chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
LONDON [Vol. II]
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ARRIVAL AT HOME.
the same evening Mr. Monroe, Ellen, and Katherine were assembled in the
drawing-room at Markham Place.
The lamp burnt bright, and there were books open upon
the table; but none of the little party had any inclination to read — some
event of importance was evidently expected.
"He will assuredly return this evening,"
observed Mr. Monroe, after a long pause in the conversation. "The last
letter he wrote to us was positive in naming the day when he calculated upon
arriving in England."
"But as he said that he should be compelled to [-282-]
come back to his native land in one of the government steamers of Castelcicala,"
said Ellen, "it is impossible to conjecture what delay adverse weather may
"True," exclaimed Mr. Monroe; and he walked to
the window, whence he looked forth into the bright clear night.
It is a strange fact that whenever people are expecting
the arrival of some one near or dear to them, they invariably go to the windows,
where they watch with a sort of nervous agitation — as if by so
doing they could hasten the coming which they anticipate.
The two young ladies drew close to each other on the
sofa, and exchanged a few words in whispers.
"You seem low-spirited, dearest Kate," said
Ellen; "and yet our benefactor is about to return to us. I feel convinced
that you are more annoyed than you choose to confess, on account of the
non-appearance of the handsome stranger."
"I should be telling you an untruth, Ellen"
answered Kate, blushing deeply, "were I to declare that I do not sometimes
think of him whom you alluded to. But have I not another cause of vexation? do
you imagine that the recent interview which I had with that odious Mr.
Banks — "
"Yes, dear Kate: all that he told you was well
calculated to render you anxious and unsettled in mind," interrupted Ellen.
"But it was necessary to await the return of him who can best counsel you;
and the time now approaches when you may communicate to Richard all that has
Katherine was about to reply, when Mr. Monroe, who was
still watching at the window, suddenly exclaimed, "A carriage — at
The two young ladles hurried to the casement, and beheld
the lamps of the vehicle rapidly approaching, while the sound of its wheels also
reached their ears.
Then they both hastened from the room, followed by Mr.
Monroe, to receive Markham the moment he should alight.
Whittingham and Marion joined them and the whole party
was stationed on the steps of the front door when the carriage drove up.
In another moment Richard was amongst them; and there
were such congratulations — such shaking of hands-and such proofs of
joy as were seldom known or seen even on occasions of similar happiness.
As for the old butler, he was literally mad with the
excitement of his feelings. He hugged his young master with a warmth that could
not possibly have been exceeded had they stood in the relation of father and
son, and the fervour of which considerably deranged the position of our hero's
epaulettes and aiguillettes — for he was in his uniform, as the
reader will remember. Then, when Whittingham had thus far testified his joy at
his master's return, he seized upon Marian and compelled her to perform three or
four rapid pirouettes with him in the hall — to the infinite peril
of that good woman's equilibrium. She disengaged herself from him with
considerable difficulty; and the old man, quite overcome by his feelings and
performances, sat, down in one of the hall-chairs, and began to whimper like a
child — exclaiming as well as he could, "Don't mind me — don't
mind me! I can't help it! It's the unawoidable commotions here!" and he
slapped his breast. "Master Richard's come back to the home of his
successors; and he's a great man too — in spite of all that them
willains Marlborough and Axminster once did to him!"
"Compose yourself, my excellent old friend,"
said the young Prince, pressing Whittingham hand: "I am indeed come
back — and to remain, too, for a long — long time."
The footman who attended upon the Grand-Duke's carriage
now approached our hero, and with head uncovered, said in a tone of extreme
deference, "Is it the pleasure of your Highness that the chariot should
remain, or return to Richmond?"
"I wish you to stay here until the morning,"
answered Richard; "as shall visit his Serene Highness to-morrow."
The footman bowed, and retreating to the hall steps,
cried aloud to the coachman, "The Prince commands us to remain."
"Hey! what's that!" ejaculated Whittingham,
who, together with the others present, had caught those swelling titles. "I
heerd, Master Richard, that you was a Markiss; but — "
"It has pleased the gracious sovereign to whose
service I have the honour to belong, to invest me with the rank which has
surprised you," answered Richard, laughing at his old dependant's
bewilderment: "at the same time I can assure you that you will please me
best by addressing me ever as you have been accustomed to do from my
The butler seemed to reflect profoundly for a few
moments, with his eyes fixed on the marble floor then, suddenly raising his
head, he exclaimed, "No, Master Richard — it can't be done! It
would be prorogatory to treat you as if you was still a boy. There's such a
thing in the world as epaulette — etiquette, I mean; and I know
myself better then to lose sight on it. Besides, Master Richard — it
isn't every one as is butler to a Prince; and I'm proud of the office. So now
I've called you Master Richard for the last time. Marian, bustle about
the supper — and see that the servants with the carriage is well
taken care of. You can show 'em round to the stables; while I light his Highness
to the drawing-room."
Having issued these commands in a tone of pompous
importance which the old man had not adopted for some years past, he seized a
candle and led the way in a solemn and dignified manner up stairs.
"Poor Whittingham scarcely knows whether he stands
on his head or his feet," whispered Richard, laughing, to Ellen and
Katherine, as he placed himself between them, and gave them each an arm.
"Let us, however, humour the good old man, and ascend with due ceremony to
The reader will not require us to detail all the
conversation which ensued. Markham had so much to tell, and his hearers so much
to learn, that the time slipped away with lightning speed. Our hero not only
related at length all that had occurred to him in Italy, but also entered upon
explanations which he had never broached before relative to his attachment to
Isabella. He made Whittingham sit down and listen to all he had to say; and he
concluded by acquainting those present with his intended marriage.
"But," he hastened to add, "this event
will make no difference in regard to the dear friends by whom I am surrounded.
You, Mr. Monroe and Ellen, must continue to dwell with me; and you, Katherine,
must look upon this house as your home, It is [-283-]
large enough for us all — even for those servants whom it will now
be necessary to add to our establishment, and who will increase the department
ever which you, my faithful friend," — addressing himself to
Whittingham, — "preside so ably."
"I shall know how to distrain 'em all in order, my
lord," said the butler, with an air of considerable importance.
Ellen's countenance had suddenly become thoughtful, when
she heard that Richard was so shortly to be married.
Leaning towards him, as she sate by his side, she
murmured in a hasty whisper, "Tell Whittingham to leave the room: I wish to
speak to you and my father immediately."
Markham requested the old man to see that the servants
of the Grand-Duke were well cared for; and Whittingham accordingly withdrew.
Richard then glanced inquiringly towards Ellen, who rose
and whispered to Katherine, "Leave us, my sweet friend, for a few moments:
I wish to speak to Richard and my father on a subject which nearly concerns
Kate cheerfully complied with this request, and retired.
"What does this mean, Ellen?" inquired Richard
with some degree of anxiety. "God grant that no cause of unhappiness may
interrupt the joy of my return!"
"No-reassure yourself on that head," said
Ellen. "My dear benefactor — and you, beloved father — listen
to me for a few moments. You, Richard, are about to bring home a bride whom you
love — whom you respect — and who must be
respected, — a lady endowed with every quality that can render her
worthy of you, — pure, chaste, and stainless as snow. Richard, she
must not be placed in the companionship of one who occupies an equivocal
situation in society — like myself!"
"Ellen, my Isabella is of too generous — too
charitable a mind — " began Richard, deeply affected by these
words, which recalled so many unpleasant reminiscences with respect to Monroe's
"Nay — bear me out," continued
Ellen, with a sweet smile of gratitude for the sentiment which Markham had half
expressed: "I shall not keep you in suspense for many moments. You wish me
to be the companion of your Isabella, Richard? — I will be so — and
not altogether unworthily either in respect to her or to myself. And now I am
about to communicate to you both a secret which I should have treasured up until
the proper time to elucidate it had arrived — were it not for the
approaching event which has compelled me to break silence. But in imparting this
secret, I must confide in your goodness — your forbearance — not
to ask me more than I dare reveal. Richard — father — I
"Married?" repeated our hero, joyfully.
"Come to my anus, Ellen!" cried Mr. Monroe:
"let me embrace you fondly — for now indeed are you my own
daughter for whom I need not blush!"
And he pressed her to his heart with the warmest
enthusiasm of paternal affection.
"Yes," continued Ellen, after a short pause,
"I am married — married, too, to the father of my child; .~-and
that is all that I dare reveal to you at present! I implore you — I
beseech you both to ask me no questions; for I could not respond truly to them,
and be consistent with a solemn promise of temporary secrecy which I have
pledged to my husband! The motives of that mystery are not dishonourable, and do
not rest with me. In two or three years there will be no necessity to keep
silent. And now tell me, dear father — tell me, Richard — have
you sufficient confidence in me, to believe what I have unfolded you, without
"Believe you, Ellen!" exclaimed Markham:
"oh! why should I doubt you! Your motive in revealing the happy fact of
your marriage-a motive instigated by delicacy towards her who is so soon to
accompany me to the altar — is so generous, so pure, so noble, that
it speaks volumes in your favour, Ellen-and I love you as a sister — a
very dear sister."
