Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

teeth, lost one of hers in the fray, and was brought| as girlish pollroonery, or almost meanness; and he bleeding into the drawing-room, followed by a even charged her with hypocrisy in her attachment maid dragging in the sturdy culprit, accompanied to an aunt who had not been too kind, and to cousby the weeping Fanny. One might have excused ins not too gentle. But Tom durst not persist in a mother for being at first alarmed and offended, an accusation to which his heart gave the lie as though the criminal was almost an infant; but strongly as did Fanny's silent tears. what caine out, in the course of investigation, Tom had been early sent off to school with his ought to have produced a more impartial judgment cousin Henry; and when the returning holydays and a mitigated punishment.

brought the boys to the Rectory, the Allahbad But Harriet's tooth was gone, and it had been Bethels, in again meeting each other, were almost followed by a few drops of blood and torrents of as happy as the children gathered beneath the wing vengeful tears; and she protested that she did not of their mother. Then came a full interchange of mean to keep the Frau Jansen—the Dutch woman, hearts and confidence, as with intertwined arms the the unlucky Helen of this new Trojan war—but orphans wandered away together through the only for a day or so, to look at her. Tom was woods and dells of Bethel's court, which converged summarily adjudged to solitary confinement the on the narrow grounds of the Rectory. Tom was housemaid's broom-closet, on the attic floor, and more and more astonished, and almost angry, in was led off, persisting in dogged silence, while every succeeding year, while he was below fifieen, Fanny sobbed as if her little heart would burst. that Fanny had so little or rather nothing to comFrom that hour, open hostilities were proclaimed plain of-no quarrel that he could adopt-no enebetween Tom and the family, which never again my on which his prowess might revenge her. ceased for many years, save during some tempo- In all this time, I had never seen Fanny Bethel rary, and always hollow truce.

nor her brother, though I had occasionally correWhen I left the ladies in the drawing-room after sponded with both. Indeed, I believe that I was dinner, on the day of Tom's punishment, I sought for some years Fanny's only correspondent; and, the children in the wilderness, where they gener- as my epistles always accompanied my sister's ally went, with their attendant, at this sultry hour : well-executed town commissions, and presents of but no Fanny was there.

toys and books for the Rectory children, they were “She is naughty, too,'' said her little name- probably tolerated, if not welcome. sake, tossing her head with the air of a small wo- For the first six years after I had seen her, man and a thorough family partisan. I followed Fanny partook of the instructions of the govup the adventure by seeking out my little friend. erness Mrs. Bethel had engaged for her own She was sitting on the garret stairs, at the door daughters; and, blessed with a humble, loving of Tom's prison, whispering to himn through the nature, ineekness and submissiveness cost her less key-hole. The sight of a sympathizing friend-effort than any other creature I ever knew-and for nature had already told her that I was one~ I believe that her childhood was not unhappy. made Fanny's tears flow afresh, and she began to But a more critical age was arriving, and Provisob out her little apology, as senseless, perhaps, dence was silently opening up new resources to as the reiterated wail of a lapwing, but as plain- the orphan girl. tive" Poor Tom is so young, poor little fellow,' “ The sisters of Mr. Whitstone, the rector of &c. &c. I played the discreet part for once, and Stockham-Magna, had, some years after the arriled her to her aunt. Tom was released, on our val of the Allahbad Bethels, settled in the neighjoint pleading—an amnesty was proclaimed—and boring town of Wincham, to be near their brother, Frau Jansen, like one of the wantonly-sacrificed who, though his nominal residence was the Recminor powers at a general pacification, was made tory, oftener lived with them. These respectable a bonfire of.

old maiden ladies, the daughters of a deceased We left the Rectory next morning, Fanny weep. clergyman, were, of course, as near in degree of ing abundantly to part with us, while Tom would kindred to Mrs. Dr. Bethel as was their brother, have been well contented to return to London, though she never seemed to know this. The which he proposed to do, had his sister not been younger, Miss Rebecca Whitstone--though youngcondemned to remain behind him. I have seldom er was here but a relative term, for she was alseen my sister Anne more affected, than when we most fifty-was merely a good, plain, useful, and fairly got out of sight, and when she first gave un- active person, sincerely devoted to her brother restrained way to her feelings—a tender mother's and her eldest sister, Miss Hannah, who had obforeboding feelings for orphan children!

