Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

"I" You must not go, my dear, dear uncle," said Jane; throwing her arms round him. “'You must hear my explanation.” T«I tell you I will not be the cause of any more falsehoods."

“ And you will give me up ? Your sister's only child, who was left an orphan to your care-- whom you have carried in your arms--whom you have held upon your knee-whom you have cherished in your bosam, when there was no other bosom to receive her!" 3:.Then," said the old man in a faltering voice_2" then you were my comfort

, my own true-hearted Jane. Then I had nothing but you to love; and now I have nothing--nothing". And he threw himself upon a chair, and put his handkerchief to his eyes.

“My dear uncle, only hear me. I told the girl to say that I was not at home if anybody called."

"And yet you were at home!” said he indignantly.

“But everybody says so; it is not any falsehood. It only means they are not at home to company. It is understood."

“ Understood they are hid in the closet!” His anger evidently began to yield, for he laughed out. “Oh, Jane, what a ridiculous figure you cut when I stumbled upon the wrong door! I am glad I did it; it is a good lesson for you."

"It is indeed, uncle. I promise you I will never say I am not at home again when I am."

Cooped up,” continued he, again laughing, “ in one corner, like a mouse in a cheese; and there you had been shut whole hour, like a naughty child.”

"I shall blush to think of it as long as I live.”.
* And so you ought-to tell a downright falsehood."

“Dear uncle, nobody calls it a falsehood; it only means you are very busy, and cannot see company."

"Then why not say so at once? But the girl said you were out; that you would not be home till near dinner."

“That was entirely her own addition. She had no right to say so; she was not told to say anything but that I was not at home.”

“ You allow, then, that she told an untruth?". “Certainly I do."

"Now tell me, Jane, if you think she thought it more of an untruth to say you were out, than that you were not at home? It is all the same thing."

Jane found it was in vain to try to convince her uncle; and she only hung upon him, and begged of him to love her as he used to do. The old man could not long retain his resentment, and he said with a serious air, “ I willingly forgive you for your offence to me; but I am no priest. I cannot forgive your telling a falsehood. You must ask pardon of a higher Power."

When he made a motion to go, Jane intreated him to stay to dinner. “It is such a long walk; said she, “ you must not go.

up a

19

We were going to sende for you to morrow. I shall not think you have forgiven me if you refuse."

.*19111ib Uncle Joshua at length consented, and she felt as if a load were taken from her heart--for she loved him affectionately. She carried him into another room, got him all ther ndwisel papers, she could collect, and went cheerfully on with her premi parations. When Frank returned, he expressed his pleasuressat i seeing Uncle Joshua for howeven unfashionable and inelegante he might deem him, he could not refuse him his tribute of respect. The guests were mena of good sense and intelligences they were struck with the independence I and originality of Uncle Joshua's character. He conversed without timidity or affectation, and felt no mortification at not knowing what never came within the sphere of his observation. 1 All this Jane would have highly enjoyed, could she have spared any time from her: dinner. 1. The servant was a raw country lad, who required being told when to take a plate and where to put oneri The boiled turkey was underdone, and the ducks overdone ; (the oyster sauce) spoiled before it reached the table; and by the time dinner wası over; she looked as red; as if she had been cooking it herselfd1 When Jane l'ose to leave the table, her uncle said he would go with her to see the children. 71 They repaired to the nursery, and found them with empty plates, greased to the ears, loudly voeiel ferating for Sally, the chamber-maid, who was assisting belov, to bring them moie dinner. (Jane at last succeeded in quietings; them, and told her uncle that the nursery-maid left them the day before. , The Misses Fulton, with one voice, said, "Hurrabit) was a good day for them; for she was so cross, they hated her.” I After Uncle Joshua had made his visit to them, he said, " Now, Jane, I want to see you alone.'! Jane led the way with fearful misgivings, for she saw a shade of melancholy on his counte

