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Title:      The Fortress (1932)
Author:     Hugh Walpole
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      The Fortress (1932)
Author:     Hugh Walpole





Thy gentlest dreams, thy frailest,
Even those that were
Born and lost in a heart-beat,
Shall meet thee there.
They are become immortal
In shining air.

The unattainable beauty,
The thought of which was pain,
That flickered in eyes and on lips
And vanished again;
That fugitive beauty
Thou shalt attain.

Those lights innumerable
That led thee on and on,
The masque of time ended,
Shall glow into one.
They shall be with thee for ever,
Thy travel done.


The Herries Family

Judith Paris, daughter of Rogue Herries

Adam Paris, her son, m. Margaret Kraft

Vanessa, Adam's daughter

Sir William Herries, son of David Herries

Christabel, his first wife

Walter, their son, m. Agnes Bailey

Valerie, Sir William's second wife

Ellis, their son

Uhland, Walter's son

Elizabeth, Walter's daughter, m. John Herries

Francis Herries, son of David Herries

Jennifer, his wife

John, m. Elizabeth Herries; Dorothy, m. Arthur Bellairs, their

Benjamin, John's son

Timothy Bellairs

Veronica Bellairs, m. Robert Forster; Amabel Bellairs; Jane
Bellairs, Dorothy's children

Sir James Herries, son of Sir Pomfret Herries, m. Beatrice Ferry

The Ven Rodney Herries, his brother, m. Rebecca Fox

William; Dora, Rodney's children

Garth Herries, grandson of Pelham Herries

Sylvia, his wife

Amery, his brother

Maria, Lady Rockage

Carey Bligh, 3rd Lord Rockage, her son

Cecily, his wife

Roger, m. Janet Vane; Alice, their children

Phyllis, Rockage's sister, m. Stephen Newmark

Horace Newmark; Mary Newmark; Phyllis Newmark; Katherine Newmark;
Stephen Newmark; Emily Newmark; Barnabas Newmark, Phyllis' children

Montague Cards, son of Morgan Cards

Bradley Cards, son of Robert Cards

Fred Ormerod, related by marriage to Montague Cards




Part One


The Shadow against the Sky

At Westaways

Adam's World

The Summer Fair

The Beginning of the Fortress

Judith and Adam in London

Westaways: Father and Son

Entry of the Fortress

Part Two


The Battle

The Chartists

History of Elizabeth

The Governess

Family Letters

Homecoming in Winter

The Wild Goose

Part Three


Uhland's Journal

Wax flowers and the Revolution

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower


The Funeral

Climax to a Long Sequence:

I.  Judith and Walter

II.  Skiddaw Forest

III.  In a Dark House

Part Four


Birth of Vanessa

Sayers versus Heenan

She Visits the Fortress for the Last Time

On Cat Bells: Escape from Ecstasy

A Day in the Life of a Very Old Lady

At Victorine's

Battle with Pangloss

The Hundredth Birthday

Part One



'All is well,' Judith said quietly, coming forward and stroking the
red apples of the sofa.  'I shall not leave you, Jennifer.  It is
better I remain.'

As her hand mechanically stroked those same rosy apples, so
friendly and familiar, she reflected.

Yes, this simple sentence declared the crisis of her whole
existence.  Nothing ever again could matter to her so deeply as
this decision.  With it she had cut away half her life, and perhaps
the better half.  She was not by nature a dramatic woman; moreover,
she had but lately returned from the funeral of the best friend she
had, and she was forty-seven years of age in this month of January
1822.  So--for women then thought forty-seven a vast age--she
should be past drama.  Quietly she sat down on the sofa, leaned
forward, looking into the fire.  Jennifer Herries was speaking with
eager excitement, but Judith did not hear her.  Jennifer was fifty-
two and should also be past drama but, although a lazy woman, she
liked sensation when it did not put herself to discomfort.

Judith at that moment heard and saw nothing but the past, the past
that she was irrevocably forsaking.  Strange how the same patterns
were for ever returning!  Her father had been a rogue and a
vagabond, a rebel against all the order and material discipline of
the proper Herries.  In his early years he had married Convention
and of her had had a son, late in life he had married a gipsy and
of her had had a daughter in his old age, when he was over seventy.
David at one end of his life, Judith at the other.

In their histories again the pattern had been repeated.  David of
his marriage had had two sons: Will the money-maker, Francis the
dreamer.  Will prospered even now in the City; Francis was a
failure, dead of his own hand.

And with their children again the pattern was repeated.  For Will's
son Walter was triumphant near by in his house at Westaways, and
Francis' widow, Jennifer, and Francis' children, John and Dorothy,
remained, undefended, here at Uldale.

It was here that she, Judith, came into the pattern.  Daughter of
two vagabonds, mother of an illegitimate boy, she should be
vagrant.  Half of her--the finer, truer, more happy and fortunate
half--(she nodded at the fire in confirmation) was so.  But the
other half was proper, managing, material, straight-seeing Herries.
She threw her wild half into the blaze (her hand flickered towards
the fire).  It was gone.  She remained to fight for Jennifer,
Jennifer's children, John and Dorothy, and, maybe who knows? . . .
her own boy Adam.

To fight whom?  Here Jennifer's voice broke through:

'. . . That will be most agreeable.  I have always said that the
Yellow Room needs but a trifle altering and it will make . . . but
Francis would never see it.  And with a new wallpaper . . .  We
must certainly have a new wallpaper . . .'

To fight Walter Herries, and all that were his.  As 'Rogue' Herries
in his tumble-down house in Borrowdale had fought all the world, as
Francis his grandson had tried to fight the world and failed, so
now would she fight Walter, flamboyant, triumphing Walter, made of
Will and his money-bags, sworn to extinguish Jennifer and her
children and all that were in Fell House, Uldale.

It had been the wish of her whole life to flee from all the Herries
and live in the hills as her mother had lived before her, but
Walter Herries had challenged her and she had taken up the

'. . . Not that it should be difficult,' Jennifer was saying, 'to
find another girl to work with Doris.  Girls will come willingly
enough now that you are going to remain, Judith, dear . . .'

Walter and his two children, Uhland and Elizabeth, with all the
money in the world, against Jennifer and HER children, undefended
and helpless, Judith and her Adam, fatherless and by law without a
name . . .

Jennifer was going on:  'And Walter will not DARE, now that you are
remaining, Judith . . . You are the only one of us all of whom he
is afraid . . .  He will not DARE . . .'

Would he not, so large and confident and powerful?  Had he not said
that he would snuff them out--Jennifer, John, Dorothy--raze Fell
House to the ground?  And what had SHE, small, elderly, alone, with
no one in the world belonging to her save Adam, to oppose to that

Nevertheless, she looked across to Jennifer triumphantly.

'We will give Walter something to think about,' she said.

'And you can go to Watendlath when you wish,' Jennifer said.

'Oh no.  Watendlath is over for me.  Watendlath is ended, a closed

'But how foolish, Judith.  It is only a mile or two.'

'It is the other end of the world.'

She did not tell anyone how that night, with Adam asleep beside
her, she cried.  She lay awake for half the night, hearing the owl
hoot, a mouse scuttle, and seeing a slow, lonely moon trace with
her silver finger a question mark across the floor.

Her thoughts were wild, incoherent, most mingled.  At one moment
she was fiercely rebellious.  She sat up, staring about her.  No,
she would not remain!  She would tell Jennifer in the morning that
she revoked her decision.  She allowed her fancy then to play with
the lovely sequence of events if she went.  Tom Ritson should
arrive in his cart.  She and Adam would be packed into it, and,
after tearful farewells, they would be off, down the hill with one
last backward wave at the bottle-green windows of the Uldale shop
and the slow friendly shoulder of the moor, along the road to
Bassenthwaite, beside the Lake, Keswick, then up the hill again,
above Lodore, and then--Oh, happiness!  Oh, joy!  The little valley
closing them in, the long green field, the tumbling Punchbowl, the
two farms, her own, John Green House, and the Ritsons'; below the
farm the round scoop of the Tarn, black or silver or blue, the
amphitheatre of the hills, the sheep nosing at the turf, the cattle
moving in the byre, and best of all, Charlie Watson, straight as an
arrow in spite of his years, riding towards her over the stones . . .
the fresh sweet air, tang of soil and bracken, glitter of stones,
sweep of the changing sky . . . she had to catch the sheets between
her hands.

That life was for ever surrendered.  Then, at once, her other
practical self came running in.  She was mistress of Fell House
now.  They would all do anything that she told them.  Jennifer was
her slave.  She had seen, at the Ireby funeral, what the neighbours
and villagers thought of her.  Yes, in spite of her illegitimate
son.  Many things would have to be done.  Had she strength enough?
It was the convention that a woman over forty was an 'old thing'
without savour.  It was true that she had been aware, for some time
past, of the troubles, melancholies, miasmas peculiar to her time
of life, but she had refused to surrender to them.  She felt within
her a wonderful vitality and energy, as though she were at the
beginning of life rather than more than half through the course of
it.  Just as in earlier days her love for her husband Georges had
filled her with fire and splendour, so now her love for her son
Adam glorified her.  She was such a woman.

Yes, many things needed to be done.  Walter Herries thought that
Fell House was at an end, did he?  She would show him.  Jennifer
had money.  They could purchase the piece of land towards Ireby . . .
four more cows, two more horses.  The dairy must be enlarged.
They were lucky in their servants.  Bennett was devoted, would do
anything for her.  Jack was a good boy.  Mrs Quinney was honest and
hard-working, although she had a tongue when she was put out.
Martha Hodgson was a good God-fearing cook, who never grumbled so
long as she was not interfered with, and Doris would do well if
they had a child in from the village to help her.

They must entertain more than they had done.  John and Dorothy were
growing now.  John was fourteen and Dorothy thirteen.  It was right
that they should take their proper place in the County . . .  She
must find a tutor for John and Adam.  Someone who would have no
dealings with Walter.  There was Roger Rackstraw in Keswick, a
friend of Miss Pennyfeather's.  He had a broken nose and looked
altogether like a prize-fighter, but he had been for two years
tutor to the Osmaston children and had done well there.  She would
see about that in the morning.  She would lose no time.  And,
maybe, she might, after all, shortly pay a visit to Watendlath,
stay with the Ritsons for a week, ride over to Watson's farm . . .
No, no . . .  Better leave that alone until she was settled here,
settled deep, deep down so that she could never pull herself up

Then once more desolation caught her.  She lay back on her pillow
sobbing.  She could not help it.  She had given up all that she
loved best in the world, all save Adam.  And for what?  She had
been considering Walter Herries as too serious a figure?  What was
he after all but a big, blundering bully?  What could he have done
to Jennifer and the children?  John would soon be able to protect
his mother . . .  But no.  John was soft, sensitive, gentle.  She
remembered how years ago Mrs Ponder, a servant in the house, had
thrown his pet rabbit out of the window.  She had thought then that
he would have died of misery.  And yet he had courage.  Only a few
days before, when the rioters had set fire to the stables, he had
sat with his mother through all the noise and confusion, reading to
her, trying to comfort her . . .  He had courage, but he was no
match for his Cousin Walter.  She, and she alone . . .  At that she
fell, at last, asleep.

It was natural that the world of Judith's son, young Adam, should
be very different in shape, colour and contents from his mother's.

He was now in his seventh year and as strong as a young colt.  He
was, most certainly, not handsome.  Even his mother could not think
so.  His hair was black and straight without a suspicion of a wave
in it, his nose snub, his mouth large, his legs and arms too long
for his body as yet.  Nevertheless, he gave promise of both height
and breadth.  His grey eyes held both humour and caution, and he
was brown with health.  He was clumsy in his movements--indeed he
was to move all his life short-sightedly, and this not because he
was short-sighted but because he was absent-minded.

Were his interest thoroughly caught, absent-minded was the last
thing that he was, but he was often thinking of the unexpected
instead of the customary.

It seemed that his character would be warm and loyal, but he was
sparing of words.  He hated to show feeling or express it.  He was
independent, always venturing off on his own, busy on his own
purposes.  Whether he liked or disliked anyone he never said, but
he had a very especial connexion with his mother and would, on a
sudden, leave what he was doing and search for her because he
thought that she needed him.

When he did this his intuition was always right.  He was quite
fearless and could be very pugnacious, but he would attack someone
without warning and often when he had been smiling but a moment
earlier.  He was inquisitive, would ask questions and remember
carefully the answers given him, although he would not always
believe their truth.  On the whole, his independence, his loyalty,
his taciturnity and his courage were at present his strongest
characteristics.  He walked very much by himself.

His horizon was larger than that of many boys of his age, for his
first years had been spent in France and after that he had lived
like a young peasant in the Watendlath valley.  His friends had
been farmers like Charlie Watson and the Ritsons, farmers' wives
like Alice Perry, farmers' boys like the young Perrys.

Then on coming to Fell House he had known the first attachment of
his life (he was never to know very many).  His mother was part of
himself and he of his mother, so that did not figure as an
attachment, but at the moment that he saw John Herries he adored

John, Jennifer's boy, who was eight years older than Adam, was
fair, slender, handsome and an aristocrat.  He walked with his head
up, as though he were made to rule the earth.  But he was too
gentle and unselfish to wish to rule anyone, and it soon happened
that the young black ruffian Adam did all the commanding.  John was
impetuous until checked, then was hurt and silent.  He had a very
occasional stammer that added to his shyness.  He had most
beautiful natural manners and was over-aware of the feelings of
others.  He loved to be liked, hated to be disapproved of, while
Adam did not care whether anyone liked him or no.  Nevertheless,
Adam responded deeply to affection, although he said nothing that
showed this.  He forgot neither kindness nor injury, but John was
always eager to heal a quarrel; John was wretched in an atmosphere
of unfriendliness.  Adam enjoyed a fight if he felt that the cause
was a worthy one.

John's sister, Dorothy, was fair, plump and amiable.  She was a
type that was always recurring in the Herries families.  She had
some of her mother's laziness, but took a livelier interest in the
outside world than her mother did.

Adam's world seemed sufficiently filled with these figures--his
mother, Jennifer whom he called his aunt although she was not,
John, Dorothy, Mrs Quinney the housekeeper, Mrs Hodgson the cook,
Bennett the coachman, Jack the stable-boy, Doris, two dairy-maids.
Until now there had also been Mr Winch the tutor, but Mr Winch was
gone for ever.

Geographically his world held first the house, the garden, the
stables, then the moors that fell to the very edge of the garden,
Skiddaw and Blencathra under whose shadows all the life of the
house passed, and beyond them Keswick, and beyond that the world of
Watendlath becoming speedily to him now a dream world, a sort of
fairy kingdom where all the glories and wonders of life were

However, he had then (and he was always to have) the great gift of
accepting what he was given and making the best of it.  It is true
that did he feel he was being given something that he ought not to
be given, he would fight relentlessly to change it.  He had, for
instance, felt that he was NOT given Mr Winch, and he had fought Mr
Winch most gallantly.  It seemed only in the proper nature of
things that Mr Winch should be removed.

His attitude to John changed as time passed.  He did not love him
less, but when he found that he could make John and Dorothy do as
he wished he had his way with them.  Although he was only six he
knew very well on every occasion what it was that he wanted to do.
The only trouble was that others did not always want to do

Like a stone flung into a pool so the fearful adventure of the
rioters had broken into the settled pattern of Adam's life.  That
had been one of his proudest moments when his mother had told him
to go into Aunt Jennifer's room and wait there until 'the men who
were throwing stones at the windows' had gone away.  He had known
that there was more in his mother's mind than she expressed in
words.  She had in fact said to him:  'I shall have occupation
enough.  I trust YOU to guard all that I have no time for.'  A
strange scene that was in Aunt Jennifer's bedroom with all the
familiar things, the high bed with the crimson curtains, and Aunt
Jennifer's lovely black hair in a lace cap, her silver shoes and a
green turban with a feather in it lying on the floor, Dorothy
sitting virtuously on a chair pretending that she listened to John
who was reading from Goldsmith's History of England (Adam did not,
of course, know what the book was), John with his gentle voice
reading on and on, never taking his eyes from the book--all this so
quiet and ordinary, while the reflection from the flames of the
burning stables played like living figures on the wallpaper, and
the muffled echoes of shouts and cries came from below.  He would
never forget the white tenseness of John's face, the little
exclamations of Aunt Jennifer:  'Oh dear!  Oh dear!'  'Listen to
that!'  'We shall all be murdered!'  'Children, we shall all be
murdered!', the ridiculous aspect of the leather cushions that had
been pushed up against the windows, the way in which everything in
the room jumped and sank and jumped again in accordance with the
fiery hands that stroked the walls.  He himself sat on a low chair
near the bed and had no doubt but that he was there on guard over
them all.  He was prepared that at any moment Aunt Jennifer should
jump out of bed and run as she was into the passage and down the
stairs.  It was privately his opinion that she showed great
cowardice to remain there while his mother and Bennett and Mrs
Quinney were defending the house, but he had a patronizing,
forgiving affection for Aunt Jennifer, as though she were a pony
gone at the knees, or a dog that wouldn't fight other dogs, or a
doll whose stomach oozed sawdust.

It was all that he himself could do to sit there thus quietly, but
his mother had given him that piece of work and so without question
there he was!

The worst moment of all was when Aunt Jennifer suddenly cried (just
as John was reading about the Princes who were murdered in the
Tower):  'Oh, it is me that they are after!  I know it is! . . .
They have always hated me!  They will burn the house over us! . . .
We mustn't remain here, children . . . We must fly or we shall have
the house burnt over our heads!'

Although Adam was too young to be aware of it, it was perhaps the
serious regard that the three children bestowed upon her that
forced her to lie back again upon her pillow, to close her eyes and
await, as best she might, the outcome.

Indeed the affair was soon at an end.  Quiet fell in a moment.  The
shadows and tremblings of the flames' reflections continued to play
upon the walls of the room.  John opened the door and listened.
Below there were shufflings of feet, whispers, someone was weeping.
They waited . . .  At last Judith herself came, and Adam learnt
that Uncle Reuben was dead.

The news was the first real crisis in young Adam's life, the first
occasion on which he had been close to a death that was real and
actual to him.  In France the old Cur of the village had died when
paying them a call, but Adam had been too young to understand.  In
Watendlath a cow had died and one of Charlie Watson's horses.  But
Uncle Reuben had been his friend.  He had spent whole days with him
in the hills and, although he had been fat and puffed as he climbed
a hill, he had been able to talk to hundreds of people at the same
time and had known stories about Abraham, the Lord Jesus, the Giant
of Poland, King Arthur's Round Table and scores of others.  He had
never bothered Adam with making him do things he did not want to
do, as Charlie Watson sometimes did, and he carried gingerbread and
lollipops in the pocket of his gown.

Now Uncle Reuben was dead, shot with a gun that had been fired by
one of the wicked men who wanted to burn the house down.  As the
consciousness of this absolute fact, positive, not in any
circumstances to be changed, sank into Adam's mind, something
affected him for ever.  He was, his whole life afterwards, to
remember the moment when his mother, breaking off from some story
that she was telling him, drew him towards her and said to him that
now they were to remain at Fell House, not go to Watendlath as she
had promised, and they were to remain to fight . . .  To fight
whom? . . .  Was it Uncle Walter?

He suggested Uncle Walter because he himself wanted to fight him.
Once in the hills when he had been bathing, Uncle Walter had ridden
past on a white horse and tried to strike him with his whip.  He
had not forgotten that.  He would never forget.  So it seemed to
him quite natural that he and his mother should fight Uncle Walter.
And now when his mother said that they would remain here and not go
to Watendlath he connected that with Uncle Reuben's death and
concluded at once that it was Uncle Walter who had shot him.  That
being so, he, Adam, would one day shoot Uncle Walter.  The sequence
of ideas was quite natural and inevitable.  He said nothing.  He
asked no questions.  But he did one thing.  He had a black doll, a
black doll with a red coat and brass buttons.  He hung the doll
from a nail on the wall and threw marbles at it.  Within a week he
could hit the doll from a great distance.  The doll's face that had
been made of painted clay was no longer a face.

Then on an afternoon late in February, John and Adam had a curious
adventure.  Adventures were for ever happening to Adam, whether
watching a carriageful of ladies tumbled into the ditch on the
Carlisle Road, seeing a drunken old man fall off the top of the
Kendal coach, looking at the gipsies who came and pitched with
their caravans painted orange and blue on the moor above the house
until they were ordered away (they had brown babies, two monkeys
and a basketful of snakes; a woman in a crimson kerchief with
silver coins through her ears invited Adam to join them: had it not
been for his mother he would have done so).  Adventures for him
were perpetual, but this one had for him a new quality, terrifying
had he allowed himself to be terrified.

It had been a strange day.  In the forenoon there had been showers
of rain that had filled the road with puddles of silver.  Then
Skiddaw about two of the afternoon took a step or two and came face
to face with the house, dragging a stream of clouds over his
shoulder with him.  He had a way of doing this: a shrug of
shoulders, a quiver of his sides and there he was staring in at the
parlour window.  The air was fresh with a sniff of spring (although
spring would not be with them for a month or two).  Adam walked out
as far as the stream in the hollow below the Tarn; the water glided
and leapt.  The moss was wet on the gleaming stones above the brown
water; the Fell rose straight from the hollow and was thronged with
little moorland streams, for there had been heavy rains.  He
thought that he saw an eagle and he looked up and up into the sky
that was whitish blue and empty until the clouds that clung on to
Skiddaw's shoulders.  All these little things belonged to the
adventure.  As he entered the house again Skiddaw receded and the
clouds turned rose; the road beyond the garden wall was very hard
and white.  He could hear a young owl hooting.  He climbed the
stairs to find two large marbles, one crystal white, one purple,
that he liked to carry in his pocket.  Then slid down the banisters
to the parlour.  He knew that his mother and Aunt Jennifer were
paying a visit.  They had gone in the carriage with Bennett.

In the doorway of the parlour he found John and saw at once that he
was shaking with some event.  He pulled Adam by the arm into the
room, which was lit only with the dusk of the falling day and the
sharp jumping flames from the fire.

He spoke in a whisper.

'Adam! . . .  Cousin Walter has been here!'

Adam looked to the window.

'No,' said John, 'he has gone.'

'He came into the house?'

The two boys whispered like conspirators.

'No.  Not so far as the house.  He was on a white horse.  He got
down and stood at the gate.  Then he opened it and stood in the
garden.  He stayed looking at the house without moving, for a long
while.  Then he went out and rode away.  I saw him through the

Adam drew a deep breath and clutched the two marbles in his pocket.

'Did he look angry?' he asked at length.

'I could not see his face.  Everything was so still.  I thought he
would knock at the door, but when he was inside the gate he never
moved.  He stood there looking.  I thought he could see me through
the window and I hid behind the curtain.'

Adam went to the window and peered out.  The glow in the sky was
bright and shredded now with little yellow clouds like goslings.

'He is gone,' he said, his nose pressed against the cold pane.

'Yes--but a moment back.  He rode slowly up the hill.  Oh, Adam,
why did he come?'

To spy on us.'  Adam nodded his head.  'I shall go after him.'

'Oh, Adam, will you?'

'Yes, why not?  Perhaps he has a gun and is waiting to shoot

John must go too if Adam went, but he felt an overwhelming fear,
sprung from years of his mother's dread.  Adam was too angry just
then to be frightened.  When he was angry he was possessed with
rage; there was no room for any other emotion.  When he had been a
baby his anger had sometimes almost choked him because it boiled
inside him and he could not shout nor cry.  He took John by the
hand, and together, as quietly as might be, they stole out of the
house, closing the big heavy door gingerly behind them.  The owl
hooted at them as they hurried on to the road.

Outside the gate Adam halted.  Something in the whiteness of the
road pulled him up.  But he knew what it was.  A week ago he had
been walking up the hill and had come upon a fat and distended
frog.  This frog was croaking in a despairing manner; around its
neck were folded the thin spiry legs of two smaller frogs who clung
thus, motionless, without sound.  From the mouth of the large
distended frog protruded a tip of tongue scarlet red.

Adam came the next day and found that the swollen frog was dead
(the red tongue still protruding), but the two live frogs were
still there, their legs interlaced, while another frog, small and
green, squatted near by on guard and to see that justice had been

Adam was too young to feel spiritual disgust: his original instinct
had been one of interest and curiosity, but now the scene around
him was ghostly with evening mist, and out of the mist sprang the
sharp white road; by the side of the road was a yellow-bellied frog
with a tongue like blood and around him croaked a chorus of green
frogs.  The moor was filled with green frogs.  He stood staring
intently in front of him.

'What is it?' whispered John.  'He will be gone in an instant.'
They stood very close together and listened.  All was still.  The
lights of the little village we're coming out; Fell House was a
black mass against the mist.

It was perhaps the cold that drove them forward.  They walked on
the turf at the side of the road so that they should make no noise.
They turned from the road and began to climb the moor, stumbling
over the unevenness of the turf.  Suddenly, John caught Adam's arm:
'Keep down . . .  He's there!'

Just in front of them a shelf of turf rose above a cutting.  To the
right of them, very close to them, three sheep, aware of them, held
together, their sides panting.  But quite clearly the boys could
see the figure on the hill.  He seemed gigantic in that light, his
white horse colossal.  The mist, into whose vapours the moon would
soon pour her light, made a ghostly background to that motionless
horseman, great of bulk, in a black overcoat with a high black
collar.  His thighs, his riding-boots, were jet against the
whiteness of his horse's flanks.  Neither he nor his horse moved.
The sheep too seemed to be carved against the moor, and the two
boys, kneeling behind the rising of turf, their hearts thumping as
it seemed to them into their throats, waited to see what he would

He did nothing.  He stayed there looking down on to Fell House.
Then, as darkness fell, he turned his horse's head and rode away.


Westaways was a very different place from Fell House, Uldale.

Fell House would have always, whatever were done to it, the
atmosphere of the farm from which it had sprung.  David Herries,
John's grandfather, had in his time made certain enlargements.  He
was greatly proud--and so was Sarah his wife--of his dairies, the
garden with its fine lawn and Gothic temple, the parlour and the
best bedroom, but both David and Sarah had been simple people, nor,
since their marriage, had they travelled far afield.  Sarah, for a
brief while, had been bitten with the London fashion, fostered by
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, Mrs Radcliffe and the rest,
for pseudo-medievalism, suits of armour, stained-glass windows and
plaster gargoyles, but she was not by nature romantic and the craze
had soon passed.  Fell House, nestling its warm cheek against the
breast of the moor, was an improved farmhouse and no more.

Utterly different from its very inception was Westaways.  In the
early years of the eighteenth century old Pomfret Herries, brother
of 'Rogue' Herries, and so uncle to David, young John's
grandfather, had had it built, not because he wanted a beautiful
house but because he wished to go one better than his neighbours.
However, it WAS a beautiful house because he chose for architect
old John Westaway, saturnine and melancholy hermit, one of the
finest architects then alive, trained in Italy, the friend of
Vanbrugh and Chesterman, famous through all the north of England
not only for his skill but also for his eccentricities and savage

Old Pomfret had to pay for his ambitions and grumbled at the cost
for years after, but he had, in the end, a lovely house.  It is
true that the only room in it of any value to himself was his own
apartment thronged with guns and fishing-rods.  He was proud,
nevertheless, for people came from miles to see the house.

It was situated between Crosthwaite Church and the town of Keswick.
At that time the gardens ran down to the fringe of the Lake.  The
virtues of the house were its beautiful tiles of rosy red, the
delicate wrought-ironwork across its front, the sash windows--at
that time a great rarity--the pillared hall, and especially the
saloon, whose decorations were designed and executed by John
Westaway himself.  The subject of the design was Paris awarding the
apple, and the three goddesses were painted with extreme vigour.

After old Pomfret's death the house passed out of the family for a
while, but Will, David Herries' money-making son, bought it back
again and thought to live in it.  However, London, and especially
the City, held him too strongly.  He found the country both dull
and fruitless.  His son Walter reigned in Westaways in his stead.

Walter, who had little taste but great energy and a readiness to
take the advice of others (for his own profit), enlarged and
improved Westaways.  For a number of years workmen were always
about the place.  He added a wing towards Crosthwaite, doubled the
stables, extended the gardens and had a grand conservatory.  He
also put fine things inside the house; he had a famous piece of
tapestry that showed Diana hunting, some excellent sculpture, and a
Van Dyck and a small but most valuable Titian.  There was also over
the door of the saloon a painting of the Watteau school in deep
rich colours of some French king dining with his ladies--a picture
all purples, oranges and crimson that the Keswick citizens thought
the finest thing they had ever seen.  Only old Miss Pennyfeather
laughed at it and called it 'stuff', and Mr Southey, after dining
with Walter, was said never even to have noticed it.

Walter Herries himself cared for none of these things for
themselves, but only in so far as they represented strength and

At this time he was thirty years of age and his children, Uhland
and Elizabeth, who were twins, were seven; they were born in the
same year as young Adam and were a few months older than he.

Walter was large in girth and limb, but could not at this period be
called stout.  He was in appearance a survival of the days of the
Regency, now swiftly slipping into limbo.  He seemed already
something of an anachronism with his coats of purple and red, his
high thick stock with its jewelled pin, his capacity for eating and
drinking, his roaring laugh, his passion for sport.  But he was not
really such an anachronism as he seemed.  In politics, when he
bothered to speak of them, he appeared as reactionary Tory as
Wellington or old Lord Eldon, but in reality he stood closer to
Huskisson and Canning.  The fact was that he learnt much from his
father, who, one of the astutest men in the City, had his eye more
firmly fixed on the past.  Walter, caring for nothing but his
personal power and the aggrandizement of his family, loving only in
all the world his crippled little son, building his edifice in part
for himself but in the main for Uhland's future, considered that
future very much more deeply than anyone supposed.  He suffered
from the fact that no one in his immediate surroundings was of any
use to him in these things.  He reigned in a passionate loneliness
and perhaps in that had more in common with his great-grandfather,
old 'Rogue' Herries, than he would ever have dreamed possible.  His
wife Agnes he held to be an imbecile, and she was truly as
terrified of him as all timid wives are supposed to be of
tyrannous, loud-voiced husbands.

On a certain fine September morning of this year, 1822, a long-
legged, supercilious individual named Posset (William Posset, son
of William Posset, coachman at Levons Hall) brought into Walter
Herries' dressing-room a large tin bath.  The floor of this
dressing-room drooped in its centre into a hollow and in the floor
of this hollow was a small iron grating.  Over the hollow the bath
was inserted.  A pinch-faced youth in a uniform of dark red and
brass buttons then arrived with two vast pitchers so large as
almost to conceal him.  With an air of extreme relief and under the
cold eye of the lengthy Posset, young Albert emptied the pitchers
into the bath.  Posset then with delicate tread stepped into the
next room, pulled back the curtains and approached the four-poster.
Walter, his mouth wide open, his chest bare, his nightshirt pulled
down over one shoulder, was snoring loudly.  Posset, with a gravity
worthy of a tax-collector, shook the bare arm.  Walter woke, gave
one glance at Posset, sprang from his bed, tugged his nightshirt
over his head, rushed in to the next room and plunged into the
bath.  Young Albert, accustomed to the fierce eruption of water,
always at this point retired to the farthest corner of the room,
where he stood, towels over his arm, admiring, with an amazement
that custom never seemed to lessen, that great body, that splutter
of exclamations, grunts and oaths, and that sudden magnificent
figure of a man withdrawn from the water, suffering the lusty (but
always reverent) towelling of Posset--and water dripping
everywhere, running in little streams and eddies into the hollow
and away safely through the iron grating.  Albert always informed
those less privileged that there was no sight in the world quite so
fine as his master as he plunged into his bath--no lion in a show,
no tiger in Indian jungle, could have the energy and vigour of his
master at this moment.  It was Albert's top moment of his day--a
pity that it came so early; every event was a decline from it.

Walter had long ago insisted that any visitor in the house--his
mother, his wife, very definitely included--must, unless a doctor
forbade them, be present at the family breakfast table.  It was the
beginning of his patriarchal day.  Only thirty years of age, he
already felt himself founder of the whole of the Herries stock, and
nothing pleased him better than to have Herries collected from all
over the country and seated at his table.

This was not at present easy, for Keswick was tucked away in the
North and travelling was difficult.  Nevertheless, this was not a
bad halting-place on the way to Scotland, and the number of Herries
'bagged' for Walter's dining-table in the last five years was

Walter liked further to collect Herries who were oddities and to
encourage them in their idiosyncrasies--granted, of course, that
these idiosyncrasies did not inconvenience himself.  Here he was
instigated by the old motive of the King and his Court Jester.
Walter might be said to have a great sense of fun, if no very
strong sense of humour.  He liked, for example, to indulge old
Monty Cards in his femininities (Monty painted his cheeks and
powdered his nose), in his little meannesses and his nervous
terrors.  He enjoyed the company of old Maria Rockage (for whom he
had a real liking) that he might shock her Methodist principles.
He even was childish enough to play on his wife's terrors by laying
a book on a door that it should fall on her when entering a room.
He was not at all above practical jokes and horseplay.  They were
part of his 'Regency' manner.

He had just now as his guests, Phyllis, Maria Rockage's daughter,
her husband, Stephen Newmark, and three of her children--Horace
aged three, Mary aged two, and Phyllis only one.  She was
anticipating a fourth.  They were all very healthy children and Mr
Newmark looked upon them as just rewards tendered to him by a
grateful Deity.

For Stephen Newmark, tall, long-nosed, sanctimonious, was a
perpetual joy to Walter.  He took life seriously.  He enjoyed
Family Prayers.  Walter, therefore, indulged his fancy and insisted
that all of them, Agnes his wife, his mother (who was staying just
then with him), his own two children, and all the household should
be present on the stroke of eight and offer up, under the
leadership of Mr Newmark, thanks to the Creator for the dangers of
a night safely past and the glories of another day vouchsafed.  It
puzzled Mr Newmark a little that Walter should be so truly
determined on Family Prayers.  This determination did not
altogether 'go' with his cock-fighting, horse racing, card-playing,
but Newmark had long ago decided (and confided to Phyllis) that his
Cousin Walter was 'a strange fish'.  In that conclusion he was
perfectly correct.

On this morning, however, Walter had a small matter of business to
discharge before breakfast.  Rosy, scented, his stock starched
until it glittered, his pantaloons of dark purple hiding his
magnificent legs, 'rings on his fingers and bells on his toes', he
descended, like Jove from Olympus, to the study where he transacted
his affairs.

Here his agent, Peach, was waiting for him.  Peach was a short,
stocky, beetle-browed little man who had been in the service, for
most of his days, of the Duke of Wrexe.  He came, therefore, from
the South and hated the North AND the Northerners with a dreadful
passion.  He would not have stayed here a day had it not been for
the odd power that Walter Herries exercised over him.  He could not
be said to LOVE his master--he was not known to love any human
being; he was not deferential, showed no servitude, disputed his
master's wishes hotly and was grudging in thanks for benefits, but
he seemed to have found in Walter Herries a man who had stung,
reluctantly, his admiration--the only man in the world it might be.
He appreciated Herries' dominating roughness, coarseness, liking
for horseplay, and then something more--outside and beyond these.

In any case he made a wonderful servant and was hated cordially
throughout the countryside.

He was standing now, his legs, that were slightly bowed, apart, his
hand gripping the shoulder of a slim fair-haired boy who, his hands
tied behind him, his eyes wide open with fear and apprehension,
stayed there, his heart beating like a terrified rabbit's.

'This is the boy,' Peach said.

'Yes,' said Walter, looking at him.

The boy's eyes drooped.  In his heart was the terror of death.  He
knew that he could be hanged for what he had done.

'I discovered him,' Peach went on, 'last evening.  He had a small
wheelbarrow and was placing in it some logs from the pile outside
the further stables.'

'What did he say?' Walter asked.

'He said nothing.  At least not then.  Later when he was shut into
the cellar for the night he admitted that he was hungry and had a
mother who was hungry and a small brother who was hungry.'  Peach
gave a click in his throat, a favourite noise of his, and it
resembled a key turning in a door.  'They all say they're hungry

'What's your name?' asked Walter.

'Henry Burgess.'

'Well, Henry Burgess . . .  You know what the Keswick Justices will

The boy was understood to mutter that he didn't care.

'You don't care?  Well, all the better.  It's a hanging matter, you

'I gave him food and drink,' Peach remarked reluctantly.  'He
wouldn't have held up else.'  Then he added:  'His mother's been
waiting outside all night.'

There was an interruption.  The door opened and Uhland came in.  It
was his habit to find his father here before breakfast.  For a boy
of seven he was tall and very spare and his face was grave and
sadly lined for a child.  One leg was longer than the other and he
walked aided by a little ebony cane.  When he saw that there was
company he stopped at the door.  It was characteristic of him that
he stood there looking at them solemnly and said nothing.

'Well, what's your defence?' asked Walter.

The boy was understood to say they were all hungry.

'All hungry, were you?  That's not much of an excuse.  Couldn't you

No work to be found.  Hard times.  Had been working for a hostler.
Turned away for fighting another boy who insulted his mother.

'Young ruffian,' said Walter complacently.  He stood, his chest
thrust out, his thumbs in his armholes.  Then he nodded to Uhland,
who came limping forward.  Walter put his arm round his son and
held him close to him.

'Uhland, this boy has been stealing my wood.  He says he did it
because he was hungry.  If he goes before the Justices it will be a
hanging matter.  Shall I send him or no?'

Uhland stared at the boy, who suddenly raised his eyes, glaring at
them all.

'He doesn't LOOK hungry,' he said quietly.

'No, upon my word he doesn't,' said Walter with boisterous good
humour.  'That's good for a child, Peach, is it not?  He does not
look hungry.  You are right, Uhland, my boy.'  He laughed, throwing
back his handsome curly head.  'Well, what shall we do with him?'

'Let him go, Papa,' said Uhland.  His voice was cold, but he looked
at the boy with interest.  'We have plenty of wood.'

'Yes, but we shall not have,' said Walter, 'if all the young
vagabonds--Very well, let him go, Peach.  He shall have the dogs on
him if he comes this way again.'

Without a word Peach, pushing the boy in front of him, took him
from the room.

Walter laughed, yawned, stretched his great arms.

'Well, my boy, how are you?'

'Very well, Papa, thank you.'

'Slept?  No headache?'

'No, Papa, thank you.'

'Will you come with me into Keswick this morning?'

'Yes, Papa.'

There was a pause; then Uhland said:

'Elizabeth wishes to come.'

'She can go with Miss Kipe.'

'Yes, Papa.'

A roar like a wild beast's cry for his food filled the room.  It
was the ceremonial gong--a gong brought from India, purchased by
Will and given by him to his son, a superb gong of beaten brass and
carved with the figures of Indian deities.

So they went to breakfast, Uhland's small bony hand in his father's
large one.

They were all assembled in the bright, high room whose wide windows
looked out on to the garden with the splashing fountain, the Lake
and the hills beyond.  Stephen Newmark was there, standing behind
a reading-desk; Phyllis his wife; two of her children; Elizabeth
with her governess, Miss Kipe; Christabel Herries, Walter's mother;
Agnes, Walter's wife; Montague Cards and the whole household--
Posset, young Albert, the cook, the maids and the little kitchen-

Walter took his place beside his wife and instantly they all knelt.
A long row of upturned boots met the interested gaze of two robins
on the window sill.  After a while, with creaking of knees,
rustling of aprons, they all rose and sat down while Mr Newmark
read a selection from the New Testament.  The sun flooded the room.
A large fat tortoiseshell cat came stealthily down the garden path,
its green eyes fixed on the robins.  On the bright road beyond the
house the Burgess family began to trudge in silence towards
Carlisle, Walter put out his hand and laid it on Uhland's shoulder.
The cook, who was fat and had trouble with her heart, began to
breathe heavily, Posset caught the eye of the prettiest of the
maids and instantly looked away again.  Little Elizabeth, looking
out, saw the cat and the birds.  Her eyes widened with apprehension.

'Let us Pray,' said Mr Newmark, and down on their knees they all
went again.

'May the blessing of the Lord rest upon us all this day,' said Mr
Newmark.  There was a pause, then a rustle, a knee-cracking, a boot-
scraping, and they were all on their feet again.

The domestics were in line--Mrs Rains the cook, Posset, the maids,
Albert, the little kitchen-maid who had a round rosy face and a
neat waist--all in their proper order.

'Fresh country girls you succeed in getting, Walter,' said Newmark
after they were gone, his mind meditatively on the kitchen-maid.

'Anybody wanting the barouche this fine morning?' said Walter
genially.  He was in an excellent temper, which fact the three
ladies perceived and brightened accordingly.  Christabel Herries,
Walter's mother, was fifty years of age and thin to emaciation.
She wore gowns of black silk with a purple Indian shawl thrown
about her narrow shoulders.  She moved with timidity, as though she
were ever expecting a rude word.  She adored her son but feared
him.  She had been, all through her married life, under the
domination of Herries men.  Her husband had never treated her with
unkindness, but the City had swallowed him, leaving Christabel
alone on shores of domesticity so barren that she occupied half her
London evenings talking to herself in a large drawing-room all
yellow silk and mirrors.  Will, her husband, had hoped to make her
a social success.  But after a disastrous Ball that they gave in
the summer of '96, a Ball that had ended with a scene between
Christabel and Jennifer, then a radiant young beauty, Will, with a
shrug of his shoulders, had reconciled himself to her disabilities.
He very quickly saw that the thing for him to do was to make the
money so that his son Walter might carry on the family glory.

Walter had always been kind to his mother, but for family rather
than personal reasons.  He thought her 'a poor fish', but then he
had no opinion of women unless they were handsome.  Christabel was,
however, the mother of Walter Herries; she must therefore be
honoured by the outside world.  And he saw that it was so.

Agnes, as the wife of Walter Herries and the mother of his
children, should also have secured honourable treatment had the
thing been at all possible.  But in this Walter saw that the world
was not to blame, for a more miserable woebegone sickly female was
not, he was assured, to be found in the civilized globe.  When he
married her she had been something of the type of that new rosy-
cheeked kitchen-maid (whom he had noticed, and saw also that
Newmark had noticed).  She had been merry at first with a certain
rather kittenish charm.  But she was 'cold'.  Marital relations had
terrified her from the first.  Their marriage night had been a
horror, and after the birth of the twins they had occupied separate
bedrooms.  Then she had had one sickness after another, now did not
choose to trouble to talk; 'sulky', Walter told himself.  She
pretended to be fond of the children but, he was happy to say,
Uhland had already as much scorn of her as his father had.

He felt (and with justice surely) that Fate had dealt unfairly in
giving so magnificent a man so wretched a partner.  He was fair to
her, he gave her everything that she needed; all that he asked of
her was that she should keep out of his way and not interfere with
his plans for Uhland.  With Elizabeth she should do as she pleased.

Phyllis Newmark was tall, of a charming pink and white complexion,
and had a laughing eye.

Her father, Lord Rockage, in his place, Grosset in Wiltshire, had
given her love and kisses combined with general disorder, poverty
and Methodism.  On these mixed virtues she had thriven.  She was
kindly, cheerful, intelligent and quite uneducated.  She was born
to be a mother, and a mother she was most assuredly proving.  She
did not mind how many children she had.  She adored them all.
Newmark, having helped to provide her with three, must receive her
grateful thanks.  She gave him her obedience, laughed at his
foibles and understood him better than anyone else in the world.
She too had noticed his glance at the kitchen-maid although at the
same time she was murmuring (with real devotion) the Lord's Prayer
and observing a pimple on the neck of little Horace and wondering
whether Walter would allow them the barouche that morning or force
them into the post-chaise or order them to walk.  She knew,
however, exactly how to deal with the kitchen-maid, the pimple and
the walk (if that were compulsory).  Nothing could defeat her; she
inherited from both her parents courage, honesty and an insatiable
zest for life.

Soon they were all around the breakfast-table and set to with an
eagerness that spoke well for their digestions.  Rounds of beef;
pies; fish, broiled and fried; eggs, baked, fried, boiled; hams,
tongues, jams, marmalades, buns, scones--everything was there, and
tankards of ale, tea, coffee . . .  Agnes Herries alone pretended
to eat but did not.

'Yes, you may have the barouche,' Walter observed, 'and Phyllis
shall have the barouche box if she chooses--I know that it gives
her the greatest gratification both to see and be seen.'  Then,
having paused sufficiently to catch all their attention, he added:

'But first I have a visitor.'

'A visitor?'

'Yes.  At ten o'clock precisely a lady is to come and see me.'

'A lady?'

'A friend of you all--Mrs Judith Paris.'

He allowed his words to sink in.  And indeed they caused a stir.
Both Christabel and Phyllis Newmark had the deepest affection for
Judith.  To Phyllis she had been a familiar friend since her
babyhood, for Judith had once lived at Grosset, and to Christabel
she was perhaps the only woman in the world who had never failed
her, the one human being who did not patronize her, cared for her
as she was, knew with tenderness and perception the barrenness of
her life.

Yet Christabel had only seen her once in seven years.  Only once
since the night when Judith had dined at Westaways, the night of
the news of Napoleon's escape from Elba.  After that Judith had
fled to Paris, borne her illegitimate son there.  Since her return
to Uldale there had been war between the two houses.  Whenever
Christabel came up from London to stay with her son she hoped that
there would be some chance meeting, in a lane, in a street.  She
had not dared herself to prepare a meeting.

'Oh, Judith!' Phyllis cried joyfully.  'I had been intending to
ask . . .'

'She is coming,' Walter said, greatly amused at the disappointment
that his womenkind would suffer, 'solely on a business matter.  The
visit is only to myself.'

Then Christabel showed courage.

'Walter, you should invite Judith to dinner.  Bygones are bygones.
You should most certainly invite her to dinner.'

'And Jennifer?' asked Walter, laughing.

Christabel's pale cheek flushed.  No, she could never forgive
Jennifer.  That old quarrel, twenty-six years old, could never be
forgotten.  It had too many consequences.  It had split the family;
it had been the close of Christabel's social life.  She had never
had the courage to give a real party again.  And then Jennifer had
behaved scandalously.  She had been another man's mistress under
her husband's nose.  That poor Francis had shot himself in London
was all Jennifer's fault.  No, Jennifer was another matter.

'Well, then,' said Walter, observing his mother's silence.  'You
see, ma'am.  And you cannot have Judith here without Jennifer.
Judith rules that house.  She has become, I hear, a perfect
Turk . . .  Well, well, it may not be for long.'

He added these last words in a half-murmur to himself.  With a
final pull at his tankard of beer, wiping his mouth, with a bow to
the ladies, he got up, walked for a moment to the window and stood
there, looking out, then left the room.

As soon as he was gone the children broke out into little pipings
and chirrupings.  The two Newmark children (who should have been in
the nursery, but their father wished them to take their part, even
thus early, in the morning ceremony) rolled decorously on the floor
at their mother's feet.  You felt that already their infant eyes
were cautiously on their father.  Uhland sat without moving, one
leg over the other, an attitude protective of his deformity.
Elizabeth, shyly crossed the room.  She was a beautiful child, most
delicate in colour and build.  She had none of the high bones of
the Herries tribe.  She did not seem like a Herries until suddenly
with a lift of her head you saw pride and resolve, two of the finer
Herries characteristics.  Her mother took her hand and they stayed
quietly together, remote, in a world of their own, without
speaking . . .

Judith was shown into the little parlour next the saloon.  It had
not been long since she had had a talk with Walter there--last
Christmas-time it had been.  Now, as she sat on the red morocco
chair waiting for him, she thought of that, and how there had been
a bowl of Christmas roses.  A petal had fallen lazily, wistfully to
the carpet.  Their talk then had been almost friendly.  She had
gone with him afterwards to the nursery to see the children, and
she had been touched by his protective love for his son.

But now all was changed.  In the interval between that meeting and
this she had had proof enough of the serious danger that this big
laughing man offered to her and to hers.

She was here to defend her own, and a wave of hot fierce pride beat
into her cheeks as she sat there, a small unobtrusive woman in a
black bonnet, her hands in a black muff, waiting for him to come
in.  It was he who had written to her, a short polite note asking
her whether she could give him a few moments on an important
matter.  She would not have come, but she also had something of her
own to say.  She would see that she said it.

When he came in she got up and bowed, but did not offer her hand.

'Well, Cousin Walter,' she said grimly.  'What do you wish to see
me about?'

His own tone changed when he saw her attitude.  He had intended to
be friendly, jolly, a mood that he preferred, for he liked himself
in that role.  But he was like a child if anyone affronted him.  It
might be, too, that Judith was the only person in the world of whom
he had some fear.  Still, his ground was sure and he began
confidently enough.

'Forgive my asking you to take this trouble, Cousin Judith.  You
will agree, however, that I should be deceiving myself if I fancied
that my presence would be welcome at Uldale.'

'Nevertheless,' she answered, 'you have paid us already at least
one visit this year.'


'Last February I believe it was.  You did us the honour to ride
over and even to inspect our garden.'

He was confused.  He had not thought that she knew of it.

'Well--it happened that I rode that way . . .  But come, Cousin
Judith.  I am certain that we have neither of us time to waste . . .'
Then he, added, a little awkwardly:  'I am sorry that you are
already determined that our talk shall be unfriendly.'  (What was
there, he asked himself, about the little plain woman in the homely
bonnet that made him feel like a scolded schoolboy?  She had, in
the last six months, acquired the devil of a manner--as though she
were already Queen of Cumberland.  Well, he would show her that she
was not.)

She regarded him sternly.

'Cousin Walter, I was in this same room Christmas last.  We had a
conversation that was not altogether unfriendly.  Since then facts
have come to my knowledge.  I know that it was through you that
Francis Herries left home and put an end to his life in London.  I
know that it was because you bribed and suborned that the riot
occurred at Fell House--the riot that ended in the undeserved death
of the best friend I had in the world--Reuben Sunwood.  And since
then,'--she spoke without emotion and without removing her eyes
from his face--'since I have been in charge of things at Fell
House, your hand has been everywhere.  Those fields towards Ireby
that we intended to purchase--you paid an absurd price for them,
although you could not need the ground.  You bribed the cattle-man
whom we had last March from Mungrisdale to poison our cows.  Within
the last month you have attempted to bribe Mr Rackstraw, who has
been with us all this year as tutor, to spy upon us as Mr Winch did
before him.  Mr Rackstraw has been gentleman enough to show us
loyalty.  After these things--and I have no doubt that there are
many more with which your conscience can charge you--it is perhaps
a little without meaning to speak of friendliness between us.'

Walter did not move, did not shift his great bulk, did not turn his
eyes away.  He admired her.  By God, he admired her!  There was
someone here worth fighting.

'Very well, then,' he said at last.  'We know at least where we
stand, you and I.  I will not, however, admit responsibility either
for Francis' weakness or Sunwood's rashness.  Francis would not
have shot himself had he been another sort of man.  It was his
whole life condemned him, not I.  As to the riot, no one regretted
more than myself its most serious consequences.  And what evidence
have you that I was concerned in that matter?'

'The evidence of Mr Winch,' Judith answered.

'Faugh!  A wretched little time-server who cheated me quite as
steadily as he cheated yourself, Judith.  As to other more recent
matters, well--do you recollect our last conversation in this


'Then you will remember the challenge I laid down.  I told you--
what I trust you sincerely believe--that I had no animosity
whatever towards yourself.  I told you also that for reasons both
private and public I was resolved that Jennifer and her children
should vacate Fell House, and that if I could not see to it by fair
means that they went, then I would see to it by unfair.  I was
honest in that.  I gave you warning.'

'And on what ground,' Judith cried indignantly, 'had you the right?
Fell House is Jennifer's place.  It is where her husband was born
and his children after him.'

'My father also was born there,' said Walter quietly.  'As you may
have observed, Judith, I have a great sense of family.  It is
perhaps the greatest quality in me.  Jennifer with her rotten
public history offends my sense of family.  There is also an old
quarrel between her and my mother that possibly you have not
forgotten.  In any case, I made you a fair offer then.  I make you
a fair offer now.  Let Jennifer and her children leave Fell House
and go to live in the South--and the matter is for ever ended.'

'We are only beating the old ground,' answered Judith impatiently.
'There is nothing to be said on that score.  We defy you now,
Cousin Walter, as we defied you then.  There is only now this
difference--that they have me to fight for them, and life has made
me a determined woman, not easily moved.'

'No,' he answered quickly.  'I am aware that you are not.  We are
alike at least in that.  But you know that my quarrel is neither
with you nor your boy.  Indeed, it has never been.  That is one
matter on which I wish to speak to you.'

He hesitated, then went on:

'It seems that my boy, Uhland, has met your boy Adam on several

'Yes, I know it.'

'They are only babies, but Uhland is old for his age.  He has taken
an unaccountable liking for your Adam.'  He paused, laughed,
continued:  'Forgive me for that word "unaccountable".  But for
children as young as they are--'  He broke off.

She felt herself, against her will, touched.  When Walter mentioned
his son a different character seemed to speak from his eyes, his
mouth, his very hands.  He was young and proud when he spoke of his
son.  Some better light shone through his coarse texture.  But she
did not want to be touched.

'You must know,' she said impatiently, 'that it was through no wish
of mine that they met.  It was in the woods beyond Portinscale--
pure accident.'

'Oh, I know, I know . . . I was not charging you with any
intention.  But my boy speaks of him, wishes to see him--'

'Yes,' Judith answered, 'that is a mischance that we must correct.'

'A mischance?'

'Yes.  It would be good for neither of them, things being as they
are, that they should be better acquainted.'

Walter choked back some reply that he was about to make.  His
control was remarkable.

'I had hoped,' he said steadily, 'that you would allow the children
occasionally to meet.  We elders may have our divisions.  There is
no reason--'

She broke in, jumping impetuously to her feet:

'No reason!  No reason!  There is THIS reason, Cousin Walter--that
you are our enemy.  You have killed Francis Herries, you would rob
his children of the very roof over their heads.  Only a moment ago
you threatened me.  And yet you wish that my son and your son--'

She stopped, sat down quietly, smoothing her skirt.

'I have still some of my old temper remaining although I am near
fifty . . .  In fact, I may tell you, Cousin Walter, that I was
never in better health in my life.  Aye,' she nodded her bonnet,
'that is what I had come to say.  You may think me an old woman,
but I am young enough yet to keep my son from your influence and,
pray God, I ever will be.'

He was angry; she had touched him.  His hand fingered the jewelled
pin in his stock.  But his voice was level as he answered:  'Very
well, then.  You are confident, Cousin Judith.  I am an impatient
man by blood, but in this case I can school myself to waiting.

'Now hear my offer.  It was to make it that I asked you to visit
me.  Last week I purchased the land at High Ireby.  It was my
intention, unless we come to some agreement together, to build a
house there.'

High Ireby?  At once she grasped the implication.  The High Ireby
land was on the hills above Uldale.  It was at some distance,
but nevertheless it overlooked Fell House.  Walter there in some
big place of his planning, with his fields, his cattle, his
servants . . .  In spite of herself she showed some agitation.

'That would be done,' she said at length slowly, 'to spite us.'

'It would be done,' he answered, smiling (for he saw that she
grasped the consequences), 'because I admire the view.  It would
not be perhaps altogether happy for Jennifer and her children to
have me so neighbourly.'  He looked at her closely.  She gave him
back look for look.  'But,' he went on, 'you have not heard my
proposition.  This house here is now too small for me, but there
are other sites that I could choose, other than High Ireby.  Then
it is one of two things.  Either Jennifer sells me Fell House--I
will give her a good price for it--and removes herself South.  And
in that case I would make you the offer of it.  You should be my
tenant at a most moderate rental.  Or I build on High Ireby.  There
is no necessity for an immediate decision.  I only wished that you
should know what I had in mind.'

Judith saw then his plan; that this should hang over them night and
day.  If Walter built a house at High Ireby, it would kill
Jennifer.  And John?  His nature being as it was, he could not
endure it.  Nor would it stop at Walter's living there.  He would
be able, in a thousand ways, to molest them at Fell House, to spy
upon them, to break their privacy . . .  Yes, it was a clever

'At any time, Cousin Judith,' he said, moving towards the door,
'that Jennifer is ready for me to have Fell House at a good price--'

She got up, putting her hands in her muff.

'You are clever, Walter,' she said.  'I grant you that.  You are

'I am flattered,' he said, bowing.  'I must be clever to fight so
brilliant an adversary.'

'Stuff!' she answered, tossing her head.  'None of your fine
manners.  Time's wasted by them.'

Outside the door she turned.

'You are a strange man.  So much trouble to persecute two weak

'One weak woman,' he corrected her.

At the top of the stairs he said:  'You understand my offer?'

'Oh yes, I understand.'

'Well, good day.'

'Good day to you, Walter.'

As she climbed into the chaise she was surprised to find herself
trembling.  Her desire at that moment was to hasten home and find
them safe.  Then to gather them all into her arms--Jennifer, John,
Dorothy and Adam.

But all she said aloud for the benefit of Bennett's broad back was,
once again, 'Stuff!'


It might be claimed that in spite of all that happened to him
afterwards, the most important years of Adam Herries' life were
from 1822 to 1826, from the age of seven to the comparative
maturity of eleven.

It was true that the French years and the Watendlath years were
important, but it was Mr Rackstraw who really woke him into active
conscious life, and Mr Rackstraw didn't come to Uldale until after
the riot at the beginning of 1822.

The five years that followed had for Adam three outstandingly
influential personalities--his mother, Mr Rackstraw and John.
Looking back, in later years, he sometimes fancied that everything
that he did afterwards, all the things that brought him into
trouble, all the things that gave him happiness, sprang in reality
from those three people.  At least, it is true that afterwards one
person only was to influence him so deeply, and for two others only
was he to care with such strong endurance as he did for his mother
and for John Herries.  But it was his character that was, in the
main, to settle the result of events for him, as it does with all
of us.  What he was he was partly born, partly formed by people and
events, partly fashioned by his own free will.

During those five years he lived, as all small boys do, a kind of
under-water life with his own particular anemones, sea-horses,
coloured weeds and stones for his absorbed attention.  Of the
traffic of the waters above his head he knew nothing; it mattered
to him not at all, of course, that Mr Canning, staying with John
Gladstone in his Liverpool home, watched a small boy called William
Ewart playing on the lawn, or that there was a skirmish at
Missolonghi, or that taxation grew ever higher and higher, that men
and women cursed the machines that were taking the bread from their
mouths, that the word 'Reform' was becoming an ever-louder battle-
cry on men's lips . . .

He was always to have a great capacity for choosing at once the
things that would, he thought, be useful to him and rejecting all
the rest.  From the very first he went his own way, and this
independence was the beginning of all his trouble with his mother.

On the first occasion when he went off for a whole day without
warning, indeed without word to anyone, he was on his return in the
evening, tired, dirty and triumphant, beaten, and by his mother.
She could not but remember, as she watched him adjusting his small
trousers, the occasion so long ago when David Herries had beaten
herself, hating it more than she did.  The memory made her catch
Adam to her breast and cover his face with kisses, an act of
sentimentality that was to be, on the occasions of these
punishments, her last.  For she saw that he thought poorly of her
for relenting, and for a day or two despised her a little.

She fought her first serious battle with him over this affair.  He
would neither tell her where he had been nor would he promise her
not to do it again.  For an awful week it seemed to her that her
whole relationship with him was broken to pieces, until she
discovered that she was now more intimate with him than ever
before.  For, when she said that she no longer wished to hear where
he had been, he told her everything.  He had been in the woods
beyond Ireby, had had food with a farmer, had stroked a wild dog
that everyone else feared, had found birds' eggs and fought a boy
about tying a cat to a log and throwing stones at it.  He told her
everything and then tried to convey to her that he would always do
so, but that he must have his freedom.  He was to be always very
inarticulate, and when now he found that she did not understand
what he wanted, he simply fell into a complete and unyielding

She explained to him that if he really loved her he could not give
her anxiety and unhappiness by disappearing without telling anyone
first.  He wanted to say that if he told anyone he would be
prevented from going and that therefore it was plain that no one
must be told, but this was too deeply complicated for him, so he
said nothing.  Then she, the least sentimental of women, descended,
in her distress, to the desperate expedient of asking him whether
he loved her or no, and he, who loved her with all his being,
disliked so profoundly to speak about his feelings that he said
nothing at all.  He, being seven, was not, of course, aware of his
reasons for these things.  He simply knew that he was hungry, that
his posterior was sore where his mother had struck him, that he
hated to be questioned, that he had had a grand day, and that he
would go off again in a similar manner as soon as opportunity
offered itself.

Judith was a sensible woman and she had an especial talent for
understanding other people.  This was not 'other people' but her
own flesh and blood, and, just as forty years ago she had climbed
out of the window and ridden away to Uncle Tom Gauntry at Stone
Ends, so now her son Adam must also be free.

She did the wisest thing--she left the whole matter to Mr
Rackstraw.  This was, in fact, very remarkable on her part, for at
this time in England the great parental movement for the proper
discipline and benefit of the children was just beginning to
achieve force and power.  All the children of England were learning
to say 'Sir' and 'Ma'am' to their parents, never to speak before
they were spoken to, and to ask questions in the manner of Little
Henry--but Judith was never like other people, and their ways would
never be hers.

Mr Rackstraw had from the first a strong influence over Adam.  He
was a man made up of very striking opposites.  In appearance he was
a little, wiry fellow with a face like a slumbering coal, red,
dusky and shadowed ash-colour.  He had a broken nose and sparse
sandy hair.  No beauty, but with clear bright eyes and a lively
mouth.  He wore always rough country clothes, his legs were a
little bowed, and did he wear a straw in his mouth would have been
the perfect hostler.  Nevertheless, he was beyond mistake or
question a gentleman.  His rather sharp voice that would crack in
moments of excitement, his eyes, the way that he carried his head,
and the fine aristocratic shape of his hands told you that.  He
was, in fact, of a very good family, the Rackstraws of Rackstraw
Manor in Rutlandshire, and his elder brother was Sir Wilfred
Rackstraw, 14 Mount Street, London, and some minor official in the
Foreign Office.  He told you these things if you asked him, said
the Rackstraws were poorer than mice, and that he had also a
brother a smuggling trader on the Whitehaven coast.  Whether this
last were so no one ever knew.  But he certainly had some very odd
friends and some very mixed tastes.  There was not a farmer,
hostler, stableman, huntsman, poacher in the district he didn't
know.  But he was on social terms too with the County families--the
Osmastons, the Derricks, the Tennants.  He was an intimate friend
of old Miss Pennyfeather, and they cracked jokes continually: he
often took a dish of tea with Mr Southey and, they said, knew as
much about his library as he did himself.  There was not a cock
fight, a football match, a boxing match that he did not attend, and
yet he gave himself nobly to the two boys, John and Adam.  His
passion was for Homer, and Adam owed that at least--that the Iliad
and the Odyssey were to be ever friendly companions to him because
of Roger Rackstraw.  He had a pretty sense too of the virtues of
Virgil, Horace, Thucydides and the Greek dramatists, and could make
them live under his fingers.  He had a poor opinion of contemporary
English Letters, although he said a good word for the Waverley
romances and told everyone that there was a young poet, John Keats,
who would be remembered.  For Mr Wordsworth he had more praise than
was locally considered reasonable, but when alone with a friend
confessed that he thought Southey's poetry 'fustian'.

However, his great and abiding passion was for this country in
which he lived, and it was here that he and Adam had their great
meeting-place.  He was not a local bumpkin, of course, and his
principal charm for Jennifer was that he seemed to have ever at his
fingers' ends all the London gossip.  He was always very courteous
and tender to Jennifer, as though he felt that she needed
protection and guarding.  It might be too that she appealed to him,
for, over fifty though she was, she was yet beautiful in a sort of
tumbling-to-pieces, letting-herself-go fashion, and he would say,
to the end of his days, that he never anywhere else saw dark hair
and fair complexion to match Jennifer Herries'.

He would sit in the parlour and tell her things, how Brougham after
the Queen's death, defending his not going with the body to
Brunswick, had said:  'It was well known through the whole of the
business he had never been much for the Queen' (and a dirty tyke
Brougham was, said Mr Rackstraw); how Castlereagh's suicide was
because of a pernicious blackmail that he had suffered under, how
the King now is become an awful bore and talks about nothing but
his old age, how Lady Holland persecuted her guests with her odious
cats that were for ever scratching and clawing, how the King was
seen somewhere walking with his arm round Canning's neck, how
scarcely anyone went now to Lady Jersey's parties, and that the
gambling saloon in St James' Street was the most splendid ever
known and that young William Lennox and others were certainly being
ruined there . . .

These were Jennifer's happiest hours, when lazily sitting before
the fire, warming her beautiful hands, she could, without moving,
transport herself into a world where indeed she did not wish
herself to be, but about whose movements she was never weary of

Nevertheless, it was to Adam and Judith that Rackstraw was closest.
He seemed to understand Judith exactly, submitted to her domination
but treated her with a sort of quizzical honesty that she found

It was Adam, perhaps, whom he really loved, although he never
showed him much liking, treated him often with roughness, lost his
temper with him completely (and then he would shout and swear like
a trooper) and ordered him about when he wished as though the boy
were his slave.  He understood, however, the child's passion for
independence, and it was he who persuaded Judith to buy him his
pony, Benjamin, and never, after one of the boy's disappearances,
did he reproach or punish him.  It was the rule, as Adam well
understood, that if he went off alone he must be always back again
by nightfall.  He made, himself, many expeditions with the boy.
These were the grandest occasions of Adam's life.  Rackstraw taught
him to see the country rightly.  It was a country, he said, of
CLOUDS and STONES.  Stone walls, grey clouds, stone-coloured
seagulls on dark fields like fragments of white stone, streaks of
snow in winter thin cloth of stone, and above these stony crags
pinnacles of stone, needles of stone, piercing a stony sky.  He
learnt to see a small imprisoned valley, wind-swept, as a living
thing subject to growth and decay like himself.  Through this vale
twisted the mountain torrent, fighting with stones, letting its
life be dominated by these piling stones that heaped themselves one
on another, that fell in showers down the hillside, that at length
perhaps choke the life of the stream and form a stony pathway that
leads at last to new shapes of grass and moss and fern.  The clouds
feeding the streams, the streams fighting the stones, life moving
ceaselessly from form to form, from pattern to pattern.

He learnt that it was impossible to live in this country, loving
it, without having always in his heart the colour and shape of
clouds.  When, later, the drive of his life carried him to the
South, he brought the clouds with him: he was never again to be rid
of them.  He knew all their patterns, forms and vagaries.  He knew
the clouds that flew in flags and pinions of flame and smoke over
the brow of the hill, driven forward as though by gigantic bellows,
he knew the moth-coloured clouds that with soft persistence
gathered like great boneless birds around the peak of a hill, he
knew the clouds of rose and silver that lay in little companies
against a sky of jade in winter above sun-drenched snow, he knew
the fierce arrogant clouds of jet and indigo that leapt upon a pale
sky and swallowed it, he knew the gay troops of cloud that danced
and quivered around the sun, he knew the shining clouds that the
moon, orange-ringed, gathered round her on a frosty night when the
hoar glittered on the grass and the only sound under the black
trees was the chatter of the running streams.  The clouds were of
themselves reason enough why this country was first for him in the

But Rackstraw taught him also detail and reality.  He learnt to
know ash and oak, birch and thorn, holly and hazel.  He knew about
the cutting of the coppice woods for firewood and for 'spills' and
how it was 'coaled', and what was a 'stander' and what a 'yarding',
and from what woods houses of 'crucks' were made, and what 'dotard'
oaks were.  He learnt to know every variety of rain, from the
stampede when it comes down like animals rushing a thicket to the
murmur and whisper of a hesitating shower.  He knew how sudden
gusts would come as though someone threw a bucket of water at you,
and again how it would be as though you walked down a staircase of
rain, catching your breath for a pause, slowing up on the step's
very edge while the water trickled under you.

During those five years he went on many rides with Rackstraw, and
sometimes they would be away two nights, sometimes three, and once
and again a whole week, he on Benjamin, and Rackstraw on his bony
ugly horse Satan.  He remembered all that he saw.  He had in his
heart and brain for evermore the Brathay, set in its circumference
of meadowland, the view like a crumpled handkerchief from Pike o'
Stickle, the cold, haunting loneliness of Black Sail, the glassy
perfection of Small Water, the fall of screes from Melbreak, the
sudden flight of birds so that the sky seemed darkened at
Ravenglass, the long stretch of shore pale and lucent towards
Whitehaven, the evil cleft of Simon Nick whose ghost seemed ever to
be watching from the thin darkness, the great view from Yewdale to
the Old Man, the Roman Fort on Hard Knott, the grand silence of
Waswater where the Screes, the proudest of all the hills, plunge
scornfully into unknown depths--these and hundreds more were to be
his companions for ever.

He knew the dalesmen, their wives, sons, daughters, dogs, horses
and cows; he knew the Herdwick sheep as though he were one of them.
He knew the birds, the golden eagles, soon to be gone for ever, the
osprey, the dull heavy kite, the redshanks and larks, the fishing
cormorant.  He felt like his own the flight of the peregrine, the
black-and-white wheat-ear, and the mocking little cry of the
sandpiper as it flitted in front of him along the Lake's edge.  The
kingfisher and the moorhen spoke to him, one of rushing water, the
other of pools so still that the reflection of a cloud on their
surface was like a whisper.

And all the singers--the willow-wren, the chiff-chaff, the
blackcap, the whitethroat, the tree-pipit--he mocked and imitated
and whistled to.

From all this life there came three lives--one, the life of the
outer country; two, the life of his home, the building of Fell
House, the village and the moor; three, the personal life with the
human beings around him; and from all the events that occurred to
him during those five years three were of particular importance.
One, the affair at Watendlath, was the matter of a moment--and it
was thus.

In all these five years he went over only on three occasions to
Watendlath.  This abstention was proof of itself of his love for
his mother; it was because of her that he did not go more often,
for he loved Watendlath more than any other place on earth.  Judith
never once told him that she did not wish him to go, but he knew
from the first that it made her unhappy.  Why, he wondered, would
she herself never go?  She cared for Charlie Watson and the Ritsons
and the Perrys.  Once, looking out of window and he standing at her
side, after some trouble that she had had with Mrs Quinney, she
burst out:  'Why am I tied here?  I am missing my whole life!' and
he knew that she was thinking of Watendlath.  She never mentioned
the place.  Once or twice Charlie Watson rode over to Uldale, but
his visits were very brief.  He seemed constrained, and even to
Adam he was sharp and curt.

It was on the third occasion--a week after Adam's ninth birthday--
that the strange thing happened.  It was early autumn, the hills
were on fire with colour above the grey stone, the dead bracken
flamed, and the Tarn, rocked by a little wind, was scattered with
tiny feathery waves.  Adam and Mr Rackstraw had ridden over and
stayed the night with the Ritsons.  Charlie Watson never appeared,
although the Ritsons said that they had told him that Adam was
coming.  So it was an unsatisfactory visit, for without Watson
Watendlath was only half alive.  Moreover, even the Ritsons seemed
to be not quite so friendly as they had been.  Adam, who was quick
for a little boy, fancied that they were offended because his
mother had not been to see them, and in arms as he always was if he
thought that his mother was attacked, he attempted some sort of
defence, but only made things the worse, for Alice Perry smiled and
said she knew that Mrs Paris was busy, she had heard that she had
much to do: they all called her 'Madame' now, she had heard, a kind
of foreign way of calling a person, and, of course, were she busy
they could not expect her to come all the way to Watendlath, and so
on, and so on.  Everyone began to speak of other things.

This made Adam angry and he went down, a rather desolate little
figure, in the late afternoon to the Tarn alone.  The wind had
died; mists were rising.  The sky that had been cloudless all day
was frosty white, and the amber of the hills was fading into dun.
Behind him sheep moved, like a concrete part of the dusk, up the
slope.  He was cold, lonely and disturbed by a sense of having
betrayed his mother in coming here.  He wanted to go home: he would
rather not stay the night in the farm.  The Perry boys, although
they had known him since he was a baby, were stiff with him.  And
where was Charlie Watson?  Why had he not ridden over?  He wanted
to go home.

Standing there, looking at the Tarn, he had the sense for the first
time (it was to return to him very often) of being outside himself.
He could see every movement that he made and he felt that, if that
boy threw himself into the Tarn and disappeared, Adam Paris would
still be there, nor would he feel any loss.  It went so far that he
pinched his arm to see whether he were real.  Then he threw stones
into the Tarn.  The noise of the splash echoed in his ears, but
even that was unreal--as though someone else, far from himself and
having no relation to himself, had thrown the stones.

It was then that directly in front of him, rising from the Tarn, he
saw a figure on a white horse.  While he looked the figure grew
clearer--a man in odd clothes, a black hat, and under the hat a
wig.  He wore a long, heavy, purple riding-coat, and down one spare
thin cheek ran a deep scar.  This man was quite clear to him in
every detail to the silver buttons on his coat.  He was not looking
at Adam but away, gravely, up into the hills.  Neither horse nor
rider made any movement.  They were like coloured shapes painted on
the mist.  Then they vanished.  That was his grandfather, who had
lived, years ago, below the hills at Rosthwaite.  He had talked of
him to his mother so often and had asked so many questions about
him that he knew exactly how he would look, and in later days he
might realize that it was his own imagination, at that moment of
loneliness and longing for his mother, that had conjured up the

But now he was only a small boy who believed in ghosts and pixies,
warlocks and witches.  So for once in his life he took to his heels
and ran and ran until he arrived breathless in the warm and lighted

He never told anyone of what he thought he had seen, but that night
in bed, listening to the snores of Mr Rackstraw, he was comforted
as though he had made a new friend.

The second affair concerned John, and this was one of the most
dreadful half-hours of Adam's life, dreadful because he was not at
this time old enough to meet the emotion that he encountered.  When
mature things break in upon childhood a picture is broken, a view
destroyed; the picture and view never quite return.

Adam was nearly ten when this thing happened, and John seventeen
and a half.

Their friendship had by now grown so close that they were more than
brothers.  They had the intimacy with that edge of strangeness and
interest belonging to a friendship that has no blood relationship.

John had caught and held Adam in the only way that he could catch
and hold him--by demanding his protection.  He did not consciously
demand it: this had grown out of Adam's fearlessness and John's
sensitiveness.  John was handsome beyond all ordinary standards; he
was the best-looking young fellow, it was generally admitted, in
the County.  He was tall, slender, fair, with a straight carriage
and an air of such breeding that when he moved both men and women
unconsciously watched him, feeling perhaps that he was of a
different strain from the rest of mankind.

When he came into a place he walked haughtily and seemed proud, his
head erect, his mouth sternly set, but at once, when he was in
contact with another human being, his smile shone out, lighting up
his face.  His proud carriage sprang from an intolerable shyness
that he could never overcome.  It was agony to him to meet new
people or anyone of whose kindliness he was not sure.  At any
unfriendliness he flung on instantly an armour of reserve.  With
the men and women about the place he was in perfect relations; they
all loved him and would do anything for him.  His beauty seemed to
them something rare and wonderful, and when they knew him also to
be so gentle and kind they served him without further question.
Nevertheless, he was no commander of men; any tale of distress
touched him, however false it might be.  He believed what he was
told, and when he was deceived thought that it was some wrong in
himself that had caused the deceit.

It was here that Adam, whom even when he was so young a child he
trusted and loved as he trusted and loved none other, protected
him.  Adam was uncouth and rough beside him.  He did not grow more
handsome as he grew older.  The darkness of his hair, the brown of
his face and body, made him seem someone foreign and apart.  He
wore always the roughest country clothes.  He spoke, when he did
speak, with a slight Cumberland 'burr', he was often silent when he
ought to speak and would look at people with a sort of frown as
though he were summing them up.  His worst fault was exactly the
opposite of John's, namely, that he suspected everyone until he had
proved his case.

It became plain to him soon that John was his charge.  In spite of
the difference of their ages he was already wiser about the world
than John and, because he was not sensitive and because hostility
only made him hostile in return and because he was afraid of no
one, he was a good bodyguard.

Only one thing at this time came between the two of them.  A chance
meeting brought them into contact with Uhland, Walter's son.  Adam
had long ago decided that Walter Herries was his enemy and the
enemy of all those whom he loved.  He was not aware, during these
years, of the developing battle between Walter Herries and his
mother, but he did know that everything round Westaways was enemy

The queer thing was that Uhland, who was Adam's age, never missed
an occasion of an encounter with Adam if one were possible.  They
met but seldom, in the Keswick street, once and again at the Hunt,
at a sheep trial, at a running-match: once when Adam was fishing by
himself beyond Crosthwaite Church, Uhland, unattended, came limping
through the field.  He stood looking at Adam, apparently afraid to
speak.  Adam would have had nothing to do with him, but the boy was
lame, his face was pale, he seemed so sickly that it was a wonder
he could move at all.  So he spoke, and Uhland came and sat beside
him.  What followed was most uncomfortable, for Uhland sat there,
staring out of large protruding eyes, and said nothing.

At last he felt in his jacket and offered Adam a top, a large one
coloured green and crimson.  Adam did not wish to take it, but
Uhland clambered to his feet and went limping away across the field
without another word . . .

Now John had from the very first the strangest fear of Uhland.
There was something about his deformity and sickliness that
affected him as though the boy had a disease that he could convey
to others.  He saw him on the rarest occasions, but he was often
conscious of him, would, in the middle of the night, think of that
leg longer than the other, those protruding eyes, the little body
that seemed to be bent by a head too big for it.

Once he burst out passionately to Adam and wished him to promise
never to speak to Uhland again.

'But I don't speak to him,' said Adam, astonished.

'You meet him.  He talked to you in Keswick a fortnight back.'

'He has a horse,' said Adam irrelevantly.  'It is called Caesar.
It's coal black with a white star on its forehead.'

'I tell you,' John repeated, 'you are not to talk with him.'

'Why not?' asked Adam.

John could not say.  The boy and his father hated them, would do
them any harm . . .

But Adam fell into one of his silences.  John would not speak to
him for days.

Then came this terrible distressing thing.

It came like a door banging on to a silent room.  It was in the
early summer.  Adam had been riding, had shut Benjamin into his
box, stroked his nose and talked some nonsense to him, then very
happy, whistling out of tune, had wandered into the house.  He had
a room to himself now, one that he had chosen, an attic with a
slanting roof and a fine view over the moor to the slopes of
Skiddaw.  He and Skiddaw were now on speaking terms, and there was
nothing about Skiddaw that Adam didn't know--or so he thought.

He had but just sat down upon his bed and was thinking of the coach
that had passed him with a fine tantivy and a grand cloud of dust
from the horses' hoofs, thinking perhaps that he would like to see
the world a bit, when the door opened and John came in.  He stood
without moving.  He had been paying some visit and was dressed very
smartly in a claret-coloured coat, the hips and chest padded, a
white frill, his dark chestnut trousers strapped under his boots.
Adam remembered then that, urged by Judith, John had been to call
on some people with a house on the border of Bassenthwaite Lake.
They were called Sanderson and were new arrivals in the

He stood there, his face pale, his lips quivering.  He crossed to
the bed, sat down by Adam, then to Adam's horror burst out crying,
his head in his hands.

Adam put his arm around him and sat there, not knowing what to do
or say.  He had never seen John cry before, and that a man should
shed tears seemed to him an awful thing.

'What is it? . . .  What's the matter, John?' he said at last, his
voice a funny broken bass from his emotion.  For a long while John,
crying desperately, made no answer.

Adam stared out of the window at Skiddaw and watched birds flying
slowly, dreamily, across the faint glassy sky.

This is what it is . . .'  John caught Adam's hand.  'My mother--'
He hesitated, then the words poured out of him.  'I had visited the
Sandersons.  Young Robert Sanderson was there.  He is a friend of
Cousin Walter's, and I could not abide him from the first.  He was
affronted by something I had said in the house about the Catholics
in Ireland, that the Catholic laws were monstrous and that we
should have shame for our treatment of Ireland . . .  He answered
hotly, and when I left came out with me to my horse.  He sneered at
something I said.  You know how it is--I hate a quarrel.  I
answered him gently, and then he said something about the fine man
Cousin Walter was, and that by what he had heard Fell House here
should be his.  That was too much for me and I called Cousin Walter
what he is--a damnable blackguard.  Then Sanderson told me . . . he
said . . . he said it was common knowledge that because my mother
had been a man's mistress here and because my father had found them
together, therefore my father had killed himself in London.
Because my father had been a coward and allowed that man to come to
this house, to sleep here . . . he knew of it.  The whole world
knew . . . I struck Sanderson in the face--and I rode away.'

Telling his story had calmed him.  He caught his breath.  His face
now was as white as a peeled stick, his body trembled, but he wept
no longer.

'Everyone knows--has known for years.  Only I didn't know . . .'

They were quiet for a long time.  Adam's hand tightened on John's.
He could not bear to feel John's body tremble.  He longed to do
anything for him, to rush out and trample on Sanderson, to burn
Uncle Walter's house down, to . . .  Oh!  He knew not what!  But he
could neither do anything nor say anything.  He was not ignorant,
young though he was.  He knew--in a child's way--about men and
women, without feeling that all those things, the making of love,
the birth of children, were real in a real world.  But he
understood that this was a disgraceful and terrible thing.
Nevertheless his own active feelings were those of rage against
Sanderson and a passionate instinct to defend John.

He said at last in a husky voice:

'I expect he's a liar.  They are all liars, friends of Uncle

'No--it's true . . .  I have known for a long while that mother
was afraid, afraid of everything, of Cousin Walter and people in
Keswick--and that my father had shot himself in London, but
this . . .'

Then he added, still shivering as though with an intense cold:

'I must fight Sanderson.'

'Yes, you must kill him,' Adam answered eagerly.  Here was
something that he could do.  'Mr Rackstraw shall help us.'

'Cousin Walter put him on to this: I know he did.  Everything we
do, everywhere we go, Walter Herries is at our back.  Oh, God, if I
could do him an injury for all he's done to us!  And now I know.  I
know why he has so much power over us, why my mother fears him as
she does . . .  My father was a coward, my mother . . .'

He stopped.

'Adam, you must speak of this to no one.  We will settle
Sanderson's affair ourselves.  But that everyone should know, that
they have known for years . . .'

Adam said, nodding his head:

'If it's pistols, John, you can kill him.  Mr Rackstraw says you're
the best shot with a pistol for your age in Cumberland.  We'll
practise in the barn.  We'll go now . . .'

But nothing came of it then.  They learnt that young Sanderson had
gone South.  He never answered John's letter, and later, joining
his regiment, went abroad.  The consequences were not so easily
settled.  After that summer afternoon nothing was the same again.

Adam's third affair concerned his mother.

As those years passed, Judith dominated Fell House and its
neighbourhood ever more completely.

When Adam was eleven, in 1826, Judith was nearly fifty-two.  Now
fifty-two was considered in those days a great age for a woman.
There were old women like Mrs Tennant of Ireby who were old women,
sat in a chair and had the air of prophetesses.  There were old
women like Mrs Summerson in Keswick who played cards night and day
but were nevertheless old women.  There were old women like Mrs
Clare of Portinscale who rode to hounds, cursed and swore, drank
and gambled, chaffed with the stable-boys, but were still old
women.  Judith Paris was unique.  After settling in command at Fell
House she seemed with every month to grow younger.  Her body, taut,
neat, active, appeared not to know fatigue.  Her hair, once so
lovely an auburn, was now grey, her face, always pale in colour
(and she would use no paint as most of the older women did), knew
no wrinkle.  She rode a horse like a commander.  She was austere
and direct when about her business, but she could behave suddenly
like a girl.  She went to dances, card-parties, hunts, balls in
Keswick.  She was known everywhere as 'Madame,' famous for her
kindness, her sharp and direct speech, her common sense.  She had
not changed in her impulsiveness, her attention to business, her
loyalty, her childish pleasure in little things.  Only those who
knew her well were aware that something she had had was now, to all
appearance, gone.  It might be dead, it might be hidden.  Miss
Pennyfeather in Keswick knew, Jennifer unperceptively was aware . . .
Jennifer said that Judith was no longer romantic.

Another thing that everyone knew about her was that she was 'mad'
about her boy.  Of course the boy was illegitimate, although
everyone could name his father, but his illegitimacy and the fact
that Judith herself was the daughter of old 'Rogue' Herries (now a
legend: they said that his ghost 'walked' in Borrowdale) and a
gipsy, made the mother and son something apart.  'Madame' was
becoming a legend like her father.  Every kind of tale was told of
her.  When she came into a room people stared and whispered.  But
they invited her, they admired her; she was a 'character' and did
the neighbourhood a sort of credit.

We are in part what our friends and neighbours make us and,
unconsciously, Judith began at this time to respond to the demand
for her to be 'queer'.  Her dress was a little extravagant.  Her
skirts were very full in the Dutch fashion.  She liked gay colours
and was often seen in a shawl of red cashmere.  She had hats of
fine straw worn over a lace cap--far too young for another of her
age, but in some way not ridiculous for her.  Her turbans of
figured gauze at an evening party were magnificent.  She already
carried the cane of white ivory that was, later, to be so famous.
People in Keswick said, 'Madame is coming,' and gathered at shop
doors and windows to look.

She ruled everyone in Fell House save her son Adam.  It was at the
beginning of his twelfth year that she put her power over him to
the test and failed.  This occasion was one of the great crises
that marked his boyhood.

No one knew with what passionate emotion she loved this child.
Everything else that was dear to her she had surrendered--save her
love of power and her love of son.  As he grew her feeling for him
developed into a mingling of love, admiration and exasperation.
She had always wished for him to be independent and apart from
other boys.  His father, poor Warren, had had but too little
character.  Adam seemed to have no resemblance at all to his
father; he was his mother and then himself as well.  He reminded
her continually of what she had been as a child, and it was a
curious irony that she should so often feel the same bewilderment
and irritation in dealing with him felt long ago by David and Sarah
Herries about herself.  She learnt, very soon in their relationship,
that he hated any kind of demonstration.  Did he love her or did he
not?  She knew that he did, and with all his heart, but any
expression of affection silenced and removed him.  But he MUST obey
her.  When she had surrendered her domination of his movements (no
one knew what this cost her) she consoled herself with the right to
order him in all other ways.

The exercise of power grows with what it feeds on.  People
succumbed to her so easily that she came to expect it as her right.
Adam always obeyed her when he felt that her demand was just.  She
had one thing more to learn--that, if he thought her unjust, he was
quite beyond her power.

The incident had minute beginnings.  One fine morning she had
driven with Adam in the chaise to Keswick.  Mr Carrick the
haberdasher came on to the pavement to receive her orders, and
after he was gone, before she could move forward, tiresome old
Major Bellenden must limp forward and, his wide-brimmed hat
gallantly in hand (although the day was cold), commence one of his
interminable conversations.  Major Bellenden, who lived alone on
the road to Threlkeld, was a purple-faced old bachelor, tyrannized
over by a peevish manservant.  He had served abroad, knew the East,
had had an amusing adventure or two, but all these were swallowed
up by the fact that he had been actually present at the famous
performance on February 13th, 1820, at the Paris Opera of Le
Carnaval de Venise when the Duc de Berry had been assassinated.
Nay, more, he had by a lucky chance left the Opera for a moment and
returned at the very instant when Louvel planted his dagger 'up to
the hilt', had heard the Duke cry 'What a ruffian!' and then 'I
have been murdered!'  Later, he had listened to the screams of pain
that came from the poor Duke as Dupuytren probed the wound, had
seen Decazes enter to examine the murderer, and best of all had
even been witness of Louis XVIII himself as, tossed about between
the banisters of the stairs and the wall, they had tried to push
his chair that he might get to the Duke.  He told over and over
again how the Duke, dying, raised himself and said:  'Forgive me,
dear Uncle, forgive me'; and Louis answered:  'There is no hurry,
dear Nephew.  We will talk later about this.'  And then how, at the
very last, when the Duchess was filling the room with her
lamentations, the Duke said:  'My dearest, control yourself for the
sake of our child,' and so gave France the first news that there
would be an heir to the Bourbons . . .

So often had the Major told this very long story with all the
details of it exactly repeated, that the Duc de Berry's
assassination seemed to many persons to have occurred in Keswick.
However, 'The Old Bore and his Murder' was the general summary of
Major Bellenden.

It chanced that on this very morning the Major mentioned his Duke.
Some remark of Judith's about the weather reminded him.  'It was
weather like this . . . that horrid affair of the Duc de Berry, of
which I expect I have told you . . .', and looking up caught young
Adam smiling at him in a very irritating manner.  Adam had heard
his mother in her lighter moments, imitating the Major:  'I had my
foot on the stair . . .  Louvel must have brushed my arm . . .'
and giving then the very half-choked, half-important guffaw that
was the Major's.

Adam smiled, and the Major saw him smiling.  His mother also saw
him.  The Major was deeply hurt and went limping away.

During the drive homewards Judith scolded him, speaking of
reverence to age, of impertinence and other kindred matters.

'But, Mama, you yourself laughed . . .'

'Not to his face.  That is bad manners.'

'I am sorry, Mama.  Look, there is Mr Southey with--'

'Now listen, Adam.  You are to listen.  You must apologize to the

Adam sat grimly silent.  Of all things in the world he hated most
to apologize.  The matter might on an ordinary day have stopped
there, but Judith had been irritated by a number of small things,
by the failure of Miss Pritchett, the little dressmaker whom she
patronized, to have a dress ready; by Mrs Quinney's cold; by the
customary sluggishness of Jennifer.

So she pursued it.

'Promise me, then, that you will apologize.'

Adam said nothing.  He sat there, his mouth pursed in an
exasperating manner.

'Promise me that you will apologize.'

At last he murmured:

'It is unfair, Mama.  You yourself laugh at him.'

'That is different.  He was not present.'

Then again, as the chaise drew slowly up the hill to the village:

'Say that you will apologize.'

No answer.

'Well, then, I must punish you.'

Adam was enclosed in his attic for the rest of the day without

In the evening Judith came in to him, her head held high, her heart
aching with love.  She had been quite wretched all the afternoon.
She had realized with a pain that was deeper than any emotion felt
by her for many days that without Adam there was nothing.  All this
business of defying Walter, of managing the house, the servants,
Jennifer, of corresponding with various Herries all over the
country, of visiting and dining and being sociable--it was all
nothing, nothing at all without Adam.  She had loved her husband,
she loved Adam.  There was nothing else.  And with a sudden
shudder, as though a hateful wrinkled hag in a bonnet had bowed to
her in the glass, she saw her old age, of which until now she had
scarcely thought--her old age, empty, ugly and cruel.

She came into his room and found him standing looking out of the
window, just as, centuries ago, she had stood at her window when
David was to beat her.  He did not turn.  She put her hand on his
shoulder.  She was, not by much, taller than he, but when he turned
her heart leapt, for he was so lovely to her, so utterly her own,
so proud and so strong, just as she would have him be.

But he was relentless--and he was utterly beyond her reach.  She
said something.  She asked him to come downstairs.  No, he would
not come down.  Did he not see that he was wrong, that he had hurt
the feelings of an old man, that it was proper to offer an apology
when one had shown bad manners?

'I did not show bad manners,' Adam said, not looking at her.

She did not know it, but he himself was terrified--terrified at
this resentment that he felt to her, his rebellion as though he
were fighting for something very serious and important.  He had
never felt like this to her before.  He almost hated her.

'Well, then, you will see it later on.  You will see that I am
right.  Come down now and we will not speak of it.'

But it could not be settled in that way.  His dreadful silence
which he himself hated dominated him.  She put her arm around his

'Come, Adam.'

He dragged himself away from her and went back to the window,
looking out.  That infuriated her and she surrendered to one of her
old tempests of passion.  She stormed and stamped her feet.  He was
ungrateful, hard, unloving, disobedient.  She had done everything
for him, and thus he repaid her.  Well, he should see.  She was not
to be insulted by a child.  He should be beaten.  Maybe that would
teach him . . .

'Beat me,' he said, turning round upon her.

They looked at one another, each with hatred.  The look was so
terrible, so new, so far from anything that either of them had
thought possible, that in another moment they would have been in
one another's arms.

But she did nothing, said nothing, and after a moment left the

When she had gone he sat, swinging his legs, the unhappiest boy in
the United Kingdom.


The scarlet cloak of Oberon cast hastily on the daisied sward of
the meadow, the laughter of the fairies as they fled towards the
wood, the young men as they waited by the church gate, straining
forward, listening for the word to go, the strange orange turban of
Miss Pennyfeather, the breaking lights of violet and crimson as the
fireworks burst above the Lake, the clown standing on his head in
the market-place, his calves brown as berries against the sunlight,
the line of chaises, barouches, waggons, the gauze and linen of the
coloured dresses shining as the ladies leant forward from their
carriages to watch the runners pass, the roseate haze on Skiddaw as
the reflection of the setting sun threw great lines of colour
across the crowded meadow, the peal of the bells from Crosthwaite
Church, the gipsies with gaudy rings, crimson kerchiefs, white
teeth flashing as they told fortunes in their encampment below the
wood, Titania tearing her frail petticoat as she climbed the cart
to ride through the town, the riot of men and women after dusk
under the stars when a kind of madness seized the place, sunlight,
bells, babel of voices, scents of flowers, neighing of horses, the
plashing of oars upon the water, the stars and the flare of torches--
for days and months and years the smoking shadow of this life was
to hang about Keswick.

It was in August of 1827 that the famous Summer Fair came, blazed,
vanished.  For years afterwards it was remembered; for years now it
has been as though it never was.  And yet the town had known
nothing like it before unless it were the famous Chinese Fair of
nearly a century earlier.  There is no record of it.  Search
contemporary journals and you will find nothing.  For it came, it
went, as many of the finest things in life come and go, by
accident; it is only a background to the history of certain private
lives; a handkerchief was dropped, a horse stumbled, a word was
spoken.  In a week the meadow was itself again, the waters of the
Lake were calm, the gipsies were in Carlisle, the booths were piled
boards, the bell-ringers were practising for another ceremony, the
Strolling Players were drinking in a Kendal inn.

Nevertheless, there was never anything like it again.  Chance, Mrs
Bonaventure, sunshine, the accidental passing of the gipsies and
the Players, stars and a full moon made this thing.

Mrs Bonaventure had come to Keswick six months before.  She was a
large stout lady with a red face, a roaring voice, and a wealthy
husband almost as large as herself.  They were a jolly pair,
vulgar, if you like, with their loud voices and carelessness of
social divisions, but it was known that she was the daughter of a
Lancashire baronet, so, as Mrs Osmaston said, 'You can be sure she
can speak quietly when she wishes,' and they were generous, crazy
for parties and picnics and dances, and thought there was no place
in the world like Keswick . . .

It was she who first had the notion of a Fte.  It was in some way
to be connected with the hand-loom weaving, and in some way with
the birth of a baby boy to her sister who lived in Rutlandshire,
and in some way with the Duke of Wellington, and in some way with a
prize that Mr Bonaventure was giving for a race for young men under
twenty-five, a race from Crosthwaite Church to the Druids' Circle.

In any case, there must be a Fte.

There should be booths along Main Street with gingerbread and
apples and toffee.  There should be dancing in the moonlight.
There should be no nasty sports like bull-baiting or cock-fighting.
There should be decorated boats on the Lake, and fireworks.  She
did not know that some Strolling Players chanced to be performing
in Penrith.  She did not know about the gipsies.  All these
delights were added unto her.

Suppose that old Herries, remembering as he must that Chinese Fair,
when in an eating booth he had sold his lady for a few pieces of
silver, were present, perched cross-legged on a chimney, standing
upright against a tree top, what would he think of it all?  A
hundred years gone (but time is of course nothing to him now), and
yet here was his daughter, like a little general, marshalling her
family forces, and here his great-grandson Walter commanding HIS
battalions, and behind them, around them, all the lively
consequences, male and female, of that wild turbulent life by which
HE had once been surrounded!  Yes, wild and turbulent that Chinese
Fair had been, civilized and gentle THIS Fair must seem to him--but
the same battle was joined now as then, and so will be, for ever
and ever, change the background as you may, for ever and ever,

As his long sardonic person wanders now skywards, now mingling
unseen with the crowd, now peering sardonically from behind the
chimneypot, he watches that same daughter with tenderness maybe,
and young John and Adam and Elizabeth with concern, and great-
grandson Walter with humorous sarcasm, watches and grimly smiles
and vanishes into a star, wondering why they should all be so
serious over a matter so brief and trivial.

For the rest, how are they, in reminiscence, to break that
confusing fantastic day into some sort of shape and order: morning,
afternoon, evening and the moonlight night?--or, better than that,
they divide it by event--the boats on the Lake, the race through
the town, the Midsummer Night's Dream, the dancing on the meadow--
four cantos of a happy poem.

                    THE BOATS ON THE LAKE

By eight of the morning the booths were lining Main Street, the
children were dancing like mad things down the road, the sun was
blazing (for they had all the luck that day) and boats were putting
out from the Islands, from Manesty, from Lodore, from Grange.  By
ten o'clock the carriages were rolling up, from Penrith and
Ullswater and Newlands and Bassenthwaite, from Carlisle even, from
Grasmere and Rydal, from Shap and Hawkshead.  Very early in the
morning for some of them the horses must have been led from their
stables and the coaches loaded.  Many came in pillion-riding as for
hundreds of years they had done, while the grander farmers were
proud in the 'shandy-carts'.  Keswick, although Crosthwaite Church
had not yet begun its peal, was ringing with bells, for teams of
pack-horses, used for the carrying of pieces from the hand-loom
weaving, came jingling in.  Many of the women who were spreading
their apples, nuts, cakes and bottles of herb beer on the trestles
had been many a time to Hell Gill Bridge for the Brough Hill Fair,
and with that same jingling of bells came the scents and sounds
from Shaw Paddock and Aisgill and the old Thrang Bridge in

But it was down by the Lake that the day was to begin.  The sun lay
on the water like a caressing hand, and the hills, from Walla Crag,
from the Borrowdale peaks, from Cat Bells and Robinson, reflected
their colour and proud forms as though they had another life
beneath their glassy waters.

Mrs Bonaventure, attended by husband and friends, was soon seated
like a queen on the commanding perch of Friar's Crag.  She loved
fine colours.  She wore a hat as broad nearly as her shoulders, and
from it waved four large ostrich feathers.  Her dress, magnificently
full, was a brilliant orange.

Very soon the borders of the Lake were thronged with figures, and
the water whispered with the soft splash of oars.  Across the
meadows and trees suddenly broke out the bells from Crosthwaite,
and from the landing-stage the blast of the Town Band.  A gun was
fired from the Island.  The Fte was begun.

It was just before midday, when every eye was straining to see the
first boat round the corner of the Island, that the party from
Westaways arrived.  Walter himself drove his coach from the house
to the end of the Lake Road, and as his four horses galloped up
Main Street everyone cheered and the little boys turned cartwheels
and the pigeons flew in exulting circles above their heads.

Walter was elegant indeed as he flourished his whip decorated with
coloured streamers, his many-caped riding-coat of green high above
his thick neck, his chest thrust out, his head up as though to say:
'You may claim this or that for your glory today, but here is the
true centre of the affair!'  He had in the coach with him his wife,
his children and his relations.  It was a piece of fortune that
these relations were present to witness his splendour, for it was
only chance that the young sons of Durward Herries were passing
through from Edinburgh and that James Herries (at length, after
many years of weary waiting, succeeding to his old father's
baronetcy) had come over from York.

But there they were: the two boys with two Oxford undergraduate
friends from a house near Carlisle, and Sir James Herries, Bart.,
puffed out with solemn pride and complacent satisfaction.  Agnes
was there too, and also Uhland and Elizabeth.

After leaving the coach they walked, a cluster of splendour, to the
Lake's edge.

No one could be more genial with all the world than Walter when
things went as they ought to.  He had left his riding-coat in
Posset's care, for the day would be hot, and now at the age of
thirty-five his great frame was beginning to yield at last to the
stoutness that it had so long resisted.  His high hat with the
broad brim, rough in texture, was a dark wine-colour; his claret-
coloured coat, the tails sewn on separately that it might fit his
sides the better, followed the lines of his body exactly.  His
neckcloth was shaped at the sides and stiffened with pig's
bristles, rising to a kind of arch at the cheeks, and at its centre
was the accustomed jewelled pin.  He wore two waistcoats, one of
dark purple, the other dark grey; his trousers, tight at the knees,
widening downwards, were fawn.  This must have been a warm costume
for the middle of summer, but the stuff was all of a light
material, and it was only at the neck as the day advanced that he
was uncomfortable--which may possibly have accounted for his
excitement at the end of the day: by such slender threads do human
actions hang!

With his clothes, his bulk, his carriage, his merry arrogance, his
vitality and bonhomie, he was by far the most remarkable figure on
that day.  Men said afterwards that to them this appeared the
turning-point of his life--his last public appearance before the
beginning of the Fortress!

He stationed himself with his wife, children and friends--a kind of
resplendent patriarch--on a little green mound whence he could
watch, above the vulgar crowd, the procession of the boats.

Scarcely, however, had the first two boats rounded the corner of
the Island before the party from Fell House arrived--'Madame', Mrs
Jennifer Herries, Adam, John and Dorothy, with Mr Rackstraw in the

They had come almost to the water-edge before they realized that
Walter Herries and his company were stationed above them.  The
people of Keswick could not be ignorant of the family warfare, had
indeed for many years now been aware of it.  The most fantastic
stories were abroad: that Walter Herries had put poisoned wine in
the Fell House cellar, that he had hired ruffians from Whitehaven
to kidnap young John, that 'Madame' herself in the dead of night
had climbed in at a Westaways window armed with a carving-knife--no
tale was too absurd.  Even though the procession of boats had
begun, everyone watched to see what 'Madame' would do.  But
'Madame', after a moment's glance, did nothing at all.  Her Leghorn
hat, trimmed with dahlias and ears of corn, her muslin dress of
lilac, should have seemed ridiculous in a woman of her years.  But
she was not ridiculous, rather wonderfully imposing, her little
figure neat and strong, her hand resting on her ivory cane, her
head raised as though she ruled the world.  Jennifer Herries, in a
white muslin, towered above her, but was less impressive.  Everyone
said how handsome John Herries was, that Dorothy Herries had a
fresh complexion, and that Madame's boy looked very French--the
same comments were always made.

If Walter had noticed Judith, he gave no sign of it.  So there they
all were to watch the procession.  Round the bend came the boats,
the first four with twelve oars apiece.  They were all decorated
with flowers, and in three of the boats girls in white sang to the
accompaniment of harps.  The oarsmen were in white with crimson
sashes at the waist.  The sixth boat was a barge, and in it seated
on a throne was the Guardian of the Lake.  He was a stout old
gentleman (Mr Barleycorn the hosier, in fact) with neck bare,
garlanded, his fat legs bare to above the knees, and he carried a
trident, thereby causing many of the spectators to suppose him

In the boat that followed him was enthroned the Queen of the Lake
with attendant maidens.  This, as everyone knew, was Mrs Armstrong
who kept the sweet-shop just below Greta Hall.  She was a
commanding woman, full-breasted, and even on quite ordinary
occasions, when selling a stick of liquorice to a small boy, stiff
with dignity.  It was because of her dignity that she had been
chosen for this office.

In the boats that followed some licence of costume had been
permitted: there were sailors, pirates, clowns, village maidens and
Columbines.  At the last there were small children carrying
bouquets of flowers and watching with uneasy glances lest at any
moment they should be precipitated into the water.

Oh, but it was a GRAND procession.  The sun gave them his glory,
the mountains wished them well, the church bells rang and the Town
Band blared, the voices sang, and through it all the plash, plash
of the oars gave rhythm and movement to the pattern of flowers and
water and shadowed reflection.

They swept in a great circle, then drew up in line before the
shore.  The Guardian of the Lake rose a little unsteadily in his
throne and delivered an address, not a single word of which could
be heard by anyone.  Then planks were thrown from boat to boat, and
the goddess (Mrs Armstrong), 'every movement a symphony,' walked
most majestically if uncertainly to the land, followed by her
maidens, then by the little children, and last by the shouting
rabble of sailors, clowns and Columbines.

Everyone now was shouting, everyone was singing; everyone rushed in
unison together up to the field behind, where Mrs Bonaventure was
to receive the King and Queen.

'Very pretty,' said Judith.  'Very pretty indeed.'

'Very handsome,' said Walter Herries, coming from his green mound.
He took off his wine-coloured hat and bowed.

'Good day, Walter,' said Judith, looking him steadily in the face.

He smiled and seemed a boy of eighteen.

'I hope you are well,' he said.

'Never felt better,' answered Judith.

'We have a fine day.'

'An excellent day.'

Sir James bowed.  Judith inclined her head.

Walter's party moved on.

Young Garth Herries asked a question.

'That, my boy,' answered Walter, 'is a relation of yours--and the
most remarkable woman in England.'

                  THE RACE THROUGH THE TOWN

As everyone knows, the men and women of the North Country have
never believed in the display of their emotions unless there is
good ground for it.  They prefer to wait and see what is really
occurring before they venture an opinion.  When they say a thing
they mean it, but they mean a great many things that they never

The more extraordinary, then, was the outburst of singing and joy
as the flowery boats circled the shore.  It was a spontaneous cry
as though some especial genial deity were abroad that day who,
wishing for a song and laughter, saw that it was so.  (In
parenthesis: there had been up to this midday very little drinking.
That came after.)

Adam found himself with his mother, Dorothy and John perched on a
mound outside the churchyard wall, waiting with a great crowd of
other spectators for the race to begin.  He was, if he had cared to
think of it, possibly the happiest boy in England that day.  This
was what he loved--the sun, the crowds, his own familiar country,
every kind of sport and, as instinctively he knew, his mother as
happy as he was.

In spite of the difference in their ages, mother and son were just
now children together.  This too was what Judith loved.  She had a
child's passion for small things, she adored to see other people
happy.  Adam's hand was in hers, and she had enjoyed her moment's
challenge with Walter.  There was no sign anywhere of the Westaways
party, and she was quite certainly just then monarch of all she
surveyed.  Because she was so small of stature she stood once and
again on tiptoe so that she might miss nothing.  Nearly everyone
around her knew who she was, and if anyone didn't he was certain to
inquire; you couldn't catch a glimpse of her and not be conscious
of her personality.  But they were all proud of her, although they
didn't quite know why.  Farmers and their wives, townsmen and
statesmen and better-class smiled, nodded, said it was a fine day,
and she smiled and nodded back at all of them.

Adam, as was customary with him, said little but noticed
everything.  Dorothy stayed close beside her mother.  At that time
young ladies stayed as close to their mothers as though they were
glued to them lest something evil should occur to them.  John, very
handsome in his plum-coloured coat, was apart, as he so often
seemed to be.  He was enjoying himself, but quietly and with that
slight nervous social tremor that never quite left him when he went
abroad.  He did not know that within half an hour the greatest
event of his life was to occur.

Across the road were lined the runners, twelve of them.  They wore
thin shirts open at the neck and short drawers.  They were young,
strong, tanned most of them by their outdoor labour.  The two
favourites were John Graham of Threlkeld, a tall, stringy young man
with a head shaped like a hammer; and Will Leathwaite of Grange,
who was short, thick and simple-eyed like a baby.  Two of the men,
Tom Trimble from St John's in the Vale and Harry Pender of Keswick,
were famous runners but were older than the others.  Trimble was a
giant and as broad as he was tall.  His legs and arms were hairy
and his chest hirsute beneath his shirt.  Good nature beamed from
him and he looked round him smiling on everyone, although his brow
was wrinkled with his serious purpose.  He towered above the
others.  Pender was thin and cadaverous.  He was an ill-tempered
man and hated to be beaten.  Mrs Pender in the hedge near at hand
waited with anxiety, for she knew that were he defeated he would be
none too pleasant a companion that evening.  Trimble's mother, an
old rosy-faced woman with a basket on her arm, kept calling out to
her son to encourage him, and he would look across the road and
smile at her and shout:  'Aye, mother, I'll do my best.'

Old Major Bellenden had been appointed starter, and very self-
important he was.  At the stroke of the half-hour from Crosthwaite
Church clock he would shout 'One.  Two.  Three,' wave the
handkerchief, and off they would go.

Adam's hopes were resting on Will Leathwaite, the thick simple-
faced young man.  He knew Will a little, for Will's father was a
friend of Bennett the coachman, and Will would on occasion ride
over from Grange or drive with a calf or farm produce.  Will was
Adam's kind of a man because he spoke little, was good-natured and
afraid of nothing.

Then, just as all eyes were staring at the clock--it wanted but two
minutes to the half-hour--up the road came Walter and his friends.
They were hastening along, laughing and talking, making a great
deal of display.  Walter strode in front; his wife, children and
the two young men followed.  Room was made for them behind the
Major, who began hurriedly explaining to Walter Herries a number of
things, very important things, involved in his official business.

And it was then that something happened to John.  He saw, as though
for the first time, Elizabeth, Walter's young daughter.

It was not, of course, for the first time.  He had seen her on
several other occasions, but he had never spoken to her, and never
considered her at all.  Now her loveliness rose at him from the
crowd, the cries, the fields and road as Venus rises (constantly,
we may believe) from the sea.

