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time in her life was busy, and had it into the ink, doing her best to in hand a quantity of mysterious appear unconscious, but failing sadcalculations and lists to make out, ly in the attempt. “ Mr Proctor is sat at the table in the centre of the going away directly to make everyroom, with her desk open, and thing ready, and the marriage is to covered with long slips of paper. be on the 15th of next month.” Perhaps it was to save her Rector “ And ours ?” said Mr Wenttrouble that the gentle woman gave worth, who had not as yet apherself so much labour ; perhaps proached that subject. Lucy knew she liked putting down on paper all that this event must be far off, and the things that were indispensable was not agitated about it as yet; for the new establishment. At all on the contrary, she met his look events, she looked up only to give sympathetically and with deprecaMr Wentworth a smile and sisterly tion after the first natural blush, and nod of welcome as he came in and soothed him in her feminine way, made his way to the corner where patting softly with her pretty hand Lucy sat, not unexpectant. Out of the sleeve of his coat. the disturbed atmosphere he had “Nobody knows," said Lucy. just left, the Perpetual Curate came “We must wait, and have patience. softly to that familiar corner, feel- We have more time to spare than ing that he had suddenly reach- they have,” she added, with a little ed his haven, and that Eden itself laugh. “We must wait.” could not have possessed a sweeter “I don't see the must," said the peace. Lucy in her black dress, Perpetual Curate.
Perpetual Curate. “I have been with traces of the exhaustion of thinking it all over since the mornnature in her face, which was the ing. I see no reason why I should loveliest face in the world to Mr always have to give in, and wait; Wentworth, looked up and welcom- self-sacrifice is well enough when it ed him with that look of satisfac- can't be helped, but I don't see tion and content which is the any reason for postponing my haphighest compliment one human piness indefinitely. Look here, creature can pay to another. His Lucy. It appears to me at present presence rounded off all the corners that there are only two classes of of existence to Lucy for that mo- people in the world - those who ment at least, and made the world will wait and those who won't. I complete and full. He sat down don't mean to enrol myself among beside her at her work-table with the martyrs. The man who gets no further interruption to the tête- his own way is the man who takes à-tête than the presence of the kind it. I don't see any reason in the elder sister at the table, who was world for concluding that I must absorbed in her lists, and who, even
wait.” had that pleasant business beenwant- Lucy Wodehouse was a very good ing, was dear and familiar enough young woman, a devoted Anglican, to both to make her spectatorship and loyal to all her duties; but she just the sweet restraint which en. had always been known to possess dears such intercourse all the more. a spark of spirit, and this rebellious Thus the Perpetual Curate seated quality came to a sudden blaze at himself, feeling in some degree so unlooked - for a speech. master of the position ; and surely Wentworth,” said Lucy, looking here, if nowhere else in the world, the Curate in the face with a look the young man was justified in ex- which was equivalent to making pecting to have his own way. him a low curtsy, “I understood
They have settled about their there were two people to be conmarriage,” said Lucy, whose voice sulted as to the must or must not;" was sufficiently audible to be heard and having entered this protest, she at the table, where Miss Wodehouse withdrew her chair a little farther seized her pen hastily and plunged off, and bestowed her attention ab
solutely upon the piece of needle- little enthusiasm.
“I have got work in her hand.
tired of ascetic principles. I don't If the ground had suddenly been see why it must be best to deny cut away underneath Frank Went myself and postpone myself to worth's feet, he could not have been other things and other people. I more surprised; for, to tell the begin to be of my brother Jack's truth, it had not occurred to him opinion. The children of this world to doubt that he himself was the are wiser in their generation than final authority on this point, though, the children of light. A man who to be sure, it was part of the con- will wait has to wait. Providence ventional etiquette that the lady does not invariably reward him should “fix the day.” He sat gaz- after he has been tried, as we used ing at her with so much surprise to suppose. I am willing to be a that for a minute or two he could poor man because I can't help it; say nothing.
