Page images

long ago," he said: “I suppose you are “Enough, Hester, and more than enough curious to know for whom it was in on this subject,” said Mr. Wareham; "you tended.”

are going too far, even for a privileged fa“I am not curious,” replied Hester, vorite.” “because I heard the story soon after I “Let me ask you one question,” said discovered the miniature, and it gave me Hester; "am I the only person who has deep trouble and pain.”

endeavored to persuade you to take com“Then, I conclude,” said Mr. Ware- passion on your daughter ?” ham, knitting his brows, “ that you heard “I will answer your question,” said Mr. a garbled account of the wrongs endured Wareham, “because I hope my answer by one person, and the injuries inflicted may serve as a lesson to you. My old, by another.”

trusty, and esteemed friend, John Gray“Far from it,” said Hester:“I heard son, has repeatedly tried to bring about a the account from Mrs. Hawdon, and she reconciliation between Mrs. Atwood and seemed disposed to blame your daughter's myself, and was only induced to desist conduct rather than your own.”

from his endeavors when I assured him “Mrs. Hawdon is a sensible woman,” that another word from him would termisaid Mr. Wareham, relaxing his counte- nate our long friendship, and compel me nance ; “and I would advise you, Hester, to consider him as a stranger." to forbear from meddling with matters Hester made no reply to this speech, that do not concern you. There is a Blue wisely relinquishing the privilege of her Chamber in every house."

sex to have the last word, and after a “There need not be one in yours," said short pause, proposed to read aloud; but Hester : “it is never too late to forgive. Mr. Wareham refused her offer, mutterDear Mr. Wareham, your daughter has ing, somewhat uncourteously, that "he been sufficiently punished by her long much preferred reading to himself.” exile from your house and heart; let me Hester remarked, however, that he never implore you to receive her again to them.” turned over a leaf of his book, and that he

“And do you actually dare to make retired half an hour earlier than usual. this request of me, Hester ?” asked Mr. Many a speech works an effect quite Wareham.

different from that which was intended “I dare to do so,” replied Hester, “ be- by the speaker. Mr. Wareham's brief cause I am sure that you would be both account of his own spirited repudiation a happier and a better man if you would of John Grayson's interference was meant have the kindness to comply with it." to serve as an awful warning to Hester of

“And has it never occurred to you,” the danger that would accrue to herself said Mr. Wareham," that if I granted from any obstinate perseverance in the your presuming request, your own posi- cause which she had undertaken to plead; tion in my family might be greatly but it conveyed a piece of information to changed by the entrance of Mrs. Atwood her which she had almost despaired of into my house ?»

obtaining “I think it could only be changed for During the whole of the morning, Hesthe better,” replied Hester. “ Judging of ter had been anxiously longing to get a others by myself

, I imagine that Mrs. At- letter conveyed to Mrs. Atwood, but had wood would feel so much obliged to me felt the impossibility of ascertaining her for having exercised my poor services in place of residence; doubtless it had been her behalf, that I should have two kind many times changed in the course of sevfriends in the family instead of one." en-and-twenty years. Hester's determin

"If you judge of other people by your- ation was now taken ; she would write to self, Hester,” said Mr. Wareham, slightly Mrs. Atwood, and she would inclose her smiling, "you must conceive the world to letter in one to Mr. Grayson ; since he be very full of simpletons.”

had befriended the poor deserted widow “Perhaps I may be right in so con- so perseveringly and kindly, it was not

* ceiving,” said Hester, returning his smile; likely that he should subsequently lose “but mine is not now a question of wis- sight of her. dom and justice, but one of mercy and

Hester knew Mr. Grayson's address; kindness. For your own sake, for mine, she had gradually taken the office of Mr. and for your daughter's sake, I conjure Wareham's amanuensis, and had only reyou to forgive her.”

cently written to him. She fulfilled her


intention that very evening: duties, she felt, readings were resumed, and the passing were not to be delayed; and she was tho- storm seemed lulled into a calm ; but, roughly aware that she was performing a like many other calms, it was destined in duty. It seemed to her that she was usurp- a few days to be disturbed by the sound ing the place of poor Elizabeth Atwood: of the postman's knock. Hester received she felt as if she had no claim to be partak- a letter from Mrs. Atwood, full of grati. ing of the comforts that surrounded her, tude for her kind interest, but fearing while the daughter of the house was living that her father was too sternly resolute far from the home of her youth, and living, in his determination of casting her off, to perhaps, scantily provided even with the render any hope of a reconciliation pronecessaries of life. She briefly and kindly bable. She was happily raised above expressed to Mrs. Atwood her anxiety to want, she said; Providence had been be of use to her in any way she could very kind to her. Mr. Grayson, the point out; she offered to convey a letter friend of her early childhood, had not or message to Mr. Wareham, or to bring only insisted on defraying the expenses about an interview should it appear de- of her son's education, but had, very soon sirable ; and this letter she inclosed in after the death of her husband, obtained one to Mr. Grayson, telling him how for her an asylum under the roof of an inearnestly she wished that it might reach valid relative of his own, whose declining Mrs. Atwood, and that it might prove the days, she trusted, were rendered more means of reconciling her with her father. easy by her attentions. Of that home

