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sliding. They chiefly talkeil politics, and although she appeared to have made no head way in converting him to a belief in her husband's Factory Bill, a desire to please her and to help her daily gained more and more hold upon his whole nature:
He had been sceptical and sarcastic; he had declined to accept her evidence; he had shown a persistent preference for the drier and more brutal estimate of things. Yet she had never parted from him without gentleness, without a look in her beautiful eyes that had often tormented his curiosity. What did it mean? Pity ? Or some unspoken comment of a personal kind she could not persuade her womanly reticenco to put into words ? Or, rather, had she some distant inkling of the real truth-that he was beginning to hate his own convictions—to feel that to be right with Fontenoy was nothing, but to be wrong with her would be delight?
“ONLY SYMPATHY”—OF COURSE, In vain he persisted with a strong effort to pull himself together, and recognise how ugly and abnormal was his whole position. The man was in love with Marcella, and in her presence he found the only joy of his somewhat miserable existence. He was pinched for money; his miners—for he was a mine-owner-were out on strike; his wife was an extravagant, soulless little minx, was flirting as hard as she could with a disreputable lot of admirers. He was more or less disenchanted with his political party. Only in Marcella's presence did he find any of the joy and the sweetness of life. Of course, he argued as all men do until they have had sufficient experiences to know what it means, and how innocent it may be after all. He argued that it was very atural and right that he should be attracted to her. When he was explaining the matter to his wife, he gave her the following reason for his devotion to the reigning beauty of Mile End Road :
Why is it that—I began to like going down to see Lady Marwell? Why did I like talking to her at Castle Luton ? Well, of course it's pleasant to be with a beautiful person-I don't deny that in the least. But she might have been as beautiful as an angel, and I mightn't have cared twopence about her. She has soinething much less common than beauty. It's very simple, too; I suppose it's only sympathy—just that. Every body feels the same. When you talk to her, she seems to care about it; she throws her mind into yours. And there's a charm about it; there's no doubt of that."
Rather a dangerous remark to make, no doubt, to a wife who had no sympathy, and did not understand him in the least. “It is only sympathy." What an exceedingly innocent observation-for sympathy, like pity, is the latchkey by which Love opens the lock that gives him access to the heart of men! The circumstances, of course, fanned this sympathetic emotion into a consciously warmer passion.
-WHICH IS THE LATCAKEY OF LOVE. The occasion that first led Tressady to recognise where he was drifting was when Lady Maxwell went to speak at the meeting in the East End to which I have already alluded.
Sir George had listened to her speech, observed her failure and her misery, and noted that it was largely due to the fact that she was merely rehearsing her husband's sentiments, ler husband's facts, her husband's arguments. Nor was it until the last few broken sentences with which she sat down that the personal charm of the woman asserted itself. When the meeting broke up in disorder, it was Sir George who escorted her to her cab, and she was hanging on his arm when the stone struck her on the temple. He bound up her wound; he took her home, and when she was lying
faint from loss of blood, and sore from the sense of defeat, he naturally took advantage of the position. She was bemoaning the mistake she had made :
He bent over to her, smiling; but she did not look up. And he saw a tear, which her weakness, born of shock and fatigue, could not restrain, steal from the lashes on the cheek. Then he added, still leaning toward her :
“Only, what I never have said—I think-is what is true to-night. At last you have made one person feel-if that matters anything-the things you feel. I don't know that I am particularly grateful to you. And, practically, we may be as far apart as ever.
Mere longing to comfort, to “make up," overcame him.
“ You wouldn't talk of mistake-of failing-if you knew how to be near you, to listen to you, to see you, touches and illuminates some of us !"
His cheek burned, but he turned a manly, eager look upon her.
Her cheek, too, flushed, and he thought he saw her bosom heaye.
He continued pouring out assurances of the help sho had been to him and others. He said :
“I was without a sense when I went into this game of politics ; and now
His heart beat. What would he not have said, mad youthwithin the limits imposed by her nature and his own dread -to make her look at him, to soften this preposterous sadness!
But it needed no more. She opened her eyes, and looked at him with a wild sweetness and gratitude which dazzled him, and struck his memory with the thought of the Southern, romantic strain in her.
" You are very kind and comforting,” she said ; “but then, from the first, somehow, I knew you were a friend to us.
One felt it-through all difference.”
The little sentences were steeped in emotion--emotion springing from many sources, fed by a score of collateral thoughts and memories, with which Tressady had, in truth, nothing to do. Yet the young man gulped inwardly. She had been a tremulous woman till the words were said. Now -strange!-through her very gentleness and gratefulness a barrier had risen between them. Something stern and quick told him that this was the very utmost of what she could ever say to him—the farthest limit of it all.
THE HUSBAND'S “ ABSENT, INCURIOUS EYES.” But it was not the farthest limit. When she got home to her husband, and told him what had happened, the excellent figure thought it was curious Tressady should go so much to the Mile End Roa 1, for he would certainly vote steadily with Fontenoy all through:
“Oh, of course he will vote," said Marcella, moving a little uneasily; "but one cannot help trying to modify his way of looking at things. And his tone is changed."
Maxwell stood at the foot of her sofa, considering, a host of perplexed and unwelcome notions flitting across his mind. În spite of his idealist absorption in his work, his political aims, and the one love of his life, he had the training of a man of the world, and could summon the shrewdness of one when he pleased. He had liked this young Tressady, for the first time, at Castle Luton, and had seen him fall under Marcella's charm with some amusement. But this haunting of their camp in the East End at such a marked and critical moment was strange, to say the least of it. It must point, one would think, to some sudden and remarkable strength of personal influence.
Had she any real consciousness of the power she wielded ? Once or twice, in the years since they had been married, Maxwell had watched this spell of his wife's at work, and had known a moment of trouble. “ If I were the fellow she had talked and walked with so," he had once said to himself, “I must have fallen in love with her had she been twenty times another man's wife!” Yet no harm had happened; he had
only reproached himself for a gross mind, withou: daring to breathe a word to her.
And he dared not now. Besides, how absurd: The young man was just married, and, to Maxwell's absent, incurions eyes, the bride had seemed a lively, pretty little person enough. No doubt it was the pervous strain of his political life that made such fancies possible to him. Let him not cumber her ears with them.
So the good man did not cumber her ears with them, and things went on until on the very eve of the crisis.
IV.--SUCCESS. Tressady's life had been becoming more and more intolerable at home. His wife was openly allowing one Lord Cathedine to make love to her, she was madly jealous of Lady Maxwell, and had just had an odious scene with her husband. .
The Factory Bill, in the meantime, had passed its second reading, and two of its vital clauses had been carried through Committce, although with (liminished majorities. It was expected, however, that the bill wis certain to be thrown out on the last clause, which imposed upon the landlords the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of the law against home industries within the scheduled area.
SIR GEORGE AND THE MAXWELL BILL. Tressady had voted steadily against the bill up to then, although his zeal had grown cold. His leaders had ceased to consult him, and people shrugged their shoulders concerning the success which Marcella had achieved in making Tressady of no use to Fontenoy. Fontenoy had always pinned his faith to the certainty of being able to defeat the Government on this landlord clause. Before even the second reading lad taken place, and when Marcella's charms were still but beginning to work their miracle, Tressady had warned his leader that it was quite possible to conscientiously oppose the bill, and its second reading, and its main clauses, and yet to approve of the landlord cla use, which, after all, was only a detail relating to the method by which the principle already sanctioned should be applied. He was therefore antecedently disposed to weaken upon the clause around which the final fight was about to open.
IN THE TOILS. Tressady himself was under little illusion as to the nature of his sentiments towards Marcella:
Now, for the first time, certain veils were drawn aside, and he knew what this hunger for love and love's response can do with a man-could do with him, were it allowed its scope.
Had Marcella Maxwell been another woman, less innocent, less sécure!
As it was, Tressady no sooner dared to give a sensuous thought to her beauty than his own passion smote him back, bade him beware lest he should be no longer fit to speak and talk with her, actually or spiritually. For in this hopeless dearth of all the ordinary rewards and encouragements of love he had begun to cultivate a sort of second or spiritual life, in which she reigned. Whenever he was alone he walked with her, consulted her, watched her dear eyes.
Pretty far gone, no doubt, and it was in this state of mind that he made his way for the last time to Mile End Road, where Lady Maxwell was holding her usual reception of the sweated and the helpless. She was depressed by the certainty of defeat. Her husband and she had done their best, and failed. The landlord clause, it was universally believed, would be rejected. and with it would fall the bill, and with the bill the Ministry. Only one thing might save the Ministry, and
that was if someone who had hitherto opposed the bill would come forward in its support.
