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door. I noticed it as we drove up, this after- another kind of ware. You are so indulgent,
that I shall take care not to add to your laThe very same eyes ! when she was a child bours; bring a tub of water to the diningnobody could deceive her!' Ollie exclaimed. room after tea, and I will wash the cups to 'If you must know then, we are obliged to begin.' let out a few rooms to some respectable women, who, who
CHAPTER IV. 'Are dressmakers? How convenient that On taking her tea to the dining-room, by will be; I shall know all the fashions!' whose fire she had usually left it standing
'But we don't speak of it, Miss Bessie, until the table was laid, Ollie was surprised especially to your mother; where their bell to find the latter in readiness, and a little wire runs through our entry, I have had it dismayed withal at some other of Bessie's enclosed in a thick box, and she never catches improvements. The fire was blazing at a the sound. It would kill her, I believe, to height which Mr Stanwood never required, know that a Stanley and a Stanwood were and Ollie never allowed; the ragged easyliving under the same roof with seamstresses, chair was overspread with a tablecloth, one and that our house was constantly frequented of the few bright things remaining in the by their customers.'
house, and which Ollie had cherished like Why, then, have you allowed the thing to the apple of her eyes and worse still, on the happen?'
stand burned two wax candles, which, as The rooms were not used; and these wo- relics of former elegance, Ollie had preserved menţ pay a large rent, which is our only in the parlour candelabra year after year; steady income. Sometimes your grandfather scraping the dust from them every spring and or your uncle sends a few pounds; but we fall, until it must be confessed their appearnever know when to expect it, and your mo- ance was rather attenuated. ther would die before asking a single penny. The good woman began to expostulate; It is a pleasant thing, miss, to have ready but Bessie made her stand at the door and money; patience knows I had difficult work confess the whole aspect of the room was maenough when we wanted it.'
gically changed, and that it did one's heart ' Then you manage all the finances, Ollie?' good to see things begin to look gay again;
Ollie's brow clouded. 'Why, yes; they and that, in case her mother ever should resaid I could make the money go farther than solve to come down-stairs, it would be fine any one else, but, of course, Miss Bessie to have a pleasant room for her. Ollie was
Of course Miss Bessie will not meddle in a yielding, mood, and Bessie coaxed so with your plans, dear old Ollie, except when prettily, and looked so fairy-like and charmyou are willing to sacrifice them for the sake ing with her shower of golden curls; and the of helping her now and then.'
whole was such a change, besides, from the Since the day of the failure, Ollie had not dreary, old monotony, she had not the heart smiled so radiantly before. That will I in- to frown; though Mr Stanwood might have deed, miss; and Heaven knows all my plans spent all his evenings in the dark, before the and all my humble walks have but one end, housekeeper would have yielded her precious to comfort my old master and mistress in the candles to him. days of their humiliation. As for money, I After tea came another expostulation about see you are not the flighty girl that we ex- the dishes, but Bessie had her way; and soon pected home, with a head full of boarding, it became an established custom in the house school airs; so here's the purse, Miss Bessie, that Bessie's way should be had in all
things, and here am I at your service.
though she was assiduously the most yielding * Very well; now you have passed through of mortals, and asked everything as a favour, the form of resignation, I re-elect you ma- nothing as a right. She had a fascinating nager of finance. We will trust each other, manner which no one understood, and no one and be partners, Ollie; for we both have could resist. one aim, and though I have given no proof as Ollie's quick eye detected the remains of yet of my capacity, wait awhile patiently and the 'beautiful little steak’she had cooked see what I can do. But tell me, are you so carefully upon Mr Stanwood's plate; she going to carry up that old tin tea-pot for our felt hurt and slighted, so she told Bessie the supper? Have we not a better one?' first time they were alone again, to think she
'Why, yes, there is a Britannia and a china had not eaten what was prepared exclusively tea-service, but your father always tells me for herself. to do what makes least work, and he has 'But there was not enough for two, and I grown used to these.'
feasted upon the savoury odours and upon 'Let us try the others to-night. Come, it your kindness, Ollie; while my father, as he is only fair that you should treat to some- finished the morsel of meat, smacked his lips thing upon my return; and I would rather in a way that did me good. I am afraid poor have a good-looking table than a good meal papa does not often have such a supper.'
