OCR Interpretation

The evening telegraph. [volume] (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1864-1918, December 23, 1867, FOURTH EDITION, SUPPLEMENT, Image 9

Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025925/1867-12-23/ed-1/seq-9/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

nnii if
VOL, VIII-No 149.
1 1 IN
n y
CtnfintKclrc-m cur Inst
The summer and the autumu had passed.
Christmas aud the New Year were at band.
As executors honestly boot ou performing;
their duty to wards the dead, Veudale and Bin
trey had held more than one anxious consulta
lion on the subject of Wilding's will. The law
yer had declared from tho first, that it ws
Blinply impossible to take any useful action in
the matter at all. The only obvious inquiries to
jnake, in relation to the lost man, Lai been
made already by Wilding himself; with this
result, that time and death togctner hid not
left a trace of him diseoveiable. To advertisa
lor tho claimants to the property.it would ba
necessary to mention particulars a course of
proceeding which would iuvite half the impos
tors in England to present themselves in the
character of the true Whiter Wilding. "If we
nd & chance of tracing the lost man, we will
take It. If we dou'l, let us meet for another
consultation ou the first anniversary of Wild
ing's death." 80 Bin trey alvi.-eJ. And so, with
U e most earnest dsire to fu!61 hi dead friend's
"Wishes, Vendale was fain to let the matter rest
for the present.
Turn. ng, iroui his In'eret in the past to' his
Interest in the future, Veudale still lound hitn
a.lt confronting a douottul prospect. Months
on mouths had passed since his first visit to
fcoh'j.aquiire and tbroupn all that time the one
language in which he had told Marguerite that
he loved her was the language of the eyes,
a gisted, at convenient opportunities, by the
language of the hand.
What, was the OS. aclo in his way ? The one
immovable obstacle which had b.en in his way
from the first. No matter bo fairly the oppor
tunities looked, Vendale's efforts tj speak with
Maigucrite aloue, ended iuvariaoly iu one and
the same result. Under the most accidental cir
cumstances, in the most inuocent manuer pos
sible, Obenreizer was always in the way.
With the last days ot the old year came an un
expected cbanoe of spending; an evening with
Margutrite, which Veudale resolved should be a
chance of speaking privately to her as well. A
coidinl njte from Obenreizer invited him, ou
Jsew Year's Day, to a bale family dinner In
Boho Square. ' We shall be only lour," tho note
Baid. "We shall be only two," Veudale deter
mined, "before the evening is out!"
New Year's Day. among ihe English, is asso
ciated with the iriving and receiving ot dinners,
and with nothiug more. New Year's Dy,
among the foteisuers, is the grand opportunity
ef the year for the giving auu receiving o; pre
sents. It Is occasionally possible to acclimatize
a loieiun custom. It this Instance Vendiile felt
no het-itatiou about making the attempt. His
one d.ilieulty was to decide what his New Year's
gift to Marguerite should be. Tiie defensive
pilde of tue peasant's daughter morbidly sen
sitive to tho inequality oelween her social
position and his would be secretly roused
acainht him if he ventured ou a rich ottering.
A gi',t which a poor man's purse mtgtit purchase
was the one gitt that could be trusted to tind its
way to her heart, tor the givei's pake. Stoutly
resisting, temptation, ia the lorm of diatnouts
and rubies, Veudulu bought a br.ioeh of th?
filazree work of Genoa the simplest and most
unpretending ornament that he could find in tho
jeweller's shop.
Hp siinned his oiit into Mirguerlte's baud as
Bhe held it out to welcome him ou the day of
the dinner.
"This is roiir fiist New Year a Pay in Eng-
land," he said. "Will you let me help tomato
it like a New Year's Day at home ?"
Ehe thaDked him, a little constrainedly, as
he looked at the jeweller's box, unecrtain what
it mu-'ht coutaiu. Opening the box, and dis
covering the studiously sunple form under
which Vendale's little keepsake offered itself to
her, she penetrated his motive ou the spot.
Her face turned on him brightly, with a look
which said, "I own you have pleased aud tUt-te-ed
me." Never had she baeu o charming,
iu Vendale's eyes, as she was at that moment,
ller winter dressa petticoat of dark ulk, with
a bodice of black velvet rising to her neck, and
enclosing it softly in a little circle of swan's
down beiffbteijed, by all the force of coutritst,
the dazzling fairness ot her hair aud her com
plexion. It was only when she turned aside
Irom him to the glass, and, taking oat the
brooch that she wore, put hu New Year's
gift in its place, that Vendale's attention wan
dered far enough away from her to discover the
presence ot other persons in the room, lie
dow became conscious that the hands ot Oben
reizsr were atlectiouately in possession of his
elbows. He now heard the voice of Obenreizer
thankins him lor Ids atteutiou to Marguerite,
with tbe faintest possible ring ot m x kery iu its
tone, ("ouch a bimple present, dour sir ! uud
showing such nice taa") lie now discovered,
for the first time, that there was one other guc-it,
and but one, be-iJes himself, whom Obenreizer
presented as a compatriot and friend. Tho
fiiend's lace wa mouldy, and tho friend's figure
was lat. His age was suggestive of the autumnal
p:nod ot human liie. I it the course ot the eve
ling he developed two extraordinary capacities.
One was a capacity lor silence; the other was a
capacity for emptying bottles.
Madame Dor was not in the room. Neither
was there any visible piue reserved for her
when they sat down to table. Obenreizer e-
lained tmit it wus "the good uor's simple uanit
) dine al as In the middle ot the day. She
would mike tier circuses later in the evening."
