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mitting himself in black and white to a perfect knowledge of the facts, and to something more than an approval of the proposal for incarcerating Mrs. Grovelly: Especially Miss Dacre bade him add that there were reasons why his friend should speak to no one of the proposition till he had seen Miss Dacre or himself.
However, so the letter was written ; and then Adelaide looked anxiously for the superscription. When she saw the name of the physician---Carey, of Highfield, Derbyshire-surprise started into her face, rapidly softening down, however, irrto a look of extreme satisfaction. Mr. Carey was not altogether unknown to her. Several years ago, when John became most wild, he had been called in consultation at Grovelly House; and-here was the point-had most manifestly fallen in love with her. Therefore he, too, was a manageable man.
At this moment, Mrs. Wilson entered the room ; and so Miss Dacre could only finally express her sense of her friend's good-nature in a glance, as she took up the letter.
Of course the conversation now turned upon Mrs. Herbert's condition. A reaction bad followed on her excitement-she was exhausted, and docile.
ABDUCTION. The fatigue of her journey, the excitement and anxiety consequent upon her interview with Mrs. Herbert, and the desire to rise betimes, so as to confer with Mr. Carey without delay, afforded Miss Dacre sufficient excuse for retiring early. But in fact the Wilsons' company bored her; and she would have preferred her own reflections just then to the conversation of Selwyn or Sydney Smith.
For though they were rather anxious, these reflections, they were not altogether unpleasant. Her unfulfilled virtues did not disturb her-by this time they appeared as distant and as chimerical as the reveries of childhood. The tumult of hate, envy, and all uncharitableness, which writhed within her, hissing, like a nest of young snakes, when Charlotte concluded the unfortunate interview with that little revelation of hers, had settled down into one fixed, malignant purpose ; while as for the rest, Adelaide could not but congratulate herself on the turn her resolution had taken, and on the clever way in which she had managed the clergyman. She could always justify her plan for Lotty's disposal; the arguments which had (half) persuaded Mr. Wilson might be maintained, if need be, against all objections— indeed, she doubted whether, supposing her benevolence equal to her hate, she could have devised a better or a wiser course of action, everything and everybody considered. With the “ logic of facts” on his side, who fears ? and how can he be wrong? Miss Dacre knew, too, how valuable the parson's sanction and co-operation might prove should any scandal arise by-and-by; and she smiled, half in vanity and half in contempt, at the case with which she had brought Wilson to lend himself to her purposes.
Next, Mr. Carey was to be operated upon; but with him she apprehended little difficulty. She had some reason to believe that gentlemen of his profession are not unaccustomed to delicate family affairs, into which it is rude to inquire too closely, and the secrets of which are well kept as a matter of high professional policy. Of course Mr. Carey dare not compromise himself; but Mr. Wilson's letter, and the fact that he would deal with a lady of family and position, would secure him from that danger; while she could count upon her arts, her graces, and his old admiration for her, as security against a too-stringent examination of her story.
I need not relate this story—it was simple, and contained nothing that could be called false, though the facts were carefully selected, admirably arranged, and coloured artistically. Adelaide had reason to be disappointed, perhaps, at the effect of her seductions, and at the faint remembrance which the now middle-aged physician appeared to entertain of the impression her charms had once made on him. No man, however, could be wholly indifferent to them, and without doubt they had their effect. One difficulty did present itself to Mr. Carey. He had seen the advertisements issued for Miss Leeson's recovery; he had observed that they were signed by the trustees for her father's estate; and so widely were these advertisements disseminated that he could never plead ignorance of them. He could believe the story of the secret marriage, and, knowing the Grovelly secret too, he could understand why it was thought desirable the young lady should not be restored to her husband in a demented state, without long preparation; still, here was a question, not merely of feeling-with that the pbysician had little to do—but of property. Those trustees might be troublesome; and he hinted that he should like to have some proof of the marriage. Miss Dacre could give him the amplest proof. His friend Wilson had performed the ceremony; and she volunteered to show Mr. Carey the certificate of the marriage. It was not necessary to do this, perhaps, but it occurred to her that the physician might be scrupulous enough to search the parish register-from which the entry had disappeared ! Not but that all idea of suppressing the proofs of the union had been given up, long since, as of course the dear reader is aware. In fine, Mr. Carey was satisfied. He consented to receive Mrs. Herbert—at so much per annum, and a good round sum too; for if you stipulate for secrecy you must pay for it. An evening was appointed for the poor lady's arrival, and Adelaide returned to Hull, contented with the result of her expedition.
