Page images


Author of "Nellie's Memories,Jee IVifie,Barbara Heathcote's Prial,and Robert Ord's Atonement.


THE VALLEY OF THE NIDD. the trim garden, is the first object visible; then Who has not heard of the Valley of the Nidd ? the church and the Great House, which, from its

Visitors who resort to Harrogate, that gay queen elevation, looks down over the entire village; of inland watering places, are tolerably conversant houses sparsely scattered here and there gleam with that fair tract of country, well watered as out in soft whiteness among the park-like meadows, another Eden by the River Nidd, wherein lies the River Nidd flowing through them, now gliding

, this beautiful and picturesque valley.

on between its banks under a wealth of umbrageous Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, Birstwith, Hamps- foliage, now chasing over its smooth white boulders, thwaite, and Ripley, all in their turn recall summer now twined into narrow curves, or forming dark wanderings and pleasant days of excursion and cool pools, where the small red oxen come down holiday, and looking down over the rich extent to drink-river and meadows and richly wooded of meadow and pasture, thickly sown with woods banks going on alluringly for miles.

. and plantations, one is driven to confess that this Dym, who was well tired by her journey and is the garden of the West Riding of Yorkshire. her long waiting at the bustling Harrogate station, Down in a dip or hollow of the valley lies Birst trusted, from the slackening of the engine, that with, its postal town being Ripley, dropped down they were drawing to their journey's end, and snugly on the banks of the Nidd, a tiny toy village, could not help an audible sigh of disappointment or "story-book village," as some chance visitors when Hampsthwaite instead of Birstwith met her termed it.


Her sole fellow-passenger, who had got in There is a pleasant Arcadian simplicity about at Harrogate, put down his paper and smiled, and Birstwith, all the same that there is a flavor of then, with a thorough Englishman's mauvaise monopoly about it. Though only twenty minutes honte, not being able to make up his mind to by rail from Harrogate, and boasting a station speak, took it up again. of its own, the influx of visitors is rare; the only Dym yawned and looked at him; he was a tall lodgings to be procured are just opposite the muscular-looking man, very tanned and freckled, butcher's. “Not at home to strangers” is as

as though by constant exposure to sun and wind, plainly legible in the whole aspect of the village with strongly developed homely features, and as though it were written up on a sign-board, and sandy-no, red hair, somewhat sun-dried, too, he creaked noisily over the Railway Inn.

was dressed in a rough gray suit, and wore shootNot that there is any lack of hospitality among ing-gaiters and a broad-brimmed straw hat, almost the Birstwithians ; on the contrary, the curious as broad as a planter's; his hands were large anti Stranger, though uninvited, and his presence by no freckled also; nevertheless Dym selt he was a means solicited, is always made heartily welcome gentleman. at the vic:rage and the mill. The hospitality of

But his face did not interest her, so she read the North is proverbial

, nor is Birst with one whit the back of the paper instead. The Pateley Bridge, behind in this respect, though she guards her Nidderdale, and Ripon Herald-how dull it beauties coyly from undiscriminative eyes, and sounded after the Daily Telegraph! Dym could wouid fain hide herself from general observation. just catch sight of the right hand advertisementAnd a fairer English village never lay shrouded “The Braisty Woods Estate, in the parish of among the Yorkshire moors.

Kirkby Malzeard”—what names ! there's a worse From the level platform of the station the view one lower down—" Scriven-with-Tentergate ;" ' is singularly graceful and picturesque. The arch

who ever heard of such a place ! and Dym read of the road leading to the village, with the weir on: “Scriven-with-Tentergate. To be sold by itself

