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"A place where others are at home,
But all are strange to me."--Lyra Innocentium.
Marian began the next morning by wondering what a Sunday at Oakworthy would be like, but she was glad the formidable first meeting was over, and greeted Gerald cheerfully when he came into the room.
After a few minutes a bell rang, and Marian, thinking it must be for family prayers, hastened into the passage, wondering at herself for not having asked last night where she was to go. She was glad to meet Caroline coming out of her room, and after quickly exchanging a "good morning," she said, "Was that the bell for prayers?"
"No, it was for the servants' breakfast," said Caroline "and for ours in the schoolroom too."
"But don't you have prayers in the morning?" said Gerald,
"No," answered Caroline gravely.
"Why not," the little boy was beginning but Marian pressed his hand to check him, shocked herself, and sorry for Caroline's sake that the question had been asked.
Caroline spoke rather hurriedly, "I wish we could, but you see papa is out so often, and there are so many people staying here sometimes: and in London, papa is so late at the House--it is very unlucky, but it would not do, it is all so irregular."
"What?" said Clara, hopping down stairs behind them. "O, about prayers! We have not had any in the school room since Miss Cameron's time."
"Miss Cameron used to read a chapter and pray with us afterwards," said Caroline; "but when she was gone, mamma said she did not like the book she used."
"Besides, it was three quarters out of her own head, and that wasn't fair, for she used to go on such a monstrous time," said Clara.
"Hush, Clara," said her sister, "and mamma has never found a book she does think quite fit."
"There's the Prayer Book," said Gerald.
"O that is only for Church," said Clara, opening the schoolroom door; "O she is not here! Later than ever. Well, Marian, what do you think of her?"
"Of whom?" asked Marian.
"Of poor unfortunate faithful Morley," said Clara.
"You call her so after Queen Anne?"
"Yes," said Caroline, "and you will see how well the name suits her when you are fully initiated."
"But does she like it?"
"Like it?" and Clara fell into a violent fit of laughing, calling out to Lionel, who just then came in, "Here is Marian asking if we call Miss Morley 'poor unfortunate' whenever we speak to her."
"She is coming," said Lionel, and Clara sunk her boisterous laughter into a titter, evident enough to occasion Miss Morley to ask what made them so merry, but the only answer she received was from Lionel, "Something funny," and then both he and Clara burst out again into laughter, his open, and hers smothered.
Marian looked amazed. "Ah! you are not used to such ways," said the governess; "Clara and Lionel are sometimes sad creatures."
Breakfast took a very long time, and before it was quite over, Mrs. Lyddell came in, spoke in her rapid, good-natured tone to Marian and Gerald, and remarked rather sharply to Miss Morley that she thought they grew later and later every Sunday. Nevertheless, no one went on at all the faster after she was gone. Miss Morley continued her talk with Caroline and Clara about some young friends of theirs in London, and Lionel and Johnny went on playing tricks with their bread and butter, accompanied by a sort of secret teasing of Clara. Nothing brought them absolutely to a conclusion till one of the servants appeared in order to take away the things, and unceremoniously bore away John's last piece of bread and cup of tea.
Johnny looked up at the man and made a face at him; Miss Morley shook her head, and Caroline said, "How can you be so naughty, Johnny? it serves you quite right, and I only wish it happened every morning."
"Come, Gerald, and see the ponies," said Lionel.
"My dears," said Miss Morley, "you know your mamma never likes you to go out before Church especially to the stables; you only get hot, and you make us late with waiting for you."
"Nobody asked you to wait for us," said John. "Come, Gerald."
"No, I see Sir Gerald is a good little boy, and is coming steadily with us," said Miss Morley.
"Yes, Gerald, do," said Marian.
"There will be plenty of time by and by," said Gerald, sitting down again.
"O very well," said John. "Well, if you won't, I will; I want to see Elliot's colt come in from exercising, and he will be sure to be there himself now."
