• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The Varleys
 Wreck ashore
 Henrietta takes affront
 Tea at the farm
 Philip's footsteps
 The lady's walk
 Mrs. Lacey's party
 The brothers
 About this and that
 Juba
 The arrival at Halsall
 Richard Varley's plate
 A little rift at Halsall
 Euphemia and Henrietta quarrel
 In the kitchen garden
 Rain on the moss
 The burglar at the hall
 A better understanding between...
 Apparitions
 Mr. Tableton exorcises the...
 Captain Varley is apprehended
 Soldiers in possession
 What Henrietta saw
 Sunday afternoon
 Henrietta's bravery
 The hut in the sandhills
 The grange
 Henrietta returns home
 Fitzgerald's fate
 And the last
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine














Group Title: dangerous conspirator
Title: A dangerous conspirator
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085972/00001
 Material Information
Title: A dangerous conspirator
Series Title: "Fleur de lys" series
Physical Description: 333, 18 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Norway, G ( George )
Hardy, Paul, b. 1862 ( Illustrator )
Jarrold and Sons
Publisher: Jarrold & Sons, 1897
Place of Publication: London
 Subjects
Subject: Conspiracy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Drowning victims -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1897   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1897   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1897
Genre: Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
1897   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Norwich
England -- Yarmouth
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by G. Norway ; illustrated by Paul Hardy.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085972
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002235027
notis - ALH5468
oclc - 240227049

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
    Advertising
        Page 2
    Frontispiece
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The Varleys
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Wreck ashore
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 22a
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Henrietta takes affront
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Tea at the farm
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Philip's footsteps
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    The lady's walk
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Mrs. Lacey's party
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    The brothers
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    About this and that
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    Juba
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    The arrival at Halsall
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    Richard Varley's plate
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
    A little rift at Halsall
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
    Euphemia and Henrietta quarrel
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
    In the kitchen garden
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
    Rain on the moss
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
    The burglar at the hall
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
    A better understanding between the cousins
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
    Apparitions
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
    Mr. Tableton exorcises the demon
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
    Captain Varley is apprehended
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
    Soldiers in possession
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
    What Henrietta saw
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 258a
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
    Sunday afternoon
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
    Henrietta's bravery
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
    The hut in the sandhills
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 296a
        Page 297
    The grange
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
    Henrietta returns home
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
    Fitzgerald's fate
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
    And the last
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 330a
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
    Advertising
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
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A DANGEROUS


CONSPIRATOR


















THE "FLEUR DE LYS" SERIES
Of Illustrated 6s, Novels.
Uniform with "A Dangerous Conspirator."
Crown 8vo, Cloth elegant.


THE LORD OF LOWEDALE. By R. D. CHETWODE,
Author of The Marble City," The Fortune of the Quittentuns."
Illustrated by G. GRENVILLE MANTON.
WHEN THE CENTURY WAS YOUNG. By M.
M. BLAKE, Author of The Siege of Norwich Castle," Toddleben's
Hero," "Courtship by Command," etc., with numerous Illustrations
by the Authoress.
A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR. By G. NORWAY,
Author of A Prisoner of War," "A True Cornish Maid," The Loss
of John Humble." Illustrated by PAUL HARDY.


NEW 5s. BOOKS.
Crown 8vo, Cloth, Illustrated.
BY THE NORTH SEA: or, The Protector's Grand-
daughter. By Mus. EMMnll MARSHALL, Author of "In the East
Country," etc. Illustrated by W. MILLER-SMITH.
THE TWO ALTHEAS. By EDITH E. IIORSMAN,
Author of "Severn-Side," etc. Illustrated by G. DEMIAIN HAMMIOND.

BY THE DEEP SEA. A Popular Introduction to the
Wild Life of British Shores. By EDWARD STEP, Author of" Wayside
and Woodland Blossoms," "By Vocal Woods and Waters," etc., with
I22 Illustrations by P. H. GOSSE, W. A. PEARCE, and MABEL STEP.

LONDON: JARROLD & SONS, 10 & II, WARWICK LANE, E.C.
And of all Booksellers.
























































"The plate was collected, with deeds, letters, and other valuables, and
stored in the secret apartment."--. 137.









A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR







BY
G. NORWAY
Author of "A Prisoner of War," "A True Cornisk Maid,"
The Loss ofJohn Humble," etc.




ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL HARDY











LONDON
JARROLD & SONS, io & ii, WARWICK LANE, E.C.
[All Rights Reserved]
1897

























CONTENTS.


THE VARLEYS ......

WRECK ASIIOR ... ...

HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT ...

TEA AT THE FARM ... ...

PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS ...

THE LADY'S WALK ... ...

MRS. LACEY'S PARTY ... ...

THE BROTHERS ... ...

ABOUT THIS AND THAT... .

JUBA ...... ...

THE ARRIVAL AT HALSALL ..

RICHARD VARLEY'S PLATE ... .

A LITTLE RIFT AT HALSALL .

EUPHEMIA AND HENRIETTA QUARREL

IN THE KITCHEN GARDEN ...

RAIN ON THE MOSS... .. ...

THE BURGLAR AT THE HALL ...


PASl
7
... ... 19

... ... 32

... ... 43

... 55

... ... 67

... ... 76


... ... 97
97
.. ... IIo

... ... 124

... ... 134

... 142

... ... 153

... ... 166

1... ;8

.. .. 1908
... ... Igo


CHAPTER
I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.


... 200

212

... 220


A BETTER UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE COUSINS

APPARITIONS ... ... ...

MR. TARLETON EXORCISES THE DEMON ...


R









CONTENTS.


PAGE
CAPTAIN VARLEY IS APPREHENDED ... ... 232
SOLDIERS IN POSSESSION ... ... ... ... 242
WHAT HENRIETTA SAW... ... ... ... 252
SUNDAY AFTERNOON ... ... ... ... 263
HENRIETTA'S BRAVERY... ... ... ... 275
THE HUT IN THE SANDHILLS ... ... ... 287
THE GRANGE ... ... ... ... ... 298
HENRIETTA RETURNS HOME... ... ... ... 310
FITZGERALD'S FATE ... ... ... ... 320
AND THE LAST ... ... ... ... ... 327


CHAPTER
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
xxvIII
XXIX.
XXX.














A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


CHAPTER I.

THE VARLEYS.

ABOUT the middle of the eighteenth century, perhaps
a hundred and fifty years ago, a gentleman called
Captain Varley lived in a very secluded village, situated
in the southern part of Lancashire, near the sea.
Varleys had been the squires of this place time out of
mind, and were much respected, though not rich. Their
land was good, but the difficulties of taking the produce
to any suitable market hampered its sale. The roads were
little more than wide grassy tracks, bordered by dykes
and ditches, which overflowed after heavy rain, and
rendered them nearly impassable, particularly for carriages
or carts.
A wide district of waste, marshy land, once the bed of
a great lake, cut them off from their neighbours on one
side, and the sea bounded the estate upon another.
Both "the moss," as the marshy waste was called, and
the shore, from which the sea was retreating surely and
steadily, leaving a long stretch of sandy dunes behind it,







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


might have added considerably to the value of Captain
Varley's property, had he possessed money to expend
upon draining the one, or cultivating the other; but this
he had not got.
His father, the old squire, had gone out in 1715, being
a very strong Jacobite; and though he had escaped the
execution for high treason, which befell so many of his
friends, he had been subjected to such heavy fines, as made
him a poor man for the rest of his life.
His eldest son, taught prudence by his father's mis-
fortunes, entered the navy; but the loss of an arm, and
other accidents, in the course of an engagement, obliged
him to retire from his profession at an early age, before
his fortunes were assured by it.
He had married some years previously, and had several
children; so, when his father died, he was glad to collect
such remnants of his property as could be gathered together,
and go to dwell quietly upon his ancestral estate, farming
his land, and living chiefly upon its produce.
His only brother, Mr. Richard Varley, had become
a West Indian merchant, and lived in Liverpool, some
ten or twelve miles distant
He had married a Scotch lady, called Fraser, con-
nected with the celebrated Lord Lovat, though not very
nearly so, and they had one daughter, Euphemia.
There was a strong attachment between these two
brothers, but they seldom met, for their wives had nothing
in common.
Mrs. Richard Varley was very proud of her aristocratic
family, and believed that she had shown her husband






THE VARLEYS.


great condescension in marrying him, which she had dote
chiefly because he was rich and she very poor. She was
a beauty, which she knew well enough, and she loved all
the luxuries only to be attained through wealth; but,
when she had secured these, through her marriage, she
was mean enough to despise the good worthy man who
loved her well, in spite of all her faults, because he was,
what she called, "only a merchant."
Mrs. Varley, the captain's wife, was a very different
woman. The daughter of a country gentleman, and bring-
ing a small fortune with her, she was content to live with
great simplicity in the country-devoted to her husband
and children; good to the poor; an excellent manager;
a kind-hearted, quiet, homely woman.
It was not to be wondered at that the sisters-in-law
did not care much for each other.
Captain Varley's family were assembled for tea one
blustering March evening. We should rather say were
assembling, for the captain himself had not yet appeared,
and the elder young people, who had been taking a long
ramble, had returned in such a condition that a thorough
toilet was indispensable.
Henrietta appeared first: a pretty sight as she came
through the dark doorway of the oak panelled-parlour,
in her blue dress; the profusion of her fair curls falling
upon the soft white kerchief.folded over her bodice; and
in her hands, a great china bowl of golden marsh marigolds.
The setting sun streamed through the long, low window,
and lighted up her dainty figure as she came smiling in,
holding up her flowers for her mother to admire.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"See, mother, what a quantity of big buttercups we
have gathered! Is it not a beautiful beaupot ? But we
were nearly stogged in the moss getting them, and Laldo
put his leaping-pole into such a soft place once that it
sank in, and he fell flat down into the water."
"My dear child You should be more careful with the
boy. Suppose he catches one of his bad croupy colds
from the wet!"
"I hope he won't. He is changing all his things.
Kezia is seeing to that; but I will make him a treacle
posset when he goes to bed, to put him quite safe; and
when he fell, he frightened a plover from its nest. It
fluttered up quite close to his face, and we took such a
nice lot of eggs. The bird startled him completely;
you should have seen him sitting up in the slush, staring
at it. Mary and I laughed till we ached to see him,
and when he came to his wits, he laughed as heartily as
we did."
"What is Dame Partlet telling you, mother?" asked
Captain Varley's cheerful voice at the door. "Trust her
to laugh, she never needs much excuse for cackling."
Dame Partlet was Henrietta's nickname, derived no
less from the original abbreviation of her christened name
to Henny, than from the motherly fashion in which she
took care of the younger children. Mrs. Varley said she
was like her right hand.
"Father!" she cried, turning towards him in merry
resentment, which told its own tale of the good under-
standing between them, "if you are so saucy to me, I
won't give you one of our plover's eggs, though they are







THE VARLEYS.


beauties, fresh as fresh can be, and now boiling over the
kitchen fire."
"I will be discreet with such a bribe in view," said the
captain. "What a stormy sunset we are having It will
be a wild night at sea with all those lambs'-wool clouds
and filly's tails driving across the sky."
"But how beautiful it is !" said Mary, coming up to the
window by her father's side. "See, father, the sky there
is as yellow as the daffodils, and quite green among those
low dark clouds."
"Yes, very beautiful," replied the captain, putting his
arm round his daughter, to draw her nearer to his side.
"Very beautiful, but it means stormy weather."
It was generally conceded in the family that Mary was
father's favourite. When so small a child as to scarcely
speak plainly, she had been heard to announce that "I am
daddy's apple eye;" and though every one laughed over
this, the apple of the captain's eye she still certainly was;
and all her brothers and sisters were content that she
should be so; they said, How could father help it ? "
Mary was quite as tall as her sister, though fourteen
months younger; but she was much more slender, her
hair was darker, her cheeks paler, and her beautiful dark-
grey eyes wore a dreamy expression, very different from
the abundant life and energy apparent in every feature
and movement of Henrietta.
Both girls were dressed alike, in what are now called
"bedgowns" of printed linen, worn over dark purple
striped linscy-woolsey skirts. These bedgowns had the
corners of their short skirts pinned over at the girls' backs







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR,


to keep them from stain ; they had been fresh put on, and
were daintily clean, though washed so often that the
colour had become quite pale and the texture soft.
Perhaps they were more becoming on that very account,
but these young people cared little for that.
Henrietta was cutting huge slices from an immense
loaf of brown bread, the younger children trooped in, and
hungry appetites were in course of being satisfied.
Meantime the wind rose rapidly, and, before the
evening was over, blew "great guns." Captain Varley went
out in the evening to look around his home buildings, and
see that all his cattle, etc., were safely housed. The wind
tore round the stables and out-houses with fury, and he
could hardly stand.
"We are going to have a very dirty night," said he,
when he returned. "These north-west gales bring up so
much fog with them. They are very dangerous on this
shore, but our fishermen are all in, thank goodness."
How it howls!" said Mrs. Varley. "I could have
thought that window would have been blown in."
"Laldo is croupy, mother," said Henrietta, appearing
at the door. "Will you come up and see him? I took a
posset to him, and it made him sick, but he is still crowing
on his breath."
This was a note of alarm not unfrequent in the family,
for Laldo's throat was very tender. Mrs. Varley hurried
up to the boy's room. Kezia, the nurse, had lit a great
fire of peat upon the hearth, and hung a pan of water to
heat over it. She was scolding the young people all
round, according to her usual custom.







THE VARLEYS.


