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"I am sorry, aunt, Mr. Denbigh is not rich," said Emily to Mrs, Wilson,
after they had retired in the evening, almost unconscious of what she
uttered. The latter looked at her niece in surprise, at a remark so
abrupt, and one so very different from the ordinary train of Emily's
reflections, as she required an explanation. Emily, slightly coloring at
the channel her thoughts had insensibly strayed into, gave her aunt an
account of their adventure in the course of the morning's drive, and
touched lightly on the difference in the amount of the alms of her brother
and those of Mr. Denbigh.
"The bestowal of money is not always an act of charity," observed Mrs.
Wilson, gravely, and the subject was dropped: though neither ceased to
dwell on it in her thoughts, until sleep closed the eyes of both.
The following day Mrs. Wilson invited Grace and Emily to accompany her in
a walk; the gentlemen having preceded them in pursuit of their different
avocations. Francis had his regular visits of spiritual consolation; John
had gone to the hall for his pointers and fowling-piece, the season for
woodcock having arrived; and Denbigh had proceeded no one knew whither. On
gaining the high-road, Mrs. Wilson desired her companions to lead the way
to the cottage where the family of the mendicant gardener had been lodged,
and thither they soon arrived. On knocking at the door, they were
immediately admitted to an outer room; in which they found the wife of the
laborer who inhabited the building, engaged in her customary morning
employments. They explained the motives of the visit, and were told that
the family they sought were in an adjoining room, but she rather thought
at that moment engaged with a clergyman who had called a quarter of an
hour before. "I expect, my lady, it's the new rector, who everybody says
is so good to the poor and needy; but I have not found time yet to go to
church to hear his reverence preach, ma'am," courtseying and handing the
fresh dusted chairs to her unexpected visitors. The ladies seated
themselves, too delicate to interrupt Francis in his sacred duties, and
were silently waiting his appearance, when a voice was distinctly heard
through the thin partition, the first note of which undeceived them as to
the character of the gardener's visitor.
"It appears then, Davis, by your own confession," said Denbigh, mildly,
but in a tone of reproof, "that your frequent acts of intemperance have at
least given ground for the steward's procuring your discharge if it has
not justified him in doing that which his duty to your common employer
"It is hard, sir," replied the man sullenly, "to be thrown on the world
with a family like mine, to make way for a younger man with but one
"It may be unfortunate for your wife and children," said Denbigh, "but
just, as respects yourself. I have already convinced you, that my
interference or reproof is not an empty one: carry the letter to the
person to whom it is directed, and I pledge you, you shall have a new
trial; and should you conduct yourself soberly, and with propriety,
continued and ample support; the second letter will gain you children
immediate admission to the school I mentioned; and I now leave you, with
an earnest injunction to remember that habits of intemperance not only
disqualify you to support those who have such great claims on your
protection, but inevitably lead to a loss of those powers which are
necessary to insure your own eternal welfare."
"May Heaven bless your honor," cried the woman, with fervor, and evidently
in tears, "both for what you have said, and what you have done. Thomas
only wants to be taken from temptation, to become a sober man again--an
honest one he has ever been, I am sure."
"I have selected a place for him," replied Denbigh "where there is no
exposure through improper companions, and everything now depends upon
himself, under Providence."
Mrs. Wilson had risen from her chair on the first intimation given by
Denbigh of his intention to go, but had paused at the door to listen to
this last speech; when beckoning her companions, she hastily withdrew,
having first made a small present to the woman of the cottage, and
requested her not to mention their having called.
"What becomes now of the comparative charity of your brother and Mr.
Denbigh, Emily?" asked Mrs. Wilson, as they gained the road on their
return homewards. Emily was not accustomed to hear any act of John
slightly spoken of without at least manifesting some emotion, which
betrayed her sisterly regard; but on the present occasion she chose to be
silent; while Grace, after waiting in expectation that her cousin would
speak, ventured to say timidly--
"I am sure, dear madam, Mr. Moseley was very liberal and the tears were in
his eyes while he gave the money. I was looking directly at them the whole
"John is compassionate by nature," continued Mrs. Wilson with an almost
imperceptible smile. "I have no doubt his sympathies were warmly enlisted
in behalf of this family and possessing much, he gave liberally. I have no
doubt he would have undergone personal privation to have relieved their
distress, and endured both pain and labor, with such an excitement before
him. But what is all that to the charity of Mr. Denbigh?"
