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"Oh yes. Pray, let them be as young as possible; for, I delight in playing with little children."

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That may be," said Lady Anne, smiling. But, you must remember that, in general, governesses are engaged to teach something that children cannot learn of themselves; and play, they can make very great proficiency in, independent of instruction. I will write to my sister, Lady Frances Hardimond, this evening. She has a numerous acquaintance, and will, moreover, be interested about you."

"Will you have the goodness to mention to Lady Frances, that I have no objection to go to England. Indeed, I have a particular fancy to be settled with an English family."

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Then," said Mary, with a suppressed sigh; "I suppose I must be content to remain in my own country."


"I have just thought of a plan that may forward your wishes," said Lady Anne. "You have some money. you were to spend a part, or the whole of it, in boarding, for a year or so, at some high English school, you could improve yourself in French, and other such things; and, with your good ear, you would quickly catch so much of the accent, as might pass with persons not hypercritical. Is that money forthcoming?”

"No; nor can it ever be asked. It would distress my uncle to call it in ; even if it were not justly due to him, for my support, during so many years."

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Between my sister and myself," said Lady Anne, after a short pause; "there is little doubt but that we shall soon settle you respectably; only, dont be too sanguine. There may be disappointments. Some may think you too young-others may think you too any thing-it is impossible to say what objections may be made." Mary rose to go away.


"I forgot," said Lady Anne, detaining her; "you should go at once to Mrs. Somerville; and tell her all your

difficulties. She deserves to be treated with perfect confidence by you. I know she is half offended with you, and is worrying herself most needlessly, on account of that foolish business about Mr. Wilkinson."

"I had a note from her early this morning," she replied, "which I answered fully. She knows all about me. now. Some other time I may call upon her, but, just now, my spirits are too weak to speak on these matters to any one but yourself."

She burst into tears; and again retired to the window, where she wept for some minutes unrestrainedly.


"What is this for, Mary?" asked Lady Anne, kindly. Have you told me every thing? Is there any other cause of uneasiness that calls for these tears ?"

"I am very foolish," said Miss Vaughan, hastily drying her eyes; "I I know it all proceeds from pride; yet I cannot conquer my repugnance to descend to an inferior situation."

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I cannot contradict you, when you accuse yourself of folly," said Lady Anne, gravely; nor, can I entirely sympathise with your present feelings. You form a very different estimate of your late circumstances from mine. In my opinion, your situation at Mr. Plant's was the inferior one-your independence, in the way contemplated, a rise in the scale of society. Let me confess to you, that I long since foresaw what has happened, and endeavoured to provide for it by assisting to give you a suitable education. Do not then disappoint me, by repining, that through iny means, you are capable of supporting yourself in a most respectable line of life."

"I do not repine, indeed, Lady Anne. I am only sorry-naturally so, you will allow, to be the first of my family who was ever reduced to earn their bread."

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I cannot say so much for my family," she answered, with a smile. "Some of them, I believe, worked hard for a livelihood. I will tell you a secret, which all the world knows, that if my great grandfather had not submitted to learn the trade of a cloth weaver, the probability is, that I never should have been an earl's daughter. Ah, Mary, your Irish accent is not the only objection to you; your Irish pride is a much greater one, and pray, get rid of it. Even in a worldly point of view, it is silly to hear people talk of sinking themselves by honest industry, when it

is necessary; and being willing to beg or to live in lazy poverty, to prove their gentility. Then, if we regard it, as Christians, it becomes sinful. It is a wilful disregard to the precepts of our holy religion, which requires us not to eat the bread of dependence unnecessarily."

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"However dependent my situation may have been in Mr. Plant's house," said Mary, proudly; 'yet, I assure your ladyship, that I did not eat the bread of idleness."

"My ladyship is fully aware of that; and therefore, I wish you to earn a support, more respectably, and with infinitely less labour. My dear Mary, bring your good sense to bear upon the question; and bring something more essential than even that most desirable quality, your belief in the revelation of our God and Saviour. I acknowledge that your family is very respectablebetter, in reality, than my own. But, if it were twice as good, and, if your expectations were considerably greater, yet, when a reverse has come, by the will and permission of Him, who nunbers the hairs of your head, and who orders all things for the best, your duty, as a Christian, is to submit, at once, and take the place, which his providence marks out for you, though it be somewhat lower than your inclinations would choose."

"I will do so," said Mary, checrfully. "I will struggle hard against my folly; and, instead of thanklessly complaining, will gratefully acknowledge the many blessings with which I am surrounded."

"You can tell your aunt," said Lady Anne, as she was going away, "that I charge myself with your settlement— that you shall not be long a burden to her. If you are very uncomfortable at home, come here. Under any circumstance, I shall expect you to spend some time with me before you leave this neighbourhood. But, unless they are particularly disagreeable, remain with your family till something is decided upon. It will be more seemly to the world, and better for your own spirit."