Then let him work and earn it, I say. 'I am sorry to hear that, miss; for I had IIe is a good man, Mr Stanwood is, and I contrived a treat for you; look at this beauti- don't forget that he is your father, Miss ful little steak, so relishing after your jour- Bessie; but he has not the energy of a mouse; Dey:
sitting around here, in the prime of life, to How thoughtful in you, Ollie, and you be waited upon and fed by women!' will let us have the tea-service besides? See, 'Hush, Ollie.' I have washed off the dust, and it looks like 'No, I will not hush until I've said my say:
I want you to understand him. He is al- "Why so deplorable? Here are you in the ways in a brown study, eats and drinks, and prime of life, and I am young and full of sleeps and wakes in it: he could not tell you energy, and fond of work. this minute what he had for supper.'
'Suppose you learn the dressmaker's trade, 'I declare, I will ask him!'
you, a Stanwood !' said the father, with some
bitterness; 'as for myself, I am past work; I CHAPTER V.
cannot accept dishonourable labour, and the Away ran Bessie to the dining-room, and honourable is beyond my reach.' entered just in time to arrest her father's 'It is the purpose for which we work that hand as he was removing the fine cloth from makes our labour a glory or disgrace; and if his chair. That is to remain, papa, until I | I could soothe my mother's pain, or add to can procure a better covering.'
my father's comfort thereby, I would become But Ollie will take our heads off.'
a dressmaker to-morrow. What is the use 'I shall appeal to higher authority; you of aristocratic birth unless it make us indeare master of the house.
pendent? At school, I used to say to myself, We don't know about that, Bessie,' open- "I can do this, and this, because I am á ing bis book.
Stanley and a Stanwood, and as people know Why don't we know, papa? Whose com- we possess the soul of honour and aristocracy, fort should be consulted if not yours? I ex. they will not dare demur,” and they did not.' pected a compliment or two about the ap- "Only this morning an old acquaintance pearance of my room, and so far I have had offered me a clerkship, with a salary of £100; only expostulations.'
I resented it as an insult. Would you have To tell the truth, I did not observe the me disgrace my wife and child, Bessie ?' change at first, but as I sat alone here by the ‘But is it more disgraceful to earn ever so fire, where I have sat alone so many nights, small a pittance in ever so humble a way, it seemed to come over me all at once; and I than to live upon the earnings of a poor oiá looked around and saw what my bright-haired woman, and the charity of relatives, and perlittle witch had been doing. Why, Bessie, it haps even to borrow money which there is no is like a chapter of the Arabian Nights.' hope of repaying?
'No, father, say it is like a chapter of home; Yes, I have done all that; and now there that is what I longed to hear you say of your is no retracing the past, there is no hope for own accord. Home to my thinking is far the future, and you would add drudgery and better than any diamond cave or enchanted disgrace to my other trials,' moaned the castle; home, where there are ready sym- father, weaker and childish with that impathies, and loving words, and where there becile will, than the slight young thing who is always a bright, warm, cheery look, and a nestled beside Ollie, and sought to inspire him sense of security and peace.!
with her own brave energy. There she 'All this I felt and might have said, dear, nestled and argued till long after Ollie's slim but, in fact, I have learned to dwell more candles had flickered and gone out, and the upon enchanted castles than upon such a last crumbling brand had rolled down on the home as you describe; they are alike unat- hearth. And the weak will yielded to the tainable for us.'
stronger one, and Bessie had her way. Mr 'And do you think I intend living upon Stanwood promised, as soon as the morrow your small means, papa, and doing nothing to- should dawn, to solicit the clerkship which ward adding to your happiness? I am selfish he had so indignantly refused. enough to be glad of our poverty on my own Then Bessie, tired with the change, and account; for now I may be of some use in my travel, and excitement of the day, crept to home, be a nurse and companion for dear her bed in a great lonely, cheerless room, mamma, and oh, if I could win you both to and lay there planning what more she could love me as I love you now!'
