Poems & Short Stories: 4,435
Forum Members: 67,986
Forum Posts: 1,216,101
And over 2 million unique readers monthly!
The following morning, Emily and Grace, declining the invitation to join
the colonel and John in their usual rides, walked to the rectory,
accompanied by Mrs. Wilson and Chatterton. The ladies felt a desire to
witness the happiness that they so well knew reigned in the rectory, for
Francis had promised his father to drive Clara over in the course of the
day. Emily longed to see Clara, from whom it appeared that she had been
already separated a month. Her impatience as they approached the house
hurried her ahead of her companions, who waited the more sober gait of
Mrs. Wilson. She entered the parlor at the rectory without meeting any
one, glowing with exercise, her hair falling over her shoulders, released
from the confinement of the hat she had thrown down hastily as she reached
the door. In the room there stood a gentleman in deep black, with his back
towards the entrance, intent on a book, and she naturally concluded it was
"Where is dear Clara, Frank?" cried the beautiful girl, faying her hand
affectionately on his shoulder.
The gentleman turned suddenly, and presented to her astonished gaze the
well remembered countenance of the young man whose parent's death was not
likely to be forgotten at B----.
"I thought, sir," said Emily, almost sinking with confusion, "that Mr.
"Your brother 'has not yet arrived, Miss Moseley," simply replied the
stranger, who felt for her embarrassment. "But I will immediately
acquaint Mrs. Ives with your visit." Bowing, he delicately left the room.
Emily, who felt greatly relieved by his manner, immediately confined her
hair in its proper bounds, and had recovered her composure by the time her
aunt and friends joined her. She had not time to mention the incident, and
laughed at her own precipitation, when the rector's wife came into the
Chatterton and his sister were both known to Mrs. Ives, and both were
favorites. She was pleased to see them, and after reproaching the brother
with compelling her son to ask a favor of a comparative stranger, she
turned to Emily, and smilingly said--
"You found the parlor occupied, I believe?"
"Yes," said Emily, laughing and blushing, "I suppose Mr. Denbigh told you
of my heedlessness."
"He told me of your attention in calling so soon to inquire after Clara,
but said nothing more"--a servant just then telling her Francis wished to
see her, she excused herself and withdrew. In the door she met Mr.
Denbigh, who made way for her, saying, "your son has arrived, ma'am," and
in an easy but respectful manner he took his place with the guests, no
introduction passing, and none seeming necessary. His misfortunes appeared
to have made him acquainted with Mrs. Wilson, and his strikingly ingenuous
manner won insensibly on the confidence of those who heard him. Everything
was natural, yet everything was softened by education; and the little
party in the rector's parlor in fifteen minutes felt as if they had known
him for years. The doctor and his son now joined them. Clara had not come,
but she was looking forward in delightful expectation of to-morrow, and
wished greatly for Emily as a guest at the new abode. This pleasure Mrs.
Wilson promised she should have as soon as they had got over the hurry of
their visit; "our friends," she added, turning to Grace, "will overlook
the nicer punctilios of ceremony, where sisterly regard calls for the
discharge of more important duties. Clara needs the society of Emily just
"Certainly," said Grace, mildly; "I hope no useless ceremony on the part
of Emily would prevent her manifesting natural attachment to her sister--I
should feel hurt at her not entertaining a better opinion of us than to
suppose so for a moment."
"This, young ladies, is the real feeling to keep alive esteem," cried the
doctor, gaily: "go on, and say and do nothing of which either can
disapprove, when tried by the standard of duty, and you need never be
afraid of losing a friend that is worth keeping."
It was three o'clock before the carriage of Mrs. Wilson arrived at the
rectory; and the time stole away insensibly in free and friendly
communications. Denbigh had joined modestly, and with the degree of
interest a stranger might be supposed to feel, in the occurrences of a
circle to which he was nearly a stranger; there was at times a slight
display of awkwardness, however, about both him and Mrs. Ives, for which
Mrs. Wilson easily accounted by recollections of his recent loss and the
scene they had all witnessed in that very room. This embarrassment escaped
the notice of the rest of the party. On the arrival of the carriage, Mrs.
