Julian Home
by Dean Frederic W. Farrar
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It had of course been impossible for Suton and others of similar character to avoid noticing the eccentricities of dress, and manner which had been the outward indications of Hazlet's recent course. When a man who has been accustomed to dress in black, and wear tail coats in the morning, suddenly comes out in gorgeous apparel, and begins to talk about cards, betting and theatres, his associates must be very blind, if they do not observe that his theories are undergoing a tolerably complete revolution. Suton saw with regret mingled with pity, Hazlet's contemptible weakness, and he had once or twice endeavoured to give him a hint of the ridicule which his metamorphosis occasioned; but Hazlet had met his remarks with such silly arrogance, nay, with such a patronising assumption of superiority, that he determined to leave him to his own experiences. This did not prevent Suton from feeling a strong and righteous indignation against the iniquity of those who were inveigling another to his ruin, and he felt convinced that, as at this moment Hazlet was being unfairly treated, it was his duty in some way to interfere.

He got up quietly, and walked over to Bruce's rooms. His knock produced instant silence, followed by a general scuffle as the men endeavoured to conceal the worst signs of their recent outrage. When Suton opened the door, he was greeted with a groan of derision.

"Confound you," said Bruce, "I thought it must be the senior proctor at the very least."

Without noticing his remark, Suton quietly said, "I see, Bruce, that you have been treating Hazlet in a very unwarrantable way; he is clearly not in a fit condition to be trifled with any more; you must help me to take him home."

"Ha! ha! rather a good joke. I shall merely shove him into the street, if I do anything. What business has he to make a beast of himself in my rooms?"

"What business have you to do the devil's work, and tempt others to sin? You will have a terrible reckoning for it, even if no dangerous consequences ensue," said Suton sternly.

"C-c-c-cant!" said Fitzurse.

"Yes—what you call cant, Fitzurse. You shall hear some more, and tremble, sir, while you hear it," replied Suton, turning towards him, and raising his hand with a powerful but natural gesture; "it is this 'Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that putteth thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also—thou art filled with shame for glory.'"

"Bruce," said D'Acres, the least flushed of the party, "I really think we ought to take the fellow home. Just look at him."

Bruce looked, and was really alarmed at the grotesque yet ghastly expression of that striped and sodden face, with the straight black hair, and the head lolling and rolling on the shoulder. Without a word, he took Hazlet by one arm, while Suton held the other, and D'Acres carried the legs, and as quickly as they could they hurried along with their lifeless burden to the gates of Saint Werner's. It was long past the usual hour for locking up, and the porter took down the names of all four as they entered. A large bribe which D'Acres offered was firmly, yet respectfully refused, and they knew that next day they would be called to account.

Having put Hazlet to bed they separated; Suton bade the others a stiff "Good-night;" and D'Acres as he left Bruce, said, "Bruce, we have been doing a very blackguard thing."

"Speak for yourself," said Bruce.

"Good," said D'Acres, "and allow me to add that I have entered your rooms for the last time."

Next morning Suton spoke privately to the porter, and told him that it would be best for many reasons not to report what had taken place the night before, beyond the bare fact of their having come into college late at night. The man knew Suton thoroughly and respected him; he knew him to be a man of genuine piety, and the most regular habits, and consented, though not without difficulty, to omit all mention of Hazlet's state. All four had of course to pay the usual gate fine, and D'Acres and Bruce were besides "admonished" by the senior Dean, but Suton and Hazlet were not even sent for. The Dean knew Suton well, and felt that his character was a sufficient guarantee that he had not been in any mischief; Hazlet had been irregular lately, but the Dean considered him a very steady man, and overlooked for the present this breach of rules.

Of course all Saint Werner's laughed over the story of Hazlet's escapade. He did not know how to avoid the storm of ridicule which his folly had stirred up. He had already begun to drop his "congenial friends" for the more brilliant society to which Bruce had introduced him, and so far from admitting that he felt any compunction, he professed to regard the whole matter merely as "an amusing lark." Bruce and the others hardly condescended to apologise, and at first Hazlet, who found it impossible at once to remove all traces of the paint, and who for a day or two felt thoroughly unwell, made a half-resolve to resent their coolness. But now, deserted by his former associates, and laughed at by the majority of men, he found the society of his tempters indispensable for his comfort, and even cringed to them for the notice which at first they felt inclined to withdraw.

"Wasn't that trick on Hazlet a disgraceful affair, Kennedy?" said Julian, a few days after. "Some one told me you were at the supper party; surely it can't be true."

"I was for about an hour," said Kennedy, blushing, "but I had left before this took place."

"May I say it, Kennedy?—a friend's, a brother's privilege, you know— but it surprises me that you care to tolerate such company as that."

"Believe me, Julian, I don't enjoy it."

"Then why do you frequent it?"

Kennedy sighed deeply and was silent for a time; then he said—

"Not e'en the dearest heart, and next our own, Knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh."

"True," said Julian; for he had long observed that some heavy weight lay on Kennedy's mind, and with deep sorrow noticed that their intercourse was less cordial, less frequent, less intimate than before. Not that he loved Kennedy, or that Kennedy loved him less than of old, for, on the contrary, Kennedy yearned more than ever for the full cherished unreserve of their old friendship; but, alas there was not, there could not be complete confidence between them, and where there is not confidence, the pleasure of friendship grows dim and pale. And, besides this, new tastes were growing up in Edward Kennedy, and, by slow and fatal degrees, were developing into passions.

Hazlet had come to Camford not so much innocent as ignorant. He had never learnt to restrain and control the strong tendencies which, in the quiet shades of Ildown, had been sheltered from temptation. A few months before he would have heard with unmitigated horror the delinquencies which he now committed without a scruple, and defended without a blush. None are so precipitate in the career of sin and folly as backsliders; none so unchecked in the downward course as those to whom the mystery of iniquity is suddenly displayed when they have had none of the gradual training whereby men are armed to resist its seductions.

Who does not know from personal observation that the cycle of sins is bound together by a thousand invisible filaments, and that myriads of unknown connections unite them to one another? Hazlet, when he had once "forsaken the guide of his youth, and forgotten the covenant of his God," did not stop short at one or two temptations, and yield only to some favourite vice. With a rapidity as amazing as it was disastrous, he developed in the course of two or three months into one of the most shameless and dissipated of the worst Saint Werner's set. There was something characteristic in the way in which he frothed out his own shame, boasting of his infamous liberty with an arrogance which resembled his former conceit in spiritual superiority.

Julian, who now saw less of him than ever, had no opportunity of speaking to him as to his course of life; but at last an incident happened which persuaded him that further silence would be a culpable neglect of his duty to his neighbour.

Montagu, of Roslyn School, came up to Camford to spend a Sunday with Owen, and Owen asked Julian and Lillyston to meet him. They liked each other very much, and Julian rapidly began to regard Montagu as a real friend. In order to see as much of each other as possible, they all agreed to take a four-oar on the Saturday morning, and row to Elnham; at Elnham they dined, and spent two pleasant hours in visiting the beautiful cathedral, so that they did not get back to Camford till eleven at night.

Their way from the boats to Saint Werner's lay through a bad part of the town, and they walked quickly, Owen and Montagu being a little way in front.

A few gas-lights were burning at long intervals in the narrow lane through which they had to pass, and as they walked under one of them they observed a group of four standing half in shadow. One of them Julian instantly recognised as the very vilest of the Saint Werner "fast men;" another was Hazlet; there could be no doubt as to the company in which he was.

For one second, Julian turned back to look in sheer astonishment,—he could hardly believe the testimony of his own eyes. The figure which he took to be Hazlet hastily retreated, and Julian half-persuaded himself that he was mistaken.

"Did you see who that was?" asked Lillyston sadly.

"Yes," said Julian; "one of the simple ones; 'but he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell.'"

"You must speak to him, Julian."

"I will."

As Hazlet was out when he called, Julian wrote on his card, "Dear H, will you come to tea at 8? Yours ever, J Home."

At 8 o'clock accordingly Hazlet was seated, as he had not been for a very long time, by Julian's fireside. Julian's conversation interested him, and he could not help feeling a little humbled at the unworthiness which prevented him from more frequently enjoying it. It was not till after tea, when they had pulled their chairs to the fire, that Julian said, "Hazlet, I was sorry to see you in bad company last night."

"Me!" said Hazlet, feigning surprise.


Hazlet saw that all attempt at concealment was useless. "For God's sake, don't tell my mother, or any of the Ildown people," he said, turning pale.

"Is it likely I should? Yet my doing so would be the very least harm that could happen to you, Hazlet, if you adopt these courses. I had rather see you afraid of the sin than of the detection."

Hazlet stammered out in self-defence one of those commonplaces which he had heard but too often in the society of those who "put evil for good and good for evil."

Julian very quietly tore the miserable sophism to shreds, and said, "There is but one way to describe these vices, Hazlet,—they are deadly, bitter, ruinous."