Lionel and Johnny ran off, Caroline looked distressed, and went out into the passage leaving the door open. Walter was coming along it, and as she met him, she said, "Walter, the boys are off to the stable again; we shall have just such a fuss as we had last Sunday if you cannot stop them. Is Elliot there again?"
"I am afraid he is," said Walter.
"Then there is no chance!" said Caroline, retreating; but at that moment Lionel and John came clattering down from their own distant abode at the top of the house. "Who likes to walk with me through, the plantations to Church?" said Walter; "I was coming to ask if you liked to show that way to Gerald."
Lionel and John, who had a real respect for Walter, thought it best to keep silence on their disobedient designs, and accept the kind offer. Gerald gladly joined them, and off they set. Miss Morley, Caroline, and Clara, had all gone different ways, and Marian remained, leaning her forehead against the window, thinking what her own dear Sunday-school class were doing at Fern Torr, and feeling very disconsolate. She had stood in this manner for some minutes when Clara came to tell her it was time to prepare for Church, followed her to her room, and contrived to make more remarks on her dress than Marian could have thought could possibly have been bestowed on a plain black crape bonnet and mantle.
Through all the rather long walk, Clara still kept close to her, telling who every one was, and talking incessantly, till she felt almost confused, and longed for the quietness of the church. Mr. Lyddell's pew was a high, square box, curtained round, with a table and a stove, so that she hardly felt as if she was in church, and she was surprised not to see Elliot Lyddell there.
They had to walk quickly back after the service, dine hurriedly, and then set off again for the afternoon service. Miss Morley sighed, and said that the second long hot walk almost killed her, and she went so slowly that the schoolroom party all came in late. They found no one in the pew but Mrs. Lyndell and Walter, and Marian once more sighed and wondered.
On coming home, Miss Morley went in to rest, but as it was now cool and pleasant, her pupils stayed out a little longer to show the park and garden. They were very desirous of making the Arundels admire all they saw, and Lionel and John were continually asking, "Have you anything like that at Fern Torr?"
Gerald, jealous for the honor of home, was magnificent in his descriptions, and unconscious that he was talking rhodomontade. According to him, his park took in a whole mountain, his house was quite as large and much handsomer than Mr. Lyddell's, the garden was like the hanging gardens of Babylon, and greenhouses were never wanted there, for "all sorts of things" would grow in the open air. His cousins were so amazed that they would hardly attend to Marian's explanations, and thought her description of the myrtle, which reached to the top of the house, as fabulous as his hanging gardens.
"And, Marian, what do you think of this place?" asked Clara.
After some pressing, the following reply was extracted:--"It is so shut in with fir-trees, but I suppose you want them to hide the town, and there is nothing to see if they were away."
"O Marian!" said Caroline, "when we showed you the beautiful view over the high gate."
"But there was no hill, and no wood, and no water."
"Did you not see Oakworthy Hill?"
"That tame green thing!" said Marian.
"The truth is," said Johnny, "that she likes it the best all the time, only she won't own it."
"Nonsense, Johnny," replied Lionel, "every one likes their own home best, and I like Marian for not pretending to be polite and nonsensical."
"And I tell you," said Gerald, "that you never saw anything so good as my Manor house in your whole life."
Here they went in, and Marian gently said to Gerald as they came into her room, "I wish you would not say my, Gerald, it seems like boasting. My park--my house--"
Gerald hung his head, and the colour came deeply into his cheeks. "Marian," said he, "you know how I wish it wasn't mine now," and the tears were in his eyes. "But they boast over me, and they ought not, for I'm Sir--"
"Oh! hush, Gerald. You used never to like to hear yourself called so, because it put you in mind--. Yes, I know they boast; but this is not the way to stop them, it only makes them go on; and what does it signify to you? it does not make this place really better than home."
"Yes, but I want them to know it."
