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“The next glimpse of Miss Gwil cheap nike shoes t,” resumed Bashwood the younger, turning over the papers, “is a glimpse at a family mystery. The deserted child was in luck’s way at last. She had taken the fancy of an amiable young lady with a rich father, and she was petted and made much of at the great house, in the character of Miss Blanchard’s last new plaything. Not long afterward Mr. Blanchard and his daughter went abroad, and took the girl with them in the capacity of Miss Blanchard’s little maid. When they came back, the daughter had married, and become a widow, in the interval; and the pretty little maid, instead of returning with them to Thorpe Ambrose, turns up suddenly, all alone, as a pupil at a school in France. There she was, at a first-rate establishment, with her maintenance and education secured until she married and settled in life, on this understanding — that she never returned to England. Those were all the particulars she could be prevailed on to g nike air max 95 ive the lawyer who drew up these instructions. She declined to say what had happened abroad; she declined even, after all the years that had passed, to mention her mistress’s married name. It’s quite clear, of course, that she was in possession of some family secret; and that the Blanchards paid for her schooling on the Continent to keep her out of the way. And it’s equally plain that she would never have kept her secret as she did if she had not seen her way to trading on it for her own advantage at some future time. A clever woman, as I’ve told you already! A devilish clever woman, who hasn’t been knocked about in the world, and seen the ups and downs of life abroad and at home, for nothing.”
“Yes, yes, Jemmy; quite true. How long did she stop, please, at the school in France?”
Bashwood the younger referred to the papers. “She stopped at the French school,” he replied, “till she was seventeen. At that time something happened at the school which I find mildly described in these papers as ‘something unpleasant.’ The plain fact nike air max sale was that the music-master attached to the establishment fell in love with Miss Gwilt. He was a respectable middle-aged man, with a wife and family; and, finding the circumstances entirely hopeless, he took a pistol, and, rashly assuming that he had brains in his head, tried to blow them out. The doctor saved his life, but not his reason; he ended, where he had better have begun, in an asylum. Miss Gwilt’s beauty having been at the bottom of the scandal, it was, nike air max 1 of course, impossible — though she was proved to have been otherwise quite blameless in the matter — for her to remain at the school after what had happened. Her ‘friends’ (the Blanchards) were communicated with. And her friends transferred her to another school; at Brussels, this time — What are you sighing about? What’s wrong now?”
“I can’t help feeling a little for the poor music-master, Jemmy. Go on.”
“According to her own account of it, dad, Miss Gwilt seems to have felt for him too. She took a serious turn; and was ‘converted’ (as they call it) by the lady who had charge of her in the interval before she went to Brussels. The priest at the Belgium school appears to have been a man of some discretion, and to have seen that the girl’s sensibilities were getting into a dangerously excited state. Before he could quiet her down, he fell ill, and was succeeded by another p cheap nike air max riest, who was a fanatic. You will understand the sort of interest he took in the girl, and the way in which he worked on her feelings, when I tell you that she announced it as her decision, after having been nearly two years at the school, to end her days in a convent! You may well stare! Miss Gwilt, in the character of a Nun, is the sort of female phenomenon you don’t often set eyes on.”
“Did she go into the convent?” asked Mr. Bashwood. “Did they let her go in, so friendless and so young, with nobody to advise her for the best?”
“The Blanchards were consulted, as a matter of form,” pursued Bashwood the younger. “They had no objection to her shutting herself up in a convent, as you may well imagine. The pleasantest letter they ever had from her, I’ll answer for it, was the letter in which she solemnly took leave of them in this world forever. The people at the convent were as careful as usual not to commit themselves. Thei cheap nike air max trainers r rules wouldn’t allow her to take the veil till she had tried the life for a year first, and then, if she had any doubt, for another year after that. She tried the life for the first year, accordingly, and doubted. She tried it for the second year, and was wise enough, by that time, to give it up without further hesitation. Her position was rather an awkward one when she found herself at liberty again. The sisters at the convent had lost their interest in her; the mistress at the school declined to take her back as teacher, on the ground that she was too nice-looking for the place; the priest considered her to be possessed by the devil. There was nothing for it but to write to the Blanchards again, and ask them to start her in life as a teacher of music on her own account. She wrote to her former mistress accordingly. Her former mistress had evidently doubted the genuineness of the girl’s resolution to be a nun, and had seized the opportunity offered by her entry into the convent to cut off all further communication between h http://www.cheapnikeonliner.info/ er ex-waiting-maid and herself. Miss Gwilt’s letter was returned by the post-office. She caused inquiries to be made; and found that Mr. Blanchard was dead, and that his daughter had left the great house for some place of retirement unknown. The next thing she did, upon this, was to write to the heir in possession of the estate. The letter was answered by his solicitors, who were instructed to put the law in for cheap nike online ce at the first attempt she made to extort money from any member of the family at Thorpe Ambrose. The last chance was to get at the address of her mistress’s place of retirement. The family bankers, to whom she wrote, wrote back to say that they were instructed not to give the lady’s address to any one applying for it, without being previously empowered to do so by the lady herself. That last letter settled the question — Miss Gwilt could do nothing more. With money at her command, she might have gone to England and made the Blanchards think twice before they carried things with too high a hand. Not having a half-penny at command, she was helpless. Without money and without friends, you may wonder how she supported herself while the correspondence was going on. She supported herself by playing the piano-forte at a low con nike air max classic cert-room in Brussels. The men laid siege to her, of course, in all directions; but they found her insensible as adamant. One of these rejected gentlemen was a Russian; and he was the means of making her acquainted with a countrywoman of his, whose name is unpronounceable by English lips. Let us give her her title, and call her the baroness. The two women liked each other at their first introduction; and a new scene opened in Miss Gwilt’s life. She became reader and companion to the baroness. Everything was right, everything was smooth on the surface. Everything was rotten and everything was wrong under it.”
“In what way, Jemmy? Please to wait a little, and tell me in what way.”
“In this way. The baroness was fond of traveling, and she had a select set of friends about her who were quite of her way of thinking. They went nike air max 90 from one city on the Continent to another, and were such charming people that they picked up acquaintances everywhere. The acquaintances were invited to the baroness’s receptions, and card-tables were invariably a part of the baroness’s furniture. Do you see it now? or must I tell you, in the strictest confidence, that cards were not considered sinful on these festive occasions, and that the luck, at the end of the evening, turned out to be almost invariably on the side of the baroness and her friends? Swindlers, all of them; and there isn’t a doubt on my mind, whatever there may be on yours, that Miss Gwilt’s manners and appearance made her a valuable member of the society in the capacity of a decoy. Her own statement is that she was innocent of all knowledge of what really went on; that she was quite ignorant of card-pl nike air max aying; that she hadn’t such a thing as a respectable friend to turn to in the world; and that she honestly liked the baroness, for the simple reason that the baroness was a hearty good friend to her from first to last. Believe that or not, as you please. For five years she traveled about all over the Continent with these card-sharpers in high life, and she might have been among them at this moment, for anything I know to the contrary, if the baroness had not caught a Tartar at Naples, in the shape of a rich traveling Englishman, named Waldron. Aha! that name startles you, does it? You’ve read the Trial of the famous Mrs. Waldron, like the rest of the world? And you know who Miss Gwilt is now, without my telling you?”
He paused, and looked at his father in sudden perplexity. Far from being overwhelmed by the discovery whic cheap nike air max h had just burst on him, Mr. Bashwood, after the first natural movemen nike air max 90 sale t of surprise, faced his son with a self-possession which was nothing short of extraordinary under the circumstances. There was a new brightness in his eyes, and a new color in his face. If it had been possible to conceive such a thing of a man in his position, he seemed to be absolutely encouraged instead of depressed by what he had just heard. “Go on, Jemmy,” he said, quietly; “I am one of the few people who didn’t read the trial; I only heard of it.”
Still wondering inwardly, Bashwood the younger recovered himself, and went on.
“You always were, and you always will be, behind the age,” he said. “When we come to the trial, I can tell you as much about it as you need know. In the meantime, we must go back to the baroness and Mr. Waldron. For a certain number of nights the Englishman let the card-sharpers have it all their own way; in other words, cheap nike air max he paid for the privilege of making himself agreeable to Miss Gwilt. When he thought he had produced the necessary impression on her, he exposed the whole confederacy without mercy. The police interfered; the baroness found herself in prison; and Miss Gwilt was put between the two alternatives of accepting Mr. Waldron’s protection or being thrown on the world again. She was amazingly virtuous, or amazingly clever, which you please. To Mr. Waldron’s astonishment, she told him that she could face the prospect of being thrown on the world; and that he must address her honorably or leave her forever. The end of it was what the end always is, where the man is infatuated and the woman is determined. To the disgust of his family and friends, Mr. Waldron made a virtue of necessity, and married her.”
“How old was he?” asked Bashwood the elder, eagerly. ③

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