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round her face, make it very evident heir, so that Margaret is actually twothat Mrs Vivian of the Grange is the and-twenty at this present writing, Squire's mother, and no longer, what and Elizabeth full two years older she has been for thirty years, the -a state of matters very dreadful in Squire's wife. The easy-chair is by the estimation of wild pretty sevenno means a low chair, and the foot teen-year old Sophy, who lies on the stool is rather higher than usual, from carpet playing with the oldest and which you may divine that this repre. shaggiest of greyhounds, a privisentative of domestic sovereignty is a leged visitor of the drawing-room. very little woman. Little in stature, There is no mistake about Sophy's though by means of high heels and sunny eyes and golden hair, ber lilies other innocent devices this good and roses of sweet complexion, and gentlewoman makes the most of her gay simplicity of heart ; her what she has,--and most becomingly mother has had no difficulty in findlittle are those lady-like and delicate ing ont hosts of kindred whom hands, and the small feet which Mrs she resembles, and Sophy is the Vivian slippers so handsomely. As family darling, the beloved of the nimble as they are small, you would house. never fancy these active fingers had The heir has not quite attained bis seen fifty years' good service, nor majority. Yonder he sits in his this alert little figure travelled the father's chair reading the newspaper, ways of mortal care so long. Mrs which was his father's oracle, and Vivian will tell you that she has absorbed with a young man's eagerhad “her own share" of trouble, but ness in the political news of the day; for all that there is not a lighter foot an impatient start and “pshaw” now in the household than belongs to the and then, tempts one to suspect that mother of all.
Philip Vivian does not quite feel the At the table near her sits a stately force of bis father's principles ; but personage, whom it is a perpetual the dreadful thought has not yet wonder to Mrs Vivian, and all Mrs dawned upon his mother, who looks Vivian's friends, to call her first-born. up at him now and then with motherly Five feet ten at the smallest measure, admiration, thinking, with a smile upon with the bearing, as she has the her kind lip, and some upshed tears manner, of a princess ! Elizabeth about her heart, how well he fills his Vivian could carry ber mother under father's place, and what credit he does her arm like a child. And then to his father's name. Elizabeth's great dark liquid eyes, Still another member of the family, her hair so very dark brown that the whose age is half-way between the universal opinion calls it black, her ages of Philip and of Sophy, has a lofty features, and her air of uncon- corner and a writing-table to himself. scious queenliness, which neither This son is the least handsome of the comes from the good Saxon Squire, whole, though his eyes are finer than who has slept at rest for two years Elizabeth's, and his head a nobler now in the chancel of Briarford bead than even that lofty one, clusChurch, nor from the little brisk tered all over with rich brown curls, mother who sits by her side-whence which Philip carries like a young did they spring, those stately beauties? prince. But a great deal of frolic and But no one can explain the mystery, mischief are lurking in Percy Vivian's and Elizabeth's mother consoles her- eye, and he has a doubtful wavering self with the resemblance of mind smile, which is sometimes so very which her daughter bears to various bright and tender, sometimes so scornmembers of the family ; and, very ful, sometimes as pensive and sad as proud of her daughter's distinguished Margaret's. Everybody knows he is looks and singular grace, manages to very clever, but what more he is nobe content.
body does very well know. Busily knitting a purse at the win- Are these all ? Still one little perdow is Margaret, a pensive beauty, sonage remains yonder coiled up in a just touched with sentimentalism. corner, embracing a book; a girl of Both these young ladies have had the fourteen, in the angular development evil fortune to be born older than the peculiar to her age, which may turn ont either ugly or beautiful for any. her caprices, laughed at for her thing that can be prophesied. Not romantic fancies, and permitted more such a little personage either,-half of her own way than is perhaps quite a head taller than Aunt Vivian, with good for her, Zaidee, in her character long arms, long fingers, long hair, and as pet, never comes at all in Sophy's eyes that shine in fitful brightness— way. Pretty, good, wild, merry eyes that, shadowed by Zaidee's long Sophy, it is easy to laugh at, to eye-lashes, are stars never visible to caress, to spoil her—but nobody wonstrangers. Percy says these same ders at her or her devices, and her eyes are liable to eclipse any day if cousin and she have quite a different but a new book arrives, or an old one standing-ground. is discovered ; but Zaidee, with her Thus dwelling in old-fashioned odd name, her odd ways, and her comfort, and thus grouped in their girlish romance, has a supreme con- bright sitting room, Mrs Vivian, as tempt for Percy's wickedness. A best becomes her, is the first to speak; poor little portionless orphan cousin, but as it does not become a lady of heretofore the plaything, now the Mrs Vivian's importance to come after wonder and favourite of the house, so long a monologue of her obscure endowed with every nickname into historian, we will turn another leaf, which her own very unusual name and transfer to another chapter what can be twisted, iudulged in most of Mrs Vivian says.
CHAPTER 11.-A FAMILY PARLIAMENT.
And this is what Mrs Vivian says— in the parish could not dance out a
“I wish you would put down your gale there on the lawn ;-what do you paper, Philip ; I do wish, Percy, you think, mamma?—and as for a tent, would be done with that perpetual you know,-and they must have a scribbling; and, Elizabeth, just put tent to dine in-you couldn't put up those accounts aside-lay them in my such a thing for the wind-mamma, room; I'll get through them in half do you hear ?" the time. Where is Margaret ? Come Percy, in his capacity of minhere, all of you, children, and tell me strel, singing the birthday ode to the what we are to do when Philip comes assembled retainers,” said the heir ; of age.”
a great idea, mother ; two public “Oh, mamma, such a dance we events in the family in one day-the adcould have in the hall,” cried Sophy, vent of a poet, and my coming of age.” deserting her shaggy playfellow. “Now, boys, be quiet,” said the Sopby had a true genius for advice, mother; "nobody looks for good sense and never failed to be first in a family from you ;- in household matters, consultation.
Philip, ladies are the only judges; but “ I should think now a great dinner though you cannot suggest, you may of our large tenantry,” said Percy, listen and advise. I dou't say I have " with illuminations in our metropolis not my own plans ; but, girls, speak of Briarford, and a rustic ball out of out—let me hear yours." doorg. Eh, Philip? and the mightiest “Yes ; but what about the tent, beer-barrel in the country broached mamma, and the ball out of doors ?" for the occasion, and a holocaust of said Sophy, who was somewhat perthe great os—there's a festival for tinacious, and never rejected a propoyou—like a good old English gentle- sition without a fair discussion of its man. Don't you think so, mother?” merits.
“ A rustic ball out of doors ?-but “Nonsense, child," cried the brick then everybody would be blown away; old lady. “Now, Elizabeth, what unless, indeed, it could be in mam. have you to say?" ma's flower-garden,” said Sophy, “ Only that I hope you will all taking the matter into serious but make up your minds to something somewhat dismayed consideration ; very pleasant, mamma,” said the " for Philip's birthday is in Novemqueenly beauty, with the sweetest of ber; and I'm sure the heaviest man gentle voices, and an air that made
her almost childish words quite ma- eat, and as much ale as everybody jestic; " and then you may be sure liked—that is to say, not too much," I will do all I can to carry it out." said Sophy, correcting herself, " or it
It seemed that every one was quite would be no pleasure ; and cakes, and prepared for this speech-that nobody apples, and oranges for the children, had the slightest expectation of a and perhaps some little ribbons, or suggestion from Elizabeth ; for, be. books, or things to give away. Then, fore she finished speaking, her mother when they were all merry, we could had turned to the next in succession send them home; and I suppose there on the family roll.
would have to be somebody to din. “Oh, I think we could do the ner; and then, after that, we could hall like what it might be two hun- do what Margaret says, and dress up dred years ago," cried Margaret, the ball, and as much tapestry and eagerly ; “and put John and the as many old-fashioned things as any; maids into those old livery dresses, body cares for; and musicians, and and go into costume ourselves; and a proper great ball. Oh, mamma! then Philip could sit in the old chair where is one to see such a thing, unof state, with the old tapestry hang- less it is at home ?—and you that went ings round bim, and receive all the to so many when you were young, and guests, like an old couptry baron, as we that never see anything but Briarour forefathers were; and the great ford and the Grange; - Mamma! old table, and the silver flagons, mo. don't you hear what I say?" ther; and all our ancestral things that "If you've all finished," said Mrs nobody ever uses; and then, you Vivian, quietly, without any special know, after dinner we could take off response to this pathetic appeal, our dresses, and come into the draw. “ I'll tell you what I've fixed upon ing-room and have Mr Powis to read myself." poetry to us, and as much music as A solemn silence ensued-an exwe can muster, and Percy's ode--and tremely brief one; and after this so end the evening with an intellec- full stop the authoritative tones retual party like what one reads of. If sumed you would only all make an effort, I “ In the first place, we'll have a am sure we could do it if we tried."
party to dinner-8 larger party than “ And have no dance at all;—10. we have ever had since you rememthing but songs and stupid verses, ber ;-and you can get pen and ink, and talking of books no one cares Elizabeth, and put down the names. about,” said the disappointed Sophy. In the evening, we'll ask all the "Don't yield, mamma ; oh, don't young people you know. I won't be give up the tent, Percy i I would ra- 80 particular as usual, Sophy ; everyther have a game at romps with all body that is at all presentable may the children in Briarford ;-an intellec- come; and any decoration that is tual party !-don't, mamma!" reasonable I won't object to in the
" I object to going into costume ball; and you can dance as long as myself," said Philip, laughing." All you like, ör till your company are very well for you, girls ; but you may tired. Somebody can look up an alas well recollect that this should be manac, and see if it will be moonthe beginning of all manner of sobrie- light for the guests going home. The ties to me."
twenty-fifth of November, Percy ; Do “Now, mamma, if you would only one need forget the day. Of course, hear me speak,” said Sophy, with a Philip's guardian will stay a few slight air of injury ;—" but everybody days, and probably have some of his is always asked before me, as if it was family with him; and your uncle my fault that I am the youngest. I Blundell
, and a few old friends, will think we should have all the Briar- do the same.
You shall choose new ford people up here early-they could dresses for yourselves, girls — the come with a procession and music, if whole of you. Philip can give the they liked ; and, if it was not very Briarford children a feast next day, if windy, the band could play upon the he likes ; and nobody shall want å lawn ; and then they might all come glass of ale. So, now I've told you into the house, and have something to what I mean to do ; and if anybody
has any improvement to make, I'll be “ Zaidee Vivian, laggard and last very glad to hear it now."
in all the alphabets," said Percy, so"I wonder what's the use," said lemnly; "your vote and advice are reSopby, half indignantly ; " I do won- quired in a family council. True, my der what's the use of asking people, mother's mind is made up already ; when mamma has made up her mind nevertheless, the moment of deliberaall the while !"
tion is not yet over, and now is your “ And I wonder, for my part," said latest time." Percy, “how, after all our valu- “ We are all about agreed, Zay," able suggestions, my mother should interposed Sophy. “We are to have hit on so commonplace a plan, which a ball at night, and a dinner party. any one might have foreseen from I don't mind that so much, considering the first; and still more do I wonder what comes after-and we're all to how my mother can pretend to have bave new dresses-s0 I don't see that consulted everybody, when yonder there's anything to consult about now; lies X, Y, Z, coiled in her corner, for Percy's tent, you know, on the and not a word of wisdom required twenty-fifth of November, and on our from her."
lawn, the windiest hill in Cheshire ! “Oh, Zaidee ? she would like some- was quite impossible; and a feast thing picturesque as much as I would," next day to all the children, and the said Margaret.
hall as fine as we can make it: I think And there immediately rose a cho- mamma is the best planner, after all; rus of calls—“ Zed! Zed !" from Phi- and there's nothing more to say." lip, an impatient “Zay !" from Sophy, “ Zaidee, you're to tell me what and the soft, quick " Zaidee, child I” you think we should have on Philip's distinct and authoritative, which came birthday, when he comes of age," said from the head of the house.
Mrs Vivian—"that's the questionZaidee's ears were as quick as a sa- never mind what Sophy says." vage's—buried in her book as she “Philip's birthday ? Oh, I know seemed: those delicate organs bad what I should like," cried Zaidee caught the first breath of Percy's al- eagerly, twining her long fingers into lusion, and perfectly apprehended all Sermo's shaggy locks; “but it's no that followed. Now she put down good trying, Aunt Vivian, not the her book very swiftly and silently, least; I could not do it, you know." and coming forward, stole into her “Couldn't do what, child ? " place, by the sbaggy side of Sérmoni. A great flush of violent colour overcus-called Sermo “ for short,” and spread poor Zaidee's cheeks. The famed as the wisest and gravest warm blood seemed to press, throbbing hound between the Mersey and the and swelling, under the thin and transDee. Sermo sat, very silent and de- parent texture which still owned the liberative, sweeping with his shaggy sunburning. “If I could only make forelocks the footstool of his mistress, anything, or find anything-no, findand between the ashy fawn colour of ing would not do—if I only had anySermo's profile, and ihe white marble thing in the world that would please of the mantelpiece, Zaidee interposed Philip on his birthday!” her kneeling person-long, lithe, and Philip bent forward to hear the slender. The strange quick changes words so rapid and hurried in their of attitude into wbich Zaidee threw delivery. Zed! what a foolish this elastic figure of hers were the cbild !" cried the heir, with a little wonder of every observer; in the moisture in his eyes. Mrs Vivian mean time, Zaidee knelt by the fire- said nothing. She only put her little side in perfect stillness ;-her dark white hand on Zaidee's dark hair, to hair, her plain, dark, girlish dress, smooth down those locks which, to and complexion pot recovered from a tell the truth, were seldom out of need summer's browning, standing out of smoothing, - and stretching over clear against the marble ; while her- Sermo for this purpose, rested her self waited to be interrogated, and arm on Sermo's patriarchal and most hear the cause of her summons, in reverend head. breathless restrained impatience to “Oh, we'll all have our presentsreturn to her book.
no fear. Zaidee, you can make some