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who plied pick and shovel stopped to spit, think of. “Very delicate.” Yes, very and to apply foul adjectives to their foul job. likely. Probably that meant that if she
The business went on briskly day by day were uprooted she would feel it acutelyunder the long wall, which was steeped from perhaps die. Mary Wynne had begun to end to end in the ripe autumn warmth. teach him the meaning of the old garden. Above its mellowed bricks red rose shoots He found himself unable to imagine her took the sun, and flourished lightly in the apart from it; all the beautiful life which still air. At night, for the nights were had been fostered through many generations misty and moonless, a red lantern-red as if within its walls seemed to him to have it glimmered through brooding miasma-tied blossomed in her. He had come to Brenton crossed bits of wood, announced where hill with his head too full of schemes for danger lay to home-comers from the Hand enlarging his business, and benefiting the and Flower. Brydon saw the scene under workers in his factory, to have time to think all aspects; apart from any business-like much about women. Philanthropy, according interest in it, it seemed to fascinate him. He to Brydon, had to be made to pay, and required would loiter at a little distance, and gaze at to be sharply looked after. He would neither the wall with a doubtful expression. He rob others of their wages nor forego his own. was moody, haggard, irritable. One night He was deaf to all distant cries for help; earthas he went slowly homeward from his office, quakes, colliery explosions, Indian famines, smoking his cigar, he paused in Garden Lane, fires, could not extract a halfpenny from his and uttered a fierce ejaculation under his pocket; the facts were sad, but they were breath. “By God!” he said. “When it not in his department, and he was not, as he comes to the point, I'm no more to be bluntly said, either big enough or fool depended on than the rest!”
enough to undertake the world's work. Eddington told him he looked ill. The Given health, he meant to do his own, and mill-owner answered with an inarticulate it was as much as he could manage. He sound, conveying scorn, and stood with a would never have looked at Mary Wynne hang - dog expression, biting his nails. if she had not been thrown in his way as “You'd better run down to Salthaven, too," an obstacle ; he would have paid her the said the good-humoured old gentleman. price of her garden, and forgotten every“ You're overdoing it overdoing it. A thing but her name where it stood in his little sea air would do you all the good in cheque book. But when she thwarted all the world—your own prescription, you his schemes, and left him no more than the know.”
daily routine of business to fill his mind, he There was a momentary flash in Brydon's began to think of her with the absorption shadowed eyes. “Thanks,” he said with a with which he would otherwise have thought deliberate drawl; “I don't think Salthaven of plans and builders' estimates. Common air would agree with me. At any rate I'll justice- Brydon wanted to be just-combe worse-a good deal worse before I try it." pelled him to own her legal right to refuse
“ Very good, only don't hang about that to sell, and to try to discover any honest sweet lane of yours too much. Dixon tells reason for such refusal, with the possibility me he'd no notion what a state the place was of which she might be credited. For weeks in— "
he seemed to stand face to face with her, “It's pretty bad.”
questioning her, judging her, gazing at her, “ Upon my word," the other smiled, “I and then all at once he woke to the knowthink from your point of view you had ledge that this tender, appealing woman had better have let Miss Wynne stay at home.” won her way into his stronghold, that he was
“On the chance of killing her off and fighting with her still, but in his own heart. treating with her executors—there's some How had he thought of women before ? thing in that.”
Well, he had thought mostly of those who “No, but to let her hear about it. She worked in his factory, and he had thought can't realise it out there in the fresh air.” of them with a rough sense of pity and fair
“ You're right,” said Brydon. “She play. “Give 'em a chance," he had said can't."
scores of times, “let 'em be decently housed, “My cousin says she thinks Miss Wynne fed, and clothed—yes, and decently taught, looks better, but she strikes her as being and they'll be decent women.” And for that very delicate,” the other went on. “I hope he had planned his cottages. It was all not-I hope not. She may not be a very wise right enough and as true as ever, but young woman, but she's a very nice one." Brydon was thinking now of something
Brydon went away with something to beyond decency. The walled garden had
become to him a part of Mary Wynne's was he to tear this new and strange influence charm--the one explained the other. In out of his heart? He believed that it would destroying it he would destroy possibilities, lead him wrong, and yet it was the sweetest perhaps blight the flowering of other delicate and tenderest feeling of which he was capable. souls. One might grow a very good sort of “ Well," he said at last, knocking the ashes woman in his little houses, but not Mary out of his pipe, and sitting down to work at Wynne.
his untidy table, “ she is out of reach now, Nor was that all. He had thought much and when she comes back I daresay she will of the clean and well appointed dwellings say 'No.'” But though he said it he did which he would erect, but when he saw how not really believe it. The advantage he had utterly earth, air, and water could be defiled, already gained had quickened his self-conhe stood aghast. No doubt while he lived fidence, he looked on Mary as half conquered, he could guard his property, but, if he should and something within him mocked, "She die, might not the evil which had befallen will say “No' once, but not always. Did Garden Lane come upon his cottages too? she not yield to you and go to Salthaven? Might they not be let and sublet, and Did you not know when she said “I will go,' swarming families pour in to multiply in that her will was bending before yours and their squalor and improvidence where Mary's that it needed but a little more to give you bushes of myrtle and bay, Mary's great your way with the garden? And if she said cedars and clustered roses, were rooted 'No' to yet a further demand, should you now? So to deface what she loved seemed take that word as final ?”. a thing impossible, like laying cruel and Brydon answered these questionings with violent hands on Mary herself.
a laugh, which broke the silence of the room Nevertheless, through all these troubled with its brief sound. “Anyhow," he said, thoughts the man in a blind fashion did feel leaning forward, pen in hand, “ she isn't that he ought to cling to the work which he here now, and I suppose won't be back for a had undertaken. Before ever he saw Miss few days. I don't see any way out of it, it's Wynne he had pledged himself to old Mrs. true, but perhaps there is one, and if so Humphreys, and shrill Betsy Barnes, and we'll give it a chance. Only," he added, as Ada and Minnie and the rest of the bold, if ensuring fair play by warning an adversary, pale-faced girls who worked at the mill. If “the first opportunity I get, I shall speak.” he deserted them who would take up their And, judging from his set lips and brilliant cause? And he would not try to persuade eyes, he would speak forcibly enough. himself that Mary Wynne could ever share So the days went by in their unresting his philanthropic hopes. Gentle and kindly procession, the momentous days that were she would always be, but she would never go yet so strangely uneventful. Garden Lane down amongst the poor as some women will. resumed its customary aspect, only with a She would shrink from their coarse words stony strip down the middle of the roadway, and ways, from the hideous revelations of where the main excavation had been. Mrs. brutality and want and wrong, she would be Humphreys and the rest turned themselves sickened and terrified, her very soul would round discontentedly, and settled down into ache with fruitless compassion. She must as much of their former dirt as they could live in a walled home, but how sweet that find. At Salthaven the autumnal migration home would be! If it were his-Brydon of visitors had set in, and though the lodgingquivered at the thought-if it were his? : house keepers mechanically put up cards in
Even so, might not he come out of his every window, till. the place looked as if a paradise to work for his poor in the lane ? shower of remarkably large snow-flakes bad Why not? And yet in his clear-sighted fallen all over it, they did not really expect honesty he said “No” as soon as he had to attract any one by the announcement of looked the question in the face. Never - Apartments." It was not likely. The then would he do anything that could limit Deepwell band had ceased to come, there Mary's pleasures, or in the smallest degree were many vacant seats in the little church imperil her future. Wife and children which had been so crowded in August, and before all the world! There was his mother only four or five bathing-machines went too, at Brighton-he could never risk life or crawling after the grey tide. The season health or money, when all he was and all he had was over, Miss Eddington was gone, and were needed by these dear ones. No, it was Miss Wynne was packing her trunk, and a choice between the garden and Garden Lane. writing “ Brenthill” upon her luggage labels.
Was it a choice? It seemed to Brydon Nothing had happened, and Mary said to that the choice was made for him. How herself that nothing was going to happen.
It drizzled as she went home. She buttoned pledged to make the sacrifice, and if he did herself in her waterproof, and sighed at the not build his cottages she would only reproach thought of the grey days that were at hand. herself that she had not yielded earlier. He Springtime would come again, no doubt, but threw the letter on the table, thrust his if she had given up her garden it would hands into his pockets, and stood staring at hardly be spring to her.
it. The more he looked at it the less he Yet, though she assured herself that all liked it. He had nothing now to give up was over, she carried a faint hope on her for her. To give up his sacrifice-that was journey through the drizzling afternoon. In an absurdity, and yet that was what he the omnibus, in the booking office, in the found it hard to do. train, which as she neared home slid ever Why had he sent her away to Salthaven and anon out of the foggy dusk into wayside to think it over in solitude, with that delicate stations where gaslights shone with watery remorse of hers? He might have known lustre on tarpaulin and mackintosh, in every what would come of it, he might have pause she looked for some one or some thing been sure that she would yield. “And she to interpose at that eleventh hour. Even has yielded,” he raged, “but not to me!”. on the crowded platform at Brenthill a pos- Eddington found him haggard of face and sibility lingered, fading slowly as she drove moody in manner that afternoon when he homeward through the ugly familiar streets, called. He suspected that Brydon, thus dying as her own door closed behind her, suddenly summoned to pay, regretted the and she was received by a melancholy maid extravagance of the offer he had made six who had face-ache, and who said that nothing months earlier. That however was the young had happened, and nobody had called.
man's business, his own was to keep him to The next morning a note was delivered at the bargain in his client's interest. Perhaps the factory. “Dear Mr. Brydon," it said, Brydon really had rather the air of a hunter “ you told me that afternoon you came to snared in his own toils, but he offered no my tennis party that you would say no more opposition to the lawyer's arrangements, only about the garden till the new year came, but interrupting him once to say, “I suppose that the offer you had made for it should Miss Wynne came to this decision entirely hold good till then. I have been thinking of her own free will ?” the matter over at Salthaven, and I have “Entirely,” said the old gentleman with made up my mind to accept it. I believe it emphasis, and added to himself, “ you don't is the right thing to do. I have just written creep out through that loophole, my good to Mr. Eddington to ask him to call on you fellow." about it and settle everything.
“I thought as much,” said Brydon.
ALL OF ONE MIND. I hope the loss of this summer will not make any great difference.” Lower on the page The news of Brydon's triumph ran rapidly was written hurriedly, “Don't give me too round the circle of Miss Wynne's acquaintmuch for it.”
ances, and re-awakened their flagging inBrydon read this letter with a surprise so terest. “Well !” Jessie Lee exclaimed, curiously compounded that he hardly knew “Ethel Hillier made me promise I'd write whether he were glad or sorry. Glad-yes, and tell her when this happened, but I of course he must be glad, and yet-by didn't expect to have to do it. I suppose Jove! but he was sorry. He had lost the the money was too much for her.” That strange and humiliating delight of sacrificing was the general opinion in Brenthill, that the his noblest ambition to the woman he loved. mill-owner's money had proved irresistible. He had determined to give up the garden People could no longer call Miss Wynne a with all that it involved for Mary Wynne's fool, but they transferred the charge of folly sake, and she had forestalled him. She had to the young man who was paying a ridiculous given it up to him, but not for him. She had price for her bit of ground. done it for conscience' sake, he knew that Eddington came out of the affair with very well, he could read it in every line of great glory. It was understood that he had her note. She would not take it back, her opposed the sale till the utmost penny had conscience would not let her. She was been wrung out of Thomas Brydon, and then
had persuaded his client to yield. The young folks had been puppets in his hands and he had pulled the strings very skilfully indeed. Brydon ought to have known that he could not be a match for the lawyer. It was really sublime, the way in which Eddington had turned Miss Wynne's sentimental fondness for the garden to profit.
