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must insist upon it that she does not stay in the grounds after the evening has closed in.” It was very evident that Mrs. Wells was very angry, and I endeavoured to mollify her ire by making an observation upon the clearness of the sky and the brightness of the moon, to which she did not appear to me to return such agreeable answers as heretofore had dropped from her lips. As the aspect of affairs seemed gloomy, I thought the next best thing to do was to effect a retreat, and I accordingly wished her a good night, to which she returned a sort of half-and-half answer; when, to my surprise, I heard a sudden rustling in, or rather out of, a laurel hedge which flanked the walk by which Harriet and I had returned to the house, succeeded by the immediate appearance of Mr. Wells himself, who exclaimed, in a mock-heroic voice— “‘Who talks of going with a voice so sweet?' " “What!” cried Mrs. Wells, “are you there, my dear?” “My love, I am,” replied Wells. “But what do you mean by letting Gilbert go at this unusually early hour? Where's Harriet?” “She is in the house,” said the matron. “Ah, well,” said Wells, “so will he be too. You, of course, will stop with us, and have our little music, and our piquet, and our petit souper—eh 2 Nothing like winding-up well.” “I thought you were gone to bed,” said Mrs. Wells to her husband. “Did you, my dear?” answered he; “then, for once in your life, you were mistaken. Come, let us go in. Is the billiard-room lighted? Let us be gay—life is but short. Come—come along.” And so, with great joyousness, we entered the hospitable old house by one of the modernised French windows, which, as the French themselves say, “gave to the lawn.” Nothing could be more comfortable—nothing more agreeable. We went to the billiard-room. I chose my favourite cue, chalked him— poised him—pointed the red ball—and went off (which Mr. Wells always forced me to do); but I made nothing, and did not feel quite sure what ought to be done with the balls when my respectable adversary had played, because—and it was quite a new feeling—Harriet was not in the room. The pinafores were gone to bed; and Mrs. Wells, who did not seem to have recovered her good temper, established herself at a work-table in the billiard-room, which served as a second drawing-room, and was by no means exclusively devoted to the game. I wondered where Harriet was. I never had felt either anxious about her coming or going before; but it seemed to me that our dialogue in the garden had closed unsatisfactorily, and I was afraid that she was gone to bed, as well as her sisters. I saw the balls running about the table, but my mind was not with them: my thoughts were up-stairs— fixed on things above. “Why, you cannot make a hazard, Gilbert: what is the matter?” said Wells. “I do not know, Sir,” said I. “That is a cannon, however.” “Not a bit of it !” exclaimed the enthusiastic performer, “a kiss!” “Ah,” said I, “probably. Then here goes again.” “And that,” exclaimed my opponent, “is a miss!” I did not at all like this combination of words, and, in fact, wished the game at Old Scratch, when suddenly was opened the door of the billiard-room, and in came Harriet, looking as demure, as placid, as goodnatured, and as breathingly alive to the ordinary amusements of the evening as ever. I looked at her, to see if there was a trace of illfeeling towards me on her countenance. Dear soul! no. And when she sat herself down by her mother, and commenced that most absurd of all anomalous nonsenses called “work,” I felt that I was extremely glad she took so much interest in my concerns, and showed so much anxiety for my fulfilment of engagements. I won't go the day after to-morrow, thought I, as I gave my ball a thump which caused it to hit the other white ball exactly on the opposite side to that which I meant it to touch. I will stay, and go. I will dance with Miss Illingworth, to show Harriet that I religiously keep my word, and prove to her how powerfully her reproof has acted upon me. Just as if she had known my thoughts, Harriet lifted her eyes from the strip of muslin which she held in her hand, and looked towards me. Our eyes met. I cannot define the character of their expression; but I recollect saying to myself, “Upon my life, I am carrying this joke a little too far.” At half-past ten, as usual, supper was announced, and we proceeded to the dinner parlour—room never to be forgotten by me. It was a low wainscoted apartment, with a beam below the ceiling, which it supported, crossing it in the middle. Every footstep in the chambers above could be heard over-head; and, except that it was of a good size, it was by no means a desirable salle à manger. To me, however, it was delightful: it had been consecrated by hospitality and kindness; and the strongest feeling by which I was actuated, as I led my amiable hostess into it, was that of regret that, whether I stayed till Wednesday or not, I must, at all events, leave it within a very few days. Yet, for all that, I felt assured that I did not love Harriet,_not as lovers love. The great puzzle was, how to define the sentiment which she had inspired. It was more than friendship. Friendship cannot last long between two people circumstanced as we were. Of Platonism