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Pleasant Readings for our Sons and Daughters

. .

MISS VIVIAN AND HER RELATIONS.

BY A. G., AUTHOR OF “AMONG THE MOUNTAINS,” “MABEL AND CORA,"

BEECHENHURST," ETC.

CHAPTER VIII.

“Mamma, indeed Captain Vivian said no“Not to be wearied, not to be deterred."-SOUTHEY.

thing that ought to have offended her so. He

only read three or four texts in support of his JON'T talk such nonsense, Beatrice. own convictions, and hardly argued at all.

It is the most foolish thing I ever Surely he may have an opinion of his own, as heard of.

much as Miss Vivian !" “But, mamma,-if Captain Vivian Yes; but there is no need to parade it thought it right”

before her, and to excite her by contradiction, “ Captain Vivian had no business to think -not the slightest need. And what is the anything of the kind. None at all! I have good of doing so ?” no patience with such whims and fancies-for “He thought it right, mamma.” they are nothing better.”

Nonsense, Beatrice. He liked to make a Beatrice was silent, and looked down, with sensation, I dare say! He knew as well as I her lips pressed together. Mrs. Wentworth do that whatever he could say would not have shook out the folds of her dress with an angry the smallest effect. If a sermon were preached gesture, and opened her scent-bottle with a upon the subject to Miss Vivian every day for jerk, as she continued,

a whole year, she would be just as close and “Just when Miss Vivian was disposed so stingy at the end as at the beginning. And kindly towards him,-when he was so sure of why Captain Vivian should risk all his proshis ground,-when every one felt certain as to pects,--should destroy them, indeed, as there his expectations,—to throw it all away, just is no doubt he has done,-is more than I can because he must needs preach her a sermon understand.” upon

the

very subject on which he knows she Beatrice hesitated a minute, and then said, is most tender! I have no patience with such slowly,childish conduct,-such want of self-control!” “Miss Vivian is so old and unhappy and

“Mamma!” Beatrice looked up with burn. lonely, mamma; it seems only right that we ing cheeks—"mamma, whatever Captain Vivian should use what influence we have to lead her said was with perfect deliberation, and full con- to better things." sciousness of what he was doing.”

“I suppose you mean by that, that you ought “That is just what I complain of. He must to persuade her to spend half her fortune on have known how he would offend her, and why beggars. Just like one of your high-flown could he not have kept his opinions to himself, notions, Beatrice. I should have given Captain and allowed her to say what she liked, without Vivian credit for more common sense." contradiction ? Every one knows how stingy Captain Vivian is not one to do wrong, she is in her ways, and why must he meddle neglect his duty, for the sake of gaining a with what he could not alter ?”

little money," said Beatrice, in a low voice, “He did not feel at liberty not to answer almost to herself; but her mother overheard her when she spoke as she did —"

her. “I should think the liberty was in answering "Really, Beatrice, I never heard any one her at all,” said Mrs. Wentworth. “Such talk in such a way. Do wrong, indeed! One folly, to throw away all his prospects in this would think I wanted him to steal, instead of manner! Not at liberty indeed! I suppose just to keep silent when talking will do harm he would talk of conscientious scruples? That to himself and good to nobody. And a little is always the excuse for doing foolish things.”

money you call it! You don't know how

Or

“An oppor.

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wealthy Miss Vivian is, in spite of her being when a light step was heard on the stairs and such an old miser."

Constance came tripping in, she looked up "I don't think that has much to do with the with a smile. question,” said Beatrice, gently. Captain "Oh, Beatrice, I am glad I have found you Vivian was quite aware of what he was doing, at home. But is anything the matter P” and he did not think it right to miss such an Beatrice answered, giving her a kissopportunity of speaking to Miss Vivian on a "Is anything the matter with you, Constance? religious subject."