Elizabeth Herries was at this time only twelve, but she was tall
for her years.  Her fair colouring, her air of shyness, her slim
erect body, above all her quietness, enchanted John.  But he could
give no reasons for that sudden thundering of his heart, that queer
sense of being urged by some force around him, the very air about
him, to run forward, to touch her hand . . .  He had seen her
before and she had meant nothing to him.  He could not understand
it.  It was an enchantment, a magical turning of flowers and hedge,
dusty road and churchyard wall into shining glass, feathered clouds
and raining gold.  To run, to touch her hand, to speak . . .

Then, as though he had wheeled upwards on a rising sphere from
sunlit underworlds, he caught his own state again, heard the
voices, saw the lilac stuff of Aunt Judith's dress.  Walter
Herries' daughter!  He raised his head and stared at the sun.

The clock struck, the handkerchief was waved, they were off!  And
Adam was off too.  A moment before he had been holding his mother's
hand, as docile a boy as you could find.  She thought that she had
him for the rest of the day.  But he was gone before he knew that
he was going.  As the white figures flashed like birds towards the
town, he, driven by an impulse entirely irresistible, was after
them.  His mother, his amiable placidity, were lost as though they
had never been.  Others were running too; there were shouts and
cries, and then suddenly he was aware of a known voice and there
was Farmer Leathwaite, father of Will, trotting on his black horse
beside him.

'Hup!  Hup!' Farmer Leathwaite cried, and a moment later had Adam
in his arms, then held tightly in front of him.  That was a
glorious ride!  Leathwaite had completely lost his Cumbrian
caution.  As the horse trotted on, from Leathwaite's big stomach
into the very pit of Adam's back come continual cries, adjurations,
shouts and cheers:  'That's it, Will, my lad!  Keep goin'!  Keep
goin'!  Not so fast through t'town . . .  Gently, gently, my boy.
You'll beat 'em!  You'll beat lot of 'em . . .  Keep joggin' . . .
That's the fancy!  Go to it, my lad!  Fine lad!  Fine lad!  Gently,
gently! . . .'

And Adam was caught by the same fever, crying in a cracked
voice:  'Go it, Will!  Keep going, Will!  Hurray! . . .  You're
winning! . . .'

But the gallant horse was also stirred by the splendour of the
event and, do what the farmer would, refused to be stayed, so
before they knew it they had galloped up Main Street, horses and
shops, booths, women, dogs and shouting boys all left behind.

'Woh!  Wey!  Wey!  Woh!' cried Leathwaite, trying to look back and
see how his son was faring, but the mare with her ears pricked back
was racing all the other mares in the world, and before they knew
it they were out of the town and climbing the hill.

With shouts and curses the horse was at last pulled up.  Small
groups were gathered about the path.  Leathwaite mopped his brow
with a large yellow handkerchief.

'Do you think Will is going to win?' asked Adam breathlessly.

'Can't say . . .' Leathwaite panted.  'He's in grand condition . . .
Hope so . . .  Hope so . . .  They'll be coming shortly . . .'

It was very quiet here.  After the dust, heat, shouts and cries it
was as though a heavy door had closed on the world.  The trees were
darkly thick above their heads, the hills like blue clouds beyond
the town.

'How's he doing?' someone called from the waiting group.

'A' reet . . . a' reet,' Leathwaite shouted back.

'I think he'll win, don't you?' Adam said.

Oh, but he HAD to win!  The whole of the world's happiness depended
upon it.  Then, after what had seemed an infinity of time, the
white figures appeared, two in front neck and neck, then three,
then at a considerable distance four or five.  They were going more
slowly now; the hill was telling on them, and they had the hardest
task yet before them.

The first two were Trimble and a lad called Sawston.  Trimble's big
body was almost done.  The sweat poured down his face, his breast
was half bare, and on his face there was a set mechanical smile.
But Will was in the next three and running strong . . .  With him
were John Graham and Pender.  Leathwaite rose on his horse and
waving his arms roared encouragement.  Adam shouted too.

'Go on, Will . . .  Go on, Will . . .  You'll win!  You'll win!'

He was one with Will then.  He and Will were running together.  He
was inside Will, knew all his thoughts, his determination, his
measuring of the hill beside him, his calculation of his strength,
knew the maddening irritation of Trimble's great back in front of
him, the temptation to make the spurt before it was time.

Now the horse went with them, and up the hill Adam and father and
son charged together.

Trimble was giving way.  Young Sawston passed him.  Graham and Will
drew level with him.  Now Graham and Sawston were neck and neck.
Here began the real steepness of the hill.  The sun blazed down,
the trees had drawn back as though refusing shelter.

'Now, Will, my lad!  Now!' shouted his father.

'NOW, WILL, NOW!' screamed Adam.

Sawston, Graham and Will were together.  Graham, his head more than
ever like a hammer, was running well.  He was fresh as a skylark
and breasted the hill as though he loved it.  Sawston seemed on a
sudden to lose heart; he looked back, missed his stride.  Will
passed him.  At the hill-top where the path ran level to the
Circle, Graham and Will were ahead.

THEN, thrust on, it may be, by his father's fierce energy, Will
Leathwaite made his spurt.  He was ahead; Graham caught him.
Graham was ahead.  Will was level.

The Circle, calm, dignified, gazed indifferently out to Helvellyn
and Scawfell and the Gavel.  Will threw up his head; he seemed to
catch all that country into his heart and, fiercely, like a swimmer
fronting a terrific wave, flung himself across the string, the
winner by a head.

Adam tumbled off the horse.  Leathwaite, shouting his joy, caught
Adam's small hand and wrung it as though he had never seen him


The play was to begin at four o'clock.  A platform had been erected
on the rising shoulder of the fields where now St John's spire
raises its finger for the friendly communion of the clustering
hills.  Up the slope climbed the meadows, striding to woods and
sky.  To the left the town, below them the Lake now richly dark
under this sun with a sheen like the gloss on a blackberry; on
benches raised roughly in four tiers sat the Quality.  Beneath them
and on either side of them crowded the citizens of England, for,
although at this very moment of four o'clock of a fine afternoon in
August 1827, all the Keswickians might be said to have been
hovering before landing in a new world--a world of light, grime,
noise, motion and confusion--yet the decencies were to be observed
for a long time yet.  Man still doffed his cap to Master, heads of
families WERE heads of families, a mile was a mile when you had to
walk it, and amusements were still simple enough and rare enough to
be amusements.  The little town, above whose roofs there hung a
violet haze, shared in the happiness of its inhabitants as even to
this day it yet does.  From the days when the monks of Fountains
were permitted a mill-dam on the Greta, through the stages of a
weekly market in the thirteenth century over the old bridge at
Portinscale, past the dark slumbering church of Crosthwaite, from
the thirty citizens of Keswick in 1303, it had had its strong
identity and kept it.  Spirit and body were from the first lusty
and self-confident.  St Herbert saw to the first, the weekly market
saw to the second.  Through the wars of Scots and English, when
Threlkeld and Millbeck must be fortified, when beacons flamed on
Skiddaw, through the German invasion in Elizabeth's time until in
middle seventeenth century the last smelting-house fell into ruin,
comforted by the bleating of its sheep, the lowing of its cattle,
resisting the constant rising of the waters that threatened to
overwhelm it, Keswick stayed compact, pastoral and proud.

Then came Mr Gray riding in his post-chaise, then came the poets,
and the world outside discovered it.  Nevertheless, neither then
nor now has that outside world even scratched the lustre of its
peculiar beauty.  Now it was not minerals that the invaders
demanded, but scenery, so scenery Keswick would give them.  Let
them come and take it, for they could not diminish by a leaf, a
flower or a swollen silver stream the soul of the place itself.  At
first wool, then shoes, then pencils, then Conventions--Keswick
with an agreeable smile was generous, and could afford to be,
because its soul was, and must be, intact.

But it liked best its own affairs, the fun that it had made itself
for its own people, and so today it was especially happy and its
chimneys purred with pleasure.  There was an air of casual
enjoyment about everything, and most especially about the play of
Mr Shakespeare's.  You would not perhaps have recognized it for Mr
Shakespeare's play if you had seen it, for that was the time when
actors did what they pleased to the plays that had the honour to
offer them performances, and to none more than to Mr Shakespeare's.

These Players were here entirely by chance.  They had been in the
town from Penrith for several days, so that Mr William Greene--the
chief of them--a gentleman as round as Falstaff and as jolly too,
was by now almost a friend, and there was his wife, Mrs Greene, a
tall lady with a deep bass voice, and his daughter Isabella, but
these were known as friends always ready for a drink and none too
certain about the paying for their charges.

Rain would have ruined everything, but rain for once was far, far
away.  It seemed, as you looked out across the purple Lake to that
stainless sky, that it would never rain again.

The Quality, sitting most contently on the hard boards (for the
Quality was easily pleased if there was any kind of fun toward),
shared in the general cheer.  Among the Keswickians there was
considerable anxiety (although a happy anxiety), for a number of
the Keswick children had been called in to be fairies, and no one
knew how they would behave or what they would do--the children
least of all--for there had been but one rehearsal, when the
confusion had been so great that the final orders simply were 'to
keep their eye on Titania and Oberon and follow them around'.

While they waited, the superior people held distinguished
conversation together.  There was not a great deal of room.  Walter
was pressed against James Herries, and his stout knees pushed into
the thin backs of Misses Mary and Grace Pendexter, two maiden
ladies who were ready to enjoy anything at any time and at any
sacrifice.  Evening after evening they would be out in their
pattens, their old servant lighting them with a lantern, to play
cards with Miss Pennyfeather or Major Bellenden, and now to have
the handsome knees of the master of Westaways pressing their bones
was a joy indeed.  It happened, so close were they all together,
that Westaways and Fell House were at last neighbours.  It was as
though the whole day had been working for this end, and, indeed,
important consequences were to come of it.  For John was near to
Elizabeth Herries.  When he saw how close he was to her, none of
his customary shyness or caution could restrain him.  In her
primrose gown, sitting beside her mother, not speaking but her lips
a little parted at her enjoyment of the scene, she seemed to him
like a lovely bird from some Paradisal forest.  It was arranged for
him by some especial destiny that he should be near her.  He knew
that her mother, Mrs Herries, was a gentle lady who would wish him
no harm.  Her father, laughing and slapping his knee, was at a
distance.  Only one thing prevented him--Uhland, her brother, who
sat staring in front of him, his brow wrinkled, his eyes like
little stones, one knee--as always--crooked over the other.  As
always, John was affected by a sort of cold nausea at his
proximity, but today this new emotion of joy and happiness, as
though like a great explorer, from the deck of his ship, over the
trackless waste, he had seen the gold sands gleaming, was too
strong for him to be checked.

If he moved a little from where he was sitting he would almost
touch her.  He rose up, stood back as though not to prevent the
others' view, then raising his hat said:

'Good afternoon, Mrs Herries.'

She must have been greatly astonished that he should speak to her,
but she, poor lady, bore no animosity to anyone in the world and
was delighted at kindliness, so she smiled timidly and said:

'Good afternoon.'  ('What a splendidly handsome boy,' she thought.)

John's eyes (he could not help himself) were fastened on Elizabeth,
but he said:

'Yes, ma'am.  We are fortunate in the weather.'

'It is indeed a splendid day,' Mrs Herries replied to him.

Then, boldly, he spoke to Elizabeth.

'I trust you can see well where you are sitting,' he said.

She looked up at him, and to her also he appeared as something new
and wonderful.  He was standing in the sunlight, very erect and
tall, the sun shining on his hair.  She wondered why she had never
noticed before how beautiful he was.  Although she was frightened
of her father and had been forced all her life into the background,
she was not nervous.  She smiled.

'I can see most excellently, thank you.'

At her smile he could have gone on his knees and worshipped her.

'You will tell me if I am in your view,' he said, bowing.  Then,
just as he was moving away, he realized that two eyes were looking
at him with a malignant force that seemed impossible for so small a
boy.  Elizabeth's brother's . . .  Something cold struck his heart.

The play had begun.  From the first it was invalidated by the fact
that Mr Greene, who was playing Bottom, wished to be in the
forefront throughout, and that his wife, who was Titania, had the
same desire.

So Theseus and his Court were soon bustled off the scene and the
pairs of lovers were permitted to love and bicker only in brief
moments while Bottom found his breath.  Titania (very fine in
shining ermine with a helmet--a perfect conception of Britannia)
was meanwhile hovering with her attendant elves ('There's Lucy,'
cried Mrs Bucket, 'her with the daisies.'  'That's our Liz--
standing on one foot,' cried Mrs Ellis) near the platform and
suddenly pushed forward and began, in her deep voice, to shout her

'First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on,' shouted Mr

'What, jealous Oberon!  Fairies, skip hence.  I have forsworn his
bed and company,' cried Mrs Greene.

For a moment it seemed that there would be trouble, but Bottom had
his way, and Titania retired to sit on the grass near by and throw
daisies at the children, for in spite of her size and voice she was
a merry and kindly woman.

When, however, the time for the fairies was really come, they had
their triumph.  For one thing Oberon was a splendid young man, with
a handsome red cloak and a noble pair of legs.  Then the children,
loving the sunshine and the freedom, exalted by the presence of
parents and relations, behaved as fairies should, dancing
everywhere, joining hands and singing, tumbling head over heels,
running races, plucking at Oberon's cloak.  The gaiety that had
been in the air all day possessed the company and the audience

When Bottom became an ass and laid his great form on Titania's big
lap everyone roared with applause, and the fairies pinched his
legs, and Titania took off her helmet because it was so hot.  There
were fairies everywhere.  When Theseus and his Court returned the
sun was lower in the sky and long shadows lay across the grass.
Some of the fairies, tired out, were sleeping, but behind Bottom
and his companions, as they played their Play, the children danced
and sang, Titania, carrying a baby in her arms, walked with half a
dozen infants at her skirts (she had by now flung away most of her
armour), and Bottom and Peter Quince, Theseus and Helena romped to
the fiddle of an old man of the company who worked at his music in
an ecstasy of enjoyment.

Puck came forward to speak his Epilogue and a sudden silence fell:

     If we shadows have offended,
     Think but this (and all is mended)
     That you have but slumber'd here
     While these visions did appear.
     And this weak and idle theme,
     No more yielding but a dream . . .

The cheers and shouts echoed from Main Street to Cat Bells.  The
gipsies under the wood heard it; an old man, driving his cart home
to Watendlath, heard it and in a piping voice began to sing . . .

                  THE DANCING ON THE MEADOW

The moon rose, triumphantly full, made of light and crystal, lucent
in a sky fiery with stars.  The evening was so warm that everyone
brought food in baskets, in napkins and bags, and sat about on the
meadow waiting for the Town Band.

Judith, Jennifer and the children had planned to stay and see the
dancing and the fireworks, but now Jennifer wished to go home.
They had all been resting at Miss Pennyfeather's and had started
towards the Lake to see the fireworks when Jennifer caught Judith's

'I think I will go home, Judith.'

They were standing under the trees.  Adam, John and Dorothy had
gone on to the margin of the Lake that they might watch the
trembling path of the moon on the water, and the boats like dark
fragments of cloud that floated into the light and out again.

'But why, Jennifer?' Judith asked.  'Are you unwell?'

'No,' said Jennifer.  'I have a foreboding.'

'A foreboding?  Of what?'

'I cannot say . . .  Perhaps it is being so near to that wicked man
all day--the murderer of my husband.'

'Nonsense, Jennifer.  You must not have these fancies, you must
not.  Come.  The fireworks will shortly commence.'

'No.  I prefer to go home.'

'But we cannot find Bennett . . .  And I have no notion where Mr
Rackstraw has gone.  Jennifer, dear . . .  Here is a seat.  Rest
here for a moment.'

The two women sat down together.  Judith took Jennifer's hand, but
the gaiety and happiness that had accompanied her all day were
gone.  Once (what years ago it seemed!) in Paris she had been with
her friend Emma Furze, watching the dancing, and suddenly, without
warning, Warren Forster, the father of Adam, who was shortly then
to be born, appeared in front of her.  She remembered now the sharp
sense that she had had of Fate stepping up through the dark trees
beside her.  She had the same sense now.

'What is it, Jennifer? . . .  It has been a most beautiful day.
Everyone has been happy.'

'I cannot help it, Judith.  I am growing an old woman now, but
whenever I see that man I am afraid.  He has been close to me all
day--and the nearer he comes to me the greater terror I feel.  And
I am sure that one day he will build a house in Uldale and he will
look into our windows.  He will kill me; yes, he will kill me just
as he murdered Francis.  And then he will kill John and Dorothy.'

Judith started.  Could Jennifer know of Walter's threat to build on
High Ireby?  She herself had never spoken of it, but someone else
might have done.  Walter had held his hand now for a long while; of
late he had let them be except that there was a story of John's
that he had looked out of window one night and seen Walter on his
horse, motionless, staring at the house.  But that may have been
dream or fantasy.  John had all the imagination of his father.

'No, no, Jennifer . . .  Listen--you must not think about Walter.
He has forgotten us.  He has not been near us for years.  Really he
has not.  And I am looking after you.  While I am there no harm can
come to you.'

Judith felt as though she had a large overgrown child beside her.
Jennifer was as usual untidy, her turban was a little askew.  Her
fine dress of white muslin that went wonderfully with her dark hair
trailed at the skirt: her cashmere shawl was torn in one place.
Through how many differing stages of relation she had been with
Jennifer, Judith thought!  From that first vision of her at
Christabel's Ball in their youth when Jennifer, in her Medici
dress, had been the loveliest creature in the world, through
jealousy and anger, almost to hatred (she recalled vividly still
that day at tea at Mrs Southey's), to this complete, kindly, but a
little scornful domination!

'Come, Jennifer . . .  Do not go home . . .  It will make the
children unhappy.  They are having such a wonderful day.  There
will be the fireworks and then the dancing.  It is so warm a

Jennifer laid a trembling hand on Judith's.

'Judith, I know something dreadful will occur.'

'Nonsense.  Nonsense . . .  Now this truly is nonsense.  We must
not spoil the children's amusement.'  ('And my own amusement as
well,' thought Judith.  'I have never enjoyed a day so much.')

But she had made this one appeal to Jennifer that must be
successful.  Selfish, apprehensive, sluggish though she was, she
wished the children to be happy, and especially John, whom she

So they went, arm-in-arm, to the Lakeside.

The fireworks were a great success, and when they had watched them
they walked slowly up the hill to the meadow.  Adam went with
Judith.  They were of a size now.  Adam was as tall as his mother.

'Are you happy, Adam?'

'Yes, Mama.'  He gave her arm a little squeeze.  'I AM glad Will
won the race.'

'Yes, so am I--but you should have told me that you were going . . .
I had no notion where you were.'

'Yes, Mama . . .  Can we go and see the gipsies?'

'Yes, if you stay beside me.'

When they came to the field the theatre was cleared away, and where
the audience had sat the Town Band was.  The great moon shone down
on them all like a kindly benevolent hostess who had arranged the
festivity and saw that it was good.

Young John had but one thought.  His eyes roamed the scene.  But
poor John!  He moved as we move in a nightmare seeking some person
or place, but baffled at every moment by figures, mists and sudden
catastrophes.  The moonlight was now bright enough, the space wide
enough for an army of young lovers, but fate played with him,
catching him now here, now there, as though it were warning him
that it would be better for him to ride home, find his bed and hide
there.  First he encountered one of the Miss Pendexters, who at
once drew him into a babble of chatter:  '. . . Well, now, that's
a true saying about an ill wind, for only a moment ago I was asking
your mother how you were finding it all.  "John's enjoying himself,
you may be sure," I said to her, "for this is just a night . . ."
Oh, there's Major Bellenden.  I was going to ask him . . . and a
perfect little house my sister and I have moved into.  We insist
that you come to see us.  Perfect situation, near the road so that
there's always something passing, and dear Crosthwaite Church only
half a mile . . .  Yes, I was telling your mother--how lovely she
is in the white muslin, to be sure--I was telling your mother that
it will be no trouble of an evening to find our way to Miss
Pennyfeather's for a game, for on a dark night Maria with a lantern
is all we need, and often enough we can make up a table for
ourselves.  For our friends are so obliging--so very good . . .'

Escaping from this he ran into a confusion of happy life.  So dry
was the night that everyone sat on the grass, watching the dancing
and exchanging all the gossip.  The town, the countryside, all was
represented.  The music of the band came gently through the air.

And more turbulent every moment was the evening becoming, for there
were rough fellows from Cockermouth and Whitehaven, there were the
gipsies, and bottles were passing from hand to hand.  The dancing
was growing wilder.  Stout wives picked up their skirts and romped.
Old grandfathers with a 'tee-hee-hee' pinched the arms of young
girls, babies cried, dogs barked, but the woods made a dark
frontier, the sky a star-fretted canopy, the mountains kept guard.

Through this whirling, noisy scene John found his way, looking into
every face, thinking that maybe her mother had taken her home,
praying that that might not be.

Then, mounting the hill towards the gipsy encampment, he saw the
whole party.  They had found some trestle seats--Walter, James and
the young men were exceedingly gay; Mrs Walter Herries and
Elizabeth were a little apart, quietly watching.  John waited,
taking in with all his soul Elizabeth as she stood, a dark cloak
now over her shoulders; the rest of the world, the dancers, the
lighted fires, the stars that sparkled above the heavy wood,
vanished.  She was alone and in her silence and quiet, a saint in a
chapel secret and remote for his own single worship.  He stayed
there a long while.  In his twenty years he had known no feeling
like this, nothing that made him both so proud and so humble, so
resolute and so brave, but so timid also with a shy foreboding.

She was a child, eight years younger than himself; she was the
daughter of his greatest enemy.  He was conscious then of Walter,
who was being very merry and noisy, so that you could hear his
laughter above all the rest.  He was aware too of Uhland, who sat
like a little ghost beside his father.

Without knowing it, he had moved nearer and then nearer again.  On
any other occasion nothing could have compelled him to approach
those figures who stood to him for everything in life that he hated
and feared the most.

He had come up behind them, and then, as though she had known,
Elizabeth turned round to look at the downward slope of the hill
and the light on the water.  They were all absorbed in the dancing,
and the two, as though in a trance, came together.

They had exchanged only two sentences of convention in all their
lives, but it seemed to her quite natural that he should say,
looking at her but coming no closer:

'I have been searching for you everywhere.'

'Oh!' she said with a little cry of warning, looking back.

'Yes, I know . . .  But I must see you again.  I must, I must.'

'One day--yes . . .  I would like it--'

'Where?'  He came nearer until he almost touched her.

She shook her head.

'We must not--'

'Listen,' he said quickly.  'I will write.  Our coachman will find
a way to give it you--'

She stared at him as though she must see him so intensely that she
would remember afterwards all his features.  She nodded as though
they had made a compact, then slowly she turned back.

No one can say what he would have done then, of what madness he
might not have been capable, had he not seen, with a dismay that
thrust him in an instant from one world into another, his mother,
Judith and Dorothy approaching.

To his horror he saw that they, quite unconsciously, were walking
directly into the Westaways group.  He would have thought that for
some mad reason they were doing this deliberately, had it not been
that they were so plainly unaware.  For Judith was laughing,
pointing with her stick to some dancers, and Dorothy was teasing
Adam as though she were trying to make him dance.  He did dance a
few steps, looking in the moonlight like a little animal, with his
long arms and short body.  They all laughed.  John heard Judith
say:  'Here is a fine place.  We can see well from here.'  He would
have started forward to warn them, but it was too late.

In another moment Judith had almost stumbled on the bench where
Walter was sitting.

John came forward as though to protect his mother.  Walter Herries
stood up.  It was plain that he had been drinking heavily, for he
lurched a little on his great legs as he stood.

Jennifer was transfixed with terror.  In all the years since her
husband's death she had never until now been face to face with him.

Walter took off his hat.

'Good evening, ladies!  How agreeable a surprise!  Not unexpected
too.  Will you not join us?'

Jennifer caught at Judith's arm.

'Oh, come, Judith.  Come away!'

But Walter was delighted.  Such scenes he fancied.  The young
Durward Herries boys, who saw something strange was abroad, stared,
their laughter checked.

'Well, Jennifer,' Walter said.  'It is a long time since we met.
It was my mother you knew, I think.  I hope that you cherish no ill-
will, though, for I assure you that I do not.'

'Thank you, Walter,' Judith broke in.  'This is too public for your
wit.  Jennifer, we will turn back--'

But he strode forward so that he almost touched Jennifer's arm.  He
made no sign that anyone existed for him but Jennifer, who shrank
back against Judith.

'No, no.  Why so unfriendly?  We must be friends, we must indeed.
For we are to be neighbours.  Very near neighbours indeed.  You
didn't know?  But, of course . . .  At High Ireby.  I am to start
building in a month or so.'

'You cannot--' Jennifer answered.  That would be terrible.  I could

'Why, yes,' said Walter.  He took a step nearer.  Then John, seized
with a wild fury, struck him in the chest.  Walter tottered, for he
was not at all steady, almost fell.  There were cries, exclamations.
Little Uhland had rushed forward, hitting at John's legs.

It was, in fact, a most ludicrous, lamentable scene, for the other
young Herries men, themselves rather drunk, came forward (not very
aware of what they would do).  Judith lifted her stick, Agnes
Herries caught Walter's arm . . .

Then in a moment the publicity of it hit them all.  They stood
transfixed in a frozen group.  Two gipsies approached and one of
them, a young woman with an orange kerchief and a cage of little
green birds said:  'Lady . . .  Pretty lady . . .  The birds will
tell your fortune . . .  Happy luck, lady.'

Walter steadied himself.

'Here,' he said, 'you can tell my fortune, my girl, and give me a
fine one.'

With great dignity, very slowly, Judith and Jennifer, their
children following them, turned down the hill.


Walter Herries had told Jennifer that the building of his house on
High Ireby was at once to begin.  It was not, however, until the
month of March 1830 that the foundations were first laid--and it
happened that Jennifer was there to see.

Jennifer never recovered from that shock of the encounter with
Walter on the night of the Summer Fair.  It was the climax to a
series of events that stretched back to that old Ball of her youth,
and possibly, behind that again, to her earliest nursery escape
from reality.  She did not know now--she had not an analytic mind--
what had happened to her or indeed why anything had ever happened
to her at all.  She was an old woman--this year saw her sixtieth
birthday--but for all her years she felt herself to be still a
young girl most unjustly treated by everyone.

In the early days--they seemed to her to be as recent as last
evening--she had never had justice.  Her beauty had brought her
nothing: everything had been always just awry.  She would have been
the Duchess of Wrexe and a great woman of the world had not the
Duke been so unpleasant a young man and the position of great lady
so tedious and wearisome.  She would have been a quiet beauty in
the country had not Francis, her husband, been a weakling.  She
would have been a splendid Mistress had not her lover been a clod.
She would have been a triumphant Mother had her children loved her.
She would be now mistress of her house had not Judith taken
selfishly everything out of her hands.  Always injustice,
everywhere injustice.  No one saw what she was and no one cared.

The sluggish slackness in her that had ruined her life she did not
perceive, for we never catch the causes of our fate, so clear to
everyone around us.  She might even now have been a fine tragic
figure had she had the intelligence to look noble, the energy to
tidy her hair, the wisdom to have reticence.

She had never had dignity or wisdom; she had been always the slave
of trifles, small jealousies, degrading idleness, lazy avoidances
of trouble.

But the terror of Walter struck into her character as a snake
strikes.  She was poisoned in all her being.  The infection spread
slowly, but from the moment that Judith consented to stay and took
the house into her hands, Jennifer was lost.  She had now nothing
to do but brood over Walter.  She cowered beneath his shadow,
unable to move, waiting the awful moment.

As his shadow grew ever more terrible the figures immediately
around her became themselves shadows.  John had once been her
darling, Judith's Adam a pleasure, the servants agreeable, her
daughter Dorothy 'a good girl', Judith herself, although a tyrant,
exceedingly useful and a safeguard.

After her scene with Walter all these were as unsubstantial to her
as figures on a tapestry.  She might have been still a fine woman;
she had yet all her height, her hair (once so lovely) was white
with, if she had cared, a fine lustre in its silver.  But she was
untidy, careless, a slattern.  Any old clothes did for her, her
hair escaped its pins, she would tap-tap in loose slippers, an old
shawl over her shoulders, from room to room.  Only her eyes were
good, and the blaze in them, their intensity, belied all the rest
of her, so that they were like a bright fire in a lumber-room.  She
would begin sentences and not finish them, eat food greedily and
suddenly abandon it, pet John and Adam eagerly and then look at
them as though she did not know them.  The servants disregarded
her; they took their orders from Madame.

Judith knew that terror was of an especial danger to anyone of even
part Herries blood.  She had seen, in all her active varied life,
that the history of the Herries, as of so many British families,
was that of a building impregnable, as its builders thought, to the
attacks of all outside forces.  But the outside forces are strong
and immortal.  Nothing tempts their malicious humour so thoroughly
as the complacency of the builders.  Here they twist a chimney,
there a window rattles, now the wind sweeps wildly up the ordered
garden, the iron-sheathed door shudders, a picture falls, the
carpet rises on the floor.

Jennifer's parents had been typical Herries, good, complacent,
satisfied, laughing at imagination.  Jennifer, so lovely, their
pride, their joy, must be safe if any Herries was.  Who would dare
to touch her?  So, in their love for her, they took from her all
her defences.  Now, when a vision of another world more real than
the Herries one might have saved her, she had no vision.  And
Judith could not help her.

From the moment of Walter's threat, for two years and a half, she
waited.  But life does not allow you to wait.  No one knew what the
matter with her was and, more tragically, no one cared.  Her
children had loved her, but Dorothy was all for comfort and found
her uncomfortable, while John, after he knew of the reasons for his
father's suicide, shrank, against all his will and wish, from
contact.  Moreover, he had now something so absorbing in his life
that his mother was dim to him, as he was to her.

Judith could have loved her because she pitied her and pity, with
Judith, was maternal; but daily contact with Jennifer's laziness,
carelessness, selfishness, turned pity into impatience, and when
Judith was impatient she was at her worst.

So Jennifer was alone with her terror.

As the time advanced, that terror took strange forms.  High Ireby
became a place of extraordinary fascination for her.  It was
several miles from Uldale and uphill for most of the way, but day
after day she walked through the fields, climbed the slope and then
stood, under the trees, gazing at the lovely scene--the walls of a
ruined cottage, a small wood of whispering trees, remnants of a
garden patch, and the long slope of the melancholy fields with the
village and house of Uldale tucked into the hollow.

To the right were the sprawling slopes of Blencathra and Skiddaw.
They lay against the sky like the careless limbs of a giant sleeper
under an enormous coverlet tossed into casual shapes.  She knew
here all weathers, all seasons.  She would stand against the ruined
wall, under the trees, a tall, motionless old woman in a tawdry
hat, clutching her shawl, staring in front of her.  She became a
familiar figure to the inhabitants of the village near by.  It was
not strange that she should soon have a reputation for madness, but
she was not mad in the least.  She would stand there, or sit on a
tumbled stone, and reflect, in a lazy way, on her misfortune--not
on any very definite misfortune but on the general way in which she
was ill-treated and neglected.  Sometimes she would determine that
on her return to Uldale that day she would tell them all what she
thought of them--Judith, John, Dorothy, even Mr Rackstraw--but she
never did.  Partly it was too much trouble, partly when she was
once again in the comfortable parlour at Uldale drinking tea before
the fire or, in the summer, sitting under the tree on the lawn in
the sunshine, she was cosy like a cat and smiled, lazily, on

She had too, all this time, marvellous health.  Nothing ailed her.

She had perhaps the idea, as she stood in the little wood, day
after day, that thus she was defying Walter.  During all these two
years she never saw him in the flesh.  He became the more monstrous
because she did not see him.

Then one day at last the thing happened.  That March there was a
late fall of snow.  During the first week of that month a blizzard
blew across the North, adding discomfort to all the hardships that
the poor people were, at that time, already suffering.  Waters were
frozen, the sun, when it broke through, turned the snow-ridges into
shining marble, the crows were spots of ink on the virgin fields.

She had had a cold for a week, and Judith had kept her in bed, but
as soon as she was up she strode across the fields again, her shawl
flapping behind her, climbed the hill and walked into a multitude
of men.

Trees were falling.  It seemed that on every side of her the trees
were tumbling.  The walls of the ruined cottage were no more.  Men
walked measuring the ground.  A fire was lit on the snow and
illuminated the broken whiteness of the scene that stretched back
into the farther shadows of the wood.

As she stood back in the road hidden by two huge horses from whose
nostrils steam struck the air, a tree fell with a great crash and a
groan that seemed to come from her own heart.  Men shouted
joyfully, and some boys, muffled against the cold, danced round the

She stepped into the middle of the road and several of them saw
her.  Two gentlemen on horseback, attended by little Peach,
Walter's agent, were watching the proceedings: one of them was the
architect, Mr Humphrey Carstairs from London, the other, young
Julius Hopper, a clever lad working in old Mr Bonner's office in
Keswick.  Old Mr Bonner was the oldest, stupidest and laziest
architect in the North of England, and no one despised him quite so
deeply as did young Julius.  Young Julius was slim and dark and
exceedingly handsome in his high-collared dark green overcoat;
Carstairs was squat, thick, his head almost hidden in the curves of
his plum-coloured capes.  He bent low in his saddle; he suffered
severely from rheumatism.

He turned and saw the strange woman in the old-fashioned hat, drawn
to her full height in the middle of the snowy road.  He stared,
then turned to young Julius.  'Who's the old body in the shawl?' he

Young Julius stared also.  He knew who she was: his first thought
was that this would be amusing for Walter Herries if he rode over
that afternoon.  His second was of alarm.  She looked crazy; he
knew, of course, of the feud.  She might have a pistol under that
shawl of hers.  He was a warm young man, fond of life, very
ambitious.  He had no desire to die as yet.  Another tree fell; men
were dragging branches across the snow that blew in little smoky
spirals of silver into the air.  The flames of the fire leaped, and
an old man sitting by it, with a great red comforter round his neck
and yellow mittens, began to play on a fiddle.  The mittens made
his fingers clumsy, but the men liked the music and worked with a
better will.

'She's a Mrs Herries from Uldale yonder,' young Julius whispered.
'She's a sort of cousin of Walter Herries.'  Then he added:  'I'll
go speak to her.'

With what he felt to be exceptional bravery (for it was possible
enough that she concealed a pistol) he dragged his horse's head
round and rode towards her.  She never moved, but stood there in
the road, staring at the men, the fallen trees, the old man in the
bright red comforter.  Young Julius raised his hat.

'Good afternoon, Mrs Herries.'  Then he said, smiling:  'Very
wintry for March, ma'am.'

He wasn't sure that she saw him.  He moved his horse a little to
the right.

Then she said:  'What is going on here?'

He was able now to see her eyes, the pallor of her face, something
dignified in her isolation.  He spoke with the greatest politeness
as he answered:

'Why, ma'am, Mr Walter Herries of Westaways is to build a house

'Indeed?'  She nodded her head.  'A house of some size?'

'Oh, yes.  It is to be a very fine place indeed--gardens and a
fountain, magnificent stables.  A lonely spot, though, to have
chosen.  Mr Carstairs there from London is the architect.'

'What is your name?'

She looked at him directly and there was something in her eyes that
touched him very truly.

'My name, ma'am, is Hopper--Julius Hopper.  I am assistant to Mr
Bonner, the architect in Keswick.  I know your son, Jack Herries,
well.  We are very good friends.'

'Ah, yes, my son.'  Her eyes went back to the fire that seemed to
have a great fascination for her.  The thin, reedy, uncertain
squeak of the fiddle came whining through the sharp air.

'And how long will it be in the building?'

'A considerable while, ma'am.  Mr Herries wishes everything to be
of the best . . .'

'Ah . . .  He wishes everything to be of the best . . .'

'Yes, ma'am.  And these are not easy times.  Although so many are
without employment, it is not easy to get good workmen and wages
are high.  As soon as we have Reform things will be better.'

'You believe in Reform?'

'I do indeed, ma'am.  We shall have Revolution else, like the

'You are wrong.'  She spoke with slow consideration, as though she
beat every word upon the ground.  'Reform itself is Revolution.
The country will be ruined.  The country is in any case ruined.'

'I hope not indeed.'

'Ah, you are young . . .'

She moved away from him up the road.  His horse stepped beside her.
He would never forget that odd, tall, black figure with the crazy
hat, moving against the snow.  He thought after that it had been a
kind of omen, but he was a sane practical young man who did not
believe in omens, although out of habit he avoided walking under a

She came so far and then saw Peach.  Mr Carstairs had come down
from his horse and now he and Peach were studying a plan.  Jennifer
scarcely knew Peach, and yet his short bow-legged figure was in
some way familiar to her.  She looked up at Julius, and he, not
knowing what to say, remarked:

'The snowdrops are doing bravely in spite of the snow.'  There was
a great patch of them under the trees.  Some of them were already
trodden down and, as he looked, two men, carrying a log, tramped
upon the patch.

'Oh, the snowdrops!'  She put her hand on his knee, leaning up to
him.  'Tell Walter Herries what he is destroying.'

She turned and walked swiftly down the road, catching her shawl
more closely about her.  The three men turned to watch her.

Meanwhile at Uldale, as it happened on that same afternoon, Judith
assisted by Dorothy Herries was entertaining four lady callers--old
Miss Pennyfeather, Mrs Leyland of The Ridge, Bassenthwaite, and her
two daughters Nancy and Bella.

Miss Pennyfeather had been driven over by Judith, who had been
taking luncheon with her in Keswick; the Leylands had come over
from Bassenthwaite in their barouche.  All the ladies were very
pleasantly animated: the three elders, their heads together, near
the fire, and the girls laughing and chattering by the window.

For the Leyland girls this was an adventure.  Dorothy Herries,
blooming with health and good temper, was two years older than
Nancy and Bella, who were twins and were wanting to be married, for
they were already twenty years of age and soon it would be too
late.  They were nice simple girls who had never been to London and
only visited the theatre in Newcastle and were eager for gossip and
adventure.  They were pale, flaxen, tall and slim, and dressed
alike.  They wore dresses of poplin, colour violette de Parme, with
heart-shaped bodices, and the corsages long and tight at the waist.
They had hats of rice straw with very wide brims, trimmed with
anemones.  Each thought the other looked bewitching, for they were
generous and warm-hearted by nature.

They had never been to Uldale before on a visit, and this was a
great adventure.  'Madame' was a 'character' through the whole
countryside, and it was wonderful to be entertained in her parlour.
Or was it Mrs Herries' parlour?  People said that she was mad and
walked about the country singing songs to herself--mad, poor thing,
because her husband had discovered her with her lover and he had
killed himself.  Very shocking, but HOW romantic!  And then her son
John was so handsome, the best-looking young man in the North, a
little sad and pensive as a good-looking young man ought to be.
(For they adored Thaddeus of Warsaw and Mrs Cuthbertson's Santo
Sebastiano and Mrs Meeke's Midnight Weddings.)  Dorothy on the
other hand--whom they loved at sight--was not melancholy at all and
laughed all the while.

Then there was 'Madame's' boy whom they did hope they'd get a sight
of.  He was, of course, illegitimate, which made him so
interesting, although everyone knew who the father had been.  He
SHOULD have been romantic and melancholy, but people said that he
was ugly and silent and kept to himself.  Nevertheless, it would be
ADORABLE to see him!

While they laughed and chattered by the window they tried to keep
an ear open for the company by the fire.  For Miss Pennyfeather did
say such SHOCKING things and their mother (Mrs Leyland was stout
and jolly) had told them that on no account were they to listen to
Miss Pennyfeather's wickedness, so they were naturally all ears.

But the ladies seemed to be talking of nothing but Reform, Lord
John Russell, and of Brougham's attack on Lady Jersey in The Times,
and how bitter she was against Reform, and so on, and so on--dull

Then Dorothy let it out that next month 'Madame' and her son were
to go to London to stay with some relations.  THAT was exciting!
To go to London!  To see the great Simpson at Vauxhall, to visit
the New Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park, to attend a Masquerade
in the Argyll Rooms, to catch a glimpse of the Duke, and best of
all the Theatre, the Surrey, the Royalty, or Sadler's Wells.

They knew all about it; it was as though they had been in London
all their lives.  They looked across to the fire and that little
upright dominating woman in her crimson dress with the huge
sleeves; they stared (as unobtrusively as politeness insisted) at
her small pale face, her neat grey hair, her ivory cane, and
watched her bright eyes, her smile, the tapping of her small foot
on the carpet.  People said that she was the daughter of a gipsy
and that her father, although of the finest family, had been a
rogue and vagabond.  And here she was, with her illegitimate boy,
behaving as though she were Queen of England.  Ah!  WHAT a romantic
afternoon they were having!

It was made yet more splendid by the entrance of John Herries.
Both girls, at sight of him, had the same thought.  What a LOVER he
would make!  But there was something that told them at once that he
was not for them.  He came over to them and made himself very
charming.  His voice was soft and gentle.  Yes, he WAS melancholy,
although he teased his sister and chaffed them about their beaux at
a recent Ball in Keswick.  But they felt that his mind was

What a HERO of a novel he would make!  He was too gentle to be
truly Byronic, but he would suit The False Step exactly!  How
beautifully he went and paid his devoir to their mother, with what
ease!  And yet he was in no way effeminate, quite unlike that
horrid William d'Arcy of Threlkeld, or, on the other hand, that
oaf, young Osmaston.

Well, it was time for them to be going.  Darkness would soon
swallow the pale saffron twilight.  Already the candles were lit in
the room.  Mrs Leyland rose to make her adieux when the door opened
and the strangest figure stood in the doorway.

Jennifer stood there, her hat a little askew, her long thin fingers
clutching her shawl.  She could see but indistinctly.  The
candlelight blinded her, coming in as she did from the dark snow-
shine road.  But she saw Judith.

'Judith!  Judith!  He has begun to build!'

The cry, shrill, poignant, broke the comfortable cosiness of the
room into fragments.  Jennifer had awaked at last.

'Judith!  They are trampling on the snowdrops . . .  The trees are

She stumbled forward, her hat ever more askew as she moved, and
Judith, coming to her, caught her hand.

'Wait, Jennifer.  There are guests here . . .'

Mrs Leyland, good and kind woman as she was, did the right thing.
She chattered:

'Well, I'm sure . . .  How do you do, Mrs Herries?  A cold
afternoon to be out in.  You must be weary, and a cup of tea will
be the very thing.  And now we must be going.  So very dark,
although William is a most careful driver.  We brought him from
Newcastle with us.  He was always careful from a boy.  Might
William be summoned, Mrs Herries?  Thank you.  Most kind.  Come,
girls.  William will have the horses in an instant.  He is always
so prompt.  It has been truly most delightful.  I'm sure . . .'

But Jennifer was not to be silenced by any chatter.  She saw only
one thing, one terrible thing, before her eyes--and she must
declare it.  Judith had seated her on the sofa, had pulled the bell-
rope, was pouring a cup of hot tea.  Dorothy had come round to her
mother.  The girls stood in the window, not knowing quite what they
should do but enthralled by what they saw and heard.  John had gone
to hasten Mrs Leyland's horses.

'Yes, he has begun at last, Judith.  All his men are there,
measuring the ground, and it is to be a huge place with a fountain
and fine stabling.  All the trees are falling, and they have lit a
fire in the snow.'

'It is Walter Herries,' Judith explained sotto voce.  'He has been
threatening for a long while that he would build on High Ireby that
he may overlook us--and now it seems that he has done it.'

'Well,' cried old Miss Pennyfeather.  'Let him, and much good may
it do him!  I cannot endure Walter and I don't care who hears me.
Fat overgrown bully!  Let him build with his limping child and puny
wife!  Don't you worry, Judith.  'Tis all stuff and nonsense!  He
can't harm you and he knows it!'

'Yes, indeed,' said Mrs Leyland, gazing anxiously at the door for
news of her horses.  'I should think so indeed.  So he's to be our
neighbour at Ireby, is he?  A pretty neighbour, and so Mr Leyland
will prove to him if he comes bothering our way.  Come, girls--
William must have brought the horses round.'

But Jennifer looked at them all with startled, staring eyes.

'He will not be content until he has destroyed us.  I knew it from
the first.  All his windows will look down on us.  We must leave
Uldale.  I always said that he would have his way!'

Judith was sitting beside her.  She had one of her hands in hers.

'Jennifer, Jennifer . . .  You must not be so distressed.  Cousin
Walter will do us no harm.  How can he?  What if he does build a
house at Ireby?  That can do us no harm.  Come, come, Jennifer . . .'

How soft and gentle her voice was, thought the girls, and how crazy
Mrs Herries looked, poor woman, with her hat on one side!

Mrs Leyland beamed comfortably on them.  'I am sure Ireby is no
place for a house, no place at all.  I cannot think why he should
choose such a spot, and Westaways good enough for anyone, I should
have thought.  I always said he was a strange man, and Mr Leyland,
who is downright if any man is, remarked to me only a week back
that he was growing far too stout for his health.  If he could but
give some of his size to his wife, poor woman . . .'

John appeared in the doorway.

'Come, girls.  Here's Mr Herries to say that William has the horses
round.  Has he not, Mr Herries?  That's excellent.  William is
always so prompt.  Good day to you.  Good day.  Good day.  MOST
delightful.  Never enjoyed anything more.  Come, girls.  TOO kind
of you, Mrs Herries.  It's time we were moving on, with the snow
and everything . . .  You must all come over to Bassenthwaite at
the nearest opportunity.  Oh, I insist.  I take no refusal.  So
very good of you, Mrs Herries--'

When the Leylands were out of the room a silence fell.  Jennifer
drank her tea.  Then she rose.

'There is no peace for us any more here,' she said.  'You may
laugh, Judith, but it is so.  He will destroy us all.'  Then,
staring at Miss Pennyfeather as though she were seeing her for the
first time, she added:  'They were trampling on the snowdrops.  It
is to be a tremendous place with rows of windows.  I think I will
go to my room.'

She walked out.

Judith sighed.

'If that isn't unfortunate!  Poor Jennifer!  And the Leylands will
talk for weeks!'  Then taking Miss Pennyfeather's arm she added:
'Janet, come up with me.  You are the most sensible woman I know.
Talk to her.  I'm of no service when she's like this.'

So Dorothy and John were left alone.  Dorothy saw at once that her
brother was greatly disturbed; he stood there, fingering his high
stock and looking, as she remembered her father had sometimes
looked, as though he were going to be sick.  At such a time she
could not help him.  She was good about sensible practical things
like a broken leg, a bloody head, a cold in the chest, but when
John was in a mood she was uncomfortable as though he were
improper.  Although she was the soul of good nature and almost
always in a good temper, she resented the states into which her
mother and brother sometimes tumbled.

John said at last:

'Nothing can help mother.  Now that she has this in her head.'

'I'll see about some linden tea,' Dorothy said.  'It has soothed
her many a time.'  And relieved at an opportunity of escape, she
bustled out.

She had been gone but a moment when Adam came in.  Adam was now
fourteen and a half.  He had filled out in the last two years and
was deep of chest, thick across the shoulders.  His black hair was
always untidy; a lock hung now over his forehead.  He was ruddy
with health, with the brown colour that made so many who didn't
know him think him a foreigner, but he was English enough all the
same, with the broad brow, snub nose, large mouth, square body,
short sturdy legs, bright eyes like his mother's.  He was English,
too, in his reticence and hatred of demonstration.  This affected
him now, for he saw at once that John was worried and would need
his help.  John liked demonstrations: there were times when he
wanted Adam to show him that he loved him, and although Adam did
love him more than any human thing save his mother, he hated to
show it.  Oh! how he hated it!

He was in rough country things and his high boots were muddy, for
he had been out with Rackstraw, Bennett and the dogs rabbiting and
had had a glorious afternoon.  When he saw that John's distress was
so real he thought to himself, 'Let John do what he likes to me if
it helps him.'  With a backward glance he threw reluctantly behind
him all the happiness of the afternoon, the crisp air, the scent of
the snow, the yelping of the dogs, the sunlight breaking in silver
across the slow fields.

'Adam, Mother has been to High Ireby.  Walter Herries has begun to

'I knew it,' Adam said quickly.  'Bennett told me.'

'Mother is very unhappy.  She came in while the Leylands were here
and spoke as though she were crazy.  This will SEND her crazy!  If
I could do something!  How I hate him!  He comes nearer and nearer
with his sneer and his crooked son and--'  He broke off.

'Pooh!' said Adam, cracking his whip against his boot as grown men
did.  'It's fun, John--fine fun!  Why should you care?  And your
mother will be better now that it's happened.  It has been the
waiting for it . . .'

'I am afraid of nothing else,' John went on.  'Nothing but this.
I'm no coward.  You know that I'm not.  But Cousin Walter, since
the days when we were small . . .  Do you remember that evening
when he rode up to the house and we watched him?  And now that I'm
managing the estate it brings me closer to him.  Oh, Adam, I wish
that you and Aunt Judith were not going to London--'

'It's grand!' Adam cried, throwing out his chest.  'There'll be the
coach and the lights, chimneys smoking and everyone shouting, and
mother says we shall go to a theatre--'

'Adam,' John broke in.  'There's something else.  I must tell you.
I have been intending so for three months past, but no one knows.
It makes everything so difficult--'  He broke off and began to pace
the room.  Adam, his legs straddling, waited.  'It's this.  You're
to tell no one, Adam.'

'No one,' repeated Adam, and meant it.

It's Elizabeth--Walter's daughter.  We are in love.  We have been
so for more than two years.  It began the night of the Summer


'Yes, yes . . .  Why should it not be?  There is no one so lovely,
so good, so lovely--'

'But she is a child, a little girl--'

'She is your own age, Adam.  In two years she will be seventeen--'

'Elizabeth!  HIS daughter!'

'Yes, yes . . .  I know all that you can say.  I have said it all
to myself again and again.  But it happened at sight, and now it is
for ever.  Nothing can change it.'

Love--love of girls and women--as yet seemed to Adam an absurdly
inexplicable business, a waste of time, a ludicrous sentimentality.
And now this, for a child who was a baby, the daughter of their
greatest enemy whom they had sworn always to hate, the sister of
the loathsome, deformed Uhland . . .  An impulse to despise John
rose in his heart and was at once loyally driven down again.

'Oh, John!'

'Do not pity me.  Do not laugh.  We love one another for ever, and
so soon as she is old enough we shall marry.'

'No, no, you must not!'  Adam caught his arm.  'Uncle Walter's
daughter! . . .  I shall never speak to you again if you do!'

'Well, then, don't!  I don't care!'

'But, John, how CAN you?  For two years?  And you've been meeting?'

'Sometimes.  But not often.  We write.'

Adam turned, with a gesture of disgust as though he would leave the
room, but John gripped his shoulder.

'Adam, you must listen.  You MUST.  You are the only friend I have.
The only one.  I love you more than anyone in the world save
Elizabeth.  Again and again we have sworn that nothing should
separate us--'

'Yes, but this--'

'No; you are young.  You don't understand--'

'I'm not young.'  Adam broke away.  'If you wish to love a girl you
can, but not HIS daughter.'

'But don't you see?  I could not help it.  As I breathe so I love
her.  You will yourself one day--'

John's eyes caught Adam's and held him.  There was an expression in
them that struck to the very depths of Adam's loyalty and devotion.
He knew then that he could never desert John, never, whatever the

He muttered something, looking away.

'Mind--it is our secret.'

Adam nodded his head, then said gruffly:

'I must go to the stables.  Caesar has a sore leg.  Coming?'


They--Judith and Adam--had spent the most glorious night at the
George, Stamford, in the very room, so the landlord himself
informed them, occupied by his Sacred Majesty, King Charles the
First, when he slept there on his way from Newark to Huntingdon on
the night of August 23rd, 1645.  This Judith, in ordinary
circumstances, would never have believed (although the room was
splendid with oak beams and a huge four-poster and a small closet
off it where Adam slept and snored), but the fact was that she was
so greatly excited by her journey and by the expectation of London
(where she had not been for so long a time) and by the temporary
escape from Uldale, that she behaved like a child of ten and was
ready to believe anything.  One of the drawers remarked to another
of the drawers that he'd never yet seen an old lady like it.  They
had had to wait for their adventure for it was not until the second
week in October that they left Uldale.

Adam was quite as deeply excited as his mother and expressed his
emotions in sudden fiery little sentences, like shots from a gun,
that seemed to have little or no relation to one another.

Everything was glorious, the long ride in the coach the day before
(Adam had insisted on sitting outside, although it was terribly
cold and there was a place for him inside), the sound of the horn,
the spanking pace of the horses, the incidental humours of the road
and, most especially, the powers and personality of Mr Joe Dorset,
the Coachman, with whom Adam was utterly and entirely in love.

Then had come the falling dusk, the lights of the town, the
bustling courtyard of the George, the wonderful dinner when, like a
gentleman, Adam had drunk his mother's health in marvellous claret,
sitting up in his chair so straight that he nearly broke his back
in two (he and his mother so grand at a table all to themselves,
while the old gentleman with three chins and two daughters
entertained the table in the middle of the room with his anecdotes
of Tom Hennessey and his shooting adventures in Scotland), and then
the great bedroom in which King Charles had slept, and his mother
going upstairs to it in such stately fashion, the landlord himself
in front with two candles, that you would have thought her Royalty.

But all this was nothing at all to the glory of the next day when
they started in a pale golden dawn, frost in the air, and the roans
stamping their hoofs to be off.  Adam, wrapped in a hundred coats,
had the glory of sitting beside the great Joe with the old three-
chinned gentleman on his other side.

He could observe everything and listen to everything too.  He saw
the gold fade from the sky and give place to one of the loveliest
mornings of the year.  The fields were yet frosted, the road was
hard; only once had they to travel through water, which gave Joe
(who had a voice like a gurgling water-pipe) occasion to describe
what had happened once to the Stamford Regent when going through St
Neot's, fifty-six miles out of London--how the Ouse had overflowed
its banks there, and although an extra pair of leaders were put on,
ridden by a horse-keeper, yet the water was up to the axle-trees
and even, for a while, the Regent was afloat, to the dreadful peril
of some ladies inside it.  And that led the stout gentleman to talk
of Tom Hennessey's famous whip, which, as everyone knows, was a
crooked one so that it could tickle the lagging wheelers in a
fashion no other whip could achieve.  And that led Joe to show what
he could do with HIS whip, and a stout lady behind them BEGGED him
to be careful and not to hurt the horses, which Adam thought the
funniest thing he'd ever heard.  (But then women WERE peculiar, all
of them, even his mother.)

There came a glorious moment, later in the morning, when Joe
actually entertained Adam himself in conversation.

'And what might YOUR age be, young gentleman?'


'Fifteen!  Deary me!  Think of that now! . . .  Learnt to fight

'A little.'  (Adam was modest.  Rackstraw had taught him well.)

'Going to see a Fight in London?'

'I hope so.'

'Next week, come Friday, there's the Nottingham Pet and John Willis
at Islington.  That'll be something.'  Then, after a pause, 'Going
to school in London?'

'No; just for a visit.'

'Ever been to London afore?'

'No, never.'

'Ah!  That's a treat for a young lad.  That's a treat, that is.
All the same the country's better.  Live in the North?'

'Yes, in Cumberland.'

'Ever seen the Crusher?'

'No.  I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Never seen the Crusher--and live in Cumberland?  Why, think of
that now!  I remember his fight in Newcastle when he smashed Foxy
Rundle in twenty rounds--in '23 I think it was.'  But here the old
gentleman broke in; he hadn't seen the fight himself but he had
heard . . . and here the coach had to be stopped for a lady with
enough baggage for a journey to China, who didn't like this, and
wouldn't have that, until Joe's temper was as purple as the capes
of his riding-coat.  And then--somewhere early in the afternoon--
the foretaste of London began to creep upon Adam.  London!  London
at last!  How faint suddenly were Uldale, Skiddaw, the village shop
with the green bottle window . . . Dorothy and the way she'd take
the jars of preserve out of the cupboard and examine them one by
one with a seriousness . . . old Bennett and the way he'd pinch his
leg . . . even John standing there, looking at Adam, telling him
that horrid hateful news, that he loved Walter's daughter . . . all
figures as dim now as the faded pinks and blues on the Chinese
screen in his mother's bedroom!  London!

Already they were at the Peacock at Islington, and the hostler was
shouting, doors were slamming, old Joe Dorset taking up parcels,
answering silly questions from nervous ladies, drinking out of a
jug, examining the horses, reassuring a nervous old gentleman
wrapped in a vast white muffler--and then, in another moment--
Tantivy!  Tantivy!  Tantivy!--they were off again.

'Are you comfortable, dear?' his mother had asked him, poking her
head out of the window.  'Not too cold?'

'He's all right, ma'am,' Joe Dorset had answered, 'as right as a
'edge'og'; and Adam had been proud all down his spine.  Certainly
he was all right.  What a pity his mother hadn't come outside!  She
would have enjoyed it.  Now, after Islington, lights flared on the
country road, for the dusk is creeping up and out of it suddenly
loom drovers and a herd of cattle.  Then Smithfield and Cow Lane,
then up Holborn Hill.  But these places were, of course, nothing to
Adam.  What did he see?  In detail very little, for mist is
everywhere, noise is everywhere--through the mist lights and
flares, a blazing window, a crooked chimney, a barrow alive with
flame.  And the noises--hackney cabriolets, drays, waggons,
wheelbarrows, shouting boys, bawling men, screaming women, ringing
bells--and through it all, above it all, beyond it all, his heart
beating like an African drum!

He was never one to show his excitement.  He sat now in absolute
silence, his hands tightly clenched together under his coat, his
mouth firmly closed, but his eyes staring, staring as though they
would pierce this foggy, noisy mystery through to the other side.

Tantivy!  Tantivy!  Tantivy!  He felt now Joe's pride that he was
bringing his coach in on time.  How they dashed over the cobbles,
how the roans tossed their heads, how through the murk and gloom
one could dimly feel figures sliding, horses slipping, voices
shouting to be out of the way.  Then, one more blast and into a
courtyard of light and splendour the Stamford Regent dashes.  The
George and Blue Boar, Holborn: London's heart is touched at last.

He discovered then, quite to his own surprise, that he was
extremely sleepy; he discovered, too, for the first time in his
young life, what every traveller discovers, that once at a
destination and the life that only a moment earlier had been
pulsating with fire and energy is collapsed at your feet like a
spent balloon.

Even Joe Dorset was fading.  Not that he wouldn't be pleased to
meet Joe again somewhere, but his figure was shrunk and his voice
sounded miles away.

No, his mother was once again the centre of his world.  She
dominated the place, sending hostlers here and stable-boys there,
collecting their luggage, standing over it, ordering a hackney
cabriolet, and all as quietly but as imperiously as though London
were at her feet and knew it.

'Now, Adam,' she commanded.  'In you get!'  And in he did get, into
the mustiest, smelliest, darkest interior that his enterprising
life had yet known.  Mice, straw, newspapers, stale beer and damp
cloth all seemed to have gone to the making of that hackney cab.
There was indeed straw on the floor of it and old newspaper
squeezed into the hinge of one of the windows.  The driver was a
little man with a pinched white nose and no eyebrows.  He seemed to
be terrified of Judith, for when she said, 'Number Nine, Cadogan
Place,' he almost bowed to the ground.

They were crushed together inside the cab, for they were piled
round with parcels and small boxes.  Judith put her arm around him,
and so they bumped and jumped and swayed and sank as though on a
tempestuous sea.  Houses rose and fell beyond the misty windows,
horses loomed gigantic, figures sprang up before them and vanished
again, and in Adam's nostrils was that smell with which he would
associate London all his life long--straw, ale, and the faint scent
of violets that stole from his mother's clothes.

They had arrived.  The cab had stopped with a jerk, the door
creaked open, and a little boy with a large broom was there on the
pavement, his hand out, begging.

When Judith had given the little boy a shilling (which astonished
him very much and led the driver of the cabriolet to wet his lips
in anticipation) the big solemn door (supported by black marble
pillars) was slowly opened and a very thin footman with powdered
hair and an ornamental waistcoat stood there staring at them.  It
seemed from his expression that he could not believe that anyone
should be arriving in a hackney cab at that particular moment, but
Judith walked straight past him as though she were the Queen of
Egypt, and then, remembering that the driver had not yet been paid,
hurried down again, directed the bringing-in of the luggage, smiled
at the footman, said her name in a very determined manner, and
entered the house a second time, on this occasion followed closely
by Adam.

The hall was so extremely dark and a lamp by the staircase so
exceedingly dim that a white bust of a gentleman with a lot of hair
and naked shoulders, and a large picture of Moses addressing the
Children of Israel, were the only things for a long while visible.

'Madame Paris,' said Judith again.  'We are expected.'

The footman disappeared and returned to say, 'This way, Madame,'
disregarding Adam altogether.  He, however, was determined not to
be left alone in that darkness, and setting his face into its
ugliest scowl (his manner when he was 'against the world') stumped
along behind her.  They were shown into a very large drawing room
that seemed to Adam, accustomed to the bright colour of Uldale, the
most funereal he had ever seen.  There were two large white marble
pillars at one end, dark brown curtains across the windows, a huge
portrait of a gentleman with a white stock and an immense watch-
chain over the white marble mantelpiece, a long bookcase buried in
glass, and a marble pedestal with a simpering bust of a lady's head
on it between the windows.

All this he quickly observed, and then he noticed the people
present.  (He had ample time for this because no one spoke to him
during the first five minutes.)  Mr Newmark he knew already, his
high stock, his large nose, his long legs.  He seemed more
dignified than was possible for a flesh-and-blood human being to
be.  Mrs Newmark he knew too.  He liked her.  He noticed that she
had grown very stout.  There was an elderly gentleman in a brown
wig, an elderly lady in a vast hat, and a very pretty young lady in
a most bewitching poke-bonnet of the lightest blue.  So, standing
near the door, rubbing one leg against the other, he watched the

'Judith! . . .  Judith!'  Phyllis Newmark ran forward, kissed her
again and again, dragged her to the fire.  There was nothing false
or affected about Phyllis.

'Oh, you are here!  You have arrived!  After all that DREADFUL
journey!  You must be frozen indeed.  Frozen.  Simply frozen.  We
have been expecting you these ages, have we not, Stephen?'

Mr Newmark, unbending in a slow solemn process from the crown of
his head to the middle of his extremely thin waist, greeted them
with the manner of one of England's Ambassadors receiving a
deputation from a foreign tribe.  He hoped that the journey had not
been too positively inclement.  Judith, her eyes twinkling, assured
him that it had not.

'And this is Mr Pomeroy.'

The gentleman in the brown wig kissed her hand.

'And Mrs Pomeroy.'

'And this is Sylvia--Sylvia Herries, Garth's wife.  You know
Durward's son.'

The eyes of the young lady in the poke-bonnet--eyes alive with
merriment and impudence--and the eyes of Judith--also, although so
much older, alive with merriment--met, and in that instant the two
of them, the girl of twenty and the woman of fifty-six, were
friends for life.  Judith seldom made a mistake.  She had not made
one now.

'Is not that perfect that you are here at last?  Is it not
wonderful, Mrs Pomeroy?  All the way from Cumberland.  Oh, I must
embrace you once more.  I am so VERY glad to see you.  Stephen, is
it not excellent that they have arrived safe and sound?'

'And there is my Adam,' said Judith, turning round.  She knew that
it must mean some real sacrifice of his principles that Stephen
should receive a little bastard into the very heart of his
sanctified family.  It had been Phyllis' doing, of course.
Nevertheless, it was good of him.  She would not forget it.  Adam
came forward.  Although there was always something clumsy in his
movements, Judith had taught him good manners.  He bowed and said:
'How are you, sir?'  'How are you, ma'am?'  'Very well, I thank
you, ma'am.'

What the next step might have been no one could tell, for there
came, suddenly, a portentous and dramatic knocking on the door--in
fact, two knocks, most solemnly delivered, with a proper interval

'Come in!' cried Mr Newmark.

The door slowly opened and a procession entered.  First, a tall,
severe woman in black silk, then in order, it seemed, of ages, all
the Newmark children.  When Judith had last seen them at Westaways
there had been but three; now there were seven if you included (as
indeed you must) an infant who, in the arms of a stout, bonneted
nurse, brought up the rear.  The procession assembled itself at the
door and waited.

'Good evening, Miss Trindle,' said Mr Newmark in his deep bell-like

'Good evening, sir.  Good evening, ma'am.'

'Come, children,' said Mr Newmark.  'You may bid us goodnight.'

Then they all advanced--Horace, aged eleven, first, then Mary, aged
ten, Phyllis nine, Katherine seven, Stephen five, Emily four and
the infant Barnabas of almost no age at all.

The Ceremony was magnificent.

Horace was a thin, pale-faced boy, large spectacles covering wide-
open, anxious eyes.  He advanced timidly to his father, gave an
absurd little bow, 'Goodnight, Papa.'

Mr Newmark bent down and in a dignified but kindly fashion kissed
his cheek.  Horace then went round and bowed to the others.
'Goodnight, sir.'  'I wish you a goodnight, ma'am.'  He came to
Judith, who caught him up and kissed him on both cheeks,
disarranging his spectacles.  He looked at her quickly, then
carefully straightened his glasses.  He paused before Adam and gave
him a comical twinkling look, as much as to say:  'This is all very
absurd.  Don't think I'm taken in by it.'  His mother hugged him in
a quite human manner.

The others followed.  Mary was stout and plain.  Phyllis slender
and pretty.  Katherine stolid.  Stephen nervous of his father.
Emily yawning.  Barnabas from the arms of the nurse gazed at his
father as though he had never seen anything so droll in his life.
They were all marshalled at the door and, together, standing in a
row, made a simultaneous bow.

'And now,' said Phyllis (she was blushing a little), 'let us come
upstairs and I will show you and Adam your apartments.  Mrs
Pomeroy, pray, forgive.  We shall speedily return.'

Their rooms that night were of an icy chill, but English men and
women were hardened--not for them the soft and effete comforts of
more degenerate nations.  Nevertheless, both Judith and Adam slept
like the dead, bathed next morning in round tin baths brought in
elaborately by a heavily breathing, muscle-straining maidservant.
They were both in time for Family Prayers, held in the long, cold
dining room.  Beyond the windows as Mr Newmark read (as it seemed
to Judith) almost the whole of the first Epistle to the Corinthians,
a yellow fog wriggled and bridled up and down the Square.

But it was afterwards, over empty eggcups, vast cold hams and two
terrific coffee-pots that Judith heard a most interesting discourse
from Stephen Newmark.  As Judith sat there listening she decided
that she liked him better, far better, than she could ever have
supposed that she would.  He was at his best, serious, informed and
exceedingly interesting.  As he propelled his long, thin body up
and down the breakfast-room, speaking in his deep, measured voice,
he was like some prophet of old proclaiming woe to all the world.
And yet he was not unduly sensational, did not, she was convinced,
go further than the facts warranted.  Being an intelligent, active-
minded woman, she had, even in the confines of Cumberland, realized
the critical time through which England was passing--and not only
England but all the civilized world.  The Revolution in France that
very summer had been sufficient to point a packet of morals.  The
riot at Uldale ending in poor Reuben Sunwood's death had driven
home all the local lessons.  She had felt, for years past, what
every other thinking man and woman had felt, that one cry, one
lifted rifle, one more revelation of the filth, degradation, misery
in which half England was living, might precipitate here a
Revolution worse than any France had ever known.  But Newmark dealt
with facts, and facts only.  Huskisson's death on September 15th,
at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, seemed to
him a sort of omen.  He returned to it again and again: such a fine
man, one of the few men of intelligence in the country, such a
foolish accident!  These Railways--you were at the mercy of these
horrible engines.  One day it would be all engines.  Human beings
would be crushed by them.  Will Herries had been there, had been
standing quite close to Mr Huskisson at the time.  He would tell
her all about it.

'I don't suppose that I shall be seeing Will,' said Judith grimly.

'No?' said Stephen, surprised.  'You will find him now a man of
very great importance.'

'I don't doubt,' said Judith.

After that the general lawlessness, the riots at Otmoor in
Oxfordshire, followed by the calling out of the military at Oxford,
Captain Swing and his rick-burning, the hanging of three men by the
High Sheriff in Somersetshire, an execution witnessed by fifteen
thousand people, the stirring up of the people everywhere by
Cobbett and Carlyle, outrages in Kent and Wilts, in Bucks and
Surrey, followed always by summary executions.

Then to London--dirt and starvation and wretchedness cheek by jowl
with a luxury, extravagance and heartlessness that had never been
witnessed before in any living man's memory.  Materialism,
immorality of the grossest, an utter scoffing disregard of

'They say,' Stephen burst out, 'that all this is still the effect
of the wars.  But, good God, this is 1830--Waterloo was in '15!'

He passed on, growing ever more agitated beneath his cold and
pedantic exterior, to the King, the Court and the burning question
of Reform.  The King was an old fool.  They had hoped, in the
summer when George, unregretted by anyone alive, had at last seen
fit to die, that this honest, worthy old man who succeeded him
would save his country.  But this honest, worthy old man was
nothing but a fool, nay, a maniac.  Everyone had been pleased at
first by his easy, simple manners.  He was crazy from the first,
wouldn't have his own servants in mourning, but had ordered Mrs
Fitzherbert to put hers into black, put on his plain clothes and
went wandering into the streets where he was followed all the way
up St James's by a mob until a woman, outside White's, pushed her
way through and kissed him; had a party at Buckingham House and
dismissed the people by saying:  'Time you were off.  Come along to
bed, my Queen.'

'Well, you know, Judith, it isn't amusing.  No, indeed, it is not.
In such times to have such a crazy old monarch.  A bad effect on

And for the rest where was a man we could trust?  The Duke, Peel,
Lord John Brougham--all mad about this Reform one way or another.
What's the Cabinet to do?  It spends all its time sitting to
concoct proclamations offering rewards for the discovery of
rioters, rick-burners.  That's not the way a country ought to be

Stephen's agitation was truly genuine.  You could not listen to him
and not respect him.  You could not listen to him and not think of
that little procession of the night before nor see that it was in
his mind that all of them from Horace to young Barnabas might have
their throats cut by the mob any of these days.  And meanwhile, the
candles guttered within, outside the yellow fog went sliding and
whispering among the tall black houses.  Judith, in spite of
herself, shivered.  The room was so desperately cold.

'We have forgotten God!' cried Stephen, 'and God will punish us.'

But then he cheered up a little, and, pouring himself out a cup of
what must have been very chilly coffee, lifted his voice a tone and
began to talk about 'Our Family'.

It amused Judith greatly to discover that he considered himself
completely a Herries and his children Herries too.  They were the
nephews and nieces of Lord Rockage and cousins to all the Herries
tribe and that was enough for him.  Whoever the Newmarks were or
had ever been they were now altogether behind the curtain.  She saw
that it was his idea that the Herries were going to save the
country, if not in the foreground of affairs, why, then, very
active in the background.

But Will Herries WAS in the foreground; it was expected that he
would be a baronet any day.  And there was Carey Rockage a peer,
James Herries ('stupid pompous Ass HE is') a baronet, Sylvia
Herries, Garth's wife, 'one of the loveliest, wittiest girls in
town,' Walter adding field to field in the North, Jennifer's boy
(as he had heard) one of the handsomest young fellows in England,
and she, Judith, herself--

'And I, Stephen?' asked Judith, laughing.

'Well, anyone with half an eye--'

In short, she became aware that she had, in a very few hours, made
a strong impression upon Stephen.  It was idle to pretend that she
was not pleased.  All her old love of power came surging up within
her.  She began already to realize that this visit to London was
going to rouse in her another crisis, a crisis not unsimilar to the
one that had driven her to abandon Watendlath.  She had been too
long up there buried in the country.  Here were the Herries going
up, up, up.  Here was she, even though she WAS fifty-six (and she
didn't feel a day more than thirty), with all these conquests ready
to her hand.  A sudden violent distaste attacked her--a distaste of
Jennifer with her crazy imaginings, the stout bullying form of
Walter, the littleness and gossip of Keswick, the long slow curve
of the Uldale hills--

'We are becoming every day more powerful as a family,' proclaimed
Stephen.  'Will is intimate with Peel.  He is throwing himself into
these new Railways.  He grows richer every hour.  Carey's boy,
Roger, is only nineteen but shows excellent political ambitions.
My own boy Horace--'  He broke off as though this were too
personal.  Then added:  'These are the times for people like
ourselves.  The best class in England, the soundest, the most
solid.  Money, brains, beauty--and a proper fear of God.'

He broke off and finished his cup of coffee.  Strange, she thought,
considering him, how although he was not a Herries he was
proclaiming himself so curiously a cousin to Will, Walter, the
Venerable Archdeacon Rodney, Jennifer's father and the others.  All
the qualities that her own father had so sadly lacked, and Francis
and Reuben and now, she feared, young John.  And she herself--she
was a combination of the two opposites, the only one in the family
who was so, which was exactly why she could, if she liked, dominate
the lot of them!

'Stephen!' she cried.  'I shall enjoy my time in London!'

From the moment of that breakfast-hour she never ceased to realize
that this visit was a crisis for her and for her Adam as well.
Adam himself had indeed the most glorious time.  It was as though
Stephen relaxed his pomposity and Phyllis her housewifely burdens
under the influence of their visitors.  The children--Horace, Mary,
Phyllis--had never known such a time.  Either with their mother or
with the grim Miss Trindle they discovered all the glories of the
Town for Adam's benefit.  They went to Miss Linwood's Exhibition of
Needlework Pictures, and saw the Malediction of Cain and Jeptha's
Vow, to Barford's Panorama where were wonderful displays of foreign
scenes.  One of the most marvellous of all things was the Panorama
of London at the Colosseum in Regent's Park, where, raised in a
lift (the wonder of the Town), you saw the Conservatories, Swiss
Cottage, Alpine Scenery.  In St Martin's Lane was the pavilion of
the gigantic whale which was found dead off the coast of Belgium on
November 3rd, 1827.  This skeleton was ninety-five feet long and
eighteen broad, and for another shilling you might sit 'in the
belly of the whale'.  This both Horace and Adam were permitted to
do.  But better still were the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park
(only opened in 1828 and therefore still a sensation) and (best,
oh, far best of all for Adam and Horace) 'Weeks' Mechanical
Exhibition' in Tichborne Street, where you might see an automaton
tarantula spider made of steel which moved its claws and horns, an
animated white mouse formed of oriental pearls that ran about a
table 'feeding at pleasure', a caterpillar of enamelled gold and
brilliants feeding on the foliage of a golden tree, and an old
woman who, at a call, came forth from her cottage, walked about
supported by crutches 'while the joints in her arms and legs are
all in apparently natural motion'.

For Judith, too, her progress about London during that first week
was one thrilling adventure.  All her earlier doings there rushed
up to her as though they had occurred but yesterday, a strange
haphazard married life with Georges, money one day, none the next,
the visit to the 'Elephant' when the coach had overturned, the
famous Ball, the awful moment in the Square when Georges told her
that he must flee for his life--that other world, a London so
different from this, so ancient, gone like a dream with its
colours, its fans and powder and elegance, and Georges, dear, dear
Georges, so feckless, so venturesome, so unreliable, beside her now
at every step, his hand through her arm in the old persuasive way,
forcing her to agree to something weak or hopeless or mad.

Georges, Georges . . .  And here she was an old lady of fifty-six
with a boy of fifteen who ought to have been Georges' son but
wasn't, in this Town that Mr Nash had covered with whitewash, where
poverty of the most hideous mingled with riches of the most
extravagant, where the very pavement seemed to threaten, at any
moment, an earthquake.

At the beginning of the second week she encountered Will.

She was sitting before a small, smoky, cold fire in the marble-
pillared drawing room, her feet on the fender, plucking up her
energy to go up to her icy bedroom and dress for dinner, when the
footman opened the door, murmured something and withdrew.  She
looked round to see Will standing there.  The same old Will, only
grander.  He carried his years well.  He did not look sixty nor
anything like it.  Sixty!  And it was only yesterday that, a boy on
a horse outside Stone Ends, he had listened to a child, Judith,
declaring firmly that she would not return to Uldale, no, not if
she died for it!  He did not look sixty and he did not look as
though he could conceivably be Walter's father.  He was dressed
most handsomely in black.  His coat was so waisted that it gave him
an almost feminine appearance, but he was not feminine.  Oh, dear
me, no!

If he was startled at seeing Judith, he gave no sign of it.  Her
pale face was yet paler.  She looked at him with all the distant
haughtiness that she could command, but in her heart she wished
that she did not instantly once again feel like a child in

'Why, Judith!' he said.  He came forward and gravely shook her
hand.  'I thought that I should see you.  I heard that you were in
Town.'  Then he added, smiling a little:  'It has been unkind of
you not to pay Christabel a visit.'

She did not answer that but said:

'Phyllis has not yet returned.  Won't you sit down?'

He did--with great care and dignity.

'Well--how are you, Judith?'

'In excellent health, thank you, Will.'

'I am glad to hear it.  And your boy?'

'Also in excellent health.'


There was a pause.

'And how are all at Uldale?'

'Admirable, thank you.'

'Good.  I hear that John is a fine boy.  You yourself, Judith, look
younger than ever.'

She said nothing to that, but wished for the millionth time that
God had made her taller.  Then he went on--his voice was now
exceedingly measured and assured as though he were always
accustomed to speaking to people of the utmost importance:

'I am glad that Phyllis has not yet returned.  It gives us a
moment for speaking together, Judith.  You are fifty-six' (how
characteristic of him to remember her age!)  'I am sixty.  Is it
not rather childish of us to continue this feud?'

'I am continuing no feud,' she answered.  'You had better ask
Walter about feuds.'

'Ah, Walter!' he sighed.  'Walter is very headstrong.  I admit that
that has been in part my fault--my fault and his mother's.  But he
would have his own way from earliest childhood.  And are you not
imagining things, my dear Judith?  You also, if I may say so, have
always had plenty of character.'

'Imagining!' she broke out.  'Imagining!'  Then, controlling
herself, she went on:  'You know, perhaps, that he is building on a
hill above Uldale simply that he may overlook us and interfere with
us in every possible way.'

'He told me that he was to build,' Will said quietly.  'I advised
him against it.'

'He murdered Francis,' she said, 'and he is frightening Jennifer
into her grave.'  She saw then that she touched him.  At the
mention of Francis a faint flush coloured his sallow cheeks.

'Francis,' he said at last.  'Poor Francis!  He was his own enemy.'

'He need not have been,' she answered hotly.  'It was because of
Walter's spies that Francis learnt of Jennifer's infidelity.'

But he was not to be stirred.

'Is not this all rather old history, Judith, my dear?  There are
two strains in our family--let us face it--and they are never at
peace together.  I was never at one with Francis myself.  We sought
different things out of the world.  What he sought for was perhaps
harder to obtain than what I sought for.  He never found it, and in
his disappointment--No, no, my dear.  You cannot lay all that upon
Walter.  You know the world too well.  You are altogether too

She considered that.  There was something in what he said.  Then
she began in another more friendly, more impetuous tone.

'Will--cannot you persuade Walter to cease this building?  Cannot
you persuade him to leave Jennifer and her children in quiet?  Then
we will be friends.  I shall be only too happy.'

He looked at her with a strange, almost human, smile.

'Persuade Walter?  My dear, he has gone far beyond MY persuading.
I have no influence over him whatever.  He would even rather that
his mother and I did not come to Westaways.'  He waited a moment
and then continued:  'You know, Judith, I have all my life been
pursuing money--money and power.  I have got both.  I do not regret
it.  But in that pursuit one loses other things.  I have lost human
relationships.  I have no time for them.  As I say, I do not regret
it.  But it is so.'

She felt herself being drawn closer to him than she had ever been

He went on:  'Once, years ago, when we were children--do you
remember?--we were watching fireworks on the Lake, you, Francis,
Reuben Sunwood and I.  We all said what we would do with our lives.
I have fulfilled almost exactly those early ambitions.  I would
not, however, say that I am a happy man.  But who is happy?  I have
my moments.  That is, I suppose, as much as one may ask.'

She heard the opening of the outer door and then the comfortable
friendly tone of Phyllis's voice, so hurriedly she said:

'Will, I have no unfriendliness to yourself or Christabel--none
whatever--but I will fight like a tiger to keep Jennifer and her
children safe.  I may be an aged tiger and not a very large one,
but I can still be fierce.  I am Walter's enemy so long as he is
Jennifer's and John's and Dorothy's, so now you know.'

Will looked at her gravely and opened his mouth as though he would
speak, but Phyllis' entry in a bustle of welcome prevented him.
There was some chatter, and Will got up to depart.  It was only
then that he said to them with great solemnity:

'My reason for calling--I should have told you before--I thought
that you would like to know.  His Majesty has graciously offered me
a Baronetcy which I shall accept.'

Yes, indeed, the Herries were going up, and Judith shared now in
all the drama of family life to the full.  It took her only a
fortnight to be considered the most impressive figure among them

The Family Letters of this time are filled with references to her:

     Madame Paris has been the Family Sensation this week.  Your
     father is laid up with the gout but he PERMITTED me (you know
     what he is) to dine at Lady Rosbey's.  Our cousin, Judith (IS
     she a cousin?) arrived with the Newmarks and in FIVE MINUTES
     had the whole room laughing.  She must be ANY AGE and wears
     the most outrageous colours.  Nevertheless, she was sprightly
     as a kitten and without losing her dignity an instant.  She
     was as up in everything as though she'd never moved out of
     Belgravia and kept us all vastly amused with her Paris
     adventures in '15 where it appears that she . . .

And another:

     Judith Paris is the rage.  I must confess that I find her
     charming for she is kindly as well as intelligent, enjoys
     everything as though she were born yesterday (she's fifty if a
     day!), and is no SNOB like dear William and others of our
     relations.  She has with her an illegitimate boy (they say he
     is Warren Forster's son.  You remember Warren--a little PEAKED
     man with a nervous habit of snapping his fingers) and takes
     him about with a great deal of pride.  It is a thousand pities
     that she should be buried in the North for we sadly need her
     esprit and intelligence . . .

And a third:

     We dined last night at the Bulwers in Hertford Street.  That
     amusing young man, whom you enjoyed so greatly at Barnet last
     year, was there, Mr Disraeli.  Rosina Bulwer was a sight!
     Plastered with jewels and painted to the eyes, while Bulwer
     himself glittered all over!  There were plenty of the Family
     as you may suppose and of all people the solemn Newmark and
     his fat dowdy Phyllis.  However, the excuse for their coming
     was our cousin Judith from Cumberland.  I had heard of her
     often enough and was all eagerness to behold her.  Well she is
     a little short pale-faced thing with grey hair and had a dress
     of brocaded pink gauze (of all things for a woman over
     fifty!).  She carried an ivory cane and should have been
     altogether absurd.  But she was not!  Disraeli was enchanted
     with her and Rosina talked to her an immense deal and even
     Miss Landon admitted her 'ton'.  I can tell you how she
     does it.  By being perfectly natural, having plenty of humour
     and common sense.  I never saw anyone enjoy herself so
     completely . . .

Indeed she did.  She went everywhere, did everything, and knew, for
the moment, no weariness.  Sylvia Herries was her principal
companion.  That girl, with her eagerness, sense of adventure and
gaiety that had at its heart some undefined melancholy, was
designed for her affections.  Then suddenly Judith woke.  That
'unhappiness' was everywhere, hidden by a superficial eagerness
that had no stability.

She saw that she was in a society where nothing was real, where no
one believed in anything at all, where everyone feared what the
morrow would bring.  The 'Silver Fork' novels of fashionable life,
just then beginning to be so popular, were symptomatic of the
falsehood and sham, while cruel and malicious sheets like the Age
and the John Bull of Theodore Hook showed where the rottenness was

Prolonged war had killed sincerity, every kind of faith, social
behaviour.  The world of London that she, for a moment, invaded was
dominated by a new aristocracy of wealth, an aristocracy without
tradition, without breeding, an aristocracy that in its aggressive
uneasiness suffered itself to be blackmailed by the vilest panders
and the most worthless adventurers.  Most of the great houses in
London were occupied by 'new men' who hurried to learn manners that
could never truly be theirs and sought with drink, gambling, orgies
and ostentation, to give a semblance of splendour and security.
The roads to prominence lay through scandal, back-biting and
jealousy.  Sport, jewels, wild expenditure covered meanness and
vice.  All was fake; for a woman to be virtuous proclaimed her
dowdy.  Men lived by their wits and climbed relentlessly over the
backs of their dearest friends.

Such was the fashionable world of which Judith had a glimpse.  But
it was in just such a world that the opportunities of such a family
as the Herries--sober, careful, traditional--lay.

The Herries in London were separated into three parts--the business
Herries, Will at their head, James the baronet following rather
clumsily, and Amery Herries, Sylvia's brother-in-law, very able and
sharp, a possible successor when Will was in his dotage.  There
were secondly the religious Herries, headed by Stephen Newmark,
who, as Judith soon perceived, when he was not sensible, was VERY
tiresome indeed.  Stephen had his pet clergyman--Mr Aubrey Grant of
St Anne's, Pimlico--a gentleman very often at Stephen's table, a
stout effeminate, purring gentleman, adored by the ladies and
detested by Judith.  There was also in the Newmark household the
Methodist tradition of the Rockage family in which Phyllis had been
brought up.  Maria Rockage was still alive, a kindly rheumatic old
Dowager in the place in Wiltshire.  She was for ever sending the
Newmark family pamphlets--'The Miner's Lament', 'The Royal Road to
Hell', 'The Shopman's Vision'--interspersed with delightful, gay
and very human epistles.  She lamented grievously that she could
not come up to London to see Judith, who had once lived with her
for nearly ten years and whom she adored.  Many of Mr Aubrey
Grant's congregation came to Cadogan Place--old Mr and Mrs Pomeroy
were very prominent--and quite awful Judith found them all.  The
scent on Mr Grant's handkerchief alone was enough to send her out
of the room when he was there.

The third division was the social one.  Into this, at times, the
other two divisions penetrated, but Will and Christabel, Newmark
and Phyllis, various Newmark cousins, did not truly belong.

Sylvia Herries, young though she was, was mistress here.  She knew
the London social, literary, Bohemian world completely.  She
laughingly declared that all the adventurers in London came to her
tiny house in Brook Street.  Indeed she did not care who came.  She
kept open house.  Neither she nor Garth--now a very elegant,
charming young man--seemed to have much money.  They were for ever
in desperate straits.  Will--who was in these days more generous
than of old--must have helped them again and again.  They reminded
Judith constantly of herself and Georges in those old, mad,
adventurous days.  That was perhaps why she came to care for them
more than any other of the Herries relations, and why she made her
alliance with them.  Sylvia was her own kind--audacious, reckless,
pleasure-loving, but also serious, practical and wise about other

It soon became obvious that Stephen disliked her constant visits to
the little house in Brook Street, a little house that was all light
colours, jingling pianos, poodle dogs and noise.  There were
authors like the Bulwers, Letitia Landon, Theodore Hook, young
Ainsworth, of whom he could not possibly approve.  There were
dancers, opera singers, racing men and ladies of extremely doubtful
reputation.  Judith had, alas, no more of those fine serious
conversations with which on the first morning she had been
honoured.  It seemed to him really lamentable that a woman of her
years should care for such a world.  He had been right, as he
constantly told Phyllis in the sacredness of their huge four-
poster, in wondering whether anyone so brazen about her bastard
child was a suitable guest for them, and poor Phyllis, who loved
Judith with all her heart, tried to keep the peace.  But what
Phyllis really did not understand was that Judith should be so
deeply horrified at the present state of the London world and yet
enjoy the parties in Brook Street so greatly.  She seemed like two
different women in one.

Then the climax arrived.  On an afternoon of the third week of
Judith's stay, Sylvia Herries was alone with Judith in the Newmark
drawing-room.  Sylvia was looking most bewitching with her
ringlets, rose-coloured tulle, a waist so small as to be almost
invisible, and a printed satin scarf.  She danced about the room
like a fairy, she bowed with mock ceremony to the pedestal and the
lady's head thereon, she imitated Stephen, whom she found entirely
ridiculous.  Judith also was seized with a devil.  She valsed with
Sylvia round and round the room.  The 'valse' was still new enough
to be divine.  They danced ever more madly.  They danced into a
small table that held a large preposterous vase of the brightest
green.  It tumbled with a crash to the ground, and, of course, at
that precise moment Stephen entered with old Mr Pomeroy.

There was nothing to be said, nothing to be done.  There the vase
was in a thousand pieces.  There were the two ladies--one of them
old enough to be the other's mother--hot, dishevelled, and Judith
had, a moment before, lost one of her shoes.  Stephen gave one of
his grim sacrificial smiles, Sylvia departed with a private moue of
amusement for Judith's benefit (seen, however, by Stephen).  Judith
did her best to become, quickly again, an elderly dignified lady.

'Oh, it is of no importance, no importance at all,' said Stephen,
bending stiffly to pick up some pieces.  'An old family heirloom--
but still--no matter, no matter.'

But he never forgave Judith that broken vase.  An ivory fan, a
green vase: these are the things of which family histories are
made.  It was quite clear--Stephen now made it plainly apparent--
that it was time that the visit of Judith and Adam came to an end.

'Come and stay with us, darling,' said Sylvia.  'For as long as you

'No,' said Judith.  'Cumberland is my proper place.'

And it WAS.  She would not, she knew, be happy in the little house
in Brook Street.  THAT was not her home, any more than was
Stephen's.  Her holiday (and oh! how she had enjoyed it!) was at an

So she looked round her to collect herself and her things, and
found Adam.  Not that she at all had forgotten him.  It had been
wonderful to see him against this new background and with new
people.  She found that he was enterprising, reserved and
extraordinarily generous.  She had known all these things about him
since the beginning of time, but they wore a fresh dress in this
fresh world.  His generosity was surely astonishing, for he had
very little money unless his London relations gave him some.  In
any case he was always buying things for the little Newmarks, for
his mother, for Phyllis.  To Sylvia, whom he worshipped, he gave
nothing.  All the little Newmarks loved him, even the spectacled
Horace, who was not lavish with his affections.  Mary and her
sister Phyllis would be demonstrative, but he shrank from their
demonstrations with horror.  He allowed no one any physical
approach.  He produced a toy, a doll, a horse, a rattle for the
baby, flowers or whatever, and he said 'Here!' or 'That's for you,
ma'am'.  He looked at you sternly while he presented it, forbidding
you to thank him.  Then he escaped.  He escaped very often, went
off on his own affairs.  He was, in fact, very happy during this

The visit came to a close, both for Judith and Adam, with an
adventure that it was not likely that they would forget.  It was
the recurrent adventure of Judith's life: once, in London, a boy
hanging; twice, in Paris, an elephant escaping; and now, the third

On the evening of Monday the eighth of November, Amery Herries took
Judith, Adam and his sister-in-law Sylvia to the Adelphi Theatre to
witness a performance of The Heart of London, or A Sharper's
Progress, by William Thomas Moncrieff.  This was a glorious play,
and although not intended for the young did Adam no kind of harm.

The play over, they stepped from one melodrama into another.

The Strand, lit with the flares of burning stakes carried head-
high, and in the distance towards Covent Garden by an overturned
cart that had been set alight, showed a wild fantasy of faces, a
mob that now was stagnant like a dead pond and then broken as
though by a whipping wind, all this driven by a roar that had
nothing human in it save an occasional woman's scream.

The citizens of London, excited by Mr Hunt at a meeting at the
Rotunda in Blackfriars Road, were making their way to the West End
that they might assist the cause of Reform.  As soon as the shouts
were heard the doors of the Adelphi were closed, but Amery's party
had slipped out five minutes earlier, to secure a hackney coach.
The doors were closed behind them; before they could consider their
position they were swung forward into the street.  Judith, Adam's
arm through hers, saw neither Amery nor Sylvia again that night.

It was as though Judith and Adam fell into a jungle of undergrowth.
Above them bodies towered and whether they wished it or no they
were carried forward to the cries of 'Down with the Police!'
'Reform!'  'No Peel!'  'No Wellington!'

Down there in the undergrowth they conversed:

'Never mind, Mother: I'm here,' said Adam.

'Now, don't you let go!' Judith said crossly.  This was
impertinence, to treat her and her son in this fashion.  A light
swung to the sky, and stars escaping, a golden net scattered among
the chimney-pots.  Then the sky was darkened, and a large face
attached to a stout body in moleskins was rosy in the glare of a
burning stake stinking of tar.

'No Wellington!  Down with Wellington!' roared the moleskins most
good-naturedly.  He stank of gin, and his hand, roughened with
honest toil, stroked Judith's cheek.

At that touch fear, that she had known so seldom in her life,
caught her and pressed against her.  A bear tortured, a boy hanged,
Adam's father clinging to her while the horses' hoofs pranced in
the air, these once again encompassed her.

'Reform!  Reform!' shrieked a woman, her hair about her face and a
basket on her arm.  Judith looked at Adam and saw that he was quite
unafraid and greatly enjoying everything.

'Adam, in a moment there should be a turning to the river.  Watch
for it!'

But the impetuous movement ceased.  Staring around her she saw that
their progress had been far more rapid than she had supposed, for
they were in Downing Street and had halted in front of Lord
Bathurst's residence.  She knew the house well, for Garth Herries
had taken her to a reception there.  By squirming her body through
a funny jumble of legs, chests, arms and hands she found a corner
for Adam and herself against some railings, and was able to observe
from there how a gentleman, his face crimson with rage, came out on
to the balcony.  He was armed with a brace of pistols and, shouting
in a voice thick with anger, told them that if they committed any
illegal act he would fire.  Groans, yells, shouts of 'Go it!  Go
it!' answered him, whereupon another gentleman arrived on the
balcony and took the pistols from him.  Then everyone cheered and
seemed suddenly radiant with good spirits.

At that same moment Judith perceived that Adam was gone.  She
became at once a frenzied woman.  Any self-control that she had
ever learnt, any caution or reserve, was lost.  She screamed like a
madwoman, 'Adam!  Adam!', tried to move and found that she could
not, beat on some stout manly chest:  'Let me go!  Let me go!  Let
me through!  Can't you see?  My boy . . .  Adam!  Adam!'

But it happened that a strong body of the new police had just
arrived from Scotland Yard that they might form themselves into a
line at the end of King Street to prevent the mob from proceeding
to the House of Commons.  At once a great shout went up:  'The
Peelers!'  'The Peelers!'  'Down with the Peelers!'  As though the
ground were agitated with earthquake, the crowd rocked forward and
back, seeming to rise in places like a bulging floor about to
crack.  A line of wavering flame ran against the walls of the
houses where men with lighted wood were ranging themselves in a
line of defence.  But Judith saw and heard nothing.  Adam was lost,
Adam might be crushed underfoot, she would never see Adam again;
and at that frantic thought all the world that had seemed so
important, social, political, religious--yes, and all the Herries,
all Uldale, all her individual life and desires, blew like scraps
of burnt paper into the air.  Her shawl was torn from her, her wide-
puffed sleeves rent.  She beat on some face with her hands, she
tore some cheek with her nails.  'Let me go!  Let me go!  Can't you
see?  My boy's gone!'

But no one saw and no one cared.  A general fight was toward.
Inspector Lincoln of the E Division had arrived with seventy men.
The tri-coloured flag that had 'Reform' painted on it--the banner
of the riot--was captured by the Peelers.  There was a rush to
recapture it.  A man, bare-breasted, his shirt hanging in ribbons
from his back, black-haired, brawny, his chest tattooed with a ship
in violet and green, hung above the mob like a sign.  He had in his
hand a hatchet.  Judith, seeing him with a strange and memorable
distinctness, beheld him, as it seemed to her, trample on her boy.
The crowd rose and fell; she was swept off her feet and would, it
may be, have ended all her adventures there and then for ever had
not some man caught her to him so that she was soaked, as it were,
in his sweat and ale and dripping clothes, her head against his
beard, his hand upon her breast.  A fine thing for an old lady of
fifty-six!  But it saved her.  Crushed, with her face in his rough
hair, seeing nothing, frantic for Adam, she heard around her the
strange sough and sigh of a mob suddenly terrified, resolved to
run, the wind beating from under their feet, as though it would
raise them to the sky.  'Reform!'  'Reform!'  'Reform!'  'The
Peelers!'  'The Peelers!'

And then sudden quiet, a child crying, a whistle sharply blown, and
she herself, her cheek bleeding, was half sitting, half crumpled on
the pavement.  But she was up in a moment.  She could run now;
there was nothing to stop her.  As though God had crooked His
little finger, there was no one there.  Some man leant against the
railings moaning and nursing his head, a beaver hat lay in the
roadway, a burning faggot sent up a twist of smoke, and the silence
was like a miracle.  A yard away there was Adam, crying 'They're on
the run!  They're on the run!  Mother, look, look!'

He had never been more than a yard away, then.  She was furious
with him and, her hair about her face, did what she had never done
before--slapped his face.

'You careless boy!  You careless boy!'

But he was enchanted.  It was the best adventure of his life so
far.  His mouth was bleeding, his coat and trousers torn, but he
laughed and laughed as though he'd never have done.

Then she hugged and kissed him.

'I thought you were killed,' she said.  She felt an old, old
woman, an ache in every bone and her head like a turnip.  Very
characteristically, she recovered her dignity.

'Now we'll find a hackney coach,' she said.

The watchman was calling up from the street below two o'clock of
the morning before Adam came in to wish her goodnight.  She was
sitting up, a very old lady indeed she felt, propped up with
pillows and telling her different aches to mind their business and
behave.  There was a bruise on her forehead, one knee was
lamentably swollen, but there was no real harm done . . . only she
was very old of a sudden.  Nine hundred and ninety.

'Come here and kiss me,' she said.

Adam was in his nightdress, and, with a purple lump the size of a
lemon over one eye, looked no beauty.

He laughed and sat on the bed, her arm around him.  She made him
put on her furred dressing-gown and furred slippers, for the room
was viciously cold.  There was a warming-pan inside the bed now,
and she made him slide his feet inside against hers.

So he slipped into the circle of her arm, lay there with his black
hair in his eyes, too eagerly excited to sleep yet.  The panic of
her fear that she had lost him was still with her.  She had never
loved him with such passionate intensity and she had never felt so
old.  Her brain formed odd confused pictures for her, nothing
tangible, nothing consecutive.  In the big stone fireplace a baby
fire leapt as though it were trying its first steps in life so that
it might really be a fine grown-up fire one day.  An impenetrably
black picture of a forest, a lonely tower, and some horsemen swayed
a little on its cord, blown by all the draughts of heaven, some of
whom whistled through the wallpaper like lonely spirits trying to
keep their courage up.  Three candles guttered on the table beside
the four-poster with the green hangings; a mirror topped with heavy
gilt feathers reflected the light.  And under and above all this
was the dreadful cold, a cold worse than Arctic, for it was damp.
Soon Adam was lying inside the bed folded in his mother's arms as
he had not been since he was a tiny boy at Watendlath.

Without words they reached a loving intimate security that daylight
and Adam's dislike of manifestation had hindered at Uldale.  It had
always been there, but for long now she had not had his heart
beating, as it were, inside her very body.

Idly she watched the pictures come and go: Stephen saying 'And now
let us pray'; Sylvia Herries imitating some ballet-dancer at the
Opera; young Mr Harrison Ainsworth (so handsome but wearing too
many rings and his curls too heavy with Macassar oil) telling her
about his recent Italian journey, and how he had found a rouge-pot
at Pompeii; gossip about Ball Hughes and the Bulwers and Lady
Blessington and Holland House--and then, over all this nonsense,
the figure of the man with the ship of violet on his chest, raising
his hatchet . . .

She held Adam closely to her, kissed him, stroked his forehead.  He
did not resist nor move away as he would normally have done, but
sleepily murmured:  'Down with the Peelers!'  'Down with
Wellington!'  'Down with the Peelers!'

'Hush, dear.  Don't think of the horrid thing.  I wonder how Amery
and Sylvia are!  Dear me! how incredibly selfish!  I have never
thought of them until this instant!'

Then the dancing pictures vanished.  She saw something else and
with extraordinary clearness.  She raised herself on her pillows.
Adam tickled her foot with his.

'Adam, wake up!  There is something that I must say!'

He took her hand in his.

'Adam--you will shortly be a grown man and I shall be an old woman.
I had not thought of it until this moment.  How dreadful to be old!
And I shall not be a nice old woman.  I shall want my way.  I made
the mistake of my whole life when I stayed at Uldale.  We should
have gone to Watendlath.  I have become Herries and made you
Herries and shall wish you to be more and more Herries.  Adam,
promise me that, however I wish it, you will keep your independence.
You are not to be Herries.  You are illegitimate anyway, and your
father was so little Herries as not to matter.  I shall want to keep
you later.  You will be all I shall have.  But you are not to permit
me.  Do you hear?  However much I love you . . .  Dear me, dear me,
what a nasty old woman I am going to be!'

Then, as there was no response, she said again:

'You are not to allow me to swallow you, do you understand?  Fight
me, if need be.  In another ten years I shall be completely
Herries, from head to toe.  How horrible!  Adam, do you hear me.'

'What, Mama?'

'You are to keep your independence.  I love you too much for it to
be good for either of us.'

'And when the Peelers were coming . . .' he murmured.

The vision passed.  She saw nothing, but gathered him closer into
her arms, and he slept, holding her hand tightly in his, while she
gazed out into the room and watched the little fire surrender its
life, and the candles blow unsteadily in the wind.


It was not true to say that Walter Herries was without imagination.
He could see very vividly things that were not actually in front of
him, only they must, those things, if they were going to act on him
powerfully, SPRING from facts.  Then, his imagination once started,
he could be obsessed, obsessed by his own grandeur, by his sense of
power, by the thought that he was a Herries, and, above all, by the
knowledge that he was Uhland's father.

At this very time that Judith was in London breaking vases, meeting
Mr Disraeli, and scratching the cheeks of rioters, Walter was
taking his son Uhland day after day up the hill to Ireby to watch
the Fortress growing.  Uhland was now fifteen years of age, and the
Fortress was half its way to heaven.

It must be remembered that it was not yet called the Fortress--that
name came to it later--but already it was beginning to be grim of
aspect.  Mr Carstairs, bothered by rheumatism and this cursed
Northern climate, was not in the best of tempers.  And he was
beginning to dislike Walter Herries extremely.  He had never been
bullied before, being a man of some personality and temper.  Walter
Herries often spoke to him as he would to his groom, and Carstairs
would have given the job up long ago were it not that he was aware
that the Herries were now important people in London and a useful
connexion, that Walter threw money about, and (this the most
important with Carstairs, who was, finally, a man of feeling) that
Walter could show, at times, an extraordinary and even pathetic

He wanted the place to look like a castle.  It was to have
battlements and towers, towers from whose summit a flag could fly.
That was the moment of Romanticism, of the Waverley Novels, of
Weltschmerz, of Pelham and (a little late) Childe Harold and
Werther.  There was no Weltschmerz in Walter, but he would have his
battlements and a flag flying.  So the place was going up, grim and
grey and forbidding.  Its half-grown walls could already be seen
from all the country round.

Nearly every day Walter and Uhland rode up there, Walter on a big
white horse, Uhland on a small black pony.  As you watched them
together (as Carstairs watched them) you might sometimes think
their positions reversed, that Uhland was the father and Walter the
son.  There WAS, Carstairs decided again and again, something most
truly pathetic in their relationship, for Walter dearly loved his
son.  It was the one true, selfless, generous instinct in him.
Selfless?  That perhaps not, for an intense family pride was at the
root of it.  But pride?  Pride in that queer, misshapen, white-
faced ancient child, whose sharp countenance was always grave,
whose voice was so cold and detached, whose chilly eyes watched you
so solemnly, with so deep and questioning a gaze.  Only once had
Carstairs seen the boy moved by some human emotion, and that was
when, by a chance, having met young Adam in Keswick and had a chat
with him, he had said something about him to Walter.  Young Uhland
had been listening; colour had crept into his cheeks, light into
his eye.  Walter had made a scornful gesture, and it seemed that
Uhland was going to say something in protest.  He checked himself.

It was, thought Carstairs, an interesting thing to see that stout,
red-faced man with his bright waistcoats, his pins and his rings,
his confidence and his pride, surrender to that colourless child in
his black suit, so silent, so neat and so watchful.  Yes, watchful!
That was what Uhland was, watchful and waiting.  Meanwhile his
sister Elizabeth, the prettiest child, Carstairs thought, that he
had ever seen, never shared her father's company.  It was as though
he had no daughter.

That was a month of chills and mists, of sudden winds and gleaming
suns.  One afternoon when the sun ran in and out of the clouds like
a jester, Walter and Uhland rode up to Ireby.

'Father,' said Uhland, 'why are you building this house?'

Why was he building this house?  What a question!  Nevertheless,
this was the first occasion on which Uhland had shown any interest
in the affair.  Day after day they had ridden up there, and Walter,
in a flood of talk, had shown his son how this would be there, and
that here, that the ballroom would be so long, and the dining-room
catch the sun at such a time, that he should have a room to
himself, in one of the towers if he liked, so that he could look
over the whole country, over to Keswick, over to Scotland . . .

And Uhland had watched him gravely and plucked at his upper lip in
a way that he had, but said no word.

'Why am I building this house?' Walter explained.  'For you, my
son, and for the glory of the family, so that when you marry, my
son . . .'

'I shall never marry,' said Uhland.

'Ah, you think that now, Uhland, but the time will come when you
will see a lady so beautiful . . .'

But Uhland shook his head.

'I don't care about women,' he said.

But, of course, he must marry.  Did he not wish to carry on the

He looked at his father sardonically.  There were plenty of people
to do that--all the lot at Uldale, all his relations in London.

Walter felt a chill at his heart.  Of course, Uhland must have
sons, and they must have sons, and sons and sons!

'Look, Father--there is Mrs Herries!'

She was there again then, standing on the edge of the rough bare
field, her tall black figure framed by the rough bare hills.  A
sensation of disgust caught him.  He had not seen her for several
weeks and thought that she had at last wearied of this crazy,
imbecile watching.  For crazy and imbecile she was!  At first he
had been rather pleased at the sight of her.  He was having his
revenge, although a revenge for what he by now would have found it
rather difficult to say.  Jennifer and her children had shrunk to
rather poor game, although he hated the boy for his health and good
looks, while his own son . . .

'Why does she come here, Father, day after day?' Uhland asked.

'She's mad,' Walter answered brusquely.

'But how mad?  I thought mad people screamed and broke things.'

'She shall scream well enough before I have finished with her.'  He
felt vindictive today and would like to hurt someone.  And yet he
was not by nature cruel.  If things only went well with him he
could be as jolly and generous as anyone.  But what was all this,
what his treasures in Westaways, his position in the County, this
new place of his, if Uhland were not to take pleasure in them?  His
big body throbbed sometimes with a savage desire to take his boy
and squeeze him into some sort of life of response and activity.
Here was he doing so much, striving so hard, and for what kind of
return?  He turned back on his horse and, seeing that dark figure
against the skyline, thought for a moment of what it would be to
have, indeed, John Herries for a son.  He hated that young Herries.
Yes, he would drive them all to perdition before he'd done.

He drew his horse closer to Uhland's pony and, speaking very
gently, he asked him:

'Will you not care, Uhland, to have a son to succeed to all this
when you are gone?'

'No, Father.  Why should I?'

Walter sighed.  'If you cannot see that, I cannot make you.'

Uhland, after a pause, said quietly:

'I should be glad to have a brother like Adam Paris.'

'Adam Paris?'  Walter, in his impatience, made his horse rear.
'That boy!  Why do you think of him so much?  He cares nothing for

'I like him--just as I hate John Herries.'  He looked about him,
then asked:  'Father, when you have built this, will John Herries
hate it?'

'Yes, my boy, he will.'

'Ah--then I am glad you are building it, Father.'

'Why do you hate young Herries so much?  You scarcely see him.'

Uhland considered it.

'Why do people hate one another, Father?'

'Because of something they have done, some injury or harm they have

'Well--that's the reason then.'

'But young Herries has never harmed you.'

'No.  But I will harm HIM.'

An incomprehensible boy!  But Walter had never been clever at
analysing other people and, in any case, his clear view of his son
would be fogged by his blinding absorbing love for him.  He did not
know it, but he would never have cared for a strong healthy son as
he loved this weakling.

They arrived at the place.  A great bustle was toward, men moving
with barrows and carts, climbing ladders, shouting, hammering,
cutting stone, filing and sawing.  The house, half raised, lifted
blind eyes to the sky.  It was built of Cumberland stone, beautiful
in its dim blues and greens and greys with here a soft blush of
rose, there a strand of gold, but the effect of the whole was
nevertheless grim and cold.  It promised to be strong; nothing, it
seemed, would conquer it.

Walter climbed over into the interior and Uhland stood and watched
him.  Within, on that misty day, everything was in a half-light.
The men, accustomed to his presence, went about their work.
Through a gap where a window would be, Walter could see the sharp
fall of the hill.  There, in the cup of the ground, would be
Uldale.  He savoured in his nostrils, for a moment, the especial
blend of rough soil, sharpened with the grey-stone of some solitary
farm blending with the bare outline of the rising hills beyond,
cold and bleak but strong and deeply true--that meeting of strength
and austerity and richness that is Cumberland's gift to those who
love her.  He loved her as an animal loves its home.  But today he
was restless and dissatisfied.  He climbed his way out again, and
after a word or two to the foreman, rode down the hill.  He went a
little ahead and Uhland, watching, as he always did, for
everything, saw something very strange.  His father had turned the
corner by the little wood into the road that ran from Uldale to
Bassenthwaite.  Out of the wood came two people: Walter was already
gathered into the dusk, but they saw Uhland, and he saw them before
they turned back into the wood again.