"Oh, they are very common. Lots of men—"

"Tush!" said Julian; "their commonness, if indeed it be so, does not diminish their deadliness. Not to put the question on the religious ground at all, I fully agree with Carlyle that, on the mere consideration of expedience and physical fact, nothing can be more fatal, more calamitous than 'to burn away in mad waste the divine aromas and celestial elements from our existence; to change our holy of holies into a place of riot; to make the soul itself hard, impious, barren.'"

Hazlet, ashamed and bewildered, confused his present position with old reminiscences, and muttered some balderdash about Carlyle "not being sound."

"Carlyle not sound?" said Julian; "good heavens! You can still retain the wretched babblements of your sectarianism while your courses are what they are!"

He was inclined to drop the conversation in sheer disgust, but Hazlet's pride was now aroused, and he began to bluster about the impertinence of interference on Julian's part, and his right to do what he chose.

"Certainly," said Julian, sternly, "the choice lies with yourself. Run, if you will, as a bird to the snare of the fowler, till a dart strike you through. But if you are dead and indifferent to your own miserable soul, think that in this sin you cannot sin alone; think that you are dragging down to the nethermost abyss others besides yourself. Remember the wretched victims of your infamous passions, and tremble while you desecrate and deface for ever God's image stamped on a fair human soul. Think of those whom your vileness dooms to a life of loathliness, a death of shame and anguish, perhaps an eternity of horrible despair. Learn something of the days they are forced to spend, that they may pander to the worst instincts of your degraded nature; days of squalor and drunkenness, disease and dirt; gin at morning, noon, and night; eating infection, horrible madness, and sudden death at the end. Can you ever hope for salvation and the light of God's presence, while the cry of the souls of which you have been the murderer—yes, do not disguise it, the murderer, the cruel, willing, pitiless murderer—is ringing upwards from the depths of hell?"

"What do you mean by the murderer?" said Hazlet, with an attempt at misconception.

"I mean this, Hazlet; setting aside all considerations which affect your mere personal ruin—not mentioning the atrophy of spiritual life and the clinging sense of degradation which is involved in such a course as yours—I want you to see if you will be honest, that the fault is yet more deadly, because you involve other souls and other lives in your own destruction. Is it not a reminiscence sufficient to kill any man's hope, that but for his own brutality some who are now perhaps raving in the asylum might have been clasping their own children to their happy breasts, and wearing in unpolluted innocence the rose of matronly honour? Oh, Hazlet, I have heard you talk about missionary societies, and seen your name in subscription lists, but believe me you could not, by myriads of such conventional charities, cancel the direct and awful quota which you are now contributing to the aggregate of the world's misery and shame."

It took a great deal to abash a mind like Hazlet's. He said that he was going to be a clergyman, and that it was necessary for him to see something of life, or he would never acquire the requisite experience.

"Loathly experience!" said Julian with crushing scorn. "And do you ever hope, Hazlet, by centuries of preaching such as yours, to repair one millionth part of the damage done by your bad passions to a single fellow-creature? Such a hateful excuse is verily to carry the Urim with its oracular gems into the very sty of sensuality, and to debase your religion into 'a procuress to the lords of hell.' I have done; but let me say, Hazlet, that your self-justification is, if possible, more repulsive than your sin."

He pushed back his chair from the fire, and turned away, as Hazlet, with some incoherent sentences about "no business of his," left the room, and slammed the door behind him.

What are words but weak motions of vibrating air? Julian's words passed by the warped nature of Hazlet like the idle wind, and left no more trace upon him than the snow-flake when it has melted into the purpling sea. As the weeks went on, his ill-regulated passions grew more and more free from the control of reason or manliness, and he sank downwards, downwards, downwards, into the most shameful abysses of an idle, and evil, and dissipated life.

And the germ of that ruin was planted by the hand of the clever, and gay, and handsome Vyvyan Bruce.



"And felt how awful goodness is, and virtue In her own shape how lovely." Milton's Paradise Lost.

Shall I confess it? Pitiable and melancholy as was Hazlet's course, I liked him so little as to feel for him far less than I otherwise should have done. His worst error never caused me half the pain of Kennedy's most venial fault. Must I then tell a sad tale of Kennedy too—my brave, bright, beautiful, light-hearted Kennedy, whom I always loved so well? May I not throw over the story of his college days the rosy colourings of romance and fancy, the warm sunshine of prosperity and hope? I wish I might. But I am writing of Camford—not of a divine Utopia or a sunken Atalantis.

Bruce, so far from being troubled by his own evil deeds, was proud of a success which supported a pet theory of his infidel opinions. He made no sort of secret of it, and laughed openly at the fool whom he had selected for his victim.

"But after all," said Brogten, who had plenty of common sense, "your triumph was very slight."

"How do you mean? I chose the most obtrusively religious man in Saint Werner's, and, in the course of a very short time, I had him, of his own will, roaring drunk."

"And what's the inference?"

"That what men call religion is half cant, half the accident of circumstances."

"Pardon me, you're out in your conclusion; it only shows that Hazlet was a hypocrite, or at the best a weak, vain, ignorant fellow. The very obtrusiveness and uncharitableness of his religion proved its unreality. Now I could name dozens of men who would see you dead on the floor rather than do as you have taught Hazlet to do—men, in fact, with whom you simply daren't try the experiment."

"Daren't! why not?"

"Why, simply because they breathe such a higher and better atmosphere than either you or I, that you would be abashed by their mere presence."

"Pooh! I don't believe it," said Bruce, with an uneasy laugh; "mention any such man."

"Well, Suton for instance, or Lord De Vayne."

"Suton is an unpleasant fellow, and I shouldn't choose to try him, because he's a bore. But I bet you what you like that I make De Vayne drunk before a month's over."

"Done! I bet you twenty pounds you don't."

Disgusting that the young, and pure-hearted, and amiable De Vayne should be made the butt of the machinations of such men as Bruce and Brogten! But so it was. So it was; I could not invent facts like these. They never could float across my imagination, or if they did, I should reject them as the monstrous chimeras of a heated brain. I can conceive a man's private wickedness,—the wickedness which he confines within his own heart, and only brings to bear upon others so far as is demanded by his own fancied interests; I can imagine, too, an open and willing partnership in villainy, where hand joins in hand, and face answereth to face. But that any knowing the plague of their own hearts, should deliberately endeavour to lead others into sin, coolly and deliberately, without even the blinding mist of passion to hide the path which they are treading,—this, if I had not known that it was so, I could not have conceived. The murderer who, atom by atom, continues the slow poisoning of a perishing body for many months, and dies amid the yell of a people's execration,—in sober earnest, before God, I believe he is less guilty than he who, drop by drop, pours into the soul of another the curdling venom of moral pollution, than he who feeds into full-sized fury the dormant monsters of another's evil heart. Surely the devil must welcome a human tempter with open arms.

Of course Bruce had to proceed with Lord De Vayne in a manner totally different from that which he had applied to Jedediah Hazlet. He felt himself that the task was far more difficult and delicate, especially as it was by no means easy to get access to De Vayne's company at all. Julian, Lillyston, Kennedy, and a few others, formed the circle of his only friends, and although he was constantly with them, he was rarely to be found in other society. But this was a difficulty which a man with so large an acquaintance as Bruce could easily surmount, and for the rest he trusted to the conviction which he had adopted, that there was no such thing as sincere godliness, and that men only differed in proportion to the weakness or intensity of the temptations which happened to assail them.

So Bruce managed, without any apparent manoeuvring, to see more of De Vayne at various men's rooms, and he generally made a point of sitting next to him when he could. He had naturally a most insinuating address and a suppleness of manner which enabled him to adapt himself with facility to the tastes and temperaments of the men among whom he was thrown. There were few who could make themselves more pleasant and plausible when it suited them than Vyvyan Bruce.

De Vayne soon got over the shrinking with which he had at first regarded him, and no longer shunned the acquaintance of which he seemed desirous. It was not until this stage that Bruce made any serious attempt to take some steps towards winning his wager. He asked De Vayne to a dessert, and took care that the wines should be of an insidious strength. But the young nobleman's abstemiousness wholly defeated and baffled him, as he rarely took more than a single glass.

"You pass the wine, De Vayne; don't do that."

"Thank you, I've had enough."

"Come, come; allow me," said Bruce, filling his glass for him.

De Vayne drank it out of politeness, and Bruce repeated the same process soon after.

"Come, De Vayne, no heel-taps," he said playfully, as he filled his glass for him.

"Thank you, I'd really rather not have any more."

"Why, you must have been lending your ears to—

"'Those budge doctors of the Stoic fur, Praising the lean and sallow abstinence;'

"You take nothing. I shall abuse my wine-merchant."

"You certainly seem as anxious as Comus that I should drink, Bruce," said De Vayne, smiling; "but really I mean that I wish for no more."

Bruce saw that he had overstepped the bounds of politeness, and also made a mistake by going a little too far. He pressed De Vayne no longer, and the conversation passed to other subjects.

"Anything in the papers to-day?" asked Brogten.

