"O Love, O fire! Once he drew
With one long kiss my whole soul thro'
My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew."
the hall-door of No. 10 Grosvenor Crescent was opened to Mr. Lane on
the following afternoon, he was informed that Lady Harewood wished
to see him alone in her boudoir, into which Watson ushered him with
unusual formality, in evident obedience to some special command.
"I thought it was better to see you at once, Wilfred, as you
requested me to do so," said his aunt, and she paused, thinking it
would perhaps be better to allow her nephew to open the case
himself, for she began to have a strong sense of the difficulty of
her own position.
"After this long separation, which has tested Tiny's feeling
for me, I hope you will consent to our marriage, and forgive me for
coming to the point at once."
"My objections are only strengthened," said Lady Harewood,
"Surely you will not withhold your consent now I am in a
better position? Indeed I have always regarded it as promised
in the event of Tiny's remaining attached to me on her return from
"I never made any promise of the kind."
"But you followed the plan I suggested," said Wilfred firmly,
"and that condition was attached to it. I shall scarcely think
that I am fairly dealt by if you still oppose our marriage. I
am aware that Tiny might make a better match in a worldly sense, but
you would find it impossible to confide her to any one who will love
her more than I do, or seek her happiness more earnestly."
"I think your professions would be better proved by your
yielding at once to the decision I feel bound to make for my
daughter's good. Her father had the greatest possible
objection to the marriages of cousins, and I am only acting in
accordance with his wishes in opposing yours."
"That may be," he replied, with warmth, "but my uncle would
have had some consideration for his child's affections. I am
sure he would never have sacrificed Tiny's happiness to any theory."
Lady Harewood was conscious of the truth contained in
Wilfred's answer, and, feeling somewhat beaten on this point, she
resolved to start another.
"It is my consideration for Tiny which compels me to remind
you, Wilfred, that she has not even had the test of six months'
absence from you. But I will not allow for one moment that, in
following out what you are pleased to consider as your suggestion, I
am bound by any condition you take the liberty of attaching to it."
"You surely remember that, after my conversation with Sir
Anthony Claypole, the winter at Rome was planned by me, because I
felt unwilling to urge that which you so strongly disapproved of,
without giving Tiny an opportunity of judging if a marriage
(unfortunately in opposition to your wishes) was really essential to
her happiness. Sir Anthony saw me at your request, and when I
told him I should consider Tiny free to make any other choice during
her absence if you consented not to oppose her ultimate decision, he
said I could not do more, and expressed himself perfectly satisfied
with my proposal."
"I had long thought of spending this winter abroad, and it is
quite absurd of you to lay such a stress on your having talked it
over with Sir Anthony. I asked him to tell you how undesirable
such a marriage was for Tiny, and what an ungrateful return you
would make for the kindness I have always shown you, if you
persisted in pressing the point, but Sir Anthony had no right to
answer for me; I should never authorize any one to do so," and Lady
Harewood grew quite angry at the bare idea of such a thing.
"He did not answer for you, but he said he thought you would
see I had acted fairly in allowing Tiny plenty of time to think over
the matter; when away from my personal influence."
"I do not see that your mere separation has much to do with
your influence, when you were constantly writing to Tiny, although
you knew how I disapproved of your having any communication with
each other. You appear to think that you have acted in a very
magnanimous manner, Wilfred, but I confess I fail to see your
conduct in that light."
Wilfred Lane felt thoroughly indignant, for Lady Harewood's
tone was even more offensive than her words. With a great
effort he controlled the angry remark which rose to his lips.
"I do not desire to appear magnanimous, but I have tried to
act rightly," he replied, with dignity. "I felt you had every
right to object to my proposal, and, still more, to think that my
position had given me an undue advantage over Tiny; I was therefore
ready to submit to a fair test, and Sir Anthony considered this was
"I am not bound to agree with even Sir Anthony Claypole's
opinion," said Lady Harewood, sententiously, "and I repeat again
that, keeping up by your constant letters the feelings you had
already excited in Tiny's mind was not, in my opinion, giving her a
proper opportunity of testing her feeling for you."
"Without seeing my letters," said Wilfred, firmly, "I submit
that you are unable to judge me fairly."
"That in itself is a sufficient proof of their nature; Tiny
would have shown me her cousin's letters," said his aunt,
with an emphasis on the word cousin, and with a manner which, to
Wilfred, was intolerable.
"I think not," he replied, gravely, "and I am not the person
who is to be blamed for your daughter's want of confidence in you."
"Anyhow," said Lady Harewood, angrily, "I have quite made up
my mind. I will never consent to your marriage with Tiny; and
I tell you, Wilfred, plainly, that unless you are content to forfeit
your position in my house, you must show some deference to my
wishes. If you will promise me to forego this idea with regard
to your cousin, I have sufficient reliance on your honour to allow
you to visit here on your old footing; but if you persist in
persuading Tiny to act in opposition to my commands, it will be my
painful duty to deny you the house;" and opening the door which led
into the drawing-room as she spoke, Lady Harewood put an end to any
further conversation by joining her three daughters, who were
talking to the two Miss Cunninghams and Colonel Fitzroy Somerset.
Wilfred followed his aunt, and when Tiny saw him she read in
the troubled expression of his eyes something of the contest which
was going on in his mind.
Sensitive to a degree which would be considered absurd by
mere men of the world, the sensitive Wilfred was shrinking from the
idea that, in order to secure his own happiness, he must bring
dissension into his aunt's house, and that Tiny must defy her
mother's commands. He did not feel, however, in the least
disposed to relinquish Tiny, except at her own bidding; he had
already sufficiently sacrificed himself and her by this weary
separation, and his delicate sense of honour was shocked by Lady
Harewood's manner of evading what appeared to him a tacit agreement.
Feeling disinclined to listen, in his present mood, to the
"small talk" which was being carried on very vigorously by his
cousins, after a few friendly words with Madeline, he asked Tiny to
come down into the library, under the pretext of looking for a book
he had lent her; an excuse which was made not to blind her mother,
but to avoid exciting in the minds of her visitors any suspicion as
to the real state of affairs.
When Wilfred closed the library-door, and found himself alone
with Tiny, in spite of the unpleasant interview which had just taken
place, he gave the answers he had promised to her letters, and did
not attempt to control the passionate love, repressed during the
weary weary weeks which had elapsed since last he stood alone in
that room with her.
"My own darling," he said, as he kissed the head nestling
against his shoulder; "if you really love me I will never give you
"Has Mamma consented?" asked his cousin, looking up eagerly
into his face; "she was so unkind again last night about it, and
said poor Papa would never have agreed to it. I feel sure Papa
would, if he had ever promised to do so, and Mamma ought to be bound
by her word, now I have been to Rome."
"That is just what she disputes," said Wilfred with just
indignation; "your mother says that she never made any promise."
"But she did," persisted Tiny; "I am sure Sir Anthony will
think her very wicked for denying it, for he said if I went to Rome
for the winter, Mamma would be bound not to oppose us when I came
back. What did she say to you, Wil?"
Wilfred repeated his whole conversation with Lady Harewood;
and when he came to the closing sentence, Tiny's indignation knew no
bounds. She declared she would not remain at home, even if
Wilfred agreed to desert her; in less than a month she would be of
age, and nothing should induce her to live with her mother after
such cruel conduct.
Tiny relieved her excitement by a good fit of crying, but
Wilfred soothed her by the assurance of his love, and promised to
induce Sir Anthony Claypole to mediate in the matter. He could
not believe that Lady Harewood would refuse to listen to the
representations of the old friend whose counsel she herself had
sought, and if she did, Wilfred resolved on taking the matter into
his own hands, and securing his own and Tiny's happiness with as
little open defiance of the wishes of the family as was consistent
with such a course of action. Kissing away her tears, he
assured her that as her happiness was bound up in him, he would
allow nothing in the world to separate them for long.
"You promised me that if I really loved you, nothing should
part us, and I claim your promise now," pleaded Tiny, looking up
into Wilfred's face in a way which caused his heart to beat quicker
than usual, and sent his blood throbbing through every vein.
"No, my darling," he said, holding her still closer to him;
"I will never sacrifice such love as yours for any earthly
consideration. I hardly know how to tear myself away from you
now; but if I don't go very quickly, I may lose the chance of seeing
Sir Anthony to-day, and it is important to talk to him before your
mother sees him, as she doubtless will to-morrow."
The number of times Wilfred said good-by would have been very
inadmissible save in an affianced lover, but he had been parted from
Tiny for so long, and had so completely restrained his deep,
passionate love, that, now he allowed it expression, he found it
difficult to control it at all.
Before he left, Tiny had taken from his watch-chain the
signet ring, with the words "AD FINEM FIDELIS"
engraved on the seal, which had belonged to his mother, and which
Wilfred had often said should be his first present to his own wife.
As he placed it on Tiny's finger, she said to him, "Now you
will always think of me as your own little wife, Wil; for no horrid
wedding breakfast and long white veil will ever make me feel more
yours than I do at this very moment."
"God bless you, my darling one," said Wilfred. "I hold
you to be my own true wife in the sight of God. I love you
with all my heart, Tiny, and long for the hour when I shall call you
mine in the eyes of the whole world."
