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DR. DEANE'S GOVERNESS.

CHAPTER I.


I DO not like this title.  It should have been Dr. Deane's Children's Governess but that sounds awkward, and we English are fond of clipping out all words that are not uttered with ease.  We never say, Mrs. Richardson's Children's Governess, or Mrs. Chichester's Children's Governess,—so let it be Dr. Deane's Governess, it will save trouble.

    Dr. Deane's governess, Miss Ann Salter, was quietly seated, about three o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, by the window of a pleasant little carpeted room, which was evidently used as a schoolroom.  The sun shone in at the window; the light air was blowing in a good many petals of China roses.  Four children were playing outside, three girls and a boy, the latter about six years old, and the girls all older.

    Miss Ann Salter had a book in her hands; and I can put you in possession of her attitude at once, if you have ever seen a pretty print called 'The Governess,' by saying that precisely and exactly in the position of 'The Governess,' sat Miss Ann Salter.  If you wish to know whether she had seen the print in question, I am happy to informs you (it being my desire to oblige you with all proper information) that she had.

    But if you yourself have not seen this print, I must tell you that it represents a very pretty pensive-looking girl, sitting quite alone, with her feet upon a stool, her hands dropped on her knees, and an open letter in them.  Her hair is drawn in a braid from her cheek, and one long curl falls on her neck.  She is dressed in deep mourning, and is evidently musing over this letter from home perhaps it is from a bereaved mother.  There are globes in her room, and slates and maps, and children's dogs'-eared books; so there are in the room where Miss Ann Salter sits.  But she is not in mourning.  She is dressed in a gown of a light-brown colour, with three flounces, a stripe of blue at the edge of each, and a very pretty collar and cuffs of her own work.  It is always best to be particular in describing these little matters, because it prevents mistakes.

    The hands and feet represented in the print are unnaturally small.  Miss Ann Salter's, however, were of the usual dimensions; her hair, dressed exactly like that of 'The Governess,' was smooth, abundant, and of a somewhat sandy hue.  She had very light eyebrows and eyelashes, and her face, young, healthy, and plump as it was, had no pretensions to beauty, or even to good looks, excepting when she was laughing or looking very animated; then it was a pleasant young face enough, and as fresh as a milkmaid's.

    At the time of which we speak her face was very gently pensive, though it was a half-holiday, though she had a new book on her lap, and though it was quarter-day.

    Perhaps she had been seated twenty minutes in this position, when one of her little pupils ran up to the window, and exclaimed, 'O Miss Salter, Johnnie has got papa's great squirt, and he is squirting the roses!'  Thereupon Miss Salter started up, and in a voice a little sharp for such a pensive heroine, exclaimed, looking forth from the window, 'Johnnie, you naughty boy, bring that squirt to me immediately;' and Johnnie reluctantly approached the arbiter of his fate with a large greenhouse syringe under his arm.

    'How came you to take that asked?' Miss Salter, with impressive solemnity.

    'It was only just inside the greenhouse door,' said the chubby little culprit; 'and I've only just been squirting some bees that had got into the roses.'

    'Put it back directly,' said Miss Salter.

    'Mayn't I just squirt the rest of the water out first?' asked the boy.

    'No,' replied the governess, 'you may not; and you are not to be always saying, I only just did this and that.  It is very naughty to make excuses; put back the squirt directly where you found it.'

    Thereupon the little boy slowly turned away, and carried his stolen plaything across a well-ordered lawn, under some tall fir-trees, and along a gravel walk, till he reached a greenhouse, his governess watching him till she saw him put down the squirt and come out again.  She then withdrew her head and shoulders from the canopy of roses, clematis, and passion-flower into which she had been leaning, and at the same moment a respectable elderly servant opened the door behind her, and said, 'Master has come in, Miss Salter, and wishes to speak to you, if you please.'

    Oh, quarter-day, thought Miss Salter, and answered, 'Very well, Andrew, I will come.'

    As she approached the study door, it was opened, and three female servants issued from it.  'How painful it is,' she thought, 'to be paid my salary just at the same time that they receive their wages.  I have no doubt they know why I am summoned just now.'

    Dr. Deane was going over some accounts with an old lady who superintended his household.  He looked up pleasantly, and said, 'Sit down, Miss Salter; I thought I should have been ready for you, but you see there are more last words.—Well, Mrs. Mills, it certainly does seem a great deal to pay for meat at this time of the year, especially when there is plenty of grass.'

    'Oh, it's a shameful price; Doctor, quite shameful!  I told Curtis I was sure you would not go on with him,' said the old lady, looking quite irate.

    'What an interest Mrs. Mills takes in her stupid housekeeping!' thought Miss Salter, sitting down, and falling quite naturally into the attitude of 'The Governess.'  'Really one would have thought it was a matter of life and death to save the Doctor sixpence.'

    Dr. Deane went on with the accounts, and presently said, 'Well, Mrs. Mills, it is as you say, and we had better change our butcher.'

    'That is exactly what I expected you to say, Doctor,' proceeded Mrs. Mills.  'I said to Curtis only yesterday, "You are your own enemy, Curtis; you raise the price of meat till you either lose your customers, or induce them to make up with poultry and fish."  "Well, ma'am," said he, "I hope you will not lose me a good customer by complaining of my prices to the Doctor."  "Indeed," said I, "I shall think it my duty to mention it; I should consider myself unfaithful to my trust if I did not."'

    Thereupon followed a discussion as to what butcher should be employed; it lasted five minutes, and while they pass, and while Miss Salter still sits in the attitude of 'The Governess,' we will look about us and describe what we see.

    We see that the room is a small one, and that its floor is covered with a faded green carpet, which is all the worse for the chemical experiments made by its owner; there are many books, but they are all locked up in glass cases.  In glass cases, also, are displayed numerous skeletons of small animals, mice, moles, birds, and cats; and in trays protected by glass, lie metallic treasures and specimens of ore from the gold-fields.  Altogether the room has a cold, shut-up, and glassy effect, not at all home-like, and very much the reverse of comfortable.

    But the Doctor himself, whom we also see, looks as if he could make any room comfortable; he is a fine man with a keen black eye that seems to be always on the look-out for symptoms, a thick black eyebrow, and a thick head of iron-grey hair; he looks about fifty years of age, has regular features, a delightfully cordial smile, but an abrupt manner, and what the poor call a very out-spoken way with him.

    As his old friend, Mrs. Mills, left the room, Dr. Deane turned suddenly to Miss Salter, who straightway changed her position.

    'Miss Salter,' said he, 'you have not looked quite the thing lately.  What is it?  headache?'

    'O no, sir,' said the Governess, blushing.

    'O no, sir! why, one would think it was a shame to have the headache.  By the bye, I don't wish the children to drink any more of that beer; Andrew tells me it is quite sour,—the thunder, no doubt.  Did you drink any of it at dinner to-day?'

    'Yes, a little; but it is not particularly sour; and I am quite well, sir, indeed,' said Miss Salter, blushing more than ever, and perfectly shocked at the notion that, if she did not look 'quite the thing,' it was in consequence of drinking sour beer.