"My dear,” said he," sit down by me, and take everyai thing kindly as, I mean it. You know I first opposed your marriage, because I thought your husband could not make enough to support you, but afterwards I saw I was mistaken. I saw you not only comfortable, but possessing all that seemed necessary; for then you were moderate in your desires and ex+7 penses. I have since felt misgivings when I saw you increasing your manner of living. But I said, they know best their own means, and I believed that you were at least happier; but indeed, Jane, I must say I find it otherwise. When I last dined with you, your dinner was simple, and well-cooked; your little, smiling children round you, well-behaved, and patiently waiting for their turn to be helped. How was it to-day? A costly and more than abundanti dinner spoiled in the cooking; a change of plates, knives, and forks, with difficulty to be procured, the children shut up in a chamber, noisy, and half-fed ;) and their mother looking feverish, anxious, and unhappy, and 1 unable to attend to the conversation at the table, hardly to gives answers to her guestsy soʻnecessarily was she engrossed with the dinner.”

nance.

seltst vov li sar (9viziot svar som he Oh, luncle/what a pioturellenos dj9091 do cudzol, slon)

*II daresay, Jane, by you want to tell me everybody does so y but biknow better than thatJoolt is very welli for people to live in what is called style" if they have all things in agreement if they can afford to have the best of attendance, of cooks, i&osI but there is no gentility in doing things by halves. 1 son 111992

16 Indeed, uncle,said Jane, rallying there spirits, bs we werel very unfortunates to-day dr Our servants are all badT I hape! too greti betterip and I have a very good nursery-governess engagedi'Pinarit fusorii w 192499 S11 „1919RTed' cudzot slow "151 Ar nursery-governess! Take care of your children yourself don't makelthem loser to a governess; and let them have their seat's satgouritable: bIi feel indignation when I see these little men and womenulturned over to servants, TnAnd now, Jane, know I have made this day anvuncomfortable one for you: and God knows it has been so for me.91 I should be sorry if I had not meant, by all my advice; to do you the greatestikindness ! have ever done you yet ; and I close with one remark--thatino style lof living is good, or, to use your own phrases genteel; that is not thorough; consistent, and well-carried through. o God bless you !??! And he hurried away tratamieni din Bienft bijout

A tribute: of tears followed his departure. In the midst of them, Frank entered. His friends had taken their leave, mu ut Uncle Joshua has been reading you a lecture upon 'extravagance. VWhat is the matter, Jane S

- said he. “Oh, I understand; I suppose he never saw such a dinner! He knows nothing of fashionable life; and I daresay he thinks we are on the road to rúin. Come, tell me what he said about it." }' ut din 1,484

41 He said,” replied Jane sobbing," it was badly served and badly cooked.cs

*946) I Frank looked rather crestfallen. “Extremely polite, 1 I must confess." 14. It was all true," said Jane. I am mortified about it.12:00119 5% Never mind,” said Frank ;," I told them what wretched servants we had?" i IS,'T INI

From this time Uncle Joshua's visits were less and less free quent; and even Jane began to think that it was hardly worth while for him to take the trouble of coming. d. 20.00

When the year was drawing to a close, Frank found, with some dismay; that instead of adding to his little capital, it was with difficulty that he could get through without diminishing it! This conviction harassed him, and he began to be anxious aboutt the future. He could not conceal from himself that his business had decreased, probably by inattention. Still, Jane was his contidante, and to her he communicated his anxieties. She proposed that they should retrench their expenses. But, after various cal eulations, there seemed to be nothing they could give up, except

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

what was too trifling to make any difference.1 As if domestic economy did not consist in trifles!

* At any rate," said Jane one day, with some twinges of con science, 16 we have made out much better than we had any right to expect, considering we had nothing to begin with. We havez till this year, always lived within our means." 3: We must take great pains to shut our eyes upon truth. There is a radiance about it that makes the outline of its form perceptible, even amongst the clouds of dust and rubbish that are sometimes heaped upon it. Error does not so often arise from ignorance of truth, as unwillingness to receive it. Many a wandering thought had entered both Dr and Mrs Fulton's minds, that they were departing from the principle on which they first set out of limiting their desires to their means. But they consoled themaselves with the idea that the Reeds, and twenty others, lived more expensively than they did, with no larger income; there fore it was all right and proper.

