Godey’s Magazine, Volumes 22-23

Godey’s Magazine, Volumes 22-23

MR. AND S. WOODBR1DGE.

Written for the Lady’s Book.

MR. AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE. x story or Domstio Lire.

sY MISS LESLIE.

YART I.

The moming subsequent to their arrival in Phila delphia, Harvey Woodbridge proposed to his bride (a New York beauty, to whom he had recently been united, after a very short acquaintance) that she should accompany him to look at the new house he had taken previous to their marriage, and which he had delayed furnishing till the taste of his beloved Char lotte could be consulted as well as his own. Mean while they were staying at one of the principal board ing-houses of his native city.

Ten o’clock was the time finally appointed by the lady for this visit to their future residence : and her husband, after taking a melancholy leave (they had been married but seven days) departed to pass an hour at his place of business.

When he returned, Mr. Woodbridge sprang up stairs three steps at a time (we have just said he had been married only a week) and on entering their apartment he was saluted by his wife as she held out her watch to him, with — ” So, after all, you are ten minutes beyond the hour !”

” I acknowledge it, my dear love” — replied the husband — ” but I was detained by a western cus tomer to whom I have just made a very profitable sale.”

” Still” — persisted the bride, half pouting — ” people should always be punctual, and keep their appoint ments to the very minute.”

“And yet, my dearest Charlotte” — observed Wood- bridge, somewhat hesitatingly — ” I do not find you quite ready to go out with me.”

” Oh ! that is another thing” — replied the lady — ” one may be kept waiting without being ready.”

” That is strange logic, my love” — said Wood- bridge, smiling.

” I don’t know what you call logic” — answered the beautiful Charlotte. ” I learnt all my logic at Mrs. Fooltrap’s boarding-school, where we said a logic lesson twice a week. But I am sure ’tis much easier for a man to hurry with his bargaining than for a lady to hurry with her dressing; that is if she pays any regard to her appearance. I have been pondering for an hour about what I shall put on to go out this moming. I am sadly puzzled among all my new walking-dresses. There are my chaly, and my gros des Indes, and my peau-de-soie, and my foulard—”

” If you will tell me which is which” — interrupted Woodbridge — ” I will endeavour to assist you in your choice. But from its name (foulard, as you call it,) I do not imagine that last thing can be a very nice article.”

” What fools men are !” — exclaimed the lovely Charlotte. — ” Now that is the very prettiest of all my walking-dresses, let the name be what it will. I always did like foulard from the moment I first saw it at Stewart’s. I absolutely doat upon foulard, So that is the very thing I will wear, upon my first ap pearance in Chesnut street as Mrs. Harvey Wood- bridge.”

” Don’t” — said her husband, surveying the dress as she held it up — ” it looks like calico — ”

” Say don’t to me”— exclaimed the bride, threat eningly — ” calico, indeed ! — when it is a French silk at twelve shillings a yard — a dollar and a half as you foolishly say in Philadelphia.”

” Well, well” — replied Woodbridge, pacifyingly — ” wear whatever you please — it is of no consequence.”

” So then, you think it of no consequence how I am drest ! I dare say you would not grieve in the least if I were really to go out in a calico gown — I did suppose that perhaps you took some little interest in me.”

” I do indeed” — answered Woodbridge.

” You confess then that it is but little.”

” No — a very great interest, certainly — and you know that I do. But as to your dress, you, of course, must be the best judge. And to me you always look beautifully.”

” To you, but not to others — I suppose that is what you mean.”

” To every one” — replied the husband — ” I ob served this morning the glance of admiration that ran round the breakfast table as soon as you had taken your seat. That little cap with the yellow ribbon is remarkably becoming to yon.”

” So then, it was the cap and not myself that was admired !” — said the wife. — ” I am sure I am much obliged to the cap. Yellow ribbon, too ! — To call it yellow when it is the most delicate primrose. As if / would wear a yellow ribbon !”

” Indeed, my love” — answered Woodbridge — “you must forgive me if I am not au-fait to all the techni calities of a lady’s toilet. I acknowledge my igno rance with due humility.”

” You well may — I was absolutely ashamed of you one evening at our house in New York, when Mrs. Rouleau and the two Miss Quillings and Miss Bias- fold were present, and we were all enjoying our selves and discussing the last fashions. And thinking you ought to say something by way of joining in the conversation, you called my deep flounce a long tuck.”

” I’ll never do so again” — said Woodbridge, imi tating the tone of a delinquent school-boy.

The foulard silk was energetically put on ; the fair Charlotte pertinaciously insisting on hooking it up the back entirely herself: a herculean task which, in his heart of hearts, her husband was rather glad to be spared. And not knowing that spite gives strength, he stood amazed at the vigour and dexterity with which his lovely bride put her hands behind her and accomplished the feat. When it was done, she took a long survey of herself in the glass, and then turned round to her husband and made a low curtsey, saying — ” There now — you see me in my calico gown.”

Woodbridge uttered no reply : but he thought in his own mind — ” What a pity it is that beauties are so apt to be spoiled!” — He might have added — ” What a pity it is that men are so apt to spoil them.”

AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE.

At length, after much fixing and unfixing, and putting on and taking off the finishing articles of her attire (particularly half-a-dozen pair of tight-fitting new kid gloves, none of which were quite tight enough) her ignoramus of a husband again offending by calling her pelerine a cape and her scarf a neckeloth, and mistaking the flowers in her bonnet tor little roses when he ought to have known they were almond blossoms, Mrs. Harvey Woodbridge sullenly acknowledged herself ready to go out.

During their walk to the new house, our hero endeavoured to restore the good-humour of his bride by talking to her of the delightful life he anticipated when settled in a pleasant mansion of their own. But his glowing picture of domestic happiness elicited no reply ; her attention being all the time engaged by the superior attractions of numerous ribbons, laces, scarfa, shawls, trinkets, &c, displayed in the shop- windows, and of which, though she could now take only a passing glance, she mentally promised her self the enjoyment of making large purchases at her leisure.

They arrived at their future residence, a genteel and well-finished house of moderate size, where all was so bright new and clean, that it was impossible for the bride not to be pleased with its aspect, as her husband unlocked the doors and threw open the shutters of room after room. Mrs. Woodbridge re joiced particularly on observing that the ceilings of the parlours had centre circles for chandeliers, and she began to consider whether the chandeliers should be bronzed or gdt. She also began to talk of various splendid articles of furniture that would be necessary for the principal rooms. ” Mamma charged me” — said she — ” to have silk damask lounges and chair. cushions, and above all things not to be sparing in mirrors. She said she should hate to enter my par lours if the pier-glasses were not tall enough to reach from the floor to the ceiling ; and that she would never forgive me if my mantel-glasses did not cover the whole space of the wall above the chimney-pieces. She declared that she would never speak to me again if my centre-tables were not well supplied with all eons of elegant things, in silver, and china and co loured glass. And her last words were to remind me of getting a silver card basket, very wide at the top that the cards of the best visiters might be spread out to advantage. The pretty things on Mrs. Over- buy’s enamelled centre-table are said to have cost not less than five hundred dollars.” — ” Was it not her hushand that failed last week for the fourth time ?” — asked Woodbridge. — ” I believe he did” — replied Charlotte — ” but that is nothing. Almost every body’s hushand fails now. Mrs. Overbuy says |it is quite fashionable.” — ” In that respect, as in many others, I hope to continue unfashionable all my life” — re marked Woodbridge. — “That is so like pa'” — ob. served Charlotte. — ” He has the strangest dread of foiling ; though ma’ often tells him that most people seem to live much the better for it, and make a greater show than ever — at least after the first few weeks. And then pa’ begins to explain to her about falling, and breaking, and stopping payment, and debtors and creditors, and all that sort of thing. But •he cuts him short, and says she hates business talk. And so do I, for I am exactly like her.”

At this information Woodbridge felt as if ho was going to sigh ; but he looked at his bride, and, con soled himself with the reflection that he had certainly

married one of the most beautiful girls in America ; and therefore his sigh turned to a smile.

They had now descended to the lower story of the house. “Ah!” — exclaimed Charlotte — “the base ment, back and front, is entirely filled up with cellars. How very ridiculous !” — ” It does not seem so to me” — replied Woodbridge — ” this mode of building is very customary in Philadelphia.” — ” So much the worse” — answered the lady. — ” Now in New York nothing is more usual than to have a nice sitting- room down in the basement-story, just in front of the kitchen.” — “A sort of servants’ parlour, I suppose” — said her husband. ” It is certainly very considerate to allot to the domestics, when not at work, a com fortable place of retirement, removed from the heat, and slop and all the desagremens of a kitchen.”

” How foolishly you always talk” — exclaimed Mrs. Woodbridge. — ” As if we would give the basement- room to the servants ! No we use it ourselves. In ma’s family, as in hundreds of others all over New York, it is the place where we sit when we have no company, and where we always eat.”

” What ! — half under ground” — exclaimed Wood- bridge—” Really I should feel all the time as if I was living in a kitchen.”

” It is very wrong in you to say so,” replied the lady — ” and very unkind to say it to me, when we had a basement-room in our house in New York, and used it constantly. To be sure I’ve heard ma’ say she had some trouble in breaking pa’ into it — but he had to give up. Men have such foolish notions about almost every thing, that it is well when they have somebody to put their nonsense out of their heads.”

” I never saw you in that basement-room” — ob served Woodbridge.

” To be sure you did not. I do not say that it is the fashion for young ladies to receive their beaux in the basement room. But beaux and husbands are different things.”

” You are right” — murmured Woodbridge. — ” If always admitted behind the scenes, perhaps fewer beaux would be willing to take the character of hus bands.”

They now descended the lower staircase, and went to inspect the kitchen, which formed a part of what in Philadelphia is called the back-building. Wood- bridge pointed out to his wife its numerous conve niences ; upon which she told him that she was sorry to find he knew bo much about kitchens. They then took a survey of the chambere ; and on afterwards descending the stairs they came to a few steps branch ing off from the lower landing-place, and entered a door which admitted them into a narrow room in the back-building, directly over the kitchen. This room had short windows, a low ceiling, a small coal-grate, and was in every respect very plainly finished.

” This” — said Woodbridge — ” is the room I in tend for my library.”

” I did not know I had married a literary man” — said Charlotte, looking highly discomposed.

” I am not what is termed a literary man” — re plied her husband — ” I do not write, but I take much pleasure in reading. And it is my intention to have this room fitted up with book-shelves, and furnished with a library-table, a stuffed leather fauteuil, a read ing-lamp, and whatever else is necessary to make it comfortable.”

” Where then is to be our sitting room ? ”

4 MR. AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE.

“We can scat ourselves very well in either the back parlour or the front one. We will have a rock- ing-chair a piece, besides ottomans or sofas.”

” But where are we to eat our meals ?”

” In the back parlour, I think — unless you prefer the front.”

” I prefer neither. We never ate in a parlour at ma’s in spite of all pa’ could say. Down in the base ment story we were so snug, and so out of the way.”

” I have always been accustomed to eating quite above ground” — said Woodbridge — ” I am quite as much opposed to the burrowing system as you say your good rather was.”

“Oh! but he had to give up” — replied Charlotte.

” Which is more than I shall do” — answered her husband — looking very resolute. ” On this point my firmness is not to be shaken.”

” Nobody asks you to eat in the basement story” — said Charlotte — ” because there is none. But this little room in the back-building is the very thing for our common sitting-place — and also to use as a din ing-room.”

” We can dine far more agreeably in one of the parlours.”

” The parlours, indeed ! — suppose somebody should chance to come in and catch us at table, would not you be very much mortified ?”

” By no means — I hope I shall never have cause to be ashamed of my dinner.”

” You don’t know what may happen. After a trial of the expenses of housekeeping, we may find it ne cessary to economize. And whether or not, I can assure you I am not going to keep an extravagant table. Ma’ never did, in spite of pa’s murmurings.”

