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will not allow it,” she added in a lower tone; “I am sure they will not allow it.”
“We will see that by and by,” said Clarissa. do not be afraid; I shall not leave you with them."
While Clarissa uttered these last words, the nurse and other servants were heard in the antechamber, bringing in the young lady's trunks, and arranging a toilet for her, which they encircled with a folding-screen.
The poor lady, on hearing the noise they made, stepped to the door with considerable glee; and, having looked on a minute, turned with alacrity to Clarissa, saying, I do think it is true, and that you are really coming to live with me.” And then, with a kind of childlike curiosity, she asked what her young visitor had got in her trunks, and whether she might be permitted to see their contents.
“You shall see me open my trunks to-morrow,” plied Clarissa, “ and I will shew you many beautiful things. But now they are bringing in my couch-bed, I will beg you to point out where it is to be placed.”
There are some people who never consider what they shall do till it is time to act; on which account, when the time for action arrives, they are all irresolution and indecision. But this was not the case with Clarissa respecting her mother. She had consulted her friend in the convent on this most interesting subject, and had, in consequence of her advice, wholly made up her mind on the course she ought to pursue: so that, although she appeared to be acting with precipitation, every step she took was the product of mature deliberation. And though her views of religion were at that time not altogether clear, yet she had not failed to seek the guidance of her heavenly Father, with a sincere desire to conform herself in all things to his holy will. And thus the Almighty was pleased to lead her on by a way which as yet she understood not.
It was nearly two hours from the time Isabella and the two Mrs. Burtons had left the room, before Isabella returned, followed by the elder Mrs. Burton. During this interval, Clarissa, with the assistance of the nurse, her husband, and other servants who secretly favoured her cause, had made good her establishment in her mother’s room; while the poor lady, whose hopes revived
on beholding the preparations made for the residence of her young companion in her apartment, was standing in the inner room, giving the nurse some directions about the bed, and saying that she hoped it was properly aired.
Clarissa, who was also in the inner room, contemplating the infant's bed with satin quilt, which stood as aforetime in the corner, no sooner heard her sister's voice than she hastened to meet her, and found, with pleasure, that Mrs. Burton was willing to relinquish her present office, and to assume that of housekeeper, provided the promised hundred pounds were secured to herself, and the fifty to her sister.
Clarissa gave her on this occasion all the satisfaction she could wish, at the same time saying, • Understand, Mrs. Burton, that it is your own act and deed to give up this office, and no proposal of mine; since all I wished was to share with you the charge of waiting upon my afflicted mother.
It was now apparent, that a wish was felt by all parties to have the matter entirely hushed up. Mrs. Burton begged pardon for having spoken warmly; hoped Miss Clarissa would think no more of it, and expressed a hope that she should perform her duty as housekeeper so as to give satisfaction. After which she began to busy herself by ostentatiously giving directions to the nurse respecting her management of Mrs. Danzy; particularly requesting her not, on any account, to hurry and alarm the poor lady, or suffer her to talk much, with other such intimations as tended to convey the idea of her own extraordinary tenderness and affection. Mrs. Diana also played her part very well: so, when the two sisters had delivered up their keys, they departed, leaving Clarissa and her nurse equally amazed at the ease and speed with which so entire a revolution had been produced in the economy of Mrs. Danzy's apartments.
“And now,” said Clarissa, when the door was shut after them, we will think no more, nor speak any more, of these people; but, instead of embittering our minds against them, we will devote our time to the more important purpose of rendering my dear parent as happy as circumstances will allow. And, first, nurse, you shall call
your husband, who is now to act as our footman, to
bring us our tea, for the evening is far spent; and I will take out my work, and sit down as quietly as if I were perfectly at ease."
Clarissa having thus given her directions, took her work-bag in her hand, and going into the inner apartment, where her afflicted mother stood trembling from head to foot, having just heard Mrs. Burton's voice, she took her hand, and said, “And now, my dear lady, I have got my bed settled, and all my boxes and toilet arranged, we will have our tea if you please.”
“ But will Mrs. Burton allow you to drink tea with me, my dear?” said the poor lady, in a low voice.
Yes,” said Clarissa: “ for as she is now to occupy the place of housekeeper, she must live in the housekeeper's room; and I am to have the care of you. See, continued she, “I have got all the keys; and I shall lock the door, and open it, when I please; and from this time no one will come in or go out without my permission.' Mrs. Danzy smiled, and said,
- Who are you, my dear? You are very kind to me, and very pleasant too."
