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him yield to all her wishes, and consult her almost upon everything. Lady Catherine's religion was not mere outward profession, it was to be seen in all she said and did; it beamed in her very look, and few could know her without feeling the influence of, and deriving benefit from, her genuine piety. Her two young nieces had fully supplied the place of children to her, having no family of her own; and in their turn they loved her as their own mother. Edith, the eldest of them, and mother of our heroine, married, early, Lord Grey, a young nobleman to whom she had been attached from her earliest years, and who was distantly related to Lady Catherine ; and Emily, three years later, became the wife of a most exemplary clergyman, the Reverend Charles Montagu, a true servant of Christ. Imitating her aunt, she devoted herself to usefulness in her husband's little parish. Mr. Montagu's living was situated on a slight elevation, and commanding on all sides beautiful views of home scenery. The peaceful Wye might be seen wending its way at the foot of the pretty lawn, which gracefully sloped down from the drawing-room windows to its very banks.
It was here in the midst of active duties and employments, congenial to Mrs. Montagu's tastes and feelings, that often her heart rose in thankfulness to the Giver of all Good, for the quiet and peaceful lot he had assigned her.
The melancholy news of her loved sister's death was a most painful and very sudden shock upon her ; the severity of the blow was in no small degree augmented by her having been unable to see her before her death. The news had but only reached her, of her happy accouchment of a boy--the long wished-for heir -and then, the mournful tidings that both mother and infant had been taken away to a brighter and happier world.
In the midst of her grief, however, Mrs. Montagu's unselfish nature permitted her thinking of others. She knew how deeply attached her brother-in-law was to her poor sister. What a void her loss would make to him, and her dear little niece too--poor little Edith! Her Christian heart longed to do something for the little motherless girl.
Mr. Montagu fully participated in this feeling, and, after some deliberation, they agreed together, to lose no time in writing to Lord Grey, to make him the proposition that, under his afflicted circumstances, dear little Edith should be consigned to their care.
It was this letter that we left Lord Grey reading in the library.
“ Poor Emily!" thought Lord Grey, as he finished perusing Mrs. Montagu's kind, consoling offer about his child. “But this cannot be, I have already promised my own sister Frances, besides her having a prior claim; Edith will have companions there, and it will be better for her at this moment; she shall go to the Montagu's later; but as he folded the letter he almost felt a gleam of comfort-the style of it was so like that of his lamented wife.
How often will a word of sympathy, when it chances to touch the responding chord of our hearts in a right moment, afford relief when every other effort wbolly fails !
The following morning, when Edith opened again her eyes in her large and beautiful nursery, the sun was shining with all the warmth of a lovely vernal sun in the month of May. Child as she was, she saw something unusual was going on. Nurse was bustling about very unlike her accustomed quiet way ; and, instead of beginning to dress her before her breakfast, she brought Edith her cup of warm milk in her little bed, telling her to take it, as they were going on a long journey ; adding, when she had finished it, she would dress her. With childish glee, Edith did as Nurse Budd advised; only, with the prospect of a journey before her, she could not refrain from clapping her little hands, remembering well the last journey she had made with her poor mamma the previous year to the Grange, which was the name of the residence of Colonel and Lady Catherine Douglas. With all the love of novelty, so characteristic of childhood, she was overjoyed at nurse's news; and, in less than an hour, Edith was dressed, nurse had finished her packages, and they only waited to be summoned to Lord Grey's study to wish papa "good bye." Edith was at the window looking anxiously for the carriage to appear, which she was aware would be the signal of departure. She had just espied it, and in raptures was crying out “Here it is, nurse, here it is !” when the nursery door opened, and no other than her papa himself appeared to embrace his child. Nurse curtseyed low, and was about to call Miss Edith to see her papa, but he stepped before her to the window, where his little girl was, and before she was aware of his presence, inquired what it was she was in such glee about.
Edith turned quickly round at the sound of her father's voice; she had seen him but once since her poor mother's death, and she showed very evidently how much a stranger he had been to her. The colour mounted to her cheeks, and she hung down her head with every symptom of timidity, if not of downright fear. Nurse came speedily to her relief, excusing her as well as she could, and assuring his Lordship that “Miss Edith had grown very shy of late, she had seen so few people, had been so much confined to her nursery."
“But Edith must not be afraid of papa,” returned Lord Grey, in a kinder manner than was his wont; for conscience, that inward reprover of our actions, whispered to him the question," have you any right to your little motherless girl's affections ?” If her shyness distressed him at a moment when even her childish affection would have been indeed a solace, he had only himself to thank for it; he had from selfish regard for his own feelings, totally neglected his little girl, and her nurse had usurped his place entirely in her affection.
“Is Edith glad to leave papa ?" inquired Lord Grey, as he lifted her on his knee, and parted her beautiful glossy curls from her forehead. “Will she remember papa ?" speaking still more gently and encouragingly to his little daughter, who until this moment had kept her eyes fixed upon the ground.
Reassured by his kinder manner, Edith ventured to look up into his face, and timidly answered, “Yes.”
“God bless you, my child !” continued her father, as he again raised her in his arms to carry her down stairs.
Nurse followed close behind, and tears of gratitude might have been seen, by a close observer, gathering in her eyes at the sight of his Lordship's unusual kindness to her little charge—almost the first he had ever bestowed.
“I knew he must love the sweet child," muttered the good woman to herself, " and I am glad of this before we left home, for may be, she'll not come here again a long, long day; and who knows but her dear Ladyship that's gone may then have been replaced by another.”
Lord Grey carried little Edith quickly down, and put her into the carriage himself, and having seen nurse take her place by her side, bade her affectionately farewell.