    'Then you really feel perfectly well?' asked Dr. Deane.

    'Perfectly well, I assure you, sir.'

    'Humph,' said the Doctor. 'Well, Miss Salter, you and I generally have a little conversation on quarter-day; and if you have anything to mention, or to complain of, now is the time.  My wish is, as far as I can, to meet your reasonable expectations.  Do you find that Johnnie is growing too much of a Turk for you?  I know the rogue is always in mischief.'

    'No; he is pretty good generally, I think, when he is in the schoolroom; and the little girls are very orderly.'

    'And your father and all your family are well, I know: I saw them yesterday.  Your father seemed in capital spirits—said the crops were finer than he had known them for years.  Well, Miss Salter, have you anything to remark upon?'

    Miss Salter considered, and then answered, thoughtfully, 'No, sir; there really is nothing particular to mention that I know of.'

    'Nothing that you wish altered?  Then I suppose you wish to retain your situation?'

    'If you are satisfied, Dr. Deane.'

    'I certainly do not wish that we should part.  I have found you a conscientious, good girl, and fully clever enough for my dear little dunderheads.  You neither neglect them nor overwork them.  And besides, having known you ever since you were born, and all your family having been patients of mine so many years, I naturally feel that you are likely to be more comfortable with me than a perfect stranger would be, and also that the highest testimonials would not enable me to trust a stranger as I do you.'

    An expression of great pleasure came over the face of Miss Ann Salter.  'Thank you, sir,' she said; 'I am satisfied, and much obliged to you for—for—'

    'For my good opinion, eh?' said the physician, with a smile.  'Well, but now I am going to scold.'  Miss Salter looked up rather alarmed, and blushed, with a sort of conscious look, which told plainly that she suspected what was going to be said.

    'The fact is,' proceeded Dr. Deane, 'that I should be very glad if you would try to look as you say you feel.  You have told me that the children behave reasonably well, and that you are in good health, and quite comfortable.  What I wish is, that you should appear so.  When first you came to us, and, indeed, till quite lately, you were as ready for any sort of expedition or amusement as the children themselves — such a hand at a nutting!—in such spirits at hop-picking time!  Now you walk about with your head hanging down, and have the air of appearing to think that it is quite derogatory to smile, and— Well, well, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable; but I should be glad, Miss Salter, to see you cheerful again, and, in short — contented.'

    'Contented, sir!' exclaimed Miss Salter, in a tone of astonishment and vexation.

    'Well, perhaps I am wrong—I beg your pardon if I am—I will change the word, and say, I should be glad to see you less pensive—less depressed.'

    'One cannot always prevent such feelings,' said Miss Salter, with downcast eyes.  'Depression is the result of circumstances.'

    'You are wrong, Miss Salter.'

    'Sir?'

    'I say you are mistaken.  Depression of spirits, when it is real, and when people cannot help it, comes, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, from dyspepsia, or from a disordered liver—in short, from bodily causes.'

    'Surely, sir, that is looking at it with a physician's eyes!' exclaimed Miss Salter, looking not a little vexed.

    'And that is how one must look at it who knows anything about it.  When people are in perfectly sound health, they may feel acute sorrow, deep anxiety, the keenest distress of mind, the most painful agitation—they may suffer from disappointment, from remorse, from a thousand other of "the ills that flesh is heir to," but not from that lumpish, spiritless feeling, that you and I are talking of by the name of depression, unless they are brooding over something in their lot that displeases them.  In short, what I want to say, and what I want you to reflect upon is this, that as a physician I give it you as my candid opinion, that what we now understand each other to mean by depression is either disease or discontent.'

    'I am sorry you should have thought me discontented,' observed Miss Salter, slowly, though without any appearance of ill-temper; 'but, with such a theory, sir, I do not see how you could have thought otherwise.'

    'I talk to you with more freedom,' was the reply, 'than I could do if I merely stood in the position of an employer.  I also have the superintendence of your health.  Not that it has ever caused me much anxiety: you were always a cheerful, healthy, little romping child, full of life and activity.  You came to me, and I think I may say that your natural characteristics have not been unduly restrained; indeed, your excellent spirits and love of out-of-door life, have been to me one of your chief recommendations.  Well, I was highly pleased with you, and I believed you were just as well pleased with us, till all on a sudden I happened to say to you one day, at the early dinner—(I remember it was the very day after Fanny came to stay with me)—"Will you take some more beef, Miss Salter?" and you turned your face slowly to me, and said, "No, thank you, sir," with such a pensive voice, and with such an air of patient meekness, that I declare I felt for the moment as if I must be a jailer who deprived you of your liberty, or a host that abridged you of your food.  Now I have done; and I am sure you will endeavour to alter your manner in this particular.  Here is your cheque: take it with the pleasant reflection that you have earned it well, and that I think so.'

    Now Miss Salter had an excellent temper, and considerable self-control.  Probably she felt annoyed at this plain-speaking; but if she did, she did not show it, but took her cheque, and perhaps would have said something to the effect that she would give the subject her best attention, if at that moment a knock had not been heard outside the door, which was followed by the entrance of a pretty girl, tall, slender, and yellow-haired.  She was elegantly attired in a glossy dress of light-shining silk, a graceful mantle, and a white bonnet, and as she entered she exclaimed:—

    'Uncle, the pony-chaise is coming round.  Are you ready?'

    'Yes, my dear,' said Dr. Deane.  'But stop, this is pay-day, Fanny, and I will give you your allowance.'

    'Oh, thank you, uncle!' exclaimed Fanny, shaking back her long curls.  'I am sure I shall be very thankful for it, I am so poor am I not, Annie?  Do you know, uncle, I was obliged to borrow a sovereign of Miss Salter, because you insisted on not giving me my money till quarter-day.'

    'Fanny, Fanny, you are a very extravagant child.  Why, even when people earn their money, I never pay them beforehand.  And you, you little useless, idle thing, you that are only a consumer, and not a producer, you actually want to coax me to pay you money that you never earned before the time when I agreed to pay it; and because I will not, you little drone, you go and borrow of the industrious bee.  I wonder you trusted her, Miss Salter!  There; count your money, child, and tell me whether it is right.'

    'No, uncle; one sovereign too much.'

    'Then pay your debt with it, like an honest young woman.  And now, remember that I never mean to do this again; I am "principled against it," as the Americans say.'  So saying, Dr. Deane bustled out of the room, leaving the two girls together.

    'Here is your sovereign, dear,' said Fanny to Miss Salter.  'Was it not lucky that I chanced to mention having borrowed it?  I had not the least notion that uncle would give it me.'

    'Nor I,' remarked Miss Salter; 'the Doctor considers it quite wrong, you know, to exceed one's income.  Really, Fanny, I think you should be more careful.'

    'So I will, dear,' said Fanny, stooping to kiss her.  Fanny was tall but exceedingly slender; and though very graceful, had not the agreeable air of health presented by the Governess.  'I thought I had been careful till I found my money was all gone,' she observed.