do to change the aspect of her home; and Then you really love us, and are not dis- then she thought, poor child, of other homes, appointed in your home, and are content to and other returns which she had witnessed, comfort us in our old age!'
when a whole house, wild with joy, had flown 'How could I but be fond of you, and think to meet the wanderers, and parents had of the home I knew so little about, in all lingered over their children with blessings and those dreary years I have been away? Oh, grateful tears. father, you do not know the long nights I 'But this is nothing to me, and I will not have lain awake thinking about you all, and think of it; the greater the want in my home, wondering howit looked, and howall was going the greater my field of work. And why am on here at home; and then I have cried until | I weeping like a fretful child?' mused our morning, thinking perhaps you might be- i brave Bessie, turning impatiently upon her come estranged from me; and when I re- pillow. turned, I should be an unwelcome intruder "The girl is pretty and well-disposed; after all, and should wish myself back again, somewhat too vivacious, perhaps, and she has or in my grave.'
not my delicate sensibility, or the change in 'My good, tender child! We do not de- our home would have shocked her more,' serve such affection, yet your mother and I mused Mrs Stanwood, as she fell asleep that have done our best for you; one by one she night; 'but I foresee how my poor nerves must las sold her jewels to defray your school ex- suffer from that shocking flow of spirits. penses; and for the rest, we wished as long Ah! this life is but a vale of tears; well for as possible to keep you ignorant of the de- us who believe in the promise of a better life plorable state of our affairs.'
'It is a dangerous precedent, yielding thus more strength by using the little she had; to at the commencement,'mused Mr Stanwood; lose her voice less frequently, because Bessiè 'but the child is so gentle and loving, it is loved to hear it, it was such a musical voice; such a sweet flower to wither in our dull to eat less of pastry and sweetmeats, and home, it is such a sweet flower to nestle in satisfy her poor appetite with simpler and my lonely heart, that I must give it shelter if more moderate rations. At length the inI can. Poor thing, it is well our Bessie does valid could even listen to a book; and her not know from experience what a home nerves bore this so well, that of her own acshould be, or she would feel more keenly cord she offered Bessie the piano key, when what her own home is.'
a new world of happiness opened to both, for Poor thing,'mused Ollie, after she had the girl played enchantingly, said her prayers that night, 'so young and Good old Ollie placed both hands in those of cheerful, and careless now, and such a life the new mistress, and submitted to be led before her: all work and no play, all vexa- whithersoever she would. Never, she verily tion and no thanks. Toil, toil, as Mr Stan- believed, were there such persuasive lips, wood said once, to keep the burden of poverty never was there such an unselfish life, and from rolling back and crushing us; like try- never were such difficult labours so lighting to roll a great stone up-hill all the time, heartedly performed, as those of the little and never getting a step ahead; we can bear fairy who danced about the house with her it, but it is cruel for her.'
golden curls, and transformed every nook into which her influence fell.
