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who vouchsafed no acknowledgment of the atten-| human being escaped a fall, it was a wonderful tion, his temper not being improved by the dis- exercise of skill and affection on the part of the covery that he was spreading tea-leaves upon the former, and he deserved high commendation for bread with his butter. Then, while the servant it. Ponto howled aloud ; and Emily, who was and tray still waited, she was hurrying out into the very tender-hearted, and whose nerves were somegarden, leaving her own meal untasted, when her what affected by the preceding scene, burst into a brother stopped her : Where, in the name of violent flood of tears ; little Annie, as a matter of wonder, are you going, Clara ?

course, roaring, with all her might, for sympathy. “Only to gather a nosegay, to send up with The Capels were universally pronounced a very mamma's breakfast,” replied she, apologetically, happy family; nevertheless, this specimen of their as she paused on the threshold.

domestic felicity was by no means solitary of its “A nosegay!” cried Mr. Capel, with an inde- kind. scribable mixture of wrath and contempt, while Mr. Capel could scarcely be blamed for seizing George and Julia could not restrain their laughter, his hat, and rushing forth to his office in a passion ; and the younger members of the family observed however, he was by no means a fundamentally illthat restrained and awkward silence natural to natured man, only a little hot-tempered and fussy; children when a disturbance is going on among so he came back again in five minutes, and made their elders. “A NOSEGAY! upon my word and his peace with Clara, kissing her, and telling her honor, Clara, you are too provoking. Just come “only to be a little more thoughtful in future, and back and sit down, will you? I hate this confused these unpleasant scenes would n't happen." He uncomfortable way of having one's breakfast, it is then patted Emily's head, and bade her not be wretched—it puts me out for the whole day. And such a little goose ; neither did he omit to stroke your mother waiting all this while ! She would Ponto, as he passed out for the second time. Poor much rather have a cup of tea, than all the nose- Clara, with swollen eyes and aching forehead, begays in the world. It will be time enough to took herself, work in hand, to her mother's bedthink of the graces of life when you have learned side, there to reflect upon this first specimen of a little better to fulfil the commonest duties." her powers as leader and life of a family.

This closing sarcasm was quite too much for I suppose it will be thought that my heroine poor Clara ; and as she resumed her seat and her was a very weak, inconsistent, self-indulgent young occupation, her tears fell fast. She tried hard to lady, whose good resolutions evaporated in solilorestrain them, and cautiously screened them from quies, or had just solidity enough for the construcher father's observation behind the urn. Then tion of a castle in the air. We must, therefore, followed sundry of those small, quiet kindnesses, endeavor to give an idea of her character and which are always forthcoming when any member position, which, as generally happens, were, in the of an affectionate family is in trouble, however first instance, peculiarly unsuited to each other; deserved. George and Julia exerted themselves whether she ever succeeded in solving the great to maintain a forced conversation, and the former problem how to bring them into harmony, remains kept vigilant watch over the sugaring and cream- to be seen. She was nineteen years old, and the ing of his father's cup, in order to repair any eldest of seven children ; her mother was a conoversight, without drawing attention to it; Emily firmed invalid, who never left her bed till noon, silently supplied her sister's plate with bread and and then only to be moved to a sofa ; a gentle, butter ; and little Annie, who understood nothing uncomplaining sufferer she was, somewhat weak except that Clara was crying about flowers, stole both in will and intellect, but full of tenderness, round to her side with a rosebud, just gathered and beloved by all who knew her. Mr. Capel was, from her own garden, soft and fresh as her own as we have seen, a good kind of man, hot-headed smiling lips, and quietly slipped the offering into and warm-hearted, deficient in cultivation, but not Clara's hand.