lained over her the influence which a strong mind That dear little Fanny !-how perilous to a is said to hold over a feeble one within its range. creature situated like her, were those gifts which The latter lady had been an invalid from a very nature had so lavishly bestowed—that tenderness early age, in consequence of a fall from horseand quick sensibility to which the contact of the back; and, to afford occupation and exercise to an cold and the selfish must bring either blighting or uncommonly active intellect, she had afterwards perversion!

received from her father what is termed a learned Turbulent and rebellions as Master Tom contin- education, which, however, had none of the effects ued to be-a care and often a grief to his sister-I that learning is said to produce upon female believe he was her greatest blessing too ; for, with minds. She did read the classics in the originals all his faults, he sincerely loved her, and he was for that was her solace as she lay the livelong one being on whom her affectionate feelings could day upon the couch to which her helpless lameexpand ihemselves unchecked. No one, I believe, ness confined her; and she studied the sciences; brings into this world a heart like Fanny's, with and in astronomy, in particular, was believed, out finding something to love, even in the very even by her brother's old college companions, to worst circumstances : but Fanny found so much to have made astonishing progress ; and not " for a love in every one with whom she came in contact, woman :"—that mortifying qualification was, in until Tom, as he grew up, began to despise the her case, withheld. Simply, she had made asaffection she bore to many persons whom he hated, tonishing progress and even discoveries, in sci



With all this deep learning, and a taste and thus an opportunity might be lost such as was for refined literature, Miss Whitstone was a wo- never likely to recur-for when would so masterly man of magnanimous feelings and high princi- an artist again appear in Wincham?. Besides, ples; pleasant, kind, and social in her manners : Fanny had a decided genius for painting. Miss tinctured with high-souled romance, and yet not Whitstone had, indeed, a knack of discovering above her surrounding world of Wincham. She natural genius for everything high and amiable in also possessed a flexible vein of humor, which Fanny. Her first delightful discovery had been had made her conversation exceedingly captivat- Fanny's exceeding genius for loving, and espeing to young and old, before her acquirements cially for loving her brother Tom; while to Fanny, had risen in judgment against her; and Miss Miss Whitstone's earliest, and still dearest charm, Whitstone's invalid chamber came in time to be, was discovering good qualities in “ Poor Tom," after a certain hour of the morning, the levee- even in his perverse early boyhood; which no one room of the privileged talent and modest worth of else would allow. “Give a dog an ill name and Wincham. It was the rallying point of its best, hang him," says the proverb; and the converse if not its finest society; though, this being a holds as strongly. Miss Whitstone was small town where no one was liable to be com- anxious to find out, and place in the proper light, promised, the very finest-yea, even stray speci- young Bethel's good qualities; and they germimens of the “county people”- were among Miss nated and expanded in the warmth of her generWhitstone's occasional visitors. It was even said ous culture and encouragement, while others could that matches had been, if not made, yet certainly only perceive the ill weeds waxing apace. Fanny, helped on, around her invalid chair; though the who had, several years, been her amanueosis, parties were not of such consideration as to make never performed that duty with more good will, Mrs. Dr. Bethel desirous (now that Harriet was than when Miss Whitstone wrote to Eton to Tom, twenty, and her own Fanny seventeen) that her sending him those affectionate counsels which his daughters should often appear among the learned respect for her made effectual for the moment, and lady's bonny blue belles.

