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hand. When Montague came home, he was much disappointed to hear that Fanny Parkinson had been living for more than a twelvemonth in London. However, he lost no time in coming to see her.
When he was shown into the parlour, she was sitting with her head bent over her work. She started upon being accosted by his well-remembered voice. Not having heard of the death of her brother, and not seeing her in mourning, Edward Montague was at a loss to account for the tears that filled her eyes, and for the emotion that suffocated her voice when she attempted to reply to his warm expressions of delight at seeing her again. He perceived that she was thinner and paler than when he had last seen her, and he feared that all was not right. She signed to him to sit down, and was endeavouring to compose herself, when Mrs. Weston was shown into the room. That lady stared with surprise at seeing a very handsome young gentleman with Fanny, who hastily wiped her eyes and introduced Mr. Montague.
Mrs. Weston took a seat, and producing two or three morning caps from her reticule, she said in her usual loud voice, "Miss Parkinson, I have brought these caps for you to alterI wish you to do them immediately, that they may be washed next week. I find the borders rather too broad, and the head-pieces too large (though to be sure I did cut them out myself) so I want you to rip them apart, and make the head. pieces smaller, and the borders narrower, and then whip them and sew them on again. I was out the other day when you sent home the things, but when you have done the caps I will pay you for all together. What will you charge for making a dozen aprons for my little Anna. You must not ask much, for I want them quite plain-mere bibs. Unless you will do them very cheap, I may as well make them myself.”
The face of Montague became scarlet, and starting from his chair, he traversed the room in manifest perturbation; sympathizing with what he supposed to be the confusion and mortification of Fanny.
Fanny, however, rallied, replying with apparent composure to Mrs. Weston on the points in question, and calmly settling the bargain for the bib aprons-she knew that it is only in the eyes of the vulgar-minded and the foolish, that a woman is degraded by exerting her ingenuity or her talents as a means of support. “Well," said Mrs. Weston, “ you may send for the aprons FEBRUARY,
to-morrow, and I wish you to hurry with them as fast as you can-when I give out work I never like it to be kept long on hand. I will pay you for the other things when the aprons are done."
Mrs. Weston then took her leave, and Fanny turned to the window to conceal from Montague the tears that in spite of herself-command were now stealing down her cheeks.
Montague hastily went up to her, and taking her hand, he said with much feeling, “ dear Fanny-Miss Parkinson I mean --what has happened during my absence? Why do I see you thus ? But I fear that I distress you by inquiring. I perceive that you are not happy--that you have suffered much, and that your circumstances are changed. Can I do nothing to console you or to improve your situation ? Let me at once have a right to do so— let me persuade you to unite your
fate with mine, and put an end, I hope for ever, to these unme. rited, these intolerable humiliations."
“No, Mr. Montague,” said Fanny, deeply affected, “ I will not take advantage of the generous impulse that has led you thus suddenly to make an offer, which perhaps, in a calmer moment and on cooler consideration you may think of with regret.
“ Regret !” exclaimed Montague, pressing her hand between both of his, and surveying her with a look of the fondest admiration, “ dearest Fanny, how little you know your own value-how little you suppose that during our long separation
Here he was interrupted in his impassioned address by the entrance of Mrs. Parkinson and her daughters. Fanny hastily withdrew her hand and presented him as Mr. Montague, a friend of hers from Uxbridge.
Being much agitated, she in a few minutes retired to com. pose herself in her own apartment. The girls soon after with. drew, and Montague, frankly informing Mrs. Parkinson that he was much and seriously interested in her sister-in-law, begged to know some particulars of her present condition.
Mrs. Parkinson, who felt it impossible to regard Mr. Mon. tague as a stranger, gave him a brief outline of the circum. stances of Fanny's residence with them, and spoke of her as the guardian-angel of the family, “ she is not only,” said her sister-in-law,“ one of the most amiable and affectionate, but also one of the most sensible and judicious of women. Never, never have we in any instance acted contrary to her advice, without eventually finding cause to regret that we did so.'
And Mrs. Parkinson could not forbear casting her eyes over her mourning dress.
Montague, though the praises of Fanny were music in his ears, had tact enough to take his leave, fearing that his visit was interfering with the tea-hour of the family.
