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parently, when Elsworthy went to but I forgive her, and uncle also.
"P.S.- Uncle has no occasion to worrited to death with one thing mind, for them as has took charge and another, and did not expect to of me has promised to make a lady be alive to tell the tale if things
of me, as he always said I was went on like this for another
worthy of; and I leave all my month; but that Elsworthy was things for aunt's relations, as I infatuated like, and wouldn't send
can't wear such poor clothes in the hussy away, his wife complained to her sympathetic neigh my new station of life.” bour. When Elsworthy came back, Such was the girl's letter, with however, he was struck by the its natural impertinences and nasilence in the house, and sent the tural touch of kindness; and it reluctant woman up-stairs—“To made a great commotion in the see if she's been and made away neighbourhood, where a few spaswith herself, I suppose," the indig- modic search-parties were made up nant wife said, as she obeyed, with no real intentions, and came leaving Mrs Hayes full of curiosity to nothing, as was to be expected. on the steps of the door. Mrs It was a dreadful thing, to be sure, Elsworthy, however, uttered a great to happen to a respectable family; shriek a moment after, and came but when things had gone so far, down, with a frightened face, car the neighbours, on the whole, were rying a large pincushion, upon inclined to believe it was the best wbich, skewered through and thing Rosa could have done; and through with the biggest pin she the Elsworthys, husband and wife, could find, Rosa had deposited her were concluded to be of the same letter of leavetaking. This impor- opinion. When Carlingford had tant document was read over in exhausted this subject, and had the shop by an ever-increasing duly discussed the probabilities as group, as the news got abroad—for to where she had gone, and whether Elsworthy, like his wife, lost his Rosa could be the lady in a veil head, and rushed about hither and who had been handed into the thither, asking wild questions as to express night-train by two gentlewho had seen her last. Perhaps, men, of whom a railway-porter bore at the bottom, he was not so despe- cautious testimony, the other mysrate as he looked, but was rather terious rumour about Mr Wentgrateful than angry with Rosa worth had its share of popular atfor solving the difficulty. This is tention. It was discussed in Maswhat the poor little
ters’s with the solemnity becoming said
the occasion, everybody being con
vinced of the fact, and nobody “ DEAR UNCLE AND AUNT, I knowing how it was to be. One write a line to let you know that prevailing idea was, that Mr Wentthem as can do better for me than worth's brother, who had succeeded any belonging to me has took me to his mother's fortune (which was away for good. Don't make no partially true, like most popular verreflections, please, nor blame no sions of family history, his mobody; for I never could have done ther's fortune being now Gerald's no good, nor had any ’appiness sole dependance), intended to esat Carlingford after all as has hap- tablish a great brotherhood, upon pened. I don't bear no grudge, the Claydon model, in Carlingford, though aunt has been so unkind; of which the Perpetual Çurate was
to be the head. This idea pleased when the gossip reached his ears. the imagination of the town, which “My people have given away all already saw itself talked of in all they had to give,” he said to somethe papers, and anticipated with body who asked the question; excitement the sight of English • and I know no prospect I have brothers of St Benedict walking of being anything but a Perpetual about in the streets, and people Curate, unless the Queen sends for from the “Illustrated News' mak me and appoints me to a bishopric, ing drawings of Grange Lane. To
as I understand is expected in be sure, Gerald Wentworth had Prickett's Lane. If I come to any gone over to the Church of Rome, advancement," said the Curate of which was a step too far to be com St Roque's, “it must be in social patible with the English brother- estimation, and not in worldly hood; but popular imagination, wealth, which is out of my way; when puzzled and in a hurry, does and he went down to Wharfside not take time to master all details. rather cheerfully than otherwise, Then, again, opinion wavered, and having begun to experience that it was supposed to be the Miss pertinacity carries the day, and Wentworths who were the agents that it might be possible to goad of the coming prosperity. They Lucy into the experiment of how had made up their mind to endow much her housekeeping talents were St Roque's, and apply to the Eccle- good for, and whether, with a good siastical Commissioners to have it wife, even a Perpetual Curate might erected into a parochial district, be able to live without any particurumour reported; and the senior lar bother in respect to the grocer's assistant in Masters's, who was sus bill. Mr Wentworth being at prepected of Low-Church tendencies, sent warmly engaged in this busiwas known to be a supporter of ness of persuasion, and as intent as this theory. Other ideas of a vaguer ever on having his own way, was character floated through the town, not much affected by the Carlingof which no one could give any ford gossip. He went his way to explanation ; but Carlingford was Wharfside all the same, where the unanimous in the conviction that service was conducted as of old, good fortune was coming some and where all the humble uncertain how to the popular favourite, who voices were buoyed up and carried a week ago had occupied temporar on by the steady pure volume of ily the position of the popular bête liquid sound which issued from noire and impersonation of evil. Lucy Wodehouse's lips into the
