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LABOUR AND WAIT; or, EVELYN'S STORY.
BY EMMA JANE WORBOISE.
CHEVERLEIGH PLACE. I FELT anything but triumphant when I once more saw my home ind my parents. It was an unspeakable comfort to sleep alone in a arge, cool chamber, to lay my things smoothly in almost any number VOL. VI — NEW SERIES,
of drawers, and to sit down to a liberal repast properly served ; and I was overjoyed to meet my father again, and filled with a yearning affection towards my mother and towards Eustace, who was as much a pet and a nuisance as ever, and I did not know, till I had fairly escaped from bondage, how hard and how bitter had been the thrall under which, for the last few months, I had so miserably lived. Still, I felt that, except in one or two unimportant particulars, I had made small progress, and I was quite conscious that in a moral point of view my character had wofully deteriorated. All my evil propensities had been fostered, my temper had become snappish, violent, and uncontrollable, and my pride, which had used to be only an exaggerated form of self-respect, now bordered on conceit and arrogance. I do not at all wonder now that my mother soon complained that "Evelyn was not at all improved, her haughty and independent spirit being more unbearable than ever.” And, as a matter of course, she was not at all surprised at Miss Kimberly's refusal to be my instructress any longer; and she felt quite sure that the teacher was a very estimable woman, and that upon me alone rested the entire blame and onus of our irreconcilable feud!
My brother Eustace, now in his tenth year, was as beautiful in person as when he was an infant. He was a gloriously handsome boy, strikingly like our still lovely mother; his bright curls clustered around a smooth, broad, white brow; his violet coloured eyes shone with animation and eager joy ; his features were perfect, and his young cheeks wore the soft tinting of the summer rose. But his disposition was by no means so promising as it might have been :-he hated girls, he said and he was insolent to the maids, who constantly gave notice on his account; and he was cruel to small animals, and hunted the feline rade on principle. I never yet saw a truly good man who was unkind to cats ; if I see pussy chased from the room, kicked and cuffed away from the hearth, and called opprobrious names by a human animal of the male species, I never trust that man ; I know him at once to be unmanly, brutal, cowardly, and mean. The man who for sheer fun, or from hatred to her kind, will kill or torment a cat, is sure, when opportunity offers, to torture a woman's heart. If you value your own peace and happiness shun him, as the ancient people were wont to shun leper Verily there are lepers amongst us now—moral lepers, casting their shadow and imparting their taint to those around them; but alas ! there is no law whereby they may be banished from our midst till their polluted nature shall become sound and clean again! If, on the other hand, you see pussy kindly received, treated with gentleness, and honoured with a passing caress or a friendly word; if she is sleeping where pussies most love to sleep, in the luxurious easy-chair whereon the young gentleman wishes to repose himself after the toils of the day, and she is carefully put down, not flung down, or swept away, as if she were mere inanimate lumber, then have confidence in that man: he has
some, and probably many fine traits in his character, and he will be a safe friend and a kind, true husband. My brother declared that women were created expressly to wait upon men, and in accordance with this belief he soon found me abundance of employment. What with his fishing-tackle, his kite-tails and wings, his miniature ships that always wanted new sails, his gloves, his rabbits, and his pigeons, to say nothing of a litter of bull.pups in the stable, and a ferret whose existence on the premises was supposed to be a profound secret, and a thousand and one devices for current amusement, I was called to aid and sympathise several times in a hour the whole day through.
I tried to please him, for absence had worn away the last remnant of my childish jealousy; and I really loved my beautiful boy-brother, and would have given worlds to win his affection in return. So long as I obeyed his sovereign behests he tolerated me, and bestowed upon me such crumbs of notice as a girl might be supposed to merit; though he often deplored his want of a brother, and wished he could change my sex; but the moment I objected to any caprice, the instant our wills— mine strong by natural temperament, his strong and despotic through incessant petting, spoiling, and deference--clashed, he called me all sorts of opprobrious names, and reviled me for my sex and my ugliness. And if no quarrel arose, and I made any demonstrations of tenderness such as a sister of sixteen-and-a-half frequently bestows on an only brother some years her junior instead of a response, there would be a significant whistle, perhaps a cuff, and a request that I wonld keep my silly kisses to myself, or give them to some nincompoop of a girl that cared for such trash. Or, more impudent still, he would desire me to look out for a sweetheart, never failing to finish up with—“But you are cut out for an old maid, Evy! everybody says so; you aint at all pretty, and ma says you are so vixenish you'll frighten all the men !" Alas, alas ! I knew I was not at all pretty, but was I really vixenish? I began to be afraid it might be a true bill. Never lived a girl who cared and thought less than I about beaux; but a life of single blessedness was not at ail to my taste. I longed to be loved by somebody-my heart ached for love; my father loved me, I knew, but then he was often afraid to show his affection; and I did, vain as it seemed, yet cherish the hope, that in due time, some good and noble-minded man would really love me, and take me into his heart of hearts. I felt that I could be so good, so patient, so courageous, if only one creature in the world loved me best. Keble has written in his “Christian Year,''
“There are who sigh that no fond heart is theirs,
None loves them best. O, vain and seltish sigh!" Had the volume been altogether anonymous, we might have decided from these two lines that a man wrote the book. No woman would pen such a sentiment, unless she lied against her best instincts. It is the
may be at
crown and glory of a woman's life to be worthily“ loved best;" it is a queenship to which all women in their hearts aspire; no literary fame, no reputation for philanthropy, no isolation of rank, no splendour of position, no unfettered freedom of action, can make up for the loss of that which is woman's highest and holiest mission on earth-wifehood and motherhood. Well said Felicia Hemans
“Happ:er, happier far than thou
Lovely but to one on earth.” No' heavenly love was never meant to chase away an earthly affection, implanted and sanctified by God Himself. It seems to me, the more we love God, the more we must love the creature whom He has given us to love ; and the more we love the creature, the more surely ought we to love Him from whom the treasure came, and by whom it
“He that sits above
Ever with grief, which leads the wrung soul back to Him!”