They were his sister Elizabeth and John Herries.

He rode on after his father.

Uhland's room at Westaways was as bare as a monastic cell.  The
walls held no pictures; the only furniture was a bed, two chairs, a
bookcase, a washstand and a cupboard.

There was, however, more in this room than this stiff furniture.
There were the animals.

Uhland, since a very small child, had shown a strong interest in
any animal wounded, hurt or deformed.  A very pretty little picture
might be elaborated of a pale-faced, limping little boy sorry for
hurt animals because he was himself hurt.  But you could not think
of sentiment in connexion with Uhland--it froze at his touch.

Nevertheless, in this lonely world through which we pass, each of
us shadowed from the other, who knows or can truly discern the
instincts of the human mind?  It was enough, in the case of Uhland,
that in a cold, undemonstrative fashion he cared for any damaged
animal that came his way.  The animals, on their side, appeared to
recognize him as one of themselves.  They never showed him that
especial attention given by animals to human beings who are kind to
them; sometimes, we may suspect, with a sense of conventional duty.
They showed Uhland just as much feeling as they would to another
animal.  They did not trust him any more than they would trust one
another.  Yes, he was one of themselves.

At this particular time, there was in his bedroom a bright parrot
with pink feathers, in a gilt cage.  His claw was bandaged.  Uhland
had bought him of a sailor in Keswick.  There was a dog, mostly
spaniel, in a basket.  It wore, with an air of comic but patient
protest, a large yellow silk handkerchief over one eye.  Uhland had
found it dying in a ditch near Threlkeld, minus an eye, after
suffering torture at the hands of some farm-children.  In another
basket was a wild cat, minus a leg, that had been caught in a trap
on Cat Bells.  This animal, black, with fierce burning eyes, spent
most of its time gathered on its haunches and spitting, but it
allowed Uhland to do what he wished with it.

In vain had Walter protested that it was unwholesome to keep
animals in the room where you slept.  Uhland briefly stated that he
would see to it that they were clean, that he would trust no one
but himself to look after them.  Walter submitted.  If they made
the boy happy there they must remain.  And Uhland saw to it that
they WERE clean.  The room was spotless, with an odd, dried,
mummified scent of the cloistered cell about it.  Its only sign of
life was the sudden chattering of the parrot, who would gibber
unintelligibly to himself and rattle the bars of his gilt cage.

Today, coming in from his ride, Uhland squatted down on the floor
and examined the dog's eye.  Very skilfully, and with fingers that
were strangely delicate, he undid the yellow silk handkerchief,
washed the angry red eye-socket, put some ointment on a long tear
above the right temple.  The dog, a black spaniel with a touch of
sheepdog, waited calmly while this was done.  When it was over he
lay down in his basket and licked his paws.  Uhland gave him some
water, then squatted down beside him, staring in front of him.
There was a lamp on the chest of drawers near him that gave an
ivory patina to his pale cheek.  The black cat crouched in his
basket and watched him with fiery eyes.

When he thought, he thought not like a little boy but like a man
for whom all illusions are over.  He had never had any illusions.
He saw the things in front of him with cold clarity.  He was only a
small boy, but he knew an intensity of controlled feeling that was
quite mature.  He knew shame because he was not as other boys,
haughty pride because he was the son of his father.  His father was
rich, powerful, had servants, horses, lands.  He would have
respected and cared for his father more deeply had his father cared
for him less and showed less that he cared.  The only two human
beings who entered at all at this time into his emotions were Adam
and John Herries.  He loved the one and hated the other.  He hated
John Herries because he had been brought up from a baby to do so,
because John was handsome and strong, but chiefly because he was
gentle and submissive.  Anyone who was submissive roused in him,
child though he was, something wild and savage.  To be submissive
when you were strong enough to be otherwise, to bend your neck like
a woman when you were hearty enough to be a proper man!  It was as
though someone preferred to be lame when he need not!  He caught a
sense perhaps also of John's dislike and fear of himself.  He KNEW
that John Herries was afraid of him, child though he was, and the
contempt he felt for fear was closely allied to hatred.

For these same reasons he had always loved and admired Adam Paris.
That stout, rough, untidy brown body with its independence,
freedom, absence of all sentiment, caught and held for ever his
admiration.  Adam Paris did not care whether he, Uhland Herries,
lived or died, and so Uhland loved him.

As he squatted there on the floor his thoughts were dark.  He had
guessed for a long while that his sister Elizabeth had some secret.
They had nothing at all in common, he and his sister.  She was
afraid of him, and he thought her pretty but uninteresting.  But
now--she and John Herries!  Uhland knew as yet nothing about the
love of men and women, although the gossip of stable-boys and farm-
hands had long ago told him all that there was to learn about the
physical facts of conception and generation.  The thing did not
interest him.  In any case Elizabeth was only a child as he himself
was.  But that John Herries should be on any kind of terms with a
member of his family, roused, slowly, steadily, all his coldest
anger.  He looked like a little old brooding man as he sat there on
the hard floor in the light of the lamp.

On the very next afternoon, as it happened, Uhland encountered John

Riding out on his pony (he was always happy when riding because his
deformity was not apparent) he met John Herries walking alone on
the road beyond Portinscale.  John was strolling along, thinking
deeply, his hands behind his back.  As he walked his lips moved.
He was very handsome in the dark-blue coat, fawn pantaloons, a
brown beaver hat.  Uhland pulled up the pony.

'Excuse me, sir,' he said in his queer grave child's voice.

John looked up and at once was seized with the chill of
apprehension and discomfort that always attacked him whenever this
boy was near him.  He had been thinking of charming things--of the
faint pallor of the dried bracken against the hill, of the fact
that soon Aunt Judith and Adam would be back from London, of a
party that they had had at Uldale for his sister when they had
practised archery on the lawn--yes, and of Elizabeth whom he loved
with all his soul, and for whom he was waiting until she should be
old enough for marriage.  And then--this hobgoblin!  To be afraid
of a small boy on a fat pony!  But he was afraid.

Uhland did not get down from his pony.  He simply said in his clear
chill voice:

'If I see you with my sister again, you shall be beaten by my
father's servants.'

John replied contemptuously:

'How is it you are out, young Uhland, without your governess?'

But Uhland went on:

'I mean it.  I saw you both at Ireby.'

John stood there looking at him.  He was determined to conquer this
causeless apprehension.  Gentle and courteous though he was, he had
a manly spirit; it was true, perhaps, that this child was the only
creature of the world of whom he was afraid.  He might even if he
looked at him long enough pity him for his pale face, his meagre
body that could not keep itself straight even on a pony.  But he
looked--and dropped his eyes.  He was rooted there as one is in a

'Now look here, young man,' he said lightly, 'you keep to your own
business, which is firing paper bullets out of pop-guns, I should
think.  This is a fine day; I'm walking for my health, you're
riding for yours.  We go opposite ways.'

'Then you leave my sister alone,' Uhland repeated.  'Your family
and my family hate one another, and I'm glad they do.  When I'm a
man I'll do you a hurt if I can.'

'When you're a man--'  John laughed.  'That's a long way.  Good

He passed on, but he knew in his heart that it was all he could do
to prevent himself from running.

Meanwhile Uhland rode up the hill a little way and then back to
Westaways.  He would have a word or two to say to Elizabeth.  He
found her in her room sewing 'or some such nonsense'.  He limped
in, sat on a corner of the sofa near to her, crossed his legs and
looked at her.  He recognized, of course, that she was a beautiful
girl; he had all the Herries quality of perceiving things as they
were, and he saw her fairness and delicacy, so that every colour
from the pale shadowed gold of her hair to the warm pallor of her
neck and arms was in perfect harmony; he saw all this, her
fragility and strength, the gentleness of her eyes, the humour of
her mouth.  He admired her as a valuable family possession, and the
thought that young Herries should be familiar with her revolted him--
but revolted him in his own quiet child's way.  Nevertheless,
there is no one more determined than a child when he HAS an

'I saw you and John Herries at Ireby,' he remarked.

They were twins, but to Elizabeth he had never seemed like a
relation at all.  They had never done anything together, never
cared for the same things nor thought the same thoughts.  Elizabeth
had many faults but they were not Uhland's.  Her worst fault just
now perhaps was her almost sulky reserve.  This was the result of
her father's ignoring of her.  That had eaten deeply into her.  She
would let either her father or Uhland torture her to the last point
of endurance and not utter a cry.  She loved John Herries, but he
was a man and she was only a child.  She met him secretly, wrote to
him and the rest chiefly because she knew what her father and
Uhland thought of him.  It was therefore not probable that Uhland
would get anything from her now.

'Yes?' she said, continuing her sewing.

'You are never to speak to him again,' Uhland went on.

'Who said so?'

'I say so.'

'Indeed?'  She looked at him, smiling.  Then she bit off her
thread.  'I shall speak to exactly whom I please.'

'You shall not.  If you do I shall tell your father.'

'Tell him, then.'

'He'll beat you.'

She smiled again.  'You don't think I care for that . . .  Uhland,
what a baby you are!'

That stung him, but he showed no signs.  He nursed his knee in his
hands, leaning forward and looking at her.

'Those people at Uldale are our enemies,' he said.  'They will have
to leave there and go somewhere else when father's house is

'Yes?' she said.

'Father will send you away to school if he knows,' he went on.

'I shall be glad to go away,' she answered.  'I am always asking
him to send me to school.'

'Well,' said Uhland, getting up, 'if I see John Herries talking to
you again I shall shoot him.'

'Then you'll be hung,' she said, smiling.

'Perhaps it's Herries that will be hung,' he answered.  Then he
limped away.

But he had no intention whatever of saying anything to his father.
He liked to keep his secrets.

Walter on his side was driven, after that little talk with his son
on Ireby, by a strange restlessness.  What had the child meant
about never marrying?  He WAS, of course, a child.  He knew nothing
of women or marriage . . . but the thin echo of that small cold
voice, like the whistle of wind through the wallpaper, frightened
Walter.  The boy was growing.  He had now his own thoughts and
plans.  Walter ought to know what these were.  He discovered with
angry resentment that he knew almost nothing about his son.  The
resentment may be said to have been directed against the Deity, Who
was not at that moment paying all the attention to Walter Herries'
affairs that He should do.

So Walter went in to say goodnight to his son.  He was sitting up
in bed, propped against his pillows, reading, by the light of a
candle, a book.  A dark cloth was over the parrot's cage, the dog
was curled up asleep, the cat sat blinking at the candle.

Uhland was reading Ivanhoe.

'What a silly book, Papa!' he said.  'I am certain that people
never talked like that'

Walter placed his great bulk on the bed and put his arm round his
son.  Under Uhland's nightdress there was a sharp rigid spine-bone
that seemed to protest against the caressing warmth of Walter's

'Why, not, my boy?' said Walter, who had never read Ivanhoe.  'Sir
Walter Scott is a very great man.'

'Have you ever read a book called Frankenstein, Papa?'

'No, my boy.'

'That's better than this stuff.  Frankenstein creates a Monster and
cannot escape it.  There is too much fine writing, however.'

Walter sighed.  Although this room was so clean yet you were
oppressively conscious of the animals in it.  Their very silence
was alarming.  He drew Uhland closer to him and felt the hard
casing of ribs on that bony little body.  He kissed him.  Uhland
resigned himself.  He knew so well, oh, so very, very well what
this was, this having his face pushed into the thick hot vast
territory of his father's waistcoat with its hard brass buttons.
Beneath his thin cheek his father's heart pounded like an
imprisoned thumping fist.  If his hand slid down to the hard warm
expanse of his father's thigh it was as though he touched hot
steel.  Moreover, he detested sentiment.

'Uhland,' said Walter, 'I was hearing this evening that they are
ordering fresh troops into Carlisle.  There is fear of riots over
all this Reform.'

'Yes, Papa.'

'Do you understand about Reform?'

'Oh yes, Papa.'  Uhland allowed his hand to be held and imprisoned
in his father's.  'Parliament has chosen its members from the wrong
places--little places have many representatives and big places have
few.  The people are not at all represented.'

('Good God!' thought Walter.  'Who IS this son of mine?')

'Yes, Uhland,' he went on, rather heavily.  'The people want to
throw us out, my boy.  They want the country to belong to THEM.
They're tired of seeing us have the best of everything, and I don't
blame 'em.  All the same it would never do if they had their way.
Think what England would be like if the working-man did what he
liked with it.  Imagine if you had Posset in power in London
instead of--well, instead of the Duke of Wellington, for example.'

Uhland agreed that it would be ridiculous.  But, he added,

'You see, Papa, there would be five Possets, not one Posset.'

Walter asked him to explain.

'Well, in Keswick there are hundreds of men think they're as good
as Posset.  But if it's you or the Duke of Wellington they KNOW
they're not so good, so while you or the Duke of Wellington rule
there's only one of you, but if Posset were to rule all the others
would want to as well.'

'Well,' said Walter after a pause, 'remember you're a Herries and
belong to the finest family in England.'

'Are we the finest family in England?'

'Most certainly we are.'

'Then they are fine at Uldale too?'

'Yes,' he answered, laughing, 'so long as they go somewhere else to

Then Uhland asked a strange question.

'Papa--is it part of you what your great-grandfather was?'

'What DO you mean?'

'Well--your great-grandfather was a wicked man and married a gipsy,
who was Adam Paris' grandmother.  Are you and Adam and I partly
like we are because of what your great-grandfather did?'

'I can't say . . .  I suppose so . . .  Something.'

'But we are so different.'

'Now you go to sleep, Uhland . . .  Do you love your old father?'

'Yes, Papa.'

'You are all he has, you know.  All he has in the world.'

'Yes, Papa.'

'He would do anything for you.'

'Yes, Papa.'

The dog began to move restlessly in his sleep, and he snapped his
teeth at the flies of his dreams.

'I am sorry that you like to keep these animals in your room,
Uhland.  It is not good for your health.'

Uhland threw Ivanhoe on to the floor; then he turned over to sleep.

'Goodnight, Papa.'

'Goodnight, my boy.'

There was a pathos in the manner of Walter's exit: the heavy man,
brilliant in his claret-coloured coat and rich brown pantaloons
fitting tightly to his thighs, elaborately stepping softly on his
toes that he might not disturb his son.  He had blown out the
candle.  At the door he turned back to look.  He could see nothing,
and the only sound in the room was the dog in his dreams snapping
at flies.


He stood on the black edge of the rock and stretched his arms.  He
could have shouted with joy, for today was the great day of his

Near him, around him, subservient to him were many of the Family.
There were present his father, Sir William Herries, Bart; his son
Uhland; Sir James Herries, Bart, and the Venerable Rodney Herries,
his brother, Archdeacon of Polchester in Glebeshire; Carey, Lord
Rockage, and his wife Cecily and their son Roger; Stephen Newmark
and his wife Phyllis; Garth Herries, his wife Sylvia, and Amery his
brother; and, after these, more distant cousins, cousins by
marriage or anything you like, Cards and Garlands and Golds and
Ildens and Titchleys--only nobody from Uldale.

It was April 2nd, 1832, and his house on Ireby was triumphantly

It was six in the morning of the happiest day of Walter's life.
The day, which was to end with a grand dinner and a magnificent
ball to which the whole County had been invited, had begun with a
run with the Blencathra Pack, and now here they were on the flanks
of Helvellyn, so that the sun and the hills, the whole world as God
had made it, might see the mighty glories of the Herries family and
Walter Herries in particular.

Walter was as happy as a child.  It was not conceit that he felt;
he had no small vanities because of what he had done.  Everything
was inevitable.  Because he was English and Herries and Walter,
therefore he was King of the North.  No force of heaven or earth
could have helped it.  No especial credit to himself that it was

Everything was well.  God had seen to it that the weather should be
right.  There had been early in March a very heavy fall of snow,
then towards the end of the month ten days of the loveliest
possible weather, when the sun had burnt through a warm rosy mist,
the crocuses had flowered in the Keswick gardens, the lambs
gambolled in the meadows, the waters of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite
and Thirlmere shone with a blue as deep as any Italian lake, then
colder again with a further snowfall on the tops, and now, in this
early-morning misty air, a blue cloudless sky spread like a field
of young violets above their heads.

As his eye covered the scene he saw that all the members of his
party were there.  Those staying with him were of course present,
save only his mother and his wife, too delicate, poor women, for
such an expedition.  But the others whom he had lodged in Keswick
and Bassenthwaite, in Braithwaite and Portinscale, were there also,
not one of them was missing.  It was a grand assemblage, headed by
the great John Peel himself, whose tall bony figure, clad in his
grey rough garment that descended almost to his knees, could be
seen on a green knoll not far away.

Yes, it was a marvellous day: weather, scent and all would be
right.  The morning was as still as though it held its breath for
very rapture.  The hills in the distance were softly coloured in
every shade from the faintest mauve to that dark indigo that has
the bloom of the richest plums.  On the rough ground below him he
could see the huntsman's scarlet coat (the huntsman alone was
permitted the scarlet), and near him the hounds, little white dots,
rose and fell like shining pebbles.

His heart was moved, so that there were tears in his eyes as he
caught a faint note of music.  Then the music swells, running like
a living human voice through the still air.  Somewhere hounds have
struck a 'drag'.  The white pebbles draw together and all move
upwards towards him.

A tall gaunt shepherd at his side in his excitement catches his arm
and cries:  'Sista . . .  Sista . . .  Yonder, yonder he goes!'

Then scream and scream again bursts the silence, echoing back from
valley and hill.  The world that had been so still is broken with
movement and shouting and the stir of action.  It is good.  Oh yes,
it is very good indeed to be alive!

Walter had with him his father, Rodney the Archdeacon, Garth
Herries and Sylvia his wife, but he was at that moment conscious of
none of them.  The hounds, in a kind of jolly frenzy, were
answering to the holloa, and he too now had to answer, for he began
to pound upwards, plunging into the boggy places, knocking his
stout legs against stones and boulders.  The leaders have struck
the line, the hounds rush past Walter as though driven by a wild
windy flurry; the music of the horn, of the cries, sweet and
lovely, is all about him.  He is himself crying 'Holloa!  Holloa!
Away!  Away!'

Then the hounds were hidden by a breast of the hill and he paused,
puffing a bit, blowing a trifle--for he was a big man and this
ground was no light stuff to cover.

Unfortunately he found that he had Rodney the Archdeacon at his
side, even clinging to his arm and blowing down his neck.

'Whoof!  Whoof!  Walter!  Deary me!  Deary me! . . .  Most
exhausting!  So early in the morning too!  Whoof . . .  Now tell
me, pray, my dear Walter, in this ridiculous hunting of yours there
were some quite small dogs with the huntsman . . .'

'Terriers!  Terriers, my dear Rodney.'

'Really!  Really!  Is that so?  Indeed!'

'Yes, yes.  We'd never get a fox out of his hole without them--'

'Indeed! . . .  Do you think we shall SEE a fox?'

'We did see one just now.  Down below us.  There they are!  There
they are!  Out on the brow.  Come on, Rodney!  Stir your hams.  Now
we're off!'

He went pounding off and fell headlong into a lake of mist.  He was
quite suddenly alone.  No sound.  No cry.  The mist eddied and

He stayed where he was and was conscious of a foreboding, as though
some whispering figure had crept close to his side.  Why was he,
who a moment ago had been so happy and confident, now helpless?  A
hand had been laid on his shoulder that he should stop to hear some
judgement.  He looked about him, but he was blind and, it seemed,
deaf as well.  How unforeseen a country this was, always, when you
least expected it, coming up to assert its power over you.  He did
not put it like that, but he was like a little boy, blundering
unexpectedly into the dark.  The mist clung to him like thin lawn,
then moved from him and faced him in a wall of blankness, then
eddied like smoke, creeping along the ground, then pressed in upon
him again filling his mouth and nose.  He stared, dumbfounded, as
though he expected to hear a voice . . .

It broke: a gap was there no bigger than a hand; a crag leapt into
air, shaped like a face, black as jet.  The ground, brown and then
faintly green, came sliding from space, and then, in a second of
time, swimming in a wall of bright and airy colour, the whole
landscape was back again; the voices were there, calling, shouting.
Only a little above him was the huntsman's red coat and the hounds
in a broken sequence of white and brown and grey silhouetted
against the blue of the morning sky.  He wiped his face.  'Dammit!'
he thought.  'It don't do to be alone here,' then laughed and ran
like a schoolboy again up the slope.

All the world was alive and so fresh and bright that he could shout
for joy.  There is the sharp call of a raven; near him to the left
on the slopes of the Fell are the small bodies of the Herdwick
sheep--and there, just in front of him, can it really be, is the
fox himself!

He is running with a slouching, slinking movement, first straight
then with a jerk upwards again, stopping for an instant by some
borran where he might hide, thinking better of it, round the crag,
seen for an instant, running to higher ground, then vanishing.

The sight of that fox fired Walter as though he had himself created
him.  He began to pound upwards again.  The hills rose with him,
leading him on.  They were bathed now in crystalline light, purer
than the purest glass, alive with their own vibrant force, stronger
than any human life and far more confident of their eternity.  And
then another miracle!  For, reaching a higher slope, he was above
the mist that lay below him in a sea of white shifting cloud while
he himself trod on a firm sparkling floor of brilliant snow.  The
snow carpeted the ground for a space, glittering with points of
fire, then the rock broke from it, hard and black, only to
surrender to higher fields of brightness.

He crossed the snow as though on wings, the sun and the air lifting
him, rounded a boulder and had the whole pack in view.  Now a
dreadful fear possessed him that he would be too late for the kill.
He saw Garth and Sylvia swinging along not far from him and he
waved his arms crying, 'Come on!  Come on!  Holloa!  Holloa!'

Sylvia waved back to him and, great though the excitement of the
moment was, his natural instinct about women, hot and strong in
him, murmured:  'That's the loveliest female . . .'

His heart hammered as he leaped a low stone wall and found himself
on bracken and in the thick of the mob.  They had shut the fox away
from an earth near by; you could just see him tracking for the
rocks.  But the hounds have edged him lower and lower.

'Aye,' said a little purple-faced man to Walter.  'What he's after
is that borran yonder.  The terriers'll have to be after him from
below.  That's what he likes.'

The little purple-faced man was trembling with excitement.  He
smelt oddly of bracken and snuff; he was a stranger to Walter, who
felt a sort of indignation that he SHOULD be a stranger.  Everyone
today was a kind of dependant of the Herries family.  No one should
exist who was not.  The little purple-faced man began frantically
to run, and Walter ran with him.  The fox had gone to earth, into a
borran where he was 'head on' to his adversaries.

This was a big dog-fox and worth the fighting.  The excitement now
was terrific: the ground seemed to quiver with it.  The air
shuddered with shouts and cries and the snap-snapping of the
hounds.  The terriers were mad to get at him; one small animal,
crazy with young pride and ambition, had struggled its way far into
the borran.  Suddenly it emerged, looking foolish.  All the
terriers stopped marking, and the hounds began to rush madly round
the borran, yelping, yowling, bellowing.  The huntsman and the
whipper-in were cursing and swearing, and John Peel himself, with
his funny, ill-fitting long coat, could be heard muttering his own
particular Cumberland oaths.  And this was where none of the
Herries were of any use at all.  They hung on to the fringe of the
outside world--Will and Walter, Rodney and James, Garth and Amery--
all of no importance.  They might just as well be dead.

For the fox had slipped away underground and bolted.  He was
already at a considerable distance.  The fear now was that he would
find a borran so deep that it would be impossible to get at him or
they would lose a terrier or two there.  But no!  He is out again,
and the hounds have steered him away from the rocks.  The hounds
move now as though they have absolute command of the game and are
certain of the end of it.  The fox is out; he is tracing a thin
trod through the bracken.  The hounds, running from scent to view,
are hard upon him.  A moment later, Mischief or Satan or Hamilton
has him by the throat; he vanishes beneath a flurry of white and
brown and swinging tails.  Walter drew a deep sigh; he stood, his
legs planted wide, his chest out, burning satisfaction in his eyes.
That had been a great hour, and now he must recover his dignity and
gather his family about him again.

Rodney was at his elbow, but he did not want Rodney nor that fat
idiot James his brother.  He despised them both, because when he
was short with them (as he often was) they took it like lambs.  He
moved among the Herries cousins--those of them stout enough of wind
and strong enough of limb to achieve the 'kill'--with an air of
fine and genial patronage.  He felt like a king and thought it
quite natural that they should feel that he was one.  But the
members of the family who really attracted him were Garth, Amery,
and Sylvia.  Amery, slender, stern-faced, grave, was the coming
'money' man of them all, already an important figure in the City,
and Garth was jolly, careless and handsome: young though he was, he
could drink anyone under the table and was ready for any escapade
or devilry.  But Sylvia!  Her eyes shining, her cheeks rosy with
health and excitement, framed by the hills and the glassy blue of
the morning sky, she was the loveliest thing he had ever seen.  She
was ready, he was sure, for any gay adventure.  Harmless, of
course; but tonight when the splendid house was shining with light
and colour, a laugh, a smile, a pressure of the hand . . .

He moved towards them.  Then he remembered Uhland.  How could he
have forgotten him?  The whole day was to be Uhland's!  This day
had no meaning unless it were all for Uhland.  He turned back and
began to search for his son on the faint green shadows of the lower
slopes . . .

Two Titchley cousins--old maids from Carlisle and so entirely
unimportant that nobody ever learnt their names from the beginning
to the end of the affair--sat on the corner of an almost concealed
sofa in the ballroom and considered the sight presented to them.
One was stout and one was thin; as no one ever learnt their names
that is as far as the historian can go.  They were dressed in the
fashions of 1820, with high waists, drapery of silk netting over
their busts, their ball-dresses short, with padded rouleaux at the
bottom.  One was in rose and the other in mignonette-green.  Their
first cousin, an eminent doctor in Carlisle, had brought them and,
having brought them, completely forgot them.  However, they did not
care; they had rooms in Keswick but were determined not to return
to them until the festivities were entirely concluded.  They were
in a state of ecstatic and almost drunken excitement and pleasure.
A footman brought them ices and orangeade.  No one else spoke to
them the night long.

It was the loveliest sight they had ever beheld.  They were at
first inclined to be shocked by the naked goddesses displayed in
the famous tapestries, they thought some of the costumes 'bare in
the extreme', they discovered a young man, quite drunk, behind one
of the gold curtains in a corner near to them, but soon as the air
grew more heated, the noise of the band in the gallery more
strident, they threw away convention and, their mouths a little
open, sipping their ices, surrendered to their ecstasy.

Above their turbans of figured gauze, above the high ceiling
painted with the stars of heaven and naked cherubs hanging
garlands, climbed one of the two towers of the Fortress.  In the
highest room of the tower (which by his own choice was Uhland's
room) a monkey with one eye and a face of the deepest melancholy
scratched his chest; a small terrier with a broken leg whined,
paused to listen, whined again; the parrot, under its green baize
covering, its head on its shoulder, slept a deep, philosophic
sleep.  The moonlight soaked the room in a pale green light and,
very faintly, the sound of the fiddles, the bassoon and the drums
whispered in the air.

In the gardens everything was still and cold.  Everything was new--
the stone walls, the steps, the fountain whose waters flashed under
the moon, the naked beds where the flowers would soon be so
splendid.  The trees beyond the garden walls were old; here
daffodils were in bud, and the snowdrops dying.  An owl cried; the
music, muffled but determined, drowned its cries.  Then from the
heart of the trees a little wind rose and went whistling and
lamenting about the garden-beds and the paths as though looking for
its familiar friends who were gone.  Beyond the high road the
landscape, falling to the valley, spreading to the smoky hills, was
soaked in moonlight and lay there as still as a pattern on glass.
A man from Ireby village walking out to meet his sweetheart stayed
for a moment in the road to listen to the music, to stare at the
blaze of lighted windows, then some sudden apprehension--as though
he feared that his girl would not be there to meet him--hurried him

Around and about the lighted ballroom many of the rooms were yet
empty; some of them had ladders and pots of paint and buckets.
Here a chair lay on its face, there pictures were piled against the
wall; in one room workmen had left cheese and a hunk of bread.

The ballroom blazed with colour like the page of an illuminated
missal.  Agnes Herries sat with Christabel, Walter's mother, on a
little sofa, and everyone came and talked to them.  Agnes was
feeling dreadfully ill; at her heart was a pain like a hand
clutching and unclutching.  She did not know what to say to
Walter's mother, with whom she had never been familiar.  She could
not say that she liked this new house, for she hated it; nor that
she was sorry to have left Westaways, for she had hated that too;
nor that she was glad that Walter was happy, because she was not
glad.  The sight of so many people whom she did not know, whom she
feared, made her sick.  She knew that her little shrivelled body
looked absurd in its gaudy ball-dress with the huge sleeves like
epaulettes.  She knew that everyone despised her.  Her only
happiness was to catch a glimpse once and again of her lovely
daughter Elizabeth, who in her dress of silver silk was, in her
mother's eyes, beautiful beyond compare.  Once her son Uhland,
resting on an ebony cane that he now carried, came and spoke to
her.  When he was gone Christabel said:  'What a clever face Uhland

'Yes, he is very clever.'

'I have never,' continued Christabel, who was longing for her bed,
'seen so many of the family together in one room--never since a
Ball I once gave in London.'

She was no longer distressed by the memory of that eventful Ball.
It seemed to her now, on looking back, to have been a very
successful affair.  She sought anxiously for Will, her husband.
Ah! there he was, talking to Amery Herries, a clever young man.
They would be talking about money, always Will's favourite topic.
Perhaps soon she might slip away to bed.  Why, she wondered
sleepily, had her son chosen so poor a specimen as Agnes for his
wife?  But her wonderings were never very active.  She had long ago
learnt that it was wiser not to wonder about anything very deeply.

The band broke into one of the newest valses.  The floor swam with
colour, green and white, purple and rose.  Laughter, music, the
movement of so many happy persons filled the air with a golden
haze; the owl's cry could not penetrate the thick walls of
Cumberland stone.

It was nearly midnight.  At Uldale, John, Dorothy, Adam had all
gone to bed, but Judith sat in Jennifer's room looking after
Jennifer.  Looking after Jennifer!  An exasperating thing to do!
Jennifer had been ill for weeks, but they had had to set a guard
about her door to keep her in bed.  She was there now, propped up
with pillows, her eyes shining like fireflies.  Her face was as
white as dough.  Even in her bed she looked dishevelled, her heavy
breasts exposed, her nightdress torn above her right elbow, her
lace nightcap tilted over one ear.  She wanted to get up.

'You can't!' said Judith.

Judith was in a violently bad temper.  All day she had ordered the
maids about as though they were dirt, rapping with her stick on the
floor.  It had been all that she could do not to box Dorothy's
ears.  They had all been on edge that day.  Was it because of the
Ball at Ireby?  Were they, in spite of themselves, conscious of it?
In any case, you did not know of what the children were thinking.
John had been melancholy for a while now, and Adam--Adam was
silently fighting her desires.  Adam wanted to get away and she
knew it.  She was determined to prevent it.

Meanwhile Jennifer was very ill.  She had caught a chill walking in
the country lanes in a thin dress with black satin shoes and silk
mittens.  Her heart also was bad.  Her legs were swollen.  She was
deaf in one ear.

'You are keeping me in bed against my will.  I insist on getting
up.'  She looked across the sheets with hatred at the neat, pale-
faced woman in the red morocco chair.  She listened.  The house was
as still as a bottomless well.

She poured out a torrent of mild, lazy abuse:

'Yes, you keep me here and think it very fine.  You have grown into
a bully, Judith.  That's what you are.  Everyone knows it.  You are
impossible with everyone . . . impossible . . .  Why the maids stay
in the house I don't know.  I insist that I get up.'

'Don't be foolish, Jennifer.  It's past midnight.  You must go to
sleep.  I will give you your drops.'

'I don't wish for my drops.  They are poisoning me.  I expect that
Walter has bribed the doctor to put poison in them.'

'Don't be foolish.  You know that he has done nothing of the kind.'

'Oh, this woman!' thought Judith.

Jennifer slowly raised herself on her hands, climbed out of the
clothes and sat on the edge of the bed, her swollen legs hanging

'So Walter has opened his house.  All the countryside save
ourselves is dancing there tonight.  The next thing he will build a
house just outside our garden.'  She looked up with lazy
maliciousness.  'You may say what you like; he has poisoned all our
life here.  John is not the same, you are not the same, Adam is not
the same.'

Judith said nothing.  Jennifer went on:

'You love Adam more than anyone in the world, do you not?'

'Yes, of course I do.  Jennifer, get back into bed.  You will catch
your death--'

'Well, he is going to leave you.  I can tell.  I know.  He will
soon be seventeen and is not of such a character as to remain in a
country place--'

A sharp pain, like the touch of a knife, struck Judith's heart, but
she got up and, very gently, went to the bed.  She patted Jennifer
on the shoulder as though she were a child and urged her back into
bed again.  Quite placidly Jennifer obeyed.

'Oh, dear!  I have such a pain in my chest!  How they will be
dancing now on Ireby!  Everyone from Keswick will be there!'  She
sighed, a deep childish sigh.  'How still this house is!  Only the
clocks . . .  Judith, what do you think life is for?'

'What is it FOR?' Judith was listening.  It was, of course, only
her imagination, but it seemed to her that she could hear very
faintly drums and fiddles and a dim bassoon.  One did fancy that
one heard things in a quiet house at night.

'Yes.  Why are we born?  Why do we live?  Why do you love Adam so
intensely when it is all for nothing?'

'It is not for nothing.'

'Oh, but of course it is.  He will grow up and marry and forget you
just as I forgot my own mother and father.  I should never have
left them.  I should never have come North.  I should never have
married Francis.  My children don't care for me.  No one cares for
me.  You are all waiting for me to die.'

'Nonsense, Jennifer.'

'No, but it is not nonsense.  I cannot understand it, all the
bother and the worry.  People are born and they die, and other
people are born and it is all for nothing.'

'It is not for nothing,' Judith repeated.  'It is that we may have
some experience, that we may learn--'

'Yes, but learn what?  I am sure that I have never learnt anything
except to be disappointed and to be afraid of Walter.'

Judith, who was half asleep, struggled to comfort Jennifer.

'You have learnt more than you know, my dear.  There is something
immortal in us that must grow, and it grows with experience.'

But did it?  Did she mean what she said?  Her love for Adam was
immortal.  Her love for Georges was so--it would never die.  There
was something to FIGHT in life, something strong and glorious . . .

She covered a yawn with her hand.  'Now, Jennifer, you must sleep.'

Jennifer lay back in the bed.  'I have such a pain near my heart.
My throat is sore.  I can see Walter come dancing down the hill
when I am buried.  And then he will finish John and Dorothy as he
has finished me.'

There was something so truly pathetic in her voice; she was like a
small child who is suffering she does not know why.  Judith bent
over the bed and smoothed her pillow.  Jennifer caught her hand.

'You are good to me, Judith, although I know that you wish that I
were dead.'

'Of course I don't wish that you were dead.'

'Oh yes, you do.  You have never forgiven me for preventing you
from living in Watendlath.  Had you lived in Watendlath you would
not have wanted everything your own way so.'

This was so true that Judith felt as though it were her own voice
that was speaking.  But she showed no signs: she stroked Jennifer's

'Judith, do you not hear something?'

'Hear what?'

'Music--violins and a drum.'

'No--of course not.'

'Oh, but I do.  Go to the window and pull back the curtain.'

She went.  She looked out.

'What do you see?'

'I see nothing.  Only the trees and the moonlight.'  But that was
not true.  Quite clearly she could see in the far distance Walter's
house on Ireby.  The windows shone like little stars.

'Can you not see the house?'

'Yes; very dimly.'

'Ah . . . Judith, Judith!'  It was a cry.  'He will kill John as he
is killing me!  I can see him.  I can hear him.  He is coming!'

She hastened back to the bed.

Jennifer was very ill and the perspiration glistened on her
forehead.  Her hand was at her heart.

'Oh, I am in such pain!  Such terrible pain!'

'Quiet, dear.  It will soon pass.  I will fetch the drops--'

'Don't leave me . . .  Oh!  Oh!  I am going to die!  The room is
dark . . .  Judith, where are you?'

'Sir Roger' was over; some of the older people were departing, Miss
Pennyfeather among others.  She greeted Walter with dignity and
thanked him for a very enjoyable evening.  Indeed, she had had one,
and Mrs McCormick was to drive her back in her barouche.  Mrs
Walter Herries had gone to bed; Miss Elizabeth, standing beside her
father, did the honours.

The old lady, who was feeling roguish, whispered in his ear:

'You have a most beautiful daughter.'

And then, to be more roguish yet, whispered:

'But I miss Judith Paris.  She is a great friend of mine, you

He agreed to both these propositions as perhaps he would have
agreed to anything tonight in his happiness and triumph.  But he
was surprised at the loveliness of Elizabeth.  He did not feel that
he was her father any more strongly than he had ever done, but she
WAS beautiful.  And he would have been delighted had Judith been
there.  He bore her no grudge.  A little later Sylvia Herries found
herself beside Elizabeth and spoke to her.

'Are you enjoying yourself, Elizabeth?'

The girl smiled shyly.  She thought Sylvia Herries the loveliest
woman she had ever seen.  She had heard that she was a beauty in
London and had a Salon attended by famous men, and yet she looked
little older than herself.

'Oh yes,' she said.

'Do you like the new house?'

She did not say that she hated it, that she was miserable there,
that she was afraid lest her mother should die and leave her
defenceless, but her colour rose in her cheeks and she answered:

'I am not perhaps accustomed . . .  Later on perhaps.'

The oddest feeling rose in Sylvia's breast.  This child seemed to
rebuke her by her innocence and inexperience.  Suddenly she hated
all her London life, with Rosina Bulwer storming angrily at her
overdressed husband, and young Mr Ainsworth such a coxcomb, the
tables after a party scattered with cards and overturned glasses
and the grease from candles.

She looked at Elizabeth with great affection.  'Be happy while you
may.  You are so young and so beautiful.'

At that moment up came Walter, a little drunk.  He took her away.
They were dancing the valse again.  He asked her to dance.  He was
not a bad performer for so big a man, but why had he not even
looked at his daughter?  His breath smelt of wine, his heavy body
was pressed close to hers.

'This is a triumph for you, Cousin Walter,' she said.  'I have
never seen so many of our relations before.'

His arm tightened about her slender waist.

'I'll tell you a thing,' he said.  'I have been looking forward to
this day all my life.'

'The house is magnificent,' she said.  But she did not think so.
She found it cold and bleak.  There was too much grey stone about
it, and the towers and sham battlements were hideous.  It was like
a fortress.

But he did not pay attention.  He whispered in her ear:

'I'll tell you another thing.  I think that I am in love with you.'

This was no new thing to her.  Men were for ever whispering it in
her ear; moreover, with his physical vitality, size and strength
there was something attractive . . . also tonight he was like a boy
in his happiness.  So she did not answer him, but said instead:

'The hunting this morning was the grandest adventure.  I never
enjoyed anything so much in my life.'

His hand rested on her arm; truly he danced well for so big a man.

'Yes, was it not?  Glorious weather.  And, do you know, this is a
strange country.  I took a step and was blinded by mist with sun
all about me.  For a moment I was lost.'

'Yes?  Indeed?'  She had not heard him.  She saw that her husband
was watching them.  She fancied that he did not care for Walter,
although he had not said so.

The valse was ended, and he led her away to an alcove near the
window where they were hidden by curtains, hidden from everyone
save the two Titchley cousins, whose eyes were more active than

She sat down, and he stood leaning over her chair, his hand very
near her lovely neck.  To make conversation she said:

'Is it not comic, Cousin Walter, to see so many Herries together?
What do you think of us as a family?'

'What do I think? . . .  Well, well . . .  Sylvia, how lovely you
are!  I am sure that I have never seen anyone so lovely.'

'I hate our family when it is together in big numbers.  We are all
hard and material and self-seeking.  When one of us is not he is
gored to death by the others, like a sick animal in a herd.'

'Sylvia, would you make an objection if I kissed you?  Only a
cousinly kiss, you know.'

'I should certainly object most strongly.  I am married, you know.'

'So am I,' he murmured laughing, and, bending forward, kissed the
back of her neck.

Her husband, Garth, had seen them dancing.  Sylvia was right; he
did not like Walter; he wished that they had not come.  He was
vaguely unhappy, a rare experience for his lively, careless
temperament, and, turning, found that Elizabeth, near to him at
that moment, was being left with many bows by her partner, a fat,
pursy little man.

'This is a grand sight,' he said.  'Who was your elderly partner,

'A doctor from Keswick.'

'Are you very happy?  You should be.'

Some restraint that she had been fighting all the evening broke
down.  She liked Garth; he was gay and young and kind.

'No, Garth, I am not.'  She held her head high, but he saw that her
eyes were bright with tears.  They were away by themselves, and he
wanted to put his arm round her and protect her.

'Why not?' he asked her.

'Oh, this house--do you like it?  It is hard and cold.  And my
mother is ill.  And--and--'

'You are in love?' he asked her quickly.

'Yes, I am,' she said softly.  'I have been ever since I was a

She was only a child now, he thought.

'Well--is there no hope of marrying?'

'None.  A year ago we agreed that we would not meet any more.  It
is quite, quite hopeless.  But I love him the same and so I always

'That is something,' he answered gravely.  'Fidelity.  That is very
rare, and the best way to maintain it is never to meet.
Propinquity, my dear, kills love.'

'Why!' said Elizabeth, her eyes open and startled.  'Do you not
love your wife?'

'I can be jealous of her.  I am proud of her.  I wish to be near
her.  Is that an answer to your question?'

'Oh!' whispered Elizabeth, staring at him and longing for John
Herries with such a desperate ache that she thought that everyone
must see it.  Would you bring me some orangeade, cousin?  I am

The band struck up a quadrille.  They moved to their places.  It
was the climax of all the splendour and pageantry of the evening.

'Oh, did you see--?' said one of the Titchleys to the other.

Walter, his countenance shining with wine, health, exercise,
success, love and triumph, led Cecily Rockage to her place in the

There was a moment's pause.  Then the band struck up again and all
the coloured figures moved, softly, gracefully, about the shining

At Uldale, Judith, her arms about Jennifer, gazed around her
desperately for help.  But no help could be forthcoming, for with a
sigh Jennifer bent her head and, falling forward, died against
Judith's breast.

Part Two

Adam and Margaret


Adam, on the morning of his twenty-second birthday, rode alone to
Manesty Woods.

At breakfast, there had been the customary festivities.  His mother
had given him a riding-whip mounted in silver, John had given him
Captain Marryat's Mr Midshipman Easy, Dorothy had sent some silk
handkerchiefs, and Rackstraw the French Revolution of Thomas
Carlyle.  They had all been very kind.  Especially had the love
shown him by his mother moved and affected him.  He had ridden over
alone to Manesty that he might think, that he might resolve his
strong determination into unchangeable fact.

He intended, before another twenty-four hours were past, to tell
his mother that he must leave Uldale and seek his fortune in the
world.  It was a fierce resolve, one towards which it seemed to him
that his whole life had been tending.  It needed some girding of
the loins!  The scene with his mother would be terrific!

In the quiet autumn weather he rode through Portinscale, up the
hill towards Braithwaite, then turned to the left, followed the
leaf-strewn paths until the woods closed about him and, tying his
horse to a tree, plunged down to the Lake's very edge.

There was breeze enough to run a slight murmuring ripple to his
feet: for the rest the silence was complete.  Opposite him Skiddaw
rose like a dividing flower in purple shadow to a shadowed sky.
Shadow veiled the Lake.  Fields, hills and houses were dim.

He sat there, his hands pressed on his broad knees, and thought
things out.  Yes, there would be a devil of a row!  His mother, as
she now was, was not easy to oppose--and yet, if only because he
loved her, he must oppose her.  He was twenty-two today and, as he
saw it, he had wasted five years of his life.  For a young man five
years seem an immense time.  Ever since, at the age of fifteen, he
had visited London with his mother he had resolved to leave Uldale,
and yet here he was--seven years later, and he was still there!

It was not that he was not resolute enough!  As he sat there with
his mouth set and his thick broad shoulders squared, he was the
very image of resolution, and yet his mother had been too much for

He had begun, he remembered, five years back, when Walter Herries
had given his first Ball at Ireby and Aunt Jennifer had died, his
Grand Rebellion.  He had said, his legs apart and his hands in his
pockets, that he was going.  And his mother had answered him:

But she had not intended for a moment that he should go.  She had
used Roger Rackstraw and John to assist her.  Adam was greatly
attached to Rackstraw in spite of his drinking, his wenching and
his gambling.  Rackstraw had taught him everything that he knew--
how to ride, how to fight, how to read.  It was from Rackstraw that
he had got more than from any other the love of this country that
he so deeply worshipped.  Stones and clouds!  Clouds and stones!
He looked up at the small vaporous clouds browsing like sheep on
the fields of misty sky above him.  The long white stone upon which
he was sitting, the boulders that lay about him, these were his
intimate companions because Rackstraw had introduced him to them.
Yes, he owed Rackstraw a great deal, and it was Rackstraw who had
persuaded him that he must remain, for a while at least, to help
John with the property, the farm at Uldale, the land towards
Skiddaw, the business affairs in Keswick.  Well, he had remained.
He loved John Herries very dearly; there were things that he could
do that John could not.  He was more easily friends with the
farmers and the labourers and the Keswick people.  There was
something in John, some reserve and shyness, that kept him apart;
he inherited that from his father.  But everyone liked Adam and
trusted him, which was something in these days of rick-burnings in
the country and starvation in the towns.

Then, two years ago, he had tried again.

'I am wasting my life here, Mother.  I want to go to London.'

This time she did not say 'Go!'  She had looked at him as though
she would burst into a torrent of rage.  She was by then over
sixty; her hair was white, but her small body was as taut and erect
as ever.  Nevertheless, she was not quite as strong as she had
been.  She sat down more frequently, would take his arm when they
walked in the garden.  It was not so easy as it had been the first
time.  Nevertheless, she had not said 'No'.  Dorothy had but just
become engaged to a Mr Bellairs of Ryelands, near Seascale.  An
excellent match.  Bellairs was Dorothy's age, would succeed to a
fine estate, was a good, solid sound-bottomed Englishman with no
nonsense about him.  So Adam must wait until Dorothy was married.
Dorothy DID marry in June of 1836 and had gone to Ryelands to live.
Well, then, Judith was all alone now with John.  Of course, Adam
must stay.  Not that Judith minded in the least being the only
woman in the house.  She adored it.  She had always had an
affection for Dorothy, but of late the girl had grown into a very
common-sensible house-keeping woman and had had ideas of the way
that Fell House should be managed.  She had married, Adam was of
the private opinion, in the very nick of time.

So then it had gone on, and Adam could just see his mother nodding
her little head to herself, her mouth curved in a triumphant smile.
'Now I've got him for ever!  I shall marry John off, and then the
two of us will be alone here together.'  (Adam knew that she would
never marry John off.  There had ever been only one woman for him.
There would never be another.)

But there was more in it than this.  There was Walter Herries at

Adam was extremely practical and saw things as they were.  He was
not, as John was, frightened by unsubstantial fears.  But he could
not deny that part of his resolve to run away to London was founded
on Walter and the house at Ireby.

After Jennifer Herries' death they--Judith, Adam, John and Dorothy--
had decided altogether to disregard dear Cousin Walter and his
big, ugly grey house.  And so in a kind of way they had.  They
never mentioned Walter except to joke about him, his growing
corpulency, his absurd airs and the rest.  When Agnes his wife
died, Judith attended the funeral, and Walter spoke to her in a
very friendly manner.

Nevertheless, what Jennifer had prophesied was partly true.  The
Fortress (as everyone in the countryside now called the place) came
ever nearer to Uldale.  One reason of this was that Mr Peach,
Walter's agent, seemed to be on terms with all of the Uldale
dependants.  Even old Bennett was seen chatting with him.  Mr
Rackstraw drank and betted with him, and one night was deposited,
dead drunk, at Fell House gates with an ironic note in Peach's

Then Adam knew that John was always thinking of Elizabeth.  He did
not, Adam believed, meet her any more nor correspond with her, but
John was certain that she was unhappy, in especial since her
mother's death, and the thought tortured him.

Then there was the matter of Uhland Herries, his liking for Adam,
his hatred of John.  For a while he was continually meeting Adam,
in the roads, in Keswick, by the Lake; until at last Adam told him
that he did not wish to speak to him nor have anything to do with
him, that his father was the enemy of all of them at Uldale, and
that, so long as it lasted, there could be no intercourse between
them.  Uhland just stared at him out of his strange grey eyes,
nodded, and rode away.  But John had the fantastic, unreal notion
that Uhland was always following him, waiting for him round corners
and so on, would one day do him a hurt.

Finally, Adam believed it to be true that his mother was slowly
more and more conscious of Walter.  When little things went wrong
she attributed it to Walter, just as Jennifer used to do.  Adam
caught her sometimes standing in the garden, staring over at the
Fortress.  Of course, she was becoming an old lady now, and fancies
would have more power over her than they used to do.

For Adam there was a growing atmosphere in the Uldale house that
seemed to him sickly and false.  He must escape from it.

There was, however, much more behind his resolve than this.  He was
determined to do something fine in the world.

Although his reticence hindered him from declaring his thoughts to
anyone, he was filled with idealism and love for his fellow human
beings.  On this day, as he sat there, looking over the shadowy
Lake, he felt perhaps some of the sentiment that was stirring in
England just then.  There was a new young Queen on the throne; all
the debauchery, mismanagement, selfishness of those fat old men who
had pretended to govern England had passed away.  With this child
who already in a few months had shown strength and honesty of
purpose and purity of mind there was a new hope in the land.  Adam
had pictures in his mind, as all Englishmen had just then, of that
girlish figure on horseback in the Park, or advancing with perfect
dignity and command to meet her Ministers, so that all the old men
who had known that other rgime, the Duke and Peel and Melbourne,
were ready to kneel down and worship her.  Melbourne was already
her slave.  Might it not mean that a New Age of Knight-Errantry and
the Brotherhood of Man was to begin?

If so, Adam meant to have his share in it.  He was very young, had
had little experience of the world, but it seemed to him then--as
it was to seem to him all his life through--that a very little was
needed to make the earth a glorious place where everyone loved his
fellow-man and worked, unselfishly, for the general good of

There was nothing selfish in his desires as he sat there that
morning.  He never thought of himself at all.  His heart swelled in
him as he formed pictures of life as it ought to be, as surely it
would be in time to come.  It seemed to him that it would be a fine
thing if himself and others of a like mind were to band together
and work all with a common will for the good of the world.  He was
proud of his family, although he himself was illegitimate, but he
was not proud of individual members of the family.  Something was
always taking them in the wrong direction.  Even he perceived, in
spite of his intense loyalty, that something had happened to his
mother.  It might be that she had, as she once told him, made the
wrong decision when she had stayed at Uldale instead of going to
live at Watendlath.  Then there were Francis and Jennifer, John's
father and mother, Walter and Uhland, Will and Garth and Sylvia in
London.  He did not feel himself better than any of them--there was
never anyone with less conceit--but it seemed that in life one was
for ever being tempted to take a wrong step: a quick decision and
one was moving down the wrong road, never again to be in the right

He felt life to be good; it could not hold such beauty as he saw
before him that morning and not be good.  Yet so many things were
wrong with it--so much poverty, suffering of women and children,
dirt and shame and crime.  Surely, if one worked hard enough, and
if enough people in the world cared for justice and equality,
everything would swing round--not to perfection, perhaps, but to
something in unison with this beauty, this sense of God active and
moving in men's hearts?

In any case, he meant to see what he could do; so he must go out
into the world, fight his way, find others of like mind with
himself.  He got up, stretched his arms, felt an infinite strength
and hope in him.  He hated this struggle with his mother.  But, if
he was resolute, it would be sharp, brief, soon over, and then she
would see how right he was.  He smiled as he looked about him and
untethered his horse.  How lovely and perfect this place was!
Perhaps one day he would return and have a cottage here, with the
hills above him, and the Lake at his feet.  Nothing the world could
hold would be so good as that would be!  He rode home.

But alas!  How noble and ideal are we at one moment; how peevish
and unkind the next!  Adam stopped in Portinscale for a bottle of
stout and some cold beef.  There was nothing better than to sit in
the window of the Inn, drinking the stout and eating the beef while
the grey stillness of field and Lake bound with the hedges of the
cottage gardens spread like a fan before him, to sit there and
think of the world opening, of the great deeds to be performed
therein, of the fights to be fought, the weak to be protected, the
books, maybe, to be written!  He had no thought that he was a
genius, but Keats (whose Lamia and St Agnes' Eve Rackstraw had
introduced to him) had not thought himself one, and Mr Carlyle had
been a peasant, and there was the author of Sketches by Boz . . .

So he rode slowly home through the mist and the yellow leaves,
dreaming of what was coming.  What immediately came to him was the
Reverend Mr Bland, the new curate at Cockermouth, who had had a
London curacy and bore a letter from Stephen Newmark.  A stout wife
was with him and a stout daughter.  The visitors had been asked
whether they would take port or sherry, and the glasses, biscuits
and decanters were laid out on the table.  The candles shone (gas
was not yet introduced into Fell House), a table near by was ready
with the round, lacquered Pope Joan board and the mother-o'-pearl
counters, for Judith adored Pope Joan.  And she sat there like a
queen in a beautiful shawl with long fringes and her snow-white
hair in long ringlets, enjoying herself tremendously.

The Reverend Mr Bland stayed an eternity.  He had endless things to
say about his new church, how the Psalms were read 'too quick,' and
the red cloth on the reading-desk was faded to a dirty brown, and
how at St Mary's in Islington . . .  No, they would never be gone,
for Farmer Wilson had driven them over and had gone on to some
farms about some business of his own and . . .  Oh! there was
Farmer Wilson at last, and soon the Bland family was lifted into
his cart, and the dusk closed down upon their rumbling.

He followed her up to her room, watched her shake her curls, change
her shawl, do a little pas seul up and down her floor in imitation
of Mr Bland's mincing steps, laugh and sing a note or two from
'Speed on, my mules, for Leila WAITS for me,' which was one of the
popular ballads of the day.  It was very difficult for him to
attack her at such a moment, and yet he could not wait.  Although
so thickly and sturdily built he was nervous as a young girl when
he confronted his mother.  The memory of that first awful quarrel
following his laugh at old Bellenden in Keswick never left him;
there was, too, something dismaying in her swift transition from
mood to mood.  Then she was sixty-three, and, let her pretend as
she might, was not as strong as she had once been.  And then--
hardest of all--he loved her better than anyone alive.

So he burst out at once that he might get it over quickly.

'Mother--I'm going to London.  I've been thinking it over.  I'm
going to earn my living like other men.  I must, I must . . .'

Like other men!  She stopped in her invocation of 'Leila', stood
there in the middle of the floor and laughed at him.  Like other
men!  To her he was still an infant, or at most a small boy who
stole jam from the cupboard and bought bull's-eyes at the shop in
the village.  And yet he was not!  She looked and saw him standing
there, stolid and square, in his man's blue coat with the velvet
collar and the strapped pantaloons, a lock of his black hair
falling over his forehead, whiskers sprouting on his cheeks, his
grave eyes confronting her without flinching.  No, he was not a
child any longer.  This was what Jennifer had foretold.  She
reached out for her ivory cane that was leaning against the four-

'Not on your birthday, Adam,' she said, and moved towards the door.

But he did not budge.  He felt his knees shake, but now that he had
begun he would go through with it.

'Yes, Mother, I must.'  He cleared his throat.  'Listen, Mother,
dear.  I'm twenty-two today.'

'And what has that to do with it?'

'Everything.  I am a man and should do a man's work.'

'You have a man's work here.'

'No, I have not.  You know quite well that for all I do here I
might be shut up in a cupboard.  John and Rackstraw can manage

'That is not true.  John is too dreamy, and Rackstraw drinks in the
village.'  She felt that her legs were trembling, so with great
dignity she walked to the chair near the fireplace and sat down.

The devil of it was that words never came easily to him!  He could
think clearly enough, but when it came to words! . . .  He stood
nearer to her.

'Mother, pray listen.  I am not being rebellious or wicked.  You
know how . . . how . . . devotedly I love you--'

'So devotedly that you want to break my heart,' she said.

(Something sarcastic in her said:  'Break my heart!  My dear, what

He began to be angry, which was a help to him.  When he was angry
his lower lip jutted out, a sign that she knew very well.

'This is a resolve,' he said.  'Nothing shall turn me from it.'

'Well--if it is a resolve--what will you live upon?'

'I have fifty pounds I've saved, thirty I got for those sheep at
Threlkeld, twenty Uncle Will sent me . . .'

'Fifty!  Thirty! . . .  Nonsense! . . .  That will last you a month
or so.  And then what?'

'I shall find work.'

'Yes, but what will you do?  What will you do?'  She stamped her
cane on the floor.  'You've been trained to nothing.'

'I can find work,' he said doggedly.  (He thought of saying:
'Whose fault is it that I've not been trained?' but fortunately
kept it back.)  'I'm ready to do anything.'

'And starve in a gutter,' she answered contemptuously.  Then her
voice softened.  'Now, Adam, this is folly.  You HAVE work here,
your proper work.  John loves you.  I am sure he would not know
what to do without you.  You are necessary to all of us here.'

As she softened so did he.

'We can soon test whether I'm necessary or no,' he said, laughing.
'I will go to London for three months, and you shall see how well
you do.  Why, mother, in a week you will have forgotten all about

She saw then that he meant to go.  She bent her head for a moment.
She wanted to deal with this quietly, but she had less control of
herself now than the other day.  Something leapt up within her,
crying, 'I want to get out!' and out it came, disclosing itself as
a nasty piece of temper that took herself by surprise quite as much
as anyone else.  She had always had a hasty temper, but now it was
as though she had her own and someone else's as well.

She was determined on two things: not to let him go and not to be
angry.  So she got up and walked to the door; as she passed him she
laid her hand for a moment on his shoulder, smiled at him and said:

'Now you must not be naughty, Adam.  Some time--later on--you shall
go to London.  Perhaps I shall come with you,' and left the room.
There for once her tactics were altogether wrong.  Those words, as
it happened, were all that were needed to stiffen him.  She was
still treating him like a child; she WOULD not see that he was a
grown man.  That just showed how hopeless everything would be if he

But he must go at once.  He could not endure that this relationship
with his mother should continue.  She would beat him down if she
had time; her ruthlessness had all the old history of their lives
together to harden it.

Very soon, in fact, the battle was renewed.  Next day at breakfast
alone with John, drinking beer and gobbling beef pie, he told him
his decision.

'John, I've got to go.'

'Got to go?' asked John.

'Yes, to London.  I'm wasting my time here.  You know that as well
as I do.  I've got to be of some use in the world.'

'Well, aren't you being of use here?'

'No, nothing to matter.  You see, John, there's a dreadful lot of
injustice everywhere.  Look at these women in the factories and the
children in the mines.  Look how people are starving.  Why, they
say in Whitehaven--'

'Yes, I know.  But couldn't you improve things and stay here as
well?  And is it your business?  I mean--'

'You think I'm a bit of a prig,' said Adam.  'But I don't want to
consider myself at all.  I may be a prig or not.  I don't care--'
He broke off, laughing.  'Yes, I do care.  I don't want to be a
prig.  But I find it so difficult to say what I mean.  What I MEAN
is that I think that a number of men are feeling that they want to
help to make England a grand place--without all this injustice and
division between the rich and the poor.  And I want to stand with

'And you're on the side of the poor?' asked John.

'Of course I am.  I haven't much myself, I'm illegitimate, I'm
nobody.  Who should be on the side of the poor if I'm not?  But I
don't want to preach, you know.  There's none of the parson in me.
I only want that they should have more to eat and better homes,
that young children shouldn't go down the mines and be in the dark
all day--'

'I daresay they like it--being in the mines, I mean.'

'Like it!  How can they like it?  Would YOU like it?'

'No, but I'm not accustomed to it.'

Adam had been unusually eloquent, so now he was quiet again
although he had not, even now, said what was really in his heart.
John got up, came round to him and put his arm around him.

'I expect you're right,' he said.  'Only what it will be here
without you--'

'You need not disturb yourself,' said a sharp voice in the doorway.
'Adam is NOT going to London.'

They both looked up, and there was 'Madame' in the doorway, shaking
on her cane with anger.  'No, I will not have it,' she said, her
voice quivering.  'You get this notion out of your head, Adam, once
and for all.  Your duty is here.  There's been enough of this
nonsense.'  And she went.

The two looked at one another.

'By Caesar!' said John, 'I never knew she was there.'

Adam said in a low voice:  'It's no good.  She can't stop me.  But
it's awful fighting her.'

'Yes,' said John.  'No one likes it.  That's why she always has her

Meanwhile Judith went about her household duties, and the maids had
a dreadful morning of it.  She felt as though she were fighting for
her very life.  If Adam left her, what remained?  Oh yes, of course
she was fond of Uldale--but to be alone here with John, the stupid
neighbours, Walter on the hill . . .  All the morning she was
closer to weeping than she had been for years.  This would not have
happened had she done what she should have done--gone to live in
Watendlath with Adam.  He would have become a fanner and she would
have lived with him.

She went up to her room.  She stared out at Skiddaw, veiled now by
dirty, swollen clouds.  What was she to do?  How was she to
influence him?  Behind her anger and indignation was admiration of
his obstinacy.  She would have behaved once just as he was

But she beat these thoughts back.  No weakening on her part.  If
she softened she was lost.

So that at dinner in the afternoon she was severe, aloof, the grand
lady, the Empress.  And Adam, unfortunately, because of his
knowledge that he had that forenoon ridden into Keswick and drawn
his money from the bank, was not at his best.

If she knew that!  But she did not know it.  In her heart she was
quaking, but as the meal proceeded she became reassured again.  She
addressed most of her remarks to Mr Rackstraw, who, with his dry,
red face and weather-beaten figure, seemed to promise her that
nothing here at least could change.  Adam sat there, eating and
drinking as though this day were like any other day.  So it must
be!  She had been agitated by absurd alarms.

Once she said:  'The Hunt Ball in Carlisle is to be the twenty-
third of October.  You and John, Adam, can have a bed at the
Witherings'.  They will be going for sure.'

No one said anything.

'I have been hearing,' said Rackstraw, 'about this new postal
scheme.  All our letters to cost us but a penny wherever we send
them.  We live in modern times.'

She discussed the postal scheme and Lord de Ros' gambling scandal.
His manner of cheating at cards had been to have a coughing fit
under the table.  And there had been the massacre in New Zealand--
one hundred and twenty people murdered--but really so far away that
one could not visualize it.  She was ALMOST reassured; as she moved
in a manner a little more stately than usual from the room she gave
Adam a quick look and thought that she had never before found him
so exasperating and never loved him so dearly.

Adam told Rackstraw that same afternoon that he was going.  They
were in the stables and it was growing dark.  A storm of rain was
blowing up, and the light in the lantern that Rackstraw carried

Rackstraw nodded his head.

'I knew you would,' he said.

'I must.  I can't help myself,' said Adam.

'No, of course you cannot.'

'Care for my mother, Roger.  This will hit her for the moment, but
she'll see it's right later.'

'Yes, she will,' said Rackstraw.  'She's a damnably sensible woman,
your mother.'

He shook Adam's hand as though he were going that moment.

'Good luck to you.'  He fumbled in his deep pocket, pulled out a
little book and gave it to him.  'It's the Iliad.  Grandest book in
the world.  I always carry it with me.  Think of me sometimes.'

'But I'm not going now--' began Adam.  Then stopped.  He knew
suddenly that he was.

By suppertime he had made his plans.  He would leave the next day,
drive one way or another to Manchester, then take the new railway.
The very thought of this railway made his heart beat.  Yes, he
would certainly be seeing the world.

After supper he went out to the stables, wearing his riding-coat
and hat because the storm was so fierce.  As soon as he was indoors
he heard his mother's voice calling him from upstairs.  He went up,
his spirits heavy with foreboding.  She was sitting in her bedroom
by the fire, wrapped in two fine cashmere shawls and looking a very
amiable and kindly old lady.

'That's well, Adam,' she said, smiling.  'Come and talk to your old

No, she was not an old lady.  She was as young as Eternity and
vigorous.  So, in order that he might be entirely honest, he stood
by the door.

'I've been vexed all day by your nonsense,' she said.  'Very
foolish.  Now sit beside me and I'll tell you what I've arranged.
You want more to do, my son.  That's the trouble.  Well, I've
thought of that farm at Crossways.  I think, with a tightening or
two, it can be purchased--'

'No, Mother,' he said.  'It's no use.  I'm as resolved as last
night.  I must go and at once.  Tomorrow.'

'And why tomorrow precisely?' she asked him, her voice trembling.

'I cannot wait and have this trouble with you.  I cannot endure it.
Anyone else--'

She got up.  'Never mind me,' she said.  'Don't be a hypocrite,

'I'm no hypocrite,' he answered fiercely.  'I'm your son.'

'You are not my son if you go,' she answered as fiercely as he.
'If you go I disown you.'

'Now this is nonsense,' he fought back.  'Have you no ambition for
me?  If I'd been another I should have gone to school and then to
some business--'

She came nearer to him.

'So you reproach me?'

'No, I do not reproach you.  I cannot understand that you who have
so much strength of mind can never have had any ambition for me.

She came close to him.

'Take care, Adam, or I'll teach you!'

She was shaking, and that touched him so deeply that his voice grew

'Mother, listen.  You MUST listen.  You remember that once when we
were in London at the Newmarks', after the riot, I was in bed with
you.  You told me then that if ever you threatened my liberty I was
to defy you.  You said that this would happen.  You urged me then--'

But she had not listened to a single word.  She caught hold of him
and began to shake him so furiously that she drove him back against
the door.

'Take off that hat and coat.'

He was now as angry as she.  Anyone looking at them would have seen
well enough that they were mother and son.

'No, I will not.'

'Take off that hat and coat.'  Her small body had in it an
extraordinary vigour.

'No.'  He put out his hand to prevent her doing herself a hurt.
'You cannot use me like this.  You shall not.'

'Oh, will I not?'  Her words came in little passionate sobs.  'When
I was a girl--we whipped our--disobedient sons--'

He tore himself away from her.

'Well, then,' she panted, 'if it is so--you shall remain here--and
consider it.'

She went out, pulling the door behind her with a bang that echoed
all over the house.  He heard the key turn in the lock.

'By God!  She's locked me in!' he heard a voice that did not seem
like his own exclaim aloud.  He sat down on the bed, and the room
sank back into silence like a pool after a stone has splashed it.
He heard the rain beating on the window.  He was more angry than he
had ever been in his life, and he did not care whether his mother
broke her heart or whether, indeed, the whole world blew up.  He
looked at the window, went over to it, stared out.

Here anyhow was a way out.  He could walk to Penrith, get the
morning coach . . . Thank heaven, he had his money.

He climbed over the sill, felt the rain sweep against his cheek,
fumbling, found the water-pipe.  It was the same water-pipe that
his mother, escaping years ago, had used.


It was while watching the return of the Procession from Westminster--
the Procession on June 27th, 1838, of the Coronation of Her
Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria--that the life of Adam Paris was
changed.  He had exactly thirty shillings in the world.  After
arriving in London he had found a job reading to an old blind
gentleman in Bayswater, things like Pope's Homer and Scott's Lady
of the Lake.  The old gentleman had died, and Adam had found, after
some weeks of starving, another job with Fisher and Taylor,
publishers of infidel writers like Paine.  For a time all was well,
then Fisher took a dislike to him and dismissed him.  After that he
sank to starvation.  He had a room in a lodging-house off the
Strand, 'Wheeler's'.  No one was ever to know how lonely he was and
how desperately homesick he was during those months.  He wrote to
his mother once a month, giving an address, but had no reply.  He
wrote to no one else; he was too proud.  He was sick and hungry for
the smell of dry bracken and the tune of running water, for the
small bodies of his Herdwick sheep and the little white farms . . .
And, by the day of the Procession, he was so hungry that he could
think of nothing but food.  He scarcely saw the Procession.
Afterwards he had a picture of coloured fragments--horses tossing
their heads, grand splashes of crimson caught and lost again,
pennons waving, spurs and bridles jingling and glittering, cries
and shouts:  'Here he is! . . .  That's the Duke! . . .  That's
Marshal Soult! . . .  Who's that little man? . . .' soldiers and
again soldiers, backs erect, heads up behind the tossing manes of
their chargers, a blare of music, a moment of deafening brass and
thunder dying to a distant melody, and the air still save for the
clatter of hooves; then a vague roar like a wind in the air, louder
and louder, more and more personal, then 'She's here!  That's
her! . . .  Oh, how young she looks!'--and, with an odd beating of
the heart and mist at the eyes, for a moment his hunger forgotten,
he caught the face and figure, tiny in the great gold coach, of a
girl so young and unprotected that there was something deeply
appealing in the risks that she was taking.  Why, she was no more
than a baby!  She was bowing to them.  She smiled.  She was gone.
'She's but a child,' Adam murmured, turning away--then thought that,
for the first time in his life, he was going to faint.  The street
and the people were spinning up to him.  He lurched sideways and was
held in the arms of a tall, broad-shouldered, smiling fellow in a
plain, brown beaver hat and a black coat,

'What's up, friend?'

'I'm hungry,' said Adam simply.  So the tall man in the brown
beaver hat took him home.  This man was called Caesar Kraft and he
lived with his daughter Margaret in three rooms off the Seven
Dials.  Kraft and Adam knew, within an hour of their first meeting,
that they had that deep emotional affection for one another that
men, often the manliest and strongest, sometimes experience.  There
was a little room on the other side of the passage from the Krafts
that Adam hired.  The Krafts were Chartists, and within twenty-four
hours Adam was a Chartist too.  By the spring of 1839, indeed, Adam
was a more thorough and convinced Chartist than Caesar Kraft

On the morning following his first night with them he had had a
long and critical conversation with Kraft.  He knew afterwards that
this conversation was one of the turning-points of his life.  It
came at a time when he was exactly ready for it--growing from boy
into man, ignorant of the world, lonely and longing for affection.
As a child he had loved John Herries, but with that exception, and
of course his devotion to his mother, which was part of himself, he
had revealed his heart to no one.  Now he opened it to Kraft, for
Kraft, too, needed a friend.  Adam made no mistake here.  Caesar
Kraft was the noblest, purest, most selfless human being he was
ever to know.

Their alliance formed, the rest followed.

'Do you think you can write?' Kraft asked him.

'I have no idea,' Adam answered.

'Remain here for a week and study some of these.'

Kraft put in front of him a mass of documents, pamphlets, letters,
appeals, protests, from every part of the country.  It was a very
remarkable collection, and Adam devoured the whole of it.

This is no place to go in detail into that documentary evidence.
It can be found in many volumes easy of access, but some things are
worth recording because of the effect that they had upon Adam's
life and outlook.

He knew that children in the mines, descending a shaft six hundred
feet deep, went along a subterranean road three miles in length,
and that at the 'workings' on either side of them the hewers were
employed in a state of complete nudity because of the great heat.
The child, sometimes not more than six years of age, was employed
there to keep the doors or 'traps' shut against the flow of
inflammable air.  Here, then, the child would sit in the dark all
day opening and shutting those doors.  At first he was given a
candle, but after a while when he was accustomed to the dark the
candle was taken away.

Later the child would be promoted to be a drawer or 'thrutcher' and
then, clad only in a pair of trousers, a belt round the waist, a
chain attached to the belt at one end and the truck at the other,
the chain passing between his legs, often on all-fours because of
the lowness of the gallery, he would, hour after hour, act his part
as beast of burden.  The 'thrutchers' would push the truck along
with their heads and, although they were protected with a cap, were
soon bald.  The women 'thrutchers' wore nothing but a pair of short

He learnt that a hedger in the country would receive seven-pence a
day for six days of the week to find him clothes, food and lodging.
He learnt that the soldiers in barracks had for urinal wooden tubs,
and in those same tubs they must afterwards wash.

He learnt that in the Navy the sailors lived entirely on salt beef,
salt pork and maggoty biscuit, and that they would bet with one
another as to which piece of biscuit would, unaided, crawl across a
table faster than another.  He learnt that a labourer lived almost
entirely on tea (often made of crusts or twigs) and potatoes.  For
months together he would not taste meat.  A young man had been
asked how he lived on half a crown a week.  He replied that he did
not live on it.  'I poach,' he said, 'for it is better to be hanged
than to starve to death.'

Children did not go home to dinner because there was none.  A man,
working in a factory, told this story:  'Up at five in the morning
to get to the factory, work till eight, half an hour for breakfast,
work till noon, dinner an hour, then work till four, half an hour
for tea, then work till nine.  The master's strap, six feet long,
was kept at his right hand, two cuts at a stroke, and every day
some of it.'

The injuries of the bread-tax were beginning to be poignantly felt.
Bread was made from barley-meal.  Families lived for days on swede
turnips, roasted, baked and boiled.  A man had a wife and six
children to keep when flour was twelve shillings a bushel.  To have
a red herring, to be shared by several, was a great treat.  If a
father obtained a penny white loaf, his children would trudge miles
to meet him that they might see it the sooner.  A man would, in his
hunger, eat the pig-pease and horse-beans that he was threshing.
The children would steal the cabbage-stalks and swedes from the
fields.  Some families would go early out and eat the snails.
Bread was soon to be at one-and-sixpence the loaf.

So it was in factory, mine and field, in small village and large

Adam's nature, the more that it was so restrained, was deeply
stirred by suffering, but hitherto the suffering that he had known
had belonged to separate incidents and individual persons.  Now it
seemed to him that the whole country was spread with a cloud.  It
was hard to believe that there was anyone who was aware and yet
would do nothing about it.  But it was so; not only were there
thousands who did not stir a finger, but he soon came to realize
that everyone who had any power in the country was against any
change.  This girl who was Queen--he heard of nothing but her rides
in the Park with Melbourne, that she danced in her Palace until two
of the morning, that at her dinner parties the plates were of gold
and the cutlery of silver.

It was good for him that he fell under the influence of such people
as the Krafts or he might have become a violent agitator like Henry
Lunt, Kraft's friend.  But Caesar and Margaret had spent their
lives among these questions.  Their natures were sweet and tolerant
although they were as determined in the Cause as any fanatic, and
it may be said that they saved Adam at this time.

One thing, however, did happen to him, and that was a suspicion of
his own family.  He thought of Walter and Uhland at Ireby, of
Sylvia and her gay parties, of Will and his money, of James and his
greedy stomach, of the Newmarks and (as it appeared to him now)
their hypocrisy, of the Rockages and their snobbery, even--in his
new bitterness--of Dorothy and John.  Uldale with its farm, its
ordered garden and orchard, its stables with the fat horses, the
lawn gleaming so smoothly under the morning sun--how could they
suffer it all so easily when men, their stomachs empty, bled from
the master's strap, when children of six years old sat naked hour
after hour, day after day, in the dark, when women and children
went into the fields and grubbed for cabbage-stalks, when in the
streets outside his window the stench was so terrible that you
fainted under it and fever was in every house?

He began to have an obsession about the Herries.  He saw them with
their horse-faces bending forward with malicious pleasure to watch
the sufferings of the crawling figures beneath them, Walter
guzzling, Will seated on his money-bags, Sylvia with her poodle
dancing across the shining floor of her boudoir.  He thanked God
that he was illegitimate.  He was another Herries rebel--the bull
that 'Rogue' Herries saw baited, Reuben's bear and the boy hanged
of his mother's youth, the falling Bastille with which Francis
killed his father--these were unknown to Adam, but he was forging a
new link in that strong chain of protest.

And then in the middle of this he received a letter from his
mother, the first that he had had since he had left Uldale.

MY DEAR ADAM--You have been very good in writing to me with such
regularity.  Do not think that I have not appreciated your letters
but I was DETERMINED that I would not WEAKLY submit to your self-
will and OBSTINACY.  Nevertheless, for a long time now I have known
that you were right to do as you did and I was too OBSTINATE myself
to confess to my mistake.  You have doubtless heard from Mr
Rackstraw who tells me that he has written to you and you have all
the NEWS but now that I have broken the ICE I must further tell you
that I am LONGING to see you again and that there is no day since
your departure that I have not been of the same MIND.  I am growing
an old woman now, Adam.  I am sixty-five years of age although I
must say I am extremely VIGOROUS and save for a stiffness in my
right arm which only comes out in damp weather I am in excellent
health.  All are well here.  John has bought two more cows.  We
have been very GAY these last weeks and Dorothy with her boy and
little girl has been staying this fortnight with us.  Veronica (a
most FOOLISH name in my opinion) is a very ENGAGING baby and
Timothy a good child when MANAGED.  Dorothy has much common-sense
but is anxious to have the command, even here at Uldale, which of
course, as you can suppose, I do not ALLOW.  John is not so
cheerful as I would wish.  He had an encounter with Peach, Walter's
man, last week up at Bogshaw and they came I fancy to some hot
words.  I have of course seen nothing of the people at Ireby but I
hear that Walter refuses to have Elizabeth's name mentioned since
her disappearance, of which of course you've heard.  Poor child!
No one seems to CARE what has happened to her.  It would not have
been so if Agnes were still living.

I will not write more now because you are a DISOBEDIENT son and do
not deserve a long letter but I am nevertheless (LONGING to see you
soon)--Your loving mother,


Adam's first impulse after reading this letter was to go at once
North, by coach, railway, or any other means that offered.  This
was no new impulse.  Scarcely a day of the last six months that he
had not known it, but he had always driven it back as a weakness
that he must not feel.  But now with the letter in his hands his
love for his mother was for a while overwhelming.  Behind the words
he saw her pride, her obstinacy, her sweetness, her humour, her
gaiety, her tenderness.  It was as though she were with him in the
room.  He realized, once again, that they were part of one another,
bone of bone and flesh of flesh.  But for that very reason he would
not leave the work to which he had set his hand.  If he returned to
her even for a day her influence over him would be so strong that
she might persuade him to remain with her.  He MUST be himself,
develop his own life, create his own pattern.  In the end that is
what she would wish him to do.

So he sat down and wrote her the most loving letter he had ever
penned and then turned to his work again.

They had soon discovered that he could write.  He was, in fact,
just what they needed, for he was honest, indignant and accurate.
His youth gave his words freshness and his sincerity prevented any
fustian or melodrama.

The fanatics--one of the wildest was this man called Henry Lunt--
complained that he was not strong enough.  They soon discovered
that he was of no use at all as a speaker.  He had no power over
words, and the sight of an audience was appalling to him.

He went on one occasion with a number of delegates from London to
Manchester and they put him on the platform.  It was one of the
most horrible experiences of his life.  He stood there, his brown
healthy cheeks pale, fumbling his hair with his hand, moving his
thick legs as though he would kick the place down.  He stammered,
stopped, stammered again, strung some sentences together and sat
down, a lamentable failure.

When he came back to London he told Margaret about it.

'I felt as though they stripped my clothes off my back.'

'Yes,' she said, 'they say it was the worst speech ever made in

'They'll never ask me to do it again--that's one good thing.'

'But you can write about the bread-tax and the shilling loaf and
the fever here in Seven Dials,' she answered, 'better than anyone
we've had since Tom Colman.'

She was standing near to him, and he put out his hand, resting it
on her shoulder.  She did not move away.

'Margaret, how old are you?' he asked her.

'Let me see.  I was born in February 1820.  This is March 1839.  I
am nineteen.'

'You are not like a girl,' he said, his hand holding her arm more
strongly.  'You are a woman.'

'I have been a woman ever since mother died.  That night when she
went and father was in my arms I thought he would die too.  I never
knew two people love one another as he and mother did.  I grew up
that night.'

'It was a happy thing for me that afternoon when Caesar spoke to

'It was a happy thing for us too,' she answered.

That night in bed he knew that he loved Margaret.  He had loved
her, he perceived, since the first moment that he saw her.  She was
the first woman he had ever cared for, and this excitement and
tenderness was quite new to him.  He lay there thinking of her, of
her unselfishness, honesty and integrity.  But he realized that he
knew nothing about her feeling for himself.  She was as quiet as he
was; he had never seen her show any interest in men, but they were
not very much together.  She was out at her dressmaking all day and
was often kept to very late hours.  She might have a lover
somewhere.  There might be another side to her, a side that she
never showed at home.  He was extremely ignorant about women.
Although he was approaching twenty-four years of age he had never
kissed any woman save his mother, Jennifer and Dorothy.  With the
exception of his mother his deepest feelings of affection and
loyalty had been roused by men--John, Rackstraw, Caesar Kraft.  So
this feeling for Margaret was something quite new, and that night,
as he lay awake, listening to the drunken shouts in the street
below, it grew and grew until he felt that he had Margaret in his
arms.  That seemed to him the happiest wonder, something that awed
him with its mingling of worship and desire; lost in this new
experience he fell asleep.

He was as cautious and careful in this as in everything else.  His
shyness made him shrink from any rebuff.  He had nothing to offer
her, no position, no prospects.  And here for the first time his
illegitimacy troubled him.  Kraft perhaps would not want his
daughter to marry a bastard.  He was proud of his family, talked of
his German grandfather as though he had been the grandest man in
Germany.  But when that seed of love is sown in a nature like
Adam's nothing can hinder it.

But this new desire made life difficult for him.  He was pulled in
two quite opposite directions: his love for Margaret as the days
went by filled itself increasingly with light and colour like a
glass ball that becomes with every hour more radiant.  But his
discontent with the sickness and starvation all round him was
something fierce and hostile, dark, jagged like lightning.

He remembered that once at home when he was on his favourite place
at the bottom of Cat Bells, in Manesty, by the Lake a wind had come
up, the sky had been darkened with hot saffron-edged clouds.  All
in a moment the breeze had lifted, and the Lake that had been
placidly blue was edged with little frothy white waves.  The whole
expanse of water was mulberry-coloured and the islands were black-
green, the tint of leaves turned backwards by the wind.  Behind
this angry scene Skiddaw and Blencathra and the fields below them
rose drenched in light and sun--a wall of sun flashing and
sparkling.  As the Lake was dyed ever deeper and deeper with its
mulberry stain and the little waves jumped with tongues of a dead
white, the wall of light seemed to exult in its own glory: it
shouted its strength aloud.  Then, as a shutter closes, a hand
swept wiping out all colour.  Hills and lake together were dun.

He had never forgotten this scene.  He had thought of it often in
his first homesick days in London; now his experience seemed to be
thus mixed--an exulting wall of light, a tossing discontented floor
of stain.  For the first time he was touching forces very much
stronger and deeper than himself.

Then one of the great evenings of his life came.  He went with
Caesar Kraft and Margaret to a Chartist meeting in Seven Dials.
Lunt and another, Philip Pider, were with them.  Lunt was worked up
to more than his customary indignation because a family living in
the cellar of his building had been sick of the fever: two of them,
an old man and a child, had died, and their bodies had been left
there in the cellar two days and a night before anyone attended
them.  Adam noticed that behind his indignation was a kind of
fierce joy because he had been given some more evidence to use in
his damning account against all authority.  He described with angry
gusto the filthy state of that cellar, the pools of moisture, the
loathsome stench, the rats.

He was this night like an animal himself, his strong dark hairy
body moving like an animal's, his words, growls, mutters, little
snatches of ferocity.  The surroundings that evening were strange
and fantastic.  There had been a thick yellow fog all day, but now
it had thinned, hanging in discontented wisps about the streets and
buildings.  The lamps in the street were damp and mildewed with
moisture; the shops were for the most part closed, but some were
yet open and you could see, in the candlelight, figures like shapes
in the fire cross-legged over a boot or shoe, arms raised to fetch
down some garment, a butcher standing with blood on his apron above
slabs of red meat and dark amber-coloured entrails.  Everyone moved
through the wispy fog as though in secret, and there was that faint
scent of sulphur in the air that a thick London fog leaves behind

For Adam that walk to the hall where the meeting was to be held was
one of his most blissful moments.  Margaret's hand was through his
arm; he could feel the soft swell of her breast against his sleeve,
she was so close to him.  She spoke in a voice that was quiet and
happy.  He knew that she was happy, he could feel it in every word
that she spoke.  Once and again he could catch under her bonnet the
gleam of her eyes, the shadow of her cheek above her dark green
shawl.  He was terribly anxious not to cheat himself (all this
experience was so new to him), but he began to believe that his
company must have something to do with her happiness--and then
quite suddenly she told him that it was so.

'You know, Adam, since you came to us father and I have been
happier than we used to be.'

His heart hammered with delight.  He thought that she must feel its
beatings against her arm.  And as always when he was deeply moved,
he could say nothing.

'Um--' he muttered.

'Are you not glad?'

'Of course, I am glad--if it's true, Margaret.'

'But, of course, it's true.  Why should I say it if it was not?
Father was often very lonely before you came.  He can be passionate
in his affections, and I think he loves you more than he ever loved
anyone except mother.'

'And yourself?'

'Oh, myself--I am always there, you know.  He has become accustomed
to me.'

He plucked up his courage, although his tongue was dry in his

'And some day you will marry, Margaret?'

'Yes,' she answered quietly.  'I hope so--some day.'

'Perhaps there is someone--already--'

'Oh, I don't know,' she answered, laughing.  'There is Mr Hooper--a
friend of Madame's at the shop . . .'

'Oh, is there?' he said, his heart dropping to a dreadful deadness.

'I think he likes me,' she went on quietly.  'He wears two
waistcoats and I am certain he has a corset.  He speaks like this:
"Oh, Miss Kraft . . . I'm sure . . . most exquisite . . .  Pray,
turn that I may see the back.  I'm quite in raptures!"'  She
imitated him and burst out laughing.  '_I_ like him, but I fear
father would not.  But he has a fine little villa in Islington, and
he sings to his own accompaniment on the pianoforte.'

He supposed that she was teasing him, but he could not be sure.
Now they had arrived at the hall, and the other world of fire and
tumult drove down upon them.

The hall was a large one, and when they entered they found it
packed with people.  The air was thick with the warm smell of human
bodies, the odour from the oil lamps; figures were indistinct--here
a face, there an arm, a body flung forward--everywhere an almost
ecstatic excitement and attention.  Kraft, Lunt and Pider went to
sit on the platform, Adam and Margaret were pressed into the wall
near the door.  Adam had been to many meetings by now, but thought
that he had never seen such eye-strained faces, men and women and
some children, one baby held aloft and waving its chubby fists in
the air.

It had just begun when they entered.  The Chairman, a round tubby
man with thick grey side-whiskers, was speaking.  The atmosphere
was at present quiet and controlled.  He said something about the
conditions of the time, the oppression of the authorities, the
iniquities of the Bread Tax, the Six Points of the new Charter.  He
sat down, and a long thin fellow with a straggly beard got up.  He
had a rather weak, piping voice and no very impressive manner: he
began quietly, so there were voices from the hall; 'Speak up!  We
can't hear!' and a rough growl from someone:  'Sit down, damn ye,
if yer can't talk.'

That last seemed to rouse him, for he raised his rather pale,
watery eyes and stared down into the hall:  'If you listen you'll
'ear all right,' he said at last.  'I ain't 'ad food in my belly
for the last six months, what yer can call food.'  They listened.
He had control over them.  He had come, he said, to tell them what
it was like now to work on the land.  'We're slaves to the farmer's
body, slaves like they were in the old Roman times.  For ten years
I served Farmer Wellin in my county--aye, you don't know 'is name
likely, but one name does as well as another.  Then one fine day he
tells me he ain't no more work for me nor my two boys--so then I
goes here, I goes there.  No work.  Then I goes to Manchester,
starves there a bit, comes 'ome again, put in the Union, turned out
after a day or two, lays abed a bit, gets a day's work, then on
board-day goes to them again, gets a day's work, starves a bit,
lays abed a bit, goes searching for work again, eats stuff they've
given the pigs because I'm that 'ungry.  My boys, as good lads as
ever you see, 'anging around gets into bad ways, one of 'em roots
up a turnip or two and gets gaoled.  'Is mother breaks 'er 'eart
and dies of weakness.  That's why I'm not speaking so 'earty,
begging your pardon, friends.

'I say a poor man's a slave.  He can't leave his own parish--for
why?--because in a foreign parish they've plenty of their own to
give work to.  And what are our masters doing?  They're wasting of
the land, that's what I say they're doing.  Give me an acre of land
and I'll live well and decent on it AND give my boys a proper life.
I was out of work last spring from Christmas to barley-sowing.  I
goes to the farmer and asks for a scrap of land to grow potatoes
on.  "Oh no, you don't," says he.  "Give you potatoes and you'll
want straw and a pig and I don't know what all.  And one day,
maybe, I'll be wanting you to work for myself," he says.  "Oh yes,"
he says, "prices be so low I must lower your wages," he says, but
when prices goes up does he raise the wages again?  Not if he knows
of it.  What I say is, if the loaf's cheap we're ruined, but if the
loaf's dear we're starved.  For myself I'm ready enough to die, but
my boys . . .'

His piping voice suddenly stopped.  He wiped his eyes with the back
of his hand.  Then he went on:

'The farmers say they can't live without they make four rents--one
for stock, one for rent, one for labour, one for theirselves.
Times is bad and they can't make their four rents.  Well, does the
landlord as does nothing give up his rent?  Of course not.  Then
corn falls two pound a load and worse--farmer's forty shilling out
o' pocket on every load of wheat--eight shilling on every acre of
his land on a four-course shift.  Where's that to come from?  He
can't stint the landlord so he stints the labourer.  Tell the
landlord, friends, what you think of him and do justice to your

He stopped, his voice ending in a funny little whistle, and he sat
down, his legs almost giving way beneath him.  The majority of the
men and women in the hall had for the most part never seen a green
field in their lives--the facts and figures meant nothing to them--
but the sincerity and urgency of his starved and feeble body
stirred and moved them.  You could feel it run through the hall
like a message.  There was a murmur, a restlessness, voices cried
out.  They were all brothers together, in field and factory, street
and mine.  Adam could see the faces around him change from a vague
listening absorption to a personal human activity.  A little man
like a terrier leaped to his feet.  He was plainly a practised
orator.  He brought the personal case of the labourer into the more
general cause of them all.  A woman broke out from the centre of
the hall:

'They would part me from my children!' she cried in a shrill,
agonized wail.  'How did I leave them this morning?  Crying for
their breakfasts.  I've had no bread to give them for the last
month and more.  I've no bread.  I've no fire.  How can I have with
one shilling and sixpence a hundred for coals?  If I snatch a bit
of wood from a hedge they'll gaol me.  It's the women and children
you should be thinking on!  Oh, if I was a man I know what I'd be
doing!  I know what I'd be doing!'

Another woman, on that, cried out, waving an arm hysterically:  'Ax
the Queen.  Go and ax the Queen to come and see for herself.  She's
got a heart same as us . . .'  And a man near her roared out:
'Why, the Queen--she's all locked up.  They've got the dragoons
guarding her.  Do you think the Queen wants to be frightened with
the like of we?  She's got Melbourne, she has.  What is it to him
or her if poor labourers suffer and our women are stripped naked in
the mines and bread's one-and-sixpence the loaf?  Ax the Queen!
Aye, go and ax her and see what her soldiers do to you!'

A confused babel of voices broke out.  You could feel that the
temperature of men's blood was rising as though with every word
they moved closer together and closer and closer, so that at last
they seemed to be one man, a man with eyes red and burning, a mouth
hard set, cheeks hollow with hunger--a man with his hand clenched
to strike.

Someone leaped up and cried shrilly:  'Let us take what is ours!
Let us take what is ours!  Let us take what is ours!'

Anything might have happened then.  Adam, not knowing that he did
it, put his arm around Margaret and drew her nearer to protect her;
they were pressed back against the wall.  No one thought of his or
her neighbour; a stout woman in an orange shawl had her hand,
without knowing it, on Adam's arm, and in a kind of strangled sob
was saying over and over:  'Aye--it's the People's right--it's the
People's right--it's the People's right . . .'

Adam knew that in another moment there would be that strong,
swaying movement beneath their feet as though the floor were
stirring under them, and that then all would be swept together in
some mob-hysteria beyond control.

But it did not come.  Instead the rotund little Chairman in some
way made himself heard.  He said that Mr Kraft would speak to them
and, as Caesar rose to his feet, quiet came over everyone again.
How proud Adam was of him at that moment!  His square shoulders
were set like those of a man carrying a banner; his eyes spoke to
some distance far beyond the hall and its occupants; his voice,
rich, warm, sincere, had no arrogance in it and no self-seeking.

'I do not believe in disorder,' he said.  'Neither now nor at any
time.  I know that our cause is just, but I find it so just that it
must have victory--but victory by law and not by riot.  Patience--'

At the word 'Patience' someone shouted out:  'We have been patient
long enough!'

Caesar went on:  'We have not been patient long enough.  We can
never be patient long enough so long as we are moving.  And we ARE
moving!  We have our Six Points of our Charter, and they are so
right and so just that all the world will yield to them.  We are
working for a prize greater and more lasting than our immediate
troubles.  We are working for our children and our children's
children.  What do we gain by fire and murder?  We place ourselves
in the same case as our oppressors.  We must believe in justice,
for there is justice in the world.  Men may be unjust, but behind
them moves something stronger, finer and wiser than man.'

He went on then to tell them what the heads of the movement were
doing, showed them their plans in detail, and was so comprehensive,
clear and wise that soon the hall was as quiet as a vestry, and you
could hear the rumble of the carts on the cobbles outside.  All
then might have moved peacefully to its close, but as soon as
Kraft, to a hubbub of applause and clapping of hands, had sat down,
Lunt sprang to his feet.  He stood swaying on his short, strong
legs, his body a little forward, his dark face with its shock of
black hair alive with indignation and an almost mad impetuosity.

'I am Caesar Kraft's friend!' he called out.  'I HAVE been and
shall be!  But I say that his advice to you is the advice of a
dreamer!  Wait, he says!  Patience, he says!  Yes, we are patient,
and meanwhile what happens!  Our old men and children, our wives
and daughters, die in cellars swimming in filth, as I have seen two
dead today; our women starve naked in the fields grubbing roots
that pigs would refuse.  Our men are beaten by their masters until
their backs drop blood.  We starve.  We starve.  Half the men in
this room are starving now!  And the Government says--let them
starve!  The less work for us, the Government says.  Let them eat
one another, the Government says, if they're hungry.  Let them lie
closer to one another if they're cold!  Why should they interfere
between slave and slave?'

He began to pace the platform, his face turned to them, his body
shaking with his vehemence.

'Why do we give opium to our little children?  So that they may
forget their hunger!  We entreat the Government to have mercy on
us, we send it petitions, we show it our naked backs and our fever-
dying comrades.  "Oh yes," they say, and send us an answer:  "Sorry
to say that it is altogether out of the power of Her Majesty . . ."
Her Majesty!  And she feeding off gold plate and riding in the Park
of a morning!  What does she know or care?  Patience, Caesar Kraft
tells you, but _I_ tell you that we have had enough of patience,
that they won't listen although we call, that they laugh at our
tears.  The Towns must win the Charter for England--men and women
like yourselves--and not by patience, not by sitting down and
waiting while we starve, but by rising and showing our power, by
driving fear into their souls, by putting those same dragoons out
of the way that we may meet the Queen face to face and say to her:
"Here are your people!  You haven't seen them before, but take a
good look at them--see their backs how they bleed, how their
stomachs are empty, their children crying for food--"'

He was interrupted by a roar of voices.  'Aye!  Aye! . . .  We'll
go now.  We'll go to the Queen . . . We've been patient enough!  To
the Palace!  To the Palace!'

Like a wind through trees the roomful swayed, then broke.  Men
shouted, women called.  The din was fearful, threatening, with that
note in it that no individual man can recognize as his own and,
after catastrophe, denies as his own.

They broke and rushed to the doors, Adam holding Margaret, who,
however, was almost as strong as he.

The noisy, shouting mob tumbled into the street to be met with a
fog as thick as a wall of suet.  It was comic, that sudden dropping
of voices, that check on the rush and impulse as though they had
all found themselves on the edge of a precipice with the sea
booming below them.  The street was quiet and chill; the fog blew
through the air in thick, yellow folds, laying its clammy touch on
every mouth.  Figures shot up out of the dark, some of them with
flares, flamed and vanished.  The crowd from the hall passed like
smoke into smoke.

Adam laughed.  He put his hand through her arm and they walked

'Well--that is the end of THAT rioting.  We must go forward, trust
our luck.  We will reach a clearer patch soon.'  The fog was the
one thing in all the world that could give him courage to speak,
for they were close together, but in darkness.

So, when they had gone only a little way, he said outright:

'Margaret, I love you.  Will you marry me?'

'Yes,' she said.

He stopped where he was, put his arms round her and kissed her.
She did not move so he did not either.  They seemed in a trance,
protected by the fog, her lips on his, his arms tightly round her.
At last when, very slowly, they moved on again he said:

'I must tell you, Margaret, that I have no money, no home,

'Yes,' she said.  'Your home is with us.'

'And I have a mother whom I love more dearly than anyone but you.'

She held his hand more tightly.

'I have no father, as you know.  I have no family.  I am

She laughed.

'You belong all the more to me for that,' she said.

Then a long while afterwards, when the fog in front of them was
clearing, she said, sighing:

'Oh, I did hope, Adam, that you loved me, for I loved you from the
first moment.'


Adam would have been greatly surprised had he realized that not far
from where he was standing that June day in 1838 Uhland and
Elizabeth had also witnessed the return of the Procession from
Westminster Abbey.  Will had invited them to London for the
Coronation and they had accepted his invitation.

'Do you wish to go?' Walter had asked them.  He also had been
invited, but an affair upon which he was just then engaged (a
highly exciting amorous affair with a lady who lived near
Cockermouth) prevented his acceptance.  Moreover, he did not wish
to go; he found, if he were honest, his father a dull dog and his
mother a quite unspeakable bore.  Yet in his own way he loved them,
wrote to his mother every month and sent his father presents of

When Elizabeth heard of the invitation she waited breathlessly to
know whether she would be allowed to accept it.  It was upon just
such an invitation that she had been counting, for she was
determined to escape from her father, from Ireby, from her brother,
and, if possible, never return.

She was now a beautiful girl, twenty-three years of age.  Her
mother had died in the autumn of 1835, and since then she had not
known one moment's happiness.

When, so long ago, she and John had agreed to separate and not to
see one another again she had been but a child.  She had forced the
separation upon John because she had been certain that marriage
with her would be for him a disaster.  She was perhaps wrong there.
Had they at that time run away and married, the whole course of
their lives might have been altered to happiness, but how could he
run away when he was responsible for everything at Uldale?  Since
then his sister had married Bellairs, but now there was something
stronger than any practical reason that drove Elizabeth.

She believed--and had more reason for her belief than anyone
outside the house at Ireby could know--that Uhland would kill John
if she married him.  Wherever they went Uhland would find them out.
She had a terror of her father and brother that went far beyond
actual day-by-day fact.

Uhland's hatred of John became fanatical after he learnt that
Elizabeth cared for him.  It became so fanatical that he did
nothing about it, as though he knew that he had only to bide his
time, as though he knew that there was no need for him to do
anything yet because John at Uldale was well aware of it; it was as
though he could see inside John's heart and feel the fear and
apprehension growing there.  It was as though he felt that if he
did YET anything positive in word or deed it would hinder the full
flavour of his act when the real time for it arrived.

There the two of them were, Uhland at Ireby and John at Uldale,
very near together, and, like a spell in witchcraft, the power of
the one over the other, although they never met, always increased.

And in the same way, on the other side of the account, Elizabeth's
love for John never lessened, but increased.

She went about, saw many people in the County, made friends, led
outwardly a quiet normal life; she tried with all her force (and
she had much strength of character) to kill her love for John.  She
seldom saw him in public, for people, knowing well the old feud,
took care that the two households did not meet.  Sometimes in the
Keswick street, at a hunt, at a public ball, they would catch sight
of one another and turn away.  John, on his side, thought that he
was only waiting until Elizabeth was old enough.  He knew that she
was beautiful and rich and should make a fine marriage.  If she
married him, when her father and brother hated him so, it meant
exile for her and, perhaps, disgrace.  But when she was of age she
had only to make him a sign and he would act.  Nevertheless,
although he was no coward in any other way, the thought of Uhland
made him sick.  Often when he was busy about the house or the farm
or riding or paying a visit some dreaminess would overtake him, it
would seem to him as though with one step, by unlocking some door
he would pass into another world infinitely more beautiful than
this one.  He had dreamt once as a child of a marvellous white
horse plunging through an icy tarn and climbing, his mane flowing,
the steep mountainside.  He had never forgotten the dream although
it had never returned.  If he could ride that horse he would spring
forward into regions of splendour and eternal life!  But again and
again when such images came to him, asleep at night, walking the
fells, sitting half awake by the fire, he seemed to hear a step
behind him and would start up, expecting to see the cold malicious
face of Uhland watching him.

So there they were, the three of them, in this summer of 1838.
Again and again afterwards Elizabeth would look back to this time
at Ireby and ask herself whether she did anything that fostered
later events.  But she could not see that she was responsible.  She
held on during that time to the principles, first that her father's
neglect of her and his scandalous behaviour should not touch her,
secondly that Uhland's taunts should not touch her, thirdly that
her love of John should not touch her.  It was the last of the
three that at length drove her to flight.  She COULD not, she COULD
not be so near to him and not see him.  Her father's behaviour she
was by now accustomed to; Uhland's taunts she could endure, but
they were ingenious.  He would test her suddenly, unexpectedly.  He
would say:  'I hear young Herries has made a fool of himself over
that farm . . .'  'They are saying that John Herries has put a girl
at Jocelyn's by Troutbeck in the family way.  He can't leave farm
girls alone.  He has a low taste,' or 'They say that Herries goes
to Cockermouth and gambles night after night--gambling all the
estate away, poor fool . . .  Hard on old Madame.'  All lies of
course!  Walter Herries would chuckle and shake his shoulders (he
was growing immense now although still handsome in a florid three-
chin fashion).  But Elizabeth would not stir.  She had all the
Herries pride.  She would look at Uhland and smile very faintly,
and he would look gravely back at her.  There would be at that
moment a strange subconscious alliance between them.

But by the summer of this year, 1838, she had reached the limit of
all her endurance.  How she hated the Fortress no words of hers
could express.  Even to the outside unprejudiced person it was not
a happy house as Westaways had been.  Westaways had been created by
an artist, and it was a thousand pities that in the autumn of 1836
it was pulled down by the purchasers of the land; they had a plan
for building an Almshouse there but this never came to anything.
All the eighteenth-century colour and glitter, all the ambitions of
Pomfret and Jannice, the childish hopes of Raiseley and Judith and
Anabel, the early ambitions of Walter--all gone at the flourish of
a hand, a little cloud of dust rising slowly over the tumbling
brick!  And the Fortress was not built by an artist!  It was
intended to stand for Herries independence, strength and
superiority.  Good English material power.  Most certainly it
looked strong enough with its battlements and towers, its broad
high rooms, its walls and garden-paths and fountain.  But it was
never gay, never light-hearted, never alive!  Even Walter felt
this.  He entertained there lavishly, had dinners and hunting-
parties, dances and drinking-bouts and, after Agnes' death, made it
open house for all the squires of the County.  But it refused to
come alive!  Half the rooms 'died on him', do what he would.  He
complained that there was not sufficient feminine society in it.
Elizabeth entertained and she was a lovely hostess, quiet,
dignified, kindly.  Everyone liked her, but everyone said that the
place was sad.  They whispered that Walter beat her when he was in
a drunken temper.  He did not beat her: he never ill-treated her:
he gave her everything that she asked.  He simply did not consider
her.  A Mrs Fergus, a genial stout widow, was housekeeper there
during these years.  She was common, voluble, gossipy, a good
manager.  She liked Elizabeth and tried to win her trust.  But she
did not.  She confided to everybody that something was the matter
in that house.  It was as though a ghost were in every room in
spite of the drinking-parties and dinners.

It may have been that Uhland was the ghost.  He had certainly grown
into a very severe, silent young man.  Friendship with Adam might
have saved Uhland at this time.  He showed from a conversation that
he had with Elizabeth in London that he was as lonely as she.  Adam
was certainly the only human being in the world to whom he would
have disclosed himself.  There was no doubt but that during those
years from 1832 to 1838 he was as unhappy as Elizabeth was.  It may
be that at the end of it all he despised and hated himself quite as
much as he despised and hated John Herries.  No one will ever know.

Walter meanwhile, being really a foolish soul with very little
understanding of other human beings, continued to persuade himself
that Uhland adored him, adored the Fortress, adored the fine
fortune that Walter preserved for him (already not quite so fine as
it had once been: the Fortress like a heavy dull grey monster
swallowed greedily all that was offered it).  His love for Uhland
was pathetic.  He was like a big lumbering elephant cherishing a
morose young wolf.

And that was how things were when Elizabeth and Uhland went to

When they arrived, late one evening, in Hill Street, where was
Will's present town house, Uhland was in a monstrous temper because
of the bad time that they had had in the coach.  They had booked
for the inside, of course, but there had been an asthmatic
gentleman with a cough so tiresome, and an old lady with so many
small packages that she was for ever undoing to see whether the
contents were safe, that Uhland had sought the roof.  There were
not many passengers, and with extra money he had secured the box-
seat, and there wrapped in the leather-covered rug might have been
fairly comfortable, but then a storm had come on and the rain had
driven down his neck, his overcoat was soaked, and the coachman was
for ever thrusting his rein-elbow into his (Uhland's) ribs.  The
day following had not been much better, for the food at the inns
was atrocious, and the manners of everyone appalling.  Why had they
not tried the new railway?  It was so erratic.  You never knew
where it began and where it left off.  Worst of all, their hackney
cab, when at last they got into it, collided with a dray, and they
were in perilous chance of immediate death.

So they arrived at Hill Street and discovered that a grand party
was in progress.  A tall gorgeously dressed footman hurried them up
the stairs as though they were very criminal indeed.  Everywhere
were flowers; there was the distant music of a band and the crackle
of many voices.  Elizabeth had not been in her large cold room five
minutes before a maid knocked, came in, and asked her whether she
should unpack for her.

'Her ladyship is unfortunately most unwell.  She has been confined
to her bed for several weeks.  She hopes to see you, Miss, in the

Was she supposed to come down to the party, Elizabeth wondered.
Would she get anything to eat?  She was inordinately hungry.  The
maid, who looked a nice girl, Elizabeth thought, was on her knees

'Would you tell me your name?' Elizabeth asked.

'Ellen,' said the girl.

Elizabeth shivered.  HOW hungry she was!  And then, miracle of
miracles, the door burst open, and in came Sylvia Herries looking
radiant and lovely in pink tulle and carrying a tray!

'Oh, my dearest Elizabeth!'

'Dear Sylvia!'

'But of course I knew that you would be STARVING, and Frederick is
bringing a warming-pan.  You can place it under those cushions and
sit on it.  How are you feeling, my sweetest Elizabeth?  But of
course you must be DEAD!  But how lovely you are looking!  A little
thin . . .  Was the journey quite, quite dreadful?  Ah, here is
Frederick!  There, Frederick--place it beneath those cushions . . .
Oh, dear little Elizabeth!  I am RAVISHED to see you, and Cousin
Will is giving the grandest party.  Mr Macaulay is here and Lady
Brownlow and Lady Euston and the Bishop of Oxford and EVER so many
more, and James' wife is doing the honours.  You never saw anything
so amazingly odd.  She's wearing a turban like a pastry-cook's
shop!  But there's no one so lovely as you are, so you must hurry,
my dearest, and eat this chicken and drink this champagne and wear
your LOVELIEST costume . . .  Now sit on the warming-pan, dearest,
QUITE still for five minutes.  That will warm the under part of you
in any case.  There's the most enravishing band and I've danced
five waltzes already . . .'

So Elizabeth sat on the warming-pan and then with the assistance of
Ellen and Sylvia put on her dress of white organdie with a rose at
her girdle, which, although it HAD been made by little Miss Trent
in Keswick, suited her exactly.

When she came into the big room, blazing with lights, swimming in
music, a kind of exultation seized her.  How wonderful to have
escaped from that cold, grey Fortress with the heavy grey clouds
hanging over it, the stern dark landscape hemming it in, to this
scene of splendour and magnificence!  Ah!  If only John were here!
But one day he would be!  They would be here together!  She
deserved some life and some fun, surely.

Will came up to her and was very kind.  He was of course stiff and
pompous a little, but he meant well and this was a big occasion for
him.  He led her up to Lady Euston who, in satin, a green turban
and splendid diamonds, was the most terrifying lady she had ever

'Well, my dear, and so you have come for the Coronation?'

'Yes, ma'am.'

'Let us trust that Providence will favour us with good weather.  It
is very cold for the summer.'

'Yes, indeed, ma'am.'

'This is your first visit to London?'

'Yes, ma'am.'

