« AnteriorContinuar »
pleasure, and that they may lament it. Were they more influenced by real religion, instead of being interested merely in its outward profession, I think they could find it possible to make their purchases elsewhere. As it is, as I never wish to stretch my prerogative, I have only given them my sentiments and advice, and if they still wished to persevere. I left them to do so.'
Oh, dear papa, you must not be so uneasy about John; I hope nothing will happen. And Kate did want so many things, she has begged me to go down to the house the day after to-morrow, to see all her preparations for housekeeping. And saying this, Nanny rose and asked me to walk.
The next morning, seated on a low-back car-do my English readers know what that is? It is a vehicle which I cannot well describe, not being accustomed to such descriptions, except as a combination of planks forming almost a plane, with the exception of a slight ascent at the upper part between the shafts, and mounted on two low heavy wheels, and without sides or rests for the feet: on this, on state occasions, a bed of feathers, or of chaff, as the case may be, is placed, covered over with a fine patchwork quilt, and the women sit upon it in all directions, round the side, at the foot, and gathered up in the middle, which is the portion selected by the merriest of the party. The driver, usually a boy, either sits on the horse's back, with his feet on the shaft, or on the shaft itself. You do not often see men on these cars, they generally attend them on foot, with their long heavy frieze coats drawn under one arm. Such a party there set off from the neighbourhood of the glebe ; except that it is necessary to
récord that John Tennisson did not wear his long frieze coat; that would not be at all suited to his position in society and present circumstances : he wore a blue coat with bright yellow buttons, and a waistcoat almost as bright and as yellow ; he walked behind the car with two of as ill-countenanced men as I ever saw. Nanny and I had had a very early walk, and at about six o'clock looked down from a high bank upon the party ; Kate Connolly, who was seated on the car very gaily dressed, looked up and smiled, and the men touched their hats.
The rector was so engaged that day, in consequence of the absence of his right hand man, that we never saw him after an earlier breakfast than usual. Nanny took me out on a long visit to a clerical family at a distance; and on our return in the evening, we found the rector had brought home a young gentleman whom he had met, a student from Oxford, for whom he claimed his daughter's hospitality for some days.
The next morning Nanny was called from the breakfast-room as soon as she made her appearance ; and on returning she held her hands between her face and her father, saying in a most rueful tone, • Oh, poor papa, wbat will become of you!'
• What is the matter child?'.
• Why, as John did not come this morning, George very considerately sent down to widow Connolly's, to ask if they had come back, and Kate sent word, that before she left the fair he had heard that his new landlord was staying at a place about six miles from it, and so he sent her home, and went on there to see him, and desired her to say, that if he was too late he would sleep at the place he was going to, and be here as early as he could this morning; but he told her, if he was not here early, to send to beg you to excuse him, as in that case he could not see his landlord until this morning, and therefore could not be here until twelve o'clock.'
This account appeared satisfactory; and I believe the good rector was really glad to hear that this very useful John Tennisson, for whom he certainly felt much interest, was quite out of harm's way.'
Our breakfast party was more animated than ever ; but though in accordance with my very faulty practice, I kept it together as long as I could, it was finally broken up, as Nanny had some household affairs to attend to, and, I suspected, also to inspect her foster-sister's purchases, and advise her thereupon. I was consigned to the library for the chief part of the morning.
When we met at dinner, I could not possibly imagine what had occurred to make our good rector so unlike what he had been a few hours before. His usual ruddy complexion was quite gone, he eat as if unconsciously, then pushed away the plate, and seemed ready to groan aloud. I was very uneasy, and I fancied the servant looked as if he was possessed of some painful intelligence; but before the meal was quite ended, Nanny, whom Mr. Hastings had engrossed in a dissertation on spinning, a subject which interested her at least as much as the young Oxonian, discovered the cause of my inquietude, and though she made no inquiries at the moment, appeared fully to share it. As soon as the servant had withdrawn, she rose, and approaching her father, leaned over his chair with her hand in his, and a face as pale- What is the matter, papa?'
He did not reply.
• Yes, my child, I intended to tell you after dinner.'
• What is it?' said Nanny-Mamma!'-and she sank down on the chair from which Mr. Hastings
Oh, no, my love. I have here alarmed you too much ; but to me this is a most distressing affair : a murder was committed last night.'
• Who, papa?'
"A man I fear ill prepared for his end-Pat Delany.'
· Unfortunate man! but I was so alarmed-I expected worse, though I could not think what. Is it known who caused his death?'
Ah, my poor girl, that will be the worst part of the story for you to hear. John Tennisson is charged with the crime, and lodged in gaol.'
[We have been assured by the author of this tale, that
the leading events did actually occur within her own knowledge, not many years since, in Ireland.-ED.
SUGGESTED BY PSALM XLII. 5.
“ Almighty God-cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration
of thy Holy Spirit.”-Prayer before the Communion Service.
As thoughts of sore unmingled pain
For wayward fancy loves to brood