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CHAPTER VI.

did not show the latter sentiment except by dener about the best means of clothing that silence and an uneasy rustling about the room bit of wall, over which every railway train just before the Miss Wentworths rose to go was visible which left or entered Carlingford. -a sign apparent to his wife, though to no- That functionary was of opinion that when body else. He gave Miss Wentworth his arm the lime-trees “ growed a bit ” all would be to the door with an embarrassed courtesy. right; but Mrs. Morgan was reluctant to “ If you are going to stay any time at Car- await the slow processes of nature. She forlingford, I trust we shall see more of you,” got her vexations about Mr. Wentworth in said Mr. Morgan : “Iought to beg your par- consideration of the still more palpable indon for taking up so much time with my af- convenience of the passing train. fairs ; " and the rector was much taken aback when Miss Wentworth answered, “ Thank you, that is just what I was thinking." He Miss Dora WENTWORTH relapsed into supwent back to his troubled wife in great per- pressed sobbing when the three ladies were plexity. What was it that was just what once more on their way. Between each little she was thinking ? - that he would see more access a few broken words fell from the poor of them, or that he had spoken too much of lady's lips. 6. I am sure dear Frank did not his own affairs ?

mean it,” she said ; it was all the plea his “ You think I have been angry and made champion could find for him. an idiot of myself,” said Mr. Morgan to his “ He did not mean what? to do his duty wife, who was standing looking from a safe and save souls ? " said Miss Leonora—is distance through the curtains at the three that what he didn't mean? It looks very ladies, who were holding a consultation with much as if he did, though-as well as he their servant out of the window of the sol- knew how." emn chariot provided by the Blue Boar, as to 66 Quite so, Leonora,” said Miss Wentwhere they were to go next.

worth. “ Nonsense, dear; but I wish you

had not " But he could not mean to ves the recsaid quite so much about Mr. Wentworth,” tor,” said Miss Dora--"my poor dear Frank : said the rector's wife, seizing, with female of course he meant it for the very best. I art, on a cause for her annoyance which would wonder you don't think so, Leonora-you not wound her Welshman's amour propre, who are so fond of missions. I told you

what 6 for I rather think he is dependent on his I heard him saying to the young lady-all aunts. They have the living of Skelmersdale, about the sick people he was going to visit, I know; and I remember now that their and the children. IIe is a faithful shepherd, nephew was to have had it. I hope this though you wont think so; and I am sure he wont turn them against him, dear,” said means nothing butMrs. Morgan, who did not care the least in “ His duty, I think,” said the iron-gray the world about Skelmersdale, looking anx- sister, resolutely indifferent to Miss Dora's iously in her husband's face.

little sniffs, and turning her gaze out of the This was the climax of the rector's trouble. window, unluckily just at the moment when

Why did not you tell me that before ?he the carriage was passing Masters's shop, said, with conjugal injustice, and went off to where some engravings were hanging of a his study with a disturbed mind, thinking suspiciously devotional character. The name that perhaps he had injured his own chances over the door, and the aspect of the shopof getting rid of the Perpetual Curate. If window, were terribly suggestive, and the fine Mrs. Morgan had permitted herself to solilo- profile of the Perpetual Curate was just visquize after he was gone, the matter of her ible within to the keen eyes of his aunt. thoughts might have been interesting; but Miss Dora, for her part, dried hers, and, beas neither ladies nor gentlemen in the nine-ginning to see some daylight, addressed her-, teenth century are given to that useful me- self anxiously to the task of obscuring it, and dium of disclosing their sentiments, the veil damaging once more her favorite's chance. of privacy must remain over the mind of the 66 Ah, Leonora, if he had but a sphere of rector's wife. She got her gardening gloves his own,” cried Miss Dora, “ where he would and scissors, and went out immediately after, have other things to think of than the rubric, and had an animated discussion with the gar- and decorations, and sisterhoods. I don't