Hester felt thus sanguine of success, she had recently been deprived by the because she could not be blind to the fact death of the lady, but she was still comthat she had obtained wonderful influence fortably supported by the liberal assistover the mind of Mr. Wareham. Since ance of her son, who was now tutor in a her residence with him he bad gradually family of distinction. To receive the forbecome more charitable to the poor, more giveness and blessing of her father would kind to his servants, and more courteous be the greatest of joys to her; she did to his equals; and although the ground not ask for any portion of the wealth on which she was now treading was al- which she had justly forfeited by her dismost as dangerous as a quicksand, she obedience. had faith in her own powers of peace- Hester's tears fell fast over poor Elizamaking; in fact, in her late place of resi- beth's letter; she had not been aware dence, she had been the general peace that she had a son, and she felt more maker of the neighborhood, and had than ever grieved and hurt at the inoften succeeded in her benevolent minis- placable cruelty of Mr. Wareham in altrations when older and more experienc- lowing another to give the boon of edued persons had given up the point in des- cation to the innocent boy who had never pair. Hester escaped the infliction of offended him. And how patiently, how Mrs. Hawdon's threatened visit, that calmly, did the poor widow endure her lady having on the preceding evening sorrow; speaking thankfully of her long received an invitation from a titled dow- residence as companion to an infirm invaager in the neighborhood to spend, ac. lid, and now living contentedly on the companied by her son, a few days at her portion dutifully allotted to her from her house. It is true that this invitation was son's stipend as a tutor! couched in the most cold and curt terms; “ This can not, must not last,” thought it is true that Mrs. Hawdon was perfectly Hester. “I must make an appeal to the sensible that she had only been invited better feelings of Mr. Wareham this very because some other persons had sent re- evening.” fusals, and because her son could dance Hester endeavored to dissipate her well and could take a second in a duet ; sadness by a long walk, and on her rebut she had no more idea of refusing it turn found Mr. Wareham in excellent than if it had been a royal command; and spirits ; Mrs. Hawdon and her son had Edward was not so deeply enamored of come home, and had paid him a long Hester, that the prospect of being sepa- visit. rated from her for a few days gave him “Mrs. Hawdon," he said, "remarked any overwhelming anxiety.

that she had never seen me look so well; Mr. Wareham soon fell into his former she has always something pleasant to kind ways towards Hester, the evening say."

Hester wondered what he would think | Hawdon would continue to wish for my of Mrs. Hawdon's talent for pleasant say- hand, if he could hear what I am now ings if he could know that, a few days going to say to you.” ago, she had uttered a fearless, unequivo- “ What are you going to say to me?” cal prediction that " within a month he asked Mr. Wareham, with a darkened would be attacked by apoplexy !” brow; have you formed some foolish

In the quiet evening hour, when the and disgraceful attachment in your late tea-tray had been removed, Hester was place of residence ?» just summoning courage for her proposed “I have formed no attachment of any communication to Mr. Wareham, when kind,” replied Hester, “but, my dear Dr. he forestalled her by saying, “Hester, I Wareham, I can not accept of your genhave something to tell you which I think erous bequest, because I feel that by so you will be very much pleased to hear.” doing I should be injuring the rights of

Hester merely replied by a look of in- your daughter and of your grandson." quiry, and Mr. Wareham continued. “I had hoped,” said Mr. Wareham

“ This morning I received a proposal sternly, “ that you would not again have of marriage for you. Now are you not alluded to Mrs. Atwood; and your inforeager to know the name of your suitor ?» mation seems to have increased within

“ Not at all,” said Hester, “ because I the last few days; you mentioned noam convinced that he can be no other thing of Mrs. Atwood's son on a former but Mr. Hawdon, and as he has chosen occasion." to make his proposals through you, may “Circumstances," said Hester, “have I request that, in return, you will give lately put me in possession of several parhim à courteous but decided refusal in ticulars concerning your daughter. She iny name?"

is living in seclusion, and in confined cir· Hester,” said Mr. Wareham, “you cumstances; nay, she would even be in are trifling with your own happiness. indigence did not her dutiful son share You do not know how earnestly I wish with her the stipend that he receives as a for your settlement in life. My kind tutor. She is anxious, most anxious, for friends

may tell me that I appear to be in your pardon and for your kindness; she good health ; but I feel that my life is does not ask for more, but I feel that very precarious; and when you are left she alone should be the heiress of your alone in the world, many designing per- wealth; I have done nothing to deserve sons will immediately begin to hover it, and I do not wish to receive it.” round an heiress."

