Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/The silver cord - Part 7
THE SILVER CORD.
BY SHIRLEY BROOKS.
“Some breakfast, at your earliest convenience, Mrs. Hawkesley,” said her husband, who, in an exceedingly comfortable easy chair, was making himself master of the forty-eight columns of close reading, acquaintance with which has become the rule of daily life for every man who supposes himself to be civilised, and fit for intercourse with the world. Who says that this is not a reading age? Somebody who utters his thoughts without due consideration. A gentleman who fairly reads his newspaper every day, gets through, almost as matter of amusement, more study of condensed matter in a week than any helluo librorum, whose omnivorous digestion of books continues on record in servile biographies, ever could have performed in ten times that period. Let us stand up for ourselves, and not be overriden by the fabulists.
“Well, what is your hurry?” said his smiling and still handsome wife, née Beatrice Vernon, who had just come down, looking exceedingly fresh and cheerful, as the British matron should look in the mornings. That simple, ample dress, plain in its neatness, was expressly invented to complete the idea of home. It is a dress, mind, and not a wrap, or anything that means slipping down to breakfast anyhow, and attending to one’s toilette afterwards, as the manner of some is.
“I’m never in a hurry, Betty, but look at the clock.”
“The clock’s wrong, and we were late last night, and we are half an hour earlier than yesterday, when you made no complaint, and I won’t be called Betty,” said Mrs. Hawkesley, pleading several matters, as the lawyers say, and giving her lord the tiniest blow on the ear as she passed him to her place at the table.
“Make the coffee good, and I will condone that assault,” said Charles Hawkesley, “but not otherwise. There are some awful warnings to bad wives in to-day’s accounts from the divorce court.”
“There are no bad wives,” replied Mrs. Hawkesley; “and if there are they are made so by their husbands. Is there anything interesting?”
“An earthquake in Java has destroyed several towns, and about ten thousand people.”
“Nonsense about earthquakes—what do I care about earthquakes.”
“If some people continue to increase in size as they are doing,” said Mr. Hawkesley, with an affectation of mumbling to himself, “the subject may not be so uninteresting to some other persons, one of these days.”
“It’s a great story, and don’t you be impertinent, sir. Mrs. Orbit says I am a great deal slighter than I was six months ago. Will you have anything beside the eggs, dear?”
“Yes, a good many things; but I think I see nearly all that I shall want. I have at last taught you how a breakfast-table ought to look.”
“You taught me, indeed,” said his wife, with a toss of her head in pretended scorn. “Much you knew of the comforts of a proper table when you were a bachelor in chambers.”
“Bachelors in chambers are not exactly starved and miserable wretches,” said Charles Hawkesley, knowingly.
“Then they ought to be, selfish creatures. Is your coffee sweet enough, dear?”
“I don’t know, madam—ask at a proper time, and not when one is skinning a Negg.”
Do you want any more of this, or is the above enough to show that Charles and Beatrice Hawkesley were a pleasant, affectionate couple, exceedingly fond of one another, and by no means displeased with a world that smiled on them both?
“There is nothing in the paper, I suppose,” said Mrs. Hawkesley.
“Well—you scorn my humble earthquake—let’s see. Would you like to hear what Lord Palmerston says about the state of the continent?”
“Does he say that you are to take me to Baden-Baden this year? If he does, read it out by all means, and write an article saying that he is the best man that ever lived.”
“No, he does not say that, so far as I see. In fact his words seem to imply that you ought not to go, for he speaks of probable disturbances, and even revolutions.”
“The very things I want to see. I should like to see a revolution of all things in the world, so you write about lodgings for us, do you hear, sir?”
“To hear is to obey,” said Hawkesley; “that is to say, we’ll take it ad avisandum.”
“We’ll take it in July,” said handsome Mrs. Hawkesley.
“Very smart, dear. You must have been surreptitiously looking into my new comedy, and caught a taste of repartee. No, there is not sugar enough.”
“Yes, I have been looking at it, and I like it very much, and we will spend some of the money you are to get for it on the trip to Baden.”
“And suppose it is dee, dash, dee?”
“It will not be—it is capital, I tell you—and if it should be—it will show that you want change of air, to put more oxymel into your system.”
“Oxymel,” laughed the author. “I never heard that mentioned as good for comedies.”
“Well, oxygen,” said Mrs. Hawkesley. “It’s all the same. When is the play to come out?”
