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To say this is to possess a charm- self: all passion and unrest quenched ing, refined nature, even when say- out of it by long years of poverty and ing disagreeable things. This was Miss Joan. She liked to see that old Mrs. Tudor's style of flattery.

face, with the venerable white hair She called herself old; and she and little close-frilled cap, as the was very old, even for the city of evening light fell on it through the sempiternelles where she lived; but branches of the thorn-tree by the she held old age at bay more porch; to see the folded withered stoutly, I really believe, than any hands lying peacefully at rest; the other woman of her age extant. whole little, worn, bent form just as She was a model of good making-up. though waiting, patient and quiI can never see the justice of con- escent, for death to come. This demning, wholesale, all women who was the poetry of extreme, helpless paint. Condemn them utterly if old age; and Esther often at such they paint badly; but give homage times had spoken under her breath, due to all successful works of real half in awe of the frail, still lifo so art. Mrs. Tudor was extraordinarily barely withheld from the final stillwell done. Her hair was a dark iron- ness of death itself. But Mrs. Tugrey, not any of those blacks and dor! Mrs. Tudor, sprightly and chesnuts that every shifting light roseate and alert! All the girl's can convert into prisms of red, old childish horror of something green, and purple; her eyebrows coming off' rushed across her mind were marked by one dark yet per- as she remembered she would have fectly delicato line; her cheeks bore to kiss Mrs. Tudor's cheek; and the faintest roseate tinge that the every one of the little affectionate genius of Paris (assisted by after speeches she had been preparing on processes of her own) could supply; her journey forsook her memory. her teeth, her figure, were all tri- Aunt Thalia's warmth of heart umphs of imitative art. The most was equal, however, to all occasions difficult part of the picture, and one -oven domestic ones. “Esther, my in which so many inferior artists fail, dear, dear child !' and then, much the old, wrinkled, sapless hands were to Esther's relief, the greatest diffinever shown without gloves. I re- culty of meeting was got over by peat it, Mrs. Tudor was well done; Mrs. Tudor herself depositing a very and whether she, or Wilson, or the long but circumspect kiss upon her mere artificers from whence ber cheek. “So grown I should scarco charms came in gross, possessed the have recognized you! Wilson, has greater genius, I hold that the re- not Miss Fleming grown? Two sult of so much thought, and choice, shillings for bringing you from the and patient, unfaltering every-day railway? Certainly not. Esther, labour, was a thing to be respected. love, I insist upon your not paying

But cultivation is required for all more than eighteen-pence; and let high taste in art. When Esther him carry up Miss Fleming's lugFleming first found herself again in gago to her apartment before he's Mrs. Tudor's presence, the vision of paid. Wilson, the small upper a painted and galvanized corpse room that faces the sea. I knew tottering forward to meet her with my dear niece would not mind deathly sprightliness came upon her mounting a little high,' she whiswith even more awful clearness pered to Esther, as Wilson, very than it had used to do when she rustling and dignified, marched out was a child. All the painful pro- of the room. * Yon princess in cesses by which Mrs. Tudor's re- black silk would have been sour to juvenescence had been won-the me for a month if I had dared disdentistry, the dyeing, the daily pad- possess her of hers; and my dear dings and powderings and paintings Esther's little feet are too young to for well-nigh half a century, were know whether they run up one or mysteries too occult for Esther's two flights of stairs at a time.' mind to unravel, or even marvel Mrs. Tudor embraced her again, over. She liked her Aunt Engle- but without more kisses: these heart's face, white and still as death it- risks were only incurred under the

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indispensable press of affection at changed, no doubt, Miss Fleming?' coming and going: and then Esther remarked the lady's-maid, fidgeting remarked that she did not care at about the strings of one of Esther's all where she slept, and would be cases, but obviously only giving hervery sorry indeed to put Wilson out self a pretext to stop and talk. in any way.

Even Ì, that am with her con"And how is my dear sister? Sit stant, can see it only too plain. down, my love, and unloose your She's pitched away extraordinary bonnet-strings. How is my dear the last three months, miss.' sister Cecilia ? You wouldn't have Esther could see no particular a glass of wine, Esther, after your change, she answered. She thought, journey, now- -would you?'

perhaps, that her Aunt Thalia's was Oh, no! Aunt Thalia. I never not a face to show illness much. take wine.'

