« 이전계속 »
said, with something of his own readiness, “I'm not married, but I've changed my name. I'm Miss Wynne now, not Miss Medland.”
“Oh, but this is awfully puzzling, you know. You are not Miss Medland,” he uttered the words very slowly;"yes, I think I have mastered that. And you are—Miss Wynne."
Yes.” Philip suffered his breath to escape in a faint whistle. “ You are Miss Wynne—but you have sold the garden, then ? ”
“ Well, I suppose everything must have an end. I always thought somebody would build on it one of these days, but-Got a good price for it, I hope?".
“Yes, very good.”
“That's well. After all I suppose one may pay too dearly for sentiment-it wouldn't do to sacrifice one's life to a garden, would it ? No, I think you are right-I've no doubt it was the best thing to do.”
“ Only you wouldn't have done it?”
“Oh, I don't say that. I daresay I might if I'd been sufficiently tempted. Besides I don't think it's quite a parallel case ; you see I knew the place before the time when I met you here; I stayed with the Macleans a long while ago when I was a lad. I suspect the old garden was more to me than to you -naturally, you know.”
Oh heaven! The garden was more to him than to her—"naturally, you know.” More to him! when she would have watered it with her heart's blood to keep it fair for his home-coming. And she shivered as she walked by his side, because it seemed to her that the leaf-sprays which he brushed with his slim fingers as he spoke inust surely betray her, must burst into some novel and splendid blossom to greet him for whom they and she had waited so long.
“Yes,” said Philip, “no doubt you were right." He looked up suddenly, “I'd for gotten that tree-what is it?”.
“ It's a pear,” said Mary.
“A pear-tree-what a height! How do you get the pears? Ah! I suppose one doesn't notice it when the acacia is in leaf. But it's picturesque, isn't it? And how sunny it looks up aloft there with its few yellowing leaves! Yes, as I was saying, I'm sure you've acted for the best."
“I hope so."
“ For, after all, it will always be a memory, won't it? And this is a very pleasant ending. But I was surprised when the gate flew open and there you were! Though, for
that matter I wasn't as much surprised as you were-I'm certain you took me for my own ghost.”
“Well,” said Mary, “I didn't expect to see you. I thought you were abroad."
“Abroad? What made you think that? No, I'm living in West Kensington—why should I be abroad ?”
“I thought you were in New Zealand with your brother."
“Oh no! I've been in Kensington for a year and a half-nearly two years. Who told you I was going to New Zealand ? No -did I really? By Jove, what an unconscionable fellow I am! I'm always telling people all my hopes and fears. I don't know why they are so kind, I wonder they don't kick me out for a bore. Yes, I did think once, when my uncle married, that I might have to go, but I always felt as if something must turn up. It would have been too absurd-fancy me in New Zealand !”
“Something did turn up then?” said the girl faintly.
“Well, yes. My uncle's marriage wasn't such a calamity after all. His wife took rather a liking to me, I think, (another of the kind people !) and the old gentleman said he'd continue my allowance for a bit. He is always dabbling in stocks and shares, you know, and he made one or two lucky hits just about that time. So there was an end of the New Zealand scheme, and I started on my own account, with a commission to paint my aunt's picture to begin with."
“And you are succeeding?"
“That's too much to say, Philip answered with his pleasant smile. “But I think I may succeed some day—I've good friends, and good hopes. Ah, by the way, Miss Medland-Miss Wynne, I mean (why didn't you keep your old name too? It would have been very nice, Medland-Wynne, and would have given one time to think,) by the way, you might be one of the good friends if you would.”
“What do you mean? I couldn't have my portrait taken !” cried Mary, with frightened eyes.
« Oh no!” Wargrave laughed, “I don't tout for orders like that! No, don't apologise, it did sound exactly like it. No, but you might let me make a study of the garden. I came down to see if that were possible, and then heard it was such a dragon-guarded spot "
“Oh, of course!” said Mary. “Yes, I can do that for you."
“Who knows?" said Philip with a graver smile. “It may be the stepping-stone to fortune. Do you remember a Miss Hillier who came with some friends of yours in the spring? Well, she took it into her head that I should find the subject for a picture here-a girl's figure with the old garden for a background. A Guardian Genius she wanted to call it, but I think I'd rather have it Eligible Building Ground. What do you say?"
“Yes, I think perhaps it would be best."
Wargrave nodded. “I think it's an idea," he continued confidentially. “Suppose the garden had fallen into the hands of some one to whom it was a real pain to part with it—some one like Ethel Hillier herself for instance—compelled to give it up, say by loss of fortune-can't you fancy the last pathetic look round the dear old place? Yes, I think she was right.”
“Do you know Miss Hillier very well ?"