Of course Ollie had her seasons of doubt, Bessie's first day at home was more of a and Mrs Stanwood whole weeks of despond'precedent,' to use his own word, than her ency and relapse, and the father looked wistfather dreamed: the little girl went on with fully at his books sometimes, and talked her improvements, and everything became about Stanwood pride, and dangerous pretransformed. Every one demurred from cedents: but Bessie, feeling sure that she Bessie's plans, every one prophesied failure, was right, worked on till the doubts were and expostulated earnestly, and she always dispelled, the hopefulness cheered, and the seemed to yield, and always had her way. unjust reproaches withdrawn, and atoned for
Carpets were turned and made to look like by penitence and praise. new; curtains were taken down, and ripped, Happiness comes like grief, all at once: and and cleansed, and patched, and pressed, and one morning it seemed as if Bessie's cup were hung again in almost pristine splendour; suddenly destined to overflow: her father neat patch coverings concealed the shabby entered as she was performing some houserichness of the damask chairs and sofas; the hold duty in the dining-room, her parlour; dimmed and smoky marble of the fireplace and with a boy's enthusiasm, and all the pride was oiled and polished till the long-lost veins of all the Stanwoods in his air, presented her and devices came to light again; the tarnished with a bank-note for £20, his first earnings, mirror-frame was concealed in a cloud of de- and 'There, child, I did not know how light licate gauze, which had floated about Mrs labour would become after I had a purpose; Stanwood once, in her party days, and which nor what dignity lies in the humblest emBessie found in the garret. Dingy oil-paint- ployment, until you had taught me the diffeings were removed, and their frames filled rence between false and genuine pride. Bless with some fine engravings that had lain for you, sweet fairy, you have done more for the years in a portfolio on the library floor: old father's selfish heart than for his once elegantly bound books were brought from dull home!' the same source; little airy tables, ornaments, And then there came a slow step, through and divers other things which had long been the hall; and Bessie thought amid her work packed away as troublesome and useless, how Ollie was growing feeble with age, and came forth at the call of our fairy's divining could not long sustain her present labours; wand: blinds that had been shut for years when the
door opened, and not Ollie, but Mrs were opened, and their cobwebs dusted away, Stanwood, presented herself, and though trem, and windows washed; and Bessie declared bling with the unwonted exertion, paused that the very sunshine had a look of gratified before sinking into a chair to look with woncuriosity as it streamed into her room. der and delight about the room.
Meantime a change equally startling had 'It never seemed more elegant, more clean been wrought in the chamber above: Mrs and fresh in our palmiest days, she exStanwood pled, and sighed, and wept, and claimed, with childish pleasure; 'why, my reproached, and lost her voice, and gained it blossom! fragrance and sunshine follow you again to command and threaten; but it did no everywhere, I believe.' good—though the most dutiful child, the 'They exist everywhere, dear mother; we most charming companion, the most tender have only to remove the shutters, and cobfriend, the gentlest nurse, and the most sub-webs, and dirt which conceal them; that is missive of mortals where her own rights were what I have been striving to do. Come, rest concerned, Bessie would have her way. on this lounge, it was covered purposely for Treating her mother like a spoiled child, your use; wait, let me arrange the pillows, for she soon found arguments of no avail, and here is a shawl for your feet. Now you the daughter diverted, amused, encouraged, look like a beauty, and make the crowning praised, and petted, and coaxed her into con- charm to my room: isn't it bright and comcession after concession, until Mrs Stanwood fortable? You see poverty is not such a terlearned to endure both light and air; to gain rible grief, after all.'
There is no poverty with a home and such One day Bessie fell in love with a pretty a child !' and this reply proved such a change cottage, which nestled amidst shrubs and from her previous ways of thinking, that it vines in a neighbouring suburb. A card in startled the husband as much as if the sun, the window whispered temptingly, 'To let!' rising some day, should shed forth darkness and all the way home she thought how her instead of light into the world. But instead mother would enjoy the change to country of darkness, the invalid was beginning now life, and how cosily they all might live here, to shed forth light.
and what a grand stroke of policy it would be
to rent the whole of the great, expensive CHAPTER VII.
house, and remove to this newer, cheaper, Mrs Stanwood made important discoveries, and more comfortable one. and found much food for reflection in her 'Never, never!' said Mr Stanwood, 'the brief visit to the parlour. In the excitement scene of my former prosperity, the house my of the moment, Mr Stanwood told of his van- father gave me first, and in which I will die. quished pride and indolence; of his new pur. It is too far from my office,' said Mr Stanpose in life, and his small but honest gains: wood. Said Ollie, 'Unless we are here to and Ollie, in her enthusiasm, told how Miss watch it, they will burn our house, or-or Bessie went every day, to read heathenish Bessie listened to all others, and had Greek and Latin, and dull books of theology, | her way. to the blind old clergyman who lived oppo- She was in her element now: she could site; and how the money which she had re- furnish the whole house, and warm and keep ceived for this service had all been spent in it open. She flew about like a bumming additions to the comfort of her home. And bird among flowers, and everywhere left the dressmaker's bell ringing loudly more some evidence of her taste and industry. than once, Bessie praised the thrift of their She trained her vines and watered her old housekeeper in procuring tenants for use- flowers, swept, dusted, sewed, and sang from less rooms.
morning till night, as if there were no such Mrs Stanwood made no comments during word as weariness. Strangers stopped as these disclosures. Once or twice she wiped they passed by, to ask whose home this little a tear from her face, then returned quietly to Eden could be so near the city, and yet such her room, where she suffered a long relapse, a contrast to its cumbrous brick and stone. and no one but herself knew that this time the disease was in her soul; that while she lay so quiet, heart and mind were racked In one of those stone streets, at the with dreadful strife, as looking baok through doorway of a fashionable hotel, stood Harry all the past, and on toward the future, she Stanwood one bright morning in June, twirlsaw her own conduct and her duties in their ing his glove, and yawning listlessly. true light, unobscured by selfishness. The He was handsome and manly to look upon, wife felt reproached for having left her hus- with all the pride and dignity of the Stanband to struggle through his sorrows alone; woods, and all the frankness, ease, and grace the mother was abashed before the example of the Stanleys in his bearing; but a cold of her child. She had suffered-true; but şneer disfigured his mouth as he mattered, she had courted suffering as a hope of release Home, yes, and nothing changed; trust from wearisome existence, and as an excuse luck for that! Cold, proud, empty, dark, for opportunities neglected, and duties unful old house; damp rooms, chilly reception, refilled.
proaches, no fire, no food, no sympathy, no And from that sickness she came forth re- love, no anything but repining, and despair, newed: with faults and weaknesses still, but and selfishness. Mother sick up-stairs, fawith a humble, penitent heart, resolved, if ther dawdling over his books, Ollie toothless possible, to make the future atone for all the and severe, Bess, the bright-haired little past.
blessing that she was! changed to a pert Her thoughts went back now to another miss fresh from boarding-school. But duty child—ason who had wandered years ago from is duty, and home I must go; I shall feel all home; and over whose fate she had wondered the easier for it after they are dead.' and wept for weary years: no tidings came, Striding through the familiar streets hurand she tried to believe him dead, but doubts riedly, half afraid that his resolution would still haunted her, and now the family for- evaporate, Harry reached the tall, dark door tunes were brightening, she told Bessie that of the frowning house, and rang its bell only one wish was left ungratified: could she softly, not forgetful of his mother's nerves. but see Harry again, or even have certain No, sir: Wilson; you can read it on the tidings of his death!
plate.' He is an ungrateful fellow, and
have 'But surely Mr Stanwood lived here worried enough about him, my love,' said Mr Stanwood.
'I think not, sir; never heard the name;' Poor fellow, wandering about the world and the door was closed in his face. without any home! But he will be sure to Harry's heart smote him. Where could come back to us, mamma; only have patience,' they have gone? What might not have hapsaid Bessie.
pened to them during his absence and neglect? Bessie predicted, and Harry, like every- Were they all lost to him for ever? The old thing else in the world, stepped forth at the home looked less repulsive now. nod of those golden curls. But of this in an- Tired of inquiries, he procured a directory, other chapter.
and went through the whole list of Stanwoods;
but found none acquainted with his birth or The elders entering heartily into the spirit kin. Thrice passing by the wttage, he read of Bessie's plot, combined to mystify him: his father's name upon the gate, and would his father was usually away, bis inother, just not enter; sure that it could not be the abode recovering from serious illness, spent nearly of those who used to mourn and sigh through all her time alone, and nothing was left for the months, in that only home which he could Harry but to sit by the parlour fire, and watch recollect.
little Miss Stanley flicker about. Presently But it may be some relative,' he said, he began to wonder about her; to ask himand returning as a last resouree, he opened self questions which he would not deign to the little gate, not seeing the slight form ask any one else; for Harry was an aristowhich fitted across the piazza, and disap- crat, and what should he care for this poor peared among its vines.