Lucy, I am not but I am not willing to wait and going to have you put yourself on trust my happiness to the future the other side," he said at last; when it is in my reach now," said
there is not to be any opposition the unreasonable young man, to between you and me.
whom it was of course as easy as That is as it may be,” said it was to Lucy to change the posiLucy, who was not mollified. “You' tion of his chair, and prevent the seem to have changed your senti- distance between them being inments altogether since the morn- creased. Perhaps he might have ing, and there is no change in the carried his point even at that mocircumstances, at least that I can ment, had not Miss Wodehouse,
who had heard enough to alarm “ Yes, there is a great change," her, come forward hastily in a fright said the young man.
“If I could on the prudential side. have sacrificed myself in earnest “I could not help hearing what and said nothing
you were saying," said the elder “Which you were quite free to sister. “Oh, Mr Wentworth, I do,” interrupted Lucy, who, having hope you don't mean to say that given way to temper once to-day, you can't trust Providence } I'm found in herself an alarming pro- sure that is not Lucy's way of clivity towards a repetition of the thinking. I would not mind, and offence.
I am sure she would not mind, “Which I was quite free to do," beginning very quietly; but then said the Perpetual Curate, with a you have nothing, next to nothing,
, smile, “ but could not, and did neither of you. It might not matnot, all the same. Things are alto- ter just at the first," said Miss gether changed. Now, be as cross Wodehouse, with serious looks ;
, as you please, you belong to me, " but then-afterwards, you know, Lucia mia. To be sure, I have no and a vision of a nursery flashed money
upon her mind as
she spoke. “I was not thinking of that,” “Clergymen always have such large said the young lady, under her families,” she said half out before breath.
she was aware, and stopped, covered Of course
one has to think with confusion, not daring to look about it,' said Mr Wentworth ; at Lucy to see what effect such a “but the question is whether we suggestion might have had upon her. shall be happier and better going "I mean," cried Miss Wodehouse, on separate in our usual way, or hurrying on to cover over her inadmaking up our minds to give up vertence if possible,
I have seen something for the comfort of being such cases ; and a poor clergyman together. Perhaps you will forgive who has to think of the grocer's me for taking that view of the bill and the baker's bill instead of question," said the Curate, with a his parish and is duty—there are
some things you young people know spiteful young woman. a great deal better than I do, but I be sure that I might not turn out you don't know how dreadful 'it is
a very poor compensation ? We to see that."
settled this morning how all that Here Lucy, on her part, was was to be, and I for one have not touched in a tender point, and in- changed my mind-as yet,” said terposed. “For a man to be teased Lucy. That was all the encourageabout bills,” said the young house- ment Mr Wentworth got when he keeper, with flushed cheeks and an propounded his new views. Things averted countenance, “it must be looked easy enough when he was not his poverty, but bis—his wife's alone, and suffered himself to drift fault.”
on pleasantly on the changed and “Oh, Lucy, don't say so,” cried heightened current of personal deMiss Wodehouse; “what is a poor sires and wishes; but it became woman to do, especially when she apparent to him, after that evenhas no money of her own, as you ing's discussion, that even in Eden wouldn't have? and then the strug- itself, though the dew had not gling, and getting old before your yet dried on the leaves, it would be time, and all the burdens
highly incautious for any man to * Please don't say any more,"
conclude that he was sure of having said Lucy; "there was no inten- his own way. The Perpetual Curate tion on-on any side to drive things returned a sadder and a more doubtto a decision. As for me, I have ful man to Mrs Hadwin's, to his own not a high opinion of myself. I apartments; possibly, as the two would not be the means of dimin- states of mind so often go together, ishing any one's comforts," said the a wiser individual too.
