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a very bold
was of Leo. Don't speak of gratitude, “From the time he was a little fellow Sir Stephen, and tell your mother to be so high, he delighted in nothing else. assured that my dear brother blessed her He and his dear uncle would play by the many and many a time for leaving him hour together at fighting battles and dril. such a comfort. Two old people, alone ling armies. Antony wished him to go in the world, our lives would have been into the church, feeling that it was more very dull without Leo."
than probable that you would, in due time, Sir Stephen took the old lady's hand. have allowed Leo to take his place as “ Your unselfish goodness," he said, rector here, and there would have been a
puts my thanks to silence; but you comfortable provision for him for life; must now tell me your wishes, so that I whereas, where he is, the poor boy has a may see if I cannot serve your adopted hard task to pay his way; and to put by son in some way.”
to purchase his next step, is next to imAunt Lydia sat for a few moments with possibility, Sir Stephen. If he had a out speaking, but with an expression in friend in power, or any one to lend him a her sweet old face which kept Sir Ste- helping hand, he thinks something might phen from disturbing her; then looking be managed. And now, Sir Stephen, I at him she said,
am coming to my request “ How wonderful are the ways of Him, one I fear you will think it.” who worketh all things together for our “No, I shall not; only tell me exactly good! Until two days ago, I never what he wants. This, you know, is wished that the silence which my brother strictly between ourselves.” kept up between Leo and his father's “Yes, I am sure of that, and I feel as family should be broken ; but a circum- if I could really open my mind to you, stance has occurred which has made me Sir Stephen, which is such a comfort to hesitate, and think, would it not be best one pent up as I have been through that you should know, as perhaps you having no one to whom I could speak could be of great assistance to Leo. I openly. Well, I dare say you don't know, cannot tell you, Sir St:hen, how this though perhaps you may have guessed, thought has worried me not having any that there is a great attachment between person to speak to on the matter." Leo and Hero Carthew."
“Mr. Leo Despard is not aware, then, Sir Stephen nodded his head, to sig. of the connection between us ?"
nify that he was already in possession of "Oh dear no ! nothing could be fur- that fact. ther from his thoughts. He knows that "Ah, I thought whether you hadn't the details of his birth are somewhat noticed it. Then I dare say you have painful; for before he went into the also noticed that there's a little misunderworld, my dear Antony thought it only standing between them just at present.” right to tell him so much, but no more ; “No. I saw them together on Wedtherefore I could not speak to him. Inesday.” could but seek guidance, and now you Ah, yes ; but it has been since then. come to me, and ask a question which They had a fall out that evening. You gives the answer to my petition. Mrs. see, Sir Stephen, that though they have Prescott, you say, has only told you been engaged, it has not been anything
formal : and I suppose Hero (and very Sir Stephen, wishing that Aunt Lydia naturally) now wants it to be known, and should suppose his mother's communica- she told Leo as much, and he took it into tion a voluntary one, answered,
his head it would not be honourable to “ Yes ; she saw that we were likely to bind her, and so objected; and then, as be thrown more together, and she is always the case, one word led to anthought it best. You know I am going other, until the poor boy his warmth, to sell my larger estate, and settle at Mal- let out what we had none of us suspected, lett altogether."
that he has been miserable for ever so “ Dear me ! that seems a pity. I re- long, because he can't see his way to member Antony telling me what a beau- getting his promotion, for perhaps ten tiful place it was."
years to come, and until he gets that they “Yes; most people admire it, and that must not think of marrying, you know, gives me hope that I shall have no diffi- Sir Stephen ; and he said at length that, culty in selling it. I presume,” he said, rather than tie Hero down by a long en. reverting to the subject uppermost in his gagement, he would set her free, and mind, " that it was Mr. Leo Despard's she — rather ungenerously, I must say wish to be a soldier."
