Изображения страниц

replied, much gratified. “ John was saying to me this morning, that we ought to be looking out for a nursery governess for her. But I hardly know where they are to be found.”

“I know of the very person to suit you,” exclaimed Mrs. Molyneux, with suddenly-kindled animation. “A clergyman's orphan daughter in reduced circumstances, brought up in one of our best educational institutions, under the patronage of my mother-in-law, Lady Dinton. She obtained, on leaving it, a situation in a nobleman's family ; but the little girl of whom she had the care, a charming child-an only child—was carried off, a few months ago, by a fever."

Mrs. Woolston's sympathies were instantly enlisted. She began to question and crossquestion her sister-in-law, not respecting the governess, but the child; its age, its symptoms, its sorrowing parents; and by details sufciently melancholy, Mrs. Molyneux unconsciously effected the conquest of her heart.


[ocr errors]

Before they parted, it was settled that Emma should make all necessary inquiries concerning the salary and pretensions of the incomparable Miss Avesford; and that, her father permitting, Janetta should dine with her cousins the following day.

Poor child !-She had yet to learn that already, as an heiress in perspective, she was condemned to the peine forte et dure of a Patent Governess !


On Sophy Pennington's return from her drive, though pleased to find her sister's cheek flushed and her eyes glistening with emotion, she could not help intimating her fears that Mr. Woolston would resist the engagement formed for his little girl. For Sophy argued on such insufficient grounds as principle and consistency ; and little knew what trivial inducements suffice to render people of the world untrue to their code of morality. . John Woolston arrived at home to dinner still more flushed than his wife, in the best of temper and spirits. After a long


morning's wrangle with his men of business, he had succeeded in proving himself intitled to a sum of seventeen thousand pounds in railway stock, beyond what they had carried to his credit; and small as was this amount compared with the enormous bulk of his newly-acquired wealth, yet, as having been made out by his unassisted perspicacity, he seemed to value it more than all the rest of his property.

When, in the course of dinner, Maria, with fear and trembling, alluded to his sister's visit, it was with the utmost difficulty she could get him to listen. Instead of bursting into angry reprehension, as predicted by Sophy, he kept smiling to himself, like Malvolio ; thinking far more of his railway stock than of Gerald Molyneux, or all his tribe.

But when she proceeded to state that a governess for Netta was about to be secured for them by his sister, he inclined his ear to listen. That was too serious a consideration to be trified with. A clergyman's daughter , Poul

in reduced circumstances, turned adrift by the death of her pupil, sounded pleasantly enough. But the Molyneuxes, both husband and wife, were general-dealers in plausibilities. And though too much in charity just then with himself and all the world, to harass his wife by opposing so small an advance towards a family reconciliation as was to be made by allowing his little girl to eat her roast mutton and rice-pudding in Wilton Place, he bargained, in return for the concession, that Maria would not commit herself as regarded an engagement with Miss Avesford.

The Gerald Molyneuxes were a couple of no rare occurrence among the brilliant triflers of the day; though they might have found better acceptance in society a quarter of a century ago. After undergoing as much flogging, boating, and cricketing at Eton as was due to the second son of an English earl, Gerald Molyneux had been prepared at Sandhurst for the commission already waiting for him in the Guards. Re

euxes were a

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »