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thought and of right feeling; he did not drag his hearers down to the bewildering depths of an unprofitable profundity, but he brought up for them, and made manifest to theru those truths which they could reach and appreciate when brought to the surface, but which they might not have discovered for themselves.
Before the service was over the beauty of the day had departed; "a little cloud like a man's hand had raised up its rapidly growing, strength from the western horizon, and had spread its dewy curtain over the face of the sky, and was now pouring its liquid treasures in rich profusion on the well pleased earth. When Lucy arrived at the church porch, holding her grandmother's arm, anu saw the door of the parsonage-house not many paces from where she stood, and perceived that the rain was not likely soon to abate, her heart bounced and throbbed like a pet lamb bounding to free itself from the silken thread in which its tender mistress holds it. Her lovely countenance displayed a pretty confusion as she looked at Lady Sarah Kennett as much as to say, "What a pleasant pity it is that we must take shelter at the parsonage.” With such a heavy shower of rain as this there certainly ought by rights to have been some forked lightning and pealing thunder, in order that Lucy might have fainted away, — in order that Mr. Calvert might have carried her into the house in his arms, – in order that in the confusion their lips or cheeks might have met, - in order that Lucy might have blushed when she recovered from her swoon - in order that they might have vowed eternal fidelity, and all that sort of thing. But there was neither lightning nor thunder, nor anything more terrible than a heavy rain, which was as welcome to Lucy's heart as it was to the parched ground and the thirsty trees.
Mr. Calvert made himself quite as agreeable in his own house as he had been at Kennett Hall; he was eloquent with the same eloquence, not indeed with the repetition of the same thoughts, but with the same kind of sincere, deep-searching, and truly religious philosophy that finds good and the truth in all things. So pleased was Lady Sarah with the young divine, that she forgot the proud disdain with which she had been formerly accustomed to look down upon his predecessor, her son-in-law, and she now indulged and gratified Lucy by speaking of her father; and then the young lady made anxious enquiries concerning the poor people of the village, and she was pleased when she found that though they had lost one friend and benefactor, yet God in his good providence had raised them up another equally kind to relieve, and equally faithful to instruct them. It is a truly astonishing thing, and altogether unaccountable, yet so it is, that notwithstanding Lady Sarah Kennett was herself almost in love with Mr. Calvert, yet she never had the slightest suspicion that her grand-daughter might also be captivated with the charms of his conversation and the amiable qualities of his mind. And though she was pleased to think that the new vicar was pleased with herself, yet it never entered her mind that he might be quite as much pleased with her grand-daughter, and perhaps rather more; for, in the eyes of a young man, youth and beauty are a very pleasant addition and a very strong recommendation to female intellect. Much there is that passes before our eyes that we never see, because we never suspect it. Eyes are very useful things withal, but they do not amount to much unless there be a proper head to use them. Lady Sarah Kennett had not the remotest idea that all the eloquent truths that were spoken to her, were spoken for her grand-daughter; her ladyship was not aware how much she was indebted for Mr. Cal. vert's amiable sagacity to Lucy's lovely looks and sweetly approving eyes.
The rain abated and the evening was fine ; Lucy and her grandmother returned to the hall, admiring the improved appearance of the earth after the shower; and Lucy felt that the visit which she had paid to the home of her early youth, had been as refreshing as the rain to the dry ground. After this, Mr. Calvert called at the ball to enquire how the ladies got home. The probability was that they got home safely enough, and pleasantly toc, for they had a very good carriage, steady horses, a sober coachman, admirable roads, a fine evening, plenty of time, and only three miles to travel. But Lady Sarah Kennett received the vicar so courteously that he could not but soon call again; and, upon every repetition of his visit, his company seemed more and more agreeable.
Mr. Calvert was delighted to find hiinself on such good terms at the hall, and he never paid a visit there without discerning new beauties in the mind of Lucy Rushton. Long, very long after her heart was wholly his, he was taking great pains to win it, doing, saying and looking every thing that was amiable. But the worst of the matter was, that he could never find an opportunity of being alone with her. He was sure that his visits to the hall were acceptable to Lady Sarah Kennett, who was both master and mistress, without any right to be either the one or the other ; and he began also to think that he was not altogether unwelcome in the sight of Lucy. More than once he meditated to speak on the topic which most deeply interested him to Lady Sarah herself, but there was an equal difficulty in finding an opportunity to speak to her alone; for the grand-mother and the grand-daughter seemed inseparable when he was at the hall. The two ladies so liked his company that they were resolved to have as much of it as they possibly could: this was highly flattering, but it was also deeply perplexing. To speak to Sir William Kennett would have amounted to as much as speaking to the butler; for the worthy baronet was as nobody in his own house, and was well content to leave the administration of affairs in the hands which so long had held the reins. There was therefore no other alternative than writing. Writing is not the best mode of making love; but when no other mode can be found there is no help for it.