"Yes — it is with a brother's love that
you must regard me," exclaimed Ellen, emphatically and joyfully; "and
you know not what happiness your assurance imparts to me! Let me not, however,
be misunderstood in any thing that I have already stated. I would not have you
infer that I have been married long — nor that I was a wife when I
became a mother," continued Ellen, casting down her eyes, and blushing
deeply. "No-it was only on the 3d of January, in the present year, that I
was united to him who will one day give a father's name to his child."
"I care not to know more, Ellen!" exclaimed
Mr. Monroe. "You are a wife — and your son, as he grows up,
need never be made acquainted with the true date of his parents' union. That
innocent deception will be necessary."
"Your father is satisfied — and I am
satisfied, dear Ellen," said Richard: "we should be wrong to seek to
penetrate into a secret which your good sense would not induce you to retain
inviolable without sufficient motives. I cannot express to you my joy at the
revelation which you have made; and, believe me, you will now have no cause to
blush in the presence of my Isabella."
"Father-Richard," murmured Ellen, pressing
their hands affectionately in her own, "you have made me happy — because
you have placed confidence in my word!"
And as tears of joy stood in her large melting blue
eyes, and her face and neck were suffused in blushes, how beautiful did she
"You have banished your young friend from the
room," said Markham, after a short pause.
"But I will speedily summon her hither again,"
answered Ellen; "for she also has something important to reveal to
"A continuation, doubtless, of the narrative of the
mysterious proceedings of the vilest of men and his female accomplice, and
concerning which you wrote me full details some weeks ago!" observed
"Yes — there is another chapter in that
strange history for you to hear," replied Ellen.
She then hurried from the room, and in a short time
returned with Katherine.
"Tell Richard the remainder of your story in your
own way, dear Kate," said Ellen, as the young ladies seated themselves side
by side upon the sofa.
"It was nearly a week ago,' began Katherine
"that I rambled forth a little way alone. Ellen was somewhat indisposed and
unable to accompany me; and Mr. Monroe had gone into town upon some business. I
ascended the hill, and, having enjoyed the prospect for a short time, passed
down on the oppo-[-284-]site side, and walked
through the fields. I was thinking of various matters, — but chiefly
of the cruel disappointment which I had experienced in my recently awakened
hopes of obtaining information relative to my parentage, — when I
suddenly observed a person approaching; and I was somewhat alarmed when I
perceived that it was that odious Mr. Banks, the undertaker, whom Ellen
mentioned to you in the letter which related all that had taken place at the
farm. I was about to retrace my steps, when Mr. Banks called after me, assuring
me that I had no reason to be afraid of him, and declaring that he had important
news to communicate. My hopes were revived — I felt convinced that
his business was to renew those negotiations between myself and the old woman
which had been so suddenly interrupted; and I no longer experienced any alarm.
He accosted me, and, in his peculiar phraseology — an imitation of
which I shall not inflict upon you — declared that a friend of his
possessed certain papers which would entirely clear up the mystery wherein my
parentage was involved. You may conceive the emotions which this communication
excited within me: I trembled to put implicit faith in what I heard — in
case of disappointment — in case of deception; and yet I clung — oh!
I clung to the hope of at length being enlightened in matters so dear to my
heart. Mr. Banks spoke candidly and intelligibly — though with
wearisome circumlocution and a mass of hypocritical cant. He said that his
friend had purchased the papers of the old woman for a large sum; and that he
would only part with them for a larger sum still. In a word, he demanded five
hundred pounds; and he assured me that I should not regret the bargain — for
there were letters in my poor mother's own handwriting."
Kate wiped away the tears that had started into her eyes
as she thus alluded to her maternal parent.
"I represented to Mr. Banks," she continued,
after a pause, "that I was unpossessed of the immediate command of the sum
demanded, and that I must either apply to the solicitor who had the management
of my affairs, or wait until your return, Richard, from Italy. I moreover
explained to him the extreme improbability that either Mr. Wharton or yourself
would permit me to pay so large an amount for the papers, unless they were
previously ascertained to be of the value represented. He seemed prepared for
this objection; for he immediately declared that if I would name a day and an
hour when I would call upon him, accompanied by any one friend, male or female,
whom I might choose to select, he would have the papers in readiness, and that I
might glance over them in order to satisfy myself of their value and
"That was certainly a fair proposal for such a gang
of villains to make," observed Richard; "and it invests the entire
affair with the utmost importance. Did you give the man any definite
"I assured him that I could do nothing without
consulting my friends; but that I would write to him In the course of a day or
two. He advised me to lose no time; as his friend was not a person to be trifled
"And that friend,' said Markham, "is the
villain Anthony Tidkins — beyond all doubt. He does not dare appear
actively himself in this business, for fear of affording me a clue to his
haunts; and therefore he employs this Banks as his agent. The whole scheme is as
transparent as possible."
"Before I parted from the undertaker,"
observed Katherine, "I objected to visit his house, and proposed to him
that, in the event of my friends permitting me to purchase the papers, he should
allow the cursory inspection of them either at Mr. Wharton's office or at
Markham Place. But to this arrangement he expressed his entire hostility,
stating emphatically that the documents must be examined and the purchase-money
paid at his own house — and that, too, with four-and twenty-hours'
notice of the time which I should appoint for the purpose."
"I see through it all!" exclaimed Richard.
"Tidkins is afraid to trust his own agent with the papers or with the money
paid for their purchase; and he will be concealed somewhere in Banks's house
when the appointment takes place. Hence the notice required. It is as clear as
the noon-day sun."
"On my return to the Place," continued
Katherine, "I acquainted Mr. Monroe and Ellen with the particulars of the
interview between the undertaker and myself; and as your letter, announcing the
day when you hoped to set foot on the English soil again, had arrived that very
morning, it was arranged that no decisive step should be taken until you were
present to advise and to sanction the course to be adopted. I accordingly wrote
a note to Mr. Banks, stating that I would communicate with him in a positive
manner in the course of a week or ten days."
"You acted wisely, dear Kate," said Richard
"and I now question whether the Resurrection Man has not allowed his
suspicious avarice to get the better of his prudence. But of that we will speak
on a future occasion. You shall purchase the documents, Katherine-and without
troubling Mr. Wharton upon the subject. Thanks to the liberality of the
Castelcicalan government, my fortune is now far more ample than that which I
lost; and pecuniary vexations can never again militate against my happiness.
Yes, Katherine, we will yield to the extortion of these villains who are trading
in the dearest ties and holiest sympathies of the human heart; but I must tax
your patience somewhat-for you can well understand that for a few days I shall
be unable to devote myself to even an affair so important as this. To-morrow you
can write to Mr. Banks and fix an appointment at his own house — one
week hence — the hour to be eight o'clock in the evening for it is
Katherine expressed her gratitude to our hero for this
additional proof of his kindness towards her.
The happy party remained in conversation until a late
hour — unconscious of the rapid lapse of time, so deeply were they
interested in the various topics of their discourse.
It was, indeed, nearly two o'clock in the morning when
the last light was extinguished in Markham Place.
Nevertheless, the inmates of that happy dwelling rose at
an early hour-for there was much to be done that day, and little time for the
Ellen and Mr. Monroe repaired to town the moment
breakfast was over, to make a variety of purchases in order to render the
mansion as complete in all its arrangements as possible for the reception of the
bride. Money is endowed with a wondrously electric power to make tradesmen
bustling and active; and in spite of the little leisure left for choice [-285-]
and selection, the business-habits of Mr. Monroe and the good taste of his
daughter enabled them to accomplish their task in a manner satisfactory to all
concerned. Thus, in the afternoon, waggons piled with new and costly furniture,
carts laden with chinaware and glass, and others containing carpets, curtains,
and handsome hangings for the windows, were on their way to Markham Place.
And at the mansion, in the meantime, all was bustle and
activity. Richard had departed early in the Grand-Duke's carriage for Richmond;
but Katherine superintended all the domestic arrangements; Marian obtained the
assistance of two or three char-women in her special department; and Whittingham
forthwith added to the establishment, upon his own responsibility, two footmen
and a page, all of whom were well known to him and happened to have been out of
place at the moment.
Thus, by the time the young Prince returned home to
dinner at five o'clock, the old mansion exhibited an appearance so changed, but
withal so gay and tastefully handsome, that he was unsparing in his praises of
those who had exhibited so much zeal rendering it fit to receive his bride on
the following day.
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
LONDON [Vol. II]
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