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punished in children, it is that of listening behind hedges and doors, to know the very thing that people wish to kcep particularly secret.”
Colin's mother was about to reply, had not the sudden entrance of Dr. Rowel prevented her, and left Miss Sowcrsoft's philippic against listeners and listening in all its force and weizht upon her mind.
Anxious to see the boy, Mrs. Clink folle wed the doctor up stairs, and found Fanny sitting by his bed-side, with a cup of lukewarm tea in her hand, waiting until he should wake. Having examined his pa. tient, the doctor addressed Fanny to the effect that he wished to have a few minutes' conversation with her down stairs. Miss Sowersoft, on being made aware of the doctor's wish, ushered him and Fanny into an inner parlour, assuring them that they would be perfectly retired there, as one could approach the door without her own knowledge.
“ There is something vastly curious in this," said Miss Maria to herself, as she carefully closed the door. " What can the doctor want with such an impudent minx ?"
And so she remained, pursuing her dark cogitations through all the labyrinths of scandal, until Mrs. Clink had bidden our hero good-b’ye, and crept down stairs. On turning the corner of the wall, the first object she beheld was Miss Sowersoft, with her ear close to the key. hole of the inner parlour door-apparently so deeply intent on what was going forward within, as to have almost closed her senses to any thing without, for she did not perceive Mrs. Clink's approach until she stood within a yard or two of her.
Ay, bless me!-are you here ?" she exclaimed, as she drew her. self
up. Why, you, see, ma'am, there is no rule without an exception; and, notwithstanding what I was saying when Dr. Rowel came in, yet, Mrs. Clink, it was impossible for me to be aware how soon it might be needful for me to break my own rule. You know that servant of yours is a very likely person, Mrs. Clink, for any gentleman to joke with ; and, though I do not mean to insinuate any thing-I should be very sorry to do so, indeed; but still, doctor though he isin fact, to tell you the truth”—and Miss Sowersoft drew her auditor to the farther side of the room, and spoke in a whisper-"it is highly fortunate I had the presence of mind to listen at the door; for I heard the doctor very emphatically impress on your servant the necessity of not letting even you yourself know any thing about it, under any cir. cumstances; and at the same time he promised her something-pre. sents, for aught we know-and said he would do something for her. Now, Mrs. Clink, what could he mean by that ?--I have my suspi. cions; and if I were in your place, I should insist, positively insist, on knowing all about it, or she should not live another day in my house.”
Mrs. Clink stood amazed and confounded. She would have pledged her word that, if needful, Fanny would have resisted any offered in.
sult to the death ; but she knew not what to think after what she had just heard.
" I will insist on knowing it!” she exclaimed. “ The girl is young and simple, and may be easily imposed upon by --"
“ Hush! hush !" interposed Miss Sowersoft, " they are coming
As they came out, Miss Maria looked thunder at Fanny, and bade the doctor good morning with a peculiar stiltiness of expression, which implied, in her own opinion, a great deal more than anybody else could possibly have made of it.
“ Have her down stairs directly !" continued the lady of the estab. lishment, (for Fanny had gone up stairs,) as soon as Mr. Rowel had passed out of hearing. " A nasty huzzy!—If she did not answer me every thing straight forwards, I should know what to think of it, and what to do as well, that I should! But you can do as you like, Mrs. Clink.”
Colin's mother called Fanny down stairs again, and took her, followed by Miss Maria, into the same room in which she had so recently held her colloquy with her uncle the doctor.
Displays Miss Sowersoft's character in a degree of perfection unparalleled on any
previous exhibition.-Fanny's obstinacy incites Mrs. Clink to turn her adrift up. on the world.
Having entered the room, Miss Sowersoft first peeped out to see that no listeners were in the neighbourhood, and then cautiously closed the door-all the blood in her veins mustering up in red rebellion against poor Fanny, as she stared at that young woman through two dilated eyes, with something of the expression of a hand-grenade with a newly-lit fusee.
“ Take a chair, Mrs. Clink,” said Miss Maria, in a tone which de. noted more than her ordinary attention to etiquette, as she still kept her eyes on Fanny, in order to make her feel her own insignificance the more keenly by the contrast ; " do be scared;" and she drew up ano. ther chair for herself, while Fanny was left standing, as best became a servant—and a culprit. “Now, I am quite ready to begin. Have it out of her at once-I would not stand on ceremony with anybody like her !"
What is it, Fanny,” asked Mrs. Clink, “that the doctor has been talking to you about ?"
"I cannot answer that,” replied Fanny : "I have promised to tell nobody, and I must keep my word.”
"There !--that's sufficient!" cried Miss Maria, " that is plenty! You see what it is. She has promised, and will not explain it. I
knew before, as well as if I had heard, how it would all be. She has compromised herself, just as such a young face-proud huzzy was sure
It is a wonder to me, Mrs. Clink, how you have contrived to keep her respectable so long."
