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Squire Percy was his father's lawful nineteen and never returned more. successor, heir, and eldest son; but the People said he went abroad, and "ould Squire," a name spoken in the became a great traveller, that he district with somewhat similar feelings even wrote books, and was in his day to those which animate the world in a famous man; but all that was cergeneral on pronouncing familiar ab- tain of his history was, that he marbreviations of another name to which ried a foreign lady and never came is always affixed the same adjective, home. Some bits of wonderful emhad been much disposed on various broidery in gold and silver and occasions, as rumour and family tra- coloured silks were sometimes shown dition went, to disinherit his most at the Grange, said to be sent home, uncongenial and unbeloved heir. pretty offerings of wistful kindness " Th' ould Squire was still the from young Frank's foreign wife ; but familiar demon of the scared peasant nobody knew anything of young imagination of Briarford, and many a Frank during his father's lifetime, child awoke with a cold shudder, or ran nor until many years after Squire trembling along the lanes at night, in Percy's peaceful' accession, when dread of the visionary enemy who foreign letters came to the Grange, bore this name. Stories of him were black-sealed and bordered, on receipt current everywhere, and, told on of which good Squire Percy mourndreary nights when the winds were fully went upon a journey, from which londer than their wont, and the trees he returned, bringing home with him were tossing wildly in the stormy a very little, mournful, wistful, wonmoonlight round the exposed and dering child. Then it was told that out-standing Grange, which every Frank had died abroad ; that his villager could see from his cottage poor broken-hearted wife had travelled door; there was something very eerie to England to bring her child to her and ghostly in these tales, the more father's friends, but that not even especially as they were not tales of Squire Percy's brotherly warmth and ordinary license or riot-the vulgar sympathy could keep the sad widow vices to wbich the vulgar mind is from sinking. She, too, was dead; indulgent—but of fierce ungovernable and the poor little maiden, who never passions - wild furious hates and cried and seldom spoke, but looked frenzies, which awed and oppressed such a strange small monumental as much as they horrified the common image of childish grief and solitude, understanding. Rage, that brought was alone in the world. temporary madness upon the unhappy This was Zaidee Vivian, now fourold man, who drove children and teen years old; a quick - growing, friends far from his fierce old age, and strange, out-of-the-way girl, whom held the attendants, bribed by high everybody wondered at.
Nothing wages to remain with him, in terror like her startling alertness of motion, for their very lives, with pride so her perfectly simple and unconscious haughty, and resentment so bitter, abstraction of mind and manners, her that to oppose his capricious will in quick, keen, vivid perceptions, and the slightest particular was like pro- those wild visionary moods which voking a remorseless fate. How were still so entirely sincere and girlish Squire Percy managed to succeed so —the unrestrained imagination which peaceably to the ancestral lands at people called romantic-were known last, no one of his humble neighbours within the horizon of Briarford. Her very well knew; but everybody knew very name was a wonder; no one and rejoiced in the unspeakable ease had ever heard it before, and Zaidee and freedom of the new reign- and herself was half-ashamed and balfSquire Percy, who would have been proud of the outlandish syllables; not popular anywhere, became doubly much wonder that all the parish set popular in the perpetual contrast her down as the oddest and least instituted between himself and “th' comprehensible of young ladies. Not ould Squire."
