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I burst out weeping instead. Poor Kate was alarmed, until I assured her I was not ill; then she insisted upon it that something must have grieved me.
"Has Ralph done anything amiss?" she asked.
"Oh no, indeed!" I replied quickly. She did not question me further, only remarking that she had her suspicions, and so the matter dropped. But I did not know how to meet Johanna, and be civil to her, after hearing her utter such spiteful words, and knowing what was in her mind towards me. So this year ends, and I wish I could bury all unpleasant recollections in its grave.
January 1st, 1641.-The clock in the hall has just struck one, but I cannot sleep. We have wished each other a happy New Year; father blessed me fervently, and folded me in a close embrace ; Ralph made a fine speech, which I interrupted impatiently-I fear rudely-for Johanna was standing by. Why does the New Year take up the burdens of the Old ?
January 2nd.-A quick thaw set in this morning, and soon after noon a man brought a letter from the Mayor, advising my father to return speedily, for they missed him at the council board. He thought I should be disappointed at leaving here so soon, and proposed that Will should bring me back to Hull next week ; but I had no wish to stay, and secretly rejoiced that we had so fair a reason for departing. I fancy Kate was a little disappointed that I seemed so eager to go with my father, for, after many expressions of regret, she gravely remarked, “You are soon tired of us if you cannot be persuaded to remain a few days longer." “Dear Kate,” said I, “ that is not a fair way to put it;
if I stay here, father must go alone.”
“Had we known you would melt away with the snow," rejoined Ralph, “I would havo prayed the spirit of the North to have frozen us in securely for a week or two.”
Sir Guy laughed, and said that though he was sorry enough to lose his friends, he could not forget his poor neighbours, and how they suffered when a black frost set in; but he added, kindly, « We will let Alice go, if she will promise to come here in the summer-time, when the fruit is ripe, and the garden gay with flowers."
Johanna is quite cheerful, and I wish as heartily as she does that Ralph would return to his old allegiance.
January 3rd. Hull. How beautiful home looks! True, the house seemed to have grown somewhat smaller during our absence ; but there is such a sweet, familiar air about the old rooms with their well-worn furniture, that I would not exchange them for the richest carving or the brighest damask. Lucy was very discontented at leaving Winestead, and angered Simon by her grumbling
as they rode away. She is a well-looking girl, and I daresay bas not been without admirers in the kitchen, who have rather turned her silly head. I told her that if she would like to serve Mistress Katharine, perhaps I might bespeak her a place at the Hall; but Lucy speedily assured me that she had no desire to change mis. tresses, and hoped I would not think her so ungrateful. Father asked Kate to visit us at Easter, and she very readily accepted his invitation. I wish another time had been chosen, especially as Ralph is to bring her. I can see that Ralph is making great advances in my father's favour.
January 10th.-To-day I have been with Dorothy to hear Mr. Rye-a new preacher that she told me of before I went to Winestead. He has some enemies here already; for he thinks it prong for the King or Parliament to interfere, or to have any power over religion. This is what Sir Harry Vane believes, and he told my father that he should express his opinion in Parliament at a fitting opportunity. Indeed, my father himself is much inclined to this belief, and did not discourage my accompanying Dorothy. We met in a small room which was nearly full of respectable townsfolks, and I was surprised also to see two officers from the garrison. Mr. Rye's preaching is more earnest and eloquent than even Dolly had led me to suppose. The sermon was much longer than those of good Mr. Styles; but so edified was I that it seemed to last only a little while. Father says he will go himself next Sabbath.
March 4th.-Ann Marvel says that Andrew is coming home on the 6th day of April. She is wilder than ever at this news. Father goes every Sunday to hear Mr. Rye. Last Wednesday Mr. Styles called upon us, and said he was surprised to see our places so often empty at church, and added much on the duty of attend. ing public worship. This drove my father to speak, and plainly to tell Mr. Styles that we did not neglect worship, but that we had merely chosen another place and mode.
“Mr. Rye's ministrations," said he, “ are very acceptable to Alice and myself. He is a man of uncommon parts and undoubted godliness. I have long been of Mr. Rye's persuasion ; so that I pray, Mr. Styles, that you will not take my absence from Trinity Church as a mark of disrespect for yourself.”
Mr. Styles was certainly displeased; but at heart he is no bigot, and would scorn to use unfair means to bring back any of his parishioners. The Parliament is still very busy preparing the impeachment of Lord Strafford. The common people are impatient for judgment to be passed upon this enemy to their peace and liberties; but some think that the king will yet manage to save him.
April 2nd.—Kate arrived this afternoon under Ralph's escort.
He is on his way to London; but as no immediate business takes him there, we may count upon having his company for several weeks. Cousin Will came to pay his respects this evening, and promises to bring his mother to-morrow. He is still a very constant visitor; my father thinks he has a mind for the army,
but aunt is in such poor spirits still that he does not like to apply for & commission.
April 5th.-Mistress Kate is as lively as a lark, singing over the house, and never long in one place. Ralph is much more cheerful than when here last time; indeed, no one can be dull with Kate's merry voice and laugh so near. She likes my “stately friend,” as she always calls our dear Dorothy; and she will romp and play with Ann Marvel so that the child is almost charmed out of her prejudice against Ralph. After chasing one another round the room this morning, until poor little Mop was angry and excited, they sat down on the floor together before the fire.
“How grave and quiet you sit,” said Kate to me, “as if you had quite outgrown all nonsense of this kind. You are younger than I am; but I wonder if you ever ran about for the mere enjoyment of going along fast."
