Miss Mary Hooper Books
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Nelson's Home Comforts - Little dinners - Cookery For Invalids - Every Day Meals - Hints on Cookery Good Plain Cookery - Handbook For The Breakfast Table - Weekly Telegraph Cookery Book - Our Dog Prin - Ways and Tricks of Animals
Lily's Letters from the Farm (USA)- Wives and Housewives (a story for the times) Papers on Cookery (no image) For Better For worse (no image)
Wives & Housewives ...a story for the times (Victorian Novel)
"l Give us wealthy and the home shall exist! But that is a
very imperfect and inglorious solution of the problem, and
therefore no solution. 'Give us wealth! You ask too much.
Few have wealth; but all must have a home. Men are not
born rich; and in getting wealth the man is generally sacrificed,
and often is sacrificed without acquiring wealth at last
"I think it plain that this voice of communities and ages,
' Give us wealth, and the good household shall exist,' is vicious,
and leaves the whole difficulty untouched. It is better, certainly,
in this form, ' Give us your labour, and the household begins.'"
V dear, I- think we really must give a dance
next month. Lily has been to a dozen parties
at least, and we have not returned one."
"A ball, and a grand dinner A la Russe
next week. I shall be ruined!"
"Now, Fred, it's senseless to talk like that.
Can we with any propriety go out and not ask people
"Well, I suppose not: but I know inviting me out to
dinner is like asking a postman to take a long walk. I am
tired of cold cod, greasy mutton, and insipid entries."
"Indeed! you are becoming vastly particular!"
"Not at all I am always satisfied with a chop or cutlet
at my own table; but when I come home worn and wearied
from the City, I fail to find the pleasure of dressing and
driving, often a long distance, in order to eat a bad dinner
and drink wine which unfits me for work the next day."
"But how are we to keep up our circle if we do not go
"Well, possibly we might judiciously narrow that circle."
"Oh, really," pettishly responded Mrs. Williams,"one is
to give up one's friends and one's life's work, just as it is be-
ginning to bear fruit, because you are sleepy in the evening."
"You are unjust, Anne. I wish to give up no real friend,
but only some of the acquaintances, and for whom I, at least,
do not care. I have told you often of late that things are very bad
in the City, and we spend too much money."
"I never in my life said I wished to do anything requiring
your assistance that you did not try to make me miserable.
I do not hear other people complain of bad times: and it must
be only stinginess which causes you to raise such objections
when I am simply asking for what is needful to keep up
our proper appearance for the sake of the children."
"There, there," replied the vanquished husband, "don't
worry me ; do as you like, only let the affair be as little
expense as possible/'
"Of course I shall be careful about that; but Lily wants
a new dress or two, and some other trifles. Will you write
me a cheque?"
"For how much?"
I cannot make less than fifty pounds do."
It is quite impossible to give you so much now," he continued,
with a sort of groan; "it is only ten days since you
had a hundred for dress. You must make twenty do."
"Well, if I must, I must; but what are twenty pounds for
two or three dresses and an opera cloak, and no end of
little things. I feel anxious Lily should look her best, for I
fancy Arthur Arkroyd is thinking of her."
"You don't say so ! I hope you are mistaken."
"And why, pray?"
"He will expect a fortune with her, and I cannot give
"All you will have to do will be to inquire into Ms
means. If he asks you anything about yours, say what
you have to give will be left in your will"
"I am not sure but that it would be raising false expectations.
I often wish, Anne, we had never left the Terrace, but had
lived quietly there till this day. If we had done so, I should
have been a rich man now, and been able to give Lily and
the other girls fortunes on their marriage."
"Nonsense! They have now a position in life they never could
have attained had we continued to live in that narrow style.
"A style far beyond what was necessary for our parents;
rather beyond, too, that in which your brother has grown
rich, and in which I certainly found more -comfort and
happiness than that in which we now live."
Mrs. Williams sighed and said, "I have devoted all my
energies, continually making great sacrifices of my own
ease, towards maintaining a position equal to our neighbours,
and this is all the reward I get!"
"If I blame you," Mr. Williams said, wearily, "I blame
myself still more that I did not check the small beginnings.
However, let us do what we can to moderate expenses
now." So saying, he handed his wife the cheque, and she
went to her daughter, whom she found in the morning-room
intent on a novel.
"Now, Lily," she said, "I have coaxed papa to give the
ball, and got a little cheque; so we will go into town at once
and get your dresses."
"All right, mother. Cook has just been up for orders.
I told her to have something nice for our dinner, and give
the schoolroom the cold mutton."
"Dear me! I shall have Miss Smith grumbling again;
they have had cold meat all the week, I think."
"How tiresome of her! I am sure it's very nice with
pickles. I remarked to. cook we had not had salmon for
ages, and wasn't it in now? and she laughed, and said
perhaps I would like lamb too!"
"Well, dear, one would be almost as costly as the other
in January, and papa has just been grumbling so at expenses
and the bad times, that we must only have such luxuries when
we have company. There, run and get dressed, and we will
give the order at Roux for the dinner next week.
I mean it all to be well done, just to show those Newmans
we can manage and la Russe as well as they.
I shall let Roux do the thing entirely; it will be cheaper in the end."
"And save all the trouble," chimed in Lily, in a very
preoccupied tone of voice.
"Come, come, said Mrs. Williams, "the morning is
slipping away, and you are not dressing to go out."
"Do sit down a minute, mother. I have something very
particular to tell you. You know Mr. Arkroyd took me
down to supper last night, and among other things he asked
me, could I live on five hundred a-year? "
"And what did you say?"
"That I had no notion; that I supposed it was awfully
little; and he said he was frightened, and afraid I was
extravagant I did not wish him to think that, you know,
"You like him, child."
" Well, yes, mother; very much. I think he is awfully
nice. And, of course, if other people could live on five
hundred a-year, we could. He is coming in to talk to you
and papa to-night ; and please mind, I would marry him if
he/had only five hundred shillings in the world!"
"I think, my dear, it is well you have parents inclined to
be less romantic, and who certainly will not see you sacri-
ficed. Five hundred a-year may seem a large sum to you,
but in these days it is really a small income."
"Oh, mother, do not be dreadful. I do not care for
riches, and I know Arthur would make me happy."
"Well, well, we shall hear what papa says."
Arthur Arkroyd was very much in love with pretty Lilian
Williams, and when he formally proposed for her that
evening, hesitated only just a little as he mentioned the
limit of his income. A faint sigh escaped him when Mr.
Williams said, "I cannot give her anything; she will share
what I leave with the others." He loved the girl so well
as to be glad to take her on any terms. But as, from the
style in which Mr. Williams lived, he had been led to infer
he would give his daughters some marriage -portion, he
naturally felt disappointed. "It would have been well," Mr.
Arkroyd said to himself, "if Lily could have had a yearly
allowance that would cover her personal expenses;" but
this he was too generous to urge on Mr. Williams; and the
interview with him over, he went to Lily in the drawing-
room, and claimed her for his very own.
"Only one thing troubles me, my dear," said the young
lover. " We shall have to live much less luxuriously than
you do in your father's house: I am afraid our income will
not afford many of these elegant dresses," and he lightly
touched the expensive dress Lily wore that evening for his
"As to that," she replied, "of course, I shall have a
handsome trousseau, which will last for years. Besides,
when married, one ought not to care for dress."
"I should like to see you always nicely dressed, as you
ought to be. I am only anxious lest you should find your-
self unable to live and dress as the wife of a gentleman on
our moderate, if not, as times go, small income."
"Why should I not, sir?" she asked, with a pretty pout
"Several girls I know have gone from the grand homes of
rich fathers, and been very happy and contented in a tiny
nest of their own. I see no reason why I should fail to
manage well on moderate means."
"Then I will not worry myself any more on that subject,"
replied Mr. Arkroyd; and thenceforward if any doubt arose
in his mind, he treated it as unreasonable, and forbore to
trouble Lily with any further reference to ways or means.
Have heard some news to-day, my dear," said
Mrs. Heath to her husband.
"Good, I hope."
"Yes, it appears so. Our niece Lily is just
engaged to Mr. Arthur Arkroyd!"
"Indeed! I am very glad. He is a worthy
young fellow, and I shall be happy to receive him as one
of the family. How did you hear this?"
"Sister Williams came over this morning and told me all
about it. I did not say it to her, but I am afraid the income
the young people propose to many on is but small five
hundred a-year, she said."
"Well, but why do you think it small when you are
willing for our Janet to marry on three hundred and fifty?"
"Yes, but see how differently the girls have been brought
up. Lily knows nothing of housekeeping and has most
extravagant notions, whilst Janet is, for her age, quite an
adept, and prudence itself. I am afraid our brother will not
give Lily any fortune, and," added Mrs. Heath, with
motherly satisfaction, "what a comfort it is you are able to
say you will not allow Janet to go to Mr. Fenton empty-
"Yes, I am very thankful to give her something; but she
owes it to her mother. Without your constant help, old
lady, without your unselfish advice, your unceasing self-
denial, I should not now have been able to provide for all
the children, and for the old age I pray God to grant us
"Amen, my love, and thank you ; but it is not fair to
give me the praise. There has, in all things, been but one
heart between us, and, working thus lovingly together, we
Soon after this conversation with her husband, Mrs.
Heath explained to her daughter the arrangement which
had been made for her benefit: that fifty pounds a-year
was secured to her separate use, together with her husband's
life policies and some trifle of property. "
"It is all very kind and very wise," Janet had replied.
"I suppose one ought to be glad to owe everything to a
husband, yet I must confess it makes me happy to think I
shall take him something. But I really do believe that he
is more indifferent in this matter than myself"
Janet was to be married as soon as a suitable residence
could be found and furnished, and at length one was secured,
a convenient though not large villa at Highgate, pleasantly
situated, quiet and healthy, and having a very nice little
garden. Mrs. Heath undertook to assist in its arrangement,
which was a great relief to Mr. Fenton, who was working
very hard that he might be enabled to take a leisurely
holiday on his marriage. Both he and Janet had earnestly
pleaded for a simple wedding, and, having regard to their
wish; as well as that it seemed a fitting prelude to the quiet
life the young people intended to lead for some years at
least, the parents readily consented. "And you know,
papa?' said Mrs. Heath to her husband, "it will cost so
little, having everything done thus quietly, that I think we
may afford Janet an additional present. I should be so
delighted to fit up the kitchen, and give her in it all the
comforts she has been used to at home all the little
machines and appliances which save so much labour and
expense, and are especially invaluable where but one servant
is kept. May I do it? "
"Of course you may, mother; and, if you please, cannot
you afford something from father ? "
"Oh yes, my dear; I have been sighing all along to put
up a patent gas-cooking range."
"Warranted, no doubt, to cook without assistance!"
"Well, I know of one which might almost be so warranted
As it is economical a» well as efficient, I know we shall
make an acceptable present."
"I must leave the selection to you, my dear, as being
more skilled in these economies, only with this proviso, that
you do not let them influence you in the price of the range;
let it be the very best to be had for money."
"I shall certainly remember your injunction do not be
alarmed, but I never in my life felt so tempted to be extra-
vagant as about my Jenny's kitchen. I think I feel like a
child fitting up her doll's house."
With Mrs. Heath our story will have little to do, but as
the mother of one of our heroines, she claims a brief,
description; the more so, as it will be seen from it how
much the daughter owed to the training and example of her
In her younger days Mrs. Heath had been very bonnie
and graceful, and with advancing years retained the bright-
ness which is born of sweet temper and a cultivated mind.
Although in all her words and movements there was a
quietness amounting to gravity, as of one who through life
had been earnest in her duty, she had such a fund of
humour, and such large-hearted sympathy with all who
were in any kind of trouble, this quietness added to her
charms. We have seen how her husband looked upon
her. By her children she was ardently loved, and by her
friends regarded as the very model of an English matron
the ideal of a perfect wife and mother. From the earliest
days of her married life, Mrs. Heath had found all her
pleasure to consist in making her home happy. To be
sure, in her young days, change of scene, frequent visiting
and parties were not deemed essential to the health and
happiness of the middle-class wife. The bringing up of
children was not delegated to ignorant, careless nursemaids,
but was the first duty and delight of mothers. Neither in
her day were children looked upon as burdens, or a woman
pitied because of the cares of her large family. Happiness
was then found in these cares, and peace of mind in the
performance of the blessed duties of maternity duties laid
upon woman by Providence and nature, and which she
may not seek to abrogate without ill consequences to all
Supported by the confidence of her husband, Mrs. Heath
ever thoughtfully regulated her conduct in accordance with
his position. "Simplicity" had been her watchword. It
saved her from being carried away by the fashion of the
hour or any of the showy examples around her. In this
quiet though graceful simplicity of life and manners she
educated all her children. The boys, of course, had to be
sent to school; but she never parted from her girls. Over
their health, happiness, and education she ever watched
with the most loving and thoughtful solicitude. Whilst to
the cultivation of her daughters' minds due care was given,
from an early age they were instructed in every detail of
household management, and each day spent several hours
in the kitchen, not only watching their mother and the
cook, but assisting them in everything.
Mrs. Heath never kept expensive servants, "who knew
their business too well to be interfered with, and could not
allow the mistress to come in the kitchen;" but only such
as were cleanly, teachable, and honest; content with fair
wages and the confidence and esteem of their employers;
and she contended that, spite of the outcry against their
class, there were still good servants to be found, and that it
was leaving them to themselves and mismanagement which
had ruined so many.
It must not be supposed that Mrs. Heath had passed so
far through life without encountering trials and difficulties;
but she had met the first with the fortitude which true reli-
gion always gives, and the last with quiet philosophy, always
abiding by the rule to make no troubles, and the best of
those which existed. And now there had settled on her
spirit a deep and blessed calm. Her loving children no
longer required anxious attention, but were able to share
with her all the cares of domestic life, and she sat down
under her own vine and fig-tree, with a thankful sense that
the time of repose was come, and that though that of action
had been happy, this was her full recompense and reward.
We will not pause to enter into details respecting Janet's
modest but happy wedding. It was remarkable chiefly for
the absence of all show and pretension, of borrowed epergnes
and hired waiters; yet was more truly graced by kind friends
and the sweet faces of the daughters of the house, whose
hands alone had prepared the bridal feast and the incom-
parable cake, and decked the table with the brightest flowers
and happiest taste.
"It's the old, old story, my mother," wrote Janet, from
their honeymoon retreat in Devonshire; "l am so happy,
and we both are truly enjoying our holiday; and yet we feel
we shall be glad to settle down m the home you have made
so bright for us." And bright it truly was for the bride's
return; all the little finishing touches given with loving
care by mother and sisters; everything in the house being
substantial and new, and as likely to last a lifetime as any-
thing now warranted by a modern upholsterer. Janet's
pleasure in all was complete; but it was in her kitchen,
"the seat of household comfort," that she was most proud
and satisfied. "To think," she said, "of my darling mother
spoiling me like this, and promoting me to all the advan-
tages of an old housekeeper; whatever can I do to repay
"Enjoy her gifts," her husband sensibly suggested.
"Let her see the good use I will make of them, I know
you ought to have said," she replied.
The fashion of "no cards" had not at this time set in, so
Janet had to receive her visitors on a fixed day. Aunt
Williams was very much scandalised by the way Janet's
wedding had been managed; "just as if," she said, "they
had not a penny to spare, or were ashamed of the con-
nection," and hoped, "that at least they would know how to
behave on this occasion ; and as it would cost nothing, that
they would let her send her parlour- maid, who was used to
showing in and announcing company." But Janet, at the
risk of giving further offence, with many thanks declined the
offer, saying her own maid thought she could manage ; " for,"
she said to her husband, "I should feel embarrassed in
affecting a style of appearance we cannot keep up ; and,
besides, it will be best that all who come should understand
that we mean to live quietly and humbly, and that we can
only choose for friends those who approve of our manner
"I am very glad," he answered, "that my little woman is
not unreasonably anxious to propitiate Mrs. Grundy; but I
am afraid Mrs. Williams will think we ought to have accepted
her splendid attendant."
"And have bewildered my Sarah by her magnificence, and
perhaps have turned her head by descriptions of the way
her family do things."
It was a great relief to Janet when this formality was over,
and she was able to settle down and put her housekeeping
matters in the groove her mind had prepared, and she found
much to occupy her from the first day of her coming home.
Sarah, the servant she had chosen, was a strong, willing
damsel, passionately addicted to scrubbing, but somewhat
averse to giving attention to the minutiae of cooking, and
Mrs. Fenton found she would require much patient super-
vision; however, having good hope that the root of the
matter was in her, she determined to give it. Of course to
do this effectually she had to devote much time, and so
rapidly did it fly, and so short did the days seem, that when
sometimes her husband inquired in the evening, if she "had
not been dull all that long day?" she would laughingly declare
she "had not had time to miss him."
To the habit of early rising the Fentons strictly adhered;
the maid was always called at half-past five o'clock, and they
rose soon after. At seven in the summer, and half-past
in the winter, they breakfasted. Then Mr. Fenton having
enjoyed the cosy little meal, for which Janet always had
some substantial delicacy prepared by herself because her
husband would only snatch a hasty mid-day meal in the
City, and she doubted much whether it was always whole-
some left her for the day, and she went to market before
commencing what she called her "kitchen fancy-work."
Janet always found that she was better served, and at a more
moderate rate, than if orders were given; and by going early
things were sent in when the people went their first rounds
to call for orders at most other houses, and thus she had
everything in good time which she required for her morning's
work. Bread, cakes, pastry, potted meats, and every kind of
preserve were made by her own hands, and something nice
always as carefully provided for supper as for breakfast,
because her husband shared it with her. Nor did she forget
the claims of the poor upon them, for although she had little
money to spare, she had regular pensioners, recommended
to her by the clergy of her parish, for whom she was
constantly able, by judicious management and economy, to
provide nourishing meals, and that from materials which in
too many houses are allowed to waste or are carelessly
At one o'clock came the simple, but substantial, dinner,
and thus the afternoon was generally disengaged for needle-
work, reading, letters, and visits. And the evening-time,
how happy it always was! Janet waiting with open arms for
her husband; the house so faultlessly neat; the table spread,
with everything on it as bright as if there were a pantry woman
and plate-cleaner kept, and the maid as trim, in spotless cap
and apron, as if she did nothing but wait upstairs; and
Janet threw aside then every occupation she could not share
with her husband. Sometimes she helped in the garden,
and planned little improvements, fowl-houses and so on;
and when, as it sometimes happened, Mr. Fenton proudly
brought a friend home, entertained them by singing her
sweet little songs, or by her lively and sensible conversation.