Next morning, the weather was so mild as to enable them to sit up stairs with their sewing ; for latterly, the state of their fuel had not allowed them to keep a fire except in the parlour and kitchen. Montague called and inquired for Fandy. She came down, and saw him alone. He renewed, in explicit terms, the offer he had so abruptly made her on the preceding afternoon. Fanny, whose heart had been with Montague, during the whole of his long absence, had a severe struggle before she could bring herself to insist on their union being postponed for at least two years : during which time she wished, for the sake of the family, to remain with them, and get the school firmly established; her nieces, meanwhile, completing their education, and acquiring under her guidance a proficiency in the routine of teaching.
“But surely," said Montague, “ you understan hat sh you to make over to your sister-in-law the whole of your aunt's legacy You shall bring me nothing but your invaluable self.'
Though grateful for the generosity and disinterestedness of her lover, Fanny knew that the interest of her two thousand pounds was, of course, not sufficient to support Mrs. Parkin. son and her children without some other source of income; and she was convinced that they would never consent to become pensioners on Montague's bounty, kind and liberal as he was.
She therefore adhered to her determination of remaining with her sister and nieces till she had seen them fairly afloat, and till she could leave them in a prosperous condition. And Montague was obliged to yield to her conviction that she was acting rightly, and to consent that the completion of his happiness should accordingly be deferred for two years.
He remained in London till he had seen the Parkinson family established in their new habitation, and he managed with much delicacy to aid them in the expenses of fitting it up.
The gchool was commenced with a much larger number of pupils than had been anticipated. It increased rapidly under the judicious superintendence of Fanny: and in the course of two years she had rendered Isabella and Helen so capable of filling her place, that all the parents were perfectly satisfied to continue their children with them. At the end of that time,
Montague (who, in the interval, had made frequent visits to
At the earnest desire of Montague, Mrs. Parkinson con,
Mrs. Parkinson and her family went on and prospered-her son was everything that a parent could wish-her children all married advantageously--and happily she has not yet had occasion to put in practice her resolution of never again wearing mourning : though principle, and not necessity, is the mo. tive which will henceforward deter her from complying with that custom.
I'd search the field with gladness,
If frost bound not the earth,
The day that gave thee birth,
From Wealth's emblazoned shrine ;
Her favours are not niine.
To prove a brother's care ?
No offering but a prayer.
That thou shouldst peerless reign
Or Fortune's gay doinain
Along the stream of life;
From all its woe and strife!
Grow deeper, day by day,
The first rays of the morning sun were brilliantly reflected by the polished arms of Ryno and Idallan, as they rode gaily forth in search of adventures. It was not their first similar excursion. As usual with errant knights, they had struck down many a dragon, vanquished many a giant, and rescued many a damsel from the clutches of wicked magicians. Delicate arms had clasped their knees in gratitude, tender bosoms had feverishly beat against their iron breastplates, ruby lips had pledged them in golden cups of the juice of the Syracusan grape, and yet their hearts remained cold and impenetrable as the pure steel of their armour. The delightful consciousness of freedom, strength, and youthful spirits, spoke in their every movement. Stately and beautiful they passed on their way, their sharp lances resting quietly upon their right stirrups, their swords peacefully clinking in their scabbards, and their hands care. lessly holding their highly ornamented bridle reins.
Suddenly they heard female voices uttering distressing cries for help. The steeds snorted and pricked up their ears; the knights involuntarily drew a tighter reign, seized their lances, and applied the spur ; and thus they darted forward with perfect indifference whether this new adventure should be crowned with wounds or kisses, blows or treasures, a martyr's chains or an hymeneal altar.
Their panting chargers soon bore them to a forest filled with oaks of a thousand years, whence had proceeded those outcries which were now subsiding to sobs so low as to be almost lost to the ear. At length a green meadow opened upon them through the wood, and there, enclosed by a circle of Moors, stood two powerless maidens of angelic beauty, bound to a tree. An old, meagre, yellow monster, in the rich dress of the east, appeared to be feasting himself with gazing upon their charms. He had just drawn a dagger from his girdle and was about to approach one of the maidens, when Ryno and Idallan burst upon them from the thicket with the suddenness of the lightning's flash, and the fury of the storm. Knighterrant like, without asking any questions, they nailed six of the Moors to the nearest oaks with their lances, and then, (as if Vulcan had sent his cyclops to the work, their blows fell like hail upon the astonished Moors. Courage, strength, knowledge of the use of arms, and the