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"You are welcome, Sir Edward," said the venerable rector, as he took the
baronet by the hand; "I was fearful a return of your rheumatism would
deprive us of this pleasure, and prevent my making you acquainted with the
new occupants of the deanery, who have consented to dine with us to-day,
and to whom I have promised, in particular, an introduction to Sir Edward
"I thank you, my dear doctor," rejoined the baronet; "I have not only come
myself, but have persuaded Mr. Benfield to make one of the party; there he
comes, leaning on Emily's arm, and finding fault with Mrs. Wilson's
new-fashioned barouche, which he says has given him cold."
The rector received the unexpected guest with the kindness of his nature,
and an inward smile at the incongruous assemblage he was likely to have
around him by the arrival of the Jarvis's, who, at that moment, drove to
his door. The introductions between the baronet and the new comers had
passed, and Miss Jarvis had made a prettily worded apology on behalf of
the colonel, who was not yet well enough to come out, but whose politeness
had insisted on their not remaining a home on his account, as Mr.
Benfield, having composedly put on his spectacles, walked deliberately up
to the place where the merchant had seated himself, and having examined
him through his glasses to his satisfaction, took them off, and carefully
wiping them, he began to talk to himself as he put them into his
pocket--"No, no; it's not Jack, the hackney coachman, nor my Lord
Gosford's gentleman, but"--cordially holding out both hands, "it's the
man who saved my twenty thousand pounds."
Mr. Jarvis, whom shame and embarrassment had kept silent during this
examination, exchanged greetings sincerely with his old acquaintance, who
now took a seat in silence by his side; while his wife, whose face had
begun to kindle with indignation at the commencement of the old
gentleman's soliloquy, observing that somehow or other it had not only
terminated without degradation to her spouse, but with something like
credit, turned complacently to Mrs. Ives, with an apology for the absence
of her son.
"I cannot divine, ma'am, where he has got to; he is ever keeping us
waiting for him;" and, addressing Jane, "these military men become so
unsettled in their habits, that I often tell Harry he should never quit
"In Hyde Park, you should add, my dear, for he has never been in any
other," bluntly observed her husband.
To this speech no reply was made, but it was evidently little relished by
the ladies of the family, who were a good deal jealous of the laurels of
the only hero their race had ever produced. The arrival and introduction
of the captain himself changed the discourse, which turned on the comforts
of their present residence.
"Pray, my lady," cried the captain, who had taken a chair familiarly by
the side of the baronet's wife, "why is the house called the deanery? I am
afraid I shall be taken for a son of the church, when I invite my friends
to visit my father at the deanery."
"But you may add, at the same time, sir, if you please," dryly remarked
Mr. Jarvis, "that it is occupied by an old man, who has been preaching and
lecturing all his life; and, like others of the trade, I believe, in
"You must except our good friend, the doctor here, at least, sir," said
Mrs. Wilson; who, observing that her sister shrank from a familiarity she
was unused to, took upon herself the office of replying to the captain's
question: "The father of the present Sir William Harris held that station
in the church, and although the house was his private property it took its
name from the circumstance, which has been continued ever since."
"Is it not a droll life Sir William leads," cried Miss Jarvis, looking at
John Moseley, "riding about all summer from one watering-place to another,
and letting his house year after year in the manner he does?"
"Sir William," said Dr. Ives, gravely, "is devoted to his laughter's
wishes; and since his accession to his title, has come into possession of
another residence in an adjoining county, which, I believe, he retains in
his own hands."
"Are you acquainted with Miss Harris?" continued the lady, addressing
herself to Clara; though, without waiting for an answer, she added, "She
is a great belle--all the gentlemen are dying for her."
"Or her fortune," said her sister, with a pretty toss of the head; "for my
part, I never could see anything so captivating in her, although so much
is said about her at Bath and Brighton."
"You know her then," mildly observed Clara.
"Why, I cannot say--we are exactly acquainted," the young lady
hesitatingly answered, coloring violently.