“ Pretty well,” said the young man. He paused by a rosemary bush, broke off a shoot and looked fixedly at it, smiling and even colouring a little in a very becoming manner. “The fact is I'm engaged to be married. I've been engaged since the spring, and Ethel Hillier and Evelyn-she's a Miss Seymour—are sworn friends. If this thing were a real success
“Well, you must make it so," said Mary “ And you must let me congratulate you.”
It was speedily arranged that the young man should begin work at once. « There is no time to lose in these October days," he said. “I put up at the Horn,' in the High Street, you know, last night. I'll just go and get what I want—it isn't far.”
Mary saw him off, gave orders to the maid that he was to be re-admitted on his return, and then went up to her own room and closed the door. She had been quite calm and composed through all the latter part of her talk with Philip, and she was quite calm now. She sat down by her bedside and gazed blankly at the light-coloured wall, on which her shadow was faintly pencilled by the pale sunshine.
It is curious how quickly the great changes come which shape us and all our destinies. It is a moment, not an hour, which turns love to hate, or despair to hope. In a lightning flash the whole aspect of the world is transformed, sun, moon, and stars are new in new heavens, the tides and currents of our lives are all reversed. It was not twenty minutes since Philip had turned to her with shining eyes and ready congratulations. “What ! married ?” The words rang yet in her ears, though, as it seemed, she had lived a lifetime since they were spoken.
She felt sick and strange with a horror of her foolish passion. He had never thought of her, never cared for her, he was “always telling people his hopes and fears," and she had carried these easily uttered, hackneyed confidences of his in her heart, not suspecting that she shared her treasure with Miss Evelyn Seymour, Miss Ethel Hillier, and, most likely, half-a-dozen more. For the sake of such words as these she had suffered in silence, she had fought against her conscience the whole summer through, she had left the people at her gate to fever and misery. Yes, but, thank God, she had yielded before she knew the truth--thank God! thank God ! Now she would escape from Brenthill, and the garden would be destroyed, the beautiful, hateful garden. It would drive her mad to live through another round of seasons shut in by its walls. Life had been nothing but a long, malarious dream since first she knew the place, a bewildering, blossoming, suffocating dream, full of idle fancies and memories and cravings. She was overwhelmed with hot shame, she thought she would never draw breath freely till the last tree fell, and the last fibre of root was torn from the soil.
A bell jangled sharply through her reverie. Philip back from the Horn' already? She sprang to her feet and went to the glass to make a critical inspection of her colour and expression. As she bent forward to the face which leaned to meet her there came a knocking at the door.
“I suppose that is the gentleman who left just now?” she said without turning her head. “Ask him if he likes to go straight into the garden.”
“ No, miss, it isn't that gentleman.” And the maid presented a card on which was inscribed, “Mr. Thomas Brydon," with a hurriedly written line below, “Pray let me see you for five minutes."
Her champion, her deliverer—what could he have to say to her? Perhaps he had some scheme for facilitating her departure, he might be too impatient to wait till after the sale, which was fixed for the middle of November. “Show Mr. Brydon into the drawing-room,” she said as she refastened the little brooch at her throat. It hampered her, she could not breathe.
She found her visitor standing at the window, looking out, a small sharply-cut silhouette against the clear glass. He turned and came forward.
“ Thank you for letting me speak to you,” he began hurriedly. “They told me you didn't see anybody, but as it was a matter of business—" All at once he broke off and
looked at her. “How are you? Did you true to your plans; I thought that any t like Salthaven?”
--any time--and I put it off, and nov “ Very much. I'm very well, thank you. have tired you out and it is too late!” Mr. Eddington told me I was brown.”
“No, no," Brydon exclaimed, “it is “ Brown'You look different. Are you like that—don't you reproach yourself. well, really?”
know what you are thinking of. But i “Quite well, except for a headache or can really manage to do without your gar two. I think it feels close here after the --why did I ever torment you so about sea-breezes. Won't you sit down ?” By —if you could keep it with a clear .c this time Mary had drawn him away from science-” (“If I could keep you for e the window, and the light fell on his face. close at hand !” he was thinking as “ You don't look very well, Mr. Brydon.” stammered over his spoken words.)
“I'm well enough, only a bit worried,” he “Mr. Brydon, you are giving me more 1 said shortly. “It's about this business of the garden than it is worth,” Mary int ours.”
rupted him with passionate abruptness. “I guessed as much. You want to come know it-I have known it all the time. in sooner-is that it ?”.
don't want so much. Take it, but only gi “Not exactly. The question is about my me half for it. That will be enough--it w coming in at all.”
indeed. I want you to build your cottag Mary gazed at him with parted lips, but you must! you must! I will tell Ý did not speak.
Eddington that it is my doing.” “Look here," said Brydon, “I've been T he small young man had started to h thinking things over, and the more I think feet, and seemed to have grown taller. H the less I like this plan of mine. What faced her, he was furious. right have I to turn you out of your home? “Thank you, Miss Wynne! So you thin When I first proposed it I thought it was that is at the bottom of it-you think I cam only a matter of money, but it has never here to try to sneak out of my bargain be been a matter of money with you. Suppose cause I didn't like the price, and wasn't mai I fail in my scheme-suppose my factory enough to say so! Well, if you wanted tu doesn't answer and my cottages fall into bad clinch the business you've gone the righ hands—then I shall have robbed you of your way to work, for I'll have the garden now garden, and all for nothing, for worse than by God! And you'll take my offer, for the nothing. After all, there must be some risk matter has gone too far-unless we bot! whichever way I set to work-why shouldn't agreed to break it off, and that I won't do!' I take the risk at Holly Hill? It might “Don't! don't! I can't bear it,” said the only be waiting a little, and perhaps it would girl. “I didn't mean that—you must know be best; indeed, I think it might be. And I didn't. I don't know what I did mean, you would be glad, wouldn't you ?”.
but not that-I couldn't! You must be The words were uttered in tones of un- more patient with me, please!”. wonted softness, but Mary could not answer. “I'm a brute!” said Brydon instantly. O heaven! was this garden to live and “I beg your pardon." flower in spite of her? Was she to be caught There was a brief silence. “I don't quite and thrust back into it, to dwell for ever understand," he continued after a moment. with empty mocking memories--the garden “You wish me to take it?" living and everything else dead, even the She answered “Yes," with pale lips that throbbing of the looms silenced behind the scarcely uttered a sound. long red wall?
“Then of course I will. And I will do “Tell me,” said Brydon ; "you would be the best I can. Perhaps," he said musingly, glad ?”
“I might use part, a strip by the factory, “ Glad," she repeated in a strangled mean and another bit, at the lane end, you know, ingless voice. “ You have changed too, If I had the frontage there—”. then?”
“But you must build your cottages," she “Yes, I've changed—time I did, I think. said again. “I thought of them while I was What is the matter?”
at Salthaven. I ought to have let you begin “Not you! I never thought you would in the spring. Why did you never tell me change!”
the people in the lane had had fever ?". “Of course not. I didn't think so myself." “It wasn't much. Only two cases and
“You told me you would not !” she cried. they are all right.” “I was so sure of you. I thought you cared “If they had died it would have been my for those poor people--that you would be fault.”
at that a "Hardly," said B “But I knew a little curiously at each other, and she off, and you were feeling lik v hen you wrote introduced them, not without a touch of 00 late to me after you cam,
wondering pride in her own calmness. imed, i “And you will e," she insisted, “Mr. Wargrave is going to make a sketch ch your colouring with a guilty cunsciousness of the of the garden for his next picture," she } of. Br mixture of motives which he could not added in an explanatory tone. put your a divine.
“A little remembrance of a favourite u so abs “Yes, I will build. But if I can spare a spot, just for a background, you know,"
a clea bit near the house, just two or three elms said Philip, smiling regretfully. “I've ep you fee for a home for your rooks, a bit of turf, and heard of you from Miss Hillier.” hinking a that old buttressed wall with the lilies and Brydon murmured something about “the oris.) the lavender at the foot of it-the wall with pleasure of meeting Miss Hillier in the ig mer the tufts of snapdragon--you would like spring.” " Marts that? You would like to know that that “You made a deep impression, I assure ruptness bit was safe and cared for wherever you you,” said the young artist. “She took the tig were, wouldn't you? And perhaps some such an interest in the garden. I think but only day you would come back and see it?” myself there is a peculiar charm about the cough
Mary shook her head. “No," she said, dear old place." vour ama “I thank you a thousand times, but let the “It is very pretty," the mill - owner vill teli garden go; I ought to have given it up agreed. “I remember Miss Hillier admired
before now. I would rather it all went; I it.” tarted; would, really. Don't cramp the cottages to “Yes, and she remembers you—as AdaItalie i save a useless piece of it.”
mant! I believe she habitually thinks of “I know what that means," said Brydon, you as the Desolator, for she was sure you Sor looking steadily at her.
would get your own way.” thini “And pray what does it mean?” But “ Mr. Brydon came this morning to tell le she herself knew so well what it meant that me he could do without the garden,” said
she could not meet his gaze. TASID
Mary quietly, in her clear voice. “It means that you will never come back. “No!” cried Wargrave. “Oh Miss others That you can give up the whole as readily Medland, you might have spared me this !”. it as the half because nothing will ever induce “Spared you what?”
you to set foot in Brenthill when once your “Oh, why did you tell me? Why didn't garden has been touched. That you will you leave me in ignorance till my picture remember it as it is now, and hate the was finished? Why did you upset your thought— "
arrangements to-day of all days ?" He “No," cried Mary, moved by a sudden bemoaned himself tragically, and yet with a impulse. “I never will come back to the little laughing self-mockery about his lips. garden or any part of it—never! But if “Here was I, steeped to the very eyes in you will take it and carry out your plan-if sentiment; to my finger tips," he stretched you will make amends for all my selfishness out his long slender hands, “I've been steeped and folly-" She had risen and faced him in it ever since Ethel Hillier came back; I was with eloquent eyes.
aching deliciously with helpless regret for “What will you do?".
the old garden, I believe my work would “I will come back and see your cottages have been a masterpiece of pathos-Oh, a when they are built."
masterpiece !-and you and Mr. Brydon She was startled at her own words, as if have conspired together to ruin it. It will an alien voice had uttered them ; she could be a sham now, the trees and I posing not think what had prompted her. She together in a make-believe farewell. It's could almost have doubted whether she cruel! cruel ! One doesn't have such fine had spoken them had it not been for Mr. feelings every day of one's life.” And Brydon's face.
Wargrave threw himself on one of the hall "I take that as a promise,” he said chairs, while Brydon stood and smiled. simply. “You will let me know where you “You'd better go and paint the masterare, and you shall hear when they are piece. I didn't accept Mr. Brydon's sacrifice finished.” He was content to say no more, it's all right,” said Mary. and held out his hand instantly in leave “I'll undertake that the trees haven't six taking.
weeks to live, if that will do," the Desolator Mary accompanied him to the hall, where chimed in encouragingly. they found Philip Wargrave, who had just “Oh!” said Philip getting up, and lookbeen admitted by the maid. The men looked ing from one to the other. “Well, you've
spoilt my morning, anyhow. What do you suppose I'm going to do after such a shock as this? I shall have to meditate sadly on inexorable fate till I can get myself into tune again.”
“ Meanwhile we all seem to be of one mind at last," said Mary with a little lingering emphasis as she shook hands with Brydon.
The sale is over, it is late in November, and Miss Wynne left Brenthill ten days ago. Philip Wargrave is at work in his West Kensington studio, he has high hopes of his picture. He certainly never planned anything before which promised half as well as this. Ethel Hillier is standing for the figure of the Guardian Genius ; Philip asked her because he felt that he and she really understood and cared for the old place as no one else did.
Brydon is exceedingly unpopular in Brenthill just now. The Ladies' Committee abuse him over their tea-cups for his refusal to spare the “historic pleasure-ground" till May or June, when they intend to hold their bazaar in aid of Female Education in India. He answered their deputation-of whom he secretly stood in extreme terror--with the desperate frankness of a shy man compelled to speak. When they assured him that it could not really make any difference if the people in the lane waited a few months longer for their cottages, and that he could begin to build just as well in July, he told them that they didn't know what they were talking about, and it was perfectly absurd. They did not like this. And when he offered them a barrow-load of historic brickbats to sell as souvenirs, they took his innocent readiness to oblige them for a mocking insult, threw his brickbats, figuratively, in his face, and went away to give various very
graphic versions of the interview, in all of which Mr. Brydon came off very badly indeed. And if the ladies are disp' sed, so also are the good folks in the lane--they can't think what call he has to be meddling there. It was well enough if he would have let things be, but this is worse than the mess he made there in the summer with his nasty dirty drains. It was a pity somebody couldn't go and muddle about Mr. Brydon's own house till he didn't know which way to turn, and see how he'd like it.
The young man takes no heed of scowling brows, but goes his way with an obstinately good-humoured look on his face. The work of destruction advances fast, and he stops late at night to inspect it on his way home from the office. The workmen have made a wide cartway through the wall where the little door used to be, and he looks in through the great yawning breach. The į light shines on its jagged edges, but there is a thin white fog which makes the garden beyond, with its poor remnant of trees, a place of sheeted ghosts. The ct e down already, the double thorn, broken and disconsolate, stands waiting its fate, the rooks have been scared away, the turf in the foreground, “mossy-fine," is seamed with gaping ruts. It will soon be all over. Dead, long ago, the hands that planted those trees and laid those bricks, and the whole garden is vanishing like a picture seen in the fire, or a drifting smoke-wreatu, vanishing in the love-quarrels, ambitions, and plans of little lives, so brief beside its long, peent growth. Thomas Brydon, stumbling over fragmentary building materials as he leaves the spot, has no time for its memories, he is too intent on the thought of the cottages which Mary Wynne will come some day to see.