that of her - took him at his word. As
he said to me last night, why can't they | erous ; pray don't speak in that way to go on as they've been going on? But me, for I could not think of allowing you she won't have that. She says things to deprive yourself of such a sum ; we are altered now, and she wishes people to shall only look upon it as a loan from you know that she is engaged, and from what which is to be repaid, and I know that I can gather she was a little high and Leo will leave no stone unturned to repay mighty with him, and Leo isn't one to it, for he is a good boy, Sir Stephen stand that; and so when she said then dear good boy, a son whom any man they would in future only be friends, he might have been proud to own; but there, took her at her word, and the conse- I have no right to speak; it is not for us quence is, they are both of them heart- to judge." broken, and one won't give way and the " I suppose you never saw the mothother won't give way, so that there is no er?” said Sir Stephen. knowing how long they may go on mak- “ No, never.” ing each other miserable. However, I “ I thought she might have made some shouldn't mind that so much - for young attempt to see the boy.” people are pretty sure to get right in the “ She never knew where he had been end -- if it was not that it has opened my placed, and his dread of her discovering eyes to the dear boy's anxieties about his it kept Sir Bernard from coming to the promotion, which I never knew before, house. It was not until he ascertained and I am afraid it will affect his health, that she was dead that he wrote to Antony, and he talks of volunteering for some of saying he should now see the child ; and those dreadful places where a strong we always thought he meant to acknowlyoung man is taken off like the snuff of edge him. But there, it was not to be. a candle in a few hours ” — and here poor Sudden death is very awful, Sir Stephen, Aunt Lydia shuddered at the melancholy and I shall never forget the shock your prospect. “A wife, you see, is such a poor uncle's death gave Antony. You safeguard to a man in the army, because see they were much attached to each he knows if he goes throwing away his other — like brothers, you may say." life, how straitened he must leave his “ Mr. Despard had seen the mother ?” poor widow: so that I shouldn't be a bit “Yes, he had; poor Antony quite afraid if Leo was married — only how is grieved, thinking what a thousand pities he to marry until he gets his promotion, for Sir Bernard to have made such a misand how is he to get his promotion with take, for you know he quite thought Sir out a friend to give him a helping hand ?” Bernard had married her; indeed, to his And stopping, she looked wistfully at dying day it was a mystery to my dear Sir Stephen, who sat listening to her brother. "Ah, we're all sound till' we're words with a grave face.
sifted, Sir Stephen, and the man who He had not interrupted her while she trusts to his own strength is lost.” was speaking, for every sentence she ut- While Aunt Lydia was saying this the tered seemed to send his thoughts travel expression of Sir Stephen's face had ling off in a fresh direction. Viewed in gradually become more pained and anxthe light which Aunt Lydia threw upon ious. it, Leo's denial assumed a different as- “ I shall come again soon, and have pect and Sir Stephen could readily credit another chat with you, miss Despard,” the young fellow was striving to do what he said, rising from his chair with a heavy he believed to be honourable and right. feeling of oppression. “In the meanUntil now he hardly knew how strongly time, how about your nephew? Do you hope had sprung up within him; but if propose to inform him now of our relathis was the explanation of Leo's cold- tionship ?” ness, he must give up all thought of 6. Oh, that I shall leave to you, Sir things being difierent, and until he had Stephen.” done what was plainly his duty, forget his “You see that, though I have a largepersonal interest in the matter. So, with sounding income, I am from circuman effort, which he strove to hide from stances so straitened for ready money Miss Despard, he said,
that I could not conveniently spare this “ If the sum for purchasing a further sum until I have made some arrangement step will secure their happiness, you need dependent on my estate of Pamphillon, say no more, Miss Despard, as I consider which is at present for sale. Now, supyou have every right to claim that from pose we said nothing about this matter me."
until the money is forthcoming, and then "Oh, Sir Stephen, you are too gen-'we told Mr. Despard ?”
