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Lecount's visit, therefore,
instead of causing him any embarrassment, was the most welcome occurrence he
could have wished for. He received her in the parlor with a marked restraint of
manner for which she was quite unprepared. His ingratiating smile was gone and
an impenetrable solemnity of countenance appeared in its stead.
"I have ventured to intrude on
you, Sir," said Mrs. Lecount, "to express the regret with which both my master
and I have heard of Miss Bygrave's illness. Is there no improvement?"
"No, ma'am," replied the captain,
as briefly as possible. "My niece is no better."
"I have had some experience, Mr,
Bygrave, in nursing. If I could be of any use—"
"Thank you, Mrs. Lecount. There
is no necessity for our taking advantage of your kindness."
This plain answer was followed by
a moment's silence. The housekeeper felt some little perplexity. What had become
of Mr. Bygrave's elaborate courtesy, and Mr. Bygrave's many words? Did he want
to offend her? If he did, Mrs. Lecount then and there determined that he should
not gain his object.
"May I inquire the nature of the
illness?" she persisted. "It is not connected, I hope, with our excursion to
"I regret to say, ma'am," replied
the captain, "it began with that neuralgic attack in the carriage."
"So! so!" thought Mrs. Lecount.
"He doesn't even try to make me think the illness a real one; he throws off the
mask at starting!—Is it a nervous illness, Sir?" she added aloud.
The captain answered by a solemn
affirmative inclination of the head.
"Then you have two nervous
sufferers in the house, Mr. Bygrave?"
"Yes, ma'am—two. My wife and my
"That is rather a strange
coincidence of misfortunes."
"It is, ma'am. Very strange."
In spite of Mrs. Lecount's
resolution not to be offended, Captain Wragge's exasperating insensibility to
every stroke she aimed at him began to ruffle her. She was conscious of some
little difficulty in securing her self-possession before she could say any thing
"Is there no immediate hope," she
resumed, "of Miss Bygrave being able to leave her room?"
"None whatever, ma'am."
"You are satisfied, I suppose,
with the medical attendance?"
"I have no medical attendance,"
said the captain, composedly. "I watch the case myself."
The gathering venom in Mrs.
Lecount swelled up at that reply, and overflowed at her lips.
"Your smattering of science,
Sir," she said, with a malicious smile, "includes, I presume, a smattering of
medicine as well?"
"It does, ma'am," answered the
captain, without the slightest disturbance of face or manner. "I know as much of
one as I do of the other."
The tone in which he spoke those
words left Mrs. Lecount but one dignified alternative. She rose to terminate the
interview. The temptation of the moment proved too much for her; and she could
not resist casting the shadow of a threat over Captain Wragge at parting.
"I defer thanking you, Sir, for
the manner in which you have received me," she said, "until I can pay my debt of
obligation to some purpose. In the mean time I am glad to infer, from the
absence of a medical attendant in the house, that Miss Bygrave's illness is much
less serious than I had supposed it to be when I came here."
"I never contradict a lady,
ma'am," rejoined the incorrigible captain. "If it is your pleasure, when we next
meet, to think my niece quite well, I shall bow resignedly to the expression of
your opinion." With those words, he followed the housekeeper into the passage,
and politely opened the door for her. "I mark the trick, ma'am!" he said to
himself, as he closed it again. "The trump-card in your hand is a sight of my
niece, and I'll take care you don't play it!"
He returned to the parlor and
composedly awaited the next event which was likely to happen—a visit from Mrs.
Lecount's master. In less than an hour results justified Captain Wragge's
anticipations, and Mr. Noel Vanstone walked in.
"My dear Sir!" cried the captain,
cordially seizing his visitor's reluctant hand, "I know what you have come for.
Mrs. Lecount has told you of her visit here, and has no doubt declared that my
niece's illness is a mere subterfuge. You feel surprised, you feel hurt—you
suspect me of trifling with your kind sympathies—in short, you require an
explanation. That explanation you shall have. Take a seat, Mr. Vanstone. I am
about to throw myself on your sense and judgment as a man of the world. I
acknowledge that we are in a false position, Sir; and I tell you plainly at the
outset—your house-keeper is the cause of it."
For once in his life Mr. Noel
Vanstone opened his eyes. "Lecount!" he exclaimed, in the utmost bewilderment.
"The same, Sir," replied Captain
Wragge. "I am afraid I offended Mrs. Lecount, when she came here this morning,
by a want of cordiality in my manner. I am a plain man, and I can't assume what
I don't feel. Far be it from me to breathe a word against your housekeeper's
character. She is, no doubt, a most excellent and trust-worthy woman; but she
has one serious failing common to persons at her time of life who occupy her
situation—she is jealous of her influence over her master, although you may not
have observed it."