'Your cousin must bring you to Almack's, and you must visit the
Opera.  How do you do, Sir Henry?  I hear that Mr Croker has written
the most offensive article about Soult in the Quarterly . . .'

Soon she was dancing, once with Garth, once with Amery, once with
Roger, Carey Rockage's son.  Then with a gentleman whose dress-coat
was so extremely waisted that she was afraid lest he should break
in two at any moment.  He wanted, very solemnly, to tell her about
the Park:  'Until recently the Park has been most sombre and I
assure you most unsafe for ANYONE after nightfall.  However, lamps
with gas have now been introduced and throw a noontide splendour.
They combine in fact ornament with utility, and vice has been
banished from her wonted haunts . . .'  She supposed that he had
something to do with the Parks, he seemed so very serious about it.

Then Garth introduced her to a stout rather plethoric young man, a
Mr Temple, she understood.  She had not waltzed with him once
around the room before she realized that he was greatly charmed
with her.  He told her so; he led her away to a corner behind a
mass of begonias and, breathing hard to recover his wind, said in a
sort of wondering whisper that she was, upon his life, the most
lovely girl that he had ever seen.  He begged her, he implored her,
not to take offence.  The admission had been, to his own amazement,
compelled upon him.  She could not take offence.  There was nothing
offensive about him; he was like a baby in his tight clothes, with
a large diamond in his shirt and his hair excessively pomaded.  She
wanted to laugh and, when he left her for a moment to bring her
some champagne, she did laugh.  She could not help it.  She was
happy.  She was free.  She would never go back to Ireby again, and
John would come to her.

'You have made a conquest, my dear cousin,' said Garth, a little

'A conquest?' she asked.

'Edward Temple.  He is the richest young man in London.'

In the course of the next week or so Elizabeth discovered a number
of curious and amusing things.  Poor Christabel was, alas, too ill
to see her.  She sent her loving messages and hoped that she was
enjoying herself.  Elizabeth was chaperoned either by Sylvia or by
James' wife, Lady Herries, poor Beatrice.  She was known as 'poor
Beatrice' because she said such silly things, wore such hideous
clothes, and tumbled into such foolish blunders, but like many who
are pitied by their fellows she was a great deal happier than those
who pitied her.  She was good-natured, most indiscreet, and admired
Elizabeth's beauty with a sincerity that was touching.

Will lived with much splendour.  When they went to a ball or a
theatre or Vauxhall of an evening they were carried in a fine
painted 'chariot' with Frederick, the footman, in silk stockings,
plush breeches and hair-powder, standing behind; the Herries family
arms were on the panels.  But the house in Hill Street could not be
said to be comfortable.  That there were often unpleasant 'whiffs'
from the drains meant nothing.  People even preferred that the
drains should 'smell' occasionally because then they could tell
which way the wind was blowing and whether 'there would likely be
rain'.  The furniture was fine, heavy and impressive, but the
passages and rooms were dreadfully chill, and there was an air of
mortality everywhere save when there was a party.  Elizabeth had
some very dreary days and evenings.  Will was in the City all day,
Uhland out and about on his own affairs, as men, lucky creatures,
were able to be, but unless Sylvia or Lady Herries came for her she
was sadly alone.  All the Herries were good and kind to her, but
she soon perceived that they were, nearly all of them, living above
their means, reaching up to the new grand position that Will's
money and Sylvia's social successes had brought to them.  It said
much for Will's dignity and tact that, having made his position by
business, he and his should be admitted to Almack's and allowed the
honours of Holland House.  But the Herries were a very old family,
and the Rockages had most certainly not made their money in
business--having exactly no money at all.  Roger, Carey's boy, and
his wife Janet had a house in Mayfair during the Season and ordered
little dinners from the caterer (and WHAT scrapes they went through
in order to pay the caterer no one knew but themselves); then as
soon as the Season was over they disappeared, with their only child
Carey, into two very shabby rooms in Pimlico, and Janet did the
cooking.  The life of Sylvia and Garth, too, was one long and
exciting piratical adventure--a very thrilling volume of
hairbreadth peril and escape it would make.  Garth spent much of
his time at Crockford's, which was not on the face of it a very
foolish thing to do, for the subscription was but ten guineas a
year, and in the gambling-rooms there was served a splendid supper
free, with excellent wine for all Mr Crockford's guests.  Behind
this were, of course, for many a man ruin and despair.  But Garth
was not a fool; he had some of his brother Amery's astuteness, and
he knew his world.

Elizabeth, however, was not like Judith.  She could not throw
herself into whatever fun was going forward.  She was quiet,
reserved and shy.  All she wanted of life was that she should be
allowed to live quietly in a corner with John somewhere and never
be disturbed by anyone again.

She sat of an evening in the great drawing room or in her bedroom,
a book on her lap, and meditated her escape.  For escape she must.
She knew that Uhland had some plan; she felt as though with every
hour he was the more closely driving her to some purpose of his

There came an evening at Vauxhall when she began to realize what
his plan for her was.  She went with Sylvia, Garth, Uhland and
Phyllis Newmark.  It was all very splendid.  There were the 'twenty
thousand lamps' shining against the soft velvety sky of a July
evening, Ducrow and his horses, the famous bandstand round which,
if you were an unattached gentleman out for the evening, you might
swirl with the loveliest, if not the most virtuous, ladies of the
town, the fireworks and the vocal concerts.

For a while she enjoyed herself, listening to Sylvia's chatter,
liking the general gaiety and abandon; nevertheless, she wondered,
as she always did on these occasions, why she could not throw
herself into things as the others did.  They must find her
dreadfully stupid, she thought, and, in fact, Garth that same
evening confided to Sylvia behind the bed-curtains that he thought
that little cousin of theirs mighty handsome, by Jove, but she
seemed to be feared of her life lest someone should kiss her or
chuck her under the chin; and Sylvia was forced to confess with a
sigh that she didn't come out as she'd hoped.  She was more at
home, she suspected, in the country.

Well, later young Mr Temple joined them and, after that, poor
Elizabeth's evening was a ruin.  Everyone beamed upon Mr Temple,
and soon he was seated with Elizabeth as his especial charge,
feeding her with chicken and ham.  He had a great deal to say to
her, admired her gown and told of his place in Surrey where he had
horses, dogs and a piano.  He said he was prodigiously fond of
music and the Italian opera.  Very tenderly he helped her to a
'sliced cobweb'--the famous Vauxhall ham.  His favourite
expression, the phrase of the moment, was, when he saw anything
amusing:  'What a bit of gig!'

Soon his absorption of the famous Vauxhall punch led him to closer
intimacies.  He pressed her hand and wished to take her up one of
the shaded walks.  From this Sylvia saved her, but she observed
with terror that Uhland watched these proceedings with approval.

She did not sleep that night in her huge bed.  What was she to do?
She felt utterly defenceless.  She had not a friend in the world.
Strangely, she thought of Judith and Adam.  What it would have been
to her just then to have seen that little old lady with her sharp
nose and kind bright eyes entering at the door, or Adam with his
strong, ugly, honest face standing beside her!  But they seemed far
away, and John farther.  She had no one to whom she might turn.
Beatrice Herries was too foolish and indiscreet, Sylvia too
flighty, Christabel too unwell.  Of Will she was afraid, Garth she
did not trust.  She was inexperienced in the world's ways, and
London seemed now like a great web in whose sticky threads she was

Then one evening Uhland came to her room.  She had but just lit the
candles.  Bulwer's Last Days of Pompeii was in her hand, but her
mind was with John, running as it so often did over those earlier
days when they had written and met . . .  He was like her, she
thought, shy, not caring for the world, uneasy with others.  Why
could they not be together in some place where no one else could
come?  Uhland sat near her and was kinder to her, at first, than he
had ever been.  He wore black; his thin sharp features had in them
a shadow of suffering.  She knew that he was often in pain, and
that feeling of some companionship between them, something that lay
deep, deep down below all this strife and antagonism, stirred in
her.  They COULD be friends if only . . .

He told her about some of the things that he had been doing.  He
seemed to be as out of everything as she.

'I hate London.  I do not belong here.  They laugh at us as country

'Oh no,' she protested.  'They are so very kind.'

'Kind!  Do you know what they say of us?  They find us most
desperately dull, sister, and that's a fact.  I hate drinking.  I
won't play at cards.  They swagger--Lord, how they swagger!  And
then to be up all night and for nothing--women, drink, gambling--
gambling, women, drinking.  Why, Ireby were better!'

He looked at her, one of those quiet speculative looks that always
made her afraid.

'I am different from everyone!' he burst out.  'They mock my

'Oh no,' she said gently.  'They don't think of it.  Why, Sylvia

'Yes.  Sylvia said--Sylvia said--' he answered contemptuously.
'Dear Sylvia had better take care or she'll have the bailiffs in
that pretty house of hers and Garth will be in the Marshalsea . . .
No,' he went on more quietly.  'It is my own fault; I am no company
for anyone here, not even for myself.  There's a devil in me that
won't let me alone.  We Herries are a poor lot unless we take
what's in front of our noses.  We were not made to be exceptional.
Not that I'm exceptional, you know, except in my temper.  I despise
their smugness.  What do they know of what it is to have a needle
stab your leg every other minute, and to be something that every
woman pities? . . .  No matter though.  I shall show them all one
day . . .'

She did not dare to show pity.  She knew how deeply he resented it.
But she said:

'We should go somewhere together, Uhland, the two of us.  We could
go to the Colosseum or the Panorama.  I should adore to see the

But he did not answer her.  He sat there brooding, looking down,
nursing his leg.  There was something, she thought, twisted,
wizened about him, his thin small body bent, throwing strange
humped shadows on the wall in the candlelight.

He looked up.

'You are secure at least, Elizabeth.'

'Secure?' she asked him.

'Yes.  Temple is crazy about you.  He will be proposing for you one
of these days.'

'Oh no,' she whispered.

'Oh yes,' he answered.  'It is a fine match.  There couldn't be a
better.  He's something of a fool, of course.  But that's his age.
He'll improve.  I never knew a man more deeply in love.'

She said nothing.  He went on:

'He is fabulously wealthy.  He has his house in Belgravia and a
place in Surrey.  Only an old mother to care for.  He doesn't play
at cards and is afraid of loose women.  You can do what you will
with him.'

'That, Uhland, you can dismiss altogether from your mind.  I should
not marry him if there were no other man in the world.'

He looked at her.

'Still thinking of your friend in Cumberland?' he asked her.

'No . . .  But I would never marry Mr Temple.'

He got up and walked, limping, about the room.

'Never is a long story.  It would be a fine thing.  Our father
would think so.'

She smiled.

'There I am my own mistress.'

'Not entirely,' he said quietly.  'I think you had better consider

'And why?'

He stood by the door, his pale eyes gravely regarding her.

'Dear sister, consider what a fine husband Temple would make.
Consider it.  Be wise,' and left her.

She was afraid after that and despised herself for being so.  What
was there about Uhland that made everyone who knew him apprehensive?
Even the stable-boys at Ireby dropped their voices when he was
approaching, and she knew that people in Keswick called him 'Little
Mischief', although no one accused him of any actual cruelties.  On
the contrary, that habit of kindness to injured animals was still
with him.  He would be in a rage if he saw a horse ill-used or a dog
tied by the tail.  And yet it was not as though he cared for

No, what they all felt about him was the potentiality of an
outburst.  Society is built up on the convention that we all INTEND
to behave.  That is the bargain we make the one with the other.
Then, if there is one who hasn't made the bargain! . . .

In any case, Elizabeth felt some ring closing round her.  She was
perhaps at that time young for her age.  She had been always with
her mother, had known no other girls intimately.  But this was a
situation in which other girls than herself might have been
frightened, for she knew that her father would regard this match as
a heaven-sent chance.  He had always wanted to be rid of her.  Like
so many men who are for ever making love to women he despised them
heartily and wanted them for one thing only.  He preferred greatly
men's company, and the only chance that a woman had with him as
friend was for her to have something of the downright and fearless
about her as Judith had.  Now Elizabeth had nothing of the
downright about her whatever.  She was proud and brave, but it was
a pride that was too real to reveal itself and a courage that was
too real for cheap display.

It was a misfortune for her that Christabel was so ill, but she did
have one strange little conversation with her grandfather which was
to have important after-consequences for her.

Sir William Herries was now sixty-eight years of age and as
straight as a flag-pole.  His hair was grizzled and he was very
thin of body with a sharp nose, high Herries cheek-bones, and a
severe, rather chilly eye that came from considering sums,
additions, subtractions, multiplications for sixty-five years.  It
was at the age of three, his father David used long ago to declare,
that he had added his first sum, accurately, and without
assistance.  He was dressed immaculately, always in black with none
of those gaudy waistcoasts, diamonds, pins and gold chains that
ornamented the bodies of the Disraelis, the Bulwers and the
Ainsworths of the day.  But he was a splendid sight as you saw him
step out of the carriage that had brought him up from the City, in
the high hat, high stock, coat fitting perfectly at the slender
waist, and tightly strapped trousers.  A fine sight as, inside the
cold hall with a marble statue of a goddess, handsomely robed,
holding aloft a lamp, he gives his hat, gloves and cane to
Frederick, passes his hand for a moment over his grey locks,
pinches his side-whiskers, and walks slowly, slowly up the broad

'How is Lady Herries?' he asks Warren, the fat butler.  'Has Doctor
Salter paid his visit?'

'Doctor Salter has been, Sir William.  Her ladyship is much the

'Ah . . .  Ah.  Ha! . . .  Thank you, Warren.'

So one late afternoon, he came into the drawing room, ornamented as
was the earlier drawing room in the earlier smaller house with oil-
paintings of David his father and Sarah his mother, and a huge
marble clock that had Virtue seated in a toga on the top of it,
window hangings of a very grave mustard colour, a table or two
scattered with 'Beauty Books' and 'Keepsakes', the poems of Felicia
Hemans and a book of engravings of Greece and Italy--all this as
chill and as damp as a mausoleum, all this bringing pride and
comfort to his soul.

Today he moved about, putting a 'Keepsake' straight on a table,
arranging the hanging of one of the curtains, looking out for a
moment into the summer evening that was coquetting with Hill
Street.  Then only was it that he discovered Elizabeth seated on a

'My dear!' he exclaimed.  'I never saw you!'

'Good evening, Grandfather.'

He was weary, he was lonely, he had a pain in his side.  He sat
down beside her.  He had never been blind to feminine beauty
although he HAD married Christabel.  His daughter, Alice, who had
died of a chill in 1812, had been as plain as her mother.  He was
proud and pleased that his grand-daughter should be so beautiful.
Elizabeth's beauty lay in the perfection of her delicacy, the rosy
bloom of her colouring; her shoulders and arms, revealed by the low
cut of her cream-coloured dress, had the soft firmness of a child's
unawareness.  Her hands, exquisitely shaped, were both gentle and
strong.  She had the fairness of a rose scarcely daring to open.

'I am afraid, my dear,' he said, 'that I have not seen so much of
you during this visit as I should have wished.  I am growing an old
man, but I have never, all my life, learnt how to delegate business
to others.  If I do not see to it myself it's done wrong.  I trust
that you have been happy.'

'Oh yes, Grandpapa.'

'That's good.  And Uhland?'

'I think he has been very happy.'

She longed to burst out:  'I am not happy at all!  They want to
marry me to a young man I detest.  You must prevent them.'  But she
did not dare.  She knew him so little, and he looked so very
imposing with his legs spread out in front of him and his long,
thin hands with the tapering fingers laid on his bony knees.

'It is a misfortune that your grandmother has been so unwell.'

'I hope she is getting better,' Elizabeth said gently.

'No, my dear, I fear not.  Doctor Salter is doing all he can, but,
as he constantly says, she will not make a sufficient effort.  A
great pity!  A great pity!  Your grandmother is a wonderful woman,
my dear, but she has never had quite the courage needed for a life
like ours.  After all, she is a woman.'

'Yes, Grandpapa.'

'And what have you been doing with yourself, my dear?'

Elizabeth told him some of the things that she had been doing.

He nodded, rubbed his hands together, rose.

'Very good.  Very good.  I trust your grandmother will soon be
sufficiently well for you to see her.  It is delightful for us to
have you here.'

But as he went out of the room and climbed the stairs he was
vaguely uncomfortable.  Was she happy?  She appeared lonely.  That
brother of hers was a queer fish.  Very queer.  But then he was
crippled, poor child.  Odd for Walter, big and healthy as he was,
to have a crippled son.  What a beautiful girl!  It did one
good . . .  But he was vaguely uneasy, and the uneasiness remained.

Two days later Mr Temple came and proposed, and after that events
followed swiftly.  He came with Sylvia Herries and they drank tea
together in the mustard-coloured drawing room.  Sylvia said that
she must go and ask Mrs Arnold, the housekeeper, about some silks
that she wished to match.  No sooner was she out of the room than
Mr Temple fell on his knees.  It was a proposal in the conventional

'Dearest Miss Herries!  Oh, if I may only call you Elizabeth!
From the first moment I saw you I have been in a dream.  You are
the only woman in the whole world for me.  All that I have is
yours . . .' and so on and so on.

Elizabeth also behaved in the traditional manner.

'Pray, Mr Temple, rise from the floor.'

He caught her hand.  He kissed it.

'I shall have to call for someone if you persist in this

'Adorable Elizabeth!  Most heavenly--'

He climbed on to the sofa beside her and tried to kiss her cheek.

'Please, Mr Temple.'  Then she broke into sheer disgust.  'Oh, go
away!  No, I do not love you.  I can never love you.  I do not even
care for you.  No, not even with friendly feelings.  This is
absurd.  This is too absurd--'

She freed herself and stood with her hand on the bell-rope.

He was amazed.  He could not believe his ears.  This was the first
proposal of his life, for he had always believed that himself and
his riches were irresistible and that when the time did come for
him to honour anybody there could be but one possible result.

He was deeply chagrined.  Even a tear rolled on to his fat little

'Oh, dammit!' he cried, and went indignantly from the room.

Next morning Uhland came to her in her room.  His look of cold,
resolved anger terrified her; she felt as though he had imprisoned
her and would do what he pleased.  The sense of power that he
spread about him was extraordinary.

'Elizabeth--what is this I hear?  Temple has proposed and you have
refused him.'


'You silly little fool!  You are to write to him immediately and
say that you have reconsidered it.'

She shook her head.

'But I say Yes.  It is the very thing for you.  Father will wish
it.  All of us.'

'No, Uhland.  I don't love him.  I dislike him extremely.'

'Love?  What is love?  It is because you have still some
sentimental longing for that young prig in Cumberland.'

'You know,' she answered, 'that that was over long ago.'

'I know nothing of the kind.  If you will not accept Temple I shall
charge your refusal to John Herries--and I shall know what to do--'

'You can't harm him!' she answered fiercely, all her dread of him
gone.  'You can't touch him and you know it.  But threats can't
serve you.  Nor your bullying.  I should never marry Mr Temple if
you starved me!'

'You SHALL marry him,' he answered.

He came up to her and put his cold, damp hand on her bare shoulder.
'I know what is good for you and I will see to it.'

He looked at her and left the room.

After that she had only one thought--flight.  She had already for
weeks been contemplating it.  She had plenty of spirit, and the
thought that at last she would escape from Ireby, from this house,
from her father, from all these Herries relations gave her wings.
That afternoon she searched The Times and at last found what she
wanted.  A Mrs Bohun Winstanley of 21A Sloane Street had an agency
for 'Governesses, Companions, Situations for Genteel Persons'.
Ellen, the maid, was her next resource.  She had, in these weeks,
won Ellen's devoted affections, not difficult considering her
beauty, charm and gentleness.  It seemed too that Ellen hated her
place here, hated Mrs Arnold, the housekeeper, and was only waiting
an opportunity to give her notice.  Elizabeth told Ellen
everything, even her love for John, and Ellen's eyes grew moist
with sentiment as she drank in the details of such a romance.
Ellen was sworn to secrecy.  On the following day, having packed
Elizabeth's box, she was to take a hackney-cab and meet Elizabeth
outside St Clement Danes Church at midday.  To this Ellen swore:
she also protested that the most horrible tortures man (Ellen's
natural enemy) could devise would not tempt her to betrayal.
Elizabeth kissed her.

Early the next morning, wearing her quietest bonnet, she slipped
out of the house into Hill Street.  It was a fine morning and she
walked out of her way to Charing Cross, taking her time lest Mrs
Bohun Winstanley should not yet be at work.  No one interfered with
her.  A cheap dandy with a sham diamond pin and a double-breasted
waistcoat ogled her, a policeman in a blue swallow-tailed coat and
white trousers glanced at her with some curiosity, but for the most
part everyone was busy about his or her own business.  There was a
great deal of noise with the bell of the crier, the horn of the
omnibus, the Italian boy and his hurdy-gurdy, and the shops with
their small-paned bow-windows were opening, somewhere church bells
were ringing.  Everywhere everything was entrancing, for at last,
at last, she was free!

When she thought the time was come she mounted inside an omnibus
and at length was put down at the top of Sloane Street.  Soon
Number 21A was found, a dingy door, a still dingier staircase.  One
flight up, in faded green letters, was Mrs Bohun Winstanley's name.
Entering she found a room, grimy and disordered, with a shabby
canary moulting in a shabby cage by the very dirty window, and a
lady in a bonnet and mittens seated at a table strewn with papers.
Standing in front of the empty grate was another lady, wearing a
very gay bonnet covered with flowers, and a bright emerald-green
shawl.  This lady was tall, thin, and plainly in the worst of
tempers.  The lady at the table was small, and, at the moment,
alarmed.  A dewdrop trembled at the end of her nose, her mittens
quivered with a life of their own, and she murmured again and
again:  'Oh dear!  Oh dear!  But it is so EARLY . . . so early, Mrs
Golightly . . .'

'Early!  Early!' cried the other lady, while all the flowers
trembled in her bonnet in sympathy.  'Don't speak to me of "early",
Mrs Winstanley.  A promise is a promise!'

'But her little girl has the croup.'

'And what of MY little girls, Mrs Winstanley?  What of MY little
girls?  Here have they been these three weeks, and Mr Golightly in
Bath and returning tomorrow--'

It was then that both ladies together noticed Elizabeth.

'Well?' said Mrs Winstanley.

'I beg your pardon, I am sure,' said Elizabeth.  'I can wait

'But what IS it?' said Mrs Winstanley, plainly near to tears.

'I read your advertisement in The Times,' said Elizabeth.  'I am
looking for a place as governess or companion--'

Both ladies stared at Elizabeth.  They had obviously never seen
anyone so beautiful before.

'Sit down, pray,' Mrs Winstanley said at last (and it was clear
that she saw, in Elizabeth, the ship of rescue).  'Now, Mrs
Golightly, this is a young lady of whom I intended to have spoken

Mrs Golightly stared and stared.

'You are looking for a place?' she said at last.

'Yes.  ma'am.'

'What is your name?'

'Mary Temple.'  (Oh, how absurd!  She had taken Mr Temple's name
after all!)

'How old are you?'

'Twenty-three, ma'am.'

'What experience have you had?'

'I think,' broke in Mrs Winstanley, 'that you will find that she
has had excellent experience.'

'Has she?' said Mrs Golightly doubtfully.  'She looks very
superior, I must say.'  Then she added:  'And your references?'

'I will speak for her references,' said Mrs Winstanley quickly.

'Ours is a very agreeable family,' Mrs Golightly said in a kind of
dream.  'My two little girls are angelic--less than no trouble at
all . . .  When could you come?' she asked abruptly.

'This afternoon,' said Elizabeth.

'Very odd.  Very odd, indeed.  Have you French, Arithmetic, the
Pianoforte, Dancing, Deportment? . . .'

'I think you will find that Miss Temple has everything that you
require,' Mrs Winstanley quickly inserted.

'Indeed!'  Mrs Golightly still stared in a kind of dream.  'Very
distinguished!' she murmured.  'You are familiar with the Poets?'

'I beg your pardon?' Elizabeth said.

'Shakespeare, Milton, Lord Byron, Mrs Hemans--'

'Oh yes,' said Elizabeth, 'I think so.'

'You THINK so,' said Mrs Golightly.  'Don't you KNOW?'

'She is especially familiar with the Poets,' said Mrs Winstanley,
speaking very gently and nodding her head.

Mrs Golightly stared and stared.

'You can come this evening?' she said at last.

'Yes, ma'am.'

'Of course,' Mrs Golightly said, turning to Mrs Winstanley, 'she
may be a thief in collusion with all the thieves of the Metropolis.
Pray, don't think me rude,' she went on, turning to Elizabeth
again, 'but it is so very odd.  I know nothing whatever about you.
With whom were you last?'

'I am sure that you will find everything perfectly correct,' said
Mrs Winstanley.

Mrs Golightly stared a little more.

'Well, I don't know, I'm sure.  If Mr Golightly had any liking for
young ladies the idea would be absurd, but as he has never given
one a thought, being far too closely occupied by his beetles and
butterflies . . .'  She nodded her head.  'Very well, then.  This
evening.  Mrs Winstanley will explain the terms,' and without
another word she left the room, banging the little door behind her.

'And now,' said Mrs Winstanley gently, and blowing her nose, 'pray,
tell me, my dear, who you are.'


Elizabeth read her letter over again.  In a few minutes she must go
to Mrs Golightly's boudoir, where she must read for an hour while
the moths buzzed about the lamp, the silly clock ticked, and the
words of the novel in her hand moved in a mist of confusion before
her heavy eyes.  For she was very weary, as indeed she was always
weary at this hour in the evening.  Clarissa and Francesca were
happily asleep in bed, lost in slumber, although safe neither from
suffocation (for their bedroom would be hermetically sealed) nor
from bugs.  The little house in Islington crawled with animals,
bugs and beetles and cockroaches (Alice the kitchen-maid, who slept
in the kitchen, spent most of her day killing them: she was too
tired at night to care), while spiders hung in every corner and
dust lay on tables, sills and shelves as thick as the sand of the
desert.  In the meantime Mrs Golightly, surrounded with emerald-
green curtains, ottomans and 'Keepsakes', sat in her evening yellow
silk, her ringlets bound by her 'arcade' (a wonderful arrangement
of wires twined with rosebuds, lace and ribbon), waiting for
Elizabeth to continue her reading of Agnes Serle by Miss Ellen

This was Elizabeth's letter:

                                         4 Praed Street, Islington,
                                                    March 4th, 1839

BELOVED JOHN--I cannot, try as I may, refrain any longer from
writing to you.  The thought of your anxiety for me (for I do not I
think flatter myself that you must be anxious) has been a motive
ever more constant with me.  But this I could have resisted were it
not that your dear image, for so many many years now the dearest to
me in all the word, refuses to leave to me the proper control of my

I know only too well, dearest John, that I am breaking all the vows
that I have made and upon which I was myself formerly the most
insistent.  I am aware that all the reasons that kept us apart must
keep us apart still: indeed their influence must be stronger with
us than before since the irrevocable nature of my own desperate
deed!  How desperate it must seem to my own family you will realize
from the fact that neither my father nor brother have made the
slightest effort to find me out.  I will admit to you that it is
the increasing sense of my own loneliness that compels me to write
to you.  I had hoped that, cut off from all family ties, I might
learn to forget you, but, dear John, true love is not so easily set
aside and however dearly I have loved you in the past I must
confess that it is only in these last weeks that I have realized to
the full how deep and constant that love must be.

Perhaps it is shameful of me to make this confession to you, but
shameful or not it must be made, for without some word from you I
truly think that I shall die.  I have not formerly been weak.  I am
weak now and must detest my weakness even while I yield to it.

I would not wish you to think that I am unhappy with Mrs Golightly,
the lady in whose house I live and to whose little girls I am
governess.  She is not indeed at all unkind, only rather foolish
and unable to keep her house clean or manage it with any
efficiency.  The two little girls are good and patient, poor little
things, although entirely neglected.  Mrs Golightly reads novels,
recites poetry, has evening parties and attends concerts in Hanover
Square, while Mr Golightly, who is fat and absentminded but also
kindly, collects moths and butterflies, which takes him very often
into the country.  Meanwhile the house is a ruin, the cooks come
and go every week and only poor Alice, the kitchen-maid, is
faithful and does all the work of the place.

Dear John, I think I have grown into a woman in these last months
and see life more sanely than I did.  I had, I do not doubt, an
exaggerated picture of my father and my brother and although I know
they do not love me and have never loved me, they are neither so
hard nor so unkind as I at one time thought them.  But do not think
me cowardly, dear John, in thus writing to you.  I am not thinking
of changing my life but only that you should sometimes write me a
letter and give me the opportunity to write to you.  You
understand, do you not, that no one is to know of where I am nor of
what I am doing.  No one save yourself.  It is to be a secret from
everyone, but I love you so much that I think I shall be insane if
I do not hear from you.  Later on perhaps you will come to London
and we shall meet again.  Only to think of such a meeting sends me
crazy with joy and happiness.  But I know that you will answer this
letter and that is all the happiness I wish for at this present
time.  Your most loving


She folded it up and sealed it.

'I am very wicked,' she thought.  'I have never done anything so
really wrong as this before.  But I don't care.'  She further
thought that she had been stupid not to have done this long ago.
Her months with Mrs Golightly had made her begin to wonder whether
she had not paid altogether too much attention to the decencies.
She did not realize that it was the escape from the Cumberland
house that had changed her, the fact that she was emerging from the
influence both of her father and brother, who until now had
dominated her whole life.

She put on her bonnet and shawl, opened the door, listened, ran
downstairs, down the front steps, then along the lamp-lit street to
the post office.  She hesitated a moment before dropping the letter
in.  Was it right?  No, it wasn't right.  Nevertheless, in it went.
She stared defiantly about the street, but there was only one
hackney-cab crawling along and an Italian organ-grinder with a
shivering monkey in a crimson coat.  She dropped a sixpence into
the little monkey's cup as a sort of oblation.  The monkey looked
at her with eyes so old and so sad that she could not resist a
little shudder.  It was as though the monkey said:  'We are all
cold.  All lost.  All doomed.  There's nothing to be done about
it . . .'

On the other hand, Alice, with a large smut across her nose, was
looking up from the bottom of the area steps.  She had a large
broom in her hand which she waved in a cheerful fashion as much as
to say:  'We're friends, we are.  I know what you've been doing and
wish you all the luck.'  The thin strains of the barrel-organ
echoed down the empty street as though they, too, wished her good

She ran quietly up the stairs, took off bonnet and shawl, brushed
her ringlets and, with Agnes Serle in hand, marched down to the

'Aren't you a little late, my love?' asked Mrs Golightly, who was
reclining at ease with her velvet slippers toasting at the fire.
The pug, Levilla, was on her lap, choking as usual.

'Yes, I think I am, a little,' said Elizabeth gently, and, opening
her book, began to read.

She had remarked to herself again and again in these months how
completely now she was separated from the Herries world.  It was as
though they lived, all of them, in another continent.  Mrs
Golightly did on occasion read out from the newspaper some social
item, and once she remarked with a great deal of unction that she
saw that Sir William Herries had been doing this or that.  'Let me
see,' she went on.  'He is a cousin, I fancy, of Lady Rockage, and
there is that lovely Mrs Garth Herries whose name you see
everywhere.  They are all the same family, I imagine.'

But Mrs Golightly and all her friends spoke of Gore House or
Almack's as one speaks of Paradise.  But with no envy.  She had her
world and was perfectly content with it, but the division between
her world and that other one was quite complete.  Mrs Golightly was
a generous, unenvious person altogether.  She thought her husband,
children, friends and home all quite perfect.  It was the fashion,
moreover, for herself and her friends to be romantic about
everything, and this same Romance gave them every kind of
satisfaction.  They liked their literature, their painting, their
music, their religion to be romantic.  They felt deeply and
sincerely for all Oppressed Peoples.  Mrs Golightly was for ever
attending meetings for the poor Poles, for the Negro (whom they
went so far as to call their brother), for the unhappy Greek and
the neglected Hottentot.  That her house was in a mess and that the
slums, factories and mines quite close to home needed attention--
these things were never discussed because they were NOT romantic.

Mrs Golightly enjoyed entertaining her friends in the evening (a
little music on the pianoforte, a little 'dance' in the very small
drawing room), she enjoyed a walk with Mr Golightly when he was at
home, a visit to the theatre or a concert--but perhaps more than
anything else she enjoyed sitting with her toes in front of the
fire of an evening and listening to Elizabeth's reading of a novel.
That original inquiry at the Agency about the Poets had been
genuine enough, but when it came actually to READING--well, the
novel was the thing!  Elizabeth had a beautiful, quiet, cultivated
voice, as Mrs Golightly told all her friends.  It was a pleasure
indeed to listen to her.  So Elizabeth read, night after night,
from the works of Bulwer, Ainsworth, that delightful new writer
Charles Dickens, Theodore Hook, Mrs Gore, Miss Austen ('a LITTLE
dull, my love--not enough Event') and even some of the old 'Minerva
Press' romances--Mandroni, Rinaldo Rinaldini and The Beggar Girl
and her Benefactors, the last in seven volumes.

Meanwhile the two little girls went on as best they might.  It
would not be true to say that Mrs Golightly did not love her
children.  She loved them very dearly.  But they, too, must be
romantic.  She dressed them in very bright colours, showed them to
her friends with pride and left Elizabeth to do the rest.  They
became deeply attached to Elizabeth.  They never had seen anyone so
lovely and, in fact, would never see anyone so lovely again.
Although she dressed in the quietest way, never raised her voice
and never lost her temper, they obeyed her and told her everything.
Alone with her they chattered and chattered, asking her innumerable
questions.  She taught them what she could with the aid of Butter's
Exercises on the Globes, Lindley Murray's English Grammar and
Goldsmith's Poems for Young Ladies, but she had never had very much
education herself and was appalled at her own ignorance.

Although a strong offshoot of the City ran past Sadler's Wells
through the High Street, Islington was nevertheless a little
country town of its own, filled with trees and gardens.  The
Golightlys had their carriage and drove into Town on necessary
occasions, but, socially, their world was their own world and they
gave little thought to any other.  Elizabeth's arrival here was a
sensation and, during the first weeks, the bachelors, handsome
young men, and gay old married ones attempted every kind of
flirtation.  They found her, however, so unapproachable that she
achieved the reputation of an Islington mystery.  It was soon
asserted that she was the child of a noble lord who had attempted
to marry her to a villain, that she was the child-bride of an aged
marquis who violently ill-treated her, that she was heiress to a
vast property and had fled from unwelcome suitors.

She was too kind and gentle to be disliked by them; she gave
herself no airs; she listened to their stories and was grieved for
their misfortunes.  Mrs Golightly did her utmost to discover her
secret, and even Mr Golightly would look up from his butterflies,
smile in a mysterious manner, nod his head and say:  'We expect you
to be carried off from us in a gilt chariot any day, my dear.'

Mrs Golightly's methods were more subtle.  On one of the reading
evenings she would break out with:

'You mentioned, did you not, my love, that your brother was in the

'Oh no,' Elizabeth would reply.  'I have no relations in the Army.'

'Indeed!  Well, fancy that!  It must have been the Navy you said.'

'Nor in the Navy,' Elizabeth would reply, smiling.

Or Mrs Golightly would look at her with great tenderness,

'That must have been a sweetly pretty Ball at Lady Carrington's
yesterday evening.  Young Lady Hermione Blossom was looking her
loveliest, I understand . . .  You doubtless know her, Mary, my

'No,' Elizabeth would murmur.  'I have never seen her.'

'Ah, so you say!' Mrs Golightly would reply, looking very arch.
'We know what we know.'

The children were pressed into service, but they, poor dears, were
so simple and innocent that they had no wiles.

'Oh, Miss Temple,' Francesca would say.  'Mama says that everyone
knows that you are not Miss Temple really, and that you will be
leaving us very shortly.'

'I have no intention of leaving you, Francesca.'

'Mama says that you have fled from persecuting parents.'

'Does she, Francesca?  I have not fled from anyone.'

And Clarissa, who loved Elizabeth with passion, would hold her hand
as though it were a pump-handle and exclaim:  'I am certain that
you are a Princess in disguise, dear Miss Temple, and I DO love you

'There are no real Princesses,' Elizabeth would answer.  'Only in

She managed for a while well enough.  They were kind to her, and it
was not their fault that she knew with every week more and more
unbearable loneliness and longing.  Then came the egregious and
appalling Mr Roberts.  Mr Frederick Roberts was a stout, cheerful,
noisy young man who was the practical joker of the group.  He was
absent during the first part of Elizabeth's sojourn, in Scotland.
Everyone spoke of him with rapture.

'Wait, my love, until Mr Fred Roberts returns!' Mrs Golightly
cried.  'Islington is not the same without Mr Roberts.  Mr Roberts
has the life of a thousand.  He is the wittiest young man in

Elizabeth awaited his arrival with some eagerness.  He could do
everything--play the pianoforte, sing a song, shoot birds, hunt the
fox, dance like an angel and join anyone for any length of time at
Commerce, Vingt-et-Un or Speculation.  He could imitate Webster or
Buckstone or Fanny Kemble as though they were in the room with you.
He was the soul of good nature, and all the young ladies in
Islington wanted to marry him.

When he did arrive Elizabeth found him truly terrible.  He was fat,
coarse, common, self-satisfied, exceedingly conceited and as noisy
as the fireworks at Vauxhall.  But, worst of all, he must for ever
be playing practical jokes.  Practical jokes were 'the thing' in
Islington; everyone loved them, but no practical-joker anywhere was
as inexhaustible in his energies, as fertile in his resources as
Fred Roberts.

He marked down Elizabeth at once as his future bride.  He proposed
to her on the second evening after meeting her and, when she
indignantly refused him, roared with laughter and would have
slapped her on the back had she not eluded him.  His 'jokes' were
endless.  You never knew when you were safe from him.  One of his
most famous was the occasion when at supper at Mrs Preedy's he
poured melted butter into all the gentlemen's pockets.  He loved to
tie two doors together, ring both bells and watch the result round a
corner.  On one most laughable occasion he arrived at the
Livingstone-Jones' with a tray of medicated sweets so that everyone
was ill.  He came to a Masquerade with mice in his pocket, let them
loose and returned in another costume to enjoy the results.  When
Mrs Bonnington lost her husband he appeared by her bedside as the
ghost of her departed (she was ill after this for weeks).  Mrs Green
had a stout and elderly butler into whose shoes he fastened tin-
tacks so that poor James, putting them on unsuspectingly, fell down
a flight of stairs and was nearly killed.  How Frederick laughed
when he heard of it!  And the odd thing was that everyone liked him
for these games!  They thought him the funniest, jolliest fellow and
declared that any girl who 'caught' him would be lucky indeed!

He had never, it seemed, been 'seriously inclined', although he was
'something good' in the City and could marry whenever he wished.
Now he WAS 'caught', and it was Elizabeth who had 'caught' him.

Poor Elizabeth!  Mr Temple had been nothing to this!

It was, however, her terror of Mr Roberts that drove her to write
to John.  It seemed that there was no safety for her anywhere--if
not one, then another.  She even discovered herself thinking of the
Fortress as a place of security.

If she left the Golightlys and went elsewhere it would be the same--
danger everywhere.

A few days after posting her letter a worse thing than Mr Roberts
occurred--Mr Golightly fell in love with her.  She had never
thought of him save that he was kindly and that he passed a
dazzled, bewildered existence in a maze of coloured insects.  He
had means of his own that he had inherited from his father, a
wealthy merchant who had dealt in candles or something of the kind.
He had never been known to look at a woman save Mrs Golightly, at
whom, moreover, he, on the whole, looked as little as might be.
His fidelity to his butterflies was absolute.

There came then an evening.  Mrs Golightly went to join her two
friends, Miss Sanders and Mrs Witsun, at the house of their mutual
friend, Mrs Peters, for a game of Commerce.  The girls had gone to
bed, and Elizabeth sat in her room pretending to read and thinking
of John.  She thought now of John every moment of the day.  How was
her letter faring?  How soon might there be a reply?  And,
surrounding John, encompassing and enveloping him, was the country
of her home, the silver river through the flat Portinscale fields,
Main Street in Keswick with Miss Hazlitt's bow-window and the coach
standing . . .

A knock on the door.  Enter Mr Golightly.  She was so deeply amazed
that she could not speak.  There he stood with his round stomach in
a flowered waistcoat, his coat-tails spreading fan-wise over his
fat thighs, buckles on his shoes and spectacles on the end of his

He closed the door firmly.

'This is an opportunity,' she heard him say to himself.  He came
forward and without another word fell immediately on his knees in
front of her.  His spectacles jerked to the ground and he gazed up
at her with blue eyes, childlike and innocent, eyes dimmed because
they had seen the world for so long behind glasses, eyes that had
gazed for years upon butterflies.  She tried to rise, but he put
his fat hand on her knee and burst out at once:

'Miss Temple--Mary, I am well aware that this is disgraceful.
I am proud that it is.  I have wished for years to do something
disgraceful.  I doubt whether anything could be more disgraceful
than this.  I am old enough to be your father, but I love you
passionately.  I may say that I have never loved anyone passionately
before.  And when I say passionately I mean passionately.'

'But, Mr Golightly--this is shameful--'

'I know that it is shameful.  I have been struggling against it for
several weeks.  At least I have been struggling against NOT
struggling against it.'

She did manage to rise.

'But this is abominable.  In Mrs Golightly's absence--'

'Oh, damnation take Mrs Golightly!' he burst out, clasping her
skirts and holding her firmly.  'What do you think it is to sleep
year after year with Mrs Golightly in a four-poster?  What do you
think it is to wake early in the morning and see Mrs Golightly
beside you?  Were it not for my butterflies I should have gone mad
long ago.  And you, loveliest of virgins, what do you know of four-
posters?  Do you realize what a four-poster MIGHT be?  Even I, old
as I am, could . . .'

But that was enough.  She tore herself from his clinging hands and
went, even as she had done in Hill Street, to the bell-rope.

'One word more, Mr Golightly, and I summon Alice.'

He rose to his feet.  He was trembling and there were beads of
perspiration on his nose.  Without his spectacles he seemed oddly

'Yes,' he murmured.  'I must appear revolting to you.  It is
natural that I should.  It is my fate that I must appear revolting
to everyone save Mrs Golightly.'

He bent down and picked up his spectacles.  She thought that he was
near to tears.

'Forgive me,' he said.  'I could not help myself and I am glad that
I could not.  I am still a man, not a mummy.  Oh! how beautiful you

And he went, wiping his spectacles in a large orange handkerchief,
from the room.

After this there was nothing for it but flight.  Mr Golightly AND
Mr Roberts!  And if Mrs Golightly discovered . . .  But she did not
want to go before she had had her letter from John.  ONE letter
from him and she would be better prepared to face the world again.
Days went by.  The beetles crawled in the kitchen.  Agnes Serle
came to her conclusion and was immediately followed by Adelaide or
the Countercharm, the odious Mr Roberts proposed to her three
times, on every occasion with peals of laughter--and still there
was no letter from John.

Then came the party.  This was the grandest party that Mrs
Golightly had yet given in Islington--dancing, music, Commerce and
Speculation, everything that the heart could desire.  The whole
house was 'cleared' for the event.  The dining room was not far
from the drawing room.  In the drawing room there would be music
and then dancing.  Mr Fortescue would play on the violin, Mrs
Porter's two daughters would sing duets, Mr Fred Roberts would give
his Imitations and comic songs.  It was also confidently expected
that Mr Roberts had some special 'joke', a secret from everyone but

The supper came from the caterer's, who also provided two long,
thin men with immense side-whiskers to serve as waiters.  Poor
Alice was driven from one pillar to another post all day and all
night, while Mrs Thackeray, the at-the-moment cook (she had given
notice and was to leave directly AFTER the party), for a brief
while permitted herself to be amiable because, like every other
servant in the world, she enjoyed a party.

When the guests were all assembled the sight was very impressive.
The house was swollen with the guests.  They were in the hall, on
the stairs, hanging out of window, flooding dining room and drawing
room.  The gentlemen, many of them with long and wavy hair, had
high black stocks enriched with massive pins; the white shirt-cuffs
were neatly turned over the wrists, dress-coats buttoned, trousers
tight with straps and pumps.  The ladies either wore curls neatly
arranged on each side, or their hair dropped in a loop down the
cheek and behind the ear, and then fastened in some kind of band
with ribbons at the back of the head.  Pink was the favourite
colour, pink with plenty of lace and artificial flowers.  The older
ladies were magnificent in turbans, and some of the younger wore
across the forehead a band of velvet or silk decorated with a gold
buckle, or something in pearls and diamonds.  Miss Sanders, who was
sixty if a day, had a black ribbon across her brow, the ribbon
containing in the middle a steel buckle.

Every lady, of course, wore cleaned kid gloves, and the turpentine
that had gone to the cleaning of them gave off a pungent and
powerful odour.  Quadrilles were still danced and even the Country
Dance lingered, but the Valse was the true enchantment, although in
Islington it was still considered rather advanced and daring, and
always everyone was afraid to be the first to commence.  Once and
again the dancing was stopped for a little music, and Miss
Merryweather sang in her piercing soprano or the Misses Porter gave
one of their delightful duets.  At first everyone was as polite as
polite could be.  The gentlemen stood by themselves and the ladies
by THEMSELVES, but soon the punch-bowl had been mixed--a lovely
mixture of rum, brandy, Curacao, lemon, hot water, sugar, grated
nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.  There was also rum-shrub.  And above
all, for the gentlemen, Bishop.  Bishop was a kind of punch made of
port wine instead of rum, and exceedingly potent it was.  It was
the Bishop, possibly, that accounted in the end for Elizabeth's
terror and distress.

Very soon everyone became very jolly, and of course the jolliest of
them all was Fred Roberts.  Before the evening had exhausted an
hour of its splendour he had fastened three girls into a cupboard,
let off a squib under Miss Merryweather's skirts (and her shriek
was of a more violent soprano than any betrayed by her singing!),
piled three plates on the lintel of the door so that they crashed
on to the head of one of the long, thin waiters; but his great feat
was that he had brought a live grass-snake in his pocket, and this
he sent crawling over fair arms and necks until ladies stood on
chairs and one Miss Porter fainted (or was it, as some said, that
she had enjoyed the rum-shrub?).

He was the greatest success.  Everyone voted that they had never
seen him in so splendid a humour, and he WAS in fine form, for he
had a bet with six of his Islington cronies that before the evening
was over he would be able to announce to all the world that the
beautiful Miss Temple had consented to be his bride.

During the earlier hours, however, he left Elizabeth to others,
although his merry eye was always upon her.  At first things were
not so terrible.  She sat with Mrs Devizes, a lady who was vastly
proud of her house, 'twice the size of this, my dear'.  And must
describe with perfect happiness her mahogany table and curtains of
crimson rep, her gilt fleur-de-lis wallpaper and the way that she
preserved her gooseberries and currants.

How Elizabeth prayed that she might be left alone with her, for she
was tranquil and calm, and, as her words flowed on, it seemed that
life somewhere must be secure--an enclosed world under a glass
bell, mahogany, crimson rep and gooseberries.

But she was not allowed to stay where she was.  For, in the first
place, Mrs Golightly was so happy at the social success of her
party that she was talking about Elizabeth to everyone, how she was
certain that she was the daughter of a Duke, how good she was and
beautiful she was, and how indebted she was to Mrs Golightly, who
'treated her just like one of her own daughters'.  So naturally the
young men came up and besought her to dance with them, and then,
while valsing, paid her fatuous compliments and fought with one
another over the honour of claiming her.  Everyone began to be
greatly excited, the ladies as well.  Games were proposed,
Forfeits, and Blind Man's Buff and Catch-in-a-Corner.

Elizabeth slipped out of the room only to find Mr Golightly, the
worse for Bishop, standing in a corner near the window, staring
quite desperately in front of him.

He caught her arm and drew her to the window.

'You must not tremble,' he assured her.  'You are safe with me.
Indeed, indeed you are.  I only wish you to be the first to know
that I am leaving Mrs Golightly.'

'Oh no, no!' she cried, deeply distressed.

'I am determined, quite, quite determined.  Before you came into my
life I was asleep.  But now I am awake and I know that my existence
with Mrs Golightly is a sham!'

Oh, those poor little girls, she thought.  And Mrs Golightly, who
is so happy and confident.  If only she could have taken him away
and talked to him, for she liked him in spite of his absurdities.
But she did not dare to go apart with him, and here they were
besieged on all sides--people were running up and down stairs.  It
was quite pandemonium.

'You will feel quite differently tomorrow,' she assured him.

'Oh no, I shall not.  You have changed my life.  You have--'

But worse followed, for Mr Roberts appeared, carrying a glass of
punch, his red face shining with happiness, his eyes fixed upon her
as though she were already his bride.

Paying no attention to Mr Golightly, he caught Elizabeth's hand,
dragged her with him into the room where everyone was valsing
madly, and began to swing her round, dropping his glass on to the
floor.  She thought it better not to resist lest worse should

'We are designed for one another!' he cried.  'It is Fate!  I am
rich, you are beautiful!  Let me tell them all that you will have
me!  I have been waiting all my life for this moment!  I am the
happiest of men! . . .'  Then, before them all, suddenly, ceasing
to dance, he caught her in his stout arms and kissed her.

She broke from him, ran among the dancers, found her way to the
door and, on the verge of tears, half tumbled down the stairs into
the hall.  At the moment there was no one there, but the house-door
was open, Alice was on the step, and beside her someone was
standing.  Alice came in.

'It is for you, miss.  A gentleman asking for you--'

She went forward, trying to calm her agitation.  Before her,
visible enough in the pale, smoky lamp of the little hall, was

She was in his arms; HIS arms were round her.

'Oh, John--John--John,' was all she could hysterically cry.  She
was sobbing on his shoulder.

'My love . . . my adored one . . . my only, only love!'

Alice was in an ecstasy.  She was practical as well.

'Oh, miss, come into the Master's room.  There's no one there.
Only the coats and hats.'

Into Mr Golightly's room they went, and there, among the
butterflies and beetles, John told her that he had come as swiftly
as he could and for one purpose only.  At the first possible moment
they would be married.

'Married, John?'

'Yes, married, my love.  We have been too ridiculous.  We have been
wasting our lives.'

(Uhland?  Her father?  Oh, no matter.  Let come what might!)

'Oh, John--I have longed for you so!'

'And I for you!  When I received your letter . . .'

Mrs Golightly was in the doorway, behind her Miss Porter and

'Mary!  Why, my love . . .'

Elizabeth, holding John's hand, and looking more beautiful than
ever in her life before, said:

'Mrs Golightly--allow me to introduce you--Mr John Herries.  The
gentleman to whom I am to be married.  He has come all the way from

It was the supreme, the loveliest moment of her life.


                                 6 Acacia Road, Marylebone, London,
                                                   April 20th, 1839

MY DEAR FATHER--Yesterday morning John and I were married at St
Mary's Church, Phillamont Street, Marylebone.

I am afraid that this may make you angry and I am sorry indeed that
it should do so, but as you have made no inquiry after my
whereabouts I am hardened in the belief that nothing that may
happen to me can give you very great concern.  I am sorry indeed
for this, but from my very earliest years you have shown me that
you would have preferred never to have had a daughter.  I find it
very difficult in these unhappy circumstances to appeal to your
forgiveness because indeed I do not feel that there has been
anything on my part very blameworthy.  I studied to love you, but
you wished for the love neither of my dear mother nor myself.  You
are not responsible, dear father, for that.  If you could not love
us you could not, but neither am I responsible for wishing to make
some kind of life for myself where I could be happy.

Perhaps now that I am away from you I may not cause you so much
aggravation and one day you may wish to see me again.  I know how
greatly you have always disliked the family at Uldale but they on
their part have, I am sure, felt nothing but friendliness and it is
the great hope of John and myself that our marriage may heal the
division between the two families.  John has some means of his own
and we shall be in no need of assistance from anyone.  Our cousins,
Garth and Sylvia, are most kind, and Carey has invited me into the
country.  I have written to grandfather acquainting him with our
marriage.  I am afraid that grandmother is no better.

With every respect, dear father.  I am, Your loving daughter,


                John Herries to Judith Paris

                                 6 Acacia Road, Marylebone, London,
                                                   April 22nd, 1839

MY DEAR AUNT JUDITH--Elizabeth and I were married on April 19th at
twelve noon at St Mary's Church, Phillamont Street, Marylebone.

Dear Aunt Judith, are you very angry with me?  I did wrong perhaps
to leave you so suddenly with that brief letter of farewell, but I
am enclosing (by her own wish) Elizabeth's letter to me that she
wrote from London.  Now read that and I am assured that with all
your tenderness and love of others you will not be able to wish my
actions other than they were.  Indeed I could not help myself and
arrived, as it turned out, only just in time, for my beloved
Elizabeth was in the very act of escaping from an Islington ruffian
when I stepped in at the door.  Can you imagine it?  She had been a
Governess, having run away from her grandfather's, to two little
girls of a lady with the astounding name of Golightly!  They were
kind to her, I fancy, although I cannot force very much out of her.
She was never communicative about herself as you know.

But you do NOT know, dear Aunt Judith!  You know one another so
slightly that it will be one of my happiest pleasures to make you
better acquainted!  Seriously you have been so long more than a
mother to me (more than my own mother ever was to me I fear) that
you will, I know, rejoice in my happiness.  I have not, I think,
ever been truly happy before.  I have been always apprehensive,
fearing disasters that have never arrived.  In the strangest way
that house at Ireby and the inhabitants in it have hung over me
like a doom.  You have perceived this and thought me often faint-
hearted and absurd, I know--yet these things are of the spirit and
I have much of my poor father's lack of self-confidence.  A Herries
without conceit of himself is worse off than any other man in the
world, I think!  If you but knew how often I have urged myself
forward to some act that I feared simply because I feared it!  It
seems to me now fantastic that I should have so dreaded Uhland's
crooked body and the coarseness of his father--but now I have
rescued Elizabeth from them, and myself as well!  Do you know how,
for so many years, he neglected and despised her and how patiently
she bore that neglect?  The end of the story is not yet.  I will
make myself so famous that they shall crawl on their knees to me
before all is done!  Now is not that an unworthy sentiment?

Elizabeth has but now entered and the kettle is on the fire and the
toasting-fork ready!  Our happiness is surely greater than that of
any other two in the world!  And yet how many lovers are there in
this city at this same moment swearing the same thing.  But we are
such old lovers and have waited so long--longer, far longer than
there was any need!  How clearly I see that now!

My only unhappiness is that I have left you alone at Uldale--
Dorothy, Adam, myself, all gone!  And yet I am not sure that you
will not be happier without us--all of us save Adam of course!  I
shall be seeing him tomorrow I trust.  He is all Chartist now, I
suppose, but he cannot think ill of me, for Elizabeth and myself
are as poor as church mice and happy to be so.  Sylvia came to see
us last evening.  She was exceedingly kind and says that Garth will
soon find work for me.  There will be my share of the Uldale money,
but I would prefer that you send me nothing--until I ask for it.

Elizabeth is at my side.  She sends her love.  As she sits beside
me I wonder what I have done to deserve this fortune.  I have done
nothing.  I have been a poor feckless creature all my life but now,
please God, there shall come something very different out of me.
Our love for one another is beyond utterance.  Dear Aunt Judith,
wish us well and write to tell us that you are not angry.  Your


                 Judith Paris to Adam Paris

                                             February 8th, 1840

MY DEAREST SON--Your letter received last evening.  I am SORRY
indeed that you should imagine that I am not PLEASED with your
marriage.  I am pleased with anything that gives you HAPPINESS but
I am an old woman with only one passion left me and that is for my
SON.  If you fancy that there is any mother in the world who gives
her son willingly to ANOTHER WOMAN then you betray only once again
that ignorance of my sex which, I fear, has been always your
portion and will be so to the end.

You say that I need not fear that I shall lose you.  NO, INDEED, I
CANNOT LOSE YOU, for you are a part of myself, more perhaps than
you will ever realize.  You will return to me.  You will bring her
with you, but she can never have that part of you that is mine.
You can tell her so if you wish.  I am prepared to love her for as
have no PATIENCE with old women who complain of being LEFT.  I have
always been standing on my own legs and intend to continue so.  I
like the name Margaret.  She sounds sensible.  I enclose with this
my present to her.  This silver box was left me by my brother who
had it from a pedlar when he was a boy, and the silver chain was my
grandmother's.  I always intended them for your wife.  Bring her
soon to see me.  I am quite alone here at the present although
Dorothy and the children shall pay me a visit very shortly.

Bellairs is not in good health.  It is his STOMACH.  I am for ever
telling him that he overeats but he answers that I am fanatical
about food and eat like a SPARROW.  Certainly all our neighbours
eat and drink far too much and I attribute my own astonishing good
health to my careful feeding.  Why should we behave like swine at a
trough?  I remember when I was a young woman in London that Georges
had INCREDIBLE stories of the amount that his friends consumed and
I can remember Christabel and Jennifer in their youth guzzling like
PIGS.  Well, they are all dead and here am I feeling twenty.  How I
run on, but I enjoy talking to my son who is now a Chartist and a
husband and I don't know what!  Only yesterday he was pulling cows'
tails in the orchard.

John and Elizabeth were at poor Christabel's funeral.  Will was a
very dignified figure they say.  But Sylvia writes to say that a
young Mrs Morgan, widow of an Army captain, is already setting her
cap at him.  Is not that revolting?  He is seventy this year if I
am not mistaken, and she not a day over thirty!  And what comedy if
our fat five-chinned purple-faced Walter has a baby brother, a new
uncle for our pretty Uhland!  Since John left here we have had no
great trouble with Ireby.

Uhland spoke to me in Keswick some days back and asked most
politely after you.  He has eyes like Cumberland stone and his lame
leg is as lively as a spiteful old woman.  I think Walter has no
spite against myself but would do any hurt that he could to John
and Dorothy.  He and Uhland have already stories circulated in
Keswick about John, and John himself seems apprehensive for in his
last letter to me he says that he fancied that he saw Uhland
looking at him out of a hackney coach.  It may be that he was
right, for Uhland has been twice to London.

All is well at Uldale.  Rackstraw manages to a MARVEL.  He is now
at war with Peach, Walter's man.  They detest one another and so
carry on this ridiculous feud a stage further.  We have built a new
Barn in the upper field.  Flossie the mare is too old for the
carriage and has been put in the Paddock.  I told you I think that
Dorothy is coming shortly for a visit.  You know me well enough to
understand me when I say that I do not mind at all that I am in
SOLE command here.  I seem to know so very much better than anyone
else the way things OUGHT to be done.  And I was sixty-five years
of age last November!--Your most loving


                 John Herries to Adam Paris

                                         6 Acacia Road, Marylebone,
                                                 October 25th, 1840

MY DEAR ADAM--The fact that you and Margaret (to whom give every
loving message from Elizabeth and myself) are at Uldale encourages
me to write a long letter, some of which I would wish for them all
to see.  Other parts of it I shall mark Private and they are for
your ears alone.

Well, first to my great piece of personal news.  The writer of this
Epistle has pleasure in informing you, dear Adam, that he has been
now for two days personal and private Secretary to Sir Edward
Mitcham, Bart, MP for Great Cottenham.  What say you to that and to
whose services think you I owe it?  To whom but to Grandfather
Will!  This is, you will all at Uldale allow, a most remarkable
feat and three in the eye to my dear father-in-law and four in the
nose to my beloved brother-in-law.  What they will say to this
villainous backsliding on old Will's part I have infinite delight
in imagining.  It seems that I owe this as I owe every other
happiness in life to my beloved Elizabeth, for it appears that a
long while back when she was staying with him he was moved by her
loveliness and by her loneliness, coming in one evening and seeing
her all by herself and sufficiently dejected.  So he has had it in
his mind for some time to do something for us and this is what he
has done.

Old Mitcham is a stout claret-coloured old boy who lives in
Bryanston Square with a fat wife and two plain daughters.  He is
amiable enough so long as he is flattered and is saved from an
extravagant personal vanity by his adoration of Palmerston.
Palmerston can do no wrong in his eyes and already I am myself
beginning to see with a similar vision and watch the affairs in
Syria as though my life depended upon it.  They say that it is the
Syrian business that has killed Lord Holland and that his dying
word was:  'Mehemet Ali will kill me'.

I do not know that I have any Parliamentary ambitions myself.
Elizabeth says that I would make a good orator, but she has a
certain prejudice and I am altogether too nervous and shy to thrust
myself into public notice.  Meanwhile old Lady Mitcham is quite in
love with Elizabeth as indeed is all the world.  Sylvia says that
she has come out amazingly and is another creature from when she
was staying with grandfather.  As well she may be, for she was at
that time a lonely and deserted creature.

You have heard, I suppose, the gossip about grandfather.  It is
certain that this Mrs Morgan is for ever in Hill Street.  She is a
lively, gay, light-headed little woman, all bright colours,
tinkling laughter and sharp acquisitiveness.  She already touches
everything in the house as though she owned it.  I imagine myself
that grandfather would not be averse to a child in his old age, for
it is my private belief that he has suffered a long and bitter
disappointment over Walter, who pays him less and less regard.  I
suggest that grandfather sees in Mrs Morgan a possible instrument
rather than a personal pleasure.

Private.  I have marked this Private because I should be ashamed
were anyone but yourself to see it.  But you have known me from
babyhood, dear Adam, and loved me as long, I think.  Listen then,
brother and friend.  Elizabeth and I love one another more dearly
with every hour that passes.  Our intimacy, our trust, our devotion
is perfect.  And yet there IS one thing of which we will not speak
to one another.  We have both a fear, an unreasonable, foolish,
crazy fear of Uhland.  That she has it I know well.  She speaks of
him in her sleep and always in terror.  By the way that she so
deliberately avoids his name I know that she thinks of him.  She
fancies that because I married her he will do me some hurt and
still more now that grandfather has volunteered this last kindness.
Living with him so long has bred in her a fear of him that is
beyond reason and is the stronger for its vagueness.  And I must
confess to you, dear Adam, that all my old terror of him persists.
How often you have chided me for that!  How foolish to your logical
and consistent mind are such fears, but I have this from my father,
who had it, perhaps, from HIS grandfather--that I live partly in a
world of shadows.  For a Herries that is fatal and there are times
when I feel caught--held in a trap--and for no cause, no reason.
How you must despise me.  But no, you love me and are the most
faithful and unswerving friend.  Otherwise I would not have the
courage to tell you.  But there is more than that.  The other
evening at dusk coming from Bryanston Square I am certain that
Uhland himself followed me.

Walking towards the Park down a narrow and ill-lit street I heard
that tap of his stick and the hesitation of his step with which I
have been so long dreadfully familiar.  For a while, I dared myself
not to turn, but at length my curiosity was too strong for me and,
looking around, I saw in the light of a lamp the thin figure of
Uhland, his dark beaver hat, pale face, black clothes.  He stood
there, without moving, leaning on his stick.  I hurried on through
a street now absolutely silent.  He seemed to follow me now

Pray do not laugh at me in this.  Your sturdy mind cannot imagine
what such fears and terrors may be.  You remain undaunted by that
other world so far more real than this one.  Between the Haunted
and the Unhaunted there is a gulf that can only be bridged by love,
and I am not one who can love more than one or two.  Why does he
hate me so, Adam?  What have I ever done to him?  What is this
strange Feud in our family that is for ever forcing its way in?

But, for a moment to be practical, pray discover for me if you can,
while you are at Uldale, whether Uhland has been recently in
London.  It would relieve my mind greatly if it had not been he.
Meanwhile this is the one only subject about which Elizabeth and I
do not speak.  There is a shadow here, the size of a man's hand . . .

But to be cheerful and DAYLIGHTY again, pray when you write tell me
all the news of Uldale, of Aunt Judith, Roger, and in especial
Margaret and yourself.  When do you return to Town?  You know that
I do not think your Charter the cure for all our ills but times
seem to become with every week more serious--the rick-burnings,
riots and the rest--and I have little confidence in either
Melbourne or Lord John.  Your loving friend,


          Judith Paris to Sir William Herries, Bart

                                                 January 10th, 1841

DEAR WILL--I write to congratulate you on your MARRIAGE and, with
that, to be as HONEST with you as I have always been.  What do old
people like you and me want with marriage?  There is something
INDECENT in it, do you not yourself think so?  For you have always
been the most COMMONSENSICAL of all our Family and I cannot believe
that, sitting in a corner, you do not laugh to yourself and wonder
at your own action.  You were lonely I must suppose.  Well, so
indeed are all of us.  What do you say to an old woman of sixty-six
sitting ALL BY HERSELF in a house under a MOUNTAIN miles from
anywhere--or from ANYONE except your beastly Walter in his stone
prison?  Well, have it your own way--only I refuse to tell you that
you have done a FINE thing.  If we cannot LAUGH at ourselves we are
lost souls and although your sense of the COMIC has never been very
strong in you, still you have a certain DRY picture of yourself I
know.  I TRUST your widow will give you every SATISFACTION.  Do not
think me unkind nor unfriendly, dear Will.  I am neither, and I
have an especial GRATITUDE to you just now for what you have done
for dear John and Elizabeth.  That was especially noble of you
seeing that your Walter hates them so (although WHY I cannot
understand.  Now that poor Christabel is gone he cannot STILL be
thinking of that broken Fan).  Moreover we were BABIES together and
that I can NEVER forget although you were a dry and calculating
child with a passion for SUMS (that I always detested) from the
very start.  Do you remember how you rode over to STONE ENDS to
fetch me back home and how I snapped my fingers at you?  Yes, and
would do it again if the same occasion rose.  I am in marvellous
health, thank God (although I doubt whether it is His doing).
Dorothy comes with her babies to see me.  She has now three GIRLS--
one born this last November--Veronica, Amabel and Jane.  Timothy is
four--a fine child.  Bellairs is in poor health--some disorder of

I must close.  I am sending you a CUMBERLAND HAM as a wedding
present.  You have everything in the world that you need, save only
a Cumberland Ham--and there are no other Hams so good in the world
anywhere.  Your most affectionate


         Margaret Paris to her father, Caesar Kraft

(This letter was never posted but was found, many years later, by
            Adam Paris among his wife's papers.)

                                                Uldale, Cumberland,
                                                    April 6th, 1841

MY DEAR FATHER--It is very likely that this letter will never be
posted.  I am writing it at two of the morning, sitting under a
candle in my dressing gown while Adam sleeps in the bed close
behind me, sleeps so soundly as he always does, sleeps as I alas
just now so seldom do!

For, Father dear, that is why in the morning I shall not post this
letter, because I shall be ashamed of my mood.  I am unhappy
tonight, desperately unhappy, unhappy as I have never been in my
life before.  Now listen, father.  I know that Adam loves me, I
know that they all wish me well here, I know that Adam is as proud
and ambitious for our work as you and I.  I am well in health and
so is he.  We have money enough.  Best of all I have you, dearest,
dearest father--and yet tonight my courage is all gone.  I have at
the moment no resistance.

I think perhaps that my marriage has been the most dreadful
mistake.  I love Adam more, far, far more than when I married him
and I am well assured that he loves me.  I think his character
noble, strong and generous.  I was not mistaken in thinking it so
when I married him.  But, father, I think there is no woman in
England so lonely as I am at this moment.

They are all so strange.  This wild rough country is so strange.
Adam's mother is so strange.  Adam's mother!  Perhaps that is where
all the trouble lies!  On my first visit here with Adam she was, as
I told you, most friendly.  She wanted to love me as a daughter,
she said, and that is I know what she intended.  But love does not
come like that.  She was resolved to feel no jealousy of me and in
that very resolve felt it.  You know how quiet I am, father.  You
have always understood that I feel more than I can say and that I
cannot force myself to any feeling if it is not there.  'Madame'
(as they all call her here) is the opposite of this.  I have never
said much about her to you.  You have never seen her.  You cannot
imagine her.  She is unlike anyone else in the world, a little tiny
woman with snow-white hair, a pale brown complexion, wearing the
brightest colours, her eyes sparkling, carrying an ivory cane, and
alive in every inch of her!  I cannot convey to you how alive she
is!  I do not know her exact age but it is certainly between sixty
and seventy and yet she is more living than anyone else in the
neighbourhood.  Everyone knows it.  Everyone recognizes it.  She is
a great figure here.  She is compounded of two opposites.  Her
mother was I believe a gipsy and thence she has her gay colours,
her restlessness, her laughter, her generosity, her tempers, her
childlike pleasure in little things.  She will dance to a music-box
tune or pick up her skirts and run down the road, or rate a tramp
like Queen Elizabeth, or play Backgammon like a baby, kiss and
stroke the cheek and love you in a passion!  And on the other hand
she has a good business head, runs the house and property like a
lawyer, disciplines the servants, has her finger in every pie.

But her passion is for Adam.  Adam is everything to her.  She would
like to possess him, every bone and vein of him, and his soul
beyond.  But she is wise enough to know that she cannot and that
she can only take from him what he voluntarily gives her.  That is
a great deal.  They have the strongest bond, the two--almost
without knowing it, without wishing it.  It is not only a bond of
mother and son but a bond of family too.  All the Herries I have
met, whether in London or here, have something in common although
they are all so different.  What it is I cannot say.  It is as
though, inside the family, they are all against one another, but
that against the outside world they are all united.  Even Adam has
something of this, although he is for ever saying that he is
illegitimate and does not belong to them and disapproves of their
worldliness and pride and materialism.  For they ARE material,
grossly so AND proud--proud with the worst kind of English pride as
though they were God's people.  John Herries in London is the only
exception I have seen--yes, and PART of Madame.  Part of HER is non-
Herries, hates that blood and would like to escape from it.

In any case I am shut out, father, however kind they WISH to be, I
am shut out.  I am shut out by them all and by this hateful hard,
raining, hostile country.  It is all sodden hills and grey cloud
and stone walls here.  When the sun shines everything is harder
than ever.  The stones have a hard face, the people look as though
they would like to kill you, the cattle lower their heads at you.
I know that it is only on visits that we are here and that Adam
will never leave his work in London, but I am afraid lest one day
his mother will win and bring him back here for ever.  He is so
silent.  He cannot express his feelings at all.  When I lie in his
arms I know that he loves me, but he will never say so.  He is so
shy of expression and when others are there I sometimes think that
he almost hates me.  Of course he does not.  He is true and loving
and noble, but why cannot he say something to me once and again,
only some little things to reassure me?  Then he goes off--for a
whole day, leaving me with his mother and without a word to any of
us.  He loves this country so passionately that I do not count for
anything beside it.  I was so happy with you, dearest father,
living with you, working with you.  I needed no one.  And then he
came and at the first sight I loved him with all my soul as I shall
always love him.  But here I seem to fight every stone wall, every
little stream, every sulky cloud.  If only he would speak to me,
tell me once that he loves me, defend me against my fears . . .
Oh, father, why . . .

                 Judith Paris to Adam Paris

                                                    March 4th, 1842

MY DEAR SON--Dorothy and the children arrived last week.  I cannot
say I am sure how this EXPERIMENT may turn out.  I confess that I
am not altogether easy in my mind.  When Bellairs died two months
back Dorothy certainly had no IDEA of it, nor had I.  But she found
the house more and more melancholy and longed every day more
ardently for Uldale so she must have her way.  We can but see and I
admit that it is agreeable to have company again.

Dorothy has grown very STOUT but is kind and much IMPROVED I think.
She was always AMIABLE as you know, but had a strong conviction
that she must MANAGE.  I have explained to her that the children
are HER business and the house MINE.  She was at first inclined
somewhat to think me an OLD LADY.  She discovers that I am not so
ancient as she supposed!

And now, Adam, I have had a great ADVENTURE.  I have spent two
nights in Watendlath!  What do you say to that!  I have stayed in
the old house, eaten at the old table, walked the old ways.  I have
seen where Charlie Watson is buried and will confess to you that I
shed a TEAR or two.  I have seen again my Georges.  Yes, standing
by the Tarn, just as he used, smiling at me, because he had done
something that he should not, and today was yesterday.  I was a
young girl again and all LIFE was in front of me.  Well, that is
over, my son.  As I looked across the water to the hills and down
to Rosthwaite where your grandfather lived, I knew what I had
THROWN AWAY when I remained at Uldale.  I sold my SOUL perhaps that
day but what does it matter?  There are too many souls already in
space for the loss of one little one to be of importance.

Alice Perry's son reigns and a fine fellow he is, with four fine
CHILDREN.  His wife I thought a poor feckless creature and her
HODGE-PODGE a disgrace, but for once I kept my old tongue quiet and
told her only COMPLIMENTS.  For an hour I was WILD again, old woman
though I am.  But the wildness passed.  Here I am at my table
adding accounts and the cows are going to milking beyond the window
and Skiddaw is as mild and stout as Dorothy herself.

They all thought me MAD to go.  I have still a touch of madness,
but it diminishes.  Rackstraw has the GOUT, Mary--the new maid
(from Cockermouth--a good girl)--the toothache, her face swollen
twice its size.  I shall never see Watendlath again.

I LONG to have you here.  It seems to be the ONLY THING I live for
now, but I will not force you.  You will come in your own good
time.  I passed Walter in the road last week.  We did not speak.
He is IMMENSELY fat and is not as careful in his dress as he was.
There are awful doings at Ireby from all I hear, and many people
refuse to go there any longer.  I hear that he vows vengeance on us
all because John and dear Elizabeth are happy in London--a poor
sort of reason--but he cannot harm us.  Give my love to Margaret.
I am sending you some of my own PRESERVES, two HAMS and a WOOL-WORK
OTTOMAN that I bought at old Mr Chancey's sale in Keswick as a
present to Margaret.  Your loving


                 Adam Paris to Judith Paris

                                        7 Farrimond Street, London,
                                                    April 3rd, 1842

MY DEAREST MOTHER--This must be only the briefest of notes as I go
this afternoon to a meeting in Manchester, but I thought you would
like to know how we find our new rooms.

We think them exceedingly comfortable when we have time to consider
them.  I was never before as busy as now.  People are still talking
of Peel's Income-Tax and we Chartists will most certainly not
oppose it.  It is a small step in our own direction but the state
of the country is with every week worse and the conditions among
the poor frightful.

We have seen none of our relations save John and Elizabeth.  I am
happy to say that Elizabeth and Margaret have become the greatest
friends.  I am most happy for that.  Margaret has not been so well
of late.

In great haste.  Your loving son,


Very many thanks for the Cheeses and Butter you so kindly sent.
They are most welcome.


The little town shivered under the breath of the helm-wind that,
beating down from the icy caverns and hollows of Helvellyn, threw
dark quivering shadows of cloud on the garden walls, set Main
Street trembling with a half-worshipping, half-shuddering
agitation, and caused Mrs Constantine, who had Mrs Trevelyan of
Bournemouth as guest, to rub the tip of her nose with her muff a
hundred times.

Fortunately at this moment of English history ladies were, by the
dictates of fashion, more warmly clad than at any time before or
after.  So many petticoats, with solid padding, indeed did they
wear that the crinoline must come in very shortly and assist them.
Mrs Constantine was wearing four petticoats, and her poke-bonnet
was lined with fur.  Her peaked and animated face was for ever
hiding itself in an enormous snowy muff.  But it was right that it
should be cold.  Mrs Constantine, wife of one of the doctors in
Keswick, told Mrs Trevelyan (whose heart, if the truth were known,
was sick for Bournemouth) that it was right that it should be cold.
She exulted in it, she revelled in it.  It was but a week before
Christmas and what was Christmas if not cold?  The coach rattled
down the street, old Tom Rawson blowing his horn with a fine
Christmas flourish.  The boys were just out of school and, wrapped
up almost to the eyes in mufflers, rushed along the street
screaming like sea-birds, playing 'shinny' as they went, the wooden
ball lathe-turned, the 'shinny' sticks cut from the hedges.
Keswick was its own quiet self in these winter months, lying
peacefully beneath the purple wind-scarred hills.  In the summer,
as Mrs Constantine explained, it was now 'the rage', college youths
from Cambridge, every house letting lodgings, the pencil-makers
selling to every visitor enough black-lead pencils to last a
lifetime; spar-dealers, curiosity-mongers, boatmen making a
fortune; coaches tearing in and out, picnics everywhere, and until
lately Mr Southey to be seen at any time, taking his walk.  Poor
gentleman, nothing but tragedy now.  So many things to see!  So
MANY things to see! . . .  But now all is quiet.  Soon sheep, their
wool blown a little by the wind, move up the street, the boys with
their 'shinny' sticks racing in and out among them, there is a
sudden flash of sun from the wrack of cloud, piercing like a sword
drawn from its scabbard the cobbles, the sheep, the boys, slashing
into sudden colour the cold flanks of Blencathra.

But Mrs Constantine was historical.  History was her passion.  Oh,
Keswick was full of history!  There was Acorn Street where the
Royal Oak had been (oak--acorn--did Mrs Trevelyan see the
quaintness?) and the Friars Inn where Lord Derwentwater quaffed a
flagon of ale before riding to the '15, and Crosthwaite Vicarage
where the tithes--the wool, the pigs, the geese, the dairy produce--
were brought and a grand dinner with hodge-podge followed.  Here
Mrs Trevelyan sneezed.

'You are not chill, my dear, I trust?'

'Oh no, not at all, not at all--'

And the old Moot Hall and the--Here she broke off to murmur:

'My dear Eliza!  This is most fortunate.  Here coming towards us is
the most interesting person in Keswick.'

Mrs Trevelyan, blinded by the sharp wind and knowing that she had
caught a cold that would endure for weeks, stared a little

But there was no doubt as to whom Mrs Constantine intended, for,
stepping out of a barouche, standing for a moment, resting on a
cane and looking about, then slowly walking up the street towards
them, was a most remarkable woman.  She was small of figure, but
her step was astonishingly alert.  She carried her head as though
she commanded the town.  As she approached them more nearly Mrs
Trevelyan saw that her hair was snow-white under her poke-bonnet,
that was of a rich blue and decorated with a feather.  She wore a
purple silk mantlet trimmed with a shaded ribbon.  She was
distinguished, most dainty, most determined.  Her hands were hidden
in a purple muff.  She tapped with her cane, she looked about her
eagerly, as though she were sniffing the fragrant, frosty air.
Some boys with their ball, racing up the street, slowed down as
they saw her.  She smiled benignly upon them.  A gentleman, riding
a splendid roan, touched his hat.  She bowed like a queen.  A
bearded farmer, driving a cow, touched his hat and she bowed again.
She arrived at the two ladies.

'Oh Mrs Constantine, how DO you do?'

'Very well indeed, thank you, Madame Paris.  Will you permit me to
introduce to you my friend, Mrs Trevelyan, from Bournemouth.'

'With the greatest pleasure . . .  I hope you are well?  You are
paying a lengthy visit?'

Here Mrs Trevelyan unfortunately sneezed and was so deeply
aggravated that instead of paying compliments, as she had intended,
she could only stutter:

'The air in Bournemouth is more balmy--'

'It is indeed.  But here, I fancy, it is more bracing.  I am on my
way to visit old Miss Pennyfeather.  She has not been so well, you
know.  Pray, remember me to the Doctor, Mrs Constantine.  If you
would be so good . . .'

She moved on.

'A most remarkable woman,' said Mrs Constantine eagerly.  'They say
her mother was a gipsy.  She has a house at Uldale and is a
relation of the Herries family.  Her father was a Herries--long ago
here in Keswick.  She has had a most remarkable history--'

They passed on to the more sheltered side of the street, but not
before Mrs Trevelyan, who felt her chill gaining upon her with
every cut of the wind, had remarked:  'She appears to enjoy most
excellent health.  I never saw such spirits!'

No, indeed.  She had not and she would not, for Judith was at the
height of happiness.  This evening, by the Lancaster Coach, Adam
her son was arriving for the Christmas festivities.  Adam was
coming home.  She had not seen him for nearly a year; he was
bringing his wife with him and that was very pleasant, but for
Judith no one and nothing mattered but Adam.

She was in splendid health.  This wild wind, these steel-grey hills
suited her.  She was exalted, lifted up.  Between a break in the
wall, over a dry and wind-tossed garden, she could see the distant
Lake, the small waves in feathered hurry racing before the tongue
of the flicking air.  Were her hands not so warmly in the purple
muff she could have stretched them out and embraced it all--sky,
hill, water, stone and tree.  The freshness, the strength, the
flashing scornful sun!  Snow was in the air!  Snow!  And Adam was
coming home, Adam was coming home.  She saw Dr Constantine, very
thin-waisted, in his high beaver hat, riding his cob.  She bowed.
He bowed.  It was all she could do not to give a little hop, skip
and jump for sheer joy of living!  Adam was coming home!  Even as
she rapped Miss Pennyfeather's knocker she gathered him to her
heart, felt herself lost in his embrace, knew once again that
neither wife nor work could take him from her.  He was yet in her

Little Nancy, Miss Pennyfeather's treasure, opened the door to her
and she was in the parlour.  It remained unchanged through all
these years just as the rooms at Uldale remained unchanged,
although Dorothy was for ever talking of 'new furniture'.  New
furniture!  Judith detested the great ugly, heavy, clumsy stuff
such as you saw at the Osmastons' or the Applebys'.  No, this
delicacy was what she loved and her eye rested with gratitude on
dear Miss Pennyfeather's blue Chinese wallpaper, the nodding
mandarins on the mantelpiece, the delicate harpsichord with its
painting of violets on the lid, and the pretty delicate chairs with
their faded gilt.  But she did not look for more than a moment, for
there, dancing from foot to foot in front of Miss Pennyfeather, who
was sunk deep in an armchair and all wrapped up in shawls, was the
strangest figure!

He was an odd little man, scarcely five feet high, his head on one
side as though he had a crick in his neck, his shoulders humped; he
had (Judith saw at once and recognized from olden days) the most
marvellous eyes, dark, luminous, living every life in their orbs,
at one moment enraged, at another amazed, at a third delighted, at
a fourth swimming in fun.  He had long white locks, unbrushed,
dishevelled, and they seemed to have a breath of their own as they
moved.  He was wearing a blue-lapelled swallow-tailed coat with
brass buttons, two waistcoats, a black stock and a high white
collar above it.  As Judith came in upon him he was dancing round
like a top, his white hair waving, and nursing in his arms two
white kittens, while Miss Pennyfeather's spaniel, Bonaparte, barked
at his heels.  Yes, Judith knew at once who he was!  Back, without
a moment's interval, to that afternoon at Southey's when, her heart
sore and indignant at Jennifer's unkindness, that boy with the
flashing eyes had broken in . . . and now . . . this old man . . .
and she . . .  She had never seen him between then and now . . .

She bent down and kissed Miss Pennyfeather.  Then she held out her

'Mr Hartley Coleridge!  You will not remember me . . .  And,
indeed, of course, you cannot.  It is--oh, I fear to say how many
years!  I was a young woman, you a boy, tea at Mr Southey's . . .'

He did not remember her in the least, but he put down the kittens
and held her hand and looked into her eyes with his own lambent
ones and pretended that he remembered her perfectly well.  They
stood together, hand in hand, much of a height.

'Remember you!  Why, of course, dear lady, of course, of course.
Hey-diddle-diddle, but that is a long time ago--sad things, many
sad things since then.  So many gone, so many failing of high
hopes.  But we won't be sad.  We refuse to be sad.  I can see that
you are never sad.  We are like these kittens, you and I.  Here--
the reel of cotton--I have lost it.  Here, help me!'  He was down
on his knees searching under the harpsichord.

He looked up pleadingly at Miss Pennyfeather.

'Claribella, Isabella, Rosamunda--may I request a glass of beer?'

She looked at him sternly, then shook her head at him.

He sat back on the floor, his hand on a kitten's back.

'Well, a glass of water then.'

She pulled the bell-rope.

Then he was on his feet again.  He danced about the room, talking
all the time.

'Willie and Nannie Coates; you know, Lord and Lady Bacon because
they kept so many pigs . . .  They used to say . . .  And Dinah
Fleming--dear, dear Dinah--and you know the Mr Briggs and the
Branckens and the Hustlers--at Tail End.  Oh, you know them all,
Claribella, and love them, and we'll go together!  We'll pay calls
together!  We'll go round in a gig drawn by a goat all set up with
lanterns.  We'll stop on Dunmail and have goat's milk and I'll
write a poem . . .'

He caught up the kitten, held it in front of him murmuring,

     Our birth and death alike are mysteries,
     And thou, sweet babe, art a mysterious thing.

'Jeanette,' he murmured.  'That was to Jeanette.'

He almost ran to the door.  'I must be away!  Off!  Gone!

He ran back and, with the utmost tenderness and delicacy, bent down
and kissed the very old lady in the chair.

'Perhaps for the last time, Claribella, Rosamunda,' he said.  'Who
knows but that beer may finish me one of these warm, spidery days?'

He stood in front of Judith and smiled so enchanting, engaging a
smile that there were tears in her eyes.

'You saw me last,' he said, 'as a boy with everything in front of
me.  Now I can leap a brook and dance a hornpipe--not bad for an
old man.'

He bent forward, kissed her hand, went to the door, bowed to both
of them and was gone.

To Judith, his appearance, so unexpected, so brief, was the most
extraordinary omen.  He had been that to her on the only other
occasion that she had met him.  It had been then as though they had
known one another always, sharing some secret life private to
themselves.  It had been so then.  It was so now.  All that he had
lost, all that she had lost, rushed to her heart.  She stared at
the closed door as though it concealed a mystery.  Then she
recovered herself and was busy in cheering her old friend, who now
was paralysed, whose doom was upon her, whose spirits were as brave
and cheerful as those of the kittens that played with the ends of
her shawl.

'Oh!  He never had his glass of water!' Judith cried.

'Nancy will give it him.  He is an old friend of Nancy's.  He is
with her in the kitchen now, chucking her under the chin.  But she
knows that she is never to give him beer--that I shall never
forgive her if she does.'

Miss Pennyfeather lay back exhausted, her hands helpless, the
yellow skin drawn sheath-like over the ridge of bones, only her
eyes brave, defiant and amused.  For an hour or more Judith made
her happy.

'I enjoy seeing you so cheerful, my dear.'

'I enjoy it myself.  But Adam is coming.  I have not seen him this

'And his wife?'


'You should bring her to see me one day.  I am curious.  You don't
care for her.'

'Oh, I do!'  Judith shrugged her shoulders.  'Or I would.  If she'd
let me.  She is a great calm, quiet woman.  All the same I think
she is a little afraid of me.'

Miss Pennyfeather said nothing.

'And you know that I am never my best with anyone who is afraid of

'Now, Judith.'  Miss Pennyfeather's eyes sought the other's very
seriously.  'We have been the greatest friends for many years, have
we not?  Well, then, I can speak my mind.  You must be good and
generous to Adam's wife.  Any other way lies catastrophe.  Make her
love you.'

'I have tried.'

'Yes--with reservations.  "I will love you," you have said, "if you
recognize that I come first with my son."'  Then suddenly, with an
odd galvanic energy:  'Possessive love--I detest it.'

Judith bent over her friend.

'Very well, dearest . . .  You are right.  I will make Margaret
love me.'  She laid her warm white hand on the dead yellow one.

After a pause Miss Pennyfeather said:

'There is another thing, my dear.  Gossip.  They come in here and
gossip although I tell them not to.  Is it true that you are having
John and Elizabeth for Christmas?'

'Yes.  And Sylvia and Garth Herries also.  They are coming down
from Edinburgh.'

'Look out, then, for trouble from Mr Walter.  I hear that he is
enraged beyond all measure that you should have John and

'Why should I not have them?'

'After his casting Elizabeth off--and after John marrying
Elizabeth.  Oh, my dear, you are not as a rule so slow!'

'Yes . . .  I see.  Well, I am not afraid of him.'

'They say that young Osmaston and Fred Kelly and others are always
at the Fortress--card-playing, drinking . . .  Gossip.  But no
decent person goes to the Fortress any more.'

Judith smiled.

'I told Walter years ago that he could not do it.  From the moment
he laid the first stone of that building everything has gone wrong
with him.  Jennifer's ghost haunts him.  And Uhland's ingratitude.
And now his father's marriage . . .  Do you know that old Will may
be a father any day now?'

'Never!' cried Miss Pennyfeather.

'Yes, and he is seventy-two years old.  Well, my father was the
same.  They are strong men, the Herries . . .  Goodbye, my dear.  I
shall be in again very shortly and shall bring Adam's wife with

When Judith was in the barouche again and turning towards home the
afternoon was already gathering in.  A pallid bar of shuttered
light lay between heavy clouds above Skiddaw.  The wind had died,
but little sobbing breaths rose and fell among the bare trees.  The
hills were cold, clothed in an ashen shadow, and over the long,
thin fields a chill, hard and remorseless, laid its hand.  A few
hesitating flakes of snow were already falling.

Halfway along Bassenthwaite they approached a horseman and, in the
half-light, Judith saw that it was Walter.  She would have had old
Bennet drive past him, but Walter, at once recognizing her
carriage, rode his horse in front and across it.  Bennett pulled up
the horses and Walter came close, laying his gloved hand on the
back of Judith's seat.  She had not spoken with him for over two

'Good evening, Judith,' he said.

His voice was thick and husky.  Now that he was close to her she
could see the gross double-chinned face, the purple veins in nose
and cheeks, the little eyes half closed under the heavy lids.  He
was very large in his riding-coat.  He towered above her.  He
looked rather pathetic, she thought, and she was not in the least
afraid of him.

'Good evening, Walter.'

'I shall not detain you a moment,' he went on, turning to curse his
horse that it did not keep still.  'I have only a question to ask.'

'And what is that?  We shall have snow, I fancy.'

'Yes.  My question is not about the weather.'

He leaned closer to her, and his breath was coarse and hot.

'Is it true, as I hear, that you are entertaining my daughter at
Uldale this Christmas?'

'Perfectly true.'

'You are aware that she disobeyed me flagrantly and that by
entertaining her you are insulting me before the whole countryside?'

His voice quivered and again she thought:  'Poor Walter!'

'Now, Walter, this is a cold, chilly moment to discuss such a
matter.  I shall invite whom I please to my house.'

His big hand quivered on the board.

'Then you must take the consequences,' he said very low.

'I can look after myself--and my guests.'

'Well--I have warned you.'

She rested her hand for a moment on his.

'Come, Walter.  This is foolishness.  Forgive Elizabeth.  Pay us a
visit.  Let us slay this stupid feud that has lasted so long.
Hatred never did any good.'

He shouted:  'By God, No! . . .  By God, No!'--dug spurs into his
horse and charged away down the road.

Old Bennett drove on.  His broad back (shoulders now bent and
round) represented his proper emotions.  He served Madame.  If
anyone did her a hurt, he would see to it.  But words--words break
no windows.  That Herries of Ireby was crazed, and the way, so they
said, that he carried on with women was shameful.  Bennett, with
all the virtue and fidelity of the unimaginative, scornfully
flicked his horses' ears.

Judith was only for a moment perturbed.  It had been strange, that
dual recurrence of little Coleridge and of Walter--her past
breaking in.  But as she grew older she found that past, present
and future began to merge.  Time was becoming of less and less
importance.  There were these facts: her visit with Warren to
Rosthwaite, the awful birth in Paris, Adam the baby teasing Walter
on his white horse, Reuben as he fell mortally wounded in the
lighted garden, Jennifer crying 'They've begun to build!  They've
begun to build!' or, long long ago, a beautiful naked woman and a
young man on his knees, old Uncle Tom and Emma sitting by the fire
at Stone Ends, David dropping, as though a stone had struck him, on
the bright green grass, Georges throwing her out of bed at
Watendlath, Georges falling, falling while the Old Man with the
white beard . . .  She looked up through the trees to the dark sky.
All these things had occurred together, at the same moment of time,
and meant but this--that they had been signs to light Judith Paris
the way to salvation--and she had not gone . . .  There was
somewhere a Door . . . and somewhere a Key . . . and all History,
whether of Nations or Families, was but this . . .  Have you found
it?  Are you in touch?  Have you made the Connexion? . . .

She sat back, drawing her mantlet more closely about her.  No, they
meant but this, all these shining moments, these figures woven into
her tapestry--that she adored her son Adam, that he was coming home
tonight, and her head would for a moment rest on his breast, that
they would be together, together . . .

Her heart began to beat so that she must lay her muff against it.

The house was alight with candles.  They had not gas yet, although
Dorothy was always urging it Judith refused.  Candles and lamps.
This gas hurt the eyes.  It was dangerous.  And how pretty the
candleshine against the Chinese wallpaper, or lighting you up the
twisted stair.

'How modern you are!' she said, pinching Dorothy's fat cheek.  Then
added:  'I shall be gone soon.  Then you may have gas.'

She was managing very well with Dorothy, who had grown in
experience as well as in physical size.  She was now a great woman
with big breasts and wide beam and a face like a dairy-maid.
Having children had taught her a deal; she managed them well.  They
obeyed her, indeed, better than they obeyed their Great-aunt
Judith, as they were taught to call her.  Timothy was a normal
lively boy already like his father.  The three little girls--
Veronica, Amabel and Jane--were docile, happy-natured.  Veronica
was the pretty one.  She had dimples and dark hair like her
grandmother's.  Yes, they were good children.

By eight o'clock the whole house quivered with excitement.  For one
thing, with the coming of Adam and Margaret the stir of the
Christmas festivities might be said to commence.  John and
Elizabeth were arriving tomorrow, Sylvia and Garth Herries two days
later.  Christmas Night there was to be a dance.  The children
could scarcely contain themselves, and the little girls were busy,
secretly, all day long, painting, sewing, cutting out, making their

Adam and Margaret would take a post-chaise from Kendal, so one
could not be sure when they would arrive.  Judith walked all over
the candlelit house, seeing that everything was right.  She pushed
open a window a moment and listened to the bell-ringers practising
at the church a mile and a half away.  She could hear the running
water, and felt, with a thrill of contrasted warmth, the cold dark
paths running up the mountain-sides, the gullies down whose flanks
the wind was tearing.  One cold flutter, then another, touched her
cheeks.  It was snowing.

She lingered especially in the room where Adam and Margaret would
sleep.  This had been Jennifer's.  Here Francis had surprised
Jennifer, here Jennifer had lain while John read to her and the
reflection of the flames that the rioters had lighted danced on the
walls.  Yes, everything was well.  The four-poster was ready, there
were flowers (Christmas roses) on the davenport, the stamped fleur-
de-lis wallpaper looked fine in the candlelight.  Dorothy would
like tall pier-glasses and grates of shining steel and heavy
cornices.  Not while Judith was in command!  She came out and stood
at the top of the stairs, holding a candle and listening.  The
house was very still, only the ticking of the clocks, a door
opening and closing.  Stillness, peace.  A great wave of
thankfulness flowed over her.  She had not done so badly then.
After all the turmoil of her life it had come to this--that, hale
in health, honoured and trusted, in this old house that she loved,
she stood there waiting for her son whom, by wise dealing, she had
kept in her heart.  She smiled to herself, thinking of the moment
when, in that room close to her, he had defied her.  He had climbed
out of the window just as she had once done.  Bone of her bone,
flesh of her flesh . . .

The bell pealed through the house.  The knocker shook the door.
They were here, they were here!

She ran down the stairs, across the hall, flung open the door, was
out on the paved path.  Bennett and the boy had come from the
stable with lanterns and all the dogs with them, barking, yelling,
yelping.  And there beyond the gates, like a visitant from another
ghostly country, was the post-chaise.  A moment later Judith was in
her son's arms.

Half an hour later Margaret stood alone in the bedroom, hesitating
to blow out the candles before she went down.  Adam had already
preceded her.  She stood there beating down her fear.  She saw
herself in the glass, her image flickering uncertainly in the blown
candlelight.  Yes, she was tall, broad, plain; clear straight eyes,
dark hair brushed carefully, cleanly, strong, but--dull!  Oh, dull,
dull, dull!  And this little woman with all her oddity, liveliness,
sharpness would find her with every visit more dull.

It was all she could do to keep the tears back from her eyes.  The
journey had been very long, the train stinking of oil from the ill-
trimmed lamps, the last drive in the chaise chill and rough.  She
was terribly weary.  Had she had her way she would have gone to
bed, then and there, and slept for a night and day, but Madame
would think that weak and foolish.

'What!  A strong woman like Margaret!  What a wife for my son!'

And Adam--why had he not FELT her isolation, dread, loneliness?
Her father would have known in an instant what she was feeling, but
Adam seemed to have no intuition.  Oh! he loved her, of course!
But he never seemed to wish to tell her so.  She scolded herself
here as she had already done a thousand times.  What was this need
in her for reassurance?  It had not been so before her marriage.
She and her father had never spoken about their love.  But Adam was
so strange.  Even now, after their years of marriage, she did not
understand him.  Perhaps no one understood him except his mother.
He would escape from her--at any moment.  At one time he was there,
and then, in a second, he was gone!  And it never occurred to him
to suit himself to her mood, to ask what SHE was thinking!  Maybe
all Englishmen were like that!  It was her German blood that made
her ASK for sentiment, sympathy, little loving words and actions.
At night, in the dark, his heart beating against her heart, her arm
around him as though he were her child--ah, then he was hers!  But
why with the first flash of daylight must he cease all demonstration
as though he were afraid of the light?  Oh, these Englishmen--but
they were difficult as husbands!

He was downstairs now with his mother, and here was she trembling
at the smell and feel of this hostile house, at the thought of the
dark cold hills that closed it in, at the anticipation of that
little woman with her sharp eyes, her way of suddenly looking at
you as though she wondered that you COULD be such a fool!

Well, she must fight it.  Adam was so happy to come home.  She must
make him think that she was happy too.

She came down and found them as she had expected, in the parlour
seated on the sofa with the roses (Margaret HATED that sofa),
Madame's white sharp hand resting on Adam's broad knee with so
proprietary an air!

Adam jumped up.

'Come here, my dear,' said Judith, patting the sofa.  'I am sure
that you must be tired.  Come and sit beside me.'

'Thank you,' said Margaret, feeling large and awkward and clumsy in
all her limbs.  'I am not tired at all, thank you.'

She sat down beside her.  There was a pause then, as though
Margaret had interrupted a very intimate conversation.  Then Judith
continued again the excited narration of people and events that she
had been pouring on to Adam before Margaret's entrance.

Then Dorothy came in, red-faced, smiling, her corsage of puckered
taffeta too tight for her figure, her hair a trifle untidy.
Margaret liked Dorothy.  She was kind and unalarming--somehow
rather German.

They went in to supper.  How happy Adam was!  Margaret's heart
ached with love of him as she watched him across the table.  He was
like a small boy again, asking about everything, the dogs, the
horses, the cows, the dairy, Dorothy's children, all the
neighbours.  He had forgotten, she saw, all his distress about the
poor, the Corn Laws and the rest--the things that would make him so
unhappy in London that he would walk the room, tossing his head,
beating his hands against one another, crying out . . .

She saw, too, Judith's happiness, how the small lady, sitting so
straight at the head of the table, was almost breathless with
happiness at having her son home again.  How excitable she was at
her age, what a child still in many ways!  She would rap out an
order to the parlour-maid like a general addressing a soldier, and
then in a moment would forget it all and clap her hands at some
joke, or throw to one of the four dogs--that sat with staring eager
eyes near her chair--something from the table, or laugh at
Rackstraw.  And once she jumped up and walked, strutting with an
affected gait to show them the absurdity of some old man in

'Yes,' thought Margaret, 'what a poor creature I am to grudge them
their happiness in being together!  I will win her heart, make her
love me.'  But the words would not come.  She could only answer in
monosyllables.  Some reserve stuck in her throat.  'Oh, what a fool
and a spoil-sport they must think me!' she cried to herself.

After supper, the Waits came.  First they could be heard behind the
closed windows, faint shrill voices and the sudden plaintive squeak
of a fiddle.  They were summoned into the hall and stood there in a
semi-circle--three boys, an old man with a white beard, a stout
countryman in a smock, and a thin tall man with spectacles who was
the fiddler.  The servants came to listen.  The dogs sat solemnly
on their haunches in a group, yawning once and again.

The boys sang in piercing trebles while the old bearded man had one
of the deepest voices, surely, in the world.  They sang their
carols without fear or hesitation, looking at no one but holding
their heads up and staring into the ceiling with a kind of ecstatic
frenzy.  When it was over they were given money and hot drinks.
They vanished into the night, and a flurry of snow blew in through
the open door.

Afterwards they sat around the blazing fire in the parlour talking,
listening to the wind that had sprung up and now was howling round
the house.

When they all went up to bed Adam followed his mother into her
room.  When the door was closed she held him in her arms as though
she would never let him go.

They sat down close together at the foot of the bed.

'It has been a long time, Adam.'

'Yes, Mother, I know.  It is not easy.  There is so much to do.'

'Are you happy?'  She looked at him sharply.

'Happy?  Who is happy?'

'Then you are not.  Why not?'

He stared, under frowning brows, into the fire.

'The state of the country is dreadful.  Never been so bad.  No
employment, trade fearful, no faith in Parliament, living
conditions frightful--and everyone helpless.  What is coming,
Mother?  Surely something disastrous.'

She put her arm around him, and he his around her.

'Yes,' she said.  'But I know something about life now.  Nothing is
so bad as you expect.'

'No.  Perhaps.'  He hesitated.  'I come in for a good deal of
criticism, Mother.  Many of them think me priggish, snobbish, out
for my own hand.  It was a shock the first time that I realized it.
I had thought that I was so genuine, really moved by the love of my
fellowmen, truly believing in them.  And then when I heard myself
called a self-seeker I was miserable for a while.  I allowed no one
to see it--not Margaret even--but I thought, "Well, perhaps I am
this.  I am deceived in myself."  There's a little man, rather a
power in London, he believes in nothing and in nobody.  He says
frankly that if you say that you love your fellowmen or trust your
friends you are a hypocrite.  He hates and despises me.  I know the
sort of picture he draws of me behind my back, amiable, filled with
noble sentiments, but a snob because I am a Herries and making my
own career under a cloak of caring for others.  Yes, I was unhappy
for a while--so long as I thought it might be true.  But it is NOT
true.  There is something in me stronger and deeper than my
intentions or my words or my acts.  I DO believe in my fellowmen, I
DO love them.  I know that most of them intend the best.  I know
that Henry Cray is wrong with his bitterness and cynical mind.  I
have ceased to disturb myself.  I am tranquil again.'

'Yes.'  She drew his hand into hers.

'That is hard--the first time you really see yourself as your
detractors see you.  But it is grand too.  At last you are seeing
the whole picture.  You are a spectator of yourself.  That happened
to me years ago in this very house, when Jennifer hated me.  I
could not BELIEVE that anyone could see me as that--mean, sly,
intriguing.  But only those who love you know you.  There is good
criticism, though, in the view of your detractors.  You take
yourself too seriously, Adam, I don't doubt.  Pompous, sentimental!
No, you are not, but you think perhaps too much of nobility and
fine living.  Life's a magpie's hoard--an occasional gold piece
quite by accident among the broken glass and bits of coal.  Take
life lightly, my son.  Believe in it, but laugh at it and at

He kissed her.  'Later on.  I'm too solemn, I know.  I am always
feeling it.  But I live so much by myself, in my own thoughts . . .'

'And Margaret?' she asked him.

'I think I love Margaret more every day--but I don't grow closer to
her.  She wants something from me.  I don't know what it is.
Something I cannot give her.  I have never been able to say in
words what I feel.  I'm tongue-tied.  It seems to threaten my
freedom if I speak too much.  She is very quiet, too, of course.
We are both too quiet together perhaps.'

'I am going to make Margaret love me this Christmas-time,' Judith
said.  'She is lonely, Adam, and she loves you more than anyone
else ever has--except myself.'

'You and she, Kraft, and John,' Adam said slowly, 'the four in my
life who have loved me.  But for the most part men cannot come
close to me.  I used to dream of helping to make a great
Brotherhood in England.  Now I know that I never shall.  I am not
the man.'

'No,' she answered.  'Maybe you are not.  It is not for us to
choose what we shall be.  We have to accept and without protest.'

She kissed him most lovingly, and he went to his wife.


The wild goose, the same bird that Orlando was afterwards to see,
flew over the house as the light was just breaking.  The whirr of
its wings stirred the perfect stillness of the crystal scene.  The
early sun was dim, but a pale glitter showed every tree and blade
of grass sparkling with crystal.  The whiteness of the snow, even
in that thin light, dazzled the eye.

The sun rose higher--the wild goose was gone--the sheathed snow,
stretching in a translucent glory to the line where Skiddaw cut the
sky, now faintly blue, ran to the very foundations of the house and
was marked only by the tiny feet of birds.

They were all going to church--Madame, Adam, Margaret, Elizabeth,
John, Sylvia, Garth, Dorothy, Veronica, Amabel, Timothy, Jane,
Rackstraw, Bennett, old Mrs Quinney, Martha Hodgson, Jack Turner,
Alice, Clara, Wilson, Mrs Wilson.  Nearly two miles to the church.
Some had walked ahead, some were driving, all the dogs had gone
charging across the field, little clouds of shining iridescent
powder rose up above the purple shadows that darkened the snow.

John and Elizabeth walked.

'Oh, I'm so happy!' said John.  'This is the loveliest Christmas!'
But was he speaking truly, for over his head, frowning down upon
him, was the Fortress?  It looked sardonically threatening with its
battlements and turrets; the walls met above the hill like a great
hanging eyebrow; the stone was dull, heavy, squat, but snow fell in
a sheet of dazzling light from its grey shoulders and it could not
disown, however it might wish, the blue peerless sky that
overlooked it.  Light struck the walls and the preen of the two
peacocks that Walter had bought.  They stretched their tails on the
miniature battlements.

'Is not Aunt Judith wonderful?' said John.

'I love her so much,' said Elizabeth.

She thought that it must be impossible to be happier than she was
at that moment.  And perhaps--who knows?--she would meet her father
in the road, all would be forgiven, he would come to the Christmas
party . . .

Was that, John thought, Uhland sitting his black horse under the
yews?  There!  There!  Cannot you see?  His heart was chilled.  No.
There is no one there . . .

They were approaching the church, and the bells were ringing like
mad.  The quire were in a small gallery and were almost throttled
with evergreens, holly and ivy and mistletoe.  There was fiddler
and a clarionet.  The young ladies in delightful bonnets, some
small boys shining with soap, the village postmaster, Mr Collins,
Farmer Twistle, Farmer Donne, young Donne--they all played and sang
with such a vigour that some of the holly fell with a rattle and
clatter from the old beam.  There was an anthem in which all the
parts went wrong and nobody cared.  Two of the dogs from the Hall--
Satan and Mischief--strolled up the aisle and pushed with their
noses at the door of Madame's high-walled pew.  Then they lay down,
their tongues hanging out, their eyes fixed in front of them.  How
everyone sang 'Oh, Come, all ye Faithful'! . . .

In the churchyard afterwards, old Mr Summers, the Vicar, stood and
shook hands with everybody.

They all walked home, and it was passing through the second field
that one of the important events of Adam's life occurred to him.
He was to remember afterwards, with a rich sense of gratitude, that
shiny expanse of snowy field, and how in the sunlight the snow
turned to rills of sparkling water that glittered through the
grass, and how over the hedge Sam Longford's cottage that he knew
so well sent up a banner of purple smoke that fluttered against the
stainless sky.

For a thick-set, broad-shouldered man, touching his cap, spoke to

'You won't remember me, sir?' he said.  'I've been working Penrith
way the last five years--Will Leathwaite.'

Adam stopped and smiled but looked bewildered.

'You will think me very uncivil,' he said.

'Why, sir,' said the man, smiling all over his rather simple
countenance.  'The Summer Fair of 'twenty-seven, when I won t'race
up to Druids' Circle.  Why, sir, you rode with my poor old fayther
on his mare, Jessamy, and you was shouting for me fit to burst your
lungs.  And I won, sir, I won!  Bit too heavy now, I reckon!'

Why, of course, Adam remembered!  He saw the whole scene, how their
horse charged the village street, and how they must pause on the
road until the runners caught them up.  He heard his eager cry to
the old farmer:  'Do you think Will will win, Mr Leathwaite?  Do
you think Will will win?'  And here was Will!  And Adam, looking at
him, liked him.

They talked a little while.  Will stood there, awkwardly, kicking
the snow with his boot.  Then he looked up, his face red.

'Not wanting any kind of servant, sir, are you?'

'Why, no,' said Adam.  'I'm a poor man, Leathwaite, a poor man.'

'I'd come to you,' said Leathwaite, looking Adam straight in the
eyes, 'just for my keep.'

'What!  Aren't you married?'

'No--nor likely to be.'

Adam nodded his head and smiled.

'Well, if I ever do want one--I'll tell you.'

They shook hands and Adam moved on.  The wild goose, flying in from
the sea, circled over Skiddaw, then swerved towards the water of
the Lake, already thinly crusted with silver, dark in the shadow
under the hills.

As the afternoon lengthened excitement grew.  All life was INSIDE
the house now.  The dining room was filled with the long extended
table; it was a place of mystery.  Behind closed doors the
preparations for the ceremony went on.  On every fire all over the
house the great logs blazed.  Sylvia poked her head through the
door of Judith's room.

'That's right, my dear.  Come in.'

Sylvia came in.

