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HIS HONOR'S DAUGHTER.
JUDGE FANSHAWE's house and Miss Hester Campbell's stood side by side on Pearl avenue, but with a difference. The Judge's mansion soared upward, like Uhland's Castle by the Sea, and had a lofty portico with fluted pillars and seven stone steps to the sidewalk, and plate-glass windows of the most imposing dimensions. But Miss Hester's domicile was narrow, flat-faced, twostoried, with one timid little step advanced from the street-door, and had an air of not wishing to intrude, and of being on the point of getting itself out of the way, if only people wouldn't look.
"They seem resolved that I shall go," the consumptive little spinster sighed. "I am offered mints of money for my estate; and when I refuse, am elbowed by brown stone, clawed at by iron railings, and glared at by great windows, till I feel like little Red Riding-Hood before the wolf, and expect every moment to see a pair of wide jaws open, and eat me up quite. The very horses paw at my sidewalk when they are drawn up in front of it, and the coachmen say things to each other, and point at me with their thumbs. (I wonder why it seems more ignominious to be pointed at with the thumb than in any other way?) But transplanting would kill me, laddie. I must live out my little time here in my childhood's home. When I am gone, you can do as you please."
The person addressed as "laddie " was a stalwart young man of twentyseven years at least, with a fine, spirited face, blue eyes that saved his mouth a good deal of talking, and thick tawny hair that fell into separate locks like plumes-Lieutenant Donald Campbell, Miss Hester's cousin and heir.
Seeing this gentleman look at her with a Scotch mist in his eyes, the little lady made haste to brighten up, and
add, with a smile, " And what should I do without that pretty creature to look at?"
The soldier blushed faintly all over his face; his mouth, that had been compressed, melted with something sweeter than a smile, and he turned his eyes quickly away and looked out the window, to hide the sudden brightness in them.
It was an October gloaming, and as he faced the window, Lieutenant Campbell looked across the narrow side-street that separated them from the next house, and saw a charming group, framed in a living sculpture of windtossed woodbine, surrounding the library window opposite. A shaded lamp hung from the chandelier, and threw a circle of brilliant light into the centre of the room. In the midst of that light, painted, as it were, in strong relief, like one of those old pictures we see on a background of gold, sat Judge Fanshawe and his daughter, a slim, bright girl of nineteen, both reading from the same book. Rose had drawn a tabouret close to her father's side, and leaned on the arm of his chair, turning the leaves as they read, and his hand rested on her shoulder. The same beam of light that made his forehead look marble-white, and glimmered on his eye-glasses, slipped lower, dropped a crinkled gilding in her dark hair, and showed her brow, fair as a lily. The dark blue of her dress lay soft, fold on fold, against the red of his dressinggown, which seemed to have stained her blooming cheeks. Miss Hester had, with good reason, called Rose Fanshawe "that pretty creature."
The book they read must have been amusing, for all the time a smile played around the Judge's lips, and now and then Rose glanced in his face and laughed.
As the young man gazed lingeringly
at them, the readers both looked up, then rose to meet a visitor who came toward them from the shadows surrounding their golden medallion.
Lieutenant Campbell pulled the curtain down with a snap, then lighted the gas and drew his cousin's chair round before the fire, standing behind her a moment, leaning on the chair-back, while she looked uneasily into the transparent violet flicker in the grate. Then he came forward to the chimneycorner, and stood there, very erect, with his hands behind him. 66 Hester," he said, "I am not yet thirty years of age; but I am a very old-fashioned fellow."
There was no apparent reason why the young man should find this a very irritating fact, but his eyes flashed as he spoke. "I am so old-fashioned as to hate a swindler, and to be angry when I see respectable people welcome him;" he went on, excitedly. "Do you know how that fellow got rich? "
Miss Hester looked up wistfully into her cousin's face, knowing full well the real cause of his anger. "Mr. Francis Grey, you mean?" she asked. "Is he rich?"