MARCELLA'S TEMPTATION. Tressady, madly in love with Marcella, whose husband's career was at stake on the clause, ventured timidly to suggest that he might possibly oppose the clause. At first she rather snubbed him, but as they talked the idea grew in her mind, and then came the supreme moment in which, according to Mrs. Ward, Marcella fell before a temptation which she ought to have resisted. In order that it may be seen exactly wherein constituted Marcella's “guilt," I quote the passage in full :
But what, indeed, if he had it in him, after all, to come suddenly to the front, to make a leader? As they stood by the wall, her eyes glanced him keenly up and down. She began to see with excitement that the crisis of their friendship had come. He had warned her at Castle Luton, and had resisted her since. She had taught herself to put him out of her mind so far as the actual parliamentary game was concerned ; but now Her breath came quickly.
Yet she hesitated. There was an uneasy sense of responsibility. A man risks inuch in thus leaving his natural groove and place. Discredit attaches to such things; they may easily frustrate a career.
As for the why and wherefore of it all, the simplicity with which she conceived it was amazingly sincere, little as the ordinary satirical observer might choose to believe it. A trufriendship had grown up between them; his mind was changing; and she had been able to influence him, which was not wonderful, seeing that she was older than he, and had Maxwell's ideas and Maxwell's knowledge to draw upon. She thought of it so, and was determined to think of it so. And at least one may admit that if it were ever possible for 3 woman not to know-or not to allow herself to know-that she was loved, it was possible to Marcella Maxwell. A heart that is once wholly possessed knows no more of passion-turns with impatience even from the suggestion of it.
But “ influence” she recognised. And as she wavered, the thought of a strong man harassed with overwork, and patiently preparing to lay down his baffled task, captured her mind, even brought a sudden rush of tears to her eyes. She turned to her companion ; temptation grew upon her, overmastered her.
THE GREAT “TRANSGRESSION.” It was but ten minutes more that she spared to Tressady from her guests in the comparative quiet of the little garden: but for those ten minutes Marcella did penance of heart for many a month afterward. Nevertheless, they talked little more of politics. He let her see that he was miserablemiserable for private reasons-miserable at home. She hai foreseen it from the first moment of knowing his wife, and had lately heard ominous talk of the young Lady Tressady from people she trusted. Yet Letty's name was not mentioned. He talked in a vague, unhappy way, accusing himself; and she listened, trying at once to comfort him and distrue: him. She talked of patience and time; she pointed 13 his public work; she bade him think how private angers and troubles may be soothed and overcome by the stress of some public service. Yet all so gently, sweetly said! She made him feel that she cared, that his life, his pain, his story mattered to her. She played the woman, and the woman who has loveliness at her command. And then, passing from this personal trouble, here and there she said the pricking, urging word—the word that sends a man forth to his task in the world and makes his will prevail.
Not with any application to the actual political moment: both carefully avoided it. But when they turned to re-enter the house his hurt pride was soothed. He knew that she no longer thought him of no account. And later, when the party dispersed, he walked alone toward Aldgate, lost in the passionate memory of her eyes and voice.
And that was all!-at least, that was all in the serial
form of the story. In the volume Mrs. Ward expands it, but the character of the interview remains unchanged.
TO PLEASE MARCELLA." For political purposes it was enough. When Parliament met the next day, Tressady went down to the House prepared to throw over his party, repudiate his leader, and declare his readiness to support the bill. Nothing was known of this, however, and when Fontenoy sat down after speaking against the clause it was believed all was over, except the taking of the division. Imagine, then, the amazement and the excitement that prevailed when, after dinner, Tressady got up, and in à masterly speech declared his adhesion to the clause, and demolished the arguments of his leader. When he sat down, he had saved the Ministry and secured the success of the bill. His own career, he believed, was blighted, but he did not care. He was ready to leave Parliament, abandon politics, and travel. He had pleased Marcella. That was for him the all sufficient reward. Lord Fontenoy, of course, was furious. Marcella was miserable. She knew too well that it was for love of her, and for love of her alone, that the great apostasy had taken place, and that thought poisoned all her joy.
V.--EXPIATION. Early the next morning Tressady came round to bid her good-bye.
THE LOVER AND HIS QUEEN. He found her alone, and the scene which followed Mrs. Ward exerts herself to the utmost, and succeeds fairly in describing a situation of intense human interest. Marcella thanked him timidly:
“I owe a great deal,” she said, “to your friendship. My mind, please believe me, is full of thankfulness. I laid awake last night thinking of all the thousands of people that speech of yours would save; all the lives that hanged upon it.”