You look very merry.” “A very good opportunity!” sarcastically Oh, only because I have just seen and been interrupted Mrs. Wentworth.

introduced to his lordship, Captain Percival tunity for ruining his future prospects. In- Gifford. And he is as bad-no, a great deal stead of inheriting Miss Vivian's money, he

worse—than I ever expected.” will have to depend on his pay as a captain in "Poor man!” said Beatrice, smiling. the army,--and a very poor dependence that “But he really is, Beatrice. We passed will be. Your father, too, considers his health him in the road-papa, and Leonard, and I-so shattered, that though in England he might and he evidently knew Leonard, and Leonard in time become tolerably strong again, if he is made him a bow, and Captain Gifford looked obliged to return to India he will probably like-likesink before long under the climate.”

“Like what?” asked Beatrice. The flush on Beatrice's cheeks faded away, Constance answered by quoting some poetry : leaving her very pale, but she asked in her usual tone,

" " But while I passed, he was humming an air, “ Did papa say that?”

Stopt, and then, with a riding-whip, Something like it. Of course he did not

Leisurely tapping a glossy boot, tell Captain Vivian or Mr. Mansfield.”

And curving a contumelious lip,

Gorgonized me from head to foot "Mr. Mansfield ought to know," Beatrice

With a stony British stare.' murmured.

“What for? You don't suppose Captain “ Those were the lines that came into my head Vivian would throw up his profession and live when I saw him.” quietly on Mr. Mansfield. And Mr. Mansfield “My dear Constance, not quite so bad as has quite enough to do without having him to that, I hope." provide for. They say his affairs are not a Yes, quite. Gorgonized—that is just the little involved; and no wonder with his careless, word for it. But he stopped-just as the extravagant habits! Captain Vivian will have poetry says-and papa and Leonard stopped no choice but to return to India,--and all too, and papa said, Captain Gifford, I supthrough his own imprudent folly. Miss Vivian pose?' and asked Leonard to introduce him. is so implacable that she will never forgive nor I was introduced too, and I don't like him at forget what he has done. And not a penny of all. Such disagreeable manners, Beatrice; not her money will he ever touch."

rude, but so smooth, and slippery, and var"We do not know yet, mamma. Miss Vivian nished-don't you know what I mean? The may soften towards him.”

sort of politeness that you are certain is no "No hope of that. You know very well that more than skin deep. I wonder if he considers she will not admit him into the house, and that Leonard his rival; but he needn't be much she is offended with you bardly less than with afraid now. How tiresome it is that Miss him. I expect every time you go that she will Vivian should be so offended with Leonard ! forbid you to go again. But it is of no use I don't mean to say that he wasn't quite right, talking now. He has done it of his own free and of course one admires him more for being will, and he must take the consequences." independent and speaking out, than if he were And with an injured air Mrs. Wentworth mercenary and cared for nothing but getting rustled out of the room.

her money; but still it certainly is tirésome. Beatrice sat very quietly after she was gone, Just when he was in favour, and she seemed with her head still bent over her work, but her so to like having him with her! Leonard hands were clasped together instead of being won't talk to me about the money part of it, engaged with the needle, and her eyes glittered and says it is no business of his; but every one with the tears which she strove to check. One can't be quite so lofty and indifferent as all or two fell, but no more; and in a few minutes, that. He asked me once if I thought you had

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been satisfied with what he said to Miss Vivian, Captain Vivian, considering that he had saved or whether you thought he had been too blunt her life by his presence of mind; but she had and imprudent; but I said I was sure you had already argued upon the subject so often withquite approved of what he had done, and after

out success, that she thought it useless to that he was satisfied, and did not seem to care follow up her remark. And indeed her well. much about anything else.”

meant remonstrances seemed only to have the Beatrice felt her cheeks growing warm, and effect of still farther incensing Miss Vivian changed the subject by a question about Mrs. against Leonard. Mansfield's health.

