed my head and hit poor Johnson full in the face, killing him dead. That is all the story." M#4;y,n<k  
9 RDs`>v  
"And quite enough, too," said Beatrice with a shudder. "What times we live in! I feel quite sick." b * \ oQ  
Supper that night was a very melancholy affair. Old Mr. Granger was altogether thrown off his balance; and even Elizabeth's iron nerves were shaken. l@SV!keQ  
"It could not be worse, it could not be worse," moaned the old man, rising from the table and walking up and down the room. 1E!.E=Y ?M  
l #C<bDw  
"Nonsense, father," said Elizabeth the practical. "He might have been shot before he had sold the hay, and then you would not have got your tithe." /+B6oE>8  
@ g`|ob]9  
Geoffrey could not help smiling at this way of looking at things, from which, however, Mr. Granger seemed to draw a little comfort. From constantly thinking about it, and the daily pressure of necessity, money had come to be more to the old man than anything else in the world. T ;84Sv  
ldU ><xc2  
Hardly was the meal done when three reporters arrived and took down Geoffrey's statement of what had occurred, for publication in various papers, while Beatrice went away to see about packing Effie's things. They were to start by a train leaving for London at half-past eight on the following morning. When Beatrice came back it was half-past ten, and in his irritation of mind Mr. Granger insisted upon everybody going to bed. Elizabeth shook hands with Geoffrey, congratulating him on his escape as she did so, and went at once; but Beatrice lingered a little. At last she came forward and held out her hand. sm[zE /2b  
"Good-night, Mr. Bingham," she said. i-WP#\s  
"Good-night. I hope that this is not good-bye also," he added with some anxiety. "9vL+Hh  
"Of course not," broke in Mr. Granger. "Beatrice will go and see you off. I can't; I have to go and meet the coroner about the inquest, and Elizabeth is always busy in the house. Luckily they won't want you; there were so many witnesses." qckRX+P`  
"Then it is only good-night," said Beatrice. VEL!-e^X&  
She went to her room. Elizabeth, who shared it, was already asleep, or pretending to be asleep. Then Beatrice undressed and got into bed, but rest she could not. It was "only good-night," a last good-night. He was going away--back to his wife, back to the great rushing world, and to the life in which she had no share. Very soon he would forget her. Other interests would arise, other women would become his friends, and he would forget the Welsh girl who had attracted him for a while, or remember her only as the companion of a rough adventure. What did it mean? Why was her heart so sore? Why had she felt as though she should die when they told her that he was dead? ++|e z{  
Then the answer rose in her breast. She loved him; it was useless to deny the truth--she loved him body, and heart and soul, with all her mind and all her strength. She was his, and his alone--to-day, to-morrow, and for ever. He might go from her sight, she might never, never see him more, but love him she always must. And he was married! Rf{YASPIw&  
Well, it was her misfortune; it could not affect the solemn truth. What should she do now, how should she endure her life when her eyes no longer saw his eyes, and her ears never heard his voice? She saw the future stretch itself before her as a vision. She saw herself forgotten by this man whom she loved, or from time to time remembered only with a faint regret. She saw herself growing slowly old, her beauty fading yearly from her face and form, companioned only by the love that grows not old. Oh, it was bitter, bitter! and yet she would not have it otherwise. Even in her pain she felt it better to have found this deep and ruinous joy, to have wrestled with the Angel and been worsted, than never to have looked upon his face. If she could only know that what she gave was given back again, that he loved her as she loved him, she would be content. She was innocent, she had never tried to draw him to her; she had used no touch or look, no woman's arts or lures such as her beauty placed at her command. There had been no word spoken, scarcely a meaning glance had passed between them, nothing but frank and free companionship as of man with man. She knew he did not love his wife and that his wife did not love him--this she could see. But she had never tried to win him from her, and though she sinned in thought, though her heart was guilty--oh, her hands were clean! .6iJ:A6T  
Her restlessness overcame her. She could no longer lie in bed. Elizabeth, watching through her veil of sleep, saw Beatrice rise, put on a wrapper, and, going to the window, throw it wide. At first she thought of interfering, for Elizabeth was a prudent person and did not like draughts; but her sister's movements excited her curiosity, and she refrained. Beatrice sat down on the foot of her bed, and leaning her arm upon the window-sill looked out upon the lovely quiet night. How dark the pine trees massed against the sky; how soft was the whisper of the sea, and how vast the heaven through which the stars sailed on. w2V:g$~,  
What was it, then, this love of hers? Was it mere earthly passion? No, it was more. It was something grander, purer, deeper, and quite undying. Whence came it, then? If she was, as she had thought, only a child of earth, whence came this deep desire which was not of the earth? Had she been wrong, had she a soul--something that could love with the body and through the body and beyond the body--something of which the body with its yearnings was but the envelope, the hand or instrument? Oh, now it seemed to Beatrice that this was so, and that called into being by her love she and her soul stood face to face acknowledging their unity. Once she had held that it was phantasy: that such spiritual hopes were but exhalations from a heart unsatisfied; that when love escapes us on the earth, in our despair, we swear it is immortal, and that we shall find it in the heavens. Now Beatrice believed this no more. Love had kissed her on the eyes, and at his kiss her sleeping spirit was awakened, and she saw a vision of the truth. 7Dz-xM_?  
rf =Wq_  
Yes, she loved him, and must always love him! But she could never know on earth that he was hers, and if she had a spirit to be freed after some few years, would not his spirit have forgotten hers in that far hereafter of their meeting? h:<?)g~U  
tIo b  
She dropped her brow upon her arm and softly sobbed. What was there left for her to do except to sob--till her heart broke? 8l >Xbz  
Elizabeth, lying with wide-open ears, heard the sobs. Elizabeth, peering through the moonlight, saw her sister's form tremble in the convulsion of her sorrow, and smiled a smile of malice. * 5(%'3  
P 4+}<5  
"The thing is done," she thought; "she cries because the man is going. Don't cry, Beatrice, don't cry! We will get your plaything back for you. Oh, with such a bait it will be easy. He is as sweet on you as you on him." eZ{Ce.lNR  
There was something evil, something almost devilish, in this scene of the one watching woman holding a clue to and enjoying the secret tortures of the other, plotting the while to turn them to her innocent rival's destruction and her own advantage. Elizabeth's jealousy was indeed bitter as the grave. I!T=$Um  
Suddenly Beatrice ceased sobbing. She lifted her head, and by a sudden impulse threw out the passion of her heart with all her concentrated strength of mind towards the man she loved, murmuring as she did so some passionate, despairing words which she knew. l[[^]__  
At this moment Geoffrey, sleeping soundly, dreamed that he saw Beatrice seated by her window and looking at him with eyes which no earthly obstacle could blind. She was speaking; her lips moved, but though he could hear no voice the words she spoke floated into his mind-- }$LnjwM;,  
  "Be a god and hold me  cp0yr:~  
        With a charm! e wWw  
    Be a man and fold me pG'?>]Rt4  
        With thine arm. sx]{N  
    Teach me, only teach, Love! +U%epq  
        As I ought y?A*$6  
    I will speak thy speech, Love, r dtzz#7  
        Think thy thought-- "u&7Y:)^wr  
    Meet, if thou require it, 'MB+cz+v  
        Both demands, l&"bm C:xr  
    Laying flesh and spirit mUR[;;l  
        In thy hands.  #.Ly  
    That shall be to-morrow SxC(:k2b;  
        Not to-night: MU N:}S  
    I must bury sorrow !W=2ZlzS  
        Out of sight. ^^)\| kW?  
HL!"U (_  
    Must a little weep, Love, ]g9n#$|.  
        (Foolish me!) m^,3jssdA  
    And so fall asleep, Love, /ec~^S8X  
        Loved by thee." zX/9^+p:  
E^. =^bR  
Geoffrey heard them in his heart. Then they were gone, the vision of Beatrice was gone, and suddenly he awoke. mWM!6"  
Oh, what was this flood of inarticulate, passion-laden thought that beat upon his brain telling of Beatrice? Wave after wave it came, utterly overwhelming him, like the heavy breath of flowers stirred by a night wind--like a message from another world. It was real; it was no dream, no fancy; she was present with him though she was not there; her thought mingled with his thought, her being beat upon his own. His heart throbbed, his limbs trembled, he strove to understand and could not. But in the mystery of that dread communion, the passion he had trodden down and refused acknowledgment took life and form within him; it grew like the Indian's magic tree, from seed to blade, from blade to bud, and from bud to bloom. In that moment it became clear to him: he knew he loved her, and knowing what such a love must mean, for him if not for her, Geoffrey sank back and groaned. ( Qw"^lE3  
And Beatrice? Of a sudden she ceased speaking to herself; she felt her thought flung back to her weighted with another's thought. She had broken through the barriers of earth; the quick electric message of her heart had found a path to him she loved and come back answered. But in what tongue was that answer writ? Alas! she could not read it, any more than he could read the message. At first she doubted; surely it was imagination. Then she remembered it was absolutely proved that people dying could send a vision of themselves to others far away; and if that could be, why not this? No, it was truth, a solemn truth; she knew he felt her thought, she knew that his life beat upon her life. Oh, here was mystery, and here was hope, for if this could be, and it was, what might not be? If her blind strength of human love could so overstep the boundaries of human power, and, by the sheer might of its volition, mock the physical barriers that hemmed her in, what had she to fear from distance, from separation, ay, from death itself? She had grasped a clue which might one day, before the seeming end or after-- what did it matter?--lay strange secrets open to her gaze. She had heard a whisper in an unknown tongue that could still be learned, answering Life's agonizing cry with a song of glory. If only he loved her, some day all would be well. Some day the barriers would fall. Crumbling with the flesh, they would fall and set her naked spirit free to seek its other self. And then, having found her love, what more was there to seek? What other answer did she desire to all the problems of her life than this of Unity attained at last--Unity attained in Death! 969*mcq'  
And if he did not love her, how could he answer her? Surely that message could not pass except along the golden chord of love, which ever makes its sweetest music when Pain strikes it with a hand of fear. T"XP`gk  
The troubled glory passed--it throbbed itself away; the spiritual gusts of thought grew continually fainter, till, like the echoes of a dying harp, like the breath of a falling gale, they slowly sank to nothingness. Then wearied with an extreme of wild emotion Beatrice sought her bed again and presently was lost in sleep. ?ZDXT2b~~  
When Geoffrey woke on the next morning, after a little reflection, he came to the decision that he had experienced a very curious and moving dream, consequent on the exciting events of the previous day, or on the pain of his impending departure. He rose, packed his bag-- everything else was ready--and went in to breakfast. Beatrice did not appear till it was half over. She looked very pale, and said that she had been packing Effie's things. Geoffrey noticed that she barely touched his fingers when he rose to shake hands with her, and that she studiously avoided his glance. Then he began to wonder if she also had strangely dreamed. ` ZXX[&C  
Next came the bustle of departure. Effie was despatched in the fly with the luggage and Betty, the fat Welsh servant, to look after her. Beatrice and Geoffrey were to walk to the station. /<vbv  
"Time for you to be going, Mr. Bingham," said Mr. Granger. "There, good-bye, good-bye! God bless you! Never had such charming lodgers before. Hope you will come back again, I'm sure. By the way, they are certain to summon you as a witness at the trial of that villain Jones." ~q4KQ&.!  