"Ah me! For aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The coui'se of true love never did run smooth."
HANSOM CAB was standing at the door of Lady Harewood's house
as Wilfred made his exit. It had just deposited Sir Guy
Fairfax, who had heard at his club of the Harewoods' arrival from
Rome, and had come at once to pay his respects to them.
Wilfred jumped into the Hansom, and induced the driver to
proceed as fast as possible to Hyde Park Gardens, by the promise of
an addition to his ordinary fare. He could not refrain from
smiling when he contrasted Sir Guy's probable haste to the house in
which he would see Tiny, and his own despatch in leaving it, in
order to promote wishes which must put such an effectual barrier to
the hopes of his unfortunate but wealthy rival.
Sir Anthony Claypole was dressing for dinner when Wilfred
arrived, but he sent word that if Mr. Lane would wait in the
library, he would be with him in a few minutes.
When he heard the state of the case, he felt very sorry for
the young people, and was much perplexed as to the best way of
helping them out of their difficulty. He thought Wilfred had
every right to feel aggrieved by Lady Harewood's conduct, and could
not wonder at his regarding it as a breach of faith. He and
Tiny had made the sacrifice on the understanding that Lady Harewood
would waive her objections, if Tiny was proof against the test
Wilfred voluntarily imposed upon her.
Wilfred had rigidly refused himself much expression of his
attachment during her absence, and had forced himself to write cold
and cousinly letters; but now, finding that Tiny's heart was so
entirely his own, he determined to oppose Lady Harewood's refusal
with the same persistency with which he had hitherto controlled
"You must stay and dine with us, Lane; we are quite alone
this evening, and Lady Claypole will excuse your not being in
evening dress," said Sir Anthony, after listening to Wilfred's
account of his interview with Lady Harewood. "After dinner we
will talk over the matter quietly, and if I can see my way to help
you, you may rely on my doing so. I think you have behaved
very well," added the kind old baronet, after a pause, laying his
hand on Wilfred's shoulder, "and, by Jove, Lane, your aunt does not
know a true man when she sees one; and, as to her talk about good
matches," added the honest old baronet in a somewhat scornful tone,
"she has never yet managed to marry one of her daughters, with all
her efforts, and who knows if Fairfax would really come to the point
Now this was a view of the case for which Wilfred was quite
unprepared. He had an idea that every man would come to the
point with Tiny, if he had only a chance of doing so. He had
even serious misgivings about Colonel Fitzroy Somerset, who was as
innocent of any matrimonial intentions towards Tiny, or her sisters,
as any man who had never even seen them. But, in this matter,
Wilfred's love blinded him. His usually calm judgment was
unavailable in more instances than one where Tiny was concerned.
The dinner passed off rather slowly and stiffly as far as
Wilfred was concerned, for though he liked both Lady Claypole and
her daughter, he was anxious to talk alone with Sir Anthony over his
future prospects and his present position with his aunt.
After the recent interview in the library, Wilfred knew he
could never resume a mere cousinly relationship with Tiny, and
though he felt extremely anxious to avoid an open rupture with her
mother, he had firmly resolved to submit to no further barrier being
placed between himself and that little being who had so thoroughly
twined herself round his heart.
If Lady Harewood persisted in refusing her consent, Wilfred
Lane felt he should defy her authority before very long.
As soon as the ladies had withdrawn, Sir Anthony took Wilfred
into a small room, known by the household as "Sir Anthony's Study;"
Lady Claypole laughingly called it "The Tavern," for Sir Anthony
used it as a smoking-room, and the apparent bookcase it contained,
with its handsomely bound backs of volumes, disclosed, when opened
by the pressure of a concealed spring at the side, sundry pipes,
cigar boxes, tobacco jars, as well as some decanters containing
French brandy and Scotch and Irish whiskey.
Not that Sir Anthony was addicted to drinking spirits, but he
always smoked after dinner or before he went to bed, and liked to
have something at hand, for the use of guests less abstemious than
himself, without the trouble of ringing for his butler.
Wilfred only drank coffee when he smoked, but it must be
confessed that he smoked a great deal. He had been obliged to
do so for his health at first, and had learnt to look upon it as a
pure enjoyment very soon. Besides this, he found that smoking
soothed him, and often helped him to get through more work than he
fancied he should have done without his pipe. In his excited
nervous state, that evening, he was especially glad of
"Clouds of the peace-breathing Nicotiana,"
and, after an hour spent in Sir Anthony's sanctum, he felt
considerably calmer, and far better able to take a hopeful view of
his love affairs, though no definite course of action had suggested
itself. Sir Anthony had seen a great deal of his young friend
during the past winter, and had formed a very high opinion of his
character and intellectual powers, which he thought would some day
secure Wilfred Lane a very high position. He felt more than
ever surprised at Lady Harewood's persistent refusal in the face of
Tiny's evident attachment, and shocked at her disinclination to keep
a promise which once made should have held sacred. With Tiny's
money, and Wilfred's present income, the young people would be far
removed from anything like poverty, and a better match, in a worldly
sense, was still only problematical. Sir Anthony Claypole
really thought that if Lady Harewood had any sense (and he always
had strong doubts upon that point), she ought to be too thankful to
secure such a husband for a daughter whose wildness and waywardness
might very easily have taken a different and less satisfactory turn.
"Ah, what will the world say?
The World ― therein lies
The question which, as it is uttered, implies
All that's fine or that's feeble in thought or intent."
with Lady Harewood was not a pleasant one. He gave her to
understand in the most courteous language that he considered she was
not dealing fairly by her nephew. Of course she inwardly
resented this interference, and attempted to justify her conduct by
reference to the lamented Sir Henry's opinions, whom she always
quoted as an authority when she desired to carry a point more than
usually unreasonable ― a habit which suggested to his friends the
very natural regret, that she had not shown more consideration to
her husband's wishes when he was able to define them in person.
Sir Anthony Claypole apologized for any seeming presumption,
but requested Lady Harewood to remember that she had called forth
his interference, in the first instance, by persuading him to
represent her feelings to Wilfred Lane. After having induced
that young man to propose what appeared to him a fair test of Tiny's
affection, he felt himself bound to remind Lady Harewood that the
time had arrived when she was called upon to fulfil her part of the
bargain, namely, to waive her objections to the marriage, and to
show the consideration which, in Sir Anthony's opinion, her
daughter's attachment for a man of Lane's high character deserved.
Lady Harewood made one excuse after another; first as to the
time of her daughter's absence falling short of the prescribed six
months; next as to Wilfred's letters, and so on through a host of
difficulties, such as Tiny's age, her nephew's health, etc.; but she
began to see that matters were assuming a serious aspect, and that a
persistency in refusing her consent would be probably followed by an
open rupture between herself and the Claypoles.
Sir Anthony did not even appear likely to remain neutral, but
would probably support Wilfred and Tiny in their evident intention
to disregard Lady Harewood's authority. Encouraged by this,
she felt there was no saying what Tiny might not do, and it would be
quite impossible to guess how the affair would end. Besides
the feeling that she should not like to be openly defied by her
daughter, the great dread of "what people would say" was always
before her eyes.
The possibility of even a runaway match suggested itself!
Lady Harewood shuddered at the bare idea of such a scandal!
She knew Tiny would not hesitate about it for a moment ― in fact,
such a step would have its attractions for this lawless little
individual who was so Bohemian in her tastes; and although she had
more confidence in her nephew, still there was a determination about
him in their last interview which made Lady Harewood uneasy, for
Wilfred had shown by his manner, even more plainly than by his
words, that he considered his aunt had broken her promise, and had
acted very badly towards both Tiny and himself.
He might not be capable of running away with his cousin in a
base and underhand manner; but Lady Harewood thought him quite
headstrong enough to marry Tiny in defiance of her wishes,
especially as he declared that she had failed to keep her part of
the engagement which he considered existed between them. If
Sir Anthony meant to desert her, and give Wilfred and Tiny his
support in this view of the matter, it was clear that something must
be done. So Lady Harewood resolved on a compromise; and,
knowing Wilfred's repugnance to set aside a parent's authority, she
thought she would gain time by pledging her consent in a year,
during which she determined to lose no opportunity of forwarding Sir
Guy Fairfax's wishes.
So, after reiterating her previous objections, and bemoaning
afresh over the loss of the lamented Sir Henry's guidance at this
critical moment, she promised her consent in a year's time;
meanwhile Wilfred should be allowed free access to the house,
provided neither he nor Tiny paraded their feelings. Lady
Harewood refused to acknowledge any "engagement," and stipulated
that it should never be put forward as such.
It had taken such a long time to extract this concession,
that Sir Anthony Claypole, not being an ardent young lover, but the
sober head of a well-organized household, felt disposed to rest
satisfied with it. But he had no inclination again to
undertake the task of representing Lady Harewood's sentiments even
to her nephew, and thought it wiser under the circumstances to
induce her to express them in writing.
So, before he left Grosvenor Crescent, he secured a promise
that she would write to Wilfred, and that the year of probation
should date from Tiny's birthday ― the 1st of June.
