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cornices; but John Lawson looked begging has been relieved twenty times round on the gay scene with a kind of by us. I have no money just now.” shudder; he had neither gold, silver, She threw herself back on the sofa nor even copper in his pocket, or in and resumed her novel ; but anger, his possession.
darting from her eyes, contrasted with He advanced to a lady who reclined the trained smile which still remained on a rose-coloured sofa, with a fashion- on her lips. able novel in her hand, and after some A dark shade of passion and scorn slight hesitation he addressed her, and came over John Lawson's face, but he stating the name and wants of the poor strove to suppress it, and his voice woman who had begged for aid, he re- was calm when he spoke. quested some money.
“Some time before my son married As he said the words “ some money," you, I gave up all my business to hin his lips quivered, and a tremor ran -I came to live here amongst trees through his whole frame, for his and flowers--I gave up all the lucrative thoughts were vividly picturing a re
business I had carried on to my son, cently departed period, when he was partly because my health was failing, under no necessity of asking money and Í longed to live with nature, away from any individual.
from the scenes of traffic; but more “ Bless me, my dear Mr. Lawson !" especially, because I loved my son with cried the lady, starting up from her no common love, and I trusted to him recumbent position, • did I not give as to a second self. I was not disapyou a whole handful of shillings only pointed-we had one purse and one the day before yesterday; and if you heart before he married you ; he never wasted it all on poor people since, what questioned me concerning what I spent am I to do? Why, indeed, we con- in charity—he never asked to limit in tribute so much to charitable subscrip- any way my expenditure-he loved tions, both Mr. Lawson and I, you you, and I made no conditions con. might be content to give a little less cerning what amount of income I was to common beggars."
to receive, but still I left him in entire Mrs. Lawson spoke with a smile on possession of my business when he her lips, and with a soft caressing married you. I trusted to your fair, voice, but a hard and selfish nature young face, that you would not controshone palpably from her blue eyes. vert my wishes that you would join She was a young woman, and had the me in my schemes of charity.” repute of beauty, which a clear pink- “ And have I not?” interrupted and white complexion, and tolerable Mrs. Lawson, in a sharp voice, though features, with luxuriant light hair, ge- the habitual smile still graced her lips; nerally gains from a portion of the do I not subscribe to, I don't know world. She was dressed for the re- how many, charitable institutions ? ception of morning visitors whom she Charity, indeed-there's enough spent expected, and she was enveloped in in charity by myself and my husband. expensive satin and blond, and jewel. But I wish to stop extravagance—it is lery in large proportions.
only extravagance to spend so much John Lawson seemed to feel every on charity as you would do if you word she had uttered in the depths of could; therefore, you shall not have his soul, but he made a strong effort any money just now." to restrain the passion which was rising
Mrs. Lawson was one of those to his lips.
women who can cheerfully expend a “ Augusta, my daughter, you are most lavish sum on a ball, a dress, or the wife of my only and most beloved any other method by which rank and child-I wish to love you_I wish to luxury dissipate their abundance, but live in peace with you, and all-give who are very economical, and talk me some money to relieve the wants of much of extravagance when money is the unfortunate woman to whom I have demanded for purposes not connected promised relief, and who is waiting with display and style. without. I ask not for myself, but for “ Augusta Lawson, listen to me”the poor and suffering-give me a tri- his voice was quivering with passionfle of money, I say.”
“my own wants are very few ; in “Indeed, Mr. Lawson, a bank would food, in clothes, in all points my exnot support your demands for the poor penditure is trifling. I am not extrapeople; that woman for whom you are vagant in my demands for the poor,
either. All I have expended in cha- cal management-dole out shillings to rity during the few years since you me when the humour seizes you, or came here, is but an insignificant refuse me, as now, when it pleases annount as contrasted with the income you. But, woman,
listen to me. I which I freely gave up to my son and shall never request you for one faryou; therefore, some money for the thing of money again. No necessity poor woman who is waiting, I shall now of others shall make me do it. You bave; give me some shillings, for God's shall never again refuse me, for I shall sakė, and let me go.” He advanced never give you the opportunity.” doser to her, and held out his hand. He turned hastily from the room,
“ Nonsense !" cried Mrs. Lawson ; with a face on which the deep emotion "I am mistress, here_I am deter- of an aroused spirit was depicted mined to stop extravagance. You give strongly . too much to common beggars ;
In the lobby he met his son, Henry determined to stop it-do not ask me Lawson. The young man paused, any further,"
something struck by the excited apA kind of convulsion passed over
pearance of his father. Jobn Lawson's thin face; but he “ Henry," said the father, abruptly, pressed his band closely on his breast, "I want some money; there is a poor and was silent for some moments. woman whom I wish to relieve_will
“I was once rich, I believe. Yes-it you give me some money for her ?” is not a dream,” he said, in a slow, self- Willingly, my dear father ; but communing voice. “Gold and silver, have you asked Augusta. You know once ye were plenty with me; my I have given her the management of hands—my pockets were
filled - the money-matters of the establish. guineas, crowns, shillings—now I have ment, she is so very clever and econonot one penny to give to that starving, mical.” dying woman, whose face of misery “She has neither charity, nor pity, might soften the very stones she looks nor kindness; she saves from me--she on-not one penny.
saves from the starving poor—she “ Augusta,” he said, turning sud- saves, that she may waste large sums denly towards her, after a second on parties and dresses. I shall never pause of silence, “give me only one more ask her for money-give me a shilling, and I shall not think of the few shillings. My God! the father bitter words you bave just said ?" begs of the son for what was his own
“No; not one shilling," answered -for what he toiled all his youthMrs. Lawson, turning over a leaf of for what he gave up out of trusting her novel
love to that son. Henry, my son, I am “One sixpence, then-one small, sick of asking and begging—ay, sick poor sixpence. You do not know how -sick; but give me some shillings, eren a sixpence can gladden the black now." heart of poverty, when starvation is “ You asked Augusta, then," said come. One sixpence, I say, let me Henry, drawing out his purse, and bave it quickly."
glancing with some apprehension to “Not one farthing I shall give you. the drawing-room door. I do beg you will trouble me no fur- Henry,” cried Mrs. Lawson, apther."
pearing at that instant with a face Mrs. Lawson turned her back par- inflamed with anger – “Henry, 1 tially to him, and fixed all her atten- would not give your father any money tion on the novel.
to-day, because he is so very extrava“Woman! I have cringed and gant in giving it all away." begged ; I would not so beg for my- Henry was in the act of opening self, from you-no; I would lie down his purse ; he glanced apprehensively and die of want before I would, on to Mrs. Lawson; his face had a mild my own account, request of you--of and passive expression, which was a your hard heart-one bit of bread. true index of his yielding and easilyAll the finery that surrounds you is governed nature. His features were mine-it was purchased with my
small, delicate, and almost effemi. money, though now you call it yours; nately handsome; and in every lineaand, usurping the authority of both ment a want of decision and force of master and mistress bere, you-in character was visible. what you please to call your economi- “ Henry, give me some shillings, I say—I am your father-I have a just the house of a relative who was in right."
rather poor circumstances. Henry “Yes, yes, surely,” said Henry, mak- felt rather annoyed at his father's abing a movement to open
purse. sence: he had no depth in his affection, Henry, I do not wish you to give but he had been accustomed to see him him money to waste in charity, as he and hear his voice every day, and calls it."
therefore he missed him, but consoled Mrs. Lawson gave her husband an himself with the thought that they emphatic, but, at the same time, cun- would soon meet again, as it never ningly caressing and smiling look. entered his imagination that his father
• Henry, I am your father-give me had quitted the house for a lengthened the money I want.
period. Mrs. Lawson felicitated her“ Augusta, my love, you know it was self on the event, and hoped that the all his," said Henry, going close to her, old man would remain for some time and speaking in a kind of whisper. with his relative.
“ My dearest Henry, were it for any The following day a letter was other purpose but for throwing away, handed to Henry ; it was from his I would not refuse. I am your father's father, and was as follows: best friend, and your best friend, in wishing to restrain all extravagence.” “ To My Son HENRY_I have at last
« My dear father, she wishes to be come to the resolution of quitting your economical, you know."
house, which I can no longer call mine, He dangled the purse, undecidedly, in even the least degree. For weeksm in his fingers.”
for months-ever since you married“Will you give me the money at ever since your wife took upon herself önce, and let me go?" cried John Law. what she calls the management of your son, elevating his voice.
house and purse, I have felt bound • My dear Augusta, it is better." down under the weight of an oppres
Henry, do not, I beg of you." sive bondage. I could not go and “ Henry, my son, will you let me take a pound or a shilling from our have the money ?"
common stock, as I used to do before “ Indeed, Augusta_"
you married, when you and I lived in “Henry!"