Poor Mrs. Wentworth! No wonder she Three weeks passed by, and gradually Cap- was disappointed. Very complacently had tain Gifford appeared to have ingratiated him. she watched the course of Captain Vivian's self into Miss Vivian's favour. He found the favour at the old mansion, and at the same field open to him, and succeeded with very time of his growing intimacy with Beatrice, little trouble in gaining a footing of apparently congratulating herself not a little upon both. close intimacy at the dilapidated old mansion. And now it was all at an end—at least with Not that Miss Vivian personally cared for regard to the future riches upon which Mrs. him in the least, and his “slippery, varnished Wentworth had set her heart for Beatrice. manners,”as Constance had not inappropriately Captain Vivian was reduced from the position described them, were by no means in accord- of almost certain heir to considerable wealth, ance with her tastes-far less so than Leonard's to that of a mere captain in the Indian army, straightforward, gentlemanly bearing, with its with little besides his pay to live upon. Worst blending of courteous deference and almost of all, in her judgment, it was through his own blunt truthfulness. Miss Vivian liked truth. incomprehensible weakness in being unable fulness in the abstract, when it was not brought to keep clear of the very subject which Miss to bear against herself in the form of any. Vivian could never endure to hear discussed. thing resembling contradiction, which she Mrs. Wentworth had no patience with “ concould not endure. But she was now thoroughly scientious scruples," or with a love of doing angry with Leonard; and her displeasure once good to others, or with a true and manly desire aroused was not easily laid to rest. He was to "show one's colours," at whatever cost to never admitted into the house after that day, self; and least of all could she sympathize Miss Vivian being always "engaged” when he with the gentle Christian compassion that called at the door.

could not bear to look upon the hard, selfish Beatrice came in for a share of the disgrace, old woman, tottering upon the edge of the though in a less degree. Miss Vivian did not grave, without attempting to utter one word refuse to see her, but was studiously cold and of warning. No, Mrs. Wentworth could underhaughty towards her—so much so, that if stand and sympathise with none of these feel. Beatrice had consulted her own inclinations, ings. Captain Vivian's motives, equally with she would assuredly have stayed away alto. his actions, were to her wild, foolish, and in. gether. But this she felt would not be right, explicable. and she continued to pay her visits as regularly Beatrice had to endure a species of fretting as before, though all the enjoyment she had persecution from her mother's reiterated com. ever had in them was gone. After a while, plaints of Leonard, and her perpetual attempts Miss Vivian's manner softened a little towards to argue her into condemning bim as much as her; but with regard to Leonard she was in. she did herself. She bore it all quietly, and veterate.

went about with her usual calm placid look; "No, she had done with Captain Vivian," but between her mother and Miss Vivian, the she said angrily one day, when Bentley, who “wear and tear” were considerable, and some. had taken a great fancy to bim, made some times took effect in such pale cheeks as to remark in his favour. A forward, presuming arouse her father's solicitude. The only real young man! attempting to teach her what to rest she obtained was in the bright atmosphere do with her money! If he chose to be so un- of the Rookery. That was always warm and grateful and so blind to his own interests, it kindly, and a visit there was indeed a season was his own look-out. She would have nothing of refreshment, after the chill, cold stateliness more whatever to do with him."

of Vivian Mansion, or the wearying complaints Bentley secretly thought the ingratitude lay at home. rather more on the side of her mistress than of Miss Vivian, at this period, was evidently

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worse than usual in health. For a long while Beatrice, God's grace is sufficient for the she had been ailing, and Beatrice had fancied most hardened and heartless of sinners,” said that she was every day becoming increasingly Mr. Mansfield. " We must trust even till the feeble; but the change lately had been far last hour that she may be led to repentance. more marked. Mr. Wentworth's visits were Nothing is impossible with God." now very frequent, though not from the ex- “I know it,” said Beatrice again. “Poor pectation of any profit to himself, for Miss Miss Vivian! She is sadly ill and feeble. Vivian's horror of doctor's fees was proverbial Papa says it is a general break-up of her con. in the place, and his calls were ostensibly only stitution, and that she cannot last long. She those of a friend. She would not have received may be taken suddenly worse any day, and sink him in any other capacity. Although sinking in a few hours." beneath disease and old age, hovering as it " It is very sad to think about. were on the brink of the grave, she still grasped say she will not allow you to speak on the her money with a clutch as tight as ever. Yet subject of religion ?" she was not naturally a miser-only somewhat