And then Sir Anthony made his way down the staircase,
resolving he would never again undertake the office which his
friendship for Sir Henry Harewood and his interest in Wilfred Lane
had in this instance induced him to accept; and he muttered to
himself as he walked to his club across the park, "women are queer
cattle," a favourite reflection of his, but, happily for him, one
which was rarely called forth in his own home.
The writing of the promised letter was extremely distasteful
to Lady Harewood, yet she fell there was no escape from it.
Therefore she resolved to despatch it at once, and then intended to
give herself up to the headache which this disregard of her judgment
and disrespect for her feelings would of course entail. So she
"You are doubtless aware of Sir Anthony Claypole's
intercession on your behalf, and, as he was such a respected friend
of my dear and lamented husband, I feel anxious to listen to his
representations, although obliged to reserve my own judgment.
The responsibility, which rests alone upon me, is very hard for any
woman to bear; and is rendered doubly painful by the headstrong
disposition of Tiny, which you have, in my opinion, so
inconsiderately fostered. Knowing my child's volatile and
excitable nature as well as I do, I cannot possibly consent, in such
a hurry, to your wishes, especially as I consider they are most
ill-judged. I do not believe that such a marriage would
eventually promote your happiness any more than hers,
and I fear you will live to regret your rashness if you follow your
own desires in defiance of the mature judgment to which it would
only be right for both of you at once to submit.
"However, as Sir Anthony urges it, ― most reluctantly, and
fearing that I am acting in a way which your uncle would not have
countenanced, ― I will consent to your marriage in a year from this
date, provided that you and Tiny, during that time, appear before
the world as cousins, and never, by word or act, pretend that any
kind of engagement exists between you. Upon this condition, I
will allow you to visit at my house as before.
"Your affectionate aunt,
Before this letter reached Wilfred, he received a visit from
Sir Anthony, who warned him of its contents, and advised him to
avoid a family scandal by the acceptance of terms which appeared to
Wilfred exceedingly hard. Lady Harewood was, in Sir Anthony's
opinion, the most impracticable woman he had ever met in his life;
and he considered any reasonable concession a great deal more than
could be expected from her. Anyhow, he totally declined to
undertake further negotiations. Wilfred Lane must either
accept what Sir Anthony had, with so much difficulty, wrung from her
ladyship after three hours' talking, or else manage his affairs for
So, when his aunt's epistle came, Wilfred felt disposed to be
thankful that, in the absence of special directions from the
"lamented Sir Henry," Lady Harewood had refrained from taking the
patriarch Jacob for her example, and commanded her unlucky nephew to
wait seven years for his Rachel, and then married him to Charlotte
A year was not so very long after all, and it was not as if
he were to be altogether shut out from Tiny's society. He was
to have free access to Grosvenor Crescent, and could see her every
day. Then, too, he would be able to save more money, and when
the time came for the marriage, would be better able to make a
comfortable home for his wife.
After all, the waiting was harder for him than for Tiny; a
reflection which again disposed Wilfred to a plan which not only
avoided a family quarrel, but (what appeared to him a far more
serious thing) an open and undutiful revolt on Tiny's part against
her mother's authority.
When Wilfred told Tiny that Lady Harewood had been with
difficulty persuaded to promise her consent in a year's time, and of
the condition she imposed upon them meanwhile, that young lady was
by no means pleased. And as to "their friends not knowing
they meant to marry each other," she thought it "sheer nonsense,"
and held up the little ring on her engaged finger most defiantly.
But after a conversation with Lady Harewood matters were
finally arranged. Wilfred and Tiny agreed to act in society
scrupulously as cousins, whatever they chose to consider between
themselves; and if, on the 1st of June in the following year, they
still sought her consent to their marriage, Lady Harewood promised
to withdraw all opposition, and to allow it to take place without
"The stronger will always rule,
say some, with an air of confidence which is like a lawyer's
flourish, forbidding exceptions, or additions. But what is
strength? Is it blind wilfulness that sees no terror, no
many-linked consequences, no bruises or wounds of those whose cords
it tightens? Is it the narrowness of a brain that conceives no
needs differing from its own, and looks to no results beyond the
bargains of to-day; that tugs with emphasis for every small purpose,
and thinks it weakness to exercise the sublime power of resolved
renunciation? There is a sort of subjection which is the
peculiar heritage of largeness and of love; and strength is often
only another name for willing bondage to irremediable weakness."
this moment Wilfred Lane never doubted Tiny's love. The proofs
she had given of her attachment for him during her absence in Rome,
and the difficulty he had to persuade her to submit to her mother's
subsequent decision, made it impossible for him to suspect the depth
of her affection, though her mother and her sisters evidently
entertained a very different estimate of its value.
The year's waiting was very trying; for Wilfred Lane was a
man who didn't care for the things which make the life of a bachelor
very pleasant in London. He hated the butterfly existence
which so many are content to lead, and longed for the pure and
steady influence of a home he could call his own, sweetened and
sanctified by the presence of the woman he could honour as well as
Wilfred had not been without temptations, and to some of
these he had succumbed; but he had never revelled in wickedness as
many of his companions did, nor dissipated his affections by
flirtations with every girl who came within reach of his
attractions. The only strong feeling he had ever had, and to
which, alas! he had fatally yielded himself, was for a young and
fascinating woman, whose husband cruelly neglected her; and into
whose society Wilfred had been most perilously thrown at an age when
he was most liable to fall a prey to an influence exerted over him
without intermission or remorse.
But years had passed since he had broken this spell, though
the memory of it often haunted him still. Once he spoke of it
to Tiny, for the remembrance sometimes made him feel unworthy of the
pure love which she lavished upon him. To his surprise Tiny
appeared to know a great deal about it; for, although Wilfred was
aware that the tale had come to Lady Harewood's ears, he was hardly
prepared to find it had been made the subject of conversation with
his young cousins.
Tiny, however, dismissed the unpleasant story as a thing of
the past, and Wilfred felt that this early attachment had not really
diminished his power of loving this pure true-hearted girl who
pledged herself to become his wife. Perhaps it even made him
more capable of appreciating the feeling with which he regarded his
cousin; he loved her with the same passionate intensity, but the
passion was sanctified by the completeness of the union to which
they both aspired.
Whenever he could leave his work, Wilfred made his way to
Grosvenor Crescent, and shared with Tiny all the pleasures he
allowed himself; and though they studiously avoided in society
showing that a closer and stronger link than mere cousinhood bound
them to each other, Tiny would often hold up her hand, when she saw
Wilfred look at her, as if to assure him that the meaning of the
ring she wore was never absent from her mind.
The pleasant readings, and the visits to the old haunts in
search of favourite pictures, were all resumed, for Lady Harewood
certainly kept to her promise of never attempting to control them.
"Society" troubled itself very little about the matter;
people had always been accustomed to see Wilfred Lane with the
Harewoods, and this constant attendance on Tiny excited little or no
Of all the strange things of which this world is full, the
unwarrantable power of will seems the strongest. Wilfred
Lane's feeling for Tiny could scarcely be called simply love; it was
the moral harnessing of a whole being to the will of another.
As the action of the noblest horse is controlled by a slight
leather, so is often the human heart by the will, which
unconsciously (and in that often lies the secret of its power)
directs it to the right and left at pleasure; and it is often the
finer nature which is subjected to this magnetic power of will.
It was wonderful to see how completely Wilfred was swayed by
Tiny. She was a wilful little maiden, with such coaxing
winning ways, that she invariably did exactly what she liked with
every one but her own mother.
For a long time Wilfred thought that all this would be
altered when Tiny became his wife; but this was the license young
ladies were allowed to indulge in towards their lovers; and as Tiny
in general only required some little sacrifice of his personal
wishes, he was ready enough to yield; but occasionally a sense of
disappointment flitted across his mind.
There were also several subjects of dispute in the home
circle. Tiny's determination to absent herself from the balls
and parties, at which she knew Wilfred would not appear, gave her
mother great displeasure.
These were the very places to which Lady Harewood was most
anxious to take her, especially when there was the remotest chance
of meeting Sir Guy Fairfax, who was kept in blissful ignorance of
the understanding, or, as Tiny would have it, of the engagement
between herself and her cousin.
Lady Harewood appealed to Wilfred; but as Tiny made her
health a plea for not going into hot and crowded rooms, he declined
to interfere in the matter.
Sir Guy Fairfax, however, had other opportunities given him,
of which he took every advantage, and at last Wilfred could not
refrain from feeling sorry for the young man; for it appeared unfair
of his aunt to encourage him so openly, when she knew the state of
Tiny's mind precluded all hope of the result for which Fairfax was
now so earnestly and honestly striving.
Concealment and secrets of all kinds were foreign to
Wilfred's nature; knowing that both he and Tiny regarded themselves
as pledged to each other, Wilfred often felt he acted dishonourably
in even consenting to pass as her mere cousin.
The season, at last, came to an end. The last dinner
engagement had been kept; the last ball had afforded the dancers,
for the first time, sufficient space to enjoy themselves; the opera
was about to commence its series of "cheap nights," and the West End
of London was beginning to look deserted.