which, in tenderness, only a mother could have If there be such a thing as sympathetic attach- exceeded ; and those directions for his subordinate ment-and I am sure there are spontaneous feel studies which few mothers have the power of givings which are quite equivalent to it-such had ing, and not many fathers. grown up between the invalid Miss Whitstone From the time that he had, at three years' old, and the orphan Fanny. The rector himself came, traversed so much of the wide ocean, Tom's dein time, to partake of an affection so warmly felt cided vocation had been the sea. This would by his favorite sister; and the notable Miss Re- seem almost an instinct with some boys, as if imbecca, moved by these considerations, and the gen- planted by nature to facilitate the intercourse and tleness and good looks of the child, early and promote the civilization and happiness of mankindly began, characteristically, to attend to little kind; and Tom Bethel was of the predestined omissions and flaws in gloves and ribbons, and salt-water number. But this uncle, who had shoes and stockings, which a mother's eye pre- never yet seen him, had decided that Tom, the vented from appearing in her cousins. During a would-be sailor, should be Thomas the forced year that those young ladies were sent to a first-divine; and the boy had no choice save submisrate finishing seminary near London, Fanny, who sion or running away to sea, which he would wilhad often spent happy days, weeks, and months, lingly have done at every school vacation, save with the poor Miss Whitstones, lived with them for Fanny's sake ; but, as Tom advanced nearer the altogether, to enjoy the advantage of such master3 years of discretion, he began to think better of a as chance and the London holydays relieved, by mode of life which, as soon as he got through the changing the scene of their professional fagging, university, and one of the family livings fell vafrom a very great town to a very small one. cant, opened a home to that gentle sister. He

One of these was a drawing-masier whom I had would even have submitted to the death of Mr. introduced by letter to the Miss Whitstones. It Whitstone as soon as he had obtained orders himwas certainly a misfortune-but, in this locality, self, and have felt no remorse at depriving his no ineradicable blot-that the rector's sisters, for a aunt of her alleged simoniacal share of the great certain part of the year, let their first floor to such tithes ; because he squared this want of affection respectable lodgers, as being single men—and cer- to his own conscience, by arranging that Miss tainly gentlemen-were well recommended to Whitstone and Miss Rebecca could then live with them. Mr. Edmund, the gentleman I had recom- Fanny and himself at the Rectory, like gentlemended, was a painter, and a gifted one, as was women; and give up letting first-floors to itinerant proved by the beautiful contents of his portfolio, painters and drawing-masters. Tom, as a male and a few finished cabinet specimens which he car- branch of the house of Bethel, though one of the ried down; but he seemed to receive little or no barest, had not been for seven years at a public encouragement in Wincham to open classes for school, without acquiring ideas of family conseteaching his art ; and he spent his time, either in quence and of style quite beyond those of his sister; reading or rambling about the surrounding coun- though, on some points, they were qualified by try, of which one of the most attractive spots, to generous exceptions for plebeian friends. an artist, was the beautiful park of Bethel's court. In the first season of Mr. Edmund appearing at Miss Rebecca was concerned that a lodger so reg. Winchain as a portrait-painter without sitters, and ular in all his habits, so gentlemanlike in his man- a drawing-master without pupils, he had been tolners, eo nice in his linen, and so punctual with his erated by the lively Eton jad, in consideration of bills, should find no pupils ; and Miss Whitstone, Miss Whitstone's esteem, what Tom reckoned his stretched upon her invalid couch, was doubly unobtrusive modesty, and the quiet refinement of vexed, first, because it must be annoying to a man his manners; but, in the second summer, when whose business is to teach drawing, to have no Tom found him almost domesticated in the family one 10 teach ; and secondly, that she could not parlor, and the companion of Fanny in sketchingafford to engage his services wholly for Fanny, practice excursions roued the country, the young gentlemen--and he was not quite sixteen-took an her graceful pliant figure overtopped all the feaffair in dudgeon, which had already been seriously males of her family, was beyond comparison a discussed in Miss Collins the milliner's back-shop, lovelier, and far more loveable girl, than either the by her best customers, and at more than one tea. cold, stately, fashionable-looking Harriet, or the table of the town. Now, in Wincham, Allahbad vivacious, pretty, petulant Fan, he was most reFanny was a general and a great favorite ; which luctant to doubt; but then, schoolboys imagining was the more remarkable, as she had never courted themselves youths, and college-lads fancying ihempopularity, and was in no condition either to grace selves men, had admired the thorough-bred air and with her favor, or patronize by her interest. style of the Rectory Bethels, at a music meeting, Howsoever it may fare with other country towns, and had altogether passed over Allahbad Fanny, I can assure my readers that a young lady who who had been left to the attentions of Mr. Edmund enjoyed the united suffrages of Wincham, was in her drawing-master, and a little good-natured circumstances as rare as enviable. And even now notice from her cousin Henry, who had always there was censure ; but Miss Whitstone, with her been kind to her. Now, the above were immulearning and her odd ways, was more blamed than table authorities with Tom in all questions of taste. Fanny Bethel, for those rural outbreaks which It is true, Henry Bethel, who was also becoming were held a gross and daring innovation on all the a judge of ladies, wines, and horses, and who, ruled proprieties of this community. That the moreover, was now of Christ Church, made some curate's orphan daughter, Patty, whom her aunt, atonement, by declaring, after a couple of boules Miss Collins, was educating for a governess, of wine, that, though his sister Harriet was cershared in Fanny's lessons, and generally in her tainly a showy, dashing girl, and Frances a pretty

