Poems & Short Stories: 4,271
Forum Members: 70,634
Forum Posts: 1,033,546
And over 2 million unique readers monthly!
The summer and autumn passed after my return from Paris, and
brought no changes with them which need be noticed here. We lived
so simply and quietly that the income which I was now steadily
earning sufficed for all our wants.
In the February of the new year our first child was born--a son.
My mother and sister and Mrs. Vesey were our guests at the little
christening party, and Mrs. Clements was present to assist my wife
on the same occasion. Marian was our boy's godmother, and Pesca
and Mr. Gilmore (the latter acting by proxy) were his godfathers.
I may add here that when Mr. Gilmore returned to us a year later
he assisted the design of these pages, at my request, by writing
the Narrative which appears early in the story under his name, and
which, though first in order of precedence, was thus, in order of
time, the last that I received.
The only event in our lives which now remains to be recorded,
occurred when our little Walter was six months old.
At that time I was sent to Ireland to make sketches for certain
forthcoming illustrations in the newspaper to which I was
attached. I was away for nearly a fortnight, corresponding
regularly with my wife and Marian, except during the last three
days of my absence, when my movements were too uncertain to enable
me to receive letters. I performed the latter part of my journey
back at night, and when I reached home in the morning, to my utter
astonishment there was no one to receive me. Laura and Marian and
the child had left the house on the day before my return.
A note from my wife, which was given to me by the servant, only
increased my surprise, by informing me that they had gone to
Limmeridge House. Marian had prohibited any attempt at written
explanations--I was entreated to follow them the moment I came
back--complete enlightenment awaited me on my arrival in
Cumberland--and I was forbidden to feel the slightest anxiety in
the meantime. There the note ended. It was still early enough to
catch the morning train. I reached Limmeridge House the same
My wife and Marian were both upstairs. They had established
themselves (by way of completing my amazement) in the little room
which had been once assigned to me for a studio, when I was
employed on Mr. Fairlie's drawings. On the very chair which I
used to occupy when I was at work Marian was sitting now, with the
child industriously sucking his coral upon her lap--while Laura
was standing by the well-remembered drawing-table which I had so
often used, with the little album that I had filled for her in
past times open under her hand.
"What in the name of heaven has brought you here?" I asked. "Does
Mr. Fairlie know----?"
Marian suspended the question on my lips by telling me that Mr.
Fairlie was dead. He had been struck by paralysis, and had never
rallied after the shock. Mr. Kyrle had informed them of his
death, and had advised them to proceed immediately to Limmeridge
Some dim perception of a great change dawned on my mind. Laura
spoke before I had quite realised it. She stole close to me to
enjoy the surprise which was still expressed in my face.
"My darling Walter," she said, "must we really account for our
boldness in coming here? I am afraid, love, I can only explain it
by breaking through our rule, and referring to the past."
"There is not the least necessity for doing anything of the kind,"
said Marian. "We can be just as explicit, and much more
interesting, by referring to the future." She rose and held up the
child kicking and crowing in her arms. "Do you know who this is,
Walter?" she asked, with bright tears of happiness gathering in
"Even MY bewilderment has its limits," I replied. "I think I can
still answer for knowing my own child."
"Child!" she exclaimed, with all her easy gaiety of old times.
"Do you talk in that familiar manner of one of the landed gentry
of England? Are you aware, when I present this illustrious baby to
your notice, in whose presence you stand? Evidently not! Let me
make two eminent personages known to one another: Mr. Walter
Hartright--THE HEIR OF LIMMERIDGE."
So she spoke. In writing those last words, I have written all.
The pen falters in my hand. The long, happy labour of many months
is over. Marian was the good angel of our lives--let Marian end
|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.