” Then we will economize in finery rather than in comfort” — said Woodbridge. ” I do not wish for an extravagant table, and I am not a gourmand: but there is no man that does not feel somewhat meanly when obliged, in his own house, to partake of a paltry or scanty dinner ; particularly when he knows that he can afford to have a good one.”

” That was just the way pa’ used to talk to ma’. He said that as the head of the house earned all the market-money — (only think of his calling himself the head of the house,) and gave out a liberal allowance of it, he had a right to expect, for himself and family, a well-supplied and inviting table. He had some old saying that he who was the bread-winner ought to have his bread as he liked it.”

” And in this opinion I think most husbands will coincide with Mr. Stapleford” — said the old gentle man’s son-in-law.

” There will be no use in that, unless their wives coincide also” — remarked the old gentleman’s daugh ter. ” However, to cut the matter short, whatever sort of table we may keep, this apartment must cer tainly be arranged for an eating-room.”

” But we really do not require it for that purpose” — replied her husband, with strange pertinacity — ” and I must positively have it for a library.”

” The truth is, dear Harvey” — said Charlotte, coax- ingly — ” I am afraid if I allow you a regular library, I shall lose too much of your society — think how lonely I shall be when you are away from me at your books. Even were I always to sit with you in the library, (as Mrs. Deadweight does with her husband,) it would be very hard for me to keep silent the whole time, according to her custom. And if, like Mrs.

Le Bore, I were to talk to you all the while you were reading, perhaps you might think it an inter ruption. Mrs. Duncely, who has had four husbands (two lawyers, one doctor, and a clergyman) all of whom spent as little time with her as they could, frequently told us that libraries were of no use but to part man and wife. Dear Harvey, it would break my heart to suppose that you could prefer any thing in the world to the company of your own Charlotte Augusta. So let us have this nice little place for our dining-room, and let us sit in it almost always. It will save the parlours so much.”

” Indeed my dear Charlotte, I do not intend to get any furniture for the parlours of so costly a descrip tion that we shall be afraid to use it.”

” What ! — are we not to have Saxony carpets, and silk curtains, and silk-covered lounges, and large glasses, and chandeliers, and beautiful mantel-lamps ; and above all, a’n’t we to have elegant things for the centre-table ?”

” My design” — answered Woodbridge—” is to fur nish the house throughout, as genteelly, and in as good taste as my circumstances will allow: bul al ways with regard to convenience rather than to show.”

” Then I know not how I can look ma’ in the face !”

” You may throw nil the blame on me, my love.”

” Pray, Mr. Harvey Woodbridge (if I may venture to ask) how will these plain, convenient, comfortable parlours look when we have a party?”

” I do not furnish my house for the occasional reception of a crowd of people, but for the every day use of you and myself, with a few chosen friends in whose frequent visits we can take pleasure.”

” If you mean frequent tea-visits, I can assure you, sir, I shall take no pleasure . in any such trouble and extravagance — with your few chosen friends, indeed ! when it is so much cheaper to have a large party once a year (as we always had at ma’s): asking every presentable person we knew, and every body to whom we owed an invitation; and making one expense serve for all. Though our yearly party was always an absolute squeeze, you cannot think how much we saved by it. — Pa’ called it saying grace over the whole barrel — some foolish idea that he got from Dr. Franklin.”

” For my part” — remarked Woodbridge — ” I hope I shall never be brought to regard social intercourse as a mere calculation of dollars and cents. I would rather, if necessary, save in something else than make economy the chief consideration in regulating the mode of entertaining my friends and acquaintances.”

” Then why do you object to saving our parlours by using them as little as possible ?”

” When our furniture wears out, or ceases to look comme il faut, I hope I shall be able to replace it with new articles, quite as good and perhaps better — particularly if we do not begin too extravagantly at first.”

” I suppose then your plan is to fit up these par. lours with in-grain carpets, maple-chairs, and black hair-cloth sofas : and instead of curtains, nothing but venitian blinds.”

” Not exactly — though young people, on com mencing married life in moderate circumstances, have been very happy with such furniture.”

“More fools they! — For my part, I should be ashamed to show my face to a morning visiter in

MR. AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE. 5

such paltry parlours. That sort of furniture is scarcely better than what I intend for this little upstairs sit ting-room.”

” If this little room is devoted to the purpose you talk of, we must there show our faces to each other.”

” Nonsense, Mr. Woodbridge ! — How can it pos sibly signify what feces married people show to each other ?”

” It signifies much — very much indeed.”

” To put an end to this foolery” — resumed the bride — ” I tell you once for all, Harvey Woodbridge, that I must and will have this very apartment for an eating-room, or a dining-room, or a sitting-room, or whatever you please to call it — to take our meals in without danger of being caught at them, and to stay in when I am not drest and do not wish to be seen.”

” The hiding-room I think would be the best name for it” — murmured Woodbridge.

“Only let us try it awhile” — persisted the fair Charlotte, softening her tone, and looking fondly at her liege-lord — ” think how happy we shall be in this sweet little retreat, where I will always keep a few flower-pots — you know I doat on flowers — imagine your dear Charlotte Augusta in a comfortable wrapper, seated on a nice calico sofa, and doing beautiful wor sted work : and yourself in a round jacket, lolling in a good wooden rocking chair either cane-coloured or green, with slippers on your feet, and a newspaper in your hand. We can have a shelf or two for a few select books. And of an evening, when I do not happen to be sleepy, you can read to mc in the Sum mer at Brighton, or the Winter in London, or Al- macks, or Santo Sebastiano. I have them all. Bro ther Jem bought them cheap at auction. But I never had time to get to the second volume of any of them. So we have all that pleasure to come. And I shall be delighted to have those sweet books read aloud to me by you. You will like them far better than those Scotch novels that people are always talking about.”

Woodbridge looked dubious. Finally, being tired of the controversy, he thought best to end it by say ing — ” Well, well — we’ll let this subject rest for the present.” — But he resolved in his own mind to hold out fur ever against it.

At their boarding-house dinner-table, Mrs. Wood- bridge informed a lady who sat opposite, that she was delighted with her new house ; and that it was a love of a place; particularly a snug little apartment in the back- building which Mr. Woodbridge had promised her for a sitting-room, to save the parlours, as they were to be furnished in very handsome style. Wood- bridge reddened at her pertinacity, and to divert the attention of those around him from a very voluble expose of what she called her plans, he began to talk to a gentleman on the other side of the table about the latest news from Europe.

From this day our heroine spoke of the little sit ting-room as a thing of course, without noticing any of the deprecatory lookings and sayings of her hus band- And she succeeded in teazing him into allow ing her to choose all the furniture of the house with out his assistance: guided only by the taste of one of the female boarders, Mrs. Squanderfield, a lady who bad been married about a twelvemonth, and after commencing house-keeping in magnificent style, her husband (whose affairs had been involved at the time of their marriage,) was obliged at the close of

the winter, to make an assignment for the benefit of his creditors ; and the tradesmen who had supplied it took back the unpaid furniture.

After her parlours had been fitted up in a very showy and expensive manner (not forgetting the cen tre-table and its multitude of costly baubles) Mrs. Woodbridge found that these two rooms had already absorbed so large a portion of the sum allotted by her husband for furnishing the whole house that it was necessary to economize greatly in all the other apartments: and to leave two chambers in the third story with nothing but the bare walls. This discre pancy was much regretted by Mr. Woodbridge, even after his wife had reminded him that these chambers could only have been used as spare bed-rooms, which in all probability would never be wanted as they did not intend keeping a hotel ; and that as to encouraging people to come and stay at her house (even her own relations) she should do no such expensive thing. — ” You may depend on it, my dear,” said she — on the day that they installed themselves in their new abode, ” I shall make you a very economical wife.”

And so she did, as far as comforts were concerned, aided and abetted by the advice of her friend Mrs. Squanderfield who counselled her in what to spend money ; and in what to save it she was guided by the precepts of Mrs. Pinchington, another inmate of the same boarding-house, a widow of moderate income, whose forte was the closest parsimony, and who had broken up her own establishment and gone to board ing ostensibly because she was lonely, but in reality because she could get no servant to live with her. The advice of these two counsellors never clashed, for Mrs. Squanderfield took cognizance of the dress and the parlour arrangements of her pupil, while Mrs. Pinchington directed the housewifery: and both of them found in our heroine an apt scholar.

We need not tell our readers that the fair bride carried her point with regard to the little apartment at the heed of the stairs, which she concluded to de signate as the dining-room, though they ate all their meals in it ; and it became in fact their regular abid ing-place, her husband finding all opposition fruitless, and finally yielding fur the sake of peace.

It took Mrs. Woodbridge a fortnight to recover from the fatigue of moving into their new house : and during this time she was denied to all visiters, and spent the day in a wrapper on the dining-room sofa, sometimes sleeping, and sometimes sitting up at a frame and working in worsted a square-faced lap- dog, with paws and tail also as square as cross-stitch could make them ; this remarkable animal most mira culously keeping his seat upon the perpendicular side of an upright green bank, with three red flowers growing on his right and three blue ones on the left. During the progress of this useful and ornamental piece of needle- work, the lady kept a resolute silence, rarely opening her lips except to check her husband for speaking to her, as it put her out in counting the threads. And if he attempted to read aloud, (even in Santo Sebastiano) she shortly desired him to desist, as it puzzled her head and caused her to confuse the proper number of stitches allotted to each of the various worsted shades. If he tried to interest her by a really amusing book of his own choice, she always went fast asleep, and on raising his eyes from the page he found himself reading to nothing. If, on the other hand, he wished to entertain himself by read ing in silence, he was generally interrupted by some

6 ANACREONTIC BALLAD.

thing like this, preluded by a deep sigh — ” Harvey you are not thinking now of your poor Charlotte Augusta — you never took up a book and read during the week you were courting me. Times are sadly altered now : but I suppose all wives must make up .their minds to be forgotten and neglected after the first fortnight. Don’t look so disagreeable : but if you really care any thing about me, come and wind this gold-coloured worsted — I want it for my dog’s collar.”

The fortnight of rest being over, Mrs. Woodbridge concluded to receive morning visiters and display to them her handsome parlours : which for two weeks were opened every day for that purpose during the usual hours of making calls. Also she availed her- self of the opportunity of wearing in turn twelve new and beautiful dresses, and twelve pelerines and collars equally new and beautiful.

Various parties were made for his bride by the families that knew Harvey Woodbridge, who was much liked throughout the circle in which he had visited : and for every party the bride found that she wanted some new and expensive articles of decoration, notwithstanding her very recent outfit ; she and her ma’ having taken care that the trousseau should in the number and costliness of its items be the admira tion of all New York, that is of the set of people among which the Staplefords were accustomed to revolve.

When the bridal parties were over, Woodbridge was very earnest that his wife should give one her self in return for the civilities she had received from his friends ; for though he had no fondness for parties he thought they should be reciprocated by those who went to them themselves, and who had the appliances and means of entertaining company in a house of their own and in the customary manner. To this pro posal our heroine pertinaciously objected, upon the ground that she was tired and worn out with parties, and saw no reason for incurring the expense and trouble of giving one herself.

” But” — said her husband — ” have you not often told me of your mother’s annual parties. Did she not give at least one every season ?”

” She never did any such thing” — replied Char lotte — ” till after / was old enough to come out. And she had as many invitations herself, before she began to give parties as she had afterwards. It makes no sort of difference. Ladies that dress well and look well, and therefore help to adorn the rooms are under no necessity of making a return (as you call it) even if they go to parties every night in the season. Then, if, besides being elegantly drest, they are belles and beauties (here she fixed her eyes on the glass) their presence gives an eclat which is a sufficient compen sation to their hostess.”

” But if they are not belles and beauties” — observ ed Woodbridge, a little mischievously.