"Yes, another case of wife-beating and wife-murder. What a dreadful increase of those crimes there has been lately," said De Vayne.

"Another proof," said Bruce, "of the gross absurdity of the marriage-theory."

De Vayne opened his eyes wide in astonishment. Knowing very little of Bruce, he was not aware that this was a very favourite style of remark with him,—indeed, a not uncommon style with other clever young undergraduates. He delighted to startle men by something new, and dazzle them with a semblance of insight and reasoning. "The gross absurdity of the marriage-theory," thought De Vayne to himself; "I wonder what on earth he can mean?" Fancying he must have misheard, he said nothing; but Bruce, disappointed that his remark had fallen flat, (for the others were too much used to the kind of thing to take any notice of it), continued—

"How curious it is that the whole of the arguments should be against marriage, and yet that it should continue to be an institution. You never find a person to defend it."

"'At quis vituperavit?' as the man remarked, on hearing of a defence of Hercules," said De Vayne. "I should have thought that marriage, like the Bible, 'needed no apology.'"

"My dear fellow, it surely is an absurdity on the face of it? See how badly it succeeds."

Without choosing to enter on that question, De Vayne quietly remarked, "You ask why marriage exists. Don't you believe that it was originally appointed by divine providence, and afterwards sanctioned by divine lips?"

"Oh, if you come to that kind of ground, you know, and abandon the aspect of the question from the side of pure reason, you've so many preliminaries to prove; e g, the genuineness and authenticity of the Pentateuch and the Gospels; the credibility of the narrators; the possibility of their being deceived; the—"

"In fact," said De Vayne, "the evidences of Christianity. Well, I trust that I have studied them, and that they satisfy alike my reason and my conscience."

"Ah, yes! Well, it's no good entering on those questions, you know. I shouldn't like to shock your convictions, as I should have to do if I discussed with you. It's just as well after all—even in the nineteenth century—not to expose the exotic flower of men's belief to the rude winds of fair criticism. Picciola! it might be blighted, poor thing, which would be a pity. Perhaps one does more harm than good by exposing antiquated errors." And with a complacent shrug of the shoulders, and a slight smile of self-admiration, Bruce leant back in his armchair.

This was Bruce's usual way, and he found it the most successful. There were a great many minds on whom it created the impression of immense cleverness. "That kind of thing, you know, it's all exploded now," he would say among the circle of his admirers, and he would give a little wave of the hand, which was vastly effective—as if he "could an if he would" puff away the whole system of Christianity with quite a little breath of objection, but refrained from such tyrannous use of a giant's strength. "It's all very well, you know, for parsons—though, by the way, not half of the cleverest believe what they preach—but really for men of the world, and thinkers, and acute reasoners"—(oh, how agreeable it was to the Tulks and Boodles to be included in such a category)—"why, after such books as Frederic of Suabia 'De Tribus Impostoribus,' and Strauss' 'Leben Jesu,' and De Wette, and Feuerbach, and Van Bohlen, and Nork, one can't be expected, you know, to believe such a mass of traditionary rubbish." (Bruce always professed acquaintance with German writers, and generally quoted the titles of their books in the original; it sounded so much better; not that he had read one of them, of course.) And they did think him so clever when he talked in this way. Only think how wise he must be to know such profound truths!

But so far from Bruce's hardly-concealed contempt for the things which Christians hold sacred producing any effect on Lord De Vayne, he regarded it with a silent pity. "I hate," thought he, "when Vice can bolt her arguments, and Virtue has no tongue to check her pride." The annoying impertinence, so frequent in argument, which leads a man to speak as though, from the vantage-ground of great intellectual superiority to his opponent, the graceful affectation of dropping an argument out of respect for prejudices which the arguer despises, or an incapacity which the arguer implies—this merely personal consideration did not ruffle for a moment the gentle spirit of De Vayne. But that a young man—conceited, shallow, and ignorant—should profess to settle with a word the controversies which had agitated the profoundest reasons, and to settle with a sneer, the mysteries before which the mightiest thinkers had veiled their eyes in reverence and awe; that he should profess to set aside Christianity as a childish fable not worthy a wise man's acceptance, and triumph over it as a defeated and deserted cause; this indeed filled De Vayne's mind with sorrow and disgust. So far from being impressed or dazzled by Bruce's would-be cleverness, he sincerely grieved over his impudence and folly.

"Thank you, Bruce," he said, after a slight pause, and with some dignity, "thank you for your kind consideration of my mental inferiority, and for the pitying regard which you throw, from beside your nectar, on my delicate and trembling superstitions. But don't think, Bruce, that I admit your—may I call it?—impertinent assumption that all thinking men have thrown Christianity aside as an exploded error. Some shadow of proof, some fragment of reason, would be more satisfactory treatment of a truth which has regenerated the world, than foolish assertion or insolent contempt. Good-night."

There was something in the manner of De Vayne's reproof which effectually quelled Bruce, while it galled him; yet, at the same time, it was delivered with such quiet good taste, that to resent it was impossible. He saw, too, not without vexation, that it had told powerfully on the little knot of auditors. The wine-party soon broke up, for Bruce could neither give new life to the conversation, nor recover his chagrin.

"So-ho!" said Brogten, when they were left alone, "I shall win my bet."

"Hanged if you shall," said Bruce, with an oath of vexation. In fact, not only was he determined not to be foiled in proving his wisdom and power of reading men's characters, but he was wholly unable to afford any payment of the bet. Bruce could get unlimited credit for goods, on the reputation of his father's wealth, but money-dealers were very sharp-eyed people, and he found it much less easy to get his promissory-notes cashed. It was a matter of etiquette to pay at once "debts of honour," and his impetuous disposition led him to take bets so freely that his ready money was generally drained away very soon after his return. Not long before he had written to his father for a fresh supply, but, to his great surprise, the letter had only produced an angry and even indignant reproof. "Vyvyan," (his father had written— not even 'dear Vyvyan'), "I allow you 500 pounds a year, a sum totally out of proportion with your wants, and yet you are so shamefully extravagant as to write without a blush to ask me for more. Don't presume to do it again on pain of my heavy displeasure." This letter had so amazed him that he did not even answer it, nor, in spite of his mother's earnest, urgent, and almost heart-rending entreaties, post by post, would he even condescend to write home for many weeks. It was the natural result of the way in which at home they had pampered his vanity, and never checked his faults.

But, for these reasons, it was wholly out of Bruce's power to pay Brogten the bet, if he failed in trying to shake the temperance of De Vayne. He saw at once that he had mistaken his subject; he took De Vayne for a man whose goodness and humility would make him pliant to all designs.

A dark thought entered Bruce's mind.

He went alone into a druggist's shop, and said, with a languid air, "I have been suffering very much from sleeplessness lately, Mr Brent; I want you to give me a little laudanum."

"Very well, sir. You must be careful how you use it."

"Oh, of course. How many drops would make one drowsy, now?"

"Four or five, sir, I should think."

"Well, you must give me one of those little bottles full. I want to have some by me, to save trouble."

The chemist filled the bottle, and then said, "I'm afraid I'm out of my poison labels, sir. I'll just write a little ticket and tie it on."

"All right;" and putting it in his pocket, Bruce strolled away.

But how to see De Vayne again? He thought over their common acquaintances, and at last fixed on Kennedy as the likeliest man on whom he could depend to secure another meeting. Yet he hardly liked to suggest that Kennedy should give a wine-party, and ask De Vayne and himself; so that he was rather puzzled.

"I say, Brogten, how is it that we are always asking Kennedy to our rooms, and he so very seldom asks us?"

"I suppose because he isn't over-partial to our company."

"Why not?" said Bruce, who considered himself very fascinating, and quite a person whose society was to be courted; "and if so, why does he come to our rooms?"

Brogten might, perhaps, have thrown light on the subject had he chosen.

"Well," he said, "I'll give him a hint."

"Do; and get him to ask De Vayne."

Brogten did so; Kennedy assented to asking Bruce, though he listened to Brogten's hints, (which he instantly understood), with a sullenness which but a short time before had no existence, not even a prototype, in his bright and genial character. But when it came to asking De Vayne, he simply replied to Brogten's suggestion flatly:

"I will not."

"Won't you? but why?"

"Why? because I suspect you and that fellow Bruce of wishing to treat him as you treated Hazlet."

"I've no designs against him whatever."

"Well, I won't ask him,—that's flat."

"Whew-ew-ew-ew-ew!" Brogten began to whistle, and Kennedy relieved his feelings by digging the poker into the fire. And then there was a pause.

"I want you to ask De Vayne."

"And I tell you I won't ask him."

"Whew-w-w-w!" Another long whistle, during which Kennedy mashed and battered the black lumps that smouldered in the grate.

"Whew-ew-ew-ew! Oh, very well." Brogten left the room. At hall that day, Brogten took care to sit near Kennedy again, and the old scene was nearly re-enacted. He turned the conversation to the Christmas examination. "I suppose you'll be very high again, Kennedy."

