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more, Mrs Crane put on the look of a mother incensed-mild but awfuland scolded as mothers sometimes can scold. Jasper Losely began to be frightened at Mrs Crane's scoldings. And he had not that power over her, which, though arrogated by a lover, is denied to an adopted son. His mind, relieved from the habitual distraction of the gambling-table for which the resource was wanting settled with redoubled ardour on the image of Mrs Haughton. He had called at her house several times since the fatal day on which he had met there Colonel Morley, but Mrs Haughton was never at home. And as when the answer was given to him by the footman, he had more than once, on crossing the street, seen herself through the window, it was clear that his acquaintance was not courted. Jasper Losely, by habit, was the reverse of a pertinacious and troublesome suitor not, Heaven knows, from want of audacity, but from excess of self-love. Where a Lovelace so superb condescended to make overtures, a Clarissa so tasteless as to decline them deserved and experienced his contempt. Besides, steadfast and prolonged pursuit of any object, however important and attractive, was alien to the levity and fickleness of his temper. But in this instance he had other motives than those on the surface for unusual per
A man like Jasper Losely never reposes implicit confidence in any one. He is garrulous, indiscreet lets out much that Machiavel would have advised him not to disclose; but he invariably has nooks and corners in his mind which he keeps to himself. Jasper did not confide to his adopted mother his designs upon his intended bride. But she knew them through Poole, to whom he was more frank; and when she saw him looking over her select and severe library-taking therefrom the Polite Letter-Writer and the Elegant Extracts, Mrs Crane divined at once that Jasper Losely was meditating the effect of epistolary seduction upon the widow of Gloucester Place. Jasper did not write a bad loveletter in the florid style. He had at his command, in especial, certain poetical quotations, the effect of
"When he who adores thee has left but the name
Of his faults and his follies behind."
Armed with these quotationsmany a sentence from the Polite Letter-Writer or the Elegant Extracts and a quire of rose-edged paper, Losely sate down to Ovidian composition. But as he approached the close of Epistle the First, it occurred to him that a signature and address were necessary. The address not difficult. He could give Poole's (hence his confidence to that gentleman)-Poole had a lodging in Bury Street, St James, a fashionable locality for single men. But the name required more consideration. There were insuperable objections against signing his own, to any person who might be in communication with Mr Darrell-a pity, for there was a good old family of the name of Losely. A name of aristocratic sound might indeed be readily borrowed from any lordly proprietor thereof without asking a formal consent. But this loan was exposed to danger. Mrs Haughton might very naturally mention such name, as borne by her husband's friend, to Colonel Morley, and Colonel Morley would most probably know enough of the connections and relations of any peer so honoured, to say "there is no such Greville, Cavendish, or Talbot." But Jasper Losely was not without fertility of invention and readiness of resource. A grand idea, worthy of a master, and proving that, if the man had not been a rogue in grain, he could have been reared into a very clever politician, flashed across him. He would sign himself" SMITH." Nobody could say there is no such Smith; nobody could say that a Smith might not be a most respectable, fashionable, highlyThere are Smiths connected man.
who are millionaires-Smiths who are large-acred squires-substantial baronets- peers of England, and pillars of the State-members even of the British Cabinet. You can no more question a man's right to be a Smith than his right to be a Briton; and wide as the diversity of rank, lineage, virtue, and genius in Britons, is the diversity in Smiths. But still a name so generic often affects a definitive precursor. Jasper signed himself" J. COURTENAY SMITH.'
He called, and left Epistle the First with his own kid-gloved hand, inquiring first if Mrs Haughton were at home, and, responded to in the negative, this time, he asked for her son. "Her son was gone abroad with Colonel Morley." Jasper, though sorry to lose present hold over the boy, was consoled at learning that the Colonel was off the ground. More sanguine of success, he glanced up at the window, and, sure that Mrs Haughton was there, though he saw her not, lifted his hat with as melancholy an expression of reproach as he could throw into his face.
