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"Mr. Tyrrell," replied Ida, with spirit, "your in order to avenge her outraged nerves upon the agitation excuses you; but if you were yourself you would hardly have suspected my father of anything which conscience could find a difficulty in justifying. He is as ignorant of-of this-as I was till a few days ago."
"Of this!" he repeated, with singular animation. "Then I am right! How could I be mistaken ? Yet how-what is it what can it
He sat down, muttering to himself, like a man completely overpowered, yet in a moment resumed his inquiry, hurriedly, and as if he feared lest any forgetfulness on his part should enable Ida to escape.
offender. She held her hand tightly over her heart, as if she were afraid lest it should actually leap out of her body, and the inner corners of her eyebrows had a most irregular and agonized expression, bearing no proportion at all to anything less than murder. Elderly ladies often do this, especially if a door is shut suddenly, or if a dog, belonging to any person whom they do not like, barks near the window. They do it so well from long practice that their unsuspecting juniors are sometimes beguiled into believing that they are enduring a great shock with remarkable heroism.
"My dearest Ida!" added aunt Melissa, in a tone of tragic appeal, looking daggers at the poor girl, who answered her hesitatingly, and scarce audibly. "Oh! I beg your pardon! I was only startled."
"Miss Lee," he said, earnestly, "you must surely feel for me;-this is no place for such an explanation-if explanation there be. I declare to you, I feel as if my reason were tottering and Mr. Tyrrell forestalled the coming storm. falling. I entreat of your humanity-I have a "Miss Lee did not know that I was near her till right to demand of your justice, to insist, to com-I touched her shoulder," said he. "She resemmand, that you will either give me an explanation, or suffer me to obtain it for myself."
Ida covered her face with her hands. "You have a right-of course you have a right," she exclaimed. "Oh, what shall I, what ought I to do?"
"Can there possibly be any question of right," asked Tyrrell, in an unsteady voice," where it is a husband who asks you to give him an account of a wife, whom, for five years, he has supposed to be dead? Can this be a case for hesitation or for scruples? At least, can anything prevent me from satisfying myself if you will not satisfy me?"
"Mr. Tyrrell," cried Ida, weeping, and taking his hand in hers, "will you not forgive her? She has done wrong, but she has suffered, oh, so much! She has been nearly dying—she is very miserable. She has been my kind friend-my dear mother. Oh! how shall I do my duty both by her and by you?"
He withdrew his hands, and answered her coldly, a whole flood of bitterness rising in his proud heart, now beginning to recover from its first overpowering emotion.
"Pardon me," said he; "but this conflict of duty should never have been imposed upon you. You must allow me to take the matter into my own hands."
bles you, in the fragility of her nerves-let us hope that the resemblance may not stop here. But I am quite ashamed to have caused such a commotion."
"I was afraid somebody was hurt," said Melissa, in a faint, cross tone; the compliment having a little subdued her, though it was not quite strong enough to conquer her altogether.
Yes, indeed," replied Mr. Tyrrell, "you look quite pale. You should take more care of yourself-indeed, you should. You exert yourself too much. Let me persuade you to lie down for half-an-hour. Miss Ida Lee and I"-(he had drawn Ida's arm within his own, and she did not dare resist him)-" are going to take a turn in the garden.' Now, pray lie down on the sofa, and rest, and let us find you with a little more color in your cheeks on our return. You will be quite knocked up."
He led the ladies into the drawing-room while he spoke; and did not rest until he had fairly deposited aunt Melissa on the sofa, having confused her into a sort of practical belief that Ida's scream was somehow or other the result of her own overexertion, and that she must certainly take more care of herself in future. It was done very rapidly, and before Ida had recovered her astonishment at the audacity of his acting, and his presence of mind, she found herself alone with him in the garden. Silently and tremblingly she suffered him to place her on a bench; she struggled collect her thoughts, anticipating what was coming, but pure vague fear was literally her only feeling.
Ida shrieked, and darted before the door of the The one sole idea that possessed her was that if Tyrrell were to enter that chamber Made-to line would assuredly and instantly die.
Hitherto they had spoken very low, with that unconscious consideration of outward circumstances "Miss Lee," said he gently but resolutely, and difficulties which seldom forsakes us, even when" I beg your pardon for having distressed you; under the influence of violent emotion. Ida's I am sure I need make no apology, nor can I scream was, however, audible beyond the pre- pause to consider custom or politeness-such a cincts of the lobby; and a third person was immediately added to their colloquy in the shape of aunt Melissa.