Perhaps so,' said Wilson, drily. * Dear child! so natural ! You Appearances are deceitful; but are very little altered, love, except in then you must remember 1 seo height. I take an early dinner, you missus at all times, Miss Fleming. must know, Esther; my doctor here Thinner! Why, bless you, she's desires it, and so I obey, but it gone away to half what she were breaks in upon my habits sadly; before her last attack. I've took in then about seven I drink tea. Now all her dresses without her knowing what will you have ?' Mrs. Tudor it; and she thinks, sometimes, she's looked extraordinarily genial and getting stout again, and tells the hospitable. What will you have? doctors so; but I know better. I They can get you a chop in a wish some of them, or some one minute.' And she stretched her belonging to her, would tell her a hand out, figuratively, towards the little truth about her health, Miss bell.

Fleming, and then, perhaps, she 'I would much rather havo no- wouldn't kill herself-dressing and thing but tea,' said Esther. 'I am racketing and sitting up late at not hungry-I mean not very-I night as she do—kill herself, and I had my dinner on the road.'

may truly say, kill all those who 'Now, do you mean it, my love? have to wait upon her too!' do you positively mean it? I will Mrs. Wilson pressed her hand never forgive you if you don't make with much feeling upon the region yourself perfectly at home while of her left lung, and laid her head you are with me. Well, then, we on one side with a sigh. It was will have tea at once. And, Wil- evident that to her own mind her son,' to that potentate, who had twenty-five pounds a year were no now re-entered the room, .bid Mrs. equivalent whatever to the disadSims send up the cold duck, if you vantages of being in Mrs. Tudor's please; it will be just the thing for intimate employ and favour. my niece after her long journey. • What sort of illness has she Wilson will take you to your room, had ?' she proceeded, when Esther Esther. I would go myself, only had inquired into the nature of her that my good doctor tells me I must mistress's last attack; 'why, you refrain as much as possible from don't mean to say your aunt never walking upstairs.'

wrote you word that she'd had a And then Mrs. Wilson, conde- stroke?' scendingly bland, but still with the A stroke!' interrupted Esther, kind of manner which she, as a ser- looking grave and shocked. “Oh, vant, naturally felt to Esther as a Wilson! you surely can't mean

.? poor relation, conducted her to her “Yes, I do, miss. I mean a stroke room on the third floor-a three- of paralysis. I lived with the old cornered apartment with a sloping Countess of Davenport up to her roof, a bed the size of a coffin, and death, and I knew directly I saw a window from whence you had a your aunt's face she was going to very nice side-view of the sea if you be taken like her ladyship. She sat upon the floor.

was a mistress, if you like, Miss •You find your aunt a good deal Fleming. Thirty-six pounds a year

and the best of perquisites, and a under maid kept on purpose to set up and unlace the dresses at night; because her ladyship said from the first, “ Mrs. Wilson," her ladyship says to me, “I see that your 'ealth's delicate, and

' And Aunt Thalia, Wilson ? Please tell me about Aunt Thalia's illness.'

'Well, Miss Fleming, it was after an At Home at our own house; and missus and me was putting away some of the ornaments, when she cried out, suddent, “ Wilson!” and tottered back a step or two, and fell on the sofa-80!' And Mrs. Wilson went through a little impromptu rehearsal, with great gusto, upon the coffin bed. I knew what it was in a minute, miss—the thick way of speaking, and dull eyes, and stiff hands, and all the rest of it, and I got her undressed; and Miss Whitty, the--the person who lodges underneath us, you know-sent for the doctor. And he knew what it was, Miss Fleming, just as well as I did; and Mrs. Tudor, she knew what it was, too; but we made light of the whole matter; and none of us ever called the attack by its right name, and we don't now. When missus speaks about it, she says, " That time I was a little faint and giddy, you know, Wilson.” And I say the same; and so must you, of course, if your aunt should happen to mention it.'

* And Aunt Thalia goes out to parties as much as ever?' cried Esther. How can she care about them after such a fearful warning ?'

