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“You are looking better this there is a living in the family, to morning, my dear aunt,” said Ger- educate one of his sons for it. In ald. They had a great respect for my opinion, it's one of the duties of each other these two; but when property. You have no right to Miss Cecilia turned to hear what live off your estate, and spend your her elder nephew was saying, her money elsewhere; and no more face lost the momentary look of have you any right to give less approval it had worn, and she again, than - than your own flesh and though very softly, almost imper- blood to the people you have the ceptibly, began to shake her head. charge of. You've got the charge
“We were not asking for your of them to— to a certain extent sympathy," said Miss Leonora, --soul and body, sir," said the sharply. "Don't talk like a saucy Squire, growing warm, as he put boy. We were talking of our own down his ‘Times,' and forgetting embarrassment. There is a very that he addressed a lady. “I'd excellent young man, the curate of never have any peace of mind if I the parish, whom Julia Trench is filled up a family living with a to be married to. By the way, of stranger - unless, of course,” Mr course, this must put it off; but I Wentworth added in a parenthesis was about to say, when you inter- -an unlikely sort of contingency rupted me, that to give it away which had not occurred to him from you at this moment, just as at first-"you should happen to you had been doing well-doing— have no second son.—The eldest your duty,” said Miss Leonora, with the squire, the second the rector. unusual hesitation, was certainly That's my idea, Leonora, of Church very uncomfortable, to say the least, and State.”
Miss Leonora smiled a little at "Don't let that have the slight- her brother's semi-feudal, semi-paest influence on you, I beg," cried gan ideas. “I have long known the Perpetual Curate, with all the that we were not of the same way of pride of his years. “I hope I thinking," said the strong-minded have been doing my duty all aunt, who, though cleverer than along," the young man added, more her brother, was too wise in her softly, a moment after; upon which own conceit to perceive at the first the Squire gave a little nod, partly glance the noble, simple concepof satisfaction and encouragement tion of his own duties and position, to his son-partly of remonstrance which was implied in the honest and protest to his sister.
gentleman's words. “Your second “Yes, I suppose so—with the son might be either a fool or a knave, flowers at Easter, for example,” said or even, although neither, might be Miss Leonora, with a slight sneer. quite unfit to be intrusted with the “I consider that I have stood by eternal interests of his fellow-creayou through all this business, tures. In my opinion, the duty of Frank—but, of course, in so impor- choosing a clergyman is one not to tant a matter as a cure of souls, be exercised without the gravest neither relationship nor, to a certain deliberation. A conscientious man extent, approval,"
,” said Miss Leo- would make his selection dependnora, with again some hesitation, ant, at least, upon the character of
can be allowed to stand against his second son-if he had one. We, public duty. We have the respon- howeversibility of providing a good gospel "But then his character is SO minister
satisfactory, Leonora,” cried Miss “I beg your pardon for inter- Dora, feeling emboldened by the rupting you, Leonora," said the shadow of visitors under whose Squire, “but I can't help thinking shield she could always retire. that you make a mistake. I think “Everybody knows what a good it's a man's bounden duty, when clergyman he is—I am sure it would
be like a new world in Skelmers- venient moment possible for dying), dale if you were there, Frank, my it can't be expected of me that I dear—and preaches such beautiful should appoint my nephew, whose sermons !” said the unlucky little opinions in most points are exactly woman, upon whom her sister im- the opposite of mine." mediately descended, swift and sud- “I wish, at least, you would beden, like a storm at sea.
lieve what I say,” interrupted the “We are generally perfectly of Curate, impatiently. “There might accord in our conclusions,” said have been some sense in all this three Miss Leonora ; as for Dora, she months ago ; but if Skelmersdale comes to the same end by a round- were the highroad to everything about way. After what my brother desirable in the Church, you are has been saying
all quite aware that I could not ac“Yes," said the Squire, with un- cept it. Stop, Gerald; I am not so comfortable looks, I was saying disinterested as you think,” said to your aunt, Frank, what I said to Frank; “if I left Carlingford now, you about poor Mary. Since Ger- people would remember against me ald will go, and since you don't that my character had been called want to come, the best thing to in question here. I can remain a do would be to have Huxtable. Perpetual Curate," said the young He's a very good fellow on the man, with a smile, “but I can't whole, and it might cheer her up, tolerate any shadow upon my poor soul, to be near her sisters. honour. I am sorry I came in at Life has been hard work to her, such an awkward moment. Good poor girl - very hard work, sir, morning, aunt Leonora. I hope said the Squire, with a sigh. The Julia Trench, when she has the idea was troublesome and uncom- Rectory, will always keep of your fortable, and always disturbed his way of thinking. She used to inmind when it occurred to him. It cline a little to mine," he said, was indeed a secret humiliation to mischievously, as he went away. the Squire, that his eldest daughter “ Come back, Frank, presently," possessed so little the characteristic said the Squire, whose attention had health and prosperity of the Went- been distracted from his "Times.' worths. He was very sorry for her, Mr Wentworth began to be tired of but yet half angry and half ashamed, such a succession of exciting disas if she could have helped it; but, cussions. He thought if he had however, he had been obliged to Frank quietly to himself he could admit, in his private deliberations settle matters much more agreeon the subject, that, failing Frank, ably; but the Times' was cerMary's husband had the next best tainly an accompaniment more tranright to Wentworth Rectory-an quillising so far as a comfortable arrangement of which Miss Leonora meal was concerned. did not approve.