Vendale woudered whether the good Dor hid,
on fnis occft'ion, varied her domestic employ
ment lrom cleaning Obenreizer's gloves to cook
ing Ooeureizer's dinner. Tuia ut least was cer
ta 11 the dishes served were, one and all, as
achievements in cuokery, high above the reaou
of the rude elementary art of Kngland. The
dinuer was unobtrusively perlect. As for the
wine, the eyes of the speechless friend rollod
over it, as "in solemn ecstisy. Sometimes ho
eald "Good !" when a bottle came in full; and
tometines he said "Ah 1" when a bottle went
out empty arid there his contributions to the
gayety of the evening ended.
bileuce is occasionally iulectious. Oppressed
bv iirivate anxieties of their own. Margueritu
aud Vendale appeared to icel the influence of
the speechle.ss frier, d. Tbe whole responsibility
ot keepin the talk going rested on Obenreizer'
B'loulder, and manfully did Ooenreizr sus
tain it. lie opened ins heart in the character
of an enli (Aliened foreigner, and sing ihe
praises of England. Wheno'ber topics ran dry,
lie returned to this inexhaustible source, and
always set the stream running again ascopiously
as ever. Obenreizer would have given an arm,
an eje, or a lea to have been born an Emrli-di-snan.
Out ot Kuglnnd there was no such iu
etitutiou as a home, no such thing at a fireside,
no such object as a beautiful woman. . fits dear
Miss Marguerite would excuse him, if be ac
counted lor her attraclions on the theory ihut
Fnglith blood must have bepu mixed at some
former time with their ob-cure and unknown
ancestry. Survey this English nation, and
behold a till, clean, plump, and solid people 1
l.ook at their cities I What magnlflcence iu
their public buildings I What admirable order
and propriety Iu their streets! Admire their
laws, combining the eternal principle of
lustice with the other eterual principle of
poimds. shillings, and pence; and aoplyiug tbe
product to all civil injuries, from an injury to a
man's honor, to au iujtiry to a man's nose ! You
have mined my daughter pounds sbilliii!,
and pence I You have knocked me down with
a blow in my fnee pounds, shillings, and
prncel W hero wus the inat-rnl pnsperltyot
such a couutry as iliat to stop ! Obenreizer,
projecting himself into the future, failed to see
the end of it. Obenreizer's enthusiasm entieated
permission to exhale itself, English fashion, in a
tonft. line is our modst liltly diuuerovr,
here Is our frugal dessert on the table, and here
is tbe admirer of Kngland conforming to na
tional customs, and making a speech 1 A tuast
to your white cl ill's of Albion, Mr. Veudale I to
your Dallonal viilues, your charming climate,
ttnd jour fascinating women ! to jour Hearths,
to your Homes, to jour Habeas Corpus, an t to
all your other institutions 1 In one word to
KnulMiid! lleep-hcep-heep 1 hooray 1
Obenreizer' voice had bareiy chanted the
last in te of the English cheer, the speechless
frieud had barely drained the last drop out of
bis glass, when the festive proceedings were in
ttrrupted by a mooest tap at the door. A
woman-servant came in, and approached her
muster with a little note in her hand. Oben
n izer opened the note with a iroffu; aud, after
readiig it with au expression of genuine annoy
ance, pasted it on to bis compatriot an i frieud.
Vendale's spirits rose as ho watched tuese pro
ceedings. Hd bo found an ally In the aunoyine
little note? Was tho loog-looked-for chanco
actually coming at last?
"lam afraid there is no help for itf" said
Obenie.ier, addressing his fellow-countryman.
"I am a Irani we must go."
The speechless fiiend banded back tbe letter,
shnipaed his heavy shoulders, aud poured him
self out a last glass of win. His fat tiu?ers lin
gered touulv round the neok ot the bottle. They
pressed it with a little amatory squeeze at part
ing. His globular eyes looked dimly, as through
an inteiveninghaze, at Vendale and Marguerite.
His heavy articulation labored, aud brought
lorthawhole seuteuce at a birth. "1 think,"
he said, "1 should have liked a little more
wiuc." His breath failed him after that effort;
he easpt d, a&d walked to the door.
Obenreizer addressed himself to Voudale with
an appearance ot the deepest distress.
"1 fim so shocked, so confused, so distressed,"
he begnn. "A inisioriuue ha happened to oue
ot my compatriots. He is alone, no is Ignorant
ol jour language I aud my good frieud, here,
have no choice but to go and nelp him. What
can I say in my excuse? How can I descrioe
my alllictiou at depriving myself in this way of
the honor ot your company?"
He paused, evidcrtly expecting to see Ven
dale take up his hat and retire. Discerning his
appirtunity ut last, Veudale determined to do
nothing Dt the kind. He met Obenreizer dex
terously, with tjbenreizer's own weapons.
"I'ray don't distress yourself," he said. "I'll
wait here with the greatest pleasure till you
tome back."
Marguerite blushed deepy, and turned away
to htr embroidery frame iu a corner by the
window. Tne film showed itself in Obenreizer's
eye, and the smilo came something sourly to
Obenrwzer's lips.- To have told. Vendale that
there was no reanuble prospect of his coming
back in good time would have been to risk:
offending a mun whose favorable opinion was
ot solid commercial importance to him. Accept
ing his ueleat with the best possible giace, he
declared himself to be equally honored aud de
lighted by Vendale's proposal, "rio frank, so
fuenuly, so Euglish!" He bustled about, ap
parently looking lor something he wanted, dis
appeared lor a moment through the foldiug
doois communicutiug with tbe next room, came
buck with his bat and coat, aud protesting Unit
he would return at. the e.irliest possible moiueut,
embraced Vendale's elbows, aud vanished from
the scer.e In company with the kpeechlebs frieud
Veuuale turned to the corner by the window,
in which Marguerite had placed herself with
her wot k. There, as if she had dropped lrom
the ceiling, or come up through the floor
there, in the old attitude, with her face to the
stove sat an obstacle that bad not been fore
seen, in the person of Madame Dorl She half
uoi up, half looked over her broad shoulder at
Veudale, and plumped down agaiti. Was she at
work? Yes. Cleaning Obenreizer's gloves, as
beloie? No; darning obenreizer's stockiues.