"I beg your pardon," interposed
Mr. Noel Vanstone; "my observation is remarkably quick. Nothing escapes it."
"In that case, Sir," resumed the
captain, "you can not fail to have noticed that Mrs. Lecount has allowed her
jealousy to affect her conduct toward my niece?"
Mr. Noel Vanstone thought of the
domestic passage at arms between Mrs. Lecount and himself when his guests of the
evening had left Sea View, and failed to see his way to any direct reply. He
expressed the utmost surprise and distress—he thought Lecount had done her best
to be agreeable on the drive to Dunwich—he hoped and trusted there was some
"Do you mean to say, Sir,"
pursued the captain, severely, "that you have not noticed the circumstance
yourself? As a man of honor and a man of observation, you can't tell me that!
Your housekeeper's superficial civility has not hidden your housekeeper's real
feeling. My niece has seen it, and so have you, and so have I. My niece, Mr.
Vanstone, is a sensitive, high-spirited girl; and she has positively declined to
cultivate Mrs. Lecount's society for the future. Don't misunderstand me! To my
niece, as well as to myself, the attraction of your society, Mr. Vanstone,
remains the same. Miss Bygrave simply declines to be an apple of discord (if you
will permit the classical allusion?) cast into your household. I think she is
right, so far; and I frankly confess that I have exaggerated a nervous
indisposition, from which she is really suffering, into a serious illness—purely
and entirely to prevent these two ladies, for the present, from meeting every
day on the parade, and from carrying unpleasant impressions of each other into
your domestic establishment and mine."
"I allow nothing unpleasant in my
establishment," remarked Mr. Noel Vanstone. "I'm master—you must have noticed
that already, Mr. Bygrave?—I'm master."
"No doubt of it, my dear Sir. But
to live morning, noon, and night in the perpetual exercise of your authority is
more like the life of a governor of a prison than the life of a master of a
household. The wear and tear—consider the wear and tear."
"It strikes you in that light,
does it?" said Mr. Noel Vanstone, soothed by Captain Wragge's ready recognition
of his authority. "I don't know that you're not right. But I must take some
steps directly. I won't be made ridiculous —I'll send Lecount away altogether
sooner than be made ridiculous." His color rose; and he folded his little arms
fiercely. Captain Wragge's artfully-irritating explanation had awakened that
dormant suspicion of his housekeeper's influence over him, which habitually lay
hidden in his mind, and which Mrs. Lecount was now not present to charm back to
repose as usual. "What must Miss Bygrave think of me!" he exclaimed, with a
sudden outburst of vexation. "I'll send Lecount away—damme, I'll send Lecount
away on the spot!"
"No, no, no!" said the captain,
whose interest it was to avoid driving Mrs. Lecount to any desperate
extremities. "Why take strong measures when mild measures will do? Mrs. Lecount
is an old servant; Mrs. Lecount is attached and useful. She has this little
drawback of jealousy—jealousy of her domestic position with her bachelor master.
She sees you paying courteous attention to a handsome young lady; she sees that
young lady properly sensible of your politeness—and, poor soul, she loses her
temper! What is the obvious remedy? Humor her—make a manly concession to the
weaker sex. If Mrs. Lecount is with you the next time we meet on the parade walk
the other way. If Mrs. Lecount is not with you, gives us the pleasure of your
company by all means. In short, my dear Sir, try the suaviter in mode (as we
classical men say) before you commit yourself to the fortiter in re!"
There was one excellent reason
why Mr. Noel Vanstone should take Captain Wragge's conciliatory advice. An open
rupture with Mrs. Lecount—even if he could have summoned the courage to face
it—would imply the recognition of her claims to a provision in acknowledgment of
the services she had rendered to his father and to himself. His sordid nature
quailed within him at the bare prospect of expressing the emotion of gratitude
in a pecuniary form; and after first consulting appearances by a show of
hesitation, he consented to adopt the captain's suggestion, and to humor Mrs.