, sketching excursions, was a shallow blind, at creature enough, neither were to be compared in which they and Tom Bethel laughed outright, the a summer's day with litile Allahbad Fanny; and latter angrily.

he concluded by wishing that he were a rich man As for Miss Whitstone sanctioning this kind of for her sake-though his mother must not hear of intercourse-learned, clever, and excellent woman, this. Tom, both gratified and resentsul, was comas she undoubtedly was—how, as Tom justly pelled to gulp as much of this declaration as his thought, was any provincial elderly lady, such as pride could not swallow; and now he fancied he she, to know the world and mankind like an Eton had found a cue to Mrs. Dr. Bethel giving up so scholar? As the natural protector of his sister, it much of her niece's society to“ poor cousin Whitwas become Tom's duty to interfere, and to assume stone, to whom little Fanny was always such a a part which female guardians and friends had so comfort.” It is probable that Mrs. Bethel had not obviously neglected. No time was to be lost. very overwhelming fears of immediate danger But how was Tom to scold Fanny—that dear, from a constant domestic intercourse between her kind, generous, and most disinterested creature, niece and her son-still, it was prudent 10 be whom every one loved-yes ! even worldly Aunt guarded. Her daughters were now to be introBethel-who, from infancy had had no hope, no duced into life ; and she felt that two marriageable joy, no being save in him? No! Tom could not young ladies were quite enough at a time in one scold, nor even remonstrate ; but he heartily family. Two young ladies might be admissible abused both the Mesdames Bethel, who so im- into small social parties, where three could not be properly deserted their duty to their orphan niece; thought of. Besides, Mrs. Bethel was prudently and then playfully, or at least in a way Tom doubiful, how far it was proper to give Fanny a meant to be playful, he rallied Fanny first upon taste for gaieties and a condition of life that she her intimacy with all the vulgar spinsters and had so slender a chance of permanently enjoying. dowagers of Wincham, and next upon her new of her personal attractions she really was not passion for sketching from nature. Fanny's blushes afraid. A mother's vanity had probably blinded and evident distress stopped the current of Tom's her to what to every one else appeared her main wit, and quickened his fears; and now he re- reason for rarely producing her niece along with minded her, still with affected pleasantry, (for her daughters. The master of the Free Grammar Tom was very sly,) of her birth as a Bethel, School of Wincham, a protege of Miss Whitbeggar Bethel as, in the mean while, she was ; stone's and an estimable young man, who had and of the matrimonial distinctions her eminent lately obtained the Lectureship of St. Nicolas, personal advantages and family connexions en- was understood to admire Fanny, and only to wait titled her to look for, were she only placed for some better piece of preferment to make his where she ought to be, and thus seen, admired, proposal in form; and Mr. Edmund, the artist, and courted by the noble, the wealthy, and the also a highly respectable young man, with rehonorable. Fanny laughed now, and Tom was markable talents, and one, who, if properly introdispleased. There was implied ridicule of his duced and pushed in London in the portrait line, judgment and knowledge of life, in the tone of could not fail to realize a handsome income, and her laughter; and these were points on which probably to keep a carriage, was believed to be Tom was at this time very susceptible; yet he deeply attached to his pupil ; though Fanny herwould have forgiven this in consideration of her self, when questioned, denied the possibility of secluded education, and innate modesty and humil- this attachment, even with tears. Mr. Edmund, ity of character, save for the many cross accidents she said, though at first he seemed to like her that were arising to mar her splendid fortunes. society, probably for the sake of Miss Whitstone's Her cousins had lately returned from their finish- conversation, and from the love of his art, to ing school, and lengthened visits to fashionable which Fanny was for the time enthusiastically defriends and relatives ; with much of that high-voted, had been silent, distant, and almost studitoned air, that manner and style, so captivating to ously cold in his manners to her, particularly of Tom and his brother Elonians; and in which late. He could have no thoughts of her. Fanny, retiring, shy, sensitive, was still so la- “ Well, child, there is no use crying about it, at mentably deficient. "That his own sister, "Little any rate," said the aunt; "but, as I do not, on Fanny," as she continued to be named, long after such grounds, give up my own opinion, I shall