But the real sort always triumphs utterance of such a Magnificat as at the last," was the verdict of filled Mr Wentworth's mind with Wharfside, which, like every primi- exultation. It was the woman's tive community, believed in poetic part in the worship-independent, justice; and among the bargemen yet in a sweet subordination; and and their wives much greater eleva- the two had come back—though tion than that of a district church with the difference that their love or the headship of a brotherhood was now avowed and certain, and was expected for the clergyman.” they were known to belong to each If the Queen had sent for him im- other—to much the same state of mediately, and conferred upon him feeling in which they were before a bishopric, or at least appointed the Miss Wentworths came to Carhim her private chaplain, such a lingford, or anything uncomfortable favour would have excited no sur had happened. They had learned prise in Wharfside, where indeed various little lessons, to be sure, in the public mind was inclined to the interim, but experience had not the opinion that the real use of done much more for them than it queens and other such dignitaries does for ordinary human creatures, was to find out and reward merit. and the chances are that Mr WentMr Wentworth himself laughed worth would have conducted him
self exactly in the same manner tween her wondering inspection of another time had he been placed the two “ young people and her in similar circumstances; for the own moderate and sensible lovelessons of experience, however affairs, and the directions which it valuable, are sometimes very slow was necessary to give to her Rector of impressing themselves upon about the furnishing of the new
generous and hasty tempera- house, was more constantly occument, which has high ideas of pied than she had ever been in her honour and consistency, and rather life; “but then, if they marry, piques itself on a contempt for what are they to live upon ? and if self-interest and external advan- they don't marrytages—which was the weakness of "Perhaps something will turn the Curate of St Roque's.
up, my dear," said old Mrs Westturned to the “great work” in ern, who had an idea that ProviWharfside with undiminished be- dence was bound to provide for two lief in it, and a sense of being able good young people who wanted to to serve his God and his fellow- marry; and thus the two ladies creatures, which, though it may were forced to leave the matter, seem strange to some people, was where, indeed, the historian of a wonderful compensation to him events in Carlingford would willfor the loss of Skelmersdale. ingly leave it also, not having “After all, I doubt very much much faith in the rewards of virwhether, under any circumstances, tue which come convenient in such we could have left such a work as an emergency. But it is only pure is going on here,” he said to Lucy fiction which can keep true to as they came up Prickett's Lane nature, and weave its narrative in together, where the poor woman analogy with the ordinary course had just died peaceably in No. 10, of life—whereas history demands and got done with it, poor soul; exactness in matters of fact, which and the Sister of Mercy, in her are seldom true to nature, or amengrey cloak, lifted towards him the able to any general rule of existblue eyes which were full of tears, and answered with natural empha Before proceeding, however, to sis, “Impossible! it would have the narrative of the unexpected been deserting our post," and drew advancement and promotion which a step closer to him in the twilight awaited the Perpetual Curate, it with a sense of the sweetness of may be as well to notice that the that plural pronoun which mingled Miss Wentworths, who during the 80 with the higher sense that it summer had kindly given their was impossible to disjoin them. house at Skelmersdale to some And the two went on under the friends who had returned in the influence of these combined senti- spring from India, found themselves ments, taking comfort out of the now in a position to return to their very hardness of the world around own proper dwelling-place, and them, in which their ministrations made preparations accordingly for were so much needed, and feeling leaving Carlingford, in which, an exaltation in the “duty,” which indeed, they had no further occuwas not for one, but for both, and pation; for, to be sure, except to a belief in the possibility of mend- the extent of that respect which a ing matters, in which their love man owes to his aunts, they had no for each other bore a large share; special claim upon Frank Wentfor it was not in human nature worth, or right to supervise his thus to begin the ideal existence, actions, save on account of Skelwithout believing in its universalmersdale, which was now finally extension, and in the amelioration disposed of and given away. It of life and the world.
cannot be said that Miss Leonora “That is all they think of,” said had ever fully recovered the repoor Miss Wodehouse, who, be- markable indisposition which her
nephew Jack's final address had spect might not have been so hard brought upon her. The very next upon Miss Leonora ; but being a morning she fulfilled her pledges woman of very distinct and unas a woman of honour, and bestowed compromising vision, she could not Skelmersdale positively and finally conceal from herself either Julia upon Julia Trench's curate, who Trench's cleverness or her own mixindeed made a creditable enough ed and doubtful motives.