“In a fortnight, or else it must stand over till next season, which I should prefer.”
“But I should not. I hate keeping things back; and in your case I am sure that does not answer, for you think over them, and find fault, and fidget, and try to make them better, and who thanks you for your trouble?”
“An admiring posterity, my dear, directed by the intelligent critics of the twentieth century, will thank me. Think of that, and reverence the pale student wasting his health and the midnight oil.”
“Pale student, indeed,” said Beatrice, looking lovingly at her lord. “I should like to catch you looking pale, or wasting my oil either. You work a great deal too hard as it is.”
“And so, round comes the argument to Baden-Baden again?” said Hawkesley.
“You know I don’t mean that,” said his wife, hastily touching his hand affectionately.
“My dear love!”
They understood one another perfectly well.
“Graissessac and Beziers” read Hawkesley, recurring to his Times, “is not that one of Urquhart’s lines?”
“Yes,” said his wife, eagerly, “No accident, I hope.”
“A fall of an embankment—no particular harm done—but the line is stopped until the engineer can set all right again.”
“Then I suppose that Robert will have to be there.”
“He is there by this time, depend upon it, and driving the clod-compellers before him like frightened sheep.”
“But what a bore for Bertha, that he has to be always running away to attend to something of that kind. Why doesn’t he build churches and theatres, or something that would keep him in Paris with her, poor thing?”
“One reason, my dear, which may be as good as a dozen, is that he is a civil engineer and not an architect.”
“I thought it was all the same,” said Mrs. Hawkesley, who, be it at once stated, was a woman to be loved and honoured, for she never pretended to understand everything, and received every correction of her originally imperfect education with the frankest good-humour, and by virtue of that abstinence and that practice, became really far better informed than nineteen out of twenty of the regularly educated women of her acquaintance.
“But,” said Hawkesley, “it occurs to me that you are compassionating Bertha upon a subject on which she may not particularly want your sympathies. One does not care to talk much on such matters; but I have told you that I think she manages to endure Robert’s absences exceedingly well, and like a strong-minded woman, and not as a weak creature like yourself would bear mine, if I were called away to get up plays in Belgium or the South of France.”
“Indeed, yes,” said Beatrice. “I frankly tell you that I could not endure it. I want you to be with me, and hear all I have to say, and—well, after all, one’s husband is meant to be one’s companion, isn’t he?”
“I believe there may have been some such intention, when the marriage relations were devised,” said Charles Hawkesley, demurely, “but we have improved all that.”
“I should like to catch you improving it,” said Beatrice, pouring her husband his second cup coffee, which by the way was as hot and as strong as the first. “But what you say about Bertha is quite true, though I do not like to admit it even to myself. Charles, it is a dreadful thing to say of one’s own sister—”
“Don’t say it, dear. I will say it for you. Bertha does not care for Robert Urquhart any more than I care for—for that girl who just brought the plate.”
“Do not go so far as that, dear. Honour, and respect, and regard him she must—how can she help it? But as for loving him, Charles, I don’t believe that she does.”
“I do not think that she has—shall I say sense enough, to know how worthy he is of her honour and regard.”
“Charles, you never understood Bertha. She is a very clever girl—much cleverer than I am, for instance.”
“My dear child,” he replied, warmly, “if you will raise a comparison, you force me to say what it seems absurd in a middle-aged husband to be saying to his wife at her breakfast-table, namely, that she is not worthy to hold your shawl. But leaving you out of the question, I do not believe in her cleverness, and I utterly disbelieve in her heart.”
“You have said that before, Charles, and I have always assured you that you do not understand her. Perhaps it is because you over-refine, and get too subtle about her character, and perhaps you have heard so much about her from me, and have got prejudiced. You would judge her more fairly if she were more a stranger.”
“We do not see a great deal of her.”
“No, but I have told you so much, such heaps of little things, and you have put them together in your own way, and made up a person out of them, just as baby sticks the puzzle together after his own fashion, and calls it ‘all wite.’”
“Well, if I am no nearer all right than baby, so much the better for Bertha and Robert,” said Hawkesley; “but I am not shaken in my conviction at present. But we agree upon the most important point.”
“I am sorry to say that we do, Charles.”
“I think he loves her.”
“As intensely as ever, Charles, that I am certain of. He is one of those men whose feelings are not easily detected, but I have no more doubt of that proud, cold, stern man’s loving Bertha than I have of—”
“Of this proud, cold, stern man’s loving Beatrice.”