"I never thought of them at all,” he said abruptly, “at. least nothing compared with another motive. I had given my judgment up to yours. I had simply come to think that what you wished was good."
Marcella trembled, and the tears stood in her eyes. “I have been afraid,” she said, that I have been putting forward a claim of my own. I have been realising the issues for you, feeling bitterly that I have done a great wrong. If it were not a matter of conviction in-in wringing so much from a friend. This morning everything—the victory, the joy of seeing hard work bear fruit-it has all been blurred to me."
“ Do not let it be," he said in reply. “I have had my great moment. I had seen you in trouble and anxiety for many weeks. I was able to brush them åway, to give you relief and joy--at least, I thought I was.” He drew himself up with a half-impatient smile.“ Sometimes I suspected that-that you might have some generous regrets; but I said to myself, * Those will pass away, and the solid thing—the fact-will remain. She longed for this particular thing; she shall have it. And if the truth is as she supposes it-why not? There are good men and keen brains with her--what has been done will
go on gladdening and satisfying her year by year. As for me, I shall have acknowledged, shall have repaidHe hesitated, paused, looked up. A sudden terror seized her; her lips parted. “ Don't--don't say these things!” she said, inploring, lifting her hand. It was like a child flinching from a punish
He smiled unsteadily, trying to inaster himself-to find it way through the tumult of feeling. “Won't you listen to me?” he said at last. “I sha'nt ever
She could make no reply. Intolerable gratitude and pain held her, and he is ent on speaking, gazing straight into her shrinking face.
HOW SIR GEORGE FOUND SALVATION. * It seems to me,” he said slowly, “the people who grow up in the dry and mean habit of mind that I grew up in, break through in all sorts of different ways. Art and religion-I suppose they change and broaden a man. I don't know; I am not an artist, and religion talks to me of something I don't understand. To me, to kuow you has broken down the walls, opened the windows. It always used to come natural to mewell, to think little of people, to look for the mcan, ugly things in them, especially in women. Then I came to know you ; and, after all, it seemed a woman could talk of public things and still be real; the humanity didn't rub off, the colour stood. It was easy, of course, to say that you had a personal motive; other people said it, and I should have liked to echo it. But from the beginning I knew that didn't explain it. All the women"-he checked himself—* most of the women I had ever known judged everything by some petty personal standard. They talked magnificently perhaps, but there was always something selfish and greedy at bottom. Well, I was always looking for it in you. Then instead, suddenly, I found myself anxious lest what I said should displease or hurt you, lest you should refuse to be my friend. I longed desperately to make you understand me, and then, after our talks, I hated myself for posing and going further than was sincere. It was so strange to me not to be scoffing and despising."
Marcella woke froin her trance of pain, looked at him with amazement. But the sight of him, a man with the perspiration on his brow, struggling only to tell the bare truth about himself and his plight, silenced her. She hung toward him again, as pale as he, bearing what fate had sent her.
* And ever since that day," he went op, putting his hand over his eyes," when you walked home with me along the river, to be with you, to watch you, to puzzle over you, has built up a new self in me that strains against and tears the old one.
So these things—these heavenly, esquisite things. that some men talk of-were true. They were true because you existed, because I had come to know something of your nature, had come to realise what it might be for a man to have the right-"
WHAT ABOUT LETTY, THE WIFE? He broke off abruptly, and Marcella, for some time could not speak. At last she said :
“Sir George, may I tell you what I am thinking of? not of you or of me, but another person altogether."
He looked up. “My wife?” he said, almost in liis usual voice.
She nodded, her eyes full of tears.
" It has to be all thought out again,” he said, looking at her appealingly. “I took marriage as carelessly as I took everything else. I must try and do better with it."
She was silent, but the inner voice was saying bitter, selfaccusing things. Betty's light words about the wife came back to her, and her heart was sore with a vain repentance. If the wife cared nothing for the husband, Tressady's relation to herself had made estrangement easier; and if she cared, " why, then she hates me—and she has the right!” A sudden perception leaped in Marcella, revealing strange worlds. How could she have hated--with what fierceness, what flame-the woman who taught ideal truths to Maxwell!