” I don’t know what you are talking about !” — re plied the lady with a look of surprise.

” Well, well” — resumed the husband — ” argue as you will on this subject, you never can convince me that it is right first to lay ourselves under obligations, and then to hold back from returning them, when we have it amply in our power to do so.”

” I am glad to hear you are so rich a man. It was but last week you told me you could not afford to get me that case of emeralds I set my mind upon at Thibaut’s.”

” Neither I can. And excuse me for saying that I think you have already as many articles of jewel lery as the wife of a Market street merchant ought to possess.”

” Are the things you gave me on our wedding-day to last my life-time. Fashion changes in jewellery as well as in every thing else.”

” It cannot have changed much already, as but a few weeks have elapsed since that giorno feliee. How ever, let us say no more about jewels.”

” Oh ! yes — I know it is an irksome topic to hus bands and fathers and all that sort of thing. Pa’ was always disagreeable whenever Marquand’s bill was sent in.”

” To return to our former subject” — resumed Woodbridge — ” I positively cannot be satisfied, if after accepting in every instance the civilities of our friends, we Bhould meanly pass over our obligation of offering the usual return. I acknowledge that I do not like parties; but having in compliance with your wishes accompanied you to so many, we really must make the exertion of giving one ourselves.”

” If you disapprove of parties you ought not to have a party. I thought you were a man that always professed to act up to your principles.”

” I endeavour to do so. And one of my principles is to accept no favours without making a return as far as lies in my power. I disapprove of prodigality, but I hate meanness.”

” It is wicked to hate any thing. But married men get into such a violent way of talking. When pa’ did break out, he was awful. And then, instead of arguing the point, ma’ and I always quitted the room, and left him to himself. He soon cooled down when he found there was nobody to listen to him : and the next day he was glad enough to make his peace and give up.”

Woodbridge could endure no more, but hastily left the room himself : and Charlotte walked to the glass and arranged her curls, and altered the tie of her neck- ribbon ; and then sat down and worked at the ever lasting dog.

102 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

Written for the Lady’s Book.

A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

sY MISS M . A. sROWNE, LIVERPOOL, ENG.

Every body knows that every English country vil- splendid black horse, Eblis, (that name sadly puzzled

lage has its great man — the Squire, the Vicar, or the the natives !) mixed medicines under the Doctor’s

Lord of the Manor, as the case may be. But most directions, and delivered the same at the houses of

villages have likewise a remarkable man, a person- the sick.

age not necessarily a member of any particular class His patients were the only society with which

of society. The remarkable man of Friarscroft was, Doctor Foster held any communication. He uni.

unquestionably, Dr. Foster. formly refused the squire’s invitations to dinner, the

Friarscroft is a small village situated at some dis- clergyman’s to supper, the old ladies’ to “tea and

tance from the metropolis. It lies in a quiet valley, turn out.” They persecuted him for a year or so, but

amidst well cultivated slopes, interspersed with patch- after that fhey let him alone. He never made any visas,

es of rich woodland, and really is a beautiful spot, save professional ones, and never undertook cases of

with its scattered white houses, its Elizabethan par- nerves or vapours, except to order a blister in the

sonage, and its tall graceful church-spire shooting up. one case, and a dose of rhubarb in the other, which

wards from a clump of dark yew trees. prescriptions were so effectual that a nervous or va-

About the middle of the irregular street stood the pourish subject was soon not to be found in his neigh-

Doctor’s house — an old fashioned edifice with pointed bourhood. But in cases of real suffering no one could

gables and white walls, thickly embowered in ivy, be kinder in manner, or more regular in attendance,

clematis, and honey-suckle. It stood near the road, than the Doctor, although it was always observed

just within a neat row of white palings, and its green that the poorer the patient, the more cheerfully were

door displayed a large brass plate, whereon the name the Doctor’s services given. He seemed to sofien

of Doctor Foster was engraved in very legible cha- towards the parish poor more than all, and his silence

racters. That door had a strange, unnatural appear- and sternness gave way as he listened to the detail

ance, amidst the rich tapestry of leaves and flowers. of their sufferings, and cheered them with the Ian-

The back part of the dwelling, however, had no guage of sympathy and consolation, such blemish. The transome windows looked out Of his skill nobody entertained a doubt, althongh

on a sloping garden, terraced after the fashion of for. some fanciful persons did once attempt to bring in a

mer days, and full of clipped yews and quaint flower rival in the person of Mr. Augustus Popjoy, a spruce

plots. It terminated in a smooth green declivity, Cockney. But after Mr. Popjoy had sojourned three

sloping to the border of a beautiful stream, which mortal months with Mrs. Bell, of the post-office,

here made a graceful bend, widening a little where without gaining further patronage than that of two

it swept from the covert of willows and alders which old maids and a pet lap-dog, he departed one morn-

nearly met over its current a little higher up. ing without beat of drum, leaving his landlady his

Here dwelt Doctor Foster — the only medical creditor for three months rent, hia two maiden cus-

practitioner in Friarscroft, or within some miles there- tomers minus a medical man and a beau, and poor

of. He was about the middle height, rather stout, Shock with a dose of medicine administered on the

and extremely muscular. His garments were always previous evening, which put a period to that amiable

of a by-gone fashion — that is to say, he wore knee quadruped’s existence in the course of the day. breeches, square-toed shoes, with large silver buckles, Doctor Foster’s house was no less singular than

an antiquated coat and waistcoat, and a huge black its master. It was filled from top to bottom with

wig. He was barely thirty when he first came to “curiosities,” as his housekeeper called them. There

Friarscroft, but even then he was similarly clad, and were birds of rare plumage crowding gla*s cases on

during his long residence there the difference of his every shelf. There were strange reptiles, preserved

age was only marked by the increasing rotundity of in spirits — cabinets of shells and -insects — instru-

his person, and the change his bushy eye-brows under- meats, of which the use could only be guessed — and,

went, from black to grizzled, from grizzled to white. above all, books in quantity so numerous, and in

His eyes were dark, quick, and intelligent, his fes- bulk so immense, that some of the ignorant did not tures well shaped, yet his countenance was by no fail to ascribe to Dr. Foster the character of a con- means prepossessing. There was something stern in jurer. But, besides these marvels, there was one his brow, heightened by an air of extreme reserve,” closet that excited the curiosity of every gossip in the and the close compression of lips, which seemed village — aye, and of some who were not gossips, too. shut as with a clasp. You were astonished when The Doctor repeatedly sate there late at night, and he spoke, almost startled ; and yet that deep, rich, though Mrs. Gage, the housekeeper, had listened sonorous voice was any thing but disagreeable. many a time on the stairs in the dead of night, and

On his first arrival in Friarscroft, his family con- applied her eye to the key-hole, she was as often sisted of an old woman, who acted as cook and baffled in her laudable pursuit of knowledge, by the housekeeper, a young gitl who assisted her, and a dead silence of the room, and the key-hole being boy, whose duties were compounded from those of stopped with the key, which was turned within, footman, groom, and journeyman, inasmuch as he She declared, however, that once she heard some- cleaned knives and shoes, looked after the Doctor’s body muttering low in the closet, and that another

A VILLAGE ROMANCE. 103

time her muter came suddenly out before she could slip away, and, as he locked the door behind him, cast on her a look which froze the very blood in her veins.

Darker and darker grew the surmises of the wor thy lieges of Friarscioft as to the contents of the closet. Could the Doctor be a body snatcher, and had he there concealed the mangled remains of a fellow creature? But, if so, from whence did the Doctor procure his ” subjects,” and how were they, conveyed unseen into his premises ? In a village watched by the Argus eyes of seven wakeful spin sters, and two ancient watchmen, it was next to im possible that such a thing could pass undetected. It was more likely that this mysterious closet was a receptacle for the skeletons and preparations, need ful in the Doctor’s profession — so said the more en lightened. It was most likely the Doctor was a wizard, and practised the black art in this secret chamber — so said the ignorant and superstitious. Each settled the question to his own fancy, and, the Doctor meanwhile went on in his daily course, as undisturbed as if there had never been any question about his concerns at all.

He had occupied his domicile in Friarseroft some §is or seven years when an incident occurred which •gain set his neighbours on the qui vine respecting his affairs. They had always been wondering about him since he came amongst them, but the circum stance to which I allude increased their curiosity to > degree that was almost unbearable.

It was a calm starry night in Autumn. All Fri- arscroft was wrapt in repose, and only one solitary light was seen gleaming from a window in the Doc tor’s house. Suddenly the sound of approaching wheels startled several of the inhabitants from their slumbers. It was too early for the arrival of the mail — too late for the return of any of the peaceful villagers from the county town. Nearer came the sound — the rattle of a carriage driven fast and furi ously.. Divers curious persons leaped from their beds, but before they could reach the windows of

their apartments the phenomenon had disappeared

It was only those who were fortunate enough to re side near the centre of the street, who had the satis faction of seeing the vehicle stop suddenly before Doctor Foster’s door, and of hearing his night-bell violently rung. The disturbance was occasioned by s chaise and four with lamps, and as soon as the steps were let down, on the opening of the Doctor’s door, a female figure bearing a large bundle ‘descend ed from the carriage and entered the house. Half an hour elapsed before the door re-opened — then the Doctor himself came forth, supporting the lady, whom he assisted into the carriage. He lingered an instant beside it — then bade the post boys drive on, ami the chaise was whirled rapidly out of sight. The Doctor stood gazing after it, quite unconscious what observing eyes were watching him from the opposite side of the street, and after musing, as it seemed, for some minutes, returned slowly to his house and closed the door.

A few additional circumstances transpired next day, through the medium of Mrs. Gage. She stated, that on hearing a noise in the house, on the previ ous night, she ventured to peep from her chamber, and saw her master conducting a lady into the mys terious closet. Not knowing what was going on, she thought it best to steal down stairs, and ” see if

she could hear what they were doing.” She heard the Doctor speaking very low and steadily, but she could not make out the words he said, except ” Lucy” and ” forgive.” And then she heard the lady sobbing as if her heart would break-, and entreating the Doctor to take care of somebody or other. On hearing them moving, as if they were coming out of the closet, she flew back to her room, and did not dare to look out again until she heard the carriage drive off. Her master went immediately to his room, but she heard him walking up and down all night as he always did when any thing vexed him. In the morning she was summoned to his dressing room, where he showed her a little girl of about two years old, who was sleeping on a sofa. He told her the child must be taken great care of, as it was the orphan of a very particular friend. Mrs. Gage ventured to inquire the infant’s name, and was told, somewhat sharply, she was to be called Miss Emily. Further the deponent knew not, and some might have imagined the whole story to be a figment of Mre. Gage’s active imagina tion, had she not held in her arms the lovely little child who was the heroine of her tale.

Of course Miss Emily was an object of no small interest. Various were the conjectures as to her pa rentage — strict was the scrutiny which her dress and features underwent. But there was nothing in the clear blue eyes — the fair childish face, and the sim ple white frock, which gave the desired information. ” Pity she was not a little older,” said every body, for she might then have remembered something which could have furnished a clue to the mystery ; but, unfortunately, the only words she could speak intelligibly were ” Mamma,” and ” Dash,” or, as she she pronounced it, ” Dass,” which latter name being applied by her to every spaniel she saw, it was con jectured she had left a favourite dog in her former home. As any attempts to penetrate this second mystery of the Doctor’s were found to be useless, they were soon given up, and the curiosity the child’s arrival had at first excited, was replaced by the kinder feelings of affectionate interest awakened by herself. She throve wonderfully under Mrs. Gage’s care, and made herself friends wherever she appeared, not more by the extreme beauty of her person, than by her affectionate disposition, and winning ways. A hap pier little child never existed. She seemed to have that rare gift — a perpetual fountain of joy within herself. She had that sweet and sunny nature which, ever bright itself, sheds gladness on all around it. She was happy at home or abroad ; happy in the Doc tor’s quiet garden, where she trotted about, singing her childish hymns — happy in her walks, her visits, her plays, with or without companions, and, perhaps, happiest of all in the society of a large rough-haired dog, procured by her guardian from some distance, and joyfully recognised as ” Dash” from the moment of his arrival.