“I like fast riding,” replied I, will see to-morrow."
“ Alice used to run about in our garden,” said Ann,“ when she was a little maiden; so Andrew says.”
“Andrew! is that the brother that is coming home? I have heard Ralph speak of him.”
“Yes; he is the best brother in all the world, is he not, Alice?" said Ann.
“ Alice will not be so uncivil as to say 'yes,' in my presence, if, indeed, she thinks so," put in Kate.
“But I know she thinks so, for Andrew is almost as good as her brother, too, and she ought to like him."
“ Indeed, Mistress Ann, and why p” asked Katė, seriously.
" Because he likes her, and then he is so learned, and writes the most beautiful letters you ever read.”
" What do you say, Alice, to these claims on your affections ? " asked Kate, rather scornfully.
I did wish they would begin another game; but I could not do other than answer that Master Andrew was one of my oldest friends, and, said I, “ I think, Kate, you will not be surprised that people like him so much when once you know him.”
“Possibly,” said Kate; “but our tastes differ in some matters ; I don't care much for clever people.”
Ann got up quite offended ; Andrew is her idol, and one word in bis dispraise is enough to wound her deeply. “Good morning,
“ Mistress Katherine," she said, without offering her hand.
But Kate caught hold of her, exclaiming, “Little Ann, you must not be vexed; you forgot that I had a brother, too, and I think him the dearest and handsomest fellow that ever wore love. locks.”
“But his eyes are not half so beautiful as Andrew's; and I don't think Master Ralph can make verses," persisted Ann.
“What matter; there are plenty of poets to make verses. But I see we shall quarrel, little heart, if we talk about our brothers any longer, though I like you for defending Master Andrew.”
Kate kissed her and left the room. Ann only stayed to embrace me with unusual warmth, and tell me that she was going to adorn Andrew's room with flowers to-morrow. But even her joy is not so great as mine; mine, which I dare not tell to a living creature, and hardly dare think about except when the night comes, lest I should think of naught else.
April 19.—I have scarce heart to write a line, yet if I write perhaps I shall better understand why my heart grows sadder every day. Andrew is here; I see him daily; he rises and walks with us as he did last year; but between us a chasm seems to have opened that grows wider and wider. He is in good health, I think, and at first was pretty cheerful ; but now he is gloomy and silent. Ralph and he have changed characters, for 'tis the former now that takes the lead in converse.
Kate said yesterday that Andrew was certainly pining after some absent fair one. Can it be so ? And has be so soon forgotten ? Was it only a passing fancy that led him to speak and act as if I held his future happiness in my hand ? No, I will not think so
, meanly of him. Oh, if I must give up my fond hopes, at least let me be spared the agony of thinking him unworthy of honour. Yet why did he seek my love ? Why has he so constantly sent to remind me of our friendship if he meant it to die out ere it was one little year old ?
old ? Am I less worthy now than then ? Am I less fair ? I have not seen him alone for a single moment since he came, for Kate is always by my side. Perhaps it is well so; but yesterday, lifting my eyes, they met Andrew's. He was looking at me so mournfully that a pang shot through my heart. Is he pitying me? But that thought is too intolerable.
April 24.—This morning I was in the study alone, when Andrew came in. I would have avoided him, but could not, so returned his greeting stiffly enough. We talked of the fineness of the weather, and how Mop had grown since last year, while I was longing to ask a thousand questions. Suddenly Andrew spoke, as if the words were driven out of his lips.
“How long do your guests stay, Alice, and what evil genius sent them here at this time of all others in the year ? '
"My father invited them,” said I, “and gavə no limit to their stay, Master Andrew; but what makes you think ill of them ? "
“ How shall I feel kindly to those who have stolen away my friend from me ?” he asked bitterly, and so unjustly, when he alone has changed. I coldly answered that he did them and me a wrong to say so, for I held him in the same respect as formerly, and was as much his friend as ever.
“ Then you are really unaltered ?" asked he.
“ Yes ; why should you doubt it? But I cannot neglect my other friends, who showed me such kindness in the winter.”
“Well, I must be content to share my privilege with them, I presume.” Andrew ceased speaking, for the door opened, and the breach is still unhealed. It is not maidenly to confess more than I have done, unless he openly asks for more. Father inquired yesterday if I knew what had come over his old favourite, and if I thought he read too closely; but he is quite as much a mystery to myself.
CHAPTER XIII.-“ MEMOR ET FIDELIS."
Our sweetness up into one ball.”—MARVEL. The mysterious behaviour of Master Andrew Marvel would have been explained to Alice, if she could have known what passed in his room at Trinity College, three days before his return to Hull.
Marvel's study was much richer in books than in furniture, and plainly revealed that its owner was a student whose purse was a light one. But his bright spirit made the bare little study a favourite resort of the Cambridge wits of his day, and the men of his own and other colleges knew that there was no poverty of heart on intellect.
On the morning of the day mentioned, Marvel sat in his study, his table strewn with books and papers, and before him lay a large volume, written in some foreign tongue. It was one of those hours when his companions knew that they would find no welcome ; but Master Francis Maye, presuming upon their long intimacy, had broken in upon Marvel's studies, and was now lounging in one of his high-backed chairs, detailing the latest pieces of news.
“I had a visitor last night, Andrew-my cousin, Lawrence Wharton."
“Ah! what Wharton, of Beverley ? ” replied Andrew, indifferently.
“Yes, he has been spending Christmas at Winestead Hall. They were snowed up for several days."
Andrew listened eagerly now.