Having rector in his way ; but after she this sense of wrong and injustice, had accomplished this act, Miss and general failure of the duty of Leonora relapsed into one unceas kindred towards Frank, it might ing watch upon her nephew Frank, have been supposed a little comwhich was far from dispelling the fort to Miss Leonora to perceive tendency to headache which she that he had entirely recovered from showed at this period for the first his disappointment, and was no and only time in her life. She longer in her power, if indeed he watched him with a certain feeling had ever been so. But the fact of expiation, as she might have was, that if anything could have resorted to self-flagellation had she aggravated her personal smart, it lived a few hundred years before, and would have been the fact of Frank's perhaps suffered more acute pangs indifference and cheerfulness, and in that act of discipline than could evident capability of contenting be inflicted by any physical scourge. himself with his duty and his The longer she studied the matter favourite district, and his Lucy, the more thoroughly was Miss whom, to be sure, he could not Leonora convinced not only that marry, being only a Perpetual the Perpetual Curate was bent on Curate. The spectacle came to doing his duty, but that he did it have a certain fascination for Miss with all the force of high faculties, Wentworth. She kept watching and a mind much more thoroughly him with a grim satisfaction, pun. trained, and of finer material than ishing herself, and at the same time was possessed by the man whom comforting herself with the idea she had made rector of Skelmers- that, light as he made of it, he must dale. The strong-minded woman be suffering too. She could not bore quietly, with a kind of de- bear to think that he had escaped fiance, the sharp wounds with clean out of her hands, and that which her self-esteem was pierced the decision she had come to, which by this sight. She followed up produced so much pain to herself, her discovery, and made herself was innoxious to Frank
and at more and more certain of the mis- the same time, though she could take she had made, not sparing her- not tolerate his composure, and self any part of her punishment. would have preferred to see him As she pursued her investigations, angry and revengeful, his evident too, Miss Leonora became increas- recovery of spirits and general ingly sensible that it was not his exhilaration increased Miss Leomother's family whom he resembled, nora’s respect for the man she had as she had once thought, but that he wronged. In this condition of was out and out a Wentworth, pos- mind the strong-minded aunt linsessed of all the family features; and gered over her preparations for rethis was the man whom by her own moval, scorning much the rumour act she had disinherited of his na in Carlingford about her nephew's tural share in the patronage of the advancement, and feeling that she family, substituting for her own could never forgive him if by any flesh and blood an individual for chance promotion should come to whom, to tell the truth, she had him after all. “He will stay where little respect! Perhaps if she had he is. He will be a perpetual been able to sustain herself with curate," Miss Leonora said, utterthe thought that it was entirely a ing what was in reality a hope question of "principle," the retro- under the shape of a taunt; and
things were still in this position going to dine with the bishop, when Grange Lane in general who walked slowly down the road and Miss Dora in particular (from like a man charged with a mission, the window of the summer-house) and, knocking at Mrs Hadwin's were startled much by the sight door, was admitted immediately to of the Rector, in terribly correct a private conference with the Curate clerical costume, as if he were of St Roque's.
It was the same afternoon that ing their work to stare at her. "Mr Mr Wentworth failed to attend, as Wentworth would be grieved to he had never been known to fail think that his absence did his scholbefore, at the afternoon school ars any injury.” Lucy looked one which he had set up in Prickett's of the ringleaders in the eyes as Lane for the young bargemen, she spoke, and brought him to his who between the intervals of senses—all the more effectually, to their voyages had a little leisure be sure, because she knew all about at that hour of the day. It is him, and was a familiar figure to the true there was a master provided, boy, suggesting various little comand the presence of the Perpetual forts, for which, in Prickett's Lane, Curate was not indispensable ; but people were not ungrateful. But the lads, among whom, indeed, when she went back again to her
some men, were so girls, the young lady found herself much used to his presence as to in a state of excitement which was get restless at their work on this half annoyance and half a kind of unprecedented emergency.
The shy pleasure. To be sure, it was master knew no other resource quite true that they did belong to than to send for Miss Lucy Wode- each other; but at the same time, house, who was known to be on so long as she was Lucy Wodehouse, the other side of Prickett's Lane she had no right to be called upon at the moment, superintending a to represent “ the clergyman,' even similar educational undertaking for in the “ district " which was so imthe benefit of the girls. It was, as portant to both. And then it ocmay be supposed, embarrassing to curred to her to remember that if Lucy to be called upon to render she remained Lucy Wodehouse that an account of Mr Wentworth's was not the Curate's fault--from absence, and invited to take his which thought she went on to replace in this public and open man flect that going away with Mr and ner; but then the conventional re Mrs Proctor when they were married ticences were unknown in Wharf was not a charming prospect, not side, and nobody thought it neces to say that it involved a renunciasary to conceal" his certainty that tion of the district for the present the Curate's movements were better at least, and possibly for ever; for known to Lucy than to anybody if Mr Wentworth could not marry else. She had to make answer as long as he was a Perpetual Curwith as much composure as possible ate, it followed of necessity that he in the full gaze of so many pair of could not marry until he had left curious eyes, that she did not know Carlingford—an idea which Lucy why Mr Wentworth was absent turned over in her mind very seri“Somebody is sick, perhaps,” said ously as she walked home, for this Lucy, repeating an excuse which once unattended. A new light had been made before for the Per- seemed to be thrown upon the petual Curate ; “but I hope it does whole matter by this thought. To not make any difference," she went consent to be married simply for on, turning round upon all the up- her own happiness, to the disadturned heads which were neglect- vantage in any respect of her hus