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Such was the conversation which opened this memorable Sunday to Mr. Wentworth. Opposite to him, again occupying the seat where his wife should have been, had he possessed one, were the three Miss Wentworths, his respected aunts, to whose opinion, however, the curate did not feel himself bound to deser very greatly in present circumstances; and a large and curious congregation ranged behind them, almost as much concerned to see how Mr. Wentworth would conduct himself in this moment of triump, as they had been in the moment of his humilnation. It is, however, needless to inform the friends of the Herpetual Curate that the anxious community gained very little by their curiosity. It was not the custom of the young Anglican to carry his personal feelings, either of one kind or another, into the pulpit with him, much less into the reading-desk, where he was the interpreter not of his own sentiments or emotions, but of common prayer and universal worship. Mr. Wentworth did not cven throw a little additional warmth into his utterance of the general thanksgiving, as he might have done, had he been a more effusive man; but, on the contrary, read it with a more than ordinary calmness, and preached to the excited people one of those terse little unimpassioned sermons of his, from which it was utterly impossible to divine whether he was in the depths of despair or at the summit and crown of happiness. People who had been used to discover a great many of old Mr. Bury's personal peculiarities in his sermons, and who, of recent days, had found many illusions which it was easy to interpret in the discourses of Mr. Morgan, retired altogether baffled from the clear and succinct brevity of the Curate of St. Roque's. He was that day in particular so terse as to be almost epigrammatic, not using a word more than was necessary, and displaying that power of saying a great deal more than at the first moment he appeared to say, in which Mr. Wentworth's admirers especially prided themselves. Perhaps a momentary human gratification in the consciousness of having utterly baffled curiosity passed through the curate's mind as he took off his robes when the service was over; but he was by no means prepared for the ordeal which awaited him when he stepped forth from the pretty porch of St. Roque's. There his three aunts were awaiting him, eager to hear all about it, Miss Dora, for the first time in her life, holding the principal place. “We are going away to-morrow, Frank, and of course you are coming to lunch with us,” said Aunt Dora, clinging to his arm. “Oh, my dear boy, I am so happy, and so ashamed, to hear
it. To think you should be provided for, and nobody belonging to you have anything to do with it ! I don’t know what to say,” said Miss Dora, who was half crying as usual; “and as for Leonora, one is frightened to speak to her. Oh, I wish you would say something to your Aunt Leonora, Frank. I don’t know whether she is angry with us, or with you, or with herself, or what it is ; or if it is an attack on the nerves —though I never imagined she had any nerves ; but, indeed, whatever my brother may say, it looks very like—dreadfully like —the coming-on of the Wentworth complaint. Poor papa was just like that when he used to have it coming on ; and Leonora is not just—altogether—what you would call a female, Frank. Oh, my dear boy, if you would only speak to her l’’ cried Miss Dora, who was a great deal too much in earnest to perceive anything comical in what she had said.
“I should think it must be an attack on the temper,” said the curate, who, now that it was all over, felt that it was but just his Aunt Leonora should suffer a little for her treatment of him. “Perhaps some of her savorite colporteurs have fallen back into evil wavs. There was one who had been a terrible blackguard, I remember. It is something that has happened among her mission people, you may be sure, and nothing about me.”