"What do you mean by exactly acquainted, Sally?" put in the father with a
laugh; "did you ever speak to or were you ever in a room with her, in your
life, unless it might be at a concert or a ball?"
The mortification of Miss Sarah was too evident for concealment, and it
happily was relieved by a summons to dinner.
"Never, my dear child," said Mrs. Wilson to Emily, the aunt being fond of
introducing a moral from the occasional incidents of every-day life,
"never subject yourself to a similar mortification, by commenting on the
characters of those you don't know: ignorance makes you liable to great
errors; and if they should happen to be above you in life, it will only
excite their contempt, should it reach their ears, while those to whom
your remarks are made will think it envy."
"Truth is sometimes blundered on," whispered John, who held his sister's
arm, waiting for his aunt to precede them to the dining-room.
The merchant paid too great a compliment to the rector's dinner to think
of renewing the disagreeable conversation, and as John Moseley and the
young clergyman were seated next the two ladies, they soon forgot what,
among themselves, they would call their father's rudeness, in receiving
the attentions of a couple of remarkably agreeable young men.
"Pray, Mr. Francis, when do you preach for us?" asked Mr. Haughton; "I'm
very anxious to hear you hold forth from the pulpit, where I have so often
heard your father with pleasure: I doubt not you will prove orthodox, or
you will be the only man, I believe, in the congregation, the rector has
left in ignorance of the theory of our religion, at least."
The doctor bowed to the compliment, as he replied to the question for his
son, that on the next Sunday they were to have the pleasure of hearing
Frank, who had promised to assist him on that day.
"Any prospects of a living soon?" continued Mr. Haughton, helping himself
bountifully to a piece of plum pudding as he spoke. John Moseley laughed
aloud, and Clara blushed to the eyes, while the doctor, turning to Sir
Edward, observed with an air of interest, "Sir Edward, the living of
Bolton is vacant, and I should like exceedingly to obtain it for my son.
The advowson belongs to the Earl, who will dispose of it only to great
interest, I am afraid."
Clara was certainly, too busily occupied in picking raisins from her
pudding to hear this remark, but accidentally stole, from under her long
eyelashes, a timid glance at her father as he replied:
"I am sorry, my friend, I have not sufficient interest with his lordship
to apply on my own account; but he is so seldom here, we are barely
acquainted;" and the good baronet looked really concerned.
"Clara," said Francis Ives in a low and affectionate tone, "have you read
the books I sent you?"
Clara answered him with a smile in the negative, but promised amendment as
soon as she had leisure.
"Do you ride much, on horseback, Mr. Moseley?" abruptly asked Miss Sarah,
turning her back on the young divine, and facing the gentleman she
addressed. John, who was now hemmed in between the sisters, replied with a
rueful expression that brought a smile into the face of Emily, who was
placed opposite to him--
"Yes, ma'am, and sometimes I am ridden."
"Ridden, sir, what do you mean by that?"
"Oh! only my aunt there occasionally gives me a lecture."
"I understand," said the lady, pointing slily with her finger at her own
"Does it feel good?" John inquired, with a look of, great sympathy. But
the lady, who now felt awkwardly, without knowing exactly why, shook her
head in silence, and forced a faint laugh.
"Whom have we here?" cried Captain Jarvis, who was looking out at a window
which commanded a view of the approach to the house--"the apothecary and
his attendant judging from the equipage."
The rector threw an inquiring look on a servant, who told his master they
were strangers to him.
"Have them shown up, doctor," cried the benevolent baronet, who loved to
see every one as happy as himself, "and give them some of your excellent
pasty, for the sake of hospitality and the credit of your cook, I beg of
As this request was politely seconded by others of the party, the rector
ordered his servants to show in the strangers.