a known relative in all the world bad “Thi ould Squire" had but one Zaidee out of the walls of the Grange. other son, a gay young scapegrace, Her world and absolute boundars is who wandered from the Grange at this one family and tbeir warm sni
kindly bome. “ Zaidee would never them very well, Zaidee, armed with do to go among strangers, her heart a school-room rule and cramping her is so tender, her feelings so keen," fingers horribly, has never yet suesaid lively little Mrs Vivian, who has ceeded in making a tolerable straight been so good to the desolate mother- line in the manuscript book where she less child, whose loneliness touched sometimes copies her favourite bits of her heart. Going among strangers verse. Even the very bandwriting is a horror and dismay which has of these extracts is no better than it never presented itself to the thoughts should be-poor Zaidee cannot boast of Zaidee, who lives a very indepen- a single morsel of accomplishment. dent life much after her own pleasure, To run through a new book, every and has bitherto escaped many in- line of it, before a soberer reader has fictions common to " properly edu- got over the preface-to have a geneted” girls. Zaidee could not play ral knowledge of every volume in the you a bar of music for all Briarford. library, barring the facts contained in Zaidee's shy voice durst not hear the same, and to be capable of any itself singing save in the most obscure amount of reading however constant recesses of her own private retire- or long-continued—if these are tokens ment. If Zaidee is able to dance at of intellectual aptitude, Zaidee Vivian all at this famons ball, over which has them all, but of ordinary educa. Sophy grows wild, the instruction bastion nothing more ; and such is the been acquired most involuntarily by strange, fanciful, abstracted girl, who the sheer exercise of Sophy's superior taxes her wild imagination with vain strength ; and though Margaret can efforts to think of something which produce extraordinary landscapes, and shall please Philip on his one-andElizabeth has a natural taste for twentieth birthday. pretty groups of flowers, and paints
CHAPTER IV.-ZAIDEE'S CHAMBER. Like the nests of quaint little woman in the world, with the truest drawers in an old bureau, up steps Saxon horror of litter; but opening and down steps, and piercing into all out of Sophy's room, a little elf-like manner of odd corners, are the bed cavern, with a small rounded window chambers of the Grange. True, there -a slender tall bed, extremely narrow are a few solemn great ones, in the and very long, a 'ghostly great old most sheltered end of the house, but chair of faded velvet, richly embroi. these are kept for company and dered, a single small shelf hung solemn occasions, and it is through a against the wall, a square of ancient thickly-populated quarter, intersected fringed carpet spread upon the floor with multitudinous narrow passages and leaving a polished margin, : and morsels of stair, and quaint out strange dark eldritch old looking-class of-the-way windows, that, if you have with transverse lines in it, which any right to go there, you must seek seem to blink and twinkle upon you, the chamber of Zaidee. Still more merry-eyed, with the truest satisfaclike the internal arrangements of a
tion in those grotesque distortions bureau, with concave roofs and glim- they make of everything reflected mering oaken panels full of reflec- by them—is the special retirement, tions from two or three cross lights
, study, and sleeping-chamber of Zaidee are these rooms in the interior-and Vivian. not all the snowy draperies and pretty The round window needs no cordecorations, proper to the bower of tains, for nothing but a bird on the young ladies, can make the apart- wing could look in upon the maiden ments of even Elizabeth and Mar- meditations of Zaidee in this fargaret like anything but the little away enclosure. Instead of pretty hiding-places, cosy and shining, which draperies, however
, there shine beo they are. Sophy's room is a miracle tween these thick stone mullions some of good order and tidiness; for
Sophy fragments of old stained glass ; neither is ihe most active and brisk little Zaidee nor any one else can interpret
the mystic signs which fall in rich quainted with them can tell the hues of red and purple upon the peculiar delight of this wild windy snowy coverlet and faded carpet when weather and exposed district, its flush the sun shines into Zaidee's room; of spirit, of resistance and exhilaranor could the wisest of antiquar- tion, or the interest of its ceaseless ies make much of these little patches changes. Those fierce buffets of wind, of heraldry, features of griffins those stormy flashes of rain, those and plumes of party-coloured eagles glimmering vicissitudes of light and unceremoniously wedded together. shadow passing over the whole breadth Though the Vicar might be somewhat of country like some giant's breath shocked to know a monogram of upon a fairy mirror-if nature looks Mary, or a chipped and disfigured her homeliest in this quarter, her crucifix, among these remnants of the struggling life and energy make ancient art, such things do not dis- amends; and not the sweetest of turb the mind of Zaidee Vivian. A landscapes could charm the wild hundred dreams of hers are woven imagination of Zaidee Vivian like about the vermilion and the azure of this wind-swept level country—this her panes of coloured glass, but the great waste and wilderness of cloudy wild significations which the fanciful firmament, and the low-lying, fierce, girl assigns to them are as far as and warlike hill. entire ignorance can be from the The masonry of the Grange is meaning that they bear in fact—if wisely adapted to its climate; and fact or meaning have not evaporated however wild the tumult without, from them many a year ago, as com
Mrs Vivian has well ascertained that prehension and intelligence have as- no fugitive draught can enter within suredly done.