The dinner-party at the Rectory, Morgan came into the drawingto which Mr Wentworth did not room, and found this obnoxious go, was much less interesting and individual occupying the most comagreeable than it might have been fortable easy-chair, and turning had he been present. As for the over at his ease the great book of Rector and his wife, they could not ferns, nature-printed, which was the but feel themselves in a somewhat pet decoration of the table, her feelstrange position, having between ings may be conceived by any lady them a secret unsuspected by the who has gone through a similar company. It was difficult to re- trial; for Mr Leeson's hands were frain from showing a certain flag- not of the irreproachable purity ging of interest in the question of which becomes the fingers of a the church restoration, about which, gentleman when he goes out to to be sure, Mr Finial was just as dinner. “I know some people much concerned as he had been who always wear gloves when they yesterday; though Mr Morgan, and turn over a portfolio of prints," even Mrs Morgan, had suffered a Mrs Morgan said, coming to the great and unexplainable diminution Curate's side to protect her book if of enthusiasm. And then Mr Lee- possible, “and these require quite son, who was quite unaware of the as much care;" and she had to turn that affairs had taken, and who endure a discussion upon the subwas much too obtuse to understand ject, which was still more trying to how the Rector could be anything her feelings, for Mr Leeson prebut exasperated against the Per- tended to know about ferns on the petual Curate by the failure of the score of having a Wardian case in investigation, did all that he could his lodgings (which belonged to his to make himself disagreeable, which landlady), though in reality he was saying a good deal. When Mrs could scarcely tell the commonest
spleenwort from a lycopodium. over. Then it was perhaps the AllWhile Mrs Morgan went through Souls pudding that warmed Mr this trial, it is not to be wondered Leeson's soul; perhaps he had at if she hugged to her heart the taken a little more wine than usual. new idea of leaving Carlingford, He took sudden advantage of that and thought to herself that what- curious little pause which occurs at ever might be the character of the a well-conducted dinner-table, when curate (if there was one) at Scars- the meal is concluded, and the fruit field, any change from Mr Leeson (considered apparently, in orthodox must be for the better. And then circles, a paradisaical kind of food the unfortunate man, as if he was which needs no blessing) alone renot disagreeable enough already, mains to be discussed. As soon as began to entertain his unwilling the murmur of thanks from the foot hostess with the latest news.
of the table was over, the Curate “ There is quite a commotion incautiously rushed in before anyin Grange Lane," said Mr Leeson. body else could break silence, and
Such constant disturbances must delivered his latest information at deteriorate the property, you know. . a high pitch of voice. Of course, whatever one's opinion Has any one heard about the may be, one must keep it to one's self, Elsworthys ?" said Mr Leeson ; after the result of the investigation; something fresh has happened though I can't say I have unbound- there. I hope your verdict yestered confidence in trial by jury,' said day will not be called in question. the disagreeable young man. The fact is, I believe that the girl
“I am afraid I am very slow of has been taken away again. They comprehension,” said the Rector's say she has gone and left a letter wife. “I don't know in the least saying that she is to be made a what you mean about trial by jury. lady of. I don't know what we Perhaps it would be best to put are to understand by that. There the book back on the table; it is was some private service or other too heavy for you to hold.”
going on at St Roque's very early “Oh, it doesn't matter," said Mr in the morning. Marriage is a sacLeeson—“I mean about Went- rament, you know. Perhaps Mr worth, of course. When a man is Wentworth or his brotherpopular in society, people prefer “They are a queer family, the to shut their eyes. I suppose the Wentworths,” said old Mr Western, matter is settled for the present, " and such lots of them, sir-such but you and I know better than to lots of them. The old ladies seem believe
to have settled down here. “I beg you will speak for your- not of their way of thinking, you self, Mr Leeson,” said Mrs Morgan, know, but they're very good to the with dignity. “I have always had poor." the highest respect for Mr Went- “Mr Frank Wentworth is going worth."
to succeed his brother, I suppose, “Oh, I beg your pardon," said said Mr Leeson ; “it is very lucky the disagreeable Curate. I for- for a man who gets himself talked got; almost all the ladies are on of to have a family living to fall Mr Wentworth's side. It appears that little girl of Elsworthy's has “No such thing-no such thing," disappeared again; that was all I said Mr Proctor, hastily.