For some time Doctor Foster displayed but few tokens of especial regard for the child so mysterious ly consigned to his charge, beyond exceeding care of her health, and an anxiety to heap upon her every species of childish finery that he could devise. But the aspect of affairs changed when Emily was trans formed from an infant into a lovely little girl of seven. The Doctor seemed suddenly smitten with the conviction that she would not always remain a child, and that it was incumbent on him to educate her — so her education commenced accordingly. She

104 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

was no longer left to the care of Mrs. Gage, she was no longer permitted to spend hours in the fields, with Dash for her sole protector and companion. — She was now the alternate plaything and pupil of the Doctor, and her education his constant hobby. Read ing she had already learnt, she scarcely knew how, and Doctor Foster was surprised and delighted to discorer what rich veins of thought, and feeling, and imagination, were already opening in her mind. The fairy tales she had read were scarcely more fanciful than the fairy scenes she imagined, and now that the Doctor condescended to take an interest in her pur suits, her mind expanded rapidly, and her little heart warmed and gladdened under that genial sympathy. A music master was procured at considerable ex pense from the country town, and, with this excep tion, her guardian generally superintended her stu dies himself. He was an excellent linguist — a man of deep and varied information, and now the stores which had for years lain buried in his solitary mind, were brought to light for the benefit of his lovely and beloved ward. ” She is not like her mother, thank Heaven !” was his muttered expression, while gazing on her animated face and listening to her gay voice — ” She is not like her mother, as I feared, at first, she would have been !”

I have called my story a Romance, and, therefore, I ought to keep my mystery till near the end of its narration ; but I deem it better to quit the beaten ground of tale tellers in general, and hasten to an explanation of so much as may render the Doctor’s mutterings intelligible.

The mother of Emily was a most beautiful and accomplished woman — one who had in her youth been the object of much admiration, and of one affection as sincere as ever glowed in a human breast. She had been early betrothed to him who loved her so truly, but had deserted him when a suitor richer, more fashionable, and of higher rank, sued for her hand. That forsaken lover was Doctor Foster. It was to this circumstance that Friarscroft was in debted for its remarkable man. As soon as the first agony of his disappointment had subsided, he deter mined to leave his native place at once and for ever. He had no near relations living, except a sister, who was happily married to a worthy country Baronet. Independent of his profession he had a considerable property, and with this he retired to Friarscroft, a nook where he might spend the remainder of his life — ” the world forgetting, by the world forgot.”

The fair cause of his self-banishment fluttered on, for some time, the giddy denizen of a circle as heart less as herself. During her years of prosperity she became the mother of two sons, who both died in their infancy. But a darker day — an hour of retri bution — was at hand. The extravagance of herself and her husband, had already reduced their fortune to a trifle. Discontent, uneasiness, and discord, stole gradually into their home. The temper of Mrs. Les lie was not proof against her various vexations, and her health proved as fragile. Her husband grew weary of her and sought a refuge from his comfort less home, and pining wife, amidst all kinds of dissi pation. In the midst of all this gloom, the little Emily made her appearance, and, strange to say, awakened in the sore and crushed heart of her mo ther an affection with which she had never welcomed the infants born in her happier days. Mr. Leslie died soon after the birth of this child, and his widow strug

gled awhile to keep up some appearance of her former grandeur, amongst the fast fading splendours of her mansion. But her health was declining — her re sources nearly exhausted — and she was deeply in debt. Her proud spirit spurned the idea of returning to her own relations ; and her husband’s connections, who had always been averse to his marriage with her, quietly dropped her acquaintance. In this emer gency she resolved to entreat the aid of her slighted lover. It was a strange contradiction in that proud nature ! She, who scorned to apply to her own rela. tives in her distress, felt almost a pleasure in the thought of being obliged to him she had injured. — Perhaps she felt that there was something like expia- thin in the humiliation — or, perhaps, she felt that her most solid ground of reliance was in the sterling truth and kindness of his nature. Her plan was soon laid. She gathered together the little remnants of her property and her really valuable jewels, resolving to fly to the Continent. She left town suddenly, ac. companied only by her little girl. With that child she felt she was about to part for ever. She had deter mined to take her to Dr. Foster’s house, and entreat him to shelter and cherish her. She felt her days were numbered, and the thought of dying abroad and leaving her unprotected babe amongst strangers, was insupportable. We have seen the event. She did reach the Doctor’s residence, and at a much later hour than she had intended, in consequence of an accident on the road. The Doctor was shocked, astonished, grieved, and, at first refused to accept the guardianship of the infant. But there was one argu ment which he felt to be irresistible. ” I am dying,” said the mother, and she drew back the veil from her faded face ; “lam dying, and how can I leave ray only child, a stranger in a strange land ? Yet so must she be left — a wretched, unprotected orphan, if you refuse to receive her.”

Her haggard cheek with its hectic flush, the fear ful brightness of her hollow eye, the altered tone of her voice were indeed sadly corroborative of her as sertion that her death was near at hand. The Doc tor’s heart melted within him.

” Lucy Leslie,” he said, as he took her wasted hand in his — “you have sinned, but you have suffered — from my heart I freely forgive you the falsehood which has cast a shadow over my whole existence. Fear not for your child — she shall be well cared for. But remember, if at any future day you should be anxious to reclaim her, you will not be permitted to do so. She must be mine — wholly and entirely mine ; and no change of circumstance must ever induce you to attempt even to see her. This you must promise — solemnly promise— or I cannot grant your request.”

” I promise,” said Mrs. Leslie, her voice hall choked by sobs — ” It will not be long ere I shall be beyond the temptation of breaking my vow.”

Her foreboding was fulfilled — she died at Florence, about six months after Dr. Foster accepted the guardianship of her daughter. How religiously he kept his promise of protection we have already seen.

I must now entreat my readers to imagine an in terval of ten year*, during which Emily Leslie has been gradually changing from a sweet child into a lovely girl, from a lovely girl to a graceful, budding woman. She is ” little Miss Emily” no longer, but a fair, tall, intelligent maiden of seventeen.

It was a bright summer evening, and Emily Leslie

i

102 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

Written for the Lady’s Book.

A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

sY MISS M . A. sROWNE, LIVERPOOL, ENG.

Every body knows that every English country vil- splendid black horse, Eblis, (that name sadly puzzled

lage has its great man — the Squire, the Vicar, or the the natives !) mixed medicines under the Doctor’s

Lord of the Manor, as the case may be. But most directions, and delivered the same at the houses of

villages have likewise a remarkable man, a person- the sick.

age not necessarily a member of any particular class His patients were the only society with which

of society. The remarkable man of Friarscroft was, Doctor Foster held any communication. He uni.

unquestionably, Dr. Foster. formly refused the squire’s invitations to dinner, the

Friarscroft is a small village situated at some dis- clergyman’s to supper, the old ladies’ to “tea and

tance from the metropolis. It lies in a quiet valley, turn out.” They persecuted him for a year or so, but

amidst well cultivated slopes, interspersed with patch- after that fhey let him alone. He never made any visas,

es of rich woodland, and really is a beautiful spot, save professional ones, and never undertook cases of

with its scattered white houses, its Elizabethan par- nerves or vapours, except to order a blister in the

sonage, and its tall graceful church-spire shooting up. one case, and a dose of rhubarb in the other, which

wards from a clump of dark yew trees. prescriptions were so effectual that a nervous or va-

About the middle of the irregular street stood the pourish subject was soon not to be found in his neigh-

Doctor’s house — an old fashioned edifice with pointed bourhood. But in cases of real suffering no one could

gables and white walls, thickly embowered in ivy, be kinder in manner, or more regular in attendance,

clematis, and honey-suckle. It stood near the road, than the Doctor, although it was always observed

just within a neat row of white palings, and its green that the poorer the patient, the more cheerfully were

door displayed a large brass plate, whereon the name the Doctor’s services given. He seemed to sofien

of Doctor Foster was engraved in very legible cha- towards the parish poor more than all, and his silence

racters. That door had a strange, unnatural appear- and sternness gave way as he listened to the detail

ance, amidst the rich tapestry of leaves and flowers. of their sufferings, and cheered them with the Ian-

The back part of the dwelling, however, had no guage of sympathy and consolation, such blemish. The transome windows looked out Of his skill nobody entertained a doubt, althongh

on a sloping garden, terraced after the fashion of for. some fanciful persons did once attempt to bring in a

mer days, and full of clipped yews and quaint flower rival in the person of Mr. Augustus Popjoy, a spruce

plots. It terminated in a smooth green declivity, Cockney. But after Mr. Popjoy had sojourned three

sloping to the border of a beautiful stream, which mortal months with Mrs. Bell, of the post-office,

here made a graceful bend, widening a little where without gaining further patronage than that of two

it swept from the covert of willows and alders which old maids and a pet lap-dog, he departed one morn-

nearly met over its current a little higher up. ing without beat of drum, leaving his landlady his

Here dwelt Doctor Foster — the only medical creditor for three months rent, hia two maiden cus-

practitioner in Friarscroft, or within some miles there- tomers minus a medical man and a beau, and poor

of. He was about the middle height, rather stout, Shock with a dose of medicine administered on the

and extremely muscular. His garments were always previous evening, which put a period to that amiable

of a by-gone fashion — that is to say, he wore knee quadruped’s existence in the course of the day. breeches, square-toed shoes, with large silver buckles, Doctor Foster’s house was no less singular than

an antiquated coat and waistcoat, and a huge black its master. It was filled from top to bottom with

wig. He was barely thirty when he first came to “curiosities,” as his housekeeper called them. There

Friarscroft, but even then he was similarly clad, and were birds of rare plumage crowding gla*s cases on

during his long residence there the difference of his every shelf. There were strange reptiles, preserved

age was only marked by the increasing rotundity of in spirits — cabinets of shells and -insects — instru-

his person, and the change his bushy eye-brows under- meats, of which the use could only be guessed — and,

went, from black to grizzled, from grizzled to white. above all, books in quantity so numerous, and in

His eyes were dark, quick, and intelligent, his fes- bulk so immense, that some of the ignorant did not tures well shaped, yet his countenance was by no fail to ascribe to Dr. Foster the character of a con- means prepossessing. There was something stern in jurer. But, besides these marvels, there was one his brow, heightened by an air of extreme reserve,” closet that excited the curiosity of every gossip in the and the close compression of lips, which seemed village — aye, and of some who were not gossips, too. shut as with a clasp. You were astonished when The Doctor repeatedly sate there late at night, and he spoke, almost startled ; and yet that deep, rich, though Mrs. Gage, the housekeeper, had listened sonorous voice was any thing but disagreeable. many a time on the stairs in the dead of night, and

On his first arrival in Friarscroft, his family con- applied her eye to the key-hole, she was as often sisted of an old woman, who acted as cook and baffled in her laudable pursuit of knowledge, by the housekeeper, a young gitl who assisted her, and a dead silence of the room, and the key-hole being boy, whose duties were compounded from those of stopped with the key, which was turned within, footman, groom, and journeyman, inasmuch as he She declared, however, that once she heard some- cleaned knives and shoes, looked after the Doctor’s body muttering low in the closet, and that another

A VILLAGE ROMANCE. 103

time her muter came suddenly out before she could slip away, and, as he locked the door behind him, cast on her a look which froze the very blood in her veins.