But her pride, her noble pride as Maxwell's wife, could not bring a word of this to speech. She sat in dumb sadness and perplexity, thinking of a hundred things and not venturing to
The interview ended; was brought to an end by Tressady tearing himself away, and begging her forşiveness, and pressing her hand and the folds of her dress to his lips, as he fled. No sooner had he gone than Maxwell entered.
George Tressady,” she said, " has been here. I s'em to have done bim wrong, and his wife. I am not fit to help you—to help you, Aldous. I do such rushing, blind, foolish things, and all that one hoped and worked for
trouble you again.”
turns to selfishmessiand misery. Who shall I hurt nextyou, perl aps, you,” and she clung to him in despair.
MARCELLA EXPLAINS TO HER HUSBANDThe husband and wife they have a long explanation. Maxwell had come to the interview with a letter in his pocket written by Lady Tre sady, in which she had accused her husband of all manner of infidelities to her on account of his love for Lady Maxwell. Of this, of course, Marcella knew nothing, but it was painfully present to Maxwell's mind. She told him everything-all that had passed on that fatal evening, when for ten minutes she allowed herself to give him sympathy. Here is her explanatioa of her "sin":
“Aldous !" She touched him on the arm, and he turned to her gravels. “There was only one moment when-when I tried to bribe him. He came down to Mile End on Thursday night. I told you. I saw he was unhappy-unhappy at home. He wanted sympathy desperately. I gave it him. I let him talk-about his loneliness sometimes-sometimes about the House. I tried to attach bim, to get hold of him politically through his private feelings. That is quite true; I did.”
“You probably did it without being conscious you were doing it," he said unwillingly. “Of course, if any man chooses to misinterpret kindness — "
"No," she said steadilv; “ I knew. I was really saying to myself all the time, 'If I make myself delightful to him, he may change the look of things-he might avert failure from us after all; who knows?' And I did make myself delightful. It was quite diffe.ent from any other time. There! it is quite true.”
He could not withdraw his eyes from hers—from the mingling of pride, humility, passion, under the dark lashes.
“ And if you did, do you suppose that I can blame you?” he said slowly.
He saw that she was holding an inquisition in her own 'heart, and looking to him as judge. How could he judge--whatever there might be to judge? He adored her.
For the moment she did not answer him. She clasped her hands round her knees, thinking aloud.
"From the beginning, I remember, I thought of him as · somebody quite new and fresh to what he was doingsomebody who would certainly be influenced, who ought to be influenced. And then”-she raised her eyes again, half shrinking_"there was the feeling, I suppose, of personal antagonism to Lord Fontenoy. One could not be sorry to detach one of his clief men. Besides, after Castle Luton, George Tressady was so attractive! You did not know him, Aldous; but to talk to him stirred all one's energies. It was like a mental contest; one took it up again and again, enjoying it always. As we got deeper in the fight, I tried never to think of him as a member of Parliament; often I stopped myself from saying things that might have persuaded him as far as the House was concerned. And yet, of course," -her face, in its vobility, took a curious look of hardness, “I did know all the time that he was coming to think more and more of me—to depend on me. He disliked me at first; afterwards he seemed to avoid me; then I felt a change. Now I see I thought of him all along just in one capacity,-in relation to what I wanted, whether I tried to persuade him or no. And all the time----"
A cloud of pain effaced the frown. She leaned her head against her husband's arm.
“ Aldous !” Her voice was low and miserable. “ What can his wife have felt toward me? I scarcely thought of her after Castle Luton; she seemed to me such a vulgar, common little being. And now to-dny-in what he said ! But surely, if they are unhappy, it is not-not my doing? There was cause enough ".
Nothing could have been more piteous than the tone. It was laden with the remorse that only such a nature could fuel for such a cause.
Then Lord Maxwell gave her Lady Tressady's atrocious letter. She road it, and at once decided to go and see
Letty herself. Before, however, she had put this project into execution, Mrs. Alison and Lord Fontenoy were announced. They had come to see if anything could be done to rescue Mrs. Allison's son and heir from a disreputable alliance in which he had entered with a music-hall singer. Tressady was the only person who bad any influence over the boy, and Marcella astonished them all by calmly proposing that Tressady should be besought to go to France and use what influence he had over the recalcitrant scapegrace. Fontenoy was somewhat startled, but they agreed to accept her proposal, and Lord Maxwell at once sought out the man who but an hour before had made such a passionate declaration to his wife. Marcella argued, and argued wisely and well, that the only way to mend matters was to make her husband and Sir George friends. Lord Maxwell somewhat shrank from the ordeal, but at length he sought out Sir George, explainel his object, and Tressady was very glad to accept the mission.