The case was now desperate. Two serious
coutiderutlous presented themselves to Veudale.
Was it posbible to put Madame Dor into tue
stove? The stove wouldn't hold her. Was it
possible to tieat Madame Dor, not as a livinjr
woman, but as an article of luruiture? Could
the minu be brought to contemplate this respect
able matron purely in the light of a chest ot
drawers, with a black gauze head-dre9s auci
dentally left on the top of it? Yes, the mind
could be brouehi to do that. With a compara
tively trifimg ellort Vendale's mind did it. As
he took his place on the old-lashioned window
Beat, close by Marguerite aud her embroidery, a
slight movement appeared in the chest of
drainers, but no remark issued from it. Let .t be
remembered that solid furniture is not easy to
move, and that it has this advantage iu coue-quence-there
is no tear of upsetting it.
Unusually silent aud unusually constrained
with the biighi color last fading from her luce,
with a feverish energy possessing her fingers
the pretty Marguerite bent over her embroi
dery, and winked as it her life depended on
it. Hardly less agitated himself, Veadule felt
tbe importance ot leaving her very gehtly to
the avowal wlmh he was eager to make to the
other sweeter avowal still, which be was long
ing to hear. A woman's love is never to ba
tukrn bj storm; it yields insensibly to a system
of gradual a oproucli. It ventures by the round
about way, and listens to the low voice. Ven
dale led her memory back to their past meetings
when they wore travelling together iu 8 itzer
laiid. They revived the imprusbions, they re
called the events or the happy bygone times.
Little by little, Marcuertte's coustruint vanished.
She smiled, she was ii.terested, she looked at
Vendale, ihe grew idle with her needle, she
made false stitches in her work. Tneir voicos
sank lower and lower; their laces bent nearer
to each other as they spoke. And Madame
Dor? Madame Dor helmed like an au'.'cf. She
never looked round; she never said a worJ; she
went on with Obenrelzei's stockings. Pulling
each stocking up tight over ber left arm, aud
holding that arm alolt from time to time, to
cinch the lip lit on her work, there were
moments, delicite and indescribable mo
ments, when Madame Dor appeared to bo
sitting upside down, aud contemplating
oue of her own respectable l"gs elevated
in tbe'air. As the minutes wore ou, these ele
vations followed each other at louger and longer
intervals. Now and again, the black gauze
head-diets nodded, dropped forward, recovered
itself. A little heap of (dockings slulsotily from
Aiaoame uora lap, and remaiuea unnoticed on
the floor. A prodigious ball of worsted followed
the stockings, and rolled lazily under the table.
The black gauzu head-dremi nodded, dropped
lorward, recovered itself, nodded again, dropped
forward again, and iccovered itself no more. A
composite sound, partly as ot the purring of au
immense cat, partly as of the planing of a soft
board, rose over the busued voice ot the lovers.
and bummed at regular intervals through tbe
room. Nature and Madame Dor had combined
together in Vendale's iutertsu. The bust of
women was asleep.
Marguerite rose to stop not the snoring lot
ur sav. the auuible reporu ofMadame Dor. Ven
dale la d his band on her arm, and i reused her
back fceutly into her chair.
"Don't disturb her," he whispered. "I bavo
been waiting to te,l jou a secret. Let me tell
it now."
Marguerite resumed her peat. She tried to
resume her needle. It was useless; her eyes
faded her; her hand failed ber; she could and
"We have been talkiner," said Vcndab', "of tho
happy time when we first met, and first travelled
together. I have a confession to make. I hare
been concealing something. When we spoke ol
my first visit to Switzerland, T told you of all lb"
impressions I had brought back with me to
England except oue. Cu jouguesa what that
one is ?"
Her eyes looked steadfastly at the embroidery,
and heir face turned a little away lrom turn.
Mpm ot disturbance begin to appear in her
neat velvet bodice, round tbo reeion of tbe
brooch. She made no reply. Veudale pressed
the question without mercy.
"Can you guess what the one Bwiss impres
sion -, which I have i.ot told you yet?''
Her face turned back towards him, and a
faint imilejirembled on her lips.
"An Impiessiou of the mountains, perhaps!"
she said, slyly.
"No ; a much more precious impression than
that. '
"Of the lakes V
"No. The lakes have not grown dearer and
dearer in remembrance to me everyday. Tne
lakes nre not associated with my happiness in
the present, and my hopes in the future. Mar
gm lite ! all that makes lite world having hangs,
tor me, on a word from jour lips. Marguerite!
1 love you !"
ller head drooped, as he took her hand. He
drew her to him, and looked at her. The tears
escaped from her downcast eyes, and fell slowly
over her cheeks.
"O, Mr. Vendnle." she said, sadly, "it would
have been kinder to have kept your secret.
Have you forgotten the distance between us? It
can never, never be!"
"Theie cau be but one distance between us,
Marguerite a distance of your making. My
love, my darling, there is no higher rank in
goodness, there is no higher rank in beauty,
than yours ! Come ! whimper the one little word
which tells mo you will be my wife!"
fche sighed bitterly. "Think of your family,"
Bhe murmured ; "and think of mine!"