“That is quite as I think, Sir Stephen.” | about this young Despard,” the Captain
“I hope to be able to do this in the began. “ All know of him from his course of a few weeks ; so they will not uncle is this — as to anything others may have a very long term of probation.” say, well, I put it in the same list with
Aunt Lydia took his outstretched hand, what he says of himself — he was the son and while tears of joy filled her eyes, she of a great friend of the old man’s, who said,
had got himself. into a precious mess “My tongue has ever been a very weak through some woman he took up with. exponent of my heart, and never more He was a queer kind of fish, and Antony feeble to express its gratitude than at thought he had married her, and when he this moment; but inasmuch as you have took charge of Leo, then a little chap in done to me, may it be done to you, so petticoats, he still believed that she was that the burden which lies nearest to his wife, though by this time she had your heart be lifted suddenly away, and bolted from him, and he was furious its heaviness turned into great fulness of against her, so much so, that until she joy."
died, which she did a few years after, he
wouldn't even look at the child, who was CHAPTER XXVI.
the image of the mother. After her death
he softened down a little, and came to THE CAPTAIN CLEARS UP SOME POINTS. see the boy, and talked about taking him
AFTER leaving Aunt Lydia, Sir Stephen home, for he'd come into some property, walked towards the village, at the en- 1 fancy – when, poor fellow, he died trance to which he suddenly came upon quite suddenly of some complaint which, Captain Carthew and Leo Despard. De- it seems, he kept to himself for years, termined upon making restitution for the and everything was found to be at sixes false impression he considered he had and sevens. The next of kin wrote to old formed of Leo, Sir Stephen gave him a Antony, and, as nothing was found of a more friendly greeting than their short marriage certificate, or any papers to clear acquaintance demanded, and when at the up the matter, the poor little beggar had turn to the forts Leo stopped, Sir Stephen no claim upon anybody. Old Antony said,
offered to adopt him, and they were only If you have nothing better to do, will too willing to be ridden of the burden. you stroll round, and smoke a cigar with Mind you,” added the Captain, finding me this evening ?”
Sir Stephen still silent, “if ever any one “Thanks, I will,” said Leo, well pleased was certain of a berth aloft, that man was at the change; and the Captain and Sir old Antony Despard. He loved his Stephen walked on together.
neighbour, he feared God, and honoured "That seems a nice young fellow," Sir the king; and if there's anything else Stephen said, debating within himself that ought to be done to make things whether or not he should speak openly to square, why, sir, he did it.” Captain Carthew. “You knew Mr. Des- And the Captain, in his excitement, pard, the rector, intimately, I suppose?” pushed his bat farther back, and shook
“ What, old Antony ? Ah, yes; he and his head defiantly at Sir Stephen. I were great chums," said the Captain, “ You but confirm what Miss Despard regretfully.
told me this morning, and my mother “ Did he ever speak to you as to the told me last night, when I was first inantecedents of this adopted son of his ?” formed that the friend for whom Mr.
The Captain gave a quick look at Sir Despard did all this was my uncle, the Stephen.
late Sir Bernard Prescott, and that this “I am not asking from idle curiosity, young Despard is therefore my cousin." as you will presently see. I really want “ The devil he is !” exclaimed the to unburden myself a little to you on a Captain, stopping, and turning short subject which has just caused me great round in blank amazement. “God bless annoyance. I know I may speak openly my soul ! why, I thought you were asking to you."
on Hero's account ! Lord! I never had The Captain, on whom the troubled the wind so knocked out of me before. tone of Sir Stephen's voice was not lost, Leo Despard your uncle's son! Well, put his arm through his companion's. then, for once I should have cut up rough
“Let us turn down here," he said. with old Antony, for — " and he grasped “We are not so likely to be interrupted.” Sir Stephen's hand —" by Jingo, if the And they walked on a little distance with mother had been married, Mallett might out either of them speaking. “Now, I have thrown out signals of distress for a month of Sundays, before Master Leo plain with you. I wish to give him the would have come to the rescue.”