“No,” said Mrs. Hawkesley, earnestly, and with something of a tear rising to her eyes, “I won’t say that, Charles, because that is like taking an oath. That you love me I know, and if I were made to walk through fire, nothing could burn out that belief—that is part of me. But as far as I can be certain of anything else, I am certain of his affection for my sister.”
“And where, dearest, is the intellect you speak of, when the woman is not proud of having inspired affection in such a man as Robert Urquhart?”
“Well, I think she is, at times,” returned his wife, slowly.
“I don’t think much of temporary sanity.”
“And then he is not the man to invite a woman’s affection.”
“I thought that a sort of general invitation was included in a certain Service which you know of. But, to speak gravely, ought she not, as I say, to be so proud of such a husband, that if there be a certain crust or armour that seems to come between her and his heart, she should devote her whole life and love to the breaking through it, and becoming the wife of his trust as well as of his admiration and love?”
“We were brought up very carelessly, dear Charles, and perhaps we derived some odd notions from the books we read, and the people we were obliged to know.”
“I forbid you to place yourself with Bertha, even when you are using a sister’s best efforts to excuse her.”
“Well, I do not, dear Charles; it would be affectation if I did. I have had a great advantage in having married—not very unhappily,” she said, turning an arch and loving look towards him, “and when a woman has learned the lesson of real happiness, she can easily learn any other lesson of good. But Bertha’s marriage, though, as you say, it is a grand one, cannot be called happy. It is of no use—at least, it is of no use for you and me to try and deceive ourselves about it.”
“It ought to be happy, with such a man, so truly devoted to her, and every comfort of life about her.”
“In saying that, dear, you talk like a man, and you think as men insist upon thinking about us, measuring us out our privileges by line and rule—”
“And giving capital measure. Come?”
“Capital. But we are not to be measured and fitted, poor creatures, in that way; and you must not insist on our opening debtor and creditor accounts with you, and being good because we ought to be good. You will often find the books very badly kept; not that we mean to cheat you, on the contrary; we delight to throw everything we have in the world into your hands, in exchange for a kind look, but we cannot be made to pay love merely because we owe it.”
“A most singular and objectionable way of conducting one’s affairs, Beatrice, dear. I could put it a little more severely—”
“But you shall not. You know what I mean. And perhaps it is that very feeling on Bertha’s part that all the world is looking at her, and expecting her to be a model wife in return for the great things that have been done for her, that checks her from being as good as she might be.”
“And you consider it an excuse for not doing one’s duty, that one is expected to do it?”
“Women don’t like to be expected to do anything. But do not suppose—of course you will not—that I am making the least excuse for Bertha. That is only my nonsense, or at least something that may go a little way to explain things, not to apologise for them. I only mean, dear, that if it had been Bertha’s good fortune to have a husband of a gentler nature—”
“If I, for instance, had not previously been made prize of?”
“No—you would have had no patience with her caprices. How dare you smile like that? I have none, sir. No, but I think that a husband like Arthur would have made her a better wife.”
“Arthur has chosen much better.”
“Yes, I know you think Laura perfection. What a pity it was that she was too young for you.”
“She was not. But do you think it a pity?”
“You know what I think. And I love you better for loving her, for she is a darling in word and in deed.”
“What on earth does that mean?” said Charles Hawkesley, laughing. “I never heard such an unearthly arrangement of ideas. A darling in word and in deed.”
“Be quiet,” said Beatrice, smiling, “It is one of my pet phrases, and I won’t have it found fault with. I know when you did not find fault with it.”
“What—was I ever one?”
“No. But somebody was foolish enough to tell you so. And it is like your ingratitude to have forgotten it.”
“I never forget anything. And I agree with you, that though it would have been rather throwing away Arthur Lygon to hand him over to a girl who wanted so much done to her head and her heart, he would perhaps have been more successful than Urquhart. But possibly, Bettina, we may be begging the question after all, and in secret Robert Urquhart and his wife may be devoted lovers, preserving their appearance of distance when before the world.”
“There, now, that is another of your book-writing notions—don’t be angry, darling, you write beautiful books, and you don’t want me at this time of day to tell you I think so—but people do not do those things. I defy a couple of people to love one another, and not let the world see it. Why one look, or one tone, when they are off their guard, tells the whole story. I only wish I could recall to my memory any single thing of that kind in the house at Versailles.”