Vendnle drew her a little nearer to him.
"If you dwell on such an obstacle as that,"
he said, "I shall think but one thought I shall
think I have offended you."
Bhe started, and looked np. "Oh no!" she
exclaimed, innocently. The instant tbe words
passed her lips, she saw the construction that
might be placed on them. Her confession hal
escaped her In spite ot herself. A lovely flush
ol color overspread her face. She rntde a mo
mentary effort to disengage herself from her
lover's embrace, (she looked up at him entreat
ingly. fche tried to speak. The words died on
her lips In the kiss that Vendale "pressed on
them. "Let me go, Mr. Vendale!" she Bald,
"Call me George."
She laid her head on his bosom. All her
heart went out to him at last. "George!" sue
"Say you love me !"
Her arms twined themselves gently round his
neclr. Her lips, timidly touching his cheek,
murmured the delicious word, "I love you!"
In tbe moment of silence that followed, the
sound of the opening and closing of the house
door came clear to them through the wintry
stillness of the street.
Alargucrite t farted to her feet.
"Let me go !" ehe said. "He has come back !"
he hurried froii the room, and touched
Madame Dor's shoulder in passing. Madame
Dor woke up with a loud snori, looked Brstover
one shoulder and then over the other, peered
down info her lap and discovered neither stock
ings, worsted, nor darning-needle in It, At the
same moment footsteps became audible ascend
ing tbe stair-. "Mon Dieu !" said Madame Dor,
addressing herself ' to the 6tove, and trembling
violently." Vendale picked up the stockings aud
tbe ball, and huddled them all back in a heap
over her shoulder. "Mon Dieu!" said Madame
Dor, for the Eecond time, as the avalanche of
worsted poured into her cipaelous lap.
ibe door opened, aud Obenreizer came in.
nis first glance round the room showed him
that Marguerite was absent.
'What! ' he exclaimed, "my niece isawav?
My niece is r.ot here to enteitaiu you in my
absence? This is unpardonable. I shall bring
her back instantly."
Vendale stopped htm.
"I beg you will not disturb Miss Obenreizer,"
he said. "You have returned, I see, without
your friend ?"
"My friend remains, and consoles our afllicted
compatriot. A heart-rending- scene, Mr. Ven
dale 1 The household gods at tbe pawnbroker's
the family immersed In tears. We all em
braced in silence. My admirable friend aloue
possessed his composure. He sent out, on the
s ot, for a bottle of wine."
"Can I Bay a word to you in private, Mr.
"Aiburedly." lie turned to Madame Dor.
"My good creature, jou are siuklug for want of
repose. Mr. Vendale will excuse you."
Madame Dor rose, and set forth sideways on
her journey from the stove to bed. She dropped
a stocking, Veudale picked it up for her, and
opened one of the lolding-doors. she advanced
a step, and dropped three more stockinet. Ven
dhle, stooping to recover them as before, Oben
reizer interfered with profuse apologies, and
with a warning look at Madame Dor. Madame
Dor acknowledged the look by dropping the
whole ot the stockitps iu a neap, and then
shuffling away pamc-siricken from the scene of
disaster. Obenteizer swept up the complete
collection fiercely in both bands. "Go!" he
cried, giving his prodigious hundlul a prepara
tory swing in the air. Madame Dor said, "Alon
Dieul" and vanished into the next room, pursued
by o shower ot stockings.
"What must you think, Mr. Vendale," said
Obenreizer, closing the door, "of this deplora
ble iusirusion of domestic details? For myself,
1 blush at it. We are beginning the New Year
as badly as pussible; everything has gone wrong
to-muht. lie beated, pray, and say, what may I
offer jou? Shall we pay our beat respects to
another of your noble English institutions? It
is my study to be, what you cull, jolly. I pro-po-e
a gi og."
Vendale declined the grog with all needful re
spect for that noble Institution.
' I wish to sp ak to you on a subject in which
I am deeply interested," he said. "You must
have observed, Mr. Obenreizer, that I have,
from the fiist, felt no ordinary admiration for
jour chaiming niece?"
"You are very good. In my niece's name, I
thank jou."
"Perhaps you may have noticed, latterly, that
my admiration for Miss Obenreizer has grown
into a tenderer and deeper feeling?"
"Shall we say friendshp, Mr. Veudale?"
"Hhv love and we shall be nearer to ' the
( 'benre'zer started out of his cbalr. The faintly
discernible beat, which was his nearest approach
toacfaaugeol color, showed itself suddenly in
bis cheeks.
"You are Miss Obenreizer's puardiaD," pursued
Vendale. "I ask you to couter upon mo the
eiealest of all favors I ask you to give me ber
hand in marriage."
Obeurelzerldropped back into his chair. "Mr.
Vendale," he said, "you petrily me."
I will wait " reloined Vendale, "antil
have recovered vouroelf." .
"One word before I recover mysslf. You have
said nothing about this to my niece?"
"I have opened my whole heatt to your niece.
And I have Teascn to hope"
"What!" interposed Obenreizer. "You have
made a proposal to my niece, without first ask
ing for my authority to pay your addresses to
her?" He struck bis hand ou the table, and loit
bis hold over himself for the first time In Ven- i
dale's experience ot him. "dir," be exclaimed,
indignantly, "what sart of conduct is this?
As a man ot honor, speaking to a man oi nouor,
bow con you Justify it?"