"But you should not want to set yourself up above them. If you don't answer, and, let them say what nonsense they please, it would be the best way, and the right way, and so you would humble yourself, which is what we must all do Gerald."
Gerald was silenced, but looked dissatisfied; however, there was no more time to talk, for Clara came to say that tea was almost ready, and Marian rang for Saunders. Gerald looked as if he was meditating when first they sat down to tea, and after some little time he abruptly began, "I don't like your church at all. It is just like a room, and nobody makes any noise."
"Nobody makes any noise," repeated Caroline, smiling; "is that Fern Torr fashion?"
"I do not mean exactly a noise," said Gerald, "but people read their verse of the psalm, and say Amen, and all that, quite loud. They don't leave it all to the clerk in his odd voice."
Lionel mimicked the clerk so drolly, that in spite of "Don't, my dear," and "O! Lionel," nobody could help laughing; and Johnny added an imitation of the clerk at their church in London. After the mirth was over, Gerald went on, "Why does not every one say Amen here?"
"Like so many charity children," said Lionel, with a nasal drawl.
"No, indeed!" cried Gerald, indignantly; "Edmund does it, and everybody."
"Everybody! as if you could tell, who never went to church in your life, except at that little poky place," said Johnny,
Gerald's colour rose, but Marian's eye met his, and he remembered what she had said, and answered quietly, "I don't know whether Fern Torr is poky, but it is a place where people are taught to behave well."
"Capital, Gerald, excellent!" cried Caroline, laughing heartily, "that is a hit, Lionel, for you!" while Gerald looked round him, amazed at the applause with which his speech, made in all simplicity, was received.
As soon as tea was over, Miss Morley called Lionel and John to repeat the Catechism, and added doubtfully, "Perhaps Sir Gerald would rather wait for next Sunday."
"O no, thank you," said Marian, "we always say it."
"You need not, Marian," said Caroline, "we never do, only it would be so troublesome for the boys to have to learn it at school."
"I should like to say it if Miss Morley has no objection," said Marian.
"Oh! yes, certainly," was the answer. "See, Lionel, there is an example for you."
Marian and Gerald stood upright, with their hands behind them, just as they had stood every Sunday since they could speak; Lionel was astride on the music stool, spinning round and round, and Johnny balancing himself with one leg on the floor, and one hand on the window sill. When the first question was asked, the grave voice that replied, "Edmund Gerald," was drowned in a loud shout--
"Jack Lyddell, Jack Lyddell, Shall play on the fiddle"--
evidently an old worn out joke, brought to life again in the hope of making the grave cousins laugh, instead of which they stood aghast. Miss Morley only said imploringly, "Now, Johnny, my dear boy, do," and proceeded to the next question. Throughout the two boys were careless and painfully irreverent, and the governess, annoyed and ashamed, hurried on as fast as she could, in order to put an end to the unpleasant scene. When it was over she greatly admired the correctness of Gerald's answers, seeming to think it extraordinary that he should not have made a single mistake; whereas Marian would have been surprised if he had. Gerald whispered to his sister as they went down to the drawing-room, "Would it not be fun to see what Mr. Wortley would say to Lionel and Johnny, if he had them in his class?"
On Monday, Marian and Gerald began to fall into the habits of the place, and to learn the ways of their cousins, though it was many years before they could be said really to understand them.
Of their guardian himself, they found they should see very little, for their four schoolroom companions, his own children, had but little intercourse with him. Sometimes, indeed, Johnny, who enjoyed the privileges of the youngest, would make a descent upon him, and obtain some pleasure or some present, or at least a game of play; and sometimes Lionel fell into great disgrace, and was brought to him for reproof, but Caroline and Clara only saw him now and then in the evening, and never seemed to look to him as the friend and approver that Marian thought all fathers were. As to Miss Morley, she had only spoken twice to him since she had been in the house.