"The more I pray, the more I love.
is no sin, for God is on my side!" But these were thoughts of maturer years, not the musings of my seventeenth summer.
I had asked my father to send me again to school for yet another year, and he went up to London himself and made his own selection. whereas we had taken Miss Willinghame very much on trust. So in the very beginning of August I left Westbury House once more, to try my fate again in a finishing establishment for young ladies. I went up to town this time with far less sanguine expectations, and als with some trepidation, for I had gained much experience in school life, and I determined to hold my own firmly but respectfully from the first moment of my début in Madame Ollivier's schoolroom.
I reached Paddington quite safely, and there I was met by Monsieur Ollivier, a veritable French gentleman, though, as I knew, Madame w English born and bred. His mixture of paternal kindness and excessive gallantry was extremely amusing, yet, nevertheless, it very much assured me, and raised the tone of my spirits, which, from fatigue and the excitement of travelling, were becoming rather depressed. I hał still some miles to travel before I finally reached my destination, for Cheverleigh Place, whither I was bound, was in the neighbourhood of Richmond. Thither, escorted by Monsieur, I arrived in due time, and I was led up to the drawing-room to await the appearance of Madame, who was not at the moment forthcoming. I looked round : I was in a large, handsomely-furnished room; close to me stood a magnificent-looking grand pianoforte--a first-class Broadwood, with all the modern improvements. Miss Willinghame's best instrument was like a very resonant kettle.
I looked from the windows which opened on a deep balcony, shaded by an awning, and filled with choice flowering and fragrant plants, most of them in resplendent bloom. Concealed by the muslin drapery I surveyed the garden beneath ; it was exquisitely kept, and in one blaze of beauty, and scattered about the undulating lawn and the gravel walks, and sitting under the trees, were many young ladies-of course my future companions.
I saw at a glance that they were of a very different class from my former schoolmates at Cannonstone House. Whatever they might prove on a closer acquaintance, they certainly looked and moved like young gentlewomen, and some of them were decidedly beautiful and graceful, and, az I soon found, well-bred, accomplished, and truly refined. As I looked on the happy group in the garden below, and listened, well pleased, to their silvery laughter and their merry tones, and felt that among them I should surely find some kindred spirits, a voice, soft and melodious as music itself, was at my side, bidding me welcome to Cheverleigh Place, in accents of genuine unmistakable kindness.
I turned, and there was Madame Ollivier, a fair, blooming English matron, still young-looking and extremely pretty, and having withal a very distinguished air. Her face, her voice, and her greeting were thoroughly English ; but her air, her movements, and her dress were decidedly Parisian : she was altogether a charming creature, and my girlish heart was taken by storm. After a few kind words and polite inquiries about my parents, she begged me to excuse her, for the post was just going out, and she was compelled to finish an important letter. Would I follow her to my room, and she would send the English governess to me, who would have great pleasure in introducing me so the young people, &c., &c.
Accordingly, Madame led the way across an ante-room or second Irawing-room, where there was another piano and several guitars, and long a broad, carpeted gallery, on which many rooms opened. Place,” as M. Ollivier's house was commonly called in the neighbour100d, was a large rambling mansion, delightfully ancient-looking, but omfortable, convenient, and handsome; indeed, some portions of it ordered on the magnificent—the broad stone staircase, lighted by a tained-glass window, the innumerable passages, the spacious corridors, he gilded cornices of some of the rooms, all gave one the idea of a nansion forsaken by its lawful owners, as perhaps it was; for it had been the habitation of royalty itself in the very commencement of the entury, though the said royalty lived in it without any of the