When the present Sir William Kennet was a child, it was thought advisable by his most vigilant and clever mother, that he should read nothing either printed or written, but that which had previously received her special licence and approbation ; hence it came to pass, that all letters addressed to the young gentleman, were perused by the mother, before they were entrusted to the hands of her son. Through the indolence of the baronet, and the adhesiveness with which the dowager clung to every manifestation of power; this practice still continued ; and the servants in the establishment were always in the habit of carrying all letters first to Lady Sarah, through whose hands they reached their ultimate destination, opened, or unopened, as her curiosity prompted, or indifference withheld her. A letter being delivered into the hands of her ladyship, for Miss. Lucy Rushton, was an excitement of curiosity too strong to be resisted. The letter was opened; it was perused with avidity, and astonishment, — with anger, and almost with a deeper feeling still ; -- the dowager trembled exceedingly when she felt, as she certainly did, though she affected to deny it to herself, that she was actually jealous of her grand-daughter. On what ground, and with what justice Lady Sarah Kennet could be angry with her grand-daughter, because a young gentleman of good understanding and amiable disposition had thought proper to make her an offer of his hand, it isimpossible for us to say. There was nothing in the letter which at all implicated the young lady, as having given any encouragement to the suitor; but all was modest, diffident, humble, and tremulously respectful. He laid his heart and fortune at her feet, though that did not amount to much - for his fortune was small, and his heart was not his own. But it was a loveletter, — and in the eyes of the aged it is always an unpardonable sin for young persons to write or to receive love-letters.
Now, it seemed necessary that Lady Sarah should proceed, in most grand-motherly magnificence and judicial pomp of manner, to summon before her the wicked culprit, and pass sentence of condemnation on the criminal, who had been guilty of the high offence of having a letier written to her by a gentleman. Passing therefore into her own dressing-room, with as much stateliness and loftiness of bearing as if the mace-bearer and the sword-bearer preceded her, and the train-bearer followed her, Lady Sarah Kennet rang her bell twice for her own maid, to whom, with due solemnity, she gave it in charge to tell Miss Rushton's maid to inform Miss Rushton that her presence was immediately required in her ladyship's dressing-room. All this was done; and Lucy, light of heart, calm as purity, and cheerful as innocence, presented herself to her grandmother, wondering what could be the mighty matter. The cheerfulness of her spirit, however, suddenly abated, and the lightness of her innocent looks was exchanged for a blank astonishment, when she saw upon her grandmother's brow a gathering cloud of thunder, --- her lips compressed, the corners of her mouth drawn down, as she sat in awful state, waiting the approach of the young transgressor. Lucy paused for a moment, as she entered the room, as if afraid of the wrath which was but too manifest in the expression of her ladyship's countenance.
“Come hither child !” said Lady Sarah, in a most terrible tone of voice,
Lucy was then as much afraid to remain at a distance, as she had before been to approach her venerable grandmother. With prompt obedience to the call, the young lady having closed the door of the apartment, drew near with a trembling and uncertain apprehension ; 'and holding down her head, as if afraid to meet the angry gaze of her stern and haughty kinswoman, she saw in her ladyship's hand a letter, the superscription of which bore the name of Miss Rushton. The letter was open :-Now, there are some young ladies of twenty years of age, or thereabouts, who would not patiently endure to have letters which had been addressed to themselves opened by their grandmothers; but Lucy Rushton was not one of these ; she had known but two positions, in neither of which she had been led, or tempted to the sin of resistance : - under her father's roof, and under his dominion, there was no command that she wished to disobey; love beld her in obedience;- under her grandmother's roof, there was no command that she dared to disobey; fear held her in obedience : — so, under the opposite influences of love and fear, she had been altogether withheld from the struggles of resistance. We cannot account for the fact, but we know that it is so, - that certain very clever and managing persons, who bave the care of young persons committed to their charge, are in the habit of behaving towards them much after the manner in which a cat behaves to a mouse. For, when a cat catches a mouse with an intention of killing and eating it, she does not immediately and directly proceed to the work of murder and mastication, but she keeps the poor creature for a while in miserable suspense, tossing, and tumbling, and mumbling it about; so these clever folks, when they are fortunate enough to catch a young person in any fault or transgression, do not in a straight-forward way proceed to reprove the offender, and to remedy the offence, but they bother, and bepreachify, lecture, prose, prate, talk, and mystify, till the poor victim wriihes with impatience, and almost faints with mere vexation. After this manner did Lady Sarah lecture her grand-daughter. Lucy saw a letter addressed to herself; but who had ritten it, what it contained, or why it made her grandmother look so awful, she could not possibly divine; but because her ladyship look ed very angry, therefore the grand-daughter looked humble. Lady Sarah began her lecture, by speaking of the duty which children owed to their parents and guardians; she then proceeded to speak of the great decorum of all the Kennet family; how, when young, they had submitted themselves to be guided by their parents and their elders; how that the present Sir William Kennet never thought of having a will of his own,
in oppositioa to the will of his mother; how that every successive generation grew worse and worse; how that the young people of the present day seemed disposed to turn the world upside down; how that young ladies, especially, forgetful of the modesty and retiring diffidence which had graced the spinsterhood of their grandmothers, instead of repelling the addresses of the other sex, re!her encouraged and invited them. Then followed a great deal of talk about the gravity that became the daughter of a clergyman, interspersed with conjectures as to what might have been the system of moral discipline pursued by Lucy's father. At the mention of her father's name, her heart swelled as if it would burst, and she wept copiously; -at sight of these tears, the old lady became more eloquent, and more didactic; and Lucy continued sobbing, and was unable to speak; though she very much wished to know what was the meaning of all this, for at present all was wrapped in profound mystery.