"But I must be considered in this
matter," proceeded Mr. Noel Vanstone. "My concession to Lecount's weakness must
not be misunderstood. Miss Bygrave must not be allowed to suppose I am afraid of
The captain declared that no such
idea ever had entered or ever could enter Miss Bygrave's mind. Mr. Noel Vanstone
returned to the subject nevertheless, again and again, with his customary
pertinacity. Would it be indiscreet if he asked leave to set himself right
personally with Miss Bygrave? Was there any hope that he might have the
happiness of seeing her on that day? or, if not, on the next day? or, if not, on
the day after? Captain Wragge answered cautiously: he felt the importance of not
rousing Noel Vanstone's distrust by too great an alacrity in complying with his
"An interview to-day, my dear
Sir, is out of the question," he said. "She is not well enough; she wants
repose. To-morrow I propose taking her out before the heat of the day begins—not
merely to avoid embarrassment after what has happened with Mrs. Lecount—but
because the morning air and the morning quiet are essential in these nervous
cases. We are early people here—we shall start at seven o'clock. If you are
early too, and if you would like to join us, if need hardly say that we can feel
no objection to your company on our morning walk. The hour,
I am aware, is an unusual one—but
later in the day my niece may be resting on the sofa, and may not be able to see
Having made this proposal, purely
for the purpose of enabling Mr. Noel Vanstone to escape to North Shingles at an
hour in the morning when his housekeeper would be probably in bed, Captain
Wragge left him to take the hint, if he could, as indirectly as it had been
given. He proved sharp enough (the case being one in which his own interests
were concerned) to close with the proposal on the spot. Politely declaring that
he was always an early man when the morning presented any special attraction to
him, he accepted the appointment for seven o'clock, and rose soon afterward to
take his leave.
"One word at parting," said
Captain Wragge. "This conversation is entirely between ourselves. Mrs. Lecount
must know nothing of the impression she has produced on my niece. I have only
mentioned it to you to account for my apparently churlish conduct, and to
satisfy your own mind. In confidence, Mr. Vanstone—strictly in confidence.
With these parting words the
captain bowed his visitor out. Unless some unexpected disaster occurred, he now
saw his way safely to the end of the enterprise. He had gained two important
steps in advance that morning. He had sown the seeds of variance between the
housekeeper and her master, and he had given Mr. Noel Vanstone a common interest
with Magdalen and himself in keeping a secret from Mrs. Lecount. "We have caught
our man," thought Captain Wragge, cheerfully rubbing his hands — "we have caught
our man at last!"
On leaving North Shingles Mr.
Noel Vanstone walked straight home, fully restored to his place in his own
estimation, and sternly determined to carry matters with a high hand if he found
himself in collision with Mrs. Lecount.
The housekeeper received her
master at the door with her mildest manner and her gentlest smile. She addressed
him with downcast eyes; she opposed to his contemplated assertion of
independence a barrier of impenetrable respect.
"May I venture to ask, Sir," she
began, "if your visit to North Shingles has led you to form the same conclusion
as mine on the subject of Miss Bygrave's illness?"
"Certainly not, Lecount. I
consider your conclusion to have been both hasty and prejudiced."
"I am sorry to hear it, Sir. I
felt hurt by Mr. Bygrave's rude reception of me—but I was not aware that my
judgment was prejudiced by it. Perhaps he received you, Sir, with a warmer
"He received me like a
gentleman—that is all I think it necessary to say, Lecount—he received me like a
This answer satisfied Mrs.
Lecount on the one doubtful point that had perplexed her. Whatever Mr. Bygrave's
sudden coolness toward herself might mean, his polite reception of her master
implied that the risk of detection had not daunted him, and that the conspiracy
was still in full progress. The housekeeper's eyes brightened. She had expressly
calculated on this result. After a moment's thinking she addressed her master
with another question:
"You will probably visit Mr.
Bygrave again, Sir ?"
"Of course I shall visit him—if I
"And perhaps see Miss Bygrave, if
she gets better?"
"Why not? I should be glad to
know why not? Is it necessary to ask your leave first, Lecount?"
"By no means, Sir, As you have
often said (and as I have often agreed with you), you are master. It may
surprise you to hear it, Mr. Noel, but I have a private reason for wishing that
you should see Miss Bygrave again."
Mr. Noel started a little, and
looked at his housekeeper with some curiosity.
"I have a strange fancy of my
own, Sir, about that young lady," proceeded Mrs. Lecount. "If you will excuse my
fancy, and indulge it, you will do me a favor for which I shall be very
"A fancy?" repeated her master,
in growing surprise. "What fancy?"
"Only this, Sir," said Mrs.
She took from one of the neat
little pockets of her apron a morsel of note paper, carefully folded into the
smallest possible compass, and respectfully placed it in Noel Vanstone's hand.
"If you are willing to oblige an
old and faithful servant, Mr. Noel," she said, in a very quiet and very
impressive manlier, "you will kindly put that morsel of paper into your
waistcoat-pocket; you will open and read it, for the first time, when you are
next in Miss Bygrave's company; and you will say nothing of what has now passed
between us to any living creature, from this time to that. 1 promise to explain
my strange request, Sir, when you have done what I ask, and when your next
interview with Miss Bygrave has come to an end."
She courtesied with her best
grace, and quietly left the room.