"Rich he is a Midas, ears and all. I know his history. Five years ago his father died and left him with expensive tastes, no profession, and ten thousand dollars-imminent beggary, of course, for a man like him. What to do? His eye fell upon Blentdavir, the arch-nurse of stocks:
And now they go up, up, up,
And now they go down, down, downy.' "Blentdavir was a relative, and felt obliged to give him a lift. He gave it in the way of a whisper in Grey's ear, 'When stock gets down to 23, buy all you can get.' Verbum sat sapienti. The fellow took heart, and set himself to watch and wait. Before long it was hinted that Blentdavir's stock was getting a little weak. Then it began to sink slowly. Do you know what that means, Hester? Can you fancy how the news was received by hundreds and thousands who had invested their little
all there? Fancy the widows, the orphans, the overworked fathers of families, the teachers, shop-girls, factorygirls, sewing-girls-all the toiling crowd who had stinted themselves in the pres ent for the sake of laying away something against a rainy day. You may be sure that they had pale faces and wild eyes and heavy hearts as that stock came down. 'Hold on,' Blentdavir said; it must come up again.' I suppose some of 'em did hold on as long as they could, or dared; but finally there was a panic. The poor wretches rushed to sell, and save at least a little, and Mr. Francis Grey bought up all that he could get, and wished for more. A few of the initiated snapped up the rest. Then there was a pause. Blentdavir wept with one eye, and with the other exchanged a wink with his master of the cloven foot.
"Probably Grey wasn't quite easy for a while. But in the fulness of time it was perceived that the stock, having reached its zero, was creeping up again by quarter cents and half cents, a step and a halt, a step and a halt. Then the steps grew firmer, by cents and fives. You know how such things go. 'I told you so!' Blentdavir said to the hungry ones, rubbing his hands. They didn't rub their hands. The mercury was out of their thermometers, and the bubbles burst.
"Now there was a dignified percentage; then a sudden rise to somewhere among the nineties. Grey sold out, and found himself the owner of a decent fortune. But the gambling spirit was up in him. He speculated in this and that-not honestly, but taking advantage of men's necessities-and every thing he touched turned to gold for him. He is rich, and growing richer, and he bids fair to become a power in the land. Business men look at him with wonder; and, blinded by his success, forget how it was won. But, Hester, I call him a swindler!"
While finishing his story, Donald Campbell had come out of his corner and walked up and down the room two or three times. He took another turn
in silence, then came back to lean on the mantel-piece.
"I am a wretch," he said, trying to laugh off his excitement. "I have distressed you. But see, now! I am as mild as a May morning."
She smiled tenderly on him-her sole remaining tie to earth. She would have been lonely indeed, lacking Donald. "Keep your May-morning temper, laddie," she said. "Let no man rob you of that, though he were a thousand times a swindler."
He looked at her kindly.
"Besides," she added, dropping her glance to the fire again, "I don't believe that he can rob you of any thing which is necessary to your happiness."
Miss Campbell was, as has been said, an invalid. She saw nothing of the world except what was visible through her windows; and one of her chief pleasures was to watch Rose Fanshawe. Rose was her widowed father's only child, and the supreme mistress of his house and heart. To see her trip down the steps for drive or promenade, or, more soberly on Sundays walk off to church with her father; to see her preside at table, or receive company with that naïve, blushing assumption of dignity; to note the little housewifely airs she took on herself; to see her, when dressed for party or opera, parade up and down the long parlor to display her toilet to her father and the servants whose smiling faces looked in at the door-all this was very pleasant for the lonely little woman across the way. It was pleasant to see Miss Rose, even in her less sunny moods, when some spoke had slipped into the household machinery, perhaps when the careless chamber-girl had left the Judge's pillows an inch awry, or forgotten a crumpled towel, or put his tooth-brush wrong end up.