During the time of this visit, Mrs. Somerville and her son were engaged in warmly canvassing Miss Vaughan's affairs. The lady's mind was, in part, set at ease by the intelligence of Toby's disappointment; but she was indignant at the Plants' conduct altogether.

"You know very well what I mean, William," she said to her son, who, for

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some time, seemed more attentive to the newspaper than to her strong animadversions upon the whole family; you know very well what I mean, when I say I hate the Plants. I mean nothing unchristian; I only intend to express my disapprobation of their conduct from beginning to end."

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I understand perfectly. I was only amused at your strong expressions. You know you often find fault with me for extravagance of language."

"Yes; on trifling occasions; but this is very serious; and no words are too strong to convey my disapprobation of their proceedings. I always thought them mean and vulgar-minded-I now think them unprincipled and unfeel ing."

We must make allowances for them," he said. "Mr. Plant has a large and expensive family, with a very straitened income; and Mary Vaughan has no natural claim upon him."


Very plausible indeed. If we were not quite aware that nothing of this would have occurred, had he not feared that she was in the way of his ugly daughters' advancement.

William laughed, and said, that "she could not have made a better excuse for Mr. Plant; it being his duty to provide for his own children first."

"Then consider," he added, "that the whole family, so far from shewing jealousy at Wilkinson's preference of her, were most anxious to forward his wishes."

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Jesting is out of place on such a subject," said Mrs. Somerville, growing downright angry as she spoke. "If you do not enter into my feelings, at least do not laugh at me. I still persist in saying, that their impertinence about that match is beyond bearing, To suppose that a girl like her would condescend to such a connexion!-a girl who would be a credit to the first family in the kingdom-to whom no possible objection could be made by any parent, to receive her as a daughter-in-law."

"Though I spoke in jest," he said; "I had not the slightest intention of laughing at you. I agree with you that the Plants are vulgar-minded that they behaved very wrong in endeavouring to influence her in such a matter, contrary to her inclinations; but don't you think that her uncle's large family is some excuse for the present arrangement ?"

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I am disappointed to find you the advocate for such ungenerous, narrowminded, selfish conduct."

"You misunderstand me very much, ma'am, by supposing any such thing. You are not aware what a very strong interest I feel in every thing that concerns Mary Vaughan."

"I should be glad then, to see it evidenced in some less equivocal way, than by acquiescing so quietly in the ungenerous behaviour of her relations towards her. It is a pity," she added, as he made no answer, "that intercourse with the world should have a tendency to spoil the best natures; but so it is. I fear it has not improved you, William; else you would feel sensibly the unprotected state of that poor girl, who you once looked upon as a sister. Yet, now you seem to forget that you ever had a regard for her."

"So far from it, my dear mother, that I intend to give the strongest possible proof of my regard, bymarrying her. Will that satisfy you? I am really in earnest, so dont look so alarmed. I have determined upon it for the last six or seven years, though I never asked her consent in plain terms, till yesterday."


Mrs. Somerville sat speechless. In fact, she could not speak. The intelligence just communicated, came upon her like a thunder-clap; shaking to the foundations many a magnificent structure in the air, built at great expense of thought for him; and some minutes elapsed before she recovered from the shock. Like all mothers with an only son, she had formed high expectations for him in the matrimonial line. sions of Lady Carolines, and Lady Emilys at times floated before her mind's eye; and then Mary Vaughan, so unexpectedly intruded herself into their place, it was impossible, in the nature of things, that Mrs. Somerville should not feel vexed and disappointed. Although she had just said that no parent could object to receive her as a daughter-in-law, yet it was upon the supposition, that such a demand would never be made on her, and, when it was made, a host of objections crowded so fast one upon another, that she was puzzled which to bring forward with greatest effect. On recovering presence of mind sufficient to speak with some degree of calmness, she pretended to suppose that he was still jesting, and requested to hear no more of such folly. But she was soon obliged to shift her ground, on being

repeatedly and seriously assured, that he was quite in earnest, that his affections were engaged for many years, and that Miss Vaughan had confessed the same on her part.


This only served to add fuel to the flame, and it burst out with violence. She said many unjust and unjustifiable things, as is usual on similar occasions accused both parties of duplicity and art, and poverty-excused the Plantspromised her own uncompromising opposition-his father's unknown implacability of disposition, and concluded by threatening the displeasure of all the Somervilles, from Lord Benmore, the head of the family, down to the most insignificant individual bearing that euphonic name.

William listened meekly and patiently, till she adduced the last argument, when he answered somewhat hastily, that he did not value the aggregate displeasure of the whole connexion at a pin's fee-that Lord Benmore was a nonentity-without the will or the power to serve a cat; and reminded his mother of her early lessons, which had taught him independence of spirit; and which it was too late to ask him to forget now.

