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Mr. Grant never urged her stay. He had al- | to express her grief and indignation at hearing, luded only once to his wife's request, and that from one whom she had deemed a friend, that soon after her death. “I have nothing to offer the name of this honoured being had been which can tempt you to remain,” he said; “for coupled with her own in light words and lighter my home will not be now what it was when she jests; and that his comparative seclusion from was here. Yet you know how much, how very his people had been attributed to other causes much my children need you; and if you can than grief for the wife he had so tenderly loved, feel willing to stay for their sakes, and that of so deeply lamented. her who asked it, I shall be most grateful, and “An angel from heaven would not escape God will bless you for the act.”
censure from those who would speak thus of An earnest assurance of the pleasure which Mr. Grant !” she exclaimed, unable to restrain she felt in being permitted to watch over the the expression of her indignation. “If ever children, and in any degree to minister to his there was a being on earth whose life might comfort, satisfied him, and from that time the challenge the closest scrutiny, it is his.” subject was no more alluded to; indeed, very “I have no doubt you think so, Miss Mason," little conversation of any kind took place be said her gratified informant, smiling maliciously; tween them, for Mr. Grant seemed now to shun “but others”— the family circle as carefully as he had once “Others!" she interrupted impatiently. “And sought it. The greater portion of his time was who knows Mr. Grant so well as I ?” spent in retirement and study, and he appeared “No one, certainly; but I was only going to to have lost all taste for social enjoyment, since observe that they would scarcely think you a she who had brightened every scene to him had disinterested witness.” passed away.
A withering reply rose to the lips of the exMiss Mason had taken, almost as a matter of cited girl; but she felt that it was worse than course, the whole direction of the household, useless to prolong the conversation, and, supand he felt no anxiety for worldly things. He pressing her feelings, directed it into another saw his children well and happy, improving in channel ; and the lady visitor, having succeeded their education; and, though he superintended in the object of her call, and obtained fresh maa part of that education, the general conduct of | terial for gossip, soon took her departure, leavit was left to their fond and efficient governess. | ing Ella to thoughts sad and agitated beyond
And what had Ella, the once gay and brilliant any she had ever known before. And yet it Ella, who for more than eighteen years had was rather feeling than thought, for of thought sported through life, scarcely conscious of the she was just then scarcely capable; but the emoexistence of such a thing as care-what had she tions awakened by what she had heard were too to reconcile her to a life of constant watchful. powerful for control, and, leaning her head on ness and never-ceasing thought? She had the ihe arm of the sofa where she was sitting, she smiles of an approving conscience, the affection wept unrestrainedly and bitterly. of the little ones for whom she lived, and the From this indulgence of her feelings she was hope of being one day permitted to present roused by the voice of Mr. Grant, inquiring, in them, in the world above, to the mother from tones of surprise and concern, “My dear Miss whom she had received the charge. And, as Mason, what is the matter? What has occurred she watched their growing intelligence with al- to distress you?” most a mother's pride, or felt their little arms She looked up in much agitation; but too twined round her neck, and their warm lips | highly excited to make any attempt at concealpressed to her cheek, she thought herself fully | ment, she said, in broken tones, “Mr. Grant, I repaid for every hour of anxiety, every feeling of must go home.” responsibility and care. The weight, too, had “Go home! You have had bad news from come gradually upon her, and was therefore less | B., then. I am very sorry. Are your parents heavily felt. At first she was simply the teacher ill? Or what is it that requires your presence?" of the little ones; then, as Mrs. Grant's health “It is not that I am needed at home; but I gave way, one duty after another was assumed cannot stay here any longer. Do not ask me to relieve the invalid, until, long before her why,” she continued, weeping; “but I must death, she had under her direction the entire leave you." charge of the domestic concerns, and, when that “Leave us! go away altogether! Nay, then, took place, she became the nominal, as she had I must ask you why? I must know what has before been the real, head of the family.