Tiny and Wilfred were looking forward to a delightful
expedition, which had been planned especially for their benefit by
the thoughtful kindness of the good-natured Sir Anthony Claypole,
who had invited the Harewoods to go with him for a cruise, in his
yacht, as soon as Wilfred Lane could get leave of absence from the
"No, there's nothing half so sweet in
As love's young dream,"
Saturday afternoon in August, Lady Harewood, Madeline, and Tiny met
Wilfred at the London Bridge station, and travelled together to
Sir Anthony, at first, proposed to start from
Southampton, but had ordered his yacht round to
Gravesend, out of deference to Lady Harewood,
who hated railway travelling as heartily as she
considered it ladylike to hate anything.
Sir Anthony and Miss Claypole awaited their
friends' arrival on board the Highflyer, where they
found an excellent dinner ready for them, during
which Sir Anthony advised his guests to drink
plenty of champagne, recommending it as the
best possible thing to enable them to maintain
their reputation as good sailors.
After dinner every one came on deck, and soon
the yacht gave sundry signs of "getting under
weigh," and, before long, she was moving slowly
down the Thames. Tiny showed a singular inclination to improve her geographical knowledge, and
Wilfred found plenty of occupation in telling her
the names of the different places they passed on
each side of the river. There was a splendid
moon that night, and long after Lady Harewood
retired, her daughters and Miss Claypole remained
on deck with the two gentlemen, enjoying the calm
beauty of the evening, and rejoicing in the thought
of the freedom which would be theirs for the next
London, with its close stifling atmosphere, and
its still more stifling conventionality, was surely, if
slowly, being left behind, and now that Lady
Harewood ― the only element which reminded them
of that oppressive atmosphere ― was safely shut up
in her cabin, a more congenial party could hardly
have been found.
The time slipped away so pleasantly, that it was
nearly twelve o'clock before even Madeline suggested that they ought to think of following her
mother's example; but they were all so loth to go
below, that they agreed to cast lots as to who
should repeat a favourite poem, and sing a song in
order to gain a few more moments' enjoyment of
the exquisite starlight night.
Strangely enough, and to the great satisfaction of the ladies, the
lots fell upon the two gentlemen; Sir Anthony caused considerable merriment
by immediately serenading London in Lord Byron's words, "Isle of beauty, fare thee well," to a
new and original melody; after which Wilfred appropriately repeated Heine's delightful lines on the
wisdom of the stars:
"The flowerets sweet are crushed by the feet,
Fall soon, and perish despairing;
One passes by, and they must die,
The modest as well as the daring.
The pearls all sleep in the caves of the deep.
Where one finds them, despite wind and weather;
A hole is soon bored, and they're strung on a cord.
And there fast yoked together.
The stars are more wise, and keep in the skies,
And hold the earth at a distance;
They shed their light in the heavens so bright,
In safe and endless existence."
With many lingering good-nights and regrets
the first happy evening of the yachting excursion
came to an end, the deck was deserted, and the
friends separated for the night.
When the morning dawned, every one on board
the Highflyer realized the fact that they were "at
sea;" for the wind had risen during the night, and
the little yacht was tossing and dancing about off
the South Foreland in anything but a pleasant
manner, and beating to windward in a way enough
to discomfort any ordinary landsman. The ladies
were far too sick and sorry to leave their berths;
and though Wilfred just managed to get on deck,
and was trying to put a good face on the matter,
any ardour for salt water, with which he had
started, seemed permanently cooled; and he was
forced to confess to himself that he was glad there
was no one to witness his discomfiture, or notice
the pertinacity with which he held on to the side
of the vessel.
Even Sir Anthony Claypole's affection for the
sea was of the most subdued and sober description; and his position as host made him feel
somewhat guilty of the miseries old Father Neptune was inflicting on his confiding guests.
The weather continued, in nautical language, so
exceedingly "foul," and the ladies so hopelessly sick, that the
Highflyer put back into the first convenient harbour. An hour
after she was fairly anchored in quiet waters, one pale face after another
appeared on deck, until the whole party reassembled, but in very different spirits to those in which
they had separated the night before.
A walk on shore, however, revived those who
felt strong enough to take it; and some cold
chicken and champagne, the first food any of them
had tasted that day, completed the cure.
Sir Anthony allowed his friends to retire to rest
in the happy belief that they should remain all
night in the harbour; but as the wind had changed
at sunset, he determined to put out to sea, for the
captain thought they could manage to reach
Southampton soon after daybreak. The whole
party slept so soundly that they were unconscious
of the movement of the vessel, and to their delight
and surprise they breakfasted the next morning in
Finding he had such a sorry set of sailors for his
guests, and that their notion of yachting was to
hasten on shore at the first opportunity, Sir
Anthony Claypole resolved to sacrifice his own
intentions of a more extended cruise; and, to
make the month's holiday as enjoyable as he
could, he determined to hover between Cowes,
Ryde, and Freshwater, and to explore the interior
of the island, using the yacht chiefly as a movable sleeping-place.
Tiny was in the wildest spirits; she and Wilfred
delighted in the most perfect freedom, for there
was no Sir Guy Fairfax or "society" at hand to
oblige them to keep forever on their guard lest
they should break the compact to which Lady
Harewood compelled such a rigid outward adherence.
During the last week of their stay at Cowes, the
Ariel, General Hallyburton's yacht, anchored in
the night next to the Highflyer.
The General was an old friend of Sir Anthony's,
and shortly after breakfast the Ariel's boat pulled
alongside, and he came on board, accompanied by
his yachting companion, Captain Foy.
When Tiny saw Captain Foy she was so completely taken by surprise, that Wilfred's attention
was attracted by her nervousness and evident want
of ease. Captain Foy was, of course, perfectly
self-possessed; he knew that Lady Harewood and
her daughters were cruising in the Highflyer: and
had quite recovered from the fears which induced
him to avoid Tiny immediately after the vehement
Windsor flirtation, and finding a long sail with
General Hallyburton somewhat dull, he sighed for
the variety which the proximity of the Harewoods
seemed likely to afford.
So, after the first greetings were over, he
warmly seconded a proposed excursion to the
back of the island, where they all had mutual
friends, on whose hospitality they contemplated
throwing themselves for a few hours during the
middle of that day.
This was no sooner planned than put into execution, and the whole party landed before eleven
o'clock at the point to which the steward had already been
despatched to meet them with carriages for the day's expedition.
Somehow or other Tiny took her place in the
carriage containing Lady Harewood and Sir
Anthony, and Captain Foy quickly availed himself
of the fourth seat, compelling Wilfred, to his great
disgust, to join Miss Claypole, Madeline, and
General Hallyburton. Later on in the day, as
they all walked on the Downs at Freshwater, Wilfred told Tiny they
must manage better in going back, but strange to say she did not appear
half so eager about it; and while final arrangements were being made with the hostlers who had
taken charge of the horses, the ladies settled themselves in their different places for the homeward
drive, and returned as they came, with the exception of Sir Anthony and his daughter, who
changed places at the last moment, to enable the
former to drive back in the same carriage with
General Hallyburton. Before the friends parted,
Sir Anthony promised, if the wind proved fair, to
bring his guests the following day on board the
Ariel, for a sail as far as the Needles.
The day's expedition certainly did not seem so
successful to Wilfred Lane as it promised to be
when they all left the yacht that morning; and
Tiny apparently was indulging in the same reflection. Anyhow she was clearly out of spirits, and
unusually thoughtful and silent.
After dinner every one came on deck; the
evening was peculiarly still and lovely, and the
new moon exquisitely beautiful.
Talking over the events of the day, Lady Harewood expressed her astonishment at finding
Captain Foy had never been engaged to Miss
Peel, notwithstanding the rumours they had heard to
that effect, during the season previous to their visit
to Rome. Tiny's face flushed as her mother spoke;
rising from her seat, she complained of being chilly,
and began to walk up and down the deck.
In a few minutes Wilfred joined her, but neither
of them seemed inclined to talk.
Tiny had already begun to be conscious of a
return of the old Windsor feeling, and, in spite of
herself, she was engrossed in wondering over the
state of Captain Foy's mind. Perhaps, after all,
thought Tiny, he had mistaken the way in which
she regarded him; and his apparent sentiment for Miss Peel was a
mere screen for the disappointment he experienced when he thought he had
failed to reach her heart. She recalled many little
speeches she had made, which might easily have
been misinterpreted; and ended by thinking that,
but for these, Captain Foy would long ago have
declared his love. Of course he was too proud
and sensitive to risk a proposal, when she always
made a point of turning his attempts at tenderness
into ridicule, or else appeared annoyed and
offended by the very words she longed to hear
from his lips!
Wilfred and Tiny had ceased to pace the deck,
and were now leaning over the side of the yacht.
The foolish little maiden had just arrived at the conclusion that
she had given Captain Foy a lifelong sorrow as well as herself, and that she was
alone to blame for their mutual disappointment,
when Wilfred took her hand and pointed to the
beautiful reflection of the moon, and the sparkling
ripples of the water.
For the first time Tiny impatiently repulsed his
"I am so tired to-night," she said, somewhat
peevishly, drawing away her hand. "I wish you
would go and talk to the others; my head aches,
and I want to be quiet."
Wilfred left her, and, asking leave to light his
cigar, sat down by Madeline.