"1 can only iustify it at one of our English
institutions," said Vendale, quietly. "You ad
mire our Engnsn institution, leant nonestiy
tel! jou, Mr. Obenreizer, thit I regret what I
nave done, i can oniy assure you turn i nave
not acted in tbe matter with any intentional
d'srespect towards yourself. This said, may
I ask jou to tell me plainly what objection you
see to favoring my suit?''
"I see this immense onjeoMou," answered
Obenreizer, "that my niece and you are not ou
a social e utility together. My niece is tho
daughter of a poor peasant; and jou aro the son
ot a .entleoian. You d us an honor," be added,
lowering bim-elf again gradually to hu custo
mary polite level, "which deserves, and has,
our most gratelul acknowledgments. But tbe
inequality is too glaring, the sacritlce Is too
great. You Fugiish are a proud people, Mr.
Veudale. I have observed euough of this couu
try to see that such a marriage as you propose
would be a scandal here. Not a hand would ba
heid out to your peasaot-wlle; and all your bast
friends would desert you."
' One monieut," oaid Vendale, interposing on
bis side. "I may claim, without any great arro
gance, to kuow more of my conniry-people in
general, aud of my own friends in particular,
than you do.- In tho estimation of evorybody
whose opinion is worth bavins', my witc herself
would be tbe one sufficient jiistiflcation of my
mnrriaae. If I did not leel certain observe, I
say certain that I am ottering her a position
which she can accept without so much as the
sliudow of a humiliation -I would never (cost
me what it might) have asked her to be my wile.
Is there any other obstacle that you see? Ilava
jou any personal objection to me?"
fcObeureizer spread out both his bands in cour
teous protest. "Personal objection !" he ex
claimed. "Dear sir, srhe bare question is painful
to me."
"We are both men of business," pursued
Vendale, "and you naturally expect me to sa
tisfy you that 1 have the means ot supporting a
witc. 1 rau explain my pecuniary position iu
two words. I inherit from my parents a fortune
of twenty thousand pouuds. Iu half of that sum
1 have only a life-Interest, to which, if I die,
leaving a widow, my widow succeeds. If I die,
leaving children, the money itself is divided
among them, as they come of age. The otner
bait ot my fortune is at my own disposal, and is
invested in the wine business. I see my way to
greatly improving that business. A it stands
at piesent, I cannot state my return from my
capital embarked at more than twelve huudred
ajear. Add the yearly value of my life inter
est, and the total reaches a present annual
income of fifieeu hundred pounds. I have the
fairest prospect of soon making it more. In the
mean time, do you object to me on pecuniary
Driven back to his last intrenchment, Oben
reizer rose, and look a turn backwards and
foi wards in the room. For the moment, he was
plainly at a loss what to Bay or do next.
v "Before I answer that last question," ho said,
after a little close consideration with himself,
"1 bee leave to revert for a moment to Miss
Marguerite. You said somethiug just now
which seemed to imply that she returns the sen
timent with which you are pleased to regard
"I have the inestimable happiness," said Ven
dale, "of knowing that she loves me."
Obenreizer stood silent for a moment, with
the film over his eyes, and the faintly percepti
ble beat becoming visible again in his cheeks.
"If jou will excuse me for a few minutes," he
said, with ceremouious politeuess, "I should
like to have the opportunity of speaking to my
niece." With those wrds, he bowed, and quitted
the room.
Lett by himself Vendale's thoughts (as a
necessary result of the interview thus far)
turned instinctively to the consideration of
Obemeizei's motives. He had put obstacles iu
the way of tbe courtship; he was now puttiug
ob-tacffS in the way of the marriage a mar
rlnee offering advantages which even his inge
nuity could not dispute. On the lace of it,
his conduct was incomprehensible. What did it
n can r
Seeking, under the surf.ice, for the answer to
that question and remembering that Obenrei
zer wus a man of about his own age; also, that
Marguerite was, etrictly speaking, his half
niece only Vendale asked himself, with a
lover's ready jealousy, whether he had a rival
to fear, as well as a guardian to conciliate. The
tboucht lust crossed his mind, aud no more.
The sense of Marguerite's kiss still lingering on
his cneek reminded mm gently tuat even mo
jealousy ot a moment was now a treason to her.
On letlection, it seemed most likely that a
personal motive of another kind might suggest
the true explanation of Obenreizer's conduct.
Marguerite's grace and beauty were precious
ornaments i.i that little household. They gave,
it a special Bocial attraction and a special social
importance. They armed Obenreizer with a
certain influence In reserve, which he could
always depend upon to make his house attrac
tive, and which he might always bring more or
lefs to bear on the forwardiug of his own pri
vate c nds. Was ha the sort of man to resign
such advantages as were here implied, without
obtaining the fullest possible compensation for
the loss"? A connection by marriage with Ven
dale oll'tred him solid advantages, beyond all
doubt. But there were hundreds of men In
London with far greater power and far wider
Influence than Vrndale possessed. Was It pos
sible that this man's ambition secretly looked
higher than the highest prospects that could bo
otiered to him by the alliance now proposed lor
bis niece? As the question passed through
Vendale's ' mind, the man himself reappeared
to answer it, or not to answer it, as the event
might prove.
A marked change was visible in Obenreizer
when be resumed his place. His manner was
lets assured, and there were plain traces about
h's mouth of recent aaitatiou which had not
been successfully composed. Had he said
something1, r. fernug either to Vendale or to
hlmetlf, which hal roused Marguerite's spirit,
and which had placed him, for the first timo,
face to face with a resolute assertion of his
niece's will It might or might not be. This
was only certain he looked like a man who had
met with a repulse.
