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“ If I'd gone
on her innocent-seeming countenance, portunity not to give them a gentle blow, and, reluctantly unfolding it, showed the in passing, was beyond the power of date in large gilt letters : “ The Elms, woman; for not even in the drawingUnderwood, Highcombe.” Underwood room did the gentlefolks at the Warren was the name of the village. Minnie drink the best tea. and Chatty repeated it aloud; and one “I would n't have their custom, not if recoiled a few steps, while the other it was offered to me," said Mrs. Bag. turned upon Lizzie with wide-open, hor- ley, with vehemence. " And everybody
“ The Elms ! Lizzie, you knows as every single thing they have are not going there! ”
comes from Highcombe, if not London, " That's what I say, miss," cried Mrs. I hope as an empty nest may n't be Bagley, with delight; "that's what I
" that's what I found some fine morning, and all the tells her. Out o' respect to her other birds
It would serve that nasty customers she could n't there!” Molasis right, as is always taking the
“ To the Elms !” repeated Minnie. bread out of country folks' mouth.” She became pale with the horror of the " That's just what I was thinking, idea. “I can only say, Lizzie, that in granny,” said the girl.
it that case mamma would certainly never would have been chiefly for your sake. employ you again. Charlotte and I But since the young ladies and you are might be sorry as having known you both so set against it, I can't, and there's all our lives, but we could do nothing an end.” against mamma. And Mrs. Wilberforce, “I am sure she never meant it," said too,” she added. “You may be sure the younger sister. “ She was only just she would do the same. The Elms! flattered for a moment, were n't you, why, no respectable person — I should Lizzie ? — and pleased to think of some think not even the Vidlers and the one new." Drivers ”
“ That's about the fact, that is,” said “ That is what I tells her, miss,
the old woman. “ Something new, — that's exactly what I tells her ; nobody, them lasses would just give their souls - much less madam at the Warren, or for something new." the young ladies as you're so fond of: “ But Lizzie must know," said Miss that's what I tells her every day.” Warrender, “ that her old customers
Lizzie, whose forehead had been puck- would never stand it. I was going to ered up all this time into a frown, which talk about some work, and of sending entirely changed the character of her for her to come to the Warren two days soft face, here declared with some vehe- next week. But if there is any idea of mence that she had never said she was the
other place" going to the Elms, - never! Though "For goodness' sake, Lizzie, speak when folks asked her civilly, and keep- up, and say, No, miss, there ain't no ing a lady's-maid and all, and dressing thought of it!" beautiful, and nothing proved against “Now I know you 're so strong them, who was she that she should say against it, of course I can't, and there 's she would n't go ? “And I thought it an end,” said Lizzie ; but she looked might be such a good thing for granny,
more angry than convinced. who is always complaining of bad times, if she could get their custom. It's a house where nothing is spared,” said
X. Lizzie; “even in the servants' hall the best tea and everything.” She was fond The girls went round by the rectory, of the young ladies, but at such an op- on their way home. It was a large red
brick house, taller almost than the church, ways an anxious outlook for the first which was a very old church, credibly symptoms. She received Minnie and dating from the thirteenth century, with Chatty, who were her nearest neighbors, a Norman arch to the chancel, which and whom she saw almost daily, with a tourists came to see. The rectory was tone of interest and attachment beyond of the days of Anne, three stories high, the ordinary, as she had done ever since with many twinkling windows in frame their father's death. Indeed, they had work of white, and a greal deal of ivy found this everywhere, a sort of natural and other climbing plants covering the compensation for their “great loss.” walls, through the interstices of which They were surrounded by the respect the old mellow red bricks showed cheer- and reawakened interest of all the peofully. The two Miss Warrenders did ple who were so familiar with them. A not stop to knock or ring, but opened bereaved family have always this little the door from the outside, and went advantage after a death. straight through the house, across the “ How are you, dears,” Mrs. Wilberhall and a passage at the other end, to force said, “and how is your dear moththe garden beyond, where Mrs. Wilber- Ordinarily Mrs. Warrender was force sat under some great limes, with spoken of as their mother, toute courte, her little tea-table beside her. She was without any endearing adjective. alone; that is, as near alone as she ever “Mamma is quite wonderful,” said was, with only two of the little ones Minnie. “She thinks of everything and playing at her feet, and the Skye com- looks after everything almost as if fortably disposed on the cushions of a nothing had ever happened.” low wicker-work chair. The two sisters “She keeps up on our account," said kissed her, and disturbed the children's Chatty, " and for Theo's sake. It is so game to kiss them, and displaced the important, you know, to keep home a little Skye, who did not like it at all. little bright — oh, I mean as little misMrs. Wilberforce was a little round- erable as possible — for him.” about woman,
with fair hair and a per- “Bright, poor child !” said Mrs. Wilmanent pucker in her forehead. She berforce pathetically. “You have not was very well off, — she and all her be- realized as yet what it is. When the longings; the living was good, the parish excitement is all over, and you have setsmall, the work not overpowering : but tled down in your mourning, then is the she never was able to shake off a vis- time when you will feel it. I always ionary anxiety, the burden of some an- tell people the first six weeks are nothcestral trouble, or the premonition of ing; you are so supported by the excitesomething to come. She was always ment. But afterwards, when everything afraid that something was going to hap- falls into the old routine - I suppose, pen : her husband to break down from however, you are going away." overwork (which for clergymen, as for “ Mamma said something about it: most other people in this generation, is but we all preferred, you know" the fashionable complaint), the parish
“ You had much better go away.