“You easily might, for we were there for a fortnight.”
“Don’t be a goose.”
“Very well. By the way, are Arthur and his wife coming here on Saturday?”
“Why should they come to an empty house?”
“Do you call that any kind of answer which a decent man is bound to take at his own table? What do you mean, woman?”
“I mean Burnham Beeches.”
“Now, you mean Burnham Beeches.”
“No I do not. I mean to ask you whether you seriously purpose to take advantage of a promise wrung from a man who was hungering and thirsting for a cigar, and whose case, as it is generally believed, you had hidden away in order to extort an excursion?”
“Of course I do. We will go on Saturday, and we will stay on Sunday at Mr. Skindell’s, go to church, dine quietly, and in the evening go on the water. And come—I will make the affair perfect for you—I will go round presently and see whether Laura will come with us and being Arthur.”
“And bring Arthur! And we spent twenty millions in liberating the blacks. However, let us rattle our chains—do as you like.”
“I knew Laura’s name would be a charm.”
“So it is, and—well remembered—here is another charm, which I will bestow upon you.”
Beatrice joined her hands, and caught the trinket.
“How very pretty. An hour-glass, with a pair of wings. Oh, thanks. Did you buy it for me?”
“Of course not. I found it between the leaves of a book at the British Museum.”
“Story. It’s quite new. I thought perhaps that one of your actresses might have given it to you, in gratitude for writing her a good part.”
“You retain very vague notions about the manners and customs of those artists. However, it was not given me by one of my actresses,—I found it in Cockspur Street.”
“Yes, indeed, and in company with a quantity of lovely coral, and behind a thick sheet of plate glass.”
“It is very pretty; but you need not buy any more ornaments for me. I have got quite enough. A winged hour-glass! What does it mean?”
“It means,” said the author rising, and getting to the door, “that the Hawkesleys, of Maida Hill, ought to have finished breakfast before eleven o’clock.”
And he darted out of the room, followed by a merry threat and laugh.
In company with Arthur Lygon, we will shortly leave Lipthwaite for a time. Brief as his sojourn there had been, it seemed to him that an age had elapsed since he left Gurdon Terrace, and hurried indeed were his preparations for departure, now that he had obtained, as he believed, a clue to his wife’s hiding-place. The only process which he permitted to delay him was the taking leave of Clara, who looked very disconsolate at the idea of being left in the charge of Mrs. Berry, and who had, perhaps, apprehensions that the venomous old Aunt Empson might make her re-appearance when there was no papa present to protect his child. However, Mr. Lygon gave her the most consolatory promises of his speedy return for her, and of the gift of a certain vast and splendidly-furnished doll’s house, once seen in a beatific vision in the Lowther Arcade, and up to that time a thing to be whispered about, not dreamed of as a possession. And, finally, the assurance that her mother would be greatly pleased by Clara’s showing that she could conduct herself like a lady in the absence of her parents, completed the moral strengthening, and Miss Lygon, wiping her eyes, declared herself equal to the endurance proposed to her.
“I need hardly ask,” said Arthur Lygon to Mr. and Mrs. Berry, “that not a word on the subject of Mrs. Lygon may be said to Clara until I return.”
“Not a syllable,” said Mr. Berry.
“Or until you write and desire that any such communication may be made,” said Mrs. Berry.
“That is not probable, my dear Mrs. Berry,” said Lygon.
“I am a slave to my promises,”replied Mrs. Berry, “and therefore I prefer to have them properly guarded and fenced before I enter into them.”
“Quite right,” said Arthur, in no mood to discuss anything just then.
“I will drive you over to the station,” said Mr. Berry. “The next train will be there in an hour and a half from this moment.”
“I thought I saw that a train arrived in half an hour.”
“It does not stop here.”
“But it stops at Hareton, and I could get over there in the time.”
“That is an answer, from you,” said Lygon, “but it is vexatious to have to throw away an hour when it may be so valuable at the other end of the journey.”
“That thought should remind you of a more solemn one, Arthur,” said Mrs. Berry, “and lead you to recollect the folly of throwing away one hour, when we are in health and strength, and having to look back upon such waste when we are on our dying beds.”