"What is the matter?-what is the matter?" exclaimed she, assuming double the alarm she felt,
position as mine must make its own rules. I am going to leave you for ten minutes—you require a little time for consideration, and I would not take you by surprise. At the end of that time I shall return, and if you do not then think it right to
answer my questions, I must proceed to obtain the information I require for myself. I do not mean this as a threat; but no other way is left me."
He did not give her time to answer, but withdrew at once to the further end of the walk; not so far, however, as to be out of sight of the bench on which Ida was sitting.
and she could not answer one of Mr. Tyrrell's questions without a breach of confidence as real as if she were to show him the book. Passion, pride, feeling, delicacy, would all combine to make Madeline averse that he should see it if she knew of it beforehand, yet if her better self could decide for her unbiassed it would surely decide in the affirmative. Might not Ida, then, decide the question thus for her; would not Madeline be the first to thank and bless her for it when she found the happy consequences of the act? Ida closed her eyes, and her young fresh fancy built up a beautiful castle in a moment. She saw Madeline and Tyrrell happy, reconciled, and mutually forgiving; she went quickly into the details of their future life; she saw their child growing up between them in strength and loveliness; she saw the brightness and tranquillity of evening richly repaying her friend for the storms and sorrows of the day; she even saw how Tyrrell fell ill, and Madeline nursed him with all possible tenderness and devotion; and how, as he looked up gratefully in her face, and pressed her hand as she stooped over him, they both remembered their early misery and disunion, and thanked Ida in their hearts for the daring steps which had brought them to
way but this could have achieved the same end, for Madeline would never have told-could never have even suggested the half of what she had written; and wounded pride and suppressed feeling would have thrown a thousand disguises over her real nature, and given false emphasis to every tone, and cold expression to every look. But the picture which she had drawn of herself in that journal was living and irresistible-one look was conviction.
The moment Ida was left alone she buried her face in her hands, and prayed for guidance with her whole heart. For the first time in her life she felt that she could not tell right from wrong; she was compelled to act, and there were but two paths before her; to each she was invited by a duty-from each repelled by a crime. Madeline had sinned in casting off her husband's authority -that authority was indelible, the work of God and not of man; it could not be right to shield her from it, to aid her in escaping it. But Madeline had trusted Ida, and it would be base indeed, to betray her fearless, unsuspecting confidence. These two points presented themselves again and again to poor Ida's gaze, and as often she turned away blinded by tears and unable to pronounce a decision. She tried to separate and arrange her thoughts. The secret was discovered; that was evident, and in that she had no part-it would be mere child's play, it would be altogether unwor-gether, and taught them to know each other. No thy to assume the appearance of concealment any longer; she was truth itself, and she could not do this. If she could prevail upon him to wait a week, till Madeline's health was sufficiently restored for her to decide for herself-at present she dreaded agitation for her too much to venture to put the question before her. All the while Ida never varied for a moment from her belief that Madeline was bound to return to her husband, and at all risks she must indeed do this. If she should not get better (and Ida wept at the thought) she must be told, even if it were to kill her, that she may be able to do right before she dies. Ida shuddered at the thought of her false tenderness leading her to commit so great a crime against her friend as to help her in doing wrong, or lose her the opportunity of atonement. At that moment she felt ready to go to her without hesitation, and "Understand me," said he, before she had time make her aware of the truth at all hazards. Then to speak, "I am not going to force, to urge, not even the idea suddenly presented itself-could any to suggest any line of action which may prove to means be wrong which might bring about a recon- be repugnant to—your friend. She has decided ciliation without injuring Madeline's health? The for herself in the first instance; she shall do so journal-if Mr. Tyrrell could but see it, Ida felt again now. But I have a right to know the certain that all his anger would be turned into grounds of her original decision; I have a right," pity, sympathy, self-accusation, love-she felt he added, a certain degree of passion becoming certain that he would then treat Madeline with the observable in his tone, in spite of his effort to tenderest consideration; that all would be well maintain entire composure of demeanor, "to know between them. This journal was in her posses- all; and I will know it from some means or from sion-could it be wrong to give it to him? Were some source." she to ask Madeline's permission, she felt sure that it would be refused; besides, the very asking permission would of course involve a revelation of all the circumstances. Could it be wrong to serve Madeline without her consent, to make her plead for herself, instead of trying ineffectually and feebly to plead for her? All that Ida knew of her history was derived from the pages of that journal,
