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tice. Mrs. Potter would not suffer them to depart without a short interview; she had by some means learned who Esther was--that she was niece to that very Mr. Brownrigg who had thwarted her schemes, and was the particular friend of her uncle's housekeeper. This was the more offensive, as Mrs. Potter had high ideas of the rights of relationship, and considered their property, whether acquired or inherited, justly due to the next heir; and though a sļight curve in her own favour, from any other person would have been passed over as irremediable; in the present case, it was a sin not easily pardoned : she forgot her delinquencies, and wondered any one else should remember them. If any person reminded her, that she had not behaved well to her uncle or to Mrs. Tucker, she would toss her head, and say, “ Young people would be young people; and she had always a witty tongue, worse luck."
But to return : she waylaid Michael and Esther, and though they passed on the opposite side, she nevertheless contrived to cross them, for she clearly saw that neither Esther or Michael wished to recognise her; so, with a boldness natural to persons of her character, she began.
“Well, Mrs. Kemp, so you was a Miss Brownrigg, I find. Pray, how's your uncle?
Please to tell him that I shall do remarkably well, though I have been cheated out of my rights. Thank God, I have got friends as well as another.” Esther could make no reply, for she did not understand it. “ You have heard your uncle talk of me, I dare say?" No, ma'am, never. “ No? why that's very particular, I think, but that's no matter- Well, you please to tell him from me, that though I am defrauded of my just dues, I am going on remarkably well; but it seems the fashion now-a-days for servants to get into their master's places.” Michael was too well used to Mrs. Potter to reply to this; and, though he perfectly understood her insinuation, he passed it as though he had not heard it. He walked forward to the stable to see to his horse, and Esther curtseyed, and went in to her father's cottage: she did not close the door, lest it should be said she had shut the door in her face ; but she went in, and she heard Mrs. Potter say, “ The manners of the canal;” she had picked up this bit of French from the captain, when he had lodged at her house: it was lost upon Esther, who knew nothing of the French tongue, and she only heard a sort of muttering, and saw the angry gestures of the displeased landlady.
We will not fatigue the reader with all
the adieus of the little people, or the kind wishes of neighbour Spencer, but we will join the travellers as they were ascending the steep to the Brow. “And here they are, said Betty Smith.-" Here's my master, ma'am,” half opening the door where Mrs. Finch was sitting. And now the little chit-chat of what had passed on both sides occupied them while they took their tea; for though it was nearly eight on the Tuesday evening ere they reached their home, it was not so late but Esther said, “ Oh! I must run down, Michael, and speak to my mother.”
“ Well, as soon as I have seen to my horse, I'll run with you. “ Just one cup of tea, Michael.” Oh, I don't mind my tea; I must see to my horse, the poor beast has travelled well. "
And now, reader, fancy the first meeting of the mother and aunt, with their darling Esther. It was,
It was, “ Well, love, and so you are safe home, and I am glad to see you.” “ Yes, mother, and I hope you will often see me; you must come to the Brow to us, we shall think it a dull day that you do not look in upon us. “ Hetty, love, 'tis a steep hill, I think you must run down
And so you've seen every body, dear, all Mr. Kemp's relations ?” and I have seen his good Reverend, and Mrs. Walker, and Miss; they are the
kindest people.” “ Well, you are a happy girl, Esther, and I am glad to see it, dear. “ And to share it, my dear mother,” said Michael, looking with kindness.' Why, that can't be long, Mr. Kemp, you know, we ben't young
• Dear mother, don't try to make my heart ache, pray don't. ” “Now?” said Margaret Beal; “ you are wrong. If your mother is a Christian
If,” said Esther.” Yes, if,” said her aunt, “ if your mother's a Christian, what have you got at the Brow; nay, what is there in all this world that's to be compared with her inheritance? Did not the dear Saviour tell us, that it had not entered into man's heart to conceive the glory. Do you believe what he says, Esther?” “ Dear aunt, do I believe ? sure I do.'
Well, if that is sure, you can't grieve that
your mother and I draw near our inheritance." “ But nature, aunt-nature will have way.
Ah !” said Margaret, « don't I know it? Don't I feel it, child ?” But this I must say, I don't give way to it --no, I try every day to loosen my affections from you and your mother, and to lay hold by faith of the hope set before me looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher; and I do find, my child, that my prospects brighten, but I often think of what that good man; Mr Romaine, says, "Nay,
but thou dost not believe. Could a condemned malefactor with a pardon in his pocket fear condemnation ? We certainly live below our hopes, or death could have nothing gloomy for the Christian; my prayer is a very short one, and often repeated—Lord, increase my faith.” Now, though this was calculated to cheer the heart in a Christian point of view, it did not cheer poor Esther. It was true, she was settled happily in every way, but she and her mother had struggled so many years together for the necessaries of life, that they certainly became more endeared than most parents and children are, however tender that tie.
And now, when the struggle was no longer needful, to think of separation, she could not bear it; she was almost ready to long for her old cares, provided she might keep her old comforts. Thus it is, we find trials heavy at the time, and almost overlook the accompanying mercies; they pass us, we fancy them light, and almost wish them back again. “Well, good night, good night, dear friends;" and they reascended to their dwelling, thoughtful and prayerful.
When Michael felt how this little interview had depressed Esther, he was almost sorry he had taken her; and he said,