I did not intend to talk to you, Miss Sowersoft,” replied Fanny; but I will tell you that I have always been too respectable for what you seem to think." " Answer me, Fanny," interposed Mrs. Clink.
“ I am sure you will answer me."
"I cannot, ma'am," said Fanny.
" Indeed I cannot, because I have promised I would not; but it is nothing of the least harm.”
Oh, no!'' exclaimed Miss Sowersoft, ' not the least harm! to be sure not !-oh, no! She is very innocent, no doubt.” “ If I discharge you from
your service unless
you do tell me, what then ?" asked her mistress.
“ I cannot help it if you do,” said Fanny, as she burst inio tears at the bare mention of quitting that place which had been as a home to her nearly all her life.
" Then I positively insist either that you do tell me all about it, or stay with me no longer than until you can suit yourself elsewhere. I do not wish to part with you,-far from it. You have been with me almost all your life, and I should not like to see the day when you turn. ed your back upon my door for the last time; but I cannot have this silence and secrecy about such an affair as the present. I have known enough, and more than enough, of the ruin and misery that may en. sue, to allow of it in any young woman under my care. I cannot have it, Fanny, and will not have it; so you must make your
choice.” Fanny cried bitterly, and with some difficulty made herself under. stood amidst so many sobs and sighs, as she protested that she dared not tell more than she had told; that, on her solemn word, it was not about anything that could in the least injure her.
Well, I must say I give her credit for what she says," remarked Mrs. Clin!, in an under tone, to Miss Maria.
“ Give her a birch rod !” exclaimed the latter lady. “ I wonder how you can allow yourself to be so easily imposed upon! It is all her artfulness, and nothing else. She is as cunning as Satan, and as deep as the day is long, she is ! Ask her what made the doctor say he would do something for her,- let her unriddle that, if she can."
Mrs. Clink accordingly continued the examination much in the manner already described, and with about the same success. Fanny resisted all inquiry as strenuously as at first, until at length Mrs Clink gave her a formal warning to seek out for another situation, and to leave her present place as soon as she had found one. Fanny replied,
that she would go begging rather than betray the trust reposed in her, as she believed that Providence would never let her starve for having done what was right.
What a wicked wretch she is!" Miss Sowersoft exclaimed, when she heard poor Fanny's expression of trust in a more just power than that which now condemned her ; “ I am sure her horrible wickedness turns me white to hear it."
This female tribunal having dissolved itself, much as some other po. pular tribunals do, simply because nothing further remained to engage its attention, Miss Fanny was dismissed up stairs again, and the other two ladies remained below to discuss in private the question of Colin's removal home, until such time as his recovery might admit of his re. turn to the labours of the farm.
It will be quite sufficient to state, as the result of their deliberations, and in conclusion of this last chapter of our first book, that within eight-and-forty hours afterwards our hero, being somewhat recover. ed, was laid on a bed placed in a cart, and carried home; that Fanny attended him there during some brief space of time afterwards, until she procured another situation, and left Mrs. Clink's service at once and for ever; and that these changes, together with some others of very superior importance, which I shall proceed immediately to re. late, brought about such a “new combination of parties” amongst the personages, great and small, who have figured in our pages, as cannot fail, when explained, to throw great light upon the yet dark and abstruse points of this veritable history.
MISCE L L A NY.
462 463 475
JACK SHEPPARD, WITH AN ILLUSTRATION BY GEORGE CRUIK
BY W. HARRISON AINSWORTH
Epoch the Third-1724.
Chapter XVI.-How Jack Sheppard's Portrait was painted.
BY THE REV. G. R. GLEIG, AUTHOR OF THE SUBALTERN”
diers lived in London half a century ago.
Chapter II.-Which speaks of processions, rumours of war, aud wars. TO JULIA,
BY J. AUGUSTINE WADE THE TOLEDO RAPIER : A TALE,
BY R. B. PEAKE POETRY,
BY J. AUGUSTINE WADE MORAL ECONOMY OF LARGE TOWNS-CRIME AND PUNISHMENT,
BY DR. W. TAYLOR THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS,
BY HENRY WORDSWORTH LONGFELLOW THE PATRON KING, WITH AN ILLUSTRATION, BY MRS. TROLLOPE THE PYRENEAN HUNTER ; OR, WILD SPORTS OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE-WOLF-HUNTING IN THE LANDES,
BY THE HON. JAMES ERSKINE MURRAY
“ CURIOSITIES OF MEDI-
BY CHARLES HOOTON
Book the Second.
without consent asked, to make Fanny his wife.
ingenious person could foresee.
terrupted by a fearful occurrence, which threatens to make Dr. Rowel triumphant.
achieved it. Lawyer Skinwell's death-bed, and what happened there.
BY EDWARD HERBERT