"Good-bye, Mr. Granger," Geoffrey answered; "you must come and see me in town. A change will do you good." nXPl\|pXt  
"Well, perhaps I may. I have not had a change for twenty-five years. Never could afford it. Aren't you going to say good-bye to Elizabeth?" W <.h@Rz+  
"Good-bye, Miss Granger," said Geoffrey politely. "Many thanks for all your kindness. I hope we shall meet again." .gY}}Q  
"Do you?" answered Elizabeth; "so do I. I am sure that we shall meet again, and I am sure that I shall be glad to see you when we do, Mr. Bingham," she added darkly. agQ5%t#  
In another minute he had left the Vicarage and, with Beatrice at his side, was walking smartly towards the station. C=LXL1x2e  
"This is very melancholy," he said, after a few moments' silence. v{rc5 ]\R  
"Going away generally is," she answered--"either for those who go or those who stay behind," she added. sF;1)7]Pq  
"Or for both," he said. 17D167\X  
Then came another pause; he broke it. <Mc:Cg8>  
"Miss Beatrice, may I write to you?" t1Jz?Ix6%  
"Certainly, if you like." [&`>&u@MK  
"And will you answer my letters?" HWU{521  
l85" C  
"Yes, I will answer them." K\ ]r  
"If I had my way, then, you should spend a good deal of your time in writing," he said. "You don't know," he added earnestly, "what a delight it has been to me to learn to know you. I have had no greater pleasure in my life." CQ[-Cp7  
"I am glad," Beatrice answered shortly. 9(WC#-,  
"By the way," Geoffrey said presently, "there is something I want to ask you. You are as good as a reference book for quotations, you know. Some lines have been haunting me for the last twelve hours, and I cannot remember where they come from." )`7+o9&  
"What are they?" she asked, looking up, and Geoffrey saw, or thought he saw, a strange fear shining in her eyes. Yj/nzTVJ[  
"Here are four of them," he answered unconcernedly; "we have no time for long quotations: -U;LiO;N  
    "'That shall be to-morrow, _u|FJTk  
        Not to-night: hk!,  
    I must bury sorrow 11y .z^  
        Out of sight.'" Ph+X{|  
Beatrice heard--heard the very lines which had been upon her lips in the wild midnight that had gone. Her heart seemed to stop; she became white as the dead, stumbled, and nearly fell. With a supreme effort she recovered herself. Z<ajET`)  
OpK. Lsd0y  
"I think that you must know the lines, Mr. Bingham," she said in a low voice. "They come from a poem of Browning's, called 'A Woman's Last Word.'" hI|/>4<  
Geoffrey made no answer; what was he to say? For a while they walked on in silence. They were getting close to the station now. Separation, perhaps for ever, was very near. An overmastering desire to know the truth took hold of him. LBiowd[  
"Miss Beatrice," he said again, "you look pale. Did you sleep well last night?" xE%O:a?S  
2s 7mI'  
"No, Mr. Bingham." =yo{[&Jz  
> @+#  
"Did you have curious dreams?" 34ha26\np  
"Yes, I did," she answered, looking straight before her. ^ S  
SdJ/ 4&{ !  
He turned a shade paler. Then it was true! nX^1$')gp  
"Beatrice," he said in a half whisper, "what do they mean?" z ;Q<F  
"As much as anything else, or as little," she answered. 1HT_  
"What are people to do who dream such dreams?" he said again, in the same constrained voice. `D$Jv N  
"Forget them," she whispered. 7CXW#H  
"And if they come back?" E%oY7.~-  
"Forget them again." qC F5~;7  
"And if they will not be forgotten?" /SYw;<=  
-GxaV #{  
She turned and looked him full in the eyes. #ep`nf0x  
"Die of them," she said; "then they will be forgotten, or----" ,y#Kv|R  
Bx< <~[Ws}  
"Or what, Beatrice?" C&(N I  
a .k.n<  
"Here is the station," said Beatrice, "and Betty is quarrelling with the flyman." |v 3T!  
Five minutes more and Geoffrey was gone. $ r@zs'N  

只看该作者 16楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XVI. The Flat Near the Edgware Road w1DV\Ap*  
  Geoffrey's journey to town was not altogether a cheerful one. To begin with, Effie wept copiously at parting with her beloved "auntie," as she called Beatrice, and would not be comforted. The prospect of rejoining her mother and the voluble Anne had no charms for Effie. They all three got on best apart. Geoffrey himself had also much to think about, and found little satisfaction in the thinking. He threw his mind back over the events of the past few weeks. He remembered how he had first seen Beatrice's face through the thick mist on the Red Rocks, and how her beauty had struck him as no beauty ever had before. Then he thought of the adventure of their shipwreck, and of the desperate courage with which she had saved his life, almost at the cost of her own. He thought, too, of that scene when on the following day he had entered the room where she was asleep, when the wandering ray of light had wavered from her breast to his own, when that strange presentiment of the ultimate intermingling of their lives had flashed upon him, and when she had awakened with an unearthly greeting on her lips. While Effie slowly sobbed herself to silence in the corner opposite to him, one by one, he recalled every phase and scene of their ever-growing intimacy, till the review culminated in his mysterious experience of the past night, and the memory of Beatrice's parting words. KyQX!,rV  
Of all men Geoffrey was among those least inclined to any sort of superstition; from boyhood he had been noted for common sense, and a somewhat disbelieving turn of mind. But he had intellect, and imagination which is simply intellect etherealised. Without these, with his peculiar mental constitution, he would, for instance, probably have been a religious sceptic; having them, he was nothing of the sort. So in this matter of his experience of the previous night, and generally of the strange and almost unnatural sympathy in which he found himself with this lady, common sense and the results of his observation and experience pointed to the whole thing being nonsense-- the result of "propinquity, Sir, propinquity," and a pretty face--and nothing more. Ge-vWf-RbB  
#Kex vP&*  
But here his intellect and his imagination stepped in, telling him plainly that it was not nonsense, that he had not merely made a donkey of himself over an hysterical, or possibly a love-sick girl. They told him that because a thing is a mystery it is not necessarily a folly, though mysteries are for the most part dealt in by fools. They suggested that there may be many things and forces above us and around us, invisible as an electric current, intangible as light, yet existent and capable of manifestation under certain rare and favourable conditions. GM f `A,>  
And was it not possible that such conditions should unite in a woman like Beatrice, who combined in herself a beauty of body which was only outpassed by the beauty of her mind? It was no answer to say that most women could never inspire the unearthly passion with which he had been shaken some ten hours past, or that most men could never become aware of the inspiration. Has not humanity powers and perceptions denied to the cattle of the fields, and may there not be men and women as far removed from their fellows in this respect as these are from the cattle? ;1O_M9  
But the weak point of mysterious occurrences is that they lead nowhere, and do not materially alter the facts of life. One cannot, for instance, plead a mystery in a court of law; so, dropping the imaginative side of the question as one beyond him, Geoffrey came to its practical aspect, only to find it equally thorny. ]kRfB:4ED  
Odd as it may seem, Geoffrey did not to this moment know the exact position which he occupied in the mind of Beatrice, or that she occupied in his. He was not in love with her, at least not in a way in which he had ever experienced the influence of that, on the whole, inconvenient and disagreeable passion. At any rate he argued from the hypothesis that he was not in love with her. This he refused to admit now in the light of day, though he had admitted it fully in the watches of the night. It would not do to admit it. But he was forced to acknowledge that she had crept into his life and possessed it so completely that then and for months afterwards, except in deep sleep or in hours of severe mental strain, not a single half hour would pass without bringing its thought of Beatrice. Everything that was beautiful, or grand, or elevating, reminded him of her--and what higher compliment could a mistress have? If he listened to glorious music, the voice of Beatrice spoke to him through the notes; if he watched the clouds rolling in heavy pomp across a broken sky he thought of Beatrice; if some chance poem or novel moved him, why Beatrice was in his mind to share the pleasure. All of which was very interesting, and in some ways delightful, but under our current system not otherwise than inconvenient to a married man. QP^Cx=  
And now Beatrice was gone, and he must come back to his daily toil, sweetened by Honoria's bitter complaints of their poverty, and see her no more. The thought made Geoffrey's heart ache with a physical pain, but his reason told him that it was best so. After all, there were no bones broken; there had been no love scenes, no kiss, no words that cannot be recalled; whatever there was lay beneath the surface, and while appearances were kept up all was well. No doubt it was an hypocrisy, but then hypocrisy is one of the great pillars of civilization, and how does it matter what the heart says while the lips are silent? The Recording Angel can alone read hearts, and he must often find them singularly contradictory and untrustworthy writings. 3n1;G8Nf  
Die of them, die of her dreams! No, Beatrice would not die of them, and certainly he should not. Probably in the end she would marry that pious earthly lump, Owen Davies. It was not pleasant to think of, it was even dreadful, but really if she were to ask him his opinion, "as a friend," he should tell her it was the best thing that she could do. Of course it would be hypocrisy again, the lips would give his heart the lie; but when the heart rises in rebellion against the intelligence it must be suppressed. Unfortunately, however, though a small member, it is very strong. H8^(GUhyp  
They reached London at last, and as had been arranged, Anne, the French bonne, met them at the station to take Effie home. Geoffrey noticed that she looked smarter and less to his taste than ever. However, she embraced Effie with an enthusiasm which the child scarcely responded to, and at the same time carried on an ocular flirtation with a ticket collector. Although early in the year for yellow fogs, London was plunged in a dense gloom. It had been misty that morning at Bryngelly, and become more and more so as the day advanced; but, though it was not yet four o'clock, London was dark as night. Luckily, however, it is not far from Paddington to the flat near the Edgware Road, where Geoffrey lived, so having personally instructed the cabman, he left Anne to convoy Effie and the luggage, and went on to the Temple by Underground Railway with an easy mind. ]^'Kd*x  
Shortly after Geoffrey reached his chambers in Pump Court the solicitor arrived as had been arranged, not his uncle--who was, he learned, very unwell--but a partner. To his delight he then found that Beatrice's ghost theory was perfectly accurate; the boy with the missing toe-joint had been discovered who saw the whole horrible tragedy through a crack in the blind; moreover the truth had been wrung from him and he would be produced at the trial--indeed a proof of his evidence was already forthcoming. Also some specimens of the ex-lawyer's clerk's handwriting had been obtained, and were declared by two experts to be identical with the writing on the will. One thing, however, disturbed him: neither the Attorney-General nor Mr. Candleton was yet in town, so no conference was possible that evening. However, both were expected that night--the Attorney-General from Devonshire and Mr. Candleton from the Continent; so the case being first on the list, it was arranged that the conference should take place at ten o'clock on the following morning. EhvX)s  
On arriving home Geoffrey was informed that Lady Honoria was dressing, and had left a message saying he must be quick and do likewise as a gentleman was coming to dinner. Accordingly he went to his own room-- which was at the other end of the flat--and put on his dress clothes. Before going to the dining-room, however, he said good-night to Effie --who was in bed, but not asleep--and asked her what time she had reached home. ] vsz, 0  
"At twenty minutes past five, daddy," Effie said promptly. m dg8,n  
"Twenty minutes past five! Why, you don't mean to say that you were an hour coming that little way! Did you get blocked in the fog?" ^uc=f2=>,  
"No, daddy, but----" }($5k]]clP  
"But what, dear?" -Q*gW2KmV  
"Anne did tell me not to say!" 5\ nAeP  
"But I tell you to say, dear--never mind Anne!" ECmW`#Otb)  
"Anne stopped and talked to the ticket-man for a long, long time." COlaD"Y  
"Oh, did she?" he said. }(u ol  
At that moment the parlourmaid came to say that Lady Honoria and the "gentleman" were waiting for dinner. Geoffrey asked her casually what time Miss Effie had reached home. cN9t{.m  
"About half-past five, sir. Anne said the cab was blocked in the fog." HUOj0T  
"Very well. Tell her ladyship that I shall be down in a minute." !$>R j  
7i1q wRv  
"Daddy," said the child, "I haven't said my prayers. Mother did not come, and Anne said it was all nonsense about prayers. Auntie did always hear me my prayers." njA#@fU  
B@ KQ]4-  
"Yes, dear, and so will I. There, kneel upon my lap and say them." .y:U&Rw4  
In the middle of the prayers--which Effie did not remember as well as she might have done--the parlourmaid arrived again. L8#5*8W6  
1 Nd2{(  
"Please, sir, her ladyship----" Sa;qW3dt3E  
^V Zk+'4  
"Tell her ladyship I am coming, and that if she is in a hurry she can go to dinner! Go on, love." i5?q,_  
Then he kissed her and put her to bed again. h WtVWVNL  
"Daddy," said Effie, as he was going, "shall I see auntie Beatrice any more?" NI#:|}CYS  
"I hope so, dear." (TwnkXrR,  
"And shall you see her any more? You want to see her, don't you, daddy? She did love you very much!" Tp?y8r  
Geoffrey could bear it no longer. The truth is always sharper when it comes from the mouth of babes and sucklings. With a hurried good-night he fled. !$Tw^$n  
<ggtjw S  
In the little drawing-room he found Lady Honoria, very well dressed, and also her friend, whose name was Mr. Dunstan. Geoffrey knew him at once for an exceedingly wealthy man of small birth, and less breeding, but a burning and a shining light in the Garsington set. Mr. Dunstan was anxious to raise himself in society, and he thought that notwithstanding her poverty, Lady Honoria might be useful to him in this respect. Hence his presence there to-night. d90Z,nex  
"How do you do, Geoffrey?" said his wife, advancing to greet him with a kiss of peace. "You look very well. But what an immense time you have been dressing. Poor Mr. Dunstan is starving. Let me see. You know Mr. Dunstan, I think. Dinner, Mary." %F9{EXJy  
Geoffrey apologised for being late, and shook hands politely with Mr. Dunstan--Saint Dunstan he was generally called on account of his rather clerical appearance and in sarcastic allusion to his somewhat shady reputation. Then they went in to dinner. "%QD{z_L  
"Sorry there is no lady for you, Geoffrey; but you must have had plenty of ladies' society lately. By the way, how is Miss--Miss Granger? Would you believe it, Mr. Dunstan? that shocking husband of mine has been passing the last month in the company of one of the loveliest girls I ever saw, who knows Latin and law and everything else under the sun. She began by saving his life, they were upset together out of a canoe, you know. Isn't it romantic?" ]&i+!$N_  
Saint Dunstan made some appropriate--or, rather inappropriate--remark to the effect that he hoped Mr. Bingham had made the most of such unrivalled opportunities, adding, with a deep sigh, that no lovely young lady had ever saved his life that he might live for her, &c., &c. 5y_"  
Here Geoffrey broke in without much ceremony. To him it seemed a desecration to listen while this person was making his feeble jokes about Beatrice. W<gD6+=8  
"Well, dear," he said, addressing his wife, "and what have you been doing with yourself all this time?" Z)v)\l9d  
"Mourning for you, Geoffrey, and enjoying myself exceedingly in the intervals. We have had a delightful time, have we not, Mr. Dunstan? Mr. Dunstan has also been staying at the Hall, you know." pqd4iR Wv  
V?WMj $l<  
"How could it be otherwise when you were there, Lady Honoria?" answered the Saint in that strain of compliment affected by such men, and which, to tell the truth, jarred on its object, who was after all a lady. zVn*!c  
"You know, Geoffrey," she went on, "the Garsingtons have re-furnished the large hall and their drawing-room. It cost eighteen hundred pounds, but the result is lovely. The drawing-room is done in hand- painted white satin, walls and all, and the hall in old oak." )62q|c9F  
=t ~+63)  
"Indeed!" he answered, reflecting the while that Lord Garsington might as well have paid some of his debts before he spent eighteen hundred pounds on his drawing-room furniture. &! 5CwEIF  
Then the Saint and Lady Honoria drifted into a long and animated conversation about their fellow guests, which Geoffrey scarcely tried to follow. Indeed, the dinner was a dull one for him, and he added little or nothing to the stock of talk. F}VS)  
\ (3Qqbw  
When his wife left the room, however, he had to say something, so they spoke of shooting. The Saint had a redeeming feature--he was somewhat of a sportsman, though a poor one, and he described to Geoffrey a new pair of hammerless guns, which he had bought for a trifling sum of a hundred and forty guineas, recommending the pattern to his notice. TA-(_jm  
b> >=d)R  
"Yes," answered Geoffrey, "I daresay that they are very nice; but, you see, they are beyond me. A poor man cannot afford so much for a pair of guns." $ uIwRG <  
"Oh, if that is all," answered his guest, "I will sell you these; they are a little long in the stock for me, and you can pay me when you like. Or, hang it all, I have plenty of guns. I'll be generous and give them to you. If I cannot afford to be generous, I don't know who can!" O ]4 x;`)  
"Thank you very much, Mr. Dunstan," answered Geoffrey coldly, "but I am not in the habit of accepting such presents from my--acquaintances. Will you have a glass of sherry?--no. Then shall we join Lady Honoria?" kjKpzdbD  
This speech quite crushed the vulgar but not ill-meaning Saint, and Geoffrey was sorry for it a moment after he had made it. But he was weary and out of temper. Why did his wife bring such people to the house? Very shortly afterwards their guest took his leave, reflecting that Bingham was a conceited ass, and altogether too much for him. "And I don't believe that he has got a thousand a year," he reflected to himself, "and the title is his wife's. I suppose that is what he married her for. She's a much better sort than he is, any way, though I don't quite make her out either--one can't go very far with her. But she is the daughter of a peer and worth cultivating, but not when Bingham is at home--not if I know it." 3f.Gog  
ex!w Y  
"What have you said to Mr. Dunstan to make him go away so soon, Geoffrey?" asked his wife. 3EX&.OL!  
"Said to him? oh, I don't know. He offered to give me a pair of guns, and I told him that I did not accept presents from my acquaintances. Really, Honoria, I don't want to interfere with your way of life, but I do not understand how you can associate with such people as this Mr. Dunstan." #IA(*oM  
"Associate with him!" answered Lady Honoria. "Do you suppose I want to associate with him? Do you suppose that I don't know what the man is? But beggars cannot be choosers; he may be a cad, but he has thirty thousand a year, and we simply cannot afford to throw away an acquaintance with thirty thousand a year. It is too bad of you, Geoffrey," she went on with rising temper, "when you know all that I must put up with in our miserable poverty-stricken life, to take every opportunity of making yourself disagreeable to the people I think it wise to ask to come and see us. Here I return from comfort to this wretched place, and the first thing that you do is make a fuss. Mr. Dunstan has got boxes at several of the best theaters, and he offered to let me have one whenever I liked--and now of course there is an end of it. It is too bad, I say!" ;$;/#8`>  
"It is really curious, Honoria," said her husband, "to see what obligations you are ready to put yourself under in search of pleasure. It is not dignified of you to accept boxes at theatres from this gentleman." _s,svQ8#  
"Nonsense. There is no obligation about it. If he gave us a box, of course he would make a point of looking in during the evening, and then telling his friends that it was Lady Honoria Bingham he was speaking to--that is the exchange. I want to go to the theatre; he wants to get into good society--there you have the thing in a nutshell. It is done every day. The fact of the matter is, Geoffrey," she went on, looking very much as though she were about to burst into a flood of angry tears, "as I said just now, beggars cannot be choosers--I cannot live like the wife of a banker's clerk. I must have some amusement, and some comfort, before I become an old woman. If you don't like it, why did you entrap me into this wretched marriage, before I was old enough to know better, or why do you not make enough money to keep me in a way suitable to my position?" h08T Q=n  
"We have argued that question before, Honoria," said Geoffrey, keeping his temper with difficulty, "and now there is another thing I wish to say to you. Do you know that detestable woman Anne stopped for more than half an hour at Paddington Station this evening, flirting with a ticket collector, instead of bringing Effie home at once, as I told her to do. I am very angry about it. She is not to be relied on; we shall have some accident with the child before we have done. Cannot you discharge her and get another nurse?" 10(N|2'q  
"No, I cannot. She is the one comfort I have. Where am I going to find another woman who can make dresses like Anne--she saves me a hundred a year--I don't care if she flirted with fifty ticket collectors. I suppose you got this story from Effie; the child ought to be whipped for tale-bearing, and I daresay that it is not true." &>SE9w/ ?o  
"Effie will certainly not be whipped," answered Geoffrey sternly. "I warn you that it will go very badly with anybody who lays a finger on her." *5^h>Vk/  
"Oh, very well, ruin the child. Go your own way, Geoffrey! At any rate I am not going to stop here to listen to any more abuse. Good-night," and she went. DF<_Ns!  
Geoffrey sat down, and lit a cigarette. "A pleasant home-coming," he thought to himself. "Honoria shall have money as much as she can spend --if I kill myself to get it, she shall have it. What a life, what a life! I wonder if Beatrice would treat her husband like this--if she had one." tT'+3  
He laughed aloud at the absurdity of the idea, and then with a gesture of impatience threw his cigarette into the fire and went to his room to try and get some sleep, for he was thoroughly wearied. Q u{#4qToA  
P >HEV a  

只看该作者 17楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XVII. Geoffrey Wins His Case H cwqVU  
poj@ G{  
  Before ten o'clock on the following morning, having already spent two hours over his brief, that he had now thoroughly mastered, Geoffrey was at his chambers, which he had some difficulty in reaching owing to the thick fog that still hung over London, and indeed all England. JaP2Q} &B  
To his surprise nothing had been heard either of the Attorney-General or of Mr. Candleton. The solicitors were in despair; but he consoled them by saying that one or the other was sure to turn up in time, and that a few words would suffice to explain the additional light which had been thrown on the case. He occupied his half hour, however, in making a few rough notes to guide him in the altogether improbable event of his being called on to open, and then went into court. The case was first on the list, and there were a good many counsel engaged on the other side. Just as the judge took his seat, the solicitor, with an expression of dismay, handed Geoffrey a telegram which had that moment arrived from Mr. Candleton. It was dated from Calais on the previous night, and ran, "Am unable to cross on account of thick fog. You had better get somebody else in Parsons and Douse." 'aMT^w4if)  
"And we haven't got another brief prepared," said the agonised solicitor. ""What is more, I can hear nothing of the Attorney-General, and his clerk does not seem to know where he is. You must ask for an adjournment, Mr. Bingham; you can't manage the case alone." ];bB7+  
}TD$ !  
"Very well," said Geoffrey, and on the case being called he rose and stated the circumstances to the court. But the Court was crusty. It had got the fog down its throat, and altogether It didn't seem to see it. Moreover the other side, marking its advantage, objected strongly. The witnesses, brought at great expense, were there; his Lordship was there, the jury was there; if this case was not taken there was no other with which they could go on, &c., &c. ?z>ZsD  
* Zb-YA  
The court took the same view, and lectured Geoffrey severely. Every counsel in a case, the Court remembered, when It was at the Bar, used to be able to open that case at a moment's notice, and though things had, It implied, no doubt deteriorated to a considerable extent since those palmy days, every counsel ought still to be prepared to do so on emergency. $8#zPJR&  
Of course, however, if he, Geoffrey, told the court that he was absolutely unprepared to go on with the case, It would have no option but to grant an adjournment. p<IMWe'tP  
"I am perfectly prepared to go on with it, my lord," Geoffrey interposed calmly. Hbz>D5$  
"Very well," said the Court in a mollified tone, "then go on! I have no doubt that the learned Attorney-General will arrive presently." D*!p8J8Ku  
Then, as is not unusual in a probate suit, followed an argument as to who should open it, the plaintiff or the defendant. Geoffrey claimed that this right clearly lay with him, and the opposing counsel raised no great objection, thinking that they would do well to leave the opening in the hands of a rather inexperienced man, who would very likely work his side more harm than good. So, somewhat to the horror of the solicitors, who thought with longing of the eloquence of the Attorney-General, and the unrivalled experience and finesse of Mr. Candleton, Geoffrey was called upon to open the case for the defendants, propounding the first will. Vn:BasS%  
He rose without fear or hesitation, and with but one prayer in his heart, that no untimely Attorney-General would put in an appearance. He had got his chance, the chance for which many able men have to wait long years, and he knew it, and meant to make the most of it. Naturally a brilliant speaker, Geoffrey was not, as so many good speakers are, subject to fits of nervousness, and he was, moreover, thoroughly master of his case. In five minutes judge, jury and counsel were all listening to him with attention; in ten they were absorbed in the lucid and succinct statement of the facts which he was unfolding to them. His ghost theory was at first received with a smile, but presently counsel on the other side ceased to smile, and began to look uneasy. If he could prove what he said, there was an end of their case. When he had been speaking for about forty minutes one of the opposing counsel interrupted him with some remark, and at that moment he noticed that the Attorney-General's clerk was talking to the solicitor beneath him. jlhyn0  
"Bother it, he is coming," thought Geoffrey. H@!\?5I  
But no, the solicitor bending forward informed him that the Attorney- General had been unavoidably detained by some important Government matter, and had returned his brief. 9qhX\, h  
"Well, we must get on as we can," Geoffrey said. *]L(,_:"  
"If you continue like that we shall get on very well," whispered the solicitors, and then Geoffrey knew that he was doing well. 2J>v4EWC  
"Yes, Mr. Bingham!" said his Lordship. KOYU'hw  
Then Geoffrey went on with his statement. (E*pM$  
At lunch time it was a question whether another leader should be briefed. Geoffrey said that so far as he was concerned he could get on alone. He knew every point of the case, and he had got a friend to "take a note" for him while he was speaking. Jh6 z5xUV  
After some hesitation the solicitors decided not to brief fresh counsel at this stage of the case, but to leave it entirely in his hands. { d*?O  
It would be useless to follow the details of this remarkable will suit, which lasted two days, and attracted much attention. Geoffrey won it and won it triumphantly. His address to the jury on the whole case was long remembered in the courts, rising as it did to a very high level of forensic eloquence. Few who saw it ever forgot the sight of his handsome face and commanding presence as he crushed the case of his opponents like an eggshell, and then with calm and overwhelming force denounced the woman who with her lover had concocted the cruel plot that robbed her uncle of life and her cousins of their property, till at the last, pointing towards her with outstretched hand, he branded her to the jury as a murderess. =w#sCy  
Few in that crowded court have forgotten the tragic scene that followed, when the trembling woman, worn out by the long anxiety of the trial, and utterly unnerved by her accuser's brilliant invective, rose from her seat and cried: Vr1yj  
"We did it--it is true that we did it to get the money, but we did not mean to frighten him to death," and then fell fainting to the ground-- or Geoffrey Bingham's quiet words as he sat down: m+ww  
"My lord and gentlemen of the jury, I do not think it necessary to carry my case any further." wj$J} F  
There was no applause, the occasion was too dramatically solemn, but the impression made both upon the court and the outside public, to whom such a scene is peculiarly fitted to appeal, was deep and lasting. ;Az9p h  
[ ; $(;  
Geoffrey himself was under little delusion about the matter. He had no conceit in his composition, but neither had he any false modesty. He merely accepted the situation as really powerful men do accept such events--with thankfulness, but without surprise. He had got his chance at last, and like any other able man, whatever his walk of life, he had risen to it. That was all. Most men get such chances in some shape or form, and are unable to avail themselves of them. Geoffrey was one of the exceptions; as Beatrice had said, he was born to succeed. As he sat down, he knew that he was a made man. FBR]) h'Z  
mihR *8p  
And yet while he walked home that night, his ears still full of the congratulations which had rained in on him from every quarter, he was conscious of a certain pride. He will have felt as Geoffrey felt that night, whose lot it has been to fight long and strenuously against circumstances so adverse as to be almost overwhelming, knowing in his heart that he was born to lead and not to follow; and who at last, by one mental effort, with no friendly hand to help, and no friendly voice to guide, has succeeded in bursting a road through the difficulties which hemmed him in, and has suddenly found himself, not above competition indeed, but still able to meet it. He will not have been too proud of that endeavour; it will have seemed but a little thing to him--a thing full of faults and imperfections, and falling far short of his ideal. He will not even have attached a great importance to his success, because, if he is a person of this calibre, he must remember how small it is, when all is said and done; that even in his day there are those who can beat him on his own ground; and also that all worldly success, like the most perfect flower, yet bears in it the elements of decay. But he will have reflected with humble satisfaction on those long years of patient striving which have at length lifted him to an eminence whence he can climb on and on, scarcely encumbered by the jostling crowd; till at length, worn out, the time comes for him to fall. B ``)  
So Geoffrey thought and felt. The thing was to be done, and he had done it. Honoria should have money now; she should no longer be able to twit him with their poverty. Yes, and a better thought still, Beatrice would be glad to hear of his little triumph. ^1#"FU2cP  
He reached home rather late. Honoria was going out to dinner with a distinguished cousin, and was already dressing. Geoffrey had declined the invitation, which was a short one, because he had not expected to be back from chambers. In this enthusiasm, however, he went to his wife's room to tell her of the event. =B+^-2G8  
"Well," she said, "what have you been doing? I think that you might have arranged to come out with me. My going out so much by myself does not look well. Oh, I forgot; of course you are in that case." #o(c=  
"Yes--that is, I was. I have won the case. Here is a very fair report of it in the St. James's Gazette if you care to read it." zv Dg1p  
"Good heavens, Geoffrey! How can you expect me to read all that stuff when I am dressing?" 3hPj;-u  
"I don't expect you to, Honoria; only, as I say, I have won the case, and I shall get plenty of work now." (Vvs:h%H  
"Will you? I am glad to hear it; perhaps we shall be able to escape from this horrid flat if you do. There, Anne! Je vous l'ai toujours dit, cette robe ne me va pas bien." bc".R]  
LEUD6 M+~t  
"Mais, milady, la robe va parfaitement----" K-xmLEu  
"That is your opinion," grumbled Lady Honoria. "Well, it isn't mine. But it will have to do. Good-night, Geoffrey; I daresay that you will have gone to bed when I get back," and she was gone. LNp%]*h  
Geoffrey picked up his St. James's Gazette with a sigh. He felt hurt, and knew that he was a fool for his pains. Lady Honoria was not a sympathetic person; it was not fair to expect it from her. Still he felt hurt. He went upstairs and heard Effie her prayers. JJnZbJti  
(}Ql#q K  
"Where has you beed, daddy?--to the Smoky Town?" The Temple was euphemistically known to Effie as the Smoky Town. :&= TE2  
c=l 3Sz?  