Darker and darker grew the surmises of the wor thy lieges of Friarscioft as to the contents of the closet. Could the Doctor be a body snatcher, and had he there concealed the mangled remains of a fellow creature? But, if so, from whence did the Doctor procure his ” subjects,” and how were they, conveyed unseen into his premises ? In a village watched by the Argus eyes of seven wakeful spin sters, and two ancient watchmen, it was next to im possible that such a thing could pass undetected. It was more likely that this mysterious closet was a receptacle for the skeletons and preparations, need ful in the Doctor’s profession — so said the more en lightened. It was most likely the Doctor was a wizard, and practised the black art in this secret chamber — so said the ignorant and superstitious. Each settled the question to his own fancy, and, the Doctor meanwhile went on in his daily course, as undisturbed as if there had never been any question about his concerns at all.

He had occupied his domicile in Friarseroft some §is or seven years when an incident occurred which •gain set his neighbours on the qui vine respecting his affairs. They had always been wondering about him since he came amongst them, but the circum stance to which I allude increased their curiosity to > degree that was almost unbearable.

It was a calm starry night in Autumn. All Fri- arscroft was wrapt in repose, and only one solitary light was seen gleaming from a window in the Doc tor’s house. Suddenly the sound of approaching wheels startled several of the inhabitants from their slumbers. It was too early for the arrival of the mail — too late for the return of any of the peaceful villagers from the county town. Nearer came the sound — the rattle of a carriage driven fast and furi ously.. Divers curious persons leaped from their beds, but before they could reach the windows of

their apartments the phenomenon had disappeared

It was only those who were fortunate enough to re side near the centre of the street, who had the satis faction of seeing the vehicle stop suddenly before Doctor Foster’s door, and of hearing his night-bell violently rung. The disturbance was occasioned by s chaise and four with lamps, and as soon as the steps were let down, on the opening of the Doctor’s door, a female figure bearing a large bundle ‘descend ed from the carriage and entered the house. Half an hour elapsed before the door re-opened — then the Doctor himself came forth, supporting the lady, whom he assisted into the carriage. He lingered an instant beside it — then bade the post boys drive on, ami the chaise was whirled rapidly out of sight. The Doctor stood gazing after it, quite unconscious what observing eyes were watching him from the opposite side of the street, and after musing, as it seemed, for some minutes, returned slowly to his house and closed the door.

A few additional circumstances transpired next day, through the medium of Mrs. Gage. She stated, that on hearing a noise in the house, on the previ ous night, she ventured to peep from her chamber, and saw her master conducting a lady into the mys terious closet. Not knowing what was going on, she thought it best to steal down stairs, and ” see if

she could hear what they were doing.” She heard the Doctor speaking very low and steadily, but she could not make out the words he said, except ” Lucy” and ” forgive.” And then she heard the lady sobbing as if her heart would break-, and entreating the Doctor to take care of somebody or other. On hearing them moving, as if they were coming out of the closet, she flew back to her room, and did not dare to look out again until she heard the carriage drive off. Her master went immediately to his room, but she heard him walking up and down all night as he always did when any thing vexed him. In the morning she was summoned to his dressing room, where he showed her a little girl of about two years old, who was sleeping on a sofa. He told her the child must be taken great care of, as it was the orphan of a very particular friend. Mrs. Gage ventured to inquire the infant’s name, and was told, somewhat sharply, she was to be called Miss Emily. Further the deponent knew not, and some might have imagined the whole story to be a figment of Mre. Gage’s active imagina tion, had she not held in her arms the lovely little child who was the heroine of her tale.

Of course Miss Emily was an object of no small interest. Various were the conjectures as to her pa rentage — strict was the scrutiny which her dress and features underwent. But there was nothing in the clear blue eyes — the fair childish face, and the sim ple white frock, which gave the desired information. ” Pity she was not a little older,” said every body, for she might then have remembered something which could have furnished a clue to the mystery ; but, unfortunately, the only words she could speak intelligibly were ” Mamma,” and ” Dash,” or, as she she pronounced it, ” Dass,” which latter name being applied by her to every spaniel she saw, it was con jectured she had left a favourite dog in her former home. As any attempts to penetrate this second mystery of the Doctor’s were found to be useless, they were soon given up, and the curiosity the child’s arrival had at first excited, was replaced by the kinder feelings of affectionate interest awakened by herself. She throve wonderfully under Mrs. Gage’s care, and made herself friends wherever she appeared, not more by the extreme beauty of her person, than by her affectionate disposition, and winning ways. A hap pier little child never existed. She seemed to have that rare gift — a perpetual fountain of joy within herself. She had that sweet and sunny nature which, ever bright itself, sheds gladness on all around it. She was happy at home or abroad ; happy in the Doc tor’s quiet garden, where she trotted about, singing her childish hymns — happy in her walks, her visits, her plays, with or without companions, and, perhaps, happiest of all in the society of a large rough-haired dog, procured by her guardian from some distance, and joyfully recognised as ” Dash” from the moment of his arrival.

For some time Doctor Foster displayed but few tokens of especial regard for the child so mysterious ly consigned to his charge, beyond exceeding care of her health, and an anxiety to heap upon her every species of childish finery that he could devise. But the aspect of affairs changed when Emily was trans formed from an infant into a lovely little girl of seven. The Doctor seemed suddenly smitten with the conviction that she would not always remain a child, and that it was incumbent on him to educate her — so her education commenced accordingly. She

104 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

was no longer left to the care of Mrs. Gage, she was no longer permitted to spend hours in the fields, with Dash for her sole protector and companion. — She was now the alternate plaything and pupil of the Doctor, and her education his constant hobby. Read ing she had already learnt, she scarcely knew how, and Doctor Foster was surprised and delighted to discorer what rich veins of thought, and feeling, and imagination, were already opening in her mind. The fairy tales she had read were scarcely more fanciful than the fairy scenes she imagined, and now that the Doctor condescended to take an interest in her pur suits, her mind expanded rapidly, and her little heart warmed and gladdened under that genial sympathy. A music master was procured at considerable ex pense from the country town, and, with this excep tion, her guardian generally superintended her stu dies himself. He was an excellent linguist — a man of deep and varied information, and now the stores which had for years lain buried in his solitary mind, were brought to light for the benefit of his lovely and beloved ward. ” She is not like her mother, thank Heaven !” was his muttered expression, while gazing on her animated face and listening to her gay voice — ” She is not like her mother, as I feared, at first, she would have been !”

I have called my story a Romance, and, therefore, I ought to keep my mystery till near the end of its narration ; but I deem it better to quit the beaten ground of tale tellers in general, and hasten to an explanation of so much as may render the Doctor’s mutterings intelligible.

The mother of Emily was a most beautiful and accomplished woman — one who had in her youth been the object of much admiration, and of one affection as sincere as ever glowed in a human breast. She had been early betrothed to him who loved her so truly, but had deserted him when a suitor richer, more fashionable, and of higher rank, sued for her hand. That forsaken lover was Doctor Foster. It was to this circumstance that Friarscroft was in debted for its remarkable man. As soon as the first agony of his disappointment had subsided, he deter mined to leave his native place at once and for ever. He had no near relations living, except a sister, who was happily married to a worthy country Baronet. Independent of his profession he had a considerable property, and with this he retired to Friarscroft, a nook where he might spend the remainder of his life — ” the world forgetting, by the world forgot.”

The fair cause of his self-banishment fluttered on, for some time, the giddy denizen of a circle as heart less as herself. During her years of prosperity she became the mother of two sons, who both died in their infancy. But a darker day — an hour of retri bution — was at hand. The extravagance of herself and her husband, had already reduced their fortune to a trifle. Discontent, uneasiness, and discord, stole gradually into their home. The temper of Mrs. Les lie was not proof against her various vexations, and her health proved as fragile. Her husband grew weary of her and sought a refuge from his comfort less home, and pining wife, amidst all kinds of dissi pation. In the midst of all this gloom, the little Emily made her appearance, and, strange to say, awakened in the sore and crushed heart of her mo ther an affection with which she had never welcomed the infants born in her happier days. Mr. Leslie died soon after the birth of this child, and his widow strug

gled awhile to keep up some appearance of her former grandeur, amongst the fast fading splendours of her mansion. But her health was declining — her re sources nearly exhausted — and she was deeply in debt. Her proud spirit spurned the idea of returning to her own relations ; and her husband’s connections, who had always been averse to his marriage with her, quietly dropped her acquaintance. In this emer gency she resolved to entreat the aid of her slighted lover. It was a strange contradiction in that proud nature ! She, who scorned to apply to her own rela. tives in her distress, felt almost a pleasure in the thought of being obliged to him she had injured. — Perhaps she felt that there was something like expia- thin in the humiliation — or, perhaps, she felt that her most solid ground of reliance was in the sterling truth and kindness of his nature. Her plan was soon laid. She gathered together the little remnants of her property and her really valuable jewels, resolving to fly to the Continent. She left town suddenly, ac. companied only by her little girl. With that child she felt she was about to part for ever. She had deter mined to take her to Dr. Foster’s house, and entreat him to shelter and cherish her. She felt her days were numbered, and the thought of dying abroad and leaving her unprotected babe amongst strangers, was insupportable. We have seen the event. She did reach the Doctor’s residence, and at a much later hour than she had intended, in consequence of an accident on the road. The Doctor was shocked, astonished, grieved, and, at first refused to accept the guardianship of the infant. But there was one argu ment which he felt to be irresistible. ” I am dying,” said the mother, and she drew back the veil from her faded face ; “lam dying, and how can I leave ray only child, a stranger in a strange land ? Yet so must she be left — a wretched, unprotected orphan, if you refuse to receive her.”

Her haggard cheek with its hectic flush, the fear ful brightness of her hollow eye, the altered tone of her voice were indeed sadly corroborative of her as sertion that her death was near at hand. The Doc tor’s heart melted within him.

” Lucy Leslie,” he said, as he took her wasted hand in his — “you have sinned, but you have suffered — from my heart I freely forgive you the falsehood which has cast a shadow over my whole existence. Fear not for your child — she shall be well cared for. But remember, if at any future day you should be anxious to reclaim her, you will not be permitted to do so. She must be mine — wholly and entirely mine ; and no change of circumstance must ever induce you to attempt even to see her. This you must promise — solemnly promise— or I cannot grant your request.”

” I promise,” said Mrs. Leslie, her voice hall choked by sobs — ” It will not be long ere I shall be beyond the temptation of breaking my vow.”

Her foreboding was fulfilled — she died at Florence, about six months after Dr. Foster accepted the guardianship of her daughter. How religiously he kept his promise of protection we have already seen.

I must now entreat my readers to imagine an in terval of ten year*, during which Emily Leslie has been gradually changing from a sweet child into a lovely girl, from a lovely girl to a graceful, budding woman. She is ” little Miss Emily” no longer, but a fair, tall, intelligent maiden of seventeen.