"No," said he, curtly. "I've not read, and you know that as well as I do."

"Oh, but you hadn't read much last time, and you may do some particular paper very well, you know. I wish there was an Aeschylus paper; you might be first, you know, again."

Kennedy flung down his knife and fork with a curse, and left the hall. Men began to see clearly that there must have been some mystery attached to the Aeschylus paper, known to Brogten and Kennedy, and very discomfiting to the latter. But as Kennedy was concerned, they did not suspect the truth.

Brogten went straight from hall to Kennedy's rooms. He found the door sported, but knew as well as possible that Kennedy was in. He hammered and thumped at the door a long time with sundry imprecations, but Kennedy, moodily resolute, heard all the noise inside, and would not stir. Then Brogten took out a card and wrote on the back, "I think you'll ask De Vayne," and dropped it into the letter-box.

That evening he found in his own letter-box a slip of paper. "De Vayne is coming to wine with me to-morrow. Come, and the foul fiend take you. I have filled my decanters half-full of water, and won't bring out more than one bottle. E K."

Brogten read the note and chuckled,—partly with the thought of Kennedy, partly of Bruce, partly of De Vayne. Yet the chuckle ended in a very heavy sigh.



"Et je n'ai moi Par la sang Dieu! Ni foi, ni loi, Ni jeu, ni lieu, Ni roi, ni Dieu." Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris.

"Nay, that's certain but yet the pity of it, Iago!—O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!" Othello, Act 4, Scene 1.

"Are you going to Kennedy's, Julian?" asked De Vayne.


"I wish he'd asked you."

Julian a little wondered why he had not, but remembered, with a sigh, that there was something, he knew not what, between him and Kennedy. Yet Kennedy was engaged to Violet! The thought carried him back to the beautiful memories of Grindelwald and Murrem,—perhaps of Eva Kennedy: I will not say.

As De Vayne glanced round at the men assembled at Kennedy's rooms, he felt a little vexation, and half wished he had not come. Why on earth did Kennedy see so much of these Bruces and Brogtens when he was so thoroughly unlike them? But De Vayne consoled himself with the reflection that the evening could not fail to be pleasant, as Kennedy was there; for he liked Kennedy both for Julian's sake and for his own. Happily for him he did not know as yet that Kennedy was affianced to Violet Home.

Kennedy sat at the end of the table with a gloomy cloud on his brow. "Here, De Vayne," he said; "I'm so really glad to see you at last. Sit by me—here's a chair."

De Vayne took the proffered seat, and Bruce immediately seated himself at his left hand. At first, as the wine was passed round, there seemed likely to be but little conversation, but suddenly some one started the subject of a "cause celebre" which was then filling the papers, and Kennedy began at once to discuss it with some interest with De Vayne, who sat nearly facing him, almost with his back turned to Bruce, who did not seem particularly anxious to attract De Vayne's attention.

"What execrable wash," said Brogten, emptying his glass.

De Vayne, surprised and disgusted at the rudeness of the remark, turned hastily round, and, while Bruce as hastily withdrew his hand, raised the wine-glass to his lips.

"Stop, stop, De Vayne," said Bruce eagerly; "there's a fly in your glass."

"I see no fly," said De Vayne, glancing at it, and immediately draining it, with the intention of saying something to smooth Kennedy's feelings, which he supposed would have been hurt by Brogten's want of common politeness.

"I think it very—" Why did his words fail, and what was the reason of that scared look with which he regarded the blank faces of the other undergraduates? And what is the meaning of that gasp, and the rapid dropping of the head upon the breast, and the deadly pallor that suddenly put out the fair colour in his cheeks? There was no fly—but, good heavens! was there death in the glass?

The whole party leapt up from their places, and gathered round him.

"What is the matter, De Vayne?" said Kennedy tenderly, as he knelt down and supported the young man in his arms. But there was no answer. "Here D'Acres, or somebody, for heaven's sake fetch a doctor; he must have been seized with a fit."

"What have you been doing, Bruce?" thundered Brogten.

"Bruce doing!" said Kennedy wildly, as he sprang to his feet. "By the God above us, if I thought this was any of your devilish machinations, I would strike you to the earth!"

"Doing? I?" stammered Bruce. "What do you mean?" He trembled in every limb, and his face was as pale as that of his victim; yet, though perhaps De Vayne's life depended on it, the young wretch would not say what he had done. He had meant but to put four or five drops into his glass, but De Vayne had turned round suddenly and startled him in the very act, and in the hurried agitation of the moment, his hand had slipped, and he had poured in all the contents of the bottle, with barely time to hurry it empty into his pocket, or to prevent the consequences of what he had done, when De Vayne lifted the glass to his lips.

The men all stood round De Vayne and Kennedy in a helpless crowd, and Kennedy said, "Here, fetch a doctor, somebody, and let all go except D'Acres; so many are only in the way."

The little group dispersed, and two of them ran off to find a doctor; but Bruce stood there still with open mouth, and a countenance as pale in its horror as that of the fainting viscount. He was anxious to tell the truth about the matter in order to avert worse consequences, and yet he dared not—the words died away upon his lips.

"Don't stand like that, Bruce," said Brogten indignantly, "the least you can do is to make yourself useful. Go and get the key of De Vayne's rooms from the porter's lodge. Stop, though! it will probably be in his pocket. Yes, here it is. Run and unlock his door, while we carry him to bed."

Bruce took the key with trembling hand, and shook so violently with nervous agitation that he could hardly make his way across the court. The others carried De Vayne to his bedroom as quickly as they could, and anxiously awaited the doctor's arrival. The livid face, with the dry foam upon the lips, filled them with alarm, but they had not any conception what to do, and fancied that De Vayne was in a fit.

It took Dr Masham a very short time to see that his patient was suffering from the influence of some poison, and when he discovered this, he cleared the room, and at once applied the proper remedies. But time had been lost already, and he was the less able to set to work at first from his complete ignorance of what had happened. He sat up all night with his patient, but was more than doubtful whether it was not too late to save his life.

The news that De Vayne had been seized with a fit at Kennedy's rooms soon changed into a darker rumour. Men had not forgotten the affair of Hazlet, and they suspected that some foul play had been practised on one whom all who knew him loved, and whom all, though personally unacquainted with him, heartily respected. That this was really the fact soon ceased to be a secret; but who was guilty, and what had been the manner or motives of the crime remained unknown, and this uncertainty left room for the wildest surmises.

The dons were not slow to hear of what had happened, and they regarded the matter in so serious a light, that they summoned a Seniority for its immediate investigation. Kennedy was obviously the first person of whom to make inquiries, and he told them exactly what had occurred, viz, that De Vayne after drinking a single glass of wine, fell back in his chair in the condition wherein he still continued. "Was anything the matter with the wine, Mr Kennedy?" asked Mr Norton, who, as one of the tutors, had a seat on the board.

"Nothing, sir; it was the same which we were all drinking."

"And without any bad effects?"

"Yes, sir."

"But, Mr Kennedy, there seems strong reason to believe that some one drugged Lord De Vayne's wine. Were you privy to any such plan?"

"No, sir—not exactly," said Kennedy slowly, and with hesitation.

"Really, sir," said the Master of Saint Werner's, "such an answer is grossly to your discredit. Favour us by being more explicit; what do you mean by 'not exactly'?"

Kennedy's passionate and fiery pride, which had recently increased with the troubles and self-reprobation of his life, could ill brook such questioning as this, and he answered haughtily:

"I was not aware that anything of this kind was intended."

"Anything of this kind; you did then expect something to take place?"

"I thought I had taken sufficient precautions against it."

"Against it; against what?" asked Mr Norton.

Kennedy looked up at his questioner, as though he read in his face the decision as to whether he should speak or not. He would hardly have answered the Master or any of the others, but Mr Norton was his friend, and there was something so manly and noble about his look and character, that Kennedy was encouraged to proceed, and he said slowly:

"I suspected, sir, that there was some intention of attempting to make De Vayne drunk."

"You suspected that," said Mr Norton with astonishment and scorn, "and yet you lent your rooms for such a purpose. I am ashamed of you, Kennedy; heartily, and utterly ashamed."

Kennedy's spirit was roused by this bitter and public apostrophe. "I lent my rooms for no such purpose; on the contrary, if it existed, I did my best to defeat it."

"What made you suspect it?" asked Dr Rhodes, the Master.

"Because a similar attempt was practised on another."

"At which it seems that you were present?"

"I was not." Kennedy was too fiercely angry to answer in more words than were absolutely required.

"I am sorry to say, Mr Kennedy, you have not cleared yourself from the great disgrace of giving an invitation, though you supposed that it would be made the opportunity for perpetrating an infamous piece of mischief. Can you throw no more light on the subject?"


"Will you bring the decanter out of which Lord De Vayne drank?" said one of the seniors after a pause, and with an intense belief in the acuteness of the suggestion.

"I don't see what good it will do, but I will order my gyp to carry it here if you wish."

"Do so, sir. And let me add," said the Master, "that a little more respectfulness of manner would be becoming in your present position."