“He can't come back presently, “I was about to say that we have said aunt Leonora.
“ You speak no second son,” she said, taking up as if he had nothing to do; when, on the thread of her discourse where the contrary, he has everything to it had been interrupted. “Our do—that is worth doing," said that duty is solely towards the Christian contradictory authority. people. I do not pretend to be in- back to lunch, Frank; and I wish fallible,” said Miss Leonora, with a you would eat your breakfast, Dora, meek air of self-contradiction ; “but and not stare at me.” I should be a very poor creature in- Miss Dora had come down to deed, if, at my age, I did not know breakfast as an invalid, in a pretty what I believed, and was not per- little cap, with a shawl over her fectly convinced that I am right. dressing-gown. She had not yet Consequently (though, I repeat, Mr got over her adventure and the exShirley has chosen the most incon- citement of Rosa's capture. That
with a gasp;
unusual accident, and all the ap- of his whip, by means of which a plauses of her courage which had skilful charioteer gets his team unbeen addressed to her since, had der hand without touching them ; roused the timid woman. She did “but it is very lucky that we always not withdraw her eyes from her come to agree in the end,” she sister, though commanded to do added, more significantly still. It so; on the contrary, her look grew was well to crush insubordination more and more emphatic. She in the bud. Not that she did not meant to have made a solemn ad- share the sentiment of her sisters ; dress, throwing off Leonora's yoke, but then they were guided like orand declaring her intention, in this dinary women by their feelings, grave crisis of her nephew's for- whereas Miss Leonora had the rights tunes, of acting for herself ; but her of property before her, and the apfeelings were too much for Miss proval of Exeter Hall. Dora. The tears came creeping to
“And he wants to marry, poor the corners of her eyes, and she dear boy,” said Miss Dora, pale with could not keep them back ; and fright, yet persevering; “and she is her attempt at dignity broke down. a dear good girl—the very person I am never consulted,” she said, for a clergyman's wife; and what
“I don't mean to is he to do if he is always to be pretend to know better than Leo- Curate of St Roque's? You may nora; but—but I think it is very say it is my fault, but I cannot help hard' that Frank should be disap- it. He always used to come to me pointed about Skelmersdale. You in all his little troubles; and when may call me as foolish as you he wants anything very particular, please,” said Miss Dora, with ris- he knows there is nothing I would ing tears, “ I know everybody will not do for him," sobbed the proud say it is my fault ; but I must say aunt, who could not help recollectI think it is very hard that Frank ing how much use she had been to should be disappointed. He was Frank. She wiped her eyes at the always brought up for it, as every thought, and held up her head with body knows; and to disappoint a thrill of pride and satisfaction. him, who is so good and so nice, for Nobody could blame her in that a fat young man, buttered all over particular at least. He knew he like-like-a pudding-basin,” cried had only to tell me what he wantpoor Miss Dora, severely adhering ed,” said Miss Dora, swelling out to the unity of her desperate meta- her innocent plumes. Jack, who phor. “I don't know what Julia was sitting opposite, and who had Trench can be thinking of ; I-I been listening with admiration, don't know what Leonora means." thought it time to come in on his
“I am of the same way of think- own part. ing," said aunt Cecilia, setting “I hope you don't mean to fordown, with a little gentle emphasis, sake me, aunt Dora,” he said. “If her cup of tea.
a poor fellow cannot have faith in Here was rebellion, open and un- bis aunt, whom can he have faith compromised. Miss Leonora was in? I thought it was too good to so much taken by surprise, that she last," said the neglected prodigal. lifted the tea-urn out of the way, “You have left the poor sheep in and stared at her interlocutors the wilderness and gone back to with genuine amazement. But she the ninety-and-nine righteous men proved herself, as usual, equal to who need no repentance." He the occasion.
put up his handkerchief to his "It's unfortunate that we never eyes as he spoke, and so far forgot see eye to eye just at once," she himself as to look with laughter in said, with a look which expressed his face at his brother Gerald. As more distinctly than words could for the Squire, he was startled to have done the preliminary flourish hear his eldest son quoting Scrip
ture, and laid aside his paper once had written. “It is difficult to more to know what it meant. think of any consolation in such a
"I am sure I beg your pardon, bereavement," wrote Mr Shirley's Jack," said aunt Dora, suddenly niece; " but still it is a little comstopping short, and feeling guilty. fort to feel that I can throw myself “I never meant to neglect you. on your sympathy, my dear and kind Poor dear boy, he never was pro- friend." "Little calculating thing!"
” perly tried with female society and Miss Leonora said to herself as she the comforts of home; but then threw down the mournful epistle ; you were dining out that night," and then she could not help thinksaid the simple woman, eagerly. ing again of Frank. To be sure, "I should have stayed with you, he was not of her way of thinking; Jack, of course, had you been at but when she remembered the “inhome.”
vestigation" and its result, and the From this little scene Miss Leo- secret romance involved in it, her nora turned away hastily, with an Wentworth blood sent a thrill of exclamation of impatience. She pride and pleasure through her made an abrupt end of her tea-mak- veins. Miss Leonora, though she ing, and went off to her little busi- was strong-minded, was still woness room with a grim smile upon man enough to perceive her neher iron-grey countenance. She too phew's motives in his benevolence had been taken in a little by Jack’s to Wodehouse ; but these motives, pleasant farce of the Sinner Re- which were strong enough to make pentant; and it occurred to her to him endure so much annoyance, feel a little ashamed of herself as were not strong enough to tempt she went up-stairs. After all, the him from Carlingford and his Perninety-and-nine just men of Jack's petual Curacy, where his honour irreverent quotation were worth con- and reputation, in the face of love sidering now and then ; and Miss and ambition, demanded that he Leonora could not but think with a should remain. "It would be a little humiliation of the contrast pity to balk him in his self-sacribetween her nephew Frank and the fice,” she said to herself, with again comfortable young Curate who was a somewhat grim smile, and a comgoing to marry Julia Trench. He parison not much to the advantage was fat, it could not be denied; of Julia Trench and her curate. She and she remembered his chubby shut herself up among her papers looks, and his sermons about self- till luncheon, and only emerged with denial and mortification of the flesh, a stormy front when that meal was much as a pious Catholic might on the table'; during the progress of think of the Lenten oratory of a fat which she snubbed everybody who friar. But then he was perfectly ventured to speak to her, and spoke sound in his doctrines, and it was to her nephew Frank as if he might undeniable that the people liked have been suspected of designs him, and that the appointment was upon the plate-chest. Such were one which even a Scotch ecclesias- the unpleasant consequences of the tical community full of popular struggle between duty and inclinarights could scarcely have objected tion in the bosom of Miss Leonora ; to. According to her own prin- and, save for other unforeseen events ciples, the strong - minded woman which decided the matter for her, could not do otherwise. She threw it is not by any means so certain herself into her arm-chair with un- as, judging from her character, it necessary force, and read over the ought to have been, that duty would letter which Miss Trench herself have won the day.
Frank Wentworth once
beaten him, but humbled him in went up Grange Lane, a thought his own eyes, which is perhaps, of ful and a sober man. Exbilaration all others, the injury least easy to comes but by moments in the hap- forgive. It was, however, with an piest of lives—and already he began appearance of the profoundest subto remember how very little he had mission that he stood awaiting the to be elated about, and how en- approach of the man he had tried tirely things remained as before. so much to injure. Even Lucy; her letter very probably “Mr Wentworth, sir,” said Elsmight be only an effusion of friend- worthy,“if I was worth your while, ship; and at all events, what could I might think as you were offendhe say to her—what did he dare in ed with me; but seeing I'm one as honour say? And then his mind is so far beneath you”-he went went off to think of the two rec- on with a kind of grin, intended to tories, between which he had fallen represent a deprecatory smile, but as between two stools : though he which would have been a snarl had had made up his mind to accept he dared—“I can't think as you'll neither, he did not the less feel a bear no malice. May I ask, sir, if certain mortification in seeing that there's a-going to be any difference his relations on both sides were so made ?” willing to bestow their gifts else- "In what respect, Elsworthy?" where. He could not tolerate the said the Curate, shortly. idea of succeeding Gerald in his “Well, sir, I can't tell,” said the own person, but still he found it Clerk of St Roque's. If a clergyvery disagreeable to consent to the man was to bear malice, it's in his thought that Huxtable should re- power to make things very unpleasplace him-Huxtable, who was a ant. I don't speak of the place at good fellow enough, but of whom church, which ain't neither here Frank Wentworth thought, as men nor there—it's respectable, but it generally think of their brothers-in- ain't lucrative; but if you was to law, with a half-impatient, half-con- stretch a point, Mr Wentworth, by temptuous wonder what Mary could continuing the papers and suchever have seen in so commonplace like-it ain't that I valley the
To think of him as rector money,” said Elsworthy, “but I've of Wentworth inwardly chafed the been a faithful servant; and I spirit of the Perpetual Curate. As might say, if you was to take it in he was going along, absorbed in his a right spirit, an ’umble friend, Mr own thoughts, he did not perceive Wentworth," he continued, after a how his approach was watched for little pause, growing bolder. from the other side of the way by now, as I've that unfortunate creaElsworthy, who stood with his ture to provide for, and no one knowbundle of newspapers under his ing what's to become of herarm and his hat in his hand, watch- "I wonder that you venture to ing for “his clergyman” with sub- speak of her to me,” said the Curmission and apology on the surface, ate, with a little indignation, “after and hidden rancour underneath. all the warnings I gave you.
But Elsworthy was not penitent; he you ought to consider that you are was furious and disappointed. His to blame a great deal more than she mistake and its consequences were is. She is only a child ; if you had wholly humiliating, and had not in taken better care of her—but you them a single saving feature to atone would not pay any attention to my for the wounds of his self-esteem. warning ;—you must bear the conThe Curate had not only baffled and sequences as you best can.”