For some time he smoked in silence, wondering
over Tiny's pale face and irritable manner. He
felt certain something had moved her deeply, and
yet he could not imagine what it was, for he
never dreamt that day of connecting Tiny's
change of mood with Captain Foy's presence or
Very shortly there was a general move, and
Tiny, instead of staying behind as she was accustomed to do, for a few minutes' talk with Wilfred,
went below with the others, only wishing him and
Sir Anthony, who was also smoking, a careless
good-night as she passed them.
The next day's sail opened Wilfred's eyes to one
fact. He could not tell what had gone before, but
certainly, at the present moment, Captain Foy
paid Tiny very marked attention, and she betrayed
a greater interest in him than Wilfred thought her
relation with himself and acquaintance with Foy
at all warranted.
This went on for days; for if General Hallyburton and his guests
were not on board the Highflyer, Sir Anthony and his party sailed in the
Ariel, or they made some inland excursion together. All this time Tiny successfully eluded
being alone with Wilfred without appearing to do
One bright morning, when Wilfred came on
deck, he could not suppress a feeling of satisfaction
on discovering that the Ariel had forsaken her
moorings. He knew by this that General Hallyburton had carried his threat into execution, and
sailed at daybreak for Cherbourg.
Before Foy could return, the Highflyer would have
left for Dartmouth, according to the arrangement of the previous night. For once Wilfred
blessed Lady Harewood for carrying her point
about seeing the Devonshire coast, which she had
done rather in opposition to the rest of the party,
who were evidently in favour of still coasting round
the Isle of Wight.
Tiny's apparent indifference when Sir Anthony
announced at breakfast the departure of his friends
somewhat re-assured Wilfred, who straightway
accused himself of mean and jealous feelings,
unworthy of himself and of his love and devotion
It had been agreed the day before that the two
yachts should sail together to Ryde, unless the
Cherbourg plan came off, which Captain Foy
heartily hoped it would not. So the Highflyer was already
under weigh before breakfast was finished, and a fair wind soon brought her within a
convenient landing distance from the pier.
Just as they were preparing to leave the yacht,
Tiny excused herself from going on shore, on the
plea of a headache, and when Wilfred offered to
stay with her, she for once heartily echoed her
mother's objection, and declined his proposal on
the ground that she would be more likely to get
better if left quite alone.
So they started without her; but to Wilfred the day was thoroughly
spoilt. He had looked forward to it so eagerly, directly he found the Ariel
had set sail for Cherbourg, hoping that the happy
freedom of the first fortnight would return.
There were atmospheric clouds, too, about, which threatened to damp
their pleasure after another fashion, and the party returned to the yacht
much sooner than they had intended.
When Wilfred saw Tiny he felt certain that she
had been crying.
At dinner, however, she seemed in her usual
spirits, and lingered on deck as before, when her
mother and Madeline retired.
Sir Anthony and his daughter were talking over
some second post letters which had only just been
brought on board, and Wilfred took this opportunity to ask Tiny suddenly, as he drew her hand
within his arm for a walk up and down the deck,
what had made her look so unhappy?
The question seemed to startle her; acting on
the impulse of the moment, as she generally did,
Tiny told Wilfred the whole story about Captain
Foy; confided to him her feelings during the winter spent at Windsor, and her subsequent doubts
She was so perfectly engrossed with her own
thoughts that she was utterly unconscious of the
effect of her disclosure upon her cousin. But
when Wilfred asked her if Captain Foy had now
told her that he loved her, his voice was so unlike
his own that Tiny looked up in his face, and the
pain she read in it awoke within her a sudden
sense of the sorrow she had inflicted upon him.
"Oh, Wil," she cried, "I know I have done
what is wrong. I ought not to have concealed
this from you; many many times I have longed to
tell you, but the words have died on my lips. I
could not bear that any one should know about it. And there is
nothing to know," she added, passionately, "for he has never said that he loved
"There is something for me to know, Tiny," he
replied, his voice trembling with suppressed emotion. "If you have such a feeling for this man,
how can you say you love me?"
"I do love you, Wilfred; but it is not exactly
the same. I never could care for two people in the same way.
Don't blame me," she said, clinging with both hands round his arm,
and looking up eagerly into his eyes, "don't blame me for
not having told you. I thought I never should
see him any more, and that he would marry Miss
Peel. And I have felt so happy in loving you ― "
She paused as if she had not finished her sentence.
"Until you saw him again," said Wilfred,
Tiny burst into tears.
They were standing on the side of the vessel,
looking towards Ryde; Sir Anthony and his
daughter had already gone below, and they had
the whole deck to themselves.
Presently Tiny looked up.
"You are not angry with me, Wil, darling? I
can't help it; you see it was before I cared for you.
I did not know how weak I was till I saw him
again, but it will be all right soon," she added, in
a firmer tone.
"It can't be all right, Tiny, if you feel this now.
But, thank God," he exclaimed, with great effort
controlling his own feeling, "it has come in time.
You are still free. Your mother was right, after
all," he added, with a sigh.
"But you will not leave me, Wil? He has
never said he loved me, and I don't believe he
does. Don't leave me, Wilfred," she continued
vehemently, "now that I feel as if I wanted you
more than ever."
Before Wilfred could reply he became conscious
of the presence of a third person. Madeline came
with a message from her mother, who considered
it unwise for Tiny to stay so late on deck after her
indisposition; and whilst she waited for her sister,
Tiny had only just time to whisper, "Don't say a
word till I speak to you to-morrow, Wil, darling,"
and, with the most affectionate look she had given
him since the Ariel came into Cowes, she disappeared down the cabin stairs.
Wilfred Lane felt bewildered. He had never
thought it possible that Tiny would prove faithless to him, nor
imagined her capable of such a concealment; nor had he ever doubted that she had
given him her first and best affection. It was a
new revelation, and one which scattered all his
previous belief in Tiny's disposition and character.
He paced up and down the deck hour after hour,
thinking over what he had heard that night;
scarcely able to realize that Tiny had ever cared for any one but
himself. When he recalled her tenderness to him, and the letters she had written
from Rome, it was impossible to believe she had
ever loved another.
Since the day Tiny had worn his mother's ring
Wilfred had regarded their union as indissoluble,
in spite of Lady Harewood's opposition. Tiny's
unexpected confession respecting a love which was
not the growth of to-day, but which had existed
even before she consented to be his wife, and which
it seemed to him she had strangely nourished ever
since, absolutely stunned him.
His thoughts beyond this took no definite shape; he never attempted
to consider how to act with regard to their present relative position, or Captain
Foy's ultimate intentions towards Tiny. He had
to grow familiar with one great fact, which stood
out clear at last; his belief in Tiny's first love was
a delusion. She had deceived him, and he had
He could think no more; but as he rested his
head against his hands, which were clasped round
a rope above him, the pain of parting at Folkestone, and the desolateness of the winter which followed while Tiny was in Rome, seemed nothing to
his present misery.
Presently he was startled by a hand laid on his
shoulder, and, turning round, he saw Sir Anthony, who exclaimed, "Why, Lane, whatever are you
doing? It is just five o'clock, and you have never
been to roost."
Wilfred stammered out as an excuse that he had
been restless; that, as he shared Sir Anthony's
cabin, he feared to disturb him, and therefore had
remained on deck.
"My head aches, too," he added, "and I
thought the cool air would do me good, but I'll go
and turn in now, and perhaps I shall sleep it off." And
Wilfred moved away, glad to escape any further questioning.
"Alas! how easily things go wrong,
A sigh too much ― or a kiss too long ―
And there comes a shower and a driving rain,
And life is never the same again.
Alas! how hardly things go right,
'Tis hard to watch through the summer night,
For the kiss will come, and the sigh will stay,
And the summer night is a winter day."
"People are always talking of perseverance, courage,
and fortitude; but patience is the finest and worthiest part of
fortitude ― and the rarest too."
breakfast Wilfred's countenance bore but little trace of the
suffering he had gone through during the night. Had any one
noticed him particularly, they would have remarked he was more
silent than usual; but as he was never a great talker, his silence
was unobserved on this occasion.
Tiny, however, was in the best of spirits, and surprised
everybody by her outbursts of fun and merriment. It seemed
impossible that beneath this joyous exterior she could be enduring
much mental pain, and Wilfred began to think he had exaggerated the
matter in his own mind. But then again came the recollection
that for all these months Tiny, while professing to treat him with
entire frankness, had concealed from him the very fact that she had
ever cared for any man except himself, and Wilfred was exceedingly
troubled as he thought of this.
By eleven o'clock the yacht was under weigh, and a smart
steady wind bore her on towards Portland. As far as outward
circumstances went, this was one of the pleasantest sails they had
yet made, but everything seemed changed to Wilfred. All the
joy and brightness he had known during the last few weeks was gone.
There was a dull leaden pain in his heart, and a dark though
undefined dread over-clouded the future which but yesterday seemed
charged with happiness.
The first moment that he was alone with Tiny she slipped her
hand in his, and said in her gentlest voice, "Wilfred, I am so sorry
I made you unhappy last night; I should have told you ages ago, but
for this; and now I have spoken, I dare say you have lost all
confidence in me?"