in natural capacity, a rigid disciplinarian by fits Mr. Capel was angry enough to feel his indig- and starts, and, consequently, the man, of all nation rather increased than abated by the evident others, to produce utter confusion in his housedistress of the culprit; it seemed to reproach him hold. Seven children and a sickly wife taxed to for a severity which justice had entirely demanded, the utmost the moderate income which he made as a and by aggravating his discomfort, aggravated also lawyer in a country town, and the perpetual strughis ire. He pushed his plate from him, saying, gle of a naturally liberal disposition, compelled to in a kind of finale tone of intense disgust, “ A live and make live upon insufficient means, was wretched breakfast, indeed!" then sharply rebuked quite enough, when not converted by self-discipline Emily for spilling her bread and milk on the carpet, into a means of improvement, to account for the and trod hard on the toes of the family spaniel, growing irritability of his character. George, a who spent his life in an abortive attempt to commit promising youth of eighteen, and the delight of suicide by thrusting himself under the feet of each his elder sister's heart, was intended for holy ormember of the household in succession, but who, ders ; he was amiable and clever, even elegant in being a favorite, was generally praised and petted mind, but somewhat irresolute; there was about for this, as though the natural place of dogs was him a feminine want of self-dependence, combined wherever human feet were abont to be planted : with an occasional obstinacy of purpose, so sudden and if the dog escaped being trampled on, and the and disproportionate that it seemed to arise from

ence.

a secret suspicion of his particular defect and a ular as her, sister. She had a most warm, loving, desire to prove to himself that it had no real exist- tender heart, a gentle, timid temper, a strong

As it often happens in such cases, he was though quiet will, great natural reserve, great apt to overdo the cure, and to apply it at wrong anxiety to be loved, boundless aspirations after times ; he was like a person who coddles himself excellence. She was at once enthusiastic and inall the summer when he is quite well, and goes dolent, sadly deficient in continuous energy, yet out without a hat on the first frosty morning. Of never slothfu). She felt herself useless, and course, he catches so violent a cold that he must despised herself for being so, and was almost needs stay in-doors for the next six months. Julia ashamed to set about curing herself of the faults was a pretty good-humored common-place girl of peculiar to what is called a woman of genius," sixteen, very ready with small-talk, and passion- because she was not certain that she was one. She ately fond of partners. She was popular wher- had all kinds of ideal pictures before her eyes ever she went, and was just the sort of person to which she was impatient to realize ; but she was be habitually quoted by gentlemen as an example, obliged to be architect and mason in one, and she to prove that it was quite unnecessary for a woman did not know the simplest rules of construction, to have a mind.