And here Ida paused to ask herself one more question, "Are not the results of all man's actions in God's hands ?" And the burning words wrote themselves upon her heart, "Thou shalt not do evil that good may come." The ten minutes were past, and Mr. Tyrrell returned :
"Mr. Tyrrell," said Ida in a low trembling voice, "I have made up my mind what to do; I only wish to do right, and if I do wrong it is from mistake, not from intention. You have every reason to feel outraged and indignant; all I ask is that you will wait. Listen to me, pray, only for one moment. This is my dearest, kindest, best friend next to my father overcome with agitation,
and under the influence of fever, she has confided | more of silence and tears, seven nights of restless
the secrets of her life to me; she could not speak, but she put into my hands a journal which she has written, and which would explain the whole to you, which I will venture to say you could not read without the deepest sympathy. She gave this to me on the night when she was first taken ill; we have never exchanged a word on the subject since. Her illness was caused by the sight of her child; she recognized him, and the agitation brought on brain fever. I have never dared to allude to it lest I should excite her. She does not know that you are in the house; when we are together she sits silent and weeps much. have no right to judge either her or you. What can I do, but ask you to have patience till her health is so far restored that an interview would not be dangerous; and then leave you to judge and act for yourself? I will pray for her,"here Ida's tears began to flow fast; "I do pray for her with all my heart, that she may be strengthened to do right, and that she may be comforted; and, so far as I can, I will never cease trying to comfort and help and persuade her. Can I do anything else?"
She spoke rapidly and with great emotion; he made no attempt to interrupt her, but when she paused he took her hand and said, quickly, "Will you show me this journal ?"
“Can you ask it?" returned she, fixing her childlike eyes upon his face. "I believe honestly, that, were you to read it, all your views would change, and you could not help being reconciled. But it was given me in confidence, and it is sacred; it is not in my power. I have no right to use any
judgment about it."
There are few who can withstand the simple eloquence of truth, and Ida's innocent appeal went straight to the heart of her hearer. He remained silent for some minutes, still holding her hand with a changed and gentle expression of face.
"Tell me," said he at last, "when did this fever attack her, and when did it leave her?"
"She has been two days free from delirium; she was taken ill more than a week ago; she is better every day, thank God."
"Well," said Mr. Tyrrell, "do not think me harsh, but though it is quite natural that you should be timid, and I do not blame you in the least, I think it is not necessary. Nay, don't look so distressed; consider a moment. She knows (he could not bring himself to utter her name) that Arthur is here she must suspect that I am either come or coming. Think what must be working in her mind all the while she is sitting as you describe her, without speaking, and with many tears. Believe me, such suspense is worse than any certainty. All this is not my fault; she has placed herself in this strange, painful, unnatural position, and she cannot issue from it in any direction without great suffering. The sooner this is over the better. If you wait in hope that she will recover strength, you only give the poison more time to work. A week hence, seven days
ness and doubt and weary pain, and she will be far less fit to undergo a shock than she is now." "What would you have me do?" asked poor Ida, turning very pale.
"Go to her," replied Mr. Tyrrell, now, this very moment. Tell her as gently and cautiously as you will, that I am here, and that I have seen her; tell her that I will not force myself into her presence either now, or at any future time; but that I insist upon knowing the history of these years, the causes of her behavior, in fact the WHOLE; and that she has no right, no power to refuse it to me. Tell her that I am ready to consider any arrangement which she chooses to propose."
He stopped suddenly; he was evidently controlling himself by great exertion; and as his tone became bitter he ceased to speak, determined to say nothing which might distress Ida or expose his own feelings. Apart from the singular and agitating nature of the position in which he found himself, it was galling to his pride to the last degree to have his emotions thus made, so to speak, a spectacle for a young girl. He could not remember without mortification even the expressions of amazement which she had heard him utter.
The very extremity of his confusion and agitation gave him, after the first shock was over, strength to conceal all outward demonstration of it.
Ida felt that she had no right to oppose him, nor to set her judgment against his, but her terror was extreme. "Must I do this?" asked she, her slight form quivering from head to foot.
'My dear child," he answered, "how can I spare you? you cannot feel the pain which I am giving you more acutely than I do. It is wrong But where
it is unnatural-it ought not to be. is there any remedy? Can I go to her myselfcan I send any other messenger? Would you wish me-would it in fact be possible for me to open these miserable wounds to any other eyes? Is not one confidante more than enough for such a secret? Can I be expected to bear it more patiently than I do? Go to her-tell her all this, very tenderly and ask her permission to put this journal in my hands, since I conclude she will scarcely wish to make her confessions in person.”
The contrast between his assumed calmness, his real gentleness towards Ida, and the stern sarcasm which every now and then broke out, both in tone and glance, was most striking.
"Oh! forgive me," she replied; "I did not mean to be selfish; in fact, I was not thinking of myself, I was only frightened. But, of course, you know best, and no one but you has a right to decide. I will go." She drew a deep, painful sigh, compelled to submit, but unable to divest herself of dread of the results.
He pressed her hand kindly as he let it drop, and the tenderness of his manner was quite fatherly. "I would save you from this if I knew how," said he; "but since it must be, it is best
not to defer it. And then this most painful matter must be withdrawn entirely from your hands; leave her as soon as possible, and seek strength and refreshment for yourself. You don't know how much or how soon you may need it."
Something in his tone startled her, and she answered, struck by a sudden indefinable thought, -"Was it because you suspected anything that you were so anxious for a private interview with Madeline before?"
"No, no," returned he hastily. "What should I suspect? I had heard of her, and was anxious to know her. Go, my dear child, go, I entreat you."
She moved slowly away, and as he gazed after her he was twice obliged to remove the tears which gathered in his eyes. Then he returned to the contemplation of his own strange, inexplicable destiny.
"Is that you, dearest ?" said the voice of Madeline, as Ida entered the sick chamber. "I am much better to-day, come to me; come close, sit down beside me. Will you read to me a little? Your reading soothes me like music, but there is something discordant if I try to read to myself, and my head begins to ache directly. Take your own favorite book-your mother's book-and read here this chapter."
She opened St. Thomas à Kempis as she spoke, and placed it before Ida, reading with a tremulous voice the title of the chapter. The words were very solemn. "Of the Oblation of Christ upon the Cross, and of Resignation of ourselves." Ida sat down beside the couch, and took the volume, but Madeline laid her hand over the page:
"One moment!" she said. "Let us collect ourselves. Oh, Ida! those are awful words the whole Christian creed, and the whole Christian life in one sentence. A summary of faith and duty, each syllable a sentence of condemnation ! I have been thinking a great deal this morning about what faith ought to work in us; it is nothing, absolutely nothing, unless it is able so to turn the will against the heart, that we become, contrary to ourselves, strongest where we were most weak, bravest where we were the very slaves of fear. Unless the transformation be complete,
what are we the better for it?"
"True," replied Ida timidly, for there was a degree of excitement in her friend's manner which somewhat alarmed her. "Is not that the reason why we always make self-denial the very threshold of the Christian temple?"
ing of the soul. Faith should be able to make every man excel in that particular duty to which he has the strongest aversion; the mean man should be boundless in liberality-the tender and patient heart should be fullest of zeal and daring
the proud, sensitive, self-dependent spirit should be tenderest in its love, noblest in its trust, deepest in its lowliness and abasement, gentlest in its forbearance. Can we dare say that we deny ourselves unless we do this? Is there anything like crucifixion of the will in such mere development and ennobling of natural tendencies as make up the greater part of our self-discipline? Is it faith, if we only believe and tremble?"
"Godfrey spoke in this way," answered Ida, very gently; "and he seemed to think that faith never could thus conquer and transfigure self. But we know that it can do so―that it has done so that it must do so, sooner or later, through many difficulties, perhaps, alas! after many failures, in the life of every true servant of the cross. But papa used to say that it was a dangerous habit to talk of faith doing all this for us, as though our souls were to lie still and watch the work of their salvation; I remember he said that God gives us the will, the power, and the weapons, but he fights not for but in us; and while we owe every conquest to him, the fault of every defeat or delay is our own."
Madeline's eyes were full of light as they rested upon Ida's calm young face, and the fervor of their gaze had something painful in it. "Yes," she murmured, "we can do all things, all through him. Now read to me."
And Ida read falteringly, tenderly, as though in every word she were inflicting a wound upon herself, yet dared not stay her hand; and the last words sounded softly and awfully, like the voice of a bell tolling over wide waters.
"My sentence standeth sure; Unless a man forsake all, he cannot be my disciple. If thou therefore desire to be my disciple, offer up thyself unto me, with thy whole affections.'
She closed the volume. Madeline's face was buried in her outspread hands. Ida kneeled down before her, and laid her clasped hands upon her knee. "Listen to me, dearest," said she, after a pause; "I have something to say to you."
Oh, that little, quiet, common phrase, “I have something to say to you!" How often does it usher in the terrors, the griefs, the agonies of life! Love that has grown cold, so announces the change which maketh desolate; kindness that "Aye, self-denial," rejoined Madeline. "But would fain soften the pain it is forced to inflict, what is self-denial? what is it that we see and takes refuge in that brief preface to a whole know which takes the name of self-denial. A volume of sorrows; mere politeness borrows it man who is naturally generous, takes the duty of sometimes, a thin disguise for absolute cruelty; charity, and gives all his substance to the poor; and sometimes too, shy happiness holds it up as a one who was born gentle, endures insult and prov-screen, and shows her bright countenance peeping ocation with meekness; one who is naturally from behind it, after one moment's ineffectual reserved and distrustful, sacrifices human affec- hesitation. It is like the seal upon a letter, betions, and turns away from earthly happiness. tokening something within, perchance the sentence This is called self-denial-but it is a mere cheat- of a lifetime.
"You here!" I exclaimed, in no very courteous tone, as I turned round, and saw my old friend Dr. Linnel quietly seating himself by my bedside. "Who sent for you?"
"No one; I was brought hither by one of the best and prettiest young ladies in all Warwickshire your daughter."
“Then Sarah has not only taken a very great liberty, but has disobeyed my positive orders, as she has done more than once lately. For some time past has she been pestering me to send for you, which I have constantly refused to do. I have told her, at least a hundred times, that I don't like physic, and hate doctors."
"I am glad to see that your malady has not injured your talent for paying compliments."
"Nay, I meant not to say anything rude or personal. As a visitant or a friend I am always glad to see you. Even when you are sarcastic and say sharp things, as you do sometimes, one cannot be offended with a man who wears such a bland, imperturbable smile, and speaks in so soft a voice; but as a writer of prescriptions, I confess frankly-you know I hate flummery—that I had rather have your room than your company. When my time 's come, I can die without the assistance of a doctor."
"Well, I don't know. I have certainly had a good deal of worry and anxiety lately."
"Yet few men have been so prosperous. world gives you credit for having made an immense fortune by your contracts with government."
"The world says true; but wealth, I find, cannot always buy health, and still less happiness. I tell you what, doctor-when a fellow has everything to fear and nothing to hope, he will sometimes look back with regret to the careless days when he had everything to hope and nothing to fear."
"Thank Heaven, I am in the former predicament, and trust always to remain so."
"Nay, doctor, you may get rich when you get old, as I have done."
"In other words, I may scrape up money when I am too old to enjoy it, and cannot long retain it. I hope the blind goddess will spare me all such cruel kindness.'
"Fate has spared you one calamity—you have no children. I have only two; but, oh! my dear Linnel! words cannot tell you how much disappointment, misery, and vexation, they have latterly occasioned me. If there is one man I hate more than another, it is Godfrey Thorpe, of Oakfield Hall, and not without many and good reasons,
"Very likely; but the question is, can you exclusively of his being a pompous, supercilious live without it?"
blockhead, as proud as Lucifer and as poor as Job.
"Why not? I am sixty-three, and never con- First, he procured me to be blackballed at the sulted a physician in all my life."
"Perhaps you were never ill before?"
"Never! and I'm not exactly ill now, only completely out of sorts, as most men are at this precise time of life-weak and languid, and all that sort of thing-seedy, as my son George calls it; and so I promised Sarah that I would lie abed to-day, just to see whether it would recruit me a bit."
"Your daughter gave you very good advice; and perhaps I may be able to do the same, if you will tell me the exact nature of your ailment, which you can hardly refuse, now that you have confessed yourself to be completely out of sorts, and that I have come so far on purpose to see you."
"I have already told you my complaint; I am sixty-three-my grand climacteric, you know:
County Club, insolently declaring that he could not associate with a ci-devant maltster. Secondly, his interest with the commissary-general, and certain charges of malpractices on my part-for I'm sure the slanders came from him-prevented my getting the great contract for supplying the cavalry with provender. Thirdly, he ousted me from the borough which I had represented for five years, actually beating me with my own money, for I had just lent him an additional eight thousand pounds on the Oakfield estate, which is now mortgaged to its full value. However, there is one comfort; if he goes on much longer with his hounds and horses, and his grand establishment, I hope, one of these fine days, to foreclose, and oust him from his boasted old hall, just as he turned me out of my borough.'
"Provoking enough, I confess; but what has all