Of course this is but a sketch of the ordinary routine of
Mrs. Fenton's life; it was varied by the occasional visits of
friends, and now and then she spent a day out, or dined "at
home," as she still affectionately called her father's house,
but she was so attentive to her household duties as to
render much visiting impossible.
There were not wanting those who, on this account,
thought she failed in her duty to society. Mrs. Williams
especially, blamed her, even saying "she set a bad example,
for other men would be expecting their young wives to
make drudges of themselves, as she did. But Janet had
well weighed her line of conduct. Before her marriage she
foresaw its propriety and necessity, and now that she was
convinced it conduced not only to her husband's, but her
own happiness, she, whilst giving due attention to the
advice and opinion of others, resolutely held on her way,
feeling, too, that there was an elder and holier authority
even than her mother's for this conduct of young matrons,
for had not St. Paul admonished such to be keepers at
home; and was it not written in Solomon's sublime praises
of good women, "She looketh well to the ways of her
Janat had been married about six months, when
one evening Mr. Fenton brought news of having
met Miss Williams and Mr. Arkroyd, and of
having invited the former to spend the day with
his wife, and the latter to dine and take his
fiance home in the evening.
Janet was very happy to see her cousin, though
they had never been very intimate; for whilst the education
of the one had been completed at home, that of the other
had been "entirely received," as her mother was wont proudly
to say, "at the first schools in London and Paris," so that,
as girls, it was only during the holidays they ever met, and
then the immense difference in their tastes and pursuits
interposed a natural barrier to anything like close friendship.
Still, on Janet's part, there was a kindly, cousinly feeling,
which was almost affection towards Lily, who, however, was
prompted to this visit by no other motive than "to see what
sort of a muddle the Fentons lived in with one servant"
"Well, then, Janet," said Lily, as they sat chatting, "on
the whole you can recommend the married state, and assure
me that at least I do not risk happiness by entering it"
"Certainly," she answered, "so far as my own experience
goes, I can strongly recommend it; but I do not see how I
can give you the assurance you ask."
"Ah, it is asking me to enter on a long subject. First,
before I could even form an opinion, I must know how far
you and Mr, Arkroyd are suited to each other; whether
your views and tastes accord, whether you are prepared to
give mutual forbearance, and whether love has been founded
on the rock of esteem,' and last, though not least, I should
want a catalogue of your own domestic virtues and power
of household management."
"I think," replied Lily, "Arthur and I are fairly well
suited as to mind and temper. Certainly, we dearly love
each other. But, Janet, I never could live the life you do;
and if my happiness is to depend on following your ex-
ample, I am afraid there is small chance of it"
"I did not mean to insinuate that you should follow my
example; circumstances vary so much that no two persons
can order their lives just alike."
"No, but generally, I mean. I could not, for instance,
spend my mornings in teaching a servant her duties. I
could not give up balls and parties and the opera."
"There would be no need to do so if your husband's
means permit indulgence in such pleasures."
"But, Janet, do you mean to say your husband's income
obliges you to live as you do?"
"Yes," she replied, smiling, "I think it does."
"Then it's dreadful; and do you not fret at such bondage?"
Janet laughed outright now, and said, "I assure you, on
the contrary, I hug my chains."
"Seriously, though, do you not long to go out more?"
"I cannot say that I do. Still, I really enjoy the pleasures
of conversation and intercourse with cultivated minds;
and we have these in a quiet way."
"In a very quiet way, it seems. Does not Mr. Fenton
complain of the dull evenings?"
"That would be very uncomplimentary to me, Lily, and
he certainly never has done so."
"But can you not see, or do you not suspect, that he's
"Really, no; he always seems to be thoroughly happy
and content. You see, it is my whole aim to render him
"Yes, indeed, I see that; and I shall think Arthur dread-
fully exacting if he expects me to give up everything as you
Lily said this rather pettishly, and Janet, wishing to influ-
ence her, replied, very gently, though seriously:
"But believe me, dear Lily, I am not conscious of having
given up anything, nor have I been required to do so. Our
income is small, and in order to be able to meet contin-
gencies, we find it necessary to live very quietly. Charles
has never at any time suggested to me how I should order
my way of life, and I know moreover, if I thought it prudent
and wished it, he would be delighted to take me out; and
I think from even the little I know of Mr. Arkroyd, he also
will make his wife's pleasure his own."
"That's different, Janet You make your husband's plea-
sure yours. You said so; and it seems to me you quite
spoil him, and in doing so forget you have a duty besides
that to him, and one which surely ought to be considered.
I mean a duty to society." .
"One's duty to society," said Janet, thoughtfully, "is to
be a good wife, and mother, if God wills, a true and ready
friend, and in all things to set a good example."
"Well, yes; but you look at everything so gravely, Janet.
Is it not also a duty to society to visit and correspond with
one's friends, and to live suitably to the station in which one
has been brought up?"
"Of course one must. visit one's friends, provided we do
not let it generate into gadding; but living suitably to
one's station seems to me living within one's means; really
the present fashion of living so much beyond them looks
like infatuation. For myself, all I try to do is to incur
no expenses but those I am quite sure we shall be able
"Why," said Lily, again, with some petulance, "if one
is never to go out because of the expense, one is worse
off than a grocer's wife, who can ride in an omnibus, and
go to the pit of the theatre."
"I agree with you that it is a pity we have all grown
so extra 'genteel' that many things which were thought
good enough for our parents, or, certainly, grandparents, are
impossibly vulgar for us, and that so the mere keeping
up of appearances is a most serious item in our expendi-
ture, and obliges us often to forego a pleasure rather than
indulge in it in a quiet way."
"Janet, you make me wish I had not consented to be
narried to Arthur. I shall ruin him, if all you say is true.
I cannot live a humdrum life."
"Dear Lily, do not say so. You said you truly loved
him, and affection will make it easy to give up everything
contrary to his interest, which is, of course, your own."
"If I give up a great deal, visiting and the opera, I
cannot do with one servant, or go to bed at ten o'clock, or
get up at unearthly hours, as you do. Neither can I cook,
nor, indeed, sew much."
"I am afraid I must tell you," said Janet, "that if you
wish to go on smoothly, you will find it needful to do all
these things. But it is my conviction that the greatest
effort required is to make up your' mind to it"
"Ah! you don't know me. I must have a certain lady-
like entourage, or I cannot be happy. I am sure, having
been used to a carriage at home, I cannot do without a
hired brougham whenever I reasonably require one."
"That would not be often. Our reasonable requirements
are limited in most things, and very much so in the matter
of broughams. I have not used one since I married."
"What, not to return your calls?"
"No; people who would require me to incur needless
expense on their account would not be worth knowing.
I found a cab occasionally quite as much as I could
"You certainly must, Janet, be the strongest-minded
woman ever born."
"If it is strength of mind which enables me to do my
duty as far as I see it, it is a comfort to me to possess it
But tell me, Lily, and then we will change the subject,
should I not be both foolish and wicked to spend more
money than Charles gives me, or rather, as I could not do
that, incur debts; and do you not think it right, even at the
cost of some little effort of self-denial, to save something
against a time of sickness or trouble?"
"Oh, yes, most wonderful cousin; only do not expect
me to do it."
Miss Williams was much surprised to find her cousin
sitting with ladylike ease, chatting and sewing through the
afternoon. She fully expected Janet would be fidgeting in
and out of the room to look after the cooking, and as she
did not do so, settled in her own mind that the dinner
would consist of a leg of mutton with cindery gravy, and an
underdone apple-pudding; Lily's astonishment was there-
fore proportionate when seated at the table, laid with glass
and silver faultlessly bright, there came first a delicious
Palestine soup with croutons, fried to perfection, and a pair
of soles au gratin. Sarah's face had on it a look of concen-
trated attention and satisfaction, and, unless let into the
secret, nobody would have supposed that the cleanly, neat-
handed maiden was one who in too many houses is " the
slavey" a girl of all work. When she had handed the
plates she vanished, and the little party, in the interval
of the next course, found it easy to assist themselves, as
everything they would require was on the table or within
Mrs. Fenton's reach.
There followed the fish, stewed beef a delicate, dainty-
looking morsel as tender as chicken, and having sinews
melting like jelly in the mouth. It was enriched by its own
well-prepared gravy, and garnished with the vegetable with
which it had been stewed ; and beside this, a fowl stuffed
with some delicious and mysterious compound of pork and
shalot, and covered with a white sauce. This course re-
moved, pretty little tartlets, a lemon pudding, and cold
souffle followed; everything, as Lily said, was perfection,
slily hinting at "good pastrycooks in the neighbourhood."
Mr. Fenton soon disabused her mind of that idea; where-
upon Mr. Arkroyd refused to believe the servant who waited
on them could have cooked the dinner, unless, indeed, she
had had the help of fairies. Mr. Fenton declared he knew
of but one, and her name was "Management"
When the ladies were for a brief time, alone Lily ex-
claimed, "Oh, Janet, what a wonderful person you are!
Fancy getting such a dinner cooked by that young girl
how did you manage?"
"It was easy enough, my dear; but I think the secret of
it was that Sarah had very little indeed to do, except mind
the things did not boil or burn, for all were prepared
for her before your arrival, and you see there could be no
great difficulty in taking up as each dish was prepared in
its own sauce. The soup was partly made yesterday, and
everything we required sent in last night, except the fish,
which was very quickly prepared, and all Sarah had to do
was to bake it for half-an-hour. Then the beef was put on
at eight o'clock this morning, with a sufficient quantity of
vegetables, and enough weak stock to cover it You know
it was just the shin, and though the most delicious part for
stewing, requires cooking long and slowly; it was sufficiently
done at twelve o'clock to allow me to skim and thicken the
gravy and add a little soy, which was all the additional flavour
it had. The beef was then returned to its gravy, and allowed
to keep just warm till dinner-time, when it simmered for
half-an-hour. The vegetables had been put aside in a little
stewpan by themselves, and just before dinner were allowed
to get hot, and they garnished the dish. As to 'the triumphant
fowl,' as you call it, it was stuffed and ready for
stewing before I left the kitchen, and the white onion sauce
you so much admired also in its stewpan, so Sarah would
have been a goose to have spoiled anything."
"But the pastry and sweets, Janet, did you make them?"
"Those weighty trifles I compounded yesterday, except
the pudding, which Sarah had to boil, and I could see by
the satisfied expression of her face as she set it on the table
that she thought the turning out did her credit."
"It was a delicious pudding ; but, Janet, it seems to me
you economise in some things only to be extravagant in
others. That dinner must have cost a great deal."
" Less, I assure you, than a plain joint of beef. Suppos-
ing I tell you how much: the soup cost ninepence; the
soles, a shilling; the beef, one and eightpence; the fowl
Charles brought me from the market, two shillings and
ninepence; and vegetables and other sundries would cer-
tainly not come to a shilling."
"But the pudding, Janet; it must have taken a quantity
"Only one, and I can make it for sixpence. Ah! I see
you are going to catch me about the souffle, and I admit
that is a slight extravagance it actually took four eggs, half
a pint of milk, a little strawberry jam, and a sponge-cake;
but Charlie is so fond of it and considers it such a chef-
d'oeuvre of mine, that I indulged myself let me see at the ex-
pense of tenpence. As to the pastry, that I always have in the
house, as Charles likes it, and will only eat it if home-made."
"You have gone so into facts and figures that I cannot
say there has been any magic, but I declare that our cook,
who has a kitchen-maid to help, never sends up anything
half as nice or as hot as your Sarah has done to-day ; and I
hear mamma say they are most extravagant, and that made
dishes are ruinous."
"That is a pity, because they make a nice change. I
should find it very awkward to have joints frequently, besides
I do not approve of living too much on cold meat, or of
having it twice cooked very often."
"I shall be afraid when I am married to ask you to dinner,
Janet ; you would be so hard upon a failure."
"No, indeed, I should only be severe where no attempt
was made to do the best circumstances allowed; but, Lily,
you are going to become a famous housekeeper to learn
everything that can make home happy."
Lily, however, only shook her head, and looked puzzled
Meanwhile Mr. Arkroyd, trembling as he was on the
verge of matrimony, was glad to discuss his prospects
with Mr. Fenton, who having so recently made the venture
might be supposed to have some little experience.
"It's delightful, Fenton," said Mr. Arkroyd, "to see you
so happy and comfortable, with such a bright, cozy, habi-
tation, and such a presiding genius as your wife."
"I assure you that if it is delightful to witness, the ex-
perience is infinitely more delightful I sometimes think I
am the luckiest and happiest fellow alive."
"It is satisfactory to know you are not insensible to your
blessings. As a prospective member of the family I must
be allowed to say that while you have a most charming and
graceful companion, whose rare sweetness is enhanced by
good sense, you have at the same time been fortunate in
securing one whose home virtues are quite resplendent"
"Thank you; it is always agreeable to a husband to hear
his wife's praises. They find an echo in my heart ; but
nothing that can be said equals her merits or my apprecia-
tion of them; "and in a low tone he added, whilst he
inclined his head, "I often think, who am I that, above
others, such a treasure should be given to my keeping; but
I must hope, Arkroyd, that your own matrimonial venture
may be no less successful."
"Lily," he replied, "is all I, or any other man, could
wish ; but she has everything in domestic matters to learn,
and so I am a little anxious lest my income should be in-
sufficient. Living, nowadays, is enormously expensive.
"Yes, but you have more income than we, and with care
and economy will do very well."
"And if we can press that fairy of yours, Management,
into our service."
"At the same time try if you can find another willing
to join her, my mother-in-law's famous handmaiden,
On their way home, Mr. Arkroyd expatiated to Lily on
the perfect arrangement of her cousin's menage, and the
charming manner in which she had entertained them. "I
wonder, darling," he said, gently, "if we shall ever get on
"Janet is a drudge," replied Lily, sharply. " I hope you
do not expect me to be one?"
"Mrs. Fenton does not give me the idea of a drudge,
my dear. On the contrary, she looked at the head of the
table every inch the lady. I think she is a most charming
"Did you notice her hands, pray I"
"They were neither so pretty nor so white as yours, love;
but although one could see they had been serviceable to
their owner, by their cleanliness and well-trimmed nails they
fulfilled all ladylike conditions."
"Are you aware that she cooked the dinner?"
"It did her infinite credit"
"Oh, I have no patience ! If you want a cook and house-
keeper you can engage one at a moderate rate, and she will
make it her interest to feed you properly. On the whole, it
would be cheaper and less trouble than a wife. It is not too
late to alter your mind, you know."
"It is too late, my Lily," he said, tenderly, "because life
without you can never be happy to me. I would not change
you for the most perfect housekeeper the world ever pro-
"Well, then, don't preach Mrs. Fenton to me any more,
because it only annoys me. I shall never be like her, nor
do as she does ; it is not in me."
No one, having heard this, can say that Mr. Arkroyd
went blindfold to his fate. If men who, like him, having
only moderate incomes, have not the sense to see that women
without the knowledge of domestic affairs, or the wish to
devote themselves to them, will make unsuitable wives, they
must abide the inevitable consequence of wretched, mis-
managed, extravagant homes. If they for any reason prefer
either the girls who have been brought up in luxurious idle-
ness, or those whose whole aim is to attract them by a showy
style of dress, and who appear in public with no other mo-
tive, they ought not to expect that they will be other than
true to their training. It is equally as true that if a child is
trained up in the way she should go she will not depart from
it, as that she will not depart from the teaching which has
been false and vicious.
It is asserted in most things that a demand creates a
supply. Can it be that the taste of the men of this age de-
mands women for wives whose extravagant notions would go
far to ruin the majority? When a man of moderate means sees
a girl much abroad, constantly changing her dresses, always
attired in the best and latest fashion, with the daintiest kid
gloves and careless of soiling them, with broad ribbons and
long streamers, elegant feathers and expensive bonnets, not
to mention coils of false hair and much jewellery, he ought
at once to consider whether he will be able to afford such
things; whether it would not be impossible for the wearer
to give them up, and whether they are not the indications of
extravagant habits and inclinations. Or, if he thinks these
things merely used as baits to catch him or some other
husband, ought he not rather to recoil in disgust than be at-
tracted by them? If he thinks vanity so ruling a passion in a
woman that he excuses the errors into which it leads her, he
should at least be sure that it will be as strong after marriage
as before it, and consider if he can for life draw sufficiently,
either on his purse or his admiration, to satisfy the cravings
of such a passion. Of course neatness and propriety of dress
are necessary in every station, but the daughter of a trades-
man or merchant now requires to be dressed like a duchess ;
not only to have the richest materials, but to have them made
up by expensive dressmakers in extravagant style. We speak
within bounds when we say that even in our own recol-
lection, dresses thought good enough for "best" by girls
of this class are now worn in the morning, and that three
dresses at least are required where one used to be sufficient
It seems to us one need not look farther than this for
the cause of much domestic misery. If a woman's whole
soul is bent on her own adornment she becomes selfish,
exacting, and unwilling to give either time or interest to the
comfort of those to whom she is bound, and it is certain
also that so much pains about her appearance are not taken
for their pleasure, but that she must be much in public "to
show herself." Let it become known that men are tired of
all false glitter, that they can only be attracted by modest
worth and domestic virtue, and things will be altered, and
until then we can only say, like the veiled prophet, "Ye
would be dupes and victims and ye are!"
Well, Mrs. Green, and so you've heard of a
situation for me?"
"Yes, my dear; and you go and give your
warning this very night, for you're wanted
within the month."
"It's certain then, mum, that I shall be
wanted? for the amiable lady I've now the
pleasure to serve is so fond of me, she won't spare me one
minute before my time.
"You must wheedle her; or, if you can't do that, give a
"Will that pay?"
With a wink, the presiding genius of the register-office
said, "Lucy Tomkins, I've provided for that; I've looked
you out as the most favoured competitor for the prize of a
young, inexperienced, new-married lady."
"My month's wage is gone, Mrs. Green; lors, what luck !
What's the figger?"
"That's your look out; she'll give anything, her ma says,
in reason, to a steady, careful cook."
"That's what I am, and no mistake."
"Her ma's a regular customer of mine, as good as an
annuity; has two or three cooks every year, three or four
housemaids, and small fry without number."
"Can't put up, then, the old party, with the ways of
modern domestics. I say, Mrs. Green, won't she be putting
the young one up to a thing or two?"
"My dear, Mrs. Williams is a jewel; never goes in the
kitchen, don't object to anything reasonable, only requires
a good cook, who has the ability to study her own interests
unobtrusively; but you know I could not live if I let her
keep all my best girls."
"Oh, you're a artful one, Mrs. Green, that's what you
"Not so green as my name, my dear, that's all: but I
must say Lucy Tomkins might take and wear it as a motto."
"Oh, yes ! Lucy is verdant when it suits her. But, to
return to business : how many's kept, and what sort?'*
"Experienced housemaid only at first."