The Brenthill Guardian took the matter up in an article headed “APPROACHING DESTRUCTION OF AN INTERESTING RELIC.” The young man who wrote it looked up a book about Brenthill, printed many years earlier by a local archæologist, and found the old garden mentioned several times-once when there was a dispute about a boundary, on the settlement of which the wall in Garden Lane was built, and on two or three occasions when bits of the land were sold. He ascertained that the factory which was about to swallow up the last remnant of “this historic pleasure ground” stood on a fragment of it. The house was comparatively modern.
The worst of it was that, historic as this pleasure ground might be, the intelligent young man who called it so could not discover that any one had ever owned it, or spoken of it, or visited it, who was of the smallest interest to mankind. The garden had no tradition beyond that of its blossoming summers. He did not lose courage, however, but went to the Mechanics' Institute, brushed up his history a little, and wrote almost a column more about all the wonderful things that the possessors of the garden might have seen. If they had not seen them they must have heard of them, which did as well. What tidings of bloodshed and terror and revolution, of heroism and crime, of storm and fire and plague, had stirred the air beneath those leafy boughs! And with these memories he mingled little allusions to bygone customs and things, to sedan chairs, coaches, and highwaymen, to country fairs and bull-baitings, to May Day dancing and fashionable assemblies, to hoops and patches and powder, to melodious tinkling of spinets and clavichords. He touched very lightly, the authority not being so readily accessible, on the changes in horticulture, the new and vivid blossoms that had opened under English skies since the old garden was first planted, and when he had thus arrived at the end of his column he felt rather pleased with himself. He thought, hesitatingly, that it was a little in Macaulay's manner. The young lady to whom he was engaged was sure it was—only better.
It answered its purpose, anyhow, for the readers of the Guardian got an indistinct
impression that there was something monumental about the patch of ground which “our energetic fellow townsman” was about to lay waste. Jessie Lee added a postscript to her letter : "I send you our newspaper which will tell you all about the history of the garden. I never knew it was so old or so interesting, did you? What a pity it is going to be destroyed !” And a committee of ladies, who were planning a bazaar for charitable purposes to be held early in the summer, sprang at the idea of utilising the historic spot. Such a delightful chance of wearing Old English dresses-illustrating all the different periods, you know-and such a sentiment about the whole thing, all the trees and shrubs doomed, and spared just for that last day. Would it not be touching? And one might sell plants and flowers from Pe Olde Gardenne. That would be charmingly pathetic, such a sweet idea, and all clear profit, since everything must be rooted up when the bricklayers began to work. It could not make any real difference to Mr. Brydon, he would only have to put off his building a little, and Garden Lane had gone on as it was so long that there could not be any hurry about the new cottages, And when he was told that it was for a charity, and that the ladies of Brenthill asked it as a personal favour, he would not of course refuse. The matter was as good as settled.
Meanwhile the garden, every inch of whose surface was so soon to be laid bare to the gaze of the whole town, had never been so jealously guarded as it was this October. Mary Wynne shut herself up in it, did not go out, even to church, and refused to see visitors. It appeared that she was suffering, at her leisure, from headache.
