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From Sharpe's London Magazine.
THE NOBLE-HEARTED WOMAN; OR, PEACE-MAKING.
HESTER BEVILLE was the only child of and some of a sad description ; but all a widow; her mother died when she was agreed in the fact that Hester was fit for about twenty years of age; and, to the nothing but a governess or a companion, trial of losing her dearest and best friend, and Hester did not feel herself particuwas added the trial of being reduced from larly suited for either of these positions. comfortable to straitened circumstances. She was moderately accomplished, but she Mrs. Beville had been possessed of a small had read the advertisements in the Times, life-annuity, on which she lived in great and she knew that she was utterly unfit respectability in a quiet country town, and to cope with the highly-gifted ladies so from which she had contrived to save the wonderfully combining the useful and the sum of five hundred pounds for the future ornamental in their qualifications, who need of her daughter.
were ready to accept of a situation at a IIester clearly saw that the world would moderate salary. be no garden of roses for her, but that she As a companion, Hester's mother had must add to her slender provision by her pronounced her incomparable ; but Hester own exertions. She asked the advice of was well aware that the requisitions of her friends. The unanimous verdict was, her gentle, quiet, easily pleased mother, that she must go out as a governess or were very different from those of the exactcompanion.
ing, irritable dames, who require in a com“ You need not feel low-spirited about panion the union of servility and good it, my love,” said old Mrs. Gladwin, who spirits, and expect that while she is treated saw every thing on the sunny side. • My as a slave, she must always appear highly friend, Miss Cotton, got a situation as delighted with her fetters. governess in the family of a nobleman at Mrs. Beville had so long lived in retire. a high salary, lived with them a year, and ment that her connections and acquaintthen married the family physician; and ance in the outer world had gradually Miss Fleming, who was companion to dropped off; she had a great aversion to the wealthy Mrs. Brydges, obtained a letter-writing, therefore did not retain large legacy on the death of her patroness, any hold on the memory of her friends and is now living in a charming villa in by correspondence; and Hester had conthe Regent's Park.”
sequently very few persons to whom she “I pity you from my heart, my dear," found it necessary to give the information said old Mrs. Dimsdale, who always of her mother's death. Among them was looked on the dark side of things. “Gov. Mr. Wareham, a distant relation of Mrs. ernesses only see the world through the Beville's, who lived in a village in Suffolk ; back-windows, as Miss Mitford says: they it was many years since Mrs. Beville had are slighted by the visitors, rudely treated met with him, and she described him to by the servants, worried by their pupils, Hester as an eccentric and stern-tempered and neglected by their employers. And man; but Mr. Wareham was rich, and a humble companion is ten times worse : therefore every mark of respect was her time is not her own; her actions are shown to him even by his most distant not her own; nay, if she wishes her relations. Mrs. Beville had written to thoughts to be her own, she must take inform him of the birth of her daughter, good care never to give them utterance.” and of the death of her husband, and had
The opinions of Hester's other friends received short, formal answers — expreswere modified from those of the two la- sions of the writer's satisfaction at the first dies in question, some being of a sunny, I event, and sorrow at the last. Hester had
therefore deemed it right to apprise Mr. common to elderly gentlemen, that all the Wareham of her mother's death. It was young women of the present day are helpsome time before his answer arrived; but less, unless, fine ladies ; and when he found when it came it was very much to the that Hester was not only a skillful needlepurpose. He had not previously written, woman and a correct accountant, but that he said, because he new that Hester must she knew the time when the dividends on have many little affairs to settle and wind Consols became due, and the exact amount up before she could leave her present resi- of the Income Tax, he was disposed to dence, but he supposed that all must be think her a very desirable inmate; and pretty nearly arranged by this time, and whenever she made any allusion to the that he should be glad if she would come future governesship or companionship, he and pay him a visit ; he knew that her was always ready to remark: “There is mother had only an income which died time enough yet." with her, and concluded that she had fixed Mr. Wareham, although a wealthy man, on some way of earning her own bread; evinced no signs of wealth in his way
of but as it might be agreeable to her to living ; neither on the other hand, was wait a little time before she began her new there any thing miserly in the appointway of living, he thought that her health ments of his house. His table was comand spirits would be benefited by a change fortable, his servants well-trained and reof scene.
spectable, and his few visiting acquaintance Hester showed the letter to several of partook of his hospitalities in precisely her friends.
the same ratio in which he partook of “What a kind-hearted man !” said Mrs. theirs. None of Mr. Wareham's limited Gladwin; “how anxious he seems for circle would be likely to possess any inyour society! Depend upon it that when terest for my readers, with the exception he once knows you, he will not suffer you of a widow lady and her son, who lived to think of leaving his house!"
