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From The Cornbill Magazine. lit pleased Heaven to leave him, but dreading “ MRS. ARCHIE."
nothing upon earth so much as change of any
kind. His wise_6. Aunt Janette, The dwelling-house at Glenrig lay towards was called by some scores of nephews and the sea, under sheltering hills, in a mountain- nieces a little, low-voiced woman, ous nook of the county Antrim. It was a scarcely less noiseless than her own shadow. romantic old place, and, of course, a legend Her daughters, Mary and Rachel, were each clung to it. The story ran that a mysterious a fair copy of their mother—not in person, treasure lay secreted somewhere within the but in the placidity of their tempers, and the walls, supposed to have been hidden, ages unwearied quietude of their demeanor. All since, on the occasion of a visit paid to the three would have been terrified at the thought mountains by Cromwell's soldiers. The Mis- of breaking in on the still routine of their life tress MacArthur of that day had given a ball by pulling down walls or dragging up floors on a certain night, and danced until a late in search of a thing the chances of whose exhour, in a yellow satin gown and a quantity istence hung on a legend. Letitia laughed at of jewels. Early next morning the unwel it. She was an orphan whom old Randal had come visitors had arrived, and the family fled claimed in her infancy by virtue of some empty-handed, but no jewels had been seen mythical fifty-sixth cousinship, and had in the house, neither then, nor ever after- brought up as his youngest daughter. She wards. Therefore, the gossips held, some was a busy spirit, quick in her motions, clear secret hiding-place had been resorted to, and in her judgment, ready with her help, and, one day a prize must come to light. The leg- consequently, in sleepy Glenrig the household end of the treasure had passed down through fairy, the ordering genius of the place from many generations, but latterly it had almost garret to cellar. She loved the old story, and died out. One old woman in the neighbor- laughed at it; pulled it to pieces one day, and head, who claimed descent from a confidential put it together again the next, dressing it up servant of the above mentioned Mistress Mac- in the most brilliant colors. Arthur, had pretended to know the exact spot The only person who might have shown where the treasure lay, and all the circum- any energy in the matter was Archie, the stances of its burial. But this old woman eldest of the family, and only son of the belonging to a spiteful race, and would never house, who was at present trying to make tell her secret, if secret she posessed.
way at the English bar; and, spite of his Aunt Penelope believed in it, and she had Irish tongue and his Irish birth, was making tried many plans to find out whether or not it. But his energies and ambition had found old Nannie knew more than she knew herself. a more practical channel than among broken There was no end to the sneers she encoun- walls bedded with imaginary treasure. Archie tered from Aunt MacAlister on the subject had enough to do, for the MacArthurs had of her credulity ; but, whether from charity, been waxing poorer of late years, and he had or with a view of conciliating old Nannie, she gone forth to make for himself an independent did induce Aunt Janette to take home, as name and fortune. Had the making of this playfellow for Letitia, a little girl, the old fortune not been necessarily a tedious process, woman's grandchild. However, the girl had some thought that a certain pair of bright turned out badly and been sent away, after eyes which kept Glenrig in mischief and sunwhich old Nannie and she had left the coun- shine would have been even now shining betry, so that their was no longer a chance for side him in London. However, people only Aunt Penelope's craze of finding the treasure surmised. The only one who could say anybeing satisfied.
