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“What is all this about ?" she asked, in her strong, harsh voice. “Who gave any one authority to attend the girl, or to disfigure her in this way?”
“I must use my own discretion, just now,” said the doctor, after ascertaining who she was; "I understand that you have been for medical aid yourself; how is it that no one has returned with you?”
“The poor may not be choosers under any circumstances," answered the woman; "the parish doctor was engaged, and I was told to wait his leisure."
“Well, never mind; you see, we can do without him," said the doctor, in a cheerful tone, clipping away at the heavy masses of hair, and carelessly sweeping them to the floor, as he spoke.
“ And you say that this is necessary to save the girl's life?” asked the woman, who looked sullenly on.
“I don't say that doing this will save her life," answered the person she addressed, briefly.
"I have a right to demand, who gave you authority to attend the girl at all,” persisted the woman, who gazed on the scene before her, with evident displeasure. “Am I expected to pay for
your services ? or if not, to whose charity are we indebted ?" and as she spoke, she cast a sinister glance at Mr. Herbert.
“Bless my soul, woman !” said the doctor, turning fairly round, and gazing on her with evident curiosity; "cannot you be satisfied for the present with knowing that your granddaughter is receiving the aid she stands in need of? I promise not to ruin you in fees; and to deal plainly with you, I think you ought to busy yourself with other matters :—the girl's life is in danger; she may die.”
“ And what if she does ?” asked the woman, in a hard, emotionless tone; who cares when the poor die, or where, or how? -unless, indeed, people have a motive for caring, in which case they would consult only their own interest or pleasure ;-a long life of trouble has taught me distrust.”
“You seem, indeed, to have no very flattering opinion of human nature,” said the doctor, eying her with instinctive dislike.
“ You may say that,” answered the woman, with a bitter laugh.
Well, we won't trouble you for your experiences, just now," said the doctor, good-humouredly; “ we have decided, without consulting you, as we should have done had you been here, that your granddaughter will stand a better chance in one of the upper rooms—the air of this place is pestilential. Mr. Herbert, here, whose character, as well as profession, is entitled to re
spect, has arranged with one of the lodgers, and your granddaughter is about to be removed to the back-room on the firstfloor. I will, myself, send a fit person to attend to her.” “You are doing as you please,” said the woman;
some of you are acting under mistaken notions, as you will find out before long ;-but go on in your own way;" and seating herself by the fire, with her face turned from those present, she silently intimated her resolution to have no hand in their proceedings.
Mr. Herbert looked uneasy and annoyed; but the doctor, without taking further notice of one who appeared to be unmanageable, continued giving is directions, and shortly afterwards, a decent, matronly woman made her appearance, closely followed by a man carrying a large wicker chair.
“Your own easy chair, Reginald,” said the doctor, glancing at Mr. Herbert ; " that's just the thing we want;" and whilst the good man superintended the removal of the girl, from her wretched pallet, to the bed prepared for her above, the young minister hastened to the apartment of Mrs. Carr, who had been waiting with anxious solicitude for some tidings of her young friend.
The kitchen was deserted during some hours by all save the grandmother of Jessy, who kept her seat beside the rusty grate, long after every spark of the low fire was extinguished. Before this happened, and having cautiously looked round, to make sure of being alone, she had drawn from beneath her cloak, a parcel, wrapped in a handkerchief, the same that the girl had lost in the Strand. Taking from it, piece by piece, the rich lawns, laces, and muslins, which it contained, she had placed them on the fire, allowing them to consume slowly, and raking away at intervals the light ashes to which they thus became reduced.
“I have had more trouble than I reckoned on," she muttered over her task; "and after all, the game may slip through my fingers,—it is possible that she may die! But this is only a possibility; she may live; and if she
and if she does, she shall pay for the terror this risk has caused me. I have been a fool, trying to bring about by slow degrees, what should have been accomplished quickly. Meanwhile, everything is going against me: this Mr. Herbert, with his solemn face, is thinking more of the girl than he is perhaps himself aware of ;—he did not dream that any eye was upon him, when he stealthily hid away one of the long links of this shining trash ;” and she spurned with her foot, the spot where the hair had fallen, for the hair itself had been removed by the occupant of the cellar. “Well, well! fate seems to be fighting against me just now, but I am ready to continue the battle:-all I ask, is life-life for her, and life for me!"
The hostile feeling, exhibited by the fickle London mob, towards the rebel leaders, had undergone a change, when on the morning of the twenty-fourth of February, Lords Derwentwater and Kenmore were led out to execution. The virtuous character, and magnanimous bearing of the young earl, not less than the calm resignation of Kenmore, had gained upon all hearts; and the same populace, that only two months before had joined so readily in the cry for their destruction, was now loud in its invectives against the king and his ministers, for having resisted the earnest appeals that had been made for mercy.
