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“ The painful trial, my love, will not come one moment the sooner; let us enjoy the present.” She could only say, “ Yes,” for her heart was very full.
It is somewhere said, “ It is not on hearts that yield the soonest, that sorrow makes the deepest impression;" and this is well, for what frame could stand ready and continued impression. No, we are mercifully formed of various moods, and our trials suited to our temperament; yea, even as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
On the following morning, Mrs. Finch, Jemima, and Esther, were delighted to see Fanny ascending the Brow, and with a merry little curtsey,
66 Glad to see you, my dear Mrs. Kemp; come to pay the bride a visit. Rely upon it, you will have people to call, and I am come first.” People to call ?” said Esther.
Yes, my dear; I think my news is true; I heard that the Jennings's were all coming up this morning.” “Very well,” and she went on with the work she had in her hand. Are these your neighbours, Mrs. Kemp ?” said Mrs. Finch.“ Yes, madam, they are the daughters of a farmer here, a man who has done very well; but the times, and one thing or another, have injured their property.'
" " The times have
been hard indeed,” said Mrs. Finch,“ but they have been made harder by want of management, I believe; pretty many of us have stepped a little out of our station, and, instead of being farmers, have tried to be gentlefolks ; and really this is hardly to be excused, for our station is so very comfortable.
And why should we wish to be dressed up, Mrs. Meredith ; for my part, I am never so comfortable as in my every day clothes: if one is but clean, it is all one can desire.” True, ma'am, but I think young people do like to be dressed; I am sure I can't forget, some years ago, when good Mrs. Walker fitted me out to come to you. How very much pleased I was ; and now, to be sure, I don't care about such things, but there is a great deal of difference. I do believe Miss Jemima never did care for dress.' “ Different people have different snares, said Jemima, “but I am not coming to confession."
“ You were a good little girl, and we all liked you very much, and were very sorry to part with you,” said Mrs. Finch.“ Dear, kind mistress," and she kissed Mrs. Finch's hand. There is something very endearing in genuine affection : the heart is hard indeed, that is not touched by it.--" But see,” said Mrs. Finch, "are not these the ladies from the Rectory? Is not that Mrs. Lascelles coming up the hill ?”
“ Dear me, no," replied Fanny, “Mrs. Lascelles never comes out, her health is so very delicate.” “Who can they be, then ? and they are very near.”
« Oh,” said Esther," it is the Miss Jennings'.'
“ The Miss Jennings'! and who are they? Oh, I remember the ladies you expected; these are specimens truly." And now the stiff rapper sounded; stiff, I say, for it was rarely used at the Brow. “Is Mrs. Kempat home, Betty?" and Betty was heard to reply, “Yes, ma'am, and the ladies were ushered in to the large parlour, and Betty went to tell her mistress, who was seated in the small room with Mrs. Finch and Miss Jemima. “ You will go in with me, will you not?” said Esther, “ for I shan't know what to say.” • Oh! we will all go in, if you like it,' said Mrs. Finch. s. We had better drop in one by one,” said Jemima, we shall frighten them, such a party at once.' “ Not so soon frightened, I assure you, said Fanny. So it was settled, that Esther and Fanny should go in first, and Mrs. Finch and Jemima should drop in afterwards.
The bride had her little quilled cap, with a plain white ribbon crossed at the top; her clear book muslin handkerchief, her checked muslin apron, her small corded buff-striped gown, short sleeves with a narrow ruffe. Her mother had brought her up to this dress, as she could then dip her hands into any thing without soiling her clothes; so that, with the help of a very large pincloth, Esther could be able to do any thing in the house, and yet be ready to see her customers in one minute.
In this simple dress the bride entered her parlour. Miss Jennings had a small hat and feather, and her very pretty hair done in hundreds of curls. Miss Tiny had a very elegant veil over a neat straw bonnet tied with pale blue ribbon. Miss Amelia Jennings had a feather in her straw bonnet. They had all parasols, coloured silk spencers, and plenty of black ribbon round their ancles. They talked of the heat, and produced very elegant fans, which they Airted with a grace.
Happy to see you looking so well, Mrs. Kemp,” said the eldest Miss Jennings. “ I fear you have found the weather very unpleasant,” said Miss Tiny, “ during your
tower. Where was you in that horrid storm ?" Esther replied, with her native simplicity, “ we stopped at a turnpike-gate, ma'am.”
" You have been to Bath, I think, ma'am,” said Miss Jennings. “No, ma'am, we have been to Mr. Kemp's
father's.” “ Dear me, Tiny! what stories people do tell !"
“And good people too,' said Tiny. Wasn't it James Brown that told us Mrs. Kemp and her husband were here?"
“ That was very true, ma'am, said Esther; and here the three ladies had much difficulty to keep their countenances. It struck them as very remarkable, that any person should go visiting to a house where nobody was at home; and they could not refrain from enquiring if they understood rightly that Mrs. Kemp was at the Brow, while they were at P. “Quite right,” said Esther; and Fanny, seeing Esther was at a loss, in her own merry way told the story. My father and my mother came to my brother's wedding ; you must remember that, Miss Jennings, for I believe you were there.” Miss Jennings bowed, and did not look very sensible. My mother left a kind-hearted neighbour to take care of my young brother and sister at home.
She remained here till Monday morning, when she left us. You, my dear Mrs. Kemp, I believe left P. in the beginning of the day; for I think you said, you met my dear father and mother at a little distance from the fifteenth mile stone ?” “Yes,” said Esther, very quietly.
66 Oh! I beg your pardon,” said Miss Jennings, “ I thought