    'No wonder, if you have three new bonnets in one summer.'

    'Why, you would not have me wear a dingy bonnet, would you?'

    'No, but I would not have you wear a delicate, gauzy thing like this, in the dusty road, during a drive.  A straw-bonnet would look as well and more appropriate to-day.  Stoop a little, will you, it is not quite straight.'  Fanny stooped.  Miss Salter adjusted the bonnet to her mind, shook out the folds of her gown, and altered the set of the mantle.

    'Have you not been talking some time with my uncle?' asked Fanny.  'I thought when I came in you looked uncomfortable.'

    'I only looked as I felt then,' said Miss Salter, sighing.

    'Oh, well, I must say if my uncle is not pleased that Johnny is so noisy, that I think it is more his fault than yours; for really, Annie, I am sure he pets him more than he does the little girls.  However,' said Fanny, reflecting that this was no business of hers, 'my uncle is very kind to all the children, and to me too.'

    'It was not about Johnnie that he spoke,' said Miss Salter, blushing again at the recollection of the lecture she had received; 'he thinks—he intimated that I was—I don't know that I can tell you now I will some other time.'

    As she spoke, an expression of the gentlest pity came over the fair face that was looking down into hers, and its owner said with a sigh, and in a tone of sympathy, 'Dear Annie.'

    'Of course I must expect this kind of thing in my painful position,' said Miss Salter.

    'Yes,' said Fanny, with more sincerity than wisdom or knowledge of what she was talking about; 'but it is a great comfort to know that all the trials of the Christian shall "work together for good."  I am afraid, dear, that you have felt your position more than usual lately.  I noticed this morning that you looked particularly depressed.'  At the mention of this word Miss Salter sighed; but as a loud, cheerful voice was heard in the hall, calling, 'Fanny, Fanny! come, child, I am ready,' Fanny hastily ran out, and Miss Salter retired to her room, where she put on her hat, and went into the garden.

    'Uncle,' said Fanny, when they had driven about a quarter of a mile, 'don'ts you think Miss Salter has looked rather depressed lately?'  She said this partly from a little feeling of womanly curiosity, and partly because, in her kind heart, she had found a place for the Governess.

    'Depressed?' said Dr. Deane; 'yes, my dear, I have been talking to her about it this morning.'

    'Have you, uncle?' replied Fanny.  She longed to ask another question, but did not dare.

    'O Fanny, Fanny, mind I never see you pursing up your mouth, and looking as if you were trying hard not to laugh when anything droll is said in your presence.  And then if you really cannot help laughing, never let me see you turning away your face to hide it, and heaving up a sigh to show that you are determined not to be amused.'

    'Does Miss Salter do so?' asked Fanny, with her natural simplicity.  'Yes, I think I have noticed it; but, however, one naturally makes allowance for her, and it is no wonder she feels pensive.  Obliged to descend from her position in society, separated from her family, poor girl, obliged to work for her living, always seeing those about her who are in superior circumstances.'

    'Why, is not Lucy, the dairymaid, separated from her family, and obliged to work for her living, and to see those about her who are in superior circumstances; and does she look depressed?'

    'Oh, no; but she was most likely always brought up to know that she was to go to service.'

    'Does that circumstance make service agreeable to her?'

    'Yes, I suppose so, uncle.'

    'How do you know that Miss Salter had not the advantage of knowing that she was to be a governess?  Have you inquired?'

    'No, uncle; I took it for granted that she had not.'

    'And what else have you taken for granted, Fanny?  Tell me, for I think I see a ray of light breaking through obscurity.'

    'I don't know what you mean, uncle.'

    'Never mind that, give me your views, and tell me what you have been pleased to take for granted, respecting governesses in general.'

    'I have read a good many interesting stories,' said Fanny, hesitating, that had a governess for their heroine.  The last I read was particularly interesting, and it made me feel that, as a class, they deserved a great deal of consideration, and—I don't exactly know how to say what I mean, but when I came here I felt that I ought to be particularly polite and friendly to Miss Salter, and to feel a great deal of pity for her.'

    'Humph! now give me a sketch of the story.'

    'Oh, the heroine is a tall, dark-eyed, lovely creature, brought up in the greatest luxury, and accustomed to associate with refined people.  Her father loses all his property, and dies.  The story opens with her taking leave of her bereaved mother.  They are so poor that she is obliged to take her long journey in the depth of winter, on the top of a coach, and she reaches her first place at night.  And the story goes on to say that the people are very vulgar, and treat her with the greatest insolence and harshness, particularly the master of the house, who dislikes her from the first.'

    'But she, no doubt, is a miracle of patience and discretion?'

    'Yes, uncle, she is very unhappy, but bears all with the sweetest meekness, though she often retires to her own room to weep, and think over the happy past; and then it goes on to say that she saves one of the children's lives, and the house is just going to be robbed, but she overhears the thieves talking and disclosing their plans behind a hedge.'

    'A likely incident!  Well, go on.'

    'It ends not quite so naturally as it begins.  She marries'—

    'Of course she does!  The eldest son lives at home.  He is a paragon of elegance and excellence, in spite of his vulgar bringing up.  He is also particularly handsome; she marries him.'

    'Nothing of the sort, uncle.'

    'Then she marries the curate; I know she marries the curate! and immediately after, his rich uncle comes from India, lives with them, dies blessing them, and leaves them all his fortune.'

    'No, she doesn't, uncle.  She marries a young baronet, who is struck with the pensive sweetness of her face, as she takes the children out for a walk.'

    'Indeed!'

    'But the most interesting part of the story is her journal,' proceeded Fanny, 'with the description of all her lonely feelings; really it is quite harrowing to read it,—such beautiful resignation, and, at the same time, such melancholy.'

    'Pray, my dear, have you talked over this story, and especially this journal, with Miss Salter?'

    'Yes, uncle.'

    'Oh, Fanny, Fanny, you exceedingly silly little goose.'


 
CHAPTER II.


'I DO not know why you should call me silly, uncle,' said Fanny, looking very much disconcerted; 'I am sure I have always meant to be kind to Miss Salter.'

    'My dear, your kindness was commendable.  What I complain of is your habit of taking things for granted, and acting as if things were proved, because you have no doubt concerning them.  But I am going to this farm-house.  Now, be discreet, and do not say anything without reflection.'

    'What can it matter what I say here?' thought Fanny.  'People living in such a place are not likely to be great observers of manners or of cultivated language, I should think.'

    Fanny's face showed her thoughts so plainly, that Dr. Deane said in answer to it: 'Fanny, my child, take my advice, and think before you speak here.  The good woman of the house is no gentlewoman but I would not have you hurt her feelings for a good deal.'

    Fanny was surprised, but said nothing, though her uncle's warning made her look about her attentively.  There was nothing, as she thought, to reward scrutiny.  The farm-house, instead of being a delightful old thatched building, with picturesque gables, and walls covered with vines, was an ugly red brick house, square, neat, new, and undecorated by any graceful creepers.  There was a barn in full view, and some turkeys were strutting about before it; a stout, red-armed country girl was putting potatoes into a trough for their meal; and there was a large duck-pond near the front-parlour window which was well stocked with poultry, whose white feathers were strewed thickly over the grass.