I have a very faint notion; and it seems to me that feelings, like time, cannot stand still: to what point my intimacy with Harriet had carried mine I could not exactly ascertain; and certainly never imagined how essential her society had habitually become to my happiness, until I found myself on the eve of being deprived of it. At supper, Harriet seemed out of spirits, and her mother what I considered watchful,-and a watchful mother, in a small party, is unbearable. On the contrary, mine host was more than usually agreeable: his conversation was full of joke and repartee, in which he was eminently successful when he chose to be so; but, somehow, it appeared to me that he talked more than usual of the advantages of matrimony, its comforts—its blessings—the respectability it gave to a young man—the refined delight it afforded to a young woman. “Sarah and I,” said Mr. Wells, “are proofs of the soundness of my doctrine. We married young, and we have lived long, and never repented it, never disqualified for Dunmow yet.” “I’m sure,” said the lady, “if we ever have differed, the fault has been yours; and I must say, with regard to the doctrine you are now supporting, I differ entirely. What should people think about marrying without means? The old proverb is quite true—”

“Which Moore has so sweetly versified,” said I. “I know nothing of versification, Mr. Gurney,” said the matron; “but this I know, that nothing can be more unwise, in my opinion, than bringing two people together without fortune, and entailing upon them a life of perpetual embarrassment and worry.” “You are wrong, my dear,” said mine host. “Where there is genius or talent, the very fact of having a fond and affectionate wife dependent upon him for existence is an excitement to a man to exert his energies. Baffle the waves of opposing ills; and, by ‘opposing, end them.’” Thinks I to myself, that may be very true; but if I saw a wife so depending upon me, the very thought of the precariousness of her position, and the regret for having removed her from competency to share my difficulties, would unnerve and unfit me for the exertions it would be my duty to make. Harriet took no part in the conversation, but appeared entirely absorbed in the delicate and difficult task of peeling a peach. “I confess,” continued Mrs. Wells, who was as obstinate as Echo in the particular of having the last word, “I see no good in preaching what nobody in their senses would practise.” “What do you say, Gurney?” said Mr. Wells. “Why, Sir,” said I,_and I was rather flurried by the question,“I—really 32 “Suppose, now,” said Wells, “a girl of eighteen or nineteen—more or less, as the case may be—had won your heart, and you had won hers, —should you stop to consider whether you could live upon so much a year, or so much more or—as I said before—less? I know you would not.” “Why, Sir,” said I, “Love seldom calculates. He is painted blind. I—never have thought upon the subject; but this I am sure of, that, whatever love without money may be, money without love is destruction.” “I told you so, Sarah,” exclaimed mine host. “Few young hearts are mercenary—a woman's heart never is, as I firmly believe. She will squander and waste to the right and to the left; and she will make her husband give fêtes, and parties, and dinners, and dojeńners, and all the rest of it; but a selfish, stingy woman is a rara aris.” “Better be stingy, Mr. Wells,” said Sarah, “as you call it, than extravagant. More fortunes have been saved than made, and I hate to hear you talk in so unguarded a way while persons are present who certainly ought not to listen to such principles.” “Sally, my love,” said Wells, who was somewhat taken aback by his wife's reproof, “I never say what I do not mean, and I live with my children as I do with my friends. If my words were not in accordance with my thoughts, I should not argue as I have done; as they are, and as I have no concealments, I speak out, and I should think myself the most unhappy father in the world if I thought a daughter of mine could be spoiled by a misinterpretation of my sentiments.” “As for your daughter's being spoiled,” said Mrs. Wells significantly, “I do not pretend to say anything about it; but I think we may as well retire. Come, Harriet, it is quite time for bed.” Harriet, who had taken no share in the conversation, looked at her father and then at me. Wells saw that his wife was what might be called out of humour about something, and seemed to me to be resolved, in spite of his former brag about the Dunmow flitch, to have his own way. “Why, Sarah dear,” exclaimed he, “are you going to bed without your negus? my poor girl too has had nothing in the world to eat or to drink.” “Nothing for me, Pa,” said the innocent girl, with an expression of fear of her Ma’s anger. “I want nothing more, Mr. Wells,” said the old lady; “I cannot bear to hear nonsense.” “Well, love,” replied her husband, “we won't quarrel for the first time in our lives about nonsense—it would be nonsense if we did; so, Harriet, ring the bell, and let us have in our accustomed hot water, sugar, and the et ceteras, “Black spirits and white, Red spirits and grey; Mingle, mingle, mingle, Ye that mingle may.' What a fellow that Shakspeare was, Gurney ! No circumstance can occur, no occasion