Grace was unused to contend, and, least of all, with Mrs. Wilson; but,
unwilling to abandon John to such censure, with increased animation, she
"If bestowing freely, and feeling for the distress you relieve, be not
commendable, madam, I am sure I am ignorant what is."
"That compassion for the woes of others is beautiful in itself, and the
want of it an invariable evidence of corruption from too much, and an
ill-governed, intercourse with the world, I am willing to acknowledge, my
dear Grace," said Mrs. Wilson, kindly; "but the relief of misery, where
the heart has not undergone this hardening ordeal, is only a relief to our
own feelings: this is compassion; but Christian charity is a higher order
of duty: it enters into every sensation of the heart; disposes us to
judge, as well as to act, favorably to our fellow creatures; is deeply
seated in the sense of our own unworthiness; keeps a single eye, in its
dispensations of temporal benefits, to the everlasting happiness of the
objects of its bounty; is consistent, well regulated; in short,"--and Mrs.
Wilson's pale cheek glowed with an unusual richness of color--"it is an
humble attempt to copy after the heavenly example of our Redeemer, in
sacrificing ourselves to the welfare of others, and does and must proceed
from a love of his person, and an obedience to his mandates."
"And Mr. Denbigh, aunt," exclaimed Emily, the blood mantling to her cheeks
with a sympathetic glow, while she lost all consideration for John in the
strength of her feelings, "his charity you think to be of this
"So far, my child, as we can understand motives from the nature of the
conduct, such appears to have been the charity of Mr. Denbigh."
Grace was silenced, if not convinced; and the ladies continued their walk,
lost in their own reflections, until they reached a bend in the road which
hid the cottage from view. Emily involuntarily turned her head as they
arrived at the spot, and saw that Denbigh had approached within a few
paces of them. On joining them, he commenced his complimentary address in
such a way as convinced them the cottager had been true to the injunction
given by Mrs. Wilson. No mention was made of the gardener, and Denbigh
began a lively description of some foreign scenery, of which their present
situation reminded him. The discourse was maintained with great interest
by himself and Mrs. Wilson for the remainder of their walk.
It was yet early when they reached the parsonage, where they found John,
who had driven to the hall to breakfast, and who, instead of pursuing his
favorite amusement of shooting, laid down his gun as they entered,
observing, "It is rather soon yet for the woodcocks, and I believe I will
listen to your entertaining conversation, ladies, for the remainder of the
morning." He threw himself upon a sofa at no great distance from Grace,
and in such a position as enabled him, without rudeness, to study the
features of her lovely face, while Denbigh read aloud to the ladies
Campbell's beautiful description of wedded love, in Gertrude of Wyoming.
There was a chastened correctness in the ordinary manner of Denbigh which
wore the appearance of the influence of his reason, and a subjection of
the passions, that, if anything, gave him less interest with Emily than
had it been marked by an evidence of stronger feeling. But on the present
occasion, this objection was removed: his reading was impressive; he
dwelt on those passages which most pleased him with a warmth of eulogium
fully equal to her own undisguised sensations. In the hour occupied in the
reading this exquisite little poem, and in commenting on its merits and
sentiments, Denbigh gained more on her imagination than in all their
former intercourse. His ideas were as pure, as chastened, and almost as
vivid as those of the poet; and Emily listened to his periods with intense
attention, as they flowed from him in language as glowing as his ideas.
The poem had been first read to her by her brother, and she was surprised
to discover how she had overlooked its beauties on that occasion. Even
John acknowledged that it certainly appeared a different thing now from
what he had then thought it; but Emily had taxed his declamatory power in
the height of the pheasant season, and, somehow or other, John now
imagined that Gertrude was just such a delicate, feminine, warm-hearted
domestic girl as Grace Chatterton. As Denbigh closed the book, and entered
into a general conversation with Clara and her sister, John followed Grace
to a window, and speaking in a tone of unusual softness for him, he said--
"Do you know, Miss Chatterton, I have accepted your brother's invitation
to go into Suffolk this summer, and that you are to be plagued with me and
my pointers again?"