    As the pony-chaise stopped before the door of the square red house, a pleasant-looking woman stepped out, and welcomed the doctor with, 'You're quite a stranger, sir.'

    'And very glad to be so,' replied Dr. Deane.  'You can hardly see too little of the doctor, eh, my good friend?'

    The farmer's wife laughed good-humouredly at this little sally.  She was short, plump, healthy-looking, and had a tone in her voice and a look in her eyes that seemed familiar to Fanny, she hardly knew why.

    'You'll excuse my shaking hands, sir,' said she, 'and you too, Miss,' curtseying to Fanny; 'for I've been picking walnuts all the morning, and they make the hands as black as ink.  Come in, sir!'

    By this time they had alighted, and the Doctor said, presenting Fanny, 'This is a great friend of your daughter's; Mrs. Salter, my niece; Fanny, this is Miss Salter's mother.'

    'I am sure I am much obliged to the young lady for taking notice of my Annie,' said Mrs. Salter.

    Fanny's surprise, which caused the clear colour to flush up all over her face, was far too great to admit of her saying a word; and it was fortunate for her that she was following Mrs. Salter into the parlour, and that the little bustle of setting chairs, and making her visitors comfortable, was occupying that worthy matron's attention till she had in some degree recovered herself.  Then Mrs. Salter recurred to the subject, and said, 'It must be very pleasant for my Annie to have such a nice young lady to speak to.'

    'Yes, they are great friends, indeed,' replied the Doctor; 'young people are generally companionable.'

    'To be sure, sir,' said Mrs. Salter, still keeping her admiring eyes upon Fanny, 'young people can run up a friendship in a day.  And my Annie has plenty to talk about; dear me, when she gets a holiday, and comes over to see us, her tongue never stops, bless her!'

    Fanny was still mute; Miss Salter's home and Miss Salter's mother were so different to anything she had imagined, that she could not find anything to say; but she sufficiently recovered her powers of observation to notice that there was a somewhat strong smell of tobacco in the room.

    'Well, sir, and how is my dear girl? quite well, I hope,' said the fond mother.

    'Very well, indeed, she told me so herself this morning; and would have sent her duty, I am sure, if she had known I was coming here, but she did not; indeed, I did not know it myself; but I found I had a quarter of an hour to spare, so I thought I would bring my niece to see you.'

    'Thank you, sir, for the visit.  I'm always pleased to hear that my Annie is well; being my only girl, I feel more for her than for my great rough boys; and though I know that she has had a rise in life, I sometimes wish I had her with me, for all that.'

    A pretty white kitten at this moment pushed open the door, and Fanny, having nothing to say, was glad to call it to come and sit on her knee, while silently listening with some shame and a great deal of surprise to the conversation which followed.

    'I have sometimes wondered why you spared her to live away from home, as she is your only daughter,' observed the Doctor.

    'Why, you see, sir,' replied the mother, 'John and me, we married very young, and we were, I may say, badly off for a good many years, we had such a large family; farming, too, is not what farming used to be, so that altogether, what with bad seasons, and many mouths to feed, I assure you, though I don't wish to complain, that few people have known what it is to look at every penny before they parted with it more than we have.  Well, at last, after my nine boys, Annie was born, and very fond we all were of her, natural enough we should be; but my boys were so rough, that they soon made a complete tomboy of her, that they did, bless her! and I was so taken up with my dairy, and the poultry, that try as I would, I could not find time to teach her.  I managed to teach her to read, and her eldest brother would set her a sum now and then, but she almost ran wild; though she could milk a cow prettily enough when she was nine years old, and was mighty fond of picking fruit for market, and cramming turkeys.  I was beginning to wonder how I could ever manage to get schooling for her, when my husband's mother came to live with us; she soon saw how things were going on, and one day she said to me, "Anne, I know you have hard work to get on, paying all their own, and giving the boys their learning.  And," says she, "the two hundred and fifty pounds that I have saved, John should have, and welcome, to lay out on his farm, only that I know better than to think he would take it of me while I am alive; and as for the boys, they will soon be a help to you, and able to earn their own living; but this little Annie," says she, "that is as bright as the day, it often lies like a weight on my mind, that if anything should happen to her father there is nothing for her but to go to service."  "Mother," said I, "we must put our trust in God.  John here has the best of health, and I am stout and active for my age, so I hope for the best; but I do not deny that I should like to see my Annie married before I die."  Well, she was a very short-spoken woman, and when I said that, "Married," said she; "husbands that are worth having are not so easy to come at!"  She did, indeed, sir.  So says I, "Grandmother, I am sure John and I would always wish to take your advice about the dear child, as is no more than our duty, so speak your mind."  However, she never said a word; but next market-day, just as I was ready to start off for G―― in the spring-cart, she came down, and says she, "I am going with you."  I put her down at the Miss Jessops' school, and I took her up again when I had sold my poultry and butter; she never said a word, good or bad, till we got home and supper was over, then she said, "John and Anne, I've been to the Miss Jessops, who I hear from our vicar keep the best school in the town, and I have made an agreement with them that, if you are willing, they shall have Annie for six years for my money; and then whatever happens she will be independent, and able to get her bread."  Of course, we were agreeable to let her go, and very thankful.  Her grandmother had the pleasure of seeing her in your house, and of feeling that she was now independent before she died.'

    'Ah, I always thought your husband's mother was a sensible woman,' observed Dr. Deane.

    'Yes, sir, she really was.  And the good education she gave Annie has been quite a rise in life for her, as I tell her.  And though her grandmother did talk about husbands being hard to get,—my Annie—why, dear me, I know a young man that would—however, I'll say no more about that,' continued Mrs. Salter, bridling.

    The Doctor smiled, and Mrs. Salter having already remarked that she should say no more about it, continued in a reflective tone, and with an air of pretending to think lightly of the young man whom she had hinted at: 'I must say for him that he has been very well brought up, and does credit to his bringing up, which is more.  However, when he comes to me and says, "Mrs. Salter, I know she'll never care for me—I don't believe she cares a straw for me,"—"Keep up your spirits, William," I always say, "you are young yet, and so is she."'

    'Oh, it is young William Watkins, is it?' asked the Doctor suddenly, for he had a decided tinge of curiosity about him.

    'No, sir,' replied the hostess, thrown off her guard, 'it is young William Dobson at the mill; he is in a capital way of business, and owns such a good house; he is a very fine strapping young fellow, too.'

    'Then you are quite in his interest, Mrs. Salter?'

    'I leave it entirely to the child herself,' replied the mother coolly; 'but that cherry-orchard of his is quite a picture!  I really don't know how many sieves of fruit he didn't send up from it this season, though his mother told me.  They have a very snug little farm, you know, sir, as well as the mill, and everything prospers with them.'

    'He is a very fine young fellow, and I can only wish your daughter may reward him for his liking,' said the Doctor.