"There! 'tis all your fault, Miss Henny. You should
ha' known better than to take your brother trapesing all
over the moss a' that's, like as you did this afternoon,
and half drowning him in the ditches. What could you
expect but to make him ill? You'll be the death of him
one of these days, that you will."
A great puff of smoke blew down the chimney and
filled the room with its reek. Laldo broke out into a fresh
access of roupy choking.
"There now!" the old woman began again. "Isn't
there ne'er a one among you as can build up the peats so
as they'll burn clear, and not smother like that? And
yot young ladies in clean bedgowns, though 'tis Saturday
at :'en. You'll be all over blacks, and who's to do all the
w shiig there'll be come Monday?"
The o younger boys, who also slept in this room, sat
up in bed, to look on, round eyed, at the disturbance
which roused them up.
"You lie down and lap yoursen up warm, this minute,"
ordered nurse. "Do 'ee mean to be ill, too ? Don't let me
see you stir again. What have you to do with it if your
brother is bad? Lie down and keep quiet; we don't want
you bad, too."
Mrs. Varley wrapped Reginald in blankets and sat
down upon a low stool close by the fire, with him in her
lap, while she rubbed unguents over his throat and chest.
Go down to your father, my dears," said she to the
girls. Kezia and I can manage Laldo now. Go and see
that father has his supper comfortably."
They went, but the captain was not in the parlour.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"Master have gone down to shore," said old Michael
Rimmer, the captain's factotum, who had. been at sea with
him and followed him all the days of his life.
"Master have gone down to shore. There be a wreck
off shore, and nowt would keep him from going to see
fair play ; but he hadn't ought to have gone such weather,
and he a maimed man as can't take care of hisself just
like another."
"You should have gone with him, Mick," said Henrietta,
severely.
"So I would ha' done, miss, but the captain, he spoke
out just as if he was on quarter-deck, and gived his orders
straight, so as I was fain to obey him. There must be
discipline, miss, thou know'st. But he've given thee no
command, Miss Henny. Thee might go, and have a
care over him, if thee would."
"Fetch me my cloak and pattens, Mick, and I'll go, of
course," said Henrietta.
"And mine," added Mary. "I never saw a wreck till
all was over."
Not a doubt as to the fitness of the young ladies going
where his master refused to let him venture, occurred to
the old serving-man ; the safety of his one-armed chief
was paramount in his mind, and no less in that of the
daughter.
The girls quickly donned cloaks and hoods, and, linking
arms together, started from the back door, for the wind
blew so fiercely upon the front of the house that they
would have had difficulty in closing the front one behind
them.






THE VARLEYS.


Though perceiving this for themselves instinctively,
they yet did not realize the full fury of the elements until
they had made their way across the linhay and down
the grassy lane, whose ragged hedge, of turf bank and
willows, somewhat protected them. Great hills of sand
arose at the end of this lane on either hand, affording yet
better shelter; but a sudden turn in the track, at a short
distance, brought them directly out upon the long reach
of level, sandy beach, stretching for miles and miles to
right and left.
Upon this the storm had lashed the sea into breakers,
mountain high, that roared and howled, contending for
mastery over the land, like demons fighting for their
prey.
Great balls of snowy foam were blown from their crests,
and driven up against the rampart of sand-hills which
guarded the land; the girls could not at first move forward
a step in the teeth of the powerful gale; they were forced
to stand quite still, and cling together.
A dark group of men was visible against the line of
white waves. They had succeeded, in spite of the bluster-
ing 'storm, in lighting a huge bonfire of wreckage, with
which that dangerous coast was always strewn. It blazed
fiercely, forked flames tossing long red arms up into the
air, and crimsoning a broad pathway of reflection upon
the boiling sea.
By its lurid light; by the fitful light of the moon, now
shining forth on high, now obscured among long, torn,
ragged lines of ink-black clouds; by the ever-shifting
light of torches, carried by men, restlessly moving hither







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


and thither, might be seen the piteous sight of a schooner,
broken-backed upon a sand bank; waves triumphantly
tossing over her; a great tangle of splintered masts and
yards, and tackle and sails, beating about over her
bulwarks; one sturdy fragment still standing erect out of
her, like an arm raised to implore aid from an angry
heaven; and upon it-- What were those tiny figures?
Not men! Not human creatures, abandoned, helpless
in the midst of those seething floods, to the mercy of the
heartless sea and cruel winds ?
Ah, yes! Even so. Men with mothers and wives and
little children; men with daughters to love them, with
sons to tend them, and-none to help them. Bound to
that shattered pole, ever and anon the salt sea rising up
behind them into a dull, green wall, far above their heads,
to dash down its weight of thundering tons of ice-cold
water, beating the lives out of them, there were fifteen
specks, each still holding a living soul in imprison-
ment!
How long? 0 God! how long must their torture
last?
The girls did not, at first, understand the position.
Unaccustomed to use their eyes by night, their hearts full
of their father, their imaginations seized by the wild beauty
of the scene, they looked upon those dark specks, and
considered them merely mysterious portions of the rigging.
But when, having regained their breaths, they had made
their way, hand in hand, to where their father was super-
intending the efforts of the hardy fishermen to save the
poor fellows, they suddenly became aware of the terrible







THE VARLEYS.


interest which prevented him from taking the smallest
notice of them.
"Oh, that I were not maimed! Oh, that I could but
swim out with a rope to them!" moaned the strong man's
voice, bewailing his infirmity.
"Lord sakes, master, don't take on like that'n," said
one of the roughest old salts around him. "Gin' thee
were a soond mon, we'd see thee droon yourself' wi'
pleasure; but, as it be, wouldd only be a casting away
thy life for nowt. Thee couldn't win nigh to 'em."
"Are we to see fifteen brave fellows die before our eyes,
and do nothing to help them?" cried the captain, in
despair.
"Thee shanna say that," said the fellow. "I'll go
mysen, as thee takes it so hard. The tide is going down
fast, so it beant so fur off now, and tide will carry me out
to them, mebbe. Here, mates, lend a hand, and splice
the rope round my middle. Pay it out even. I'll do
my best."
"God in heaven reward you !" said the captain.
Some minutes were spent in arranging the rope around
the man. The tide was running out fast, and the distance
to the wreck perceptibly less. The group moved down
to the edge of the water, Mary and Henrietta following,
behind their father, over the slushy sands. They were
panting with excitement as the fellow put himself to his
task, waded out as far as he could, and then began to
swim.
With what vigorous strength did he cut his way His
powerful arms swept out like oars, and propelled him







18 A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.

forwards; but, long before the schooner was reached,
before any help came within the grasp of the poor drown-
ing wretches, his movements slackened, ceased; the rope
became taut; he had gone as far as its length permitted-
it was too short.
A groan broke from the captain.
















CHAPTER II.


WRECK ASHORE.

SILENTLY the men on shore drew in the rope, hand
over hand. Coil after coil dropped upon the round
pile at their feet, until finally they hauled up their comrade,
all but exhausted.
"Give me a sup of rum," said he, faintly. The life in
me is all but beat out, and what good was it? I knowed
from the first as I couldn't reach 'em. Be thee content,
master, noo? "
Captain Varley assented sadly; he was nearly as much
done up as if he himself had been battling in the sea. This
man had faced storm and danger, battle and bloodshed,
wounds and death, with the time-honoured, cool bravery
of the British hero, many and many a time; but then he
was sharing in the peril equally with all around him ; now
he stood safely on dry land and witnessed the agony of
others, without the power to help or succour them. This
is the keenest of pangs to a gallant heart.
Effort after effort did he make, scheme after scheme did
he devise-but all were hopeless. No fisherman's boat
could have lived for a moment in such a sea; none but a







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


man of all but superhuman strength could have reached
the schooner, even at lowest ebb. Lifeboat there was
none; no rocket apparatus, no means whatever of saving
the men.
Through the hours of darkness little or nothing could be
known of their condition. Dawn broke, and nine of the
fifteen were gone.
Captain Varley had remained all night upon the shore,
pacing up and down in agitation, hoping against hope.
The girls had returned to the house, by his desire, and
had sent down Mick with supper and wine for him; but
no persuasion availed to induce him to return to the
house.
By the earliest break of day his daughters were again
by his side. They brought for him hot coffee and bread,
coaxing him to partake of the refreshment which he must
need. Few people had slept in the Hall that night.
Laldo had been very ill, and both mother and nurse
needed to attend to him. The servants, terrified by the
storm, and excited by the wreck, had gathered in the big
kitchen, trembling over the fire, and frightening each
other more and more each moment by stories of fearful
catastrophes at sea, and ghostly warnings, previous to
deaths, at home.
The wind began to lull when the tide turned; and the
boy, instead of dying at that hour, as predicted, became
somewhat easier. The remedies were taking effect; the
death-angel was about to lift the wings which had brooded
over the house for hours, and seek his prey elsewhere. He
had victims enough without its doors for the nonce.







WRECK ASHORE.


The tide had been flowing for half an hour or more; all
things were growing dimly visible in the grey light, and
sullen rain was driving down, when Mary and Henrietta
reached their father.
"Girls, you should not be here," said he.
"Neither should you, father. Drink some coffee, and
then come back with us-do, father. Mother wants you;
Laldo has been so ill all night."
"How is he now? I had forgotten him, poor little
chap."
"Better-the spasms are easier. A little more now,
father, just a little more, while it is hot. You must be
starved with cold. Just this little drop more."
"It is comforting and good, my dears; but oh, those
poor fellows there! "
"Are they still alive, father ? Is there any hope for
them left ?"
"Yes, still alive, after all these hours. My God! what
a death it is for them. Hope ? .No, child, there is not a
scrap of hope." Captain Varley sighed deeply.
"Father, who is that wild-looking man? He is a
stranger here."
Mary pointed out a man in shirt and drawers, ragged,
bedrabbled, stained, dripping with sea-water, which ran off
his long, unkempt hair and beard, and from every fluttering
shred of his garments-a tall, lean, haggard creature,
whose clothes, such as they were, yet betrayed their wearer
to be above the class of ordinary seamen. His shirt was
of fine linen, frilled and laced; his nether garments of
woollen, such as no working man could afford; but his







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


limbs below the knee were bare, the lace ruffles hanging
in streamers and rags; one sleeve fastened at the wrist
with a jewelled button, the other loose, torn from its clasp
as was the shirt at the throat, betraying a great expanse of
hairy chest.
It must be one of the poor sufferers !" cried Captain
Varley, hastening to address him. Have you some
coffee there, girls ? "
Henrietta ran after her father, pitcher in hand; but
Mary was frightened, and hung back.
The man was slowly and heavily plodding along, looking
intently at the sea lapping up upon the shore. He started
as the captain greeted him, and raised his large, strange
eyes to his face, bowing at the same time in a style which
proved high breeding.
Have you seen him, sir ?" asked he, in perfect English,
despite his weird looks, though he spoke with an accent.
Seen whom, my friend ?" retorted the captain.
"My brother, my young brother, my little Guy," said
the man.
"No, sir," said Varley, believing the fellow to be mad.
" I do not know your brother."
He leapt into the sea when I did; he is a better
swimmer than I. Search for him, sir, if you are a Christian
man. Save my bonny Guy, our mother's youngest. Ah !
there, there, see him; save him I am coming, Guido; I
amr coming!" And he set off running into the shallow
water with all his remaining strength.
The captain's shout hurried up the village men who had
hung back in awe of this strange figure; several dashed











9


Sj
-;iI


" 'Save my bonny Guy, our mother's youngest.' "-- 22.


,.-- b.






WRECK ASHORE.


into the shore water after him, and helped him to drag to
land the long, slender form, rising and falling upon the
heaving waves, arms extended, white face upturned, dead
eyes staring upwards at the grey heavens above, and
long black hair washing around it, giving it a strange air
of life.
"Go home, girls; go at once; 'tis no sight for you,"
commanded their father, sternly, as Mary broke out into
piteous sobbing, and Henrietta turned nearly as white as
the drowned boy himself.
"Tell your mother to have fires, hot blankets, hot water
ready. Go!"
The girls fled over the sands, shuddering with horror.
When they reached the turning into the lane, Henrietta
glanced back over her shoulder; she saw the tall scare-
crow of a man toss his long, lean arms up into the air, and
sink helplessly to the ground.
"Oh! don't look back, don't look!" cried Mary. "Oh,
I wish we had not gone down! Oh, what a fearsome thing
a wreck is Run quickly, Henny; run faster, faster! "
They were met at the door by Kezia. "Wherever have
ye been, young ladies? Ye're all drookit with rain, and
just fixing yourself to be ill."
"We took some coffee down to father," said Henrietta.
"And, oh, Kezia! the sufferers from the wreck are be-
ginning to come ashore with the morning tide, and some
are alive, though dreadfully beaten about. Father wants
good fires, and blankets made hot, and plenty of water
put on."
"Ay, ay, I'll be bound as he does; and all for a parcel







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


of loons as might as lief be drowned as not. Any a one
of 'em would have murdered him for the worth of the
silver timepiece in his pouch, if it were he instead of they."
"Don't talk like that, Kezia," reproved Mary. "They
have souls such as we have, and God has cast them up at
our doors. We know no harm of them."
"Nor no good another grumbled the old woman. "But
I do just know that you young ladies is catching your
deaths in those wet things, and Miss Mary shaking from
head to foot. Drowned men is no sight for such lambs as
ye. Coom into houseplace this minute; the wenches have
kept up the fire all night instead of sleeping in their beds.
'Tis rare and warm there. Dolly, run up for dry skirts for
the young ladies, and all as they'll need, while I spice a
sup of elder wine for them. Sit ye down theer, on the
settle, and pull off your shoon and stockings. Th' master
must tak' his own way; I'll see to have all he orders, but
men can drown without the help of children like ye be.
Ye're best out of the way. Theer noo, sup your wine
while 'tis hot, drop your skirts on the hearthstone, and run
up to your bed till I coom and see to you. Ye're just
starved with cold."
The girls obeyed, and lay down in bed, clasping each
other closely, as they listened to the sounds downstairs,
trembling at their meaning.
They heard the heavy tramp of men carrying something
weighty; they heard strange voices.
Lay him down there, before the fire; rub his temples.
Brandy, Kezia, fetch brandy No, he's gone, poor fellow.
Put him in the laundry, on the long table."







WRECK ASHORE.