I was going to say.'
Frank Wentworth means to stay And, fortunately for the Curate, here." Colonel Chiley, who entered the Dear me !” said the disagreeroom at the moment, diverted from able Curate, with an elaborate pause him the attention of the lady of the of astonishment. “ Things must house; and after that there was no be bad indeed,” added that inteopportunity of broaching the sub- resting youth, with solemnity, shakject again until dinner was almost ing the devoted head, upon which
he did not know that Mrs Morgan son had the same inducement as had fixed her eyes, “if his own Mr Wentworth, he too would make family give him up, and leave him up his mind to remain in Carlingto starve here. They never would ford.” Mrs Morgan got up, as she give him up if they had not very made this speech, with a rustle and good cause. Oh, come; I shouldn't sweep of drapery which seemed all like to believe that! I know how addressed to the unhappy Curate, much a curate has to live on," said who stumbled upon his feet like Mr Leeson, with a smile of engag- the other gentlemen, but dared not ing candour. “Before they give him for his life have approached her to up like that, with two livings in open the door. Mr Leeson felt the family, they must have very good that he had received his congé, as
he sank back into his chair. He * Very good cause indeed,” said was too much stunned to speculate Mrs Morgan, from the head of the on the subject, or ask himself table. The company in general what was going to happen. Whathad, to tell the truth, been a little ever was going to happen, there taken aback by the Curate's obser- was an end of him. He had eaten vations; and there was almost the the last All-Souls pudding that he entire length of the table between ever would have presented to him the unhappy man and the Avenger. under that roof. He sank back in “So good a reason, that it is strange the depths of despair upon his Low it should not have occurred seat, and suffered the claret to pass to a brother clergyman. That is him in the agony of his feelings. the evil of a large parish,” said the Mr Wentworth and Mrs Morgan Rector's wife, with beautiful sim- were avenged. plicity; "however hard one works, This was how it came to be one never can know above half of noised abroad in Carlingford that the poor people; and I suppose some great change of a highly fa
a you have been occupied in the vourable character was about to other districts, and have not heard occur in the circumstances and what a great work Mr Wentworth position of the Curate of St is doing. I have reason to know," Roque's. It was discussed next said Mrs Morgan, with consider day throughout the town, as soon able state, “ that he will remain in as people had taken breath after Carlingford in a very different posi- telling each other about Rosa Elstion from that which he has filled worthy, who had indisputably been hitherto. Mr Leeson knows how carried off from her uncle's house much a curate has to live upon, on the previous night. When the but I am afraid that is all he does Wentworth family were at dinner, know of such a life as Mr Went- and just as the board was being worth's.” Mrs Morgan paused for spread in the Rectory, where Mrs a moment to get breath, for her Morgan was half an hour later than excitement was considerable, and usual, having company, it had been she had many wrongs to avenge. discovered in Elsworthy's that the “ There is a great deal of difference prison was vacant, and the poor in curates as well as in other little bird had flown. Mr Wentthings,” said the indignant woman. worth was aware of a tumult about “I have reason to know that Mr the shop when he went to the Miss Wentworth will remain in Carling. Wodehouses, but was preoccupied, ford in quite a different position. and paid no attention ; but Mr Now and then, even in this world, Leeson, who was not preoccupied, things come right like a fairy tale had already heard all about it when that is, when the authority is in he entered the Rectory. That day it the right hands;" the Rector's wife was all over the town, as may be supwent on, with a smile at her hus- posed. The poor, little, wicked, unforband, which disarmed that asto- tunate creature had disappeared, no nished man.
“Perhaps if Mr Lee- one knew how, at the moment, ap