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wish any harm to poor dear old Mr. Shirley, | villanous Latin inscription, a legend which I am sure ; but when Frank is in the rec- began with the terrible words Ora pro nobis,

became suddenly visible to her troubled eyes. “I thought you understood that Frank She put away the book as if it had stung her, would not do for the rectory,” said Miss Leo- and made a precipitate retreat. She shook

“ Sisterhoods !-look here, there's a her head as she descended the stairshe reyoung lady in a gray cloak, and I think she's entered the carriage in gloomy silence. When going into that shop: if Frank carries on that it returned up Prickett's Lane, the three sort of thing, I shall think him a greater fool ladies again saw their nephew, this time enthan ever. Who is that girl?”

tering at the door of No. 10. He had his “I am sure I don't know, dear,” said Miss prayer-book under his arm, and Miss Leonora Dora, with unexampled wisdom. And she seized upon this professional symbol to wreak comforted her conscience that she did not her wrath upon it. 6. I wonder if he can't know, for she had forgotten Lucy's name. pray by a sick woman without his prayerSo there was no tangiblo evidence to confirm book ?" she cried. "I never was so proMiss Leonora’s doubts, and the carriage from voked in my life. How is it he doesn't know the Blue Boar rattled down Prickett's Lane better ? His father is not pious, but he isn't to the much amusement of that locality. a Puseyite, and old uncle Wentworth was When they got to the grimy canal-banks, Miss very sound-he was brought up under the Leonora stopped the vehicle and got out. pure Gospel. How is it that the boys are so She declined the attendance of her trembling foolish, Dora ?” said Miss Leonora, sharply ; sister, and marched along the black pave

" it must be your doing. You have told them ment dispersing with the great waves of her tales and things, and put true piety out of drapery the wondering children about, who their head.” swarmed as children will swarm in such lo • My doing! " said Miss Dora, faintly ; calities. Arrived at the schoolroom, Miss but she was too much startled by the suddenLeonora found sundry written notices hung ness of the attack to make any coherent reup in a little wooden frame inside the open monstrance. Miss Leonora tossed back her door. All sorts of charitable businesses were angry head, and pursued that inspiration, carried on about the basement of the house ; finding it a relief in her perplexity. and a curt little notice about the Provident “ It must be all your doing,” she said. Society diversified the list of services which “ How can I tell that you are not a Jesuit in was hung up for the advantage of the igno- disguise ? one has read of such a thing. The rant. Clearly the Curate of St. Roque's boys were as good, nice, pious boys as one meant it. “ As well as he knows how," his could wish to see ; and there's Gerald on the aunt allowed to herself, with a softening sen- point of perversion, and Frank I tell timent: but, pushing her inquiries further, you, Dora, it must be your fault." was shown up to the schoolroom, and stood That was always my opinion,” said Miss pondering by the side of the reading-desk Cecilia ; and the accused, after a feeble atlooking at the table, which was contrived to tempt at speech, could find nothing better to be so like an altar. The curate, who could do than to drop her veil once more and cry not have dreamed of such a visit, and whose under it. It was very hard, but she was mind had been much occupied and indifferent not quite unaccustomed to it. However, the to externals on the day before, had left vari- discoveries of the day were important enough ous things lying about, which were carefully to prevent the immediate departure which collected for him upon a bench. Among Miss Leonora had intended. She wrote a them was a little pocket copy of Thomas à note with her own hands to her nephew, Kempis, from which, when the jealous aunt asking him to dinner. 6. We meant to have opened it, certain little German prints, such gone away to-day, but should like to see you as were to be had by the score at Masters's, first,” she said in her note. " Come and dropped out, some of them unobjectionable dine-we mayn't have anything pleasant to enough. But if the Good Shepherd could say, but I don't suppose you expect that. not be found fault with, the feelings of Miss It's a pity we don't see eye to eye.” Such Leonora may be imagined when the meek was the intimation received by Mr. Wentface of a monkish saint, inscribed with some worth when he got home, very tired, in the