"The young gentlemen's room will be best for he, sir.
Strip off they there wet things; here's one of thy shirts
for 'n. I'll step up, and move the little uns to the nursery.
Their bed is warm and ready; put him theer. Move softly,
sir ; master Laldo is asleep, missus is with him."
Then the sound of stumbling feet ascending the stairs,
whispers; then-" Now, master, go and lay thee down
thysel'. I'll see to all."
Presently the cordial which they had taken induced
sleep, after the unusual fatigue and excitement; the two
girls grew warm, and slumbered heavily.
But not many in the house, except the girls and
children, did so, for a hand-to-hand struggle with the dread
enemy was going on over the persons of the three men
saved.
The strange gentleman, with his brother, had been
passengers on board the schooner, which was bound to
Barrow, from some Irish port. He had taken advantage
of the turn of the tide, stripped himself, and committed
himself to the inflowing water. Half swimming, half
washed in, he had reached the shallows, and waded
through them with the last effort of his strength.
Anxiety for his brother's safety kept him up yet for
a few minutes; but upon realizing that life had wholly
departed from that gracious young form, he had com-
pletely succumbed.
The younger brother, with arrogant belief in his own
strength, had refused to cast aside his clothes, which
hampered his swimming by their weight; and he was
more quickly exhausted than he calculated upon, for he






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


had not fully attained a man's powers, and already had
gone through much.
Shortly afterwards the vessel began to go yet further
to pieces, and the fragment of mast to which the poor
remnant of crew were bound came ashore, with the last
four. Two of these were really dead-all appeared to be
so at first.
The corpses were taken to a shed close by the church-
yard, all but the young Irishman, who lay, decently laid
out, upon the laundry long table. The survivors were in
the best kitchen, or "house-place," as they called it, where
the maids, under the direction of Kezia and Michael, had
made up beds on the floor, near to a blazing fire, and
were attending to their needs with the greatest goodwill.
The Irish gentleman had been taken to the warm bed-
room occupied by the three young Varleys, and laid in
the little boys' bed, where he remained in a species of
stupor.
All the survivors were dreadfully beaten about. One
had a broken arm, all had been struck by the wreckage
as the wind and waves drove it backwards and forwards,
loosened from its holdings; and they were cut, wounded,
bruised all over, to say nothing of the sores caused by the
salt water dashing with such force over them through so
many hours.
Only one was able to give any account of who and
what they were, and he only imperfectly as yet. He was
one of the ordinary seamen; he said that the schooner
was called the Emerald Isle, and the skipper, O'Flynn,
was among the drowned.







WRECK ASHORE.


After a while, the sufferers being warmed, fed, their
wounds dressed, sleep-much needed sleep-came to their
aid, and a great calm fell over the whole house, where
even the servants neglected their customary duties, and
lay late after their wakeful night.
Day was far advanced when Kezia was helping Godfrey
and Syl to dress in the nursery, that opened into the
boys' room by a door now set ajar. Little Sophia, already
fully attired, was eating her porridge on a low stool by
the fireside, and Kezia was trying to keep the young
voices in check as they plied her with eager questions
about the event of the night.
Their voices roused Laldo, refreshed by a long, sound
sleep after the soothing draught which he had taken. The
croup had left him hours before; he felt now perfectly well,
and as hungry as a hunter. He sat up in bed, and looked
around him in surprise at the disorder in the room, and
at the blazing fire on the hearth.
Then his eyes turned towards his brother's couch,
where, to his amazement, instead of the pair of round,
chubby, rosy little faces, surmounted by towzled flazen
curls, which he was wont to see there, all flushed and
moist with the sleep of healthy childhood, he beheld an
unknown man, with a dark face, bronzed and bearded,
and surrounded by a profusion of black, lank hair, lying
in a tangle upon the white pillows, out of the midst of
which a pair of sad eyes were staring into vacancy.
"Hallo!" cried he.
The man took no notice, nor made reply.
Laldo sat up in bed, and looked about him for a missile.






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Not finding one to his hand, he pulled out his pillow, and
pitched it straight in the stranger's face, with a bang.
"Hallo!" he shouted again. "Are you a ghost?"
The eyes turned upon him; their mournful expression
changed to a droll look, as he responded-
No, youngster, no ghost; only Laurence Fitzgerald,
gentleman, at your service. Who may you be, my hero?"
"Who? Me? I'm Reginald Varley. What are you
doing here if you're not a ghost ? "
"Thinking long, my dear boy. A little sorry, perhaps,
that I do not gratify you by being a ghost in good faith.
Maybe that will come all in due time."
"Eh?" said Laldo, puzzled to understand him. "Ain't
you hungry? I am. I had croup last night, and they
made me sick to cure it. My! Ain't I hungry now!
Just!"
"Come over here to me, my boy, and tell me all
about it."
But Laldo did not feel sure enough of his new acquaint-
ance to venture upon closer quarters, while they were
alone. Discretion, in his mind, was the better part of
valour; so he said-
"They always make me stay in bed till I've had my
breakfast after I've had croup. Kezia would scold finely if
I jumped out. Besides I'm all sore with mustard plasters.
Oh! here's Kezia. Who's yon, Kezia ?"
"You must mind your manners, Master Laldo; good
boys don't speak without they're spoken to. Sup your
porridge, and hold your tongue.-What could you fancy
for your breakfast, sir ?"







WRECK ASHORE.


"Some of that excellent porridge, my good woman,
if Master Laldo does not want it all. It looks delicious;
and then I'll be beholden to you if you could devise some
means to make me look less like the ghost for which this
young gentleman takes me."
"You may have this, if you like," said Laldo ; "but who
are you, and how did you get here ? "
Your father pulled me out of the deep sea, and brought
me here, more like a fish than a ghost."
"What were you doing in the sea?" asked the boy,
puzzled and uncomprehending, but fascinated by the
amused glance of the stranger's big blue eyes, gleaming
darkly from their black lashes. He had made up his
mind that those merry eyes could not belong to a ghost.
He had never heard of a ghost that did not look melan-
choly, horrible, or that did not frighten little boys.
That the departed spirit of a man could ever be happier
or more cheerful when relieved from the weary burden of
the flesh, was an idea beyond poor Laldo's philosophy.
No, this could not be a ghost, for it laughed out at
him.
"What were you doing in the sea? How did you get
there?" repeated he.
I was being drowned, because we were shipwrecked,"
replied the man; and, with that, the thought of his dead
young brother rose within him, and the mobile face grew
so sad that it was well for Laldo. that he had already
made up his mind about his new acquaintance. Now
he felt nothing but gentle, childish compassion for the
melancholy which he perceived.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"Don't be sorry, sir," said he; father will take care of
you now, and mother, and Kezia, and all of us."
And in defiance of all prudence, he jumped out of his
own bed, and ran over to that of the stranger, to put
his little warm hand into the great, hard, brown one held
out to him. The man made room for the child by his
side, and put his arm round him. When Kezia returned
with a second supply of steaming porridge, the pair were
in full flow of conversation, and Laldo was hearing stories
of shipwreck and battles to his heart's content.
Kezia could not scold when she looked upon the boy's
face of intelligent interest gazing up into that of the
stranger with admiring and wondering awe. Laldo was
the good old woman's darling.
She was laying out linen and other things belonging
to her master, for the stranger's use, when Captain Varley
entered the room, with hearty greeting and kind inquiries.
The other men saved from the wreck were likely to do
well. If Mr. Fitzgerald really felt equal to rising, and
preferred to do so, Mrs. Varley would be happy to receive
him downstairs, but he must allow his host to examine
his injuries, and apply remedies to them first.
Mr. Fitzgerald willingly consented, for, indeed, he was
badly bruised, and very stiff by that time. He felt better,
however, when washed and dressed; but the captain was
amused, though secretly half-contemptuous, to find his
guest so particular in attending to his own person.
Cleanliness was a virtue after the worthy sailor's heart;
but Mr. Fitzgerald went far beyond that. His hair must
be curled, his moustache carefully trimmed, his hands and







WRECK ASHORE.


nails scrupulously cared for, his garments adjusted with
the greatest nicety. Captain Varley had no idea that
his old murrey-coloured suit could ever have looked so
well, even in the days of its pristine freshness; this was
evidently a man who possessed the gift of looking well-
dressed in whatever he wore. A singularly handsome
fellow he was, too, and his manners courtly.
Mrs. Varley was evidently impressed with his appearance,
and the girls had never seen so fine a gentleman before.
They were shy in his presence; embarrassed by the
polite manner which he adopted towards them, and
afraid to speak about the homely matters in which they
took interest. Their mother also seemed as if she hardly
knew how to reply to his fine speeches; and when he
asked if these fair maidens were her sisters, professed
extreme surprise upon learning that they were her
daughters, and paid a grand compliment to such a lovely
cluster of roses blooming upon one stem, she coloured
high from suppressed laughter at what appeared to her
absurdity. Henrietta did the same, from proud resent-
ment at the liberty, as she regarded it; and Mary, from
admiration at the poetical language. She had never
heard such talk in her life, and thought it most charming.
But conversation did not flow easily among them.
















CHAPTER III.


HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT.

THE drowned men were buried next afternoon. Their
poor bodies were so much injured that speedy
sepulture was necessary; for, though wrecks were frequent
upon that shore, among its sandbanks and quicksands,
there was no proper place provided in which the dead
might lie.
There were not many to attend the funeral in that
sequestered place; but most of the Varleys went, the
elder ones assuming such simple mourning as they kept
by them for similar occasions.
Laldo had not yet been permitted to leave his room,
but the girls and their mother put on black robes and
followed among the little troop, chiefly composed of their
own servants and the villagers.
It was a piteous sight, which affected the tender-hearted
girls much.
They had seen the corpse of the poor young Fitzgerald,
and laid salt and white flowers upon the dead lad's breast.
He was not much older than they were, and he was very
handsome. With the calm nobility which death often







HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT,


impresses upon the features, especially when illness has
not impaired their beauty, the sight of his face was one
to sink into a young heart, never to be forgotten.
Henrietta and Mary had wept and prayed beside him,
and wept again when the coffin containing the gracious
young form was lowered into the grave, and the clods
were thrown with a dull, heavy sound upon it.
Mr. Tarleton, the clergyman, read the service most
impressively, in his fine voice. He was Captain Varley's
intimate and valued friend; he had christened all the
children, catechised them, played with them, loved them,
from infancy. He came up to the girls when all was over,
shook their hands kindly, and said-
"God bless you, my dears, and make you fit to appear
before Him, should He call you as suddenly as He has
summoned these poor fellows."
The tears flowed afresh at these words, and neither
could answer him. He did not wish or expect that they
should do so; he patted Henrietta's shoulder, and turned
back to the church.
With such emotion affecting their spirits, it jarred upon
these simple children that Mr. Fitzgerald should join them
upon leaving the churchyard, and, hat in hand, attend
them upon their short walk back to the house. Still
more so, that he, in a tone of gallantry, should pay
them compliments upon the sensibility which they had
betrayed.
"Would that my poor young brother could have been
aware of the honour done to him," began he. He would
even have welcomed his early doom could he have







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


dreamt that the tears of such youth and beauty would
have been shed over his grave."
Henrietta lifted her swollen eyelids, and looked at him
with sorrowful surprise.
"We could do no less, sir," said she, in a tone which she
meant to be one of reproof.
He did not at all understand her, but he admired her
youthful dignity, and thought how sweet and soft she
looked in her black robes.
"It is for that very thing I would thank you, my gentle
mistress," said he. "Poor Guy was our mother's favourite,
-a sadly headstrong, spoilt boy, but with his heart in the
right place. He might have been saved would he have
taken advice, and cast aside his weightier clothes. But he
had money and valuables in their pockets, and trusted to
the strength and activity which he prized so highly."
"Does your mother live, sir?" asked Mary.
"No; she died a few months ago, or I should never
have been trusted with her nestle bird," replied he.
"You have not proved a very careful guardian, sir," said
Henrietta, with severity, born of the disgust she felt at his
cool, heartless way of speaking. An older person might
have thought that his speech was only an evidence of
bad taste, being aware that words are so often employed
to conceal feelings, not to express them. But the young
frequently judge harshly until experience comes to their
aid.
Mr. Fitzgerald was more amused by her than repulsed,
and his smile, as he looked down at her, was an indulgent
one.








HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT.


You speak hastily, my dear lady," said he. There is
one to whom all loyal men owe service to the last drop of
their blood, and who has need of every stalwart arm and
gallant heart at this present moment. Your father is
honest, I believe, fair mistresses ?"
The girls knew well enough what he meant. To be
honest was, in those days, to be faithful to the Stuarts.
The last Jacobite rising had taken place but thirty years
before, and the country side was full of stories of those
who had joined it, and of their subsequent fate.
They knew that their father's estate was much crippled
by the fines imposed upon their grandfather for the part
he had played in it; and were aware of the far more
terrible retribution which had befallen others. They knew
that no arms were allowed to be preserved in their house;
it was but by favour that their father, who had served the
reigning King, was permitted to keep his old sword and
pistols, and a fowling-piece or two for shooting game.
Even these were registered in his name. But it threw a
fresh interest over the fate of young Guy, that he should
have lost his life while on his way to join Prince Charlie,
the hero of romance to them.
Henrietta found it difficult to express herself to her
liking among the conflicting sensations aroused during
this short walk, and was glad that they had now reached
their own house. She therefore curtsied in silence, with
all the stateliness which she could summon, and passed
into the garden, through the gate which Mr. Fitzgerald
held open for them with a deep bow.
Mary glanced up at him with sympathy, as she followed,







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


but he was watching the elder girl advancing up the path,
with her head held high.
"A spitfire of a little lady," said he to himself; "but
there is the making of a fine creature there. Perhaps it is
as well that my bonnie 'county Guy' lies where he does,
and cannot meet her. How handsome the little baggage
is She won't give herself away in a few years' time. Ah
well, it will be an amusement to win her suffrage while I
am laid up here. I cannot move till these sprains and
bruises are better, or till I have rigged myself out again
decently. It is a mercy for me that Guy saved the
cash."
He felt in his pocket for the roll of notes which had
been found in the dead boy's coat, and handed over to
him that morning by Captain Varley, together with a fair
supply in gold, and some papers and jewels, also found in
his clothing.
The lad had given his life in saving their joint treasure.
Of this Henrietta was aware, and her lip curled with
contempt, when, in passing Laldo's room, on her way down
for the evening meal, she heard peals of laughter issuing
from it. She heard the deep, rich, manly voice, as well as
the shrill treble, and through the half-opened doorway, she
described Mr. Fitzgerald sitting on the boy's bed, playing
at beggar-my-neighbour with the child, and making jokes
which caused the merriment between them.
"A knave! Ho, jolly Jenkin! I spy a knave! One
for him Ha, ha! 'tis my bonny prince of hearts! Salute
the king of all hearts, my boy. One day wilt thou see
him. One, two, three-a black-hearted king, with a shovel







HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT.


to dig his own grave. Out upon him! He has cost me
all that parcel of good court cards !"
"But they are mine!" cried Laldo, chuckling. "All
mine. Play to the queen, Mr. Fitzgerald-play to the
queen of diamonds."
"You shall have the queen of diamonds, boy, but the
queen of hearts shall be mine. Hurrah! there she comes
to me, smiling."
Henrietta heard no more. "His brother scarce laid in
his grave," she thought, and he going on with that folly !"
She felt so indignant that it vexed her to have him
come and take the place beside her when they all gathered
round the tea-table. She could not move her seat, as it
was her duty to preside over the cups and saucers ; and he
took the chair beside her, with a smile meant to be killing,
as he handed the cups, passed her the bread, waited upon
her with attentive gallantry, and talked to her with all the
brilliancy of a man of the world.
Henrietta's answers were as short as the barest civility
permitted.
"I see a harp in your withdrawing-room, Miss Varley;
is it yours ? Do you play that charming instrument ?"
"It is my mother's, sir. She is instructing my sister
and myself."
Do you sing any of our old Irish airs ?"
"I think not, sir."
"May I sing some to you presently? We, Irish, are
lovers of music, and many of our ancient melodies are
very sweet."
"Are they, sir?"