"Yes, dear." 65VnH=  
"You go to the Smoky Town to make bread and butter, don't you, daddy?" 38! $9)  
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"Yes, dear, to make bread and butter." &TE=$a:d&  
"And did you make any, daddy?" NY\q  
$n& alcU  
"Yes, Effie, a good deal to-day." q.FgX  
"Then where is it? In your pocket?" $Ll]h</Z  
Xg?hh 0s  
"No, love, not exactly. I won a big lawsuit to-day, and I shall get a great many pennies for it." 6|wi Zw  
c<L^ 1,G2  
"Oh," answered Effie meditatively, "I am glad that you did win. You do like to win, doesn't you, daddy, dear." _*h,,Q  
Vd~{SS 2>  
"Yes, love." ,0%P3  
"Then I will give you a kiss, daddy, because you did win," and she suited the action to the word. .WM0x{t/  
Geoffrey went from the little room with a softened heart. He dressed and ate some dinner. $O"S*)9  
Then he sat down and wrote a long letter to Beatrice, telling her all about the trial, and not sparing her his reasons for adopting each particular tactic and line of argument which conduced to the great result. lJ.:5$2H  
H.|v ^e  
And though his letter was four sheets in length, he knew that Beatrice would not be bored at having to read it. =9$hZ c  
R3+y*< <e  

只看该作者 18楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XVIII. The Rising Star LYV\|a{Y  
  As might be expected, the memorable case of Parsons and Douse proved to be the turning point in Geoffrey's career, which was thenceforward one of brilliant and startling success. On the very next morning when he reached his chambers it was to find three heavy briefs awaiting him, and they proved to be but the heralds of an uninterrupted flow of lucrative business. Of course, he was not a Queen's Counsel, but now that his great natural powers of advocacy had become generally known, solicitors frequently employed him alone, or gave him another junior, so that he might bring those powers to bear upon juries. Now it was, too, that Geoffrey reaped the fruits of the arduous legal studies which he had followed without cessation from the time when he found himself thrown upon his own resources, and which had made a sound lawyer of him as well as a brilliant and effective advocate. Soon, even with his great capacity for work, he had as much business as he could attend to. When fortune gives good gifts, she generally does so with a lavish hand. i`F8kg`_K  
( \ \BsK  
Thus it came to pass that, about three weeks after the trial of Parsons and Douse, Geoffrey's uncle the solicitor died, and to his surprise left him twenty thousand pounds, "believing," he said in his will, which was dated three days before the testator's death, "that this sum will assist him to rise to the head of his profession." j\o<r0I  
Now that it had dawned upon her that her husband really was a success, Honoria's manner towards him modified very considerably. She even became amiable, and once or twice almost affectionate. When Geoffrey told her of the twenty thousand pounds she was radiant. KTQy pv  
"Why, we shall be able to go back to Bolton Street now," she said, "and as luck will have it, our old house is to let. I saw a bill in the window yesterday." 4dB6cg  
"Yes," he said, "you can go back as soon as you like." <3 b|Sk:T  
"And can we keep a carriage?" Q)n6.%V/e  
"No, not yet; I am doing well, but not well enough for that. Next year, if I live, you will be able to have a carriage. Don't begin to grumble, Honoria. I have got ?50 to spare, and if you care to come round to a jeweller's you can spend it on what you like." V5.=08L  
"Oh, you delightful person!" said his wife. " iz'x-wy  
So they went to the jeweller's, and Lady Honoria bought ornaments to the value of ?50, and carried them home and hung over them, as another class of woman might hang over her first-born child, admiring them with a tender ecstasy. Whenever he had a sum of money that he could afford to part with, Geoffrey would take her thus to a jeweller's or a dressmaker's, and stand by coldly while she bought things to its value. Lady Honoria was delighted. It never entered into her mind that in a sense he was taking a revenge upon her, and that every fresh exhibition of her rejoicings over the good things thus provided added to his contempt for her. WlF}R\N!  
Those were happy days for Lady Honoria! She rejoiced in this return of wealth like a school-boy at the coming of the holidays, or a half- frozen wanderer at the rising of the sun. She had been miserable during all this night of poverty, as miserable as her nature admitted of, now she was happy again, as she understood happiness. For bred, educated, civilized--what you will--out of the more human passions, Lady Honoria had replaced them by this idol-worship of wealth, or rather of what wealth brings. It gave her a positive physical satisfaction; her beauty, which had begun to fade, came back to her; she looked five years younger. And all the while Geoffrey watched her with an ever-growing scorn. 6%^9`|3  
Once it broke out. The Bolton Street house had been furnished; he gave her fifteen hundred pounds to do it, and with what things they owned she managed very well on that. They moved into it, and Honoria had set herself up with a sufficient supply of grand dresses and jewellery, suitable to her recovered position. One day however, it occurred to her that Effie was a child of remarkable beauty, who, if properly dressed, would look very nice in the drawing-room at tea-time. So she ordered a lovely costume for her--this deponent is not able to describe it, but it consisted largely of velvet and lace. Geoffrey heard nothing of this dress, but coming home rather early one afternoon--it was on a Saturday, he found the child being shown off to a room full of visitors, and dressed in a strange and wonderful attire with which, not unnaturally, she was vastly pleased. He said nothing at the time, but when at length the dropping fire of callers had ceased, he asked who put Effie into that dress. NA<6s]Cs.  
"I did," said Lady Honoria, "and a pretty penny it has cost, I can tell you. But I can't have the child come down so poorly clothed, it does not look well." Hrd z1:#6,  
"Then she can stay upstairs," said Geoffrey frowning. ^HM9'*&KJ  
"What do you mean?" asked his wife. yN Bb(!u  
"I mean that I will not have her decked out in those fine clothes. They are quite unsuitable to her age. There is plenty of time for her to take to vanity." VgSk\:t  
"I really don't understand you, Geoffrey. Why should not the child be handsomely dressed?" \I"UW1)B  
}^Unx W  
"Why not! Great heaven, Honoria, do you suppose that I want to see Effie grow up like you, to lead a life of empty pleasure-seeking idleness, and make a god of luxury. I had rather see her"--he was going to add, "dead first," but checked himself and said--"have to work for her living. Dress yourself up as much as you like, but leave the child alone." R|%R-J]  
*nB fF{y  
Lady Honoria was furious, but she was also a little frightened. She had never heard her husband speak quite like this before, and there was something underneath his words that she did not quite understand. Still less did she understand when on the Monday Geoffrey suddenly told her that he had fifty pounds for her to spend as she liked; then accompanied her to a mantle shop, and stood patiently by, smiling coldly while she invested it in lace and embroideries. Honoria thought that he was making reparation for his sharp words, and so he was, but to himself, and in another sense. Every time he gave her money in this fashion, Geoffrey felt like a man who has paid off a debt of honour. She had taunted him again and again with her poverty--the poverty she said that he had brought her; for every taunt he would heap upon her all those things in which her soul delighted. He would glut her with wealth as, in her hour of victory, Queen Tomyris glutted dead Cyrus with the blood of men. wl{Fx+<^3  
It was an odd way of taking a revenge, and one that suited Lady Honoria admirably; but though its victim felt no sting, it gave Geoffrey much secret relief. Also he was curious; he wished to see if there was any bottom to such a woman's desire for luxury, if it would not bring satiety with it. But Lady Honoria was a very bad subject for such an experiment. She never showed the least sign of being satiated, either with fine things, with pleasures, or with social delights. They were her natural element, and he might as soon have expected a fish to weary of the water, or an eagle of the rushing air. Q{Gi**<  
m :ROq  
The winter wore away and the spring came. One day, it was in April, Geoffrey, who was a moderate Liberal by persuasion, casually announced at dinner that he was going to stand for Parliament in the Unionist interest. The representation of one of the few Metropolitan divisions which had then returned a Home Ruler had fallen vacant. As it chanced he knew the head Unionist whip very well. They had been friends since they were lads at school together, and this gentleman, having heard Geoffrey make a brilliant speech in court, was suddenly struck with the idea that he was the very man to lead a forlorn hope. raGov`  
The upshot of it was that Geoffrey was asked if he would stand, and replied that he must have two days to think it over. What he really wanted the two days for was to enable him to write to Beatrice and receive an answer from her. He had an almost superstitious faith in her judgment, and did not like to act without it. After carefully weighing the pros and cons, his own view was that he should do well to stand. Probably he would be defeated, and it might cost him five hundred pounds. On the other hand it would certainly make his name known as a politician, and he was now in a fair way to earn so large an income that he could well afford to risk the money. The only great objection which he saw, was that if he happened to get in, it must mean that he would have to work all day and all night too. Well, he was strong and the more work he did the better--it kept him from thinking. `9eE139V='  
In due course Beatrice's answer came. Her view coincided with his own; she recommended him to take the opportunity, and pointed out that with his growing legal reputation there was no office in the State to which he might not aspire, when he had once proved himself a capable member of Parliament. Geoffrey read the letter through; then immediately sat down and wrote to his friend the whip, accepting the suggestion of the Government. eh nN  
The next fortnight was a hard one for him, but Geoffrey was as good a man on the platform as in court, and he had, moreover, the very valuable knack of suiting himself to his audience. As his canvass went on it was generally recognised that the seat which had been considered hopeless was now doubtful. A great amount of public interest was concentrated on the election, both upon the Unionist and the Separatist side, each claiming that the result of the poll would show to their advantage. The Home Rule party strained every nerve against him, being most anxious to show that the free and independent electors of this single division, and therefore of the country at large, held the Government policy in particular horror. Letters were obtained from great authorities and freely printed. Irish members, fresh from gaol, were brought down to detail their grievances. It was even suggested that one of them should appear on the platform in prison garb--in short, every electioneering engine known to political science was brought to bear to forward the fortunes of either side. {_|~G|Z  
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As time went on Lady Honoria, who had been somewhat indifferent at first, grew quite excited about the result. For one thing she found that the contest attached an importance to herself in the eyes of the truly great, which was not without its charm. On the day of the poll she drove about all day in an open carriage under a bright blue parasol, having Effie (who had become very bored) by her side, and two noble lords on the front seat. As a consequence the result was universally declared by a certain section of the press to be entirely due to the efforts of an unprincipled but titled and lovely woman. It was even said that, like another lady of rank in a past generation, she kissed a butcher in order to win his vote. But those who made the remark did not know Lady Honoria; she was incapable of kissing a butcher, or indeed anybody else. Her inclinations did not lie in that direction. ?o$6w(]''  
In the end Geoffrey was returned by a magnificent majority of ten votes, reduced on a scrutiny to seven. He took his seat in the House on the following night amidst loud Unionist cheering. In the course of the evening's debate a prominent member of the Government made allusion to his return as a proof of the triumph of Unionist principles. Thereon a very leading member of the Separatist opposition retorted that it was nothing of the sort, "that it was a matter of common notoriety that the honourable member's return was owing to the unusual and most uncommon ability displayed by him in the course of his canvass, aided as it was, by artfully applied and aristocratic feminine influence." This was a delicate allusion to Honoria and her blue parasol. qm4 Ejc<  
As Geoffrey and his wife were driving back to Bolton Street, after the declaration of the poll, a little incident occurred. Geoffrey told the coachman to stop at the first telegraph office and, getting out of the carriage, wired to Beatrice, "In by ten votes." yP :>vFd7  
"Who have you been telegraphing to, Geoffrey?" asked Lady Honoria. DM/J,q  
"I telegraphed to Miss Granger," he answered. k {_X%H/  
"Ah! So you still keep up a correspondence with that pupil teacher girl." \-a^8{.^E  
"Yes, I do. I wish that I had a few more such correspondents." 3`uv/O2~i  
"Indeed. You are easy to please. I thought her one of the most disagreeable young women whom I ever met." X`xmV!  
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"Then it does not say much for your taste, Honoria." JrlDTNJj'  
1./ uJB/  
His wife made no further remark, but she had her thoughts. Honoria possessed good points: among others she was not a jealous person; she was too cold and too indifferent to be jealous. But she did not like the idea of another woman obtaining an influence over her husband, who, as she now began to recognise, was one of the most brilliant men of his day, and who might well become one of the most wealthy and powerful. Clearly he existed for her benefit, not for that of any other woman. She was no fool, and she saw that a considerable intimacy must exist between the two. Otherwise Geoffrey would not have thought of telegraphing to Beatrice at such a moment. me-Tv7WL  
cyYsz'i m  
Within a week of his election Geoffrey made a speech. It was not a long speech, nor was it upon any very important issue; but it was exceedingly good of its kind, good enough to be reported verbatim indeed, and those listening to it recognised that they had to deal with a new man who would one day be a very big man. There is no place where an able person finds his level quicker than in the House of Commons, composed as it is for the most part, of more or less wealthy or frantic mediocrities. But Geoffrey was not a mediocrity, he was an exceedingly able and powerful man, and this fact the House quickly recognised. w5/`_m!  
d,%e? 8x5  
For the next few months Geoffrey worked as men rarely work. All day he was at his chambers or in court, and at night he sat in the House, getting up his briefs when he could. But he always did get them up; no solicitors had to complain that the interests of their client were neglected by him; also he still found time to write to Beatrice. For the rest he went out but little, and except in the way of business associated with very few. Indeed he grew more and more silent and reserved, till at last he won the reputation of being cold and hard. Not that he was really so. He threw himself head and soul into his work with a fixed determination to reach the top of the tree. He knew that he should not care very much about it when he got there, but he enjoyed the struggle. mGZJ$|  
z (1zth  
Geoffrey was not a truly ambitious man; he was no mere self-seeker. He knew the folly of ambition too well, and its end was always clearly before his eyes. He often thought to himself that if he could have chosen his lot, he would have asked for a cottage with a good garden, five hundred a year, and somebody to care for. But perhaps he would soon have wearied of his cottage. He worked to stifle thought, and to some extent he succeeded. But he was at bottom an affectionate-natured man, and he could not stifle the longing for sympathy which was his secret weakness, though his pride would never allow him to show it. What did he care for his triumphs when he had nobody with whom to share them? All he could share were their fruits, and these he gave away freely enough. It was but little that Geoffrey spent upon his own gratification. A certain share of his gains he put by, the rest went in expenses. The house in Bolton Street was a very gay place in those days, but its master took but little part in its gaieties. Oc,E\~  
And what was the fact? The longer he remained separated from Beatrice the more intensely did he long for her society. It was of no use; try as he would, he could not put that sweet face from his mind; it drew him as a magnet draws a needle. Success did not bring him happiness, except in the sense that it relieved him from money cares. !&eKq?P{j  
People of coarse temperament only can find real satisfaction in worldly triumphs, and eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow they die! Men like Geoffrey soon learn that this also is vanity. On the contrary, as his mind grew more and more wearied with the strain of work, melancholy took an ever stronger hold of it. Had he gone to a doctor, he might have been told that his liver was out of order, which was very likely true. But this would not mend matters. "What a world," he might have cried, "what a world to live in when all the man's happiness depends upon his liver!" He contracted an accursed habit of looking on the black side of things; trouble always caught his eye. <r1/& RW,  
It was no wonderful case. Men of large mind are very rarely happy men. It is your little animal-minded individual who can be happy. Thus women, who reflect less, are as a class much happier and more contented than men. But the large-minded man sees too far, and guesses too much of what he cannot see. He looks forward, and notes the dusty end of his laborious days; he looks around and shudders at the unceasing misery of a coarse struggling world; the sight of the pitiful beggar babe craving bread on tottering feet, pierces his heart. He cannot console himself with a reflection that the child had no business to be born, or that if he denuded himself of his last pound he would not materially help the class which bred it. s}<i[hY>  
7P:/ (P  