It was a bright summer evening, and Emily Leslie

i

A VILLAGE ROMANCE. 105

Se pleasant solitude of Doctor Foster’s garden, iole scene had something fanciful and pictu- in its features and its grouping. Here was se, half cottage, half mansion, with its small s, glittering and flashing in the last sunshine nongst the embowering leaves. There were

old trees, their spires already darkly drawn the cloudless sky, and their bolls yet bright tolden glow. There were flowers of every I of the rarest kinds. There were birds of lumage and lovely song filling a small aviary side the lawn, and, fairer than all, there was *slie herself, seated on the sloping turf, one md supporting her temples and partially over, d by the rich ringlets of her chestnut hair, r resting on the collar of a small white reyhound who was standing by her side, and no her face, with his large, loving, dark eyes, ler dogs were near her — the one a large uated spaniel— deaf, blind, cross, (but still he was the Dash who had been her playmate sod 😉 the other a aplendid black Newfound, here was a slight shadow on her brow — a

r rich blue eye — and yet she had no definite

sorrow. True, her life was a most secluded

Doctor Foster, year by year, had been thdrawing her from the little world of Friars, tl she was never seen by her neighbours, nurch, or in some country excursion, where I ian invariably accompanied her. But then ;o kind, so solicitous for her happiness at He had gathered round her all the refine, id luxuries of life — music, flowers, graceful very description— dress and ornaments, the :id rarest, and such books as he had read md approved as fit for her perusal. But v one class of works which he carefully ex. m her library — novels or love tales in verse vere never permitted to meet her eye. No’ rhich the happiness of love is depicted, no ulated to awaken a thirst in her heart for

waters of affection was ever placed within He seemed to dread that she should even ve ; and was nervously miserable whenever seed any curiosity about the contemplated

in the village, which she could not but lira ugh the medium of Mrs. Gage. Yet I implanted feelings in Emily’s heart which

in the power of education to crush, and, visions were pure as an angel’s thoughts, one and all of affection, deep, tried, immor- jf some bright? being, still unknown, whose nee should yet be blended with hers. Still Nay— on that summer evening there • inhered face smiling through her dreams, ed on her very soul, a memory that drew tears front their fountain. She had looked being, and, though she owned it not, even she loved. It was in the village church- she had beheld the face that so haunted ibrance. She was leaning on the Doc. and he had paused for a few minutes to lme recovered patient — the only person on vould have bestowed more than a passing nily was looking around her at the little h the childish interest of one who seldom nge nice, when suddenly her eyes encoun-

of a young and handsome man who was her in evident admiration. It was but an

instant ere she withdrew her eyes, and felt the burn ing blood rushing over her brow and cheek, but even that instant had sufficed to impress the stranger’s image on her heart Ever since had it been present with her — those thick dark lucks, those noble fea tures, those deep, gentle, expressive eyes! Since that eventful Sabbath, she had been much alone, for the Doctor was much occupied in consequence of the breaking out of an epidemic in the village, and oh, that dangerous loneliness ! How did the heart of that young innocent maiden, thus left to its own thoughts, ponder over the beautiful image so lately brought before her, until it became a portion of her very ex istence.

On the evening in question Doctor Foster had left home to pay a professional visit at some distance, and his return was not expected until a later hour than usual, so Emily had wandered to her favourite spot, and was wiling away the time in that tender, romantic dreaming, which may be very unprofitable, but is very beautiful notwithstanding !

And there she sat, until the sun had long set, her little captive birds had twittered themselves to sleep, and the dew was beginning to rise in the opposite meadows. Suddenly the dogs pricked their ears, and the Newfoundland essayed a low dissatisfied growl. Emily started — raised her head, and lo ! the being of her dreams stood before her.

Who was he? — whence had he come? These were questions she did not ask. — She trembled, she was speechless. The rich colour fled for a moment from her cheek, and then rushed back tumultuously to her very temples. She hid her face in her delicate hands, and murmured, ” Oh, why — why are you here!”

” Then you have not forgotten me, fair, beoutiful being !” said the stranger, and the sound of his voice was so melodious that it sank at once into her in most heart ! ” You will not upbraid me,” he conti nued, ” for you know, even as I feel, that we have only met to mingle our hearts for ever !” He took her hands in his, she did not withdraw them. — Do not blame her — she was ignorant — unworldly — a child ! She sank into the stranger’s arms and wept ! *********

” Oh, leave me, leave me, Ernest !” was Emily’s hurried exclamation, as she heard the tramp of her guardian’s steed echoing through the village street.

“Farewell then, dearest, brightest, best!” said the youth, in that taking-for-granted phraseology, which lovers are so apt to use, even though they are but slightly acquainted with the good qualities of their idols. He pressed her to his heart and was gone.

From that hour the whole current of Emily’s feel ings were changed. A breeze had blown over the calm stream of her life, and though its waters were still clear, nay, even brighter than before, they were no longer calm. A star had shone through the twilight quiet of her existence, and her soul turned instinctively towards it as to her solace and guide. How the lovers contrived to meet unseen I know not, but somehow or other they did manage an interview, almost every day, and what was still more extraor dinary, three weeks went by and nobody found it out. Yet Emily Leslie was by no means perfectly happy. She felt as if she were ungrateful and unkind, she was ashamed of the deception which she felt she was prac tising, and the whispered converse at her chamber window, and the delicious stolen meeting, sweet as

106 THE VILLAGE ROMANCE.

they were, left a sense of restlessness and uneasy self-upbraiding on her mind.

And now that my story is coming to a crisis, now that my Emily is thoroughly established in a maze of love and perplexity, it is time that I should show how veritable a heroine I have been fortunate enough to meet with, and how, like that other Emily in Mrs. Radeliffe’s matchless romance, the ” Mysteries of Udolpho,” she was instrumental in unveiling the secrets of a mysterious chamber — even of that closet in the Doctor’s abode, which had so well and worthily employed the tongues and imaginations of the inha bitants of Friarscroft. The master of the mansion was absent. Emily had lingered in her apartment till a later hour than usual, owing to some trifling indisposition, and in passing down stairs perceived that the door of this chamber was a little open. The key had evidently been turned and withdrawn in a hurry so as to prevent the lock catching, and to this accident Emily was indebted for the opportunity of solving a mystery, which had been always as care fully hidden from her as from the rest of the world. She hesitated for a moment; but curiosity is strong, and never since the days of Blue Beard was there a woman who could resist a mysterious closet ! So Emily pushed open the door and saw — no skeleton, no half dissected corse, no sight of horror, but a small neatly furnished chamber, almost surrounded by shelves, well stored with books. There was one object, however, which at once caught and rivetted her attention — the portrait of a lovely woman, which hung opposite the door.

Where had she seen that face ? She had no dis tinct idea of who it resembled, yet it seemed as fami liar to her as her own. Nay, she almost fancied that the small rose mouth, the delicately arched brows, the open smooth forehead, bore some likeness to the features of that fair face which greeted her every morning in her mirror. But the dark eyes, so deep, so piercing in their concentrated light, and the raven hair wound smoothly round the small graceful head — where had she seen these ?

Surely in her dreams, in the visions of her child hood ! That face had bent over her infant couch — had stooped to kiss her there — years, years ago ! — The tide of sudden remembrance flowed over her heart, and sinking on her knees before the portrait, she murmured “mother.”

A hand was laid heavily on her shoulder ; she screamed, started, and sank at the feet of Doctor Foster. It was some minutes ere she recovered from her terror, and then her first thought was that by her intrusion she had for ever offended the kind hearted but eccentric being, in whose arms she now lay sob bing like a child. But she had no cause for fear. He put back the ringlets from her brow, and impressed a paternal kiss on her fair forehead, and soothed her with words, so kind and gentle, that her confidence was quickly restored. And then the twain sat down and conversed, long, long. It seemed as if the hoarded feelings of a life, the history of his early love, the tale of his motives and hopes for years, were poured out at once, in one burning torrent of elo quence, from the lips of Doctor Foster. He told Emily how she had been given to his care — how he had striven not to love her — how, in spite of himself, she had won the first place in his heart, and grown unto him even as a daughter — how he had been seized with a jealous foreboding, that if she were

permitted to mingle in society some one would step between him and his one treasure, and that he should be left a lonely old man, with a desolate spirit and > silent hearth. But here Emily could bear no more in silence — could no longer conceal the secret that was burning in her heart, and amidst her tears, and sobs, and prayers for forgiveness, Doctor Foster be came the confidant of the story of her love.

That the worthy man was a little angry, and a good deal hurt, my readers will easily believe. Per- haps they will think he had a right to be so in a much more terrible degree. But he timely recollected that it was by his means Emily had been kept in almost total ignorance of the world and its ways, and that the loneliness of her life, acting on a susceptible heart and vivid imagination, had only produced a natural result. Very soon, his greatest anxiely was, that he who had gained Emily’s affections, might prove worthy to retain them. It was dreadful to imagine that his cherished Emily might possibly be the dupe of some designing adventurer, and that her pure love and faith should be wasted on one unde serving of the blessing.

That very evening Emily Leslie walked with her lover in the shrubbery, led him to her aviary, to in troduce him, (as she said,) to a new inhabitant, and presented him to no less a curiosity than Doctor Foster; who she had arranged should meet them there. To her extreme surprise, the youth was won derfully self possessed. He bowed to the Doctor with great politeness, and even offered hitn his hand, which under the circumstances, it is not remarkable the Doctor did not take. There were a few moments of awkward hesitation, when the young man suddenly spoke, a glow of animation lighting up his handsome face — ” It is time to put an end to this silly mystery, which seems to be making us all so very uncomfort able, and therefore, my dear, kind, odd uncle Foster, let me introduce myself to you, as your dutiful thongh somewhat romantic nephew, Ernest Eingwood, of Ringwood Coppice, and son of that worthy lady, Dame Margaret Ringwood, whose maiden name was Foster. As to Emily,” continued the speaker, taking her hand fondly, ” I had long heard of the lonely beauty, whom my uncle, after the manner of some tyrant magician of old, held in the thraldom of his enchanted castle, and as report said the fair captive was designed for his bride, I resolved, at all hazards, to obtain a sight of such a prize, and if she were such ns I pictured her to myself, to start a rival candidate for her hand. How fair, how gentle, how infinitely lovelier than my loveliest imagining I have found her to be, I need not tell you, but I trust my uncle will forgive his scapegrace nephew, and seal my pardon with the gift of this little hand, to me the richest boon on earth.”

My romance is ended, as a good romance should end, with the perfect contentment of all the parties therein concerned. Doctor Foster abandoned his design of training Emily for a state of single blessed ness, and gave her away at the altar of Friarscroft church, about three months after the date of the above explanation. He continued to practise the healing art a little longer in his secluded village, when, feeling more lonely than he had anticipated, h» yielded to the solicitations of the youthful pair, and took up his abode at Ringwood Coppice, a near

HE DOVE’S ERRAND. 107

mrof Sir Ernest and his lady. The house sips, and prescribes much after the manner of common

lentre of the village is still occupied by a me- mortals. He may be a skilful practitioner, and a

an, but he has a plump good-humoured wife, worthy man, but he cannot fully supply in Friarscroft

en sturdy children ; moreover, he visits, gos- the place of its remarkable man — its Doctor Foster !

Written for the Lady’s Book.

THE DOVE’S ERRAND.

sY PARK sENJAMIN.

Unnea cover of the night, Feathered darting, take your flight! i/n$t tome cruel archer fling Arrow at your tender wing, And your white, unspotted tide Be with crimaoo colour dyed: — For with men who know not love You and I are living, Dove.

Now I bind a perfumed letter Round your neck with silken fetter; Bear it aafely, bear it well. Over mountain, lake, and dell. While the darkness is profound Vuu may fly along the ground, Itut when Morning’s herald ainga, Mount ye on sublimer wings! High in Heaven pursne your way Tilt the fading light of day, From the palace of the west, Tints with fleck’ring gold your breast. Shielded from the gaze of men Yos may stoop to Earth again.

‘fay then, fe a Acred darling, stay, ‘aauss, and look along your way. Veil I know how fast you fly, Ind the keenness of your eye, .y the time the second eve Wnes, your journey you’ll achieve, uul above a gentle vale Vil\ on easy pinion rail. -i that vale with dwellings strown .ne is standing all alone, fhite it rises ‘mid the leaves, Woodbines clamber o’er its eaves, nd the honeysuckle falls, cndant, on its silent walla. Pip a cottage, smell and fair, s a cloud in summer air,

v a lattice, wreathed with flowers, ich as Jink the dancing hours, tting in the twilight shade, nvied dove, behold a maid ! ocki escaped from sunny bond, leeks reclined on snowy hand.