"I must have a suitable mate, mind."
"I've looked you out a girl after your own heart, who will
work with you day and night. You know Emma Fair-
weather ? "
"Jolly old Emma? She'll do."
"All right ; she's engaged rather low, fourteen pounds, but
her last place was backward in coming forward to give her
testimonials, and I had to say the lady was annoyed at
losing a valuable servant"
"If that's a cause for crusty character, whatever will be-
come of me? I know Mrs. Dickson will be in a fine way
when I give her notice."
"Never you mind, you've only yourself to look to;
missuses are all for themselves, and servants must look
sharp for self, too. What wages shall you ask?"
"Seventeen, and all found."
"Better say sixteen ; you can have any amount of pickings."
"Well, I'm not particular to a pound, for I should like to
live in a place where I can dish the missus, and bless your
heart, there's small chance at Dickson's. Leg of mutton,
hot, cold, and hashed, and the joint of beef (not too fre-
quent) scraped to the bone. Then the butter's 'lowanced,
and its mean to screw out of the children; even the dripping
used up, and I have to dodge no end of a lot to bag a bit
I hate such ways!"
I am sure you'll have nothing of that kind to contend with in
a competition it's my belief Miss Williams knows no more
how much suet goes to a pudding than my kitten. By and
by, perhaps, she'll begin to calculate, and then you must
take things with ah 'igh hand, and say you learned your
business under a man-cook who was a pupil of Francatelli,
and that to make things proper and good you can't be stinted
in trifles which eggs and butter are."
"Dear me, Mrs. Green; after the confidence you was so
obliging as to express in my innocence, your advice is
supereggertory. Leave me alone to manage a young in-
eggsperienced lady? Pray, ma'am, is my future employers
"Can't say; but it won't matter to you."
"Not a nutmeg, Mrs. Green. But if I've this painful
duty to perform as our school-teacher used to say when
she hit us raps over our knuckles I'll away and get it done.
I feel for Mrs. Dickson, I really do!"
"A matter of business. Miss Tomkins, and pray do the
thing as such; and to-morrow, at twelve o'clock, wait on
their address, and say I sent you ; and put on your engage-
ment bonnet as well as your manners, and do credit to the
character I've given you."
"Trust me, Mrs. Green, and thank you; and when I get
to my new situation, I shan't forget who recommended me in."
"If you please, ma'am, can I speak to you?" said Lucy
Tomkins to Mrs. Dickson, as soon as she returned to that
"Certainly, Lucy ; come in. What is it?"
"If you please, Mrs. Dickson, I feel that I ought to be
doing better, and therefore you must please to take my
"Well, Lucy," said the lady, humbly, "I shall be sorry to
lose you; it is so trying, in my delicate state of health, to
change one's servants. If it is that you are not satisfied
with your wages, I am sure Mr. Dickson will allow me to
"But it's not altogether the wages, ma'am ; it's the oppor-
tunity I want."
"To improve myself. You see, you live so plain; has
no hentries; nothing but roast and boiled; and really I'm
very sorry, but I must consider myself."
"Very well, Lucy; I am afraid if you cannot do with our
way of living, we must part But I also am sorry."
"There's no help for it that I see, for I've thought and
thought, and says I to myself, Mrs. Dickson suits me, and
I suit her; but there's no opportunities; and I laid awake,
and cried all night, and, says I, this won't do; so I'll tell
mistress at once. I hope, ma'am, if I hear of a suitable
situation, you'll speak for me; and if so be you could suit
yourself before the month, and release me, I shall be much
"I will try, Lucy."
And poor Mrs. Dickson applied in a few days to that
most respectable register-office of which Mrs. Green was
the nominal superintendent and real proprietress, and was
supplied with a cook in time to allow the invaluable Tomkins
to enter the service of the newly-married Mr. and
"I did hope," said Mrs. Green to the victim then under
hand (Mrs. Dickson), "that now you were suited," Lucy
Tomkins is a very good servant, but she has the very
common fault of not knowing when she is well off. I must
say, after all your kindness and consideration, it appears a
little ungrateful. It's enough to make ladies hard-hearted,
for certainly the more they do for servants, the more they
may. But don't you mind, ma'am; I'll find you a good
substitute. Indeed, I have one in my eye now." And so,
indeed, she had, and earned several more half-crowns by
dexterous management, in enticing away servants and sup-
plying others to fill the vacancies thus created.
It was quite true, as Lucy Tomkins had said, that the
Dicksons did live very plainly; for, as Mrs. Dickson had
no knowledge of cookery herself, and could not afford to
trust to a cook, she found the only plan open to her was
closely to estimate the quantities required for the actual
existence of her household, and to allow so much, and no
more. Thus a large leg of mutton, with a very limited
supply of "trimmings," would usually, with a pudding,
form the Sunday's dinner, and was expected to, and did,
last cold for two or three days. Bread and butter, or
treacle, was all that was allowed for the children and
nursery at other meals, and bread and cheese for the
supper of the governess and servants. Of course, these
last fared better than the governess and children, for, with
all the closeness of her calculations, Mrs. Dickson could
not outwit such a clever girl as Lucy, who would have her
" rasher " and dumpling or cake, whether allowed or not.
But the governess, who could only have her allotted portions,
was dispirited, and had a languid state of health, sadly un-
fitting her for her occupation. The children grew up
slight and delicate, with very small appetites, and unable to
take anything but the fare to which they had been accus-
tomed, turning even in disgust from any well-cooked stew,
or anything 'but joints plainly boiled or roasted.
Mrs. Dickson was accustomed to speak of her children as
if they belonged to some exceptional and extraordinary
species. The least thing, she said, made them bilious.
Eggs were too rich for them. Even boiled milk for break-
fast could only be taken occasionally. A little tea suited
them best Coffee did not agree with them either, and cold
bacon made them ill. It was certainly true; but why?
The little creatures had been so stinted and so restricted
that their stomachs had become even more incapable of
discharging their office than they would probably have been
if constantly loaded with improper diet.
But it must not be supposed Mrs. Dickson was not an
affectionate mother. It was her judgment, not her heart,
which erred, and the pity of it is that errors of judgment
are commonly more fatal than those of the affections. She
argued: "The children of the poor do not have delicacies, and
why should mine require them? If the children of working
people get meat two or three times a week, it is considered
very well, and mine, with meat once a day regularly, ought
to be very strong and healthy; and yet I believe it would
suit them better to have rice or sago every other day, instead
It is true that the hardy children of the true peasant type
can live on very meagre food, if they have enough of it;
but it is not so with the children of working people in large
towns. They require, and commonly get, a more stimulating
diet; if not actual meat, yet good substitutes for it in
dripping and fat of various kinds, and vegetables cooked
with meat; and if they do not have proper nourishment,
they become sickly and liable to disease. But Mrs. Dickson
argued unconsciously from premises that suited her arrange-
ments. She had a grand appearance to keep up, she and
her children were always obliged to appear well dressed
and she had carte blanche from her husband to hire a
brougham whenever she thought it needful. There was of'
necessity always a neatly-dressed maid to attend the door
for callers, and she herself in readiness to receive them.
To effect all this, as well as to have a large, " well-situated
house," it was needful to pinch somewhere, for both she
and her husband had a wholesome horror of debt and
so the lot fell on what she called "domestic economy,"
a rigid apportioning of the' cheapest material on which life
could be sustained. It was no wonder the doctor's bill
was always heavy, or that he never suggested extra nourish-
ment for anyone but Mrs. Dickson.
Lilian William's wedding was said to have
been one of the gayest of the season; she had
eight bridesmaids and a large number of guests
at the ceremony, whilst she herself was attired
in the fullest magnificence of bridal costume.
Everything was thoroughly well done in the
latest fashion, and Mrs. Williams felt her
ambition and vanity gratified to an unprecedented extent.
That Lily was married, that one of her girls was "settled,
"was good; but "the grand wedding" was to her
of much more consequence, and so intent was her mind
on this one idea that she never even noticed the grave
change which was stealing over her husband. People re-
marked to each other at the wedding that "Williams was
breaking up sadly," and noted as singular that he became
even paler as his glance fell on the splendour of the break-
fast-table. Some, however, referred this and the painful
effort with which he spoke to his emotion. "It is so hard,"
they whispered, "to part from a favourite child; "but surprise
and conjecture became more rife when it was his duty
to make his speech, and in an agitated tone he said: "I am
very glad to give my daughter to a good man; she takes
him little but her love; may that be all sufficing now and
whilst they live! I feel certain his home and guardianship
will be surer than mine, and for this, too, I am thankful she
should go with him."
"Were you mad," exclaimed Mrs. Williams, in their first
private moment, "to tell the world you had nothing to give
your daughter, and to sit there looking like a ghost at a
funeral rather than a parent at a wedding? You spoilt the
whole thing, and I never will forgive you."
"Everybody will know soon, Anne, that we had no right
to such a display. I said what I did to prepare their minds
for that which may come any hour now."
"What do you mean, Fred," cried Mrs. Williams, in great
excitement, "by thus trying to make me miserable?"
"Anne, is this the first time I have told you that we are
living beyond- our means?"
"Is it the first time I have told you, you have no spirit,
that it is worse to look poor than to be poor?"
"I dispute that; but let it pass. I have perhaps wanted
spirit, and certainly I have wanted firmness; but you must
not blame me when you know the worst."
Then Mrs. Williams became alarmed, and entreated an
explanation. But although when it was given she perceived
their affairs were growing desperate, she did not counsel her
husband at all risks to pause and put his house on a different
footing she was too proud to acknowledge before the world
that they were poor, but not too proud to act the lie of her
life out. So she urged her husband at any cost "to keep up
his credit;" and the result was that when an opportunity
even in these days of lax commercial morality, regarded
neither as honest nor legitimate offered, Mr. Williams
forfeited for ever his character for integrity, and committed
himself to a scheme which ultimately worked not only his
own ruin, but that of many innocent people. But, for some
time it gave his wife the means to gratify her extravagance,
and she, though feeling the supplies were drawn from
perilous sources, never heeded consequences, nor hesitated
to make every consideration subserve to her love of display.
We must, however, leave her, to follow more closely now
the fortunes of her daughter.
The honeymoon over, Lily and her husband returned
from Paris supremely happy, the one looking forward with
delight to her new mode of life, the other to the quiet joys
of home which, alas! he too soon discovered would not
be his. There had been some difficulty in fixing on a
residence for the young couple. Mr. Arkroyd would have
preferred to live at some little distance from town, but
to this Lily had objected, saying, piteously, she "should be
buried alive; that as to a garden, it was the most expensive
luxury in the world. Did not even papa say, every cabbage
cost him half-a-crown? Besides, they could have a little
one without going out of everybody's reach for it."Then
he tried for some nearer suburban retreat; but in vain, as
Lily, seconded by her mother, had determined that, as they
could not afford to keep a carriage, they ought to be near
town, and so Albany Villa, in the vicinity of Regent's
Park, was decided on.
Mr. Arkroyd felt they were beginning badly in having a
larger house than they required, and that ninety pounds a-
year was too much rent for their income. However, as
nothing more moderate considered habitable by the ladies
could be found, he was obliged to consent to take it. When
it came to the furnishing he was sorely puzzled, for if he
had acted on Mrs. Williams's suggestions he would have out-
run the sum put aside for that purpose; so he at once gave
the whole affair to an upholsterer whose estimate seemed
moderate, and the result of this was that the articles supplied
to him were made rather to please the eye than with any
reference to possible wear, and that he paid much more for
them than he would have done had they been chosen by a
competent judge. Mrs. Williams and Lily, however, with
their habitual want of thought for the future, declared all
very nice and satisfactory, never heeding how soon the
delicate net and lace would look soiled, the beautiful chintz
be crumpled, or the gilding be tarnished. It was all very
pretty now and fit for a bride, and that sufficed them.
Lily entered on her new sphere of action with no misgivings
as to her power of management She found she had two
clever servants, who undertook everything without
any trouble to her, and that she had plenty of time on her
hands for visiting and pleasure. Invitations poured in upon
her, and all were as nearly as possible' accepted, so that she
and her husband now saw next to nothing of each other;
for, tired with the dissipation of the previous evening, she
could never rise to join him at breakfast, and then he went
to his office, and only returned in time to dress for some
party or public amusement.
This was not what Mr. Arkroyd had pictured to himself
of wedded happiness, but he dearly loved his wife and was
glad she should enjoy herself while she was so bright and
young, and he kept saying to himself, "By and by she will
settle down; it will all come right in time." Meanwhile,
however, he was much dismayed to find that their household
expenditure in comparison with their income was enormous,
and with much gentleness and caution he approached the
subject with his wife.
"My dear," he said, "I am short of money."
"And so am I, Arthur; the five pounds you gave me on
Monday are all gone. Money is such a trouble to me and
goes so fast that I sometimes think I must lose it."
"Well, I am almost inclined to think so, too, now and
then," he said, smiling, "but really, dearest, we must
be careful; it is now just three months since we began
housekeeping, and we have spent nearly two hundred
"Nonsense, Arthur, how can it be? You don't mean
to say I have spent all that?"
"Not quite; still you know I have had no personal expenses
beyond that of my transit to and from the City, and
"Then you mean to say I am an extravagant wife. Oh!
I wish I never, never"
"Now, Lily darling, do not be unkind. I only want to
show you that if we go on as we have begun, we shall end
in ruin and misery. Let us talk it over quietly, and see
how the money goes, and where we can retrench."
"It's dreadful!" she persisted; "I have not had even a
new pair of gloves since I married I mean I have not
bought any. All the money goes in housekeeping. We
"Yes, and well too; but still we must be more economical
It strikes me, do you know, that Lucy is very extravagant,
for that night you were ill I went into the kitchen for hot
water, and saw the remains of the servants' supper.
There were cold fowl and tongue, oyster shells and empty stout
bottles, besides apple-pie and tarts, and it looked as if four
persons had supped. I did not wish to worry you then,
so I asked Lucy what it meant, and she answered me pertly
that they had treated themselves to oysters, and that the
other things wanted eating, and so they had them; and
altogether denied having had friends."
"Oh dear, Arthur, how can you be so suspicious. Lucy
is most invaluable and such a good cook. If you heard
half the stories I do of other people's servants, you would
pronounce her a treasure."
"I am afraid, my dear, you trust her too far and Emma
also; not only does she have the care of all your own
things, but you leave everything in the way of stores in
her charge. Now I think such confidence can never safely
be placed in untried persons."
"I had excellent characters with both my servants."
"Still, I advise you to limit your confidence in them."
Lily thought a moment. A conviction that her husband
was right flashed across her mind; but to make any
alterations must, she knew, diminish her own ease and
opportunities for pleasure, so she determined to resist his
rght to interfere with her management, and answered, pettishly,
"You must really take to the housekeeping yourself if you
are not satisfied with my management I know the servants
are honest, or I should not trust them; it would make my
life miserable to be suspecting those about me and to be
stingy in trifles."
"You know, darling," he continued, in the same gentle
tone, "that I am quite satisfied you do your very best to
manage properly, but yet I cannot let things go on at this
pace; and how we are to make our income last out this
year, having begun so badly, I cannot think."
"Oh! people will trust us."
"Does my Lily," he said, with some sternness now,
"mean to be dishonest? Never let me hear you say such
a thing again, but remember we must and shall pay our way
and live within our income."
And now Mrs. Arkroyd resorted to a weak woman's de-
fence tears and hysteric sobs. "Oh! why had he taken
her from her happy home? how could he speak in that
cruel way? she would go back and never see him again
if he could not always be as kind as he had been."
"My dear," he said, "I have only spoken under the gravest
compulsion, and you must feel it would have been false
kindness to allow things to go on to the verge of ruin with-
out warning you. I must leave you now, but you will think it
over, and we will talk again about what is best to be done."
When left to herself Mrs. Arkroyd felt very uncomfortable,
for not only did she know that she had spent a great deal
of money, but that there were many debts, such as twenty
pounds to the livery-stable keeper, for she had adhered to
her determination to have a brougham whenever she required
it, and had indulged in riding, always, of course, attended by
a groom. Besides this, ten pounds were due to her milliner
and dressmaker; for, although her trousseau was handsome,
she had found in going out so much that dresses required
renovating and re-trimming, and that head-dresses and
bonnets must be made to the latest fashion and suitable to
every occasion. "You know," she had said to her husband,
1 must be particular, being a bride; I shall be so much
observed," and to this he assented, without thinking of the
Whilst Lily was still holding troubled converse with
herself, her mother called to see her, and to her she poured
out her trouble.
"Oh!" she cried, "Arthur is so angry at expenses, he
says we shall be ruined. I did not tell him of some bills
which have just come in. What must I do, mother?"
"When you have been a wife half my time, Lily, you
will have learned to take no notice of a husband's outcry
about expenses; they always make a fuss before they
are hurt, lest a blow be given unawares. Still, my dear, you
must not be extravagant."
"I am not, I am sure. I cannot imagine where all the
"You should keep an account."
"But you never did."
"No; I told your father, on his frequently suggesting it,
that it was trouble enough to get money from him and then
spend it, without accounting for it But then our circum-
stances are so different to yours. You pay your own bills,
"No; Lucy said she had always been accustomed to do
it, and so I let her."
"Of course, then, you look them over and check
"Sometimes; but they generally go two or three weeks,
and I forget what we have had. But Lucy sees they are
all right, she says, and she orders what we want. It would
be no use my interfering if even she did cheat me. I don't
know what is really necessary."
"I think, my dear, you must try and learn."
"Ah! that is easier said than done. Servants do not
like one in the kitchen, and will not stay if one is too
particular. I only wish Arthur had more money, and
then there would not be such trouble about trifles."
"Well, Lily, you knew what you had to expect before
your marriage. You pleased yourself, for I certainly ex-
pected you to do better as regards money. You must
make the best of your position now."
"Oh, do not think I would change Arthur for anybody in
the world; only I am very wretched about the bills, and
think it would have been better not to have married at all
if things are to be like this."
"You had better tell Arthur about the bills at once."
"You must do it sooner or later, unless you save and so
"That I should never do."
After some further attempts to help her daughter, which
all proved fruitless, Mrs. Williams left her to the adjustment
of her own affairs.
"Missus has been crying," said Emma to Lucy.
"I was dusting just outside the door when Mrs. Williams
was with her, and I could make out that master thinks we're
a-going it Living too fast, that's about it."
"Hadn't we better cut it then, Emma?"
"Oh, I don't think the game's up yet; but I've noticed
a queer look in his eye ever since he went ferreting down-
stairs and saw them oyster shells."
