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people not being ready to receive it, and therefore teach them in forms which are to their own souls an obstruction. There is cowardice and desertion therein. They leave their own harder and higher work to do the easier and clumsier work of their neighbour. It is wasteful of time, truth, and energy. The man who is most careful over the truth that lies in forms not his own, will be the man most careful to let no time-serving drag him down—not to the level of the lower teachers, for they are honest-but to the level of Job's friends, who lied for God; nay, lower still ; for this will soon cease to be lying even for God, and become lying for himself.
When Mattie left her, Lucy again threw herself down and turned her face to the wall, and the story of which Mattie had been talking straightway began to mingle with all that filled her troubled mind. For who was a prodigal son but her lost Thomas ? Lost indeed! But there was another word in the parable to balance that there was found as well. Thomas might be found again. And if the angels in heaven rejoiced over the finding of such a lost wanderer, why should she cut the cable of love, and let him go adrift from her heart? Might she not love him still ? Ought she not to love him still ? Was he not more likely to come back some day if she went on loving him ? The recent awaking of Lucy's spiritual nature-what would be called by some, her conversionhad been so interpenetrated with the image, the feeling, the subjective presence of Thomas-she had thought so much of him while stooping her own shoulders to the easy yoke, that she could not leave him out now, and it seemed as if, were she to give him up, she would lose half the incentive to press forward herself. The fibres of her growth had so twined around him, that if the idea of his regeneration departed from her, the hope of her own would sicken at least, if not die. True, Pride hinted at the disgrace of being allied to such a man-a man who had stolen ; but Faith replied, that if there were joy in heaven over him, she too might rejoice over him when he came back; and if the Father received the prodigal with all his heart, she too might receive him with all hers. But she would have no right to receive him thus if she did nothing to restore him ; nor would she have any right to put forth in full her reclaiming influence, except she meant thus to receive him. Her conscience began to reproach her that she had not before done all that she could to reclaim him, and if she only knew the way, she was now at least prepared to spend and be spent for him. But she had already done all that she was, at this juncture of his history, to be allowed to do for the wretched trifler. God had taken the affair out of her hands, and had put it into those of somewhat harder teachers.
WHEN Mr. Worboise found that Thomas did not return that night, he concluded at once that he had made up his mind to thwart him in his now cherished plan, to refuse the daughter of Sir Jonathan Hubbard, and marry the girl whom his father disliked. He determined at once, even supposing he might be premature as regarded the property, to have the satisfaction of causing the Boxalls sharp uneasiness at least. His son would not have dared to go against his wishes but for the enticements of " that minx," in the confidence that her uncle's property was about to be hers. He would teach her and him too a lesson. Either her uncle or some one or more of his family were not drowned, or they were all drowned : in neither case was the property hers. If one of the family was alive, the property remained where it was; if they were all gone, the property was his. He thought himself into a rage over her interference with his plans, judged himself an injured person, and thereby freed of any trifling obligation that a fastidious conscience might have fancied to exist to the prejudice of his claims upon the property of his friend, supposed to be deceased. He was now ready to push his rights to the uttermost-to exact the pound of flesh that the law awarded him. He went the next morning but one after Thomas's disappearance and propounded the will.
In due time this came to the knowledge of Mr. Sargent. He wrote to Mrs. Boxall a stiff business letter acquainting her with the fact, and then called upon Mr. Worboise to see whether some arrangement could not be coine to; for having learned the nature of the will, he saw that almost any decent division of the property, for which he could only appeal to the justice of the man, would be better than a contest. Mr. Worboise received him with a graciousness reaching almost to kindness, talked lightly of the whole as a mere matter of business about which there was no room for disputing, smiled aside every attempt made by Mr. Sargent to approach the subject from another quarter, and made him understand, without saying a word to that effect, that he was prepared to push matters to the extreme of extremity. He even allowed him to see that he had reasons beyond the value of the money for setting about the matter in the coolest, most legal fashion in the world. Mr. Sargent went away baffled-to devise upon what grounds he could oppose the grant of probate.
While Mr. Sargent was having his interview, Mr. Stopper was awaiting his departure in the clerks' room. It must be remembered that Mr. Stopper was now between two stools; and while he came to plead the cause of the widow and fatherless, he must be especially careful for his own sake not to give offence. Him, too, Mr. Worboise received with the greatest good-humour ; assured him that there was no mistake in the matter, and he believed no flaw in the will; informed him that he had drawn it up himself, and had, at his friend's request, entered his own name as contingent reversioner. His friend might have done it in joke, he did not know; but he had not any intention of foregoing his rights, or turning out of Luck's way when she met him in the teeth. On the contrary, he meant to have the money and to use it ; for, at all events, it could not have been in joke that his friend had omitted his mother and his niece. He must have had some good reason for so doing; and he was not one to treat a dead friend's feeling with disrespect-and so on, all in pleasant words and with smiling delivery, ended by a hearty, easy “good morning." For, ere he had finished, Mr. Stopper coming to the conclusion that nothing was to be done, rose to take his leave. At the door he turned, and said,
“ Í hope nothing is amiss with your son, Mr. Worboise. I hope he is not ill.”
“Why do you ask?" returned Mr. Worboise, just a little stage gered ; for he was not prepared to hear that Thomas was missing from Bagot Street as well as from home. When he heard the fact, however, he merely nodded his head, saying,
“Well, Mr. Stopper, he's too old for me to horsewhip him. I don't know what the young rascal is after. I leave him in your hands. That kind of thing won't do, of course. I don't know that it wouldn't be the best thing to discharge him. It's of no consequence to nie, you know, and it would be a lesson to him, the young scapegrace! That's really going too far, though you and I can make allowances, eh, Stopper?"