"No, Tiny; but you have surprised me so much that I don't
know what to think, except that you must be free, after what you
have told me. I don't want to blame you, darling, but you
never should have hidden it from me."
"I was afraid to tell you, Wilfred, because I thought how it
would be. You don't love me any longer, I see," and Tiny
looked into his eyes with an eager longing gaze.
"Yes, Tiny, I do love you ― it would seem as easy to root out
my heart itself as to root out the love it holds for you. I
should not feel the misery I do, in the thought that I have not the
power to make you happy, if I did not love you."
"But you do make me happy," she answered impulsively. I
have been happier and better ever since you loved me, and till this
week I never thought that other feeling would come back."
"Then your feeling for this man has come back to you?" asked
Wilfred, in a tone which betrayed his suffering.
"Not exactly come back to me," she answered thoughtfully.
"I don't know how it is, but it seems impossible to shake off
altogether the remembrance of that winter at Windsor."
Tiny's hand with Wilfred's ring on it was in his own as she
spoke; as she finished her sentence, he said quietly, "Let me put
this back on my chain, Tiny; you must indeed be free; there could be
no happiness for either of us in this now. We have made a
mistake, but it is not yet too late for you."
"Oh, Wil; how can you be so cruel? I wish I had never
told you. I do not seem able to make you understand me.
It is not that I love Captain Foy; it was only the remembrance of
the past which upset me while he was here. You know what a
strange mind I have, and sometimes I think if I could only tell
whether he loved me or not I should feel quite content; but now I
cannot help dwelling on it, and all the little things he used to
say. It was very wicked of him," said Tiny, pensively, "to
seem so miserable whenever I would not walk or ride with him, if he
did not really care for me. What did he mean by it, Wilfred?"
"How can I tell you, Tiny?" he answered, betraying for the
first time an impatience it was hard to restrain as his cousin's
selfishness became too palpable for even his deep love to remain
blind to it any longer; "I know so little of this man, and love you
so much, that I am no judge. I can scarcely even tell what is
best for us; but you must be quite free. Give me back the
ring, Tiny; now I know of your feeling for Captain Foy I dare not ―
will not claim your sweet promise to be my wife."
"That is just what I feared" ― and Tiny grew quite pale and
shook with her little piteous sobbing ― "and that is why I never
told you before; it is cruel, Wilfred, of you to forsake me now,
just when I want you more than ever."
"I don't forsake you, child," cried Wilfred; "God knows I
want your happiness before my own! I love you well enough to
wish to see you happy in your own way; but I never thought that
happiness would be apart from mine."
"But it is not, Wil; I never could do without you; have
patience with me," pleaded Tiny. "I don't know what brought up
this old feeling, and I was very foolish to tell you of it last
night. Oh, Wil, it seems so cruel to think you will love me
less now. I will not give you back my ring," she added with a
vehemence which startled Wilfred; "I could not do without you!"
Neither of them spoke for a few minutes, until Tiny said in a
quiet tone, "I don't think, Wilfred, men ever do understand women.
I thought you would; but you don't seem in the least to know what I
"Tiny, you cannot love me and Captain Foy; the thing is
impossible. One of us must give place to the other."
"But he has never said he loved me," persisted Tiny.
"But you love him," replied Wilfred, as if the very
words scorched him.
"No, I don't," Tiny answered, as if she had that very moment
arrived at that conclusion. "I have a strange interest in him;
whatever happens I shall have that all my life. He was the
first to awaken in me any real feeling, and that is what you, as a
man, cannot understand. No girl can ever be quite the same
"You ought to have told me of this before, Tiny, and not have
allowed me to believe that my love first called forth yours.
And you seemed ready enough to give it when I asked it from you."
"If you had come to me as a stranger, Wil, it would have been
very different; but my affection for you as a cousin led me on step
by step, until unconsciously you crept into my heart. You came to me
as the best and highest influence I ever had in my life. Don't
forsake me, Wil; I think I should grow wicked if you left me now.
Why should you not love me all the same? I am the same as I was
yesterday; the only difference is that you know more of me than you
did. It ought to show you," said Tiny, in a pleading voice, and
looking up at him with her old passionate expression, "how much I
love you and have trusted you."
Wilfred Lane did not quite see this, but he felt the power of
Tiny's fascination. Perhaps she was right, and that he could
not enter into a girl's inmost heart. It did not seem,
however, as if Captain Foy loved Tiny; it was more than probable
that he had only trifled with her after the fashion of men of his
And then, too, Tiny evidently depended on him for support;
she had even pleaded for his love; how could he be so base and cruel
as to desert her in such need? Had everything in his own life
been so clear and blameless that he should claim as his lawful due
the first undivided affection of this girl, and because he found
that another man had once had power to move her, was it generous of
him to say "I also will give you up"? It would be quite
another thing if Captain Foy had claimed the love he had awakened;
then Wilfred's path would have been very clear; he must have
accepted his own misery at once, and perhaps in time his heart might
have ached less when he remembered that each pang it suffered
secured his darling's happiness.
To leave her now, was only to make her position more
difficult. If Captain Foy really loved her, he would return
and say so, for, as he had no idea of Tiny's engagement, ― there was
nothing to prevent his coming forward.
But Wilfred could not help thinking Captain Foy never
intended to come forward. He therefore resolved to do as Tiny
asked him; she might keep his ring, but he would consider her free.
He would do still more. As far as he could compass it,
she should have fair play. His love for Tiny was deep enough
to enable him to sacrifice himself.
After a day at Portland, the Highflyer cruised round the
Devonshire coast for a week. The morning after she reached
Plymouth, Sir Anthony received a letter from his wife, telling him
that she was glad his month's yachting had nearly come to an end,
for she had been very sick, and during the last few days had been
obliged to call in the family physician. As Sir Anthony
believed that more people "died of the doctor" than "by the
visitation of God," this information naturally made him anxious; so
it was settled that Margaret should go to London by train, and
rejoin her mother at once, while her father returned with the rest
of the party, via Southampton, for which place they set sail the
It was naturally a matter of constant pain to Wilfred to see
how completely all Tiny's thoughts were taken up in the feeling
which she had expended on one who was in his opinion utterly
unworthy of them. And sometimes it was almost more than he
could bear to listen to her continual perplexities about the meaning
of some trivial circumstance, which had been treasured up in her
mind as something of great consequence ― for, now that the ice was
broken, Tiny did not scruple to confide to Wilfred, with a frankness
which utterly amazed him, every little incident which happened that
winter, including even the secret meetings in the shrubberies, and
Captain Foy's parting kiss.
Few men would have borne this with such perfect self-command;
but Wilfred seldom betrayed to Tiny the pain she inflicted upon him.
His love for her was of too deep and unselfish a nature to admit of
his shrinking from any suffering which might give his darling even
an instant's relief.
Sometimes Wilfred Lane thought that the very repression of
Tiny's past feeling had tended to foster it; at any rate he hoped
that the complete confidence which now existed between them would
tend to increase her trust in him. He could not doubt that she
had by degrees given him a far stronger affection than mere
cousinship warranted, and he earnestly prayed for that day to come
when Tiny's little mind would cease to be disquieted at all about
this Captain Foy. Her perfect openness with him certainly
seemed a rivet in the chain which bound them together, and, resting
content with this reflection, Wilfred shut his eyes to any future
sorrow he might be heaping up for himself.
"Places are too much
Or else too little, for immortal man;
Too little, when love's May o'ergrows the ground,
Too much, when that luxuriant robe of green
Is rustling to our ankles in dead leaves.
'Tis only good to be or here or there.
Because we had a dream on such a stone,
Or this or that, ― but, once being wholly waked
And come back to the stone without the dream.
We trip upon't, alas, and hurt ourselves;
Or else it falls on us and grinds us flat.
The heaviest gravestone on this burying earth."
WEEK after week
flew by, but Captain Foy never made his appearance in Grosvenor
Crescent. The Harewoods knew he had not returned in the Ariel
to Cowes, for they had seen General Hallyburton again, at the
Claypoles', who told them that his guest had deserted him at
Cherbourg, having met a friend who persuaded him to join in a
walking tour through Normandy.
Lady Claypole had quite recovered from her indisposition, and
all the Harewoods and Wilfred Lane were dining at Hyde Park Gardens
in order to talk over the "cruise in the Highflyer," when General
Hallyburton happened to look in for a quiet smoke with his friend in
"the tavern," and was at once brought upstairs into the
drawing-room, as a person immediately concerned with the cruise in
question. So he contributed his share to the evening's
entertainment, in which was included much information about Captain
But this was soon after their return from the yacht.
Since then Tiny had heard from the Howards that Captain Foy was in
town and had been there on the previous Sunday. So it became
evident that he was least in no hurry to call on the Harewoods.
Gradually Tiny's mind seemed to settle down; her speculations
respecting Captain Foy's past, present, and future intentions became
less frequent, and her anxiety to hear about him perceptibly
diminished. Wilfred Lane at last fancied himself in sight of
the "promised land" which he had striven so hard to win, and he
really thought the time was not far distant when his darling's
undivided affection would be his own.
Towards the end of October the Harewoods again left town, and
were scattered about the country, visiting different friends.