Her first inquiry, when she rejoined Mr. Wilson, was as to whether he had apprised his wife of the contemplated arrangement. He had not done so, for two reasons. He still had misgivings about it, and he was afraid to expose these apprehensions to Mrs. Wilson ; especially as that good lady's sympathies had been deeply stirred in Lotty's behalf. Miss Dacre applauded his reticence, and begged him to preserve it. Why should Mrs. Wilson's kind neart be distressed unnecessarily? And so the clergyman was pledged to more mental disturbance, and found himself implicated morally, by yet another little fold. He ventured to suggest, however, that his wife would naturally expect some explanation of Mrs. Herbert's removal—some intimation as to her destination. That (Adelaide returned) was easily settled. Charlotte herself would want some explanation; and what would satisfy the lady most concerned would satisfy the other.
But what explanation, what pretence would allay the sufferer's apprehensionsso largely excited ? No sooner did Adelaide place before herself this question than a solution appeared. Her path was made so straight! by whom I will not undertake to say, except that it may have been he who so admirably metalled the famous Broad Road.
Still, to do Miss Dacre justice, the solution revolted her a little. Open deceit, barefaced lying, were never to her taste-they injured her pride. But no other course
presented itself-none other would serve. There was no hope of removing Lotty save under pretence of carrying her to her husband. Well, was not that Miss Dacre's original design ? And whose fault was it that her purpose was not carried out ? Fate's, perhaps. Well, Fate will have its own way. At any rate, there was this advantage-Adelaide had rehearsed the part of deliverer so often, that there was little chance of her failing in it, whether played in jest or earnest. As to scruples—away with scruples !
Our Lotty's natural character-her gentleness, her timidity, her weakness, if you please—had suffered no change by the vacillations of her mind sufficient to render her less amenable to Adelaide's flatteries. Nor were they any the more likely to fail because ever since the idea had surprised her that she ought not to play at hide-and-seek with Herbert for any motive of her own, that idea had never left her. Waking or sleeping, she constantly dreamed of meeting him again. Perhaps the maternal instincts had something to do with it; however that may be, hour by hour the determination that she would send for him—that she would go to him—was strengthening in, and strengthening, her mind. Only it seemed such a formidable undertaking—not so much in its embarrassments as in its joys. Furthermore, when she learned that Adelaide had gone away, the suspicion that she had dealt unjustly with her dwelt more frequently in the young wife's bosom than the fear that she had gone to work an ill work at Grovelly House. This being the case, it was with boundless delight that, on the day after Miss Dacre's return from Highfield, Lotty received from that lady a pretty kind note, soliciting permission to visit her again. Of course the permission was instantly granted. Adelaide went up, when it appeared that their contention was entirely forgotten on both sides-after the sudden, inconsistent manner of women. They kissed together in a little rapture of contention and forgiveness.
“And where have you been all this while ?” Lotty asked. “Why, weeks must have passed since I scolded you."
“No more about the scolding, dear. I have been on a little journey--in your
“In my service! Take care!-I shall go crazy again if you are not careful!" .
“Then, before you commence," returned Adelaide, gaily, “I shall inform you, unbeliever as you are, that I am here entirely in your service-certainly on no pleasant errand for myself. You will go mad when I tell you I once loved my cousin as dearly-well, almost as dearly as he loves you."
“As he loves me !" Lotty repeated, like a devotee, adding, with a laugh, “No, I shall not go mad if you continue to talk like that; or, if I do, I promise I won't bite you!
“You give me courage. Well, I love him—he loves me not-a bitter fate. We women love to be loved where we love, and I was very miserable."
“I am sure I did not know that I believe me, I did not."
“You were too much occupied, you two, with your happiness, to see how little I approved of it. I was jealous--I hated you."
“Well, dear, that was very natural. Perhaps I should have hated you in such a case. For, of course, you had more right to hope for his affection than I had.”
“There is a proverb-kisses go by favour ; I could almost have robbed you of his by force. But no matter. You naughty ones go and get yourselves secretly
married. I know nothing of that, but by-and-by you run away; and then we find it out-to the breaking of our hearts."
“How ?” Lotty asked, timidly.
“We beheld the secret written in hard lines on Herbert's face. Charlotte, it almost killed him !"
Charlotte fell to laughing and weeping incontinently : so there was a little interruption at this point. When Miss Dacre thought it safe to resume, she said
“There were some letters you had sent him. What they were about I do not know, but they must have been very cruel! There, there, my dear Lotty, calm yourself. I tell you all in a breath that he is none the worse for his agonies, though you are never a moment from his mind."