    'Well, sir, perhaps she may,' replied the mother, laughing 'he was always coming here during her holidays, and sometimes, when she had been a little cool with him, I would go as far as to say, "Ain't you ashamed of yourself?" and then she would laugh and say, "I don't want him to make a fuss about me, I can do very well without him, mother."'

    Fanny was listening with great interest and attention, and Mrs. Salter, catching her eye, continued, 'But I beg your pardon, miss; when I begin talking about my Annie, I don't know how to leave off.'

    'Don't apologize, Mrs. Salter,' said the Doctor, rising, 'I am sure what you have said has interested my niece very much.'

    Fanny finding herself thus appealed to, roused herself and said a few civil things to this good mother about her daughter; but she felt so surprised, and so ashamed of herself for the false conclusions which she had so confidently arrived at, that she was very glad to find herself again in the pony-carriage, safe away from the ugly farm-house, which she had still great difficulty in thinking of as Annie Salter's home.

    'Well, Fanny,' said the Doctor, after a long silence, 'what do you think of Mrs. Salter's notions of a rise in life; and above all, what do you think of her definition of independence?'

    'Of course she is wrong,' said Fanny, 'in saying that Annie is independent, because she earns her own living: that is the very thing that prevents her from being independent.'

    'Prove that, my dear child.'

    'Oh, you know, uncle, that servants, and governesses, and people who live in gentlemen's houses, are always called their dependants—their paid dependants.'

    'Yes, it is the custom to call them so; it means that their staying in such houses depends on the owner's pleasure but though the ambiguity of language enables us to use this word in two or three senses, we must not forget that we can often, with equal truth, call the same persons both dependent and independent.  Which am I, Fanny?'

    'Independent, of course, uncle.'

    'How can that be?'  I am dependent on my own exertions.  I am not what is called an independent gentleman, but a professional man, depending on my profession for my bread.'

    'But you are independent of any one else,' said Fanny; 'you only depend on your own exertions.  I mean, that you are your own master.'

    'To be sure.  Then where is the difference between me and Miss Salter?'

    'Oh, uncle! she is not her own mistress; she is under you, and she must work so as to please you for her money.'

    'So must I work in such a manner as to please others for my money; and Miss Salter is not dependent on my exertions, only on her own.'

    'I never heard of such a thing,' exclaimed Fanny; 'surely she is your dependant.'

    'Call her so if you like, but she is quite independent of me.  If I do not please her, she has only to go and leave me; I cannot make her stay, any more than my patients can make me stay if I choose to go.  We are both dependent and independent: independent of other people's exertions, and dependent on our own.''

    'Then,' said Fanny, 'why do we use that word so falsely?'

    'Because we have inherited it from the times when servants really were dependent on their masters.  Serfs and retainers may not leave their masters at pleasure; they are dependent.  There was no such thing as a governess in those days; but we have foolishly extended a word to them which is particularly ill-suited to express their condition; we speak as if they were dependent on us, whereas the peculiar difference between them and other young women is that they are dependent on themselves, or what, in all other cases, we call independent.'

    'I shall certainly tell all this to Miss Salter,' said Fanny; 'she has often talked with regret about her trying position, and my happier lot.'

    'Who began first to talk in this way, Fanny?'

    'Oh, I did, uncle; I made friends with her from the first, because I felt for her position; but, uncle, if she is independent, what am I?'

    'Consult your own good sense, my dear; how do matters stand?  Your dear parents left no property behind them beyond what I spent in your education.  I take you to live with me as my duty and my pleasure.  I do not choose that you should earn your own bread, because I have plenty.  You are therefore dependent upon me; and all young ladies living at home and doing nothing are in like case, unless they have private fortunes.'

    'Then,' said Fanny, laughing, 'I am glad I am in that case.  I cannot help feeling, though, that it is not pleasant for Annie to be a governess, in spite of what her mother said about its being a rise in life.'

    'You think it would be better, then, for her to go and live at home, doing the work of the house and the farm as her mother does—very hard work it has been for the good woman—far harder than most servants do for wages—and her only relaxation is to go in the spring-cart to market, and sell her butter and eggs; or to sit over the fire while her husband and his friends smoke their pipes, and talk of the turnip crops, or discuss the price of wool.'

    'Oh!' exclaimed Fanny, 'fancy Annie driving the spring-cart to market; how ashamed she would be of jogging along in it! and then selling her butter and eggs herself at a stall, taking up the raw sausages, and exhibiting the plumpness of her ducks and geese, and then sitting with those prosy, coarse farmers under a cloud of tobacco-smoke!  No; she is far better off as she is.'

    'So I think, and so her mother thinks; she is educated and refined: these are blessings, and it is another that she should be living with people equally well educated, equally refined.  Such being the case, I do not see how you can talk of her as being in a painful position without absurdity; for if it is in itself painful to live among one's superiors, then every household in the land contains some members that are in painful positions; all the servants may feel how painful it is that they should have to dine in the kitchen, when Miss Salter dines in the parlour, they waiting upon her.  Miss Salter may feel it painful to know that you have no reason to work for your living as she has.  You, on the other hand, may feel it hard that you have nothing to call your own but what is given you by me, notwithstanding that you admit that it is a pleasure to me to give it.  I, in my turn, may feel how hard it is that I should have to be always looking after my patient, Sir John W., instead of having a hereditary estate like him, while all the world knows that he is fretting his life away because it is so painful to him that his cousin should have made good a title to the R— peerage against him, Sir John, and should be frequently driving past his door with the coronet on his carriage.'

    'Well, uncle,' said Fanny, gently, 'I suppose my mistake has been that I have taken for granted that every governess has come down in the world; the books, you know, almost always represent a governess as lovely and ill-used, and living among people who are really her inferiors in birth and original position.  So when I first saw Miss Salter, I resolved that I would make a friend of her, be extremely polite to her, and, in short, pity her position, and try to make it pleasanter to her.'

    'But now that you discover that she is not a fit object for pity, that she is not ill-used, and that she is not of gentle birth, I hope you will be too just, too really considerate, and too sorry for the mischief you may have done by your ill-timed pity, to withdraw your companionship from Miss Salter; I hope, as she has never deceived you about herself, but has merely accepted your mistaken compassion, and responded to your spontaneous advances towards friendship, that while you will leave off condoling, you will not leave off chatting with her, and sitting with her as usual."'

    'Oh, no!' said Fanny; and added slowly, 'Of course not.'

    'You will be as friendly as before,' proceeded the Doctor, 'though the romance of the thing has flown away on the wings of Mrs. Salter's ducks and geese.'