She was the person of all others most likely to The two little boys, Frank and Hugh, had rosy, be misjudged by those who did not thoroughly smiling faces, hands never clean, and shoe-strings understand her; for, with an original and striking never tied. They got on very well at the day- character, keen thoughts and decided opinions, she school, thought it great fun to call their master had so little natural presence of mind that she "Dick” when he was quite out of hearing ; inva- often appeared to have no character at all, and riably slammed the doors in summer, and left them she was so self-distrustful that she sometimes diswide open in winter ; and always had in their pock- claimed an opinion almost in the moment of utterets a knife, a piece of string, six marbles, two ing it, lest it should turn out to be wrong. She broken slips of wood, a rusty nail, the leaf of a saw all the evils around her with a perception alLatin grammar, an ounce of toffy, some crumbs most morbidly acute ; and she was too busy with of bread and cheese, a hard ball, and an apple. self-contempt for the sorry part she had played in Emily was a rather self-sufficient lady of nine the family drama, to think for a moment of critiyears, who thought it great promotion to put back cizing her fellow-actors. Suddenly she had waked her hair with combs and wear worked collars. up to the consciousness of all this, having hitherto She was a vigorous stickler for the rights of wo- lived, half-studiously, half-dreamily, indulged in man, which she not unfrequently attempted to ob- all her inclinations both by the love of her partain from her brothers by personal violence, being ents and the pride which they felt in her talents; always ready with the true English sentiment, and while frequently regretting and feeling teased “ How cowardly to touch a girl !" if the smallest by the civil disorders of the little commonwealth, retort were attempted. To say the truth, the two contenting herself with the notion that she never schoolboys suffered many an instance of grievous could amend them, as it was useless for her to tyranny at her hands, which they bore the better try to be practical. This, however, was but because they had not yet opened their eyes to the a vague half-expressed thought, although it was fact. Little Annie, with her earnest blue eyes, decidedly acted upon, and the evils were persweet shy manners, and pretty loving ways, was petually growing, and at last her eyes opened. the pet, the plaything, and the sunshine of the Sorrowfully and earnestly her heart accused itself whole household. Clara herself was the genius before God, and then took refuge from its own reof the family, and as inoffensive a genius as it would proaches in the intensity of a fresh resolution. be possible to find anywhere. She had been a pre- No one suspected what was going on in her mind, cocious child, having learned all her letters before and numberless were the little difficulties unconshe was two years old, and composed a decided sciously thrown in her way; not a few, also, were rhyme before she was four ; neither had her tal- the helps lent to her as unconsciously. Indeed, she ents evaporated as she grew up. She played very began to think that it only depended upon herself well, and sang with much feeling ; she had a great to turn every difficulty into a help ; the steeper the aptitude for languages, was fond of reading, fonder path the sooner you reach the summit, if only you of thinking, fondest of dreaming. She was very have strength and breath for the ascent. Clara shy, and did not please in general society ; she thought she had strength and breath, and should was uncomfortably conscious that her abilities they fail her she knew where and how to renew were overrated, and believed herself to be desti- them. Her purpose burned within her with a fertute of those attractions which perhaps most wo- vor, almost with a passion, which those only can men covet more than ability. In person she was understand who are in the habit of feeHng much interesting rather than pretty, having much intel- which they never betray, and who, believing with ligence and sweetness of countenance without reg- all their hearts that the will has power over life ularity of feature, so she believed herself ugly, and circumstance, and soul, are yet conscious, even and tried to persuade herself that she was careless to agony, of its practical impotence. The words, of admiration ; yet she had much grace of man- conquer self !” were ringing in her ears, throbner, a musical voice, and a captivating smile, and bing in her heart and brain, blinding and deafenif she had not often made herself repulsive out of ing her for the time to all outward sights and the fear of being so, she might have been as pop-sounds. With an almost terrified hope that she should ensure their fulfilment she repeated them dispossessed of the parlor only just in time to inwardly as she knelt at the altar on the following gather up her museum of materials with all haste, Sunday, her whole spirit being (so to speak) in and thrust them at random into a closet, to make the attitude of a vow, though her lips pronounced way for breakfast. After that meal she resumed no deliberate pledge. And afterwards during the her labors, varying them by an occasional excurevening luxury of a walk with the children, when sion into the kitchen, which so amazed the cook they, bounding away in all directions, left her to sol- that she had not self-possession enough to organize itary meditation, she calmly reviewed and sealed any immediate plan of resistance. The confusion her resolution. How strange and how happy is of the apartment was at its height, when a knock the effect of even the most transient intercourse at the door announced a visitor, and Mr. Archer with nature upon a heart, wounded and erring, entered. This was a gentleman who had been and yet desirous of good. How it soothes agita- known to the Capel family for some years. He tion, and softens pain, and creates life afresh, and was good, clever, agreeable, and slightly satirin a nobler mould ! And this work is done not ical ; at thirty-six a confirmed old bachelor in merely by gorgeous skies or lovely moonlights, by all his ways and thoughts ; everywhere much bright waters looking up like children into the liked, and everywhere a little feared ; a great solemn faces of mountains, or sleeping under the admirer of Julia, with whom he flirted in the shadowy guardianship of overhanging woods, by easy, frank, comfortable way peculiar to his the glory and the beauty of earth ; it is done like- class, but by no means so fond of Clara, who was wise by her simplest and quietest pictures, by her afraid of him, and whom he had never taken the cheapest and most unpretending gifts. The sight trouble to know. In person he was gentlemanlike of one dark-leaved tree rocking slowly against a and pleasing, without being handsome ; but he was dim heaven ; the mere aspect of one green field afflicted with lameness, the consequence of a fall is often enough to change and subdue the whole from his horse in college days. He assumed course of thought. Is it not, perhaps, because complete indifference to this defect, spoke of it these creations are fresh and unmarred from God's openly, nay, even jested upon it, but in reality, hands that they so speedily affect us ; because in and in secret, he was conscious of it, even to pain this they transcend man, in whom there is so much fulness, believed himself (absurdly enough) unof personal and of evil that the workmanship of acceptable to any woman by reason of it, and, God is, as it were, disguised, and only to be dis- though he never betrayed, by look or manner, the covered by careful search? The blade of grass slightest sensitiveness when any allusion was made which we pluck is what its Creator intended it to to it, and, though his own freedom of expression be; who shall dare say so much as this of him- rather encouraged such allusions in persons of self, or of any other ?