I to be invaded by Dissent and Socialism, told you so the first time I saw you the country to go to destruction. This after the sad event. And as Theo has latter, as being the greatest, and at the all the Long before him before he resame time the most distant, possibility, a quires to go back to Oxford, what is thing which might happen even without there to stop you ?” Mrs. Wilberforce disturbing one's individual comfort, was took great pleasure in settling other peomost frequently in her thoughts; and ple's plans for them, and deciding what she waited till it should occur, with al- they were to do.
" That was n't what we came to talk just at the right moment she would have about," said the elder Miss Warrender, accepted. I told her mamma would who was quite able to hold her own. never employ her again." “Mrs. Wilberforce, we have just come “I never had very much opinion of from old Mrs. Bagley's at the shop: and that little thing," said Mrs. Wilberforce. there we made quite a painful discovery. “ She is a great deal too fine. If her We said what we could, but perhaps it grandmother had been a sensible perwould be well if you would interfere. son, she would have put a stop to all I think, indeed, you ought to interfere those feathers and Aowers and things.” with authority: or even, perhaps, the Still,” said Minnie, with some sever
ity, “a young woman who is a dress"What is it? I always thought that maker, and gets the fashion-books, and old body had a turn for Dissent. She
She is perhaps in the way of temptation, may will have got one of those people from wear a feather in her hat — but that is Highcombe to come out and hold a meet- not to say that she should encourage iming: that is how they always begin.” morality, and make for anybody who
“Oh, no, — a great deal worse than asks her, especially considering the way that."
we have all taken her up." “ Minnie means worse in our way of “Who is it that encourages immoralthinking,” the younger sister explained. ity?” said a different voice, over Mrs.
“ I don't know anything worse," said Wilberforce's head: – quite a different the clergyman's wife, “than the bring- voice; a man's voice, for one thing, ing in of Dissent to a united parish, such which always changes the atmosphere a as ours has been. But I know it will little. It was the rector himself, who come. I am always expecting to hear came across the lawn in the ease of a of it: things go so fast, nowadays. shooting-coat, with his hands in his pockWhat with radicalism, and the poor peo
ets. He wore a long coat when he ple all having votes, and what you call went out in the parish, but at home progress, one never knows what to ex- there can be no doubt that he liked to pect, except the worst. I always look
be at his ease.
He was a man who was for the worst. Well, what is it, then, too easy in general, and might perhaps, if it is n't Dissent ?”
if his wife had not scented harm from Then Miss Warrender gave an the beginning, have compromised himself count of the real state of affairs. “The by calling at the Elms. letter was there on the table, dated the Oh, please !” cried Minnie, with a Elms, Underwood, Highcombe, as if – blush. “Mrs. Wilberforce will tell you. as if it were a county family ; just as We really have not time to stay any we put it ourselves on our paper." longer. Not any tea, thank you. We
“ But far finer than ours : gilt, and must be running away." such paper! — polished and shining, and “ There is nothing to be so sensitive a quarter of an inch thick. Oh, much about,” said the clergyman's wife. “Of finer than ours!”
course Herbert knows that you must “ Ours, of course, will be black-edged know: you are not babies. It is about for a long, long time to come; there Lizzie Hampson, the dressmaker, who could not be any comparison,” said Min- has been asked to go and work at the nie, with a sigh. “But think of the Elms.” assurance of such people! I am so glad « Oh!” said the rector. He showed to have found you alone, for we could n't himself wonderfully reasonable, - more have talked about it before the rector. reasonable than any one could have exAnd I believe if we had n't gone in pected. “I would n't let her go there,
if I were you. It's not a fit place for a thinking themselves as good -oh, what girl.”
am I saying ? far better — than their bet“We are perfectly well aware of that,” ters, you 'll see what will come of it. I said Mrs. Wilberforce. “ I warned you for one am quite prepared. I pity the from the beginning. But the thing is, people who deceive themselves. Herwho is to prevent her from going? Min- bert chooses to laugh, but I can't laugh ; nie has told her plainly, it appears, and it is much too serious for that.” I will speak to her, and as her clergy- “ There will be peace in our days," man I should think it was your duty to said the rector ; " and after all, Fanny, say a word ; but whether we shall suc- we can't have a revolution coming beceed, that is a different matter. These cause Lizzie Hampson” creatures seem to have a sort of real at- “ Lizzie Hampson,” said his wife soltraction for everything that is wrong." emnly, “is a sign of the times. She “ We all have that, I'm afraid, my may be nothing in herself,
none of dear."