, is indeed hidden, but the mill and the mill- | auction at the Commercial Hotel, Knaresborough, house, with its blackened ruin standing amid all that close of excellent grass land called Hall


penny Close, containing 1A. 2R, OP."--whatever • Everyone knows everyone else's business in does that mean I wonder !—“be the same more Birst with; that comes of living in a village. Nuw or less'' —how enigmatical !-" situate in the look out from your or my window; there's the township of Scriven-with-Tentergate, adjoining mill.” the Knaresborough and Boroughbridge Road,'' “What a pretty garden, and water, too! Oh, read on Dym perplexedly, till she was aware of a and what an ugly black ruin !" pair of light hazel eyes peering at her over the “ Marks of some recent fire; there now, you top of the paper. Dym bit her lip and turned see the church—such a lovely church-and the away. "May I offer you the paper?” volunteered Great House, as we call it; Ingleside, I mean. the owner of the eyes in a voice not quite free Now here we are at the station ; let me help you from the northern dialect, and with a decided out.” burr in it. Dym declined in rather a shamefaced A fresh free wind blew around Dym as she manner, and then, curiosity getting the better of alighted; the late beams of an August sun touched her timidity, “Are we far from Birstwith ?” she the level glories of meadows and rivers, and lit asked, with difficulty suppressing another yawn. them up into radiance; the west was a mass of The gentleman smiled; he had a wide mouth, and rose color and purple clouds; from woods and when he smiled, he showed a row of strong white meadows the birds sang lustily; the lowing of teeth, and the skin under his eyes puckered and cattle came over the uplands. Dym stood on the wrinkled up; it was odd, but it was irresistible; it bigh platform, a little doubtful and confused by made Dym smile, too.

the sudden beauty, while her traveling companion “We shall be there in a very few minutes now," handed out plaid shawl, bonnet-box, and black he observed. “We have just passed Hamps- box. thwaite."

“Halloa, Humphrey, playing ladies' man, by " Where the station-master had a wooden leg; way of change. Leave all that for Dison, man. yes, I know," and then, in spite of her efforts to Here, Dison, see after this lady's luggage, and be very proper, Dym could not help putting send it up to Ingleside. Now, Miss Elliott, and another rather funny question--"Do all the how do you do?" station masters about here have only one leg or A moment before, Dym was feeling strange a: cne arm?"' for Dym's quick eyes had noted this uneasy, now she seemed to be back at St. Luke's singularity.

again, or even in the narrow close school-room a: It was impossible to help laughing, which her Lansdowne House. Guy Chichester's figure, in new acquaintance did very heartily; it is astonish- the old shooting-coat, looked so delightfully 6ing how a laugh does away with all stiffness, even miliar, even amid its new surroundings, that ler in a railway compartment where there are only courage rose again. She put her hand in his, and two occupants.

declared, in answer to his inquiry, she was only “You have noticed this peculiarity at our three a very, very little bit tired, albeit a few minutes little stations, then; these disabled pensioners of since she had been yawning fearfully. the service are placed there because traffic is easy " That's well," he replied, with a glance of and work liglit. Our station-master at Birst with amity that made her foolish little heart beat more has his full complement of legs and arms. You quickly. “ You must have had a terribly dull are passing through?” with an interrogative glance, journey, though, all alone from King's Cross not inquisitive, but courteous.

Where did you put in an appearance, Humphrey?" “I am staying there; please let me know as “Harrogate," was the laconic answer. soon as we are in sight of it,” she added in a “Harrogate! Harry Trevor has come up by pleading voice.

this train, too, I see. Well, you may safely trust “ Which will be in a few minutes. Ah, I know your goods and chattels to Dison. Miss Elliot, now, you are the young lady from London whom will you come with me, please? Humphrey, I Mrs. Chichester is expecting.”

suppose I can't give you a list?" “How do you know that?" turning on him “Not exactly; Honor is waiting tea for me sharply, and her manner said very plainly, “Who Well, squire, good-night. Good-night, Missare you, I should like to know?