One of the last visits Madeline and Tiny intended to pay
together was to The Cedars. Mrs. Wroughton's former kindness
to Tiny made it quite impossible for her to go on inventing excuses,
whenever an invitation to spend a few days at Windsor arrived.
Her sisters had already remarked upon former evasions, and Charlotte
often called Tiny very ungrateful for not caring to go to her old
friends. So, in spite of Tiny's unwillingness, a visit was at
last arranged. She and Madeline engaged to spend a week at The
Cedars, where Lady Harewood and Charlotte were to join them for a
few days, after which they were all to return to London together.
As the carriage which had been sent to meet them at the
Windsor station drove rapidly into the park gates, there was a keen
and frosty feeling in the air, which reminded Tiny vividly of the
visit she seemed destined never to forget. Her heart beat with
a thousand recollections which instantly crowded upon her, and she
almost felt as if she could not bear to see the place which was full
of such sweetly bitter memories. As she turned her face away
from the path which led down to the lake, where she and Captain Foy
used to go and feed the lonely black swan who had lost his mate, her
eye caught the curling blue smoke of Miss Foy's chimneys, above the
trees which concealed her cottage at the further end of the park.
Tiny could almost fancy that, if she looked long enough, she should
see the figure of Captain Foy treading its way through the clump of
trees which led by the shrubbery to the rose garden, which had often
served as their trysting-place.
Several times Madeline spoke to her; but Tiny was so wrapped
up in her own thoughts that she never even heard her sister, until
she took hold of her arm, exclaiming ―
"Whatever are you thinking of, Tiny? I have spoken
twice, and you don't answer me."
"I was thinking" ― began Tiny, and she paused for a moment,
and then continued hastily ― "I don't know what I was thinking of;
but I know I hate talking in a close carriage, and my head aches so
dreadfully that I wish I might go to bed when we get in."
There was no time for further speech or reflection, for the
carriage had already reached the door, and Mrs. Wroughton came out
to welcome her guests in the hall ― a good old fashion which she
never neglected. Five o'clock tea was going on in the library,
and the first person Tiny saw, as she entered, was Miss Foy, who had
come up early to dine and sleep at The Cedars, for her delicate
state of health still obliged her to avoid the night air.
There were several other people in the room, among them
Admiral Merryweather, Colonel and Mrs. Ashburton, and Mr. Philpots,
the incumbent of the small church which the Wroughtons attended,
when they had no visitors who wished to hear the music at St.
George's Chapel, Windsor.
As Tiny knew nearly all Mrs. Wroughton's county friends, much
shaking of hands ensued, and Madeline was introduced to Mr.
A general re-distribution of seats taking place,Tiny went
over to the sofa on which Miss Foy was sitting, and there installed
When Miss Foy had discussed the journey the Miss Harewoods
had just made, the disagreeables attendant on railway travelling in
general, and the excellence of the Windsor line in particular, Tiny
turned the conversation upon the weather, hoping, by sundry
comparisons between this winter, last winter, and the winter before
that, to carry back the listener's mind to the time of her nephew's
visit, knowing that when she was reminded of Captain Foy's existence
she would be sure to mention him. Tiny felt shy about speaking
first herself. Conscious of her own intense longing to hear of
him, she did not even dare to make inquiries which would have simply
appeared to his aunt natural and polite.
Her little stratagem had its desired effect. As soon as
Miss Foy recalled that peculiarly severe winter, and her consequent
confinement to her room, she thought how her good Philip had refused
to leave her, and how thankful she then was that. The Cedars
and its pleasant occupants, including the Harewood family, afforded
him an occasional solace, during the days when she was too ill to
see him at all.
"Speaking of that winter reminds me of Philip," she said;
''you remember him, I think, for you were kind enough to help my
friends here to entertain the dear fellow. I never shall
forget how good he was," continued the old lady, gratefully.
"Nothing would induce him to leave me till the spring, when his
sister returned from abroad, and I am sure it must have been very
dull work to stay with a wheezing old aunt like me."
"I hope you are stronger now," said Tiny, rather
hypocritically, for she could not resist wishing in her heart that
Miss Foy was ill again, and once more enjoying her nephew's
solicitude. "I remember how anxious Captain Foy was about you,
but he told us when we met him in the Isle of Wight that you were
"Yes, thank you, I am really stronger, I believe; so I tell
Philip he has lost his chance of coming into possession of the
Wilderness soon enough for it to be of any use to him. Such a
small place," she added, smiling, "will scarcely do for Lady Susan,
though it would have suited Philip very well as a bachelor."
Tiny could not understand this reference to "Lady Susan."
Lady Susan who? she felt inclined to say eagerly; and
she thought it so provoking of people to talk in such a way.
She was quite angry with Miss Foy for supposing that she must be
acquainted with every circumstance connected with her nephew's
future requirements, and her heart, beat so violently that she
feared Miss Foy would hear it if she did not speak.
Controlling herself with a great effort, she remarked that "the
Wilderness was one of the prettiest little places she had ever
Miss Foy was exceedingly pleased with Tiny's appreciation of
"I am naturally fond of it," she replied, "for I have watched
the growth of every little plant and shrub in the place, which was
really a wilderness when I first came to it about fifteen years ago.
Philip was then at Eton, and used to come over for his holidays, so
now I tell him he had better come here for his honeymoon; the
Wroughtons will be away, and the young couple would have the park
all to themselves."
Tiny's face grew very pale; she gasped out ― "Is Captain Foy
going to be married soon?" She could not command her voice
during a longer sentence; it was evident from Miss Foy's last
speech, and previous reference to some unknown Lady Susan, that some
marriage was really in contemplation.
"Well, I think it will be soon after Christmas; and would you
believe it, Philip has the face to complain of waiting so long?
But Lord Fitzwilliam is immovable, and insists upon having his
family about him without any change for another Christmas-day.
You see," said Miss Foy, who was always delighted to find any one
who would listen to all she was willing to tell respecting the
nephew she had so helped to spoil, "Master Phil has such a sad
character for the havoc he makes in the hearts of young ladies,
that, I think, the old earl was thoroughly taken by surprise when he
found Philip had really succumbed to Lady Susan's charms. You
know, my dear," she added, confidentially, in a lower tone,
''soldiers are very naughty people; they will love and ride away.
I began to think I should never live to see Philip settle down into
a respectable married man."
Tiny made an attempt to say something which would sound like
an appropriate congratulation. Fortunately for her, Miss Foy
was so engrossed with her own thoughts, that she never noticed the
quivering lips of the pale girl beside her, who faltered out the
ordinary phrase expressive of the ordinary feelings to which people
are expected to give utterance on such occasions. Oh! she
thought, if something would put a stop to this conversation, and
enable her to slip away unobserved to another room; she wanted air,
she wanted ― anything to stop this rising in her throat, which
seemed likely to choke her. And still she yearned to hear all
Miss Foy could tell, of the man who had taken such a hold upon her
Thanking Tiny for her kind wishes, Miss Foy replied that, on
the whole, she thought the marriage likely to prove a very
satisfactory one, but she added, "I cannot get over my surprise
about it, for, until I received Philip's letter on Thursday,
announcing the engagement, I had never even heard him mention Lady
Susan in more than a passing way, and did not know he was going down
to stay at Coombe Hall."
At this moment Mr. Philpots took his departure, and the other
guests soon followed his example. Mrs. Wroughton then proposed
to show the Harewoods their rooms. Miss Foy was already well
acquainted with the one assigned to her. It was a small
bachelor's room on the ground-floor, which was always placed at her
service, to save her the exertion of going up and down stairs.
As Mrs. Wroughton took the girls away, she noticed Tiny's
pale face, and its expression of weariness. Laying her hand on
her young guest's arm, she rallied her upon her appearance.
"You look as if you wanted another winter of Windsor air,
indeed you do. You must allow," she continued, turning to
Madeline, "that I sent Tiny home looking all the better for her
visit, so I think you ought to trust me with her again. Come,
Tiny, what do you say? I am very lonely here in the winter,
and it will be quite a charity if you will come and make the house
as lively and cheerful as you did before. Oh, how you and
Captain Foy used to make us all laugh, and how very badly you did
behave to him. I believe he was desperately in love with you,
but you snubbed him so unmercifully, you sad little coquette, that
you reserved him for an earl's daughter," said Mrs. Wroughton,
Every vestige of colour fled from Tiny's cheeks, and her
knees knocked together as she rested a moment against the
"Do you know," said Tiny, trying to account, in some
reasonable manner, for her sudden indisposition, "I think I am very
ill; I ate some Bath buns at the refreshment-room at Slough, and I
think they have poisoned me."
Mrs. Wroughton was greatly concerned at Tiny's paleness, but
thought the Bath buns were quite sufficient to explain it; one would
have been enough to make her uncomfortable, and Tiny talked of them
in the plural number, as if they had been so many sugar-plums.
"The little gourmande has probably made her luncheon
on these horrible indigestible cakes," she said to herself as she
hurried to her room, in search of sundry globules which, she assured
Tiny, would do her all the good in the world, whether she believed
in them or not. Mrs. Wroughton was a devout homoeopathist, and
was only too eager to seize every opportunity for administering
these mysterious little sugar-plums to her friends.
