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some change in the manner of her existence, he doubted if the change would be for the better.
So the days and weeks and months had passed away, bringing little variety with them, and none of what the world calls pleasure. Marian read and worked and rambled in the country lanes and meadows with Ellen Carley, and visited the poor people now and then, as she had been in the habit of doing at Lidford. She had not very much to give them, but gave all she could; and she had a gentle sympathetic manner, which made her welcome amongst them, most of all where there were children, for whom she had always a special attraction. The little ones clung to her and trusted her, looking up at her lovely face with spontaneous affection.
William Carley, the bailiff, was a big broad-shouldered man, with a heavy forbidding countenance, and a taciturn habit by no means calculated to secure him a large circle of friends. His daughter and only child was afraid of him ; his wife had been afraid of him in her time, and had faded slowly out of a life that had been very joyless, unawares, hiding her illness from him to the last, as if it had been a sort of offence against him to be ill. It was only when she was dying that the bailiff knew he was going to lose her; and it must be confessed that he took the loss very calmly.
Whatever natural grief he may have felt was carefully locked in his own breast. His underlings, the farm-labourers, found him a little more 'grumpy' than usual, and his daughter scarcely dared open her lips to him for a month after the funeral. But from that time forward Miss Carley, who was rather a spirited damsel, took a very different tone with her father. She was not to be crushed and subdued into a mere submissive shadow, as her mother had been. She had a way of speaking her mind on all occasions which was by no means agreeable to the bailiff. If he drank too much overnight, she took care to tell him of it early next morning. If he went about slovenly and unshaven, her sharp tongue took notice of the fact. Yet with all this, she waited upon him, and provided for his comfort in a most dutiful manner. She saved his money by her dexterous management of the household, and was in all practical matters a very treasure among daughters. William Carley liked comfort, and liked money still better, and he was quite aware that his daughter was valuable to him, though he was careful not to commit himself by any expression of that opinion.
He knew her value so well that he was jealously averse to the idea of her marrying and leaving him alone at the Grange. When young Frank Randall, the lawyer's son, took to calling at the old house very often upon summer evenings, and by various signs and tokens showed himself smitten with Ellen Carley, the bailiff treated the young man so rudely that he was fain to cease from coming altogether, and to content himself with an occasional chance meeting in the lane, when Ellen had business at Crosber, and walked there alone after tea. He would not have been a particularly good match for any one, being only an articled clerk to his father, whose business in the little market-town of Malsham was by no means extensive; and William Carley spoke of him scornfully as a pauper. He was a tall good-looking young fellow, however, with a candid pleasant face and an agreeable manner; so Ellen was not a little angry with her father for his rudeness, still more angry with him for his encouragement of her other admirer, a man called Stephen Whitelaw, who lived about a mile from the Grange, and farmed his own land, an estate of some extent for that part of the country.
• If you must marry,' said the bailiff, and it's what girls like you seem to be always thinking about, you can't do better than take up with Steph Whitelaw. He's a warm man, Nell, and a wife of his will never want a meal of victuals or a good gown to her back. You'd better not waste your smiles and your civil words on a beggar like young Randall, who won't have a home to take you to for these ten years to come-not then, perhaps---for there's not much to be made by law in Malsham nowadays. And when his father diessupposing he's accommodating enough to die in a reasonable time, which it's ten to one he won't be—the young man will have his mother and sisters to keep upon the business very likely, and there'd be a nice look-out for you. Now, if you marry my old friend Steph, he can make you a lady.'
This was a very long speech for Mr. Carley. It was grumbled out in short spasmodic sentences between the slow whiffs of his pipe, as he sat by the fire in a little parlour off the hall, with his indefatigable daughter at work at a table near him.
Stephen Whitelaw had need be a gentleman himself before he could make me a lady,' Nelly answered, laughing. 'I don't think fine clothes can make gentlefolks ; no, nor farming one's own land, either, though that sounds well enough. I am not in any hurry to leave you, father, and I'm not one of those girls who are always thinking of getting married ; but come what may, depend upon it, I shall never marry Mr. Whitelaw.'
Why not, pray ?' the bailiff asked savagely.
Nelly shook out the shirt she had been repairing for her father, and then began to fold it, shaking her head resolutely at the same time.
* Because I detest him,' she said; a mean, close, discontented creature, who can see no pleasure in life except money-making. I hate the very sight of his pale pinched face, father, and the sound of his hard shrill voice. If I had to choose between the workhouse and marrying Stephen Whitelaw, I'd choose the workhouse; yes, and scrub, and wash, and drudge, and toil there all my days, rather than be mistress of Wyncomb Farm.'
*Well, upon my word,' exclaimed the father, taking the pipe from his mouth, and staring aghast at his daughter in a stupor of indignant surprise, 'you're a pretty article ; you're a nice piece of goods for a man to bring up and waste his substance upon-a piece of goods that will turn round upon one and refuse a man who farms his own land. Mind, he hasn't asked you yet, my lady; and never may, for aught I know.'
'I hope he never will, father,' Nelly answered quietly, unsubdued by this outburst of the bailiff's.
If he does, and you don't snap at such a chance, you need never look for a sixpence from me; and you'd best make yourself scarce pretty soon into the bargain. I'll have no such trumpery about my house.'
* Very well, father; I daresay I can get my living somewhere else, without working much harder than I do here.'
This open opposition on the girl's part made William Carley only. the more obstinately bent upon that marriage, which seemed to him such a brilliant alliance, which opened up to him the prospect of a comfortable home for his old age, where he might repose after his labours, and live upon the fat of the land without toil or care. He had a considerable contempt for the owner of Wyncomb Farm, whom he thought a poor creature both as a man and a farmer; and he fancied that if his daughter married Stephen Whitelaw, he might become the actual master of that profitable estate. He could twist such a fellow as Stephen round his fingers, he told himself, when invested with the authority of a father-in-law.