The remark was unexceptionable, if not cheerful, and Mr. Lygon did not care to oppose it. Mr. Berry, however, made more allowance for his friend’s feelings than his wife’s, and observed, with some asperity:
“Nay,” said Arthur, “Mrs. Berry is perfectly right, and we do not always think of these things.”
For he was so thankful for the revelation that had taken place, and for the removal of so much weight from his mind, that he could not speak with unkindness even towards a person whom he had hated, and to whom a sort of false reconciliation had not made him draw with any closeness of regard.
“Do not think of speaking in my behalf, Mr. Lygon,” she said, with the wronged woman’s look this time very strong upon her. “It is our duty to submit to insult. I might almost say that it is our privilege.”
“Nobody thinks of insulting you, Marion,” said Mr. Berry; “but you must own that when a man’s mind is intensely set upon an object dear to his heart, that’s a bad minute to select for preaching him a sermon on dying beds.”
“When I became aware,” said Mrs. Berry, mournfully, “that we are enjoined to watch until it shall be pleasant to our fellow-creatures to hear what we are commanded to tell them, I shall, I trust, obey the injunction. Meantime, I cannot but remember that we are to be instant in season and out of season.”
“Yes, but you are always out of season,” said her husband, irreverently, and in some irritation walking away from the breakfast-room, muttering something about ordering the chaise.
“Clara has promised to be an excessively good girl while I am away, Mrs. Berry,” said Arthur, taking the child’s hand; “and she, like yourself, always keeps her promises.”
“We will endeavour to aid her in fulfilling it, at all events,” said Mrs. Berry, almost kindly. “We will not talk about being excessively good, because that would be a presumptuous expression; but we will endeavour to avoid such faults as guardianship and advice can save us from.”
‘It will not be for long, my pet,’ thought Arthur, after the excellent lady had paraded her dictionary words.
“And as for lessons,” continued Mrs. Berry, “I dare say that we can contrive not to be retrograde.”
“O, suppose we give her a holiday, Mrs. Berry; she will be less trouble to you, and I dare say that she will have no objection.”
“I dare say not,” said Mrs. Berry; “we are all unfortunately prone to prefer our pleasures to our duties. But the beautiful little hymn says:
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
Those are the words, Mr. Lygon. Every day. Not every day except the day when I happened to be in the country, and thought I should like to play about the garden.”
“It says healthful play,” said Clara, colouring. “Books, or works, or healthful play.”
“So it does, little lady,” said her papa, smiling. “You see that we have taught her something, Mrs. Berry.”
“I fear that it is better not to know, than to use our knowledge wrongly,” said the lady, who had for once been tripped up by the memory of the child, but who was satisfied with the mildest form of defence. But for something that was in Mrs. Berry’s head just then, Clara might not have been the gainer in comfort by this little victory. Mrs. Berry, however, looked at her quite gently for Mrs. Berry, and continued, “Healthful play, my dear, means play at such hours as those who have the care of your health prescribe for your relaxation. We will not forget the play, but papa will also allow us to remember the work.”
“Clara will do as she is bid,” said Mr. Lygon, though not much pleased.
The hour passed, and Mr. Berry, who had kept himself out of the way, came in to say that the chaise would be at the gate in five minutes.
“Why not at the porch?” said Mrs. Berry.
“Because it will be at the gate,” said her husband, doggedly. He was in anything but an amiable temper, and snapped this reply in a way quite unusual with the good-natured old gentleman.
“I regret that in Clara’s presence such an example of politeness should be afforded,” said Mrs. Berry to Lygon; “but she should know that big folks often do and say things which little folks must not imitate.”
Her husband’s glance at her was a downright savage one, almost evil.
“If Clara learns nothing worse in this house but what she will learn from me, she will not come to much harm. I can’t say as much for everybody.”
Mrs. Berry perfectly comprehended the meaning, that did not lie on the surface, but smiled and said:
“Mr. Berry is very properly thinking of the servants, with whom it is objectionable that a very young person should hold much intercourse. But we will take care upon that point.”
“Now, Lygon, if you are ready,” said Mr. Berry, turning from the window.
“If I am ready! Adieu, my darling,” and he pressed Clara to his heart and kissed her affectionately. “Farewell, Mrs. Berry; I will thank you for all your kindness when I return.”
“That will be quite time enough,” said Mrs. Berry, very graciously; “I would charge you with messages, but you will have enough to think about. Let us hear of you, and farewell!”