The villain could not have found a moment in Mrs Haughton's widowed life so propitious to his chance of success. In her lodging-house at Pimlico, the good lady had been too incessantly occupied for that idle train of reverie, in which the poets assure us that Cupid finds leisure to whet his arrows, and take his aim. Had Lionel still been by her side-had even Colonel Morley been in townher affection for the one, her awe of the other, would have been her safeguards. But alone in that fine new house-no friends, no acquaintances as yet no dear visiting circle on which to expend the desire of talk and the zest for innocent excitement that are natural to ladies of an active mind and a nervous temperament, the sudden obtrusion of a suitor so respectfully ardent-oh, it is not to be denied that the tempta
tion was IMMENSE!
And when that note, so neatly folded-so elegantly sealed-lay in her irresolute hand, the widow could not but feel that she was still young, still pretty; and her heart flew back to the day when the linen-draper's fair daughter had been the cynosure
of the provincial High Street-when young officers had lounged to and fro the pavement, looking in at her window-when ogles and notes had alike beset her, and the dark eyes of the irresistible Charlie Haughton had first taught her pulse to tremble. And in her hand lies the letter of Charlie Haughton's particular friend. She breaks the seal. She reads-a declaration!
Five letters in five days did Jasper write. In the course of those letters, he explains away the causes for suspicion which Colonel Morley had so ungenerously suggested. He is no longer anonymous-he is J. Courtenay Smith. He alludes incidentally to the precocious age in which he had become "lord of himself, that heritage of woe." This accounts for his friendship with a man so much his senior as the late Charlie. He confesses that, in the vortex of dissipation, his hereditary estates have disappeared; but he has still a genteel independence; and with the woman of his heart, &c., &c. He had never before known what real love was, &c. "Pleasure had fired his maddening soul;" but the heart- the heart been lonely still." He entreated only a personal interview, even though to be rejected-scorned. Still, when
"he who adored her had left but the name," &c., &c. Alas! alas! as Mrs Haughton put down Epistle the Fifth, she hesitated; and the woman who hesitates in such a case, is sure, at least—to write a civil answer.
Mrs Haughton wrote but three lines-still they were civil-and conceded an interview for the next day, though implying that it was but for the purpose of assuring Mr J. Courtenay Smith in person, of her unalterable fidelity to the shade of his lamented friend.
In high glee Jasper showed Mrs Haughton's answer to Dolly Poole, and began seriously to speculate on the probable amount of the widow's income, and the value of her movables in Gloucester Place. Thence he repaired to Mrs Crane; and, emboldened by the hope, for ever, to escape from her maternal tutelage, braved her scoldings, and asked for a couple of sovereigns. He was sure that he should be in luck that night.
She gave to him the sum, and spared the scoldings. But, as soon as he was gone, conjecturing, from the
bravado of his manner, what had really occurred, Mrs Crane put on her bonnet and went out.
Unhappy is the man who puts his trust in--a woman.
Late that evening a lady, in a black veil, knocked at No. ** Gloucester Place, and asked to see Mrs Haughton on urgent business. She was admitted. She remained but five minutes.
The next day, when " gay as a bridegroom prancing to his bride," Jasper Losely presented himself at the widow's door, the servant placed in his hand a packet, and informed him bluffly that Mrs Haughton had gone out of town. Jasper with difficulty suppressed his rage, opened the packet-his own letters returned, with these words,-"Sir, your name is not Courtenay Smith. If you trouble me again I shall apply to the police." Never from female hand had Jasper Losely's pride re
ceived such a slap on its face. He was literally stunned. Mechanically he hastened to Arabella Crane; and having no longer any object in concealment, but, on the contrary, a most urgent craving for sympathy, he poured forth his indignation and wrongs. No mother could be more consolatory than Mrs Crane. She soothed, she flattered, she gave him an excellent dinner; after which she made him so comfortable-what with an easy-chair and complimentary converse, that, when Jasper rose late to return to his lodging, he said: "After all, if I had been ugly and stupid, and of a weakly constitution, I should have been of a very domestic turn of mind.”
No Author ever drew a character, consistent to human nature, but what he was forced to ascribe to it many inconsistencies.