Kennedy's lip curled, and without answer he left the room to fetch the wine, grimly chuckling at the effect which the mixture would produce on Mr Norton's fastidious taste. When he reached his rooms, he stumbled against the table in his hurry, and upset a little glass dish which held his pencils, one of which rolled away under the fender. In lifting the fender to pick it up, a piece of paper caught his eye, which the bedmaker in cleaning the room had swept out of sight in the morning. He looked at it, and saw in legible characters, "Laudanum, Poison." It was the label which had been loosely tied on Bruce's phial, and which had slipped off as he hurried it into his pocket.

He read it, and as the horrid truth flashed across his mind, stood for a moment stupefied and dumb. His plan was instantly formed. Instead of returning to the conclave of Seniors he ran straight off to the chemist's, which was close by Saint Werner's.

"Do you know anything of this label?" he said, thrusting it into the chemist's hands.

"Yes," said the man, after looking at it for a moment; "it is the label of a bottle of laudanum which I sold yesterday morning to Mr Bruce of Saint Werner's."

Without a word, Kennedy snatched it from him, and rushed back to the Seniority, who were already beginning to wonder at his long absence. He threw down the piece of paper before. Mr Norton, who handed it to the Master.

"I found that, sir, on the floor of my room."

"And you know nothing of it?"

"Yes. It belongs to a bottle purchased yesterday by Bruce."

Amazement and horror seemed to struggle in the minds of the old clergymen and lecturers as they sat at the table.

"We must send instantly for this young man," said Mr Norton; and in ten minutes Bruce entered, pale indeed, but in a faultless costume, with a bow of easy grace, and a smile of polite recognition towards such of the board as he personally knew. He was totally unaware of what had been going on during Kennedy's cross-examination.

"Mr Bruce," said Mr Norton, to whom they all seemed gladly to resign the task of discovering the truth, "do you know anything of the cause of Lord De Vayne's sudden attack of illness last night?"

"I, sir? Certainly not."

"He sat next to you, did he not?"

"He did, I believe. Yes. I can't be quite sure—but I think he did."

"You know he did as well as I do," said Kennedy.

"Mr Kennedy, let me request you to be silent. Mr Bruce, had you any designs against Lord De Vayne?"

"Designs, sir? Excuse me, but I am at a loss to understand your meaning."

"You had no intention then of making him drunk?"

"Really, sir, you astonish me by such coarse imputations. Is it you," he said, turning angrily to Kennedy, "who have been saying such things of me?"

Kennedy deigned no reply.

"I should think the testimony of a man who doesn't scruple secretly to read examination-papers before they are set, ought not to stand for much." Brogten, as we have already mentioned, had revealed to him the secret of Kennedy's dishonour. This remark fell quite dead: Kennedy sat unmoved, and Mr Norton replied—

"Pray don't introduce your personal altercations here, Mr Bruce, on irrelevant topics. Mr Bruce," he continued, suddenly giving him the label, "have you ever seen that before?"

With a cry of agony, Bruce saw the paper, and struck his forehead with his hand. The sudden blow of shameful detection with all its train of consequences utterly unmanned him, and falling on his knees, he cried incoherently—

"Oh! I did it, I did it. I didn't mean to; my hand slipped: indeed, indeed it did. For God's sake forgive me, and let this not be known. I will give you thousands to hush it up—"

A general exclamation of indignation and disgust stopped his prayers, and the Master gave orders that he should be removed and watched. He was dragged away, tearing his hair and sobbing like a child. Kennedy, too, was ordered to retire.

It took the Seniors but a short time to deliberate, and then Bruce was summoned. He would have spoken, but the Master sternly ordered him to be silent, and said to him:

"Vyvyan Bruce, you are convicted by your own confession, extorted after deliberate falsehood, of having wished to drug the wine of a fellow-student for the purpose of entrapping him into a sin, to which you would otherwise have failed to tempt him. What fearful results may follow from your wickedness we cannot yet know, and you may have to answer for this crime before another tribunal. Be that as it may, it is hardly necessary to tell you that your time as a student at Saint Werner's has ended. You are expelled, and I now proceed to erase your name from the books." (Here the Master ran his pen two or three times through Bruce's signature in the college register). "Your rooms must be finally vacated to-morrow. You need say nothing in self-defence, and may go." As Bruce seemed determined to plead his own cause, they ordered the attendant to remove him immediately.

Kennedy was then sent for, and they could not help pitying him, for he was a favourite with them all.

"Mr Kennedy," said the senior Dean, "the Master desires me to admonish you for your very culpable connivance—for I have no other name for it— in the great folly and wickedness of which Bruce has been convicted—"

"I did not connive," said Kennedy.

"Silence, sir!"

"But I will not keep silence; you accuse me falsely."

"We shall be obliged to take further measures, Mr Kennedy, if you behave in this refractory way."

"I don't care what measures you take. I cannot listen in silence to an accusation which I loathe—of a crime of which I am wholly innocent."

"Why, sir, you confessed that you suspected some unfair design."

"But not this design. Proceed, sir; I will not interrupt you again; but let me say that I am totally indifferent to any blame which you throw on me for a brutality of which the whole responsibility rests on others."

The thread of the Dean's oration was quite broken by Kennedy's impetuous interruption, and he merely added—"Well, Mr Kennedy, I am sorry to see you so little penitent for the position in which you have placed yourself. You have disappointed the expectation of all your friends, and however you may brazen it out, your character has contracted a stain."

"You can say so, sir, if you choose," said Kennedy; and he left the room with a formal bow.

A few days after, Mr Grayson asked him to what Bruce had alluded in his insinuation about an examination-paper.

"He alludes, sir, to an event which happened some time ago."

Further questions were useless; nevertheless Kennedy saw that his tutor's suspicions were not only aroused, but that they had taken the true direction. Mr Grayson despised him, and in Saint Werner's he had lost caste.

That evening Bruce vanished from Camford, with the regrets of few except his tailors and his duns. To this day he has not paid his college debts or discharged the bill for the gorgeous furniture of his rooms. But we shall hear of him again.



"He that for love hath undergone The worst that can befall, Is happier thousandfold than one Who never loved at all.

"A grace within his soul hath reigned, Which nothing else can bring; Thank God for all that I have gained By that high suffering." Moncton Manes.

For many days Lord De Vayne seemed to be hovering between life and death. The depression of his spirits weighed upon his frame, and greatly retarded his recovery. That he, unconscious as he was of ever having made an enemy—good and gentle to all—with no desire but to love his neighbour as himself, and to devote such talents and such opportunities as had been vouchsafed him to God's glory and man's benefit;—that he should have been made the subject of a disgraceful wager, and the butt of an infamous experiment; that in endeavouring to carry out this nefarious plan, any one should have been so wickedly reckless, so criminally thoughtless;—this knowledge lay on his imagination with a depression as of coming death. De Vayne had been but little in Saint Werner's society, and had rarely seen any but his few chosen friends; and that such a calamity should have happened in the rooms and at the table of one of those friends,—that Kennedy, whom he so much loved and admired, should be suspected of being privy to it;— this fact was one which made De Vayne's heart sink within him with anguish and horror, and a weariness of life.

And in those troubled waters of painful thought floated the broken gleams of a golden phantasy, the rainbow-coloured memories of a secret love. They came like a light upon the darkened waves, yet a light too feeble to dissipate the under gloom. Like the phosphorescent flashes in the sea at midnight, which the lonely voyager, watching with interest as they glow in the white wake of the keel, guesses that they may be the heralds of a storm,—so these bright reminiscences of happier days only gave a weird beauty to the tumult of the sick boy's mind; and the mother, as she sat by him night and day during the crisis of his suffering, listened with a deeper anxiety for future trouble to the delirious revelations of his love.

For Lady De Vayne had come from Other Hall to nurse her sick son. She slept on a sofa in his sitting-room, and nursed him with such tenderness as only a mother can. There was no immediate possibility of removing him; deep, unbroken quiet was his only chance of life. The silence of his sick-room was undisturbed save by the softest whispers and the lightest footfalls, and the very undergraduates hushed their voices, and checked their hasty steps as they passed in the echoing cloisters underneath, and remembered that the flame of life was flickering low in the golden vase.

De Vayne was much beloved, and nothing could exceed the delicacy of the attention shown him. Choice conservatory flowers were left almost daily at his door, and men procured rare and rich fruits from home or from London, not because De Vayne needed any such luxuries, which were easily at his command, but that they might show him their sympathy and distress. Several ladies more or less connected with Saint Werner's offered their services to Lady De Vayne, but she would not leave her son, in whose welfare and recovery her whole thoughts were absorbed.