And above the garish lights of earthly joys and the dim reek of earthly wretchedness, he sees the solemn firmament that veils his race's destiny. For such a man, in such a mood, even religion has terrors as well as hopes, and while the gloom gathers about his mind these are with him more and more. What lies beyond that arching mystery to whose horizon he daily draws more close--whose doors may even now be opening for him? A hundred hands point out a hundred roads to knowledge--they are lost half way. Only the cold spiritual firmament, unlit by any guiding stars, unbrightened by the flood of human day, and unshadowed by the veils of human night, still bends above his head in awful changelessness, and still his weary feet draw closer to the portals of the West. ;qs^+  
It is very sad and wrong, but it is not altogether his fault; it is rather a fault of the age, of over-education, of over-striving to be wise. Cultivate the searching spirit and it will grow and rend you. The spirit would soar, it would see, but the flesh weighs it down, and in all flesh there is little light. Yet, at times, brooding on some unnatural height of Thought, its eyes seem to be opened, and it catches gleams of terrifying days to come, or perchance, discerns the hopeless gates of an immeasurable night. `( 'NH]^  
_TyQC1 d  
Oh, for that simpler faith which ever recedes farther from the ken of the cultivated, questioning mind! There alone can peace be found, and for the foolish who discard it, setting up man's wisdom at a sign, soon the human lot will be one long fear. Grown scientific and weary with the weight of knowledge, they will reject their ancient Gods, and no smug-faced Positivism will bring them consolation. Science, here and there illumining the gloom of destiny with its poor electric lights, cries out that they are guiding stars. But they are no stars, and they will flare away. Let us pray for darkness, more darkness, lest, to our bewildered sight, they do but serve to show that which shall murder Hope. %;#9lkOXWH  
So think Geoffrey and his kin, and in their unexpressed dismay, turn, seeking refuge from their physical and spiritual loneliness, but for the most part finding none. Nature, still strong in them, points to the dear fellowship of woman, and they make the venture to find a mate, not a companion. But as it chanced in Geoffrey's case he did find such a companion in Beatrice, after he had, by marriage, built up an impassable wall between them. 7>gW2 m  
And yet he longed for her society with an intensity that alarmed him. He had her letters indeed, but what are letters! One touch of a beloved hand is worth a thousand letters. In the midst of his great success Geoffrey was wretched at heart, yet it seemed to him that if he once more could have Beatrice at his side, though only as a friend, he would find rest and happiness. dRTpGz  
When a man's heart is thus set upon an object, his reason is soon convinced of its innocence, even of its desirability, and a kindly fate will generally contrive to give him the opportunity of ruin which he so ardently desires. nzu 3BVv  

只看该作者 19楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XIX. Geoffrey Has a Visitor .XIr?>G  
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And Beatrice--had she fared better during these long months? Alas, not at all. She had gone away from the Bryngelly Station on that autumn morning of farewell sick at heart, and sick at heart she had remained. Through all the long winter months sorrow and bitterness had been her portion, and now in the happiness of spring, sorrow and bitterness were with her still. She loved him, she longed for his presence, and it was denied to her. She could not console herself as can some women, nor did her deep passion wear away; on the contrary, it seemed to grow and gather with every passing week. Neither did she wish to lose it, she loved too well for that. It was better to be thus tormented by conscience and by hopelessness than to lose her cause of pain. @*SA$9/l  
One consolation Beatrice had and one only: she knew that Geoffrey did not forget her. His letters told her this. These letters indeed were everything to her--a woman can get so much more comfort out of a letter than a man. Next to receiving them she loved to answer them. She was a good and even a brilliant letter writer, but often and often she would tear up what she had written and begin again. There was not much news in Bryngelly; it was difficult to make her letters amusing. Also the farcical nature of the whole proceeding seemed to paralyse her. It was ridiculous, having so much to say, to be able to say nothing. Not that Beatrice wished to indite love-letters--such an idea had never crossed her mind, but rather to write as they had talked. Yet when she tried to do so the results were not satisfactory to her, the words looked strange on paper--she could not send them. 1LX)4TCC  
y] y9'5_  
In Geoffrey's meteor-like advance to fame and fortune she took the keenest joy and interest, far more than he did indeed. Though, like that of most other intelligent creatures, her soul turned with loathing from the dreary fustian of politics, she would religiously search the parliamentary column from beginning to end on the chance of finding his name or the notice of a speech by him. The law reports also furnished her with a happy hunting-ground in which she often found her game. Hnd+l)ng  
But they were miserable months. To rise in the morning, to go through the round of daily duty--thinking of Geoffrey; to come home wearied, and finally to seek refuge in sleep and dreams of him--this was the sum of them. Then there were other troubles. To begin with, things had gone from bad to worse at the Vicarage. The tithes scarcely came in at all, and every day their poverty pinched them closer. Had it not been for Beatrice's salary it was difficult to see how the family could have continued to exist. She gave it almost all to her father now, only keeping back a very small sum for her necessary clothing and such sundries as stamps and writing paper. Even then, Elizabeth grumbled bitterly at her extravagance in continuing to buy a daily paper, asking what business she had to spend sixpence a week on such a needless luxury. But Beatrice would not make up her mind to dock the paper with its occasional mention of Geoffrey. H?{ MRe  
Again, Owen Davies was a perpetual anxiety to her. His infatuation for herself was becoming notorious; everybody saw it except her father. Mr. Granger's mind was so occupied with questions connected with tithe that fortunately for Beatrice little else could find an entry. Owen dogged her about; he would wait whole hours outside the school or by the Vicarage gate merely to speak a few words to her. Sometimes when at length she appeared he seemed to be struck dumb, he could say nothing, but would gaze at her with his dull eyes in a fashion that filled her with vague alarm. He never ventured to speak to her of his love indeed, but he looked it, which was almost as bad. Another thing was that he had grown jealous. The seed which Elizabeth had planted in his mind had brought forth abundantly, though of course Beatrice did not know that this was her sister's doing. 6klD22b2$  
On the very morning that Geoffrey went away Mr. Davies had met her as she was walking back from the station and asked her if Mr. Bingham had gone. When she replied that this was so, she had distinctly heard him murmur, "Thank God! thank God!" Subsequently she discovered also that he bribed the old postman to keep count of the letters which she sent and received from Geoffrey. +(y>qd  
These things filled Beatrice with alarm, but there was worse behind. Mr. Davies began to send her presents, first such things as prize pigeons and fowls, then jewellery. The pigeons and fowls she could not well return without exciting remark, but the jewellery she sent back by one of the school children. First came a bracelet, then a locket with his photograph inside, and lastly, a case that, when she opened it, which her curiosity led her to do, nearly blinded her with light. It was a diamond necklace, and she had never seen such diamonds before, but from their size and lustre she knew that each stone must be worth hundreds of pounds. Beatrice put it in her pocket and carried it until she met him, which she did in the course of that afternoon. 3; A$<s  
"Mr. Davies," she said before he could speak, and handing him the package, "this has been sent to me by mistake. Will you kindly take it back?" s<,"Hsh^CR  
He took it, abashed. ,I=O"z>9  
"Mr. Davies," she went on, looking him full in the eyes, "I hope that there will be no more such mistakes. Please understand that I cannot accept presents from you." Z5 w`-#  
"If Mr. Bingham had sent it, you would have accepted it," he muttered sulkily. BHIZHp  
<T4 7kLI  
Beatrice turned and flashed such a look on him that he fell back and left her. But it was true, and she knew that it was true. If Geoffrey had given her a sixpence with a hole in it, she would have valued it more than all the diamonds on earth. Oh! what a position was hers. And it was wrong, too. She had no right to love the husband of another woman. But right or wrong the fact remained: she did love him. ;@h'Mb  
And the worst of it was that, as she well knew, sooner or later all this about Mr. Davies must come to the ears of her father, and then what would happen? One thing was certain. In his present poverty- stricken condition he would move heaven and earth to bring about her marriage to this rich man. Her father never had been very scrupulous where money was concerned, and the pinch of want was not likely to make him more so. q^T&A[hMPx  
Nor, we may be sure, did all this escape the jealous eye of Elizabeth. Things looked black for her, but she did not intend to throw up the cards on that account. Only it was time to lead trumps. In other words, Beatrice must be fatally compromised in the eyes of Owen Davies, if by any means this could be brought about. So far things had gone well for her schemes. Beatrice and Geoffrey loved each other, of that Elizabeth was certain. But the existence of this secret, underhand affection would avail her naught unless it could be ripened into acts. Everybody is free to indulge in secret predilections, but if once they are given way to, if once a woman's character is compromised, then the world avails itself of its opportunities and destroys her. What man, thought Elizabeth, would marry a compromised woman? If Beatrice could be compromised, Owen Davies would not take her to wife--therefore this must be brought about. EcS-tE 4%  
It sounds wicked and unnatural. "Impossible that sister should so treat sister," the reader of this history may say, thinking of her own, and of her affectionate and respectable surroundings. But it is not impossible. If you, who doubt, will study the law reports, and no worse occupation can be wished to you, you will find that such things are possible. Human nature can rise to strange heights, and it can also fall to depths beyond your fathoming. Because a thing is without parallel in your own small experience it in no way follows that it cannot be. jJ{ w -$  
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Elizabeth was a very remorseless person; she was more--she was a woman actuated by passion and by greed: the two strongest motives known to the human heart. But with her recklessness she united a considerable degree of intelligence, or rather of intellect. Had she been a savage she might have removed her sister from her path by a more expeditious way; being what she was, she merely strove to effect the same end by a method not punishable by law, in short, by murdering her reputation. Would she be responsible if her sister went wrong, and was thus utterly discredited in the eyes of this man who wished to marry her, and whom Elizabeth wished to marry? Of course not; that was Beatrice's affair. But she could give her every chance of falling into temptation, and this it was her fixed design to do. -"^WDs  
Circumstances soon gave her an opportunity. The need of money became very pressing at the Vicarage. They had literally no longer the wherewithal to live. The tithe payers absolutely refused to fulfil their obligations. As it happened, Jones, the man who had murdered the auctioneer, was never brought to trial. He died shortly after his arrest in a fit of delirium tremens and nervous prostration brought on by the sudden cessation of a supply of stimulants, and an example was lost, that, had he been duly hanged, might have been made of the results of defying the law. Mr. Granger was now too poor to institute any further proceedings, which, in the state of public feeling in Wales, might or might not succeed; he could only submit, and submission meant beggary. Indeed he was already a beggar. In this state of affairs he took counsel with Elizabeth, pointing out that they must either get money or starve. Now the only possible way to get money was by borrowing it, and Mr. Granger's suggestion was that he should apply to Owen Davies, who had plenty. Indeed he would have done so long ago, but that the squire had the reputation of being an exceedingly close-fisted man. Ewsg&CCN  
