March 20th, 1824. The dreaded
time is come, and Arthur is gone,
as I expected. This time he announced
it his intention to make but
a short stay in London, and pass
over to the Continent, where
he should probably stay a few
weeks; but I shall not expect
him till after the lapse of many
weeks: I now know that, with
him, days signify weeks, and
July 30th. - He returned about
three weeks ago, rather better
in health, certainly, than before,
but still worse in temper. And
yet, perhaps, I am wrong: it
is I that am less patient and
forbearing. I am tired out with
his injustice, his selfishness
and hopeless depravity. I wish
a milder word would do; I am
no angel, and my corruption rises
against it. My poor father died
last week: Arthur was vexed to
hear of it, because he saw that
I was shocked and grieved, and
he feared the circumstance would
mar his comfort. When I spoke
of ordering my mourning, he exclaimed,
- 'Oh, I hate black! But, however,
I suppose you must wear it awhile,
for form's sake; but I hope,
Helen, you won't think it your
bounden duty to compose your
face and manners into conformity
with your funereal garb. Why
should you sigh and groan, and
I be made uncomfortable, because
an old gentleman in -shire, a
perfect stranger to us both,
has thought proper to drink himself
to death? There, now, I declare
you're crying! Well, it must
He would not hear of my attending
the funeral, or going for a day
or two, to cheer poor Frederick's
solitude. It was quite unnecessary,
he said, and I was unreasonable
to wish it. What was my father
to me? I had never seen him but
once since I was a baby, and
I well knew he had never cared
a stiver about me; and my brother,
too, was little better than a
stranger. 'Besides, dear Helen,'
said he, embracing me with flattering
fondness, 'I cannot spare you
for a single day.'
'Then how have you managed
without me these many days?'
'Ah! then I was knocking about
the world, now I am at home,
and home without you, my household
deity, would be intolerable.'
'Yes, as long as I am necessary
to your comfort; but you did
not say so before, when you urged
me to leave you, in order that
you might get away from your
home without me,' retorted I;
but before the words were well
out of my mouth, I regretted
having uttered them. It seemed
so heavy a charge: if false,
too gross an insult; if true,
too humiliating a fact to be
thus openly cast in his teeth.
But I might have spared myself
that momentary pang of self-
reproach. The accusation awoke
neither shame nor indignation
in him: he attempted neither
denial nor excuse, but only answered
with a long, low, chuckling laugh,
as if he viewed the whole transaction
as a clever, merry jest from
beginning to end. Surely that
man will make me dislike him
Sine as ye brew, my maiden
fair, Keep mind that ye maun
drink the yill.
Yes; and I will drink it to
the very dregs: and none but
myself shall know how bitter
I find it!
August 20th. - We are shaken
down again to about our usual
position. Arthur has returned
to nearly his former condition
and habits; and I have found
it my wisest plan to shut my
eyes against the past and future,
as far as he, at least, is concerned,
and live only for the present:
to love him when I can; to smile
(if possible) when he smiles,
be cheerful when he is cheerful,
and pleased when he is agreeable;
and when he is not, to try to
make him so; and if that won't
answer, to bear with him, to
excuse him, and forgive him as
well as I can, and restrain my
own evil passions from aggravating
his; and yet, while I thus yield
and minister to his more harmless
propensities to self-indulgence,
to do all in my power to save
him from the worse.
But we shall not be long alone
together. I shall shortly be
called upon to entertain the
same select body of friends as
we had the autumn before last,
with the addition of Mr. Hattersley
and, at my special request, his
wife and child. I long to see
Milicent, and her little girl
too. The latter is now above
a year old; she will be a charming
playmate for my little Arthur.
September 30th. - Our guests
have been here a week or two;
but I have had no leisure to
pass any comments upon them till
now. I cannot get over my dislike
to Lady Lowborough. It is not
founded on mere personal pique;
it is the woman herself that
I dislike, because I so thoroughly
disapprove of her. I always avoid
her company as much as I can
without violating the laws of
hospitality; but when we do speak
or converse together, it is with
the utmost civility, even apparent
cordiality on her part; but preserve
me from such cordiality! It is
like handling brier-roses and
may- blossoms, bright enough
to the eye, and outwardly soft
to the touch, but you know there
are thorns beneath, and every
now and then you feel them too;
and perhaps resent the injury
by crushing them in till you
have destroyed their power, though
somewhat to the detriment of
your own fingers.
Of late, however, I have seen
nothing in her conduct towards
Arthur to anger or alarm me.
During the first few days I thought
she seemed very solicitous to
win his admiration. Her efforts
were not unnoticed by him: I
frequently saw him smiling to
himself at her artful manoeuvres:
but, to his praise be it spoken,
her shafts fell powerless by
his side. Her most bewitching
smiles, her haughtiest frowns
were ever received with the same
immutable, careless good-humour;
till, finding he was indeed impenetrable,
she suddenly remitted her efforts,
and became, to all appearance,
as perfectly indifferent as himself.
Nor have I since witnessed any
symptom of pique on his part,
or renewed attempts at conquest
This is as it should be; but
Arthur never will let me be satisfied
with him. I have never, for a
single hour since I married him,
known what it is to realise that
sweet idea, 'In quietness and
confidence shall be your rest.'
Those two detestable men, Grimsby
and Hattersley, have destroyed
all my labour against his love
of wine. They encourage him daily
to overstep the bounds of moderation,
and not unfrequently to disgrace
himself by positive excess. I
shall not soon forget the second
night after their arrival. Just
as I had retired from the dining-room
with the ladies, before the door
was closed upon us, Arthur exclaimed,
- 'Now then, my lads, what say
you to a regular jollification?'
Milicent glanced at me with
a half-reproachful look, as if
I could hinder it; but her countenance
changed when she heard Hattersley's
voice, shouting through door
and wall, - 'I'm your man! Send
for more wine: here isn't half
We had scarcely entered the
drawing-room before we were joined
by Lord Lowborough.
'What can induce you to come
so soon?' exclaimed his lady,
with a most ungracious air of
'You know I never drink, Annabella,'
replied he seriously.
'Well, but you might stay with
them a little: it looks so silly
to be always dangling after the
women; I wonder you can!'
He reproached her with a look
of mingled bitterness and surprise,
and, sinking into a chair, suppressed
a heavy sigh, bit his pale lips,
and fixed his eyes upon the floor.
'You did right to leave them,
Lord Lowborough,' said I. 'I
trust you will always continue
to honour us so early with your
company. And if Annabella knew
the value of true wisdom, and
the misery of folly and - and
intemperance, she would not talk
such nonsense - even in jest.'
He raised his eyes while I
spoke, and gravely turned them
upon me, with a half-surprised,
half-abstracted look, and then
bent them on his wife.
'At least,' said she, 'I know
the value of a warm heart and
a bold, manly spirit.'
'Well, Annabella,' said he,
in a deep and hollow tone, 'since
my presence is disagreeable to
you, I will relieve you of it.'
'Are you going back to them,
then?' said she, carelessly.
'No,' exclaimed he, with harsh
and startling emphasis. 'I will
not go back to them! And I will
never stay with them one moment
longer than I think right, for
you or any other tempter! But
you needn't mind that; I shall
never trouble you again by intruding
my company upon you so unseasonably.'
He left the room: I heard the
hall-door open and shut, and
immediately after, on putting
aside the curtain, I saw him
pacing down the park, in the
comfortless gloom of the damp,
'It would serve you right,
Annabella,' said I, at length,
'if Lord Lowborough were to return
to his old habits, which had
so nearly effected his ruin,
and which it cost him such an
effort to break: you would then
see cause to repent such conduct
'Not at all, my dear! I should
not mind if his lordship were
to see fit to intoxicate himself
every day: I should only the
sooner be rid of him.'
'Oh, Annabella!' cried Milicent.
'How can you say such wicked
things! It would, indeed, be
a just punishment, as far as
you are concerned, if Providence
should take you at your word,
and make you feel what others
feel, that - ' She paused as
a sudden burst of loud talking
and laughter reached us from
the dining-room, in which the
voice of Hattersley was pre-eminently
conspicuous, even to my unpractised
'What you feel at this moment,
I suppose?' said Lady Lowborough,
with a malicious smile, fixing
her eyes upon her cousin's distressed
The latter offered no reply,
but averted her face and brushed
away a tear. At that moment the
door opened and admitted Mr.
Hargrave, just a little flushed,
his dark eyes sparkling with
'Oh, I'm so glad you're come,
Walter?' cried his sister. 'But
I wish you could have got Ralph
to come too.'
'Utterly impossible, dear Milicent,'
replied he, gaily. 'I had much
ado to get away myself. Ralph
attempted to keep me by violence;
Huntingdon threatened me with
the eternal loss of his friendship;
and Grimsby, worse than all,
endeavoured to make me ashamed
of my virtue, by such galling
sarcasms and innuendoes as he
knew would wound me the most.
So you see, ladies, you ought
to make me welcome when I have
braved and suffered so much for
the favour of your sweet society.'
He smilingly turned to me and
bowed as he finished the sentence.