'I must go and make myself grand.'  She stood and looked at the old
lady who sat toasting her toes at the fire.  Sylvia considered her.
She loved Judith, had done so from the first moment of their
meeting.  She would not have spent her Christmas in this outlandish
place had it not been for Judith.  Yes, and her curiosity.  She had
now, for so many years, intrigued, manipulated in her London world
that she was intensely curious and inquisitive.  She took it for
granted that everyone intrigued, that no one was what he or she
seemed, that all private lives trembled for ever on the edge of
crises.  And there was something--should she speak of it to Judith
or no?  Judith also loved her, but, considering her, now, found
that she was not so lovely as she had once been.  She had aged
lines on her forehead, had something hard and even a little
desperate about the corners of her mouth.  So many Herries, she
reflected, aged before their due time.

'Oh, Judith, I have never had a happier Christmas.'

'That's good.  Sit down for five minutes.  We have plenty of time.'

'It must make you happy to have Adam and Margaret.'

'It does,' said Judith, kicking a shoe against the fender.

'I do wish that we saw them more often in London.  But with Adam's
views . . .'

'Yes, I know.'

'_I_ of course do not care in the least, but some of our friends
think the Chartists would murder us all in our beds had they the

'Yes, dear.  Absurd.'

Sylvia sighed.  'It is so restful here.  I dote on the country.  I
hate my London life.'

'Then why do you lead it?'

'Oh, I don't know.  What else should one do?  Garth would be bored
to death in the country.'

'I suppose he would.'

'You know that Will's wife may be brought to bed at any moment?'

'Yes, my dear.'

'Fancy--at his age!  And how provoking for Walter!'

There was a pause and then Sylvia said:

'I suppose that Walter still keeps up this ridiculous feud?'

'Yes,' said Judith.  'He is furious, I believe, that I have John
and Elizabeth here.'

Sylvia said:

'I saw him yesterday.'

Judith looked up sharply.

'Saw whom?  Walter?'

Sylvia nodded.

'I was out walking.  I had got on to the moor and was standing
looking around me when he rode up behind me.  You cannot imagine
the start it gave me!  You know--or maybe you do not know--in any
case a few years back he was attracted to me.  It began years ago
when I stayed at Ireby for their opening Ball--the time when poor
Jennifer died.  I have seen him since once or twice--not for a
considerable while though.'

Judith looked at her.  How far had that gone?  A strange shiver of
repugnance--the consciousness of herself being in any close contact
with Walter--for an instant held her.  But Sylvia's beautiful face
was quite unmoved.  She was absolutely calm.

'How altered he is!  Quite shocking!  So gross--I must confess that
I was uncomfortable.  Dusk was falling and although the house was
not far distant--'  She broke off.  'Well, I can look after myself
of course.  However, he did not get down from his horse.  We
exchanged only a few words.'

'What did he say?' Judith asked.

'He inquired how I did, said it was long since we had met.  Then he
asked whether Elizabeth was staying at Uldale.  I said she was.'


'He was very strange.  Most odd.  Judith, I think he may be coming
here tonight.'

'Coming here?'

'Yes; he said something about it, something about a surprise visit.
He said that it would make a fine bonfire if he burned this house
down and everyone in it.'

Judith smiled grimly.

'We will manage him if he does come.'

Sylvia bent and kissed Judith, then went, but at the door she
turned.  'The Herries men are so very peculiar,' she said.  'If
they cannot have what they want they rush to destruction.  Garth is
just like that.'

In another room Elizabeth lay in John's arms.  She murmured:

'Darling, I must dress.'

He stroked her hair, kissed her eyes, held her passionately close
to him.

'Oh, Elizabeth,' he whispered, 'we must never be parted, never,
never, never, never.'

'Nothing can part us,' she said.

'Nothing?  No one?  Never?'

'Nothing.  No one.  Never.'

'I could not believe that love could grow when it was from the
beginning so intense.  But when I look back to even a year ago it
does not seem that THAT was love at all.'

They held one another in an embrace that, they thought, defied
Death itself.

Before she went down to dinner Margaret looked into the nursery.
Dorothy, when Margaret had asked her permission, had suddenly
kissed her.

'I am fond of you, Margaret, I am indeed.  We are more alike than
anyone else in this house is like either of us.'

Perhaps they were.  Two large, plain domestic women.  Margaret had
not thought that she was domestic.  She had lived so long working
happily with her father for a Cause.  Now she was domestic.  She
wanted a child.  It might be that all German women were so.

So she went into the nursery.  When John and Dorothy had been
children, there had been no nursery, but now, on the top floor,
they had knocked down a wall and bludgeoned a passage.  The room
had sloping roofs, and wide windows stared out to Scotland.  You
could see the Firth stir under the sun like a slippery silver
snake.  When Margaret came in the four children were in bed, but of
course not asleep; Timothy was five, Veronica four, Amabel three,
Jane only two: Dorothy had been faithful to her duties, and then
Bellairs, having planted his seed, had incontinently died.

Timothy was typical Bellairs, brave, stupid, kind and greedy.  But
the girls were all Herries, Veronica and Amabel of one kind and
poor little Jane of the other.  Veronica and Amabel were proud,
sensible, determined and self-satisfied.  Nice little girls, they
already gave the impression that Herries little girls were much the
best.  But Jane, dear Jane, was the true descendant of the Rogue,
of Francis, of all their cloudy ancestors before them.  She dreamt
dreams, she cried for no reason, brokenly she tried to explain that
she saw things, a white horse, frozen water, a lady with red hair;
she was a nervous, sensitive child, shy but most responsive to
affection.  It was to her cot that Margaret went.  The children
lay, their eyes staring, their cheeks hot, thinking of the
marvellous day that it had been.  In a heap near the window were
the new toys.  There was a rocking-horse, a doll's house, a
'shinny' stick and ball for Timothy.

They gave cries and shouts when they saw Margaret.  They did not
know who she might be, but today everyone was a friend.  She talked
to them, kissed them, but she knelt down beside Jane's cot.  Jane,
whose head was covered with yellow curls like a duckling's, smiled,
stroked Margaret's cheek with a fat finger and fell asleep, and
Margaret knelt there, her heart aching as though she were the
loneliest woman in the world.

Down in the hall the boys from the village had arrived, Mumming,
and it was a great pity that they had chosen so bad a time, for
soon guests would be here and the ladies of the house were

However, Madame miraculously appeared to have time for everything,
and there she was, sitting at the foot of the stairs, almost under
the mistletoe, dressed in her best and beating her hands to the
music.  The boys, in the middle of their play, could not but look
at her, she was so very fine.  Her white hair gleamed, her naked
shoulders shone (amazingly white for so old a lady).  Her dress had
three skirts--cream, silver, cream again--and was decorated with
crimson roses.  She wore silver shoes.

'Bravo!  Bravo!' she cried, tapping with her stick.  The boys were
without coats and their white sleeves were tied with ribbons, their
hats decorated with evergreen, and they carried thick staves.

There was a fiddle and a drum.  Their dance was clever and most
intricate, advancing, retreating, advancing again and striking
their sticks the one against the other.  They shouted Cumberland
shouts and brought with them into the candlelit hall the rough tang
of the mountain-stream running under grass, the windswept 'top'
bare under the rushing cloud.

'Excellent!  Most excellent!' Madame cried, thinking that they must
go to the kitchen for beef and ale, and the kitchen in confused
disorder because of the great Dinner.

One stout boy wore a fox's head and carried a fox's tail.  Another
boy wore a mask with a huge nose and bulbous cheeks.

'I know!' cried Madame.  That's Willy Caine . . . you can't deceive
me.  How is your Aunt, Willie?  She's up again, I hear.'

She drove them, hot, flushed and happy, off into the kitchen.

Then the guests began to arrive.  The Reverend Mr Summers and his
old, old wife, although they had the shortest way to come, were of
course the first.  There were the Osmastons, the Applebys, poor old
Miss Keate from Keswick, a dry old maid, but she had nowhere to go
for her Christmas dinner, the two Miss Blossoms all the way from
Penrith (friends of Dorothy's), and Deborah's grandchildren, Fred
and Anne Withering, from near Carlisle.

They would sit down twenty altogether--quite as many as the dining-
room would hold--but Judith was bound to acknowledge that she was
proud of her table when, seated at the head of it with stout Mr
Osmaston on one side of her and old Mr Summers on the other, she
looked around her.  She had her dear Adam near to her and quite
enough Herries to make her feel patriarchal.  As you looked down
the two sides of the table you could pick without any trouble the
members of that family--Adam, Dorothy, John, Elizabeth, Garth, the
two Witherings.  Unlike though they might be, they were yet alike
in these two things--in the high prominent bones, the tall erect
heads and straight shoulders--and in their consciousness that they
were dominating the rest of the company and came first wherever
they might be.

The room is looking beautiful, she thought.  The old dark green
wallpaper was a fine setting to all the candlelight; the fruit,
piled high between the silver candlesticks, had a hard brilliant
edge of colour as though it were made of metal.  Everyone smiled,
laughed.  There was not a care in the world.

Old Bennett, dressed up in a green coat with silver buttons, came
in carrying a silver dish, and on it was a pig's head with a lemon
in its mouth.  Everyone stood up: there was a great clapping of
hands; then, after an interval, attended by the stable-boy (also
dressed in a green coat with silver buttons), who carried two
lighted candles in silver candlesticks, old Bennett was back again
bearing the Wassail Bowl.  This was a magnificent china dish,
crimson and gold, and the recipe of the drink had come all the way
from old Pomfret of Westaways and he had it from the old
Elizabethan Herries of the Mines.  Roasted apples floated on its
surface, and the aromatic scent of it was as the spices of Arabia.

Speeches were made, healths were drunk.  Before the ladies left the
table Madame gave the speech of the evening; proud, happy, her eye
passing once and again to Adam, she was said by them all to
resemble Queen Elizabeth--Queen Elizabeth in an amiable mood, be it

When at last the gentlemen joined the ladies the Wassail Bowl was
empty and the house was flaming with jollity.  To Fred Withering it
seemed there were three staircases, and old Mr Summers confided to
Osmaston an affair of his in his Oxford days that was anything but
clerical.  Only John seemed apart from the others ('Oh, the most
beautiful man I have EVER set eyes on!' Miss Keate confided to
Sylvia), his eyes resting constantly on Elizabeth with an adoration
that had something poignant in its heart as though he were well
aware that all was illusory, vanishing at the touch, doomed to

'Cheer up, old boy,' cried Garth, who was completely drunk but very

John smiled and laughed; he was happier than he had ever been in
all his life.

While the dining-room was cleared for dancing they played games--
Cumberland games moreover.  Instead of Oranges and Lemons there was
the Penrith Down the Long Lonnins:

     Down the long lonnins we go, we go,
     To gather some lilies, heigho, heigho!
     We open the gates so wide, so wide,
     To let King George and his men go by.

And then Sandy O.

Here Judith, Dorothy, John and Adam, who had been all brought up on
it, sang the words with all their youth in their eyes:

     My delight's in Sandy O,
     My delight's in Brandy O,
     My delight's in the red, red rose,
     Come along, my Annie O.
     Heigho for Annie O,
     Bonny Annie O.
     All the world would I give
     For my bonny Annie O.

For this game there is a girl in the middle, and she chooses one
from the ring; the tune is Hops and Peas.

And another 'ring' game, Hops and Peas and Barley-corn:

     Hops and peas and barley-corn,
     Hops and peas and barley-corn,
     Hops and peas, hops and peas,
     Hops and peas and barley-corn.

     This is the way the farmer stands;
     This is the way he folds his arms,
     Stamps his feet, claps his hands,
     Turns around to view his land.

How they all stamped and clapped!

'Yes, well,' said Miss Keate, who was wearing, quite out of
fashion, a turban, 'I never imagined for a moment--'

But best of all was Green Gravel.

     Round the green gravel the grass grows green,
     All the fair maidens are shame to be seen;
       Wash them in milk,
       And dry them in silk;
     Last down wedded--

At the word 'down' all slip to the ground, the last down is
married.  Then she stands in the middle, and they sing a song about
her.  Then she is asked which she likes best, butter or sugar.  If
she says 'sugar' it is her sweetheart she likes; if 'butter' it is
some other.

After a while Margaret slipped from the room.  It was very hot.
She could not help it, but she felt isolated, alone.  Everyone knew
everyone so well.  Adam had been placed some distance from her at
the supper-table, and he was enjoying himself so greatly that he
had thought of nothing but his enjoyment.  Men were like that:
children when they were happy.  And she loved to see him so; that
was the desire of her heart, but once she caught John's eyes as
they rested on Elizabeth's young enchanting beauty and that glance
stabbed her.  Elizabeth was so beautiful, so young and virginal and
good.  Margaret seemed to herself old and soiled with all her hard
life with her father, the shabby places in which she had lived, the
poor desperate rebellious people who had been her companions.  She
had been proud of the new dress that she had been wearing, but now
it seemed heavy and coarse.  In the wild extravagance of her mood
it appeared to her that she had lost Adam for ever . . .

She slipped upstairs and found her room.  She threw herself on to
her bed and burst into tears.  This was, perhaps, the first time in
her life that she had ever shed bitter tears; she had been always
calm, controlled, and had wondered, often enough, that women should
weep so readily and in front of those whom they loved.  She was in
years only twenty-two, but she seemed to herself to be so much
older.  She had felt often like a mother to Adam, to her father
even, and now that she should, like a little child abandon herself
to her grief!  But she could not stop.  Faintly she heard, coming
up to her from below, the singing and laughter.  Her curtains were
not drawn, and she could see the snow falling in a thick tide
beyond her window.  How cold and desolate those hills, how bleak
this North Country, how harsh the loneliness that lay like an icy
hand on her heart!

The door opened and, turning on her bed, she saw that Adam had come
in.  He came in, happy and sweating.  He was laughing, and his
black hair lay damp on his forehead.  His eyes shone in his brown
face.  His blue evening-coat with its dark velvet collar was
waisted almost to effeminacy, as was the fashion of those years,
and the tails of it stood out over his thick sturdy thighs.  He
looked always better in rather rough loosely fitting clothes.  He
came in laughing and humming the last notes of the Green Gravel;
then he saw Margaret.  He stopped dead, and the change in his face
was almost ludicrous.  Neither he nor anyone else had ever seen her
cry before.  No, not her father when her mother died.


It seemed to him in his astonishment that his heart turned over in
his chest.

'Margaret!  What is it?'

She sat up, found her handkerchief, wiped her eyes and, rather
wanly, smiled.

'I suffered from a terrible headache.  It was the heat.'

Clumsily, still bewildered, unable to realize what he saw, he sat
down on the bed.  He took her hand, which was trembling but
suddenly lay quiet as it felt the tranquil reassurance and strong
bones of his brown one.

'A headache?  But why did you not say?'

'Why should I disturb anyone?  You were all so happy.'

He looked at her more closely.

'That's not true.  You would not weep for a headache.'

As he saw her, whom he loved so dearly, with her hair in disorder
and her cheeks stained, his love that was so deeply secure in his
heart that he never questioned it, began to be restless and uneasy.

They could neither of them lie to the other ever about anything, so
she said quietly:

'No, it was not the headache.'

'Well, what then?'

'I was foolish.  Nothing but foolishness.'

He put his arm around her and drew her to him, but they were not
really together.  He had been twenty-seven in September, so that he
was not very old, and he had no experience of women at all.  He
began to be frightened as though something within him had
whispered:  'Take care, you may lose her.'

'But what is it, Margaret?' he repeated.  'Have I done something.'

Then she said, dropping her voice, looking away from him:

'I thought you loved me no longer.'

His agitation increased.  Loved her no longer, when he worshipped
her?  Loved her no longer when only last night? . . .  But now his
old trouble, that he could never find words to express himself,
attacked him.

'Love you?' he stammered.  'But, Margaret, I--I . . . I could not
love anyone more,' he ended, looking at her.

'No--I am sure.  Of course.  But perhaps it has been a great
mistake.  I am not handsome.  I am not clever.  This is your world
and not mine . . .'  Then she burst out with a sudden cry, a note
in her voice that he had never heard before.  'Oh, Adam, I have
been so lonely!'

The shock to him then was one of the worst of his life.  He had
taken everything for granted.  He had gone quietly on, troubled
about his work and his feeble achievement in it, troubled at the
state of the world and the general unhappiness, but sure always of
two things--his love for Margaret and his mother, and their love
for him.  These were so sure that he never dreamed that they needed
expression.  Like so many other Englishmen he lived in a man's
world where expression of feeling was something too foreign to be

The thought of his mother stirred, a recognized solid fact, in the
middle of all his bewilderment.

'But my mother?  Has she been unkind to you?'

'No.  She has been very kind.  It is not her fault that she cannot
like me.'

'But she does like you.  She said so last night.'

Ah, then they had been discussing her!  The two of them together
wrapped in their own intimacy!  But Margaret had a noble nature,
above and beyond all smallness or mean jealousy.  She put her arm
around Adam's neck.

'My love . . .  Forget this.  I have had so little experience of
the world, and all women are foolish sometimes.  I have felt
sometimes that we could speak to one another more, say more what
was in our hearts--and tonight you were all together, you knew one
another so well.  I was foolish . . .  Forgive me, forgive me.'

Then, with her head against his breast, she cried again, not
wishing to stop her tears that, in their flow, seemed to release
and set free all her misery of the last weeks, release it so that
it would never return again.  He held her in his arms as though at
any moment she might escape him.  The shock and the surprise were
to him tremendous and the effect of this would remain with him for
the rest of his life.  His heart was so tender, he hated so
passionately to wound or hurt anything alive (unless it were an
enemy, someone or something that he thought cruel and evil) that
the knowledge of hurting her was terrible to him.

'Margaret!  Margaret!  Don't cry.  You shall never cry again.  What
I have done, wrapped in myself, never seeing . . .  But I never can
say what I feel.  I don't deserve that you should love me.  I shall
make it up to you now all my life long.'

He stroked her hair.  They stayed, cheek against cheek, in silence.
At last he said:

'We shall understand one another now.'

She kissed him and, holding his head passionately against her
breast, looking out to the falling snow beyond the window,
murmured:  'Now no one can separate us.  I shall never be afraid

A little later, intensely happy, hand in hand they went downstairs
and rejoined the company.

Now had it not been for an excellent journal known as The
Cumberland Paquet the astonishing events that made this evening for
ever memorable (so that years later they were, in a much
exaggerated form, often recalled) would never have been known to
the outside world.  But it happened that there intervened now a
short pause in the festivities--a pause between games and the
dancing, and Miss Keate, hot in the head with exercise (and some of
the Wassail Bowl), and young Mrs Appleby found a place on the
corner of the stairs where they might cool.  From their position,
it must be noted, they had a perfect view of the hall and the hall
door.  Miss Keate had with her a copy of The Cumberland Paquet of
December 13th which she had discovered in a corner of the parlour.
She had secretly abstracted it that she might have 'a quiet read
with it at home'.  She was just such a lady, a kind of magpie, and,
being of very slender fortune, picked up once and again 'things
that she was sure no one else could want'.  But now being with Mrs
Appleby cooling on a corner of the stairs it was natural that they
should look over it together.  Had they not done so they would
certainly have joined the company in the dining-room and shared in
the dancing.

The Cumberland Paquet was, however, of surpassing interest.  There
was a leader about the Emperor of China and the vast sum of money
that he had paid to the British (most gratifying to British pride),
something about India, and something about the very mild season so
that a 'blackbird had been heard in the neighbourhood of
Springfield making the neighbouring woods echo with his melodious

'Poor blackbird,' sighed Miss Keate, whose heart was most tender,
'he must be quite dead by now.'

There was a fascinating advertisement which both ladies, their
heads close together, read with absorbed interest, that 'Mrs Taylor
begs most respectively to inform the ladies of Ulverston and its
vicinity that she has just received an assortment of SIMISTER'S
PATENT WOVE STAYS, which are now ready for inspection.

'To those Ladies who have made trial of the Patent Wove Stay
comment is unnecessary, but to those Ladies who have not--'

'Have you, my dear?' asked Miss Keate.

'Well, no,' answered Mrs Appleby.  'You see . . .' and then
followed five minutes of delightful intimacy.

The real news, however, that kept them glued to the stairs and so
made them witness of what followed was a thrilling account of the
doings at the Whitehaven Theatre.  It was headed:  Theatrical
Fracas, and it began:  'We stated in the last number of the Paquet
that Mrs Paumier, the wife of the Manager of our Theatre, would
take her benefit on Friday evening, and expressed the hope that the
play-going public of this town would, as they had done on a former
occasion, give her a bumper.'  Unfortunately the bumper was
prevented because, just before the rise of the curtain, the rest of
the company struck for higher wages, the audience grew restive at
the delay, and 'some sharp words passed between Mrs Paumier and the
performers'.  Something very like a riot followed.  There was in
another part of the Paquet a public statement:  'indeed Mr and Mrs
Paumier seemed in universal trouble'.

'Why, just listen!' murmured Miss Keate, and she read to her

'It being currently reported that Mr Gilfillan has signified to all
persons visiting his wife for beneficial purposes, that he has
received from Mr Paumier little or nothing on account of his (Mr
Gilfillan's) services at the Theatre, Mr Paumier deems it his duty
to publish the following receipt bearing Mr Gilfillan's signature,
in order that his (Mr Paumier's) character may in some measure be
redeemed until a full and printed statement of his outlay shall be

'Well, did you ever?' said Miss Keate.  'Actors and actresses!
What a life they lead!  Quite another world from ours!  Living on
the edge of a volcano.  I dare say if the truth were known--'

Miss Keate always afterwards said that it was at this moment (she
would remember the name of the Paumiers, she said, so long as she
lived) that she had the strangest premonition that something
dreadful was about to happen.  There was certainly no reason for
any premonition, for a more perfect Christmas scene could not be
imagined.  Everyone now was dancing and the screech of the violin
could be heard through the closed doors.  Both hall and parlour
were deserted; the ladies had only the mistletoe and holly for
cheerful company.

But Miss Keate would for ever swear that she had her premonition.
She put up her head, caught Mrs Appleby's hand, dropping the
Paquet, and listened.  Immediately after there came a terrific
banging at the house-door.  You would have thought that everyone
within a mile would have heard it, but the door of the dining-room
was closed and inside the room the music, the laughter, the tramp
of feet as the country dances went their way made it a world

Miss Keate and Mrs Appleby sprang to their feet; after a short
interval the knocking was repeated and now more violently than
before.  Soon a maid came to the door, hesitated and then, as the
knocking was renewed a third time, opened it.  It was then that the
two ladies knew the sensation of their lives, for with the open
door the wind, carrying with it a flurry of snow, blew into the
hall, set the mistletoe rocking; with the wind came a man.  The
ladies did not, in the first moment, see who it was, for his riding-
coat blew about his face, but a second after he looked up and
about, stared at the ladies, and they instantly recognized him.  It
was Mr Walter Herries.

The door banged behind him, and he stood there, his bulk filling
the hall, his face red and angry.  The little maid did not know
what to do, nor for the matter of that did the two ladies either.
Then he cried out in a voice like a bull's:

'I've come for my daughter!'

Miss Keate was very good, in after years, as she pictured the
scene.  She had a sense of the dramatic.  She described the holly
and mistletoe, the sound of music and dancing, the frightened eyes
of the maid, and then, about Mr Herries, she would say:

'Oh, you never saw a more enraged man!  His face was crimson.  You
could conceive him bursting.  You would have supposed that he would
pull the house down.  Clara Appleby trembled all over; I had to
place my arm around her to steady her or she would have fainted, I
am sure.'

There is something absurd, of course, in a man roaring out that he
wanted his daughter, and Miss Keate, who had quite a satiric turn
when she liked, saw that clearly:

'He was standing right under the mistletoe.  Too absurd when you
come to think of it!'

He said no more, but stood there waiting.  The maidservant went to
the dining-room and returned, an instant later, with Judith.  THAT
was a moment for the two ladies--a very great moment indeed.

'Madame,' Miss Keate would afterwards relate, 'must have known whom
to expect.  She came out to him like the Queen of England and she
said, in a voice as clear as a bell and as though it were the most
ordinary thing in the world, "Well, Walter?  Good evening.  And
what can I do for you?"

'"Do for me!  You can fetch me my daughter and be damned to the lot
of you!"

'"Yes--we had better discuss it in here, I think."'

To the exquisite disappointment of the two ladies Judith and Walter
vanished into the parlour.  Miss Keate always afterwards said that
from the very beginning Judith Paris appeared to have some power
over the man.  The two ladies stood there staring, and listening
with all their ears.  For some while there was little to hear or
see.  A maid knocked on the parlour door.  Then the dining-room
door opened, throwing into the hall a burst of music and gaiety,
and out came John and Elizabeth.  They had been given some message.
They hesitated in the hall, then, hand in hand, went into the
parlour, closing the door behind them.  For a while again there was
silence, and then--

But Miss Keate was never to know what exactly occurred INSIDE the

And what occurred was this:

'Sit down, Walter,' said Judith, when they were both inside.  He
stood just by the door, glowering at her, his head thrust a little
forward.  Judith saw that he had been drinking, that he had a smear
of mud on his chin, and that he held, in one gloved hand, a riding-
whip.  The room was in complete confusion, the carpet turned up, a
chair on its side, holly dripping over the mantelpiece, a lady's
ribbon on the ground, a lace handkerchief.

'Sit down, Walter, pray,' said Judith.  'And tell me why--'

'You know why,' he answered, his eyes shifting up and down the
room.  She sat on the sofa and twirled a large white feather fan in
her fingers.  Her ivory cane (which she was not at all sure she
might not have to make use of before the end of the interview)
rested near her.

'Indeed I do not, Cousin Walter.'

He came nearer to her.

'I warned you.  I told you that you could go too far.  Too far!  By
God, you've always gone too far!'

He was, she supposed, about fifty years of age and he looked sixty
with the heavy black pouches under his eyes, the purple veins in
cheeks and nose.  Oddly, the strain of liking that, in spite of all
that he had done, she had always had for him, still, she
discovered, survived.  Poor Walter!  What a mess he had made of

'I have come for my daughter.'

'Elizabeth?  Certainly you shall see her.'

'She returns with me to Ireby tonight.'

Judith looked at him impatiently.

'But, Walter, that is absurd.  She is no longer a child.  She is a
married woman.'

'We can soon stop THAT marriage.  It shall be dissolved.  She was
married by force.'

'Indeed she was not!' answered Judith indignantly.  'If ever anyone
married freely she did.  The marriage has been the greatest

She was listening with all her ears.  At any moment dancing
revellers might break from the dining-room into the hall and the
parlour.  She had seen Miss Keate and Mrs Appleby on the stairs.
She was determined to finish this scene as quickly as possible.

'It has, has it?' said Walter, coming yet closer to her.

She saw that he was in a confused drunken rage, uncertain as to
what he would do or say but determined to assert his power.

'And I know who contrived that marriage.  It was you, my fine lady.
It has been a long battle between us.  You think I forget, but I
forget nothing.  Do you remember how I whipped your naked little
bastard up at Hawkshead years ago?  Well, I'd whip him again--'

'It is Elizabeth that we are speaking about,' Judith answered

He paused to pull himself together.  Word slipped from word,
sentence from sentence.  There was a fog in his brain.

'I demand to see my daughter,' he muttered.

'Certainly you shall,' she answered briskly, pulling the bell at
her side.

He was swaying a little on his feet.

'Why don't you sit down, Cousin Walter?' she asked him again.  'You
don't look at all well.'

'I am in perfect health,' he answered furiously.  'Never better.'

'And Uhland?' she asked politely.

But this politeness bewildered him.  He shook his whip at her.

'Look here, Judith!' he said.  'You're damned clever.  You always
were.  But you don't get round me this way.  Do you hear?  You
can't abduct my daughter from under my nose and I have nothing to
say.  No, I'm damned if you can.  And then marry her to that young
swine . . .  I always swore that I'd finish him, and by God I will.
The whole lot of you.  Rude to my mother, was she?  I told her
she'd repent it.'

He was referring now apparently to Jennifer, and a picture rose
before Judith of that poor bewildered lady walking in her black
dress across the fields.

The maid appeared.

'Please tell Mr John and Mrs Herries to come to me here

She turned to Walter.

'Now, Walter, pray let us have no scenes.  These are old, old
quarrels that should have been long ago buried.  Elizabeth is a
sweet girl.  She and John are devoted.  What else is there left to
build enmity upon?  I am sure that you are not angry with me.  You
never were.  And, although you have behaved badly once and again, I
forgive you everything.  Now let us be friends--'

John and Elizabeth entered the room.  Inside the door they released
hands and Elizabeth came forward, her head up.  She held out her

'She was the loveliest creature,' Judith afterwards said, 'I ever
saw.  There were roses all over her silk skirt, roses in her
cheeks.  Her curls were untidy with her dancing and she had the
face of an angel.  Any father would have been moved by it.'

Walter, however, was not moved.  He disregarded her hand and,
swaying on his heavy feet, said:  'You are to come back with me.'

She looked round at John for a moment, then smiling said:

'But I am married, Father.'

She, who had been afraid of him all her life, had no fear at all.

Then he began to storm.

'You shall obey your father, do you hear?  It was no marriage.
You're not married to him.  You disobedient . . . disobedient . . .'
He began to choke and he put his hand to his throat.  He continued
to look past Elizabeth to John; all his great body was increasingly
agitated.  Judith rose from the sofa and went up to him, putting her
hand on his arm.

'Walter, this is absurd.  You must see that it is.  John and
Elizabeth are married and have been for a long while.  And why not?
They love one another, and John has a fine position in London.  You
don't know him.  You've scarcely ever seen him.  All your silly
hatred is built up upon nothing.  Now make the best of it.  Shake
hands with them . . .'

But he had not been listening to her at all and, suddenly, he
rushed forward catching John by the shoulder with one hand, raising
the whip with the other.

'You damned puppy!  I'll teach you a lesson.  I'll teach you a
lesson.  I'll kill you for stealing my daughter.  Steal my
daughter, will you?  I'll teach you.'

He raised his arm and, clawing John's collar, slashed at him with
the whip.  No one but Elizabeth saw that in that moment John turned
white as the mistletoe berries above them, or that, at Walter's
touch, his body seemed to collapse as though his bones had melted.
She saw that and, knowing John's courage, realized even at that
moment of touch that there was some additional horror here,
something old and inborn, quite beyond physical terms.

But it was Judith who had the centre of the stage.  Walter's touch
on John seemed to swing her into one of those old rages of hers
that had for long now been disciplined, for she rushed and threw
herself on Walter with so much vehemence that the surprise of it
tumbled him forward.  She caught his arm and, small though she was,
swung him right round and then slapped his face as though she were
tearing paper.  The whip fell; Walter put up his hand to his cheek
and stood there staring.

'You dare!  You dirty bully!  You come into MY house again!  You
blackguard!  I'll show you where you are in MY house.  Go! . . .
There's the door!  You show your face again!  You dare!  You . . .'

She stamped her foot; she raged like a fishwife, glaring into him
as though she would tear his nose out of his face.

He turned, bent half down as though he would pick up the whip, but
let it lie there.

'Pick it up!  Pick it up!' she stormed.  'I won't have any of your
filthy things in MY house!  Christmas Day too!  Where are your
feelings?  Where's your decency?  Never you dare to set your
foot . . .'

He picked up the whip, stared at her still in a dazzled, confused
fashion, muttered something, fumbled for the door.

As he opened it they were all suddenly aware of social conventions;
they heard, with an immediate pressing clarity, the murmur of the
music and the dancing feet.  They all three followed him into the

Judith herself opened the big door for him and stood there, with
John just behind her, while the snow whirled in the wind that blew
the light over the porch.

'Goodnight, Walter . . .  Goodnight,' Judith said.

Miss Keate saw him go out, his head down.  'As though she'd whipped
him,' she always ended her story.

Elizabeth went to John, putting her arm through his; the dining-
room door opened and someone ran out.

'John!  Elizabeth!  You must come for "Sir Roger".'

'Don't mind, John.  Don't mind,' Elizabeth whispered.  She was
beginning a new relation with him from that moment.

But he whispered back:  'There was Uhland there--standing in the
porch under the light.'

She didn't hear.  She pressed his arm with her hand.  'It's
nothing,' she said again.  'I have finished with my father for

But John stared at the door.  It was not Walter Herries but Uhland
that he was seeing.

Part Three

Cumberland Chase


IREBY, January 5th, 1843

Finished tonight that stuff-and-nonsense book Carlyle's Heroes.
Wonder that I had the patience to read it on to the end, but I
fancy that I was always going further to see whether all his tall
words and German sentences would lead to anything.  They do not any
more than does this damnably silly Journal of mine.  There is just
this difference.  Carlyle is a hypocrite and I am not.  He knows he
is no hero but says he is one--I know that I can be a hero as
suitably as any of his Fredericks and Cromwells, but prefer not to
be one.  And why do I prefer?  Because the world is so crammed with
fools and conceited coxcombs that it is a finer thing to sit by and
watch--to watch, if you like, the decline and fall of the house of
Herries and myself with it.  Bang--Bang--Bang--Whiskers--Whiskers--
Whiskers.  This is nothing but the sound a blind man makes seeing
himself to bed with the light of a thick stick and the smell of the
candle-end.  And it is also, if you like, the noise that my beloved
father and Sam Osmaston are making just under this floor of my
room, both as drunk as cockchafers in lamplight, on their knees
most likely, searching for a goose's feather.

But this Journal is supposed to say what I do.  Well, what do I do?
Get up, you lamentable cripple, and look at yourself in the glass,
examine once again your ugly wry face, your ribs, like an old mans'
counting-board, and your white bit of twisted bone politely called
a leg.  Good, good!  That's the thing, my boy!  That's the way to
bring your conceit down and sit on the floor to talk about Heroes.
But the soul's the thing, is it not?  Does not old Carlyle say so?
The soul!  The soul!  Where may you be, soul?  Stuck in that leg of
mine?  Hiding like a rabbit behind a rib or two?  Well, come out
for once!  Let's have a look at you!  Where are you, green, crimson
or mulberry; and your shape?  Are you tortoise-like with a shell
like a snuff-box, or thin and spidery, catching flies for your
food, or just a pincushion with pink lace and a blue silk bow?

What a week I've had too!

They've all been here.  The Newmarks with all their brood, Phyllis
a female Alderman, Newmark the prize prig of the market, Horace as
long in the leg as a pair of stilts and as wooden, DEAR little
Emily and DEAR little Barnabas.  All with the latest news of my
good grandfather's new offspring.  'Oh, WHAT a sweet infant! the
dearest little boy!' until I thought my father would throttle the
lot of them.  Amery Herries too with eyes like gooseberries, the
merriest drunken bachelor, and old Rodney from Polchester, sixty if
he's a day, touring the Lakes and Scotland with one eye on his
clerical dignity and the other on the destiny of every halfpenny!
Lord, how I hate the lot of them and how they hate me!  Didn't I
make little Emily cry by blowing out the candle, and isn't old
Rodney afraid of my humours?  A family sinking to rot, my masters,
cursed because, between too much money-bag on the one side and too
much indecisive dreaming on the other, the way to Salvation is
missed every time.  Not that there IS any Salvation, even though
you search for it.  Nothing but madness or death from over-eating
whichever way you go.

But now when the house is silent and every stone in this building
can be heard scraping its reproaches, I wonder at my indignation.
Indignant?  No, I have not blood enough for so bold a word.  I sit
here, sneezing, rubbing my knees the one against the other, healing
Rob's ear in the basket, raising my perpetual theme of hatred of my
dear John brother-in-law and do nothing, positively nothing.
Neither lust urges me nor greed nor envy nor desire for knowledge:
only if I had John's neck here I would twist it until his eyes were
in his back, and even that is a fancy--nurtured lust, something
bred of years of coddling.  It HAD a reason once and now I've fed
my brain with so many centuries of imagination that to see him
tortured in my fancy is as good as the actual deed.

And yet it could have been otherwise.  Only this stupid mutton-
faced Journal shall know how otherwise it might have been!  Another
father, flat-faced Adam for a brother and a pair of legs like
anyone's, and I had the power, the wish, the ambition.  I could
have written a book or two, I fancy, better than Bulwer at any
rate, or played in a laboratory and made a discovery, or talked as
wittily as any Disraeli or Palmerston of them all.  I have more
brains in my toenail (those on the withered foot have an especial
brilliancy) than all my Herries cousins lumped together.  But from
the very first I was outcast.  THAT at least is no imagination.  I
make no claim for it and I ask for no pity, but to be different
from birth, to have the street children mock at you and the dogs
bark, and visitors to the house look the other way--it is a kind of
allowance for hatred.  They say Carlyle has dyspepsia and yet he
thinks himself a Hero.  Well, am I not a Hero that I sit here and
think, and think, and wish myself a villain?  And my father still
loves me.  He thinks me a miracle of brilliance and perversity.
All that is left to him, poor man, for his brain is fuddled with
drink, the ladies won't call, his fine house is a stony desert, and
they flourish at Uldale like the righteous!

Ah! there's the rub!  Cousin Judith as lively as a flea, Cousin
Dorothy and her children fat as good cattle, John and Elizabeth
like sucking-doves.  There!  He is singing.  I can hear him
under the floor.  And Sam Osmaston with him--a fine out-of-tune
chorus . . .

Ireby, November 13th, 1843

Rob's ear has this canker again.  It's his perversity, I well
believe, for he knows truly that once his ear is well, out he'll
go, to be stoned by the Keswick boys again, I suppose.  And the odd
thing is, I shan't care.  He's been with me almost a year now.  I
enjoy his face like the parson's, with its side-whiskers and a
slobbery white patch like spilt milk on his nose.  He's fonder of
me than any dog's ever been, but I hate that sycophancy.  I'm near
shooting him at times or hanging him from the beam with a rope--
yes, even while I wash and clean his ear with the tenderness of a

And now what do you think, O my Journal?  What has our dear father
done but buy a piece of the moor just above Uldale and build a
small cottage on it and into that shove Peach and his dirty brood.
There is just one patch, it seems, that great-grandfather David
neglected to buy, a measly brown bit that even the sheep neglect.
He has done it to vex Aunt Judith of course, and vex her it must to
have the filthy little Peaches at her garden gate, and Peach at war
with her drunken Rackstraw.

Since she scratched dear father's cheeks last Christmas-time he's
been all bent on vexing her, although in my view he thinks her a
damnably fine old woman.  So she is!  She and Adam--another brood
from the rest of them.

November 22nd

I am just back from Rosthwaite where I have been limping about all
day like an old woman looking for eggs.  But something or someone
(Algebraical formula?  x + y = xy^2 = God?) had put it into my mind
of late to be interested in my old Great-great-grandfather, the
Rogue.  It seems that he spent half his life longing for a gipsy
girl (Aunt Judith's mother by oddity) who, when he got her at last,
incontinently died.  I like the smell of that old man and have
picked up a pack of curiosities about him, how he sold a stout
mistress at Keswick Fair, was given a scar in a duel, fought for
the Pretender outside Carlisle or some such thing, married his
gipsy at Rosthwaite and cuffed and kicked the guests down his
stairs, how she ran away and he roamed the hills for years looking
for her; then, catching her at last, gave her Judith whom she died
of.  There is something deeply sympathetic to me here, for he was
outcast as I am, a rebel as I, if I had the guts, would be, a hater
too, I fancy, only he would not play Hamlet by the year as I have

His old house is a ruin, some tumbled barns swallowed in weed and
swiftly vanishing.  I sat on some broken mouldy stairs this
afternoon and could have sworn to seeing the old fellow watching me
ironically.  It's his irony I like the taste of.  None of the
Herries have irony save Aunt Judith.  I would like a picture of
him, but father says there is none; however, an old cottager well
over ninety years with whom I talked today--a lively cursing old
man with no teeth, so that he must hiss like a snake when he talks,
but his hearing is mighty sharp--he remembers him, how he came
striding over the little bridge by Rosthwaite, in a plum-coloured
coat with a scar down his cheek, and how he and his gipsy lay both
dead in the house together and an old man rode up on a horse and
carried the new-born child (Judith, by all that's comic) away on
his horse with him.  The only man of our family with whom I have
any touch, and he dead these seventy years!  Grandfather Will must
remember him.  Next time in London I shall harry his wits over
him . . .

I am planning a long London visit.  This house is the devil.  It is
colder than any crypt, and the stone, cover it as you may, breaks
through and snarls at you.  Every wind in the country whips it and
the trees moan like kitchen-maids with the toothache.  Also I have
the ambition to touch up Cousin John a trifle.  I could look in at
his window and give him a queasy stomach.  What is this hatred?
Contempt of his mealy-mouthed propriety?  Rage at his impertinent
marriage with my sister?  Jealousy of his strength and whole limbs?
Something taught to me in my cradle by my father?  Yes, and more
than all this.  I hate him because I have always done so, because
of what he is and because he is happy and I am not.  These are
honest reasons, but behind these there is the pleasure of the
pursuit.  As my old roguish ancestor pursued his gipsy so I pursue
my John.  We freaks in the Herries stock must have our revenge on
the normal ones; there is a warfare there that has necessity in it.
And I have no other emotions.  I have never lusted after a woman in
all my days, nor cared for a human being save Adam.  Is that my own
fault?  I could have asked for quite another destiny, but I had no
say in it.  So, to my only pleasure, to see him start at the sound
of my step and flinch under my hand.  My leg aches in sympathy.

12 Granger Street, London
February 12th, 1844

Three weeks in London.  What a folly!  Dinner at Richmond or
Blackwall, the Cave of Harmony, the Coal Hole and such; the inner
sanctities of Meadows' and 'Seven's the main' of the caster, and
'Gentlemen, make your game' of the groom-porter.  Cards everywhere
and, even without the perils of lansquenet, with a pony on the
rubber, five pound points and betting on the odd trick, you are
caught before you are hooked.  There is scarcely a quiet
respectable house in all London where they won't rook you if you
give them half a chance.

All the same there's a strange curtain of hypocritical respectability
over this town since my last visit.  They say it is our good little
Queen and our handsome German Prince.  No nonsense at Court, they
say.  All heading now for the Virtues.

Last night a party at my grandfather's where, if you please, we sat
round in a circle and a woman with teeth like a grinning hag's read
us the poems of Mr Tennyson.  Poor old grandfather would have
slumbered happily in his corner had not Mrs Will in a pink dress
with 'volants' almost up to her waist (and there must have been at
least eight rows of them) pinched him after every melancholy verse.
She had time too for elegant flirtation with a fat young man whose
whiskers were as long as a horse's mane!  I have never disliked
anyone more and her loathing of myself is badly concealed by her
extreme endearments.  She was frightened of me, I believe and hope.
But I perceive that I throw a gloom on to every party that I
encounter.  All the better.  This London is a meeting-place of all
the snobs, hypocrites, sharps and idiots of Christendom.

But I remain, for I have my own quiet amusements.  One of these is
the clearing of Cousin Garth's pockets, for such a juggins at cards
deserves clearing.

Another is to listen to the bombast of old James or Carey who both
have the fancy that THEIR England (THEIRS, mark you) is the most
Christian and at the same time the most commercial miracle that
this weary planet has ever beheld!  To hear them talk of old Pam or
of Peel you would fancy that we had no Chartists nor starving
populace whatever, and to listen to their contempt of ANY foreign
country is to realize to the full ONE side of the beautiful Herries

I listen and then with one remark blow their soap-bubbles to air--
and don't they hate me for it too!  It is worth the boredom of
London to see old James flush his double-chin and stutter:  'But,
my dear sir--my DEAR young friend . . .'

I have a deeper pleasure than these mild amusements, though.  I
have discovered Cousin John's hours: he leaves Bryanston Square
five of an evening and for the good of his precious health walks
across the Park.  Thrice a week at least I see to it that he shall
encounter me.  We never speak; indeed one glimpse of me is enough
to destroy his peace for the rest of the day.  He would take a cab
were it not that he fights his cowardice, and it has happened twice
that when he has taken one I have followed him in another, coming
from mine as he issues from his.  This game gives me a wild and
sensual pleasure.  There are certain streets and houses that are
marked with the colour of our meetings.  Best of all I learnt from
Sylvia Herries last week that he and Elizabeth would be at the
theatre.  They had a box and I in the pit enjoyed my evening to the
full.  At every meeting it seems to me that we come closer together
even as my father grows closer to Uldale.  I am contented to bide
my time, for there is no pleasure for me in life like this chase.
Is this madness?  It may be that it is, for it seems to me that I
am now two persons and when the one is not with him the other is.
I sleep but little and walk the streets at night, hearing my own
step in pursuit of myself, that same halting stumble that must, I
know, haunt the bowels of Cousin John.  I would swear that last
night, dressing for grandfather's party, I saw two figures in the
mirror and neither shadowy . . .

March 13th

I have had an encounter that has moved me oddly.  Yesterday
afternoon in the Strand I walked straight into Adam.  He was brown
and ruddy and sturdy, dressed roughly, books under his arm, his
eyes serious and kindly as they ever were.  May the Devil forgive
me, but I was pleased to see him.  Our talk was thus:

'Why, Adam!'

'Why, Uhland!'

'Are you well?'

'And you?'

His hand was on my arm and I felt, for a foolish minute, that I
would have followed him anywhere.  He is the only one in the world
not to glance at my leg, to be perfectly at ease with me, to give
me some glimpse of a normal world where men are honest and mean
their words.  Yet I doubt not he is a prig and thinks highly of his
own virtues.  Yet he was kind without hypocrisy.  He asked me to
visit them and he meant it, I think.  But I turned away.  I could
have struck him for moving me as he did.  I could have struck him,
but I looked back after him as though I were letting my best chance
go.  He is still on my mind today.  He has given me his address and
I have half an impulse to visit him.  But for what?  I should but
despise his amiability and suspect his seriousness.  There is no
place where we can move side by side and I do not know that I wish
that there should be.

Ireby, April 7th, 1845

I am so much better that I can at last get to my Journal again.
Not that I hunger for it, but it is at least a testimony to some
energy.  And today has been a day as warm as milk and so still that
you can hear the cows munching.  There was all morning a mist like
thick honey with the light breathing behind it a glorious exultant
spirit.  The sun has been dim all day and Blencathra and Skiddaw
have been like whales, unicorns, blankets of soft down, and this
afternoon when the sun came fully out and the air was blue they
rolled over in delight as puppies do when, deliciously expectant,
they want their stomachs stroked.  It is not like me to write of
the weather, but I have been ill for so long and have smelt nothing
but candle-ends, slops and the horsey grain of my blankets.

Last evening I had an odd talk with my father that needs recording.
He came in wobbling a candle, in a bed-gown, his chest exposed, but
in spite of this very sober.  I have been dimly conscious of him
the last months, coming in and out of my fantasies.  And WHAT
fantasies!  Myself hanging, bare save for a thin shift, from a
beam, my toes turned in, and my second self exuding like milk from
an udder out of my left ear--and I was Grandfather Will's infant,
guzzling at a bottle and clutching a money-bag, and the room was on
fire and myself in the middle of it frying like an acorn, or I
hobbled on Stye Head, the mists chasing me until I fell headlong
into Eskdale, and once a white horse, flashing up a frozen
mountainside, caught me with its teeth and flung me down into ice.
In and out of this, then, has come my good father, but only last
evening did we have any serious conversation.

He tells me that he has not had a drop of liquor for the last six
months, during my illness.  And I can believe him.  For once he
does not look more than his fifty odd years.  His fat is dropped
from him--yes, and his spirits have gone too.  He is a little
crazed, I think, as I am.  This house has the seeds of craziness in
its bones.  For he says that Aunt Judith has poisoned me, some
insane story about her bribing the cook to spoil my food!  There's
real craziness as I told him, for whatever that old lady may be
about it will never be poisoning.  He tells me, however, that
Rackstraw whipped one of the Peach children within an inch of its
existence for stealing out of the Uldale kitchen window and that
one of the Uldale barns has been set on fire.  He wants to have
Aunt Judith in jail, but I tell him that the countryside would burn
the jail down to get her out.

When all this loose talk of revenge and the rest had died away he
besought me not to leave him.  He has a fear, it seems, that I
shall steal away just as Elizabeth did.  He moved me for he loves
me with the strongest mingling of pride, fear and egotism.  God
knows I don't want his love.  I have no regard for him except that
it seems to me we are caught in the same trap.  My illness has left
my head clear and empty.  I am imprisoned and cannot be free until
some act frees me.  Death, perhaps, of which I have no fear.  But
death liberates only one of myself.  The other remains imprisoned.

My father held my body in his arms.  How lonely and isolated an
act!  No one has ever held me close to their breast since I was an
infant, and my father is not a man of sentiment, but he sees
everything else going--health, reputation, wealth--save his love
for me and his hatred of the Uldale lot.  I tell you we Herries are
lost men if we let our dreams go too far, be they good or bad, and
this old folly of hating one another is a dream like the rest, for
there is no satisfaction to be found in any egoistic desire.  I can
see that we are intended to lose ourselves altogether in something
impersonal, and once Cousin John, the pretty, were gone I could be
lost, I fancy, turning with what relief into the thick honeyed air
like a child loosed from school . . .  But what a couple the two of
us, my gross father straining my bony wasted fretfulness against
his bare chest, and our eyes refusing to meet!  And myself, round
the corner, peering and grinning at the idiocy of the scene from
behind the wardrobe.

When he kissed me I shrank into my twitching leg and he felt me
shrink and for once I hated my unkindness.  He is a very simple
man, my father.  He meant this Fortress to be a great symbol of
Herries power--just as Cousin James and Rodney and Grandfather and
Amery are building up their fine Victorian England--but to lay
stone upon stone is not enough.  That is a thing that the building
Herries have never understood.  I do not believe in God but I do
not think that you can build anything without Him.

My father wishes me to take my proper place here when I am
recovered.  He is reformed, he says--no more the rake.  We will
attend to farms and property.  Yes, but no Herries has ever wanted
to accumulate property.  We do not care for it enough.  We think
too much of ourselves and will not yield our personal conceit to
anything, not even to property.

And we must get Aunt Judith out of Uldale, he says.  And we must
make this house warm, he says.  It is always so devilish cold.  He
does not know that there is a rat eating away the foundations.
And, when all is said, he loves me like a dog, not knowing why, and
I care for nothing and nobody, not I.  It is something though to
see the gold light again lying evenly over the hills and to hear
the stream running down the hill.  I have grown, during my illness,
a pale forked beard.  I look, in the glass, like a green radish.

London, January 14th, 1846

Yesterday I had a half-hour of sanity that is worth recording.  I
spent it with Grandfather Will.  He requested me to pay him a
visit.  Why?  Even now I do not know.  Some intention perhaps of
compensation because he has thrown my father and myself aside for
ever and young Ellis reigns in our stead.  (Why Ellis?  A dreary,
dry-as-dust, left-over-from-yesterday pantry kind of name, but its
mother has rich cousins thusly.)  Nor do I blame him for that.  We
are not a pair to be proud of, I suppose.  And so I went.
Appalling that house in Hill Street.  No rain-washed air sweeping
Blencathra here, but furniture spawning everywhere, masses of it,
heavy and despondent, groaning between thick rep and treading down
the thick Turkey.  There are pallid sightless statues and old
Herries gilt-edged on every wall.  I was alone in a vast room with
my grandfather, and we crept together for safety.  'Keepsakes' were
our only company.  But I am modern for my time.  I am a hundred
years hence.  I am sickly with the odour of 1950.  He is bent now,
his hair white, his clothes fitting him, black and stiff, as though
they were made in a Bank.  But in his old age he is kind and eager.
I should judge that this baby is the only human soul for whom he
has ever cared, although he spoke of Elizabeth's beauty and seeing
her alone in this room one day in the past 'like a vision'.  He
meant, I fancy, that it could not be true that she was my sister.
He thinks me misshapen and dangerous and cannot understand that I
should be descended from his loins.  Something has gone wrong
somewhere and he is bewildered because he has always done the
sensible thing.  But he intended to be kind, sat close to me
although I made him creep, and by not looking at my twitching leg
he only looked the more intently.  He asked me how I did.  He had
heard that I had been ill.  He feared that he would never see
Cumberland again although in his youth he had seen eagles sailing
over Glaramara.  He has a trick of fingering his coat-buttons as
though they were counting-house money.  He wanted me to tell him
something.  But what?  That things have not turned out as they
should do, his brother Francis a suicide, his son a drunken fool,
his grandson a deformity?  Well, there is little Ellis, and I see
as though under glass his heart beat up again and his old eyes,
weary with gazing on figures, open out at the new hope.  Then he is
proud of England.  It is as though he had made it, put a hump on
Skiddaw here, added a tomb to Westminster, straightened the Strand,
bidden the sea halt in Norfolk, and run the railway to Newcastle.
He is tired, he explains to me, and then with great courage lays
his hot bony hand on mine.

'For I am seventy-five,' he tells me, 'and have worked hard all my

He hopes that we are all now reconciled, for there was once a silly
quarrel.  Something about a fan.  His wife, 'your grandmother,' was
concerned.  But that is all so old, so very very long ago, and he
hopes that now all is well.  Do I see Judith Paris often?  A
remarkable woman with much spirit and character.  And I think of
the little Peach children setting a match to Aunt Judith's parlour,
and Aunt Judith slapping my father's face.

But he hopes that all is well.  We must be friends, all of us.  Our
family must stand together.  They mean something to England.  He
talks of Palmerston and Peel and the Corn Law crisis and says the
'rotten potatoes have done it,' and how angry the Duke is and that
Melbourne told the Queen 'that it was a damned dishonest act,' and
that John Russell has come out of it all 'damned poorly', but they
are all dim figures to him now.  Ellis aged three has swallowed up
the firmament.  He has a little rheumatism in his legs, he tells
me, but otherwise he is well enough, and so he pulls himself up and
slowly, slowly, very stiff and straight, stamps from the room.  And
I go down into the street to meet my waiting double . . .

Ireby, October 9th, 1846

I have seen the 'Barguest'.  I am a haunted man.  I was lost
yesterday afternoon in the wilds between Blencathra and Skiddaw,
Skiddaw Forest way.  I do not know where exactly I was.  I could
not find the same place again.  I had plunged upward, limping and
running and limping again in my own ridiculous fashion, treading
down the dried bracken that in certain lights has almost a glow of
fire running through it.  I had looked back and seen Ireby with its
stone turrets, its frowning eyebrow, squat like a discontented
image staring down at Uldale.  I looked forward and the rocks
closed me in.  They have that fashion here.  They move forward of
their own will; you can see them almost scratching their craggy
sides.  A moment before there had been the long swinging slope of
bracken, fields below marked off and smelling rain, the stone wall
running straight up into air, a round tufted tree holding the
light, cottages and farms--and now only this pressing crowding
observant rock, the ridge of the hill black against the October sky
save for some little white clouds that like spies crowded to the
ridge and looked over down into the amphitheatre.  I am noting it
down thus minutely because of what then occurred.

I seemed to be able to move neither up nor down; my leg limits me
and I felt as though the slope of rock on which I was standing
would slide down with me--maliciously, while the rocks round me
shook with laughter.  And then I saw the Barguest.  An old man
shaped like a whale-bone.  He came along towards me on his hands
and knees, and once and again he would stop, stare at me, and bite
his long fingernails.  But I could see through him; he swayed like
water-mist, was at one time so hazily defined that there were wisps
of him like clouds about the rock, then so sharp that I could count
every button.  It was no imagination--or I am mad perhaps with want
of sleep.  I stayed transfixed, and he came right up to me.  I
could smell his breath, an odour of mushroom and sodden leaves.  He
touched me with his long yellow fingernail and then dispersed into
vapour.  I know this is so.  It is no dream and, if I am crazy,
which for some months now I have suspected, what is reality?  But I
am sure that I shall see this place again and at some fatal time.
When the Barguest had vanished I climbed a stone and all the
scenery was restored again, the fields green in the October sun,
and rain-clouds gathering up above the sea.


Adam tried, with all the self-control that belonged to his
training, to forget what the day after tomorrow meant to him, but,
try as he would, again and again something repeated inside himself:
The day after tomorrow . . .  The day after tomorrow.  Everything
hangs on Monday, my whole life . . . everything I've worked for.'

Margaret, in a brown bonnet, hanging on his arm, caught sight of
the magnificent Beadle, whiskered, gold-laced, standing superbly at
the door of the Pantheon Bazaar.

'Oh, let us go into the Pantheon . . .  I can find something there
for poor little Daisy Bain, whose foot was crushed by that wagon
last week.  It won't occupy us a minute.  Do you mind, Adam?'

They were both making a sublime attempt at proving that nothing was
toward.  Today was like any other day.  And yet, with how many
thousands around them, they were, it might be, on the eve of a new
era, a new world, a world of light, justice and brotherhood.  All
London was making preparation for Monday's great Chartist rising.
All clerks and officials were ordered to be sworn garrisons.  Every
gentleman in London was become a constable.  (What a very grand
carriage outside the Princess Theatre, and what a hideous befrilled
Pug in the window!)

After all, what an incredible year!  In the month of March alone
fearful street fighting in Berlin, flight of the Prince of Prussia,
riots in Vienna and Milan, Hungary in revolt, revolution in
Austria, and, above all, France tumbling either into a chaos of
disaster or a triumph of a new grand order!

And on Monday--Monday, April 10th, 1848--England too might see the
turning-point of all her history.  But Margaret had always a child-
like desire for pleasure, and Adam was, nowadays, a great deal more
easily pleased than he had once been.  They had walked out into the
mild spring air that they might quiet some of their almost
trembling agitation.  How odd it was to see the bird-stuffer's shop
with the birds of paradise and parrots, crimson and gold and
violent green, a statuary shop, with Canova's Graces, the
staymaker's, the fitter's shop with the little cork ball bounding
up and down on the perpendicular jet of water, the provision shop
with the Durham mustard, the Abernethy biscuits, Iceland moss,
Narbonne honey, Bologna sausages--these and many many more, and to
think that in another two days all these splendours might be at the
mercy of the mob, that the poor might have their wrongs righted,
the just come to their own . . .  It must be truthfully added that
any stranger seeing Adam and Margaret as they passed the bowing
Beadle at the Pantheon door would have been astonished indeed at
such revolutionary sentiments, for never did a pair look more
respectable and kindly--Adam, set and solid, with his dark side-
whiskers, his handsome high hat and gentlemanly cravat, and
Margaret in her brown bonnet and overjacket of white embroidered
muslin.  Revolutionaries?  Surely not this respectable pair!

In fact they did forget for ten minutes inside the Pantheon that
they WERE revolutionaries.  Margaret was so happy to be alone with
Adam for a little that she forgot all else.  Adam was changed since
that Christmas at Uldale, more thoughtful, more demonstrative, but
he was constantly preoccupied with his work, and their rooms were
from morning to night crowded with other people.  She did not often
have him to herself.  She was so happy that it had been HIS
suggestion that they should take this walk!  He did not often
suggest that they should go off somewhere alone.  She sometimes
almost wished that there WAS no Charter, that that flamboyant
boastful Feargus O'Connor had never been heard of, that she and
Adam and her father need not so continually be considering the
wrongs of other people!  And the Pantheon, when they were inside
it, was enchanting!  First they went up to the gallery where they
might look down on that exciting coloured maze of babbling
children, beautiful ladies, attendant footmen and subservient
shopmen.  Behind them (and they glanced in for a moment) was that
queer neglected little picture-gallery with the dusty twentieth-
rate pictures and tragic Haydon's enormous spectre-like 'Lazarus'
dominating with its fruitless ambition and almost emerging
misconceived genius the atmosphere not only of the Pantheon but the
street beyond it, the people, the carriages, the houses.  Once this
was a theatre; here were the Grand Staircase, the Rotunda, the
green room, the conservatories, dressing rooms.  Here were Ariadne
in Naxos, Daphnis and Chloe, Bellerophon, The Cruelty of Nero.  Old
Will, a stiff prosperous conceited young man of the City, must here
have applauded and Christabel feebly clapped her gloved hands and
old Carey have slumbered!  Even the lovely radiant Jennifer, with
her proud parents, must here have been the beauty of the evening.
Judith's Georges must have looked in with a companion to observe
the legs of the chorus; Guimard danced in a hoop that reached
nearly to her ankles.  Those were the pigtail days of Duvernay and
Ellsler and Taglioni!  Here George III's eldest son met the lovely
Perdita, and Charles Fox in a domino shouted a tipsy applause!

A church, a waxwork show, an opera, and then one night, in the
middle of Don Giovanni, twelve demons bearing torches of resin rose
to seize the guilty hero, and behold there were THIRTEEN demons,
one of them carrying TWO torches and disappearing in a flame of
real fire while the audience fainted and the manager vanished into
a madhouse!

But Margaret and Adam were not thinking of the past: the present
and the future were THEIR concern!  They were very young--Adam
young for his almost thirty-three years, Margaret only twenty-
eight.  Everything was in front of them.

Before they descended from the gallery Adam turned.

'Margaret, are you happy?'

'Very, Adam.'

'You know that you are everything to me now.  Whatever happens on
Monday, whatever way things go, nothing can alter that.'

'Yes, I know.'

He kissed her and they went down the stairs like a couple of
children.  To purchase something for little Daisy Bain was no easy
task, for the variety of toys was extraordinary and the young
ladies at the stalls so VERY polite and superior.  Margaret was
always easily dashed by patronage and had she been alone would have
fled from those elegant young women in dismay, but Adam confronted
them so calmly and with so agreeable a smile that they were ready
to do anything for him.  There was the monkey on a stick, the
serpent made of elastic (a compound of glue and treacle), a
centipede at the end of an indiarubber string, and many another;
but best of all were the wax flowers.  Oh! how lovely they were!
Margaret clapped her hands when she saw a whole stall of them!  She
had no eyes then for the tortoiseshell card-cases, the pink scented
invitation cards with 'on dansera' in the corner, the muslin slips,
the volumes of polkas with chromo-lithographed frontispieces, the
sandalwood fans, the mother-of-pearl paper-knives with coral spring
handles--all these could be bought at the Pantheon, but she saw
only that blazing bank of colour--crimson, orange, violet, silver--
the flowers smiling from their stalks--carnations, pansies, roses,
lilies-of-the-valley, peonies--their wax petals soft and
iridescent, as fresh, as vernal as though but a moment ago they had
opened their smiling faces to the sun!

'Oh, Adam, are they not marvellous!' she cried.  Something then
touched his heart, as though he had never truly loved her before
and as though he were warned that, without realizing his treasure,
it might be, at a moment, lost to him.  He would buy the whole
store-load for her!  Revolutions, tumbling thrones, the rights of
the poor, these things fell down before the wax flowers like
pasteboard castles!

She chose an assorted bunch--purple pansies, icily white lilies-of-
the-valley, a crimson rose.

'They will live for ever!' she said, smiling into his eyes.

They were packed very carefully into a box, and lying on tissue
paper looked, Margaret thought, worthy of the Queen.

'They should be kept under glass to preserve them from the dust,'
she said.

The stately young woman who served her smiled with an exquisite

'That is generally considered wise, madam,' she remarked.

'Oh, Adam, how kind you are!' Margaret whispered as they walked
away.  'I shall have these all my life long.'  Then dropping her
voice, looking at him shyly but with a deep intensity:  'I do love
you so'.

They passed the refreshment counter and enjoyed, each, an arrowroot
cake.  Daisy Bain had been quite forgotten, so hurriedly a doll
with flaxen hair was purchased for her.  They enjoyed the
conservatory with the fountain that contained the gold and silver
fish, the exotic plants and gay flowers.  But it was very hot in
the conservatory, and the parrots and cockatoos made an intolerable
screeching.  One cockatoo, as Margaret could not help observing,
strangely resembled Mr Feargus O'Connor and, for a moment, a dread
caught at Margaret's heart.  What would happen on Monday?  Was this
their last peaceful day?  Would they ever be so happy again?  She
looked at the box that she carried in her hand and sighed.  She
held Adam's arm yet more closely as they passed out through the
waiting-room where some grand ladies were waiting for their
carriages, and so into the light and fresh air of Great Marlborough

On their return home they found themselves in another world.  Adam
discovered suddenly, looking at the room's disorder, the bottles of
beer, the smoke from pipes, books thrown on to the floor, that he
wanted to be out of it all, that his enthusiasm was dead, that he
did not care what happened on Monday, that there was no Cause any
longer.  As he saw Margaret moving quietly into the farther room,
carrying the box that held her precious wax flowers as carefully as
though it were glass, he discovered that with her departure all the
light seemed to have gone out of his world.  He had reached some
new relation with her during that half-hour in the Bazaar.  She was
more precious to him than ever before.

So with that rather stumbling, halting movement that made him seem
short-sighted, but that was only in reality because his thoughts
were elsewhere, he turned and took in his company.  He saw at once
that Henry Lunt held the floor.  He would of course in any place
where he was.  He was in no way different from the day when Adam
had first met him, still shabby, black, fierce, denunciatory, self-
confident.  Adam knew that he was brave and honest, but he knew
also that he was narrow-visioned, foolishly impetuous, and that his
temper was so violent that it was extremely dangerous.  He had been
twice gaoled for his share in riots and disorders: this had not
made him either wiser or more tolerant.  He was more conceited than
he had been, thought he knew everything and had all the gifts of
leadership; tonight he seemed to Adam a noisy, tiresome demagogue.
There were now too many of his sort in the movement, and, in fact,
the whole impetus seemed to be slipping away from the Chartists.
The Irish potato famine, the Anti-Corn Law League, above all the
exciting spectacular troubles in Europe, made the Chartist movement
a little old-fashioned.  Louis Philippe's fall in February still
possessed men's minds to the diminution of all else.  After all,
people said, bad though things were, they were not as bad as in
France.  We English are too sensible for Revolutions.  We are not
of that kind.  Adam agreed with them.  The Chartists, especially
men of Lunt's type, appeared now something foreign and affected.

Undoubtedly everyone in the room this evening felt a little of
this.  Lunt talked the louder because of it, and, sitting on the
edge of the table, swinging his stout legs, harangued Kraft, Pider,
and Ben Morris and a young Jew, Solomon, as though he were, with
wonderful magnanimity, screwing their courage to the striking-

Pider, it seemed, had said something mildly deprecatory before Adam
came in, and Lunt was all on fire over it.

'Aye,' he was shouting, 'that's just what I was expecting to hear,
Pider.  There are too many of your sort about, and that's the
truth.  Here we are slaving for years back to bring this thing
about and at last the moment has arrived.  The great, magnificent
moment, the climax of all our efforts, and what do you do but--'

'Yes, but,' Pider broke in, 'suppose the moment hasn't arrived
after all?  Suppose Monday's abortive and there's nothing done?
Look at O'Connell!'

'Yes, look at O'Connell!' cried Lunt fiercely, jumping from the
table and waving his short arms.  'He's dead, isn't he?  And
deserved to die.  They may have given him a fine funeral in Dublin,
but we know what he was, a faint-heart whose courage failed him
just when it was needed.  Feargus O'Connor's quite another sort of

'I don't know,' said Pider doubtfully.  'I've heard men say of

'And what have you heard men say of O'Connor?' Lunt shouted.
'There are always men jealous of their leaders, but I tell you that
any man who says O'Connor will fail us is lying in his throat, and
so I'd tell him to his face.  I know O'Connor.  I've eaten and
slept with him, and a grander, finer leader of men the world
doesn't hold!  Answer me that, Pider, and tell me that you know
O'Connor better than I do and I'll tell you it's a falsehood.'

Pider, who was not lacking in courage and was in no way afraid of
Lunt, started fiercely forward.  Kraft came quietly in between

'Now, now,' he said, smiling.  'Where's the good of our arguing
about what will happen on Monday?  Who can say how things will
turn?  We've done the best we can and must leave the rest to God.'

'God!  God!' Lunt shouted fiercely.  'It isn't God we're wanting,
but confidence in ourselves.  I tell you--'

But Kraft gave a sign to Adam and turned off into a little side-
room that he used as a study.  Adam followed him and closed the
door behind him.  He put his arm round Adam and drew him close.

'You look weary,' Adam said.

'Yes, I am weary.  Their shouting makes me weary.  There are times
when I'm sick at heart of the whole thing, times when I wish that
I'd never heard of the Cause at all, and had spent my days mending
watches or keeping sheep in a field.'

'It's not like you,' Adam said, 'to be down.'

'No, maybe it's not.  But tonight I have a kind of foreboding, a
sinking of the heart.'  He pressed Adam's shoulder.  'What is it,
Adam, creeps into all Causes alike, a kind of worm that eats the
heart out of them?  It's a sort of egotism, I suppose.  You grow to
think of your own part in it all, to admire your own energy, your
fine speeches, to be jealous of others who are praised, to want
personal rewards.  To be impersonal, to care nothing for yourself,
it is the only lesson of life, and no one can learn it!'

'Yes.  If there is a lesson!'  Adam's dark eyes slowly clouded.
'When you watch the Churches fighting as they are, when you see
Jews like Disraeli bringing off their clever fireworks, while
you watch a sot like Walter Herries at home trying to frighten
women . . .  It may be there's no lesson, no plan, no future, no

Kraft shook his head.

'I feel my immortality,' he said.  'I cannot doubt it, but it is
perhaps a poor kind of immortality.  God MAY be a sort of flash Jew
like Disraeli or a dandy like D'Orsay or a storyteller like Charles
Dickens or a ranter like Lunt--it may be one long swindle--but it
goes on, I KNOW that it goes on.'

'Yes,' Adam continued, nodding his head, 'and emotions like my
present love of Margaret.  That's no present from a cheap Jew; or
walking down by Sour Milk Ghyll on a summer evening when the water
is whiter than snow and the hills clouds--D'Orsay couldn't make
SUCH a gift to anyone.  But this, Caesar, all this that we have
been working for for years--I see no New Heaven and New Earth THIS
way.  Men don't change.  Why do they not change, Caesar, that's
what I want to know?  Why do _I_ not change with all the experience
I get?  I can remember when I was a tiny boy bathing one evening in
a tarn above Hawkshead.  My mother was there, and an old fat
fellow, my uncle Reuben, a sort of itinerant preacher, who told me
stories.  He was a wonderful man as I remember--I daresay he was
not in reality.  He was killed after a riot when they tried to burn
Uldale down, set on by Walter Herries.  I owe Walter Herries
something, you see.  But what was I saying?  Oh yes--that night.
What was I?  Four, five?  I don't know.  We lit a fire under the
trees, there was a dog, and Uncle Reuben told me stories.  All
beauty, all loveliness is in that night as I look back.  Not now.
Not here.  Not then as I knew it.  I was happy, of course, but
recognized nothing extraordinary.  But looking back I see now that
there was something divine in that wood that night.  Why,' he burst
out, laughing, 'there was something divine in Pantheon Bazaar this
afternoon.  My love for Margaret.  Hers for me.  Let me recognize
it now and offer D'Orsay-Disraeli-Dickens-Jupiter my thanks for

Kraft smiled.

'What has happened to you, Adam?  You are usually so silent.  Words
are pouring from you.'

'I know.  I'm living at an extra intensity tonight.  As though
there were only a thin strip of paper between myself and discovery--
discovery of what?  I don't know.  D'Orsay's rouge-pots?'

'I know,' Kraft answered quietly.  'I am the same.  It is our
excitement about Monday, I suppose.  A Scotsman would say I am
"fey".  I can see my shroud, Adam.'

Sunday night he slept so little and woke so early that while it was
still dark he slipped from Margaret's side, dressed hurriedly, and
went out.  He walked through the quiet streets for some while
without thinking of his direction, then found that he was in the
City.  Here it was as cool and silent as an oyster.  The wall of
the Custom House was a dead wall, the Coal Exchange was sleeping,
but soon he was down on the wharfs where life was already active
and earnest.  Here were tubs smelling of oranges, shops--already
opened--packed with salt fish, dried herrings, Yarmouth bloaters,
mussels and periwinkles, dried sprats and cured pilchards.  For he
was in Billingsgate.  Here the Billingsgate marketeers were
drinking from massive blue and white earthenware mugs filled to the
rough brims with coffee; here porters were busied clearing piles of
baskets away, putting forms and stools in order, in eager
preparation for the fish auction.  The wharf is covered with fish,
and the great clock of Billingsgate booms forth five o'clock.  The
stands are laden with salmon, shoals of fresh herring, baskets full
of turbot, while the crowds are gathering thickly, and everyone is
shouting and crying at once.

Adam watched with increasing pleasure.  Close to him a fine fellow
stood, a hat tall and shiny as though he were a habitu of
Aldridge's Repository, his sporting neckcloth fastened with a
horseshoe pin, while round his giant stomach was bound the
conventional blue apron; he was wearing galligaskins and straight
tight boots of sporting cut.  Here were the eight auctioneers; here
Bowler's, Bacon's and Simpson's, the noisiest taverns (at this
hour) in the whole of London.  Now was the excited selling of the
'doubles' and the 'dumbarees'.  Fish, fish, fish!  Plaice, soles,
haddocks, skate, cod, ling . . .  Suddenly he recollected.  My God,
this very afternoon, and the gentleman in the galligaskins and blue
apron might find all his occupation gone!  By five of the evening
of this very day, all the soles and cods and haddocks might swim
peacefully in the sea for the attention paid to them!  This very
street, instead of its stream of fish-scales, bones and dirty
water, might be running in blood!  Instead of gaiety, laughter,
money business, there might be death, ruin, a blaze of fire,
smoking catastrophe!

There was a sick dismay at his heart.  He had been working for
years with an earnestness and eagerness that had possessed every
energy he had.  He had lost in these years much of the fantasy and
humour that had been part of his childhood.  At this stage he was
grimly serious, taking nothing lightly.  At that moment in the
Billingsgate Market he saw himself as someone fantastically absurd,
working like a labourer at piling brick upon brick, and as he
laboured the bricks turned, before his eyes, to straw.

A joke, a farce, iridescent fish-scales floating down the teeming
gutter.  He hurried home.

This morning, Monday, April 10th, was a lovely day, the sun
streaming down with that soft mild radiance that brings a spring
scent of flowers into the London streets.  The Chartist detachment
to which Kraft and Adam belonged moved off very early to Kennington
Common.  There was no definite procession to the Common; the
Procession, presenting the great Petition, was to march at least a
hundred thousand strong, under the leadership of Feargus O'Connor,
to the Houses of Parliament.

Here the Petition was to be presented, and what would follow after
was the question on everybody's lips.  Men like Lunt declared that
what would follow would be the greatest Revolution in England since
1688.  But how precisely that Revolution would take place, no one
precisely knew.  It was true that the Queen and her Consort were
not supremely popular, but no one had anyone to propose in their
place, and even the Lunts of the movement could not claim that the
whole of England was at all ready as yet for a President or a

The very troubles that the rest of Europe were battling with made
many Englishmen proud of their own passivity.

Nevertheless, a Revolution there would be, some sort of a
Revolution.  What the average man, both Chartist and non-Chartist,
feared was that, simply through ill-directed and undisciplined
contact, there would be riot and bloodshed, meaning nothing,
leading nowhere; men perceived, from the recent Paris example, that
one small unexpected event could lead to vast and unexpected
consequences.  Let fifty thousand shouting Chartists reach
Westminster . . .  Why, then, both sides being armed, some horrible
catastrophe might take the whole civilized world by surprise.  No
one in London was happy on that lovely spring morning and, if the
truth were known, most certainly not Mr Feargus O'Connor himself,
who, in spite of his descent from Irish kings, had no wish to find
himself in gaol before the evening.

Neither Adam nor Kraft was happy.  They had one last word together
before they set out.

'I have the oddest feeling,' Kraft said.  'I dreamt last night, of
what I don't know, but I woke saying to myself, "Yes, that's the
answer."  Now, I know what it all means.  I seemed, in that brief
dream, to have passed through all experience and to have realized
that envy, greed, jealousy, disappointment, lust, bodily sickness--
it was not until I had known them all and tranquilly accepted them
all, that I began to live.  Tranquility.  I tell you, Adam, I am as
tranquil this morning as a pond-weed.  My anxiety is gone, but my
desire too.  I cannot imagine what it is that has agitated me so
deeply all these years.'

Adam frowned.

'I am not tranquil.  I am afraid of what a parcel of fools are
likely to do before the day's out.'

It was still very early when the three of them reached the Common.
On their way thither they had been impressed by the silence of the
town, as of something strongly on its guard.  There was little
traffic in the streets, very few people about and many of the shops
closed.  Adam learnt afterwards that many of the important official
buildings round Westminster were defended with guns and that
Whitehall was in reality an armed camp.

When they arrived at the Common they saw that there was the crowd
that had been confidently expected.  There were many banners
flaunting devices like 'The Charter, the whole Charter, and nothing
but the Charter,' 'Justice for All Men and No Favour,' 'Up!  Up for
O'Connor!' and there were a number of brass bands.

Men, women and children sat and walked about, rather listlessly,
dressed, some of them, in their Sunday clothes, while others seemed
to boast their poverty.  There were many pale, thin, with angry,
restless eyes and hungry faces; others appeared to have come to
enjoy the sights.  There were some booths with food and drinks.

Everything was very quiet, there was a murmur of voices, a sense of
expectant waiting as though at any moment a miracle might break out
in the sky above their heads.

Soon after their arrival Lunt joined them.

'Not so many as were expected,' Adam said.

'Pooh,' Lunt answered.  'They'll turn up.  It will take many of
them time to get here.  And this is nothing.  You wait until the
Procession starts for Parliament and see how many join us.  You
listen to O'Connor when he makes his speech and you'll hear

Soon it happened that everybody began to press together towards the
centre of the Common and the crush became uncomfortable; toes were
stepped on, umbrellas and sticks poked into innocent faces, women
lost their children, and children were crying, pockets were freely

Adam saw that it was towards O'Connor and one or two gentlemen near
him that the crowd was thronging, and soon, owing to Kraft's
important position in the movement and the badge that he wore, he
found that they were enclosed in the magic circle.  He was so close
to Feargus O'Connor that he could observe him well.  A wild
theatrical gentleman, he seemed both over-decorated and shabby, for
he had on the breast of his blue coat a number of ribbons and
medals, but his pantaloons were older than they ought to be and
stained with mud.  His hair fell in untidy ringlets from under his
high hat, and he waved with a great deal of excited gesture the
cane that he was carrying.  In the other hand he had a stout roll
of paper that was supposed by everyone to be the famous Petition.
He was, it was clear, excellently conscious of the attention that
he was receiving.  Once and again he would put up his hand to his
rather soiled cravat, the cane would drop to the ground and be
obsequiously lifted by someone.  He would dart his head up rather
as a suspicious hen might do, stare with proud and melancholy
indignation at some small boy who, open-mouthed, was gazing at him
with all his eyes.

It appeared that he had some reason for indignation, for it seemed
that his pocket had been picked.  Had anyone ever heard the like?
The leader of the country against tyranny and oppression, and his
pocket had been picked!  How much had there been in his purse?  He
could not be sure, but a very considerable sum; also a blue silk
handkerchief to which he attached sentimental value.

But Adam quickly realized that Mr O'Connor was not at all at his
ease.  While he talked with an excited and incoherent fervour his
eyes were for ever searching the horizon and searching it with a
kind of terrified preoccupation as though he expected at any moment
to see a large scaly dragon, vomiting fire, issue from the
Kennington trees.

He greeted Kraft absent-mindedly and shook a finger with Adam (the
rest of his hand clutching the sacred roll of paper) without seeing
Adam at all.

He became with every moment more deeply agitated.  Beside him was a
long, thin, cadaverous man who looked like a Methodist clergyman,
and a stout, rubicund fellow like a butcher.  There was no sign,
however, of any organization or leadership.  From time to time
someone broke through into the magic circle, whispered mysteriously
to O'Connor and vanished again.  He on his part would nod his head
with great self-importance or shake it or look up to the heavens or
wave his cane.  He alluded again and again to the fact that his
pocket had been picked, and once and again would burst into a fine
frenzy, invoking the Deity:  'My God, have I been chosen to lead
these people at this great hour?  Have they come to me hungry and
shall they not be fed?'  Then, dropping his voice:  'What is it,
Forster?  Has Cummin not arrived?  Where is Whitstable?  Have they
got the thief that has my purse?  March to Westminster?  But where
are the others?  This is not the half of them!  And my toes trodden
on and my pocket picked . . .'

The crowd waited with a most exemplary patience.  They were, it
seemed, ready to picnic on the Common for the day if necessary.
Many of them, Adam was convinced, were not Chartists at all.  Many
were rogues and vagabonds who had come to gather what they might
out of so large a crowd.  He saw, as he looked about him, many
incongruous figures, here a rather shabby young dandy in pea-green
gloves and a shirt embroidered with dahlias and race-horses, then a
stout serious-looking gentleman with peg-top trousers, chin-tuft
and eye-glass, and close beside him a sturdy fellow who might have
come straight from the Billingsgate of the morning, green apron and
galligaskins all complete.  It could not be said to be a very
murderous crowd, and, as Adam looked, his fears of red revolution
died away.  There would be no revolution here.  But for what then
all these years had he been working?  Not for revolution certainly,
but also not for a contented humorous crowd like this.  He drew
Margaret's arm through his and waited for what might come.

What soon came was an excited stir through the crowd.  It whispered
like wind through corn.  Someone had arrived.  Something had
occurred.  Two men pushed through and spoke to O'Connor; at once
his countenance turned red and then white again.  He dropped his
cane and no one picked it up.  He stood, hesitating, his head
turning first this way, then that.

The crowd was dividing; it was the Constable, Mr Mayne, followed by
three of his inspectors.  Mayne, a fine, resolute-looking man, took
his stand a little way from Adam, and sent one of his inspectors
forward to O'Connor.  It was clear that O'Connor was in a terrible
fright.  'Afraid of arrest,' whispered Kraft contemptuously to
Adam.  O'Connor, after a second's hesitation, clutched his cane and
roll of paper and went to meet Mr Mayne.  The two men made a
striking contrast, and in that moment of seeing them together, it
seemed to Adam that any alarms or hopes on the part of anyone that
Revolution would ever again break out in England were finally

'Mr O'Connor,' said Mayne, 'I am here to inform you that the
meeting on this Common is permitted, but no procession to

O'Connor said something.

'No.  No procession whatever.'

O'Connor spoke again.

'Certainly, Mr O'Connor, I am very pleased to hear it.'

O'Connor held out his hand; Mr Mayne shook it.

The Revolution was over.

Mayne, with his inspectors, disappeared, and O'Connor came forward
to address the crowd.  There were stands with flags and banners for
him to appear on, and he did step up on to one of them, attended by
some half a dozen gentlemen, but very little that he said could be
heard.  It appeared that he himself was going to the Home Office
that he might present the famous Petition there; there would,
however, be no procession; in fact, everything was over, or rather,
the Meeting might continue as long as it pleased, but he, Mr
O'Connor, would not appear in it.

He vanished, and there followed an extraordinary scene.  Many of
the more peaceful citizens, laughing and jeering, turned to leave
the Common, but at the same time crowds of roughs and hooligans,
urged on by the more violent Chartists, drove their way towards the
stands with shouts and threats.  Women were screaming, children
crying, men shouting, no one seemed to be in command, someone tore
down two of the banners.

'We had best be out of this,' Adam said, turning to Margaret.  Then
he saw Lunt.  The man seemed to be in a frenzy and was orating,
waving his hands, his hat off, his face congested with anger.  In
his hand he carried a short, thick club.

'Come,' said Kraft sadly.  'The curtain is down.  The play is

They turned together, but at the same moment Lunt caught sight of
them.  Like a madman he rushed at them, stopped in front of Kraft
and shouted:

'Now where are you?  You white, shaking coward!  You and your
friends!  This is your work, with your psalm-singing, chicken-
hearted caution!  You have brought England to her knees, sold us
like slaves!'

Kraft said quietly:  'Come, Henry.  This is a farce.'

'Farce!' Lunt screamed.  'Yes! and who has turned it into a farce?'

'You and others like you,' Kraft answered sternly, his voice
ringing out so that all heard him.  'I have warned you again and
again, but you would not listen.  With your violence you have
frightened most decent men away.  Aye, and lost most of our battles
before they were even fought.'

Lunt's shouts had drawn a large crowd about them.  Some excited men
pressed forward, shouting incoherently, some laughed, some agreed
with Kraft.  But Lunt was beside himself; he moved in a whirlwind
of passion in which he could distinguish nothing but his own
disappointment, the failure of all that his egotism, yes, and his
melodramatic self-sacrifice had for years been planning.  He closed
up to Kraft, who did not move.

'By heaven!' he shouted, 'I will show you who is a traitor!  I'll
teach your dirty cowardice!'

Kraft caught his arm.

'Be ashamed, man!' he cried.  'Go home to your wife and children!'

The touch infuriated Lunt, who thrust himself free, swung his club
and brought it crashing on to Kraft's head.  Kraft fell, his hand
catching at Margaret's dress as he went down.  Instantly there was
silence.  It was as though a hand caught the Common, the crowd, the
sunlight, and, crushing it all into nothing, flung it away.  There
was emptiness and the sun shining on Kraft's white shirt and his
twisted hand.

Adam was on his knees, his arm under Kraft's head that was crooked
and veiled in blood.  He looked up.  'A surgeon!' he said.  'For
God's sake, someone, quickly, a surgeon.'

But he knew that Kraft was dead--the finest man in the world was
gone.  Tears blinded his sight as he bent again to the ground.


This was one of Judith's good days.  This year, 1850, had not
opened too well for her.  For one thing in January she had had a
splendid quarrel with Dorothy, had slapped Amabel (now a big stout
girl of eleven) for riding one of the calves, had ordered Dorothy
out of the house, had been told by Dorothy that she would not go,
had discovered old Peach talking to one of her maids, had dismissed
the maid and been of a mind to go up to the Fortress and tell
Walter what she thought of him.

When this lively afternoon was over she had gone to bed, lain on
her back and laughed aloud at her own bad temper.  Dorothy had come
in later to make the peace and discovered the old lady sitting up
in bed, her lace cap a little askew on her snow-white hair,
laughing and doing household accounts.  They had embraced, as they
always did after a quarrel, and Judith had settled down to the
reading of Mr Thackeray's Vanity Fair.  She had a passion now for
novels, although she considered Thackeray too sentimental and
something of a hypocrite.  Becky, however, she could thoroughly
enjoy and considered that there, but for the grace of God, went
Judith Paris.  Amelia and Dobbin she could not abide, but Rawdon
had quite a deal in common with her dear Georges, who was as close
to her still as he had been in 1790.

At the end of a chapter she had blown out the candle and lain down
to sleep.  She had slept for an hour or so and then woken suddenly
to a sharp pain in the side.  It was the first sharp pain she had
ever known and she greeted it humorously as much as to say, 'Well,
I knew you would come sometime.  Now that you are here, behave as a
gentleman.'  The pain behaved badly at first and then, like a new
acquaintance, having left his card, departed.  But in the morning
she felt very unwell indeed, tried to get up but could not, was
finally in bed for a week.  She was attended by Dr Fairchild from
Keswick, a little wizened sarcastic man of middle age.  They got on
very well, were rude to one another, gossiped a good deal, and
found that they had much in common.

He told her that she had the rheumatics and he put her on a diet.
It was from this moment that she began to care about food.  Food
had never, all her life, been very important to her.  She had
always had a healthy appetite and took what came.  But now that she
was forbidden, she lusted.  She liked to forbid herself, but hated
that anyone else should forbid her anything.  Moreover, Dr
Fairchild, with a deliberate maliciousness, as it seemed to her,
forbade her the very things for which she cared the most, and
especially meat.  She had encountered at odd times cranky persons
who pretended to live entirely on vegetables.  There was poor young
Ivison, son of Mr Ivison the bookseller in Keswick, whose pale
earnest countenance both amused and irritated her.  It was said
that he ate nothing but carrots and cabbage, and once, when she met
the poor thin boy beside Mr Flintoft's Model of the Lake District,
he had incontinently fainted there at her feet!  So much for
carrots and cabbages.

Nevertheless, she did on the whole as she was told, and now, at the
beginning of March, was in fine vigour again.  Her spirits were all
the livelier, because just at this time John was given a holiday
and came up with Elizabeth on a visit.  It was a year and a half
since they had been at Uldale.  The house was very full and she
adored it to be full.  Dorothy's children were growing--Timothy was
thirteen, Veronica twelve, Amabel eleven, and Jane (Judith's
especial pet) was nine.  Old Rackstraw taught Timothy Latin, and
there was a governess, Miss Meredith.  Miss Meredith Judith did not
like at all, but she could not deny that she was an excellent
governess.  Miss Meredith, who was round and plump like a barrel,
had all the present popular conventionalities.  It was Judith's
constant delight to shock her, for Judith could not in the least
understand this great wave of propriety that had swept over the
country.  To allude to legs or bosoms or ardent young men or any of
the processes of human creation seemed to Miss Meredith like death,
and Judith perceived that not only Dorothy but the little girls
themselves approved of these reticences.

'But, my dear Dorothy,' Judith would say, 'what is there shocking
about being born?  Why, I remember at Stone Ends when I was a girl--'

'When you were a girl, Aunt Judith,' Dorothy answered firmly, 'the
world was a very different place.  Not civilized at all.'

'I am sure,' Judith retorted, 'I can't say about being civilized,
but babies are born in exactly the same way now as they were then.
It would do Miss Meredith all the good in the world to be flung
into a hedge by a tramp--'

But Dorothy was so greatly distressed that Judith desisted.

'PLEASE, Aunt Judith,' Dorothy said.  'Do not offend Miss Meredith.
She is the best governess in the world.  Exactly right for the
children.  I don't know where we'd ever find such another.'

So Judith refrained, and only teased Miss Meredith when the
temptation was quite irresistible.

She loved the house to be full, for she knew that she was a miracle
for her age.  Dorothy, with all her energy and obstinacy, had no
say whatever in the running of the house.  And Judith was not at
all the conventional tyrannical old woman so common in works of
fiction from the days of the Egyptians and maybe long before them.
Everyone loved her.  She was cared for now as she had never been in
all her life before.  How in the past she had longed to be liked!
How it had hurt her when Will had disapproved and Will's mother
hated her and Jennifer plotted against her!  But now, when she had
all the love that she could possibly desire, she did not greatly
care for it.  She hated sentiment and always preferred common

Adam, of course, was a thing apart; she was deeply fond of John and
Elizabeth, had an affection for Dorothy and the children, but, with
the possible exception of little Jane, Adam was the only human
being in the world whom she loved.

She certainly did not love herself, but she was proud of her age,
her strength, her capability and, above all, her scorn for and
successful battles over everyone at Ireby.

Of late Walter had been trying to irritate her in every way that he
knew.  Things were stolen, her house was spied upon, her servants
were bribed, if there was any malicious story possible about anyone
at Uldale it was spread in every direction.  But Judith and Dorothy
were exactly the women to fight a campaign like Walter's.  They had
much common sense and a strong feeling for the ludicrous.  Dorothy
was lacking in a sense of humour, but her sense of fun was so
strong that to see a gentleman slip on the ice or a lady lose her
bonnet in the wind made her stout sides ache with laughter.

So Walter seemed to her silly and Uhland unwholesome.

On this sunny day in March the weather was so warm that John and
Elizabeth could walk comfortably up and down the lawn together.
Judith, looking at them for a moment out of the parlour window,
smiled with approval.  John the night before had been most
entertaining.  If not of Parliament he was near it enough to have
plenty of inside information.  Both Judith and Dorothy were
thrilled with interest as he told them of the hatred that the Queen
and Prince Albert felt for Palmerston.  Palmerston was John's hero,
so he was a trifle malicious about the Queen and the Prince.  Lord
Clarendon, it seemed, had, a few weeks ago, dined at the Palace,
and now it was all over the Town that the Queen in the drawing room
after dinner had lost all control and spoken with so much vehement
bitterness that Lord Clarendon had not known where to look; and
when she had done the Prince had begun and, when Clarendon had
visited him next day, had orated about Palmerston for two hours
without stopping.

This gave the two ladies great pleasure to hear, not because they
wished the Queen or Palmerston or anyone else any harm; simply that
it brought the lawns and hedges of Uldale straight into the Palace.

So Judith looked out of the window at John and nodded her approval.
It was so fine a morning that she had put on a new dress for the
first time, a dress made especially for her by Miss Sampson in
Keswick.  She wore more sombre colours now, although she still
loved a touch of brightness here and there.  As she was wearing
long drawers trimmed with lace, a flannel petticoat, an under-
petticoat, a white starched petticoat, and two muslin petticoats
under the dress, she had, for an old lady, a good deal to carry.
Very soon now the stiff bands of the crinoline were to relieve
ladies of their outrageous burden.  Judith was wearing a dress of
grey taffeta with twelve flounces all of a dark shade of green.
Out of this 'like a lily-stem out of a flower-tub' rose her dark-
green bodice with pagoda sleeves and a very lovely white lace
collar (this last a present from Sylvia Herries the preceding
Christmas).  Her only concession to her years was her white lace
cap.  Her small, alert, vigorous body carried its cumbrous clothes
with grace and ease; her eyes sparkled like little fires.  She had,
as she had always had, an air of crystalline spotlessness.  The
muslins, the collar, the cap were new minted as though direct, that
minute, from some most perfect laundry.  And so in fact they were.
Everything was laundered in the house and Mrs Kaplan the
housekeeper (Judith's slave) saw that all was perfection.

They were rich now at Uldale.  Dorothy had money from Bellairs and
her portion of Herries money.  Judith's own investments, shares in
Liverpool concerns inherited from David Herries, land and property
round Uldale excellently supervised for many years by Rackstraw,
all mounted to an income well beyond their needs.  Judith had no
desire for wealth, but she liked to have everything handsome about
her.  Everything WAS handsome.  On this lovely March morning Uldale
glistened like a jewel.

She went her rounds of the house, tapping with her stick and
humming a tune.  She visited everything, the high-ceilinged
kitchen, pantry, servants' hall, housekeeper's room complete with
black cat, work-basket and flowered footstool.  Then, perhaps,
after the dairy the place that she loved best, the still-room.
Here were cakes, jams, preserves made; here was the china washed
and the dessert set out.  Then the lamp-room, the store-room, the
meat-larder where were the weighing machine and the great pickling
jars.  Then the wood and coal stores, the laundry, the pump-room
and the dairy.  She stayed for an especial time this morning in the
kitchen, for its brick-floored spaciousness bathed in sun was
exceedingly pleasant.  She stood there, smiling at the maids,
leaning on her stick, looking at the roasting-spits, the Dutch
oven, the chopping-block, the sugar-nippers, the coffee-grinder,
the pot and pan racks, everything shining, gleaming, glittering as
though active and happy with conscious, individual life.

All was good; all was well; still humming her tune she went out on
to the sunlit lawn to find John and Elizabeth.

For a moment she looked back at the house--dear house to whose
safety and comfort she had, through all her long life, returned
again and again.  There had been terrible hours here.  She could
see David Herries fallen, stricken on this very lawn, she could
catch again Sarah Herries' distracted glance, could see Jennifer
waiting for her lover, Francis' mad return and frantic exit, the
rioters and poor Reuben's slaughter, her own tragic surrender of
Watendlath, the Christmas party and the fracas with Walter.  There
had been every kind of tragedy, farce, drama here; birth, death,
ruin, love, humour, light easy days, pain and laughter.  She had
come through it all, as one always did come through if one kept on
patiently enough, did not take oneself too seriously, saw the
sequence of event, of change, decay and birth in proper proportion.
One came through to this sunlight, to this lovely landscape, this
quiet English calm; then, turning, she saw that John was walking
towards her and, with that quick intuition that she always had,
wondered instantly whether after all the tale was told, whether
there were not a number more of chapters to be added.

For John was alone and, she saw at once, in trouble.  She had never
quite understood John.  She had loved Francis, his father, but had
never understood him either.  The alarms, fears, superstitions,
doubts of those two were foreign to her direct sensible nature.
The part of her that had shared them she had deliberately killed.

John's slim, upright body, his pale hair, beautiful almost feminine
features, had always marked him apart from other men.  She thought,
as she saw him approach her:  'John will never be out of trouble.
He will never know what it is to rest.'

He came straight up to her and, his voice quivering a little, said:

'Aunt Judith.  I have told Elizabeth I am going up to Ireby.'

She was astonished.  A long grey shadow seemed to fall across the
sunny lawn.

'Yes.  Didn't you know?  He has written her a letter: that
scoundrel Peach brought it half an hour ago.'

'A letter?'

'Yes.  Here it is.'

He handed her a large sheet of paper scrawled over in Walter's big
clumsy hand.

DEAR ELIZABETH--As a dutiful daughter you are to pay me a visit.
If you don't come of yourself I shall fetch you.  Your loving

                                               WALTER HERRIES

'Loving father!' said Judith, her voice shaking with anger.  'What

'Yes.  But of course Elizabeth mustn't go.  She wished it, and I
forbade her even to think of it.  But _I_ am going--and at once.'

As she looked at him he was again the small boy when the nurse had
thrown the rabbit out of the window.  He stood there, his head up,
his nostrils quivering (exaggerated pictures of him, she thought,
but spiritually true), like a high-bred horse, defiant but afraid
of the whip because of the catastrophe that a contact might bring.
She, too, was afraid of some disaster.  She knew, as she looked at
him, that she had always been afraid of it for him.

'No.  Don't you go, John.  I'll pay him a visit.  I've been wishing
to for weeks.'

'Nonsense,' John said roughly.  Then, recovering himself, added:
'Pardon me, Aunt Judith.  I didn't intend to be rude, but this is
MY affair.  You must see that it is--'

She did not attempt to stop him after this, but only sighed to
herself as she saw him mount his bay, wave his riding-whip to her,
turning with that charming, rather weak, altogether lovable smile
that was so like his father's that it always made her heart ache.

Where would this thing end, she thought, as she entered the house.
When had it begun?--back, back, maybe to the days when her father
had been a wild young man and sold his woman at the Fair, an old
eternal quarrel between beauty and ugliness, normality and
abnormality, sense and nonsense--a quarrel born, as all quarrels
are in this world, of jealousy and fear.  But she did not care for
philosophy; she took things as they came, and what immediately came
now when she entered the house was a quarrel with Dorothy, who
wished to buy a sofa covered with wool-work and fringed with beads
that she had seen in Carlisle.  To buy this monstrosity and place
it in the parlour instead of the lovely old one that had the red

'But it's all the mode!' cried Dorothy.  The Osmastons have wool-
work everywhere.'

'They may,' said Judith grimly, 'but so long as I'm up and about
that sofa remains in the parlour.  Why, I was resting my hand on it
when I came to the most important decision of my life.'  Then she
added as she tapped away on her stick:  'It's all Prince Albert and
his German taste.  I detest the man.'

Meanwhile John rode down the road towards Ireby.  It suited his
mood that the sky became overcast as he reached the bottom of the
Ireby hill.  On his left a bubble of seething little white clouds
rose on the Skiddaw ridge, and other clouds rushed up to the sun
and, with gestures of sulky annoyance, swallowed it.  He HATED
himself for this fear that had seized all his bones like water.
The very thought of Uhland made him sick.  But perhaps Uhland would
not be there.  He did not mind Walter at all; he was simply a
gross, quarrelsome, bad-mannered fool.  His thoughts went back to
that day in his childhood when, with Adam, he had watched Walter on
the moor.  He had been afraid then, but he saw now that it had been
Uhland's shadow behind Walter that had, like a prophecy, frightened
him.  He had been afraid of Uhland before he was born.

He tried now, as he rode slowly up the hill, to formulate that
fear, to bring it into the open.  But it would not come.  That was
the awful thing about it.  When he forced himself to think of
Uhland, or was compelled to do so, he saw him as a shapeless,
boneless animal emitting some sickening odour, as one sees a
creature in a dream, lurking in shadow in a dank cave or the corner
of a cellar, or behind a stone.  The hide-and-seek that Uhland had
played with him now for so long had introduced into his own soul
and body some sickly element, so that, at times, he believed that
Uhland was some part of himself--that part we all have, hidden,
shameful, lurking.  There was nothing shameful in his life except
this one cowardice.  In everything else he was brave, and so all
the more did he feel this one exception to be real.

He raised his head as he saw the grey stone house squatting, in its
trees, on the top of the hill.  Today he would force this thing
into the open; it should skulk, just out of touch and feeling, no

He tied his horse to the wall outside the garden and walked up the
flagged path to the door.  Stone frowned at him everywhere.

The gardens were trim but dead.  It was late March, and the
daffodils were in full golden flood under the rosy Uldale walls.
Here, too, beneath the dark trees beyond the flowerbeds they flamed
in little cups of fire, but the garden itself was black and gritty.
As John stood there banging the knocker of the door, the whole
place leered down on him.

It was not that it was so large, but that it was so dead.  The
windows had no faces, the stone turrets were like clenched fists,
and worst of all, there was no sound at all anywhere.

At Uldale there was always sound--laughter, singing, running water
and the light chatter of birds.  He wondered, above the beating of
his heart, that there was not a bird singing in the Ireby gardens.

At last there was a creaking of bolts and the door slowly opened.
An old bent man whom John had never seen before stood there; he had
bow legs and was dressed in the style of thirty years earlier,
black worsted stockings, black knee-breeches, a rather soiled
neckerchief, and a dull brown tye-wig that cocked a little over one
eye.  He had a tooth missing, and his words whistled through his

'Is Mr Walter Herries at home?' John asked.

'If you'll wait I'll see,' said the old man, looking out into the
garden as though he expected to see a lion rooting up the bulbs.
'What name shall I say?'

'Mr John Herries.'

His mind seemed to be on other things as he ambled away, leaving
John in the hall.  The hall was stony and bare.  There was a
fireplace with grinning fire-dogs and a large stand hung with heavy
coats and stacked with whips.  There was no carpet on the stone
that struck the feet icily.  He stood there, wondering whether the
old man would not forget him, when a green baize door to his left
opened and a woman came out.  She was not young but not old either,
and very extravagantly dressed in a Russian short jacket of gold
brocade figured with bunches of flowers in coloured silks.  Her
skirt had so many flounces that she appeared to be robed ten times
over.  She wore a bonnet lined with rosebuds, and her cheeks were
rosebuds too, only extremely artificial, for John had never seen a
lady more brightly painted.  This brilliant person brushed past him
as though he were not there, and she was swearing like a trooper.
She turned towards the stairs and shouted:

'Hell take your meanness, Walter!'

She was so angry that she stared at John without seeing him.

As though from nowhere a very large stout man in a nightcap and a
rich flowered dressing-gown appeared on the stairs.  He was
grinning, his nightshirt was open at the neck and he carried a very
small brown hairy dog in one hand by the scruff of its neck.  Very
good-humouredly he called out, leaning with his free hand on the
banister:  'Au revoir, my dearest,' and threw the dog to the lady.
John started forward, but the lady was quicker, caught the dog with
wonderful dexterity, and rushed from the house, banging the door
behind her.

Walter wiped his large hands in a handkerchief that very
deliberately he took from his dressing-gown.  He was about to
vanish when John called out:

'Cousin Walter.'

He peered forward down into the dark hall.

'Hullo.  Who's there?' he asked.

'John Herries.  I wish to have a word with you.'

Walter came slowly down the stairs, drawing his dressing-gown about
him, his slippers tip-tapping.  He came right up to John and bent
forward, peering at him.

'Oh, it's you, is it?' he said at last.  'Where's my daughter?'

He was very clean-shaved, and his cheeks, round and rosy, shone
like a baby's and smelt freshly of some scent.  His face was fat,
but his neck and exposed chest were white and firm.  His mouth,
eyes, and thin hair protruding from the night-cap gave him the look
of age, for he was only fifteen years older than John in reality,
but looked quite of another generation.  His body was of great size
and had a balloon-like appearance under the dressing-gown.

'May I speak to you?' asked John.

'You may,' said Walter quite amiably.  'Come upstairs.'

John mounted after him, and Walter led the way into a room that was
as untidy and uncomfortable as a room could be.  There was a
spitting, smoky little fire in the grate; a carpet, red with a buff
pattern and a large tear, in front of the fireplace; two pier-
glasses; a wool-work ottoman and a large harp leaning against the
wall.  The room smelt of caraway-seed and was very close.

Walter, his legs stretched, stood in front of the fireplace and
motioned John to a seat.

'If you're cold,' he said, 'I can't help it.  Didn't know you were
coming.  Have a brandy.'

'No, thank you,' said John, turning his hat round and round in his

'Well, what do you want now that you are here?'

'You wrote a letter to my wife.  I am here to answer it.'

Walter scratched his head under his night-cap and grinned.  Then he
sat down in a large faded green leather chair and stretched out his
thick hairy legs, kicking off one slipper and crinkling up his

'Forgive my attire, Cousin John,' he said.  'That bitch of a woman
put me out this morning--and now I've put HER out.'  He threw his
head back and laughed.  'Have a brandy.  Pray, have a brandy,' he
said again.

'No, I thank you,' said John very ceremoniously.

'Well, I will.'  He pulled an old red worsted bell-rope and so
still was the house that the clang of the bell could be heard
echoing, echoing into eternity.  'Now then,' he said, 'why isn't my
daughter here?'

'She is not here, neither is she coming.'

'Well, that's straight enough.  But she IS coming if I want her.'

'You have no sort of right to her,' John answered hotly.  He was
glad if he was getting angry.  That made him less conscious of the
silent house, less aware of his own anticipation of Uhland's

'And why have I no right?  I'm her father, aren't I?'

'You ill-treated her, and then when she ran away because she was so
miserable you made no kind of inquiry as to her whereabouts.  She
might have died for all you cared.'

Walter yawned, scratched his breast, leaned forward, shaking a

'Look you here, Cousin John.  Let me tell you something.  You are
in danger, you are.  It began with your mother, who was impertinent
to my mother.  I gave her a warning, but she wouldn't listen, and I
frightened her into her grave.  When she was gone I warned you that
you'd better be after her--all of you.  But you wouldn't take the
warning, and, more than that, you have the damned impertinence to
marry my daughter--'gainst my wishes too.  I don't bear you a
grudge.  I don't bear anyone in this world a grudge except my old
father who goes cohabiting with a woman young enough to be his
daughter and gets a child by her.  Disgustin'--simply disgustin'.
No, I don't wish you ill, but I've been telling the lot of you
these years back to move out of Uldale, and you will not listen.
You are in danger, Cousin John, and if you won't drink a brandy
like a gentleman you'd better be off.  I've had an irritating time
already this morning, and I don't want another.'

'You needn't think,' said John, getting up, 'that we are afraid of
you.  We know all the dirty little games you've been playing,
putting Peach on to rob and spy, bribing the servants, but it
doesn't affect us, not an atom.'

'Does it not?' said Walter cheerfully.  'No, because you've that
old woman in the house.  She's a hard-plucked one, she is.  I've
been fighting her for years, and upon my soul there is no one in
the world I admire more.  But it won't go on for ever, you know.
Dear me, no.  There'll be a nasty family crisis one of these days.
You can tell the old lady so.'

The old bow-legged man with the brown wig arrived with a bottle and
two glasses.  Walter filled one tumbler half full and drank it off.

'That's better,' he said.  'And now you'd better be going.'

He got up and shuffled his great body across the room, yawning,
scratching his back, his night-cap tilted over one ear.

'Dam' bitch,' he said.  'I wish I'd broken the bones of that dog.'
He kicked the harp with the toe of his slipper.  That was her
doing,' he said, jerking his head.  Thought she could play on it.
Forced me to order the thing from Carlisle . . .'  He swung round
at the door.

'Uhland hates you, you know,' he said, grinning like a schoolboy.
'Hates you like a poison.  Don't know why.  Always has.'

John said nothing.

In the passage Walter said:

'Ever been over this house?  Chilly place.  Draughty as hell.'  He
threw open a double door.  This was the salon where the fine
opening Ball had been given.  Here were the tapestries, and the
decorations, hanging garlands and the dazzling stars of heaven.
But the floor was filmed with dust, there was a large patch in the
gilded ceiling, a corner of the tapestry flapped drearily against
the wall, a chair was overturned, and there were bird-droppings on
the long windowsill.

'Fine room,' said Walter.  Then, closing the doors behind him, he
said:  'There are rooms and rooms in this place.  Too many rooms.'

Somewhere a dog was howling and a door banged, monotonously, like a

'Goodbye, then,' said Walter, nodding.  'I am sure I don't know why
you came.'

'I came in answer to your letter.'

'Ah, yes.  Well, it's my daughter I wish to see.  No one else.'

'I came to tell you that.  That she will not come.'

'Yes.'  He nodded.  'She will, though--if I want her.  Damn that
dog.  There's no peace in this house.'  He shuffled off,
disappearing quite suddenly.  And he was replaced, for John,
hearing a sound, looked to the left, and there on the stone step of
a little winding stair stood Uhland..

He said nothing.  He was dressed in black, with a single flashing
diamond in his stock.  He said nothing, he turned back up the
staircase, tapping with his stick.  And John followed him.  The
silence of the house, broken only by the distant yapping of the
dog, compelled him, and the film of dust that seemed to be floating
everywhere in the house compelled him.  But he went because he was
ashamed not to go; the fear that so maliciously squeezed his heart
would mock at him all his life long if he did not go.  And he went
because Uhland wanted him to go.

At the top of the little stone staircase the tapping stick led him
through an open door into Uhland's room.  This was furnished with a
four-poster, a parrot in a cage, a sheepdog lying on the floor by
the window, a grand view straight down the hillside to Uldale, a
bookcase, a pair of foils and a bare shabby table and two old brown

Uhland stood in the middle of the room and looked at him.

