DOROTHY AND ROWLAND.
Such was the force of law and custom in Raglan that as soon as any
commotion ceased things settled at once. It was so now. The minds of
the marquis and lord Charles being at rest both as regarded the gap
in the defences of the castle and the character of its inmates, the
very next day all was order again. The fate of Amanda was allowed
gradually to ooze out, but the greater portion both of domestics and
garrison continued firm in the belief that she had been carried off
by Satan. Young Delaware, indeed, who had been revelling late--I
mean in the chapel with the organ--and who was always the more
inclined to believe a thing the stranger it was, asserted that he
SAW devil fly away with her--a testimony which gained as much in one
way as it lost in another by the fact that he could not see at all.
To Scudamore her absence, however caused, was only a relief. She had
ceased to interest him, while Dorothy had become to him like an
enchanted castle, the spell of which he flattered himself he was the
knight born to break. All his endeavours, however, to attract from
her a single look such as indicated intelligence, not to say
response, were disappointed. She seemed absolutely unsuspicious of
what he sought, neither, having so long pretermitted what claim he
might once have established to cousinly relations with her, could he
now initiate any intimacy on that ground. Had she become an inmate
of Raglan immediately after he first made her acquaintance, that
might have ripened to something more hopeful; but when she came she
was in sorrow, nor felt that there was any comfort in him, while he
was beginning to yield to the tightening bonds mistress Amanda had
flung around him. Nor since had he afforded her any ground for
altering her first impressions, or favourably modifying a feature of
the portrait lady Margaret had presented of him.
Strange to say, however, poorly grounded as was the orignal interest
he had taken in her, and little as he was capable of understanding
her, he soon began, even while yet confident in his proved
advantages of person and mind and power persuasive, to be vaguely
wrought upon by the superiority of her nature. With this the
establishment of her innocence in the eyes of the household had
little to do; indeed, that threatened at first to destroy something
of her attraction; a passionate, yielding, even erring nature, had
of necessity for such as he far more enchantment than a nature that
ruled its own emotions, and would judge such as might be unveiled to
it. Neither was it that her cold courtesy and kind indifference
roused him to call to the front any of the more valuable endowments
of his being; something far better had commenced: unconsciously to
himself, the dim element of truth that flitted vaporous about in him
had begun to respond to the great pervading and enrounding orb of
her verity. He began to respect her, began to feel drawn as if by
another spiritual sense than that of which Amanda had laid hold. He
found in her an element of authority. The conscious influences to
whose triumph he had been so perniciously accustomed, had proved
powerless upon her, while those that in her resided unconscious were
subduing him. Her star was dominant over his.
At length he began to be aware that this was no light preference, no
passing fancy, but something more serious than he had hitherto
known--that in fact he was really, though uncomfortably and
unsatisfactorily, in love with her. He felt she was not like any
other girl he had made his shabby love to, and would have tried to
make beter to her, but she kept him at a distance, and that he began
to find tormenting. One day, for example, meeting her in the court
as she was crossing towards the keep,--
'I would thou didst take apprentices, cousin,' he said, 'so I might
be one, and learn of thee the mysteries of thy trade.'
'That I might spare thee something of thy labour.'
'That were no kindness. I am not like thee; I find labour a thing to
be courted rather than spared; I am not overwrought.'
Scudamore gazed into her grey eyes, but found there nothing to
contradict, nothing to supplement the indifference of her words.
There was no lurking sparkle of humour, no acknowledgment of
kindness. There was a something, but he could not understand it, for
his poor shapeless soul might not read the cosmic mystery embodied
in their depths. He stammered--who had never known himself stammer
before, broke the joints of an ill-fitted answer, swept the tiles
with the long feather in his hat, and found himself parted from her,
with the feeling that he had not of himself left her, but had been
borne away by some subtle force emanating from her.
Lord Herbert had again left the castle. More soldiers and more must
still be raised for the king. Now he would be paying his majesty a
visit at Oxford, and inspecting the life-guards he had provided him,
now back in South Wales, enlisting men, and straining every power in
him to keep the district of which his father was governor in good
affection and loyal behaviour.
Winter drew nigh, and stayed somewhat the rushx of events, clogged
the wheels of life as they ran towards death, brought a little sleep
to the world and coolness to men's hearts--led in another Christmas,
and looked on for a while.
Nor did the many troubles heaped on England, the drained purses, the
swollen hearts, the anxious minds, the bereaved houses, the
ruptures, the sorrows, and the hatreds, yet reach to dull in any
large measure the merriment of the season at Raglan. Customs are
like carpets, for ever wearing out whether we mark it or no, but
Lord Worcester's patriarchal prejudices, cleaving to the old and
looking askance on the new, caused them to last longer in Raglan
than almost anywhere else: the old were the things of his fathers
which he had loved from his childhood; the new were the things of
his children which he had not proven.
What a fire that was that blazed on the hall-hearth under the great
chimney, which, dividing in two, embraced a fine window, then again
becoming one, sent the hot blast rushing out far into the waste of
wintry air! No one could go within yards of it for the fierce heat
of the blazing logs, now and then augmented by huge lumps of coal.
And when, on the evenings of special merry-making, the candles were
lit, the musicians were playing, and a country dance was filling the
length of the great floor, in which the whole household, from the
marquis himself, if his gout permitted, to the grooms and kitchen-
maids, would take part, a finer outburst of homely splendour, in
which was more colour than gilding, more richness than shine, was
not to be seen in all the island.
On such an occasion Rowland had more than once attempted nearer
approach to Dorothy, but had gained nothing. She neither repelled
nor encouraged him, but smiled at his better jokes, looked grave at
his silly ones, and altogether treated him like a boy, young--or
old--enough to be troublesome if encouraged. He grew desperate, and
so one night summoned up courage as they stood together waiting for
the next dance.
'Why will you never talk to me, cousin Dorothy?' he said.
'Is it so, Mr. Scudamore? I was not aware. If thou spoke and I
answered not, I am sorry.'
'No, I mean not that,' returned Scudamore. 'But when I venture to
speak, you always make me feel as if I ought not to have spoken.
When I call you COUSIN DOROTHY, you reply with MR. SCUDAMORE.'
'The relation is hardly near enough to justify a less measure of
'Our mothers loved each other.'
'They found each other worthy.'
'And you do not find me such?' sighed Scudamore, with a smile meant
to be both humble and bewitching.
'N-n-o. Thou hast not made me desire to hold with thee much
'Tell me why, cousin, that I may reform that which offends thee.'
'If a man see not his faults with his own eyes, how shall he see
them with the eyes of another?'
'Wilt thou never love me, Dorothy?--not even a little?'
'Wherefore should I love thee, Rowland?'
'We are commanded to love even our enemies.'
'Art thou then mine enemy, cousin?'
'No, forsooth! I am the most loving friend thou hast.'
'Then am I sorely to be pitied.'
'For having my love?'
'Nay; for having none better than thine. But thank God, it is not
'Must I then be thine enemy indeed before thou wilt love me?'
'No, cousin: cease to be thine own enemy and I will call thee my
'Marry! wherein then am I mine own enemy? I lead a sober life
enough--as thou seest, ever under the eye of my lord.'
'But what wouldst thou an' thou wert from under the eye of thy lord?
I know thee better than thou thinkest, cousin. I have read thy
title-page, if not thy whole book.'
'Tell me then how runneth my title-page, cousin.'
'The art of being wilfully blind, or The way to see no farther than
'Fair preacher,--' began Rowland, but Dorothy interrupted him.
'Nay then, an' thou betake thee to thy jibes, I have done,' she
'Be not angry with me; it is but my nature, which for thy sake I
will control. If thou canst not love me, wilt thou not then pity me
'That I may pity thee, answer me what good thing is there in thee
wherefore I should love thee.'
'Wouldst thou have a man trumpet his own praises?'
'I fear not that of thee who hast but the trumpet--I will tell thee
this much: I have never seen in thee that thou didst love save for
the pastime thereof. I doubt if thou lovest thy master for more than
'Be honest with thyself, Rowland. If thou would have me for thy
cousin, it must be on the ground of truth.'
Rowland possessed at least goodnature: few young men would have
borne to be so severely handled. But then, while one's good opinion
of himself remains untroubled, confesses no touch, gives out no
hollow sound, shrinks not self-hurt with the doubt of its own
reality, hostile criticism will not go very deep, will not reach to
the quick. The thing that hurts is that which sets trembling the
ground of self-worship, lays bare the shrunk cracks and wormholes
under the golden plates of the idol, shows the ants running about in
it, and renders the foolish smile of the thing hateful. But he who
will then turn away from his imagined self, and refer his life to
the hidden ideal self, the angel that ever beholds the face of the
Father, shall therein be made whole and sound, alive and free.
The dance called them, and their talk ceased. When it was over,
Dorothy left the hall and sought her chamber. But in the fountain
court her cousin overtook her, and had the temerity to resume the
conversation. The moth would still at any risk circle the candle. It
was a still night, and therefore not very cold, although icicles
hung from the mouth of the horse, and here and there from the eaves.
They stood by the marble basin, and the dim lights and scarce dimmer
shadows from many an upper window passed athwart them as they stood.
The chapel was faintly lighted, but the lantern-window on the top
of the hall shone like a yellow diamond in the air.
'Thou dost me scant justice, cousin,' said Rowland, 'maintaining
that I love but myself or for mine own ends. I know that love thee
better than so.'
'For thine own sake, I would, might I but believe it, be glad of the
Amanda's behaviour to her having at last roused counter observation
and speculation on Dorothy's part, she had become suddenly aware
that there was an understanding between her and Rowland. It was
gradually, however, that the question rose in her mind: could these
two have been the nightly intruders on the forbidden ground of the
workshop, and afterwards the victims of the watershoot? But the
suspicion grew to all but a conviction. Latterly she had observed
that their behaviour to each other was changed, also that Amanda's
aversion to herself seemed to have gathered force. And one thing she
had found remarkable--that Rowland revealed no concern for Amanda's
misfortunes, or anxiety about her fate. With all these things
potentially present in her mind, she came all at once to the
resolution of attempting a bold stroke.
'--But,' Dorothy went on, 'when I think how thou didst bear thee
with mistress Amanda--'
'My precious Dorothy!' exclaimed Scudamore, filled with a sudden
gush of hope, 'thou wilt never be so unjust to thyself as to be
jealous of her! She is to me as nothing--as if she had never been;
nor care I forsooth if the devil hath indeed flown away with her
bodily, as they will have it in the hall and the guard-room.'
'Thou didst seem to hold friendly enough converse with her while she
was yet one of us.'
'Ye-e-s. But she had no heart like thee, Dorothy, as I soon
discovered. She had indeed a pretty wit of her own, but that was
all. And then she was spiteful. She hated thee, Dorothy.'
He spoke of her as one dead.
'How knewest thou that? Wast thou then so far in her confidence, and
art now able to talk of her thus? Where is thine own heart, Mr.
'In thy bosom, lovely Dorothy.'
'Thou mistakest. But mayhap thou dost imagine I picked it up that
night thou didst lay it at mistress Amanda's feet in my lord's
workshop in the keep?'
Dorothy's hatred of humbug--which was not the less in existence then
that they had not the ugly word to express the uglier thing--enabled
her to fix her eyes on him as she spoke, and keep them fixed when
she had ended. He turned pale--visibly pale through the shadowy
night, nor attempted to conceal his confusion. It is strange how
self-conviction will wait upon foreign judgment, as if often only
the general conscience were powerful enough to wake the individual
'Or perhaps,' she continued, 'it was torn from thee by the waters
that swept thee from the bridge, as thou didst venture with her yet
again upon the forbidden ground.'
He hung his head, and stood before her like a chidden child.
'Think'st thou,' she went on, 'that my lord would easily pardon such
'Thou knewest it, and didst not betray me! Oh Dorothy!' murmured
Scudamore. 'Thou art a very angel of light, Dorothy.'
He seized her hand, and but for the possible eyes upon them, he
would have flung himself at her feet.
Dorothy, however, would not yet lay aside the part she had assumed
as moral physician--surgeon rather.
'But notwithstanding all this, cousin Rowland, when trouble came
upon the young lady, what comfort was there for her in thee? Never
hadst thou loved her, although I doubt not thou didst vow and swear
thereto an hundred times.'
Rowland was silent. He began to fear her.
'Or what love thou hadst was of such sort that thou didst encourage
in her that which was evil, and then let her go like a haggard hawk.
Thou marvellest, forsooth, that I should be so careless of thy
merits! Tell me, cousin, what is there in thee that I should love?
Can there be love for that which is nowise lovely? Thou wilt
doubtless say in thy heart, "She is but a girl, and how then should
she judge concerning men and their ways?" But I appeal to thine own
conscience, Rowland, when I ask thee--is this well? And if a maiden
truly loved thee, it were all one. Thou wouldst but carry thyself
the same to her--if not to-day, then to-morrow, or a year hence.'
'Not if she were good, Dorothy, like thee,' he murmured.
'Not if thou wert good, Rowland, like Him that made thee.'
'Wilt thou not teach me then to be good like thee, Dorothy?'
'Thou must teach thyself to be good like the Rowland thou knowest in
thy better heart, when it is soft and lowly.'
'Wouldst thou then love me a little, Dorothy, if I vowed to be thy
scholar, and study to be good? Give me some hope to help me in the
'He that is good is good for goodness' sake, Rowland. Yet who can
fail to love that which is good in king or knave?'
'Ah! but do not mock me, Dorothy: such is not the love I would have
'It is all thou ever canst have of me, and methinks it is not like
thou wilt ever have it, for verily thou art of nature so light that
any wind may blow thee into the Dead Sea.'
From a saint it was enough to anger any sinner.
'I see!' cried Scudamore. 'For all thy fine reproof, thou too canst
spurn a heart at thy feet. I will lay my life thou lovest the
round-head, and art but a traitress for all thy goodness.'
'I am indeed traitress enough to love any roundhead gentleman better
than a royalist knave,' said Dorothy; and turning from him she
sought the grand staircase.