On opening the parlor door, a gentleman, apparently sixty years of age,
appeared, leaning on the arm of a youth of five-and-twenty. There was
sufficient resemblance between the two for the most indifferent observer
to pronounce them father and son; but the helpless debility and emaciated
figure of the former, were finely contrasted by the vigorous health and
manly beauty of the latter, who supported his venerable parent into the
room with a grace and tenderness that struck most of the beholders with a
sensation of pleasure. The doctor and Mrs. Ives rose from their seats
involuntarily, and each stood for a moment, lost in an astonishment that
was mingled with grief. Recollecting himself, the rector grasped the
extended hand of the senior in both his own, and endeavored to utter
something, but in vain. The tears followed each other down his cheeks, as
he looked on the faded and careworn figure which stood before him; while
his wife, unable to control her feelings, sank back into a chair and wept
Throwing open the door of an adjoining room, and retaining the hand of the
invalid, the doctor gently led the way, followed by his wife and son. The
former, having recovered from the first burst of her sorrow, and
regardless of everything else, now anxiously watched the enfeebled step of
the stranger. On reaching the door, they both turned and bowed to the
company in a manner of so much dignity, mingled with sweetness, that all,
not excepting Mr. Benfield, rose from their seats to return the
salutation. On passing from the dining parlor, the door was closed,
leaving the company standing round the table in mute astonishment and
commiseration. Not a word had been spoken, and the rector's family had
left them without apology or explanation. Francis, however soon returned,
and was followed in a few minutes by his mother, who, slightly apologizing
for her absence, turned the discourse on the approaching Sunday, and the
intention of Francis to preach on that day. The Moseleys were too well
bred to make any inquiries, and the deanery family was afraid. Sir Edward
retired at a very early hour, and was followed by the remainder of the
"Well," cried Mrs. Jarvis, as they drove from the door, "this may be good
breeding, but, for my part, I think both the doctor and Mrs. Ives behaved
very rudely, with the crying and sobbing."
"They are nobody of much consequence," cried her eldest daughter, casting
a contemptuous glance on a plain travelling chaise which stood before the
"'Twas sickening," said Miss Sarah, with a shrug; while her father,
turning his eyes on each speaker in succession, very deliberately helped
himself to a pinch of snuff, his ordinary recourse against a family
quarrel. The curiosity of the ladies was, however, more lively than they
chose to avow and Mrs. Jarvis bade her maid go over to the rectory that
evening, with her compliments to Mrs. Ives; she had lost a lace veil,
which her maid knew, and she thought it might have been left at the
"And, Jones, when you are there, you can inquire of the servants; mind, of
the servants--I would not distress Mrs. Ives for the world; how
Mr.--Mr.--what's his name--Oh!--I have forgotten his name; just bring me
his name too. Jones; and, as it may make some difference in our party,
just find out how long they stay; and--and--- any other little thing,
Jones, which can be of use, you know."
Off went Jones, and within an hour she had returned. With an important
look, she commenced her narrative, the daughters being accidentally
present, and it might be on purpose.
"Why, ma'am, I went across the fields, and William was good enough to go
with me; so when we got there, I rang, and they showed us into the
servants' room, and I gave my message, and the veil was not there. Why,
ma'am, there's the veil now, on the back o' that chair."
"Very well, very well, Jones, never mind the veil," cried the impatient
"So, ma'am, while they were looking for the veil, I just asked one of the
maids, what company had arrived, but"--(here Jones looked very suspicious,
and shook her head ominously:) "would you think it, ma'am, not a soul of
them knew! But, ma'am, there was the doctor and his son, praying and
reading with the old gentleman the whole time--and"--
"And what, Jones?"
"Why, ma'am, I expect he has been a great sinner, or he wouldn't want so
much praying just as he is about to die."
"Die!" cried all three at once: "will he die?"
"O yes," continued Jones, "they all agree he must die; but this praying so
much, is just like the criminals. I'm sure no honest person needs so much
"No, indeed," said the mother. "No, indeed," responded the daughters, as
they retired to their several rooms for the night.
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