'And pray what have you come for?' he asked him.

They faced one another for the first time, as it seemed, for many
years, and even now John could not bring this face and body to any
definite terms.  It was indistinct, floating in dust, wavering into
space.  The room smelt of animals, the bed was unmade, the sheets
tossed about.  The sheepdog paid them no attention, but slowly
licked a paw that was wrapped in very fresh white linen.

John was not indistinct to Uhland.  He hated, as he looked, every
particle of him; the high aristocratic carriage of his head, his
gentle amiable eyes, his handsome clothes and, most of all, he both
hated and loved his fear of himself.  He drew lines with his stick
on the worn dusty carpet.

'What have you come for?' he asked again.

John's words stuck in his throat; he could not help himself.  It
may have been the close air and animal smell.  He forced himself,
as though he were beating with his foot on the floor, to speak.

'I came to see your father about a private affair,' he said at
last.  'But now I am here I should wish to know what the hell you
mean by following me, spying on me in London and elsewhere during
these last years?'

'Ah, you've noticed that, have you?' said Uhland.

They both knew that it would need only a gesture, a careless
movement, for them to be at one another's throats.  If Uhland had
not been lame, John must have sprung forward, and oh! the relief
that that would be, the clearing away, as one sweeps off cobwebs,
of years of dreams, nightmares, shame and terror.  But he could not
touch a cripple, and, more than that, as Uhland drew lines with his
stick on the floor, he seemed to place a barrier between them.

'Well,' Uhland said, 'it has amused me to make you uncomfortable.
You are such a coward, so poor a creature, that anything can
frighten you.  And you had the impertinence to marry my sister.'

'If you were not lame,' said John, 'I would show you whether I am a
coward or no.'

'Ah, don't allow that to stop you.  Lame though I am, I can look
after myself.  You have always been a coward.  Everyone knows it.'

'If you were not Elizabeth's brother--'

'Another excuse.'

John drew a deep breath.  He could not help himself, but this thick
close air made the room swing about him.  Uhland's stick hypnotized

'I'll show you--' he began.  'If I am disturbed by you any more I
shall forget your weakness and make you sorry you were ever born.
I've warned you.  I won't warn you again.'

He turned to go.  He saw the dog raise its head, heard the parrot
scratch the bars, then knew that the closeness of the room gripped
his windpipe, darkened his eyes.  The floor swirled up like a wave
and struck him.  He fainted, sinking limply back against the legs
of the chair.

Uhland looked at him, hesitated, then went to the washing-basin,
fetched the jug and bent down, his arm under John's body, splashing
his forehead with the water.

He had John's body in his arms.  He put his hand beneath his shirt
and felt the smooth firm warm skin above the heart.  He drew the
body close to his own, and his long thin fingers passed over the
face, the neck, the open shirt.  His own heart was beating
tumultuously.  With one hand he very gently bathed the forehead
just as he bathed one of his wounded animals, with the other he
pressed his fingers on the mouth, felt the warm lips under his
touch, stroked the strong throat, looking always into the eyes.

His hand pressed more intently on the mouth; then he shuddered
through all his body.  He saw that John's eyes were slowly, dazedly
opening, so he drew away, letting the other collapse against the
chair.  He got up, threw a look about the room, and, very quietly,
went out.


'I am as excited as a child,' said Judith.

'You ARE a child,' answered Dorothy severely.  'Do wrap your shawl
more closely or you will catch the most dreadful chill.'

'Chill--pooh!' said Judith, leaning over the edge of Will's most
handsome carriage that she might see the better an extraordinary
Frenchman in beard, felt hat and full pantaloons.

They had come to London to stay with Will for the opening of the
Great Exhibition.

Long before their departure from Cumberland the Exhibition had
penetrated their seclusion.  For weeks and weeks no one in Keswick,
Bassenthwaite, Cockermouth, Buttermere Valley, Penrith or anywhere
else had had any other thought but of the Exhibition and the
possibilities of a visit to London.  Old Bennett, for example, had
received from somewhere in London a plan of a monster lodging-house
that would be designed to 'put up' at least a thousand souls from
the country at one and the same time 'for one and three per night',
and for this small sum each and every person was to be provided
'with bedstead, good wool mattress, sheets, blankets and coverlet;
with soap, towels and every accommodation for ablution, a surgeon
to attend at nine o'clock every morning and instantly remove all
cases of infectious disease'; there was to be 'a smoking room,
detached from the main building, where a band of music was to play
every evening, gratis' and 'cold roast and boiled beef and mutton,
and ditto ditto sausages and bacon, and pickles, salads and fruit
pies (when to be procured) were to be furnished at fixed prices',
all the dormitories were to be 'well lighted with gas'; to secure
the complete privacy of the occupants they were 'to be watched over
by efficient wardens and police constables', and finally, 'the
proprietor pledged himself that every care should be taken to
ensure the comfort, convenience and STRICT DISCIPLINE of so large a

What could be fairer than that?  Everyone was going.  On a certain
morning almost the whole of Uldale and Ireby villages departed in
carts and carriages for the 'Travellers' Train' at Cockermouth.
Others journeyed to Carlisle and met the train for London there.
For hundreds of persons round and about Judith's little world this
was the first real journey of their lives.

And it was, in fact, oddly enough, Dorothy's first train journey
too.  She was never one to allow her emotions to get the better of
her, but she did cry a little as she left Timothy, Veronica, Amabel
and Jane to the rotund Miss Meredith.  She had never before been
absent from them for a single day, but Miss Meredith was 'the
safest person in the world', nothing could have appeared more
secure that morning than the Uldale lawns and rosy walls happy
under the soft April sun.  When, at the station, she beheld the
porters in their green velveteen jackets, heard the engines
fizzling, and the large bells announcing the coming of a train that
soon arrived, bumping and groaning as though in fearful agony;
when, safely in their carriage, they were entertained by a stout
gentleman with the grandest whiskers who warned them in a voice,
husky and urgent, about the perils of London--the cracksmen, the
rampsmen, the snorzers and thimble-screwers, all these exciting
varieties of pickpockets and murderers--when at last arriving in
the Metropolis and waiting outside the station for their luggage to
be brought to them, there occurred, 'under their very noses, just
as though they were in a theatre', a 'school of acrobats', and an
'equilibrist' spun plates high in air, balanced burning paper-bags
on his chin, and caught cannon-balls in a cup on the top of his
head--why, then Dorothy forgot her children entirely and
surrendered completely to her adventure.

She had thought that her main occupation in London would be to take
care of Judith, but she very quickly discovered that Judith took
care not only of her but of everyone else in her company.

During the first evening at the house in Hill Street, Judith put
the second Lady Herries in her proper place in exactly five
minutes.  She laughed at her, pinched her chin and exhorted her
thus:  'Now you mustn't mind me, my dear.  I'm seventy-seven years
of age and nothing ails me.  Wonderful, isn't it?  I need no
looking-after.  I came to London as a very young girl and was not
at all alarmed by it, so it's most unlikely that I shall be alarmed
by it now.  I knew Will long before you were born--that is the
prettiest cashmere, my dear; where DID you discover it?--yes, and
Will knows me too, do you not, Will?  So you are not to disturb
yourself about me.  I shall have EVERYTHING I want, I am certain.
And now, may I not see little Ellis?  I am dying for a sight of

Dorothy perceived that no one in the large cold house had anything
of Judith's fire and vitality, and that that same fire burnt only
quietly at Uldale.  She realized for the first time how much of her
personality Judith subdued in the country, and how patient Judith
had often been with herself and her children.

'Judith is a marvellous woman,' said Will that evening.  'More
marvellous every time I see her.'

'Yes,' said Dorothy meekly.

That was Will's opinion of Judith; Judith's opinion of Will was
that he was pathetic.  Will was eighty-one years of age and could
only go out for an airing, sitting in his carriage, wrapped up like
a mummy and with someone at his side to blow his nose, see that his
feet were warm and that his hat was on straight.  This 'someone'
was never Lady Herries, but rather his attendant, Robins, a thin,
severe, black-haired man of very religious principles.  Lady
Herries paid no attention to her husband whatever.  She made a sort
of a show on the first night of Judith's visit, gave him his pills
and wrapped a shawl around his shoulders, but after that the
virtuous Robins did everything, cutting his meat for him, pouring
him his wine and suddenly remarking sternly:  'No, Sir William.  No
potatoes.  They are forbidden.'

However, Will did not seem greatly to care.  Judith was astonished
at his subservience.  Was this the stern and austere Will who had
commanded so implacably poor weak-jointed Christabel?  'Shall I be
like that soon?' thought Judith.  'I prefer death.'

But Will did not care, because he had one constant, eager,
unceasing preoccupation--'little Ellis'.  Little Ellis was now
eight years of age and as small and wizened a boy as you would be
likely to find.  He was accounted exceedingly sharp, had a moneybox
into which he was constantly putting sixpences, and inquired the
price of everything.  Will thought him wonderful and quite frankly
now spoke of Walter and Uhland as ungrateful wretches.

He saw Judith as Walter's principal aggravator and this made him
admire her more than ever.  He liked to dilate on the riches that
he was leaving Ellis--Walter was not to have a penny, nor Uhland,
'that surly peevish cripple', anything either.  John and Elizabeth,
however, were to receive a good legacy.  Elizabeth he now loved.
He had her to the house whenever he was able, and she, better than
anyone else, seemed to understand and comfort him.

Of his wife he never spoke, but his allusions to 'poor, good
Christabel' gave Judith to understand that ghosts can, once and
again, have their proper revenge.

Now that it was clear that Will would not live much longer, visits
of members of the Herries family to Hill Street were frequent.  It
was not that they were greedy: they cared neither for money nor
poverty.  But Will was now the most important member of their
family, and the death of an important Herries was, in their eyes, a
world affair.  Carey Rockage, James Herries (a most tiresome and
pompous old bore of seventy-two), Stephen Newmark (who considered
himself a Herries and then something), Amery, Fred Ormerod (cousin
by marriage of Monty Cards and a gay, drinking bachelor), Bradley
Cards (a nephew of Jennifer's), Tim Trenchard (a busybody cousin of
Garth's and Amery's), all these men with wives, daughters and
appendages drove up to Hill Street, left cards, came and sat in the
long, dreary drawing-room and asked Lady Herries to receptions.

Of them all Judith liked best to see Sylvia.  She had loved Sylvia
from the moment of their first meeting and she loved her still,
although the beautiful, bright, impertinent girl she had first
known was now a weary, over-painted, discontented middle-aged
woman.  Sylvia had been fighting too long the battle of living
above your means.  Had it been her lot to have married a man of
large and assured fortune she would have been a brilliant and
successful leader of Society and, at the last, a contentedly
reminiscent old lady.  But Garth was a cheerful, corruptible
vagabond.  They had neither of them morals nor honesty.  They had
stolen, cheated, lied all their lives long, always without any
desire to hurt or damage, but hurt and damage they had--first their
friends and acquaintances, last of all themselves.  Moreover, the
London that now surrounded them was not their own; the raffish,
speculating, bouncing world of the Thirties was succeeded now by
the serious, earnest, virtuous and hypocritical world of the
Fifties.  To be fair to Sylvia and Garth, they did not know how to
be hypocritical, nor did they think it good manners to be earnest.
So they were shabby and left-behind and out at heels.

Sylvia wept on Judith's bosom; the paint ran down her cheeks, and
before she left she accepted ten pounds from Judith with a
readiness that showed that every day of her life she was accepting
small sums from someone.

Elizabeth had one talk with Judith that disturbed her greatly.
Elizabeth was now thirty-six but was as remotely lovely as she had
ever been.  That delicate bloom and fragrance belonged to her
still.  On the afternoon of this talk she was wearing a costume of
the new 'crystallized' gauze so that she seemed the floating cloud
to which ladies at that time were so fond of comparing themselves.
She was quite unaware of her loveliness: Judith, watching her with
sharp, practised eyes, thought that it was as though she lived
under a glass bell with John, everything and everybody shut away
from them.  And she was very unhappy about him.

'He cannot sleep at night,' she said.  'He thinks that I am not
awake and he talks to himself.  He slips out of bed very quietly
and goes into the other room and walks about.  I am so frightened,
Aunt Judith.'

Judith kissed her, held her hand, but there was always something
stiffly independent about Elizabeth.  She asked for help but
refused to accept it.  Also she loved John, Judith thought, too
deeply for it to be healthy.

'Is he worrying about your father?'

'I suppose so--or rather it is Uhland.  Uhland obsesses him, and
since he went up to Ireby that day last year it has been worse.'

'Well, my dear child, I've been fighting your father for years and
am none the worse.  John should see this sensibly.'

'But it seems like something in his blood, something inside
himself.  As though he were pursued by Uhland.  It is a fantasy,
Aunt Judith--not real at all.  After all, what can Uhland do?'

'His father had the same, and his great-grandfather; something that
would never let them alone.  Well,' Judith sighed impatiently, 'I
cannot understand it.  I never could.  When there's a difficulty or
a danger, face it.  Don't run away from it.'

'John does face it,' Elizabeth answered indignantly.  'You must not
think he is a coward, Aunt Judith.  He's tremendously brave in
everything--but this is like a sickness.'

Judith nodded her head; there were two worlds, she knew, and unless
you found the connexion between them you never found peace.  Once
she had herself had to make a choice.  She had made it and was now
the old woman she was in consequence.

Then she found that it was a very fine thing to give cheap advice
to others, but that she had her own trouble to face.  Her trouble--
one that she had never expected nor considered--was that she was
plunged, willy-nilly, into a sea of jealousy about Adam.  Willy-
nilly because, cry out as she might, refuse to be, at her age, so
mean and small and petty, there she was in it up to the neck.

Adam had of course been the great central fact of her visit to
London.  To see the Great Exhibition certainly, but to see it with
Adam.  To lean on Adam's strong arm everywhere, to have the
delicious intimate little talks with him, simply the two of them
alone in her room, that had been for many years now her greatest
happiness in life, to feel, above all, that no one had the close
relationship with him that she herself had.  It was not that she
wished to shut Margaret out.  She was neither so selfish nor so
stupid.  Moreover, she had fought that battle before and had won a
victory.  But her later life had been built up on the absolute
intimacy of herself and her son, an intimacy that no one and
nothing could break.  She was, however, becoming greedy, greedy
of her vitality, her uniqueness.  She was 'Madame', the most
marvellous old lady in Cumberland and, if she wished, the most
marvellous old lady in London.  This was nothing in her as cheap
and petty as conceit, but the sort of amused triumph we all feel
when we are clever at a game.  All this was on the surface, but her
very soul was possessed by her love for Adam.  No one knew how deep
that went.  She had only loved two people in all her life, her
husband and her son, but she loved them like a tigress.  At the
same time she had human enough wisdom and tolerance enough to keep
the tigress behind bars.

Never before had her relationship with Adam been threatened as it
was now.  She perceived at once that the reason of it was the
sudden and violent death of Margaret's father.  She had not known
of the scene between Margaret and Adam that Christmastime at
Uldale.  That would have informed her yet further had she been
aware of it.  But since Caesar Kraft's death she had seen very
little of Adam and Margaret.  They had paid only one brief visit to
Uldale.  She was quite unprepared for this change.

It was not that Adam was not as devoted as ever.  He was there at
Hill Street to meet her on the first evening.  When they were alone
in her room, he took her in his arms and hugged and kissed her as
though he would never let her go.

'Why, how strong you are, Adam!' she cried, laughing and crying and
happy as a queen.  It was after this that she perceived that his
thoughts were always on Margaret.  HE was of course as silent as
ever, but her first sight of Margaret told her that there was here
a new assurance and certainty.  Margaret possessed Adam now and was
quietly radiant because of it.  They had three rooms in Pimlico.
Adam wrote for the papers, knew Dickens and John Forster, Yates and
Wilkie Collins.  He was not of the writing world, stayed quietly
outside it, made few friends, but made those few firmly.  He wrote
considerably about politics, reviewed books a little, and said
cheerfully to his mother that the only things he really wanted to
write were fairy stories.

'Fairy stories!' Judith cried, looking at Adam's stocky, thickset
frame and ugly unromantic countenance.

'Don't be afraid, Mother,' he said, laughing.  'I shall never write
them.  I must earn our bread and butter, but a good fairy story--
there must be a handsome satisfaction in writing a good fairy

This was nonsense of course, so she told him sharply, but it
annoyed her that Margaret should think it quite a natural thing for
him to do.  'Yes,' Margaret explained, 'he has found real life so
very absurd.'

'Nonsense,' Judith answered.  'I never listened to such stuff.
Fairy stories!  A man like Adam!  Why, he has a chest like a

She soon discovered that her relations with her son and daughter-in-
law were complicated by her advancing years.  She was a wonderful
old lady, but she could not do as she used to do.  She took her
breakfast in bed every morning and did not rise until midday.  She
was forced to confess that she returned to Hill Street exceedingly
weary after her shopping expeditions.  It was necessary, therefore,
for Adam and Margaret to come to her rather than that she should go
to them, and she thought that Margaret accompanied her husband too

Being direct and honest, she immediately said so.

'My dear boy, I am in London for a very brief visit.  I have one
foot in the grave.  I love Margaret, of course, but I love you

He said nothing (he never did say anything), but he came alone.
Then she fancied that he was thinking of Margaret and wishing that
he were with her.

She would interrupt some Cumberland piece of gossip with a sharp:
'Now, Adam, you are not attending.  You are thinking of Margaret.'

Jealousy began to mount in her as the tide swells a sea-pool.  She
slept now but badly, and before had not minded that, for she would
lie and think of the old days, of Georges and Reuben and Charlie
Watson and Warren, Adam's father, until the room seemed crowded
with their figures; but now she could think of nothing but Adam,
and, with the fantastic exaggeration that the night hours give, she
would beat her thin little hands together and cry to herself that
she had lost him for ever, that she was a miserable, deserted old
woman, and that she might as well die.  It was then that her
poignant despair at the choice that so many years ago she had made
for the sake of Jennifer, John and Dorothy, would strike her like a
voice of doom.

'Ah! if I had but gone with Adam to Watendlath he would have been
mine for ever!'

But in the daylight she was by far too sensible and blessed with
too strong a sense of humour to tolerate such obvious melodrama.
She laughed at herself, her fears, her selfishness.  Nevertheless
her jealousy mounted.  She was as sweet as Tennyson's Miller's
Daughter to Margaret, but Margaret was not deceived.  The trouble
with both Margaret and Adam was that they were so quiet.  You could
not tell what they were truly thinking!

Poor Judith!  Jealousy is from the Devil.  It was hard for her that
she should have to fight her first real battle with him at so
advanced an age!

The Great Day approached.  The Great Day arrived!

But the whole of London was by this time an Exhibition.  Foreigners
were everywhere--Germans, Turks, Americans, French and even
Chinamen.  On every side amusements were springing up, M. Alexis
Soyer opened his Restaurant of All the Nations, there was 'the
Black Band of His Majesty of Tsjaddi with a hundred additional
bones', the Musicians of Tongoose, the Troubadours of Far
Vancouver, the Theban Brothers, and the most celebrated Band of
Robbers from the Desert.  Barnum provided a splendid entertainment,
whereby for a rather costly ticket a guest was provided with 'a
bed, a boudoir and a banquet, together with one hour's use per diem
of a valet and a private chaplain, free admission to theatrical
green-rooms, a seat in the House of Commons, and a cigar on the
Bench of Judges'.  Mr Catlin reopened his Indian Exhibition, and Mr
Wyld would take you on the 'Grand Tour of Europe', or a visit to
Australia or New Zealand for threepence a time.

But it was enough for Judith and Dorothy simply to view the crowds
in the streets.  The road to the Crystal Palace was an amazing
scene.  Trains of wagons lengthened far away, like an Eastern
caravan, each waiting for its turn to be unloaded.  Omnibuses,
carriages, carts, barrows congested the road.  The public houses,
of which there were a great number, hung out gay and patriotic
flags, and their doors were crowded with loafers, soldiers, beggars
and women with shawls over their heads.  Along the pavement were
lined the hawkers shouting their wares, trays filled with bright
silvery-seeming medals of the Exhibition, pictures of it printed in
gold on 'gelatine cards', many barrows with ginger-beer, oranges
and nuts.

Along Rotten Row troops of riders galloped noiselessly over the
loose soft ground at the rear of the Crystal Palace, while in front
of it an interminable line of carriages crawled slowly past.  Close
to the rails were mobs of spectators on tip-toe, their necks
outstretched, seeking glimpses of progress.  All along the building
were ladders with painters perched high upon them and walking on
the crystal covering which miraculously sustained them.  At the end
of the building were steam-engines puffing clouds of steam, and
amid the wreckage of thousands of packing-cases were giant blocks
of granite, huge lumps of coal, great anchors, the ruins of a
prehistoric world.  The noise, confusion, turmoil--who, asked
Dorothy, could describe them?  She was given to platitudes, and
irritated Judith by insisting that 'such chaos is an emblem of
man's energy working to a just end'.  The Exhibition in fact turned
her head a little spiritually, and made her so deeply proud of
being a Herries that she seemed to walk like a goddess.  All the
Herries felt the same, that the Exhibition was their especial work
and Queen Victoria the head of the family.

On the Great Day itself, the First of May, the heart of London beat
with a pride and exaltation that was to affect the country for at
least another fifty years.

Judith, Dorothy, Lady Herries, little Ellis, Adam, Margaret, John
and Elizabeth had, all of them, thanks to old Will's power and
position, splendid seats for the opening ceremony.

They started early, and that was wise, for the carriage was soon
involved in a long, wearisome procession of carriages from whose
windows every kind of bonnet and hat was poking and shrill feminine
voices exclaiming:  'But this is monstrous!  We shall miss the
Queen!  It is really too bad!'

John and Elizabeth were to join the others inside the building and
were already there when Lady Herries, dressed in a magnificent
purple bonnet and superb cashmere shawl, her head very much up, led
in her little procession.  Judith came last, leaning on Adam's arm.

They had excellent places, and the Sight, the Vision, the Glory--
this, as Dorothy remarked, 'exceeded all Expectations and showed
what Man could do when guided by the Divine Will'.  (Dorothy was
not, in her normal Cumberland domesticity, in the least like this.
'You are a little over-excited, my dear,' Judith had told her that

Yes, it was superb!  Their seats were in one of the galleries, the
galleries planted like flower-gardens with bonnets of pink, yellow
and white.  The Great Central Glory was the Glass Fountain.  Of
this Archdeacon Rodney Herries' son, Captain William Herries, RN,
wrote in his A Jolly Tar's Capers (Weston and Mary, 1895):  'This
glorious fountain in the centre of the building, shining, as the
sun's rays came slanting down upon it through the crystal roof, as
if it had been carved out of icicles, or as if the water streaming
from the fountain had been made suddenly solid and transfixed into
beautiful forms.  Although but a rough, careless little Middy at
the time, I can remember well that, standing beside my father, at
that time Archdeacon of Polchester in Glebeshire, tears welled up
into my youthful eyes and pride of my country fired my ambition.

'"It is such families as ours in such a country as ours," I
remember my dear father remarking, "that, under God's Grace, can
create, for the benefit of the world, such wonders."'

It must be confessed that Judith saw it all less romantically.
Rodney Herries she had, incidentally, always detested.  But
nevertheless she was carried away, forgetting years, jealousies,
aches and pains (for this morning she had a little rheumatism).
For one thing the noise was terrific.  The waiting multitude was
quiet enough, but around them, throughout the building, all the
machinery had been set in motion--the MACHINERY, key-note of the
Exhibition, symbol, relentless, humourless, of the new world that
this day, May 1st, 1851, was introducing.  There were in the
machine-room the 'self-acting mules', the Jacquard lace machines,
the envelope machines, the power looms, the model locomotives,
centrifugal pumps, the vertical steam-engines, all of these working
like mad, while the thousands near by, in their high hats and
bonnets, sat patiently waiting, passive, unwitting that the Age of
Man on this Planet was doomed.

Judith and Adam, John and Elizabeth, were most certainly unwitting.
Judith's little hand was thrust through Adam's thick arm, while
John and Elizabeth were holding hands under Elizabeth's shawl.
Margaret was thinking of her father and wishing that he were here,
Dorothy's mouth was wide open, and Lady Herries was studying a
coarse-grained Chambry gauze near to her and wondering whether she
could obtain one like it.  Yes, a superb scene!  The canopy above
the royal seat, adorned with golden cornice and fringe and a small
plume of blue and white feathers at each angle, the floors clean
and matted, at each corner of the central square stages for
illustrious visitors, from the gallery tops magnificent carpets and
tapestries hanging, here the Spitalfields Trophy with its gorgeous
silks, and there, the supreme triumph for many, the wonderful
plaster of Paris statues, so white, so gleaming, their nudity
draped so decently with red cloth.  A sob rose in many throats,
too, at the sight of the splendid equestrian statues of the Prince
and the Queen, so large and lifelike that you might imagine that at
any moment the horses might start to charge down the central aisle.
(This was Dorothy's fine whispered thought.)  Here, to quote
Captain William once again:  'Behind these was another Fountain'
(it appears that he nourished a passion for fountains!) 'that made
the stream as it rushed up from the centre and divided itself into
a hundred drops, flashing in the sun as they fell, look like a
shower of silver sparks--a kind of firework of water; and beside
this rose the green plumage of the palm trees embedded in moss,
while close at their feet was ranged a bed of flowers, whose tints
seemed to have been dyed by the prismatic hues of the water-drops
of the neighbouring fountain.  Then appeared the old elm trees of
the park, looking almost like the lions of the forest caught in a
net of glass; and behind them again was a screen of iron tracery,
so light and delicate that it seemed like a lace-work of bronze.'

A little later he continues:  'But it was when the retinue of the
Court began to assemble that the scene became one--perhaps the most--
gorgeous in colouring and ever beheld; for it was seen in the
clear light of the transparent roof above.  The gold-embroidered
bosoms of the officers seemed to be almost alight with the glitter
of their ornaments; there stood all the ministers of state in their
glittering suits; the ambassadors of every country, some in light
blues and silver, others in green and gold, others in white, with
their bosoms' (incidentally a favourite word of the Captain's)
'studded with their many-coloured orders.  There was the Chinese
mandarin in his red cap, with peacock's feathers dangling behind,
and his silken robes with quaint devices painted upon them in front
and at the back.  There was the turbaned Turk, and the red fez-
capped Egyptian; and there were the chocolate-coloured Court suits,
with their filigree steel buttons, and long, white embroidered silk

There was the old DUKE too' (these are the Captain's capital
letters) 'with his silver hair and crooked back showing most
conspicuous amongst the whole.  At the back and sides of the throne
stood the gentlemen-at-arms, in their golden helmets, with the long
plumes of white ribbon-like feathers drooping over them.  Beside
these were the portly-looking beefeaters, in their red suits and
black velvet caps; and near them were the trumpeters, in their
golden coats and close-fitting jockey-caps, with silver trumpets in
their hands.  Near these were the Aldermen, in their red gowns of
office, and the Common-Councilmen in their blue silk gowns, and the
Recorder in long powdered Judge's wig, the Archbishop in full lawn
sleeves and close curly wig, the Musical Director in his white
satin-damask robe and quaint-looking black cap, the heralds in
their emblazoned robes, the Garter King-at-Arms in his gorgeous red
velvet coat becrusted all over in gold--while round all these were
ranged sappers and miners, in their red and yellow uniforms; and
behind them were seen the dark-blue coats of the police.'

And the brave Captain complacently comments:

'It was a feast of colour and splendour to sit and gloat over--a
congress of all the nations for the most hallowed and blessed of
objects--one, perhaps, that made the two old soldiers, as they
tottered backwards and forwards across the scene, the most
noticeable, because in such a gathering for such an object, the
mind could hardly help looking upon them as the last of the
warriors to whom the nation would owe its future greatness.  I
could not but reflect,' the Captain adds, 'that my own family that
has been proud to call England its mother for so many centuries
had, under God's divine direction, helped sensibly by its honest
devotion to duty and its consistent patriotism to bring this Great
Country into its supreme world-dominating position.'

Then he continues after this little spurt of family pride:  'At a
few minutes before the appointed hour the royal carriages with
their bright liveries were seen to flash past the windows of the
northern entrance; then darted by a troop of the Life Guards, with
their steel helmets and breastplates glistening in the sunshine,
and immediately after, the glass sides and roof of the Crystal
Palace twanged with the flourish of trumpets that announced the
arrival of the Queen.  At this moment the gates were flung back,
and within the crimson vestibule appeared a blaze of gold and
bright colours.

'Then advanced the royal retinue, with the ushers and chamberlain
in front, bowing as they moved backwards towards the throne; and
after them the Prince leading the Princess Royal, and the Queen
with the Prince of Wales, and followed by their Court.

'As the Queen moved onwards with her diamond tiara and little crown
of brilliants scintillating in the light, the whole assembly rose
and, waving their hats and fluttering their handkerchiefs, they
shouted forth peal after peal of welcome.'

And here we may leave the excellent Captain in his happy state of
obsequious reminiscence.  His book is unquestionably of value,
quite apart from its Herries interest, and is certainly worthy of a
modern reprint.  It attained six editions in the 'nineties.

Sad to say, Judith was not at all moved as was Rodney's son.  For
one thing the seat on which she was sitting was exceedingly hard,
for another she was bothered by the noise of the machines, for
another she was feeling odd in the head, a little as though she had
been drinking.  And for another she had never, in all her life,
been impressed very greatly by domesticity: the Queen, the Prince,
and their two children appeared to her so dreadfully domestic.
That was on her father's side.  On her proper Herries side she
would have been undoubtedly more deeply impressed had she been
quite at her ease.  But she was distressed about John, about Adam,
and a very little about herself.  Most certainly she felt queer, as
though there were a weight pressing on her heart, as though, unless
she were careful, she would see double.  She thought that, in all
probability, this glittering and scintillating glass disturbed her.
Absurd to build so large a place entirely of glass!

She could not resist, however, some beating of the heart when, as
the Queen moved forward, wearing her diamond tiara and crown of
brilliants, everyone rose and, waving hats, fluttering handkerchiefs,
shouted their cries of welcome.  Judith rose, fluttered her
handkerchief, shouted with the rest.  For a moment she was deeply
stirred.  The sturdy figure of Victoria appeared to divorce itself
from all the world around it, as though it said:  'I am lonely.  I
am a Queen.  I represent loneliness, austerity and power.'

She had that quality, was to have it all her life, of sudden
dignified remoteness, so that she became a symbol, a promise, a
prophecy.  Judith, old enough to be that same Queen's grandmother,
felt that now.  The white head and light-blue coat of the Master of
the Queen's Music appeared on the rostrum, he raised his baton, and
above what Captain Herries called 'the melodious thunder of the
organ', the National Anthem--led by the choristers--filled the
glass dome and was caught by the light and glitter and flung into
the sunny heavens.  The Archbishop asked for a blessing (the
Machinery frantically responded), the Queen and Prince walked in
procession, and then Her Majesty declared the Exhibition open.  And
to end once again with Captain William:  'Immediately were heard
the booming of the hundred guns without, telling the people of the
Metropolis that the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations
had been formally inaugurated.'

Judith recovered herself and sat down.  That reaction that
inevitably follows all climaxes seized her.  What, after all, was
all this fuss about?  It would only make the country and everyone
in it exceedingly conceited.  And how tiresome the Exhibition had
already become!  For months in advance of it no one had talked of
anything else, and now for months after it no one would have any
other topic.  She looked down from the gallery, and the mere
thought of all the plaster statues, the great organ, the fountain,
the machinery, the furniture, the stalls covered with goods, the
endless cups of tea, the ferns and plants and blossoming shrubs,
the crying children, angry husbands and disappointed wives, all
this wearied her beyond measure.

'I think that I will return to Hill Street,' she said to Adam.

'Very well, Mother dear, but first you must see just a few of the

She did not want to see any of the sights.  She would like to be
seated safely and privately in her armchair in her room at Hill

Says Captain William Herries:  'Well might the nation be proud of
its Crystal Palace.  No other people in the world could have raised
such a building . . .'

That is exactly what Judith thought, straining up her old eyes to
the glitter and the shine.  'All this glass,' she thought, 'so
ostentatious', and her dislike of Prince Albert, assuaged for a
moment by the National Anthem, returned in full force.

Adam took her by the arm and she walked gaily along, with Dorothy
and Lady Herries very patriotic behind her, Margaret on her other
side, and John and Elizabeth not exchanging a word.

'Why don't they speak?' she thought.  'Aren't they happy?'  She was
wearing a soft grey bonnet and a mantilla of shaded grenadine.  She
walked as though she were twenty, with every once and again a step
that was rebellious, originating in some quite other person.  She
still saw double on occasion, and there was a twinge of pain in her
right shoulder.

There were of course a great many things to see, and oh dear!  So
many people!  Bonnets and polkas, polkas and bonnets, green and
brown 'wide-awakes' and fluffy beaver hats--and then the People,
this time with a capital P!  They will be MUCH worse on the
shilling days, but there seem to be a great many of them, even as
it is, many with babies in their arms, many with baskets, many with
fat bursting cotton umbrellas.

'There are too many people,' Judith said to Adam.  The pain in her
shoulder had spread to her armpit.  'Really,' she thought, 'Lady
Herries is an IDIOT!'

Oh dear, there are a GREAT many things to see!  Here is a
railwayman, family following, his japan pouch by his side, hurrying
to see the locomotives; there a carpenter in a yellow fluffy
flannel jacket pointing out to two small boys the beauties of a
huge top formed of one section of a mahogany tree.

'Ridiculous!' Judith thought.  'No one in the world can wish for a
top as big as that!'

Here is a hatless and yellow-stockinged Bluecoat boy mounting the
steps of one of the huge prismatic lighthouses to see the way that
it is made . . .  Look!  There is a model of the Italian Opera
House, and behold!  There is a minute and most extensive model of
Liverpool with a looking-glass sea and thousands of cardboard
vessels.  This last Adam examined with the most serious care.
'Remarkable!  Very remarkable indeed!' he repeated again and again.

Judith could not explain it, she was greatly ashamed but she wanted
to slap him.  As with all mothers in the world there were moments
when she wondered whether these very prosaic results were at all
worth all the pains that she had taken.

'Did I bring him up for this?' she thought as she watched him so
seriously count the cardboard ships.  Then she caught Margaret's
calm look of devotion and she hated Margaret.  There was no doubt
but that she was not at all well.

Of course they must see the machinery.  For hours Judith had been
dreading this moment.  Pressed close against the stout limbs of a
member of the National Guard--'Really a CHILDISH costume,' she
thought as she looked upwards to his conical hat with its little
ball on top, and smelt the rough texture of his red worsted
epaulettes and full-painted trousers--she was compelled to admire
the power-looms, and then there was the steam brewery, then the
model carriages moving along the new pneumatic railway, the
hemispherical lamp-shades made out of a flat sheet of paper, the
exceedingly noisy flax-crushing machine, the splashing centrifugal
pump, the whirling of the cylindrical steam-press . . .

'Adam,' she whispered, drawing him a little closer to her, 'I am
glad that I am an old woman.  All these machines--what a very
unpleasant world it is going to be!'

She whispered, because Dorothy and Lady Herries were in a state of
fluttering ecstasy.  'Stupendous!'  'What an achievement!'  'Do
observe those wonderful little wheels!'  'Man's triumph over
Nature!'  Dorothy was proving herself a true Herries.  She saw
Herries everywhere.  If it had not been for the Herries family . . .
Strange!  Judith must certainly be unwell, for she wanted to slap
both Dorothy and Lady Herries.

'Adam,' she whispered, 'I fear that I MUST sit down!'

There was no reply and, looking up, she saw that Adam was not
there.  Looking farther she discovered Adam and Margaret, a
distance away, their backs turned to her, close together examining
a piece of machinery.  That was possibly the worst moment of her
life.  Absurd--so little a thing!  And yet the horror of Georges'
death, the tragedy of Francis' suicide, the awful evening of Adam's
birth--none had touched the loneliness, the isolation of this
neglect.  Lady Herries was examining a miniature engine with a
great assumption of technical knowledge, Elizabeth and John had

Judith proudly, her bonnet up, walked away.  As she reached the
outer hall pain seized her, her heart was beating strangely.  Her
limbs trembled.  Everyone around her seemed weary.  On the steps of
the red-cloth-covered pedestals weary women and children were
seated, some of them munching thick slices of bread and meat.
Around the fountains were gathered exhausted families drinking out
of thick mugs.  All over the floor were orange-skins, dirty pieces
of paper; Judith sat down on one of the crimson steps, resting her
head on her hands.  Was she going to die in this ridiculous place
with all these strangers around her?  The noise of the machines
rattled and quivered, piercing her very backbone.  'Am I going to
die?  Is this the end?'

A stout woman near to her, her legs spread, crooking a baby in one
arm, was drinking out of a bottle.  Strange, Judith thought, to
allow such people in on the day of the Queen's first visit.  But
that was right.  All were equal--all women together.  She had read
somewhere that after a certain hour the general public would be
admitted.  The sight of the woman strengthened and comforted her.
She was herself a vagabond, born of vagabonds.  No Herries, but
daughter of a gipsy.  Even though her son deserted her, even though
all the pains in the world attacked her, even though this horrible
machinery invaded the world, destroying peace and privacy, no one
could touch her, she was independent.

She looked up, and there was John.  He was standing quite near to
her but did not see her.  On his face was a look of pitiable
distress.  He held himself taut, his hands to his side, as if he
were answering some charge.  On every side of him the crowd pushed
and thrust, but he was as alone as though no one else were in the

The sight of someone in trouble always caused her to forget
herself.  She rose, although her knees trembled, walked over to him
and touched his arm.  He started; her touch had drawn him from a

'John, dear.  Take me home.  I am very tired.'

That charming kindly smile that she loved in him so much warmed her

'Why, of course, Aunt Judith.  We will find Elizabeth.'

She had her hand lightly on his arm.  No one should know how ill
she felt.

'Such a noise!  So many people!  I am realizing, my dear John, what
a very old woman I am.'

'Nonsense, Aunt Judith,' he said, patting her hand.  'This would be
too much for anyone.'

But as he looked at her with so kindly an expression, she realized
that it was true: she was an old woman at last.


The last visit to London that she was ever to pay was early in
1854, and the occasion was Will's funeral.

They all said that it was defying Providence for her to go, for she
was seventy-nine that Christmas, but she was determined: nothing
and no one should stop her.  In honest fact they all knew a fearful
pride in her resolve.  Seventy-nine and going to London!  No one
but a Herries could have done it, but the Herries always lived to a
great age and died in their boots!  Look at Will!  Eighty-four and
in the City three days before his death.  It was true that he had
been strapped up in his carriage like a mummy, and had held a sort
of reception there in Threadneedle Street with clerks and people
bowing to him on the steps of his offices: nevertheless, eighty-
four and working in the City!

Judith was perfectly conscious of all the things that the different
Herries, scattered about the country, would be thinking of her
enterprise and, being half Herries herself, she was pleased that
they should be pleased.  Then of course she insisted that she must
pay tribute to Will, for Will was part of her whole life, and now,
when her youth was for ever present with her, intermingling with
all the current events of her day so that it was often impossible
to tell which was past and which was present, Will was perhaps
nearer to her than he had ever been before.  For as a girl she had
never liked him; as a woman she had often despised him; but now,
joined as they were in their old age together, she almost loved

She had, however, two principal motives for her departure.  One was
that she would see her beloved Adam, a motive sufficient to carry
her AND her coffin if necessary to the North Pole; and the other
(although this she confessed to no one in the world) her desire to
show Walter Herries that she was still alive and kicking.

Now, when she could not move about as she had once done, but must
sit, either in the garden when it was sunny and warm, or in the
parlour before the fire, or in her bed with her lace cap on her
head and mittens on her fingers just like any other old lady
(although she was not in the least like any other old lady!) events
and persons were inclined, if you did not keep them in order, to
acquire a gigantic significance.

On the one hand she was tranquil as she had never been in her life
before.  Old age certainly did that for you; and on the days when
there was no pain to bother her (for pains of one sort and another
paid her now quite constant visits), when she was neither wildly
excited by some pleasure (like an unexpected dish for dinner or a
sudden visit of a friend, or something entrancing that little Jane
had been doing, or a piece of gossip) nor exasperated by some bit
of foolishness or some alarm about Adam, why, then this
tranquillity was marvellous!  You just sat there, or lay there, and
it lapped you round like a radiant sheet of golden light, light
within you, above you, around you, while the trees burnt in gold
steadily against the sky and the streams ran murmuring to your
feet, and all this lovely world stood still for you.  It was at
such times (and they were many) that the past became the present
and the present the future.  Then there was no Time.  She was a
child again, watching them ride the horse up Tom Gauntry's
staircase, and she was eating roast goose at the 'Elephant', she
was walking beside dear Charlie Watson at Watendlath--all was alive
again, nothing had died, she herself was immortal.

Nevertheless the things that disturbed, disturbed violently, and
the thing that disturbed the worst was Walter.  No climax had come
as yet to their quarrel.  That moment when she had turned to
Jennifer and said (ah, how many years ago!  Poor Jennifer!):  'Do
not be distressed, my dear.  I am going to remain,' that challenge
had as yet reached no climax.  But the climax would come.  She knew
it as though she were a prophetess and could see the future.
Already enough unhappiness had been generated by that old, old
quarrel.  John's life, Elizabeth's life, Jennifer's life, Walter's
Life, Uhland's life--all these had been damaged by it, as hatred
and jealousy and envy always damaged any lives that they touched.
Her own life and Adam's had been changed by it, for she would have
been in Watendlath long ago but for it, and still there was worse
to come.  She had stayed in Uldale and protected them all, but
Walter was still there, the Fortress was still there, Peach's
cottage (there was now a younger Peach in command) was just over
her garden wall; Walter was a sot and Uhland a crazy misanthrope--
but they were not gone, they still remained.

She had been told, only a week or two ago, that Walter had said of
her:  'That old bed-ridden gipsy.'  Bed-ridden, was she?  She would
show him!  She would go to London if for no other reason!

Nevertheless, it was Will that she was thinking of as she made her
departure.  Her heart was soft with tenderness.

Dorothy came with her and was full of matronly care and fuss.
After the day of her visit to the Great Exhibition, Judith, to
everyone's surprise and offering no reason, abandoned her gay
colours and adopted a kind of uniform, black with white ruffles and
white lace at the throat.  With her hair that had the shining
softness of snow and the deep white upon white of an evening cloud,
with her small pale face, her exquisite neatness and cleanliness,
carrying in her hand her cane, she had the air of some austere
Mistress of Ceremonies.  But then her whole body and nature laughed
at austerity.  As she grew older her sense of fun, enjoyment of
little things and active consciousness of that enjoyment, her
eagerness for news, her avidity for sharing in everything, these
things constantly increased in her.  Her heart--she was warned that
she must be careful of her heart.  'My heart?' she laughed.  'It's
as sound as one of Dorothy's muffins' (for Dorothy was a good
housekeeper but a heavy-handed cook).  Then there was the
rheumatism, and sometimes she felt faint.  Once indeed she fainted
in her bedroom, but no one was there with her and no one was told
of it.  On many days she was as well and strong as Veronica and
Amabel--both very healthy girls.  One afternoon she slapped
Veronica very heartily indeed because that child, aged now sixteen,
told her that God disapproved of reading common books on a Sunday.

'You are a prig, the most dreadful animal in Creation,' Judith
cried, and when Veronica, losing her temper, shouted, 'And you're a
gipsy,' Judith slapped her.  Veronica, who was not a bad child, was
appalled at what she had done, and Judith walked all the way
upstairs and brought her down a bag of peppermints.  (Judith liked
peppermints and always kept a store in her bedroom.)  All this in
one afternoon.

Moreover, with her favourite Jane, now a wisp of a child of
thirteen, she would play games by the hour and never tire.  They
would play backgammon and Pope Joan, and then Jane would read to
her--Macaulay's History, Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture,
Pendennis, Hypatia.  Judith thought Ruskin 'a bit of a prig' but
didn't say so, because Jane thought him so beautiful.  After Adam,
Judith loved most in the world this dreaming romantic child who was
of the tribe of Francis and Reuben and John.  'I am afraid she will
be unhappy,' Judith thought, 'but she will have some of the joys
none of the others will know.'

When she set off with Dorothy for London it was Jane who came into
her room alone, Jane she held to her heart with all that impetuous
feeling that years could not dim, Jane who gave her a parcel of
three little handkerchiefs that she had worked, Jane who stood in
the road staring long after the carriage had disappeared.  Timothy,
now a big stout fellow of seventeen, who bore a strange resemblance
to the portraits of his great-grandfather David Herries, teased

'She's a nice old lady, but whew! what a temper!' he remarked.

Jane gave him a queer look.

'All right,' he said uneasily, pinching her ear.  'I daresay I like
her as much as you do, if all the truth were known.'

She was so weary when she, at last, reached Hill Street that she
felt as though her whole body had been crushed under the wheels of
the train that had conveyed her.

She saw Lady Herries for a moment, and her tenderness for poor Will
enveloped the stout painted lady, whom she had never liked, who,
however, looked better in her full black silk than she had ever
looked in gay colours.  She was sitting in the vast dismal drawing
room and wearing a bonnet of velvet and crpe.  Everyone was
wearing velvet just then.

'That's one thing,' said Judith to Dorothy as she began to undress.
'I shall never wear velvet, my dear.  Never!  I shall die first!'
She added:  'I am dead now, I think.  The smell of gas in that
train was quite awful.  Give me Mr Thorpe's Northern Mythology.
It's at the top of my bag.  It will send me to sleep if anything

The maid who brought her her breakfast in the morning was full of
information.  There was nothing that Judith liked better than to
have someone with whom she might chat while she was having her

It seemed that Will had died quite suddenly of heart failure at
three o'clock in the morning.  He had not felt well and had gone to
his wife's room and had fallen down there dead.

The maid did not know, Judith did not know, no one would ever know
of the awful little conversation that had taken place on that last

It was true: he had felt very unwell and had stumbled to Lady
Herries' room.  He walked with great difficulty, but she had woken
to see him standing there, swaying on his feet, a candle in his

'I think I am going to die,' he gasped, his hand at his heart.  She
had jumped out of bed, found the drops that were to be given to him
if there were a heart-attack.  He had sunk, blue in the face, into
a chair.  He recovered a little, looked up into her face, and saw
in those pale-blue eyes a look of eagerness.

'You are glad that I am dying,' he said.

'Will!  Will!' she cried, sinking on to her knees beside the chair.
'How can you be so cruel?'

'It is very natural,' he replied.  'I don't blame you.  It is
perfectly right.  You never even pretended to love me.  No one has
ever loved me.  Not even Ellis--'

She protested and tried to hold his hand.  He waved her away with a
gesture of great dignity.  Then his face became purple.

'I have wanted the wrong things--' he murmured, and died.

The funeral was to be at twelve.  A great many members of the
family were expected.  Soon Adam came in to see her.  She held out
her arms and he knelt by the bed, took her small white hand in his
and laughed for sheer joy at being with her again.  For, when you
had said everything, there was something between these two,
stronger than life, stronger than death, something that no one
shared with them, something that if it could be caught and held,
hard and shining in one's hand like a flaming crystal, would
explain, quite sufficiently, what everything is about and why we
are travelling at all.  But of course it can't be caught.

'Isn't this room absurd?' Judith said, laughing.  She could never
grow accustomed to the fashions of the time.  She belonged in taste
to the end of the eighteenth century.  Looking back, everything of
that time seemed to her to have lightness, brilliance and form.
Everything in 1854 was huge, heavy and static, wrapped, too, in a
sort of damp fog.

In her room there was a sofa covered with red rep, a copper scuttle
and scoop (quite gigantic), a huge fender of brass, fire-irons of
set steel, a hearthrug of white sheepskin, two great Minton vases
with a floral design on a turquoise ground, a picture made out of
seaweed in a frame of Tunbridge ware, a work-box--also of Tunbridge
ware--that had a lid with a bouquet in mosaic and sides with
'Berlin wool' mosaic, and a vast dressing-table and mirror, trimmed
with glazed linen and muslin.  All these things and many more
jostled one another in the room that was chill with the chill of
the grave.  In their centre, very bare, very innocent, was a tin

Among these things Adam knelt and held her hand.  He was a broad
square man now, brown of face.  She didn't like his whiskers,
although, of course, every man wore them.  She loved his eyes,
which were bright, shining and most kindly.  He had great breadth
of shoulders, looked as strong as an ox.  He was absentminded, but
not with her.  He wrote for one of Dickens' papers, reviewed books.
He was happily married.  He was thirty-eight years of age.  All
these things were apparently true.  But the only thing that was
true for her was that he was a small child running up the path from
the Tarn at Watendlath, calling out to her that he had seen a

These glorious moments came to her very seldom, but, after that
awful hour at the Exhibition, she had beaten down her jealousy.
Killed it?  No, perhaps not, but she was nearly eighty years of age
and must learn to accept facts.  Was there anything else to learn
of life?

She stroked his brown cheek, kissed him, chattered, laughed, then
sent him away.  She must get up and face the family.

It was a moment that they none of them afterwards forgot, her
entrance into the big drawing-room where they were all gathered
together.  The blinds were drawn and the room was lit with gas
which giggled like a silly schoolgirl.  The gas was, however, the
only jester.  Everyone was immensely solemn.  Lady Herries sat on
the sofa, Ellis at her side.  All around her were grouped the
family.  James Herries was the oldest--he was seventy-five.  He
stood beside the sofa, a vast, swollen, pompous effigy in black.
There was Archdeacon Rodney, with his wife Rebecca, one of the
Foxes of Ulverston, and their son the naval officer.  There was
Stephen Newmark, close to him Phyllis, now very stout, and four of
their seven offspring, Horace, Mary, Katherine and Emily; there
were, of course, Garth and Sylvia and Amery, that gay bachelor Fred
Ormerod, Bradley Cards and his little wife who was like a
pincushion in figure, Timothy Trenchard, his wife and two
daughters, Carey Rockage, only a year younger than James and almost
as stout, with his wife Cecily and their children Roger and Alice.
John and Elizabeth stood quietly by themselves in a window.
Walter, Will's eldest son, and the new baronet, was not present,
nor was his son Uhland.  Everyone thought this disgraceful.

When Judith entered, followed by Dorothy and Adam, a wave of
emotion swept the whole assembly.  Even Lady Herries, who disliked
Judith and was eagerly jealous of her position as the centre of
this day's ceremony, was moved.  For this was what the Herries
above all else loved.  Survival.  Perpetuity.  To last longer than
anyone else.  To have life and vigour when all your contemporaries
had failed to last.  Even as once upon a time they had made eager
bets on the centenary of Great Aunt Maria, so now their excitement
and pride were kindled, for Judith Paris was seventy-nine and yet
walked with a firm step, her head up, her eyes shining, the most
commanding figure of them all.

But there was more than this.  Judith had, in all these years, won
a great reputation among them for honesty, kindliness and fair
charity.  They were not, on the whole, very charitable to one
another.  No members of any family are very charitable to one
another.  They know all the wrong things.  But Judith, because she
had lived in the North, had been outside their squabbles, rivalries
and jealousies.  They thought her a fine generous-hearted woman.
She herself, as she saw all those Herries, so solemn and so black,
felt a strange mixture of two quite opposite emotions.  She thought
them absurd and she felt that she would like to mother them all.
They WERE absurd--old James so conscious of his baronetcy, so
stout, his black legs like pillows, his grizzled whiskers like
cauliflowers; Newmark, his head perched above a high stock and
collar so that he resembled a dignified but anxious hen; dear
Phyllis, so FEARFULLY fat and her dress so voluminous that all her
brood could comfortably have nestled beneath it; Sylvia, alas, no
longer pretty, badly rouged, the black velvet on her dress cut to
resemble pansies; Rockage, with an odd resemblance to dear old
Maria, long dead, but living again in her son's untidiness and a
kind of shabby good will (how well Judith remembered that occasion
when she had slapped his face at the house in Wiltshire for his
riding to hounds over the drawing-room chairs!); Horace Newmark,
now a plump pale-faced man of thirty-five in large spectacles and
resembling a little in his air of high discontent Mr Thackeray--
yes, they were absurd and lovable too.  How Will would be pleased
did he see this great gathering!  How he would approve of the black
and the dignity and the solemnity!  At the memory of him, to her
own surprise, a tear stole down her cheek.  'Old ladies cry
easily!' she thought, as she kissed the widow's plump cheek.

She walked about among them, and they were all very kind to her.
It was all crpe and black broadcloth.  Robins, followed by a thin
young footman with a cold, walked around offering sherry and a

She sat down in a chair near the darkened windows, and the low-
murmured conversation went on around her like a draught creeping in
through the walls and the floor.  It was late February and very
damp.  There was a discontented, peevish fire in the huge
fireplace, but as is so often the case with English fireplaces the
heat went up the chimney and left the room severely alone.  Nearly
everyone seemed to have colds; the sneezing was prodigious.  It was
understood that a thin rain was falling outside.

Soon she had John and Elizabeth beside her chair.  Elizabeth looked
lovely but not, Judith thought, very happy.  When Elizabeth moved
away to talk to Margaret, Judith caught John's hand in hers and

'Well, dear John, how are you?'

They were away from the others.  She felt his hand clutch hers,
tightly, and had an impulse to put her arms around him and hold him

'Very well, Aunt Judith, thank you.'

'And the Secretaryship?'

'Oh, splendid!  They are so very good to me.'

'And Elizabeth?'

'We are more in love than ever.'

She nodded her head.

'That's right!'

He was the handsomest man in the room by far.  But as she looked at
him she caught the oddest resemblance in him to his father Francis.
Just that way had his father looked at Uldale that night when he
had implored her help.  Her help against what?  Against nightmares,
ghosts, his own frustration . . .

'It's odd, isn't it,' John said, 'Walter and Uhland not coming?'

'Very wrong of them.'

'Yes, I suppose so.  Have you . . . have you seen them at all?'

'No, my dear.'  She smiled grimly.  'They poison our cows once and
again.  Walter threatened to bring an action against Bennett's boy
for stealing his timber.  Let him try, that's all!'

'Yes, Aunt Judith . . .  You know, Elizabeth wrote a letter to
Walter the other day.  She thought she ought to.  She heard he was

'Did she, my dear?'

'He never answered her, though.'

The time had arrived.  St. Luke's Chelsea, a church that Will had
attended for many years because he liked its Gothic and the length
of its sermons, was their destination--a long journey at the pace
that their carriages would take them.  The hearse had plumes,
almost as large as palm trees.  The array of carriages was
magnificent.  Judith accompanied Lady Herries and Ellis in the
first carriage.

That is always a problem, the conversation on a funeral journey,
but Lady Herries made it no problem at all.  First she cried,
looking out of the carriage window, pleased and satisfied with the
attention that the procession was securing.  Then she set about the
task of convincing Judith that her life was now at an end, that she
had only Ellis to live for, and that she alone, of all God's
mortals, had understood Will and given him what he needed.  Ellis,
who was now eleven years of age, less shrivelled than he had been,
but bony, horse-faced like all the Herries, with sharp eyes above a
large bony nose, said nothing.  Did he care at all, wondered
Judith?  Did he know that he had been the one comfort and pride of
his father's old age?  At any rate, he looked like a gentleman.  It
was extremely difficult for any Herries NOT to look like a
gentleman, which was perhaps what was the matter with them.  Judith
noticed that once and again Ellis stole a sharp look at her.  Of
what was he thinking?  Of her age, in all probability.  How old she
must seem to him!  And yet he had been accustomed to old people!  A
sudden sympathy for the poor child caught her.  She put out her
hand and held his.  The little hand, in its shiny black glove, was
as cold as a seashell.

'Will altered,' Lady Herries was saying.  'Altered immensely in the
last years.  He depended upon me for everything.  I say nothing
against his first wife--' ('You'd better not,' thought Judith) '--
but to pretend that she understood him was absurd.  Poor Will!
Everyone thought--even those nearest to him' (this with a glance at
Judith) 'thought that his great interest was money.  Erroneous--
quite erroneous.  If you had heard the way that he would talk late
in the night--'

Judith began to be angry.  But she saw her anger coming from a long
way off.  She had, through many years' practice, trained herself to
meet it and turn it back before it reached her heart.  Bad for old
ladies to be angry, and in any case waste of time.  But how she did
hate this woman!  False and greedy and sham!  Poor Will! how lonely
in those last years he must have been!  Old pictures began to crowd
up again--that familiar one when she and Will and Francis had
watched the fireworks by the Lake and had prophesied about their
lives.  Soon she would begin to cry.  She MUST not cry.  She WOULD
not before this woman--all scent, whale-bone and crpe.  She could
not see her face for the heavy black veil that covered it, but she
knew how small and mean those eyes were, how tight and hard the
little mouth!  Those were not the thoughts for a funeral, poor dear
Will's funeral, so she looked out of window and saw a French poodle
walking beside an old lady; he had a peaked nose, woolly wig,
leggings and tail-band, and a horrible shaved, salmon-coloured
body.  The old lady was younger in years than Judith but not half
so vigorous.  She walked as though she were a hundred.

They were passing slowly through a mean, shabby street.  Groups
gathered, children ran, men took off their caps--for this moment
the Herries dominated the scene.  It did not make them proud.  It
was their right, now and always--so much their right that they gave
it scarcely a thought.  Here is a gin-palace, here a seedy French
pension, children in torn pinafores gazing at the sweetshop window,
here a rag shop with tobacco-pipes crossed in the window and
turpentine-infected bundles of firewood.  Through all this, drink,
poverty, childhood, sweets and tobacco and gin, Will is grandly
riding for the last time!

'Without my care and affection I shudder to think what his last
years would have been--'

Judith clutched the top of her cane with her two little hands.  In
all her seventy-nine years, with the single exception of Mrs
Ponder, she had never disliked anyone so much.  She heard a sniff,
a strange little strangled sniff.  Ellis was crying, tears were
trickling down his bony nose.  She put out her arm and drew him
closer to her.  He stayed against her as stiff as a whalebone.  But
she was glad that he was crying.  He HAD cared for his father then.
He HAD cared!  She would do something for Ellis.  Ask him to
Uldale, let him play with Dorothy's children . . .  Then she found
that she too, under her veil, was crying, and suddenly she wanted
to lean forward and take Lady Herries' hand.  Perhaps what the
woman said was true.  She HAD cared for Will--in her own peculiar
undemonstrative way.

They have arrived at the church.  Herries wing out of carriages
like crows from a nesting-tree.  But silent.  Immensely solemn.
How broad and deep the hat-bands on the black hats, how heavy the
whiskers, the stocks, the voluminous black skirts, the umbrellas,
the thick black boots!  A crowd has gathered about the church door.
The church has all its attendant offices and officers--the stout,
self-important beadle, the neatly grained high boxes, the three-
decker pulpit, the wizen-faced pew-openers (two of them).  The
church is icily cold, and the hassock on which little Ellis kneels
is hard as iron.  He is miserable and feels a sense of aching loss,
although loss of what he has really no idea.

Judith, sitting there, watching the big coffin draped in black,
wondering about the pew-opener in the black bonnet who had already
retired to a corner behind a pillar to count the pennies, thought
that the Herries must have multiplied themselves threefold since
they entered the church.  She thought--for her imagination was
fantastic now with weariness and chill--that the ghosts of departed
Herries must have joined the living.  Maybe if she looked more
closely she would see poor Warren there, gazing at her as he used
to do with that dog-like devotion, Francis, Jennifer, even David
and Sarah, and Deborah Sunwood whom she had loved so dearly in her
childhood, and Jennifer's father and mother, and poor Christabel.
When you reached her age the dead and the living were all equally
alive--no one was dead, no one was living.

Yes, Adam was living!  He sat beside her, and sometimes he would
look at her to see that all was well with her.  Then quietly, with
that solid protection that she loved so in him, he put his strong
arm round her: and then, to her shame, to her great disgrace, she
fell fast asleep!

She woke hurriedly to find that the coffin was leaving the church
and that she, with Lady Herries and Ellis, must immediately follow
it.  'Oh, dear!  How disgraceful!' she thought.  'I do hope that
nobody saw me!'  But she walked down the church, very firmly, all
the Herries' eyes upon her.  She did not care for the family now.
She was thinking only of Will--Will, whose last grand ceremony was
over, who would do sums on paper no longer, would be denied
potatoes by Robins never again; with the exit of that body out of
the church one long chapter of her life as well as his was closed.

Later they were all in the long dining-room.  The table was covered
with food: drink of every kind was on the vast sideboard that
looked as though it had once formed part of a great mahogany
mountain and was still marked with the pick-axes of ardent
climbers.  Judith, dizzy with an almost drunken weariness, sat in a
chair near the fireplace.  All that she wanted was to go to bed;
meanwhile she must listen to the Family.  Inhuman furniture and
human bodies, high mountains of ham and beef, chickens, pies, great
loaves of bread all circled round her together.  There was a marble
group near the window--'Sir William Herries, Bart, and Lady
Herries'--poor Christabel like an early Christian Martyr in a long
icy flowing robe.  The fender was of painted mahogany.  There were
six dessert-stands in ormolu with monkeys carrying silver nuts.  On
the mantelpiece were some towering vases of Copeland ware, gold on
a cobalt blue ground.

'Everything is so large,' she thought, and once again had the old,
old wish that her own legs were longer.  Soon, however, she forgot
both her weariness and the furniture in her interest in the
conversation that went on around her.  They had forgotten her, all
save Adam and Margaret.  But, more than that, they had already
forgotten Will.  Gone were those hushed voices, vanished that sad
solemnity.  As they crowded about the table, eating like wolves and
drinking like the damned, their voices rose ever higher and higher,
their excitement, with every moment, keener.

For now, liberated from that momentary consciousness of poor
William, aware that he was safely underground and that they could
therefore move freely forward with the enterprise and energy that
belonged to their Herries blood, they were discussing the War.

It was, she reflected, natural that they should do so, for only
yesterday, February 27th, England's ultimatum to Russia had been
despatched.  She herself detested war, any war, every war.  She had
been in Paris in 1815 and had borne Adam there, seen his father die
there, suffered agonies and terrors that had affected her whole
life.  Why anyone should be GLAD about war she could not imagine,
but not only was everyone in the room GLAD, they were TRIUMPHANT.

She saw, too, with that detached observation that came from her
mother Mirabell (who had been quite certainly not at all a Herries)
that this was for them not an English war but a HERRIES war.  It
was the Herries who were indignant at the Massacre of Sinope, the
Herries who applauded and supported every action of Lord Stratford,
the Herries who had advised Lord Palmerston to resign, the Herries
who thought Louis Napoleon a hero, the Herries who mocked poor Mr
Cobden and silly Mr Bright for their support of the Peace Society.

As Judith listened she realized with every moment more fully what
it was that separated her from the Herries clan and all the other
clans in the world like them--what it was that had separated her
father and Francis and Reuben, what it was that gave John his
terrors and made little Jane walk apart from her healthy and
energetic sisters.  Here it was, this quality of the uneasy
imagination, this desire for a beauty that was never to be caught,
this consciousness, pursuing, relentless, unceasing, of a world
BEHIND the world.  She could have got up from her chair and,
stamping her cane on the floor, have cried:  'You fools!  You
fools!  Will nothing teach you?'--but all she did was to smile a
little, refuse a plate of ham courteously offered her by the
Archdeacon, and consider pensively the silver monkeys with their
silver nuts.

So, over Will's dead body, they sang their Song of Triumph.

Old James, whose chest was congested so that he wheezed like a
harmonium, coughing over his plate of chicken, cried to anyone who
might listen:  'I tell you, sir, these damned Russians must be put
down.'  He caught the ear of Cecily Rockage, a thin woman of sixty
who greatly admired him (as she admired indeed everyone, for she
was a humble woman).  'I can tell you for your private ear, my dear
Cecily, that in the Club a day or two back Clarendon himself told
me that in his opinion Newcastle had managed Palmerston exceedingly
well, getting him to withdraw his resignation without any
conditions, you know.  Of course, the Radicals are disgusted, and
so they may be.  But in my opinion--'

'That's just what Carey says,' Cecily Rockage murmured, looking
about her in her dim, peering way to see that her beloved son Roger
was having plenty to eat and was thoroughly happy.

'They are important,' Judith thought.  'They are beginning to cover
the country.'

In her Cumberland retreat she had not realized HOW important the
Herries had grown.  Once upon a time there were but a few of them,
a gambler here, someone there riding a horse into a wilderness, an
old man and an old woman drinking over the fire, but now the times
had favoured them.  They believed in England, they believed--almost
terribly--in themselves.  Oh! how they believed!  What unquestioning
confidence they had!  Everything, everything was right with England
from her Government to her furniture, and Judith realized, as she
looked about her, as she heard Ormerod's gay laugh, and the
Archdeacon's benevolence, and Stephen Newmark's solemn blessing, as
she saw the women billowing in happy pride about their men, Sylvia a
little elated with wine, Phyllis the proud mother, Rodney's Rebecca
the eager listener, that there was something fine and grand in their
faith, that these men and women WERE making England what she was,
England the dominant Power of the world, the Queen of the Earth!

Only--was it worth the trouble: all this hard work, energy, faith?
Queen of the Earth!  WAS that really important?

'I am really very tired, darling,' she whispered to Adam.  'I think
I'll go up to bed if no one minds.'

No one minded.  Earlier in the day, when William was still above
ground, she was of importance.  Now she was forgotten; England's
Glory had taken her place.

Later Adam came to say goodnight to his mother.  As he climbed the
high stairs, leaving the boom and whisper of voices behind him, he
felt a great longing to take his mother and Margaret, wrap them in
shawls and whisk them off, with himself, to a desert island--a
glorious island of burning sun, coral sand, heat and light and
colour.  The three of them alone, living for ever, always warm,
always private, telling one another stories, and making necklaces
of shells.  He stopped on the landing opposite a dark engraving of
Prince Albert and the Queen, and laughed.  Two mice heard him laugh
and, surprised out of their lives, whisked away.

He entered his mother's room carefully.  There was a fire burning;
the copper scuttle-scoop, the brass fender, the steel fire-irons
shone resplendently.  The old lady was lying, her pillows propped
up behind her, apparently staring at a large oil painting entitled
'Little Black Sambo', which showed a small black child daintily
covered with the leaf of a palm tree, sitting on the seashore
sucking his thumb while two little white girls, clad immaculately
in muslin and long pantaloons, stared at him with speculation.  The
firelight danced on the wall; the rain beat against the pane--it
was not an uncheerful scene.  She did not turn her head nor move
when he entered.  In spite of his heavy figure he trod very gently,
sat down on a chair beside the bed and waited.

Then suddenly an awful fear seized him that she was going to die.
Her face was always pale, but her small hands as they lay on the
gay patchwork quilt had a marble pallor.  And she lay so very
still.  She was, after all, of a great age.  She should never have
made the journey to London; this day must have been of a fearful
exhaustion for her.

The thought that he might lose her at any moment now--that she
might go out like a candle carelessly blown by the wind--made him
catch his breath, constricted his heart.  The only three people in
the world whom he loved, now that Caesar Kraft was dead, were his
mother and Margaret and John.  His nature was deeply modest,
acutely sensitive.  He could not believe that men and women liked
him, and it was true that, at present, very few knew him because he
was so silent about himself and thought himself a useless,
cumbering failure.  He had had great ambitions for the good of man
and they had all failed.  At that moment when Kraft had fallen and
died at his feet, all his hope of helping his brother man had died.
He had not the confidence nor the power nor the will.  He was so
shy of thrusting himself forward, so shy of display or self-
advertisement, that men thought him proud and arrogant.  At the
newspaper office, in the little Club to which he belonged, even
with a man like Charles Dickens, genial, friendly, exuberant, he
could not let himself go.  But these two women understood him, his
mother and Margaret understood him, and to lose one of them . . .

And there was one more thing.  He was only half alive in London.
His soul ached for Cumberland, but Margaret did not like it.  She
was unhappy there.  Stones and clouds, clouds and stones . . .

She turned her head and saw him.  She put out her hand and caught

'Dear me, how nice, Adam!  I have been dreaming, I suppose.  But I
don't know.  I never know now whether I am dreaming or not . . .  I
was very tired, I must say, but bed is most comforting.  There is
no place like bed.  I am sure that I never expected to feel that.
I used to be so very energetic.  But it's my body that's tired, not
my spirit . . .  How disgusting old James is, eating such a lot at
his age!'

They talked quietly and happily together.

'Mother,' Adam said.  'One thing I hadn't told you.  Will
Leathwaite is coming to London to be my servant.'

That interested her.  'Is he indeed?  What a good thing!  I like
Will so very much.'

'Of course it's absurd that I should have a servant with the little
I make.  But he wants to come.  He says he doesn't care what I pay
him, and it will be a little piece of home.'

'A very big piece,' Judith remarked, chuckling.  'That's nice for
you, dear.  Are they still guzzling and drinking down there?'

'I suppose so.'

'And what a deal they talk.  Chatter, chatter, chatter.  They are
all delighted there's a war--why, I cannot imagine.'  She closed
her eyes and dreamt again.  She talked as though out of a dream.
'I fancied just now that God was in the room.  A God a little like
Georges and a little like yourself, Adam.  Perhaps that's what God
will be--composed of the people we love most.  He was so very kind
and most reassuring.  I have never been a religious woman, you
know, Adam.  Reuben Sunwood used to be greatly disappointed with
me.  He was so very certain.  But I suppose an old woman may be
allowed her fancies.  I find that everyone is very certain about
God in these days.  Quite different from when I was a girl.  It's
as though they had made Him themselves.'

She sat up, climbing up out of her dream, full of energy again.

'I do hope you are happy, dear Adam,' she said.

'Yes,' he said.  'When I am with you and Margaret, Mother.  But I'm
terribly shy.  It grows on me, I'm afraid.'

'Yes, your father was the same.  But I shouldn't worry.  We are
different--you and I and poor John and little Jane.  And the
Herries family is an awkward family to be different in.  All my
life I have been fighting them.  And now I am not fighting anyone
any longer, even Walter.  Too much trouble.'

She lay back again, closing her eyes.

'How lovely life is, all of it--having a baby, fighting Walter,
pains and aches, food and riding up to Watendlath, poor Jennifer,
the garden at Uldale, dear Adam, dear, dear Adam . . .'

She had fallen asleep.  He sat there for some while watching her,
then bent down and kissed, very gently, her forehead, then stole
from the room.




Will Leathwaite had come to say farewell.  He was going at last,
after six months' delay, to London to be Adam's servant.  Judith
was able to sit on the lawn in the September sunshine, it was so
warm.  The sun had the shininess of a hot sea and the lawn was like
misty waters; the colours seemed gently to roll in shades of pale
citron, of silver-grey, from the floor of the little Gothic temple
to the walls, faintly pink, of the beloved house.  Across the road,
beyond the old peach-stained stones, rose the shadowed forms of the
mountains, stretching themselves like great luxurious cats in the
sunshine.  A flight of curlews broke the pale wash of the sky, and
you could feel, even though you could not see, the rough grass of
the brown moorland, the icy glitter under the warm sun of the
running moorland streams.  Those green slopes, as yet scarcely
purpled with heather, heaped up like a wave above the house
answering the plaintive windy cry of the curlews.

In the middle of this peace, listening as always for her delight to
the rhythm of running water, water slipping happily under the
sunlight, she said goodbye to Will Leathwaite.  It was as though
she were sending Adam a piece of the North.  Will was nearly fifty
now and towered above her as he stood, his cap in his hand, staring
in front of him.  His colouring was very fair and there was a bald
patch on the very top of his round bullet-like head.  His features
were stamped with simplicity, obstinacy, strength and kindliness;
his cheeks were russet with good health, and there were little
wrinkles at the corners of his very blue eyes that spoke of extreme
good-nature.  His body was large, broad, clumsy, his shoulders a
little bowed.  It was plain that he saw only one thing at a time
and that once he had an idea in his head, nothing--no earthquake,
no thunderbolt--could loosen it.  He stood up in the thin Northern
sunlight as though he had been created by it.

'Well, Will, you will look after Mr Adam, will you not?'

'I will, ma'am.'

'Will you like town life, do you think?  It is very different from
anything you've been used to.'

'So long as Mr Adam is satisfied, I'm ready,' he answered.

'It will be a great thing for Mr Adam.  He hasn't many friends, you

'Yes.  T'nature of him is slow like my own, ma'am.'  Then he
smiled, a delightful slow, considering smile.  'T'best way, I
think, ma'am.'

The children, Amabel and Jane, ran across the lawn, laughing and
shouting, with a ball.  He turned and watched them with a quiet
decorous pleasure.

'Write to me, Will, and tell me how you find everything.'

'Yes, ma'am.  Thank you, ma'am.'

He touched his yellow forelock and stepped slowly, steadily away,
moving his great body with the ease and dignity of a gentleman in
his own right.  She sighed happily.  It would be nice for Adam to
have so trustworthy a man at his side.

She was glad that she was feeling strong and vigorous and that the
air was warm, because she had much to think about.  Both Margaret
and John were staying in the house.  Adam had written to say that
Margaret was tired with the London air and needed a holiday, so she
had been at Uldale a week and, so far, the visit had been a great

John had suddenly appeared with only a telegram's warning.  No one
knew why he had come.  Then Elizabeth had written to say that she
had sent him because he could not sleep in London.  The summer had
been hot: his master was in Switzerland.  She herself was going to
stay with the Rockages at Grosset.  It was better that she and John
should be apart for a while.  This was sufficiently alarming, but
John had said nothing until suddenly last evening, wishing Judith
goodnight, he had told her that Elizabeth was going to have a baby.

'It's all wrong, Aunt Judith,' he burst out.  'I should not have a
child.'  He was quivering and his face was strained with distress.

'What nonsense!' she said.  'I never heard greater nonsense.  Why,
it's splendid for dear Elizabeth to have a baby.'

'It will be a coward--as my father was, as I am.'

He left the room without another word.

After that she slept very badly.  Dream followed dream, and every
dream was filled with apprehension.  Every part of her past life
seemed, in her dreams, to be now connected and to point to some
inevitable result.  She was once again with Georges at Christabel's
Ball, with Charlie Watson in Watendlath, with Warren in Paris, and
someone cried in her ear:  'Had it not been thus this would never
have come about.'

'But what?' she cried.

But she could not see the event.  She struggled, her heart full of
love and fear.  Adam, approaching her, tried to speak to her but
was prevented.  John waved to her a despairing hand before he
vanished from sight.  But she could do nothing.  She was held, as
one is in dreams, impotent, with no power in her limbs to move.
Suddenly the old cruel figure of Mrs Ponder, Jennifer's servant,
appeared.  She was on her knees searching Judith's private papers.

'NOW you will have to leave the house!' she cried, raising her
malignant face.

'But I will not!' Judith answered.

And she had not.  That was one thing upon which she could look back
with pleasure, that in spite of all the odiousness and spying, in
spite of Jennifer's lazy treachery, she had faced Mrs Ponder to the
end, seeing the hateful woman at last out of the house.  But what
had Mrs Ponder to do with John?  Ah, she remembered the little
scene when that vile woman had thrown John's rabbit out of window.
Was that, too, one link in the chain?  Had every event, however
slight, its inevitable result?  But she must do something about
John.  She must not allow him to slip into tragedy as his father,
Francis, had done.  She must do something about John, and then she
looked up to see Margaret coming across the grass towards her.  She
was now thirty-four years of age and a fine strongly built woman
with a broad carriage, a calm open countenance and great quietness
and repose in all her movements.

'She has grown,' Judith thought, 'like Adam and Adam like her, as
many married people do when they have lived much together and love
one another.'  As she thought this a spasm of the old jealousy bit
her as it might be a little animal jumping from the grass, but she
brushed it away with her hand.

Margaret was wearing a simple grey muslin with panniers of white
taffeta placed at the edges.  In the bosom of her dress she had a
white rose.  Her dark hair was brushed back on either side, parted
in the middle.  She was carrying her hat in her hand.  She brought
peace and assurance with her.

'I like this woman,' Judith thought, as though she were seeing her
for the first time.  'I am friends with her at last.'

The children had tired of their game and had run into the house.
The sun was very slowly sinking, and the golden glow moved,
travelling from place to place, softening the mountains with a
purple flush while the sky faded slowly from bright blue into a
translucent amber.  Soon there will be a world of grey and silver
and the hill will be dark, chill and strong.  But that is not yet.
The two women have half an hour to talk, the running stream the
only sound in the world save their voices.

'You will not be cold, Mother?' Margaret asked, laying her broad
strong hand on Judith's black dress.

'Oh no, my dear.  And see that the grass is not damp for you.'

Margaret laughed.  'I have so many petticoats,' she said, 'I could
sit in a stream and not be wet.'

Her voluminous grey dress spread out on the green grass and the
light transmuted it.

'Have you seen John?' Judith asked.

'No; he has been away all day,' Margaret answered, sighing.  'He
seems dreadfully unhappy.  He has been so for months.  He would
talk to Adam at one time, but lately he has avoided him too, and
Adam loves him so much.  Elizabeth says that he will not talk to
her either.'

'Yes--he is as his father was.'  Judith beat her small hands
impatiently on her lap.  'I can catch hold of NOTHING.'

'Adam thinks,' Margaret began, 'that it all began from the day when
someone near here told him about his father and mother.  He had a
shock then that has weakened him like water, and it is of no use to
say that he OUGHT not, that I would not be like that, that _I_
would not let the past touch me.  We are all different, and it
seems to me that the Herries who ARE weak are weaker than any
others, as though someone had said once:  "If you are born a
Herries and refuse to have common-sense you shall suffer as no one
else suffers.  Have common-sense or die."  Adam has just enough
common-sense to save him.'

'Well, he is only half a Herries, my dear,' Judith said briskly.
'His father was only half a Herries and I am only by nature quarter
a one, for my father was a wanderer and a vagabond and so was my
mother.  And here I am as warm and comfortable as a cat, thank
goodness.  It's more than I have deserved.'

Margaret hesitated.  She found words no more easily than Adam, but
there was something that she had been wanting for a long while to
say, and now was a good time.

'Mother,' she began at last, slowly, in her deep rich voice,
looking down at the grass.  'You do not hate me any longer, do

'Hate you?  Why, no, my child, I love you.'

'You did hate me once.'

Judith shook her head.  'No, I never hated you, of course.  How
could I when Adam loved you?--and besides all my life I must
confess that I have found it very difficult to hate anyone.  John's
mother for a while once, and a horrid servant she had.  Walter,
perhaps, at odd moments.  No.  But I was jealous of you, I must

'Yes, I knew it.'  Margaret stroked the grass with her hand.  'And
it made me terribly unhappy.  But I have never been able to express
myself.  I am so very shy of feeling, and women are not supposed to
have any feelings.  It is not thought nice.'

'In my young day,' Judith said, nodding her head vigorously, 'women
had plenty of feeling and showed it.  I don't know what's come over
the world.  Women are not supposed to have legs any more, and
children are found in gooseberry bushes.  Stuff!'

'And you are not jealous any more?'

'No.  All my fires have died down.  I sit and look on.  But I love
you, my dear.  I do indeed.  Adam has been the passion of all my
life since my husband died, but a time came when I saw that someone
else must do the things for him that I had done--and more things
than I could ever do.  How fortunate I have been that it was a
woman like you, not one of these coarse painted creatures or one of
these niminy-piminies all affectation, or one of those good perfect
creatures like the woman in Mr Dickens' David Copperfield.  What
was her name?  Agnes.  But, of course, Adam would have chosen well.
He would have had a whipping from me if he had not.'

'I have wanted to tell you,' Margaret said slowly, 'how grateful I
am to you, how dearly I love you.  I cannot say things, but I
thought that once I must tell you--'

She leant up and put her arms around Judith.  The two women kissed,
and Judith laid her hand for a moment on Margaret's broad forehead.

'God bless you and keep you in all His ways, dear daughter.  And
now,' she went on quite sharply, 'I must go in.  The sun will soon
be down.  How nice!  I shall read Mrs Gaskell's Cranford over the
fire.  They say it is all about old ladies who are frightened by
cows--like Mrs Potter at Threlkeld.  Give me your arm, my dear.  My
right foot has gone fast asleep.'

A little later she was sitting in front of the parlour fire, her
feet propped up on a worsted stool, a thick woollen shawl round her
shoulders, and large spectacles on the end of her small nose.  Her
trouble was that her nose was TOO small.  The spectacles WOULD slip
off!  It was only of late that her eyes had begun to fail her.  She
was reading Cranford with many chuckles.

'How true this is!  We are just the same here round Uldale.  "In
the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons--all the
holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women.  If a married
couple come to settle in the town, somehow the gentleman
disappears; he is either fairly frightened to death by being the
only man in the Cranford evening parties, or he is accounted for by
being with his regiment, his ship, or closely engaged in business
all the week in the great neighbouring commercial town of Drumble,
distant only twenty miles on a railroad.  In short, whatever does
become of the gentlemen, they are not at Cranford; . . . but every
man cannot be a surgeon.  For keeping the trim gardens full of
choice flowers without a weed to speck them; for frightening away
little boys who look wistfully at the said flowers through the
railings; for rushing out at the geese that occasionally venture
into the gardens if the gates are left open; for deciding all
questions of literature and politics without troubling themselves
with unnecessary reasons or arguments; for obtaining clear and
correct knowledge of everybody's affairs in the parish; for keeping
their neat maidservants in admirable order; for kindness (somewhat
dictatorial) to the poor, and real tender good offices to each
other whenever they are in distress--the ladies of Cranford are
quite sufficient."'

Judith laid the book down on her lap and considered.

'How very excellent!  That is exactly Miss Poole and Janet and Mary
Darlington and Mrs Withers and Mrs Spooner.  We are a world of
women.  Why?  Why is Dorothy so important?  She is not very clever
nor is she at all beautiful, but she has a kind of kingdom.  Now I
NEVER had a kingdom--'

The door opened.  The little maid Eliza, her face twisted from its
rosy simplicity with surprise, horror, alarm, excitement and
general sense of drama, whispered something.

'What do you say, Eliza?' Judith asked, turning round and pushing
her spectacles back on to her nose.

'Sir Walter Herries, ma'am.'

Walter!  Her book dropped to the floor.  She stayed, for a moment,
listening as though she expected to hear some dreadful sound, but
all that came to her was the cheerful shrill voice of someone
singing in the kitchen.  Then, sitting up very straight, she said:

'Ask Sir Walter to come in.'

A moment later he was standing beside the sofa, very stiffly
bowing.  He was dressed for riding and carried his hat in his hand.
His hair was grey now (he was sixty-two) and he was clean-shaven,
which was most unusual and gave him an odd babyish appearance.  His
red face was purple-veined, but he was not so stout as when Judith
had last seen him.  He was untidy, as though he had no one to look
after him.  Judith, against her wish, felt sorry for him.

'Well, Walter, how are you?  Won't you sit down?  Been poisoning
any of our cows lately?  How are the little Peaches?  Humphrey, the
stableman, found one of them in our gooseberry bushes not long

Walter sat down.  He spread his legs, looked gravely at her; she
noticed that his mouth was not very steady and that his hands

'You are looking well, Judith,' he said.

'I am very well, thank you.'  She took off her spectacles.  She did
not intend that he should say that her sight was going.  Then
sharply, as though to convey to him that she had not all day to

'Why am I honoured?'

'A damned pretty place you've got,' he said, looking about him.
'Everything very fresh and charming.'

'Well--well.  That's not what you've come to say.'

'No, it isn't.  Sharp as ever you were!'

'Nor have you come to pay me compliments.  Do you mind that window?
If so, pray close it.'  (For the window was open.  Judith, unlike
her contemporaries, loved fresh air.)

'No matter, thank you.'  He hummed and hawed, then began a long
rambling statement.

She could not make out what he was after.  He had a lot to say
about the past.  Was it not foolish that they had wasted so much of
their lives in quarrelling?  He had been a young hot-headed fool,
had done many things that he now regretted.  Looking back, his ill-
temper seemed to him now to have been very aimless, motiveless.
But it was his father who, from the time he was a baby, had
persuaded him that his mother had been insulted, and then Jennifer
and Francis--well, Judith would agree that their conduct . . .

'I will agree to nothing,' Judith said.

But he did not appear to hear her.  He went rambling on.  He was
afraid that he'd taught Uhland the same doctrine.  He saw now what
a mistake he had made.  He saw now that he had been mistaken in
many things.

'Well, I'm glad of that anyway,' said Judith.  'But there is no use
to go back on the past.  If you are asking me to forget and
forgive, Walter, frankly I cannot.  Too much harm has been done--
Francis, Jennifer, Reuben, and Jennifer's children.  My own life,
too . . .'  She coughed.  She could not but be sorry for him a
little.  There were spots on his waistcoat, and his stock was badly
tied.  'But what do you WANT, Walter?  What have you come here

He hesitated, looked at her as though he were begging her to help
him.  Then he said an extraordinary thing.

'Hatred, Judith, is a very rare quality in men.  One seldom meets

She did not know what to say.

'Very rare,' she answered drily.

'I have never hated you.  My mother never hated anybody.  Jennifer
never hated anyone.  You yourself have never hated.'


'What I intend to say is--I am clumsy at expressing myself--but out
of all this past quarrelling, not very real, you understand, there
has come much unhappiness.'  He paused, rubbed his cheek with his
hand.  'I myself am not a happy man.  All my own fault, I admit it.
I have lost my daughter quite through my own fault.  There is
something bad in our blood which, if it is indulged--'

He stared at her in quite a fuddled way as though he had been
drinking, which it was likely that he had.  But what was his
meaning?  What was his intention?  For what had he come?  She
remembered the scene in this very room when she had slapped his
face.  He was not the kind of man either to condone or forget.

'Hatred, Judith,--real hatred--is a sort of madness.'


He went on again, finding words very difficult.

'You see . . . you know . . . you must understand . . .  Upon my
word, I am extremely clumsy--you must forgive me--but my boy--

'Yes--Uhland?' she said, more softly, because now, as always when
he spoke of his son, there was a new and moving note in his voice.

'I had great hopes for Uhland.  I may be a man who has made a mess
of his life.  When I am sober I am ready to make such an admission--
but Uhland was to be different.  He had a heavy handicap' (his
voice was gathering ardour now that Uhland was his topic) 'his
lameness--the sense that he was unlike the others.  And then his
mother was not strong, and I was not the wisest father.  I was
anxious to indulge him, too anxious perhaps, and he was unusual,
unlike other boys--'

He paused again, and gently, looking at him almost as though she
were his friend, Judith said:

'Yes, Walter, I understand.  In that at least I have always
understood you.'

Encouraged, he went on:

'I am another man when I am in my cups.  I will be quite honest
with you.  I have spoiled many things by my follies, but Uhland I
have always kept apart.  I saw from the beginning that he was by
himself, alone.  He has never cared for anyone except your Adam.
He has never, I fear, cared in the least for myself, and the
knowledge that he did not made me wilder, wilder than perhaps I
would otherwise have been.  But what I would point out is that all
our quarrels, yours and mine and our parents' before us--the events
in the life of your own father so many years ago--have found a kind
of resting-place in poor Uhland's nature.  He was born with a
grudge and all his instincts have been twisted.  In a fashion he is
a scapegoat for the errors of the rest of us.'  He stopped once
more, wiped his mouth with his hand.

She was, in spite of herself, deeply touched.  This was a different
Walter from any that she had ever seen.  She felt behind his
precise, artificial, clumsy speech almost an agony of apprehension,
and her own apprehension that she had been so conscious of all day
rose to meet his.

She almost cried out:

'Oh, Walter, what is it?  What has happened?'

Enemies though they had been all their lives, they were now almost

He went on, staring at her as though that assisted him.

'Uhland has grown ever more strange.  Our house is not an agreeable
place.  I will not pretend that it is agreeable, but of late
Uhland's conduct has frightened me greatly--'

'Uhland's conduct?'

'Yes.'  He found now the greatest difficulty in choosing his words.
'He is, I fear, most unhappy, but he will speak to no one.  He
shuts himself in his room.  He walks over the house.  The servants
are afraid to remain where he is.  And for myself, I think he hates

She said nothing.  He went on more swiftly.

'But it is not of myself that I wanted to speak to you.  I came . . .
I came because--'  He said urgently, leaning towards her:  'You
have John staying with you?'

'Yes,' she said.

'You know, of course, that from the time of his childhood Uhland
has always especially hated John.'

'Yes,' she said.

'It has been a sort of madness in him.  I fear, I greatly fear that
I was myself originally responsible for that.  It seemed to me in
those days unfair--unfair that John should be so handsome while my

'Yes, I know, I know,' Judith said quickly.

'Then I implore you, Judith--I beg of you--send John back to London
immediately.  Immediately.  Uhland knows that he is here.  He has,
during the last week, been very odd in his behaviour.  He talks--he
was talking last night--as though that old grudge had reached some
kind of climax.  We are, all of us, responsible for the past, I
more than any, and if anything were to happen--'

'But what could happen?'

'There have been many acts of violence in our family,' he went on.
'It is as though there were an element of violence in our blood . . .
No.  This is perhaps foolish, unreal.  We are, I suppose, the
most sober and sensible family in England, and just because of that
when we are not sensible--'

He got up and she could see that he was greatly agitated.

'Never mind our family,' he said.  'Damn the family!  This is
urgent, personal to ourselves.  I implore you, send John back to
London tomorrow.'

She nodded.  She looked up and gave him her hand for the first time
for many years.

'Yes, Walter.  You are right.  Thank you for coming.  It could not
have been easy.  John shall return to London.  In fact this is no
new thing.  I have been aware of it for many years.  John has been
under some kind of shadow all his life, as his father was before
him.  I will see that he goes tomorrow.'

Walter held her hand, looked at her, bowed, then said almost

'I have not come here to confess my sins, Judith.  I shall be
tomorrow as I was yesterday.  I shall find myself a fool, I don't
doubt, for coming to visit you.  But for an hour at least I see
sense.  Goodbye.  I can find my own way out.'

Judith sat on, her hands folded in front of her, looking into the
fire, wondering as to which would be the best way to persuade John.
This, had she known it, was a waste of energy, for John had heard
everything, standing among some flowerpots, his hands scratched
unwittingly by the nails of rose-briars fastened to the wall.  He
had returned from his ride and had seen Walter's horse tied to the
gate.  A quarter of an hour before he had seen both Walter and
Uhland riding down the road from Ireby.  He had come round the wing
of the house towards the front door when, very clearly through the
open window, he had heard the words in Walter's thick ropy voice:
'You know, of course, that from the time of his childhood Uhland
has always especially hated John.'

So he stayed there, his body pressed against the wall, his eyes
staring out into a sky that swam in frosty September light with one
blazing diamond star.  He heard everything.  He heard Walter say:
'If anything were to happen--', and Judith later:  'Yes, Walter.
You are right . . .  John has been under some kind of shadow . . .'

So it had come to this!  'Under some kind of shadow!  Under some
kind of shadow.'  And they planned to smuggle him away to London
lest anything should happen . . . anything should happen.

He went back to the stable and got out his horse Barnabas.  A small
terrier, very devoted to him, Mumps by name, little more than a
puppy, came rushing across the cobbles when he saw Barnabas let out
again.  He had thought that the fun was over for the day, but
apparently it was not.  John went quickly by the gate that bordered
the orchard.  This brought him straight into the village street and
he knew that he would be now ahead of Walter.  The sun was just
sinking, and hills, fields, pasture and stream lay in a mirror of
light; you could fancy that if you swung, lazily, god-like in the
sky, you would look down and see your Olympian features reflected
in this sea of gold.  Almost at once, just out of the village, at
the dip in the road before it turned left to Peterfield, he found
Uhland, waiting for his father, while his horse cropped the grass.

He knew that he had very little time before Walter came up, and,
guiding his horse quite close to Uhland's, he said softly:

'I think that we must end this.  It has gone on long enough--and by
ourselves where no one can disturb us.'

It was as though because of their connexion through so many years
they had grown to understand one another like the closest and
dearest friends, for Uhland did not appear startled, nor did he ask
'End what?' or 'What has been long enough?'  He simply drew his
horse a little away from John's and nodded his head.

'Well--if you wish it.  As to ending it--'  Then he said sharply in
his cold rather thin voice:  'What is it you want?'

'That we should have it out, the two of us, once and for all--

They both heard the tap-tap of a horse on the road.  It would be,
likely, Walter.

'Yes, I agree.'

They were like two schoolboys arranging a rendezvous for a fight;
from the beginning there had been something childlike and something
eternal too in their relationship.

Uhland went on, as though to himself:  'Yes, I have had enough of
this.  I must get rid of this.'  He said coldly:  'Well--what do
you propose?'

'Tomorrow.  I will meet you somewhere.'

Uhland paused.  They could see Walter coming down the hill.

'Yes.  What do you say to the house opposite Calva in Skiddaw
Forest?  Tomorrow afternoon at four.'

'Yes.  I'll be there.'

John turned his horse and a moment later passed Walter without a
word or any greeting.




On the following day, Uhland, waking very early in his tower,
lighted his candle and began to read in a brown stubby volume.  It
was a translation of Vasari's Lives of the Italian Painters.  After
a while he came to this:  'Whereupon having taken this buckler with
him to Florence without telling Leonardo whose it was, Ser Piero
asked him to paint something upon it.  Leonardo having taken one
day this buckler in his hands, and seeing it twisted, ill-made and
clumsy, straightened it by the fire, and having given it to a
turner, from the rough and clumsy thing that it was, caused it to
be made smooth and equal; and afterwards, having covered it with
gesso and having prepared it after his own method, he began to
think of what he might paint on it, that should be able to terrify
all who should come upon it, producing the same effect as once did
the head of Medusa.  Leonardo therefore, to this end, carried to a
room into which no one entered save himself, slow-worms, lizards,
field-crickets, snakes, moths, grasshoppers, bats and other kinds
of such-like animals, out of the number of which, variously put
together, he evolved a most horrible and terrifying creature, which
poisoned the air with its breath, and turned it into flame; and he
represented it coming out of a dark and jagged rock, belching
poison from its open throat, and fire from its eyes, and smoke from
its nostrils, in so strange a manner that it seemed altogether a
monstrous and horrible thing; and such pains did he take in
executing it, that although the smell of the dead animals in the
room was very noisome, it was not perceived by Leonardo, so great
was the passion that he bore towards his art . . .'

'So great was the passion that he bore towards his art,' Uhland
repeated to himself and closed the book and blew out his candle to
let the moth-like colour of the early morning strengthen in the
room.  So it was to be a great artist, such would he have done had
he had the opportunity and the power.  He had neither, only the
longing.  He had done nothing with his life, which now was over.
He was certain that it was over and that this was the last time
that he would see the early light spread about the room.  But today
he would release something from within himself that had been there
since he was conceived.  If he could live after that was released--
ah! then perhaps he would become an artist.

He always had a headache now when he woke in the morning, a pain
that pressed on his forehead like iron, and his eyes for the first
hour were misted so that he had read the Vasari with great
difficulty, and his lame leg hurt him sorely.  But this morning
when later he bathed and dressed he felt a glow, a warmth, a deep
and burning excitement.  That miserable coward had at last faced up
to him.  He would see him standing in front of him.  They would be
alone, removed from all the world.  He would strike him in the face
and see what he would do.  This was the moment for which all his
life he had been longing, to revenge himself upon the whole world
for making him twisted and a cripple, all those people who had
watched him as he walked, all the kind Herries relations who had
despised and pitied him.  Today he would revenge himself upon all
his family--the crowd of them, so pleased with themselves and their
strong bodies and the children they had begotten, so scornful of
anyone unlike themselves . . . and the fellow had dared--had dared--
to marry his sister!

All morning he limped about the house thinking of a thousand absurd
things--how his grandfather Will, now, Heaven be praised, dust and
ashes, had looked at him across the dining-table in Hill Street as
though he said:  'This poor misshapen creature--how can he be MY
grandson?'  How Amery had invited him to ride with him, adding:
'You CAN ride, can't you?'  How he had slipped on the stair at the
Fortress, and Archdeacon Rodney's young son had muttered (but
Uhland had heard him):  'Poor devil!'  How Sylvia had looked at his
leg and then blushed when he caught her--all, all, all pitying him,
despising him, scorning him!  Leonardo had filled his room with
newts and toads and lizards and from them had constructed a figure
so horrible . . .  There was power!  Ah! there was power indeed!
And today he would be revenged on them all.  He would make that
figure, seen all his days as the type of all that he himself
despised and hated, cringe and shake and fall--a strange fire ran
in his veins so that he felt almost as though his limp were gone
and he as strong as any of them.

With the exception of his own place and the servants' quarters, his
father's room was the only one in all the Fortress now that was
cared for.  The rest was tumbling to ruin.  The walls were strong,
but dust lay everywhere, and all the other rooms were damp-smelling
and foetid.  But he went everywhere as though he were saying
goodbye to it all, a happy, glad goodbye.  They called it the
Fortress first in admiration, now in jest and mockery.  So with
this damned country: they thought that they were building a
Fortress, eaten up with conceit they were, but one day it would be
like this house, rotten and a jest to all the world.  Pity he
couldn't live to see that day . . .

Later, with his gun over his shoulder, he went in to say farewell
to his father.

Sir Walter Herries, Bart, was playing backgammon with his
housekeeper, a thin painted woman called Mrs Throstle.  Mrs
Throstle enjoyed bright colours and was expecting friends from
Keswick, so she was dressed in a worsted poplin of bright yellow
and wore the most elaborate sleeves in the prevailing fashion,
ruffed muslin with coloured ribbons at the wrist.  She had coral
bracelets.  Over all this her sharp face peered anxiously at the
board, for she was a mean woman, and they were playing for high
stakes.  Or so they seemed to her.  But she always came out right
in the end, because if she won she won, and if she lost she went
through Herries' pockets at night after he slept and took what
there was.  But there was not much these days because everything
was going to rack and ruin.

She was discontented, too, because Herries would not drink at
present.  He was sober and cross and peevish.  He had struck her
last night for saying that Uhland was a lame duck.  She hated
Uhland, as indeed did all the servants.

Walter, very soberly dressed, gave only half his attention to the
game.  He had been worried for weeks about Uhland, and his visit to
Judith yesterday had done little to relieve him.  Indeed, it had
added to his discontent, for the Uldale house had looked so bright
and shining.  He had liked Judith too, that neat, capable, strong
old woman, and all the silly enmity over which he had spent so much
of his energy seemed to have blown into thin air.  But enmity,
hatred and all uncharitableness are never wasted, as he was to find
out before many days were over.

He looked up at the door opening and hungered with love for his
son.  He saw that he was dressed for going out and had a gun over
his shoulder; at once he was alarmed with a strange interior fear,
the room seemed to fill with smoke before his eyes; his hand
trembled, and he knocked the backgammon board off the table.

'There now!' said Mrs Throstle.  'And I was winning too!'

'Clear out!' said Uhland sharply.  'I want to speak to my father.'

Mrs Throstle rose, trembling.  She was terrified of Uhland; one
look at his contemptuous face and she shook all over.  She gathered
herself together, touched her coral bracelets indignantly, tossed
her head and went.  The round backgammon counters lay on the dirty
carpet, but Walter stared at his son.

'Going out?' he asked.

'Yes, Father.'



Walter rose heavily, stretched his arms and yawned.

'I think I'll come too.  Fresh air will do me good.'

'No, Father.  I'm going alone today.'

Uhland looked at his father and felt, to his own surprise, a
certain tenderness.  He could remember--he did at this moment
vividly remember--old, old days at Westaways when everything had
been so rich, many people about, the house shining with colour, and
his father bursting with health and self-satisfaction.  But his
father had wasted himself on emptiness, had let everything dribble
through his hands like grain falling idly through the air.  Grain
falling--it lay now, in layers of dust, thick upon the floor.  They
had done nothing with their lives, either of them, and he saw for
perhaps the first time that if he had returned some of his father's
love things might have been otherwise.  His father had had no
return for either his love or his hate.  A dry, wasted man . . .

He did what of his own free will he had never done before--limped
up and put his hand on his father's shoulder.

'Better I go alone,' he said.  'I'm in a sulky temper.'

Walter was so deeply moved by his son's gesture that he said
angrily:  'You are always in a sulky temper.'  He leaned his big
heavy body towards his son's.  He touched the gun.

'Going shooting?' he asked again.

'Maybe,' answered Uhland.  'Goodbye then.'  He moved towards the

'When are you returning?'

'Oh, any time.  Don't count on it,' and he went out, his backward
glance from the door showing him his father bending his great stern
towards the floor that he might pick up the backgammon counters.

He rode down the hill and then slowly along the ridge of the Fell
towards Peter's House.  He had plenty of time to be at Skiddaw
House by four.  It was a day in which everything seemed restrained,
as though the sun were longing to break out but was held back by a
strong hand.  He passed an orchard where the pear trees were a
bright yellow, and then in the distance he saw how the yellow hills
were already autumnal, the heather resting on them in a rosy shadow
from place to place.  He had always been alive to beauty, although
he resented it often because he felt that it, like the rest of the
world, mocked at any cripple; now today the shadowed sun, the
bright yellow of the leaves, the distant hills, were all part of
his own purpose.  They knew what would happen, and it was strange
to him that they should all be able to see ahead of him, certain of
the event before it had occurred.

'Everything is arranged then,' he thought.  'It is quite settled
what I shall do.  Every past incident contributes to this.  I am
what I have been made.  And yet I could turn back if I wished.  I
would cheat God if God there be.  I am greater than God, because
now if I wished I could ride up Ireby Hill again and go in quietly
and play backgammon with my father.'  He stayed his horse for a
moment, and had the fantastic thought that 'just to show them' he
would ride back.  But he could not; of course, he could not.  Old
'Rogue' Herries; his father's words when he was very little:
'Don't you hate that conceited young cousin of yours, Uhland?';
Rodney's young son muttering 'Poor devil!' . . . no, fragment after
fragment had with infinite patience been brought together, all that
he might ride to Skiddaw House to meet John Herries.  And once
again at the thought of that meeting his blood was hot.

Jane Bellairs was the only one in the house to see John go.  She
had two great devotions in her life--one for her great-great-aunt
Judith, the other for her uncle John.  She eliminated, as did her
brothers and sisters, the degrees of greatness from Judith, and
called her quite simply (and very proudly) 'my aunt'.

'But, dear, she cannot be your aunt,' tiresome Mrs Munberry in
Keswick had years ago said to her.  'She is far too elderly.  You
mean great-aunt.'

But Jane had simply thought Mrs Munberry a foolish old witch, with
her grey hair and sharp eyebrows.  For all the children Judith was
ageless.  She had lived, of course, for ever, and would live for
ever.  She was like God, only more easily loved.  But Uncle John
was Jane's especial property.  When he was absent in London, Jane
not only prayed for him night and morning but also talked to him
when she was alone, asked him whether she could fetch him anything,
and thought about him before she slept, because she was certain
that he was lonely.  This idea that he must be lonely had come to
her at a very early age when, rocking her doll by the fire in the
parlour, she had looked up and seen him staring out of window.

She had given him her doll to care for, and also, although he did
not perhaps know it, herself at the same time.  The others laughed
at her for her devotion, especially Veronica, who was a good hearty
girl with no nonsense about her.  But Jane did not mind when they
laughed.  She had long grown accustomed to having her own private
life, a life that no one understood but Aunt Judith.  Her mother
least of all, for Dorothy would perpetually be saying:  'Dreaming
again, Jane.  Where's your work, child?' and Jane would pick up her
piece of worsted on which she was embroidering a red rose or a ship
with sails and, with a small sigh that nobody heard, pricking her
forefinger and biting her lip, would set about it.  She was,
however, as Dorothy frequently declared, the easiest of all the
children, for when she lost her temper she was quiet, not noisy
like the others, and could amuse herself quite happily all the day
long.  Although she was nearly fourteen years of age now she was
very slight and small.

'That child will never grow,' Dorothy exclaimed, and Judith
replied:  'My dear, don't be foolish.  I'm eighty and have never
grown an inch since I was eight.'

And now she was the only one of all the family to see John go.  All
morning she had been painting a picture.  This was her favourite
pursuit, and here too the others laughed at her because she did not
paint easy things like cottages and cows and the sun, very red with
rays like wires, setting on a mountain, but things much too
difficult for her, like the Queen in her Palace, the whale
swallowing Jonah, and Noah seeing dry land.  Yesterday on her walk
she had seen some horses drinking from a pond, and this morning she
had been drawing a great white horse swimming.  Beyond the pond
there were mountains, and for some reason (she did not know why) it
was winter and the pond was black with ice.  She covered the pond
with purple paint.  This painting was to be for John and, before
dinner, she looked for him everywhere to give it to him.  She found
him coming from the stable, leading his horse Barnabas, and the
small dog Mumps was with him.  He smiled when he saw the little
girl in her pink bonnet.  Her dress, with its double skirt and fan-
shaped corsage, made her quaint while on the other children it
seemed quite natural.  It was as though she were in fancy-dress.

'Hullo, Janey!' he said.

'Are you going to ride?'

'Yes.'  He put his arm around her and kissed her.

'I've been up to Auntie's room and she's sleeping yet.'

Judith had not been well that morning and when she was not well all
the house was quieter.  Jane considered him.  Should she show him
her painting?  He was busy because he was going riding.

Yes, she would.  She MUST show him.

'I've done a painting and it's for you.'

'Let's see.'  He bent down, while Barnabas and Mumps stood
patiently waiting.  All he saw was that some kind of animal was
sitting on a floor of purple paint.  But he guessed that the animal
was a horse.

That's a grand horse,' he said, pinching her cheek.

'Yes, and it's swimming in a pond all frozen with ice, and then it
will ride up the mountain.'

'What a splendid horse!  Is that for me?'


He kissed her and held her for a moment close to him.  Then he put
the painting very carefully in his riding-coat pocket.

'Goodbye, my darling.'

'Where are you riding to?'

'Oh, only a little way.'

'Will you be back before I go to bed?'

'Yes, sweetheart.'

'Will you read Nicholas Nickleby?'

'Yes, if there's time enough.'

She stood in the gateway waving to him until he was out of sight.
At the corner before the houses of the village hid him he turned on
his horse and waved back to her.  She ran into the house and
wondered what there would be for dinner.

When, beyond the village, he was riding by Langlands he noticed an
orchard and how yellow the leaves of the pear trees were.  That
made his heart beat, and the thick grass under the trees, the
spikes of some of the sharper grasses, were already brown at the
tips.  There had been frost every morning of late.  Then, as he
turned towards Over Water, he realized that Mumps was running most
confidently at his side, his little black eyes sparkling, his mouth
open, stopping for quick snatched moments to sniff at a smell, his
whole person expressing extreme content and happiness.

He must not have Mumps with him on this ride, so he pulled Barnabas
up and said sharply:

'Go home, Mumps!  Go home!'

Mumps stopped and looked at him as though he had just received the
surprise of his life, as though he could not, in fact, believe his

'Go home, Mumps!  I mean it.'  And he flourished his whip.
Barnabas also exchanged a look with Mumps, saying:  'Yes.  This is

Mumps ran forward, pretending that he had discovered so rich a
smell that John must be pleased, and being pleased, would soften
his heart.  Then he stood, with one paw raised, intently listening.
Then when that was of no avail he sat down and scratched his
underparts.  Then, that accomplished, he looked up at John
pleadingly.  All of no value.  The stern order was repeated, so,
after one more imploring stare, he surrendered and slunk down the
road, his tail between his legs.  Round the bend, he reconsidered
the matter.  He saw that his master was slowly riding on, so,
slowly, he followed, maintaining a tactful distance.

When John had Over Water on his right and was approaching Orthwaite
Hall, he heard a bell ringing, the kind of bell that rings from the
belfry of a manor-house calling the servants to a meal.  It came
beautifully through the honey-misted air.  'It is as though,' he
thought, 'some giant were holding back the sun.'  Thin patches of
sunlight lay on the fields, and on the hills the heather spread in
clouds of rosy shadow.  All was dim, and the little sheet of water
was like a buckler on whose surface someone had been breathing,
silver under cobweb, without bounds, raised in air above the soil.

'It's funny,' he thought.  'Aunt Judith has always said that she
could see Over Water from the windows of the house.  Of course she
could not.  She must have the neck of a giraffe.'  And yet he
himself had often thought that he saw Over Water from those windows--
a mirage.  But how friendly a little piece of water it was!  All
his life he had loved it--his whole life long.

Then, with a sharp stab of anticipation, he was aware of what he
was about.  Somewhere already in this misty countryside Uhland
Herries was riding.  They might meet on the way.  He was somewhere
near, shadow behind shadow--and the bell, still ringing, echoed in
the air:  'This--Time--is--the--Last.  This--Time--is--the--Last.'
He was conscious of an awful temptation to turn back.  Perspiration
beaded his forehead.  Why should he go on--to his death maybe?
This lovely land that all his life he had adored; why should
everything have been spoilt for him so long by one person to whom
he had never done any harm?  No.  He must recognize that Uhland was
only a symbol.  Life would have been for him always a place of
fears and terrors even though Uhland had never been born.  What did
the ordinary man--men like Garth and Uncle Will and old James--know
about such a life, know how it was to wake in the night because you
heard a sound, to turn in the street and look back over your
shoulder, to watch a picture lest it should drop from the wall, to
hear a mouse scratch in the wainscot so that your heart thumped, to
expect with every post bad news, to fight, all your life long,
shadows, shadows, shadows? . . .