coarse feeling, yet there can be no doubt that all Clara was very happy, so long as she was busy such words inflicted their wounds, and that the with reveries of the future, and generalizations delicacy which avoided them was among the surest of duty; but she was far too much in earnest to claims to his regard. When a man speaks of rest in these, and on the Monday morning she de himself-except it be in the close and holy contermined to begin her new work heartily. She fidence of a true friendship, wherein falsehood is asked herself the question, “how?" and the sub- impossible and disguise absurd-distrust him! lime of thought instantly became the ridiculous of Either consciously or unco

nconsciously, be sure that action. She would superintend their very indif- he is throwing aside a veil to put on a mask. ferent cook in the preparation of dinner, and she “Well, Sappho !" cried Mr. Archer, as he enwould make herself a gown ! Her mother had tered the room, and came to a dead halt, in front presented her with one on her last birthday, which of a mysterious coil of pink ribbon, upon which lay useless in a drawer because she had not yet Clara had some vague, undeveloped designs ; " in been able to save enough out of her scanty allow the name of wonder, what does this portend ? ance to pay the dressmaker. How easy it is to Private theatricals, of course ?—and you are mislook upon life as a whole-how very difficult to tress of the robes ! What costume will you proencounter its details ! Clara got up three hours vide for me ?" earlier than usual; and when the housemaid de- There is no saying how much good Mr. Archer scended to her morning toils, she found the field might have done Clara if he had discarded that preoccupied with shapeless segments of calico and objectionable habit of calling her Sappho. As it unmeaning strips of silk, and a vast array of vari- was, in every conversation which took place beously contorted wisps of paper which were afficted (tween them, there was an unhappy little basis with a mental hallucination, and believed them- of irritation on her part to begin with, which selves to be patterns. Her young mistress stood caused her to consider his most innocent remarks in the midst, considerably flushed and somewhat sarcastic, and, not unnaturally, disposed him to despondent, having as yet achieved no visible end think unfavorably of her temper. She now anbut the scattering of an immense multitude of swered him as gravely as if no joke had ever minute pieces of thread and sewing-silk upon the been made since the deluge: “Mamma does not surface of the drugget. She now submitted, with approve of private theatricals. I am only making rather an ill-grace, to be hunted from room to a dress." room by the much-worried domestic, being finally He assumed a demure expression of countenance

“I beg your ladyship's pardon," said he, with a saying Sappho, and consequently Clara, forgetting profound bow, and then turned to Julia, who came her shyness in her feeling for the poem, replied forward with laughing cordiality, holding a book without hesitation. “Because she could feel no np before his eyes, and assuring him that she had security that she was beloved till she was actually “read it all through-every word of it!" told so; no woman could; and not to give her

Mr. Archer was in the habit of lending Julia that security would be to deprive her of her only books, which she read, or professed to read, chiefly comfort in the after desolation.” with the object of discussing them afterwards with Julia looked up once more with her expressive him. To say the truth, her reading was a very smile : “ That is exactly what I think,” said she. desultory kind of skimming; but, as Clara always Mr. Archer answered her, not-Clara, thinking the studied them in good earnest, her sister generally smile a great deal more eloquent than the speech, contrived to pick up enough knowledge about and giving it full credit for the substance of all them, to carry her effectively through a conversa- that it shadowed forth. “You are perfectly right,” tion, as readers of reviews are often known to pass said he, “ but it is a new view to me." Then he for proficients in the literature of the day. The opened the book once more and read the lines present volume had not, however, taxed her powers half unconsciouslyof endurance very heavily—it was Tennyson's

Was it not well poems.

