Imagens das páginas

and Ned felt that he had done the right thing. When he was going away he again got without asking for it a small sum which it cost the poor women some trouble to raise, and much privation to part with. Mr Brief came down more handsomely than he expected for his travelling money and his future allowance, and so he went off unembarrassed and with an unsullied name. Patty, who was not given to gushing or extravagance, did on this occasion, as Ned thought, "let out." .She threw herself on Ned's neck and sobbed — not hysterically, but in great anguish, nevertheless— and besought the young man to adhere to his good resolutions, and to bear, patiently and hopefully as she would, the delay that must intervene between now and their coming happiness. "Be true to me," said the girl, "love me as I love you, and you can never do anything which you yourself need be ashamed of, or for which I will reproach you. That is my one charge to you, Edward: be true, and it will be a cunning mind that can rob you of my love. Now go; and God bless you, my husband that are to be." Ned responded very suitably, as he well knew how to do; promised and vowed of course; strained Patty to his breast, and was off.

Mrs Maine had talked to him very kindly, but very seriously, and had cautioned him as to what she saw to be his infirmities. "Eemember," she said, "that you hold Patty's happiness in your charge; that you can no longer act for yourself alone; that your wellbeing will bring us more joy than I can tell; that your misfortune or folly will plunge this little home in unspeakable misery— make it a wreck, in fact. That I think well of you, you may be sure, or you would not be Patty's betrothed; but you are young and inexperienced, and going into the world without a guide, except good principles and good feelings. They, however, will be the best of guides, if only you will allow yourself to be led by them. You will, you must! You will let us feel proud of you,"—and a great deal more in that anxious strain.

Mr Brief also spoke very kindly to Ned. It might seem a little strange that this old gentleman, who made such a fuss about Ned's extravagance, and exercised such a control over his affairs, should have had nothing to say about his engagement, which surely was an important thing. All the reason that is known is that Ned never broached the subject to Mr Brief, so as to give an opening for any remark; and Mr Brief, a very shrewd old gentleman, knew Ned Eoberts as well as anybody, and may have thought that the less said at present about the engagement the better. Ned wasn't going to be married immediately, aDd for the present, anything that might tend to keep his head straight would be of service. This is all that can be said, for Mr Brief had gone to his rest before this account was drawn up.

Ned went away rather sad and thoughtful. His musings as he rolled along the first few miles in the coach were about the responsibility which he had assumed, and how this affair would at last work out. He determined just now to do well, come what might. This sense of duty was not altogether pleasant; but then his tradesmen's difficulties were nicely arranged, things looked tolerably prosperous, and — perhaps he was a little hipped by the leave-taking. If he meant to rise in the world, he must shake off dull thoughts like these—which he did. Before he was over the border of Gravelshire Ned was quite himself again, having some brandy-and-water, and enjoying his journey.




By the time of Ned Eoberts's departure the revival had subsided in Gritvale. It was simply impossible that it could go on long at the pace which it maintained at the time of George Bateman's conversion; and it waned from soon after that event. A great many of the new converts continued to be good and religious people to the end of their days. Many others, and those the most demonstrative of the fanatics, returned into their old courses, eschewed Mr Hay ward's flock, spoke of their past enthusiasm as of some mischance that had come on them not without censurable conduct of others, and were prayed for as unhappy backsliders. The original ante-revival brethren became again very much what they were before the revival was thought of. Frank Lemon himself sobered down remarkably. He took to wife the daughter of one of the steadiest elders; and perceiving that preaching was not his vocation, and that nevertheless "young men must live," he consented, with the full concurrence of his father-in-law and of Mr Hayward, to return to a business similar to that which he had before abandoned, only this time his employment was in Sandyford. As for George Bateman, there is reason to think that his religious enthusiasm cooled somewhat. It is possible that he might have gone back to his business, especially after seeing how Lemon had acted, if he had been left quite to himself. But, unfortunately, his mother chose to show her sagacity by saying frequently to her son, or in his hearing, that she did not make herself uneasy about George; he would never remain a Dissenter, she was sure; let him have time to reflect, and he would act as became a Bateman. His uncle, too, had refrained from appointing any one else to the post which George had deserted, and had said that George was but young, and would probably see before long how foolishly he had acted. Both these seniors were nearly right in their opinion of George's wavering, but entirely wrong in not keeping their opinions to themselves. George had

« AnteriorContinuar »