write to-night to Mr. Richard Taylor, inquiring Fanny wept from vexation.

“Dear ma'am, I farther about the gentleman.” Fanny, horrified am sure you understand quite well what I mean." by the indelicacy of this proceeding, implored her “Indeed, I think I do—but cannot be sure. But aunt's forbearance, and protested again and again here comes Tom, who may help me. Do you know that Mr. Edmund's attentions to herself had been that all the gossips of Wincham are obligingly only those of a friend and amiable instructor, to giving vour sister Mr. Edmund as a lover, Tom?'' one whom he considered merely as a child; but " And that she disclaims him as such, and the she betrayed so much emotion in her denial, that honor altogether,” cried Tom, petulantly. Mrs. Bethel, with one of her discomforting, keen, “ I do! I do!" exclaimed Fanny. « Mr. Edworldly, penetrating looks, abruptly turned from mund think of me! Good heavens ! — With his her, and went to Miss Whitstone in the next fine talents and genius, and thousand, thousand room, whom she bluntly taxed with having suffered amiable qualities, to think of poor little me!Fanny to entangle her affections with this “ para- foolish me, who always feel like a child beside gon painter.” The accused lady as flatly dis- him, and who was never so happy as when, long claimed the instrumentality as Fanny herself could ago, he treated me as one !" have done the deed; but she acknowledged that, “ Confound your humility, Miss Fanny Bethel!" if old signs held, Mr. Edmund, into whose praise cried the Etonian. “It is somewhat out of place.” she launched with animation, did seem, and that, “ How was it possible that Fanny could believe indeed, for successive years he had seemed, to feel any man could admire so disagreeable and plain a a very deep interest in her young friend ; and, litile girl as herself?” said Miss Whitstone, laughmoreover, that Fanny did not appear indifferent to ing: " Yet, even in the case of Mr. Edmund, it his opinion of her.

is, in my humble judgment, a conquest she may Mrs. Dr. Bethel did not lose a post in inquiring very well be proud of, yet without doubling its into the character and professional prospects of absolute possibility.” Mr. Edmund; and I did not keep her an hour in Proud, ma'am !" returned the fuming Ecosuspense. The character of the gentleman was nian, only restrained from the violent expression everything that could render a reasonable and of anger by his deep respect for Miss Whitstone. amiable woman—and, above all, one of the quiet, " Give me leave to say, ma'am, that, though any affectionate, and humble character of little Fanny man-ay, any man in all England-might be Bethel-perfectly happy. His talents, as an art- proud of gaining the affections of Captain Bethel's ist, spoke for themselves—they were eminent- daughter-of my sister Fanny, ma'am–I see no but his professional prospects depended entirely occasion for her being overpowered with gratitude upon his own industry and perseverance. The for the attentions of any gentleman whatever, even answer was perfectly satisfactory to Mrs. Bethel ; although his birth and station in society entitled and she resolved to have an explanatory commun- him to address her." ing with Mr. Edmund next day; and wrote to Poor Fanny had never in her life felt so selfhim that, if everything was as she imagined, she abased as by this attempt to exalt her; and, would not hesitate to give her sanction to his ad- almost inarticulately, she implored her brother to dresses to her niece, which she had no doubt say no more on the subject, and gave way to anwould be followed by that of the family abroad. other burst of tears; while Miss Whitstone, frankly