caused this sudden determination.” And seatBut this was too peaceful and happy a state ing himself beside her, he, after a time, sucto remain altogether undisturbed ; and rumours, ceeded in drawing from her the tale which had for some time in circulation in the congregation induced both her emotion and the resolve she of which she was a member, and Mr. Grant had expressed. pastor, began to reach Miss Mason. She had | The account was no less surprising to him always looked upon her minister as a being apart than it had been to herself, and caused scarcely from the rest of the world, one not to be spoken less pain; for he had never imagined that a of lightly, nor approached with even the shadow wrong construction could be put upon the secluof disrespect; nor had a daily and comparatively sion which his deep grief had induced. He sat familiar intercourse with him ever removed this for some time in pained and gloomy silence, impression from her mind. Words would fail thinking only of what he had heard, and forget, ful of the effect it would exert on his domestic | I am about to take, and knows the pain it costa comfort should it drive Ella from his house; me. If you will not let me take the children," until, drying her tears, she said, more calmly- and again her voice lost its firmness, and bet
“ It will be better for me to go home as soon countenance its composure, “if I am foreed to as possible, Mr. Grant. If you can procure break the letter of my promise, I will be true to some one to take my place”
its spirit; and God will not bring me into judg. “ To take your place, Miss Mason!” he said, ment for acting as I believe my duty to them, to starting from his reverie. “I cannot believe you, and to the dead requires. that you are serious. I cannot think that you Mr. Grant listened in silence; and, as she will allow an idle tale like this to deprive iny concluded, and burying her face in her hands, children of your care, and turn them a second strove in vain to conceal the tears which food time motherless upon the world.”
their way between her slender fingers, he said, “Do not urge me to remain," she replied, in a subdued tonesadly; "it is not right for me to stay. God only “ Your resolution is taken, then. It is use. knows how fearful a trial it will be to me to leave less to say more. And when will you go?". you all ; but I must go."
“As soon as possible,” she replied, without “ And why?” he asked. “I would willingly looking up or removing the hands wbich cormake any sacrifice to save you from the pain cealed her face. which has been so wantonly inflicted; but to go With no further remark, he left her; and Ella, away will not silence the slander. Believe me, finding herself alone, gave free vent to the grid the best way will be utterly to disregard it, and she had been trying to restrair. She was sobe it must ere long die of itself. If you leave us, bing so bitterly, that she was not aware that any you punish the innocent for the guilty; and one was near her, until she felt herself encircled what would my little ones do without you? You by the clasping arms of the children, and heard have been a mother to them since they lost their their words of childish surprise and sympathy: own, and none could take your place as you Henry, her especial pet, bad sprung upon the have taken hers."
sofa, and, throwing one little arm round her “ Let them go with me, then,” she said, the neck, with the other drew away the curls which tears again gushing from her eyes. “Let Anna fell over her face, while Albert and Emily, the and Henry at least go with me. The older ones elder children, caught each of them a hand in will not miss my care so much; but give me both of theirs, exclaiming, "Do not go away; Anna and Henry.”
Aunt Ella !- don't leave us, Aunt Ella !” and “ You would take my children from me," he little Anna, now almost two years old, was said, reproachfully, “the only objects which struggling in her father's arms and crying, as bind me to earth! No! no! my little ones shall she strove to reach Ella, "Take Annie, Aunt never be separated from me but by death; and El! take Annie !" if you leave them—but I cannot think you will,” “ Why did you do this?” she said, reproach. he continued earnestly. “Have you forgotten fully, as she tried to release herself from the their mother's last request, and your own solemn children's embrace. “ It is cruel to add to my promise to ber who is now an angel in the world distress. Why did you bring them?" above? Forgive me,” he added, in much emo- “ To bid you farewell,” he replied, “ if you
I had never thought to remind you of will leave us.” this; but I am pleading for my children, and “No! no !" cried Henry, clasping both arms every other consideration must give way to their round her, " Aunt Ella shan't go away!" welfare. Did you not promise my Anna never And Emily, a warm-hearted, sensitive child, to forsake them? And can the wickedness of threw herself across Ella's Jap and wept loudly. others absolve you from that vow?"