Once to have spoken ?-it could not but be well! He took it from her hand, and turned the leaves :

“ Come, I shall retort upon you ; is n't this a “And which is your favorite ?" asked he ; “ Locks- feminine view of duty, and therefore, of course, ley Hall, of course—everybody chooses Locksley loquacious ? All women think that it cannot but Hall, on a first reading. What a colorist he is? be well to speak under any circumstances.” The Venetian of poets."

“ What a shame !” exclaimed Julia. Clara “ But I like this, very much," said Julia, look- went quietly back to her work with a look of ing over his shoulder, and laying her finger upon contempt. She had not the gift of trifling. the name “Love and Duty.

Presently, however, she looked up with a brightHe read it—at first carelessly, and as if about ening face—a new visitor had arrived— Mr. to pass from it again ; but the passionate music Dacre. (We will inform the reader in confilaid strong hold upon him, and he could not leave dence that we have some reason for supposing it unfinished.

Dacre to be the name which was left blank in

Clara's opening soliloquy.) He was also one
Far furrowing into light the mounded rack
Beyond the fair green field and eastern sea.

among the family intimates, and moreover Clara's

especial friend, though there was nothing between He closed the book, uttering the two last lines them partaking of the nature of a flirtation. They aloud as he did so, with a prolonged emphasis, had the same tastes, generally the same opinions ; just a little exaggerated, in order to save himself he had considerable genius, which she indisputafrom being laughed at by making it look as if he bly overrated, he was elegant in his modes of were half in joke. “Just a glimpse of light at thinking, feeling, and speaking, and liked few the end," said he ; a promise of dawn-giving things better than a conversation with her. As one a faint hope that this most unlucky couple to his character, that is, the combination of will, might, perhaps, be happy after all. Do you know, temper, heart, and habits, which are somewhat Miss Julia, I should not have expected you to more important than mere intellect, it lacked stachoose this poem for a favorite."

bility, and was without that nameless ascendency “Why not?" inquired the young lady. which seems to be the special mark of a high

He looked doubtfully at her. It is so very manly nature, and by virtue of which it stands sentimental,” said he, with a half smile.

erect, guiding and subduing those whose merely “I think I am very sentimental," answered intellectual gifts may perhaps be superior to its Julia, a little affronted.

This deficiency, however, Clara did not “ Besides,” pursued Mr. Archer, “don't you feel ; perhaps she was scarcely aware of it; we think the verses are wrongly named • Love and do not criticize most strictly those to whom we Duty?' Would it not have been more in ac- stand the nearest. Clara could speak, and speak cordance with duty if the young man had held his freely, to Mr. Dacre of subjects on which, in her tongue about his love, seeing that, for some reason own family circle and among her other acquaintor other, the obstacles to its prevailing were in- ance, silence was practically enforced upon her, surmountable ?"

not by want of comprehension, perhaps, but by Julia did not very well know what to say, so want of sympathy. The shyest and most reshe gave him a bright look and a smile, which served nature is precisely that which most enjoys implied that she had a vast deal in her mind on the rare privilege of speaking-rare to it because the subject, but thought it better not to ex. it needs so peculiar a combination of outward cir

Clara remarked, bluntly, “That is a cumstance and inward disposition to induce, or masculine view of duty, and therefore, of course, rather to enable it to do so. So slight a coldselfish."

ness, so small a sneer is enough to repulse it and “How so?" asked Mr. Archer. Some special shut it up for a long while to come. These charinterference of his good genius prevented him from acters are often boundlessly unjust in their feel

own.

press it.

If we

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ing towards others, if not in their judgment about | O, we must not disturb Miss Capel," said Mr. them ; but it is very difficult for them to help it. Archer, with assumed deference ; " this is one of It may be because we are so very thin-skinned the awful duties with which our frivolous converthat a touch has wounded us; but while the sation must not interfere for a moment. wound still smarts freshly we can scarcely be were to be compassing the queen’s death our chidden for avoiding a repetition of the touch. treason would not check that running accompani

I am sorry to record that no further progress ment, 'i, n, in-8, t, r, u, c, struc-t, i, o, n, was made in the construction of the gown that tion, instruction.' Have I divided those syllables morning.