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afternoon. He had been asking himself day to her goodman, gathered up her basket whether under the circumstances, it would of eggs and her nosegay, and made the clernot be proper for him to return some books gyman a little courtesy as she hurried away; of Mr. Wodehouse's which he had in his pos- for the clerk’s wife was a highly respectable session, of course by way of breaking off his woman, and knew her own place. But Rosa, too-familiar, too-frequent intercourse. He who was only a kind of kitten, and had privhad been representing to himself that he ileges, stayed. Mr. Wentworth was by far would make this call after their dinner would the most magnificent figure she had ever seen be over, at the hour when Mr. Wodehouse in her little life. She looked at him with awe reposed in his easy-chair, and the two sisters out of her bright eyes, and thought he looked were generally to be found alone in the draw- like the prince in the fairy tales. ing-room. Perhaps he might have an oppor Any news, sir? There aint much to call tunity of intimating the partial farewell he news, sir-not in a place like this,” said Mr. meant to take of them. When he got Miss Elsworthy. 6. Your respected aunts, sir, ’as Leonora’s note, the curate's countenance been down at the schoolroom. I haven't clouded over. He said, “ Another night heard anything else as I could suppose you lost,” with indignant candor. It was hard didn't know.” enough to give up his worldly prospects, but “ My aunts !” cried the curate; “how do he thought he had made up his mind to that. you know anything about my aunts ?” Mr. However, refusal was impossible. It was Elsworthy smiled a complacent and familiar still daylight when he went up Grange Lane smile. to the Blue Boar. He was early, and went 6. There's so many a-coming and a-going languidly along the well-known road. No- here that I know most persons as comes into body was about at that hour. In those Carlingford,” said he ; "and them three reclosed, embowered houses, people were pre- spected ladies is as good as a pictur. I saw paring for dinner, the great event of the day, them a-driving past and down Prickett's and Mr. Wentworth was aware of that. Per- Lane. They were as anxious to know all haps he had expected to see somebody-Mr. about it as—as was to be expected in the cirWodehouse going home, most likely, in order cumstances,” said Mr. Elsworthy, failing of that he might mention his own engagement, a metaphor ; « and I wish you your 'ealth and account for his failure in the chance and ’appiness, sir, if all as I hear is true.” evening call which had become so much a “It's a good wish,” said the curate; part of his life. But no one appeared to bear" thank you, Elsworthy': but what you

heard his

message. He went lingering past the might not be true.” green door and up the silent, deserted road. “ Well, sir, it looks more than likely,” At the end of Grange Lane, just in the little said the clerk; “ as far as I've seen in my unsettled transition interval which inter posed experience, ladies don't go inquiring into a between its aristocratic calm and the bustle young gentleman's ways, not without some of George Street, on the side next Prickett's reason. If they was young ladies, and noLane, was a quaint little shop, into which ways related, we know what we'd think, sir ; Mr. Wentworth strayed to occupy the time. but being old ladies, and aunts, it’s equally This was Elsworthy's, who, as is well known, as clear. For my part, Mr. Wentworth, my was then clerk at St. Roque’s. Elsworthy worst wish is, that when you come into your himself was in his shop that Easter Monday, fortune, it mayn't lead you away from St. and so was his wife and little Rosa who was Roque's—not after everything is settled so a little beauty. Rosa and her aunt had just beautiful, and not a thing wanted but some returned from an excursion, and a prettier stained glass, as I hear a deal of people say, little apparition could not be seen than that to make it as perfect a little churchdimpled rosy creature, with her radiant half “Yes, it is very true; a painted window is childish looks, her bright eyes, and soft curls very much wanted,” said Mr. Wentworth, of dark brown hair. Even Mr. Wentworth thoughtfully. gave a second glance at her as he dropped · Perhaps there's one o' the ladies, sir, as languidly into a chair, and asked Elsworthy has some friend she'd like to put up a memoif there was any news. Mrs. Elsworthy, who rial to,” said Mr. Elsworthy, in insinuating had been telling the adventures of the holi- tones. " A. window is a deal cheerfuller a