[ocr errors]

“ Miss Elliott. What, haven't you exchanged | stream ; under the bridge there was a strand of cards yet? Permit me; Miss Elliott-Mr. Hum- pebbles; the mill-wheel whirred noisily. phrey Nethecote, the worthiest and the must “They are late at work to-night,” she heard honest Yorkshireman in the whole of the West Mr. Chichester say to Peter. Riding;” and after this singular introduction, Past two shady-looking houses, with a drinking Mr. Chichester turned on his heel with a nod and pump beside them; past a long stretch of level "follow me” wave of the hand, and preceded grass-land, so evenly kept and so well planted them down the steep staircase, turning back to with trees, that Dym thought it must be the park offer a hand to Dym, who was not quite so light belonging to the Great House, till she found out footed as usual.

her mistake afterward; past the almshouses, with "Been far, squire? The bays look heated." the monumental inscription in the centre of the

"Only to Ripley and back. Took the wagon- garden ; past the post-office, the tailor's, and one ette, you see. What's the matter with the mare's or two other shops; then came the vicarage, a low foot, Peter—the off-side one?" And Mr. Chi- gray house, set prettily in its own grounds, and

-? chester went anxiously around to see, returning a looking on to the church, which stood high and moment later with “all right," and bidding Dym had to be gained by formidable tiers of steps; jump in.

round a sharp corner, and past another gray house ; "Down, Kelpie, down."

then the lodge gates, and a long, but not very "Kelpie-oh, I know. What a beautiful dog!" wide, sweep of carriage road leading to the Great exclaimed Dym, as a large Scotch collie dashed House itself. But Dym noticed they had been asdelightedly around Mr. Nethecote, and then slob-cending ever since they had left the mill; this bered, well pleased, over his hand.

elevation gave her a glorious view of the country. "Kelpie knows his friends, Humphrey. His In Dym's eyes, Ingleside was a very imposing delight is a tacit reproach for not coming up oftener residence. A large, white, irregularly built house, to Ingleside. Change your mind now, man, and with innumerable windows, each commanding throw over tea for a slice of our black mutton." separate views of interest, surrounded by large Mr. Nethecote shook his head. “What would sloping gardens, laid out tastefully in flower par

terres and terraces, and with walled-in kitchen Mr. Chichester, who was drawing on his gardens, whereof Dym caught sunny glimpses. driving-gloves, merely shrugged his shoulders Voilà Ingleside. Welcome the coming, speed expressively. “Well, if you won't be persuaded, the parting guest—that's our motto, Miss Elliott. good-bye, and love to Honor. We will bring Take care of the wheel; let me help you down," Miss Elliott to see her some day. Are you coming around to her assistance.

" Where's my quite comfortable, Miss Elliott?" regarding her mother?” he inquired of the gray-haired butler, benevolently from his seat. “ We will drive to whom the sound of wheels had advertised their slowly through the village for your sake. You arrival. won't mind the mare being a little playful at start

"In the drawing-room. Dinner is ready, ing. No matter how much I work her, she's squire." always skittish, the jade-like the rest of her sex,” “ Not served, I hope. Miss Elliott, you will Dym was sure she heard him add under his breath. not be able to change your toilette to-night. Tired,

There, let go her head, Peter;" and the next eh?” with one of those abrupt surveys that were minute they were clattering over the bridge, where natural to Mr. Chichester. Mr. Nethecote, who was striding on, nearly tum

“ No," replied Dym, almost inaudibly; but bled over a perambulator and a baby, the two she did not volunteer the statement that she felt elder children being too much engaged in curtsy- very nervous. She followed Mr. Chichester, keeping to the squire to wheel it out of the way.

ing very closely in his shadow, as they passed Dym uttered a little cry of admiration as they through the large pleasant hall, prettily inlaid with passed the mouth of the weir. Some boys were

Some boys were tesselated pavement, and then into a side corridor, splashing bare-legged among the boulders : the with a painted window, and a conservatory, where water had a silvery gleam and fash; the trees on Dym got a delicious glimpse of cool green ferns, either side drooped their dark branches into the and heard the bubble of a fountain; then a door


Honor say?"

[ocr errors]



was fung open, a sweet soft perfume as of roses observed Mrs. Chichester, as they went up the low suddenly pervaded the air, and then Dym found broad stairs together. herself in a large low room, with narrow windows Dym, who was admiring the polished oak ani opening on to the lawn, and full of old fashioned the antique carving of the balustrades, said grate chintz couches and settees. A tall beautiful-faced fully, “Oh, yes, thank you." woman, looking in her brocade and lace ruffles as “ It is the gray room.

We call all our rooms though she had just stepped out from a picture. after the color of the paper and hangings-mine frame, came forward to meet them.

is the blue room, and my son's, which is opposite, “Mother, I have brought Miss Elliott after all. the red room. This is yours, Miss Elliott." I told you that I should be back from Ripley in Dym remembered her garret and throne of time to meet the train.”

boxes at Lansdowne House, and the Little glimre Dym was taken by the hand, and kindly scruti of the Green Park seen over the roofs of houts. nized.

The gray room was small, but its two windoit “You are very welcome, my dear; then the cornmanded an enchantin, prospect of the garden, tone relaxing from its slight formality with exces church, and meadows, with silvery flashes of the sive surprise, “ How very young you are, Miss Nidd sparkling through the trees. Dim's brief Elliott! Why, Guy, this is hardly more than a survey took in an easy-chair, a reading.table, with

! child."

a bowl of roses on it, and a little bed, all gray Mr. Chichester laughed. “Why, indeed, mother, and rose-pink; and then Cinderella gave a long I believe Miss Elliott has attained the sober age drawn sigh of pleasure. of eighteen," he began; but Dym, who by reason " How nice and pretty! too pretty for me, is it of her frequent failures had been taught to con- not? I have never had such a room in my life sider her youth as a fault, broke out here a little ! before." pitifully.

Mrs. Chichester smiled benignantly at the giri's “ Please don't say I am too young,” she said, frankness. addressing Mrs. Chichester ; “I shall get older "I hope you will enjoy many pleasant dreams soon. They all tell me that, and then I lose heart in it, my dear. Ah, there's the gong, and I must about things; but, indeed, I do mean to try my not keep my son waiting. You shall have some best and please you ;” and as Dym ended her tea, and when you are rested, Dorothy shall help little speech, faltering and blushing and looking you to unpack and arrange your things. Remem. ready to cry, she found a motherly kiss imprinted ber, you are to make yourself quite at home." on her cheek, and herself placed on a corner of Dym's first thought when she was left alone was the couch with kindly peremptoriness.

if only Will could see her, and the next a feeling “That's right, mother; she looks terribly tired of wonderment that this should be Mrs. TressiI believe Miles is just going to sound the gong for lian's sister. dinner. Miss Elliott, you have had the dust and Mrs. Tressilian was very kind and motherly, fatigue of a long journey. Ingleside is Liberty but "how unlike," soliloquized Dym, as she reHall—we have no rules of the Medes and Persians called the fair lymphatic face and somewhat obese here. My mother will let you do just as you like. proportions of that lady. Will you come down to dinner with us, or have a Mrs. Chichester was tall and somewhat full in cup of tea in your own room?"

person, but she carried herself as erect as a girl. Oh, a cup of tea, please,” gasped out Dym. Her complexion had retained its delicate coloring It was all so strange and grand, and Dym felt so of youth, and the large soft white curls were just travel-soiled beside Mrs. Chichester's silvery bro suited to her peculiar style of beauty. She had cade, a little rest and quiet would be refreshing; it evidently been a belle in her youth, and seill was so thoughtful of Mr. Chichester to propose it. gloried innocently in that fact. Dym thought “ Shall I ring for Dorothy, mother?"

she had never seen a statelier gentlewoman. Sie “No, Guy, thank you. I will show Miss Elliott told Mr. Chichester afterward that she admired to her room myself. Come, my dear, come; his mother's quaint old-fashioned way of dressing and Dum was thankful to obey.

herself. “ It is so picturesque, and so out of the “I thought you would prefer a small room next common,” she said. to me rather than a large one in the next wing,” “Ah, we've got to grogram at last," he re



turned, smiling. “None of your flimsy material, ** Miss Beatrix doesn't fit her dresses better,''
your fly-catching sort of dresses, for my mother. she observed, during the confidential period when
If Jeremy Taylor had drawn up sumptuary laws, she was brushing out her mistress's hair.
ordering that ye habits of ye gentlewomen be The new inmate at Ingleside was sleeping peace.
always silken or of clothe of velvet or brocaded | fully when Mrs. Chichester and her maid were
tissues,' my mother could not have worn those discussing her with the kindly curiosity and dis-
fabrics more obedientiy. Have you noticed what crimination natural to women.