to wither her home flowers, so that Outside this turreted pinnacle is the Zaidee's treasures are in perfect safety stormiest spot in all the Grange; and here, established upon the low sill of Zaidee, looking out through her un- the window, which forms a deep small coloured panes, has such a world of round recess, and is lined with polished shifting clouds to watch and ponder oak. These treasures are, first, the as never dreaming girl possessed worn Bible which once belonged to before. If there is little either beau- Zaidee's father--a homely well-used tiful or grand in the scenery about, as volume-written over in its fly-leaves is very certain, it is wonderful the with mysterious Greek characters, perpetual charm and interest of this which Zaidee many a day dreams great domain of sky. The wild free- over and would give the world to undom of so great a stretch of atmosphere, derstand; and, in the second place, the tumultuous masses of vapour toss- a small box bound with decayed ing upon that clear and luminous arch gilding and once rich in ornament, above, and the perpetual turmoil of which Zaidee calls a casket. It has the winds, give character to every- been some kind of jewel-case in its thing here. These very ribs of rock day, and now it contains the sole in Briarford Hill, the dark colour and valuable in Zaidee Vivian's reposisolitary looks of the houses, each of tories—the strange little gold chain, them holding its garments about it, just long enough to circle her throat, and standing firm, as if a sudden gust which her aunt says she must soon or a moment of incaution might carry begin to wear now, a mark of her it away; the gnarled, defiant, and maturing age and coming womanhood. resisting trees, with their foliage al- Nothing else lies within this treasured ways blown towards a point, like and sacred casket-too honourable a travellers caught in a storm; and place for common trinkets-nothing those delicious barbours of shelter else except a book, or Zaidee's leaning under high overhanging banks or in arms as she bends over the same, deep lanes, where you can hear the ever shares with the casket and the wind rushing overhead while not a Bible this polished window-sill; but blade of grass is stirred below-all Zaidee, with a whole day's work and alike evidence the atmospheric influ- a bit of an ancient hanging, has ences prevailing, in this corner of manufactured for herself a cushion, English soil. And no one unac- which lies upon the floor immed
under the window, and on which it is upon her young forehead morning and Zaidee's own use and wont to lie in evening; strângely it reddens over all her stolen readings, half kneeling, her in the light of noon, and wane half reclining, with her book upon the into pearly colour with the twilight. window-ledge.
The sign of salvation-yes—the type It is here the morning light finds of love invincible, and sacrifice diZaidee Vivian kneeling in her simple vine-but no less the badge of all girlish prayers, all unwitting of the human self-denials and agonies, the red mark of the cross, broken and mark of suffering and sorrow upon s indistinct, which the early sunshine mortal brow. throws on her brow. There is no This is Zaidee's room—where there cross, emblem of agony, of struggle is not a curve or corner, not a line of and hope, and might that cannot die, panel, or a fold of curtain, wbich is in all the line of Zaidee's life, or the not peopled with Zaidee's fanciee. prospect of Zaidee's fortune. Humble However much of her may go down enough these fortunes may come to stairs into the family occupations or be by-and-by, but, warm in the heart apartments, Zaidee's heart stays in of so loving a household, the orphan this quaint little solitude—it is the knows no fear. Yet strangely it falls scene of her visionary life.
CHAPTER V.—ZAIDEE'S FRIENDS. Perhaps the dearest intimate of tress's very footstool pillowed Sermo's Zaidee's life is Sermo, Squire Percy's sententious face, and nobody could favourite hound. Sermo has known find anything in those grave decorous more than one name in his day, and manners of his to call for exclasion, had no better an appellation in his after the softening sentiment of grief youth than any other of his sporting had given him admittance. The days race, a common huntsman and no of mourning for Squire Percy were more. But growing age, which gave over, and the household heart had to Sermo his wise and reverend face, sprung again into the returning lightconferred upon him a more becoming someness of nature and youth, but the name. “Ne'er was such a dog, drawing-room was still free to SermoSquire.