thing on the subject was Letitia, and sheAnd, indeed, this present family seemed who could be discreet, “ close," Aunt Peneabout as little likely to discover it as any of lope said, when it pleased her-she, Letitia, their predecessors. Old Randal MacArthur, kept her own counsel. who had been visited with paralysis, was deaf, The two aunts were frequent visitors, not and had never quite recovered the use of his dwellers, at Glenrig, having each her respectlimbs, sat constantly in his chair, a patient, ive domicile on a different outskirt of the two cheerful Christian, willing to linger on among miles' distant village of Cushlake. Aunt his children and his clan of friends as long as MacAlister was a MacArthur, who had made:
a not very brilliant marriage, and who, hav- | them as piquante an accessory to her own ing been left a widow, had returned, as it picturesqueness as any piece of bijouterie that were, to the parent stem, and always promi-ever fine lady hung on her finger or slung to nently asserting herself as Randal MacAr- her girdle. Letitia was not a beauty, but she thur's sister thought she ought to hold her could look pretty at times, and any woman head very high, and did so accordingly. Now who can do so should be content. It was a Aunt Penelope was only the wife of a dead round face with intelligent eyes, rather ambrother, and her family being, in Aunt Mac- ber than brown; a pose, short, and not unAlister's opinion, “very low,” that good- graceful; a wide mouth with the merit of red natured sister-in-law thought she should, on lips and pure teeth ; and a low, broad foreher husband's decease have modestly retired head. Her hair, which was simply sombre, into her native obscurity. But in addi- without either purple lights or ebon gloss, tion to the enormity of her declining to do was folded smoothly from her brow, and hung this, she had succeeded in“ worming herself” in a heavy cloud about her throat. She did into the good graces of everybody at Glenrig, look pretty now, with a sudden jewel burning and this was a mortal offence to Aunt Mac- in each eye, and a throb of excitement relAlister, whom nobody liked. And so “ Aunt dening her cheek. Pen”” and “ Aunt Mac” were always at
She sat down to read Archie's letter to his dagger-points, something as may be a snarl- father and mother. She began heartilying terrier, ready to snap at every one's heels, “ My dear mother She glanced down and a purring cat who will lie cosily by the the page, and repeated mechanically, “ My fire as long as she is left at peace, but will dear mother.” show the tiger when provoked.
66 Well, Letitia ?” It happened one evening, early in spring, My eyes are dim, somehow,” said Letitia. that a small event occurred which, for a time, “I have got a headache. Just let me run up quickened mightily the blood in the drowsy for Mary or Rachel. They will read it betGlenrig veins, and which, as it afterwards ter.” proved, was looked back upon as an epoch in And not waiting to be gainsayed, she sprang the lives of all concerned. It was twilight, up and vanished. and Glenrig glared with all its red windows “ Rachel,” she said, putting her head in at into the outer grayness, where the valley at the door of a room up-stairs where a young its feet had assumed a mysterious depth, and lady was arranging her hair at the glass, the ranks of opposite mountains had retreated, “ there is a letter from Archie, and
your in ghostly fashion, into the clouds. The great mother wants you to read it for her. My brown trees, their first awkward effort at head aches so badly, I cannot look at the greenness extinguished by the dusk, stood paper." like bearded giants resting on their clubs, for Strange to say, the light on Rachel's table a short truce had been concluded with the glared at Letitia like a bloodthirsty enemy, gales. Inside Uncle Randal and Aunt Janette and Rachel herself, soft, quiet Rachel, looked were dozing, or musing, which you please, in a gorgon. Blissfully unconscious of this fact, their respective arm-chairs at either side of however, that young lady made a moderate the hearth, and the firelight flushed over exclamation of pleasure at hearing of her them, filling the cosy old-fashioned room with brother's letter, and telling Letitia to bathe a deep crimson light. A light step came in, her head, went down-stairs. And Rachel and Letitia crossed the floor hastily, crying, read the letter. It ran like this :- Aunt Janette, here are the letters—the let