on a small estate belonging to the latter. “ I quite pity you,” said Mrs. Dimsdale, To live on one's own estate would be con“for the prospect of paying a visit to the sidered a very slight distinction by many man who could write such a letter. What people, particularly when the estate is of an utter want of delicacy to talk of your moderate value, and an annuity has to be dear mother's income dying with her! paid from it to the mother of the owner; what an unfeeling expression to speak of but in a country village those things are your earning your own bread ! Rely upon thought much of, and Mrs. Hawdon antiit, you will find that you have to perform cipated a very eligible match for her dear the duties of a dependent without having Edward whenever he could make up his to receive the wages of one.”
mind to part with his liberty. No one in Hester, however, felt no inclination to the neighborhood, she said, was worthy of decline the invitation; her grief was still him. But the mothers of marriageable in its freshness, and she did not feel her- sons are generally found to wait for the self equal to the trial of plunging immedi- tide of events much more patiently than ately into the cold-bath of advertisements the mothers of marriageable daughters. and agency-offices. She returned a grate- Mrs. Hawdon saw heiresses “looming in ful acceptance to Mr. Wareham’s invita- the distance,” and did not take any
active tion, took leave of her friends, and in due steps to bring them into conjunction with time arrived at the residence of her un- her son. Mrs. Hawdon treated Hester, known relative.
when first introduced to her, with the Mr. Wareham was a tall, stern-looking coolness and distance which she invariably man, about seventy, with a loud voice, assumed towards every pretty, portionand a manner that evinced a thorough less young woman, especially when Eddetermination to have his own way; he ward (as had happened in the present case) received Hester kindly, however; and as had made any favorable remarks on her she had not imagined him to be a particu- personal appearance; but in a short time larly courteous, urbane person, she was she relaxed much of her frigidity, invited quite as well pleased with him as she Hester to her house, and smiled complaexpected to be.
cently when Edward presented her with Mr. Wareham was better pleased with bouquets. Mrs. Hawdon was wont to say Hester than he had expected to be. He “she never did any thing without having had imbibed the idea, by no means un-l a good reason for it ;" and the reason of
her change of conduct towards Hester since Hester's residence in his house. His was one that was perfectly consistent with gardener had prematurely removed some her character as a worldly-wise woman. plants from the green-house, they had be.
Mr. Wareham was getting decidedly come frost-nipped, and he actually had fond of Hester's society; she fell into his the insolence to assert that his master had ways; she did not, like the objects of his ordered their removal. horror, “the young people of the present “ The man was in the right,” said Hes. day,” complain of dullness, or hint about ter, calmly; and she mentioned the day carpet-dances, or say that a visit to a on which the order had been given. watering place would be good for her Mr. Wareham's irritability was much health. In another way she proved to be increased by finding himself thus proved a great acquisition to Mr. Wareham. His to be in the wrong, and after the usual sight had latterly become somewhat im- fashion of testy old gentlemen, he declared paired; not to a sufficient degree to be that every body was in a conspiracy to detected in society, but so much so as vex and contradict him, and left the room decidedly to interfere with his evening with unmistakable manifestations of beamusement of reading. Therefore did ing in a very bad humor. Mr. Wareham declare that “the new “My dear young friend,” said Mrs. books were all trash, and that the time Hawdon, “how very injudicious you are ! was much better employed in recalling to What could possess you to contradict Mr. one's memory the contents of the old Wareham ? » ones ;" but when Hester came to live with “I set him right when he was mistaken," him, and offered to read aloud to him, replied Hester; “I can not call it contrasaying that it had been her custom to do diction to do so.” so in the evening to her mother, Mr.