And so, gloomily for the son and mother, the Christmas holidays came on, and Saint Werner's was deserted. Scarcely even a stray undergraduate lingered in the courts, and the chapel was closed; no sound of choir or organ came sweetly across the lawns at morning or evening; the ceaseless melancholy plash of the great fountain was almost the only sound that broke the stillness. Julian, Lillyston, and Owen had all gone down for the holidays, full of grief at the thought of leaving their friend in such a precarious state, but as yet not permitted to see or serve him. Lady De Vayne promised to write to Julian regular accounts of Arthur's health, and told him how often her son spoke of him, both in his wanderings, and in his clearer moments.

It was touching to see the stately and beautiful lady walking alone at evening about the deserted college, to gain a breath of the keen winter air, while her son had sunk for a few moments to fitful rest. She was pale with long watchings and deep anxiety, and in her whole countenance, and in her deep and often uplifted eyes, was that look of prayerfulness and holy communion with an unseen world which they acquire whose abode has long been in the house of mourning, and removed from the follies and frivolities of life.

Well-loved grounds of Saint Werner's by the quiet waves of the sedgy Iscam, with smooth green grass sloping down to the edge, and trim quaint gardens, and long avenues of chestnut and ancient limes! Though winter had long whirled away the last red and golden leaf, there was pleasure in the air of quiet and repose, which is always to be found in those memory-hallowed walks; and while Lady De Vayne could pace among them in solitude, she needed no other change, nor any rest from thinking over her sick son.

She was surprised one evening, very soon after the men had gone down, to see an undergraduate slowly approaching her down the long and silent avenue. He was tall and well made, and his face would have been a pleasant one, but for the deep look of sadness which clouded it. He hesitated and took off his cap as she came near, and returning his salute, she would have passed him, but he stopped her and said:

"Lady De Vayne."

Full of surprise she looked at him, and with his eyes fixed on the ground he continued, "You do not know my name; if I tell you, I fear you will hate me, because I fear you will have heard calumnies about me. But may I speak to you?"

"You are not Mr Bruce?" she said with a slight shudder.

"No; my name is Edward Kennedy. Ah, madam! do not look at me so reproachfully, I cannot endure it. Believe me, I would have died—I would indeed—rather than that this should have happened to Lord De Vayne."

"Nay, Mr Kennedy, I cannot believe that you were more than thoughtless. I have very often heard Julian Home speak of you, and I cannot believe that his chosen friend could be so vile as some reports would make you."

"They are false as calumny itself," he said passionately. "Oh, Lady De Vayne, none could have honoured and loved your son more than I did; I cannot explain to you the long story of my exculpation, but I implore you to believe my innocence."

"I forgive you, Mr Kennedy," she said, touched with pity, "if there be anything to forgive; and so will Arthur. A more forgiving spirit than his never filled any one I think. Excuse me, it is time for me to return to him."

"But will you not let me see him, and help you in nursing him? It was for this purpose alone that I stayed here when all the others went. Let me at least be near him, that I may feel myself to be making such poor reparation as my heedlessness requires."

She could hardly resist his earnest entreaty, and besides, she was won by compassion for his evident distress.

"You may come, Mr Kennedy, as often as you like; whenever Arthur is capable of seeing you, you shall visit his sick-room."

"Thank you," he said, and she perceived the tremble of deep emotion in his voice.

He came the next morning, and she allowed him to see De Vayne. He entered noiselessly, and gazed for a moment as he stood at the door on the pale wasted face, looking still paler in contrast with the long dark hair that flowed over the pillow. He was awake, but there was no consciousness in his dark dreamy eyes.

As De Vayne murmured to himself in low sentences, Kennedy heard repeatedly the name of Violet, and once of Violet Home. He sat still as death, and soon gathered from the young lord's broken words, his love, his deep love for Julian's sister.

And when Kennedy first recognised this fact, which had hitherto been quite unknown to him, for a moment a flood of jealousy and bitter envy filled his heart. What if Violet should give up her troth in favour of a wealthier, perhaps worthier lover? What if her family should think his own poor claims no barrier to the hope that Violet should one day wear a coronet? The image of Julian and Violet rose in his fancy, and with one more pang of self-reproach, he grew ashamed of his unworthy suspicions.

Yet the thought that De Vayne, too, had fixed his affections on Violet filled him with uneasiness and foreboding, and he determined, on some future occasion, to save pain to all parties, by getting Julian to break to De Vayne the secret of his sister's betrothal.

For several days he came to the sick-room, and a woman could hardly have been more thoughtful and tender than he was to his friend. It was on about the fourth evening that De Vayne awoke to complete consciousness. He became aware that some one besides his mother was seated in the room, and without asking he seemed slowly to recognise that it was Kennedy.

"Is that Kennedy?" he asked, in a weak voice.

"It is I," said Kennedy, but the patient did not answer, and seemed restless and uneasy and complained of cold.

When Kennedy went, De Vayne whispered to his mother, "Mother, I am very weak and foolish, but it troubles me somehow to see Kennedy sitting there; it shocks my nerves, and fills me with images of something dreadful happening. I had rather not see him, mother, till I am well."

"Very well, Arthur. Don't talk so much, love; I alone will nurse you. Soon I hope you will be able to return to Other."

"And leave this dreadful place," he said, "for ever."

"Hush, my boy; try to sleep again."

He soon slept, and then Lady De Vayne wrote to Kennedy a short note, in which she explained as kindly and considerately as she could, that Arthur was not yet strong enough to allow of any more visits to his sick-room.

"He shuns me," thought Kennedy, with a sigh, and packing up some books and clothes, he prepared to go home.

Of course he was to spend part of the vacation at Ildown. Violet wondered that he did not come at once; she was not exactly jealous of him, but she thought that he might have been more eager for her company than he seemed to be, and she would have liked it better had he come earlier. Poor Kennedy! his very self-denials turned against him for the sole reason why he kept away from Ildown was, that he feared to disturb the freedom of Frank and Cyril by the presence of a stranger all the time of their holidays, and he hesitated to intrude on the united happiness which always characterised the Ildown circle.

Eva, too, was invited, and the brother and sister arrived at Ildown by a late train, and drove to the house. What a glowing welcome they received! Julian introduced them to Mrs Home, and Kennedy kissed affectionately the hand of his future mother. Frank and Cyril had gone to bed, but Frank was so determined to see Violet's lover that night, that he made Julian bring him into their bedroom, and he was more than satisfied with the first glimpse.

"And where is Violet?" asked Kennedy, in a matter-of-fact tone, for he well knew that she would not choose to meet him in the presence of others.

"In her own little room," said Julian, smiling; "I will show you the way." He led Kennedy up-stairs, and left him at the door; he well knew that her heart would be fluttering as much as his.

A light knock at the door, and a moment after they saw each other again.

She sat on the sofa, and the firelight flickered on the amethyst—his gift—which she wore on her white neck; and her bright eyes danced with tears and laughter, and her bosom heaved and fell as he clasped her to his breast and printed a long, long kiss upon her cheek.

In silence, more exquisite than speech, they gazed on each other; and as though her beauty were reflected on his own face, all trace of sorrow and shame fled like a cloud from his forehead; and who would not have said, looking upon the pair, that he was worthy of her, as she of him?

"My own Violet," he said, "you are beautiful as a vision to-night."

"Hush, flatterer!" and she placed her little hand upon his mouth:—no wonder that he seized and kissed it.

"And what a thrice-charming dress."

"Ah, I meant you to admire it," she said, laughing.

"'And thinking, this will please him best, She takes a ribbon or a rose,'"

he whispered to her.

"Come," she replied, "no ill-omened words, Edward. You know the sad context of those lines."

"No! no sadness to-night, my own Violet, my beautiful, beautiful Violet; you quite dazzle me, my child. I really can't sit by your side; come, let me sit on your foot-stool here, and look up in your face."

"Silly boy," she said, "come along, we shall keep them all waiting for supper."

While poor De Vayne languished on the bed of sickness, his sufferings were almost the only shadow which chequered the brightness of those weeks at Ildown. In the morning, Julian and Kennedy worked steadily; the afternoon and evening they devoted to amusement and social life. The Kennedys soon became great favourites among the Ildown people, and went out to many cheery Christmas parties; but they enjoyed more the quiet evenings at home when they all sat and talked after dinner round the dining-room fire, and while the two boys played at chess, and Violet and Eva worked or sketched, Julian and Kennedy would read aloud to them in turns. How often those evenings recurred to all their memories in future days.

Soon after the Kennedys had come, Julian received from Camford the Christmas college-list. He had again won a first class, but Kennedy's name, much to his vexation, appeared only in the third.

"How is it that Edward is only in the third class?" asked Violet of Julian—for, of course, she had seen the list. "He is very clever—is he not?"

"Very; one of the cleverest fellows in Saint Werner's."

"Then is he idle?"

"I'm afraid so, Vi. You must get him to work more."

So when he was seated by her on the sofa in her little boudoir, she said, "You must work more, Edward, at Camford, to please me."

"Ah, do not talk to me of Camford," he said, with a heavy sigh. "Let me enjoy unbroken happiness for a time, and leave the bitter future to itself."

"Bitter, Edward? but why bitter? Julian always seems to me so happy at Camford."

"Yes, Julian is, and so are all who deserve to be."