“Oh, Herbert !” exclaimed Charlotte, addressing the wall, “ will you ever forgive me?"
“Forgive you! He has sought you all round the world to forgive you! But let me come to a conclusion; and of course I must talk of myself. When I saw how deeply my poor cousin suffered, I ceased to be jealous of you, and for his sake -for his sake, mind ! I do not dissemble that I-I prayed as fervently as he could that you might yet be restored to his arms !"
“Oh, my angel friend! How I have misjudged you !" cried Charlotte, once more overcome.
("The very thing," said Adelaide to herself over Charlotte's shoulder, and in the interval of an embrace," the very thing I thought she would have said! How straugel and oh what a pity it is that all is not as I imagined and as I intended !" However, it was no time for vain regrets. Business first and pleasure after.)
“You may at least confess," Miss Dacre said aloud, “ that you wronged me when I came to you first here. For what do you think was my mission ? Herbert had failed to find you—I succeeded. Too proud of my discovery to confide it to any one-even to him I hurried at all speed to seize the last happiness I shall ever know by making off with you-home! Do not you be jealous ; but Herbert's happiness is still mine."
There was another interval, during which Mrs. Herbert only trembled.
“I suppose," she said, when she could find voice, “I do not deserve your kindness now."
" I said not that, dear."
“I say what the judge replied to the thief who said he must live~ I really do not see the necessity of that !'"
Lotty laughed : hysterical people are as ready to laugh as to weep.
“But then my husband! It is so sudden-he is not prepared to see me and so changed as I am !”
“There you are again mistaken, dear. Finding you so changed-though, of course, you will soon recover in the Grovelly air-I repented of not having informed him that his wanderer had been found, fearing, as you do, that at first he might be a little shocked. And so my late absence is accounted for to your satisfaction, I am sure."
ay dear. Finde repentead, that at foretreatiske
been foutra velly airling you so chay
“And where is he?" asked Mrs. Herbert, quietly, mustering all her heart to hear the reply.
“He is too wise, too careful of you, to come rushing in like the people in the play, Charlotte. He curbs his impatience at a distance. You must be calm too, he says; and he thinks that if you travel half way to meet him, the journey, with its change of scene, will help to break the shock of meeting. His idea is founded on some theory of catching cricket-balls, I believe!"
May we start at once ?” The young wife thought there must be some obstacle to that.
“Are you sure you are strong enough ?"
“See !" cried Charlotte. And with the word she sprang out of bed like a deer, and embraced Miss Dacre. “I am strong enough to hug you to death ; and if you do not let me go to him at once, without the hundred-thousandth part of a tiny moment's delay, I will hug you to death.”
The thing was done.
Within an hour all was prepared for the journey-Charlotte moving with quiet constraint, but with a fund of excitement within that threatened at any moment to explode with most disastrous consequences. But, as the preparations progressed, this excitement, by a kind Providence, abated ; and at length, when a carriage was called to the door, she looked only like a bride about to depart on the bridal journey.
The farewells were hastily made-that was Miss Dacre's policy ; it was also her policy to borrow some money from Mr. Wilson, so that he might have the satisfaction of knowing that he had furnished funds as well as counsel towards Lotty's sequestration. He hardly daro bid the poor girl good-bye; she looked so profoundly, so sublimely happy, and, what was worse, so completely mistress of herself. As for Mrs. Wilson, she contributed to her husband's uneasiness by confiding to him the hope that all was right; which was as much as to say that she had grave doubts about it.
of the journey I say little, for little was said between the two ladies as by road and rail they hurried on. As to what they thought—there they are, sitting side by side--you know them-judge what they think.
The last station was reached—they alighted—the last carriage was hired. “ To Highfield House,” said Miss Dacre to the coachman; and then, turning to Lotty, “ You do not know, perhaps, that your husband bought that placefor you !""
“ Then we are near our destination ?" faltered Lotty, turning deadly pale. “ In ten minutes we shall be there!"
How ardently Miss Dacre wished her companion would faint! Perhaps that eyent might be provoked, she thought.
“Nerve yourself, Charlotte, I entreat of you !" she whispered. “Good Heavens, how pale you are !" and with that she placed a sickly, faded bouquet beneath Lotty's chin.
The expedient was not a bad one, but it failed.
A few minutes more, and the carriage, turning within a high, strong pair of gates, rolled noisily over a gravel way. Then, indeed, Lotty's high-strung nerves began to relax. Her head swam, and again the bouquet was brought into