Mr. Whitelaw was a pale-faced little man of about five-and-forty years of age ; a man who had remained a bachelor to the surprise of his neighbours, who fancied, perhaps, that the owner of a good house and a comfortable income was in a manner bound by his obligation to society to take to himself a partner with whom to share these advantages. He had remained unmarried, giving no damsel ground for complaint by any delusive attentions, and was supposed to have saved a good deal of money, and to be about the richest man in those parts, with the exception of the landed gentry.
He was by no means an attractive person in this the prime of his manhood. He had a narrow mean-looking face, with sharp features, and a pale sickly complexion, which looked as if he had spent his life in some close London office rather than in the free sweet air of his native fields. His hair was of a reddish tint, very sleek and straight, and always combed with extreme precision upon each side of his narrow forehead; and he had scanty whiskers of the same unpopular hue, which he was in the habit of smoothing with a meditative air upon his sallow cheeks with the knobby fingers of his bony hand. He was of a rather nervous temperament, inclined to silence, like his big burly friend, William Carley, and had a deprecating, SECOND SERIES, VOL. II. F.S. VOL. XII.
doubtful way of expressing his opinion at all times. In spite of this humility of manner, however, he cherished a secret pride in his superior wealth, and was apt to remind his associates, upon occasion, that he could buy-up any one of them without feeling the investment.
After having attained the discreet age of forty-five without being a victim to the tender passion, Mr. Whitelaw might reasonably have supposed himself exempt from the weakness so common to mankind. But such self-gratulation, had he indulged in it, would have been premature ; for after having been a visitor at the Grange, and boon-companion of the bailiff's for some ten years, it slowly dawned upon him that Ellen Carley was a very pretty girl, and that he would have her for his wife, and no other. Her brisk off-hand manner had a kind of charm for his slow apathetic nature; her rosy brunette face, with its bright black eyes and flashing teeth, seemed to him the per· fection of beauty. But he was not an impetuous lover. He took his time about the business, coming two or three times a week to smoke his pipe with William Carley, and paying Nelly some awkward blundering compliment now and then in his deliberate hesitating way. He had supreme confidence in his own position and his money, and was troubled by no doubt as to the ultimate success of his suit. It was true that Nelly treated him in by no means an encouraging manner—was, indeed, positively uncivil to him at times; but this he supposed to be mere feminine coquetry; and it enhanced the attractions of the girl he designed to make his wife. As to her refusing him when the time came for his proposal, he could not for a moment imagine such a thing possible. It was not in the nature of any woman to refuse to be mistress of Wyncomb, and to drive her own whitechapel cart—a comfortable hooded vehicle of the wagonette species, which was popular in those parts.
So Stephen Whitelaw took his time, contented to behold the object of his affection two or three evenings a week, and to gaze admiringly upon her beauty as he smoked his pipe in the snug little oak-wainscoted parlour at the Grange, while his passion grew day by day, until it did really become a very absorbing feeling, second only to his love of money and Wyncomb Farm. These dull sluggish natures are capable of deeper passions than the world gives them credit for; and are as slow to abandon an idea as they are to entertain it.
It was Ellen Carley's delight to tell Marian of her troubles, and to protest to this kind confidante again and again that no persuasion or threats of her father's should ever induce her to marry Stephen Whitelaw—which resolution Mrs. Holbrook fully approved. There was a little gate opening from a broad green lane into one of the fields at the back of the Grange; and here sometimes of a summer evening they used to find Frank Randall, who had ridden his father's white pony all the way from Malsham for the sake of smoking his evening cigar on that particular spot. They used to find him seated there, smoking lazily, while the pony cropped the grass in the lane close at hand. He was always eager to do any little service for Mrs. Holbrook; to bring her books or anything else she wanted from Malsham-anything that might make an excuse for his coming again by appointment, and with the certainty of seeing Ellen Carley. It was only natural that Marian should be inclined to protect this simple love-affair, which offered her favourite a way of escape from the odious marriage that her father pressed upon her. The girl might have to endure poverty as Frank Randall's wife; but that seemed a small thing in the eyes of Marian, compared with the horror of marrying that pale-faced mean-looking little man, whom she had seen once or twice sitting by the fire in the oak-parlour, with his small light-gray eyes fixed in a dull stare upon the bailiff's daughter.
JACOB NOWELL'S WILL.
At his usual hour, upon the evening after his arrival in London, Gilbert Fenton called at the silversmith's shop in Queen-Anne's-court. He found Jacob Nowell weaker than when he had seen him last, and with a strange old look, as if extreme age
had come upon
him suddenly. He had been compelled to call in a medical man, very much against his will; and this gentleman had told him that his condition was a critical one, and that it would be well for him to arrange his affairs quickly, and to hold himself prepared for the worst.
He seemed to be slightly agitated when Gilbert told him that his granddaughter had been found.
• Will she come to me, do you think ?' he asked.
“I have no doubt that she will do so, directly she hears how ill you have been. She was very much pleased at the idea of seeing you, and only waited for her husband's permission to come. But I don't suppose she will wait for that when she knows of your illness. I shall write to her immediately.'
‘Do,' Jacob Nowell said eagerly ; 'I want to see her before I die. You did not meet the husband, then, I suppose ?'
No; Mr. Holbrook was not there.'
He told Jacob Nowell all that it was possible for him to tell about his interview with Marian ; and the old man seemed warmly interested in the subject. Death was very near him; and the savings of the long dreary years during which his joyless life had been devoted to money-making must soon pass into other hands. He wanted to know something of the person who was to profit by his death; he