them are anything in themselves, but 6 But not all in that
There may I call her a sign of the times.” be a bias, but it does n't take the same “What a grand name for a little girl!” form. Do sit down, girls, and take your he said, with a laugh. But he added setea, like reasonable creatures. She shall riously, “ I wish that house belonged to never enter the rectory, of course, if Theo, or some one we could bring influ- and if you are sure Mrs. Warrender ence to bear upon ; but what does a city will back me up. But you know she is man care ? I wish we could do as the very indulgent, - more indulgent than I Americans do, and put rollers under it, should be in her place. There was that and cart it away out of the parish." story, you know, about Fanny, the laun- “ Can the Americans do that?” dry-maid. I don't think we shall do “ They say so. They can do every much if your dear mother relents, and sort of wonderful thing, I believe.” says the girl is penitent as soon as she “ And that is what we are coming cries. She ought to know girls better to !” said Mrs. Wilberforce, with an air than that. A little thing makes them of indignant severity, as if this had been cry: but penitence, that is getting the most dreadful accusation in the rarer and rarer every day."
world. “ There would be no need for pen- " I suppose," said the rector, strolling itence in this case. The girl is a very with the young ladies to the gate, “ that respectable girl. Don't let her go there, Theo holds by the family politics. I that 's all, and give me a cup of tea.” wonder whether he has given any atten
“ Is n't that like a man!” cried Mrs. tion to public questions? At his age a Wilberforce. “ Don't let her go there, young fellow either does or be does and give him a cup of tea !
- the one
not,” he added, with a laugh. “Oxford just as easy as the other. I am sure I tell often makes a change." you often enough, Herbert, what with “ We don't approve of ladies taking all that is done for them and said about any part in politics,” said Minnie," and them, the poor people are getting more I am sure I have never mentioned the and more unmanageable every day.” subject to Theo.”
“Our family has always been liberal," “ But you know, Minnie, mamma said said Minnie. “I think the poor people that Theo was — well, I don't remember have their rights just as we have. They what she said he was : but certainly not ought to be educated, and all that." the same as he was brought up.”
“ Very well,” said the other lady ; “ Then let us hope he has become a “when you have educated them up to Conservative. Landholders ought to be,
and the clergy must,” said the rector, You remember Cavendish ? He told me with a sigh. Then he remembered that he had met you at Oxford.” this was not a style of conversation • Oh, yes,” replied Chatty quickly. likely to commend itself to the two girls. Minnie, who was not accustomed to be “I hope we shall see you back next forestalled in speech, trod upon this Sunday at the Sunday-school,” he said. little exclamation, as it were, and extin“Of course I would not hurry you, if you guished it. “Cavendish! I am not sure. found it too much; but a little work in I think I do recollect the name," she moderation I have always thought was said. the very best thing for a grief like yours. And then they shook hands with the Dear Mrs. Warrender, too,” he added rector across the gate, and went upon softly. He had not been in the habit of their way. But it was not for the first calling her dear Mrs. Warrender ; but moment quite a peaceful way. it seemed a term that was appropriate were dreadfully ready to say you rewhere there had been a death. “ I hope membered Mr. Cavendish,” said the elshe does not quite shut herself up.” der sister. “ What do you
know of Mr. “Mamma has been with Lady Mark- Cavendish? If I were you, I would not land several times,” said Minnie, with a speak so fast, as if Mr. Cavendish were mixture of disapproval and satisfaction. of any importance.” “Naturally, we have been so much “Oh, no, he is of no importance ; only thrown together since"
I do recollect him quite well. He gave “ To be sure. What a sad thing !-- us tea. He was very twice in one house, within a week, was
" He was
actly like other young it not, the two deaths ? "
men,” said Miss Warrender. And then “Just a week,” said Chatty, who loved they proceeded in silence, Chatty having to be exact.
no desire to contest the statement. She you
know Lord Markland was did not know very much about young no relation,” added Minnie, too conscientions to take to herself the credit of a Their way lay across the end of the grief which was not hers. “It was not village street, beyond which the trees of as if we felt it in that way.”
the Warren overshadowed everything. " It was a dreadful thing to happen There was only a fence on that side of in one's house, all the same. And Theo, the grounds, and to look through it was I hear, goes a great deal to Markland. like looking into the outskirts of a forOh, it is quite natural. He had so much est. The rabbits ran about by hundreds to do for her from the first. And I hear among the roots of the trees. The birds she is a very attractive sort of woman, sang as if in their own kingdom and sethough I don't know much of her, for cure possession. To this gentle savagery my own part.”
and dominion of nature the Miss War“Attractive? Well, perhaps she may renders were accustomed ; and in the be attractive, to some people,” said Min- freshness of the early summer it was nie; “ but when a woman has been mar- sweet. They went on without speaking, ried so long as she has, one never thinks for some time, and then it seemed wise of her in that light
and her attractive- to the younger sister to forestall further ness has nothing to do with Theo,” she remark by the introduction of a new added, with some severity.
subject, which, however, was not a usual "Oh, no, I suppose not,” said the rec- proceeding on Chatty's part. tor. “ Tell him I hope we shall soon Minnie,” she said, “ do you know see him here, for I expect his friend what the rector meant when he was Dick Cavendish in the end of the week. speaking of Lady Markland, – that she VOL. LV.- NO. 329.