Mrs. Lyddell seemed supreme in everything at home. She was quick, active, and clever, an excellent manager, nor was she otherwise than very kind in word and deed; and Marian could by no means understand the cause of the mixture of dread and repugnance with which she regarded her. Perhaps it was, that though not harsh, her manner wanted gentleness; her tones were not soft, and she would cut off answers before they were half finished. Her bright, clear, cold, blue eye had little of sympathy in it, and every look and tone showed that she expected implicit obedience, to commands, which were far from unpleasant in themselves, though rendered ungracious by the want of softness and mildness with which they were given. Marian often wondered, apart from the principle, how her cousins, and even Miss Morley, could venture to disregard orders given in that decided manner; but she soon perceived that they trusted to Mrs. Lyddell's multifarious occupations, which kept her from knowing all their proceedings with exactness, and left them a good deal at liberty.
Marian was disposed to like Miss Morley, with her gentle voice and kind manner, but she was much surprised at her letting things go on among her pupils, which she must have known to be wrong in themselves, as well as against express commands of Mrs. Lyddell. Once or twice when she heard her talking to Clara, she said to herself, "Would not mamma say that was silly?" but at any rate it was a great thing to have a person of whom she was not in the least shy or afraid, and who set her quite at her ease in the schoolroom.
The first business on Monday morning, after the little boys had gone off for two hours to a tutor, was an examination into Marian's attainments, beginning with French and Italian reading and translation, in which she acquitted herself very well till Mrs. Lyddell came in, and put her in such a state of trepidation that she no longer knew what she was about. In truth, Marian's education had been rather irregular in consequence of her father's illness, and its effect had been to give her a general cultivation of mind, and appreciation of excellence, to train her to do her best, and fed an eagerness for information, but without instructing her in that routine of knowledge for which Mrs. Lyddell and Miss Morley looked. She was not ready in answering questions, even upon what she knew perfectly well; she had no tables of names and dates at finger's ends, and when she saw that every one thought her backward and ignorant, the feeling that she was not doing justice to her mamma's teaching added to her confusion, her mistakes and puzzles increased, and at last she was almost ready to cry. At that moment Caroline said, "Mamma, you have not seen Marian's drawings yet. Do fetch them, Marian."
The drawings served in some degree to save Marian in the opinion; at least, of Miss Morley: for an artist-like hand and eye were almost an inheritance in the Arundel family, and teaching her had been a great amusement to Sir Edmund. Miss Morley and Caroline thought her drawings wonderful; but Mrs. Lyddell, who had never learnt to draw, was, as Marian quickly perceived, unable to distinguish the merits from the faults, and was only commending them in order to reassure her. Her music was the next subject of inquiry, and here again she did not shine, for practising had been out of the question during the last two years of her father's life; but as she could not bear to offer this as an excuse, she only said she knew she could hardly play at all, but she hoped to improve. To her great relief, Mrs. Lyddell did not stay to listen to her performance, but went away, leaving her to Miss Morley, who found something to commend in her taste and touch.
When the business of learning actually commenced, Marian grew more prosperous; for she had the good custom of giving her whole attention, and learnt therefore fast and correctly. Her exercise was very well done; her arithmetic, in which Edmund had helped her, was almost beyond Miss Morley's knowledge; and she was quite at home in the history they were reading aloud. Moreover, when they came to talk of what they had read, it proved that Marian was well acquainted with many books which were still only names to Caroline; and when Gerald came in with his books, his reference to her showed that she knew as much Latin as he did.
They dined in the schoolroom at half-past one, then took a walk on the long, dull, white road, and came back at a little past four; after which the girls had each to practise for an hour, to look over some lessons for the next day, and to dress; but all the rest of their time was at their own disposal. There was to be a dinner-party that evening, and Clara advised her not to dress till after tea. "For we don't go down till after dinner," said she, "and I don't like to miss seeing the people come. Gerald, you had better get ready, though, for you boys always go down before."
"Must I?" said Gerald.