“ MY DEAR MOTHER, -I fear my father and ters at last. One, two, three ; and there's
you will be displeased at first when I tell you one from Archie. I'll light the lamp !” that I have been married for some time, but
The lamp was lit in a twinkling, and as when you know my Ethelind you must forLetitia stood in the sudden light we could not give me. Knowing this, I have induced her have a better opportunity for describing her. to go on before me, on a visit to Glenrig. It was a slight, small figure, clothed in a
I have assured her of the affectionate welhousewifely gray dress, and black silk apron. dearest mother, to treat her tenderly for my
come she will have. I need not ask you, She looked like one accustomed to carry the sake. I hope Mary, Rachel, and Letitia will keys, but to carry them jauntily, making be sisters to her. "I will join her at Glenrig
in a few weeks hence.—Your affectionate could not wear out her clothes like other folks, son,
ARCHIBALD MACARTHUR." do as she would. Rachel let fall the paper, and blank amaze A small crowd of broad-shouldered, brownment dropped upon the listeners. Then sob- faced Cousin Edmunds, Cousin Randals, bing and murmuring arose in a chorus of Cousin Pats, and Cousin Archies straggled meek rebellion against fate and Archie, till about a table where a group of young women Letitia presently brought her bright face sat at work. • Young women" Aunt Macback to the room, and laughing merrily at Alister resolutely dubbed them, and young the “ comical news” struck the key-note for women they were obliged to submit to be. a new strain, and set the weepers all chant- Bead-work had not at the time we speak of ing the praises of the dear offender, with quite superseded shirt-making and garter-, only a low running accompaniment of re- knitting in retired nooks of the world like grets and fears, and gentle deprecations. Glenrig; and of this laughing bevy, all basy
Some days passed, and it was the evening with fingers and tongues, one was stitching of the bride's expected arrival. The shock a shirt-collar, another hemming damask napat Archie's strange conduct had in some kins, whilst a third was netting-horrible to measure subsided, and it had been resolved relatema nightcap for her father. In this to give the visitor a true glens welcome. So group were Mary and Rachel, the daughters the old house had been burnished up to its of the house, with their low voices and few best looks, and early in the evening a goodly words. They were too quiet. Aunt Penecompany of friends, all cousins to the nine- lope once exclaimed in despair, “ Sister Janteenth degree, had assembled in Mrs. Mac- ette, can you do nothing to waken up these Arthur's drawing-roon The curtains were girls of yours? They're just no better than drawn across the shattered windows, the fire white mice ! blazed up the chimney, and the round table Aunt MacAlister betrayed her kill-joy proat the side of the room was absolutely groan- pensities by her sharp eyes, long pinched nose, ing under delectable preparations for a plen- and puckered-up mouth. She was dressed in tiful tea. The room was filled with good- a black satin gown, very stiff, wore black humored, good-looking people, laughing and silk mtittens on her hands, and a severe Quatalking in the broad northern accent, which ker-looking cap on her head. She was not, has so ludicrously little of the mincing about perhaps, in the main, a bad-natured woman ; it, and so much of rough honest kindliness. but she always acted as though she lived in
Old Randal MacArthur sat in his arm- mortal dread lest any one should suspect that chair as usual, a spare little man, with a she possessed one drop of the milk of human thin, rosy face, and a quick and kindly eye. kindness in her nature. She was particuHe wore a black velvet cap on his almost bald larly hard upon the “
young women head, and sat in the familiar attitude which around her, calling their talk “ clattering,” betrayed his deafness, holding his hand be- and their ribbons and muslins “ fudgey-mahind his ear while he leaned upon the arm of giggery.” She had also a stab at the broadhis chair towards the company, looking from shouldered cousins, whom she did not scruple one face to the other as if he would guess by to describe as “ louts,” telling of the elegant their expression, if he could not hear, all that manners of the gentlemen whom she was acwas going forward.
