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the place of her birth. I remembered her fair, sweet face, her gentle demeanor, her low, kind voice, which was full of melody. She was often sad, always grave and retiring. She often caressed me, but always in her peculiarly gentle manner, whilst I studied her curiously but all unquestioning. So was I held in awe by the presence of an intangible mystery.
Once, when walking in the shrubbery, alone with mamma, I said, “Dearest mamma, why does aunt Engel never laugh, or sing at the harp, as you do ?”
The bright smile faded all out of mamma's face, and presently she softly said, “Do you think the angels up in heaven ever laugh, my child ?”
Oh, they are too happy to laugh, but surely they play on golden harps, mamma !"
Receiving no response to this, I said—“Is my aunt Engel so happy then? She is good and kind—but one lovely night, just on the border of the gloaming, I was searching for primroses out by the little water-fall, then I saw dear aunt Engel kneeling on the damp and cold rock, crying bitterly, with a low soft cry as angels alone might listen to hear. What does this mean, dearest mamma ?”
I saw a tear gathering in mamma's eyes, and saw also that I had brought a pang to her heart, and I hastened to beg her forgiveness. I felt that I deserved punishment for my perversity, knowing that our aunt Engel's moods or ways, were held too sacred to allow question or remark. I could not measure the degree of my offence, but when I saw the pain I had occasioned, I felt that my punishment was great.
From this momentary abstraction, while memory had gone back to the dim past, lingering over a mystery that might never be revealed to me, I was aroused by the murmured words of my companions. There was a pause, and then Miss Standish repeated in a soft undertone
“Here scattered, oft the earliest of the year,
“How beautiful I” Rosa said. “May I ask who is the author of those lines, Miss Standish ?”
“They are from Grey's Elegy,' or rather left out, for what cause, I cannot tell, since they are so full of beauty.
We sat by these graves and talked of our sister, of her pretty ways ; but of aunt Engel, we spoke no word, her memory was to us as something holy. She was a saint enshrined, over whom a vail had fallen which no sacrilegious hand might ever dare to lift.
We spent that sunny spring morning with the angels of our house.
On the eve of that same day a warm glow of happiness was felt at Glenelvan, spreading through the entire domestic circle, for that, letters had arrived from Hermann. He was in good health. He had located in Mobile, Alabama, had opened a fine business, which promised well, and was soon to be married to a most lovely woman, a charming young widow, Mrs. Lena Hays, whose father was a Southern man, and herself of Southern birth and education.
He would bring his bride, for a visit, to Glenelvan-would doubtless arrive in mid-summer.
Rose and I went to pay our evening visit to our cottagers, and to carry them this pleasant news concerning the son of their protector. Each and every of these expressed great pleasure at this intelligence, and an affectionate interest in the subject generally. They rejoiced in the well-being of the heir of Glenelvan, for in him they saw their future master and friend.
Of these cottages, I should have spoken at an earlier date. There were three of them, neat and convenient, each with its garden in front, with a plat of ground where trees or vines might be nurtured, at the will of the incumbent, or
have whatever little indulgence of display or taste their whim or fancy might suggest.
Papa had built them for the comfort of the families of laboring men whom he might require to work the land belonging to Glenelvan. And as with his scientific knowledge and judicious management, these were found not only more than sufficient to sustain them and meet the annual expenses of the family of the proprietor, but also to give an abundant support to the families of the tenantry and retainers, those who dwelt within his house.
A passing notice of the cottagers would undoubtedly have an interest for the lovers of detail, as also to them who are willing to give a few fragments of thought to the humbler walks of life.
In the first cottage lives James Dunn, with his wife, a worthy and industrious woman, and three robust and fine looking children : the eldest, Susan, a rosy-cheeked girl of sixteen. The father was the gardener of Glenelvan, but went duly to the river each morning, at an early hour, for fish for the great breakfast table, as also for all the cottagers. He was assisted in his matutinal purvey by his little Jimmy--his youngest—a boy of ten years. Susan helped her father often at the lighter garden-work-Jimmy being far too heedless a little chap for any of these finer employments, and was kept a greater part of the time at a school for small children, down in the village. Then, at the close of each week, mamma had the little fellow up at the house, to pass under a thorough review, when he always received a reward according to the progress he had made. And not this little boy alone, but all the children of our people were taught to feel that they were under her immediate and guardian care.
We liked Susan; she was a good, careful girl, and Rose and I, in our evening calls at the cottages, carried her a pretty book, or some pieces for her patchwork, of which she was very fond. Next to this, and standing apart by itself --as did all these pretty dwellings-lived Kitty Malone, and her husband, the willing but stupid Patrick : there we stopt to play with her fat baby, and read to her for half and hour. The last house I had nearly forgotten, though we failed not in duty or courtesy there, I could not possibly feel the same degree of interest as at the others. First, the twain living there seemed unsocial. They were not as intelligent, or endowed with capacity to be : next, they had no fat baby rolling on the floor, and no rosy-cheeked, patchwork-loving Susan, or laughing, romping Polly, younger than Susan, and her only sister, whom I had quite forgotten, for we saw less of her than of Susan, for she helped her mother in all the cares and labors of the household. Rose discovered that she had a fondness for pets, and, therefore, carried her a pretty white rabbit, the remembrance of which will, probably, fill Polly's good little heart with gratitude to her dying day.
Susan was my senior by two years ; yet I had pleasure in teaching her many things, and there was evidently a feeling of sincere attachment between us. Once, upon a certain occasion, I said to her, “Susan, dear, I am going to have you for my little handmaiden, my pet and companion ; for Meta, you know, is to go with Rose."
“Oh, then I will finish my patchwork quilt, directly, to give to mother,” she said, her face brightening.
Well, you need be in no hurry; you shall piece one for Polly, and have time to piece another for yourself, for I mean that
you shall have quite a little establishment of your own."
“Indeed l and live with you as good Monica does with the Madam ?"
“Precisely, Susan dear. This being the case, you are to infer, that papa is to look about for a husband for
who is to be as loving, kind, and faithful to his wife, as Hans to his."
“Your papa ! dear Miss Minnie? I thought this duty
was to come in with the next generation,” Susan said, with a deeper blush.
"Ah! I see." It was now my turn to blusb. “Ah, Susan, you little rogue ! but I think I should choose to leave this affair to papa, after all.”
There was silence for some little time, and then I resumed
“ And who knows but what papa may build me a nice cottage, somewhere between here and Umberhurst; then we shall not be far from mamma-can come over to tea, nearly every evening, and sing with Mildred.”
“But, dear, could you possibly live in a cottage ?”
Oh, I would have it the dearest little paradise in the world.”
“ It must be, if you were the mistress.”
To a maturer mind this might have been an occasion for much amusement. The little bride-in-prospect, going over to mamma, every evening, to tea, and lingering to sing with the elder sister. It must not be forgotten, that I had not then passed out from under the caressing care of dear mamma, though, for the moment, looking toward a maturer state of the future.