When Dr Fulton closed his account for the year, his expenses exactly met his income.

1

LIVING BEYOND THE MEANS.

A new era now opens on the married life of Frank Fulton and his wife. The first period of economical living WITHIN THEIR MEANS had been for some time past; so also had the second, during which they had lived UP TO THEIR MEANS; and we now find them, with a greatly-increased family, living in a lesser or greater degree BEYOND THEIR MEANS. The various acts in this drama of real life had been quite progressive. There had been a gradual rise, little by little, from a condition of comparative poverty to one of considerable opulence. There had been no violent movement forward; all had been easy, and apparently the result of ordinary circumstances. Frank's profes sional engagements had greatly increased; he was now employed as a physician by families of the first consequence, and was enabled to live in a style of elegance which he at one period could not possibly have anticipated. Now was the time, then, when he was reaping the reward of his skill and perseverance, and when, without any difficulty, he might have realised such a competence as the prudent under such circumstances would by all means have secured. Whether he did so or not, we shall immediately learn.!!

Mrs Fulton, during the rise in her husband's circumstances, acted as many women do in like situations. She yielded to the pleasing .current of prosperity, and considered that to be a fine lady was incompatible with being an attentive mother. Involving herself in an extensive circle of acquaintance, hardly one of whom cared anything at all about her, she was inces

santly occupied in the most frivolous amusements and visitings: and instead of staying at home to bestow a motherly regard on her children, now grown up, and requiring more attention than ever, she was never so happy as when engaged in exchanging smiles and bows, and trifling words of course, with the class of friends with whom she had become involved. All was sunshine, gladness, and smiles-abroad; while at home, the house was left very much to itself, or went on under the supreme government of servants. Could all this last? We shall see.', --- In the midst of Frank’s heedless career, he bought a large and magnificent mansion. It stood next door to that of one of the best friends of the family, Mr Bradish, and was hence in a particularly fashionable quarter of the city. What a dear, den lightful idea lu How we shall be envied ! Such were the feelings of Dr and Mrs Fulton as they prepared for the occupation of their new abode. As it was a thing for a considerable period, it was worth while to strain every nerve to furnish and lay it out in the best manner. Mrs Bradish had very kindly dropped a hint that, when a ball was given by either family, a door might be cut through, and both houses thrown into one. It became, therefore, almost indispensable that one house should be furnished nearly as elegantly as the other. The same cabinet-maker and upholsterer was employed; and when completed, it certainly was not much inferior to Mr Bradish's.

Jane was not behind Mrs Bradish in costume or figure. Every morning, at the hour for calls, she was elegantly attired for visitors. Many came from curiosity. Mrs Hart congratulated her dear friend on seeing her moving in a sphere for which it was evident nature intended her. Mrs Reed cautioned her against any false shame, that might remind one of former times. Others admired her furniture and arrangements without any sly allu, sions. On one of these gala-mornings Uncle Joshua was ushered into the room. Jane was fortunately alone, and she went forward and offered

two fingers with a cordial air, but whispered to the servant, “ If any one else called while he was there, to say she was engaged.” She had scrupulously observed her promise, of never sending word she was not at home. There was a mock kind of deference in his air and manner that embarrassed Jane.

"So,” said he, looking round him, "we have a palace here !?,

The house we were in was quite too small, now that our children are growing so large,” replied Jane. »

“They must be greatly beyond the common size,” said Uncle Joshua,"" if that house could not hold them.?? ,

"It was a very inconvenient one; and we thought, as it was a monstrous rent, that it would be better to take another. Then, after we had bought this, it certainly was best to furnish it com fortably, as it was for life.”

“ Is it paid for ?" asked Uncle Joshua drily..' } , Quds

23

« AnteriorContinuar »