This disposition to leniency was also manifested by the better classes—those who were influenced rather by principle than im. pulse—and it is a notorious fact, that the government knowingly allowed many to escape, unscathed, whose share in the struggle called for especial notice, rather than incur further odium by prosecuting persons, whose enlargement involved no apparent risk to the state. Rendered conspicuous amongst these, rather by the peculiar circumstances attending her delinquency, than by the delinquency itself, was the daughter of Sir Thomas Greystock; in connexion with whom, an exaggerated story had gone abroad, which, coupled with her extreme youth, and reputed extraordinary beauty, made her an object of much public interest. In addition to the selfish policy which prompted the ministers to show clemency, in all cases where an opposite course would have involved useless trouble or loss of popularity, there was an inclination at court, to extract as much entertainment as possible, from an affair in which so many persons of note were concerned, and which, consequently, presented so extensive a field for the indulgence of gossip, to the many whose sole intellectual aliment was drawn from such pursuit. If the chief promoters of this latter movement were women; so also had women been the strongest advocates in the cause of mercy, returning, with consistent fickleness, to their ordinary level of thought, and with much quiescent satisfaction, to the sources of excitement yet remaining open to them. On this set, the story of Alice Greystock had made a great impression, coupled as it was with the names and histories of two lovers, one of whom she was reported to have deceived, in order to favour the flight of the other. Many a disappointed prude, many a desperate coquette, many a prudent matron, and dowager of high honour, had sat in judgment on the misdeeds of the Lancashire baronet's daughter; and all were unanimous in allowing that the heroine
of such a story, would be an acquisition to their circle for at least the space of a season.
The baronet himself, apart from his political misdeeds, and the pungent addition afforded by the accusation of the old hosier, Ephraim Oates, was criticised with much impertinent scepticism on the score of his boasted lineage; a genuine scion of the Saxon heptarchy being looked upon in much the same light, as would have been a veritable descendant of Ishmael. Altogether, there was much that was novel and exciting in the entertainment promised by the breaking up of the establishment at Darren Court, and at any price, Alice Greystock must be brought out, and exhibited in the fashionable world.
Happily unconscious of the speculations concerning herself, with which the, so-called, world of London was filled, Alice remained quiet at Hagley Park in Essex, the house rented by Lady Derwentwater during her lord's imprisonment, and in the severity with which the rebel leaders were treated and judged, she found daily cause to be thankful for the timely escape of her father. This thankfulness was increased when at length she received assurance of his safety by the hand of no less a personage than Laithwaye Oates. The letter, of which he was the bearer, was as follows :
Paris, Jan. 16. My own Darling,
“Having been compelled to keep silence so long, it is with great satisfaction that I trust this letter to the care of one who will, I know, if his own life be spared, deliver it safely, and with as much speed as may be. After our departure on that dreadful night, I had great cause for thankfulness in the knowledge that you were safe ashore, and I beg you to bear the expression of it to my Lady Derwentwater for the part she had in detaining you, which indeed was a great mercy, as we were tossed about all night at the will of the winds and waves, and finally driven to the coast of Ireland, where we were all but lost. Our vessel was sadly disabled, and we had to wait three weeks, before we could proceed to our destination; but at length we landed at Brest, after a good passage. Things have gone contrary here : it is one thing for a prince to have followers about him, ready to prove their devotion by the jeopardizing of life and fortune, and another to be overrun by a pack of needy retainers, as the Chevalier is at this present; and I have no inclination to swell their ranks. I have had an interview, and was most graciously received. I hear that my estates are confiscated, and I expected no less; I only grieve for thy sake, dear daughter of my heart, though I do trust that thou
whether or not it was to be borne with the pride of martyrdom,
wilt ultimately be no loser. My Lord Duke of Ormond, who is in great straiť for money, borrowed ten pounds of me last week. He is in high hope for the future, and says we must look to Spain for deliverance. Of poor Talbot I have to give bad news: I had told him, before the affair at Preston, that I saw no hope of winning thy consent to his suit, whereat he drooped mightily, but he is an honourable gentleman, and desisted to urge the matter, when I had spoken so seriously; but that, as well as other grievances, weighs heavily on his spirit, and he sinks daily. He was wholly unprovided with money, which makes my little stock visibly diminish; of this I do not complain, trusting to be replenished somewhere. I am stricken to the heart for my brave fellow-workers now in durance, and soon, I fear, to be brought under worse condemnation. Commend me to my Lady Derwentwater, and say for me, all I can find no words to say of affectionate good will, towards her and hers. I write to my sister, by the same hand, and trust to hear from you both, and that you are together. I have particular reasons, Alice, for urging upon you that you cultivate the favour of your aunt, who has much interest, that may be hereafter useful, if shé only choose to employ it. Laithwaye, who has extraordinary modes of communication of his own, has heard privately from England, and from him I learned the lamentable catastrophe of Arthur Breck, which no one can regret more than I do, and that you had been unmolested, which is a great comfort. If you are still with my Lady Derwentwater, lose no time in seeking the more natural protection of your aunt. Laithwaye has in charge to deliver verbally what I'would further say, as I do not like writing names, nor giving written instructions, respecting matters in which you can aid the cause, and at the same time, your most affectionate father,
THOMAS GREYSTOCK. For the first time since the commencement of her troubles, Alice saw the full extent of the evil which her father's adherence to an unfortunate cause had brought upon him, and on herself. In a foreign country, almost without money, and wholly without any reasonable hope of a supply ;-herself
, a on the bounty of others; compelled to humble herself
, by suing for favour where she had already met with repulse ; these were trials for which she felt she had not been prepared, when in the fulness of her own enthusiasm, she had
on her father's sword, and thought that even to suffer in such a cause, must be glorious. She began to perceive that it depended much on the particular kind or degree of suffering,