correctly, you poor little victim ?" and he pulled In her evening self-examination, Clara did not the unreluctant Annie upon his knee, and began by any means spare her own feebleness of pur- to play with her long curls. pose. The next day, and the next, and for many “I don't know," replied Annie; “I have not succeeding days, she renewed her efforts with un- got into four syllables." flagging vigor. “To be practical ;this was the “ That 's a pleasure to come,” answered her sentence inscribed upon every thought, and prompt- friend ; and opening her writing-book he voluning it to immediate action. Very troublesome she teered to provide her next copy, and solemnly set was, there can be no doubt of it, in the first fever down in huge text-hand the words, “Heaven preof her undisciplined usefulness. She wore a stern serve me from four syllables." aspect, she was grievously and unnecessarily punc- Clara laughed; but it was somewhat languidly. tual, painfully energetic, and so abrupt in some of There, there, we will release you this once, her resolves that it was more than ordinary nerves Annie,” said she. “And pray tell me your news, could endure. She would call in all the bills at for I am all curiosity." unheard of times of year, to the great discomfiture Her eye wandered to Mr. Dacre and Julia, who of tradesmen, and introduce an unexpected char- were whispering together in the background; but woman to clean the drawing-room, in the midst they did not respond to the look, and Mr. Archer of a morning visit. But these natural exaggera- answered her, “Mr. Middleton is going to be tions, like the painter's first efforts at art, which, married.” if he have true genius, are often caricatures, o'er- Clara was as much excited as any news-teller stepping, not falling short of, the modesty of na- in the world could wish. Her wonder and interture, exuberant rather than deficient-gradually est were great. Mr. Middleton was the vicar softened down, as a habit grew out of a succes- of the parish, a sensible, agreeable, middle-aged sion of impulses. Her many failures became so man, indefatigable in his duties, and supposed by many lessons to teach gentleness ; her persever- all his friends to be a confirmed old bachelor. ance was too strenuously vigilant of its own de- She inquired eagerly concerning the lady. fects to degenerate into obstinacy. She imposed “To begin with the most important part,” said one law upon herself which she never broke, and Mr. Archer, “she is very pretty, and she is twenwhich perhaps more than anything else tended to ty-five years younger than her husband." her improvement; namely, that whenever any “ Have you seen her?" exclaimed Clara, " and service, duty, or business was needful in the fam- what sort of person is she? Will she make a ily life which was of a disagreeable kind, or in good clergyman's wife? 0! how anxious the any way repugnant to her own taste, she volun- poor will be about her !"! teered to perform it. She resolutely ignored, so " She will make a perfect wife," said Mr. to speak, the peculiarities of her own character, Archer ; “ she will always look handsome and doing violence to them with a promptitude and good-humored, she will be active and affectionate, energy which was the surest test of the reality and she will never require the smallest mental of her intentions. No confession of disinclina- exertion on her husband's part. It will be a very tion-no look of reluctance appealed to the un- easy life for him; so long as he is satisfied with selfishness of those about her ; and it gradually himself, he may feel quite sure that she is satisfied began to be taken for granted that Clara did not with him.” minddoing a hundred things which she did “Mr. Middleton deserves something more than cheerfully, but which perhaps she would have that,” observed Clara, with quiet disdain. given worlds to avoid. They still called her, Deserves ? Perhaps ; but what if he does n't with good-humored bantering, the “genius,” the want it? A hard-working man like Middleton “blue-stocking," the “unpractical lady,” but does n't want a spur for his times of leisure-he somehow or other they did not act upon the no- wants a pillow.” tion which was too permanently established in “And you think a wife is only meant for times their language to be uprooted.

of leisure ?" said Clara.

“And times of sickness," replied Mr. Archer ; News, Clara, news !” cried Julia, as, squired "she may nurse him if he is ill, and I think Mrs. by Messrs. Archer and Dacre, she entered the Middleton will make a very good nurse.” room, full of glee and glowing with the exercise Clara's lips curled as she asked, " Will she be of a country ramble.

a companion for him ?!! Clara looked up; she was teaching Annie her " She is the companion he has chosen," anlessons, and Annie was wilful, and by consequence swered Mr. Archer, leaning back in his chair and slow to learn, and Clara had the headache. laughing. “A woman's notion of a wife is so

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