    'Yes,' said Fanny; but she rather over-calculated her own powers of self-control, for when the pony-carriage reached the Doctor's garden, Miss Salter came up to it, and asked Fanny to walk with her in the shrubbery.  Fanny, though she assented, coloured and seemed uneasy, and when Miss Salter asked, 'Where did you drive, dear?' she hung her head like a culprit, and answered, blushing violently, 'We went —that is, my uncle took me—at least—we went to call on, your mother.'  Miss Salter, though Fanny's flattering suppositions that she was a heroine in painful circumstances, and that she had come down in the world, and ought to be treated with all consideration, had been too agreeable to be put away, was notwithstanding too sensible not to feel that by her assumption of pensiveness, and that peculiarly injured air so necessary to a heroine, she had made herself ridiculous in the Doctor's eyes, and now Fanny's excessive confusion and evident reluctance to say where she had been, made her ridiculous in her own eyes.  She walked in silence for some time; at length she said:—

    'Dr. Deane told me this morning that mother was well.'

    'Oh, yes!' replied Fanny, 'we only went for a call; and I thought your mother a very nice person indeed, Annie, and she seems very fond of you.'

    A sharp pang of shame darted through Ann Salter's mind, as she saw the evident confusion of Fanny, and the shock it had been to her to find everything connected with her friend, the governess, so different from what she had pictured to herself.

    She walked beside Fanny in deeply mortified silence.  'If I had not suffered her to remain in her self-deception,' she thought, 'there would have been every likelihood that she would have come to be fond of me for my own sake; but now that she finds I am not what she expected, how can she continue to care for me?'

    As for Fanny, she had begun to walk with her friend, but had not a word to say; she felt herself under some strong constraint, which she could not throw off, and when they reached the end of the shrubbery and turned again, she involuntarily quickened her pace, remarking, 'That she had not finished a letter, which ought shortly to be posted, and must go in to write it.'

    Ann Salter saw how it was; she only detained Fanny to say, 'Did you call anywhere else this morning?' and when Fanny answered 'No!' the colour rushed to her face, as she turned back to the shrubbery.  'So then,' she thought, 'the Doctor must have taken Fanny out on purpose that she might see my family, and the way in which we live.  I was sure he meant something more than he said, when he talked about my depression.'


 
CHAPTER III.


THE eldest of Ann Salter's little pupils went to bed at half-past eight in the evening, at which time she was expected to make her appearance in the drawing-room, and then she and Fanny generally sang or played duets together, till the hour for family prayer.  On the evening after her conversation with Fanny in the garden, she was unusually silent, and felt a constraint upon her which made her long for bed-time; depression had given way to a feeling of ingenuous shame; she wished she had not allowed Fanny to talk of her parentage, taking for granted that she was of gentle birth, without informing her of the truth, nor to speak of her position as a sad one, and of her case as one demanding sympathy, without setting her right.  'How absurd I have been!' she thought; 'how could I suppose that Fanny would never meet with my father or mother, and how wicked I am now to feel ashamed of them!'  At last she was able to rise and take her candle.

    'You are early to-night, Miss Salter,' said the Doctor.

    'It has struck ten, sir,' said Ann Salter, blushing, and I was up very early this morning; I had some writing to do.' What the writing had been which she left her chamber to accomplish she did not tell the Doctor, but when she reached her room she took out her journal, and said to herself, 'How could I be so silly as to write all this stuff just because Eveline D'Arcy in the novel wrote a journal, and because Fanny seemed to think it so interesting!' and as she turned over the leaves, she added thoughtfully, 'But after all, I am not persecuted, and certainly I am not in any great affliction; I wish I had not imitated Eveline D'Arcy's style of journalizing.  I wish I could behave naturally, and not be always wondering what other people will think of me.  How foolish Fanny will think me now that she has read all this, and now that she has seen my dear mother!  Well, I shall not rise early to-morrow to write down to-day's experience; I am not going to record how Dr. Deane said he thought I was discontented, and how Fanny was surprised to find my mother was not a gentlewoman.  No!  I have had enough of journals for the present.  I shall not write again in a hurry.'

    So saying, she put away the luckless journal.  'Fanny said I should soon tire of it,' she thought.  'Fanny declared that I should not write it long, and I almost made a vow that I would persevere; however, I suppose when next she asks to see it, I shall have to confess that I am wrong and she is right.  I am tired of it; I will not write another word.'  Having formed this resolution, she went to sleep.  On the next morning before breakfast, observing Johnny hard at work with a slate and pencil, she asked him what he was doing, and the little urchin replied that he was writing his journal.  Whereupon the Doctor, who was carving slices of ham for breakfast, looked very much amused, and said, 'Quite right, my boy, you could not do better.  Who taught you to write a journal, eh?'

    'Nobody taught me, papa,' said the boy; 'but Kitty says she sees Miss Salter writing her journal when she wakes in the morning; but she says I can't write one, but I shall, for Kitty does, and so does Emily.'

    'Pass your plate for a piece of ham,' said the Doctor, 'and tell me what you put down in your journal; is it like this: "To-day I ate so much pudding, that I fell asleep over my sum;" or, "Today I had a bad mark for throwing my ball through the window?"'

    'I don't want to write that,' said the little boy, sullenly; 'I only want to write about having holidays, and going out to fish for sticklebacks, and having shillings and sixpences given me.'

    'Oh, very well then, you had better write no journal at all.  Miss Salter does not write down all the pleasant things, and leave out all the unpleasant, I am sure.'

    'Do you approve of journals, sir?' asked Miss Salter, not wishing to give a direct answer to the Doctor's appeal.

    'Approve? yes, Miss Salter, if the journal is one of events, and only sparingly interspersed with records of frames and feelings: nothing is more likely to help us to correct our faults than a true description of how we have been overtaken by them.  If I am in a passion to-day, and write down all about it when I am cool, it makes me feel ashamed of myself.'

    'But, sir,' interrupted Miss Salter, 'one often hears it said that the journals of good people seem to be written on purpose for publication, and that the world may see how deeply they repented of their faults; surely when people write journals, it must be with a view to their being seen.'

    'My young friend,' was the reply, 'if a man keep a true and impartial record of the events of his life and his behaviour under them, he cannot possibly wish it to be seen even after his death.  His graver faults and his deep repentance after them he might be able to give to the world, but his little petty feelings of envy, malice, meanness, or peevishness, he could not bear to expose to his nearest and dearest friend.  The deceitfulness of his heart he must feel an anxious desire to conceal, though its wickedness, if he represented it vaguely and in general terms, he might not care to keep to himself.'

    'Well, I must say,' observed Miss Salter, 'that the faults of those good men whose lives I am fond of reading are always such as I should not mind confessing myself.'

    'Their faults as represented in their journals.  Very true, for when people write their real autobiography they generally take the utmost care not to let it go out of their hands in their lifetime, and they either destroy it on their deathbeds, or leave injunctions that it shall not be opened after their decease.'

    Now Fanny, having read Ann Salter's journal, would not for the world have looked at her while the discussion was going on, for she could not but remember that the said journal, over which, by the bye, she had shed many sympathetic tears, was not exactly a record of follies or of faults, it was rather a reverse picture of what Johnny had intended to set down in his, namely, an account of what Eveline D'Arcy would have called trying circumstances,' 'slights,' and 'painful events connected with my unfortunate position.'  Ann Salter was not less uncomfortable than Fanny; but as she was liable to be swayed by every one's opinion, she now began to think she ought to continue her journal.  'Though if I do,' she mentally added, 'I shall take care that no one ever sees it; in fact, what would be the use of showing a journal written on the Doctor's plan? it would make people dislike one instead of feeling interested.'