little drudge? Still he saw plainly enough * There, mother, I told you so! He has that without her fairy fingers all the home come-Harry has come! But he is not to see machinery would stop; and thus the fascinayou first up here, it looks too much like the tion grew and grew, unconsciously to its vicold invalidism. Quick, take off that old cap, tim, until the slight interest deepened into a for this is ten times more becoming; and I very strong one; and Harry, while pretendwant him to realise what a beauty you are. ing to read his newspaper, was all the while
'I can hardly believe you; I am all in a only watching her. When smoking upon the tremble, child! But why did you not wait piazza, and seemingly absorbed in dreams, and greet him first yourself? You have not he still was watching Miss Stanley through grown indifferent to Harry?'
the vines. Then he began to assist her, to 'What a question! No; but I only thought take the hammer from her slight fingers, and of you, which was natural, considering your nail up the broken frame himself; to bring past anxieties. You know he has not seen water for her flowers, and help prune her me for an age, and I should have needed to vines. wait and introduce myself. Now I think of 'You've done it now!' said Ollie, one mornit, mamma,' all this while Bessie was hook- ing, when they had reached this state of ing hooks, tying bows, pinning collars and things, and Harry had been at home about a ruffles, by way of improving her mother's week. 'If you can entice bim to work with dress—now I think of it, I will play a trick his pride and selfishness, I never will say upon Harry, and see if he recognises me: again that you are not a true-born witch.' mind, if he asks any questions, Bessie is not "You never did say so, Ollie, however exat home, and her friend, Miss Stanley, is tak- travagant the opinion. But dear Harry is ing her place.'
only thoughtless, and what a splendid fellow! What surprise, and joy, and tenderness Oh, I am so proud and so fond, that somethere was in that meeting between the mo- times I can hardly keep from hugging him. ther and her long-lost son! They were seated How he would start to see demure little Miss together upon a sofa, talking earnestly, and Stanley take such a liberty!' Harry looking amazed and confused as if he 'But, Miss Bessie, I think it high time for were talking in a dream, when Mr Stanwood you to finish this frolic, and let Master Harry entered with a demure young lady, whom he have his rightful place. It makes me ache introduced as Miss Stanley, an intimate ac- to see you wait and tend upon him like a serquaintance.
vant. I know how he feels; I know the It was well for the plot that Harry did not Stanwoods by heart; he thinks it is not a see the amused expression which flitted over man's place to meddle household matters; his mother's face, and which would keep re- not dignified. Cannot you see, miss, that by turning whenever she took in Bessie's trans- all these things you are establishing dangerformation. Not without difficulty, she had ous precedents?' Ollie had caught Mr Stanstraightened the bright curls and bound them wood's word. tightly over her ears; behind which they ter- 'You and Ollie hold astonishingly long conminated in an ugly twist; her fairy form was ferences,' said Harry, bringing his chair to disguised in an old, short-waisted dress, a the table where our heroine sat at work. relic of boarding-school finery; and the awk. 'Yes, since I attempted taking your sisward constraint of her manners completed ter's place, and have discovered Ollie to be a the change.
very useful andimportant personage., I never With a single glance, and a mental 'Where hear you speak of Bessie, Mr Stanwood; are did they ever pick up such a curious little you not impatient to meet her again?' old specimen of humanity?' Harry dismissed 'Do not mention it; I think only with disher from his thoughts.
gust how my sister was banished from home But she was not so easily to be dismissed: in childhood; how she must have grown up he soon found this queer little specimen to heartless and frivolous, with no wise and love be the guiding spirit of his home. He met ing parental hand to guide her. Girls need her everywhere: in garret, cellar, kitchen, home influences, and without them are worse garden, wherever he entered, queer little Miss than nothing. From my own character I can Stanley fitted away just too soon for recall, judge what hers must be. Had my mother,
indeed he wished to recall her. She twenty years ago, been what she now is, we presided at table, she watered the plants, and might both have become useful and even disdusted, and then was in his mother's room tinguished members of society. Now here am reading aloud, or nursing and petting her, I, mere idler in the world, and Bess, I and anon, in the kitchen she and Ollie held doubt not, is a silly, sentimental belle. Since grave, mysterious consultations.
Harry's agreeable disappointment in the