Looking sadly to the sky. She will meet your searching eye. Fear not, doubt not, timid Dove, Yon have found the home of love ! – She will fold you to her breast — Seraphs have not purer rest ; She your weary plumes will kiss — Seraphs have not sweeter bliss. Tremble not, my dove, nor start, Should you feel her throbbing heart; Joy has made her bright eye dim — Well she knows you came from kim. Him she loves. Oh, luckless star! He from her must dwell afar.

From your neck her fingers fine Will the silken string untwine; Reading then the words I trace, Blushes will suffuse her face; To her lips the lines she’ll press. And again my dove caress. Mine, yes mine — oh, would that I Could on rapid pinions fly — Then I should not send you, dove, On an errand to my love : For I’d brave the sharpest gale And along the tempest sail ; Caring not for danger near, Hurrj ing heedless, void of fear To hear but one tender word, Breathed for me, my happy bird!

At the early dawn of day, She will send you on your way. Twining with another fetter Round your neck another letter. Speed ye, then, oh, swiftly speed, Like a prisoner newly freed; O’er the mountain, o’er the vale Homeward, homeward, swiftly sail I Never, never pause a plume, Though beneath you Edens bloom; Never, never think of rest ‘Till Night’s shadow turns your breast From pure white to mottled gray, And the stars are round your way — Love’s bright beacons they will shine, Dove, to show your home and mine:

72 LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES:

Written for the Lady’s Book.

LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES.

No. L

BADGEBURY.

CHAPTER I.

” I tell you, Charles, you must marry a woman of fortune, and what objections can you make to Miss Whitehead ?” said Mrs. Badgebury to her young son, perhaps for the fiftieth time, “what objection to a woman who has five thousand a year in her own power — no one to control her ?”

” Why, only just these few objections, madam ! — She is old — she is ugly — she is ill-tempered, and she is intolerably ignorant as well as insolently proud.”

” Pride, indeed ! I like to hear your father’s son talk of pride. You, who because you are descended from John de Badgebury, think yourself equal to the nobles of the land.”

” There is a generous pride in the good name of one’s ancestors,” said Charles Badgebury, with par donable warmth, ” that is almost a virtue. But for a woman to be proud because her father scraped money together by means the most unworthy — if not dishonest — ”

” Well ! well ! we will set that aside ; people must not be too scrupulous when they are poor. Miss Whitehead is but five or six years older than you are, and as to beauty — I had not much beauty, nor was I very young, and yet your high-born father found it very convenient to marry me.” ” But was he happy, madam ?” This was perhaps a thoughtless question, arising from the irritation of the moment, but it was a home stroke that roused Mrs. Badgebury’s ire, and thrown off her guard by the intemperance of passion, she poured forth a narrative just calculated to wound the feelings of her high spirited son, while it plainly showed him the abyss that opened at his feet.

” Happy ! Yes, he might have been happy, if he had been wise ! But he chose to be angry that I held the strings of the purse that I brought him. People said that he pined after a former flame, that he had left in India, or that some one there — some one jealous of his leaving — had given him a slow poison before he came away, which was the cause of his death ; but I tell you chagrin was that poison ! and he died from vexation that I would not let him pursue his follies, and waste my money as he had done his own ; and that I would not even give up the disposal of my money at my death. Who would trust a man, who, when he came home from India with a well- filled purse, spent the whole of his fortune in building a house ? Why the very cellars cost him so much that he could not finish the rest, which is the reason why the west wing has never been completed. Ten thousand pounds, it is said, were spent before the walls of the foundation were level with the ground, and if you take a torch and go through the empty cellars, arched strong enough to bear a church, you will believe it ; and when all was done, what had he? A fine house and a few hundred barren acres. The

farmers will not hirethe land, and there it lies useless; I was not going to spend a fortune in manure. And now, young gentleman, let me warn you — my money is all in my own power, and if you will not obey me, I will give it every shilling to your sister. You will then be Charles Badgebury, Esquire, of Badgebury, and its unproductive lands. A noble ancestry — a noble house — and a noble estate ! — while your sister will be a match for a lord — with my money !” And the unmotherly woman burst into a loud bitter langh.

Charles Badgebury covered his face with his hands, and the image of his father, tall, dignified, beautiful and generous, passed before him, touched with all the softening hues of early recollection. He spoke not, and his mother thought he was convinced. She rang a silver bell that stood on a table beside her, and on the entrance of a small black boy, bade him tell a female servant to dress Miss Badgebury and bring her thither.

All this passed in Mrs. Badgebury’s dressing-room, the only one in the house in which the architect had sacrificed his taste to the orders of the proprietor; it looked into the garden and its windows were not above three feet from the floor; every other light in the building had its heavy sash frame at least life feet from thence, so that children and short persons were obliged to mount chairs if they wished to get a glimpse of what was passing in the world. An am ple dressing-table, covered with thin muslin drapery, its looking-glass decorated in the same manner with the addition of bows of ribands to confine the folds, displayed numerous toilet boxes of Chinese manufac ture, whose various shapes might have puzzled a ma thematician to define, and an economist to declare their several uses, as the sublimer mysteries of the day were disdained by Mrs. Badgebury, she disdaining the use of lotions, rouge, pearl powder, the numberless brushes now ofdaily necessity ; they were all empty, and like some classes of domestics, kept merely for show. This was, in fact, a room of state, where the lady received her morning visiters. When she did sacri fice to the graces, which was not often, after rising in the morning, a very small closet nearer to her bed room served for that purpose.

When Mr. Badgebury returned from India — at that time a fruitful soil for amassing wealth — he found his paternal mansion, a long low building, with a large opening near each end, supported by well- proportioned columns, forming an entrance descend ing by winding steps to the rooms appropriated to the domestics. The surrounding grounds were laid out in the Dutch style brought into fashion by the third William; long avenues bordered by trees, with canals of stagnant water covered over by the broad.leaved water lily. Mr. Badgebury thonght himself wealthy, and he was so for the year 1730, when money was of so much more value than at the

BADGBBURY. 73

present day. He determined to pull down the old Beverly is lately dead, and his fine-lady daughter must

house and build a new one, and a fashionable archi- do something or starve.” The silver bell was again

tect submitting to his inspection a beautiful elevation tinkled. ” Juba, bring me a glass of water.”

from one oflnigo Jones’s plans, he immediately gave As Juba entered with the water on a silver salver,

him discretionary power to commence, without con- a young lady in deep mourning followed him. Mrs.

sidering the convenient distribution of the interior or Badgebury’s lap-dog barked furiously, and a parrot in

once sitting down to calculate the cost, merely stipu- a gilded cage, screamed in concert. The stranger

lating that there should be large convenient cellars. stopped in the middle of the room, but without ex-

Thc mansion rose in all the grandeur of a lofty, hibiting the smallest sign of fright or timidity. Juba

three-storied structure, with two wings, the admiration turned up his glistening eye, and displayed his white

of the surrounding country. The garden front was teeth, as if he would have said, ” Missy ! do you come

equal in beauty to the principal one, an immense hall here for pinchy pinchy, or cuffy cuffy?”

ran directly through the house, with large folding Mrs. Badgebury affected great state, and did not

doors to each end, and a superb staircase nearest the move, but when the uproar was somewhat abated,

garden, stretched its ample length, ornamented by a she pointed to Johanna saying, ” There is your pupil,

Corinthian pillar of native oak, of one single piece, you may take her to the school-room.”

A very spacious lobby at the head of the staircase Charles Badgebury, with the politeness usual to

opened on three sides into the principal bedrooms, him, had started up and placed a chair. Miss

These two rooms, of little use in themselves, took up Beverly seated herself with a graceful inclination of

bo much of the interior as to spoil all the others, two her head, and said, in a mild but firm tone of voice,

mean parlours, and a few small chambers being all ” I have not yet been informed, madam, what you

that could be accomplished besides, and these parlours wish me to teach the young lady ?”

as well as the hall being wainscotted only half way ” Teach her — why every thing to be sure. Mrs.

up, looked more like the smoking cabin of a sub- Arden tells me you understand music, and painting,

stantial farmer than rooms of state in which Mr. and languages, and dancing, and philosophy — though

Badgebury was to receive his high-born friends. I do not know what a woman has to do with philo-

The family portraits were all hung in the lobby, sophy — but as you will be paid for it you must teach

with the exception of one large groupe, such as is ft. And she says you are very clever with your

described in the Vicar of Wakefield, which looked needle ; that will suit me very well. I shall expect

absolutely small when placed over the hall chimney. Johanna to be taught every thing?”

piece. In this hall did Mr. Badgebury spend his me- ” What has Miss Badgebury read, madam?”

lanchly hours, pacing its length, and execrating the ” I won’t read at all!” roared Johanna, in a voice

folly which had led him to sink his whole moneyed louder than either lap-dog or parrot, ” I hate reading

property in bricks and mortar. The gardens remain- bo I do.”

ed in their original state from want of means to alter ” Oh ! my dear, but this young person will teach

them, and, as may be gathered from Mrs. Badgebury ‘s you to like it ; and washing too, and dressing.”

short narrative, when he submitted to an ill-assorted ” She shall catch me, first,” said Johanna, and

union for the purpose of bettering his affairs, he found rushed to the door, but the prudent mamma was pre-

he had exchanged one evil for another. He lingered pared for this and the door was fast. Johanna thus

through seven years of hopeless dejection, burying foiled, stood sulkily with her head against the wain-

his sorrows in his own bosom, and just after the scot.

birth of his third daughter, he sunk into an untimely ” Of course, you will dress Miss Badgebury, and

tomb. Two of his children had died before him. take your meals in the school-room ?”

When Charles Badgebury roused himself from his Miss Beverly’s pale face flushed very deep, but she

melancholy fit of abstraction, he noticed that his mo- was spared an answer, for Charles turned an indig-

ther’s dress was more splendid than was necessary nant eye on his mother, saying, ” While there is a

for the morning, and that his sister, now nearly thir- female servant in the house, my sister shall be waited

teen years old, was seated as usual on the corner of a on without troubling Miss Beverly, and while there

chair, with one finger in her mouth and one foot is a table spread, the lady who condescends to take

stretched out as far as possible, highly indignant at charge of her mind shall have a seat qt it. I am

having been compelled to submit to an unusual ablu- afraid the office will be painful enough without add-

tion, and to the wearing a whole frock, two things ing to its burdens.”

she held in the greatest abhorrence. Mrs. Badgebury vented her anger by some very

Mrs. Badgebury was perhaps sorry she had said contemptuous glances, and then in honied tones said,

quite so much to her son within the last hour, for she “Come, my sweetest Johanna, my darling child —

knew his high temper was more than equalled by a won’t you go with this good humoured looking young

keenly susceptible heart. She began in a softer tone woman, and try to learn to read ?”

to speak of some arrangements she had been making. ” No !” said Johanna, stoutly.

” I have at length found a governess for Johanna,” ” And won’t you let her teach you to be a lady?”

said she, ” which is a matter of rejoicing to me, for ” No ! — Tom Dunk isn’t a lady, and I only want

I really cannot pretend to manage her any longer, to be like Tom Dunk ; to take birds’ nests, and set

What with obstinacy and rudeness she wears me out. the dogs a fighting, and saw wood.”

She climbs trees like a boy. I believe she has not a ” Why, my dear, you must not be like a boy. You

whole dress in her wardrobe ; and as to learning — I will have a large fortune, and you must learn to be

am ashamed to think of it — she absolutely detests it. like me.”

I wish there were colleges for girls as well as for ” Ah ! but the maids say you never was nor never

boys, I would send her off directly. I have never will he a lady, though you had a large fortune.”

yet found a governess that would undertake to teach Here a violent box on the ear of Johanna, put all such a hoyden, nor should I now, but poor parson things in uproar again, and the young lady would VOL. XXIII. — 7

74 LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES :

have returned the blow with interest if her brother had not withheld her. Happily the announcement of dinner came most opportunely for the cessation of hostilities. Miss rushed, head and shoulders foremost, to the dining parlour, followed by her fond mother, and Charles gave his arm to Miss Beverley, delighted to conduct a woman of her elegance to the once hospitable board of his father, now scantily spread, ill served, and ill conducted by the rich Mrs. Badge- bury.