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Mrs. Varley looked across at the pair, in the intervals
of helping the younger children, and wondered a little at
Henrietta's very curt manner. It was not usual in her,
for generally she chattered away with great cheerfulness
to any one who took the trouble to entertain her. Captain
Varley was silent, engrossed in his own thoughts; so, after
casting an anxious glance at him once or twice, she came
to her daughter's assistance. She settled in her own
mind that Henrietta was upset by the events of the last
day or two, culminating in the afternoon's funeral service.
She would give her some warm balm-tea by-and-by, with
a spoonful of honey in it. Doubtless the girl was nervous;
nothing was more soothing. Meantime she put herself
forward.
"I have heard some very sweet Irish airs, sir. Indeed,
I used to sing some myself once. It would be a pleasure
to hear them after tea. The harpsichord is in the other
room, where we will go presently."
"Do you know any part of Ireland, madam ?"
"No, sir; but I hear that the scenery is beautiful.
Very wild, is it not?"
Mr. Fitzgerald launched out into descriptions of the
rocks and lovely valleys of Antrim, from whence he had
last come. He talked well, described, with a poetic vein,
the bold headlands where the wild sea broke its force in
clouds of spray; the lovely glens running up inland from
them, nursing trees and verdure in their bosoms; the
mountains towering over them; the long reaches of
desolate bogs, over which the eagles and the wild hawks
hovered.







HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT.


He spoke of the peasantry, telling stories which now
convulsed the party with laughter, now moved them almost
to tears with their deep pathos, then caused their blood
to curdle with creepy emotion, as he spoke of the banshee,
of death warnings and superstitions.
Mrs. Varley had never met with so versatile and
interesting a talker; she now found him delightful.
Captain Varley roused himself, and asked questions which
brought out more and more anecdotes; his stores seemed
to be inexhaustible. With all his most touching or poetical
stories, he turned to Henrietta, bent his eloquent Irish
blue eyes upon the girl's face, and evidently set himself
to please her; but she maintained a steady gravity which
no efforts of his could disperse.
When, after long sitting, the party rose from the table,
and Mrs. Varley proposed music, Henrietta said that
Laldo had been long alone, and she would go to read
to him.
"My love, you are so fond of singing, you had better
remain downstairs; I will sit with Lal."
"I will go, mother," cried Mary. "I have not been
with him all day."
But Henrietta insisted, and carried her point.
Mr. Fitzgerald proved to be an accomplished musician,
and delighted them all. Henrietta could not avoid hearing
the rich sweet tones of his voice, swelling and sinking in
song, but she steeled herself not to admire.
Reginald was loud in his admiration of his new friend,
and wanted to repeat to his sister all the wild tales of
adventure which he had heard from him; but Henrietta






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


began to read the histories of Cinderella and Bluebeard
aloud, and silenced the eager tongue.
It was not until the next morning that Mrs. Varley had
any opportunity of talking to her daughters; but then,
while sitting at needlework together, she asked Henrietta
what was the matter with her the night before.
"You were not at all like yourself, my dear," said she.
"Did you feel poorly? "
"Not at all, mother, thank you. It was only that
horrid man "
-"'Horrid man,' my love You should not use such strong
expressions. I am sure that Mr. Fitzgerald made himself
very agreeable, and did his best to entertain us all."
"That is the very thing which Henny dislikes him so
much for, mother," said Mary. "She says that he is
conceited and heartless."
"So he is, mother," broke in Henrietta. "What
business had he to talk, and laugh, and try to make us
all admire him, when he had only just laid his brother's
head in the grave? I cannot bear the man."
"A person may noifeel less because he does not wear
his heart on his sleeve,'ty dear. This is a man of the
world, accustomed to look' upon death as lightly as he
holds his own life," said Mrs.'Varley.
"He ought to have taken better care of his brother,"
declared Henrietta, flushing hotly. "He was the eldest-
the eldest by ever so many years; and he let the boy
carry the weight of money and things, and try to swim
in all his heavy clothes ; and now he is dead, and that man
has the treasure for himself."







HENRIETTA TAKES AFFRONT.


It is impossible to describe the scorn with which she
emphasized the words "that man." Her mother smiled at
her vehemence, as she followed her glance through the
window, whence might be seen Captain Varley slowly
pacing the long grass walk between laurustinus and other
shrubs, with Mr. Fitzgerald by his side. Mr. Tarleton
came through the white gate at the further end, and
joined them. The three gentlemen seemed in very earnest
talk. Mr. Fitzgerald was spokesman, and gesticulated
with his hands as he related something of deep interest
to the others. Mr. Tarleton, both hands clasped behind
his back, over his ebony cane, nodded his head in^acqui-
escence from time to time, with his lips pursed up.
"You see, dear, that your father and Mr. Tarleton find
his conversation interesting."
"So they may. I don't find fault with him for that.
But singing and showing off before girls, mother, and
thinking that girls are as heartless as he-'tis that makes
me angry. And, mother "-sinking her voice, and colour-
ing scarlet-" he makes eyes, and thinks that we girls are
silly enough to like it! "
Mrs. Varley laughed outright now, though a perception
came to her, at the same moment, that here was a side of
her daughter's character of which she had not hitherto
dreamt. Of this clear intuition into a stranger's character;
of this pride; of this good sense, which resented the efforts
of adventitious graces to attract her, she had never noticed
evidence before. Her child was growing up. She sighed
as she thought so. At any rate, she need have no un-
easiness as to Henrietta's discretion in this instance.






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Mary, too, listened to her sister's diatribe with new ears.
Hitherto they had shared very much in the same opinions
and feelings; but she was inclined to admire this brilliant
man much more than Henny, though she was too shy to
speak to him. She had perceived none of these faults;
and, though she could not refuse to admit them when so
forcibly pointed out, she regarded them far more leniently.
"He has been very kind to Laldo," remarked she.
"It is all surface good nature," replied Henrietta. "He
is utterly unscrupulous, and would sweep dear Laldo out
of his way, as if he were a fly, if he wanted to be free of
him, for his own purposes. I would not like Laldo to see
much of him. The man has no heart; and a man with no
heart has no principles."
My dear, my dear, you are too sweeping," remonstrated
her mother. "It is not pretty in a young girl to speak so
vehemently."
Henrietta was silent, but tossed about her work in her
hands so as to betray the irritation of her mind.
















CHAPTER IV.


TEA AT THE FARM.

M RS. VARLEY was called out by Kezia, presently.
One of the villagers wanted physic, and she went
into the still-room to supply her, for she prepared for
her poorer neighbours many simple medicines from herbs,
roots, etc.
In the still-room the captain found her, and, closing the
door, began to speak in a confidential voice.
"Wifey, this wreck is likely to bring further conse-
quences, and much more serious ones, upon us all than
seemed probable at first. This Fitzgerald is a hot Jacobite,
and was on his way to Scotland with a large sum of money,
raised in Ireland, to try and stir up the friends of the Prince
to strike a blow for him."
"Reginald! Mrs. Varley's tone was one of consterna-
tion.
"You need not look at me like that, wife," said the
captain, touching his empty sleeve pinned across his
breast. "Ican do nothing to help him personally. Not
only am I physically set aside, but my boys are too young,
my purse too empty, my influence nil."







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"I am thankful to think so," said Mrs. Varley. "Why
should we lose more for the Stuarts? We have given
them enough, and had no thanks for it. A bad lot,
Reginald. We do not want them back again."
"Well, well, my dear, at any rate, I can do nothing, and
must consider you and the bairns now. But it is said that
there is much promise in this young man; and, after all,
it is his father's rightful kingdom."
"You held your commission under George," said his
wife, glancing round fearfully at the door. Do be careful,
Reginald."
"I held commission under King George because there
was nothing else to be done," said Varley. After all,
I was never asked to fight against James, you know.
I only fought against the enemies of my country,
enemies who would have been such whoever reigned
over it."
"You take your half-pay from the present Government."
I tell you that I want to do nothing myself," said the
captain, with some irritation. "But, being here, cast up
upon these very shores, where were many who went out
in '15, and whose principles are not changed, Fitzgerald
thinks it would be well to ascertain, in a quiet way, what
chance there would be of recruiting for the Prince here."
"Henrietta is right about that man," said Mrs. Varley,
half to herself.
Why, what has Henrietta to do with him ? demanded
Varley.
"She has taken a dislike to him," said his wife. "She
says that he is unscrupulous."







TEA AT THE FARM.


"Well, well, so he may be. I don't want the wench to
like him too much, though he is a fine, good-looking fellow,
with a tongue that might wile a bird from off a tree. I
should have thought such a pretty fellow might have taken
a simple country girl's fancy. But she is only a child still."
Mrs. Varley, with that morning's insight into her
daughter's character, doubted this assertion in her own
mind, but held her tongue. The captain proceeded-
"At any rate, it can do no harm for the man to see
some few of our neighbours, and judge for himself as to
what chance there may be among them. Cannot the girls
walk over with him to old Mrs. Robinson's farm ? The
old dame is a character, a very good specimen of her class
about here. There is nothing to attract attention in their
taking him over there to drink tea, for they go every now
and then on their own account. Her sons are representa-
tive men in this country side. I do not know a better or
worthier man than James."
"I do not like it, Reginald. Harry was almost brought
up in our nursery. How fond our lost darling was of him!
I could not bear to put him in peril."
"Nobody wants to put him in peril, as'you call it, wife.
You need not remind me of our poor dear boy either.
Had he been living, and had I wanted to send him off
along with the Irishman, you might have spoken. But the
point is, shall the girls take Fitzgerald over to the farm
this afternoon, or not? "
"Does Mr. Tarleton approve ?"
"What has that got to do with it ? Tarleton does not
rule here."







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Of course they can go, if you wish it," said Mrs. Varley,
reluctantly.
"All right, I will tell them," said the captain.
He was more set upon their going than he chose to
explain to his wife, though suffering from an uneasy dis-
like to his own plan, now that he perceived her disapproba-
tion of it. He wished that he had consulted her before he
had proposed the scheme to Fitzgerald; but it had been
his own idea, and he was too firmly pledged to it for
drawback now.
Therefore, he could only feel a little cross at his wife's
evident disapproval; and she, understanding him well,
yielded, trusting to her daughters' sense and the shrewd-
ness of the old farmer's wife.
Accordingly, on that lovely March afternoon, Henrietta
and Mary put on their cloaks, and set forth with Mr.
Fitzgerald to drop in upon old Mrs. Robinson and take
tea.
March, which had come in like a lion, seemed to have
exhausted its fury in the recent storm, and was going out
like a lamb. The feeling and perfume of spring were
in the air, many larks were carolling in the blue sky,
damp places were golden with marsh-marigold, pale lilac
milkmaid's flower grew up among it in tufts of contrasting
hue, and the willows were covered with soft mouse-coloured
catkins, powdered with yellow dust.
Their way led across the corner of the moss, over a
raised grassy pathway, fringed with brambles and the
feathery leaves of newly sprouting meadowsweet. The
long trails of the blackberry bushes were tufted with dark







TEA AT THE FARM.


crimson leaves pushing out from the bud; little white
stars bloomed among delicate green all over the ditches
on either hand; and once they disturbed a water-rat, which
swam away and plunged into a hole in the opposite bank,
with drops of water shining like diamonds upon its thick
brown fur from the splash it had made in escaping their
tread.
Mr. Fitzgerald had taken a new departure with regard
to Henrietta. His vanity had been wounded by her
avoidance of him, and he tried to devote himself to Mary,
in hopes of piquing the disdainful young lady-or perhaps
of punishing her.
But Mary was too youthful and shy to keep up any
conversation; also she was afraid of her sister's displeasure
if she were too complaisant; so he soon gave that up,
took to singing softly to himself, and talked to neither of
them.
They were hospitably received by the old dame, who
loved the girls dearly. Her youngest son, born long after
her other children-born, indeed, after the death of her
husband-had been the companion of the eldest of the
young Varleys, who had died when about twelve years old.
Neither boy having companions of his own age in the
immediate neighbourhood, they had been inseparable.
Both had caught a fever at the same time, and the farmer's
orphan had recovered, while the young heir had died.
Young Robinson was now about eighteen; he had not
been much at the great, house since Philip's death, for
Mrs. Varley's grief always broke out afresh at the sight
of him, though five years had elapsed since her loss. The







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Robinsons, proud and delicate, would not propose a visit,
but awaited invitations; Captain Varley shrank almost
as much as his wife from seeing Harry; and the friendship
which each family felt for the other was mainly kept up
by such visits as these from the girls.
"Well, my dear children," cried the old lady, as they
entered the house-place, where she sat in state upon a large
cushioned chair, clad in linsey-woolsey skirt and blue printed
bedgown-" well, my dear children, the sight of ye is like
to be good for sore eyes. I don't know when ye've been
to see me."
We have been busy," said Henrietta, and the weather
has been so bad. Mother did not like us to stay to tea
and cross the moss in the dark, but we have this gentleman
to escort us to-day."
"James, or any of the lads would ha' been proud to have
put the horse in the shandry, and taken ye home," said
the old woman, "or to have seen ye safe over the moss.
Who's yon ?"
"This is Mr. Fitzgerald, who was so nearly drowned in
the wreck last week," said Henrietta.
"And who little thought of what pleasure his mis-
fortunes would lead to, madam," began the Irishman in
his courtly manner. "Not the least of these is the privilege
of making your acquaintance."
"Stuff and nonsense!" said the downright old woman.
"Making my acquaintance ain't likely to be any pleasure
to a fine gentleman like thee. Sit thee doon and talk
sense to a plain body such as the likes o' me, if thee
can.






TEA AT THE FARM.


Fitzgerald laughed, and took his place upon the settle
in the chimney corner, looking about him with some
interest. It was a very different place from any abode
of a tenant farmer which he knew in Ireland.
Everything was spotlessly clean-from the white-stoned
floor to the snowy, whitewashed walls, on which hung
glittering tins and a bright brass warming-pan. The
window, a long, low casement, with diamond-shaped panes
of glass set in lead, was as clear as hand could make it,
and the ample table was scrubbed to match.
There was a goodly store of hams and bacon on a
rack hanging from the ceiling, plants on the window-
sill, and a great beaupot of daffodils and blood-red
wallflowers on the little round table in the window.
Over all a blazing wood and peat fire threw a glow of
comfort.
"Sarah Jane is fettling oop out at back," remarked the
old lady, who now was too infirm to leave her arm-
chair, alluding to her daughter. "She'll fetch the tea
directly."
"'Tis brewing noo! bawled a voice from the working
kitchen in the rear of the house. The door being half
open, Miss Sarah Jane heard every word which was said,
and felt no scruple in joining the conversation, if she was
so inclined. She pushed open the door with her foot, and
entered, bearing at full stretch of her robust arms, a tray
laden with good things.
The great pile of hot buttered toast did not belie the
appetizing odour which might already have been perceived.
It was flanked by huge plates of bread-and-butter-brown







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


and white, currant cake-also lavishly buttered, raspberry
jam, honey, and other dainties.
Draw up, young ladies; draw up, sir, and fall to. I
hope ye've browt good appetites with ye. Take the toast
while 'tis hot; don't be feared, there's more where that
come fro; and the hospitable old woman laughed heartily
at her own joke.
Mr. Fitzgerald fell readily into the vein of his enter-
tainers.
I should think, madam, that any man would forget
his last meal when he came to drink tea with you. What
excellent toast !"
Ay, ay. 'Tis all our own. We bake the bread, and
grow the corn as makes it. We churn the butter, and
keep the cows as give the milk for't. 'Tis all home-made,
barring the drop of Jamaica cream in thy tea."
"No Jamaica cream for us, you know, Sarah," said
Mary, laughing. "You know we never appreciate that
luxury."
"Ay, ay," said Mrs. Robinson, more's the pity. 'Twould
make thy eyes brighter."
"Miss Varley does not need that," said the courteous
Irishman. "They are already too piercing for a poor
shipwrecked mariner's heart."
Ha, ha! So they be, I'll be bound," cried the old
lady. But give the gentleman a soop in's tea, Sally. He'll
find it good."
"But what is Jamaica cream, madam ? asked he.
"It's rum," whispered Mary, sotto voce.
"Ay, ay, so it be," laughed their hostess, overhearing







TEA AT THE FARM.


her. "And rum as never paid a penny of duty, another !"
she exclaimed in a voice of triumph.
She heard everything, this sharp old woman, and she
commented upon everything with the freedom of a
privileged character, shrewd, opinionated, and accustomed
to be the oracle of a limited audience, every member of
which she had known from infancy.
Mr. Fitzgerald quickly recognized in her a person to be
conciliated; and set to work with all his skill: flattering,
complimenting, and doing his best to charm her; while
she, with strong good sense, formed her own estimate of
him, and judged him at her own price, while on the surface
listening with amused good nature.
Meanwhile, Sarah Jane, ten or fifteen years older than
the girls, whom she had often nursed, and whom she
heartily loved and admired, greeted them with broad
smiles. When they had eaten and drunk to her gratifi-
cation, she began a low-voiced conversation upon other
matters.
"Ye've got new spring hats, missy," said she. "My!
ain't they tasty!"
"Yes, they were a present from our aunt in Liverpool,"
said Henrietta.
"They are pretty! Green suits ye well, too, ye're so
fair. But ye don't mean to wear them every day,
do ye ?"
"No, no, they are too smart for that. They are to be
Sunday hats; but we thought your mother would like
to see the new fashions from town, so we put them on
to-day."







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Ye're not going to be married, missy, be ye? Ye're so
smart," called out the frank-spoken old woman, with a
half glance at the fine gentleman.
"No, no, Mrs. Robinson," said Henrietta. We are
both too young for that yet."
"Ay, ye be so. And when ye do, don't go and ,take
up with any strange lads as ye know nowt of. Take a
good, plain, straightforward Lancashire lad, as ye can tell
all round, and his forbears and all. Noo, there's my son
James, he's plain, but all his neebors can reckon him oop
for all the days of his life. A warm man in his pocket,
and a decent liver, let who will say other. He'll make a
good husband, ye may be bound."
"I'll remember that, Mrs. Robinson, when we go seek-
ing for a husband," said Henrietta, laughing, for this was
a time-honoured joke. "But I am afraid that James
would not take either of us. Our pockets are not warm
enough for him, you know."
"Ye might just give him the chance, though, my pretty,"
said the old woman, fondly.
"Is your son at home ?" asked Mr. Fitzgerald. "I
feared not, as he did not come in to tea."
Coom in for's tea, with the quality? Na, na, James
knows his manners too well for that, mon. 'Tis not for
the likes of he to sit doon with the young ladies."
"If he is anywhere about, I should like to make his
acquaintance," said Fitzgerald.
"He'll be oot by. Sarah Jane, take the gentleman out,
and look for thy brother."
James Robinson was not far off, and Sarah left Mr.







TEA AT THE FARM.


Fitzgerald with him, and returned to admire the girls' new
hats a little more.
There was plenty of time for that amusement, as also for
her mother to warn them yet further upon the dangers of
marrying strangers, and to laud the good qualities of her own
son, for, whatever James might think of his new acquaint-
ance, their conversation lasted above an hour, and it was
well that Mary and Henrietta knew their way across the
moss, and that there was good moonlight for seeing it.
It was so late that Mrs. Robinson insisted upon Harry
lighting a lantern, and escorting them also; for, as she
remarked to her daughter afterwards-
"I don't like that smart chap at all. I never should
with picking men as one knows nowt o' out o' the sea.
Better let em droon while the Lord wills it."
Harry took leave of his young ladies when they reached
the lane leading to their own house.
"Good night, Miss Henny," said he. I've got a lovely
little pup, as I've made bould to rear oop for ye, from
my long-haired terrier. May I bring it oop to the house
for ye to see to-morrow ?"
"Oh! please, Harry. I should so like to have a puppy
from your Vixen. Why did you not show it to us this
afternoon ? "
Harry mumbled some indistinct reply, gave a clumsy
bow, and walked off.
Henrietta, happy after her simple pleasure, was more
inclined to talk than when she set out.
"How do you like our old friend, Mr. Fitzgerald ?"
asked she. She is quite a character, is she not ? "







54 A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.

Fitzgerald was out of temper, his usual suavity had
quite deserted him.
"A set of ignorant clodhoppers," said he, "and a most
impertinent old woman."
Henrietta drew herself up, and said nothing more
to him.

















CHAPTER V.


PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS.

R. FITZGERALD'S bruises were much better next
day; and, as he could now once more mount a
horse, Captain Varley took him to see several gentlemen
who lived within reach. They were out all day, and the
ladies felt an undoubted sense of relief in having the
house quietly to themselves after all the bustle and dis-
turbance of the last few days.
Laldo was the only one who grumbled; he decidedly
missed his new friend. But the amount of attention which
he had received had a little upset Master Laldo. He was
dull without it; and, though able to come downstairs and
join the family party, he was a more troublesome member
of it than before his illness. He would not play by
himself or with his little brothers; he would not employ
himself; he wanted to be amused; and as his mother and
sisters were cutting out sets of linen garments for summer
wear, they could not attend to him.
"There's Harry Robinson coming!" cried he at last,
looking out of the window. "Oh mother, let me go and
see Harry."







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"You cannot run about outside yet, my dear. The
wind is in the east. You may have Harry in here instead."
"He offered me a puppy yesterday, may I have it,
mother?" asked Henrietta. "He said he would bring it
up to-day."
"Of course you can have it, if you wish, my dear; but
do not bring it into this room. The maids are ironing
in the laundry; just go and see that the doors are shut,
and that it is warm. Laldo might go and see Harry
there without mischief."
But Harry did not want to see Laldo, as much as the
boy wanted to see him. Neither did he want to say what
he had come about before the laundry-maids. Henrietta
perceived this, but could not think what was troubling
him. "Will you come in and see mother, Harry?"
asked she.
"No, missy, I don't want to see madam; I'd rather not
-indeed I'd rather not," stammered he, in a terrible
access of perturbation. But if the old dog-kennel wants
a bit of mending up, Miss Henny- Might I see it?
could you show it to me? it would serve maybe for
the pup."
"Come along, then," said the young lady. "It is a
lovely puppy, Harry. I am ever so much obliged to you
for it, and will take great care of it. I don't think it
ought to be put out-of-doors in that big dog-kennel all
by itself at night yet. It would be cold and lonely."
"It isn't exactly about the pup as I craved to speak
to you, Miss Henny, but about that gentleman as you
brought over to mother's yestreen."







PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS.


They were now out-of-doors, and no one was near, but
yet Harry sank his voice into a confidential whisper.
"Is yon man anything to you, missy? You will forgive
me for asking."
"Nothing in the world, Harry. I have not known him
for a week-never heard of him till he was wrecked
here-and do not particularly like him now I do know
him. What could make you fancy that he was anything
to any of us but a guest thrown upon our hands-not
even one of our own choosing."
"Well, Miss Henny, I was cutting fodder on the moss
yestreen, and seed you all walking along, and I noticed
him a looking queerly at you, and he's a fine lad outside.
I wouldn't have made bould to speak but for what I learnt
of him at after; and you know, missy, what store we do
all set by you up at the farm, and 'tis our duty, too, for
sake of him as is gone, and can't do by ye what he would
an he were here."
"What do you mean, Harry? What do you know
about Mr. Fitzgerald ? "
"Miss Henny, he's a Jacobite."
"Well, Harry, so are plenty of very respectable people."
"Oh, Miss Henny, they do such dreadful things to
them Jacobites when they catches them, as I couldn't
abear to think on, if so be as you cared about one."
"Nonsense, Harry That is only when Jacobites break
the laws, and fight against the King. That is called
high treason, and men who commit high treason are
punished for it."
"You know a sight more than me, missy;, but I've






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


heerd such horrid tales of what was done to 'em thirty
years agone,-tales as I know is true, because they was
told me by them as saw it-saw it with their own eyes,
miss. They half hanged 'em, and chopped 'em down
with pole-axes, like as sheep and bullocks are quartered.
Only, miss, such as they be dead first, and-and-the men
were not. Their groans and moans were just awful, miss.
And their shriekings too, sometimes. And, miss, they
tore their poor bleeding hearts from out of them, and
burnt 'em in fire, before their eyes."
"I do not think, Harry, that you need alarm yourself
about such stories. Nobody is plotting or fighting against
the King now. That was long ago."
"Not so very long agone, Miss Henny. Mother minds
it well. And, missy, if there is no plotting or fighting
now, there will be if yon man has his way. He wanted
to coax Jim-our Jim-to enlist with him, and Tom, and
Roger, and me. He wanted to write our names down,
secret like, in a roll as he's got, and give our word to come
out and be sojers when he is ready."
"Harry! This is something very serious. Are you
sure ?"
"Sure as gospel, miss. He telled us as King George
ain't the lawful King, but it should be King James; and
that he've a son as is coming to call upon all good men
and true to fight for him. And we know, miss, as how
master's father, the would squire, was out in the'I15, and
a many from about here with him; and oh! miss, do
speak a word to your pa, not to have us all up again,
to be served as those lads were. It would just kill our






PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS.


mother. And don't have nothing to do with yon chap
thysen, Miss Henny, for he'll bring thee to grief as sure
as I stand here."
"That is absurd, Harry. The man is nothing to me.
But it is different if he is a schemer, and trying to bring
our neighbours into danger. I wonder if father knows."
"You see, Miss Henny, it would be my duty to go for
a sojer if you lifted your finger. You've no idea of the
store Master Philip set by thee. 'Twas only a few days
afore we was both down with that fever, and he were
looking at thee and Miss Mary a-nursing the cat, and
sommut seemed to come o'er him, and he said as he'd
like me to promise him true to be staunch to ye all if
aught should ever come to him. 'My father cannot do
much for em,' says he; 'crippled as he be, he will never
be able to fight for em, and he is getting would, too. I
trust to thee, Harry,' says he, 'to be leal and true-and
-I mean to be, Miss Henny.' "
"There is no one that I and my sisters could trust more
than you, Harry; but there is really no call for help just
now, you may be sure."
"Miss Henny, I've not told thee all. 'Twas but the
night afore last, and we was all a setting' round the fire
in th' hoose-place, having a mouthful afore we went to
bed. We was late, for there'd been some harness as we
wanted to use the morn, and it needed mending, and had
been a long job. Tom was at it up till midnight, and
we stayed by him, laughing and talking, for company. Just
as the clock warned for twelve, every door in th' hoose
swung open wide, and footsteps came walking in, slow.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


There was nowt to be seen, and our blood ran cowld,
for we couldn't unnerstan' it at all. But, Miss Henny,
them was the footsteps of Master Philip. I knew his
, tread; I couldn't fail to know it well, thee sees; but what
he come for passed me to tell. He wanted sommut from
me, nor I couldn't think what 'twas; but, next day, when
I saw yon lad a glowering at thee, I knowed as it was
sommut to do with him. So I thowt I'd come and just
see how the land lay, and tell thee as I am your man
whatever may come."
Everybody believed in apparitions in those days,
Henrietta was no exception. Her cheek paled, her eyes
became round.
"How long did he stay, Harry? What happened
after ?"
"Miss, the footsteps just walked up to me, where I sat
on a cricket by the corner, and they stood still. We all
on us heerd them, and we all stared, but saw nowt. Then
the steps turned, and walked oot by the back door as
they come in by the front, and the doors shut theirselves
as soft as they'd opened. He wanted to mind me of
thee, Miss Henny, for thee was always his favourite sister,
thee knows."
Henrietta did know well. She had been devoted to
her brother, and there was a sore, empty place in her
heart ever since his loss.
"Oh, Harry! Why didn't he come to me? What
would not I give to see him once more, or even to hear
his dear footstep on the threshold? Have you told any
one else of this ? "







PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS.


"No, miss, but we all heered it, because I says to the
lads did they hear ? And Tom says, 'Ay, we all heered,'
and then we went to bed."
That Harry, tired with his day's work, and overcome
by the heat of the fire, and such unaccustomed late hours,
had fallen asleep and dreamt this, occurred to neither of
the young people.
"Don't tell any one, missie. 'Tis only for thy ears.
When folks come back, they don't like it telled about
like just an idle tale. But you depend upon it that he
meant to warn me aboot yon man, and to say, 'Don't
thee have aught to do with the Jacobite.' So don't thee,
dear missy."
"No, Harry, I won't, indeed. What did James say,
when Mr. Fitzgerald wanted him to enlist ? "
He said as oo'd be jiggered if he would, and so said
Tom and Roger. They said as how there'd been trouble
enough after the '15, and they'd ha' nowt to do with
it. So he didn't mean them, missie."
Henrietta pondered for some minutes. "Well, Harry,"
said she, looking up at her rough friend at last, "I don't
understand it at all, but I'll think it well over, and bear
what you have told me in mind. I may tell mother,
of course ? "
"Ay, tell madam, but don't make common talk of it.
Good day, miss."
"Good-bye, Harry."
Henrietta could not go back to the family parlour
immediately after Harry Robinson left her. Her mind
was in a turmoil, and she must calm it first.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


She went up to her bedroom, and threw herself on her
knees beside her couch, hiding her face upon it.
Was it true ? Could it be true, that the departed spirit
of her dear brother had been permitted to revisit this
world to save her from harm? It would be like Phil-
dear, dear Phil; he was always thinking of her when he
was alive; but oh! why did not God let him come back
to her, who yearned so sadly for him ?
Harry could not-did not-love his memory as much
as she. Why might he hear his step, and her ears be
for ever deaf to the sound ?
Oh, Phil, Phil! Don't you know how I love you? Why
did you go to any one rather than to me ?" Tears of bitter
jealousy choked her, and rushed hot to her eyes.
But he had come to call help for her-to send Harry
to her help. Why? What was the Irishman to her?
She knew that he had, as she called it, "made eyes at
her," tried to flatter and compliment her, but that was
only because he had bad taste, and was used to silly
girls who liked such attentions. He did not understand
sensible people, who looked for something great and good
and noble in a man before they could be anything but
offended by such behaviour. Philip need not have warned
Harry on that account. No, that would be too foolish.
But what danger of greater importance hovered round her ?
That Mr. Fitzgerald was a Jacobite was nothing to her,
and James Robinson would have nothing to do with his
plots, nor his brothers either. She knew nothing about
politics; how should she, a girl of sixteen, understand
them, or have any influence over them ?







PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS.


It was all a mystery to her; but mother ought to know
how their visitor was trying to enlist their neighbours in
a dangerous enterprise. She must not tell mother about
Philip's footsteps having come. It would upset her so,
poor mother ; and, besides, she could not talk about that.
Perhaps, some day she might, but now she felt it to be
impossible.
Mother, however, must be told all else. She watched
eagerly for an opportunity of talking to her mother alone
-a difficult thing to manage in that busy household-
but, at last, she seized upon her chance. Her mother
listened to her story calmly, then said-
"You did rightly to tell me of this, Henny, my dear,
but it is not exactly news to me. I am glad that the
Robinsons showed so much sense. I shall be glad if
others show the same; and more than glad when we are
rid of this double-faced man. He will not stay here much
longer though."
How coolly Mrs. Varley took the information which had
agitated Harry Robinson so greatly, and seemed of such
importance to Henrietta! She forgot how imagination
had heightened the idea to Harry and herself, and how
far more tame the story was, devoid of its supernatural
element.
The gentlemen returned in time for supper; Captain
Varley was thoughtful and depressed; Mr. Fitzgerald,
sulky. The meal was not a cheerful one, and there was
no singing after it.
Laldo was rather more croupy in the evening, and
Mrs. Varley took advantage of that to remove his bed







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


into the nursery, and take Sophia into her room. Kezia
had told her mistress that Master Laldo, in his fit of ill-
humour that day, had come out with certain words not
at all pretty for a little boy to use, and cursed the maids
in the laundry freely, because they would not let him run
out after Harry Robinson.
When Mrs. Varley was alone with her husband, she
asked him whether Mr. Fitzgerald had met with friends
to his cause, among the persons whom they had visited
that day.
I know that the Robinsons would have nothing to
do with his scheme," said she.
"No, nor any one else. A pack of lukewarm fellows,
thinking only of their own skins, or their own pockets.
Some of them might join if the Prince met with any
success, when it would not so much matter whether
they did or not. France will help him, if he can show
a sufficiency of followers in England-no one here will
give his name, unless he can show enough definite promise
from France. 'Tis a game of see-saw."
"My dear, all our friends here have much to lose by
furthering a rising. What has this man to risk ? He has
all to gain, on the contrary. And how did the Stuarts
ever repay any of those who risked and lost everything
in their service ? Have we not had our lesson, Reginald ?
I beseech you not to mix yourself up with this dangerous
man's schemes any more. It would be madness in you
to do so."
"Well, well, wife, you may make yourself easy. He
is going to Liverpool to-morrow. He cannot get clothes







PHILIP'S FOOTSTEPS.


and things here, as you know; so he is going to the
town to be rigged out afresh. He has bought Sultan
from me. He took a fancy to the horse after riding him
to-day."
"I hope he paid you a suitable price for it. Sultan
is your best horse."
The captain laughed. "You know that I can ride very
little," said he.
The truth was that Fitzgerald had got the horse from
him at a merely nominal price, being sharp enough in
horse-jockeying. The captain was sore about this, know-
ing that he had been cheated, and thinking it a very bad
return for all his kind hospitality to his guest in the time
of his need.
He would not confess this to his wife, but it had opened
his eyes to the man's character more clearly than any-
thing else, and he was glad to get rid of him.
"Shall you give him an introduction to your brother ?"
"I cannot very well avoid doing so, as he knows that
I have a brother there. He wants a little help, too, in
getting some bills cashed, and Dick could put him in the
way to manage it at no loss to himself. But Fitzgerald
will go to an inn to stay, and get a proper outfit before
he presents my letters. He is mighty particular about
dress and appearance. I should say that he was very fond
of himself," concluded the captain, with a short laugh.
"I hope you do not make yourself responsible for him
in any way by giving him letters," said his wife, uneasily.
"No, no; don't be afraid. I thought of getting James
Robinson to see Dick when he went to the town next,
E







66 A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.

and take a private message of caution from me to him.
Fitzgerald will find very few adherents to the Stuart
cause in Liverpool, for any rising would be so obstructive
to commerce, you know."
"Yes, it must be decidedly against the interest of any
merchant to have a Stuart back again on the throne."
Next day Mr. Fitzgerald had recovered his temper, and
was as suave and agreeable as ever. He was lavish of
his compliments in all directions; smiled and bowed very
gracefully, and rode away, forgetting to fee any of the
servants who had done so much for him. He did not
even make a present to Kezia, who had prepared his dead
brother for the grave; and though he told her that she
might keep the young man's clothes, he removed every-
thing of value from them first, and the garments were too
much damaged by sea-water to be of much use to any one.
















CHAPTER VI.


THE LADY'S WALK.

THE sun shone down upon the long stretch of road
following the course of the Mersey above Liverpool,
and known as the "Lady's Walk." Pleasant meadows,
where cows and sheep grazed, lay on either hand, plenti-
fully besprinkled with timber, for all traces of the Toxteth
Park had not, at the date of this story, wholly disappeared.
Several windmills, dotted about, gave life to the scene by
their whirling sails ; hedges were covered with a profusion
of wild roses, pink and white; hay was cut in some of the
fields, scenting the summer air; the tide was running, full
and fast, up the river, widening its silver stream at every
moment, and bringing up two or three little vessels, with
swelling white sails, from the sea ; snowy seagulls wheeled
about above all.
On such a delightful afternoon, the Lady's Walk was
sure to be crowded, for no pleasanter place in which to
take the air could be found.
Gentlemen in full dress, comprising wig, cane, and snuff-
box, which the Liverpool merchant always donned before he
went on 'Change, strolled along, in little knots of twos and







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


threes, still chatting on business topics, though in desultory
fashion. They had dined early; and, business not being
then the wholly engrossing life-work which it has since
become, they were now released from its claims, and ready
to enjoy a leisurely walk among the beauties and fashion
of the place before returning home to partake of tea.
And beauty and fashion were there in plenty. Ladies
in hooped petticoats, over which their trains were bunched
up, to allow of their walking with ease and comfort,
dawdled along, attended by their footmen. Others were
carried in sedan chairs, while negro slaves stalked solemnly
beside them, slaves whose powdered hair contrasted oddly
with their ebon faces.
Ribbons and scarves fluttered in the breeze, fans waved,
jewelled buckles and sword-hilts glittered and flashed in
the sunlight; groups of merry children, with their nursery-
maids, played in the hay; and buxom wenches wheeled
along barrows of strawberries and summer oranges, bawling
out their prices as they went.
Many tradespeople, and persons of less degree, keeping
a little apart from the gentry, added to the gaiety of the
scene ; and a ballad-singer increased the variety of sounds,
as she chanted aloud the life and adventures of some
celebrated highwayman.
One group attracted a great deal of notice. It consisted
of a lady, carried in her own sedan chair by two men in
livery, while a negro servant was in attendance. The
chair was lined and cushioned with rich blue satin; and
the lady was beautifully attired in brocade, the ground
colour of which was white, and bore a pattern of large







THE LADY'S WALK.


roses, with foliage, in their natural hues. Abundance of
lace; knots of rose-coloured ribbon; a lace coif thrown
over the immense erection of powdered hair upon the
lady's head; jewels clasping the black velvet around her
white throat, and gleaming here and there from other
parts of her attire, made up such a blaze of splendour as
could seldom be seen in these days, save when a Drawing-
room is held by royalty.
This lady's complexion was too artificial for any one to
judge what its natural tint might be; but the resemblance
in features, and in the colour of the eyes, rendered it
probable that the tall girl who walked by her side, and
was evidently her daughter, might also possess her mother's
Celtic skin and hair.
This young lady wore neither powder nor rouge; but
her hair of dark red was drawn up over a cushion nearly
as high as that of the elder lady; and one large long curl
fell from the back of it upon her neck. Her complexion
needed no adventitious aid, being of that delicate, white
and red which frequently accompanies red hair; her dress
was plainer, consisting of a flowered Indian calico, bunched
up over a blue camlet petticoat. She wore long black
mittens drawn up over her arms, a large hat, loosely tied
down with blue ribbons, and held a tiny King Charles's
spaniel in her arms.
.Both ladies had breastknots of white roses, and carried
their handsome heads with great stateliness.
Many were the remarks concerning them whispered by
one gossip to another, as they slowly proceeded along the
promenade, beheld of all beholders.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"There they go, nobody good enough for them to speak
to, as usual," said old Mrs. Lacey, sarcastically.
"Who are they?" asked Miss Jenkinson, a single lady
of middle-age, who had not long settled in Liverpool.
'Dick Varley's wife and daughter. He is a good sort
of man enough; I've known him all my life. But he was
so far left to himself as to pick up with that beggarly
Scotchwoman, and she has ruled his roost ever since,
poor fellow."
"Beggarly Scotchwoman! That gown of hers must
have cost forty pounds at least. I never saw a handsomer
brocade."
"Ay, ay, and her lace, and her diamonds. And there
she goes, trapesing about in her fineries, as if she was the
first in the land, when we know that she was only com-
panion to Lady Brooks when she first came into these
parts. Scarcely more than a waiting-woman, and thankful
to be that."
Are you talking of Mrs. Varley ? asked Mrs. Comber-
mere, joining the group. "Another new gown, and my!
what a lovely silk! Dick Varley need to be made of
money."
But she is a fine woman," remarked Captain Barclay.
"And of good family, we all know."
"Yes," said Mrs. Lacey, "she takes care enough to let
us know that. She was a Miss Fraser, her mother a
Stuart; and, if her lineage has given her nothing else, it
has given her all the devilry of Lovat, and all the pride
and folly of the others."
"What sort of a girl is the young lady turning out ?"







THE LADY'S WALK.


asked Captain Barclay. "She is as handsome as her
mother."
"I don't know anything about her," replied Mrs.
Combermere, to whom the question was addressed. "She
is too fine to consort with my daughters. I have brought
up my girls to be useful, Captain Barclay. Any one of
my girls can cook a dinner, or stitch a shirt with any one,
be she who she may. They don't sit about all day, twang-
ing harp strings, and screeching at the harpsichord. Ah!
dear Mrs. Varley, how are you ? What a lovely day!"
Her change of voice, as Mrs. Varley drew near, was
amusing. The other ladies laughed.
"It is well to bring up those lasses to make shirts and
pies, for their looks will never get husbands for them," said
Mrs. Lacey, and their voices are like screech-owls."
"She is evidently as envious of Mrs. Varley as she
can be," said Miss Jenkinson; "but how she is toadying
her now. It is sickening after speaking of her as she
did but a moment ago."
"Ay, but Madam Varley wants none of her; only look
at her shutting her eyes, and pursing up her mouth, and
just bowing her head as if her neck was stiff. Ah, there
is that Irishman again !"
"Who is he ? asked Miss Jenkinson.
"That is a question easier asked than answered," re-
plied the old lady. "I've my suspicions, but won't talk
of him here. If you will step in for a dish of tea by-and-by,
my dear, I will tell you something about him, and we will
have a nice rubber of whist too. I have one or two coming
also."






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Meantime, Mr. Fitzgerald, for he it was who had
appeared upon the scene, had joined Mrs. Varley, greet-
ing her and the younger lady with great empressement.
He was now in a very different plight from when we
first made his acquaintance; no longer in rags and tatters.
Nobody could have supposed that the tatterdemalion,
pulled with bare life out of the raging sea, was the same
as this fine gentleman in cinnamon-coloured coat, lined
with white silk, laced waistcoat, black velvet breeches,
powdered hair, sword, buckles, and what not, who stood
erect, heels together, hat in hand, bowing to the ladies with
the air of a Frenchman.
He was received with smiles.
"So you have returned, my good sir," said Mrs. Varley.
"And how have you sped in your business? "
"Fairly well, madam, fairly well," was the reply. "May
I be privileged to call this evening and report progress ? "
"By all means. Mr. Varley will be from home; he has
rid to Halsall to visit his brother, and will not return before
to-morrow; but my daughter and I will be happy to
receive you."
"And is your brother-in-law still obdurate ? "
"Still. Richard will use every effort to induce him to
invest capital in your business; we think that a personal
interview may have some effect."
The party here approached that of old Mrs. Lacey, with
whom Miss Jenkinson was still conversing; while her
elderly, plain, but very ladylike daughter had been joined
by another lady and one or two gentlemen.
"Ah! Mrs. Lacey," said Mrs. Varley, with affability,






THE LADY'S WALK.


"this lovely day has brought out even you to enjoy the
sunshine. Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Fitzgerald,
an Irish gentleman who has seen service abroad, and is
now visiting Lancashire."
Mrs. Lacey made suitable acknowledgment, and civilly
hoped that Mr. Fitzgerald was pleased with what he had
seen of the country.
Euphemia's face had flashed into life and animation
upon meeting with Miss Lacey and her friend.
"Are you quite well again, Miss Mason? I have been
so sorry not to come and sit with you more, but papa has
been away, and mamma wanted me at home, as Mr.
Fitzgerald is a great deal with us."
"Who is he, my dear? asked Miss Mason.
"I don't know exactly," replied Euphemia, "but he
is a charming man. He has so much to say, and sings
so beautifully, and "-lowering her voice-" he knows
those whom we love and venerate in Italy and in Paris."
"Hush, my dear said Miss Lacey, glancing nervously
around at the little group of gentlemen; but Mrs. Varley
had absorbed them into her circle, and was hospitably
inviting them to meet her young Irish friend at tea that
evening, if they could dispense with the company of Mr.
Varley for once.
"It will be very charitable of you to take pity upon us,"
said she, "for my daughter and I have quite the vapours.
Mr. Varley has been from home these three days."
"Nay, then," said Mrs. Lacey, I cannot have the
pleasure, for I have two or three already engaged to drink
a dish of tea with me, including these gentlemen. Come







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


rather to me; I shall be happy to see you also, sir ; and,
Effie, bring your music with you."
Mrs. Varley accepted the invitation graciously, and gave
her porters the signal to move on.
I have seen that man before, somewhere," remarked
Major Cameron, but I cannot remember where."
"He has been about the town for some weeks," said
Mrs. Lacey. Somebody told me that he was shipwrecked
down near the Formby spit, and lost nearly everything.
He has been getting a new outfit of clothes in the
town."
"You are correct, madam," said Mr. Banks. "Varley
introduced him to me a month ago. He was shipwrecked
close to Halsall, and Captain Varley was very kind to
him. He stayed in the hall there for a week or two, until
he recovered from the injuries which he received in the
disaster, and buried a young brother there, who was lost
at the same time."
"Quite a romance," said Mrs. Lacey. "I hope that
Varley does not act as his banker. The spark seems to
me to know how to choose clothes."
"I heard that he did not lose his money, though all
else went. The money was in the pockets of the brother
who was drowned."
Lucky for him," said the lady, with a laugh. Maria,
my dear, we will go home through the town. We must
have some finer dishes than your diet bread and custards
when the Duchess Varley honours our board."
Mother !" cried Miss Lacey, in a tone of remonstrance.
The old lady laughed like a witch, mimicking her







THE LADY'S WALK.


daughter's "Mother," and waving farewell to Miss
Jenkinson and the gentlemen, with her crooked, knobby
old fingers.
I know where you saw that fellow, Cameron," said Mr.
Banks. "He was in the cockpit last Thursday, betting
on the 'Prince.' He won a heap of money from Crosse
and Baker. He was talking big, and said the bird's name
was always a lucky one."
"Oh !" exclaimed Major Cameron. "He was with-- "
He did not finish his sentence.
"Yes, with- replied Mr. Banks. "I shall keep
clear of him. I hope the Varleys are not bit again."
"I hope not, most sincerely. 'Tis said that the Prince
is at Gravelines, and that there is some ferment among his
adherents."
I don't want to hear anything about him. He never
brings luck to me," said Mr. Banks.
"Varley had better look after his ladies," said Major
Cameron. "The ladies are all for that handsome adventurer,
and madam is a Fraser through and through."
"Good for you to say," responded Mr. Banks. You
have no grey mare in your stable."
"That is it, is it ? Well, I like Varley, I hope he will
not be a fool. By bye."
They separated; and the company on the "Ladies'
Walk began to disperse, for early hours were kept then,
and it was drawing near teatime.















CHAPTER VII.


MRS. LACEY'S PARTY.

MRS. LACEY arrogated to herself a leading place
among the fashionable denizens of Liverpool.
Being a woman of good family, and considerable wealth;
having lived all her life in the town, and kept up a hand-
some establishment, she knew everybody, while everybody
knew her. Even Mrs. Varley thought her worthy of being
visited on equal terms.
She gave more parties than any one else; all the best
people in the neighbourhood were to be met at her house;
some visiting her from old friendship, some on account of
her position, and some from fear of her sharp tongue.
Many, indeed, dreaded her biting words, particularly if
any false pretensions on their own part laid them open
to ridicule; but those who knew her best always main-
tained that her bark was worse than her bite.
Her comfortable, best parlour was, this evening, all in
festal array. The card-tables were laid out, with unbroken
packs of cards, in each corner of the room, which was
pleasantly shaded and cool, wide glass doors standing
open to allow a full view of the garden, sweet and gay in
its profusion of tall, white lilies and damask rose-bushes.







MRS. LACEY'S PARTY.


The apartment might have been considered bare to
modern eyes, used to the quantities of lace, draperies, and
frippery so lavishly scattered around in these days; but
it lacked nothing in the opinion of those gathered in it a
hundred and fifty years ago. The walls were painted
white; the panels and high chimney-piece were carved
with garlands of flowers, and the latter supported five tall,
narrow jars of fine, blue Nankin ware.
A couple of family portraits, and a round convex
mirror, curiously distorting all reflected therein, decorated
the walls. The mirror had a brass eagle on the top of
its frame, holding in its beak, chains supposed to hold up
the girandoles that sprang from either side below it. The
hangings were of Indian chintz, patterned with pagodas
and peacocks in rich colouring upon a greenish-blue
ground. Silver branches and massive silver candlesticks
were prepared with wax candles for a later hour; and,
before the ladies had all curtseyed to each other with the
formal politeness which seemed to them good, the plump
butler and black footboy handed round trays, laden with
rows of tea and coffee cups, duly filled with their fragrant
beverages, and followed up with well-piled dishes of
various cakes.
Tea was then a meal, not a farce, and people were not
too fine to eat and drink with healthy appetite; but, as
soon as all were satisfied, card-playing began with an
earnestness which would even have pleased dear Mrs.
Sarah Battle. Lips were pursed up, brows contracted into
frowns of deep calculation, and little was uttered but what
related to the game.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"Your deal, ma'am."
Shall I have the honour to deal for you ?"
"Ah! I wondered where that thirteenth trump
was."
"A double for us, sir. Single, double, and the rub."
Supper was served at nine o'clock, and then it was that
tongues were loosed, and a babel of voices drowned even
the clatter of knives and forks. Songs were sung, time-
honoured anecdotes related, nobody objected then to the
tedium of twice-told tales.
Toasts were given. Mrs. Lacey was politely requested,
as hostess, to name the first, and "The Church" was
drunk cheerfully.
Mr. Banks, however, keenly eyeing the stranger among
them, perceived a rapid gesture of the hand, betraying
that he had crossed himself as he lifted his glass.
Plenty of wine had been taken before, by all the gentle-
men. It was a period of licence in such matters, even
when ladies were present, and an old lady the hostess;
none of the men, it was probable, were free from a certain
measure of excitement.
The King" was the second toast, as usual; and Mr.
Fitzgerald drank this with a toss of his hand over his
shoulder, which inferred that, to him, "The King" meant
a king over the water.
Up sprang Mr. Banks, flushing high. Gentlemen and
ladies, I beg that this toast may be drunk over again, in
evidence of our loyalty. Fill your glasses, if you please.
A bumper to King George "
Several people looked uneasy.







MRS. LACEY'S PARTY.


" Oh, neighbour, neighbour," said Mrs. Lacey, "we
women do not meddle with politics !"
At the same moment Mr. Fitzgerald's voice was heard
in its most suave tones-
"'The King' having been already drunk, permit me to
propose that we substitute 'The Ladies' for a second
edition of the same."
"Do you refuse to drink my toast, sir? cried Banks,
hotly.
"I think, my good sir," was the reply, "that your turn
to propose the toast hardly comes before that of your
elders. There are several present whose wishes should be
obeyed first."
"Do you refuse my toast ?" thundered the young man
again.
"Ladies," said Mrs. Lacey, rising, if you have all taken
what refreshment you choose, shall we retire ? "
As they pushed back their chairs, and swam out of the
room, which the width of their hoops obliged them to do
in single file, thus occupying some minutes, Captain Bar-
clay, an old friend of Mr. Banks's father, laid a kindly hand
upon the young man's shoulder.
"Drop it, Banks; drop it, like a sensible fellow. Mrs.
Lacey does not like such things, and the man is brought
here by Varley's wife. It is not fair upon the women.
Better be a little blind."
"I happen to know that you are loyal, captain, or I
would think such a speech strange, to say the least of it.
I fully believe this man to be one of those hounds of
conspirators, and that it is my duty to expose him. It






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


should be yours also, holding, as you do, the King's
commission."
"My dear boy, those who stir up mud are sure to be
besmirched with it. What can you do in such a matter
but involve yourself in a duel ? "
"And what then, Captain Barclay ?"
Captain Barclay shrugged his shoulders, and said no
more. It would have been futile to interfere further.
And it was as he predicted.
The last lady having left the room-it was Euphemia
Varley, white as death, with imploring, terrified eyes fixed
upon those of Fitzgerald, who only smiled in answer to
their mute appeal-the last sweep of her train having
vanished, and the door being closed upon her, Banks
turned upon the Irishman with-
"Now, sir, will you drink my toast ? "
Fitzgerald's reply was a calm one. "I decline, Mr.
Banks, to submit to coercion upon any subject, especially
when attempted by a gentleman perhaps too young to
be aware that he has no right to enforce it. Whether
or not I choose to accept a toast when presented by a
suitable person, at a suitable time, and in a suitable
manner, I decline to say. But I wholly refuse to oblige
you in a matter thrust upon me by you so improperly."
Banks caught up a glass of claret and flung it full in the
Irishman's face.
"Now, you traitor, will you drink my toast ?"
Fitzgerald coloured high. "No, sir, but I will chastise a
peevish lad's impertinence."
A great hubbub arose. Every man in the room tried


























































"Banks caught up a glass of claret and flung it full in the Irishman's
face."--. 80.







MRS. LACEY'S PARTY.


to interfere at one and the same moment. Some cried out
that Banks was too hasty, some that Fitzgerald should
yield. Some tried to pacify the younger man, some
backed him up. Captain Barclay again endeavoured to
bring the aggressor to reason.
It is offering an affront to Mrs. Lacey," he said, to
allow such a quarrel to arise at her supper-table, and with
a stranger guest, for whose opinions she cannot be supposed
responsible."
"I do not ask you to be my second," replied Banks,
haughtily.
What sensible man will adopt such a quarrel, William ?"
asked the captain, gravely.
"I will find supporters," replied Banks, coldly.
"It is in the blood. A hot-headed race," said the
captain, sadly, in a low voice, to Mr. Crosse. It will
just be his poor father's story over again."
"But who will act friend to Mr. Fitzgerald?" inquired
Mr. Crosse.
All looked at each other. It was one thing to feel that
the stranger was ill-used, and quite another to come
forward openly to back a man who was all but avowedly
a Jacobite, and at that epoch.
Before any one spoke again, sounds of an arrival
were heard; the door was thrown open, and Richard
Varley entered. He looked from one to another in
surprise.
"What is all this, neighbours? asked he. "I return
from Halsall sooner than I expected, hear that my
wife and daughter are spending the evening with Mrs.







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Lacey, come to attend them upon their return, and find
all my friends apparently by the ears. What does it
mean? "
Captain Barclay, the eldest man present, explained.
Richard Varley crossed over and took his stand beside
Fitzgerald.
"This gentleman is my friend," said he; "a stranger,
cast by misfortune upon the hospitality of my family.
Whoever offends him, offends me."
"You are a friend in need, Varley," said Fitzgerald.
"I was beginning to consider where I should look for
one. I can fight my own battles with pleasure. Make all
arrangements for me, like a good fellow, will you ? Gentle-
men, I put up at the Golden Fleece, in Dale Street. I
have the honour to wish you good e'en." So saying, he
bowed to the company generally, and retired.
It was the signal for all to depart. Most of the ladies
had already taken leave, silently and awe-struck. As a
rule, they were more in sympathy with the handsome
stranger, whose courtly manners, superb whist play, fund
of anecdote, and fine voice had much impressed them,
than with young Banks, whom all had known as a rough,
turbulent, noisy boy, and whom most of them regarded as
little more now.
Besides, romance always appeals to a lady's heart; and
the halo of romance surrounded the exiled royal family,
and all their struggles to regain their lost throne. It is
not quite true that the absent are always in the wrong.
Sometimes distance lends enchantment to the view-and
the Stuarts lived at a distance which cast a haze over their







MRS. LACEY'S PARTY.


shortcomings, and had done so for a length of time
sufficient to make many of their failings forgotten.
If Liverpool merchants were well aware that a Stuart
legislation would once more paralyze commerce and prove
their ruin, their wives and daughters thought much more
of the handsome young Prince-pitied his poverty, his
friendlessness, his misfortunes, and admired all who still
supported his cause.
So, when Mrs. Varley sank upon a couch, with her face
buried in her handkerchief-not really weeping, because of
her rouge, but betraying every symptom of sensibility
short of that extreme; when Euphemia threw herself
upon Miss Lacey's bosom, sobbing with fright, all the
other ladies gathered round in sympathy, and consoled
them to the best of their power.
Poor dear!" said Mrs. Lacey, patting Euphemia's
shoulder; "I will never forgive that Will Banks. A
saucy, ill-tempered little varlet. I'd like to have the
sorting of him, that I would."
"Poor child !" said Mrs. Combermere ; "she is too young
for such things. No wonder she is so upset-and Mr.
Fitzgerald so handsome too. 'Twould be a pity for him
to be shot."
"Shot! The word broke from Euphemia almost with
a scream.
Some of the ladies looked at one another.
"Little girls are not used to the dangers which grown-
up men are always encountering," said Miss Mason, in a
clear voice. It seems very dreadful to them to think of
a person whom their parents know and esteem being