“You don’t know Leonora, Frank. She is very fond of you, though she does not show it,” said Miss Dora, as she led her victim in triumphantly through the garden-door, from which the reluctant young man could see Lucy and her sister in their black dresses just arriving at the other green door from the parish church, where they had occupied their usual places, according to the ideas of pro
riety which were common to both the Miss Wodehouses. , Mr. Wentworth had to content himself with taking off his hat to them, and followed his aunts to the table, where Miss Leonora took her seat much with the air of a judge about to deliver a sentence. She did not restrain herself even in consideration of the presence of Lewis the butler, who, to be sure, had been long enongh in the Wentworth family to know as much about its concerns as the members of the house themselves, or perhaps a little more. , Miss Leonora sat down grim and formidable in her bonnet, which was in the style of a remote period, and did not soften the severity of her personal appearance. She pointed her nephew to a seat beside her, but she did not relax her features, nor condescend to any ordinary preliminaries of conversation. For that day even she teok Lewis's business out
of his astonished hands, and herself divided the chicken with a swift and steady knife and anatomical precision; and it was while occupied in this congenial business that she broke forth upon Frank in a manner so unexpected as almost to take away his breath. “I suppose this is what fools call poetical justice,” said Miss Leonora, “which is just of a piece with everything else that is poetical,—weak folly and nonsense that no sensible man would have anything to say to. How a young man like you, who know how to conduct yourself in some things, and have, I don’t deny, many good qualities, can give in to come to an ending like a trashy novel, is more than I can understand. You are fit to be put in a book of the Goodchild series, Frank, as an illustration of the reward of sirtue,” said the strong-minded woman, with i little snort of scorn; “and, of course, you are going to marry and live happy ever after, ike a fairy tale.” “It is possible I may be guilty of that ad£itional enormity,” said the curate, “which we all events, will not be your doing, my dear Aunt, if I might suggest a consolation. You cannot help such things happening, but, at Feast, it should be a comfort to feel you have done sothing to bring them about.” To which Miss Leonora answered by anc ther bard breath of mingled disdain and 1 *sentinent. “Whatever I have brought about, I have tried to do what I thought my duty,” she said. “It has always seemed to me a very poor sort of virtue that expects a roward for doing what it ought to do. I don’t say you haven’t behaved very well in this business, but you’ve done nothing extraordinary; and why I should have rushed out of my way to reward you for it—Oh, yes, I know you did not expect anything,” said Miss Leonora; “you have told me as much on various occasions, Frank. You have, of course, always been perfectly independent, and scorned to flatter your old aunts by any deserence to their convictions; and, to be sure, it is nothing to you any little pang they may feel at having to dispose otherwise of a living that has always been in the family. You are of the latest fashion of Anglicanism. and we are only a parcel of old women. It was not to be expected that our antiquated ideas could be worth as much to you as a parcel of slowers and trumpery”— These were actually tears which glittered in Miss Leonora's eyes of fiery hazel grey— tears of very diminutive size, totally unlike the big dewdrops which rained from Miss Dora's placid orbs and made them red, but did her no harm—but still a real moisture, forced out of a fountain which lay very deep down and inaccessible to ordinary efforts. They made her eyes look rather fiercer than
otherwise for the moment; but they all but impeded Miss Leonora's speech, and struck with the wildest consternation the entire party at the table, including even Lewis, who stood transfixed in the act of drawing a bottle of soda-water, and, letting the cork escape him in his amazement, brought affairs to an unlooked for climax by hitting Miss Wentworth, who had been looking on with interest without taking any part in the proceedings. When the fright caused by this unintentional shot had subsided, Miss Leonora was found to have entirely recovered herself; but not so the Perpetual Curate, who had changed color wonderfully, and no longer met his accuser with reciprocal disdain. “My dear aunt,” said Frank Wentworth, “I wish you would not go back to that. I suppose we parsons are apt sometimes to exaggerate trifles into importance, as my father says. But, however, as things have turned out, I could not have left Carlingford,” the curate added, in a tone of conciliation ; “and now, when good fortune has come to me unsought ''— Miss Leonora finished her portion of chicken in one energetic gulp, and got up from the table. “Poetic justice " " she said, with a curious sneer. “I don’t believe in that kind of rubbish. As lorg as you were getting on quietly with your work, I felt disposed to be rather proud of you, Frank. But I don't approve of a man ending off neatly like a nov- . el in this sort of ridiculous way. When }. succeed to the rectory, I suppose you will egin fighting, like the other man, with the new curate, for working in your parish?” “When I succeed to the rectory,” said Mr. Wentworth, getting up in his turn from the table, “I give you my word, Aunt Leonora, no man shall work in my parish unless I set him to do it. Now I must be off to my work. I don't suppose Carlingford Rectory will be the end of me,” the Perpetual Curate added, as he went away, with a smile which his aunts could not interpret. "As for Miss Leonora, she tied her bonnet-strings very tight, and went off to the afternoon service at Salem Chapel by way of expressing her sentiments more forcibly. “I dare say he's bold enough to take a bishopric,” she said to herself; “but fortunately we've got that in our own hands as long as Lord Shaftesbury lives; ” and Miss Leonora smiled grimly over the prerogatives of her party. But though she went to Stlem Chapel that afternoon, and consoled herself that she could secure the bench of bishops from any audacious invasion of Frank Wentworth's hopes, it is true, notwithstandimg, that Miss Leonora sent her maid next morning to London with certain obsolete ornaments, of which, though the fashion was hideous, the jewels were pre