"Pity he can't mind his own business; but if he gives
me any more of his nonsense I shall tell him to suit him-
"So shall I"
Next door to Albany Villa there lived a lady who
has, for ten years been so severely afflicted by
rheumatism as to be unable to walk or even
get up from her chair without assistance. Her
self amusement consisted in watching and
gossiping about her neighbours, and it was with
no small delight she found the new comers, Mr. and Mrs.
Arkroyd, such favourable subjects for her. For ten years
had Miss Wilson sat the greater part of each day in her
luxurious chair, propped up by cushions in an angle of the
pleasant bay-window, looking out and commenting upon
the world of passers, with whom she had long been too
feeble to mingle. As is always the case with confirmed
gossips, there was a spice of malice in all her observations,
and she could not be fully interested in any tale unless
there was some open or latent scandal in it The prime
minister of this local terror was an ancient handmaid, who
had lived with her mistress for thirty years, and it was to
her Miss Wilson looked for her strongest meat in the form
of gossip From the very moment Albany Villa was taken
by Mr. Arkroyd, did Miss Wilson and Elgeth, her maid,
commence their observations. They saw him enter to view
it with the agent, on the morrow noted Lily and her mother
come to inspect it, and then, when the bill was removed,
knew all was settled, and the faces of their future neighbours.
Elgeth soon discovered that the furnishing was done
under an estimate, and until all was finished they had plenty
to do in lamenting about the fragile character of the furniture.
"I think," said Elgeth, "I never saw so many skeletons
in my life; the things look as if they were made for nothing
but airing hangings, or as if the new-comers were going to
open a laundry, and had got in a lot of new patent clothes-
"And the kitchen things," chimed in Miss Wilson;
"why, they are only fit for a doll's house!"
"Or to play at housekeeping, ma'am. I must say it is
all that young lady looks fit for, and that she's very much
of a piece with the furniture."
The next sensation was made by the arrival of the two
servants, upon whom Elgeth at once pronounced condem-
nation, intimating, though not in poetic language, that she
"saw the future lying like a map before her eyes. As sure
as you're there, ma'am, it will be a case of Smallsons."
Now Smallsons were people who had once resided on the
other side of Alton Lodge, and who had suddenly come to
grief and vanished from the neighbourhood; and though
Miss Wilson said, "Elgeth, don't think of such dreadful
things," it was clear, by the smile with which she received
the prophecy, that she shared the impression of her hand-
maid. Since the Arkroyds had taken possession of their
new home it had been remarked that Miss Wilson sat
longer in her window than formerly, and that when her
chair was wheeled away Elgeth took up the post of observation.
It was one evening shortly before the conversation in
which Mr. Arkroyd had intimated to Lily his distrust of
their servants, that Elgeth turned from the window to her
mistress, now seated by the fire, and exclaimed, "The
carriage is round again, ma'am; another evening party.
Would you like to be wheeled up and see Mrs. Arkroyd
"No, thank you, I know all her toilettes; you can tell me
which she's wearing to-night, and whether he's saving his
gloves, as usual."
"Very grand to-night, ma'am; wedding-dress, and Mr.
Arkroyd has on the left glove."
Miss Wilson laughed slightly, and then, as if some
sympathy for the unfortunate husband were newly evoked,
heaved a sigh. "To be sure," she said, "he wore the right
the night before last Oh! if she were only half as careful.
Gone, are they; and pray do the servants receive this evening?"
"I expect so; I saw that loose-looking man in the grey
suit hovering about an hour since. I declare I am getting
quite frightened; it is not safe, to be where there are such
goings on. He's gone in, ma'am ; and bless me if the
housemaid is not come out in her mistress's white cloak
and the blue bonnet with marabouts."
"Elgeth, it is no use, this cannot go on; something must
be done to warn these young people of the sort of creatures
they have about them."
"Of course, Miss Wilson," replied Elgeth, stiffly, "you
can do as you like; but I should say that no warning,
short of telling Mrs. Arkroyd to stay at home and mind
her own house, would be of any use."
"But there are better servants than hers, some who
could be trusted "
"There were in my day, ma'am; but where to go for
one now, I don't know."
Miss Wilson was very much alive to any assumption of
superiority on the part of her old servant, and tartly
replied : " Do not be conceited, Elgeth. I say, again,
Mrs. Arkroyd ought to be warned."
"And would you send me in to do it, or write a note,
and lay yourself open to a lawyer's letter for defamation
of character, and the vengeance of those dreadful women
into the bargain ? Mrs. Arkroyd must buy her experience,
ma'am, and if it's rather dear, you won't have to pay."
"You are getting old and selfish, Elgeth, and I shall
consider what is to be done."
Elgeth now retired from her post of observation, and
lapsed into silence, which Miss Wilson knew to be her
favourite mode of expressing her indignation. Nothing
more was said on that evening, but the next morning
Elgeth entered the room full of importance, evidently
having something of remarkable interest to communicate.
"I have just been," she said, "to the butchers, and
Gleeson said that Mrs. Arkroyd's cook had left her trades-
people's books behind her, and would I mind taking them
to her, as I lived so close; and here they are, ma'am,
and a fine tale they unfold Why, Gleeson's bill for last
week is two pounds, and you know they never dined at
home but once; and then here is Fowke, fishmonger, ten
shillings; and fifteen shillings for eggs and poultry; and
if there isn't five pounds of butter in six days, I am not
your maid Elgeth!"
Miss Wilson could not resist the temptation of examining
the books herself, and declared that never in her experience
had she seen anything revealing such a dreadful state of things,
and intimated that everything was charged much higher to
the Arkroyds than to herself.
"No doubt, ma'am; but, then, there's nobody to give
percentage to in your establishment When ladies have
nobody they can trust, they should pay their own bills."
"Run in with the books, and I will think what is best
to be done."
But it ended in Miss Wilson agreeing with Elgeth that
Mrs. Arkroyd must pay the full price for her experience,
and the principle of non-intervention (often as selfish in
private as political affairs) was decided on.
Yet Miss Wilson was not at ease in her own mind. She
had no sympathy with Mrs. Arkroyd, regarding her as a
vain, foolish young person, who deserved to suffer for her
wanton neglect of her home affairs. But in the heart of the
lonely old woman there arose something like a feeling of
maternal solicitude for the unfortunate husband, and although
she shrank until it was too late from giving any such
warning as might have put him on his guard against his
servants, she no longer watched the lamentable state of
affairs at Albany Villa with feelings other than those of
anxiety and pain.
Some months later it was one summer evening, after she
had observed Arthur Arkroyd pacing slowly and thoughtfully
on the other side of the street, smoking a cigar Miss
Wilson said to Elgeth:
"Do you not think Mr. Arkroyd looks worn and ill?"
"Yes, indeed, I do," replied Elgeth, "and who can wonder
with such a home as he has. Why, he is only walking up
and down there, I know, because there is no comfort for him
inside. I heard this afternoon that Mrs. Arkroyd is going
in debt everywhere, and the lady told Mrs. Benson she
knows he is fretting over money matters."
"What can I do? what can I do? " murmured Miss Wilson, sadly.
"I see no way of helping him; and, after all, if a man
does not know how to be master in his own house, who can
"Nobody, Elgeth. Still, you cannot tell how hard it is
for a man to take the reins of household government from
his wife. Indeed, if she will not hold them, he hardly can.
You might as well order the wife to manage a husband's
intricate business affairs as a husband to guide the house."
"What a pity it is," exclaimed Elgeth, "that young men
nowadays do not set their faces against fashionable girls.
Anybody would think they wanted toys, not wives, to see
the pretty dressed-up puppets they bring home, and just set
them up inside, and expect them to behave like live, sensible
"It is the mothers who are to blame, Elgeth."
"Indeed, you are right, ma'am. It just turns my stomach
to see that Mrs. Williams driving up to the door with those
other two dolls, which she is just a setting out like princesses
to catch two other poor fellows."
"It's of no use for two old women like ourselves to sit
here, Elgeth, wishing things were different; but I mean to
pray, that for the sake of England's future, her daughters
may take heed in time. There is fast settling on them the
heavy reproach of uselessness and idleness, and nothing but
a return to simplicity of life and manners can wipe it away.
Then wives will not be ashamed to busy themselves in
household matters, and daughters will no longer glory in
that which is their shame their white, small hands, which
have never been soiled by any useful work."
"Well," said Elgeth, "I only wish Mrs. Williams, her
daughters, and all that tribe, could hear your words, and
lay them to heart; but now, ma'am, you must let me wheel
"Very well he has just gone in. Elgeth, when you
have settled me for the night, write to Mr. Hargrave, and
say I wish to see him on particular business."
Now, Mr. Hargrave was Miss Wilson's lawyer.
A few days after the conversation Mr. Arkroyd
had with his wife on the subject of their house-
hold expenditure, she presided at a stall at a
charity bazaar. It was her mother who had in-
stigated Lily to this, for she wished her unmarried
daughters that season to have this recognised and
licensed opportunity for husband catching, and
whilst she had the gratification of parading her success in
the case of the one already married, Lily should introduce
her sisters into this particular field with all the prestige
which attaches to a lady patroness. Lily was still very
pretty, though she looked somewhat worn now, and she
served admirably as an easy matron protector to her fresher,
if not prettier sisters, who, attired in the most elegant and
airy costumes such as at that juncture fashion declared
the most becoming hovered about the stall where Mrs.
Arkroyd played at shop. She, however, kept behind the
counter, having as satellites two friends who had been
thoughtfully selected as being more useful than ornamental,
and as not being sufficiently attractive to interfere with the
chances of the Misses Williams, each of whom carried a
dainty basket of flowers and ran after every gentleman they
thought likely to be victimised, offering, with the most
bewitching of smiles, to sell him a rose for half-a-crown, and,
as a further inducement, "to pin it into his coat gratis"
this last act being invariably performed with an affectation
of shyness and sweet embarrassment Occasionally they
met with "a bear," for whom their blandishments had no
charm, at least not at the price; but they had considerable
skill in discerning their game, and when they marked it
seldom failed to bring it down.
After the champagne luncheon, which is usually given at
well-managed bazaars out of the proceeds, of course to the
stall-holders and attendant friends, the spirits of the amateur
shop-girls rose greatly, and they pushed and puffed their
wares with a persistency that would not be tolerated in their
professional sisters such solicitation would be boldness in
them, and drive respectable customers from their stores.
But, in a good cause, what will not gentle, modest girls
venture, and in the sacred name of charity, prudent
mothers suffer them to risk ? "The end justifies the
means," they say, but what a shocking Jesuit assertion
they would call it if applied to anything but charity bazaars,
or to that ulterior object which they hardly allow to their
secret hearts. -
Mrs. Williams had promised Lily, when she engaged to
preside at the stall, to supply her with twenty pounds'
worth of saleable articles; add to this at least another
twenty as the cost of suitably attiring her daughters they
could not wear the same dresses twice, and the bazaar lasted
three days, and it will be seen that if Mrs. Williams had in
the first instance given her money to the charity she would
have saved considerably. Neither, when the bazaar was
over, and Mrs. Arkroyd handed to the committee a sum
which did not greatly exceed what had, or would have to be
expended in returning the contributions of friends when
they held stalls, did she consider that it would have been
more satisfactory, as well as cheaper, to have done "good
for goodness sake."
I wonder whether charitable young ladies could be
induced to try the experiment of disposing of their handi-
work privately to their friends and acquaintance; and
whether, if they would energetically set themselves to do
this, the alleged necessity for laying in wait for the un-
wary in public might not be obviated? I really think it
Lily, it has been said, was looking worn at the bazaar;
she had been ailing for some time, and had been earnestly
warned by her physician to avoid all over-exertion, but to
this warning nor the loving entreaties of her husband, would
she give any heed. On the last day of the sale she was so
evidently ill, that Mr. Arkroyd said, "Lily, dear, you are
looking dreadfully worn-out; had we not better send an
excuse to Mrs. Lawrence? I am sure you are not in a fit
state to go to a party to-night"
"Oh, Arthur, I must go. Mamma and everybody would
be so disappointed, and I am sure it would do me more
harm to stay at home and fidget about it than to go."
Then, as usual, though against his judgment, he yielded,
but remarked as they got into the carriage, he was certain
it was madness to go; and the result proved him to be
right, for after the first dance Lily fainted and had to be
carried from the room. As soon as possible, though in a
very suffering state, she was slowly driven home, arriving a
little after midnight, just, indeed, as Lucy and Emma, with
a party of three gentlemen and one lady to balance the
sexes, were enjoying a very substantial and convivial repast,
consisting this time of lobsters and rabbit-pie, with chicken,
sundry cold meats, and delicate preserves and pastry.
Hearing shouts of laughter, and seeing the whole house
illuminated, Mr. Arkroyd desired the coachman not to
knock, but let himself in noiselessly with his latch-key.
Pausing a moment at the half-open door of the dining-room,
he overheard the following choice fragment of conversation:
"Well, I must say, Miss Tomkins," said the guest in
whose honour chiefly the feast was spread, "you have the
art of dressing kittens to perfection."
"Oh, you funny man," she lisped; " but as our poulterer
is a very respectable fellow, he might call you out if he
heard you; he warranted these as barn-door rabbits."
"And this 'ere chicken, I suppose, from the warren?"
"That would be a blacking of its character, sir; but if I
must have anything to do with such a low article, give me
Day and Martin's."
"Eye and Martin, did you say, miss? Hardly expected
to 'ear such language from your delicate lips."
"Drink to my better manners, then; this is some of our
best sherry. We ain't many bins, but what we has is, as I
heard a judge say, Duffers and Gorgons. For my own
palate I must say as I prefers a good sound XXX you
knows what's put in it, and it's a home-grown article. Our
people, they tried to put me off with XX, but, says I to the
brewer, 'None o' your nonsense with me; you bring XXX
by mistake, or I'll vow and declare you brought it in flat,
and lose you the custom, which ain't bad for a small family.
One day, him as thinks hisself master opened his eyes
when the cask was reported running slow, and says he to
Emma, 'It do seem to me the ale goes very fast;' and
"Yes, sir,' says she, with spirit, "it do; you see we does all
the work, and has no wine," and be whipt if he didn't seem
to see it, and shut up on that subject for evermore."
"Yes," said Emma; "I made him ashamed of his
screwey ways. Next place I go to I do hope my mistress
won't be the master."
The gallant speech which followed this remark of Lucy's
was cut short by the entrance of Mr. Arkroyd, who threw
the door wide open on the festive scene, and confronted
the party, whose confusion, even at that moment of anger
and anxiety, struck him as most ludicrous. Lucy sat at the
head of the table in full toilette, and wearing more than one
article of her mistress's wardrobe. Neither had Emma
spared to adorn herself from the same source. The guests
quickly perceived that they were in the presence of the
wrathful master of the house, and apprehending danger
slunk away, whilst Emma and Lucy rapidly regained com-
posure, and, becoming equal to the occasion, awaited their
"What does this mean?" he demanded, angrily.
"We were only just having our relations to see us for
once in a way, and of course we could not but give them
something to. eat"
"Let that be as it may, you both leave my house to-
morrow morning; and I wonder I do not now send you off
with your relations."
"We are ready to go," said Lucy, speaking for both,
"when you have given us our wages and a month for
"I shall do no such thing."
"We shan't go unless you do."
Without staying to argue the matter with them, Mr.
Arkroyd returned to his wife, whose condition now so much
alarmed him that he thought it necessary to summon medical
aid, and, to his great vexation, was compelled also to re-
quire the assistance of the servants whom he had just so
contumaciously dismissed. They were, however, so sulky
and unready, that, Lily having been reported on by the doctor
as requiring the utmost care and attention, Mr. Arkroyd,
without waiting for daylight, fetched her mother, who, in her
turn, speedily secured a professional nurse, feeling herself, as
she said, "quite unequal to the responsibility of nursing her
daughter," but being really too helpless and ignorant to dare
to do so.
"What am I to do with these servants, Arthur?" she said,
to her distressed and bewildered son-in-law; "they have
made up their minds to defy me; Lucy said when I just
now ordered gruel that it was the nurse's place to make
it, and nurse, who is evidently an excellent creature,
declares she cannot leave her patient to attend to cooking."
"Well, mamma," he replied, "in such an emergency I
think I had better try my hand at it; but I will pay these
servants all demands, send them off before I go into the
City, and get in a charwoman."
"I see no alternative; but it's dreadful to be the victim
"It appears we can but take our choice of the way in
which we will be victimised; let me settle with these
domestic fiends in your presence."
Being summoned thereto, Emma and Lucy assumed the
airs of injured innocence, and declared themselves "only
too glad to leave a house where they'd been put upon and
insulted, and their bread, which was their characters, tried to
be tooked from them. They'd nothing against Mrs. Arkroyd:
she always was the lady; but they knew somebody who called
hisself a gendeman, who did not know the ways of such."
In three hours from that time a charwoman was duly
installed, and Lily got her gruel; her mother had tried
to manufacture some, but, partly owing to there being
no saucepan in the house fit for such a purpose all
being burnt and dirty and partly to her utter ignorance,
she spoiled it.
A fortnight went by. Lily, though out of danger, was
still very weak; although she gave no sign, her self-reproach
at having destroyed her own hope of motherhood and her
husband's joy in the prospect, was so great as to retard her
recovery. During all this time, increased expenses, besides
the debts of which he knew, were making Mr. Arkroyd very
anxious. He was afraid in his wife's still delicate state to
say anything to her; but the case was so urgent, the
necessity so grave, that he made a painful effort to discuss
matters with Mrs. Williams. After telling her how they
stood, he said,
"You know, mamma, I must not look on whilst we are
"Certainly not, Arthur. I must talk to Lily, and show
her the necessity of keeping within bounds."
"Do; and I think it will be as well to arrange to give
her a weekly sum for her own and the expenses of the
house, and that she should feel that it is literally all we
have to spend, and that, without misery and disgrace, we
cannot exceed it"
"Do you think," said Mrs. Williams, anxiously, " there is
no prospect of increasing your means?"
"That, as you know, depends on the lives of others;
but, even if I had, I should think we ought to be able to
live comfortably on our present income."
"You have no idea how difficult it is to make so small an
income sufficient for comfort; poor Lily has tried her best,
but she was brought up in affluence, and has not been used
to the small economies necessary in her present position."
The tone in which Mrs. Williams said this was intended
to impress on Mr. Arkroyd the full value of the sacrifice
Lily had made in sharing his lot. It had, however, a sting
for him, the intensity of which Mrs. Williams was quite in-
capable of understanding, and he instantly and bitterly
regretted having spoken to her at all on the matter, though
with grave dignity he replied, as he rose to leave the
"I have not for one moment thought to complain to you
of my wife. I apologise for having intruded on you our
little troubles. Such as our lot is, Lily and I will bravely
bear it together."
Mrs. Williams felt that, although she was in some sort
victorious, she had purchased her triumph at the cost of
losing her son-in-law's confidence; and with a view of con-
ciliating him, she forthwith approached the difficult subject
with her daughter. Contrary to her expectations, Lily did
not shrink from the discussion, but rather seemed thankful
to enter upon it.
"Oh, mother!" she said, "since I have been ill, I have
considered so much how to manage better. It is dreadfully
hard to know what to do, and servants are so bad, I feel as
if I must give up altogether."
"That is very wrong; all you will have to do will be to
look after things more, and allow nothing to be bought
without your written order. I must say I have been sur-
prised at your tradesmen's bills, and it is clear you have
been shamefully robbed by your servants."
"I fear not only of money, mother; for yesterday, when
you were out, I looked over my wardrobe, and I could not
find half the things I had when I married; and some which
I have never worn are soiled and useless."
"This is, indeed, sad. Well, you must turn over a fresh
leaf with your new servants. Keep your things locked, and
generally have an eye to their proceedings."
"I intend to do so; but, you see, I trusted Emma and
Lucy, and they took advantage."
"I am almost tempted to say, Lily, a careless mistress
makes a bad servant, and that it is too often opportunity
which makes the thief. However, you see your mistake
now, and will be on your guard in future."
As Mrs. Williams talked thus, an uncomfortable conviction
filled her mind that she was in a great degree responsible for
the failure of her daughter's domestic happiness. She knew
that she had 'from infancy accustomed her to an extravagant
scale of expenditure, and that she could not know how to
accommodate herself to any other; knew, too, she had sent
her perfectly uninstructed upon a new and difficult path, and
given her no kind of finger-posts to guide her to the end.
She had thought, it is true, that knowing what her income
was, Lily would learn to manage it, and that the science of
housekeeping on moderate means would come by a sort of
inspiration. By way of reparation for this neglect of a
mother's first duty, and as a solace to her own conscience,
she procured the money from Mr. Williams to pay the bills
Lily so dreaded her husband should see, never, however,
considering from what an ocean of misery she was drawing
to supply her daughter's need.
Mr. Arkroyd went his way, after the conversation with
Mrs. Williams, even sadder than he had been of late. His
money affairs harassed him terribly, and he resolved, at all
cost and risk, to set himself straight with the world, and
then rigidly apportion his, or, rather, his wife's, expenditure
to his means. Acting on this resolution, he sold some
property which brought him in twenty-five pounds a year,
so that thenceforward they would have so much less yearly
income; and it became clear to him that it would be impos-
sible, with prudence, to remain in their present residence, or
to keep two expensive servants. All this, with his wonted
gentleness and tender consideration for his wife's feelings, he
broke to her. She was perfectly submissive, and fell in with
all his views without offering an opinion, or, indeed, seeming
greatly to care what arrangements he made, for the resolu-
tions formed during her illness had vanished with con-
valescence. She studiously avoided all reference to the
proposed change in their mode of life, and left her husband
in everything to take the initiative. As time drew on, and
it became necessary to consider the removal, he asked her,
"Where did she think she should like to reside?" and she
answered, listlessly, " Oh, anywhere."
"But that, literally, is nowhere," he replied, trying to rally
her. "The necessity of choosing a less expensive neigh-
bourhood will oblige us to be thoughtful, and then we must
have a smaller house than this."
"I tell you," she again replied, in the same miserable
tone, "I don't care."
"Now, Lily, dear, do let us consult reasonably together."
"I cannot see what there is to consult about; you have
arranged it all," she said, moodily.
Thus she wore away the patience of the husband's loving
heart foiled in her first attempts to follow her own selfish
will and way, and too weak voluntarily to make any effort to
repair her past errors, she sank into indifference, which is
generally more irritating to a husband than angry dissent
"Well, my dear," he said, with more asperity than she
had ever yet heard in his tone, "it comes to this, that if you
have no will in the matter, I must perforce decide alone."
"Do; since we must leave Albany Villa, and live in some
vulgar district, it is all the same to me."
"Oh, my wife!" he said, a sudden burst of grief and dis-
appointment taking the place of his momentary resentment,
"if you knew the pain you give me by your want of interest
in what should be our mutual plans, you would spare me!"
As the wailing tone of his voice struck on her ear, she
looked up, and saw that his brow was contracted as by a
spasm of pain, and for the first time observed the saddened
expression of the countenance once lighted with a serene
happiness; and there came upon her a conviction, as keen
as sudden, that he had indeed suffered for her sake, how
much she never knew, for men are reticent about their feel-
ings, even to their dearest Lily was naturally affectionate,
but disappointment and failure, and a dread of the narrower
style of living in -which she felt they must embark, had
soured her nature, and rendered her insensible to tenderness
and love; but now remorse fell on her almost too sharply to
be borne, and, with a burst of passionate tears, she flung
herself on her husband's breast, and implored his forgive-
ness. " Oh, bear with me," she cried; "it is all so hard; I
know nothing that is necessary for me now, and all seems to
go against me."
"There, there, my dear love," he said, the old tenderness
renewed by her tears and contrition, "only be cheerful, and
all will be right" And then for a time he soothed her like
the child she was, and she earnestly promised to "try and
be good for the future." "And now," he said, "will you
put on your bonnet, and go out with me?"
"To Highgate?" she said, as if to atone for past in-
"I think it would be well to try that locality. Shall we
call and ask Mrs. Fenton if she knows of a house likely to
Lily always felt a kind of grudge against Janet on account
of her superior example, and for a moment, even in her
penitence, seemed disposed to be rebellious, and say,
"Surely they could manage without her;" but she conquered
the inclination now, and, assenting, they set forth together.
"How delighted I am to see you," exclaimed Mrs. Fenton,
" and just in time for tea, and to see baby before she goes to bed."
"I am sure we are lucky people," replied Mr. Arkroyd
"for we ran up quite on business, and it seems we shall
combine pleasure with it We are house-hunting, Mrs.
"You must give that up for this evening, and come earlier
to-morrow, or as soon as you can. There are new houses
springing up in all directions, but ten to one if you would
find anybody to show you over them, or even let you in, at
so late an hour as this."
So it was decided they should take Mrs. Fenton's advice,
and remain to pass the evening with them. Lily's wretched-
ness reached its climax as she watched her husband's delight
in the little child, for she knew that, but for her own folly,
she would now be hoping to be a happy mother, and she
felt the neatness, brightness, and order of her cousin's
home even with this new charge to be a reproach to her.
If a visitor came in unexpectedly at Albany Villa, there
was always immense difficulty in getting any little refresh-
ment, and. a cup of tea could not possibly be had under an
hour. Boiling the kettle appeared in that establishment to
be an undertaking of considerable magnitude, and, when ac-
complished, the water not unfrequently acquired a fine
aroma of smoke. Sometimes, too, there was no milk the
baker had not called, or the butterman had forgotten orders,
and the distracted maid had, as she expressed it, to "be
everlastingly fetching errands."
Lily looked furtively at her husband when Mrs. Fenton
said to her servant, "Sarah, some tea immediately; Mr.
and Mrs. Arkroyd will take it with us," the order being
promptly and well executed and she thought he was
dwelling on the contrast. The old feeling of jealousy
towards Janet was powerfully aroused as Lily noted Arthur's
enjoyment of the home-baked bread, the potted meat, and
the crisp, delicate cakes. "I never get such nice things
elsewhere," he said; " you are a most accomplished house-
keeper, Mrs. Fenton."
"Now, Arkroyd, do not flatter my wife," exclaimed Mr.
Fenton; "she has put upon me dreadfully since baby came."
"He knows, Arthur," she said, smiling, "I am sensitive
on that point, and he is trying to hurt my feelings in public ;
but I shall take my revenge by telling you, I dare not
neglect him if I had a dozen babies, for I find that the way
to his heart, as a dreadful old proverb says, is through the
stomach, and he would be cutting off the supplies, or pinch-
ing baby, if he did not have everything he fancied."
" Yes I should, ma'am ; how is a man to be amiable and
generous when his digestion is all wrong? Depend upon it,
my dear Mrs. Arkroyd, Janet's theory of feeding a husband
is founded on selfish considerations."
"I rather think she spoils you," replied Lily, in a tone
which was so unpleasant as to cause a momentary silence in
the little party; but Janet, with her usual kindness and care
for the feelings of others, created a diversion by asking for
the bell to be rung, and then the conversation changed.
When the ladies went upstairs to see the little one put to
bed, Lily made an attempt to open her heart to her cousin,
and seek her advice. "Oh, Janet," she said, " how happy
you seem; and I am so miserable just now so harassed,
"You will get over that, dear, as you regain your strength."
"I hope I may, but it is this struggle with genteel poverty
that is wearing me out"
"Genteel poverty!" exclaimed Janet, in a distressed tone.
"But, my dear, you are much better off than we are at
"Are we? Well, I cannot call it anything else for all
that I cannot provide for the house properly; and however
you manage as you do is a mystery to me. You keep
two servants now, I suppose?"
"Yes, besides Sarah, a young girl as general help to sew
and mind baby, and so on."
"But is she not a great plague? I have always under-
stood 'raws' were more trouble than they were worth."
"Well, she requires a good deal of looking after and
instruction; but she is a very respectable, good girl, and I
hope, and indeed expect, she will repay me for my trouble
by and by."
"You might as well have a training-school, Janet"
She laughed, and said, "You see we cannot afford ex-
perienced servants. If I get older girls at small wages
they have some drawback either in health or character, and
will not submit to orders as younger ones; and besides that,
as a matter of economy I take young servants, I really
"As soon as you have taught them they will leave you."
"How easily you take things."
"It would not mend matters to anticipate trouble and
failure. If these girls go I must teach others, and so on to
the end of the chapter."
"But do you not feel very much worried when they go
"Yes, it worries me of course; and I am often much
puzzled to meet their class prejudices and to be kind with-
out spoiling; to make them feel as one of the family, and
yet remain respectful and mindful of their position. I think
it is a great thing if one can gain the affections of a servant"
"I never knew they had any," exclaimed Lily.
"Ah! your experience has been so unfortunate, and mine
up to this point rather the reverse; still I hope you will not
condemn all for the faults of the many. Whilst I quite
admit that female domestic servants are, as a class, perhaps
the most selfish and ungrateful of any, we must remember
what influences have made them so. How the bitter feeling
of being only cared for as they are of use, of being over-
worked, sacrifices of all sorts even of natural affection
too often demanded as a right, privileges given grudgingly,
no allowance made for weariness or the quickness of temper
occasioned by the incessant and often unreasonable demands
made upon them, have hardened and rendered them less
accessible to affectionate influence than those who all their
lives have been tenderly cared for. Then we must allow for the
way in which they have been brought up, and not expect in
them the delicacy of feeling of those whose education and
nurture have tended to elevate and refine."
"Ah! quite true; but I have no patience to go into cause
and effect; I believe it is of no use. Many of my friends
say the whole race of servants has become so bad and
corrupt that kindness is quite thrown away on them, and
that the only way to get on with them at all is to treat
them as necessary evils."
"I do not agree with them, and such sentiments are not,
I think, either Christian or moral, or likely to lessen the
growing difficulties. To be plain, Lily, it is my settled con-
viction that reformation must begin with the mistresses ere it
can be carried on among servants. We must show ourselves
equal to self-sacrifice and devoted domestic lives, and see
that our example be such as they may follow; and I really
think we must look at home and consider whether many
existing evils may not be traced to our negligence and
"Ignorance ? "
"Yes, for if servants find us thoroughly practical, they
recognise our independence and respect our power to rule.
But if they see that a mistress is ignorant of the way to do
things, they despise her, and after their manner tyrannise
"Well, Janet, if your theory is correct, we must all be
educated for servants. If it has pleased God to place me
in a position to be a mistress, and another to be a servant,
I say it is as much her duty as mine to remember her
"Certainly, but there begins the difficulty. What is your
duty in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call
"It is my duty to order, that of the other to obey," said
Lily, in a defiant tone.
"Certainly. Again, my dear, the question is, can you, in
these days, when equality is becoming a principle infecting
all the lower classes, enforce obedience as a matter of duty?
It is rather a question of expediency now, and this demands
that in addition to education for our proper sphere, we
should be thoroughly and practically acquainted with every
detail of domestic management. Depend upon it, know-
ledge in this, as in other things, is power. I believe the
reason why men succeed better in all the callings of life
than women is, that before they set up to be masters they
serve an apprenticeship."
"Do you mean to say that Lord Milsom, for instance,
learned to be a valet before he employed one? Because I
think that it would be much the same thing as my learning
cooking before I keep a cook."
"The two cases have no parallel. No doubt, however,
Lord Milsom has learned to dress himself, and at a pinch
could very well dispense with his valet. But you know we
are not arguing what may or may not be fitting or necessary
for people of rank and wealth, but how those in our position
of life are to manage to procure service at all. And, again,
I must declare my conviction that it is only to be done by a
close and diligent attention to every detail of household
work, and by a practical acquaintance with the proper man-
ner of doing even the meanest part of it I think all
mistresses of the middle class, or rather those who have but
small incomes, must be content to stay more at home than
is now the fashion, both, for the sake of example and because
of the constant personal supervision which those who would
have things go smoothly must exercise. And in the matter
of dress too, there is need of reform. Nor can we complain
that servants spend all their wages in finery, and attire
themselves in a manner inconsistent with their station, when
they see us too often pinching the household, stingy
in trifles, or, what is worse, incurring debt, that we may
have our vanity gratified by appearing always in the
"You will think me obstinate as well as ignorant, yet I
declare I do not at all allow your argument to be good. I
cannot see why if I pay for service I should not obtain it,
exactly as I get groceries or any other article of merchandise.
Pray, why am I to look after servants who, I repeat, are
paid to do their work, any more than Lady Milsom looks
after her housekeeper, whom she pays to manage her house-
hold for her?"
"My dear, the root of all the mischief lies in the very
fact that Lady Milsom and other great ladies have become
too fine to look after or trouble themselves about even the
morals of their domestics; they hardly or ever know the
faces of their under-servants, heed when or why they come
and go, but delegate their whole authority to one who too
often is either unworthy or unfit for the task. The result
is that great houses are often the centres of vice, and
many a lady would tremble if she could but know of the
orgies carried on in her Belgravian mansion, while she
moves with stately grace at a court ball. It is fearful to
know it to be a fact that immorality, extravagance, waste,
and theft reign unchecked, at least during the London
season, and that it is quite impossible to take a servant from
one of the great houses into a family of moderate means,
the example and style of living she has been accustomed to
having quite demoralised her."
"This being the case, Janet, is it riot useless for us to set
about being reformers? Must we not first make our 'betters'
"That would be beyond our power; but we can, at least,
if only in self-defence and for the sake of our children,
endeavour to stem the tide of evil and mischief."
"If we all were as clever as you, Janet, we should soon
bring about a revolution."
"You are mistaken; I am not clever, Lily," replied Mrs.
Fenton, with the slightest possible irritation in her tone;
"only, I set my mind to do the very best circumstances
allow. Oh! my dear, the constant remembrance of the
precept, 'Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all
thy might,' will help more than all the cleverness of a dozen
clever women. But now I really think we must go to our
Think, Anne," said Mr. Williams, to his wife,
"I should like to go down to Seatown with you
for a week or so."
"Why, Fred," she exclaimed, "what has come
to you? I think this is about the first time in all
our married life you have ever proposed to take
"Perhaps I never felt so much to need a change as now.
I am worried and out of sorts, and it will do me good."
"I hope it will, and shall be delighted to go with you."
(Mrs. Williams always was delighted to go away from home,
she thought it fine and fashionable.) "Shall we take the
"By all means, and the servants too."
"Yes, all but one or two to stay here. I should like to
manage so that we can remain at Seatown some time, if
"What! in the height of the London season? The girls
would go mad."
"I hope," he said, in a tone of much solemnity, "no
worse calamity will ever fall upon them. Believe me, Anne,
I have weighty reasons for wishing things to be done in this
instance exactly as I say. I do not wish to distress you,
but I may never ask another favour at your hands, so grant
me this now, and let us all go to-morrow and take all your
plate and valuables."
"Good heavens! my dear, what is the matter? Are you
very ill, or is anything wrong with the company?"
"I believe I am very ill, Anne; that I have a serious
disease, and, in case of accident, I wish all due precautions
"They shall be; but oh! do not look in that dreadful
manner." He made no answer, but turned away with a
heart-broken sigh, which she remembered whilst she lived.
They all went to Seatown the next day, the girls pouting
and wretched, the servants wondering and disagreeable, and
Mrs. Williams cross with herself and everybody. Mr. Williams
had apparently recovered his cheerfulness, and for the time
his wife forgot the shock his manner had so lately given her.
The morning after their arrival at Seatown, Mr. Williams
received a telegram requesting his immediate return to
town. He declared it was very vexatious he could not
have even a day to himself, but at once obeyed the
summons, promising to return "the day after to-morrow."
Mr. Williams travelled to town with several City men.
To them he complained of neuralgia in the head, and said
nothing relieved him but morphia. Arrived in London, he
drove direct to his daughter's. Mrs. Arkroyd was out, and
although she did not return for several hours he waited for
her. Lily was fond of her father she was his favourite
child and it was with great delight she welcomed him.
She felt, however, that there was something very unusual in
his visit. It was prolonged till within a few minutes of the
time she expected her husband's return, and yet she could
not persuade her father to remain to see him. Once he
went to the door and returned, and for the second time
embraced his daughter, and his last words to her, in a tone
of pain, were, " Lily, my dear, I hope you will never need
morphia to relieve neuralgia, as I do."
"I am anxious about papa," Lily said to her husband
when he came in."
"Ah, my dear," he said sadly, " I have known for some
time that he has fearful anxieties; but it was of no use to
distress you, It is something awful to watch the lives men
are leading in the City now. I can think of nothing but
wolves as I see their faces on 'Change and in the markets. I
declare I would rather live on a crust than be one of them."
"Would you?" she said. "I have often thought how
much better it would be if you were a merchant of some
sort, with opportunities of getting rich, rather than an official
in a law-court, with such distant chances of promotion."
"You would not have entertained such a thought for a
moment, my dear, could you but have known one half the
men who are making haste to be rich have to contend with ;
how much of conscience and principle to sacrifice. And,
with a touch of bitterness, he added, "I am afraid wives do
not enough lay these things to heart, and exert their
influence in the cause of honesty and integrity."
"Well," she said, "I do not see that it is our business to
inquire how money is obtained, so that we get it"
If any woman save the wife he loved had said that, how
he would have scorned her! As it was he kept silence,
wishing she would think more deeply.