He went out, and Clara was following to have a last kiss, when Mrs. Berry called her back.
“Your papa has said good-bye to you, Clara.”
The child stood still at command, but her little heart was overflowing, and she gazed very wistfully down towards the gate.
“Would you like to say one more good-bye?” said Mrs. Berry, quickly.
There was a “yes” in the swimming eyes suddenly turned upon the monitrix.
“Then, here,” she said, taking a little Testament from the table, “run and give papa this, and tell him he is to read it on his way.”
Clara fled away like a bird.
Berry was in the chaise, and Lygon’s foot was upon the step, when the child, with her hair streaming in the wind, rushed to her father’s side, and delivered the volume and the message. Lygon smiled, but could not be displeased with what once more brought his lips to his child’s forehead, and in another minute the friends departed.
“What was the book?” said Mr. Berry, gruffly.
“The good one,” replied Lygon.
Evidently the old gentleman had resolved to be displeased with everything in the world.
“I don’t mean that she is worse than anybody else in the same line,” said he, “but it is gross impertinence, in my opinion, to treat other people as if they were heathens. What right had my wife to assume that you had not got the book in your travelling bag?”
“Ah, well,” said Arthur, deprecatingly, “all people have their own ways and usages, and no very great wrong is intended.”
“That’s not the question,” said Mr. Berry.
They drove on in silence for a few minutes, and Berry then said,
Without another word he put an envelope into Arthur’s hand. Lygon looked at him inquiringly.
“Why of course,” said Berry, pettishly, “there’s eighty pounds, in five-pound-notes. You need not count ’em, they are all right, you may take my word for it.”
“I was not going to count them.”
“Then you ought to have been. A man is a fool who takes money without counting it. Put ’em up, can’t you. I would have given you gold, but I had only twenty sovereigns in the house. There they are in this bag. Take them, and don’t lose the bag, if you can think of it. Get on, horse, will you.”
And though the appeal to the animal’s volition was gentle enough, the cut that immediately followed it was inconsistent as well as severe.
“Ah,” said Arthur, “you think I might—”
“I don’t think anything, but a man can do several things with an odd hundred pounds in his pocket, which he can’t do without it. I say, did Mrs. Berry have any more talk with you after breakfast?”
“Only about Clara.”
“Nothing else. Not a word about your present business?”
“Not a syllable. Why, did not Mrs. Berry promise that upon that subject she would not open her lips.”
“Lips. I hate the word ‘lips.’ It puts me in a rage.”
Arthur looked at his companion in some astonishment.
“Yes; Mrs. Berry has been good enough to find time to justify the statement which, to my utter astounding, she made this morning. She told you that she had heard of your sorrow from my lips.”
“Which was, I know, an untruth.”
“It was nothing of the kind.”
“What, you did tell her, then?”
“I don’t, of course, understand.”
“I should think not, and I should like to know who ever did understand a woman, especially when she grafts upon duplicity, which is natural to her, religion, which is not. Nice crabs come of that grafting, and this is one of them. She heard of the sorrow from my lips. It seems that when I woke in the morning—not that I had much sleep, thinking of your affairs—I said to myself, ‘Poor Arthur.’ She never spoke. I thought she was asleep. But there it was from my lips, and she has been asking me what I thought of a husband who dared, in the presence of a third party, to accuse his wife, unjustly, of a falsehood.”
“Those two words were all that passed before my meeting Mrs. Berry?”
“All. And on those two words hangs her entire justification of what she said to you. These are the notions of people who give away Testaments. Never mind. There’s the station, and, by Jove! yonder comes the train. Look alive, you’ve just time. All right! God bless you!—and Arthur, a word, if the train were upon us. Do nothing rashly. In, in, and get your ticket!”
Lygon saved the train, and was fortunate enough to catch the next for Folkestone.
It was not until he had been travelling for some time in this latter that he had completed his meditations on all that he had heard that crowded morning.
Later, and when on board the French boat, he put his hand into the pocket where lay the Testament he had received from the hand of his child. Opening the volume, though in anything but a spirit of gratitude to the donor, he perceived a note addressed to himself, and found that it had been slightly gummed between two pages to prevent its being lost. Tearing it out and open, he read:—
“I was forbidden to speak, but not to write. You have heard but half the truth. What most concerned yourself has been withheld.”
This, in the book of comfort, given by the hand of his darling, was Mrs. Berry’s parting blow.