In the art of ingeniously tormenting, care must be always taken that, when the patient has bcen softened into tears, the irritation be not carried on so long that the tears become dried up, and hardened into cold indifference, or warmed into an angry resistance. Lady Sarah Kennett had one to deal with, who could certainly bear a great deal, but there is a limit beyond which patience itself cannot go. Aware of this, her ladyship thought it now advisable to come more directly
to the heavy charge which she had to bring against her grand-daughter. Presenting therefore to her the superscription of the letter, she said, “ Do you know whose hand-writing is this ?”
"No, madam,” was the sobbing reply. “And I suppose," rejoined the grandmother, " that you cannot conjecture whose it is ?”
“ Indeed I cannot ;" said Lucy.
One of the most frequently inculcated maxims, which Lucy had heard from the lips of her weloved father, was the value and importance of a strict and hearty adherence to truth. Now, just at this moment it occurred to her, though she could scarcely tell why, but it certainly did come into her mind, that it was possible that the letter might have been written by Mr. Calvert; and the moment that she had this suspicion, she felt that it was a duty which she owed to the majesty of truth to confess even her suspicions; therefore she said with a little hesitation, — with that slowness of utterance which seems to indicate an almost improbable theory, --" unless it be from Mr. Calvert.”
At hearing this, the countenance of Lady Sarah Kennett exhibited a change by no means for the better ; the redness of indignation was added to the ruggedness of anger, and suddenly, she exclaimed, “From Mr. Cal. vert! From Mr. Calvert! What right had you to expect a letter from Mr. Calvert?”
“I have no right to expect any letter from Mr. Calvert,” replied Lucy; "but you asked me if I could conjecture from whom it came, and I know of no one else at all likely to write to me, and I am sure I calinot imagine what Mr. Calvert should have to write to me about,"
"Pray Miss Rushton,” said Lady Sarah, almost angry with herself for the indignation which she had betrayed, “may I make bold to ask what encouragement you have given Mr. Calvert to address to you a letter of this kind? I am sure that he never would have written such a letter, had he not known that it would meet with a welcome reception."
Now, Lucy understood the subject of the letter perfectly well, and she was covered with blushes, and was tremulous with a mighty confusion, so that for a while she could not speak; but when she had recovered her selfpossession, she replied, "I am not conscious of having given Mr. Salvert any encouragement whatever. Indeed, I never saw or spoke to him but in your ladyship's presence.”
Her ladyslip was then somewhat angry again, and rather tartly replied, “ Yes, yes, - I believe I was rather in the way; this letter seems to intimate as much. I spoiled your pleasant meetings by my unwelcome company."
Nay, madam,” answered Lucy, “I considered Mr. Calvert's visits paid to you, and not to me.”
“So did I," said Lady Sarah, somewhat sharply.,
“I thought that it was for the pleasure of your ladyship’s conversation,” continued Lucy, “that Mr. Calvert made his calls so frequent.”
“So did I," again her ladyship replied ; " and you also seemed to enjoy the pleasure of his conversation; for you were never absent when he was here."
With much simplicity of heart and purity of thought, Lucy replied, "I am sure that I would have withdrawn had I thought my presence an intrusion."
Her ladyship started, and said, “What ?" — There was no disguising the matter from herself; it was as clear as light that Lady Sarah Kennett was jealous of her grand-daughter; but fortunately for her ladyship’s peace of mind, she found that her secret was her own, and she discovered it just in time to keep it so. She struggled with herself for a few minutes; then rising from her seat, she put the letter into her grand-daughter's hands, saying in a very altered tone, .“ Take the letter, my dear, and answer it."
“How shall I answer it ?" said Lucy in a sweet confusion. “Answer it as you think it ought to be answered,” said her grandmother. “Mr. Calvert is an amiable and a worthy man.”
Lucy took the letter and answered it; but neither letter nor answer shall be given here, lest they should find their way into the polite letter-writer; for they were both much superior in style to those which appear in that work on the same topic. Suffice it to say, that the letter was so answered, that, after the lapse of a few months, it was absolutely impossible for Mr. Calvert to marry Lady Sarah Kennett, seeing that, by Scripture and our law, a man may not marry his wife's grandmother.