Judge Fanshawe was called a stern man; but he did not appear to be ungrateful for this fond and jealous care. To be sure of that, one had but to see VOL. VI.- 5
him come home in the afternoon, note how his step quickened as he neared his own house, and how his face brightened as he glanced eagerly up at the windows. Then one could see him smile toward the door, and put the latch-key back into his pocket; see a slippered foot and the hem of a dress beyond the pillars of the vestibule, and, perhaps, hear some such greeting as this called out in a clear, girlish voice, "Welcome home, dear! And how does your honor do ?"
A moment later they might be seen entering the library, arm in arm ; when, as likely as not, Rose would find it necessary to re-arrange her father's cravat, or smooth the wrinkles out of his forehead, or set him to rights in some other equally important respect, chattering, all the time, without ceasing.
"And if what she says were wiser than the wisdom of Solomon, and more poetical than all the poets, he could not look better pleased," thinks Miss Hester.
Let it not for an instant be supposed that Miss Campbell watched her neighbors slyly, or that her observation was offensive. She was no such person, and they knew that she was not, and there was a tacit understanding between them on the subject.
"You see, padre mio," Miss Fanshawe said, "I like to have the dear little soul look over here. It seems to amuse her. Besides, she is perfectly well-bred about it, and shows as much delicacy as frankness. And I like the pluck she has shown in that bow-window affair."
For, in the face of multiplied importunities to sell, Miss Campbell had lately had a bow-window built upon the front of her house-a movement at once aggressive and conciliatory, indicating her determination not to be ousted, but also her desire to be as ornamental as circumstances would allow.
In this window, the evening after hearing the story of Mr. Francis Grey's fortunes, Miss Campbell sat leaning out into the soft October night, and watching the company next door. There had been a dinner-party of gentlemen, in
honor of Judge Fanshawe's fiftieth birthday, and though the greater part of them were 6C potent, grave, and reverend seigneurs," the watcher felt a special interest in looking, for her cousin and Mr. Francis Grey were the exceptional young men invited to keep their girlish hostess in countenance.
"Rose received my laddie very well," commented Miss Hester, to whom the open windows and curtains gave a full view of the rooms. "And no wonder. Donald's address is pleasing, even with that touch of diffidence he has, since it is never awkward. How well his auburn hair lights up, and what a winning smile he has, bless him! And now comes Mr. Grey, as finished and sharp as my scissors. He is handsome in his way; but I don't like that marble whiteness, with black hair. It looks too much like a pen-and-ink portrait of a man. A wash of sepia would improve him. Besides, he is too polished; and that is always a hard substance, I think, which takes so good a polish. Now Rose is going to the piano. Oh! why won't somebody stop that organ-grinder?"
by the jewelled arch of the milky-way, and swarming with stars. One of the gentlemen recited Blanco White's sonnet-" Mysterious Night "—and the others were silent while they stood, and silently, one by one, returned to the drawing-room.
Just inside the window Rose stood holding the curtain-tassel in her hand, and industriously counting the loops in the fringe, while she listened to something Mr. Francis Grey was saying to her. She looked up to smile as Lieutenant Campbell passed her, bowing lowly, then lowered her eyes and listened again; but only for a moment. Dropping the tassel, she turned away, with some slow, reluctant word, which the other had seemed to plead for, cast over her shoulder.
"You are too late, young man!" whispered Miss Hester, delightedly. "The Campbells are coming, Oho! Dinna ye hear the pibroch? "
A few days after this dinner the commercial world had a sensation. Mr.
Listening eagerly, she caught the last Francis Grey, having gone up like a stanza of the song:
"Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue; His breath's like cauler air;
His very fit has music in't,
As he comes up the stair.
And will I see his face again?
I'm downricht dizzy with the thoucht:
The inexorable hand-organ snatched away the rest, and ground it up.
Miss Campbell recollected the story of Madame de Staël, who, expecting a Scottish visitor, seated herself at her harp, and greeted his entrance to her salon with the strains of Lochaber no "Grace is the same the world over," she thought. "And a simple lassie may be as charming as a queen."