one mind, and when I believed that Mrs. Lawson articulated but the the very spirit of your departed, your one word; there was enough of energy angel mother, dwelt in you, as you had, and determination in it to make her and have still, her very face and form. husband close the purse he had almost No, no, we had no common stock when opened.
you married. She put me “I ask you only this once more-give allowance--ay, an allowance. You me the few shillings?"
lived, and saw me receiving an allowJohn Lawson bent forward in an eager ance; you whom I loved with an idolmanner; a feverish red kindled on his atry which God has now punished ; sallow cheeks; his eyes were widely you to whom I freely gave up my dilated, and his lips compressed. business-my money-making business. There was a pause of some moments. I gave it you-I gave all to you—I
“You will not give it me?" he said, would bave given my very life and soul in a voice deep-toned and singularly to you, because I thought that with calm, as contrasted with his convulsed your mother's own face you had her face.
noble and generous nature.
You Henry dangled the purse again in were kind before you married ; but his hand, and looked uneasily and that marriage has proved your weakirresolutely towards his wife.
ness and want of natural affection. “No, he will not give it--you will Yes, you stood at my side yesterday ; get no money to squander on poor you looked on my face-I, the father people this day,” Mrs. Lawson said, who loved you beyond bounds of in a very sharp and decided voice. fatherly love-you stood and heard
John Lawson did not say another me beg for a few shillings; you heard word; he turned away and slowly de- me supplicate earnestly and humbly, scended the stairs, and walked out of and you would not give, because your the house.
wife was not willing. Henry, I could He did not return that evening. He force you to give me a share of the had been seen on the road leading to profits of your business; but keep it
keep it all. You would not voluntarily innumerable aspirants for earthly good, give me some shillings, and I shall not usually succeed. Henry Lawson was demand what right and justice would one of those whom time had lowered give me. Keep all, every farthing, in fortune. His business speculations
“ It was for charity I asked the few had, for a lengthened period, been shillings; you know it. You know rather unsuccessful, whilst Mrs. Lawfrom whom I imbibed whatever I pos- son's expensive habits increased every sess of the blessed spirit of charity. I day. At length affairs came to such Fas as hard and unpitying as even your a crisis, that retrenchment or failure wife before your mother taught me to was inevitable. Henry had enough feel and relieve the demands of poverty. of wisdom and spirit to insist on Yes, and she taught you; you cannot the first alternative, and Mrs. Lawforget it. She taught you to give foc.' son was compelled by the pressure of to the starving, in your earliest days, ircumstances to yield in a certain She strove to impress your infant mind gree; the country-house, therefore, with the very soul of charity; and was let, Mrs. Lawson assigning as a yesterday she looked down from the reason, that she had lost all relish for heaven of the holy departed, and saw the country after the death of her you refusing me, your father, a few dear children, both of whom had died, shillings to bestow on charity.
leaving the parents childless. “Henry,I can live with you and your It was the morning of a close sultry wife no more. I should grow avari. day in July, and Mrs. Lawson was cious in my old age, were I to remain seated in her drawing-room. She was with you. I should long for money to dressed carefully and expensively as of call my own. Those doled out shil- old, but she had been dunned and lings which I received wakened within threatened at least half-a-dozen times me feelings of a dark nature-covetous- for the price of the satin dress she ness, and envy, and discontent-which wore. Her face was thin and pale, and must have shadowed the happiness of there was a look of much care on her your mother in heaven to look down countenance; her eyes were restless upon. I must go and seek out an in- and sunken, and discontent spoke in dependent living for myself, even yet, their glances as she looked on the though I am fifty-two. Though my chairs, sofas, and window-draperies, energies for struggling with the world which had once been bright-coloured, died, I thought, when your mother but were now much faded. She had just died, and, leaving my active business come to the resolution of having new to you, I retired to live in the country, covers and hangings, though their I must go forth again, as if I were young, mercer's and upholsterer's bills were to seek for the means of existence, for long unsettled, when a visitor was I feel I was not made to be a beggar
shewn into the room. It was Mrs. a creature hanging on the bounty of Thompson, the wife of a very prosperothers; no, no, the merciful God will ous and wealthy shopkeeper. give me strength yet to provide for Mrs. Lawson's thin lips wreathed myself, though I am old, and broken themselves into bright smiles of wel. down in mind and body. Farewell ; come, whilst the foul demon of envy you who were once my beloved son, took possession of her soul. Mrs. may God soften and amend your Thompson's dress was of the most heart."
costly French satin, whilst her's was
merely British manufacture. They When Henry perused this letter, he had been old school companions and would immediately have gone in rivals in their girlish days. During search of his father, in order to induce the first years of the married life of him to return home; but Mrs. Lawson each, Mrs. Lawson had outshone Mrs. was at his side, and succeeded in per- Thompson in every respect; but now suading him to allow his father to act the eclipsed star beamed brightly and as he pleased, and remain away as long scornfully beside the clouds which had as he wished.
rolled over her rival. Mrs. Thomp
son was, in face and figure, in dress Ten years rolled over our world, and speech, the very impersonation of sinking millions beneath the black vulgar and ostentatious wealth. waves of adverse fortune and fate, and “My goodness, it's so hot!" she said, raising the small number who, of the loosening the fastening of her bonnet, the delicate French blond and white fortune he had made abrond, as he satin and plume, of which that fabric seemed to make no secret of the fact. was composed, contrasting rather pain- A burning eagerness to obtain posfully at the same time with her flushed session of that money entered Mrs. mahogany-coloured complexion, and Lawson's soul, and she thought every ungracefully-formed features. . " Bless second of time drawn out to the painme, I'm so glad we'll get off to our ful duration of a long hour, whilst country-house to-morrow. It's so very Mrs. Thompson slowly moved her amdelightful, Mrs. Lawson, to have a ple skirts of satin across the drawingcountry residence to go to. Goodness room, and took her departure. Mrs. me what a close room, and such a hot Lawson despatched a messenger imdusty street. It does just look so queer mediately for her husband. to me after Fitzherbert-square." Henry Lawson came in, and listened
To this Mrs. Lawson made a re- with surprise to the intelligence of his sponse as composed as she could; she father's return. He was taking up his would have retorted bitterly and vio- hat to proceed to the hotel in quest of lently, but her husband had a connex- him, when a carriage drove to the door. ion with the Thompson establishment, Mrs. Lawson's heart palpitated with and for strong reasons she considered eagerness-if it should be her husit prudent to refrain from quarrelling band's father in his own carriagewith Mrs. Thompson. She therefore how delightful !—that horrible Mrs. spoke but very little, and Mrs. Thomp- Thompson had not a carriage of her son was left at liberty to give a length- own yet, though she was always talk. ened detail of Mr. Thompson’s great ing of it. They, Mrs. Lawson and her wealth and her own great profusion. husband, had just been about setting She began first with herself, and fur- up a carriage when business failed with nished an exact detail of all the fine them. She ran briskly down the stairs things she had purchased in the last - for long years she had not flown with month, down to the latest box of pins. Such alertness-rapid visions of gold, Next, her babies occupied her for half of splendour, and triumph seemed to an hour—the quantity of chicken they bear her along, as if she had not been consumed, and the number of frocks a being of earth. they soiled per diem were minutely She was not disappointed, for there, chronicled. Then her house came under at the open door, stood John Lawson. consideration : she depicted the bright He was enveloped in a cloak of fur, glory of the new ponceau furniture, as the costliness of which told Mrs. Law. contrasted with shocking old faded son that it was the purchase of wealth; things—and she glanced significantly a servant in plain livery supported towards Mrs. Lawson's sofas and him, for he seemed a complete invalid. chairs. Next she made a discursive Mrs. Lawson threw her arms around detour to the culinary department, and his neck, and embraced him with a gave a statement of the number of warmth and cagerness which brought stones of lump sugar she was getting a cold and bitter smile over the white, boiled in preserves, and of the days of thin lips of John Lawson. He replied the week in which they had puddings, briefly to the welcomings he received. and the days they had pies at dinner. He threw aside his cloak, and exhibited
But, Mrs. Lawson dear, have you the figure of an exceedingly emaciated seen old Mr. Lawson since he came and feeble old man, who had all the home?" she said, when she was rising appearance of ninety years, though he to depart; “but I suppose you havn't, was little more than sixty ; his face for they say he won't have anything to was worn and fleshless to a painful do with his relations now he won't degree; his hair was of the whitest come near you I have heard. They say shade of great age, but his eyes had he has brought such a lot of money grown much more serene in their ex. with him from South America." pression than in his earlier days, not
At this intelligence every feature withstanding a cast of suffering which of Mrs. Lawson's face brightened with his whole countenance exhibited. Ile powerful interest. She inquired where was plainly, but most carefully and reMr. Lawson stopped, and was informed spectably dressed; a diamond ring of that he had arrived at the best hotel great value was on one of his fingers; in the town about three days previously, the lustre of the diamonds caught Mrs. and that every one talked of the large Lawson's glance on her first inspection