    'I should think it must be very difficult, sir, to write such a journal as you describe,' she presently said, 'because it would be so terrible to think that, in spite of all one's care, it might be found and read.'

    'And such being the case, you think the temptation would be great to be vague and general in one's confessions, and not to write truly.'

    'But it might be done in a cipher,' continued Miss Salter, thoughtfully; 'I think I know one that I could write it in.'

    The Doctor laughed; he had not expected that his plan of journalizing would so soon be put to the test; and he would have continued the subject, but that the children, having now finished their breakfast, were carried by their punctual little governess to have their faces washed, and find their Bibles that they might be ready for family prayers.  The children did their lessons very well that morning, and Miss Salter never once relapsed into the attitude of 'The Governess;' she had just dismissed them to have a game at play in the garden, when she heard the Doctor's step; he was advancing rapidly, and she observed that Johnny was teasing him by asking some childish question, for the Doctor answered hurriedly, 'There, go away, papa cannot attend to you; go and play in the hop-garden, you and your sisters, and if you are good you may have a half-holiday.'  A half-holiday! thought Miss Salter, what can that be for?  'Where's Cousin Fanny?' she heard the Doctor say.  'Here, Fanny, I want you.'  'Cousin Fanny is gone out,' said the children, who were now jumping round him for joy.  'Tut, tut,' cried the Doctor, 'where is Miss Salter? not with her, I hope.'

    'No, sir, I am here,' said Ann Salter, rising and looking out at the window.

    'Oh, you are at home, Miss Salter,' said the Doctor, rather gravely; his hurry seemed to subside.  'Well,' he said, after looking at her for a moment in silence, 'I will come in and speak to you.'

    'I hope I am not going to have another series of remarks on my depression,' thought Ann Salter; but she had not time for many reflections; the Doctor entered.  'I have just been out in the pony carriage,' he observed, with gravity.

    'What is that to me, I wonder?' thought Miss Salter; 'there is something odd about the Doctor's manner, I am sure.'

    'Indeed, sir,' she replied.'

    'Yes,' he continued slowly and calmly, 'I went to the farm—your father had been stacking hay—I am not alarmed about him—but he has met with an accident.  There, don't look so frightened, he is not in danger—sit down.'

    Ann Salter sat down again, for she had started up.  She felt faint and giddy, but the Doctor's next words enabled her to control herself.  'And your mother wants you to come over and help her to nurse him; you can be of great use.'

    'I want to know what the injury is,' said the poor girl, shivering.

    'What the injury is?—well, I can scarcely tell at present; he was stunned at first, but he soon came to himself, and his arm is broken, that is, I hope, the extent of the mischief.'

    On his first entrance, the Doctor had rung the bell; it was now answered by a female servant, who was ordered to bring down Miss Salter's bonnet and cloak, 'and anything else she will want in a drive,' added the Doctor.  Confusion and anxiety kept Ann Salter silent a few moments; she felt that she would like to go over and help her mother, but her mind was in a whirl, and when she found that her walking apparel was produced in a great hurry, and that the gig was coming round, she burst into tears and exclaimed, 'Oh, I am afraid I shall find my dear father very ill!'

    'I hope not,' replied the Doctor; 'and one reason why I am in a hurry is, that I want to take some medicine over, and some other things that I require.'

    'And think what a comfort you will be to your mother, Miss !' observed the maid.

    Again the notion that she could be of use enabled her to rally; and she got into the pony-gig, continuing to shed tears, it is true, but perfectly mistress of herself, and able to listen to all the Doctor's directions and requirements.

    'Now, Miss Salter,' he said, when he had left her a few moments for reflection, 'I am taking you over partly because your poor mother, sensible woman as she is, was so completely overpowered when she saw your father's state, that I feel she is not fit to be with him, at least for the present.  The person who is with him should be calm, and not give way to any display of feeling, even if he should say affecting things.  "Ah, my poor dear," he said to your mother when he came to himself, "I am going to leave you! "He went on to say that he wished to see his children and give them his blessing: your poor mother went into hysterics, and I had to get the servant man to take her away, which I was sorry for, because I wanted help.  Now, if your father should talk in that way to you, do you think you can answer calmly, "Father, you must not talk; the doctor says quiet is necessary, and that if you can keep quiet you will most likely do well?"'

    'I will try, sir.'

    'Do so, and remember there is to be no kissing and weeping over him when you first enter.  You are to walk in with me, sit down by him, just watch him, apply the lotions according to my directions, give him drink, and take no notice when he talks, excepting to tell him to keep quiet.'

    'Surely he will think me unfeeling.'

    'Never mind what he thinks; do your duty.  I have to tell you what your duty is; do it even at the risk of being thought unfeeling by your sick father.  His face is a good deal bruised and disfigured; but if I tell you that those bruises are not of the slightest consequence, I suppose you will not be shocked at seeing them.'

    'O no, sir, my nerves are strong.'

    'Yes, I know they are; well, I am putting you into a very responsible position.  I have told your poor mother she must not attempt to go near your father till to-morrow, for she cannot stand it, and he gets excited when he sees her.  So now follow your own judgment, and form your own conclusions, venture to be independent.  If he is worse, send for me: if any of his friends come to see him, keep them out of his chamber: if he says he never can recover, tell him quietly that you believe he is mistaken; and if he wants to see his sons, say he shall see them to-morrow.'

    'Very well, sir, I will.'

    'Ah, that tone sounds promising; I am pleased, and I believe I may trust you.'

    'But if I do all this, I am to have the comfort of hope?  I am to believe myself that he will recover?'

    'Humanly speaking, I see no reason why he should not get better, with the blessing of God no reason, indeed, with proper attention to keep him calm and quiet; but every reason for anxiety, if his feelings are worked on, his mind distracted, and his nerves flurried.  You will sit up with him to-night.'

    'O yes, sir, I am not at all afraid, and I shall be so thankful to help mother.  If she can rest, she will be quite herself again to-morrow.'

    'To be sure, and I shall come early to see him, and you may depend on my telling you what I really think of him; as to the children, I shall let them have a holiday to-morrow, and you need not be uneasy about them.  I daresay Fanny will hear them say their lessons.'

    'Oh, thank you, sir; you are very good.'

    'And mind your father does not see you looking depressed; that might discourage him,' continued the Doctor, forgetting his late conversation with the governess, who, however, remembered it while she replied, 'O no, sir, I should not think of such a thing;' and immediately all her foolish little fancies, and airs, and discontents flashed back upon her recollection, as such things will on the minds of all of us when the pressure of circumstances has suddenly broken off the ordinary thread of our thoughts, and when we think of the feelings and speeches of yesterday, as if they had occurred ten years ago, and could never by any possibility be entertained by us again.  What did it matter now to Ann Salter that the servants knew she received a salary for her services that she was in what she was pleased to consider a 'dependant's position,' and that the beloved parent to whom she was going wore a white coat instead of a black one, and was not what is called a gentleman?