"And then every-
a beautiful hand she has, Miss Elliott, and how thing so neat, too. She can work lace rarely, I
she always wears lace ruffles to set it off? You see; and her cuffs and collars were of such a
have not an ugly hand yourself, by the way-why beautiful color! One always knows when one
not try what real Valenciennes will do for you ? touches a lady's things; a lady's a lady, be she
Isn't my mother a regular female Louis Qua- ever so poor.”

I think it would have been a salve to Dym's A very neat-handed Phyllis, evidently a village pride if she had heard Dorothy. maiden, brought up Dym's tea. It turned out Mrs. Chichester did not come up again, but she her name was Phyllis, and that she was especially sent a message by Phyllis, hoping that Miss Elliott bidden to wait on the new companion. Dym had all she wanted, and that she would recomliked her rosy cheeks and rustic manners exceed- mend her to seek her bed early. ingly.

She found out afterwards she was the Dym did not do this, but sat up instead, writing, miller's daughter, and being a protégée of Mrs.

a letter to Will, which drowsiness did not permit Chichester's, had been taken to serve at the Great her to finish. She had only laid her head on her House. “There being so many of us, miss, and lavender-scented pillow, when she smelt the frathe mill-house being hardly big enough for the grance of a cigar under her window, and heard whole of us."

Guy Chichester's step on the graveled terrace beDym was delighted with Phyllis, but she stood low. A moment after he called to his dog, and

| greatly in awe of Mistress Dorothy. Dorothy Dym was sure she could hear them both scrunchwore a black silk, which was fresher than Dym'sing through the shrubbery; and so still was the very best company dress; she had gray curls, night, that the clang of the iron gate nearly a pinned up in imitation of Mrs. Chichester, and a quarter of mile off was distinctly audible. sober, somewhat hard-featured face. Dym would Going out for a walk. Why, it must be eleven willingly have declined her assistance if she dared, o'clock. How strange !" thought Dym drowsily; but eighteen is not prolific in inoral courage. and then she fell asleep. Dorothy's attentions were terrifying, but they It was late next morning-nearly nine o'clock were scarcely to be set aside.

-when Phyllis woke her. Dym jumped up in a Dym's cheeks burned as her one box was un

fright. packed, and her poor little dresses laid out on the “Mrs. Chichester said you were not to be disbed one by one by Dorothy's skillful hands. turbed earlier, miss,” observed her little hand

' What would Mrs. Chichester's grand maid think maiden. of their scanty number, and of all her little con- But Dym was not to be convinced, and dressed trivances ; the few laces she had picked to pieces, herself in a hurry. . and washed and ironed herself; the collars she

She turned the handles of several door-the had stitched ; her little stock of ribbon and finery; dining-room, billiard-room, and lastly Mr. Chithe one simple straw bonnet, with its fresh trim-chester's library-before she discovered the mornmings, which, with her old brown hat, was all ing-room, or green room, as it was phrased, where Dym could boast?

she found Mrs. Chichester sitting alone knitting, Dym's heart need not have throbbed so in its while a substantial meal, evidently untouched, lay girlish pride and wounded vanity. If Dorothy on the table.

. had a hard-featured face, she had a warm heart. “Good morning, my dear." Her quick eyes certainly detected the poverty, but “Good-morning-but oh, Mrs. Chichester, it only moved her to kindly pity for the young have I kept you waiting?”

“ Breakfast never waits for any one at Ingle.



« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »