The Maidens Lodge

Emily Sarah Holt
The Maidens' Lodge
None of Self and All of Thee
(in the Reign of Queen Anne)
By Emily Sarah Holt
"The sailing of a cloud hath Providence to its pilot."
Martin Farquhar Tupper.
In the handsome parlour of Cressingham Abbey, commonly called
White-Ladies, on a dull afternoon in January, 1712, sat Madam and her
granddaughter, Rhoda, sipping tea.
Madam--and nothing else, her dependants would have thought it an
impertinence to call her Mrs Furnival. Never was Empress of all the
Russias more despotic in her wide domain than Madam in her narrow
As to Mr Furnival--for there had been such a person, though it was a
good while since--he was a mere appendage to Madam's
greatness--useful in the way of collecting rents and seeing to repairs,
and capable of being put away when done with. He was a little, meek,
unobtrusive man, fully (and happily) convinced of his own
insignificance, and ready to sink himself in his superb wife as he might
receive orders. He had been required to change his name as a condition
of alliance with the heiress of Cressingham, and had done so with as
much readiness as he would in similar circumstances have changed his

coat. It was about fourteen years since this humble individual had
ceased to be the head servant of Madam; and it was Madam's wont to
hint, when she condescended to refer to him at all, that her marriage
with him had been the one occasion in her life wherein she had failed to
act with her usual infallibility.
It had been a supreme disappointment to Madam that both her children
were of the inferior sex. Mrs Catherine to some extent resembled her
father, having no thoughts nor opinions of her own, but being capable
of moulding like wax; and like wax her mother moulded her. She
married, under Madam's orders, at the age of twenty, the heir of the
neighbouring estate--a young gentleman of blood and fortune, with few
brains and fewer principles--and died two years thereafter, leaving
behind her a baby daughter only a week old, whom her careless father
was glad enough to resign to Madam, in order to get her out of his way.
The younger of Madam's daughters, despite her sister's passive
obedience, had been the mother's favourite. Her obedience was by no
means passive. She inherited all her mother's self-will, and more than
her mother's impulsiveness. Much the handsomer of the two, she was
dressed up, flattered, indulged, and petted in every way. Nothing was
too good for Anne, until one winter day, shortly after Catherine's
marriage, when the family assembled round the breakfast table, and
Anne was found missing. A note was brought to Madam that evening
by one of Mr Peveril's under-gardeners, in which Anne gaily confessed
that she had taken her destiny into her own hands, and had that morning
been married to the Reverend Charles Latrobe, family chaplain to her
brother-in-law, Mr Peveril. She hoped that her mother would not be
annoyed, and would receive her and her bridegroom with the usual
cordiality exhibited at weddings.
Madam's, face was a study for a painter. Had Anne Furnival searched
through her whole acquaintance, and selected that one man who would
be least acceptable at Cressingham, she could not have succeeded
A chaplain! the son of a French Huguenot refugee, concerned in
trade!-- every item, in Madam's eyes, was a lower deep beyond the

previous one. It was considered in those days that the natural wife for a
family chaplain was the lady's maid. That so mean a creature should
presume to lift his eyes to the sister of his patroness, was monstrous
beyond endurance. And a Frenchman!--when Madam looked upon all
foreigners as nuisances whose removal served for practice to the British
fleet, and boasted that she could not speak a word of French, with as
much complacency as would have answered for laying claim to a
perfect knowledge of all the European tongues. And a tradesman's son!
A tradesman, and a gentleman, in her eyes, were terms as incompatible
as a blue rose or a vermilion cat. For a man to soil his fingers with sale,
barter or manufacture, was destructive of all pretension not only to
birth, but to manners.
On the head of her innocent spouse Madam's fury had been outpoured
in no measured terms. Receive the hussy, she vehemently declared, she
would not! She should never set foot in that house again. From this
moment she had but one daughter.
Two years afterwards, on the evening of Catherine's funeral, and of the
transference of baby Rhoda to the care of her grandmother, a young
woman, shabbily dressed, carrying an infant, and looking tired and
careworn, made her way to the back door of
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