After the song was over, some of the company stepped out into a balcony to look at the night, lying in Rembrandt light and shade in the streets below, overhead an abyss of darkness, spanned
rocket, came down like a stick. Emboldened by his unexampled success, he had embarked in a daring speculation, and had failed. At any earlier period of his career recovery would have been possible; now his ruin was utter. It was not only a loss of money, but of reputation.
"I am thankful, my dear, that you were not engaged to him," Judge Fanshawe said, after having told his daughter what had happened.
Mr. Grey had offered himself to Rose, and, seeing his chance of a favorable answer very small, had urged her to wait a week before deciding. In that time he hoped to be able to tempt her with a brilliant fortune.
She stood silent a moment beside her father's chair, absently watching him lay out, on the table before him, the notes of a trial he was studying. "But, papa, you know I had not absolutely refused him," she said presently.
"He will scarcely give you the chance against Francis Grey, and we have no to do so now," was the reply.
"I don't know why he should not," she said.
Her father paused in his work to give her a glance of surprise.
"I pity him very much," she continued, her voice not quite steady.
Judge Fanshawe took up his papers again. "Of course you do! Women, and especially young women, often do pity without rhyme or reason. It might be as well if you should bestow a little sympathy on those he has ruined."
There was a lock of hair on the crown of this gentleman's head which had always been a great care to his daughter, in consequence of a tendency it had to stand up. She absently smoothed it down now, and, since it would not stay, laid another lock over it.
"Would you have condemned him if he had succeeded, papa?"
This question brought a faint color into the Judge's face. "If he had succeeded, he would have been able to meet his liabilities," he replied evasively.
"And now he is not? "Now he is not."
"People are very angry?" she asked, piling another lock of hair on to that troublesome one, which showed signs of revolt.
"They are ready to tear him in pieces, Rose. There are a dozen actions out against him.”
"But he expected to be able to pay, didn't he?"
"Just as I might expect that there will be fine weather a year from to-day. He meant to pay if he could; but the chances were ten to one against him."
"Isn't that the way he has been making money all along?" Rose asked in a more assured voice, and let her hand slip down to her father's shoulder, where it pressed.
Judge Fanshawe began to suspect that he was being rather cleverly crossquestioned, and he did not like it. "You don't understand these subjects, my child," he said, with a touch of impatience. "Public opinion pronounces
more to do with him. I shall probably give him a civil recognition when I meet him; but if he has the bad taste to put himself in your way, I wish you to take no notice of him. It is well known that he was a suitor of yours, and you cannot be too decided in letting it be seen that the affair is at an end."
He finished with a short nod, which in court the lawyers always understood to mean that there was no more to be said on that subject.
"Papa, I pity him very, very much," said Rose again.
Her father dropped his papers, stretched an arm, and drew her round in front of him. His face wore a startled expression. "My dear child," he said, "is this going to hurt you? Did you mean to accept him?"
"No, I did not," she answered quite steadily. "But I do not think it right to desert him because every one else does. Of course, he has done wrong; but that isn't what people condemn him for, or they would have been shocked a good while ago. And maybe, papa, if his other ventures had been frowned upon, he would not have made this."
Judge Fanshawe dropped his daughter's hand, and drew back with an air of displeasure.
"Don't be vexed!" she added hastily. "I can't help thinking, you know; and that is the way the affair looks to me.”
If the Judge had felt that he was on lofty and unassailable ground, he might have reasoned with his daughter. But he had already been at some pains to convince himself that he was not a tardy moralist, and it was mortifying to find that his suspicion was her conviction. "We will drop the subject, if you please," he said coldly, and resumed his employment.
Rose went to the window, and stood there looking out into the early twilight. "Poor fellow!" she thought, "what will he do? Perhaps he will kill himself. I wish somebody would be good to him. But no one will. I'm sure of that. I haven't lived nineteen years for