Wilson took her leave.
"I like this Mr. Denbigh greatly," said Lord Chatterton, as they drove
from the door; "there is something strikingly natural and winning in his
"In his matter too, judging of the little we have seen of him," replied
"Who is he, ma'am?"
"I rather suspect he is someway related to Mrs. Ives; her staying from
Bolton to-day must be owing to Mr. Denbigh, and as the doctor has just
gone he must be near enough to them to be neither wholly neglected nor yet
a tax upon their politeness. I rather wonder he did not go with them."
"I heard him tell Francis," remarked Emily, "that he could not think of
intruding, and he insisted on Mrs. Ives's going, but she had employments
to keep her at home."
The carriage soon reached an angle in the road where the highways between
Bolton Castle and Moseley Hall intersected each other, at a point on the
estate of the former. Mrs. Wilson stopped a moment to inquire after an
aged pensioner, who had lately met with a loss in business, which she was
fearful must have greatly distressed him. In crossing a ford in the little
river between his cottage and the market-town, the stream, which had been
swollen unexpectedly higher than usual by heavy rains, had swept away his
horse and cart loaded with the entire produce of his small field, and with
much difficulty he had saved even his own life. Mrs. Wilson had not had it
in her power until this moment to inquire particularly into the affair, or
to offer the relief she was ever ready to bestow on proper objects.
Contrary to her expectations, she found Humphreys in high spirits, showing
his delighted grand-children a new cart and horse which stood at the door,
and exultingly pointing out the excellent qualities of both. He ceased
talking on the approach of the party, and at the request of his ancient
benefactress he gave a particular account of the affair.
"And where did you get this new cart and horse, Humphreys?" inquired Mrs.
Wilson, when he had ended.
"Oh, madam, I went up to the castle to see the steward, and Mr. Martin
just mentioned my loss to Lord Pendennyss, ma'am, and my lord ordered me
this cart, ma'am, and this noble horse, and twenty golden guineas into
the bargain to put me on my legs again--God bless him for it, for ever!"
"It was very kind of his lordship, indeed," said Mrs. Wilson,
thoughtfully: "I did not know he was at the castle."
"He's gone, already, madam; the servants told me that he just called to
see the earl, on his way to Lon'on; but finding he'd went a few days agone
to Ireland my lord went for Lon'on, without stopping the night even. Ah!
madam," continued the old man, who stood leaning on a stick, with his hat
in his hand, "he's a great blessing to the poor; his servants say he gives
thousands every year to the poor who are in want--he is main rich, too;
some people say, much richer and more great like than the earl himself.
I'm sure I have need to bless him every day of my life."
Mrs. Wilson smiled mournfully as she wished Humphreys good day and put up
her purse, finding the old man so well provided for; a display or
competition in charity never entering into her system of benevolence.
"His lordship is munificent in his bounty," said Emily, as they drove from
"Does it not savor of thoughtlessness to bestow so much where he can know
so little?" Lord Chatterton ventured to inquire.
"He is," replied Mrs. Wilson, "as old Humphrey says, main rich; but the
son of the old man and the father of these children is a soldier in the
----th dragoons, of which the earl is colonel, and that accounts to me for
his liberality," recollecting, with a sigh, the feelings which had drawn
her out of the usual circle of her charities in the case of the same man.
"Did you ever see Lord Pendennyss, aunt?"
"Never, my dear; he has been much abroad, but my letters were filled with
his praises, and I confess my disappointment is great in not seeing him
on this visit to Lord Bolton who is his relation; but," fixing her eyes
thoughtfully on her niece, "we shall meet in London this winter, I trust."
As she spoke a cloud passed over her features, and she continued much
absorbed in thought for the remainder of their drive.