“ This to me, Hester ?” said Mr. Ware“An heiress !" repeated Hester, with ham indignantly. “Is this your gratigenuine uncontrollable astonishment. tude for my kindness? Do you conspire

“Yes, dear Hester,” said Mr. Ware with my disobedient daughter to wound ham ; “ I have studied your character; I and outrage my feelings ?" feel grateful for your kind attention to “I am showing the best and truest me; and, with the exception of a few gratitude to you," said Hester," when I legacies, I have bequeathed to you the implore you for your own sake, as well whole of my property : I should be griev- as that of your daughter, to practice the ed to think that it made you the prey divine precept of forgiveness of injuries.” of a needy fortune-hunter; Edward Haw

“It is easy for you to extenuate the don may not be a hero of romance; he faults of Mrs. Atwood, Hester,” said Mr. may not be exactly calculated to win the Wareham ; "she has never transgressed affections of a warm-hearted girl, but against you.” he is a man of good family and fortune; “True," replied Hester; “but then, his character is highly respectable, and I on the other hand, I am not drawn tohave known him from childhood. Think wards her by the ties of close kindred, better of the matter, Hester, before you and of early association. There is also refuse your consent to a marriage which another claim that she has upon you, if I would give me so much gratification." may venture to allude to it."

“My dear, kind friend,” said Hester, v You have ventured to say so much," “I have no words to express my grati- returned Mr. Wareham dryly, “that I tude for your munificent intentions in my beg you will not restrain yourself. Pray favor; but I can not marry where I do proceed; I am listening with attention.” not love; neither do I think that Mr. “You have often," pursued Hester, VOL. XLIV.-NO, III.



“ spoken to me of your late beloved wife ; “Hester has evidently quarreled with you have even indulged the hope that her Mr. Wareham,” said Mrs. Hawdon handspirit may be permitted to watch over you ing the note to her son: “I always till the time arrives when you may rejoin thought that she cortcealed an imperious her. If so, would not that guardian spirit temper beneath the vail of apparent meekrejoice to behold your reconciliation with ness.” the daughter whom she left to be your com- “She has shown herself completely panion and solace in this world of trouble?” blind to her own interest,” replied Ed.

Mr. Wareham did not immediately re- ward. “I must say that I am disappointply; rapid changes passed over his coun- ed; it would have been very convenient tenance, and good and bad feelings seem to have found a rich wife without the troued contending in his mind. Alas! the ble of leaving one's own village in search latter prevailed. “Hester," he replied, of her.” you

have addressed me with unwarrant- Before night, Mrs. Hawdon again heard able freedom; but I am willing to believe news from Mr. Wareham's house that had that you have been carried away by a tem- rapidly spread through the village. Mrs. porary fit of romantic enthusiasm. I give Hawdon had been right in her prediction you one more night to reflect on the line —Mr. Wareham was stricken with apoof conduct that you choose to pursue; plexy! either cease from any further allusions to It is scarcely necessary to say that HesMrs. Atwood, and remain with me as my ter immediately gave up all thoughts of heiress, and the affianced bride of Edward her removal, and established herself by Hawdon, or cease to remain with me at the side of the poor sufferer as his tender, all, and let our paths of life hereafter be skillful, and unwearied nurse : he had ex. wide apart."

cellent medical attendants : his life was Mr. Wareham left the room before Hes- in danger for some days, but a favorable ter could reply to this speech, even if she change in his complaint then took place, had wished to do so. She slept but little and Hester was told that she might hope on that night; but she was not rendered for the best. wakeful by any doubt as to the course “ And you actually have been devoting she should pursue: she could not act against yourself to the care of me for eight days, the dictates of her conscience; she must dearest Hester?» said Mr. Wareham. therefore quit Mr. Wareham, visit Lon“ You will soon be ill yourself, if you do don, and make her long-contemplated ex- not take needful rest.” periment in the advertising column of the “Nay,” said Hester cheerfully, “I have Times. Hester met Mr. Wareham at not been your sole nurse, nor have I debreakfast, and gravely and gently thanked barred myself from rest. I am quite rehim for his past kindness to her, and an- warded for all my cares by seeing you in nounced her intention of taking her de- the way of recovery;" parture on the following day. He was too “ And will you give up your journey proud to remonstrate with her, and coldly to London, Hester, and remain with me?". and formally hoped that she would be asked Mr. Wareham. successful in her new plan of life.