    But though Ann Salter felt comforted in the belief that her father's life was not in danger, and that she was going to be of use to both her parents, she felt her heart beat fast, and her limbs shake as they drove up to the door of the farmhouse; and she thought she would have given anything in the world if she might have retired only for five minutes to pray for help from above, and for composure and skill to meet this emergency.

    This she could not have; the Doctor ushered her at once into the kitchen, where sat her poor mother with her arms flung on the dresser, and her face resting upon them.  She sobbed and wept afresh at the sight of her daughter, and exclaimed, 'Ah, poor thing, she does not know how bad her father is!'

    'Ann, my dear, your poor father was very near being killed this morning.'

    'Yes, I know, dear mother,' said Ann, striving to speak calmly, and distressed to see her mother so helpless.

    'She hardly looks as if she did know it, Doctor,' observed the poor woman, as if hurt at her daughter's self-command.

    'She is come to help you, and to nurse her father,' replied the Doctor, addressing both mother and daughter, for he saw that the fortitude of the latter was ready to give way; 'and she can be of no use if she is not calm.  Come, Mrs. Salter, I have brought you a composing draught, and when your neighbour comes to help you in the house do you go to bed.'

    'She is come; she is sitting by my poor husband,' sobbed the wife.

    'Then I will send her down to you.  Come with me, Miss Salter.'

    Ann Salter only waited to give her mother one kiss, and then stole up-stairs after the Doctor.  The door of her father's chamber was wide open; she saw him lying on his bed breathing hard.  There were no curtains to the window, but a heavy shawl had been fastened before it to darken the room, and the brown curtains of the bed were let down.  The window was open, as the slight movement of the shawl sufficiently proved; but the poor restless patient was so much in the shadow that at first his daughter could not distinguish his bruised features, and their troubled expression.  A woman was sitting by the bedside, fanning him, for it was very hot.  Dr. Deane took the fan from her, and sent her down, putting Ann Salter in her place.  He then gave her some directions, showed her the medicines, remarked that her father's head was not now very clear, and that if he did not notice her presence she need not draw his attention to it.  He then shook hands with her and left her.

    What her feelings were as she saw him gradually going down the stairs, and afterwards when she heard him drive away, it would be impossible to describe.  She was now left virtually with the whole responsibility of the case on her own hands: it was not yet one o'clock, and she knew she should not see Dr. Deane again till the next morning; his prescriptions had been already made up, and she should not even have the comfort of seeing the apothecary's boy; yet (when she had sat a quarter of an hour by her father who happily for himself and for her was now in a half doze), she felt equal to her task; she had found the opportunity for prayer that she had so ardently desired, and she knew that her proving equal to her task was of the utmost consequence; so for more than two hours she sat fanning her father, ready to show him a steady and almost cheerful face the moment he awoke.  His rest was broken, he was feverish and evidently in pain; she sometimes thought he was more stupified than sleepy, and the weary hours dragged on till she knew by the sounds in the farmyard that it must be past four o'clock, before there was any change in the patient, or she had any person to relieve her from her watch.

    At last the neighbour came up, and beckoned her out of the room, saying that the tea was ready.  She ran down, and was very glad of some refreshment, for she had not dined.  Two of her brothers were in the kitchen, and from them she learned that her mother was gone to bed and had fallen asleep; she stayed down but a very few minutes, and as she came up stairs she observed that her father's eyes were open, and that the neighbour was saying, 'How do you feel yourself now, Mr. Salter?'  'I feel very bad,' was the reply, 'and very thirsty; I could fancy a glass of ale!'

    'I'll go and draw some,' said the neighbour; 'a glass of your own home-brewed can do you no harm.'

    Upon this Ann Salter was obliged to propose toast-and-water as a substitute, and the neighbour appearing inclined to argue the point, she was terrified to see how rapidly her father's face flushed, how excited he became, and how angrily he discussed the point.

    'Oh, do go, do go,' she implored; 'do leave him, and let me try to calm him!'  But it was now too late; he was thoroughly roused from his previous quietude, his pulse quickened; he complained of violent headache, and soon began to ramble in his speech.  This was no time for tears or weak fears with his daughter; she had been told what to do under any circumstances that were likely to arise, and the neighbour, now humble and distressed at the mistake she had made, was anxiously bent on giving what assistance she could.

    Leeches were put on; and in ceaseless exertion and anxiety the next few hours were passed; the long summer twilight had settled into darkness, and the evening star was shining through the crevice between the shawl and the window-frame, before peace and silence were restored in the sick-chamber, or Ann Salter could sit down by her father's bed.

    And yet the time had been so fully occupied, that though she was fatigued, she had not felt it to be long; and when some supper was brought up to her, and she was told that it was eleven o'clock, she could only think of the past morning and evening as of a dream.  She stole to the top of the stairs, all the household were in bed, excepting the brother who had brought her supper.  'You had better go and take a turn outside while I sit with father,' said he; 'and there is a box come for you, from Dr. Deane's; it came some time ago, and the man who brought it said Miss Fanny Deane had sent it.'

    Ann Salter could not make up her mind to go and walk, even under her father's window; but she went to see what Fanny had sent her, and found a kind little note, some articles of dress, and two or three interesting books, that Fanny thought she would be glad of; moreover, her journal.

    She took out a shawl and a hood, for in spite of the heat she felt the want of warm clothing in her father's room; and she took out her journal, and not wishing it to lie about, she brought it up to her father's room, and laid it on the table.  Then she dismissed her brother, and through the weary night sat patiently watching her father; sometimes he dozed, sometimes he was wakeful and restless; but he always found her calm and steady, attentive and cheerful.

    Towards morning, when the early dawn began to wake the birds, fatigue made her head droop, and her eye now and then fill with tears; once she dozed a few moments and began to dream, but starting up, she stole to the window, for she heard a fluttering noise: it was the leaves of her journal, the summer air coming in had lifted the paper cover, and it lay open before her.  It had also displaced the folds of the shawl, and one slanting sunbeam lay across the page; mechanically, Ann Salter's tired eyes rested on the illuminated sentence; it ran thus:—'August 3d.—The children were idle at their lessons to-day, and Johnnie was troublesome and mischievous.  I do not like the new housemaid's manner: it is too familiar, and adds to the discomfort of my position.  We know that trials are appointed for all; none are free from them, and we strive to be resigned under them; yet it must be allowed that some of the dispensations of Divine Providence are more difficult to bear than others, and I do sometimes feel a wish that some other than the peculiar trial of dependence, and the slights and annoyances it gives rise to, had been appointed for me.  Any other dispensation, I often think, would be easier to bear, and I cannot but feel a wish that the nature of my trial might be changed; but let me not be unduly depressed; let me try to conduct myself with gentleness and resignation.'

    'If the kitchen fire was alight, I would burn this,' thought the weary little nurse.

    'Annie, Annie,' moaned the voice from the bed, 'my mouth is so dry; give me some drink, child I want some drink.'



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