customed to meet in Dublin, in her youth. His wife was in her customary place near Aunt Penelope was an ample, plain-feato his side, with her small grave cap and tured person, with no particular physical adsmall grave gown, and her thin timid face, vantage beyond the beaming effulgence that looking like a rather stately little old maid could flood from her nondescript eyes, and in half-mourning. She also sat with her feet irradiate her broad, buff-colored face. And on a stool, and she wore her dress short, and we do not think Aunt Mac need have called large bright buckles on her shoes. Also on her vulgar because she preferred a brown and her shoulders a black velvet shawl, rich with gold-color brocaded gown to one of a more fringe and embroidery, said to have cost a severely neutral description of tint; or, havfabulous sum of money once upon a time : ing been a widow for twenty years, because how long ago we cannot say, but Aunt Pen- she liked a comfortable cap with a bit of elope was wont to declare that Sister Janette color about it. Be that as it may, Aunt Pen
" was the favorite, the confidante, the coaxed and vivacity of character may burnish into and familiar of the whole clan. She knew fascinating beauty. If dressed in dull hues, all the secrets of the young men, and all the and shorn of her little airs and graces, she secrets of the young women, all but one would have þeen too pale and pink about She was wont declare to herself that she the eyes, while her hair would have disnever could make anything of Letitia. Her played that lack-lustre tint which can only eyes were now following that young damsel, be warmed to gold by delicate surroundings as, dressed in black silk and a coral necklace, of color. So at least thought Aunt Penelope, she flitted in and out and about the room, as, quite forgetting politeness, she sat watchlooking after the setting forth of cakes and ing her with unflagging persistence, seeming preserves, and seeming to make a hundred to have quite overlooked Letitia in her new excuses to keep moving about, as if she could interest in the bride. not rest quiet a moment.
“Wont you come to the fire, Mrs. Archie?” The rolling of a carriage was presently “ Mrs. Archie, wont you sit to the table for heard, and a crunching of wheels on the your tea ?” • Mrs. Archie, dear, you're gravel. A sudden silence fell on the room. fairly done out!' 6. 'Deed, Mrs. Archie, The cousins stopped laughing. Mary and you're ready to drop this minute for want of Rachel glanced at one another, and looked something to eat. Oh! you needn't tell me. more like wbite mice than ever ; Uncle Ran- I know the hungry road you've travelled betdal sank back in his chair ; Aunt Janette ter than you do. You ought to be gay and rose and stood nervously dragging the fringe keen for your tea!” of her shawl; Aunt Mac bounced up and Such speeches as these assailed the newlooked around as if to say, “ Now we shall comer on all sides ; but after she had spoken see what kind of person Mrs. Archie is ?” once or twice, and shaken out her flounces as Whereupon Aunt Pen slipped into her chair, many times, the majority of the clan got taking old Randal's hand kindly, and still rather more shy, and did not press their kind· watching Letitia. That young person, at nesses on her so strongly: she was very conthe moment employed in cutting thin bread descending, very gracious, very lavish with and butter, laid down her knife, and walking her smiles and her pretty gestures; but over to where Mrs. MacArthur stood irreso- somehow the plain glensfolk, with their lute on the hearth-rug, slipped the old lady's quaint downright talk and their homely arm through her own and drew her on, say- ways, felt ill at ease with her, feeling vaguely ing, “ Come, Aunt Janette, you must meet her that she was rather too fine a lady for Archie at the door, you know ! • Forward minx !” to have sent home to Glenrig. Old Randal hissed Aunt Mac, sotto voce. Bravo, Leti- presently lay back, extinguished, in his chair. tia ! ”murmured Aunt Pen, under her breath. Aunt Janette, by and by, also retreated into
In another minute the stranger stood un- retirement. Of the cousins, the male portion der the hall lamp, and was embraced by Aunt attended on her wants rather clumsily, and Janette. It was not noticed that when Leti- the female portion scrutinized her dress and tia's turn came she retreated into the shad- the style of her hair. ows, and pushed Mary forward to be kissed. Aunt Mac, who considered from the first Nor was it seen that when the visitor was that Mrs. Archie had “an air about her," conducted to her room, Letitia remained made friends with her at once; perhaps bebelow on the mat, twisting her small fingers cause the bride evidently did not much affect together, as if she would break them in Aunt Penelope. And so she sat all the evenpieces.
ing by her side, and in return for Mrs. ArIn due time Mrs. Archie made her ap- chie's gracious information about “ high cirpearance in the drawing-room, taking away cles" in London, Aunt Mac entertained her every one's breath by her brilliance. She with an account of the “elegant people" was dressed in bright blue silk, all flounces whom she used to meet " in Dublin, in her and trimmings, and wore delicate lace and youth.” And still Aunt Penelope watched glittering ornaments. She was slight and the bride, scrutinizing untiringly face, hands, tall, and carried her finery with a charming figure, manner, and closing her eyes somegrace. She had that kind of fair-haired, times to listen more keenly to the tones of fair-eyed good looks, which becoming dress the stranger's voice.