"I have spoken to my niece," he began. "I
find, Mr. Vendnle, tht eveu your influence has
not entirely blinded her to the social objections
to vour proposal."
"May I ask," returned Vendale, "if that is
the only result of jour interview with Miss
A momentary flash leapt up through the Oben
reizer film.
"You are master of tba situation, "he answered,
in a tone of sardonic submission. "If you insist
ou my admitting it, I do admit it in those words.
My niece's will aud mine u-ei to be one, Mr.
Vendale. You have come between us, and her
will is now yours. Iu my country we know
when we are beaten, aud we submit with our
b 'st grace. I submit, with my best grace, on
oertaiu conditions. Let us revert to the state
nicnt of your pecuniary positton. I have an
objection to you, m v dear sir a most amazing,
a most audacious objection, from a man in my
position to a man in jours."
"What Is it ?"
"You nave honored me by making a proposal
for my niece's hand. For the present (iitb, best
thanks and respects), I be to decline ID'
Because you are not rich enough."
The objection, as the speaker had foresoen,
took Vendale completely by surprise. For the
moment he was speechless.
"Your iucome is fifteen hundred a year," pur
sued Obenreizer. "In my miserable country I
should full on my knees before your Income,
and say, 'What a princely fortune!' In wealthy
England, I sit as I am, and say, 'A modest inde
pendence, dear sir; nothing more. Enough,
perhaps, for a wife in your own rank of life,
who has no social prejudires to conquer. Not
more than half enough for a wi'e woo Is a
meanly oorn foreigner, and who has ail your
social prejudices against her.' Sir I If my niece
is ever to marry you, sho will have what you
call uphill work of it tn taking her place at
staitlng. Yes, yes; this is not your view, but It
remains, immovably remaius, my view for ail
that. For my niece's sake, I claim that this
uohill work shall be made as smooth as pos
sible. Whatever material advantages sho can
have to help her, ought, iu common
justice, to be hers. Now, tell me, Mr.
Vendale, on jour fifteen hundred a year can
your wile have a house in a fashionable qu irter,
a footman to open her door, a butler to wait at
brr table, and a carriage and horses to drlvo
about In ? I see the answer 1u your face
your face says, No, Very good. Tell me one
more thing, and I have done. Take the mas of
your educated, accomplished, lovely country
women, is it, or is it not, the fact that a lady
who has a house in a fashionable quarter, a
footman to open her door, a butler to wait at her
table, and a carriage aud horses to drive about
In, is a lady who has gained four steps in fomale
estimation at starting ? Yes? or No?"
"Come to the point," said Vendale. "Yon
view this question as a question of terms. What
arc your terms ?"
"The lowest terms, dear sir, on which you can
piovide your wife with those lour steps at start
ing. Double your presout Income the most
riidd economy cannot do it in England on less.
Yen said Just now that you expectod greatly to
increase the value of your business. To work,
and increase it I 1 am a good devil after all ! Ou
the day when you satisfy me, by plain proofa,
that your Income has risen to three thousand a
year, ask me for my niece's hand, aud it is
"May I inquire if you have mentioned this
arrangement to Miss Obenreizer?"
"Certainly. She has a last little morsel of
regard still left for me, Mr. Vendalo, which is
not yours yet; and she accepts my terms, in
other words, she submits to be guided by her
gnardian's regard for her welfare, and by her
guardian's superior knowledge ot the world."
He threw himself back in his chair, in firm
reliance on his positton, and in full possession of
bis excellent temper.
Any open assertion of bis own interests, in
the situation in which Vendale was now placed,
seemed to be (lor the present at least) hopeless.
He found himself literally left with no ground
to stand on. Whether Obenreizer's objections
were the geuuine product of Obenreizer's own
view ot the case, or whether he was simply
delaying the marriage in the hope of ultimately
breaking it off aliogether in either of these
events any piesent resistance ou Vendale's part
wonld be equally useless. There was no help
for it but to yield, making the best terms that
be could on his own side.
"1 protest againBt the conditions you impose
on me," be begau.
"Natuially," said Obenreizer; "I dare say I
should protest myself, in jour place."
"Say, however," pursued Veudale, "that I
accept your terms, la that case I must be per
mitted to make two stipulations on my purt. In
the first place I shall expect to be allowed to Bee
your niece."
"Aha! to see my niece? and to make ber in as
great a hurry to be married as you areyourselt?
b up pise I say No? you would see her perhaps
without my permission?"
"Decidedly !"
"How delightfully frank ! How exquisitely
English 1 You shail see her, Mr. Vendale, on
eeitain days, whicn we will appoint together.
What next?"
"Your objection to my incomo," proceeded
Vendale, "has taken me completely bysurprie.
I wish to be assured against any repetition of
that surprise. Your present views of my qua l
ncatton for marriage require me to have au in
come ot three thousand a year. Can 1 bo cer
tain, in the future, as your experienceof Eugland
enlarges, that your estimate will rise no
"In clain English." said Obenreizpr. "win
doubt my word ?"
"Do you purpose to take my word for it, when
I lutoiui you that I have doubled my income?"
asked Veudale. "It my memory does not de
ceive me, you stipulated, a minute since, lor
plain proois?1'
"Well played, Mr. Vendalo! You combiue
the foreign quickness with the English solidity.
Accept my best congratulations. Accept, also,
my written guarantee."
lie rose; seated himself at a writing-desk at a
side-table, wrote a few lines, aud presented
them to Vendale, with a low bow. The engage
ment was perfectly explicit, and was signed and
dated with scrupulous care.
"Are jou satisfied with vour guarantee ?"
"1 am satisfied."