"Plagued, Mr. Moseley!" said Grace, in a voice even softer than his own.
"I am sure--I am sure, we none of us think you or your dogs in the least a
"Ah! Grace," and John was about to become what he had never been
before--sentimental--- when he saw the carriage of Chatterton, containing
the dowager and Catherine entering the parsonage gates.
Pshaw! _thought_ John, there comes Mother Chatterton "Ah! Grace," said
John, "there are your mother and sister returned already."
"Already!" said the young lady, and, for the first time in her life, she
felt rather unlike a dutiful child. Five minutes could have made no great
difference to her mother, and she would greatly have liked to hear what
John Moseley meant to have said; for the alteration in his manner
convinced her that his first "ah! Grace" was to have been continued in a
somewhat different language from that in which the second "ah! Grace" was
Young Moseley and her daughter, standing together at the open window,
caught the attention of Lady Chatterton the moment she got a view of the
house, and she entered with a good humor she had not felt since the
disappointment in her late expedition in behalf of Catherine; for the
gentleman she had had in view in this excursion had been taken up by
another rover, acting on her own account, and backed by a little more wit
and a good deal more money than what Kate could be fairly thought to
possess. Nothing further in that quarter offering in the way of her
occupation, she turned her horses' heads towards London, that great
theatre on which there never was a loss for actors. The salutations had
hardly passed before, turning to John, she exclaimed, with what she
intended for a most motherly smile, "What! not shooting this fine day, Mr.
Moseley? I thought you never missed a day in the season."
"It is rather early yet, my lady," said John, coolly, a little alarmed by
the expression of her countenance.
"Oh!" continued the dowager, in the same strain, "I see how it is; the
ladies have too many attractions for so gallant a young man as yourself."
Now, as Grace, her own daughter, was the only lady of the party who could
reasonably be supposed to have much influence over John's movements--a
young gentleman seldom caring as much for his own as for other people's
sisters, this may be fairly set down as a pretty broad hint of the
opinion the dowager entertained of the real state of things; and John saw
it, and Grace saw it. The former coolly replied, "Why, upon the whole, if
you will excuse the neglect, I will try a shot this fine day," In five
minutes, Carlo and Rover were both delighted. Grace kept her place at the
window, from a feeling she could not define, and of which perhaps she was
unconscious, until the gate closed, and the shrubbery hid the sportsman
from her sight, and then she withdrew to her room to weep.
Had Grace Chatterton been a particle less delicate--less retiring--blessed
with a managing mother, as she was, John Moseley would not have thought
another moment about her. But, on every occasion when the dowager made any
of her open attacks, Grace discovered so much distress, so much
unwillingness to second them, that a suspicion of a confederacy never
entered his brain. It is not to be supposed that Lady Chattelton's
manoeuvres were limited to the direct and palpable schemes we have
mentioned; no--these were the effervescence, the exuberance of her zeal;
but as is generally the case, they sufficiently proved the ground-work of
all her other machinations; none of the little artifices of such as
placing--of leaving alone--of showing similarity of tastes:--of
compliments to the gentlemen, were neglected.--This latter business she
had contrived to get Catherine to take off her hands; but Grace could
never pay a compliment in her life, unless changing of color, trembling,
undulations of the bosom, and such natural movements can be so called; but
she loved dearly to receive them from John Moseley.
"Well, my child," said the mother, as she seated herself by the side of
her daughter, who hastily endeavored to conceal her tears, "when are we to
have another wedding? I trust everything is settled between you and Mr.
Moseley, by this time."
"Mother! Mother!" said Grace, nearly gasping for breath, "Mother, you
will break my heart, indeed you will." She hid her face in the clothes of
the bed by which she sat, and wept with a feeling of despair.
"Tut, my dear," replied the dowager, not noticing her anguish, or
mistaking it for a girlish shame, "you young people are fools in these
matters, but Sir Edward and myself will arrange everything as it should
The daughter now not only looked up, but sprang from her seat, her hands
clasped together, her eyes fixed in horror, her cheek pale as death; but
the mother had retired, and Grace sank back into her chair with a
sensation of disgrace, of despair, which could not have been surpassed,
had she really merited the obloquy and shame which she thought were about
to be heaped upon her.
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