"O yes, that we must!" said Lionel; "and you will see how Johnny there likes to be petted by all the old ladies, and called their pretty dear."
Johnny rushed upon his brother, and there was a skirmish between them, during which Miss Morley vainly exclaimed by turns, "Now Lionel!" and "Now Johnny!" It ended by John's beginning to cry, Lionel laughing at him, and declaring that he had done nothing to hurt him, and both walking off rather sullenly to dress for the evening. Gerald was bent on the same errand; and no sooner was he gone than Miss Morley, Caroline, and Clara all broke out into loud praises of him. He was so docile, he shut the door so gently, he seemed so very clever. He had quite won Miss Morley's heart by running back to the schoolroom to fetch her parasol for her when she found she had left it behind; Caroline admired him for being so merry and playful without rudeness, and Clara chimed in with them both. All expressed wonder at not finding him a spoiled child; and this, though the praises gratified Marian greatly, rather offended her in her secret soul; and she wondered too that Caroline and Clara seemed disposed to make the very worst of their own little brothers, so as to set off Gerald's perfections by force of contrast.
Mrs. Lyddell came in while they were still talking. She was beautifully dressed, and looked very handsome, and, in Marian's eyes, very formidable; but she sat down and joined heartily in the praises of Gerald, till Marian thought, "What could they have expected poor Gerald to be, if they are so amazed at finding him the dear good little fellow he is!" It was in fact true that he was an agreeable surprise, for as an only son--a great treasure--and coming so early to his title, he was exactly the child whom all would have presumed most likely to be spoiled; and his ready obedience struck the Lyddells as no less unusual than those habits in which he had been trained, in consequence of the necessity of stillness during Sir Edmund's long illness. It was more natural to him to shut the door quietly than to bang it, to speak than to shout, and to amuse himself tranquilly in the house than to make a great uproar. He was courteous, too, and obliging; and though Lionel and Johnny were in consequence inclined to regard him as a "carpet knight so trim," the ladies fully appreciated these good qualities. Mrs. Lyddell perhaps made the more of her satisfaction, because she was conscious of not liking his sister's stiff, formal, frightened manners.
Mrs. Lyddell waited till the boys came from dressing, and took them all three down with her. Clara sat down in the window-seat to watch the arrivals, as soon as she had recovered from her amazement at hearing that Marian had not been in a house with a dinner-party since Gerald was born. "Is it possible!" she went on saying, and then bursting into a laugh, till Caroline said sharply, "How can you be so silly, Clara! you know the reason perfectly well."
"But it is so odd," continued Clara. "Why, we are never a week without a party, and sometimes two!"
"Hush," said Caroline, "or I shall never finish my Italian."
The little boys came up to tea; Gerald would not make much answer when Clara asked if the ladies had talked to him, but Johnny looked cross, and Lionel reported "it was because his nose was put out of joint." Coming up to Marian, to whom he seemed to have taken a fancy, Lionel further explained confidentially how all the ladies made a fuss with Johnny, and admired his yellow curls, and called him the rose-bud, and all sorts of stuff; and how Johnny liked to go down in his fine crimson velvet, and show off, and have all his nonsense praised, "And the pretty dear is so jealous," said Lionel, "that he can't bear any one to say one word to poor me--oh no!"
"Why, do you wish for them to do so?" said Marian.
"Oh no, not I--I never did; and I'm glad I'm grown too big and ugly for them. I always get as near Elliot as I can and try to hear if they are saying any thing about the hunt; and the ladies never trouble their heads about what is good for any thing, so they never talk to me."
"That is no great compliment to Gerald," said Marian.
"Ah! you'll soon see. If there is any fun in him, they will soon cast him off; but now he is new, and he has not found them out yet, and they do dearly like to say Sir Gerald; so Johnny is regularly thrown out, and that is what makes him look sulky."
"Well, but it is using him very ill to desert him for Gerald," said Marian.