cious; and Lucy Wodehouse had never seen anything so brilliant as the appearance they presented when they returned shortly after, reposing upon beds of white satin in cases of velvet,_* Ridiculous things,” as Miss Leonora informed her, “for a parson's wife.” It was some time after this—for, not to speak of ecclesiastical matters, a removal, even when the furniture is left behind and there are only books and rare ferns and old china to convey from one house to another, is a matter which involves delays, when Mr. Wentworth went to the railway station with Mrs. Morgan to see her off finally, her husband having gone to London with the intention of joining her in the new house. Naturally, it was not without serious thoughts that the Rector's wife left the place in which she had made her first beginning of active life, not so successfully as she had hoped. She could not help recalling, as she went along the familiar road, the hopes so vivid as to be almost certainties with which she had come into Carlingford. The long waiting was then over, and the much-expected era had arrived and existence had seemed to be opening in all its fulness and strength before the two who had looked forward to it so long. It was not much more than six months ago; but Mrs. Morgan had made a great many discoveries in the mean time. She had found out the wonderful difference between anticipation and reality ; and that life, even to a i. y woman married after long patience to the man of her choice, was not the smooth road it
standing, had to go on as if she had no doubts, though the clouds of a defeat, in which certainly, no honor, though a good deal of the prestige of inexperience had been lost, were still looming behind. She gave a little sigh as she shook Mr. Wentworth's hand at parting. “A great many things have happened in six months,” she said—“one never could have anticipated so many changes in what looks so short a period of one's life”— and as the train which she had watched so often rushed past that bit of new wall on which the Virginian creeper was beginning to grow luxuriantly, which screened the railway from the rectory windows, there were tears in Mrs. Morgan's eyes. Only six months and so much had happened —what might not happen in all those months, in all those years of life which scarcely looked so hopeful as of old? she preferred turning her back
upon Carlingford, though it was the least comfortable side of the carriage, and put down her veil to shield her eyes from the dust, or perhaps from the inspection of her fellow-travellers; and once more the familiar thought returned to her of what a different woman she would have been, had she come to her first experiences of life with the courage and confidence of twenty or even of five-andtwenty, which was the age Mrs. Morgan dwelt upon most kindly. And then she thought with a thrill of vivid kindness and a touch of tender envy of Lucy Wodehouse, who would now have no possible occasion to wait those ten years.
As for Mr. Wentworth, he who was a priest, and knew more about Carlingford than any other man in the place, could not help thinking, as he turned back, of people there to whom these six months had produced alterations far more terrible than any that had befallen the rector's wife, people from whom the light of life had died out, and to whom all the world was changed. He knew of men who had been cheerful enough when Mr. Morgan came to Carlingford, who now did not care what became of them ; and of women who would be glad to lay down their heads and hide them from the mocking light of day. He knew it, and it touched his his heart with the tenderest pity of life, the compassiou of happiness; and he knew too that the path upon which he was about to set out led through the same glooms, and was no ideal career. But perhaps because Mr. Wentworth was young—perhaps because he was possessed by that delicate sprite more dainty than any Ariel who puts rosy girdles, round the world while his time of triumph lasts, it is certain that the new rector of Carlingford turned back into Grange Lane without the least shadow upon his mind or timidity in his thoughts. . He was now in his own domains, an independent monarch, as little inclined to divide his power as any autocrat; and Mr. Wentworth came into his kingdom without any doubts of his success in it, or capability for its government. He had first a littlejourney to make to bring backLucy from that temporary and reluctant separation from the district which propriety had made needful; but in the mean time, Mr. Wentworth trod with firm foot the streets of his parish, secure that no parson nor priest should tithe or toll in his dominions, and a great deal more sure than even Mr. Morgan had been, that henceforth no unauthorized evangelization should take place in any portion of his territory. This sentiment, perhaps, was the principal difference perceptible by the community in general between the new rector of Carlingford and the late Perpetual Curate of St. Roque's.
C O N T E N T S.
1. The Transcendentalists of Concord, . - . Fraser's Magazine, 99
2. Tony Butler. Part 12, . . . . - - . Blackwood's Magazine, 116
3. The Poems of Winthrop Mackworth Praed, . Examiner, 129
4. Wisible Speech, - - - - - . Press, 132
5. Recruiting for the British Army, and Cost of it, Macmillan's Magazine, 134
6. Fortifications—American Examples, . - . Eraminer, 136
7. Persigny, Frank and Free, - - - - 4 o' 136
8. Romance in Politics, - - - - - & 4 - 137
9. Politicians of Chicago, . - - - . Spectator, 138
10. Tipperary Witch, . • ... • - - - - & 4 141 ll. The Cruise of the Alabama, . - - - go 144
PoETRY.-The Poor* Epitaph, 98. Over the Hillside, 98.
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