'Ah! ejaculated Mrs. Wilson, piously, and suddenly remembering the pain above her heart. “Ah! there's no saying what those that belongs to this world wouldn't do to escape out of themselves and their own tempers and fancies! I agreed to accept your aunt's situation on the highest of recommendations, Miss Fleming. The Dean of Sarum's lady (who has known me since I was that high, and all my family, too) begged me herself to take it; and though I had never lived out of the first of establishments before, I was willing to do so because of all your aunt said about my having my

time to myself. Time! why, I'd sooner live with the Countess of Davenport again on half the wages, and wait on the three young ladies besides, than be where I am, Miss Fleming. Morning, noon, and night, I haven't a moment to myself: your aunt wants a nurse, miss, as well as a maid.

And though I'd do as much as my strength allowed for a fellow-creature '-Mrs. Wilson assumed the air of a trampled but forgiving martyr- a fellow-creature in real illness, I don't consider myself called upon to set up o' nights for people that are out at routs and card-parties, and then to have to make their sick-messes, and carry their air-cushion, and put up with their humours by day! Not without extra wages, Miss Fleming! I read my Bible, and I hope I perform my ’umble duties as a Christian, but I know what service is.'

* And this is the woman we have been told is such a treasure,' thought Esther, when Mrs. Wilson, after this little exposition of her opinions respecting her own worth, had left her alone. 'Her great, lonely, fine-furnished rooms, and this woman, with her heartlessness and discontent, are the nearest approach to a home that Aunt Thalia has. I am glad to think Mrs. Engleheart will die poor and quiet and unpretending at Countisbury, and have Joan, with all her faults, to wait upon her to the last.'

She felt her heart almost warm towards Mrs. Tudor when she joined her again down stairs. There was something within her that instinctively recognized and respected the courage of this old woman of the world in neither shrinking from, nor seeking sympathy under, the dark shadow that had fallen upon her. If it was courage wrongly shown (cards, rouge, parties, instead of calm meditation and solemn retrospect), it was courage still; the same stout nerve that had upheld Joan Engleheart during so many years of unpitied, unassisted poverty; the same strong, enduring power that, simple and youthful though she was, lay dormant in Esther's breast. Yes, she looked at the old bland face that

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ever.

had met the forerunner of a fearful “Ah, dear, good Joan!' remarked death just with the same well-bred Mrs. Tudor, evidently just rememinsouciance it would have shown to bering her niece's existence. "Dear, any other disagreeable but unavoid good, useful, industrious Joan! how able visitor, and, for the first time is she? and my sister? You have in her life, felt that she and Mrs. not told me one word yet, love, as Tudor were of one kin.

to how my dear sister is looking ?' * You distress me, my love, by 'Aunt Engleheart never seems to cating so little. Really you ought change, to me,' answered Esther. to have something more substantial “She looks just as weak and pale after your long journey-a poached and quiet as she did when I first egg, now?

You are quite sure ? went to Countisbury; but she can I meant you to have some cold dress herself still; and twice this duck, and, oh, my dear Esther ! summer she has walked to church what do you think?'

and back.' Esther, of course, expressed her * Poor dear Cecilia! She was inability to have any idea what- never very strong. I should like

extremely to go and see her if I 'I asked the woman of the house could; but I am afraid the exciteto send it up, and she informed me ment would be too much for her. my maid had eaten it for her own We were always so passionately early tea-the whole of one wing, attached to each otherThey had and some delicious slices on the

not met, or sought to meet, for the back. And she knows that if there's last twenty years. She was blonde, one thing more than another that is

you know, and I brune; ; and the likely to tempt me it's a morsel of difference in age used not to show cold duck.'

then as it must now. Blondes alEsther laughed. “Wilson knows ways fade all at once when they do what is likely to tempt herself, no fade. That is a dédommagement to doubt,' she remarked. Most ser- dark women, my love; for, looking vants do.'

old when they are young, they wear "She is,' Mrs. Tudor lowered her better when the first beauté du diable voice, and looked with meaning (as is over.

How old are you, Esther ? confidential persons upon the stage -I forget-fifteen, sixteen? Which invariably look round, but fail to is it?' see the infernal villain crouched Oh, Aunt Thalia! I am past under the pasteboard portico, at eighteen. And Joan and David least two yards and a half from both think I look two or three years their side) towards the door: 'she older than that.' is the greediest, the falsest, the most David! What is David ? Whom rapacious, odious woman that I are you talking of, child? I thought verily believe ever drew breath, you had no acquaintance among even amidst servants. I keep her those savage Devonshire wilds.' because the Dean of Sarum's wife * But David Engleheart, ma'am; recommended her, and because she my cousin David!' understands her business, and does Never say “ma'am" again, Estnot rob me very outrageously; but her, I beg. It does not sound vulher appetite! Oh, my dear child! gar from you, but it is old-fashioned I often think what I have to go and provincial.