Poor Fanny was in an agony of distress. She extending her hand in amity to Tom, declared would at the moment, have gladly consented never that they had come exactly to the same conclusion, to see Mr. Edmund again in this world; never though from different premises—"There was, inlisten to his delightful conversation with Miss deed, no man in England, whatever his rank or Whitstone; never again enjoy one of their social fortune, who might not be proud of gaining the reading evenings, or one of those charming sketch- heart of little Fanny-by her own self, Fanny.ing rambles, in which his conversation was, if pos- Upon this, Tom kissed his sister, and playfully sible, still more captivating than at other times- adopting the language of their childhood, promised though it was not easy to recall much of it-rather to be a good boy, if Fanny would not cry no than that he should imagine her the indelicate, more. forward, unwomanly, vain girl, who had so grossly There was thus the appearance of sunshine misconstrued and misrepresented his attentions, after showers, when Fortune, who delights in that he must now be subjected to the coarse ques- games of cross purposes, sent Mr. Edmund himtioning of her relatives.

self into the apartment, which he entered in some This was certainly the most wretched day of haste. Tom was still hanging over Fanny's Fanny Bethel's whole life. Twenty times she be- chair, and Fanny had been in tears.

The painter gan to write to Mr. Edmund, protesting her own looked with interest to the brother and sister, and innocence, and her horror at the course her aunt with meaning to Miss Whitstone, as if he required had followed; but natural timidity, and the same her permission to remain. She invited him to sit delicacy of feeling which prompted this bold step, down ; and Tom, with a sudden assumption of prevented its execution. She applied to Miss the dignity becoming the presumptive heir of the Whitstone, who was also become uneasy and per- mortgaged acres of Bethel's Court, drew his sister's plexed between her young friends, though, upon arm within his own, and, bowing slightly to Miss the whole, pleased with the prospect of an expla- Whitstone, said, “ Í require Miss Bethel's presnation, which, she was assured, would produce ence in another apartment, ma'am.” The lady satisfactory results.

smiled in mingled pity and amusement; but anxiety “But, my dear Fanny,” said this lady, with a for Fanny was predominant over every other seelcertain air of benevolent humor—" let me exactly ing, and she was glad when Mr. Edmund very understand what I am to say to Mr. Edmund :- naturally led to the subject, by remarking, with a That you are not in love with him?—but that smile, “ Tom Bethel is in his altitudes to-nightmight have been left to my own discretion. Or is but I am sure he loves his sister." it that you do not believe-never did believe-nor “ More than his life-I 'll say that for him," ever will believe, that he is in love with you?" returned Miss Whitstone : and a conversation was begun which Fanny fancied would never end, and married, and if Tom obtained one of the family during which Tum returned to his present head-livings, there might be a pis aller for her youngest quarters at the Rectory. When Fanny, after Mr. daughter. But, at present, she had a first duty to Edmund had withdrawn, ran in to say good-night perform, and, snatching a pen, she instantly wrote to her friend, and, perhaps, to hear all she could her full consent and approbation of Mr. Edmund's hear without the direct inquiry she could not addresses to her niece, with many well-turned venture to make, Miss Whitstone informed her compliments to himself, and phrases of maternal that Mr. Edmund was suddenly called away, and endearment in relation to Fanny. Miss Whitstone, had left his farewell compliments for her, as he having twice hinted, “ Are you not precipitate, was to set off by the mail at midnight. Poor cousin, with the death of Mrs. Bethel so recent ?" Fanny! Miss Whitstone was too generous to looked silently on, until the letter was folded, look at, much less to speak to her. She sent her when she obtained an answer.

Not a bit too away to search for a book ; and Fanny returned precipitate, cousin. The sooner little Fanny is in ten minutes, protesting that she was so thankful setiled the better. The small—the very small Mr. Edmund was to go, as this would disconcert allowance her uncle has hitherto made me for her, the horrid scheme of her Aunt Bethel.

must stop with the death of his wife ; and this Next morning, rather earlier than her usual Mr. Edmund says, he must have three or four hour, Fanny appeared at the bedside of her friend, months to look out for a proper house, and so looking pale, perhaps, though she seemed almost forth :-even if he be so far fortunate as to obtain in flighty spiriis, while she craved leave of absence the consent of my niece-of which, by the way, I for a morning's ramble in the woods of Bethel's dare say, he fancies himself tolerably certain Court, with only Patty Collins.