Oh, to be done with it, to throw fear out of your heart like a
dirty rag, and then perhaps he would be like Adam, so quiet and
sure, a little ironical about life but never afraid of it, with a
heart so unalarmed that it could spend itself on love of others.
He thought then that he heard a horse's hoofs knocking on the road
behind him, and he turned sharply.  But there was no one.  The bell
had ceased to ring.  At last, today, it would be over.  He would
settle with Uhland for ever.  THAT fear at least should be killed.

He rode on, past Peter's House, up on to the path across the Fell
leading to the road that climbed under Dead Crag up steeply past
Dash Waterfall.  On his right were the Caldbeck Fells humped
against the sky and stained now with every colour, the rose and
purple of the heather, silver grey where the grass was thin, a
bright and burning green of fields between walls, and down the side
of one fell splashes of white quartz ran like spilt milk.

He looked about him to see whether anywhere there was another
rider.  He could see for a great distance now, to the right to the
sweep of the Bassenthwaite Woods, to the left where the dark wine-
stained sea of heather, grass and bare soil ran in a flood to the
feet of the Caldbeck Fells, breaking, as it began to climb, into
patches of field, a farm with a white wall, cows and sheep grazing.
But no human being moved in all the landscape.  Under Dead Crag,
before he began to climb, he thought of the ravens for which the
Crag was famous.  He looked up to where the jagged edge cut the
sky, and two birds, as though in answer to a call, floated out like
black leaves, circled silently in the still air.  The only sound
was made by the Dash that tumbled with fierce gestures from the
height above.  It was full and strong, which was strange when there
had been so little rain.

He was sorry that he had not been able to see Aunt Judith before he
left, and yet it was perhaps as well.  She had sent down word that
she would like to see him in her room after her three o'clock
dinner, and of course he knew what it was that she wanted--to
persuade him at once to return to London.  He wondered what reason
she would have given: something about Elizabeth, he supposed, and
at the thought of Elizabeth his heart seemed to stop its beat.  If
he did not return from this ride . . . if he did not return . . .
Never to see her again . . .  He climbed the steep road.

When Uhland reached Orthwaite Hall and looked across Over Water the
bell had ceased to ring.  Then suddenly it began again, softly,
steadily, persistently:  'Going--going--gone . . .'

Uhland looked at the Tarn, and then turning to the hills saw a
thick tangle of mist like the ends of a woman's mantilla stray
loosely over the tops.  If the mists were coming down that would be
serious.  Many a man had been lost for hours between Calva and
Skiddaw when the mist fell.  The House would be hard to find, and,
as though he had made a bet with some contestant, he was pledged to
reach the place by four.  The sun that had been shining so warmly
when John half an hour before had been there, now was withdrawing.
The light still lay in patches on the fields and the moor; down the
Caldbeck Fells the shadow slipped, leaving the glow bare behind it
as the skirts of a woman might fall.

But Uhland was aware now of a great impatience.  Nothing should
cheat him of this meeting.  He longed to have John close to him, to
see him flinch, above all to put to the final test all that those
years and years of shadowing had anticipated.  He urged on his
horse, hearing the bell follow him as he rode up towards Dead Crag
and the shining tumble of the Dash.  He looked up at the steep road
that ran up under the Crag and saw three birds circling like black
leaves above the line of rock.

'Those must be ravens,' he thought, and remembered how, when he was
a very small child, he had heard men tell of the ravens that
haunted Dead Crag, and how, years ago, after the 'Forty-Five
Rebellion', they had flown above the corpses of men, crying and
calling in a vindictive triumph.  He looked about him, down to the
Bassenthwaite Woods that were now black like iron, then across to
the sequence of fell-tops, but he could see no other rider.

'Is he behind me or before me?' he thought, and again that hot
excitement as of wine pouring through his body exalted him.  He
felt a sort of grandeur that he had never known before.  His
lameness did not handicap him now.  He was as good as anyone, and
better, for he was on his way to dominate and conquer that
supercilious, disdainful fool whom he would have down on his knees
before the day was over.

But when he had almost reached the top of the road and the waters
of the Dash were loud in his ears, he saw that the mist was
beginning to pour like smoke from behind the hills.  It came in
eddies and whirls of movement although there was no wind.  Greedily
it ate up the farms, the fields, rose for a moment as though beaten
by the sun, then fell again.  When he was actually on the height he
saw it advancing from every side.  He pushed his horse forward and
a moment later felt its cold fingers on his cheek.  The whole world
was blotted out.

The first thing that John heard when he started away from the Dash
was the eager, excited breathing of a dog.  He looked back and saw
Mumps, his tongue out, happily racing towards him.  The dog knew
that now there was nothing to be done.  Too late now to order him
to go back.  He felt a strange comfort as though this were a sign
from Fell House.

He was soon lost in the spaces of Skiddaw Forest.  There was no
forest here; there had never perhaps been trees; the name was used
in the old Scottish hunting sense of a place for game.  John knew
slightly General Sir Henry Wyndham whose land this was, and his
keeper Donald Grant, who lived at the House, his present
destination.  The House was one of the loneliest dwelling-places in
all the British Isles, the only building from Threlkeld to Dash.
John knew also that, at this moment, Grant was in Scotland, his
family with him.  He had heard only the week before that the House
was closed.

He could not anywhere in the whole world be more alone than he now
was.  A chill, in contrast with the warm valley below, was in the
air, and the patches of heather, the sharp green of the grass where
the bilberries had been, the grey boulders, all had lost the
brilliance of their colour.  He looked back once before he went on
and saw the Solway lit with a shaft of sunlight that glittered and
trembled under the line of Criffel and his companions.  He was
leaving that shining world and with every step of his horse was
advancing into danger.  On his right the flanks of Skiddaw began to
extend and he could see the cairn that marked its peak against the
sky.  Calva was on his left.  A moment later he saw the bounds of
his journey's end, on the right Lonskill Crag, and on the left,
extraordinarily black and angry, the sharp line of Foul Crag,
Blencathra's edge.  Between them, far away, in sunlight like the
smile of another world, was the ridge of Helvellyn.  Sunlight
behind him, sunlight before him, but his own country dark,
shadowed, without form, guarded by hostile crags.  He knew that
under Lonskill was the House, and at the thought that he was now so
near to it a shudder that he could not control took him.  Soon he
would come to the Caldew river, and, crossing that, he would move
into his fate, a fate that had been advancing upon him since the
day of his birth and before whose menace he had been always

It was then that he noticed the mist.  It came on the right from
Skiddaw, on the left from Calva.  It tossed and rolled, crept
almost to his feet.  Was Uhland in front of him or behind?  And,
even as he asked himself, the whole world was blotted out.




When Uhland felt the wet mist close in he was conscious of an
almost desperate irritation.  He was of so morbid and irritable a
temperament that he had always been unusually susceptible to
weather, to places, to trees and hills.  He did not, as did John
and Adam, feel that this country was in any case beloved, that,
whatever it chose to do, it was to be accepted and welcomed as an
ally.  It had seemed to him all his life bent on his frustration,
and, like others of his kind, he discounted lovely days but
recorded all the disappointments and, as they seemed to him, the

The fellow, he now contemptuously thought, would take this mist as
an excuse:  'I could not find the House.  When the mist came on I
turned back'--and it seemed to Uhland that there would never be an
opportunity again.  If he missed this he missed his power over the
man.  He would hate him no longer but would henceforth hate
himself, and, more than that, be choked till he died with this
passion of which he could not rid himself.

He rode a little way and could not tell whether he were going
forward or back.  He had been often in such mists before, but had
never been baffled and blinded as he now was, and, as always when
it was damp, his lame leg began to ache, as angry as he was at this

He stopped to see whether he could hear the Caldew.  It must be
somewhere near, but he had never in his life known such a silence
as had now fastened about him.  The absence of any sound or
movement closed in upon his ears like the beat of a drum.  He moved
on again, and as one often does in mist, thought that someone was
close behind him.  It would be just like that fellow to stab or
shoot him in the back, an easy way once and for all to rid himself
of his enemy, and, although Uhland was not afraid, it would be the
last fitting irony of the injustice that he had all his life
suffered under to be stabbed in the dark and dropped into space
like carrion.  He listened.  Behind him something moved, pebbles
were displaced, or there was a soft crunching of the grass.

'Herries, are you there?' he cried, and his own voice, the voice
that he had always despised and hated, came back clogged with wet
mist.  'Herries, are you there?'

The scene was fantastic, for at his feet and just in front of him
little fragments of ground were exposed, were closed, and were
exposed again.  The mist immediately surrounding him was so thick
that it was like fog and so wetting that he was already soaked
through and through his clothes.  It cleared at the top of Calva,
and the round shoulder of the hill sprang out like a live thing on
his left.  It was so clear that he could see the patches of bright
green and bare boulders lit with a chill iridescence as though in
moonlight.  Calva frowned at him, then raced under mist again,
leaving only a fragment like a bare arm lying nonchalantly in

His horse struck pebbles, and then he heard the slow stealthy
murmur of the Caldew.  Well, he was moving forward, for not far
beyond was the rising hill on which the House stood.  Behind the
House was a wood, and if Wyndham's keeper should be at home they
could finish this affair among the trees.  No one would see them on
such a day.

There should be a little wooden bridge over the Caldew.  He pulled
in his horse, jumped off and peered around him.  Now, if John
Herries was really behind him, would be the time for him to come at
him, and perhaps they would struggle there where they stood and end
it once and for all.

He spoke again:  'Now, Herries, I'm on foot . . .  Are you there?'
There was no answer.  If Herries WERE there he was sitting
motionless on his horse, and Uhland fancied that he could SEE a
horse there in the mist, and on it a gigantic figure, motionless,
waiting.  He stumbled and almost fell over the rocks into the
stream.  With an oath he pulled himself back and began to find his
way along the bank.  Now he had lost the horse, for the mist was
around him like a wall, but the horse whinnied, and at the same
moment he discovered the wooden bridge.  He went back and led the
horse safely across.  Now he knew where he was, for at once the
ground began to rise.  He came to a gate, opened it, leading the
horse through.

It was at this point that it was exactly as though someone stood in
his path.  For a moment he COULD not move, and he felt as though a
great hand were pressed against his chest.

'Let me through, damn you,' he said, and stumbled and fell.  His
lame leg often failed him, but now it was over a rock that he had
fallen.  He had cut his hand, and his body pressed into the wet
soil, just as though someone were on his back holding him down.
The soil was filthy, soaking, deep in mire.  His cheeks were muddy
and the knees of his breeches heavy with water.  He pushed
backwards and was suddenly freed, as light as air, the mist
thinning so that, as he got on to his feet again, he saw the House
only a little way above him, swimming in air like a ship in the
sea.  He moved forward, leading the horse, unlatched the gate,
passed through a small tangled garden of cabbages and currant
bushes.  His feet grated on a gravel path, and he saw that in one
of the windows of the House a candle was shining.

Uhland's thought had not been far out.  John, as the mist enfolded
him, had felt stir in him that weak boneless animal, so long so
hated a companion, who whimpered:  'Here is a way of escape.  You
can say that you were lost, had to turn back.'  He stopped his
horse and stayed there, listening and considering.  At once an odd
memory came to him, odd because he had not thought of it for years,
and now it touched him as though there were suddenly a warm, strong
hand on his shoulder.  He remembered how once, when they were
little children, Aunt Judith had told them a story of their
grandfather, David Herries; how he had run away with their
grandmother, years, years ago when she was a girl, and fleeing with
her from Wasdale up Stye Head had been pursued by an uncle or
someone of the kind--and then by the Tarn, in swirling mist,
Grandfather David and the uncle had fought while Grandmother
Herries watched, and Grandfather David had killed the other.  It
had sounded then a grand story, like a story out of a book,
unrelated in any way to the warm fires and old armchairs of Uldale.
Now it was real.  The mist that at this moment swirled about him
had swirled about David Herries then, and David Herries had won.
It was almost as though someone rode beside him, smiling at him as
they went.  So then he rode forward, but nevertheless the memory of
an old story could not kill the struggle within himself.  'Turn
back!  Turn back!' the boneless creature said.  'You know that you
are afraid.  You know that when you are face to face with him that
old terror will be too strong for you, and at the first word from
that voice you'll run.'

And the other companion at his side seemed to whisper:  'Go on!
You have nothing to fear.  All your life you have been fighting
shadows, and today at last you will discover what shadows they have

Yes, that was true.  It had begun in his very babyhood when in his
cot he had seen how the reflections from the fire had made fearful
shapes on the wall.  Then his nurse, old Mrs Ponder, how he had
shivered as he heard her heavy step on the stair, and her voice as
she said, 'Now, Mr John.  I dare you to move!' and he had stood,
his heart thumping, transfixed; then the day when she had thrown
his rabbit out of window.  The day, too, when he had first seen
Uhland, Uhland limping down the Keswick street, and that pale face
had turned towards him and something in him had bent down and
hidden away.  The evening, too, when with Adam he had seen Walter
sitting his horse, silently, on the hill.  But Walter Herries had
never meant much to him; the dread of his whole life had been
concentrated in Uhland, and it was of no use for others to say,
'But this is phantasmal.  There is no reality here.'  For his
father, too, had found the real world a prison, and, year after
year, had allowed his mother to be mistress . . .

He threw up his head.  'I am revenging my father,' he thought, 'and
my son, when he is born, will be fine if I am brave now.'  For he
felt, as many men with imagination have done, that with the vision
they are given they can see that no men are apart, that History has
no Time, and that all souls struggle for victory together.

So, greatly strengthened and as though suddenly he were seeing his
destiny for the first time, he pushed through the mist as someone
in a cellar pushes through wet cobwebs.

He now heard the running of the Caldew, and at the same moment
thought that Uhland was just behind him.  He stopped Barnabas and
was aware of a multitude of noises.  There was the murmur of the
stream, the thin breathing of the little dog, and, it seemed to
him, a multitude of whispering voices.  Also dimly there sounded
music in the air.  Since he was a boy he had known that hereabouts
was the place in Cumberland for finding the Musical Stones--certain
stones and boulders which, when cut, gave out musical notes when
you struck them.  At the Museum in Keswick there was a good set of
these stones, and Mr Cunningham at Caldbeck had a set on which he
and his sons played many tunes.  They beat them with a leather-
covered hammer.  Often as children Adam and he had come up to these
parts and searched for them, and he had once had a stone that gave
out a great ringing sound like an organ note.  He had heard that in
ancient days the Romans here had used them in their houses for
gongs.  This memory came to him now and pleased him.  There was
certainly some kind of music in the air.  He waited.  Maybe Uhland
was also there waiting, but it was hard to see in the mist.  If so
this would be a good place to end it.

At last he said out loud:  'Is anyone there?' and again, 'Who's
there?'  But there was no answer.

He dismounted from Barnabas to find the wooden bridge across the
stream, and at once Mumps found it for him, going in front of him
and looking back to see whether he were following.  After that, it
was easy to mount the rising ground, and soon, leading Barnabas, he
passed through the gate, along the little garden, and up to the
door of the House.  The mist floated about the walls in smoking
wreaths.  He could see dimly the wood.  He found, as he had
expected, that the door was locked.  There was no one there.  He
went to the window on the right of the door and to his surprise it
was slightly open.  Then he tied Barnabas to the garden wall,
pushed up the lower pane and easily vaulted into the room.  It was
so dark that for a while he stood there accustoming his eyes to it,
and the mist poured in through the open window as though all the
outer world were on fire.  After a time he stumbled about, knocking
his knees against a chair and the edge of a table.  He found the
fireplace, and on the mantel his hand closed on a candle.  He
struck a match from a box in his inner pocket and lit it.  He
waited, listening.  He opened the door and went into the passage.

'Is anyone in the house?' he called.

There was no answer.  He heard some hens running.  Then he went
back into the room, and almost immediately after there were steps
on the pebble path outside.

Standing back against the mantel he heard the steps go to the door,
he heard the lock shaken, then back to the window, a pause, and
Uhland had climbed into the room.

As they faced one another the room at once became of great
importance, and when Uhland closed the window behind him the
candle, that had been blowing wildly, steadied itself and seemed to
watch thereafter with a piercing eye.  There was very little in the
room.  A deal table, and on it a bright green mat and some pallid
wax fruit under a dusty glass cover.  On the mantelpiece were two
large china dogs with bright red spots like a rash on their bodies,
a clock that pointed to five minutes to four although it was not
going.  In the corner there was a grandfather clock that leaned
forward drunkenly, on the walls a large highly-coloured print of
the opening of the Great Exhibition and an engraving of the Duke of
Wellington covered with yellow damp-spots.  There was a wheel-back
armchair with a patchwork cushion and in the corner a child's
rocking-horse.  In another corner there was a spinning-wheel.  The
floor was of brick.  In the window there was a dead plant in a pot.

Uhland set his gun against the wall and sat down.  His leg hurt him
confoundedly.  He rested his arms on the table, and stared at John.
As he looked he was reassured.  He had thought that perhaps now
when they met at last he would find that there was nothing to be
done, nothing to be said.  All this chase and pursuit for so long
had been a chimera.  He would not be rid of the mad impatience and
restlessness in his heart by any contact with this poor fool.  He
would just look at him contemptuously and let him go.  But it was
not so.  The very sight of John started his rage.  John had taken
off his riding-coat.  He wore a narrow blue tie over which his
shirt collar was folded, and his shirt had an inset-breast of the
finest linen.  He wore a waistcoat of dark blue patterned with tiny
dark red flowers.  He was not a dandy, but everything about him was
exquisitely clean and well-fitting.  His features, pale, keen,
sensitive, gave him an air of great aloofness and high breeding
without, however, any conceit or arrogance, and he seemed, in some
way, in spite of his years, still a boy--for his figure was slim as
a boy's and his air as delicate and untouched by life as a boy's of
seventeen might be.

Uhland knew that he himself was muddied, wet, and that his hand was
stained with blood.  There was mud on his cheek.  Yes, he would
spoil some of that beauty and aloofness before he left that house,
and once again the blood began to beat, hot and insistent, in his

He tapped with his fingers on the bare table.

'I'm here,' he said.  'What do you want to say?'

'I want to say this.'  John found to his disgust that his hands
were trembling.  He held them tight against his sides.  'I want to
ask you a question.  Why for years now have you followed me--in
London, here in Cumberland--everywhere?  I have never done you any
harm that I know.'

'I fancy,' said Uhland, 'that I may go where I please.  Who says
that I have been following you?'

'You know that you have, and that you have done it because it
offends me.  It must cease from now on.'

Uhland paused.  Then he repeated softly:  'It must cease . . .  But

'Because I say that it must.'

'You talk like a schoolboy,' Uhland replied.  'We are grown men.
Of course I go where I please and do what I please.  You are a
coward, you know.  You are the son of a coward, you were born a
coward, you will be a coward until you die.  Otherwise you would
have faced up to me years ago.'

'No,' said John.  'I could not because you are a cripple.'

At that word Uhland's fingers ceased to beat on the table.  A
little shiver ran through his body.

'That makes a good excuse for you,' he said at last quietly.  'Now
listen to me for a moment.  It is quite true that I have always
hated you.  Your family is a disgrace.  Your father allowed your
mother to be a man's mistress for many years.  I daresay the fellow
paid him to keep quiet.  Then your father was challenged to a duel
and ran away.  Then, because there was nothing else for him to do,
he shot himself in London.  Well, it has not been nice for the rest
of us to have such relations at our very gates.  It was very
painful for my father.  From the very first you gave yourself airs,
you mocked at my lameness, you spread scandal about my father's
manner of life.  You were always--although you did nothing but walk
about Keswick in your grand clothes--a vain fool.  The very sight
of you was an irritation, but an irritation that pleased me because
you were, and are, so miserable a coward that a very look from me
made you quake.  And then you had the damned impertinence to marry
my sister.'

'We will leave her out of this,' John said.

'Oh no, we will not.  That is a score that I have been waiting a
long while to pay . . .  Why, look!' he suddenly cried, with a
mocking laugh.  'You are shaking now!'

'Yes,' John said, and he drew a little kitchen chair to the table
and sat down.  'I will sit down.  I am trembling, as you say, but
that is because you always affect me so.  A sort of disgust that I
cannot control.'

But, as he spoke, he knew that it was more than disgust, it was
fear from the disgust.  Now if ever was the moment to which all his
life had led.  If he failed now, everything would be lost--his
father, Elizabeth, their child.  And he did not know that it would
not be lost, for something within him--the traitor to himself that
had been born with him--was urging him to run.  'Run!  Run!  Climb
out of that window and run for your life.'  His limbs were moving
with a power that was not his own at all.  He had to hold his feet
against the brick floor.  The fight within himself was so arduous
that he could scarcely think of, or even see, Uhland.  It was
something more than Uhland, and something worse.

'If I move I'm lost,' he thought.  He fixed his eyes on the pallid,
deathly wax fruit.  He fixed his eyes but he could not fix his
heart.  Ah, if only he could rise and throw himself on Uhland, that
would be an escape as well as the other, but the man was a cripple,
a damned cripple--

'I see,' said Uhland.  'I fill you with disgust.  But it's yourself
you're disgusted with.  Because I found you out years ago.  You've
cheated the others, who think you a mighty fine fellow.  I've shown
you to yourself.  Every time that I've been near you you've felt
what you are.  You have at least the grace to be ashamed . . .'

Then an odd thing occurred.  Uhland stretched one of his arms out
along the table, and his hand lay there, almost under John's eyes.
It was a lean white hand, the knuckles red, and on the back of it
thin hairs faintly yellow.  The nails were long and dead.  The hand
seemed to John to curve and twist on the table, like a thing in a
nightmare, and, when it was close to him, he was suddenly
strengthened.  Was it that hand that he had always been fearing?
Was this the ghost?  Was this all?  His eyes cleared.  The room was
formed and plain.  The spinning-wheel was real, the Duke looked at
him with grave, stern eyes.  His legs were no longer trembling.

'Well,' he said in a clear strong voice that had no quaver,
'whatever the past has been, I am afraid of you no longer.  You
should have done more with your life than to spend it over one man,
in especial if he's the poor creature you think me.  I am afraid of
you no more, so you can follow me no more.  Nor shall you insult my
father and mother again.  You may be lame or not lame.  After those
insults your lameness is of no account, and before we leave this
house you are down on your knees--on your knees.  When you please.
Choose your time.  We can be here all night if you wish.'

Would his courage last?  Was this a true lasting thing that he
felt?  For the first time he looked Uhland straight in the face.

Uhland withdrew his hand.  He now was trembling, but with anger,
the choking wild anger that so constantly came to him from the
sense of his own ostracism.  It was as though, at John's repeated
'lameness', all the world laughed, and a little crowd of
sympathizers inside himself massed together and begged him to
avenge them.

'You coward!' he cried in that odd shrill voice that should have
been, if fate had been fair, rich, deep and generous.  'Why, you
are afraid of your own shadow!  You shall stay here--do you hear?--
and you shall not move!  Stay there without moving until I bid you,
and then it is you who shall be on your knees, and beg and pray,
and beg--'  He half rose, leaning forward on his arms, his thin
muddied face staring into John's.

And John could not move.  He would have risen and he could not.
Something within him was melting, loosening . . . in another moment
it would be too late for ever.

It seemed that an hour passed.  It was only a moment.  Then, his
head bent as though he were putting forth all his strength, at the
instant when his power seemed gone, he pushed over the table.

It fell with a crash, the wax fruit with it, and the glass
shattering on the brick floor.

His eyes shining, he stood back to the wall.  He would not touch
the man!  He would not touch the man!  But all fear was gone.  He
was strong with his whole strength--

'Come on, Uhland.  Down!' he cried, laughing.  'I won't touch you.
On your knees and then off with you.  Back home--'

He saw Uhland stand.  He marked every part of him, his hair thin on
the top, the mud on his cheek, his damp stock, the round buttons of
his coat.  He saw Uhland take his gun from the wall.  He thought,
'Elizabeth!'  Uhland fired.

At the noise the little dog on the path outside began to bark.  He
barked running up and down outside the closed door.  Then he began
to whimper, again and again scratching at the door.  The room was
filled with smoke and mist.  Slowly it cleared.  Uhland stood for a
long while with the gun in his hand, but at last he leant it
carefully against the wall and went over to the empty fireplace.
He bent down and looked at the body.  John lay there, his face
hidden in his arm.  Very gently Uhland turned him over, unfastened
his waistcoat, felt for his heart.  John was dead.

'Well, that is the end,' he thought.

He felt no relief; only an increased grudge of injustice.  He felt
sick, too, with that accustomed nausea that had so often attacked
him.  He sat in the wheel-back chair, licking his dry lips with his
tongue.  The whole aim of his life was gone, and what it had been
he had now no idea.  He was sorry for no one but himself, and even
about himself he felt now a bitter, savage irony.  All those days
and years for nothing.  He had had a right to be in a rage, but how
purposeless rage was!  He was the victim of the grossest injustice,
but what a poor, muddy, shabby victim!  He felt an especial rage
with his nausea.  To be sick now would be the last indignity.
But he would not be sick.  At least he could prevent that.  And
this was all the long pursuit had come to . . . nothing . . .
sickness . . . and his hand was bleeding again.  He looked about
the room.  He knew what he wanted.  A piece of paper.  He got up
and limped here and there, almost stumbling once over John's body.
There was no paper anywhere, and why to God was that dog outside
whimpering?  He blundered against the clock, and it lurched as
though it tapped him on the shoulder.  No paper anywhere.  He knelt
down, with difficulty, because his knees were stiff.  Then he got up
again.  No, he would try first the riding-coat.  In the inside pocket
he found a paper and drew it out.  It was once folded.  What the
devil was this? a crude painting, a sea of purple and some animal,
a horse, a cow.  But the reverse side was blank.

He sat down at the table and, taking a pencil from his pocket,

To all whom it may concern.

This is to say that John Herries of Fell House, Uldale, and I,
Uhland Herries of High Ireby, met here at Skiddaw House by
appointment.  After a discussion we quarrelled, and I shot John
Herries, he being undefended.  After, I shot myself.

                                              Uhland Herries.

September 23rd, 1854

He laid the paper on the table, then unfastened his stock and laid
that beside it.

He went to his gun, loaded it, placed the muzzle inside his mouth
and fired.

Part Four

Mother and Son


'Eighty-five!  Is she, by God!' said Captain O'Brien, putting up
his eyeglass.

'Yes,' said Veronica, smiling.  'But you mustn't swear.  You swear
dreadfully, Captain O'Brien, and I don't think it's at all nice.'

'Do I, by God?' said the Captain.  'I mean to say, Miss Veronica,
I'd no idea . . . 'pon my soul, I must get a hold on myself.  Is it
our turn?  Damn the game!  Always getting in the way . . .  What I
mean to say--'

'Yes, I suppose it is our turn.  What do you think, Captain
O'Brien?  Shall we have war with France?  Louis Napoleon is VERY
dangerous, isn't he?  But of course we've got the Volunteers.'

'Ho! the Volunteers!' shouted the Captain in derision.  'The
Volunteers!  That's good.  Damned useful they'll be.  But I tell
you what, Miss Veronica.'  But it WAS his turn.  Amabel, who was
playing (most reluctantly) with the Reverend Mr Hall, a bony, black-
bearded clergyman from Penrith, had missed her hoop.

The occasion was a garden-party given by 'Madame' to her friends
and neighbours on an afternoon of the summer of '59.  Most
fortunately it was a lovely day--fortunate because in August you
never could be sure, the most treacherous month of the year in
these districts.  But today was lovely indeed, as Mrs O'Brien said
over and over to anyone who would listen to her.  'Most lovely!
Most fortunate!  Who would have supposed?  And such a lovely

The old house was gentle and benign under the small ivory clouds
that floated in shreds and patches on the summer sky.  The lawn was
a smooth stainless green.  The part of it that spread under the
cherry-coloured wall had been laid out for croquet.  Near the
Gothic temple a tent had been set up for tea; the servants were
coming backwards and forwards from the house.

Chairs were arranged under the wing of the house near the croquet-
lawn, and in the shade of the trees by the Temple there were more
chairs, two or three, placed beside Madame's.  To these, people
were led up in turns to talk to her--'Not for too long, you
understand,' Dorothy explained.  'So as not to tire her, you know.
But she enjoys everything.  She was never better in her life.  Yes,
eighty-four last Christmas.  Most extraordinary!  But she has
always enjoyed the best of health!  She does delight in a talk!
Everything interests her!'

'A very pretty scene!' Judith thought happily.  Although she was in
the shade, the sun warmed her through the trees.  She was wearing
the black dress with the white lace at her throat and wrists that
had been for so many years now her costume, but around her
shoulders was the beautiful Cashmere shawl that Adam had given to
her last Christmas, a shawl light, soft and bright, embroidered in
silk with a heavy knotted silk fringe at its edge.  On her head she
wore a cap of white lace and, every once and again, she held over
her head a black parasol.  Against her chair rested her famous
cane.  Her face now had the pallor of ivory, but the cheeks were
stouter than they used to be.  Her eyes shone with a startling
brilliance.  She missed nothing.  On her breast she wore a locket
that contained Adam's picture.  'A very pretty scene!' but
nevertheless she thought the crinolines ridiculous.  They were not,
perhaps, quite so absurd for young girls like Veronica and Jane,
but Dorothy now!  Yes, Dorothy was monstrous.  She was a woman of
fifty-one and had grown very stout.  Her crinoline was vast and
very heavy.  It was of Chinese gauze and had twelve flounces.  Her
sleeves also had many flounces, and they looked as though a number
of horns had been stuck one within another.  Her bertha had ruches,
embroideries in profusion, and she wore on her shoulders a Scottish
plaid which the Empress Eugnie had made the fashion after her
visit to her maternal home.  A graceful woman might do something
with all this--but a woman of Dorothy's figure!  And when she moved
in the house all the furniture was in constant peril!

The girls were pretty; at any rate Veronica in white, with her
bonnet far back on her head, showing her really beautiful dark hair
almost to the crown; and darling Jane, so fair, so slender,
although no one thought her pretty in comparison with Veronica,
was, in Judith's eyes, bewitching.

As the figures moved across the lawn, in their wide swinging
dresses, white, rose and blue, the sun shining down so benevolently,
no sounds save the click of the mallets and the balls, the murmur of
voices, the clink of the china as the servants (Lucy and Emily--SUCH
good girls) arranged the tea, Judith felt a deep, satisfying
content.  The only thing was that Margaret was not so well.  Her
child was due very soon now, but Doctor Bettany said not for a week,
he thought.  But she had not been well this morning.  Adam was
anxious.  Strange to have, after all these years of marriage, their
first child!  And Margaret was not so young any longer.

Ah, here was that tiresome, silly Mrs Osmaston.  Mrs Osmaston was
thin, withered and weary.  She had had so many children that
nothing remained of her but a bone or two, a nervous cough and an
interest in gossip.  She was neither kind nor unkind, discreet nor
indiscreet.  The only two facts certain about her were--one, that
she had been a mother many many times, and two, that she was
exceedingly stupid.  She was afraid of Judith, who, she was sure,
mocked at her when her back was turned.  No one in the world ought
to be both so old and so vigorous.  There she was, a magazine on
her lap, and she had been reading without glasses.

'Oh, what is it you have been reading, dear Madame Paris?' Mrs
Osmaston asked, seating herself with care in the garden chair.  Her
crinoline was of the latest fashion, that is, its steel hoops were
lowered so that they did not begin immediately below the bodice but
only at the knees, and in this way the dress fitted under the hips
and only began to grow wider below the knees.  This scarcely suited
Mrs Osmaston's thin figure, but she was very proud of it and
thought herself smarter than any other woman present.  And WHAT she
thought of Dorothy Bellairs!  Oh, but she would entertain the
family circle when she arrived home this evening!  (She could not
see, fortunately, the Shade of her great-grandmother-in-law, who, a
swearing, horsy, good-natured Ghost, looked out from the Gothic
Temple, remembering how she once had drunk tea on this very lawn,
and wondered, in her hearty indecent fashion, at this ridiculous
Ghost of a descendant-in-law.)

'Yes, what is it you have been reading, dear Madame Paris?'

'Interesting,' said Judith, picking up the Quarterly Review.
'There are some comments on Mr Tennyson's Idylls of the King.'  She
read:  'The chastity and moral elevation of this volume, its
essential and profound though not didactic Christianity, are such
as perhaps cannot be matched throughout the circle of English
literature in conjunction with an equal power.'  She paused and
gave Mrs Osmaston a sharp look.  Then she continued, a little lower

'He has had to tread upon ground which must have been slippery for
any foot but his.  We are far from knowing that either Lancelot or
Guinevere would have been safe even for mature readers, were it not
for the instinctive purity of his mind and the high skill of his
management . . .'

Judith looked Mrs Osmaston full in the face and casting the
Quarterly upon the grass, repeated:  'Chastity and moral elevation!
Stuff!  Did you ever hear such humbug and hypocritical nonsense,
Mrs Osmaston?'

Mrs Osmaston, who had just been preparing to say that she thought
it one of the most beautiful critical utterances she had ever
listened to, sent her Adam's apple up and down in so swift a
necessity for reversal of judgement.  She gasped like a fish
suddenly raised from the water.

'Oh yes . . . indeed, yes . . . very absurd.  I have not yet read
Mr Tennyson's Idylls.

Judith wished that she had not been so impulsive.  The last thing
that she wished was to make Mrs Osmaston unhappy.  The older she
grew the greater need she saw in the world for general kindness and
charity, and the harder she found it to suffer fools gladly.  That
was why life was always difficult, amusing and exciting.

She knew that now, simply because of this little incident, Mrs
Osmaston would go away and talk, like a hen scratching in a
backyard.  Judith could hear her.  'Not softened in the least by
that awful tragedy of five years ago.  You would have thought that
such a TERRIBLE thing . . .'

Not softened!  Judith's heart and gaze left the garden and the
figures moving across the lawn, and she was caught up again, as she
so constantly was, into that dreadful afternoon and evening . . .
Yes, five years ago . . . when, lying in bed, she had heard first
that John had ridden out, no one knew whither, and how then, with a
frightened pathetic foreboding, she had lain there listening to
every sound, and at last she could bear it no longer but had got up
and come downstairs.  And she and Dorothy had sat there, waiting,
listening.  Then the opening of the gate, the rap on the door, the
news that his body was outside . . .

And after that, old though she was, she had held everything
together.  There had been a wild, mad, hysterical letter from
Walter; Elizabeth had come, a lovely fragile ghost, and in February
of the next year had borne a boy, here at Fell House, whom she had
named Benjamin.  There had been Jane, too, who for a while had
seemed to be mentally unsettled.  The poor child had fancied that
there was something that she might have done, might have held him
there, prevented him from riding . . .

The excitement in the neighbourhood had gone on and on and on . . .
It was only, they all said, what they might have expected.  There
had always been a strain of madness in the Herries.  Didn't old
Herries in the eighteenth century sell his mistress at a Fair, kill
his first wife with unkindness, and marry a gipsy for his second?
Hadn't Madame always been crazy, clever though she was?  And all
the sorry, stale business of Francis and Jennifer came up again,
over and over, and then all the drunkenness and evil living at the
Fortress, and Uhland of course was mad--everyone knew--but to shoot
his cousin who was defenceless, there on Skiddaw, miles from
anywhere--and the little dog had been whimpering like a human being
when they found the bodies.

But somehow, by sheer strength of personality, Judith had dominated
it all and beaten it down.  Now at last the full value and force of
her character was seen.  For one thing so many of them liked her.
She had done so many kindnesses, she was no respecter of persons,
the same to one as to another, and yet she was dignified and
commanding.  She was the more commanding in that she no longer went
about, and only visitors to the house saw her, and not many of
THEM.  But when they had visited her they always returned home with
wonderful stories.  Everyone obeyed her as though she were a
General in an army, and yet everyone loved her.  She thought of
everyone and everything, and yet could rap you over the knuckles
with a sharp word.  She didn't care who it was that she rapped.
The whole County was proud of her, admired her, talked of her
without end, told every sort of tale about her.  She was a legend.

And here was Adam coming towards them!  She knew everything that
was passing through his mind.  She saw his quick glance at Mrs
Osmaston, his loving look at herself.  She smiled back, saying at
the same time:  'Well, to my mind there's far too much nowadays of
making small children feel that they're born in sin.  Do not you
think so, Mrs Osmaston?'  She liked the beard that he had grown in
the last year.  It suited him; he looked well, solid and muscular,
not stout as she had once feared that he would be.  How dearly she
loved the half-humorous half-cynical brightness of his eyes.  He
suffered fools no more gladly than she--in fact, she thought
comfortably, they grew more like one another every day.  But she
could not persuade him to wear his party clothes.  He would wear
his sack coat and round hard hat, and the checks of his trousers
were so VERY pronounced.  All his clothes hung about him loosely,
and there was Captain O'Brien with his great moustaches and tightly
fitting fawn trousers so EXTREMELY elegant.  She did hope that
Veronica would not fall in love with him nor with young Mr Eustace,
the curate, who with his fluffy hair and surprised gaze resembled a
chicken just out of the egg!

'How do you do, Mr Paris?' said Mrs Osmaston a little stiffly; she
was no more comfortable with the son than she was with the mother.
And why did he wear such very ill-fitting clothes?  He also wrote
for the London magazines, which made him very dangerous, for you
never knew that he might not put you into something!

Adam sat very close to his mother, his big square body protecting
her tiny one.  He exchanged, in a whisper, one quick word with her.

'I have just been in to see Margaret, Mother.  She really is not so
well.  Do you think that I should send James for Bettany?  He is
over at Greystoke, you know.'

She nodded her head.

'Yes, dear, I should.  Just as well.'

Adam bowed to Mrs Osmaston (sarcastically, she felt) and strode
towards the house.

Ah, now, Judith thought, they are moving to the tent for tea.  She
had an impulse of impatience to run across the lawn that she might
see that everything was right.  But of course she could run no
longer.  But Lucy was a GOOD girl and Dorothy had sense.  And one
good thing--she could now rid herself of Mrs Osmaston.

'Tea, Mrs Osmaston,' she said.  'I see they are going to the tent
for tea.  Mr Hattick,' she cried, her voice wonderfully sweet and
clear, 'will you take Mrs Osmaston to tea?'

Mr Hattick was a stout red-faced manufacturer from Birmingham who
had bought a place on Bassenthwaite Lake, a very common man.  The
County was still undecided whether to cut him or no, but he had
been kind to Judith and presented Timothy with a fine bay, and if
he was kind that was enough.  And now it would be good for Mrs
Osmaston that she should be taken into tea by Mr Hattick.

She was watching them moving across the lawn with much amusement
when an awful thing occurred.  Amabel suddenly appeared, and in her
voice were the notes of excited surprise and exceeding pleasure.

'Oh, Aunt Judith--what do you think?  Miss Martineau has come!'

Harriet Martineau!  Of all appalling things!  And now, when she was
already a little tired and was thinking that she would go in
presently and see how Margaret was . . .

Alas, Judith did not care for Miss Martineau, and had often
congratulated herself that Ambleside was far distant from Uldale.
She recognized that she was exceedingly wise, immensely learned,
and possibly the greatest woman now alive in England, but Judith
did not care for so much learning.  She had never herself had much
education, she was not a Positivist, she detested the thought of
mesmerism, and she envied the way in which Miss Martineau milked
her own cows and ploughed her own fields.  Moreover, Miss Martineau
never ceased to talk--about Comte, about America, about her
marvellous Cure, about her weak heart, about her pigs and cows,
about her novels (Judith thought Deerbrook a very silly book),
about Mr Atkinson, about her Guide to the Lakes.  Miss Martineau
spoke always of the Lakes as though they were her own creation and
would not have existed had it not been for her.  She PATRONIZED the
Lakes.  In addition Harriet was all for women taking man's place;
Judith did not see how they could possibly do so.  They were very
nice as they were: pretty Veronica twining Captain O'Brien around
her little finger, and Margaret indoors about to present the world
with a dear little baby.  Harriet wanted women 'to rise up and take
their proper place in the world'.  As though, Judith thought
indignantly, they had not their proper place already.  And this was
all very bad for Amabel, who said that she did not care for men and
would like to be in Parliament.  In Parliament!  Women in
Parliament!  You might as well make doctors of them.  Amabel adored
Harriet Martineau, and was always hoping that she would be invited
to stay at the Knoll.

But worst of all was Harriet's trumpet.  Judith had, in spite of
herself, a little scorn for deaf people because her own hearing was
so extremely good.  But a trumpet! . . .  And Miss Martineau was so
proud of it.  Moreover, in a most irritating fashion, she would
remove it in the middle of one of Judith's sentences.  Malicious
people said that she always did that if she thought that something
was coming that she did not wish to hear.  However, here she was--
in no time at all she was striding towards them.  'Is it a woman or
a man,' an old lady once said of her to William Howitt, 'or what
sort of animal is it? said I to myself; there she came--stride,
stride, stride--great heavy shoes, stout leather leggings on, and a
knapsack on her back--they say she mows her own grass, and digs her
own cabbages and taturs!'

She was decently enough dressed today, with no ridiculous crinoline
(that is in her favour, thought Judith), large boots certainly, and
a thing like a Scotsman's bonnet on her head, and one of the
fashionable Scottish plaids over her shoulders.  In her right hand
she held her trumpet; Amabel, listening to her every word, was
beside her, and Adam, coming from the house, was not far behind.

'Well, well, well, Madame Paris, and how are you?  I have been for
the night in Caldbeck and am to be this evening in Keswick.  I am
giving an address on Domestic Economy as you have doubtless seen by
the papers.  And I have brought you my Letters on the Laws of Man's
Nature and Development.  It was published as far back as '51, you
know, but Mrs Leeds told me that she was sure that you had not read
it, and I thought that I would have your opinion.  And here are
some peaches straight from my garden.  I said to myself, "Madame
Paris shall have those peaches because she is a woman I admire.
She should have been a man and represented us in Parliament."'

'Indeed I should not,' Judith answered indignantly, and then
discovering that she was speaking into the air when she should have
spoken into the trumpet, seized that instrument and shouted down
into it:  'Indeed I would not have been a man for any money!'

'Would you not?' said Miss Martineau complacently and with a look
of kindness at the old lady (for she liked those bright eyes and
that independence, for she was as good-hearted and free of meanness
as she was egoistic and free of sensitiveness).  'Well, I had no
notion that you had a party.'

'Yes,' said Judith, catching the trumpet again.  'They are in the
tent having tea.  You had better go and have some.'

'Indeed I will not,' said Harriet, laughing.  'I have come to see
YOU and I cannot stop more than a moment.  My enlargement of the
heart, you know, forbids me to stay long on a visit.  Old Colonel
Albany in Keswick insists on a talk.  He says that he has several
criticisms to make on my Suggestions for the Future Government of
India.  Criticism indeed!  I shall like to hear what he has to say.
All these old Colonels are the same.  It has needed a woman to tell
them the truth about their own affairs.'  She kicked one leg in
front of her and thrust her trumpet almost into Judith's eye.

'Now tell me what YOU think about India.'

'I, my dear?' Judith shook her head.  'Why, I have no thoughts
about anything.  I live in the past and not the sort of past that
interests YOU, Miss Martineau.  My past is all pin-cushions,
lavender-water and parasols.  I assure you there was never anyone
with less opinions.'

'Don't you believe her, Miss Martineau,' said Adam, laughing.  'She
is a mountain of opinions.  There never was anyone with so many.'

But Miss Martineau had caught only the word 'mountain'.

'Mountain!  That's what I said to Coleridge once--'

'Ah, you knew Coleridge,' Adam said eagerly.  She caught that and
it pleased her.

'Yes.  I talked to him only once.  Not that I can say that his
career is anything but a warning.  All that transcendental
conversation, you know, was all nonsense.  Nothing but nonsense--'

'Yes, but,' Adam shouted down the trumpet, 'what was he like?  Tell
us what he was like.'

'Oh, very fine--a perfect picture of an old poet.  Neatly dressed
in black as I remember, with perfectly white hair.  And what I
especially recollect was his underlip that quivered with a very
touching expression of weakness--very touching indeed.  The face
was neither thin nor pale as I remember it, but the eyes!  No, I
must declare, although in my opinion his poetry will not be
remembered and as to his philosophy--I cannot express the scorn I
have for his philosophy--but I never SAW such eyes.  The GLITTER!
The amazing GLITTER, and shining so that one was nearly afraid to
look at them!  All the same, the glitter was only opium, you know,
nothing but opium.'

'The father of my little Hartley,' Judith thought, smiling to
herself--and in some strange way now, at this moment, while the
late afternoon sun threw long purple shadows over the grass, and,
behind the temple, the trees, whose leaves were tenderly touched
with orange, massed like a solid cloud against the line of faint
and silver hills, the thick dreaming figure of the poet seemed to
wander towards them across the lawn.

The girls, moving like dancers, came smiling from the tent.  In the
clear still air the rich unctuous voice of the Reverend Mr Hall
could be heard saying:  'Ah, but, Miss Bellairs, you misunderstand
me.  It is against the rule of my cloth to have a bet with you, but
nevertheless . . .'

'Mr Coleridge!  Mr Coleridge!' Adam could have cried.  'Come and
sit with us and we will assure you that your poetry will never

But Miss Martineau must be moving on.  She was pleased that that
sensible-looking child (Amabel) gazed at her with such evident
devotion.  Maybe she would invite her to stay at the Knoll.  Her
heart was warm and kind, and it was not HER fault that she knew
such a terrible deal about so many very different things.  But, as
she wished goodbye to Judith, she thought:  'I should like to
become an old lady like that.'  Then she stamped away to her

She was hardly gone when Will Leathwaite appeared and, standing
solidly and quietly beside Adam, said:  'The doctor is come, Mr

'I'll be with you,' said Judith.

He gave her his arm.  Veronica came running towards them.

'Aunt Judith, can I help you?'

'No, my dear, thank you.  It is growing chilly for me.  You must be
hostess, Veronica, my dear.'

They went into the house together, she leaning on Adam's arm, Will
Leathwaite following them like a bodyguard.  It was splendid to
have Leathwaite: he was as obstinate as he was devoted, as scornful
of what he did not understand as he was faithful to all that he
loved.  He loved Adam and all that Adam comprehended, but only
BECAUSE Adam comprehended.

'Will tolerates me,' Judith said to Adam, laughing.

'Will loves you.'

'Only because I'm your mother.'

'And what better reason could he have, pray?'

Stopping for a moment in the hall she said:  'Ah, there are
Harriet's peaches and her book.  I shall eat the peaches and not
read the book.  She's a kind soul, but I never wish to listen to
what SHE wishes to tell me.  Adam, I'm weary and shall go to bed.'

It was then that, looking up, they saw the doctor coming down the
stairs towards them, and in that one glance the world was changed
for both of them.  Gone were Miss Martineau's book and peaches,
crinolines swaying in the sunshine, pleasant lawns and rose-
coloured garden walls.  Adam jumped to the stairs and caught the
doctor's arm.

'Bettany, what is it?'

'Labour has begun,' Bettany said gravely.

'Well, well?'

'It will be difficult.  You can do nothing, Paris.  Best stay down

But Judith at once took charge.

'Yes, Adam.  Wait in the parlour.  All will be perfectly well.  I
am sure of it.  Remember Margaret is a strong woman.  There, there,
Adam.'  She leaned up to him and kissed his cheek.  'Don't be
nervous.  There is nothing that you can do.  Women understand these
things.  Come with me, Doctor.  Is there anything further you

Then there came to all of them a sound from above, half-moan, half-
cry.  It seemed to break the silence, the indifference of the house
as a rough hand tears tissue paper.

'Oh, my God!' Adam whispered.

But they were gone.  He was alone.  He summoned all his fortitude
and turned with firm step to the parlour.  Will Leathwaite was
standing by the hall door.

'Is the mistress bad, sir?' he asked.

'Yes--no--I don't know, Will.  But the labour pains have begun.
Would you go into the garden and tell Mrs Bellairs quietly?  Don't
draw attention to it, you know.  Ask her to come in to my mother.'

Leathwaite went.  In the parlour Adam sat down on the old familiar
sofa with the rosy apples.  Nothing was changed, for Judith had
forbidden any change.  There was the spinet, there was the Chinese
wallpaper, the silhouettes above the fireplace of David and Sarah
Herries.  Only Dorothy's needlework-box spoke something alien.
Without knowing what he was doing he had it in his hands, and all
his life after he was to remember it--with its polished walnut wood
and satin-wood edge, the painted flowers on the top and sides, and
inside it a tray painted pink, the wooden bobbins wound with
coloured silks, the pin-cushion, the miniature hand mirror, the
folding memorandum tablet in a morocco case, the needle-cushion of
red and green wool with yellow beads, and a star-shaped piece of
boxwood.  The red and green needle-cushion he took between his
hands and turned about and about a thousand times.

He had known nothing like this since Caesar Kraft had, on the day
of the Chartist meeting, fallen dead at his feet.  That had been
one of the great crises of his life, because at that moment when
Kraft had died in his arms he had resigned for ever all his life's
hopes of Men's Brotherhood, of some movement that would catch the
whole world up into some heavenly universal understanding and
sympathy.  Resigning those hopes, he had turned to his mother and
to Margaret, the two persons in the world whom he supremely loved.
His nature had developed a certain cynicism about the world in
general.  Men were not destined to understand one another and
therefore, not understanding, also would not love.  Love was to be
found rather in the relationship with one or two individuals and in
service to them.  So he had lived for his mother and Margaret, and
in a lesser degree for John and Elizabeth.  John's death had once
again set him back, for if so fearful a thing could happen so
causelessly what was God about?  He understood then that there was
real evil in the world, that a battle was always in progress, and
that one selfish, cruel act led to many more.  One bad thought even
had incalculable results.  He understood from watching so small an
entity as his own family that a battle between good and evil was
even there always in progress.  His was an age that believed quite
definitely in good and evil, in God and the Devil, and in so far as
Adam shared that belief, Adam was a man of his period.

With Margaret, after that scene in the bedroom here at Uldale one
Christmas, his relation had grown ever richer and richer.  He
discovered that true love between two persons means a mutual
interaction of beautiful, gay and noble discoveries.  Both must be
fine persons if love is to be full and progressive, and unless it
is progressive it is not alive.  He learnt that Margaret was far
nobler that he, richer in unselfishness, in uncalculating
generosity, in ever-growing charity, but as she rose higher she
carried him with her.  Love was this and only this: a companionship
that was grander in trust, in humour, in understanding with every

He sat there, his broad legs widely spread, fingering the furniture
of the needlework-box, the little wooden bobbins, the boxwood, the
needle-cushion of red and green.  He was maddened by his inaction.
He walked about the room, sat down again.  Once Dorothy looked in.

'How is she?' he said eagerly.  'Can I not go up?'

'Oh, well enough.  The doctor is doing everything possible.  No,
better not go up just now, Adam.  Margaret is wonderful.  Her
courage . . .'

Yes, Margaret was wonderful.  But if she were to go now . . .  A
hundred scenes rushed in front of him--Margaret lying in bed, her
hair spread about the pillow, waiting for him; Margaret singing
some German song as she went about her work; Margaret sitting
opposite him, sewing; Margaret listening as he read her some
article or criticism or one of his fairy-stories that he loved to
write and was so shy of showing to anybody.  All quarrels and
disputes were forgotten, or if remembered had an added colour and
glow because of their intimacy.  He crushed the needle-cushion out
of shape, he jumped up and shook his fist at the ceiling, then
creeping on tiptoe to the door like a child, he opened it and
listened.  There was not a sound in the house.  Where were they
all?  Were all the guests gone?  The hall was in a half-light, but
Leathwaite stepped out of the dusk.

'It's warmer in the library,' said Will confidentially, and then
relapsed for a moment into Cumberland.  'The spumkey fire's burning
fine--and I've told Jeames to give the mare watter and a teate o'
hay for he was driving her fast to t'doctor.  But t'doctor was on
t'road anyway.  Lucky thing that!'

He drew near to Adam as though to protect him, and Adam put his
hand on his shoulder.  They whispered in the hall like two

'Will--how is she, do you think?  It's been a terrible long time.'

'It's a' reet, Mr Adam.  It's a' reet.  Dinna fash yersel' now.'

They stood close together, shoulder to shoulder.

'I don't know what I'd do without you, Will,' Adam said.  'If I
were to lose her--'

The two men exchanged a handshake.

'It's not that she's pampered,' Will explained.  'Now some ither
lass, delicate, but t'Mistress--she's strong as a horse.'

Adam went into the parlour again and it comforted him that Will was
outside, as it were on guard.  Will always fell into broad
Cumberland when he was deeply agitated, but showed his agitation in
no other fashion.

The minutes passed; the clock struck the half-hour.  Adam's
forehead now was damp with perspiration.  It was like him to do as
he was told.  They would come for him when they wanted him, but his
agony gripped his stomach as though he were taking part in HER
agony, as though he were inside her and she inside him.  The room
was dark now.  He did not think to light the candles.  He stood in
the darkness, his hands pressed the one into the other, the nails
digging into the flesh.

In the hall Lucy had lit the gas and saw Leathwaite drawn up
stiffly outside the parlour door.

'Eh!' she cried and started.  'I didna see ye.'  Then hummed,
looking at him:

     The lasses lap up 'hint their lads,
     Some stridin' an' some sydeways;
     An' some there were that wished their lot
     Had been what Ann's, the bryde was,
        Ay, oft that day.

'Hist!' he whispered indignantly.  'Can't you be still?'

But she tossed her head, smiled back at him and walked slowly up
the stairs, the taper in her hand.

Doctor Bettany almost knocked her over, hurrying his little fat
body--all fobs and cravat--down to the hall.

As he passed Leathwaite he cried:  'It's a girl!  A fine girl!'

'The Lord be praised!' said Leathwaite piously.

Bettany strode up to Adam and wrung his hand.  'A girl, Paris.  A
grand girl!'

'Yes--but my wife?'

'All's well.  You may see her for a moment--only a moment, mind.'

As Adam tore up the staircase a slow smile lit up Leathwaite's eyes
and mouth.  Then, feeling in his pocket for his tobacco, he turned
towards the kitchen, sharing with Adam the position of the happiest
man in Cumberland.


One of the most remarkable scenes that the London Bridge terminus
ever witnessed occurred in the very early morning of Tuesday, April
17th, 1860.  The darkness of the early April day was illuminated
only by some pallid and evil-smelling gas-lamps.  The platform, the
offices behind the platform, and the street outside the station
were thronged with a pushing, swearing, laughing, spitting,
drinking, smoking throng, all men, all happy, all strung to a key
of an intense excitement.  They had assembled that they might be
carried by the special monster train to Farnborough to behold in
the fields near by the great fight between Tom Sayers, Champion of
Great Britain, and John Heenan the American.  Impossible to say who
were there and who not in that thick semi-darkness smelling of damp
hay and train-smoke and escaping gas, unwashen bodies and morning
air.  At any rate there were fish-porters from Billingsgate,
butchers from Newgate Market, pugilists of course, poets and
journalists of course, dandies as well, celebrated statesmen, and
even, so it was afterwards said, some eminent divines.

Most striking at the first showing was the amazing variety of smell--
decaying vegetables, mildewed umbrellas, fumes of vile tobacco and
stale corduroy suits--but nobody minded, nobody cared, everyone was
happy.  Clothes are of an amazing variety; there are the friends of
sport, quite naturally in the majority; there may be a white
neckcloth and black broadcloth, but the cut is unmistakable; hard-
featured men, spare-limbed, fond of burying their hands deep in
their coat-pockets and never in their trousers.  Some are in fine
plush galligaskins, top-boots, fur caps, and have sticks with
crutches and a thong at the end.  There is the 'swell', with his
long surtout, double-breasted waistcoat, accurately folded scarf,
peg-top trousers, eyeglasses, umbrella and drooping moustache.  And
there is the dandy with lofty heels to his varnished boots, great
moustache and whiskers, ponderous watchchain bearing coins and
trinkets, starched choking all-round collar and wonderful breezy
necktie, and, lastly, there is a certain number of quiet, severe,
retiring gentlemen in tremendous top-hats, dignified black with one
pearl or diamond in the black necktie, sucking as likely as not the
heads of their heavy canes.

The small group of Herries gentlemen going down to enjoy together
the great event had members, it appeared, in all these different
classes, for Garth, now purple-faced and corpulent (although he was
but fifty years of age), might because of his horsy appearance be
making straight for Tattersall's.  His brother Amery was something
of a dandy and wore an eyeglass.  Barnabas Newmark (Phyllis'
youngest boy, now about thirty, and known to all his friends as
Barney) was altogether the 'swell', with his double-breasted
waistcoat of crimson and his trousers of the loudest checks (but,
as was characteristic of the Newmark strain, he was, in spite of
himself, a little behind the time, coloured waistcoats having just
gone out).  Lord Rockage (Roger, who had succeeded his father two
years earlier) was stout, very fair in colour, with light blue
eyes.  He was dressed gravely as became his position and sucked
reflectively the marble head of his cane.  (But he was not
reflecting.  He was thinking of nothing at all.)  The remaining
Herries was young Ellis, Will's son.  He was now a boy of seventeen
and strikingly resembled his father, thin of body with the high
Herries cheek-bones and prominent nose, serious, reserved and fully
conscious of his duty to the world.

Garth, Arnery and young Barney were taking sips of brandy from a
silver flask and were as merry as merry could be.  Garth was for
ever recognizing friends and acquaintances.

'Hullo, Sawyer!' he cried to a stout red-faced gentleman in
tremendous checks.  'What did I tell you?  Didn't I say you'd have
a bid for Satan before you'd been on him half an hour?  I told you
what to do.  Just to keep jogging on him to qualify and you'd get
all you wanted.'

'We tried him, Mr Herries,' Mr Sawyer said in a deep melancholy
voice, 'yesterday morning against Polly-Anne and beat her by more
than a length.'

'There!  What did I tell you? . . .  Well, how'll the fight be?'

'I've known Tom,' said Mr Sawyer, more gloomy than ever, 'since he
was a lad high as my boot.  Why, I knew him when he was a
bricklayer at Brighton.  Why, God Almighty can't beat him!'

'Heenan is five inch taller than Sayers,' said Garth, 'and three
stone heavier.'

'Why, blast my soul,' said Mr Sawyer, 'he won't bloody well get
near him.  There's no one on this bleeding firmament as quick as
Tom is.'

It was not more than a shed under whose shelter they were all
crowding, and the noise was now terrific, the back-slapping
tremendous, the drinking ferocious and the oaths Rabelaisian.

''Pon my soul,' said Rockage vacantly, 'there's a lot of fellers
crowdin' about.  And there'll not be a Fight perhaps after all.
Wish I was in bed, 'pon my soul I do.'

Ellis looked at him with exactly that look of cold superiority that
had been his father's in HIS youth.  But he was not feeling
superior.  He was conscious of a deep and burning excitement and of
pleasure in the scene.  But he would not show it.  He was by
temperament intensely cautious and by training suspicious, and,
mingled with these two strains, there was an odd element of
personless, rather noble philanthropy.  He was already persuading
his guardians, his mother, Stephen Newmark and Amery Herries, that
he would like to assist the Institute for Necessitous Orphans in
Wigmore Street, and the Home for Irish Immigrants in Penelope
Place.  He liked to do good with his money on condition that he
need not encounter those whom he benefited.

'Odd fish!' Amery had said to his sister-in-law Sylvia.  'Damn'
generous so long as he don't have to be personal.  He'd give
anything to a charity and quite a bit to an Italian organ-grinder,
but he seems to me to have no heart at all--no feeling for
individuals, you know.'

'Wish I were an Italian organ-grinder,' Sylvia had said with a
sigh, for although they lived now in two poky little rooms near
Victoria Station, they were always quite hopelessly in debt.'

So Ellis now felt a cold distaste for all the humanity surging
about him, but had someone on the platform begged from him he would
have plunged his hand into his pocket and given him a handful of
silver on condition that he did not speak to him after.  He had
come down from Eton last Christmas, although only seventeen, and,
after the summer, was to go into the City, in his father's firm of
Herries & Herries.  He had all his father's genius for turning one
penny into two, but he was more deeply concerned than Will had been
with the magnificent power of his family.  He was, indeed, even at
this early age, family mad.  The Herries were the greatest family
in England; even at Eton, where he had encountered heirs of all the
ages and heirs with quite as genuine a belief in their inheritances
as his own, he had never wavered.  Howards, Buckinghams,
Beaminsters, Warwicks, Cecils--they had all, in his own mind, bowed
before the Herries.  His closest friend at Eton had been young
Beaminster, whose mother, then a woman of thirty-eight or so, was
afterwards the famous and hideous old Duchess of Wrexe.  Beaminster
said to him once:

'Someone, Ellis, told me the other day that your great-grandfather
was a sort of highwayman fellow who married a gipsy.'

'Quite,' said Ellis, stretching his long thin neck, 'and now see
what we are!'

So today he felt that this fight was arranged principally for the
benefit of the Herries: it was America versus Herries.  He looked
upon the crowd: they were all off to Farnborough to see Herries
whack America.  It was high time America learnt a lesson; it was
not the last time that a Herries would be conscious of such a need.

The bell sounded and they all crowded into the railway carriage.
There was no ceremony about places, and Rockage discovered to his
disgust that a great 'labouring-man' as he termed him, in
galligaskins and a fur cap, already far away in liquor, with a
black bottle in one hand and a vast ham sandwich in the other, was
spreading all over him, and even before the train had started had
planted a large red hand on his own elegant stout knee.

'Here, my good fellow,' Rockage said, trying to move his leg away.
But he was wedged remorselessly and, as was his fate constantly in
life, no one heard what he said.

Garth Herries and Barney Newmark had secured places together by the
window.  Just before the train started Garth touched Barney's hand:
'By God, young Barney, look there!'

On the platform a great scramble for places was going on.  Everyone
was good-natured as, in England, everyone is unless it is felt that
injustice is being done.  There were shouts and cries, bodies were
pushed forward through crowded doors by other bodies, there was
laughter and singing.  A tall broad-shouldered man with a high top-
hat, a rather shabby stock, white hair longer than the fashion and
straggling white moustaches, waited quietly apart from the
struggle.  He had a body that must once have been full and strong.
It seemed now to have shrunken, under the black clothes.  His
shoulders were bowed.  At the last moment he walked forward and,
without any effort, entered a carriage.

'By heaven!' said Garth.  'I thought he was coming in here.'

'Why?' said Barney.  'Who was it?'

'Walter Herries!'

'What?' whispered Barney in a voice of awed interest.  'You don't
say!'  He peered out of window, but the train was already moving.
He looked across to Ellis who was at the opposite end of the
carriage.  'Imagine if he had come in here!' he excitedly
whispered.  'What a family scene!'

'Yes, poor devil.'

'What did he look like?  They say he was all cut up by his son's
death.  A pretty little murder that was.  What do you think, Garth?
Was Uhland Herries mad?'

'Mad as a hatter.  Young Harry Trent was up North last year and he
thought he'd call on Walter--out of curiosity, you know.  Besides
he was some sort of relation of Jennifer Herries--John's mother.
His father was her cousin or something.  Well, he DID call, and he
says he never had such an hour.  Gloomy house on the top of a hill.
I've stayed there in the old days.  They call it the Fortress.  But
it's all gone to ruin, and there was Walter Herries in a dirty
dressing-gown drinking with an old woman.  Harry says he was very
courteous, walked about and tried to do the honours.  And then he
took him up to Uhland's room.  He'd kept it just as it was when
Uhland was alive--cold windy place at the top of the tower they
have there.  And Harry says he began a long wandering thing about
Uhland, said it was all his own fault because it was he taught
Uhland to hate John Herries or some such nonsense.  Harry says he
suggested Walter should get out a bit, do some shooting or hunting
or something, but Walter just said that he hadn't the heart . . .
Poor devil!  Hope we don't stumble on him at Farnborough.  Wonder
what he's doing down here!'

But the train was now in the country.  It was yet dark, the land
shadowy about them, but with the running into air and space the
hissing spluttering gas in its grimy glass covering seemed at once
incongruous and even itself ashamed.  They had not gone far when
Garth called out:  'Why, Collins!  What are you doing here?'

A large handsome fellow with a high, broad head, plenty of brown
hair, very gay in a brown velvet coat, white waistcoat and brown
pantaloons, was sitting next to Ellis.  He jumped up, regardless of
Herries, showing himself a man of great size and strength, and
wrung Garth's hand.

'Herries, by God!  So it is.'

Garth introduced him to the other members of the family.  'Mr
Mortimer Collins, a friend of mine.  One of the most promising
poets in England; one of the most important editors in England

'Now stop your codding, Herries.  How are you, sir?  How do you do,
sir?  Fine day we're going to have.  I've come all the way from
Plymouth, gentlemen, to see this fight, and by God if the "Blues"
interfere I'll know the reason why.'

'He's a friend of Adam Paris,' Garth explained, 'and editor of the
Plymouth Mail.  Christopher North said he was the best young poet
in England--did he not, Collins?  All _I_ know is that he's wiser
about dogs than anyone I've ever met and he can tell a pretty girl
when he sees one--can't you, Collins?'

All the carriage looked at Collins with great interest, but Collins
was not at all abashed, laughed and ran his hand through his brown
hair and began to talk at a tremendous rate.

How was Paris?  Clever fellow although lazy.  Always had his mind
elsewhere, and he'd been running off when he ought to be working.
Always talking of Cumberland, but Collins could understand that.
Collins thought Cumberland a grand place.  He'd paid a visit to the
poet Wordsworth once--in '48, it was--and Wordsworth had looked
like 'an old Roman Senator dressed as an English farmer'.  First-
rate the Lake Country!  Everyone lived to be a hundred there.  But
who cared about Cumberland this morning?  He'd have walked from
John o' Groats to Land's End to see this fight.  Why, he'd known
Tom Sayers since he was a lad.  He saw his first fight with Abe
Crouch in '49, and although Crouch was two stone the heavier,
Sayers smashed his face to pulp.  And he'd seen him fight Jack
Grant of Southwark for two hours and a half and just beat him.
That had been a GRAND fight!

He was so jolly in his general enthusiasm and the way in which he
took the whole carriage into his confidence that they all felt very
friendly even though he WAS a poet.  Barney Newmark was especially
taken with him because he had always had a notion that he himself
might be a bit of a writer.  In fact those books Miss Rich of
Manchester and Fox and Grapes (which were declared at the time to
be quite as good as Whyte-Melville) and, of more importance still,
the Chapters from the Life of an English Family might never have
been written had it not been for his friendship, begun at this
meeting, with Collins.  Nor, in all probability, would some of the
best passages in Sweet Anne Page have been quite what they were had
Collins never known Barney.

But now they were approaching Farnborough and excitement ran
mountains high.  Two gentlemen were so thoroughly drunk that it was
little of the fight that they would see.  (In fact they never got
farther that day than the Farnborough pub).  The train drew up and
everyone swarmed out.  Once outside, a frenzy seemed to seize the
world.  Light was in the sky, the grass was fresh to the feet, the
trees in their first spring green, overhead (Collins noticed it
because he was a poet) larks were soaring and singing.  And he was
the only one, maybe, in all those thousands who did notice it, for,
from every side, multitudes were pouring (the crowd was afterwards
estimated at three thousand persons), men climbing the hedges,
leaping the walls, running over the grass, racing, laughing,
shouting.  The meadow that was to witness the great scene had been
cunningly chosen, surrounded by ditches and double hedges that it
might be difficult for the authorities to take anyone by surprise.
Already there had appeared in The Times a little notice:


                                               Hertford, Saturday

This afternoon Colonel Archibald Robertson, Chief Constable of the
Herfordshire Police Force, made application to the justices
assembled in petty session at Hertford for a warrant to apprehend
Thomas Sayers, the 'Champion of England', and John Heenan, the
American pugilist, in order that they might be bound over to keep
the peace . . .

It happened that Amery and Ellis were separated, as they approached
the meadow, from the rest of their party.  They could see just in
front of them the broad gesticulating figure of Collins, Garth
laughing and Rockage picking his way as carefully as a hen in a
hothouse.  Amery felt his arm tapped and turned to see Walter
Herries at his side.  He said afterwards it was one of the most
awful moments of his life.  It was not only that he had Ellis with
him, that, so far as he knew, the two step-brothers had never met
in their lives before, but something in Walter Herries' appearance
caught at his heart.  He was not an emotional fellow, Amery.  He
had all the caution of his kind of Herries, and then some more, but
he had not set eyes on Walter for many years.  When he had seen him
last he had been stout, jolly, blustering, self-confident, ready to
shout any man down, but now he stood beside him as though he were
bewildered, lost, and as even Amery, with all his fear of
exaggeration, put it, 'he had aged a century'.

'Why, Walter!' he said.

'How are you, Amery?' Walter said gravely.  'I trust you are well.'

'Very, thanks.  I thought you were in Cumberland!'

'Cumberland?  No.  Business has brought me South, and I thought
that by coming here I might recover something--might recover
something--'  He looked at Ellis without any recognition, and Ellis
looked at him.  There was nothing else for it.

'This is Ellis, Walter.  I don't know whether--'

Walter held out his gloved hand to his brother.

'Indeed?'  They shook hands.  A strange emotion seized them all.
For an instant they were so isolated that they alone might have
inhabited the globe.  Then Walter walked forward by himself as
though he had already forgotten that the others existed.  It was
from that moment of meeting, Amery said afterwards, that young
Ellis, he thought, got all his peculiar notions about the family--
his sense above all that the family must not be 'queer'.  No one
knew, no one ever was to know, what Ellis had thought about the
terrible Uhland-John scandal.  He must have heard about it again
and again, child though he was at the time, for all the Herries in
London were for ever discussing it.  The papers had had, of course,
plenty about it, and every decent normal Herries had felt it a
dreadful slur on the family.  Young Ellis had been undoubtedly
conscious of this, had, in all probability, brooded on it.  For he
was simply the most normal Herries who ever lived; all the Herries'
dislike of queerness, poetry, public immorality, all the Herries'
distrust of the Arts, of anything un-English, of odd clothes and
eccentric talk, met its climax in Ellis.  The wandering ghost of
the old Rogue and all his family found at last their match in
Will's younger son.  If indeed there had been for years growing in
him a hatred of the unusual, of the 'sport', the 'misfit', how he
must have hated the Uhland scandal!  But perhaps he did not realize
this disgust of his fully until the moment when he saw this figure
of his own brother, dishevelled, unhappy, alone, at a gathering so
particularly normal, British and Herries as this one.  In any case
this is certain--that after this day he never mentioned poor John
or Uhland or Walter if he could help it.  You could not offend him
more than by any allusion to them.

All his later troubles and the troubles of Vanessa and Benjamin,
and of the other Herries connected with them, dated perhaps from
this meeting at Farnborough with his brother.  It is not fanciful
to imagine so.  And that meeting, it is also not altogether
fanciful to imagine, became inevitable when, nearly a hundred and
fifty years before, Francis Herries rode, with his children, for
the first time up Borrowdale.

Amery and Ellis soon joined Rockage, Garth, Barney and Collins at
the ringside.  Garth, of course, had friends who were in the inner
circles of Pugilism, so he had seen to it that his little company
had fine places, and Mortimer Collins was with them by the right of
the Press.  The arena was a twenty-four foot one.  Behind the ropes
a great multitude was pressed, body against body, and on every face
was that mingled gaze of joy, expectation, anxiety and a sort of
childish innocence as though no one present were more than eight
years old.

For Barney Newmark, compounded as he was of escape from all the
repressions of his early youth (his father, it may be said, was
deeply disappointed in his youngest son, who seemed to him to have
neither reverence for the things that mattered nor any discipline
of character), of imagination and sheer joy of living, this scene
with the early morning sun overhead, the turf at his feet, the
ardent eager crowd, the brilliant green of the prepared Ring, the
excitement of the event, and above all his personal adoration of
Tom Sayers, made up the supreme morning of his life.  (And,
perhaps, never again would he know anything so good.)  He had never
seen Sayers, but had read every scrap about him since he could
remember.  And he had never heard anything but good, because Sayers
was a grand fellow--serious of mind, modest and unassuming, utterly
fearless, generous and good-living.  To do the Herries justice--men
like Garth and Ormerod and Rodney--he was the kind of Englishman
they WANTED to create.  They felt indeed that they had created him,
and would not have been at all surprised had it been discovered
that he had a drop of Herries in him somewhere.  It might be that
every man in that crowd felt that he had created him just as he had
created this England that was beginning once again, after years of
uncertainty, to dominate the whole world.  Nelson, the Duke, Tom
Sayers--they were all Herries men.

So Barney waited, his heart beating in his ears, his mouth a little
open, and his hand resting on Collins' broad shoulder.

'That's the great Tom Oliver,' said Collins.

'Oh, where?' gasped Barney, and was pointed out an aged and
grizzled gentleman superintending the last details, testing the
ropes, looking up at the sky, consulting with other important
gentlemen, inspecting anxiously his watch.  For there was not a man
in the crowd who was not aware that at any moment the authorities
might arrive and the Fight be 'off'.  And if that occurred this
multitude of amiable citizens would be changed in one brief moment
into a howling mob of savages!

It was seven-twenty by Barney's watch.  A great sigh of excitement
went into the air.  Sayers had thrown his hat into the ring and a
moment later followed it.  So this was his hero!  For a second of
time Barney was disappointed.  Sayers was no classical beauty.  His
face at first sight was ordinary, that of a quiet commonplace
stable-man or agricultural labourer.  He seemed slight in figure
although he had great shoulders, but nothing, it seemed, of a
chest.  Nothing extraordinary, for a moment thought Barney.
Heenan's hat followed, and a second later Heenan was inside.  Then
when he stripped a murmur of admiration followed, for this was
surely the most magnificent human being God had ever made.  Heenan
was six feet two inches in height, Sayers but five feet eight, so
that the American towered over his opponent.  Moreover, Heenan was
a beauty.  The sun, growing ever more powerful, shone on his
shoulders; his chest was superb, his face handsome and distinguished.
Sayers looked an ordinary hard little middle-weight, which was what
by weight he really was.  Moreover, he was eight years older than

So that when Sayers stripped Barney drew a deep breath of alarm.
How could this stocky grave little fellow hope to approach that
giant?  The thing was absurd, and he heard comment all around him
expressing the same fear.  'The match is a horse to a hen,' said a
wrinkled dark man beside him.  A big stout gentleman in a very high
hat swore with many oaths that 'Heenan would knock Sayers into a
cocked hat in ten minutes,' and someone else cried out:  'Tom may
beat him, but may I be fried in hell if he can eat him.'

Collins seemed to understand Barney's alarm, for he turned to him
and said:  'All right.  Don't you worry.  It's not that Tom's so
quick--Charlie Buller was quicker and so were Langham and Ned
Donally--but you wait till you see the force he uses--and his
timing!  There's never been such timing since the world began!
It's the way he moves that saves him.  You watch!'

And Barney did watch.  He saw Sayers look at his man, then nod as
much as to say 'I can manage that'.  Then they tossed and a groan
went round:  'Tom's lost the toss,' and a large crowd of Americans
in Heenan's corner shouted with glee.  Sayers now must take the
lower ground, but Barney's hope rose again when he saw him stand in
so perfect an attitude, tapping the ground with his left foot, his
arms down, his head well back, and a smile on his face.

'Oh, God, make him win!' Barney whispered to himself.  'He must
win!  He MUST win!'

They shook hands and then, as they moved round, each man to his
right in order to avoid the other's right hand, they laughed at
each other, as cheery and friendly a laugh as you could see
anywhere on a lovely spring morning.

They sparred, closed, and Sayers got down easily.  Their seconds
sponged them down, gave them water to rinse their mouths with, and
they came up again.  It was plain that Sayers was absolutely
confident.  He had beaten big men before--size was nothing to him.
Heenan led and led again, but always missed; then he got one on his
opponent's mouth, and Sayers reeled.  Sayers returned but was
banged on the forehead and went down in his own corner, whereupon
the Americans whooped their delight.

And it was now that the great crowd became part of the fight.
Wives, mistresses, children were forgotten.  All the trades and all
the labours, the small shop, the wide curve of the field as the
horses ploughed it, the window at the Club, with the last private
scandal, the hiss of the white wave at the boat's keel as it swept
from the shore, the call on the bare windy 'top' as the sheepdog
ran to his master's bidding, the gossip under lamplight at the
village wall, the last climb into the dark wood before the lovers
found their longed for security, all aches and pains and ills,
triumph and failure, all bitterness and jealousy, all were lost and
forgotten as though they had never been.  Every man was drawn into
that Ring and fought for a victory that seemed just then to be a
whole life's aim.  Garth forgot his last quarrel with Sylvia when
for the thousandth time she had wept and he had sworn, Amery
thought nothing of that 'pretty good thing' in Railway Shares that
Ormerod had told him of, Rockage forgot his cows down in Wiltshire,
Ellis forgot his dignity, and Collins thought nothing of his
ambitions that he hoped would bring him from Plymouth and establish
him in London as the finest writer of his time.  Barney?  Barney
was part of Sayers' very soul.  He had always BEEN Sayers.  Every
blow that Sayers dealt was Barney's--every knock that Sayers got he
felt on his own heart.

Only Walter--standing not far from his relations--remained in a
world that would not set him free.  He watched because something
was going to happen.  His loneliness would be terminated and he
would return to a moving, breathing life from which, since that
moment when they had told him that Uhland was dead, he had been
always excluded.  He bent forward, watching intently, but it was
neither Sayers nor Heenan that he was seeing.

Four times Sayers was down, and every time that he fell all England
fell with him.  Once Heenan got in a severe right, once trying to
avoid the sun he slipped, and once Heenan with a terrible left
altogether floored him.  Nevertheless, Tom's footwork was
marvellous, in and out, in and out, avoiding that long arm and
always on the retreat when a blow threatened him, so that the force
of it was lessened.

Collins was in an ecstasy.  'Oh, look at his feet!' he cried.
'Look at his feet!  Oh, the darling!  There's beauty!  There's
movement!'  He was beside himself with excitement, gripping
Barney's arm, rolling his head to the rhythm of the fighting,
stamping with his feet on the ground.  Nevertheless, the sun was
bothering Sayers (he tried continually to get Heenan to change his
ground but always failed), he was now severely marked and had an
awful cut over his eyebrow.

Would he last?  Many voices, shaking with excitement, the words
coming anyhow, could be heard saying that Tom was a beaten man.
'The American's too big for him.'  'He's taken a size too large for

Barney caught Mortimer Collins' arm and in a piteous whisper said:
'He isn't beat, is he?  Oh, he can't be!  He can't be!'

'You must wait,' said Collins between his teeth.  'He hasn't

It was then that Walter Herries suddenly began to feel deep down in
his loneliness that everything would be different for him
henceforth if only Sayers won.  Uhland could not return, but life
would begin again.  That strange cessation of time that for five
years now he had endured would lapse.  It was as though he waited
for a door to open, and, even as, years before, Georges Paris had
staked his future on the result of a wrestle on a hill-top in
Cumberland, so now Walter Herries held his breath and waited.

'Now!' suddenly cried Collins.  'Do you see that?'

Heenan had sent out a smashing blow which Sayers had avoided, and
then, jumping right back, Sayers had landed a terrific hit on the
American's eye.  It was one of those sliding upward hits, almost
splitting Heenan's cheek.

And now Sayers was growing happy.  You could see it in his quiet
confident gaze, the hint of a smile that played about his bruised

'I've got him now!  I've got him now!' Barney whispered, his nails
digging into the palms of his hands in his excitement.  Indeed, it
seemed that Sayers had.  Stopping a hard lead with his forearm he
dealt a harder one, then suddenly, as though inspired by the kindly
heavens, launched out with such a thunderbolt that it seemed as
though Heenan's nose must be crushed in.  The tremendous fellow was
all but lifted off his legs; the Americans in his corner gave a
kind of 'Oh!' of wonder, and how the rest of the world shouted,
Herries and all!  Even Ellis cried:  'Bravo, Sayers!  Bravo, my
man!' just as though he had been an honest hardworking gardener in
the Herries employ.

But for five foot eight to raise six foot two from the ground was
no minor feat.  Yes, Tom Sayers for all his quiet peace-loving
friendly countenance could hit.

Again in the seventh round Sayers struck Heenan another fearful
blow which sent the blood gushing from Heenan's nose; so weak and
tottering was the American that he grabbed at Sayers' body and they
hugged, although Sayers got in some nice body blows before they
fell together.

And Barney, in his innocence, thought it all over.  The American
couldn't stand any more of that; another little tap and he'd be
gone, put to sleep for the rest of his natural.

'Oh, he's got him! he's got him!' he cried, enchanted, dancing up
and down on his two feet like a little boy, and even Walter, not
far away, began to feel as though a great weight were lifting from

'I think Sayers is winning,' he said very gravely to a man with a
broken nose, standing beside him.

'I wouldn't be so sure,' said the man with the broken nose.  'Why
isn't Tom hitting more with his right?'

Barney, in fact, was increasingly aware now from the atmosphere
around him that something was going wrong.  What it was he couldn't
tell.  Everything SEEMED to be all right.  To look at Sayers you
wouldn't suppose that he had an anxiety in the world.  His face,
that would have been solemn as a churchwarden's had it not been for
the twinkling crowsfeet about his eyes, was expressionless and
innocent.  He had the earnest and serious gaze of a student of Mr
Darwin or Mr Huxley.  But something was wrong.

'What is it?' Barney whispered to Collins.

'It's his arm, his right arm,' Collins whispered back.  'I think
he's broken it.'

Barney always said afterwards that, of the three or four most
dramatic crises in his life, that moment when Sayers broke his arm
in his fight with Heenan (or a tendon as it turned out after--a
happening quite as disastrous in the circumstances as a broken arm
could be) was the most thrilling.  Life seemed to stop: the world
was held in a frozen mask, the air like ice, and no sound in the
universe.  Exaggerated it sounded later, but that's how it was just

And now it was that Barney Newmark loved Sayers, loved Sayers as he
loved himself plus the love that he had just then for Miss Nellie
Blossom of the Adelphi plus the love that he had for his mother,
brother, and sisters, and his French bulldog Louis.  All the
different loves of his life were concentrated in that little stocky
man when he saw him holding his right arm across his chest in the
orthodox position as though nothing were the matter, relying now
altogether on his feet for his defence and his left for attack,
although it had always been his right that had won him his

And then the beautiful thing happened, for Sayers grinned, grinned
as though he were greeting an old crony, and Heenan, although his
face was marked as though it had been slashed with sabre-cuts (for
knuckles could cut into the flesh as gloves cannot do), grinned
back.  Indeed so completely was Sayers master of himself that,
sending Heenan down with a horrible smasher, he used the twenty-
five seconds that he might have had for resting in going over and
peering into Heenan's face to see what it was like when they had
wiped the blood off it.  He might get some useful information that

Next there was a terrific round: one of the historic rounds in the
history of British boxing, when they fought for a quarter of an
hour and were, both of them, so badly exhausted at the end of it
that they had to be carried to their corners by their respective

It was after this round that a new element entered into the fight.
Heenan was now a fearful sight, for his face looked as though it
were gashed with deep wounds.  He was bleeding dreadfully, and one
of his eyes was completely closed.  The gathering of men, who felt
as though they, too, had been fighting all this while, began,
spiritually, to move in a new world, or rather in a very old
primitive one.  The tenseness was frightful.  Men drew deep breaths
and groaned in agony of spirit, stranger held stranger by the
shoulder as though he would never let him go.  Sweat was beaded
thickly on Garth's forehead.  Amery could not stand still but kept
beating with his fist on another man's shoulder.  The betting was
now frantic.  The Americans kept up a continual roar from their
corner, and a strange rhythmical stir seemed to beat through all
that multitude, the mass of human beings rising and falling with
every movement of the two fighters.

They, indeed, seemed less seriously concerned than anyone else, for
once Heenan picked Sayers off his legs and threw him, and then
there they were both laughing at one another, and it was a strange
sight to see that great American with one eye closed and his cheek
in strips laughing as though this was good fun--although a trifle
rough perhaps!

Indeed only once in all this time did Sayers show a sign of anger,
and that was when he spat some blood and the American laughed.  He
was stung with that and rushed at Heenan, sent him reeling with a
left, and then another and then another!  When he hit him a fourth
blow Heenan staggered; had Sayers had his right arm he might,
indeed, have finished the whole thing with a knockout.  Of one blow
on Heenan's ribs The Times correspondent afterwards said:  'It
sounded all over the meadow as if a box had been smashed in'.  On
the other hand, had Heenan been clever with his right the match
might ere this have ended the American way!

It was now that a sort of madness seemed to swing down upon that
meadow.  Not an ignoble madness either, for here were these two
men, heroes if ever heroes were, laughing like boys at play, and
one of them with his face a pulp, blinded, so that he struck his
second in mistake for his opponent, and the other had been fighting
for an hour with one arm useless, a mass of bruises and fearfully
swollen.  Nor was their Cause ignoble, for they were showing to all
the world that their countries had strength and courage, restraint
and control, fairness of mind and an honest cheerfulness,
manifesting these qualities indeed a great deal more plainly than
their countries often did!

And now all the Herries (save Walter only) were shouting like mad:
even Ellis was crying 'Go on, sir!  Well done, sir!  Very fine
indeed!' and with him were shouting many other Herries, the old
Rogue with his saturnine humour, and stout David, his son--the best
wrestler in Cumberland--and old Pomfret waving a bottle, and young
Reuben in defence of the bear, young Francis rising slowly to face
his invisible enemy, and poor John winning a victory in the
loneliness of Skiddaw.  They were fighting to be free, as every man
in that crowd was fighting to be free--with every blow that Sayers
struck, with every reply of the mighty blinded Heenan, three
thousand men drove with them to freedom.

But the spirit of madness grew more powerful.  Sayers was
weakening, Heenan blinded.  They had been fighting for over two
hours, and in the rear of the crowd policemen--the hated 'Blues'--
were trying to break their way.  Once Heenan caught Sayers, closed,
and hit him when on the ground.  What a yell of 'Foul!' went up
then, and the Americans roared back 'No foul!' and the umpire said
that all was well because 'the blow was struck in the heat of
fighting'.  Would Sayers last?  WOULD Sayers last?  Barney himself
now was weak at the knees, his mouth was dry, his eyes burning.  He
had been fighting, it seemed to him, week upon week.  As for a
moment he leaned forward, his head rested on Collins' shirt.  It
was soaked with the sweat of his body.  And Walter, in his place,
was shaking.  He did not know it.  He knew neither where he was nor
how he had got there--only it seemed to him that Uhland was
fighting there in the Ring, and that the moment would come when he
would turn to him, crying out:

'Father, you must come and help me.  I'm nearly beaten'--a cry that
Walter had all his life waited for in vain.

Then, suddenly, came the climax.  Heenan had Sayers' head under his
left arm when in a corner.  He was too weak to do anything but lean
on the stake and hold on to Sayers as though trying to strangle
him.  He said after--and it was likely enough it was true--that he
was too blind to know what he did.

Sayers did all he could to free his head, but could not; with his
left he got in a blow or two.  But Heenan twisted round so that
Tom's neck was hard against the upper rope and then he leaned on
it.  Poor Tom was black in the face and it was plain that he could
not breathe.

Then came pandemonium; men were fighting and yelling.  'Foul!'
'Foul!'  'Foul!'  The umpire called out 'Cut the rope!'  The
ringside was broken and the crowd poured in, hemming the fighters
round so that they could only stand up against one another.  Each
hit the other and they both fell down--there, prone, at the feet of
their admirers.

The police stopped the fight.

They had fought for two hours and twenty minutes.  The result was a
draw.  The last great contest of fisticuffs on English soil.

Walter moved in a dream.  On a wall in front of him that seemed
always to be receding, a great cock with a crimson crest was
crowing.  It crowed and crowed.

A little common man in a fur cap kept pace beside him.

'Well, Guv'nor, that wor' grand.  I call that GRAND!'

'Thank you,' said Walter.  'I enjoyed it greatly'--and went back to
the Fortress.


Elizabeth, forty-seven but looking oddly like a young girl in
distress, confused in fact by her inexperience, stood one very wet
morning beside Judith's bed and stared at the old lady with, if the
truth is known, a good deal of irritation.  At her side, the cause
of her worry, stood her son Benjamin, now aged seven.

'It isn't,' said Elizabeth, in a clear sweet voice, 'as though he
didn't know he'd done wrong, Aunt Judith.  He knows perfectly well.
Besides, Timothy beat him when he found out the truth.  But he
doesn't care in the least.'

Judith in her lace cap, mittens on her little hands, her face
smiling and serene, the article in The Times about Mr Lincoln and
the North and what the Americans had better do next open on her
lap, knew two things--one, that Elizabeth wished her to be very
serious in order that Benjamin should be impressed, and the other,
that she thought it high time that Elizabeth gave up her widow's
cap and black silk dress.  Poor John had been gone nearly eight
years now, and gentle colours, silver grey, dove colour, rose,
suited Elizabeth so very well.  Moreover, Elizabeth would be all
the happier if she married.  Mr Morant of Brough was eager to marry
her.  She was wasted as a widow, and Benjamin was altogether too
much for her.  Judith was smiling because she was thinking of the
other children who had been too much for their relations.  She had
been too much for David Herries.  Adam had at one time been too
much for herself.  Barney Newmark had been too much for Phyllis and
Stephen.  But Benjamin was a little different, for in this present
time children, whatever they thought in secret, had outwardly to
conform.  All over England children were conforming, saying 'Yes,
Papa' and 'No, Mama', looking up to their parents as to God,
believing (apparently) all that they were told about both the
creation of the world and the creation of themselves (the first in
six days exactly, the second in a gooseberry bush), above all
observing Sunday with the ritual and solemnity of a Sacred Order.

All this was correct, Judith supposed, although it had not been so
when she was young, but she was now a very old woman and must not
expect the world to stand still.  (The only question was: was it
perhaps going back?  But how could one ask that when Britain was
triumphant among the nations?)

It was Sunday that had been young Benjamin's trouble.  He was quite
unlike Adam as a child, for although Adam had been independent and
gone his own way he had given no one any trouble except when he had
disappeared for a whole day without warning.  Moreover, he always
listened to reason.  But Benjamin would never listen to anyone, and
this was the stranger when you considered that he was the son of
John, who had always listened to everyone too much.  It was perhaps
because of John's tragedy that everyone had been over-indulgent to
Benjamin in his babyhood.  Poor little infant, born only a few
months after his father had been brutally murdered, murdered by the
child's own uncle!  Could anyone have a more pitiful start in life?
Had Benjamin been a delicate, sensitive soul everyone would have
approved and everyone would have been satisfied.  But, so odd are
the workings of nature, that that was the very last thing that
Benjamin turned out to be!  He was plump, healthy and merry.  No
one had ever known him to cry.  He laughed all day.  He did not of
course know as yet of his father's tragedy, but it was feared that
when he did know it would not affect him very greatly.  It was not
that he was cruel, nor that he was heartless, but he had none of
the right and proper feelings.  At Uldale, Veronica and Jane made
much of him.  Dorothy petted him, even Tim paid him attentions.
They all thought him a sweet little child, for he was round and
rosy and had large yellow curls on the top of his head.  But he
yielded to none of their blandishments.  Jane was the only one who
could do anything with him, and she not very much.  It was not that
he was hard or selfish.  He was everybody's friend, would give
everything that he possessed away to anybody (they had to stop him
giving his toys, marbles, sweets to the village children); no, the
awful thing was that he had no morals!

That seems a hard thing to say about a child who was only just
seven, but what they meant by it was that he had no idea at all of
the difference between right and wrong.  The first occasion had
been when he had stolen the piece of sandalwood out of Dorothy's
needlework-box.  She had missed it; they had searched everywhere
for it.  Benjamin had been challenged, had denied that he had it,
and then it had been found on his person.  Timothy had whipped him,
Elizabeth had explained to him what a dreadful thing a lie was, but
he had remained cheerful and unrepentant through it all.  But
unrepentant was the wrong word.  He was simply unaware that he
should not tell a lie if to tell a lie was of benefit to him.  He
laughed like anything when Dorothy, in her vast crinoline, tried to
instruct him.

Of course he was very young at the time, and Dorothy elaborately
expounded to Elizabeth that very small children never knew the
difference between right and wrong.  They were born in sin and only
later became the children of Grace.  But whether Benjamin would
ever be a child of Grace seemed to Elizabeth, who knew him better
than the others, a sadly uncertain question.

He was for ever in hot water, and at last he committed his worst
crime: he dropped a handsome silver riding-whip of Timothy's into a
deep empty well at the back of the stables.  On this occasion he at
once confessed.  He said that he wanted to see how far it would
fall.  He was whipped, sent to bed without supper, lectured.  He
minded nothing, would not say that he was sorry, and at last was
brought up to Judith to see whether she could do anything with him.
He looked at the old lady in the big bed and thought how small she
was.  His round and chubby figure smiled all over at the old lady,
and the old lady smiled back at him.  This, thought Elizabeth in
despair, was not at all what she had wanted.

'It makes it so much worse, Aunt Judith,' she said, 'that it should
be Sunday.'

'I don't know, my dear.  Do you think that it does?'  She drew off
her mittens and then with her slender white fingers used a silver
knife to peel a large rosy apple.  She had always for breakfast a
cup of coffee and an apple, a meal that everyone thought eccentric.

Benjamin watched the peeling of the apple with wide-eyed
excitement.  Would she be able to strip the whole apple without
breaking the skin?

'You see, Elizabeth dear,' Judith went on in her very small voice
that had a touch of tartness in it like a good preserve.  'I'm
nearly ninety years of age, you know, and though I've got all my
faculties, thank God, still I do live a great deal in the past.
It's very hard for me to tell very often which IS the past and
which the present.  You see, for one thing I've lived in this
bedroom much of my life--always coming back to it.  It was very
much the same when I was a little girl as it is now.  Of course the
wallpaper's changed.  It used to have blue Chinese pagodas on it.
Very pretty it was.  But that tallboy is the same, and this blue
tester over my bed, and these charming acanthus leaves carved on
the wood . . .  What was I saying?  Oh yes, about Sunday.  Well,
you see, living so much in the past I don't understand this not
allowing children to amuse themselves of a Sunday.  Of course they
get into mischief.  There is nothing else for them to do.'

This was not at all what Elizabeth wanted.  And the old lady was
becoming very garrulous now.  Moreover, Benjamin, fascinated by the
apple, had drawn ever closer and closer to the bed and had
completely forgotten that he had come there to be scolded.  He was
grinning with all his might and, unconsciously, his small chubby
AND grubby fist was stretched towards Judith.

'There! would you like a piece?'  She cut off a section with the
silver knife.  'Now what do you say?'

'Thank you, Aunt Judith.'

'They all call me Aunt Judith.  Isn't it charming?  And I'm ninety
years old.  Well, well . . .'  She put on her silver-rimmed
spectacles.  'That's the only thing, Elizabeth, that's beginning to
fail me.  I can't see to read newspaper print as I did.  Ah!
there's another poem about the poor Prince Consort, although he's
been dead six months.  And as to Mr Lincoln--the Times man says
that if he would only--'  She was aware that Elizabeth wanted
something of her.  She stared at Benjamin severely over her

'Your mother is very unhappy about you, Benjamin, because you will
not say you are sorry to Timothy.  You are seven now and quite old
enough to know that you mustn't throw other people's things down

He smiled at her.

'I'll say I'm sorry,' he said.

'But are you sorry?'


'But are you not sorry to make others unhappy?  And do you not see
that the whip belonged to Timothy?  What would you say if Timothy
took your soldiers and threw them in the road?'

'He can have all my soldiers,' said Benjamin.

'You see, Aunt Judith,' Elizabeth said in despair, 'it is quite
impossible to make him realize.'

A new tone came into Judith's voice, that same tone with which once
she had spoken to Will at Stone Ends, once to Mrs Ponder, and more
than once to Walter.

'Benjamin,' and he was suddenly grave, looking up into her face.
'Will you please go at once to Timothy and make your apologies?
Without waiting another minute, please.'

'Yes, Aunt Judith,' he said, and instantly left the room.

'There, you see,' Judith said, greatly pleased.  'All that is
needed is a little firmness.'

Elizabeth shook her head, smiled, shook her head again.

'I don't know.  He's such a funny boy.  He'll be going to school
presently--that's, I suppose, what he needs.  But I am so
frightened for him.  He seems to have no idea at all as to what is
wrong.  He plays with the servants just as though they were not
servants at all.  He is so restless.  Jane tries to teach him, but
he will never settle to his books.'

'There, my dear,' said Judith comfortably.  'Come and sit down for
a little.  Benjamin has his own idea of right and wrong just as I
had when I was a little girl.  He is generous and loving, is he
not?  And he is happy too.'

Elizabeth sat down beside the bed.

'Aunt Judith, I'm not tiring you?'

'Tiring me!  Oh dear, no.  Why, it is only the beginning of the
day.  I can do with so very little sleep now, or perhaps it is that
I sleep most of the time--'

'There is another thing,' Elizabeth began.

'Yes, dear, tell me.'

'I am most unhappy about father.  Oh, I know that it would be of no
use to go and see him.  He would not see me, I suppose, if I did
go.  We have talked of it before and decided that it would be of no
use.  But now I hear that he has a really dreadful woman there, a
Mrs Pangloss--a terrible creature who bullies him and of whom he is
afraid.  Father afraid!  Why, when I lived with him you would say
that he would never be afraid . . .  But it is terrible to sit here
and know that he is shut up in that horrible house with that woman.
I don't know what I should do, but it makes me so unhappy--thinking
of it--being sorry for him.'

Judith stared in front of her.  Then suddenly she clapped her

'I know!' she cried.  'I'll go myself and see him!'

'Oh no, Aunt Judith!  No, no!  Why, it's a dreadful day!  It's a
deluge--and you haven't been farther than the garden for months.'

'That doesn't say that I couldn't if I wanted to.  I'm lazy, that's
all.  It's an excellent idea.  I have wanted to speak to Walter--
poor Walter.  Yes, it is all over, our quarrel--quite finished, and
it has brought misery enough on everybody.  Yes, I'll go and see
Walter, An excellent idea!'

There was a knock on the door.  Dorothy, Margaret, Adam and the
three-year-old Vanessa all entered.  Every member of the family
paid a visit of a few minutes every morning.  This had become a
ceremony as almost everything to do with Judith had now something
of the ceremonial about it.  Not that she wanted it to be so.  All
that she wanted was that she should feel that she was in touch with
everybody.  She loved them all, man, woman and child--and she also
wished to know exactly what they were all about.

Dorothy was dressed for going out.  She was in the very newest
fashion--a brown 'pork-pie' but with a dark red feather, a chignon,
and her crinoline raised several inches from the ground, revealing
that her stout feet were encased in miniature Hessian boots.  This
was the first time that Judith had seen these and at once she burst
out laughing.

'Oh, Dorothy, my dear.  What HAVE you got on?'

She sat up in bed, leaning forward, settling her spectacles exactly
on her nose that she might see the better.

Dorothy blushed, but she was as phlegmatic and good-natured as she
was stout.

'Very handsome _I_ call it.  And I am wearing an American Cage for
the first time.  You've always complained that my crinolines are
too large.'

'I don't know, I'm sure,' said Judith, 'why with your figure you
should run such risks.'  Then, to Vanessa:  'Come here, my darling,
and see what I've got for you.  Give me that little silver box from
the table, Adam.'

Vanessa promised to be a very beautiful child.  She had hair as
dark as Jennifer's had once been, and large dark serious eyes.  She
had Margaret's broad calm forehead and something of Adam's
humorous, almost sarcastic twinkle.  When she had been a baby
sitting quietly on her mother's lap she would unexpectedly look at
you inviting you to agree that the world, although pleasant, was
quite absurd.  She already adored her father, and he worshipped
her.  She had a lovely little body, slim and straight.  Baby though
she was, she carried herself with a beautiful easy natural gesture,
bearing her head high and looking all the world in the face.

As a child she was no trouble at all.  Adam had insisted that she
should be called Vanessa.

'There was once a Vanessa, a lovely lady.  And there was an Irish
Dean--and there were some letters . . .'

'Oh, you mean Swift!' said Dorothy, who was as literal as any
Herries.  'All the same it's a very odd name.'

'My grandmother,' said Adam, 'was called Mirabell, and that was a
man's name out of a play by Congreve.'

'Yes,' said Dorothy.  'But I don't see why because your grandmother
was odd you should be.'

'Don't you?' said Adam gravely.  'I do.'

'I do wish, Adam,' said Judith as he brought her the little silver
box, 'that you wouldn't wear that hideous sack coat.  You are too
stout for it.'

'Yes, Mother,' he said, smiling.  'But it's comfortable.'

(And, oh, how she loved him!  When he approached the bed, bent down
and kissed her, her whole body thrilled and it was all she could do
not to put her arms around him and hold him tight to her.  But not
with all those women in the room.  Oh dear, no!)

'There, darling.'  She took two sugared almonds out of the box.
This was a daily ritual.

'Thank you, Grandmother.'  Adam lifted the little girl up, and for
a moment the three of them, grandmother, son and grandchild, were
caught together into a loving relationship that no one else in the
whole world shared.

'And now,' said Judith comfortably, 'I am going to get up.  Send
Lucy to me, somebody, and tell James to bring the carriage round.
You can go in the barouche to Keswick, Dorothy.  I am going up to
Ireby to see how poor Cousin Walter is doing.'

She knew that this would be a bombshell and she enjoyed greatly the
effect of it.

'What!'  Dorothy cried as though she had just heard that the end of
the world had come.  'Going out!  On a day like this!  When you
haven't been out for months!  To the Fortress!  Why, you're crazy,
Aunt Judith!'

And even Margaret, who thought now that everything that Adam's
mother did was wise, said:  'Oh, but, Mother--surely that is
incautious!  Listen to the rain!'

'Thank you, my dear.  My mind is quite made up.'

Adam, who knew that the more his mother was opposed the more
determined she was, said, 'Well, then, Mother, if you go up there,
I go with you.'

'Certainly not.  What should I want you for?  It is quite time I
had a little air.  Now it is settled.  Go along, all of you.'

'But, Aunt Judith--'  Dorothy, who was in truth deeply distressed,
broke in.  'You can't--'

'Nobody says can't to me!' Judith answered.  'No one ever has, and
no one ever will.'

'But Doctor Bettany--'

'Doctor Bettany doesn't know everything.  It will do me a great
deal of good.  And there is something I must say to Walter

'But you know what that house is.  And there is some horrible woman
there now.  She will be rude to you and--'

'No one is ever rude to me.  At any rate after the first minute.
My mind is quite made up, so it's of no use your talking, Dorothy.
Now I want one word alone with Adam, if you don't mind.'

Elizabeth, who had been listening in great distress, stayed behind
the other two.

'Aunt Judith, PLEASE.  If it is for my sake, I beg you not to go.
I would never have said anything if I had thought you would have
such an idea--'

'That is quite all right, my dear,' Judith said, smiling at her.
'Your father cannot eat me.  I am too old an old lady for anyone to
be rude to me.  The drive will do me good.  Now, go and see that
Benjamin isn't getting into mischief.  Jane will be teaching him
his lesson.'

She was left alone with Adam.

'Mother, is it wise?  Walter is very odd, they say, and the house
in terrible disorder.  At least let me go with you.  I can remain
outside in the carriage.'

He sat on the edge of the bed.  She laid her hand in his large
brown one.

'Is it not strange?' she said.  'Do you remember, Adam?  In this
very room I undressed you and bathed you and you asked all kinds of
ridiculous questions.  And now see what you are!  You are still
untidy as you were then, and you have that same brown gipsy colour.
And you are not as stout as I feared you would be--'

He sighed.  Then he looked at her whimsically.  'Aye, I'm brown and
heavy but not fat, and I'm not a dandy--and what I am as well is a

'Oh no, Adam!  Oh no!'

'Now come, Mother.  You had great hopes of me, hadn't you?  And
I've disappointed all of them.'

'Of course not,' she said fiercely.  'All that I hoped for you when
you were a baby was that you would be a farmer and live in
Watendlath.  That, I suppose, was the mistake of my life--that I
did not go to Watendlath.  But it doesn't matter now.  That is the
best of being old--nothing matters very much.  It is very pleasant
to sit outside and watch.'

He laughed.  'YOU watch!  Why, you are in the middle of everything!
No one does a thing in this house but you know it--'  He paused,
then added slowly:  'We are rather a multitude here.  Let me see,
not mentioning the servants there are--you, Dorothy, Veronica, Tim,
Amabel, Jane, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Margaret, Vanessa and myself.
Eleven of us.'

'And not one too many!' she said sharply.  'Now, Adam, I know what
you are going to say.  You are not to mention buying that land you
were speaking of.  We have plenty of money.  The house is large.
There is room for everybody.'

He looked at her with that deprecating shy glance that he had
always used with her, since he was a baby, when he had something to

'I have bought it, Mother.  The thing was settled yesterday.'

She took her hand from his.  All that old anger that rose in her
when she was circumvented, all that old distress and alarm that she
always felt whenever he was going away, seized her.  She began to
tremble all over.  She glared at him through her spectacles.  She
pushed The Times away from her so violently that it fell on to the

'Now listen, Mother,' he began, speaking quickly.  'I am forty-
seven years of age.  I have tried everything and failed at
everything.  Once I tried to do something for my fellow men and
THAT failed.  Then I tried to write, and although that did not
exactly fail it has never come to anything at all.  Mortimer
Collins was right when he abused me one night and said that I
failed at everything because I could not STICK at anything.  As
soon as I was settled anywhere I wanted to run away.  I have THAT
from you, Mother.  You know that I have.  Only I haven't the
character that you have, nor am I so unselfish.  You would have
been a wanderer all your days had you not thought so much of
others.  But I--except for you and Margaret, Kraft and John--I've
loved no one but myself!  But John's death shocked me.  Kraft's
death shocked me once and John's completed it.  I must settle.  If
I do not now, I never shall--and there is only one place where I
CAN settle.  On my own piece of ground in this country.  Then I
fancy that I still can do something.  They all say that I can write--
Dickens said so, and Yates and Collins.  I shall never write
anything that matters MUCH, but it will be something.  It is not
that I shall be far away.  The piece of ground above Manesty that I
have bought is no distance.  I shall come here constantly.  But I
must have my own place, and Vanessa must have HER home to grow up
in.  There are too many women in this house, nor is it fair for

'I am sure dear Margaret is very happy,' Judith broke in.

'Yes, she is happy, but not so happy as she would be in her own
home.  You MUST see it, Mother.  You who are so wise and so
sensible . . .'

She saw it.  She had always had the capacity to see other people's
point of view.  But this was the end--the END.

She had only a few more years to live.  Adam was all that she had
in the world.  If Adam left her . . .  All that she said was:

'Pick up The Times for me, will you, dear?  I think that it is MOST
ridiculous that Germany should wish to have a Navy.  I saw a very
funny picture in Punch last week--'

He bent down and kissed her, and when he felt her body tremble, he
put his arms round her.  But he said no more.  He knew that she
would realize this was best for himself and Margaret, and that when
she had realized that she would never say another word on the

Nor did she.  All the while that Lucy was dressing her she scarcely
spoke.  When the dressing was finished she sat down in a chair.

'Lucy, did I not hear that you are engaged to be married?'

'Yes, Madame.'

'I hope he is a good man.'

'Very good, Madame.  He helps Mr Boulter, the butcher, in Keswick.'

'Oh yes . . .  I hope he is sober.'

'He never touches a drop, Madame.'

'Well, I trust that you will be very happy.  We shall be sorry to
lose you.'

'Thank you, Madame.'

Veronica came in and helped her downstairs.

'Thank you, my dear.  How pretty you are looking today!'

'It's terrible weather.  Do you think you ought to go out, Aunt

'I don't think--I know,' she answered.  'Now you can tell James
that I am ready.'

James Bennett, son of Bennett Senior (now with God), a stout sturdy
fellow and practically speechless, arrived with a very large
umbrella to shelter her over the garden-path.  She was settled in
the carriage with rugs and a foot-warmer.  She waved out of the
window to Veronica and Jane in the doorway, and Margaret, Benjamin
and Vanessa in an upper window.

But, so soon as the carriage had started, she fell into a fit of
melancholy--indeed saw herself, a poor little aged worn-out not-
wanted creature, lying at the very bottom of the sort of damp dark
insect-ridden well into which Benjamin had thrown Timothy's whip.
Such a mood was very rare with her.  Now for a quarter of an hour
she thoroughly indulged herself.

In the first place the weather helped, for it was one of the worst
days of rain and storm that the year had yet seen.  From the
eastern sky the rain swung in a solid sheet--you could see it,
slanting, as though in the folds of some thin grey stuff blown by
the wind against the horses' heads.  It hissed through the air and
all the ground was running with water; you could see through the
window rivulets of rain bubbling on the grass, and the rain leaping
on the roadway; the wind drove it across the land from Solway in
gusts of lines and spirals and curves.