Mr. Stopper was wise enough not to incur the odium of a Job's messenger by telling what even Mr. Worboise would have considered bad news; for he had a reverence for locks and money, and regarded any actionable tampering with either as disgraceful. “Besides," thought Stopper, “if it was only to spite the young jackanapes, I could almost marry that girl without a farthing. But I shouldn't have a chance if I were to leak about Tom."
Mr. Worboise was uneasy, though. He told his wife the sum of what had passed between Tom and himself, but I fear enjoyed her discomfiture at the relation; for he said spitefully, as he left the room,
“ Shall I call on Mr. Simon as I go to town, and send him up, Mrs. Worboise ?"
His wife buried her face in her pillow, and made no reply. Perhaps the husband's heart smote him ; but I doubt it, though he did call on Mr. Simon and send him to her.
All the result of Mr. Simon's inquiries was the discovery that Thomas had vanished from the counting-house too. Thereupon a more real grief than she had ever known seized the mother's heart; her conscience reproached her as often as Mr. Simon hinted that it was a judgment upon her for having been worldly in her views concerning her son's marriage ; and she sent for Amy home, and allowed things to take their way.
All the comfort Mr. Worboise took was to say to himself over and over, “ The young rascal's old enough to take care of himself. He knows what he's about too. He thinks to force me to a surrender by starving me of his precious self. We'll see. I've no doubt he's harboured in that old woman's house. Stay a bit, and if I don't fire him out—by Jove ! She'll find I'm not one to take liberties with, the old hag!"
The best that Mr. Sargent could do at present was to resist pro. bate on the ground of the uncertainty of the testator's death, delay. ing thus the execution of the will. He had little hope, however, of any ultimate success-except such as he might achieve by shaming Mr. Worboise into an arrangement.
Mrs. Boxall sent for him, and with many acl:nowledgments begged him to do his best for them, saying that, if he were successful, she would gladly pay him whatever he demanded. He repudiated all idea of payment, however, and indeed considercd himself only too fortunate to be permitted to call as often as he pleased, for then he generally saw Lucy. But he never made the smallest attempt to renew even the slight intimacy which had formerly existed between them.
MR. SARGENT LABOURS.
That large room in Guild Court, once so full of aged cheerfulness and youthful hope, was now filled with an atmosphere of both moral and spiritual perturbation. The first effect of her son's will upon Mrs. Boxall was rage and indignation against Mr. Worboise, who, she declared, must have falsified it. She would not believe that Richard could have omitted her name, and put in that of his attor. ney. The moment she heard the evil tidings, she rose and went for her bonnet, with the full intention of giving the rascal a bit of her mind. It was all that her granddaughter and Mr. Stopper could do to prevent her. For some time she would yield no ear to their representations of the bad consequences of such a proceeding. She did not care. If there was justice to be had on the earth she would have it, if she went to the queen herself to get it. I half suspect that, though she gave in at last, she did carry out her inten.
tion afterwards without affording any one the chance of preventing her. However that may be, the paroxysm of her present rage passed off in tears followed by gloomy fits, which were diversified by outbreaks of temper against Lucy, although she spoke of her as a poor dear orphan, reduced to beggary by the wickedness and greed of lawyers in general, who lived like cannibals upon the flesh and blood of innocents. In vain would Lucy try to persuade her that they were no worse now than they had been, reminding her that they were even happier together before the expectation of more than plenty came in to trouble them; beside her late imagination of wealth, her present feeling was that of poverty, and to feel poor is surely the larger half of being poor.
On Lucy my reader will easily believe that this change of prospect had little effect. Her heart was too much occupied with a far more serious affair to be moved about money. Had everything been right with Thomas, I have no doubt she would have built many a castle of the things she would do ; but till Thomas was restored to her by being brought to his right mind, no one thing seemed more worth doing than another. Sadness settled upon her face, her walk, her speech, her whole expression. But she went about her work as before, and did what she could to keep her sorrow from hurting others. The reality of the late growth of religious feeling in her was severely tested; but it stood the test; for she sought comfort in holding up her care to God; and what surer answer to such prayer could there be, than that she had strength to do her work? We are saved by hope, and Lucy's hope never died; or if it did wither away under the dry blasts of her human judgment, the prayers that went up for submission to His will, soon returned in such dews as caused the little flower once more to lift its head in the sun and wind. As often as she could-not every day, because of her engagements with Miriam Morgenstern-she went to Mr. Fuller's church, and I think I may say that she never returned without what was worth going for. I do not say that she could always tell what she had learned, but she came away with fresh strength, and fresh resolution to do what might show itself to be right. And the strength came chiefly from this, that she believed more and more what the apostle Peter came to be so sure of before he died, that “ He careth for us.” She believed that the power that made her a living soul was not, could not be, indifferent to her sorrows, however much she might have deserved them, still less indifferent because they were for her good,-a ready excuse for indifference with men ; -and if only he cared that she suffered, if he knew that it was sad and hard to bear, she could bear it without a word, almost without a thought of restlessness. And then, why should she not hope for Thomas as well as for herself? If we are to love our neighbour as ourself, surely we must hope and pray for him as for ourself; and if Lucy found that she could love Thomas at least as