"Oh, they won't desert him. They like mamma's good dinners too well for that; only Johnny can't bear any one else to be taken notice of. Trust the county member's son for their making much of him."
"But that applies to you too, Lionel."
"Ay, and I could soon get their civility if I cared for it," said Lionel grandly. "But I know well enough what it is worth. Why, there is Walter, who is the best of us all--nobody cares one straw for him, except Caroline and--"
"And you?" asked Marian.
"Why--why--yes, if he was not so much of a parson already."
"Oh, Lionel!" said Marian, shocked; and he turned it rather hastily into "I mean, he is not up to any thing; he does not shoot, and he does not care for dogs, or horses; nothing but books for ever."
A summons to the tea-table put an end to Lionel's communications, which had so amazed Marian that she could do nothing but ponder on them all the time that Clara would leave her in quiet.
The going into the drawing-room was to her a most awful affair; and Saunders seemed to be very anxious about it, brushing and settling her hair, and arranging the plain black frock, as if she would never have done; seeming, too, not a little worried by Clara, who chose to look on at all her proceedings. At last it was over Marian wished Gerald good night, and descended with her two cousins and Miss Morley. Caroline and Clara were in blue, Miss Morley in white; and as they entered just opposite to a long pier glass, Marian thought that with her white face, straight dark hair, and deep mourning dress, she looked like a blot between them, and wished to shrink out of sight, instead of being conspicuous in blackness.
The ladies came in a few minutes after, and Caroline and Clara went forward, shaking hands, smiling, and replying in a way which was by no means forward, and with ease that to Marian was marvellous. If people would but be kind enough not to look at her! But Mrs. Lyddell was a great deal too civil for that too come to pass, and presently Marian was called and introduced to two ladies. She was seated between them, and they began talking to her in a patronising manner; telling her they remembered her dear mamma at her age; saying that they had seen her brother, and congratulating her on having two such delightful companions as the Miss Lyddells. Then they asked about Devonshire; and as Marian's cold short replies let every subject fall to the ground in a moment, they proceeded to inquire whether she could play. Truth required her to confess that she could, a very little; and then they begged to hear her. Poor Marian! this was too much. She felt as if she was in a horrible mist, and drawing up her head as she always did in embarrassment, she repeated, "Indeed, indeed I cannot!" protestations which her tormentors would not believe, and which grew every moment more ungracious, as, to augment her distress, she saw that Mrs. Lyddell was observing her. At the moment when she was looking most upright and rigid, Caroline came to her relief. The same request had just been made to her, and she came to propose to Marian to join in the one thing she knew she could play--a duet which she had that morning been practising with Clara. It was very kind, and Marian knew it; for Caroline had said that she never liked that duet, and was heartily tired of it; but all the acknowledgement her strange bashfulness would allow her to make was a grateful look, and a whisper, "Oh, thank you!"
Afterwards one of the young lively visitors sang, and Marian, who had never heard much music, was quite delighted; her stiff company-face relaxed, a tear came to her eyes, and she sat with parted lips, forgetting all her fears and all the party till the singing was over, and Caroline touched her, and told her it was bed-time. Marian wondered to see how well Caroline and Clara managed to escape without being observed; but she marvelled at their going to bed so much as if it was a thing of course to have no "good night" from father or mother. When they were outside the door, in the hall, Marian, her heart still full of the music, could not help exclaiming, "How beautiful!"
"What? Miss Bernard's singing?" said Clara. "I declare, Caroline, Marian was very nearly crying! I saw you were, Marian."
"She does sing very nicely," said Caroline, "but that song does not suit her voice. It is too high."
"And she makes faces," said Clara, "she strains her throat; and she has such great fingers--I could never cry at Miss Bernard's singing, I am sure."
Marian did not like this. "Good night," said she, abruptly.