“Willingly,” replied Hester, " as your Hester employed herself during the nurse and friend, but not as your heiress.” morning in preparing for her departure, “Stay with me on any terms, dear but found time to write a short, courteous Hester,” said Mr. Wareham; "and now note to Mrs. Hawdon apologizing for not I think I feel inclined to sleep, and shall calling to take leave of her, as she and Mr. cease for a little while to be troublesomo Wareham were about finally to separate, to you." and she was going to London on the In about an hour Hester was summoned ensuing day. Hester made no allusion to from her own room by the violent ringing Edward Hawdon's offer of marriage; she of Mr. Warebam's bell. justly thought that the mere circumstance “Hester," he exclaimed, on her enof her final separation from Mr. Warebam trance, “I am convinced that my senses would convey to the worldly-wise mother are failing me: I have seen a strange and son intelligence which would effect- vision; I beheld my departed wife standually prevent them from wishing to have ing by my bed-side, and regarding me any nearer connection with her; and so it with a look of sorrowful tenderness.” proved.

“You are wrong in thinking you have

[ocr errors]

beheld a spirit,” said Hester; “ but yet to come and see whether he liked him your senses are not affected. Consider well enough to take up his future abode if there is not any one living who may be with him. supposed to bear a resemblance to your late wife.”

“Well," said Mrs. Hawdon, as she “My daughter, my poor banished welcomed Edward home again, who had daughter,” exclaimed Mr. Wareham;“I just returned from an unsuccessful heiresssee it. Hester, you have summoned her hunt at Harrowgate, “strange events to my house to receive my blessing before have happened at Mr. Wareham's. HesI die.”

ter will possess the property after all.” “I summoned her,” said Hester, “ to “ Indeed !” exclaimed Edward, with receive your forgiveness, trusting that you animation! "I suppose, then, he has would not withhold it from her in the sea- quarreled with his daughter and grandson, son of sickness and sorrow. Her cares and Hester has grown more wise than she and my own have, by the blessing of was formerly, and is willing to accept of Providence, been rewarded by your re- the honors of a residuary legatee. I shall storation to health ; do not, my dear and make a point of paying my respects to kind friend-do not make use of this gift her at an early hour tomorrow morning." to banish from your house the devoted, “ Your attention would avail you noaffectionate daughter who has attended thing,” said Mrs. Hawdon, “for at an to you so duteously in your time of early hour to-morrow morning Hester beneed.”

comes the bride of young Atwood. I “Dear Hester,” said Mr. Wareham, “I have no doubt that she foresaw from the required a bitter lesson to lead me to the very first how matters would turn out.” consciousness of my unrelenting severity “Nay,” said Edward, “we must acquit of temper. I have come to the sense of her of that instance of foresight, for she my fault ; I will see dear Elizabeth, not had never seen young Atwood when she only to pronounce her forgiven, but to re- declined the heiresship. After all, she is ceive forgiveness from her."

a noble girl, and deserves to be happy as Hester immediately summoned Mrs. well as rich." Atwood from the adjoining room, and then withdrew; she felt that the meeting A few friends were assembled at the between the long-separated father and breakfast-table of Mr. Wareham on the daughter ought to take place without a wedding morning. Many kind and affecwitness.

tionate speeches were made to Hester on

the occasion, but I will only quote that of Six months elapsed. Mr. Wareham John Grayson, as being the most original was restored to his usual state of health of them all. Mrs. Atwood took her place as the mis- “Other people, my dear Mrs. Atwood,” tress of his house, and Hester was still his he said, “ tell you of their gratitude and loved, petted relative. Yet was there an- affection; I do much more;

I assure you other individual of the party, who appear- of my forgiveness ! You have actually ed to occupy a still larger share of Mr. been guilty of doing well and quickly Wareham's favor than either of the ladies what I could never do at all. I labored aforesaid ; and strange to say, instead of ineffectually for years to bring about a being jealous of this preference, they act- reconciliation between my good old friend ually seemed quite delighted with it, and and his daughter; but you came to the even jested on the subject of the minor rescue, and all was accomplished in the degree of estimation in which they were course of a few days. Mr. Jellaby said to held. This fortunate person was Mr. his daughter Caddy, on her wedding-day, Warebam's grandson, the young tutor, Never have a mission ! But I am not whom he had summoned to his house quite inclined to agree with him, and I immediately after his reconciliation to Mrs. heartily congratulate Atwood that he has Atwood, warmly commending his dutiful gained a wife who is so well able to carry conduct to his mother, and entreating bim out that admirable mission-the Mission to resign his situation without delay, and of Peace Making !"


« PreviousContinue »