Mr. Noel Vanstone looked from the
folded paper to the door, and from the door back to the folded paper, in
unutterable astonishment. A mystery in his own house, under his own nose! What
did it mean?
It meant that Mrs. Lecount had
not wasted her time that morning. While the captain was casting the net over his
visitor at North Shingles, the housekeeper was steadily mining the ground under
his feet. The folded paper contained nothing less than a carefully-written
extract from the personal description of Magdalen in Miss Garth's letter. With a
daring ingenuity which even Captain Wragge might have envied, Mrs. Lecount had
found her instrument for exposing the conspiracy, in the unsuspecting person of
the victim himself!
WRITTEN IN SAND.
THE thymy western wind swept warm
Down all the slopes of the silent shore;
The light was fading fast; and my
Held the woman whom I adore.
She has a stately Juno-face
Who has promis'd to stoop to be
A calm, unfalt'ring voice, and
That comes with knowledge of
And as she look'd on the
dark'ning sea, And as I look'd in her eyes divine,
"You may write on the sand," she
said to me,
"The name that will soon be
The night was warm, and the
Of her rich red lips was on my
But across me there swoon'd the
coldness of death, And my tongue refused to speak.
For full on my ear, with a sudden
There fell the sound of a distant
And before me there rose the
Of a cheek that shall blush no
And all the wealth of my present
The stately Juno-face at my side,
The half-caressant, half-careless
Of her who shall be my bride
Pass'd into darkness ... and we
My love and I, by the little bay
Shelter'd over with ilex-wood,
In the dying April day.
And as I read her eyes' soft
shame, And as I held her trembling hand, Slowly I wrote again a name
That was never writ save in sand!
"All, not for me!" said a
"That hope is all too high for
I am not worthy to be your
Blot it away, O sea!"
And as the tide rose high, a
Sudden and cold, swept the sweet
name over; And then I remember'd a far-off grave,
And that I had forgot to love
But still, wherever we walk'd
My bride and I, through the
twilight gray, Written in letters distinct and white,
Two words before me lay.
And not for thrice her father's
And not for thrice the charms of
my bride, Could I have written a name i' the sand,
Save the name of her who died.
GUERRILLAS IN THE WEST.
we publish an illustration of the
OF A CITY IN THE WEST BY THE GUERRILAS under John Morgan. This
shameless miscreant boasted, when he returned to his rebel friends in East
Tennessee, that he had destroyed $2,000,000 worth of property during his raid
into Kentucky. He did not enumerate the murders or the rapes committed by his
men; but we know from many sources that they constitute a formidable catalogue
of crime. Guerrilla warfare involves, as a matter of necessity, the four highest
crimes in the calendar —murder, rape, robbery, and arson. The bond which unites
members of a guerrilla band together is love of plunder, lust, and violence.
War, as carried on by civilized armies, has no attractions for them. It would
not pay them. To reward them for the risks they run and the hardships they
encounter without pay, they must make free with life, female purity, and
Morgan has penetrated shrieks of agony have
gone up to Heaven from outraged matrons and maidens, butchered children, and
Parson Brownlow's book informs us of the degree
of humanity possessed by the ruffians who ride with Morgan. Such God-forsaken
wretches can not be found any where in the world out of the Feejee Islands and
Slave States. The day will come when the West
will exact a fearful retribution for the wrongs she is enduring at the hands of
these creatures of slavery. Meanwhile they go on desolating one of the fairest
regions of the world, without the poor credit of helping their bad cause one
ARMY OF VIRGINIA.
WE publish on
page 557 a couple
of pictures of the Army of Virginia, one representing a
REVIEW OF GENERAL
SIEGEL'S ARMY by Major-General
Pope, from a drawing by Mr. Anton Kellner; the other, representing
the RECEPTION OF CONTRABANDS AT COLONEL CLUSERET'S HEAD-QUARTERS, from a sketch
by our special artist, Mr. Davenport.
General Siegel commands the army
lately commanded by
General Fremont: it is said to be in a high
condition of efficiency. Its commander is known to be one of the ablest and most
skillful of the foreign-born officers in our service. He won his laurels in
Germany in 1848, and here he attracted general attention and won high fame by
his conduct at the
Battle of Pea Ridge, in Arkansas. When the
right time comes General Siegel will be heard from.
Contrabands are flocking in to
the army of Virginia in very large numbers. From the reports of the rebels
themselves it appears that the able-bodied slaves in the northern counties of
Virginia are rapidly disappearing. Well they may. We offer them freedom and work
at good wages in exchange for slavery, the
whipping-block, and the prospect of' being sold
South. By-and-by we shall have enough of them on hand to build all our
fortifications and do the work of laborers for the whole army.