“ Sister Janette,” said Aunt Penelope, distinctly, but I know she was a pale girl when the cousins were going away, if you with fair hair. But, dear me! Aunt Penehave a spare bed I'll stay. I have a mind lope, you must remember all about her yournot to go home tó night."
self a great deal better than I can. What This was only Aunt Penelope's way of put- has put her in your
head to-night?” ting it, for she knew there were plenty of “ Hold your tongue, my dear, and never spare beds at Glenrig; and she stayed. mind, but go to bed and rest your poor little
At twelve o'clock that night Letitia was worried brains. Your wits aren't so bright, sitting at the fire in her own room, when these days, Letitia, as they used to be: but Aunt Penelope came in, shut the door, and you can't help that, poor lamb. There, stood beside her on the hearth. Now on good-night! this night of all others Letitia did not want And giving her a hearty kiss, Aunt Pen even Aunt Penelope in her room. Neverthe-walked off to her own chamber. There she less, there she was.
doffed her glowing cap and put on her night“ How do you like her ?" Aunt Pen be- cap; but having got thus far in her prepargan, poking up the fire briskly.
ations for her couch, she rolled herself up
in “Oh! well enough, I suppose !” replied a great shawl, and taking her candle in hand, Letitia. “She's a very grand lady indeed." went straight down-stairs again to the dining
Isn't she a beauty, now? Did you ever room, not the drawing-room. This diningsee as pretty a creature?”
room was situated at the extreme end of the "She's good-looking enough?” said Le-hall, and attained by a low flight of steps titia dryly, “ but I can't say I admire her and a landing. It was a long room, with much.
high wainscots and red hangings. Here she Aunt Penelope looked at her with twin- coolly lit the lamp, and esconsing herself in kling eyes.
6. What makes you so cross to an arm-chair at the table, deliberately began night, Letitia ?”
to read. The fire had gone out, but Aunt “ Cross! I cross? I'm not cross, Aunt Penelope had provided herself with a shawl. Penelope !”
She sat for about an hour or more, now “Well, you're something very like it. and again looking at her watch, and glancing However, I'm not going to torment you, you towards the door. After two o'clock had close little thing! I suppose if I said you struck, and she had begun to shift about un'poor’ little thing you'd tear my eyes out. easily in her chair, the door softly opened, There, sit still! Letitia, do you remember and Mrs. Archie appeared with a candle in Bessie Anderson ?"
her band. She was in a white dressing“ Bessie! Bessie, who used to play with gown, with her hair twisted up for the night, me, long ago ?”
and her looks at this moment justified Aunt “ Yes, that very Bessie. Do you remem- Penelope's preconceived opinion, that shorn ber her?”
of the bec ng blue of her dress, the glitter 6 Of course I do."
of her ornaments, and the sparkle of her “ IIow old were you when she went gayety, the fair “ Ethelind " would be a away?
common-enough” looking person ! " About nine, I think.”
" Goodness gracious, Mrs. Archie!” ex“ And she was three years older. That is claimed Aunt Penelope, putting down her ten years ago. Do you recollect why she book ; - what has scared ye? I thought was sent
you'd have been sound asleep two hours ago, “ Not very well. For some bad conduct, after your journey!” I think."
Mrs. Archie was profuse in her explana“ It was for forging a letter,” said Aunt tion. She had been looking for the drawingPenelope—"a letter from her schoolmaster room, having left her reticule there. She to Aunt Janette, asking for the loan of some had such a terrific headache, she could not money, which she, Miss Bessie, having got sleep. Her smelling-salts, which always reto bring to him, expended on sweetmea ts. lieved her, were in the reticule. She begged Tell me now, Letitia, what was she like, as pardon of Aunt Penelope, whose delightful you remember her ?"
studies, no doubt, rewarded her for a loss of “Why, of course I don't recollect her very sleep, etc. etc.