In the middle of that night Lily awoke from sleep, shrieking
to her husband for help. She said her father was calling
to her to save him from falling from a rock, and that some-
thing held her back. Long after he had soothed her to
rest, Arthur Arkroyd lay thinking of the peril in which he
knew Mr. Williams to be placed, feeling that his wife's
dream was ominous of coming trouble, and he awoke the
next morning with a sense of depression for which he could
hardly account. Apprehension of evil, however, was soon
put to flight by its terrible reality, for he had just seated
himself at the solitary breakfast Lily, as usual, was not
down when the door was thrown violently open, and one
of Mr. Williams' servants rushed in. "Come, come," she
cried frantically, "master "
"Tell me, what is it?"
"Come!" was all the poor thing could utter, and she
pointed to the street where the cab waited.
"I must go to my wife," he said. As he entered her
room, his white face and agitated manner so terrified her,
that she sprang out of bed and shrieked wildly.
"My dear," he said, "Charlotte has come to fetch me.
Your father is ill."
"Come, come!" cried Charlotte from below.
All disrobed as she was, Lily sprang past her husband,
and, darting into the hall, caught hold of Charlotte, and
then fell down fainting.
"Never mind her, sir," said Charlotte, restored to her
power of speech by this fresh complication. "You must
come instantly. She will soon recover under your servants' care."
"I cannot leave her; tell me all"
"The master has taken poison!"
In a moment he sprang into the cab, but haste was of no
avail then, for when he arrived at Carron House the doctor
had pronounced life to be extinct. Every means had been
used in the brief time that had passed since the discovery
of Mr. Williams's condition, but without effect so many
hours had gone by since he swallowed the fatal dose.
He had retired to bed early, telling Charlotte the neuralgia
in his head was almost unbearable; that he feared he should
get no sleep, but he would breakfast at nine o'clock in the
morning as usual. Hot water was taken to him at eight,
when the servant, getting no reply to her reiterated knock-
ings, became alarmed, summoned assistance, and had the
door broken open. Except for the loudness of the breath-
ing, they would have thought him in a heavy sleep, but
when all efforts to rouse him proved fruitless, and the
almost empty bottle of morphia was observed on his toilet-
table, the women in alarm and horror fled from the house,
one to seek the nearest doctor, the other to summon Mr.
"It is a terrible accident" whispered the doctor to Mr.
Arkroyd, "tell everybody so. We must protect the family."
"Accidental death," was the merciful verdict of the
coroner's jury, and the cold and curious world, whilst it
doubted, said it was very glad, for the sake of the family,
there was no suspicion of suicide to add more anguish to
the sudden and heavy loss.
Mr. Arkroyd, on finding all hope gone, returned to his
wife, who had not so far recovered from her fainting fit as to
be able to stand. The rigid look of horror which had come
on his face as he saw her poor father in his death sleep had
not passed from it when he entered the room in which she
"Do not say it," she cried wildly, as she looked up into
his face, whereon the tale she dreaded to hear was so
plainly written;" do not say he took poison!"
"By mistake, love," he said gently.
"Oh no, oh no; he was driven to it! I know he could
not bear his troubles any longer. My darling father, we
have murdered you. O God, forgive us!"
Then Lily fell into terrible fits of screaming and hysterics,
and it was not until far into the night, and she was utterly
exhausted, that they were overcome.
Meanwhile Mrs. Williams had returned to her desolate
home. She was outwardly more calm than her daughter,
and all her thoughts and energies were at once directed to
ascertain what business troubles had prompted this rash act.
For she never for a moment doubted that it was premedi-
tated, or that all the precautions and the journey to Seatown
had been taken to give it the appearance of accident. Of
course she was silent about this her conviction, but oh!
how in the stillness of the first awful night, in the house
with her dead, did she moan to herself, "If I had but been
wise in time, had cared less for show, had not wanted so
much from him, I might not now be desolate, and what will
the world be to me or the children when we have nothing to
It was not long before the shattered condition of Mr. Williams's
affairs was understood by the world at large, and then came
the sad revelation that not only was he bankrupt,
but dishonoured, his death alone preventing the public dis-
closure of acts which, although termed legal frauds, for
which he and others might have been called to account
before a criminal court, were regarded almost with com-
miseration in certain circles of the commercial world (with
that fellow-feeling which makes one kind), and by all but the
victims and sufferers largely excused. Much sympathy was
felt for the widow and her family. " Poor things, it was not
their fault; how could they know anything of his manner of
doing business? It was terrible that they should have to suffer
for his misdoings,' and so on. It was soon ascertained that
but for the forbearance of creditors, and the charity of some
few wealthy persons who had known her in prosperity, Mrs.
Williams must be penniless. Mr. Heath, with true generosity,
added a thousand pounds to the fund raised for her
WIVES AND HOUSEWIVES. 71
benefit, and by great exertions a yearly income of two
hundred pounds was secured to her and her children.
"Penury," she sighed, when this result was made known to
her. Yes, indeed, to penury had she come; she, whose
life-long striving it had been to climb into the highest places
of wealth and fashion, whose blind devotion to this one aim
had led her to sacrifice her husband's peace, and driven him
at last to end his self-reproach by death. There was nothing
in her downfall she felt more keenly than the necessity of
accepting charity from those persons of assured means and
position with whom she had constantly vied, from others
whom she had knowingly wronged, and from a relative
whose prudence she had been wont to call meanness.
She went forth with veiled face from the splendid house;
no carriage nor footman waited for her now, but a hired
vehicle, with shabby appointments, whilst the contents of
a few trunks and packages were all she could call her
own. Behind her she left the gilding and the luxury she
had so dearly bought, and turned away from it with a sense
of guilt upon her soul greater than all her loss. She went
forth, covering, indeed, the woeful face from the curious gaze
of those who, even in the twilight, watched this humiliating
departure; but from herself no veil could hide her remorseful
misery, her utter degradation and despair.
The sudden trouble which had fallen on Lily pre-
vented, for a time, all mention of the unpleasant
subject of removal from Albany Villa. Some
months had gone by since Mr. Williams ended
at once his troubles and his life, but still his
widow had no plan of action either for her own
future or that of her unmarried daughters. She
had gone direct from the scene of her triumphs and her fall
to Mr. Arkroyd's house, and there from month to month
had lingered. Lily had settled down into a kind of in-
validism; "The nerves," the doctor said, "were shaken."
What would many modem physicians do if a law were
passed forbidding imaginary ills to be charged to those same
nerves, and obliging them under heavy pains and penalties
to prescribe to every woman so afflicted the active discharge
of domestic duties, and in very severe cases some scrubbing
and rubbing to boot?
The state of her health, Lily thought, made a valid excuse
both for declaring she could not do without her mother and
for delaying the dreaded removal from Albany Villa. Sorely
troubled by the unsettled state of his domestic affairs, by
the idle, luxurious habits of his mother- and sisters-in-law
as well as by the miserable conviction that he still lived be-
yond his income, Mr. Arkroyd now and again was driven
to discuss unpleasant subjects with his wife. But she
skilfully managed, by one plea and another, to delay
making any definite arrangements. Meanwhile the shadows
on his face deepened, and a settled cloud of anxiety
gathered over his whole bearing, till at length a kind of
hardness came upon him and his gentle affectionate heart
was steeled to coldness. The mourning of the family of
course prevented party-going, and although visitors were still
very numerous, there were no regular entertainments at home,
but he came as usual to the ill-cooked, ill-served dinner.
Always polite to his wife and lady relatives, he was yet
moody and silent, and when the weather was not positively
bad, strolled out every evening, pacing up and down, enjoy-
ing, as best he might, his cigar and his thoughts. Anything
was better to him than the constant contemplation indoors
of the discomfort and disorder of his menage.
At length Lily perceived signs on the part of her husband
that he would be trifled with no longer; and still forgetting
that his comfort and happiness should be her first con-
sideration, and that his will should be law, because of her
love, made to him a proposal, long ago decided on by her
mother and herself. She knew it would be distasteful to
him, yet she did not heed.
"You know," she pleaded, "this house is quite large
enough for us all, and if mamma pays us at the rate of a
hundred pounds a year we can live here in better style, and
have less anxiety about expenses."
"You forget," he said, "that on that sum we should have
three more persons to provide for; and so far from per-
mitting more liberal housekeeping, it would necessitate even
"I do not see how mamma could afford to pay more; and
then you must consider one or the other would generally be
"My dear, if you did but know how utterly wretched our
present manner of life makes me, how contrary it is to all
my notions of domestic happiness, you would not urge this.
It seldom answers for a mother to live with a married
daughter. I do not believe this plan would bring comfort
or happiness to any of us."
"Whatever it might do to you," she answered coldly, "it
would be everything to me in my present state of health to
have dear mamma with me; and I am sure I thought you
professed to have a brother's love for Ada and Minnie."
"Shall we ever understand one another?" he said, bitterly.
"Lily, I must be firm in this, whatever it costs, for my first
duty is to ourselves. We cannot afford to fall in with the
proposed arrangement, and, besides, I can see plainly that
to do so would only be to make matters worse than they
Lily rose to her feet trembling with passion. It was the
first time he had seen her thus; the first time, indeed, in all
his life that he beheld a woman, a weak and tender woman,
transformed into a fury. It was a sight that would have
moved him once, have amazed and grieved him; but now,
alas! the anchor of confidence in the beauty of the feminine
character had drifted hopelessly away, and he could not be
surprised at any new manifestation of folly or temper.
"I have heard," Lily almost screamed, "of men who beat
their wives, of some even who murdered them; but now I
see one who can look on coldly whilst he breaks the heart of
the woman he even yet pretends to love."
Was it indeed the loving husband, of even a year ago,
who stood there, rather with curiosity watching this new
phenomenon, than seriously affected by it? Was this the
doting husband who strove to soften every trouble, to
mitigate every pain, who stood there with folded arms calmly
waiting for that foolish passion to be spent?
He wisely poured no oil upon the flame, but left it to exhaust
itself naturally, and when, after one more shriek and
stamp of the foot,. one more violent denunciation of her
husband's cruelty, Lily sank down sobbing hysterically, he
turned, with how sore and wounded a heart none might
know, and left her presence.
During all that day Mr. Arkroyd laboured under great
depression of spirits, so great indeed as to prevent his taking
any refreshment. At the close of office hours he sadly and
wearily wended his way homewards, meditating on what
was his best course of action. "I cannot make her life
miserable; it is fitter I should suffer than she," he thought;
"but how much better it would have been for both of us if
she had but been brought up to understand the duties of a
wife, mother, and mistress! As I chose her, and as I love
her better than my own life, from this time forward I will try
to soothe and comfort her." But how to do it consistently
with prudence he felt to be a question he could not solve,
and he only saw his way to yield acceptance of his mother-
and sisters-in-law as inmates of his house, through a mist of
doubt, anxiety, and fear. Arrived at length at his own
door, the last of an over-worked series of maids-of-all-work
he had since the first signal failure insisted on dispensing
with a housemaid, not knowing that a charwoman con-
stantly in the house cost much more opened it to him.
She flung aside her grimy apron as she let her master in,
and thrust her still more grimy hands behind her as she
stood to answer his questions.
"What time is dinner, Ellen? "
"None ain't ordered, sir."
"How is that?"
"Mistress hasn't come down all day. Doctor's been
says her nerves must not be agitated," said the girl, with a
significance in her tone which sorely annoyed the unfortunate
"Is her mother with her? " he asked.
"Not now, sir; she went out about an hour ago."
He passed along the hall on his way to his wife, and as
he did so he glanced into the dining-room. On the table
stood what was evidently the remains of Mrs. Williams's
luncheon. The fire had gone out, periodicals and news-
papers were strewn here and there, and those irritating
articles of modern device, antimacassars, lay crumpled up on
the dim and dusty furniture the polish was only just suffi-
cient now to show finger marks and scratches. The drawing-
room door was open. Into that he also looked. The fire
had gone out there, too, and litters of all sorts were strewn
about; the chintz was all soiled and crumpled, the steel
fender rusted, the looking-glasses dull for want of polishing,
the lamp shades greasy and cracked; the lately resplendent
gilding all tarnished, and showing chips and fractures typical
of the injury to his hope, which had been done since it was
new. He was familiar enough now with the sight of house-
hold dirt and untidiness; yet, nevertheless, being unusually
tired and dejected, it added to his sense of unhappiness.
"Lily," he said, as he approached the bed where his wife
lay, "what is the matter?"
He bent over her, took her hand in his, saying,
"My dearest, what ails you?"
A similar pressure of the hand, and a still more tender
"Leave me," she replied, again sobbing, with that tendency
to hysterics which he at once recognised and dreaded.
"What am I to do?" he said, in a despairing tone.
"Ellen says Dr. Browne has been with you; I did not
think you were ill when I went out this morning."
"You don't care; you don't care what I suffer."
"God knows," he said, solemnly, "I would save you from
suffering if I could. My darling, let nothing come between
"There," she said, with much vehemence, considering
her invalid state, "actions speak louder than words; it is
easy to protest. I wish you would leave me. Dr. Browne
has ordered me to keep quiet"
Mr. Arkroyd hesitated a moment, making up his mind by
a final effort to purchase present peace, at the cost of he
knew not how much in the future, and at length he said,
"To show you, Lily, that I value your happiness above
my own, if you still wish it, I assent to the proposition you
made this morning."
She knew, weak creature though she was, that hers was the
stronger power, and that it would come to this; but yet had
not expected so speedy a surrender. Concealing her satis-
faction, she muttered, "Oh, pray don't make any sacrifice
of feeling for me. I cannot forget your cruelty this morning.
"Was I cruel, little one? Well, I did not intend to be.
So forget and forgive, my dear."
"It is not so easy to forget as to forgive."
"Easier, I think. So there, we will consider all settled,
and get up our spirits again."
"Mamma has gone out to look for lodgings."
"In that case," he said, catching at this last straw of
"But she will not have settled on anything. I entreated
her to wait a day or two; but she was so hurt I could not
prevent her going to seek something to suit her."
"Well, then; there is no great harm done."
"Yes, there is. You have wounded our feelings."
"I will do my best to repair that mischief." So saying,
and having tenderly kissed his now satisfied wife, Mr. Ark-
royd went downstairs, and inquired of Ellen for some food.
"There's not a scrap in the, house, sir."
"Can't you get me a chop?"
"I can, but I ain't got a fire as'll cook it."
"Boil me some eggs, then."
"They won't boil; they busts in the water."
"Then I will wait until you can cook a chop; but first
make the room tidy and light the fire."
Ellen banged about, rather making believe to obey his
behests than doing so. She whisked the ashes under the
grate, then placed a few damp sticks beneath some coals,
and, having applied a match thereto, left the room with the
manner of one who expected a fire to result from her un-
scientific efforts. Mr. Arkroyd looked on, and when she
had gone, applied bits of paper and matches, affectionately
coaxing the fire to burn, but it sulkily resisted him; and when
he heard that Ellen had ceased from banging that being her
frequent method of showing disapprobation of orders and
gone out for the chop, he stooped and removed the whole
arrangement of coals and sticks, and, going downstairs,
chopped up some dry wood, and having much blackened
his hands in the readjustment of the coals, there came a
visitor's knock at the door! His first act was frantically to
rush into the kitchen to remove the evidences of his guilty
practices; but no soap could he find, and the candle Ellen
had left guttering on the table had gone out, effectually
preventing further research; so he had to answer the second,
though more impatient knock, with his hands still begrimed.
It will easily be imagined that it was with a sense of extreme
humiliation he opened the door to some old friends of his
family, who, being on a visit to London, would not leave
without seeing him, and had purposely called after office
hours, hoping to find him at home. Mr. Arkroyd welcomed
his guests with such ardour as a man so uncomfortably
situated and, besides, almost faint for want of food might, and
led them to the scene of his unsuccessful pyrotechnic efforts.
After a while, hearing Ellen return to her banging, he
begged to be excused, and hurrying into the kitchen, he
postponed the chop, and desired a cake to be procured
from the nearest pastrycook's, some wine-glasses brought,
and then that another attempt might be made to relight the
fire. Ellen was dreadfully sulky at being sent on this last
errand. Nobody liked running out better than herself, but
she chose to consider the being sent as the grievance, there-
fore she did not hasten her steps, and half an hour elapsed
before the cake and smeared wine-glasses made their
appearance. Twice during this interval Mr. Arkroyd had
to answer the door, and finally again to leave his guests to
get some wine from the cellar.
He could not but feel greatly relieved when the lady
considerately said that as Mrs. Arkroyd was ill they would
not prolong their stay that evening.
"Then will you dine with us to-morrow?" he asked; and,
with even a greater sense of relief, accepted from them an
excuse, for they would have carried but sorry accounts of
their entertainment, and he was sensitive about his domestic
failures being proclaimed in the circle in which he had
grown to manhood.
Being once more alone, Mr. Arkroyd went to his wife, to
see what she would take for her supper. To his surprise
he found her dressed and ready to descend, for Lily, having
gained her point, suddenly revived, and being very tired of
lying in bed, declared she could not sleep unless she rose
for an hour or so. Only too glad to see this effect of his
concession, Mr. Arkroyd affectionately conducted her to the
dining-room, and then discussed the all-important topic,
"What could she eat?"
"Oh, yes; she must have something: what could she
"Yes; Ellen should run for some."
Not one word did he say about his own long-felt hunger and
exhaustion, until after waiting a weary while the preparations
for her meal were concluded, and he was able to ask for his
own chop. Even with his dire need of food the untempting
morsel required a sea of Worcester sauce to make it
eatable. Such a greasy, blackened, underdone chop could
hardly have been eaten by anyone less accustomed to be
thankful for anything he could get in his own house. The
meal was scarcely ended when Mrs. Williams and Ada came
in Minnie was absent on a visit and it then became a
grave subject of consultation what they should have for
supper. If eggs would not boil they would fry, Mrs.
Williams decided, so Ellen set to work to produce an
elegant dish of bacon and eggs, and, by way of showing her
sense of injury at having to do it, upset one lot in the fire,
thereby regaling the noses in the dining-room with a choice
smell of scorched fat
"Drat it," she muttered, "if it had set the chimbley a-fire
and misses in 'styricks' I should not 'a been sorry. It's
enough to wear the heart of a stone, and I'll give notice
Which she accordingly did.
"Have been to see sister Williaims to-day," said
Mrs. Heath to her husband. " They are all sixes
and sevens at Albany Villa no servant, and Lily
poorly, so I have invited Ada to stay here for two
or three months. She is a sweet girl, but deplorably
ignorant of all domestic matters, and I think and
hope we may do Her some good."
"Well, love," replied Mr. Heath, " I share in that hope.
But have you considered that one of the lads may possibly
become attached to our pretty niece."
"I cannot calmly contemplate such a possibility," replied
Mrs. Heath. "You know I disapprove of the way in which
she has been brought up; it is bearing fruit now, for her ideas
befit the position of a duchess. But I have boundless con-
fidence in our boys. They have sound judgment, and if
they could not withstand temptation within the home, how
could they without it? I am prepared to run all risks."
" Yes, I too have confidence in them, but you know-how
often both sound judgment and reason are put to flight by
the witchery of a pretty face."
"I know they are; but I think both Edward and Ernest
have learned to appreciate the higher qualities in woman, to
value domestic virtues before beauty, showy accomplishments,
or any other advantage, and I am not afraid in bringing Ada
here that they will be enslaved by her pretty face."
And so Ada came, an unwilling guest, to her uncle's house.
She, however, strove to be resigned under the unpleasant
necessity of staying a few months where order and regularity
reigned, and where domestic occupations were held to be a
"It is awfully wretched," she wrote to the fortunate sister
remaining at Albany Villa, "to have to get up so early; how-
ever, I have made up my mind to go without breakfast
rather than go down again after the others have commenced.
I suppose they do not mean to be unkind, but they all look
so grave if one is not in time, my food chokes me. To be
dressed and have one's hair done fit to be seen by eight o'clock
is next to impossible. Well, when breakfast is over, the men
kind go out, and one of the girls goes to market, carrying a
bag, and I can either accompany her and take a dislike to the
joint we are to have for dinner, or spoil my complexion and
appetite by descending to the kitchen and helping the cook
until mid-day. Hetty and Martha never care about spoiling
their hands, and when I am particular about mine they say,
'Better to be useful than ornamental.' Whatever makes rich
people, like aunt and uncle, allow their daughters to put
themselves on the level of servants puzzles me very much.
Being practical they call it I shall hate the word as long as
I live. You should have seen Martha's look of disgust when
we were at the butcher's the other day, and I confessed to
being unable to distinguish sirloin from ribs, to say nothing
of never having before heard of chumps or wings. Fancy
a bullock with a wing! I said it reminded me of heathen
mythology. 'Ada,' Martha said, crossly, 'if you do not try
to understand such things, you will never be fit to be married!'
Indeed, whenever I consent to make any man happy, he must
promise never to ask or expect me to go to the butcher's."
Three months passed by, and Ada, although she had neither
learned to like or enter into domestic affairs or the family
life and quiet home pleasures of her uncle's house, dreaded
that her visit should draw to a close. Her mother had said
Edward would be a good match for Ada now, and Minnie
had not failed to "hope Ada would soon announce she was
to have another beau frere." However, though Edward was
kind and attentive, treating her with every respect due to a
guest and with the same brotherly attention as his sisters,
matters drew no nearer the desired consummation, and Ada's
heart ached and was heavy. She did not know why it was
that one evening this well-beloved first-born son of the house
took his mother's arm and led her, with that chivalrous respect
so seldom shown to parents now-a-days, to a little room which
was her own peculiar place of retirement and study, and there
sitting by her side, and laying his head on her shoulder, said,
"Mother, I have come for counsel, and perhaps pity."
"You shall have both, my dear. I am afraid I can guess
the nature of your perplexity and trouble."
"Afraid! that word damps my courage. Yet I know
not why it should, for, at whatever cost to myself, I have
determined to follow your advice. Have you guessed, then,
that I have been cherishing something more than cousinly
regard for Ada?"
"Yes, my boy, I feared so; and have bitterly reproached
myself for laying a snare in your path."
"Oh! not so; and," he continued in an earnest, pleading
tone, " would she not make a good wife?"
"I seriously doubt it. She is devoted to dress and
pleasure, and has a positive antipathy to domestic affairs ;
"She is young, mother; could you not win her to like
"The difficulty is akin to that of the Ethiopian changing
his skin. If she knew of your love she might seem to
acquiesce in your wishes; but when it became assured to
her, the power of early habits and training would re-assert
themselves, and she would make your married life wretched.
Lily has a good, true, noble-hearted husband, who adores
her, and whom, I think, she too, loves in her fashion; yet
she has never learned to guide the house their marriage,
indeed, is a frightful warning, both to mothers and would-be
husbands. To mothers, that no ties, no responsibilities, are
sufficient to overcome early and rooted habits of self
indulgence; to husbands, that if they stoop for a nettle they
must not expect to cull a flower. Ada is deeply infected
with what I hold to be domestic heresy, that servants must
relieve a mistress of all trouble and responsibility, and
virtually take the conduct of everything; that a mistress can
only be a lady by confining herself to the giving of orders,
and that it is a bore to superintend their execution. Oh!
my son, I should cry with the mother of did; what good
shall my life do me if my Jacob take to wife one of these
daughters of a degenerate time?"
Whilst Mrs. Heath thus spoke with intense earnestness.
Edward had risen, and paced the room in a conflict of
emotions. At length he said,
"I am glad, mother, that I have given no sign to Ada
before speaking to you: I am free, at least, except in heart
I wish you could have taken a more favourable view; I
never saw a sweeter or more winsome creature than Ada.
Yet I remember one must choose a wife, like the Vicar of
Wakefield, for such qualities as will wear well I said I
would abide by your counsel, mother. As I know your
judgment is right and true, I will try and keep my word;
yet, give me four days, and on Monday we will finally settle
my fate in this matter."
"Try, in that interval, to see with impartial eyes with
indeed, such as mine, seeking before all things your happi-
ness." So saying, the mother tenderly embraced her son,
and led him back to the family circle. Ada was singing, as
she always did, sweetly and correctly. Edward did not go
to her side, but sat down by his sister Mary, and toyed
absently with her working materials.
The song ended, Mary said, " Edward, have you seen the
magnificent cookery-book papa has given me to-day ? such
a treasure!" It could not be found "Ada," she said,
"have you had it?"
"Now, Mary, is it likely? When I study a cookery-book
it will be because there is no other book in the world."
"Why?" asked Edward, rather shortly.
Ada liked him very much, and, with something more than
the impulse of vanity, wished that he might love her, and
she answered very gently, and in a tone of reserve:
"I do not like cooking; it is hot, sickening work, and
only fit for people who have been roughly brought up.
Besides, uneducated people can do such work; why should
ladies of taste and refinement undertake it?"
"For the best reason, that their taste and refinement will
produce results which could never be reached by minds of
a lower order. And in these days there is the additional
reason that, if you do not know how to cook, you can hardly
teach those ignorant, unscientific persons who demand such
unreasonable wages for spoiling your food and digestion."
"I am very sorry I cannot agree with you, cousin. Those
ignorant cooks to whom you refer must be sent to schools
of cookery, and not expect ladies, who have other and higher
duties, to be their instructresses. I assure you it is out of
fashion now for ladies to go into the kitchen."
"I believe," he said, with slight irritability, "all womanly
duties are going out of fashion. But suppose it is shortly
announced that the most fashionable thing going is for ladies
to make the pies and puddings, shall you fall in with it?"
"No, no, and a hundred times no;" and then she sang,
"I won't be a cook, I can't be a cook,
I'm too fond of pleasure, and I won't be a cook 1"
"Since you have given us a song, "laughed Edward, "I
will reply by a quotation from Lucile very much to
the purpose :
'We may live without poetry, music, and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilised man cannot live without cooks.
We may live without books what is knowledge but grieving?
We may live without hope what is hope but deceiving?
We may live without love what is passion but pining?
But where is the man that can live without dining?'
So you see, Ada, you are just striking out of your list the
one indispensable accomplishment."
"He was a greedy creature who wrote that," she cried.
"I hope if he is not already married he will unite himself at
once to his cook, and that she will stuff him until he is glad
to go without his dinner."
"Seriously, though," said Edward, endeavouring to
imitate her tone of banter, whilst more than one of the
party divined that he was striving to cover strong emotion,
"if you marry a poor man, shall you not try to like domestic
"Of course; but I hope, when I have a husband, he
will wish me to be his companion, not his cook, and that he
will not be so very poor as to require me to drudge."
The subject dropped. Edward felt that as she regarded
household duties in the light of drudgery, argument
was wasted. Still the struggle in his heart was not over.
Ada was so sweet, so winsome, so fragile, was it reasonable
to expect her to come into rough contact with the hard
realities even of domestic life? Ought she ever to soil
those dainty fingers, or be anything in the home but the
beautiful fairy, commanding and obeyed by all? Ought she
not to be surrounded by every comfort and luxury the world
afforded; to be always waited on and petted? How much
income would that take? Revolving these thoughts in his
mind he lay half the night feverish and wretched, and the
morning found him still undecided about his future course.
With great self-command, however, he met Ada at breakfast,
betraying in no way the state of his feelingsresolved to
wait the four days at least, and even then to try and abide by
his mother's counsel; but he felt he could not go on seeing
Ada and be safe, and that he had better get his father to
assign him a business journey. It was a sore struggle
prudence against love; the gratification of a present passion
at the risk of life-long repentance. How few conquer under
such temptations, how inadequate the weapons seem for
the intensity of the fight! During the brief interval he had
allotted to himself, Edward narrowly observed his cousin,
and, though nothing of her beauty, nothing of her sweetness,
was lost upon him, strove to make his notes in an unbiased
" Oh!" he sighed, as he lay down to rest on the third
night of his probation, "she is but a pretty toy; a man
should not only have heart, hand, and competence to offer
her, but £5,000 a year at least!"
"Mother," he said, when he again sought her in her
own room, "it is all over. I see it would not do. I love
her well, and should love her better, but that I fear the
consequences. I am going away to-morrow for two or three
months, and shall get over it by the time I return, and then,
too, Ada will have gone home."
And so Mrs. Heath was justified in having accredited
Edward with the spirit of wisdom; but that night she
thanked God as for a great deliverance, and resolved
never again to place a like temptation in the way of her
Three months went by and yet Edward Heath had not
returned,' and his father began to hint that the Leeds
journey was somewhat prolonged this year. "Yes," he
wrote to his mother, " I must plead guilty to my father's
assertion that the business here has been long in doing.
But, indeed, I have not lost time until the last month. Why
have I done so at all, mother mine? I have told you often
how much at home I have been with your old friends the
Wilmots, and I am sure I have mentioned that their eldest
daughter, Isabel, is a sweet girl. She is two years younger
than myself; not exactly pretty, but with a calm, thoughtful
face and beautiful brown eyes; and she is just such a house-
wife as our Janet, and has, like her, cultivated tastes; sings
well, too, and charms everybody when she reads aloud.
I have no doubt now I am so sure, that I feel I need
scarcely ask your advice sure too, that for my sake you
will take her to your heart as a daughter. There is no
glamour of beauty or fascination of manner over me now; I
have perfect confidence in the object of my choice, as I
never could have had in that other sweet girl, who, for a
time, enchained my fancy. In this one, my Isabel, I know
the heart of her husband may safely trust."
When Ada heard of Edward's engagement, she bit her
lip until the blood came, and it was a long time ere she
regained her composure. "They all hated me; they were
all enemies, every one, and would not let him love me,"
she cried, in the bitterness of her spirit It never occurred
to her that it was within the limits of possibility he might
have discovered for himself that between them there was
none of the "suitability of mind and purpose" which alone
can render marriage happy.
Is not the disregard of this consideration the primary
cause of so many unhappy marriages nowadays? Men, as
a rule, look with favour on pretty, soft, little women, thinking
them gentle and amiable to be moulded, like wax, to their
will and way; and soon after marriage are surprised to find
them capable of energetic resistance with opposing wills of
their own. Then comes the unseemly strife for mastery
the display of temper on both sides, ending too often in per-
manent coldness, estrangement, or aversion. Sometimes,
indeed, a man's affection will cling round the poor incapable
creature he has brought to rule his house and be the mother
of his children; but he leaves her to bear the household
troubles she has not the strength to battle with, and finds
his pleasures apart from her.
The expense of dressing daughters, of keeping up appear-
ances, of taking them out and giving entertainments with
reference to their matrimonial prospects, is so serious that
parents often urge girls to accept offers backed by the neces-
sary means without giving any consideration to this "suit-
ability of mind and purpose." Their "shaking down together"
in life might be altogether an unimportant element
in the bargain, so entirely is it left to chance. Very badly
often does the daughter fare who does not "go off" who
cannot succeed in attracting a husband of one sort or
another. Educated with a view to thus attracting she has
been taught nothing really useful by which she could earn
her own livelihood, and is compelled to remain a burthen
at home; being constantly reminded of all that has been
done for her, and of her wretched inability to avail herself
of her opportunities. "Oh, that I could go out as a servant,"
many such a girl has sighed; "but I do not know how to work
nobody would take me, either, without a character.
I cannot teach; I cannot make a dress and so must remain
in this miserable bondage always."
How far better would it be if parents brought up their
daughters in a home-like manner, accustoming them to per-
form household duties, and to care with self-denying zeal
for the comforts of others. Never presenting marriage to
her girls as the end for which they have been born and
educated, a mother would do well to prepare them for
it by instruction in every branch of domestic economy.
She should feel assured that although they may never
possess homes of their own, these her cherished ones may,
by the exercise of their knowledge in the behalf of others,
win for themselves abundant gratitude and love.
A baby is born, and all is well," was the glad
news told one January night to Mr. Arkroyd,
on return from the City. Glad news, indeed;
for had he not looked for this event to
restore his wife's health, to give her fresh interests,
and inaugurate a new reign of peace and order
in his home? How tender he was to Lily, how delighted
with the tiny little being he peeped at between its wraps.
"Not a very strong child, nurse, do you say?"
"I fear not, sir; she will require much care, and Mrs.
Arkroyd, I hear, does not intend to nurse her."
"She fancies she will not be strong enough; but depend
upon it, sir, nature is only thwarted when ladies decline
this duty, and she will not be any the better for it."
"Do you expect the child will suffer if brought up by
"Of course I do. Supposing even you could procure
good milk for her in London, it is but a poor substitute for
the natural nourishment, and delicate children seldom
thrive upon it."
"Then what do you recommend, nurse?"
"Well, sir, first I should use all my influence to induce
Mrs. Arkroyd to attempt the nursing, and failing that,
engage a wet nurse."
"Monstrous suggestion," he thought. "I will give Lily
anything she asks to save such an alternative." "Doctor,"
he said to the medical attendant when they were alone
together, "what about the nursing?"
"I hope Mrs. Arkroyd will be equal to it; I know of no
reason at present why she should not I am much con-
cerned to find young mothers of the present day not only
averse from, but physically unequal to, the discharge
of this most important duty, and I feel bound to urge its
performance wherever possible."
"To what cause do you attribute this physical inability?"
"Mainly to their own defective nurture, to luxurious
habits, and the practice of taking too much stimulant
Ladies, as a rule, now take twice as much wine as in former
generations, and, looking to its horrible adulteration and
admixture with fiery spirit, the marvel is the consequences
are not more serious than they are."
"But you hope that my wife will be able to nourish her
"Yes, certainly; but much depends also on the will."
"My dear," said Mrs. Williams to Lily, "don't be persuaded
to nurse the child If you do you will be more or less tied
for the next eight or ten months. At your age you ought
to take your pleasure, and not be mewed up in the nursery.
The child will thrive well enough on milk; we can have some
from one cow kept for us; but anything would be better
than that all the comfort of your life should be destroyed."
"But Arthur so much wishes me to take the child myself;
I have half promised, and you know he said if I would he
would give me those diamond and turquoise earrings I set
my mind on months ago. I think I must try."
"And have no peace night nor day. Well, you must do
as you please."
The earrings lay on the pillow beside Lily the next night;
she had accepted the bribe and, as she did so, fully in-
tended to make the promised attempt. But courage failed,
and with tears, which instantly secured her husband's for-
bearance, she told him it was so painful and distressing she
could not persevere. Every apparatus, every known device,
all the doctor's skill and the nurse's patience were of no avail,
because of the want of resolution on the part of the
mother, and disinclination to overcome the physical diffi-
culties. The little one, however, though delicate, throve
better than they had expected, and Lily herself steadily
advanced towards convalescence. "So much better than
she possibly could have done," Mrs. Williams declared,
"than if she had had the worry of nursing."
"Of course, Lily," said Mrs. Williams, now more than
ever bent on securing any opportunity for the display of
her daughters, "you will give a christening party."
"I don't know," said Lily sadly. " Arthur has not even
hinted at such a thing."
"I am not surprised at that but who ever heard of not
giving an entertainment to the god-parents of a first child?"
"Well, a little dinner?" suggested Lily.
"Would cost as much as a nice evening party. Just
have luncheon after the christening, to which of course you
would invite the clergyman, and then in the evening a
select young party."
"I am afraid Arthur would think it too expensive."
"Really you seem to consider your husband's whims
to the exclusion of every other consideration. Properly
managed the whole thing need not cost twenty pounds.
If he cannot afford that on the birth of a first child you
might as well have married a pauper."
Thus encouraged Lily presented the scheme to her husband.
She never thought of the heavy expense her illness
had been, nor how it had been greatly increased by the
want of preparation and forethought so necessary on such
occasions. It is one he had not ventured, at such a time,
to tell her that their next quarter's income was seriously
"It will not cost more than twenty pounds," she said,
"and mamma will manage everything cleverly."
"Yet I wish we could avoid even so much expense,"
replied Mr. Arkroyd. "We must indeed be careful, dearest,
and remember we have now another besides ourselves to
care for. Do you not think if we were to put that twenty
pounds by, to form the nucleus of a fund for baby's benefit,
it would be wiser?"
"Wisdom is a tiresome, stupid thing," she said pettishly,
"and I feel I might be allowed a little party after keeping
quiet all these months. I do believe you would like me to
live like a nun. People with ever so much less to live on
than ourselves give parties, and grand ones too."
"Do they pay for them? If so, they must be excellent
"Well, I am sure mamma will manage everything excel-
lently, and the girls will decorate the rooms and trim up
my wedding dress; and now don't be a dreadful old screw;
and when this is over I will begin and save baby's fortune."
"When that was over!" Poor frail Lily, you little
thought you would plead against your husband's wish never,
never more! But all his life afterwards Arthur Arkroyd
was thankful that at least he had not harshly thwarted her,
even while he lamented he had not found other means to
prevent her rashness.
The baby was not very well during the week which pre-
ceded the party, and from the general derangement of the
house, the draughts and discomfort, Lily took cold.
