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dreds. A whole bevy of beaus protested that Mr. Gostick had been unwarrantably hasty-had given them no chance; and Colonel Seymour was assailed by a chorus of condolences in all assemblies. Retreating, naturally enough, into bis usual scornful indifference, he exhibited no change, no outward sign by which any one could have guessed—what was the fact—that the event had stung him. The admiration he had originally been compelled to yield Alice's beauty, extended on further acquaintance to higher qualities; and he was also compelled to admire, as far as he understood it, the firm but gentle character of one who was allured by no splendour, and turned aside by no flattery in the performance of an evidently distasteful task. Cautious, as most single men of eight and twenty are, and with quite enough of worldliness to check any latent idea that the daughter of the rebel was ever likely to exercise an influence over his destiny, he was yet fated to find, when the news of Alice's singular engagement came upon him so unexpectedly, that he had miscalculated his own powers. We are always most ready to be incensed against those who make us angry with ourselves; and on this account Colonel Seymour's indignation at what he thought evinced so much duplicity and worldliness in Mrs. Greystock, knew no bounds. He had given her credit for qualities she did not possess ; he had allowed himself to be enthralled beyond his own belief by those she had assumed ;-this was unpardonable ; and, not reflecting how little most of us can know of human motives, he returned with added confidence to his old faith ; maintaining that the heart-of woman at least—was deceitful above all things. He deserted Shirley House altogether, and shunned every place where Alice was likely to be met; and she knew this, and
knew also why all places were now alike void to her. Lady Dinah Rance, too, whose sympathies had been contracted, and prejudices confirmed by a life of single blessedness, was irrevocably offended with Mrs. Greystock, because she had sought her confidence and it had been withheld :- it looked not well in one so young to be so close.
The preparations for the wedding meanwhile went on; they were hurried rather than retarded by Alice herself. Lady Shirley had not miscalculated when she surmised that Mr. Gostick would be generous; the trosseau of the bride was, splendid, and as the tide of popular sympathy had suddenly turned in favour of the discarded niece of the merchant, the wedding preparations were commented on severely. Nevertheless, the world, like Lady Shirley, congratulated Alice on the improvement in her looks, seeing only in her Aushed cheeks and excited manner, the triumph of one who had secured to
herself the possession of immense wealth. But Lady Shirley was pretty much in the right, when she asserted that her niece's feelings had been allowed to run wild. Strong in love, so also was Alice strong in resentment, and her scorn and indignation knew no bounds at the open manifestations of femivine malice, that contributed to make her rough way more and more impassable, in the spirit with which she had prepared herself to go on, even to the end. Dreading the violence of her aunt, (who, when thwarted, could launch into invectives as readily as if her own passions had not been altogether well regulated), she had allowed herself to be dragged to all assemblies where the vanity of her aunt or Mr. Gostick, or the curiosity of others, willed that she should appear; and the untrained sensibilities of the country girl were destined to receive many rude shocks from the double entendres, the polished insolence, and the covert ridicule of conventional life. Sir Ricl ard Steele says somewhere, “the greatest affronts imaginable are such as no one can take any notice of;" and Alice was fated to prove the truth of the saying. Amid those brilliant and h illow crowds, there was now no heart to which she could turn as a refuge: even her kind, true friend, the duchess of Bolton, had fled-she was gone into the country, and the young girl stood alone, wrestling with her destiny. More keenly alive than she had hitherto been to everything passing around her; revolted by her own position, and only upheld by the strong purpose within her, she saw, and heard, and understood, the unenviably prominent part, which, in common with her aunt and Mr. Gostick, she was playing for the behoof of those whose entertainment was chiefly drawn from the misfortunes, the follies, or the vices of their fellows. Plain enough under its smooth veil, was the ridicule bestowed on the old merchant; the contempt heaped upon Lady Shirley; the something worse than either, that, directed to herself, almost stung her into madness. Writhing under these feelings, she on one occasion contrived to steal from the crowd, and to stand for a few moments alone on an open balcony that from Whitehall overlooked the Thames. The moon was sailing quietly in the clear sky, and the craft on the river lay motionless. Much has been said of the soothing effects of quiet scenery and the stillness of night, but there are circumstances under which even these have no influence; and Alice heeded them not as she leaned her hot hrow over her clasped hands, and so rested for a moment on the cold stone balustrade. Her departure had been observed by the loquacious Mrs. Howard, who considered this a fair opportunity for the indulgence of a little feminine spite. Advancing with two
others towards the window nearest which Alice stood, she thus addressed her companions :
“Did you hear what Colonel Seymour said of Mrs. Greystock last night ?”
“No," exclaimed the others eagerly, “pray tell us.”
“Well,” continued Mrs. Howard, some one was telling him what a brilliant colour Mrs. Greystock had got since her engagement, and he said he was glad to hear she had some grace left—that she was still able to blush."
This piece of gossip was distinctly heard by Alice, who grasped the stone convulsively, as she felt her face grow cold, and her head swim; the next instant, with a flushed brow and flashing eyes, she pushed aside the heavy drapery, and passed forward into the crowd.