"Not a word. I dare not even propose to prudent and calculating. But for years the read the Bible to her. The instant I allude to love of hoarding, unresisted, unchecked, had the subject, she outs me short, and says she grown and increased upon her; and now, when would rather be alone than hear such reher long joyless life was nearly over, she seemed marks." unable to make an effort to release herself from Beatrice mused sorrowfully for the chain-golden though it was—which made minutes, when Constance joined them, exher a willing captive.

claiming at her father's having taken posses"I cannot, cannot understand it,” said sion of Beatrice for so long a time. Beatrice, sorrowfully, one day. “If she were “ And there's Leonard quite in despair bea young person, saving for a lifetime, I could cause he can't find you; and he saw you come comprehend, though I could not excuse it. out of the Mansion garden,” added Constance, But now it seems so utterly inexplicable-such who rarely missed an opportunity of bringing an unreasoning love of money for its own a blush to Beatrice's cheeks, though she was sake! She absolutely cares for nothing not so unmerciful as to follow it up. “How is else."

Miss Vivian this afternoon P” "She has fostered the tendency so long that * Very weak and poorly. I have not been it has become second nature,” responded Mr. long with her. Captain Gifford went in, so I Mansfield, who was walking with Beatrice in came away.” the Rookery garden.

Is it true that she has been making her 'It seems as if nothing could touch it,” said will, and leaving everything to him P" asked Beatrice.

Constance. "I have heard it spoken about “ Nothing can, Beatrice, but the grace of more than once lately." God. We are utterly powerless in such a case. “I know no more about it than you do," As well might I attempt to thaw a frozen lake said Beatrice, quietly; while Mr. Mansfield merely with the warmth of my hand, as attempt, observed by human influence only, to melt the ice in “People are very ready to gossip about what which her very heart seems frozen up. We does not concern them, and to talk of matters must commit her into the hands of God. He of which they are perfectly ignorant." can melt the ice, Beatrice, and soften the “Only it does concern us, papa, and we are hardest heart."

not quite ignorant,” continued Constance, “I know I know it. But oh, Mr. Mans. laughing. “Not that I mean to trouble my. field !” and Beatrice burst into tears,

self about it, any more than Leonard does. is a verse of the Bible that will come into my But here he comes; and you must stay with head whenever I think or speak of this, and I us to dinner this evening, Beatrice, for once." cannot drive it away— Ephraim is joined to “I have made her promise that already," idols; let him alone!”

said Mr. Mansfield.

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NE of the most familiar of the British with their prickly verdure, serve admirably to

burrowing rodents is the common shelter the entrances.
rabbit (Lepus cuniculus). The varie. When once they have established themselves,

ties are very numerous, and some are the rabbits increase with almost incredible 80 unlike the orginal stock, that they seem rapidity, nearly rivalling the rats and mice in to be species and not varieties; indeed, they fecundity, and converting the land into a very might have taken rank as species, did they not honeycomb of burrows. Indeed, were not the invariably display a tendency to recede to the flesh of the rabbit marketable, and its far valuancestral short brown fur and upright ears of able-were not the stoat, the weasel, the hawk, the wild rabbit.

and other furred and feathered depredators The rabbit lives, as we all know, in burrows, extremely fond of young rabbits,—the animals and is of a social nature, a considerable number would spread so fast as to become a positive of burrows being gathered together, and known nuisance. In some places they have increased by the name of a warren. Whenever the to such an extent, that the safety of buildings rabbits find an undisturbed spot which com- has been endangered by the deep and ramifybines the advantages of a sandy situation with ing tunnels which they have sunk beside the the vicinity of food, they establish themselves foundations; and in one case known to the forthwith, and sink their multitudinous tunnels writer they multiplied so inordinately, that the into the ground. The favourite locality is a proprietor of the ground, albeit a most staunch loose, sandy, or gravelly soil, covered with conservator of animal life, was obliged in selfpatches of furze bushes ; for this soil is easily defence, to have them exterminated. excavated, and is very dry, and the young It is not a very easy matter to drive them shoots of the furze yield a food equally grate from any place of which they have already ful and nutritious. Moreover, the tangled roots taken possession ; and even after employing all of the furze afford an excellent protection to the paraphernalia of ferrets, nets, and guns, the burrows, and the overhanging branches, two or three isolated individuals are apt to

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