Mrs. Somerville did not choose to be reminded of any thing just at that moment. She was afraid that if she listened to him, she would become a convert to his opinions, which was always the case, on any matter of controversy between them; and therefore objected right a head, endeavouring to change her expressions so as to give something like variety to her arguments, till she was obliged to pause from absolute exhaustion of voice.

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in the meantime, she fully intends to pursue the plan which she has mentioned to you."

"And pray, William Somerville!" asked his mother, looking him indignantly in the face; "do you suppose that your father or myself will ever consent to our son marrying a gover ness ?"

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Why, dear mother, the plain fact is this, that I know you will both, one and the other, consent to any thing that will make me happy."

Mrs. Somerville was, at the bottom of her heart, fully aware that this was the truth; but she felt so unamiably angry, and consequently, so unprincipled at the moment, that she was only saved from uttering a positive untruth in contradiction of her son's reliance, upon his parent's affection, by the appearance of her husband, who was immediately made acquainted with the subject under discussion.

Captain Somerville was, in temper and disposition, very like his wife. Most men are so ; at least most married people, after being united for a number of years, insensibly acquire a great similarity of habits, feelings, and expressions, particularly if strongly attached to each other, as in their case. He had also entertained the most extravagant expectations for his son his disappointment was, therefore, excessive, and his disapprobation expressed in terms as strong as the circumstance could possibly require. He refused to listen to reason, as there could be no reason in the case; or to consider the feelings of either party, as they ought to have no feelings of such a nature; and, in the end, peremptorily insisted that the young gentleman should break off his engagement that very minute. William respectfully but firmly pleaded the impossibility of acceding to such a requisition; at the same time assuring his father and mother that he never would marry without their approbation. Mrs. Somerville turned away with a displeased toss of her head; but his expostulation was not lost upon his father; for, though he did not answer the point, yet he gradually lowered his tone, and softened his expressions into something like reasoning.

"If either of you had any thing to begin the world with," he said 68 ; or if I could make a tolerable settlement on you, there might be some excuse for entertaining such a foolish notion; but you have not one penny between

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"Don't interrupt me, William. The connection you wish to form is ruinous in its consequences. It will entail misery upon yourself-upon that imprudent girl-upon your parents. Perhaps I might assist you during my life; but what could your mother do, if she survived me? Must she be called upon to share her scanty pittance with you? How could you- ?"

"Dear father, I must interrupt you, for you are annoying yourself very needlessly. Believe me, I have no intention of marrying in that imprudent way. We have agreed to defer all thoughts of our union till by my profession I shall insure at least a competence. We are both young, and can afford to wait seven or eight years, or more if necessary."

"For seven or eight years read the same number of months," said his father, testily.

"Or even less," replied William gaily, "if Fortune should give an unexpected turn to her wheel in our favour. But pray, sir, set your mind at ease on one subject. A shilling of your property shall never enter my pocket, if my mother should be left a widow; she shall keep it all. If I cannot add to her income, I am sure she knows full well that I shall not take from it."

"I know nothing at all about it," said Mrs. Somerville, determined to be unamiable, but obliged to turn her head still farther round, lest her countenance should contradict her words.

William exerted himself to restrain a smile; but his countenance shewed a degree of hilarity which did not suit with his father's present mood, and he answered pettishly-

"This is all very fine and very romantic; but your tone will be altered when you have ten children. You will find that you cannot afford to be very generous with so many demands upon you at home."


Why, sir," said William, intending to be playful and witty-a vein in which his father and mother thought he particularly excelled-"if they were all to be born at once, it might puzzle a man to know how to manage; but, as in the common course of events, a few years must elapse before that number is completed, we shall hope


"This is trifling, sir," said the elderly gentleman, cutting him short before he had made his point. "You forget the respect due to your father. However I shall not forget what is due to myself; and I therefore desire that I may never hear another word about this ridiculous business."

A thundering knock at the halldoor was hailed as a relief by all parties at this moment; and Mrs. Somerville felt almost glad to see Mrs. Smallcraft

rather an unusual feeling. The lady was scarcely seated when a second knock announced another visitor, who made his welcome appearance—welcome at all times to all the Somervilles, in the person of Mr. De Lacy.



Mrs. Smallcraft came brimfull of Mary Vaughan, and her affairs, with various plans for her future settlement, which she wished to lay before Mrs. Somerville, as the person most likely to take a very active part in her con


"I look upon it as quite fortunate that I should meet you here, Mr. De Lacy," she continued; "you who have always been so interested about our young friend. I hope that with all our heads and hands at work, we shall contrive to settle this poor girl in some respectable situation."

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She appears to me quite competent to settle herself," said Mrs. Somerville. "She has, like all the young people of the present day, a very tolerable share of independence of character."

"I know what you allude to," answered Mrs. Smallcraft, "and I quite agree with you that she acted very unwisely in refusing Mr. Wilkinson. If she had consulted me, I should have pointed out her duty very decidedly. However, some allowance must be made for her, considering her education. She was reared in a very vain, upsetting family. The injudicious

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