Tiny took the globules upon condition that she should be left
alone with her maid, declaring she felt so exceedingly sick, that
Mrs. Wroughton and Madeline must go away directly.
When Madeline went back to her sister in half an hour, she
found that Pearson had already tied a pocket-handkerchief steeped in
vinegar and water round Tiny's head, closed the shutters, and put
out the lights, and but for the faint flickering flame which came
from a peculiarly dull fire, the room would have been in total
darkness. Madeline groped her way to the sofa, and, as she did
so, she heard Tiny sobbing.
"Is your head so bad, Tiny dear?" she asked, for it was no
unusual thing for Tiny to cry if troubled with the slightest
"Don't speak to me," she answered; "it only makes me worse,
and I was just going to sleep, and now you have disturbed me!
Do tell Pearson to leave the things," she added impatiently; "she
does nothing but tramp up and down the room, till I am nearly
frantic. I am sure she had time enough to unpack our trunks
while we were talking downstairs."
Madeline understood by the sound of her sister's voice that
it would be better to leave her quite alone, so, without answering,
she followed the offending Pearson, who was disappearing at that
moment with a fresh load of silk dresses into the next room; and,
closing the door behind her, said that Miss Tiny must not be
disturbed, and the rest of the things must remain as they were at
When Tiny heard the door fairly closed, she gave herself up
to the passionate grief she had been forced to repress in the
presence of others. It was so strange and cruel, she thought,
that here in this very place, so full of the memories of that
Winter, where everything reminded her so vividly of her past
happiness, and in the dreams in which she had indulged, that she
should learn how utterly false and heartless Captain Foy was.
Relieved by the first tears she had dared to shed, Tiny began
to reason with herself. After all, it was nothing new, except
that at Cowes Captain Foy had again encouraged her belief that he
cared a great deal for her, but did not consider his prospects
sufficiently good to enable him to marry at present.
Otherwise, she had long ago given up all hope, ever since she saw
that he did not care to call at Grosvenor Crescent, and rumour had
connected his name with Miss Peel.
Before the Roman visit, Tiny had begun to suspect the truth
as to Captain Foy's real character. Why, then, did she feel
such surprise now? Well, it must be, she supposed, because she
had attached too much importance to his attentions on board the
yacht, when he appeared once more to yield himself to the pleasure
of watching her innocent fair cheeks flush with joy at his approach,
and noting the little flutterings by which she betrayed her feeling
for him, whenever he managed to steal her hand and hold it in his
own for a few minutes.
"Why did he come and stand so close, and look so earnestly
into her eyes, if he did not love her?"
And Tiny gave way to another passionate fit of crying.
By this time her poor little head ached in good earnest.
Before Madeline went down to dinner, she helped Pearson to
undress her sister, and they left with the understanding that no one
should come in until she rang her bell; then Pearson was to bring a
cup of tea and some buttered toast.
Tiny very soon sobbed herself to sleep, and did not wake
until nearly midnight, long after Madeline had been in her room;
Pearson had already been dismissed for the night, after duly
providing the teapot, having substituted bread and butter for the
toast as less likely to increase her young mistress' bilious
headache, so everything was in readiness against the time when Miss
Tiny should awake.
As soon as Madeline heard her sister's voice, she carried in
the little tray prepared for her. Tiny sat up in bed, and
after a strong cup of tea and two pieces of bread and butter, began
to feel so much better that she wanted to hear the news; who had
been at dinner, what everybody had said, and whether Madeline had
talked to Miss Foy?
So Madeline amused Tiny for the next half hour with all the
gossip of the evening, including Miss Foy's information about "my
nephew and Lady Susan," which she did not in the faintest degree
connect with Tiny's violent headache.
Finding her sister knew no more than she did about Captain
Foy's intended marriage, Tiny wished her good-night, and resolved to
go to sleep without thinking any more of anybody.
Just as a dreamy drowsy sensation was creeping over her, she
remembered Wilfred's tenderness and thoughtful love, and prayed that
she might be able to give herself up entirely to him, and be made
worthy of his generous devotion.
There are loves in man' s life for which
time can renew
All that time may destroy.
next morning Tiny looked a little paler than usual, but otherwise
she seemed in excellent health and spirits. There were several
people staying in the house, and what with the walks between the
late breakfast and luncheon, and the riding and driving afterwards,
with billiards from five-o'clock tea till the dressing bell rang for
dinner, whist, and the round games which occupied the evening, there
was little or no time for thought. Lady Harewood and Charlotte
joined the party at the appointed time, and carried off Madeline and
Tiny after a few days' visit, in spite of Mrs. Wroughton's
endeavours to persuade the latter to remain a little longer at
But Tiny was far too anxious to return to Wilfred. She
was longing to talk to him over the altered state of affairs with
regard to Captain Foy.
When Wilfred heard of the intended marriage, it appeared to
him natural that this intelligence should rekindle all the old
interest in Tiny's breast; and if Captain Foy again engrossed a
larger share of their conversation and Tiny's thoughts than Wilfred
at all liked, he hoped it was the dying flicker of the lamp before
it expired altogether.
And so it proved. Gradually the subject seemed to pain
her less; she talked more reasonably about it than formerly, and at
last one day positively amazed Wilfred by laughing over her episode
with Captain Foy. She had long ago burnt one or two little
notes which he had contrived to send her when he first knew her, and
the only memento she retained was a little horseshoe charm, which
she now ceased to wear. One day, in a sudden burst of
endearment, which reminded Wilfred of those happy days before the
Ariel anchored next the Highflyer at Cowes, Tiny threw her arms
round his neck, and declared she would not exchange him for fifty
Wilfred's heart beat tumultuously; he reaped at last the
reward of his long and patient waiting. Taking Tiny in his
arms, he held her closely to him, and told her to look up in his
face, that he might read in her eyes the same truth her lips had
When he saw the passionate expression with which Tiny
"They kissed so close they could not vow,"
And once more holding her at arm's length and gazing into her
face as if to make himself sure of her love, he hastily disengaged
himself and left the room.
Now that the sorrow was over, Wilfred Lane realized the heavy
strain which had been upon him ever since that evening at Ryde when
Tiny confessed the secret she had previously concealed. For a
long time he had watched her and tried to sound the depths of her
strange character; but whenever he thought he had arrived at an
understanding of the different motives which influenced her actions,
Tiny would by some curious inconsistency scatter his conclusions to
One thing only she persistently maintained, namely, that the
bond between herself and Wilfred had acquired fresh strength and
sanctity from the day on which she confessed to him her attachment
for Captain Foy; and she quoted George Eliot in support of her
feeling, in these very words: "Every day and night of joy or sorrow
is a new ground, a new consecration, for the love that is nourished
by memories as well as hopes ― the love to which perpetual
repetition is not a weariness but a want, and to which a separated
joy is the beginning of pain."
When Wilfred had seen how Tiny brooded over every incident
connected with Captain Foy, how she recalled his looks and tones,
how perversely this loving little soul would endow his careless
speeches with a meaning and a warmth never acquired from him, he had
sometimes feared that she would never cease to care for him.
He knew there were souls thus constituted, thus frail and delicate
and tender, and he trembled lest his own true passion should fail to
recall Tiny to happiness and love.
But in that last embrace she had seemed to assure him that
she had lived through her first mistake without having lost the
capacity of loving, and after a few weeks of despair the rebound was
so great that it carried his hopes at once to the utmost point they
had ever reached.
Tiny had really learnt to love him ― at last her heart was
entirely his own.
Towards the end of January the Court Circular devoted
two columns and a half to the description of the "marriage in high
life of Lady Susan Fitzwilliam and Captain Philip Foy." The
ingenious chronicler of that event dwelt ad nauseam upon the
extreme loveliness of the bride, the gallant devotion of the young
and distinguished officer who led her to the hymeneal altar, and the
rich and tasteful toilettes of the six noble maidens who officiated
as bridesmaids. The exquisite and valuable cadeaux
which the happy and fortunate newly-married pair received as wedding
presents from their numerous and aristocratic acquaintances ― one
and all ― were all duly detailed, and the whole affair seemed to
afford Tiny a great deal of fun, until it appeared to Wilfred that
she simply regarded it as so much food for merriment.
Certainly he could not accuse her of too much feeling now;
and but that he was overjoyed at the change which had lately come
over her, he would have wished that her amusement had been indulged
in a quieter and less demonstrative manner. But Tiny had a way
of her own about everything, and it was useless to expect that she
would ever act like other people; and when Wilfred came to think of
it, he never wished to see her like anything but herself!
The next few weeks were the happiest in Wilfred Lane's life.
The black cloud which had threatened to engulf him had disappeared;
his darling seemed to lean entirely on him, and to find life sweet
for his sake. On the first of June he promised himself that
his felicity would be perfect. Day after day, when he reached
Grosvenor Crescent, he saw Tiny's little face pressed against the
library window, in order that she might catch the first glimpse of
her lover as soon as he came in sight; and both began to count the
days which divided them from that on which Lady Harewood had
promised her consent to their marriage. Tiny repeatedly
assured Wilfred that her life was bound up in him, and Wilfred
certainly had no thought apart from Tiny, and could imagine no
future of which she was not the central figure.