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


exposed to them; but, Effie dear, they often come out of
them perfectly safe. Your papa's friend will do so now, I
have no doubt."
"Mr. Varley!" cried the butler, ushering in a new-
comer.
All turned to greet him with relief; but Euphemia
rushed across the room, and, catching hold of her father's
arm, implored him, with streaming eyes, to save Mr.
Fitzgerald.
"Why, what is wrong with him ? asked Mr. Varley.
Mrs. Lacey explained.
Oh, is that all ?" remarked he, coolly. "Go and sit
down, you silly child. I am sorry that this should have
happened before you, madam "-turning to Mrs. Lacey.
"I will soon bring them back to reason. Permit me to
wish you good night at once."
He went, as we have seen, into the dining-room, and
Miss Lacey and her companion drew Euphemia into a
corner, and set themselves to quiet her agitation. Here
they were followed by two of the Misses Combermere.
Is he your lover, Effie ?" whispered the elder, slyly,
with a schoolgirl giggle.
How can you ask such a vulgar question, Alice ?"
flashed out the girl, with proud indignation. "No, I'm
not so silly."
"No, no, dear," said Miss Lacey. "Alice only meant a
joke. You are both too young for that, we all know.
Alice did not mean to offend you."
"Of course not; make it up, Effie," said Miss Comber-
mere, who had really meant to gratify her friend by the








MRS. LACEY'S PARTY.


inquiry, for she had been brought up in a precocious,
unrefined manner. "But," added she to herself, "I believe
that she is in love with him for all her sauciness."
This imputation, so abhorrent to Euphemia's proud re-
serve, availed at once to restore her composure. She drew
herself up, dried her eyes, and turned towards her mother.
"Mamma, is it not time to go home ?" said she.
"Yes, my love, we will go home. Good night, Mrs.
Lacey; good night, ladies. I am extremely grieved that
this should have occurred here. Mr. Varley will settle
it, however, I hope."
"Good night, Mrs. Varley," said Mrs. Lacey. "Take
an old woman's advice, and don't have much to do with
that Irishman."
Mrs. Varley looked very haughty, closed her eyes, com-
pressed her lips, and merely curtseyed in reply.
"Good night, dear Effie," whispered Miss Lacey,
embracing her. "I will come and see you to-morrow."
Euphemia tightly squeezed her friend's hand. She could
not speak lest she should cry again, and give fresh reason
to Alice Combermere for her odious suspicions.
The chairs were waiting in the wide, white-flagged
entrance hall. Mrs. Varley seated herself in her own,
and was borne away by her own porters; Euphemia
followed in a hired one; and, attended by the negro
Antoine, they were soon in their own house. Mr. Varley
did not return at all that night; but Euphemia was not
aware of this, as her mother sent her to bed at once,
and her attendant gave her a composing draught.
But a meeting was arranged by Mr, Varley and young







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


Mr. Crosse, who acted as second to Banks; and, in the
early dewy morning, when thrushes were singing their
matins from the hawthorn bushes around a quarry, behind
the Windmill tavern, upon the London road, a party of
gentlemen broke the sweet stillness of the summer dawn
with murderous intent.
The ground, frequently used for such purposes, was
duly measured, the duellists took their stand. The hand
of young Banks trembled from excitement, passion, and
the wine he had drunk on the previous evening. He
aimed at his adversary's heart, but the bullet passed
through his sleeve, simply grazing the skin of his arm.
Fitzgerald fired in the air.
"He is but a foolish boy," said he to Richard Varley.
"I don't want to raise a scandal here, you know. This
is enough for him."
Banks clamoured for further shots, but the two seconds
agreed that honour was satisfied, and would not permit
further hostilities. The young men went to Crosse Hall
for breakfast, Banks chafing under the manner in which
the affair had resulted.
Richard Varley and Mr. Fitzgerald took coffee in the
Windmill Inn; they had a long and earnest conversation,
at the end of which a messenger was sent into the town
for the Irishman's horse and effects, and he rode away
from Liverpool to be seen no more in those streets.















CHAPTER VIII.


THE BROTHERS.

CAPTAIN VARLEY had been rather taken by sur-
prise when his brother visited him. He was in his
largest meadow, at some distance from the Hall, super-
intending the mowers, who in regular order, hones
strapped to their waists, stripped to shirt and breeches,
sleeves rolled up, displaying brawny, sunburnt arms, were
laying low swathe after swathe of ripe grass, with the long,
steady sweep of their scythes.
Behind the men came women, girls, and children, armed
with rakes and forks, tossing the fragrant hay into the
hot sunshine, and gathering it up into heaps.
Henrietta, Mary, and the younger children were all
there, helping; the girls wearing their cotton sun-bonnets
tilted over their eyes; the boys with their straw-hats
pushed to the backs of their heads, and all their curling
hair in a damp tangle.
"Hallo, Dick !" called out the captain, as his brother's
figure appeared over the hedge. What brings you here?
Come to see our haymaking? Why did you not bring
Effie over with you, she would have enjoyed the fun with
the other lasses ?"







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


"My wife is not very well, and I did not like to take
the girl away; besides I have only come for a short time
to talk over a matter with you."
"Wife ailing? Nothing much wrong, I hope."
No, no, only vapours and nonsense, I believe."
"Well, what is it we have to talk over? Come up to
the Hall, and take a mug of ale after your ride. We
have tapped a famous barrel this morning for the hay-
makers, and Dame Partlet has excelled herself in bun-
loaf this time."
Henrietta ran up. "Oh! uncle, why did you not bring
Effie with you? I am like to quarrel with you. You
promised to bring her next time, when you came
over last."
"She shall come one day soon, perhaps, my pretty. I
have come to see your father on business to-day."
See about the lunch for the men, my dear, will you ?"
said the captain. "Your uncle and I will go in, and rest,
out of the hot sun. Well, Dick, there's nothing wrong,
I hope?"
"No, not exactly," said Richard, setting down his mug,
after a refreshing draught. "It is public matters about
which I want to talk to you."
The captain's genial face clouded over. "You are not
foolish enough to be bitten with that Fitzgerald's talk, are
you, Dick?"
"You sent him to me yourself, Reginald."
"I did not know what else to do," said the captain, in
a tone of great annoyance. "I wanted him away from
here, where he tried to stir up the old question again,







THE BROTHERS.


and was bringing down black looks from all quarters
upon me. He could not go without a new rig-out, and
getting his bills exchanged, so I thought that you would
help me so far. He was costing me more than I cared
to afford, too. But I never told you to listen to his
specious talk."
"I don't know why you should call it 'specious talk,'
Reginald. If that young man has a chance of coming
to his own, we ought to give him a helping hand. Should
his father return, we might be indemnified for all he has
cost us in times past."
"When did a Stuart ever remember gratitude, or pay
old debts, Dick ?"
What chance have they ever had of doing so, brother ?"
"And what chance now ?"
"Better than for years. Louis will let the Prince have
all the Irish regiments in his service, and some others.
There is a strong party in his favour in Scotland, and
Lancashire will join him to a man if he once comes among
us, you may depend upon that."
"Not about here, Dick. This is what Fitzgerald told
me, and pressed me hard. Like a fool as I am, I took
him to one or two old friends, but all had the same story.
They had been hit too hard after the '5 ; they have
no arms, and no money. Fines and penalties have crippled
them too far, and the times have changed. 'Let us see
those Irish regiments,' says one. 'Let him show French
gold,' says another. 'We have ourselves to think of now,'
says a third. It is too wild and risky a scheme, Dick,
depend upon it."







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


The Frasers will join him. Lovat's eldest son heads
a regiment."
Who can depend upon Lovat, Dick ? A double-faced,
unscrupulous old sinner, as my wife truly calls him."
I thought you had been listening to woman's counsel,"
said Richard, contemptuously. "What should Molly know
of the matter? Now, Phemie- "
The captain laughed out. I think, too, that you have
been listening to woman's counsel, Dick. Don't let us
quarrel at this time of day. I have no scruple in telling
you that I was rather inclined, at first, to listen to Fitz-
gerald, but my wife did get hold of it, and told me things
which made me see that the fellow could not be trusted,
though he has got a tongue that could talk off a horse's
hind leg."
What sort of things ?"
"Well, making a sort of sham love to our little girls.
The Robinsons saw that as well as she; that old dame
is mighty shrewd. Henrietta, bless her, has as much
common sense as her mother, and it took no -effect upon
her, and little Mary is but a simple child still. But Molly
did not think it honourable in the man, and no more
it was."
"This is too absurd, Reginald."
Straws show which way the wind blows, Dick. I did
not quite go with the wife till he jockeyed me out of
Sultan, the good old beast that has carried me so well
this three years. That seemed to open my eyes, somehow."
I cannot see what an accomplished man making him-
self pleasant to a parcel of children, or a man of the world







THE BROTHERS.


showing a little sharp practice over horse-dealing, has to
do with the cause, brother."
"Don't you? I do. If the agent of the cause be
unscrupulous in one way, he will be so in another. You
had better wait to hear more, Dick, and from more
reliable people."
"If all our Prince's followers follow on such lines,
nothing will ever be done for him. Whose is the fault
if his hand be against every man's, and every man's
against him. He is our lawful ruler, Reginald."
"Maybe, but I do not see that you and I are bound
to ruin ourselves for him. The time is not ripe, Dick.
The venture is too wild."
The Duke of Perth is his friend; Balmerino joins him;
Lochiel will; the Macleods, and many others. He has
raised money on his jewels, and declares that he will
pawn the very shirt off his back to raise money enough.
When he comes, accompanied by all the resources of
France, to be joined by all the faithful in the Highlands,
you will feel ashamed of your lukewarm adherence."
When he comes, accompanied with French troops, it
will be time enough to decide, Dick. Meanwhile, I don't
see that the shirt off his back is likely to pawn for enough
to pay many troops; nor would any jewels, which the
whole set of them together can possess, indemnify you
for your good West Indian business, or me for the acres
which I am just getting into heart after difficulties and
struggles from the want of ready money which even you
can hardly realize. Our family have done enough for
the Stuarts, Dick. They have everything to gain, and







A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


nothing to lose; exile has not improved them, and you
know, yourself, what the King's habits are."
"Oh, ho! You can call him the King yourself when
you are off your guard "
"I can, in my heart, at all times, brother; but that is
not to say that, in my sober judgment, I consider him
the best King for England, or that we should do well to
plunge our country in all the horrors of a civil war again,
when the cause must be a losing one, and its leaders a
degenerate race, demoralized by the life which they have
led for so long a time."
Reginald, were it the old man, I should go heart and
soul with you; but the young one is different. Sobieski
blood has improved the strain; this Prince is a prince,
every inch of him. A fine, handsome, winning, dashing
young man, with the fire, energy and will which we missed
before. This is a man who may succeed, and might
redeem former mistakes and wrongdoings."
So the Irishman says, but who can trust a man like
that ?"
"I do not trust him blindly, brother." Richard Varley
sank his voice to a whisper, and looked suspiciously at
window and door as he proceeded, "I have seen him
myself"
"You, Dick Captain Varley was exceedingly struck
by this avowal.
"Yes, brother, with my own eyes. I would not rush
upon this enterprise blindly, and determined to judge for
myself. I gave out that I was not very well, business is
slack until the West Indian fleet arrives, and I should







THE BROTHERS.


take advantage of the leisure to come over and spend a
week or two with you in the fresh country air. But I
have been to Gravelines, and met that beloved young
scion of the gracious old stock. I have no son of my
own, Reginald. Had I been blessed with one, I could
have desired none better. He has all the old charm, the
old grace, the old princeliness, and more backbone.
Reginald, he is worthy of a blow being struck for him,
and I have made up my mind to help in striking it."
Captain Varley rose from his chair in great perturbation,
and paced the room. This was a very grave confession
and it troubled him greatly.
I feel myself to blame in introducing Fitzgerald to
you, Dick," said he, "but I never dreamt that he would
have had influence enough over you for this."
"It was not altogether he, brother. Phemie thought
that I should not refuse all participation in the scheme
without judging for myself. She urged me to go."
Phemie !" cried the captain, in great irritation.
"Phemie is a Fraser through and through. She thinks
nothing of any one who is not Scotch. She would
sacrifice you or any one to please her own people."
"You should not speak like that to me of my wife,
Reginald."
Mr. Varley rose also, and drew himself up to his full
height.
"Sit down again-sit down," said the captain. "We
won't quarrel about it at our time of life. You always
have known my opinion of your wife, and we must agree to
differ about it. You and I were fed with one spoon, Dick






A DANGEROUS CONSPIRATOR.


and must stick together at all costs. The women shall
not part us, the two last of a good old family. What do
you want me to do for you ?"
"You have always been a true brother to me, Reginald.
I have never forgotten how you struggled and saved to
give me my first start in business, when you were hardly
more than a boy yourself, and the estate was so horribly
crippled. From that time to this, you have always been
my closest and best friend."
Say no more of that, my dear fellow. You have paid
off that score years ago; and if the estate be clear at last,
it is as much owing to your good management of our joint
capital, as to my screwing out ha'pence to accumulate the
first few pounds. We work together, old man, and will
to the last. I ask again, what can I do for you ? "
Well, it stands in this way. Townley raises a regiment
for the Prince, and I am determined to join it. Liverpool
means to protect its breeches' pockets, and is wholly for
the reigning powers. There is talk of raising a regiment
for the Hanoverian side there, and feeling is like to run
very high. It is said, if Charles Edward comes to
Scotland-as he will-that Colonel Graham is to be sent
down to take command and train this regiment, and I
dare not leave my ladies, with their well-known and strong
Jacobite proclivities, alone and unprotected there."
"Say no more, brother. Send your wife and Effie here,
as upon a visit; I will take every care of them; they will
be safe here. And, Dick, let them bring as many of their
valuables as they can with them. All that they can bring
without raising suspicion, and papers, business documents,




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