'Isn't he handsome now, Helen!'
whispered Milicent, her sisterly
pride overcoming, for the moment,
all other considerations.
'He would be,' I returned,
'if that brilliance of eye, and
lip, and cheek were natural to
him; but look again, a few hours
Here the gentleman took a seat
near me at the table, and petitioned
for a cup of coffee.
'I consider this an apt illustration
of heaven taken by storm,' said
he, as I handed one to him. 'I
am in paradise, now; but I have
fought my way through flood and
fire to win it. Ralph Hattersley's
last resource was to set his
back against the door, and swear
I should find no passage but
through his body (a pretty substantial
one too). Happily, however, that
was not the only door, and I
effected my escape by the side
entrance through the butler's
pantry, to the infinite amazement
of Benson, who was cleaning the
Mr. Hargrave laughed, and so
did his cousin; but his sister
and I remained silent and grave.
'Pardon my levity, Mrs. Huntingdon,'
murmured he, more seriously,
as he raised his eyes to my face.
'You are not used to these things:
you suffer them to affect your
delicate mind too sensibly. But
I thought of you in the midst
of those lawless roysterers;
and I endeavoured to persuade
Mr. Huntingdon to think of you
too; but to no purpose: I fear
he is fully determined to enjoy
himself this night; and it will
be no use keeping the coffee
waiting for him or his companions;
it will be much if they join
us at tea. Meantime, I earnestly
wish I could banish the thoughts
of them from your mind - and
my own too, for I hate to think
of them - yes - even of my dear
friend Huntingdon, when I consider
the power he possesses over the
happiness of one so immeasurably
superior to himself, and the
use he makes of it - I positively
detest the man!'
'You had better not say so
to me, then,' said I; 'for, bad
as he is, he is part of myself,
and you cannot abuse him without
'Pardon me, then, for I would
sooner die than offend you. But
let us say no more of him for
the present, if you please.'
At last they came; but not
till after ten, when tea, which
had been delayed for more than
half an hour, was nearly over.
Much as I had longed for their
coming, my heart failed me at
the riotous uproar of their approach;
and Milicent turned pale, and
almost started from her seat,
as Mr. Hattersley burst into
the room with a clamorous volley
of oaths in his mouth, which
Hargrave endeavoured to check
by entreating him to remember
'Ah! you do well to remind
me of the ladies, you dastardly
deserter,' cried he, shaking
his formidable fist at his brother-in-
law. 'If it were not for them,
you well know, I'd demolish you
in the twinkling of an eye, and
give your body to the fowls of
heaven and the lilies of the
fields!' Then, planting a chair
by Lady Lowborough's side, he
stationed himself in it, and
began to talk to her with a mixture
of absurdity and impudence that
seemed rather to amuse than to
offend her; though she affected
to resent his insolence, and
to keep him at bay with sallies
of smart and spirited repartee.
Meantime Mr. Grimsby seated
himself by me, in the chair vacated
by Hargrave as they entered,
and gravely stated that he would
thank me for a cup of tea: and
Arthur placed himself beside
poor Milicent, confidentially
pushing his head into her face,
and drawing in closer to her
as she shrank away from him.
He was not so noisy as Hattersley,
but his face was exceedingly
flushed: he laughed incessantly,
and while I blushed for all I
saw and heard of him, I was glad
that he chose to talk to his
companion in so low a tone that
no one could hear what he said
'What fools they are!' drawled
Mr. Grimsby, who had been talking
away, at my elbow, with sententious
gravity all the time; but I had
been too much absorbed in contemplating
the deplorable state of the other
two - especially Arthur - to
attend to him.
'Did you ever hear such nonsense
as they talk, Mrs. Huntingdon?'
he continued. 'I'm quite ashamed
of them for my part: they can't
take so much as a bottle between
them without its getting into
their heads - '
'You are pouring the cream
into your saucer, Mr. Grimsby.'
'Ah! yes, I see, but we're
almost in darkness here. Hargrave,
snuff those candles, will you?'
'They're wax; they don't require
snuffing,' said I.
'"The light of the body is
the eye,"' observed Hargrave,
with a sarcastic smile. '"If
thine eye be single, thy whole
body shall be full of light."'