sum for the purchase of his next step. I Sir Stephen smiled.
cannot do this till Pamphillon is sold ; “You have rather set me thinking," he then I shall be able to manage it, and add said. “I suppose old Mr. Despard felt to it enough, so that he may marry, which quite satisfied that every justice had been it seems he is very anxious to do.” done to this boy. That is the worst of “The deuce he is ? And who does he being kept in ignorance. Women do want to marry ?” what is right; but they don't always see Sir Stephen hesitated. the necessity of proving that they have " You don't mean Hero ?” done so. My poor mother, for instance, Sir Stephen's silence implied that he is plagued with such a tender conscience, did mean Hero, and the Captain shookthat she would overstrain and torment his head. herself in any doubtful matter ;
very “Why, it was only last night that she likely she would never think to say this told me that they'd parted company." to any one, fancying that they would be “Yes, Miss Despard hinted at some sure to judge her as justly as she would misunderstanding, in consequence of Mr. judge them."
Despard feeling that it would be wrong " And so she was judged,” said the to bind your daughter to one who could Captain ; " for I, not knowing who the not marry for an indefinite time ; but that parties were, have often asked Antony if is over now they can marry as soon as he was satisfied that it had all been plain they please.” And a something in the sailing.”
tone of these words made the Captain * And he was ?”
avoid looking at once at the speaker. “Perfectly. He said his knowledge of “Well, he may get his promotion,” he the person who wrote to him thoroughly said, “and very glad I shall be to see a satisfied him ; and now I know that he pair of epaulettes upon his shoulders ; meant your mother, I can understand the but if he gets my girl, why, I'll eat my high opinion he had of her."
head, hat and all. No, no, not a bit of “I am very glad of that,” said Sir Ste- it.” phen, with a sizh of relief; “ but the good “ You won't give your consent ?" old man must have thought' very meanly “Give my consent! Yes, I'll give my of me."
consent if he ever gets hers. But, where** Not a bit of it. He never thought as, a little time ago she'd nailed her meanly of any one, and, least of all, of colors to Leo, and would have stuck to any member of your family. On the con- him through thick and thin, like a true trary, you may depend he was very much woman — God bless 'em every one ! obliged to you for not interfering ; indeed, now, whether he sinks or swims, the same I've heard him say as much.”
boat will never hold them, and the longer “ It was very strange that he should not they live the wider they'll drift apart.” have told the young fellow himself ? " “But how — what has caused this sud
"Well, I don't know that. He'd a good den change ? " said Sir Stephen. deal more sense than he ever got credit “Nothing, I believe ; only old Time for, and I expect he saw that Master Leo has made woman of the child, and she was one rather given to lay hold of fanci- cares for something beyond a good figureful notions. He's a queer mixture is Leo, head. I always knew that if they were and I can make more allowance for his thrown much together her love for Leo twists and cranks now. I am glad your would be gone; they're as opposite to mother told you of the circumstance. one another as the poles. I wish Leo These things are better made a clean well, and, for my old friend's sake, bebreast of.”
sides having a liking for the boy himself, "Her silence has been a terrible annoy- I'd do him a service with all my heart ; ance to me,” Sir Stephen said. “ At but, for all that, I say, thank the Lord least," he added, wishing to screen her that he'll never be anything, more to my forced avowal, “she ought to have told girl, and last night when she told me I me before we came down here. Directly took an extra glass of grog on the strength she did do so I went to Miss Despard, of it. Ah! by the bye, that brings me to and I have had a long talk with her this a promise I gave to our friend Joe Bunce. morning."
Do you really think you shall take up * Does she wish Leo' to be told of it?" your quarters here - I mean, so that
“Yes, we shall tell him, but not for a you'll keep on your boat, and need Joe as little time to come.
I may as well be a regular hand'?”