'Dear, dear,' Judith thought.  'What a day to choose to come out in
after months indoors.'  She wondered what impulse had decided her
on this visit; she was so very comfortable indoors, and this
announcement of Adam's had swallowed Walter completely as though he
never had been.

It was as though her whole life through she had been trying to
catch Adam and he had always eluded her.  Of course he loved her,
but not as she loved him, for she must share him with Margaret and
Vanessa.  Margaret was an excellent woman and Vanessa a sweet baby,
but after all they were not his mother.  Here to her own surprise
and disgust she felt a tear trickle down her cheek.  She took her
handkerchief and wiped it indignantly away.  It was years since she
had shed tears; not indeed since John's death, and then only when
she was alone.  But when you were old your body was feeble, boast
as you might to others.  You could not be sure of commanding it.

This decision of Adam's was dreadful.  He said that he would see
her often, but he would not.  Once he was away there on the hills
above Derwentwater his visits to her would be fewer and fewer.  She
cared of course for the others--for dear Jane especially--but they
were not inside her heart as Adam was.  And she was not--although
she would not admit it--at home in this new world that was growing
up around her, a world of material riches and prosperity, a world
in which the men seemed to be divided from the women so that an
elaborate sort of hypocrisy sprang up between them when they met.
Dorothy was shocked--or thought it proper to be shocked--if you
talked of cows calving or sheep lambing.  Jane and Amabel were
quite resigned to being old maids, it seemed.  The countryside was
covered with old maids, and yet, on the other hand, all the girls
in the County thought of nothing but marriage, only they must not
say so and indeed must pretend that they had no notion of the
barbarous practices that marriage involved.  It had been very
different in Judith's youth, and she had a sudden picture of
herself and Georges and Emma Furze in London and the things that
they would discuss and that other people would do!

'If it goes on much longer like this,' Judith had said to Dorothy
the other day, 'there will be no more babies, for parents will be
ashamed of creating them!'

She disliked too a kind of religion that was beginning to be
prevalent, a religion that Dorothy took an interest in and that
even the beautiful Veronica pretended to admire.  It came, she
believed, from Oxford, and Mr Hall and Mr Eustace were its local
prophets.  It consisted, so far as Judith could discover, in
talking in a high affected voice, bowing and scraping in church and
professing the saintly life.  She believed that Mr Hall WAS perhaps
a Saint--she knew that he gave everything away and lived entirely
on potatoes--but Mr Eustace with his shrill voice and ogling eyes
revolted her.  She had been given to read a novel that, so she was
told, portrayed the ideal saintly character of this religious
movement--The Heir of Redclyffe by Miss Charlotte Mary Yonge--but
she had found it mawkish and unreal and had wanted to throw it into
the fire.  In all this she was of course very ignorant; she knew
nothing at all about the Oxford Movement, but it all helped to make
her feel, when she was depressed, that she had lived far too long
and had wandered into a world that was not hers.

However, she was not often depressed and she did not intend to be
long depressed now.  She dried her eyes, blew her nose and tried to
pretend that she was as independent of Adam as she was of everyone
else in the world.  If he WISHED to go and live on a patch of
ground above Derwentwater, why, let him go!  How absurd of her,
when she should be thinking of her approaching End, to be disturbed
by what ANYONE wished to do!  Nevertheless the pretence was not
very successful.  The very thought of Adam, smiling, untidy in his
sack coat, so ludicrously absentminded, so clever (as she thought
him), so well-read and wise and learned but so exceedingly modest
about it . . . she had only to think of him to bring him right into
the carriage beside her!  And so, after all, it might be when he
was living on Cat Bells!  He could not REALLY be very far away from

The carriage was now driving through the storm up the hill to
Ireby.  She must prepare herself for the encounter with Walter.
This meeting with him was in fact no new idea.  She had had it in
mind ever since the awful catastrophe of John's death.  She must
tell him, before she died, that their quarrel was ended, that she
forgave him everything--yes, even the deaths of Francis and Reuben--
and she must try to console him a little and try if he would not
perhaps see Elizabeth and his grandson.

As Bennett, down whose cape the water was now pouring in a vicious
stream, whipped the poor horses up the hill, the carriage met the
full force of the storm.  The wind tugged at the windows, the rain
lashed them, and she rose to the vigour of it.  'This is the way I
like it,' she thought.  Something in her bones, that had crept into
them when old Squire Tom carried her the first day of her life
through the snowstorm, excited her now.  She pushed her nose
against the window to see whether she had arrived, but could
realize nothing because the wet blur of the rain was so thick.
Then the carriage stopped; Bennett got down from his seat.  With
difficulty he opened the carriage door and then had to push his
chest right inside to avoid the wind.  His rough red cheek, fresh
with rain, was close against Judith.

'Well, are we there, James?'

'Yes, Madame.'

'What do we do now?'

'Well, Madame . . . best for me t'pull t'bell while you stay inside

'Pull it then.'

She could see dimly through the window now and thought how desolate
the Fortress had become.  The building was dark, naked and
repellent.  The stone seemed to have blackened under rain as though
it had been smoked.  The wood behind the house moaned and wailed.
A pile of earth stood near the flagged path in the garden as though
in preparation for a grave, and all the plants were beaten down
with the wind.  A tree somewhere rocked and screamed.  She could
see so dimly that she could not be sure what she saw.  She could
fancy that figures moved in and out through the rain, and
especially her fancy, the growing faintness of the sight of her old
age, made her imagine that the shape of a woman in black cloak or
shawl moved out from the trees and stood motionless, staring at the

Suddenly she disliked so greatly staying in the carriage alone that
she picked herself up, found her cane, adjusted her bonnet and
climbed down into the rain, then walked with great assurance up the
flagged path and joined Bennett.

She heard the bell pealing through the house as though the place
were empty and deserted.  She could smell the wet stale smell of
laurels and elder bushes.  Then the door opened and a slatternly
girl poked her head through.  Just then there was a gust of wind so
violent that Judith, slight as she was, was blown into the house.

She stood in the hall and the girl gaped at her.

'You'd better close the door,' Judith said gently.  'It is terrible
weather, isn't it?'

The girl's hair had been blown across her cheek, and she stared at
Judith as though she were an apparition.

'I think I'll sit down,' Judith said, and so she did on a hard
straight-backed oak chair with arms that she remembered well from
the old Westaways house.  A cat came into the hall, mewing . . .

'Who might you be wanting?' asked the girl.

'Would you tell Sir Walter Herries that Madame Paris from Uldale
would like to see him for a moment?'

The cat came over to her and rubbed against her leg.  She bent down
and stroked it, then with her two gloved hands resting on her cane
leaned forward and waited.

She did not have to wait long, for a door swung back and there
stood before her a great fat woman in a mob cap.  'This,' she
thought, 'must be the Mrs Pangloss of whom I have heard,' and
noticed with great dislike her face red as a ham, her thick bare
neck, her big uncontrolled bosom, her long peering nose and other
more unagreeable features.  Her personal, almost passionate, love
of cleanliness made a woman such as this very unpleasing to her.

The hall was dark and the woman stared about her.

'Well?' she said, glaring at the girl.  'What are you standing
there for?  Haven't I told you--?'

'There's someone--' said the girl.

The woman turned to Judith.

'Yes?' she said.  'What can I do for you?'

'I was wondering,' said Judith, 'whether I might see Sir Walter
Herries for a moment.  Pray forgive my sitting down, but I am not
so young as I once was.'  She smiled.

The woman at once recognized her.  She said:  'Oh yes?  Indeed!
Well, I fear that Sir Walter is not very well today and is unable
to see anyone.'

'I am sorry to hear that.  Perhaps if I were to see him for a
moment only--'

'Impossible, I'm afraid.'

The woman stood staring as the maid had done.  Judith was so famous
a figure that this visit was astonishing.  The woman's slow brain
doubtless was moving through a maze of questions.  What did old
'Madame' want?  Did this threaten her own power here?  Was there
some plot hostile to herself?

'Would you at least,' said Judith patiently, 'tell Sir Walter that
I am here?'

'Mustn't disturb him.'

'It is of importance that I should see him--great importance.'

'Excuse me,' said the woman more insolently, as though she had made
up her mind that Judith was not to be feared.  'Another day
perhaps, but today.  Sir Walter is not to be disturbed.  I'm in
charge here.  I'll tell him that you inquired.'

The door to the left of the staircase opened and Walter appeared.
He was in slippers and a faded snuff-coloured dressing-gown.  At
first he could not see who was there.  Then, almost knocking
against the chair, he stumbled back.

'Why, Judith!' he cried.

She held out her hand.

'I am delighted to see you, Walter.  Your housekeeper said that you
were indisposed, but I shall not keep you long.  Can you give me
five minutes with you alone?'

He plainly did not know what to do, and she was so sorry for him
and felt so strong an impulse to carry him off there and then from
under the sharp nose of Mrs Pangloss that any old enmity there
might ever have been fell, dead, once and for all.

The woman did not move.

'Why, certainly,' Walter said.  'I have not been well.  Mrs
Pangloss was correct.  This is Mrs Pangloss, my housekeeper.'

Judith gave a little bow.

The woman said angrily:  'Now you know what the doctor said--that
you wasn't to see anyone, no matter who it was, and you'll catch
your death away from the fire, you know you will.  Sorry, ma'am,
it's the doctor's orders, and another day when he's more himself it
won't matter, I'm sure--but I have to see to his health.  If I
don't, nobody does.'

Here, however, Walter plucked up courage; it must have shamed him
that Judith of all people should have seen him thus.

'Very well, Mrs Pangloss.  You are acting for the best, I am sure,
but now that Madame Paris has come all this way on such a day . . .
Pray ask Alice to light a fire in the library.  That will save you
the stairs, Judith.  Allow me to give you an arm.'

Mrs Pangloss stood there, looking at them.  She never moved and,
after they had gone, stood staring at the spot where they had been.

The room into which Walter led Judith had already a fire burning in
the grate and a rich brooding odour of spirits about it.  A
decanter and two tumblers, one half filled with something that was,
Judith thought, gin and water, stood on a table.  This, she
realized at once, had been Mrs Pangloss' sanctum that morning.
Otherwise it was desolate enough.  A picture of a hunting scene
hung crooked on a nail and there was a screen with pictures of
boxing scenes pasted on to it.  Very little else.  Walter settled
Judith in an armchair whose grey and disordered stuffing protruded
from the seat.  A window looked out on to the soaked and neglected
garden.  The wind whistled behind the wallpaper.  Walter sat down
on a hard chair near Judith.  She was greatly distressed at the
change in him.  She had last seen him three years before, riding in
Keswick, and on horseback, wrapped in a high riding-coat, he had
had something of his old carriage and even, she thought, arrogance.
Now he had a rugged grey beard, his cheeks had fallen, and as he
sat with his old dressing-gown huddled about him he looked more
than his seventy years.

'If that woman was rude to you,' he said abruptly, 'I shall dismiss

'Not at all,' said Judith cheerfully.  'She said you were not well
and should see nobody.'

'She's a good creature in her way,' he went on.  'She means well by
me--the only one who does.'

'Now, Walter, that's nonsense.  We all mean well by you if you will
let us.'

'Fine words, Judith, fine words.'  He drew the dressing-gown closer
about him.  'I'm always cold now.  This house is damp.  You
wouldn't think so when I built it, but the damp's come in just as
everything else has gone out.  What have you come for?' he asked
bluntly.  'We've been meeting like this all our lives, but our
meetings never come to anything.'  Then as though he had said
nothing:  'How old are you now?'

'I?  I'm nearly eighty-eight.'

'Eighty-eight!  Wonderful!  And still able to get about.'

'Well, I don't get about much now, you know.  There is plenty to do
in the house.'

'Yes; got your fingers on everything, I suppose, just as you used
to.  What have you come to see ME for?' he asked again.

'I have come for two reasons, Walter.  First, I want you to know
that our old feud is over.  At least on my side.  You must not
think that I am angry or feel any enmity.  The past is dead.  At
any rate our quarrel is dead.'

He rubbed his finger against his stubbly cheek.  'The past is never
dead,' he said.  'You know that as well as I do.  When you come to
our age we live in the past.  It is all I do live in.  Back--back--
to when my son was alive, when he could walk into this room just as
anyone did and say "Good morning".  Not that he cared for me, of
course--he never did that--but he was there.  He was in this house.
I could hear him moving over stairs.  You could tell his walk, you
know, because he limped.  Uhland was lame from birth, you know,
Judith, and that is what made him bitter--that and my telling him
when he was a baby that he had an injustice, being lame.  And so he
had an injustice, poor boy, and cleverer than anyone in the County.
That is why he thought poorly of me.  He could see I had no brains,
never had any.  But it's too late now.  The harm's been done, done
years and years ago, before we were born.'

He would have continued to talk forever.  Indeed he had forgotten
her, but she was so deeply touched that she rose a little in her
chair, leaned over and took his hand.  Even as she did so, she
thought:  'Twenty years ago!  If you had told me that I would ever
feel so tenderly!  But what does it matter now?  We are both so

He let her hand hold his, which was hot and dry to the touch.

'Listen, Walter!' she said.  That is what I have come to say.  You
must not think that you are alone in regretting the past.  That old
quarrel has done us all much harm, but I feel that--that--that
catastrophe eight years ago--it was terrible, tragic--but John and
Uhland by dying rid us all of an enmity, something bad in the
blood, that must not come back again.  John left a son, you know--a
grandson whom you have never seen--and it would be wicked, WICKED,
if his life was spoilt by it.  It seems to me now when I am old
that we cannot do anything without affecting someone else, and one
bad, selfish cruel thing can spread and spread into the lives of
people we never see . . .  I want you now to be friends with us
all, to see Elizabeth and your grandchild . . . to help us all so
that his life at least shall suffer no effects from all that past
trouble.  Let Elizabeth come . . .

She had not been sure that he had heard anything that she had said,
but at the repetition of Elizabeth's name his body trembled and
shook, he caught his hand from hers and sprang to his feet.

'No, no!' he cried, swaying on his feet and gesticulating with his
hands as though he were beating someone away from him.  'She's no
daughter of mine and you shan't come round me with all your talk.
She left me, and good riddance.  She married my boy's murderer.  Oh
yes, she did!  Don't you tell me now!  Do you suppose that he
didn't taunt him with his lameness, and she too?  Uhland knew.
Uhland heard what they said, the two of them.  Now you can go, and
pretty quick too, and don't let me catch you here again . . .  And
put some coal on the fire before you go,' he said, his voice
suddenly dropping.  'This room's as cold as hell.  Hell's cold--not
warm as they say.  This is MY house, and no enemy of my boy is
going to sit in it.'

He stood looking at her, shaking, his legs wavering.  'Well, you
are an old woman,' he said, sitting down again.  'You can stay if
you like, but don't talk such nonsense.  You ought to know better
at your age.'

'Very well,' she said quietly.  'I'll stay, Walter, but not if
you're rude and violent.  We do no good by shouting at one

'No, I suppose we do not,' he said, nodding his head.  'I tell you
what it is, Judith.  I'm not used to company.  A while ago I went
to London.  You didn't know that, did you?  And I saw a Fight--a
fine Fight it was too, but the man I wanted to win didn't win, and
so I came home to be by myself.  I said, "Now if you win,
everything will be all right.  Uhland will come back."  But he
didn't win, and so what was the use in seeing anybody any more?  So
I came home, and I'm not very good company.  You must forgive me.'

She saw that there was nothing more to be said just then about
Elizabeth.  Nevertheless something had been achieved by her visit.
They sat close together now like two old cronies.

'You see, Walter, I'm very old--very old indeed.  I may die at any
time.  Not that I mind dying, but I wouldn't wish to leave any bad
feeling behind me when I go.  When you are as old as I am, bad
feeling seems so very stupid--and I hope it won't continue into
another generation.  Your grandfather, David, used to tell me many
stories about my father.  Fancy!  He has been dead now almost a
hundred years!  But David Herries used to say that he thought all
the trouble in our branch of the family started when my father as a
young man sold his mistress at a Fair in a temper.  You've heard
the old story.  It's a legend, they say now, but it was all true
enough, I believe.  My father was a good man but he had a hot
temper.  That is perhaps what Uhland had too--but now those stories
are all so old and so long ago and there is a new generation
growing up.  Dear little Vanessa, my granddaughter, such a pretty
child.  And Benjamin, your grandson--a very lively high-spirited
boy.  I don't want them to be in any family quarrel when they grow
up.  The world is more sensible now than when I was a girl--too
sensible, I sometimes think, with people like Mr Gladstone and so
much church on Sundays.  Of course I think young people ought to go
to church, but not as a duty.  I'm rambling on, but what I really
mean is that I want Vanessa and Benjamin to grow up without any
hatred.  Hatred is silly--waste of time and temper.'

She had talked on, but it seemed that he had listened to none of
it.  He only sat there staring in front of him, scratching his
cheek.  She was trying to reconcile him with the stout, cheerful,
bullying man she had once known.  How could Jennifer and the others
have feared him as they did?  He had never had any brains, only
some instincts, and so he had collapsed under the pressure of
events.  You must have either intelligence or spiritual faith to
stand up against life.  When you had both you could be a conqueror.
Jennifer had never had any brains, so she had gone the same way.

'Well, I must go now.  Will you help me to my carriage?'

She rose a little unsteadily.  When she stood beside him her little
body was at his height, he sitting.

She kissed him.

Then, to her distress, she saw slow unmeaning tears trickle down
his cheek.  He did not try to stop them.  He did not perhaps know
that he was crying.  Gently she stroked his rough unbrushed hair,
speaking to him as though he were a child.

'There, there, Walter . . .  Things are not so bad, my dear.  I
will come again and see you.  I am glad that we are friends at
last.  If you want anything, you have only to send to Uldale.
There, there, Walter.  Remember that we are all your friends.  You
are not alone any more.  Uldale is no distance, you know.'

He rose slowly, looked about him in a bewildered fashion, then very
courteously offered her his arm and conducted her to her carriage.


Adam, turning on his side, caught the light from the window.  The
morning clouds, fiery with gold, were piling up above Walla Crag.
HIS field--the field of all his life with its five little trees and
its arch of sloping green--rolled into the glow; then, as though
with a sigh of satisfaction, held the light; the little trees stood
up and stretched their morning limbs.  He looked at the field,
thought that it was late (but they had not returned from Ambleside
until one this morning), looked over his shoulder and saw that
Margaret was yet deeply sleeping, then stretched out his brown hand
to the bedside table and found Barney Newmark's letter.

There was light enough now to read by.  Barney described
Thackeray's funeral:

'. . . You would have been moved, Adam, although you thought the
man proud and sensitive.  So perhaps he was, but he had reason to
be.  Maybe he was the loneliest man I have ever met.  One of the
kindliest too.  I could not but remember the first time I ever went
to his house--his table covered, not with books and papers as you
might think, but with compasses and pencils, bits of chalk and
India ink, and little square blocks of box-wood.  He was drawing,
not writing.  There were no signs of the author in the room, only
the appliances of the draughtsman, and when we chatted he would
rather talk about drawings than about books.  And in what a kind,
generous way, putting his hand on my arm, he said:  "Well: and how
can I be of any service to you?"

'And then there I was at Harlesden and a labourer going to his work
said, quite casually:  "You must make haste if you want to see him
buried."  It was a bright December day, everything shining and
glittering, a dense black crowd waiting by the grave, and then the
hearse--quite a common one, one of those plain, dull, black-painted
boxes upon wheels without feathers or any ornament, drawn by only
two horses: two or three carriages following, and then the
straggling mourners--Dickens looking defiant as though he would
like to knock someone down, Cruikshank, Millais, Louis Blanc, and
the Punch people--you know, Mark Lemon, Leech and Tenniel--a lot
more.  The eight men could scarcely carry the coffin--he was a
giant, wasn't he?  Then the short ceremony--thank heaven it IS so
short!--and the mourners elbowing their way through the crowd to
take a last look.  And wasn't this an irony?  There was a heavy
prosaic policeman by the grave and as we filed past he said to the
man in front of me:  "Now don't be in a hurry; follow each other to
the right, and you will all see comfortably."  Would not Thackeray
himself have liked that.  The younger men of course are saying that
he is already old-fashioned, but I myself think . . .'

Adam did not just then discover what it was that Barney thought.
He put down the letter and lay for a while looking out across the
Lake to Walla Crag.  Thackeray was dead and he himself was forty-
eight, and his mother, amazing woman, was eighty-nine; the
Americans were fighting one another, and Bismarck was bullying the
Danes; he must widen the vegetable-patch beyond the trees to the
right of the house, and today he would start his fairy story--the
one that had been in his head for more than a year now--and young
Benjamin was riding over for the day and night from Uldale.  It was
the last week of his holiday before he returned to school--and here
he was, he, Adam Paris, who had done nothing with his life as yet
at all, but was happy, happy, happy . . . here in this January of
1864, in his own cottage that he had helped to build with his own
hands under the brow of the hill, and Margaret his wife lying
beside him, and their child cradled in her arm (for in the night,
when they had returned, she had wakened, climbed out of her cot and
demanded to come to them).  Well, well . . . and Thackeray was
dead, dead and buried.

He stretched out his hand again, this time for a volume of a novel.
The novel was called The Ordeal of Richard Feverel; it was written
by a young man, George Meredith.  Although it had been published
some four years or so, he had only now heard of it.  An unusual
book!  Fantastically written but new--new in thought, in style and
in audacity.  And Thackeray was old-fashioned.  Thackeray was dead.
He rolled over and laid his arm very lightly but protectively over
Margaret.  They had sailed all the perilous seas now and were in
harbour, through passion (but Margaret had never been very
passionate), through that strange period of isolation the one from
the other, when they knew one another too well and yet not nearly
well enough.  (That had been ended by the scene at Uldale that
Christmas-time.)  Then through the wonderful stage of renewed
passion and a heightened glorious intimacy.  (This stage had
included Caesar Kraft's death and the end of Adam's 'Brotherhood'
ambitions.)  Then, back in Cumberland, out of passion and into
this, the real glory of every marriage that can attain it, a
confidence, a trust, an intimacy so great and deep and calm that it
was like Derwentwater there beyond the window.

She would never QUITE understand him.  There was a vein of cynicism
running through his nature that was quite foreign to her.  Nor
would she ever understand his restlessness.  Once she had his love
and the love of their child, and KNEW that she had them, nothing
could ever disturb her again--except, of course, losing either
himself or Vanessa.  Always when he left her, even for an hour or
two, a little wrinkle lined her calm brow.  She was not REALLY
happy again until he had returned.  But she was no longer
possessive as she had once been.  That was because she was sure of
him now.

At that thought he moved a little restlessly.  Did he want her to
be sure of him?  Did any man want his wife to be sure of him, and
was not every wife unhappy unless she WAS sure?  That was perhaps
one of the eternal misunderstandings in marriage.  And in this his
mother completely understood him.  In every way his mother
understood him, shared his restlessness, his longings, his
disappointments in himself, knew him as no one else did.  He and
she were wanderers constrained by the circumstances of life to be
stay-at-homes.  Had he not married Margaret what a useless,
worthless wanderer he would have been!  Like his old legendary
grandfather!  Yes, he had been lucky to marry a woman like
Margaret, so good and loyal, faithful and true.  Once he would have
been wearied and irritated by too much goodness and fidelity.

He got out of bed very quietly and went down to the yard behind the
house for Will to sluice him down.

Although it was early January and mortal cold, he did not shrink
from the sluicing.  The yard was hidden from the world save for the
little wood on the rise of the ground.  No windows looked on it,
and it was sheltered from the winds.  Will was already there,
cleaning the boots and hissing away at them like a hostler.  He
straightened himself when he saw Adam and stood up, grinning, his
yellow forelock straggling over his forehead, his eyes as blue,
direct and unflinching as those of an honest and fearless child,
his body balanced easily on its strong legs.

'I'm late this morning, Will.'

'Aye.  You was late last night.'

'Lovely day.'

Will looked up.  The sky was blue and laced everywhere with little
clouds that still had tints of amber and rose.

'Cold this morning,' Adam said.

He looked at Will with great affection.  The whole day started
wrongly if he did not have a brief talk alone with Will at the
beginning of it, for his relation with Will was that of man to man,
rid of all the uncertainties, sudden crises, sudden darknesses that
haunt like ghosts the relation of the sexes.  In a way Will
understood him better than did either his mother or Margaret.  In a
way Will loved him better than did either of the women, for it was
a love completely unselfish, that asked nothing in return, that was
disturbed by no moods or reticences.  When Adam was in a temper or
caught into some creative distance far from all human agency or had
a cold or a headache or felt his liver, Margaret was disturbed as
though she were in danger of losing something (although she had
learnt to conceal this disturbance, Adam knew that it was there and
it irritated him), but Will was unchanged.  Let Adam have what mood
he wished, Will loved him just the same.  He could be jealous, and
was often confoundedly obstinate and pig-headed, but his loyalty,
devotion, trustworthiness never varied a hair's breadth.

Two wooden buckets filled with cold water stood side by side.  Adam
threw off his shirt and breeches, then shivered as the cold air
struck his bare flesh.

'Quick, Will.  Quick, you devil!'

Will took up one bucket in his two arms and with a heave threw the
water over Adam.  Then the other.  Then quickly he caught a rough
towel that was hanging on the back of the kitchen door, seized Adam
and rubbed him with great violence, hissing furiously.

Adam ran into the kitchen and stood naked in front of the roaring
fire.  Now he was glorious.  He was in fine condition.  Drops of
water clung to his beard and his hairy chest.  His flesh was firm
and strong.  His heart beat like a good steady hammer.  He took
deep breaths.  Will watched the operation with high satisfaction.

'You know, Will,' Adam said, stretching out his bare arms, 'my
mother has told me that her father used to have his man swill him
down at Rosthwaite where he lived, in just this way.  He was a
queer character, he was.  My mother has a heap of tales about him
from his son, her stepbrother.  He was years older than she was--
David Herries, I mean.  And now she's nearing ninety.  Takes you
back a long time, doesn't it?'

'Aye,' said Will.  'It does that.  We're born and we're wed and
we're dead before we know.  'Tis odd when you think of it, Mr Adam,
that folk make the fuss they do when they're dead so quick.  About
little things, I mean.  Now there was that man from Seathwaite last
evening.  Was in here with a long tale about a cow he'd lost.  I
told him not to fret and he was furious, as though I'd stolen the
damned cow myself.  Mary will be in likely.  I can hear her
coming.'  This was the old woman from the farm halfway to Grange.
She came every day as help.

Adam pulled on his shirt and breeches and went upstairs.

Later he was sitting in his room waiting to begin his fairy story.
This room--not very large--was square, papered a dull rather shabby
red, and the two windows looked full on to the Lake and Walla Crag.
The wall opposite the windows was lined with shelves, and there
were his books, not a great collection, some four or five hundred
in all.

They were, moreover, a mixed lot, in no sort of order.  A faded row
of little blue volumes of the Ilaid and Odyssey had for companions
Pickwick in its shilling parts (the covers of some of the numbers
disgracefully torn), Rogers' Italy with the handsome illustrations,
Arthur Young's Travels in France and Leigh Hunt's Story of Rimini.
There were thirty volumes of the 'English Poets', ten of Chaucer,
Sir Charles Grandison and Tristram Shandy.  On the table at his
side were two volumes of Richard Feverel, Huxley's Man's Place in
Nature, and The Woman in White.  By itself on the other side of him
was a fresh brilliant copy in green and gold of Barney Newmark's
first novel*--Dandy Grimmett--in three volumes.

* Dandy Grimmett, by Barnabas Newmark: 3 vols, Suller & Thorne

'They have bound young Barney very handsomely,' he thought.  (He
still looked on Barney as an infant although he was now nearly
thirty-four years of age.)  He felt a pang of envy, regret,
sadness.  There was young Barney, of whom no one had thought very
much, publishing his first novel and some of it not bad either,
especially the racing scenes, the fight (plainly taken from Sayers
and Heenan), and the last chapter when old Dandy, dying, is brought
back to his rooms in London and hears the carriages rolling to the
theatres, the cries of the newsboys, and the thick heavy ticking of
the clock on the marble mantelpiece.  He's been influenced by
Thackeray, of course--not doing anything new like this young man
Meredith.  But is it important to be new?  Nothing is new but
superficials.  He can paint a scene that is real.  He knows his
world . . .  Damned clever sketch of his father, old Stephen.  He'd
deny it, of course . . .'

His mind went floating away to the lake that lay in the morning sun
like a snake's skin, grey and rippled, convulsed, it seemed, with
little shudders.  The sunlight hung above it on the flanks of the
hill as though afraid to descend.  He pushed open the window and
looked out, heard the stream running at the back of the house,
smelt the dead bracken, the gritty flakiness of the dead earth, and
saw a snowdrop, solitary and beautiful, bend its stem in the

He heard Vanessa calling.  His heart warmed.  It was all he could
do not to go out to her, but he knew that once he had left that
room incident after incident would occur to prevent his return to
it, as though a malicious Fate were determined for ever to hold him
back from doing anything.  With a sigh he closed the window and
went back to the table.  He picked up a number of London Society
that had just arrived and read from the serial story:

'"Nor need you wish to do so, Miss Fleming" said Jane quickly.
"Nor, if you were thrown on the world, would you ever be what Milly
and I are now.  We have had unusual advantages from our cradles,
and with great natural aptitude, have improved them to the

He sighed again.  'Great natural aptitude . . .'  'Improved them to
the uttermost.'  No, people did not talk like that.  Why were
novels so silly?

But this seemed to encourage him.  HE was going to write a fairy
story.  He sat down resolutely, drew the paper in front of him and
wrote in his firm strong hand:


He sat, looking out of window, biting the feather of his quill.
Then he was off and away!

Once upon a time there was a King who had five lovely daughters.
The names of the five Princesses were Hazel, Rosamond, Amaryllis,
Mellicent and Mary.  Mary was the youngest and she was not given so
grand a name as the others because the King, her father, had wanted
to have a son and was so grievously disappointed when the Doctor
told him that the baby was a girl that he shut himself into his
bedroom for four and a half days and refused to see anybody, even
the Queen.  He lived all that time on bread and water.  So at least
it was said.  But Fortunatus, the son of the Woodcutter in the
Forest near by, saw the Palace gardener climb on a ladder and hand
through the King's bedroom window a gold tray that had on it a
gingerbread cake, a roast goose, a Christmas pudding and a dish
with oranges, plums and apricots.

Fortunatus told his father, the Woodcutter, what he had observed,
and his father said that he must never mention it to anyone or he
would lose his head.  Mary, who was the loveliest child ever seen--
she had hair as dark as the ravens and a smile so sweet that
everyone at the Court loved her--was always punished when her
sisters did anything wrong.  For example, one fine morning Princess
Rosamond was given a beautiful dress by her Fairy Godmother (it was
her birthday).  The dress was made of tissue and silver and it had
buttons of green jade, a collar of emeralds, and the sleeves were
decorated with the feathers of the Bird of Paradise.  When Princess
Mellicent saw this beautiful dress she was so angry because HER
Fairy Godmother had given her on HER birthday only a needlework-
case.  So she took the gold scissors from her needlework-case and
when Princess Rosamond was practising the piano in the Green
Drawing-room she went into her sister's bedroom and cut the
beautiful dress into shreds.

Now when this was discovered and Mellicent had confessed to what
she had done, Mary was put to stand in the corner of the Audience
Chamber with her face to the wall so that everyone who passed by
could see her.

It happened then one fine morning that Fortunatus, the Woodcutter's
son, was sent by his father to the Palace with a wheelbarrow full
of logs for the Royal fireplaces, and, peeping in (for he was a
very inquisitive boy) at the door of the Audience Chamber, he saw
the lovely little Princess standing with her face to the wall . . .

* The Dwarf with the Purple Comb, And other Stories; by Adam Paris,
Harris & Sons, 1865.

Little Vanessa ran down the path and up the road.  It was time for
Benjamin to be coming, and from the corner where the stream ran
from the tops straight like a silver arrow into the Lake you could
watch the higher bend of the road.  She danced about, clapping her
hands because it was cold.

She was wearing a dress of green and black checked taffeta, which
was the new material.  She was immensely proud of it and had begged
to be allowed to wear it because Benjamin was coming.  She was
already tall for her age, carried herself to her full height, and
now, when she was dancing, every movement was natural in its grace
as the silver pattern of the stream, the dull amber of the dead
bracken and the bare wood whose trees were flushed in the distance
like an evening sky against the grey Lake filmed with ice.  Skiddaw
and Blencathra were powdered with snow, and hard round clouds like
snowballs hung above their lines.  Vanessa's mind was intently
fixed on Benjamin.  Although he was over four years older she
thought that he was a perfect companion.  She was even then an
excellent listener; her curiosity was acute, and she could never be
told enough about anything if someone wanted to tell her.  Benjamin
told her the most extraordinary things.  Everything that happened
at Uldale was of absorbing interest to her, and she spent so much
of her time with grown-up people--her mother and father, Will, and
Mary from the farm--that although she was entirely a child and in
many things still a baby, she understood the LIVES of grown-up
people, knew why they did things and could IMAGINE their world.
Her grandmother--the old lady who was as smart as a pin, all white
and black (and the very WHITEST of white!) with her cap, her ivory
cane, her shoes with the silver buckles, who was so kind, amusing,
understanding, but could, all in a moment, be so sharp and
commanding (very like the Queen of England)--was to Vanessa simply
the most miraculous person in the world, composed of magic, fire,
ice, diamonds.  There she was in her room, older than anyone had
ever been, but more acquainted with all that Vanessa was thinking
than anyone save her mother.  Then there was Aunt Jane, the nicest
of all the Aunts.  Aunt Veronica who was beautiful, Aunt Amabel who
could throw a ball like a boy.  Uncle Timothy who was so big that
he could take the whole of you in his hand if he wished, Aunt
Dorothy who was always busy, James the coachman, Daniel the
stableman, Martha the cook--and so on, so on--a whole WORLD was in
Uldale.  One could never have enough of it.

And Benjamin was her Uldale storyteller.  She would like him to go
on for hours telling her things, but he could never be still, never
stay in one place more than five minutes.  And Vanessa thought this
unusual, because his mother, Aunt Elizabeth, was so quiet.  She
would sit all evening in the same corner of the sofa reading a book--
only often, as Vanessa had noticed, she was not reading, but would
put down her book and sit staring in front of her.  Benjamin had no
father, which, Vanessa thought, was terribly sad for him.

Ah! there Benjamin was!  He came trotting round the corner on
Albert, his pony (named after the Prince Consort, who had died the
very month that Uncle Timothy gave it him).  Mumps the dog was
running at the side.  Mumps loved Benjamin, and even now, when he
was ten years old or more, would never leave Benjamin's side could
he help it.  The boy saw Vanessa and waved his riding-whip.  When
he came up to her he burst out laughing.  His round, plump face was
crimson with the cold air and the exercise, and his funny small
nose needed wiping.

'You're wearing a new dress!' he shouted.

'Yes,' she said, still dancing.  'And there's ice on the Lake.  It
will be frozen perhaps tomorrow--enough to skate on.'

They went up the path to the cottage, and as soon as Benjamin was
off the pony he felt in his coat-pocket and produced a large, very
sticky chunk of toffee.

'Have some!' he said, trying to break it.

'Did Uncle Timothy give it you?'

'No.  I stole it from the kitchen.  Mother said I wasn't to have
any because I was sick last time from eating so much, so I had to
get it from the kitchen, and Martha nearly caught me.'

Benjamin always puzzled Vanessa in this way, because he was for
ever doing things that he was told not to do.  When he was caught
he never lied nor did he seem in the least to mind punishment, but
it appeared that you had only to make a rule for him to want to
break it.

However, she took some of the toffee and, with their mouths full,
they went round to the back to put the pony up and see Will.  When
they were in the back-yard Benjamin turned a somersault.  He had
just learned to do it.  'There's a boy at school called Turnip,' he
explained.  'And he can do it and he said I couldn't, so now I

'What a funny name to have!' she remarked.

'They call him that because his REAL name is Turner--see?' Benjamin
said, turning head over heels again.

In the living-room of the cottage Adam had few books, but he had
been given two things out of the parlour at Uldale and these he
prized over all his other possessions--one was the old spinet with
roses painted on its lid, the other the music-box with the Queen in
her green dress and the King in his amber coat.  When Judith,
growing too old to argue violently with Dorothy, saw that big heavy
new furniture was coming into the parlour do what she would, she
insisted that Adam should have the spinet for his cottage.  She
would have given him the sofa with the red apples also had she not
felt a superstition.  Her hand had rested on that when she had made
her great decision . . .

Adam's living-room had not much furniture.  There were the wax
flowers that he had bought Margaret at the Pantheon.  The square
carpet had eight groups of flowers on a light pink ground.  There
were three carved mahogany chairs with needlework seats and backs.
There was a chiffonnier bookcase, brown and gold with marquetry
panels.  These things had been presents from various members of the
family.  Carey Rockage's wife had given him two cornucopias, Will
Herries the bookcase.  On the walls against some very variegated
wallpaper was a watercolour called 'The Lady of the House', an
engraving of Watendlath, and a Baxter print, 'Dippers and Nest'.
In one corner of the room was Vanessa's joy, a Peepshow of the
Central Hall at the Great Exhibition.  Over the mantelpiece was
hung a Sand Picture, 'Saddle Horse', by James Zobel.  Barney
Newmark had given him this one Christmas.  So the room was an odd
jumble, and he didn't care for anything in it save the music-box
and the spinet.  But it was in this room and among these things
that he experienced a little scene with young Benjamin.  He had
reached a point in his fairy story where the Dwarf had tapped on
the Princess Mary's window.  The Palace Garden was flooded with
moonlight.  She came to the window, and, standing on top of the
ladder, he whispered to her that, if she would come with him, he
would take her to the orchard and there, hidden in the ground at
the roots of an old apple tree, he would find for her the Purple
Comb . . .

At that point everything had ceased.  He could see no more the
Princess, the Dwarf, young Fortunatus.  All had vanished, the Lake
rippled under its silver shading of ice, and Blencathra had the
bloom of a plum.  Soon it would be time for the meal.  He was
hungry, so, rubbing his hands, he went into the living-room.  A
moment later Benjamin came in.

'Uncle Adam,' he asked, 'can you wrestle?'

'No,' he said.

'Try,' said Benjamin, and without a moment's warning he pushed
himself on to Adam.  He butted his stomach with his round head,
tried to bring his arms together around Adam's broad thighs,
twisted his small legs round Adam's thick ones.  He put a ferocious
energy into this, blowing and grunting, straining every muscle in
his body.  For a moment he made Adam rock.  Adam could feel the
muscles of the boy's leg strung to their utmost against his calf.
The two small hands tore at his waistcoat.  A button flew off.  The
hands groped inside his shirt, pinched his flesh.

'Hi!' he called out.  'That's enough!  You're hurting!'

'I'll do it!  I'll do it!' Benjamin gasped.  'I'll bring you down!'

Adam, laughing, put out his arms, caught the boy to him with a
bear's hug, then swung him into the air and held him there.

'Now what will you do?'

Benjamin kicked.  Then he was rolled on to the floor, lay there for
a moment panting.

'Things look funny from here,' he observed.  He got up.  'I haven't
it right yet.  There's a trick you do with your left leg.  Next
time I shall manage it.'  His hair was dishevelled, his cheeks
crimson, his shirt open.  He grinned.

'You have torn one of my buttons off,' Adam said.

'Oh, that's all right.  Aunt Margaret will sew it on for you.'

He came close to Adam, leaned against him, looked up at him,
smiling, but with a strange mature glance.

Adam said:  'Are you liking school?  I hear that you were in all
kinds of trouble the last term.  Why was that?'

Benjamin nodded.

'I can't help it, Uncle Adam.  If anyone tells me to do anything I
don't want to do it.'

'Why's that?'

'I don't know.  I expect it's because my uncle killed my father.
There isn't another boy in the whole school whose uncle killed his

The words came out quite easily, with no sense of self-
consciousness, no unhappiness--a clear statement of simple fact.
To Adam those words were like thunder in his ears.  The floor
seemed to rock.  He didn't know that the boy had any notion of the
way that his father had died.  They had, all of them, for years
been in a conspiracy to prevent any allusion to it before the boy,
and although at first it had seemed a vain hope that he should not
hear, as the years passed they all thought that they had succeeded,
for when Benjamin spoke of his father it was quite naturally.  He
seemed to believe that he had died of some illness just like any
other man.

Benjamin nodded.

'You thought I didn't know.  I have known for years and years and
years.  First a farmer at Peter's House told me.  I know just what
they did.  They rode through the mist to Skiddaw House.  They had
arranged it all, and my uncle shot my father and then shot himself.
And my father hadn't a gun.  So you see I'm different from all the
other boys, and I'll be different all my life.'

Adam did not know what to say.  He moved off and looked out of
window.  Then he turned round.

'Your father,' he said, 'was a very fine man and I loved him.  He
always did the right thing and so must you.'

Benjamin answered quickly, as though he were speaking in someone's

'I love my father more than anyone, and if I had been there with
him I would have taken the gun from my uncle and shot him, and all
my life I'll kill men like my uncle who are beasts and cowards.  I
don't care.  I'm not afraid of anyone, and I'll never do something
just because someone tells me . . .'  His voice suddenly was the
voice of a small boy.  'I'll be like Robin Hood.  He was an outlaw
and I'll be an outlaw.  I have a band of outlaws under me at school
and we're not afraid of anybody.'

To Adam there came a quick picture of a wood, a pool, a man on
a white horse and himself dancing in defiance of that rider's
whip . . .

He came across the floor to Benjamin and put his arm around him.

'I was like that myself once and now I'm an old gentleman who
writes fairy stories.  The great thing,' he went on, holding the
boy close to him, 'is not to be bitter against life because of what
happened to your father.  Don't allow things that have happened in
the past, Benjamin, to spoil your life.  The past is past.  They
are ghosts, all those dead men.'

'My father is not a ghost,' Benjamin said.  'I have his picture and
a riding-whip he had and his hairbrushes.  I took the hairbrushes
out of Mama's room and I've hidden them.  No one knows where they
are but me.  And one day I shall meet someone like my uncle and I
will shoot him just as he shot my father, except that he shall have
a gun, so that it's fair.'

Adam shook his head.  'That's no good,' he said.  'Because a wrong
was done once, to do another wrong doesn't make things better.'

'Look here, Uncle,' Benjamin said.  'I can make a somersault.  I
THINK I can make two now.  Here!  Look!' and he turned two
somersaults, one after the other, in the space between the chairs
and the table.  He tumbled straight into old Mary who was helping
Margaret to bring in the meal.

Had Benjamin affected him?  When they were sitting after the meal
quietly watching the sunlight stain the flowers of the carpet, the
gilt of the bookcase, and strike, as though maliciously, the
simpering self-importance of 'The Lady of the House', he felt a
curious and abnormal ecstasy of perception.  It seemed to him that
his senses were all tingling with an extra activity.

Margaret, opposite him, was making a basket cover in old silk
patchwork.  On a ground of dark green she was forming a
kaleidoscope pattern of glittering scraps--flakes of crimson, sea-
green, primrose, hyacinth blue, the rose of apple orchards, the
gold of corn.  On the grey stuff of the lap of her dress the
fragments of silk lay scattered, her look so serenely safe and
happy that it caught at his heart.  Once and again she would glance
up at him and smile.  Vanessa and Benjamin were stretched on the
floor, their heads together, looking at a book of Japanese
drawings.  From where he sat he could see the brilliant figures of
birds and men in blue and crimson carrying burdens over bridges and
the wide expanse of purple seas.  Everything was colour and
everything was peace.  Tiny details seemed to wear a heightened
significance, the buttons on Vanessa's dress, freckles on
Benjamin's snub nose, the needlework pattern on the chairs.

He was filled with a kind of immortal ecstasy.  This he had
achieved.  Through all the disappointments and failures of his life
he had caught this and held it--love, fatherhood, security.  The
patch of ground upon which his feet were set was his, this hill,
the silver birch gleaming in the sun beyond the window, the stream
of music he could hear, this Cumberland that all his life long he
had worshipped, and beyond it England, the hills running to the
sea, the valleys running to the South, all this land that, now that
he had his home, flowed to the North, South, East and West.
Running from his door to all the seas, his for ever and ever,
although his realization of it lasted only for a moment.

His happiness caught him at the throat.  His eyes were blinded.  He
moved in his chair, and Margaret looked across at him and smiled.

Then Benjamin glanced up at them and sprang to his feet.

'I want to go out!  Come along, Vanessa!  I'll race you!'

They opened the doors and ran out into the garden.

It was as though he had himself spoken.  He felt suddenly that his
security was dangerous.  He did not want it.  He was bound, a
prisoner.  Somewhere, a small child, he was running, running,
escaping, shouting, and his mother was with him.  Panting, they
raced up the hill to see the sun rise.  The woods fell below them,
the Tarn was dark, and he could hear the sheep rustling past him up
the dark path.  His mother was a gipsy and he was her gipsy son.
He could see the lights from the painted carts--a horse neighed . . .
waving his arms and shouting he breasted the hill . . .

He woke as though he had been sleeping, and saw Margaret choosing
the colours from the fragments of silk, holding a scrap of rose
against the light to see how it would do . . .

'I'll be back, Meg,' he said.

He went to the door and almost ran from the house.  He began to
climb through the dead bracken above his stone wall.  As he mounted
he heard the voices of the children from the garden, a cart was
creaking down the road that was already a white ribbon.  The Lake
rose and he saw that the sun had veined it with patterns of light,
here there were pools of grey and ashen pallor and there deep
shadows of saffron--all confined by the hills, Skiddaw, Saddleback,
Walla Crag.  As he climbed, the Lake and the hills climbed with
him.  The air was cold like a whip, but so fresh that it struck his
cheeks as the water had done when Will sluiced him that morning.

Then he began to run, he called aloud, he shouted.  He stumbled and
fell over the stones and thought how old Rackstraw had told him
once:  'Clouds and stones!  Stones and clouds!  That's what this
country is!'

His breathing hurt him like a knife, for he was no child now but a
stout middle-aged man with a beard and middle-aged habits of
comfort and laziness.  But he liked the catch at his lungs, the
bruise on his knee where the stone had hit him.  He climbed,
stumbling, waving his arms, turning to catch the Lake and the hills
with him and draw them up.  He did not know that he was climbing
like a madman, climbing as he had never climbed that hill before,
because he was part of the hill, the wind, the sun.  He hurled
himself over the last boulders and flung himself on the strong,
resilient turf, lying there at full length, his arms spread out,
his chest heaving.  Why should he ever return?  Something wild and
authentic in his blood beat in his brain.  Margaret, Vanessa, his
mother, they were nothing to him because he was not himself, Adam
Paris, but something beyond himself, beyond time, the past, the
present and all that was to come.

He lay on the turf, the soil was in his beard, his hands dug into
the short sweet grass, the grit of the land, chilled, hardened with
a frost that had outlived the midday sun.  He stood up.  Below him
was Derwentwater to the east, Newlands to the west veiled now in
the shadow of the lengthening day.  He saw Catchedicam to the left
of Helvellyn top, and southwards was Langdale Pike o' Stickle.  Why
should he ever return?  He started to run again on a surface so
buoyant that it seemed to run with him.  Up the easy slope of
Maiden Moor, Scafell and Gable coming to meet him between Eel Crag
and Dale Head.  Why should he ever return?  Borrowdale and Grange
were below and now the Pillar was in view between Dale Head and
Hindscarth.  He might race on for ever--Hindscarth and Robinson,
then down to Buttermere across to Ennerdale, over to Waswater, to
Eskdale and the sea!

He was a wandering man, a lost man, a man at last his own master!

He shouted.  'Oh, hoi!  Oh, hoi!'  All the hills echoed him as it
seemed to him, and the waters of a thousand streams roared about
his ears.

He flung out his arms and embraced the world . . .

Folly!  He sat down, hugging his knees.  He brushed the soil from
his beard.  He pulled up his trousers to see whether his knee were
bleeding.  It was not.  He could barely see the scratch.  Two sheep
came wandering towards him and stood a little way off him,
watching.  Then, reassured, began to graze again.  The sun was
gone; it fell swiftly behind the hills on these January days.
Helvellyn burned in a haze of rosy smoke, and all the air was
frosty as though the ice had suddenly thickened on the Lake below
and the hills around him.  Maiden Moor, Robinson were breathing in
gusts of cold thickened air.  The sky paled to become the white
field of one solitary star that glittered, a spark of frosted fire.
Dusk and a great silence enwrapped the world.

He started home.  The thought of home was comforting.  Margaret
sitting by the fire, and he would tell Benjamin and Vanessa a
story . . .

He started down the slope, singing as he went.


She rose and then sank again, sank and rose, on a great billowy
cloud of softest down.  The movement was so exquisite, and she was
herself so lazy, that she abandoned herself completely, although
there were, she knew, a thousand things that she ought to be doing.
Everything, far and near, was of a dazzling white save only Adam's
nose that was purple and dripping with cold.  Had she the energy
she would tell him that he must blow it.  There was the cloud
available and it would irritate her, did she allow herself to be
irritated, that he did not make use of so convenient a remedy.  But
she would not permit herself to be irritated.  She was altogether
too happy.  As she rocked she sang softly to herself a song that
Emma Furze had taught her, but she would not sing loudly lest she
should wake Georges who was snoring on a cloud near by.  How well
she knew that snore--it was part of her whole life--and although
she did not care for snores in general, Georges' snore was her own
property and he must sleep long, here in Watendlath, for yesterday
had been the clipping and he would be weary.

Moreover, just round the corner was the whole family--Dorothy, Tim,
Veronica, Amabel and dear Jane.  They were busy at some game.  She
could not quite see them, but she knew what they were about.
Practising at archery, as indeed they must, for in a week's time
there was the contest in Keswick and Veronica had a chance of a
prize.  It was winter, but in visions such as this all seasons were
confused.  How lovely she looked, Veronica, her body stretched, her
bow held straight from her arms, her beautiful head thrown back!
But Jane would be clumsy.  If she were not careful they would laugh
and then Jane would blush, pretending not to mind, but hurt at her
clumsiness . . . and she would call from her cloud, as so often she
had done before, 'Jane!  Jane!  I want you!' simply to save her.

Things began to press in upon her consciousness.  A great white
bird, the sunlight glittering in silver on its sweeping wings, flew
slowly above her head, and the white blossom fell, at a touch of
the warm breeze, there across the lawn in the orchard, the petals
hovering, wavering . . . hovering, wavering!  The sheep, their
fleece stained with red, were pressing up the road at Watendlath,
and Charlie Watson, motionless on his horse, watched them go.
There was something that she must say to Charlie Watson, and so,
raising herself from her cloud, she called softly 'Charlie!

The sky was blinded with a white radiance.  The great bird, shaking
showers of brilliance from its wings, beat upwards towards the sun.
The radiance was so bright that she put her hand before her eyes,
crying out with joy at so much loveliness, then heard--close beside
here--Jane's eager laughing voice.

'Wake up, Aunt Judith!  Look at the snow!  It has fallen in the
night!  There never was such a beautiful day!'

She turned her head, rubbed her eyes, then reached for her
spectacles.  Putting them on she caught, in one sweep, the whole of
the real world, for Jane had drawn back the blinds and, from her
bed, she could see the flanks of Skiddaw glistening in crystal
snow, and snow heaped on the windowsill.  Above it all, there was a
burning blue sky and the sun blazed over all the room.  Jane stood
there with the basin of water, the sponge, the soap, the towel, the
silver brushes, the ivory comb, and, on a table not far away,
breakfast was waiting.

'Well, my dear,' she said with a little sigh of happiness.  'I've
had a very good night, thank you.  I woke once and heard it strike
three and that was the only time.  Dear me, what a splendid
sunshine!  And how are you, Jane dear?  I hope you slept well.  I
dreamt you were practising archery with Veronica.'

'I have had a very good night, thank you,' said Jane, and at once
she began, with a dexterity and neatness that Judith adored (she
would allow no one but Jane to perform these offices), to hold the
basin, to see that the sponge was not too full, and then, when the
washing was concluded, to bring the round mirror with the green
wood and the gilt doves, so that Judith might see clearly to brush
her silver hair.

'Mary will be in shortly to set the fire.  There are plenty of
logs, I told James yesterday.'

'What is there for breakfast?'

The tray was brought to the bed and carefully arranged.

'I chose those two brown eggs myself.  And there is the damson

'Dear me, how pleasant!'

'Adam is coming over today, you know.'

'As though I could forget, my dear.'

'He is bringing Vanessa.'

'Of course, of course,' Judith said, quite crossly.  They would
treat her--even dear Jane did this--as though she found it
difficult to remember things.  She remembered everything--
EVERYTHING.  It was true that it seemed to her as though Georges
and Charlie Watson were still in the room.  Past and Present were
one and the same.  Jane herself would discover that one day.  But
because she, Judith, was ninety-five years of age (she had had her
birthday a week or two ago) was no reason why they should think her
helpless.  It was true that she could not, any longer, walk very
much, but for the rest she was as active and alive as any of them.
She took off the top of one of her eggs and said:

'How is everybody?  How is Timothy's cold?'

'Bad.  But he doesn't mind.  He has ridden off to Orpen Farm to see
about the Hunt tomorrow.  With the snow like this it will be
difficult, but it will thaw this afternoon, I dare say.  It never
lies long here.'

Judith enjoyed her breakfast.  Every morning as she drank her tea
and ate her toast and preserve, she considered her state.  She was
no hypochondriac, but from a kind of outside consideration she
summoned her forces.  Had she a headache?  Did her eyes smart?  How
was her throat which, a day or two ago, had been a little sore?
How was that sharp pain in the right elbow?  And the soreness just
above the left knee?  Was her stomach (which Dorothy thought it
most indelicate ever to mention) preparing to upset her or was it
lazy and good-natured today?  (She saw her stomach as a kind of
cat, sometimes full of warm milk and purring, sometimes in the
worst of tempers, always selfish.)

But how was the Captain of her Ragged Army, her Heart?  Everything
depended on her Heart.  While she felt that her stomach was
definitely hostile, didn't care a rap about her, her Heart, she
considered, was on her side, disliked extremely to distress her,
would not miss a beat and then beat twice in a hurry if he could
help it.  Her Heart was a Gentleman who was making the best of it
in very difficult circumstances.

Although she held this review every morning she never spoke to
anyone about it.  She could indeed carry on a perfect domestic
conversation with Jane at the very moment when she was saying
inside herself:  'Well, Knee, are you wishing to be tiresome today?
You are very quiet just now, but I dare say you've got something up
your sleeve for later on.'

And, behind all this, was her terrific pride at reaching her
present age.  Every morning when she woke to find herself alive she
made another triumphant notch on the slate of her mind.  It soon
might be--it might be indeed at any moment--that she would slip
into a stage of semi-consciousness when living would be nothing but
a dreaming preparation for Death.  When that came she would not be
able to reckon her triumph, so now she would make the most of it.
On November 28th last, her ninety-fifth birthday, she had had
messages, letters, gifts, from Herries all over the country--from
Ellis and his mother, Janet and Roger at Grosset, Stephen Newmark,
Phyllis, Barnabas, Katherine (who had married Colonel Winch of
Forrest Hatch, Salisbury), Emily, from Garth and Amery and Sylvia,
from the Ormerods at Harrogate and the Cards at Bournemouth, from
all the Witherings near Carlisle--yes, from Herries and Herries all
the country over.  They had all been kind and generous, but she
knew what it was that they had all been thinking.  She must reach
her Hundredth Birthday!  At all costs SHE MUST LIVE TO BE A

Not for many, many years--not in fact since old Maria Herries who
had been born on the day of the Battle of Naseby--had any Herries
come so near to a Hundred.  Great-Aunt Maria had missed it, and
they were all disappointed even now, after all this time, that she
had done so.

But Judith was their pride and their hope.  True that she had not
always been their pride, true that her father had been a disgrace,
that she herself had married a rascal of a Frenchman who had died
shamefully in a drunken scramble, that she had lived like a
farmer's wife in the country, that she had had an illegitimate son,
but that was all long ago.  She had become a famous person, a
legend.  All over the country Herries said:  'Oh yes, we are a
strong stock, live to a great age.  There's old Madame now, ninety
something, and commands a houseful of women up in Cumberland as
though she were twenty.  Wonderful old lady!  She'll reach her
Century, you may be sure.  Nothing can stop her.'

Judith knew that they were saying this and she was proud of it.  Of
course it was foolish, but then the Herries WERE foolish--foolish
and rather charming, in their childishness.  When she felt well, as
on a morning like this present one, she thought that she could live
until two hundred.  Why not?  What was to stop her?  There WERE
days when she was infinitely weary and longed for it all to be
over.  But as soon as the bad days passed she forgot them.

Today her mind was as clear as a crystal.  She remembered
everything.  Timothy's cold, the calf that had been born two nights
before, the new maid Hannah from Seathwaite, the proposal that
Captain Forster of Runner Hall, near Penrith, had made to Veronica
a week ago (would she accept him?  She was thirty-one years of age
and had she not been so beautiful would have been long thought an
old maid), a chair that Dorothy had bought for her in Carlisle (it
was of hand-carved walnut and its seat was covered in maroon plush;
Judith had thought it hideous but did not wish to hurt Dorothy's
feelings), Adam's visit, a present of a miniature set in Bristol
jet ware (teapot, sugar-box and cream-jug) that she had for
Vanessa.  Jane had found it in Keswick and it was exactly what
Vanessa loved . . . all these things she had in mind while Jane
talked and the snow glittered, the sun flooded the room, and the
damson preserve tasted most excellent . . .

Afterwards she had her bath, warm and delicious, while the logs
blazed and the large tortoiseshell cat purred on the rug; then Jane
helped her to dress and at last she was seated in her armchair near
the fire ready for the Visits.

'I think, Jane dear, I'll be able to go downstairs a little this

What a picture she made, Jane thought, in her black silk with her
snow-white cap, the lace at her throat and wrists, the thin long
gold chain that hung almost to her waist, her black shoes with the
glittering buckles!

'Yes, dear, I think you can on such a lovely day.'  It was at this
moment when she was not so well, just before the Visits, that she
had to pull herself together, to drag herself up out of that other
world, the Watendlath world where Georges and Charlie laughed and
rode, where Christabel and Jennifer quarrelled before a fantasy of
masked figures, where an old man with a long white beard stroked
his nose . . .  On her bad days that past was more real than any
present.  But not today.  She was all alert, and when Dorothy,
followed by Amabel, entered with their 'Isn't it a beautiful day,
Aunt Judith?' and Dorothy began at once, as was her custom, with a
cheerful 'tit-tat-tat-tit' of conversation (her manner with very
old people) Judith was all alive.

Dorothy was wearing a new dress, the upper skirt caught up almost
to the hips and the back of the skirt descending in a straight
sloping line from the waist to the ground.  The upper skirt was of
brown silk and the lower of bright blue taffeta.  This suited her
stoutness better than the old exaggerated crinoline.  Judith knew
at once what the new dress meant.

'You are going into Keswick, my dear?'

'Yes.  Veronica is coming with me.  WHAT do you think?  Veronica
intends to accept Captain Forster!'

Here was news indeed!  One less of the great virginal army!  And
Captain Forster was not so bad.  On the stout side and not very
clever, but devoted, with a charming place, money enough, a kind
heart.  Veronica should have been in London.  She might then have
married ANYBODY.  But she was lazy.  There was something of
Jennifer in her blood.  She had told Judith once that the only man
she had ever really loved had been a farmer from Buttermere way.
That had been only her fun.  Of course Veronica would never think
of such a thing!  But why not?  Had not Charlie Watson been a

Never mind.  Here was Captain Forster--plump, clean, adoring.

'Are you certain?'

'Well, she hasn't confessed it in so many words.  But he is to be
at the Osmastons'.  I am SURE that she means to accept him.'

Amabel, who was always dressed severely and thought men
contemptible, tossed her head.

'What she can see in that fat man!'

'Well, dear,' said Dorothy complacently, 'it is she that is going
to marry him, not you.'

'Yes, thank heaven.'

They talked for a little, then Dorothy said:

'We will leave you now because I think Elizabeth wants a word.  She
is unhappy about Benjamin.'

'What has he been doing?'

Dorothy sighed.

'What hasn't he been doing?  He had a fight in the village last
evening with Marston's boy, and his report from Rugby has come.  It
is terrible, really terrible.  You must speak to him, Aunt Judith.
You are the only one who can do anything with him.'

They went and Elizabeth came in.

Elizabeth was fifty-four and as beautiful now as she had been at
twenty.  She wore a grey dress, her fair hair flat on the top and
gathered into a large bun at the back of her head, a golden glory
even in that so hideous fashion.  She had the air of remoteness
that had been hers ever since John's death.  She was not priggish
nor superior in this.  She joined in everything that went on,
laughed, sang, played games, hunted (she was still a splendid
horsewoman), but nothing could bring her into the real current of
life that the others shared.  She loved her son, she loved Judith,
she loved Jane, but even they, even Benjamin, were shades compared
with John.  When he was killed she received a blow that was mortal,
and Judith, seeing her, knew that the Herries battle was not yet
over, and that the consequences of old long-ago histories had still
their own history to make.

But because of her own story she understood Elizabeth as did none
of the others.  Her own Georges had suffered sudden death, as had
John, and for ten years after it she, too, had been herself a dead
woman.  She had had the fears for Adam that Elizabeth now had for
Benjamin, but she had been spared because fate had chosen John for
its mark instead of Adam.  All the more reason that she should help
Elizabeth now.

Elizabeth, sitting close beside her, began at once.

'Aunt Judith, we have had Benjamin's report, and it is dreadful.'

'What does it say, my dear?'

'It says that we must take him away if he does not improve.  They
acknowledge that he is clever but he will not work, he obeys
nobody.  He is always fighting.'

'Well, my dear, he is a healthy boy and has to let himself go, I

Elizabeth shook her head.

'Yes, but he will obey nobody and he does not care.  When I speak
to him he only smiles.  He is not cruel nor selfish.  In fact, as
you know, there never was a more generous boy.  It is not that he
is absent-minded.  He throws himself altogether into anything that
he is doing.  But there is something WILD in him.  He says he wants
to be a gipsy!'

'A gipsy!'

'Yes.  He wants to go away in a caravan and eat roasted hedgehogs.
Then . . . there is another thing . . .'  She hesitated.  'Two
afternoons ago I saw him kissing Hannah; in the passage under the
backstairs.  Of course it was nothing.  He is only a child--he is
not yet fourteen and he is tremendously honest.  He conceals
nothing.  He says that he bet her a shilling that he would kiss
her . . .  I am in despair.  He is so merry, always laughing and
doing things for others--but he will listen to nobody!'

'He kissed Hannah, did he?' said Judith, thinking how different he
was from his father John.  And from her own Adam too.

'Yes,' went on Elizabeth.  'I am sure, too, that it is my fault.
Aunt Judith, I have been wrong not to FORCE my way into Ireby.  But
I hated it so that time I went . . .'

(Two years before Elizabeth had gone to the Fortress, had asked for
her father, had suffered a fearful scene with Mrs Pangloss who had
refused her entry.)

'You know that I have written again and again and he has never
answered.  But if I had gone and refused to be beaten by that
horrible woman and stayed with father whatever she did, I feel
that Benjamin would respect me more.  He never speaks either of
his father or his grandfather.  I don't know even now whether he
knows . . . whether he knows . . .'

She broke down, hid her head in her hands, then suddenly knelt at
Judith's feet, burying her head in Judith's lap.  The old lady
gently stroked her hair.  Even on her very alert days she had
moments of slipping off into a dream.  Now with her hand on
Elizabeth's hair she saw the room filled with sparkling snow:
whorls of dancing crystal filled the air, which was shot with
splinters of golden sun.  The windows had faded and a great sea of
virgin snow, upon whose breast waves of iridescence quietly formed,
broke and formed again, spread from the hills' horizon there to her
very feet.  She was herself as light as a snowflake, and it seemed
to her that she had to exert especial power not to float away on
the current of that white loveliness and never be seen again . . .
Was this Death--and if it was so, why did men fear it?  So sweet,
so friendly, so just . . .

'. . . You see, Aunt Judith,' Elizabeth's voice came like a soft
key closing a door, and the room swam back, the bed with the
hangings, the ugly chair that Dorothy had given her (oh, why had
she forgotten to thank her just now?), the sparkling buckles on her
own shoes.  'I seem to have no will-power any longer.  I do things
with everyone else, but my real self is not here.  It is away with
John.  It is as though he were always whispering to me things that
I ought to do--be more firm with Benjie, live with father and make
him more comfortable.  I had will-power once, but John's death did
something to me.  Grief doesn't break your heart as the novels say,
but it takes your character away.  I don't GRIEVE for John.  I am
sure that he is happier now than he ever was here.  But I am not
alive.  When you lost your husband did you feel at all the same?'

'Yes, dear, I did.  Just as you describe.  For nearly ten years I
lived with the Rockages in Wiltshire and I had no real life at all;
but it comes back in the end.  Nothing can kill you.  Nothing.'

Elizabeth rose from her knees and stood before the fire, her long
slim body irradiated by the leaping light, her soft grey dress like
a cloud against the sparkling logs.

'Aunt Judith,' she said.  'Do you believe in God?'

'I don't know.'

'You are not certain?'

'My dear, I have been a pagan all my life long.  I know now that
everyone is very religious, and if you don't go to church on Sunday
it's very wrong, but in my young days it wasn't so.  Going to
church is just a fashion, I think.  At one time it's the thing and
at another it's not.  My husband thought it foolish to believe in
anything you couldn't see, but a great friend of mine, Reuben
Sunwood, was as sure of God as I am of this room.  For myself, now
I am so very old, there SEEMS to be another world--but that may be
my old age and my body failing.  On some days, you know, my hearing
is bad and I cannot see very well.  Then I seem to be in another
world.  But I don't know.  When one loves someone very much one
seems to go beyond bodily things.  When one's in a bad temper or
loses one's spectacles or the servants are tiresome it's
different.'  She rapped her fingers impatiently on her spectacle-

'Dear Elizabeth, you must pull yourself together a little more.  It
is quite right what you say.  Benjamin needs more discipline.  Send
him to me, my dear.  This morning.  In the afternoon I'm often

Elizabeth bent down and kissed the dry, withered cheek.  How VERY
old Aunt Judith was!  It was wrong to trouble her, but then she
liked to be troubled.

'If I can find him I'll send him to you now.'

When she was alone in the room again she gave a little sigh of
satisfaction.  She liked to be alone, and she liked also to be in
the centre of things.  She was happy this morning because neither
her heart nor her stomach troubled her, because it was a beautiful
day and because, old though she was, they still wished to consult
her.  The world was whirring around her!  Veronica would marry
Captain Forster, Benjamin was naughty, Adam would soon be here . . .
She arranged her spectacles on her nose, picked up from the
table at her side a number of the Spectator and read its opinion of
Mr Longfellow's Hiawatha, an old poem now but still criticized with
reverence:  'Mr Longfellow's Hiawatha is one of the really
permanent contributions to modern literature, and no other genius
known to us would have been in any way equal to the work.  It is
not the grasp of imagination, so much as the grace and sweep of a
peculiarly majestic FANCY--a fancy like the impulsive fancy of
children . . .  How bright and playful is the picture of the lower
animals with the little Indian prophet . . .  But it is not only in
the details, it is in the whole spirit of the poem--the fanciful
joy and beauty, the equally fanciful weirdness and gloom--that we
enjoy the touch of a master hand.'

Well, that was very nice for Mr Longfellow.  But she was not sure.
The writer used the word 'fanciful' a great many times.  That was
perhaps a warning.  In any case she could not read for very long in
these days--Jane read to her every afternoon--a lengthy poem, read
aloud . . .  No, she thought she would not bother with Hiawatha.

There was a knock on the door, and Benjamin came in.  He was
shooting up; he was no longer the small chubby child.  He would not
be a handsome man, although he had fine clear eyes, a splendid
colour, and a strong stocky body.  As usual he seemed to be
enjoying a joke of some kind.  She could see that he knew that he
had come to be scolded and was endeavouring to be grave.

'Is that you, Benjie?  Come over here where I can see you.'

He came and stood beside the chair in the attitude of straitened
attention that children must observe before their elders.  His
cheeks were flushed with the cold and his hair was in disorder.  He
tried to arrange it with his hand.  He looked her in the face,
giving her all his mind, not as Adam had so often done when he was
small, thinking of something else.

'Now, Benjie, I have sent for you because they tell me that your
report has come from Rugby and it is shocking.  They say that you
will be sent away if you do not behave better.  Your mother is very
unhappy.  What have you to say?'

What had he to say?  How very, VERY old Aunt Judith was!  And so
small and so tidy.  There came from her a pleasant scent of
exquisite cleanliness and the smell of some flower, a carnation
perhaps.  But what must it be like to be as old as that?  Why, her
father had been born at the very beginning of the eighteenth
century!  There wasn't a boy at Rugby who had a relation as old as
this!  Something to be proud of.  He pulled himself together and
tried to attend.  He always attended to the thing in hand, and the
thing in hand at the moment was that Aunt Judith was going to scold
him about his report.  He didn't mind.  He liked her.  He liked

'I am very sorry, Aunt Judith.'

She kicked one shoe impatiently.

'Yes, but that is not enough.  You must do something about it.  You
are a big boy now and threaten to be a disgrace to us all.'

She looked at him and her heart melted within her.  She worshipped
small boys, and although Benjie was very different from her own
Adam, he had Adam's independence.  She adored independence.

'Why are you so naughty?'

'There are so many rules and they teach you such silly things.'

It was the tradition in England that all children obeyed absolutely
their parents, did nothing that their parents didn't wish them to
do, were preparing, one and all, to be the heroes and heroines of
the future.  But Benjie seemed unaware of the tradition.

'You know you belong to a very fine family,' she began, 'and, when
you grow up, everyone will expect you to make your family proud of

'I know.  They are always talking about the family, but I don't see
why I should think about the family.  I'm myself, aren't I?'

'Yes, but--'

'When you were a little girl you ran away.  Your father was always
against the family.  My grandfather shot himself in London and my
father was killed, when he couldn't defend himself, by my uncle.
I'm not like the rest of the family.  I'm different and I'll always
be different.  Mother and Aunt Veronica and Aunt Amabel and Ellis
and Cousin Amery--THEY are the family.  But I'm different.  I'm by

Her heart began to beat furiously.  Her eyes dimmed.  She could
have caught the boy to her and kissed him.  And with that odd
exaltation (so bad for her heart) was fear also.  Would this battle
NEVER be ended?  She seemed for an instant to behold her father,
whom she had never seen, standing, erect, triumphant, against the
snow . . .

She beat down her emotion and in a voice that trembled a little
said:  'Yes, but, Benjie, you must understand that being different
is NOT amusing--not amusing at all.  It seems to you, I daresay,
very splendid to stand up now and say "I'm different", but I'm a
very old woman and have had great experience and I can tell you
that the world does not like people to be different, and especially
our family does not.  You can't know yet how powerful the world is
and how RIGHT the world is too, because if everyone was independent
and refused to suit themselves to the world's rules, nothing would
ever be done.  My father learnt that, I have learnt it, your
grandfather learnt it.  You HAVE to do as you are told unless you
want to fight all your life long.'

'I do like to fight,' he broke in eagerly.  'You see, Aunt Judith,
I think it's stupid to do things just because other people do

'Yes, but do you never think of others?  You must see how selfish
it is always to have your own way.  You can see how unhappy you
make your mother--'

'But I don't WANT to make her unhappy.  I don't want to make anyone
sorry for what I do.  They needn't be, only half the time they are
glad they are sorry.'

She had nothing to say.  She was on his side, so terribly on his
side, and yet it would never do if he were disgraced at Rugby . . .

'Well, then,' she said as though some silent comprehending
confidence had passed between them.  'You must promise me to do
your best for the sake of those who love you--for your mother's
sake and mine.  Will you promise?'

He smiled, staring straight into her eyes.  She really was a DEAR
old lady and he was proud of her because she had lived to so great
an age.  He nodded.

'All right, Aunt Judith.  I'll try.'

'And you won't fight?'

'Well, I don't know . . .  I can't promise if another boy goes for

'You won't be the first in any case?'

'It's so hard often to tell who IS the first.  You see--'  But this
was too technical.

'Kiss me then.  And I shall expect a good report next term.'

He kissed her.  How dry her cheek was!  Towards the door he turned.

'There's one thing,' he said.  'Why do I never see my grandfather?'

'Your grandfather?'

'Yes.  Up at the Fortress.'

'He is very ill and sees nobody.  He was very unkind to your mother
once, you know.'

'Yes, but that was years ago.  You can't go on remembering things
for ever, can you?  I shall go one day and see him.'

Then he came back to her chair and, grinning, said:  'Aunt Judith,
would you like to see my ferret?'

'A ferret?  Oh, I don't like ferrets.'

'You would this one.  It's grand.  James gave it me.'

'Very well.  You can bring it one day.'

He nodded and went humming out.

The talk had affected her deeply.  She took off her spectacles,
wiped her eyes, put them on again.  Her heart was beating oddly.
It was not good for her to be agitated, but what was she to do when
all the old questions, so long answered and dismissed, came surging
up again?

When Jane brought her her dinner she found her greatly excited.
She had her favourite dinner--fried sole, apple-pudding--but now
she did not care.  The talk with Benjamin had, although it was so
short, exhausted her: old terrors and alarms would surround her and
hem her in, did she allow them.

'I don't think I'll come down this afternoon after all, Jane dear.
I'm a trifle tired.'

'You have seen too many people, that's what it is,' Jane said
firmly.  She had the air a little, as she arranged the silver dish
containing the apple-pudding in front of Judith, of a witch or a
fairy, someone from another and slightly inhuman world.  She was
growing into that especial product of the British Isles, the queer
old maid, someone enterprising, eccentric, kindly, and very much
alone.  Jane would be eccentric, she would suddenly snap her
fingers, dress quaintly (she was wearing now a funny old black
velvet jacket), roll her bread at a mealtime into little pellets,
talk to herself, but she had a heart as rich and warm as any fairy
godmother.  She loved Judith with a passion that was almost unholy.
Although she was religious, virtuous and indeed prudish, she would
have committed any crime for Judith, married anyone, killed anyone,
stolen from anyone.  So now she realized that Judith was weary and
had added in a moment, as old people do, twenty years to her age.
An hour ago she had been seventy, now she was ninety, soon, if one
were not careful, she would be a hundred and ten.

'Yes, I don't think I'll go down . . .  Jane, what do YOU think of

'He is a fine boy.  I love him!'

'Yes, yes, of course!'  She knocked her silver spoon against the
plate.  'We all love him, but I am afraid that he is a very naughty

'Oh, he has fights, but so do all proper boys.'

'Jane, why don't you marry someone?'

Jane blushed.  She said almost in a whisper:  'I don't like men--
not in that way.'

'Dear, dear!' said Judith.  (She was beginning to recover.)  'It
was a very nice way.  Everyone is so prudish now that they are
ashamed to talk of going to bed with a man.  It's perfectly
natural.  Nothing to be ashamed of.  But although they won't speak
of it they think of nothing else.  It's all the same whoever it is--
Mrs Osmaston, Helen Withering, Mrs James Anstruther.  How shall we
marry our daughters?  We must put our girls to bed with a man the
first possible opportunity, do everything we can, dress them so as
to accentuate their figures, throw them at every man we see,
everything to marry them--but speak of what happens when they ARE
married--oh, dear me, no!'

Jane disliked it when Judith talked like this.  She did wish that
she wouldn't.

'Now, there's Dorothy!  In SUCH a flutter this morning because
Veronica is going to marry.  She'd marry Amabel to ANYBODY if only
somebody would have her, but a pestle and mortar is the only thing
Amabel will ever marry.  Yes--well, that pudding was very good.  I
think I'll have my nap now so as to be ready for Adam.'

When Adam came she was quite ready for him.  Her nap had refreshed
her.  The afternoon sun shone into the room like the reflection
from a pale cloud of gold.  The eaves were dropping with the heat
of the sun and, when her spectacles were on, she could see blue
shadows on Skiddaw.  There was a strange mountain lightness over
everything, and the logs in the fireplace were crimson with heat,
and crackled like mad.  As soon as Adam came in, sat beside her,
took her hand, they were enclosed as though there were no one else
in the world.

She wanted to talk about the Trades Unions.  She had had a letter
from Horace Newmark, who was in business in Manchester.  'He is as
proud of all the chimneys as though they were bluebells,' she said.
'He says Manchester is nothing but smoke and dirt and it's grand.
It's making England what it is, the mistress of the world.  Stuff!
Who wants to be mistress of the world?  So like a Herries!'

Two years before, a man called Broadhead in Sheffield had, it was
proved, paid for men who had rebelled against his Union to be
murdered, and had paid out of the funds of the Union of which he
was secretary.  The tyranny of 'rattening' whereby noxious workers'
tools were destroyed, women were blinded, men were shot at, was
prevalent, and in Manchester, among the brick-makers, the clay
which offending brick-makers were to use was sometimes stuffed with
thousands of needles in order to maim the hands of those who worked
on it.  But the investigations into these crimes had proved, too,
that many of the conditions of work were iniquitous and had
remained unaltered since the days of Elizabeth.

Judith was greatly interested.  'What do you think, Adam?  What
about these Trades Unions?'

'I think they are necessary.  The more England becomes an
industrial country--and she IS now the first industrial country in
the world--the greater the power of the working-man.  He will rule
England one day, mark my words, and I hope he'll be wise enough to
know what to do with the power when he has it.  That was the
trouble with the Chartists.  They weren't wise enough nor clever
enough.  But in fifty years' time there'll be few big families
left.  Everything will be shared--and quite right too.'

'I don't know,' Judith said.  'England was very nice once when
there were no railways and no chimneys.  Isn't it strange?  I've
been in a sedan-chair and saw a boy hung in the streets of London.
Yes, and bears were baited, and I've danced at Vauxhall.  I feel
sleepy.  It's the fire.  Where is Vanessa?'

'Vanessa is downstairs with Benjamin.'

'And how is Cat Bells?'

'Cat Bells is covered with snow.'

'And how is dear Margaret?'

'Margaret sent her love and is coming soon to see you.  She is
baking today and Will is helping her.'

'It all sounds very pleasant.  And how are you yourself?'

'I am very well.'

'And the book?'

'Nearly finished.'

'It's not a fairy story this time.'

'No, it's about two boys at the North Pole.'

'What do you know about the North Pole?  You've never been there.'

'No.  That's why I know so much about it.'

'But how can you write about what you've never seen?'

'There are two sorts of writers, Mother, just as there are two
sorts of Herries.  One sort believes in facts, the other sort
believes in things behind the facts.'

'The books I like best,' she answered, 'are those that have both
sorts in them.'

'For instance?'

'Jane is reading me a very amusing story called Under Two Flags.
It's silly, of course--not like real life at all--but most
enjoyable.  And then there's Alice in Wonderland.  And then there's
Mr Huxley's Man's Place in Nature.'

Adam laughed.  'Mother, what a ridiculous mixture!'

'They all come to the same thing in the end.'

'What thing?'

'The world is made up both of fancy and reality, I suppose.  Oh
dear, I don't know . . .  Adam, now that I cannot move from this
house I can see how NICE England is.'

He smiled.

'Yes.  I know you say "Foolish old woman at her age to love
anything with a passion."  But I am not senile.  The moment I'm
senile, Adam, you shall drop a pill into my chicken-broth and
finish me off.  No, I am very wide awake, and I can see that all my
life I've loved England.  Why do you not write a book about

'How would YOU do it, Mother?'

'Oh, I would put in everything--men sowing the fields, the horses
ploughing, old ladies selling sweets in the village shop, Mr
Disraeli with his oily hair and Mr Gladstone with his collar,
Horace's Manchester chimneys, all the Herries thinking THEY'VE made
England, my father riding up Borrowdale, the snow on Skiddaw, the
apple-pudding I had at dinner, sheep on a hill, the man lighting
the lamps in Hill Street--and you, Adam, running by Charlie's horse
in Watendlath, at Chartist meetings in London, writing stories at
Cat Bells . . .'  She broke off, her finger to her lip.  'That
gives me an idea--I have an idea!'

'What idea?'

'No matter.  I shall tell you when it has got further on.  Dear me,
I've talked such a deal today.  One day I talk; another day not a
word.  Sometimes I sleep all day.  I'm ninety-five, you know.'

'Yes, I know.  You're always telling me.'

She took his arm and, quickly, shyly caught his hand and kissed it.

'My whole life has been you and Georges.'

'You said it was England.'

'You ARE both England to me.  We are sunk in the country, you and
I, up to our necks.  That's why I am so strong.  Do you know, Adam,
I have never had a day's illness in my life?  Even when I was
bearing you I was only ill for an hour or two--ugh!--that was
horrid.  There was an elephant . . .'

He drew his chair closer, bent over her and put his arm round her.

'Are you sure you are not tired?'

'No, indeed . . .  I was a little but I had a nap.  I can go to
sleep whenever I wish.  Oh yes, I remember!  Benjamin!  Adam, what
do you think of Benjamin?'

'A grand boy--brave, generous.  He will do fine things.'

'I am not so sure.  He has had a dreadful report from Rugby.'

'All the best boys have.'

'Yes, but he was in here this morning and I scolded him, and he
said that he didn't care because he was different from other boys,
different because of his father and his grandfather.'

Adam nodded.  'Yes, he told me that once too.  But that's all
right.  It's only that he feels wild sometimes.  Why, I feel wild
myself at times, Mother.  A year or two ago I went mad and ran up
Cat Bells--thought I would never come back.'

She smiled.  'I am delighted that you are wild still sometimes.  I
thought you were so contented that you'd never be wild again.  If I
had the strength I'd climb out of the window now just as I did when
I was a child.  Is Vanessa wild?' she asked.

He sighed.  'Vanessa is an angel.  But I am sometimes troubled.
She is so generous, so trusting, and believes in everyone.'

'Well, there is no harm in that as a beginning.'

'No, but she must suffer . . .  Oh well, we all suffer.  She adores
Benjie.  He is her God at present.'

'Can I see her?'

'Yes.  I will go and fetch her.'

He went quickly from the room.  She thought--Benjamin, Vanessa, the
new generation, and I shall be gone . . . soon I shall be gone.
How strange and how familiar that thought that this room, her old
companion, would continue with Skiddaw beyond the window, the snow
falling, and she not here to see it, to move the chairs, dust the
china, put a log on the fire . . .  She looked at the table where
was the parcel of the miniature teaset.  She'll like that, she
thought.  She had always adored giving presents.  Adam came in,
bringing Vanessa with him.  Vanessa was ten and tall for her age.
She was wearing a dress of red taffeta, and her little skirt stood
out stiffly.  She had beautiful legs and arms, and her head with
its black hair was carried with a wonderful dignity for so young a
child.  She came and made a curtsy, then she kissed the old lady,
then waited patiently, smiling.

'I have a present for you, my dear.'

Vanessa's whole body was transformed with joy.  You could see that
her heart was beating with excitement; she compressed her lips so
that she should not burst out into indecorous cries.

'Yes . . .  Bring me that parcel, darling.'

She brought it very carefully.  It was unwrapped.  She knelt down
on the floor so that she could see the wonder.  She picked up each
tiny piece, the teapot, the cups, the saucers, and held them, one
by one, against the light.

'Oh!' she said slowly.  'It is the loveliest . . .  Oh, Aunt
Judith! . . .  I never thought . . .  I never expected . . .'  Then
she reached out for her father's hand.  He pulled her to her feet.
Even now, with all her joy, she controlled herself.  She remembered
how old Aunt Judith was, she kissed her tenderly and with great
care.  Then she stared at the precious things as though she would
never take her eyes away.

'Do you like them?'

'LIKE them!'  She curtsied again, then turned to the window as
though her feelings were so great that she must hide them.  Once
again the three of them had the sense that they were enclosed, away
from all the world, rapt into a private communion of happiness.

'I must show them to Benjie,' she said.

Judith nodded.  'Yes, show them to Benjie.  And come again and say
goodnight before you go.'

'I will be off too,' Adam added.  'I will help her to carry the tea-

'Yes,' said his mother, her sharp eyes staring with some secret
excitement.  'And send Jane to me if you can find her.  My idea!
My idea!  I must go on with my idea!'

She tapped impatiently on the silk of her dress.

'Tell Jane I want her at once.  AT ONCE--whatever she may be at!'

Jane arrived, quite breathless.  She had been washing Dorothy's
bitch Maria, an old and sulky spaniel who was washed every
Thursday, come what might: and today was Thursday, Dorothy was in
Keswick, and there was no one else . . .

'I've left Hannah to finish her!'

'Now sit down and get your breath.'

'What is it, Aunt Judith?  Adam says you have an idea.'

'Yes, I have . . .  Look in that wardrobe near the window, and
among those bundles of letters you will find a manuscript book in a
dark-green leather cover.  Yes--that fat one . . .  Now you have
it?  There's not a word in it, is there?  No, I thought not.
Francis gave it to me years ago on a birthday.  He thought the dark-
green leather handsome.  Now bring the little writing bureau
closer.  That's it.  Near the fire so that you will be warm and
will hear what I say.  Excellent.  Have you a pen that suits you?
Now listen, my dear.  I was talking to Adam about England.  You
know old ladies talk and talk until they are quite exhausted.  I
have often noticed it--the older you are the more you talk.  Dear
Pennyfeather at Keswick was like that.  Her last years you could
NOT stop her . . . a constant flow.  Well, now I intend to talk to
some purpose.  Adam and I said we love England and so we do.  Then
I had an idea.  You know I never saw either my father or my mother,
but my half-brother David--he was old enough to be my father, you
know--would often, before he died, poor man, tell me stories of
them.  He liked to take me for a walk, or we would ride to
Bassenthwaite or Caldbeck or to the Dash, and all the way there and
back he would tell me about the old days and my father.

'Now I think that I should write it down--or rather that YOU
should, Jane dear.  I may die at any moment.  Oh yes, I may--of
course I may--and what a pity!  All this lost for ever.  No one
knows it but I.  And that was a very odd life my father lived in
Borrowdale.  David told me that he remembered exactly the night
they first arrived in Keswick.  No, but wait.  You shall write it
down.  Do not you think it a good idea, Jane?'

The old lady was so eager and excited that it would have been
cruelty to prevent her.  But Jane did not wish to prevent her.  She
was herself greatly interested in that world and in that very
strange man, her great-great-grandfather.  How very curious that
the FATHER of Aunt Judith sitting there so comfortably before the
fire should be her own great-great-grandfather!  It was like
stepping on to a magic carpet and swinging back into another fairy-
world.  So she took her pen and began to write in the dark-green
leather book.

'Now tell me, dear, if I go too fast.  Well, you'd better begin in
this way.  "I, Judith Paris, was born at Rosthwaite in the valley
of Borrowdale, Cumberland, on November 28th, in the Year of Our
Lord 1774 . . ."  There!  Have you got that?  That's a good solid
beginning, I think, rather like Macaulay's History.  Now to
continue.  "I never knew my dear father and mother because they
both died on the day I was born, and had I not been found and
rescued from the cold by Squire Gauntry of Stone Ends, who happened
to be riding past that day and heard me crying, I should
undoubtedly have perished."

'Have you got that, Jane?'  She peered over her spectacles on the
very edge of her nose.  'Let me see, my dear.  Yes, you write very
nicely.  Am I going too fast for you?'

'Not at all, Aunt Judith.  How very interesting this will be!'

'I hope so.  I certainly think it may.  Well, to continue.  "It is
not, however, my own history about which I write, but rather about
some of the early days that my father spent in the valley of
Borrowdale.  My father himself lived to a good age, and I myself am
now a very old woman, so that I am a link with the long-ago past.
I have heard very much of what happened in those long-ago times
from my half-brother David Herries.  David Herries was my father's
son by his first wife, and he was fifty-five when I was born, so
that I could have been his granddaughter.  He was very famous as a
young man as a boxer and wrestler and runner.  He had great
strength as a younger man, but when I knew him he had grown stout
and was living very happily with his family at Uldale, where I also
was living.  He would take me for walks and rides, and it was then
that he would tell me these stories.

'"He told me that he remembered exactly the night that he first
arrived in Keswick.  He could remember every detail, and so do I,
even at this distance of time.  How he was in the inn at Keswick in
a big canopied bed with his sisters Mary and Deborah.  The canopy
that ran round the top of the bed was a faded green and had a gold
thread in it.  There were fire-dogs by the fire with mouths like
grinning dragons.  And he remembered that a woman was sitting
warming herself in front of the fire, a woman he hated.  Then his
father came in and thought he was sleeping.  He remembered that his
father was wearing a beautiful coat of a claret colour and a
chestnut wig, and there were red roses on his grey silk waistcoat.
He remembered, too, that his father said something to the woman by
the fire that made her very angry, and she began to talk in a loud,
heated voice."'

Jane went on, and in that clear little voice like a bell Judith
refashioned this old world to her, describing the inn and the
servants running hither and thither with candles, some relations
who had a meal with them, and how David's uncle wanted to make him
drink wine and he would not.  Then the dark mysterious night-ride
to Borrowdale, and how he sat on the horse in front of his father
and how proud he was, and his father asked him whether he were
frightened, and he answered bravely that he was never frightened
where his father was.  How then they came to a house on a little
hill and David ran forward and was in the house first, and there
were two shining suits of armour in the hallway.

'There,' said Judith suddenly.  'I am tired.  That will be enough
for today.  I think you shall help me to bed.'

'Oh, Aunt Judith,' said Jane.  'That IS interesting!'

But Aunt Judith was weary.  She had suddenly collapsed, her head
nodded, she yawned and yawned and was almost helpless in Jane's
hands as she undressed her.  It was dark now beyond the window; a
faint powdery blue framed the silent masses of snow; some stars,
lonely in that cold sky, were like sparks blown up from a fire.
Jane drew the cherry-coloured curtains.  She saw that Judith was
propped up with pillows and two candles lit by her side (how tiny
and soft her body had been--like a child's), then she left the room
to return with some tea, a small sponge-cake and some raspberry jam
in a blue glass saucer.  Then, most unfortunately, Aunt Judith lost
her temper.  It had been a tiring day, there had been something too
exciting about that dropping back into the past--the past that was
not only the past, but the present and future as well.

So she lost her temper over the sponge cake.  It was a plum cake
that she had wanted.  Dorothy only yesterday had promised her a
plum cake.

'But, Aunt Judith, it is not good for you.  Doctor Bettany said
that plum cake was too rich--'

'Doctor Bettany never said anything of the kind.'

'But indeed he did!'

'So I am a liar!  Thank you, dear Jane.  I am glad I know.'

'No, of course not.  But you know that last time you were upset--'

'I was not upset!'  She was trembling, her eyes were filled with
hot tears of anger.  She was in a rage, so that for tuppence she
would have taken the teatray and thrown it and its contents all
over the room.  How dare Jane say that she was a liar!  And she
hated this soft soppy sponge cake!  They thought they could do what
they liked with her!  She was so good to them all, and yet they
tried to starve her!  After listening all day to their troubles
they could so ill-treat her!

She took the sponge cake and with a shaking hand threw it into the
middle of the floor.

At the same moment Adam and Vanessa came in to say goodbye, and
with them were Dorothy and Veronica back from their party.  But
Judith did not care.  She was not ashamed.  They should see whether
they could bully her.

'You promised me plum cake!' she cried to Dorothy.

'Oh, I am so sorry! . . .  Aunt Judith, Veronica is engaged to be
married!  Captain Forster--'

'I don't care!  You think you can do what you like with me, all of
you, just because I am an old woman--'

But the sight of Veronica's beautiful happy face was too much for

'Oh, well . . .  Come here, my dear, and give me a kiss!  There!
That's right!  Don't spill the tea-things!  What did he say to you?
Did he go down on his knees?  Were you very gracious? . . .'

A long while after as it seemed to her, the room dark save for the
flicker from the fire, she lay there, very happy, on the edge of
sleep.  It had been a wonderful day.  She had never left that room,
but all the world had come into it.  The elderly Dorothy, Adam,
Elizabeth, with all their personal histories hot about them, and
the young, Veronica engaged to be married, dear Jane so sweet and
good, and the children, Vanessa and Benjamin.  All the generations!
They had come to her for advice and help and to tell her what they
were doing.  They had wanted to know what she thought.  They could
not get on without her.

She herself had welcomed the sun, eaten delightful food, read a
little, given a present, discussed serious matters like God and the
Trades Unions with Adam and Elizabeth, sunk back into the past,
thought of Georges and Warren and Adam as a baby, and then gone
behind that again to her own childhood and dear David, and then
back beyond that to a hundred and forty years ago when her father
had been a young man and worn a claret-coloured coat--all this
without leaving her room, all within a day.  And she was ninety-
five.  All the Herries all over England were waiting to see her
grow to a hundred!

Well, she would.  Nothing was going to stop her!  How could she
possibly disappoint such a great number of kind relations?

So, in that happy thought, she slipped away and once again was
rocking on that billowing cloud of softest down.  She rose and then
sank again, sank and rose . . .  Georges was sleeping near to her.
He was snoring with that snore so familiar to her that it was also
hers.  All about them the world was of a dazzling white, shining
with a million crystals.

She rose and then sank again, sank and rose . . .


In London, a boy aged fifteen stood on an October afternoon
pressing his nose to the window of a house in Hill Street.  This
boy was young Benjamin Herries.

This was the day, the evening, the night of his life, for on this
day, October 14th, 1870, he was to become a man.

It had all happened in the most surprising manner, and the cause of
it had been the death, one evening while he was drinking his tea,
of old Stephen Newmark.  Everyone had been expecting him to die for
years, but with that priggish obstinacy characteristic of him he
had refused to go, degenerating into a tiresome silent old
gentleman with a female nurse of whom, in the opinion of the
family, he was much too fond.

Poor Phyllis had predeceased him by some years; as he was not a
Herries no one had very much interest in his attaining a great age.
He died in the act of pronouncing one of his almost hourly
anathemas on Mr Disraeli.

Most unexpectedly it was decided that young Benjamin must be
present at his funeral.  It seemed that Stephen had a great regard
for Elizabeth and had declared that 'he would do something for her
boy one day'.  So Benjamin had been sent for from Rugby (where he
still survived, much to his own astonishment); Lady Herries had
invited him to stay in Hill Street for the funeral, and here he

The funeral, two days before, had been great fun.  Everything was
great fun for Benjamin, and he could not be expected to feel much
grief for Stephen Newmark, whom he had rarely seen.  Moreover, he
noticed that Stephen's children were not greatly downcast, and his
own close friend Barney made no pretence of sorrow.

'The Governor never liked me,' he confided to Benjamin on the way
to the funeral.  'He disapproved of me altogether and never even
looked at my novels.  I don't blame him for that, but I'm not going
to be a crocodile about it.  I leave that to sister Emily.'

Lady Herries, who was now a rather ancient and (in Benjamin's
opinion) a very silly lady, did the honours with much satisfaction,
and Ellis Herries, already a man of importance in the world of
affairs, was dignified and solemn.  Benjamin had got considerable
pleasure out of his days in town.  He had never really stayed in
London before.

He had had a number of projects.  Why should he return to Rugby?
He thought of being a stowaway in some vessel chartered for the
West Indies or (his old cherished dream) joining some gipsies
somewhere.  He took a liking to an Italian organ-grinder, with whom
he talked in Berkeley Square, and fancied that he might buy a
barrel-organ.  But his principal notion was that, if he could get
money enough, he would escape to France and, in some way, slip into
Paris and enjoy a bit of the Siege.  He had followed, with eager
excitement, the Franco-Prussian War from its commencement.  He had
cut out from the illustrated papers pictures of the Emperor,
Bismarck, MacMahon, Palikao, Bazaine, Frossard, the young Prince
Imperial, and many of the Empress.  He was in love with the
Empress; he would be delighted to die for her.  He wanted nothing
but to run on some mission for her, be shot in the discharge of it
and fall dying at her feet.  He could not understand why his
companions at Rugby were on the whole so indifferent.

Then, with the catastrophe at Sedan, his whole soul was on fire.
He learnt every detail of the battle by heart.  He knew the exact
positions of Bazeilles and Balan, of the Donchery bridge, where
were the Villa Beurmann, Illy, and the fatal spot where the
Prussian Guards crossed the Givonne.  He was sure that, had he been
in command, he would not have fallen into so complete a trap, and
the moment when the Emperor, old and sick, cried out 'The firing
must be stopped at all costs!' was, for him, a real agonizing piece
of personal experience.

He hated and detested the Prussians; he adored the French, and
Barney, listening to him, was amazed that so young and jolly a boy
could feel so intensely.  When he read how the Empress, escaping
from Paris, hailed a cab and was recognized by a street urchin, he
drew a deep breath as though he himself had only just missed a
great peril.

And now that Paris was invested it was for him as though he himself
shared the siege.  When he heard how, on October 7th, Gambetta
escaped from Paris in a balloon he shouted 'Hurray!' and gave all
his pocket-money towards a dormitory feast in its celebration.
However, here he was now in London, and his own immediate affairs
demanded a lot of attention.  Tomorrow he was to return to Rugby,
and he had a sad feeling that he WOULD return instead of making use
of this magnificent opportunity of adventure.  Indeed, had it not
been for his mother and Aunt Judith, he would have certainly tried
the stowaway adventure.  But they would grieve, although why they
should he could not understand.  But women were queer and these two
women he did not wish to hurt.  Moreover, Aunt Judith was so VERY
old.  He had better wait until she was gone.

Then, this very morning, after breakfast, Barney had arrived at
Hill Street and, pulling Benjamin aside, had whispered to him that
he intended that evening to take Ellis and himself out to dinner.
'Not a word to a soul,' he confided.  'Emily and the others would
make a terrible row if they knew.  But we must do something.  These
last days have been too gloomy for anything.'

So Benjamin stood at the window, all ready dressed, waiting for
Barney to arrive.

It was the bewitching hour when the lamp-lighter has gone his way
and the lamps star the streets like nectarines.  A faint wisp of
fog--having in it to Benjie's excited nostrils a slight sniff of
gunpowder (he was thinking possibly of Paris); from beyond the
window came magical sounds of London, the clop-clop of a horse, the
rattle of wheels, feet mysteriously echoing, the distant plaintive
murmur of a barrel-organ.  On the top of area steps belonging to
the house opposite a housemaid was entertaining, for a moment, a
policeman.  A brougham was waiting a few doors away and down the
steps came a stout, pompous, old gentleman, pilloried in starch, a
red shaven face and a white waistcoat and white gloves that seemed
to Benjie too big for him.  The fog increased a little, the lamps
spread into a hazy iridescence, some old man in a large and
battered high hat came slowly down, ringing a bell and calling out
something in a melancholy voice, a carriage rolled by with two
footmen in cocked hats standing up at the back of it--and always
that soft rumble of sound as of a fat, comfortable nurse singing
lullaby to her children.

His excitement was intense; it was all that he could do not to jump
about the room, turn his favourite somersault.  But Lady Herries or
Emily Newmark might come in at any moment.  He thought them safe
and secure in the great cold draughty drawing room upstairs.  But
you never could be sure.  Grown-up people were always creeping
about and opening doors unexpectedly, like that old beast Turker'
Evans, head of his House at Rugby.  His thoughts were oddly
jumbled.  It was a pity that Ellis was coming; it would be very
much pleasanter without him.  Not that he disliked Ellis, or he
would not did he not patronize him.  Of course Ellis was YEARS
older, a grown-up man who did business every day in the City.  And
he was very kind.  He had given Benjie ten shillings only
yesterday, but, for some dim obscure reason, Benjie would rather
not have taken it.  Ellis did not really like him--not REALLY, as
Barney and Adam Paris and Thornton Minor and James at Uldale liked
him.  And then again, looking out at the lamps and the misty
street, suppose there was no God as Barney said.  Barney had sprung
this astonishing piece of news upon him at the funeral.

'Of course there's no God,' he had said, as though he were sure of

'Well, what is there then?' Benjamin asked.

'Nothing at all,' Barney had answered gaily.  'We're nothing but
monkeys, old boy.  You are old enough now to read Darwin.  He'll
tell you.'

What an astonishing idea!  Then all this going to church and saying
your prayers, that had been going on for hundreds of years, meant
nothing at all.  There was no gigantic old man with a white beard
sitting on a cloud and listening!  His mother and Aunt Jane and the
others were all taken in!  A stupendous thought!  But he had only
Barney's word for it, and you could never be sure whether Barney
meant what he said!

Oh! there was the organ-grinder coming round the corner!  He could
just see him in the dim light, and there, joy of joys, from the
opposite side was the muffin-man approaching!  There MUST be a God,
or why should there be muffin-men and organ-grinders?  Would the
organ-grinder have a monkey?  The door opened and Lady Herries
entered.  She was a little, faded, old woman now, and Benjamin was
certain that she painted her cheeks.  He thought she looked
ridiculous, her dress bunched up behind and her rather scanty hair
dressed in a cascade of curls at the back of her head.  She was, of
course, in the deepest black and she walked with small mincing

'Why, Benjamin!  Dear me!  Why has William not lit the gas!  All
alone!  Emily was asking for you!  Come and tell me what you have
been doing.  Ellis tells me that you and he are going to have
dinner at some quiet place with Barnabas.'

'Yes,' said Benjamin.  'Won't it be fun?'

'I don't think this is quite the time to talk of fun, Benjamin
dear.  It has all been very distressing.  However, you are too
young yet to realize what death means.'

The front door banged.  That must be Barney.  They went into the
hall, and there, praise be, Barney was, looking very smart in his
evening dress and high black hat.  He was growing stout, and looked
like a very amiable clown, Benjie always thought.  Chalk his face
white and give him a red nose and he would be a perfect clown!

They all went upstairs to the drawing room, which was as cold as a
mausoleum.  They stood in a group beside the sulky peevish fire and
talked in low grave voices.

Emily Newmark, a heavy stout woman in tremendous black, joined
them.  It is a temptation for every generation to deride any world
that was fifty years its predecessor: Judith, Veronica, Elizabeth,
Jane--these were, in their own kind and character, women to be
proud of.  They were generous, humorous, courageous and idealistic
without priggishness.  No period that was their background could
conceivably be a period to be mocked.  But Emily Newmark was
frankly a pity, and was one, among others, responsible for
providing our satirists with a living.  She believed that Politics
and the Services were the only polite careers, and the Land and the
Funds the only springs of wealth that could be called decent.  She
was a snob and a toady.  If a gentleman smoked in front of a lady
he was insulting that lady's morals.  She was always ready to be
insulted.  She looked absurd in her gathered flounces, draped
skirts, and hair-plaits at the back of her head, but thought she
was magnificent.  She approved of the Queen in retirement and was
preparing to be shocked by the Prince of Wales.  (She WANTED to be
shocked.)  She considered ALL foreigners (including--very much
including--Americans) false, obscene, dangerous and unwashed.  (Her
own ablutions were neither so constant nor thorough as you would

She approved of archery, croquet and painting in water-colours for
young girls, but thought that that was enough excitement for them.
She was an exceeding prude with a passionate private curiosity in
sexual matters.  She believed in good works, Missions to the
Heathen, and patronizing visits to the slums.  She was, in fact,
ALL wrong, being hypocritical, snobbish, unkind to servants, a
worshipper of wealth and a devout believer in a god whom she had
created entirely after her own image.  She was not a typical woman
of her period--only typical of the section of it that was the
easiest for after-generations to caricature.

She disapproved, of course, entirely of her brother Barney; she
thought his novels 'horrid' with their racing, gambling, and loose
women.  Sometimes he brought men like Mortimer Collins to the
Newmark home, and they smoked and drank together in Barney's
sanctum.  Now that both Phyllis and Stephen were gone, that Horace
lived in Manchester, that Mary was dead, and Katherine married,
Emily took charge of the Newmark remnants, Phyllis (named after her
mother) who was a weak character, Barney who was not, and Stephen
who was a lazy ne'er-do-well.  She thought that she dominated all
three, but Phyllis agreed with her in order that she might get what
she wanted--new hats, novels from the library and a succession of
silly young men; Stephen stole money from her, and Barney laughed
at her.  But Emily, in her blind self-satisfaction, arrogant
patriotism and hypocritical prudery, learnt nothing.  She had,
however, her effect on others . . .

She had her effect on this particular and very important evening,
for had she not entered the Hill Street drawing room just when she
did she might not have exasperated Barney to his point of later

'What's this I hear, Barney?' she cried.  'You are surely staying
indoors this evening?'

'I am not,' said Barney.

'Well, of course,' and her voice was of a sepulchral gloom, 'it is
not for me to say, but father has only been buried two days--'

'Father won't mind,' Barney said.  'He has other things to think

Emily had but just sat down on the sofa.  She rose.

'I will not hear such blasphemy.  Nor shall this poor child.
Benjamin, come with me.'

'Benjie is my guest tonight,' Barney remarked.  'He is to share my
humble chop in some decent quiet place where we can think
reverently of the past and pray hopefully for the future.'

Emily was aghast.  She was truly and honestly aghast.  This seemed
to her a horrible thing.  She broke into a flood of oratory in
which their poor father, their poor mother, their poor sister Mary,
all looked down from heaven in an agony of distress, in which
childhood and vice, innocence and nasty men of the world, insults
to herself and Lady Herries, all confusedly figured.

'Ellis will at least support me in this.'

'Ellis is coming with us,' said Barney.

She burst into tears.

'Oh, dammit, I can't stand this!' Barney cried.  'Come along,
Benjie.'  And Benjie rather sheepishly followed him out.

Down in the hall they found Ellis.

Ellis, waiting, looking up to the staircase, down which they were
descending, had then the oddest hallucination.  He was not an
imaginative man, but, staring in the rather dim gaslight, he saw
this: Barney had vanished.  Benjamin, not a boy but a man of mature
years, had halted on the stairs.  Behind him stood a very beautiful
lady in a white evening cloak with a high white collar.  There was
a Chinese clock at the turn of the stairs, a tall, thin clock
brilliant in gilded lacquer.  He noticed the time on its round
face.  It was twelve-thirty exactly.  He was conscious of a
violent, suffocating rage, and he heard his own voice, high,
shrill, convulsed:  'Get out, both of you!  Get out!  Get out!'

As quickly as it came, it was gone.

There was no clock.  Benjie jumped the last two steps.

'Hullo, Ellis!' he cried.

This only meant that Ellis was tired and had a headache.  When one
had a headache one did not know what one was seeing or what one was
hearing.  These last few days had been trying, with so many members
of the family in and out of the house.  But he always felt a little
queer with Benjamin, never quite at his ease.  He was not perhaps
comfortable with small boys, and you could never be sure whether
they were not laughing at you.  But it was more than that.  Ever
since that day, ten years back, of the Heenan and Sayers fight, he
had had an almost nauseating impression of Walter Herries.  He
could see him now, wandering, lost, drunk, you might have said, a
disgusting old man, and also his own half-brother.  He hated to
think that he had any link with him.  And here was the man's
grandson.  They said that Walter's life in Cumberland was a
disgrace.  That horrid man's son had murdered this boy's father.
Everything that was abnormal, fantastic, revolting--cruelty and
illicit passion and madness--were in the strain of that branch of
the family.  And he was himself mixed in it, he who loved
everything to be proper and sane and wholesome and virtuous.  He
had a passion for virtue!  But old Walter and he had the same
father.  He would have cut all that off as he would have cut off a
diseased arm, and so he would have been able to do were it not for
this boy.  The boy seemed normal and decent enough.  But he was
young yet.  You could not tell what the future would be.  And just
as something in that branch disgusted him, so something attracted
him.  He had insisted that the boy should be invited to Hill
Street.  He tried to be friendly with the boy, but he was not
clever at friendliness, poor Ellis.  He wanted to be so many things
that nature prevented him from being.

'All right,' said Barney.  'Shall we go?'

They found a cab in Berkeley Square and, on the way, Barney
enlarged to Benjamin on the delights of London life.

'You shall have a night out, young 'un.  We'll have dinner at
Duke's.  No, be quiet, Ellis.  It's my evening.  What are you,
Benjie?  Fifteen?  Dammit, you look seventeen anyway.'  He'd like
to give the boy a week.  He'd take him to the Caf Riche, Sally
Sutherland's, Kate Hamilton's, Rose Young's, Mott's.  Cafs were
open all night.  Pity he hadn't been with Barney at the fight
between King and Heenan, driving across London Bridge three in the
morning with a pork pie in your pocket.  Mott's, too, where old
Freer kept guard.  None of your tradesmen let in there--not that
Barney minded tradesmen.  'You're in the City, Ellis, yourself,
aren't you, my boy?'  But still a gentleman was a gentleman when it
came to eating together.  It was at Mott's you could have seen
'Skittles', famous for her ponies, or lovely Nelly Fowler.  And
Kate Hamilton's--well, Benjie was still at school so he'd say no
more.  But you should have seen a raid at Kate's--carpets turned
up, boards--under which bottles and glasses were hidden--raised,
all in the twinkling of an eye.

Or the 'Pie', where you were positively bound to have a row before
the night was up and where you tipped the Kangaroo so that he
shouldn't knock you down.

Barney wasn't a bad fellow; he was warm-hearted, generous, a famous
friend, but tonight three things drove him on