--AND TO THE WIFE. Then Lady Maxwell went to Letty. That lady meanwhile, after having written her letter to Lady Maxwell, had gone off to Hampton Court, where Lord Cathedine had made hot love to her, had kissed her upon her lips, and had made an appointment for the next day, when Lady Tressady would probably have gone to utter ruin.
Lady Maxwell, finding Letty out, came back later in the evening. Letty at first had refused to see her, but ultimately admitted her, and a great scene took place between the two women. We have already had Mrs. Ward's account of the friendship between Marcella and Tressady; we have nad Tressady's account; we have had Lady Maxwell's account to her own husband, and How we have Marcella's account to Lady Tressady:-
“At Castle Luton Sir George attracted me very much. The pleasure of talking to him there first made me wish to try to alter some of his views—to bring him across my poor people
—to introduce him to our friends. Then, somehow, a special bond grew up between him and me with regard to this par. ticular struggle in which my husband and I”-she dropped her eyes that she might not see Letty's hented face-“have been so keenly interested. But what I ought to have feltfrom the very first-was that there could be, there ought to have been, something else added. Married people”-she spoke hurriedly, her breath rising and falling-“ are not tvo, but one; and my first step should have been to come-andand ask you to let me know you too-to find out what your feelings were, whether you wished for a friendship-thatthat I had perhaps no right to offer to Sir George alone. I have been looking into my own heart,"—her voice trembled again,—“and I see that fault, that great fault. To be excluded myself from any strong friendship my husband might make would be agony to me.” The frank, sudden passion of her lifted eyes sent a thrill even through Letty's tierce and hardly kept silence. “And that I wanted to say to you first of all. I wronged my own conception of what mar: riage should be, and you were quite, quite right to be angry."
Well, I think it's quite clear, isn't it, that you forgot froni the beginning George had a wife?” cried Letty in her most insulting voice. " That certainly can't be denied. Anyboly could see that at Castle Luton.”
All the same, Letty, like the reader, was-not exactly disappointed-but considerably astonished that what she had regarded as her husband's love affair with Marcella had been such an extremely one-sided milk-and-water affair. For some time the scene between the to women became more and more painful, until, at last, as
Varcella was going, Letty broke down, declaring that she was the most miserable wretch breathing:
* I do not suppose that I cared about George' when I married him, but as soon as he began to care about you, I felt i could kill anybody that took him from me, and kill myself afterwards. Oh, good gracious, there was plenty of reason for his getting tired of me!... Of course he had ; but if he's lost to me, I shall give him a good deal more cause before We're done. That other man-you know him, Cathedinerave me a kiss this afternoon when we were in a wool together”-the same involuntary shudder overtook her, while she still held her companion at arm's length. “Oh, he is a brute-& brute ! But what do I care what happens to me! It's so strange I don't-rather creditable, I think-for, after all, I like parties and being asked abjut. But now George hates me, and let you send him away from me---why, of course it's all simple enough! I-lon’t-don't come-I shall never, never forgive-it's just being tired ”
But Marcella sprang forward. Mercifully, there is a limit to nerve endurance, and Letty in her raviny had overpassed it. She sank gasping on a sofa, still putting out her hand as though to protect herself. But Marcella kuelt beside her, the tears running down her cheeks. She put her arms-arms formed for tenderness, for motherliness-round the girl's slight frame. “Don't-don't repulse me!" she said, with trembling lips, and suddenly Letty yielded. She found herself sobbing in Lady Maxwell's embrace, while all the healing, all the remorse, all the comfort that self-abandonment and pity can pour out on such a plight as hers, descended upon her from Marcella's clinging touch, and hurried, fragmentary words.
So the two women made it up, and Marcella obtained an ascendency over Letty which she utilised for the purpose of restoring her to the husbanů.