General Wilson had been a cavalry officer, and he commanded the very
regiment now held by Lord Pendennyss. In an excursion near the British
camp he had been rescued from captivity, if not from death, by a gallant
and timely interference of this young nobleman, then in command of a troop
in the same corps. He had mentioned the occurrence to his wife in his
letters, and from that day his correspondence was filled with the praises
of the bravery and goodness to the soldiery of his young comrade. When he
fell he had been supported from the field by, and he actually died in the
arms of the young peer. A letter announcing his death had been received by
his widow from the earl himself, and the tender and affectionate manner in
which he spoke of her husband had taken a deep hold on her affections. All
the circumstances together threw an interest around him that had made Mrs.
Wilson almost entertain the romantic wish he might be found worthy and
disposed to solicit the hand of Emily. Her anxious inquiries into his
character had been attended with such answers as flattered her wishes; but
the military duties of the earl or his private affairs had never allowed a
meeting; and she was now compelled to look forward to what John laughingly
termed their winter campaign, as the only probable place where she could
be gratified with the sight of a young man to whom she owed so much, and
whose name was connected with some of the most tender though most
melancholy recollections of her life.
Colonel Egerton, who now appeared to be almost domesticated in the
family, was again of the party at dinner, to the no small satisfaction of
the dowager, who from proper inquiries in the course of the day had
learned that Sir Edgar's heir was likely to have the necessary number of
figures in the sum total of his rental. While sitting in the drawing-room
that afternoon she made an attempt to bring her eldest daughter and the
elegant soldier together over a chess-board; a game the young lady had
been required to learn because it was one at which a gentleman could be
kept longer than any other without having his attention drawn away by any
of those straggling charms which might be travelling a drawing-room
"seeking whom they may devour." It was also a game admirably suited to the
display of a beautiful hand and arm. But the mother had for a long time
been puzzled to discover a way of bringing in the foot also, the young
lady being particularly remarkable for the beauty of that portion of the
frame. In vain her daughter hinted at dancing, an amusement of which she
was passionately fond. The wary mother knew too well the effects of
concentrated force to listen to the suggestion: dancing might do for every
manager, but she prided herself in acting _en masse_, like Napoleon, whose
tactics consisted in overwhelming by uniting his forces on a given point.
After many experiments in her own person she endeavored to improve
Catharine's manner of sitting, and by dint of twisting and turning she
contrived that her pretty foot and ankle should be thrown forward in a way
that the eye dropping from the move, should unavoidably rest on this
beauteous object; giving, as it were, a Scylla and Charybdis to her
John Moseley was the first person on whom she undertook to try the effect
of her invention; and after comfortably seating the parties she withdrew
to a little distance to watch the effect.
"Check to your king, Miss Chatterton," cried John, early in the game--and
the young lady thrust out her foot. "Check to _your_ king, Mr. Moseley,"
echoed the damsel, and John's eyes wandered from hand to foot and foot to
hand. "Check king and queen, sir."--"Check-mate."--"Did you speak?" said
John. Looking up he caught the eye of the dowager fixed on him in
triumph--"Oh, ho," said the young man, internally, "Mother Chatterton, are
you playing too?" and, coolly taking up his hat, he walked off, nor could
they ever get him seated at the game again.
"You beat me too easily, Miss Chatterton," he would say when pressed to
play, "before I have time to look up it's check-mate--excuse me."
The dowager next settled down into a more covert attack through Grace; but
here she had two to contend with: her own forces rebelled, and the war had
been protracted to the present hour with varied success, and at least
without any material captures, on one side.
Colonel Egerton entered on the duties of his dangerous undertaking with
the indifference of foolhardiness. The game was played with tolerable
ability by both parties; but no emotions, no absence of mind could be
discovered on the part of the gentleman. Feet and hands were in motion;
still the colonel played as well as usual; he had answers for all Jane's
questions, and smiles for his partner; but no check-mate could she obtain,
until wilfully throwing away an advantage he suffered the lady to win the
game. The dowager was satisfied nothing could be done with the colonel.
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.