Call me your Aunt through at the hands of all my Tudor, or your Aunt Thalia, or maids is my punishment, in the even Mrs. Tudor, but never ma'am. flesh, for caring about worldly va- Will you remember?' nities in my old age. And, speaking "Yes, Aunt Thalia.' of vanities, where did you have that ' And now, if you have really dress made you have on?-not in eaten as much as you wish, love? the wilds of Devonshire, I am sure.' (Esther had eaten nothing), we will

Yes, Aunt Thalia, in the wilds go and finish our chat by the open of Devonshire. Joan and I made it window. Yes, sit on the footstool. from the pattern of the white

one I I like to see you so; the pose is had at school.

gcod. Put your left arm å little

Your poor

lower, and turn your face up to- You will want all your strength
wards me. That is right. Do you some day, depend upon it. A grace-
know you are really very like your ful, feminino manner, and perfect
great-grandfather? You have just reliance in herself aro what a young
poor dear Garratt's eyes, but you woman needs to obtain success in
have not the family chin. There society'
you are a Vincent.

. I don't care a bit for success in mother was a pretty little woman, society. I wish to have real success but without the slightest style. Do -I mean I wish to be really loveyou remember her?'

able.' Only a little,' answered Esther. Mrs. Tudor looked hard at her 'I remember she was very white and great-niece's candid, fushed face, tired-looking, and hardly ever took and laughed. “You are full of senme in her arms or had me in the timent, I can see,' she observed, in sitting-room to play with her; but spite of Joan having had you in that is all. I remember my father her hands so long. Wait until you much the best.'

have seen a little more of the world, Quite right, my dear Esther; and you will become like the other quite right. Your mother's family young people of this generationwere very nice people—very nice like your friends the Miss Dashpeople indeed in their own way; but woods, for example. I wonder there is no occasion for us to remem- knowing them has not put all rober them. I am glad to find you mantic fancies out of your head!' growing up such a complete Flem- ! But Jane ought to be very roing. When I saw you last I was mantic just now.' Esther felt somereally distressed about your voice what conscience-stricken as she put and manners, but you bave im- forth this remark. 'I suppose you mensely improved now. School has know she is engaged ?' softened you down.'

• To whom?' 'I am glad you think so,' said To—to Mr. Chichester, I believe. Esther. I was afraid I learnt very I know nothing of him.' little for all the money it cost. I * What are you getting red for, am not brilliant, Aunt Thalia. child ?' Years ago I used to think I should 'I am sure I don't know, Aunt be a genius, able to write books and Thalia. It is a dreadfully foolish do all sorts of things. I rate my habit of mine. I-I do wish I own abilities much more truly could get over it,' Miss Fleming now.'

added, indignantly, and then she 'I did not send you to school to blushed crimson indeed. learn lessons, Esther, but to acquire "No sign of modesty looks ill in a style and manner. You have learnt

young person,' said Mrs. Tudor, quite enough, I have no doubt, with complacently. • As long as you are Joan at home. What you want under twenty no one will think now is to know how to hide your worse of you for blushing, and you learning and be agreeable in the will find it a habit that time soon world. Men don't like clever wo

Who told you Jane Dashmen; always remember that. Soft- wood was to marry Paul Chiness, liveliness, grace, are the quali- chester?' ties you must strive after.'

*Her sister Millicent. She speaks Esther thought of Oliver, of her of it in all her letters as a regular never-ceasing, uneasy sense of her engagement. Colonel Dashwood own superiority to him, and sighed. lets Mr. Chichester come to the 'I am sure you are right there, she house as often as he chooses.' remarked. I often wish I was more • Colonel Dashwood lets most unsoft and yielding than I am.' married men do that, Esther; and

* Then you wish a very foolish in the rare cases where he does not, thing, let me tell you, Esther,' said the Miss Dashwoods save their Mrs. Tudor. * Seem as soft as you lovers any trouble by meeting them choose, but thank Providence for elsewhere. I have seen a good having made you really strong. many of Miss Dashwood's flirtations

cures.

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