"Then you must be happy too, Edward."

His only answer was a sigh. "Ah, Violet, pray talk to me of anything but Camford."

The visit came to an end, as all things, whether happy or unhappy, must; and Julian rejoiced that confidence seemed restored between him and Kennedy once more. Of course, he told Violet none of the follies which had cost poor Kennedy the loss both of popularity and self-respect. Soon afterwards Lord De Vayne was brought back to Other Hall, and Violet and Julian were invited, with their mother, to stay there till the Camford term commenced. The boys had returned to school, so that they all acceded to Lady De Vayne's earnest request that they would come.

It was astonishing how rapidly the young viscount recovered when once Violet had come to Other Hall. Her presence seemed to fill him with fresh life, and he soon began to get down-stairs, and even to venture on a short walk in the park. His constitution had suffered a serious and permanent injury, but he was pronounced convalescent before the Homes finished their visit.

The last evening before their departure, he was seated with Violet on a rustic seat on the terrace, looking at the sun as it set behind the distant elms of the park, and at the deer as they grazed in lovely groups on the rich undulating slopes that swept down from the slight eminence on which his house was built. He felt that the time had come to speak his love.

"Violet," he said, as he looked earnestly at her, and took her hand, "you have, doubtless, seen that I love you. Can you ever return my love? I am ready to live and die for you, and to give you my whole affection." His voice was still low and weak through illness, and he could hardly speak the sentences which were to win for him a decision of his fate.

Violet was taken by surprise; she had known Lord De Vayne so long and so intimately, and their stations were so different, that the thought of his loving her had never entered her head. She regarded him familiarly as her brother's friend.

"Dear De Vayne," she said, "I shall always love you as a friend, as a brother. But did you not know that I have been for some months engaged?"

"Engaged?" he said, turning very pale.

"I am betrothed," she answered, "to Edward Kennedy. Nay, Arthur, dear Arthur," she continued, as he nearly fainted at her feet, "you must not suffer this disappointment to overcome you. Love me still as a sister; regard me as though I were married already, and let us enjoy a happy friendship for many years."

He was too weak to bear up, too weak to talk; only the tears coursed each other fast down his cheeks as he murmured, "Oh, forgive me, forgive me, Violet."

"Forgive you," she said kindly; "nay, you honour me too much. Marry one of your own high rank, and not the orphan of a poor clergyman. I am sure you will not yield to this sorrow, and suffer it to make you ill. Bear up, Arthur, for your mother's sake—for my sake; and let us be as if these words had never passed between us."

She lent him her arm as he walked faintly to his room, and as he turned round and stooped to kiss her hand, she felt it wet with many tears.

They went home next day, and soon after received a note from Lady De Vayne, informing them that Arthur was worse, and that they intended removing for some time to a seat of his in Scotland; after which they meant to travel on the Continent for another year, if his health permitted it. "But," she said, "I fear he has had a relapse, and his state is very precarious. Dear friends, think of us sometimes, and let us hope to meet again in happier days."



"At Trompyngtoun, nat fer fra Cantebrigg, Ther goth a brook, and over that a brigge, Upon the whiche brook then stant a melle; And this is verray sothe that I you telle." Chaucer, The Reeve's Tale.

There is little which admits of external record in Julian's life at this period of his university career. It was the usual uneventful, quiet life of a studious Camford undergraduate. Happy it was beyond any other time, except perhaps a few vernal days of boyhood, but it was unmarked by any incidents. He read, and rowed, and went to lectures, and worked at classics, mathematics, and philosophy, and dropped in sometimes to a debate or a private-business squabble at the Union, and played racquets, fives, and football, and talked eagerly in hall and men's rooms over the exciting topics of the day, and occasionally went to wine or to breakfast with a don, and, (absorbed in some grand old poet or historian), lingered by his lamp over the lettered page from chapel-time till the grey dawn, when he would retire to pure and refreshful sleep, humming a tune out of very cheerfulness.

Happy days, happy friendships, happy study, happy recreation, happy exemption from the cares of life! The bright visions of a scholar, the bright hilarity of a youth, the bright acquaintanceship with many united by a brotherly bond within those grey walls, were so many mingled influences that ran together "like warp and woof" in the web of a singularly enviable life. And every day he felt that he was knowing more, and acquiring a strength and power which should fit him hereafter for the more toilsome business and sterner struggles of common life. Well may old Cowley exclaim—

"O pulerae sine luxes aedes, vitaeque decore Splendida paupertas ingenuusque pudor!"

All the reading men of his year were now anxiously occupied in working for the Saint Werner's scholarships. They were the blue ribbon of the place. In value they were not much more than 50 pounds a year, but as the scholars had an honourable distinctive seat both in hall and chapel, and as from their ranks alone the Fellows were selected, all the most intelligent and earnest men used their best efforts to obtain them on the earliest possible occasion. At the scholars' table were generally to be found the most distinguished among the alumni of Saint Werner's.

Julian still moved chiefly among his old friends, although he had a large acquaintance, and by no means confined himself to the society of particular classes. But De Vayne's illness made a sad gap in the circle of his most intimate associates, and he was not yet sufficiently recovered to attempt a correspondence. Among the dons, Julian began to like Mr Admer more and more, and found that his cynicism of manner was but the result of disappointed ambition and unsteady aims, while his heart was sound and right.

Kennedy, as well as Julian, had always hoped to gain a scholarship at his first trial, but now, with only one term left him to read in, his chance seemed to fade away to nothing. Poor fellow, he had returned with the strongest possible intention of working, and of abandoning at once and for ever all objectionable acquaintances and all dangerous ways. Hourly the sweet face of Violet looked in upon his silent thoughts, and filled him with shame as he thought of lost opportunities and wasted hours.

"Kennedy," said Mr Admer, "how can you be so intolerably idle? I saw some of your Christmas papers, and they were wholly unworthy of your abilities."

"I know it well. But what could you expect? The Pindar I had read once over with a crib; the morality I had not looked at; the mathematics I did not touch."

"But what excuse have you? I really feel quite angry with you. You are wholly throwing away everything. What have you to show for your time and money? Only think, my dear fellow, that an opportunity like this comes only once in life, and soon your college days will be over with nothing to remember."

"True, too true."

"Well, I am glad that you see and own it. I began to fear that you were one of that contemptible would-be fine gentleman class that affects forsooth to despise work as a thing unworthy of their eminence."

"No, Mr Admer," said Kennedy, "my idleness springs from very different causes."

"And then these Brogtens and people, whom you are so often seen with; which of them do you think understands you, or can teach you anything worth knowing? and which of them do you think you will ever care to look back to as acquaintances in after days?"

"Not one of them. I hate the whole set."

"And then, my dear Kennedy—for I speak to you out of real good-will—I would say it with the utmost delicacy, but you must know that your name has suffered from the company you frequent."

"Can I not see it to be so?" he answered moodily; "no need to tell me that, when I read it in the faces of nearly every man I see. The men have not yet forgiven me De Vayne's absence, though really and truly that sin does not lie at my door. Except Julian and Lillyston there is hardly a man I respect, who does not look at me with averted eyes. Of course Grayson and the dons detest me to a man; but I don't care for them."

"Then, you mysterious fellow, seeing all this so clearly, why do you suffer it to be so?"

Kennedy only shook his head; already there had begun to creep over him a feeling of despair; already it seemed to him as though the gate of heaven were a lion-haunted portal guarded by a fiery sword.

For he had soon found that his intense resolutions to do right met with formidable checks. There are two stern facts—facts which it does us all good to remember—which generally lie in the path of repentance, and look like crouching lions to the remorseful soul. First, the fact that we become so entangled by habit and circumstance, so enslaved by association and custom, that the very atmosphere around us seems to have become impregnated with a poison which we cannot cease to breathe; secondly, the fact that "in the physical world there is no forgiveness of sins;" to abandon our evil courses is not to escape the punishment of them, and although we may have relinquished them wholly in the present, we cannot escape the consequences of the past. Remission of sin is not the remission of their results. The very monsters we dread, and the dread of which terrifies us into the consideration of our ways, glare upon us out of the future darkness, as large, as terrible, as irresistible, whether we approach them on the road to ruin, or whether we seem to fly from them through the hardly attained and narrow wicket of genuine repentance.

Both these difficulties acted with their full force on the mind of Kennedy. His error was its own punishment, and its heaviest punishment. The hours he had lost were lost so utterly, that he could never hope to recover them; the undesirable acquaintances he had formed were so far ripe as to render it no light task to abandon them; and above all, the fleck on his character, the connection of his name with the outrage on De Vayne, had injured his reputation in a manner which he never hoped, by future endeavours, to obviate or remove.

For instance, there was at once an objection to his dropping the society of the set to which Bruce and Brogten had introduced him. He owed them money, which at present he could not pay; his undischarged "debts of honour" hung like a millstone round his neck. To pay these seemed a necessary preliminary even to the possibility of commencing a new career.

But how to get the money? ah me! new temptations seemed springing up around like the crop of armed men from the furrows sown with the dragon's teeth.

There was but one way which suggested itself to his mind, by which he would be able at once to deliver himself in part by meeting the most exigent demands. Let me hurry over the struggle which it cost him, but finally he adopted it. It was this.

Mr Kennedy was most liberal in allowing his son everything which could possibly further his university studies, and the most important item in his quarterly expenses was the charge for private tuition. This sum was always paid by Kennedy himself, and it amounted at least to seven pounds a term. Now, what if he should not only ask his father to allow him this term a classical and a mathematical tutor, but also request permission to read double with them both i e, to go for an hour every day instead of every other day? This would at once procure him from his father the sum of twenty-eight pounds, and by means of this he could, with great economy, clear off all the most pressing of those pecuniary obligations which bound him to company, which he longed to shun, and exposed him to dangers which he had learnt to fear. Of course he would be obliged to forego all assistance from private tutors, and simply to appropriate the money, without his father's knowledge, to other ends. In a high point of view, it was simple embezzlement; it was little better than a form of swindling. But in this gross and repulsive shape, it never suggested itself to poor Kennedy's imagination. Somehow one's own sins never look so bad in our eyes as the same sins when committed by another. He argued that he would really be applying the money as his father intended, viz, to such purposes as should most advance the objects of his university career. He was committing a sin to save himself from temptation.

The near approach of the scholarship examination, and Kennedy's failure at Christmas, made his father all the more ready to give him every possible advantage that money could procure. Ignorant of the fact that to "read double" with a tutor was almost a thing unprecedented at Camford, and that to do so, both in classics and mathematics, was a thing wholly unknown, and indeed practically impossible, Mr Kennedy was only delighted at Edward's letter, as conveying a proof of his extreme and laudable eagerness to recover lost ground, and do his best. He very readily wrote the cheque for the sum required, and praised his son liberally for these indications of effort. How those praises cut Kennedy to the heart.

But he at once spent the money in the way which he had devised, and added thereby a new load of mental bitterness to the heavy weight which already oppressed him. The sum thus appropriated greatly lightened, although it did not remove, the pecuniary obligations which he had contracted at cards or in other ways to his set of "fast" companions; but it was at the cost of his peace of mind.

Externally he profited by the transaction. He was enabled in great measure, without the charge of meanness, to drop the most undesirable of his acquaintances, and awaking eagerly to the hope of at once redeeming his reputation and lessening his difficulties by gaining a scholarship, he began, for the first time since he had entered Saint Werner's, to work steadily with all his might.

He seemed to be living two lives in one, and often asked himself whether there was in his character some deeply-rooted hypocrisy. With Julian and Owen, and the men who resembled them, he could talk nobly of all that was honourable, and he powerfully upheld a chivalrous ideal of duty and virtue. And as his face lighted up, and the thoughts flowed in the full stream of eloquent language in reprobation of some mean act, or in glowing eulogium of some recorded heroism for the performance of what was right, who would have fancied, who would have believed, that Kennedy's own life had failed so egregiously in the commonest requirements of steadfastness and honesty?

None rejoiced more in the outward change of life than Julian Home; for Violet's sake now, as well as for Kennedy's, he felt a keen and brotherly interest in the progress and estimation of his friend. Once more they were to be found together as often as they had been in their freshman's year, and it was Julian's countenance and affection that tended more than anything else to repair Kennedy's damaged popularity, and remove the tarnish attaching to his name.

One evening they were taking the usual two-hours' constitutional—which is often the poor substitute for exercise in the case of reading men— and discussing together the chances of the coming scholarship examination, when they found themselves near a place called Gower's Mill, and heard a sudden cry for help. Pressing forwards they saw a boat floating upside down, and whirling about tumultuously in the racing and rain-swollen eddies of the mill-dam. A floating straw hat was already being sucked in by the gurgling rush of water that roared under the mighty circumference of the wheel, and for a moment they saw nothing more. But as they ran up, a black spot emerged from the stream, only a few yards from the mill, and they saw a man, evidently in the last stage of exhaustion, struggling feebly in the white and boiling waves.

The position was agonising. The man's utmost efforts only served to keep him stationary, and it was clear, from the frantic violence of his exertion, that he could not last an instant longer. Indeed, as they reached the bank, he began to sink and disappear—disappear as it seemed to the certainty of a most horrid death.

In one instant—without considering the danger and apparent hopelessness of the attempt, without looking at the wild force of the water, and the grinding roll of the big wheel, without even waiting to fling off their coats—Julian and Kennedy, actuated by the strong instinct to save a fellow-creature's life, had both plunged into the mill-dam, and at the same moment struck out for the sinking figure. It was not till then that they felt their terrific danger; in the swirl of those spumy and hissing waves it was all but impossible for them to make head against the current, and they felt it carry them nearer and nearer to the black, dripping mass, one blow of which would stun them, and one revolution of it mangle them with horrible mutilation. They reached the drowning wretch, and each seizing him by the arm, shouted for assistance, and buffeted gallantly with the headstrong stream. The senseless burden which they supported clogged their efforts, and as they felt themselves gradually swept nearer, nearer, nearer to destruction, the passionate desire of self-preservation woke in both of them in all its wild agony;—yet they would not attempt to preserve themselves by letting go the man to save whose life they had so terribly endangered their own.

Meanwhile their repeated shouts and those of the swimmer, which had first attracted their own attention, had aroused the miller, who instantly, on hearing them, ran down with a rope to the water's side. He threw it skilfully; with a wild clutch Kennedy caught it, and in another moment, as from the very jaws of death, when they were almost touching the fatal wheel, they were drawn to shore, still carrying, or rather dragging, with them their insensible companion.

After a word of hurried thanks to the miller for saving their lives, they began to turn their whole attention to the half-drowned man, and to apply the well-known remedies for restoring extinct animation.

"Good heavens," said Julian, "it is Brogten!"

"Brogten?" said Kennedy; he looked on the face, and whispered half-aloud, "Thank God!"

They carried him into the mill, put him between the blankets in a warm bed, chafed his numb limbs, and sent off for the nearest doctor. Very soon he began to revive, and recovered his consciousness; immediately this was the case, Julian and Kennedy ran home as quickly as they could to change their wet clothes.

The next day the doctor ordered Brogten to lie in bed till after mid-day, and then allowed him, now thoroughly well and rested, to walk home to Saint Werner's. He had not yet learnt the names of his deliverers.

He reached the college in the evening, and after changing his boating dress, his first care was to try and learn to whom he was indebted for his life. Almost the first man he met told him that the men who had risked their safety for his were Home and Kennedy.

Home and Kennedy! Home, to whom he had caused the bitterest disappointment and done the most malicious injury which had ever happened to him in his life; Kennedy, whom he had tried but too successfully to corrupt and ruin, tempt from duty, and push from his good name!

Deeply, very deeply, was Brogten humiliated; he felt that his enemies had indeed heaped coals of fire upon his head.

He determined, as his first duty, to go and thank them both—Kennedy first, as the one against whom he had most wilfully sinned.

He found Kennedy sitting down to tea, and Julian, Owen, and Suton were with him.

"Kennedy," he said, "I have come to thank you and Home for a very gallant deed; I need not say how much I feel indebted to you for the risk you ran in saving my life."

Genuine tears rushed into his dark eyes as he spoke, and cordially grasped the hands which, without a word, they proffered. Community of danger, consciousness of obligation, blotted out all evil memories; and to have stood side by side together on the very brink of the precipice of death was a bond of union which could not be ignored or set aside. That night, in spite of bygones, the feeling of those three young men for each other was of the kindliest cast.

"Won't you stay to tea, Brogten?" said Kennedy.

He looked round, as though uncertain whether the others would like his company, but as they all seconded Kennedy's request, he gladly stayed. It was the first evening that he had regularly spent in the society of reading men, and he was both delighted and surprised at the rare pleasure he received from the vigour and liveliness of their conversation. These were the men whom he had despised as slow, yet what a contrast between their way of talking and the inanities of Fitzurse or the shallow flippancy of Bruce. As he sat there and listened, his very face became softer in its lines from the expression of a real and intelligent interest, and they all thought that he was a better fellow, on closer acquaintance, than they had been accustomed to suppose. Ah me! how often one remains unaware of the good side of those whom we dislike.

Oh, those Camford conversations—how impetuous, how interesting, how thoroughly hearty and unconventional they were! How utterly presumption and ignorance were scouted in them, and how completely they were free from the least shadow of insincerity or ennui. If I could but transfer to my page a true and vivid picture of one such evening, spent in the society of Saint Werner's friends—if I could write down but one such conversation, and at all express its vivacity, its quick flashes of thought and logic, its real desire for truth and knowledge, its friendly fearlessness, its felicitous illustrations, its unpremeditated wit, such a record, taken fresh from the life, would be worth all that I shall ever write. But youth flies, and as she flies all the bright colours fade from the wings of thought, and the bloom vanishes from the earnest eloquence of speech.

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