She was well enough however to loiter round the mossy walks, listening to the cawing of the rooks, and looking at every plant and tree with gentle eyes that filled with tears. Even if there had been no thought of Philip she would have been sad. It was such a short and piteous span of life that yet remained to all around her, and it was she who had decreed that it should end. She felt like a murderess, and yet nobody loved each leaf and flower as she did. “There will never be any more spring," she said under her breath, amid the sad splendour of autumn colouring. “Oh, my poor double thorn, you will never blossom like tiny white roses again !” Her heart ached for the shrubs and plants which were making ready for their winter rest;
she even thought of the bulbs, asleep long “Yes, when you had time to think about since in the black earth at her feet. She it. Ah! the old garden, just the same as fancied something menacing and strange in ever.” He had closed the gate behind the gloom of the great unchangeable cedars. him, and without offering to advance stood She raised her eyes to them, “ You are gazing round. His lips began to curve and dead,” she said, trying to realise the truth his nostrils to widen a little, in quick appreshe uttered. “Dead—and I have killed you.” ciation of the subtle autumn odours of earth
Later in the month the leaves had almost and fallen leaf. He drank the golden air as all fallen from the lime-trees, and the strong if it were delicate wine, and his glancing pulses of the looms throbbed behind the eyes brightened in recognition of bush and bare red wall. Elsewhere in the garden tree. “Yes," he smiled, “as beautiful as the thinned foliage, out of which all the ever, isn't it?” summer greenness was gone, the delicate “It was summer when you were here twigs etched on the faint blue of the before," she said. October sky, the chill that crisped the air, “You like the summer best? Well, the autumn crocuses and purple violets, com- perhaps-yet this suits the occasion. You bined to make a kind of mockery of March, know the old place is going to be turned as if a phantom spring had come to bid its into building ground ?” haunt farewell.
His tone spoke volumes, and the white Mary thought this one morning as she roses of her cheeks bloomed suddenly pink. went down the walk by the limes. The Evidently he did not know that she had sold shining of the pale sun overhead was it. “Yes, of course,” she said ; “you never pathetic, her soul was heavy with repent heard— ” ance, a thousand regrets were gnawing at “That's a lie, 'Liza Barnes !” screeched a her. Oh, why had she ever yielded, and childish voice, apparently about six inches sinned against her love? She did not forget from Philip's elbow. “Yer took 'is ’apenny the shameful misery which lay huddled - I see yer do it, and I'll tell yer mother ; beyond the wall, but she could not recall I will.” that vivid sense of it which had prompted He sprang from the door, and then her renunciation. Her imagination was laughed. “Little imp!” he said. blunted.
“Come further in, won't you?” said “And yet,” she reminded herself, “it is Mary, moving away, and not caring to show all there—it is as real and as hideous as it her quickened colour. Was this Philip was then. If I could only feel it !” She Wargrave, who had filled her whole world went to the little door and stood with her for so long? He seemed strangely far away, hand upon the latch. “Now," she said, “I and a curious sense of loneliness and unhave only to lift this and I shall see it all. reality was stealing over her. I shall see all the ugly wretchedness I could “May I ?” he asked as he followed. not bear even to think of at Salthaven— " “ Are you staying here, then? They told
She lifted the latch and stood face to face me nobody could get in, and I was wanderwith Philip.
ing round the enchanted ground, devising all It was as if the whole world had gathered manner of expedients to effect an entrance, itself into his eyes. It was more than she when you came to the rescue, and I assure could bear, it was pain. Her heart seemed to you, Miss Medland, you realised my idea of stand still, her sight failed. For a fraction a beneficent fairy." of a second his face went out like a light in “Did I? How very nice !” She was darkness.
growing desperate, and snatched at the “You here ?” he cried, and at the sound chance of explanation he gave her. “But of his voice his face came back. “A you are behind the time—you don't know thousand pardons—I have startled you! that I'm not Miss Medland any longer.” How clumsy of me!”
(Oh, what would he say when he found “No, no.” She moved backward a little that she had sold the garden ?) as he touched her hand in greeting. “Come Wargrave stopped, stared, arched his in."
brows." What ! married ?” he cried with “May I?" He stepped across the thres- cheerful readiness. “You don't say so!” hold. “You didn't expect to find any one A pleasant light of congratulation was standing staring on the step. Of course dawning in his eyes. you took me for a tramp, or a lunatic.”
It was all over. The bright indifferent i “No indeed,” she protested. “I knew smile was like a flood of sunlight on pale you were-you.”
dreams, and Mary woke. “No, no," she