Grimsby repulsed him with a
solemn wave of the hand, and
then turning to me, continued,
with the same drawling tones
and strange uncertainty of utterance
and heavy gravity of aspect as
before: 'But as I was saying,
Mrs. Huntingdon, they have no
head at all: they can't take
half a bottle without being affected
some way; whereas I - well, I've
taken three times as much as
they have to- night, and you
see I'm perfectly steady. Now
that may strike you as very singular,
but I think I can explain it:
you see their brains - I mention
no names, but you'll understand
to whom I allude - their brains
are light to begin with, and
the fumes of the fermented liquor
render them lighter still, and
produce an entire light-headedness,
or giddiness, resulting in intoxication;
whereas my brains, being composed
of more solid materials, will
absorb a considerable quantity
of this alcoholic vapour without
the production of any sensible
result - '
'I think you will find a sensible
result produced on that tea,'
interrupted Mr. Hargrave, 'by
the quantity of sugar you have
put into it. Instead of your
usual complement of one lump,
you have put in six.'
'Have I so?' replied the philosopher,
diving with his spoon into the
cup, and bringing up several
half-dissolved pieces in confirmation
of the assertion. 'Hum! I perceive.
Thus, Madam, you see the evil
of absence of mind - of thinking
too much while engaged in the
common concerns of life. Now,
if I had had my wits about me,
like ordinary men, instead of
within me like a philosopher,
I should not have spoiled this
cup of tea, and been constrained
to trouble you for another.'
'That is the sugar-basin, Mr.
Grimsby. Now you have spoiled
the sugar too; and I'll thank
you to ring for some more, for
here is Lord Lowborough at last;
and I hope his lordship will
condescend to sit down with us,
such as we are, and allow me
to give him some tea.'
His lordship gravely bowed
in answer to my appeal, but said
nothing. Meantime, Hargrave volunteered
to ring for the sugar, while
Grimsby lamented his mistake,
and attempted to prove that it
was owing to the shadow of the
urn and the badness of the lights.
Lord Lowborough had entered
a minute or two before, unobserved
by an one but me, and had been
standing before the door, grimly
surveying the company. He now
stepped up to Annabella, who
sat with her back towards him,
with Hattersley still beside
her, though not now attending
to her, being occupied in vociferously
abusing and bullying his host.
said her husband, as he leant
back of her chair, 'which of
these three "bold, manly spirits" would
you have me to resemble?'
'By heaven and earth, you shall
resemble us all!' cried Hattersley,
starting up and rudely seizing
him by the arm. 'Hallo, Huntingdon!'
he shouted - 'I've got him! Come,
man, and help me! And d-n me,
if I don't make him drunk before
I let him go! He shall make up
for all past delinquencies as
sure as I'm a living soul!'
There followed a disgraceful
contest: Lord Lowborough, in
desperate earnest, and pale with
anger, silently struggling to
release himself from the powerful
madman that was striving to drag
him from the room. I attempted
to urge Arthur to interfere in
behalf of his outraged guest,
but he could do nothing but laugh.
'Huntingdon, you fool, come
and help me, can't you!' cried
Hattersley, himself somewhat
weakened by his excesses.
'I'm wishing you God-speed,
Hattersley,' cried Arthur, 'and
aiding you with my prayers: I
can't do anything else if my
life depended on it! I'm quite
used up. Oh - oh!' and leaning
back in his seat, he clapped
his hands on his sides and groaned
'Annabella, give me a candle!'
said Lowborough, whose antagonist
had now got him round the waist
and was endeavouring to root
him from the door-post, to which
he madly clung with all the energy
'I shall take no part in your
rude sports!' replied the lady
coldly drawing back. 'I wonder
you can expect it.' But I snatched
up a candle and brought it to
him. He took it and held the
flame to Hattersley's hands,
till, roaring like a wild beast,
the latter unclasped them and
let him go. He vanished, I suppose
to his own apartment, for nothing
more was seen of him till the
morning. Swearing and cursing
like a maniac, Hattersley threw
himself on to the ottoman beside
the window. The door being now
free, Milicent attempted to make
her escape from the scene of
her husband's disgrace; but he
called her back, and insisted
upon her coming to him.
'What do you want, Ralph?'
murmured she, reluctantly approaching
'I want to know what's the
matter with you,' said he, pulling
her on to his knee like a child.
'What are you crying for, Milicent?
- Tell me!'
'I'm not crying.'
'You are,' persisted he, rudely
pulling her hands from her face.
'How dare you tell such a lie!'
'I'm not crying now,' pleaded
'But you have been, and just
this minute too; and I will know
what for. Come, now, you shall
'Do let me alone, Ralph! Remember,
we are not at home.'
'No matter: you shall answer
my question!' exclaimed her tormentor;
and he attempted to extort the
confession by shaking her, and
remorselessly crushing her slight
arms in the gripe of his powerful
'Don't let him treat your sister
in that way,' said I to Mr. Hargrave.
'Come now, Hattersley, I can't
allow that,' said that gentleman,
stepping up to the ill-assorted
couple. 'Let my sister alone,
if you please.'
And he made an effort to unclasp
the ruffian's fingers from her
arm, but was suddenly driven
backward, and nearly laid upon
the floor by a violent blow on
the chest, accompanied with the
admonition, 'Take that for your
insolence! and learn to interfere
between me and mine again.'
'If you were not drunk, I'd
have satisfaction for that!'
gasped Hargrave, white and breathless
as much from passion as from
the immediate effects of the
'Go to the devil!' responded
his brother-in-law. 'Now, Milicent,
tell me what you were crying
'I'll tell you some other time,'
murmured she, 'when we are alone.'
'Tell me now!' said he, with
another shake and a squeeze that
made her draw in her breath and
bite her lip to suppress a cry
'I'll tell you, Mr. Hattersley,'
said I. 'She was crying from
pure shame and humiliation for
you; because she could not bear
to see you conduct yourself so
'Confound you, Madam!' muttered
he, with a stare of stupid amazement
at my 'impudence.' 'It was not
that - was it, Milicent?'
She was silent.
'Come, speak up, child!'
'I can't tell now,' sobbed
'But you can
say "yes" or "no" as
well as "I can't tell." - Come!'
'Yes,' she whispered, hanging
her head, and blushing at the
'Curse you for an impertinent
hussy, then!' cried he, throwing
her from him with such violence
that she fell on her side; but
she was up again before either
I or her brother could come to
her assistance, and made the
best of her way out of the room,
and, I suppose, up-stairs, without
loss of time.
The next object of assault
was Arthur, who sat opposite,
and had, no doubt, richly enjoyed
the whole scene.
'Now, Huntingdon,' exclaimed
his irascible friend, 'I will
not have you sitting there and
laughing like an idiot!'
'Oh, Hattersley,' cried he,
wiping his swimming eyes - 'you'll
be the death of me.'
'Yes, I will, but not as you
suppose: I'll have the heart
out of your body, man, if you
irritate me with any more of
that imbecile laughter! - What!
are you at it yet? - There! see
if that'll settle you!' cried
Hattersley, snatching up a footstool
and hurting it at the head of
his host; but he as well as missed
his aim, and the latter still
sat collapsed and quaking with
feeble laughter, with tears running
down his face: a deplorable spectacle
Hattersley tried cursing and
swearing, but it would not do:
he then took a number of books
from the table beside him, and
threw them, one by one, at the
object of his wrath; but Arthur
only laughed the more; and, finally,
Hattersley rushed upon him in
a frenzy and seizing him by the
shoulders, gave him a violent
shaking, under which he laughed
and shrieked alarmingly. But
I saw no more: I thought I had
witnessed enough of my husband's
degradation; and leaving Annabella
and the rest to follow when they
pleased, I withdrew, but not
to bed. Dismissing Rachel to
her rest, I walked up and down
my room, in an agony of misery
for what had been done, and suspense,
not knowing what might further
happen, or how or when that unhappy
creature would come up to bed.
At last he came, slowly and
stumblingly ascending the stairs,
supported by Grimsby and Hattersley,
who neither of them walked quite
steadily themselves, but were
both laughing and joking at him,
and making noise enough for all
the servants to hear. He himself
was no longer laughing now, but
sick and stupid. I will write
no more about that.
Such disgraceful scenes (or
nearly such) have been repeated
more than once. I don't say much
to Arthur about it, for, if I
did, it would do more harm than
good; but I let him know that
I intensely dislike such exhibitions;
and each time he has promised
they should never again be repeated.
But I fear he is losing the little
self- command and self-respect
he once possessed: formerly,
he would have been ashamed to
act thus - at least, before any
other witnesses than his boon
companions, or such as they.
His friend Hargrave, with a prudence
and self-government that I envy
for him, never disgraces himself
by taking more than sufficient
to render him a little 'elevated,'
and is always the first to leave
the table after Lord Lowborough,
who, wiser still, perseveres
in vacating the dining-room immediately
after us: but never once, since
Annabella offended him so deeply,
has he entered the drawing-room
before the rest; always spending
the interim in the library, which
I take care to have lighted for
his accommodation; or, on fine
moonlight nights, in roaming
about the grounds. But I think
she regrets her misconduct, for
she has never repeated it since,
and of late she has comported
herself with wonderful propriety
towards him, treating him with
more uniform kindness and consideration
than ever I have observed her
to do before. I date the time
of this improvement from the
period when she ceased to hope
and strive for Arthur's admiration.