afraid you will find that he will Wareham's inclination for new publica- call it so,” said Mrs. Hawdon, “ I have tions immediately returned, and the paper- known codicils to wills revoked and recutter was taken forth from the drawer scinded on much slighter provocation than to which he had unwillingly consigned it. you have given to Mr. Wareham.” Nor did Mr. Wareham acknowledge his Hester fixed her grave, earnest, hazel defect of sight, even to Hester; he said eyes on Mrs. Hawdon's face, with an into her and to every one else “ that he in- quiring expression. She was, as I have dulged her in reading aloud to him because shown, quite equal to entering into the she had always been used to it, and he mysteries of dividends and the income tax, wished her to make herself quite at home.” but her experience had not qualified her
Some months elapsed, and Mrs. Haw. to discourse on revoked and rescinded don ascertained from her confidential codicils.” friend, the village doctor, that Mr. Ware. “The girl is ignorant of the common ham's health was in a declining state ; and affairs of life," thought Mrs. Hawdon. from her confidential friend, the village “It appears to me, my love,” she said, solicitor, that Mr. Wareham had made “ that you do not fully estimate the adhis will a long time ago, leaving all his vantages of your position. You have, like property to public institutions, but that Atalanta, a golden apple thrown before he had latterly begun to talk of making a you; but you do not, like her, stoop to
Therefore did Mrs. Hawdon pick it up: perhaps, however, you may and Mr. Edward Hawdon pay decided not know the story of Atalanta.” attention to Hester, who could not feel “I remember it well,” said Hester, otherwise than gratified by the notice and I remember, also, that Atalanta, so which seemed to her to be so perfectly far from gaining any advantage by pickdisinterested. Edward Hawdon was not ing up that golden apple and the two sucparticularly attractive either in person or ceeding ones, lost her race by so doing, manner, but Hester had been little accus- and discovered that they had been thrown tomed to admiration or flattery; she saw in her way as an impediment.” that she was a favorite with both mother Mrs. Hawdon, finding that she gained and son, and she took pleasure in their nothing by her legal and mythological society. Mrs. Hawdon was sitting with illustrations, had just begun a new kind of Hester one morning, when Mr. Wareham appeal by saying, “In the name of comentered in on of those angry moods mon - sense, my sweet irl," when Mr. which had become of very rare occurrence, Wareham opened the door.
“You were quite right, Hester,” he which Hester had quite forgotten, even if said; “I have been thinking over the cir- she had never heard of it from her mother, cumstances, and remember well that I and indeed had fancied that she detected gave the order on the day you spoke of. in Mr. Wareham divers of the peculiariI used to have a good memory; but ties generally ascribed to an old bachelor. memories, like other good things, can not Perhaps, however, Mr. Wareham might be expected to last forever.”
be considered justly entitled to the pecuMr. Wareham left the room as he spoke, liarities of an old bachelor, for his wife and was seen from the window in amica- had died a year after their marriage, and ble communication with the gardener. five-and-forty years had elapsed since her
Mrs. Hawdon was a close observer ; she death. He described her as a paragon of noted that Mr. Wareham bad not come perfection; and although a woman of the into the room to get a book or a paper; world, like Mrs. Hawdon, might have surhe had come into it for the express pur- mised that “distance lent enchantment to pose of letting Hester know that he had the view," and that the short period of discovered her to be in the right. wedded life might not have been sufficient
“I must acknowledge, dear Hester," to bring forth its shadows as well as its she said, " that you know the proper way sunshine, Hester was quite content to of managing Mr. Wareham; you have believe that the late Mrs. Wareham had displayed great tact and address in this been all that woman ought to be, and to business.”
pity the widower for the loss of such a “Dear Mrs. Hawdon,” said Hester, “I treasure. am as undeserving of your present praise About this time, Mr. Wareham had an as I was of your recent blame; it seems attack of illness ; it soon passed off, owing, to me that you are affixing unnecessary he said, to Hester's good nursing ; but he importance to a very trifling occurrence." deemed it right to send for his solicitor,
“ Not at all, my love,” replied Mrs. and gave instructions for a new will to be Hawdon; “I have so true a regard for prepared. The solicitor dined with the you that I should be sincerely sorry if any Hawdons the same day, and certainly want of due consideration on your part Edward Hawdon's attentions to Hester should interfere with the disposal of Mr. became decidedly marked about that Wareham's property in your favor." period, and his mother was eloquent to
“I have no claim on Mr. Wareham's every one whom she knew concerning the property,” said Hester, “or the slightest attractions and the excellence of "that expectation that he will bestow any of it sweet girl, Hester Beville.” upon me. He gives me his protection Mr. Wareham seemed pleased with the and the shelter of his roof, and I believe attentions that Edward Hawdon paid to that my residence with him conduces to his young relative. “I may not be long his comfort; I am desirous of remaining spared to you, my love,” he said, “and you with him as long as he wishes for my so- will need some one to take care of you." ciety; but I have no interested views, and Innocent Hester! she thought the exI am sorry to hear them ascribed to me.” pression, “ You will need some one to take
Mrs. Hawdon responded by some care of you,” clearly denoted that Mr. phrases of unmeaning flattery, and the Wareham had bequeathed nothing to her conversation did not make any deep im- in his will, and she made it a point of conpression on the mind of Hester. She had science to tell Mrs. Hawdon that she had heard Mrs. Hawdon denominated "a reason to think that she would bave no woman of the world;" and although her provision at Mr. Wareham’s death. experience of women of the world had “All I can say, my love, is that you been very limited, she justly thought that well deserve to have it,” replied the lady ; a somewhat overweening desire for the and poor Hester blamed herself for ever goods of fortune would be likely to form having considered the Hawdons to be a portion of such a character. Hester and worldly people. Mr. Wareham did not pass the whole of “ If they were so," she thought, “ would the evenings in reading. Hester was a they wish me for a connection, when, acgood listener; and while she sat at work, cording to their opinion of the declining Mr. Wareham would recount many anec- health of Mr. Wareham, they must imdotes of his early years, especially those agine me to be just hovering over the ad. connected with his marriage — an event vertisement column of the Times ?»