Those who had hitherto only observed in Alice Greystock the retiring quietness of one little accustomed to courtly life, were on that evening astonished by the sudden change in her manner. The statue had become animated; the rarely opened lips commanded the silence of many, and hundreds there were delighted by the brilliance of her conversation, or awed by the keen satire of her wit. She had indeed only been playing a part that could so well repay the mockers in their own coin. Lady Shirley was surprized out of her conventional indifference; Mr. Gostick rubbed his hands in very ecstacy at this unexpected revelation; and a fresh impetus was given to individual interest in the rebel's daughter by this developement of powers, that gave promise of rousing the indifferent, and that threatened the malicious with discomfiture. But during her drive home, on that occasion, Alice was more than usually taciturn, and on her arrival there, she impatiently displaced from her arms and bosom the jewels she had worn. “Once again,” she said, addressing her aunt, “I consent to wear these baubles, but until that time arrives urge me no more to go out into the world—I must pass the interval in complete retirement. Remember that I have already sacrificed much, and do not seek to combat my resolution, lest I find it impossible even to perform that to which I stand pledged.” “Why, what's the matter now,
Alice ? what an odd creature you are !” exclaimed her aunt. “I am sure you use me very ill; you have done so all along. How comes it that you never could take the lead in conversation until to-night? I am sure I don't know what might not have been done if you had only begun as you seem resolved to-end. All this irregularity is the fruit of your bad bringing up. It will be the height of folly to shun society at the very moment in which you have made a
April, 1849.-VOL. LIV. No. ccxvi.
greater impression than ever.
Besides, what will Mr. Gostick
“I am not yet Mr. Gostick's slave, and I require from bim that he yields to me in this.”
“You have foolishly taken offence at something that nobody but yourself would have so noticed,” said Lady Shirley. "Ah, you country girls, what a deal you have to learn! Don't you see that half the women are dying with envy, and that they would die outright, if they could not give a little vent to their spleen? Now if you had been properly educated, all this would be delightful to you. Ah, if you could only enjoy your own triumph properly !--if you would only do as I wish you !"
If Alice on the one hand had lost much in being denied the benefit that would have resulted from true womanly training, on the other she was certainly the better for having missed such instruction as could only have been gained from the teachings of Lady Shirley and those of her class. To all the hollowness and frivolity of her sex, to their petty jealousies, and caprices, and heart-burnings, and to the studied impertinences connected with the exhibition of each, she had hitherto been altogether a stranger; and if she did not feel herself to be unequal to the vain conflict with these elements, she at least felt herself above it.
“I can only do what is worthy of myself,” she said in reply to Lady Shirley: “in this one resolve I must abide by my own feelings."
There was a quiet determination in her niece's manner that disconcerted Lady Shirley; and reserving what she had further to say to a fitter opportunity, she retired to her own apartment.
LAITHWAYE's second interview with Sir Richard Steele convinced him how much better were self-reliance and self-help than any trust in the sympathy or interest of others. He had hoped so far to work upon the feelings of the good-natured statesman, as to get him to use his influence in behalf of Sir Thomas Greystock; and he was disappointed and mortified at learning how much Sir Richard knew of the present circumstances of both him and his daughter, and how little he deemed either of them deserving of compassion or clemency
deed, considered that an extraordinary share of good fortune attended them; the one in having so readily escaped to France, the other in so soon finding more than an equivalent for the fortune she had lost.
“Sir Thomas," he said, “is well known as a hot-headed bigot, who would consider it no sin to break faith with heretics. He might dissemble in order to procure present pardon, but he would use restored power against the hand that conferred it. Let him remain where he is, and be thankful for the privilege; if he returns to England he is lost—he can expect no mercy. At present, my advice to yourself is-let the rebels alone, and attend more to your own fortunes. A young man like you should not be idling his time and wasting his energies to no purpose. Now go, and when you have news in the other matter, let me see you again.”
Laithwaye's compact with the old woman in favour of Alice, could not interfere with any inquiries he chose to prosecute respecting one in whose fate he himself felt much interest; he only bargained for proceedings in his own way, as, from what he had seen of the woman, he judged pretty rightly that no menaces would force from her a secret she chose to keep. Sir Richard readily acquiesced in the propriety of leaving Laithwaye to manage as he should see best; and that indefatigable personage, in pursuit of other projects, bent his way to Rotherhithe.
This haven for sailors, as its Saxon name signifies, was of considerably less extent at the commencement of the last century than it is in our day. Modern improvement has swept away many of the old buildings, and populated the waste land. The wharves, warehouses, and dockyards were almost as numerous as now; but as a town—it was a market-town in very ancient times—it wore the appearance of being on the decline. The one, long, irregular street was then still more straggling, and had fewer auxiliaries; and antique buildings of wood and plaster lay scattered about in localities that seemed out of the world. One of these latter, a capacious hostelrie, had long flourished on a swampy piece of ground, to the east of the village, stretching away to Deptford. The house itself, notwithstanding its picturesque appearance, was suggestive of nothing beyond the humble pretensions it now set forth. It might have been a place of public entertainment from time immemorial, and probably it had been. The small, deep-set windows of the lower story were on a level with the ground, and the door was approached by a descent of three steps, sheltered by the projecting first floor, along which ran a heavylooking wooden gallery. The enclosure around was rich in