CHAPTER II.

Miss Beverley had been principally educated by her highly gifted father, and though not left so utterly des titute as Mrs. Badgebury had stated, but committed to the care of a female friend, he laid his dying injunctions on her to strive to increase her small income by the exertions of her talents that she might secure an honourable independence. This situation was the first that offered, and as the untameable Jo hanna had been carefully kept from the sight of Mrs. Allien, who conducted the negotiation, it was accepted without hesitation. She saw at a glance the extreme difficulty of teaching a child who had been indulged to excess until she became unbearable, and was then cuffed and coaxed by turns. Though Mrs. Badge- bury with impatience bore the slightest remonstrance from her son, she was entirely governed by her daugh ter, who in all combats, whether of the tongue or the hands, usually came off victorious. Coercion of any kind was unavailing. Miss Beverly, with tact sur prising for one so young, saw that her only chance of succeeding was to continue the system of indul gence and by contriving many ways of amusing her pupil, by very slow degrees she began to humanize her.

The injudicious interference of Mrs. Badgebury was yet more trying than the savage manners of the daughter, and her jealousy of another’s influence over her more perplexing than either. Johanna and the maids soon found out that Miss Beverly was really a lady, and this drove the vulgar rich woman into the most unwise plan she could have pursued — that of en deavouring to convince her son that this young woman had neither beauty, grace, talents, nor virtues, and by this means bringing her various perfections under his daily and hourly notice.

The progress of Johanna in civilization was a matter of astonishment to the whole house, and her growing affection for Miss Beverly enraged the ignorant and arrogant mother. She said it was very odd that a word or look from a stranger should do more than all her entreaties or promises; she forgot that the latter were very seldom kept and therefore never trusted. Her son, too, began to find Miss Beverly’s company so attractive, that he was delighted to assist in development of the unknown powers of his hitherto unbearable sister. This was not to be endured, and Mrs. Badgebury, asserting that it was impossible for any kind of learning to go on right out of the school room, issued orders for the two young ladies to con fine themselves to its precincts. Miss Beverly re monstrated, that as Johanna had hitherto been con tinually in the open air, such strict seclusion would have an injurious effect on her health, even now showing the ill symptoms that arise from unlimited indulgence. This was all in vain ; Mrs. Badgebury said a mother was the best judge of a child’s health, and of the means of preserving it. The governess

begged that, as walking was forbidden, her pupil might ride on horseback as some sort of substitute far climbing trees and sawing wood. No. Money could not be thrown away on horses and grooms. The school-room was large and airy, and if they wanted more room, they might walk in the great hall.

All that could be devised for a growing child, Miss Beverly contrived to put in execution for the now tractable and affectionate Johanna. She tried danc ing with the windows of the school-room open, but was shocked to find this regularly brought on a short cough and pain in the side. No part of her studies were made irksome, and many lessons wete given nra soce, while pacing the hall; and when an even ing visit took Mrs. Badgebury away, Charles always made one of the small party. He gradually found that a young woman of eighteen, educated at home, was infinitely his superior in many branches of useful learning, particularly natural philosophy, over which at college he had but superficially glanced. Classical learning was then, as now, thought to comprise the sum and substance of a high education, and Chatles Badgebury was struck with astonishment to find his Greek and Latin vanish into nothingness before Miss Beverly’s clear perceptions of whatever was good and beautiful in nature, or the practice of the social cha rities in life.

They were walking one evening when the rays of the declining sun shone full in the windows of the garden front, thus forming the single light favourable to the view of a picture. Miss Beverly asked some questions respecting the large groupe over the chim ney, observing that it was painted by a fine artist.

” It is my great grandfather and his family,” said Charles, ” his history is interesting, yet not without a parallel in our race. Do you believe in fatality, Miss Beverly ?”

” Not in the slightest degree. I believe that all things are wisely ordered and nothiug left to chance or fate.”

‘* But what if the same circumstances had occurred for several generations ; all equally disastrous as they were romantic, what would you ssy?”

” That there was an unfortunate combination of circumstances, but not a fatality.”

” My family seem to have a spell over them, which they are unable to break. I am placed iu the same unfortunate situation with this my noble ancestor;— his son followed his steps, and my own futher — beau tiful and brave — was not more happy. I am in the wake of these noble vessels, and I also am likely W be wrecked.”

” I cannot understand you. — I see here a very handsome man with his beautiful wife and children. What evil could come into such a groupe?”

” The mother of that gentleman was a titled wo man of haughty, imperious tenilier.” Charles blushed as he spoke, and when he went on, it was in a low, tremulous voice. ” She insisted on his marrying a rich relation of her own, while his heart was involuntarily fixed on her waiting-maid, a gentlewoman by birth, out so poor as to be obliged to serve a woman no way her superior but in an empty title. He neither re vealed his love nor resisted his mother’s commands, and thus dragged on a miserable existence till ha health was impaired, so that when his wife and mo ther died, and he was oble to give his hand w here his heart had ever been fixed, his few remaining yea™ were embittered by continual sickness. The portraits

BADGEBURY. 75

of the mother and his two wives hang in the lobby tbove, so that you may see the sacrifice he made when he obeyed his proud parent’s command.”

Miss Beverly was silent, nor did her countenance hetray what she thought or felt. Charles went on.

“One would have thought the humble waiting- maid would have learned a lesson from all this, but, strango to say, lovely as she looks, she was more haughty and supercilious than those who had gone hefore her. Fantastic, vain of her superior beauty, and determined on having no rival in that respect, she chose a wife for her son to serve as a foil to her charms, which it is said she retained, like the cele brated countess of Suffolk, to an extraordinary age. By her extravagance and folly she impaired the family estate, left by her doating husband too much in her power, so that my father, her grandson, was obliged to go to India to repair his fortune. And thither, I fear, I must go also.”

” If you do, I must give you a letter to an uncle of mine, resident at Bombay. I hope he is living, though we have not heard from him lately.”

” But tell me, Miss Beverly, does there not seem to be the same fatal spell over us all?”

“What you call a spell, seems to my apprehension a slight want of judgment, or at least, a deficiency in the article of firmness.”

” Tell me how?”

“In the first place, this gentleman before us, should not have allowed himself to love so unwisely.”

” Ah !” said Charles Badgebury with a sigh, ” how could he help it ?”

” Well, if he could not help it, he should not have married a woman so widely different.”

” Is that your real opinion, Miss Beverly?”

” Certainly it is. A man is unjust to himself and to the woman he marries, if he is sure that he can never love her.”

” You give me new life !” cried Charles, as if a sodden light had dawned on his mind. ” I will work, I will beg, I will starve — but I will not marry where I cannot love.”

” Oh, Miss Beverly !” exclaimed Johanna, with somewhat of her former childishness, ” I wish you would marry Charles. It would make ns all so happy.”

Charles, in the excitement of the moment, seized Miss Beverly’s hand ; but, gently disengaging it, she said gravely; ” My dear Johanna, you are too young to know how wrong that would be. Your brother must marry a woman of suitable fortune and equal rank in society.”

” Would you have me marry Miss Whitehead ?” said Charles, angrily.

” I never would advise persons to marry where they can neither love nor esteem. But like Johanna, 1 am too young to give counsel on such occasions — too young even to think of them.”

” Have you never thought of such subjects, Miss Beverly ?” said Charles, looking very anxiously in her face.

” Never — never. I have had too much real trou ble to find any time for creating imaginary ones.”

Charles was satisfied by the open expression of the most beautiful countenance he had ever seen ; a coun tenance much finer than the portrait before him, in the traits of mental superiority, and a sedate sweet ness, arising from a strict regulation of the affections. He could not withdraw his fascinated eyes till the

unwelcome sound of his mother’s chariot wheels compelled him to leave the hall.

Mrs. Badgebury ‘sown maid had always the charge of watching every one during her absence, and regu larly reported all she saw or heard. Had she done so correctly in the present instance, no evil would have arisen, but a garbled statement of whatever passed in the hall whenever her lady was away, and particularly the circumstances of the last evening was well calculated to alarm and irritate in the highest degree. The carriage was ordered early on the en suing morning, and Mrs. Badgebury drove without delay to the nearest magistrate, on whose heart, as he was a wealthy bachelor, she had long striven to make some impression, and who was her never failing friend in all domestic troubles.

Mr. Meredith was a man of singular humour and shrewdness, who always listened with great patience to the lady’s statements, and while he seemed most angry with the petty delinquent, generally found a loophole for escape. He had never been known to punish where there was no crime.

” Ah ! Mr. Meredith,” said the lady, wiping away a crocodile tear, ” here I am again with my troubles. You are the only true friend I have found since poor dear Mr. Badgebury’s death. It is a very hard thing for a lone woman to go through a world like this. I am now in worse perplexity than ever. I have got a witch in my house !”

” An old one, madam?”

” Oh ! no, sir. A young one — not eighteen.”

“A very dangerous age. I have known much mischief done by such witches. Indeed, I never saw an old one.”

” I assure you, sir, she has bewitched the whole

house, excepting my own maid A very prudent

person Jenkins is. — You know, Mr. Meredith, how many times she has saved my property when it has been in danger? How many rogueries she has de tected ?”

” I know she is a very prudent person in her own affairs, and that she has saved for herself a conside rable sum of money.”

” Ah ! now dear Mr. Meredith, there for once you are mistaken, for I give but small wages and she is quite poor.” Mr. Meredith never contradicted Mrs. Badgebury; he only nodded, and she went on. “This vile young woman has bewitched my son.”

” Very likely,” said he, ” I have known such things done before now.”

” And all the servants, except Jenkins.”

” What — men and maids, too ? That is most wonderful.”

s All— all, Mr. Meredith. They will fly at the lifting up of her finger. They watch her very looks.”

” A very dangerous person, truly.”

” But worse than all, she has completely changed my sweet Johanna in every respect ; aye, as much as if she had changed her in her cradle. No romping now — no monkey’s tricks. You would not know the dear child. I am sure she has given her something to bring all this about. I caught her once laying a white powder over her hands and face ; she stood me out that it was only sifted oatmeal to cure chapped skin, but I know better, and I fear she has given Charles some of this. You know there are such things as love powders, Mr. Meredith V

” Did you ever try them, Mrs. Badgebury ?” This was said with so searching a look, that it blanched

76 LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES:

the lady’s cheek. She fauhered, and it was some time before she could go on. At length, with her hand kerchief to her eyes, she said : ” But what alarms me more than all, though I suspect some mischief from ao much pouring over books and pictures, is, that with a single look she makes Johanna mind me when I speak ; a thing she never did in all her life before.”

” This is marvellous indeed ! I must see this witch !”

” Yes, Mr. Meredith, I intend you shall see her, and to tell you the truth, I want you to assist me in getting her out of the house, without my paying the wages that are due, which would be only encouraging her in her wickedness. Jenkins has showed me a sure way, but I had rather avoid it, for Charles is so full of honour, and generosity, and I know not what, that I am afraid if I take Jenkins’s way, he would fire up and expose us all. And oh! Mr. Meredith, when you see him will you give him some fatherly advice about Miss Whitehead ? You know he more than ever refuses to think of her ?”

” I will give Charles the best advice in my power, for as I loved the father so I love the children. Oh ! Mrs. Badgebury! Had those children been mine!” —

” They may be yours, yet, Mr. Meredith,” said the lady, with one of her sweetest smiles ; but observing the comically sour expression of the good magistrate’s face, she artfully added, ” by adoption, you know — when I am dead and gone!” Mr. Meredith bowed, and prepared to accompany her to Badgebury, whither they proceeded as fust as the two starved coach- horses could carry them.

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