— I say'tis as good as a sermon nicus, and still be sat with stately any day but to look at him," said gravity by the side of bis mistress, or Squire Percy's groom to his master. looked up with his vigilant and serious Squire Percy was a pleasant man, and eye from his rest by her footstool, loved a jest, so he carried this saying holding in the very sanctuary of to his household circle, where Eliza- household authority an unreproved beth, Margaret, and Philip were half- and dignified place. grown youngsters, and little Percy an But of all his friends none were so imp of a boy. It was not quite cer- close and loving as Zaidee, whose tain which of this merry youthful affection for her good uncle seemed all party was the godfather or godmother to have flowed in as an increase to of Sermonicus, but it was sufficiently the private tenderness which all her certain that, in the dignified flow of life she had cherished towards Sermo. these longer syllables, the common Sermo's stately pace of sobriety alone name of Rover was lost from that had ever been known to tempt Zaidee day, and a double favourite hence- into quiet regularity of walking. Serforward was the patriarch of the ken- mo stalked by Zaidee's side, through nel, whom all his youthful friends hall and passage, and faced the blast were calling all day long to acquaint with her, unwilling but resigned, him with bis change of name. When sniffing it rezentfully with his disdainthe Squire died, a kindlier affection ful nostril when Zaidee would go forth still came to poor Sermo; the drawn into a dusky twilight for the sole pleaing-room, where his very entry was sure of feeling in her face the wild an unwarranted and guilty intrusion familiar wind. Sermo sat upright by fold, became free soil to the faithful Zaidee's side when she brought an
ner of the father dead. His mis. ancient volume from the library, fixe
ing upon it thoughtfully his wise un- thing important or interesting in the winking eyes ; but Sermo was a dog conversation then in progress escaped of discretion, and disliked the damp Zaidee. She read with all her might odour of new printing and uncut too, but she could not close up all the pages. When his young friend pos- other channels of information-could sessed herself of the contents of the not dull her quick senses, or deaden library-box, which came at long pe- her natural aptitude; and a very wonriodical intervals from very London, derful thing it was to Sophy to find to the admiration of all the country how little of the news of the household round, Sermo, with dignified con- needed to be repeated to one who was tempt, withdrew himself to Mrs Vinever seen listening on its first disvian's footstool. So trifling a study as cussion. “I am quite sure, if I cared that of modern literature was beneath about a book, I should never hear a the attention of the solemn faculties word any one said," was the wonderof Sermonicus - it was almost the ing remark of Sophy; "and I am sure only occupation which Zaidee pur- I would never waste my time over a sued alone.
book I did not care about; yet Zay The stout, common, everyday affec- knows what she reads, and knows tion, which is your strongest texture what we are saying at the same mofor constant wear, the house-love ment. I can't tell how she does it, which is not critical, nor thinks it has for my part; I can only do one thing any call to criticise, which neither at a time !" doubts the tenderness of others nor But, notwithstanding the wonder of its own, was the common family-bond Sophy, Zaidee continued to read and of this little company of kindred. to hear, and, still more strange, to see, Gratitude and helplessness gave it a simultaneously. There was a tolergreater delicacy with Zaidee than able amount of visitors at the Grange, with any of the others; but the girl considering its lonely situation. Bewas so warmly cherished, and so hind the hill, towards the richer side thoroughly received among them, that of the country, were various families she scarcely did know in reality how of sufficient note to be on familiar much ground for gratitude she had. terms with the Vivians. Nobody A most admiring and devoted younger much noticed Zaidee in her corner. sister to Philip, whom she thought the Zaidee read on undisturbed - unvery type of manliness, and full of the consciously noticing everybody ; but tenderest enthusiasm for Elizabeth in there was not a Gertrude nor a her stately beauty and majestic sim- Blanche among all these Cheshire pleness, of respect for Margaret in young ladies, nor a chance of one, so her pensive moods, Zaidee loved far as Zaidee could perceive. Sophy very dearly too, and was pro- About this time it happened that voked with reasonable good-humour the curate of Briarford married a wife by Percy's pranks, as sisters are wont an event which, bumble as the indito be by wicked brothers. They were viduals were, was by no means uninher own, every one of them, yet teresting to the ladies of the Grange. nobody in the Grange was Zaidee's The reverend vicaress was fat, and chosen and confidential friend. scant of breath-scarcely to be cal
It was very hard, indeed, to find calated upon for the simplest teaany properly qualified candidate for drinking, and very much afraid of the this office. It was much the easiest steep road to the Grange ; and Mr plan to fill it with some imaginary Green, first acknowledged to be a Blanche or Gertrude, pale, graceful, very good young man, having turned refined, and sympathetic. Yet Zaidee out of late an extremely sensible one, kept her eyes open, prompt to dis- universal consent deelared his wife a cover any proper living representative person to be paid some attention to, of her ideal friend. It was an asto- and received on a neighbourly footnishing mental faculty in its way, ing, if that were possible. EveryZaidee's power of observation. From body but Zaidee, whose opinion no under the covert of her book, and with one thought of asking, was dismayed a mind really occupied with that in to find Mr Green's wife turn out a very the first instance, not a scrap of any- tall, very young lady, in fair ringletsand