Charmed to hear it, I am sure. We have
bad our little skirmish, we have really been
wonderfully clever ou both sides. For the pre
sent our affairs ore settled. I bear no malice.
You bear no malice. Come, Mr. Veudale, a
good English shake bauds."
Vendale gave his band, a little bewildered by
Obenreizer's sudden transitions from one humor
to another,
"When may I expect to see Miss Obenreizer
again ?" he asked, as he rose to go.
"Honor me with a visit to-morrow," said
Obenreizer, "and we will seltle it then. Do
have a grog betore you go. No? Weill well!
we will reserve the grog till you have your three
thousand a year and are ready to be luariied.
Aha I When will that be?''
"I made an estimate some months since of the
capacities ot my business," said Vendale. "If
that estimate Is correct, I shall double my pie
sent lin ouic-"
"And be married !" added Obenreizer,
"And be mauied," repeated Vendale, "within
a jear from this time. Good night."
When Vendale entered bis office the next
morning, the dull commercial routine at Cripple
Corner met him wiih a new face. Marguerite
had an interest iu it now ! The whole machinery
which Wilding's death had set iu inotiou, to
realize the talue ot the busiuess tbe balancing
ol ledgers, the estimating of debts, the taking ot
stock, ai d the iest ot It was now transformed
into machinery which indicated the chances for
and against a speedy marriage. After looking
over resulis. as presented by his accountant,
and checking additions and subtractions, as
rendered by the clerks, Veudale turned his
afention to the stock-taking department next,
and sent a message to the cellars, desiring to
see the rerort.
The Cellarman's appearance, the moment he
put his brad in atthedoorof his master's private
loom, suggested tnat something very extraor
dinary mu;t have happened that morniug.
There was an approach to alaority in Joey
Ladle's movements 1 There was somethiug
which actually simulated cheerfulness iu Joey
"What's the matter 7" asked Vendale. "Any
thing wrong?"
"I should wish to mention one thing,"
answered Joey. "Young Mr. Vendale, I have
never set mysetr up for a prophet."
"Who ever said you did ?"
"No prophet, as'farasl've heard tell of that
profession," proceeded Joey, "ever lived princi
pally under ground. No prophet, whateverel.se
he might take in at the pores, ever took in wine
from morning to night for a number of years
together. When 1 said to young master Wilding,
rerpectlng his changing the name of the firm,
that one of these days he might find he'd
changed the luck of tbe firm, did I put myself
forward as a croohet? No. I didu't. Has what
I said come true? Yes, it has. In the time of
Pebbleson Nephew, young Mr. Vendale, no such
thing was ever kuowu as a mistake made in a
consignment delivered at the doors. There's a '
mistake been ms.de now. Please to rcmajk that
b happened belore.Miss MarRarct camo h-re.
For which reason it don't go against what I htve
said respecting Miss Margaret Mngin? round the
luck. Head that, 'r," concludediJoey, pointing
attention to a special passage in the report, with
a forefinger which appeared to be in pro eg of
laktee in through the pores nothing mire re
markable than dirt. "It's foreign to my nature
t" crow over the bouse 1 serve, but I feel it a
ktrd of a solemn duty to ask you to read that."
Vendale irad as follows: "Note, respecting
the Swiss chau'PHgnp. An irregularity has been
discovered tn the lat consigument received
fiom tbe firm of Deircnier fc Co." Vendalo
stofped, and referred to a niemorandum-book
by bis side. "That wai in Wilding's time," he
said. "The vintage was a particularly gtod
one, and he took the whole of it. The Swiss
champagne has done very well, hasn't it ?''
'1 don't sav it's done badly," answered the
Cellarman. "It may hsve trot sick in our cus
tomers' bins, cr it may have bust, in our cus
tomers' hands. But I don't say it's doue badly
wi'h us."
Vendale resumed the reading; of tho note: ,
"We find the number o' the cases to be qutto
correct by the boons. But six of them, which
present a slight difference from the rest in the
braud, have been opened, Hnd have been found:
10 contain a red wine instead of champagne.
The similarity in the brands, we suppose, caused
a mistase to be made in sending tbe cons'gn
ment from Neuchatel. The error has not boon
found to extend beyond six cases.''
"I that all !" exclaimed Veudale, tossing the
tote away lrom him.
Joey Ladle's eye followed the flying morsel of
paper drearily.
"I'm glad to see you tnke It easy, sir," he said.
"Whatever happens, it will be always a comiort
to yon to remember that you look it easy Ht first.
Sometimes one mistake leads to another. A
man drops a bit of oranse-peel on the pavement
by mistake, and another man treads on it by
mistake, and there's a Job at the hospital, and a
party ctlppled for lite. I'm glad yon take it
easy. sir. In Pi hbleson Nephew's timo we
shouldn't hsve taken it easy till we hal seen the
ei.d of it. Without dpsiriog to crow over tho
house, Youi:g Mr. Vendale, I wish you well
through It. No offense, sir," said the Cellarman,
opri'irg the door to go out, and looking in again,
ominously before he shut it. "I'm muddled
and mollonrolly, I grant you. But I'm an old
servant of Pebbleson Nephew, and I wish you,
well through them i cases of red wine."
Left by himself, Vendnle laugh 3d. aud took up
h's pen. "1 may as well send a line to Djfres
nipr and Company," he tbouaht, "before I for
get It." He wrote at once In these terms:
"Tic ar Rlr: We are tnklng ntoclc, and trifling
miMuke Iiuh been ONc-ovf red in the last consignment
ol champaKne seiit hy your house to onrs. (six of tha
cases contain red wine whirl) we hereby return to
you. The matter can easily be set right either by
vour sending an six cast s ol champagne. Ir they can
b produced, or, if not, by your crediting us with the
value ot six casfs on the amount last paid (ft va hun
dred pou u do hy our llrm to yours. Your faithful
servants, Willing A Co."
This letter despatched to the post, the sublect
dropped at once out of Vendale's mind. He had
other and far mor3 Interesting matters to think
of. Later in the day he paid the visit to Oben
reizer which had been agreed between them.
Certain evenings in the week were set apart
which be was privileged to spend with Mar
guerite always, however, in the presence of a
third person. On this stipulation Obenreizer
politely but positively Insisted. The one con
cession he made was to give Vendale his choice
of who the third perscn should be. Confiding
in past experience, his choice fell unhesitatingly
upon the excelieut woman who mended Oben
reizer's stockiugs. On bearing of the respon
sibility Intrusted to her, Maduino Dor's intellec
tual nature burt suddenly into a new Btage of
development. She waited till Obenreizer's eye
was eff ber, and then she looked at Vendale and
dimly winked.
The timo paed tbo happv evenings with
Marguerite came and weut. It was tbe tenth
n oriiing since Vendale, had written to the
Swiss firm, when the answer appeared on bis
desk, with the other letters of the day:
"iJear firs: We bs to nll'tir our AxmM for i.ht ut
ile n.Make which has happened. A t the same time
i- r rrnrt-i iu n.iu uiui. iiih sHiuieuE 01 our error, Willi .
u tile b you have favored us, hat ld to a very unex
pected discovery. I be afluir Is a in nut inrinn. ...... r...
you and lor ut. The imriiculars am as follows:
"Having no more cnampaune of the vintage, last
sent to you, we mudo arrangements to credit your
firm with the value of the six cases, as giisirwiied by
yourself. Ou tukiuK this step certHlti forms observed
iu uur muueui uinim uuiues uecesHiciiteu a reference
to our bankers' book, as well as to our leriinr. Tha
result la a moral certainty that no such remittance as
yiu ujpiMiun rau uuve reucutu our house, and a
literal certainty Ibal no such remittance has beeu
( aid to our account at the bank.
It Is needless, at Ibis stHire of the proceedings, to
trouble you with details, 't he money lias unqu, stlou
bly beeu stolen tn t be course of lis transit from you
to us. Certain pecullsrl ies which we observe, relating
to the luai per lu which the fraud has been perpe
Iruted, lead us to conclude that the thief may have
calculated on being able to pay the nilsslug sum to
our bai ker b lore an Inevitable discovery followed
tne annual striking of our balance. Tula would not
have happened. In the usual course, for another three
months. During lhat period, but for your letter, wa
m Ik lit have remained perfectly unconscious of the
robbery that has been c iuuuluel,
"We mentlou this laxt ciicuu, stance, as It may help
to show yen ti at we l ave to do, tu this cue, with no
ordinary tbler. Thus tar we have aot even a suspi
cion of who teat thief Is. Hut we believe you will as-Bli-t
usin niaklngsome advance towards dtsoovery, by
examining the receipt (forged of coure) which has
no doubt purported to come to you from our house .
be pleased to look end see whether It is a receipt en
tirely In manuscript, or whether it Is a numbered aud
printed lot m which merely required the tilling iu of
the amount. Tbe settlement of this apparently
trivial question is, we assure you, a matter of vital
Importance. A nxlously awslting your reply, wa re
main, with hlfch esteem aud consideration,
Vendale laid the letter on his desk, and
waited a morxent to steady his miud under the
shock that had fallen on it. At the time of all
others when It was most important to him to
increase the value of his business, that business'
was threatened with a loss of five hundred
pounds. He thought of Marguerite, as he took
the key from his pocket and opened the iron
chamber in tbe wall in which the books and
papers ol the brm were kept.
lie was si ill iu the chamber, searching; for the
forped receipt, when he was startled by a voice
speakint close behind him.
"A thousand pardous," said the voice; "I am
afraid I disturb you."
He turned, and lound himself face to face with
Mniuer He's guuuliHU.
'I have called," pursued Obenreizer, "to know
if I can be of any use. Business of my own
takes tue away tot some days to Manchester and
Liverpool. Can 1 combine any business of youra
with it? I am entirely at your disposal, in the
character of commercial traveller for the firm of
Wildinir & Co."
"Kxcuse n e for one moment," said Vendale;
"I will speak to jou directly." lie tamed round
apaiu, and coutiuued his search among; tho
pupers. "You come at a time w heu triendly
oiieiB are more than usually pre;ii;us to me," ho
resume!. "I Lave had very bad news this;
moruirp fi'cm Neuchatel."
"Bad news !" exclaimed Obenreizer. "From
Defresnier & Co?" .
"Yes. A remittance we sent to them has been
stolen. I nm threatened with a loss of live hun
dred pounds. W hat's that 1"
Turning sharply, aud looking luto the room
for ihe second time, Vendale discovered his
cuvelope-case ovrrtiiiowu on the. floor, and
Obenreizer on his kutes picking up the con
tents. . ,
"All my awkwardnessst" said Obenreizer.
"This dreadful news of yours 'ft't'e.llll,Hlei 1
stepped back-" He became too deeply inte
rested in collecting the scattered envelopes to
finish the sentence. , . Trpnjfll Th
"Dot.'r troubjo yourself," said vendale. Ibe
cleik will Pick ib'eibit.M up."
-ibia dreadiul news !" repeated Obenreizer,
perslst'mn " collecting tbe envelopes. "This
dl'lt you" wdl read the letter," tid Vcud.de,

xml | txt