Anne Hereford A Novel
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(Duke University Libraries)
NOVELS BY MRS. HENRY WOOD,
Uniform with "Anne Hereford," each inOne Volume,
Price Six Shillings.
ST. MARTIN'S EVE.
RED COURT FARM.
A LIFE'S SECRET.
GEORGE CANTERBURY'S WILL.
PUBLISHED BY TINSLEY BROTHERS.
MRS. HENRY WOOD,
"EAST LYNNE," "RED COURT FARM," "ST. MARTIN'S EVE,"
"MILDRED ARKELL," ETC.
TINSLEY BROTHERS, 18, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND.
[All rights of Translation and Reproduction are reserved.]
SAVILL, EDWARDS AND CO., PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET
|I.||MRS. EDWIN BARLEY.|
|II.||IN THE WOOD.|
|III.||GOING OUT IN THE FOG.|
|VII.||AT MISS FENTON'S.|
|IX.||A STEP IRREVOCABLE.|
|X.||AT MRS. PALER'S.|
|XII.||OUT OF DOORS AT CHANDOS.|
|XIV.||THE NEW TENANT BY THE LODGE-GATES.|
|XV.||IN THE IRONING ROOM.|
|XVI.||DISTURBED BY MRS. CHANDOS.|
|XVII.||THE STRANGER APPLICANT.|
|XVIII.||THE NEW COMPANION.|
|XIX.||TELEGRAPHING FOR A PHYSICIAN.|
|XXI.||IN THE PINE-WALK.|
|XXII.||A NIGHT ALARM.|
|XXIII.||SEEN IN THE GALLERY BY MOONLIGHT.|
|XXIV.||MRS. PENN'S REVELATION.|
|XXV.||NOTHING BUT MISERY.|
|XXVI.||GETTING INTO THE WEST WING.|
|XXVIII.||AN IGNOMINIOUS EXIT.|
|XXIX.||MR. EDWIN BARLEY IN THE WEST WING.|
|XXX.||THE LAST FRIGHT OF ALL.|
|XXXI.||BACK FOR AYE AT CHANDOS.|
MRS. EDWIN BARLEY.
An express train was dashing along a line of rails in the heart ofEngland. On one of the first-class carriages there had been a board,bearing the intimation 'For Ladies Only,' but the guard took it offwhen the train first started. It had come many miles since. Seatedinside, the only passenger in that compartment, was a little girl indeep mourning. All was black about her save the white frills of herdrawers, which peeped below her short, black, flounced frock. Athoughtful, gentle child, with a smooth, pale forehead, earnest eyes,and long, dark eyelashes that swept her cheek. It was a gloomySeptember day, foggy, and threatening rain--a sad-looking day; andthe child's face seemed to have borrowed the aspect of the weather,pervaded, as it was, by a tinge of sadness. That little girl wasmyself, Anne Hereford.
The train slackened speed, and glided into an important station,larger than any we had passed. It was striking one, and the guard cameup to the carriage. "Now, my little lady," said he, "change lineshere, and stop for ten minutes."
I liked that guard. He had a kind, hearty face, and he had come upseveral times to the carriage-door during the journey, asking how Igot on. He told me he had a little girl of his own, about as old as I.
"Are you hungry?" he asked, as he lifted me from the carriage.
"Not very, thank you. I have eaten the biscuits."
"Halloa! Stern!" he called out, stopping a man who was hurrying past."Are you going with the Nettleby train?"
"Yes. What if I am?" was the man's answer. He was rightly named Stern,for he had a stern, sour face.
"See this little girl. She is in the guard's charge. To be put in theladies' carriage, and taken on to Nettleby."
The man gave a short nod by way of answer, and hurried away. And theguard took me into a large room, where crowds were pressing round acounter. "Here, Miss Williams," he said, to one of the young womenbehind it, "give this little lady something to eat and drink, and takecare of her till the Nettleby train starts. She's to have what comesto a shilling."
"What will you take, my dear?" asked Miss Williams.
The counter was so full of good things that I did not know what, butfixed at length upon a plum-tart. Miss Williams laughed, and said Ihad better eat some sandwiches first and the tart afterwards.
She was pouring me out a cup of coffee when the guard came up again."Your baggage is changed, little lady," said he. "You'll find it allright at the Nettleby station. Good day."
"Good-bye, and thank you," I answered, holding out my hand, that hemight shake it. I felt sorry to part with him--he seemed like afriend. Soon after, the surly guard put in his head and beckoned tome. He marshalled me to a carriage which had a similar board upon itto the other, "For Ladies Only," and shut me in without a word. Twoladies sat opposite to me. They did not speak either; but they stareda great deal. I thought it must be at the two tarts Miss Williams hadgiven me in a paper bag, and did not like to eat them.
At the next station another lady got in, and she began talking atonce.
"Are you travelling all alone, little girl?"
"Yes, ma'am. The guard takes care of me?"
"Have you come far?"
I had come from a remote part of Devonshire, the seacoast. It seemeda long way to me, and I said so.
"Will you tell me your name? I daresay it is a pretty one."
"It is Anne Hereford."
"Devonshire is a very nice part of the country. Have you lived in itall your life?"
"Not quite. I was born in India. Mamma brought me to England when Iwas three years old."
"You are in deep mourning. Is it for a near relative?"
I did not answer. I turned to look out at the window until the tearsshould go away again. I could not bear that strangers should see them.The lady asked again, and presently I turned round.
She was silent for some time, looking at me. "Is your papa dead also?"
"He died a long while before mamma did."
"You say you were born in India: perhaps he was an officer?"
"He was Colonel Hereford."
"How many brothers and sisters have you?"
"Where are you going to live?"
"I don't know. I am going now to my Aunt Selina's."
The train approached a station, and the lady got out, or she probablywould have asked me a great deal more. At the station following that,the two silent ladies left, and I was alone again. The first thing Idid was to eat my tarts and throw away the paper bag. After that Ifell asleep, and remembered no more till the guard's surly voice wokeme.
"This is Nettleby, if you are a-going to get out. He said somethingabout some luggage. How much is it?"
"A large box and a small one, and two carpet-bags. 'Miss Hereford,passenger to Nettleby,' is written on them. Can you please to tell mewhether it is far to Mr. Edwin Barley's?"
"I don't know any Mr. Edwin Barley. Jem," added he, to one of theporters, "see after her. I'm going to hand out her things."
"Where do you want to go, Miss?" the porter asked.
"To Mr. Edwin Barley's. They told me I must get out at the Nettlebystation, and ask to be sent on, unless a carriage met me here."
"You must mean Mr. Edwin Barley of Hallam."
"Yes, that's it. Is it far?"
"Well, Hallam's five miles off, and the house is a mile on this sideof it. There's no rail, Miss; you must go by the omnibus."
"But you are sure that Mrs. Edwin Barley has not come to meet me?" Iasked, feeling a sort of chill.
Not any one had come, and the porter put me into the omnibus with somemore passengers. What a long drive it seemed! And the hedges and treeslooked very dreary, for the shades of evening were gathering.
At the foot of a hill the omnibus pulled up, and a man who had sat bythe driver came round. "Ain't there somebody inside for Mr. EdwinBarley's?"
"Yes; I am."
I got out, and the luggage was put upon the ground. "Two shillings,Miss," said the man.
"Two shillings!" I repeated, in great alarm.
"Why, did you expect to come for one--and inside too! It's uncommoncheap, is this omnibus."
"Oh, it is not that. But I have not any money."
"Not got any money!"
"They did not give me any. They gave the guard my fare to Nettleby.Mr. Sterling said I should be sure to be met."
The man went up to the driver. "I say, Bill, this child says she's gotno money."
The driver turned round and looked at me. "We can call to-morrow forit; I daresay it's all right. Do you belong to the Barleys, Miss?"
"Mrs. Edwin Barley is my aunt. I am come on a visit to her."
"Oh, it's all right. Get up, Joe."
"But please," said I, stopping the man, in an agony of fear--for Icould see no house or sign of one, save a small, round, low buildingthat might contain one room--"which is Mr. Edwin Barley's? Am I tostay in the road with the boxes?"
The man laughed, said he had supposed I knew, and began shouting out,"Here; missis!" two or three times. "You see that big green gate,Miss?" he added to me. "Well, that leads up to Mr. Barley's, andthat's his lodge."
A woman came out of the lodge; in answer to the shouts, and opened thegate. The man explained, put the trunks inside the gate, and theomnibus drove on.
"I beg pardon that I can't go up to the house with you, Miss, but it'snot far, and you can't miss it," said she. "I have got my baby sick inits cradle, and dare not leave it alone. You are little MissHereford?"
"It's odd they never sent to meet you at Nettleby, if they knew youwere coming! But they have visitors at the house, and perhaps youngmadam forgot it. Straight on, Miss, and you'll soon come to thehall-door; go up the steps, and give a good pull at the bell."
There was no help for it: I had to go up the gloomy avenue alone. Itwas a broad gravel drive, wide enough for two carriages to pass eachother; a thick grove of trees on either side. The road wound round,and I had just got in sight of the house when I was startledconsiderably by what proved to be a man's head projecting beyond thetrees. He appeared to be gazing steadfastly at the house, but turnedhis face suddenly at my approach. But for that, I might not haveobserved him. The face looked dark, ugly, menacing; and I started witha spring to the other side of the way.
I did not speak to him, or he to me, but my heart beat with fear, andI was glad enough to see lights from several of the windows in frontof me. I thought it a very large house; I found afterwards that itcontained eighteen rooms, and some of them small: but then we hadlived in a pretty cottage of six. There was no need to ring. At theopen door stood a man and a maid-servant, laughing and talking.
"Who are you?" cried the girl.
"I want Mrs. Edwin Barley."
"Then I think want must be your master," she returned. "It is somebodyfrom Hallam, I suppose. Mrs. Edwin Barley cannot possibly see youto-night."
"You just go away, little girl," added the footman. "You must cometo-morrow morning, if you want anything."
Their manner was so authoritative that I felt frightened, nearlycrying as I stood. What if they should really turn me away!
"Why don't you go?" asked the girl, sharply.
"I have nowhere to go to. My boxes are down at the gate."
"Why, who are you?" she inquired, in a quick tone.
"I am Miss Hereford."
"Heart alive!" she whispered to the man. "I beg your pardon, Miss.I'll call Charlotte Delves."
"What's that? Who will you call?" broke from an angry voice at theback of the hall. "Call 'Charlotte Delves,' will you? Go in to yourwork this instant, you insolent girl. Do you hear me, Jemima?"
"I didn't know you were there, Miss Delves," was the half-saucy,half-deprecating answer. "The young lady has come--Miss Hereford."
A tall, slight, good-looking woman of thirty-five or thirty-six cameforward. I could not tell whether she was a lady or a smart maid.She wore a small, stylish cap, and a handsome muslin gown withflounces--which were in fashion then. Her eyes were light; long, lightcurls fell on either side her face, and her address was good.
"How do you do, Miss Hereford?" she said, taking my hand. "Come in, mydear. We did not expect you until next week. Mrs. Barley is in thedrawing-room."
"Mrs. Barley is in her chamber, dressing for dinner," contendedJemima, from the back of the hall, as if intent on aggravation.