“ Certainly I mean to engage his ser- Joe became more sheep-faced than vices to be a handy man about the place, ever. and to make the boat his especial care." “Well, sir, I have bin a thinking about
“Well, then, will you tell him so?” it.”
“Of course I will. I was on my way Thinking about it,” laughed the Capto the village when we met. If you are tain. Why, you've been thinking about going there, we'll walk on together.” it these last twenty years.",
“ What you have told me," said the “Yes, sir, but the difficulty is to get a Captain, as they turned into the road, “ is female twice in the same wind. They as safe as if it was unsaid. Until you don't answer to no helm, they don't - not give the word I shall never speak of it to as I could ever make out. P'raps you a living soul."
gintlemen knows how to strike the “ I shall be entirely guided by his own right nail on the head; but I've never bin wishes,” said Sir Stephen. " He may de- able to hit it. If so be now," and Joe sire that things be left as they are.”. gave a sly look towards Sir Stephen,
“ Most probably he will,” said the “ I'd a got anybody to give me a hoist up Captain. “You see, it's an awkward with a wedge o' their own drivin', she'd thing to be chopping and changing, and take me straight off the reel.” I know when Leo has a story to tell he · Well, we must see what can be isn't particular to a shade or two." Then, done,” laughed Sir Stephen. “I shall tell seeing that they were approaching a more Betsey that now you have entered into frequented part, he added, “but we'll talk my service, Joe, I must see you respectathis over again. There are two or three bly married, and I'll ask her advice things I want to say ; but we'll leave them about a cottage which I think might suit for the present, and finish our business you." with Mr. Joe, who I can see round the Joe stood speechless, then suddenly corner keeping a sharp lookout. Come, turning to Sir Stephen he said — Joe, here's Sir Stephen – now speak up! “ You couldn't find me somethin' to do for the expression on Joe's face had sud- now, sir, could ye ?" denly assumed a bashfulness rather at No, I am going on some other busivariance with its bronze color and hairy ness. surroundings.
“ Have you got a job of any kind, “Well, Joe !” said Sir Stephen, are Cap'en ?" you ready to settle down as a landsman ? The Captain shook his head. Is it agreed
that you undertake the “ Well," then !” exclaimed Joe decharge of my boat ?"
“I'll run up and ask Miss Hero Joe turned the hat which he held by to keep a eye on me ; for if I stay within the brim slowly round, staring hard into hail of the Admiral Nelson, I shan't be the crown, with the hope of gaining an able to keep from drinkin' o' somebody's inspiration by which he might duly re-health, and once inside there, 'tain't so turn his thanks ; but these means not easy to get out again.” succeeding, he got redder than before with the effort to say, “ Thank'ee sir. I ain't much of a
MRS. PRESCOTT'S REFLECTIONS. hand at speechifying, through allays havin bin in the carpenter's crew; but my UNTIL dinner-time, Mrs. Prescott saw feelin's is the same, and I am uncommon nothing of her son, and then Katherine's obliged to you, sir, for givin' me this presence prevented their touching upon chance, and so the Cap'en can tell, as has any but general topics. This was only in often spoke up for me before, when the accordance with her desire that, until she wind's bin pretty stiff up above," and he had hedged herself in with clever evarather lowered his voice as he indicated sions and discreet denials, there should above to mean Sharrows.
be no raking up of by-gone memories be“ Ah !” said the Captain, “that's when tween them. Her day, which, under the you've been splicing the main brace, Joe ; plea of indisposition, she had spent albut we mustn't have any more of that most alone, had been one of alternating
You must conduct yourself as be- hope and fear — hope, that, now so much comes a steady-going man, or you'll lose was known, the great dread would remain your rating with Betsey."
more completely shrouded than before ; Betsey !” repeated Sir Stephen. and fear, lest Sir Stephen should persist “Of course, I had forgotten all about that. in telling Leo the existing relationship Why, you want to get married, Joe ?” between them. By way of consolation