But this proposition did not at all suit Elizabeth's book. Her great object had been to conceal Mr. Davies's desires as regards Beatrice from her father, and her daily dread was that he might become acquainted with them from some outside source. She knew very well that if her father went up to the Castle to borrow money it would be lent, or rather given, freely enough; but she also knew that the lender would almost certainly take the opportunity, the very favourable opportunity, to unfold his wishes as regards the borrower's daughter. The one thing would naturally lead to the other--the promise of her father's support of Owen's suit would be the consideration for the money received. How gladly that support would be given was also obvious to her, and with her father pushing Beatrice on the one side and Owen Davies pushing her on the other, how could Elizabeth be sure that she would not yield? Beatrice would be the very person to be carried away by an idea of duty. Their father would tell her that he had got the money on this undertaking, and it was quite possible that her pride might bring her to fulfil a bond thus given, however distasteful the deed might be to her personally. No, her father must at all hazards be prevented from seeking assistance from Owen Davies. And yet the money must be had from somewhere, or they would be ruined. MF sy`aiS  
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Ah, she had it--Geoffrey Bingham should lend the money! He could well afford it now, and she shrewdly guessed that he would not grudge the coat off his back if he thought that by giving it he might directly or indirectly help Beatrice. Her father must go up to town to see him, she would have no letter-writing; one never knows how a letter may be read. He must see Mr. Bingham, and if possible bring him down to Bryngelly. In a moment every detail of the plot became clear to Elizabeth's mind, and then she spoke. ebK wCZwK*  
"You must not go to Mr. Davies, father," she said; "he is a hard man, and would only refuse and put you in a false position; you must go to Mr. Bingham. Listen: he is rich now, and he is very fond of you and of Beatrice. He will lend you a hundred pounds at once. You must go to London by the early train to-morrow, and drive straight to his chambers and see him. It will cost two pounds to get there and back, but that cannot be helped; it is safer than writing, and I am sure that you will not go for nothing. And see here, father, bring Mr. Bingham back with you for a few days if you can. It will be a little return for his kindness, and I know that he is not well. Beatrice had a letter from him in which he said that he was so overworked that he thought he must take a little rest soon. Bring him back for Whit- Sunday." nJg2O@mRJ  
Mr. Granger hesitated, demurred, and finally yielded. The weak, querulous old farmer clergyman, worn out with many daily cares and quite unsupported by mental resources, was but a tool in Elizabeth's able hands. He did not indeed feel any humiliation at the idea of trying to borrow the cash, for his nature was not finely strung, and money troubles had made him callous to the verge of unscrupulousness; but he did not like the idea of a journey to London, where he had not been for more than twenty years, and the expenditure that it entailed. Still he acted as Elizabeth bade him, even to keeping the expedition secret from Beatrice. Beatrice, as her sister explained to him, was proud as Lucifer, and might raise objections if she knew that he was going to London to borrow money of Mr. Bingham. This indeed she would certainly have done. [K- s\  
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On the following afternoon--it was the Friday before Whit-Sunday, and the last day of the Easter sittings--Geoffrey sat in his chambers, in the worst possible spirits, thoroughly stale and worn out with work. There was a consultation going on, and his client, a pig-headed Norfolk farmer, who was bent upon proceeding to trial with some extraordinary action for trespass against his own landlord, was present with his solicitor. Geoffrey in a few short, clear words had explained the absurdity of the whole thing, and strongly advised him to settle, for the client had insisted on seeing him, refusing to be put off with a written opinion. But the farmer was not satisfied, and the solicitor was now endeavouring to let the pure light of law into the darkness of his injured soul. }d(6N&;"zN  
Geoffrey threw himself back in his chair, pushed the dark hair from his brow, and pretended to listen. But in a minute his mind was far away. Heavens, how tired he was! Well, there would be rest for a few days--till Tuesday, when he had a matter that must be attended to--the House had risen and so had the courts. What should he do with himself? Honoria wished to go and stay with her brother, Lord Garsington, and, for a wonder, to take Effie with her. He did not like it, but he supposed that he should have to consent. One thing was, he would not go. He could not endure Garsington, Dunstan, and all their set. Should he run down to Bryngelly? The temptation was very great; that would be happiness indeed, but his common sense prevailed against it. No, it was better that he should not go there. He would leave Bryngelly alone. If Beatrice wished him to come she would have said so, and she had never even hinted at such a thing, and if she had he did not think that he would have gone. But he lacked the heart to go anywhere else. He would stop in town, rest, and read a novel, for Geoffrey, when he found time, was not above this frivolous occupation. Possibly, under certain circumstances, he might even have been capable of writing one. At that moment his clerk entered, and handed him a slip of paper with something written on it. He opened it idly and read: 6D],275`J  
"Revd. Mr. Granger to see you. Told him you were engaged, but he \&H%k   
said he would wait." >HFJm&lQ  
Geoffrey started violently, so violently that both the solicitor and the obstinate farmer looked up. !hq7R]TC+  
"Tell the gentleman that I will see him in a minute," he said to the retreating clerk, and then, addressing the farmer, "Well, sir, I have said all that I have to say. I cannot advise you to continue this action. Indeed, if you wish to do so, you must really direct your solicitor to retain some other counsel, as I will not be a party to what can only mean a waste of money. Good afternoon," and he rose. C{c (K!  
The farmer was convoyed out grumbling. In another moment Mr. Granger entered, dressed in a somewhat threadbare suit of black, and his thin white hair hanging, as usual, over his eyes. Geoffrey glanced at him with apprehension, and as he did so noticed that he had aged greatly during the last seven months. Had he come to tell him some ill news of Beatrice--that she was ill, or dead, or going to be married? Y`M.hYBXk  
"How do you do, Mr. Granger?" he said, as he stretched out his hand, and controlling his voice as well as he could. "How are you? This is a most unexpected pleasure." &Zf@vD  
"How do you do, Mr. Bingham?" answered the old man, while he seated himself nervously in a chair, placing his hat with a trembling hand upon the floor beside him. "Yes, thank you, I am pretty well, not very grand--worn out with trouble as the sparks fly upwards," he added, with a vague automatic recollection of the scriptural quotation. 7C&`i}/t  
"I hope that Miss Elizabeth and Be--that your daughters are well also," said Geoffrey, unable to restrain his anxiety. 8o~\L= l  
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"Yes, yes, thank you, Mr. Bingham. Elizabeth isn't very grand either, complains of a pain in her chest, a little bilious perhaps--she always is bilious in the spring." ib& |271gG  
"And Miss Beatrice?" 7_A(1Lx/l7  
"Oh, I think she's well--very quiet, you know, and a little pale, perhaps; but she is always quiet--a strange woman Beatrice, Mr. Bingham, a very strange woman, quite beyond me! I do not understand her, and don't try to. Not like other women at all, takes no pleasure in things seemingly; curious, with her good looks--very curious. But nobody understands Beatrice." WqwD"WX+w  
Geoffrey breathed a sigh of relief. "And how are tithes being paid, Mr. Granger? not very grandly, I fear. I saw that scoundrel Jones died in prison." "PnYa)?1  
Vs m06Rj{  
Mr. Granger woke up at once. Before he had been talking almost at random; the subject of his daughters did not greatly interest him. What did interest him was this money question. Nor was it very wonderful; the poor narrow-minded old man had thought about money till he could scarcely find room for anything else, indeed nothing else really touched him closely. He broke into a long story of his wrongs, and, drawing a paper from his breast pocket, with shaking finger pointed out to Geoffrey how that his clerical income for the last six months had been at the rate of only forty pounds a year, upon which sum even a Welsh clergyman could not consider himself passing rich. Geoffrey listened and sympathised; then came a pause. (#7pGGp*E  
"That's how we've been getting on at Bryngelly, Mr. Bingham," Mr. Granger said presently, "starving, pretty well starving. It's only you who have been making money; we've been sitting on the same dock-leaf while you have become a great man. If it had not been for Beatrice's salary--she's behaved very well about the salary, has Beatrice--I am sure I don't understand how the poor girl clothes herself on what she keeps; I know that she had to go without a warm cloak this winter, because she got a cough from it--we should have been in the workhouse, and that's where we shall be yet," and he rubbed the back of his withered hand across his eyes. wf<uG|90  
Geoffrey gasped. Beatrice with scarcely enough means to clothe herself --Beatrice shivering and becoming ill from the want of a cloak while he lived in luxury! It made him sick to think of it. For a moment he could say nothing. kZSe#'R's  
"I have come here--I've come," went on the old man in a broken voice, broken not so much by shame at having to make the request as from fear lest it should be refused, "to ask you if you could lend me a little money. I don't know where to turn, I don't indeed, or I would not do it, Mr. Bingham. I have spent my last pound to get here. If you could lend me a hundred pounds I'd give you note of hand for it and try to pay it back little by little; we might take twenty pounds a year from Beatrice's salary----" 8Bo'0  
"Don't, please--do not talk of such a thing!" ejaculated the horrified Geoffrey. "Where the devil is my cheque-book? Oh, I know, I left it in Bolton Street. Here, this will do as well," and he took up a draft note made out to his order, and, rapidly signing his name on the back of it, handed it to Mr. Granger. It was in payment of the fees in the great case of Parsons and Douse and some other matters. Mr. Granger took the draft, and, holding it close to his eyes, glanced at the amount; it was ?00. j"}alS`-  
"But this is double what I asked for," he said doubtfully. "Am I to return you ?00?" *hFT,1WE=+  
"No, no," answered Geoffrey, "I daresay that you have some debts to pay. Thank Heaven, I can get on very well and earn more money than I want. Not enough clothing--it is shocking to think of!" he added, more to himself than to his listener. ^EM##Ss_  
The old man rose, his eyes full of tears. "God bless you," he said, "God bless you. I do not know how to thank you--I don't indeed," and he caught Geoffrey's hand between his trembling palms and pressed it. ]"{K5s7  
"Please do not say any more, Mr. Granger; it really is only a matter of mutual obligation. No, no, I don't want any note of hand. If I were to die it might be used against you. You can pay me whenever it is convenient." u])N^AY"sj  
"You are too good, Mr. Bingham," said the old clergyman. "Where could another man be found who would lend me ?00 without security?" (where indeed!) "By the way," he added, "I forgot; my mind is in such a whirl. Will you come back with me for a few days to Bryngelly? We shall all be so pleased if you can. Do come, Mr. Bingham; you look as though you want a change, you do indeed." 4b,N"w{v  
Geoffrey dropped his hand heavily on the desk. But half an hour before he had made up his mind not to go to Bryngelly. And now---- CE=&ZHt9  
The vision of Beatrice rose before his eyes. Beatrice who had gone cold all winter and never told him one word of their biting poverty-- the longing for the sight of Beatrice came into his heart, and like a hurricane swept the defences of his reason to the level ground. Temptation overwhelmed him; he no longer struggled against it. He must see her, if it was only to say good-bye. />=)=CGv;  
"Thank you," he said quietly, lifting his bowed head. "Yes, I have nothing particular to do for the next day or two. I think that I will come. When do you go back?" 5i `q  
"Well, I thought of taking the night mail, but I feel so tired. I really don't know. I think I shall go by the nine o'clock train to-morrow." b'F#Y9  
"That will suit me very well," said Geoffrey; "and now what are you going to do to-night? You had better come and dine and sleep at my house. No dress clothes? Oh, never mind; there are some people coming but they won't care; a clergyman is always dressed. Come along and I will get that draft cashed. The bank is shut, but I can manage it." y$-;6zk\]  
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