memorial than a tombstone, and it couldn't but the principles of that boy is beautiful. be described the improvement it would be to I hope you haven't mentioned, sir, as I said the church. I'm sorry to hear Mr. Wode- Mr. Wodehouse was took bad? It was behouse aint quite so well as his usual to-night; tween ourselves, Mr. Wentworth. Persons a useful man like he is, would be a terrible don't like, especially when they've got to loss to Carlingford; not as it's anything that age, and are of a full ’abit of body, to alarming, as far as I can hear, but being a have every little attack made a talk about. stout man, it aint a safe thing his being took You'll excuse me mentioning it, sir, but it so sudden. I've heard the old doctor say, was as between ourselves." sir, as a man of a full 'abit, might be took “ Perhaps you'd like me to show you my off at once, when a spare man would fight note,” said the curate, with a smile; which, through. It would be a sad thing for his indeed, Elsworthy would have very much family, sir,” said Mr. Elsworthy, tying up a liked, could he have ventured to say so. Mr. bundle of newspapers with a very serious Wentworth was but too glad of an excuse to face.

write and explain his absence. The note was “Good heavens, Elsworthy, how you talk!” not to Lucy, however, though various little said the alarmed curate. “What do you epistles full of the business of the district had mean?—is Mr. Wodehouse ill?—seriously passed between the two. ill?"

“ DEAR Miss W.,-I hear your father is 6. Not serious, as I knows of,” said the not quite well. I can't call just now, as I am clerk, with solemnity; “ but being a man of going to dine with my aunts, who are at the a full 'abit of body—I dare say as the town Blue Boar; but, if you will pardon the latewould enter into it by subscription if it was ness of the hour, I will call as I return to ask proposed as a memorial to him, for he's much

for him.--Ever

yours,

- F. C. WENTWORTH.” respected in Carlingford, is Mr. Wodehouse. I see him a-going past, sir, at five o'clock, Such was the curate's note. While he which is an hour earlier than common, and scribbled it, little Rosa stood apart watching he was looking flabby, that's how he was him with admiring eyes. He had said she looking. I don't know a man as would be a was too pretty to be sent across Grange Lane greater loss to his family; and they aint been by herself at this hour, though it was still no without their troubles either, poor souls.” more than twilight; and he looked up at her

“ I should be sorry to think that it was for an instant as he said the words,-quite necessary to sacrifice Mr. Wodehouse for the enough to set Rosa's poor little heart beatsake of our painted window," said the curate, ing with childish romantical excitement. If

as that seems what you mean. Send over she could but have pecped into the note to this note for me, please, as l-have not time to see what he said !—for, perhaps, after all, call. No, certainly, don't send Rosa ; that there might not be anything between ”him child is too young and too-too pretty to be and Miss Lucy-and, perhaps-— The poor out by herself at night. Send a boy. Haven't little thing stood watching, deaf to her aunt's you got a boy ?--there is a very nice little call, looking at the strange ease with which fellow that I could recommend to you,” said that small epistle was written, and thinking Mr. Wentworth, as he hastily scribbled his it half-divine to have such mastery of words note with a pencil, “ whose mother lives in and pen. Mr. Wentworth threw it to Sam Prickett's Lane."

as if it were a trifle; but Rosa's lively imagi- Thank you, sir, all the same; but I hope nation could already conceive the possibility I don't need to go into that neighborhood for of living upon such trifles and making exisgood service,” said Mr. Elsworthy: as for tence out of them ; so the child stood with Rosa, I could trust her anywhere ; and I her pretty curls about her ears, and her have a boy, sir,

as is the best boy that ever bright eyes gleaming dewy over the fain, lived -- a real English boy, that is. Sam, flushed, rosebud cheeks, in a flutter of roused take this to Mr. Wodehouse's directly, and and innocent imagination anticipating her wait for an answer. No answer?-very well, fate. As for Mr. Wentworth, it is doubtful sir, you needn't wait for no answer, Sam. whether he saw Rosa, as he swung