present itself, but his words—prophetic and inspired as they are—become more applicable, more to the point, than any other we can find.” “Even when perverted,” said I; and when I turned my head to meet the wonted gentle smile of Harriet, I saw a tear trickling down her cheek. What had caused it? something her mother had looked, no doubt, for she had said nothing. I felt extremely uncomfortable, and repented not having gone “on the first intention,” as the surgeons talk of the healing of a wound. I had never experienced so unpleasant a sensation during the whole course of my acquaintance with the family; it was a release when the servant obeyed the injunction he had received, and disturbed the awkward silence which followed my last attempt to make conversation, by the noise he made in putting down the glasses, and bottles, and decanters, and jugs of hot and cold water, with which it was the custom to decorate the table at Mr. Wells's, at that period of the evening. o Mrs. Wells, however, was not to be soothed; she would drink no negus, and she would go to bed. Harriet, who was conscious of no offence, and who found herself supported by, I believe, her favourite parent, gave a gentle affirmative to her father's enquiry whether she would have some wine and water : this seemed to increase Mrs. Wells’s ill-humour, who, pushing her chair from the table, rose from her seat, and said in a most awful tone, “Well, I am going to bed; ” and in order to put this determination into immediate practice, proceeded to the table in the corner of the room whereon were deposited the chamber candlesticks, for the purpose of procuring a light. I saved her the trouble, lighted her candle, and presented it to her; she did not thank me, but that, as we were old friends, I did not much care about; but looking at Harriet, she said in a most discordant tone, “I suppose, Miss, you will not be long after me?” This unsettled my poor girl, who was about to swallow her whole glass of wine and water at a gulp and accompany her exemplary mother, when Wells interposing, said, “When she is tired of our society, she will go. Sit still, Harriet—finish your wine and water—if you are not sleepy, stay where you are.” I saw the look which Mrs. Wells gave her husband after this speech; it was full of reproach; it seemed to say, “That's right, Mr. Wells, teach

your daughter to disregard her mother.” He evidently understood it as ! I did, and when she quitted the room, which she did with an air of indignant grandeur, Wells jumped up and followed her. Harriet then seemed most anxious to follow them; that I prevented. “You are not going,” said I. : “I think I had better go,” replied Harriet, “I am afraid Papa's angry.” “I am sure Mamma is,” said I; “but don't you think it would be better to let them settle their little differences by themselves? besides, if you go, I must, and I have no intention of moving for this hour; your father has not yet commenced what he calls his “brewing.’” “I cannot think what has happened to put my mother out of humour,” said Harriet. “Nor I,” said I, “except that perhaps she thinks I kept you out too late in the air; however, if that be all, I shall have few opportunities of repeating the offence.” “But are you really going so soon o’” said Harriet. : “I must,” replied I; “besides all other reasons, one seems paramount; I came down to this neighbourhood to stay with my friends the Woodbridges, and from the first week I made your acquaintance, I have only been four evenings at their house.” “But you will stay for the ball?” said Harriet. “If you wish it.” “Of course,” said Harriet, “it makes no difference to me; only you promised Miss Illingworth, and—I—” “It is decided, Harriet,” interrupted I; “I stay.” “There's a dear good brother,” said Harriet; “but isn’t my father gone a long time 2" * “I do not think so,” said I; “if he were to stay ten times as long, 80 that you did not follow him, I shouldn’t care.” “No,” answered she, “nor I, if I did not think that some unpleasant feeling existed between 2x . At this moment the gentle heart of the affectionate daughter was relieved of all its apprehensions by the return of her “Pa,” humming one of his favourite songs as he came across the hall, and who entered the room smiling as the dawn. “My old lady is a little out of humour,” said he, resuming his seat, “ about Harriet's staying out so late; however, I have set all that to rights—it is all sunshine now—and so now for my toddy.” “I am sure,” said his daughter, “if Mamma disapproves of it, I will o offend again—I hope she is quite sure of that—indeed I shall ave no—” I was on thorns—she was going to say—I knew she was—“no inducement to stop looking at the moon after to-morrow ; ” luckily she did not conclude her sentence, for the exemplary toddy-maker stopped her short in her quite needless explanation by repeating “Sure of that? aye that she is—so am I—say no more about it, dear—Gurney, some grog-come, no ceremony, help yourself—push the sugar to him, Harrict—make yourself useful—as I say, Gurney, I hate your automatons— girls dressed up in muslin to sit still and play the pianoforte-everything in its time—all things in their season—I like to see my girls useful as well as ornamental.”

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