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Belinda had decided as she was told-had done as her conscience bid her,—and yet there was but little satisfaction in this duty accomplished. For about half an hour she went about feeling like a heroine, and then without any reason or occasion, it seemed to her that the mask had come off her face, that she had discovered herself to be a truitoress, that she had betrayed and abandoned her kindest friends; she called herself a selfish, ungrateful wretch, she wondered what Guy would think of her; she was out of temper, out of spirits, out of patience with herself, and the click of the blind swinging in the draft was unendurable. The complacent expression of Anna's handsome face put her teeth on edge. When Fanny tumbled over the footstool with a playful shriek, to everybody's surprise Belinda burst out crying.
Those few days were endless, slow, dull, unbearable—every second brought its pang of regret and discomfort and remorse. It seemed to Belinda that her ears listened, her mouth talked, her eyes looked at the four walls of the cottage, at the furze on the common, at the faces of her sisters, with a sort of mechanical effort. As if she were acting her daily life, not living it naturally and without effort. Only when she was with her father did she feel unconstrained; but even then there was an unexpressed reproach in her heart like a dull pain that she could not quiet. And so the long days lagged. Although Dr. Robinson enlivened them with his presence, and the Ogdens drove up to carry Fanny off to the happy regions of Capulet Square (E. for Elysium Anna I think would have docketed the district), to Belinda those days seemed slow, and dark and dim, and almost hopeless at times.
On the day on which Belinda was to have returned there came a letter to me telling her story plainly enough :-"I must not come back, my dearest Miss Williamson," she wrote. “I am going to write to Mrs. Griffiths and dear kind Mr. Guy to-morrow to tell them so. Anna does not think it is right. Papa clings to me and wants me, now that both my sisters are going to leave him. How often I shall think of you allof all your goodness to me, of the beautiful roses, and my dear little room! Do you think Mr. Guy would let me take one or two books as a remembrance-Hume's History of England, Porteous's Sermons, and Essays on Reform? I should like to have something to remind me of you all, and to look at sometimes, since they say I am not to see you all again. Good-by, and thank you and Mrs. H. a thousand thousand times.—Your ever, ever affectionate BELINDA. P.S.—Might I also ask for that little green volume of the Golden Treasury which is up in the tower room ?”
This was what Guy had feared all along. Once she was gone, he knew by instinct she would never come back. I hardly know how it fared with the poor fellow all this time. He kept out of our way, and would try to escape me, but once by chance I met him, and I was shocked by the change which had come over him. I had my own opinion, as we all have at times. H. and I had talked it over, for old women are good for
something after all, and can sometimes play a sentimental part in life as well as young ones. It seemed to us impossible that Belinda should not relent to so much goodness and unselfishness, and come back again some day never to go any more. We knew enough of Anna Barly to guess the part she had played, nor did we despair of seeing Belinda among us once
But some one must help her, she could not reach us anassisted ; and so I told Mrs. Griffiths, who had remarked upon her son's distress and altered looks.
“If you will lend us the carriage,” I said, “ either H. or I will go over to Dumbleton to-morrow, and I doubt not that we shall bring her." H. went. She told me about it afterwards. Anna was fortunately absent. Mr. Barly was downstairs, and H. was able to talk to him a little bit before Belinda came down. The poor old man always thought as he was told to thrink, and since his illness he was more uncertain and broken than ever. He was dismayed when H. told him in her decided way that he was probably sacrificing two people's happiness for life by his ill-timed interference. When at last Belinda came down, she looked almost as ill as Griffiths himself. She rushed into H.'s arms with a scream of delight, and eagerly asked a hundred questions. “How were they all—what were they all doing?”
H. was very decided. Everybody was very ill and wanted Belinda back. * Your father
says he can spare you very well,” said she. “Why not come back with me this afternoon, if only for a time? It is your duty," H. continued, in her dry way. “ You should not leave them in this uncertainty.” “Go, my child-pray go," urged Mr. Barly. And at last "
— Belinda consented shyly, nothing loth.
H. began to question her when she had got her safe in the carriage. Belinda said she had not been well. She could not sleep, she said. She had had bad dreams. She blushed and confessed that she had dreamt of Guy lying dead in the kitchen-garden. She had gone about the house trying, indeed she had tried to be cheerful and busy as usual, but she felt unhappy, ungrateful. “Oh, what a foolish girl I am," she said. All the lights were burning in the little town, the west was glowing and reflected in the river, the boats trembled and shot through the shiny waters, and the people were out upon the banks, as they crossed the bridge again on their way from Dumbleton. Belle was happier certainly, but crying from agitation.
“ Have I made him miserable, poor fellow ? Oh, I think I shall blame myself all my life," said she, covering her face with her hands. Oh, H.! H.! what shall I do ?”
H. dryly replied that she must be guided by circumstances, and when they reached Castle Gardens, kissed her and set her down at the great gate, while she herself went home in the carriage.
It was all twilight by this time among the roses. Belinda met the gate-keeper, who touched his hat and told her his master was in the garden ; and so instead of going into the house she flitted away towards
the garden, crossed the lawns, and went in and out among the bowers and trellises looking for him—frightened by her own temerity at first, gaining courage by degrees. It was so still, so sweet, so dark; the stars were coming out in the evening sky, a meteor went flashing from east to west, a bat flew across her path; all the scent hung heavy in the air. Twice Belinda called out timidly, “Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Griffiths !” but no one answered. Then she remembered her dream in sudden terror, and hurried into the kitchen-garden to the fountain where they had parted.
What had happened? Some one was lying on the grass. Was this her dream ? was it Guy? was he dead ? had she killed him ? Belinda ran up to him, seized his hand, and called him Guy-dear Guy; and Guy, who had fallen asleep from very weariness and sadness of heart, opened his eyes to hear himself called by the voice he loved best in the world ; while the sweetest eyes, full of tender tears, were gazing anxiously into his ugly face. Ugly? Fairy tales have told us this at least, that ugliness and dulness do not exist for those who truly love. Had she ever thought him rough, uncouth, unlovable ? Ah! she had been blind in those days; she knew better now. As they walked back through the twilight garden that night, Guy said humbly,
“I shan't do you any credit, Belinda; I can only love you." “ Only!” said Belinda.
She didn't finish her sentence; but he understood very well what she meant,
'Αλλ' ού συ τούτων αίτιος, μή φροντίσης
The British public, which has twice within the last ten months been almost frightened out of its propriety by the London " Leaguers," had, up to last year, enjoyed so long an immunity from spectacles of this nature, that it might be supposed to have pretty well forgotten what a mob really was. In 1848 the mob which assembled at Kennington, though considerable in point of numbers and seditious enough in its designs, was kept at a respectful distance, and was rather beard of than seen.
The Chartist riots of 1889 did not come near London, and were indeed the work rather of regular insurgents than of mobs. Up to 1866 nothing like the storming of Hyde Park had been witnessed for a whole generation; and if we refer to London only, we must go back as far as the Gordon riots for any similar acts of downright violence.
But if we do go back to the eighteenth century,—the supposed century of strong government and aristocratic authority,--we shall find the London mob exercising an influence upon public affairs which our own more popular and liberal-minded age would not tolerate for a moment. This circumstance, strange as it may seem at first sight, is easily accounted for. The only mode of dealing with a mob in those days was by calling out the troops. A standing army was one of the most unpopular sppendages of the most unpopular dynasty in our annals. To employ it against the people was always a hazardous experiment. To do so was to concentrate on one single act of authority almost every objection that could be urged to the Revolution. It was the revival of arbitrary power
without the sanction of hereditary right: the coercion of the people by princes who were the creatures of the people. Unreasonable as these arguments may seem now, they were capable of being urged against Government with fatal effect then. And in the traditional dislike of English Ministers to employ soldiers on such occasions, we see one surviving vestige of the political passions of that epoch. But another, and perhaps more deeplyseated cause of the prominence usurped by mobs in the days of our greatgrandfathers, is to be found in the political character and social position of the aristocracy. During the interval which elapsed between the English revolution and the French, the patrician order in this country had established a dominion which was seemingly immutable and eternal. Their confidence in themselves was absolute; and they no more expected that the people would ever try to govern, than Achilles expected that his borse
would ever try to speak. At the same time they were divided into factions scarcely less bitter than the factions of the white and red roses. The contempt which they felt for the people was, if possible, excelled by the hatred which they bore each other : and both combined to promote that popular turbulence which is a salient feature of the period. Each faction in turn used the mob against its rival without the slightest fear of any damage to their common interests. A mansion or a meeting-house might be burnt down ; a statesman might be rolled in the mud ; a plebeian might be pricked with a bayonet, or even get a bullet in his gizzard; but these things were trifles to the men of that epoch, who always maintained that it was the first duty of a patriot to save his country; and who laid the blame of such accidents alternately on the wicked Minister who was aiming at despotism, or the profligate traitor who was in correspondence with Avignon or Boston. In the face of these tremendous considerations, a life or two more or less was a matter of supreme indifference. The chances were that the soldiers would be afraid to fire, or that the mob would run away before a collision could occur. But whatever happened, the aristocracy felt safe about itself. Thus we see that the backwardness of the Government to employ the only force at its command in the suppression of popular tumults, and the forwardness of the aristocracy to make use of agitation for the embarrassment of political rivals, combined together to ensure the mob great licence for some eighty or a hundred years. Things are changed now. Formerly the mob was the tool of the patricians. Now it has set up in business on its own account. In the last century there was never a mob of any consequence without some aristocrat to back it. Now-a-days the mob, like the Ring, has lost its “ Corinthian” supporters altogether. Whether this loss is likely to enhance or to diminish its dangerous elements, we leave to wiser heads than ours to say.
The earliest mob of any note in the eighteenth century was in the reign of Queen Anne, in the year 1709. At that time the Church of England had grown immensely popular with the English people; and it is easy to see why. Dissent was still associated with Puritanism; and half a century had not effaced the memory of Nehemiah Solsgrace and Corporal Humgudgeon. Your ordinary Englishman then as now hated Popery with a hatred peculiar to himself: and the memorable stand of the seven bishops had gone straight to the national heart. It is not, perhaps, surprising that notwithstanding this episode the very party in the Church which represented these prelates should have been, upon the whole, Jacobite. But it is curious that the English populace should have followed them in this apparent inconsistency. Such, however, was the fact. Dr. Sacheverel was a Tory and divine-right man of the most highflying description. In the month of November, 1709, he preached a sermon before the Lord Mayor, in which he indulged himself to the utmost in the exaltation of all his favourite ideas. Passive obedience, divine right, and all the articles of Caroline Toryism, were laid down by