himself That’s a boy, sir, I could trust with untold round upon the stool he was seated on, and gold. His mother's a Dissenter, it is true, turned his face towards the door. Somehow

did not oppress

he was comforted in his mind by the convic- | over, and himself on his way back again to tion that it was his duty to call at Mr. Wode- call at Mr. Wodehouse's. For to tell the house's as he came back. The evening truth, by this time he had almost exhausted brightened up and looked less dismal. The Skelmersdale, and, feeling in himself not illness of the respected father of the house much different now from what he was when

the

young man. He thought his hopes were still green, had begun to look not of a sick-room, but of the low chair in upon life itself ith a less troubled eye, and one corner, beside the work-table where Lucy to believe in other chances which might make had always basketfuls of sewing in hand. He Lucy's society practicable once more. It was could fancy he saw the work drop on her in this altered state of mind that he presented knee, and the blue eyes raised. It was a himself before his aunts. He was less selfpretty picture that he framed for himself as conscious, less watchful, more ready to amuse he looked out with a half smile into the blue them, if that might happen to be possible, and twilight, through the open door of Els- in reality much more able to cope with Miss worthy's shop. And it was clearly his duty Leonora than when he had been more anxious to call. He grew almost jocular in the ex- about her opinion. He had not been two minhilaration of his spirits.

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utes in the room before all the three ladies The Miss Wentworths don't approve of perceived this revolution, and each in her own memorial windows, Elsworthy," he said: mind attempted to account for it. They were " and, indeed, if you think it necessary to experienced women in their way,

and found cut off one of the chief people in Carlingford out a variety of reasons ; but as none of them by way of supplying St. Roque's with a little were young, and as people will forget how painted glass

youth feels, not one of them divined the fact No, sir—no, no, sir ; you're too hard that there was no reason, but that this improveupon me--there wasn't no such meaning in ment of spirits arose soleby from the fact that my mind; but I don't make no question the Perpetual Curate had been for two whole the ladies were pleased with the church,” | days miserable about Skelmersdale, and had said Elsworthy, with the satisfaction of a man exhausted all his powers of misery—and that who had helped to produce an entirely trium- now youth had turned the tables and he was phant effect. “I don't pretend to be a judge still to see Lucy to-night. myself of what you call 'igh art, Mr. Wentworth ; but, if I might venture an opinion, the altar was beautiful ; and we won't say

"YOUR rector is angry at some of your pronothing about the service, considering, sir ceedings,” said Miss Leonora. 6 I did not if you wont be offended at putting them to think that a man of your views would have gether, as one is so far inferior--that both cared for missionary work. I should have you and me

supposed that you would think that vulgar, Mr. Wentworth laughed and moved off his and Low-Church, and Evangelical. Indeed I chair. We were not appreciated in this in- thought I heard you say you didn't believe in stance," he said, with an odd comic look, and preaching, Frank ?-neither do I, when a then went off into a burst of laughter, which man preaches the Tracts for the Times. I Mr. Elsworthy saw no particular occasion for. was surprised to hear what you were doing Then he took up his glove, which he had at the place they call Wharfside.” taken off to write the note, and, nodding a “ First let me correct you in two little inkindly good-night to little Rosa, who stood accuracies,” said Mr. Wentworth, blandly, gazing after him with all her eyes, went away as he peeled his orange.

66 The Rector of to the Blue Boar. The idea, however, of his Carlingford is not my rector, and I don't preach own joint performance with Mr. Elsworthy the Tracts for the Times. Let us always be not only tickled the curate, but gave him a particular, my dear aunt, as to points of half-ashamed sense of the aspect in which he fact.” might himself appear to the eyes of matter-of “ Exactly so," said Miss Leonora, grimly; fact people who differed with him. The joke “ but, at the same time, as there seems no had a slight sting, which brought his laugh- great likelihood of your leaving Carlingford, ter to an end. He went up through the don't you think it would be wise to cultivate lighted street to the inn, wishing the dinner friendly relations with the rector ?" said the

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CHAPTER VII.

THIRD SERIES.

LIVING AGE.

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