"You are not vexed, are you?" said Clara, kindly. "I did not think you would mind my noticing your crying. Don't be angry, Marian."
"Oh, no, I am not at all angry," said Marian, trying to speak with ease, but she did not succeed well. Her "good nights," had in them a tone as if she was annoyed, as in fact she was; though not at all in the way Clara supposed. She did not care for the notice of her tears, but she said to herself, "This is what Edmund calls destroying the illusion. If they would but have let me go to bed with the spell of that song resting on me!"
She sighed with a feeling of relief and yet of weariness as she came into her own room, and found Saunders there. Saunders looked rather melancholy, but said nothing for the first two or three minutes; then as she combed Marian's hair straight over her face, she began, "I hope you enjoyed yourself, Miss Marian?"
"Oh, Saunders," said Marian, "I'm very tired; I don't think I shall ever enjoy myself anywhere but at home."
"Ah--hem--ah," coughed Saunders, solemnly; then, after waiting for some observation from Marian, and hearing only a long yawn and a sigh, she went on. "Prettily different is this place from home."
"Indeed it is," said Marian, from her heart.
"Such finery as I never thought to see below stairs, Miss Marian. I am sure the Manor House was a pattern to all the country round for comfort for the servants, and I should know something about it; but here--such a number of them, such eating and drinking all day long, and the very kitchen maids in such bonnets and flowers on Sundays, as would perfectly have shocked Mrs. White. And they are so ignorant. Fancy, Miss Marian, that fine gentleman the butler declaring he could not understand me, and that I spoke with a foreign accent! I speak French indeed!"
"But, Saunders," said Marian, rather diverted, "you do speak Devonshire a little."
"Well, Miss Marian, perhaps I may; I only know 'tisn't for them to boast, for they speak so funny I can't hardly make them out; and with my own ears I have heard that same Mr. Perkins himself calling you Miss Harundel. But that is not all. Why, not half of them ever go to church on a Sunday; and as to Mrs. Mitten, the housekeeper, not a bit does she care whether they do or not; and no wonder, when Mr. Lyddell himself never goes in the afternoon, and has gentlemen to speak to him. And then down at the stables--'tis a pretty set of drinking, good-for-nothing fellows there. I hope from my heart Sir Gerald won't be for getting down there among them; but they say Master Lionel and Master John are always there. And that Mr. Elliot--"
In this manner Saunders discoursed all the while she was putting Marian to bed. Both she and her young lady wore doing what had much better have been let alone. Saunders had no business to carry complaints and gossip, Marian ought not to have listened to them; but the truth was that Saunders was an old attached confidential servant, who had come to Oakworthy, more because she could not bear to let her young master and mistress go entirely alone and unfriended among strangers, than because it would be prudent to save a little more before becoming Mrs. David Chapple. Fern Torr was absolute perfection in her eyes; and had the household at Oakworthy been of superior excellence, she would have found fault with everything in which it differed from the Manor House. Her heart was full; and to Miss Marian, her young lady, a Fern Torrite, a Devonian like herself, she must needs pour it out, where she had no other friend. On the other hand, Saunders was still in Marian's eyes a superior person--an authority--one whom she could never dream of keeping in order, or restraining; and here a friend, a counsellor, the only person, except Gerald, who had known the dear home.
So a foundation was laid for confidences from Saunders, which were not likely to improve Marian's contentment. When she had bidden her maid good night, and sat thinking before she knelt down to say her prayers, she felt bewildered; her head seemed giddy with the strangeness of this new world; she knew not what in it was right and what was wrong; all that she knew was, that she felt lonely and dreary, and as if it could never be home. Her heart seemed to reach out for her mother's embrace and support, and then Marian sank down on her knees, rested her face on her arms, and while the tears began to flow, she murmured, "OUR FATHER, Which art in heaven."
Soon after, her weary head was on her pillow, and the dim grey light of the summer night showed the quiet peace and calmness that had settled on her sleeping face.
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