Edward Hawdon did not feel any pre- " And did she live happily with her ference for Hester Beville ; like most shy, husband ?" asked Hester. silent young men, he admired showy “I believe so," said Mrs. Hawdon; dashing women.
But as he had a due re. “but in a few years she became a widow, gard for the main chance, and a high and wrote to her father, imploring him to opinion of the diplomatic talents of his receive her to the home of her childhood.” mother, he graciously gave her permission
“ And he consented,” said Hester; to call on Hester, and try to ascertain " and she returned home to die. I can from her if he should be accepted, suppos- not be surprised that he has never alluded ing he prevailed on himself to make pro- to this painful subject.” posals for her.
“You come to premature conclusions, Mrs. Hawdon found Hester in the act my love,” said Mrs. Hawdon: “she is of arranging in due order the contents of alive at the present moment, for any thing a small ebony cabinet at the desire of Mr. I know to the contrary. Her father reWareham, who said that it had not been solutely refused to give her any sanction, opened for many years. Hester had either as a wife or as a widow, and she amused herself with the inspection of di- seems to have faded from the memory of vers antique trinkets, scent-bottles, and every body. I only wonder that I remembodkin-cases, and was just admiring the ber so much concerning her, for I never miniature of a very pretty woman, when saw her; she was married seven-and-twenty Mrs. Hawdon was announced.
years ago, and it was not till two years “Who could be the original of this afterwards that I came to this neighbor. charming miniature, I wonder ?” said hood as a bride.” Hester. “It can not be the likeness of the “And she may yet be living ?” said late Mrs. Wareham, for I have heard Mr. Hester, sorrowfully : “living in poverty, in Wareham regret that he possessed no re- sickness, and sorrow ?” semblance of her."
"The fitting result of her disobedience,” “I never saw the original,” said Mrs. remarked Mrs. Hawdon sententiously. Hawdon, carelessly glancing at it ; " but I “While I,” pursued Hester, “ am foshave no doubt that it is the likeness of tered and caressed in the home which she Mr. Wareham's daughter.”
is prohibited to enter!" “Is it possible that Mr. Wareham had a That can make no possible difference grown-up daughter ?” exclaimed Hester. to her, even if she knew it,” replied Mrs. “I am indeed surprised; he told me that Hawdon; “but depend upon it, she does his wife had died in her confinement, and not know it. I will come and see you I never asked any questions about the again, my love, to-morrow, and hope that child, because I concluded from his silence this little annoyance will then have passed that it had not survived."
away from your mind. I detest the sight “It was evidently a distressing subject of an old cabinet : people who open one to him," said Mrs. Hawdon.
after a long lapse of time are sure to find he lost this charming creature something in it to worry them.” And in her early womanhood," said Hester, Mrs. Hawdon took her departure; she continuing to admire the miniature ;"no felt that the present would not be a favorwonder that he can not bear to talk about able period for interesting Hester in the her."
impending proposals of her son. “He lost her,” said Mrs. Hawdon, Hester thought of nothing but the “but not as you surmise, by death; the miniature and its unfortunate original young lady was very clever, too clever to during the day, and in the evening ad. be satisfied with the frivolities of fancy dressed herself on the subject to Mr. work, flower-painting, and French novels. Wareham, without a particle of the tact She wished to study the classics; her and address formerly ascribed to her by father engaged a young and handsome Mrs. Hawdon. tutor for her, and according to many an. “ I found this very charming miniature ancient and modern precedent, the tutor in the ebony cabinet, dear Mr. Wareham,” and pupil became enamored of each she said," and I have been thinking about other; the attachment was discovered by it ever since.” the father, he was enraged, the lovers Mr. Wareham looked on the miniature were rebellious, and the fair Elizabeth first in surprise, and secondly with avereloped."
sion: "I had thought it was destroyed