THE REFLECTIONS OF SIR GEORGE. Lord Maxwell, of course, united with his wife to do everything he could to make friends with Tressady. Sir George and Lady Tressady did not meet again until some weeks afterwards, and then it was at Lord Maxwell's country house, where Lady Tressady had been for some time the petted and favoured guest. She was saucy, as was her wont, when Sir George came back. He had opportunity to reflect over the whole business, and this is the outcome of his meditations :
What in truth was it that had happened to him ? After weeks of a growing madness he had finally lost his selfcommand, had spoken passionately, as only love speaks, to a married woman who had no thought for any man in the world but her husband; a woman who had immediately--so he had always read the riddle of Maxwell's behaviour-reported every. incident of his conversation with her to the husband, and had then tried her best, with an exquisite kindness and compunction. to undo the mischief her own charm had caused.
What had he been in love with ? He looked at her once or twice in bewilderment. Had not she herself, her dazzling, unconscious purity, debarred him always from the ordinary hopes and desires of the sensual man? His very thought had mored in awe of her, and knelt before her. Sometimes it had idly occurred to him to wonder what the common French or other chronicler of the situation à trois would have made of his plight. Fool and reptile! Thank God! there are more shades in human relation, more varieties, and nobler, in moral circumstance, than some minds dream of. He had been in love with love, with grace, with tenderness, with delight. He had seen too late a vision of the best; had realised what things of enchantment life contains for the few, for the chosen-what woman at her richest can be to man. And there had been a cry of personal longing, personal anguish.
Well, it was all done with. As for friendship, it was impossible, grotesque. Let him go home, appease Letty, and mend his life. He constantly realised now, with the same surprise as on the night before his confession, the emergence
within himself—in dependent, as it were, of his ordinary will and parallel with the voice of passion or grief---of some new moral imperative.. Half scornfully he discerned in his own nature the sort of paste that a man inherits from generations of decent dull forefathers who have kept the law as they understood it. He was conscious of the same *ought'' vibrating through the moral sense as had governed their narrower lives and minds. It is the presence or the absence, indeed, of this dumb, compelling power that in moments of crisis differentiates one man from another. He felt it; wondered, perhaps, that he should feel it, but knew, nevertheless, that he should obey it. Yes, let him go home, make his wife forgive him, rear his children,-he trusted to God there would be children,-and tame his soul.
The closing chapters describe how Marcella persisted in the midst of all the pre-occupations of her busy and crowded life in endeavouring to seek and to save poor Letty. She spent far more time in endeavouring to comfort and educate Lady Tressady than she ever gave to secure the vote and support of Sir George :
Marcella had suffered under a strong natural remorse, and to free her heart from the load of it she hail thrown hersell into an effort of reconciliation and atonement with all the passion, the subtlety, and the resource of her temperament. She had now been wooing Letty Tressady for weeks, nor had the eager contriving ability she had been giving to the process missed its reward. What, to begin with, could be more flattering either to heart or vanity than the persistence with which one of the most famous women of her time-watched, praised, copied, attacked, surrounded as Letty knew her to be from morning till night-had devoted herself first to the understanding, then to the capturing of the smaller, narrower life. Day after day, as Letty knew, Marcella had taken time from politics, from society, from her most cherished occupations to write to this far-off girl, from whom she had nothing either to gain or fear, who had no claims whatever on her friendship, had things gone normally, while thick about the opening of their relation to each other hung the memory of Letty's insults and Letty's violence. The animation, the eager kindness of it all, went for much; the amazing self-surrender, self-offering implied in every page, for much more.
At any rate, the loving, reconciling effort had done its work. Letty could not be insensible to such a flattery, a compliment so unexpected, so bewildering-the heart of a Marcella Maxwell poured out to her for the taking.
And so Marcella made atonement for her sin.
I need not tell how the story winds up, suffice it to say that when we reach the last page there seems to be no prospect of Marcella being able to drop her selfassumed burden until the close of her natural life.
VI.-SOME GENERAL REMARKS. My readers will be able to form their own opinion as to the moral which Mrs. Ward wishes them to imbibe from this story of the tragedy of platonic love, and each will draw his own conclusions. It is probable that to the immense majority of men and women who are creatures “not too bright or good for human nature's daily food, for transient sorrows, simple wiles, praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles,” will say that the great defect of Mrs. Ward's teaching is its unreality
What are the facts as they are presented to us by her facile pen ? Marcella, Lady Maxwell, young, fascinating, marvellously beautiful, full of all the impulses and all the enthusiasms which made her the queen supreme of every circle into which she entered, crosses the path of a young man whose deeper nature had never been roused, who had married a common-place, yulgar, mean-souled coquette utterly incapable of understanding either him or his objects in life, and the inevitable result followed. We may dislike it as much as we please. We may deplore