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nounced, and the organ again playing softly, all passed into the minister's house, to the little drawing-room which served as vestry, where the register was signed; and then once once more into the glorious open sunshine, and towards Gracefield Cottage.
“John," whispered Irene, as they walked slowly along the flower-strewn path ; " When I first looked at you in the chapel, you really looked beautiful."
"Did I?” he replied, with a half-amused smile; "it must have been a reflection, because you were looking at me.”
“No," she said decisively, “it was all from yourself, because you are good and noble. Dear John, I am very happy, and I will try to be a good wife, and to make you happy."
There was of course no drinking of healths at a banquet over which Edward Weatherill presided; but no one was distressed by the omission, or other than delighted with the simply elegant repast made suitable to the bright summer day. And after awhile, all passed into the garden and sat under the shelter of the trees ; but soon Irene went in to assame her travelling dress, although it was some little time yet before the hour appointed for the arrival of the carriage which was to convey them to the railway station at Hills. bridge.
“Let us go into the burying-ground, dear,” she said, as John came forward to meet her when she re-appeared on the doorstep.
So they went, taking their way to the grave bearing the name which was no longer hers.
“It is the only thing I regret,” she said, looking down on the stone rather sadly; “I do not like giving up my father's name even for yours.”
“I can quite understand the feeling. I thought of that myself, and wished it need not have been," John replied, with sincere, anselfish sympathy.
“But I intend to sign myself Irene Laureston Rivers ; and on my pictures always that must be; they must ever bear my father's name. And in any attempts I can make to keep alive the remembrance of him, you will help me, I know.”
“ As religiously as if your father were my own. May I not consider him to be so now ?”
“Yes," replied Irene, "and that is more to be proud and glad of than having me for your wifo.”
“Both reasons for joy and pride, dear, have come to me at once," John answered; for if he did not quite share this view of the matter, he would not give it any contradiction.
“Perbaps we had better go back to our friends now,” she said ; “ we shall be leaving soon."
So they slowly walked back to the garden, and Irene sat beside Clarissa and kept her hand in hers antil was heard the sound of horses' feet and the rolling of carriage-wheels.
Then with smiles and kisses and loving wishes, but with none of the sorrowful tears that most often be, the adieas were said, and the glad bridegroom handed the fair bride into the carriage. One smile, one wave of the hand from the window, and the coachman cracked his whip, the horses galloped, and in a few seconds nothing was to be seen but a little cloud of dust where the roadway turned under the shelter of some trees.
“Does it not remind you of our wedding morning ?” Clarissa asked, leaning lovingly on her husband's arm as they turned from the gate.
“Yes, Kitty, it does,” Edward replied ; “but John will keep the promises he has made better than I kept mine."
CHAPTER XXXVI.-CONCLUSION. Very happy have been those two homes—both that in Westhaven, more newly founded, and that in Kingsport, restored after so strange an interruption.
Edward and Clarissa still dwell in their pleasant abode near the summit of Snow Hill, and now live as “heirs together” of the grace of life; Clarissa's nature strengthened and enlarged, Fdward's softened and restrained by the power of a true godliness.
For a brief season after the return to Kingsport Edward bad, in the expressive words of Scripture, “walked softly,” refraining from activities of a more public kind. But long ere this, though with higher aims and a more tempered zeal, he has resumed his position as a prominent citizen in matters civic, philanthropic, and political, and added an earnest interest in endeavours more directly religious. Prompt, decisive, resolute in the pursuance of a purpose deemed to be right, he still is, but not often now does firmness to principle degenerate into personal self-will, nor the love of regularity and orderly procedure into captious fault-finding; not often is an opponent or weak-minded helper met by contemptuous silence or biting sarcasm. Not often; yet once and again old habits have gained ascendancy for a moment; and then the opponent or coadjutor has been surprised by receiving an apology, at once dignified and humble. On the magisterial bench and in the municipal council, his sound judgment, love of justice, and gift of clear speech find useful exercise. He has not yet been asked to fill the office of mayor, nor is he ambitious of the distinction; but there may come to him in due season that mark also of the general esteem in which he is held.
At home it is seldom indeed that any self-will, arbitrariness, or irritability disturbs the peace and love which reign there. Infrequently now is any reference made by Edward to that cruel separation; but his sin and folly is so far ever before him that he feels doubly impelled, by all love, respect, and watchful tenderness, to make atonement for the suffering and dishonour inflicted on his gentle wife. Alice is still with them. At some future time there may come into her life that stronger affection for the sake of which father and mother must be forsaken ; but, as yet, there is no one she loves half so well as she loves them. In all gentlest ways she seeks their happiness, taking a quiet, thoughtfal interest in the many public matters which engage her father; her mother's ready helper in her social kindlinesses and her ministrations to the sick and sorrowful, the erring and the needy.
Nor is the faithful Susan wanting from the family. Relieved from all drudgery, holding no very defined position, she remains, occupying herself with whatever service may be most required housekeeper, lady's maid, narse, or dispenser of charity.