Nevertheless she kept up until the fatal evening. Her
mother and sisters were too engrossed with the preparation
of becoming toilets, issuing invitations, hunting up recusants
at whose houses they used to visit, and generally increasing
the inevitable expense of the coming entertainment by their
thoughtlessness, to notice the signs of Lily's illness. To
her husband she declared it was only a slight cold; she
should be quite well, and a dance would do her more good
than anything. "I shall remain in bed all day," she said,
"since you will not have me go to the church, and then I
shall be bright and fresh for the evening. "When, however,
the time came to dress, and Lily attempted to rise, she felt
so ill as to send for her mother, and say she feared it was
impossible to do so. But Mrs. Williams urged her to make
the effort; if she could only manage to come down and
receive the 'guests all would be well.
So they dressed her in the beautiful wedding apparel, and
put upon her her husband's latest gift, the diamond and
turquoise earrings, and would not let him see her until she
As he entered her dressing-room, Lily, by a great effort,
rose to greet her husband, her cheeks burning with fever,
and her eyes bright and lustrous with its fatal light "How
well you look, darling," he said, mistaking the signs.
"Yes," she said, absently, and with dry lips and parched
throat, "this is the dress I love best I have often thought
I should like to be buried in it"
He saw it all now, and taking her unresisting hand, he
felt its burning heat
"Dearest," he said, "you are ill; come back to your
room, and go to bed."
"I must go down. I would not have the girls miss their
pleasure for the world. Let me just go down and shake
hands, and then I will do as you wish."
It was with extreme difficulty Lily descended to the
dancing-room, and with very little consciousness of what
was going on. A murmur of surprise from some, of horror
from the more experienced, broke from the guests as her
husband led Lily, now quite exhausted, to a seat. A young
doctor, who was present, whispered to Mr. Arkroyd that
signs of dangerous illness were apparent, and that his wife
should instantly be removed to her room. Then the party,
hardly yet assembled, scared and terrified, fled at the word
"fever;" some even leaving the house on foot rather than
wait for carriages to convey them from its dreaded presence.
Before the morning Lily was unconscious, and for three
sad weeks remained so. Her husband hardly left her for a
moment, though at times he felt as if her incoherent words
would kill him. Often it seemed that she was striving to
accomplish something, and was baffled in the attempt
Twice she murmured, "I did not know how, tell him, and he
will forgive me." Then he would kneel by her side and pray
God to restore her, and he would be more patient with her.
Almost perfect as had been his self-abnegation during their
married life, he asked only for the opportunity for making it
more complete. All errors, all unkindness, were forgotten
now, and his one thought and prayer was that Lily might be
spared to him.
But the last night came at length, and the despairing
husband knew that he could hope no longer. The babe
had given up its feeble life the day before, and now the
mother's spirit was hastening to it Worn out in mind and
body Arthur Arkroyd felt he could bear no one to witness
with him that last scene; that on its solemnity and sacred-
ness no eyes less devoted than his own might rest. So he
watched alone until the chill dawn broke, and as he leant
over her, expecting every moment the last breath would
speed, her eyes for one instant rested with seeming con-
sciousness on his, she smiled faintly and was no more.
We will not linger on this last page, nor pause now to
describe the anguish which weighed down the husband's
spirit For years he bore his "sorrow's crown of sorrow "
in his widowed heart and life. As he had truly loved, so
he truly mourned.
Having seen the bridal robes placed upon the wasted
form, even the wreath of orange blossoms upon the white
and still beautiful brow, Arthur Arkroyd felt as if life were
over for him; and having watched by the graveside with
resolute will until the last earth was filled in, he turned his
face to a world that seemed void to him. Wifeless, child-
less, what earthly loneliness is more complete? Men spoke
words of consolation, women pitied and were tender to him,
he could not thank them all he wished was to die, and if
that might not be, to be alone. To Albany Villa he never
returned, but left it in possession of Mrs. Williams until
she could procure a suitable home for herself and daughters.
For the sake of her he had so loved Mr. Arkroyd was ever
kind to them, but he could not bear to see them for many
years after he lost his Lily.
On the day of Mrs. Arkroyd's funeral, Miss Wilson desired
Elgeth to draw down all the blinds of her house, but that
the one near where her chair stood should be so left that she
could see the mournful cavalcade. Silently she watched it
move away, and then, overcome with painful emotion which
closely resembled grief, she lay back in her chair and wept
"Wheel me away, Elgeth," she said at length, "it is for the
last time. I shall never see him again; but if ever you do,
tell him, I charge you, how I grieved; and, that it may not
come upon you by surprise, when I am dead and gone, I
tell you now I have made him my heir. Of course, I have
handsomely provided first for you. There is no one I
am bound to consider, except by a few legacies. I am a
lonely old woman, who has outlived all her relations. I
shall wrong no one by this course, for I have never en-
couraged any expectations; and it will be a consolation to
me when I am dying that I have made to Mr. Arkroyd the
only reparation in my power for the wrong you and I did
him, in refraining from telling him he was being robbed and
"I did it for the best," sobbed Elgeth, on whose con-
science also this wrong had of late weighed heavily.
"Yet it was mean and selfish, and nothing can undo the
mischief. But we will not speak of it again. I saw him
come home a happy bridegroom I have watched him till I
grew to love him as my own son and now he has gone
from my sight for ever, a despairing, broken-hearted
widower. Nothing outside can interest me more, so wheel
me away and put me to bed."
She never rose again from it, and, three months after, Mr.
Arkroyd found himself a comparatively rich man.
"Take the fortune, sir," said Elgeth, " she gave it to you
of her own free will, and though she never exchanged a
word with you, I am sure her affection for, you justified the
The time had gone by when such a gift would have been
highly prized by Arthur Arkroyd, as enabling him to give
his Lily the pleasures she loved. Nevertheless, long years
after, when another took her place in his heart and home,
he wished he had but known the intention of his generous
benefactress before her death, that as a son he might have
cheered her last lonely days, and thanked her as he did
From the time of the commencement of this story
to that at which we now arrive ten years have
gone by. We have seen that to many of those
whose fortunes we have followed they brought
more or less of grief and anxiety; and yet to
Janet Fenton and her husband they had passed
without more serious trouble than occasional ill-
ness and the household and business worries which none may
altogether escape. Four children had been born to them,
and were all healthy and intelligent. Generally things had
prospered with the husband in the counting-house and with
the wife in the home. With him, because he had steadily
worked, never expecting to reap where he had not sown,
entering into no rash speculations, wasting no capital in
keeping up an appearance which his actual position did
not justify; risking no health by the sacrifice of mental
peace, and because of that modest but manly independence
which would owe no man anything, and which enabled him
with honest pride to hold his head high among his fellows.
With her, because she had followed closely her mother's
teaching and example, counting nothing pleasure which did
not directly tend to the happiness of her husband and the
welfare of her children, whom she brought up with simple
habits and home-like tastes. They did not live to themselves,
they had friends and cheerful society, and nowhere was there
more intelligent controversy and conversation than in the
home of the Fentons. Friends coming to visit them, as
they frequently did, were never allowed unduly to swell
their expenses or to upset the household arrangements.
"Take us as we are," was always the accompaniment of
"Come to dinner" or "supper"; and things were so well
managed by Mrs. Fenton that she was never "put out" if
her husband unexpectedly brought home a friend. If such
food as they had were insufficient for the number of guests,
some little dish was quickly improvised by Janet's skilful
hands. And this was the great charm to her husband, that,
however he came, she was always ready with her cheerful face
to greet him and with entire self-forgetfulness to lay aside all
her domestic frets and grievances, and without any seeming
effort to make him feel his home a haven of rest. He, on
his part, sympathised tenderly with her in every trial, and
neglected nothing which his great love prompted to lighten
her daily cares. Charles Fenton had not the impatience of
household trouble which characterises too many young hus-
bands of the present day. He was ever ready to accept his
wife's dictum in such matters, and in an emergency to sacri-
fice his own comfort to the general good. Nor had he the
prevalent notion that men have all the work of the world,
and that women's cares are as feathers in the scale. "I
know," he said one day, to a friend with whom he was dis-
cussing home affairs, "that feminine courage, though of a
different, is of a higher order than ours, and that women face
moral difficulties with more (determination and physical ills
with more fortitude than men. The best of us would sink
under the present enormous difficulty of procuring efficient
In these ten years Mr. Fenton had almost trebled his in-
come (and this notwithstanding that on the birth of each
child he had made such a provision for it as would amount
to a small fortune when it came of age), so that he now felt
justified in proposing their removal to a larger house.
"It would have its advantages," Janet said. "But then
again we must keep more servants, and generally much in-
crease our expenses and anxieties. I would much rather,
dear, though somewhat closely packed, remain here a few
years longer. One thing, however, is certain, we must
shortly convert the drawing-room into a schoolroom."
"My dear, I really cannot have you do without your
"But if I prefer to do so if I feel that for the present it
will be better rather to diminish than increase my state you
will not prevent it?"
"You altogether forget Mrs. Grundy."
"It is my habit, you know, to ignore that respectable per-
son. But if you do not intrude yourself too much on her
notice, I find she is disposed to leave you alone. Now I
fancy she would be more likely to have her eye on us if we
moved into the Crescent, arid would be inquiring whether
we could afford to pay for the carpets and curtains."
"In that matter we could defy her."
"Yes; but if we go on quietly here for a few years longer,
we shall be able to do it all the more triumphantly, and be
able to say, 'Pray walk in, Mrs. Grundy, and see there is no
veneer, no shams; such as it is, it is all real and paid for.'
Suppose, then, we defer issuing that invitation, at least till
Hetty is fifteen."
On the birth of her fourth child Mrs. Fenton had felt much
the need of a useful companion, who would assist her in the
management of her house and family, and enable her to
dispense with a third servant. It happened just as this want
was pressing heavily, because of Mrs. Fenton's unusual weak-
ness, that a distant relation of her family wrote asking Mrs.
Heath if she could hear of some such situation for one of
her girls. "You know," she said, "that although we keep but
one young servant, there is hardly sufficient work to fully em-
ploy my three girls, so Fannie wishes to go out. She has
been well educated, and it has fitted her to be a very intelli-
gent companion. She is fond of children, and clever in all
domestic matters. She will only require as much salary as
will keep her suitably dressed."
"Settle it at once, mamma," said Mr. Fenton. "I will not
even ask you, Jenny. I exert my authority now that you are
too weak to contend."
"I am in so unusually amiable a mood as to be perfectly
acquiescent," she said, laughing.
Fannie Ellerslie came like a sunbeam into the already
bright home of the Fentons. Pretty and gentle, she was yet
a housewifely little woman of nineteen. Now soothing a
fretful child and nursing a sick one, now teaching another to
read, now making a frock, now deftly compounding a pudding,
and generally having a finger in every pie, she was a perfect
treasure to Mrs. Fenton, whom she called cousin.
"Oh, you dear," she said one morning, to Mrs. Fenton,
"was there ever such a happy girl as you make me! Think
how much better off I am than Mary Lereux, who is always
complaining of the sorrows and hardships of governess life."
"If girls generally, Fannie, had such mothers as you and
I, there are hundreds now condemned to idleness, or to work
for which they are unfitted and consequently fret at, who
might be as happy as we. Can we ever sufficiently thank
our mothers who brought us up to understand and love
woman's true and best work in the home and family?"
"Oh," laughed Fannie, "don't you think, cousin, it is much
better to be educated like men and to share their advantages,
than to be tied down to such ignoble pursuits as ours?"
"Fie, miss I"
"Nevertheless, though you are shocked, I must tell you I
very narrowly escaped marking out for myself a much more
noble career than nursing your babies and getting my hair
nearly all pulled out by the roots by them."
"If you will wear those tempting curls but tell me all
"One evening, when I was about sixteen, we went to tea
with Mrs. Marsh, and at her house met a lady from
London who told us wonderful things of the new paths
opening to woman. We were not to be restricted any longer.
If we had the will, we should soon establish our right to
enter most of the learned professions, and we ought to aim
at the highest classical and mathematical education, and
never to rest until we were secure of our rights and
thoroughly independent of man and matrimony, which last
she seemed to consider rather a degradation to us. I dare
say you will think I was dreadfully silly; nevertheless, I felt
miserable at being so far away from all metropolitan lights
and advantages, and I lay awake all the night trying to
decide on my future plans of action. The next morning, with
my ideas still all abroad, I went to confide in my mother.
"Don't you think, mother,' I said, 'it is time I began to
think of a career for myself ?"'
"What does the child mean?" she said, laughing.
"Why, that I should like to devote myself to study for a
few years, so that I may make for myself a name and fame,
and be quite an independent woman."
"Well, she is a creature I have never yet seen, nor do I
wish to see her. And let me tell you, Fannie, I do not
believe such a thing possible. Women are by nature de-
pendent, and it is the worse for those who seek to be other-
wise. Defend us from careering women, and from all modern
devices for alluring the unwary from their first duty of study-
ing the science of guiding the house and other true womanly
duties. When you have learned these and everything
necessary to fit you for a wife and mother, or to be the
assistant of one and if when all is learned you can find no
scope for the exercise of this knowledge I will indeed do my
best to provide the means and opportunity for other studies.
But trust me, child, woman will never attain the kind of
independence you are thinking of without the loss of some
of the most lovely characteristics of her sex. Created to
be a help-meet to man, she outrages the laws of nature
when she tries to invade his province. In her own proper
duties there is scope for the highest talent, the most exalted
"I quite agree with Mrs. Ellerslie," said Janet, warmly;
"and with a writer in Blackwood, who says :
'I wonder a woman, the Mistress of Hearts,
Would descend to aspire 10 be Master of Arts;
A ministering angel in woman we see.
And an angel should covet no higher degree.'
We but make ourselves ridiculous by defying natural laws;
leaving undone our own duties, and declaring that we are
fitted for, and will undertake, those of men. A blessing it is
indeed that your mother's good sense saved you from career-
ing; for then I probably should never have known you, or if
I had, what earthly use would it have been to say, Fannie,
my dear, Oh, do go- and see if you can quiet that fretful
child upstairs I"
"Oh, yes; there shall be peace in two minutes."
Soon after coming into possession of Miss Wilson's
fortune Mr. Arkroyd's health so seriously failed
that he yielded to medical advice, gave up his
appointment in London, and went abroad. For
five years he wandered about, staying awhile in
every capital in Europe, noting with grave sad eyes
the follies of his countrymen and women in strange
lands. He seldom chose to reveal his identity or to profit by
letters of introduction, and it was in vain lady mothers tried to
discover if he were an eligible parti. At tables-d'hote he always
avoided travelling families with daughters, and it was remarked
by one shrewd young lady at Paris, that Mr. Arkroyd appeared
to look on girls as if they were specimens of natural history,
or zoological curiosities; to be carefully studied, but not too
closely approached or handled. And so the years went on,
and no love revisited Arthur Arkroyd's heart. His health
was somewhat restored, time had softened his grief, and he
felt the benefit generally of change of scene and travel; yet
there rose up ever and anon before him the sweet dead face
of his buried hope, always with the smile she wore as she lay
so still in the bridal robes, her fair forehead wreathed with
white flowers. He was very tender of her memory; nothing
of reproach mingled in his remembrance of her, and though
he could not forget his disappointment or the absolute suffer-
ing of his married life, "she did not know how, poor, poor
child," softened these recollections.
In the sixth year of his wanderings he fell home-sick, with
a sickness indeed so sore that, although he was so far distant
as St Petersburg, he travelled night and day until he reached
London. During all his long sojourn in distant lands he
had kept up a correspondence with the Fentons; whenever
he thought of home it was in connection with them; and it
was to Janet that he paid his first visit in England, even while
still travel-worn and weary.
"Some influence for which I cannot account, Mrs. Fenton,"
he said, "possessed me. Suddenly I felt I must come home,
that, as it were, I was drawn to come; it was like magnetism."
"Who knows," she said cheerily, "but some lode-star did
draw you?" and at this moment unconscious of the presence
of a stranger, Fannie Ellerslie, with the youngest child in her
arms, bounded into the room. She stopped short, and was
about to retreat, when, encouraged, she came forward and
presented the baby to Mr. Arkroyd. Never he thought had
he seen a more charming picture the sweet girl with her
sunny curls, her manner and dress alike breathing the most
charming simplicity, and the baby clinging round her neck.
"I am jealous of Fannie, Mr. Arkroyd," said Mrs. Fenton.
"This monkey never cares to leave her to come to me."
"That proves," he said, "how kind a nurse Miss Ellerslie is.
Will you exert your influence to induce the little one to
come to me?"
Fannie whispered to baby all sorts of encouraging words;
how that the strange gentleman would love her better than
Fannie, but all to no purpose, for baby could not be
brought to believe that, and she whispered, in evident allu-
sion to his beard, "No, no, so black."
So Mr. Arkroyd was fain to content himself with admiring
both nurse and baby at a respectful distance; but the time
came, and that soon, when he was admitted to the closest
intimacy with both.
That this interview with Mrs. Fenton caused Mr. Arkroyd
to fix his bachelor quarters near her house is beyond question.
And it soon became apparent to Mrs. Fenton that the lode-
star was in her house indeed. Mr. Arkroyd had, it is true,
become on terms of close friendship with her husband,
the children doted on him by reason of those wonderful
stories and ever-filled pockets of his, and he appreciated to
the full her large-hearted kindness and womanly sympathies;
yet she knew there must be another and stronger attraction
"I am so delighted," Mrs. Fenton said to her husband,
"Fannie will make the best and dearest of wives. I shall
do all in my power to promote the marriage."
"Taking to match-making! A nice time I shall have of
it when our girls grow up."
"No, no; the match is making itself. Only one can some-
times make opportunities."
"Janet," said Mr. Arkroyd, one day, "it is time I took you
into my confidence."
"Quite," she said, demurely.
"Indeed, I have come to you first"
"Oh, no doubt, sir, and think you are about to tell me
a great secret! As if I could not see that like a thief you
have come into my house, and spoke me fair, while you
plotted to deprive me of my chief comfort and help. Oh, do
pray go on, and tell me that which I already know too well!"
"Guilty," he said, "and I crave your mercy. If I could
buy her off you for her weight in gold, I should still feel I
"Exactly," she said, laughing; "we are agreed on that point,
at least. And have you told my Fannie of your hope?"
"Not yet; at least "
"Oh, I understand."
"Indeed, I thought it due to you first to speak to you.
But my mind has long been made up and your penetration
may have led you to discover how I regard Fannie. From
the moment I saw her with your baby in her arms my heart
went out to her, and rested in the ark of her sweetness.
You have given me a fair opportunity, my friend, to judge
her for myself, and I had your word and being altogether
graceless and thievish, I appropriated it as intended for my
benefit that she would make a priceless wife. Have I then
your approbation? Do you think she will take me, some-
what broken as I am?"
"You have, my dear Arthur," she replied, with some emo-
tion, "my full approbation, and I believe I may answer for
her parents. How warmly I wish you success I cannot say,