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Public Library,

LONG ISLAND CITY, N. Y.

THE VIVIAN ROMANCE.

NUMBER ONE.

VA

CHAPTER I.

ly passionate mention of a certain Andalusian Marquise.

Presently the door opened, and lady Eva Red

fern entered. "L'Hymen, dit-on, craint les petits cousins."

Lady Eva, sole daughter of the Marquis of ALENTINE VIVIAN was a noticeable Alvescott, and wife of Rupert Redfern, of Broad

man--as Wordsworth said of Coleridge— oak Avon, was a perfect creature of the Arteyet the first thing one noticed about him was mis type, lithe and lissom, fluent and flexile. his dress. He was sitting, when I desire to in- Tall and swift and slender, there was no touch of troduce him to the reader, in a peculiarly easy Brobdingnag in her build ; she was the very relounging-chair, placed in a wide window over- flex of the inviolate Huntress. Brown eyes had looking a superb sweep of scenery whose beauty she, and brown hair of divine softness, and a was intensified by a summer sunset. Long bust of voluptuous curve, and long, light, delicate slopes of perfect lawn were bounded by a ha-ha; hands, with a rosy tinge in the flesh of them. and there was a noble park beyond, studded She was twenty-five, Lady Eva. Rupert Redwith great oak-trees, populous with deer; and a fern, the Squire, was about forty-five. I suppose river, one of England's many Avons, bounded I must describe the Squire. the view. Broadoak Avon is a great estate, as He was a man about six feet three inches dwellers in the midland counties know full well; high, with a portentous stoop in gigantic shouland t' Squire of Broadoak Avon well deserves ders. He was huge every way. Mentally or his pr, icely heritage. But I have not yet come physically, there was nothing babyish about Ruto the Squire.

pert Redfern. He had taken a double first at Now, as to Valentine Vivian's dress. His Oxford, rather easily. He had pulled stroke coat was of violet velvet; his waistcoat of a in the University boat, and pulled such a stroke brocaded silk, with gold buttons, and in each that the University did not soon forget it. And button a diamond; his trowsers of a lavender now he managed his great estates in a massive cloth. Round his neck he wore a cravat of magnificent fashion, making the farmers his wondrous lace, and ruffles of the same hid the friends, and the farm-laborers his abject worsmallest and whitest hand in the world. Then shippers. He was generous, was the Squire. how perfect a Wellington boot of polished leath. He would not have misery among his depender concealed his Lilliputian foot! Vivian was ents. And, giant though he was, being as tenaltogether Lilliputian. Never, probably, did so der as a woman, he was quite at home in the ambitious and energetic a spirit find so small a cottages of the poor. human habitation.

"Love had he found in huts where poor men lie." Vivian had long, bright yellow hair, curling over his shoulders, with a silken Vandyck beard 'Tis not a bad place to find love, if, like Squire to match, and the softest of golden mustaches. Redfern, you set about it in the right way. His eyes were large, as blue as steel, as keen as Valentine Vivian was ten years older than a Toledo rapier. You could not see his upper his beautiful cousin, Eva, though he certainly lip for the golden growth above it; but it was did not appear so. The Marquis of Alvescott of perfect form, like Apollo's bow; while the and Sir Alured Vivian married sisters; and, as lower lip, ruddy and voluptuous, made one think Lady Vivian died early, and the baronet did not of Sir John Suckling.

want to be bored by his boy, Valentine was quite Valentine Vivian had a companion-a huge at home at Alvescott Manor. Well, cousinship mastiff, twice his own weight at least, who bore is very nice. When Eva was fifteen, she was a the name of Thor. Vivian, as the sunset grew prodigious little romp. She was the perfect deeper in the west, and tinged with saffron and fulfillment of Robert Brough's Neighbor Nelly. purple the winding Avon, was lazily smoking a cigarette, and glancing at a volume of Alfred de

“She is tall, and growing taller,

She is vigorous of limb; Musset's poems. I think the book was open at

You should see her playing cricket one of the Madrid lyrics, wherein was melodious

With her little brother Jim."