My name is Clarissa,” answered the young lady; " and if you will not be my mother, I will have no other.
mother?” The old lady kissed the hand which her daughter held to her, a condescension which Clarissa could not well bear: nevertheless, being fearful of exciting the invalid too much, she took no notice of this action, but led her into the outer room, where was placed a small settee, near a table on which John Neale was arranging the tea-cups.
Clarissa placed her mother on the settee, and began, in a quiet way, to take out her work. The old lady smiled, and, her sight being weak, she took out her glass to observe what kind of work her new companion was engaged in. She likewise noticed John, and asked him how he did; after which, turning to the nurse, she said, “ And is nurse to wait upon us? What will become of the infant, if nurse is always here?”
" What infant?” said Clarissa.
“Why, my dear little one," replied the lady. “Nurse, what have you done with my darling ?”
May I call
“ Poor dear lady!” replied the nurse, “ you cut me to the heart.”
“ Your dear child is well, perfectly well,” said Clarissa, determining to be calm, “ and never so happy as at this moment.'
The poor lady seemed satisfied; and taking up one of the tea-cups, the pattern of which she remembered, “ These cups,” she said, were given me before I was married; they were a present from my mother.' And having once entered upon this subject, and finding that no one checked her, she gave a full, true, and accurate history of the set of china and teaboard which stood before her; in the course of which she introduced several little family anecdotes peculiarly interesting and affecting to Clarissa.
This story, with its sundry parentheses, lasted till the old lady's attention became wholly fixed upon a handkerchief which Clarissa was embroidering with French silk. She took up one end of it, admired it greatly, and then looked at her daughter with a very sweet smile, repeating what she had several times before said,
" Who are you, my love? How beautiful your work is! and how happy your company makes me!”
When the tea-kettle was brought in, Clarissa insisted that the nurse should make tea; after which, the poor lady, who had long been used to take her comfortless meals alone, declared that she had never enjoyed herself more than on that evening.
As I have been obliged to make this story very long, I will not enter into every particular, which otherwise might be interesting, concerning Clarissa's management of her atflicted mother. She remained with her all the evening, leading her to talk upon such subjects as appeared to have no agitating effect upon her mind, till bed-time arrived, which was with her a very early hour. The nurse then assisted her to bed, and watched by her till she fell asleep.
In the morning, Clarissa was ready to assist her mother as soon as she awoke; and, as she always breakfasted in bed, this affectionate daughter was prepared to make her tea by her bed-side; during which meal, the poor lady, being delighted to have such company, and much amused with the little bustle of tea-making, began, in
the joy of her heart, to tell old stories, among which she forgot not to give the history of the old-fashioned teatable on which the tea-equipage was arranged.
Immediately after breakfast, Clarissa brought her Bible, and read several chapters to her poor mother, and this was succeeded by a suitable prayer; after which nurse was called in to dress her.
These necessary preparations being completed, she led her mother into the anteroom, that she might be present at the unpacking of her box; on which occasion, after amusing her with a sight of the rich silks she had brought from France, she presented her with many beautiful trinkets in ivory and needlework which had been made in the convent.
These the poor lady received with all the simplicity of a child, and employed herself the greater part of the afternoon in arranging them in her cabinet, while her daughter sat working by her side.
The pleasure of seeing her poor mother so composed and happy, and so easily amused, afforded Clarissa so much delight, that she entirely forgot how the time passed, and was quite surprised when called to dinner. But she excused herself from attending the family at that time, and sat down to take this meal with her mother.
When Mrs. Danzy saw John come in to lay the cloth, and observed a cover laid for Clarissa, she said, with emotion, “Surely, my sweet young lady, you do not niean to dine with me?”
Clarissa replied, “I am come to be your daughter; and where should a daughter dine but with her mother?”
After dinner, Clarissa and her nurse tempted the poor lady into the garden; and, as it was a fine evening, they caused her to sit down on a garden-seat, while Clarissa entertained her with some little stories of things she had heard in France: and she found, that the plainer and simpler the tale, the better her mother was pleased by it.
On their return into the poor lady's parlour, they found the tea-things set out upon the table, where every thing was tastefully and neatly arranged for their evening meal. Poor Mrs. Danzy was struck with the altered appearance of every thing about her, and, turning to her daughter, she said, “What, am I to have another such happy evening as I had yesterday?”