“I can bear this no longer!” she exclaimed, “I have thought of all this,” she replied; and, extending her arms, she received the baby “and were the evil spoken of me alone, I would from its father's embrace and hid her face amid bear it all, though their words were sharper than its golden curls. arrows, sooner than forsake my trust. But they Stay with us, Miss Mason," said Mr. are slandering you; and, when the minister of Grant, in tores that would falter, despite his God is defamed, the cause of Christ suffers. self-control; “my children cannot live without And you have stood so high, so far above suis- you. For their sakes, and that of her who conpicion, I cannot bear that a single shade should fided them to you, stay with us.” fall upon your name. Do not interrupt me,” | “ I will!" she answered, with a sudden reshe continued, gathering energy as she pro- solve. “ You have conquered, Mr. Grant. I ceeded; “I know what you would say: that will not leave you, darlings. Dry your tears, even this consideration does not absolve me Emily; Aunt Ella will not go away.' from my promise. But I act as she would have And, as she bent to raise the sobbing child me act to whom my word was given. Her first still lying in her lap, Mr. Grant's hand was laid thought was always for you; her first care to for an instant tenderly upon her head, and, for save you from sorrow or reproach; her greatest the first time in his life, addressing ber by that pride your spotless name, your extended useful- name, he uttered, fervently, “ God bless you,
Do you suppose she would wish me to Ella! God for ever bless you !" and turned remain with her children at the expense of these? hastily from the apartment, to conceal the emoOh no! I am confident she approves the course ' tion he could no longer repress.
Left alone with the children, her assurances | I knew not how, grieved or pained you. If so, that she would stay with them soon quieted their forgive me." fears, and changed their tears to smiles; and, Never, at any time or in any way, Mr. Grant. after seeing them again in the nursery pursuing If I have given you cause to think so, it is I the happy employments which their father's who should ask your forgiveness. I have been hasty summons had interrupted, she retired to dull, perhaps, for I am not altogether well, and, seek in solitude the strength she needed for the for the first time in my life, am somewhat present and the future.
nervous; but offence in your house I never had Weeks and months rolled on, and the slan- cause for, and, I do assure you, never thought derous reports which had so deeply pained Ella of.” had, as Mr. Grant predicted, died of themselves. “ It is well," he said, musingly. “I am glad But their effect upon her had not ceased. Others that it is so." might have forgotten them, but she could not And a silence of some moments ensued, which forget; and a nervous dread of their renewal to Ella seemed interminable, yet which she would, but for the determination with which she dared not break. At length Mr. Grant rose, and turned from it, have made her very miserable. commenced walking the room; and, gathering All seemed as it had done, it was true ; but courage, she, too, left her seat, sayingthe feeling of security which had made so large “ If you have nothing more to say to me, I a portion of her happiness was gone; and, will retire." though to others she might appear as tranquil as “ No, Ella, sit down again. I have much before, there was a restlessness, a vague fear inore to say to you-much which I scarcely ever fluttering about her heart which she could know how to begin.” Then, taking her hand not still.
in his, as she still stood where his words had Alas, poor girl! the agony caused by those arrested her, he said, “Let me come to the point tales, and by the thought that she must part at once. You have long been as a mother to with him, had shown her in the depths of that my children : Ella, will you be my wife?” heart a feeling unsuspected by herself before, He paused: but Ella could not answer; her and had forced her, though with bitter tears and heart throbbed so that she could not speak, and self-upbraidings, to acknowledge that she loved she sank upon the sofa and covered her face. Mr. Grant as she had loved no other—as woman He sat down beside ber, and gently strove to can love but once.
soothe her agitationShe never dreamed of a return; she believed “ It is but a little while, Ella,” he said, “ since that he would never love again; and her only I deemed it possible to love any but my sainted thought was how to conquer, or at least disguise, Anna. At the time when you spoke of leaving her own deep affection. Yes, Ella Mason, once us, I was most indignant at the idea of another 80 certain that a second love, if it existed, could ever taking her place. Even now it is but the call forth no return, so positive that her heart first place in a widowed heart that I can offer could only be given in exchange for one which you; one that will never lose the memory of had enshrined no other image, now loved, with its early love. Yet I love you fondly, Ella; all the warmth of her nature, the widowed hus- better than aught else on earth, and, if you will band of her dearest friend.
be mine, will strive earnestly to make you " Yet not with earthly love, Father!-oh, not happy." with earthly love!” she exclaimed often, as, with Still Ella was silent; and, when he spoke clasped hands and streaming eyes, she knelt again, his tone evinced much emotionbefore her God. “ Yet is he dearer than a thing “I fear I have pained you,” he said; “I ought of earth should be! Oh, strengthen me to over- to have remembered that you were still too young come this feeling! aid me to conceal!"
to give your heart's first warmth of love to one Some months had passed in this way, when, who has so little to give you in exchange. Forone evening, as she was retiring with the chil- give me, Ella. If you cannot love me, at least dren at their usual hour, Mr. Grant said
forgive my folly. I will leave you now," he “Will you return to the parlour, Miss Mason, continued. when you are at leisure? I wish a few moments' “ Stay,” she murmured ; but so faintly that, conversation with you.”
in his agitation, he did not hear it, and had lest Startled by the request, she merely bowed an her side, when, raising her head, she exclaimed, assent; and, after seeing her little charge at more clearly, “ Stay, I implore you. If I hesirest, returned with trembling limbs to the par- tated," she continued, rapidly, as he returned, lour, where Mr. Grant awaited her. As she his usually calm countenance much agitatedentered, he came forward to meet her, and led “ if I hesitated, it was from no doubt of my her to the sofa.
own feelings, but of yours. Do you indeed “Miss Mason," he said — “Ella, have I love me?"" offended you?"
“ Do you doubt it?" he replied, almost in“ Offended me, Mr. Grant! Oh no! Why dignantly. “Why should I profess a love I shonld you think that you have offended me?" did not feel? Do you think I would deceive
I have fancied that you were less frank and you, Ella ?” corus) in your manner, Ella, for some time. “No! Oh, no, I am sure you would not ! You awg not talked to me so much nor so And yet I cannot realize-it seems like a dream freely as you once did, and I feared that I had,' that you should love me,” She pressed her hand over her eyes for a moment, and then “I am glad to hear it," replied Mrs. Grant, placing it in his with something of the childlike smiling and blushing as she met her aunt's sig. confidence of former days, she said, though her nificant look, and recollected her own words in tone was low and tremulous, “ Mr. Grant, the relation to second marriages. "I hope he may least and lowest place in your heart is more be very happy." valuable to me than the undivided love of any “ Happy! But are you not sorry for bis other !”
wife? Is not a second marriage always a matter “ Ella! dear Ella !” he said, as, overpowered either of calculation or convenience? Must not by this simple acknowledgment, he clasped her every spark of romance or freshness of feeling in his arms, “ as much as I can now love any- be extinguished before such a thing can be thing on earth I love you. You will be mine, thought of? Does not a heart require"then, Ella ? I am no longer alone!”
“ Aunt Hetty! Aunt Hetty !” interrupted her No answering words were needed now; for, niece, in some confusion, “ pray do not bring in that hour of joy, spirit communed with spirit, up all the nonsense of my girlhood against me. and each felt how deeply and sincerely the other I was very silly then." loved.
“And have grown wiser now, under Mr. .
Grant's auspices. Ah, Ella, was not I a true “Ella,” said Aunt Hetty, with a quiet smile, prophetess, dear?” after the first congratulations were over, and “To some extent you were, dear aunt. I have when the bustle attendant upon the arrival of given my whole heart in exchange for a second the bridal party having somewhat subsided, she love, and I am more than satisfied; but-there and her niece were conversing a little apart, are very few men like Mr. Grant, and-and“George Sidney was married again last week.” i please do not tell him how foolish I used to be."
I HOPE YOU WON'T PROPOSE!
BY MRS. ABD Y.
You say “the dew is on the rose, the stars are o'er Who would mount guard beside my stall with such the sea"
a gallant air, Roses and stars have seldom been discuss'd by you When I vended “lady-trifles" at the crowded and me,
Fancy Fair? Save when we viewed the former in the Flower- | And who would take a second when I sang “The show's bright array,
Boatie Rows" Or gazed upon the latter from a side-box at the In our water-parties on the Thames? I hope you play.
won't propose ! You never wore in Regent-street such sad and anxious looks
Then, when we once were seen apart, imagine, if You never talked in Belgrave-square of cottages and
you can, brooks!
What snares society would set to trap the marrying Why do you speak about “the bliss that mutual man ! love bestows ?”
Girls, chaperons, and mothers would be always in Why quote from Shenstone's Pastorals? I hope
your way : you won't propose !
You would feel in every drawing-room just like a
stag at bay. Now, should you really ask of me my freedom to While 1, unwelcome suitors would beset my path by forego,
scores ; And I pronounced (for so I should) a frank, decisive Pert coxcombs, country cousins, blockheads, for“No!"
tune-hunters, bores, Just tell me, could you ever hope hereafter to All ready to pursue, annoy, plead, flatter, fawn, and appear
prose. In public, as my chosen knight, my favoured Do save me from the horrid tribe! in pity don't cavalier ?
propose ! We must pass by one another with looks as cold and proud
By all the gay assemblies we have gone to, night by As the couple in Haynes Bayly's song, who “met,
night 'twas in a crowd !”
(Termed, I believe, in poetry, “the halls of dazRefusals leave a sting behind, so every wise man zling light !") knows;
By our soft and quiet whispers, when with Jullien's And those who doubt the answer should beware concerts dinnedhow they propose !
By our speechless rapture when we heard the notes
of Jenny LindNor cculd I soon another find so ready at my call, By our Crystal Palace saunters, when we saw in So careful of my handkerchief, my bouquet, and rapt surprise my shawl.
The wonders of Arabian talcs unfolded to our eyesWho would secure the opera-box? who would so | By all the “ Claude Lorraine effects” that faithful ably choose
Memory throws The best and most conspicuous seats at races and Over three successive seasons, I adjure you, don't reviews?
I fear that "love in idleness” must thrive in scenes And when the London Spring returns, with all its like these :
countless train Do let us quit these silent shades, these, “odious, Of pleasures to attract the eyo, and fill the busy odious trees!”
brain, I scarcely think the little god would ever cross your New dancers, singers, pictures, books, plays, parties,
belles, and beaux, On the breezy cliffs of Brighton, or the gay parades My mind will be relieved from fear-I know you of Bath,
won't propose !
(Concluded from page 298.) Well, we left poor Hilda fast bound to a tree, then her dear turtle doves, who had seen her in one of the most lonely parts of the forest ; pass but were afraid to join her, because of the with the large tears running down her pale face, Baroness and Brunehaut, came fying up, and and heart quite sick with anguish and sorrow, settled on her shoulder, putting their little cooguite broken, indeed ; as well it might be. She ing bills to her lips, to be kissed as usual; and heard the growl of the bear, and when her then the blackbirds, thrushes, and nightingales, wicked mother-in-law and Brunehaut ran came flying all around; and, lastly, her dear away, she glanced fearfully round, to see if it was white does, who licked her face and looked at one of her own dear bears, as she fondly hoped, her with their large affectionate eyes quite or a wild one, that would probably make a meal mournfully, as much as to say—“What's the of her; but, to her great joy, it was the old matter with you, dear mistress?” for, in short, bear of all, who came running up to her directly, they all felt that something was the matter, so licking her hands and feet, and fawning; and that a dead melancholy silence reigned among then, running hastily away, it returned in a short them; and they all hung their heads, quite time with its three cubs, which were grown, | broken-hearted, too. however, into great bears; and they, too, licked! But all this only made poor Hilda weep the her, and ambled about her, and wagged their more bitterly; so that her sobs were the only bushy tails, quite surprised, all of them, that sounds heard. “ For I shall soon be dead,” said she did not return their caresses, or pat their she-“who will or can come to loosen my bonds, heads as usual ; and then seating themselves in this wild place? Yes, here I must die, miseraround her on their haunches, looked fondly at her bly, and I shall never- never see my own dear with half-closed eyes-waiting patiently for her papa more! and those wicked ones will tell him to begin to play with them, sucking their great I am dead, and he will weep for his poor Hilda ! paws, in the meantime, to hide their impatience. And my dear little Bobby, too, where are you-And then, two or three of her tame squirrels do you forsake me in my hour of need ?" came hopping up, with their tails in the air; and “Here I am, here I am, darling," exclaimed