1364

But, as there was no brother Jim in her case, | He had fought a duel in the Bois de Boulogne, she was wont to victimize her cousin, Valentine. thereby earning a half-column of Whitehurst. The Marquis was a devotee of the turf; the He had written & couple of volumes of verseMarchioness was a confirmed invalid; and Lady one at Venice, the other at Rome. The VeneEva's governess, Miss Lister, was her most obe- tian brochure was a witty wicked story in octave dient slave. The said governess, when first she rhyme—the rhyme of Pulci and Byron : while came to Alvescott, had endeavored to enforce at Rome he had gone in for passionate lyrics regularity and propriety; but nothing would and lurid ironies. Both books were good enough have effected this short of actual corporal pun- as works of art-were the product, indeed, of a ishment; and Lady Eva could much more easi- volatile, versatile, vivacious mind; and were dely have inflicted this on the governess than the servedly maltreated by the sensible and sagacious governess on her. So Miss Lister prudently critics of London. Those critics, as we all have accepted the situation, taught her pupil when excellent reason for knowing, are grave and her pupil was inclined to learn, and obeyed serious men, who sternly disapprove of immoorders excellently. Lady Eva, however, was ralities and levities. They object (and who shall not idle. There were times when she chose to gainsay them ?) to the whimsical fantasies of an learn, and things which she liked to learn; and, effervescent mind. This is a world for statistics as she had free access to her father's splendid and didactics; a world in which he is a god library, she got a fair sort of irregular educa- who can make money, and he is a demi-god tion.

who can write a money article. And it is clearEva at fifteen or sixteen was a romp; at sev- ly wicked to tolerate persons who come into enteen or eighteen she had developed into a flirt. such a world to waste their own and other peoPeople who remembered her the most reckless ple's money, to draw caricatures and write excitof young hoydens, were amazed at her sudden ing lyrics. acquirement of dignity and stateliness. Put- But "dost thou think, because thou art virting her into long dresses seemed immediately tuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale ?” to have made a woman of her. There was only And because thou art solemn and stupid, preone person who would not accept the change— ferring small-beer to all other liquids, shall there her cousin, Valentine. He laughed at her airs henceforth be no effervescence of Champagne ? and graces, and insisted on regarding her as just I think otherwise. I have an enormous rev. the mere child she was a year or two previously. erence for the tribe of statisticians; but I conIt was very provoking, but Valentine was un- fess, when Vivian's thin volume of amorous manageable. He would not resign any privi- octaves came home from Venice, I put aside a lege of cousinship; he would treat her as if she most interesting article by Mr. Newmarch, were a little girl. He never condescended to and read it right through before I went to bed. flirt with her, and certainly never made love to I am half ashamed to acknowledge such friher. This last he might have done with impu- volity. nity, perhaps with success, for the Marchioness This was the sort of thing: would have been delighted to see the cousins married; while the Marquis thought a good

“In a right Protestant mood, extremely bitter,

I watched the purple proud procession swerving deal more about a bay filly that he had named

Through the white street, and marked the priestly after his daughter, than about the young lady glitter, herself. But Valentine was not a marrying And then I saw one girl, with bosom curving He liked to be on easy terms with his

Voluptuously, and graceful figure, fitter cousin, but had not the remotest idea of making

For Pagan days than ours. Had Edward Irving

Such sensuous syllogism to urge, I hope serious love to her. He teased her abomina

He very quickly would convert the Pope." bly.

By-and-by the time came for Lady Eva to be Sheer shallow nonsense this, as we all know. a bride. She had plenty of wooers, be sure; After reading a couple of hundred such stanzas, and when she chose Squire Redfern from among imagine the gusto wherewith I returned to Newthem, a good many of the insolent young sprigs march! of fashion who had followed her professed to be Returning to England, Vivian found himself perfectly shocked. The Squire was forty, at made very welcome by his cousin's husband. least-double her age; he was immensely rich, He came to Broadoak for a week, and staid for which showed how mercenary she was. He months. The Squire, in fact, would not let him was a man who liked to live on his estates and go away. although he had rooms in town, look after his people; so she vanished from so- he was seldom to be met with except just in the ciety, and went to live a quiet life down at height of the season.

He wasted his time in Broadoak Avon.

rhyming and singing (he had a divine tenor Five years had passed since their marriage. voice), sketching and smoking; but, by way of There were no children. Vivian, during that letting off a little superfluous stean, he was in period, had seen but little of his cousin : he had the habit of taking long lonely rides every day. been abroad for long intervals, he said; at any A perfect horseman, and the lightest of light rate, he was very seldom seen in England, but weights, he enjoyed long hours in the saddle had been encountered both in Paris and Baden. more than any thing else in the world. He had, however, been heard of in England. “ Lazy as usual, Val,” said his cousin, when

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she entered. “Won't you come and walk with been present. Riverdale and the whole county

I am going to visit some old women.” were consternated. For weeks past there had “Poor child! I hope somebody will come been the most daring burglaries and highway and visit you when you are an old woman. robberies. A skillful gang were at work, eviWhere's the Squire ?”.

dently. Plate and jewelry had been stolen “He went over to Riverdale, to attend a from half a dozen great houses. There was meeting of magistrates. There have been a not a farmer in the county who dared ride series of burglaries lately, and people are get- home alone from market. Mr. Severne, the ting quite frightened."

chief constable of Riverdale, who had never “To be sure, I remember. I wish they'd try been baffled before, was utterly baffled now. this place. It would be a nice break in one's “I never heard of so perfect an organization,” ennui.

said the Squire. "They seem to know exact“Well, see if you can get rid of a little of ly when and exactly where to make their buryour ennui by walking with me to the village. glarious attacks. They ransacked the plateIt will do you good.”

chest at Chilham House, going straight in and " Will it? I don't know. However, I'll straight out, as if the butler had shown them come if I may smoke. I won't carry tracts the way. They stopped poor Henderson, the and beef-tea, please to observe. You are not lawyer, on the loneliest part of his road home, going very far, of course; it is getting too late." | with two hundred sovereigns in gold in his va

“I have just one or two old folks that I want lise. I don't believe the old boy had had so to see before dinner. There is plenty of time. much gold about him for years. They are doRupert won't be back till the last moment, I ing the ing so cleverly that the police are perexpect.”

fectly puzzled and perplexed.” So the cousins started for the village, on “I sometimes think it would be rather fun whose outskirts Lady Eva had a couple of her to be a detective,” said Vivian. pet pensioners to relieve. They arrived at a “We have a wonderfully clever fellow in comfortable red-brick cottage in a pleasant gar- Severne,” said the Squire. “He's a gentleden. Just across the road there was a stile en- man, and a Cambridge man, and seems to have tering a path through Squire Redfern's woods— taken to the business from mere liking. He'll beautiful beech-woods, populous with pheasants. catch these fellows in time, I feel certain.” On this stile Vivian sat and smoked his cigar- “Let us hope so," replied Valentine. " But ctte, while Lady Eva paid her philogynic visit. I am weary of these thieves. Let us have some

As he sat there, indolent of mood, a shrill coffee and music. If the scoundrels would atsharp whistle sounded through the copse. It tack us here, I should feel disposed to forgive was a whistle unique of its kind—not the sort them.” of music which bucolic boys utter with unskill- So there followed one of the pleasant indolent ed lips. It caused Vivian to spring over the evenings which are the delight of English counstile and look curiously into the depths of the try life. Lady Eva gave her husband and wood. He perceived advancing along one of cousin their coffee ; and then there was an inthe paths a slight, agile man, in a blue dress terval of Mendelssohn and Rossini, Vivian's with brass buttons, bearing all the marks of glorious tenor doing wondrous work; and then able seamanship. There was instant recogni- they sat a while, chatting over the great excitetion.

ment of the day-the mysterious systematic “Well, Mark, what is it ?” he asked.

robberies. “You are badly wanted, sir. The men are “ Your stories are alarming,” said Vivian to making fools of themselves. Could you come the Squire, drinking his final draught of iced to-night?”.

seltzer. "I shall load my revolver to-night.” " Will two o'clock do ?” he asked.

Which indeed he did. Arriving in his chamVery well, indeed. I will tell them you ber, he took from its case a very elegant little are coming.”

six-shooter and charged it carefully. Then he Although this brisk sailor vanished as rapidly quietly divested himself of the elegant attire in as he appeared, Lady Eva Redfern noticed him which we have seen him, and put on a businessas she left the cottage. She asked her cousin like riding-dress-top-boots, buckskin breeches, what he was.

and a close-fitting coat. Then he sat a while, “Only a beggar,” he replied. “There are smoking a big regalia, and meditating. always plenty of them on the road.”

By-and-by, having finished his cigar, he rose “I hope he wasn't a poacher,” she said. from his lounging-chair, took a big gulp of “Rupert détests poachers.”

brandy - and - water, and descended stealthily “He was dressed like a sailor,” said Vivian. through the corridors, which were dim and siI believe your swell poachers prefer to dress lent. He had keys for all doors that he desired like dignitaries of the Church.”

He made his way to the stables, and They walked home together through the sum- reached a stall wherein stood a coal-black mare, mer twilight. The Squire's mail phaeton had nearly thorough-bred. She whinnied at his apjust reached the door as they arrived. When proach. He saddled her, led her out, locked they sat down to dinner, Mr. Redfern was full the stable door behind him, and rode away of the magistrates' conference at which he had / rapidly.

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NUMBER TWO.

There was a bright full moon. Vivian rode fragments of old ballads, the work of forgotfor the most part across open moorland soft to ten singers in distant, simple days. Silly the mare's tread, fragrant to the rider's nostril. sooth” are such rhymes as these, no doubt : About three hours' travel brought him to a large town, a quaint old-fashioned town when you “Lady Mary Ann was a flower in the dew, reached the centre of it. He rode through back

Sweet was its smell and bonny was its hue,

And the longer it blossomed the sweeter it grew, streets till he came to a narrow alley, at whose For the lily in the bud will be bonny yet." entrance a man was waiting. Vivian dismounted, left his horse in this man’s care without say. But when you hear them wedded to simple mel. ing a word, and walked down the alley. odies, and sung by a sweet soft voice under a

Half-way down a door opened the moment he mulberry-tree, they have a magic of their own. reached it. He entered, and was in the small So at least thought John Grainger, a distant parlor, apparently, of a public-house. It was relation of Farmer Ashow's, who was living with a room about fifteen feet square, and there were him to learn the art and mystery of farming. in it about a dozen of the most truculent ruf- John was only a few months older than Mary, fians you ever saw, smoking the most villain- and so of course was as bashful as possible in ous tobacco you ever smelt.

her presence. He was a stalwart fellow from As Vivian entered the room every man rose Westmoreland, as strong as a bull and a great to receive him.

deal uglier. His hideous, honest face, with eyes hidden under heavy eyebrows, and a nose that turned up as if there were Irish blood in him,

and a mouth some sizes too large, made one CHAPTER II.

think of an ogre. He had the best temper and appetite and the roughest head of hair in the

world. He was a studious youth, with a great "In town a maid da zee muore life,

liking for mathematics, botany, and chemistry. An' I don't underriate her,

When he came of age he would have money But ten to oone the sprackest wife 'S

enough to take a good-sized farm; and his friends a farmer's woldest daeter."

thought he would be likely to succeed in AusHalf a mile from Squire Redfern's park tralia. He had been disposed to agree with gates, on a beautiful reach of the Avon, is Broad-them, before he came to live at Broad-oak Mill oak Mill Farm. It is as quaint a place as you Farm, and to see Mary Ashow every day. would wish to see. The farm-house and the It was afternoon, and at four o'clock precisemill, both ancient timbered buildings of red ly the farmer and John Grainger would come to brick, are on opposite sides of the river, which tea. Mary saw the time by the turret clock is crossed by a narrow wooden bridge. Old over the mill-door, and sprang from her seat, Ralph Ashow is farmer and miller also—a warm and went away singing to make the necessary man, no doubt, with an account at Riverdale preparations. A pleasant summer parlor openBank, and, it is commonly believed, a hoard of ed on the garden, and here the meal was set : guineas in his strong-box at home. But his bright silver and curious old china appeared on choicest possession, in his own opinion and in the table ; the tea was fragrant; the butter and that of the young farmers of the vicinage, is his cream delicious ; the virgin honey full of floral daughter Mary, a charming little coquette of flavor. The young mistress of the farm did eighteen.

her ministrations deftly, fascinating poor John She is sitting now under the great mulberry- Grainger to such an extent that he was always tree in the old-fashioned garden, where bloom making some absurd mistake-swallowing his the dear old homely flowers which modern tea at its hottest, or committing some other awkhorticulturists despise. Pigeons are flying, a wardness. The farmer was a macilent man, many-colored flock, through the sunlit air, and who looked as if he had been in a good many there is a drowsy hum of bees from the long storms, and had only grown the harder for the row of straw hives beneath the southern wall. encounter. People were wont to say that old Half in shadow and half in shine, Mary Ashow Ashow was as tough as ash. He certainly lookis knitting under the mulberry-tree-a petite ed so. figure, yet plump and rounded, with blond hair “ They've not caught these house-breakers and watchet eyes, and a rosy, laughing face. yet, I'm told,” he remarked to his daughter. She wears a light print dress, but hers white “We shall have them here some night, Mary. arms are bare ; her sole ornament is a maiden- Mind you lock yourself up carefully.” blush rose at her bosom. I wish I could sketch " I'm not worth the trouble of carrying her under that grand old tree, with eyes that away,” she said. “ They're more likely to look try to look demure under their long lashes, and for your money, father.” lips that will betray those eyes by pouting into "I don't think they'll find very much,” rean incipient laugh. Mary was as gay as a bird, plied the old gentleman. “I should not like and as busy as a bee-a model farmer's daugh- them to get at the silver, though ; it has been ter. Every now and then she would burst into so long in the family.” a snatch of song—not echoes of opera or qua- “It is always carefully locked up," said Mary. si-comic chanson from the casino, but fanciful “Aye, but they're so cunning. They got at

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