Whether moved by that pathetic speech of Jasper's, or by some other impulse not less feminine, Arabella Crane seemed suddenly to conceive the laudable and arduous design of reforming that portentous sinner. She had some distant relations in London, whom she very rarely troubled with a visit, and who, had she wanted anything from them, would have shut their doors in her face; but as, on the contrary, she was well off, single, and might leave her money to whom she pleased, the distant relations were always warm in manner, and prodigal in their offers of service. The next day she repaired to one of these kinsfolk-a person in a large way of business-and returned home with two great books in white sheepskin. And when Losely looked in to dine, she said, in the suavest tones a tender mother can address to an amiable truant, "Jasper, you have great abilities-at the gamingtable abilities are evidently useless
-your forte is calculation-you were always very quick at that. I have been fortunate enough to procure you an easy piece of taskwork, for which you will be liberally remunerated. A friend of mine wishes to submit these books to a regular accountant; he suspects that a clerk has cheated him, but he cannot tell how or where. You know accounts thoroughly-no one better-and the pay will be ten guineas."
Jasper, though his early life had rendered familiar and facile to him the science of book-keeping and double-entry, made a grimace at the revolting idea of any honest labour, however light and well paid. But ten guineas were an immense temptation, and in the evening Mrs Crane coaxed him into the task.
Neglecting no feminine art to make the lawless nomad feel at home under her roof, she had provided for his ease and comfort morocco slippers and a superb dressing-robe, in material rich, in colour becoming.
Men, single or marital, are accustomed to connect the idea of home with dressing-gown and slippers, especially if, after dinner, they apply (as Jasper Losely now applied) to occupations in which the brain is active, the form in repose. What achievement, literary or scientific, was ever accomplished by a student strapped to unyielding boots, and cabined, cribbed, confined," in a coat that fits him like wax? As robed in the cosy garment which is consecrated to the sacred familiar Lares, the relaxing, handsome ruffian sate in the quiet room, bending his still regular profile over the sheepskin books-the harmless pen in that strong well-shaped hand, Mrs Crane watched him with a softening countenance. To bear him company, she had actively taken herself to work
the gold thimble dragged from its long repose-marking and hemming, with nimble artistic fingers, new cravats for the adopted son! Strange creature is Woman! Ungrateful and perfidious as that sleek tiger before her had often proved himself though no man could less deserve one kindly sentiment in a female heart-though she knew that he cared nothing for her, still it was pleasing to know that he cared for nobody else that he was sitting in the same room-and Arabella Crane felt, that if that existence could continue, she could forget the past, and look contented towards the future. Again I say, strange creature is woman--and in this instance, creature more strange, because so grim !
But as her eyes soften, and her fingers work, and her mind revolves schemes for making that lawless wild beast an innocuous tame animal, who can help feeling for and with grim Arabella Crane?
Poor woman! And will not the experiment succeed? Three evenings does Jasper Losely devote to this sinless life and its peaceful occupation. He completes his taskhe receives the ten guineas. (How much of that fee came out of Mrs Crane's privy purse?) He detects three mistakes, which justify suspicion of the book-keeper's integrity. Set a thief to catch a thief! He is praised for acuteness, and promised a still lighter employment,
to be still better paid. He departs, declaring that he will come the next day, earlier than usual-he volunteers an eulogium upon work in general-he vows that evenings so happy he has not spent for years; he leaves Mrs Crane so much impressed by the hope of his improvement, that if a good clergyman had found her just at that moment, she might almost have been induced to pray. But
"Heu quoties fidem
Mutatosque deos flebit!" Jasper Losely returns not, neither to Podden Place nor to his lodging in the neighbourhood. Days elapse; still he comes not; even Poole does not know where he has gone; even Poole has not seen him! But that latter worthy is now laid up with a serious rheumatic fever-confined to his room and water gruel. And Jasper Losely is not the man to intrude himself on the privacy of a sickchamber. Mrs Crane, more benevolent, visits Poole-cheers him upgets him a nurse-writes to Uncle Sam. Poole blesses her. He hopes that Uncle Sam, moved by the spectacle of his sick-bed, will say, "Don't let your debts fret youwill pay them!" Whatever her disappointment or resentment at Jasper's thankless and mysterious evasion, Arabella Crane is calmly confident of his return. To her servant, Bridgett Greggs, who was perhaps the sole person in the world who entertained affection for the lone gaunt woman, and who held Jasper Losely in profound detestation, she said, with tranquil sternness, "That man has crossed my life, and darkened it. He passed away, and left Night behind him. He has dared to return. He shall never escape me again, till the grave yawn for one of us.'
"But, Lor love you, miss, you would not put yourself in the power of such a black-hearted villing?"
"In his power! No, Bridgett ; fear not, he must be in mine-sooner or later in mine- hand and foot. Patience!"
As she was thus speaking a knock at the door-" It is he-I told you so -quick!"
But it was not Jasper Losely. It was Mr Rugge.
THE BELLS OF BOTREAUX.
THERE are spots and nooks in the world, so wild and isolated, so set in contrast by oddness of position with the general order and economy, that they seem accidents, freaks or afterthoughts of nature. Such is the little harbour of Boscastle, on the north coast of Cornwall. It was an after-thought. There the sea has made for itself an inlet betwixt the bold headlands of the rocky shore, where it tides, boils, and surges in a little cove, surrounded by dark walls of cliff and jutting points, expending its force against the small pier, which forms a confined and partial shelter for the few ships trading thither. A deep narrow valley, through which a tiny streamlet runs over a stony shelving bed, betwixt the sloping sides of grassy furze-clad steeps, leads inland to a few straggling houses, scattered along the foot of the hills, and connected by a rude bridge. Here were the few stores, shops, and yards which the trade and traffic of the place required; here were the houses of the wild seamen and fishers, who battled through life with the storms and surfs, the perils and difficulties of that rock-bound coast; and here the rude quarrymen from a neighbouring district laid their heads, took their chance meals, their chance rests and recreations. Amid this hard-bred, hard-living, rough-tutored commonalty, moved a small and well-graduated aristocracy of craftsmen, shipwrights, clerks, and merchants. The houses were simple and commonplace enough, but the shadows of the overhanging hills, now dark with cloud-gloom, now rich and mellow with the bloom of furze and heath, and the distant roar of the surf and the glimpses of spray and foam, gave to the place a wild picturesqueness which toned well with the life of the people. At times, too, when the storms arose, when the waves surged loudly and heavily against the shore, and the winds swept up the valley with a drear and sullen boom, and the storm
shades fell darkly and wildly, the vale-head, with its cluster of homesteads, was raised into sublimity. How often does nature thus clothe the homeliness of man with its own beauty and grandeur! how often, again, does man invest its commonplaces with a sacredness and a glory! This spot was, however, but the outskirt, the offset of the town, which lay strewn on the face of the hill in clumps and heaps of houses, massed like boulders or tors along the side of a steep and tortuous road, which led down towards the harbour.
On a Christmas Eve, some time in the beginning of this centurywhen men still wore their singularities and their individualism, and ere civilisation had reduced society to one Procrustean standard-a group of men were assembled in the skittlealley of the village inn. It was a long thatched shed, open at the end and one side, and having benches all around for the spectators. It was a wild, strange group. There were the hard-lined, weather-beaten faces, and strong, stalwart, toil-hardened forms of pilots and fishermen, clad in the thick heavy boots, the large woollen frocks hanging in folds round their waists, and the fur cap or oilskin hat, which seems as peculiar to the class as his skin is to the bear; of quarrymen, heavy, dull, and clay-stained, and of sturdy, homelylooking yeomen. In the midst, with a sort of half-acknowledged authority and precedence, sat a large, stout, muscular man of herculean build, but whose giant proportions were confused and lost by his loose mode of sitting: the face was broad and ruddy, the brow wide and open. This was old John Truscott, a famous wrestler, who had not only carried off the hats, purses, and other prizes at the neighbouring games, but had actually "gone foreign show his prowess-that is, had gone into the next county to meet the challenge of a man who claimed the championship of the kingdom;