And in that other home, located on the Clifhampton heights above the ancient Westhaven city; there also peace and prosperity are dwelling
Stronger and yet stronger has grown Irene's love for her husband, and her appreciation of his truth, purity, magnanimity, unselfishness; and John's love for Irene has lost nothing of its freshness, admiration, and chivalrous tenderness. With no mortification, with a frank satisfied acknowledgment that it is inevitable and right, he accepts the fact that his wife's keener intellectual powers, her achievements as an artist, and her distinguished beauty, give to her the foremost place, and that by society in general he is himself merely thought of as the husband of Mrs. Laureston Rivers. Nor does he even grudge that a dignity which seems of right to belong to the husband, and is seldom contested by the wife—that of bread-winner-belongs only in a secondary degree to himself.
For Irene's artistic career has proved highly successful. Not that she has attained to any such pre-eminence as will bestow upon her a wide and enduring fame; that for herself she had never hoped to win. And therefore, unbeguiled by any sach dream, she has patiently, gladly, accomplished the yet good and joy-giving work she had power to do.
Sunny landscapes, picturesque city scenes, portraits—faithful, yet embodying the best expression of which the face was capableall painted with loving care and delight, come from her studio; and on the walls of provincial exhibitions, and on those of the Royal Academy itself, space is accorded ; and visitors stand long before them, art-critics notice them favourably, and purchasers are found, liberal and namerous. Bat not because the works proceeding from her stadio are thus in demand, does she feel impelled to turn delight into sorrow and toil by undue exertion. Neither herself or husband are eager in the pursuit of wealth. Such competence they possess as secures to them the comforts, and many of the embellishments of life-as permits a modest provision for the future and a kind care for others; and with this they are content.
They dwell in a pleasant house situated in a part of Clifhampton from whence the tide of fasbion has flowed away; but possessing an unoverlooked garden, and from most of the windows commanding glimpses—from the topmost story, a wide view-of the noble surrounding scenery; the woods, the downs, the river. The house had been chosen partly because it contained a room capable of being altered into a commodious studio, and also because of a quaint irregularity in its construction which pleased Irene, and to which her artistic instincts enabled her so to adjust the interior arrangements, that without unseasonable expenditure an air of exceptional elegance was thrown over all its appointments
Selfishly lavish expenditure, however refined in its direction, was forbidden to them by higher claims.
Irene has never wished to forget her own dependent childhood; and something of the kindness and protecting care which had been bestowed upon her she in her turn extends to others having the same need; while John, with her fullest concorrence, is largely the support of his father and his sister Hilda ; bis mother has long passed beyond the need of his filial tenderness.
Rose is happily married ; Lettie is engaged; but for the present she fills a situation in a ladies' school at Easton-or-the-Sea, and she divides her holidays between the homes of her brother, her sister Rose, and the old house on Summer Hill, where her father and Hilda are still dwelling. Bat she is always glad if any sufficient excuse can be found for making the longest stay with her "own dear John," her "beautiful Irene," and their dearly loved children.
To her firstborn Irene gave her father's name of Lancelot; and as she looked upon the babe, and thought she could trace the lineaments of that loved face, she fondly dreamed that the child might have inherited the highest genias, denied to herself, and that her son would win the renown her father had missed. But the little Lancelot takes no pleasure in brushes, colours, or pictures ; his delight is in handling tools, watching the movements of machinery, constructing-indoors with his blocks, in the garden with earth and stones-arches, bridges, fortifications. Half-playfully, half-seriously, the father tells the mother that their son is destined, not for a famous painter, but for a famous engineer; will cut through, perhaps, the isthmus of Darien, or turn the Sahara into a flowery garden.
Of the two little girls, the elder is called after Irene's mother, the younger bears the name of Clarissa ; and when they walk upon the downs, or play near the garden-gate, the strangers tarn to gaze upon them, and to wonder at their almost equal, yet strongly contrasted beauty.
Many happy visits have been exchanged between the families dwelling at Kingsport and Westhaven. Next to her own Alice, Mrs. Weatherill still loves Irene, and Irene regards her with analtered affection, veneration, and gratitude. Within the home at Clifhampton, in a room called the “ little parlour,” to which strangers are never introduced, a room held sacred to domestic seclusion, hangs that painting—for so many reasons dear to Irene -the portrait of Clarissa in her girlhood, painted by her lover's hand. And at Kingsport, in the study, is placed its counterpart, painted by Irene at Edward Weatherill's express desire; a copy so perfect that, except for some slight appearance of greater freshness, none but the most practised eye could discern which is the original and which, the copy. As a faithful image of his dear wife in the far-off days when they were strangers one to another, it possesses an anfailing interest for Edward. Other associations it has. Now and again, as he looks upon it, a pang pierces him keen as a dagger's thrust; but he deems the pain to be salatary, and not for that cause would he banish it from his sight.
Whether rightly or mistakenly, Irene has always maintained that no picture by her father which she has been able to obtain excels that portrait, and that no work of her own equals the copy. But such belief has never tempted her to expose either painting in any exhibition to the public gaze.
The strong parpose formed in early yoath of rescuing her father's name from oblivion has been in some good measure falfilled.
By diligent search she has discovered a considerable number of his widely scattered works; not a few have come into her own possession, and some few years ago she had the satisfaction of seeing them exhibited in a separate room, as the “ Laareston Collection," during one of the exhibitions held annually in Westhaven.
Slowly, relactantly, and with some help from her husband, tenderly given, Irene came to perceive that the world was not likely to acknowledge as an indisputable fact the transcendent genius of her father—the power which lay within him for work