and the approbation of her relations—of which J Before this plan to which Miss Whitstone con- now give him joyful assurance.” sented, with silent, meaning caresses, that drew “ Ănd, in so doing, you make him a happy man, grateful tears from her favorite—could be put in I am persuaded. But there is Tom Bethel to be execution, Mrs. Bethel's carriage drove up to the consulted next-whose ideas of Fanny's deserts door, with the whole family of the Rectory. Let- are so high and so just." ters had been received that morning, announcing “ Tom Bethel !-a headstrong, foolish boy! the death of Mrs. Bethel at Aix-la-Chapelle, an No, cousin, we may make Tom a bridesman; event which changed the whole prospects of the but to consult him about his sister's marriage, is family, to whom her large independent fortune entirely out of the question. But here comes Miss was thus completely lost. And Mr. Bethel might Collins. Now, I fancy something very slight and marry again, and Tom and Henry thus be thrown plain may do for Fanny's mourning, as she is so back in the succession to even those poor remnants quiet at present with you ; and we must save all of the original property, which, meanwhile how we can, you know, for the trousseau.ever, Mrs. Dr. Bethel had a shrewd notion were Miss Whitstone allowed the lady to have it all burdened beyond their yearly revenue.

her own way; though Tom, in a rage at afterWhile despatching notes, receiving condolences, wards finding his sister's mourning for their aunt, and looking over silks and muslins, crapes and scanty, and much inferior in quality to that of his bombazeens, and giving orders for mourning, Mrs. dashing cousins, remonstrated loudly upon that Bethel could yet find time to notice, sarcastically, injustice—threw Fanny into a paroxysm of grief the precipitate retreat of Mr. Edmund, to whom by his violence in her cause--and filled the ladies she had intimated her wish for an interview and of the Rectory with such indignation that they explanatory conversation at the Rectory.

upbraided him with ingratitude. This Tom * I cannot allow myself to believe that it is denied ; accusing Mrs. Bethel, in turn, of having indifference to the subject of the intended conver- made a job of his sister, for whom she had a handsation, which has made Mr. Edmund avoid you at some allowance, and a slave of her for so many this time, cousin ; or anything but the simple years. The polite, politic Mrs. Bethel had never reason he has assigned business. But I may met with anything so provoking in her whole life refer to his note for your better information." as this schoolboy affair. It became the talk of all Miss Whitstone handed the sealed letter, intrusted Wincham; and Tom found numerous partisans, to her, to the lady to whom it was addressed, and who seized the present opportunity of reviving the who tore it open without farther ceremony, and old story of Mrs. Dr. Bethel's secret bargain for rapidly skimmed the contents.

the lion's share of the great tithes of Stockham“ Well, this is very proper now; and quite well Magna. The controversy even went the length expressed. He does propose for Fanny, or means of mysterious paragraphs in the Wincham Journal; to do so, as soon as he obtains the consent of her and was only ended by Tom becoming convinced, natural guardians. I can answer for Mr. Bethel — that, if it were carried farther, the affair would be and as to myself.-Well, I'am pleased at having Fanny's death. She was, indeed, looking so brought the man to the point. This late heavy wretchedly ill, three months after the remains of loss makes Fanny's marriage, in almost any re- her aunt had been brought home to be laid in the spectable way, more than ever desirable. Her family vault, that, when Tom next came from uncle will now have more than enough to do with school on a visit, he flew to Miss Whitstone's himself. My own children are just at the age room, in the deepest distress, to inquire if his when the expenses of a family come to be seriously sister was not in a consumption. Miss Whitstone felt. How Tom's clerical education is now to be hoped not. Fanny had not been well. She was carried through, I cannot foresee. Perhaps your in unequal spirits, and thinner, and paler ; but brother may get him to the university as a sizar—without any decided ailment. though the sea, to which he seems born, and for “She is pining for that fellow, Edmund," Tom which he has so strong an inclination, might be cried, with a glowing face; “to whom her kind better still."

Aunt Bethel, would have given her with so little There was but one reason against oversetting ceremony; and who does not seem in a hurry to Tom's present views. If Fanny were once fairly claim the hand he once pretended to value so

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »